Over a third of ’07 (19 weeks out of 52 weeks) is behind us, and with the summer season just launching and Cannes due to start in three days, here’s the HE rundown for 2007 superlatives so far. 12 first- raters (including 4 festival flicks yet to be released), 19 above-average or not-half-badders, 24 that were either barely tolerable or outright awful, and 6 unseen. A total of 55 films that made some kind of strong impression. Feel free to add, subtract, debate, etc.
BEST SO FAR (9): A tie between Zodiac and The Lives of Others (an ’06 release as far as end-of-the-year awards considerations were concerned, but which opened in February) for best of the year. Runners-up: The Host, Reign Over Me, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Black Book, Stephanie Daley (except for the weak ending), Quentin Tarantino‘s “Death Proof” half of Grindhouse, 28 Weeks Later.
BEST NOT-YET-RELEASED FESTIVAL FILMS OF THE YEAR (4): Once (dir: Jon Carney, Fox Searchlight, opening 5.18), La Vie en Rose (dir: Olivier Dahan, Picturehouse, opening 6.8), Grace is Gone (dir: James C. Strouse, Weinstein Co.); Resurrecting the Champ (dir: Rod Lurie, Yari Film Group)
BEST PERFORMANCES SO FAR (randomly listed): Marion Cotillard in La Vie en Rose, Chris Cooper in Breach, Adam Sandler in Reign Over Me, Amber Tamblyn in Stephanie Daley, John Cusack in Grace is Gone, Mark Ruffalo, Robert Downey, Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Anthony Edwards in Zodiac, Julie Christie in Away From Her Samuel L Jackson in Black Snake Moan and Resurrecting the Champ, Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova in Once, Anthony Hopkins in Fracture, Laura Linney, Gabriel Byrne in Jindabyne, Hilary Swank in Freedom Writers, Justin Timberlake in Alpha Dog.
MOST IRRITATING PERFORMANCE BY A TALENTED ACTOR: Joseph Gordon Levitt in The Lookout.
BEST DOCS (3): God Grew Tired Of Us, An Unreasonable Man, Maxed Out, The Prisoner, or How I Planned to Kill Tony Blair.
DISTINCTLY ABOVE AVERAGE (9): Breach, Black Snake Moan, After the Wedding, Red Road, Jindabyne, Fracture, Paris Je’taime, Away From Her, Lucky You.
SO-SO, NOT HALF BAD (10): Breaking and Entering, Freedom Writers, Alpha Dog, Days of Glory, Factory Girl (George Hickenlooper‘s film would rate “above average” if the raw, funkier early version had been released instead of the tidied-up, re-shot Harvey version), I Think I Love My Wife, The Lookout, The Hoax, Disturbia, Paris Je’taime.
TOLERABLE (9): Shooter, The Hawk is Dying. The TV Set, Everything’s Gone Green, Lonely Hearts, Zoo, In The Land of Women, Waitress, Music and Lyrics, Day Night Day Night.
RANK, COY, UNGENUINE, OFF-BALANCE, INEPT, TEDIOUS, HALF-ASSED (14): The Astronaut Farmer, Starter for 10, Wild Hogs, Norbit, Because I Said So, Ghost Rider, the “Planet Terror” half of Grindhouse, Hannnibal Rising, The Number 23, 300, The Last Mimzy, The Reaping, Are We Done Yet?, Diggers.
SPECIAL STAND-ALONE, SUPER-COSTLY, TURGIDLY WRITTEN, OVER-CG’ED, SUPER-STINKO CATEGORY (1): Spider-Man 3.
DIDN’T SEE ‘EM (6): Blades of Glory, Adam’s Apples, Triad Election. Brand Upon The Brain, Civic Duty, Georgia Rules.