As Oscar-bait goes, Marc Forster's adaptation of Khaled Hosseini's bestseller The Kite Runner (DreamWorks) is well-madeand watchable, turning a story of betrayal and class consciousness—set against the backdrop of a changing Afghanistan—into something with real sweep. But the price of aiming for prestige-picture glory is the loss of the sharp edges and daring filmmaking that would make the material sting a little. Forster's The Kite Runner is too nice, and it lacks the personal touches and painful truths that made Hosseini's book so popular…

Released on a two-disc DVD set that includes both its original theatrical version and the black-and-white version preferred by director Frank Darabont, The Mist (Weinstein) is one of 2007's most overlooked and underrated movies. Darabont gets plenty of atmospheric scares from the monsters that emerge from an otherworldly mist, but the film also functions brilliantly as a Ship Of Fools-like piece of social commentary about how people respond to crisis. And the ending, wholly different from that of Stephen King's original novella, is an uncompromising shocker…

Jonathan Demme has made some terrific non-fiction films in the past, from his concert movies Stop Making Sense and Storefront Hitchcock to his documentaries Cousin Bobby and The Agronomist. But with Jimmy Carter Man From Plains (Sony), he can't quite find the dynamism in Carter's retiring personality. Demme follows Carter on a tour in support of his controversial book Palestine: Peace Not Apartheid, but the emotions stirred up by Carter's provocation don't translate into exciting cinema…

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Based on an ultra-quirky novella by ultra-quirky Israeli writer Etgar Keret, the game little indie Wristcutters: A Love Story (Lions Gate) follows a group of suicides into a crappy, run-down afterlife. There, they pursue the same obsessions that controlled them in life—family, angst, hopeless romance—in lackadaisical road-movie ways that recall Everything Is Illuminated. Tom Waits' role as a wacked-out guru figure completes a dynamic that feels pleasantly like Jim Jarmusch lite…

Director Johnnie To (Election) and his Milkyway production company have been a driving force in Hong Kong action cinema for years, and To's 2001 shoot-'em-up PTU, finally released on the Weinsteins' Dragon Dynasty label, is an excellent introduction to his glossy style. When a cop loses his gun to a group of young thugs, the search for the weapon triggers a street fight of epic proportions, which To renders on a visually striking battleground that's part Western, part comic book.