I watched 471 feature films in calendar year 2004.
Links are to longer reviews on site.  All ratings based on 4 stars best.  A film defined as 70 min.+  visual event.  
(V) =  TV, Video or DVD    ( +) = repeat viewing      (WO)= walked out  (AFF)  Academy foreign film entry

My top 10 films of 2004:
(List to come)

10.5 (d. John Lafia) V. The most epically ridiculous, scientifically absurd, horribly written & acted mini-series in tv history.  But the f/x were pretty awesome.  *
13 GOING ON 30 (d. Gary Winick) Another ridiculous kid in a grownup's body fantasy, though Mark Ruffalo is always worth watching.  * 1/2
20 FINGERS (d. Mania Akbari) Tight close-ups of a couple in motion, arguing shrilly, incessantly, boringly. Like recent Kiarostami, only feminist. * 3/4
20:30:40 (d. Sylvia Chang) Interwoven, soapy comedy about 3 varied aged women neighbors in modern Taipei.  Somewhat superficial and overly long.  * 3/4
24TH DAY, THE (d. Tony Piccirillo) Excellent 2-person gay-themed drama with incredibly good acting by Scott Speedman & James Marsden.  *** 1/2
25 DEGREES IN WINTER (d. Stéphane Vuillet) Fun comedy about a Spanish family who has an adventure helping a Ukranian illegal immigrée in Brussels. ** 3/4
4400, THE (d. various)V. "Limited" tv sf series about returned alien abductees with strange powers. Compelling serial tv and I hope it continues.  ***
9 SOULS (d.Toshiaki Toyota) A comedy about escaped convicts rampaging. I was bored and unamused and walked after an hour.  W/O
A FATHER, A SON, ONCE UPON A TIME IN HOLLYWOOD (d. Lee Grant) V. Insider docu about Kirk and Michael Douglas, interesting but not great.  ** 3/4
AFTERMATH (d. Paprika Steen) Emotionally shattering, beautifully acted chamber drama about the affects of grief on a couple & the people around them.  *** 1/2
AGENT CODY BANKS 2 (d. Kevin Allen) Silly, but coherent kids film.  At least miles better than Inspector Gadget, which is saying something.  ** 1/4
AGRONOMIST, THE (d. Jonathan Demme) V. Doc. about Haitian radio radical good guy Jean Dominique. Interesting, but slow mid-section disappoints. ** 3/4
AKA (d. Duncan Roy)V.+ Complete re-edit from multi-screen festival version 2 years ago. Well done British lower class gay imposter story.  ** 3/4
ALAMO, THE (d. John Lee Hancock) Mediocre script with too many levels of flashbacks; but otherwise fairly well made historical pic.  ** 1/2
ALEGRE MA NON TROPPO (d. Fernando Colomo) Slick, high gloss '94 Spanish sex farce on confused sexuality with clever plot and some fine acting.  ***
ALEXANDER (d. Oliver Stone) Epic with a confusingly constructed script but some great battle scenes. Jolie's accent inexplicable; but Farrell is pretty good.  ** 3/4
ALFIE (d. Charles Shyer) Jude Law is an attractive star playing a cad in this somewhat boring, mediocre comedy. Shyer is a hack director; but his casting works.  ** 1/4
ALL OR NOTHING (d. Mike Leigh)V. Finally caught Leigh's miserabilist version of  Life is Sour. As usual, fine filmmaking; but depressing.  ***
ALONG CAME POLLY (d. John Hamburg) Big stars, but a terribly tasteless script...even Philip Hoffman overdid his slob schtick.  * 1/2
AMERICAN JOBS (d. Greg Spotts) V. Informative, reasoned docu about the effect of NAFTA etc. on the American worker. Good polemics and filmmaking.  ***
AMERICAN WEDDING (d. Jesse Dylan) V. A new scatological nadir for this series; but I have to admit that I laughed at some situations despite myself.  * 1/4
AMNESIA (d. Nicholas Laughland) V. BBC mystery-thriller about an amnesiac cop on the trail of a possible wife murderer. Nice script, but too pat.  ** 3/4
ANATOMY OF HELL  (d. Catherine Breillat) Opaque narrative about a girl who hires a "gay" man to ravage her. Squickily sexually explicit. **
ANCHORMAN: THE LEGEND OF RON BURGUNDY (d. Adam McKay) Totally unfunny (for me) silly, even stupid comedy take on '70s newscasters.  *
ANNIVERSARY PARTY, THE (d. Leigh & Cumming) V. An almost perfect video film of today's Hollywood creative types & their screwed-up fabulous lives.  *** 1/2
ANONYMOUS (d. Todd Verow) Verow tries arty French porn (a la Porn Theater). He's not up to it as director or actor. Degrading, despicable disaster.  1/2*
APRÈS VOUS (d. Pierre Salvadore) Annoying and contrived French farce.  * 3/4
AROUND THE BEND (d. Jordan Roberts) 4 generation of a family's secrets made into a road picture, similar to Last Orders, but rather pedestrian.  ** 1/4
AROUND THE WORLD IN 80 DAYS (d. Frank Coraci) A ridiculously overblown remake of a movie which didn't need to be remade.  * 1/4
ARYAN COUPLE, THE (d. John Daly) Sometimes cheesy melodramas just work, as this well-cast, politically incorrect Holocaust story does for me. Judy Parfitt is wonderful.  ***ful. ***
AS IT IS IN HEAVEN  (d. Kay Pollak) Uplifting & emotionally satisfying drama about an artist who brings enlightenment to his backwater Swedish home town.  *** 1/2
ASSASSINATION OF RICHARD NIXON, THE (d. Niels Mueller) Sean Penn is remarkable as a '70s loser who becomes a plane hi-jacker.  ***
ASTRONAUTS (d. Santi Amodeo) Slight, wry romantic comedy about an ex-junky and a 16 yr girl.  Not as cute as it tries to be.  **
AVIATOR, THE (d. Martin Scorsese) Powerful biopic, visually splendid with great perfs by Di Caprio and Blanchett. Too sprawling, but it worked magic for me.  *** 1/2
BAD EDUCATION (d. Pedro Almodovar) Pedro's gayest film since Law of Desire. Silly noirish plot; but total fun with an extraordinary Gaël Bernal.  ***
BAJARSE AL MORO (d. Fernando Colomo) A low-budget '88 comedy about Madrid druggies. Even a young Antonio Bandares couldn't elevate it.  **
BALSEROS (d. Bosch and Doménech) V. Absorbing doc. which explores the lives of several Cuban raft people who eventually come to the U.S. over 9 years. *** 1/4
BEAR CUB (d. Luis Miguel Albaladejo) An honest, moving, straightforward Spanish film about a gay man thrust into caring for his 9 yr old nephew.  ***
BEFORE SUNSET (d.Richard Linklater) Talky sequel to one of my all-time fave films. Satisfying in context; but not as good a film.  ***
BEING JULIA (d. Istvan Szabo) Overwrought, entertaining period melodrama about a monster actress in 1938 London. Benning's performance: Oscar bait tour de force. *** ***
BELIEVER, THE (d. Henry Bean) V.+ I appreciated the quality of the filmmaking more the 2nd time around. One hell of a script, well executed.  *** 1/2
BENEATH HER WINDOW (d. Metod Pevec) Screwball Slovenian comedy about a 30ish woman's romantic entanglements whose evident charms escaped me.  ** 1/4
BEREFT (d. Tim Daly, Clark Mathis) Overwrought drama about a young woman driven crazy with grief by the auto accident death of her husband. ** 1/2
BEREFT (d. Tim Daly, Clark Mathis)+ Oops! I forgot I'd seen this grief drama at SIFF and was unimpressed. Here the beauty of the images made up somewhat.   ** 3/4
BEST DAY OF MY LIFE (d. Cristina Comencini) Splendid and moving, complex Italian disfunctional family saga, 2 sisters and gay son & their lives and loves.  *** 1/4
BEST OF YOUTH #1  (d. Marco Giordana) Part one of this sprawling family saga propulsively sets up the drama & characters.  ***
BEST OF YOUTH #2  (d. Marco Giordana) In part two the emotional rewards so carefully plotted are huge.  A totally satisfying 6 hour epic of  late 20th Century Italy. ****
BEYOND THE SEA (d. Kevin Spacey) The most off the wall musical biopic since Delovely. Spacey makes a better lounge singer than director!  ** 1/4
B-HAPPY (d. Gonzalo Justiniano) Another periled latina teen girl film, this time a poor girl whose father is in prison. Simple, effective filmmaking.  ***
BIRTH (d. Jonathan Glazer) Heavy duty, eerie psychological drama. Nicole Kiddman fine here, script has a nicely satisfying ambiguity & interesting direction.  *** 1/4
BLACK ROBE (d. Bruce Beresford) V. Gut-wrenching '91 film with Lothar Bluteau playing a jesuit priest in New France pre-revolution.  ***
BLACKWATER LIGHTSHIP (d. John Erman) V. An Early Frost, updated...but still a little out of date. I'm too emotionally fragile for AIDS stories like this.  *** 1/2
BLOOM (d. Sean Walsh) Earnest adaptation of the unadaptable Ulysses, using lots of voiceovers for interior monologue. Well made; but not my cuppa.  ** 1/2
BLUEBERRY (d. Jan Kounen ) A psychedelic westen which, though overlong and undiciplined, delivers the goods with fabulous f/x & a superb Vincent Cassell.  ***
BODYSONG (d. Simon Pummell) V. Hypno-docu, sort of a Family of Man of found film clips to music (cf Koyaanisqatsi). Fascinating and a little boring.  ** 1/2
BONJOUR M. SHLOMI (d. Shemi Zarhin) A superbly observed film about a 16 year old boy whose specialness has been hidden in his disfunctional family. *** 3/4
