The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen), like Schindler’s List, succeeds in making history personal. Like the Spielberg film, it brings the viewer into a world turned upside down by a political catastrophe, and affirms both hope and the possibility of redemption by celebrating a man who makes a right turn from a wrong turn lane. I can’t imagine it didn’t rock Germany. I pray someone will make the Cuban version. And, now, sadly, the American version, as well.

We Own the Night is a very well produced, well acted and tightly constructed drama in the best – or, at least, the oldest – tradition. At heart, it is a movie about sacrifice and the bond between siblings. (“Blood is thicker than…”) But it has a mise-en-scène detailed enough to satisfy our modern taste for the surreal or fantastical: the early scenes at the nightclub, the Russian patriarch’s house, the car chase in the rain are all exquisitely rendered. I only wish it would have had a bigger budget to add additional scenes into the climax.

Mystic River is a movie about actors acting A Script That Is About Moral Ambiguity. Also, the movie is about moral ambiguity. And it has really impressive acting. If you enjoy seeing actors acting a script that is about moral ambiguity, this could be for you. I didn’t like it so much.

28 Weeks Later. Kill mommy. Not once, not twice, but three times. I read they’re going to make a third installment. Presumably, to kill mommy again. What did she do?! (Also, that midday scene with the zombies approaching all spread out on a tranquil field: it is good. I totally understand why they used it twice.)

You know when you have to pee real bad? Like, really, really bad, and then you get to go? Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle. I guess you do need a slow, almost dull first-half – or two-thirds – to create the tension that is relieved when the movie becomes surreal. Because when it does, it flirts with beauty. The cheetah ride and the “marijuana love” daydream sequence are delightful. They remind me of Pee Wee’s Big Adventure and Beetlejuice or, more recently, the final sequence (DVD extra?) in The 40 year-old Virgin. I wish more comedies – including this one – would sustain absurdity for longer intervals.

This is England. British History X. In color. With some charming (really) depictions of adolescence. Complete tangent: has anyone ever made a short, for the festival circuit, of nothing but funder credits? This one, like so many European movies, had quite a few.