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The Hurt Locker 1.

The Hurt Locker

Release Date: June 26, 2009
When a new sergeant, James (Jeremy Renner), takes over a highly trained bomb disposal team amidst violent conflict, he surprises his two subordinates, Sanborn (Anthony Mackie) and Eldridge (Brian Geraghty), by recklessly plunging them into a deadly game of urban combat. James behaves as if he's indifferent to death. As the men struggle to control their wild new leader, the city explodes into chaos, and James' true character reveals itself in a way that will change each man forever. [Summit Entertainment]
Metascore:
94
User Score:
7.3
Sita Sings the Blues 2.

Sita Sings the Blues

Release Date: December 25, 2009
Not Rated
Sita is a goddess separated from her beloved Lord and husband Rama. Nina is an animator whose husband moves to India, then dumps her by email. Three hilarious shadow puppets narrate both ancient tragedy and modern comedy in this beautifully animated interpretation of the Indian epic Ramayana. Set to the 1920's jazz vocals of Annette Hanshaw, Sita Sings the Blues earns its tagline as "the Greatest Break-Up Story Ever Told."
Metascore:
93
User Score:
7.1
35 Shots of Rum 3.

35 Shots of Rum

Release Date: September 16, 2009
Not Rated
A widowed conductor, looking forward to retirement, lives with his grown daughter in a Paris suburb. When a neighbor starts to show interest in his "little girl", the conductor tries to adjust.
Metascore:
92
User Score:
6.3
Still Walking 4.

Still Walking

Release Date: August 21, 2009
Not Rated
Fifteen years ago, Junpei, the youngest son of the Yokoyama family died while rescuing a boy from drowning. On the anniversary of his death, the remaining siblings visit the quaint home of their parents with their families in tow. Over the course of a beautiful day, new relatives become acquainted telling stories and squabbling over sizzling tempura and an elegant graveside ritual is performed for Junpei. (IFC Films)
Metascore:
89
User Score:
8.7
Goodbye Solo 5.

Goodbye Solo

Release Date: March 27, 2009
On the lonely roads of Winston-Salem, North Carolina, two men forge an improbable friendship that will change both of their lives forever. Solo is a Senegalese cab driver working to provide a better life for his young family. William is a tough Southern good ol‘ boy with a lifetime of regrets. One man‘s American dream is just beginning, while the other‘s is quickly winding down. But despite their differences, both men soon realize they need each other more than either is willing to admit. Through this unlikely but unforgettable friendship, Goodbye Solo deftly explores the passing of a generation as well as the rapidly changing face of America. (Roadside Attractions)
Metascore:
89
User Score:
7.5
Tulpan 6.

Tulpan

Release Date: April 1, 2009
Not Rated
Following his Russian naval service, young dreamer Asa returns to his sister’s nomadic brood on the desolate Hunger Steppe to begin a hardscrabble career as a shepherd. But before he can tend a flock of his own, Asa must win the hand of the only eligible bachelorette for miles—his alluringly mysterious neighbor Tulpan. Accompanied by his girlie mag-reading sidekick Boni (and a menagerie of adorable lambs, stampeding camels, mewing kittens and mischievous children), Asa will stop at nothing to prove he is a worthy husband and herder. (Zeitgeist Films)
Metascore:
88
User Score:
6.3
Up 7.

Up

Release Date: May 29, 2009
Up is a comedy adventure about 78-year-old balloon salesman Carl Fredricksen, who finally fulfills his lifelong dream of a great adventure when he ties thousands of balloons to his house and flies away to the wilds of South America. But he discovers all too late that his biggest nightmare has stowed away on the trip: an overly optimistic 9-year-old Wilderness Explorer named Russell. (Walt Disney Pictures)
Metascore:
88
User Score:
8.8
Gomorrah 8.

Gomorrah

Release Date: February 13, 2009
Not Rated
Power, money and blood: these are the values that the residents of the province of Naples and Caserta confront every day. They have practically no choice, and are forced to obey the rules of the "System," the Camorra. Only a lucky few can even think of leading a normal life. Five stories are woven together in this violent scenario, set in a cruel and ostensibly invented world, but one that is deeply rooted in reality. (IFC Films)
Metascore:
87
User Score:
7.1
The Beaches of Agnès 9.

The Beaches of Agnès

Release Date: July 1, 2009
Not Rated
A reflection on art, life and the movies, The Beaches of Agnes is a magnificent new film from the great Agnes Varda, a richly cinematic self portrait that touches on everything from the feminist movement and the black panthers to the films of husband Jacques Demy and the birth of the French New Wave. (Cinema Guild)
Metascore:
86
User Score:
7.0
Ponyo 10.

Ponyo

Release Date: August 14, 2009
Ponyo is a story inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's fairy tale "The Little Mermaid." Already a box-office success in Japan, the story of a young and overeager goldfish named Ponyo and her quest to become human features an outstanding roster of voice talent. (Walt Disney Pictures)
Metascore:
86
User Score:
7.7
An Education 11.

An Education

Release Date: October 9, 2009
In the post-war, pre-Beatles London suburbs, a bright schoolgirl is torn between studying for a place at Oxford and the more exciting alternative offered to her by a charismatic older man. (Sony Pictures Classics)
Metascore:
85
User Score:
7.8
Forbidden Lie$ 12.

Forbidden Lie$

Release Date: April 3, 2009
Not Rated
Norma Khouri is a thief, a saint, a seductress or a sociopath, depending on who you talk to. Men want to marry her, Islamic extremists want to kill her, and the global publishing industry wishes she would just disappear. Khouri won fame and fortune with her 'true story' Forbidden Love, about a shocking honor killing in Jordan. The book was a runaway bestseller, translated into multiple languages and Khouri became the toast of the literary world. That was until July 2004, when esteemed Sydney Morning Herald journalist Malcolm Knox exposed her book as a work of fiction. Weaving between the literary salons of London, the mosque-lined vistas of Jordan, the beach side suburbs of Queensland and the seamy Chicago back streets of Norma's dubious past, Forbidden Lie$ pits Norma's tale against the stories of the those who believe she duped them: the publishers, the FBI, her next door neighbor...even her husband. But the most compelling character of all is Norma who, encouraged by director Anna Broinowski, journeys through every shade of gray that separates fact from fiction. Dir. Anna Broinowski. (Roxie Releasing)
Metascore:
85
User Score:
8.0
The Sun 13.

The Sun

Release Date: November 20, 2009
Not Rated
In the summer of 1945, with Tokyo under siege by American forces, Japanese Emperor Hirohito remains in seclusion from the world in an underground bunker. Held by his people as a deity, the incarnation of the Sun God, Hirohito is sheltered from the devastation that surrounds him as he is waited on hand and foot by his servants. After the razing of Tokyo and bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Hirohito finally meets with General MacArthur. And, in August, millions of Japanese citizens are stunned to hear the voice of their Emperor for the first time as he commands his people to cease all fighting. The address saves the lives of countless Japanese and Allied forces alike, but the victorious powers insist that Emperor Hirohito appear before a military tribunal for war crimes. Sokurov’s fascinating film chronicles the events leading up to Hirohito’s monumental speech, the historic renunciation of his divine status and his meetings with General MacArthur, who advises his own President not to declare the Japanese leader a war criminal. Featuring a power-house central performance by Issey Ogata, Sokurov creates an intimate human portrait of the infamous Emperor Hirohito as he faces the unraveling of his own power, and the tragedy that besets his country. (Lorber HT Digital)
Metascore:
85
User Score:
6.8
Summer Hours 14.

