bmcguir's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Cannibal Holocaust
½

ugh... i can see the historical merit of pushing boundaries of censorship and artistic rights but... gross! it really was pretty well done in a blair witch meets temple of doom meets faces of death meets snuff film sort of way but i hope i never see it again.

Grabbers
Grabbers(2013)

delightful premise... irish monster movie where the more you drink, the safer you are. good fun!

Birth Of The Living Dead

i always felt there was some kind of political undertones or social commentary underlying 'night of the living dead' but i was unable to put a finger on just what it was. this doc places george romero's low-budget horror flick that inspired countless zombie tales firmly in a historical context and explores impact the movie has in its own time and the decades since. romero is wonderfully candid and enjoyable. recommended for any fan of 'night of the living dead,' modern zombie movies (or tv), movie history, documentaries or behind-the-scenes featurettes.

Lost In Translation
½

a beautiful movie about loneliness featuring an absolutely brilliant performance by bill murray. "lost in translation" is emotionally textured in subtle ways. the things that bill murray says in this movie without talking are nothing short of astonishing! sofia coppola has sculpted a unique, visually impressive and intimate story that is equal parts sweet and sour.

Out of the Furnace
½

bleak, blue-collar tale that bares more than a passing resemblance to 'the deer hunter.' wonderful performances all around.

Monsters University
½

another delightful pixar flick that was very enjoyable despite having a predictable college movie plot and lacking big laughs.

After Hours
After Hours(1985)

nobody films the streets like scorsese, but this nightmare comedy is shows a different side of new york instead of gangsters or taxi drivers. i remember seeing parts of this movie on tv when i was much younger and was intrigued, frightened and fascinated. underrated film by a master filmmaker and one of the all time film geeks.

Who's That Knocking at My Door?
½

experimental and scattered film about a confused, not very likable young man. the themes of macho adolescence and catholic guilt aren't all that interesting to me but experimental editing, dialogue about movies, the energy of life on new york streets, scorsese's brilliant use of music make this a compelling movie to watch. scorsese's directing is ambitious and energetic but is either less confident than future projects or simply suffers from a lack of resources. some shots are repeated too much and story is hard to follow, probably because the movie was shot over several years and scenes, narratives and characters were pieced together. overall, a fascinating debut film by one of the great film directors with plenty of examples of scorsese's budding signature style.

Jackie Brown
Jackie Brown(1997)

i appreciate jackie brown far more now than when i first saw it.

The Conjuring
½

there is great atmosphere and scares in the conjuring. james wan knows the language of a long history of horror films and uses it effectively to tell a good supernatural story. the flick is most effective in the first half when it is a basic but well-done haunted house story. the tension builds wonderfully as the Perron family experience spooky weirdness in their new house. i thought this part of the movie was scarier than the 2nd half because i could imagine being in the situation. movies with demonic possession don't scare me much, i guess because i lose some relatability. the conjuring loses some of its momentum for me when it veers from a haunted house to exorcism story but it was well done and an entertaining ghost story. i don't care much for vera farmiga or patrick wilson in this or other movies. they both seem to have vapid expression almost all the time. ron livingston i have liked in other projects but he doesn't have much to do in this film. lili taylor was well-cast and does a good job. the conjuring got a lot of hype for being scary and although i enjoyed it and really felt the building suspense, the sudden scares and the heart thumping dread in certain moments, it wasn't a movie that stayed with me afterward like others have. the one thought that kept haunting me was what exactly was being "conjured" in the movie.

Silver Linings Playbook

wonderful casting & performances and a deft directing hand tonally by russell are what elevate this film way above your standard hollywood rom-com. well blended mix of drama and comedy with a hint of romance, a basic yet honest look at mental illness and great music.

Resurrect Dead: The Mystery of the Toynbee Tiles

Fascinating tale of a bizarre mystery and the obsession of those trying to solve it. Given very little clues to go on, Justin Duerr leads a small group of amateur detectives who try to figure out who created the Toynbee Tiles & left them all over the world. Seemingly off-topic biographical parts of the doc reveal that Duerr may have a surprising amount in common with the person he has been searching for and although the ending may be unsatisfying for some, it works for me. Duerr's understanding of and compassion for the Toynbee Tiler ultimately make the ending fulfilling and even incredible when you consider how appropriate it is that the two lives intersect.

Changing Lanes
½

better than i expected, which is probably why it took me 10+ years to watch it. i thought it was just a mindless blockbuster but it's a well acted morality tale about imperfect men responding in a variety of ways to difficult situations.

The Raven
The Raven(2012)

i am a fan of john cusack and edgar allen poe, but combining the two in The Raven didn't really work. While Cusack's likable acting and a plotline based roughly around elements of poe's stories made the movie enjoyable, it ultimately fell well short of its potential.

One False Move

excellent script about violent criminals & the cops who chase them from LA to Arkansas. it's a story of clashing dynamics & unique characters. good script, good acting, rookie director, dumb title.

White Zombie
White Zombie(1932)
½

bela lugosi, zombies & some really nice atmosphere make for an enjoyable, yet certainly flawed early horror flick.

Somewhere
Somewhere(2010)
½

'somewhere' is a sluggish, tame and far less entertaining version of showtime's californication with elements of coppola's 'lost in translation' and likely parts of her own childhood mixed in as well. stephen dorff & elle fanning are both wonderful and seem real and i still appreciate sophia coppola's voice and direction but there is too much of nowhere in 'somewhere' to keep my attention.

The Adventures of Tintin

i had no prior knowledge of tintin before this movie so i don't know how well this film adapted the character and story but i thought it was a delight to watch. full of old-school spielberg magic reminiscent of an indiana jones adventure with great characters, enjoyable action sequences, charmingly humorous moments, wonderful visuals and some of the best animation of humans that i can remember.

Lawless
Lawless(2012)

a wonderful cast and fantastic production details can't quite lift 'lawless' to its full potential but it is a fun, dirty, violent tale of americana, moonshiners, gangsters & the law. gary oldman should have been used more!

God Bless America
½

spot-on and dark satire with a storyline that doesn't evolve much.

Red Tails
Red Tails(2012)
½

the script is pretty poor filled with a lackluster storyline & some bad dialogue, the acting is hit and miss but the dogfights & effects are top-notch excitement and it's a story worth telling, even in this tame version of the story.

The Woman in Black

nice atmosphere & production design... but a pretty typical ghost story movie.

Winter's Bone

a dark & moody slow burning film that i'd call "ozark noir." i have no idea if the portrayal of these people is authentic but it feels that way & jennifer lawrence delivers a stunning performance.

Hobo With a Shotgun

pretty much what you would expect from a movie called "hobo with a shotgun" & rutger hauer is badass and quite sincere in the titular role. an over the top, gory, violent homage to old grindhouse exploitation films which is entertaining if you know what to expect.

Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon
½

reveals an interesting backstory of the band but disjointed storytelling and the lack of any revelations makes what might have been a fascinating documentary feel flat and largely empty.

Don't Be Afraid Of The Dark

worth a watch with some nice atmosphere but ultimately disappointing given my expectations of a movie that guillermo del toro is involved in.

Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace
½

a much anticipated and ultimately disappointing film. i'm not sure why anakin needed to be as young as he is in this film but that story choice by george lucas leads to a rather poorly acted movie and an awkward budding romance between anakin & padme. the characters aren't nearly as likable or as captivating as luke skywalker, princess leia & han solo were 20 years before them when star wars first appeared and mesmerized audiences.

liam neeson does a nice job as the mentoring jedi, qui-gon jinn and ian mcdiarmid delivers as the ambitious senator palpatine but most of the rest of the performances are hollow and forgettable. always on the forefront of special effects and movie technology, george lucas seems to have focused more on the visuals than on anything else. there are some spectacular sequences like an impressive pod race and completely digital characters who give pretty good performances, but some of that graphics end up looking a little cartoonish.

storywise, everything that needs to be setup for the remaining 5 movies is accomplished but a lot of it is dull or silly, often with unmemorable dialogue. there's not much drama with a bunch of droids fighting a bunch of gungans. speaking of gungans, i haven't even mentioned the "comic" disaster that is jarjar binks. i don't know if kids enjoyed him or not but he is a completely annoying character who really brings down the enjoyment level everytime he appears.

the phantom menace was a welcome return to the star wars saga with an interesting look into the back history of the mythology of the movies. seeing the senate and the republic before the emperor takes over and the ins and outs of the jedi council are things star wars fans have wondered about for years. story elements like anakin's immaculate conception, the origin of c3po and midichlorians are kind of silly but forgivable. episode one has perhaps the coolest light saber battle of all the star wars films and some of john williams' finest musical contributions to the saga. despite it's many flaws, it's still a star wars movie - just not quite as fun or engaging as nostalgia makes me think it should be.

Bridesmaids
Bridesmaids(2011)

yes, girls can be raunchy... and hilarious. kristen wiig is brilliant and melissa mccarthy threatens to steal every scene. very funny movie.

Horrible Bosses
½

crude & funny summer "R" comedy. bateman, sudeikis and charlie day are great in the leads, specifically day and the three horrible bosses are portrayed more than capably by spacey, aniston and farrell. the script isn't amazing but there's plenty of talented people doing and saying funny things and sometimes that's all you need on a hot july night at the movies.

Rango
Rango(2011)

a wonderful kids' film that doesn't necessarily feel like it's for kids. i really enjoyed the stunningly beautiful art & animation and references to a wide range of movies from chinatown to apocalypse now to fear & loathing in las vegas to numerous westerns. thoroughly enjoyable film!

The Adjustment Bureau

a fate vs free will tale that could have been better if it explored more philosophically instead of aiming for widespread entertainment. that being said, it was entertaining, although in a watered-down, safe and predictable way. matt damon is good and emily blunt is wonderful and their characters' star-crossed lovers story is the real driving force of the movie.

Overnight
Overnight(2004)
½

troy duffy's sense of entitlement is astonishing and his ego knows no bounds. the writer & director of boondock saints displays his complete assholeness while he constantly runs his mouth about how awesome he is, how great he's going to be and how much everyone should love him. the documentary is not particularly well done but it follows duffy as he burns bridge after bridge in hollywood, which is quite fascinating to watch.

Super 8
Super 8(2011)

chock full of nostalgia and early speilberg magic, super 8 isn't perfect but it's quite good and enjoyable. it's nice to be able to go to a theater in 2011 and be able to watch a movie like this. there are many movies that i could cite as inspirations for this film (many of them speilberg's) but i wouldn't want to give anything away as part of the fun of the movie is watching it unfold. the child actors are tasked with carrying most of abram's story and are quite impressive. if you grew up watching the same movies that i did, then this is one you will certainly enjoy.

