Best Comedy for Grownups
Ghost Town, cowritten and directed by David Koepp
A supersmart script by David Koepp and John Kamps—and a perfect oil-and-water combo of Ricky Gervais as a dead-to-the-world dentist and Greg Kinnear as an actually dead lothario (back to resolve unfinished family business)—makes this most grownup comedy of the year also the funniest.
We Also Loved: Smart People…What Just Happened?…Baby Mama…Be Kind Rewind.
Man on Wire, directed by James Marsh
Revisiting Philippe Petit's 1974 tightrope walk between the towers of the World Trade Center, through archive footage and new interviews, director Marsh leave us to conjure up our own vivid images of 9/11. In the process we discover that, with the passage of time, an event that meant one thing then can take on a whole new kind of significance now.
We Also Loved: Young@Heart (performing elders sing their hearts out)…Chris & Don: A Love Story (a tale of unconditional commitment)…I.O.U.S.A. (America's credit crunch)…Flow (our coming water crisis).
Pierce Brosnan, in Mamma Mia!
We just love the way he attacks the challenge of pop singing with such reckless abandon. Simon Cowell would be aghast, but we're charmed.
Best Foreign-Language Film
The Edge of Heaven (German/Turkish), written and directed by Faith Akin
A German film that swings between locations in Bremen and Istanbul, this drama follows characters of varied ages, nationalities, and faiths passing through one another's lives—and often not connecting at all. It's riveting not for its shambling plot but for its relentless reminder that in a rapidly shrinking world, even when our stories don't intersect, our shared humanity does.
We Also Loved: A Christmas Tale (French)…Late Bloomers (Swiss German)…Silent Light (Plautdietsch-Mennonite Low German)…The Class (French).
Best Buddy Picture
Tyler Perry's The Family That Preys, starring Kathy Bates and Alfre Woodard
Bates, as matriarch of a big-business family, and Woodard, as a working-class mom, are lifelong friends. But as their families spiral into chaos, their own relationship deepens, and they satisfy their mutual need by taking off on a just-us-girls road trip. Writer-director Tyler Perry (Madea's Family Reunion) is reaching out to a wider audience here—and he couldn't find two actresses better suited to be his ambassadors of goodwill.
We Also Loved: Mamma Mia!…The Women…Soul Men.
Best Movie for Grownups Who Refuse to Grow Up
Iron Man, directed by Jon Favreau
Let's hear it for the middle-aged superhero! Robert Downey Jr. infuses his character with all the frustrations, insecurities, and regrets that go with having put in four decades or so on this planet—and finds the best kind of therapy in a really cool flying suit.
We Also Loved: WALL·E…Kung Fu Panda…City of Ember…Marley & Me.