Arguably Pixar's best film since Toy Story 2, the culinary morality tale Ratatouille (Disney) brings to bear all the prickliness of director Brad Bird in telling the story of a rat whose skills as a chef make him an extraordinary creature, able to accomplish what everyday cooks cannot. Simultaneously funny, thrilling, infuriating, and unorthodox, Ratatouille is one of the most distinctive animated features ever to emerge from the studio system…

There's no good argument to be made for the American health-care system in its current state, so it follows that Michael Moore's Sicko (Weinstein) may be the closest the professional rabble-rouser will ever come to achieving broad consensus. In typically ramshackle fashion, Moore contrasts the shameful failures of American HMOs with universal health-care systems from England, Canada, France, and, finally, Cuba, where he takes a group of 9/11 rescue workers to recuperate. Stunts like that are Moore's stock in trade, but the film works best when it narrows the focus to ordinary citizens and their wrenching horror stories…

The year of "gay panic" comedies reached its apex with I Now Pronounce You Chuck & Larry (Universal), which will stand a few decades from now as a fascinating bellwether of straight America's (hopefully dated) cultural attitudes about homosexuality. No doubt Adam Sandler's intentions were noble, but in trying to sponsor a pro-tolerance message while indulging in crude gay-panic jokes, the film adopts a terribly schizophrenic tone that does the comedy no favors…

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Julie Gavras' adaptation of Domitilla Calamai's novel Blame It On Fidel (Koch Lorber) stars Nina Kervel as a preteen girl in 1970 France, dealing with her wealthy parents' decision to become radicals. As the daughter of political-thriller director Costa-Gavras, Julie Gavras knows a few things about growing up as a rich revolutionary, and she sensitively handles Kervel's evolving sympathy for the cause, by putting her in nearly every shot and sharing her simultaneous nostalgia for and disillusionment with the life she knew…

In late 2006, Fox dropped a steaming pile of cinematic, um, coal, in moviegoers' collective stockings in the form of Deck The Halls, a shrill, obnoxious, joyless Yuletide stinker about the fierce rivalry between tightly wound jackass Matthew Broderick and freewheeling asshole/next-door neighbor Danny DeVito. Last year's worst Christmas movie has now become this year's worst Christmas DVD. It's guaranteed to unlock the inner Scrooge in everyone.