“A movie about the last days of humanity that opens on Christmas Day may seem like a bleak choice for holiday viewing. But Children of Men (Universal, 12.25) is a modern-day nativity story that’s far more moving and even, in its way, reverent than the current film by that name. It’s also the herald of another blessed event: the arrival of a great director by the name of Alfonso Cuaron.

“Though I’ll be coming out with a 10-best list in this space next week, I’ve never been much of one for the year-end obsession with sorting and ranking cultural products in neat rows. But I’ll go out on a limb and say this: [Cuaron’s] dense, dark, and layered meditation on fertility, technology, immigration, war, love, and life itself may be the movie of the still-young millennium.” — from a review by Slate‘s Dana Stevens, posted 12.21.