Posts Tagged ‘The Hangover’

Wilmington on DVDs: How to Train Your Dragon, Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The Darjeeling Limited, The Films of Nikita Mikhalkov, The Hangover, The Human Centipede and more …

Tuesday, October 12th, 2010

PICK OF THE WEEK: NEW & BLU-RAY

How to Train Your Dragon” (Also Two Disc Blu-Ray DVD Combo) (Three Stars)

U.S.; Dean De Blois/Chris Sanders, 2010 (Dreamworks)

The visual flash and dash that the new Dreamworks animated saga How to Train Your Dragon pours into its panoramic 3D scenes of ferocious Medieval battle and Viking sea quests — and especially this movie’s Avatar-like flying sequences, with dorky hero Hiccup (voiced by Jay Baruchel) grabbing the reins and soaring cloudward astride a friendly dragon named Toothless — is so truly, technically amazing, so full of such giddy, sky-drunk rapture, that you can forgive this movie almost anything. Almost.

There are some things though that you kind of have to forgive in this generally impressive adaptation of Cressida Cowell‘s young people’s book series — despite its exciting tale of a Viking land, besieged by hordes of dragons and by a mysterious queen bee-like monster-in-the-mountain, of the Viking society threatened by them, and of a boy, Hiccup, the more soulful, less warlike son of Viking lord Stoick the Vast (Gerard Butler), forced unwillingly into soldiering. Hiccup is the lad who discovers the truth behind it all.

To name one flaw, I thought the beginning, which takes us to Hiccup’s homeland, the dragon-besieged isle of Berk, and immediately subjects us to a horrific dragon assault, shown in a series of hectic, action-packed mobile “tracking shots,” was too instantly and incessantly hyper-active and ultra-violent, especially for a film with a basically pacifist theme — a movie that wants us to root for the non-violent non-warrior who tries to bring peace to a land of constant carnage and danger.

The opening, for me at least, would have been better with something quieter before the storm — however virtuosic that dragon-storm, however riveting that warfare. The movie could have used a lot more initial contrast between the dreamy predispositions of Hiccup, and those bloody dragon assaults that come blasting at us right from the start. Not that Hic should have been more of a fool. But Baruchel’s voice is a little too monotonously dorky and nerdy, even annoyingly so, for the first twenty minutes or so.

And I thought that this movie, or maybe its source material in Cowell’s books, could have used a counter-paternal character: a Merlin-Yoda sort of peaceful mentor to teach or suggest to Hiccup the other side of life (maybe also a gentler, more nurturing female character) — instead of implying that the kid has no real elders and picks it all up by himself, on pure instinct. This lack of emotional modulation and contrast extends to the rest of the kid characters who join Hiccup at the dragon-killing school, an academy run by gruff Gobber: Jonah Hill as Snotlout, Christopher Mintz-Plasse as Fishlegs, T. J. Miller and Kristen Wiig as Tuffnut and Ruffnut, and even America Ferrera, wonderful as the toughie-gal, dragon-slaying Astrid. Couldn’t there have been more would-be peaceniks among them right from the start? (Admittedly that predisposition also could have come straight from the book, which I haven’t read.)

Finally, speaking as a descendant of proud Swedes, I have to register a big objection to the thick Scottish accents which the filmmakers have endowed on alleged Vikings Stoick the Vast and Gobber the dragon master (Craig Ferguson), both of whom seem to be trying to out-burr Sean Connery. For verisimilitude, they should be close to Max Von Sydow‘s knight or Gunnar Bjornstrand’s squire in that other medieval movie saga The Seventh Seal. (Instead, they’re closer to Mike Myers as Fat Bastard in The Spy Who Shagged Me.)

Vikings were Scandinavians, dammit, and we deserve as much credit for them as we do for Ingmar Bergman, Bjorn Bjorg, Greta Garbo, or ABBA. The Scots have Connery, Bill Forsyth, Braveheart, kilts, bagpipes and a lot of stingy Scot jokes. And, incidentally, Craig Ferguson. Isn’t that enough?

