Authors

Decent Films Guide

Rating Title | Year Quote Author
1 ——

Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella (1965)

"The definitive musical Cinderella [for] its fidelity to the climax of Perrault's tale, altered both in the Disney version (cleverly) and in the 1957 version (misguidedly)."

Posted Feb 11, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

2 88%

Twentieth Century (1934)

"Often credited as the first screwball comedy… an acerbic satire of show-business ego and superficiality."

Posted Feb 11, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

3 100%

A Night to Remember (1958)

"The clearest, most honorable cinematic depiction of the Titanic disaster… a classy depiction of how human beings in 1912 faced life and death in the fabled tragedy."

Posted Feb 11, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

4 98%

Jaws (1975)

"A true film of the 70s, all its characters have feet of clay… Yet Jaws boldly puts [them] to a test as dire as any faced by the granite-jawed supermen of earlier decades."

Posted Feb 11, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

5 95%

Apollo 13 (1995)

"In an age when we rely on computerized directions and GPS devices to drive to the next town, it seems an almost mythic scenario."

Posted Feb 11, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

6 100%

The Gold Rush (1925)

"City Lights might be Chaplin's most exquisite achievement, but he never made a funnier or more beloved film than his own personal favorite, Gold Rush."

Posted Feb 11, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

7 ——

Wind in the Willows (1993)

"For atmosphere, for style, for the best evocation of the spirit and feel of The Wind in the Willows, you can't do better than the Hall/Taylor version."

Posted Feb 11, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

8 97%

Pickpocket (1959)

"Bresson examines actions but offers little attention to motives, an approach that here seems to suggest that Michel's choices may be a mystery even to himself."

Posted Feb 11, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

9 ——

Harold Lloyd Comedy Collection (2005)

"For fans of silent comedy, it's the DVD event of the decade: Harold Lloyd, until now almost totally unavailable on DVD, at last enters the modern home-video age in grand style."

Posted Feb 11, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

10 82%

Walk the Line (2005)

"In spite of all it does right, Walk the Line leaves one with the nagging sense of a story unfinished — or rather, with something left out."

Posted Feb 11, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

11 ——

Confession (Deadly Secrets) (2005)

"Reverent, well directed, and well acted… Confession's weakness is also its promotional gimmick: Meyers directed the film at 24, but wrote the screenplay ten years earlier."

Posted Feb 11, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

12 98%

King Kong (1933)

"One of those mad movies, like Moulin Rouge! or Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, that fully justifies and deserves all the best and worst that can be said for or against them."

Posted Feb 11, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

13 87%

Brokeback Mountain (2005)

"A jaundiced portrait of maleness in crisis… extending not only to… the central characters, but also to the validity of manhood as exemplified by every other male character in the film."

Posted Feb 11, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

14 93%

Grizzly Man (2005)

"At turns fascinating and banal… a film that dances around vital questions about the human condition that it is barely able to articulate, let alone address."

Posted Feb 11, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

15 94%

March of the Penguins (2005)

"To human observers, the ways in which animal behavior variously resembles or contrasts with human behavior is an inexhaustible source of fascination."

Posted Feb 10, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

16 95%

The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill (2005)

"Irving captures some memorable images… but generally relies on the birds' natural photogenic charm as well as the human dimensions of the drama to sustain the 83-minute film."

Posted Feb 10, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

17 62%

The New World (2005)

"Malick's painterly images and meditative voiceovers are not for me the overwhelming force of nature they are for some, but I'm willing to be swept along by them, if what they have to say is potent enough."

Posted Feb 10, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

18 98%

His Girl Friday (1940)

"I've tried to love His Girl Friday, really I have."

Posted Feb 10, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

19 91%

The Awful Truth (1937)

"One should be rooting for Cary Grant to get the girl, which means he ought to deserve her — and if that's more or less the case here, well, it's only because the girl turns out to be no great shakes either."

Posted Feb 10, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

20 76%

Match Point (2005)

"Lacks precisely what is, at least arguably, the most haunting element in [Crimes and Misdemeanors]: its sense of genuinely conflicted existential drama."

Posted Jan 6, 2006

Steven D. Greydanus

21 84%

King Kong (2005)

"One of those mad movies, like Moulin Rouge! or Burton's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, that fully justifies and deserves all the best and worst that can be said for or against them."

Posted Dec 14, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

22 76%

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (2005)

"One of the most magical effects… isn't rippling computer-generated fur, ice castles, or battle scenes. It's the wide-eyed wonder and delight on the face of little Lucy Pevensie (Georgie Henley) as she passes beyond the wardrobe…"

Posted Dec 1, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

23 88%

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005)

"Offers some of the series' most magical imagery… Alas, with so much territory to cover, some characters get short shrift."

Posted Nov 17, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

24 75%

Zathura (2005)

"[Ruined by] the utterly unsympathetic portrayal of Walter, and the one-note sourness of his treatment of Danny, for three-quarters of the running time."

Posted Nov 11, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

25 26%

The Legend of Zorro (2005)

"A 'funny family action film' in the Fantastic Four mold — that is, a movie whose key qualification as kid entertainment is that it isn't good enough for grown‑ups."

