Posts Tagged ‘Antichrist’

MW on DVDs: Antichrist, Liverpool, Moonfleet, Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 … and more

Tuesday, November 30th, 2010

CO-PICKS OF THE WEEK: NEW

Antichrist (Two Discs) (Three and a Half Stars)

Denmark/U.S.A.: Lars von Trier, 2009 (Criterion Collection)

Lars von Trier strikes again. The beginning looks like a poor man’s Citizen Kane which segues into a disease-of-the-month teleplay that becomes a Sam Shepard two-character Gothic pop drama in the deep woods, and then finally goes full-bore horror and metamorphosizes into something almost as creepily violent and nauseatingly graphic as the Saw movies.
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Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg (Cannes “best actress” winner for this) are a couple who lost their infant son, who was playing at an open window while they were preoccupied, making love. He’s a therapist; she’s a sexual historian specializing in bad women. This couple proves here that there are some things you just can’t talk out, especially when there are chains and axes lying around.

Lars von Trier isn’t a likable director, and I think there’s a genuinely sadistic element to his vision, which comes exploding out here. But it is a vision, and he’s a real filmmaker. Be aware that this movie is going to repel and annoy and maybe creep you out. Then watch it, if you can.

Antichrist, by the way, is dedicated to the late Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky (Solaris, Andrei Roublev), whose lyrical influence is visible in some of the forest scenes. I can‘t imagine Tarkovsky liking Antichrist, but I may be wrong.

Extras: Commentary with von Trier; Video interviews with von Trier, Dafoe and Gainsbourg; Seven video pieces on Antichrist; “Chaos Reigns at the Cannes Film Festival,” a documentary on the film and the furor it caused at Cannes; Booklet with essay by Ian Christie.

Liverpool (Three and a Half Stars)
Argentina: Lisandro Alonso, 2009 (Kino)

Another excellent minimalist, neo-realist quest film from the writer-director of La Libertad and La Loi: here, a taciturn Argentine sailor (played by non-professional Juan Fernandez), journeys form the port city where his ship is docked, to the small Tierra del Fuego logging town where he once abandoned his family and where his old mother now lies dying.

The dialogue is spare, the scenes tend to be one-take tableaux with moving camera, the mood is sad and restrained. Here is a picture of common people done without sentimentality, but with great reservoirs of unspoken feeling. Among modern minimalist art film directors, Alonso is one of the best. His landscapes and people stay in your mind like visions of the real world haunting us like waking dreams. (In Spanish, with English subtitles)

Extras: Booklet with Alonso interview; Stills gallery.

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COPICKS OF THE WEEK: CLASSICS

Moonfleet (Three Stars)

U. S.: Fritz Lang, 1955 (Warner Archive)

Fritz Lang isn’t known for swashbucklers, but this adaptation of the lusty best-selling novel by A. Meade Falkner — in which Stewart Granger plays a dashing, lusty, sword-slashing outlaw on the Dorsetshire coast — is both lush-looking and exciting, though befitting Lang’s roots as king of noir, a lot of it takes place in the dark.

Granger, playing Jeremy Fox, connects up in various ways with the cad’s cad George Sanders, witchy Joan Greenwood, solemn Viveca Lindfors, and various brawny tavern thugs, though his heart seems to belong to child actor Jon Whiteley, who acts if his character just wandered in from a Robert Louis Stevenson novel. (Whiteley himself seems just too early for the Oliver! additions.)

Warning: Though the staff of Cahiers du Cinema liked Moonfleet a lot, ranking it high on their 1960 “best” lists, this movie is not half as good as Metropolis — though you may want to sharpen your Lang chops by sampling it. Made on demand. Link warnerarchive.com or wbshop.com.

One Way Passage (Three and a Half Stars)

U.S.: Tay Garnett, 1932 (Warner Archive)

A neglected gem, beloved by French Cahiers-style cinephiles — in which William Powell, as a fugitive murderer, being transported to San Quentin, and Kay Francis, as a fatally ill socialite, enact one of the best Hollywood shipboard romances ever. This is one classic you may not have seen; the rest of the cast includes Warren Hymer as the hardboiled cop who caught Powell, Frank McHugh as a chortling pickpocket and con man, Roscoe Karns tending the ship bar, and Aline MacMahon as a phony countess.

The only Tay Garnett movie as good as this one is the John Garfield-Lana Turner version of The Postman Always Rings Twice. (Here, he rings twice too.) Made on demand by Warner Archive Collection. Link warnerbrothersarchive.com or wbshop.com.

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PICK OF THE WEEK: BLU-RAY

Knight and Day (3 Disc Blu-ray DVD Combo; Also DVD) (Three Stars)

U.S.; James Mangold, 2010

Knight and Day, doesn’t make much sense, but do we really want it to?

Giving us an eyeful of Tom Cruise and Cameron Diaz — as Roy Miller and June Havens, a couple pursued (seemingly) all around the world by rogue C.I.A. agents and murderous international gun-runners, all after a mysterious new energy source called The Maguffin (excuse me, The Zephyr) — this is a big, splashy top-star romantic comedy that tosses logic to the winds. It‘s a nightmare fantasy love-on-the-run chase thriller and it tries to revive some of the glamour, fun, and crazy paranoia of a classic suspense romp like North by Northwest or Charade, while pulling them into a CGI era spin.

Sometimes, it succeeds.

Actually, Knight and Day is a movie so charmingly senseless, so knowingly and unrepentantly way over the top, and so cannily exploitive of the killer grins and happily narcissistic sex appeal of both Cruise and Diaz, that it entertains you almost in spite of yourself. I kept waiting to get tired of it, but the movie was always a skip or two ahead of me. It kept me smiling, even though it doesn’t really have an original bone in its body (any more than Cruise or Diaz have a tooth out of place in their smiles).

Did we just see Roy and June meet cute in the Wichita airport, banging heads over June‘s over packed luggage? Soon they’re on a strangely under-populated plane to Boston, flirting like mad, and when June takes a bathroom break to hyperventilate over Roy’s sheer cuteness, the entire population of the plane disappears — before the plane crashes in a cornfield (North by Northwest) and Roy slips June a mickey, the first of many. (To get her through the bad spots, or so he says, Roy keeps drugging his ladylove unconscious — a treatment the movie‘s detractors may wish for themselves.)

Has June just tumbled into the hands of Roy’s antagonist, the maybe sinister FBI agent Fitzgerald (Peter Sarsgaard), about whom she‘s been warned by Roy? Soon, they’re all in a mad Boston freeway chase, with Roy bounding from roof to roof like the young Jackie Chan, and June driving the driverless car (“You’ve got skills,“ Roy admiringly marvels after popping through a window to take the wheel), while guns blaze, windows shatter, cars flip, and bad guys splatter like ripe tomatoes.

You can’t walk into a warehouse in this movie, without dozens of CIA ninja-looking commandos dropping though the roof on you. You can barely board a plane without everybody getting killed. You can’t try for a little star-to-star smooching without a fresh troupe of killers and kibitzers running by. And, as for that Maguffin, you get the definite feeling that if we don’t get a new energy source by this movie’s end, Knight and Day may have used up half the world’s existing oil reserves in car chases and explosions (and hair oil for Cruise). “There’s a reason for everything,” Roy tells June as he cuts aboard the Boston plane ahead of her. Sure. Sure.

The movie is senseless, and its also too fast and loud and relentlessly CGI-filled, but it’s fun to watch anyway. Anyway, complaining about the senselessness of a big Hollywood action movie may be a bit like walking into a bordello and complaining that there are no prayer meetings. I‘m just grateful that one of these exploding blockbusters could laugh at itself.

What makes Knight work, is the way Cruise’s Roy and Diaz’s June keep reacting to the chaos around them. He‘s bewildered and nervous at first, starting about the time she sees a planeload of passengers roll off their seats, but he keeps smiling and trying to calm her down, explaining that he‘s a pro, that he’s on top of everything and that everything will be all right. There’s even a loony logic in his response; after all, he is Tom Cruise, and he is going to survive anything that director James Mangold (Walk the Line and 3:10 to Yuma) and co-writer Patrick O‘Neill throw at him.

Their movie is a bit like Scream, the reflexive horror move that kept commenting on itself. Roy and June don’t talk about North by Northwest; they just live it, magnified. Knight and Day, at its best, is a reflexive action thriller-rom-com that keeps grinning at itself. And, in Cruise and Diaz, it has two of the worlds champion grinners.

Extras: Featurettes.

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PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC & BOX SET

Fantasia/Fantasia 2000 (Four Disc Blu-ray/DVD Special Collection) (Four Stars)

United States: Various Directors, 1940, 2000 (Walt Disney)

Ah, Fantasia!

I first saw Walt Disney’s spectacularly ambitious 1940 attempt to fuse animation and classical music — or at least the segment with a Bacchanalian mythological revels set to Beethoven‘s “Pastoral Symphony“ — on a small black and white T.V. showing the old ‘50s show Disneyland. It was a weekday school night. I was only twelve or so. I knew classical music a little, because my mother played Beethoven almost every night on our old upright piano. But I’d heard precious little orchestral music yet, and that animated rhapsody on Disneyland (one of my favorite shows) knocked me out, enraptured me.

I’ve seen the movie many times since, in theaters or on television or video players, I just saw it again on this newly released DVD package, in a new digital restoration. It always enthralls and delights me. I never feel the kitsch overwhelming the classics or vice versa. The great orchestral musical pieces chosen by Disney, his people, and by the film’s conductor, Leopold Stokowski — major works by Bach, Beethoven, Tchaikovsky, Stravinsky, Schubert, Mussorgsky and Ponchielli — sound superb to me still, even after hearing many other versions by many other musicians.

And the Disney-drawn images, creatures and phantasms that dance to them — from twisting protozoa, to thrashing tyrannosauruses, to tutu-skirted hippos and lecherous crocodiles, to waltzing centaurs and sky-sweeping Pegasuses (Pegasi?), and to little Mickey Mouse himself, desperately trying to stave off a horde of over-enthusiastic water-carrying magical brooms who are sloshing and drowning his boss‘ sorcerer’s den — move and amuse me as much as ever. You’ve just never heard Ponchielli’s “Dance of the Hours” ‘til you see it danced by a Disney ostrich and a line of leaping elephants.

What a wonderful idea: For the Disney Studio at the peak of its early cartoon power and glory, to set pieces of great classical music, by the greatest composers, played by one of the era‘s finest conductors and orchestras (Leopold Stokowski and his Philadelphians) — to cartoon sequences, in state-of-the-art animation, which was then, indisputably at the Disney Studio.

Disney and Stokowski concoct and execute us a fabulous program, with critic-host Deems Taylor’s urbane introduction leading into an abstract visual poem, set to Bach’s overwhelming “Toccata and Fugue in D Minor” (Stokowski‘s transcription of course). Then there‘s a dance of twirling flora set to Tchaikovsky’s “Nutcracker Suite,” a ballet of the non-creationist creation of the earth, up through the dinosaur age, set to Stravinsky‘s “Rite of Spring”; a wondrous little fairytale, starring Mickey Mouse (with voice by Walt), set to Dukas’ ’The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (directed, to his eternal glory, by James Algar); that Beethoven orgy of Greek gods and mytho-beasts set to Ludwig van‘s “Pastoral Symphony”; the multi-species ballet and seduction romp of Ponchielli‘s “Hours,” and finally the double finale of profane and sacred, of the devils erupting in the Walpurgisnacht of Mussorgsky’s “Night on Bald Mountain” and worshippers carrying candles against the backdrop of Schubert’s “Ave Maria.”

In the midst of it all, in one of my favorite moments of the movie, after the very best section (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), Mickey bounds up to the podium, in a tux, cq to pull at Stokowski’s tails and squeak excitedly (in the voice supplied by Walt) “Congratulations, Mr. Stokowski!” after which Stokowski generously replies (one colleague to another) “And congratulations to you too, Mickey.”

I still love it. How could you not? But I think I know why Fantasia wasn’t popular with the same Depression audiences that worshipped Disney‘s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs. The movie, which may be a little too sophisticated even for today’s Tea Party Crowd, also may have had too much profane or secular stuff (including a sequence based on evolution, and others showing romps with pagan gods, sorcerers, bare-breasted centaurettes, devils and Satanic revels, plus inter-species seductions) and not enough sacred (only “Ave Maria” at dawn to wipe all the debbils away).

Disney became a famous Hollywood conservative, but I wouldn‘t be surprised even today to see a Fox=man like Glenn Beck haul out his blackboard, and start waving his chalk and proclaiming “Fantasia” a Communist, paganist, anti-creationist plot, with all the fervor with which Beck “exposed” the Marxist agenda of that hilarious ecological funny-penguin cartoon Happy Feet. How would Depression audiences have taken it all? (With a sense of humor, I hope.)

On the other side of the fence, if you’re a bit of a snob, you may have heard or read composer Igor Stravinsky’s sour dismissal of Stokowski’s performance of Stravinsky’s great ballet score “Le Sacre du Printemps” (a Franco-Russian plot?) as “execrable,” as well as Stravinsky’s squelch of Disney‘s “dinosaur” ballet as “an unoffending imbecility“ — and you may have decided that the smart people should be against Fantasia.

