John J. Puccio

John J. Puccio
Tomatometer-approved critic
Biography:
Teacher, English and Film Study, retired. Classical Music Editor, $ensible Sound magazine. Review Editor, DVDTOWN.com. Member, Online Film Critics Society (www.ofcs.org). Bright, quiet, loyal, dependable. Easily trained. Will fetch. Make offer. Home theater: Sony KDL-40XBR6 widescreen HD television, Toshiba HD-A35 HD-DVD player, Panasonic DMP-BD50 Blu-ray player, Onkyo TX-SR705 A/V receiver, 7.1 Boston Acoustics Reference Series speakers with Energy e:XL subwoofer, Harmony One universal remote, Monster Cable speaker wire and interconnects. Primary target: The ICBM missile complex at Lapuda. My earliest recollection of motion pictures having a profound and moving impact on me was in about 1951 or 52 when my dad took me to see "All Quiet on the Western Front," the 1930 film in rerelease. I remember the lobby was filled with display memorabilia--World War I uniforms, rifles, a small cannon of some sort--fascinating stuff to an eight-year-old kid. I loved the movie, I loved the action, I loved the main character, and I was totally shocked and shaken when at the end he was killed! This was the hero. Heroes didn't die. Not in the movies. Not anywhere. It wasn't for another day or two that the second revelation sunk in. The hero was a German. Understand, I saw this film only seven or eight years after the Second World War, and the Germans had been our enemies. When my friends and I played army men, the bad guys were always Germans or Japanese. (Never mind that I was Italian; the Italians, as far as I was concerned, had never even been in WWII, let alone fought against us.) Anyway, "All Quiet's" hero, Paul Baumer, was a German, yet I was totally sympathetic toward him. It wouldn't be for another few years that I would recognize the significance in my life of books and literature in quite the same way as I had by then learned the value of movies. And they were lessons I would never forget. I tend to wonder sometimes if I'd be teaching English and Film today if it weren't for that hand reaching out to the butterfly. Sweet, touching, funny, exciting, romantic, unforgettable, and ofttimes monumentally poignant images make good films what they are, different and precious for everyone who watches them.
Favorites:
Some favorite films: Casablanca, Citizen Kane, The Godfather I & II, The Third Man, 2001, Star Wars, The Wizard of Oz, Dr. Strangelove, Snow White, Fantasia, Pinocchio, A Night at the Opera, Some Like It Hot, To Kill a Mockingbird, M. Hulot's Holiday, Psycho, Cabaret, Day for Night, The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Chronicles of Narnia, The Maltese Falcon, The Big Sleep, The Music Man, The Outlaw Josey Wales, The Haunting (1963), The Uninvited, True Lies, Contact, Moonstruck, Cool Hand Luke, Alien, Dark City, Devil in a Blue Dress, My Fair Lady, The Treasure of the Sierra Madre, Singin' in the Rain, Stardust, Pan's Labyrinth, and about a thousand more. Not-so-guilty pleasures: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, The Ghost Breakers, Them! John
Publications: Movie Metropolis
Critics' Group: Online Film Critics Society
Location: Martinez, CA
Official Websites: DVDTown.com

