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Marx's Family, Galileo's Daughter and Socrates' Dog 

A few of our favorite reads this year


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Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson); Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer); Go (Doug Liman); Limbo (John Sayles); Election (Alexander Payne); Meeting People Is Easy (Grant Gee); All About My Mother (Pedro Almodovar); The Sixth Sense (M. Night Shyamalan); The Insider (Michael Mann); Romance (Catherine Breillat)

The two most underrated films of ’99: Felicia‘s Journey (Atom Egoyan), Ride With the Devil (Ang Lee).

Great movie moments: Liev Schreiber attempting to dance to rock music in just one of many eloquent scenes from Tony Goldwyn’s graceful A Walk on the Moon; Lucinda Jenney asking for and receiving a kiss from John Doe during childbirth in Allison Anders and Kurt Voss‘ grown-up love story Sugar Town; a shower of sparks arcing over the New York City skyline as an impaled drug dealer is cut from an iron gate in Martin Scorsese’s Bringing Out the Dead; a wet, gray snowfall in Kore-eda Hirokazu‘s After Life; a young Iranian wife listening to the rustle of a wedding dress on the stairs as her husband brings home a second wife in Dariush Mehrjui’s Leila. --Hazel-Dawn Dumpert

This was such a good year that I couldn‘t restrict myself to just 10. Therefore, here is a numerologically exact list that rounds out at 22, the number signifying mastery.

1. Eyes Wide Shut (Stanley Kubrick); 2. Holy Smoke (Jane Campion); 3. Eternity and a Day (Theo Angelopoulos); 4.Beyond the Clouds (Michelangelo Antonioni); 5.Guinevere (Audrey Wells); 6. Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson); 7. The Third Miracle (Agnieszka Holland); 8. Mumford (Lawrence Kasdan); 9. Lovers of the Arctic Circle (Julio Medem); 10. Iron Giant (Brad Bird); 11. Topsy-Turvy (Mike Leigh); 12. The Straight Story (David Lynch); 13. The Sixth Sense (M. Night Shyamalan); 14. Mansfield Park (Patricia Rozema); 15. The Emperor and the Assassin (Chen Kaige); 16. Being John Malkovich (Spike Jonze); 17. Fight Club (David Fincher); 18. American Beauty (Sam Mendes); 19. The Ogre (Volker Schlondorff); 20. After Life (Kore-eda Hirokazu); 21. The Hurricane (Norman Jewison); 22. Your Choice Here.

My own choice for the “22” spot is a picture with which I was involved (as screenwriter), The Big Brass Ring, which I can shamelessly recommend to you on the strength of its superb performances by William Hurt, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Hawthorne, Irene Jacob, Gregg Henry and Ewan Stewart. It’s fascinating how many ambitious movies of the past year, Big Brass included, dealt with the slippery nature of identity and the growing chasm between our true selves and the masquerades we enact in public. Twenty-first century, here we come -- and each of us contains a crowd. --F.X. Feeney

After Life (Kore-eda Hirokazu); American Hollow (Rory Kennedy); Boys Don‘t Cry (Kimberly Peirce); Children of Heaven (Majid Majidi); The Dreamlife of Angels (Erick Zonca); Edge of Seventeen (David Moreton); Election (Alexander Payne); Magnolia (Paul Thomas Anderson); The Matrix (Andy and Larry Wachowski); Romance (Catherine Breillat); Run Lola Run (Tom Tykwer); The Sixth Sense (M. Night Shyamalan); South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (Trey Parker); The Talented Mr. Ripley (Anthony Minghella); Three Kings (David O. Russell); Tumbleweeds (Gavin O’Connor).

10 Things I Hate About the Last Millennium:

1. Big, Bad-Ass Black Men in White-Boy Films. They wave guns while quoting Scripture, spew righteous fury, usually sport bad wigs, and pander to white-boy ideas about cool niggers.

2. Cloying queer film, especially those masterpieces that feature “the fat-girl best friend.” Please, no more “queer Big Chill” flicks. And unless someone is planning to film Fag, Interrupted, no more drag queens, either.

3. “Oh, Lawd Hav Mercy” Negro films (Soul Food) and Black Bourgie Lifestyle Ads (The Best Man). Note to Negro filmmakers: When Oscar Micheaux died for your sins, little did he know how grievous they would be.

4. Hip-hop straight-to-video movies.

5. Movies starring Robin Williams, Whoopi Goldberg, Billy Crystal -- basically, anyone associated with Comic Relief.

6. Amazing Hong Kong talent -- Chow Yun-Fat, Jet Li, John Woo and Tsui Hark -- wasted in and on Hollywood.

7. From this point on, Oprah Winfrey can star only in a remake of Mahogany, complete with wigs, furs and Isaiah Washington in the Billy Dee role. Please, no more variations on The Color Purple‘s Sofia: “You tole Harpo ta beat me!”

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