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January 11, 2008

Top Five Movies of 2007—Matt Zakosek

Starrbooty

Director Mike Ruiz’s showcase of legendary drag performer RuPaul recalls the best of John Waters, David Lynch, or even Andy Warhol. Its political incorrectness stems not from a juvenile desire to shock, but from an exploration of race, gender, sexuality, and the ways we perceive them. As Special Agent Starrbooty, RuPaul catwalks away with the most purely enjoyable film of 2007.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

This movie is a nasty delight, with Johnny Depp redeeming his atrocious work as Willy Wonka. But the movie belongs to the younger members of the cast: Jamie Campbell Bower breathes life into the idealistic Anthony, Ed Sanders is perfect as adorable orphan Toby, and as Johanna, the 20-year-old Jayne Wisener graces the film with its best voice. Director Tim Burton is finally back on track, and is it even necessary to mention the songs? They will keep you humming days later.

Juno

Yes, Diablo Cody’s arch dialogue grates, and sometimes, the story is just too precious for words. But as the title character, Ellen Page is a revelation. Her delivery of key lines—“Dream big!” and “It’s just noise!”—is a standout. By infusing the character with a refreshing honesty, she rescues the rest of the film from its annoying indie performativity.

I’m Not There

This movie is worth it just for Cate Blanchett’s embodiment of Jude Quinn, the egotistical Dylan, even if it doesn’t hold up to Todd Haynes’s 1987 biopic Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story. The only 2007 movie to feature both Richard Gere and a giraffe, it solidifies the director’s reputation as a twisted genius.

No Country for Old Men

Even if your initial reaction is distaste, this latest film from the Coen Brothers sticks with you. The men are all outstanding, but Kelly Macdonald turns in the best performance as the dangerously naïve Carla Jean. It’s also a visual stunner, thanks to Roger Deakins’s sweeping cinematography of the wide-open Texas plains.