Monday, 31 December 2007

Best of 2007: 2008's Posible Contentders

British cinephiles have the patience of saints. Not only do we have to suffer through mega-watt American blockbusters season after season, but we often have to wait for little nuggets of film gold for months after they've been released stateside. Joseph Wren looks ahead to what 2007's films have in store for us in 2008.

Coming from New York to Glasgow, I’ve had to sacrifice a few things – sunshine, pizza, functioning escalators, ‘round the clock public transport, and the option to see a possible Oscar contender months before the rest of the world. On the upside, 2007 produced three great British films – Control, Atonement, and This is England – that debuted on the right side of the Atlantic before going abroad. But oh, those year-end lists are upon us, and it just feels wrong for me to include films like Inland Empire, The Science of Sleep, and The Lives of Others, films that were officially 2006 releases, but inexplicably took months to come to the UK. Here are some films that my American friends are putting on their lists for this year, but my British friends might find on their lists next year. UK release dates noted in parenthesis.

1. There Will Be Blood: A PT Anderson film starring Daniel Day Lewis, and with such a fierce title…oh my. Anderson’s been compared to Orson Welles for his efforts here, and is sure to be a top contender at the Oscars. (Feb 15)

2. No Country for Old Men: Picking up most of the US critic’s awards and an early favourite for Oscar glory. The Cohen's latest effort has them back on top of the film world. (Jan 18).

3. Juno: Ghost World, Garden State, Sideways, Little Miss Sunshine…yes, Juno is the big US indie comedy of 2007, but adds a distinctive depth and complexity to the quirky aesthetic. (Feb 8)

4. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly: Julien Schnabel’s emotionally devastating masterpiece about a stroke victim’s struggle to write his memoirs in the blink of an eye. (Feb 8)

5. Charlie Wilson’s War: A political comedy written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Mike Nichols. Yes please! (Jan 11)

6. Sweeney Todd: After getting a blog-slapped by Montage earlier this year, Burton marches out his best work since Ed Wood. (Jan 25)

7. The Savages: A grown-up indie starring Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman as siblings trying to cope with a dying parent. The kind of film that was absent from our cinemas this past year. (Jan 25)

8. Walk Hard - The Dewey Cox Story: The always brilliant John C. Reilly finally gets to carry a film, here playing a fictional rock star in this satirical comedy co-written by comic golden boy Judd Apatow. (Jan 18)

9. Persepolis: In a strong year for French cinema, this animated film is the country’s selection for the Best Foreign Film at the Oscars. Has garnered impressive acclaim from US critics. (April 11)

10. 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days: This Romanian abortion drama took the Palm D’Or at Cannes. (Jan 11)

Other upcoming releases to look forward to this year: Lust, Caution (Jan 4), Before the Devil Knows You’re Dead (Jan 11), Lars and the Real Girl (March 21), Gone Baby Gone (no UK release date yet – was shelved due to similarities with the Madeline McCann case). They may be late, but film’s got a good year coming in 2008.

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