Year in Review: Films

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Merry Christmas and happy holidays from all of us at Bwog! Were your presents not intellectually-stimulating enough? No worries! As our gift to you, we give you Bwog film connoisseur Christian Kamongi’s cinematic picks of 2007, just a little something something to casually reference in 2008.

10. The Wayward Cloud

Tsai-Ming Liang’s visceral sing-along porno was not just a moralistic polemic against a sex-ravaged culture, but also a lustrously beautiful collage of post-modern romance.

9. Zodiac

Harris Savides’ camerawork and David Fincher’s showmanship combine to illustrate an era and provide a narrative that perfectly mirrors the film’s incapacitation of traditional filmic indexicality in favor of digital analog. Unarguably the most important and influential film of the year.

8. The Boss of It All

On the outside Lars von Trier produces an office comedy filled with peculiar and off-putting Scandinavian humor. However, a closer analysis reveals a stunning testament to subjectivity even in the unfriendly realms of genre, predatory capitalism, and automatic digital editing.

7. There Will Be Blood

In a sweeping tale of American ethos, P.T. Anderson reveals–with unforeseen radicalism–the dubious if not incompatible relationship between capitalism and religious zealotry. There Will Be Blood proves to be both a stunning classic historical epic and somber commentary on the fate of contemporary America.

6. Death Proof

Quentin Tarantino subdues and brilliantly refines his structualist bombast to weave one of the most entertaining films of the year. With Death Proof Tarantino has transcended his Hawksian heroines and created something all his own. This film continues to affirm his status as possibly the finest active screenwriter in the English language.

5. Redacted

At this point one can almost measure the correlation between the brilliance of a Brian De Palma film and its negative critical reception. Yet those who felt unenthused (or more appropriately, uncomfortable) were conditioned for a piece with a modicum of respectful national sentiment. Instead they received an enraged meditation on occupation that was fearless in its condemnation of it’s subjects and viewers.

4. Daratt

An orphan seeks revenge only to discover a spiritual proximity to his target. Ali Barkai and Youssouf Djaoro’s heartbreaking performances only increase the allure and darkness of this bizarre relationship. Daratt is the finest work to come out of the African continent this year. From one of the decade’s foremost new directorial talents, Mahamat-Saleh Haroun, Daratt is a sublime narrative woven with the mythical restraint expected of a master storyteller.

3. The Wind That Shakes the Barley

The loathsomely inadequate praise for Ken Loach’s latest achievement only legitimizes his mastery, which is designated by a lack of effort and easy access to achievement. Without a remote ounce of effort or aesthetic adventurism, Loach created the most comprehensive historical tale of the year. Scooping deep into the nature of hegemony, the film uncompromisingly explored resistance with detail paid to every issue, from prosecution to humiliation (and most courageously) to economic liberation.

2. No Country for Old Men

Viewing No Country for Old Men felt like a traumatic aging experience. Its sweat-drenched pace and haunting performances are carried out with breathtaking stamina on the part of the Coen Brothers. McCarthy’s famed terse prose finds its companion in Roger Deakin’s bare yet ravishing camerawork; while Bardem and Brolin have better chemistry than a Hollywood Golden Era couple, without their characters ever meeting.

With the general violent impetus unrevealed, the film’s difficulty reflects its uncanny ability to tap into contemporary horror. And it is the same horrific unease that allows the film to transcend ambiguity and reach metaphysical heights.

1. I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone

No other film this year or possibly this decade has so ingeniously coupled carefree ardor with impending doom. Tsai-Ming Liang’s silence fulfills an otherworldly purpose as the film propels towards a minimalist ground zero that the filmmaker’s oeuvre has been desperately trying to reach.

Liang’s ability to convey ritualistic connotations in everyday moments provides the film with a peculiar profundity. The plotline is juggled with a subplot of a mysterious haze that starts to take over Kuala Lumpur with smoke infiltrating every urban nook and cranny. And yet the subplot fails to exert the disastrous climate we’ve expected from the movies, instead Liang utilizes it as a context to evoke the insolubility of the need for affection even in the face of disaster. The final image of the film’s characters floating on a bed fixated not on their perplexing surroundings, but each other, is easily the finest scene of the year.

Top Five Honorable Mentions: Flanders, I’m Not There, Offside, Planet Terror, and The Postmodern Life of My Aunt

Director of the Year: Tsai Ming-Liang for I Don’t Want to Sleep Alone and The Wayward Cloud

Cast of the Year:
Year of the Dog featuring Molly Shannon, Regina King, Josh Pais, Laura Dern, Thomas McCarthy, John C. Reilly, and Peter Sarsgaard

Female Performer: Patrice van Houten for Black Book

Male Performer: Daniel Day-Lewis for There Will Be Blood

Screenplay: Paul Laverty for The Wind That Shakes the Barley

Cinematography: Harry Savides for Zodiac

Documentary: Lake of Fire

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  1. really?