The Room
The Room(2003)

oh, hi the room. you got the screening results and you are definitely one of the worst movies ever made? don't worry about it.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

dawn treader was always my favorite of the narnia books & i was pretty excited to see the movie. the story follows the book pretty closely from what i remember but i didn't feel the same excitement or sense of adventure watching the movie as when i read the book. of course, i read the book in my youth. i am grown up now and this is a story for kids, who i imagine would quite enjoy the movie - at least i hope so. i thought the special effects were the best of the three narnia movies so far and the movie was enjoyable family fun.

The Saint
The Saint(1997)
½

i like this more than i should. the situations are absurd but i think val kilmer is charming and elizabeth shue is adorable. it's the kind of movie that the bourne franchise would improve upon greatly in the next decade.

127 Hours
127 Hours(2010)

despite knowing how it's going to turn out, i thought the movie was quite riveting and powerful. franco does a wonderful job.

Due Date
Due Date(2010)

uneven comedy that steals too much from other road trip movies. neither of the main characters are particularly likable, but luckily i really like the actors portraying them. there are laughs for sure but overall it was better the first time, when it was called "planes, trains & automobiles".

Get Low
Get Low(2010)

wonderfully acted, beautifully shot story of regret, guilt and redemption.

Champion
Champion(2005)
½

danny trejo's life story is fascinating and it is highly interesting and inspiring to hear him tell his story. as a movie, it could have been made better.

Watchmen
Watchmen(2009)
½

I feel like any review of this movie needs to start with whether you've read the graphic novel or not - I have not. I do know enough about it though to realize what an achievement it is for Zack Snyder to have even brought this story to the big screen in a watchable manner. This is probably the best film that could be made of Watchmen. It is a very grown up and dark version of a comic book with characters and story that is more anti-comic than anything.Jackie Earle Haley is great as Rorshach who probably gets the most screentime of any of the Watchmen. I wasn't terribly impressed with any of the rest of the cast. I like the characters, ideas and themes explored but didn't find the story to be engaging throughout. I think I would probably like the book more than the movie but as far as I can tell they did a marvelous job of mimicking the look of the source material creating some beautiful imagery. The alternate American history was told effectively with a series of quick vignettes underneath Bob Dylan's "The Times They Are A-Changin". A 1985 America where Nixon is still president, the Vietnam War was won in a week with the help from a giant blue god and a crazy masked man and dressed up super heroes are accepted and sometimes forgotten is a little hard to grasp and get invested in.Some parts I really liked, others I didn't but a lot of the long flick felt a little bland. It is very possible that my opinion will change after reading the graphic novel or seeing the movie again, but as of now I think the movie was a little above average.

I'm Still Here
½

i don't know how to rate this. joaquin phoenix is fascinating to watch whether he's being real or performing in this movie. i don't know if this is real, or part real or what but i did start to lose interest through the second half of the movie. this seems to be film as performance art and how can you judge art? interesting to watch, but i don't think i'll watch it again.

Dinner for Schmucks
½

zach galifianakis & jemaine clement provide some laughs but overall its disappointing. nice dioramas though!

Crazy Heart
Crazy Heart(2009)

jeff bridges is great but the movie is only ok.

Black Swan
Black Swan(2010)

hauntingly beautiful

A Nightmare on Elm Street

horror slasher classic with many iconic scenes of the genre. the concept of a killer who attacks you in your sleep is frightening.

The Loved Ones
½

it's like a demented, horror version of a john hughes movie. worst prom date ever! twisted & delightful flick.

Martyrs
Martyrs(2008)
½

shifty, layered storytelling eventually reveals some very intense brutality in this cringe-inducing french horror flick. wonderfully presented with some thought behind it, but too much torture for me.

Machete
Machete(2010)

danny trejo kicks ass & robert rodriguez knows how to make a fun movie about it!

Piranha 3-D
Piranha 3-D(2010)
½

gore, boobs, 3D... the opening scene with richard dreyfuss humming "show me the way to get home" while fishing had me hooked. completely fun b-movie homage that knows exactly what it is & delivers... and i'm not kidding - gore, boobs, 3D

MacGruber
MacGruber(2010)

funny... but not as funny as i hoped.

Invasion of the Body Snatchers

atmospheric and suspenseful... paranoia, dread, pod people ahhh! fun to watch and as with all the best horror/sci-fi tales it has undercurrents of social commentary.

The Cove
The Cove(2009)
½

shocking and inspiring, beautiful and horrific, the cove is a powerful documentary about dolphins & how amazing they are, what is happening to them in a small japanese village and the efforts of heroic group of people to find out exactly what is going on in the cove.

Inception
Inception(2010)
½

wonderfully entertaining movie. inception is a summer blockbuster that actually demands some thought from its audience. there are spectacular special effects, oodles of action scenes, car chases, gun fights etc... but all of the popcorn crunching excitement serves both the story and the characters - a novelty it seems these days. christopher nolans directs with heart and thought and the cast is well assembled. to say this flick has many levels is an understatement as well as a description of the plot. luckily, its interesting and accessible and it pulls you in. i trusted nolan to tell the story he wanted to and was rewarded with an imaginative, engrossing, highly enjoyable film.

Toy Story 3
Toy Story 3(2010)

another pixar gem - it's beautiful, funny, exciting, sentimental, touching and packs an emotional punch. toy story 3 is very well done and wraps up the story of andy's toys perfectly.

Despicable Me

i didn't expect too much from this flick but it was funny, well animated and super cute.

Ordinary People
½

powerful and insightful exploration of the fragile state of human emotions as experienced by a grieving american family after the eldest son's death. great performances all around and an impressive directorial debut by robert redford. it movies slowly at first but continually delivers impactful scenes. it is decidedly on the "heavy" side and more likely to make you think than smile.

The Invention of Lying

meh, it has a good start & lots of good cameos but really falls flat by the end.

Everyone Says I Love You

there's a lot i like about woody allen movies, except usually the woody allen character. added to the fact that i don't general care for musicals makes this movie an average one for me despite a great cast, nice locations and a story with humor, insight & of course, neurosis.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince
½

the hormones are running amok at hogwarts these days as potter and the gang sip butter beer and snog. all teen stuff aside the world of harry potter is getting very dark and evil looms as things build to the final chapters of the potter saga. alan rickman is finally featured a bit more and is superb as always!

Whip It
Whip It(2009)
½

it's a little cliched in both the sports movie & girl coming of age genres but it's enjoyable. better than i expected from drew barrymore's directorial debut.

500 Days of Summer
½

quirky rom-com that is different enough to be enjoyable.

Julie & Julia

great performances, especially from streep and more funny moments than you would expect.

Triangle
Triangle(2009)
½

melissa george does a nice job playing the only character in the movie with any depth at all and the rest of the cast is not impressive. the story resembles a circle more than a triangle and it has flaws but is still quite entertaining. there is no explicit explanation for the events that take place throughout the film, but there might be clues as to the true nature of the circumstances if you watch closely. i haven't decided yet if it was sloppily done or meticulously thought out - probably both in the end. a fun watch though.

Taking Woodstock
½

the movie meticulously captures the atmosphere of being at a festival & it gives some nice specific anecdotes surrounding the most historic of music festivals, woodstock. demetri martin does a fine job and his parents in the movie are wonderful! it is not all that funny but enjoyable and the music is great, even if its only heard in the distance.

Funny People
Funny People(2009)
½

a little uneven and overlong but there are some really great comedic and dramatic moments. there's a number of nice cameos and a lot of tribute to legendary comedians and the profession of stand up comedy.

It Might Get Loud

lots of fun! jack white is entertaining on his own and humble in the presence of jimmy page and the edge. watching jimmy page's excitement as he listened to old records is wonderful. the music is great but it lacks a little something as a movie. the three of them playing "the weight" over the end credits is a real treat!

Up
Up(2009)
½

pixar simply doesn't miss. laughs galore, an engaging story & wonderful images.

Bottle Shock
Bottle Shock(2008)

entertaining little movie about the american wines from napa valley getting their due recognition by the world in 1976. alan rickman is a joy to watch as always.

Public Enemies
½

the sets are all gorgeous. the costume, prop and art departments did a wonderful job. i wasn't too crazy about the frantic hand-held style of filming, but it worked at times. it's not the most entertaining gangster flick ever but tries to personalize the 30's world of cops and robbers, with the robbers portrayed much more warmly. it has a nice mix of action and character moments.

Saturday Night And Sunday Morning
½

look out, he's an angry young man!

Moon
Moon(2009)
½

contemplative sci-fi with a wonderful performance - actually performances by sam rockwell.

Fantastic Mr. Fox
½

pretty cussing fantastic!

Fire Maidens from Outer Space

seriously terrible, but entertaining in a b-movie, MST3K way.

Fanboys
Fanboys(2008)

well-tread road movie territory but plenty of fun cameos and star wars references, even sound effects. enjoyable as a star wars fan but far far away from a great movie.

The Philadelphia Story

good stuff. few things are better than a drunk jimmy stewart.

Trick 'r Treat

seriously good, exclusively halloween themed fun... more later

Zombieland
Zombieland(2009)

wicked good fun! i love bill murray... more later

Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
½

quite faithful adaption by branagh - pretty much what i had hoped it would be... more later

Frankenstein
Frankenstein(1931)

iconic portrayal by karloff, vastly different from the book... more later

Where the Wild Things Are

visually stunning, a little thin story wise... full write-up later

Sex Drive
Sex Drive(2008)

american pie meets road trip in sex drive. as far as predictable teen sex comedy road movies goes this was surprisingly enjoyable. seth green is hilarious.

High Society
High Society(1956)
½

the idea of remaking a classic like The Philadelphia Story and adding a bunch of songs doesn't sound like a movie i would like at all. but i love the cast - bing crosby and frank sinatra are always entertaining to me and grace kelly is as delicious as ever in this flick. add in louis armstrong and some humorous dialogue and i quite enjoyed it despite the musical elements being a little hit-or-miss for me.

Inglourious Basterds

typical tarantino magnificence! fantastic, original, stylized dialogue delivered wonderfully by some known and unknown actors - brad pitt is great, christoph waltz is fantastic, diance kruger & melanie laurent are wonderful... homages to past directors and films galore - i saw a lot of sergio leone in this film especially early on... violence, over the top, b-movie, comic book type shocking violence... wonderfully inventive and captivating characters - villians like col. landa not to mention hitler, cool dudes like lt. aldo raine, revengeful heroines like shosanna dreyfus, and complete badasses like the bear jew (and there's many more memorable characters)... overall just flat out entertaining. quentin makes movies like nobody else while being influenced by so many. definitely an enjoyable time at the movies!

District 9
District 9(2009)
½

seriously entertaining sci-fi delivered by an unknown cast and first time director on a modest summer film budget. the flick combined an interesting story, a psuedo-documentary approach, some interesting real-world political overtones, some big action, amazing cgi and effects, subtle commentary on humans & humanity, amusing, tender and badass moments. highly recommended!