But it didn’t sound execrable or look imbecilic to the 12 year old me back then. Nor does it look that way to the much older me today. Besides, Stravinsky was angry that he wasn’t being properly, financially compensated by Disney, and he could be a bit of a prick himself.
Anyway, Stokowski could conduct. The music soars. The colors and creatures blaze. Dreams leap up around us and whirl like ballerinas gone mad. I hope they always will, for all the twelve year olds in small towns who have yet to experience “Fantasia,“ and will be spellbound when they do.
It is the seemingly unlikely teaming of the classical (Stokowski and the great composers) and the popular (Walt Disney and his great mouse, Mickey) that accounts for “Fantasia’s” power to entertain and lift us up. And though we’ll probably never see “Fantasia” in a major theatrical release again, here it is, in DVD and Blu-ray, in High Definition picture and sound, packaged with “Fantasia 2000” — a labor of love from Walt’s nephew, Roy E. Disney, the man truly behind the resurgence of Disney animation in the 80s and ’90s. The four-disc combo pack also has another of Roy’s obsessions, the 2003 completion of the short cartoon “Destino,“ the fabled joint collaboration between Disney and surrealist painter Salvador Dali.

Whatever the reasons, “Fantasia” didn’t really attract 1940 audiences, and it’s too bad. Disney wanted it to be a continuous ongoing project, like the Silly Symphonies were, with new segments added, new “Fantasias” born, a classical circle of life, eternally renewing, the rites of spring. That would have been wonderful. (Think what Disney could have done, in the ’50s and ’60s, with Leonard Bernstein.) But the audiences deserted him somewhat for both his 1940 masterpieces, “Fantasia“ and “Pinocchio,” and Disney had to scale back his ambitions. His next movie was 1941’s more modest “Dumbo” (which I love too, by the way).

Mickey and Maestro Stokowski never met and shook hands again, except, of course, whenever “The Sorcerer‘s Apprentice” plays.

As they do in Fantasia 2000. Roy Disney, the man who hired all the people (or hired the people who hired the people) who, along with Roy, brought about the Disney Studio‘s ‘80s renaissance — and who took over animation, and committed himself to the animation projects that bore such spectacular fruit, for Disney and everyone else — is someone who deserves much, much more credit than he usually gets, for everything from The Little Mermaid on. Roy‘s the one who wanted most to revive his Uncle Walt‘s dream. And did.

Roy‘s grand project Fantasia 2000 is a true continuation, even to reprising “Sorcerer’s Apprentice.“ It has a lot of all-star hosts (from Steve Martin, Quincy Jones and Better Midler, to Izhtak Perlman), and good, lively, painstaking versions, performed by James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, of Beethoven’s Fifth (another abstract spree) Respighi‘s “Pines of Rome (whales dancing near the Pole), and Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue” ( an Al Hirschfeldian ensemble of Manhattan dreamers).

Then: Hans Christian Andersen’s macabre and poignant romance “The Steadfast Tin Soldier” done surprisingly fittingly to Shostakovich‘s Piano Concerto No. 2.“ (But shucks to that

SPOILER ALERT non-Andersen happy ending.

END OF SPOILER

Some pink flamingo funk to Saint-Saens’ “Carnival of the Animals.“ A two-by-two Noah‘s Ark procession led by Donald and Daisy Duck (with a Mickey and Minnie cameo) to Elgar’s “Pomp and Circumstance.“ And (no hard feelings, Igor), a finale of Stravinsky, an ecological forest fantasia to “The (1919) Firebird Suite.”

Fantasia 2000 is not on the artistic, or cartoonistic, level of Fantasia. But it didn’t have to be. It was good enough, and it’s sad that Roy or the family studio never made any more, before his death last year. Roy though did finish one of Walt’s most provocative projects, “Destino” — Disney’s collaboration with Salvador Dali, for which the master Spanish surrealist Dali left a story, five paintings and over 70 drawings — and which Roy and French director Dominique Monfery finished. “Destino“ itself, and a documentary about it, are included in this set.

Fantasia 2000 was good enough for what it was meant to be, and now that Roy has died, maybe someone else should take up his labors of love.

As for the first Fantasia, I agree with my 12-year-old self: a canny critic with a wise teacher, who hadn’t yet had any of the capacity for joy kicked out of him by the sometimes snob-encrusted academy and the often greed-crazed, classist corporate world. Like him, I love “Fantasia” and, in the truest test of a classic, I can see it again and again. For me, “Fantasia” is the “Citizen Kane” of Golden Age animation.

Congratulations Walt. Congratulations, Roy. Congratulations, 1940 Disney Studio cartoon workers, one and all. Congratulations, Mr. Stokowski. And congratulations to you too, Mickey.

Contains: Fantasia (U.S.: Ben Sharpsteen, supervising producer, 1940) Four Stars. Sequence directors: James Algar, Samuel Armstrong, Ford Beebe, T. Hee, Wilfred Jackson, Bill Roberts, Paul Satterfield. Story directors Joe Grant, Dick Huemer. Narrator/host: Deems Taylor. With Leopold and Mickey.

Fantasia 2000 U.S.: Various directors, 1999) Three and a Half Stars. Sequence directors: Don Hahn (live action), James Algar, Gaetan and Paul Brizzi, Hendel Butoy, Francis Glebas, Eric Goldberg, Pixote Hunt. Hosts: Steve Martin, Deems Taylor, James Earl Jones, Angela Lansbury, Bette Midler, Quincy Jones, Penn & Teller, and Izhtak Perlman.

Extras: The Oscar-nominated short “Destino” (U. S.-France: Monfery/Hench/Dali, 2003) (Three and a Half Stars); Commentaries; Documentary “The Schultheis Notebook,” on “Fantasia’s special effects; Featurettes on “Destino” and the unfinished “Fantasia” follow-up “Musicana”; Interactive features.

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OTHER CURRENT AND RECENT DVDS

Twilight Saga: Eclipse (Two Disc Blu-ray DVD combo) (Two Stars)

U.S.; David Slade, 2010 (Summit Entertainment)

Midway through Twilight Saga: Eclipse — a mediocre movie based on another Stephenie Meyer novel, that raked in oodles of cash, — Taylor Lautner suddenly showed up, grinning and preening, seemingly deep into his role of Jacob Black the spurned but persistent Native American werewolf. Jacob was still competing for the affections of Kristen Stewart as Bella Swan, that somewhat sullen blue-jeaned virgin from small town Washington state, a girl who was still dippy for Robert Pattinson as Edward Cullen, the dreamy-eyed perfect-gentleman teen vampire, but who also still had some serious hots for Wolfman Jacob too.

As Bella wavered between the two smitten hunks, a mass squeal of delight, accompanied by yelping kittenish moans, and a fusillade of “Aaaahs” and “Ooooohs” of near-orgasmic proportions, suddenly rose up in the theater with the inevitability of an oil spill crashing on the Gulf Coast shores.

What a guy! What a pair of guys! Thanks to Jacob’s apparent inability to keep on his shirt and Edward’s seeming inability to take off his pants, the Twilight Saga target audience seemed about to achieve double delirium, at least at the screening I saw. These moaners, probably pretty typical, seemed deep in the throes of a bizarrely mesmerizing Teen fantasy that involved no sex, lots of smooching in empty mountain landscapes, swooning embraces, seductive fangs, marriage vows and mother‘s wedding rings, a puzzling no-show inattendance at school and the relative rarity of parents, teachers and shirts, plus occasional or climactic rumbles between gangs of competing good and bad vampires, with the good vamps (Edward’s gang) aided by huge, galloping but strangely weightless-looking werewolves, the size of horses (Jacob’s pack).

This is a dream whose inarguable appeal to sometimes moaning mass audiences just mystifies the hell out of me. When I was a teenager, the boys may have had fantasies of love and sex, and the girls fantasies of love and marriage, but those sometimes wet dreams lacked the weird intensity, or should I say the bite, of these new twilight heart-in-your-throat dreams.

Melissa Rosenberg once again wrote the script (from Meyer’s novel) and the new director, succeeding Catherine Hardwicke (the first movie) and Chris Weitz (the second), is David Slade, who did his vampire prep on 30 Days of Night, won fans with Hard Candy, and delivers the kind of movie you’d expect from an ex-rock video helmsman: slick and full of fancy tableaux and big star close-ups.

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Two Stars)

U. S.; Jon Turteltaub, 2010 (Walt Disney)

The Sorcerer’s Apprentice is a movie for people easily impressed with CGI magic trickery, Harry Potter knockoffs and nerds-get-the-babe romantic fantasy comedies — as well as all those moviegoers who think Jay Baruchel may be the next Shia LaBeouf, and not just the next Eddie Deezen, and anyone who would cheerfully watch Nicolas Cage in anything, even if it’s called “Blinky Blinkoff, the Disco-Dancing Chipmunk.”

In other words, it’s for people who don’t care how they throw away their money. Co-starring Cage and Alfred Molina as dueling sorcerers, Baruchel as a doofus sorcerer, and Bellucci and Krige as sorceresses in sexy outfits, both trapped inside a Russian nesting doll, this is a movie that never really answers the questions: Why was this picture made? Were the kazillions of dollars it consumed well spent? Will life go on happily and productively even if we never even think about going to see, or buying a DVD of The Sorcerer‘s Apprentice? (Or to “Blinky Blinkoff?”)

It’s not for want of effort. Or kazillions of dollars. The Sorcerer‘s Apprentice has been produced by Jerry Bruckheimer and directed by Jon Turteltaub, the duo behind the National Treasure movies, neither of which, I‘m sorry to say, was a national treasure. And it was written by six screenwriters who should consider taking temporary vows of literary celibacy, or maybe spending the next thousand years, or at least the next three sequels, trapped inside a Russian nesting doll.

The Sorcerer‘s Apprentice was very dimly inspired by that wonderful Mickey Mouse-does-Paul Dukas cartoon segment with the magical, rebellious brooms and mops, from Fantasia. (See above.) To reprise this Apprentice’s yowza-wowza of a new plot: Many centuries ago, when kings, queens, wizards and dragons walked and slithered over the earth, when the once and future King Arthur romped with Merlin in the forest, and when nobody had yet heard of that little upstart Harry Potter, the actual Merlin the Magician (James A. Stephens) inserted and trapped in that nesting doll two souls: both the scrumptious sorceress Veronica (Monica Bellucci) and the evil Morgana Le Fay (Alice Krige) — a bad babe who intends to destroy the world if unleashed, thereby preventing any more National Treasure sequels.

Trying to free them is Veronica’s spurned suitor and Morgana’s dangerous hench-sorcerer Maxim Horvath, aka Magic Max (played by Alfred Molina), who has been locked in an urn for 1,300 years, thereby seriously derailing Alfred Molina‘s movie career (except for voice-overs). And Merlin has entrusted doll and urn to his last great disciple: the dour, sarcastic, stringy-haired, whimsically dressed but highly sorcery-skilled Balthazar Blake (Cage). Balthazar, apparently the last good sorcerer for 13 centuries, has a huge Medieval to Victorian era rummage shop in New York City, and he has been taking care of business, guarding that urn and doll well, since the time of Camelot. But now, Baltho badly bungles the job by asking New York City‘s biggest 10-year old dweeb, Dave Stutler (Jake Cherry) to hang around while he goes out — after which rather simple chore, young Dave promptly breaks the urn, releases Maxim, and generally screws up everything for maybe the next thousand years.

Why did Balthazar do something so preposterously stupid? Because one glance at Dave told Baltho that this unpromising looking lad, who had been racing around witlessly, trying to retrieve a wind-tossed love letter, is the long-awaited Prime Merlinian, a kind of Dalai Lama of sorcery. Contrite at his gaffe, Dave promptly has a nervous breakdown and comes back ten years later as a longer, lankier, dweebier Dave (Baruchel), an NYU physics major (specializing in Nikola Tesla), a shambling doofus with a hangdog expression and a monotone delivery. Unaccountably, Dave still has Balthazar’s trust and favor, and he’s still considered the Prime Merlinian and A-1 Sorcerer material.

So Dave hooks up with Balthy and soon the two chummy Sorcery Guys are palling it up all around New York casting spells, bantering away, riding in luxury cars and having little tiffs with Maxim — who has had a magazine named after him (sorry, just kidding), finally won that great part in “Prick Up Your Ears” (sorry, just kidding) and has hooked up with his own youthful companion and foxy blonde, magician Drake Stone (Toby Kennell). I tell you, when these four get together, there‘s no end of fun! (Sorry, just kidding.)

Cars chase! Subway mirrors break! The Eagle on the Chrysler Building flies! Parisian streets fold over on themselves like Escher lithographs! (No, that’s some other movie.) Buildings crumble! Dragons come alive in Chinatown parades! Nic Cage waves a pickle! Urns shatter! Sorcerers sorcerize! (As George W. Bush might say.) Mops and brooms do their crazy stuff! And love interest Becky smiles and spins those tunes! Hot! Cool! All of this leads to a big, exploding, super-awesome climax, which looks like it cost at least half a flubbilion of those multi-kazillion dollars the moviemakers spent, and does a peachy-keen job of setting up the sequel.