Summer Hours

Release Date: May 15, 2009
Not Rated
The divergent paths of three forty-something siblings collide when their mother, heiress to her uncle's exceptional 19th century art collection, dies suddenly. Left to come to terms with themselves and their differences, Adrienne, a successful New York designer, Frederic, an economist and university professor in Paris, and Jeremie, a dynamic businessman in China, confront the end of childhood, their shared memories, background and unique vision of the future. [IFC films]
Metascore:
85
User Score:
7.1
Passing Strange 15.

Passing Strange

Release Date: August 21, 2009
Not Rated
Spike Lee has turned the Broadway rock musical Passing Strange into a film, but unlike recent translations of theater onto the big screen, the film won't alter any of the cast, staging or production. (40 Acres & A Mule Filmworks)
Metascore:
85
User Score:
7.7
Revanche 16.

Revanche

Release Date: May 1, 2009
Not Rated
At once a gripping thriller and a tragic drama of nearly Greek proportions, Revanche is the stunning, Oscar–nominated, international breakthrough film from Austrian filmmaker Götz Spielmann. In a ragged section of Vienna, hardened ex-con Alex works as an assistant in a brothel, where he falls for Ukrainian hooker Tamara. Their desperate plans for escape unexpectedly intersect with the lives of a rural cop and his seemingly content wife. With meticulous, elegant direction, Spielmann creates a tense, existential, and surprising portrait of vengeance and redemption, and a journey into the darkest forest of human nature, in which violence and beauty exist side by side. (Janus Film)
Metascore:
84
User Score:
8.1
Séraphine 17.

Séraphine

Release Date: June 5, 2009
Unrated
Seraphine vividly recounts the tragic story of French naïve painter Séraphine Louis aka Séraphine de Senlis (1864-1942), a humble servant who becomes a gifted self-taught painter. Discovered by prominent critic and collector William Uhde, she came to prominence between the wars grouped with other naïve painters like Henri Rousseau only to descend into madness and obscurity with the onset of the Great Depression and World War II. (Music Box Films)
Metascore:
84
User Score:
7.5
The Cove 18.

The Cove

Release Date: July 31, 2009
In this pulse-pounding eco-thriller, a crack team of divers, activists and special effects experts infiltrate a secret cove in Japan to expose one of history's most shocking and unimaginable crimes against nature. Winner of the Audience Award at this year's Sundance Film Festival, 'The Cove' is sure to be one of the most talked about films of the summer. (Roadside Attractions)
Metascore:
84
User Score:
8.2
Crazy Heart 19.

Crazy Heart

Release Date: December 16, 2009
Bad Blake is a broken-down, hard-living country music singer who's had way too many marriages, far too many years on the road and one too many drinks way too many times. And yet, Bad can’t help but reach for salvation with the help of Jean, a journalist who discovers the real man behind the musician. As he struggles down the road of redemption, Bad learns the hard way just how tough life can be on one man’s crazy heart. [Fox Searchlight]
Metascore:
83
User Score:
7.5
Avatar 20.

Avatar

Release Date: December 18, 2009
Jake Sully is a former Marine confined to a wheelchair. But despite his broken body, Jake is still a warrior at heart. He is recruited to travel light years to the human outpost on Pandora, where a corporate consortium is mining a rare mineral that is the key to solving Earth's energy crisis. Because Pandora's atmosphere is toxic, they have created the Avatar Program, in which human "drivers" have their consciousness linked to an avatar, a remotely-controlled biological body that can survive in the lethal air. These avatars are genetically engineered hybrids of human DNA mixed with DNA from the natives of Pandora... the Na'vi. Reborn in his avatar form, Jake can walk again. He is given a mission to infiltrate the Na'vi, who have become a major obstacle to mining the precious ore. But a beautiful Na'vi female, Neytiri, saves Jake's life, and this changes everything. Jake is taken in by her clan, and learns to become one of them, which involves many tests and adventures. As Jake's relationship with his reluctant teacher Neytiri deepens, he learns to respect the Na'vi way and finally takes his place among them. Soon he will face the ultimate test as he leads them in an epic battle that will decide the fate of an entire world. (20th Century Fox)
Metascore:
83
User Score:
7.5
Fantastic Mr. Fox 21.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

Release Date: November 13, 2009
Mr. and Mrs. Fox live an idyllic home life with their son Ash and visiting young nephew Kristopherson. But after 12 years, the bucolic existence proves too much for Mr Fox’s wild animal instincts. Soon he slips back into his old ways as a sneaky chicken thief and in doing so, endangers not only his beloved family, but the whole animal community. Trapped underground and with not enough food to go around, the animals band together to fight against the evil Farmers - Boggis, Bunce and Bean - who are determined to capture the audacious, fantastic Mr. Fox at any cost. [20th Century Fox]
Metascore:
83
User Score:
8.3
In the Loop 22.

In the Loop

Release Date: July 24, 2009
Not Rated
With razor-sharp, truly laugh-out-loud dialogue the film pokes fun at the absurdity and ineptitude of our highest leaders. With everyone looking out for number one, and the fate of the free world at stake (but apparently incidental), the hilarious ensemble cast of characters bumbles its way through Machiavellian political dealings, across continents, and toward comic resolutions that are unforeseeable. (IFC Films)
Metascore:
83
User Score:
7.9
Taxidermia 23.

Taxidermia

Release Date: August 14, 2009
Not Rated
Taxidermia contains three generational stories, about a grandfather, a father, and a son, linked together by recurring motifs. The dim grandfather, an orderly during World War Two, lives in his bizarre fantasies; he desires love. The huge father seeks success as a top athlete — a speed eater — in the post-war pro-Soviet era. The grandson, a meek, small-boned taxidermist, yearns for something greater: immortality. He wants to create the most perfect work of art of all time by stuffing his own torso. (Regent Releasing)
Metascore:
83
User Score:
7.5
Drag Me to Hell 24.

Drag Me to Hell

Release Date: May 29, 2009
Christine Brown is an ambitious L.A. loan officer. Life is good until the mysterious Mrs. Ganush arrives at the bank to beg for an extension on her home loan. Should Christine follow her instincts and give the old woman a break? Or should she deny the extension to impress her boss, Mr. Jacks, and get a leg-up on a promotion? Christine fatefully chooses the latter, shaming Mrs. Ganush and dispossessing her of her home. In retaliation, the old woman places the powerful curse of the Lamia on Christine, transforming her life into a living hell. Haunted by an evil spirit, she seeks the aid of seer Rham Jas to save her soul from eternal damnation. As evil forces close in, Christine must face the unthinkable: how far will she go to break free of the curse? (Universal Pictures)
Metascore:
83
User Score:
7.9
Up in the Air 25.

Up in the Air

Release Date: December 4, 2009
Ryan Bingham is a corporate downsizing expert whose cherished life on the road is threatened just as he is on the cusp of reaching ten million frequent flyer miles and after he’s met the frequent-traveler woman of his dreams. (Paramount Pictures)
Metascore:
83
User Score:
7.4
Tyson 26.

Tyson

Release Date: April 24, 2009
Tyson is acclaimed indie director James Toback's stylistically inventive portrait of a mesmerizing Mike Tyson. Toback allows Tyson to reveal himself without inhibition and with eloquence and a pervasive vulnerability. Through a mixture of original interviews and archival footage and photographs, a startlingly complex, fully-rounded human being emerges. The film ranges from Tyson’s earliest memories of growing up on the mean streets of Brooklyn through his entry into the world of boxing, to his roller coaster ride in the fun house of worldwide fame and fortunes won and lost. It is the story of a legendary and uniquely controversial international athletic icon, a figure conjuring radical questions of race and class. In its depiction of a man rising from the most debased circumstances to unlimited heights, destroyed by his own hubris, Tyson emerges as a modern day version of classic Greek tragedy. (Sony Classics)
Metascore:
83
User Score:
8.2
Sugar 27.