The Hurt Locker
½

fantastic non-political war movie with superb performances and tense action. powerfully gripping suspense pulses throughout the flick as jeremy renner delivers a wonderful performance as a bomb diffuser in iraq. the finest war movie to come along in a while.

The Sting
The Sting(1973)
½

classic flick. it's funny, dramatic, clever and entertaining with some good twists that the audience is in on - for the most part. a good script, terrific cast, great music and an overall top-rate production make the sting one of my favs.

War of the Worlds

a nice retelling of a sci-fi classic with spectacular effects and imagery. unfortunately it seems that spielberg was so concerned with creating real, believable characters showing their flaws and all that the main characters aren't all that likable. the humans should be easy to root for in a movie like this, and they weren't. still, as a summer action flick it's entertaining.

Body of Lies
Body of Lies(2008)

a rather paint-by-numbers action flick. leo was good. rather unmemorable overall though.

Coraline
Coraline(2009)

wonderful and beautiful stop motion animation bring this imaginative and creepy story to life. coraline is a magical movie experience both visually and storywise. the pure artistry on display is mesmerizing the pain-staking process of stop motion animation is to be commended. it's probably too scary for little kids, but everyone else should be able to enjoy it. i didn't really like all of the characters. like coraline's downstairs neighbors, spink & forcible and her sort-of friend wybie didn't do much for me. i enjoyed the upstairs neighbor mr. bobinsky i think largely due to the voice acting of ian mcshane. teri hatcher and john hodgman were quite delighful in their mother, father / other mother, other father roles and dakota fanning made a believable, imaginative coraline. not a perfect movie but certainly one worth watching, and bruno coultis' score is wonderful and perfect!

The Reader
The Reader(2008)
½

some heavy stuff, but ultimately feels like it could have been better. kate winslet is excellent in her portrayal of a complex character.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

explosive familial drama with textured characters played by talented actors. newman, taylor and ives are all excellent as tennessee williams' play simmers and boils on the big screen.

Bruno
Bruno(2009)

some more confrontational humor from sacha baron cohen who is more of a performance artist at this point than an actor. there's a lot of over-the-top gross out humor and most of the laughs are just variations on the same joke. still, it's quite funny in parts but feels somehow more staged than borat and a little less endearing.

Taken
Taken(2009)

decent action flick with liam neeson going jason bourne on everything single person who had something to do with the kidnapping of his daughter. it's outrageous and mindless but mostly just badass.

Valkyrie
Valkyrie(2008)
½

fascinating story about an ambitious assassination attempt on adolf hitler by german patriots. tom cruise is helped by a strong supporting cast and everything looks impressive. a nice story and some good action and drama make for an entertaining history lesson.

The Lady From Shanghai

not as meticulous as some other welles' films but certainly entertaining. the end shoot-out scene in the house of mirrors is wonderfully done! and holy crap rita hayworth is stunning.

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

nice cast, sometimes funny, wondrous & magical. decent kid flick

The Hangover
The Hangover(2009)

very funny flick! i really hope galifianakis gets some more great movie roles. features great characters and a nicely structured script for a comedy. just great summer fun at the movies.

The Night of the White Pants

tom wilkinson is the shit! this flick won't change the world or anything but it's pretty fun.

Never Back Down

i had no intention of ever watching this but amber heard caught my eye. it wasn't as bad as i thought it would be, but terribly cliched.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil

tragic and triumphant. i'm not a fan of the music but the humanity on display is amazing. this story about the pursuit of a lifelong dream is equal parts funny and sad. wonderful documentary filmmaking.

The Incredibles

pixar is amazing! this movie has some really great looking animation. the storyline is pretty good, the characters are great and it is both funny and dramatic. i still like finding nemo better, but this is a great movie in a lot of ways.

Star Trek
Star Trek(2009)

immensely entertaining reboot for a franchise that has never interested me much before. great classic characters each get a nice introduction in this high energy, action packed and humorous sci-fi flick with some dazzling effects.

2001: A Space Odyssey
½

like watching an artist paint a masterpiece to classical music. immensely beautiful, amazing imagery and visuals created with landmark special effects and kubrick's meticulous strive for perfection. although i recognize it as a sci-fi classic and a piece of conceptual high art, i still find parts of it tedious and even boring. i can't deny it's genius though.

Leatherheads
Leatherheads(2008)
½

it has it's moments, but not enough of them.

Speed Racer
Speed Racer(2008)
½

mario kart meets the incredibles with real actors. every time i thought the movie was going to fall completely apart it got back on track. the style, dazzling imagery and vibrant colors give an original look but sometimes the visuals detract from the movie just as much as they add to other parts. it's probably too long, especially for a movie that kids should enjoy, but overall is better than it gets credit for.and it was nice to see matthew fox crying a lot less than he does on LOST.

My Life Without Me

tough movie to rate. sarah polley is excellent but her character makes some really selfish and confusing decisions about how to live her final few months after learning she will die. it's sad and touching and provides other emotions depending on whether or not you agree with her actions. it's rare to see a young character deal with death and it leaves an impression.

Redacted
Redacted(2007)
½

i can respect the intent but the movie fails to deliver. even at a brisk ninety minutes i have absolutely no desire to sit through it again.

Choke
Choke(2008)

sam rockwell does his best to hold the movie together but "choke" has something stuck in it's airway. the flick falls short of its potential.

The Chumscrubber

i really liked the cast, but there's nothing new explored here.

Being There
Being There(1979)

a charming satire that features a wonderful performance by peter sellers and a fantastic final shot.

The Apartment
½

jack lemmon and shirley maclaine are great in this bittersweet tale of office politics and romances that blends comedy with cynicism. it's quite wonderful, moviewise.

Synecdoche, New York

it's borderline pretentious and at the same time approaches genius. the movie is about the second half of one man's life and his struggles to have meaningful relationships with woman and his children and his pursuit of directing a play that is truthful and meaningful. but it's really about all of us and our lives and deaths and all of the confusing time that lapses in between. this is a story that wouldn't work in any medium other than film. this is art imitating life as it is profound, beautiful and hauntingly sad. i'm not going to say i understand things like why caden cotard is repeatedly mistaken for a woman but this is a deeply affecting movie that requires repeated viewings for a number of reasons. charlie kaufman writes amazing screenplays and this is his directorial debut. i feel like directors like michel gondry and spike jonez add something upbeat to his stories that is missing here. i think this movie is probably the closest to kaufman's vision of anything he's written but it's awfully depressing to absorb. and by the way the cast is remarkable.

Rachel Getting Married

hathaway is impressive and the entire cast does a pretty amazing job of portraying real and complex characters. the movie feels real particularly because of the home video/documentary style in which it is shot. the style is distracting at first but makes the family drama more intimate and uncomfortable. some sequences are perhaps overlong but these moments do help to make the film feel a little less scripted.

RocknRolla
RocknRolla(2008)
½

familiar territory but i liked it then and i like it now. plus tom wilkinson is one of my favs and to see him play a guy ritchie role was fantastic! i could easily see this getting bumped to a 4 star with repeated viewings.

I Love You, Man
½

rudd and segel are stellar. all the smaller roles are nicely cast but favreau is the scene stealer. a steady and enjoyable flick.

Closer
Closer(2004)

complex and brutally intimate relationship movie. superbly acted adaptation from the stage that knows how to push the right buttons.

Role Models
Role Models(2008)
½

funny flick, i wish paul rudd was a friend of mine.

1408
1408(2007)
½

a stephen king story about a writer? no way. this is a nice moody little flick. if you don't like john cusack for some reason i wouldn't recommend 1408, but he is quite charming as the skeptic who begins to experience very stange things. it's not a mind-blowing thrill-ride but there are some nice creepy parts.

Hot Rod
Hot Rod(2007)

there are funny parts to be sure, but andy sandberg is probably more suited for tv comedy sketches and digital shorts.

Chapter 27
Chapter 27(2007)

while jared leto gives a great performance and is effectively creepy the movie gives no real insight into the tragic death of john lennon. leto's mark david chapman is socially awkward and obsessed with two people; john lennon and holden caulfield, the main character in the book catcher in the rye. his madness really stood out in the fact that he could not separate a fictional book from his reality. no matter how the story is told it still ends with an unstable man senselessly taking the life of someone who sang so often about love. it's disturbing to think about how john lennon's life ended and this movie does nothing to ease the pain of his death. chapman's motives seem to be nothing more than delusions.

Let the Right One In

a delightfully dark dramatic movie that also happens to have vampires. scary good.

Children of Men
½

a gritty desperate vision of the future that is believable. clive owen is great, michael caine looking like john lennon would have if he reached old age is terrific as always. a wonderfully constructed film that attacks the good and evil within humanity.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Hellboy 2)

all of the artistic design elements are fantastic as i have come to expect from del toro and his team. i'm really not familiar with the hellboy characters but i found the movie quite entertaining and very pleasing to look at.

Bonnie and Clyde
½

1967?!? impressive and influential. a movie of innocence, impotence, comedy & violence. a landmark american film.

Religulous
Religulous(2008)
½

religulous is a funny look at well, the ridiculousness of religions. the movie made me laugh. it slanted toward the extreme end of people with views opposite of bill maher but i'm ok with that. that's what i paid money to go to a movie theater and see, bill maher being a smart ass and presenting his opinions on a very touchy subject.

Casablanca
Casablanca(1942)

an absolute classic! this flick has it all - story, acting, music, directing, cinematography. everything is top-notch. casablanca certainly deserves every bit of praise that has been bestowed upon it. here's looking at you kid.

Mallrats
Mallrats(1995)

just because i enjoy a movie doesn't mean it's good. if it weren't for jason lee and jason mewes this would be complete dreck. fortunately, jason lee makes his film debut and steals the damn movie. for the most part, the rest of the cast struggles to deliver kevin smith's dialogue and the plot is hardly worth mentioning. still, i dug the flick when i was a teenager and it still makes me laugh.

Notorious
Notorious(1946)
½

an all around wonderful film.

Almost Famous

a charming love letter to music from cameron crowe who tells the coming of age story of a kid traveling with a rock band and trying to get a story written for rolling stone magazine. it is largely based on crowe's on life and is quite personal and intimate. the casting seems to be perfect with standout performances by kate hudson, frances mcdormand and phillip seymour hoffman as rock critic lester bangs.

Wonder Boys
Wonder Boys(2000)

a wonderful movie about all the things you can learn while at college outside of a classroom, regardless of age. michael douglas turns in a great performance as the dope smoking, perhaps washed-up writer & professor grady tripp. the movie is humorous, insightful, quirky and profound, and it's one of my favorites.