I know you’re all panting with excitement at the thought of seeing this movie, and its sequel, and all the National Treasure sequels, and the sequels to the rip-offs of the sequels, and maybe even “Blinky Blinkoff,” and all its knockoffs. Never fear. The Sorcerer’s Apprentice was booked into so many theaters that only an idiot could have failed to find it, though probably plenty of idiots finagled their way inside anyway. Now even more movie-lovers and sorcery fans, and even more idiots, will get a chance to see it on DVD, including all those blissfully happy youthful cinephiles for whom Federico Fellini is probably a pizza parlor, and Alfred Hitchcock is maybe a dirty movie with fornicating puppets.

Sorcerer’s Apprentice forever, I say! Meanwhile, I hope Nicolas Cage, who is no doubt cackling and nickling all the way to the bank, doesn’t put off his next Werner Herzog or David Lynch project to sign up for five more Sorcerer’s Apprentice sequels, and maybe a special promotional “National Treasure“ Ponzi scheme.

Sorry, just kidding. But one can only hope that all these nice people will find another franchise after this one — to protect themselves when, as all good things inevitably do, this new series inevitably dies, or gets ripped off, or gets locked in an urn for 1,300 years.

Of course, in a pinch, there’s always “Blinky Blinkoff.”

Extras: Documentary; Deleted scenes (on DVD); Featurettes (on Blu-ray).

Going the Distance (Two and a Half Stars)

U.S.; Nanette Bernstein, 2010 (New Line)

Rom-com anyone? This thinking person’s romantic comedy about a long-distance relationship between Seattle reporter Erin (Drew Barrymore) and Manhattan music industry guy Garrett (Justin Long), has a snappier more verbal script (by Geoff La Tulippe) than usual. It’s certainly not drivel like those would-be comedies The Switch and The Back Up Plan. And thank God there‘s not a sperm donor in sight. (There are two screwing-on-the-dining-room table gags and I’m sorry, I don’t get them. The dining room table? Couldn’t these hot-pants lovers wait at least until they staggered to a couch?) But it continues my disaffection from most modern rom-coms: an awful abbreviation for a once great but now sadly damaged genre.

The biggest problem here: Barrymore’s Erin and Long‘s Garrett, partly due to the smart-alecky script, never strike you as being wildly enough in love to sustain any kind of long distance relationship for any length of time or space, even between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Erin seems like she kinda sorta likes the guy, he’s cute okay, as long as she didn’t have a better offer, or maybe some roller derby tickets, by Tuesday. And Garrett seemed to be running some kind of con game involving frequent smiling and incessantly widened eyes. Sometimes, there s more affection between Garrett’s two goofy buddies, Charlie Day as toilet-conscious Dan and Jason Sudeikis as “cougar”-hunting stud Box. But maybe that’s the point.

A point in the movie‘s favor: These Going the Distance characters, unlike all too many modern movie rom-com couples, do have topical conversations and they do make topical jokes about politics and culture. And the movie, if nothing else, may start a new craze for dining room tables with retractable foam mattresses in drawers.

Extras: Commentary with Burstein; Featurettes; Additional scenes.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid (Two and a Half Stars)

U.S.; Thor Freudenthal, 2010 (20th Century Fox)

This one is better than it first looks — and it initially looks pretty silly, despite the source.

That source: Diary of a Wimpy Kid, a best-selling children‘s book by Jeff Kinney, written in the form of a diary by a supposedly actual wimpy kid, Greg Heffley (Zach Gordon), who’s suffering through the torments of middle school (Grades 6-8).

This wimpy kid is the Job of junior high, a sort of Coen-Brothersish Serious Boy. He’s picked on by classmates and older thugs, dissed by his teachers, shut out of a seat at the cafeteria, abandoned by his friend, pestered by guys even dorkier and wimpier than he, teased by the school paper editor, joshed by his parents, bullied by his gym teacher, out-wrestled by a female nemesis and ignored by the prettier girls. To top it all off, he‘s a bit of a jerk himself: an unreliable friend and a little liar.

What saves all this school-kid angst, done in high-Spielbergian exaggerated style by Thor Freudenthal (who made the visually inventive but mostly awful Hotel for Dogs)? The actors, mostly. Gordon as the “wimpy kid” diarist Greg and Robert Capron as his plump, sweet tempered best friend Rowley Jefferson, are so cute, so easy and adept, and so funny, that they redeem a lot of the movie’s sprightly, but over-cute and over-obvious comedy.

One point. Greg is a writer, a diarist. So, where are all his books? He’s got a room that doesn’t look like any 6-8th grade boy‘s I ever saw — so neat and clean, so orderly, and so full of ceramic bird-bowls, horse-statuettes, and portraits of hens that it suggests Greg will grow up to be an interior decorator, or maybe a production designer.

No DVDs or CDs either. Instead, Greg’s shelves were covered with those ridiculous ceramic birds and bowls. I got depressed just looking at his room. But maybe the designers were deliberately trying to promote neatness and regular house-cleaning. And the ceramics industry. Or does this wimpy kid have a Kindle?

Extras: Commentary by Freudenthal; Featurettes; Trailer.

Vampires Suck (Zero Stars)

U. S.; Jason Friedberg, Aaron Seltzer. 2020 (20th Century Fox)

Vampires may suck. But not as much as this movie.

A legitimate contender for worst movie of the decade, Suck is a parody of Twilight (oxymorons suck?) in which madcap writer-directors Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer (Meet the Spartans, Epic Movie) keep trying to turn bad scenes into worse jokes. (Team Jason! Team Aaron!) I refuse to name any of the actors here, since they seem like defenseless pawns — and act like them too.

A truly miserable experience, my friend, though it suggests the CIA might productively use endless-loop prints of Vampires Suck as a replacement for waterboarding. Half an hour with Ken Jeong or Team Jacob in this show and anybody might confess to anything — including writing and directing Vampires Suck.

Bomber (Three Stars)

U.S./U.K.: Paul Cotter, 2010 (Film Movement)

A not-so-close-knit British family — taciturn World War II RAF bomber pilot Alistar (Shane Taylor), his too-compliant wife Valerie (Eileen Nicholas) and their bad-tempered, self-centered failure of a son Ross (Benjamin Whitrow) — embark on a not-exactly-planned, not-quite-wise road trip to Germany, after the parents have an accident, and Ross, on a tight schedule because of his love life, is pressed into reluctant service as driver. He’s a bad one, and his father has a bad conscience — about the bombing run in which he participated over half a century ago.

Cotter’s fine, extremely canny movie, done with an immaculate comic precision and darkish undertones, is about families and war and guilt: serious subjects which it imbues with a breezy, almost farcical lightness. That doesn’t mean the film doesn’t move us. The little and big disasters of the trip, the bizarre family dynamics, the ever-passing landscape and casual, sometimes odd populace, and the strange, unexpected, almost screw-loose ending, accumulate into a stinging portrait of a family coping with memory and each other, and maybe of a Europe whose scars healed too soon, and whose redemptions arrived too late.

Extras: “Edgar” (Germany: Fabian Busch, 2010) (Three Stars), a short film about pain, loss, old age and scant options; “Bomber” Commentary by Cotter; Behind-the-scenes extra.

Bomber
is a selection of Film Movement’s DVD-of-the-month club, an excellent offering of art and festival films from around the world. Link www.filmmovement.com.

Bee Movie (Two and a Half Stars)

U.S.; Simon J. Smith/Steve Hickner, 2007 (DreamWorks)

Jerry Seinfeld is back, as the writer-producer voice-star Bee of this predictable but sometimes charming concoction about a bee that sues humankind for stealing honey and then has to re-right imbalanced nature. Clever, but not as seamlessly imaginative as the Pixar stuff, which it tries to resemble; the other actors include Renee Zellweger as the human love interest. (She’d be a better honey-bee.)

Extras: Commentary by Seinfeld, alternate endings, deleted scenes, featurettes, music video, trailers, games.

The DVD Wrap: Antichrist, The Elia Kazan Collection, Scott Pilgrim Vs The World, Grown Ups … and more

Tuesday, November 9th, 2010

Antichrist: The Criterion Collection

Controversies that erupt at film festivals, Cannes especially, practically define what it means to stir “a tempest in a teapot.” For two weeks, the upper crust of the international film community – and way too many crusty critics – come together for the sole purpose of promoting cinema and themselves. The awards handed out to the men and women who make the films in competition are important for a dozen different good reasons, critics relish the opportunity to watch dozens of movies from around the world, almost in one long sitting, even those that will never see the light of a projection room back home.

In the last couple of years, as well, editors have demanded of their writers that they blog and tweet instant analysis of the films they’ve just seen, plus report the gossip and attend parties. The natural inclination is to report every “boo” as if it were a chorus and every walk-out a stampede. Such was the case with Realm of the Senses, Brown Bunny, Irreversible, Marie Antoinette, Trouble Every Day and Hail Mary. Ask the distributors of these films if they still think all publicity is good publicity.

Lars von Trier’s Antichrist created just such a raucous at Cannes. When it arrived on these shores, a few months later, hardly anyone even realized it was here. Antichrist isn’t a film made for the “entertainment” of its audience. If anything, it appears to have served more as a therapeutic tool for the writer/director, who, before production began, spent two months in a hospital for depression. In the attached interview, Von Trier describes his history of anxiety attacks and their debilitating effect on his creative process.

Having watched Antichrist for the first time on the Criterion Collection edition, it’s easy to see how it might have been inspired by nightmares and bouts with personal demons. It’s a horror fantasy, complete with talking animals, implements of torture and images right out of the Devine Comedy or a Bosch triptych.

Willem Dafoe and Charlotte Gainsbourg play an anonymous couple – He and She suffice — who, in the first scene, are too distracted by passionate sex to notice their toddler is about to fall out of a suspiciously open window. She becomes hysterical with grief and self-recriminations, while He simultaneously attempts to reason with his wife and deflect his own guilt feelings. We sense things are about to get really crazy when we learn She is studying the role of women in witchcraft, misogyny and the practice of “gynocide” throughout history.

He, a psychologist, suggests they spend time together in the remote mountain lair, Eden, even though She considers nature to be “Satan’s church.” Indeed, even the animals they encounter have demonic traits. No sooner does She declare herself cured of her guilt feelings than she completely flips out, confusing sex with torture and love with hate.

What happens in these scenes has been compared to the “torture porn” popularized in such movies as Saw. There’s no question Von Trier is a skillful director, whose ambition occasionally outdistances the substance of his material. In Antichrist, the most shocking moments – and they are that – are artfully lit, delicately paced and intricately choreographed. If that doesn’t sound as if it would be your cup of tea, no amount of great acting and cinematography will make it taste any better, probably.

To those who viewers impressed by the film, however, the Criterion Collection edition offers plenty of bonus material on which to chew. It includes a newly restored high-def digital transfer; commentary by Von Trier and educator Murray Smith; video interviews with Von Trier, Dafoe and Gainsbourg; a collection of video pieces exploring into the production of Antichrist; the featurette, Chaos Reigns at the Cannes Film Festival 2009; theatrical trailers; and a booklet, with a booklet featuring an essay by film scholar Ian Christie.

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The Elia Kazan Collection

No discussion of Elia Kazan’s career can go on very long before someone not only brings up the subject of “naming names” before the HUAC hearings, but also attempts to devalue his entire resume for doing so. Old scabs were picked when it was announced that the director would be granted an Honorary Award during the 1999 Academy Awards ceremony.

Several prominent actors, most of whom had never been forced to choose between a job and principle, refused to participate in the customary standing ovation. Long after Walt Disney, Ronald Reagan, Jack L. Warner, Louis B. Mayer, John Wayne and dozens of “friendly witnesses” had been given a pass, the 90-year-old Greek immigrant and two-time Oscar winner was being asked to deliver a final, “mea culpa.” There’s a big difference between forgiving and forgetting, an act no one in Hollywood was being asked to do.

In his A Letter to Elia, which kicks The Elia Kazan Collection into high gear, Martin Scorsese acknowledges the controversy that tarnished Kazan’s reputation, without dwelling on it. His narration provides a survey of Kazan’s life and triumphs on stage and in the movies. Moreover, it explains how such classics as On the Waterfront and East of Eden literally changed the way Scorsese lived his life and anticipated a career in films.

A Letter to Elia also describes how Kazan’s movies reflected his own experiences and those of his family. The archival material, clips and interviews shape a riveting portrait of the artist. A collector’s booklet covers much of the same territory in text, photos, publicity material and assembled credits.

What follows are 15 of the master’s 19 features, including 5 titles new to DVD (A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Viva Zapata!, Man on a Tightrope, Wild River and America, America). They range from early noir crime thrillers (Panic in the Streets, Boomerang!) and message films (Gentleman’s Agreement, Pinky), through the great literary and theatrical adaptations of the 1950s, and on to his most personal film, America, America. Each is wonderful in its own way.

You’d need to use a calculator to keep track of the Oscar wins and nominations accrued by the films, casts and behind-the-camera talent represented in these films. Besides the unforgettable repeat performances of Marlon Brando, James Dean, Natalie Wood, Walter Matthau, Lee Remick, Lee J. Cobb and Karl Malden, it’s also fun to watch such long-ago stars as Joan Blondell, Gregory Peck, Warren Beatty, Raymond Massey, Jeanne Crain, Ethel Barrymore, Richard Widmark, Anthony Quinn, Frederic March, Carroll Baker, Andy Griffith and Montgomery Clift. For the film buffs on your gift list, “The Elia Kazan Collection” easily qualifies as a no-brainer.

