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2009 Screening Log - click for reviews, when applicable. Titles of short films listed in bold.



4. Valkyrie (Bryan Singer, 2008) 35 [Singer here is clearly less attracted to the moral implications of his scenario than the opportunity the Nazi regime affords him for spectacle. His camera swirls around planes and formations of soldiers as if it can’t wait for them to spring into action. They don’t, though, so what results is a lot of hand-wringing over very little. The impotence inherent in the plot becomes the overwhelming sensation, but it results in surprisingly little dramatic tension. Cruise is miscast and unmistakably American, no matter how many British character actors surround him.]


11. The Reader (Stephen Daldry, 2008) 75 [Refreshing in its sexual frankness for its first half, it becomes something of a wallow in its second, although Daldry ensures an improbable (perhaps even misplaced) sense of class throughout. The movie avoids literary stodginess, mostly through the power of teary-eyed close-ups and bared flesh. Most of its metaphors lack nuance, yet it accumulates some degree of power anyhow.  Winslet is perfectly adequate, but one can’t help but wonder how searing Kidman (who was originally cast) would have been in the role.]


19. The Big Heat (Fritz Lang, 1953) 83 [Probably underating this, but I know I prefer Lang's The Blue Gardenia, from the same year. Upteemth viewing, but the sheer brutality of Lang’s vision is still upsetting, no matter how many times I see this. The nastiness here extends well beyond the famed coffee pot scene, to practically every interaction that Glenn Ford has. Even the hero’s domestic haven is cruelly and shockingly invaded by violent outbursts. What results is one of the screen’s most disturbing and pervasive portraits of organized crime. Few films of the era have aged as well.]


22. Candyman (Bernard Rose, 1992) 79


23. Sleeping Dogs Lie (Bob Goldthwait, 2006) 50


24. My Bloody Valentine (Patrick Lussier, 2009) 46


27. Come to the Stable (Henry Koster, 1949) 54


30. The Promotion (Steve Conrad, 2008) 50



1. The Uninvited (The Guard Brothers, 2009) 58


2. My Name Is Julia Ross (Joseph H. Lewis, 2009) 77


3. The Uninvited (Lewis Allen, 1944) 62


4. Osaka Elegy (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1936) 82


5. Sisters of the Gion (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1936) 70


6. Wings of Hope (Werner Herzog, 2000) 59


7. Coraline (Henry Selick, 2009) 35 

Push (Paul McGuigan, 2009) 59


8. Julia (Erick Zonca, 2008) 86

Julia (Erick Zonca, 2008) 84


10. The Student Prince in Old Heidelberg (Ernst Lubitsch, 1927) 78


11. A Tree Grows in Brooklyn (Elia Kazan, 1945) 63


12. Otto; or, Up With Dead People (Bruce La Bruce, 2008) 40


13. Two Lovers (James Gray, 2008) 73


14. Hausu (Nobuhiko Obayashi, 1977) 63

The Lucky Ones (Neil Burger, 2008) 64


15. Friday the 13th (Marcus Nispel, 2009) 54


16. Baghead (Mark and Jay Duplass, 2008) 56


17. Ascent to Heaven (Luis Bunuel, 1952) 74


18. The Egg and I (Chester Erskine, 1947) 51


19.Women of the Night (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1948) 62


