January 2012

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1.
The New World (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The story of the English exploration of Virginia, and of the changing world and loves of Pocahontas. (135 mins.)
Director: Terrence Malick
“ A wildly uneven effort. The first 45 minutes are fantastic, the last 30 are dry and ultra-conventional. Emmanuel Lubezki's camerawork makes the whole thing lovely to look at, but in the end it's not even close to Days of Heaven or The Tree of Life. [B] ” - raadadz
 
2.
Blue Collar (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Three workers, Zeke (Richard Pryor), Jerry (Harvey Keitel) and Smokey (Yaphet Kotto), are working... (114 mins.)
Director: Paul Schrader
“ One of the three great movies I've had the pleasure to see over the course of this month. The most heart-breakingly honest film you'll ever see about the plight of the American working man . [A+] ” - raadadz
 
3.
Victim (1961)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A prominent lawyer goes after a blackmailer who threatens gay men with exposure (homosexual acts still being illegal). But he's gay himself... (90 mins.)
Director: Basil Dearden
“ A fascinating but flawed look at homophobia in England. [B+] ” - raadadz
 
4.
The Flame of New Orleans (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
In old New Orleans, a beautiful adventuress juggles the attentions of a rich banker and a dashing sea captain. (79 mins.)
Director: Rene Clair
“ A big, dumb studio picture redeemed only by Marlene Dietrich's electric presence. [C] ” - raadadz
 
5.
The Guard (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An unorthodox Irish policeman with a confrontational personality is partnered with an up-tight F.B.I. agent to investigate an international drug-smuggling ring. (96 mins.)
“ One of the more overlooked films of the year. A wickedly funny, if somewhat rushed flick. [B-] ” - raadadz
 
6.
Written on the Wind (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Alcoholic playboy Kyle Hadley marries the woman secretly loved by his poor but hard-working best friend, who in turn is pursued by Kyle's nymphomaniac sister. (99 mins.)
Director: Douglas Sirk
“ My first Sirk and definitely not my last. Melodrama has never been this complex, beautiful, and memorable. [A] ” - raadadz
 
7.
Point Blank (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
Samuel Pierret (Gilles Lellouche) is a nurse who saves the wrong guy -- a thief (Roschdy Zem) whose... (84 mins.)
Director: Fred Cavayé
“ A short, effective, and immediately disposable little thriller. [C] ” - raadadz
 
8.
Kill List (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
Nearly a year after a botched job, a hitman takes a new assignment with the promise of a big payoff for three killings. What starts off as an easy task soon unravels, sending the killer into the heart of darkness. (95 mins.)
Director: Ben Wheatley
“ One of the best horror movies in recent memory. Dark, unforgiving, and unrelenting. You'll never see a horror movie as intense or unsettling. [A] ” - raadadz
 
9.
Le Havre (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
When an African boy arrives by cargo ship in the port city of Le Havre, an aging shoe shiner takes pity on the child and welcomes him into his home. (93 mins.)
Director: Aki Kaurismäki
“ People seem to mistake this movie's flaws for strengths. Everything in this is simplistic to the point of parody; it's ad if Kaurismaki is trying to subvert all that is good and gentle in the world. [C] ” - raadadz
 
10.
Panic Room (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
A divorced woman and her diabetic daughter take refuge in their newly-purchased house's safe room, when three men break-in, searching for a missing fortune. (112 mins.)
Director: David Fincher
“ I defy you to find a movie this astoundingly *beep* [F] ” - raadadz
 
11.
The Artist (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A silent movie star meets a young dancer, but the arrival of talking pictures sends their careers in opposite directions. (100 mins.)
“ Gimmicky, distractingly modern, and incredibly charming. It's a blast to see with an audience; mine laughed and cheered the entire time. Some folks even danced their way out of the theater. [B+] ” - raadadz
 
12.
Little New York (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
The lives of three residents of New York's Staten Island intersect as they struggle to get ahead. (96 mins.)
Director: James DeMonaco
“ So astoundingly awful you only realize it's not a parody about an hour into it. However, Vincent D'Onofrio is always fun in bad movies, and his unhinged, totally over-the-top performance makes the film watchable. [D-] ” - raadadz
 
13.
City of Life and Death (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
In 1937, Japan occupied Nanjing, the Chinese capital. There was a battle and subsequent atrocities against the inhabitants, especially those who took refuge in the International Security Zone. (132 mins.)
Director: Chuan Lu
“ Begins promisingly enough, but slowly becomes a repetitive, deliberate Serious Film About Serious Issues. [C] ” - raadadz
 
14.
Weekend (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A supposedly idyllic week-end trip to the countryside turns into a never-ending nightmare of traffic jams... (105 mins.)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
“ A loud, brutal and profane mess of a film. I've never understood the love-it-or-leave-it attitude many cinephiles have towards this film. Goadard admittedly never reaches the heights of Pierrot le Fou or Breathless with this film, but he does create an exhilarating and intellectually exhausting experience. [A] ” - raadadz
 
15.
The Strange Case of Angelica (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
A photographer is asked by hotel owners to take portraits of their recently deceased daughter. (97 mins.)
“ Worst arthouse pic of 2011. Distractingly awful acting, generic camerawork, archaic notions of life and death all pervade this amateurish film. [F] ” - raadadz
 
16.
Ondine (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
An Irish fisherman discovers a woman in his fishing net whom his precocious daughter believes to be a selkie. (111 mins.)
Director: Neil Jordan
“ Simple, lyrical, and nothing short of magical. Watching this film is like being read a soothing bedtime story. [A] ” - raadadz
 