Hook
Hook(1991)
½

you know, i love spielberg, and i really like a lot of things about the peter pan story. dustin hoffman as captain hook is the standout in the cast. i enjoy this movie quite a bit but the ironic thing about "hook" and i'm not convinced that it's intentional is that you'll enjoy it a lot more if you never grow up.

Bringing Out the Dead
½

a little uneven in story and tone but it features some dazzling imagery, a great performance by nic cage, some real grit and scorsese going full throttle.

The Maltese Falcon
½

the stuff that noir is made of.

Chinatown
Chinatown(1974)
½

a neo-noir classic with great acting, directing, story, style, mood etc.

Unfaithfully Yours

"I doubt that you played Russian Roulette ALL THE TIME with your father"

the quick witty dialogue in this delightful black comedy is hilarious, the scenes of physical comedy aren't so much and make the flick feel more dated than it would otherwise. rex harrison is masterful in the lead role.

Iron Man
Iron Man(2008)

what a year for comic book movies! jon favreau really knocks it out of the park using a smart, efficient and funny script. robert downey jr. is fantastic as tony stark. the action in the movie is entertaining and often meaningful while the technology and construction of the iron man suit is just cool. the computer effects are quite stunning. a very entertaining flick.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

a very sweet teen romance movie with enjoyable performances all around. michael cera is always great even if he's pretty much always the same. kat dennings was quite charming and sometimes funny. ari graynor is a riot as norah's drunken friend. also, andy sandberg cracked me up in a quick cameo. the story is pretty thin and barely stretches to cover the 90 minutes, but it's a light and fun time at the movies with some pretty good music to boot.

Milk
Milk(2008)

harvey milk's story is inspiring and tragic. the entire cast does a tremendous job and van sant mixes in archival footage seamlessly as he not just captures san fransisco in the late 70's but transports the viewer there. this is a wonderful tribute to a courageous human being.

The Visitor
The Visitor(2008)

a slow-moving but touching film that both honors and damns the once idealistic "melting pot" of america. great subtle and real performances .

The Other Boleyn Girl
½

i thought natalie portman was really good and the costuming was pretty incredible. overall though, the flick was a little too much soap opera.

Frost/Nixon
Frost/Nixon(2008)

michael sheen is really good as frost and frank langella gives one of the performances of the year as nixon. for a movie about people talking i thought it was very compelling and fascinating both historically and dramatically. i'm not sure i liked the format choice of including fictionalized documentary style interviews by secondary characters interspersed throughout the film, but it seemed to work. undoubtedly large parts of the screenplay based on history have been fudged, composited from several sources, moved, changed or flat-out made up but it all feels true enough and i think the intent of everyone involved is to be honest with history and to tell an entertaining story. for instance a drunken phone call from richard m. nixon to david frost's hotel room shortly before the final interview may or may not have actually happened, but it is essential to the movie and is a fantastic scene and probably the best one between the two actors in the film. i think ron howard has done his best directing here since apollo 13. this is a flick that i ended up enjoying even more than i expected. perhaps it's not for everyone but a remarkable study of acting, debate, competition, personality, american history, the presidency, conscience and life in the public eye.

Slumdog Millionaire

dazzling images and an engaging story make danny boyle's slumdog millionaire a must-see and one of the best films of the year. the talent involved in this movie from the director and editor to the child actors and director of photography and set designers is top-notch! a really enjoyable movie to watch. highly recommended.

Magnificent Obsession

i watched this after hearing it mentioned in an interview by quentin tarantino of all people. not that i was expecting this to be the pulp fiction of the 50's, but i was surprised by the soap opera-ish melodrama. the acting is great and the story is well-told albeit silly at times. i think mr. tarantino brought it up because of a particular scene with a masterful reveal of rock hudson's character, and it was a great moment in the movie. it was all just a little too sentimental for me.

Gran Torino
Gran Torino(2009)

damn, clint eastwood sure can play grizzled. he literally growls several times in the lead role of walt kowalski, a recent widower and retired detroit auto worker who uses more racial slurs than i really thought was possible in a likable character. eastwood is terrific. the rest of the acting is not great but it doesn't ruin the movie. it's an engaging and surprisingly funny movie with some touching moments. i also like the fact that it was shot in michigan.

Chicago 10
Chicago 10(2008)
½

interesting documentary about the protests in chicago at the democratic national convention in 1968. the voice acted animated recreation of the trial is hit and miss but the archival footage is fascinating.

Appaloosa
Appaloosa(2008)
½

a very solid western with a focus on story and character relationships instead of genre. harris and mortensen are quite great together. the friendship of their characters is central to the whole movie and leads to most of the compelling and humurous moments. a worthwhile western for sure.

In Bruges
In Bruges(2008)

it's not for everyone but if you're like me, you'll really like "in bruges". bruges, belgium is an unlikely but visually exhilarating setting for the raunchy dialogue and sometimes violent actions of two very entertaining hitmen. the comedic parts work better than the dramatic ones but overall an entertaining flick featuring great performances by colin farrell, brendan gleeson and the city of bruges.

Dr. Seuss' Horton Hears a Who!
½

fun & faithful (although greatly expanded) dr. suess adaptation that combines some great voice acting work and terrific computer animation.

Man on Wire
Man on Wire(2008)

incredible story about what some have dubbed the art-crime of the century. archival footage brings the twin towers back to life as philippe petit describes the challenges he had to overcome to perform his insane dream of walking a tightrope between the buildings.

Bottle Rocket
½

gets better everytime i see it. the wilson brothers are young and sweet. i'm just glad that this movie convinced somebody that wes anderson should make more movies!

A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints
½

an introspective tale of life, regret and growing up during a hot summer in astoria, queens.

The Wrestler
The Wrestler(2008)

aronofsky delivers a gritty, real, emotional look into the fictional life of one-time star wrestler randy "the ram" robinson. the director does a wonderful job with the flick but the star is undoubtedly mickey rourke who manages to even top his "sin city" performance as the tough but lovable, lonely and pathetic muscle man. a painful, battered and raw story filled with hope and despair. aronofsky movies aren't exactly "feel-good" flicks, but rourke's performance in this one makes it a little warmer than most.

Doubt
Doubt(2008)
½

a real acting showcase with great performances particularly by meryl streep. the direction is a bit too noticable and it seems the story and characters could have turned into a better movie. instead we get a play filled with great tension and drama clumsily transferred to the big screen. fortunately it features some fantastic acting performances that are definitely worth seeing.

American Teen

it's pretty much what you might expect a movie about four diverse teenagers in smalltown, indiana to be like. interesting flick, but it doesn't reveal anything groundbreaking about the pressures of the kids' senior year of high school. the animated cut-ins are pretty cool insights into the minds of the main characters. a documentary worth watching.

The Muppet Christmas Carol

the muppets never dissappoint and neither does michael caine. a delightful version of charles dickens' classic tale.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

"benjamin button" a nicely told story about star-crossed lovers. i don't know whether the aging effects are done through make-up or computer effects - although i suspect a bit a both - but they are superb. the story is interesting and at times quite insightful as themes of life, death, and the passage of time are dealt with throughout the flick. the acting is exceptional and there are some humorous and memorable characters - my favorites are the tugboat captain/artist and the man who has been struck by lightning 7 times. the movie is very long and suffers a bit from it but overall an entertaining tale from mr. fincher.

Robin Hood
Robin Hood(1973)

under-rated disney flick. i really enjoy this version of the classic robin hood tale. great ,usic too!

The Darjeeling Limited

the first time i watched it i thought it felt like someone who wasn't wes anderson trying to make a wes anderson movie. i was expect more from it or at least something a little different from what it was and i was disappointed. after i watched it again i completely fell in love with it. the humor and soundtrack that i always love from wes anderson films was more apparent to me and i've been quoting the damn flick ever since. also, it should be watched with the short film intended to be the intro to the movie, "hotel chevalier."

Casino Royale
½

i'm not a bond fan, but this was pretty cool

Amélie
Amélie(2001)

a wonderful, sweet film with a look to match it's beautiful dreamlike substance.

L.A. Confidential
½

wonderfully compelling neo-noir story + amazing cast + impeccable production = fantastic movie!

Apocalypse Now

an amazing piece of classic cinema! the colors and images in this flick are vivid and powerful and surreal. it is an amazing feat how joseph conrad's "heart of darkness" story blends into the backdrop of the vietnam war creating a beautiful and terrifying glimpse into the human condition. there are unforgettable characters portrayed by talented actors from sheen to duvall, from hopper to brando. i really can't stress enough how impressive this movie is in all aspects. the REDUX version adds some interesting scenes but ultimately the film works better as it was originally released.

War, Inc.
War, Inc.(2008)
½

i really wanted this to be better. it's a political satire flick that ends up being not nearly as effective as it tried to be. john cusack is great and joan cusack is fantastic in a limited role. there are some amusing but scarily close to real points made, some smart dialogue, an odd meandering plot, jokes, violence and a love story to fill in the rest. i was worried that this was going to be a lame recreation of the wonderful 'gross pointe blank'... it wasn't, but the end of the flick i was wishing i had just watched GPB instead.

Zack and Miri Make a Porno
½

a very raunchy but ultimately sweet flick. seth rogan & elizabeth banks are both fantastic and craig robinson & justin long bring the funny! this is classic kevin smith: funny, dialogue heavy, minimal plot, crude, lots of pop or nerd culture references, hockey, often immature and at times quite tender. i found it interesting that parts of the plot seemed to reflect what i know of kevin smith's experience making his first movie 'clerks'. he shot it at his place of employment, he shot at night and worked during the day, he shot under a dire financial situation, and he used a lot of people he knew as a movie crew and cast. shit, they probably had a microphone taped to a hockey stick too. it's just a small example of how mr. smith hasn't forgotten his humble beginnings and why i'll always look forward to his work. anyway, the movie is like a very vulgar "when harry met sally" and i found it to be very amusing and quite adorable.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington

sure, capra & stewart together can get a little sappy, but i can't resist watching the magic. jimmy stewart's earnest portrayal of mr. smith is a joy to watch and jean arthur is good too. an idealistic but timeless tale of the common man battling the corruption and greed of those in power.

Shoot 'Em Up
Shoot 'Em Up(2007)
½

clive owen is a straight up carrot-chewing badass! an uncomplicated action flick that states in it's title what it is all about and hits it's mark. lovingly and satirically funny, "shoot 'em up" has hundreds of guns, thousands of bullets, a main character who doesn't carry his own gun and a message about gun control. if you like guns & ammo, good actors performing simple roles or action movies dripping with testosterone then you won't be disappointed.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford
½

this is a strikingly beautiful movie that includes an impressive performance by casey affleck. subtle and introspective character work by affleck and brad pitt reveal the thoughts and soul of jesse james and bob ford. a very interesting and gorgeous movie, but a very long one.

