Tuesday, August 14, 2007

greenbelt films of the year: the final list

With just over a week to go, here's the final list of what I consider to be the best films of the past twelve months, and some worthy of discussion that may or may not be good films, to be discussed at my 'films of the year' seminar at Greenbelt - I know this will be a controversial list, so do please comment on these in advance and I'll try to respond to some of the comments at the seminar. It's on the Monday afternoon, so I hope you'll join us for some serious film discussion and at least one major surprise.

THE BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR (released between end August 2006 - end August 2007)

16: The Queen - fascinating experience of seeing someone we had previously only seen in parody – what does it mean for what Britain is as a nation?

15: An Inconvenient Truth – truly campaigning film – changed the direction of the wind

14: Dreamgirls - for pure entertainment value, the most exciting film of the year

13: Little Children – when will we all grow up?

12: Flags of our Fathers/Letters from Iwo Jima - Clint Eastwood, a former Republican city mayor produces two of the most profound anti-war statements ever committed to film

11: Jindabyne - a Raymond Carver short story transplanted from the US to Australia, which manages to squeeze in reflections on men and women's relationships, aboriginal rights, ancient religious culture, guilt and shame, self-identity and the fear of what lurks under the bed

10: Into Great Silence - a film that makes you feel like you're living in a monastery

9: The Departed – violence as a way of life; what should policing be about?

8: Stranger than Fiction - what would you do if you really believed you could write your own life?

7: The Lives of Others - a film that makes you feel you might be living in a prison, but that your perceived enemy may well be your best friend

6: Zodiac - an American thriller that takes murder seriously

5: Little Miss Sunshine – let families be real by reducing your expectations

4: Ten Canoes – storytelling and how we muddy the waters

3: Children of Men – one of the finest films of the year – a fearful nightmare of what might be happening to us; but the lengths to which people will go to preserve human life out-reach the killing: love is stronger than death

2: Once - a beguiling love story that takes the underclass seriously

1: The Fountain - a film that actually succeeds in conveying what it feels like to be in love


Bobby/Tell No One/Babel/Borat/Casino Royale/Pan’s Labyrinth/Shortbus/Sicko/Perfume/Apocalypto/A Prairie Home Companion/Crank/This Film is Not Yet Rated/Rocky Balboa/Old Joy/Notes on a Scandal/Transformers/Knocked Up/Half Nelson/Inland Empire/Idiocracy/Hot Fuzz/This is England/Beyond Hatred/300/Amazing Grace/Shooter/Alpha Dog/Black Gold/Die Hard 4.0/The Bourne Ultimatum


aaron said...

yeah, ever since i saw 'once' about a month ago i've been hurting to see it again. there's such an authenticity about it that is avoided in most of hollywood's output.

Tim Heaney said...

Good list, and actually not too controversial - particularly as you have explained your love of many of them extremely well in previous blogs. I’m looking forward to seeing the ones I’ve missed (may watch ‘The Fountain’ tonight!). The only inclusion which really surprises me is ‘Dreamgirls’ which I (and most of my friends) found OK overall but a bit predictable and in the middle section slightly tedious (despite some great performances) - certainly not as good as some of your ommissions. When it comes to the seminar (which I’m looking forward too)as well as your inclusions therefore could you explain your omissions (did they just miss the cut or didn’t you like them?) and in particular ‘This is England’ which (as Matt Page commented on your earlier Greenbelt blog) ‘was incredible’.

Best wishes


PS‘Once’sounds great but should it be on the list as its general release in the UK is not until October?

Fat Roland said...

This Is England should have been in there, but thank you THANK YOU for not mentioning that crass pile of stench-riven drivel about the stupid cars that turn into stupid robots that every one of my friends absolutely loved.

(Oh and I saw Field Of Dreams a few months ago as a direct result of you rating it higher than Magnolia. Great film!)

Unknown said...

you could screen the whole list at gbelt

Or at least ONCE

Tim Heaney said...

OK, still need to watch The Fountain - but did watch Blood Diamond this evening (for the first time) and would have though it was at least worthy of converstaion given its solid storytelling, excelent performances and encouragement to the campiagn against conflict diamonds.

Joel B. said...

Excellent call on Children of Men...as much for its craft of cinematography/filmmaking as for what you mentioned.

Saw your Bourne Article in Christianity Today, followed it here. Good stuff.

Joel B. said...

And by "Christianity Today", I of course mean "Sojourners"....

Sorry, long day.

Unknown said...

I'm surprised that Babel did not make the list, though I thought the film was trite. My roommate and I saw it when it first released and both had polar opposite opinions. He saw the film painting a true perspective of reality--i.e. "Shit happens, and we're all connected"--and I didn't think that that message was one worthy of being sent. Real stories have reference points to reality, but they point to something bigger than reality. Babel opened up, at least for me, an interesting dialogue between a person who believes in the importance of story as a way to point to a Greater Story and a person who believes that stories exist for their own sake--to arouse political sentiments, make people agree, and allow diversity to triumph as a virtue.

Look at art today and you'll see that the same dialogue exists everywhere. Purpose and purposelessness are resisting one another in the aesthetics battle in painting, literature, sculpture, music, and, through one of last year's Best Picture nominees, in film. I think that Babel might be fairly important for that reason.

Tim Heaney said...

Bryan, I agree with most of what you say about Babel - but if you think it is "trite" etc. then I don't understand why you are surprised that Gareth has not included it on his list of "THE BEST FILMS OF THE YEAR". Surely everything you say about it makes it only "WORTHY OF CONVERSATION" - which is where Gareth has put it. Best wishes, Tim

Tom said...

If you're reading Gareth then hi and thanks for another good films of the year at Greenbelt yesterday. Fair points about Die Hard 4.0, but I think maybe a little harsh - I certainly wasn't worried about the stock markets crashing! You didn't mention that actually from about half way through the bad guys have got John M's daughter so the whole thing seemed to become about him being a grumpy but protective father.

Did you fall out with Jett over this film? Was wondering why there hasn't been a FilmTalk since this film came up. Please let there be more!

Really enjoyed The Fountain anyway and looking forward to Once.


Peter said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Peter said...

Your review of the year was a Greenbelt highlight as usual, Gareth.

I'm surprised you think of "Flags of our Fathers" as an anti-war film. It seemed to have its fair share of misty-eyed patriotism, and it pulled its punches over the difficult questions it raised. In the end, everyone agreed that yes, it is important to sell lots of war-bonds.