BORED IN BRNO (d. Vladimir Moravek) An earthy Czech multi-character sex comedy which got better as it went along. Too bread for my tastes.  ** 1/4
BOURNE SUPREMACY, THE (d. Paul Greengrass) Superior thriller, greatest auto chase scene since Ronin. Some plot holes; but editing pace hides them.  *** 1/4
BOYS (d. Stacy Cochran)V. A TiVo loser. Mysterious Winona Ryder ends up in a boys boarding school dorm tempting rebellious Lucas Haas. No chemistry.  * 1/2
BOYS FROM COUNTY CLARE (d. John Irvin) Predictable, clichéd Irish trifle about dueling traditional Irish bands.  * 3/4
BRIDE AND PREJUDICE (d. Gurinder Chadha) Hollywood meets Bollywood, and I suspect becomes a surprising hit. It works after a fashion.  ***
BRIDGET JONES: EDGE OF REASON (d. Beeban Kidron) Dreadful film. Poor Renée Zellweger wasted all that weighty effort. Horrendous script, no romantic chemistry.  * *
BRIGHT FUTURE (d. Kiyoshi Kurosawa) A straightforward (for this director) slacker story about disaffected youths in Japan.  ** 1/4
BRIGHT LEAVES (d. Ross McElwee) V. Personal docu about McElwee's family connection to tobacco. Slowly paced, but interesting & beautifully shot.  ***
BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS (d. Stephen Fry) Fast paced story of the mad upperclass in England just pre-WWII.  Gorgeous period stuff, well played.  ***
BUKOWSKI: BORN INTO THIS (d. John Dullighan) V. I've never much been into Bukowski; but this compelling docu presents him well.  ** 3/4
BUS 174 (d. José Padilha) V. Brazilian doc which examines thoroughly the background of a publically televised bus hijacking and relives the tragic events.  ***
CALENDAR GIRLS (d. Nigel Cole) Mediocre female version of The Full Monty.  **
CAMPFIRE (d. Joseph Cedar) Involving family drama about a woman with 2 daughters coping with social and relational problems. Nicely acted.  ***
CAPONE (d. Jean Marc Brandolo) Buddy road trip film...two lost souls taking a race horse from Paris to Finland. Good film, but I dozed.  ** 3/4
CAPTIVE (d. Gastón Biraben) Moving & beautifully acted film about an Argentine teenage girl who discovers her parents are not her real parents.  *** 1/4
CARANDIRU (d. Hector Babenco) A Brazilian prison worse than Oz, from doctor's pov. Involving, occasionally wrenching, well acted, nicely put together.  *** 1/4
CARD PLAYER, THE (d. Dario Argento) Ludicrous, but well directed Italian policier about a maniac serial woman killer using the internet to play games with police. * 1/2
CARNAGE (d. Delphine Gleize) V. Visually stunning film about, well, bull.  And how all is connected in the world.  Or something.  ***
CASH TRUCK  (d. Nicolas Boukhrief) Effective, beautifully shot film noir, violent and unpredictable.  ***
CAVEDWELLER (d. Lisa Cholodenko) Sometimes annoying but satisfying drama about woman who ran away with a rock band returning home to Georgia.  ** 3/4
CELESTE IN THE CITY (d.  Larry Shaw) V. Queer Eye for Straight Girl makeover ABC Family film abounding with simplistic stereotypes. Another great Ethan Embry role. ** **
CELLULAR (d. David Ellis) More plot holes than Swiss cheese in this silly variant on Phone Booth; but Chris Evans is going to be a star.  * 3/4
CHARLIE: THE LIFE & ART OF CHARLES CHAPLIN (d. Richard Schickel) V. Fascinating, if facile doc about the great film artist.  *** 1/4
CHEAPER BY THE DOZEN (d. Shawn Levy) I expected to hate it; but instead I was enchanted by the story & actors. Funny and emotionally satisfying.  ***
CHORISTES, LES (d. Christophe Barratier) Franch AFF: moving drama of a teacher who tames the boys in a reform school through music.  *** 1/2
CHRISTMAS WITH THE KRANKS (d. Joe Roth) Horrendous, embarrassing, utterly offensive (to this Jewish observer), silly, unfunny.  Did I love it?   1/2*
CHRONICALS (d. Sebastian Cordero) Equador's Acad. entry is a superb psychological thriller about a child serial killer's manipulation of tv pop news.  *** 1/4
CHRYSTAL (d. Ray McKinnon) Southern gothic story of the effects of an auto accident on a couple after 20 years of the husband in prison.  ** 3/4
CLEARING, THE (d. Pieter Jan Brugge) Hi-gloss kidnap film, Redford victim, Mirren the suffering wife. "Without a Trace" does it better.  **
CLOSER (d. Mike Nichols) Four loathsome characters well acted and beautifully photographed (cf similar Carnal Knowledge!)  Portman & Owen never better.  ** 3/4
COAST TO COAST (d. Paul Mazursky) V. Judy Davis & Richard Dreyfuss are excellent in this moving, adult drama about a couple devastated by their son's death. *** 1/2
CODE 46 (d. Michael Winterbottom) One,   of the greatest examples of cyberpunk ever put on film. Winterbottom's future imagery is amazing.  *** 3/4
COLD LIGHT (d. Hilmar Oddsson) Iceland's AFF is a dour tragedy about a 40ish man finally facing a tragedy of his youth.   ***
COLDEST DAY, THE (d. Xie Dong) A somewhat boring film about mutual infidelity in a modern Chinese marriage.  **
COLLATERAL (d. Michael Mann) L.A. is the star here; and Mann doesn't cheat the geography. Mann's best film in a while.  ***
CONNIE AND CARLA (d. Michael Lembeck) Silly, if intermittantly funny, script. I liked the music; but the film is excessivly clichéd.  * 3/4
CONTROL ROOM (d. Jehane Noujaim) Doc. about Al-Jezeera's coverage of the current Iraq War. Good footage, though repetitive.  ** 3/4
CORPORATION, THE (d. Achbar & Abbott) Overlong but fascinating Canadian documentary about "corporations" as psychotic people.  *** 1/2
COST OF LIVING  (d. Phillippe Le Guay) Vivid, beautifully realized multi-character story connected by the theme money for love.  *** 1/4
COWBOYS AND ANGELS (d. David Gleeson) Beautifully written & acted Irish coming-of-age gay/straight romantic comedy. Michael Legge is wonderful.  *** 1/4
CRIMINAL (d. Gregory Jacobs) A faithful remake of Nine Queens, which means a good, if familiar script. A sympathetic cast, still this one doesn't quite jell.  ** 1/2
CUBA LIBRA (d. Juan Gerard) Nostalgic, but too pat, reminiscence of an 11 yr. old boy coming of age in '58 small town Cuba prior to revolution.  **
DANDELION (d. Mark Milgard) Well acted, somewhat pointless coming of age story of boy who sacrifices much for his dysfunctional family.  ** 3/4
DAY AFTER TOMORROW, THE (d. Roland Emmerich) Cliché story (though involving & well done), fantastically realistic special f/x.  ** 3/4
DAYBREAK (d. Bjorn Runge) Three cleverly interwoven stories of strange relationship angst in Sweden. I couldn't relate to the stories.  ** 3/4
DAYS OF BEING WILD (d. Wong Kar-wei) I was carried away by the plot, actors & especially the cinematography. Now I must reassess In The Mood For Love. *** 1/2
DEAL, THE (d. Harvey Kahn) Wall Street shenanigans in the oil patch in the near future. Slickly made, good cast, but probably straight to video.  ** 1/2
DEAR FRANKIE (d. Shona Aurbach) Tender and moving drama of deaf boy's bonding with a surrogate father.  *** 1/4
DEATH AND TEXAS (d. Kevin DiNovis) Satiric, pointed but understated mockumentary about a famed football player on death row in Texas. *** 1/4
DEBUTANTES, LOS (d. Andres Waissbluth) Strong, multi-POV, sexy drama about 2 naive brothers who become involved with a porn boss and his mistress. ***
DEEP BREATH (d. Parviz Shahbazi) Iran's AFF is a road picture about disaffected college students, amazingly secular for an official submission.  ** 1/2
DEKADA '70 (d. Chito Rono) Melodramatic saga of 15 years of a Philippine family, 5 boys & Ozzie & Harriet parents.  Too long and overamped.  **
DE-LOVELY (d. Irwin Winkler) Massively over-written Cole Porter biopic. Good music and singer cameos; but otherwise bloated and pretentious. ** 1/4
DIG!  (d. Ondi Timoner) Extraordinary video documentary about two current retro 60's underground bands. Fabulous footage well edited.  *** 1/4
DIRTY DANCING: HAVANA NIGHTS (d. Guy Ferland) Pretty much cookie cutter plot, but fun.  Diego Luna: Latin lover for the 2000's.  ** 1/4
DIRTY SHAME, A (d. John Waters) Utterly transgressive sex farce which takes Waters' anarchic style to its untoppable culmination. Still, never boring.  ** 3/4
DISTURBING BEHAVIOR (d. David Nutter) V. Mind control '98 horror flick, a teenage Stepford High, good cast, well directed, but way over the top. **
DODGEBALL (d. Rawson M. Thurber) Silly, amiable entertainment.  I didn't find it funny; but it sure tries hard enough. Stiller still has "it".  ** 1/2
DOGVILLE (d. Lars von Trier) A malevolent Our Town, more tv throwback than film, Kidman and Bettany are really good.  ***
DONAU, DUNA, DUNAJ, DUNAV, DUNAREA (d. Goren Rebic) Beautiful;y done story of a "ship of fools" and romantics heading down the Danube.  ***
DONKEY SKIN  (d. Jacques Demy) A gentle fairy tale. Demy has style to spare; but other than the costumes I wasn't blown away.  ** 1/2