20. Body of Evidence (Uli Edel, 1993) 23


21. Ghost Town (David Koepp, 2008) 37


22. Shadowboxer (Lee Daniels, 2005) 49


27. Lake Tahoe (Fernando Eimbcke, 2008) 62


28. The International (Tom Tykwer, 2009) 43

À L’aventure (Jean-Claude Brisseau, 2009) 72



1. The Nanny (Seth Holt, 1965) 54

Seventeen (Joel DeMott & Jeff Kreines, 1983) 53


2. Buddy Boy (Mark Hanlon, 1999) 28


3. Ana and the Others (Celina Murga, 2003) 61

A Week Alone (Celina Murga, 2007) 70


6. Phantoms of Nabua (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2009) 80


7. Watchmen (Zack Snyder, 2009) 75


8. Clan of the White Lotus (Leih Lo, 1980) 66


9. 7 Grandmasters (Joseph Kuo, 1978) 53


10. The Girl on the Train (André Téchiné, 2009) 63


11. Bad Biology (Frank Henenlotter, 2008) 66


13. The Last House on the Left (Dennis Iliadis, 2009) 47


14. Villa Amalia (Benoit Jacquot, 2009) 43

Bellamy (Claude Chabrol, 2009) 50


15. Sunshine Cleaning (Christine Jeffs, 2008) 41


18. John Loves Mary (David Butler, 1949) 60


19. Deranged (Jeff Gillen & Alan Ormsby, 1974) 68


20. Knowing (Alex Proyas, 2009) 49


21. Duplicity (Tony Gilroy, 2009) 58

Sin Nombre (Cary Fukunaga, 2009) 55


23. Let Sleeping Corpses Lie (Jorge Grau, 1974) 44


25. Squirm (Jeff Lieberman, 1976) 40


27. Cold Comfort Farm (John Schlesinger, 1995) 60


29. The Haunting in Connecticut (Peter Cornwell, 2009) 33

The Broken (Sean Ellis, 2008) 64

The Legend of Hell House (John Hough, 1973) 66


30. Ong-Bak 2 (Tony Jaa, 2008) 63



1. The Room (Tommy Wiseau, 2003) 1


2. Home (Ursula Meier, 2008) 59


4. Adventureland (Greg Mottola, 2009) 73


5. Discovering Cinema: Learning to Talk (Eric Lange, 2003) 61


6. Discovering Cinema: Movies Dream in Color (Eric Lange, 2004) 58

La Cucaracha (Lloyd Corrigan, 1934) 52


7. Destiny (Fritz Lang, 1921) 72


8. The Little Fugitive (Ray Ashley, Morris Engel, & Ruth Orkin, 1953) 54


10. Perkins' 14 (Craig Singer, 2009) 56


12. Observe and Report (Jody Hill, 2009) 36


14. Departures (Yojiro Takita, 2008) 39


15. The Children (Tom Shankland, 2008) 65


16. Donkey Punch (Oliver Blackburn, 2008) 67

Eden Lake (James Watkins, 2008) 78


18. American Violet (Tim Disney, 2008) 53

Susana (Luis Bunuel, 1951) 79


19. The Invisible (David S. Goyer, 2007) 45

Hellgate (William A. Levey, 1989) 3

Ed Gein (Chuck Parello, 2000) 47


20. Splinter (Toby Wilkins, 2008) 56


24. Salvage (Jeff & Josh Crook, 2006) 65


25. Angel (Francois Ozon, 2007) 43


26. Dark Ride (Craig Singer, 2006) 42


27. Babysitter Wanted (Jonas Barnes & Michael Manasseri, 2008) 68


28. The Psychotic Odyssey of Richard Chase (Carey Burtt, 1999) 66


29. Alone (Banjong Pisanthanakun & Parkpoom Wongpoom, 2007) 51

1. The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting (Raoul Ruiz, 1979) 60


2. Dead Snow (Tommy Wirkola, 2009) 42

Ladybird, Ladybird (Ken Loach, 1994) 38


3. Laid to Rest (Robert Hall, 2009) 57


4. Shuttle (Edward Anderson, 2008) 49


5. The Night Stalker (John Llewellyn Moxey, 1972) 62


6. From Within (Phedon Papamichael, 2008) 54

Dying Breed (Jody Dwyer, 2008) 45


 7. Slaughter (Stewart Hopewell, 2009) 51


8. Extremities (Robert M. Young, 1986) 48


9. Star Trek (J. J. Abrams, 2009) 57


10. Peggy Sue Got Married (Francis Ford Coppola, 1986) 62


12. Terror Circus (Alan Rudolph, 1974) 49


13. Frozen River (Courtney Hunt, 2008) 44


14. AM1200 (David Prior, 2008) 43

Baby Blues (Lars Jacobson & Amardeep Kaleka, 2008) 51


15. Summer Hours (Olivier Assayas, 2008) 66

House (Robby Henson, 2008) 36


16. Elegy (Isabel Coixet, 2008) 42


17. Book of Blood (John Harrison, 2008) 53


18. Home Movie (Christopher Denham, 2008) 49


19. Plague Town (David Gregory, 2008) 48


20. 100 Feet (Eric Red, 2008) 38


21. Downloading Nancy (Johan Renck, 2008) 15


22. Terminator Salvation (McG, 2009) 31


23. Lolita Vibrator Assault (Hisayasu Sato, 1987) 78


24. Sweet Home (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1989) 43


25. The Haunted (Robert Mandel, 1991) 56


26. Drag Me to Hell (Sam Raimi, 2009) 69


28. Horrors of Malformed Men (Teruo Ishii, 1969) 66


29. Drag Me to Hell (Sam Raimi, 2009) 69


30. Partly Cloudy (Peter Sohn, 2009) 41

Up (Pete Docter & Bob Peterson, 2009) 32

Naked Blood (Hisayasu Sato, 1995) 70


31. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (Joseph Sargent, 1974) 63



1. Love - Zero = Infinity (Hisayasu Sato, 1994) 75


2. Beautiful Girl Hunter (Norifumi Suzuki, 1979) 65


3. A Family Thing (Richard Pearce, 1996) 50


5. Muscle (Hisayasu Sato, 1989) 77


6. Away We Go (Sam Mendes, 2009) 25

Dance Flick (Damien Dante Wayans, 2009) 40


7. Secret Behind the Door... (Fritz Lang, 1948) 53


9. Platoon (Oliver Stone, 1986) 80


10. Survey Map of a Paradise Lost (Hisayasu Sato, 1988) 72


11. Bells from the Deep: Faith and Superstition in Russia (Werner Herzog, 1995) 67


13. Moon (Duncan Jones, 2009) 48

Tetro (Francis Ford Coppola, 2009) 55

The Limits of Control (Jim Jarmusch, 2009) 56

The Proposal (Anne Fletcher, 2009) 66


14. Cries and Whispers (Ingmar Bergman, 1972) 94


16. Naked Childhood (Maurice Pialat, 1968) 82


17. Bronson (Nicolas Winding Refn, 2009) 27


18. Fire Festival (Mitsuo Yanagimachi, 1985) 66


20. The Hangover (Todd Phillips, 2009) 22

Whatever Works (Woody Allen, 2009) 70


21. Scarce (Jesse T. Cook & John Geddes, 2008) 58


22. The Adventures of Prince Achmed (Lotte Reiniger, 1926) 87


23. Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (Charles Barton, 1948) 59


