2005 Alphabetical Master List of All Films Watched

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

Only 442 films this year.  Must have been a bad year.

06/05 THE SIXTH OF MAY (d. Theo Van Gogh) ** 3/4
10th DISTRICT COURT (d. Raymond Depardon) Docu of the quotidien goings on in a local Parisian court. Illuminating...better than Judge Judy.  ***
2046  (d. Wong Kar-Wei) Ravishingly beautiful romantic film, Tony Leung beds several women and androids, and as usual I lost the narrative thread.  ***
36 QUAI DES ORFÈVRES (d. Olivier Marchal) Auteuil & Depardieu in a French noir that could have been a Michael Mann film, dark & violent. ***
39 POUNDS OF LOVE (d. Dani Menkin)V.  ***
3-IRON (d. Kim Ki-Duk) Fascinating, but weird Korean thriller about a silent young guy who breaks into houses. Very filmic and mysterious. *** 1/4
4  (d. Ilya Khzhanovsky) Allegorical Russian film, lots of symbolism of items of 4; but stupefyingly repetative, overlong and obscure.  *
40 YEAR OLD VIRGIN, THE (d. Judd Apatow)  * 1/4
50 FIRST DATES (d. Peter Segal) V. Adam Sandler & Drew Barrymore bring out the best of each other. This film mines gold out of a weird concept. ***
5x2 (d. François Ozon) Unsparing, fascinating film about a dissolving marriage told in 5 reverse vignettes.  Ozon's best in years.  *** 3/4
7 VIRGINS (d. Alberto Rodríguez) *** 1/4
9 SONGS (d. Michael Winterbottom) Video verité about a couple, she American, he English, into Sex, Antarctica, and Rock & Roll.  *** 1/4
A DIOS MOMO (d. Leonardo Ricagni) W/O
ABSOLUT  (d. Romed Wyder) Fascinating, complex thriller about 2 computer hacker political terrorists & memory restoration. *** 1/4
ADAM & STEVE (d. Craig Chester) Silly at times, but also funny & touching romantic comedy about 2 quirky, mature gay men.  ** 3/4
ADAM'S APPLES (d. Anders Thomas Jensen) ***
ADDICTION (d. Minna Virtanen) ** 3/4
AE FOND KISS (d. Ken Loach) Ill fated love of a young 2nd generation Paki for a white woman in today's Scotland. Subtle & affecting.  ***
AFTER INNOCENCE (d. Jessica Sanders; docu)  V. *** 1/4
AFTER MIDNIGHT (d. Davide Ferrario) Whimsical paean to film à la Amélie without the irony, a charmingly cockeyed love triangle.  *** 1/4
AHEAD OF TIME (d. Ágúst Güdmundsson; Iceland)  * 3/4
ALBINO ALLEGATOR (d. Kevin Spacey)V. Hostage film in a bar with some good perfs, but pretty average script and direction. ** 1/2
ALMOST BROTHERS (d. Lúcia Murat) Confusingly structured Brazilian story mixing City of God with Carandiru and inferior to both. **
ALONE (d. Thomas Durschschlag) 2nd film in a row about a wounded girl: this one a German who cuts herself from psychotic low self esteem.  ** 3/4
ALZHEIMER CASE, THE (d. Erik Van Looy) Polished thriller about a French mafia assassin whose Alzheimers is affecting his contract hit in Antwerp.  ***
AMERICAN HAUNTING, AN (d. Courtney Solomon)  * 3/4
AMERICAN RULING CLASS, THE (d. John Kirby)V. *** 1/2
AMERICANO (d. Kevin Nolan) Contrived travelog with little plot (young Americans in Spain finding themselves) and some poor acting.  * 1/2
ANOTHER LIFE (d. Michele Placido) Stephano Accorsi's makes it worth sitting through this strange, eerie romantic film. ** 3/4
ANTARES (d. Götz Spielmann) Circularly constructed, sexually explicit slice of life drama about denizens of a Vienna housing development.  ***
ANTIBODIES (d. Christian Alvart) *** 1/2
ARISTOCRATS, THE (d.  Paul Provenza) 100 great standup comedians do history's worst dirty in-joke.  90 minutes of constant wracking laughter.  *** 3/4
ARSÈNE LUPIN (d. Jean-Paul Salomé) Big film, bigger mess. Anachronistic narrative, a lead actor without enough gravitas, but gorgeous production design. * 1/2
AS IT IS IN HEAVEN (d. Kay Pollack)+ Watched again; some of the plot manipulations more obvious a 2nd time; but still fine, affecting film. *** 1/4
ASYLUM (d. David Mackenzie) ** 3/4
AVELLANEDA'S MOON (d. Juan José Campanella) Long, high-gloss social comedy about an Argentine social club & its member's struggles to survive. ** 1/2
BAD SPELLING (d. Jean-Jacques Zilbermann) Fun, homoerotic black comedy, a French boys school where students rebel led by the weird son of the headmasters. ***
BALL IN THE HOUSE (d. Tanya Wexler) V.  ***
BANLIEU 13 (d. Pierre Morel) Fast paced, superior martial arts action film set in a lawless 2010 Paris. Vivid, realistic characters.  *** 1/4
BARS IN THE MEMORY (d. Manuel Palacios) Dry Spanish docu about the concentration camps and privations during the Franco years.  ** 1/2
BASED ON A TRUE STORY (d. Walter Stokman) Partially successful doc about the "real" story behind Dog Day Afternoon. ** 1/2
BATMAN BEGINNINGS (d. Christopher Nolan) Noisy comic entertainment with a narratively cohesive plot & great design.  ***
BE COOL (d. F. Gary Gray) Hipper than thou spoof of gangsta music biz and Hollywood. Enjoyed the settings (around the corner from my apartment).   ** 1/4
BE WITH ME (d. Eric Khoo; Singapore)  ** 3/4
BEAT THAT MY HEART SKIPPED, THE  (d. Jacques Audiard) Frenetic drama based on Fingers with a magnetic perf by Romain Duris. ***
BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, THE  (d. Hans Petter Moland) Involving, well acted adventure of a half-American Vietnamese boy's emigration to the US.  ***
BERTIE AND ELIZABETH (d. Giles Foster) Masterpiece Theater schlock.  Fine acting, good script. ** 3/4
BEST OF YOUTH, THE 1 & 2 (d. Marco Tullio Giordana) Liked part 1 better than originally, and part 2 dragged a little.  Still, overall fabulous film.  ****
