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Best of 2008

Ann Hornaday | Film

Disney's "Wall-E": He spoke to us like Chaplin. ( )
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Sunday, December 28, 2008; Page M06

It's fashionable to complain that they don't make movies for grown-ups anymore, but a glance back at 2008 reveals a far more cheerful truth: Fans of smart, engaged, ambitious cinema were spoiled for choice this year. What's more, they were treated to films that, whether intentionally or not, vividly reflected their time and place, such as the pluralist, post-9/11 New York of Tom McCarthy's keenly observed "The Visitor" or German director Fatih Akin's polyglot, intercultural drama "The Edge of Heaven." Perhaps most encouragingly, what was once the subject of the classic "problem picture" has now become context not worth commenting on, such as the interracial marriage of "Rachel Getting Married," which could be subtitled "Who Cares Who's Coming to Dinner?" Indeed, this year's most effective problem picture also happened to be its finest children's film, "WALL E," in which the balletic, silent grace of Charlie Chaplin met the environmental passion of Al Gore. Even when they weren't for grown-ups, this year's best movies mattered.

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1. "The Visitor"

2. "WALL E"

3. "Milk"

4. "The Edge of Heaven"

5. "Man on Wire"

6. "Chicago 10"

7. "Happy-Go-Lucky"

8. "Rachel Getting Married"

9. "I've Loved You So Long"

10. "Tell No One"

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