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Rater Jeff Coats Mike Goheen Alexis Larsen Zack McGhee Anthony Shoemaker
Hollywood connection Once drove through L.A. and was rejected as an extra in Batman Begins. Used to work at a drive-in theater. Big toe still scarred from dropping a reel of Back to the Future on it. Larsen family dramedy is both character-driven and Oscar-worthy. Friday-night projectionist at the Little Art Theatre in Yellow Springs; programmed last year's all-night horror marathon. First job was in a Dayton video store where I saved a Steve Martin standup from a man angry that my boss fired his sister.
Usually likes Explosions, sci-fi, mutants, things that are genetically enhanced, heroes in spandex and/or leather and dark movies with singing Dramas that unwind slowly, overcomplicated sci-fi and anything Pixar

Quirky characters like those in Wes Anderson and Michel Gondry films (and my family), Pixar, Meryl Streep, Errol Morris documentaries.

Otherwise-mediocre movies with perfect endings, epics with a point-of-view, screwball comedies, hyperarticulate characters. Little movies with no expectations. Also have a soft-spot for good gangster flicks, old Hitchcock movies
Usually dislikes Rehashed horror, torture horror, JIM CARREY Anything involving Woody Allen, generic horror movies and Shrek Any horror movies, new Star Wars films, predictable endings Your mom. Really stupid movies that often feature Jim Carrey or Adam Sandler. Also, not a big fan of most children's movies and artsy flicks that try too hard.
10

Hot Fuzz

A film that was supposed to be a parody of the over the top buddy cop films, missed its mark, and instead made an excellent action film that was intentionally funny.

Juno

It's on every list for a reason — it's funny and real. And I love Bleeker's socks.

The Lookout

One part crime thriller, one part character study, this is a testament to the terrific acting ability of Third Rock From the Sun's Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford and Zodiac

Two imperfect, sprawling epics, in the style of the '70s. Each offers an embarrassment of riches: Ambitious storytelling, lush cinematography (even though Zodiac is digital!), and rich, layered performances.

The Namesake

Mira Nair's family drama tells the story of an Indian-American family dealing its American-born children and their attitudes toward their culture. Irfan Khan gives one of the best performances of the year as the family's patriarch.

9

Grindhouse

Admittedly it is hard to justify placing a film that celebrates patently bad films on a list of best films, but few modern directors do genre films as well as Tarantino and Rodriguez. Known for his exploitation films, Tarantino does a twisted take on female empowerment that helps you forget just how long you have been sitting in a theatre watching a very very long movie.

Sunshine

The rightful heir to Alien — essentially a horror movie set on a spaceship which pulls you along despite having more plot holes per reel than anything released in decades.

Enchanted

OK, so the ending is predictable, but this is still one supercalifragilistic film. Amy Adams' spot-on performance helped bring this charming tale to life.

Gone Baby Gone, The Good German and Eastern Promises

Three intense mysteries, each firmly auteur-driven: Gone is the surprising directorial debut of Ben Affleck. German is Steven Soderbergh's ode to '40s filmmaking. Promises is the latest from David Cronenberg.

Superbad

Comedy got dirty again this year. But unlike Porky's (RIP, Bob Clark —Ed.) and other raunchy comedies of old, this year's batch is better written and funnier. Superbad was easily the funniest movie this year.

8

Waitress

Possibly one of the cutest films of the year. Definitely the film that most made me want to consume large quantities of pie.

Eastern Promises

A great sinister mystery that contains possibly the best fists vs. knifes fight scene of all time. You feel every blow that hits Viggo Mortensen — who's naked in a tiled room, by the way.

Superbad

Nasty, raunchy and awkward, this superbad story about growing up is supergood.

Ratatouille and Stardust

Strong family films: Ratatouille celebrates passion and artistry that "can come from anywhere." Stardust is the kind of fun and fancy-free fantasy film we haven't seen since the '80s. (But it's, y'know — watchable.)

