Sunday, December 30, 2007

End-Of-Year Awards -- Day Three: Movies

With the caveat that, of course, these reflect only what I saw, here we go:

  • Surprise of the Year:
    • Runners-Up:
      • Jonah Hill -- Up until this year, the only place I can remember seeing him was as the fat guy in the trailers for Accepted. This year, he was a major force in two of the three funniest movies of the year.
      • Musicals -- Since most recent musical movies have been more The Producers than Chicago, I was a little scared of the ones coming out this year. However, two of my favorite movies of the year were musicals.
      • The Lookout -- I was intrigued by some buzz and saw it on DVD. Very Momento-esque, this is really a fantastic movie. Joseph Gordon-Levitt stands out as a brain-damaged kid tricked into a bank robbery plot and Jeff Daniels is great (as always) as the blind roommate.
    • Winner:
      • Transformers -- It may have won this award because my expectations were so very low. I called this "Michael Bay's Citizen Kane" because it's as close as he'll ever get. It was compelling at times, hilarious at times, nostalgia-inducing, and plain old awesome.
  • Scene of the Year:
    • Runners-Up:
      • The Penis Montage (Superbad) -- Nothing really needs to be said.
      • Richie Roberts vs. Frank Lucas (American Gangster) -- This was given short-shrift in the commercials. After the drugs have finally been found, we see Frank step out of church and the camera pans around him to show Richie standing there, waiting.
    • Winner:
      • Night in the hotel (No Country for Old Men) -- Lewellyn sits there, terrified. And then comes the beeping, getting closer and closer, until the shadows of feet show under the door. They disappear and then the light goes out in the hallway. It doesn't get any scarier than this first meeting between the cowboy and his destiny.
  • Acting Performance of the Year:
    • Runners-Up:
      • Johnny Depp (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) -- Depp makes the movie with his brooding, angry performance. Plus, he can sing!
      • Helena Bonham Carter (Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street) -- This was probably the best-acted movie of the year. More than anything else in the movie, what stands out is how well the actors act while they are singing. She especially gets the nod for the song about their future together, which is the funniest part of the movie.
      • Denzel Washington (American Gangster) -- This movie is mainly about Frank Lucas' charisma and Denzel is an absolute force. He's great in every role he plays, but great movies bring out that extra something in his performance.
    • Winner:
      • Javier Bardem (No Country for Old Men) -- You won't find much better acting in any year. He is pure, relentless evil incarnate.
  • Action/Adventure Movie of the Year:
    • Runners-Up:
      • Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End -- The final battle is edge-of-your-seat and you get some great Johnny Depp and Geoffrey Rush.
      • Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix -- Daniel Radcliffe made "The Leap" in this movie as a legitimate actor. This was the second-best Harry Potter movie (to Cuaron's Prisoner of Azkaban).
      • Stardust -- This was as close to The Princess Bride as you'll get. Special credit to Robert DeNiro as a gay pirate.
      • Transformers
    • Winner:
      • 300 -- I had no idea what to expect, but this was one hell of a movie. Compelling, bloody, and, most of all, beautiful artistically.
  • Comedy/Musical of the Year:
    • Runners-Up:
      • Knocked Up -- It's really funny and Paul Rudd is great, as always, but I mostly have this here as an excuse to point out this year's greatest review, when I was quoted in USA Today.
      • Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street -- Tim Burton does it again with a dark, bloody opera.
      • Hot Fuzz -- The second-funniest movie of the year. With even more accessible material than Shaun of the Dead, British comedy continues to shine.
      • Hairspray -- I love this movie. It's fun, poignant, and really Baltimore.
    • Winner:
      • Superbad -- How about Seth Rogen writing homo-erotic undertones for the character based on him? The best high school comedy since Fast Times.
  • Drama Movie of the Year:
    • Runners-Up:
      • The Namesake -- I'm sure it's true for people of any minority culture, but this movie spoke to me. Really good acting as well, led by Kal Penn in his dramatic breakout role.
      • American Gangster -- Did you really think that a movie starring Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington and directed by Ridley Scott wouldn't be good?
    • Winner:
      • No Country for Old Men -- I've already talked about it in the past week or two. Strong performances by Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, and Josh Brolin (also very good in American Gangster); cinematography that is as good as you will ever see; the Coen Brothers putting it all together. It was the best movie of 2007.

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