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by Michael Atkinson
Porumboiu's 12:08 East of Bucharest wasn't exactly a shock, encapsulating so much that was mordant and grimly hilarious about the Romanian perspective, but Cuaron's Children of Men, trumping all of the recent neo-dystopias with real-time what-the-fuck-ness, was, and let's say the same for Greengrass's United 93, which was the only dam buster of the embargo on 9/11 dramatization that succeeded, because it respected the victims and the audience in equal measure. Not that we could bear to see it twice. On the other hand, the film that seems to be acquiring a Shawshank-like, cable-&-video-powered ardor in the few years since, Marc Foster's Stranger than Fiction, may also be that year's most invigorating act of American Buddhism, a charming meta-saga from a temporarily graceful hack that sneakily posits a seemingly inexhaustible everyday heroism. Shrugged at upon release, it's far from finished acquiring its patina of totemhood, even as the memory of "Will Ferrell hit comedies" already fades into oblivion.
The second half of a two-part video essay on the decade at the movies covers the best of 2005-2009. Plus, year-in-review snapshots from our senior film writers.
Dec 31, 2009
Our senior film writers offer their thoughts on the decade at the movies, one year at a time.
Dec 30, 2009