Stage and Cinema film and theatre reviews


The Year 2007 Movie List

by John Topping

published February 3, 2008



The Stage and Cinema film writers were asked to list every movie that they saw that was released in the United States in the year 2007, and to categorize them in any way they chose




All films within each category are listed alphabetically





The Best Film Of the Year



Pitch perfect.  Brad Bird is da bomb.





Outstanding Cinema


The Lives Of Others

I'm not sure if I know anyone who hasn’t already seen this, so no need to comment.


Into The Wild

I know too few people who have seen this.  What gives?  And how shameful that this was not nominated for Best Picture, Best Actor or Best Director.



Excellent.  As Stephen Colbert recently said, “Warning – this film might make you look at Iranians as actual human beings.”


There Will Be Blood

I was less impressed with this than I expected to be – perhaps largely because I was expecting to be monumentally impressed.  Even so, it’s big and bold and epic and – if you are able to divorce yourself from the hype – extremely impressive.



A thrilling cinematic ride.  Hope it’s as good on the small screen.





The Most Important Films Of The Year


These are all documentaries, all on different subjects, and all essential viewing. 


For The Bible Tells Me So

The strongest beginning to healing the rift between Christianity and homosexuality that I am aware of.

Read John Topping's Stage and Cinema review here.


No End In Sight

We all know the Iraq war was tragically botched; this film shows that it was even more appallingly mismanaged than most of us thought.  Your mouth will drop.



Whether you like Michael Moore or not, I challenge you to contradict some of the things that we see on the screen. 






Loved It


28 Weeks Later

One of the best sequels ever.  It managed to capture the spirit of 28 Days Later and yet remain original, without cashing in for the sake of cashing in, and introduced brand new characters without wavering as a continuation of the same drama.



Please don't hate me for liking it.  It's too bad that it was chopped up for the DVD releases, but I'm sure that eventually it will be available in its original theatrical release.

Read John Topping's Stage and Cinema review here.



Loved it though I did, Juno is also the most overrated film of the year.  It’s nothing less than absurd that it was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar.  But then, getting angry over the nominations is part of the fun, just like disagreeing about the choices on this list is part of the fun for you.







Loved Every Minute Of It, But Then When It Was Over, Thought “So What?”


The Darjeeling Limited








Loved The First Hour and Forty Minutes, Then Hated The Last Twenty Two Minutes, Which Means I ... er ... Lovated It


No Country For Old Men

I can’t help but wonder – do the filmmakers themselves actually know what happens at the end? 








Liked It A Lot


3:10 To Yuma

Just love that Russell Crowe.  So nice to finally see him in a movie I liked; the first time, I think, since LA Confidential.  Ben Foster is also excellent in this.


In The Shadow Of The Moon

A documentary about the race to be the first on the moon.  Now I understand why people thought it was such a big deal when I was a kid.


Knocked Up

Judd Apatow has redeemed himself after the woefully sorry 40 Year Old Virgin (which I recently watched it again, and it was still funny and still awful).  It also inspired me to watch the Apatow series Freaks and Geeks on DVD - sheer brilliance, each episode better than any of his films, and possibly the best TV series ever.  With Knocked Up, it was probably the first film ever made wherein I was attracted to the romantic male lead (at least since Emil Jannings).


Michael Clayton

A fascinating study in humorlessness.



Part of The Year Of Forgiving Past Homophobic Transgressions.  In the 80’s, you see, Eddie Murphy was vocally homophobic, so I boycotted all of his films after Trading Places, including Beverly Hills Cop, which was difficult to boycott because a friend worked on it who was personally responsible for the maintenance of the stack of bananas that gets smashed in the opening car chase.  I have never seen that fine banana work.  However, since he has ceased his public homophobia, I have allowed myself to see his films again, and this was the first one that I actually paid to see.  And now I have some really exciting news to report to all of you – this Eddie Murphy guy is really funny!  Incidentally, I have also stopped boycotting the Cracker Barrel restaurant, because I’ve heard nothing in years about their homophobic policies.  If anyone knows differently, please let me know ASAP, because it would really help me lose weight if I stopped going there.  (PS – If you’re reading this: Hi Brian! [not the banana stacker])





Starting Out In The Evening

Ultimately, not really great, but so refreshing and pleasurable to see a film about people who like books. Also nice to see a movie with both an interracial relationship and an intergenerational relationship







A Movie That Was Consistently Funny, And Which Had The Funniest Final 30 Seconds I Can Ever Remember


Blades of Glory

WARNING:  Watching the final 30 seconds a second time was not nearly as funny.







A Director To Keep An Eye On



Directed and co-written by Andrew Currie.  A charming story about a boy and his pet zombie.  In terms of laughter, both in quantity and intensity of chuckles, you never double over rolling on the floor; but it's always interesting and looks like it was made on four times its actual budget.  I definitely welcome more from this guy.