Once

This was a great small movie. The actors wrote and performed their own songs. The story was simple and worked on all levels.

7

Superbad

For my money, this was the comedy of the summer. A far more balanced effort than the other Rogen efforts. Michael Cera gives a more than noteworthy performance, but it is Christopher Mintz-Plasse that steals the entire movie.

Lars and the Real Girl

I'm not sure why I think this is the funniest movie of the year — it's really much sadder than, say Superbad or Knocked Up — but the way everyone in town "just goes along" with something pretty weird cracks me up.

The Lives of Others

This powerful political story's savior comes in the form of the enemy in a cinematic ode to a good man.

Ocean's Thirteen, The Bourne Ultimatum and Sweeney Todd

The year's best (and strangest) big-budget studio fare. Ocean's is zany, peculiar fun: Clooney's eye roll, Oprah, and Mexicans on strike! Bourne was the series' strongest. And Sondheim's Sweeney is decidedly Burton-esque.

Juno

This is the most serious comedy to come out in years. It's a simple film that is funny, sad and it all still works the second time you see it. Who knew teen pregnancy could be funny.

6

Juno

A truly great comedy. Ellen Page's does a great job of playing Juno as the poster girl for the hip and sassy

Michael Clayton

Oh yeah, that Clooney guy can act when he wants to. But Tilda Swinton's out-of-control CEO is incredible.

Waitress

A sweet, small-town film, served up with a side of warm, savory characters that made for a tasty treat in 2007.

Juno, Once, Superbad and Waitress

Four little movies that could: Jennifer Garner gives the year's best supporting performance in indie-darling Juno. Once and Superbad are each awkward love stories in their own way. Waitress is, I'm sorry to say, one of only two films on this massive list directed by a woman; RIP, Adrienne.

Away From Her

First-time director Sarah Polly created a gem with this story about a couple dealing with Alzheimer's. Julie Christie is great portraying a woman forgetting her life day by day. Gordon Pinsent gives a great performance as the husband who is leaving his wife's memory. Keep a tissue handy for this one.

5

The Bourne Ultimatum

Being the best film in a great series is no easy task, yet Matt Damon proves that sometimes the third time is the charm.

Ratatouille

I'm a Pixar fanboy, but anyone's gotta admit that they managed to make a cooking rat into a smart, funny hero. And I loved that they managed to animate the process of Proustian recollection.

Breach

You know the story, you know how it ends and yet this espionage thriller — based on a true story — continues to surprise you all along the way. Chris Cooper steals the secrets and the show.

Grindhouse and Hot Fuzz

Two dynamite movies that really know movies. Both underseen, Grindhouse now on DVD only in two bloated halves: Seek them out for a great gore-filled, action-packed time.

Talk to Me

This movie proved to be way better than I expected. Don Cheadle deserves an Oscar nod for his performance as DJ Petey Greene. Dayton's own Martin Sheen also does a great job as the radio station's manager.

4

Sweeney Todd

Blood, violence, singing, Tim Burton's usual breath taking visual imagery, and validation in the life choice to grow facial hair.....this film has it all!!!

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer

Perversity, beauty and weirdness all wrapped up in bright colors.

Juno

This hip, quirky smart-mouth comedy and the charming Ellen Page put the spotlight on teenage pregnancy and one girl's struggle to adapt. As Rainn Wilson's character Rollo says, "that ain't no etch-a-sketch. This is one doodle that can't be un-did, homeskillet."

Joshua and The Savages

A pair of great movies that never made it to Dayton in '07. Joshua scared the hell out of me, and had me clutching my theater seat helplessly. (It's on DVD.) The Savages is tragicomedy gold with Philip Seymour Hoffman and Laura Linney, and it's opening here soon.

No Country for Old Men

The Coen Brothers created a masterpiece unlike any movie this year. Javier Bardem is the creepiest guy to hit the screen in years and deserves an Oscar for his performance.