24. The Zombie Diaries (Michael Bartlett & Kevin Gates, 2006) 55


25. Reeker (Dave Payne, 2005) 37

Mum & Dad (Steven Sheil, 2008) 65


26. End of the Line (Maurice Devereaux, 2007) 48

Personal Best (Robert Towne, 1982) 72


27. Boo (Anthony C. Ferrante, 2005) 36

My Sister's Keeper (Nick Cassavetes, 2009) 53

Amusement (John Simpson, 2009) 31

Flamingo Road (Michael Curtiz, 1949) 68


28. Malvolence (Stevan Mena, 2004) 41

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (Michael Bay, 2009) 33

American Nightmare (Jon Keeyes, 2002) 32

The Hurt Locker (Kathryn Bigelow, 2008) 61


29. Lightning Bug (Robert Hall, 2004) 57


30. Dr. Mabuse, The Gambler (Fritz Lang, 1922) 95



1. October Moon (Jason Paul Collum, 2005) 58


3. Santa's Slay (David Steiman, 2005) 9


5. Public Enemies (Michael Mann, 2009) 47

House of 9 (Steven R. Monroe, 2005) 41


6. The Shuttered Room (David Greene, 1967) 50


7. Header (Archibald Flancranstin, 2006) 60


8. The Sender (Roger Christian, 1982) 57


9. The Young Victoria (Jean-Marc Vallée, 2009) 50

The Roost (Ti West, 2005) 53

Prey (Ti West, ?) 44


10. Paris is Burning (Jennie Livingston, 1990) 62


11. Bruno (Larry Charles, 2009) 40

Without You I'm Nothing (John Boskovich, 1990) 59


12. This World We Live In (Ryo Nakajima, 2007) 49

Sparrow (Johnnie To, 2008) 58

Empire of Passion (Nagisa Oshima, 1978) 41


13. Baby Blood (Alain Robak, 1990) 38


14. Shinjuku Incident (Derek Yee, 2009) 49

Prey (Norman J. Warren, 1978) 59

The Devil's Daughter (Arthur H. Legend, 1939) 54


15. Ong-Bak 2 (Tony Jaa, 2008) 63

Martyrs (Pascal Laugier, 2008) 80


16. Vampyr (Carl Th. Dreyer, 1932) 92


17. Shadows in the Palace (Mee-jung Kim, 2007) 50

The Trial [1962 Version] (Orson Welles, 1962) 74


18. (500) Days of Summer (Marc Webb, 2009) 44

Rendition (Gavin Hood, 2007) 28


19. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (David Yates, 2009) 46

Le jour se leve (Marcel Carne, 1939) 78

Kings Row (Sam Wood, 1942) 58


20. Carnival in Flanders (Jacques Feyder, 1935) 59


21. Zoo (Robinson Devor, 2007) 78

Hannah Takes the Stairs (Joe Swanberg, 2007) 23


22. Une femme mariée (Jean-Luc Godard, 1964) 79

Watchmen [Director's Cut] (Zack Snyder, 2009) 82


23. The Unloved (Samantha Morton, 2009) 48 


24. Mammoth (Lukas Moodysson, 2009) 64

In the Loop (Armando Iannucci, 2009) 67


25. Orphan (Jaume Collet-Serra, 2009) 59

White Dog (Samuel Fuller, 1982) 60


26. Show Boat (James Whale, 1936) 67


27. Big Man Japan (Hitoshi Matsumoto, 2007) 30

High Hopes (Mike Leigh, 1988) 57

Rendez-vous (Andre Techine, 1985) 56


28. Wandering Giza Butterfly (Kazuhiko Yamaguchi, 1971) 55

A Bay of Blood (Mario Bava, 1971) 72

Short Night of the Glass Dolls (Aldo Lado, 1971) 54


29. Head Wind (Mohammad Rasoulof, 2008) 43


30. Contact (Alan Clarke, 1985) 86

Christine (Alan Clarke, 1987) 73

Road (Alan Clarke, 1987) 82


31. Wasp (Andrea Arnold, 2003) 65

Judgment (Park Chan-wook, 1999) 52

Sikumi (On the Ice) (Andrew Okpeaha Maclean, 2008) 41

Dona Lupe (Guillermo Del Toro, 1985) 33

The Aviator's Wife (Eric Rohmer, 1981) 71



1. The Collector (Marcus Dunstan, 2009) 48 [The obvious and glib comparison (Home Alone meets Saw) is actually entirely apt. At a certain point, one must become willing to forgive all stupidity if any gruesome fun is to be had. The movie never makes sense, or strives for any sort of significance (the killer's a vague boogeyman, the hero superficially conflicted), but Dunstan brings a reasonable amount of style to all of this, the highlight being the extended sex/scare scene set to Bauhaus' Bela Lugosi's Dead.]

Crac (Frederic Back, 1981) 37 [Even chairs can be hippies, apparently.]

78 Tours (Georges Schwizgebel, 1985) 54 [Kind of impressively mounted, but watching this in this day and age, it feels like an insurance ad or something.]

The Street (Caroline Leaf, 1976) 46 [Something about the animated form, which obviously requires so much hard work over each frame, makes something this twee and casually observational feel like a sham.]

Thirst (Park Chan-wook, 2009) 57 [Things start promisingly here, but by the time it's aping Zola, it seems unsure of itself. Scenes, such as the fateful boat trip, seem obligatory instead of inevitable, suggesting that Park doesn't feel any particular connection to the plot he's chosen. The movie never reconciles Park's extreme style with Zola's era-defining naturalism, and more disastrously it somehow grows too ostentatious to feel like it's really squirming under the weight of any real guilt. Everything is boldly played, but nothing is deeply felt. Still, it's as strong as anything Park's done, with many memorable bits.]


2. Grasshoppers (Bruno Bozzetto, 1990) 24 [Perhaps clever in concept, it's pretty condescending in practice, reducing history to an offensive parade of caricatures.]

Tale of Tales (Yuriy Norshteyn, 1979) 65 [Really lovely, and really enigmatic, it flits by evoking impossible memories without much apparent effort. It's somewhat dull, however.]

Jumping (Osamu Tezuka, 1984) 63 [A simple idea well executed, this recaptures childhood hopes without any treacle.]

Funny People (Judd Apatow, 2009) 37 [A disastrous third act, in which Apatow jettisons most of his ensemble in order to feature his real-life wife and children more prominently casts the whole film into relief. Funny People’s theme is the impossibility of separating a working life from a personal life, though so maybe this is intentional. This would also help to explain the endless parade of stand-up comic cameos, the return of the inadequate Rogen and Hill, and even the casting of Coppola nephew Jason Schwartzman. Is it meta-nepotism or the real deal? It doesn't matter that much, as it's not very funny. Apatow has a limited comic palette, consisting of shout-outs to pop culture icons and dick jokes. He doesn’t build situations, so much as he bounces boisterous personalities against one another. While this does sometimes develop character (although the players are mostly horrible), it does limit the laughs and slaps a sell-by date on the thing.]

Akira (Katsuhiro Otomo, 1988) 83 [Over twenty years later, it's still visionary. I'd take these visuals over those in any CG-animated film, happily. The character dynamics are rather simple, I suppose, but Otomo literally inflates them as he inflates the film's scale. I have no particular complaints otherwise. The plot here used to be slightly confusing, but I've seen this so many times that I now appreciate the script's brevity.]

The Place Promised in Our Early Days (Makoto Shinkai, 2004) 59 [This is a tough one to rate. It's beguiling, but at the same time it's somewhat forced in its delivery. The metaphysical contortions it goes through are closely enough related to its central romance that they aren't inherently distracting. It wraps up enigmatically, with a bittersweet mix of feelings, but I sort of hoped for something more potent.]


3. Death Watch (Bertrand Tavernier, 1980) 70 [Ideas come fast and loose here, so one must be prepared to accept some ill-formed ideas along with the film's art-house adventurousness. This was done later, with more verve and less horror, in The Truman Show. Tavernier has a better go of it, mostly because he hates everyone involved.]

Ninotchka (Ernst Lubitsch, 1939) 77 [Some of this, but it's surprisingly little of it, hits uncomfortably, like an elbow being forcefully dug in the ribs. Mostly it's a case of screen legends living up to their reputations. Garbo is still an incomparable screen goddess. Lubitsch the deftest of wits. Brackett and Wilder capable of darkness that's still audience-acceptable (e.g. "There are going to be fewer but better Russians").]

Bad Luck Blackie (Tex Avery, 1949) 68 [Wonderfully funny, with just the right amount of illogic.]

The Great Piggy Bank Robbery (Robert Clampett, 1946) 73 [I've always been more of a Daffy kinda guy. This is a good example why. An egomaniac's dreams explode, and become all-consuming.]

Once Upon a Honeymoon (Leo McCarey, 1942) 72 [Something of a jaw-dropper. It starts out in the mold of Holiday, but then when they go on that holiday, they end up in a death camp! McCarey juggles tones like a pro here, and even if he has a hard time segueing from, say, the horrors of the U-Boat attack to the milder ration humor, it's a vital film from a year that found Hollywood often towing the party line. Grant and Rogers rise to anything the wacky screenplay throws at them.]