Sugar

Release Date: April 3, 2009
Sugar follows the story of Miguel Santos, a.k.a. Sugar, a Dominican pitcher from San Pedro De Macorís, struggling to make it to the big leagues and pull himself and his family out of poverty. Playing professionally at a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic, Miguel finally gets his break at age 19 when he advances to the United States’ minor league system; but when his play on the mound falters, he begins to question the single-mindedness of his life’s ambition. (Sony Pictures Classics)
Metascore:
82
User Score:
7.8
Star Trek 28.

Star Trek

Release Date: May 7, 2009
The greatest adventure of all time begins with Star Trek, the incredible story of a young crew's maiden voyage onboard the most advanced starship ever created: the U.S.S. Enterprise. On a journey filled with action, comedy and cosmic peril, the new recruits must find a way to stop an evil being whose mission of vengeance threatens all of mankind. The fate of the galaxy rests in the hands of bitter rivals. One, James T. Kirk, is a delinquent, thrill-seeking Iowa farm boy. The other, Spock, was raised in a logic-based society that rejects all emotion. As fiery instinct clashes with calm reason, their unlikely but powerful partnership is the only thing capable of leading their crew through unimaginable danger, boldly going where no one has gone before! [Paramount]
Metascore:
82
User Score:
7.9
Anvil! The Story of Anvil 29.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

Release Date: April 10, 2009
Unrated
At 14, Toronto school friends Steve "Lips" Kudlow and Robb Reiner made a pact to rock together forever. They meant it. Their band, Anvil, went on to become the "demigods of Canadian metal," releasing one of the heaviest albums in metal history, 1982 Metal on Metal. The album influenced a musical generation, including Metallica, Slayer and Anthrax, that went on to sell millions of records. But Anvil's career took a different path, straight into obscurity. (Abramorama Films)
Metascore:
82
User Score:
8.3
The White Ribbon 30.

The White Ribbon

Release Date: December 30, 2009
A village in Protestant northern Germany. 1913-1914. On the eve of World War I. The story of the children and teenagers of a choir run by the village schoolteacher, and their families: the baron, the steward, the pastor, the doctor, the midwife, the tenant farmers. Strange accidents occur and gradually take on the character of a punishment ritual. Who is behind it all? The village schoolteacher observes, investigates and little by little discovers the incredible truth. Are we being asked to consider whether these events heralded something that would explode years later with the rise of Nazi Germany? Did these events contain the germs of the tragedies that followed? (Sony Classics)
Metascore:
82
User Score:
8.0
Burma VJ: Reporter i et lukket land 31.

Burma VJ: Reporter i et lukket land

Release Date: May 20, 2009
Unrated
While 100,000 people (including 1,000s of Buddhist monks) took to the streets to protest the country's repressive regime that has held them hostage for over 40 years, foreign news crews were banned to enter and the Internet was shut down. The Democratic Voice of Burma, a collective of 30 anonymous and underground video journalists (VJs) recorded these historic and dramatic events on handycams and smuggled the footage out of the country, where it was broadcast worldwide via satellite. Risking torture and life imprisonment, the VJs vividly document the brutal clashes with the military and undercover police – even after they themselves become targets of the authorities. (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
Metascore:
82
User Score:
8.4
The Maid 32.

The Maid

Release Date: October 16, 2009
Not Rated
The Maid is an insightful comedic drama about family, class and self-discovery. (Elephant Eye Films)
Metascore:
82
User Score:
8.4
The Damned United 33.

The Damned United

Release Date: October 9, 2009
Set in 1960’s and 1970’s England, The Damned United tells the confrontational and darkly humorous story of Brian Clough’s doomed 44 day tenure as manager of the reigning champions of English football Leeds United. Previously managed by his bitter rival Don Revie, and on the back of their most successful period ever as a football club, Leeds was perceived by many to represent a new aggressive and cynical style of football - an anathema to the principled yet flamboyant Brian Clough, who had achieved astonishing success as manager of Hartlepool and Derby County building teams in his own vision with trusty lieutenant Peter Taylor. Taking the Leeds job without Taylor by his side, with a changing room full of what in his mind were still Don’s boys, would lead to an unheralded examination of Clough’s belligerence and brilliance over 44 days. This is that story. The story of The Damned United. (Sony Pictures Classics)
Metascore:
81
User Score:
8.4
Katyn 34.

Katyn

Release Date: February 18, 2009
Not Rated
In 1941, during their march on Moscow, the Nazis discovered the mass graves of 22,00 Polish intellectuals, clergy and officers. Katyn is the story of Joseph Stalin's order to execute these people.
Metascore:
81
User Score:
7.2
Bright Star 35.

Bright Star

Release Date: September 16, 2009
London 1818: a secret love affair begins between 23 year old English poet, John Keats, and the girl next door, Fanny Brawne, and outspoken student of fashion. This unlikely pair started at odds, he thinking her a stylish minx, she unimpressed by literature in general. It was the illness of Keats' younger brother that drew them together. Keats was touched by Fanny's efforts to help and agreed to teach her poetry. By the time Fanny's alarmed mother and Keats' best friend Brown realized their attachment, the relationship had an unstoppable momentum. Intensely and helplessly absorbed in each other, the young lovers were swept into powerful new sensation, "I have the feeling as if I were dissolving," Keats wrote her. Together they rode a wave of romantic obsession that deepened as their troubles mounted. Only Keats' illness proved insurmountable. (Apparition)
Metascore:
81
User Score:
7.2
The Headless Woman 36.

The Headless Woman

Release Date: August 19, 2009
Unrated
A mysterious and intriguing tale of a woman who may have killed someone or something while driving on a dirt road. Dazed and confused, she tries to piece together what happened, while her husband systematically tries to erase her tracks. (Strand Releasing)
Metascore:
81
User Score:
6.8
Il Divo 37.

Il Divo

Release Date: April 24, 2009
Not Rated
In Rome, at dawn, when everyone is sleeping, one man is awake. That man is Giulio Andreotti. He's awake because he has to work, write books, move in fashionable circles and, last but not least, pray. Calm, crafty and inscrutable, Andreotti is synonym of power in Italy for over four decades. At the beginning of the Nineties, this impassive yet insinuating, ambiguous yet reassuring figure appears set to assume his seventh mandate as Prime Minister without arrogance and without humility. Approaching seventy, Andreotti is a gerontocrat who, with all the attributes of God, is afraid of no one and does not know the meaning of awe, since he is accustomed to seeing it stamped on the faces of all his interlocutors. His satisfaction is muted, impalpable. For him, satisfaction is power, with which he has a symbiotic relationship. Power the way he likes it. Unwavering and immutable, from the outset. He emerges unscathed from everything: electoral battles, terrorist massacres, slanderous accusations. He is untouched by it all, unchanging. Until the strongest counter power in Italy, the Mafia, declares war on him. Then things change. Perhaps even for the enigmatic, immortal Andreotti. But the question is: do they really change or only appear to? We can be sure of one thing: it is difficult to tarnish Andreotti, the man who knows the ways of the world better than any of us. [Music Box Films]
Metascore:
81
User Score:
7.1
Police, Adjective 38.

Police, Adjective

Release Date: December 23, 2009
Not Rated
Cristi is a young undercover cop who undergoes a crisis of conscience when he is pressured to arrest a teenager who offers hash to classmates. Not wanting to ruin the life of a young man he considers merely irresponsible, Cristi must either allow the arrest to be a burden on his conscience, or face censure by his self-serious superior, for whom the word “conscience” has an entirely different meaning. (IFC Films)
Metascore:
81
User Score:
6.1
Of Time and the City 39.

