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4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days 1.

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days

Release Date: January 23, 2008
Not Rated
During the final days of communism in Romania, two college roommates Otilia and Gabita are busy preparing for a night away. But rather than planning for a holiday, they are making arrangements for Gabita's illegal abortion and unwittingly, both find themselves burrowing deep down a rabbit hole of unexpected revelations. [IFC Films]
Metascore:
97
User Score:
7.9
WALL-E 2.

WALL-E

Release Date: June 27, 2008
After hundreds of lonely years of doing what he was built for, Wall-E discovers a new purpose in life when he meets a sleek search robot named EVE. [Walt Disney Pictures]
Metascore:
95
User Score:
8.9
The Class 3.

The Class

Release Date: December 19, 2008
François and his fellow teachers prepare for a new year at a high school in a tough neighborhood. Armed with the best intentions, they brace themselves to not let discouragement stop them from trying to give the best education to their students. Cultures and attitudes often clash in the classroom, a microcosm of contemporary France. As amusing and inspiring as the teenaged students can be, their difficult behavior can still jeopardize any teacher's enthusiasm for the low-paying job. François insists on an atmosphere of respect and diligence. Neither stuffy nor severe, his extravagant frankness often takes the students by surprise. But his classroom ethics are put to the test when his students begin to challenge his methods. (Sony Classics)
Metascore:
92
User Score:
7.4
Waltz with Bashir 4.

Waltz with Bashir

Release Date: December 25, 2008
One night at a bar, an old friend tells director Ari about a recurring nightmare in which he is chased by 26 vicious dogs. Every night, the same number of beasts. The two men conclude that there’s a connection to their Israeli Army mission in the first Lebanon War of the early eighties. Ari is surprised that he can’t remember a thing anymore about that period of his life. Intrigued by this riddle, he decides to meet and interview old friends and comrades around the world. He needs to discover the truth about that time and about himself. As Ari delves deeper and deeper into the mystery, his memory begins to creep up in surreal images. [Sony Classics]
Metascore:
91
User Score:
8.2
Man on Wire 5.

Man on Wire

Release Date: July 25, 2008
On August 7th 1974, a young Frenchman named Philippe Petit stepped out on a wire illegally rigged between New York's twin towers, then the world’s tallest buildings. After nearly an hour dancing on the wire, he was arrested, taken for psychological evaluation, and brought to jail before he was finally released. Following six and a half years of dreaming of the towers, Petit spent eight months in New York City planning the execution of the coup. Aided by a team of friends and accomplices, Petit was faced with numerous extraordinary challenges: he had to find a way to bypass the WTC’s security; smuggle the heavy steel cable and rigging equipment into the towers; pass the wire between the two rooftops; anchor the wire and tension it to withstand the winds and the swaying of the buildings. The rigging was done by night in complete secrecy. At 7:15 AM, Philippe took his first step on the high wire 1,350 feet above the sidewalks of Manhattan. [Magnolia Pictures]
Metascore:
89
User Score:
8.3
Slumdog Millionaire 6.

Slumdog Millionaire

Release Date: November 12, 2008
Slumdog Millionaire is the story of Jamal Malik, an 18 year-old orphan from the slums of Mumbai, who is about to experience the biggest day of his life. With the whole nation watching, he is just one question away from winning a staggering 20 million rupees on India’s “Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?”But when the show breaks for the night, police arrest him on suspicion of cheating; how could a street kid know so much? Desperate to prove his innocence, Jamal tells the story of his life in the slum where he and his brother grew up, of their adventures together on the road, of vicious encounters with local gangs, and of Latika, the girl he loved and lost. Each chapter of his story reveals the key to the answer to one of the game show’s questions. Intrigued by Jamal’s story, the jaded Police Inspector begins to wonder what a young man with no apparent desire for riches is really doing on this game show? When the new day dawns and Jamal returns to answer the final question, the Inspector and sixty million viewers are about to find out. [Fox Searchlight]
Metascore:
86
User Score:
7.8
Flight of the Red Balloon 7.

Flight of the Red Balloon

Release Date: April 4, 2008
Not Rated
A highlight at the 2007 Cannes, Toronto, and New York film festivals, Flight of the Red Balloon is the latest masterpiece from Hou Hsiao Hsien. Inspired by Albert Lamorisse's 1956 Academy Award-winning classic, Flight of the Red Balloon, Hou expands on that film's key elements--a young boy, a red balloon, and Paris--to weave an achingly beautiful tale about the mysteries of familial bonds and the lingering effects the past has on us all. Simon, a precocious young boy, must deal with the increasing fragility of his mother, the loving yet preoccupied Suzanne. Completely immersed in her own tribulations, Suzanne hires Song, a Taiwanese film student, to help care for Simon. Together with Song, a unique extended family is formed, utterly interdependent yet lost in separate thoughts and dreams mirrored by a delicate, shiny red balloon. (IFC First Take)
Metascore:
86
User Score:
5.7
The Edge of Heaven 8.

The Edge of Heaven

Release Date: May 21, 2008
Not Rated
Nejat initially disapproves of his widower father Ali`s choice of prostitute Yeter for a live-in girlfriend. But the young professor warms to her when he learns that most of her hard-earned money is sent home to Turkey for her daughter’s university studies. After Yeter`s accidental death, Nejat travels to Istanbul to search for Yeter`s daughter Ayten. Political activist Ayten has fled the Turkish police and is already in Germany. She is befriended by a young woman, Lotte, who invites rebellious Ayten to stay in her home, much to the displeasure of her conservative mother, Susanne. When Ayten is arrested and her asylum plea denied, she is deported and imprisoned in Turkey. Passionate Lotte abandons everything to help Ayten. A tragic event brings Susanne to Istanbul to help fulfill her daughter`s mission. (Strand Releasing)
Metascore:
85
User Score:
8.6
Alexandra 9.

Alexandra

Release Date: March 26, 2008
Not Rated
In a desolate, sun-scorched corner of the world, an elderly woman has come to see her beloved grandson, a young officer stationed at a remote military outpost. With the enemy just beyond the compound, she wanders the barracks, observing the routine of military life, before making a sudden trip to the outlying countryside. (The Cinema Guild)
Metascore:
85
User Score:
7.3
A Christmas Tale 10.

A Christmas Tale

Release Date: November 14, 2008
Not Rated
Abel and Junon had two children, Joseph and Elizabeth. Victim of a rare genetic condition, Joseph's only hope was a bone marrow transplant. As they and Elizabeth were incompatible, his parents conceived a third child in the hope of saving their son. But little Henri too was unable to help his brother, and Joseph died at the age of seven. The Vuillard family has never recovered. Many years have passed, and family relationships are more strained than ever. In particular, those between Elizabeth, authoritarian head of the family and Henri, a cynical drop out who divides his time between women and drink. After a violent argument, Elizabeth banishes her feckless brother, cutting him off from his nephew, her son Paul - a tortured adolescent beset by serious mental problems. Masterfully directed and acted, by turns savage, bittersweet, darkly comic and unbearably moving, A Christmas Tale shows internationally acclaimed Desplechin at the height of his powers. (IFC Films)
Metascore:
84
User Score:
7.0
Up the Yangtze 11.

Up the Yangtze

Release Date: April 25, 2008
Not Rated
In China, it is simply known as 'The River.' But the Yangtze—and all of the life that surrounds it—is undergoing an astonishing transformation wrought by the largest hydroelectric project in history, the Three Gorges Dam. Chinese-Canadian director Yung Chang returns to the gorgeous, now-disappearing landscape of his grandfather’s youth to trace the surreal life of a “farewell cruise” that traverses the gargantuan waterway. With a humanist gaze and wry wit Chang’s Upstairs Downstairs approach captures the microcosmic society of the luxury liner. Below deck: a bewildered young girl trains as a dishwasher sent to work by her peasant family, who is on the verge of relocation from the encroaching floodwaters. Above deck: wealthy international tourists set sail to catch a last glance of a country in dramatic flux. The teenage employees who serve and entertain them—tagged with new Westernized names like “Cindy” and “Jerry” by upper management—warily grasp at the prospect of a better future. "Up the Yangtze" gives a human dimension to the wrenching changes facing not only an increasingly globalized China, but the world at large. (Zeitgeist Films)
Metascore:
84
User Score:
7.7
Milk 12.

Milk

Release Date: November 26, 2008
In 1977, Harvey Milk was elected to the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay man to be voted into major public office in America. His victory was not just a victory for gay rights; he forged coalitions across the political spectrum. From senior citizens to union workers, Harvey Milk changed the very nature of what it means to be a fighter for human rights and became, before his untimely death in 1978, a hero for all Americans. (Focus Features)
Metascore:
84
User Score:
7.6
My Winnipeg 13.