Movie Reviews Only

T-Meter Title | Year
7/10 70% It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1963) Favorite line: "Why don't we just shoot 'em down and be through with it. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Oct 2, 2001
4/10 33% Exit Wounds (2001) Seagal is...just as quiet, just as tough, just as slow and methodical, and just as weird as ever. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2001
7/10 93% Spy Kids (2001) ...fast paced, full of colorful, fanciful imagery and high good humor. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 30, 2001
7/10 82% The Mask of Zorro (1998) ...honors the swashbuckling tradition of its predecessors while adding a healthy dose of humor. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 27, 2001
6/10 52% Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace (1999) ...not in the same league as the original Star Wars. But, then, it was never meant to be. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 25, 2001
4/10 14% Driven (2001) Stallone plays a down-and-outer, a washed-up athlete who makes a comeback and proves himself a hero. No, wait. That was Rocky. No matter. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 24, 2001
5/10 39% Nightbreed (1990) Although Barker knows a good, eerie setting when he sees one, he can't seem to do anything with it. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2001
8/10 98% The French Connection (1971) ...tough, edgy, exciting, profane, and explosive, although its R rating seems a little extreme by today's standards. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 21, 2001
6/10 81% Marathon Man (1976) ...not a genuinely convincing thriller, but one that makes us think we're seeing something more important than it is because of the virtues of its participants. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2001
8/10 100% Sullivan's Travels (1941) ...a search for the director's meaning in his work and a reassuring statement about Sturges's own understanding of his art. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 17, 2001
5/10 52% The Lord of the Rings (1978) ...a noble effort, original in concept if disappointing in execution. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2001
10/10 100% Citizen Kane (1941) The question has never been whether 'Citizen Kane' is one of the greatest films ever made. The question is whether it is THE greatest. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 12, 2001
9/10 93% Carrie (1976) ...suspenseful, scary, and humorously cunning by turns, it boasts superb acting, excellent pacing, good production values, and...a thought-provoking premise. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 10, 2001
9/10 85% Gandhi (1982) ...a huge, sprawling, old-fashioned epic...yet it manages also to maintain an intimacy with its subject that helps us to understand Gandhi as a person as much as an icon. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2001
8/10 No Score Yet ...good acting, eloquent dialogue, high adventure, and, most of all, heartbreaking romance. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Sep 3, 2001
6/10 54% Malena (2000) ...ravishing to look at...the lush cinematography and luxuriant musical score adding to our enjoyment. But, ultimately, the film disappoints by not being about very much. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 28, 2001
9/10 100% The Terminator (1984) ...remains the quintessential Schwarzenegger movie...a high-octane, tech-noir adventure. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 22, 2001
7/10 93% Memento (2000) Films so seldom take chances anymore, it's refreshing to see one that at least tries for something different. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 20, 2001
9/10 96% The Silence of the Lambs (1991) ...gripping action, psychological thrills, and dramatic horror...a first-rate suspense chiller. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 16, 2001
8/10 95% La Cage aux Folles (1979) The plot is really quite simple and the finale hilarious, true, but it's in the sincerity of the two primary characterizations that the movie succeeds. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 15, 2001
3/10 9% Say It Isn't So (2001) If Say It Isn't So isn't enough to kill the gross-out comedy trend, nothing is. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 12, 2001
6/10 39% Hannibal (2001) It's like a fine gourmet meal that a diner has poured ketchup over for flavoring. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 10, 2001
6/10 92% City on Fire (1987) I wish Buena Vista had lavished a little more care on Lam's film; it deserves better. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 8, 2001
4/10 8% Mimic 2 (2001) ...the image of a giant cockroach standing on its hind legs and wearing an overcoat is both frightening and funny. But ...we've had enough of it. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 6, 2001
8/10 97% My Man Godfrey (1936) ...clearly defines the screwball comedy...Powell and Lombard at their best and funniest. Yet...with a serious touch, juxtaposing the worlds of the haves and have-nots. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Aug 1, 2001
4/10 14% 3000 Miles to Graceland (2001) You WERE expecting helicopters, weren't you? - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 30, 2001
7/10 27% Paint Your Wagon (1969) ...a surplus of good, hummable tunes, breezy dialogue and characterizations, beautiful location shots, and excellent DVD transfer. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 30, 2001
7/10 91% Barry Lyndon (1975) If his characters appear drained of any real blood, it's because Kubrick doesn't want them to get in the way of his visual scheme. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 26, 2001
7/10 62% The Claim (2000) If you enjoy character studies, personalities over action, The Claim may be a sure bet. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 24, 2001
7/10 97% Defending Your Life (1991) ...mild, amiable, laid-back ribbing....witty and insightful. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2001
3/10 17% Dracula 2000 (2000) ...thanks to Hollywood, Dracula really is eternal. With those kind of odds, I suppose eventually we'll get a vampire flick worth watching. But this ain't it. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 19, 2001
6/10 45% The Caveman's Valentine (2001) ...not enough sustained mystery or suspense for a good crime thriller and not enough unique insights or perceptions for a good character study. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 16, 2001
6/10 53% The Family Man (2000) ...a feel-good romantic comedy with serious overtones that we've all seen before...predictable from start to finish. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 12, 2001
8/10 94% Die Hard (1988) ...practically reinvented the action thriller, or at least resuscitated a moribund genre. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2001
8/10 No Score Yet No one would claim that the "Die Hard" movies are high art, but they are certainly great, slam-bang pieces of action-adventure.... - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 9, 2001
7/10 90% The Fall of the House of Usher (1960) ...not a gorefest, nor is it particularly suspenseful or terrifying, but it does create an effectively aggressive and disturbing tone. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 7, 2001
7/10 70% Unbreakable (2000) Shyamalan is a brilliant young director; in Unbreakable he may not have a lot to say, but I like the way he says it. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jul 5, 2001
7/10 83% Notting Hill (1999) The movie is a fairy tale, and writer Richard Curtis (Four Weddings and a Funeral) knows how much the public loves a fairy tale. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 29, 2001
3/10 19% Monkeybone (2001) ...not only a comedy that misfires, it self-destructs and takes the viewer along with it. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 27, 2001
8/10 77% O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) ...an old-timey, feel-good movie, which in the tradition of the screen's best screwball comedies makes no apologies for its silliness. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 22, 2001
8/10 94% Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989) ...tackles too many of life's mysteries and provides too few answers. But isn't that what life is all about: More questions than answers? - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 21, 2001
6/10 39% Proof of Life (2000) I wish there had been more proof in Proof of Life that the filmmakers were alive and kicking. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 20, 2001
6/10 78% The Pledge (2001) ...a resolutely low-key and solidly unconventional exercise in frustration. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 18, 2001
6/10 79% Catch-22 (1970) ...the movie version that some people said couldn't be made. Well, in all candor, some people were right...You know, there's always a catch. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 14, 2001
5/10 39% Pay It Forward (2000) ...too unfocused, too uninvolving, and ultimately too cloyingly sweet for my taste. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 11, 2001
9/10 90% Tootsie (1982) ...a perfect setup for some funny and provocative jabs at women's lib, gender consciousness, equal rights, sexual freedom, as well as soap operas. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 7, 2001
3/10 17% Dude, Where's My Car? (2000) ...has the advantage of being only eighty-three minutes long and the disadvantage of seeming like an eternity. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 6, 2001
10/10 92% 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) It still makes a spectacular impression today, and we can easily see how it influenced future films... - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 4, 2001
8/10 92% A Bug's Life (1998) If you've seen "Antz" and liked it, you'll love "A Bug's Life." It may not have Woody Allen's dry wit...but it is the more colorful and action-packed of the two films. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 3, 2001
7/10 92% Antz (1998) ...a visually stunning film, embracing varied and sympathetic characters and a surprisingly coherent story. - Movie Metropolis EDIT
Read More | Posted Jun 2, 2001