Of Time and the City

Release Date: January 21, 2009
Not Rated
From the original voice of the great British auteur, Terence Davies, comes a visual poem which draws upon the first 28 years of the director's life in Liverpool until he left in 1973. "Cut it as if it were fiction," Davies says, with "images which speak" and a layered sound track of popular and classical music, voices, radio clips and a powerful, poignant voiceover by Mr. Davies. Of Time and The City is a very personal portrait of Liverpool, beyond its Beatles and its football clubs, the home of the writer’s birth, where youth and inspiration weave his own story into the recent history of the City with fascinating found footage and counterpointed sound. (Strand Releasing)
Metascore:
81
User Score:
5.9
District 9 40.

District 9

Release Date: August 14, 2009
Over twenty years ago, aliens made first contact with Earth. Humans waited for the hostile attack, or the giant advances in technology. Neither came. Instead, the aliens were refugees, the last survivors of their home world. The creatures were set up in a makeshift home in South Africa’s District 9 as the world’s nations argued over what to do with them. Now, patience over the alien situation has run out. The tension between the aliens and the humans comes to a head when a human field operative, Wikus van der Merwe, contracts a mysterious virus that begins changing his DNA. Wikus quickly becomes the most hunted man in the world, as well as the most valuable – he is the key to unlocking the secrets of alien technology. Ostracized and friendless, there is only one place left for him to hide: District 9. [Sony Pictures]
Metascore:
81
User Score:
8.1
You, the Living 41.

You, the Living

Release Date: July 29, 2009
Not Rated
You, the Living is a film about humankind, its greatness and its baseness, joy and sorrow, its self-confidence and anxiety, its desire to love and be loved. [Palisades Tartan]
Metascore:
81
User Score:
7.2
Food, Inc. 42.

Food, Inc.

Release Date: June 12, 2009
In Food, Inc., filmmaker Robert Kenner lifts the veil on our nation's food industry, exposing the highly mechanized underbelly that's been hidden from the American consumer with the consent of our government's regulatory agencies, USDA and FDA. Our nation's food supply is now controlled by a handful of corporations that often put profit ahead of consumer health, the livelihood of the American farmer, the safety of workers and our own environment. We have bigger-breasted chickens, the perfect pork chop, insecticide-resistant soybean seeds, even tomatoes that won't go bad, but we also have new strains of e coli--the harmful bacteria that causes illness for an estimated 73,000 Americans annually. We are riddled with widespread obesity, particularly among children, and an epidemic level of diabetes among adults Featuring interviews with such experts as Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation), Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma) along with forward thinking social entrepreneurs like Stonyfield Farm's Gary Hirshberg and Polyface Farms' Joe Salatin, Food, Inc. reveals surprising -- and often shocking truths -- about what we eat, how it's produced, who we have become as a nation and where we are going from here. (Magnolia Pictures)
Metascore:
80
User Score:
8.2
Everlasting Moments 43.

Everlasting Moments

Release Date: March 6, 2009
Unrated
Sweden, early 1900s. In a time of social change and unrest, war and poverty, a young working class woman, Maria, wins a camera in a lottery. The decision to keep it alters her whole life. The camera grants Maria new eyes with which to see the world, and brings the charming photographer "Piff Paff Puff" into her life. Trouble ensues when Maria's alcoholic, womanizing husband, feels threatened by the young man and his wife's newfound outlook on life. (IFC Films)
Metascore:
80
User Score:
7.4
Coraline 44.

Coraline

Release Date: February 6, 2009
A young girl walks through a secret door in her new home and discovers an alternate version of her life. On the surface, this parallel reality is eerily similar to her real life - only much better. But when this wondrously off-kilter, fantastical adventure turns dangerous, and her counterfeit parents (including Other Mother) try to keep her forever, Coraline must count on her resourcefulness, determination, and bravery to get back home - and save her family.m (Focus Features)
Metascore:
80
User Score:
8.4
Tokyo Sonata 45.

Tokyo Sonata

Release Date: March 13, 2009
Tokyo Sonata is a portrait of a seemingly ordinary Japanese family. The father who abruptly loses his job conceals the truth from his family; the eldest son in college hardly returns home; the youngest son furtively takes piano lessons without telling his parents; and the mother, who knows deep down that her role is to keep the family together, cannot find the will to do so. From the exterior, all is normal and the same. But somehow, a single, unforeseeable chasm has appeared within the family, threatening to disintegrate them. Director Kurosawa’s use of light and dark to express a sense of simultaneous hope and horror verges on awe-inspiring and the ending will leave you enthralled. [Regent Releasing]
Metascore:
80
User Score:
8.3
Lorna's Silence 46.

Lorna's Silence

Release Date: July 31, 2009
The destiny of a woman caught between love and the law of the underworld. Lorna, a young Albanian woman living in Belgium, has her sights set on opening a snack bar with her boyfriend, Sokol. In order to do so, she becomes an accomplice in a diabolical plan devised by mobster Fabio. Fabio has set up a false marriage between Lorna and Claudy allowing Lorna to get her Belgian citizenship. However, she is then asked to marry a Russian mafioso who's ready to pay hard cash to also get his hands on those vital Belgian identity papers. Fabio intends to kill Claudy in order to speed up the second marriage. But will Lorna remain silent? [Sony Pictures Classics]
Metascore:
80
User Score:
6.9
Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire 47.

Precious: Based on the Novel 'Push' by Sapphire

Release Date: November 6, 2009
Set in Harlem in 1987, it is the story of Claireece “Precious” Jones, a sixteen-year-old African-American girl born into a life no one would want. She’s pregnant for the second time by her absent father; at home, she must wait hand and foot on her mother, a poisonously angry woman who abuses her emotionally and physically. School is a place of chaos, and Precious has reached the ninth grade with good marks and an awful secret: she can neither read nor write. Precious may sometimes be down, but she is never out. Beneath her impassive expression is a watchful, curious young woman with an inchoate but unshakeable sense that other possibilities exist for her. Threatened with expulsion, Precious is offered the chance to transfer to an alternative school, Each One/Teach One. Precious doesn’t know the meaning of “alternative,” but her instincts tell her this is the chance she has been waiting for. Precious begins a journey that will lead her from darkness, pain and powerlessness to light, love and self-determination. (Lionsgate)
Metascore:
79
User Score:
8.0
A Serious Man 48.

A Serious Man

Release Date: October 2, 2009
A Serious Man is the story of an ordinary man’s search for clarity in a universe where Jefferson Airplane is on the radio and F-Troop is on TV. It is 1967, and Larry Gopnik, a physics professor at a quiet Midwestern university, has just been informed by his wife Judith that she is leaving him. She has fallen in love with one of his more pompous acquaintances, Sy Ableman, who seems to her a more substantial person than the feckless Larry. Larry’s unemployable brother Arthur is sleeping on the couch, his son Danny is a discipline problem and a shirker at Hebrew school, and his daughter Sarah is filching money from his wallet in order to save up for a nose job. Struggling for equilibrium, Larry seeks advice from three different rabbis. Can anyone help him cope with his afflictions and become a righteous person – a mensch – a serious man? (Focus Features)
Metascore:
79
User Score:
6.8
Silent Light 49.

Silent Light

Release Date: January 7, 2009
Not Rated
Johan and his family are Mennonites from the north of Mexico. Against the law of God and man, Johan falls in love with another woman. (Bac Films)
Metascore:
79
User Score:
7.6
The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story 50.

