Sunday, December 30, 2007

Top 10 of 2007

So it's come to the year end where every self respecting movie critic/reviewer/movie site will put out their top ranked movies of the year. Naturally, mine will consist of those that have been screened theatrically here this year, so the gems I've watched in one-off festivals and DVDs won't make it to the list, and a number of those recently released masterpieces touted so loudly in foreign sites will unfortunately have to muscle in their way to next year's instead.

So without further ado, here we go, bottoms up format:

10: The Bridge to Terabithia
Last One to Terabithia's a Rotten Egg!

What the, a children's movie? Yes, because this one sent me bawling, almost. It's a simple fantasy movie centered on the friendship of two lonely children, but not necessarily fit for children only. It packs an emotional punch that I didn't see coming, and I was left with my jaw wide open and fighting back tears. If you want to know what "Effective" means with showing so little but filled with immense strength, then pick up the DVD today. Oh, and Zooey Deschanel is in it, so that's a bonus.

9: Hula Girls
Don't Worry, We've Applied Deodorant!

I'm a sucker for movies with ensemble female casts, not because I'm a pervert, but because these stories just work for me. Song and dance, colours and costume, I'm so there already. In the veins of Hula Girls and Linda Linda Linda, nothing beats watching a group get hit repeatedly by setbacks, and triumph over adversaries through teamwork and resilience. Yu Aoi shines too!

8: Stardust
My Lovely Supernova

Written by Neil Gaiman, the trailer was playing at the cinema halls so often, that it was in danger of being stale, and could have gone straight to DVD given such a long wait. Alas, this fantasy movie surpassed my expectations with wit, action and adventure, paced right, and the ensemble cast, though some get only limited screen time, are wonderfully put together. A comeback by Michelle Pfieffer piqued my interest here more than Hairspray, though in both she played villains. Claire Danes wins the most radiant role award here.

7: The Girl Who Leapt Through Time
I Believe I Can Fly

I have two animated movies make it to my top ten list, and it's no surprise since we're looking at a slew of animation making it to the local screens, even though they should be going straight to video. With the quality of Japanese anime screened to date this year, it's a tough fight but The Girl Who Leapt Through Time surpassed the rest easily with the strength of its story. The animation isn't as detailed as you would come to expect, but herein the beauty lies in its simplicity, and to let the story shine instead of the art. Time travel has never been so complicated or daunting to the emotions.

6: Ratatouille
You Got a Friend in Me!

Move over Mickey Mouse, there's a new rat in town! The Pixar express continues to steamroll its competition in the CG animation realm, and their latest offering teased audiences tastebuds through the multitude of food and great cuisine put on screen. And its jab on critics is just so priceless. Wonderful feel-good message too in a movie about trust, cooperation and friendship, coupled with a reminder that you don't have to be a big guy to do big things.

5: The Fountain
Our Love Is Forever

I love this movie, for the fact that it sets out to frustrate those who are impatient and are expecting the same old science fiction story delivered in a cliche style. It's a love story through and through, and the excellent pairing of Hugh Jackman and Rachel Weisz makes this Darren Aronofsky film one of those extremely moving tales about love and love loss. Feel the longing and the battling against the stars, never giving up against the odds, even with Death looming. The story just breaks one's heart and make you want to cry. Clint Mansell provides an awesome musical score that already is making its rounds as trailer music (I Am Legend's, and The Mist, to name but two).

4: Mukhsin
My Name Is Mukhsin

Yasmin Ahmad remains one of my favourite writer-directors, and Mukhsin completes her Orked Trilogy (if I may call it that), although most of the familiar cast members in Sepet and Gubra don't return for this as its chronologically set as the earliest. She infuses plenty of humanity into her movies, making it look so natural and so easy, and with Mukhsin this is no different, as she brings us on her journey of first love. Winner of multiple awards at the international film festival circuit, one cannot deny the quality of works that she has been putting out, and I can't wait to watch her new movie Muallaf, scheduled to hit the shores here sometime early next year.

3: 881
Puay Puay Yo Ah Yo Ah Yo!

You can't deny the impact this movie had at the local box office. Royston Tan and team went all out to make sure that this movie got heard, and set out to storm the heartlands and real getais with the cast in full regalia to belt out hits from the movie. Again, I'm won over by the song and dance, comedy and drama, though some felt it did border on the bore with its overly dramatic ending. The song, "One Person One Half" got repeated airplay that I feared it would descent into negative exposure. Nonetheless this is probably how a commercial movie should be made, but some local critics like to say that he had sold out. Eh?

1: Cashback and Hot Fuzz
I'm Bringing Sexy Back

Stop in the Name of the Fuzz!

Yes folks, I copped out. I cannot decide which of the two is the better film at the top, so would have to rank both as my Number Ones for year 2007! Both British movies, I felt that they were extremely well done, and I can't help but fall in love with both. Looking at my list, I'm still a sucker for the romance flick, and Cashback takes the cake for its unconventional love story told in an unconventional, dreamy fantastical style, with cool editing and beautiful music. As a contrast, Hot Fuzz is wonderfuly layered, with so many references on religion and action movies, it'll just make a fanboy beam with glee. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost rattled off each other to perfection, and Hot Fuzz is expected to remain one of my favourite all time buddy-cop movies, EVER!

Naturally with almost 300 theatrical releases to pick from, there were some strong contenders for the creame de la cream. So listed below, in alphabetical order, are those which would have had a shot at the top, including Lust, Caution, which I had deliberately left out due to the release and rerelease scheme the distributor had here. Boo.

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