Dragon shows its gentler side however, in a marvelous sequence that finally ratchets down the opening violence: the scene where Hiccup stumbles on Toothless, a purplish Night Fury dragon (Cowell‘s world is full of dragon-breeds and the movie delineates them all in loving detail) and heals the wound that the strangely puppy-like creature received (from Hiccup) in the battle just previous.

Then, the movie becomes a variation on George Bernard Shaw‘s Androcles and the Lion, where that gentle Shavian Christian-among-the-Romans Androcles (played by Alan Young in the movie) won the lion‘s heart by pulling a thorn from his paw, or on Disney’s The Reluctant Dragon, or many another Why-can’t-we-all-get-along fable. And the magic kicks in for most of the rest of the movie. Hiccup charms Astrid, uses his dragon-soothing powers to seem to become a star warrior-student, disappoints his dad when Stoick discovers and misinterprets the dragon-bond, is ostracized, and then….Well, you’ll see. It isn’t original, but it is satisfying.

By the way, when will the movies make use of Jack Vance’s fantastic The Dragon Masters? The time seems ripe for it. The time and the technology were certainly ripe for director-writers Dean de Blois and Chris Sanders on this movie. Earlier, in 2002, they made Lilo and Stitch, a feature cartoon which has all the childlike joy and gentle lyricism that this movie somewhat lacks and could use. So maybe it’s a matter of the original material or creative choices.

I don’t think Dragon is dragged down much from its soaring heights, flaws or not. But I also don’t agree with some of Dragon’s admirers that it’s somehow much better than either Avatar or Alice in Wonderland — two gargantuan hit fantasy movies that shouldn’t be penalized simply because so many people like them. A lot of people like Dragon too. Comparisons aren’t necessary, not even to Androcles and the Lion. But How to Train Your Dragon could still use more sweetness. And, as far as I’m concerned, more Swedes. Skoal!

Extras: Featurettes; Deleted scenes; Interview with original author Crowell; Storyboards.

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PICK OF THE WEEK: CLASSIC

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Also Blu-ray) (Four Stars)

U.S.; John Huston, 1948 (Warner Bros. Video)

The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, based on the 20th century classic novel by B. Traven, is a 20th century classic movie as well, and, along with The Maltese Falcon, The Asphalt Jungle and The Man Who Would be King, the best argument against critics who low-rate writer-director (and here for the first time, actor) John Huston.

It’s a superb movie, an inarguable classic, one of the great westerns, one of the best-ever literary adaptations, and one of the great Humphrey Bogart pictures: a lacerating, mesmerizing, eye-opening, pin-you-to-seat portrayal of greed and its consequences, hard as nails and warm as flesh.

Bogart plays one of his all-time best roles: Fred C. Dobbs, a down and out American in 1925 Tampico, who hooks up with two other Yanks, the tough but decent Bob Curtin (played by Tim Holt) and the grizzled prospecting expert Howard (John’s father Walter Huston, in his all-time best role and Oscar-winner), to form a trio of treasure hunters in the Sierra Madre mountains (hilly, stony, sun-drenched peaks beautifully shot on location by Huston and cinematographer Ted McCord.) The three strike gold, but they also hit a vein of darkness: the paranoia, discord and violence that sudden riches often bring. Walter is wise and savvy, but he can’t warn his younger comrades.

Curtin is a good guy but he’s powerless to stop fate. “Dobbsy” is an okay guy too, but gold and greed turn him into a monster. There’s another, far more unabashed monster here too: Alfonso Bedoya as the bandit leader Gold Hat, who snarls at Dobbs those memorable lines “Badges? We ain’t got no badges! We don’t need no badges! I don‘t have to show you any stinking badges!” He’s a classic killer, and so is the movie.

Don Siegel once said that he wanted to make The Treasure of the Sierra Madre more than any property he ever read, but that he couldn’t possibly have made as good a film as Huston’s, because he would have let the producers talk him into shooting it in a studio, and Huston wouldn’t. That’s why John Huston is a great filmmaker. He read well, chose wisely and never betrayed his material. He knew where the gold was in Treasure of Sierra Madre. and he got it. He also knew how to lay back and get the best in his dad and in his pal Bogie and all the others. He got that too.

