Joan Ellis Movie Reviews                
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Quotable reviews

Titles are alphabetized.
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A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

 


A blood-soaked, spineless story that takes more than two hours to crawl through its own pretensions.
12 MONKEYS


We suffer through every second of Aron Ralston's harrowing ordeal.
127 HOURS


13 GOING ON 30


Given that even the best of actors cannot make magic with a terrible script, it is surely the writer of this movie who must take a tomato in the face.
187


Who made this documentary?

2016: OBAMA'S AMERICA


21


3:10 TO YUMA


8 WOMEN & SWEET HOME ALABAMA
One of them is likely to make you laugh.


If you missed these five small triumphs that passed too quickly through your neighborhood theater on the weakened wings of small advertising budgets, you can rent yourself some real pleasure at the video store.
1996 YEAR'S END SUMMARY


27 DRESSES & JUNO


A MIGHTY HEART


He disarms us.
ABOUT A BOY


Clint Eastwood wants to tell us a few things about presidential morals, campaign financing, and the general state of Beltway politics, and he does it through the person of Luther Whitney, master thief.
ABSOLUTE POWER


Two good young actors refuse to trivialize their story.
ADAM


What else can be around this dark corner but redemption?
ADAM'S APPLES


Chris Cooper, toothless, ragged, and passionate, and Meryl Streep, with a big wink in her eye, decide to embrace the crazy tale.
ADAPTATION


Given just one deft comic, the flat visual jokes fail to cover the real mistake of trying to build a romantic comedy on a nasty premise.
ADDICTED TO LOVE


ADJUSTMENT BUREAU, THE


AEON FLUX


A character study without compelling characters is doomed.
AFFLICTION


Spending night after night watching her old B-movies in a pedestrian flat, Phyllis thinks she is getting exactly what she deserves.
AFTERGLOW


Those who broke the code weren't snubbed, one character said, they were eradicated.
AGE OF INNOCENCE, THE


The movie offers two hours of uninterrupted anxiety.
AIR FORCE ONE


AKEELAH AND THE BEE


Albert is shy, deferential, precise.
ALBERT NOBBS


I was hard pressed to figure out exactly why Alex is such a dim bulb.
ALEX AND EMMA


Mr. Almovodar's marvelous film announces simply that, in today's mad world, the kindness of strangers-civility-is life's essential element.
ALL ABOUT MY MOTHER


ALL THE KING’S MEN


Pour an iced tea, pick up your remote, and order up some of these.
ALTERNATIVE TO THE SUMMER MOVIES, AN


AMAZING SPIDERMAN, THE


AMELIA


Just know you will be well served by not asking why, when, who, or where.
AMERICAN, THE


AMERICAN BEAUTY


Either you're somebody, or you're nobody...
AMERICAN GANGSTER


As for Hollywood, self-congratulation on splashing the screen with bathroom humor is its own form of awkward adolescence.
AMERICAN PIE


This movie is a first-rate romantic comedy in which everything works.
AMERICAN PRESIDENT, THE


He has created a consistently creepy portrait of self-worship.
AMERICAN PSYCHO


...a lazy script
AMERICAN REUNION


AMERICAN RULING CLASS, THE


Her hunger for life has been too quickly
AN EDUCATION


AN INCONVENIENT TRUTH


AN UNFINISHED LIFE


In a great opening scene, a huge black and white cow observes the procession of black Mafia cars winding up his hillside while a terrific 1950s voice-over sets the stage.
ANALYZE THIS


ANGELS AND DEMONS


As secrets go, this film has a big one.
ANGELS AND INSECTS


The movie is massive, sentimental overkill, but it's also a no-lose deal for everyone between three and ten as well for big people who want to believe that an angel is waiting at their shoulders to offer an assist in a tough situation.
ANGELS IN THE OUTFIELD


ANGER MANAGEMENT


Filmed without embellishment, the film cries out the haunted thoughts of survivors fifty years after they bore witness to organized annihilation at a time when the world considered itself civilized.
ANNE FRANK REMEMBERED


"Why do I always get it wrong, Gerri?"
ANOTHER YEAR


Denzel Washington puts himself on line for both the credit and the blame
ANTWONE FISHER


They have covered the lack of a good story with almost three hours of the clanking of colliding fiberglass, while the sky overhead is filled with visions of dollar bills.
ANY GIVEN SUNDAY


This tale becomes a real white-knuckler that manages also to capture the best of our national essence without waving the flag.
APOLLO 13


This is a man of wild passions, a sermonizer ready to use his fists to defend his beliefs, or a baseball bat to erase the man who has won his wife and children away from him.
APOSTLE, THE


The film alternates between heavy-handed irony and a plunge into the grotesque.
APT PUPIL


...a pervasive layer of narcissistic smarm
ARBITRAGE


Go early, stay late
ARGO


ARISTOCRATS, THE


The movie does offer a haunting question: Is this paranoia, or is this the new reality?
ARLINGTON ROAD


The plan, of course, goes wrong in every imaginable way
ARMORED


It is an absorbing evening spent in the seventeenth century.
ARTEMISIA


So that's what it was like !
ARTIST, THE


The sad thing about this fiasco is that Whoopi Goldberg, with her abundant wit and intelligence, could easily have made great fun with the fertile field of gender resentment in the business world.
ASSOCIATE, THE


The movie opens with a sublime standoff between Melvin (Jack Nicholson) and a small dog so well trained that he easily handles a starring role in this zany ballet.
AS GOOD AS IT GETS


Most of the cast breathe heavily and in high volume from some degree of desire or fear or guilt.
ATONEMENT


AUSTRALIA


Writer/director/producer James Cameron must take all the blame for this.
AVATAR


AVIATOR


The sight of the patient and caregiver losing their shared life is unbearably sad.
AWAY FROM HER


I think I don't want to know anybody who doesn't like it.
BABE


The witty and sophisticated animals of Babe have been dropped into a violent script that strips them of their delicacy.
BABE: PIG IN THE CITY


The emotional exhaustion of watching this film is a measure of its expert director, writer, and cast.
BABEL


BABIES


That bit of bad taste is strike two.
BAD COMPANY


They spring full-blown from the kitchens and beds of the men they served, hang holsters on their hips and make their way as ex-hookers bent on a new life.
BAD GIRLS


The undeniably dim jokes fall flat
BAD TEACHER


THE BALLAD OF JACK AND ROSE


The universal language, it seems, is not music.
BAND'S VISIT, THE


daughters and a husband with the human potential of a snail
THE BANGER SISTERS


We're not bank robbers, Martine.
BANK JOB, THE


It will be an insider's laser vision of a narrow slice of privilege, and it will make our skins crawl. (Barcelona) They set a table in the desert with cloth, fruit loops and hormone pills. (The Adventures of Priscilla...)
BARCELONA+THE ADVENTURES OF PRISCILLA QUEEN OF THE DESERT


"Barney is paunchy, balding, bearded, and rude."
BARNEY'S VENTURE


BATMAN


A two hour dose of computerized images is intolerably insulting to an audience waiting to be invited into the fun.
BATMAN FOREVER


Planet Earth vs. Planet G
BATTLESHIP


BE COOL


Staying alive is the challenge
BEASTS OF THE SOUTHERN WILD


BEAUTIFUL COUNTRY, THE


How did this happen?
BECAUSE I SAID SO


BECOMING JANE and SUPERBAD


The connected strangers stroll the night away on the streets of the unfamiliar city in a marvelous conversational courtship that is free of competition and full of trust.
BEFORE SUNRISE


BEFORE SUNSET


It will be a snap. No violence, no problems.
BEFORE THE DEVIL KNOWS YOU'RE DEAD


The human condition is just not easily parsed.
BEGINNERS


It's very hard to film a popular American movie star as a cave man without making him look silly.
BEING HUMAN


BEING JULIA


In an utterly restrained performance, [Oprah] Winfrey sets the slow, mournful tone of the reluctant survivor, while director Johnathan Demme tells Morrison's story slowly, through images and words.
BELOVED


BEREFT


Counselor to the Bereaved
BERNIE


Superb British cast at work.
BEST EXOTIC MARIGOLD HOTEL, THE


BETTER LUCK TOMORROW


I wish I could tell you how the story of this nice family turns out, but just when Mick was being pounded to a pulp by a giant wielding an iron chair, just as his little girl threw her face into her mother's protective shoulder and his son's eyes grew wide in horror, I was seized with an overwhelming desire not to see a second more of their collective suffering.
BEYOND THE MAT


He will find the process a bit like trying to separate Boardwalk taffy.
BIG FISH


Forget the guys and watch the birds
BIG YEAR, THE


This modernized, brittle version of "La Cage" is very funny, it is also without heart.
BIRDCAGE, THE


It leaves us punch drunk in thought.
BLACK BOOK


On the wedding day that is the result of much family plotting, flower bedecked white linens blow in the breeze while the brother of the bride celebrates by shooting up the sky with his pistol and a gangster juggles hand grenades.
BLACK CAT, WHITE CAT


BLACK DAHLIA, THE


It's a gorgeous road trip set to a rousing truckers' score with a running commentary about "frying the brakes" and the technicalities of jackknifing.
BLACK DOG


Perfect is easy; it's passion that trips her.
BLACK SWAN


Even fiction, especially when it is disguised as documentary, is a direct route to people's emotions when it holds the promise of possibility.
BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, THE


Wacky from start to finish and wildly uneven, the movie is funny far more often than it is dull.
BLAST FROM THE PAST


“All is lost.”
BLIND SPOT: HITLER'S SECRETARY


This is an ugly, mean-spirited movie.
BLOOD AND WINE


Nature covers the warriors' tracks with beauty as their stories become history..
BLOOD DIAMOND


His trip into greed and excess is all his own doing.
BLOW


The movie is a virtual catalogue of the inanities of such topics as the politics of lensless eyeglasses, the temperature of Belgian Waffles, and the need for a "bag snagger" to retrieve the plastic bags that get caught in the trees that grow in Brooklyn. -- (Blue in the Face) In good hands, there is something very moving about a small slice of the lives of people who never leave home, and this movie is in good hands. (The Run of the Country)
BLUE IN THE FACE+THE RUN OF THE COUNTRY


Forty years ago, institutionalized erasure was pervasive.
BLUE SKY


In good times and bad, their emotions are raw and real.
BLUE VALENTINE


"...studded with newsreel footage that is immediate and raw."
BOBBY


Didn't they shoot that fellow a few frames back?
BODY OF LIES


BOLLYWOOD/HOLLYWOOD
Cross cultural problems are inherently rife with humor – unless you happen to be caught in the middle


These are gamblers without souls, salesmen without scruples.
BOILER ROOM


BOMBS of 1998


On this night he spots Eddie the nightclub busboy, pulls him into the family, and turns him into Dirk Diggler, porn star extraordinaire.
BOOGIE NIGHTS


A cast of strong actors needs dialogue with punch
BOTTLE SHOCK


One good, one terrible
BOURNE LEGACY, THE


BOURNE SUPREMACY, THE


BOURNE ULTIMATUM, THE


"...death by guns - Japan 39, America 11127."
BOWLING FOR COLUMBINE


Daniel Day-Lewis, carrying Danny's transformation in his eyes, can convey more without speaking than most actors can in a monologue.
BOXER, THE


She gets to the core of a girl brimming with cocky self-confidence who is murdered for her dream.
BOYS DON'T CRY


It is a road movie with a love affair, an illness, and relationship problems, but this time around the disease is AIDS, and the love affair is between two women.
BOYS ON THE SIDE