17.
Senso (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A troubled and neurotic Italian Countess betrays her entire country for a self-destructive love affair with an Austrian Lieutenant. (118 mins.)
“ A fatal case of style over substance. Apart from ridiculously lavish sets and costumes, Senso doesn't have a lot going for it: the two main characters are two-dimensional and totally uninteresting, the plot is barely serviceable, and the score is obnoxious and often overbearing. [C] ” - raadadz
 
18.
Moneyball (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players. (133 mins.)
Director: Bennett Miller
“ Just the kind of character-over-plot film that Hollywood shies from so often. [A] ” - raadadz
 
19.
Contraband (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
To protect his brother-in-law from a drug lord, a former smuggler heads to Panama to score millions of dollars in counterfeit bills. (109 mins.)
“ Sure, the entire plot (including the surprise betrayal) is immediately obvious to anyone who's seen a movie before, but where else do you get to hear Mr. Funky Bunch say things like "salt dissolves in water, bitch" and "I'm coming for you"? [C] ” - raadadz
 
20.
Ride the High Country (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
An ex-union soldier is hired to transport gold from a mining community through dangerous territory. But what he doesn't realize is that his partner and old friend is plotting to double-cross him. (94 mins.)
Director: Sam Peckinpah
“ Basically a more idealistic and romanticized version of the far superior The Wild Bunch, Ride the High Country is a wildly uneven but ultimately touching requiem to a dying West. [A-] ” - raadadz
 
21.
The Big Sleep (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love. (114 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
“ Massively overrated. Subtle direction and an infallible lead actor can't overcome a hackneyed plot and an icy cold Lauren Bacall. [B] ” - raadadz
 
22.
Hiroshima Mon Amour (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A French actress filming an anti-war film in Hiroshima has an affair with a married Japanese architect as they share their differing perspectives on war. (90 mins.)
Director: Alain Resnais
“ Every now and then, I watch a movie that restores my faith in cinema as an art form. Hiroshima Mon Amour is one of those movies. An emotionally devastating and boundlessly beautiful film that anyone even remotely interested in film should watch. [A+] ” - raadadz
 
23.
Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
After a prison riot, former-Captain Nascimento, now a high ranking security officer in Rio de Janeiro, is swept into a bloody political dispute that involves government officials and paramilitary groups. (115 mins.)
Director: José Padilha
“ One of the few sequels to expand upon its predecessor. An often unforgiving look at deep-seated crime and corruption. [B+] ” - raadadz
 
24.
Easy Rider (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
Two counterculture bikers travel from Los Angeles to New Orleans in search of America. (95 mins.)
Director: Dennis Hopper
“ One of the best films ever made. Liberating, subversive, and ultimately tragic, there has never been a more distinctly American picture. [A+] ” - raadadz
 
25.
Essential Killing (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
An Afghan POW attempts his escape. (83 mins.)
“ Pretentious, shallow, and about 80 minutes too long. [D-] ” - raadadz
 
26.
Trespass (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.3/10 X  
As they're held for ransom, a husband and wife's predicament grows more dire amid the discovery of betrayal and deception. (91 mins.)
Director: Joel Schumacher
“ The latest entry in The Wild and Wonderful Wigs of Nicolas Cage isn't even a guilty pleasure a la Drive Angry; it's just lazily incompetent. Or, in other words, a Joel Schumacher film. [F] ” - raadadz
 
27.
A Dangerous Method (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A look at how the intense relationship between Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud gives birth to psychoanalysis. (99 mins.)
“ One of Cronenberg's weakest efforts. Despite a great turn by Viggo Mortensen as Sigmund Freud, the film never decides what exactly it is. Is it a psychosexual thriller? Is it a period drama? Is it a half-assed character study? [C] ” - raadadz
 
28.
Paper Moon (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
During the Great Depression, a con man finds himself saddled with a young girl who may or may not be his daughter, and the two forge an unlikely partnership. (102 mins.)
“ Sweet, endearing, and shamelessly nostalgic. However, Paper Moon's success is largely indebted to Polly Platt's fantastic production design, which stunningly captured a bleak Depression-era South. [B+] ” - raadadz
 
29.
Small Town Murder Songs (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
A modern, gothic tale of crime and redemption about an aging police officer from a small Ontario Mennonite town who hides a violent past until a local murder upsets the calm of his newly reformed life. (75 mins.)
“ An odd little film that always seems like it's about to take off but falters at the last minute. [C] ” - raadadz
 
30.
District 13: Ultimatum (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
Damien and Leito return to District 13 on a mission to bring peace to the troubled sector that is controlled by five different gang bosses, before the city's secret services take drastic measures to solve the problem. (101 mins.)
“ Mindless, cartoonish action flick. [D] ” - raadadz
 
31.
If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front (2011 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A rare behind-the-curtain look at the Earth Liberation Front, the radical environmental group that the FBI calls America's 'number one domestic terrorist threat.' (85 mins.)
“ A fascinating, remarkably evenhanded doc. [B+] ” - raadadz
 
32.
Brute Force (1947)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
At a tough penitentiary, prisoner Joe Collins plans to rebel against Captain Munsey, the power-mad chief guard. (98 mins.)
Director: Jules Dassin
“ Dassin has proved himself to be a capable director time and time again, but even he can't make a watchable movie out of such a simplistic screenplay. [D] ” - raadadz