Samuel L. Jackson

2007: Film’s Greatest Year

I’ve always enjoyed film. It’s a temporarily beautiful escape into worlds that are visions and dreams of artists and innovators. It’s why I started this website. So when I think about which years brought us the best movies, 2007 has to be at the top. The 26 films below average out to an 80% on Rotten Tomatoes, and would actually be at an 84% if it were not for a couple of critical disappointments I happen to enjoy (they’re at 20% and 40%). The following list comprises my argument for why I feel 2007 is film’s greatest year.

January

Pan’s Labyrinth, Children of Men

Pan’s Labyrinth

When it comes down to it, this will be forever hailed as Guillermo del Toro’s masterpiece. It’s haunting and gorgeous, and will tear your soul to shreds if you let it.

Children of Men

There is probably not a movie I have watched more in the last decade than this. Clive Owen is wonderful as Theo, but the real credit goes to director Alfonso Cuaron, the master of the ridiculously long takes as seen in Gravity.

March

Zodiac

Zodiac

David Fincher has made some really great movies, including Fight Club and Seven, but in my opinion, this is him at the top of his game. It’s an epic undertaking and one of the best true-crime films I’ve ever seen.

April

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Grindhouse, Hot Fuzz

Grindhouse

While one half of this fun double-feature isn’t exactly the greatest, Death Proof makes up for Planet Terror‘s faults. Kurt Russell is excellently campy and it’s a welcome addition to the Tarantino canon.

Hot Fuzz

I have a hard time deciding which of the Simon Pegg – Nick Frost films are my favorite, but Hot Fuzz is usually right up there at the top. The cast is excellent and the direction is razor sharp.

May

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28 Weeks Later

28 Weeks Later

This certainly is not as good as Danny Boyle’s original 28 Days Later, but it’s still an excellent zombie flick and Robert Carlyle is amazing in the heartbreaking starring role.

June

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Knocked Up, 1408, Live Free or Die Hard, Ratatouille

Knocked Up

I didn’t really like this movie when it first came out. With time, though, I’ve grown to appreciate it. I still find Heigl a bit insufferable, but the rest of the cast is funny as hell.

1408

Again, it took a while for me to appreciate this movie, but as far as Stephen King adaptations go, this one rises up toward the top. Cusack is pretty great, as well as Samuel L. Jackson.

Live Free or Die Hard

The theatrical cut of this was great, but if you can find the Unrated Cut, go for it. It’s violent and lives up to the R-Rated expectations of the first three classics.

Ratatouille

I’ve always been into the Toy Story movies, but Pixar failed to do much to pique my interest up until Ratatouille came out. It’s not only that Patton Oswalt is in it, but I loved the story so much. I watch this one pretty often.

July

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Rescue Dawn, Sunshine

Rescue Dawn

As familiar as we all are with Werner Herzog’s documentaries steeped in nihilism, he’s actually a damn good dramatic director as well. Bale’s physical decimation is horrifying to watch and Jeremy Davies is incredible as well.

Sunshine

Part 2001: A Space Odyssey, part Event Horizon, Danny Boyle’s sci-fi thriller is one of the better of the genre of the new century. Cillian Murphy is great and it’s written by Alex Garland, writer/director of 2015’s excellent Ex Machina.

August

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Hot Rod, Superbad, Death Sentence, Inland Empire

Hot Rod

While the critics hated this movie, the memorable lines and outlandish weirdness of The Lonely Island fellas shines through in this. Probably one of the funniest SNL films.

Superbad

This movie is funny every time I watch it. Cera and Hill’s relationship is absolutely heartwarming and the guest spots are pretty amazing.

Death Sentence

Sitting at a dismal 20% on Rotten Tomatoes, I feel the critics were sorely mistaken on this almost perfect revenge flick in which Kevin Bacon beats the living shit out of some gang members.

Inland Empire

While I still don’t know what the hell this movie is about, it’s an absolute nightmare put on film and one of the strangest trips I’ve ever taken. Laura Dern is wondrous and David Lynch has not made a stranger movie.

September

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3:10 to Yuma, Eastern Promises, The Darjeeling Limited

3:10 to Yuma

Yes, this is a remake. What we have here, though, is one of the best westerns of our new century. Russell Crowe, Christian Bale, and Ben Foster shine brightly and the cinematography is at times breathtaking.

Eastern Promises

If you saw A History of Violence, you probably had a lot to expect from Viggo Mortensen in Cronenberg’s follow-up. This movie is gritty as hell and probably one of the better gangster flicks I’ve ever seen.

The Darjeeling Limited

While this is not exactly my favorite Wes Anderson film, it’s grown more endearing with age. The way he presents India is like a painter’s palette, and the performances from Owen Wilson, Adrien Brody, and Jason Schwartzman are mightily impressive.

October

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Michael Clayton, 30 Days of Night, Gone Baby Gone

Michael Clayton

Corporate espionage films are not normally one of my favorite genres. This one is a twisting thriller that is shot beautifully and features a great performance from Tom Wilkinson.