My Winnipeg

Release Date: June 13, 2008
Not Rated
Have you ever wanted to relive your childhood and do things differently? Guy Maddin casts B-movie icon Ann Savage as his domineering mother in attempt to answer that question in My Winnipeg, a hilariously wacky and profoundly touching goodbye letter to his childhood hometown. A documentary (or "docu-fantasia" as Maddin proclaims) that inventively blends local and personal history with surrealist images and metaphorical myths, the film covers everything from the fire at the local park which lead to a frozen lake of distressed horse heads to pivotal and factually heightened scenes from Maddin's own childhood, all laced with a startling emotional honesty. My Winnipeg is Maddin's most personal film and a truly unique cinematic experience, winning the best Canadian film at the Toronto International Film Festival and the opening night selection of the Berlin Film Festival's Forum. [IFC Films]
Metascore:
84
User Score:
7.0
Momma's Man 14.

Momma's Man

Release Date: August 22, 2008
Not Rated
Momma’s Man chronicles the increasingly anxious dilemma of Mikey, a young husband and father who stops off at his parents’ loft during a business trip to New York and finds himself emotionally unable to leave. Unsure of his own motivations, he makes up excuses about why he’s staying – his flight is delayed; his flight is canceled – but while his doting mother (the director’s real mother) is more than happy to enable his procrastination, his father (the director’s real father) grows suspicious of his sons changes of plans. (Kino International)
Metascore:
84
User Score:
5.0
Ballast 15.

Ballast

Release Date: October 1, 2008
Not Rated
In the cold, winter light of a rural Mississippi Delta township, a man’s suicide radically transforms three characters’ lives and throws off-balance what has long been a static arrangement among them. Marlee is a single mother struggling to scratch a living for herself and James, her 12-year-old son, who has begun to stumble under drug and violence pressures. So when the opportunity to seek safe harbor at a new home arises, she grabs it, though the property is shared by Lawrence, a man with whom Marlee has feuded bitterly since James’s birth. With circumstances thrusting them into proximity, a subtle interdependence and common purpose emerge for Marlee and Lawrence as they navigate grief, test new waters, and tentatively move forward. (Alluvial Film Company)
Metascore:
84
User Score:
8.0
The Dark Knight 16.

The Dark Knight

Release Date: July 18, 2008
Batman raises the stakes in his war on crime. With the help of Lieutenant Jim Gordon and District Attorney Harvey Dent Batman sets out to dismantle the remaining criminal organizations that plague the city streets. The partnership proves to be effective, but they soon find themselves prey to reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal mastermind known to the terrified citizens of Gotham as the Joker. (Warner Bros.)
Metascore:
84
User Score:
8.9
Happy-Go-Lucky 17.

Happy-Go-Lucky

Release Date: October 10, 2008
Just how hard is it to be happy? Poppy is an irrepressibly free-spirited school teacher who brings an infectious laugh and an unsinkable sense of optimism to every situation she encounters, offering us a touching, truthful and deeply life-affirming exploration of one of the most mysterious and often the most elusive of all human qualities: happiness. Poppy's ability to maintain her perspective is tested as the story begins and her commuter bike is stolen. However, she enthusiastically signs up for driving lessons with Scott, who turns out to be her nemesis – a fuming, uptight cynic. As the tension of their weekly lessons builds, Poppy encounters even more challenges to her positive state of mind: a fiery flamenco instructor, her bitter pregnant sister, a troubled homeless man and a young bully in her class, not to mention that she has also thrown out her back. How this affects not only Poppy's world view but also the outlook of those around her begs the question "glass half full or half empty"? (Miramax)
Metascore:
84
User Score:
8.0
The Secret of the Grain 18.

The Secret of the Grain

Release Date: December 24, 2008
Unrated
The Secret of the Grain is a touching and resoundingly humanistic story set in the rustic port of Sete in southeastern France. Slimane has worked in the same shipyard job for over 35 years, when his growing dissatisfaction prompts him to try to open his own restaurant. His dream seems unbelievable, but his contagious conviction and persistence work their way into the hearts of his loyal but dispersed family; the four children from his first marriage, his ex-wife, current girlfriend and her bright, outspoken daughter, Rym. A grand film about ordinary people, The Secret of the Grain is a deliciously slow-burning drama about fate, food and family. (IFC Films)
Metascore:
83
User Score:
7.4
Chop Shop 19.

Chop Shop

Release Date: February 27, 2008
Unrated
Alejandro spends his days in an adult world, running errands and convincing customers to come to his boss's garage instead of a competitor's garage. He's also learning how to paint and repair cars. Although conditions are harsh, his life is sprinkled with moments of happiness as he carves out a life for himself in the wasteland of the Iron Triangle. The brightest of these moments is the arrival of his sister Isamar, who moves in with him in the tiny room that he has found for them perched in the back of the shop where he works. Knowing that creating a better life for the two of them is their best bet at staying together, Alejandro finds her a job in a food van cooking and selling meals to the workers in the Iron Triangle. With a mixture of childlike naiveté and adult ambition, Alejandro begins obsessively saving his money to buy a mobile food van. The two dream about owning and running a small business of their own. But when their dream--as well as their loving relationship--is threatened by the hard truths of life, work, and one another, the children find themselves forced to make the kinds of difficult decisions that most adults never have to face. (Koch Lorber)
Metascore:
83
User Score:
7.6
Paranoid Park 20.

Paranoid Park

Release Date: March 7, 2008
An unsolved murder at Portland's infamous Paranoid Park brings detectives to a local high school, propelling a young skater into a moral odyssey in which he must not only deal with the pain and disconnect of adolescence but also the consequences of his own actions. As director of "My Own Private Idaho", "Good Will Hunting", "To Die For", and "Elephant", Gus Van Sant has created some of the most memorable works about youth ever committed to film. At the 2007 Cannes Film Festival, he was awarded the 60th Anniversary Prize for Paranoid Park, which is largely considered one of his finest films. (IFC First Take)
Metascore:
83
User Score:
6.6
U2 3D 21.

U2 3D

Release Date: January 23, 2008
U2 3D transforms a series of live concerts by one of the world's most acclaimed bands into a completely new entertainment experience that takes viewers on an extraordinary cinematic journey, a quantum leap beyond traditional concert films and traditional 3-D. U2 3D captivated an international audience as a work-in-progress during the 2007 Cannes Film Festival. (National Geographic Cinema Ventures)
Metascore:
83
User Score:
8.0
Trouble the Water 22.

Trouble the Water

Release Date: August 22, 2008
Unrated
Winner of the Grand Jury Prize at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival, this astonishingly powerful documentary is at once horrifying and exhilarating. Directed and produced by Fahrenheit 9/11 and Bowling for Columbine producers Tia Lessin and Carl Deal, Trouble the Water takes you inside Hurricane Katrina in a way never before seen on screen. The film opens the day before the storm makes landfall—just blocks away from the French Quarter but far from the New Orleans that most tourists knew. Kimberly Rivers Roberts, an aspiring rap artist, is turning her new video camera on herself and her 9th Ward neighbors trapped in the city. “It’s going to be a day to remember,” Kim declares. As the hurricane begins to rage and the floodwaters fill their world and the screen, Kim and her husband Scott continue to film their harrowing retreat to higher ground and the dramatic rescues of friends and neighbors. The filmmakers document the couple’s return to New Orleans, the devastation of their neighborhood and the appalling repeated failures of government. Weaving an insider’s view of Katrina with a mix of verite and in-your-face filmmaking, Trouble the Water is a redemptive tale of self-described street hustlers who become heroes—two unforgettable people who survive the storm and then seize a chance for a new beginning. (Zeitgeist)
Metascore:
83
User Score:
7.9
Tell No One 23.

Tell No One

Release Date: July 2, 2008
Unrated
Tell No One is based on Harlan Coben's international best-selling thriller about pediatrician Alexandre Beck, who still grieves for his beloved wife Margot Beck, who was murdered eight years earlier. When two bodies are found near the scene of the original crime, the police reopen the case, and Alex becomes a suspect again. The mystery deepens when Alex receives an anonymous e-mail with a link to a video clip that seems to suggest that Margot is somehow still alive and with a message that says "Tell no one." (Music Box Films)
Metascore:
82
User Score:
7.5
Hunger 24.

Hunger

Release Date: December 5, 2008
Not Rated
Hunger follows life in the Maze Prison, Northern Ireland, with an interpretation of the highly emotive events surrounding the 1981 IRA Hunger Strike led by Bobby Sands. With an epic eye for detail, the film provides a timely exploration of what happens when body and mind are pushed to the uttermost limit. (IFC Films)
Metascore:
82
User Score:
7.8
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father 25.

Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father

Release Date: October 31, 2008
Not Rated
Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father is a uniquely intense and personal documentary about the murder of Kurt’s oldest friend and the unbelievable legal and emotional madness that ensued. (Oscilloscope Pictures)
Metascore:
82
User Score:
8.5
Let the Right One In 26.

