Title Screen Film Genre(s), Title, Year, (Country), Length, Director, Description
Across the Universe (2007), 128 minutes, D: Julie Taymor
The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford (2007), 160 minutes, D: Andrew Dominik
Atonement (2007, US/UK), 123 minutes, D: Joe Wright
Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007), 117 minutes, D: Sidney Lumet
The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007, US/Fr.) (aka Le Scaphandre Et Le Papillon), 112 minutes, D: Julian Schnabel
4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days (2007, Romania) (aka 4 Luni, 3 Saptamâni Si 2 Zile), 113 minutes, D: Cristian Mungiu
Gone Baby Gone (2007), 114 minutes, D: Ben Affleck
During the opening of Ben Affleck's crime drama, private investigator Patrick Kenzie (Casey Affleck) explained that his job was to find people gone missing from the tough working-class neighborhood where he grew up, near Boston. He was hired by Bea McCready (Amy Madigan) to find the abducted 4-year-old daughter (Madeline O'Brien) of an ignorant cocaine-addicted mother (Amy Ryan). He was assisted by other police detectives, including veteran Remy Bressant (Ed Harris) and police captain Jack Doyle (Morgan Freeman), and joined by his girlfriend, Angie (Michelle Monaghan), as they entered a seamy world of gangs, drug dealers, murderous child-molesting pedophiles, and corrupt cops. As it turned out, Amanda's kidnapping (and her death) had been faked, and she was found living happily with Captain Doyle and his wife, who had suffered the kidnapping and murder of their own child years before. The film ended on a sad note, with Amanda returning to her irresponsible and negligent mother.
Hairspray (2007), 115 minutes, D: Adam Shankman
Into the Wild (2007), 148 minutes, D: Sean Penn
Juno (2007), 96 minutes, D: Jason Reitman, Joe Drake
Michael Clayton (2007), 119 minutes, D: Tony Gilroy
In writer Tony Gilroy's directorial debut film, Michael Clayton (George Clooney) was a ruthless, high-powered former prosecutor turned troubled "fixer" corporate lawyer (or "special counsel") in New York for Kenner, Bach and Ledeen (headed by Marty Bach (Sydney Pollack)). His job was "janitor" - to clean up various problems and keep high-paying clients out of trouble, although he had problems of his own: a divorce, gambling addiction to poker, and a remaining debt of $75,000 (for a sour deal regarding a failed restaurant business) that he was struggling to pay off for his alcoholic brother Timmy Clayton (David Lansbury). The film opened with issues involving the law firm's involvement in a multi-billion-dollar class-action lawsuit (that was about to be settled pre-trial) against their client, an agro-chemical company named U/North. The company was accused of using a cancer-causing pesticide, and there were additional problems with the firm's top litigator -- unstable, guilt-ridden defense lawyer Arthur Edens (Tom Wilkinson). Edens had been working on the U/North case for 6 years and suffered a ranting/raving breakdown during a deposition in the case in Milwaukee when he stopped taking his medications. Also, Clayton found himself in a deadly predicament when there was a failed car-bombing designed to kill him. The key to the film was that Edens was planning to sabotage the pre-trial settlement of the lawsuit with U/North's ruthless chief in-house counsel Karen Crowder (Tilda Swinton), by distributing large numbers of red-bound copies of a confidential scientific report (Memorandum # 229). The report, from one of U-North's own internal research teams (and signed by CEO Don Jefferies (Ken Howard)), told about the hazardous effects of human exposure to the weed killer involved in the lawsuit. Edens had been persuaded to turn against U/North (and blow the case) by one of the young plaintiffs in the case - a farm-girl named Anna (Merritt Wever), with whom he had became infatuated. To stifle Edens, Crowder had hired henchmen to track and spy on Arthur's phone-calls and whereabouts - and then to kill him - by faking his suicidal death from an overdose (by injecting him between the toes). They also plotted to kill Michael with a car bomb, because he was suspicious that Arthur didn't leave a suicide note at the scene, and that Arthur was on his way to meet Anna at the airport on the same evening he died. In the film's final scene, U/North's Karen Crowder calmly assured her executives at a board meeting about the impending successful settlement of the lawsuit. Then outside in the hallway, she was surprised with a live confrontation by Michael Clayton - not dead from the car-bomb but quite alive. He blackmailed her, proposing that he could be bought off for $10 million to keep quiet ("$10 million dollars, bank of my choosing, offshore, immediately!"). She agreed ("You have a deal"), but didn't realize that he had secretly broadcast their conversation about her offer of hush money. He then told her: "You're f--ked" - after which he snapped her picture with his cellphone's camera and then identified himself: "I'm Shiva, the God of Death." As she collapsed to the floor, she was arrested by Michael's police detective brother Raymond (Kevin Hagan), who had heard everything. The end credits played over Michael Clayton's $50 drive around town ("Just drive") in a taxi, viewed in a long-held shot.
No Country For Old Men (2007), 91 minutes, D: Joel and Ethan Coen
The Orphanage (2007, Mex./Sp.) (aka El Orfanato), 105 minutes, D: Juan Antonio Bayona
Paranormal Activity (2007), 86 minutes, D: Oren Peli
This low-budget, breakout, independent horror film (another 'found footage' example) was director Oren Peli's highly-effective and successful feature debut, similar to the faux-documentary style of The Blair Witch Project (1999). It came into wide release following a massive social-media viral marketing campaign. The suspenseful 'bump in the night' minimalist thriller (completely bloodless) was about a mysterious nocturnal entity documented on videotape with a night-vision camcorder set on a tripod in a bedroom. Inexplicable late-night incidents and malevolent hauntings occurred over a three-week period in the two-story suburban San Diego tract house of a young couple: day-trading Micah (Micah Sloat) and his live-in teacher-girlfriend Katie (Katie Featherston). With clueless bravado, Micah brought home a Ouija board and attempted to confront the menacing forces threatening the entire house.
Persepolis (2007, Iran/Fr.), 95 minutes, D: Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud
Ratatouille (2007), 110 minutes, D: Brad Bird, Jan Pinkava
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), 117 minutes, D: Tim Burton
There Will Be Blood (2007), 158 minutes, D: Paul Thomas Anderson
La Vie En Rose (2007, Fr./UK/Czech.) (aka La Môme), 140 minutes, D: Olivier Dahan