4. Intruder in the Dust (Clarence Brown, 1949) 76 [A complex attitude toward race relations meets a crackling good murder mystery here. The movie is too smart to fall into sanctimony. The key black figure stays essentially unknowable, much to the movie's credit. The adventure elements hardly suffer. There's grave-robbing, a lynch mob, and quicksand to thrill us between the lectures. The sense of place, and the sense of tolerance necessary to co-exist in a small-town, are teriffic.]

Composition in Blue (Oskar Fischinger, 1935) 67 [Though Fischinger's idea of timing his stop-motion animations to music is simple, the execution is a different matter entirely.]

Criss Cross (Robert Siodmak, 1949) 70 [The flashback structure in classic noir often irritates me, and this isn't a major exception. That being said, this is a strong movie, marked mostly by a cynicism that runs deep, even for the genre. Lancaster is especially good here. He relays his character's sexual obsession clearly, although the samba helps. The hospital sequence, filmed largely from a limited perspective, is a highlight. A worthy successor to the star and director's previous teaming The Killers, to be sure.]

Late Spring (Yasujiro Ozu, 1949) 88


5. H2O (Ralph Steiner, 1929) 76 [Gorgeous from the get-go, the increasing abstractions push the level of accomplishment higher and higher as the film goes on.]

The Murderers Are Among Us (Wolfgang Staudte, 1946) 71 [Famed mostly as the first post-war German production, this has considerably more to recommend it. Two strong lead performances and an inescapable visual desolation drive home the point that both emotional and physical rebuilding are necessary. The drama seems hysterical at times, but sometimes, as in the emergency surgery scene, that hysteria is exactly what's needed.]

Paisan (Roberto Rossellini, 1946) 79 [What's most striking about watching this in this day and age is the realization that it was made for an audience that routinely watched newsreels in the theater. Picking a favorite sequence would be difficult, though the tense final section might be the finest. Throughout, Rossellini's uneasy alliance of realism and melodrama creates an energizing friction. His stories' endings often feel like a knife wound in the gut, but he's such a master of tone here that even his spiritual vignette works. It's genuinely soul-replenishing.]

Loulou (Maurice Pialat, 1980) 72 [The central conceit of sexual satisfaction, at least temporarily, trumping intellectual or material pursuits, is both funny and damning. Pialat's tendency toward violent outbursts is as present as ever here, lending the entire film a tension that goes largely unresolved. When a character pulls a gun out at a family dinner, it's a characteristic moment for the director, if a bit overplayed. The haphazard style of the filmmaking seems a good fit for the willful chaos of these characters' lives.]

Police (Maurice Pialat, 1985) 61 [It starts with a violent outburst, but most of the energy here is spent eschewing the typical violent trappings of the crime genre. Indeed, Pialat reinvisions the policeman's job as one that is primarily focused on negotiation. This is a movie that's exciting because it feels closer to reality than what we normally get. The real problem here is with Depardieu's characterization. His aggressiveness works well. His longing is more inconsistently conveyed. His puppy dog emotions are flatly unconvincing.]


6. Colorado Territory (Raoul Walsh, 1949) 75 [An unusal Western, especially for its era. Walsh's gender politics are exciting, as is the film's choice to identify with its unrepentant villain. The inspired use of landscape and wildly romantic ending add considerably as well. It's somewhat blatant, but excellent action scenes and lots of tough talk compensate.]

I Was a Male War Bride (Howard Hawks, 1949) 83 [Perhaps the screwball genre's Vertigo? Midway through it stops playing coy. Its characters drop their act and acknowledge their playful aggression as the flirting we all know it as. From that point on, the movie becomes an oppressive and extended aria of sexual frustration, and is all the more hilarious for it. Identity becomes contorted as two become one.]

The Great Madcap (Luis Bunuel, 1949) 72 [A movie filled with mild pleasures, delivered endlessly. Bunuel's attitude here is less damning than usual, and the warmth is welcome. This has much more in common with the other Mexican films of its era than the director's later work, and yet there are surprising instances of satire throughout that remind you who's behind the camera.]

The Unicorn in the Garden (William T. Hurtz, 1953) 41 [This movie wants us to feel complicit with its dreamer, but I mostly felt bad for the wife. UPA's abstract style lessens the blow somewhat.]

The War Against Mrs. Hadley (Harold S. Bucquet, 1942) 34 [The American version of Mrs. Miniver, I suppose, but shockingly it manages to be even less stirring. All of the character actors in the world can't enliven this schematic, predictable script. The result is stagebound and shrill. I shudder to think that something so baldly manipulative rallied a nation toward war.]


7. Tennessee Johnson (William Dieterle, 1942) 56 [A standard-issue Hollywood biopic from the era's master of the form. It plays pretty fast and loose with history, as is to be expected. The backwoods hijinks of the opening act are shamed by the previous year's Sergeant York, and one suspects the entire film exists to leech off of that movie's success. The later focus on Senate hearings is less dull than expected, as Heflin and Barrymore are in good form. Still, it never quite catches fire dramatically, nor looks very critically at its very controversial subject.]

The Fan (Otto Preminger, 1949) 63 [Considering the source, one would expect this to play as comedy, but Preminger focuses on the melodrama instead of the wit. The effect is a deepening of the text, although one might struggle with the question of whether or not the change in approach is an overall improvement. By showing his characters as doddering old folks as well as dashing young socialites, Preminger creates an air of nostalgia that nearly overpowers the action. In choosing to frame the bulk of the story in a flashback, and in focusing so intently on Wilde's plotting (and thereby Mrs. Erlynn's own narration), the movie becomes the extended justification of a decision that clearly has aroused some regrets. In this context, Erlynn's desire to stir up old demons and reclaim the fan becomes quite touching, but that emotional connection is withheld for much of the film's duration.]

Beeswax (Andrew Bujalski, 2009) 46 [Social awkwardness and the avoidance of confrontation seem to be Bujalski's specialty, and Beeswax offers plenty of each. It's curious that just as many viewed Humpday as a gay-themed (or gay-baiting?) companion piece to Bruno, this holds many parallels to another of this summer's studio comedies: Funny People. As in that film, work relationships and personal relationships become hopelessly entangled, resulting in an uncomfortable questioning of boundaries ("Beeswax" is a stand in for "business", as in "none of your..."). Beeswax is the better, more tonally assured film, to be sure, but it's not without its stumbles. The mumblecore aesthetic still is distracting (especially the poor sound recording), the cast is too uneven for the observational feel that's intended, and the film becomes a tad repetitive and one-note in its portrayals of people painfully failing to connect with one another.]

The Wedding Night (King Vidor, 1935) 53


8. Paper Heart (Nicholas Jasenovec, 2009) 23 [This faux-charming faux-documentary aggravates from frame one. The juxtaposition of Yi's insecure comic persona and her ability to hobnob with anyone from Hell's Angels to Hollywood hot-shots is baffling and unaddressed. Her character's evasiveness and willful quirkiness derails the movie's theme, squandering even the few true moments of charm generated by the presumably non-professional interviewees. Alternate titles: Arrested Development: The Movie, Superbad, Drag Me To Hell.]