Night of the Living Dead

not only did "night of the living dead" inspire an entire genre of horror movies but it also managed to be frightening on multiple levels. romero brought us zombies as we know them: crazed undead hungry for human flesh. they are shockingly scary as they graphically devour people onscreen and attack relatives without pause. the true genius of romero, though is the comment the film makes on society. throughout the movie the line is blurred between zombie and human culminating in the appalling conclusion of the film. all different factions of society are represented in the characters who are hiding in an old farmhouse. there are hordes of zombies (representing hippies, communists, the dark side of human nature?) beating on the door as the people inside bicker with each other. they huddle around the tv and radio as their only connection to the rest of society and they find that they are each as much a threat to everyone's survival as the zombies are.

or maybe it's just fun simple zombie flick.

Nosferatu, a Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens) (Nosferatu the Vampire)
½

a landmark achievement in horror cinema as max schreck brings vampires to the big screen with a performance matched by few since. it's atmospheric, creepy and dramatic with amazing imagery and use of shadows and locations. all that and it's a silent film from 1922... 1922! seriously impressive. the music doesn't add all that much to the flick and the mood could really be reinforced with a modern day score but, that's just being picky. very cool movie to watch late at night in the dark.

The Crow
The Crow(1994)
½

i watch this comic book turned film annually on devil's night and continue to enjoy it every year. what's not to like? it's dark, it's gothic, it's halloween, it's detroit, it's a love story, it's a revenge story. it's a wonderful adaption of james o'barr's art & story to the screen combined with an amazing soundtrack. plus ernie hudson is the shit in this flick!

Rosemary's Baby

a masterfully constructed and executed horror story featuring a great performance by mia farrow. amazingly throughout the movie it seems equally plausible that rosemary is going slowly insane during her pregnancy as is the idea that her husband and neighbors conspired to have her impregnated by the devil. it seems like a ridiculous premise, but it works very effectively. polanski builds suspense and paranoia and the viewer ends up so far within rosemary's head that it's hard to know what is really happening. it's a great creepy film.

Halloween
Halloween(1978)

you can't kill the boogie man. it may have spawned over a decade's worth of dumb, plodding, formulaic slasher flicks but the original halloween remains suspenseful, gripping and freaking scary. from carpenter's music to shots of michael myers stalking silently from a distance to the completely mundane, believable teens every aspect seems perfectly executed to produce a frightened, entertained audience. it worked on me and still does everytime i see it. it's a top-notch horror movie.

Freaks
Freaks(1932)

remarkable film that feels both exploitational and sympathetic. a truly odd masterpiece that celebrates the abnormal. the "freaks" were not tremendous actors but the story gets told. some of the scenes and images from this movie remain the most amazing, disturbing and memorable things i've ever seen.

The Thing
The Thing(1982)

some seriously fun sci-fi horror! the landmark special effects have to be the biggest attraction in this flick. truly surprising, gruesome and impressive decades later. john carpenter really builds up the drama and conducts the action masterfully. distrust and paranoia consume the humans as the thing consumes everything. kurt russell is a badass and wilford brimley is awesome!

Suspiria
Suspiria(1977)

argento starts the movie with all kinds of atmosphere and doesn't let up. the colors, imagery, set design and camerawork make for an incredibly stimulating visual journey. there are some shocking death scenes and some creepy moments but overall there is much more ambience than substance to the story - and i really don't mind that at all. suspiria makes a perfect mood setter for a scary movie night.

Letters from Iwo Jima

old mr. eastwood has gone and turned into quite a fine director. the japanese cast does a superb job conveying the the humanity, emotions, and motivations of soldiers fighting against americans - something rarely seen from hollywood.

Pit and the Pendulum (The Pit and the Pendulum)
½

although still having little to do with the poe story of the same name, this film does remain a little moodier and less campy than other corman/price/poe endeavors. vincent price's wide-eyed performance is fun and the story provides some scares making this a great midnight movie flick!

The Raven
The Raven(1963)
½

i'm not sure why corman used the titles of poe stories for so many movies but the movies and the stories sure have very little in common. this movie is silly campy fun with vincent price & boris karloff as battling magicians. peter lorre is very annoying while jack nicholson is a nice suprise.

W.
W.(2008)
½

its hard to figure out the recent motivations of oliver stone and w. left me confused and wondering: why even make this movie? the story jumps around, leaves out large parts, greatly condenses others and becomes boring at times throughout. stone portrays dubya as a pouty, drunk rich kid desparately trying to impress his father and having very little to do with the major moments in his own life and presidency. josh brolin does a good job and manages to make w. somewhat sympathetic at times. the supporting cast is mostly caricatures of those closest to the president resulting in varied amounts of humor and ludicrousness. the events and motivations portrayed may have actually taken place the way that stone enivisions but i didn't feel like anything new was brought to the table. i walked out of the theatre with no change in opinion about the man. it's not a bad movie but it doesn't really say much and the timing of it seems strange. the man is still in office, and he will be replaced as president in a few months. why is it important or even very useful to tell his story now? why make this movie? a line from a 2002 pearl jam song about w. captures the attempted baseball metaphor much better than the movie does:
"He's not a leader, he's a Texas leaguer
Swinging for the fence, got lucky with a strike
Drilling for fear, makes the job simple
Born on third, thinks he got a triple"

World Trade Center
½

because of the emotional weight that the numbers 9 & 11 bring to mind before even viewing this movie, it is tough to criticize it. although the story is true and heroic, it would be more inspiring if it didn't feel like sappy melodrama that probably should have been played out in a made-for-tv movie. the structure is too limited to make any kind of statement about the most impactful day in recent american history. this is a very tame and restrained version of oliver stone who tells a story that is full of emotion but falls short of it's potential.

Rebecca
Rebecca(1940)

a remarkably well told gothic story full of suspense. hitchcock doesn't make a false move in his american debut and the acting is wonderful.

Slacker Uprising

thanks to michael moore for providing this movie for free on the web. it's interesting to watch and i hope even more americans vote in 2008 than in 2004, but movie-wise there's not much here.

The Mission
The Mission(1986)

the indians who played the Guaraní Indians are extraordinary. the american and european cast are quite good. the movie is beautifully shot but the story lags a bit and is somewhat disjunctive.

Chaplin
Chaplin(1992)
½

robert downey jr. is simply fantastic as chaplin, but if he weren't portraying such an entertaining man the movie would have some trouble being entertaining.

Burn After Reading

the coens return to tragic comedy with a very funny flick. despite an all-star cast, i wouldn't recommend this to people who aren't coen brothers fans. if you enjoy the snappy dialogue, the mix of smart characters doing stupid things and stupid characters trying to do smart things, the dry wit and the quirky style of joel and ethan then you are in for a treat. the cast is perfect and the characters funny.

Crash
Crash(2004)

i can't believe this movie went from the one that i couldn't find anyone to go to the theatre with me to see to winning freaking a best picture oscar. it was deserved though. a thoroughly good and socially important film.

28 Days Later

very cool flick. a zombie movie with actual characters and a story that explores themes like the true quality of human nature.

I Am Legend
I Am Legend(2007)

will smith and the dog are great, the premise is cool, the story is decent with some plot holes and the infected/monsters/zombies are crap.

The X-Files: I Want to Believe (The X Files 2)

it feels more like a decent season premiere episode for a new season of the x-files than a new movie after several dormant years and frankly, i wish that it was. it would be great to have the x-files back on tv. for fans, this is a nice reminder of the characters but not reminiscent of the better storylines from the tv series and not as good as the first movie. as a fan, i enjoyed seeing mulder and scully again but was hoping for a more "x-filey" x-file.

The Third Man
½

absolutely stunning cinematography, an intriguing score, an interesting story and wonderfully acted. cinema at its best.

Step Brothers

a very funny, crude movie based around two lovable adults who act like children (will ferrell & john c. reilly). there are a lot of laughs to be sure, but it doesn't go anywhere some sections are either flat or tiresome. it kinda feels like a really good SNL skit that goes on too long.

Pineapple Express

it's a funny stoner comedy, but the action sequences were ridiculous. as far as stoner buddy movie/bromance flicks go it's really not any better than "harold & kumar" or "friday", and "half baked" was a funnier pot comedy. the over-the-top and violent action sequences were far less entertaining to me than watching the two main characters interact while high. franco was surprisingly great and rogan was the same funny and likable everyman that he always is.

Where the Buffalo Roam

as much as i adore bill murray, this is no "fear & loathing" - and there's no avoiding comparing them.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
½

are you ready for that? checking into a vegas hotel under a phoney name with intent to commit capital fraud and a head full of acid? i sure hope so.

well what do you expect? somebody put terry gilliam in charge of putting hunter s. thompson's material onscreen. this may be johnny depp's greatest role as he is completely consumed by the controlled madness of thompson. hell, it might even be benicio del toro's best role. pure gonzo filmmaking!

Last Action Hero

underrated... i mean it.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial
½

E.T. is just a must for October! it's just classic cinema. a boy and his alien - touching.

zero charisma!

Smart People
Smart People(2008)

vaguely reminiscent of "wonder boys" but with far less likable characters. it has some nice acting and is sporadically humorous, but feels flat overall and a little bit depressing.

The Fountain
The Fountain(2006)
½

wow! wait.. what? ummm huh?

oohh pretty...more crying?...hmmm

Along Came Polly
½

i get a little tired of ben stiller sometimes, but this movie was pretty good. philip seymour-hoffman is excellent as always, and that jennifer aniston girl is pretty nice to look at. it has it's moments - decent flick.

I'm Not There

it is a little strange watching "i'm not there" and knowing that bob dylan himself is still alive while 6 different people portray fragments of his life. it is stranger still watching "i'm not there" and knowing that heath ledger is no longer alive. the movie is interesting and entertaining and of course the music is excellent, but i feel like i only enjoyed it because i am a bob dylan fan. cate blanchett is simply amazing as quinn, the mid-60's dylan getting backlash for going electric and dealing with expectations from fans and the press. the best and most inspired parts of the movie revolve around blanchett, but the other dylans have some nice moments too. overall it's a little confusing and contradictory, imaginative and sprawling, rebellious and poetic - just like the man it's based on.

Superman Returns

this is the first superman movie i've seen all of. i enjoyed it though! it was what i expected. superman has to be the most unbelievable superhero ever though. and are glasses really a disguise? overall, pretty cool flick, probably not one that i'm going to own though.

You Don't Mess With the Zohan

i expected more from an Apatow / Smigel / Sandler movie. aside from nick swardson and some jokes scattered throughout there is not much of substance here.

