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2003-01-02 | 7:38 p.m.

corduroy licorice got a new lease on life. most people would outright buy their board games, but corduroy was a renter kind of guy.


here is the moment you've all been waiting for. nictate's top 10 film list of 2002.

drumroll, please. if there's any throughline with my choices it's that these films seemed to be the fully realized visions of their creators. from art direction to cinematography, these were all well-told, beautifully shown stories.

punch-drunk love - paul thomas anderson delivers the funkiest, loveliest love story of the year. a watercolored fable with a wicked wit and twisted, yearning heart. adam sandler was a mush-mouthed triumph.

what time is it there? - a stark , quiet, mesmerizing film that i would never have seen if it didn't receive such a prominent place on my-most-favorite-movie-reviewer mike d'angelo's graded list of 2002 films. the director let the camera sit still with its subjects, letting time stretch out to tell its quiet stories. refreshing, heart-wrenching and utterly human.

sex and lucia - a sunwashed dreamwalk exploring the pain love can cause and the hope which refuses to be extinguished despite waves of heartache. paz vega was radiant as lovelorn lucia.

8 women - a jewelbox of a murder mystery musical featuring several sassy french femme fatales who each got a star turn performing her own theme song. touching and illuminating. you've got to hear these women roar. oo la la!

talk to her is the latest offering of pedro almodovar. he explores the delicate dance of male/female relationships through the friendship of two men formed as they wait for their respective female coma patients to wake up. bittersweet, sexy and warmly funny, this film shows a true artist at his peak storytelling prowess.

late marriage - like the song says, love hurts. seemingly marketed as a romantic comedy, this amazing israeli film was far more tragic than humorous. the pairing of lior ashkenazi and ronit elkabetz gives true meaning to the phrase on-screen chemistry. elkabetz was stunning in her turn as a woman who is in love with a man who refuses to grow up.

far from heaven - a gorgeous filmed and art directed valentine to the neat-as-a-pin facade of 1950s america. the lush color, costumes and furnishings were the perfect setting for the stellar performances of julianne moore, dennis quaid and dennis haysbert. to me, this was the most truly "american" movie of the year.

cq - all talk of nepotism aside, roman coppola pulled off an amazing little coup in this stylized, tongue-in-cheek romp featuring a film-within-a-film-within-a-film. the pitch-perfect art direction alone showed that this boy did his homework. jeremy davies is terrific in the leading man role and it's fun to see billy zane sauve-ing it up.

elling - this sweet norwegian comedy about an odd coupling of social misfits snuck onto my radar...and, yes...into my heart. the lead actors were both adorable and hilarious as they struggled to make their way in an overwhelming world.

morvern callar - much in the style of what time is it there?, the director has slowed time down to its real-life snail's pace. the quietness of this film and its angel-like lead, samantha morton, lulled me into a troubled, yet tranquil world.

honorable mentions:

the dangerous lives of altar boys - now i know what it's like to grow up a boy. kieran culkin was terrific. in light of this film, i can forgive him for igby goes down.

lovely and amazing - sweet and fragile and painfully true.

full frontal - steven soderbergh's all-star, sly take on the town that employs him.

lola - a '60s film rereleased this year. jacques demy's work is a black and white dream.

secretary - dark and claustrophobically cool. maggie gyllenhaal should be able to whip oscar into submission come march.

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take a peek at these - (c) 2000-2003 nictate:

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