24 January 2008

My Top 8 (and Flop 3) Movies of 2007

Got distracted over the holidays but I finally managed to finish my point of view on 2007's best and wort movies. Look forward to more personal writing stuff in the future, and not just writing!

12/19-20/07; My Top 8 (and Flop 3) Movies of 2007; OutsiderXE

The year is over (really?), and since every other Blog, TV show or magazine already did their year-hits in December, I thought I'd be clever and wait until the year is really over (that and the fact that I was kind of lazy typing all this).

First thing you might notice about my top-list is that there's 'only' 8 movies listed, instead of the usual 10 one would go for in this scenario. I decided to eliminate 1408 and Resident Evil: Extinction, they were good but not good enough for me to appear in a top-list. You can look at this little text as some sort of honorable mention. Also it was very hard for me to decide exactly which movie was better than another, and I might feel otherwise about certain decision the following day, but I guess that's how its supposed to be again in a list with the best of the best. So here we go:

8.The Bourne Ultimatum
The most realistic spy movie. Its exactly like the other two. Except maybe a little better. A little better car chases, a little better hand-to-hand combats, a little better playing-of-villains-for-a-sucker. There's also this mood that this one's going to be the last one and therefore supposed to be the best. And unlike Pirates 3 or Spider-Man 3 this one actually delivers.

7.Live Free or Die Hard
For the better part it lacks this usual Die Hard-feeling people have gotten accustomed to. John McClane has become a super-hero who kills dozens of villains, even armed jets and helicopters. But if you manage to forget that its a very solid piece of action, and in my opinion has the best use of the line "Yippie-Kay-Yeeh, Motherfucker!", in any of the Die Hard movies. Also, whenever you watched a Bruce Willis movie before this one came out, you just want to be reminded of his role of McClane, so it's good to have the real deal adter such a long wait.

6.Number 23
I loved the mix of styles in this one. it has the narrative effect of someone reading a book (guess what, it's because the main character actually does read a book!), mixed with the color scheme of Sin City (but better dialogue), a decent detective story with some scary parts, and a crazy use of numbers. It takes what the Matrix movies started in a subtle way (there you also had the number 5 appearing in computer binary like 101, in 23 or reversed, or substracted or...you get the gist), and makes it the main focus of a story. Also Jim Carrey once again proves that he doesn't need to do a twisted face to be a convincing actor, he just is.

5.The Simpsons Movie
A movie I was looking forward to but in the end refused to watch in cinema, for exactly the same reason Homer states in the beginning of the movie. Why should anyone pay for something (in cinema) that he can get for free (on TV)? Well, I for one don't regret waiting for the movie to be released on DVD. The movie itself is solid Simpsons humor, a little wild, like the newest episodes, but for the better part very funny. Everytime I thought it started to become boring, it always surprised me with funny situations or comments. Especially Homer's crush on his new friend had me cracking. What I didn't like so much was the move of the scenery to Alaska. Though I like snow in the winter, especially Christmas time, I'm just not a fan of continuously snowy places. It seems as if my warm greek heart (don't take this the wrong way, I am not a nice guy) just resents them. All in all it's an epic version of a Simpsons episode, and even better than the South-Park movie whose only flaw were its overuse of musical interludes.

4.Transformers: The Movie
More than meets the eye. Exactly! My only critic point on the movie is that most of the time, whenever a big fight was happening the camera work seemed to be out of place. Either too close, too shaky or completely out of place. Other than that it was amazing to see the giant robots fight in real live I so liked when I was a child. Besides that the leader of the Autobots has always been somewhat of the ultimate classic leader. Charismatic and always right in his decisions. Also Bumblebee was a great sidekick leading the first scenes of action and some funny moments. Unfortunately the evil Decepticons and most of the other Autobots weren't depicted thoroughly enough, you only got a glimpse of what their attitudes really was. Nontheless a great action flick, one that raised the bar for special effects to the next level.

