|ON THEIR WAY FROM THE THEATERS|
The New World (2005).
Though it barely made a dent at the box office and was all but snubbed by the Oscars (excepting one nomination for cinematography), Terrence Malick's The New World "was the movie that inspired the most fervent devotion" among a certain circle of critics last year, as J. Hoberman actually rather understated it in the Village Voice in March.
"With the exception of my few dear friends in that august body, [the Academy members] are idiots," wrote Manohla Dargis in the New York Times. The film's most dedicated advocate, Matt Zoller Seitz of the New York Press declared the film his "new religion" and "a generation-defining event."
Whether or not you find the film all that winning, are you getting the idea now that if you haven't seen it yet, you'd damn well better?
"With his latest film, Munich, Steven Spielberg forgoes the emotional bullying and pop thrills that come so easily to him to tell the story of a campaign of vengeance that Israel purportedly brought against Palestinian terrorists in the wake of the 1972 Olympics," wrote Manohla Dargis in the New York Times in December. "An unsparingly brutal look at two peoples all but drowning in a sea of their own blood, "Munich" is by far the toughest film of the director's career and the most anguished."
And, many would argue, among his best.
Rumor Has It (2005).
It's light, it's fun, it's all about the cast: Jennifer Aniston, Kevin Costner, Shirley MacLaine and Mark Ruffalo.
Suggested double feature: The Graduate.
Late Spring (1949).
"Yasujiro Ozu creates a poignant and exquisitely realized portrait of devotion, separation, and familial love in Late Spring," writes Acquarello at Strictly Film School. "Stripped of a manipulative and artificial storyline, Late Spring reveals a sincere concern for the plight of the common man, an affectionate celebration for the subtle beauty of everyday life, and a profound sympathy for the inevitable passage of time."
What's more, this special two-disc edition features Tokyo-Ga, Wim Wenders's tribute to Ozu.
"Adapted from Nobel laureate Imre Kertész's autobiographical novel of an Auschwitz boyhood, the Hungarian film Fateless has a remarkable absence of sentimentality," wrote J. Hoberman in the Voice in January. "The movie is obviously artistic, but there are no cheap or superfluous effects. It's almost mystically translucent.... This isn't a movie that I'd have thought possible; it's an auspicious opening for the new year."
Battle in Heaven (2004).
Writing in the New York Times, Dennis Lim recently called Carlos Reygadas's second feature, Battle in Heaven, "an anomaly among today's explicit art films, which often deploy sex more as a stunt than a subversion." Jonathan Marlow spoke with the controversial director at the Sundance Film Festival in January.
The 400 Blows (1959).
"Truffaut's early milestone about a boy's tough childhood in Paris still rings true and is a testament of the French New Wave," writes Eoliano. "In the end, you'll want to know of Antoine's future, though leaving him on the lam with the world ahead of him is enough."
One of the Village Voice's top films of the last century and a perennial on Sight and Sound's poll of directors and critics.
On the Outs (2004).
Nominated for the John Cassavetes Award at the Indie Spirit Awards last year, where Judy Marte was also nominated for Best Female Lead, On the Outs took the Grand Jury Prize at Slamdance.
"A fierce and gripping new film," wrote the New York Times. Added Entertainment Weekly: "The movie wounds as much as it heals, and that's it's true power."
The Poseidon Adventure (1972).
Just in time for the theatrical release of the new remake comes this special two-disc edition.
Gotta love Eric Henderson's review for Slant: "For a movie that's almost impossible to excuse on artistic grounds and one whose uneven entertainment value ebbs and flows precariously, I've introduced The Poseidon Adventure, two hours of Hollywood has-beens and never-would-bes trying to climb up to the bottom of an overturned luxury liner, to more friends than almost any other movie I can think of, and with the tenacity and introspection of a pitbull in love. So while the new remake barely inspires me to start a whisper campaign in a bull-dyke bar, I'd still give the hypothetical neophyte a double take and exclaim, "You've never seen The Poseidon Adventure?" I'd hump the film's leg in mixed company if the mood struck."
Queer as Folk The Final Season (2005).
"Fans of the American version of Queer as Folk need a fix so bad that the fizzle of the last two seasons will hardly matter as the rainbow sets on Pittsburgh's mythical gaytropolis," wrote Lewis Whittington at Culture Vulture recently. "The characters became the thing that sustained this show and made it Showtime's biggest hit. For the last season the creators Ron Cowen and Daniel Lipman wisely get back to making this a character-driven drama again instead of fitting them into overly greased plots twists."
Scrubs The Complete Third Season (2001).
Scrubs, of course, is the Emmy-nominated series that made Zach Braff a star.
Nanny McPhee (2005).
For the kids, this Mary Poppins-like tale offers dazzling magic and colorful effects; for the rest of us, there's Emma Thompson, Colin Firth and Angela Lansbury.
Gankutsuou: The Count of Monte Cristo Chapter 4 (2004).
"Gankutsuou, the latest effort from legendary director of Blue Submarine No. 6 and the Last Renaissance segment from The Animatrix, is without a doubt one of the finest anime series ever made," writes Zac Bertschy at the Anime News Network.
"Excellent adaptation of the classic novel by Alexandre Dumas in an alternate world setting," adds drseid.
My-Hime Volume 2 (2006).
"One hell of a fun view," writes Theron "Key" Martin at the Anime News Network. "What really sells the series [are] its spectacular action scenes."