Average Joe’s Top 15 Movies of 2007

December 31, 2008

Not to be out done by Mr. Film Snob, I decided to put together my list of the top 15 movies of 2007. You can read our rationale for why we’re putting together lists for last years movies by checking out Mr. Film Snob’s list here.

Before we start a few things you should know:

A.) Unlike Film Snob’s list you will have heard of all of these movies.

B.) If I did this list tomorrow, it would change (quite a bit in fact) so just know that these are some good films and don’t get too caught up in the order.

C.) I have yet to see these films that could’ve potentially made the list: Letters from Iwo Jima, The Last King of Scotland, Babel, Half Nelson, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, and Away From Her.

D.) I refuse to believe The Simpsons is good, I’m Not There was awful, and Venus was too creepy for me to admit I thoroughly enjoyed it.

E.) Utilize the comments section to share which of these you enjoyed, hated, etc.

Average Joe’s Top 15 Films of 2007:

Casey Affleckshines in big bro's movie

Casey Affleckshines in big bro's movie

1.) Gone Baby Gone – When I started typing this list, I didn’t anticipate this being my favorite, but my fingers typed it. Casey Affleck is superb, and the rest of the cast feels like real people. The moral conundrum will leave you debating long after you’ve left the theatre.

2.) Once – Maybe I was completely drawn in by Glen Hansard’s brilliant music, or perhaps it was the way the film casually navigated the relationship of the two musicians unfolding before me. Either way this is the only musical (if you want to call it that) that I have ever enjoyed. Oh, and I also loved the ending.

3.)Michael Clayton A tense legal thriller with solid performances from George Clooney, Tilda Swinton, and Tom Wilkinson (glad we agree their film snob). For someone who seems to appreciate movies with verisimilitude, I can’t figure out where this one missed for you. Did I mention the ending was good?

4.) No Country for Old Men – I think I am peer-pressuring myself to put it this high. I thought Javier Bardem and the rest of the cast was memorable (usually a staple in my favorite films), and I loved the way the movie tightened its grip as it progressed. But when it was all said and done, where did we go?

5.) The Bourne Ultimatum: Simply put, it was the best action film of the year. The characters are relatively well developed in spite of the tempetuous pace. I agree with the Film Snob, the best of the three.

6.) Superbad: Despite what some critics say this is not a love story or some coming of age friendship story. This is a movie with tons of raunchy jokes that will leave you laughing throughout its duration.

Apatow -owns- comedy right now

Apatow -owns- comedy right now

7.) Dan in Real Life: I think I liked this movie more than most people, but the two leads were great together, and it was funny without forcing it. This movie is charming and has a solid message in spite of Dane Cook’s acting ability. And please stop comparing it to ‘The Family Stone.’

8.) There Will Be Blood: It’s a year later and I’m still talking about Daniel Day Lewis’ performance. It is a performance that transcends everything else about the film, which is brash and completely unapologetic. Don’t get me wrong, it’s slow it part, and bizarre throughout. Without Lewis’ performance it doesn’t make this list.

9.) Zodiac: This eerie suspense film snuck up on me as I hadn’t heard much about it prior to watching it. It’s safe to say it snuck up on me as I watched it. Ruffalo, Downey Jr. and Gyllenhaal are all very good in their compulsion for catching the Zodiac. Each character (and their nuances) resonate and drive the story, but what might be most impressive is Fincher’s ability to cram so much information without disrupting the film’s rhythm. (Use rhythm when playing hangman, the no vowels gets people everytime).

10.) Breach: – As Film Snob mentioned, Cooper shines here. The fact that it is inspired by true events makes the movie even more compelling. The pace is meticulously, like the tale itself, and even Ryan Phillipe (who I have never minded) is solid as Cooper’s opposite. To reiterate though, watch this film for Cooper’s performance, he’s brilliant.

11.) Eastern Promises: This Russian mobster tale is at its best when Cronenberg’s crew is shooting breathtaking scenes of violence. Viggo Mortensen is the star of a movie that is ultimately about right and wrong.

12.) Knocked Up: To me it’s not as funny as Superbad, and maybe because I’m not yet at this stage in my life. In any event is succeeds because not only is it still funny, but it is able to (unlike Superbad) to penetrate deeper and avidly convey the emotions underlying the jokes.

13.) Juno: Look, let’s face facts, it wasn’t as good as all the hype. But, at the same time, it is better than everyone who ‘hates it’ because of the hype. It was messy, original, witty, thoughtful and honest. Ellen Page, Jason Bateman, and even Jennifer Garner were real characters with real problems, and they harnessed them on screen in an endearing way.

