Film enthusiasts usually make grand lists at the end of a year. For the end of 2007, I have been glued to Best and Worst lists in film, TV and music, in all my favorite publications. Since I dont feel as though my opinion warrants a list of this years best and worst, my end of year focus will be on the couple movies I feel were unfortunately overlooked by critics and the general film audience. Meaning, I have not seen these films on any list (or maybe not the most popular lists). These films are 2007 DVD releases. Meaning, read up, get interested and go rent.
Broken English is the writing and directorial debut of Zoe Cassavates, daughter of the great independent film duo of John Cassavates and Gena Rowlands. The film stars Parker Posey as a 30-something single woman living in New York City. This is Parker Posey at her best as the independent film queen. There is something to be said for a romantic comedy that intelligently conveys the emotions of the usually clichéd cynical views of love and the single woman. Zoe Cassavates script is perfectly suited to Posey and realistically expresses the fear and excitement of dating and the possibility of love. Drea De Matteo as Poseys best friend is emotionally complex as the woman who has it all, yet is unsatisfied. However, the best thing about Broken English is how incredibly enjoyable sitting with friends and drinking wine looks. In fact, this film does inspire a nice wine and an even nicer conversation with an old friend.
In light of the recent tiger mauling in California, one can only foresee the impending lawsuits against the zoo. What about the lawsuits and picketing regarding the wrongful death of Tatiana the tiger? This is the sort of question that comes to mind after watching Year of the Dog, the Mike White film starring Molly Shannon. Going into Year of the Dog, with Molly Shannon and John C. Reilly, it is easy to see how one could mistakenly assume this is a typical independent comedy. It is not. In fact, it is one of the most thought provoking films ever to confront the human capability to come to terms with obsessive behavior. Molly Shannon proves that she is much more than Mary Gallagher. This film will make you rethink your stand on animal rights or whatever your cause may be.