DONNIE DARKO: DIRECTOR'S CUT (d. Richard Kelly) Improved comprehensibility; but I really missed some scenes. Still a fantastic film.  *** 1/2
DOOR IN THE FLOOR, THE (d. Tod Williams) Superbly acted drama of a family's corrosive grief & a boy's (the promising Jon Foster) coming of age.  *** 1/2
DORIAN BLUES (d. Tennyson Bardwell) A genuinely funny coming out comedy, a crowd pleaser with a brilliant script and assured acting & direction.  *** 1/4
DOS TIPOS DUROS (d. Juan Moreno) A Guy Richie type bloody, gang-who-couldn't-shoot-straight comedy, only totally diverting. Jordi Vilches wonderful. ***
DOWN TO THE BONE (d. Debra Granik) Bare bones video verité of a woman drug addict that spares nothing. Some incredible acting here.  ***
DREAMERS, THE (d. Bernardo Bertolucci) I just about lived this movie 5 years earlier...and this excellent film couldn't be more true to life.  *** 3/4
DRIFTERS (d. Wang Xiaoshuai) Slow drama about a Chinese guy who had a kid as an illegal in the U.S. and then is kept from his son when he's deported. **
DUCK SEASON (d. Fernando Eimbcke) Two 14 year old boys left alone in an apartment on a Sunday get into trouble. Wonderfully observent and affecting.  *** 1/4
EAGER BODIES  (d. Xavier Giannoli) Love Story with a particularly French twist.  Great acting. *** 1/2
EARTHSEA (d. Robert Lieberman) V. Surprisingly together, if hokey, sf miniseries, mediocre acting...but the f/x are fine and the project works.  ** 1/2
EAT THIS NEW YORK (d. Novack and Rossi) V. Pre-The Restaurant docu about building a neighborhood bistro in Brooklyn & the viscissitudes of the big NYC chefs. ***
EATING OUT (d. Q. Allan Brocka) Sparkling, well cast lo-budget gay/straight sex farce. Emily Stiles' clever faghag steals the movie from some good looking guys. ** 3/4
EFECTO IGUAZÚ, EL (d. Pere Joan Ventura) Doc. about 1800 striking Spaniards who camped out in a Madrid shanty town for 6 months in 2001. *** 1/4
EL ALAMEIN  (d. Enzo Monteleone) Spare and powerful story of Italian platoon on the losing side at the battle of El Alamein. ***
ELINA (d. Klaus Haro) Like Evil, a story of schooling in Sweden in the '50's, only this time a stubborn little girl vs. a stubborn teacher. Academy bait left me cold. ** 3/4
EMPEROR'S WIFE, THE (d. Julian Vrebos) Stylized modern dress story of court intrigue. Jonathan Rhys-Meyers charismatic as chancellor to Max Beesley's emperor. ** 1/2 1/2
END OF THE CENTURY (d. Fields & Gramaglia) V. The Ramone's were never my cuppa musicwise; but this informative, of uninspired docu about group digs deep.  ***
ENDURING LOVE (d. Roger Michell) Dynamite, kinetic opening leads to a story of divinely inspired romantic obsession. Daniel Craig is wonderful. *** 1/4
ENVY (d. Barry Levinson) It started ok, clever with some good yuks. Black & Stiller are a great comedy team & Walken rules; but the film totally falls apart in 3rd act. **
ERES MI HEROE (d. Antonio Cuadri) Excellent coming of age story of 13 year old boy during the death of Franco era.  Manuel Lozano is great as the kid.  *** 1/2
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND (d. Michel Gondry) Writing, acting, directing, f/x tour de force; also an affecting love story.  ****
ETHAN MAO (d. Quentin Lee) Involving drama in the Araki mode of a Gay Asian boy kicked out of home into life of street hustler.  ** 3/4
EULOGY (d. Michael Clancy) A screwball family comedy with an outstanding cast, entertaining, but a ridiculous script and only intermittently funny.  ** 1/4
EVERGREEN (d. Edid Zentelis) A low-budget Seattle HD video/film about a lower class girl who is ahamed of her family. Good acting. ** 1/4
EVERYDAY PEOPLE  (d. Jim McKay) Pleasant enought HBO tv movie about a Brooklyn deli and the consequences of its closing.  ** 3/4
EVIL (d. Maiael Hafström) A 50's Swedish boarding school's sadistic system and its affect on a rebellious kid. A cross of If and Rebel Without a Cause. *** 1/2
EXTREME OPS (d. Christian Duguay)V. Silly, unlikely action film: extreme sports vs.Serbian terrorists. Good cast (Devon Sawa, Rupert Graves, Rufus Sewell) wasted.  ** 1/4* 1/4
FACING WINDOWS (d. Ferzan Ozpetek) Resonant, multilevel story of a modern day couple who become involved with a Holocaust survivor.  *** 1/4
FAHRENHEIT 9/11 (d. Michael Moore) Slam dunk politically; but doc could be structured better for my taste.  *** 1/4
FATHER & SONS (d. Michael Boujenah) A feel good, amusing French comedy road picture about a father and his squabbling sons. Beautifully acted.  ***
FEAR AND TREMBLING (d. Alain Corneau) A fascinating French office film set in a Japanese office. Sylvie Testud is wonderful.  *** 1/4
FEATHERS IN MY HEAD (d. Thomas de Thier) Compelling, beautifully shot film about a family torn by the consequences of a missing child.  ***
FEELING MINNESOTA (d. Steven Baigelman)V.  '96 Keanu Reeves/Cameron Diaz screwball dumb guy/bad girl comedy. Watchable, but ridiculous plot.  **
FERPECT CRIME (d. Alex de la Iglesia) Another zany film by Iglesia, high gloss comedy about a Lothario salesman's comeuppence. Good fun, but a trifle obvious. ** 3/4
FESTIVAL EXPRESS (d. Bob Smeaton) Wonderful footage of 1970 rock festival train across Canada. Great The Band & Janis performances. *** 1/2
FIDEL (d. David Attwood)V.  TV mini-series biopic of the Cuban revolution...diffuse script, but good performances by Victor Martin and, of course, Gael Bernal as Che.  ** 1/4* 1/4
FINAL CUT, THE (d. Omar Nïam) Unsatisfying, psychological sci-fi melodrama about saving memories.  Poor Robin Williams comes a cropper again.  **
FINDING NEVERLAND (d. Marc Forster) Emotionally powerful, unlikely romantic film based on J.M. Barrie's life. Depp is outstanding in a muted perf.  ***
FIRST DAUGHTER (d. Forest Whitaker) Utterly predictable, slick romantic comedy. I like Marc Blucas; but Katie Holms is awfully plastic.  * 1/2
FIRST NIGHT, THE (d. Luis Restrepo) Columbian AFF about the uprooting effects of a local rebellion on a rural family. Somewhat overamped, but moving. ** 1/2
FIVE OBSTRUCTIONS, THE (d. Lars von Trier, Jorgen Leth) Von Trier as tyrant making Leth redo his seminal short 5 times. Both boring & interesting.  ** 1/2
FLAQUEZA DEL BOLCHEVIQUE, LA (d. Manuel Cuenca) Luis Tosar shines again as conflicted man who gets involved with teenage girl. ** 3/4
FOG OF WAR, THE (d. Errol Moris) More than a talking head doc, the film is a valuable primer on the responsibilities of leadership and frailty of human nature.  *** 1/2
FORGOTTEN, THE (d. Joseph Rubin) Eerie, scary psychological sci-fi melodrama about losing memories, very effectively filmmaking. Julianne Morre simply great.  *** 1/4
FORMULA 17 (d. D.J. & Yin-Jung Cheng) V. Silly gay Taiwanese comedy with lavish photography, but dreadful acting and line readings.  * 3/4
FORSYTE SAGA, THE: TO LET (d. Andy Wilson) V. Incredibly involving 5 hour followup to original. Glorious production, superb acting.  ****
FRANCE BOUTIQUE (d. Tonie Marshall) Fast paced but empty comedy about the people doing a French cable tv shopping channel.  **
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (d. Peter Berg) One of the all-time great sports films, wonderfully directed and edited (great music, too). Thornton & Lucas Black shine.  *** 1/2
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (d. Peter Berg) V.+ Even more impressive on video, certainly the best sports film I've ever seen and the best edited film of the year.  *** 3/4
FUSE (d. Pjer Zalica) A confusing, but effective satire about post-war reconciliation in Bosnia.  ** 3/4
GARDEN STATE (d. Zach Braff) Likable young man comes home to N.J. when his mother dies and finds himself. Inventive details, I just like this film.  ***
GIRL NEXT DOOR, THE (d. Luke Greenfield) I expect to like it; but instead I was offended by the ridiculous plot, though Olyphant and Hirsch were good. * 3/4
GO FURTHER (d. Ron Mann) Entertaining doc. about Woody Harrelson emulating Kesey's Prankster bus in a trip & bike ride for the environment.  ** 3/4
GODSEND (d. Nick Hamm) Almost a good film, sort of a secular Omen, effectively and darkly shot, directed & acted.  But can't surmount its ridiculous premise. **
GOOD BYE, LENIN! (d. Wolfgang Becker) A political satire about the Wall and German unification which is amusing and affecting. *** 1/4
GOOD LAWYER’S WIFE, A (Im Sang-soo) Very sexy drama about the corrosive effects of marital infidelity by a lawyer & his wife.  ***
GRAFFITI ARTIST, THE (d. James Bolton)  Slow, hypnotic digital video about a young, gay graffiti artist who befriends another boy & tags the NW. ***
GRAN GATO, EL (d. Ventura Pons) Doc. about songwriter in vein of Shadow of Motown & Buena Vista Club.  Good music.  ***
