Thursday, February 21, 2008

Best Movies of 2007: The Truth Can Be Thumbs Up

Because the month of January sucked at running, I boycotted the sport, and placed my allegiances squarely with Hollywood, for whom January is a font of delicious goodness, like one of those chocolate fountains you'll see at wedding receptions and the occasional Sweet Sixteen. With the Oscars now almost upon us, I must complete my journey through the Best Movies of 2007 in preparation for Sunday's awards...

Michael Clayton - the movie that earned such strong word-of-mouth praise that the studio decided to re-release it in many parts of the country. Deserving? Or not? After the jump.

MICHAEL CLAYTON, dir. Tony Gilroy

I know. Who the fuck is Tony Gilroy and how does a person make a movie this good his first time directing?

Tom Wilkinson is the balls. Sydney Pollack is the balls. Tilda Swinton - sporting a mean Fupa, but still, also the balls. George Clooney demands your attention every second he is on screen, and I mean that in the best way possible. This flick, about a "fixer" at a high-powered New York law firm, is just solid, all the way around. There are few virtuoso moments of manic emotion in store for the viewer -- and the plot necessitates that I stay mum on some of the most gratifying moments -- but whoo-ee, this movie just works on you, with fine acting work, tremendous, natural dialogue, and a fascination with odd angles that often create stowaway elements, hidden until just the right moment. Like American Gangster, Michael Clayton trusts its viewer to connect the dots; to recognize when dialogue is expository and needs to be understood, and when it is simply developing character; to get into the head of a protagonist who usually keeps his own counsel, because that's all he's got.

Top to bottom: a winner.

Atonement is all that remains among the Best Picture nominees. Probably should see Ratatouille or however you spell it, too, but we'll see if we have time.

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