redxdress's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

The Intouchables

It would have been easy for this movie to stray into the mawkish or even offensive but the great acting and daring humor at times (the mustache scene!) keeps it on its toes instead of compromising. A feel-good flick based on a true story, all the more touching when you see the real people right at the end.

Wind River
Wind River(2017)

At times, the dialogue didn't feel completely natural. Pacing maybe slightly off, and we weren't 100% sure about the underlying message. However, very good performances, especially the two leads.

Patti Cake$
Patti Cake$(2017)

Great performances by the female leads. Dialogue could be better, but the music and raps were great. Good to see some different kinds of stories being made.

The Limehouse Golem

Gripping suspense even if you guess the ending ahead of time. Great art direction, costumes and ambient scenery. Believable dialogue and performances by all the main actors too, therefore all in all, above average.


This movie was hilarious, though I don't think that was the intention. In reviewing it, Elvis Mitchell said it made him want to be a 13-year-old girl (i.e., the target audience) for the day, but that he was able to enjoy it nonetheless. As a former Anne-Rice-obsessed teenager, I can certainly see the appeal, whereas now that I'm an adult, I can appreciate the earnest and unanticipated comic value. Hard to know whether any of the goofiness stemmed from the direction, acting, screen adaptation, or original source material, but who cares, I guess. At the time, it made me vaguely curious to read the books...but then I never did.

I Dream in Another Language (Sueńo en otro idioma)

Beautiful, creative and so moving. The description doesn't even do it justice!

Love After Love

Disappointing. Good acting but characters just not very relatable, and strange pacing.

My Cousin Rachel

A surprising spin on period drama - what can/ could women expect from life?


I can understand why the performances were lauded, but I'm not convinced by the rationale for the story or the way it was told. Not to say films can't be challenging or unsettling, but my husband and I were both left uncomfortable with this male storytelling fantasy about female response to rape and trauma...

Toni Erdmann
Toni Erdmann(2016)

I enjoyed this quite a bit - even the cringe moments. There's not really any scene that I thought should be cut out, but as a whole piece, it felt just a tiny bit too long. Still, the writing, acting, and locations were great, and I've kept its rating relatively high for originality. Recommended.

T2 Trainspotting

I know it's sacrilege, but I was never actually very into the original film - in fact, I liked this one more. A bit slower and less grotesque, but still has its harrowing moments. I liked the modest amounts of redemption, and its meditation on aging. The soundtrack of the original was better, though. ;)

The Monuments Men

I wanted to like this more. I'm sure they had fun making it. But the writing was just not worthy of the talent, or the subject matter. Sigh.

What We Did on Our Holiday

Billy Connolly can elevate the humor in just about anything, but I wished we had more of him. The adults' arguments felt a bit mannered, and I know it's hard to write kids that really sound like kids, felt a bit like a made-for-TV movie with a slightly-too-earnest ending.

The Lady In The Van

Excellent acting from the supremely sympathetic Maggie Smith, even as she portrays a rather unsympathetic individual. I liked the surreal/ magical realism elements too.

The Edge of Seventeen

Smart writing, great acting, believable characters, and sophisticated laughs/ pop culture nods too.


Based on a short story and not totally without flaws, but I enjoyed the look and feel of this film very much. Amy Adams, as usual, is so compelling to watch. And it's great to see another new sci-fi film with a woman as the main character, succeeding in a mission due to both scientific and "soft skills" no less, with a message of non-violence. I'd recommend it.

Hell or High Water

Timely and relevant western-style movie. Evocative cinematography, good but understated acting.

Identity Thief

This movie was less than the sum of its parts. It's only the fact that the two leads are so likeable themselves that made me watch this film to the end. It was hard to suspend disbelief about some plot points (particularly action sequences) and the emotional heart of the film also seemed unevenly distributed (Diana's pathos). Melissa McCarthy is better than this.


I don't know why more people didn't like this, unless they were expecting straight comedy or some other mainstream predictability. On the whole, the performances were really strong and touching. The stories were simple on the surface, but you can use your imagination a bit to see that they were deeper than that. I'd have loved to see the original actors from Welcome to the Dollhouse reprising their roles, but Greta Gerwig and Kieran Culkin did a good job of taking these characters in a different direction as adults. Ellen Burstyn, Zosia Mamet, and Danny DeVito also stood out for me. I enjoyed this film and would recommend it.


I had low expectations for this movie, and wouldn't have bothered except that other people said it was really good. I think they WANTED it to be good for feminist reasons. Sadly, the script (and editing) just did not live up to the talent of the participating actresses. There were a few laughs, but other times the dialogue just felt clunky, or (in the case of Holtzman) way too gimmicky. Lastly, if what people want is a feminist sci-fi/ adventure movie, why not just make a new, really good one? Why bother with a remake in the first place? There just was not really a need. I don't have a crazy, weird, original fan feeling about that - I wouldn't have seen the point of remaking it with men either. Hollywood owes these (and all) women more, because they are better than this.

The Five-Year Engagement

This was definitely better than I had expected, but I'm still glad I didn't pay money to go and see it in a theater. Some good jokes, definitely, but also too long and towards the end, went a little bit too far (e.g. the deli sex scene and the frostbite injury). The role was not much of a stretch for Jason Segel at this point, while I felt Alison Brie's accent work was goofy, even though I like both of those actors. Chris Pratt either didn't have to act or just played himself, whichever way you see it, which is just as well. And Emily Blunt - well, she's all right but I just can't ever seem to get very invested in her characters. Basically, this film made me laugh a couple of times, groan with disgust a couple of times, and should have been 15-20 minutes shorter. Okay for TV or airplane viewing.