GREEN BUTCHERS, THE (d. Anders Jensen)  Dutch black comedy about a couple of losers who make a macabre go of a new butcher shop.  ** 3/4
GRID, THE (d. Mikael Salomon)V. Mini-series about a multi-national war on terrorism involving the CIA, NSC, FBI, MI-5 & MI-6. Gripping, with some fine performances. ***
GUILTY, THE (d. Anthony Waller)V. Totally contrived murder mystery thriller with a good cast, Bill Pullman and Devon Sawa especially.  ** 1/2
GUYS, THE (d. Jim Simpson) An emotional, talky film about FDNY coping with 9/11. Anthony LaPaglia great, Sigorney Weaver also pretty good.  ** 1/2
HANGING OFFENSE (d. Guillame Nicloux) Atmospheric, puzzling thriller about possible murders and the woman Colombo-like detective on the case. ***
HAROLD & KUMAR GO TO WHITE CASTLE (d. Danny Leiner) Silly teen farce with too many stupid bathroom & fag bashing jokes...but fun anyway.  ** 1/4
HARRY AND MAX (d. Chris Munch) Brutally honest, well written story of 2 boy-band brothers with incest overtones. Bryce Johnson is a major find!  *** 1/4
HARRY AND MAX (d. Christopher Munch) + Still one of the most truthful & insightful films about boybands and gay life in general. Better the 2nd time. *** 1/2
HARRY POTTER #3 (d. Alfonso Cuarón) Darker, better directed; but still relatively uninvolving. Maybe I should read the books.  ** 1/2
HAWAII, OSLO (d. Erik Poppe) Norway AFF: slick, complex multi-strand drama of a group of Oslo residents as they play out one character's portentious dream.  ***
HEAD IN THE CLOUDS (d. John Duigan) Old fashioned big WWII romance, a tear jerker that didn't jerk but never bored. Theron fine; but Townsend too callow for role. ** 3/4* 3/4
HEAD-ON (d. Fatih Akin) Off center love story about troubled German Turkish couple.  Good film, but not as good as rep.  *** 1/4
HEART IS DECEITFUL ABOVE ALL THINGS, THE (d. Asia Argento) Mind blowing adaptation from life of a young boy being raised by his disaster of a mother.  *** 1/2
HENRY VIII (d. Pete Travis) V. Abridged PBS version of British series with an interesting Ray Winstone perf. Pop history, but too short to be meaningful.  ** 1/4
HIDALGO (d. Joe Johnston) Entertaining western variant, true (if transparently enhanced) story of a mustang competing with thoroughbred Arabians. ** 3/4
HIDING AND SEEKING (d. Menachem Daum) V. Enormously moving docu about a family of Holocaust survivors and their reconciliation with the past.  *** 3/4
HIGH TENSION  (d. Alexandre Aja) Vividly graphic and gory mass-murder horror thriller, well made, but based on a cheat which compromises it.  ***
HOME AT THE END OF THE WORLD, A (d. Michael Mayer) Extraordinarily well made, literate gay film which nails its '60s-'80s eras. Great acting.  *** 3/4
HOME OF THE BRAVE (d. Paola di Florio) V. Well made docu, informative & emotionally powerful about civil rights martyr Viola Liuzzo & her surviving family.  *** 1/2
HOMEGROWN (d. Stephen Gyllenhaal) V. Authentic '98 pot growing paranoia movie thriller/comedy with good cast (Ryan Phillippe is fine).  ** 3/4
HORAS DEL DIA, LAS (d. Jaime Rosales) Boring (cf. Bruno Dumont) film about the boring quotidien life of a boring shopowner with one little quirk.  **
HOTEL RWANDA (d. Terry George) Epic, shocking and sad.  Don Cheadle towers as a strong man in a crumbling society. Maybe too much on target.  *** 1/4
HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS (d. Zhang Yimou) Visually stunning, emotionally resonant, remarkable f/x; but too much of a good thing is too much.  *** 1/4
HUDSON RIVER BLUES (d. Nell Cox)V. '95 film chick flick about a large family. Some good actors, and a script with possibilities; but mostly mediocre filmmaking.  **
HUNTING OF THE PRESIDENT, THE (d. Perry & Thomason) V. Docu which nails slimy Ken Starr and his corrupt attack dogs as they tried to get Clinton.  *** 1/4
I LOVE CINEMA (d. Osamma Fawzy) Egypt AFF. Annoying comedy about a kid raised in a raucus Coptic Christian family in 1966.  * 3/4
  HUCKABEES (d. David O. Russell) Who green lighted this script? Russell's style and his fine cast can't overcome the silly, pseudo profound script.  **
I, ROBOT (d. Alex Proyas) Surprisingly good adaptation of Asimov, though also filled with cheesy movie clichés and some ragged CGI f/x.  ** 1/2
I'LL SLEEP WHEN I'M DEAD (d. Mike Hodges) Atmospheric Brit revenge thriller. Works despite disappointingly abrupt ending.  ***
IMAGINARY HEROES (d. Dan Harris) Fabulous script, an enthralling & moving disfunctional family black comedy with an awesome ensemble cast.   *** 3/4
IMAGINARY HEROES (d. Dan Harris) V.+ 2nd time around some of the acting & direction came off stilted. Still, great script and a moving very realistic drama. *** 1/2
IN GOOD COMPANY (d. Paul Weitz) Clever office comedy with Dennis Quaid's best performance in years & a charming Topher Grace.  It really worked for me.  *** 1/4
IN GOOD COMPANY (d. Paul Weitz) V.+ Watched this well written & acted comedy again, and appreciated Scarlett Johanson more this time. Good ensemble. *** 1/4
IN THE REALM OF THE UNREAL (d. Jessica Yu) Docu with weird, unsavory subject matter but interesting art and fine animation. I just didn't enjoy the experience.  **
INCIDENT AT LOCH NESS (d. Zak Penn) Amusing, slick mockumentary in the Charlie Kaufmanesque mode. ***
INFERNAL AFFAIRS #1  (d. Andrew Lau) + Thriller that is only slightly clearer watching it a 2nd time.  Still rivitingly fascinating. *** 1/4
INFERNAL AFFAIRS #2  (d. Andrew Lau) A prequel to the initial film which does explain some of the backstory.  Still confusing, but entertaining. ** 3/4
INFERNAL AFFAIRS #3  (d. Andrew Lau) An expansion of the first film, fleshing out some of the events and going a little haywire psychologically.  ** 1/2
INTERMISSION (d. John Crowley) Unsparing Irish film which might be called Hate Actually. Good acting, inventive script.  ***
INTIMATE STRANGERS (d. Patrice Leconte) Talky, if nicely written 2-character unconventional love story. Too one-note and buttoned-up for my taste. ** 3.4
IRISH EYES (d. Daniel McCarthy) Daniel Baldwin vehicle...he's a Boston Irish gangster. But it wasn't holding my interest, though it wasn't all that bad.  W/O
IRON JAWED ANGELS (d. Katja von Garnier) V. Sufferagette biopic about fight for 19th Amendment. Good cast, clichéd filmmaking.  ** 1/4
IT'S ALL ABOUT LOVE (d. Thomas Vinterberg) Pretentious, opaque melodrama about a near future world catastrophy. Nobody comes out a winner here.  *
JACK (d. Lee Rose)V. Beautifully written coming of age story of 15 year old boy coming to terms with his father's gayness in 1982. Anton Yelchin is perfect.  *** 1/4
JAGGED HARMONIES  (d. Dominique de Rivaz) Nicely done historical drama: J.S. Bach meets Frederick II.  ***
JERSEY GIRL (d. Kevin Smith) So kill me, I loved this film.  Sure it's sappy & Affleck is supposed to be washed up.  But it worked for me.  ***
JOURNEY TO JERUSALEM (d. Ivan Nichev) Bulgaria AFF. Strong narrative about a gypsy troupe which adopts 2 Jewish refugee kids in 1940. ** 3/4
JUST MARRIED (d. Shawn Levy) V. Cookiecutter, predictable plot. Kutcher is an amiable comedian/romantic lead.  **
KEYS TO THE HOUSE, THE (d. Gianni Amelio) Quietly moving, beautifully made film of a father getting to know his 15 yr. old disabled son for the first time.  *** 1/2
KILL BILL - VOL. 2 (d. Quentin Tarantino) Unlike Vol. 1, this one has a real story to go with Terantino's obvious filmmaking genius.  ***
KING ARTHUR (d. Antoine Fuqua) Stirring mideval action film which takes the legend and gives reality to it. Great sequence on ice; but the rest is ordinary.  ** 3/4
KINSEY (d. Bill Condon) Another groundbreaking biopic, this time about the polarizing sex researcher. Fine script, acting & direction (I love Peter Sarsgaard here).  *** 1/4/4
KITE, THE (d. Randa Chahal Sabbag) Lebanese AFF, bettersweet comedy about girl coming of age on Israel-Lebanon border.  ** 3/4
KOPS (d. Josef Fares) Genuinely funny farce about a small town police force trying to avoid getting shut down for lack of crime. A big step up from Jalla Jalla.  ***
L.A. PLAYS ITSELF (d. Thom Anderson) V. Fascinating docu of clips from movies about L.A. Anderson's droning, but brilliant narration is key.  *** 1/2
LADDER 49 (d. Jay Russell) Straightforward feelgood drama about firefighters with a fine perf by Joaquim Phoenix and some great fire f/x.  ***
LADY EVE, THE (d. Preston Sturges)V. Romantic comedy old style. The abrupt ending breaks the spell of a good Stanwyck-Fonda pairing.  ** 3/4
LAST KING, THE (d. Joe Wright) Excellent tv mini-series about Charles II and his court.  Rufus Sewel was splendid, as was the production.  ***