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Scott Pilgrim vs. the World: Blu-ray

The producers of the madly inventive Scott Pilgrim vs. the World must have thought they’d landed in Bizarro World when opening-weekend box-office tallies failed to match the positive buzz generated at ComicCon and in overwhelmingly glowing reviews from the mainstream media. OK, I hear what you’re saying: why should anyone under 30 trust any review written by a mainstream critic, especially about a movie adapted from a beloved comic book?

Well, how about this blurb from a review penned by Fanboy-in-Chief Harry Knowles?: “Sheer Imagination. Pure Kinetic Energy. A Genuine Visual Expression of the Essence of Rock N Roll Upon Geek Culture.” Don’t look to me for answers, though. After watching the movie for the first time on the splendid Blu-ray edition, I saw no reason why “SPVTW” couldn’t have matched the opening-weekend numbers of “Kick-Ass.”I could only come up with three possible explanation: 1) Michael Cera had exhausted all of his boyish charm, 2) members of the target audience were loathe to pull away from their video games for two hours, or 3) the more technically sophisticated residents of geekdom had already pirated “SPVTW” and shared it with all their Facebook friends.

Typically, movies heavy on CGI play extremely well in Blu-ray. The bonus features, alone, should make SPVTW a must-buy for anyone who cut their gaming teeth on Mario Bros. or remembers watching Cera grow up on Arrested Development. Finally playing someone his own age, 22, Cera’s Scott Pilgrim is a gangly Canadian rock musician who unexpectedly finds himself with a retinue of past and future girlfriends. The one to whom he’s most attracted requires more than the usual amount of wooing, though.

To win the Technicolor-haired Ramona Flowers (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), Pilgrim must battle seven of her evil ex-lovers in hyper-kinetic duels straight out of The Legend of Zelda and Super Mario 64. Like Link, Pilgrim draws his strength from passing various tests and collecting superpowers. The terrific British director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead) worked closely with Bryan Lee O’Malley – creator of the Scott Pilgrim graphic novels and video game – to ensure his movie would ring true with fans, and it shows.

The soundtrack also rocks, with music by the Sex Bob-Ombs, Beck, Crash and the Boys and composer Nigel Godrich. Also turning in nice performances are Jason Schwartzman, Anna Kendrick, Chris Evans, Brandon Routh and Kieran Culkin, as Pilgrim’s gay roommate.

Not surprisingly, the supplemental material is practically worth the price of admission, alone. In addition to four separate commentary tracks, there are 21 deleted scenes, bloopers, a 49-minute making-of documentary, footage of concert rehearsals, music videos, alternate footage and edits, pre-production material, a special-effects package, the animated short Adult Swim: Scott Pilgrim vs. the Animation, the director’s blog, a stills gallery, trivia track and U Control, with PIP storyboards. Fans of the movie will want to learn how Wright pulled off the amazing stunts and effects.

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Grown Ups: Blu-ray

Unlike Scott Pilgrim vs. the World, which critics loved and audiences mostly ignored, Grown Ups scored a direct hit at the box office, despite reviews that essentially described Adam Sandler and his cronies as lazy and self-satisfied.

There’s nothing to be gained by criticizing an audience’s willingness to support mediocre films, while dozens of really good movies can barely find a distributor, so I’ll simply say that I agree with the critics on Grown Ups and leave it at that. Producer/co-writer/director Sandler rounded up friends Chris Rock, Kevin James, David Spade and Rob Schneider in the service of a sentimental comedy that once again re-unites members of a champion high school basketball team after a beloved coach (or a player) dies.

To memorialize their coach, the men plan to spread his ashes outside a lakeside home they used as a refuge while kids. Along with their families, the old friends also hope to unwind from the pressures of urban life. The only other thing to know going into Grown Ups is that members of a rival team (Tim Meadows, Colin Quinn, and Steve Buscemi, among them) still live in the community and demand a rematch for their disputed loss, decades earlier. Otherwise, the men are merely older versions of their former selves, with the same personality traits, skills and hang-ups.

Grown Ups may, indeed, be a lazy production, but Sandler’s fan base has never demanded much of him artistically, or, for that matter, from his co-stars. (Rock is barely asked to work up a sweat, even in the basketball game.) The best material is reserved for the women in the cast, including such known quantities as Salma Hayek, Maria Bello and Maya Rudolph.

In short, fans of the stars of Grown Ups will cut the movie far more slack than those hoping to see one full of fresh ideas and original gags. The Blu-ray package adds a commentary track with and short profile of veteran comedy director Dennis Dugan; deleted scenes and a gag reel; The Lost Tapes of Norm MacDonald, which is as funny as anything in the movie; a look at the careers of the primary cast; a short piece, Busey and the Monkey; and BD-Live functionality.

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Three and Out

Two years after it was released in England, Jonathan Gershfield’s dark comedy Three and Out (a.k.a., A Deal Is a Deal) arrives here on the straight-to-DVD express. Fans of smallish British ensemble pieces should like it, if only for the acting. Gemma Arterton, Colm Meaney and Imelda Staunton are known quantities in America, while Mackenzie Crook is familiar primarily for playing Garth Keenan in the original British version of “The Office.” (The role would inform Rainn Wilson’s portrayal of Dwight Shrute.)

Crook plays Paul Callow, a singularly unlucky train engineer who is unable to brake fast enough to avoid hitting two people in two weeks. Although neither fatal accident is his fault, Callow is shaken to his core. When one of his fellow drivers tells him that a third death would force the company to offer him early retirement and 10 years salary, Callow goes off in search of someone desperate to commit suicide. He finds it in Meaney’s Tommy Cassidy, a burglar who only wants to re-connect with his estranged wife and daughter before falling in front of the train. The more time Callow spends in Cassidy’s company, however, the less likely it becomes that the engineer can pull it off. The extras include a making-of featurette and deleted scenes.

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Love Ranch

In an introduction filmed for the DVD, director Taylor Hackford describes what’s about to be seen as a “workplace” drama, with an unconventional romance – or two – at its center. His wife and the star of Love Ranch, Helen Mirren, stands alongside him, looking as if she had been awakened from an uneasy sleep. If one is able to read between the lines, Hackford is telling viewers that the version they’re about to watch isn’t the one he wanted them to see, and some of the best stuff he shot was saved from the cutting-room floor as evidence to be presented in the DVD package. And, he’s right.

Some of the deleted scenes are better than what ended up in the movie, which was shown in only a handful of theaters and given no marketing support. Not surprisingly, Mirren is very good as Grace Bontempo, who, along with her husband, Charlie (Joe Pesci), run Nevada’s first legal brothel, not far from Reno. Set in 1976, “Love Ranch” describes the rough-and-tumble atmosphere that surrounded the early days of legal prostitution in the state, when corrupt officials demanded kickbacks and cops served as bouncers and debt collectors. The prostitutes worked three weeks on and a week off, like “fireman,” often living in the same rooms in which they serviced customers.

It was the rare working girl who had a college education. Most were damaged in one way or another. All were capable of demonstrating great compassion one moment and petty jealousy the next. Grace was not only required to manage their diverse personality traits, but also cope with the temper tantrums and unfaithfulness of her unpredictable ex-con husband. One day, he announces that he’s assumed financial control of an Argentine heavyweight (Sergio Peris-Mencheta) and he needs Grace to represent him as his manager. The handsome brute seals his fate by falling in love with Grace and allowing her to fall for him.

Love Ranch is based on the true-life story of Mustang Ranch owners Joe and Sally Conforte, as well as the final days of boxer Oscar Bonavena. Despite the seeming abandonment of the film by the distributor, Love Ranch is an entirely watchable entertainment, with genuinely fine performances from its leads. Also appearing in the cast are Gina Gershon, Taryn Manning, Ling Bai, Bryan Cranston, Emily Rios and Melora Walters. The set includes Hackford’s commentary, the introduction and deleted scenes.

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Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives
Stuck!

As a rule, the movies with the best titles are found in the “cult” section of your better video stores. Indeed, the titles are usually better than movies themselves. Occasionally, though, a ringer manages to escape the dreck. Ticked-Off Trannies With Knives is no great shakes, really, but it meets the demands of the grindhouse genre and would be fun to watch at a party or midnight screening.

Israel Luna’s send-up of ‘70s exploitation flicks is essentially a tale of revenge, in which some glamorous transvestites exact revenge on a trio of thugs who didn’t expect to find a penis at the end of their rainbows … even if they picked up the ladies in a club known for its female impersonators. That’s really all one needs by way of plot description. What really sells the movie is its campy dialogue, ever-present evening gowns, far-out makeup and pedal-to-the-metal attitude.

Luna also would love for viewers to think the movie had been rescued from a closet in a long-closed drive-in movie, as it looks to be well into the process of decay. Beyond the snap, crackle, pops and scratches, entire spools appear to have been lost or tortured. If nothing else, Trannies makes you long for the days when John Waters and Devine still were considered subversive.

Speaking of which, Waters’ discovery Mink Stole is among the cast of characters in Steve Balderson’s homage to noir women-in-prison films, Stuck! In it, Daisy (Starina Johnson) is falsely convicted of killing her suicidal mother, based solely on the testimony of a nosy neighbor. Once in stir, of course, the “Mama Killer” is surrounded by predatory lesbians, demented cellmates, sadistic guards and an evil warden. Somehow, too, the women convicts are allowed to wear fishnet stockings, spike heels and lingerie they might have ordered from the Frederick’s of Hollywood catalogue.

Credit Balderson for taking the project seriously enough to put realistically terse dialogue in the women’s mouths and back up the tough talk with a slinky jazz score and evocative black-and-white cinematography. Neither does Balderson skimp on the shower-room scenes and cat fights. The only thing that looks cheap here is Karen Black’s purposefully horrifying blond wig.

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I Knew It Was You: Rediscovering John Cazale

At one point in his fine bio-doc, I Knew It Was You, director Richard Shepard asks passers-by if they recognize the actor standing alongside Al Pacino, Marlon Brando and James Caan in a publicity still from The Godfather. While most correctly identify the character as Fredo Corleone, none identifies the actor, John Cazale.

It would be easy to dismiss their inability to recall his name, if it weren’t for the fact that Cazale, in his too-short life, also starred alongside such similarly great actors as Marlon Brando, Meryl Streep, Al Pacino, Gene Hackman and Robert De Niro, in five of the best movies of the 1970s: The Godfather, The Godfather II, The Conversation, Dog Day Afternoon and The Deer Hunter.

Even while sharing scenes with some of the most prominent actors of his generation, Cazale’s otherwise anonymous presence was felt. He accomplished this not by stealing any of their thunder, but by subtly enhancing what their characters were doing or saying. His ability to allow audiences to appreciate the vulnerability, weakness and humanity in his characters impressed everyone around him, on stage and in the movies.

Cazale died of lung cancer in 1978, at 42, after finishing work on The Deer Hunter. Also providing testimony in I Knew It Was You are directors Francis Ford Coppola and Sidney Lumet, actors Steve Buscemi, Richard Dreyfuss, Olympia Dukakis, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Carol Kane and Sam Rockwell, and playwright Israel Horowitz. The 40-minute film is accompanied by extended interviews with Pacino and Horowitz, and two short films Cazale made in the ’60s.

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Wake Up

One of the great luxuries of living in a society not bridled with a state religion or party-line explanations for spiritual phenomena – the appearance of Jesus or the Virgin Mary on a tortilla, for example — is that anyone can create their own religion to deal with the mysteries of life. Unfortunately, far too many people insist on sharing their opinions and philosophies with anyone in shouting distance.

Most dream of writing a book and going on “Oprah” to win converts to their belief system and becoming overnight millionaires. One morning, we’re told in Wake Up, an average young man awakens with an ability to see and hear angels, demons, auras and ghosts. After ruling out brain disease, Jonas Elrod decides he’ll spend the next three years documenting his search for clues and answers on film.

Everyone he meets on his quest offers a slightly different spin on God, the Void and what they consider to be the only guaranteed path to spiritual enlightenment. None is practically fresh or unusual. Not being a charter member of Bill Maher’s atheism-is-cool club, Elrod is so intent on finding inner peace and spiritual guidance that he accepts everything at face value. At the end of his journey, Elrod doesn’t appear to have discovered anything terribly revelatory, but, at least, he and girlfriend seem happy. That’s what it’s all about, isn’t it?

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Jean-Michel Basquiat: Radiant Child

Twenty-two years after the death of Jean-Michel Basquiat — at 27, of a heroin overdose – and 14 years after Julian Schnabel’s biographical portrait in film, Tamra Davis’ affectionate bio-doc Radiant Child arrives on DVD to remind us of his enduring legacy. Basquiat rose famously from the streets of Manhattan’s Lower East Side, where he first gained fame as the graffiti artist SAMO, to the heights of celebrity as a Neo-Expressionist painter.