Little Sister

This movie was okay - Ally Sheedy's performance was particularly strong, and there were a couple of stand-out scenes. However, it felt like another round of editorial choices might have rounded it out more solidly, whether that meant leaving in a bit more or taking out a bit more.

Shadow World
Shadow World(2016)

Confirming things you suspected, and things that never even occurred to you. Eye-opening and disturbing. Everyone should see it.


Incredibly moving. Fantastic performances. Lovely cinematography.

Hunt for the Wilderpeople

Brilliant, uplifting, funny, touching.

The Lovers And The Despot

Disappointing - the pacing wasn't great, and they seemed to have left out or glossed over some of the more interesting parts of the story. The original radio program I heard on the subject was better. However, it was good to see the real people and footage.

A Hologram for the King

Enjoyable and strange. Tom Hanks makes the main character more likeable than many actors would have been able to do. However, what was most unusual about the film was the nuanced Middle Eastern characters, both the driver Yousef, and more importantly the doctor Zahra (whose role is the reason I bumped this from 3 stars up to 3.5). My only complaint I suppose is that the pacing of the film was a bit uneven; not that I thought it should be longer, but the build-up seemed very long in comparison with what felt like a relatively abrupt resolution. Still, I would recommend it.


Touching and beautiful film. Excellent performances by the young actresses. I will recommend this to others for sure.


This was better than I expected, and definitely than would be suggested by the first few minutes. Give it a chance!

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

still haven't seen or read any HP. guess i'll crack sooner or later.

Night Moves
Night Moves(2014)

Disappointing - suspense than ends with a whisper rather than a bang. I don't think the writer was sure about where to go with this one.

Computer Chess

I'm not really sure why the critics liked this so much - it really dragged. Linear but not quite linear. Mysterious yet boring. Maybe too niche of an interest - apparently very accurate as a period piece. I found myself wondering if any of the actors were also on the autistic spectrum Really just too meandering, I think.

Morning Glory

In general, I usually find Rachel McAdams good, but this movie is terrible. We missed about 40 minutes of it in the middle, and that did not matter.

The Hateful Eight

Surpassed my expectations. A really well put-together film, didn't feel too long at all, great ensemble cast. Even the anachronisms (music, the odd line of dialogue here and there) didn't bother me too much. Overall a real success.

Short Term 12

Very realistic portrayal. Excellent acting. Also I was glad that some inappropriate behaviour on the part of the care worker did not go uncommented/ endorsed - a manager was critical. This is important because so often in these movies, "maverick" professionals are seen as heroes to emulate unquestioningly.


I will admit that I was not very enthusiastic about seeing this film; I was worried that the story was gimmicky and sensationalistic. However, I'm happy to admit that I was wrong. The subject matter was handled very delicately and skilfully. The acting was exceptionally good. The pacing and dialogue were also very good. It's worth noting that the author of the original novel is also credited with writing/ adapting the screenplay, something that doesn't happen all too often. I can sincerely recommend this film to most viewers.

The Revenant
The Revenant(2015)

I have to say, this felt more like an endurance test than anything else. I've seen incredible performances from Leonardo in other films, but if he does finally win an Oscar, I'm assuming it's for his retrospective body of work than for this - his body may have been through hell (along with the rest of the cast and crew), but he didn't necessarily do very much actual acting. In terms of lines or character development, this is due to a sparse script, not himself. If you like expansive nature shots that can successfully evoke the sensation of being freezing and alone, and lots of beardy unwashed men beating the heck out of each other, this may be right up your alley. It did entertain me, but 2 hours and 36 minutes was probably a bit much.

Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens

Good job, JJ. Watchable (if a little bit too long) and a good mixture of the old and the new. Fun for the old fans, comprehensible to those of us who are less experts and more just along for the ride. But the highest praise of all for an excellent female lead role!


I finally saw this, and wanted to like it more. I'm not the target audience, which is fine, but I do feel like some other kids' movies have been more to my personal taste both in music and humor. Also, some of the characters were more likeable than others, and I have to admit that this is not a movie I would enjoy watching multiple times. If you like Sondheim-style modern and self-aware lyrics, you'll probably disagree with me. At least it has a pretty good message - love is the opposite of fear, never give up on someone you can believe in, relationships can be repaired, etc.

American Ultra

I really don't understand why this film has been so underrated/ slammed! Dark but fresh and funny. Good performances by the main cast, and stylized without being excessively so. I think it does better than other films that were much more popular. I'd recommend it!

The Danish Girl

The art direction, costumes, and acting were all good. However, the film felt like it needed another edit to tighten up which material should be in or out, and some of the dialogue seemed rather mannered/ self-aware. Regardless though, a triumph for Eddie Redmayne.

Back In Time
Back In Time(2015)

Cute, fun, maybe a little too long. But great to see participation from so many key players AND fans - only important one missing was of course Crispin Glover :P

Ocean's Eleven

This has not aged well. Script a bit silly, Julia Roberts's talent wasted here. Too long.