LAST SHOT, THE (d. Jeff Nathanson) Occasionally funny comedy about FBI mob sting creating a fake movie. Alec Baldwin especially good.  ** 3/4
LAST TRAIN, THE (d. Alexei A German) B&W bleak, brutal, boring Russian WWII film about a German doctor stuck in the winter retreat.  **
LATTER DAYS (d. C.J. Cox) The perfect festival gay film, sexy, sweet, sentimental and realistic with some star-making performances.  *** 1/4
LAWS OF ATTRACTION (d. Peter Howitt) Hideously bad, predictable screwball romantic comedy. Cast chemistry can't save flat direction. Ugh. * 1/4
LEARNING TO LIE (d. Hendrik Handloegten) Well constructed romantic comedy about a guy who is unable to forget his first love or commit to any others.  *** 1/4
LEGALLY BLONDE 2 (d. Charles Herman-Wurmfeld)V. A script of such colossal stupidity that even Reese Witherspoon can't save the film.  * 1/4
LEGEND OF 1900, THE (d. Giuseppi Tornatore) V. Sumptuous, sentimental 1998 film about a musical progedy who never left the ship he was born in. ** 3/4
LEMONY SNICKET'S A SERIES OF UNFORTUNATE EVENTS (d. Brad Silberling) I was *not* charmed by Carrey's overacting; but the film worked anyway.  ** 3/4
LET THE CHURCH SAY AMEN (d. David Petersen) V. Boring docu about a neighborhood church in D.C. and its troubled, but positive, parishoners.  * 3/4
LIFE & DEATH OF PETER SELLERS, THE (d. Stephen Hopkins) V. PoMo and meta biopic. Rush is amazing; but Sellers was an asshole, if this to be believed.  ***
LIFE AQUATIC, THE (d. Wes Anderson) As his budgets go up his films become more hipster, ironic & detached. Cousteau deserves a better satire.  **
LIFE ON LIBERTY STREET (d. David Cass) V. Well acted if predictable Hallmark tv movie. Ethan Embry is having a great 2004 and nobody's watching.  ** 1/2
LITTLE BLACK BOOK (d. Nick Hurran) Good acting can't save this stupid film, though it briefly works during the climactic live tv show.  * 3/4
LITTLE GIRL BLUE (d. Anna Luif) Unexceptional, though well acted drama about teenage love thwarted by an affair by the kid's parents.  ** 1/2
LITTLE MEN (d. Nariman Turebayev) Interesting & likable character study of two salesmen in Kazakhstan, one aggressive, one passive. ***
LONG DARK NIGHT (d. Anton Vrdoljak) Croatia AFF. Moving and well made WWII epic of the fight between pro-Germans and pro-Communists.  ***
LONG EMBRACE, A (d. Daniel Burman) Warm, franetic Argentine comedy about a Jewish family and their shopping mall denizen friends.  *** 1/4
LOVE ME IF YOU DARE (d. Yann Samuell) A wildly inventive, super-romantic trip of a film about 2 kids growing up playing an obnoxious game full tilt.  ***
LOVER'S PRAYER (d. Reverge Anselmo)V. Boringly made pastiche of Turganev & Chekhov. Nick Stahl was good, Kirsten Dunst beautiful, but film sucked.  * 3/4
MACHINIST, THE (d. Brad Anderson) This director makes creepy films, and this is one of the most. Christian Bale is phenomenal, but viscerally hard to watch.  ***
MAMAY (d. Oles Sanin) Gorgeous to look at; but fatally pretentious and opaque Cossack legend, or something like that.  * 1/4
MAN OF THE YEAR (d. José Henrique Fonseca) Fine Brazilian film about a guy who bleaches his hair and turns into a cold killer anti-hero. *** 1/4
MAN ON FIRE (d. Tony Scott) Another rage/revenge story, stylishly made with another great Denzel performance, though ending a cop out.  ** 3/4
MAN WITHOUT A FACE, THE (d. Mel Gibson) V. Well intended film about a troubled boy & the troubled tutor who helps him. Nick Stahl was wonderful at 13.  ***
MANCHURIAN CANDIDATE, THE (d. Jonathan Demme) OK thriller, except for the incoherent narrative lapses and utter inferiority to the original.   **
MANOS VACIAS, LAS (d. Marc Recha) Silly "lost dead body" farce (in French) with a plot I found impossible to follow. * 1/4
MANSION BY THE SEA (d. Lester James Peries) Sloooooow, well shot but overdrawn Sri Lankan AFF about the economic upheavals in that country.  * 1/2
MARIA FULL OF GRACE (d. Joshua Marston) Straightforward audience pleaser about a Columbian girl who becoms a drug mule. ***
MAX RULES (d. Robert Burke) Silly kids movie, sort of a cheezy Spy Kids without the special effects budget.  The audience ate it up, though.  * 1/4
MEAN CREEK (d. Jacob Estes) Involving indie, sort of Rivers Edge mixed with Deliverance. Scott Mechlowicz is a find!  ***
MEAN GIRLS (d. Mark Waters) Well written, trenchant high school satire reminiscent of Heathers.  Silly fun, but smart. ***
MEMORIES OF MURDER (d. Bong Joon-ho) Diverting, comic Korean policier about a serial killer and the Keystone Kops who hunt him.  ** 1/2
METALLICA: SOME KIND OF MONSTER (d.  Berlinger & Sinofsky) A fascinating documentary that really examines the angsts of aging rock idols.  *** 3/4
MIDDLE OF THE WORLD, THE (d. Vicente Amorim) V. A family bicycles through Brazil in this beautifully shot road film.  ** 3/4
MILLION DOLLAR BABY (d. Clint Eastwood) Beautifully realized drama about a female boxer who is all heart. Stunning cinematography & great acting.  *** 1/2
MINOR MISHAPS (d. Annette Olesen) An eccentric family comedy which put me to sleep.  I couldn't follow it when I awoke so I walked.  W/O
MISTERIO GALÍNDEZ, EL (d. Gerardo Herrero) Competent, if turgid, political thriller based on true disappearance of Basque nationalist in the Dominican Republic.  ** 1/4
MIX (d. Steven Lovy) A sex and music comedy about an American boy who returns to his roots in Hungary and has quite an adventure. Great music!  *** 1/4
MOI CÉSAR  (d. Richard Berry) A kid flick about a 10 year old chubby boy's adventures. Nothing great; but a lark.  ** 1/4
MONSIEUR N (d. Antoine de Caunes) Intimate, well made, wide screen epic about Napoleon's last days on St. Helena.  ***
MOTHER, THE (d. Roger Michell) A simply extraordinary, wonderfully done drama about an older woman's adjustment when her husband dies. *** 3/4
MOTORCYCLE DIARIES (d. Walter Salles) Moving, beautiful, insightful road pic about young Che Guivara with a career perf. by Gael Bernal. Oscar calibre.  *** 3/4
MUNA MADAN (d. Gyanendra Bahadur Deuja) Honestly, one of the worst films I've ever seen, every aspect an embarrassment.  WO
MY STEP BROTHER FRANKENSTEIN (d. Valery Todorovsky) Quirky, entertaining film about a psychologically damaged returning soldier & his family.  ***
MY TINY UNIVERSE (d. Scantlebury & Phillips) American indie, a wryly clever farce, nicely written and acted, especially by newcomer lead Andy Comeau.  ***
NAPOLEON DYNAMITE (d. Jared Hess) Weirdly episodic, but very funny geek chic teen flick. We laugh at the hick characters; but it works.  ** 3/4
NATHALIE  (d. Anne Fontaine) Very French adult drama about a wife's strategy for a finagling husband.  Overlong and left me cold. ** 1/2
NATIONAL TREASURE (d. Jon Turtletaub) Totally implausable pastiche of Indiana Jones & Da Vinci Code. But I loved it anyway, esp. Justin Bartha, quite a find. ** 3/4
NED KELLY (d. Gregor Jorday) True, though suspiciously sympathetic story of Australian version of Jesse James gang. A downer despite attractive leads. ** 1/2
NEMESIS GAME (d. Jesse Warn) V. Silly, poorly acted thriller about a group obsessed with a game of riddles which turn fatal. Jay Baruchel is creepy, nerdy here.  ** 1/2
NO NIGHT IS TOO LONG (d. Tom Shankland) V. Canadian TV movie: a gay psychological thriller from Ruth Rendell novel. Extraordinary acting.  *** 1/4
NOBODY KNOWS (d. Hirokazu Kore-Eda) Japanese AFF about 3 kids deserted by their mother to fend.  Overlong, but powerful critique of neglectful society.  ** 3/4
NOBODY KNOWS HOW TO TALK TO CHILDREN (d. George Roca) The White Stripes playing a NYC club. Poor sound & picture; but the music is great. ** 1/2
NOI THE ALBINO (d. Kagar Kari) Bleak, but affecting, Icelandic AFF. Coming-of-age story about an underachiever small town boy.  ***
NOTEBOOK, THE (d. Nick Cassavetes) + Emotionally cathartic melodrama, even better the 2nd time around. Rachel McAdams a major find. *** 1/2
NOTEBOOK, THE (d. Nick Cassevetes) 3-hankey weeper, beautifully acted & directed old fashioned romantic drama. ***
NOTRE MUSIQUE (d. Jean-Luc Godard) Overly intellectualized snoozer about Bosnia...but nicer to look at and better than most recent Godard oeuvre.  ** 1/4
NOVIEMBRE (d. Achero Mañas) Mockumentary about a revolutionary street theater troup in late '90s Madrid. Gorgeous wide screen & fine job all around.  *** 1/2
OCEANS 12 (d. Steven Soderbergh) A ridiculous plot, off-hand acting and sloppy direction made for an overblown disaster, IMHO  * 1/4
OFF THE MAP (d. Campbell Scott) Wonderfully atmospheric coming of age story of young girl in a close rural New Mexico family.  *** 1/2
OLGA (d. Jayme Monjardim) Interesting, if overblown production based on true events about a Jewish Communist woman revolutionary caught in a Nazi net.  ** 1/2
