Armchair Cinephile

The Hustler and The Verdict (Fox): Two of Paul Newman’s very finest films arrive — one made as his star was rising and one made when his youth (not talent) had undeniably faded — commentaries and special features included, in the wake of the very unwelcome news that Newman has retired from the screen.

The Bridge (Koch): One of the most controversial docs in years, this film about suicides on San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge — which incorporates actual footage of jumpers — provoked critic Jonathan Rosenbaum to call it “a new form of obscenity that might be called suicide porn.” Others found it sadly beautiful and sympathetic to those caught in their final moments.

Days of Glory (Weinstein Co.): Don’t judge Glory for not winning the foreign-film Oscar this year. Up against the crowd-pleasing Pan’s Labyrinth and soul-stirring The Lives of Others, this tale of North-African soldiers who fought in the French army during WWII was bound not to get the attention it deserved.

Raining Stones (Koch): British filmmaker Ken Loach has never won an Oscar, either, but the critics’ darling has earned practically every other award in the world, including the Cannes jury prize he got for this 1993 story of an impoverished Englishman determined to buy his daughter a new dress for her first communion.

Breach (Universal): Underrated by some viewers (who inexplicably found it boring), this true-life-ish espionage tale offers a stellar lead performance from Chris Cooper, who’s too often stuck supporting lesser actors.

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