I would watch Saoirse Ronan in just about anything, and she proves once again that she has true range and star quality.
I was reluctant to see this movie previously because I had the impression that it would be depressing. However, without revealing any spoilers, I can say that it is in fact an uplifting and emotionally engaging story that many viewers would enjoy.
The comic relief scenes also contribute balance and lightness, with charming appearances by Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent.


I would be tempted to say "disappointing" except that would imply that I had higher expectations in the first place (maybe I would have if I took my dad's impressions more seriously). The best part of this movie was the road trip. Unfortunately, most of the 115 minutes takes place before or after that. The dialogue was a strange combination of earnest/ cheesy and slightly awkward moments...I'm sure it must be significant in some way that the awkward parts were actually the most naturalistic, but that still doesn't mean I'd want to watch them. I also found all the food porn annoying/ overbearing. Yes, I know it's a movie about a CHEF, but when I watch cooking programs on TV, somehow I don't end up quite as hungry and unfulfilled. I have to be honest and say I can't really imagine recommending this movie to anyone - at least, no one whose taste I particularly respect. For what it's worth, my husband liked it more than I did. Shrug.

Crimson Peak
Crimson Peak(2015)

I think some people are too critical of the writing - yeah, it could be better, but it's also clearly a nod to 19th century style plots and their devices. The art direction is fantastic. I also think criticism of Jessica Chastain is unfair - she and Mia Wasikowska are both good.


Moving historical drama. The scenes of violence were hard to watch, but they succeeded in representing that aspect of history without getting into gratuitous, graphic, or exploitative scenes. Makes you think about injustice that still exists today.


I found this movie hard to like - there were a few moments that made me laugh, but it was mostly not to my taste. Might have been better if shorter/ edited more tightly - felt rather meandering. I guess I was glad that it had a happy ending, because the main character was otherwise more depressing than funny. The best thing I can say about it is that Amy Schumer comes across as real/authentic - she doesn't try to be anything other than who and what she is, which I respect. Also, I guess I'm still thinking about the movie, so that's something to its credit, I suppose. I can think of some people who would probably like it, but otherwise I don't think I'd recommend it.

Welcome to Me

Brilliant writing, directing, and especially acting. If you are looking for a straight comedy, you're looking in the wrong place. As usual, Kristen Wiig is nuanced, watchable even when doing the unwatchable, and seemingly effortless in gaining my empathy.

Liza, a rókatündér (Liza, the Fox-Fairy)

Probably would have given it 3, but the extra half star is for originality. :)
If you liked Amelie but wished it was a bit darker or had more Japanese pop music, this is the film for you!


I would probably have given this only 2 stars, were it not for the acting chops of Al Pacino and Holly Hunter.


Some nice (if bleak) cinematography, decent acting. However, the dialogue felt a bit mannered at points, and the story dragged on a bit. We felt it was "less than the sum of its parts".

Cop Car
Cop Car(2015)

Edge of seat drama! The adults are suitably weird/ deranged, but the two young stars completely steal the show. It may have felt particularly compelling to me since they reminded me of some of the kids that I work with, but at any rate their performances felt totally honest. Recommended.


This was actually funnier and generally just better than I thought it would be. Melissa McCarthy really comes into her own as an actress with range who isn't just the comic relief, and it was great to see a middle-aged, overweight woman command the screen so well. Great supporting cast too - unexpectedly for some, I'd say Jude Law was actually the most forgettable.

Europa Report

It had its moments, but I sort of feel like the whole was less than the sum of its parts.

Mad Max: Fury Road

In an unexpected way, this movie actually has a feminist bent. I think that redeems some other aspects that are gratuitous (explosions) or slender (plot). More entertaining than I expected. Women are the real heroes and the hope for the future - why not?


I ended up finding this more compelling than I expected. In spite of the unavoidable tweeness (and unavoidable Scarlett), this film raised some pretty thought-provoking questions in our household. I'm glad it was more than just a pretty face, and I liked the ending (also for its questions, rather than just pretending to have all the answers). The Amy Adams character was a hidden gem, too.

The Falling
The Falling(2015)

This was a visually/ artistically attractive film, but not really enough articulated substance to flesh out the style. The acting was good, so maybe this implicates the writing/ directing? It felt a bit like an art college film, but with a bigger budget. Based on the description, I expected more suspense, but instead just got little hints here and there, plus some social transgressions tossed in to liven the story up a bit, I'm assuming. I know some people who will probably like this film, but wouldn't be able to recommend it unreservedly. Oh well.

While We're Young

I really liked this movie. It was more complex than I expected, but in a good way. Great acting, thought-provoking dialogue.


Good cast: especially the two young actors, one of whom went on to excel in "Joe" with Nicolas Cage; two small roles played by cast members of Boardwalk Empire; and of course the McConnaissance.
Better than I expected, definitely better than average.

Into the Woods

Glad I finally saw it, but the friendly young fellow who sold me the overpriced 7-Up at the concession counter was right when he said it's about 20 minutes too long.
Personally I am not much of a Sondheim fan (for those of you who are, please just agree to disagree with me on that!), and my feelings about him haven't been changed by this movie.
However, I remember being curious about this when it was on Broadway many years ago, and I was also curious to see how it would be done as a film, with such interesting casting too. In general, I get interested in the consistent reworking of fairy tales and myths, what they say about culture over time, etc.
That said, I got to a point where I really couldn't wait for it to be over, and kind of wanted something bad to happen to at least one of the princes.
So I guess my suggestion is that you may as well wait for it to come out on DVD (or on an airplane) if you aren't a big Sondheim fan and/or haven't seen it already!

