2007 Verve Awards

2006 Verve Awards

Best Arts and Culture Blog 2005 Queer Day Awards

Best Gay Blog Nominee 2004 Weblog Awards

Best Arts and Culture Blog Nominee

Sunday, December 30, 2007


ModFabulous: The Best Films of 2007 (Jury Prizes)

I'm going to make you wait until tomorrow for my personal Best In Cinema picks (I'm such a tease), but to tide you over, here are the choices of the ModFabulous Cinema Jury, which includes some fantastically talented filmmakers, critics, academics, and bloggers. What a great lineup of films and performances they've chosen. Enjoy the list, and let me know your thoughts in the comments. And on New Year's Eve...ModFab's own list will be revealed!

2007 Modfabulous Cinema Jury
Q. Allan Brocka, filmmaker/Your Mama's A Blog | Brian, Stinkylulu
Calum, Ultimate Addict | Damion, Queering The Apparatus
David, GreenCine Daily | Nick, Nick's Flick Picks
Me, Your Humble Servant


10. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (dir. Julian Schnabel)
I totally thought I was going to hate this film… having not really liked director Julian Schnabel’s past work… boy was I wrong! This is a great movie that takes the viewer inside a man who is locked inside himself. The result… a moving triumph of humanity. (Queering The Apparatus)

9. Superbad (dir. Greg Mottola)
Impossibly, heartstoppingly funny. Equal parts caper comedy and teen sex farce, the film's true narrative and comedic momentum derives from the startlingly intimate relationship between Jonah Hill and Michael Cera. An extraordinarily tender film. A comedy of male manners with some of the best laughs of the year. (Stinkylulu)

8. There Will Be Blood (dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
Anderson brings back and updates the sweeping rise-to-power epic a la Citizen Kane and Giant. It has everything that The Aviator was lacking. And if you like acting, there’s a lot of it here, especially in the last half hour. Man, do they act the hell out of it. I mean that in a good way. (Q. Allan Brocka)

7. Once (dir. John Carney)
Another movie with a bargain-basement price tag and a heart as big as the sky, with the smarts, the precision, the warmth, and the palpable spirit of creative camaraderie to spin gold out of the unglamorous constraints of real indie filmmaking. My favorite scenes: the music-shop performance of "Falling Slowly," which admits a few cuts but feels like a single, spontaneous moment, and the father's response to hearing his son's first album. (Nick's Flick Picks)

6. The Bourne Ultimatum (dir. Paul Greengrass)
Paul Greengrass continues to measure how little visual information is required in each shot to maintain a relentless momentum in any given action sequence. Good stuff, a fine entry in a solid franchise, but after a season of otherwise miserable threequels, it looked downright brilliant. (GreenCine Daily) The best action film ever! That’s right… I said it. Ever! Paul Greengrass’ final entry in the Bourne trilogy is superbly direct, acted and edited. (Queering The Apparatus)

5. I'm Not There (dir. Todd Haynes)
Shifts between narrative strands and historical eras so effortlessly well and ultimately achieves one of the deepest true insights into a biopic subject I've ever seen. (Ultimate Addict) Haynes fans didn't all rush to bear-hug this movie, but I for one was stunned by its galloping momentum
and stylistic variety, and by a portrait of America as diverse, virtuosic, star-spangled, and finally sad as the foregrounded deconstruction Bob Dylan. The key for me are those divisive Richard Gere sections, which make this the one counter-cultural movie to admit that if the urban 60s were weird, then rural turn-of-the-century America was even weirder, and more colorfully mysterious. (Nick's Flick Picks)

4. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (dir. Cristian Mingui)
Romania's Palme d'Or winner won't open commercially till early 2008, which means we already have one masterpiece to anticipate in the new year. A miracle of compressed screenwriting, where tense but mundane encounters with friends, schoolmates, and hotel clerks reveal deeper and darker implications as time passes. Also an expansive, unforgettable portrait of abortion as a personal and a political crisis without a shred of opportunism or an inch of rhetorical distance from its hurt, resilient characters. (Nick's Flick Picks) Cristian Mingui reclaims the long take as a means of heightening dramatic tension. In a year that's seen American comedies skirting the issue of abortion, Mingui skirts nothing whatsoever, all the while mapping the ways capitalism turns ruthless when a state denies its existence. (GreenCine Daily)

3. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (dir. Andrew Dominik)
This is a masterful piece that really challenges the way we tell American stories, crate American mythologies, and what drives us. (Queering The Apparatus) I don't know how I'd make a trailer for this one, but the one the studio came up with almost put me off. Damn, I'm grateful to the many reviewers who convinced me to give it a go. Kill-Your-Idols mythology, studies of young America and its mass media, the gangster flick's intricate network of bonds and betrayal, it's all here. (GreenCine Daily)