I saw Sierra Madre last year in a brand-new 35 mm print at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in the AMC Classic Film Festival, with Anjelica and Danny Huston representing their dad on stage — and I was stunned at how great it was, how ageless, how superb the actors all were (including Bruce Bennett as the smart interloper and Barton MacLane as the exploitive thug of a boss, and especially Bogie and Walter), at how the movie just jumped off the screen at you and hooked you good, and left you with eyes open and brain sharp and heart chilled and racing. It’s a cliché of sorts, but it’s true: They just don’t make movies like The Treasure of the Sierra Madre any more. Or guys like Bogie and John and Walter Huston. Or maybe they do, and we just don’t treasure them enough.

Extras: Commentary by Eric Lax; Documentaries on John Huston and the film; radio version of Treasure with the original stars; and a Warner Night at the Movies package, with Leonard Maltin intro, vintage newsreel, comedy short, classic Looney Tunes, and Warners trailers.

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PICK OF THE WEEK: BLU-RAY

The Darjeeling Limited (Two discs) (Also Blu-ray) (Three and a Half Stars)

U.S.; Wes Anderson, 2007 (Criterion)

Three rich-kid misfit brothers — played by Owen Wilson (swathed in bandages), Adrien Brody and Jason Schwartzman — make a pilgrimage to their spiritually sequestered mother (Anjelica Huston) on a charmingly old-fangled train, where the conductor serves high tea and becomes angry if snakes are smuggled aboard.

This is Anderson’s best film since Bottle Rocket and a complete recovery from the arch attempted humor of his tediously oddball The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. You have to be in the mood for it, but I was.

Extras: The short pre-Darjeeling Anderson-Schwartzman-Natalie Portman film Hotel Chevalier; Commentary by Anderson, Schwartzmann and co-writer Roman Coppola; Documentary; Conversation between Anderson and James Ivory; Deleted and alternate scenes; On-set footage by Coppola; Booklet with essay by Richard Brody.

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PICK OF THE WEEK: BOX SET

The Films of Nikita Mikhalkov (Five Discs) (Four Stars)

Russia/U.S.S.R.; Nikita Mikhalkov, 1976-1994 (Kino)

Film comes easily to Nikita Mikhalkov: the master Russian moviemaker — maker of Dark Eyes, 12, Close to Eden and Burnt by the Sun, and the subject of this superb and sometimes surprising box set from Kino.

Mikhalkov is a phenomenon, a first-rank, much-praised, much-prized, and highly versatile artist of the screen, as craftsmanlike and affecting a screenwriter as he is strong and innovative a producer, as excellent a director of actors as he is brilliant and dynamic a visual stylist. He’s an inspiring filmmaker whose work is always entertaining and deeply engaging, and who constantly enhances and ignites the talents and best instincts of his coworkers — including his ingenious production designer and sometimes co-writer and actor, Alexander Adabashyan, his lyrical composer Eduard Artemyev and his virtuosic cinematographer Pavel Lebeshev.

To top it off, Mikhalkov is also one of the best movie actors in Russia. Mikhalkov’s older brother, the equally talented and much-awarded moviemaker Andrei Konchalovsky (director of Siberiade and The Odyssey, and Andrei Tarkovsky’s co-writer on Andrei Roublev and Ivan’s Childhood) has said that his sibling is “the Russian Jack Nicholson.”

And despite an understandable familial bias on Andrei‘s part, it’s not really an exaggeration. As an actor, Mikhalkov has all of Nicholson‘s (and Gene Hackman‘s ) earthy magnetism and charisma, if maybe not all of Jack‘s hair-trigger pugnacity. (Nikita and Andrei are the children of an amazing artistic couple; Andrei took the last name of their mother, a famous painter, and Nikita took the surname of their father, a renowned poet, and the lyricist who wrote the words to the old Soviet national anthem.)