    Zodiac was terrible.

  2. Simple Simon

    Why yes, I, the lay reader, know exactly what the fuck you are talking about when you refer to the incapacitation of traditional filmic indexicality. Is Death Proof the one with the cars or the one where Tarantino's balls melt off?

  3. mailman

    what a tool... (the guy who made this list)

  4. zodiac

    got terrible reviews. i liked it though.

    a scene from it was filmed on my block in sf! (the scene at original joes)

  5. um...

    did you see superbad?

  6. or what about

    Ratatouille??? No??? I loved that movie!

    • Also

      Juno? American Gangster? Knocked Up? They may not get you the hipster street cred that these do, but I would imagine they are the kinds of movies most people that read this blog would have seen this year

  7. The fuck

    I have seen one of these, and heard of two.

    Am I weird? Has everyone else seen/heard of these? Or is this another pretentious circle jerk by Bwog?

  8. and

    Into the Wild was mad good. I cried.

  9. top 3

    Which bwog best of 2007 was more pretentious, boring, and off-putting; The music, comedy, or film list?

  10. omg

    Ratatouille was deliciously amazing.

  11. mitch

    good god, can we get some ratatouille on this list? or maybe any film that real people see? next time let's not let any Kim's employees write up this list.

  12. The

    Depaaaa'ted! Jeez. I haven't heard of most of these either. Hipsters/Indie nerds must be exterminated (from the media at least).

  13. good god

    is right. i consider myself a hipster/indie nerd and even i haven't heard of half of these. it sounds like this guy was just terrified that the small amount of other-people-exactly-as-pretentious-as-he-is would crucify him if he included any movie that *gasp!!!* more than ten people had actually seen.

    and yes, any top-ten list that doesn't include ratatouille this year will never have my respect.

  14. metacritic

    here's a better list. it's by metacritic....basically they make an average score of the nation's leading critics.

    1. There Will Be Blood 98
    2. Ratatouille 96
    3. Killer of Sheep 94
    4. Diving Bell and the Butterfly, The 92
    5. No Country for Old Men 91
    6. No End in Sight 89
    7. Once 88
    8. Away from Her 88
    9. Persepolis 88
    10. This Is England 86
    11. Bourne Ultimatum, The 85
    12. Offside 85
    13. Knocked Up 85
    14. Savages, The 85
    15. Atonement 85

  15. Agreed

    Yeah, I agree with everyone else here. I saw a couple dozen movies this year, meaning I go to theaters pretty often by most people's standards, and yet I've heard of two of these and saw zero. That pretty much makes me hate the author.

  16. interesting

    so he has a thing for tsai-ming liang - understandable. but if he dotes on festival films so strongly without mentioning stalwarts like "Secret Sunshine" and "4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days," i've got to think that he simply hasn't caught a lot of the year's true gems... or maybe i can't expect too much of someone who didn't find both sections of "Grindhouse" to be utterly reprehensible, or was able to watch "Redacted" without giggling.

    And for my money (what little of it there is), THERE WILL BE BLOOD is the best film of the year.

  17. oh wait

    i just re-read his little bit on zodiac... not only is it bad writing, but how the fuck can he prove that zodiac is the most "influential film of the year" when absolutely zero films have been released that were shot since after Zodiac's release?

    and another thing - if you want to get technical, tarantino's previous films are hardly "structuralist!" and "there will be blood" is about FAR more than capitalism v. zealotry. okay, for a list that spans the world, it's awfully narrow-minded.

  18. waaaah

    How could he leave out Good Luck Chuck?!!!!!

  19. Edward Yang

    Go learn how to write a sensical film review, then come back next year with your top ten. And get over you goddamn Tsai Ming-Liang fetish.

  20. C'mon

    Despite being a bit too jargony with respect to the description of the movies, I found this list to be decent. I mean, I'm not sure what people are complaining about. This gent has different taste than you, that's it. If you are an adult you can deal. Also, if you haven't heard of most of the movies listed, you probably don't really care about movies in the first place.
    That said, I wish there was some love for Assassination of Jesse James here. It was an amazingly beautiful and wonderfully acted piece of work.

  21. i take issue

    with tihs guy's choices. but i take greater issue with his inability to write. really bwog? this guy is the best you can do? get trump to write it instead.

    • rjt

      I don't see a lot of movies, and I'm absolutely positive nobody wants to hear my opinion on them because I don't know shit. I though this list at least did a good job of calling my attention to stuff I would have no idea about otherwise.

      (P.S. Here's a sample of my cultural retardation: I can't figure out why ANYONE likes Tarantino, and I thought Garden State was a pretty good movie.)

  22. DPD

    OMGOMGOMG he left out "Juno." Wait. That movie was lame.