30 Days of Night

Not since The Thing has there been a more impressively violent and frightening horror film set against the inescapable backdrop of an arctic tundra. One of my favorite vampire films done just right.

Gone Baby Gone

With time, this depressing crime drama has become one of my favorite films ever. Ben Affleck directed his brother, this year’s expected Best Actor winner, Casey Affleck and it really is one the greatest Boston-area films.

November

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No Country for Old Men, The Mist

No Country for Old Men

Let’s not beat around the bush here. This one won Best Picture and for very good reason. It’s hard to say there is a better Coen Brothers film, but perhaps the most impressive part is taking Cormac McCarthy’s difficult source material and translating it to film.

The Mist

Another great film based on a Stephen King story. I didn’t like this movie until I watched it for the second time, but I have a few more times since. Check out the excellent black and white cut if you get a chance. It’s really fun.

December

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The Orphanage, There Will Be Blood

The Orphanage

Though Guillermo del Toro’s name is plastered all over releases of this film, J.A. Bayona actually directed this gorgeously depressing ghost story. Unless you’re terribly inhuman, the end will rip you apart.

There Will Be Blood

No film, in my opinion, is more important than this one. I really feel that this might be the Citizen Kane of this generation. Daniel Day Lewis is incredible, but it’s the story and the way that this movie is filmed that I think is most important.

Do you think a year in film was better than 2007? Let us know in the comments!

Nick Spanjer, Editor of CinemAbysmal

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Kingsman: The Secret Service

kingsman

Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014) – Action | Comedy

Directed by: Matthew Vaughn

Starring: Colin Firth and Taron Egerton

How I Watched: Amazon Instant Video | Blu-Ray

Best Line: “I’m a Catholic whore, currently enjoying congress out of wedlock with my black Jewish boyfriend who works at a military abortion clinic. So, hail Satan, and have a lovely afternoon, madam.”

Director Matthew Vaughn seems to know exactly what an audience wants when they go to a movie. Whether it’s 2010’s Kick-Ass or the excellent X-Men: First Class, Vaughn consistently provides a funny and violent trip that is sure to satisfy even the most jaded film-goer. When the TV spots first dropped for this one, I had my doubts – a lot of them. But when I finally watched it last year after a glowing suggestion from a friend, I realized I should never have doubted it at all.

If you appreciate stylized hyperviolence in films as much as I do, this is a crowning achievement in that area. There are certain scenes in this movie that will make your jaw hit the floor. Just like Kick-Ass, the film does not shy away from exceptionally bloody wounds that are so insane, you can’t help but laugh. Sure, they’re absolutely computer generated wounds, but god damn, they’re ridiculous.

Speaking of which, the best scene in the movie takes place in a Southern Baptist Church. This is where The Kingsman separates itself from the rest of the Spy Movie crowd. It is so out of control and  vicious that you can’t help but bust up laughing. Colin Firth goes full Rambo amid a moshpit of rabid Westboro Baptist-like psychos set to the wild solo section of Lynyrd Skynard’s “Free Bird.” It is honestly one of my favorite scenes in cinematic history and has to be seen to believed.

I can’t help but wonder what Hollywood would have done to this film had it not been so obviously British. It does not take the tamed approach to action films that Hollywood does and instead pours on great amounts of foul language and violence. Sure, a lot of it is bathed in a cockney slang that occasionally requires subtitles to translate, but that’s half the fun. Even Samuel L. Jackson has an accent in this. It’s not British, but it’s definitely a good time.

I think having a surround sound setup in a home theater is absolutely necessary to enjoy a movie like this. I know a lot of people out there don’t have one, but your experience will definitely benefit from it with this movie. A lot of the scenes feature some spinning camerawork and slow-motion choreography that is accompanied perfectly by the sound editing. Home theaters were made for films like this one.

One thing I can’t figure out is how McDonald’s managed to product-place itself so well in a couple scenes. This movie does not strike me as one that needs to do that like any Michael Bay ride, but there are a few instances that strangely pop up in The Kingsman. Don’t get me wrong, they use it in a way that is funny, but it is still extremely odd.

The acting in The Kingsman is great. With the main characters of Taron Egerton and Colin Firth accompanied by the likes of Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Caine and Mark Strong, the movie is in very good hands. And for those of you Star Wars freaks out there, there is even a Mark Hamill sighting. This one isn’t exactly going to pass the Bechdel Test, but hey, how many action movies do?

All you out there that have seen this, might (and probably will) be pleased to know that the sequel is in the works and is due to drop in 2017. With the likes of Channing Tatum, Julianne Moore and Halle Berry joining (as well as a rumored Colin Firth return), Kingsman: The Golden Circle should be just as fun as this one.

This one is really a great movie all around. The ending though, is perhaps one of the better payoffs I’ve seen in any film recently. There are quite literally fireworks used to end the story and it, like the church scene, is a laugher. By the way, any movie that manages to slip in some Bryan Ferry is going to win me over every time.

 

Final Score: 4/4

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Similar Films: Kick-Ass, The James Bond Series, John Wick