The Dark Knight

it's rare that a movie hyped as much as this one manages to actually satisfy nearly its entire audience. i didn't hear anyone grumbling after the movie at the sold out imax theater where i viewed the flick, and i haven't read many bad reviews of "the dark knight" either. that's because it's good. and not just good for a comic book movie, not just good for a summer blockbuster, not just good for a crime thriller - good. i'm surprised at the mass acceptance of its dark, brooding, psychological storyline - i dig it though.

heath ledger is brilliant as the joker as advertised. christian bale is a fantastic bruce wayne and aside from the ridiculous voice - the perfect batman. aaron eckhart does a great job in a role with a wide range of emotions to play. the supporting cast which includes the likes of michael caine, morgan freeman & gary oldman gives this batman series a rock solid foundation and it was nice to see oldman in particular take a larger role than in "batman begins".

"the dark knight" is twisted, dark, engrossing, memorable and a little lengthy. christopher nolan takes the time to let the characters seep into the story instead of letting explosions and special effects (which are impressive) dominate. in nolan's chicago-for-gotham world superheroes and supervillians are a lot more human than in most movies. there's also a little bit of hero in the villians and a little bit of villian in the heroes. the fuzziness between what is good and what is evil is addressed in several ways throughout the flick. there are situations dealing with morality, ethics, the blurred line between revenge & redemption, the definition of a hero, privacy vs. safety, and other issues all of which add a deep, real and interesting texture to gotham city.

if more movies were like "the dark knight" it would not be a bad thing.

Bobby
Bobby(2006)

a seemingly endless list of hollywood names line up to help emilio estevez bring the day robert kennedy was shot to the screen. of many many characters' subplots, some are worthwhile and some quite dull. i was not around in 1968, but it seems that the emotion and excitement that surrounded kennedy in the cultural & racially charged atmosphere of the 60's are all representated in the various characters that find themselves in the Ambassador Hotel on the night that the dream died. the ending was powerful enough to make 'bobby' a flick worth seeing.

Be Kind Rewind

michel gondry makes me smile. probably his cheesiest film to date, it's a little thin on story but is affectionately directed. jack black and mos def make some great lo-fi productions of big-time flicks and have fun doing it. the movie is fun and warm and touching if you can buy into the idea that creativity and some heart can bring a community together. a nice time at the movies.

30 Days of Night

i've never read the graphic novel, so i don't know how closely it was followed, but the movie is certainly visually stunning and stylistic. it is basically three colors: white, black and blood. josh hartnett: meh, melissa george: nice, ben foster: solid, danny huston: badass!

it looks great. it is fun and entertaining. the vamps are typical blood thirsty mostly boring stereotypical baddies. it's a pretty cool premise with standard characters and plot - nothing groundbreaking, but a worthwhile vampire flick for sure.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

with apologies to my sister - i am not a fan.

The Conversation
½

a tense, taught thriller about privacy and technology and communication. a coppola masterpiece featuring a great performance by gene hackman and a beautiful score by david shire.

Sicko
Sicko(2007)

michael moore has to be one of the most polarizing filmmakers ever. his movies are consistently judged before even being seen. i, for one, enjoy his flicks. they are highly opinionated documentaries and are always worth seeing. sicko may be his most important movie yet. i just wish more people were willing to see it.

There Will Be Blood

First off, Daniel Day-Lewis is flat out amazing. The movie is grandiose but settles into a spiralling biopic by the end. The turn of the century oil man, Daniel Plainview is not only a hardworking American - he IS America. Greedy, opportunistic, corrupt, violent, heartless, smart, determined and shameless. He is a sinner, a skeptic, a capitalist, a liar, a smooth talker, a victim, and a survivor. Day-Lewis is such a good salesman that you actually root for the charming son of a bitch. His relationship with his son and with the town preacher are intricate and mesmerizing. Johnny Greenwood?s score is haunting and unique, the production is top-notch, the direction is confident and the story is rich and textured. A very solid flick that features a wonderful performance. In the end it felt to me like other Paul Thomas Anderson films - on the brink of greatness but falling just shy.

Atonement
Atonement(2007)

an astonishing piece of filmmaking. the first half of atonement is damn near flawless and the rest is good. a terrific story is told my very capable actors, with glorious lighting, costumes, sets and camerawork and a fantastic score.

Tideland
Tideland(2006)

bizarre, disturbing and strangely beautiful - typical gilliam brilliance.

The King of Kong: A Fistful of Quarters

a thoroughly entertaining and engrossing documentary. the film is skillfully put together and features memorable characters and an incredibly intense competition between two grown men playing arcade games. the two are rarely in the same room together really don't even directly converse with one another. steve wiebe is so likable that the injustices and obstacles that he faces on his way to donkey kong glory can be felt by viewers who have never played an arcade game in their life. billy mitchell could be one of the best cinema villians in recent memory. a highly recommended flick!

North by Northwest
½

pure classic cinema. hitchcock crafts a well-acted, funny, romantic, tense thriller. it holds up really well as an action movie that is 50 years old. the famous cropduster and mt. rushmore scenes are as entertaining as ever. a wonderful movie in every respect.

Knocked Up
Knocked Up(2007)

a grown-up teen comedy that has a firm base in reality. seth rogan is good, katherine heigl is great and paul rudd and leslie mann are fantastic. it has heart, it has crudeness, it has jokes of all kinds - a very funny quasi-romantic comedy.

American Gangster

a fantastic flick! tremendous performances emerge from a great and engaging story. denzel is the ultimate likable bad guy. very entertaining.

Romeo + Juliet

i dig almost everything about this movie. completely over the top and indulgent in every scene but proves love and tragedy are timeless concepts. dicaprio and danes are perfect star-crossed lovers.

Cloverfield
Cloverfield(2008)
½

the youtube generation somehow mixed "the blair witch project" and "godzilla" and added a shit-ton of great special effects. i thought this was a thoroughly enjoyable monster movie. i was actually surprised by how much of the monster we got to see considering the limitations of the story concept. lots of 9/11 imagery added some emotional weight and the unknown cast did a fine job. good clean monster movie fun!

The Ten
The Ten(2007)

hit-and-miss barely related sketches with a pretty impressive cast doing and saying very silly things. it's funny, and if you're not expecting much it's entertaining. the track record of the people involved caused me to anticipate more than "the ten" could deliver.

Juno
Juno(2007)
½

jason reitman's follow up to "thank you for smoking" is another great flick, "juno". it is sweet, smart, funny and tender. ellen page is completely charming as juno and michael cera nails another role as an awkward teen. juno's parents are understanding and real, not to mention - hilarious at times. witty and smart-ass dialogue is delivered flawlessly in scene after scene by a great young actress and the talented cast around her. a real winner. and the soundtrack is totally wizard too.

Before the Devil Knows You're Dead
½

a dysfunctional family tale intimately wrapped up in a heist movie makes for a tense dramatic flick. the ageless sidney lumet gets terrific performances out hoffman, hawke, finney and tomei but plays the non-linear storytelling card a few too many times. the story unfolds nicely but loses some momentum toward the end. the triumph in this movie is making the audience care about a couple of deadbeat brothers. the characters are flawed, but well-defined and superbly acted. at some point during the movie you'll know that nothing is going to turn out well for anything of these characters but you don't have to feel too bad about it - just enjoy the ride. definitely worth a watch.

Grindhouse
Grindhouse(2007)

the most enjoyable movie experience i've had in a long long time. i only wish that the weather was better here in michigan so that i could have seen it at a drive-in. rodriguez has made an amazing zombie movie that could entertain an audience of any era and tarantino does his best to keep up and almost matches "planet terror" for pure entertainment. two fantastic movies, great trailers, blood, sex, zombies, guns, cars, music, chicks; what more could you want from these guys. what a fabulous inspired vision they had and really came through with it. bravo!

The Departed
The Departed(2006)
½

wow! scorsese makes another excellent movie, and this time is rewarded for it. the cast is outstanding and the movie is well written and ol' marty has not lost his touch. dicaprio is the new deniro - kind of. it's one of those movies that is very enjoyable upon repeat viewings, although not nearly as shocking as the first time.

V for Vendetta

fantastic! epic in scope, but stays within itself. thoughtful and somewhat daring, visually impressive and certainly exudes a vibe of "cool". the actors are solid, the wachowski bros. deliver again and the story is fascinating. part comic book hero action flick and part futuristic detective movie with hints at modern day satire and elements from "1984". wonderfully entertaining. remember, remember the 5th of november.

Thank You for Smoking

ghostbusters may just be my favorite movie of all-time, it is certainly near the top of the list. one of its triumphs in my mind is that is somehow balances between being very funny and honestly dramatic - even scary. the director of this amazing movie was ivan reitman who has a son named jason. jason reitman has struck a similar chord with thank you for smoking as his father did with ghostbusters. it is a good, smart and funny movie. it is, ultimately a much different movie than ghostbusters - based on a book, satirizing everyone in its path, it is about spin doctors not slimers. aaron eckhart is perfect in his role and manages to be funny without being silly. jason reitman has helmed a movie that i'm sure his father is proud of.

The Prestige
The Prestige(2006)

a nicely told story by christopher nolan and a very capable cast. the movie's production is top-notch and the victorian era world is stunning and magically displayed around the story of dueling illusionists. the parts of the story that are predictable don't detract much from the enjoyment of seeing it unfold. are you watching closely?

The Last King of Scotland

wow! forest whitaker is amazing in this movie; both charming and terrifying as hell. the engaging story follows a young scottish doctor in chaotic uganda trying to make his mark on the world when the charismatic president amin selects him to be his physician. the whole production is wonderful from the cast to the sets to the music. whitaker looms over every scene sometimes joyously and sometimes violently and sometimes very violently. the type of performance and movie that will really stick with you.

Inside Man
Inside Man(2006)

i was pleasantly surprised by this spike lee joint. spike is truly a unique and gifted director. denzel is phenominal as usual, and clive owen and jodie foster round out a stellar cast. a bank robbery movie seems like a tired genre but the flick feels fresh and smart. a very entertaining action drama

Half Nelson
Half Nelson(2006)

the reason to watch this movie is ryan gosling. his performance of a druggie teacher/coach is fantastic and believable. the story is good and shareeka epps turns in a great young performance of her own as one of gosling's students with trouble in her life. she's more grown up than he is for most the flick. good drama

Dave Chappelle's Block Party

this isn't a movie about dave chappelle creating catch phrases or dave chappelle getting high. this is a flick about dave chappelle being dave chappelle and about throwing a kickass block party in brooklyn with a great hip-hop concert. and what a show it is! kanye, mos def, the roots are all great, but dave got the fugees to reunite for this and the whole thing is exciting to watch. the first of two michel gondry films on my list. this one is documentary style and he does a wonderful job capturing the events that unfold.

Notes on a Scandal
½

fantastic performances by dench and blanchett (not surprisingly) drive a tabloid story movie

A Prairie Home Companion
½

anything that contains the phrase "lake wobegon" will make me smile. i enjoyed this flick, you may not

A Scanner Darkly
½

a cool flick made from a philip k. dick novel. the animation adds to the movie in some parts and detracts in others. it's paranoid, druggy, the government is spying on us kind of sci-fi set in the not-too-distant future.