3

Transformers

I'll just go ahead and call this the best cartoon to film adaptation to date, and be done with it.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

This dreamlike movie made me believe in Brad Pitt's ability to act and not just stand there and be pretty. It's weird to say, but the narration really made this movie for me.

Ratatouille

Who knew rats could be so cute and loveable? Pixar did and they hit another home run last year, which is just what audiences have come to expect.

Black Book and The Lives of Others

Two of the best foreign films to come our way in '07. (If only there had been more!) Black Book is a Hollywood-style WWII-era thriller. The Lives of Others won last year's foreign-language Oscar.

Notes on A Scandal

This movie opened in New York and LA in 2006, but didn't come to Dayton until 2007. Judi Dench gives the best performance of 2006 in this movie.

2

American Gangster

If one for a reason to praise Denzel Washington's performance as a bad guy, then this is the film to see. Once again breaking away from his usual role, but this time with a far more intelligent, charming and ruthless character. Not to mention that director Ridley Scott finally delivers the on screen reunion of Washington and Crowe that fans have been begging for since Virtuosity

No Country for Old Men

The Coen brothers finally resist layering weirdness onto a story and get peak performances from Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and — Josh Brolin? And why are all the best Coen movies, like this one, about remorseless killers?

Eastern Promises

On the heels of A History of Violence is another brilliant exploration from David Cronenberg that weaves dark nightmares of savage brutality together with the hope of salvation. And then there's that bath house scene with Viggo Mortensen...

Perfume: The Story of a Murderer and Pan's Labyrinth

2006's best movies didn't make it to Dayton until 2007, so here they are. One rarely expects two equally strong masterpieces to arrive as early as January, but that's what happened: Tom Tykwer's (Run Lola Run) adaptation of the notorious novel Perfume represents a certain kind of fierce genius. Pan's is a great, dark fantasy from Guillermo Del Toro.

The Lives of Others

Filled with twists, this thriller makes you connect with every character and oddly the one you sympathize with the most is the villain.

1

300

Any movie that almost teaches history, and makes you want to go and work out has to be considered a triumph of modern cinema.

The Lives of Others

How many movies where the East German Secret Police is spying on someone make you sympathize with the spy? Just this one.

No Country for Old Men

This Coen brothers adaptation of Cormac McCarthy's book is nothing short of a masterpiece in modern cinema.

Lars and the Real Girl

Ryan Gosling gives the year's best performance as Lars, a man deluded into loving a sex-doll. (The relationship is never consummated.) The movie is about how his family and the small-town they live in cope with Lars' condition. Funny and sweet, this Capra-esque fairy tale is still rooted in the truth of family, community and compassion.

Crazy Love

This is the story of a deranged lover who goes to prison for 14 years after hiring men to throw lye into his ex-lover's face, blinding her for life. Years later she forgives him only to fall in love with him again and marry him. This is one of the strangest movies you'll ever see. Oh, and it's a documentary so all this crazy stuff really happened.

Runners-up Smokin Aces, The Golden Compass, Eastern Promises, The Simpsons Movie Zodiac, Black Book, Grindhouse, Hot Fuzz, Pan's Labyrinth, There Will Be Blood, Letters from Iwo Jima, The Good German, Knocked Up, Superbad, Sweeney Todd, Breach, Waitress. Away from Her, The Bourne Ultimatum, In the Shadow of the Moon, My Kid Could Paint That, The Namesake, Perfume: The Story of a Murderer, Talk to Me, Transformers Paris, je t'aime; Venus; A Mighty Heart; Blades of Glory; Broken English; Meet the Robinsons; The Kingdom; Breach; Charlie Wilson's War; Mr. Brooks; [the first two-thirds of] I Am Legend Atonement, The Savages, Waitress, Eastern Promises, Lars and the Real Girl , Breach, Zodiac, A Mighty Heart, Sicko, American Gangster, Charlie Wilson's War, Into the Wild, Knocked Up, The Hoax, Mr. Brooks, Sweeney Todd

What do you think of our critics' picks? Do you agree or disagree? What are your top 10 movies for 2007?

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