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PopMatters Picks: The Best TV, Film, and DVD of 2007

A lot of good movies are still missing from DVD. Here are 25 that PopMatters feels have been unceremoniously left to simply fade away. Stay tuned tomorrow for the best DVDs of 2007.

Edited by Bill Gibron / Produced by Sarah Zupko and Bill Gibron

Schedule for features...

Wednesday, January 9: FILM: The Top 10 Performances, Male and Female

Thursday, January 10: FILM: The Best International and Indie Film of 2007

Friday, January 11: FILM: The 30 Best Films of 2007 and the 10 Worst Films of 2007

Wednesday, January 16: FILM: The Most Anticipated Films of 2008

Thursday, January 17: DVD: Guilty Pleasures (TV/DVD) of the Year

Friday, January 18: TV: Top TV of the Year

Thursday, January 24: DVD: The DVD Wish List

Friday, January 25: DVD: Best DVDs of the Year

Blood, Barbers, and Beauty

After a rather inauspicious start (it's like that every January, right?), it looked like 2007 was going to be a rather uneventful year in cinema. When empty eye candy like 300 became the celebrated spring season talking point, and Judd Apatow's dominion of film comedy highlighted a slack summer, it was clear that a year dominated by tre-quels, remakes, and uninspired originals was destined to drag the final four months down. Yet, thanks to the reemergence of old masters, as well as the invasion of some new, novel voices, fall and winter wound up saving the medium's reputation. Even with box office receipts skyrocketing and a writer's strike threatening future filmmaking, September through December saw one of the best, brightest release schedules of the new millennium.

As a result, 2007 will be remember as the year of big oil, bigger dreams, and the biggest run of successful laughfests by a noted one man-mirth machine ever. It will be noted as the year pregnancy went slacker (both pre and post the age of majority), when crime countered punishment for dramatic dominance, and personal projects battled high concept cock-ups by renowned movie mavericks for turnstile twists. We had '70s serial killers, haute cuisine cooking rodents, naked Russian mafia wrestling, French/Arab anime (?), and the foreign film reinvention of the giant monster movie. There were diving bells and butterflies, eagles vs. sharks, diabolical demon barbers, and blood, blood, BLOOD!

In the end, it wasn't hard to pick 30 fine films from the last 52 weeks. In fact, when the PopMatters staff sat down to ruminate on the year's best, over 110 efforts made the final cut. Those not represented in the upper echelons of evaluation, but deserving of a mention include a potent bodice ripping period piece (Atonement), Werner Herzog's revisit of Dieter Dengler's Vietnam POW horror story (Rescue Dawn), a perky musical update of John Waters' sweet '60s Baltimore nostalgia (Hairspray), and a documentary about the ongoing infighting between supposed champions of '80s era arcade games (The King of Kong). Along with biopics both substantive (La Vie En Rose) and silly (Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story), and a number of Iraq war condemnations (In the Valley of Elah, No End in Sight), the also-ran list is just as impressive as the final picks.

So as the creative element battles production management for a larger piece of the percentage pie, as CGI continues to run ramshackle over the animated family film landscape, as redundant horror reduxes destroy whatever marginal credibility the genre can generate, 2007 stands as an otherwise monumental time for movies. Between today and Friday, PopMatters will expand its annual coverage to include looks at the Top 10 Performances (Male and Female), the Top Independent/Foreign Films of the last 12 months, a peak at what we thought were the worst the medium had to offer, and finally, our tally of the aforementioned Top 30. As with any such assessment, there is more controversy than consensus, but one thing's for sure, when all the decisions are rendered and the judgments made, this year in cinema will stand as one of the art form's most memorable.

-- Bill Gibron






A Fresh Look at Free Will and Determinism in Terry Gilliam's '12 Monkeys'

Prof. Susanne Kord gets to the heart of the philosophical issues in Terry Gilliam's 1995 time-travel dystopia, 12 Monkeys.