Let the grumps get lost.
BRASSED OFF


BRAVE ONE, THE


The emotional isolation of intelligence work exacts an awful price on marriage.
BREACH


It is extremely difficult to live for a few hours in a world of depravity brought on by men in the name of God.
BREAKING THE WAVES


The movie is laugh out loud funny at times.
BRIDESMAIDS


That bad book has come a long way.
BRIDGES OF MADISON COUNTY, THE


Whenever Bridget ends up at home, wrapped in a bathrobe and mired in the sloppiness of her despair, we love the sight because we know this woman will triumph.
BRIDGET JONES'S DIARY


BRIDGET JONES: THE EDGE OF REASON


"We must not run from our fate; it must be borne."
BRICK LANE


BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN


This grisly movie is an insult to the scale and the magic of the 30-foot screen.
BROKEN ARROW


We can allow ourselves to be enveloped by the hypnotic spell that Pedro Almodovar casts over and audience.
BROKEN EMBRACES


BROKEN FLOWERS


leave your impatience at the door and slip into a peaceful mood
BRIGHT STAR


There is not one false note in Palminteri's performance, and if a hood can have grace, this hood has it.
BRONX TALE, A


Raised in a Catholic Church that still clings with bloody fingernails to dictates that contradict human nature, the brothers ponder the forbidden sins of premarital sex, birth control, abortion, and masturbation--and then get right on with it.
BROTHERS MCMULLEN, THE


"You can't hold it against him for what his life has been."
BUCK


...an absolutely glorious landfill of random information, some of it substantive, much of it useless.
BUCKET LIST, THE


The simplest equations in life are usually complicated only by the tortured egos of the players, and these players twist themselves into pretzels trying to make life work.
BULLETS OVER BROADWAY


Is hate learned or is it human nature?
BULLY


Best of all, he has done it not with a lecture, but with an incoherent, nearly delirious humor.
BULWORTH


CACHE


CAPITALISM: A LOVE STORY


CAPOTE


The meltdowns are more fun than the tensions.
CARNAGE


Strachey and Carrington were known for wit and substance, but you'd never guess it from this film. (Carrington) If the movie is sluggish, the travelogue is terrific. (A Month by the Lake)
CARRINGTON+A MONTH BY THE LAKE


One caretaker in particular spreads her arms and her love as widely as she can.
CASA DE LOS BABIES


Ace sums it up: "Keep them playing; keep them coming back; in the end we get everything."
CASINO


Is he ready to be granted the double O rating that is a license to kill?

CASINO ROYALE


 This 85-minute visit to the Kerrigans just might put you in a good mood for a week.
CASTLE, THE


Laughter punctuates the path of the imposter.
CATCH ME IF YOU CAN


Terrific comic performances in a movie that will never be known for its subtlety.
CEDAR RAPIDS


Under the relentless force of Thomas Vinterberg's hand-held camera, we watch the celebrants dance to the music of disintegration.
CELEBRATION, THE


Good lines and innovative acting make the movie worth seeing, but neither can erase the empty nastiness of table talk at Elaine's.
CELEBRITY


CELLULAR


Watching Hollywood dancing around the Hays Office is grand sport.
CELLULOID CLOSET, THE


Central Station is the reward that puts a smile on the face of movielovers who search diligently, and so often in vain, for small jewels.
CENTRAL STATION


This is a conventional story driven by suspense and images instead of bodies and blood.
CHAIN REACTION


If you decide to go, just know that this is a very sad movie.
CHANGELING, THE


Nothing happens in this movie to refute the accusation hurled out by Gavin’s wife Cynthia Banek (Amanda Peet), “Law is based on finding ways to cheat.Lawyers know how the world works.”
CHANGING LANES


CHARLIE WILSON'S WAR


"Thuds, tears, and cracks assault the audience."
CHARLIE'S ANGELS: FULL THROTTLE


Without a trace of self-congratulation, Mr. Smith becomes the first person to portray gay women as something other than a subculture toying with a lesser alternative.
CHASING AMY


Their collective achievement is herculean considering the risks they took
CHICAGO


It would be inconceivable to think of this movie as anything but Australian.
CHILDREN OF THE REVOLUTION


In their restraint, the actors convey strength
CHRISTMAS TALE, A


CIDER HOUSE RULES, THE


CINDERELLA MAN


It's a wonder the audience didn't let out a collective shriek, "Surprise me, please!"
CIRCLE OF FRIENDS


Pro-choice and pro-life extremists take a pounding in this good movie about a grizzly subject.
CITIZEN RUTH


There is an awful sadness in a place that nobody loves.
CITY BY THE SEA


Although I wince at insulting such masters of beauty as Ivory and Jhabvala......
CITY OF YOUR FINAL DESTINATION, THE


It's warm and delicious.
CITY ISLAND


The first film charmed the audience into rooting for each man to discover his core in the comic ups and downs of an alien adventure, but now the lines and chemistry among the players are thoroughly flat.
CITY SLICKERS II


After stumbling, they continue-anonymous power players in the new culture of life as a movie where a stumble is merely a short new scene.
CIVIL ACTION, A


Diversity robs the teacher of his power to insist.
CLASS, THE


Democrats, it seems, are into sex, while Republicans hyperventilate on power.
CLEAR AND PRESENT DANGER


CLEARING, THE


A guy who says, "That's what high school is about: algebra, bad lunch and infidelity," is not likely to be touched by the pressures of duty, drive, or goals.
CLERKS


CLICK


It has Tommy Lee Jones and Susan Sarandon; a bad plot couldn't get a better break
CLIENT, THE


CLOSER


The British and Irish film industries, studded with huge talents that have entranced us in the past, need to take a deep breath and realize they have slipped into the habit of gentle comedies filled with cliches.
CLOSER YOU GET, THE


She is a 16-year-old ray of light offering momentary reprieve from the current deluge of movies devoted to the dark side of adolescence, in a self-punishing diet of crime, drugs, sex, and shock.
CLUELESS


COCO BEFORE CHANEL


"You're just a shopkeeper."
COCO CHANEL AND IGOR STRVINSKI


Except for the lagging as the film introduces us to the inhabitants and the rhythms of Cold Comfort Farm, the whole thing builds nicely to the final wedding breakfast, where a dozen or so Starkadders and assorted peripherals gather, dressed to the nines with all their eccentricities spilling out the seams.
COLD COMFORT FARM


The harshness and isolation have produced an Icelandic Jimmy Stewart to guide the determined young foreigner on the perilous last leg of his journey.
COLD FEVER


“If you are fighting, stop fighting; if you are marching, stop marching.  Come back to me.”
COLD MOUNTAIN


COLLATERAL


The therapy group of four men and one woman is a ludicrous gathering of overacted wackos who should be in solitary therapy if not solitary confinement.
COLOR OF NIGHT


The movie is the story of Bobby's passage from furious entitlement to grateful humility.
COMPANY MEN, THE


Faced with a cauldron of zany possibilities, we can only surrender to the laughs in this wildly unpredictable film of time-release surprises.
CONSPIRACY THEORY


"I want these people dead and buried!"....Edwin Stanton
CONSPIRATOR, THE


CONSTANT GARDENER, THE


Ignore the parts of this movie that deal with earthly silliness, and sink into the visual fantasy that is grand enough to encourage us to explore the universe and to debate the questions that will challenge us.
CONTACT


You may think differently now about subway poles and doorknobs
CONTAGION


CONTENDER, THE


CONTROL ROOM, THE


In a maelstrom of exploding vehicles, nothing is as affecting as Larkin manning an abandoned snowplow to protect his troops in a desert sandstorm that covers up the flaws in both script and production.
CON AIR


When the acting is this good, nothing is more fun than watching full-blown Southern characters behave outrageously in defense of their version of a higher moral value.
COOKIE'S FORTUNE


James Mangold has written and directed a good but complicated movie that requires too little time from each of his very good actors, and a great deal of effort from his audience.
COPLAND


I have a real reservation about a movie that celebrates the cleverness of real life psychopathic killers.
COPYCAT


CORPORATION


The abrupt shift to meanness of spirit is out of place at the end of a movie that for most of its length plays a gentle love story.
CORRINA, CORRINA


It was this kind of skill set that was required for survival.
COUNTERFEITERS, THE


The house and gardens that make up "Canterbury" were brought to full colonial flower by the founding father, only to fall into slow decay in the hands of his widow and son Jack.
COUNTRY LIFE


A juvenile stew of one line potshots and sight gags
COUPLES RETREAT


Fine cast, troubling issues, searing sights--tough stuff.
COURAGE UNDER FIRE


These guys carry their bullets in their pockets.
COWBOYS AND ALIENS


CRASH


"I knew what the risks were with you, and I took them....."
CRAZY HEART


You'll be glad you made the effort on a hot summer night.
CRAZY, STUPID, LOVE


Beyond chill, it's a standard thriller that rivets attention by the best of all devices--casting.
CRIMSON TIDE


Stella strolls slowly around the circle, touching a foot here, reading a dial there, tugging at her own ear, cocking her head, until we know surely that this movie intends to skewer the medical profession just as "Network" riddled television.
CRITICAL CARE


The movie is a mad, marvelous verbal war, an uninterrupted battle of comic insults, and it starts with a grandiloquent verbal explosion.
CROOKLYN


The plot has the feel of an opera.
CROUCHING TIGER, HIDDEN DRAGON


CROUPIER, THE


CUP, THE


CURIOUS CASE OF BENJAMIN BUTTON, THE


CURSE OF THE JADE SCORPION, THE


In a season as bad as this one, frustration can turn to resentment.
CYRUS & THE EXTRA MAN


 DA VINCI CODE, THE


This is a movie you must see, not to believe it, which cannot be done, but to feel it, which cannot be avoided.
DANCER IN THE DARK


There's fun to be had if you aren't demanding.
DANCE WITH ME


The friendship between Freud and Jung ends in anger.
DANGEROUS METHOD, A


We watch not a story, but a series of unrelated daily events.
DANGEROUS WOMAN, A


Not good, but fun.
DANTE'S PEAK


The good news and bad news
DARLING COMPANION


My favorite sight, if that isn't too much of a stretch.........................
DATE NIGHT


DAY AFTER TOMORROW, THE


It is a measure of their accomplishment that we also leave in a state of thoroughly grim but provocative confusion.
DEAD MAN WALKING


Facing this monster nearly destroys all of them
DEBT, THE


Grow up, Woody; all the world may love a clown, but it hates a whiner.
DECONSTRUCTING HARRY


Her gentle approach gives us plenty of time to ponder the details of what happened to the proud dinosaurs who once owned the earth, and to wonder whether the human race has been just an evolutionary stage between impacts.
DEEP IMPACT


The shadow that falls on Margaret’s daily routine still doesn’t erase her obligations to family and community.
DEEP END, THE


DE-LOVELY



"Sweet Land" wins the race over "The Departed," going away.


