Early, I know, but here's my Top Ten. Read 'em and weep, making exceptions of course for the as of now unseen by me Charlie Wilson's War, Sweeney Todd, and There Will Be Blood (The very latter may well top the list retroactively once I've seen it.)
There are others I've missed, but in a feat of laziness (and fiduciary apoplexy, resulting in increased Netflix turnover later on) I'll just take a cue from years past and put them on my 2008 list when I finally see them (again, the caveat here being that Paul Thomas Anderson's movie, if the standey I saw for it and the early reviews I've read of it are any indication, will fuck me long and my socks will still be on).
10. Grindhouse - I was one of the lucky handful of the faithful who sprawled out in a sparsely populated theater to see this one on Easter Weekend. It was one of the filthiest, silliest, bloodiest, most ridiculously over-the-top exercises in self-indulgent movie making nonsense I've ever seen. And I laughed my ass off for the first half and was truly knocked out by Tarantino's.
9. Superbad - Fuckin' McLovin' amazing.
8. Babel - Metaphysically and artistically, this is the movie Crash could never have even thought to hope to be.
7. Pan's Labyrinth - Bitch knows how to cut a bitch in the mouth.
6. Children of Men - Gets better every time you watch it. These are all 2006ers, but I saw 'em this year, and I doubt they'll be topped any time soon. When it happens, you'll know.
5. Dekalog - Saw all 10 of these this year. It's from about 20 years ago. Recommended viewing for anyone who thinks about right and wrong. Also recommended viewing for anyone who will someday die.
4. The Darjeeling Limited - In all fairness, this is higher on the list than the Meso-American Triad and the freakin' Kieslowski because it's an honest-to-god 2007er. This one's more direct, more simple, and less quixotic than The Life Aquatic, and it really only rivals Tenenbaums. For those who simply can't be pleased by Wes Anderson making the same film about the aloof, dry types he's consumed with, well, look elsewhere. Unless, you're one of the straights, and you wanna see Natalie Portman naked, of course (What's that? You've already gone to Fandango?). Me, I'm fine if he keeps playin' this ditty for as long as we're both here.
3. The Lives of Others - Tightly constructed and unflinching, this is an unexpected German companion piece to The Conversation and Blow Up, in its own way.
2. No Country For Old Men - Even for the Coens, this is a bizarre and cold film. It's also one of the best I have ever seen, and that beats a lot of competition, including some from the Coen Boys themselves. I'm not sure I find it as nihilistic as some have (particularly Andrew Sarris, who is not a bitch, not really. His review was cordial.)
I don't remember being affected so suddenly and powerfully by an ending. At least not since Magnolia.
1. Speak of the devil, I really don't know what the number one will be. Is it gonna be Sweeney Todd? I love Burton, Depp, Bonzo Bonham Carter and Co, but never enough for them to top my year-end best. Aaron Sorkin? You comin' back to us? Well, the good Congressman's story, even in your un-coke stained (and reportedly splendid this time around) hands, is going to be hard-pressed to beat my adoration for what the Coens accomplished with No Country.
It's more than likely going to be a showdown between No Country and There Will Be Blood, unless Juno really is as good as they say, and by that, I mean Citizen Pregnant Fucking Kane.