Hi everyone.

This is my first blog post. The big joke about blogging is that people who
are otherwise perfectly capable of getting a real job (ie one that
pays) spend hours of their own time working for free. It doesn't make
a lot of sense until you realise that its all just a load of
advertising - which is exactly what this post is. My favourite films
from 2007! Don't take my word for it - rent or buy the DVD today!

Now I didn't pay to see any of these but I do recommend them. If
anyone wants a lengthier and more serious appraisal of the films I've
looked at, all the year's reviews are available at critic.co.nz. Some
from me and some from the other good people that I organised in my
capacity as Critic Film Ed. Some interviews too. Worth a look.

No particular order:

1. Zodiac (Dir. David Fincher)
Is this movie about obsessives or by obsessives? Maybe for obsessives since
this is the only film I went to see twice this year. Not as dark as you
might think, just very detailed with great characters and unflashy
but pitch-perfect direction. Closer to Scorcese than say, Ferrara, which is a turnaround for Fincher.

2. Black Book (Dir. Paul Verhoeven)
An absolute riot of sex, violence and backstabbing. Its ridiculously
entertaining and quite scandalous - "good" Nazis and the Dutch
resistance behaving badly.

3. Little Children (Dir. Todd Field)
Funny and dark and sad. Like real life only with paedophiles. Did you
know that Todd Field was the piano player in Eyes Wide Shut? (Thanks
Shades of Kubrick here, the direction is very cool and controlled.

4. Day Watch (Dir. Timur Bekmambetov)
Who knows what the hell this movie about. It's quite convoluted but
smart enough not to take itself too seriously. Ideas, ideas, ideas. Maybe too
many but it looks fantastic. A genuinely original vampire film. You
don't need to see the first movie Nightwatch but, you know, it helps.

5. Transformers (Dir. Michael Bay)
Say what you like about Bay but he knows how to make 'em big. Apart
from the visuals which are pretty much state-of-the-art, he manages to
make it come together storywise. Spielberg's influence is pretty apparent in all
that boyhood fantasy stuff. Shia LaBeouf will go far and adds a lot to
the film. Not quite Close Encounters but what is?

6. Golden Door (Dir. Emanuele Crialese)
I probably watched about 50 festival films this year. This was one of
those pleasant surprises. Check out the festival site for more info
(http://nzff.telecom.co.nz) but it's basically an dirt-poor family of
Italian hicks coming to America in in the 1800s. The film never
actually goes beyond US Immigration control but you'll learn a lot
about what makes America tick from this - it's a real eye-opener.
(Scorcese was involved in production which makes a lot of sense).

8. Blades of Glory (Dirs. Josh Gordon, Will Speck)
Funny, funny, funny. High-concept certainly but it's not a bad concept
and it's got enough stupidity and wrongness to drown that out anyway. Heder and
Ferrell are fire and ice, baby.

9. Exiled (Dir. Johnnie To)
I was expected something along the lines of early John Woo but this
was something else entirely. There's a political element to the film which I don't really
understand but for me it was about a bunch of losers - an interesting
take on the gangster genre which borrows a lot from the revisionist
western. (Actually there seemed to be a lot of
films about losers this year - Half Nelson, Eagle vs Shark, Perfume

10. Control (Dir. Anton Corbijn)
I highly recommend Corbijn's music video collection although he is
probably best known as a photographer. He's a perfect choice for
director (since he knew the band quite well) and he does a great job
in his first feature. Don't let the black and white put you off, the ending is obviously sad
but the material is also quite funny at times. (After a long search I
have concluded that Corbijn never worked with New Order on a music
video which I find strange).

Pan's Labyrinth: didn't hit me quite as hard as others but very good nonetheless
Science of Sleep: I saw it last year. Probably my best review - i had
to fill half a page so i let loose.
Black Snake Moan: lots of energy but what is this film trying to say?
(read Sight & Sound for some ideas)
Eastern Promises: because I just saw it and I had already written the
list. Very very good.

I missed these and it pisses me off:
When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
Inland Empire
Death Proof (coming out this week!)

Have a nice XXXmas everyone!
You have been enchanted...