Kino’s five-film set, packed with extras, gathers together two of Mikhalkov’s most internationally famous films, two brilliant, lush period pieces that display all his manifold gifts, the Oscar-winning 1994 “Burnt by the Sun” (in which Mikhalkov also, unforgettably, plays the lead role) and the great movie that made his name as a director, 1976‘s “A Slave of Love” (in which the co-scenarist was brother Andrei), together with a less well-known (in the West) and less-screened, but no less accomplished masterpiece of literary adaptation, 1980’s Oblomov, based on the classic 19th century novel by Ivan Goncharov.

Also in the package are two more neglected (in the West) works, 1979’s Five Evenings and 1983‘s Without Witness: both more contemporary, more economically shot, done with much more limited means, but very ingeniously planned and designed within those limits. These two movies, based on plays by two major Russian playwrights, Alexander Volodin and Sofia Prokofyeva, both still very popular in Russia but little-screened here (I‘d never encountered either before), are true actors’ showcases. Like the three films above, they brilliantly display the gifts of some of Russia’s best stage and film actors.

Mikhalkov’s recurrent theme is the plight of volatile or sensitive people trapped in constraining or changing, even chaotic social conditions — whether the rigid aristocracy of 19th century Russia (Oblomov), the world of make-believe and moviemaking in the throes of the Russian Revolution (A Slave of Love), the vise of Stalinism closing in on an erstwhile Revolutionary military hero (Burnt by the Sun) or the banal conformity, over-crowded communal apartments and paranoid repression of the Khruschev-era U.S.S.R. (Five Evenings).

Mikhalkov has directed relatively little since his world-wide critical hit Burnt by the Sun in 1994. Reportedly, he was angry that he got beaten for the Palme d’Or that year at Cannes by Quentin Tarantino and Pulp Fiction (Mikhalkov did win Cannes’ runner-up award, the Jury Prize, for Sun), as well as depressed by the current ongoing turmoil, breakup and social collapse in Russia.

But last year, Mikhalkov released 12, an adaptation and rephrasing of the 1957 American classic Twelve Angry Men, originally made by one of his favorite directors, Sidney Lumet, and he is now at work on Burnt by the Sun 2, one sequel I look forward to. This marvelous five-film set reminds us what a great film artist he is, how rich and beautiful and exciting his best movies are, what fascinating cinematic worlds he opens up on the screen, and, most of all, how much Nikita Mikhalkov loves people and the actors who play them. (All films are Russian film productions, in Russian and other languages, with English subtitles.)

Includes: A Slave of Love (U.S.S.R.: Nikita Mikhalkov, 1976) Four Stars. Set during the turbulence of the Revolution, kept temporarily at bay at a lush film shoot location, this is one of the best portrayals ever of the silent film era: energetic, romantic, poetic, funny, bursting with life and beauty. With Yelena Solovey as Olga, a silent film goddess inspired by the legendary real life, tragic movie actress Vera Kholodnaya. Also with Rodion Nakhapetov and Alexander Kalyagin, and co-written, in one of their rare collaborations, by the brothers Konchalovsky, plus Fridrikh Gorenshtein. This is my favorite Mikhalkov.

Five Evenings (Mikhalkov, 1979). Three and a Half Stars. Tamara and Alexander (Lyudmila Gurchenko and Stanislav Lyubshin), a couple long separated after their World War II affair, meet again 17 years later in the cold war Khruschev era, rekindling sparks and resentments, unearthing old secrets and lies. Based on Alexander Volodin’s play, designed and co-scripted by Alexander Adabashyan, who also plays the hero’s (or maybe anti-hero’s) reserved, reluctant, mustached friend. A gem, and also a real feat of filmmaking virtuosity. Mikhalkov, the actors and his Oblomov crew, shot it in 25 days, during a brief break in the shooting of that complex period production.

Oblomov (Mikhalkov, 1980). Four Stars. A wonderful adaptation of the great Ivan Goncharov novel, about an unambitious, somnolent mama’s boy of an aristocrat named Oblomov (Oleg Tabakov, in a near-perfect performance) who, after retiring from civil service at 30, likes to sleep all the time, tended by his shabby drunken valet. Oblomov, a recluse in a world whirling out of his control, inherits his family’s lands in the country, and falls in love, sleepily and ineptly, with a beauty in the nearby mansion (Yelena Solovey), a girl who is also attracted to Oblomov’s best friend. Beautiful, funny, heartbreaking; like Chekhov on a more epic scale, with more obvious comedy.

