Note: This one is late and anemic, but March's should be a doozy.
The Damned United (Tom Hooper, 2009) (v) * - Sheen, Broadbent, Spall, and Meaney are all very fine. The movie itself, though, is the kind where every beat is played exactly as you'd expect.
Hunger (Steve McQueen, 2008) (v) ***
13 Rue Madeleine (Henry Hathaway, 1947) (v) **
Bright Star (Jane Campion, 2009) (v) *** - A surprise.
Killshot (John Madden, 2008) (v) **
Lorna's Silence (Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, 2008) (v) ** -
24 City (Jia Zhangke, 2008) (v) **
Julia (Erick Zonca, 2008) (v) ***
The Bad Lieutenant Port of Call New Orleans (Werner Herzog, 2009) (v) ***
Frontier of Dawn (Philippe Garrel, 2008) (v) ***
An Education (Lone Scherfig, 2009) (v) - A few really strong performances (although not from Carey Mulligan, who's much better in the Bleak House miniseries) trapped inside a preposterous movie.
Whip It (Drew Barrymore, 2009) (v) *** - I was surprised by how much I liked this movie. Lots of nice, low-key touches and a true generosity of spirit.
(v) = Seen on home video (dvd, dvr, etc.).
(r) = Not my first viewing.
(s) = Short film.
Star system ("borrowed" from the Chicago Reader)
No stars = Not recommended
* = Redeeming feature(s)
** = Recommended
*** = Highly recommended
**** = "Masterpiece"
***** = A place in my personal pantheon