Decent Films Guide

Rating Title | Year Quote Author
1 96%

WALL-E (2008)

"Slapstick, adventure and love are all familiar elements in animated family films. Awe, existential themes and wholesale worldbuilding are not … Even Pixar has never attempted anything on a canvas of this scale."

Posted Jun 27, 2008

Steven D. Greydanus

2 67%

The Incredible Hulk (2008)

"Diverting but forgettable entertainment after a strong opening act, though for Hulk fans smarting from the thoughtful, flawed Ang film, it may just be balm for the soul."

Posted Jun 13, 2008

Steven D. Greydanus

3 87%

Kung Fu Panda (2008)

"Both a surprisingly good kung fu movie and a solid family flick… The story is sweeter and shows more heart than you might think."

Posted Jun 5, 2008

Steven D. Greydanus

4 78%

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)

"Delivers more or less what one would expect: a reunion with a few old friends amid disposable popcorn entertainment … Enjoy it for what it is, but don't hope for more."

Posted May 21, 2008

Steven D. Greydanus

5 67%

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008)

"More inspired by the book than adapting it, Caspian is most likely to appeal to those not especially attached to the book, which is after all a lesser work flanked by two more popular tales."

Posted May 15, 2008

Steven D. Greydanus

6 93%

Iron Man (2008)

"Smart, sardonic and more than a little silly, Iron Man is a successful super-hero movie that never takes itself too seriously."

Posted May 2, 2008

Steven D. Greydanus

7 84%

Constantine's Sword (2007)

"Riddled with historical distortions, at least some of which seem agenda-driven, perhaps even more or less deliberate."

Posted Apr 18, 2008

Steven D. Greydanus

8 79%

Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who! (2008)

"One book can't contain Horton's dogged heroics!His stoical pluck shows up all other stoics!And it gets even better! I'm pleased to relateThat Horton's the very best Blue Sky to date."

Posted Mar 13, 2008

Steven D. Greydanus

9 96%

4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007)

"Embodies the humanistic perspective… that simply to relate the story of a significant human event, to tell the truth without gloss or commentary, has value in itself."

Posted Jan 25, 2008

Steven D. Greydanus

10 42%

The Golden Compass (2007)

"Neophytes may be left in the dust for lack of narrative connections and clarifications, while Pullman admirers of all stripes may feel short-changed on mood and atmosphere."

Posted Dec 6, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

11 44%

Bella (Beauty) (2006)

"Bolstered by engaging performances and an appealing Latin milieu, Bella tells a simple, idealistic story with considerable style and charm."

Posted Oct 26, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

12 81%

Lars and the Real Girl (2007)

"Manages to be — yes — sweet and sincere without ever tipping over either into saccharine schmaltz on the one hand or grossout territory on the other."

Posted Oct 26, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

13 64%

Things We Lost in the Fire (2007)

"Though not always faithful in small things, Things We Lost is faithful in much. The individual moments are sometimes off, but the large emotional resonances are right."

Posted Oct 19, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

14 14%

The Ten Commandments (2007)

"Shamelessly rips off interpretive conceits and even specific dramatic beats from The Prince of Egypt."

Posted Oct 19, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

15 35%

Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)

"A lurid sort of Christopher Hitchens vision of history pervades Elizabeth: The Golden Age … How is it possible that this orgy of anti-Catholicism has been all but ignored by critics?"

Posted Oct 12, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

16 29%

Trade (2007)

"Trade needed to be the United 93 of the human trafficking crisis. It's closer to being the World Trade Center."

Posted Sep 28, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

17 66%

Labyrinth (1986)

"Plays like The Wizard of Oz or Alice in Wonderland crossed with a middling episode of "The Muppet Show" guest-starring David Bowie … suffers from a distinct lack of charm."

Posted Sep 21, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

18 71%

The Dark Crystal (1982)

"A distant, uninvolving experience … characters and emotions, even by the archetypal standards of high fantasy, never come to life, and the overarching mythology seems too self-consciously contrived."

Posted Sep 21, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

19 96%

3:10 to Yuma (1957)

"Although not as nerve-wracking as High Noon, 3:10 to Yuma is even more claustrophobic… and the two-character drama is more intriguing than High Noon's protagonist standing alone."

Posted Sep 21, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

20 76%

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

"Best name for a western of any film in history."

Posted Sep 21, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

21 43%

The Brave One (2007)

"Every slimeball Erica encounters menaces her with remorseless, repulsive sadism—there's never anyone who just has a lewd comment, say… Everyone wants to bludgeon or shoot her, mutilate and molest her…"

Posted Sep 14, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

22 88%

3:10 to Yuma (2007)

"Follows closely in the original's footsteps, except for all the business about honor, recovered self-worth and justice… There's no spiritual duel, no earned respect and debt of honor… just a broken man and a capricious one."

Posted Sep 7, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

23 60%

Arctic Tale (2007)

"The heavy-handed ideology and flawed narration don't commend Arctic Tale as a movie I would care to watch repeatedly, but I'm glad I saw it once, for the spectacular photography."

Posted Aug 17, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

24 18%

Rush Hour 3 (2007)

"A half-hour of brilliance, preceded by an hour of dreck… a roughly comparable dreck-to-brilliance ratio to the first two Rush Hour movies, I guess, and par for the course for Jackie's Hollywood films."

Posted Aug 10, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

25 94%

The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

"Bourne has gone the distance for three straight films… seals the achievement of a rare action franchise for thinking adults, combining gripping entertainment with an undercurrent of moral seriousness."