The Proposition
½

a gritty, violent, manly western. hardcore and bleak

Jackass: Number Two
½

it made me laugh, it made me cringe, it nearly made me throw up more than once. beautiful!

Babel
Babel(2006)
½

a movie about the inability of people to communicate with and understand each other. emotional and revealing and ultimately depressing

Blood Diamond
½

well acted, good story - jennifer connelly! worth seeing

Jesus Camp
Jesus Camp(2006)
½

this documentary is a little disturbing and a little sad. christ's army recruits young!

Clerks II
Clerks II(2006)

i love kevin smith! very nice to see the characters from clerks 10 years later. very raunchy in parts but also a more mature and still funny movie

Live Free or Die Hard
½

"here's the thing about die hard 4: die hard 1, the original, john mcclane is just this normal guy, you know. he's just a normal new york city cop who gets his feet cut and gets beat up but he's an everyday guy. in die hard 4 he is jumping a motorcycle into a helicopter in the air. he's invincible. it sort of lost what die hard was. it's not terminator." -michael scott, the office. michael scott is right, john mcclane has certainly evolved into a superhero. the completely over-the-top action scenes get ridiculous in die hard 4. i would rather the flick was rated "R' and had john mcclane and kevin smith swearing more than see someone jump on the wing of a fighter jet. but, regardless i enjoyed the hell out of the movie - it was entertaining. when i want to see a movie like the first "die hard" i can always watch the first "die hard". yippee-ki-yay

Rescue Dawn
Rescue Dawn(2007)

herzog's rescue dawn is a good little war flick. i really enjoyed the parts of the story where the captives were developing a plan to escape. christian bale gives another tremendous performance and steve zahn is impressive in a emotional dramatic role. jeremy davies has earned my respect. he continually challenges himself with characters that i can't stand and pulls them off realistically. rescue dawn is a war flick that is more about humanity and survival than about destruction and chaos.

The Bourne Identity

i was late in watching the bourne franchise movies, and i didn't expect to enjoy them much. but i really do. the key is the smart, well-developed characters brought to life by a tremendous cast. spy thrillers are supposed to cool, and the bourne movies deliver.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

Ranks only behind Rushmore for Wes Anderson flicks in my book. I can't get enough Bill Murray. Funny! Funny! Funny! But with touching moments and delivered in a sad truthfulness. Great cast! Plenty of David Bowie songs sung in Portugueses - very cool. The animation is lackluster but not distracting. "son of a bitch, I'm sick of these dolphins."

Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade

I can watch this over and over and over and enjoy it. to me that's a mark of a good movie.

Requiem for a Dream

wow. intense. and extremely well done in every aspect. it's such a bummer to watch though that i really have to be prepared to watch it. much respect to darren aronofsky and the genius of ellen burstyn!

Taxi Driver
Taxi Driver(1976)
½

Great story. Tremendous acting. Fantastic Direction as always from Scorsese. Solid all around.

The Usual Suspects

the first movie that i remember really blowing me away with a surprise ending. i still think its genius.

Ghostbusters (1984 Original)

maybe the best ever at combining comedy with an attempt at seriousness. outstanding lines throughout, and exceptional cast. nothing beats it for me. i will continue to enjoy it over and over and over again!

3:10 to Yuma
3:10 to Yuma(2007)

james mangold updates an old western and might have resurrected a genre in the process. "3:10 to yuma" is more of a buddy movie with two men who have a different moral compass than it is a straight up good vs evil western showdown. i enjoyed the characters and the characters' development. i'm not a russell crowe fan by rule but he and christian bale are fantastic. it is nice to see alan tudyk and peter fonda again. i swear that logan lerman kid could be christian slater's son. this is a preachy or stale movie full of dusty landscapes but rather entertaining, character-driven storytelling that happens to be in the old west. i really enjoyed this flick and i hope i get to see more like it.

Superbad
Superbad(2007)

not ground-breaking but certainly funny as hell. a totally re-watchable and highly quotable teen comedy. jonah hill is completely over the top and somewhat annoying at times while i think michael cera is comedy gold as the superbad "straight man". mclovin' may be one of the best characters to come along in a while. extended edition is recommended.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street
½

a delicious bloody treat of a movie with a superb cast and confident direction. everything is spot on, i just don't like musicals all that much.

No Country for Old Men
½

terrific flick! it certainly has some typical coen bros. humor sprinkled throughout but this is a stronger and more impressive narrative than most of their great work. great amount of credit goes to the book by cormac mccarthy for the story, but an amazing adaptation by the coens as well. the tension in this flick builds and sustains itself in ways that i can't remember experiencing in a long time. the lack of music seems to add to the mood. javier bardem is a flat-out badass! brolin & jones are great as well. tommy lee jones' character delivers wit and wisdom as well as the important messages of the movie, including the abrupt ending. a truly entertaining movie. i can't wait to watch it again!

Beowulf
Beowulf(2007)
½

i don't know how this looks in a regular theatre but on an IMAX 3D screen it was pretty impressive! i thought it was outstanding visually. the flick is well cast but some of the performances don't seem to transfer well to the animation mostly due to a lack of changing facial expressions. i haven't read the epic poem in a few years but the story seemed to follow pretty closely. this might have been a laughable flick if done in live action, but the animation made it totally enjoyable for me.

Ratatouille
Ratatouille(2007)

another home run from pixar studios. i am continually amazed by the animation in these movies. a funny and sweet flick that anyone could enjoy.

The Descent
The Descent(2006)

a delightful bloody adventure. there is a shot towards the end of the movie of the heroine rising out of a pool of blood that seems to wink at "apocalypse now" and the story which it was based on, joseph conrad's "heart of darkness". instead of taking a boat down a river the lovely ladies in this flick explore the dark places of the earth and their souls by adventuring into a remote cave system. there is some really great cinematography throughout with a variety of scary, creepy, bloody and badass moments. this flick used classic horror story structure and borrowed from a few different movies but managed to feel fresh and new. it reminded me at times of "the blair witch project" and was certainly in the vein of any creature/vampire attack movie. the cave added a feeling of claustrophobia and the fact that there was no male hero gave a nice twist to a movie you almost felt like you'd seen before. i enjoyed the hell out of it.

Michael Clayton

movies like this are rare to come out of hollywood these days. that's because it is built to be more of an artistic success than a commercial one. i'm sure that's where george clooney is supposed to help out. he certainly does a great job in the flick but i feel like tom wilkinson's performance was even more impressive. wilkinson continues to dazzle me even in small roles, as does tilda swinton who is solid in this movie too. it is a smart engaging flick where the down & dirty side of lawyering is on display, as is a sense of morality and justice.

Ravenous
Ravenous(1999)
½

this flick never seems to get the attention that it deserves. maybe because there is absolutely no way to market it and not even a group to market it to. i am one of the few that have seen it, own it, have watched it several times and enjoy the bloody hell out of it. the score, co-written by damon albarn is fantastic and robert carlyle and guy pearce are brilliant. a sometimes funny, bloody cannibalism movie set in the 1800's is a definite rarity but that doesn't mean it need be avoided. i know i will keep enjoying coming back for seconds.

Bram Stoker's Dracula

coppola's beautiful gothic love story is wonderfully done. gary oldman is phenomenal as usual, and anthony hopkins, keanu reeves and winona ryder are all good in their roles. i love the time period of the movie and the sets, costumes and make-up are all quite impressive. i really like the atmosphere and look of the film - perfect for a chilly autumn night.

Little Miss Sunshine

it's funny, it's sweet, it's touching - but there's something melancholy and real about it. steve carell gives a subdued performance while alan arkin steals the half of the movie that he is in. the rest of the cast gives solid portrayals and abigail breslin is very impressive. the family is believable as an average american fam trying to make it in the world - sometimes exaggerated and sometimes subtle, but thoroughly enjoyable to watch.

Death Proof
Death Proof(2007)

this flick works better without having to follow up "planet terror". i loved grindhouse as a complete double feature but "death proof" by itself is a better movie than "death proof - part 2 of grindhouse". it has slower pacing and a lot more character development through dialogue than "planet terror" does. the solo dvd version has scenes that were not in the grindhouse version and as a result the flick seems a little meatier. there are classic tarantino moments, scenes, quotable dialogue, music and even numerous references to past tarantino flicks. kurt russell is absolutely fantastic ranging from terrifying to pathetic to hilarious and the mostly female cast is perfect. not quentin's best ever but certainly entertaining.

Reds
Reds(1981)

a wonderful dramatic love story about real people looking for something to live for... or die for. deftly helmed by warren beatty who also turns in a great performance as does the entire cast.

Touch of Evil
½

a noir masterpiece: impeccably directed, boldly acted, brilliantly photographed and expertly scored. a beautiful well told story.

Monster House

this is a great animated flick - it looks fantastic, it has a good story, and a slew of good actors lend their voices to it. a fun little halloween movie.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

i have never read, heard or seen anything related to "the hitchhiker's guide to the galaxy" other than this movie so i don't have a fan's opinion of the source material to compare it to. i did, however, enjoy the silliness and fun adventure of this flick. i like the cast a lot and thought it was a fun & entertaining ride. just don't forget your towel.

Little Children
½

"little children" is a movie about the lives of adults - flawed, perverted, conflicted, complex adults. it's rare to hear a narrator that is not a character in the movie and that added something to this flick. the performances are good and the subjects addressed are interesting. it's not a movie that i would watch over and over but it was worth seeing once.

The Lookout
The Lookout(2007)
½

this is the kind of movie that i really enjoy. it has a thoughtful script, is beautifully shot and features good interesting characters portrayed by very solid actors. this noir-ish crime drama boasts great performances by the increasingly steady and impressive joseph gordon-levitt and jeff daniels. matthew goode really impressed me in this flick too.

Aliens
Aliens(1986)

this is exactly what a sequel should be: continue the first movie's story, expand on the things that were successful and add a lot more. the addition of a lot more aliens and the fantastic special effects that bring them to life inevitably increases the action from the first movie. there is more action than suspense but "aliens" still provides some scares. bottom line: this movie is badass!

The Queen
The Queen(2006)

an impressive piece of film-making with tremendous performances particularly by helen mirren. this is an intriguing character study and i am very glad that i watched it, but ultimately knowing how the royal family and the prime minister and everyone else reacted to princess di's death doesn't really interest me all that much.

Serenity
Serenity(2005)

having never seen "firefly" and not being a fan of sci-fi tv in general i was skeptical of this movie. i am very glad that my skepticism did not keep me from watching this great flick! the story was terrific, the characters were interesting and damn funny, the action is tense and the whole thing looks amazing. i'm still not anxious to see the tv series, but i'd watch this movie again for sure.