Julie & Julia (Nora Ephron, 2009) 49 [Meryl Streep's so much better than this material it's not even funny. While it's good to see Ephron tiptoeing outside of the romantic comedy ghetto, she reveals herself as a director incapable of subtlety. Every gentle moment that Streep conjures, Ephron steamrolls over. The less said about the Julie section of the film the better. I imagine I'm more tolerant of her plight than most, being an obsessive web writer, but I still found her fairly intolerable.]

Sadie McKee (Clarence Brown, 1934) 74 [Out of the Brown films I've seen, this seems most similar to Anna Christie, as it similarly extends they dysfunctions in its onscreen romantic relationships well past the point where the audience can extract any pleasure from them. It's playfully catty at times, but that only masks the deeper resentment bubbling underneath. With each plot twist, Crawford's steely attitude is used to extract another pound of proverbial flesh. It ends up cutting much deeper than the average rags-to-riches story as a result.]


9. The Small Back Room (Michael Powell | Emeric Pressburger, 1949) 74

A Perfect Getaway (David Twohy, 2009) 61 [This sort of thriller has been done better before (e.g. Kalifornia), but here's a nice variation on the mold. Twohy doesn't seem to wring all he can visually out of the Hawaiian backdrop (look at Turistas to see how picture-postcard cinematography can be used expressively in the genre), but he keeps the cat and mouse game going as long as humanly possible (the extended flashback before the climax moves beyond exposition into the realm of audience deprival). I'm not sure that the plot hangs together in the end, but it's better mindless summer entertainment than most we've seen this year. Timothy Olyphant is fantastic here, delivering the kind of menacing, witty performance that probably deserves, but never wins, awards.]

Gentleman Jim (Raoul Walsh, 1942) 80

Kid Glove Killer (Fred Zinnemann, 1942) 63 [This taut organized crime thriller must have been an early indicator that Zinnemann's career would be fruitful. It’s a police procedural, but it’s likely that the moments most will end up remembering involve the flirtatious interplay between Van Heflin and Marsha Hunt. The forensics stuff isn't half-bad either, with long, but interesting, discussions about sundry items like pet hair and fingernail clippers. It's too charming to feel ominous, but that's a virtue in itself.]

Black God, White Devil (Glauber Rocha, 1964) 83


10. The Plague Dogs (Martin Rosen, 1982) 76 [This probably supplants Grave of the Fireflies as the most heart-wrenching piece of animation that I've seen. I'm thankful I wasn't exposed to it as a child, as I might have never recovered from the trauma. Even seeing it now, I'm shocked by Rosen's willingness to present his dark story so unremittingly. I suppose seeing his Watership Down years ago should have prepared me, but I've either forgotten how unrelenting that movie is or I'm just too much a dog person to see this with clear eyes.]

The Go-Between (Joseph Losey, 1970) 70 [There's really not much of a story here, which makes Losey's careful attention to detail absolutely necessary. He zeroes in on the simmering tensions (rooted mostly in the things fine society chooses to repress) and keeps them agitating until they positively explode. Then, with a restraint typical of British literature, he tastefully cuts away or flashes forward, sparing us from any more than is necessary to get the point. In this ridiculously controlled context, anomalies like Christie's attack on Guard when he resists her request to deliver a letter feel both out of place and inevitable. Nowhere is this made more apparent than in Leighton's performance, which faintly masks annoyance for the entire run time, until it blows up.]

Men on the Mountain (Istvan Szots, 1942) 70

The Boys From Fengkuei (Hou Hsiao-hsien, 1983) 73

Tomorrow We Live (Edgar G. Ulmer, 1942) 51 [Is it terrible or inspired? Either way, this poverty row whatsit couldn't have come from anyone but Ulmer. It freakishly combines about a half-dozen different genres and pits them against one another for an hour or so. The plot is simple enough to follow (two groups of gangsters clash over a tire-smuggling operation, catching a young woman in the middle), but it unfolds in an unpredictable, almost delirious manner. What to make of the opening and closing sequences, which seem to recycle stock footage at the expense of common sense, the transformation of "The Ghost" from dashing ladies' man to madman, or the mere fact that all of this mayhem supposedly is taking place in the middle of the desert?]


11. Our Mother's House (Jack Clayton, 1967) 83 [A subtle horror film that shifts boogeymen midway through. Clayton creates a claustrophobic visual scheme that never lets us forget that this family home is haunted, and the terror that he puts these kids through is palpable. Impressive both because it resists homogenizing its brood and because it refuses to completely demonize their father, the film most resembles The Lord of the Flies in its ability to conceive new moral codes on the fly. It's depressing that this isn't better remembered.]

Pieces (Juan Piquer Simon, 1982) 61 [This chainsaw massacre might not be a particularly well-made movie, even by the standards of the serial killer genre, but it’s too entertaining to discount. The unrepentant, gory nastiness and sheer inevitability of the plotting (the frequent returns to the killer’s incomplete puzzle tell us all we need to know) make up for a lack of suspense. The ultimate reveal of the movie, as gross and shocking as it might be, really is just the cherry top of a feature-length excursion into gleeful sadism.]

Donald in Mathmagic Land (Hamilton Luske, 1959) 66 [This short is both a terrific documentary and a work that achieves many of the goals of good experimental cinema. It offers new perspectives on the everyday, retraining us to be better viewers. It juggles its comic, educational, and visual goals rather effortlessly, all the while making mathematical concepts lucid and engaging. The narrative is somewhat sloppy, and clearly only has conceived been to guide us from one lesson to the next, but the film really only truly stumbles in its final decision to back away from the wonders of hard science and celebrate God’s invisible hand.]


12. The House That Screamed (Narciso Ibanez Serrador, 1969) 71

The Bigamist (Ida Lupino, 1953) 60 [This well-made drama scores points for being sympathetic toward all involved and for resisting easy judgments of a taboo situation. Furthermore, it has a light touch, winking at audiences with unexpected bits of humor, such as Jane Darwell’s eavesdropping cleaning lady, the line of dialogue, “Mr. Jordan (played by Miracle at 34th Street’s Edmund Gwenn) looks a lot like Santa Claus,” or the scene later on where a tour bus drives past Gwenn’s real-life home. After taking all of that subsidiary detail into account, though, one still has to contend with the stodgy, moralistic core of the movie, which doesn’t ever go away. Lupino’s own acting is especially good.]