The Devonns' Debut Is a Love Letter to Chicago Soul

Chicago's the Devonns pay tribute the soul heritage of their city with enough personality to not sound just like a replica.


Jaye Jayle's 'Prisyn' Is a Dark Ride Into Electric Night

Jaye Jayle salvage the best materials from Iggy Pop and David Bowie's Berlin-era on Prisyn to construct a powerful and impressive engine all their own.


Kathleen Edwards Finds 'Total Freedom'

Kathleen Edwards is back making music after a five-year break, and it was worth the wait. The songs on Total Freedom are lyrically delightful and melodically charming.


HBO's 'Lovecraft Country' Is Heady, Poetic, and Mangled

Laying the everyday experience of Black life in 1950s America against Cthulhuian nightmares, Misha Green and Jordan Peele's Lovecraft Country suggests intriguing parallels that are often lost in its narrative dead-ends.


Jaga Jazzist's 'Pyramid' Is an Earthy, Complex, Jazz-Fusion Throwback

On their first album in five years, Norway's Jaga Jazzist create a smooth but intricate pastiche of styles with Pyramid.


Finding the Light: An Interview with Kathy Sledge

With a timeless voice that's made her the "Queen of Club Quarantine", Grammy-nominated vocalist Kathy Sledge opens up her "Family Room" and delivers new grooves with Horse Meat Disco.


'Bigger Than History: Why Archaeology Matters'

On everything from climate change to gender identity, archaeologists offer vital insight into contemporary issues.


'Avengers: Endgame' Culminates 2010's Pop Culture Phenomenon

Avengers: Endgame features all the expected trappings of a superhero blockbuster alongside surprisingly rich character resolutions to become the most crowd-pleasing finalés to a long-running pop culture series ever made.


Max Richter's 'VOICES' Is an Awe-Inspiring and Heartfelt Soundscape

Choral singing, piano, synths, and an "upside-down" orchestra complement crowd-sourced voices from across the globe on Max Richter's VOICES. It rewards deep listening, and acts as a global rebuke against bigotry, extremism and authoritarianism.


DYLYN Dares to "Find Myself" by Facing Fears and Life's Dark Forces (premiere + interview)

Shifting gears from aspiring electropop princess to rock 'n' rule dream queen, Toronto's DYLYN is re-examining her life while searching for truth with a new song and a very scary-good music video.


JOBS Make Bizarre and Exhilarating Noise with 'endless birthdays'

Brooklyn experimental quartet JOBS don't have a conventional musical bone in their body, resulting in a thrilling, typically off-kilter new album, endless birthdays.


​Nnamdï' Creates a Lively Home for Himself in His Mind on 'BRAT'

Nnamdï's BRAT is a labyrinth detailing the insular journey of a young, eclectic DIY artist who takes on the weighty responsibility of reaching a point where he can do what he loves for a living.


Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few Play It Cool​

Austin's Monte Warden and the Dangerous Few perform sophisticatedly unsophisticated jazz/Americana that's perfect for these times


Eleanor Underhill Takes Us to the 'Land of the Living' (album stream)

Eleanor Underhill's Land of the Living is a diverse album drawing on folk, pop, R&B, and Americana. It's an emotionally powerful collection that inspires repeated listens.


How Hawkwind's First Voyage Helped Spearhead Space Rock 50 Years Ago

Hawkwind's 1970 debut opened the door to rock's collective sonic possibilities, something that connected them tenuously to punk, dance, metal, and noise.


Graphic Novel 'Cuisine Chinoise' Is a Feast for the Eyes and the Mind

Lush art and dark, cryptic fables permeate Zao Dao's stunning graphic novel, Cuisine Chinoise.


Alanis Morissette's 'Such Pretty Forks in the Road' Is a Quest for Validation

Alanis Morissette's Such Pretty Forks in the Road is an exposition of dolorous truths, revelatory in its unmasking of imperfection.

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