2007 was a good year for movies, wasn’t it?
My favorite, I think, was The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Adapted from a true story of a stroke victim who was almost completely locked up in physical paralysis, in the words of New Yorker film critic David Denby, the movie’s ‘a gloriously unlocked experience, with some of the freest and most creative uses of the camera and some of the most daring, cruel, and heartbreaking emotional explorations that have appeared in recent movies.’ I do want to caution you against expecting it to be ‘inspirational.’ But here, read Denby’s excellent and accurate review, and decide for yourself.
My next favorite was There Will Be Blood, followed quickly by Sweeney Todd and the fascinating Chinese movie Summer Palace (ok, released in China in 2006, but briefly, preciously available to US audiences in 2007; it’s been banned in China. I blogged about it last March.)
Zodiac was terrific, even if we only saw it on DVD (in truth, the movie is so long and runs counter to so many narrative expectations that — call us wimps — we needed to take breaks for to rest, recoup, and reconsider.) I still haven’t seen director David Fincher’s Fight Club, but on DVD this year I found myself preferring Fincher’s Alien 3 to Joss Whedon’s Alien 4 and blogged about it at The Spiced Tea Party.
I still think, as I did last August that The Bourne Ultimatum was pretty excellent (and highly instructive as an example of telling its story through the eye of a surveillance camera — I thought hard about that when it came time to tell parts of my forthcoming fall 2008 romance novel in the voice of the Regency gossip columns, a little differently than Julia Quinn has done in the Bridgerton books).
I haven’t seen the movie that seems particularly popular on the romance reader and writer blogs, Atonement — and won’t until I read the novel. So I’m particularly struck by how few ‘romantic,’ period costume, girlie-type movies I saw this year, or even especially wanted to see. And how few female performances stood out, compared to Daniel Day-Lewis and Paul Dano in There Will be Blood all the guys in Zodiac and No Country for Old Men, and Philip Seymour Hoffman in (it felt like) just about everything else.
But I’ll have more to say about that next time I post here. Because it was a pretty strange year for gender in film, I think, all of which deserves more thought.
Come back soon and let’s do it.