We're just a few weeks away from the Oscar nominations (they'll be announced on January 22), and many of the movies that are in serious contention aren't even yet available to much of the viewing public: Atonement is on a mere 310 screens; The Diving Bell and the Butterfly is on but 44; and There Will Be Blood is playing on only a single screen in New York, and another in L.A. (though it will expand slightly tomorrow).
But if you're in the boondocks, there are still many great films of 2007 -- some of which may even vie for Oscars -- you can see now, because they're already on DVD:
Best Movie (already on DVD): Sicko
Michael Moore's bitterly funny expose of the deplorable state of health care in America -- and a look at the many ways we could be doing it better -- is also one of the best films of the year, period. [read my review]
Best Animated Move (already on DVD): Ratatouille
A rapturous articulation of the power of a dream and the necessity of following it... even if you are a rat. [read my review]
Best Monster Movie (already on DVD): The Host
The goopy, tentacled realism of the creature is matched, ugh for ugh, by the satire on the American imperialistic arrogance that gave birth to it.
Best Comedy (already on DVD): Hot Fuzz
Writer-director Edgar Wright and writer-star Simon Pegg dissect the action movie with wit and outrageous humor, and turn in a pretty great action movie in the process. [read my review]
Best Horror Movie (already on DVD): Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
Yes, a Harry Potter movie gives some of the best shudders of the year as the boy wizard's teen angst rams up against looming fascism in the magic world just beside our own (and mirroring it). [read my review]
Best Screenplay (already on DVD): Zodiac
Here's a serial killer movie that isn't a shallow psychoanalysis of an aberrant but an All the President's Men-style un-peeling of the "normal" men who hunt him down, who become obsessed with him. [read my review]
Best Actor (already on DVD): Eastern Promises
Viggo Mortensen's ironic portrayal of a Russian mobster in London who's a gentlemanly mystery shows the actor at the very top of his game. [read my review]
Best Actress (already on DVD): Away from Her
Julie Christie as a woman in the early stages of Alzheimer's creates a guise of unruffled, slow detachment from the world and those who love her.
Best Visual Effects (already on DVD): 300
Director Zack Snyder uses an impressionistic narrative space to place his tale of bravery and pride -- which is also one of the best movies of the year, whether on DVD yet or not -- within a painterly space that represents the world in a mythic, metaphorical way. [read my review]
MaryAnn Johanson (email me)
reviews, reviews, reviews! at FlickFilosopher.com