He sold his work to rock stars and movie idols, while palling around New York with Andy Warhol and other A-list personalities. Davis’ documentary includes interviews with several of the survivors of that drug-fueled era, while also asking if her friend’s popularity could have been attributed as much to the color of skin as the accessibility of his art. Although he’d been elevated to wonderkind status, Basquiat knew he was an outsider. The New York art scene sustains itself on gossip, jealousy, cliquish behavior and an overriding admiration for one’s value in the marketplace.

Generally speaking, there’s only room for one or two outsiders at a time. Some can handle the fame, while others crash and burn. Certainly, any iconoclast with a heroin habit would find it difficult to fit into this often vapid landscape for long. The centerpiece of Radiant Child is an interview with a 25-year-old Basquiat, filmed by Davis in 1985. Also included is archival material and interviews with such scenesters as Schnabel, Larry Gagosian, Bruno Bischofberger, Tony Shafrazi, Fab 5 Freddy, Jeffrey Deitch, Glenn O’Brien, Maripol, Kai Eric, Nicholas Taylor, Fred Hoffmann, Michael Holman, Diego Cortez, Annina Nosei, Suzanne Mallouk, and Rene Ricard. An uncut version of the interview is part of the bonus package.

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Car Bomb

In 2006, Kevin Toolis produced a documentary for British television, in which failed suicide bombers candidly discuss their rationale for strapping on a vest, tricked out with explosive material and shrapnel, for the sole purpose of killing themselves and people they consider to be infidels. Helping him gain access to this select group of would-be martyrs was ex-CIA agent Robert Baer, whose life was depicted by George Clooney in Syriana.

The men have teamed up, again, for Car Bomb. Although victims of IEDs probably would dispute the claim, the filmmaker argues that M-80s on wheels have become the decisive weapon of the 21st Century. Park a truck loaded with juiced-up fertilizer in front of a mosque or embassy, and a highly motivated terrorist could start a civil war. Better, yet, perpetrators live to brag about it. Car Bomb documents the history of the weapon, as well as the implications of its use.

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Mystery Science Theater 3000: Vol. XIX: Limited Edition

The longer one reviews DVDs as an avocation, the greater the admiration one has for the folks at Mystery Science Theater 3000 assigned the task of choosing the titles deserving of such harsh and hilarious critiques. As is now apparent, the number of movies that fall of under the general heading, “So Bad, They’re Almost Good,” not only is huge, but the inventory grows larger with each passing week.

Possibly taking the lead from Criterion Collection laserdiscs, which began offering special-edition packages in 1984, the crew of the Satellite of Love effectively introduced the audio-commentary-track concept to the masses, albeit on Comedy Central. The Volume 19 DVD package includes the immortal titles, Robot Monster (1953), Bride of the Monster (1955), Devil Doll (1964) and Devil Fish (1984).

It matters little what transpires in each movie, although it’s worth noting that Bride of the Monster represented Bela Lugosi’s second of three collaborations with Edward D. Wood Jr., and Devil Doll is about a ventriloquist’s dummy that’s trained to kill. Needless to say, Joel the Janitor and his robotic friends, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot, have no trouble lampooning these all-but-forgotten gems.

The new package adds an introduction by J. Elvis Weinstein; Larry Blamire’s reflections on Robot Monster; featurettes on Bride of the Monster and Devil Doll; an interview with George “The Animal” Steele; and MST3K: Origins and Beyond: CONvergence 2009 Panel. The pièce de résistance, though, is the limited-edition Gypsy figurine included in the “Limited Edition” package.

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The Dry Land: Blu-ray

It is the fate of too many veterans of our wars in Iraq and Afghanistan that, upon their return home, they feel as if they’ve simply trade one war zone for another. The jobs that do exist pay next to nothing and no one seems particularly interested anymore in what they were doing in those dusty shitholes to protect “American interests abroad.”

Everyone’s got more pressing problems than the preservation of corrupt democracies in Kabul and Baghdad. Hell, Americans don’t even want to watch movies about the war. Ryan Piers Williams’ home-front drama, The Dry Land, describes one such homecoming. Everyone in his dry-as-dirt Texas town is ecstatic to see James (Ryan O’Nan) return home, apparently in one piece. It isn’t long before gossips start spreading the word of his strategic loss of memory and his unconscious nocturnal attacks on his wife (America Ferrera).

If only James could remember what happened to him, he might be able to shake his constant feeling of dread and take his finger off his hair-trigger temper. James’ depression is heightened, as well, by the failing health of his mother (Melissa Leo) and a bottom-rung job at his father-in-law’s slaughterhouse. (As metaphors go, that one is a doozey.) After hitting rock bottom, James decides to connect with an old army buddy (Wilmer Valderrama), who might have some compassion for his situation and join him on a road trip to Walter Reed hospital.

Once there, a seriously wounded friend might be able to fill in the holes of James’ memory. This, of course, opens another can of worms. The Dry Land is a competently made drama that comes perilously close to stacking the deck against its own protagonist, as was the case with Brothers. Everyone in the cast does a fine job and Williams effectively puts the war in Iraq and the war inside James’ head on parallel tracks.

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Damned by Dawn: Blu-ray

You just don’t see many good banshee movies these days. According to Irish legend, the banshee is a female spirit whose appearance anticipates the death of members of certain prominent families. Their arrival can be telegraphed by barely audible moans or loud shrieks.

The banshee we meet in the Aussie thriller, Damned by Dawn, is of the latter variety. As usual, everyone in the movie makes all the wrong moves while waiting for their bed-ridden grandmother to die. First of all, they ignore the old woman’s request to let the banshee go about her business undisturbed. Then, during a storm, the men in the house decide to check out what’s hiding in the encroaching ground fog. (Ground fog in a storm? Don’t ask.) They also enter caves, armed only with flashlights, and peer through windows heavy with condensation, daring the ghouls to pop up during a lightning strike and scare the crap out of them.

Clichés aside, though, Damned by Dawn does manage to raise goose bumps and deliver jolts of surprise. It does lose steam in places, but a palpable aura of dread permeates most of the story. Newcomer Renee Wilner delivers an especially satisfying performance as the most inquisitive member of the family. Dark and pretty, Wilner should be able to find work in the greener pastures of Hollywood. The Blu-ray adds commentary and a making-of short.

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The Brazen Bull
Hunt to Kill

According to imdb.com, Michael Madsen currently has no fewer than 30 titles in one stage of production or another. With the death of James Brown, this officially makes the 53-year-old Chicago native the hardest working man in show business. In his latest straight-to-DVD thriller, The Brazen Bull, Madsen’s character doesn’t come into play for quite a while. Instead, we watch a pair of yuppies – one of whom, played by 29-year-old Jennifer Tisdale, looks and speaks as if she’s still in her teens — prepare to renovate a building they’d purchased after it went into foreclosure.

Little do they know that the largely gutted structure is inhabited by a mysterious squatter, who calls himself Brazen Bull. Madsen’s unhinged character is pissed off about something, but what exactly isn’t made clear until the blood starts flowing and appendages are sawed off. Douglas Elford-Argent’s film is a nasty piece of business that looks very much as if it were shot on the cheap, with the primary expense being the hiring of Madsen and Rachel Hunter, as the world’s most beautiful police detective. It does manage to raise a few goose bumps, though.

If you can get your head around the idea of “Stone Cold” Steve Austin playing a Texas Border Patrol officer alongside Eric Roberts, there’s a good chance you’ll enjoy Hunt to Kill. Others may want to pass. In his mostly straight-to-DVD flicks, Austin tends not to look for shades of gray in the criminals he pursues. The genre demands action, the villains require justice and average citizens want to live uneventful lives.

Here, Austin and Roberts make the mistake of busting a meth lab before ensuring their own safety. Four years later, Roberts is long gone and Austin is patrolling an entirely different border. While in snowy Montana, he also has to cope with a teenage daughter heading for an appointment on the wrong side of the law. When she’s taken hostage by a group of hoodlums led by Gil Bellows, Austin is required to take that same law into his own hands. The mountain scenery is an asset.

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Light Gradient

As this lethargic story unfolds, newly attached lovers Johann and Robin venture deeper into Germany’s beautiful Brandenburg Forest, shedding traces of their previous lives along the way. The handsome young men seem to enjoy each other’s company, even as the clouds of destiny grow darker above them. Desperately hungry, they are invited to stay in a farmhouse owned by a thirtysomething woman and her equally handsome and seemingly vulnerable teenage son.

There’s a palpable air of sexual tension underneath that roof, but it’s difficult to say in which direction it’s flowing. Indeed, the sex in Light Gradient is mostly implied. I can’t say that I understand the ending, but I know it has something to do with do with the sinister beauty of the forest – especially at night – and the young men’s inability to merge with it. Light Gradient is a gorgeous film to look at, even if it leaves viewers scratching the heads as the final credits roll.

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Lovely, Still

It’s interesting that a triple-hyphenate filmmaker, still in his early 20s, was able to cast Oscar-winners Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn, and the always interesting Adam Scott and Elizabeth Banks, in a rom-com for the seniors’ crowd. Substantial roles for these wonderful veteran actors either are few and far between or a talent agent owed Nik Fackler a huge favor.

Oh, yeah, Lovely, Still also features original music by Conor Oberst and a score by Nate Walcott and Mike Mogis of Bright Eyes. (I’m guessing that this has a lot to do with the fact that the movie was shot in Omaha, home to the director, the musicians and the artist whose paintings appear in it. So, where’s Alexander Payne?)

Landau and Burstyn play a pair of old-timers who meet-cute in his unlocked home. Mary takes the bull by the horns by asking Landau’s Robert Malone for a date, leading the inexperienced gentleman to ask friends a series of questions a 16-year-old might need answered before his first real date. Lovely, Still is set at Christmastime, so there’s more than a little bit of magic in the air, along with far too much holiday schmaltz. Everything’s fine in their December-December relationship, until Fackler pulls a very dark rabbit out of his hat and the movie reveals its true identity.

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Sherlock: Season One
The Boondocks: The Complete Third Season
thirtysomething: The Complete Fourth and Final Season
The Super Hero Squad Show: Quest for the Infinity Sword

I wasn’t a big fan of Guy Ritchie’s re-imagining of Sherlock Holmes as an action hero, last summer. Neither was I looking forward particularly to BBC/PBS’ contemporization, Sherlock, which is being shown currently on “Masterpiece Mystery!” The last thing I wanted to find in Holmes’ hands was a cell phone or laptop computer. Or, so I thought.

In fact, “Sherlock” is a welcome addition to the Holmes/Watson canon, thanks to performances by Benedict Cumberbatch (Atonement) and Martin Freeman (The Office) in the lead roles, and Rupert Graves (The Forsyte Saga) as Inspector Lestrade. Cumberbatch’s Holmes is insular and mysterious. He refers to himself as a consulting detective. Dr. Watson is a veteran of the war in Afghanistan, where he developed a taste for warfare.

The good news is that, while crime-solving techniques may have advanced exponentially over the last 100 years, the fundamentals remain elementary. The stories adapted for the series and collected here are A Study in Pink, in which a series of suicides may or may not be linked to murder; The Blind Banker, which involves a break-in at a bank, where nothing is stolen but an employee is later found dead; and The Great Game, which requires Holmes to play cat-and-mouse with a bomber. Sherlock was conceived and writer by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, producers of Dr. Who.

Speaking of which, Doctor Who: The Complete Fifth Series also arrives on DVD this week. Matt Smith takes over as the 11th doctor, while Karen Gillan plays an adult Amy Pond. The new series begins with the TARDIS time-travel spacecraft plummeting from the sky and a reunion with Amy. Before returning to the stars with his companion, the doctor is required to save Earth from an alien plot. The weird creatures just keep on coming, though.

The bonus material includes newly filmed scenes, written by Moffat and exclusive to DVD and Blu-ray, telling what happens between the episodes; “Doctor Who Confidential,” an inside look at each episode; Monster Files; In-Vision commentaries; outtakes and video diaries.

The third-season DVD of The Boondocks opens with a German film crew following the Freeman family around during Barak Obama’s campaign for the White House. It doesn’t take long, though, for things to return to what passes for normal on the Adult Swim show. The box set includes introductions by Cedric Yarbrough and Gary Anthony Williams; several commentaries; Slink on the Street; a sketch gallery; and making-of material.

The final season of thirtysomething, one of the most influential series in television history, arrives with few, if any of the bonus features that fans came to expect from previous DVD packages. Considering how much happens to the self-indulgent boomers during the show’s fourth stanza – romantically, financially and otherwise – this is a disappointment. The episodes continue to speak for themselves, though. (Watch thirtysomething alongside NBC’s Parenthood if you don’t believe me about its still being influential.)

In the second volume of Quest for the Infinity Sword, the Super Hero Squad gets its kicks protecting Super Hero City from Dr. Doom and the VillainVilles. Among the guest vocal actors are Kevin Michael Richardson (Family Guy), Greg Grunberg (Heroes), Wayne Knight (Seinfeld), Ray Stevenson (Punisher: War Zone) and Lena Headey (Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles).