Let the Right One In

Release Date: October 24, 2008
A fragile, anxious boy, 12-year-old Oskar is regularly bullied by his stronger classmates but never strikes back. The lonely boy's wish for a friend seems to come true when he meets Eli, also 12, who moves in next door to him with her father. A pale, serious young girl, she only comes out at night and doesn't seem affected by the freezing temperatures. Coinciding with Eli's arrival is a series of inexplicable disappearances and murders. One man is found tied to a tree, another frozen in the lake, a woman bitten in the neck. Blood seems to be the common denominator. But by now a subtle romance has blossomed between Oskar and Eli, and she gives him the strength to fight back against his aggressors. (Magnolia Pictures)
Metascore:
82
User Score:
8.7
Taxi to the Dark Side 27.

Taxi to the Dark Side

Release Date: January 18, 2008
Taxi to the Darkside, the latest prize-winning documentary from Oscar-nominee Alex Gibney, confirms his standing as one of the foremost non-fiction filmmakers working today. A stunning inquiry into the suspicious death of an Afghani taxi driver at Bagram air base in 2002, the film is a fastidiously assembled, uncommonly well-researched examination of how an innocent civilian was apprehended, imprisoned, tortured, and ultimately murdered by the greatest democracy on earth. Intermingling documents and records of the incident with candid testimony from eyewitnesses and participants, the film uncovers an inescapable link between the tragic incidents that unfolded in Bagram and the policies made at the very highest level of the United States government in Washington, D.C. Combining the cool detachment of a forensic expert with the heated indignation of a proud American who holds his country to a high standard, Gibney’s film reveals how the Bush administration has systematically betrayed the very ideals it professes to uphold. (THINKFilm)
Metascore:
82
User Score:
7.1
Rachel Getting Married 28.

Rachel Getting Married

Release Date: October 3, 2008
When Kym returns to the Buchman family home for the wedding of her sister Rachel, she brings a long history of personal crisis, family conflict and tragedy along with her. The wedding couple’s abundant party of friends and relations have gathered for a joyful weekend of feasting, music and love, but Kym—with her biting one-liners and flair for bombshell drama—is a catalyst for long-simmering tensions in the family dynamic. (Sony Picture Classics)
Metascore:
82
User Score:
5.7
Frozen River 29.

Frozen River

Release Date: August 1, 2008
Frozen River is the story of Ray Eddy, an upstate New York trailer mom who is lured into the world of illegal immigrant smuggling when she meets a Mohawk girl who lives on a reservation that straddles the US-Canadian border. Broke after her husband takes off with the down payment for their new doublewide, Ray reluctantly teams up with Lila, a smuggler, and the two begin making runs across the frozen St. Lawrence River carrying illegal Chinese and Pakistani immigrants in the trunk of Ray’s Dodge Spirit. (Sony Pictures Classics)
Metascore:
82
User Score:
7.9
Stranded: I've Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains 30.

Stranded: I've Come from a Plane That Crashed on the Mountains

Release Date: October 22, 2008
Unrated
It is one of the most astonishing and inspiring survival tales of all time. On October 13, 1972, a young rugby team from Montevideo, Uruguay, boarded a plane for a match in Chile—and then vanished into thin air. Two days before Christmas, 16 of the 45 passengers miraculously resurfaced. They had managed to survive for 72 days after their plane crashed on a remote Andean glacier. Thirty-five years later, the survivors returned to the crash site—known as the Valley of Tears—to recount their harrowing story of defiant endurance and indestructible friendship. Previously documented in the 1973 worldwide bestseller “Alive” (and the 1993 Ethan Hawke movie of the same name), this shocking true story finally gets the cinematic treatment it deserves. Visually breathtaking and crafted with riveting detail by documentary filmmaker (and childhood friend of the survivors) Gonzalo Arijon with a masterful combination of on-location interviews, archival footage and reenactments; Stranded is by turns hauntingly powerful and spiritually moving. (Zeigeist Films)
Metascore:
82
User Score:
7.6
Chris & Don. A Love Story 31.

Chris & Don. A Love Story

Release Date: June 13, 2008
Not Rated
Chris & Don: A Love Story is the true-life story of the passionate three-decade relationship between British writer Christopher Isherwood and American portrait painter Don Bachardy, thirty years his junior. From Isherwood’s Kit-Kat-Club years in Weimar-era Germany (the inspiration for his most famous work) to the couple’s first meeting on the sun-kissed beaches of 1950s Malibu, their against-all-odds saga is brought to dazzling life by a treasure trove of multimedia. Bachardy’s contemporary reminiscences (in the Santa Monica home he shared with Isherwood until his death in 1986) artfully interact with archival footage, rare home movies (with glimpses of glitterati pals W.H. Auden, Igor Stravinsky and Tennessee Williams), reenactments, and, most sweetly, whimsical animations based on the cat-and-horse cartoons the pair used in their personal correspondence. With Isherwood’s status as an out-and-proud gay maverick, and Bachardy’s eventual artistic triumph away from the considerable shadow of his life partner, Chris & Don: A Love Story is above all a joyful celebration of a most extraordinary couple. (Zeitgeist Films)
Metascore:
81
User Score:
7.9
Still Life 32.

Still Life

Release Date: January 18, 2008
Not Rated
Sam Ming makes a trip to the City of Fenjge to find his ex-wife and daughter. He has not seen them for several years. (Ad Vitam)
Metascore:
81
User Score:
8.2
The Wrestler 33.

The Wrestler

Release Date: December 17, 2008
Back in the late ‘80s, Randy “The Ram” Robinson was a headlining professional wrestler. Now, twenty years later, he ekes out a living performing for handfuls of diehard wrestling fans in high school gyms and community centers around New Jersey. (Fox Searchlight)
Metascore:
81
User Score:
8.2
Encounters at the End of the World 34.

Encounters at the End of the World

Release Date: June 11, 2008
Werner Herzog confirms his standing as poet laureate of men in extreme situations with Encounters at the End of the World. In this visually stunning exploration, Herzog travels to the Antarctic community of McMurdo Station, headquarters of the National Science Foundation and home to eleven hundred people during the austral summer (Oct-Feb). Over the course of his journey, Herzog examines human nature and Mother nature, juxtaposing breathtaking locations with the profound, surreal, and sometimes absurd experiences of the marine biologists, physicists, plumbers, and truck drivers who choose to form a society as far away from society as one can get. (THINKFilm)
Metascore:
80
User Score:
7.5
Wendy and Lucy 35.

Wendy and Lucy

Release Date: December 10, 2008
Wendy Carroll is driving to Ketchikan, Alaska, in hopes of a summer of lucrative work at the Northwestern Fish cannery, and the start of a new life with her dog, Lucy. When her car breaks down in Oregon, however, the thin fabric of her financial situation comes apart, and she confronts a series of increasingly dire economic decisions, with far-ranging repercussions for herself and Lucy. Wendy and Lucy addresses issues of sympathy and generosity at the edges of American life, revealing the limits and depths of people's duty to each other in tough times. (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
Metascore:
80
User Score:
6.2
Bigger Stronger Faster* 36.

Bigger Stronger Faster*

Release Date: May 30, 2008
In America, we define ourselves in the superlative: we are the biggest, strongest, fastest country in the world. We reward speed, size and above all else: winning – at sport, at business and at war. Metaphorically we are a nation on steroids. Is it any wonder that so many of our heroes are on performance enhancing drugs? Blending comedy and pathos, Bigger, Stronger, Faster* is a collision of pop culture and first-person narrative, with a diverse cast including US Congressmen, professional athletes, medical experts and everyday gym rats. At its heart, this is the story of director Christopher Bell and his two brothers, who grew up idolizing muscular giants like Hulk Hogan, Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger, and who went on to become members of the steroid-subculture in an effort to realize their American dream. When you discover that your heroes have all broken the rules, do you follow the rules, or do you follow your heroes? (Magnolia)
Metascore:
80
User Score:
7.2
The Band's Visit 37.

The Band's Visit

Release Date: February 8, 2008
The Alexandria Ceremonial Police Orchestra arrives in Israel to play at the opening of an Arab Cultural Center. Dressed in full regalia and observing all military police protocol, the members of the orchestra are at a pivotal time in their careers. It’s not just the political nature of an Arab military police band playing traditional Arab music in Israel that makes this event so important; budget cuts and many reorganizations have threatened the continued existence of the Orchestra. Faced with the heavy burden of this assignment, the stoic conductor Tewfiq is determined not to foul their excursion. Despite all Tewfiqs efforts, it’s not long before problems arise. The band arrives at the airport with no one there to greet them. Stranded and unable able to contact their Israeli hosts or the Egyptian consulate for help, Tewfiq decides that the Orchestra will persevere with its assignment and orders, and designates Khaled, a sauve young ladies man, to ask for directions. Khaled and the station agent struggle in English, Arabic and Hebrew to communicate, but despite their best efforts, the Orchestra is sent to the outskirts of a small forgotten Israeli town in the desert. (Sony Classics)
Metascore:
80
User Score:
8.0
Frost/Nixon 38.