DERAILED


Matt reaches for grace and finds it.
DESCENDANTS, THE


DEVIL WEARS PRADA, THE


Because the emotion behind the imagery seems real, the movie narrowly avoids becoming a horror show.
DEVIL'S ADVOCATE, THE


Daily headlines tell us the movie isn't far off the mark.
DEVIL'S OWN, THE


I know it's film noir made with great skill, but it's hard to care about anyone in this self-conscious period piece.
DEVIL IN A BLUE DRESS


The running exchange of wisecracks and affectionate insults sets the tone for violence so far-fetched that it lifts itself quickly and comfortably to the level of high camp spoof.
DIE HARD WITH A VENGEANCE


The rhythm of their verbal dance allows us to dissolve in waves of welcome laughter.
DINNER GAME, THE


...wickedly funny as she spews forth perfectly articulated insults that pierce the customers’ pretensions.
DINNER RUSH, THE 


We are treated this time not to death, explosions, and car chases, but to that good old-fashioned device: a rousing story.
DISCLOSURE


It is funny and full of the quirky Australian humor that is a national trademark.
DISH, THE


District 9 becomes a concentration camp
DISTRICT 9


I never want to see his face again.
DISTURBIA


As we get to know Josef and Marie gradually, frame by frame, the film becomes their love story.
DIVIDED WE FALL


Too many people, too much confusion.
DIVINE SECRETS OF THE YA-YA SISTERHOOD


It is a slow agony...
DIVING BELL AND THE BUTTERFLY,
THE 


DIXIE CHICKS:  SHUT UP AND SING


Anyone who doesn't see the reverent sensibility behind the cardinal's new image of a thumbs-up Christ with a wink in his eye is doomed, if not to Wisconsin, at least to dreary acceptance of earthly righteousness.
DOGMA


If you are a Kathy Bates fan, that may be enough to keep you in your seat during the various shades of bedpans, bedsores and murderous impulses.
DOLORES CLAIBORNE


Why, when the acting is so good, does the violence have to be so graphic?
DONNIE BRASCO


Don Juan's delusion has become Jack's romance, and for a light and lovely evening, it becomes ours.
DON JUAN DEMARCO


DON’T COME KNOCKING


DOOR IN THE FLOOR, THE


...an acting master class.
DOUBT


The real belly laugh comes with Zellweger’s accomplished monologue.
DOWN WITH LOVE


Be warned....you will endure enough loud surprises to bring on arrhythmia
DRAG ME TO HELL


...a grand show of the glitter and glitz that can accompany ascension
DREAMGIRLS


One of this year's most intriguing movies.
DRIVE


Admit it, you don't trust me either.
DUPLICITY


"With scenery as fine as Hollywood money can buy, how can anything go wrong?"
EAT PRAY LOVE


She is the guardian of the culture of her house.
EASY VIRTUE


Whoopi Goldberg is probably the only woman around who can hold her own in a huddle of seven-foot-tall men.
EDDIE


With David Mamet's terse dialogue and Lee Tamahori's superior direction, it's easy to ignore the flaws and be happily riveted by a good man determined to triumph over the adversity thrown at him by man and nature.
EDGE, THE


Looking for plot threads, I found none
EDGE OF DARKNESS, THE & FROM PARIS WITH LOVE


Oh, the wearisomeness of watching a mediocre movie.
ELECTION


This is a world where a woman is judged by the aura of the man whose arm holds hers, and while they maneuver, they dabble.
EMMA


"The Emperor's Club" is a peculiar movie
THE EMPEROR'S CLUB


Playing both roles in an actor’s field day, Ian Holm switches deftly from the kindly peasant who acquires arrogance to the emperor who learns humility.
THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES


Americans love to obsess, and they do it about racing cars, surfing, skiing, hang gliding, flying vintage planes--an endless array of off-center sports that become the focus for both the enthusiast and the obsessed who are blinded to any other dimension of life.
ENDLESS SUMMER II


The atmosphere and language are captivating.
END OF THE AFFAIR, THE


Director Anthony Minghella has evoked the awful romance of war.
ENGLISH PATIENT, THE


ENRON:  The Smartest Guys in the Room


In good hands again at long last, the cerebral action thriller has never looked better.
ENTRAPMENT


Of our hero, one thug observes, "Who's the tree trunk?"
ERASER


ERIN BROCKOVICH


So atrocious is the reputation of L.A. that most of the unfortunates choose the proffered option of electrocution in the mainland deportation center over life in the dreaded island city.
ESCAPE FROM L.A.


Charlie Kaufman must have a direct line to the future.
ETERNAL SUNSHINE OF THE SPOTLESS MIND


You have only to listen to Robbins' words on the soundtrack to know that what is unfolding on the screen can't catch what he saw.
EVEN COWGIRLS GET THE BLUES


EVENING


In a depressingly familiar situation, a cast of fine actors tuned to perfect professional pitch is let down by their writer/director.
EVENING STAR, THE


EVERY LITTLE STEP


We might be forgiven for wondering just how long Woody Allen can go on playing the anguished lover caught in the rhythmic whining that is his perpetual beat.
EVERYONE SAYS I LOVE YOU


What, after all, can be said about a film this awful?
EXTREME MEASURES


On a symbolic level this movie might have worked, but Mr. Kubrick's unflinching look at fidelity, fantasy, and marriage is too often undermined by silliness.
EYES WIDE SHUT


Bravura acting and an astonishing plot are rare commodities that could have made this a major film.
FACE OFF


FACTOTUM


FAHRENHEIT 9/11


It's a lonely secrecy.
FAIR GAME


...the suburban culture of 1957 in the bright colors of exaggerated perfection
FAR FROM HEAVEN


The realization that brutality is the accepted norm washes over a westerner who waits and hopes in vain for some restraining force that never comes.
FAREWELL MY CONCUBINE


We are invited to ponder the reasons why humans have never been able to adapt to the planet in the way animals have, to consider a future that requires suspension of universal assumptions about life itself.
FAST, CHEAP, AND OUT OF CONTROL


Some movies are just bad ideas, some are good efforts that fail, and some, like this one, are cynical insults to the audience.
FATAL INSTINCT


Nothing captures the failure of this movie better than the suburban seduction scene where Kathy tries to ignite her husband, who lies on the floor, dreaming in mathematical theorems.
FAVOR, THE


A movie this ugly either sinks like a stone or, rarely, hits a nerve and becomes a cult film for some vulnerable group in the cultural landscape.
FIGHT CLUB


We watch Micky navigate the family from hell.
FIGHTER, THE


"Have you ever seen a one minute movie?"
FILM ONE FEST


FINDING NEVERLAND


The writers, producers, and director who allowed this to happen share blame for assaulting the audience with their laziness.
FIRE DOWN BELOW


FIREWALL


They take all the terrible thoughts we suppress in the name of being charitable, stoic, brave, and enduring, dip them in acid, and hurl them into the audience.
FIRST WIVES CLUB, THE


It's grim and it's good.
FLESH AND BONE


The cartoon's irreverent take on modern values through the prism of an imaginary Stone Age is a comic howl that things never change.
FLINTSTONES, THE


The movie is a sharp suggestion that we take ourselves far too seriously, that we reason the love right out of our lives.
FLIRT


This lovely movie makes you realize that a poignancy of our time is that few adults would take the time to attend to an unessential miracle.
FLY AWAY HOME


He builds his case with a chilling persuasiveness
 FOG OF WAR, THE


What better situation for the man with the soulful eyes and wounded psyche to find himself in than the city of romance with a dead body?
FORGET PARIS


Apatow's work is proudly dumb while Coward's is proudly smart.
FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL


Public figures fall to bullets while Forrest moves through life just a couple of inches off the ground in a cloud of truth.
FORREST GUMP


Farce is an English specialty that Americans may love, but the making of it eludes us.
FOUR WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL


FRACTURE


Curtis and Lohan, playing four roles between them, manage to keep everything straight – and funny. 
FREAKY FRIDAY


Hilary Swank risks being a cliche here and wins the bet.
FREEDOM WRITERS


FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS


FRIENDS WITH MONEY


Looking for plot threads, I found none
FROM PARIS WITH LOVE & EDGE OF DARKNESS, THE


FROZEN RIVER


The small group of citizens we come to know responds to the seriousness of the unemployment dilemma with a heavy dose of denial, humor, and resourcefulness that brings the house down both on the screen and in the theater.
FULL MONTY, THE


 The crowds grow.
GAME CHANGE


Scorsese is after an epic, settling for nothing less than a majestic view of a city being born.
GANGS OF NEW YORK


The walls that protect them will imprison them.
GARDEN OF THE FINZI-CONTINIS, THE


GARDEN STATE


This spooky, imaginative movie hangs disturbing questions on a mediocre story line.
GATTACA


A new and absolutely unnecessary standard for gratuitous violence.
GENERAL'S DAUGHTER, THE


It's a downer, but it doesn't get much better than this
GEORGIA


A delectable rhythm develops among the three men.
GET LOW


Steve Carell's awkward insensibility works here.
GET SMART


Maxwell's achievement is that he conveys the immensity of the battle as it unfolds as well as the tortured decisions of the officers who direct it.
GETTYSBURG


Good story, good acting, good movie, with one major reservation -- the gore.
GHOST AND THE DARKNESS, THE


The fierce reality of the opening newsclips dwarfs the Hollywood courtroom drama that follows.
GHOSTS OF MISSISSIPPI


If this glove fits, tell your friends to go see "The Ghost Writer."
GHOST WRITER, THE


His callers count their fantasies in minutes, but he smothers us for almost two hours with his own.
GIRL 6


Larsson's brutal scenes are of a piece with his theme and his heroine.
GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE, THE


Those of us whose ignorance of the French language makes us ill-equipped to fill in the blanks feel gypped.
GIRL ON THE BRIDGE


The deliberate and exacting pace of “Girl With a Pearl Earring” is a gift.
GIRL WITH A PEARL EARRING


Rooney Mara makes Salander her own.
GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE 2011


Now to the good news, and there's lots of it.
GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO, THE


GLOOMY SUNDAY


Mr. McKellen conveys this so vividly that he is likely to send older people out into the night with new resolve to embrace change and design new worlds for themselves.
GODS AND MONSTERS


It's bodies, bullets, and blood--carnage, American style.
GOLDENEYE


GONE BABY GONE


GOOD GERMAN, THE


They want us to understand fully the meaning of life with no horizon.
GOOD GIRL, THE


He is a computer geek, a dork, in other words - a decent guy.
GOOD GUY, THE


GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK


GOOD SHEPHERD, THE


Don't undermine your enjoyment of this one by picking on flaws and improbabilities: this is a fable, and we need not mess with fables.
GOOD WILL HUNTING


Director Goldbacher assembled good actors, great locations, and a genuinely interesting twist with the photography, but the movie fails because the momentum slipped through her fingers.
GOVERNESS, THE


Get off my lawn!
GRAN TORINO


....the random, brutal humiliation of the everyday life of southern blacks
GREAT DEBATERS, THE


Playing a WASP is beyond the grasp of most contemporary actors.
GREAT EXPECTATIONS


The fine photography of beach, water, restaurant and town gives a rich texture to the film.
GREETINGS FROM THE SHORE


In this anemic movie, a toxic family gathers for the 80th birthday of the patriarch to check out the state of his health and their inheritance.
GREEDY


At last a movie has wrestled with the bare bones of this puzzle.
GREEN ZONE


He's a self-absorbed crank.
GREENBERG


It is true, I think, that the Holocaust is best written about, not filmed.
GREY ZONE, THE


Because the immensely likable John Cusack understands the subtleties of understatement, he gives this movie the essential ingredient of absurdist comedy: style.
GROSSE POINT BLANK


It's painful to watch all this talent trying so hard to make something of nothing.
GRUMPIER OLD MEN


The frozen Minnesota landscape is a great setting for the shenanigans, and the premise is funny: two old men obsessed with ice fishing and Ann-Margaret.
GRUMPY OLD MEN


