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2007 Bellview Awards--The Mid-Year Edition!



I'm down even more this year on the home video front (34 VCUs, explained below), but never fear--I just bought a new portable DVD player, so now on all of these crazy trips I am taking, I can actually watch my Netflix while I'm on the road.  (I'm amazed I waited this long to buy one!)

Flicks are up a bit this year (65 through the year's first half) thanks to almost 25 movies that I paid to see at the Sundance Film Festival and the Tribeca Film Festival.  The summer has had many blockbusters so far and that will continue, and there are plenty of flicks on the fall schedule that have got me fired up, both foreign & domestic, both big-budget and little indie.

Enjoy the mid-year awards, and drop a line to let me know what you think!

Video Composite Units--this number combines films and TV shows that I have watched by breaking them down into total hours.  For standalone films, those count as one VCU; for TV content, they are broken down into total minutes so that they fall within a 90-to-120-minute range and then are referred to as a unit.  For example, the first season of "Deadwood" had 12 60-minute episodes, so that breaks down into 6 VCUs, since it is 12 hours of footage.

Best Flick--"Darius Goes West: The Ride of His Life"

This was easy so far this year; I'm still pulling for this film to get distribution nationally so everyone can see why I loved this film.  By the way, the mother of the director of "DGW" has me working with three other people (one of whom has a son with Duchenne Muscular Dystrophy) to get a fund-raising showing set for the greater DC area, hopefully in late August or early September, so I'll keep y'all in the loop!

  1. "Hot Fuzz."  The guys who gave us "Shaun of the Dead" made a great follow-up, one that is way better if you've got an itch for good AND bad 1980s and 90s cop flicks

  2. "Knocked Up."  I know people who didn't spend most of their time laughing while watching this movie, so I blacklisted them and will never talk to them again

  3. "Teeth."  I saw this at Sundance in January, and if this comes out in an unrated format, you will howl while watching this ridiculous horror-comedy (this has been bought, but it has not been given a release date as far as I know)

  4. "Chasing Ghosts."  Another Sundance entry, this video-game homage means a lot to me but I'm still hopeful that it finds a distributor

Best Actress--Jess Weixler, "Teeth"

If I'm not mistaken, Weixler won the award for best actress at Sundance this year; she'll get more buzz when the film actually opens, but she's great in the lead here

  1. Angelina Jolie, "A Mighty Heart."  Although her part isn't always the focal point in this movie, she is consistently fantastic throughout

  2. Katherine Heigl, "Knocked Up."  I don't watch her in her TV role, but in this movie, she is hilarious

  3. Kate Dickey, "Red Road."  I didn't love this movie, but Dickey is engrossing in this film particularly in the late-going.  And, some of the things she is asked to do here...whoa

  4. Christina Ricci, "Black Snake Moan."  Yes, this movie is ridiculous and it made almost no money, but that wasn't Ricci's fault, who takes "play the white trash lead" and runs down a long path with it

Best Actor--Gerard Butler, "300"

Sure, he occasionally forgets to drop his Irish accent during the movie, but thanks to a sweet workout routine and some of the best special effects of the year, Butler has cemented at least a couple of big paychecks for himself in the near future

  1. Jamel Debbouze, "Angel-A."  Brilliant performance for one of France's great filmmakers, Luc Besson...he also appeared in the Oscar-nominated flick "Days of Glory" last year

  2. Chris Cooper, "Breach."  Better-than-expected spy flick was powered by Cooper, who makes being a traitor seem like a truly conflicting idea instead of being completely one-sided

  3. Kevin Costner, "Mr. Brooks."  Another well-layered performance that makes the idea of living next door to a killer seem just fine as long as he keeps helping the community

  4. James McAvoy, "Starter for 10."  His work in "The Last King of Scotland" was decent, but in this film, he's fantastic and shows great comedic chops

Best Supporting Actress--Leslie Mann, "Knocked Up"

Save for that annoying voice, Mann's performance as Alison's sister makes the grade and provides for mucho laughter

