"One family. Infinite degrees of separation."

Margot at the Wedding (2007)
Directed by Noah Baumbach, rated R, 93 minutes

Margot at the Wedding is a dry and bittersweet dramedy about a neurotic writer who brings her son along to visit her sister on the eve of her sister's wedding to an offbeat man that she disapproves of, which leads to some old family tensions. Nicole Kidman is ruthless as she has this perfect way of being horribly mean while pretending to be nice, and Jack Black offers a rather subdued and subtly funny performance. Writer-director Noah Baumbach's dialogue is potent with subtext and often darkly hilarious, but the film's style is a little too self-consciously "indie." Margot at the Wedding's characters are brutal and sometimes completely unlikable, but they're relationships are utterly realistic and fascinating to watch. You'll like it if: You like films about dysfunctional families, dark comedies, The Squid and the Whale, The Savages or The Royal Tenenbaums.

"How many times I gotta say it? There's no percentage in smartenin' up a chump."

The Set-Up (1949)
Directed by Robert Wise, not rated, 72 minutes

The Set-Up is a gritty and atmospheric film noir about a washed up boxer who desperately believes he'll make it by beating his upcoming, much younger opponent. But his manager, sure that he'll lose, makes a deal for him to take a dive, but, so he can keep the money, doesn't tell his man. The premise is brilliant, and jives well with noir's fatalistic themes, but it's the hard-hitting, almost disturbing atmosphere that builds over the film that's most memorable. Not to mention the boxing scenes, which are staggeringly brutal and realistic. The Set-Up unfolds over real time, allowing the suspense and dread to build, and the eerie mood doesn't leave much hope in the seedy underbelly of the unforgiving boxing underground. You'll like it if: You like boxing films, film noir, washed up protagonists, Night and the City, Raging Bull or The Killers.

"Terry Griffith is about to go where no woman has gone before."

Just One of the Guys (1985)
Directed by Lisa Gottleib, rated PG-13, 90 minutes

Just One of the Guys
is, on its face, just another stupid 80's sex comedy, but this one stands out because it's surprisingly funny, unpredictable and a lot of fun to watch. The film is about high school girl who, after losing a journalism competition partly because she's "just a pretty girl," decides to enroll at school as a boy. Yes, the story's fairly cliched, but there is a somewhat interesting look at gender politics, and the complicated, almost subversive love story is impressively compelling and memorably charming. Just One of the Guys isn't a masterpiece, but it's consistently funny, has a wonderful performance by Joyce Hyser and has genuinely likable and relatable characters. You'll like it if: You like 80's sex comedies, teen protagonists, Fast Times at Ridgemont High, Superbad or Tootsie.

"Forgive us."

The White Ribbon (2009)
Directed by Michael Haneke, rated R, 144 minutes

The White Ribbon is an unsettling and eerie drama about a schoolteacher that tries to find out who is responsible for a series of strange incidents of violence and destruction. The beautiful black and white cinematography is absolutely breathtaking, and hypnotically draws you into the bizarre story. However, the story is a little frustrating, as it's slowly paced and stingy with answers, but that's director Michael Haneke's style, and he includes enough intriguing scenes and characters to hold your interest. The White Ribbon is not for everyone as it's not an easy film to watch or understand, buts it's ominous and brooding atmosphere is enthralling and it's themes are potent. You'll like it if: You like disturbing dramas, Michael Haneke's films, Safe, Le Corbeau or Picnic at Hanging Rock.

"Let in the unexpected."

Reign Over Me (2007)
Directed by Mike Binder, rated R , 124 minutes

Reign Over Me is a heartfelt but uneven drama about successful dentist that runs into an old college friend who lost his family in the September 11th attacks and tries to help him overcome his grief. Adam Sandler delivers a surprisingly mature performance, though his humor brings a child-like innocence to his erratic character, and Don Cheadle's sincere performance complements Sandler perfectly. The script smartly doesn't focus too much on 9/11, allowing for a more subtle build of emotions, though at times the writing gets a little clumsy. Reign Over Me takes a few missteps, but it's a compelling story about grief, with some truly likable and interesting characters. You'll like it if: You like psychological dramas, films about friendship, serious Adam Sandler, The Fisher King, Good Will Hunting or Punch-Drunk Love.

