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Meryl Streep, Sex Goddess

Meryl Streep is portraying a string of desirous mammas, these days. In Mamma Mia, It's Complicated and Hope Springs, each of the leading ladies are mothers with grown children and a sexual appetite. A healthy one.

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Ironweed

Besting Robert De Niro, Gene Hackman, Paul Newman, Jason Robards and Sam Shepard, Jack Nicholson gives one of his most complicated, consuming performances.

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Woolf at the Door

Both Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway and Michael Cunningham's The Hours offer an illuminating look at the choices we make, the roles we play, and the hours that hinge our lives together.

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Iconic - The Top 20 Male Performances of 2008

Like the gladiators of old, 2008 resembles a battle of formidable acting gods, especially when looking over the 20 choices presented below. Indeed, if anything, choosing a winner requires more of a leap of faith than any amount of critical skill - they all were that good.

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Doubt

Sister James (Amy Adams) embodies her historical moment, yearning to believe, adhering to tradition, and yet also inspired by a changing world.

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Shameful Exposure

A fiery Kate Winslet saves morality tale in 'The Reader' while a similarly powerful Meryl Streep can't do the same for the overly certain 'Doubt'.

Film

Talk, Talk, Talk: December 2008

Just like the end of an inspiring speech that may or may not succeed in making its point, these final four weeks before 2009 tend to define or defeat the entire awards season purpose.

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Mamma Mia!

Meryl Streep scampers and writhes with something like abandon in her tomboyish overalls, her glowing tan and perfectly arranged "wild" blond hair indicating Donna's stanch independence.

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Lions for Lambs

Though Lions barely considers the soldiers' choices, it's clear they've been egregiously misinformed, turned into terms in someone else's argument.

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Rendition

Rendition is worried about torture. Specifically, it's worried about Americans torturing other people while saying they're not.

Film

The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

'You sold your soul the first time you put on that pair of Jimmy Choos.' So ascertains Miranda Priestly (Meryl Streep), editor-in-chief at Runway magazine, disdainful of her self-doubting assistant. And so she summarizes yet another tale of a little girl who finds corruption in the big city.

Film

A Prairie Home Companion (2006)

A Prairie Home Companion combines typical Altman strategies, like overlapping dialogue and converging multiple storylines, as well as his fanatical appreciation for the process of creating art.

Matt Mazur
Film

Prime (2005)

Wise and soothing, Lisa occasionally sounds more like a girlfriend than the usual movie shrink, and this is, you think, a good thing.

Cynthia Fuchs
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