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The Best Movies of 2007
By Bert Ehrmann
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Fort Wayne Reader
The best film of 2007 was Children of Men. Bleak, dark and uncompromising, Children of Men presents a terrifying vision of a future where women have become infertile and, without any new births, mankind has slowly started the trek towards extinction. Enter apathetic Theo (Clive Owen) who gets more than he bargained for when hired to help smuggle a girl out of the U.K. Theo finds himself with the weight of humanity’s future on his shoulders when it turns out this girl carries the first pregnancy in over 18 years.
Children of Men features one of the most amazing scenes ever put to film. In this six minute long one-take action sequence, we follow Theo through a massive battle between terrorists and government forces as he races across bullet ridden streets, past screaming civilians caught in the cross fire and into a building under an artillery barrage before ascending several flights of stairs to recover this baby from doom.
Co-writer and director Alfonso Cuarón takes the story of 1984 and turns it on its head. Who cares about “Big Brother,” genocide or the loss of personal freedom when human race has an expiration date? Though dark, Children of Men is ultimately life affirming.
The rest, in alphabetical order:
300: 300 is an over-the-top action violent gore-fest where 300 Spartans face off against hoards of Persian soldiers in order to retain their freedom. To truly enjoy this ultimate guy movie, be sure not to know any of the facts about the real-life Spartans and their definition of “freedom.”
Hot Fuzz: I’ve been a big fan of Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright ever since their TV series Spaced aired once on the defunct Trio cable channel several years back. Hot Fuzz does not disappoint.
I Am Legend: I must be a sucker for end of the world type movies because three of them made it to this year’s “best of” list. This time, Robert Neville (Will Smith) is the last man left alive when a virulent plague sweeps the world killing most but turning some into cannibalistic monsters of the night. What I was most surprised with by this movie was that I Am Legend both captures the tone and spirit of the source novel written more than 50 years ago while also updating things for our modern age.
Grindhouse: It seems to me that I’m one of few people in the country who a) experienced Grindhouse in theaters and b) liked it. For my money, Planet Terror is a fun take on the standard zombie-apocalypse flick while the real fun lies in Death Proof. Sure, there’s way too much chat in Death Proof (It was written by Quentin Tarantino so what’da’ya expect?) but car chase between Stuntman Mike (Kurt Russell) and the three girls is absolutely fantastic and one of the most heart-pounding things I’ve seen in years.
Knocked Up: Just a few years back writer/director Judd Apatow was mostly known for creating a multitude of TV series that were loved by the critics (me included) yet lasted just a handful of episodes each. Now it seems as if Apatow is the king of comedy success, not only with his own films like Knocked Up but also with producing others like Superbad.
The Mist: In my opinion, The Mist is probably the most overlooked movie of the year. Earning less than $20 million at the box office, The Mist is none-the-less a taught thriller where a strange fog settles over a small New England town that harbors all sorts of deadly creatures within. Trapped inside a grocery store, David Drayton (Thomas Jane) must protect his son from the “things” outside as well as the people driven to the brink of sanity within. Best of all is the ending of The Mist that has at least four completely different and all equally plausible explanations.
Zodiac: Zodiac was one of those odd movies that seemed to have been marketed badly. In some TV commercials, Zodiac was presented as a horror movie in the vein of Se7en or Silence of the Lambs. In others, it’s a zany thriller about the media chasing a killer through the streets of San Francisco. In fact, Zodiac is like neither of those two movies, instead focusing on how obsession can destroy people, be it a reporter yearning to learn the true identity of the Zodiac or the cop who spends almost an entire career unsuccessfully tracking the killer.