The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story

Release Date: May 22, 2009
The Boys: The Sherman Brothers' Story is an intimate journey through the lives of Robert B. Sherman and Richard M. Sherman, the astoundingly prolific, Academy Award-winning songwriting team that defined family musical entertainment for five decades. The feature-length documentary, conceived produced and directed by two of the songwriter' sons, takes audiences behind the scene of the Hollywood magic factory and offers a rare glimpse of a unique creative process at work. It also explores a deep and longstanding rift that has kept the brothers personally estranged throughout much of their unparalleled professional partnership. (Walt Disney Pictures)
Metascore:
78
User Score:
6.9
O'Horten 51.

O'Horten

Release Date: May 22, 2009
The moment the train leaves the station without engineer Odd Horten aboard, he realizes that the path ahead is a journey without printed timetables and well-known stations. Horten has been forced to retire after 40 years of traveling a very stable rail, and the platform does not feel like a safe place anymore. His orderly, solitary existence is about to give way to a future of unlikely adventures and puzzling dilemmas: will Horten ever travel by plane? Will he finally sell his prized boat? How does Horten end up in a pair of women's red high-heeled shoes? Will he survive a nighttime drive with a blindfolded man at the wheel? Proof positive that there is humor to be found in aging, and we don't have to be elderly Norwegians to identify, laugh and embrace life in all its idiosyncratic splendor. O’Horten is Bent Hamer's wonderfully skewed view of the human condition and gives us that somewhat absurdist vision with great warmth, a little melancholy and universal appeal. (Sony Pictures Classics)
Metascore:
78
User Score:
7.2
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince 52.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Release Date: July 15, 2009
Voldemort is tightening his grip on both the Muggle and wizarding worlds and Hogwarts is no longer the safe haven it once was. Harry suspects that dangers may even lie within the castle, but Dumbledore is more intent upon preparing him for the final battle that he knows is fast approaching. Together they work to find the key to unlock Voldemort's defenses and, to this end, Dumbledore recruits his old friend and colleague, the well-connected and unsuspecting bon vivant Professor Horace Slughorn, whom he believes holds crucial information. Meanwhile, one student remains aloof. He is determined to make his mark, albeit a dark one. Love is in the air, but tragedy lies ahead and Hogwarts may never be the same again. (Warner Bros.)
Metascore:
78
User Score:
7.2
Afghan Star 53.

Afghan Star

Release Date: June 26, 2009
Unrated
After 30 years of Taliban and wartime rule, pop culture is creeping back into Afghanistan in the form of Afghan Star, an enormously popular American Idol–type contest. Filmmaker Havana Marking follows the dramatic stories of four of the contestants over three months, from regional auditions to the finals in Kabul, giving us a new, and more human, look at this troubled part of the world. (Zeitgeist Films)
Metascore:
78
User Score:
7.6
Red Riding Trilogy 54.

Red Riding Trilogy

Release Date: March 3, 2009
Not Rated
Sure to be one of the cinematic events of the year, Red Riding is a mesmerizing neo-noir epic based on factual events and adapted for the screen by Tony Grisoni from David Peace's electrifying series of novels. An official selection of the Telluride, New York, Chicago and AFI Festivals, and acclaimed by critics an eminent accomplishment, the trilogy follows several characters in intertwining storylines united by the horror wrought by the "Yorkshire Ripper," a serial killer who terrorized northwest England in the 1970s and '80s. The three films are directed by three notable filmmakers and each boasts a stellar British cast that includes Andrew Garfield. (IFC Films)
Metascore:
77
User Score:
7.1
A Single Man 55.

A Single Man

Release Date: December 11, 2009
Set in Los Angeles in 1962, at the height of the Cuban missile crisis, A Single Man, is the story of George Falconer, a 52 year old British college professor who is struggling to find meaning to his life after the death of his long time partner, Jim. George dwells on the past and cannot see his future as we follow him through a single day, where a series of events and encounters, ultimately leads him to decide if there is a meaning to life after Jim. George is consoled by his closest friend Charley, a 48 year old beauty who is wrestling with her own questions about the future. A young student of George’s, Kenny, who is coming to terms with his true nature, stalks George as he feels in him a kindred spirit. (The Weinstein Company)
Metascore:
77
User Score:
8.3
The Messenger 56.

The Messenger

Release Date: November 13, 2009
In his first leading role, Foster stars as Will Montgomery, a U.S. Army officer who has just returned home from a tour in Iraq and is assigned to the Army’s Casualty Notification service. Partnered with fellow officer Tony Stone to bear the bad news to the loved ones of fallen soldiers, Will faces the challenge of completing his mission while seeking to find comfort and healing back on the home front. When he finds himself drawn to Olivia, to whom he has just delivered the news of her husband's death, Will’s emotional detachment begins to dissolve and the film reveals itself as a surprising, humorous, moving and very human portrait of grief, friendship and survival. (Oscillscope Laboratories)
Metascore:
77
User Score:
7.6
Under the Sea 3D 57.

Under the Sea 3D

Release Date: February 13, 2009
Under the Sea 3D, a new IMAX adventure, transports moviegoers to some of the most exotic and isolated undersea locations on Earth, including Southern Australia, New Guinea and others in the Indo-Pacific region, allowing them to experience face-to-face encounters with some of the most mysterious and stunning creatures of the sea. It offers a uniquely inspirational and entertaining way to explore the beauty and natural wonder of the oceans, as well as the impact of global climate change. In IMAX 3D, the images will literally leap off the screen and float around the theatre, putting the audience in the movie. (Warner Bros.)
Metascore:
77
User Score:
6.2
Sin Nombre 58.

Sin Nombre

Release Date: March 20, 2009
Seeking the promise of America, a beautiful young Honduran woman, Sayra, joins her father and uncle on an odyssey to cross the gauntlet of the Latin American countryside en route to the United States. Along the way she crosses paths with a teenage Mexican gang member, El Casper, who is maneuvering to outrun his violent past and elude his unforgiving former associates. Together they must rely on faith, trust and street smarts if they are to survive their increasingly perilous journey towards the hope of new lives. (Focus Features)
Metascore:
77
User Score:
8.1
Somers Town 59.

Somers Town

Release Date: July 15, 2009
Not Rated
Tomo is a troubled young lad who runs away to London. There he meets Marek, a shy Polish teenager who shares a small flat with his laborer father in a rundown area. When Marek agrees to let Tomo stay with them, unbeknownst to his father, the pair form a strong bond as they work odd jobs for an eccentric neighbor and compete for the attention of Maria, a beautiful French waitress, and try to avoid discovery by Marek's father. (Film Movement)
Metascore:
77
User Score:
6.8
Service (Serbis) 60.

Service (Serbis)

Release Date: January 30, 2009
The Pineda family operates and lives in a run-down movie house that shows dated sexy double-feature films. As they go about their daily activities, we get a glimpse of how the family suffers and deals with each other’s sins and vices. Preoccupied with their own personal demons, they are unmindful that inside their movie theater another kind of business is going on between the “serbis” boys and the gay patrons. [Regent Releasing]
Metascore:
76
User Score:
7.2
Broken Embraces 61.

Broken Embraces

Release Date: November 20, 2009
A man writes, lives and loves in darkness. Fourteen years before, he was in a brutal car crash on the island of Lanzarote. In the accident, he not only lost his sight, he also lost Lena, the love of his life. One night when he's asked about his life before the accident, the man can't refuse the chance to tell his story. (Sony Classics)
Metascore:
76
User Score:
7.3
Adventureland 62.

