My picks for the best and worst movies of the year are no secret to anyone who follows my annual ranking of every new theatrical release I see. The ranking is a work-in-progress throughout the year. It begins when I see the first movie slated for release within a calendar year — for 2007, that began in Novemeber 2006 — and ends when I see the last theatrical release for consideration for year-end wrapups, and for the Oscars; for the movie year 2007, that happened just this past week, when I caught up with a couple of Oscar-nominated documentaries.
9. Mr. Brooks: Ugh. This “sensitive” drama about a serial killer who’s also a dedicated family man — because homicidal psychopaths are people too! — is a nightmare of faux emotion and unthrilling “thrills.” [buy at Amazon]
5. Southland Tales: It’s either a satire that goes terribly wrong, or a serious drama that goes even worse. It’s so cobbled together and half-assed in execution that it’s entirely possible Richard “Donnie Darko” Kelly wanted it to be both at once. [preorder at Amazon]
4. Georgia Rule: Hoorah! It’s a wacky comedy about childhood sexual abuse! Lindsay Lohan apparently plays herself, which is so genuinely sad — not that it was intended to be — that you wanna cry. [buy at Amazon]
2. Smokin’ Aces: This would-be snarky, winking sendup of orgiastically violence crime movies said to itself, “Never mind the satire, let’s just let the bullets and the gore fly.” Quite possibly a sign of the apocalypse, and if this is what we’ve been reduced to, I welcome it. [buy at Amazon]
1. Beowulf: One of the most horrendously misconceived movies I’ve ever seen, one that fundamentally fails to grasp the reason movies work at all: because they let us connect to other sentient creatures, and let us forget that they’re mere illusions flickering on a screen. If Robert Zemeckis set out to remind us of the deep and utter falseness of film, he succeeded, and wildly so. Thanks for ruining not just this movie, but the entirety of the medium for us. [buy at Amazon]