OLIVE HARVEST, THE (d. Hanna Elias) Overwrought triangle romantic drama about 2 Palestinian brothers & the woman they both covet.  * 3/4
OMAGH (d. Pete Travis) Muted dramatic re-enactment of '98 N. Ireland bombing & aftermath with quietly great performance by Gerard McSorley. ***
ON THE DOWNLOW (d. Tadeo Garcia) Latino gangs do an ugly gay West Side Story. Utterly talentless cast & crew. Why are we subjected to these terrible films? 1/2*
ON THE WATERFRONT (d. Elia Kazan) Missed this when I was 13. For my tastes overly melodramatic with an annoyingly heavy Bernstein score. I do get Brando, tho. ** 1/2 1/2
ONCE UPON A TIME IN HIGH SCHOOL: SPIRIT OF JEET KUNE DO (d. Ha Yu) Sang woo Kwong great as shy high school student beset by bullies.  *** 1/4
OPEN WATER (d. Chris Kentis) Viscerally disturbing, small film about a scuba diving couple lost at sea. ** 3/4
OSAMA (d. Siddiq Barmak) Highly politicized, simplistic indictment of Taliban as anti-women to extreme.  Involving story of girl masquerading as boy.  ** 1/4
OTHER SIDE OF THE STREET, THE (d. Marcos Bernstein) Fine film romance about an elderly lady who gets involved in witnessing a possible crime.  *** 1/4
OUTRAGE AT GLEN RIDGE (d. Guy Ferland)V. Earnest, effective TV message movie with outstanding Heather Matarazzo as retarded girl raped by footall team.  ** 3/4
OVERTURE, THE (d. I Vichailak) Well made, if overwrought, Thai film about a traditional musician's life from child prodigy to regime threatening elder master.  ** 3/4
p.s. (d. Dylan Kidd) Kidd makes movies smack dab in my wheelhouse. I loved the film (and Grace and Linney) more than its problematic script deserved.  ***
PARTICLES OF TRUTH (d. Jennifer Elster) V. Insufferably pretentious film with amateurish direction, though the actors are interesting.  W/O
PASSION OF THE CHRIST, THE (d. Mel Gibson) Effective filmmaking, if long on sadism. But too many repetitive images, and left me cold.  ** 1/2
PATER FAMILIAS (d. Francisco Patierno) Complex multi-threaded drama about a group of doomed Neapolitan ragazzi. ***
PATERNAL INSTINCT (d. Murray Nossei) Wonderful, emotionally satisfying doc. about a gay couple who employ a surrogate mother to have children. *** 1/2
PEAS AT 5:30 (d. Lars Buechel) Richly rewarding, intensely moving romantic road pic about a newly blind stage director & the blind woman that fate brings him.  *** 3/4
PERFECT SCORE, THE (d. Brian Robbins)  Unoriginal, but enjoyable Hughesish teener flick. Chris Evans shines and Leonardo Nam is very funny as an Asian stoner. ** 3/4 3/4
PERFECT STRANGERS (d. Gaylene Preston) Romantic thriller about a woman kidnapped to a desert island. Unlikely, but well made.  ** 1/2
PETITE LILI, LA (d.  Claude Miller) Amiable trifle about a group of film people cavorting in a French chateau whose story is then made as a film within a film.  ** 3/4
PHANTOM OF THE OPERA (d. Joel Schumacher) Maybe I'm just not into Lloyd Weber; a visual treat, great sets, costumes etc...but I was bored.  ** 1/2
PHARMICIST, THE  (d. Jean Veber) Entertaining claptrap, thriller/buddy comedy/policier. Guillaume Depardieu and Vincent Perez have true chemistry. ** 3/4
PIZZA (d. Mark Christopher) DV eccentric comedy: one night's adventure of a lonely fat girl turning 18 & a 30ish pizzaboy (sparkling turn by Ethan Embry). ** 1/4
PLAYTIME (d. Jacques Tati) 70mm presentation of this Chaplanesque (i.e. Modern Times) large canvas, subtle, visually extraordinary slapstick comedy. *** 1/2
POLIGONO SUR (d. Dominique Abel) Doc. about Gypsy flamenco artists living in the projects and making a life of music.  *** 1/2
PORNOGRAFIA  (d. Jan Jakub Kolski) Another WWII story, a drama about a group of Poles on a country farm.  **
POSTER BOY (d. Zak Tucker) Well acted, romantic political film about a Jesse Helms-ish senator's closeted gay son & his encounter with gay activists. ** 3/4
PRIMER (d. Shane Carruth) Fascinating, realistic low-budget time-machine-built-in-a-garage story. I couldn't follow it; but it was entertaining as hell.  *** 1/4
PRINCESS DIARIES 2 (d. Garry Marshall) Inane teenage girl wish fullfillment fantasy even dumber than part 1.  Chris Pine a find, however.  * 1/4
PROBLEM WITH FEAR, A (d. Gary Burns) Urban angst runs riot in this funny satire set in Canada in the near future.  *** 1/4
PRODUCING ADULTS (d. Aliksi Salmenperä) Complex Finnish relationship drama about a woman's desire to have a child with a partner unable to commit.  *** 1/4
PROMISE KEPT, A (d. Daniel Milligan) Turgid, predictable, badly acted and directed policier about a child molester and a mysterious avenger.  1/2 *
PROTEUS (d. John Greyson) Remarkably crude, but somehow effective drama about gay prisoners in 18th century South Africa.  ** 1/4
PUNISHER, THE (d. Jonathan Hensleigh) Another revenge comic novel/film. Much better than expected. Thomas Jane is perfect. ** 3/4
PYTHON, THE (d. Laila Pakalnina) Boring Latvian comedy about a school where several wild animals are loose. The metaphor was beyond me. * 1/4
QUICK & THE DEAD, THE (d. Sam Raimi)V. Spaghetti western takeoff with great cast (Russell Crowe!, Leo DiCaprio); Raimi channeling Richard Rodriguez.  ** 1/4
RABBIT ON THE MOON (d. Jorge Suárez) Superior, gripping political thriller about Mexican government corruption & its affect on innocent people.  ***
RAJA (d. Jacques Doillon) V. Strange, incomprehensible love affair between a Frenchman & his Moroccan maid.  ** 1/4
RAY (d. Taylor Hackford) One of all-time best biopix with a searingly great perf by Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles. Well structured script, top flight credits all around.  *** 1/2
RECKONING, THE (d. Paul McGuigan) An almost can't miss genre and cast...and it misses.  Too murky, though quite faithful to 14th Century.  ** 1/4
RECONSTRUCTION (d. Christoffer Boe) Danish wide screen experimental drama about writer manipulating a man in a love affair.  ** 3/4
RED LIGHTS (d. Cedric Kahn) Cautionary, spellbinding drama about a marriage in trouble and a drunken road trip where it all comes to a head. *** 1/4
REMEMBER ME, MY LOVE (d. Gabriele Muccino) Fast paced troubled family drama with some great performances.  *** 1/4
REVOLUTION OF PIGS (d. Kilmi & Reinumägi) Ambitious, but sprawling film about an '85 Young Communist camp gone to riot in Estonia.  ** 1/4
RIDING GIANTS (d. Stacy Peralta) A documentary about the history and addiction of riding the biggest waves in the world.  *** 1/4
RING OF DARKNESS (d. David DeCoteau) Overamped Satinist "boy band" potboiler. The guys are very good looking; but the film is pretty bad.  * 3/4
RITCHIE BOYS, THE (d. Christian Bauer) Nicely made docu about German Jews who served in army intelligence during WWII. Great interviewees.  *** 1/2
RIVERMAN, THE (d. Bill Eagles) V. Murky, poor man's Manhunter tv movie about the Green River serial killer and Ted Bundy's last days on death row.  **
ROADS TO KOKTEBEL, THE (d. Khlebnikov & Popogrebsky) OK, if slow, kid and father road-trip-to-nowhere Russian flick.  ** 3/4
ROBERTO SUCCO (d. Cedric Kahn) Frighteningly real true story of an insane Italian who charms women and serial kills randomly in France.  *** 1/4
ROMEO IS BLEEDING (d. Peter Medak) V. Nihilistic, stylish, '93 film noir with memorable performances by Gary Oldman and Lena Olin.  ***
RORY O'SHEA WAS HERE (d. Damien O'Donnell) Moving, uplifting disabled youths story with some great acting (James McAvoy!) and a story which sticks to the ribs. ***  1/2* 1/2
RUNNING ON KARMA (d. Johnny To, Wai Ka-fai) A female cop and a karma seeing ex-monk expiate past lives in this grizzly, confusing thriller.  ** 1/2
SACRED PLANET (d. Jon Long) IMAX doc with pretty images - an ecologic world tour; but derivitive and with nothing new to say. **
SADDEST MUSIC IN THE WORLD, THE (d. Guy Madden) Demented visual master's '30s retro fabulosity.  *** 1/4
SAFE PASSAGE (d. Robert Ackerman) V. A moving, if minor, '94 film dysfunctional family film with a wonderful Susan Sarandon perf. as mother of 7 boys.  ** 3/4
SAVED!  (d.  Brian Dannelly) Comedy take off on a X-tian high school which is pretty well done, some good actors but uninspired direction.  ** 1/2
SEA INSIDE, THE (d. Alejandro Amenábar) Spanish AFF, remarkably sentimental, but moving true story about non-state sanctioned euthenasia.  ***
SEAWARDS JOURNEY (d. Guillermo Casanova) Slight, but revelatory pastoral road picture about a group of men from the interior who journey to the sea. ** 1/2
SECONDHAND CHILD (d. Karola Hattop) German "tv afterschool special" about a troubled, fatherless 13 year old boy who bonds with a new neighbor. ** 3/4