Without Witness (Mikhalkov, 1983). Three and a half Stars. A quiet woman and her sadistic ex-husband, still embroiled in a turbulent relationship, spend a night of fury, anguish and remembrance together in her apartment, which becomes a battleground. An explosive chamber drama, in the fiery style and inwardly melancholy mood of Edward Albee‘s Who‘s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? The couple are played by Irina Kupchenko and Mikhail Ulyanov, and they’re both tremendous.

Burnt by the Sun (Mikhalkov, 1994). Four Stars. Colonel Sergei Kotov, a war hero of the Soviet Revolution (Mikhalkov, in his most famous role), goes to his lovely, halcyon country retreat for a brief summer vacation, joining his family and some surprise guests — including agents of Stalin’s secret police, who are no respecters of laws, heroes or humanity. Costarring Oleg Menchikov and Nadya Mikhalkov, Mikhalkov’s daughter, who here plays his screen daughter. Winner of the best foreign language film Oscar, and the 1994 Cannes Grand Jury Prize (see above), Burnt by the Sun is usually considered Mikhalkov’s masterpiece. It probably is.

Extras: Interviews with Mikhalkov, Adabashyan, Artemyev and Kupchenko; Documentary Vera on Vera Kholodnaya; filmographies; photo albums. Note: You can see Vera Kholodnaya silent movies — she died young, at 25, in 1919 — on the Milestone set devoted to early Russian silents, and on Milestone’s Mad Love: The Films of Evgeni Bauer.

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OTHER CURRENT OR RECENT DVD RELEASES

The Hangover (Three Stars)

U. S.; Todd Phillips, 2009

Recipe for a “hangover“: Four male buddies — or actually, three buddies and a hanger-on who desperately wants to be one of the bunch — take off for Las Vegas and one last bachelor bash, driving a 1969 Mercedes borrowed from the bride‘s dad (Jeffrey Tambor). Reading right to left, they’re Phil, the studly but married English teacher (Brad Cooper), Stu the nerdy dentist (Ed Helms of The Office), Alan the slobby and somewhat whacked out brother-in-law-to-be (Zach Galifianakis), and Doug, the very tolerant, very likable groom (Justin Bertha).

Shake and mix well. Once in Vegas, our fun-loving quartet check into a deluxe hotel villa suite and begin their night of revelry with a toast up on the roof, with knockout libations that have been, unfortunately, secretly spiked with what one of them thinks is Ecstasy, but is actually the date-rape drug. (See The Human Centipede. No, check that, don’t see The Human Centipede!)

The next morning , three of them wake up in the suite, hung over and unable to remember a single thing that happened after they imbibed the drink and drug. Here’s what they see: the apartment wrecked, booze on the furniture, a baby in a bassinet, one of dentist Stu’s front teeth missing, the Mercedes gone, pizza on the sofa, a mattress speared on the pole outside, a live tiger in their bathroom. And, oh yeah, the groom mysteriously missing, with barely hours for the guys to find and deliver him to the wedding and his beaming bride. Pretty soon they’ll see Doug‘s mattress speared on a roof pole and they’ll run into the cops whose squad car they stole, the gay Chinese gangster whose blackjack loot they accidentally glommed, the friendly stripper/hooker named Jade (Heather Graham) whom Stu married last night at The Best Little Chapel, Black Doug, and Mike Tyson, who happens to own the tiger.

What happened? Where is Doug? What about the impending nuptials with Tracy (Sasha Barrese)? And who the hell is Black Doug? (Since he’s played by Mike Epps, we at least know he’ll get some laughs too.) Despite myself, I‘ve got to admit this is a terrific premise, at least for exactly the kind of raunchy, male-bonding comedy that usually plays to knuckleheads, but occasionally delivers the goods. (The last one I remember that worked this well was Wedding Crashers, with Owen Wilson, Vince Vaughn, and Rachel McAdams, and a dirty-minded cameo by Will Ferrell. (The memory of that last will help you forgive him for Land of the Lost.)

