2007 began with a blitz of thrillers like The Hitcher and The Messengers, then sashayed to sequels and three-quels before ending with several dramas. Spider-Man 3 took the box office crown, followed by Shrek the Third, Transformers and Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End. These popular pics made summer box office history as the first fearsome foursome of $300 million plus blockbusters. Audiences got a wide choice of musical films like Hairspray, Music & Lyrics, the gory Sweeney Todd and Amy Adam’s star making breakthrough Enchanted. Overall, a strong movie season that had more success than failure.
The Best (this top ten currently available on home video unless noted)
- Ratatouille – One of the most sophisticated and entertaining animated films ever written and directed by Brad Bird (The Incredibles).
- The Bourne Ultimatum – British director Paul Greengrass (United 93) and star Matt Damon take this quality series to a higher level.
- Michael Clayton – George Clooney does it again in this legal thriller co-starring Tom Wilkinson (Batman Begins) and Tilda Swinton.
- Once – Great personal story with amazing music that’s sure to get an Oscar® nomination.
- Into the Wild – Sean Penn directs this solid drama based on the 1996 non-fiction book by Jon Krakauer about a man who abandons modern life for the Alaskan Wilderness.
- Atonement – Great period piece solidifying Kiera Knightley’s talents while pushing James MacAvoy to leading man status.
- Bridge to Terabithia – This family/fantasy book adaptation shows raw, honest emotion from gifted child actors Josh Hutcherson and AnnaSophia Robb.
- Waitress – The late Adreinne Shelly directed, co-star, co-wrote and wrote songs for this little gem, where Andy Griffith almost steals the show from female lead Keri Russell.
- The Namesake – Kal Penn (House television series) reaches far beyond his raunchy “Kumar” comedy character in this drama about a Bengali family adapting to life in the United States.
- No Country For Old Men – Directors/brothers Joel & Ethan Coen helm this tough thriller, based on the Cormac McCarthy novel. Tommy Lee Jones stars as a local sheriff while Javier Bardem makes one memorable bad guy.
- 3:10 to Yuma – Excellent western remake stars Russell Crowe and Christian Bale.
- American Gangster – Ridley Scott (Gladiator) directs the dynamic duo of Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe in this crime drama based on actual events.
- Grace is Gone – John Cusack stars as a loving family man widowed when his wife dies serving in the military overseas.
- The Assassination of Jeese James by the Coward Robert Ford – Well researched story of actual events make this western a bit long, but worthwhile. Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck (Ocean’s 11) star.
- I Am Legend – Will Smith’s tour-de-force sticks in your memory.
- The Comebacks – The source material inspired many audiences, but this sports spoof disaster only inspired audiences to leave the theater. Audiences who haven’t seen many football movies in the last 20 years probably won’t get most of the references. Most of the weak comedy belts out ‘lame duck’ jokes like the trophies visual gag (with no payoff) and the baffling “no loading zone” dialogue joke (most audiences won‘t even catch it). Even the high profile sports star cameos can’t save this comedy, which contains a few successful jokes (the spinning players get hit, the violin, etc.). It might have been fun making it, but this forgettable movie just doesn’t produce enough good laughs. The non-stop advertisements and racial jokes (mainly from a rival coach played by comedian Finesse Mitchell) tire quickly. Check out the real inspirational football films on home video like Facing the Giants and Remember the Titans instead.
- A Perfect Stranger – Disorganized movie filled with unnecessary dialogue and ridiculously predictable situations in a surprisingly weak script.
- Epic Movie -Yet another group of comedy clips and spoofs poorly pieced together with hairline yarn.
- Code Name: Cleaner – Cedric the Entertainer and Lucy Lui make a boring mess in this action/comedy.
- Heartbreak Kid – This surprisingly raunchy remake failed to recapture the success of There’s Something About Mary with Ben Stiller starring and Bobby and Peter Farrelly directing.
- Norbit – Eddie Murphy’s scatter shot comedy hurls a wide range of comedy all over the screen, which rarely sticks to audiences.
- Daddy Day Camp – Oscar® winner Cuba Gooding Jr. takes over for Eddie Murphy in this loud, disappointing sequel.
- Bratz – Don’t bother with this poor adaptation of the toy dolls.
- I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry – Adam Sandler and Kevin James team up for this hurtful, stereotypical failure.
- DOA: Dead or Alive – Familiar faces like Jaime Pressley (My Name is Earl television series) couldn’t save this unoriginal martial arts debacle.
Extremely dishonorable mentions – Hostel 2, Captivity and the latest Saw installment.