It's December, and studios are still rolling out more Academy Award-worthy flicks!
Honestly, this is my favorite time of the movie year.
Watching great films leading up to Oscar night -- my own personal Super Bowl!
So here's the list in "release date" order, so I can add more towards the end as I watch more fantastic films!
"BREACH" -- Great tension helped by the fantastic cast including Laura Linney and Chris Cooper. Ryan Phillippe proves to ex-wife Reese Witherspoon that he too, can act!
"ZODIAC" -- that great provocateur, David Fincher, returns in top form! The film is creepy but entertaining and mood-driven.
"300" -- I saw this on IMAX during a special Warner Bros. screening, and I totally enjoyed the visuals. I'm a comic-book geek, so I had been salivating at the thought of Frank Miller's creative vision being transferred to the big screen. And my expectations were met!
"GRINDHOUSE" -- Robert Rodriguez's zombie-fantasy is better than Tarantino's feminist take on the slasher genre, but as a whole, the film is a great exercise from two of the leading helmers of this generation. Rodriguez and Tarantino truly love the cinema!
"THE HOAX" -- based on real-life events, Richard Gere gave a stirring performance as the writer Clifford Irving who created the ultimate hoax involving Howard Hughes.
"HOT FUZZ" -- the "Shawn of the Dead" folks gave the year's most scary and most fun experience at the movies. Click here for my written review.
"WAITRESS" -- at last, a romantic film that will not cheat you emotionally! Too bad the actress/director, Adrienne Shelley, met an untimely death. But I'm pushing for Keri Russell for a Best Actress nomination.
"ONCE" -- this romantic-musical took me for a surprise last summer! Great songs, great performances, and the film even made me cry. I immediately bought the soundtrack after watching the movie!
"KNOCKED UP" -- Writer/director Judd Apatow is having a great year (I also love "Superbad"). He can make you feel for his "loser" characters, without sacrificing the laughs.
"RATATOUILLE" -- One of the most original films this summer, maybe this year! Pixar did it again, this time, the filmmakers will make you believe a rat can actually cook! Read my written review of the film.
"SICKO" -- Michael Moore, one of our most controversial figures, created a documentary that's really bi-partisan. Health care is such a universal topic, it doesn't matter if you're "blue" or "red."
"TRANSFORMERS" -- I'm not a big fan of director Michael Bay, but this is his most realized film yet! "Transformers" was the best popcorn movie of summer 2007. Here's my written review of the film.
"HAIRSPRAY" -- The entire cast is inspired in this feel-good musical romp that will make you dance all the way home! Here's my written article.
"RESCUE DAWN" -- Werner Herzog's taut thriller about man versus nature!
"THE BOURNE ULTIMATUM" -- thank God for Paul Greengrass, one of the few directors who knows how to make a thought-provoking action flick!
"STARDUST" -- Neil Gaiman's graphic novel inspired this truly charming fairy tale that's equal parts thrilling and funny. Click for my written review.
"SUPERBAD" -- there's a moment in this film that almost made me cry, not because of heavy laughter (although there's a lot of that), but because of the well-written characters and their great friendship! Another Judd Apatow winner!
"3:10 TO YUMA" -- Russell Crowe and Christian Bale trade verbal bullets in this Western remake by director James Mangold. This film actually improved on the original!
"EASTERN PROMISES" -- Viggo Mortensen and David Cronenberg teamed up once again for the ultra-violent "Eastern Promises." Haunting, mesmerizing, and Vincent Cassel delivered one of the most memorable performances this year. Watch my review.
"IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH" -- I'm one of those folks who believed, and still do, that "Crash" was overrated! But all is forgiven Paul Haggis, "In the Valley of Elah" is a gripping anti-war statement masquerading as a whodunit.
"THE ASSASINATION OF JESSE JAMES BY THE COWARD ROBERT FORD" -- Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck gave incredible performances on par with the film's well-crafted tone!
"INTO THE WILD" -- Writer/director Sean Penn created his best film as a hyphenate, and Emile Hirsch is a revelation! Click here for my review.
"THE DARJEELING LIMITED" -- Director Wes Anderson remains to be one of the most intriguing helmers this side of filmmaking. Great performances specially Adrien Brody.
"MICHAEL CLAYTON" -- Clooney gave one of his most memorable performances in this searing look at corporate greed. I had my own personal issues with its Hollywood ending, but it's still a fantastic film!
"GONE BABY GONE" -- Ben Affleck's feature film directorial debut deserves to be nominated for a Best Picture. This film is perfect!
"AMERICAN GANGSTER" -- I went on my radio show to say that this is "The Departed" of this year. The alpha-male cast is great, and Ridley Scott is back in top form! WATCH MY REVIEW!!!
"ENCHANTED" -- Dear Academy Award voters, it's a drought year for female roles, so will it be too much to ask to nominate Amy Adams' tricky performance as a would-be princess from the animated world vanished to perish in the real world? WATCH MY REVIEW!!!
"JUNO" -- teenage pregnancy flick that's actually entertaining! A career-making film for Ellen Page (she should have gotten her dues in "Hard Candy"). Director Jason Reitman who wowed everyone with "Thank You for Smoking" returns with an equally focused film!
"NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN" -- Great acting (scroll on my site for my interviews with the cast) and script (based on the book by Cormac McCarthy) -- this is one of the best films by the Coen Brothers! WATCH MY REVIEW!!!
"THE SAVAGES" -- Director Tamara Jenkins loves themes revolving around families! "Slums of Beverly Hills" was funny, yet at its heart, is a touching story about a family. Now, Miss Jenkins is back after almost a decade with "The Savages" and once again, it's about family, and it's also funny, even though the subject matter is death and dying. Laura Linney and Phillip Seymour Hoffman shine as siblings, but Philip Bosco nearly stole the show as their father suffering from dementia.
"ATONEMENT" -- Based on Ian McEwan's novel, Keira Knightley and James McAvoy star as forbidden lovers in 1935, England. Saoirse Ronan mesmerizes as the young Briony, Knightley's sister, who set off the chaos in motion! By the time Vanessa Redgrave showed up near the end, I was already surrendering to the film's power! Director Joe Wright, who teamed up with Knightley in "Pride and Prejudice," created a movie with great cast, great cinematography, and great narrative structure! "Atonement" is the movie magic that the Oscars are made of!
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