Adventureland

Release Date: April 3, 2009
It's the summer of 1987, and James Brennan , an uptight recent college grad, can't wait to embark on his dream tour of Europe. But when his parents announce they can no longer subsidize his trip, James has little choice but to take a lowly job at a local amusement park. Forget about German beer, world-famous museums and cute French girls -- James' summer will now be populated by belligerent dads, stuffed pandas, and screaming kids high on cotton candy. Lucky for James, what should have been his worst summer ever turns into quite an adventure as he discovers love in the most unlikely place with his captivating co-worker Em, and learns to loosen up. (Miramax Films)
Metascore:
76
User Score:
7.3
Every Little Step 63.

Every Little Step

Release Date: April 17, 2009
Every Little Step explores the incredible journey of A Chorus Line from ambitious idea to international phenomenon. It compares and contrasts the original musical with the current revival. It investigates the societies in which they’ve debuted, and why the themes are so timeless and universal. Finally, it goes behind the scenes with exclusive interviews and footage of the revival’s audition process, revealing the dramatic journey of the performers, and unfolding a story of life imitating art. (Sony Pictures Classics)
Metascore:
76
User Score:
7.6
The Baader Meinhof Complex 64.

The Baader Meinhof Complex

Release Date: August 21, 2009
Germany in the 1970s: Murderous bomb attacks, the threat of terrorism and the fear of the enemy inside are rocking the very foundations of the still fragile German democracy. The radicalised children of the Nazi generation led by Andreas Baader, Ulrike Meinhof and Gudrun Ensslin are fighting a violent war against what they perceive as the new face of fascism: American imperialism supported by the German establishment, many of whom have a Nazi past. Their aim is to create a more human society but by employing inhuman means they not only spread terror and bloodshed, they also lose their own humanity. The man who understands them is also their hunter: the head of the German police force Horst Herold. And while he succeeds in his relentless pursuit of the young terrorists, he knows he’s only dealing with the tip of the iceberg. (Vitagraph Films)
Metascore:
76
User Score:
7.6
Soul Power 65.

Soul Power

Release Date: July 10, 2009
In 1974, the most celebrated American R&B acts of the time came together with the most renowned musical groups in Africa for a 12-hour, three-night long concert held in Kinshasa, Zaire. The dream-child of Hugh Masekela and Stewart Levine, this music festival became a reality when they convinced boxing promoter Don King to combine the event with “The Rumble in the Jungle,” the epic fight between Muhammad Ali and George Foreman, previously chronicled in the Academy Award-winning documentary When We Were Kings. (Sony Classics)
Metascore:
76
User Score:
tbd
The Last Station 66.

The Last Station

Release Date: December 4, 2009
After almost fifty years of marriage, the Countess Sofya, Leo Tolstoy’s devoted wife, passionate lover, muse and secretary—she’s copied out War and Peace six times…by hand!—suddenly finds her entire world turned upside down. In the name of his newly created religion, the great Russian novelist has renounced his noble title, his property and even his family in favor of poverty, vegetarianism and even celibacy. After she’s born him thirteen children! When Sofya then discovers that Tolstoy’s trusted disciple, Chertkov—whom she despises—may have secretly convinced her husband to sign a new will, leaving the rights to his iconic novels to the Russian people rather than his very own family, she is consumed by righteous outrage. This is the last straw. Using every bit of cunning, every trick of seduction in her considerable arsenal, she fights fiercely for what she believes is rightfully hers. The more extreme her behavior becomes, however, the more easily Chertkov is able to persuade Tolstoy of the damage she will do to his glorious legacy. (Sony Picture Classics)
Metascore:
76
User Score:
7.7
(500) Days of Summer 67.

(500) Days of Summer

Release Date: July 17, 2009
This is a story of boy meets girl, begins the wry, probing narrator of 500 Days of Summer, and with that the film takes off at breakneck speed into a funny, true to life and unique dissection of the unruly and unpredictable year-and-a-half of one young man’s no-holds-barred love affair.
Metascore:
76
User Score:
8.1
Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation! 68.

Not Quite Hollywood: The Wild, Untold Story of Ozploitation!

Release Date: July 31, 2009
Not Quite Hollywood is the wild, wonderful, untold story of “Ozploitation” films. It irreverently documents an era when Australian cinema got its gear off and showed the world a full-frontal explosion of sex, violence, horror and foot-to-the-floor action. Free-wheeling sex romps! Blood-soaked terror tales! High-octane action extravaganzas! They’re the main ingredients of NOT QUITE HOLLYWOOD, the first detailed examination and celebration of Australian genre cinema of the 70s and 80s. In 1971, with the introduction of the R-certificate, Australia’s censorship regime went from repressive to progressive virtually overnight. This cultural explosion gave birth to art house classics, such as PICNIC AT HANGING ROCK and MY BRILLIANT CAREER, but also spawned a group of demon-children: maverick filmmakers who braved assault from all quarters to bring films like ALVIN PURPLE, THE MAN FROM HONG KONG, PATRICK, TURKEY SHOOT and MAD MAX to the big screen. As explicit, violent and energetic as their northern cousins, Aussie genre movies presented a unique take on established conventions. In England, Italy and the grind houses and drive-ins of America, audiences applauded Australian homegrown marauding “rev heads” with brutish cars, spunky well-stacked heroines and stunts - unparalleled in their quality and extreme danger. Full of outrageous anecdotes, a large cast of local and International names and a genuine, infectious love of Australian movies, Not Quite Hollywood is a fast-moving journey through an unjustly forgotten cinematic era. (Magnolia)
Metascore:
76
User Score:
8.2
The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers 69.

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

Release Date: September 16, 2009
Not Rated
During the Vietnam War, an unassuming man named Daniel Ellsberg made a judgment call that would ignite a political controversy. He leaked top secret documents known as "The Pentagon Papers" in hopes of exposing the American public to the truth about the war.
Metascore:
75
User Score:
7.6
24 City 70.

24 City

Release Date: June 5, 2009
Not Rated
24 City chronicles the dramatic and thunderous fall of a State-owned munitions factory and its conversion into a luxury high-rise apartment complex. Artfully composed, rich in offbeat details, and punctuated with pop songs, 24 City weaves together the stories of three generations of factory workers (some real, some played by actors) into a fascinating oral history of post-revolutionary China and bracing meditation on the massive physical and psychological changes transforming the country. (The Cinema Guild)
Metascore:
75
User Score:
8.5
Crude 71.

Crude

Release Date: September 9, 2009
Unrated
Three years in the making, this riveting new documentary from acclaimed filmmaker Joe Berlinger (Brother's Keeper, Paradise Lost, Metallica: Some Kind of Monster) tells the epic story of one of the largest and most controversial legal cases on the planet. An inside look at the infamous $27 billion "Amazon Chernobyl" case, Crude is a real-life, high stakes legal drama involving global politics, the environmental movement, celebrity activism, human rights advocacy, multinational corporate power, and the fate of disappearing indigenous cultures. (First Run Features)
Metascore:
75
User Score:
7.0
That Evening Sun 72.

That Evening Sun

Release Date: November 6, 2009
Abner Meecham flees a nursing facility and returns to his Tennessee farm, only to discover his son has leased his farm to his old foe, Lonzo Choat. The two men end up in a grudge match, claiming their right to the land. (Freestyle Releasing)
Metascore:
75
User Score:
6.6
Treeless Mountain 73.

Treeless Mountain

Release Date: April 22, 2009
Not Rated
When their mother needs to leave in order to find their estranged father, seven year-old Jin and her younger sister, Bin, are left to live with their Big Aunt for the summer. With only a small piggy bank and their mother's promise to return when it is full, the two young girls are forced to acclimate to changes in their family life. Counting the days, and the coins, the two bright-eyed young girls eagerly anticipate their mother's homecoming. But when the bank fills up, and with their mother still not back, Big Aunt decides that she can no longer tend to the children. Taken to live on their grandparents' farm, it is here that Jin comes to learn the importance of family bonds. [Oscilloscope Laboratories]
Metascore:
75
User Score:
7.6
Must Read After My Death 74.

