Birth Directed by Jonathan Glazer
A wealthy Manhattan widow (Nicole Kidman) is about to remarry, a decade after her husband's death, when an intense 10-year-old (Cameron Bright) appears, insisting he's the reincarnation of her late husband. The setup of Glazer's ("Sexy Beast") often hypnotic movie suggests a supernatural thriller, but the execution is pure European art film. Kidman gives a bold performance as a woman in extreme distress, but the script is hooey. "Birth" is ridiculous, and oddly unforgettable.
Finding Neverland Directed by Marc Forster
There's a reason plays are called plays, explains the Scottish writer J. M. Barrie (Johnny Depp) to the four brothers who would inspire "Peter Pan." This gentle eccentric's playful spirit, and his grown-up's awareness of lost innocence, infuse this lovely fictionalized account of the creation of "Peter Pan" with a charm both sprightly and melancholic. It's the story of a platonic love affair between the Llewelyn Davies family--the boys and their widowed mother (Kate Winslet)--and the unhappily married Barrie. Mingling reality and fantasy, Forster has given us a luminous, touching meditation on life and art.
The Big Red One Directed by Samuel Fuller
The complete version of Fuller's semiauto-biographical World War II epic--released in 1980 in a mutilated cut almost 50 minutes shorter--is a must-see event. An indelible account of the insanity of war and the sheer dumb luck of survival, it follows an infantry squad led by hard-bitten Lee Marvin. Marvin's taciturn performance--a moving demonstration of masculine grace under pressure--may be his finest.