BEYOND OUR KEN (d. Pang Ho-Cheung) Frothy, insubstantial girl buddy and revenge (against common boyfriend) comedy from Hong Kong.  * 3/4
BLOOD AND BONES (d. Yoichi Sai) ** 1/2
BLOW DRY (d. Paddy Breathnach) V. Funny slice of life (e.g. Full Monty) British comedy about hair contest. Note Bill Nighy & Josh Hartnett as cockney.  ** 3/4
BLUEBIRD (d. Mijke de Jong) Emotionally shattering, excellent drama about a 12 year old girl who is the brunt of bullies in her jr. high class.  *** 1/2
BOATS OUT OF WATERMELON RINDS (d. Ahmet Uluçay) A Turkish Cinema Paradiso, terrible digital photography, but the 2 boys were charming.  ** 1/4
BOMB THE SYSTEM (d. Adam Lough) Mark Webber is outstanding in this arty, nicely made indy about radical grafitti artists in NYC.  ***
BOMBÓN, EL PERO (d. Carlos Sorin) Like director's Historias Minimas, a fun film without irony about a poor man who is given a show dog. ***
BOOKIES (d. Mark Illsley)V. ** 3/4
BORN INTO BROTHELS (d. Kaufmann & Briski) Kids born in Calcutta brothels get a chance for a life through photography. Interesting & well edited. ***
BOYS OF BARAKA, THE (d. Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady; docu) V.  *** 3/4
BREAKFAST ON PLUTO (d. Neil Jordan)  ***
BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN (d. Ang Lee)  *** 1/2
BROKEN FLOWERS (d. Jim Jarmusch) *** 1/2
BROTHERS (d. Susanne Bier) Shattering drama about a good man who commits an act beyond redemption.  Incredible acting and fine direction.  *** 3/4
BROTHERS GRIMM, THE (d. Terry Gilliam) * 3/4
BUFFALO BOY (d. Minh Nguyen-Vo; Vietnam)  ***
BUT FOREVER ON MY MIND (d. Gabriele Muccino)V. Finally this 1999 coming of age masterpiece about youthful exhuberance is out on DVD!  *** 3/4
BYRON (d. Julian Farino) V.  ** 3/4
C.R.A.Z.Y. (d. Jean-Marc Vallée; Canada)  *** 3/4
CAESAR (d. Uli Edel)V. ** 3/4
CAMP HOLLYWOOD (d. Steve Markle)V. Superb personal DV docu about a nearby hotel & its denizens, many trying to make it in Hollywood.  *** 1/2
CAPE OF GOOD HOPE  (d. Mark Bamford) Harmless S.African ecuminical romantic comedy, sort of predictable.  ** 1/2
CAPOTE (d. Bennett Miller) *** 1/4
CASANOVA (d. Lasse Hallström) ***
CHANGING DESTINY (d. Daniele Gaglianone) Jagged, cutty, edgy story of 3 teenage northern Italian boys who drop out and get into various kinds of trouble. ***
CHILD, THE (L'enfant) (d. Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne) *** 1/4
CHILDHOOD OF MAXIM GORKY  (d. Mark Donskoy) Classic Russian film from the writer's memoire of his peasant Volga family.  ***
CHILDSTAR  (d. Don McKellar) Funny, trenchant and occasionally silly satire about a 12 yr. old movie star & his kooky mom.  ***
CHOK-DEE (d. Xavier Durrenger) The French Rocky, a French street criminal becomes a world champ Thai boxer...written & acted by the guy himself. ** 1/2
CHRONICALS OF NARNIA (d. Andrew Adamson)  **
CHUMSCRUBBER, THE (d. Arie Posin) Wonderful suburban satire cult-type film in Donnie Darko mode. Jamie Bell: #1 actor of his generation.  *** 1/2
CINDERELLA MAN (d. Ron Howard) Moving story of James Braddock with a searingly honest portrayal by Russell Crowe.  *** 1/2
CLEAN (d. Olivier Assayas) Maggie Chung is superb as a junkie trying to go clean to reclaim her son from her inlaws in this wonderful drama.  *** 1/2
COLLECTOR, THE (Komornik) (d. Feliks Falk; Poland)  ** 1/4
COME INTO THE LIGHT (Alla Luce Del Sol) (d. Roberto Faenza) ** 1/2
CONSTANT GARDNER, THE (d. Fernando Meirelles)  ***
COOL MONEY (d. Gary Burns ) V. Modestly involving TV caper film about some losers knocking off N.Y. hotels.  ** 1/2
COTE D'AZURE (d. Ducastel & Martineau) Entertaining French farce about an family on vacation whose sexuality is mutable & evolving.  ** 3/4
COUPERET, LE (d. Costa-Gavras) More black comedy than the usual Costa-Gavras, entertaining film which takes Time Out to a higher level.  ***
COWBOYS AND ANGELS (d. David Gleeson)V.+ ***
CRANE WORLD (d. Pablo Trapero) Slow, Argentine neo-realist B&W film about a 49 yr. old construction worker ex-rock guitarist.  ** 1/2
CRASH (d. Paul Haggis) Superb Short Cuts type multi-character, roundabout drama...modern day L.A. as racial dystopia. I need to leave L.A.!  *** 1/2
CRUEL BUT NECESSARY (d. Saul Rubinek) Innovative video about a woman secretly recording her life for 2 years on a hidden camera. ** 3/4
CRYING LADIES (d. Mark Meily) Three Philippine women hired as cryers for a Chinese funeral. I was uninvolved; but the film wasn't that bad.  W/O
CSI:  GRAVE DANGER 1 & 2 (d. Quentin Tarantino)V. ** 3/4
DALECARLIANS, THE  (d. Maria Blom) Involving family drama about 3 sisters and the small Swedish town that the youngest returns to.  ***
DARK HORSE (Voksne Mennesker) (d. Dagur Kári) **
DARWIN'S NIGHTMARE (d. Hubert Sauper; docu) V. ***
DAYS AND HOURS (d. Ademir Kenovic) Talky, slow paced slice of life story about family coping with consequences of Bosnian war 7 years earlier. * 3/4
DEAD MAN'S SHOES (d. Shane Meadows) Paddy Considine is the nemesis of group of guys who tortured his brother. Violent and bloody.  ** 1/2
DEAR WENDY (d. Thomas Vinterberg) ***
DEATH OF MR. LAZARESCU, THE (Moartea domului Lazarescu)  (d. Cristi Puiu; Romania) *** 1/2
DEEPWATER (d. David Marfield) A superior psychological thriller disguised as a gothic noir.  Great performance by Lucas Black.  *** 1/4
DEVIL AND DANIEL JOHNSTON, THE (d. Jeff Feuerzeig)V.  ***
DIRTY WAR (d. Daniel Percival) V. Dirty bomb terrorist attack on central London. BBC film, a good suspenser and scary as hell, though nothing special filmwise. ** 3/4.