    Also. "Ratatouille" was good and all, but top ten caliber? No. It was glorious for the eye but numbingly empty at its core. But that's a debate for a different post.

    Anyone who says that they haven't heard of the movies on this list, well, now you have. Did you read this post to have your own middlebrow taste affirmed as "right," or to find out someone else's opinions that may in fact differ from your own, and may prompt you to seek out new directors in theaters or on DVD? If the former, might I suggest Peter Travers or Roger Ebert. If the latter, welcome to Kamongi Country.

  23. old boy

    Death Proof was a testament to the finest active screenwriter in the English language? Really?

  24. when you ask

    for example, why the savages did not make this list, you wonder whether it is because the reviewer probably didn't see it. but please, correct me if i'm wrong.

    to make any kind of top ten list, doesn't such a reviewer need to review ALL the possibilities? it's the definition of pretension otherwise.

  25. what about

    The King of Kong!

  26. Sick of this

    "The loathsomely inadequate praise for Ken Loach's latest achievement only legitimizes his mastery"

    Really? Because it wasn't praised it is legitimate?

    • c""k

      If an artwork goes unnoticed that you find incredible you might begin to think that it may be ahead of it's time. I'd consider that masterful.

    • Avi

      Isn't that the hipster ethos at its most destructive? That something is a masterpiece precisely because no one likes it?

      If Zodiac is "Unarguably the most important and influential film of the year," how is it only #9 on a top 10 list? I thought "unarguable" meant ... unarguable.

      The subject line for this should have been "digitalia."

  27. autofellation

    is best done alone.

  28. mmmmmmmm

    cillian murphy is what salvages this list. what a dreamboat.

  29. No. i

    There's a difference between how wide an influence a movie has and how well it is made.

  30. coogan

    huge respect for _death proof_ making the list.

    did _juno_ remind anyone else of _garden state_?

  31. jac

    jeez, buddy, i respect your choices and all, but tone it down with the language. and if you have to go all traditional filmic indexicality on us, at least make sure you've got your basic grammar right first.

  32. Christian

    king kamongi is sweet, but he owes me child support.

  33. Anonymous

    first of all...
    1. this list is horrible. period.
    2. YES this is a pretentious cirlce jerk for bwog
    3. this is all hipster bullshit
    4.this author has little to no idea what good films are and would rather go for the obscure for the sake of obscure stuff because he/she is too insecure to actually have a real opinion on anything
    this comes from a film student.

    that is all

  34. Anonymous

    if you want obscure films at least have some good ones on the list....
    lars and the real girls?
    Diving Bell and the Butterfly?

    or maybe just admit that superbad and the like were actually good movies despite the fakes that they were (gasp) actually liked by people who dont wear skinny jeans and listen to the shit music.

  35. everyday joe

    how dare anyone write a top ten that is determined by their personal taste!!! i am outraged!!!!

    • well...

      I'm not a film student, but I read a lot of movie reviews, and I'm pretty sure there's a big difference between saying "These were my ten favorite movies of 2007!" and giving a list of films that you are critically acclaiming. I think that the latter is of course subjective, but it goes a little deeper than simply liking a movie. Like, I really loved Pirates of the Carribean 3, but I'll admit that it is not a cinematic masterpiece.

      Also, there should be rules against a public Top Ten list (even if it is Bwog) containing at least 6 indie films out of 10. How is the average person supposed to believe that these are really the 10 best films of the year if they haven't even heard of them, much less seen them? And even for films that I saw, I don't get the criticism. "Harris Savides' camerawork and David Fincher's showmanship combine to illustrate an era and provide a narrative that perfectly mirrors the film's incapacitation of traditional filmic indexicality in favor of digital analog. Unarguably the most important and influential film of the year." WTF does that even mean?? I'm sure if a group of film critics and film students were reading this list, it would be totally passable, but I think that a top ten movies list for a gossip blog read by the average student SHOULD be a little superficial. You are, after all, reccomending movies, and I'm not going to see a movie because I heard it has "digital analog." Give me a break.

  36. yes!

    i do think that this is england and knocked up needed honorable mentions but i like the list. tsai ming-liang is the man. and death proof is an A++

  37. JEJ

    I know that Kamongi did not make his top ten to be hipper than thou. This is someone who LOVES cinema and not in a "hey I saw 12 movies this year I am awesome" kind of way - homeboy spent all of his food money on tickets to the New York Film Festival.

    Seriously, has no one heard of Death Proof, Zodiac, No Country for Old Men, There Will Be Blood or The Wind that Shakes the Barley (won the Palme d'Or last year)? If you haven't heard of the movies on here, now you have. Big deal, stop complaining.

    To the haters, DIAF.

  38. gco

    ratatouille just wasn't that good. visually beautiful, of course, but not that tight. if nothing else, the bizarre and heavyhanded anti-stealing message is enough to throw it off kilter for me. follow your dreams, but DON'T STEAL!!!!