Posted Oct 27, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

26 ——

Ben Hur - An Epic Tale of Courage and Faith (2003)

"A fine way to introduce even the youngest, who might not be ready for the… live-action versions, to this classic tale of adversity, heroism, forgiveness, and redemption."

Posted Oct 17, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

27 100%

Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1926)

"At nearly 2½ hours long, the 1925 version is still an hour shorter than the 1959 version, yet the story is essentially the same, and the scale similarly impressive."

Posted Oct 17, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

28 98%

The Night of the Hunter (1955)

"[Powell's] glibly superficial moralizing is epitomized by an infantile hand-play… [Gish's character] provides an undistorted counterpoint to Powell's diseased religiosity."

Posted Oct 17, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

29 100%

The Miracle Worker (1962)

"Beautiful black-and-white cinematography, startling performances, and harrowing physicality… the cathartic final scene is nothing short of transcendent."

Posted Oct 17, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

30 94%

The Truman Show (1998)

"A deceptively simple fairy tale; a hilariously subversive satire… and finally an elegant parable about truth and happiness with evocative religious resonances."

Posted Oct 17, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

31 72%

Batman (1989)

"The story is a mess… Scenes and lines of dialogue make no sense… Keaton makes hardly any impression in the role, in or out of the mask."

Posted Oct 17, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

32 97%

Cinderella (1950)

"Represents, alas, the early stages of Disney-itis… follows the fairy-tale template [but] doesn't do much to elevate the material the way [Disney's] earlier features did."

Posted Oct 15, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

33 88%

The Exorcist (1973)

"Arguably the most troubling factor is the lack of true redemption in the twist ending, which resolves the demon possession without allowing good to triumph over evil."

Posted Oct 10, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

34 90%

The Karate Kid (1984)

"Formulaic, manipulative, hokey — and thoroughly rousing… the film's sincerity and poignance have a way of steamrolling over gaps in plausibility and logic."

Posted Oct 10, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

35 96%

Back to the Future (1985)

"Equal parts hilarity, nostalgia, science fiction, screwball comedy, and white-knuckle suspense in a complex storyline wound tighter than a yo-yo in a centrifuge."

Posted Oct 10, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

36 98%

Forbidden Planet (1956)

"Intriguing, perhaps overrated sci-fi classic that borrows from The Tempest and anticipates 'Star Trek' — but its driving fears are the 'monsters from the id.'"

Posted Oct 10, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

37 100%

The Three Musketeers (1921)

"Exuberantly embraces the melodramatic absurdities of Dumas's moral universe [though] Don Q Son of Zorro did better with this kind of sophisticated European intrigue."

Posted Oct 10, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

38 62%

The Greatest Game Ever Played (2005)

"The most visually and emotionally dynamic film ever made about a game of golf — perhaps the most visually and emotionally dynamic possible film about a game of golf."

Posted Oct 10, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

39 95%

Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005)

"As always, Gromit, as doggedly silent and resourceful as Buster Keaton, is the true hero, and the rousing finale is far and away his finest hour."

Posted Oct 7, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

40 82%

Serenity (2005)

"Even if you aren't one of the 'Firefly' faithful, Serenity will give you some insight into why other people are."

Posted Sep 30, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

41 83%

Tim Burton's Corpse Bride (2005)

"A raucous danse macabre in jumping jazz rhythms… and, perhaps most surprisingly, a touching portrait of tragedy, doomed love, empathy, and sacrifice."

Posted Sep 23, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

42 56%

Just Like Heaven (2005)

"The script is smarter than the typical rom-com, and Waters directs cannily, never letting either the emotion or the comedy get out of control."

Posted Sep 16, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

43 45%

The Exorcism of Emily Rose (2005)

"I am a believer, but I confess I'm left with more doubts than certainties about Emily's case. This, perhaps, is what [the filmmakers] want to do: offer questions, not answers."

Posted Sep 9, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

44 40%

The Island (2005)

"The closest thing so far to a good Michael Bay film… [but] whatever cautionary or entertainment value The Island may have must be considered stolen goods."

Posted Jul 25, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

45 82%

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005)

"Enough to make any fan of the book cry — with delight at all the film gets so magically right, and with frustration that the film is still nearly ruined."

Posted Jul 16, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

46 89%

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory (1971)

"Aspires to the whimsy and fantasy of The Wizard of Oz but doesn't really capture the magic… more a fond tribute to 'pure imagination' than a triumph of it."

Posted Jul 16, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

47 27%

Fantastic Four (2005)

"Had the filmmakers deliberately set out to insult, demean, and trample upon Lee and Kirby's legacy, they could hardly have done a more efficient job."

Posted Jul 8, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

48 74%

War of the Worlds (2005)

"Rather grim, joyless excitement… 9/11 imagery gives the film some topical cache, but there's no commentary or catharsis here."

Posted Jul 1, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

49 100%

Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)

"Bresson’s most poetic, haunting, personal work."

Posted Jun 20, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

50 85%

Batman Begins (2005)

"It's tempting to call Batman Begins the Citizen Kane of super-hero movies; at any rate, it's the closest thing so far."

Posted Jun 14, 2005

Steven D. Greydanus

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