Posted Aug 3, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

26 75%

Sunshine (2007)

"Boyle gives us sci-fi razzle-dazzle and some undeniably powerful images, but as effective as it is for an hour or so, Sunshine ultimately settles for puzzling more than mysterious."

Posted Jul 23, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

27 79%

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007)

"The level of magical eye candy is noticeably lower… [yet] no longer is Harry just The Boy Things Happen To, but The Boy Who Acts. It's a welcome step forward in a wunderkind boy of destiny on the road to true heroism."

Posted Jul 11, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

28 96%

Ratatouille (2007)

"Linguini gives the best physical "performance" from a CGI character to date, virtually (so to speak) rivaling the likes of Steve Martin in All of Me and Vincent D'Onofrio in Men in Black."

Posted Jun 29, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

29 82%

Live Free or Die Hard (2007)

"Wisely, Live Free doesn't try to replicate the paranoia or intimidation of the first film… This time, it's his unflappable calm that intimidates his brash young opponent, not the other way around."

Posted Jun 27, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

30 23%

Evan Almighty (2007)

"Offers an inoffensive message of conservationism and family togetherness, leavened by bestiary slapstick. Harmless, diverting, very mildly uplifting … [but] bland, generic and unchallenging."

Posted Jun 22, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

31 100%

Longford (2007)

"Though thematically similar to Dead Man Walking, Longford grapples more directly and thoughtfully with religious themes, and doesn't glorify its eccentric, somewhat tragic protagonist."

Posted Jun 19, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

32 37%

Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007)

"None of these allegedly "fantastic" heroes has any gravitas… Far from inspiring admiration, they don't rise even to the level of thinking, acting and relating like grown-ups."

Posted Jun 15, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

33 45%

Pirates of the Caribbean: At Worlds End (2007)

"If Dead Man’s Chest was inspiration gone amok, At World’s End is more — much, much, much more — of the same, only without the inspiration."

Posted May 25, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

34 40%

Shrek the Third (2007)

"Continues the deliberate bad taste that is the franchise’s hallmark, with the usual hit-and-miss results… What’s missing is the heart that leavened the first two films."

Posted May 18, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

35 63%

Spider-Man 3 (2007)

"Stuffed to bursting — with action, plotlines, characters, humor, energy, moods, spectacle and certainly inspiration."

Posted May 2, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

36 86%

The Namesake (2006)

"The film is generally engaging but feels elusively incomplete. One could say it is about the journey rather than the destination."

Posted Mar 16, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

37 26%

Ghost Rider (2007)

"Is this the best they could do with a fiery, chopper-riding skeleton that punishes the wicked -- put him in chase scenes and have him duke it out with other supernatural beings? What a wasted opportunity."

Posted Feb 16, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

38 87%

Into Great Silence (2007)

"Pure cinema at its purest and most exalted … a transcendent meditation on the human pursuit of meaning, on man as a religious and social creature; on the rhythm of work and prayer, day and night, winter and spring."

Posted Feb 16, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

39 4%

Happily N'ever After (2006)

"Ella's so blindly devoted to the Prince, and so convinced that he's the one to save the day, that she seems just another swooning groupie rather than a worthy heroine."

Posted Jan 5, 2007

Steven D. Greydanus

40 49%

We Are Marshall (2006)

"More than most films of its ilk, We Are Marshall rises above the clichés that define the genre, connecting sport to larger issues in an emotionally satisfying way."

Posted Dec 22, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

41 78%

Charlotte's Web (2006)

"Fair family entertainment… the basic appeal of White's story is sturdy enough to survive the filmmakers' more dubious choices."

Posted Dec 15, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

42 65%

Apocalypto (2006)

"Gibson is still seeking life amid death, but the balance is off."

Posted Dec 8, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

43 38%

The Nativity Story (2006)

"Even at the height of Hollywood biblical epics, the real meaning of Christmas was essentially ignored. The Nativity Story goes a long way toward redressing this historic omission."

Posted Nov 30, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

44 55%

Déjà Vu (2006)

"If it isn't the brilliant film it could have been, Déjà Vu still contains enough flashes of that film to make it entertaining while you're watching it."

Posted Nov 23, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

45 75%

Happy Feet (2006)

"Entertaining while you're watching it… On reflection, though, it feels a bit like a shell game in which the conjuror himself has lost track of where the pea is supposed to be."

Posted Nov 22, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

46 72%

Flushed Away (2006)

"Settles for a more modest level than Aardman's previous efforts. Strong on visual invention and wacky humor but light on story and characterization, it's about on the level of a Blue Sky feature, in particular recalling Robots."

Posted Nov 8, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

47 88%

Titanic (1997)

"Perhaps the most melancholy thing about Titanic is its celebration of romantic ideals to the exclusion of such self-denying virtues as honor, duty, and heroism."

Posted Oct 27, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

48 41%

Everyone's Hero (2006)

"Old-fashioned, sweet, but ultimately disposable family fare with echoes of better films from Toy Story to The Iron Giant."

Posted Oct 27, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

49 13%

Facing the Giants (2006)

"Fitfully entertaining… To reach a broader audience, though, the filmmakers will have to scrap their playbook and learn a whole new set of rules."

Posted Oct 27, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

50 73%

Flags of Our Fathers (2006)

"Tendentious voiceovers aside, Flags of Our Fathers remains a thoughtful exploration of the tensions and ironies of the cult of heroism."

Posted Oct 27, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

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