14.) Into the Wild: This movie is clearly better than this, and I love Sean Penn about as much as I love Robert Downey Jr. It definitely brings up the discussion, visionary or idiot. Hirsh is good (per usual) in the lead role; even Vince Vaughn is pretty good. The movie is breathtakingly beautiful. So what’s my beef? — I just think that Penn romanticizes McCandless too much. Maybe his intentions were pure and egnimatic, but maybe he was just a little wack and underestimated the Alaskan wilderness.

Visionary or Idiot?

Visionary or Idiot?

15.) 3:10 to Yuma: It’s not a great flick, and I wasn’t a huge fan of Christian Bale in the lead (though most seemed to be). That said, I thought it was well-paced and the ending (theme here?) was awesome. Usually I’ve determined the ending by the half-way point (or before), but not this time. Crowe is awesome as the outlaw Ben Wade (not Josey Wells), but I really enjoyed Peter Fonda (hilarious) and Ben Foster (who was greating Alpha Dog as well). Besides, we needed a Western on the list.

Honorable Mentions:


Live Free or Diehard: – It was fun, and it was funny. Nuff said.

Assassination of Jesse James…: The title was too long, and the movie was too long. The cinematography (I’m not exactly sure what that is) was great, and so was Casey Affleck.

Mr. Brooks: I get that it has its fair share of flaws, but I was enthralled throughout, and really enoyed the back and forth between Costner and Hurt.


7 Reasons to Rent Forgetting Sarah Marshall

December 31, 2008

Also Reviewed By: Mr. Film Snob

Review: One thing you will quickly learn if you become a consistent reader of this site is that Mr. Film Snob and I and very different ideas of funny. For example, I thought Forgetting Sarah Marshall was the funniest movie of 2008. I’ve seen it three times.

I don’t disagree with Mr. Film Snob’s review (seriously, go read it) with the exception of the notion that the vampire opera was funny. It wasn’t. Clever, perhaps; funny, not so much. The Snob actually hit the nail on the head here:

If you’re a fan of 40-Year Old Virgin, Knocked Up, or Superbad-go for it and don’t look back. If you like cheap, obtuse, over-the-top laughs, this is your movie mecca.

Who’s not a fan of those movies!?

Anyway, I’m going to do something a little bit different and give you 7 reasons to rent the funniest movie of the year:

1.) forgetting-sarah-marshall-7-1280

Do you really need 6 more reasons? Fine.

2.) Though one dimensional, Russell Brand is really funny.

3.) Other Apatow alums, Paul Rudd, Jonas Hill, and Jack McBrayer deliver some solid comedy and one-liners of their own. McBrayer’s comment about God’s placement of playgrounds is the single funniest line in a movie this year.

4.)

I refuse to acknowledge the fact she dates Macaulay Culkin

I refuse to acknowledge the fact she dates Macaulay Culkin

5.) This is your chance to witness Jason Segel’s coming out party. He’s been a riot in television series’ “Freaks and Geeks” and “How I Met Your Mother,” and it was only a matter of time before he shined on the big screen.

6.) Segel’s Peter Bretter has more layers than Mr. Film Snob gives him credit for. When he was trying (and not bein over-the-top ridiculous) there was an authenticity to his vulernability.

7.) The romance aspect isn’t all that one dimensional. Some flashbacks, Bretter’s hesitancy, and a great conversation between Bell and Segel that highlights why it actually didn’t work the first time around actually gave the movie a bit of substance.

Rating: 6.8 + 1 (for repeat watchability) = 7.8

Recommendation: Rent it and watch it with a large group of friends and few beers.


The Lookout Review II

December 31, 2008

Also Reviewed By: Mr. Film Snob

Review: I have been reviewing some very recent releases of late, but I wanted to take a second to shine a light on this underrated gem from late 2007/early 2008.

The film has some very familiar noir elements, but I didn’t know what that meant until today, so I’d rather focus on the fact that this was an excellent cast film that will surprise most audiences.

Joseph Gordon-Levitt has been very smart about the roles he has chosen since his sting on 30 Rock and he delivers here as Chris Pratt. It would have been easy to over-act the character, but he remained subtle and nuanced, and I enjoyed throughout.

Just because he has memory issues, don’t try to compare this to Memento. Levitt isn’t really a man on a single mission, rather a troubled, flawed character just trying to return his life to some level of normalcy.

Jeff Bridges, Isla Fischer and Matthew Goode are all very solid in their respective roles, and therein lies the strength of this film. I really enjoy stories that are character-driven as opposed to plot driven, and this is one of those stories.

There are a couple of holes in the plot; the most notable one for me is the way Fischer’s character, Luvlee, is just phased out without the viewer knowing what happens.

As the Film Snob mentioned, the opening scene is beautifully shot, the ending is relatively clever (even if it’s a bit too clean), and I will add that I really thought the Thanksgiving dinner scene at Chris’ parents house was excellent.