SECRET THINGS (d. Jean-Claude Brisseau) + Re-saw in theater by accident (I forgot I'd seen it) a ridiculous, if sexy, film that is way over-the-top.  **
SECRET WINDOW (d. David Koepp) Depp is the only reason to watch this ridiculous Stephen King story which rings psychologically false.  * 3/4
SEDUCING DR. LEWIS (d. Jean-François Pouliot) Small, eccentric, mediocre French Canadian town shaggy dog story à la Waking Ded Devine.  ** 1/4
SENTIMENTS, LES  (d. Noémie Lvovsky) Two couples & the consequences of infidelity. Nice acting, but somehow unpleasant.  ***
SEPARATE PEACE, A (d. Peter Yates) V. Nicely done TV movie from the novel.  Well cast, well directed...but the script needed fleshing out.  ** 3/4
SEQUESTRO EXPRESS (d. Jonathan Jakubowicz) Caracas slum dwellers carjack & kidnap a priveleged couple. Frenetic, visceral, frightening film.  ** 3/4
SEX IS COMEDY (d. Catherine Breillat) Comedy about an annoying, talky female director making a sexy movie. Actually more fun than I expected.  ***
SHADE (d. Damian Nieman) Interesting movie about crosses and double crosses among poker players, card mechanics & gangsters. Very entertaining. ***
SHARK TALE (d. Bergeron, Jenson, Litterman) Predictable, clichéd, hip-hop animated comedy with star cast & lovely 3-D computer graphics but no heart.  * 3/4
SHE HATE ME (d. Spike Lee) Slick, but hateful & misogynist miscalculation. One of the worst films by a good filmmaker ever.  *
SHINER (d. Christian Calson) Horrendously directed but strangely erotic gay Fight Club imitator.  Amateur boxers lovingly & boringly pummel each other.  *
SIDEWAYS (d. Alexander Payne) A Calif. subculture comedy, like Swingers. Note perfect performances, great wine lore, but 2nd act longeurs detracted.  ***
SILMIDO (d. Woo-suk Kang) S. Korea forms a platoon of convicted criminals to fight North, and then it goes wrong.  Well directed with incredible cast. *** 1/4
SILVER CITY (d. John Sayles) Boring, turgid political eco-thriller, great take-off on George W. by Chris Cooper...but otherwise too long and overly complicated.  **
SIMON (d. Eddy Terstall) Dutch AFF, remarkably un-sentimental story about a flamboyant dying man and state sanctioned euthenasia. *** 1/4
SINCE OTAR LEFT (d. Julie Bertucelli) An old Georgian lady's triumph of the spirit when the death of her emmigré son is kept from her.  *** 1/4
SINGING FOREST, THE (d. Jorge Ameer) Gay melodrama about a couple of Nazi victims reunited after reincarnation. Horrendously bad in every aspect.  1/2*
SKETCHES (d. Neil Israel) V. TiVo found this unfairly maligned (Ebert 0 stars?! WTF!) young man dying weeper road picture with a great Jason Bateman perf.  ** 3/4
SKY CAPTAIN AND THE WORLD OF TOMORROW (d. Kerry Conran) Stylized, retro futuristic thriller with great sound & design but otherwise predictable.  ** 3/4
SLIM SUSIE (d. Ulf Malmros) Wild, sometimes clever, often not film about crazy antics of a bunch of young people in a small Swedish town. ** 3/4
SNAPPER, THE (d. Stephen Frears) V. Another wonderful early Frears Irish family comedy.  Humanistic, well acted, effortlessly entertaining.  *** 1/4
SNOW WALKER (d. Charles Martin Smith) Clichéd and unlikely story of a pilot downed in N. Canada along with an ill Inuit woman. Still, effective storytelling.  ***
SOLDANOS DE SALAMINA (d. David Trueba) A writer gradually uncovers an enigmatic incident in the Spanish Civil War. Slow start but big pay-off.  ***
SOMERSAULT (d. Cate Shortland) Well played slice of life about Australian runaway teenage girl.  ***
SOUNDLESS (d. Mennan Yapo) Excellent, moody thriller about a professional assassin & the cop who hunts him. Superbly written and directed. *** 1/2
SOUTH (d. Martin Koolhoven) Well made, viscerally upsetting psychological drama about a sexually wounded woman who slips into insanity.  ***
SPANGLISH (d. James Brooks) I loved this observent dark family comedy. Téa Leoni was bravely over-the-top, Paz Vega is a star & Sandler and Leachman: wonderful. *** 1/4** 1/4
SPARE PARTS (d. Damjan Kozole) Slovenian version of Lichter, a bleak drama about smugglers who profit from driving 3rd world refugees into Europe.  ** 1/2
SPARTAN (d. David Mamet) Twisty and turny thriller about skullduggery in high places. I like Val Kilmer and this film appealed to my cynical nature.  ***
SPEAK (d. Jessica Sharzer) Excellent, subtle, beautifully acted drama about a high school freshman traumatized by rape.  *** 1/4
SPIDER-MAN 2 (d. Sam Raimi) Tobey Maguire shines, the f/x much improved over the original. Satisfying Hollywood tentpole, if ultimately trivial entertainment. ***
STAGE BEAUTY (d. Richard Eyer) Very disappointing...Shakespeare in Love lite. Poorly paced & directed, and Crudup miscast, though rest of the cast was superb.  ** 1/4/4
STANDER (d. Bronwen Hughes) Thomas Jane is remarkable in this involving, off-center crime spree tale from S. Africa. ***
STARSKY & HUTCH (d. Todd Phillips) Better than I expected...no Charlie's Angels, at least. Stiller & Wilson have chemistry; but Owen is not a '70s dude!  ** 1/4
STEALING SINATRA (d. Ron Underwood) V. True gang-who-couldn't-shoot-straight story. I like Thomas Ian Nicholas as Sinatra Jr., but film is silly.  **
STEPFORD WIVES, THE (d. Frank Oz) Silly and unfunny satire, another wasted remake. Watchable for the sets and costumes at least.  * 3/4
STOKED: THE RISE & FALL OF GATOR (d. Helen Stickler) Nicely constructed, fascinating docu about skateboarder/murderer Mark Rogowski.  *** 1/2
STRAIGHT-JACKET (d. Richard Day) Horrendously banal and poorly directed gay romantic comedy about a Rock Hudson type gay '50s movie star.  *
STRAYED (d. André Téchiné) Totally absorbing film about a family of refugees in 1940 France. Téchiné is a master of atmosphere & actors. *** 1/2
STRINGLESS VIOLIN, THE (d. Sekar Ayu Asmara) An overamped melodrama mostly about a brain-damaged child and the woman who cares for him.  **
SUERTE DORMIDA, LA (d. Angeles Sinde) Spanish Erin Brokovich with some fine acting by Adriana Ozores, Jose Soriano, and Felix Gomez (yum!)  *** 1/4
SUGAR (d. John Palmer) A Canadian NC-17 afterschool special about an 18 year old from the burbs who falls for a crack addict street hustler. Brendan Fehr shines. ** 3/4/4
SUITE HABANA (d. Fernando Pérez) Like Hukkle last year, a music & sound efx filled 24 hours in the lives of several ordinary people in present day Havana. ***
SULLIVAN'S TRAVELS (d. Preston Sturges) I just don't find Sturges's rapid fire dialog,  endless montages and liberal messaging all that interesting or amusing.  ** 1/2
SUPER SIZE ME (d. Morgan Spurlock ) Superb, entertaining, shocking doc about the physical effects of the director's immersion in McDonald's fast foods for a month.  *** 3/4** 3/4
SUSPECT ZERO (d. Elias Merhige) Dour, complex SE7EN clone.  Interesting visually; and Eckhart is good, as usual. But script is not up to snuff.  ** 3/4
SYMMETRY  (d.  Konrad Niewolski) Slow, bleak, well made prison drama of an innocent convict's assimilation into prison culture.  *** 1/4
TAE GUK GI:  THE BROTHERHOOD OF WAR (d. Kang Je Gyu) Overly melodramatic Korean war film. Good, bloody battle scenes, if edited too fast.  ** 1/2
TAIS-TOI! (d. Francis Veber) Depardieu 100 lbs. lighter & on his game has true chemistry with Jean Reno in this fast paced buddy/chase comedy.  ***
TAKING LIVES (d. D.J. Caruso) I intended to hate this predictable & implausable thriller; but its atmosphere & good acting (Hawke!) won me over.  ** 3/4
TALE OF TWO SISTERS (d. Kim Ji-woon) Boring, pointless, confusing "ghost" story mostly about hysteria, but with a few shocks.  * 1/4
TARGET FOR RAGE (d. Michael Watkins) V. High tension 1997 film based on N. Calif. school massacre with excellent acting by Schroder, Winkler & Prinze. ** 3/4
TARNATION (d. Jonathan Caouette) Highly charged personal life docu done as experimental film. Revealing of a screwed up family life, but aroused my sympathy.  ***
TE DOY MIS OJOS (d. Iciar Bollain) Excellent womans picture about a wife dealing with an abusive husband. Fabulous acting by Laia Marull and Luis Tosar!  *** 1/2
TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE (d. Parker & Stone) Surprisingly funny and relevant puppet comedy, trenchant satire on Bruckheimer films.  ***
TELL THEM WHO YOU ARE (d. Mark Wexler) Fascinating, very personal docu about prickley liberal cinematographer by his rebellious son.  *** 1/2
TERMINAL, THE (d. Stephen Spielberg) Logistic triumph, great cinematography; but a mediocre script. Hanks is turning into the male Meryl Streep. ** 1/2
TESSERACT, THE (d. Oxide Pang) Complex, stylish thriller about a dope smuggling deal which goes wrong.  ***
TESTOSTERONE (d. David Moreton) Nicely done thriller about obsessive love, made in Argentina with a fine cast. Looks splendid, but some editing decisions detract.  ** 3/4 3/4