Don Cheadle plays straight man to Brendan Gleeson's Irish Bigot.
THE GUARD


The movie is a merry skirmish with great underlying warmth.
GUARDING TESS


As grotesque as it is, the film is an announcement that computer power is passing from nerds to cool guys, that juvenile hackers are taking over white-collar crime as surely as street gangs stole neighborhoods.
HACKERS


HAIRSPRAY


There is great fun in the sight of Hamlet’s fax rolling off the machine, of Horatio and Hamlet driving in from the airport, of Hamlet’s apartment wall of family pictures.
HAMLET


Adapt or Die
HANNA


Only the subject matter makes it intolerable.
HANNIBAL


Todd Solondz asks us to consider the humor and sadness of people grappling with their problems alone, and he makes sure we understand that each is truly alone even when surrounded by family.
HAPPINESS


With flair and compassion, the film shows us the buoyant pre-war spirit that had begun to unravel as people began to understand what was happening around them.
HARMONISTS, THE


.....an unparalled accomplishment
HARRY POTTER AND THE DEATHLY HALLOWS: PART 2


HARRY POTTER AND THE GOBLET OF FIRE


HARRY POTTER AND THE HALF BLOOD PRINCE


HARRY POTTER AND THE ORDER OF THE PHOENIX


HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF ASKABAN


"In 42 seconds."
HARVARD BEATS YALE 29 - 29


HEAD IN THE CLOUDS


This movie is so bad that it's an insult to the audience.
HEARTBREAKERS


This absorbing film is a harrowing look at the tortures of adolescence.
HEAVENLY CREATURES


HEIR TO AN EXECUTION


Davis, Spencer, and Stone make this movie sing.
HELP, THE


May this filmmaker remain eccentric and original in his success.
HENRY FOOL


HERB AND DOROTHY


In one of the sharpest openings in movie memory, Director Eastwood starts with a prolonged view of a devastating tsunami.
HEREAFTER


HE’S JUST NOT THAT INTO YOU


If you’re doubtful, invite your favorite child or two and share their pleasure. 
HIDALGO


HILARY AND JACKIE


A HISTORY OF VIOLENCE


HITCH AND THE WEDDING DATE


HITCHHIKER'S GUIDE TO THE GALAXY


...a compulsive liar whose very core is a fabrication mechanism.
HOAX, THE


This is a whale of a tall tale that unfurls intelligent surprises. 
HOLES


The inevitable custody battle pits mother and abuser against gay father, with the scales weighted toward the conventional couple.
HOLLOW REED


HOLLYWOOD HOMICIDE


HOLLYWOODLAND


...a film whose signature scene shows Harvey Keitel dancing in the desert wearing a bright red dress and one black boot.
HOLY SMOKE


Jodie Foster has taken a lighthearted look at the imperfections in all of us and, with a great big wink of her eye, reminds us that we can get through it if only we will laugh. --
HOME FOR THE HOLIDAYS


It is a measure of the film's power that we find ourselves rooting for the boys to succeed within the corrupt system instead of loathing the hypocrisy that makes the stakes of the game so high.
HOOP DREAMS


Laughter and Despair
HOPE SPRINGS


When performances and photography are this good, there's no need to poke holes in the story.
HORSE WHISPERER, THE


HOTEL RWANDA


If the choice is between Richmond and death, I choose death.
HOURS, THE


HOUSE OF SAND


And the reason it all works so well lies in the performances of Shohreh Aghdashloo and Ben Kingsley.
HOUSE OF SAND AND FOG


Either of these films is likely to make its intended audience happy.
HOW TO LOSE A GUY IN TEN DAYS & LOST IN LA MANCHA  


Resonating with universal experience, these tales convey the certainty that innocence is the beauty of youth, and passion the preserve of the experienced.
HOW TO MAKE AN AMERICAN QUILT


For those of us of simple sensibilities, this is a very silly, very noisy movie.
HUDSUCKER PROXY, THE


...a dream of a movie just when we need it most.
HUGO


A savage spectacle
HUNGER GAME, THE


...in our seats in a state of compelled fascination
HURT LOCKER, THE


For a short while, this family's life seems just slightly on the wrong side of normal; then the movie plunges headlong into the grotesque.
HUSH


Stay for the credits
HYSTERIA


Now, as then, the stars overwhelm a plot so loosely knit you can drive a news truck through the holes.
I LOVE TROUBLE


The movie....."is saved by two things."
I LOVE YOU, MAN


Be warned that by the end of this clever film, you will want to bolt from your seat and run outside for air.
I SHOT ANDY WARHOL


A false note anywhere could have derailed this subtle dance.
I'M NOT RAPPAPORT


Beautifully filmed, it provides the crackling edge needed as the wife-swapping key party comes to full boil and then sinks into its own damage.
ICE STORM, THE


It's a good evening, but Oscar Wilde would not be pleased.
IDEAL HUSBAND, AN


This is nasty stuff.

IDES OF MARCH, THE


Did you miss these?
IF YOU MISSED THESE


IF YOU SEE ONE OF THESE


ILLUSIONIST, THE


IN A BETTER WORLD


This family has a touch of the grace that allows them to appreciate their new life in spite of their surroundings.
IN AMERICA


I like it here, he says quietly in the manner of people who are taken unexpectedly by sudden love of a place
IN BRUGES


How did this happen?
IN DARKNESS


IN GOOD COMPANY


IN HER SHOES


Forget that this is Ernest Hemingway, and you'll be O.K.
IN LOVE AND WAR


If the murder of their son erased their lives, it is the prospect of leniency for the murderer that erodes their souls.
IN THE BEDROOM


Widely discussed as a provocative shot in the war between men and women, it is instead a sharply etched study of male rage that clings long after it's over, a tenacious barnacle attached to our peaceful selves.
IN THE COMPANY OF MEN


What's more fun than stepping into a darkened theater to soak up the feel of a country through its culture, landscapes, and lifestyles as depicted in a foreign film?
IN THE MOOD FOR LOVE


The power of this story is its truth, and it jumps to life with superb acting.
IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER


IN THE VALLEY OF ELAH


The authenticity is piercing.
INCENDIES


The unfathomable chaos becomes intolerable.
INCEPTION


INCREDIBLE HULK, THE


This is a perfectly awful movie on all but two big counts: absolutely riveting visual images and a zestful new concept of the all-American hero.
INDEPENDENCE DAY


"The movie opens unquietly with a desert car chase and a nuclear explosion."
INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL


He can't pass a leaf without deconstructing it.
INFORMANT, THE


INGLORIOUS BASTERDS


The schoolyard bullies need supervision.
INSIDE JOB


INSIDE MAN


The shield between concentrated power and the public has become thinner by one.
INSIDER, THE


The cocky hunter, suddenly scared of his prey, becomes haggard, unable to sleep in the midnight sun.
INSOMNIA


INTERNATIONAL, THE


THE INTERPRETER


INTERVIEW


We are invited to think grandly about the powerful notions of death by lust and the horror of immortality, and are submerged instead in a one-note movie: bites and necks.
INTERVIEW WITH THE VAMPIRE


When mother, daughter, and lodger end up in the same bed, the absurdity of the 13-year-old accomplice is a comic, if unnerving sight.
INTIMATE RELATIONS


A dazzling white horse races from the ocean, down a beautiful beach and into the lives of two of the most beguiling little Irish boys ever to enchant an audience.
INTO THE WEST


They surprise us.
INTOUCHABLES, THE


“What I lacked,” he says, “was extravagance.”
INVASION OF THE BARBARIANS


"We have to surprise them with compassion and generosity."
INVICTUS


...Pure gold.
IRON LADY, THE


We believe all of it on that marvelous level that transcends our pedestrian reality.
IRON MAN


ISLAND, THE


“Islander” rises to that state where lovers of good movies like to dwell. 
ISLANDER


A cop who helps blind people cross the street and won't buy coffee without leaving a tip could never, ever have fallen for Muriel, so their parting is neither funny nor sad, just overdue.
IT COULD HAPPEN TO YOU


IT'S COMPLICATED


These fine actors erase the distance between us and the screen.
IT'S KIND OF A FUNNY STORY


Speedboats roar through the narrow canals, disturbing both the peace and the architecture, chased by waterborne competitors and police.
THE ITALIAN JOB


I'VE LOVED YOU SO LONG


The darkness needs no added emphasis.
J. EDGAR


The sight of James bravely flying his giant peach to New York is enough excitement for any little mind to absorb; and surely "Flipper" could have sustained itself with its comic scenes of an uncle who blowtorches his toast and washes dishes in the shower with his feet.
JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH AND FLIPPER


JANE AUSTEN BOOK CLUB, THE


Though the story is predictable, it never goes to syrup
JANIE JONES


Merchant Ivory has fallen under its own carriage wheels.
JEFFERSON IN PARIS


Crowe, holdingback his ending, tantalizes and teases the audience, now thoroughly hooked on his story of five good guys against the evil sports establishment.
JERRY MAGUIRE


Mark Rappaport wrote, directed, and edited this clever film, using Seberg to deliver a whole string of bitter, sharp observations on her own life and the politics of her day.
JOURNALS OF JEAN SEBERG, THE


It's called magnetism
JULIE AND JULIA


Secrets, lies, and revelations light the fires on both sides
JUMPING THE BROOM


JUNEBUG


27 DRESSES & JUNO


The whole production outshines its story, making it look like the first-class thriller it isn't.
JUROR, THE


Think of Sean Connery, Laurence Fishburne, Ed Harris, Ruby Dee, Hope Lange, Chris Sarandon, and then imagine them twisting in the wind, left there to die by the director and the scriptwriters.
JUST CAUSE


JUST LIKE HEAVEN


A landscape of bright ice slit by the black conning tower and peppered with small figures cavorting is breathtaking. 
K-19:  THE WIDOWMAKER


It is unsettling to root for a good guy who is obsessed by the grisly details of serial killings and a gal who is trying to make her fortune with photographs of erotica and S&M.
KALIFORNIA


Forget the plot and the people; just soak up the feel of Robert Altman's Depression-era Kansas City.
KANSAS CITY


These miserable adolescents cannot be said to be outside of prevailing standards because no standards exist.
KIDS


This genie is not going back in the bottle.
KIDS ARE ALRIGHT, THE


The sound of breaking bones will stay with you – and then there’s that swinging door.  
KILL BILL


KINGDOM, THE


The two men work together in fractious partnership.
KINGS SPEECH, THE


KINKY BOOTS


KINSEY


KISS KISS, BANG BANG


It is a grizzly, tense, unpleasant film that is unredeemed by anything that smacks of fun or, to be unpardonably earnest, justice.
KISS OF DEATH


By pandering to whatever public appetite exists for tabloid gore, it insults the audience while emptying their pockets.
KISS THE GIRLS


the grace of the kite flyers and runners.....their kites spinning and feinting over the ancient city below.
KITE RUNNER, THE


Affection fairly flows from the audience to the screen.
KNOCKED UP


In this movie, the L.A.P.D. is involved in both causing and correcting the cesspool that swirls around it.
L.A. CONFIDENTIAL


LA VIE EN ROSE


LADIES IN LAVENDER


"Where is she going?  What does she want?  We'll never know." 

