Things are completely lopsided with me. A whole year passed by without me finding time/energy/inclination to blog about anything. 10 months ago I didnt even have time to blog about the top movies of 2006 and the Oscars and now I am feeling this incredible urge to blog about 2007 movies because the golden globe nominations are about to come out.
So, here is the deal. I have not seen many movies this year. But, as usual, I know about most of the ones that came out and have a good idea about the awards buzz. So, here goes... a little overview of the notable movies of this year and my comments based on whatever I have seen of them (just the trailers in some cases) or heard about them.
No Country For Old Men: #15 on IMDb top 250. a rating of 8.9/10. Perched at no 1 or 2 on most critics top 10 of 2007 already. 2-3 Best picture/best director/best supporting actor awards in the kitty. But more than anything else, WOW! what a thrilling movie! Its not usual for a movie to get such unanimous Best Picture/Best director buzz and it not being, in a certain sense, an art-house movie ( i.e. a great movie which seems not too "massy"). No Country is FAR from being "arty". It is as thrilling a movie as I have seen all year, a movie that could pull in today's college crowd as well as top critics and make all of them enjoy each and every scene of the movie (except, maybe, the last one). I haven't read the novel but everyone is saying that the movie is exceptionally true to the book with most of the dialogue taken verbatim from the book. It is to the credit of Coen brothers then that I find that almost unbelievable. To me, this movie played as if it was written to be made into a movie. Some of the scenes just COULD NOT have worked as well in any other medium. Its the atmosphere, the pauses in action when you are waiting for something to jump at you from some corner.. its just perfect at times!
sureshot nominations: Best Picture (Drama), Best Director, Best supporting actor (drama), Best adapted screenplay
also, probably Best cinematography, Best editing, Best supporting actress (Drama)
There Will Be Blood: Nearly unanimously being hailed as one of the top two english movies of this year (along with No Country). Topped some of the critics list. Got some Best Picture awards already. And its already 9.1 on IMDb (its not even in limited release yet!). One look at the trailer, and you can see it getting Best Actor and Best Cinematography nominations (if not awards). But even the trailer didn't prepare me for the sort of reviews it is getting. It remains to be seen whether everyone is getting so completely blown away with Daniel Day Lewis's acting that they might be overselling the movie itself. Is it really THAT good? we'll see... hopefully it will be..
sureshot nominations: Best Picture (Drama), Best Actor, Best Cinematography
also, very probably Best Director, Best adapted screenplay, Best supporting Actor, Best Music (and possibly others like music, editing, art direction etc..)
Into The Wild: A BEAUTIFULLY shot movie directed by Sean Penn. I thoroughly enjoyed it, even though it is possibly a little slow at times and maybe a little too sad for a lot of people. Emile Hirsh is definitely going to get an oscar nomination for this. Go to see this movie if only for watching Hirsh or some truely breathtaking visuals of nature.
sureshot nominations: Best actor (Drama)
also, very probably: best adapted screenplay, best cinematography, best supporting actor (and possibly music and direction)
Atonement: Not much idea about this movie yet. I havent even seen the trailer. All I know is that it is the new offering from "Pride and Prejudice" people.
probable nominations: Best picture, screenplay, cinematography, actress, costume etc.
Before The Devil Knows You're Dead: New movie by Sidney Lumet, and it seems he is in form. That should be a good enough reason to go watch this. An amazing trailer only adds up to the excitement.
probable nominations: original screenplay, direction
Juno: This year's year-end comedy-ish light movie that takes everyone by surprise at how well it is written. Possibly the analogue of Little Miss Sunshine, Sideways etc for this year.
almost sureshot nomination: Best original screenplay
The Diving Bell and The Butterfly: the french movie that is sweeping everyone off their feet. And unless I'm very wrong, it was passed over by France as its entry for best foreign picture oscar. A sureshot foreign language movie nomination for Golden Globes. And even in oscar, if it is ineligible for foriegn picture category they'll honor it with some other nominations. Maybe even in some major categories (Cinematography definitely, maybe acting nods too).
Persepolis and Ratatouille: This year's animation masterclasses. I've seen Ratatouille (of course! its pixar! what do you expect? I even own the DVD now! :P ) and I didnt think any other movie could stand a chance of getting best animation oscar this year. But Persepolis is a french animated movie that was deemed good enough to be nominated for best foreign language movie by france! And that's a huge vote of confidence. So, chances are that it will give a good fight, if not beat, Ratatouille for the animation oscar.
sigh! didn't think this is going to take so long to write. So, maybe I'll just mention other notable movies of the year without writing much about them...
4 Months, 3 Weeks & 2 Days : The trailer is very reminiscent of The Lives of Others, and if this is anything like that movie, then I'm sold already. The Lives of Others was easily one of my favorite movies of last year, alongside Pan's Labyrinth and The Departed and this one looks pretty good too.
The Kite Runner: best picture, director, adapted screenplay possibly
Michael Clayton and Starting Out in the Evening: Best actor nominations. George Clooney for Michale Clayton is a surely. Frank Langella for SOinE might be nominated too. It is too small a movie though. So maybe not.
3:10 to Yuma, The Bourne Ultimatum, Lust, Caution, Gone Baby Gone: will probably not be nominated for anything, but very watchable. I can vouch for Bourne and Lust, Caution as I have seen them. Lust, Caution would get a best actress and cinematography nomination if I had the authority to decide. But it probably won't get any nomination because a) it wasn't eligible for a foreign language oscar and b) it is rated NC-17 and nobody gives awards to NC-17 movies. Hopefully I'm wrong.
Enchanted: definitely a lot of nominations and awards in Golden Globes. because they have separate "comedy/musical" categories
Away From Her:Best actress... sureshot
La Vie en Rose: possible best actress.. though this is a foreign language movie, so..
American Gangster: quite a good watch. Might even get Denzel Washington another best actor nomination. But probably won't.
The Great Debators: directed by Denzel Washington.
Zodiac: great ensemble acting. a bit overlong, maybe.. but really good!
Across the Universe: most of the "sense" awards... cinematography, music, art direction, costume maybe..
Waitress: came early enough in the year that it probably wont be nominated for anything but at the time of its release it was considered the Little Miss Sunshine (again!) of this year.
documentaries: No End in Sight, Sicko, In the Shadow of the Moon
will probably be back sometime to refine this list and come up with some sort of "my favorites" list. too premature right now.
forgot about The Bucket List (Jack Nicholson and Morgan Freeman, together! should've been a best actor/supporting actor bait, but the Golden Globes nominations that came out this morning didn't seem to think so). Also Once which was a well reviewed musical that came out earlier in the year. It should have some "best song" nominations if nothing else. I thoroughly enjoyed Hot Fuzz too, though it probably wasn't made for oscars. But if you are a fan of Snatch or Lock Stock then you'll probably at least like this one (if not absolutely love it!). The Host was an entertaining monster movie (from Korea, I think). Some parts of that movie are really funny which is not something you expect from what is essentially a monster movie. In that sense it is very much like an indian commercial venture with everything from comedy to family drama to action to thriller genres thrown in. No wonder it was a monster (heh heh!) hit in Korea.