DOCTOR ZHIVAGO (d. Giacomo Campiotti) V. Why the David Lean film needed a remake is questionable; but this one is well made, intimate & emotional.  ** 3/4
DOING TIME ON MAPLE DR. (d. Ken Olen)V.  *** 1/4
DON'S PLUM (d. R.D. Robb) V. B&W indie near masterpiece, a 20-something My Dinner With André with a hard edge. Why is it banned?  *** 1/2
DON'T MOVE (d. Sergio Castellitto) Obsessive adultry-romance with a superb perf by Penelope Cruz. Involving and interestingly structured. ***
DOT THE I (d. Matthew Parkhill) Clever script with double & triple crosses galore a la Nine Queens. Bernal is a star in English, too.  *** 1/4
DOWNFALL (d. Oliver Herschbiegel) Well made drama of last days of 3rd Reich in Hitler's bunker. Bruno Ganz is amazing. Authentic, gripping.  *** 1/4
DUST TO GLORY (d. Dana Brown)V.  ** 1/2
DYING GAUL, THE (d. Craig Lucas) Until a very unsatisfying ending this was an extraordinary noir with fabulous acting (Sarsgaard! Scott! Clarkson!) *** 1/4
EARTH AND ASHES (d. Atiq Rahimi) Wide screen Afghanistan AFF plays like a despairing Irani film: old man & young boy war victims wandering desert.  ***
EARTHLING  (d. Tristan & Wolfgang Bayer) Stunning, fascinating docu about family of nature photogs on a 7 year adventure journey.  *** 3/4
EDEN'S CURVE (d. Anne Misawa)V. 1/2*
EDUKATORS, THE (d. Hans Weingartner) Gripping drama of 3 foolish young German revolutionaries & their caper gone wrong. *** 1/2
EL AURA (d. Fabián Bielinsky; Argentina) *** 1/4
EL REY (d. Antonio Dorado) Involving history of a '60s Columbian drug lord, Scarface revisited.  ** 3/4
ELIZABETHTOWN (d. Cameron Crowe)  ** 3/4
ELLIE PARKER (d. Scott Coffey) Home movie quality video with a stupendous performance by Naomi Watts which lifts the film to watchability.  ***
EMPIRE FALLS (d. Fred Schepisi)V. HBO family saga of small town New England doings. Fine cast, sprawling, unfocused script. ** 3/4
EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED (d. Liev Schreiber)  ** 1/2
EXORCISM OF EMILY ROSE, THE (d. Scott Derrickson)  ** 3/4
FAMILY STONE, THE (d. Thomas Bezucha)  ** 1/2
FANTASTIC FOUR (d. Tim Story) Fun, if silly super-character comic story. Chris Evans is a star.  ** 3/4
FAR SIDE OF THE MOON (d. Robert Lepage) Quirky comedy based on 1-man play. Lepage plays 2 leading roles & he must be an acquired taste that I don't share.  **
FATELESS (Sorstalanság) (d. Lajos Koltai; Hugary) *** 3/4
FATHERS AND SONS (d. various)V. ** 3/4
FAVELA RISING (d. Mattt Mochary, Jeff Zimbalest; docu) V. ***
FEMME DE GILLES, LA (d. Frédéric Fonteyne) Formally terrific, if slow, drama about a laborer obsessed by his plain wife's beautiful sister. Emmanuel Devos rules. ***
FEVER PITCH (d. Farrelli Bros.) Gets everything right in a delightful romantic comedy. Fallon is a star in the Hanks mode.  *** 1/4
FIGHTER PILOT:  OPERATION RED FLAG (d.  Stephen Low)V.  ** 3/4
FIRST TIME I WAS TWENTY, THE (d. Lorraine Lévy) Enormously entertaining coming of age in mid '60s of a portly girl jazz musician.  *** 1/2
FLIGHTPLAN (d. Robert Schwentke) ** 3/4
FORTY SHADE OF BLUE (d. Ira Sachs)  ***
FOUR BROTHERS (d. John Singleton)  * 1/2
FRANK MILLER'S SIN CITY (d. Robert Rodriguez) Super stylish pop-art graphic novel the way it should be filmed. But I was bored.  ** 1/2
FROZEN  (d. Juliet McKoen) Mysterious, sort of pointless English film with Shirley Henderson as a woman mourning her lost, presumed dead sister.  ** 1/2
GAMES OF LOVE & CHANCE  (d. Abdellatalfi Kechiche) Teenagers in the projects in Paris, variation of Romeo & Juliet...talkiy but fun.  ** 3/4
GARÇON STUPIDE (d. Lionel Baier) ** 1/2
GAY SHORTS (d. various) 6 quite ordinary to poor gay short films.  Only "Postmortem" and "Just Pray" were worth watching.   **
GEMINIS (d. Albertina Carri) ** 3/4
GIE (d. Rira Riza) ** 3/4
GIGOLOS, THE (d. Richard Bracewell) ** 1/2
GIRL IN THE CAFÉ, THE (d. David Yates)V. Bill Nighy is great as a financial dweeb. But simplistic politics sink this Richard Curtis written romance. ** 1/4
GITS, THE (d. Kerri O'Kane) Compelling counterpoint to Malfunkshun, a docu about a Seattle punker lead singer who was raped & murdered. ***
GOING THRU SPLAT: STEWART STERN (d. Jon Ward) Conventional docu about embittered ex-film screenwriter, only occasionally interesting.  ** 1/4
GOOD BOYS (d. Yair Hochner)  * 3/4
GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK (d. George Clooney)  *** 1/2
GOOSE FEATHER (d. Ljubisa Samardzic; Serbia) Psychologically iffy, soapy melodrama about a peasant who loves one woman but marries another rich one. ** 1/4
GRAND VOYAGE, LE (d. Ismael Ferroukhi) Involving, picturesque road pic of father & son driving Paris to Mecca. ***
GRANDE ÉCOLE (d. Robert Salis)V. Empassioned film about young people's sexual obsessions. Arty bi-sexual frontal nudity a plus. ** 3/4
GREAT RAID, THE (d. John Dahl) ***
GREAT WATER (d. Ivo Trajkov) Nicely directed and acted drama about a dying Macedonian politician recalling his youth. ***
GREEN HAT (d. Liu Fendou) Quirky dramedy about 3 inep bankrobbers & a cuckolded cop with marital impotence. Amusing, but confusing, script.  * 3/4
GRIZZLY MAN (d. Warner Herzog) *** 1/2
GRÖNHOLM METHOD, THE (El Metodo Grönholm) (d. Marcelo Piñero) ***
GUESS WHO (d. Kevin Sullivan) Unfunny, borderline offensive...but Ashton Kucher actually desplays some talent for timing & star quality.  ** 1/2
HANA & ALICE (d. Shunji Iwai) Intermittantly clever & interesting, quirky film about two teenage girls & their crush on a reserved boy.  ** 1/2
HAPPILY EVER AFTER (d. Yvan Attal) Ironically titled, interesting enough film about 2 married guy & single friend and their failing relationships. ** 3/4
HAPPY ENDINGS (d. Don Roos) Somewhat sprawling, well observed black comedy of 21st century families with a brilliant perf by Maggie Gyllenhaal *** 1/2
HARD PILL (d. John Baumgartner) ***
