Coolest Movie Sequence: In the hilarious first half-hour of Shaun of the Dead, a circle of dim London slackers somehow fail to notice the apocalyptic zombie crisis erupting around them. With apathy like that, who are the real zombies?
Best Consolation For No More Lord of the Rings Films: Chinese director Zhang Yimou twice mastered the tragic kung fu period piece, first with Hero's sprawling (if chilly) tale of war and sacrifice, and then with the astonishingly moving -- and ass-kicking -- love story House of Flying Daggers. He uses color so beautifully that other films look like they're in black and white.
Best Historical Epic: A Very Long Engagement, Jean-Pierre Jeunet's novelistic account of World War I trench warfare and its aftermath, encompasses combat at its most horrifying and peace-time life at its most miraculous.
Worst Historical Epic: In Alexander, Oliver Stone spends three hours and a king's ransom on the Macedonian conqueror, without saying anything in particular about him. Call it "Alexander the Grating."
Best Sexpert: Liam Neeson provides the year's best performance in the title role of Kinsey, playing the envelope-pushing researcher who, in trying to comprehend human sexuality, ends up discovering that human emotions and social "normalcy" are far more complex than he ever dreamed.
Worst Sexpert: In his film She Hate Me, Spike Lee depicts an African-American corporate whistle-blower hired to impregnate glam lesbians. It's a film so free of wisdom that it makes everybody look bad, including Lee himself.
Best Political Film (Serious): Hotel Rwanda not only recounts the 1994 Rwandan genocide with terrifying immediacy, it makes a dead-on critique of Western indifference that, unfortunately, still holds true today.
Best Political Film (Funny): Team America: World Police's profane puppet show skewers overheated politics of all political extremes. Plus, with its uproariously overwrought songs, it might qualify as the year's best musical to boot.
Most Thrilling Documentary: Though technically a 2003 release, this year Atlantans got the chance to see Brazil's scorching Bus 174, an edge-of-your seat account of a Rio de Janeiro bus hijacking that condemns a nation's lack of social conscience.
Best Remake: Jonathan Demme's The Manchurian Candidate uses relevant contemporary angles -- and eerily surreal imagery -- to update this classic assassination tale.
Worst Remake: This redo of The Stepford Wives tries to be a satirical attack on sexism, gay assimilation and red state values. But it's executed so clumsily that you're not really sure what is going on.
Most Swell-egant Jazz-Age Homage: Bright Young Things' evocation of 1930s London glitterati has the effervescence of a Cole Porter composition and features the year's finest discovery, Fenella Woolgar, as a clueless flapper.
Least Swell-egant Jazz-Age Homage: Despite a sensitive portrayal by Kevin Kline, the Cole Porter biopic De-Lovely remains resolutely tone-deaf. It was just one of those things.
Best Acting as a Comic Book Character: Despite being concealed by lobster-red make-up, Ron Perlman makes Hellboy's huggable demon-hunter into one of the year's most endearing and amusing cinematic creations.
Worst Acting as a Comic Book Character: Theoretically, Halle Berry could make a fine feline fatale, but in Pitof's misbegotten Catwoman, she sports dominatrix gear and pointy cat ears that made her look like she lost a bet.
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