A few of this year’s honorable mentions …

Zodiac
Not just your average serial killer movie, Zodiac is about family values. Its main subject isn’t death, murder and crime, although those elements make up the bulk of its plot. Instead, the movie shows how we protect, or fail to protect, our children against a media onslaught that desensitizes and dehumanizes.
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Elizabeth:  The Golden Age
Elizabeth:  The Golden Age is a fascinating, nearly perfect film.  It’s always wonderful to tie history to entertainment, and the history of Europe in the 1500s is very exciting.  The movie unfolds the age-old conflict between Protestants and Catholics, and shows how each side is praying for victory. 
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Juno
Although these films couldn’t be more diametrically opposed in terms of sheer crudeness, there’s been a decidedly pro-life theme running through several flicks this year:  Knocked Up, Waitress and now our favorite, Juno. With its quirky characters and witty dialogue, Juno may just have the year’s best screenplay.
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Away from Her
Graced with stirring performances by Julie Christie and co-star Gordon Pinsent, Away from Her is the heartfelt depiction of a 44-year marriage devastated by the onset of a degenerative condition.
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3:10 to Yuma
Western aficionados will definitely appreciate 3:10 to Yuma’s clear delineation between the bad guys and the good guys, the dusty, dazzling Old West cinematography and plenty of shoot ‘em up action scenes. In the vein of such classic westerns as High Noon, Yuma gives us a central character determined to do what’s right, regardless of the consequences.
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Sunshine
Most contemporary science fiction films opt for mind-numbing special effects over finely crafted plot and characters. Not so with the poignant Sunshine, which marries heart-stopping suspense with thought-provoking moral quandaries to create one of the most fascinating science fiction movies in years.  At its core, the film is a refreshing examination of an age old question:  when do the ends justify the means? 
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