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Far from the Madding Crowd

Whether his film is lush or rolling in the muck, it always has a tactile quality that makes it accessible, which is also true of…

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Ride

Helen Hunt directs herself in this story of a brittle New York book editor who begins healing old wounds by learning how to surf.

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Ballad of Narayama

"The Ballad of Narayama" is a Japanese film of great beauty and elegant artifice, telling a story of startling cruelty. What a space it opens…

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Monsieur Hire

Patrice Leconte's "Monsieur Hire" is a tragedy about loneliness and erotomania, told about two solitary people who have nothing else in common. It involves a…

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Here it is: Your first 2008 ten-best list

First but least, as always, it's time for the National Board of Review selections. Their top pick: Danny Boyle's "Slumdog Millionaire," which was also the fave in Toronto in September. No, I still haven't figured out who these people are, either, but they've been doing this sort of thing for 99 years and describe themselves on their web site as "the oldest organization devoted to motion pictures as art and entertainment." OK.

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The NBR top ten (in alphabetical order):

"Burn After Reading"

"Changeling"

"The Curious Case of Benjamin Button"

"The Dark Knight"

"Defiance"

"Frost/Nixon"

"Gran Torino"

"Milk"

"Wall-E"

"The Wrestler"

Clint Eastwood gets best actor for "Gran Torino" and "Doubt" snags best ensemble cast, even though it didn't make the top ten. David Fincher wins best director for "Benjamin Button."

... and then...

In addition to naming five top docs (plus winner, "Man on Wire") and five top "foreign language films" (plus winner "Mongol"), the NBR also picks ten cherce "indies" -- so as to spread the love publicity around:

"Frozen River"

"In Bruges"

"In Search of a Midnight Kiss"

"Mr. Foe"

"Rachel Getting Married"

"Snow Angels"

"Son of Rambow"

"Wendy and Lucy"

"Vicky Cristina Barcelona"

"The Visitor"

All the 2008 NBR lists are here.

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