'300' is based on a Frank Miller‘s comic which is loosely based on greek history. I write loosely because the persian god-king Xerxes is a nine feet tall metrosexual with jewelry all over his body, and other factual errors. Generally, the persian army is not only depicted very inaccurately, but also grotesque. Warriors appear like monsters from ‘Lord ofthe Rings‘, some having weapons where limbs should be, and usually showing very twisted faces. The spartan arrny is the exact opposite of that. They are sun-tanned bodybuilders in hot pants, not wearing any body-armor so as to show off the months the actors spent in gym. lt works for the movie itself, but taking this scenery and the characters‘ dialogues too serious could lead one to believe that this movie is actually USA propaganda for a war in Iran. The dialogue, which is also the weakest part in the movie, is mostly about strength, honor and glory on the battlefield, and the fight to free one‘s homeland from possible slavery. There‘s nothing good about Persia/lran, only death and destruction. But if a viewer can see past these points, he will see what the movie is originally about: entertainment through visual style. The most amazing parts in the movie are the fight scenes. The camera is either very focused on one character or moving through different characters showing them altemate!y in slow-motion or in fast-motion slicing through hordes ofenemy fighters, all accompanied by persian-influenced rock-music. lt‘s ‘Lord ofthe Rings‘ meeting ‘The Matrix‘. Beautiful! ‘300‘ will entertain everyone who is not out for a history-lesson like in "Troy", can look past the USA/Iran-conflict, can live with zero-character-development and repeating oneliners. lt is basically a movie for macho-men and muscle-loving women, and one we need more of.

2.Grind House: Planet Terror
What's the appeal of movies that were done badly on purpose? Probably no other than the hype over the creators' names. In Germany the term 'Grind House' is unknown which is probably why the studios decided to have the german audience (and I think in the rest of Europe too) pay twice for what can be get a lot cheaper in the USA. Now while the Grund House movies looked interesting indeed, from what one could see from their trailers, and I did have confidence in the directors' skills (hype!), I refused to pay for any of the movies in cinema, for exactly this reason. Though Tarantino's 'Death Proof' did not make my list I have to comment on that one too: I did not like it very much, except for the car chase in the end. It seemed to be like Tarantino did not understand the idea of a B-movie, trying to put too much of his own style into the movie. There's too much (boring) dialogue, the pictures are way too clean and there is not enough gore to give a feeling of unserious exaggaration (though the one gory scene that is in there is excellent). Anyway, Robert Rodriguez 'Planet Terror' is were the fun is. A B-movie plot (Zombies overrun a small town), B-movie characters (a kung fu soldier, a one-legged stripper, a crazy doctor), B-movie visual style (white lines, broken images, bad coloring) and extra violence (no spoilers here) make this one almost a classic. There's just so much to look at, so much to listen to. Perfect entertainment, but not for the easy-fainting.

1.Mr. Brooks
2008 was the year of serial-killing for me. I wrote some short stories twisting true events a little bit around (like I would admit a real murder now), and watched some very cool movies based on the topic. The best of them all being Mr. Brooks. Yeah, it probably does not desever to be on number one, but I just couldn't decide which of the other movies to give the grand spot so I decided to pay an underdog some well-deserved attention. The movie is mainly so good because of Kevin Costner's performance as a schizophrenic killer. I didn't like him much before in his other movies. Waterworld was OK, but most of his other projects were rather long and dull, or just out of my range. I might not even like him after this one, since, as far as his imdb.com-profile is concerned there is not one future project on the list which grabs my attention. Nontheless I did love him in this one. It's hard to describe without giving away too much of the plot. Suffice to say that he plays Mr. Brooks in a fashion you actually always sympathize with him. Think in the lines of Darth Vader, a bad guy who does bad things and comes off as a victim, justifying his killing. Word has is there were two sequels in planning but discarded due to the failure of the movie at the box office. I hope they reconsider, but on the other hand there's always fear that they mess up the sequels, thus ruining the memory of the first one too. Almost like they did with The Matrix-franchise (yeah, luckily I am one of the few who actually could enjoy both Reloaded and Revolutions, albeit their errors).

Flop 3

3.Spider-Man 3
I had to think about this one really hard. Is it really so bad, or does it only seem like that because the first two movies were so good? That probably shouldn't affect me. What affects me is is the fact as to how they messed up Spider-Man's greatest villain, Venom. He just shouldn't have been in this one. Green Goblin II and Sandman were enough, Venom should have been in a fourth movie, standing for his own, thus also providing a clear path for other alien villains, like Carnage.

They say reality writes the best scripts. Nope. Reality sucks! Being no american citizen I had never heard of a zodiac killer until this movie came up, so I just didn't know that it would be so open ended. The movie starts out really well, good cinematography, interesting characters. You feel like it's a classic douche-hunting-psycho film, and after a while you realize that the whole story is going nowhere. Very dissapointing ending.

1.Pretty Cool Too
A wannabe teenager comedy. The biggest pile of crap next to 'Erkan und Stefan 2' (German movie, so don't ask.). The picture quality, the background, the music, the effects, the script, EVERYTHING, looked like it was filmed on a camcorder by an amateur. I'm not just saying that, it REALLY looks that way. Of course the occasional naked body and sex scene doesn't save this movie from getting into the Flop 3-list. It's more fun to get shot in the knee than watching this. Avoid!

(2012 words)


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