Sunday, December 30, 2007

1. "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." Because it's poetic, profound and perfect.

2. "Into the Wild." Takes the great American road narrative to new cinematic heights, with ambition, brio and a generous, expansive heart.

3. "There Will Be Blood." The epic story of a turn-of-the-century oilman explores the tensions between autonomy, connection, God and mammon that still animate the American character.

4. "Atonement." A sweeping, romantic, visually rich and philosophically provocative treatise on the power of narrative.

5. "Once." A musical for the rest of us.

6. "Michael Clayton." Classical cinematic storytelling in the sleek, literate tradition of the 1970s but without a whiff of nostalgia or pastiche.

7. "Golden Door." A quiet, supremely visual testament to the dreams, desires and self-deceptions that make the human race a migratory one.

8. "No End in Sight." Op. cit., Hunter, Stephen.

9. "Maxed Out.." This lively, well-made documentary all but predicted the subprime mortgage mess; no film this year was as timely or more essential.

10. "I'm Not There." With mixed success but refreshing audacity, Todd Haynes deconstructed a moribund genre (the hopelessly cliched musical biopic) and delivered something genuinely new.

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