THEY (d. Robert Harmon)V. Atmospheric but shlocky horror flick about some college students who had night terrors as kids & now they're being harvested by "they".  ***
THIS GIRL'S LIFE (d. Ash)V. Extraordinarily powerful film about a girl in the internet porn biz. Great perfs by James Wood, Kip Pardue and esp. Juliette Marquis. *** 1/4
THOUSAND CLOUDS OF PEACE, A (d. Julio Hernandez) Pretentious B&W gay reverie about a teen boy's troubles coming out. Mala Noche from the chicken's POV. ** 3/44
TILL HUMAN VOICES WAKE US (d. Michael Petroni)V. My low expectations for this moody romance (man & ghost) were exceded. Bravo Guy Pearce!  ***
TILSAMMANS (d. Lukas Moodysson) V.+ Undeminished a 2nd time. The best film about the leftist collectives of the '70s ever made. ****
TIME OF THE WOLF (d. Michael Haneke) Contextless, disturbing apocolyptic drama of society's breakdown in rural France. Strong stuff.  ***
TO SERVE & PROTECT (d. Jean de Segonzac) V. Competent '98 tv movie about a family of Dallis cops & a serial killer targeting them. James Franco's 1st role. ** 3/4
TORREMOLINOS 73 (d. Pablo Berger) Fun satire about an ordinary couple making home pornos for the Scandinavian market. Candela Peña a standout!  ***
TOUCH OF PINK  (d. Ian Iqbal Rachid) Witty, skillful comedy much like The Wedding Banquet: gay man's Muslim family unaware he's gay.  ***
TOUCH OF SPICE, A (d. Tassos Boulmetis) Large scale but intimate picaresque à la Junot:  a Turkish-Greek family, a boy's coming of age with a heavy food metaphor.  ** 3/4**
TOUCHING THE VOID (d. Kevin Macdonald) V. Recreated docu (with interviews with original mountain climbers.) Suspenseful, nicely shot, but more fiction than doc? *** 1/4 1/4
TRACKER, THE (d. Rolf de Heer) Spare, well shot drama of white power in Australia in 1922.  The Aboriginal hero was the best thing in the film.  ***
TRAFFIC (d. Eric Bross, Stephen Hopkins) V. 3 part mini-series: new story, many threads, volently cross-cut, high tension, good acting.  ***
TRIPLE AGENT (d. Eric Rohmer) Cerebrial, talky, involving pre-WWII thriller about a White Russian general and his Greek wife.  ***
TROLLYWOOD (d. Madeleine Farley) Poorly edited and photographed doc. about the homeless in my neighborhood of L.A.  * 3/4
TROY (d. Wolfgang Peterson) Much better than expected...a psychologically apt script and some great battles and superb acting (esp. Peter O'Toole).  *** 1/2
TULSE LUPER SUITCASES 1, THE (Peter Greenaway) Ambitious multi-media project, visual jumble, I just couldn't take it for long.  W/O
TUPAC: RESURRECTION (d. Lauren Lazin) V. Superbly made docu about life & death of 2Pac Shakur, ultimately too hagiographic.  *** 1/4
TURN LEFT, TURN RIGHT (d. Johnny To, Wai Ka-fai) Exhillerating romantic comedy in the Lelouchian And Now My Love mode.  *** 1/4
TWILIGHT SAMURAI, THE (d. Yoji Yamada)  A masterpiece set in same era as Last Samurai.  Intimate, truthful and emotionally fulfilling.  ****
TWIN SISTERS (d. Ben Sombogaart) 20th cent, epic of 2 twins separated at 6 yr., one German, one Dutch. Beautifully made in every department.  ****
TWIST (d. Jacob Tierney) A very bleak, but truthful digital variant on Oliver Twist characters as Toronto street hustlers.  Great acting, but unremitting.  ** 3/4
TWIST OF FATE (d. Kirby Dick) V. Downer docu about angry men who were molested as teenagers by a Catholic priest in Toledo OH. Incendiary, but sort of boring. ** 1/2/2
TWISTED (d. Philip Kaufman) Utterly predictable, unlikely policier thriller.  Ashley Judd fares well; but the film is pretty bad.  * 3/4
UNDERTOE (d. David Gordon Green) Green has such a unique style. It works here, with nice acting turns by Jamie Bell and Josh Lukas. Quite affecting.  *** 1/2
UNITED STATES OF LELAND, THE (d. Matthew Ryan Hoge) Fine cast, but overwritten and predictable. Manic was similar, but better. Still Ryan Gosling rules!  ** 3/4
UNTOLD SCANDAL  (d. E J-yong) Ravishingly visual Korean adaptation of a 17th century Dangerous Liasons.  It translates well.  *** 1/4
UP AND DOWN (d. Jan Hrebejk) Involving multi-character comedy about the intertwined life in Prague today among refugees, emigrées, and all stratas of society. *** 1/4
VALENTIN (d. Alejandro Agresti) An extraordinarily sympathetic look at a crisis in the life of an 8 year old boy.  *** 1/2
VANITY FAIR (d. Mira Nair) Much better than average Masterpiece Theater for large screen. Reese Witherspoon luminous; and the time flew by.  *** 1/4
VERA DRAKE (d. Mike Leigh) Superb, utterly right period drama about an ordinary abortionist.  Imelda Staunton perfect.  Mike Leigh's most assured film.  ****
VERY LONG ENGAGEMENT, A (d. Jean-Pierre Jeunet) Remarkable film, over-the-top (of course), unabashedly in Jeunet's postmodern style. Superb filmmaking. *** 1/2
VIDA MANCHA, LA (d. Enrique Urbizu) Nicely acted drama about two half-brothers involved with the same woman. Good chick flick.  *** 1/4
VIE PROMESSE, LA (d. Olivier Dahan) Isabelle Hupert once again is great, though the film, a lost souls road picture isn't.  ** 1/4
VILLAGE, THE (d. M. Night Shyamalan) Atmospheric thriller which got to me. Ron Howard's daughter is wonderfully charismatic.  ***
VODKA LEMON (d. Hiner Saleem) A nicely shot but pointless dark comedy about a poor Armenian village and its benighted inhabitents.  ** 1/4
WALK ON WATER (d. Eytan Fox) A truly exceptional film from Israel about a Mossad assassin.  Great script and fine job all around.  *** 3/4
WAR ZONE, THE (d. Tim Roth) V. Miserabilist film about a troubled family in Devon. Superb acting, though tough to take.  ***
WARRIORS OF HEAVEN AND EARTH (d. He Ping) Gorgeous and gripping, if somewhat confusing, wide screen Chinese epic historical battle film.  ***
WARRIORS OF HEAVEN AND EARTH (d. He Ping)+  I had forgotten I'd seen it before...not worth another view, though visually it's a treat.  ** 3/4
WATERMARKS (d. Yaron Zilberman) V. Interesting docu about a Vienna Jewish swimming club in the '30s & the far-flung survivors' reunion in today's Vienna.  ***
WE DON'T LIVE HERE ANYMORE (d. John Curran) Well acted but relentlessly downbeat story of 2 couples and their mutual adulteries.  ***
WELCOME TO MOOSEWOOD (d. Dan Petrie) Silly, utterly predictable Hollywood fare. Hackman good, as always; but Ray Romano should stict to TV.  * 3/4
WELTS, THE (d. Magdalena Piekorz) Polish AFF. Dour, involving story of a boy whose path to manhood was fixed by his physically abusing, but well-meaning, father. *** 1/4 1/4
WHATEVER IT TAKES (d. David Ranyr)V. Horny teenage comedy variant on Cyrano. Trivial stuff; but Shane West and James Franco raise its level a tad.  * 3/4
WHISKY (d. Rebella & Stoll) Observent, touching slice-of-life film about two competitive brothers & their pretenses. ***
WHO KILLED BAMBI (d. Gilles Marchand) Creepy, atmospheric French thriller about a craftily crazy surgeon and an intern nurse.  ***
WICKER PARK (d. Paul McGuigan) And Now My Love for Gen-Y. Loopy structure and overall good acting and direction. Absurd; but it kept getting better as it went along. ***g.  ***
WILD SIDE (d. Sébastien Lifshitz) Affecting drama about an unconventional three-way relationship between 2 guys and a pre-op transexual  *** 
WIMBLEDON (d. Richard Loncraine) Genuine chemistry between Bettany and Dunst makes for a good romance; but the tennis isn't very realistic.  ***
WINNING SEASON, THE (d. John Kent Harrison) V. Sappy nostalgia baseball flick about a 1985 boy thrown back to 1909 to relate to Honus Wagner. * 3/4
WONDROUS OBLIVION (d.  Paul Morrison) Heartwarming English film about a post-War Jewish immigrant family whose son loves cricket.  ***
WOODSMAN, THE (d. Nicole Kassell) Excellent, if dour drama about a man fighting his pederast proclivity with a great perf by Kevin Bacon. *** 1/4
YOU I LOVE (d. Olga Stopovskaja & Dimitru Troitskji) Screwball modern day Russian comedy about a bisexual commercial maker who falls for a guy.  * 3/4
YOUNG ADAM (d. David Mackenzie) Dark Scottish film, slow & sexy, visually dull, but unexpectedly poignant. Ewen has never been more attractive. ***
YOUR NEXT LIFE (d. Manuel Aragón) A satisfying romance/drama about two feuding farming families in the Pyrannies.  ** 3/4
ZATOICHI (d. Takeshi Kitano) Sorry, I was sort of bored...but the Japanese "Riverdance" rhythmic stuff was fun, if weird.  ** 1/2
ZELARY (d. Ondrej Trojan) Beautifully realized WWII story of a nurse who escapes from the Gestapo to a small Czech village & finds herself. *** 1/2
ZHOU YU'S TRAIN (d. Sun Zhou) Elliptical romantic drama about a woman torn by conflicting love for two men. Confusing and overwrought.  * 3/4

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