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The best movies of 2007 that you don't know about yet

Posted Friday, January 5, 2007 at 4:40 PM Central

by Tim Briscoe

It's a safe bet that the biggest movies of 2007 will all be known commodities -- the sequels and remakes that the general public is already anticipating. But what will be the surprise movies of the year?

Borat, The Departed, Dreamgirls and Little Miss Sunshine weren't in the top 10 at the box office in 2006 but they were among the most memorable for the year.

My colleague John Couture and I compiled this list of 15 films. They are our picks for the movies that not everyone knows about now but they most certainly will at this time next year.

Smokin' Aces

While, yes, it does feature non-actor Alicia Keys in a large role, Aces packs plenty of acting chops with the likes of Ben Affleck, Jeremy Piven, Andy Garcia, Don Cheadle, Ray Liotta and Ryan Reynolds. It's like Goodfellas meets Ocean's 11 meets Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. Oh yeah, and it's set in Vegas, baby! Jan. 26.

Tyler Perry's Daddy's Little Girls

These days it seems that everything that Tyler Perry touches turns to gold. But, the real question is can he find success without Madea? I'm betting that he does. Feb. 14.

Black Snake Moan

Writer-director Craig Brewer really impressed with 2005's Hustle & Flow. I think he can top it with acting stand-outs Samuel L. Jackson and Christina Ricci. The only thing I'm unsure of is Justin Timberlake as a tough guy. Alpha Dog should tell us how well he fits the role. Feb. 23.

Zodiac

Who cares that it's about a serial killer from the '60s and '70s that was never caught. Who cares that lead actor Jake Gyllenhaal brings to mind all sorts of Brokeback Jack the Ripper jokes. It's directed by David Fincher (Seven and Fight Club). Any questions? Mar. 2.

300

Have you seen the trailer for this thing? It's bloody. It's violent. It's based on Frank Miller's (Sin City) graphic novel about the Battle of Thermopylae in ancient Greece. This one looks so good it makes us want to go back to sixth grade history class -- and that's saying a lot. Mar. 16.

Blades of Glory

Everyone remembers The Cutting Edge, right? OK, now put Ricky Bobby and Napoleon Dynamite together as pair figure skating partners and that's pure comic genius. And if all fails, there will be plenty of Canadian jokes sprinkled in the mix. Mar. 30.

The Reaping

This just in -- Hilary Swank can act! Of course that's no news flash. The two-time Oscar winner can certainly hold her own. This one has her in a supernatural thriller. Stephen Hopkins, the guy who directed half of the episodes in 24's first season, helms this one. Mar. 30.

The Kingdom

The latest from director Peter Berg looks good. Jamie Foxx leads an FBI unit that includes Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, and Chris Cooper. They must travel to the Middle East to track down the terrorist responsible for a deadly attack on Americans. It should pack a lot of action. Apr. 20.

28 Weeks Later

Danny Boyle reinvented the zombie genre with 28 Days Later. While this loosely based sequel retains none of the original talent or crew of the original one, there will still be plenty of interest to watch the undead "kill" the living. May 11.

I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry

The premise for this one has me rolling in the aisle with laughter -- and I'm not even at the theater yet. Adam Sandler and Kevin James are two manly firefighters who pretend to be a gay couple just to receive healthcare benefits given to domestic partners. Jessica Biel co-stars. July 20.

Underdog

Let's just say that the last animated flick to feature Jason Lee was The Incredibles and I think that one turned out OK. Lee is perfect as the crime-fighting canine and this flick will resonate both with kids because of the animation and their parents who remember watching Underdog on TV when they were young. Aug. 3.

Shoot 'Em Up

Two of my favorite actors, the always impressive Clive Owen and Paul Giamatti, go head-to-head in this action thriller. The super sexy Monica Bellucci is along for the ride. Alas, the weak link may be writer-director Michael Davis whose last movie as the low budget Monster Man. Sept. 7.

Bee Movie

This animated comedy is Jerry Seinfeld's first big project since his sitcom. Seinfeld wrote the story and provides the voice for the lead character, a honey bee who falls for a human florist played by Renee Zellweger. Chris Rock plays a mosquito. Nov. 2.

I Am Legend

Will Smith in another sci-fi action flick? As a fan of I, Robot, I'll be first in line for this one. Smith is the last human of a post-apocalyptic Earth. He faces nightly attacks from vicious vampires. It reminds us of 28 Days Later a little bit. Nov. 14.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

The length of the title alone will assure us that we'll be talking about this movie come the end of 2007. That and Brad Pitt in leather chaps. Not since Young Guns has there been a Western movie with as much buzz about it. Unforgiven doesn't count. Expected in December.