Frost/Nixon

Release Date: December 5, 2008
For three years after being forced from office, Nixon remained silent. But in summer 1977, the steely, cunning former commander-in-chief agreed to sit for one all-inclusive interview to confront the questions of his time in office and the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency. Nixon surprised everyone in selecting Frost as his televised confessor, intending to easily outfox the breezy British showman and secure a place in the hearts and minds of Americans. Likewise, Frost's team harbored doubts about their boss' ability to hold his own. But as cameras rolled, a charged battle of wits resulted. Would Nixon evade questions of his role in one of the nation's greatest disgraces? Or would Frost confound critics and bravely demand accountability from the man who'd built a career out of stonewalling? Over the course of their encounter, each man would reveal his own insecurities, ego and reserves of dignity--ultimately setting aside posturing in a stunning display of unvarnished truth. [Universal Pictures]
Metascore:
80
User Score:
7.8
Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 39.

Harvard Beats Yale 29-29

Release Date: November 19, 2008
The movie Harvard Beats Yale 29-29 is, on one level, about a football game. Director Kevin Rafferty allows fifty of the players from he game to tell the story. On another level the film is about 1968—Vietnam, SDS, birth control, fate, class, tear gas and sex. (Kino International)
Metascore:
79
User Score:
7.3
I've Loved You So Long 40.

I've Loved You So Long

Release Date: October 24, 2008
Lea and Juliette are sisters who are almost complete strangers. Juliette has just been released from prison after serving a long sentence. Lea contacted Juliette when she was released and suggested that Juliette come to live with her. Juliette had no particular desire to see her sister again. Life together isn’t easy to begin with. Juliette has to relearn certain basics. The world has moved on and she often seems confused. Although she may seem cold and distant, her attitude stems more from her being ill at ease. Gradually, the real Juliette emerges. She opens up to the world once more. But a huge question hangs over Juliette’s renaissance. Why did she do such a terrible thing fifteen years ago? (Sony Classics)
Metascore:
79
User Score:
7.6
The Order of Myths 41.

The Order of Myths

Release Date: July 25, 2008
Not Rated
The first Mardi Gras in America was celebrated in Mobile, Alabama in 1703. In 2008, it is still racially segregated. A fascinating investigation into our nation's history and traditions, this acclaimed, award-winning documentary illuminates the complexities of race relations in 21st century America. [The Cinema Guild]
Metascore:
79
User Score:
tbd
Moving Midway 42.

Moving Midway

Release Date: September 12, 2008
Not Rated
Godfrey Cheshire's richly observed film about his family's Southern plantation - and the colossal feat of moving it to escape urban sprawl - is a thoughtful and witty look at the lingering remnants and still-powerful mythology of plantation culture and the antebellum South. An award-winning film critic turned film maker, Cheshire uses the relocation of his family's North Carolina plantation house to embark on a surprising and multi-layered journey. While observing the elaborate, arcane preparations for moving a centuries-old house over fields and a rock quarry, unexpected human drama - from both the living and the dead - emerges. And a chance encounter leads Cheshire and his cousins to discover a previously unknown African American branch of the family (who have their own take on Midway and its legacy). Through the use of movies and music, and by turning the camera on himself and his family, Cheshire examines the Southern plantation in American history and culture, and how the racial legacy from the past continues into the present. (First Run Features)
Metascore:
79
User Score:
tbd
Reprise 43.

Reprise

Release Date: May 16, 2008
Phillip and Erik stand at the mailbox, two cocky, grinning rebels full of 20-year-old verve and dreams, their whole lives hanging in the balance at this singular moment. Each is about to ship off his first novel to publishers, each is hoping to become a wildly influential cult author, each has a vision of a new life of nonstop intensity, brilliance, romance, and nightclubbing. Fast-forward six months. These reveries have crashed, hard, into reality. Phillip, whose novel garnered instant acclaim and turned him into a mini-celebrity, has had a terrifying breakdown and is just about to be released from a psychiatric hospital. Erik, who never sold his novel, is still pecking away, determined to follow in the footsteps of his undying hero, a reclusive but idolized writing genius, no matter what it takes. Reprise explores not just what happens to Phillip and Erik as they pick up the pieces, but what might have happened to them, what they imagine could happen, what they fear will possibly happen, and why they can't see what's actually happening. [Miramax Films]
Metascore:
79
User Score:
7.1
Summer Palace 44.

Summer Palace

Release Date: January 18, 2008
Not Rated
Beautiful Yu Hong leaves her village, her family and her fiancé to study in Peking. She discovers a world of intense sexual awakening and foolishly falls in love with another student, Zhou Wei. Their relationship turns into a dangerous game reflecting the politically unstable country they live in. (Océan Films)
Metascore:
79
User Score:
6.3
The Visitor 45.

The Visitor

Release Date: April 11, 2008
In a world of 6 billion people, it takes only one to change your life. In actor and filmmaker Tom McCarthy's follow-up to his award-winning directorial debut "The Station Agent," we get to know Walter Vale, a disillusioned Connecticut economics professor whose life is transformed by a chance encounter in New York City. Through newfound connections with virtual strangers, Walter is awakened to a new world and a new life. (Overture Films)
Metascore:
79
User Score:
8.1
Iron Man 46.

Iron Man

Release Date: May 2, 2008
Tony Stark is a billionaire industrialist and genius inventor who is kidnapped and forced to build a devastating weapon. Instead, using his intelligence and ingenuity, Tony builds a high-tech suit of armor and escapes captivity. When he uncovers a nefarious plot with global implications, he dons his powerful armor and vows to protect the world as Iron Man. [Paramount Pictures, Marvel Studios]
Metascore:
79
User Score:
8.5
Before I Forget 47.

Before I Forget

Release Date: July 18, 2008
Not Rated
Jacques Nolot stars and directs a tale of a downward spiraling gay gigolo, struggling to cope with his advancing age, poverty, loneliness, writers block, and the increasing complications of HIV disease. When his wealthy benefactor dies after thirty years of lavish support, his inheritance is challenged by the benefactor’s family, leaving him destitute. Underscoring his every move is the fear of being forgotten, or worse: dying back where he started – on the streets. Young hustlers, drugs, alcohol, and countless cigarettes provide momentary distractions, but ultimately, he must face his inner demons in order to be free of them. (Strand Releasing)
Metascore:
78
User Score:
tbd
Hellboy II: The Golden Army 48.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army

Release Date: July 11, 2008
After an ancient truce existing between humankind and the invisible realm of the fantastic is broken, hell on Earth is ready to erupt. A ruthless leader who treads the world above and the one below defies his bloodline and awakens an unstoppable army of creatures. Now, it’s up to the planets toughest, roughest superhero to battle the merciless dictator and his marauders. He may be red. He may be horned. He may be misunderstood. But when you need the job done right, it’s time to call in Hellboy. (Universal Pictures)
Metascore:
78
User Score:
7.5
Pray the Devil Back to Hell 49.

Pray the Devil Back to Hell

Release Date: November 7, 2008
Unrated
Pray the Devil Back to Hell is the extraordinary story of a small band of Liberian women who came together in the midst of a bloody civil war, took on the violent warlords and corrupt Charles Taylor regime, and won a long-awaited peace for their shattered country in 2003. As the rebel noose tightened upon Monrovia, and peace talks faced collapse, the women of Liberia – Christian and Muslims united - formed a thin but unshakable white line between the opposing forces, and successfully demanded an end to the fighting– armed only with white T-shirts and the courage of their convictions. (Balcony Releasing)
Metascore:
78
User Score:
7.1
The Counterfeiters 50.

The Counterfeiters

Release Date: February 22, 2008
The true story of Salomon Sorowitsch, counterfeiter extraordinaire and bohemian who was in captured by the Nazis in 1944. He agrees to help the Nazis in an organized counterfeiting operation set up to finance the war effort. It was the biggest counterfeit-money scam of all time. Over 130 million pounds sterling were printed under conditions that couldn't have been more tragic or spectacular. During the last years of the war, as the German Reich saw that the end was near, the authorities decided to produce their own banknotes in the currencies of their major war enemies. They hoped to use the duds to flood the enemy economy and fill the empty war coffers. At the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, two barracks were separated from the rest of the camp and the outside world, and transformed into a fully equipped counterfeiters workshop. "Operation Bernhard" was born. Prisoners were brought to Sachsenhausen from other camps to implement the plan, and professional printers, fastidious bank officials, and simple craftsmen all became members of the top-secret counterfeiter crew. They had a choice: If they cooperated with the enemy, they had a chance to survive as first-class prisoners in a "golden cage" with enough to eat and a bed to sleep in. If they sabotaged the operation, a sure death awaited them. For the counterfeiters, it was not only a question of saving their own lives, but also about saving their conscience as well... (Sony Classics)
Metascore:
78
User Score:
7.9
Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired 51.