Inherent Vice

I'm sure some of my friends will really enjoy this movie on a completely other level than the way I tend to appreciate/ seek out enjoyment from a film. Unfortunately, I just found it too slow and disjointed...slightly embarrassed to say I actually fell asleep in the middle of this one. My husband says I was only out for about 15 minutes (and I kept waking up and dozing off), but I thought it must have been longer since I was so confused by aspects of the plot that I could only have assumed I missed. Instead, he (who was awake the whole time) says that it didn't necessarily have significantly more connections or denouement. He was able to read more into it, and says that anyone would need to watch it more than once. However, to be honest, I can't say that idea appeals to me. I just feel like the whole was less than the sum of its parts, and I'm not inclined to do the work myself to see it as otherwise. Shrug.


I really wanted to like this movie. My dad (age 63) and my cousin (age 24) both liked it when they saw it in NY. My husband enjoyed it when we saw it here in Scotland tonight. Most critics seem to be impressed, and there are Oscar murmurs. Unfortunately, whatever its merits, may be, they seem to have been largely lost on me, as I was left feeling a combination of disappointed, bored, and dizzy (due to the camera work). It's made me question whether my tastes may in fact be more pedestrian than I like to imagine, at least when it comes to art films. The acting was good - if anything, I felt frustrated that most of the characters weren't really allowed to develop, and some aspects of the plot seemed to just fizzle out or disappear inexplicably. My difficulty with the disjointed narrative didn't make me question my own intelligence or open-mindedness (let alone deeper philosophical questions) so much as it made me question what the filmmakers were really hoping people would take away from this. Because what I took away was mainly a headache. If I had been wearing a watch, I would have started checking it long before the ending. My feelings were similar to those I experienced after films such as "Synecdoche, New York", or the less accessible works of P.T. Anderson, David Lynch or Michel Gondry. So if you like those, you'll probably like this.

This Must Be The Place

Disappointing - the concept felt like it just hadn't been carried out to any logical confusion, but rather wandered away or disintegrated before anyone figured out how to make all the disparate ideas work together in a single film. Cheyenne really had potential as a character, but instead I got tired of him spouting whiny platitudes like a thinly disguised "what if" cross between Robert Smith and an aged philosopher. The other characters simply weren't fleshed out enough - you'd hardly know Frances McDormand and Harry Dean Stanton were talented and famous in their own right. The meandering plot felt more like a dream diary and less like the writer was ever able to satisfactorily complete a thought. I'm sure that style works really well for some people, but for me, I just felt like the whole thing ended up lost in translation. Shame.

Meet Dave
Meet Dave(2008)

I couldn't believe this movie was made as recently as 2008 (though I realize it could have been made earlier and had a delayed release). From what little I could sit through, the acting style was wooden and dated (and I'm not just referring to the Eddie Murphy spaceship). The writing/ direction was a joke...but not a funny one.
Seeing Eddie in something this bad just makes me depressed, but it was also clear that talent such as Elizabeth Banks was utterly wasted here.

Aliens in the Attic

Surprisingly not as horrible to sit through as I would have thought, but that doesn't mean I would have chosen it...

The Homesman
The Homesman(2014)

Great cast and premise, but story and writing not without flaws. Avoiding specific plot spoilers, I'll just say that there were certain twists that were unexpected, but not in a good way, and the dialogue felt clumsy in places. However, it's good to see a Western focusing on women, that so many big names wanted to get involved. Lush scenery and cinematography too - just doesn't quite make up for the problems.

27 Dresses
27 Dresses(2008)

It did more or less keep me watching until the end, but I have to say this movie was ridiculous, predictable, and in some ways, disturbing. If the moral was that she finally stands up for herself and gets what she deserves, why does the romantic climax involve the "hero" telling her what to do? ("Get over here.") Yeesh...

What We Do In The Shadows

Charmingly fresh take on both the mockumentary and vampire genres. Good script, priceless expressions. A fun little film!

Mirror Mirror

This was entertaining enough for an evening of TV on the couch, but I struggle to see why the film could possibly have been Oscar nominated (unless it was for the costumes?). The dwarves completely stole the show, whereas both Snow White and the prince seemed alternately cartoonish and wooden. Julia Roberts has more talent than this, but in my opinion, the writing let her down. They could have made better use of Nathan Lane, too. Big ol' MEH.

The Selfish Giant

If you like bleak social realism, and are not terribly concerned about characters being uplifting or demonstrating too many redeeming qualities, then this may be the film for you. I'm trying to avoid spoilers, but I think any connection with the original Oscar Wilde story is so tenuous that they might as well not even have made the comparison. Even if they'd said they were "inspired by" it, that would seem more accurate to me than saying the film was an adaptation.
The two child actors are very talented, but for me that wasn't necessarily enough for the film to be an enjoyable experience. That's as fair as I can be about it!

Fantastic Mr. Fox

I have actually never watched this whole film, and the only reason I've seen parts of it is because I live with someone who watches it every time it comes on TV. Wes Anderson can be twee even at the best of times, but this film definitely crosses a line with me where folksy dialogue and mannered quirks aren't even cute when manifested by woodland creatures. I remember really enjoying this book as a kid, and I can't understand why he had to force it into his own same old tired format.


