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      Rating Title | Year Author Quote
      The Color Purple (1985) Lawrence O'Toole The Color Purple is the story of one woman's growth against incredible odds. But Spielberg glosses over his heroine's transformation. Instead, he has concentrated on making his movie pretty and palatable.
      Posted May 25, 2023
      An American Tail (1986) Lawrence O'Toole Designed to appeal primarily to children, An American Tail is a film that grown-ups will also enjoy.
      Posted May 18, 2023
      Superman II (1980) Lawrence O'Toole Both the writing and the opticals are fiendishly clever and chock-full of dry, sly wit that is never gratuitously employed.
      Posted May 03, 2023
      Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) Lawrence O'Toole It sends your mind on vacation, allowing you to submit without a care to the sensual. That sensuality, surrounding its audience in a way that the visual and aural puniness of TV never can, is as big and busy as the circus, and as grand as opera.
      Posted May 03, 2023
      Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) Brian D. Johnson Spielberg, the consummate show-off, keeps upstaging his stars with the relentless firepower of his action sequences. A brutal 10-minute scene in which a tank chases Jones around the desert seems interminable.
      Posted May 01, 2023
      Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984) Lawrence O'Toole Temple of Doom attempts to be light entertainment. But its soul is dark, and it never stops to recognize any spontaneous emotion.
      Posted Apr 18, 2023
      Strictly Ballroom (1992) Brian D. Johnson Strictly Ballroom is a ball -- a buoyant, crowd-pleasing musical with an irreverent wit.
      Posted Dec 21, 2022
      Groundhog Day (1993) Brian D. Johnson Occasionally, Groundhog Day buries its head in dumb-comedy clichés. But the film-makers have depended mostly on witty dialogue, and on the simple elegance of the premise -- which could be about anyone whose days all start to seem the same.
      Posted Dec 21, 2022
      Platoon (1986) Fred Bruning What brings to mind the phenomenon of “ringing true” is the Vietnam movie Platoon, which indeed resonates with such thunderous authenticity that one fairly expects chandeliers in the theatre lobby to shatter.
      Posted Aug 22, 2022
      Thief (1981) Lawrence O'Toole As the fearless thief who doesn’t give a damn, Caan gives a sturdy, well-felt performance. And Thief, except for an aggressive and benumbing score by Tangerine Dream, delivers the action goods with style.
      Posted Jul 07, 2022
      Tess (1979) Lawrence O'Toole [Tess] is as good an adaptation of Hardy as one is likely to get, or for that matter want. Beauteous and with the flowing rhythms of the novel, Tess apprehends Hardy’s tragic and theatrical view of life with consummate ease.
      Posted Jun 16, 2022
      John and Mary (1969) Larry Zolf The problem with John and Mary is that in this case the fruits of sin make for a rotten film.
      Posted Jun 15, 2022
      Z (1969) Larry Zolf It is a fast-paced, relentless action thriller and a political allegory that both underlines and transcends the modern Greek tragedy of Junta fascism. As political satire, Z is the kind of film that only hurts you when you laugh.
      Posted Jun 15, 2022
      Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice (1969) Larry Zolf When Hollywood decides to devote its full arsenal of production-value shlockerai to bring to cinematic life a cheat-and-tell tale of two fatuous couples, full of sexual fury signifying nothing, it comes up with Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice.
      Posted Jun 15, 2022
      The Death of a Lumberjack (1973) John Hofsess Any film by Gilles Carle is worth seeing, even one that is off the gold standard, but with Death Of A Lumberjack it becomes clear that the greatest enemy of Carle’s bright promise is his tendency to be careless.
      Posted Jun 15, 2022
      The Day of the Jackal (1973) John Hofsess Day Of The Jackal is not a great film, but it’s a damn good one, one of the very few films released this year that is worth all the trouble and expense of going out to the movies.
      Posted Jun 15, 2022
      Kid Blue (1973) John Hofsess Kid Blue is the kind of film you’ve seen even if you haven’t seen it. It’s not even a particularly brisk stirring of familiar movie making ingredients.
      Posted Jun 15, 2022
      Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) John Hofsess Dylan’s presence is so slyly subversive that the film -- as a Western -- barely survives. Instead it becomes an unintentional comedy, which is great for Dylan’s fans but an unforgivable casting gaffe if you’re a Peckinpah enthusiast.
      Posted Jun 15, 2022
      The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) Brian D. Johnson A water-into-wine miracle on screen. Visually breathtaking and intellectually scorching, the movie represents an extraordinary feat of film-making. But what it attempts is so ambitious that, in the end, it is a gloriously imperfect masterpiece.
      Posted May 06, 2022
      The Last Starfighter (1984) John Bemrose Watching Starfighter, with its two-dimensional characters and its flood of enemy spaceships, is like peering into a videogame -- initially exciting but ultimately static.
      Posted May 03, 2022
      Mississippi Masala (1991) Brian D. Johnson Like Choudhury, Mississippi Masala seems utterly fresh and charming. But it is also profoundly interesting.
      Posted Apr 15, 2022
      Midnight Cowboy (1969) Larry Zolf The sad fact is that John Schlesinger’s latest masterpiece of seeking is more creaking than reeking.
      Posted Mar 10, 2022
      In the Heat of the Night (1967) Wendy Michener Odd as it may seem, this movie with its surefire entertainment values and affectionate, almost farcical, humor will probably do more to weaken prejudice and soften hatred than any number of outraged documentaries.
      Posted Feb 02, 2022
      Excalibur (1981) Lawrence O'Toole Excalibur is a miracle of pacing and seductive rhythm.