"We'll be rich, Ali... and we'll buy ourselves a little piece of heaven."

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
Directed by R.W. Fassbinder, not rated, 94 minutes

Ali: Fear Eats the Soul is a simple but powerful German romantic drama about an older German woman who meets a much younger, foreign guest worker one night and falls in love with him. The story doesn't sugarcoat the sad reality of prejudices of that time, but also doesn't back away from showing the imperfect relationship of the main characters, which makes the social commentary even more effective. Fassbinder's subdued visual style complements the story, adding realism while also beautifully capturing both wonderful and depressing moments. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul was inspired by the powerful melodrama of Douglas Sirk, but Fassbinder takes its emotion to a new level with more realistic characters and an unsentimental ending. You'll like it if: You like films about forbidden love, German New Wave, All That Heaven Allows, Harold and Maude or The Third Generation.

"It's the hottest day of the summer. You can do nothing, you can do something, or you can..."

Do the Right Thing (1989)
Directed by Spike Lee, rated R, 120 minutes

Do the Right Thing is a tense, funny and eclectic film set on one block in Brooklyn on the hottest day of summer, following a slew of characters getting through the day as racial tensions heat up. Spike Lee produces a number of memorable and eccentric characters and gives them dialogue that ranges from hilarious to poignant, and Danny Aiello stands out delivering a complex performance. The film has a brilliant pace, allowing you to get to know the characters and the neighborhood, as the story slowly builds underneath, and director Lee's visual style keeps things exciting. Do the Right Thing is a rare film that deals with race issues without being heavy-handed or annoying, and just allows the characters to speak for themselves and let's you come up with your own answers. You'll like it if: You like urban dramas, films about racial tension, ensemble films, La haine, Boogie Nights or 25th Hour.

"He'd always wanted a friend. A friend that wasn't invisible, a pet or rubber figurine."

Mary and Max (2009)
Directed by Adam Elliot, not rated, 92 minutes

Mary and Max is a heartwarming and quirky stop motion film about an unlikely friendship between two penpals - a young girl in Australia, and an offbeat, obese man in New York. Philip Seymour Hoffman is perfect as the New Yorker, offering a completely convincing voice, and his character is given plenty of wonderfully absurd lines. While the stop motion animation is impressive and sometimes dazzling, it's the deeply personal and touching story that makes the film so powerful. Mary and Max isn't afraid to show the harsh realities of the world, and at times the film is really dark, but it makes the main characters' beautiful friendship all the more magnificent. You'll like it if: You like films about friendship, dark humor, stop motion animation, The Station Agent or About Schmidt.

"Matt never saw her coming... but all his friends had!"

The Girl Next Door (2004)
Directed by Luke Greenfield, rated R, 108 minutes

The Girl Next Door is a ridiculously fun and surprisingly smart comedy about straight-laced high school senior who finds his passion for schoolwork waning when a porn star moves in next door. While the plot sounds like your typical teen sex comedy, the film is, unexpectedly, a lot more interested in creating believable characters and solid dialogue than over the top raunchy humor (though there's a bit of that too). Another thing that sets this film apart is the terrific acting; Emile Hirsch and Chris Marquette play off each other masterfully as the lead and best friend respectively, and Elisha Cuthbert even proves she's more than just a pretty girl. The Girl Next Door could be another lazy teen comedy, but it's compelling main characters, truly hilarious dialogue and excellent cast chemistry make it one memorable romp. You'll like it if: You like coming-of-age films, teen sex comedies, Emile Hirsch, Superbad or Harold & Kumar go to White Castle.