Excellent acting, dreamlike cinematography. Plot not quite incidental, but not fundamental either.

20,000 Days on Earth

After months of anticipation, I really wanted to like this film more than I actually did, both because I have enjoyed some of Cave's music for many years, and also after hearing incredibly gushing reviews of it.
However, I guess I'm just not the target audience for slow, broody documentaries. Knowing that part of Cave's artistry is his self-awareness, I can only assume that every aspect of this film was choreographed and edited very carefully. Yet I dozed off a couple of times, and didn't find some of the musings nearly as profound as others might. The cinematography is lush, there are a few moments of ironic chuckles or poetic beauty, but apart from that I think this film will probably appeal mainly to hardcore fans and conceptual art film buffs.

Guardians of the Galaxy

Points for originality but not as funny as I thought it would be (or it thought it would be). Hence maybe a little over-rated, in spite of some good moments. I found the trope/usage of the soundtrack also more clunky and distracting than I think the intention was.
I'm left feeling a bit meh.

Tower Heist
Tower Heist(2011)

I can't believe more critics than users liked this movie. While the characters were (mostly) sympathetic, the plot had more holes than a moth's favorite sweater. I just couldn't suspend enough disbelief, even though I did watch all the way to the end in case it got any better (it didn't).


Mind officially blown.


Excellent performances (including the appearances by local non-actors) and evocative scenery. There may not have been a full-on episode of Cage Rage, but Nic does remind you that when he's good, he's very very good (to paraphrase an old rhyme). Furthermore, the young Tye Sheridan was such a natural - outstanding really. I believe we will see great things from him in the future. The non-linear story segments were a little bit confusing, and some scenes were hard to watch, but I would still recommend it on the whole.

A Practical Guide To A Spectacular Suicide

Not without its flaws, but this film gets it right in virtually all the ways that count. It does well to handle the subjects of mental health and suicidality with both humor and seriousness. In particular, I thought the performances of the older character and the psychologist were memorable. The only minor criticisms I had were that at a few moments, either the script and/or some of the acting felt a bit mannered/theatrical (rather than film-style), but that didn't take away from the admirable, scrappy, labor of love that really does come across. It's clear that a lot of thought went into this movie.

Blue Ruin
Blue Ruin(2014)

Thrilling suspense, with such elegantly understated surprises - you find yourself pacing your breathing without even realizing it. The acting was excellent, scenery evocative, and script lean without being stingy. Recommended, though not for the faint of heart.

The Two Faces of January

Suspenseful story, slow burn.
Good acting by lead performers.
Effective yet understated use of place/scenery.
However, some unanswered questions, unclear if deliberately a tad inscrutable, possibly a tiny bit too drawn out?

Earth Girls Are Easy

I remember really liking this movie as a kid - before I had any concept of casual racism/sexism/homophobia...
Re-watching it on TV as an adult, it feels incredibly dated, and not just because I had advance knowledge of some of the jokes or musical numbers.

Working Girl
Working Girl(1988)

I finally saw (most of) this on TV, a mere 26 years after its release. It goes without saying that I'm viewing it with different eyes/perspective than a late 80s audience would have, but I do think the commentary on class and opportunity actually does go beyond the obvious/surface. This helped me overlook the dubious 80s workplace romance plotline. Good enough.


Scottish scenery chewing...I realize some of the touching moments may have been less meaningful to me since I didn't grow up/live in Scotland in the 80s and 90s, but I felt it wavered between magical realism and a script that was a bit heavy handed, without a clear way through (also, I wasn't convinced by the shock value). Some scenes were stronger than others.

Bad Teacher
Bad Teacher(2011)

This movie confused us. Was the entire cast under contractual obligation? How else could they get so many actors who could do better, to appear in such an unfunny chore of a flick?
I'm sure there are/were viewers out there who appreciate the kind of humor that is entirely at others' expense, with characters who don't even bother to be sympathetic. I am not one of those viewers.

Robot & Frank

This film deserves a lot more recognition than it got upon release. Stirring performance by the lead in particular, but all of the actors were excellent. The script was lovely, touching at times but also liberally sprinkled with dark bursts of laughter. It packed so much into a relatively short length of time by current standards... somehow, this just makes it even a little bit closer to perfect.

Under the Skin

I thought this seemed intriguing, based on the previews and also interviews in print and on the radio with the director. Then a friend cautioned me about tempering my expectations. Even with this caveat, I have to say I was still disappointed. I realize that this film is a long-term labor of love, VERY loosely based on a book, and intended as an art film that also makes a broader point (or at least, asks questions). Unfortunately, what it does is LEAVE the viewer with questions, and not the kind that are fun to discuss over a post-film coffee or glass of wine. I feel like they took the idea of "Show, don't tell" a little bit too literally. This film is largely style over substance. You might say meditative (toMAYto), I might say repetitive (toMAHto). I can't honestly recommend this film to anyone, except possibly art students or people who are really into ambient noise. Or Scarlett Johansson, I suppose. I haven't decided yet whether to give her credit for her performance, because I vaguely suspect she was just sort of playing herself/her usual character, except in more of a daze and with a slight English accent. Several people walked out mid-film (one person even did this about 5 or 10 minutes before the end), and I didn't feel the need to go quite that far...but if I had been wearing a watch, I think I would have checked it several times. Sigh.