HARI OM (d. Bharatbala Ganapathy) Another travelog, this one better, though also contrived:  French girl roving thru India with a rickshaw driver.  ** 1/2
HATE CRIME (d. Tommy Stovall) *
HE KNEW HE WAS RIGHT (d. Tom Vaughan) Psychologically modern Trollope novel of 4 Victorian relationships given average Masterpiece Theater treatment. ** 1/2
HEAVEN'S BURNING (d. Craig Lahiff)V. Russell Crowe & Japanese chick in a corkingly over-the-top (a la Robert Rodriguez) violent road pic from Oz. ***
HEIGHTS (d. Chris Terrio) + Second time to watch this one. Superbly well done. Another great Glenn Close role.   My kinda film!  *** 1/2
HEIGHTS (d. Chris Terrio) Multi-character 24 hours in the lives of N.Y. arty types. Superbly well done.  My kinda film!  *** 1/2
HER MINOR THING (d. Charles Matthau) Silly romantic comedy with a trite, predictable story but nice production values. * 1/2
HIDDEN (Caché)  (d. Michael Haneke) *** 1/2
HIGHWAY (d. James Cox) V. Messy, faintly homoerotic '02 road movie with stoned out Jake Gyllenhaal & Jared Leto looking fine.  * 3/4
HISTORY OF VIOLENCE, A (d. David Cronenberg) *** 1/2
HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY (d. Garth Jennings) Banal, arch as only the Brits can. I was incredibly bored, even with the great f/x. * 1/2
HOLY GIRL, THE (d. Lucrecia Martel) Turgid and pointless drama about the effect on a teen girl of an almost molestation by a married older man.  * 1/2
HOLY LOLA (d. Bertrand Tavernier) Just about the same movie as John Sayles' Casa de los babys except in Cambodia. Too protracted and long.  ** 1/2
HOSTAGE (d. Constantine Giannaris) Gripping based on true story variation of Bus 174.  Stathis Papadopoulis wonderful as the bus hostage taker. *** 1/4
HOSTAGE (d. Florent Siri) Visually dazzling thriller with multiple layers of jeopardy. Plot has several holes; but effective filmmaking nevertheless.  ** 3/4\
HOUSE OF D (d. David Duchovny) Sappy but watchable period piece ('70s N.Y) coming of age story. Anton Yelchin is quite good; but script has holes.  * 3/4
HOWARD ZINN:  YOU CAN'T BE NEUTRAL ON A MOVING TRAIN (d. Ellis & Mueller) V. Didactic docu about a lifetime activist against war & prejudice. ** 3/4
HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE (d. Hayao Miyazaki) Good story, well dubbed (especially Christian Bale as Howl), nice animation. I was surprised. *** 1/4
HUNTER, THE (d. Serik Aprymov) A youthful juvenile deliquent in rural Khazagstan is tought by a lone wolf hunger. Fabu scenery, not much of a plot. ** 3/4
HUSTLE & FLOW (d. Craig Brewer) Effective filmmaking about Tenn. underclass dealer & pimp (amazing Terrence Howard) & his need to be a rap star. ** 3/4
ICE HARVEST, THE (d. Harold Ramis)  * 3/4
ICE PRINCESS (d. Tim Fywell) Another tired teen flick about a girl's struggle against her good mother & bad mother. Nice skating.  **
IN HER SHOES (d. Curtis Hanson) ** 3/4
IN MY COUNTRY (d. John Boorman) Earnest, but sporadically affecting film about reporting on the S. African reconciliation trials.  ** 1/2
IN MY FATHER'S DEN (d. Brad McGann) Involving, complex New Zealand drama with a superb Matthew MacFadyen performance.  *** 1/4
INCREDIBLES, THE (d. Brad Bird) V. I guess I'm just not into Bird's genre of animated film. Well made, but overly obvious.  ** 1/2
INNOCENT VOICES (d. Luis Mandoki) El Salvador guerilla war from pov of 11 year old boy in a small village. Shattering, powerful, excellent film.  *** 1/2
INTERPRETER, THE (d. Sidney Pollack) Disappointing thriller pastiche (Man Who Knew Too Much + 3 Days of Condor). Star power aint enough. **
ISLAND, THE (d. Michael Bay) More plot holes than swiss cheese, shameful stealing from past films; but still a diverting mishmosh.  **
ITALIAN, THE (d. Andrey Kravchuk; Russia) *** 1/2
IT'S ALL GONE PETE TONG (d. Michael Dowse) Funny satirical mocumentary about a deaf disco DJ with a splendid central performance (Paul Kaye) ***
JACKET, THE (d. John Maybury) Stylish timebending thriller which overcomes its unlikely premise with some fine acting.  Brody is wonderful. ***
JAMES DEAN: FOREVER YOUNG (d. Michael Sheridan) V. ** 1/2
JARHEAD (d. Sam Mendes) *** 1/2
JE PRÉFÈRE Q'ON RESTE AMIS (d. Tolidano & Nakache) Painful to watch buddy comedy about a shy guy & a heel looking for love in today's Paris.  ** 1/4
JOYEUX NOËL (d. Christian Carion;  France)  ***
JUNEBUG  (d. Phil Morrison) Idiosyncratic No. Carolina family & the new in-law wife that visits. Suprisingly good script & great acting.  *** 1/4
JUST A QUESTION OF LOVE (d. Christian Fauré)V. ***
JUST LIKE HEAVEN (d. Mark Waters) ** 3/4
KEKEXILI: MOUNTAIN PATROL (d. Lu Chuan) Vigilante group patrols Tibetian plains to catch antelope pelt poachers. Disturbing, gorgeous.  ***
KEN PARK (d. Larry Clark)V. The king of transgressive pedo-cinema is in fine form in this pornographic film of skater youths in extremis.  *** 1/4
KEPT AND DREAMLESS (d. Fogwill & Desalvo) 9 yr. old girl comes of age among poor Argentine extended family. Good characters but uninspired.  **
KID & I, THE  (d. Penelope Spheeris)  ** 3/4
KING KONG (d. Peter Jackson) ****
KINGDOM OF HEAVEN (d. Ridley Scott) Bloom is charismatic, if a trifle lightweight in this spectacular period epic which transports.  ***
KINGS & QUEEN (d. Arnaud Desplechin) Well acted drama with farcial overtones & plot holes: an extended family facing death, taxes & insanity.  *** 1/4
KING'S GAME (d. Nicolai Arcel) Beautifully constructed political thriller about high level Danish politics and a reporter caught in the middle.  *** 1/4
KISS KISS BANG BANG (d. Shane Black) **
KISSED BY WINTER (Vinterkyss)  (d. Sara Johnsen; Norway)  ***
KONTROLL (d. Nimród Antal) Hungarian AFF. Well shot but overly bleak and obscure allegory of hell in the Budapest subway. ** 1/2
KUNG FU HUSTLE (d. Stephen Chow) People enjoy this?  Not me.  Of course I rooted for Willie Coyote against Roadrunner.  **