The Hangover is an example of a movie genre I often hate: the Daffy, Goofy Sex-Crazed Guys comedy (an 80s mainstay) — a picture in which we’re privy to the horny, boozy, pants-dropping antics of a gang of guys out for a smashed-but-keep-going, party-till-you-drop high time: a lewd-minded crew that often includes the stud, the nerd, the slob/weirdo and the nice guy/author surrogate (or variations thereof).

There have been hundreds of movies like this, and most of them stink. This one works.

Why? Director Todd Phillips, who has made at least one funny male-bonding comedy, Road Trip — as well as some others (Old School, Starsky and Hutch) that I’d rather forget — has a real flair for this wild and crazy guy bunch kind of situation. There’s a knowing edge to his handling of this very familiar stuff, the progressive revelations of their crazy misbehavior — and it humanizes the story. Writers Jon Lucas and Scott Moore, who were guilty of Ghosts of Girlfriends Past and Four Christmases (Take them back, guys) have dreamed up lots of funny bits, most of which work. But they’ve also given the whole thing a neat structure that makes the story far more interesting and engaging.

Instead of showing us the wild night as it happens, one blitzed catastrophe after another, they turn the whole show into a film-noir-in-reverse detective story, where the three guys left behind have to piece everything together, and suffer while they recall what irresponsible clowns they were.

This device makes the story more entertaining, funnier and also less offensive (than usual), since the guys are paying for their misdeeds after indulging in them, and since we don’t see the orgies that got them in Dutch until a rapid-fire lewd end-credits sequence of the photos that recorded their blacked-out blowout. The movie suggests that there is such a thing as a morning after, and that they are consequences to every orgy. Besides, it is always funnier to recall this kind of stuff afterwards, sober. Did I ever tell you about the night one of my friends walked out in the middle of W. Gilman street, stark naked and chugging a bottle of Aqua Velva, and two police cars pulled up around him? Or the time somebody‘s girlfriend started a water fight inside our apartment house that lasted for an hour and ended up waterlogging the kitchen? Then there was that drunken night time trip to the zoo…. (The joke is: You think I‘m kidding, but I’m not.)

Finally, the element that really makes The Hangover is the cast. The three leads are perfect clown adventurers. Bradley Cooper’s Phil recalls every ultra-glib ladies man and take charge guy you’ve ever met. Ed Helms, as the defanged dentist Stu, is a dream of an angst-ridden straight man and guilty hen-pecked nerd, with a classic worried shockeroo look that suggests Harold Lloyd crossed with Charles Grodin. Galifianakis (Dave the Bear in the lousy What Happens in Vegas) makes such a funny oddball out, like early fat-demonic Jim Belushi crossed with a delusional touch of Don Knotts, that he even manages to survive one too many peeks at his butt. And Bertha is a terrific likable guy — and a good sport too, since he has to miss most of the action.

The rest of the cast is good too, especially Rachael Harris as the girlfriend from hell, Graham as the hooker form heaven, Epps as B. D., and Ted Cheong as the kind of gay Chinese gangster you don’t want to encounter in a Turkish bath. Even Mike Tyson makes you laugh.

I’ve knocked off a half star here for the cop car and blackjack scenes, and the sometimes mushy ending, none of which makes the wicked comic sense of the rest of the movie. But, audiences for this type of show will get everything they want, while audiences who normally wouldn’t go near a picture like this will get more than they bargained for. I‘m usually not fond of movies partly inspired by TV commercials. But this is one case where we’re lucky that what happened in Vegas didn’t stay there. Party hearty, dudes. The morning after is a killer.

Extras: Commentary by Phillips and Hangover stars; Featurettes; CD song sampler, Wedding photo album.

