20. Brokeback Mountain
Director Ang Lee demonstrates once again his versatility as a director in this fabulous story of a struggle between two friends who share a relationship that even transcends what they thought they believed in. Jake Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, and Michelle Williams all give performances of a lifetime and Anne Hatheway proves that she is far more than we expected but can now come to expect. Aside from its social importance the film is just plain incredible with wonderful cinematography and a beautiful score.
Werner Herzog, master director and storyteller extroadinaire teams up with Tim Roth to make this incredible film centering around a Jewish strongman in Nazi occupied Poland. The story is engaging, the cinematography perfect, but the biggest strong points are Tim Roth’s incredible performance and the overall aesthetic of the film, which switches from incredibly realistic and somewhat stark to visually compelling mastery that Herzog is oh so capable of. Another vastly underrated and relatively unseen film of Herzogs.
Directed, Written, Edited, Scored, and Starring Shane Carruth Primer is perhaps the best and most truly independent film of the decade. Meaning, this movie was made next to nothing but does everything in its power to be believable, expertly crafted, engrossing, and highly entertaining. The movie was made well under 5,000 dollars and is still one of the most grounded and realistic sci-fi’s ever made. See this movie, it’s about time travel, that’s all you need to know I guess.
Juno, one of America’s most well “adopted little indie flicks” since it was cute to “find” movies, is an incredibly sharp-witted, playful, and fun movie starring one of my favorite actresses Ellen Page. Jason Reitman’s second feature is, as always, skillfully directed with a quick and ultra whitty style of his we have come to love. Also featured is a wonderfully brilliant ensemble cast including, J.K. Simmons, Michael Cera, Jason Batemen, Jennifer Garner, Olivia Thirlby, Allison Janney, and Rainn Wilson. The overly whitty and hip dialogue from newbie Diablo Cody may not be able to stand on its own as a piece, but under the skilled hands of Reitman and incredible performances across the board Juno succeeds in becoming one of the best comedies of the decade.
Based off of the Ian McEwan novel of the same name Joe Wright’s Atonement is a mixture of a beautiful and nostalgic look back into young love and the effects of a very naive decision on the lives of the people within the story. The film is centered around Briony Tallis played by Vannessa Redgrave, Romola Garai, and most brilliantly by in my opinion the best young actor to spring up in decades Saoirse Ronan. Kiera Knightley and James McAvoy both give wonderous performances as destined to be tragic lovers. The film is a wonderful adaptation of McEwan’s equally brilliant novel and the cinematography, soundtrack, and set design enhance the experience to an overall perfect cinematic achievement. This was my pick for best picture of 2007.
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