The Answer Is Mind-Blowing in the Wind

Intelligent Creatures Inc.

I recently put together a list of my top 100 films of all time. Let me reiterate: I recently was all but unemployed. So between filling out applications and watching reruns of "The Twilight Zone," I put together a list of my top 100 films of all time. What I discovered was that 54 of those 100 films were made within the last decade. As a self-described film snob, I was not only surprised but also a bit horrified that my scope of cinema seems to be so small. So, with my head hanging down I tried to make sense of why I'm so biased toward recent films. Then it hit me. My true love for film started in the mid- to late '90s.

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Meet Me in Boston

Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench (2009)

Variance Films

"Guy and Madeline on a Park Bench" does not know whether it wants to be French New Wave, a musical, a documentary or film noir. It may be that writer-director Damien Chazelle wanted to see if he could incorporate all of these disparate ideas and tones in a cohesive way. The answer is, sadly, no. Shot entirely in black and white, we see the story — to put it crudely — of boy gets girl; boy loses girl; boy gets girl back. It is very simple and simply done.

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Jokesters Practically Approach Political Agenda

The Yes Men Fix the World (2009)

Shadow Distribution

In 2003’s “The Yes Men,” Mike Bonanno and Andy Bichlbaum set up a Web site mimicking and lampooning the World Trade Organization, an international organization they oppose. Their Web site, though, was mistaken for the real thing, and they were invited to speak at important meetings and functions as representatives for W.T.O. They decided to use the opportunity to hold a mirror up and show the outfit its own greed and hopefully make a difference. Now, with “The Yes Men Fix the World,” a sequel of sorts, they have gotten much better at getting people to think they represent companies that they satirize.

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Siblings Rival in Tortured Artistry

(Untitled) (2009)

Parker Film Company/Samuel Goldwyn Films

What is art? Can a thumbtack on an otherwise blank wall be a picture? Can someone kicking a bucket filled with chains be music? Most of us with great reason would say no. It takes more inherent talent to make art. Listen to “Trout Mask Replica” by Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band — 58th on Rolling Stone’s list of the 500 greatest albums, published in 2003. You may think there’s lots of improvising going on, but these songs were notated and practiced in order to be played the exact same way every time. Crazy, huh? Go to any modern art gallery, and you will more often than not see an entire display of large white canvases with one red dot or some variation thereof. It can’t be art if every single painting looks the same, right? Now, listen to Chuck Berry’s “School Days” and “No Particular Place to Go.” Pretty similar, yes? And have you seen Monet’s haystack series — different times of the day and year, but the same ol’ haystack?

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Drumstick It to the Man

Adventures of Power (2009)

Variance Films

You can’t crush a man’s dreams, even if his is to be the best air drummer in the world. That’s the premise in this “Rocky”-meets-“Napoleon Dynamite” picture written, directed and starring Ari Gold as the titular Power. He looks like a dorky Spike Jonze with a Members Only jacket and a perpetual sweatband. For some inexplicable reason, the powers that be refuse to begin the film’s title with some sort of definite article. One might assume they were going for a play on words, but that feels a little high-minded for this film. This movie is so chock full of quirk that none of the characters are even remotely believable. It’s geared toward the youth — kids and teens who thought the aforementioned “Dynamite” was hilarious and quoted it incessantly.

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