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Double Features

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Skimming a long list of films I enjoyed this year, I am bedeviled by the idea of choosing just 10. So instead, here are some interesting match-ups from 2004, ideal for Saturday night home-viewing.

 

Since Otar Left and Power Trip. A heartbreaking drama and a fascinating documentary -- both about keeping the lights burning in Tbilisi, Georgia.

 

Dawn of the Dead and Shaun of the Dead. After all these years and all those on-screen undead, to think that there could still be a great zombie film, as well as a smart slacker-Brit homage to the entire genre.

 

Los Angeles Plays Itself and The Mayor of Sunset Strip. Thom Andersen's cine-essay disassembles the city, using film clips to illustrate how L.A. misrepresents itself while inadvertently revealing truths. The documentary Mayor depicts one of the city's saddest truths: the life of a celebrity hanger-on.

 

Mean Girls and Mean Creek. Teens behaving badly. A whip-smart comedy, and an impressive debut dramatic feature from Jacob Aaron Estes, respectively.

 

The Weather Underground and Guerrilla: The Taking of Patty Hearst. Two documentaries probing the fallacies and failures behind late-1960s and early-1970s radicalism.

 

Spring Summer Fall Winter ... and Spring and The Day After Tomorrow. Weather is an elegant metaphor for life's journey in Kim Ki-Duk's gorgeous drama, and an over-the-top howling indictment of failed political policies in the big-budget neo-disaster pic.

 

Dodgeball and Shaolin Soccer. Both comedies start slow, but lead to gloriously inane athletic showdowns involving rubber balls.

 

End of the Century: The Story of the Ramones and Metallica: Some Kind of Monster. Does a rock band endure more psychic misery as a commercial failure or as a mega success? Discuss.

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