Chained (Clarence Brown, 1934) 46 [Vaguely adequate, but obsolete. Joan Crawford would go on to star in Daisy Kenyon, a much richer variation on this film’s theme, with far more tied up in her character’s decision between two men. This is certainly watchable, with predictable star performances from Crawford and Clark Gable, but it’s so premeditated that it really only becomes dramatic in three-way confrontations near its start and end. Only a dope would think poor Otto Kruger stands a chance here.]


13. Slow Motion (Jean-Luc Godard, 1980) 82 [This is cold and distant, even by Godard’s standards, but it’s extremely funny and exceptionally well-made. There’s a flat look to the film, but it belies the amount of visual information crammed into each composition. The whole thing is meant to look casual, which calls even more attention to the artifice present in the careful placement of cultural artifacts and the deliberate posing of the actors. It was Godard’s return to film after his extended series of video essays, and you get the sense that he’s self-consciously out to self-immolate, eager to begin a new phase of his career with a clean slate. He takes himself, from his basest instincts to his artiest indulgences, to task, ruthlessly self-examining everything that had come to define him to that point. The grand irony here is how amazingly accomplished a work of cinema it is. Creatively, it’s anything but a death.]


14. True Heart Susie (D. W. Griffith, 1919) 77 [One of Griffith’s finest movies, and certainly one of his most affecting, this eschews any epic backdrop or exotic locale for good, old-fashioned sentimentalism. It’s put on screen with such simplicity that it ends up disarming any complaints about the familiarity of the story. The three leads are each excellent, and each of them strives valiantly to enhance the slim narrative and typecasting. Griffith, to his credit, spends enough time following these characters around that we get a real sense for their lives, their homes, and their values. He seems aware that much further embellishment here would only distract.]

Hoodoo Ann (Lloyd Ingraham, 1916) 48 [This comic romance is divided pretty evenly into two parts. The first sees Ann (played by the gangly Mae Marsh) the orphan outcast, the second, just as oddly, sees her tentatively falling in love with a young cartoonist. Neither half seems a good fit for the star, who is too emphatic an actress to ever make us forget that she’s an adult playing a child and too much a misfit to stir emotional longing in viewers. It’s snappily paced and occasionally witty, but it is unable to overcome its lead actress’ shortcomings. An extended scene in which the characters go to a movie theater and watch a film seems unusual for the era.]


15. Ponyo (Hayao Miyazaki, 2008) 77 [This played better on a second viewing, which I wouldn’t have suspected given its simplicity. The English language dub is pretty impressively cast. The first five minutes here are one of the finest sequences that Miyazaki has done.]

It Might Get Loud (Davis Guggenheim, 2008) 56 [I’m a fan of all three musicians profiled here, so I have some inherent interest in gleaning insight into their creative processes, but Guggenheim doesn’t bring that much to the table. The structure, which compares the three guitarists in an attempt to place them into a tradition, doesn't connect them as neatly as Guggenheim seems to hope, and it ends up cutting the movie into a series of sound bites and musical snippets. More uninterrupted guitar playing would have been appreciated. The jam session between the three, built up to as some sort of meeting of the rock gods, is rather awkward and polite in practice. Still, eminently watchable.]

Grotesque (Koji Shiraishi, 2009) 60 [Here's an obvious attempt to raise the bar in the torture porn sweepstakes; an exercise for which I’m not sure there’s much of an audience remaining. Still, the playful sadism here is mildly shocking, and the lack of diversionary plot elements is a nice change of pace. The movie is too polished to feel grisly, or even scary, but it manages to invoke squirms anyway, going farther than most of its ilk. The over the top ending reveals it all to be for entertainment's sake... an extended ironic gag, which is for the best, since it's more than a little silly.]

Manila By Night (Ishmael Bernal, 1980) 73

Harpya (Raoul Servais, 1979) 62


16. Grace (Paul Solet, 2009) 51 [The obviously small budget of this project has clearly limited its scale, yet it plunges into an area so typically off-limits that it can't help but be somewhat effective. The gradual reveal of its shocks downplays their predictability in favor of a study in psychological disintegration. It blows the pressure that new parents feel to do right by their children into a sustained, slow-burning nightmare. Given that, one does wish the acting was more nuanced. That it resolves in such an unimaginative way is not surprising, perhaps, but it's slightly disappointing, as Solet shows promise as a storyteller.]

The Time Traveler's Wife (Robert Schwentke, 2009) 29 [This is some crazy shit. If Twilight could be read as a pro-abstinence allegory, this seems to be arguing that a woman doesn't have the right to choose. The eventual dimensions of the plot here come out of left field, and the movie never addresses how truly disturbing or demeaning it is. Poor McAdams is forced to play a remarkably passive woman who has two momentary bouts of rebellion amid what seems to be a lifetime of silent suffering. Her time, her body, and her fate are all played with by a man who purportedly loves her, yet judges her too weak to make adult decisions time and again. Shockingly, it is played as romance.]

District 9 (Neil Blomkamp, 2009) 30 [A movie that promises ideas, yet only delivers concepts. It runs out of gas before it's even halfway over, offering a series of mindless chase scenes instead of any further delineation of its established themes, style, or politics. The whole thing is slapdash, jettisoning meaning as easily as it discards its fake-documentary setup (and that was never plausibly conceived to begin with). As it comes to a close, it seems to be working harder to set up a sequel than to offer any sort of satisfactory conclusion to the story being told.]

Cria Cuervos (Carlos Saura, 1976) 79 [Saura works carefully here, telling a simple story with such elusiveness that you end up convinced that there must be more to it than meets the eye. Without much overt incident, he constructs an almost mythical world, filled with meanings and motivations that are beyond the young protagonist, and, like a master, he keeps his own interpretations just outside of our reach too. The net effect is a sensual reimmersion in childhood that simultaneously makes us aware of the shortcomings inherent in any interpretation. Haunting.]

Never Cry Wolf (Carroll Ballard, 1983) 88 [A magical and quietly profound movie. One can't help but marvel at the sheer wonder of the nature that Ballard and cinematographer Hiro Narita capture. The protagonist is such an unbelievable buffoon at the start of the film that it's a small miracle that Ballard quickly manages to make his film feel truly soul-searching. At the very least, its method of contrasting ideologies is better than the somewhat bathetic soap opera of The Black Stallion's occasionally clumsy dramatic scenes. It seems so successful because it comes to its revelations honestly, giving us a world in which prejudices are disproven yet undefeatable facts of life.]


17. Silver Lode (Allan Dwan, 1954) 77 [Dwan seems partially inspired by High Noon here, but he's come up with something considerably better. The Red Scare allegory might be clear as day, but the movie is far more noteworthy for its excellent staging. More scenes than not are dotted by a group of suspicious extras in the background, and Dwan conceives many thrilling moments as his camera pans across his impressive set. Recurring visual motifs effectively push the theme of selective memory to the fore. At 77 minutes long, it makes its points cleanly, instead of belaboring them.]