Page 24

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
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Karen Durbin

1 Hunger
2 Hurt Locker
3 White Ribbon
4 Treeless Mountain
5 Precious
6 Bright Star
7 Where the Wild Things Are
8 Private Lives of Pippa Lee
9 Inglourious Basterds
10 Jennifer’s Body
Link to the List

Quentin Tarantino

1 Star Trek
2 Drag Me To Hell
3 Funny People
4 Up in the Air
5 Chocolate
6 Observe and Report
7 Zombieland
8 Julie & Julia
9 Avatar | The Hurt Locker
10 District 9
Link to the List

David Edelstein

1 Summer Hours
2 Everlasting Moments
3 Brothers
4 Fantastic Mr. Fox
5 Tyson
6 A Serious Man
7 Coraline
8 In the Loop
9 Food Inc
10 The Hurt Locker
Link to the List

J. Hoberman

1 The Hurt Locker
2 Hunger
3 Police, Adjective
4 I’m Gonna Explode
5 Coraline
6 The Sun
7 Beaches of Agnes
8 The Headless Woman
9 Inglourious Basterds
10 Red Cliff
Link to the List

TC Kirkham

1 Astroboy
2 Avatar
3 Departures
4 (500) Days of SUmmer
5 Julie & Julia
6 New York, I Love You
7 9 | Sita Sings the BLues
8 Star Trek | Taking Woodstock
9 Up
10 Watchmen
Link to the List

Robert Levin

1 Up in the Air
2 A Serious Man
3 The Hurt Locker
4 Of Time and the City
5 Avatar
6 The Messenger
7 The COve
8 Up
9 Sin Nombre
10 Big Fan
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Geoff Berkshire

1 Precious
2 Up in the Air
3 Summer Hours
4 Inglourious Basterds
5 Where the Wild Things Are
6 Ponyo
7 Moon
8 Sugar
9 A Single Man
10 Funny People
Link to the List

Irv Slifkin

1 A Serious Man
2 Taking Woodstock
3 Avatar
4 Anvil! The Story of Anvil
5 Fantastic Mr. Fox
6 Hurt Locker
7 (500) Days of Summer
8 The Hangover
9 In the Loop
10 Sugar

Geoff Berkshire | Karen Durbin | David Edelstein | J. Hoberman | TC Kirkham | Robert Levin | Irv Slifkin | Quentin Tarantino

Page 23

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
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Betsy Pickle

1 That Evening Sun
2 Up in the Air
3 (500) Days of SUmmer
4 Avatar
5 The Messenger
6 Inglourious Basterds
7 In the Loop
8 Bright Star
9 An Education
10 Julie & Julia
Link to the List

Al Alexander

1 Inglourious Basterds
2 Up in the Air
3 Up
4 In the Loop
5 The Hurt Locker
6 The Messenger
7 (500) Days of SUmmer
8 Food Inc
9 Baader Meinhof Complex
10 Coraline
Link to the List

Jen Yamato

1 Beaches of Agnes
2 Fantastic Mr. Fox
3 Up
4 The Hurt Locker
5 Bronson
6 Where the Wild Things Are
7 The Messenger
8 An Education
9 District 9
10 (500) Days of Summer
Link to the List

Jennifer Merin

1 An Education
2 Beaches of Agnes
3 Bright Star
4 The Cove
5 District 9
6 Fantastic Mr. Fox
7 The Hurt Locker
8 The Messenger
9 Precious
10 Up in the Air
Link to the List

Susan Granger

1 Avatar
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 Invictus
5 Julie & Julia
6 Nine
7 Star Trek
8 The Blind Side
9 Up
10 Up in the AIr
Link to the List

Tricia Olszewski

1 Up
2 Inglourious Basterds
3 Up in the Air
4 Paranormal Activity
5 Coraline
6 Adventureland
7 World’s Greatest Dad
8 The Hurt Locker
9 Food, Inc
10 Sherlock Holmes
Link to the List

Ann Lewinson

1 Gomorrah
2 An Education
3 The White Ribbon
4 A Serious Man
5 Hunger
6 District 9
7 The Single Man
8 The Hurt Locker
9 The Limits of Control
10 Princess & the Frog
Link to the List

Jette Kernion
AWFJ

1 A Serious Man
2 Bronson
3 World’s Greatest Dad
4 Coraline
5 St. Nick
6 A Town Called Panic
7 District 9
8 Fantastic Mr. Fox
9 Up in the Air
10 Inglourious Basterds
Link to the List

Marjorie Baumgarten

1 Where the Wild Things Are
2 The Beaches of Agnes
3 A Single Man
4 A Serious Man
5 The Hurt Locker
6 Summer Hours
7 An Education
8 Up
9 Antichrist
10 Bright Star
Link to the List

Katey Rich

1 Inglourious Basterds
2 Up
3 In the Loop
4 Star Trek
5 A Serious Man
6 Avatar
7 The White Ribbon
8 Fantastic Mr. Fox
9 Sugar
10 Duplicity

Al Alexander | Marjorie Baumgarten | Susan Granger | Jette Kernion | Ann Lewinson | Jennifer Merin | Tricia Olszewski | Betsy Piickle | Katey Rich | Jen Yamato

Page 22

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
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Nell Minow
AWFJ

1 Up in the Air
2 Where the Wild Things Are
3 Precious
4 Fantastic Mr. Fox
5 (500) Days of Summer
6 District 9
7 Coraline
8 Up
9 Star Trek
10 An Education
Link to the List

Jessica Barnes

1 Where the Wild Things Are
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Moon
4 Inglourious Basterds
5 District 9
6 Funny People
7 Watchmen
8 Star Trek
9 Adventureland
10 Food Inc.
Link to the List

Shelli Sonstein
AWFJ

1 Up in the Air
2 Inglourious Basterds
3 Up
4 The Hurt Locker
5 Precious
6 The Messenger
7 Avatar
8 Zombieland
9 Pirate Radio
10 Bruno
Link to the List

Cynthia Fuchs

1 Back Home Tomorrow
2 Beaches of Agnes
3 How to Fold a Flag
4 The Hurt Locker
5 Living in Emergency
6 October Country
7 Sugar
8 35 Shots of Rum
9 Treeless Mountain
10 24 City
Link to the List

Diana Saenger
AWFJ

1 Avatar
2 The Messenger
3 Bright Star
4 Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
5 Sin Nombre
6 Me & Orson Welles
7 The Cove
8 The Burning Plain
9 The Hangover
10
Link to the List

Joanna Langfield
AWFJ

1 Up in the Air
2 The Hurt Locker
3 A Serious Man
4 Avatar
5 Up
6 District 9
7 Crazy Heart
8 An Education
9 (500) Days of Summer
10 Adventureland
Link to the List

Thelma Adams

1 Up in the Air
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Star Trek
4 The Hangover
5 The Young Victoria
6 District 9
7 Coco Before Chanel
8 Inglourious Basterds
9 Paranormal Activity
10 Up
Link to the List

Rebecca Murray

1 Avatar
2 (500) Days of Summer
3 Up
4 An Education
5 Inglourious Basterds
6 The Hurt Locker
7 The Road
8 Zombieland
9 Up in the Air
10 District 9
Link to the List

Claudia Puig
AWFJ

1 The Hurt Locker
2 Up
3 Up in the Air
4 Sin Nombre
5 Sugar
6 (500) Days of SUmmer
7 District 9
8 Inglourious Basterds
9 A Serious Man
10 Summer Hours
Link to the List

Carol Cling
AWFJ

1 The Hurt Locker
2 An Education
3 Bright Star
4 Up
5 Princess and the Frog
6 The Cove
7 A Serious Man
8 In the Loop
9 Up in the Air
10 Sin Nombre

Thelma Adams | Jessica Barnes | Carol Cling | Cyntia Fuchs | Brandy McDonnell | Nell Minow | Rebecca Murray | Claudia Puig | Diana Saenger | Shelli Sonstein

Page 21

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
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Susan Wloszczyna

1 Up in the Air
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Up
4 Precious
5 A Serious Man
6 An Education
7 Zombieland
8 Coraline
9 Fantastic Mr. Fox
10 Inglourious Basterds
Link to the List

David Walsh

1 Everlasting Moments
2 Of Time and the City
3 The Country Teacher
4 Laila’s Birthday
5 Where the Wild Things Are
6 Serbis
7 The Men Who Stare at Goats
8 24 City
9 A Serious man
10 Bright Star
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Karina Longworth

1 Silent Light
2 Two Lovers
3 The Girlfriend Experience
4 Summer Hours
5 Beeswax
6 Cargo 200
7 The Limits of Control
8 Bad Lieutenant
9 The Hurt Locker
10 Inglourious Basterds
Link to the List

Mark Jenkins

1 35 Shots of Rum
2 Summer Hours
3 Still Walking
4 The Beaches of Agnes
5 The Hurt Locker
6 24 City
7 The Cove
8 Tokyo Sonata
9 Departures
10 Police, Adjective
Link to the List

Sean P. Means
Salt Lake Tribune

1 Sita Sings the Blues
2 A Serious Man
3 Up
4 The Cove
5 Up in the Air
6 Phoebe in Wonderland
7 The Class
8 Pirate Radio
9 Every Little Step
10 In the Loop
Link to the List

Aaron Hillis

1 Tetro
2 Two Lovers
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 The Hurt Locker
5 Fantastic Mr. Fox
6 35 Shots of Rum
7 You, the Living
8 The Informant
9 Paradise
10 Tony Manero
Link to the List

Caryn James

1 Up in the Air
2 Bright Star
3 The Hurt Locker
4 A Single Man
5 Inglourious Basterds
6 An Education
7 Fantastic Mr. Fox
8 In the Loop
9 The Road
10 Seraphine
Link to the List

Dennis Lim
Moving Image Source

1 Summer Hours
2 The Limits of Control
3 The Headless Woman
4 Inglourious Basterds
5 24 City
6 Police, Adjective
7 Fantastic Mr. Fox
8 Night and Day
9 Liverpool
10 Beeswax
Link to the List

Richard Brody
New Yorker

1 Fantastic Mr. Fox
2 Beaches of Agnes
3 Funny People
4 Two Lovers
5 Gentlemen Broncos
6 Police, Adjective
7 24 City
8 Lorna’s Silence
9 Frontier of Dawn
10 Alexander the Last
Link to the List

Ed Gonzalez

1 Two Lovers
2 Up
3 Julia
4 Where the Wild Things Are
5 The Hurt Locker
6 Revanche
7 35 Shots of Rum
8 Inglourious Basterds
9 That Evening Sun
10 The Window

Richard Brody | Ed Gonzalez | Aaron Hillis | Caryn James | Mark Jenkins | Dennis Lim | Karina Longworth | Sean Means | David Walsh | Susan Wloszczyna

Page 20

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
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Amy Taubin
Film Comment

1 35 Shots of Rum
2 The Hurt Locker
3 The Headless Woman
4 Tulpan
5 Tokyo Sonata
6 The Informant
7 Lake Tahoe
8 Police, Adjective
9 The Sun
10 Sugar
Link to the List

Chuck Wilson
LA Weekly

1 Bright Star
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Everlasting Moments
4 A Single Man
5 Drag Me to Hell
6 Police, Adjective
7 Public Enemies
8 The Beaches of Agnes
9 The Messenger
10 Bad Lieutenant
Link to the List

Joe Leydon
Variety

1 Up in the Air
2 That Evening Sun
3 (500) Days of Summer
4 The Messenger
5 Fantastic Mr. Fox
6 A Serious Man
7 The Informant
8 Summer Hours
9 The Hurt Locker
10 Funny People
Link to the List

Gerald Peary
Boston Phoenix

1 The Hurt Locker
2 A Serious man
3 Precious
4 Humpday
5 The Baader Meinhof Complex
6 Lorna’s Silence
7 The Informant
8 Beeswax
9 Up
10 Treeless Mountain
Link to the List

Sam Adams
LA Times

1 Still Walking
2 A Serious Man
3 The Sun
4 Fantastic Mr. Fox
5 Coraline
6 The Hurt Locker
7 The Limits of Control
8 The Headless Woman
9 Two Lovers
10 Crank: High Voltage
Link to the List

Ben Kenigsberg
Time Out Chicago

1 Inglourious Basterds
2 The Hurt Locker
3 A Serious Man
4 Tokyo Sonata
5 The Headless Woman
6 Julia
7 The Box
8 The White Ribbon
9 Public Enemies
10 Summer Hours
Link to the List

Nathan Lee
Film Comment

1 The Headless Woman
2 Halloween II
3 Summer Hours
4 Inglourious Basterds
5 TheSun
6 Next Day Air
7 Adventureland
8 Loren Cass
9 The Feature
10 The Limits of Control
Link to the List

Matthew Wilder
Collider.com

1 Broken Embraces
2 A Serious man
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 The Hurt Locker
5 The Headless Woman
6 Tetro
7 Bad Lieutenant
8 The Informant
9 Night and Day
10 You, the Living
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Matt Prigge
Philadelphia Weekly

1 In the Loop
2 Inglourious Basterds
3 Duplicity
4 The Headless Woman
5 I’m Gonna Explode
6 The Beaches of Agnes
7 Fantastic Mr. Fox
8 Sita Sings the Blues
9 Afterschool
10 Crank: High Voltage
Link to the List

Sean Burns
Philadelphia Weekly

1 Up
2 A Serious Man
3 Adventureland
4 Public Enemies
5 The Hurt Locker
6 Two Lovers
7 Where the Wild Things Are
8 Fantastic Mr. Fox
9 Funny People
10 Bad Lieutenant

