July 1 means that the year is officially half-over (figured that out all by myself), so I figure it might be fun to pick back over the past six months and offer a list of my very favorite flicks of the year. I've long since given up trying to differentiate between "the best films of the year" and "my favorite films of the year," but seeing as they'd both originate in the same brain, I figure they're pretty much the same thing. Some of my choices will be obvious, but (hopefully) some won't. And get this: Some of 'em are horror movies. (A film must have received a North American theatrical release prior to 7/1 in order to qualify.)
January -- Not many choices, really, but I'm an enthusiastic supporter of both Cloverfield and Teeth. I also enjoyed Cassandra's Dream a bit more than most folks seem to, but it's hardly among Woody Allen's best movies. Beyond that, January was as lame as ever. (Thanks for nothing: One Missed Call, First Sunday, Mad Money, Rambo, Untraceable, and the execrable Meet the Spartans.)
February -- Things certainly started getting a little better around groundhog time. I found In Bruges to be a stunningly unexpected treat; The Spiderwick Chronicles a very fun cross between Potter and Gremlins; Diary of the Dead a very welcome departure from zombie lord George Romero; The Signal a mico-budget mini-masterpiece, and Semi-Pro to be very funny and entirely forgettable. Special mention to the (surprise hit, but critically underrated) Vantage Point, which really deserves a second look. (Stinkers: The Eye, Strange Wilderness, and Jumper.)
March -- I had a testosterone-filled ball with Doomsday, I laughed (a lot) at The Grand, I enjoyed the photocopy of Funny Games, and I actually found Run Fatboy Run to be kind of charming. (Feel free to skip: 10,000 BC, Shutter and 21.)
April -- The Ruins got under my skin with no problem whatsoever, Forgetting Sarah Marshall is very generous with the laughs, Pathology is a weirdly engaging little thriller, and Harold & Kumar 2 delivered a rare pot comedy that has half a brain. Only half, but it works. Oh, and Tom McCarthy's The Visitor is a very good little "people story" sort of movie. (Lots of so-so stuff this month, but the true turkeys include 88 Minutes, The Forbidden Kingdom and the worst flick of the year so far: Freakin' Prom Night.)
May -- The summer season kicked off in excellent fashion with the supremely enjoyable Iron Man, plus the wonderful import called Son of Rambow (finally) opened this month. Horror freaks enjoyed some more French cuisine in Frontier(s), Indiana Jones made a (mostly) welcome return in Kingdom of the Crystal Skull, and "studio horror" took a small step forward with The Strangers. Indies worth remembering include The Foot Fist Way, Stuck, and The Fall. (Never again: Speed Racer, What Happens in Vegas, and Postal. Yeah, Postal.)
June -- Since I dig most of Dreamworks' animated offerings (Flushed Away rocks!), I'm not surprised that I enjoyed Kung Fu Panda so much. However, I was not anticipating my affection for The Incredible Hulk, and I actually expected Wanted to suck donkey tail. But it's really a whole lot of fun. Smaller titles for your Netflix queue include the Harlan Ellison documentary Dreams With Sharp Teeth, Dario Argento's mega-weird Mother of Tears, Adam Yauch's basketball flick Gunnin' for That #1 Spot, and of course the very amusing Steve Conrad comedy The Promotion. (I still have yet to see The Love Guru, Get Smart, WALL*E, and that wretched-looking Adam Sandler thing, but June's lame ducks would be ...The Happening. I was so with it for about a half hour and then ... ugh.)
So obviously I want your picks too. And yes, Hancock would be high up on my favorites list, if only it wasn't a July release.For more, check out Moviefone's top 20 choices for the best movies of the year so far.