18. Happiness (Aleksandr Medvedkin, 1934) 75

Human Desire (Fritz Lang, 1954) 51 [One of Lang’s weakest moments. Very much a film made according to the noir template, with less verve than usual. It’s a chamber drama more than a detective story, which drains the energy considerably. Lang finds a potent metaphor here using the train tracks as a signifier of the characters’ inevitable fates, but things flag whenever the action moves from the station. It’s a bleak, gloomy movie, with performances that never quite seem to sync up with one another.]

The Official Story (Luis Puenzo, 1985) 53 [There’s some undeniable power to be found here in the slow dawning of political consciousness, but Puenzo’s slowness is not to be confused with subtlety. While it’s an admirable attempt to ground a nation’s political tragedies in one family’s home, the movie is overexplicit from frame one. The heroine is a history teacher. Her students speak about the need to ignore what’s written in their books. Her husband transparently pleads with her to stop asking tough questions. It gets to be a bit much after a while, clubbing us over our heads with its obviousness.]


19. Riot in Cell Block 11 (Don Siegel, 1954) 76 [As raw and real as Hollywood got in the ‘50s. It segues almost imperceptibly from its newsreel-style opener to its fictionalized action. The movie relies less on character development or overt explanations of social ills than its muscular depiction of conflict. It’s only occasionally overwrought, usually depicting its Folosm Pirson location with startling authenticity.]

The Bead Game (Ishu Patel, 1977) 65 [Essentially the same film as Bozzetto’s Grasshoppers, but without the air of condescension. The added layer of abstraction, courtesy of the beads, makes the difference, I think.]


20. World's Greatest Dad (Bobcat Goldthwait, 2009) 34


21. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009) 93 [Despite its almost total linearity, this is as structurally audacious and unpredictable as anything Tarantino's made, with fewer than twenty proper scenes, many of which are maximized in terms of duration and tension created from the scenario. Like pretty much all of his work, it upsets any conventional build-up to payoff ratios that audiences expect. Furthermore, there's a heck of a plot, including not one, but two nearly identical spy plots that become complimentary without any knowledge on the part of those who are executing them (prompting echoes of Jackie Brown's heist and Death Proof's twin narrative). This notion strikes me as especially powerful in this context, where characters are giving their lives for an intangible cause. As for the talk, it's meaningful and hilarious on a surface level, but also as an exploration of the way that so much of WWII was fought through messaging (propaganda films, rumors of what was happening on the other fronts of the war, through the creation of war heroes, etc...). Those long dialogue scenes are as positively riveting as any action-driven suspense sequence that Tarantino could have dreamed up.]


22. Hobson's Choice (David Lean, 1954) 82 [Lean outdoes any Ealing comedy that I've seen with this extremely funny, thoroughly British work. It grounds its exaggerated comic performances by staging them in a hyper-realistic backdrop, which is made doubly convincing by Lean's remarkable camera placement. Even more impressively, however, Lean resists the allure of quirk, opting instead to find warmth for those involved in this oddball predicament. The tenderness with which he directs, say, the scene depicting wedding night jitters, is practically unmatched.]

The Damned United (Tom Hooper, 2009) 39


23. Fifty Dead Men Walking (Kari Skogland, 2008) 40 [Leading man Sturges proves here that his charisma in Across the Universe was no fluke. In his scenes with Natalie Press, and especially Ben Kingsley, he shows he's more than capable of holding the screen. Unfortunately, he's in the service here of a predictably conflicted IRA drama, which contorts with many of the same moves as Donnie Brasco, but little of the weight.  Skogland's ostentatious direction detracts from the personal and political issues at hand, tarting up the screen with visual tricks more suited to a music video than a serious drama.]

Drunken Master (Yuen Woo-Ping, 1978) 61 [Jackie Chan's star power is fully present here, in this gleeful, giddily profane adventure romp. Though he would go on to make films that showed more impressive athletic feats (see Dragons Forever, Project A, Drunken Master II, Who Am I?), this is one of his earliest films to combine his insane kung-fu skill with his poise as a comedian. It holds up remarkably well.]


24. Dr. Jekkyl and Mr. Hyde (Rouben Mamoulian, 1931) 82 [The impressive visual effects, excellent performances (especially Miriam Hopkins'), and considerable contribution from Mamoulian conspire to make this the best of many adaptations of this horror classic.]


25. Red (Trygve Allister Diesen | Lucky McKee, 2008) 49 [Brian Cox is one of our most underrated actors, and this gives him a rare opportunity to appear in virtually every scene of a movie. It's a shame the movie, or this particular performance from him, isn't better. Eastwood's Gran Torino managed to explore many of the themes present here with a considerably smarter script. Red flounders because it neither manages to invoke outrage, nor manages to convince us that its revenge-seeking protagonist is particularly off his rocker. The result feels too measured by half, and unfolds with a dry predictability that's unusual in the genre.]


26. Antichrist (Lars von Trier, 2009) 78


27. Antichrist (Lars von Trier, 2009) 82


28. The Garden (Scott Hamilton Kennedy, 2008) 47 [Kennedy's film is well-constructed, in the sense that it withholds potentially nefarious motivations from us until we've come to understand more about his situation, but one suspects that his drama has been largely conceived in the editing room, which leaves lingering questions about what else has been elided. Certainly the question of whether or not the group of farmers he's behind were profiteering from public land still lingers. The clear lack of objectivity isn't an inherent problem, but the sense that we're only getting a partial story on this and other counts is disturbing.]


29. Taking Woodstock (Ang Lee, 2009) 67

Feed (Brett Leonard, 2005) 26


30. The Final Destination (David R. Ellis, 2009) 42

Halloween II (Rob Zombie, 2009) 46


31. The House of the Devil (Ti West, 2009) 65



1. Love Exposure (Sion Sono, 2008) 60


2. Red Riding: 1974 (Julian Jarrold, 2009) 62


3. The Housemaid (Kim Ki-young, 1960) 79


4. Red Riding: 1980 (James Marsh, 2009) 44


5. Extract (Mike Judge, 2009) 75

Alice in the Cities (Wim Wenders, 1974) 69


6. Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino, 2009) 94


7. Max Manus (Espen Sandberg | Joachim Roenning, 2008) 43


8. Red Riding: 1983 (Anand Tucker, 2009) 51


9. Happiness (Todd Solondz, 1998) 76


10. An Education (Lone Scherfig, 2009) 34

Nymph (Pen-ek Ratanaruang, 2009) 64


11. The Happiest Girl in the World (Radu Jude, 2009) 41

Huacho (Alejandro Fernández Almendras, 2009) 52

La Pivellina (Tizza Covi | Rainer Frimmel) 48

Irene (Alain Cavalier, 2009) 47

The Ape (Jesper Ganslandt, 2009) 39

Daybreakers (The Spierig Brothers, 2009) 18


12. Broken Embraces (Pedro Almodovar, 2009) 33

Fish Tank (Andrea Arnold, 2009) 63

The Hole (Joe Dante, 2009) w/o [Due to fire alarm...]

