Wednesday, December 26, 2007


For the year-end issue of Arts & Leisure, the New York Times film critics wrote about their favorite films of 2007. At left is an image from "Colossal Youth," Pedro Costa's film about a man in Lisbon whose wife kicks him onto the streets. Manohla Dargis chose the film, which still doesn't have distribution in the United States, after seeing it at the Cannes Film Festival. She writes, "Shot in digital video, it is a cryptic, arresting work that reveals its mysteries slowly." (Photo: (Pedro Costa/Luso)

A. O. Scott, Manohla Dargis and Stephen Holden all include "There Will Be Blood" in their list of favorites. The film is a psychological study following several years in the life of an oil baron, played by Daniel Day-Lewis. In reference to the movie's themes, Mr. Scott writes, "Genuine, rigorous pessimism about human nature still has the power to shock." (Photo: Melinda Sue Gordon/Paramount Vantage)

Remy and Emile are brothers in Brad Bird's "Ratatouille," about a rat with a desire to be a chef. A. O. Scott writes that the animated movie "demonstrates a bracing integrity in its commitment to the highest ideals of art." (Photo: Walt Disney Pictures and Pixar Animation Studios)

Viggo Mortensen, far left, stars in "Eastern Promises." The movie, set in London’s expatriate Russian underworld, is one of Ms. Dargis's top choices for the year. (Photo: Peter Mountain/Focus Features)

Michael Cera, Jonah Hill and Christopher Mintz-Plasse in "Superbad," a comedy about a night in the life of three high school kids who try to procure alcohol for a party. In her review of the movie, Ms. Dargis writes, "The young male actors in 'Superbad' look as pleasantly, sympathetically real as they behave. They’re at a total and happy remove from the musclebound cartoons of prime-time and action-flick reveries." (Photo: Melissa Moseley/Columbia Pictures)

Marcus Carl Franklin stars as Woody, a young musician riding the rails in Todd Haynes's experimental biopic "I'm Not There." The movie tells the story of Bob Dylan's life and career using six different actors to play aspects of his persona. "I'm Not There" was a favorite of both Mr. Scott's and Ms. Dargis's. Mr. Scott writes, "Though there’s a lot of Bob Dylan’s music in 'I’m Not There,' Mr. Haynes is not simply compiling golden oldies. You hear familiar songs, but what you see is the imagination unleashed — the chimes of freedom flashing." (Photo: Jonathan Wenk/Weinstein Company)

A scene from "Persepolis," Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud's animated film based on Ms. Satrapi's graphic novel about growing up in Iran. The film is one of Stephen Holden's top picks. He writes, "This French animated film offers an autobiographical account of Iran’s troubled history from the days of the shah through the Islamist revolution and the Iran-Iraq war. The same history translated into a live-action drama could never be depicted with the clarity and forceful drive that bold, simple animation encourages." (Photo: Sony Pictures Classics)

Frank Langella stars in "Starting Out in the Evening," about a retired teacher who develops a relationship with a younger woman. The film is one of Mr. Holden's top picks. Regarding Mr. Langella's performance, he writes, "Resignation and an embattled nobility vie for precedence in his sad-eyed visage." (Photo: Annabel Clarke/Roadside Attractions)

Josh Brolin stars in "No Country for Old Men," chosen as a top pick by both Mr. Scott and Mr. Holden. The film, based on Cormac McCarthy's novel, tells the story of a man in a small Texas town who finds a suitcase of cash and is hunted by a vicious killer. Mr. Scott calls it "a densely woven crime story made more effective by a certain controlled stylistic perversity." (Photo: Richard Foreman/Paramount Classics)

Laura Linney and Philip Seymour Hoffman star in "The Savages," a top pick from Ms. Dargis about a brother and sister who must reunite to take care of their ailing father. Ms. Dargis writes, "There isn’t a single moment of emotional guff or sentimentality in 'The Savages,' a film that caused me to periodically wince, but also left me with a sense of acute pleasure, even joy." (Photo: Andrew Schwartz/Fox Searchlight Pictures)

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