MurderballMURDERBALL

I've seen a lot of sublimely satisfying documentaries this year, but none with the scope and passion of Murderball. Like last year's brilliant Metallica: Some Kind of Monster, the film's title and ostensible subject matter - quadriplegic rugby - are probably enough to frighten off the audiences who would love it the most, which I pray won't happen; Murderball, currently playing at the Brew & View Rocket, is, thus far, the most invigorating, fascinating, surprising, and deeply human movie of 2005.

David Dorfman and Naomi Watts in The RingTHE RING

Since she previously gave one of my all-time favorite film performances in Mulholland Dr., one of my all-time favorite films, it's going to take a lot more than a cheesy little scare flick for me to write off Naomi Watts. But it must be said that in The Ring - a horror movie by Gore Verbinski, with a script by Arlington Road's Ehren Kruger - Ms. Watts comes off as a very poor actress indeed.

John Turturro and Adam Sandler in Mr. DeedsMR. DEEDS

I'd love to reveal the finale to the new Adam Sandler comedy Mr. Deeds, but that would imply that I made it through the picture. For the first time in almost 10 years, I walked out of a movie - at roughly the one-hour mark - and am a little mortified that I lasted as long as I did.

Al Pacino and Robin Williams in InsomniaINSOMNIA

In Christopher Nolan's moody, atmospheric thriller Insomnia, based on a 1997 Norwegian film of the same name, Al Pacino plays Will Dormer, a famed Californian detective now under investigation by Internal Affairs. To escape the surrounding publicity, he and his partner (Martin Donovan) are sent to a remote Alaskan town to investigate the murder of a teenage girl, found beaten to death by a killer who apparently went to great lengths - washing her hair, trimming her fingernails - to maintain the dead girl's beauty. Dormer finds his suspect relatively early, but after he becomes the catalyst in a tragic shooting accident, Dormer is increasingly haunted by feelings of guilt and remorse - egged on by the endless Alaskan sun, which shines even at night - and finds the tables turned on him; the suspected killer (Robin Williams) has witnessed the shooting, and threatens to end Dormer's career if he is fingered as the girl's killer.