Screens Top 10s
1) 'A SINGLE MAN' Tom Ford's delirious meditation on the life, death, and rebirth of desire is, simply put, a flawless and exhilarating debut.
2) '12' This Russian reconceptualization of the Sidney Lumet classic 12 Angry Men is just as talky but infinitely more poetic and a slow-burning thing of enormous, post-Soviet beauty.
3) 'MOON' Sam Rockwell redeems himself for the ill-conceived Gentlemen Broncos by playing multiple hands of paranoia solitaire in this trippy little gem.
4) 'ANTICHRIST' The other fantastic Mr. Fox growls the all-too-truism, "Chaos reigns!," while Dafoe and Gainsbourg savage each other and us as well. Love is hell.
5) 'BAD LIEUTENANT: PORT OF CALL NEW ORLEANS' The most deliciously unhinged performance of Nicolas Cage's career (at least since Vampire's Kiss) in Werner Herzog's most amoral morality tale since Cobra Verde. Kinski would be pleased.
6) 'THE COVE' A riveting indictment of not only the Japanese who slaughter dolphins in the titular cove but also of an allegedly civilized planet that condones, via inaction, such inhuman atrocities.
7) 'THE HURT LOCKER' Bigelow has made one helluva war movie, but it's her highly personalized depiction of the hyperadrenalized addiction to danger that really blows you away.
8) 'UP' Pixar's most lovely and affecting film yet. Candy-colored melancholy meets the spirit of adventure (and talking dogs).
9) 'INGLOURIOUS BASTERDS' Not just another badass Jews vs. craven Nazi scum exploitation flick, Tarantino's film is as much an ode to the power of cinema as it is an alt-history World War II bloodbath.
10) 'IN THE LOOP' Dark Brit comedy meets even darker Brit reality. Probably not in Tony Blair's Netflix queue.
Where the Wild Things Are, Burma VJ, Bronson, Sin Nombre, District 9
The Blind Side, Funny People, The Informant!
Tokyo!, Thirst, Crank: High Voltage
ACTING KUDOS (MALE)
Nicolas Cage (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans), Tom Hardy (Bronson), Colin Firth (A Single Man), Peter Capaldi (In the Loop), Sam Rockwell (Moon)
ACTING KUDOS (FEMALE)
Charlotte Gainsbourg (Antichrist), Abbie Cornish (Bright Star), Sigourney Weaver (Avatar), Mélanie Laurent (Inglourious Basterds), Nisreen Faour (Amreeka)
Werner Herzog (Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans), Nikita Mikhalkov (12), Tom Ford (A Single Man)
BEST SCREENPLAY (ORIGINAL)
Inglourious Basterds (Quentin Tarantino), 12 (Nikita Mikhalkov and Aleksandr Novototsky), Up (Pete Docter and Bob Peterson)
BEST SCREENPLAY (ADAPTED)
The Road (Joe Penhall), Where the Wild Things Are (Spike Jonze and Dave Eggers), Fantastic Mr. Fox (Wes Anderson and Noah Baumbach)
Paranormal Activity. Not a 10th as creepy as Spanish imports [Rec] or [Rec] 2, this overhyped, underwhelming mockusuckumentary makes Uwe Boll's oeuvre seem downright transgressive in comparison. Back to YouTube, you!
Coolest "What the Fuck?!" Homage to an Obscure Ishirô Honda Masterpiece: Jason Statham's War of the Gargantuas/King Kong vs. Godzilla slo-mo electrical substation monster mash-up in Crank: High Voltage.