LADIES IN LAVENDER (d. Charles Dance) Well acted (Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Daniel Brüel!) film about 2 old maids & the boy who drops in. ** 3/4
LAKAWANNA BLUES (d. George Wolfe) Epatha Merkerson should win an Emmy for this marvellous HBO tv movie of life among blacks in a small NY town. *** 1/4
LAND HAS EYES, THE (d. Vilsoni Hereniko; Fiji)  ** 1/2
LAND OF PLENTY (d. Wim Wenders) John Diehl is outstanding as a Viet vet obsessed by a mission to save the U.S. from terrorists.  ***
LAST DAY, THE (d. Rodolphe Marconi) Very French, very dreamlike film about a teenage boy's coming to understand the mystery of his family.  *** 1/2
LAST DAYS (d. Gus Van Sant) Slow meditative film about Kurt Cobain wandering to his death. Michael Pitt is fine; film is pretty.  ***
LAST MOGUL, THE  (d. Barry Avrich) Interesting docu about Lou Wasserman with great interviews but fatally marred by the worst mix I've ever heard.  **
LAYER CAKE (d. Matthew Vaughn) Stylish Brit noir à la Guy Richie, only better. Daniel Craig wonderful as a smart drug dealer. *** 1/4
LEÓN AND OLVIDO (d. Xavier Bermúdez) Downer but well-made drama about Downs Syndrome brother & his normal twin sister. ***
LETTER FROM AN UNKNOWN WOMAN  (d. Xu Jinglei) Gorgeously shot kind of trivial "woman's pic" about a lifetime of unrequited love. ** 1/4
LIBERTINE, THE (d. Laurence Dunmore) ** 1/2
LIFE WITH MY FATHER (d. Sébastien Rose) W/O
LOGGERHEADS (d. Tim Kirkman)  *** 1/2
LONESOME JIM (d. Steve Buscemi) Depression & despair has never been more amusing.  Casey Affleck finally lives up to his promise. ***
LOOK AT ME (d. Agnès Jaoui) Slice of life, bittersweet romantic about a disfunctional French arty family & friends. Quite enjoyable, if minor.  ***
LORD OF WAR (d. Andrew Niccol) ***
LORDS OF DOGTOWN (d. Catherine Hardwicke) Fictionalized story of original Venice, CA skateboard punks. Good acting & action. ** 3/4
LOS OLVIDADOS (d. Luis Buñuel) 1950 B&W drama about disaffected teens in Mexico City. Dali's influence felt in dream sequences. Very affecting.  *** 1/4
LOST CHILDREN (d. Ahadi and Stoltz)V.  ** 1/4
LOT LIKE LOVE, A (d. Nigel Cole) Kutcher is turning into a major star...love his line readings. Nicely made, predictable romantic comedy.  ** 3/4
LOVE SONG FOR BOBBIE LONG, A (d. Shainee Gabel) Gentle, amiable, N.O. peculiar family drama. Fine acting ensemble (Johansson, Macht & Travolta). ***
LOVELORN (d. Yavuz Turgul) W/O
MACHUCA (d. Andrés Wood) Chilean AFF:  an 11 year old privileged boy's pov of society at the end of Allende's regime. Politically slanted left, but powerful stuff.  ***
MADISON (d. William Bindley) Slick, banal, feel-good period (early 70s) film about speed boats in Madison, IN. Nothing original. * 3/4
MAGIC OF ORDINARY DAYS, THE (d. Brent Shields) V. Hallmark romantic feel-good tv pic with an excellent Skeet Ulrich & Keri Russell looking '40's pretty.  ** 1/2
MALFUNKSHUN:  THE ANDREW WOOD STORY (d. Scot Barbour) Interesting docu about Seattle grunge rocker Wood, who died at 24.  ** 3/4
MAN ABOUT DOG (d. Paddy Breathnach) Irish film greatly in need of subtitles. An occasionally funny comedy about dog racing betters.  **
MAN OF THE HOUSE (d. Stephen Kerek) Utterly stupid and exploitive film about a cop tending cheerleader witnesses.  1/2*
MARCH OF THE PENGUINS (d. Luc Jacquet) Involving nature docu done beautifully in extraordinarily difficult shooting conditions.  *** 1/4
MARS  (d. Anna Melikian) A totally incomprehensible allegorical comedy about today's Russia. Sort of poor man's Kusterica.  * 1/4
MASCULIN FEMININE (d. Jean-Luc Godard) I wanted to like this '60s Godard b&w film; but it's pretty boring.  ** 1/2
MATADOR, THE (d. Richard Sheperd)  **
MATCH POINT (d. Woody Allen) *** 1/2
McLIBEL (d. Franny Armstrong) Docu about famous British libel case won in a truly Pyrrhic victory by McDonalds. Engaging, but familiar stuff.  ***
ME AND YOU AND EVERYONE WE KNOW (d. Miranda July) Uniquely voiced comedy about a broken family & connecting. ***
MELINDA AND MELINDA (d. Woody Allen) Will Farrell is a strange Allen avatar; but this overly clever, hit-&-miss dual-plot film worked for me.  ** 3/4
MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA (d. Rob Marshall) ** 3/4
MEN AND WOMEN (d. Claude Lelouch) Somewhat foced amalgam of 2 complex relationship films, nicely done until it turns too meta midway.  ** 1/4
MERCHANT OF VENICE, THE (d. Michael Radford) "The quality of this film is strained; it droppeth like a gentle thud from pretention."  ** 1/2
MESSIAH 1:  THE FIRST KILLINGS (d. Diarmuid Lawrence)V.  *** 1/4
MESSIAH 2: VENGENCE IS MINE (d. David Richards)V. *** 1/4
MESSIAH 3: THE PROMISE (d. David Drury)V.  ** 3/4
MIDWINTER'S NIGHT DREAM, A (d. Goran Paskaljevic) Depressing, if beautifully acted, drama about a luckless Serbian man.  ** 3/4
MILA FROM MARS (d. Zornitsa Sophia) An involving love story, a Christ allegory, a post-modern road trip all rolled into one.   ** 3/4
MILLIONS (d. Danny Boyle) Gentle fable about a kid finding stolen money. Technically adept & well made; but I'm too cynical for the message.  ** 1/2
MIRACLE ACCORDING TO SALOMÉ, THE (d. Mário Barroso) Lush, beautifully shot tragedy about the affairs of a virtuous prostitute.  ** 3/4
MISS CONGENIALITY 2 (d. John Pasquin) Slick caper comedy & female buddy pic with a ridiculous plot. Nice use of Enrique Murciano. * 3/4
MISSING IN AMERICA  (d. Gabrielle Savage Dockterman) Affecting story of lost Viet vet (Danny Glover) and the child that comes into his life. ** 1/2
MONDOVINO (d.  Jonathan Nossiter)V. ** 1/2
MONGOLIAN PING PONG (d. Ning Hao) Like Weeping Camel, a charming tale of culture clash on the Mongolian grasslands featuring 3 young kids. ***
MOTHER OF MINE (d. Klaus Härö;  Finland) *** 1/2