LADY IN THE WATER


Just sink into the romantic illusion, and ask no questions.
LAKE HOUSE, THE


You will not forget David or Blanca or any of their comrades and you will be grateful for a film so strong that it pulls you to its center.
LAND AND FREEDOM


The whole thing has the pleasant feel of a family vacation.
LARRY CROWNE


LAST CHANCE HARVEY


These people are aging, moving into the next phase of their lives that will provide Whit Stillman with his next movie and us with a good deal of uncomfortable pleasure.
LAST DAYS OF DISCO, THE


Amin is crazed
LAST KING OF SCOTLAND, THE


With never a hint that some inner complexity or outer circumstance might explain Bridget's behavior, she's plays her as cruel and opportunistic, with the brain to know just how to capitalize on that gruesome gumbo.
LAST SEDUCTION, THE


It is an artful maze.
LAST STATION, THE


We are reminded that the student who says, "We're liberals; we do the right thing," usually grows up to be a conservative, while the student who consistently tries to do the right thing grows up to be the conscience of democracy.
LAST SUPPER, THE


LAUREL CANYON
Let's get some wine, some weed, some chicken, and go to the Hollywood Bowl


"A psychopath has brought the city to its knees."
LAW ABIDING CITIZEN


LAWS OF ATTRACTION


Sandrine Bonnaire and Isabelle Huppert are so effective in this chilling cautionary tale that this viewer hopes never to lay eyes on either of them again.
LA CEREMONIE


It’s a measure of real talent when the older generation steals the show from the young.
LE DIVORCE


"Why isn't this more fun?"
LEATHERHEADS


Abandon ye any desire for sophistication and subtlety.
LETTERS TO JULIET


With fine support from their colleagues, Daniel Auteuil and Catherine Deneuve perform with a riveting honesty that holds sentimentality at bay throughout this tough-minded movie.
LES VOLEURS


This is a movie often at odds with itself-standup comedy and lost lives.
LIFE


Anything that lightens the tragedy is risky business, even in the hands of these devoted filmmakers.
LIFE IS BEAUTIFUL


Limbo is a lousy place to leave an audience.
LIMBO


This story inflicts an additional affront: it's a pure patriarchy in which Simba's mom was merely a pregnant vessel.
LION KING, THE


"...his smile jumps straight from a toothpaste commercial."
LIONS FOR LAMBS


All this is grim, but not pedestrian. 
LITTLE CHILDREN


Everyone pretend to be normal.
LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE


For one thing, all these fine actors crank up their performance volumes one notch too high, creating a pitch of sustained frenzy.
LITTLE VOICE


It is beautifully boring.
LITTLE WOMEN


The Stasi cast a shadow over all the citizens within reach
LIVES OF OTHERS, THE


This movie is a startling oasis in a summer of the action cartoons Hollywood feeds the public in the belief that the entire nation goes brain-dead for three months.
LONE STAR


With his documentary, Writer/director Mark Jonathan Harris has made an invaluable contribution to our understanding of the ugly reality of the immediate post-war years that were justly celebrated by the victorious Allies while the Jews, without justice, continued to suffer and die.
LONG WAY HOME, THE


LOOK AT ME


The diagram of a 90s adoption dilemma is sketched: a black single mother, white adoptive parents, lawyers and social workers dedicated to their causes.
LOSING ISAIAH


Even if it were good, and it isn't, the movie is too long by half.
LOST HIGHWAY


"Bill Murray, whose face is somewhat like a rumpled bed sheet that needs one more tug... "
LOST IN TRANSLATION


So genuine is their feeling that we feel we have intruded, that we need to step back quietly and close the door on their emotion.
LOVE! VALOUR! COMPASSION!


The emotional wallop of this movie unfolds after Giles has installed himself in a seedy motel in Chesterton, Long Island.
LOVE AND DEATH ON LONG ISLAND


This is a family, a real one, and each character belongs in it.
LOVELY AND AMAZING


"...a road trip of three unlikely trip mates...."
LUCKY ONES, THE


If history's strongest constant is the struggle for power, this movie is another reminder of the fragile nature of power.
MADNESS OF KING GEORGE, THE


What may linger the longest, though, is Costa-Gavras's angry portrayal of the ugly politics of the media, the police, and a citizenry hungry for ten seconds of nationally televised tragedy. He has cut to the rancid core of the nightly news.
MAD CITY


MAD HOT BALLROOM


Lethal weapons wielded by a sick high school senior are a singularly unappetizing subject at a time when real life is rife with such tragedies.
MAD LOVE


Just plain dull
MAGIC MIKE


Danny Aiello seems to become appropriately embarrassed as the film goes on.  
MAIL ORDER BRIDE


The zinger in this movie is a scene between Bill Pullman and Ann Bancroft that is surely the best mother-in-law/son-in-law confrontation on record.
MALICE


A love story wrapped in indolence and the language of the mall might not be your choice, but it's all around us, and Smith has caught it sharply.
MALLRATS


Haven't you ever wanted to sing your way up a hill of Greek steps?
MAMA MIA


MANNA FROM HEAVEN


MARCH OF THE PENGUINS


The ugly details unfold at warp speed.
MARGIN CALL


The watch pot bubbles with resentment and verbal cruelty.
MARGOT AT THE WEDDING


MARION BRIDGE


Better luck next time, Harry.
MARRIED LIFE


Every actor in this movie leaves his/her own personality at the door to become the character.
MARVIN'S ROOM


Everyone sinks.
MASKED AND ANONYMOUS


Masterpiece or insult?
MASTER, THE


At the top of this pyramid stands Russell Crowe’s Jack Aubrey. 
MASTER AND COMMANDER


MATADOR & RUMOR HAS IT, THE


MATCH POINT


This is an irreverent, zestful romp for three stars who team up to poke fun at every imaginable Western cliche.
MAVERICK


Kind, if befuddled, the parents, grandmother, teacher, a therapist struggle to understand, to redirect the boy who maintains that when God distributed chromosomes, the one that would have made him female fell by mistake into the garbage.
MA VIE EN ROSE


This man would never dribble ketchup on his shirt.
MECHANIC, THE


The story is slow and full of cardboard characters, but Anthony Hopkins's lusty performance makes this one a safe bet for a rainy day.
MEET JOE BLACK


MEET THE FOCKERS


This director needs an editor.
MELANCHOLIA


MELINDA AND MELINDA


MEMOIRS OF A GEISHA


Even when she offers him the simple pleasures of time in the country, he manages to ruin the day.
MERRY WAR, A  


Hollywood has tried to make a weeper without understanding that audiences don't like to be told when to cry.
MESSAGE IN A BOTTLE


MEXICAN, THE


MIAMI VICE


Clooney's performance is the story here.
MICHAEL CLAYTON


Though focusing specifically on the fiery Collins, the film delivers an impressionistic overview of a period of violence among countrymen that is infused with the same awful waste as our own Civil War.
MICHAEL COLLINS


With guns that fall out of pant legs, a lap-dancing moment, a caricature of a gay FBI man, and giggling bridesmaids, the film simply disappears into its own quicksand.
MICKEY BLUE EYES


The camera, in the hands of a lover, sweeps Paris
MIDNIGHT IN PARIS


MILLION DOLLAR BABY


The world at last has figured out how to get cars from a high-rise park garage onto the thruway. 
MINORITY REPORT


We live in a time of broken promise and frenzied lifestyle, not the best of times to contemplate the meaning of Santa Claus.
MIRACLE ON 34TH STREET


MIRROR HAS TWO FACES, THE


Vanessa Redgrave, sporting a dowdy wig and a wicked gleam in her eye, steals the show whenever she's in it, which is far too seldom.
MISSION IMPOSSIBLE


The scriptwriters got it all wrong
MONA LISA SMILE


It's an unfair game. We're organ donors for the rich.
MONEYBALL


There is no possible reason to endure the ordeal except for the inspired performance of Charlize Theron
MONSTER


MONSTER-IN-LAW


First love prevails
MOONRISE KINGDOM


MORNING GLORY & UNSTOPPABLE


Matty and Johnny plunge into a flood of unrestrained recrimination.
MOSCOW, BELGIUM


What should be light and funny becomes labored.
MOTHER


It works in the best sense of ensemble acting
MOTHER AND CHILD


MOTHER, THE


MR. and MRS. SMITH


Now back to that fatal flaw......
MR. BROOKS


Errol Morris has painted a portrait of the banality of evil.
MR. DEATH: THERISE AND FALL OF FRED A. LEUCHTER, JR.


A passionate teacher is a welcome hero.
MR. HOLLAND'S OPUS


There are no redeeming features.
MR. WRONG


The British, who seem uniquely able to enliven their history for our pleasure, are at it again.
MRS. BROWN


There are certain roles in this world that should be played only by Vanessa Redgrave, and Clarissa Dalloway is one of them.
MRS. DALLOWAY


MRS. HENDERSON PRESENTS


MRS. PALFREY AT THE CLAREMONT


If the movie creates a mood of the time, it fails, with the exception of Parker herself, to flesh out any of these colorful people.
MRS. PARKER AND THE VICIOUS CIRCLE


It's an odd movie with great style.
MULHOLLAND FALLS


The writer has deposited these two gentle men in our crazy chaos to remind us that we live now in a world where no one listens, everyone has a secret life, and we all need second chances.
MUMFORD


MUNICH


MURDER AT 1600


In violation of the federal guidelines that mandate 19-day maximums for solitary confinement, Glenn orders three years of physical torture and isolation in a black dungeon five feet high -- no light, no water.
MURDER IN THE FIRST


The special fun of this movie is watching a teacher pull children into that beautiful world when they are young and receptive.
MUSIC OF THE HEART


The landscape sparkles with food and fountains and a supporting cast of imbeciles.
MY BEST FRIEND'S WEDDING


MY ARCHITECT & TOUCHING THE VOID 


He, the only son of two zipped up WASPs and she, the daughter of a hundred perfect Greeks. 
MY BIG FAT GREEK WEDDING


This is a story of people who cannot be understood by the people they left behind, and cannot themselves understand their new life.
MY FAMILY


....a tossed salad of Monroe's collapses, tantrums, and edicts.
MY WEEK WITH MARILYN


"The filmmakers have spent their energy on their centerpiece surprise."
MY WIFE IS AN ACTRESS


The boys grow into men through the cracks in the cement.
MYSTIC RIVER


It's hard to go wrong with a cast that includes Jill Clayburgh, Tony Curtis, Quentin Crisp, Kathleen Turner, Whoopi Goldberg and Timothy Dalton, but wrong it goes, and all the way.
NAKED IN NEW YORK


It is a story rife with loneliness and identity concerns. It is often profound.
NAMESAKE, THE


...an invitation to surrender to Emma Thompson's exaggerations.
NANNY MCPHEE RETURNS


NATIONAL TREASURE


While commentators and politicians argue about health care and a band-aid crime bill, children are shooting each other and, quite often, their parents.
NATURAL BORN KILLERS


There's nothing like a cerebral touch when the bullets are flying.
NEGOTIATOR, THE


She is luminous in the title role of this beautifully filmed story of a child of the wild slipping into civilization; but the movie cannot recover after its premise is undermined by production errors.
NELL


It's just a recycled chase film with Cyberspace aspirations.
NET, THE


It's hard to root for a guy who is stuck in the dead center of his own despair.
NEXT THREE DAYS, THE


It is a very silly movie.
NINE MONTHS


At the end of his tortured farewell speech, he stands naked before the nation, fake to the end, riveting in his transparency.
NIXON


NO RESERVATIONS


NOTEBOOK, THE 


...an unfolding of rage, betrayal, discovery, and resolution
NOTES ON A SCANDAL


NOTHING TO LOSE & DREAM WITH THE FISHES


NOWHERE IN AFRICA
...this family of three makes the adjustment from loving one place to loving another.