Must Read After My Death

Release Date: February 20, 2009
Not Rated
When a Hartford couple turns to psychiatry for help with their marriage in 1960, things quickly spiral out of control. Couples counseling, individual and group therapy and 24-hour marathon sessions ensue. Their four children suffer and are given their own psychiatrists. Pills are prescribed, people are institutionalized, shock-therapy is administered. This is an intimate story in the family’s own words, from an extraordinary collection of audio recordings and home movies, illuminating a difficult and extraordinary time. (Gigantic Releasing)
Metascore:
75
User Score:
7.4
Humpday 75.

Humpday

Release Date: July 10, 2009
It’s been a decade since Ben and Andrew were the bad boys of their college campus. Ben has settled down and found a job, wife, and home. Andrew took the alternate route as a vagabond artist, skipping the globe from Chiapas to Cambodia. When Andrew shows up unannounced on Ben’s doorstep, they easily fall back into their old dynamic of macho one-upmanship. Late into the night at a wild party, the two find themselves locked in a mutual dare: to enter an amateur porn contest together. But what kind of boundary-breaking, envelope pushing porn can two straight dudes make? After the booze and “big talk” run out, only one idea remains—they will have sex together…on camera. It’s not gay; it’s beyond gay. It’s not porn; it’s art. But how exactly will it work? And more importantly, who will tell Anna, Ben’s wife? Writer/director Lynn Shelton, director of My Effortless Brilliance and recipient of the “Someone to Watch Award” at the 2009 Independent Spirit Awards, expertly mines the biggest ironies of the male ego to hilarious effect. Humpday is a buddy movie gone wild. (Magnolia Pictures)
Metascore:
74
User Score:
6.8
A Woman in Berlin 76.

A Woman in Berlin

Release Date: July 17, 2009
Unrated
Set in 1945 during the Red Army invasion of Berlin. Women are victims of rape and devastation; one of them is Anonyma , who had been a journalist and photographer. In her desperation, she decides to look for an officer who can protect her. She meets a Russian officer Andrej - an encounter which develops into a complex symbiotic relationship that forces them to remain enemies until the bitter end. (Strand Releasing)
Metascore:
74
User Score:
7.1
Flame and Citron 77.

Flame and Citron

Release Date: July 31, 2009
Unrated
Based on true events and developed from eyewitness accounts during World War II, Ole Christian Madsen's political thriller Flame & Citron is an ultra-stylized and remarkable spy noir about the murky moral complexities of wartime. Copenhagen, 1944. World War II is entering its final stretch in Europe. Denmark is occupied by Nazi Germany. Two resistance fighters nicknamed Flame and Citron become heroes of the underground dealing violently with traitors to their cause. When the pair is sent to execute Flame's lover Ketty, the line between ally and enemy is blurred forcing them to determine their own orders which starts with killing the much hated and feared chief of the Gestapo - Karl Heinz Hoffman. Variety's Todd McCarthy calls it, "Absorbing...accomplished. More than enough dark turns and unsettling moods to justify the comparison to Melville's ARMY OF SHADOWS." (IFC Films)
Metascore:
74
User Score:
8.5
Invictus 78.

Invictus

Release Date: December 11, 2009
Newly elected President Mandela knows his nation remains racially and economically divided in the wake of apartheid. Believing he can bring his people together through the universal language of sport, Mandela rallies South Africa's underdog rugby team as they make an unlikely run to the 1995 World Cup Championship match. (Warner Bros.)
Metascore:
74
User Score:
7.2
Herb & Dorothy 79.

Herb & Dorothy

Release Date: June 5, 2009
Not Rated
Herb and Dorothy Vogel redefine what it means to be an art collector.
Metascore:
74
User Score:
tbd
Two Lovers 80.

Two Lovers

Release Date: February 13, 2009
Leonard is a charismatic but troubled young man who moves back into his childhood home following a recent heartbreak. While recovering under the watchful eye of his parents, Leonard meets two women in quick succession: Michelle, a mysterious and beautiful neighbor who is exotic and out-of-place in Leonard's staid world, and Sandra, the lovely and caring daughter of a businessman who is buying out his family's dry-cleaning business. Leonard becomes deeply infatuated by Michelle, who seems poised to fall for him, but is having a self-destructive affair with a married man. At the same time, mounting pressure from his family pushes him towards committing to Sandra. Leonard is forced to make an impossible decision – between the impetuousness of desire and the comfort of love – or risk falling back into the darkness that nearly killed him. [Magnolia Pictures]
Metascore:
74
User Score:
8.6
The Song of Sparrows 81.

The Song of Sparrows

Release Date: April 3, 2009
Karim works at an ostrich farm outside of Tehran, Iran. He leads a simple and contented life with his family in his small house, until one day when one of the ostriches runs away. Karim is blamed for the loss and is fired from the farm. Soon after, he travels to the city in order to repair his elder daughter’s hearing aid but finds himself mistaken for a motorcycle taxi driver. Thus begins his new profession: ferrying people and goods through heavy traffic. But the people and material goods that he deals with daily start to transform Karim’s generous and honest nature, much to the distress of his wife and daughters. It is up to those closest to him to restore the values that he had once cherished. (Regent Releasing)
Metascore:
74
User Score:
7.6
Lemon Tree 82.

Lemon Tree

Release Date: April 17, 2009
Not Rated
Lemon Tree is Eran Riklis' engaging human drama of one woman's struggle to preserve her way of life in the midst of political turmoil. The wonderful Hiam Abbass is Salma, a Palestinian widow who earns her living tending to her late father's lemon grove. When an Israeli government minister moves next door and declares the grove a potential security threat, Salma struggles to defend her peaceful livelihood. Personal drama gives way to political controversies as Salma forms an unexpected bond with the minister's lonely wife, and takes her protest - with the help of her young lawyer - all the way to the Israeli Supreme Court. (IFC Films)
Metascore:
74
User Score:
7.4
The House of the Devil 83.

The House of the Devil

Release Date: October 30, 2009
Sam is a pretty college sophomore, so desperate to earn some cash for a deposit on an apartment that she accepts a babysitting job even after she finds out there is no baby. Mr. and Mrs. Ulman are the older couple who lure Sam out to their creeky Victorian mansion deep in the woods, just in time for a total lunar eclipse. Megan is Sam’s best friend, who gives her a ride out to the house, and reluctantly leaves her there despite suspecting that something is amiss. Victor at first seems like just a creepy guy lurking around the house, but quickly makes it clear that Sam will end this night in a bloody fight for her life. (Magnolia Pictures)
Metascore:
73
User Score:
6.9
Red Cliff 84.

Red Cliff

Release Date: November 18, 2009
Red Cliff opens as power hungry Prime Minister-turned-General Cao Cao seeks permission from the Han dynasty Emperor to organize a southward-bound mission designed to crush the two troublesome warlords who stand in his way, Liu Bei and Sun Quan. As the expedition gets underway, Cao Cao's troops rain destruction on Liu Bei's army, forcing him into retreat. Liu Bei's military strategist Zhuge Liang knows that the rebels’ only hope for survival is to form an alliance with rival warlord Sun Quan, and reaches out to Sun Quan’s trusted advisor, war hero Zhou Yu. Vastly outnumbered by Cao Cao’s brutal, fast-approaching army, the warlords band together to mount a heroic campaign – unrivaled in history – that changes the face of China forever. A massive hit in Asia and the most expensive Asian film production of all time, Red Cliff is a breathtaking war epic that marks the triumphant return of John Woo. (Magnolia Pictures)
Metascore:
73
User Score:
7.6
The Princess and the Frog 85.