Up in the Air (Jason Reitman, 2009) 49

Wild Grass (Alain Resnais, 2009) 74

Survival of the Dead (George A. Romero, 2009) 46


13. The Father of My Children (Mia Hansen-Love, 2009) 61

Dogtooth (Giorgos Lanthimos, 2009) 66

Accident (Soi Cheang, 2009) 63

The Loved Ones (Sean Byrne, 2009) 37


14. A Serious Man (Joel Coen | Ethan Coen, 2009) 38

Precious: Based on the Novel "Push" by Sapphire (Lee Daniels, 2009) 76

The Road (John Hillcoat, 2009) 62

Agora (Alejandro Amenabar, 2009) 48

Mall Girls (Katarzyna Roslaniec, 2009) 43

A Single Man (Tom Ford, 2009) 60


15. Madame Freedom (Han Hyeong-mo, 1956) 67


17. [Rec] 2 (Jaume Balagueró | Paco Plaza, 2009) 56

The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans (Werner Herzog, 2009) 67

Deliver Us From Evil (Ole Bornedal, 2009) 20

Face (Tsai Ming-liang, 2009) 60

Symbol (Hitoshi Matsumoto, 2009) 34


18. The Warrior and the Wolf (Tian Zhuangzhaung, 2009) 28

Love and Other Impossible Pursuits (Don Roos, 2009) 38

The Time That Remains (Elia Suleiman, 2009) 72

I Killed My Mother (Xavier Dolan, 2009) 61

Ondine (Neil Jordan, 2009) 50

At the End of Daybreak (Yuhang Ho, 2009) 63

A Town Called Panic (Stephane Aubier | Vincent Patar, 2009) 41


19. Air Doll (Hirokazu Kore-eda, 2009) 53

La Soga (Josh Crook, 2009) 54

Enter the Void (Gaspar Noe, 2009) 29


22. Sisters of the Gion (Kenji Mizoguchi, 1936) 78


24. Double Suicide (Masahiro Shinoda, 1969) 74


25. The Informant! (Steven Soderbergh, 2009) 57

Sorority Row (Stewart Hendler, 2009) 22


26. Pandorum (Christian Alvart, 2009) 49

Jennifer's Body (Karyn Kusama, 2009) 21

Get Yer Ya-Yas Out! (Bradley Kaplan | Ian Markiewicz | Albert Maysles, 1969-2009) 47

Eccentricities of a Blonde-haired Girl (Manoel de Oliverira, 2009) 52

Vincere (Marco Bellocchio, 2009) 60


27. Surrogates (Jonathan Mostow, 2009) 42

Bright Star (Jane Campion, 2009) 67


28. Trick 'r Treat (Michael Dougherty, 2008) 54

Kanikosen (Sabu, 2009) 30

The Funk (Cris Jones, 2008) 36

Police, Adjective (Corneliu Porumboiu, 2009) 78


29. Because of Her (Tian-lin Wang | Wen Yi, 1963) 51



1. To Die Like a Man (João Pedro Rodrigues, 2009) 56


2. Trash Humpers (Harmony Korine, 2009) 61


3. Crossroads of Youth (An Jong-hwa, 1934) 58


5. Everyone Else (Maren Ade, 2009) 53


6. Two Stage Sisters (Jin Xie, 1965) 57


7. Food Inc. (Robert Kenner, 2008) 39


9. Plastic Bag (Ramin Bahrani, 2009) 41

Around a Small Mountain (Jacques Rivette, 2009) 62

Mother (Bong Joon-ho, 2009) 47

Chicken Heads (Roos Djaj, 2009) 46

White Material (Claire Denis, 2009) 83


10. Paranormal Activity (Oren Peli, 2007) 65

The Unborn (David S. Goyer, 2009) 40


11. Socarrat (David Moreno, 2009) 27

Life During Wartime (Todd Solondz, 2009) 51

Love Child (Daniel Wirtberg, 2009) 57

Bluebeard (Catherine Breillat, 2009) 68


13. Cure (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1997) 78


15. The Shining (Stanley Kubrick, 1980) 80


17. Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze, 2009) 32

Zombieland (Ruben Fleischer, 2009) 53

Nosferatu: Phantom of the Night (Werner Herzog, 1979) 73


18. Black Dynamite (Scott Sanders, 2009) 63


20. Tell Me Something (Chang Yoon-Hyun, 1999) 37


24. Saw VI (Kevin Greutert, 2009) 49


27. Vengeance (Chang Cheh, 1970) 63


28. Daydreams (Eugeni Bauer, 1915) 88


30. Werewolf (Tony Zarindast, 1996) 4


31. Pop Skull (Adam Wingard, 2007) 71



6. A Christmas Carol (Robert Zemeckis, 2009) 76


7. The Box (Richard Kelly, 2009) 40


9. Sword of Doom (Kihachi Okamoto, 1966) 77


14. 2012 (Roland Emmerich, 2009) 23

Branded to Kill (Seijun Suzuki, 1967) 69


20. The Blind Side (John Lee Hancock, 2009) 54


21. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson, 2009) 86

Trucker (James Mottern, 2008) 36


22. The Twilight Saga: New Moon (Chris Weitz, 2009) 41


24. Fallen Angels (Wong Kar-Wai, 1995) 68


28. The Messenger (Oren Moverman, 2009) 53



10. Capitalism: A Love Story (Michael Moore, 2009) 31


12. The Lovely Bones (Peter Jackson, 2009) 24


18. Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson, 2009) 84


19. Avatar (James Cameron, 2009) 87


20. Under Our Skin (Andy Abrahams Wilson, 2008) 52


21. Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' By Sapphire (Lee Daniels, 2009) 68


23. Collapse (Chris Smith, 2009) 47


26. It's Complicated (Nancy Meyers, 2009) 48

Crazy Heart (Scott Cooper, 2009) 44


27. The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus (Terry Gilliam, 2009) 65


28. Sherlock Holmes (Guy Ritchie, 2009) 30

Nine (Rob Marshall, 2009) 54


29. The White Ribbon (Michael Haneke, 2009) 73

Invictus (Clint Eastwood, 2009) 57


30. Up in the Air (Jason Reitman, 2009) 56



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