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired

Release Date: July 11, 2008
Unrated
Reopening a case that has inspired curiosity, controversy, and confusion for over three decades, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired is an extensive exploration of the circumstances that led up to – and the circus that followed – Polanski’s conviction for having unlawful sexual intercourse with a minor. Zenovich had unprecedented access to several of the key players in the case, including the lawyers representing the case, the media covering it, and the unusually clear-eyed and candid victim. Unearthing a trove of telling footage from the past, and combining it with insightful interviews from today, she brings comprehension and clarity to events long clouded by myth and misconception. A thrilling examination of a case that became the prototype for innumerable Hollywood courtroom scandals to follow, the film becomes a brilliant discourse on the attraction/ repulsion that defines celebrity culture in contemporary America. (THINKFilm)
Metascore:
78
User Score:
7.4
The Last Mistress 52.

The Last Mistress

Release Date: June 27, 2008
Unrated
The Last Mistress marks the monumental pairing of cinema's premiere provocateur, director Catherine Breillat with the most fearless and explosive actor of our generation, Asia Argento. A penniless rogue, Ryno de Marigny, shocks 19th century France with his engagement to the virginal gem of the aristocracy, Hermangarde. As lurid speculations of Ryno's ten year affair with the carnal Vellini manifest, a supremely erotic and wickedly humorous depiction of human lust is revealed - overriding the brittle facade of nobility and reverence. Bolstered by Breillat's mastery of the medium and Argento's commanding performance, The Last Mistress is a highly entertaining yet incredibly provocative film that has resulted in unanimous praise from audiences and critics across the world. (IFC Films)
Metascore:
78
User Score:
7.9
The Betrayal - Nerakhoon 53.

The Betrayal - Nerakhoon

Release Date: November 21, 2008
Not Rated
Shot over the course of 23 years, Thavi narrates his own story as a child surviving the Vietnam war and then as a young man struggling to overcome the hardships of immigrant life, an experience shared with his mother in war. Breathtaking and compelling, renowned cinematographer Ellen Kuras’s film is a poetic, deeply personal film, a powerfully eloquent tribute of what it means to be in exile, of the far-reaching consequences of war, and of the resilient bonds of family. Thavisouk’s unforgettable journey reminds us of the strength necessary to survive and of the human spirit’s inspiring capacity to adapt, rebuild, and forgive. [Celluloid Dreams]
Metascore:
78
User Score:
8.3
The Pool 54.

The Pool

Release Date: September 3, 2008
Unrated
Impoverished Venkatesh dreams of swimming in the pool of a well-to-do family. When he becomes friendly with the servants of the wealthy household, frequent visits to his favorite swimming spot make him long for a better way of live.
Metascore:
77
User Score:
tbd
Shine a Light 55.

Shine a Light

Release Date: April 4, 2008
Martin Scorsese's concert documentary Shine a Light will show the world the Rolling Stones as they've never been seen before. Filming at the famed Beacon Theatre in New York City in fall 2006, Scorsese assembled a legendary team of cinematographers to capture the raw energy of the legendary band. (Paramount)
Metascore:
76
User Score:
7.3
Shotgun Stories 56.

Shotgun Stories

Release Date: March 26, 2008
Son Hayes never speaks of the scars on his back. The shotgun pellets left under his skin make for a sporadic pattern of blue-black dots. The men he works with take bets on how he got them. His brothers, Boy and Kid Hayes, don't discuss it. His past, just like the scars, is never far behind him. This stands true for the memory of his father, a man who never bothered to give his children proper names. He left the three brothers, Son, Boy, and Kid, when they were young. Their last impressions of him were of a violent drunk who never hesitated to put his own needs ahead of his family's. The brothers were left to be raised by their mother, a hateful woman who to this day blames her children for the life she's been left with and the loss of the man she couldn't keep. Their father, having left the memory of his children as completely as he left their home, managed to move on and put his life back together. He sobered up, became a devout Christian, married a wonderful woman, and fathered four new sons--all of whom received proper names. His life became a model that most would aspire to--a man successful in business, community, and family--with his only true failing being the sons he turned his back on. (Liberation Entertainment)
Metascore:
76
User Score:
7.5
Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer 57.

Anita O'Day: The Life of a Jazz Singer

Release Date: August 15, 2008
Not Rated
The film is a thorough investigation of the life and times of the great jazz vocalist, Anita O’Day. Filmmakers Robbie Cavolina and Ian McCrudden dedicated many years to capturing the engaging story of O’Day’s rise to fame: following her career from her youthful days singing alongside greats like Hoagy Carmichael, Gene Krupa, Stan Kenton, Louis Armstrong and Roy Eldridge to darker times in her life; drug addiction, multiple marriages, abortions, arrests and finally, the triumphant completion of her last album in 2006, shortly before her death at 87.
Metascore:
76
User Score:
tbd
The Unforeseen 58.

The Unforeseen

Release Date: February 29, 2008
Not Rated
Executive produced by Terrence Malick and Robert Redford, this 2008 Independent Spirit Award winning-documentary tells the story of a Texas real estate developer who enjoys meteoric success until an environmental movement and the S&L crisis threaten to undo his plans. In an era of rising home foreclosures, failing financial institutions and profound uncertainty about the future, this film prompts viewers to both reexamine the American Dream as well as their own definitions of what it means to truly grow. [The Cinema Guild]
Metascore:
76
User Score:
8.0
Young@Heart 59.

Young@Heart

Release Date: April 9, 2008
Prepare to be entertained by the inspiring individuals of Young@Heart, a New England senior citizens' chorus that has delighted audiences worldwide with their covers of songs by everyone from The Clash to Coldplay. As Stephen Walker's documentary begins, the retirees, led by their strict musical director, are rehearsing their new show, struggling with a discordant Sonic Youth number and giving new meaning to James Brown's "I Feel Good." What ultimately emerges is a funny and unexpectedly moving testament to friendship, creative inspiration, and reaching beyond expectations. (Fox Searchlight)
Metascore:
75
User Score:
7.8
Boy A 60.

Boy A

Release Date: July 23, 2008
BOY A is a fictional story about Jack. His involvement in the murder of another child means Jack, at 24, has spent most of his young life in juvenile prisons. Released from prison into an unrecognizable adult world, Jack is given a new name, new job, new home; a new life. But anonymity is both a blessing and a curse as Jack has to contend with not being able to tell the people he gets to know, and love, of his true past and the monstrous secret he must keep hidden. (The Weinstein Company)
Metascore:
75
User Score:
8.2
The Witnesses 61.

The Witnesses

Release Date: February 1, 2008
Not Rated
Paris, summer 1984. Manu arrives in Paris, where he shares a cheap hotel room with his sister Julie. He strikes up a joyous, chaste friendship with Adrien, a wealthy doctor in his early fifties who opens Manu’s eyes to a different way of life. On a trip out on a speedboat, Adrien introduces Manu to Sarah and Mehdi, a young couple who have just had their first child. An unplanned love affair and the onset of the AIDS epidemic - seen by the media and in the collective imagination as a shameful, modern-day plague - upset the ordered tranquility of their individual destinies. Each of them becomes a protagonist in - and witness to - a contemporary tragedy, where those who don’t die may emerge stronger, but not undamaged. (Strand Releasing)
Metascore:
75
User Score:
6.5
Beauty in Trouble 62.

Beauty in Trouble

Release Date: June 13, 2008
Not Rated
Beauty in Trouble explores a young woman’s romantic dilemma: torn between a primal connection and the need to provide for her children, she loves two men. Set against the back drop of the recent floods in Prague, Beauty in Trouble is full of unexpected twists, humor and amazing performances culminating in a surprising and paradox ending. (Menemsha Films)
Metascore:
75
User Score:
6.4
Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan 63.

Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan

Release Date: June 6, 2008
Mongol illuminates the life and legend of Genghis Khan. Based on leading scholarly accounts and Mongol delves into the dramatic and harrowing early years of the ruler who was born as Temudgin in 1162. As it follows Temudgin from his perilous childhood to the battle that sealed his destiny, the film paints a multidimensional portrait of the future conqueror, revealing him not as the evil brute of hoary stereotype, but as an inspiring, fearless and visionary leader. Mongol shows us the making of an extraordinary man, and the foundation on which so much of his greatness rested: his relationship with his wife, Borte, his lifelong love and most trusted advisor. (Picturehouse)
Metascore:
74
User Score:
7.4
The Duchess of Langeais 64.