MR. & MRS. SMITH (d. Doug Liman) Brad Pitt has never been better. Flawed script with some missing pieces; but a super entertainment.  ***
MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS (d. Stephen Frears) ** 1/2
MRS. PALFREY AT THE CLAIRMONT (d. Dan Ireland) I'd give Joan Plowright the Oscar for this.  Plus Rupert Friend is a true find.   *** 1/2
MUNICH (d. Steven Spielberg)  *** 1/4
MURDERBALL (d. Rubin & Shapiro) Effective, emotionally satisfying & extremely well shot docu about paraplegic wheelchair rugby at high level. *** 1/4
MUST LOVE DOGS (d. Gary David Goldberg) Cookie-cutter romantic comedy. Good perfs don't make up for clichéd script & lack of chemistry. **
MY SUMMER OF LOVE  (d. Pawel Pawlikowski) More civil version of Heavenly Creatures, only in the English moors. Nicely acted.  ** 3/4
MYSTERIOUS SKIN (d. Greg Araki)V. + *** 1/2
MYSTERIOUS SKIN  (d. Gregg Araki) Mindblowingly accurate and well made drama about sexual abuse & its affects on two boys.  *** 3/4
NAPOLA (d. Dennis Gansel) Story of a teenage boxer given a scholarship to an elite Nazi school. Incredibly involving, one of those films I flip out over.  *** 1/4
NEST, THE (d. Florent Emilio Siri)V. Above average, tense French action flick about a warehouse under seige with lots of anonymous bad guys.  ** 3/4
NEW WORLD, THE (d. Terrence Malick) ** 3/4
NEXT DOOR (d. Pol Sletaune) ***
NICELAND (d. Fridrik Thór Fridriksson) A strange but pleasant fable about a boy (Martin Compston) searching for the purpose of life.  ** 3/4
NIGHT WATCH (d. Timur Bekmambetov) Messy Russian pastiche of every big f/x film from The Omen to The Matrix. Vampires rule for 1000 years.  **
NINTH DAY, THE (d. Volker Schlöndorff) Dark, slow, philosophical drama about Catholic priest on leave from Dachau & his duel of wits with an SS officer.  ** 3/4
NINTH DAY, THE (d. Volker Schlöndorff) Dark, slow, philosophical drama about Catholic priest on leave from Dachau & his duel of wits with an SS officer.  ** 3/4
NO NIGHT IS TOO LONG (d. Tom Shankland) V. + Wonderfully written & acted Ruth Rendell story; a Canadian gay TV film to be cherished.  *** 1/2
NO SONGS OF LOVE (d. Lars Kraume) Talky, boring pseudo-docu of a guy making a doc about his brother's affair with his girlfriend. * 3/4
NOITE ESCURA (d. João Canijo; Portugal) *
NORTH COUNTRY (d. Niki Caro) ***
NORTH KOREA-DAY IN THE LIFE (d. Pieter Fleury) Docu with no narration, just showing the activities of typical N. Korean workers in one day. ** 3/4
NOVEMBER (d. Greg Harrison) Pretentious and mysterious recreation of a convenience store robbery. James LeGros & Courtney Cox are just ok.  **
OBABA (d. Montxo Armendariz; Spain)  ** 3/4
OCCUPATION DREAMLAND (d. Olds and Scott; docu) V.   ***
OLIVER TWIST (d. Roman Polanski) *** 1/4
OSSESSIONE (d. Luchino Visconti)V. Fine, neo-realist B&W noir based on Postman Always Rings Twice. Massimo Girotti is revelatory.  *** 1/4
OTHER SIDE OF HEAVEN, THE (d. Mitch Davis)V.  ***
OTHER SIDE, THE (Al Otro Lado) (d. Gustavo Loza) ** 1/2
OUR OWN (d. Dmitry Meskhiyev) Interesting, involving variant on the Russian WWII film, about escaped soldiers behind German lines.  ***
OVERLORD (d. Stuart Cooper) 1975 B&W docudrama about a Brit soldier preparing and participating in D-Day. No Private Ryan, sort of blah. ** 1/4
PAHELI (d. Amol Palekar; India)  **
PALENDROMES (d. Todd Solondz) Ebony black comedy with Solondz's patented mordant sardonic wit. Uneven, but always interesting.  ** 3/4
PALM BEACH STORY (d. Preston Sturges) V. Amiable, wordy, classy screwball comedy with finally made me see why Sturges has such a rep for wit.  ***
PARADISE NOW (d. Hany Abu-Assad; Palestine) *** 1/2
PERFECT SCORE, THE (d. Brian Robbins)V.  ** 3/4
PERHAPS LOVE (d. Peter Ho-Sun Chan; Hong Kong)  ** 3/4
POLAR EXPRESS (d. Robert Zemeckis) Nice animation, trite story...but it works on an elemental level.  I enjoyed more than I expected from the lousy reviews.  ***
POLICE BEAT (d. Robinson Devor) Stream of consciousness experiences of a Seattle cop originally from Senegal. Wide screen video transfer. ** 1/4
PRETTY PERSUASION (d. Marcos Siega) Teen black comedy satire designed to offend everybody; with a great perf. by Evan Rachel Wood.  ** 1/2
PRIDE & PREJUDICE (d. Joe Wright) ****
PRIME (d. Ben Younger)  *** 1/2
PROMISE, THE (Wuji) (d. Chen Kaige; China) ***
PROOF (d. John Madden) ** 3/4
PUNTO Y RAYA (d. Elia Schneider) Silly Venezuelan black comedy about two opposing soldiers, one corrupt, one pure, & their adventures in the jungle.  * 1/4
QUEENS (Reinas) (d. Manuel Gomez Pereíra) *** 1/4
RACE YOU TO THE BOTTOM (d. Russell Brown) Surprisingly enjoyable, caustic affair of bi-guy & faghag in wine country. Nicely written. ***
REAL DIRT ON FARMER JOHN, THE (d. Taggart Siegel) Liberal crowd-pleaser docu about an organic farmer & his collective farm in Illinois.  ***
RED DUST (d. Tom Hooper) Very well made and well acted, though familiar plotwise, drama about the S.African reconciliation.  ***
RED EYE (d. Wes Craven)  ** 3/4
REDEEMER (d. Claudio Torres) A wildly uneven, but ultimately too far-out film about a crooked real estate empire in Rio and how God got even.  * 3/4
REEL PARADISE (d.  Steve James)V.  ***
RENART, THE FOX (d. Thierry Schiel; Luxembourg) *
RENT (d. Chris Columbus)  * 3/4
REQUIEM OF SNOW (d. Jamil Rostami; Iraq)  **
RICE RHAPSODY  (d. Kenneth Biroli) Singapore woman with 3 gay sons tries to get one to turn straight. A fun, lush foodie confection of a film.  ** 3/4
RING TWO, THE (d. Hideo Nakata) A truly ridiculous premise so outlandish that it's impossible to be scared. Still, effective acting & direction.  * 3/4
RIPLEY UNDER GROUND (d. Robert Spottiswoode) ** 3/4
RITTENHOUSE SQUARE (d. Robert Downey)V.  ** 1/2
RIZE (d. David LaChapelle; docu) V. ** 1/4
ROBOTS (d. Chris Wedge) Kinetic, beautifully designed 3-D animated roller-coaster with a predictable script. Marred by Greg Kaneer's incipidly voiced villainy. ***
