March 15, 2012 A substitute teacher (Adrien Brody) drifting from classroom to classroom connects with students and teachers at an inner-city public high school. Critic Ella Taylor says director Tony Kaye's (American History X) passionately made drama unites lyrical beauty with an almost despairing realism.
March 8, 2012 A Scottish fisheries expert travels to Yemen to advise on an initiative to bring salmon fishing to the country. Critic Ella Taylor says Salmon Fishing in the Yemen, adapted by Simon Beaufoy (Slumdog Millionaire), sweetly avoids the worn tropes of movies where Westerners visit the Glamorous Abroad.
February 28, 2012 This covertly-shot not-a-film chronicles the daily frustrations of director Jafar Panahi, banned from filmmaking and placed under house arrest by the Iranian government. Critic Ella Taylor says beneath its uneventful surface, the effort resonates personally and politically. (Recommended)
February 23, 2012 In Hipsters, a musical fantasy set in the 1950s-era Soviet Union, a party loyalist falls in with the stilyagi, young people flouting Communist dogma by listening to jazz and dressing in bright colors. Critic Ella Taylor says the film exuberantly celebrates the power of sex and song. (Recommended)
February 16, 2012 In Barrow, Alaska, three young men get into a squabble over a girl — and for one of them, it goes badly wrong. Critic Ella Taylor says Andrew Okpeaha MacLean's debut feature tells a hopeful story without resorting to sentimental wallowing.
February 9, 2012 Poland's official Oscar entry is a Holocaust drama about a sewage worker who hides a small group of Jews from Nazi occupiers. Critic Ella Taylor says the movie depicts its grim subject with beauty — and a dose of reality. (Recommended)
February 2, 2012 Based on Thomas Rose's 1989 book, the film follows an Alaska town's real-life struggle to free whales from thickening ice that prevents their migration to a warmer climate. Critic Ella Taylor says the film, like many of its characters, is flawed but amiable.
January 26, 2012 A carefree French couple confronts helplessness and heartbreak when their newborn son is diagnosed with cancer. Critic Ella Taylor says the film's depiction of the couple's fraying relationship is realistic and arresting.
January 12, 2012 Fabio Barreto's adoring biography of Brazil's former president oozes good intentions — and wouldn't look out of place in a retrospective of early Soviet workerist cinema.
January 4, 2012 Turkey's Oscar contender is a deliberate police procedural that's awash in style. (Recommended)
December 29, 2011 In a vital first feature, director Dee Rees turns in a clear-eyed study of a largely unknown subculture — and one of the finest coming-of-age movies in years. (Recommended)
December 23, 2011 Glenn Close plays a quiet woman who takes on a man's identity in order to work and survive in 19th-century Ireland. (Recommended)
December 22, 2011 Two years after his father is killed in the Sept. 11 attacks, a 9-year-old boy finds a key that unlocks a family mystery.(Recommended)
December 20, 2011 With her steely turn as former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher, Meryl Streep puts the cap on a year that stands out for a raft of movies in which strong women take life on their own terms.