Rating: 7.9

Recommendation: Rent this movie and appreciate some great performances from this solid cast. Enjoy the ride, and keep an eye on Levitt (his career path and ability to pick movies might lead him down a Ryan Gosling path, though I’m not sure he’s as strong as Gosling).


The Lookout Review

December 30, 2008

thelookout070402_560Reviewed by: The Film Snob

Synopsis: After the accident, Chris Pratt (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) doesn’t remember so well, yet he finds himself  right in the middle of a bank heist. His lack of memory puts his life in danger, as well as his best friend Lewis’s (Jeff Bridges).

Review: Often times the ending of a movie makes it worth mentioning. This would be one of those. It’s an intriguing movie throughout, with noteworthy performances by Jeff Bridges and Isla Fisher, but it’s really the last twenty minutes that got me all excited. Chris is in a bit of a bind with some dangerous people and he’s got to figure his way out of it. Of course, his brain doesn’t function so well—that makes things rather interesting.

The opening scene is also beautifully shot. Chris and his friends are driving through a collection of fireflies (or something like that)—it’s a great looking scene.

Rating: 7.7

Recommendation: A nice movie to rent–really, I recommend this one. I love movies that stay within themselves and this one does just that. Plus, it’s smart and has some worthy performances.


Wall-E Review

December 30, 2008

pixar_walleReviewed by: The Film Snob

Synopsis: All alone on a planet that has literally turned into a dump, WALL-E lives a simple life. He manages the eternal supply of garbage and longs for a better life. WALL-E is love-struck when EVE, a female probe bot, arrives on his planet. However, as with all females, there is more than meets the eye as WALL-E soon becomes involved a great space adventure.

Review: I guess I don’t understand what all the hype is about. This seems to me like an animated short that got stretched into a full-length feature film. I would have liked it a lot more if it was a five-minute introduction to Ratatouille than a $5.65 rental at Blockbuster. There’s about three minutes of actual story in this movie filled with a plethora of cutidies performed by Wall-E. Now, I understand that this is a children’s film and so it will certainly entertain its target market, but anyone with any IQ over 75 should be downright bored.

Also, it’s kind of a rip-off of 2001: A Space Odyssey. From the design of the ships assistant bot, to the ship turning on the captain, to the severe lack of words, I would think Pixar hired Stanley Kubrick if I didn’t know any better.

One great thing about this movie was John Ratzenberger. He had a minor role; I just love that he’s in every animated movie.

I may be being too hard on this movie, especially for kids. It does have some humorous quirks and serves as a cautionary tale regarding the careless effects that humans can have on their planet Earth. I suppose I was just expecting more from Pixar’s highly anticipated movie.

Rating: 3.1

Recommendation: My recommendation is to not listen to me on this one because every real critic seems to love it and it will be a great film for the kids. I don’t understand the love affair though.


The Best Movies of 2007

December 30, 2008

It’s December 2008 and we here at The Net Flicker are reviewing the 15 best films of 2007. Why? Because most of the great 2008 movies are still months away from being available to rent-so we thought we’d give you the opportunity to catch up on any films that may have slipped through the cracks. Plus, I just flat out like lists–so without further ado, your top 15 films of 2007.

1. No Country for Old Men

Javier Bardem scares me

Javier Bardem scares me


A cinematic masterpiece. People who hear the rave reviews often expect too much–they expect this film to be more than it is. The movie is a simple tale of fate and chance–nothing more, but it’s done with exceptional brilliance.

2. The Lives of Others
This had a 2007 American release date so I guess it counts even though it won the 2006 Oscar for best foreign film. Even if you don’t get into reading subtitles, this is a must see. It takes place in 1980’s East Berlin and tells a fantastic story of brotherhood in the most severe of circumstances.

3. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly
Another foreign flick, but if you’re deciding between the two go with The Lives of Others. Yet, this story, which is based on a true story, is a good one. When Elle magazine editor, Jean-Dominique Bauby, goes from living large to living in a hospital bed he learns of regret and loss.

4. Away from Her
Damn! This was 2006! Oh well, Julie Christie was so brilliant I’m going to have to include it–remember Julie Christie from Dr. Zhivago? I didn’t think so, but you should watch her here anyway.

5. Once

Glen Hansard makes me want to learn to play the guitar

Once is the very definition of a cult classic

A musical for the rest of us. This isn’t your grandma’s musical–characters do not spontaneously burst into a coordinated song and dance. This small budget flick manages to tell and true-to-life story with great songs, one of which won an Oscar.

6. Into the Wild
This movie had a great beginning-it is at #6 on the list just because of that. A solid story all the way through and you’ll come away with a nice life lesson. That is, if you’re like me and take your life lessons from movies…

7. The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters
Bizarre–that is the only word I can think of to describe the word portrayed in this movie. Wait–hilarious, that’s another. If you enjoy having a hearty laugh at the expense of others, this is your documentary. Your sides will hurt by the time you finish watching these video game geeks compete for the Donkey Kong championship of the world.