ROCK SCHOOL (d. Don Argott) Enormously entertaining docu about a Philadelphia school for kids to learn to perform rock.  *** 1/2
ROLE OF A LIFETIME, THE  (d. François Favat) Pleasant, involving dramidy about a famous film actress & the woman she makes her assistant.  ***
ROLLING FAMILY (d. Pablo Trapero) Earthy road pic about an extended family's 1000km journey by camper through north Argentina.  *** 1/4
ROMA (d. Adolfo Aristarian) Poignant, lovely, wonderful epic drama about an elderly writer's reminiscences of his mother. Juan Diego Boto rules! ****
RONDA NOCTURNA (d. Edgardo Cozaninsky) Delightful rondelay of one enchanted night of an attractive male hustler in Buenos Aires.  *** 1/4
RUINS, THE (Rusevine) (d. Janez Burger) ** 1/2
RUMOR HAS IT... (d. Rob Reiner)  ***
SABAH (d. Ruba Nadda) Traditional Muslem woman falls for white guy in this Canadian film. It's an old story; but done well enough here to work for me. ** 3/4
SAHARA (d. Breck Eisner) Big scope, empty calorie adventure film about skullduggery and treasure hunting in Africa. Mindless entertainment.  **
SAINT RALPH (d. Michael McGowan) Heartening, feel-good period film about a teenage boy in Catholic School who needs to make a miracle.  ***
SARABAND (d. Ingmar Bergman) Starts slow; but accumulates great strength with story of disaffected family.  *** 1/4
SAVING FACE (d. Alice Wu) Lesbian approx. of The Wedding Banquet...a feelgood comedy of a family & a girl coming to grips with being gay. ** 3/4
SAY UNCLE (d. Peter Paige) Strangely discomforting film about a naive gay man whose innocent love for children is misunderstood.  **
SCHOOL TIES (d. Robert Mandel, '92) V. Good, if predictable, drama, a prep school in mid '50s; Jewish student (Brendan Fraser) vs. rich snob (Matt Damon).  ** 1/2
SECOND COMING, THE (d. Jack Walsh) V.  0*
SECRET FESTIVAL #2 Already seen this one, admittedly at L.A.'s worst big screen venue; but hated it and had no desire to see it again.  W/O
SEOUL TRAIN (d. Lubansky, Butterworth, Sleeth) Mainly talking heads docu about plight of N. Korean refugees in China. Bad sound.  ** 1/4
SEPARATE LIES (d. Julian Fellowes) ***
SERENITY (d. Joss Whedon)  * 3/4
SEUL CONTRE TOUS (d. Gaspar Noé) V. Noé is a great stylist. This film is hard to warch, but a fascinating character study of a loser.  ***
SHOPGIRL (d. Anand Tucker) ***
SHREK 2 (d. Adamson, Asbury, Vernon) V. Best animated film since Toy Story 2. Clever schtick, a story which holds together & real characters. *** 1/2
SHUTKA BOOK OF RECORDS, THE (d. Aleksandar Manió) V.  * 1/4
SHWAAS (d. Sandeep Sawant) Overamped heart tugger about 6 year old boy with cancer who must lose both his eyes. * 3/4
SKY HIGH (d. Mike Mitchell) Fun, unpretentious kid's flick about a school for kids with super powers. Michael Angarano shines here...ditto Chris Wynne. ** 3/4
SLIPSTREAM (d. David van Eyssen) V. Ridiculous time travel story mixed with a Guy Richie gang who couldn't shoot straight story. Sean Astin is good, however.  * 1/4
SMALLPOX 2002:  SILENT WEAPON (d.  Daniel Percival) V. British tv movie, well done fake documentary with a frightening message.  ** 3/4
SO CLOSE, SO FAR (d. Reza Mir Karimi, Iran)  *** 1/4
SOPHIE SCHOLL - THE FINAL DAYS (d. Marc Rothemund; Germany) ** 1/2
SOUND OF THUNDER, A (d. Peter Hyams) * 1/4
SPEAK (d. Jessica Sharzer)V.+ ** 3/4
SQUID AND THE WHALE, THE (d. Noah Baumbach)  *** 1/2
STAY (d. Marc Forster) ***
STEAL ME (d. Melissa Painter) Gem of an Amer. indie about a wandering teenage boy klepto who gets adopted into a good Montana home. *** 1/4
STEALTH (d. Rob Cohen) Politically dubious, viscerally exciting war as video game. Surprisingly effective entertainment. Josh Lucas & EDI rule. ** 3/4
STORY OF MY LIFE, THE (d. Laurent Tirard) Fun, well made French 4-character romantic comedy. Only flaw is too pat a resolution.  ** 3/4
STREET FIGHT (d. Marshall Curry; docu) V.  *** 1/2
SUMMER IN BERLIN (Andreas Dresen) ** 1/2
SUMMER STORM (d. Marco Kreuzpaintner) Pleasant, sexy, gay German American Pie type film about youthful affairs at a summer rowing camp.  ***
SUMMER STORM (d. Marco Kreuzpaintner)  Yes, for the first time ever I watched a film for the 2nd time at SIFF. Blame the fabu eye candy. ***
SUMMER STORM (d. Marco Kreuzpaintner)+++ Yikes!  Third time the charm.  Hollywood should only make a teen sex comedy this good!  As if.  ***
SUNSET STRIP (d. Adam Collis)V.+  ***
SUPERVOLCANO (d. Tony Mitchell)V. Scary, involving, high gloss fictionalized disaster docudrama about Yellowstone eruption. ***
SWIMMERS (d. Doug Sadler) American indie with high production values, but a slow, trivial tv-movie plot which failed to go anyplace.  * 3/4
SWIMMING UPSTREAM (d. Russell Mulcahy) Pedestrian bio of early '60s Australian swimmer (the magnetic Jesse Spenser) & his drunking & abusive father.  ** 1/4
SYRIAN BRIDE, THE (d. Eran Riklis) Well made, emotionally satisfying film about a Druze family where the daughter must leave to wed in Syria.  ** 3/4
SYRIANA (d. Stephen Gaghan)  ** 3/4
TATTOOED (Tatuado) (d. Eduardo Raspa) ** 3/4
TBILISI-TBILISI (d. Zakareishvili Levan;  Georgia) ** 1/2
TESTOSTERONE (d. David Moreton)V.+ Murky gay doings in Buenos Aires with an attractive (!) cast & a story of lust and longing which doesn't work.  ** 1/2
THAT MAN:  PETER BERLIN (d. Jim Tushinski) Interesting docu about male porn object of the '70s. Nicely made with excellent interviews. *** 1/4
THING ABOUT MY FOLKS, THE  (d. Raymond De Felitta) Touching family comedy written & acted by Paul Reiser with the great Peter Falk.  ***
THIS CHARMING GIRL (d. Lee Yoon-ki) Tedious, pointless film about a quietly suffering S. Korean girl wounded inside by sexual abuse.  ** 1/4
THREE DANCING SLAVES (d. Gaël Morel) Three attractive brothers and their somewhat eliptical stories. Morel should quit directing & return to acting. ** 1/4