Sam Adams | Sean Burns | Ben Kenigsberg | Nathan Lee | Joe Leydon | Gerald Peary | Matt Prigge | Amy Taubin | Matthew Wilder | Chuck Wilson

Page 19

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
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Whitney Matheson
USA Today PopCandy

1 Fantastic Mr. Fox
2 Star Trek
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 The Rock-afire Explosion
5 Tyson
6 Whip It
7 Humpday
8 Coraline
9 Best Worst Movie
10 Adventureland
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Don Sanchez
ABC-7

1 A Single Man
2 An Education
3 Avatar
4 The Blind Side
5 The Hurt Locker
6 Inglourious Basterds
7 Nine
8 Star Trek
9 Up
10 Up in the Air
Link to the List

Michael Sragow
The Baltimore Sun

1 The Exiles
2 The Hurt Locker
3 The Class
4 Up
5 Waltz with Bashir
6 Harvard Beats Yale 29-29
7 Bright Star
8 Cheri
9 Everlasting Moments
10 Precious
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George Roush
Latino Review

1 Up
2 Inglorious Basterds
3 The Hurt Locker
4 Precious
5 District 9
6 Taken
7 The Cove
8 In the Loop
9 The Hangover
10 The Mystery Team
Link to the List

Curt Holman
Creative Loafing

1 Up
2 The Hurt Locker
3 12
4 In the Loop
5 The Damned United
6 District 9
7 A Serious Man
8 Fantastic Mr. Fox
9 Coraline
10 Anvil! The Story of Anvil
Link to the List

Brandy McDonnell
The Oklahoman

1 Inglorious Basterds
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Up in the Air
4 (500) Days of Summer
5 Precious
6 Fantastic Mr. Fox
7 Up
8 District 9
9 Invictus
10 The Brothers Bloom
Link to the List

Matt Goldberg
Collider.com

1 The Brothers Bloom
2 Up
3 A Serious Man
4 Where the Wild Things Are
5 District 9
6 Inglourious Basterds
7 A Single Man
8 Away We Go
9 In the Loop
10 Fantastic Mr. Fox
Link to the List

Brad Schreiber
Huffington Post

1 Coraline
2 Duplicity
3 Moon
4 The Baader Meinhof Complex
5 The Last Station
6 Hunger
7 O’Horten
8 A Serious Man
9 An Education
10 The Hangover
Link to the List

Clint O’Connor
The Plain Dealer

1 Precious
2 In the Loop
3 Fantastic Mr. Fox
4 Up in the Air
5 Avatar
6 Me & Orson Welles
7 Inglourious Basterds
8 The Hangover
9 The Hurt Locker
10 A Serious Man
Link to the List

Matt Pais
Metromix Chicago

1 A Serious Man
2 Where the Wild Things Are
3 The Hurt Locker
4 Tulpan
5 Crazy Heart
6 Mary & Max
7 An Education
8 In the Loop
9 The Girlfriend Experience
10 Extract

Matt Goldberg | Curt Holman | Whitney Matheson | Brandy McDonnell | Clint O’Connor | Matt Pais | George Roush | Don Sanchez | Brad Schreiber | Michael Sragow

Page 18

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
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C. Robert Cargill

1 District 9
2 Fish Story
3 Avatar
4 Star Trek
5 Moon
6 Fantastic Mr. Fox
7 The Road
8 Up
9 Taking Woodstock
10 Up in the Air
Link to the List

Amanda Mae Meyncke

1 Bright Star
2 Inglourious Basterds
3 The Brothers Bloom
4 A Single Man
5 Public Enemies
6 (500) Days of Summer
7 An Education
8 The Hangover
9 Avatar
10 Sunshine Cleaning
Link to the List

MaryAnn Johanson
Film.com

1 The Hurt Locker
2 District 9
3 The Road
4 The Soloist
5 A Serious Man
6 Bright Star
7 Up
8 Inglourious Basterds
9 Fantastic Mr. Fox
10 The Brothers Bloom
Link to the List

Laremy Legel

1 Inglourious Basterds
2 In the Loop
3 Fantastic Mr. Fox
4 Star Trek
5 Sherlock Holmes
6 Up
7 (500) Days of Summer
8 The Hangover
9 The Brothers Bloom
10 Away We Go
Link to the List

Josh Tyler
Cinema Blend

1 Up in the Air
2 (500) Days of Summer
3 The Hurt Locker
4 Bad Lieutenant
5 Up
6 Whip It
7 Mystery Team
8 Peter and Vandy
9 Watchmen
10 Star Trek
Link to the List

Kiko Martinez
San Antonio News

1 Where the Wild Things Are
2 Up in the Air
3 A Serious Man
4 Fantastic Mr. Fox
5 The White Ribbon
6 Broken Embraces
7 An Education
8 Mary & Max
9 The Hurt Locker
10 Precious
Link to the List

Kevyn Knox

1 Inglourious Basterds
2 Antichrist
3 The Hurt Locker
4 Public Enemies
5 Red Cliff
6 Watchmen
7 Tetro
8 Drag Me To Hell
9 Gomorrah
10 Star Trek
Link to the List

Harry Knowles
Ain’t It Cool News

1 District 9
2 Where the Wild Things Are
3 Up
4 Inglourious Basterds
5 The Square
6 Private Eye
7 Avatar
8 Moon
9 Bronson
10 Fantastic Mr. Fox
Link to the List

Gary Cogill
WFAA-TV

1 Up in the Air
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 Avatar
5 Nine
6 Sherlock Holmes
7 Up
8 Precious
9 Crazy Heart
10 This is It
Link to the List

Chuck Koplinski
Illinois Times

1 Up in the Air
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Up
4 The Messenger
5 The Hangover
6 Fantastic Mr. Fox
7 Precious
8 An Education
9 It Might Get Loud
10 Knowing

C. Rogert Cargill | Gary Cogill | MaryAnn Johanson | Harry Knowles | Kevyn Knox | Chuck Koplinski | Laremy Legel | Kiko Martinez | Amanda Mae Meyncke | Josh Tyler

Page 17

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Link to the List

Peg Aloi

1 Fantastic Mr. Fox
2 Bright Star
3 O’Horten
4 Inglourious Basterds
5 Moon
6 An Education
7 Summer Hours
8 In the Loop
9 Sin Nombre
10 Star Trek
Link to the List

Dwight Brown
Tri-State Defender

1 Avatar
2 Fantastic Mr. Fox
3 Hunger
4 The Hurt Locker
5 Invictus
6 Precious
7 Public Enemes
8 Star Trek
9 This is It
10 Up
Link to the List

Steve Persall

1 Up in the Air
2 Precious
3 (500) Days of Summer
4 District 9
5 Inglourious Basterds
6 The Cove | Food Inc
7 An Education
8 Where the Wild Things Are
9 The Messenger
10 Up
Link to the List

Christy Lemire
Associated Press

1 Moon
2 An Education
3 The Hurt Locker
4 Up
5 District 9
6 A Serious man
7 Fantastic Mr. Fox
8 Sugar
9 Passing Strange
10 Drag Me to Hell
Link to the List

Brian Miller
Seattle Weekly

1 The Maid
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Revanche
4 A Serious Man
5 In the Loop
6 Duplicity
7 The Informant
8 Up
9 Up in the Air
10 Avatar
Link to the List

David Germain

1 The Hurt Locker
2 Precious
3 The White Ribbon
4 Bad Lieutenant
5 Up
6 An Education
7 (500) Days of Summer
8 Passing Strange
9 Anvil! The Story of Anvil
10 The Damned United
Link to the List

Kevin Williamson
Ottawa Sun

1 Up in the Air
2 Up
3 The Hurt Locker
4 The Cove
5 District 9
6 Avatar
7 The Hangover
8 (500) Days of Summer
9 Inglourious Basterds
10 An Education
Link to the List

Lexi Feinberg
BigPictureBigSound

1 (500) Days of Summer
2 A Serious man
3 An Education
4 Inglourious Basterds
5 Up
6 I Love You, Man
7 Up in the Air
8 Precious
9 The Hurt Locker
10 Where the Wild Things Are
Link to the List

Liz Braun
Ottawa Sun

1 A Single Man
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Hunger
4 Crazy Heart
5 Food Inc
6 Gomorrah
7 The Hangover
8 Precious
9 The White Ribbon
10 Sin Nombre
Link to the List

Jim Slotek
Ottawa Sun

1 Up in the Air
2 The Hurt Locker
3 The Road
4 Star Trek
5 Up
6 Anvil! The Story of Anvil
7 The Cove
8 In the Loop
9 The Hangover
10 Avatar

Peg Aloi | Liz Braun | Dwight Brown | Lexi Feinberg | David Germain | Christy Lemire | Brian Miller | Steve Persall | Jim Slotek | Kevin Williamson

Page 16

Thursday, January 21st, 2010


Link to the List

Gary Dretzka

1 The Hurt Locker
2 Up
3 Avatar
4 The Maid
5 The Baader-Meinhof Complex
6 Bronson
7 Up in the Air
8 In the Loop
9 Burma VJ
10 Sin Nombre
Link to the List

Ray Pride

1 Limits of Control
2 The Hurt Locker
3 The Headless Woman
4 A Serious Man
5 Summer Hours
6 Fantastic Mr. Fox
7 Bad Lieutenant
8 Two Lovers
9 Loren Cass
10 Antichrist
Link to the List

Noah Forrest

1 Inglourious Basterds
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Mammoth
4 Tetro
5 The White Ribbon
6 A Serious Man
7 Private Lives of Pippa Lee
8 In the Loop
9 Two Lovers
10 Fantastic Mr. Fox
Link to the List

Kim Voynar

1 Up in the Air
2 The Hurt Locker
3 An Education
4 Goodbye Solo
5 In the Loop
6 A Serious Man
7 Where the Wild Things Are
8 Precious
9 Beaches of Agnes
10 District 9

The MCN Critics | Gary Dretzka | Noah Forrest | Ray Pride | Kim Voynar |

Page 15

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Link to the List

Jay Stone
Calgary Herald

1 Bad Lieutenant
2 A Serious Man
3 A Single Man
4 District 9
5 The Hurt Locker
6 Anvil! The Story of Anvil
7 Precious
8 Up
9 An Education
10 Fantastic Mr. Fox
Link to the List

Katherine Monk
Calgary Herald

1 The Hurt Locker
2 District 9
3 Polytechnique
4 Up in the Air
5 Summer Hours
6 Up
7 Star Trek
8 Anvil! The Story of Anvil
9 End of the Line
10 The Young Victoria
Link to the List

Barbara Vancheri
Post Gazette

1 Up in the Air
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Up | Princess and the Frog | Fantastic Mr. Fox
4 Precious
5 The Messenger
6 Julie & Julia
7 The Informant
8 Bright Star
9 Anvil! The Story of Anvil
10 Sin Nombre
Link to the List

Scott Marks
KPBS

1 Bright Star
2 Il Divo
3 Mother
4 Adoration
5 The Song of Sparrows
6 Seraphine
7 Still Walking
8 Inglourious Basterds
9 Tony Manero
10 The Box
Link to the List

Rob Thomas
The Capital Times

1 The Hurt Locker
2 (500) Days of Summer
3 Gomorrah
4 An Education
5 Away We Go
6 Hunger
7 The Cove
8 Lake Tahoe
9 Broken Embraces
10 Star Trek
Link to the List

Beth Accomando
KPBS

1 Il Divo
2 A Single Man
3 District 9
4 A Serious man
5 Inglourious Basterds
6 The Song of Sparrows
7 The Hurt Locker
8 Red Cliff
9 Pontypool
10 Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus | Silent Light | Crank: High Voltage
Link to the List

Stephanie Zacharek
Salon

1 Summer Hours
2 Fantastic Mr. Fox
3 Antichrist
4 The September Issue
5 Bright Star
6 Coraline
7 The International
8 Lake Tahoe
9 Broken Embraces
10 Star Trek
Link to the List

Josh Tate
The LAist

1 (500) Days of Summer
2 An Education
3 Anvil! The Story of Anvil
4 Big River Man
5 The Cove
6 Fantastic Mr. Fox
7 In the Loop
8 Men Who Stare at Goats
9 A Serious Man
10 Up
Link to the List

Micheal Compton
BG Daily News

1 Up in the Air
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 The Cove
5 (500) Days of Summer
6 Up
7 Food Inc
8 An Education
9 The Messenger
10 Revanche
Link to the List

Iann Robinson
Crave

1 The Hurt Locker
2 The Road
3 Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus
4 Where the Wild Things Are
5 World’s Greatest Dad
6 Up
7 (500) Days of Summer
8 The Cove
9 Coraline
10 Star Trek

Beth Accomando | Michael Compton | Scott Marks | Katherine Monk | Iann Robinson | Jay Stone | Josh Tate | Rob Thomas | Barbara Vancheri | Stephanie Zacharek

Page 14

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Link to the List

Matt Singer

1 Two Lovers
2 Summer Hours
3 Drag Me to Hell
4 Up
5 Anvil! The Story of Anvil
6 The Hurt Locker
7 The Headless Woman
8 In the Loop
9 The White Ribbon
10 Crank: High Voltage
Link to the List

