Take time in a cold winter month to catch up with some of the smaller movies that you may have overlooked last year.
By: Marisa LaScala Published January 23, 2009 at 12:01 PM
Warner Home Video
Director David Gordon Green may have received a lot of attention last year for his action comedy, The Pineapple Express. But he actually put out two films in 2008, the first of which was Snow Angels, a small-town drama that stays closer to Green’s art-house roots. The film pits three couples at different stages of their relationships against a harsh, wintry backdrop and a tragedy that unfolds slowly and beautifully, uniting all three. In other words, it’s pretty much the opposite of The Pineapple Express.
Miramax Home Entertainment
A portrait of two artists as young men, this Norwegian film—yes, Norwegian—is about two struggling writers and their circle of equally talented, creative, youthful friends trying to find their places in the world. The central friendship shifts when one’s novel is published and the other’s isn’t—or is it? Director Joachim Trier playfully skips between alternate futures in way that’s earned him more than one comparison to the great French New Wave directors.
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Who says there are no great parts written for women? Melissa Leo is a one-woman tour de force in this drama about a struggling upstate New Yorker who decides to make money by driving illegal immigrants over a frozen river past the US/Canadian border. Thanks in no small part to Leo’s hard-faced performance, this film brought home the Grand Jury Prize when it played at the Sundance Film Festival; Leo’s frowns are icier than the film’s namesake river.