2. Sweeney Todd (dir. Tim Burton)
Astonishing, gruesome, imperfect and profoundly effective. Burton's interpretation of Sondheim's theatrical masterwork is both complicating and illuminating. A formidable accomplishment that will, like most of Burton's great films, endure in surprising ways. (Stinkylulu) I’m so happy that musicals are thriving again. Tim Burton brought back that wonderful old-fashioned (what I call) British ragamuffin musical in the the style of My Fair Lady and Oliver, yet managed to make it feel modern and very Burton. It’s the only movie I saw this year that made me want to walk right back into the theatre and watch it again. It also made me hungry for meat pies. (Q. Allan Brocka)

1. No Country For Old Men (dir. Joel and Ethan Coen)
An enthralling epic in which good and evil are elemental forces, like the wind and the sun, upon the cruelly barren spiritual landscape of daily life. Brilliant performances, great locations, beautiful cinematography -- it's masterful moviemaking. (Stinkylulu) I have long been a fan of the Coen Brothers and their work, but it wasn’t until this year and No Country for Old Men that they began to scare me. Rarely has a film made me really think about where we are and where we are going with such authority. The best Coen Brothers’ film yet coupled with a cast that does not hit not a single wrong note…perfection. (Queering The Apparatus)

The Next Five: Juno, We Own The Night, Grindhouse, Zodiac, Ratatouille
The Five After That: Gypsy Caravan, Killer of Sheep, Atonement, Sunshine, Black Snake Moan


10. Josh Brolin, No Country For Old Men
A trouper catching the spotlight's glare this year. He was the year's best supporting actor and, though he will almost certainly be passed over come trophy time, let's just hope he keeps these great supporting turns coming. (Stinkylulu)

9. Marion Cotillard, La Vie En Rose
This amazing transformation that should waltz away with the Oscar...but she will probably have to be content with just being nominated. Then again I haven’t seen that Julie Christie alzheimers flick yet. (Q. Allan Brocka)

8. Michael Cera, Superbad
My new favorite leading man - so cute, so sweet, so charismatic, so fearlessly funny AND capable of crafting distinct characterizations within his comedic persona: THAT's the recipe for movie star. I lurv him. (Stinkylulu)

7. Vlad Ivanov, 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days
Mr. Bebe isn't much of a heart-warmer in the first place, but as Ivanov strips off layer after layer, revealing that Bebe will not be leaving this hotel room until he has everything there is to be had, he becomes truly, creepily despicable. (GreenCine Daily)

6. Tang Wei, Lust, Caution
Despite all the pitfalls of possible stereotype - the enigmatic Asian, the oversexed Asian, the actress who's always lying - Tang modulates her performance brilliantly, shifting expression and tone almost imperceptibly and setting the pace for the movie's twists, turns, and emotional plunges. So where is she on all the short-lists? (Nick's Flick Picks)

5. Casey Affleck, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
A quiet crowd of irresistibly watchable performances this movie's got, and none more surprising than Affleck's. Like Robert Ford, he's turned his weaknesses into strengths. (GreenCine Daily)

4. Javier Bardem, No Country For Old Men
Wow. This is the scariest character I have seen on film since Freddie Kruger in 1984. Patient, methodical, cold, and driven, Bardem has created a character for the ages… one of the great villains of all time. (Queering The Apparatus)

3. Julie Christie, Away From Her
Christie has been a cinematic treasure for decades…but to create a character who finds herself while she looses herself to Alzheimer’s and making it brim with honesty…that is a triumph. (Queering The Apparatus) Christie's unflinching approach to her Alzheimer sufferer is phenomenal, leaving you heartbroken and frustrated as she naturally and painfully slips away. (Ultimate Addict)

2. Daniel Day-Lewis, There Will Be Blood
It takes a helluva lot for someone to get me to root for an oil baron. Daniel Day-Lewis did it with ease. Even those delicious scenerey chewing speeches felt like the most natural thing in the world. The weird thing though, I kept thinking he looked like Tom Selleck. (Q. Allan Brocka)

1. Tilda Swinton, Michael Clayton
I've already said plenty in praise of Tilda in my review, but she set the year's highest bar for seizing a stock figure in an erratic script and, more than just deepening and complicating the character, identifying with the character through that notion of strenuous self-salvation, and allowing the audience to identify, too. Karen Crowder remains a mess, but Tilda makes that mess the fruit of genius. (Nick's Flick Picks) Refuses to succumb to cartoonish villain 101 and craftily fashions humanity and soul out of a cold and political character. (Ultimate Addict)

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Blogger Cal said...

Good stuff. A really interesting list. I haven't seen most of it (sucks to be in England!) but what I have seen I like.

I love that everyone loves Tilda!!!

12/30/07, 8:25 AM  
Blogger Brooke Cloudbuster said...

Two great lists that I agree with on almost all counts (I'm not a fan of Apatow. Over-exposure, much?) I expect a fair few of these performances to make my own shortlist.

Way fun to read!

12/30/07, 6:47 PM  
OpenID Rick Olson said...

I love these lists ... like Cal, I haven't seen all of them, I live in Tuscaloosa, AL, and all we have is one multi-plex. Did get to see "Once" last night, and I found it to be great. Saw it just in time to add it to my own year-end list, which'll be up in a few days at my blog.

1/1/08, 12:47 PM  

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