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Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives
Apichatpong Weerasethakul's film asks no less of you than to reconsider the ways you understand not just movies but, via mystical Buddhism, the entire universe, from reality's fungible borders to the transmutability of the soul. Life changing.
Genre trash rewrit as highbrow treasure, Nicolas Winding Refn's latest is drop-dead gorgeous, the epitome of cool, and the purest cinema you could see all year.
About blue-collar hipster versions of Holmes and Watson who deconstruct the mystery genre in order to find themselves, Aaron Katz's movie testifies to the everyman's capacity for greatness.
Lee Chang-dong juxtaposes ubiquitous natural beauty with man-made violence and cruelty to demonstrate how, out of that conflict, arises poetry.
Another exceptional allegory from Kelly Reichardt and writer Jon Raymond, this one about rejecting cowboy leadership (Bush) for that of the mysterious Other (Obama).
Tuesday, After Christmas
Radu Muntean's suffocating long takes intensify this domestic drama, which employs the devices of the Romanian New Wave to tell a personal rather than political story. It's shattering.
Rise of the Planet of the Apes
The summer's best blockbuster, an animal-rights tirade that anticipated the autumn's revolutionary fervor. Rupert Wyatt actually gets us to side with the apes and root against our own kind.
In the Family
In Patrick Wang's unseen indie melodrama/art-house weepie, a Southern gay man fights for custody of his dead partner's son. Sensitive and devastating.
Joe Swanberg's self-conscious exploration of moviemaking, what it means and what it's worth—if anything!—is his smartest and most sophisticated to date.
Michael Madsen's poetic, stupefying documentary about the unfathomably long life of nuclear waste, and what that means for its storage.
The Top 25 films of the year, as voted on and praised by our stable of film critics.
Jan 9, 2012