8. Amazing Grace
This is not a cinematic thriller by any means. In fact, many may find it boring. It tells the true tale of the English politician who fought to abolish slavery in the 18th century. Albert Finney also delivers a solid performance as John Newton, the ex-slave trade ship captain who spends the latter part of his life repenting for his prior sins.

9. Dan in Real Life
It’s funny, that’s about all I have to say about that. Another wonderful performance by Juliette Binoche; unfortunately Dane Cook is in this movie, which is not good for anyone.

10. Bourne Ultimatum
The best of the Bourne series. Enough said.

11. The Simpsons Movie
200% funnier than the show has been in the last ten years. Based on the show, I really wasn’t expecting much, but this was much more than the celebration of The Simpsons that I thought it would be.

12. The Great Debaters
Probably not that great of a movie, but the speeches–oh my the speeches. The movie tells the story of the 1935 Wiley College debate team as they face racism, accusations of communism, and oh yeah–debates too. Again, great speeches.

13. Breach
One of the more interesting stories of the year. Chris Cooper, who is amazing as always, plays FBI/secret agent Robert Hannsen. Deciphering the motives of Hannsen and the FBI–well, it’s spellbinding.

14. The Counterfeiters

Like Amazing Grace, The Counterfeiters will not blow your socks off, but it's a great story to be told

Like Amazing Grace, The Counterfeiters will not blow your socks off, but it's a great story to be told

Just when you think every Holocaust story has been told, then The Counterfeiters comes along. It takes you along as the German government tries to weaken opposing nations by passing huge amounts of counterfeit bills to them. Prisoners at this camp are put in quite the quandary, as by counterfeiting these bills they are helping Germany’s war effort.

15. Zodiac
A Robert Downey Jr. movie! This is just a toss in for Average Joe. The film follows the characters involved in the San Fransisco killings of the 60’s and 70’s. Seriously, though-it was a surprisingly good flick.

16. Michael Clayton
Didn’t really care for this movie–I just had to take the opportunity to say that Tom Wilkinson is out of control as Arther Edens (and I mean that in the best of ways). How do you not love him when he’s all, “I am Shiva, the god of death!” Brilliant! It’s safe to say that Tom Wilkinson is good at what he does.


The Wrestler Review

December 29, 2008
Rourke Delivers a Truly Iconic Performance as The Ram

Rourke Delivers a Truly Iconic Performance as The Ram

Reviewed By: Average Joe

Synopsis: Randy “The Ram” Robinson (Mickey Rourke) is a wrestler twenty years past his prime. Struggling to find his place, Randy tries to start a relationship with a stripper named Cassidy (Marisa Tomei), and rekindle a relationship with the daughter he abandoned (Evan Rachel Wood).

Review: You cannot help but invest in Robinson as he navigates his life like a prizefighter years removed from being a master of his craft. Rourke turns in the second best acting performance I have seen this year (aside from Ledger’s Joker in The Dark Knight), and Tomei isn’t too bad herself.

The movie is shot in a very documentary like fashion that lends itself well to the inner workings of these small-time professional wrestling circuits. The movie provides a very authentic look into the camaraderie of the wrestlers in the locker room, as well as, the actual matches. This is a sport that chews up athletes and spits them out; google dead wrestlers if you don’t believe me.

This movie shows how the upkeep of the sport can drain your bank account when a wrestler is no longer a top draw. It shows how lonely life on the road can be, and you can’t help but empathize with The Ram (whether he deserves it or not) as he clings to hope of a relationship with the stripper, Cassidy. Like a wrestler, Tomei plays an older stripper, in an industry that seeks youth.

For the Film Snob, there’s even a solid mini-speech or two, and I love when The Ram, referring to the ring, says, “Out there is the only place I don’t get hurt.” I also loved the ambiance as The Ram walks down long corridors to go to work in the grocery deli, and the charisma he shows even in this role. You will see what I mean.

It’s no secret that the life of The Ram somewhat parallels Rourke, the actor. Perhaps this is why Rourke is capable of delivering a truly iconic performance.

Despite an amazing performance from Rourke, and exceptional authenticity and direction from Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream), the movie’s rating suffers just a bit because it lags just a bit in the first half, and though it may have been necessary I thought the father-daughter subplot could’ve been orchestrated a little better.

Rating: 8.6

Recommendation: It’s not as good as The Dark Knight or Slumdog Millionaire, but this is a great film that you should go to the theatres to see, if for nothing else than Rourke’s Oscar (mention at least) worthy performance. This is definitely a film that I consider one of the top 5 I’ve seen in 2008, and one I will be proud to own.