1. No Country for Old Men
After a couple of somewhat sub-par efforts, the Coens produce one of their finest. Dark, tense, beautifully shot, incredibly well-acted, veins of humour without an over-reliance on quirkiness – a fantastic film.
2. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days
Criminally over-looked in the Oscars’ Best Foreign Film category, this 1987-set Romanian illegal abortion film (yes, it’s as much fun as it sounds) deserves to be described as powerful. Impressive acting and unflinching camera-work make for a very compelling piece.
3. The Savages
Two of the finest actors of their generation, Laura Linney and Philip Seymour-Hoffman play siblings dealing with their father’s demise into dementia. At times very real and very sad, it manages to be incredibly funny throughout too. A subtly great performance by Philip Bosco, as their father.
4. I’m Not There
Six actors playing Bob Dylan, or rather manifestations of different parts of his life and persona. It shouldn’t work, yet it does. There is enough good acting, interesting shots, contrasting styles and great music (naturally) to make for an intriguing piece of cinema, even for those not all that familiar with Dylan’s career.
5. Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
Not quite the masterpiece that some American reviews would have us believe, Burton’s version of Stephen Sondheim’s musical does display great visual flair and good turns from leads Depp and Bonham-Carter. A little less twittering on about Joanna and a little more oomph during the big numbers and we would have had a more enjoyable film.
Honourable mention -Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story
1. No Country For Old Men.
Pretty much unanimous here. Everything about this film is about as close to perfection in cinema as you can get. Except for the last ten minutes, when it just doesn’t quite know how to end…..
Okay, so, technically it wasn’t out until the first day of February, but considering I, and most of the rest of the world, got to see it in January, I’m including it here. Mainly because it was brilliant and needs as much recognition as it can get (see the review for it on this very site!!!), but also because February may be too much competition for it handle.
3. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, 2 Days.
Again, it was brilliant. The scariest, tensest movie about abortions set during communist Eastern Europe time that I’ve ever seen. Fact.
4. Charlie Wilson’s War.
Tom Hanks as a drunk. Julia Roberts as a slutty, rich, God-heavy sociality. Philip Seymour Hoffman as a rage-happy Greek. It was always going to be good. But if it had been anyone else playing these roles, it could’ve been so, sooooo much worse.
5. Dan In Real Life.
Yes, it was basically Carrell’s character from Little Miss Sunshine, made straight, given his daughters and his own film. But it was still good. Despite Dane Cook. Mainly down to one line of dialogue: “You are a murderer of LOVE!”
Honourable mention: Aliens Versus Predator – Requiem. For being so shit.