Charm has become synonymous with unctuousness in our culture, but in the best sense of it, charming is the only way to describe the teaming of Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts.
NOTTING HILL


You will laugh and think, as well as squirm, and you may leave the theater in a profound state of restlessness.
NURSE BETTY


The comedy and the pathos of the movie lie in the old truth that, whether the setting is gay or hetero, little time passes before the players try to control the plans and dreams of each other.
OBJECT OF MY AFFECTION, THE


Brandi has been shaken to the core by the full frontal sight of the passing flasher.
OBSERVE AND REPORT


OBSESSED


OCEANS THIRTEEN


It's time to pull the plug.
ODD COUPLE II


....deliberate, beautiful, and deeply disturbing
OF GODS AND MEN


OFF THE MAP


Carting crates of beer from the neighborhood bar to parties in his house, he drinks until he explodes in the most barbarous and realistic wife beating even seen on a movie screen.
ONCE WERE WARRIORS


You will wish that on the way in, the multiplex had offered you valium along with their popcorn.
ONE FINE DAY


“No one ever takes a photograph of something they want to forget.”
ONE HOUR PHOTO


In those days, it was reward enough for mothers to send their families out to meet the world, prepared.
ONE TRUE THING


When the marvelous Marisa Tomei is made to say, "I was born to kiss you," you know producer/director Norman Jewison hired the wrong writer.
ONLY YOU


OPEN WATER


The film is a Woolfian exercise in wit and reach, but is curiously flat.
ORLANDO


This year's Oscar nominations are the innovative, often bold work of some extraordinarily talented filmmakers.
OSCARS 1994


In a very thin year for movies, the Motion Picture Academy has managed to choose five very good ones for its Oscar nominations.
OSCARS 1995


If their choices show a new generosity of spirit, they also reflect the weakness of the American film pool in 1995.
OSCARS 1996


With Oscar talk flooding the media, it's easy to forget that some of this year's best movies flew by too fast.
OSCARS 1996 MISSED


The 1997 Oscar nominations are a riotous celebration of independent films.
OSCARS 96


In a troubling trend, most of the best films came out in a cluster toward the end of the year, leaving movie lovers stranded from January to September.
OSCARS 1997


Three of this year's nominations for Best Picture take place during World War II, two are set in Renaissance England, and each of the five is worth an evening of your time.
OSCARS 1999


five worthy contenders have bubbled to the top...
OSCARS 2001


OSCARS 2004


OSCARS 2005


OSCARS 2006


Strike or no strike, one of these films will win the award for Best Picture
OSCARS 2007


OSCARS 2008


OSCARS 2009


Of these, six will probably carry home the majority of the golden men.
OSCARS 2010


My choices and the will wins.
OSCARS 2011


The sight of the glass church floating on a river barge ranks high on any list of memorable metaphors.
OSCAR AND LUCINDA


OTHER SON, THE


Call it leaden, call it lackluster; things don't get much flatter than this.
OUT-OF-TOWNERS, THE


The American solution: incinerate the town with a single nuclear bomb.
OUTBREAK


Impossibly, the coolest girl on campus falls for him, and they enjoy the most unsupervised prep school romance on record. Impossibly, the coolest girl on campus falls for him, and they enjoy the most unsupervised prep school romance on record.
OUTSIDE PROVIDENCE


They could make risktakers of us all if only they didn't have to navigate so much dead space between laughs.
OUT OF SIGHT


In an otherwise lackluster year, five films made magic with the complexities of acting, directing, writing, and visual art.
Oscars 2000


Theirs is as fine an acting duet as any this year
PAINTED VEIL, THE


Unable to articulate what it is they want to say about young graduates in the 90s, the filmmakers have made a kind of Gen X superprobe into the nothingness of being young instead of capturing a real piece of today's culture.
PALLBEARER, THE


A muddle from start to finish, it traps its actors in a terrible script and reduces them to sputtering.
PALMETTO


It's a just-in-case escape with concrete walls, steel doors, and a bank of monitors that follows the movements of intruders.
PANIC ROOM


Encumber a newsman with husbandly duties and he is utterly diminished.
PAPER, THE


Don't waste a second being annoyed that you are mainlining sugar syrup: that's the point.
PARENT TRAP, THE


PASSION OF MIND


Torture has made its way into the national fabric.
PAYBACK


Fonda as grandmother?
PEACE, LOVE, & MISUNDERSTANDING


This $135 million movie is a bewildering mishmash of bad and almost good.
PEARL HARBOR


It deserves whatever terrible things might be said about its makers
PEEP WORLD


Grisham lets us down again by denying us the fun of trying to fit the pieces together by tossing in a confusion of villains, until at long suffering last, we give up and wait for his resolution.
PELICAN BRIEF, THE


This blazing film carries a serious, endangered message: "Congress shall make no law abridging freedom of speech."
PEOPLE VS. LARRY FLYNT, THE


Big questions, hearty laughter
PERFECT FAMILY, THE


Only the intended victim wins our loyalty, and that leaves us adrift in our seats, uninvolved and watching the plot details.
PERFECT MURDER, A


The movie simply pulls us in and holds us there, in one degree of horror or another, for more than two hours.
PERFECT STORM, THE


Teaching family values with a twist on the cross-Texas road trip, Butch tells Phillip he has "all-American rights" to carnivals, trick or treat, cotton candy and roller coasters.
PERFECT WORLD, A


John Travolta, with fine support across the board, makes George Malley an invitation to think about compassion and humanity.
PHENOMENON


This is a movie more for those of us who watch from a distance than for those who have AIDS and know better.
PHILADELPHIA


A German who has the power to kill him, doesn’t.
PIANIST, THE


This is an extraordinary exploration of passion and betrayal as it explodes in the remote bush, removed from the eyes of conventional society, but judged with brutal intensity by the players themselves.
PIANO, THE


The jokes, the surgeries and the age are not the problem.
PIECE OF WORK, A


For them, tying a shoelace is akin to solving a Rubik's cube.
PINEAPPLE EXPRESS


PIRATE RADIO


With part of the town "colored" as their newly impassioned selves, those who resent change remain colorless, mired in conformity.
PLEASANTVILLE


"...a laser eye for the special state that is Manhattan misery."
PLEASE GIVE


In an ugly insight, we realize Jerry will use the little girl as bait.
PLEDGE, THE


In trying to do a good thing, Disney has tried to atone for fifty years of negative movie images of Native American life by making all Native Americans beautiful, heroic, and wise.
POCAHONTAS


This is a town where work pays the bills and life begins after five o'clock.
POLISH WEDDING


Considering Pollock's drinking, womanizing, and marital battles, it is astounding that he produced the paintings that changed the course of modern art.
POLLOCK


PONETTE & WHEN THE CAT'S AWAY


Jane Campion has crafted a darkly elegant film without an ounce of heart.
PORTRAIT OF A LADY


POSEIDON


We also know that researchers, once on the scent, sink into a kind of glorious private passion for their work that is both comic in its scale and enviable in its excitement.
POSSESSION


The friendship of the unlikely pair speaks the sad truth that we can rarely tell our friends about the inner forces that drive us through life.
POSTMAN, THE


PRAIRIE HOME COMPANION, A


Throwing cold water on "The Preacher's Wife" is a little like criticizing a children's Christmas pageant.
PREACHER'S WIFE, THE


How did this extraordinary movie come to be?
PRECIOUS


We expect to see Jimmy Cagney and Edward G. Robinson burst through the door with tommy guns.
PRIDE AND GLORY


If the movie is a polemic, it is an attack not just on the Catholic Church but also on the hypocrisy that infects mankind.
PRIEST


It's a good story with a grand villain and a fine portrait by Richard Gere of the loneliness of the long-distance defense attorney.
PRIMAL FEAR


They sketch a flabby electorate that accepts managed news from spin doctors and mannequin anchors; and then, with clear-eyed compassion, they explore the nature of the master seducer who is both their protagonist and our president.
PRIMARY COLORS


Anyone who is public enemy #1 for the fundamentalists can't be all bad.
PRIVATE PARTS


What erupts is so original, so funny, obscene, violent, outrageous and clever that the film will be remembered as one that added a new dimension to the already zany world of movie making.
PULP FICTION


a veritable trove of images, questions and answers about the "golden age of bank robbery."
PUBLIC ENEMIES


Perhaps we can be forgiven for wanting gods, not monsters, to deliver us from air to ground.
PUSHING TIN


A worthy new villain makes his debut.
QUANTUM OF SOLACE


Let Helen Mirren’s regal Queen Elizabeth roll over you. 
QUEEN, THE


As good-natured burlesque, it is a rib-tickling look at the cliches that pepper every Western we have ever loved.
QUICK AND THE DEAD, THE


The defining core of the sorry mess was the extraordinary spectacle of a father who represented an incorruptible side of our national tradition and the son who betrayed his legacy, his family, and profession to become the symbol of America's descent into cynicism.
QUIZ SHOW


You will remember their faces for a long time
RABBIT-PROOF FENCE


RACHEL GETTING MARRIED


RAISING HELEN


If you aren't excessively troubled by watching the ordeal of a kidnapped child, and if you accept a great deal of spilled blood as a contemporary given, then you will be amply rewarded by the considerable pluses of this movie.
RANSOM


She brings him in, cleans him up, and seduces him.
READER, THE


The closest statement of the film's viewpoint is voiced by one character: "Women make clothes for women; men make clothes for the women they want to be with, or in most cases, for the women they want to be."
READY TO WEAR


The giant size Big Gulp from the Seven Eleven is the spark plug of their diet, and TV talk shows are their drug of choice.
REALITY BITES


If you look for neither the plausible nor the possible, you may have as much fun as I did.
RED


RED EYE


You are forgiven if you sense a certain 2011 resonance in these scenes.
RED RIDING HOOD


The simple fact of its survival is a credible miracle considering that other superb violins have survived war, climate, and general neglect in the chain of ownership.
RED VIOLIN, THE


"Jesus.......fiddling with his cell phone."
RELIGULOUS


Alien to our experience but part of our heritage, the profession of the perfect English butler is a complicated business that is entrusted here to very talented hands that turn it into a profoundly sad movie.
REMAINS OF THE DAY, THE


Because the community must work as a team to live, each person’s life is interwoven with the others.
RESPIRO


What a pleasure it is to watch actors create multilayered characters who surprise us repeatedly with their candor.
RETURN TO PARADISE


This is April's dream, not Frank's
REVOLUTIONARY ROAD


No mysteries here, no good lines or characters, none of the layers of revelation so essential to mystery.
RICH MAN'S WIFE, THE


A flashy entertainment with a good cast headed by a mighty river that never loses its power to scare the absolute devil out of you.
RIVER WILD, THE


This is, after all, a movie about hit men, vengeance, and betrayal, but it is more about men than gore.
ROAD TO PERDITION


The movie shows in excruciating detail the symbolic and actual devastation wrought by a small bag of money.
ROB ROY


Everyone over 60 is hooked
ROBOT AND FRANK


Too much blood, too long by a third, too violent in a violent world--but Connery, Cage, and Harris dodging the special effects are irresistible.
ROCK, THE


Helping your sixteen year old nephew cast off his virginity in the seamy side of the Manhattan night isn’t a spectacular premise.
RODGER DODGER


The saving grace of this dreary film is the friendship between Romeo and Gavin.
ROOM FOR ROMEO BRASS, A


Serious movie makers should make poker movies only when they can make the game an intriguing element of their film.
ROUNDERS


