Times TalksThe other Times Talk panel I went to was "Films that Deserve a Second Look" - films that New York Times film critics Stephen Holden, Elvis Mitchell, and A.O. Scott felt audiences missed the first time around. Many of the films they mentioned were victim to just being dumped by their distributors because they were not easily marketable as a teen comedy or date movie. Another problem is that films live and die in one weekend, whether a would-be blockbuster or arthouse film...word of mouth buzz no longer works as well as it used to and the fascination with box office grosses is not helping any. While most films were recent, there were some older films, and by master directors, proving not everyone gets a fair shake based on name alone. There were a few funny questions - one person asked what actors did not deserve to be on screen. A.O. Scott said, "You want us killed, don't you?" before Stephen Holden remarked about the difference between being a good actor and a movie star (some people have that charisma and may not be a good actor, but are movie stars; some of the finest actors don't have that charisma and thus are not stars). Sartorial gossip: Stephen Holden looked like everyone's kind of cranky uncle, in a polo shirt, sport jacket, khakis, and New Balance sneakers; A.O. Scott looked the rumpled academic, white shirt, sport jacket, wrinkled khakis with the cuffs rolled up and brown shoes; Elvis Mitchell looked like a mod rocker in a Prada suit and black boots. Here are the movies they picked - all I wish is that more people, outside of major cities, would be able to hear about these films and watch them.

Stephen Holden's Picks:
Stephen HoldenElection - What he consider the best American comedy of the decade, it fell victim to not being easily marketable. Read Janet Maslin's review
King of Comedy - A film that derailed Martin Scorsese's career, possibly affected by the John Lennon's murder, Robert DeNiro plays a crazed fan stalking a late night personality played by Jerry Lewis in a movie about everyone becoming a celebrity - predating our current time of Joe Millionaire and the insta-celeb. Read Keith Phipps's DVD review
End of Violence - Wim Wenders directed this movie about an over-surveilled America, and Holden postulated that the German-French production's skeptical view of America did not help it win over the U.S. audience. Read his own review.

Elvis Mitchell's Picks: Elvis Mitchell
Proof - Directed by Jocelyn Moorhouse, it stars Hugo Weaving and Russell Crowe in his debut film, "30 pounds and $40 million ago." Also unclassifiable, about a blind photographer, his housekeeper, and a restaurant worker. Read Roger Ebert's review
Gun Shy - Liam Neeson in a comedy, with Sandra Bullock, no less, would spell disaster, but Mitchell reconsidered after Eric Blakeny as writer-director. And after seeing it, Mitchell wrote this rave review.
Les Amants du Pont Neuf - A French film that took nine years to make it to the U.S., it was the most expensive film in French history at the time, an indulgent film by Leos Carax, who might not have any common sense. But it blew Mitchell away when he saw it. The Onion A.V. Club's Scott Tobias's review

A.O. Scott's Picks:
A.O. ScottDonnie Darko - For having elements of teen comedy, science fiction, Christian allegory, Richard Kelly's debut certainly escapes classification. Scott was happy that Donnie Darko does seem to have a second life as a midnight movie and on cable. Read Elvis Mitchell's review
One, Two, Three - Billy Wilder's post WWII farce about a Coca-Cola executive trying to make sure Pepsi doesn't gain market share, as well as making sure his boss's daughter doesn't fall in love with a Communist, Scott admits that it lags a bit, as farces can, but it holds a great performance by James Cagney.
Billy Liar - Among the films of the British New Wave, Scott is fond of John Schlesinger's Billy Liar, which hasn't been available in the U.S. in a non-pan-and-scan version. Recently re-released, read his review. Billy Liar is also available on DVD.

There's an interative feature on the Times Oscar section where you can check out the critics' Oscar picks.