The Duchess of Langeais

Release Date: February 22, 2008
Unrated
Antoinette is the Duchess of Langeais, a married coquette who frequents the most extravagant balls in 1820s Paris during the Restoration, when hypocrisy and vanity reign. From the moment of the handsome general Armand de Montriveau's first meeting with her, he realized it was true love. Flattered by his attentions, the alluring Antoinette orchestrates a calculating game of seduction, but she repeatedly refuses Montriveau. Despite his sincere romantic declarations, Montriveau's passion remains unfulfilled. When the humiliated Montriveau eventually seeks his revenge, Antoinette's love awakens. But it may well be too late for the star-crossed lovers. (IFC Films)
Metascore:
74
User Score:
5.1
Kung Fu Panda 65.

Kung Fu Panda

Release Date: June 6, 2008
Enthusiastic, big and a little clumsy, Po is the biggest fan of Kung Fu around…which doesn’t exactly come in handy while working every day in his family’s noodle shop. Unexpectedly chosen to fulfill an ancient prophecy, Po’s dreams become reality when he joins the world of Kung Fu and studies alongside his idols—the legendary fighters Tigress, Crane, Mantis, Viper and Monkey—under the leadership of their guru, Master Shifu. But before they know it, the vengeful and treacherous snow leopard Tai Lung is headed their way, and it’s up to Po to defend everyone from the oncoming threat. Can he turn his dreams of becoming a Kung Fu master into reality? Po puts his heart-and his girth-into the task, and the unlikely hero ultimately finds that his greatest weaknesses turn out to be his greatest strengths. [Dreamworks]
Metascore:
73
User Score:
8.3
Obscene 66.

Obscene

Release Date: September 26, 2008
Not Rated
Barney Rosset is the greatest American publisher of the twentieth century and the most influential cultural figure that you haven’t heard of. Under Rosset, Grove Press and Evergreen Review fought decisive battles, including many before the state and federal supreme courts, defeated legal censorship, and opened American life to new and dangerous currents of freedom. But Rosset’s public fight against hypocrisy and injustice is inextricable from his tumultuous personal life: the same unyeilding, quixotic, restless energy that upended centuries of law brought Rosset perilously close to destruction. (Arthouse Films)
Metascore:
73
User Score:
tbd
The Girl Cut in Two 67.

The Girl Cut in Two

Release Date: August 15, 2008
Not Rated
Gabrielle Deneige is an independent, ambitious TV weather girl torn between her love of a distinguished author several decades her senior, and the attentions of a headstrong, potentially unstable young suitor. An unspoken past between the two men heightens tensions, and though she's initially certain of her love for one them, the see-saw demands and whims of both men keep confusing - and darkening - matters. Before long she's encountering emotional and societal forces well beyond her control, inexorably leading to a shocking clash of violence and passion. Inspired by the sensational Gilded Age murder of Madison Square Garden architect Stanford White, A Girl Cut in Two is trademark Chabrol: fiendishly entertaining and impossible to shake. (IFC Films)
Metascore:
73
User Score:
6.3
Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson 68.

Gonzo: The Life and Work of Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

Release Date: July 4, 2008
From Oscar-winning director Alex Gibney and producer Graydon Carter comes a probing look into the uncanny life of national treasure and gonzo journalism inventor Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. A fast-moving, wildly entertaining documentary with an iconic soundtrack, the film addresses the major touchstones in Thompson's life--his intense and ill-fated relationship with the Hells Angels, his near-successful bid for the office of sheriff in Aspen in 1970, the notorious story behind the landmark Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, his deep involvement in Senator George McGovern's 1972 presidential campaign, and much more. Narrated by Johnny Depp. (Magnolia Pictures)
Metascore:
73
User Score:
7.6
Gran Torino 69.

Gran Torino

Release Date: December 12, 2008
Retired auto worker Walt Kowalski fills his days with home repair, beer and monthly trips to the barber. The people he once called his neighbors have all moved or passed away, replaced by Hmong immigrants, from Southeast Asia, he despises. Resentful of virtually everything he sees--Walt is just waiting out the rest of his life. Until the night someone tries to steal his `72 Gran Torino. The Gran Torino brings his shy teenaged neighbor Thao into his life when Hmong gangbangers pressure the boy into trying to steal it. But Walt stands in the way of both the heist and the gang, making him the reluctant hero of the neighborhood--especially to Thao's mother and older sister, Sue, who insist that Thao work for Walt as a way to make amends. Though he initially wants nothing to do with these people, Walt eventually gives in and puts the boy to work fixing up the neighborhood, setting into motion an unlikely friendship that will change both their lives. (Warner Bros. Pictures)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
7.9
Berlin 70.

Berlin

Release Date: July 18, 2008
Staging Berlin has been discussed for over 30 years and in December of 2006 it became a reality. Berlin was said to be one of the most depressing albums ever made but as it was brought to life it was far from dismal. In 2006, Susan Feldman the artistic director of St. Anne’s Warehouse in Brooklyn approached Lou Reed about performing his album Berlin in its entirety. Reed accepted and invited acclaimed director and artist Julian Schnabel to design the sets for the performance. Having been an enormous admirer of the album since its release, Schnabel set about making a film that would reach beyond Brooklyn. Using the divided city of Berlin as its backdrop, the story of Caroline and her lovers is told through the emotive and provocative words of Lou Reed. With performers like Fernando Saunders, Antony, Steve Hunter, Rob Wassermann, Rupert Christie and Sharon Jones, a seven piece orchestra and the Brooklyn Youth Chorus all working to create a captivating and enveloping world, Lou Reed is able to take the audience with him as he bares witness to Caroline’s self-destruction. Julian’s set design create the backdrop of a hotel with greenish walls and with Lola Schnabel’s films displaying the beauty and tragedy of the narrator’s leading lady the experience is devastating and beautiful. (Third Rail Releasing/The Weinstein Company)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
tbd
A Secret 71.

A Secret

Release Date: September 5, 2008
Not Rated
A Secret follows the saga of a Jewish family in post-World War II Paris. François, a solitary, imaginative child, invents for himself a brother as well as the story of his parents` past. But on his fifteenth birthday, he discovers a dark family secret that ties his family`s history to the Holocaust and shatters his illusions forever. Adapted from Philippe Grimbert`s celebrated truth-inspired novel, Memory. (Strand Releasing)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
5.8
Blindsight 72.

Blindsight

Release Date: March 5, 2008
A dangerous journey soon becomes a seemingly impossible challenge made all the more remarkable by the fact that the teenagers are blind. Believed by many Tibetans to be possessed by demons, the children are shunned by their parents, scorned by their villages, and rejected by society. Rescued by Sabriye Tenberken, a blind educator and adventurer who established the first school for the blind in Lhasa, the students invite the famous blind mountain climber Erik Weihenmayer to visit their school after learning about his conquest of Everest. Erik arrives in Lhasa and inspires Sabriye and her students Kyila, Sonam Bhumtso, Tashi, Gyenshen, Dachung, and Tenzin to let him lead them higher than they have ever been before. The resulting three-week journey is beyond anything any of them could have predicted. (Robson Entertainment)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
7.5
Woman on the Beach 73.

Woman on the Beach

Release Date: January 9, 2008
Not Rated
Joong Rae goes on a road trip to the west coast with his friend Chang Wook and Chang Wook's girlfriend Moon Suk. In the beautiful beach setting of Shinduri, Joong Rae and Moon Suk find themselves attracted to each other and spend a passionate night together. But where does life go the morning after? (TigerCinema)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
tbd
Full Battle Rattle 74.

Full Battle Rattle

Release Date: July 9, 2008
Not Rated
Full Battle Rattle is the story of a real war and a fake town. In California’s Mojave Desert, the US Army has built a “virtual Iraq”—a billion dollar urban warfare simulation--and populated it with hundreds of Iraqi role-players. Army units spend three weeks inside the simulation before deploying to Iraq. Blurring the boundary between fact and fiction, horrific and hilarious, Full Battle Rattle follows an Army Battalion through the simulation, as they attempt to quell an insurgency and prevent Medina Wasl, a mock Iraqi village, from slipping into civil war. (Mile End Films)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
tbd
Priceless 75.

Priceless

Release Date: March 28, 2008
Jean, a shy young bartender, is mistaken for a millionaire by a beautiful, scheming opportunist named Irene. When Irene discovers his true identity, she abandons him, only to find that love-struck Jean has no intention of letting her get away. Jean's comical attempts to gain her affections gradually evolve into setting himself up as a gigolo at a luxury hotel, until Irene finally starts to warm to her persistent, persuasive suitor. Against the wildly atmospheric backdrop of the south of France, Pierre Salvadori directs this sexy and thoroughly charming romantic comedy, which is a fresh reimagining of the cinema classic Breakfast at Tiffany's. (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
7.1
Transsiberian 76.