The Human Centipede (First Sequence) (One Star)

U.S.-German: Tom Six, 2009 (IFC Films)

The Human Centipede is “Nausea Horror” (a new genre, maybe?) at its sickest. (This whole movie deserves a Spoiler Alert.) Director-writer Thomas Six’s unabashedly sleazy, stomach-turning plot starts with two sexy, lively American girls (Ashley C. Williams and Ashlynn Yennie), on holiday, having a car break-down at night in the woods. The first motorist who finds them starts spouting obscenities and jerking off in his car seat.

Then, after the girls run away, they find an isolated house, where a wild-eyed, taciturn German mad scientist (Dieter Laser, trying for the Klaus Kinski glaring lunatic award), feeds them the date rape drug in glasses of water and then ties them to operating tables in his lab. There he plans to use them and a third prisoner, a screaming Japanese businessman (Akihiro Kitamura), for his grand experiment: grafting three human beings together, head to anus, intestine to intestine, so they form one continuous “human centipede.”

I mean: What the hell? Why does Doctor Dieter want to do this? (Why does Six want him to?) Surely the Doc doesn’t intend to write it all up in a medical journal. Nor, it seems, does he want to start a freak carnival, or produce TV’s most disgusting reality show. Is it out of sheer professional pride? (The movie boasts that its story is “100 % medically accurate,“ which gives you pause).

But graft them all together the bad doctor does, head to ass, creating his very own centipede, or as he coos, “My sweet centipede!” Meanwhile, two truculent German cops prowl around his house and pool. But don’t worry about too much bad taste here. In some odd fit of modesty, the mad scientist grafts his victims all together in their underpants, or maybe in their swaddling clothes. The movie, as you might expect, comes to no good end, and neither do the three parts of the centipede.

It’s not well-written. It’s not well-acted (except, in a weird way, by Laser). It’s not well-photographed or well-directed. It’s not funny. It’s not compelling. It didn’t strike me as scary. It’s a mediocre treatment of a creepy idea, like “Troll 2” trying to be “Salo” — and watching it struck me as the cinematic equivalent of eating live centipedes, on a bet. Now, if you actually want to look at this pathetic excuse for a movie, go ahead. You can’t say you weren’t warned.

Extras: Commentary by Six; Interview with Six; Deleted scene; Featurette; Trailer.

Three Kings (Three Stars)

U.S.; David O. Russell, 1999 (

Satiric war comedy, set in the aftermath of the Persian Gulf War, from writer-director David O. Russell (Spanking the Monkey), about four cynical U. S. soldiers (George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Ice Cube and Spike Jonze) on a gold heist. Somehow, for me at least, this doesn’t always work as well as it should, but it’s funny and exciting, and it‘s a classic Clooney role. Classic Cube too.

Deep Blue Sea (Two Stars)

U.S. Renny Harlin, 1999

The Life Aquatic gone haywire: An underwater scientific base springs a leak and start sinking (so does the movie), while intelligent sharks start chasing and devouring dubiously intelligent humans. Thomas Jane, Saffron Burrows, Samuel L. Jackson, Michael Rapaport and LL Cool J all try to stay afloat in this, but the sharks have all the good lines.

Extras: Commentary by Harlin; Featurette; Deleted scenes.

Harlow (Two Stars)

U.S.; Gordon Douglas, 1965 (Olive)

Jean Harlow was the first archetypal Blonde Bombshell of the movie’s Sound Era, and though time has shown she wasn‘t in Marilyn Monroe’s category, she was a sexy, funny, fun-loving dish, and her best movies are still fun to watch, especially Red Dust, Dinner at Eight, Libeled Lady, and, of course, Bombshell.

This movie however, with Carroll Baker in full platinum blonde/low-cut gown regalia and war paint, isn’t much fun, even though it was written by Hitchcock’s sometimes very witty screenwriter John Michael Hayes (To Catch a Thief, The Trouble With Harry). “Harlow” also seems dubious as both drama and film history, even though it’s based on the best-selling biography by Irving Shulman and Arthur Landau, with Landau, Harlow’s agent and manager — who is portrayed in the movie by Red Buttons — acting as official “advisor.“ Among the things Landau has advised the moviemakers is that Landau was a saint.

