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Jack Mathews, New York Daily News

  1. The Business of Being Born 2008 Passionate, enlightening and unabashedly one-sided, Abby Epstein's documentary is not for everyone. But at the very least, it should be seen by every pregnant woman in America. full review
  2. In Bruges 2008 There are good moments laced through the severely uneven In Bruges, but the best reason for seeing it is Bruges itself. full review
  3. Adrift in Manhattan 2007 Adrift is a small film with great humanity and deserves a broader audience than it's likely to get. full review
  4. Alone with Her 2007 Alone With Her has the kind of high ick factor that leaves you squirming -- not because Doug is so diabolical a creation, but because what he does to satisfy his pathology is so practical. full review
  5. Black White + Gray: A Portrait of Sam Wagstaff and Robert Mapplethorpe 2007 Wagstaff was a fascinating figure and deserves the detailed tribute provided here. full review
  6. Civic Duty 2007 Though Civic Duty seems to be a study in paranoid psychosis, it has just enough ambiguity to make you wonder if it isn't something else. You'll still be wondering when it's all over. full review
  7. Day Zero 2007 Truth to be told, it's hard to care. full review
  8. Descent 2007 No moviegoer has done anything to deserve the images that director Talia Lugacy would throw in their face. full review
  9. Evening 2007 Things are happening too fast to be convincing, and the romance -- rather, the one-night stand -- between Ann and Harris hardly seems worth a lifetime of regret, or two hours of your time. full review
  10. The Hunting Party 2007 The opening credit disclaimer for writer-director Richard Shepard's The Hunting Party -- 'Only the most ridiculous parts of this story are true' -- didn't help me much. Everything about this political thriller is ridiculous. full review
  11. A Mighty Heart 2007 Though the events recalled in Winterbottom's riveting docudrama A Mighty Heart are well-known, they are dramatized with such realistic detail and heartfelt passion that the story feels as urgent as the latest bad news out of the Middle East. full review
  12. No End in Sight 2007 The most compelling and least partisan of all the Iraq documentaries. full review
  13. Outsourced 2007 Josh Hamilton gives a marvelously engaging performance in this fish-out-of-water comedy. full review
  14. The Rape of Europa 2007 This meticulously rich documentary chronicles the cultural scavenging of the Nazis and the heroic efforts of art patrons and ordinary citizens to hide the treasures. full review
  15. Reign Over Me 2007 Cheadle is good, as always, but Sandler's portrayal of a guy on the perennial brink of a psychotic breakdown is amazing. full review
  16. Zodiac 2007 Without a persuasive ending, Zodiac is an exercise in frustration. full review
  17. Akeelah and the Bee 2006 ... Palmer -- and J.J. Villarreal, as her unflappable fellow contestant and first-blush romantic interest -- makes it all go down very easily. full review
  18. Cashback 2006 It's no small trick to blend fantasy, slapstick and genuine emotion, but [director] Ellis pulls it off with whimsy to spare. full review
  19. Click 2006 The film's overall problem is that it asks thoughtful moviegoers to appreciate its good intentions while ignoring its appeal to the basest of adolescent tastes. full review
  20. Colma: The Musical 2006 Wonderfully staged numbers -- a raucous song in a tavern, a lovely ballad sung in a cemetery with couples dancing through the tombstones -- that give this little indie a big heart. full review
  21. Deep Water 2006 His story is a footnote in sailing history, to be sure, but a fascinating one. full review
  22. Failure to Launch 2006 The plot synopsis sounds less like sitcom than sick-com: A womanizer has the tables turned on him when he falls in love with, essentially, a prostitute whose services are being paid for by parents who don't have the decency to ask him to leave. full review
  23. Flyboys 2006 Aafter a while -- there must be six major fights against unending numbers of German planes -- it feels like special effects run amok. full review
  24. Freedomland 2006 The film is dark and claustrophobic, and so confined in its location as to seem more like an adaptation of a play than a novel. full review
  25. Harsh Times 2006 Though Bale has the presence of a young De Niro, and the same volatile edge, he's being asked here to fill out a role that doesn't ring true on any level. full review
  26. I'm Reed Fish 2006 Modest charmer about a folksy community radio show host. full review
  27. Nacho Libre 2006 Nacho Libre scores points only on occasion. full review
  28. One to Another 2006 The confusing time line of Pascal Arnold and Jean-Marc Barr's bizarre tale of sibling romance, murder and obsession is just one of its problems. The others are the romance, the murder and the obsession. full review
  29. Scoop 2006 To see Allen, now 70, trying to reclaim the persona he's been handing off is like watching Willie Mays fall down trying to hit a curve ball during his last season. full review