Transsiberian

Release Date: July 18, 2008
One of those legendary train trips that people used to dream about taking, the Transsiberian Express has probably seen better days. An American couple, Roy and Jessie, decide to return home the long way from their recent sojourn in Peking and meet another couple from the West, Carlos and Abby, with whom they quickly form that tenuous bond that often unites fellow travelers away from home. When Roy gets separated from the train at a stopover, Jessie begins to realize that their compatriots aren’t exactly who or what they seem to be. But the real dangers of their unforgettable trip have only begun to surface; Russian cops, mobsters, and locals are still to come. (First Look Studios)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
6.8
I Served the King of England 77.

I Served the King of England

Release Date: August 29, 2008
Jan Dít? is short in height, but high in ambition. To put it bluntly, the young provincial waiter wants to become a millionaire. And he knows just how to do it: by hearing everything, seeing everything, and creating opportunities at every turn. Armed with this knowledge and an irrepressible wish to please, he soon leaves his first place of employment, a pub, for a luxury brothel and, finally moving onto an elegant Art Nouveau Prague restaurant. But by the late 1930s, things are changing: Hitler has taken the Sudetenland region and is breaking apart Czechoslovakia. Jan falls in love with Líza, a Sudeten German proud of her Aryan blood. They marry, and soon after Líza is sent to serve on the Polish front, while Jan remains behind to serve as a nurse in a Nazi SS Research Hospital, but when she returns, she has a fortune in rare stamps that Jews had ‘left behind’ ... After Líza’s less than heroic death, Jan sells the stamps and becomes ... a millionaire. But he only has three years to enjoy his fortune: the new Communist regime puts him behind bars for 15 years, one for each of his millions... Upon his release from jail, Jan is sent to live in a decrepit border town. Here Jan reflects on the events that have shaped his life – and to reflect on what might have happened if he had played a different role in these events. (Sony Classics)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
8.2
Ghost Town 78.

Ghost Town

Release Date: September 19, 2008
Bertram Pincus is a man whose skills leave much to be desired. When Pincus dies unexpectedly, but miraculously revived after seven minutes, he wakes up to discover that he now has the annoying ability to see ghosts. Even worse, they all want something from him, particutarly Frank Herlihy who pesters him into breaking up the impending marriage of his widow Gwen. That puts Pincus squarely in the middle of a triangle with spirited results. (Paramount Pictures/Dreamworks Pictures)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
7.0
Surfwise 79.

Surfwise

Release Date: May 9, 2008
Like many American outsider adventurers, Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz set out to realize a utopian dream. Abandoning a successful medical practice, he sought self-fulfillment by taking up the nomadic life of a surfer. But unlike other American searchers like Thoreau or Kerouac, Paskowitz took his wife and nine children along for the ride, all 11 of them living in a 24-foot camper. Together, they lived a life that would be unfathomable to most, but enviable to anyone who ever relinquished their dreams to a straight job. The Paskowitz Family proved that, though America may be running out of frontiers, it hasn't run out of frontiersman. (Magnolia Pictures)
Metascore:
72
User Score:
tbd
Tuya's Marriage 80.

Tuya's Marriage

Release Date: April 4, 2008
Not Rated
Set in the remote inner Mongolian grassland, Tuya's Marriage is the moving tale of Tuya (Nan Yu,) the iron-willed wife of Bater, a herdsman who has been paralyzed. Tuya takes up the sole responsibility to make a living for her family, but her hard labor endangers her health. Faced with a harsh reality, the couple decides to divorce so that Tuya can seek a better life. Imposing her own conditions--her new husband will have to take care of Bater, their children, and their herding land--the strong-minded, stubborn, but gentle Tuya embarks on an arduous and at times unintentionally comic search for a new husband in this Mongolian design for living. She meets suitors who are rich but disingenuous or likable but shy, and keeps her family together against insurmountable odds. Wrenching and beautiful, Tuya's Marriage is the indelible portrait of a strong woman determined to save her family, herself, and their ancient way of life. (Music Box Films)
Metascore:
71
User Score:
tbd
What Doesn't Kill You 81.

What Doesn't Kill You

Release Date: December 12, 2008
Brian and Paulie are friends who grew up like brothers on the gritty streets of south Boston. They do whatever it takes to survive, living by the code of their dog-eat-dog neighborhood. Petty crimes and misdemeanors grow into more serious offenses and eventually, they fall under sway to organized crime boss Pat Kelly. As Brian becomes increasingly lost in a haze of drugs and ‘jobs,’ even the love he has for his wife and his children does not seem like it will be enough to redeem him. Meanwhile, Paulie plans “one last heist” but knows it will take both of them to pull it off. How can they escape the only life they know? (Yari Film Group)
Metascore:
71
User Score:
5.5
Tropic Thunder 82.

Tropic Thunder

Release Date: August 13, 2008
Tropic Thunder is an action comedy about a group of self-absorbed actors who set out to make the most expensive war film. After ballooning costs force the studio to cancel the movie, the frustrated director refuses to stop shooting, leading his cast into the jungles of Southeast Asia, where they encounter real bad guys. (Paramount Pictures)
Metascore:
71
User Score:
7.3
Trumbo 83.

Trumbo

Release Date: June 27, 2008
Trumbo is a unique, star-studded film about Oscar-winning screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and his heroic journey from Hollywood royalty to blacklisted writer to Academy Award winner. Set against the backdrop of tremendous political unrest, audience will be given a first, emotional account of how this turmoil affected one of Hollywood’s most prolific writers. Based on the play “Trumbo”, by his son Christopher, the film features brilliant readings of some of Trumbo’s extraordinary letters performed by an A list cast, interlaced with period and contemporary interviews, and, rare video shot by his family and friends (The Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Metascore:
71
User Score:
6.0
My Brother Is an Only Child 84.

My Brother Is an Only Child

Release Date: March 28, 2008
Unrated
Already a smash in its native Italy, My Brother is an Only Child, which was presented at this year's Cannes and Toronto film festivals, reunites director Daniele Luchetti with longtime collaborators Sandro Petraglia and Stefano Rulli, best known as screenwriters of the highly acclaimed The Best of Youth. Set in a small Italian town in the '60s and '70s, the film tells the story of two brothers who want to change the world--but in completely different ways. The elder, Manrico, is a handsome, charismatic firebrand who becomes the prime mover in the local Communist party. Accio, the younger, more rebellious brother, finds his own contrarian voice by joining the reactionary Fascists. What starts as a typical tale of sibling rivalry becomes a story of the polarizing and paralyzing politics of those turbulent times. The rift between the brothers is further intensified when Accio realizes that he loves his brother's girlfriend, Francesca, who like everyone else is blind to Manrico's increasingly dangerous ideas. (THINKFilm)
Metascore:
71
User Score:
7.3
Horton Hears a Who! 85.

Horton Hears a Who!

Release Date: March 14, 2008
Based on the beloved children's book by Dr. Seuss, this is the tale of an imaginative elephant named Horton who hears a faint cry for help coming from a tiny speck of dust floating through the air. Although Horton doesn't know it yet, that speck houses an entire city named Who-ville, inhabited by the microscopic Whos, led by the mayor. Despite being ridiculed and threatened by his neighbors, who think he has lost his mind, Horton is determined to save the particle...because "a person's a person, no matter how small." (20th Century Fox)
Metascore:
71
User Score:
7.8
Roman de gare 86.

Roman de gare

Release Date: April 25, 2008
Best-selling author Judith Ralitzer is researching unlikely places to find characters for her next bestseller. As luck would have it, a serial killer with a penchant for magic tricks has just escaped from a high-security prison…providing the perfect source material for an intricately plotted, mood mystery. (Samuel Goldwyn Films)
Metascore:
71
User Score:
8.1
Standard Operating Procedure 87.