      Posted Jan 03, 2022
      Wolf (1994) Brian Bethune [Wolf] is deliciously rich entertainment -- with elements of a scary thriller, a Beauty and the Beast romance, a corporate satire and a witty inquiry into the nature of disease and sexual aggression.
      Posted Dec 22, 2021
      Wyatt Earp (1994) Brian Bethune Quaid, who lost 43 pounds for the role, looks like the original cowboy junkie, a hollow-cheeked spectre. And every moment he is onscreen, he injects such delightful venom into his scenes that the flatness of the film around him becomes all too obvious.
      Posted Dec 22, 2021
      The Secret of NIMH (1982) Lawrence O'Toole A delicately etched, old-fashioned movie such as The Secret of NIMH seems reassuring and somewhat refreshing right now; it connects to the past.
      Posted Nov 09, 2021
      L.A. Confidential (1997) Brian D. Johnson While the characters ricochet through a maze of intrigue, a whip-smart script keeps the plot clear, the action sexy and the humor shrewd.
      Posted Oct 19, 2021
      Bullitt (1968) Alan Edmonds Good as it is, Bullitt inevitably leaves one wondering: Why doesn't somebody make a movie about the real social significance of cops-and-robbers: police brutality?
      Posted Mar 13, 2021
      The Man With the Golden Arm (1955) Clyde Gilmour The earthly purgatory of a drug addict (sensitively portrayed by Frank Sinatra) adds up to a strong and shocking movie, although the bitter ending of Nelson Algren's novel has been sugared for the screen.
      Posted Dec 22, 2020
      Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954) Clyde Gilmour A prehistoric man shaped fish falls in love with screaming Julia Adams in an Amazon backwater, but his courtship is a failure. So is the movie.
      Posted Oct 13, 2020
      The Invisible Man (1933) Candida The Invisible Man is not on the whole as terrifying as the rest of the hobgoblin genre... But it is considerably more entertaining at least from the point of view of those of us who can get only a limited pleasure out of being scared to death.
      Posted Oct 08, 2020
      The Bodyguard (1992) Brian D. Johnson With a soap-opera plot that triggers alarms of incredulity, The Bodyguard remains no more than a serviceable thriller.
      Posted Sep 09, 2020
      All the Right Moves (1983) Lawrence O'Toole Although the characters are not especially interesting in themselves, their predicament is, and it is one that untold others share.
      Posted Sep 08, 2020
      Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) Clyde Gilmour The magnificent acting of José Ferrer and the clarion rhetoric of Edmond Rostand's semi-classic drama are not quite enough to conceal the central weaknesses of the story.
      Posted Sep 02, 2020
      The Bad and the Beautiful (1952) Clyde Gilmour Although a good deal less penetrating in its close-up of "the real Hollywood" than it pretends to be, this is a smooth and enjoyable comedy-drama.
      Posted Aug 31, 2020
      Superman III (1983) Lawrence O'Toole The film's predecessors were extremely smooth renderings of the comic strip material, but Superman III looks as chintzy as a Grade-B movie serial.
      Posted Aug 13, 2020
      The Karate Kid Part II (1986) Lawrence O'Toole As enjoyably manipulative movies go, The Karate Kid, Part II pulls few punches.
      Posted Aug 12, 2020
      Tequila Sunrise (1988) Brian D. Johnson Witty, seductive and unpredictable, Tequila Sunrise is so arresting that it demands to be seen again even before it is over.
      Posted Aug 12, 2020
      Innerspace (1987) Lawrence O'Toole Noisy, witless and filled with unimpressive simulations of human tissue, Innerspace is a perfect example of small minds finding a suitable subject.
      Posted Aug 06, 2020
      The Gauntlet (1977) Kaspars Dzeguze There's too little action to let Eastwood show himself to advantage as the fine, stylized screen fighter he is. Instead, there's talk and psychology, which he can handle only by gritting his teeth.
      Posted Aug 05, 2020
      St. Louis Blues (1958) Clyde Gilmour A disappointing screen biography of the late W. C. Handy, the father of the blues, with a thin and bloodless story and not even a generous amount of music by way of compensation.
      Posted Jul 31, 2020
      The Dirty Dozen (1967) Wendy Michener One of the three or four best American films of the year.
      Posted Jul 18, 2020
      Murder on the Orient Express (1974) John Hofsess For the first time Christie's social world is recreated in all of its splendor and romance.
      Posted Jul 18, 2020
      The Natural (1984) Lawrence O'Toole The script is one shockingly drab line after another, and nothing in the expensive 1930s period design can cover up the shabbiness of the moviemaking.
      Posted Jul 15, 2020
      Heaven Can Wait (1978) Lawrence O'Toole What sounds excruciatingly whimsical has been woven into one of the funniest and gentlest movies since the '40s.
      Posted Jul 13, 2020
      Convention City (1933) Candida It is really a travelling salesman's anecdote extended to feature length; which is not to say that it isn't quite often exceedingly funny.
      Posted Jul 01, 2020
      Gremlins 2: The New Batch (1990) Brian D. Johnson Beneath the gags is a pedestrian script. And the gremlins, like a troupe of nightmare Muppets, are too overproduced to be either funny or horrifying.
      Posted Jun 22, 2020
      Benny & Joon (1993) Brian D. Johnson It is a funny, innocuous fable, a Sweet 'N Low romantic comedy that seems a little facile at first, but has irresistible charm.
      Posted Jun 17, 2020
      Sophie's Choice (1982) Lawrence O'Toole The amazing intimacy Pakula creates with the audience ultimately makes Sophie's Choice the best film of the year.
      Posted Jun 17, 2020
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