Well, the emails are beginning to pour in; it seems some of you are waiting for our Oscar predictions for this year. Well, we have almost finished our predictions. In the meantime, we thought we would give you our Honorable Mentions...films we think you should see, even if they didn't get an Oscar nomination. Enjoy these 2007 films that have earned a special place in our memories. These 25 films are in no particular order; we love them all. Most of the films on the list are fine for most audiences; pay close attention to the ratings if you are planning on viewing some of these with young children. Some are unrated; all are excellent.
We Are Marshall: Story of the Marshall University Football team plane crash in 1971 I remember it vividly. The personal stories of the individuals who moved forward from the tragedy. Really well acted and authentic film, not really about football, but about the spirit of a team and a town to move forward after tragedy. There is a lot to be learned, and may help others as they struggle through tragedies… it is a very moving film.
God Grew Tired of Us: tremendous tale of genocide and the journey of a refugee. I know, not a spirit lifter, but a must-see for those who really want to understand how war and internal warfare displace and hurt cultures.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix: If you have read Harry Potter, you know the story, If you haven’t, this is one of the films in the franchise that is extremely enjoyable, even for the un-informed. Well organized compression of the over 800 page book, great effects and strong performances by the kids and adults alike. If you can see this in IMAX, do it; the last 20 minutes will blow your mind. I don’t know why this film was completely ignored everywhere except the BAFTAs, but it deserved more. My gosh, Norbit got an Oscar nom for ‘Best Make-Up”, over this film! I am astonished! A film that sweeps the Razzies that probably killed Eddie Murphy’s Oscar chances for all time should be buried, not acknowledged. HP:OOTP made it to the short list in this category, and should have made the final 3.
The Great Debaters: Excellent period film starring Denzel Washington. I was on the Debate team in high school, and this film warmed my heart, and brought back memories. Can we only get acknowledgement for African-Americans in film where it’s about gangs, drugs, and sports? Wait…sometimes, not even sports, especially if it’s not an ‘accepted’ sport among the chronically xenophobic (see ‘Glory Road’ or “Pride” listed below). How about a film about striving Black intellectuals?
Pride: As mentioned above, great film, no attention about a black coach who inspires young men on a black swim team in 1970’s Philadelphia. Check this one out, really.
Amazing Grace: This is probably the Best Ignored Film of 2007. It has an impressive cast, telling the tale of the British movement toward abolishing slavery, and the real story behind the lyrics to “Amazing Grace”. I think every living human being should see this film, and there are a few deceased ones I wish could have seen it.
300: Okay, it’s historically inaccurate. It was 300 Spartans and 1200 actors, hookers, and out-of work artists. It was shot in a studio in Toronto, and almost nothing in the landscape was real, and it was a little too heavy on the sepia-tone, but it was fun, wasn’t it…considering the Spartan lifestyle, war, death…yeah, lots of fun.
The Namesake: Tremendous tale about generations, culture, ethnicity, and heart. Everyone can relate to this film, they just don’t know it yet.
The Wind that Shakes the Barley: This was the Palm D’Or of Cannes two years ago, and is kind of between movie years here, but was worthy of mention. Two brothers, one on each side of the Irish fight for sovereignty in turn of the 20th century Ireland. Cillian Murphy has two films on my Honorable Mention wall, and this one is well deserved. An extremely excellent film.
Disturbia: ‘Rear Window” with Shia LeBoeuf…nothing wrong with that.
Snow Cake: Delightfully thoughtful film starring Sigourney Weaver and Alan Rickman. She is high functioning autistic and he is working through his attractions and some confusion. It’s great to see these strong actors in non-traditional roles for them.
The Last Winter: This stars Ron Pearlman (Hellboy) and is an environmental horror movie. ‘Nuff said.
Paris” Je t’aime (Various Directors): A Collection of vignettes by various directors (including ‘Children of Men’s Alfonzo Cuaron) about the city of Paris, and why it is so endearing. Very well shot throughout.
1408: John Cusack is not normally your first choice for scary movies, but he’ great in this one, and Samuel L. Jackson is his usual creepy wonderful self. See the unrated version, it rocks.
A Mighty Heart: A hear-breaking tale, well acted and has one of my favorite actors, Dan Futterman playing Daniel Pearl. Angelina Jolie does an admirable job.
Labyrinth (re-release): This is the 1980’s film starring David Bowie. It was re-released in theatres at the beginning of summer. Looks great on screen, good for older children and fantasy fans alike.
Blade Runner: Final Cut (anniversary release): Well, I love David Lynch and Harrison Ford is pretty cool, and Rutger Hauer is excellently vicious. It’s a great DVD collection, too. Holds up well despite the years of special effects advances. Vangelis soundtrack is a dark, brooding compliment to the futuristic urban, yet emotionally hollow environment.
Sunshine: This is the second film on the Honorable Mention list with Cillian Murphy, one of the most versatile actors alive today. Sci-fi between “2001” and” Battlestar Gallactica” in a slick way.
This is England: This is a boy’s coming-of-age skinhead film set in 1980’s England. He is a significantly younger boy that his posse and that makes this nakedly honest film much more dynamic. Director Shane Meadows wrote and directed this film about his life growing up. Dynamic, powerful, and highly honored at the BAFTAs.
Becoming Jane : McAvoy did more than “Atonement” this year. This film is a treat, along with the wonderfully talented Anne Hathaway . Jane Austen’s letters help compose this film, and if you like romance, this is the one film you want to see this year…and maybe Gerald Butler’s dance in “P.S. I Love You.”
December Boys: This film takes place in Australia, and revolves around a vacation for orphan boys, who treat each other as family, but what happens when that family is threatened by separation? Harry Potter star Dan Radcliffe plays the eldest boy in the group who is coming of age and realizes that after the holiday, things may never be the same. Beautiful cinematography, and a nice little film.
Things We Lost in the Fire: Hallie Barry and Benicio del Toro are fantastic in this superbly-cast and richly acted film about a woman who looses her husband, and the flawed best friend who comes to her rescue. The children are great, the screenplay was well written. I love this movie. Genuinely emotional, fine portrayals.
Black Irish : This film stars Brendan Gleeson, and a great cast of actors. Boston, baseball, Irish…kid tries to stay out of trouble and stop a legacy of trouble. Great film.
Joe Strummer (doc of Clash member) The Future is Unwritten: Wonderfully free delightful romp retrospect about the Clash music and the now departed member of The Clash. Great doc.
Love in the Time of Cholera: A beautiful film shot in South America, based on the Gabriel Garcia Marquez novel. A man waits six decades for the women he loves. Mike Newell directs this touching period tale. Benjamin Bratt still looks great and pulls off the difficult role of the first husband, and Javier Bardem, who is a strong favorite for an Oscar for his twisted portrayal in “No Country for Old Men” is great in this film as well.
We hope you enjoyed the list. Our Oscar predictions are coming...
Enjoy your week!
Falcon and Dove
Monday, February 18, 2008