The Squid and the Whale
½

the squid & the whale feels like a wes anderson movie with characters that are more real and a story that is more personal. for pure entertainment i would rather watch a wes anderson flick, personally, but this is a fine film worth watching. wes did have a hand in producing this movie, but it is masterfully penned and helmed by noah baumbach. the acting is top-notch with jeff daniels leading the way with his amazing turn as the paterfamilias of the movie's splintering family. my major problem with this flick is that i don't like any of the characters, except maybe william baldwin's philistine tennis instructor who shouldn't really count. the movie is funny, embarrassingly honest in parts, unflinchingly real in others and is an intimate look at a family in ruins which manages to be both harsh and tender.

Seven (Se7en)
½

stylistically david fincher is probably my favorite director. the worlds that his films take place within whether imagined or historical have a dirty, real, lived-in quality to them. the unnamed rainy, dark city and its apathetic citizens are important parts of the fabric of this flick. from the story to the cast to the cinematography to the rich textures to the drama and mystery to the subtle humor and thoughful dialogue this is a movie that i thoroughly enjoy. and hiding kevin spacey as the killer until he turns himself in was a brilliant move!

Halloween
Halloween(2007)

i am a rob zombie fan and one of these days i'm going to demand more of his directorial endeavors. halloween (2007) looks great, it's looks creepy, it looks cool, it looks scary - only it isn't. there is no way to avoid comparing this movie to the original "halloween", and frankly it doesn't. i love the imagery and the added storyline that rob zombie brings, but the parts of the flick that work the best are the parts that are transferred from john carpenter's "halloween". the usual zombie cast are in this and for the most part do their usual thing. as a side note, danny trejo never seems to garner the attention that he deserves - love that guy. overall, there is a lot about zombie's "halloween" that i liked, i just wished it creeped me out like carpenter's "halloween" did. (and by the way, still does)

28 Weeks Later...

enjoyable, but not as rewarding of a movie as the first one.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
½

this movie seems to get a bad rap, but there's something about it that i love. maybe it's alan rickman or morgan freeman or the great score or the lack of tights. i know it's not the bryan adams song or kevin costner's accent that make me love this movie. for whatever reason, i enjoy watching this flick over and over.

Alien
Alien(1979)

alien is a timeless sci-fi/horror flick. the sets, the music, the ambiance, the characters are all atmospheric as hell. ridley scott somehow makes himself equal parts stanley kubrick, george lucas and wes craven. while this movie had it's own influences, the effect it has had on future generations of films and filmmakers is well beyond what it borrowed from others. a highly recommended creepy "monster movie" in space. add a bunch more aliens, some badass marines, and a lot more action and you've got yourself a sequel worthy of building a franchise on.

Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby
½

pretty funny movie. will ferrell's best? i probably will prefer Anchorman in the long run. Best movie about Nascar that I've ever seen for sure. some pretty funny scenes (like the jesus conversation at the dinner table) but fairly predictable plot. good times, good laughs - gotta love will ferrell.

Face/Off
Face/Off(1997)

john woo is amazing! face/off is a little cheesy in parts, but fun to watch.

Batman & Robin

this is the only movie that i can remember having an urge to walk out of the theater in the middle of watching it. i like george clooney & i really like other batman movies, but joel schumacher really missed the mark with this one.

An Inconvenient Truth
½

you know, this isn't a great "movie"! but the movie format gives many people an opportunity to learn some very important things. i think it is an important movie and i hope everybody sees it, but it should be watched for its content and not for cinematic value.

The Science of Sleep

a very enjoyable film. gondry once again shows off his brilliance and vision and style. he makes unique movies that are strongly based in reality yet can take us to highly imaginative places. the story is above average, the acting is solid, and everything else falls in line.

Apocalypto
Apocalypto(2006)

i've always been intrigued by mayan culture and i have never seen it portrayed more vividly than in apocalypto. i like movies that don't spend time explaining everything about the world they are set it, whether they be futuristic sci-fi or ancient cultures.

apocalypto throws the viewer right into the south american jungle and the culture, customs and language of the ancient mayan culture, allowing the characters and the story develop naturally. for this reason, i appreciated this movie more upon a second viewing when i knew what to expect. the costumes and make-up are spectacular and the movie is beautifully shot. not historically inaccurate but perhaps over-emphasized was the blood and violence throughout the movie. not a flick for everyone but it can certainly please a wide range of people looking for different things in their movie viewing experience.

Inland Empire

as a general rule i try to avoid trying to explain or entirely figure out david lynch movies. inland empire follows in a tradition of lynch films steeped in the world of dreams & nightmares. the movie is dripping with emotion and symbolism and features a superb performance by laura dern. inland empire is not a movie that you merely watch, but rather experience as beautiful and horrific images appear in a non-linear and distorted fashion. i, for one, thoroughly enjoyed the ride.

Brick
Brick(2006)

Tremendous movie! influenced by Miller's Crossing and old detective noir movies, and set in a modern day high school. It has its own style and language. Some great looking shots and camera angles beef up a "talky" movie, but the dialogue is highly stylized too.

Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan

it was everything i wanted and expected it to be. its not often that i can sit in a huge movie theatre packed to rafters (after two earlier shows i planned on going to were sold out) and have the entire place laughing. the girl next to me laughed and then said "this is the stupidest movie ever" and then laughed some more. there's nothing like making fun of america while pretending to make fun of kazakhstan while pretending to be a real journalist from kazakhstan. very nice!!

Pan's Labyrinth
½

this is no jim henson production! pan's labyrinth is a dark, twisted, sweet, bold and fantastic movie. i was surprised by the graphic violence, but also surprised by the intricate story, fabulous cast, and amazing imagination throughout. some movies are entertaining but this one has stuck in my mind for days after seeing it.

The Host
The Host(2007)

a very enjoyable movie at times funny, gross, exciting, sad, compelling and scary. it's kind of like a korean "little miss sunshine" with a mutated fish added. visually impressive and entertaining overall.

All The King's Men

tremendous cast, but it falls apart as a film in almost every other aspect.

Zodiac
Zodiac(2007)

this is a very solid, moody and entertaining flick. some real-life drama, a smart script, great performances and confident direction combine into a good, if not a little lengthy movie. this is an entirely character driven movie which is funny at times and creepy as hell at others. it is similar to "se7en" at times and there's a "silence of the lambs" feeling to some scenes. a thoroughly engrossing look into the obsession spawned by a serial killer in the recent history of america.

The Black Dahlia
½

good cast, and a good period piece, but it didn't deliver like i hoped it would. it seemed a little sloppy, or unfocused in mood, pacing, theme etc. i'm not sure yet whether i would blame the screenwriting or directing or both. i just wish it was better.

Hollywoodland

i always enjoy somewhat film noir-rish flicks. this isn't a great movie, and it's not a terrible one. it's an interesting story, it's well told, it's worth seeing. i've heard people rave about affleck's performance in this. i thought it was average. adrien brody i thought was much better as the hard-luck detective. the rest of the cast is solid enough. all in all, a movie worth seeing.

The Number 23

what does 5 + 8+ 1 + 3 + 6 equal? who gives a shit? when adding up the numbers of an address is the best part of a movie, you know you're watching something bad. i wanted this flick to be good, i really did. but then again, shumacher has let me down before. i'm searching for something redeeming in this movie. i like jim carrey, and virgnia madson for that matter. this movie doesn't change that but it certainly doesn't help their acting legacies at all. i think the script has to take the blunt of the blame for the cheesy ridiculousness of this movie. that has to be one of the least rewarding theatre experiences of mine in a long time!

Jaws
Jaws(1975)
½

"You go inside the cage, cage goes in the water, you go in the water, shark's in the water ... our shark"

that spielberg guy can really tell a story! this is a great flick! it's an adventure, it's scary, it's funny, it's dramatic and memorable. how can you not think robert shaw is awesome as hell? aside from being a good action movie, jaws actually subtly comments on society, and now of course it's embedded in the pop-culture consciousness. anyway, a true cinema classic, and one of my favorite flicks ever!

Ali
Ali(2001)
½

solid performances all around and the charisma of the man that is ali make this a thoroughly enjoyable flick. it is epic storytelling and yet there is so much more that could have been told. i enjoyed it so much that i wish it went further.

The Illusionist
½

a pretty good, if not disappointing movie for me. the acting is top notch as could be expected from norton & giamatti. it just wasn't as exciting or dramatic or engaging as i thought it would be. the storyline is above average, but not ground breaking. overall, certainly not a bad movie, but nothing stands out to make it an exceptional one.

The Deer Hunter
½

a truly powerful movie overflowing with humanity. a personal, emotional story brought to life by tremendous acting and solid directing. it is an intense and beautiful piece of cinema, and one of my favorites.

The Nightmare Before Christmas
½

i like this movie a whole bunch, but i would like it a lot more without most of the songs. of course, then it would be a pretty short movie. oh well.

Miller's Crossing

a great great movie, and what else could be expected from the coens? i love the depression era and noir style story and mystery. clever writing, fantastic and beautiful cinematography and good overall direction set this picture apart from other depression era gangster flciks. i've never like gabriel byrne more than in this movie, and the rest of the cast fits nicely. a beautiful movie - one of my favorites.

Apt Pupil (Un Élève Doué)

a well made and very well acted, but very dark flick based on a stephen king story. the characters are complex and real but not particularly likable. a story of evil, based in a historical reality, but played out psychologically in the story. overall a solid engaging movie - not singer's best but certainly worthwhile. ian mckellan is so impressive, becoming both sympathetic and scary throughout.

Cast Away
Cast Away(2000)

still a good movie, and a great performance by tom hanks. a sad but realistic ending takes the focus off of a triumphant survival story. i could have watched even more of his life on the island. certainly reminds me of lost now, but with one character its very different. i want to know what it was in the FEDEX box that he saved and delivered.

Cars
Cars(2006)
½

not only do i love pixar animation but this movie really made me laugh. neither cars in general or auto racing interest me much, but i'll watch this flick more than once.

Sneakers
Sneakers(1992)

i absolutely love this movie and i'm not sure why exactly. i guess because it's kinda geeky and funny and smart with a great great cast! yep i guess that's it.

Fargo
Fargo(1996)
½

murder. comedy. accents. genius.

I Love Your Work
½

i love the acting - ribisi has long been a favorite of mine. i thought i was enjoying the movie but afterward i wasn't so sure. i think it's a pretty good flick but i'd have to see it again to be sure.

Young Frankenstein

i adore gene wilder. i finally saw this movie and when i did, i laughed. a lot.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe
½

i've been waiting for this movie for years! i read the entire chronicles of narnia books in 3rd grade. the movie was good, and it was true to the book, and i hope that they make more narnia movies, but it's not the greatest movie ever.