  1. Lena Headey, "300."  Being hot doesn't quite cut it; no, you buy that this woman, this queen is really, REALLY tough.  Her nod to Leonidas to indicate that offing emissaries from other countries is cool with her is maybe the film's best scene

  2. Evan Rachel Wood, "King of California."  As the co-star in the upcoming Michael Douglas heist comedy, Wood is great; she shows promise after doing lots of drug-addled, sex-crazed characters in her recent past

  3. Carrie-Anne Moss, "Fido."  Playing Trinity in the "Matrix" films has given her the chance to do whatever she wants, and in this film, her hammy, stiff "Leave It to Beaver"-style mom performance is fantastic

  4. Rebecca Hall, "Starter for 10."  As the good woman with the hippie-ish profile, Hall's contrast to the film's other vixen (Alice Eve) works quite well, especially in terms of the comedy in this great movie

Best Supporting Actor--Nick Frost, "Hot Fuzz"

Frost, as fat sidekick cop Danny Butterman in "Hot Fuzz", almost steals the movie's laughs when he first shows up, and as the bumbling partner who is as dim as a late afternoon in San Francisco, he's perfect from start to finish

  1. Robert Downey Jr., "Zodiac."  I did not love the movie, but over the course of its running time you can never deny how great Downey is when he puts his mind to it

  2. William H. Macy, "Wild Hogs."  Even now I still don't know why I thought this movie was so funny, but it helps that Macy's performance really IS quite funny, as a older-guy geek who finds love and adventure on the back of a chopper

  3. Jonah Hill, "Knocked Up."  As the best of Ben's couch-bound cohorts, Hill (who is starring in the upcoming "Superbad") has the best lines of the bunch.  It helps that he just looks really funny!

  4. Henry Czerny, "Fido."  Longtime character actor Czerny--maybe best known as the lead agent chasing after Tom Cruise in the first "Mission: Impossible" flick--is great as a zombie-fighting legend in this great Sundance entry from earlier this year

Biggest Fucking Piece of Shit--"The Number 23"

Poor Jim Carrey.  There was a time where he was almost nominated for an Oscar for his work in both "The Truman Show" and "Man on the Moon"; he did "How the Grinch Stole Christmas" in 2000 and that made a boatload of cash.  Since he did "The Majestic" in '01, his movie career has not done so well, and in "The Number 23", it can only be described as hitting rock-bottom because this movie was an absolute piece of shit AND it made almost no cash, barely making back a $30 million budget.  What a fucking dog!!

Ten Great Scenes of the First Half of 2007 (not necessarily in order, and it will be changed before the end of the year!):

  1. "Teeth"--can't tell you why, but you'll see!

  2. "Grindhouse"--the trailer for "Machete"

  3. "Red Road"--the bodily fluid sequence

  4. "Hot Fuzz"--"by the powers of Greyskull" or maybe when the priest dies, while saying "Jesus Christ" in his dying breath

  5. "Interview"--"Sorry about that, Cunt-i-a."

  6. "300"--Leonidas chewing on an apple as bodies are being stacked into a wall

  7. "Once"--the first jam session in the piano store

  8. "Knocked Up"--the second sex scene ("It's a STYLE...")

  9. "Black Snake Moan"--the first time you see Rae (Christina Ricci) chained to the wall

  10. "Starter for 10"--the slow-motion scene as the Gang of Four walk into the University Challenge at the end of the film

Best Thing I Watched on DVD--"Jesus Camp"

Pound for pound, the great Orson Welles thriller "Touch of Evil" was a better movie (I saw that earlier this spring, too), but "Jesus Camp" is the one you need to see if you haven't already.  Sure, it's a religious documentary, but don't let that stop you if you have been on the fence about watching this--this is about as fair a doc as you are ever going to see and some of the revelations in this film really are shocking.  This was nominated for an Oscar for Best Documentary Feature, too.


Click here to see all of the films of 2007 reviewed and rated.  Theater-to-home conversion happens superfast, so many of these flicks are already out on video.  Have a good one...


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The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09