1. PERSEPOLIS (Sony)
Marjane Satrapi, the viciously funny adapter of her own cockeyed graphic novel about growing up Iranian, rocks as hard as Iggy Pop, her idol and voice-actor. Satrapi’s autobiographical film bashes the careful sobriety of the Middle East message movie.
You Might Also Like: Heavy Metal in Baghdad.
2. 4 MONTHS, 3 WEEKS & 2 DAYS (Genius)
Cristian Mungiu’s Cannes-conquering, top-ten-topper is the state of the art in Eastern Bloc realism, following a woman through gray hallways and gray hotel rooms as she helps her friend find an abortionist.
Make It a Foreign-Film Double Feature With: The Free Will.
3. IN BRUGES (Universal)
Ralph Fiennes plays a violent, evil freak more frightening than his Voldemore—but even he can’t steal scenes from Colin Farell, whose whiny, liquore-addled turn in Martin McDonagh’s vicious hit-man farce is a one-film comeback.
Make It a Highbrow Crime Double Feature With: Classe Tous Risques.
4. CONTROL (Genius)
Anton Corbijn’s Ian Curtis biopic doesn’t blow the lid off the tired biopic genre or cast the Joy Division front man in some startling new light. Rather, it refuses grand myths in favor of something more subtle, domestic, and familiar: Curtis as sad, married office bloke.
More Joy: Grant Gee’s Joy Division.
5. THE GRAND (Anchor Bay)
Zak Penn’s heavily improvised poker comedy stars a hilariously motley crew: David Cross, Cheryl Hines, Woody Harrelson, Richard Kind, and others (Ray Romano and Werner Herzog, together at last!). Spoiler: The winner is also the film’s most vicious trash talker.
See It Instead of: Semi-Pro.
… and the rest …
6. The Furies Barbara Stanwyck at her sassy best as a rancher’s daughter in Anthony Mann’s Western family epic. 7. Wayward Cloud Tsai Ming-Liang’s lavish porno deconstruction is more infuriating than ravishing. 8. Funny Games Michael Haneke’s sadistic remake is infuriating, period. 9. Weeds: Season 3 Mary-Louise Parker, still dealing. 10. Rescue Me: The Complete Fourth Season Denis Leary, still screaming. 11. What’s Happening? The Complete Series Rerun’s reruns. 12. The Carmen Miranda Collection For the drag queen you love. 13. Definitely, Maybe Definitely better than Made of Honor. 14. Be Kind, Rewind Be smart, press stop.