The Princess and the Frog

Release Date: November 25, 2009
The Princess and the Frog is a modern twist on a classic tale, featuring a beautiful girl named Tiana, a frog prince who desperately wants to be human again, and a fateful kiss that leads them both on a hilarious adventure through the mystical bayous of Louisiana. (Walt Disney Pictures)
Metascore:
73
User Score:
7.3
Araya 86.

Araya

Release Date: October 7, 2009
Not Rated
Araya lacks a conventional narrative. It is not a documentary. It is not a fictional film. It is a poetic suite that the director sculpts into a love story for a place, a culture and a time that has since been forever lost. (Milestone Films)
Metascore:
73
User Score:
tbd
Me and Orson Welles 87.

Me and Orson Welles

Release Date: November 25, 2009
Based in real theatrical history, Me and Orson Welles is a romantic, coming-of-age story about a teenage actor who lucks into a role in "Julius Caesar" as it's being re-imagined by a brilliant, impetuous young director named Orson Welles at his newly-founded Mercury Theater in NYC, 1937. (Freestyle Releasing)
Metascore:
73
User Score:
7.4
Zombieland 88.

Zombieland

Release Date: October 2, 2009
Columbus has made a habit of running from what scares him. Tallahassee doesn't have fears. If he did, he'd kick their ever-living ass. In a world overrun by zombies, these two are perfectly evolved survivors. But now, they're about to stare down the most terrifying prospect of all: each other. (Sony Pictures)
Metascore:
73
User Score:
8.6
The Hangover 89.

The Hangover

Release Date: June 5, 2009
Unrated
Two days before his wedding, Doug and his three buddies drive to Vegas for a blow-out night they'll never forget. But when the three groomsmen wake up the next morning with pounding headaches, they can't remember a thing. Their posh hotel suite is beyond trashed and the groom is nowhere to be found. With no clue of what happened and little time to spare, the trio must attempt to retrace their bad decisions from the night before in order to figure out where things went wrong and hopefully get Doug back to L.A. in time for his wedding. However, the more they begin to uncover, the more they realize just how much trouble they're really in. (Warner Bros.)
Metascore:
73
User Score:
7.8
Three Monkeys 90.

Three Monkeys

Release Date: May 1, 2009
Unrated
Three Monkeys tells a twisty, noirish tale that opens with an ambitious politician fleeing a hit-and-run accident. Afraid of hurting his election chances, he pays off his chauffeur Eyüp to take the rap. The film concerns the effects of this devil’s bargain on Eyüp’s family as simmering tensions and sexual intrigue wreak havoc in a household already haunted by hidden ghosts. (Zeitgeist Films)
Metascore:
73
User Score:
7.6
Thirst 91.

Thirst

Release Date: July 31, 2009
Sang-hyun is a priest who cherishes life; so much so, that he selflessly volunteers for a secret vaccine development project meant to eradicate a deadly virus. But the virus takes the priest, and a blood transfusion is urgently ordered up for him. The blood he receives is infected, so Sang-hyun lives – but now exists as a vampire. Struggling with his newfound carnal desire for blood, Sang-hyun’s faith is further strained when a childhood friend’s wife, Tae-ju, comes to him asking for his help in escaping her life. Sang-hyun soon plunges into a world of sensual pleasures, finding himself on intimate terms with the Seven Deadly Sins. (Focus Features)
Metascore:
73
User Score:
7.5
Amreeka 92.

Amreeka

Release Date: September 4, 2009
Amreeka chronicles the adventures of Muna, a single mother who leaves the West Bank with Fadi, her teenage son, with dreams of an exciting future in the promised land of small town Illinois. In America, as her son navigates high school hallways the way he used to move through military checkpoints, the indomitable Muna scrambles together a new life cooking up falafel burgers as well as hamburgers at the local White Castle. (National Geographic Cinema Ventures)
Metascore:
73
User Score:
8.0
Earth 93.

Earth

Release Date: April 22, 2009
The first film in the Disneynature series, Earth, narrated by James Earl Jones, tells the remarkable story of three animal families and their amazing journey across the planet we all call home. Earth combines rare action, unimaginable scale and impossible locations by capturing the most intimate moments of our planet's wildest and most elusive creatures. (Disneynature)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
6.3
Good Hair 94.

Good Hair

Release Date: October 9, 2009
An exposé of comic proportions that only Chris Rock could pull off, Good Hair visits beauty salons and hairstyling battles, scientific laboratories and Indian temples to explore how hairstyles impact the activities, pocketbooks and self-esteem of the black community. (Roadside Attractions)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
6.9
Lake Tahoe 95.

Lake Tahoe

Release Date: July 10, 2009
Not Rated
Teenage Juan crashes his family's car into a telegraph pole on the outskirts of town, and then scours the streets searching for someone to help him fix it. His quest will bring him to Don Heber, an old paranoid mechanic whose only companion is Sica, his almost human boxer dog; to Lucía, a young mother who is convinced that her real place in life is as a lead singer in a punk band, and to "The One who Knows", a teenage mechanic obsessed with martial arts and Kung Fu philosophy. The absurd and bewildering worlds of these characters drag Juan into a one day journey in which he will come to accept what he was escaping from in the first place--an event both as natural and inexplicable as a loved one's death. (Film Movement)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
tbd
Pressure Cooker 96.

Pressure Cooker

Release Date: May 27, 2009
Unrated
Three seniors at Philadelphia's Frankford High School find an unlikely champion in the kitchen of Wilma Stephenson. A legend in the school system, Mrs. Stephenson's hilariously blunt boot-camp method of teaching Culinary Arts is validated by years of scholarship success. (Non Sequitur Productions)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
8.0
12 97.

12

Release Date: March 4, 2009
A loose remake of “12 Angry Men”, 12 is set in contemporary Moscow where 12 very different men must unanimously decide the fate of a young Chechen accused of murdering his step-father, a Russian army officer. Consigned to a makeshift jury room in a school gymnasium, one by one each man takes center stage to confront, connect, and confess while the accused awaits a verdict and revisits his heartbreaking journey through war in flashbacks. (Sony Picture Classics)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
7.3
Jerichow 98.

Jerichow

Release Date: May 15, 2009
Not Rated
In a small desolate town in northeastern Germany, a handsome ex-soldier, a Turkish businessman, and his beautiful, and his beautiful, restless wife find themselves in a desperate love triangle in this suspenseful reworking of James M. Cain’s classic Depression-era novel The Postman Always Rings Twice. [The Cinema Guild]
Metascore:
71
User Score:
tbd
Disgrace 99.

Disgrace

Release Date: September 18, 2009
Based on the Booker Prize winning novel by J.M Coetzee, Disgrace takes us into the heart of the ethical complexities of modern South Africa. A journey that follows disgraced Cape Town university Professor David Lurie as he is forced to confront irrevocable changes in his country. (Sherman Pictures)
Metascore:
71
User Score:
6.5
Bronson 100.

Bronson

Release Date: October 9, 2009
In 1974, a misguided 19 year old named Michael Peterson decided he wanted to make a name for himself and so, with a homemade sawn-off shotgun and a head full of dreams he attempted to rob a post office. Swiftly apprehended and originally sentenced to 7 years in jail, Peterson has subsequently been behind bars for 34 years, 30 of which have been spent in solitary confinement. With an intelligent, provocative and stylized approach, BRONSON (based on a true story) follows the metamorphosis of Mickey Peterson into Britain's most dangerous prisoner, Charles Bronson. [Magnet Releasing]
Metascore:
71
User Score:
7.6