Harlow meanwhile, is shown as a rather serious, ultimately tragic gal, not too interested in sex (until she falls apart at the end), but capable of arousing wild lust in most of the men around her (that part, at least, is true), except for tragic hubby Paul Bern (whimsically played by Peter Lawford) and, of course, the saintly Landau. Also milling around are Harlow’s exploited mom (Angela Lansbury in a role you might have pegged for Betty Field), Raf Vallone as her exploitive Italian dad (in a role perhaps better suited to Vittorio Gassmann), Martin Balsam as an exploitive studio boss, Mike Connors as an exploitive co-star, and Leslie Nielsen (in his mean, non-comic mode) as an exploitative director. (Mysteriously, Harlow’s mom keeps referring to her daughter as “Jean,” though the star’s birth name was Harlean Carpenter.)

The whole movie is glossy and dull and has about as much period feel or zip as the 1968 Valley of the Dolls. Gordon Douglas directs, without mucho gusto; tragically (and not comically), he doesn’t exploit the material enough.

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Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Link to the List

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
Link to the List

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
Link to the List

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
Link to the List

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
Link to the List

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
Link to the List

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
Link to the List

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
Link to the List

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
Link to the List

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
Link to the List

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
Link to the List

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
Link to the List

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 Fantastic Mr. Fox | Where the Wild Things Are
9 The Headless Woman
10 Beaches of Agnes | Passing Strange | Tyson
Link to the List

Kyle Buchanan
Movieline

1 Coraline
2 Where the Wild Things Are
3 Antichrist
4 A Prophet
5 Humpday
6 Funny People
7 Precious
8 A Single Man
9 The Hurt Locker
10 The Messenger
Link to the List

Eugene Hernandez
IndieWIRE

1 The Beaches of Agnes
2 Broken Embraces
3 Frontier of Dawn
4 Fados
5 I’m Gonna Explode
6 La Danse
7 A Single Man
8 Still Walking
9 Summer Hours
10 Throw Down Your Heart
Link to the List

Bruce Ingram
Pioneer Press

1 Avatar
2 Coraline
3 Fantastic Mr. Fox
4 The Hurt Locker
5 In the Loop
6 Moon
7 Public Enemies
8 Star Trek
9 Up
10 Up in the Air
Link to the List

Brian Brooks
IndieWIRE

1 The Hurt Locker
2 A Serious Man
3 The Beaches of Agnes
4 Precious
5 Antichrist
6 A Single Man
7 Burma VJ
8 The Cove
9 Broken Embraces
10 Inglourious Basterds
Link to the List

Peter Knegt
IndieWIRE

1 Bright Star
2 Summer Hours
3 Up
4 A Serious Man
5 35 Shots of Rum
6 Inglourious Basterds
7 The Hurt Locker
8 Julia
9 A Single Man
10 In the Loop
Link to the List

Rick Kaplan
National Posts

1 Fantastic Mr. Fox
2 Up in the Air
3 Inglourious Basterds
4 A Serious Man
5 Funny People
6 The Informant!
7 Bruno
8 Tyson
9 Zombieland
10 Away We Go
Link to the List

Bob Mondello
All Things Considered

1 The Hurt Locker
2 The Messenger
3 In the Loop
4 Precious
5 The Cove
6 Up
7 Up in the Air
8 Seraphine
9 Summer Hours
10 A Single Man
Link to the List

Kyle Smith
The Dispatch

1 Antichrist
2 Still Walking
3 Munyurangabo
4 Goodbye Solo
5 35 Shots of Rum
6 The White Ribbon
7 Tokyo Sonata
8 Revanche
9 Summer Hours
10 Fantastic Mr. Fox
Link to the List

Scott Tobias
The AV Club

1 35 Shots of Rum
2 Duplicity
3 Humpday
4 Collapse
5 Julia
6 Afterschool
7 Revanche
8 House of the Devil
9 Fantastic Mr. Fox
10 The Hurt Locker

Brian Brooks | Kyle Buchanan | Scott Foundas | Eugene Hernandez | Bruce Ingram | Rick Kaplan | Peter Knegt | Bob Mondello | Kyle Smith | Scott Tobias |