Erin Brockovich

Even though I decided not to stay up past my bedtime (while sick) to see the last half hour, it would have been decent enough to hold my attention under any other circumstances.
Not mind-blowing (the dialogue when Erin gives the neighbor "her numbers" was a bit try-hard), but I respect Julia Roberts for not taking the easy way out, i.e. not playing the protagonist as entirely likeable. That said, I'm sure plenty of people (especially those who haven't looked any deeper into the real-life Erin's more dubious choices in the legal or political world) might not agree with me on that, choosing instead to see her as a straight-up underdog heroine. Still, I'm okay with giving Julia (and the director) credit for all that.


Paradoxically, I thought the last scene was the most interesting, but it kind of went on too long and had an anticlimactic ending. I get the feeling that this entire film grew out of a late night conversation not dissimilar to the one in the film's party scene. But stretching it into a full-length feature? Meh.

Only Lovers Left Alive

We enjoyed it - moody, atmospheric, love conquers all in a way. However, for those who aren't familiar with the Jarmusch style (plot being secondary to ambience), it may seem slow/anti-climactic.


Meandering story that is hard to follow unless you are a historian or decide to take a Wikipedia break to look up some of the key characters/events.

The play-within-a-play framing device feels a bit clumsy, even if Derek Jacobi is a pleasure to hear. The portrayal of the queen was disappointing, not in terms of the acting, but in terms of the caricature: jealous, whimsical, somewhat scatterbrained, tool of her councillors, more in thrall to her sexual interests than her senses. All the other females were quite one-dimensional. Meanwhile, there were also some strange allusions to some of the men's possible homosexuality, but this was not explored (in which case, why play with the idea?).

All in all, disappointing.


Clever idea, and Amy Adams is (as always) very watchable. However, the film was about 20-30 minutes too long, some of the lines were a bit cringe-y, and the ending was still pretty conventional.


I remember hearing an interview with Joseph Gordon-Levitt which somewhat raised my expectations.

Unfortunately, when I eventually saw this film, the lasting impression was of talent wasted on a somewhat incoherent script, a plotline that literally warns you not to ask questions, and distracting special effects (I had forgotten that they made J G-L look more like a young Bruce Willis.

The creepy little kid trope felt like old news, and the villains all seemed only half-realized. Overall, it was sort of cartoonish, but not in a good way. I'd have looked at my watch if I were wearing one, but couldn't believe how much movie was still left to go each time we paused it and saw the status bar at the bottom of the screen.

I feel like it takes a unique ability to make a sci-fi/action drama feel boring. Yawn. If you want to see a Bruce Willis film involving time travel, just get Twelve Monkeys instead.

The Sapphires

I enjoyed this more than I expected. The actresses put in a touching performance. It may not be terribly sophisticated, but it has heartwarming moments and realistic-looking people living through situations that may otherwise be difficult to imagine for those of us too young to remember the Vietnam War (or too lucky to have personally experienced racism).

Sweet Home Alabama

I think I saw this at some point and found it sufficiently entertaining, but it was on TV again this evening and ...bleh. The stereotypes of Southerners/country people weren't so much cutesy as slightly offensive, and the depiction of New Yorkers/city people weren't too flattering either. I like you, Reece Witherspoon, and I know you have authenticity in that you are actually a legitimate Southern gal, but did you worry at all about this movie making Legally Blonde look like Shakespeare? ...Or was that part of your genius plan? ;)

American Hustle

I'd say "better than average" but in spite of the great acting, possibly still a little overrated as a gestalt.
Generally strong performances, even in the case of the difficult-to-like Bradley Cooper character. As usual, Christian Bale fully immerses himself into his role...though I will also admit to being slightly distracted by wondering if he shaved/altered his real hairline, and whether the overweight silhouette was genuine or fairness, he's known to have lost 60+ pounds for a role like the main character in the Machinist, so it's plausibly Method, but on the other hand I wondered how much more his body could take of all this as he ages!
But I digress. Jennifer Lawrence and Amy Adams are both actresses I respect and enjoy watching in general. This time, both were very powerful...yet also, there were slightly distracting aspects here too: in both cases, accents I'm not sure I 100% believed (interestingly, my husband is British, I'm not, but I'm the one who found Amy Adams's "English" voice less convincing).
To be honest though, I think some of the character actors/cameos were at least as interesting as some of the main characters. For example, I found both Elisabeth Rohm and Jeremy Renner (who played Mayor Polito and his wife) incredibly compelling.
The filmmaker has said he prioritized character development over plot, but I think the plot was actually good enough also. It would have been unnecessary for it to have any additional twists or unrealistic reveals. I also thought the use of music was decent (if possibly a nod to similarities with films like Casino, or even Pulp Fiction, etc.?) and actually, the script/plot with relatively few incidents of real profanity, serious violence, or graphic sex? I thought that was classy and judicious.
On the whole, I would recommend it, though I don't think it necessarily added anything to see it on the big screen.

House of Cards

I saw this years ago and I don't think I actively disliked it, but then again my standards were probably lower. I can forgive the weird misconceptions about autism due to the time it was made, but doubt I'd recommend it to anyone now...

X-Men: First Class

Some good casting and acting, but also some hamming it up (well, it *is* a comic book adaptation) - I found the apparent nod to Bond villainy a bit weird, but whatever. Entertaining enough, particularly the young Magneto and Beast.


Not the most amazing film I've ever seen, but cute enough to entertain me on an airplane and keep me interested until the end.