THREE OF HEARTS (d. Susan Kaplan) Interesting docu about a 3-way "marriage" between two gay men & a straight woman. Fascinating outcome. *** 1/4
THUMBSUCKER (d. Mike Mills) ** 1/2
TOM BROWN'S SCHOOL DAYS (d. Dave Moore) V.  *** 1/4
TOTALLY PERSONAL (Sasvim Licno) (d. Nedzad Begovic)  ** 3/4
TOUT UN HIVER SANS FEU (d. Greg Zglinski; Switzerland)  ** 3/4
TRANSAMERICA (d. Duncan Tucker)  *** 1/4
TRANSPORTER 2, THE (d. Louis Leterrier) ** 1/2
TRANSPORTER, THE (d. Louis Leterrier)V.  ** 3/4
TRISTRAM SHANDY:  A COCK AND BULL STORY (d. Michael Winterbottom) ***
TROPICAL MALADY (d. Apichatpong Weerasethakul) Very strange, beautiful film which starts as a simple gay friendship film & ends as an allegory.  ** 3/4
TRUE LOVE (d. Michael J. Saul)V. ***
TRUE STORY OF ALEXANDER THE GREAT, THE (d. Jim Lindsay) V. Quite informative History Channel 2 1/4 hr. opus, better than the recent feature. ***
TSOTSI (d. Gavin Hood; South Africa) ****
TURTLES CAN FLY (d. Bahman Ghobadi) Powerful, wrenching drama about damaged Kurdish children in a refugee camp just before Gulf War 2.  *** 1/4
TWO FOR THE MONEY (d. D.J. Caruso) ** 1/2
TWO GREAT SHEEP (d. Liu Hao) Visually stunning Chinese shaggy sheep story about collectivism gone nuts. I was a little bored.  ** 1/2
TWO SONS OF FRANCISCO (Dois Filhos de Francisco) (d. Breno Silveira; Brazil) ** 3/4
UNCONSCIOUS (d. Joaquin Oristell) Sometimes funny, lush Spanish period farce about sexuality in the days when Freud was current. ** 3/4
UNFINISHED LIFE , AN (d. Lasse Hellstrom)  ** 1/2
UNKNOWN WHITE MALE (d. Rupert Murray) V.  *** 1/2
UNO (d. Aksel Hennie) Tough, violent drama about a good man who can't escape the consequences of acts beyond his control.  ***
UNTOLD STORY OF EMMETT LOUS TILL, THE (d. Keith and Kevin Beauchamps) V. ***
UPSIDE OF ANGER, THE (d. Mike Binder) John Gissing was so bad that I dismissed Binder as a director...mistake. Fine ensemble comedy. ***
VENTO DI TERRA (d. Vincenzio Marra) Quiet, slow, sad film about a young Napolese boy & his poor family ekeing out a proud existence.  ***
VENUS & FLEUR (d. Emmanuel Mouret) Female buddy flick French style...shy French girl meets vivante Russian girl & blossoms.  ** 3/4
VICTOIRE (d. Stéphanie Murat) Even with Silvie Testud as a serial killer, this silly black comedy is a waste of time.  * 1/4
VIRGIN QUEEN, THE (d. Coky Giedroye) V.  ** 3/4
VIVA CUBA (d. Juan Carlos Cremata) ** 1/4
WAITING FOR THE CLOUDS (d. Yesim Ustaoglu) Slow film about an old lady's guilt at staying in Turkey during the great 1916 expulsion to Greece. ** 1/2
WALK THE LINE (d. James Margold)  ** 3/4
WANDERING SHADOWS (d. Ciro Guerra) Unconventional buddy flick amidst the squalor of Bagota, Columbia. B&W looked digitized.  ** 3/4
WAR OF THE WORLDS (d. Steven Spielberg) Until the mushy, unlikely ending, one of the great scary thriller SF films ever. Remarkable f/x.  *** 1/4
WARM SPRINGS (d. Joseph Sergeant) Emotionally satisfying well acted HBO tv movie about Roosevelt's early years of polio recouperation.  ***
WARRIOR (d. Asif Kapadia) Slow, meditative, almost silent period piece about a warrior in Kashmir who wants to quit killing.  ** 3/4
WARSAW (d. Dariusz Gajewski) Slightly amusing story of several assorted characters wandering around Warsaw & sort of connecting one snowy day. ** 1/2
WATERLOO (d. Sergei Bondarchuk) 1970 epic with some incredibly great battle footage & Steiger's wonderful portrayal of Napoleon.  *** 1/4
WEATHER MAN, THE (d. Gore Verbinski)  ** 3/4
WEDDING CRASHERS, THE (d. David Dobkin) ** 3/4
WELL, THE (d. Kristian Petri) Extremely well written documentary tone poem about Orson Welles' relationship to Spain.  *** 3/4
WHAT A WONDERFUL PLACE (d. Eyal Halfon) **
WHEN WILL I BE LOVED (d. James Tobak) V. ** 3/4
WHERE THE TRUTH LIES (d. Atom Egoyan)  ***
WHISKY ROMEO ZULU (d. Enrique Piñeyro) Fascinating aircrash drama based on fact. The whistleblower pilot (also acted & directed) is amazing.  *** 1/4
WHITE COUNTESS, THE (d. James Ivory)  *** 1/4
WILBY WONDERFUL (d. Daniel MacIvor) Slice of life film on the Canadian island of Wilby.  Pleasant trifle with nifty perfs from Paul Gross & Sandra Oh.  ** 3/4
WIN A DATE WITH TAD HAMILTON (d. Robert Lukatik) Fun, if predictable, romantic comedy which brings stardom to Topher Grace.  ** 3/4
WINTER SOLSTICE (d. Josh Sternfeld) Quintessential Sundance indie film, quiet, revelatory, fine acting (Mark Webber & Aaron Stanford rule!)  *** 1/4
WOMEN, THE (d. George Cukor)V.  ***
WONDERFUL NIGHT IN SPLIT, A (d. Arsen Anton Ostojic) Gorgeous, noir B&W film about a two hour period from 3 different points of view. *** 1/4
WORLD WITHOUT THIEVES, A (d. Xiaogang Feng) Clever variant on martial arts film about thieves on a train going after an innocent patsy.  ***
WRONG SIDE UP (Pribehy Obycejneho Silenstvi) (d. Petr Zelenka) ** 
WTC VIEW (d. Brian Sloan) Emotionally shattering, brilliantly written & acted (watch for Michael Urie) story of 9/11's effects on some gay NYers.  *** 1/2
YASMIN (d. Kenny Glennan) Drama about a family of Pakis in England after 9/11. Scary and truthful, but as a film sort of primitive.  ** 3/4
YEAR WITHOUT LOVE, A (d. Anahi Berneri) Quietly affecting, often raunchy film journal about an S&M bottom with AIDS.  *** 1/4
YES (d. Sally Potter) Romantic woman's pic in rhymed verse.  Joan Allen exudes sex; but for me Potter remains an elusive taste.  ** 1/2
YESTERDAY (d. Darrell Roodt) Picturesque & heartfelt So. African AFF about a rural Zulu family ravaged by AIDS.  ***
Z CHANNEL: A MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (d. Alexandra Cassavettes)V. Well made, informative docu on Jerry Harvey with great movie clips.  *** 1/2
ZIM AND CO. (d. Pierre Jolivet) ***
ZOZO (d. Josef Fares; Sweden) ***

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