Standard Operating Procedure

Release Date: April 25, 2008
Is it possible for a photograph to change the world? Photographs taken by soldiers in Abu Ghraib prison changed the war in Iraq and changed America's image of itself. Yet, a central mystery remains. Did the notorious Abu Ghraib photographs constitute evidence of systematic abuse by the American military, or were they documenting the aberrant behavior of a few "bad apples"? We set out to examine the context of these photographs. Why were they taken? What was happening outside the frame? We talked directly to the soldiers who took the photographs and who were in the photographs. Who are these people? What were they thinking? Over two years of investigation, we amassed a million and a half words of interview transcript, thousands of pages of unredacted reports, and hundreds of photographs. The story of Abu Ghraib is still shrouded in moral ambiguity, but it is clear what happened there. The Abu Ghraib photographs serve as both an expose and a coverup. An expose, because the photographs offer us a glimpse of the horror of Abu Ghraib; and a coverup because they convinced journalists and readers they had seen everything, that there was no need to look further. In recent news reports, we have learned about the destruction of the Abu Zubaydah interrogation tapes. A coverup. It has been front page news. But the coverup at Abu Ghraib involved thousands of prisoners and hundreds of soldiers. We are still learning about the extent of it. Many journalists have asked about "the smoking gun" of Abu Ghraib. It is the wrong question. As Philip Gourevitch has commented, Abu Ghraib is the smoking gun. The underlying question that we still have not resolved, four years after the scandal: how could American values become so compromised that Abu Ghraib-and the subsequent coverup-could happen? (Sony Picture Classics)
Metascore:
70
User Score:
7.6
Vicky Cristina Barcelona 88.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

Release Date: August 15, 2008
Two young American women, Vicky and Cristina come to Barcelona for a summer holiday. Vicky is sensible and engaged to be married; Cristina is emotionally and sexually adventurous. In Barcelona, they’re drawn into a series of unconventional romantic entanglements with Juan Antonio, a charismatic painter, who is still involved with his tempestuous ex-wife Maria Elena. Set against the luscious Mediterranean sensuality of Barcelona, Vicky Cristina Barcelona is Woody Allen’s funny and open-minded celebration of love in all its configurations. (The Weinstein Company)
Metascore:
70
User Score:
7.0
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button 89.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Release Date: December 25, 2008
“I was born under unusual circumstances.” And so begins The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, adapted from the 1920s story by F. Scott Fitzgerald about a man who is born in his eighties and ages backwards: a man, like any of us, who is unable to stop time. We follow his story, set in New Orleans from the end of World War I in 1918, into the 21st century, following his journey that is as unusual as any man’s life can be. Benjamin Button is a grand tale of a not-so-ordinary man and the people and places he discovers along the way, the loves he finds, the joys of life and the sadness of death, and what lasts beyond time. (Paramount Pictures)
Metascore:
70
User Score:
7.3
Love Songs 90.

Love Songs

Release Date: March 21, 2008
Not Rated
In the hope of sparking their stalled relationship, Ismael and Julie enter a playful yet emotionally laced threesome with Alice. When tragedy strikes, these young Parisians are forced to deal with the fragility of life and love. For Ismael, this means negotiating through the advances of Julie's sister and a young college student, one of whom may offer him redemption. Love Songs is a modern-day musical told through unforgettable songs sung entirely by the cast. (IFC First Take)
Metascore:
70
User Score:
8.3
Caramel 91.

Caramel

Release Date: February 1, 2008
In Beirut, five women meet regularly in a beauty salon, a colorful and sensual microcosm of the city where several generations come into contact, talk and confide in each other. In the salon, their intimate and liberated conversations revolve around men, sex and motherhood, between haircuts and sugar waxing with caramel. (Roadside Attractions)
Metascore:
70
User Score:
7.6
I.O.U.S.A. 92.

I.O.U.S.A.

Release Date: August 22, 2008
The United States faces an enemy of epic proportions. It's not something you can see on CNN or YouTube. It's not as overtly in your face as wars, natural disasters or terrorism. But this invisible, insidious monster is rapidly growing into a behemoth, threatening to spark an unthinkable catastrophe that will impact the future of the nation and the lives of every single American, no matter who you are. (Roadside Attractions)
Metascore:
70
User Score:
6.5
Dung che sai duk 93.

Dung che sai duk

Release Date: October 10, 2008
The film is set in five parts, five seasons that are part of the Chinese almanac. The story takes place in the jianghu, the world of the martial arts. Ouyang Feng has lived in the western desert for some years. He left his home in White Camel Mountain when the woman he loved chose to marry his elder brother rather than him. Instead of seeking glory, he ends up as an agent. When people come to him with a wish to eliminate someone who has wronged them, he puts them in touch with a swordsman who can do the job. (Sony Picture Classics)
Metascore:
69
User Score:
6.9
Revolutionary Road 94.

Revolutionary Road

Release Date: December 26, 2008
Adapted from the landmark novel by Richard Yates, Revolutionary Road is an incisive portrait of an American marriage seen through the eyes of Frank and April Wheeler. Yates’ story of 1950’s America poses a question that has been reverberating through modern relationships ever since: can two people break away from the ordinary without breaking apart? (Paramount Vantage)
Metascore:
69
User Score:
7.4
Frontrunners 95.

Frontrunners

Release Date: October 15, 2008
Not Rated
Frontrunners is a political documentary that follows the student council presidential campaign at one of the country’s most prestigious public high schools: Stuyvesant High School in New York City. An entertaining and symbolic campaign film, put forth in classic verite style, we follow four charming and idiosyncratic candidates as they navigate an electoral process that is said to be one of the most competitive at the high school level. These teenagers candidates face the same issues as candidates of any age, such as picking the “right” running mate, shaking as many hands as possible, preparing for televised debates, impressing the pundits and journalistic community, addressing sensitive race-related issues, and mobilizing an apathetic voter base. (Oscilloscope Laboratories)
Metascore:
69
User Score:
tbd
Giorni e nuvole 96.

Giorni e nuvole

Release Date: July 11, 2008
Unrated
Well-to-do, sophisticated couple, Elsa and Michele, have a 20 year-old daughter, Alice, and enough money for Elsa to leave her job and fulfill an old dream of studying art history. After she graduates, however, their lives change. Michele confesses he hasn't worked in two months and was fired by the company he founded years ago. Elsa overcomes her initial shock by pouring extra energy into facing the crisis while Michele, exhausted by an unsuccessful job hunt, lets himself go, alternating between vivacity and apathy. The growing distance between them eventually leads to a break-up. Only when they are apart will they realize that they risk losing their most precious possession: the love that binds them. (Film Movement)
Metascore:
69
User Score:
tbd
The Bank Job 97.

The Bank Job

Release Date: March 7, 2008
A car dealer with a dodgy past and new family, Terry has always avoided major-league scams. But when Martine, a beautiful model from his old neighborhood, offers him a lead on a foolproof bank hit on London's Baker Street, Terry recognizes the opportunity of a lifetime. Martine targets a roomful of safe-deposit boxes worth millions in cash and jewelry. But Terry and his crew don't realize the boxes also contain a treasure trove of dirty secrets--secrets that will thrust them into a deadly web of corruption and illicit scandal that spans London's criminal underworld, the highest echelons of the British government, and the Royal Family itself. This is the true story of a heist gone wrong in all the right ways. (Lionsgate)
Metascore:
69
User Score:
7.7
Redbelt 98.

Redbelt

Release Date: May 2, 2008
Set on the west side of the Los Angeles fight world, a world inhabited by bouncers, cage fighters, cops, and special forces types, Redbelt is the story of Mike Terry, a jujitsu teacher who has avoided the prize-fighting circuit, choosing instead to pursue an honorable life by operating a self-defense studio with a samurai's code. Terry and his wife, Sondra, struggle to keep the business running to make ends meet. On a dark, rainy night, an accident at the academy between an off-duty officer and a distraught lawyer puts in motion a series of events that will change Terry's life dramatically and introduce him to a world of promoters and to movie star Chet Frank. Faced with this, in order to pay off his debts and regain his honor, Terry must step into the ring for the first time in his life. (Sony Classics)
Metascore:
69
User Score:
6.6
Chicago 10 99.

Chicago 10

Release Date: February 29, 2008
Chicago 10 tells the story of the buildup and unraveling of the Chicago Conspiracy trial--not as history but as an electrifying experience felt with up-to-the-moment immediacy. Interweaving footage of the brutal clashes between police and demonstrators at the 1968 Democratic convention with 3D animated reenactments of the outrageous trial that followed it, the audience becomes eyewitnesses of violent turmoil, as well as absurdist spectacle. Set to a blazing soundtrack that ranges from Black Sabbath and Steppenwolf to the Beastie Boys and Eminem, "Chicago 10" is a stirring account of young Americans taking a stand in the face of an oppressive government--a story that resonates deeply in our world today. (Roadside Attractions)
Metascore:
69
User Score:
6.8
Fear(s) of the Dark 100.

Fear(s) of the Dark

Release Date: October 22, 2008
Unrated
Fear(s) of the Dark is a wildly inventive and visually dazzling collection of fearful tales by six of the world's most renowned comic and graphic artists - Blutch, Charles Burns, Marie Caillou, Pierre Di Sciullo, Lorenzo Mattotti, and Richard McGuire. From a besotted student whose girlfriend is weirdly ardent in her affections, to a Japanese schoolgirl menaced by a long-dead samurai, and a pack of hounds on a bloodthirsty rampage, Fear(s) has a story strand to trouble every sleep - not to mention a stunning range of animation styles. Shot in shimmering black and white, the six intertwined tales create an unprecedented epic where phobias and nightmares come to life and reveal Fear at its most naked and intense. (IFC Films)
Metascore:
69
User Score:
7.4