2007 turned out to be an incredible year for movies, despite the fact the summer was overflowing with films with 2, 3 or 4 in their titles. I've never had a more difficult time putting together a Top 10 Movies of the Year list than I've had pulling this one together. Keep in mind these are my personal favorites and you're free to disagree with any or all of them.
The Coen Brothers remained faithful to the tone of Cormac McCarthy's bestselling novel, and even incorporated some scenes word-for-word. The resulting big screen adaptation of No Country for Old Men is no less impressive than McCarthy's book. Plus, Javier Bardem sports the most bizarre hairdo of the year and still manages to carve a permanent place for himself in the world of actors who've played killers.
For the most part I'm not a fan of period pieces, and I'm one of the few critics who apparently wasn't blown away by Atonement director Joe Wright and actress Keira Knightley's first collaboration - Pride and Prejudice. But Atonement is so lush, so beautiful, and the story is just incredibly compelling, that it grabbed me and kept me enthralled from the first frame through the final credits.
4. 3:10 to Yuma
Russell Crowe or Christian Bale? Take your pick, it doesn't really matter which one you prefer in 3:10 to Yuma. Both of these actors deserve special recognition for what they accomplished in this Western which reinvigorated the fading genre. A film so good you need to see it at least twice to truly appreciate what director James Mangold has pulled off with this down-and-dirty drama.
5. The Lookout
I really believe that had The Lookout hit theaters in October, November or December rather than in March, this overlooked gem would have made a lot more Top 10 lists. Way back in March I put The Lookout on my Top 10 list and it never left. It may have moved down a few spots over the months, but it's always remained firmly planted in my mind as one of the year's best.
This could quite possibly be the second best film from the team of Tim Burton and Johnny Depp. Only Ed Wood really beats it, and that's not by much. Sure, Depp's not a singer - and neither is his co-star Helena Bonham Carter - but their vocal stylings fit the twisted lyrics by Stephen Sondheim. It's bloody and disgustingly funny, and just gorgeous to look at.
Across the Universe is one of those movies you either really love or really hate. I fall into the 'really love' group with this magical, musical trippy film. Loaded with Beatles songs and pop culture references, Across the Universe is the one movie I wanted to see again as soon as it ended. This one's going to be a must-own on DVD.
Based on a true story and written/directed by Sean Penn, Into the Wild features a breakthrough performance by Emile Hirsch and outstanding turns by a batch of supporting players. Hirsch, who'll next be seen in the Wachowski Brothers' Speed Racer, tackles the very physically and mentally challenging role of a college grad who gave up his cushy life to live off the grid. Into the Wild is a tough film to watch due to the eventual outcome of the story, but one worth checking out for some breathtaking cinematography and terrific performances.
Ryan Gosling earned an Academy Award nomination for his role in the gritty drama Half Nelson and is generating almost as much attention with Lars and the Real Girl. Gosling plays a guy who falls in love with a doll - a real doll - in one of the most unique and interesting love stories in decades.
10. Knocked Up
Some would argue that it's Superbad but to me Knocked Up was the funniest movie of 2007. Too bad comedies don't generate the same amount of awards attention as 'serious' films. And why is that? I've never, ever understood that reasoning. It's much more difficult to make an audience laugh, so you'd think decent comedies would stand a chance. And kudos to all involved in Knocked Up for going for it and embracing the hard R rating.