Happy People: A Year in the Taiga

I really enjoyed this quiet celebration of nature, life cycles, and humanity. Recommended.


I found this film really touching. Great, understated performances by Bruce Dern and Will Forte. A few laughs, but mostly a thought-provoking American essay...


This movie had some funny ideas, but unfortunately they tend to beat a joke to death. I know enough about David Wain to expect some repetition and gross-out humor - these things can be funny when used well. However, there just wasn't enough to redeem the awkwardness.

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

This was my favorite book in the series. I enjoyed the film quite a lot (imaginative effects, good casting), although I actually think the first film was better in some ways. Looking forward to the next one already!


Excellent acting by the two leads, powerful subject, all the more so for being a true story. I heard Sixsmith interviewed on the radio and the book apparently tells more of the lost son's story. They could never have fit it all into a 90 minute film, but I feel like the editing and pacing was well-done.

Pitch Perfect

We definitely got a few laughs from this, and I can't deny it. However, there were a few issues I just couldn't ignore. Clever one-liners aside, this movie was formulaic, but moreover I felt a bit uneasy about its reliance on some stereotypes that may or may not have been "ironic" - e.g.:
* the slightly predatory lesbian,
* the fat-positive funny friend (never clear if we're 10% laughing with her vs. at her),
* or the extremely quiet but secretly disturbed cute Asian girl.

In the end, I don't think my age group is the target audience for this film, but on the other hand, there's probably no way the target audience would (be old enough to) have an instant association for the Ace of Base song that the girls sing multiple times throughout the story.

And the vomit scenes are just kind of gratuitous.

I think this film wasn't quite sure what it wanted to be, but the actors do give it their best shot, and it wasn't a bad way to spend an hour or two on the couch after a grueling week at work. It's definitely more of a DVD or watch-it-on-a-plane flick; glad I never felt tempted to pay full price and see it in a theater.

So, was Anna Kendrick contractually obligated for this one, or was it just a chance to play younger again?


This is one of the worst movies I've ever seen, and I have a soft spot for some of the 80s silliness...

The Way Way Back

Really enjoyed this film - it's like Adventureland's quiet friend who's not so try-hard and succeeds in being cooler, funnier, and smarter. Quality performances, believable dialogue, definitely worth seeing.

The Heat
The Heat(2013)

Surprisingly better than I thought it was going to be: more laughs, not so much gross-out humor, believable character types even though it was a fantasy of a script. Another reviewer has noted that they are basically a female, buddy cop version of "The Odd Couple", but in all fairness, they do a decent enough job of carrying it off.

Ne le Dis ŕ Personne (Tell No One)

Decently suspenseful story and believable dialogue. Not sure whether I am reading a bit too much into the class issues. The flashback scenes to childhood romance were a bit cheesy and unnecessary. Still, quite entertaining.

Stories We Tell

The above description is a bit weird because it's no "revelation" that the mother and family are Polley's own...that much is obvious within the first 5 minutes.
I enjoyed this film and felt that the methods used to explore philosophical concepts like love, memory, relationships, the complex reasons why people do things as well as the unexpected ways they/we react to events.
I found it perhaps a tiny bit distracting that old-fashioned family film footage was recreated rather than original, but I think I understand why she made this choice and I do feel it added to the overall artistic style.
On the other hand, I felt that toward the end, it started to feel like it was dragging on a bit. Perhaps the editing could have been a little tighter. So in other words, I'd have given it an extra half star for creativity, but it loses a half star for meandering a tad too long (or vice versa).
Nevertheless, I think it's a thoughtful piece worth seeing, and recommend it to people who like documentaries and/or are interested in exploring the concepts I mentioned.

Get Him to the Greek

Despite a good cast, this movie was less than the sum of its parts. It could have made a funny extended sketch on SNL, vs. as a full-length film? Pushing it. The actual original songs were entertaining albeit low-brow (not that you should expect anything other), but the joke itself was just too drawn out, especially when combined with any attempt at a "serious message" about drugs or relationships. I found myself wondering how much longer it would take before the end...

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (Jeder für sich und Gott gegen alle)(Every Man for Himself and God Against All)

I know this is a classic; I enjoyed it but can't honestly say I got everything from it that is described above by Hal Erickson. If anything it seemed like an inquisitive look into human development and nature vs. nurture, but without any conclusions...

This Is the End

Full of the unexpected, lots of laughs, not for the faint of heart or easily offended.

Upstream Color

I didn't dislike this movie, and in general I kind of enjoyed it. However, I'm not convinced that it achieved everything it set out to do - just felt like it was still missing something (and I don't mean potentially a scene that ended up on the cutting room floor). It would be easy to say that the filmmakers deliberately left some parts vague/wanted you to think for yourself etc. but I feel like there's a smidge of emperor's-new-clothes about the critical accolades, kind of like a Darren Aronofsky film (but much better, I will admit) or some of the other "deep" pictures of the last decade or so.
Very good acting on the part of Amy Seimetz, I will say.

We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks

Everyone should see this film. In spite of criticism I've read online, I felt that it provided a relatively balanced perspective on the multiple facets of both whistleblowing culture, and the confounding of the personal and political. "The truth" is always something in between what different sources (of which there appear an impressive variety) will say, and I felt like the audience's intelligence is respected enough to ultimately draw its own conclusions.