    Zodiac I liked but didn't love, ultimately because I didn't buy the morals and motives of Jake Gyllenhaal's character. Incidentaly, this is also how I felt about Russell Crowe's character in American Gangster, which in my opinion is also best left off this list.

  39. The Zodiac

    Until I am Number 1, I shall deny all of you your precious horoscopes. mwahahahaha.

  40. ...

    This guy's list is fine, but this is truly awful writing. It is pretentious and nauseating. The only Bwog post worse than this post is perhaps that ridiculous post of several people having an AIM conversation about I'm Not There.

  41. Rule

    You don't really have a good vocabulary when you don't have command over your words. Use the words, don't strew them about randomly. The language in this post is awkward, insecure, and's really kind of sad.

  42. If I ever

    meet the asshole who teaches people to write like this there's gonna be hell to pay.

  43. The Pretention!

    Oh God, it's smothering me! I can't breathe, someone please take this kid's thesaurus away!

  44. um...  

    is ostentatious anti-pretension pretentious?

  45. also  

    is ostentatious anti-anti-pretension pretentious?

  46. ....

    look, if you care about film just see the fucking movies and decide for yourself whether they are good or not. if not, don't bitch when a list written by someone who actually knows about movies doesn't confirm your middle-brow tastes. just because christian knows more about film than you do doesn't mean he is a "hipster", nor does it mean he is pretentious. get a fucking grip people

  47. hey douchebag

    it was Carice, not Patrice, van Houten who starred in BLACK BOOK. way to get names wrong and speak in unintelligible, meaningless bullshit critic-speak. you are not J. Hoberman and never will beq

  48. contest

    i think Bwog should offer a cash prize to anybody who can manage to parse the following excerpts from this piece of shit list. my suspicion is that none of these quotes actually means anything.

    "a narrative that perfectly mirrors the film's incapacitation of traditional filmic indexicality in favor of digital analog." (ZODIAC)

    "a stunning testament to subjectivity even in the unfriendly realms of genre, predatory capitalism, and automatic digital editing." (THE BOSS OF IT ALL)

    "Quentin Tarantino subdues and brilliantly refines his structualist bombast" (DEATH PROOF)

    "The loathsomely inadequate praise for Ken Loach's latest achievement only legitimizes his mastery, which is designated by a lack of effort and easy access to achievement." (THE WIND THAT SHAKES THE BARLEY)

    "With the general violent impetus unrevealed, the film's difficulty reflects its uncanny ability to tap into contemporary horror. And it is the same horrific unease that allows the film to transcend ambiguity and reach metaphysical heights." (NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MEN)

    regardless of whatever anybody thinks of the opinions expressed in this piece, the writing was inexcusably bad. seriously, BWOG, you should know better than to publish garbage like this.

  49. seriously

    the kid who wrote this list should never be allowed to write anything. ever. unless its an apology for this horribly written piece of shit.

  50. Garden State

    was a fucking joke. get the fuck out of my school and head over to fucking princeton you stupid son of a bitch.

  51. Oh my

    this Christian fellow is plain illiterate.

  52. My favorite

    It may not have been a movie, but watching Brittney Spears trainwreck was quite fun.

  53. it hurt to read this

    Compared to other people, I don't think the list is that bad, I understand that it's all personal preference, etc. and I actually agree with a number of these movies being in a top ten of the year (with some exceptions, most notably the HORRIBLE movie Redacted) and am surprised by people's outrage and claiming that they are all unheard of movies. That said, the descriptions for each movie are FUCKING TERRIBLE. What an obnoxious little fuck this guy comes off as. It's not that he's pretentious. I mean, he is. But he's also downright retarded. He's written so much without saying barely anything and what he does write clearly is pretty outrageous (DePalma has made plenty of stinkers over the years, I don't think critics ripping The Black Dahlia correlated with its brilliance) and unbelievably arrogant. The Zodiac and No Country For Old Men descriptions are particularly painful to read. This guy comes off as idiotic and sycophantic. I'm sorry to be so harsh. He's probably a well-intentioned kid, but c'mon. This was really obnoxious. Learn how to write and stop looking at yourself naked in the mirror.

    While it's probably not going to get nominated for or win many awards, Zodiac has been pretty well received. It just didn't make that much money. In the NY Times' end of the year lists, film critic Manohla Dargis said that Zodiac and There Will Be Blood were her two favorite films of 2007. And it's in my personal top five, which is why I'm including this little note.

  54. Anonymous

    Who but a college student could ever write these two sentences?...

    9. Zodiac
    Harris Savides' camerawork and David Fincher's showmanship combine to illustrate an era and provide a narrative that perfectly mirrors the film's incapacitation of traditional filmic indexicality in favor of digital analog. Unarguably the most important and influential film of the year.

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