As much as I'd like to post a 1000+ word essay on how shockingly great DOWNFALL was (much less something twice as long about a particular new album I'm loving more with each play), I just don't have the time, man...

Sally Potter's latest highbrow experiment isn't all that different from the only film of hers I've unconditionally loved, THE TANGO LESSON, except it's not about dance. And all the dialogue is in iambic pentameter. While I wasn't completely taken by the love story between an American biologist (Joan Allen, who could act the phone book out and still compel) and a Middle-Eastern chef (Simon Abkarian), I thought the film's language (both literal and visual) was daringly poetic and not as pretentious as I feared. Shirley Henderson is a hoot as a one-woman chorus of sorts who's easily the most human figure here. (3.5/5)

I've never sat down and watched THE TAO OF STEVE. Guess I should, since Donal Logue seems like a nice enough regular dude in this, his shaggy, low-budget directorial debut revolving around B-actors and lots of the title sport. Won't make anyone's year-end top ten list, but harmless and even fun in spots. Jason Isaacs (unrecognizable to those who know him as Lucius Malfoy in the HARRY POTTER films!) steals scenes as a vain, lacerating asshole of an actor. (2.5/5)

Why, why, why do I get all hyped up about adaptations of my favorite books, since they're rarely any good? Steve Martin's novella surprised not only by being so unexpectedly bittersweet, but also in the way it painted such a vivid portrait of an arty, intelligent girl in a harsh, post-college environment. You get a sense of that here, thanks mostly to a radiant, thoughtful Claire Danes (finally living up to the promise of MY SO-CALLED LIFE from a decade ago). But the score's embarrasingly shlocky, the direction heavy-handed, the pacing awkward, and Martin's just too close to the material to pull off his integral role. Docked a few extra notches for totally eschewing the novella's devastatingly poignant final sentence. (2/5)

Don't say you're not interested in watching an epic film about Hitler's final days. Oliver Hirschgbiegel's dramatization of the documentary BLIND SPOT: HITLER'S SECRETARY is a riveting, intense work whose appeal reaches far beyond World War II history buffs. Much of this is due to the superb cast: Bruno Ganz plays Hitler as the ferocious, maniacal dictator you'd expect, but he's never a cartoon, and he comes as close to humanizing the man as much as one possibly could. Also great is Corinna Harfouch as Magda Goebbels, a fearless woman who is at the center of the film's most agonizing, wrenching scene. An epic often set in the most intimate spaces, it both reinacts and tries to understand a harrowing event, with an immediacy that's usually beyond the reach of historical epics. (5/5)