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Notes from the back row

Best of the Silver Screen

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Holiday movie season continues. Can you believe Alvin and the Chipmunks did $46 million on opening weekend!? WHAT THE FAK? That’s more money in three days than The Darjeeling Limited, Rescue Dawn, Eastern Promises, and Into the Wild have made all year combined. Go figure.

Holiday movie season also means newspaper printing presses all over the place get weird for a few weeks and the whole “timeliness is the next best thing to godliness” aspect of reporting goes out the window. That’s why holiday issues have to pad their content with fluff pieces and “Best of” lists.   So here are the best movies of 2007.

Best comedy Superbad. Written by a couple dudes from Vancouver (including Seth Rogen) this flick about a group of buddies trying to score liquor and chicks for the last big party of high school is fresh and hilarious. Producer Judd Apatow, and his troupe have elevated the shit-talking buddy comedy to new levels. Along with rapid-fire jokes Superbad has a genuine, sensitive feel and the most realistic high-schoolers of the year.

Best Action – While I totally dug The Bourne Ultimatum , for the best balls-out action sequences I think I have to go with the Spartans and 300. Sure it’s all a bit homoerotic but there was some serious ass-kicking in that movie.

Best Horror – I liked Rob Zombie’s Halloween and 1408 was creepy/awesome but the overall best and freakiest flick of 2007 was 28 Weeks Later. Strong acting, great story, killer visuals and camerawork, and “the infected” make this one of those lock-the-doors-and-pull-up-the-covers kind of movies.

Best Blood and Gore – Usually this goes with best horror but the axe beheadings in 30 Days of Night deserve their own mention. The movie was so-so but the kid-decapitation scene was worth ticket price and then some. Runner up ­– 300.

Best Cartoon – They call them animated features nowadays, I usually don’t watch them, but Beowulf wins because it has cartoon-Angelina in it. Watch the IMAX 3D if you can. Runner up – Ratatouille.

Best Canadian Eastern Promises starring Naomi Watts and Viggo Mortenson as a bad-ass tattooed Russian mobster. Directed by Canadian master David Cronenberg, this is also the best gangster flick of the year. (Sorry Denzel Washington.)

Best Special Effects Transformers . I thought this would be impossible to pull off but it was a pretty good flick and the Transformers were unbelievable. (So was the girl, Meagan Fox, albeit the most unrealistic high-schooler of the year.)

Best Documentary Sicko was excellent but my pick is The Bridge , a haunting doc on suicide jumpers on (and off) the Golden Gate Bridge. Chilling, heart-wrenching, stories and incredible images.

Best Drama – I liked Rescue Dawn, Werner Herzog’s Vietnam POW movie starring Christian Bale. Into the Wild was also great, as was A Mighty Heart. All three are based on true stories so I guess the reality of our world is more dramatic than our imaginations — maybe not a good sign. A Mighty Heart, the Marianne Peal story, wins due to the Angelina factor.

Best I Haven’t Seen Yet – I think Juno , the teenage pregnancy film starring Michael Cera and Ellen Page, will be the kind of smart, clever, sarcastic movie that gets me every time. Runner up – Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead. Trust me (and Phillip Seymour Hoffman) it’s gonna rule.

Best of the Year No Country for Old Men. I’ve been going on about this Coen Brothers film for over a month and the reason is, it’s the best. Everything you could ever want in a movie and a few surprises to boot. Filmmaking at its finest.

Happy 2008.

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