Movies I Forgot That I Saw, And Have Forgotten Almost Everything That Happens In Them


Black Sheep

If memory serves, this was adequately amusing but would not have affected my life if I'd missed it.


Rocket Science

I do remember that I liked it I liked it, though.  The plot revolves around high school debate teams, so you'll want to check it out if that perks up your ears.  And it's also charming and quirky, if that interests you.







Indifferent and/or Requires Explanation


The Brave One

The movie wherein I learned that you can send video attachments on your cell phone (although I still don't know how).  In the upcoming film Charlie Bartlett, there is a disturbingly similar sequence wherein a bully makes sure that he is on video while he is physically pummeling a helpless victim (I’m pretty sure it was even the same kind of video camera).  I wasn’t really sure what I thought of this movie itself, but at least its moral ambiguity makes for interesting discussion.


The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

It appears that I am the only person in the entire world who wasn’t floored by this movie.  I studied film in art school, so to me it was like watching a feature length version of the artsy-fartsy kinds of films I was accustomed to seeing as shorts.  I saw this on the same day that I saw Persepolis, and I thought my reaction to the two films was going to be the exact opposite of how things turned out.  Maybe that somehow affected my experience, especially seeing this one second?  Or ... what's that?  I'm allowed not to have the same opinion as everyone else?  Oh, okay, great!  Forget the excuses; I simply wasn't as impressed as the masses.



No explanation required; I was simply indifferent.  And very disappointed that the once-in-a-lifetime chance to catch John Travolta and Christopher Walken dancing together while being captured on film was a saddening missed opportunity.


The Savages

This is probably a compliment to the film:  it merely seemed like I was watching two people go through a difficult time in their lives, not like I was watching a movie.  But I wasn’t carried anywhere.  Probably just me.  Dammit, I hate it when I don't like films I'm supposed to like!







I'm Sorry To Be Like This, But Having Originally Seen These Thrillingly Performed On Stage, I Couldn't Fly Wif Da Screen Versions



More people might have liked this if it had been marketed for what it is - a study in paranoia - rather than as a horror film.


Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

It was engaging but left me cold.  Seeing it in the theater was thrilling every moment.








Interesting Elements But Ultimately Disappointing


Eastern Promises

David Cronenberg has only made three films that I've liked (The Dead Zone, Dead Ringers and A History of Violence).  Eastern Promises went the way I usually feel when I see his work;  he's just not for me.


The Host

Did you ever see a movie that started so wonderfully that it exceeded your wildest expectations, and then slowly folded into a sorry, incomprehensible and utterly uninteresting mess?  The Host is that kind of film.


I’m Not There

Sorry, I just didn't like it.  Todd Haynes is hit-or-miss with me.



Sort of like Titanic, in that it's like a really great film and a really shitty film mashed together into one -  the shitty parts being all the time we spend with the cops.  Almost impossible not to adore the sequence of penis drawings.







Simultaneously Enjoyed It and Detested It, Which Means I ... er ... Enjested It


The Mist

A stupidly unique, or uniquely stupid, commitment to film.  A likely candidate for reaching cult status.







Didn’t Like At All


Before The Devil Knows You’re Dead

I now call Phillip Seymour Hoffman PhilSeyHoff.  Since he appears in so many movies, and since his name comes up so often in conversations as a result, and since his name is long-ish, I’ve actually saved about 7 minutes of talking time with the abbreviation.  Oh, yeah, the movie - why is everyone so impressed by this?


Hot Fuzz

It couldn’t have just been me, could it?  Is there anyone else out there who loved Shaun of the Dead but found Hot Fuzz supremely disappointing?  Anyone at all?  Was it just because I was stoned?  Or sitting too close and all I could concentrate on were their teeth?



I wanted to like it, but I was bored.


Romance and Cigarettes

I get angry and irritated when a film is simply a series of random events, one scene not connected to another.  I'm not sure if I could have cared less about anything happening on the screen.



The transformers transform way too fast for us (me) to enjoy their transformations.  And what was left after that?


Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story

Once again I’m alone in not liking this; maybe I would have felt differently if there had been an audience (saw it in a small town in an almost empty theater).  Usually I covet that experience, but not when it's a comedy (which seems to be the only time it ever happens).







The Only Movie I Really Loathed

(a.k.a. The Worst Movie of the Year)



This film was absolute torture to watch.  With inept script and direction, Adrienne Shelly has managed to cobble together enough standard plot points and imagery that, although entirely empty, trigger the memories of successful moments in other films.  The director’s tragic murder may have been the reason behind its inital attention – and that’s fine – but it is beyond me why it was actually embraced.  It is embarrassingly bad.




Please direct all agreements and disagreements, all Thank God somebody finally said its and Are you effing crazy?s to


johntopping @




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