RUDO Y CURSI


Samuel L. Jackson and Tommy Lee Jones are incendiary actors who can make even standard stuff look good.
RULES OF ENGAGEMENT


THE MATADOR & RUMOR HAS IT


Don't look for credibility; this is a fairy tale that correctly insists on sprinkling fairy dust on a large number of endearing oddballs.
RUNAWAY BRIDE


Filmed in brilliant colors dominated by reds and yellows, and set to a restless, rhythmic musical beat, the movie rushes as desperately as the time frame within it.
RUN LOLA RUN


It is mesmerizing to watch someone so caught up in his obsessions that he has not a whit of an idea that he is driving everyone around him crazy.
RUSHMORE


Instead of a wan remake, this movie is an affectionate tribute to the staying power of its predecessor.
SABRINA


In a time of crisis, the predictability of the parents' behavior and their sons' knowing ways of handling it are drawn at once with subtlety and exaggeration--a neat trick.
SAFE PASSAGE


SAHARA


Things can't get much worse than this.
SAINT, THE


At last, sophisticated comedy
SALMON FISHING IN YEMEN


"Primary or double agent, that is that is the question."
SALT


Once the writers came up with the idea of having Tim Allen drafted as a reluctant Santa Claus, they were so pleased with themselves that they put their pencils down.
SANTA CLAUSE, THE


"all the actors work with elegant restraint."
SARAH'S KEY


SAVING GRACE


Steven Spielberg has made it his mission to make sure that when we live with the sounds of peace, we never forget the men who made it possible.
SAVING PRIVATE RYAN


The backstory was in his belly.
SAW IV


May the world not think from now on of Hester Prynne as Demi Moore in a candle cap.
SCARLET LETTER, THE


To deny the implicit acceptance by the general populace would be to say that Ford produced 6,000,000 cars without the knowledge and cooperation of Detroit.
SCHINDLER'S LIST


SCOOP


The film builds to the match between the unlikely challenger from upstart California and the star of the Eastern Establishment.
SEABISCUIT


Where did this man go?
SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN


This flawless ensemble cast has enabled Mike Leigh to take the risk of using a small story to tell a large truth.
SECRETS AND LIES


The big questions of obsession, vengeance, love, and loyalty
SECRET IN THEIR EYES, THE


Emma Thompson and Jane Austen are quite a team.
SENSE AND SENSIBILITY


SENTINEL, THE


...a top level cast, director, and writer.
SEPARATION


She simply says yes or no without discussion.

SEPTEMBER ISSUE, THE


Have you thought about getting a lawyer?
A SERIOUS MAN


...as good as it gets
SESSIONS, THE


SEX AND THE CITY


SEX AND THE CITY 2


It seems Americans are doomed to envy the English for their dignity and to mock them for their repression.
SHADOWLANDS


SHADRACH


The parallels drawn so gleefully between Elizabethan London and our own time fly through the air like merry potshots.
SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE


This is a sweet, sad, innocent tale with a big message, and it is absolutely charming.
SHALL WE DANCE


SHALL WE DANCE?


The scenes in this extraordinary place unfold slowly, building a powerful and abiding picture of the ugliness that man can visit on nature.
SHANGHAI TRIAD


Lane began the extraordinary process of unraveling his employee’s fantasies and fabrications.
SHATTERED GLASS


Just as you begin to long for a fast-forward button for this masterful creation of the terrible tedium of prison life, Director Frank Darabont turns his story into a fine fairy tale.
SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION, THE


Holmes' conclusions stream forth from disorderly, chaotic mental clutter
SHERLOCK HOLMES


one so Irish-American, one so French, are each a sound rebuke to the long, dry summer of Hollywood's failed efforts.
SHE'S THE ONE AND PURPLE NOON


The unexplained whys and wherefores and the too facile assumptions of the film evaporate under the light and joyous performance of Geoffrey Rush.
SHINE


...a terrific hero performance by Mark Wahlberg
SHOOTER


A feisty troublemaker sooner or later sticks his neck out.....
SICKO


SIDEWAYS


But that’s O.K.; we can fill in the blanks.
SIGNS


Of this, Viktor takes a little of Audrey Hepburn here, a little Grace Kelly there, and creates the virtual movie star Simone.
SIMONE


We supply both the arms and the market to an unstable country.

SIN NOMBRE


"The service is just for family."

SINGLE MAN, A


Absent all pressure and societal rules, human touch is on the same level as the softness of the breeze, the warmth of the water and the beauty of the landscape.
SIRENS


We have been manipulated with great care.
SIXTH SENSE, THE


They swim in money even as they reach for more, and they couldn't hold on to a friendship for the slime on their backs.
SIX DEGREES OF SEPARATION


This movie consists of the musings of two old friends.
SKETCHES OF FRANK GEHRY


Three rapists, a vengeful surgeon, two victims and a web of grotesque relationships
SKIN I LIVE IN, THE


Oh, what freedom filmmakers have when they know nothing about their subject.
SKULLS, THE


As Helen descends the subway staircase, she hears the approaching train, runs, and misses it-or in the second scenario, catches it.
SLIDING DOORS


There is no one to trust.
SLUMDOG MILLIONAIRE


The cast manages to make the whole thing sweet, funny, and raunchy without striking sour notes.
SLUMS OF BEVERLY HILLS


This movie would blow away in a light breeze, but you'll leave with a grin.
SMALL TIME CROOKS


As a bleeding Richard Harris sinks slowly into 39-degree water, we wish we could go back to the beginning when the riveting beauty of Greenland promised so much.
SMILLA'S SENSE OF SNOW


Augie's real life, it turns out, lies in the 4000 pictures he has taken over the years at precisely 8:00 a.m. at the corner of 3rd Street and 7th Avenue.
SMOKE


Fire and water and home are very different concepts in the imaginings of the white men whose forbears took it all away from them.
SMOKE SIGNALS


The house wins; the audience has nothing.
SNAKE EYES


Looming in the commotion is the powerful disgrace of the American internment of the Japanese-Americans, who are herded, nametags hanging from their buttonholes, into buses for delivery to the camps.
SNOW FALLING ON CEDARS


The Narcissist Queen
SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN


"The only people on earth who understand the brilliant simplicity of the idea are under 21 years old."
SOCIAL NETWORK, THE


The accomplished Mr. Douglas creates a narcissistic cad
SOLITARY MAN


SOLOIST, THE


Nothing softens hardship in this valley, and nothing is ever more unnecessary or heart wrenching than watching weak m-n brutalizing helpless people in the name of God.
SOLOMON AND GAENOR


Jack Nicholson seems to understand the older single woman pickle is a national phenomenon, and he gracefully restrains his scene stealing muggery.
SOMETHING'S GOT TO GIVE


Without any sign of the Roman candles she sent aloft in her first film, this one fizzles in spite of an occasional burst of bubbles from its stars.
SOMETHING TO TALK ABOUT


The writers focus on two women, Annie Higgins (Fionnula Flanagan) and Kathleen Quigley (Helen Mirren), whose sons enter the war with youthful rage that grows into deep adult commitment.
SOME MOTHER'S SON


McTeer is an earthy, intelligent actress, always holding an explosion in reserve.
SONGCATCHER


SOPHIE SCHOLL


This is bi-partisan corruption.
SOPRANO STATE: NEW JERSEY'S CULTURE OF CORRUPTION PART 1, THE


You need a doctorate in metaphysics to make any sense of it at all.
SOURCE CODE


The film is riveting while Mamet spins his plot with the crisp twists of a cerebral adventure.
SPANISH PRISONER, THE


More damage is done, more lives are lost in the attempt to keep that bus running at 50 than could possibly be worth the 12 or so on board, but the strength of this movie is that questions like that, which lie at every turn, never enter your head.
SPEED


It's their intelligence as actors that allows us to smile throughout the ludicrous finale.
SPEED 2: CRUISE CONTROL


One groans, “I might have known it (Banns) if I were Catholic; I feel sorry for the boy from Texas who got Yenta.”
SPELLBOUND


This movie is a sleeper--as in "a little nap will help you through it."
SPHERE


The filmmakers destroy the fun implied by the sight of a shy young urban idealist suddenly endowed with the magical power of climbing, crawling, and swinging around the city in the webs he has spun.
SPIDERMAN


If you see this movie without being touched on some level, if you feel sharp by shooting it down for its flaws, then we might not do well eating dinner together.
SPITFIRE GRILL, THE


What started with lightness and charm ends in a sadness so incompatible with the original mood of the film that we can think only that, after winning us so thoroughly in the beginning, Tornatore just didn't know where to go.
STARMAKER, THE


STATE OF PLAY


Everyone makes love in this villa, in bed or in the olive grove, and even their pleasure is lifeless.
STEALING BEAUTY


Once it becomes clear that this is a movie of unrelated episodes, we can relax and enjoy the pointless tale unfolding on screen.
STEAL BIG, STEAL LITTLE


"Your voice is like a combination of Fergie and Jesus."
STEP BROTHERS


break dancing erupted and evolved on New York street corners in front of fascinated passers-by
STEP UP 2


If filmmakers want us to journey into the occult, they should give us the pieces of their puzzle so that at least we can be part of the game.
STIR OF ECHOES


Bruce Willis, wearing a series of the world's ugliest shirts, does a fine job as the beleaguered husband.
STORY OF US, THE


Two movies: one rooted in fear, one in narcissism.
STRANGERS, THE & SAVING GRACE


Will she kill him off, or won't she?
STRANGER THAN FICTION


...The brightest spot in this summer of Hollywood's embarrassment...
SUMMER DROUGHT


"Summer Hours is sublime"
SUMMER HOURS


A few good movies, along with many bad ones, will open and overstay their welcomes because studios know that summer releases will be forgotten by Oscar time.
SUMMER SLUMP 1999


With a lesbian mother and a gay son, he still smiles and says, "life without women would be like a barbecue without beer."
SUM OF US, THE


SUPERBAD and BECOMING JANE


There is no sentimentality to this movie, a real feat considering the subject.
SWEET HEREAFTER, THE


"Sweet Land" wins the race over "The Departed," going away.
SWEET LAND & THE DEPARTED


The unexpected confection of an ending may be ambivalent, but it brings a big smile.
SWIMMING POOL


Kassie sets up a fertility party.
SWITCH, THE



SYRIANA


Clouds gather, wind roars, rain pours.
TAKE SHELTER


Love and infidelity
TAKE THIS WALTZ


Why am I still so scared?
TAKEN


Comic book violence with a warm streak
TAKEN 2


"Take your earplugs."
TAKING OF PELHAM 123, THE


We needed just a little more time in Max's field.
TAKING WOODSTOCK


Civilized manners, thin veneers, and the life money can buy-a perfect framework for surprise and horror that would make Alfred Hitchcock proud.
TALENTED MR. RIPLEY, THE


Every now and then a great movie moment sneaks up and wrings spontaneous laughter from the audience.
TAO OF STEVE, THE


The English ladies have been living for years in eccentric contentment amidst the paintings, frescoes, and sculptures of Florence.
TEA WITH MUSSOLINI


It is irresistibly French
TELL NO ONE


TELLING LIES IN AMERICA


THAT THING YOU DO


THE TERMINAL, STEPFORD WIVES, DODGE BALL


Could someone please bring this capable actress a milkshake?
THEN SHE FOUND ME


If you are tempted to skip movies about terminal illness, don't skip this one.
THEORY OF FLIGHT, THE


There will be blood. You bet there will be.
THERE WILL BE BLOOD


Their movie is twice too long, but they have found an explosive, if intermittent, way to tickle the sophomore that lurks in most of us.
THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT MARY