Alison Willmore
IFC

1 You, the Living
2 Fantastic Mr. Fox
3 The Hurt Locker
4 The Headless Woman
5 A Twon Called Panic
6 Somers Town
7 Public Enemies
8 A Serious Man
9 Paradise
10 The Missing Person
Link to the List

Stephen King
Entertainment Weekly

1 The Hurt Locker
2 Last House on the Left
3 The Road
4 Disgrace
5 The Reader
6 District 9
7 Law Abiding Citizen
8 The Taking of Pelham 123
9 Fantastic Mr. Fox
10 2012
Link to the List

Michael Atkinson
IFC

1 Made in the USA
2 The Headless Woman
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 I’m Gonna Explode
5 Hunger
6 The Baader Meinhof Comples
7 Up
8 Night and Day
9 You, the Living
10 Three Monkeys
Link to the List

Kim Brown

1 The Hurt Locker
2 Up in the Air
3 An Education
4 (500) Days of Summer
5 The Road
6 Precious
7 Inglourious Basterds
8 Up
9 A Single Man
10 Bright Star
Link to the List

John Harding
Cantonsville Times

1 The Hurt Locker
2 A Serious Man
3 Up in the Air
4 Beaches of Agnes
5 Up
6 Nine
7 In the Loop
8 The young Victoria
9 This is It!
10 The English Surgeon
Link to the List

Brian Tallerico
Movie Retriever

1 Where the Wild Things Are
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Up in the Air
4 The White Ribbon
5 An Education
6 Bright Star
7 Star Trek
8 Sin Nombre
9 Goodbye Solo
10 Inglourious Basterds
Link to the List

Mike Giuliano
Cantonsville Times

1 Up in the Air
2 Bright Star
3 Julie & Julia
4 The Messenger
5 Tetro
6 Invictus
7 Star Trek
8 A Serious man
9 Inglourious Basterds
10 Everybody’s Fine
Link to the List

Matthew Hays
Montreal Mirror

1 Pontypool
2 Bruno
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 I Killed My Mother
5 Captialism: A Love Story
6 Precious
7 Petropolis
8 A Single Man
9 The Queen and I
10 Cairo Time
Link to the List

Marc Savlov
Austin Chronicle

1 A Single Man
2 12
3 Moon
4 Antichrist
5 Bad Lieutenant
6 The Cove
7 The Hurt Locker
8 Up
9 Inglourious Basterds
10 In the Loop

Michael Atkinson | Kim Brown | Mike Giuliano | John Harding | Matthew Hays | Stephen King | Marc Savlov | Matt Singer | Brian Tallerico | Alison Willmore

Page 13

Thursday, January 21st, 2010

Link to the List

Malcolm Fraser
Montreal Mirror

1 Anvil! Story of Anvil
2 Bad Lieutenant
3 A Serious Man
4 I Love You, Man
5 Adventureland
6 Drag Me To Hell
7 Last Train Home
8 (500) Days of Summer
9 I Killed My Mother
10 Antichrist
Link to the List

Christopher Sykes
Montreal Mirror

1 The Class
2 35 Shots of Rum
3 Where the Wild Things Are
4 Tulpan
5 Up
6 The Hurt Locker
7 Sin Nombre
8 District 9
9 Antichrist
10 The Hangover
Link to the List

Andy Klein
Brand X

1 In the Loop
2 35 Shots of Rum
3 Red Cliff
4 Inglourious Basterds
5 Up
6 Up in the Air | Hurt Locker
7 A Serious man
8 The Fantastic Mr. Fox
9 Tokyo Sonata
10 Star Trek
Link to the List

Mark Slutsky
Montreal Mirror

1 Inglourious Basterds
2 A Serious Man
3 Bad Lieutenant
4 Bright Star
5 Public Enemies
6 The Hurt Locker
7 Antichrist
8 Two Lovers
9 District 9
10
Link to the List

Keith Cohen
Sun Publications

1 Invictus
2 Departures
3 Gran Torino
4 It’s Complicated
5 The Princess & the Frog
6 Defiance
7 Every Little Step
8 Up in the Air
9 Up
10 An Education
Link to the List

Jeffrey M. Anderson
Cinematical

1 The Hurt Locker
2 Coraline
3 Bright Star
4 Red Cliff
5 You, The Living
6 35 Shots of Rum
7 Drag Me To Hell
8 Sita Sings the Blues
9 Inglourious Basterds
10 Adventureland
Link to the List

Jeff Walls
Seattle Post Intelligencer

1 (500) Days of Summer
2 Avatar
3 Star Trek
4 Up
5 A Serious Man
6 An Education
7 Fantastic Mr. Fox
8 The Hurt Locker
9 District 9
10 Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince
Link to the List

Mike Ward
Richmond.com

1 Up in the Air
2 State of Play
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 The Hurt Locker
5 Zombieland
6 Up
7 The Road
8 District 9
9 The Damned United
10 The Messenger
Link to the List

Tom Charity
CNN

1 A Serious Man
2 Ponyo
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 Two Lovers
5 Coraline
6 The Headless Woman
7 The Hurt Locker
8 Bright Star
9 Fantastic Mr. Fox
10 La Danse
Link to the List

Jack Garner
RocNow

1 The Hurt Locker
2 Up in the Air
3 Fantastic Mr. Fox
4 Avatar
5 Precious
6 Inglourious Basterds
7 Up
8 The Young Victoria
9 Me & Orson Welles
10 This is It!

Jeffrey M. Anderson | Tom Charity | Keith Cohen | Malcolm Fraser | Jack Garner | Andy Klein | Mark Slutsky | Christopher Sykes | Jeff Walls | Mike Ward

Page 12

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Link to the List

Zorianna Kit
California Literary Review

1 The Hurt Locker
2 A Serious Man
3 A Single Man
4 An Education
5 Precious
6 Inglourious Basterds
7 The Hangover
8 The Cove
9 Avatar
10 Up
Link to the List

Joanne Thornborough
The Daily Journal

1 The Hurt Locker
2 An Education
3 Fantastic Mr. Fox
4 Up in the Air
5 Drag Me To Hell
6 Inglourious Basterds
7 Up
8 Public Enemies
9 (500) Days of Summer
10 The Informant!
Link to the List

Josh Board
San Diego Reader

1 Avatar
2 Up
3 Funny People
4 A Serious Man
5 The Messenger
6 Anvil! The Story of Anvil
7 Good Hair
8 (500) Days of Summer
9 Moon
10 Adventureland
Link to the List

Joan Vadeboncoeur
Syracuse Post Standard

1 The Hurt Locker
2 Up in the Air
3 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs
4 Precious
5 The Young Victoria
6 Paranormal Activity
7 District 9
8 The Road
9 Star Trek
10 (500) Days of Summer
Link to the List

David Ansen
Newsweek

1 The Hurt Locker
2 Summer Hours
3 Up in the Air
4 In the Loop
5 Fantastic Mr. Fox
6 Up
7 Seraphine
8 Rudo y Cursi
9 Avatar
10 An Education
Link to the List

Richard Roeper
Chicago Sun Times

1 A Christmas Tale
2 Silent Light
3 Wendy & Lucy
4 Goodbye Solo
5 Summer Hours
6 Hunger
7 Fantastic Mr. Fox
8 Lorna’s Silence
9 Che
10 Up
Link to the List

Melissa Starker
Columbus Alive

1 Up
2 A Serious man
3 Up in the Air
4 The Hurt Locker
5 Sugar
6 Hunger
7 Fantastic Mr. Fox
8 The Class
9 Star Trek
10 Food Inc
Link to the List

Dave Mar
Athens Flagpole

1 A Christmas Tale
2 Silent Light
3 Wendy & Lucy
4 Goodbye Solo
5 Summer Hours
6 Hunger
7 Fantastic Mr. Fox
8 Lorna’s Silence
9 Che
10 Up
Link to the List

Barry Koltnow
Orange County Register

1 Up in the Air
2 Sunshine Cleaning
3 Zombieland
4 The Hurt locker
5 (500) Days of Summer
6 District 9
7 Star Trek
8 Adventureland
9 Avatar
10 Nine
Link to the List

Jim Luksic
Santa Ynez Valley Journal

1 Seraphine
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 Moon
5 Public Enemies
6 Precious
7 A Serious Man
8 District 9
9 Julie & Julia
10 Brothers

David Ansen | Josh Board | Zorianna Kit | Barry Koltnow | Jim Luksic | Dave Mar | Richard Roeper | Melissa Starker | Joanne Thornborough | Joan Vandeboncoeur

Page 11

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Link to the List

Chas Andrews
Louisville Mojo

1 Star Trek
2 The Hangover
3 District 9
4 Inglourious Basterds
5 Capitalism: A Love Story
6 Paranormal Activity
7 The Blind Side
8 Me & Orson Welles
9 Avatar
10
Link to the List

Mick LaSalle
SF Chronicle

1 Inglourious Basterds
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Up in the Air
4 Two Lovers
5 Revanche
6 Funny People
7 Precious
8 Cheri
9 Summer Hours
10 Food, Inc
Link to the List

Stephen Rea
Philadelphia Inquirer

1 Avatar
2 Bright Star
3 An Education
4 Fantastic Mr. Fox
5 Goodbye Solo
6 The Hurt Locker
7 A Serious Man
8 Sugar
9 35 Shots of Rum
10 Up in the Air
Link to the List

Mick LaSalle
SF Chronicle

1 Inglourious Basterds
2 The Hurt Locker
3 Up in the Air
4 Two Lovers
5 Revanche
6 Funny People
7 Precious
8 Cheri
9 Summer Hours
10 Food, Inc

Chas Andrews | Mick LaSalle | Stephen Rea |

Page 10

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Link to the List

Joshua Rothkopf
Time Out New York

1 A Serious Man
2 Still Walking
3 Two Lovers
4 Star Trek
5 The Hurt Locker
6 Anvil! The Story of Anvil
7 Summer Hours
8 The House of the Devil
9 Somers Town
10 Funny People
Link to the List

Keith Uhlich
Time Out New York

1 The Limits of Control
2 Night and Day
3 California Dreamin’
4 Two Lovers
5 My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done
6 Lorna’s Silence
7 Public Enemies
8 A Christmas Carol
9 The Box
10 Inglourious Basterds
Link to the List

Rex Reed
NY Observer

1 An Education
2 The Road
3 Up in the Air
4 Julie & Julia
5 Public Enemies
6 Precious
7 The Last Station
8 The Hurt Locker
9 The Messenger
10 Inglourious Basterds
Link to the List

David Fear
Time Out New York

1 35 Shots of Rum
2 Summer Hours
3 The Hurt Locker
4 Sugar
5 The Headless Woman
6 A Serious Man
7 Hunger
8 Still Walking
9 Treeless Mountain
10 Bronson
Link to the List

Erik Morse
SF Bay Guardian

1 Inglourious Basterds
2 The Missing Person
3 The Beaches of Agnes
4 Coraline
5 Still Walking
6 The Hurt Locker
7 The White Ribbon
8 Mother
9 Broken Embraces
10 Thirst
Link to the List

Ty Burr
Boston Globe

1 A Serious Man
2 Avatar | 35 Shots of Rum
3 Fantastic Mr. Fox | Up
4 The Hurt Locker | The Messenger
5 Up in the Air | Summer Hours
6 Bright Star | The Last Station
7 Precious | An Education
8 A Single Man | Bad Lieutenant
9 Star Trek | Antichrist
10 Afghan Star | Big Fan
Link to the List

Keith Phipps
The AV Club

1 A Serious Man
2 In the Loop
3 Where the Wild Things Are
4 Gomorrah
5 Broken Embraces
6 Antichrist
7 Fantastic Mr. Fox
8 Summer Hours
9 The White Ribbon
10 The Hurt Locker
Link to the List

Cheryl Eddy
SF Bay Guardian

1 Bad Lieutenant
2 Beeswax
3 Cropsey
4 District 9
5 Drag Me To Hell
6 An Education
7 Goodbye Solo
8 The Hurt Locker
9 Inglorious Basterds
10 Tokyo Sonata
Link to the List

Ken Eisner
Georgia Straight

1 UP in the Air
2 Me & Orson Welles
3 Broken Embraces
4 An Education
5 Summer Hours
6 The Necessities of Life
7 Food, Inc
8 Fantastic Mr. Fox
9 A Serious Man
10 Inglourious Basterds
Link to the List

Noel Murray
The AV Club

1 Inglourious Basterds
2 A Serious Man
3 Public Enemies
4 Up
5 Still Walking
6 Julia
7 Duplicity
8 Fantastic Mr. Fox
9 Funny People
10 Passing Strange

Ty Burr | Cheryl Eddy | David Fear | Ken Eisner | Erik Morse | Noel Murray | Keith Phipps | Rex Reed | Joshua Rothkopf | Keith Uhlich

Page 9

Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Link to the List

Scott Foundas
LA Weekly

1 The White Ribbon
2 Inglourious Basterds | Police, Adjective
3 The Hurt Locker
4 Public Enemies
5 Avatar
6 District 9 | Invictus
7 24 City | Up in the Air
8