AtonementA love story about time, memory and imagination. It's epic in its aims, with ambitious intellectual, narrative, visual and thematic scope. Keira Knightley and James McAvoy are gorgeous and moving as the story's doomed lovers.
The Diving Bell and the ButterflyA transcendent film about an uncinematic subject: A paralyzed man dictates his memoir by blinking his eyelid. Mathieu Amalric acts up a storm with his left eye and vibrantly narrates the locked-in man's eloquent interior monologues.
Eastern PromisesA power struggle in London's Russian mafia inspires David Cronenberg's cold-blooded underworld mystery. Viggo Mortensen's stunning battle against knife-wielding killers in a public bathhouse will enter the action-movie lexicon alongside the car chase from "Bullitt" and the bank shootout from "Heat."
The HostA Korean creature feature that juggles the terror of "Jaws," the dysfunctional family comedy of "Little Miss Sunshine," and the kinetic oomph of "Aliens." Writer/director Bong Joon-ho even slathers political symbolism onto this tale of a fish-creature attacking Seoul, but you're too busy shrieking, laughing and gasping to notice.
INTO THE WILDSean Penn's soaring, grueling road movie argues that freedom's just another word for losing everything. Emile Hirsch is flawless as a comfortably born dropout whose yen for adventure trumps his common sense.
JUNOAn accidentally pregnant teen comes to terms with coming to term. Ellen Page is a dynamo as "the cautionary whale" and Diablo Cody's dialogue is sharp enough to cut glass.
Michael ClaytonGeorge Clooney shelves his glamour for brooding gravitas in this story of corruption, conscience and corporate whistleblowers. Tilda Swinton creates a new kind of villain as his mousy, awkward, amoral nemesis.
NO COUNTRY FOR OLD MENA taut crime yarn with more on its mind than who kills who. The Coen siblings' supremely intelligent thriller is shivery with premonitions of death. Tommy Lee Jones, Josh Brolin and a creepily coiffed Javier Bardem are riveting.
ONCETwo Dublin outcasts make beautiful music together in a modest indie with a 24-karat heart. It's not quite a romance -- it's too shy and European for that -- but it's so suffused with love that it makes you want to be a better person.
Sweeney ToddA dark dream of injustice, revenge and razors. The film has composer/lyricist Steven Sondheim's cynically poetic heart and director Tim Burton's haunted eyes.
ZodiacDavid Fincher's bracingly original take on serial killer movies oozes dread. This true-crime drama, set in the 1970s, eerily predicts the anxieties of the 21st century. The deeper that Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo dig into the still-unsolved case, the closer they come to losing their marbles.
"Brand Upon the Brain!"
"Before the Devil Knows You're Dead"
"Lars and the Real Girl"
"Children of Men"
"Bridge to Terabithia"
"Iraq in Fragments"
"The Lives of Others"
"28 Weeks Later"
"2 Days in Paris"
"Ira & Abby"
"Army of Shadows"
"No End in Sight"
"The King of Kong"
"The Bourne Ultimatum"
"Killer of Sheep"
"Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon
Movie Film for Theatres"
Movies I'll resent on my deathbed:
"Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium"
"Love in the Time of Cholera"
"The Number 23"
"I Know Who Killed Me"
"I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry"
"The Hills Have Eyes II"
"License to Wed"
"Catch and Release"
Colin Covert • 612-673-7186