"But that’s the stuff of chemistry, isn’t it?"
THIRTEEN


Director Roger Donaldson and screenwriter David Self stay true to the details.
THIRTEEN DAYS


It's been a long time since anyone handed a story of aesthetics and escapism to two actors sophisticated enough to make the most of it.
THOMAS CROWN AFFAIR, THE


The Cook sisters themselves are supposed to carry the movie, and they give it their best, but Jessica Lange, Michelle Pfeiffer, and Jennifer Jason Leigh stretch credibility as Iowa farm women.
THOUSAND ACRES, A


THREE BURIALS OF MELQUIADES ESTRADA, THE


We are subjected to graphic brutality, forced to watch humans tortured and a cow blown into shreds that splatter everyone within reach.
THREE KINGS


Is deception the only way to be free?
TIME OUT


Matthew McConaughey has an easy, thoughtful chemistry with Sandra Bullock and Ashley Judd, who play the two women in his life, and if he can keep his head on straight, he will remain the major player he has become with this good movie.
TIME TO KILL, A


Who is the enemy?
TINKER TAILOR SOLDIER SPY


Whenever the movie shifts from history to romance, it snatches away the genuine emotion of the scenes on the bottom of the sea.
TITANIC


We are programmed not to die, but to live.
TO AGE OR NOT TO AGE


The Vatican? I know it well.
TO ROME WITH LOVE


This plotless, lifeless look at some legendary figures who deserve better is so bad that it earns only reluctant laughter.
TOMBSTONE


If the movie is long, it needs to be in order to create the feel of the life of a Gilbert and Sullivan production.
TOPSY TURVY


MY ARCHITECT & TOUCHING THE VOID 


The one thing the filmmakers did right was to set their movie in Venice
TOURIST, THE


TOWN AND COUNTRY


Boys grow up to be cops or robbers and rarely set foot out of Boston.
TOWN, THE


The greatest testimony for Mr. Soderbergh's movie comes from Americans addicted to hard drugs who say he got everything right.
TRAFFIC


The fact that "Pulp Fiction" grabbed America's funnybone while "Trainspotting" leaves Americans dazed in their seats is another reminder that a particular humor gene from the mother country didn't travel well to the colonies.
TRAINSPOTTING


For sheer suspense, cinematic history has few more wonderful settings than a train.
TRANSSIBERIAN


The story is based on the historical truth of an Irish subculture of con artists in the rural American South. -- TRAVELLER The eight heads in Pesci's bag are his proof to the Mob that he has met his extermination quota. -- 8 HEADS IN A DUFFEL BAG
TRAVELLER & 8 HEADS IN A DUFFEL BAG


It is undeniably brilliant in important ways.
TREE OF LIFE, THE


Stiller has set out to skewer a slew of cultural icons.

TROPIC THUNDER


A sentimental warm water wash
TROUBLE WITH THE CURVE


He has directed, starred in, and partially scored this movie that can't for a second be separated from his personality.
TRUE CRIME


Mattie is a force that will take the measure of every man who crosses her path.
TRUE GRIT


When he then reminds us that most of us accept the world with which we are presented, we may well feel like banging our heads on the metaphorical wall that separates us from other choices, just as Truman does in his desperate attempt to break out from the choices forced on him.
TRUMAN SHOW, THE


This is a featherweight comedy tossed so lightly among its leading players that it generates real charm.
TRUTH ABOUT CATS AND DOGS, THE


The truth is that neither of them knows how to build a life for herself and her teenaged daughter.
TUMBLEWEEDS AND ANYWHERE BUT HERE


There's a nice underlying ripple of humor in the senior citizenship of this movie.
TWILIGHT


It's enough, by golly, to make you run home to build a storm cellar.
TWISTER


TWO DAYS IN PARIS


Life turns around quite suddenly and floods him with options.
TWO LOVERS


Lacking both the star power of "Crimson Tide," and the underlying lightness of the Die Hards, this leaden terrorist film sinks under its own weight.
UNDER SIEGE 2


UNDER THE SAND


“Under the Tuscan Sun” throws its arms around us and invites us on an impossible journey. 
UNDER THE TUSCAN SUN


She reacts with a wild variety of emotions to the images that play in her head, sunk at that moment in abandon, joy, and guilt.
UNFAITHFUL


Nick Cassavetes turns the syrup spigot on and never turns it off, a real shame since his mother, Gena Rowlands, is ready and able to convey the sometimes terrifying void that opens when a woman looks around at 60-something and realizes that no one is there. UNHOOK THE STARS The movie plays at the snail's pace of a small southern town, which is just a little too simple when it comes to either the South or Truman Capote. THE GRASS HARP
UNHOOK THE STARS AND THE GRASS HARP


UNITED 93


UNSTOPPABLE & MORNING GLORY


One startling truth jumps from the screen: for Mizrahi, women are merely creatures on which to hang his designs, showpieces for his personal aesthetic. They can make his cloth flow and his cuts swing.
UNZIPPED


Dated as it is, the story teeters between tale and farce.
UP AT THE VILLA


Have we all become too cynical to enjoy a stylish, romantic story that turns on the intelligence and sparkle of two very appealing actors?
UP CLOSE AND PERSONAL


My knapsack is empty
UP IN THE AIR


UPSIDE OF ANGER, THE


From beginning to end, the story is overwhelmed by style. This is a time to forget the plot for once and concentrate on enjoying an actors' field day with a good script.
USUAL SUSPECTS, THE


This old fashioned melodrama will grab you
VANTAGE POINT


VERA DRAKE


A martyr is one thing, a Superwoman another.
VERONICA GUERIN


Woody Allen is back.
VICKY CHRISTINA BARCELONA


Tarek disappears behind the steel doors and security cameras of our new national fear.

VISITOR, THE


VOLCANO and BREAKDOWN


The bigger the lie, the greater the laughter. 
VOLVER


Once again, a very important independent film has brought to us truth and reality that scar the soul and stun an audience to absolute quiet.
VUKOVAR


W


We have been seduced by a howlingly funny satire of today's politics that, on quick second thought, is also a stinging preview of what lies ahead in a profession unhindered by integrity.
WAG THE DOG


He collapses into a puddle of contrition at the feet of his wife.
WAITRESS


Filmed against the spectacular scenery of the Isle of Man and set to a terrific score, the movie is a gentle, sweetly funny tale-not the laugh-out-loud variety, but the kind that engenders a long-term grin.
WAKING NED DEVINE


WALK THE LINE


WALK ON WATER


Don Pedro, the patriarch of this Mexican-American clan, propels himself on a diet of cigars, chocolate, and bread, and watches over the Only Daughter, the Angry Son, the Harvest, the Fire, and Demon Drink.
WALK IN THE CLOUDS, A


The cleverness of this movie lies in its true take on the familiar. The Catskills camp, the one-liners, the culture, the comedy-we've seen it all before, but somehow the bungalows have never been quite as identical, the cars so shabby, the loudspeaker so calmly controlling.
WALK ON THE MOON, A


WALKER, THE


Wall Street is the modern version of the competitions between Greece and Rome.
WALL STREET: MONEY NEVER SLEEPS


Don't be late, as I was, to this party.
WALL-E


....breakthrough on male nudity
WANDERLUST


Why go? I wouldn't if I were you.
WANTED


....a visceral look and war and death and random cruelty
WAR HORSE


WAR OF THE WORLDS


One good, one terrible
WATCH, THE


The Smokers and the survivors, in spite of living in an ocean that could clean them, are comically and inexplicably filthy.
WATERWORLD


... a lovely ending where friendship is clear but emotions are left unspoken
WAY, THE


When the black smoke turns to white...
WE HAVE A POPE (HABEMUS PAPUM)


WEDDING CRASHER, THE


As strain turns to discord, the wives chop and slice with increasing intensity.
WHAT'S COOKING?


Legend and leader meet, and there the screen should go dark. But it doesn’t. 
WHALE RIDER


This movie is about love and responsibility and staying sane without hope.
WHAT'S EATING GILBERT GRAPE


The film world has beaten adolescent boredom to death.
WHATEVER


"The world is terrible, people are terrible, but I am going to be happy."
WHATEVER WORKS


WHATS COOKING


And just think, everyone means well.
WHEN DID YOU LAST SEE YOUR FATHER


Writer "B" tries frantically to wring laughs from small silly jokes and contrived situations that quickly become labored--a sure death rattle in a romantic comedy.
WHILE YOU WERE SLEEPING


WHITE COUNTESS, THE 


Taking on a subject of massive consequence, Nakano, with his wise choice of John Travolta, shows the reality of a culture ruled by one race, in which the oppressed minority, lacking opportunity, must choose between rebellion and submission.
WHITE MAN'S BURDEN


For one thing, the village is a rigid patriarchy.
WHITE RIBBON, THE


During this long movie, an insidious feeling bubbles up that perhaps New Englanders thrive just a mite much on discomfort and risk.
WHITE SQUALL


WHY WE FIGHT


With a grand cast working in close harmony, the film's collapse must be laid at the door of writer Hugh Leonard, who dawdles forever while counting on the flimsy final plot twist.
WIDOW'S PEAK


WIDOW OF SAINT-PIERRE, THE


three people who are hard to describe and easy to love
WILBUR WANTS TO KILL HIMSELF


You might get annoyed at a hypochondriac, a claustrophobic, or an egotistical neurotic whose security lies in the anonymity of New York, but how can anyone stay mad at a man who loves a clarinet?
WILD MAN BLUES


There is just one man-made wonder here, but it’s a big one – the filming.
WINGED MIRACLE


The dead tree in his front yard is a metaphor for how much he can't afford to fix.
WIN WIN


And thank you, Henry James.
WINGS OF THE DOVE


Somewhere in the hierarchy of this movie, someone believes that to be homeless is to be thoughtful, that to be without is to be noble, that stripping away life's pretensions guarantees wisdom.
WITH HONORS


"If you don't get it, don't make it."
WOMEN, THE


The problem lies, of course, in the fact that by 1944 she still believed in him, still professed innocence of the death camps.
WONDERFUL, HORRIBLE LIFE OF LENI RIEFENSTAHL, THE


The movie plays to the real passions of its very human characters.
WONDER BOYS


WORDPLAY


A grand surprise
WORDS, THE


Stone shows Manhattan stretching itself awake in the early hours of September 11th
WORLD TRADE CENTER


If you must visit a video store this year, avoid absolutely the following terrible movies of 1997.
WORST OF 1997


It is delivered by a cast of pros who remind us that friendship is the bedrock material of any age.
WRESTLING ERNEST HEMINGWAY


Worst of 1999


YEAR OF THE DOG


Allen is the master of emotional complications
YOU WILL MEET A TALL DARK STRANGER


Mistaken identities, misunderstandings, and happy endings are the stuff of romantic comedies-then and now.
YOU'VE GOT MAIL


YOUNG ADAM


The audience comes to life with the first beats of the unexpected.
YOUNG AT HEART


What this says about the women who share their beds is the baffling question that hangs in the putrid air of this movie.
YOUR FRIENDS AND NEIGHBORS


The chemistry between Sammy and Terry is so strong that we repeatedly remember the two stunned young children sitting in the front pew at their parents' funeral.
YOU CAN COUNT ON ME


The mutants: we even care about them.
XMEN: FIRST CLASS


Wouldn't your first thought in such a desperate financial situation be to make a porn movie for You Tube?
ZACK AND MIRI MAKE A PORNO


ZODIAC

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