  30. Sherrybaby 2006 ... for all the missteps, Gyllenhaal gives such a riveting central performance, the others tend to blend into the background. full review
  31. This Is England 2006 Turgoose, in his first film role, is entirely convincing. full review
  32. Trailer Park Boys: The Movie 2006 Canada may have a better health care system than ours, but the popularity of the TV show Trailer Park Boys proves that when it comes to low-brow entertainment, they can go lower than Jerry Springer. full review
  33. United 93 2006 It is a docudrama done with great sensitivity, and with unerring judgment in the writing and in the depiction of the passengers and hijackers. full review
  34. Unknown 2006 It all comes together at the end, logically and with a twist. But it's not a game that allows the audience to play along. full review
  35. The Wind That Shakes the Barley 2006 ... Ken Loach's The Wind That Shakes the Barley may be the most powerful look yet at the guerrilla-styled Irish rebellion against occupying British forces in 1920-22. full review
  36. 49 Up 2005 When I saw 42 Up in 1999, I thought the series had run its natural course and that it was time to leave the "kids" alone. I was wrong. They have just entered a new and exciting phase of lives that are very much works in progress. full review
  37. Broken Flowers 2005 A Jarmusch film through and through, with the stars shining against the same minimalist backdrop. full review
  38. Commune 2005 Jonathan Berman's documentary about California's famous Black Bear Ranch is a trip. full review
  39. The Constant Gardener 2005 A slick, fast-paced production with first-rate performances and an emotional punch you won't soon forget. full review
  40. Free Zone 2005 It's a nice crying jag by Natalie Portman, but there's not much else here to recommend. full review
  41. Old Joy 2005 Kelly Reichardt's minimalist buddy film about two former roommates on an overnight camping trip in Oregon's Cascade Mountains features some of the year's most beautiful scenery and two of its most wooden characters. full review
  42. Rent 2005 Rent takes to the streets of New York and convulses in song and dance for nearly two solid hours. full review
  43. Right at Your Door 2005 Has an ironic and unpredictable ending. full review
  44. Stoned 2005 The good news here is that Woolley and his writers have taken the mystery surrounding Jones' tragic 1969 death as their main interest, and have adopted as fact the long-cherished rumor that the blond rocker's drowning was a case of murder. full review
  45. Wal-Mart: The High Cost of Low Price 2005 It takes the gleam off those penny-saving bargains. full review
  46. xXx: State of the Union 2005 The chases, shootouts and explosions in this deafening, lamebrained wreck of a movie make the Road Runner cartoons look like National Geographic specials. full review
  47. After Innocence 2004 A powerful indictment of a judicial system too anxious to close cases, and then close ranks when someone tries to reopen them. full review
  48. The Forgotten 2004 It has been 17 years since Joseph Ruben last directed a good thriller (The Stepfather), and it may be another 17 if he can't find better material than Gerald Di Pego's script for The Forgotten. full review
  49. Jersey Girl 2004 Affleck is buried in the cliches of his role, or worse, having to react to the fatuousness of Tyler. full review
  50. The Stepford Wives 2004 Rudnick has written some of the year's sharpest comic dialogue for this threesome: Kidman, Bette Midler ... and Roger Bart. full review
  51. Cold Mountain 2003 There is something distancing about the film, and I don't refer to the Romanian mountains standing for North Carolina's Blue Ridge. full review
  52. CSA: Confederate States of America 2003 CSA is a sophomoric film essay that would have barely rated a passing grade from a tougher teacher. full review
  53. Holes 2003 A dense yarn with a range of humor, imagination and emotions as wide as the desert floor upon which it is set. full review
  54. Stander 2003 Maryland native Thomas Jane affects a very convincing South African accent for the title role in this compelling,exploitative true-life drama about a Johannesburg police captain turned bank robber. full review
  55. Timeline 2003 An instant contender for cult status on the midnight-movie circuit, where lines like 'Do we look like quantum wormhole specialists?' will be given the respect they deserve. full review
  56. American Dreamz 2002 The devilishness of satire is in the details, and [Paul] Weitz's script just isn't as funny or as consistently sharp as it should be. full review
  57. The Master of Disguise 2002 The film contains no good jokes, no good scenes, barely a moment when Carvey's Saturday Night Live-honed mimicry rises above the level of embarrassment. full review
  58. Love the Hard Way 2001 Desperately overblown 2001 melodrama. full review
  59. /titles/197192 Missing beneath its fabulous surface, however, is anything like a beating heart. full review

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