Berberian Sound Studio

I feel like this film was less than the sum of its parts. While the acting is good, particularly Toby Jones, I was left with the overwhelming feeling of sadness rather than horror (or "pleasure" as mentioned twice in the same sentence within the Flixter description). I had high expectations based on reviews, and must admit I was disappointed, not sure the film achieved its aims. We analyzed what we think may have been the underlying points or suggestions that the film was making, but in the end feel like it asked more questions than it fact, too many questions.

Starter for 10

Hard to believe this was only 7 years ago - James McAvoy and Benedict Cumberbatch look so young and weedy! A cute film, in spite of the incredibly cringe-y moments. Great 80s soundtrack, too.

The Switch
The Switch(2010)

Nothing about this movie appealed to me in the first place, but now that I am sitting here with someone watching it on TV, I can confirm that nothing appeals to me now either. Jennifer Aniston is as dippy as ever - does she KNOW how to play a different character? Only this time she's matched by the dippiness of Jason Bateman (whom I often like, but couldn't save this movie), and teamed up with an obnoxiously precocious child, because that's such an incredibly unique film trope. Yawn.

The Master
The Master(2012)

I get that this critically acclaimed film was more character-driven than plot driven, but I was disappointed. 2+ hours is a long time for not much to happen.

Evan Almighty

Unwatchable drek. Bruce Almighty had its moments, even for those of us who aren't religious. Evan Almighty wasn't funny or profound - I can't imagine it appealing to kids (generally less critical) either. I formed my opinion based on snippets as my husband had it on TV, and it couldn't even hold my attention for more than 2 minutes at a time. The only audience I can think of is perhaps religious people without a very sophisticated sense of humor or appetite for other genres. How did they get so many good actors to appear in this waste product?

Beasts of the Southern Wild

I don't think I liked this as much as I wanted to. Mixed reviews aside, I truly thought I'd find it picturesque and potentially meaningful...instead, I found myself hoping it wasn't going to be too long, as any intended deeper message was obfuscated by the ethereal yet clumsy magical realism and rather sparse dialogue. If the point was that impoverished, disempowered people consciously make choices that many of us would consider "crazy", because they know something deeper about life that we don't, well...I'm not sure that was totally original (or convincingly achieved) either... Really sorry to say this, but disappointing.

End of Watch
End of Watch(2012)

The handheld camera trope really falls through when it's at angles that no one in the scene could possibly be filming. We also found the script flawed and some of the choices for ordering scenes confusing. Some of the acting was good, though.

Star Trek Into Darkness

A very good time, whether you're very familiar with Star Trek or coming to be entertained for the first time.

God Bless America

In spite of some negative critical reviews, and the flaws that I observed myself, I felt this movie had merits and creativity, which is why I'm giving it a half-star above the average. Joel Murray's performance was understated and touching, and I enjoyed Mo Gaffney's cameo (but who can resist her, ever?!). Tara Lynne Barr, on the other hand, was rather cloying/mannered, perhaps more suited to a stage production...alternately, reminiscent of some of the very references she amusingly skewers (such as Juno or Glee, minus the singing). Some of the dialogue got a bit too preachy, didactic, or bordering on philosophical soliloquy...however, it tended to express sentiments with which I already agree. Dave had doubts about the ending, but I thought it was probably as appropriate as it could be. Ultimately though, I found it rather depressing...while perhaps spiritually giving a nod to more extreme forbears such as Natural Born Killers, what this film really serves as is a political commentary just beyond documentary, a nod to the issues explored by filmmakers like Michael Moore...and perhaps the next link in the chain between the here-and-now, and the inevitable future reality of Idiocracy. After this, I needed to watch some comedy to cheer myself up. Rest assured, nothing too brainless - we put a Community DVD in. ;)

Funny People
Funny People(2009)

I can understand why this got mixed reviews, especially if fans of Apatow, Sandler, or Rogen were expecting straight comedy. However, I felt there was real pathos here.

The Dark Knight Rises

Definitely too long, some hammy acting, predictable plot "twists" and cheesy dialogue. Kind of disappointing.


Rainn Wilson is nuanced and sympathetic, in this movie which was much darker than I expected it to be. Ellen Page plays the same character she always does, in my opinion - just wearing a superhero suit this time. This was a violent, disturbing, and sad story - in my opinion, kind of a fractured fairy tale. Worth a look but not for the faint of heart or people who expect it to be an action movie version of Juno, Whip It, or the US version of the Office...

Silver Linings Playbook

Mild spoiler alerts ahead, but I'm not giving away any major plot points and I found a lot of this film predictable anyway.
I thought this movie was overrated. Perhaps this was a self-fulfilling prophecy, since I'd initially dismissed it based on the previews, but then allowed my resolve to be eventually whittled away by various friends/relatives extolling its virtues and swearing I'd like it. I should note that my husband enjoyed it more than I did, and rates it higher.
I will agree that I didn't actively dislike or take offense to the way mental illness is portrayed. However, I just didn't feel that the actual script/plotline carried the whole thing off. There were a few moments of clarity and sad beauty, such as the family fight scene in the attic when Pat can't stop from hurting his parents, or De Niro's elegantly underplayed hints of OCD. However, I just found the bulk of the dialogue to be a bit clumsy, forcing in a lot of exposition in a less than believable way, where it just tried to fit too much into two hours. I can't lie and say I've never enjoyed a contrived movie, but this one just felt too forced a lot of the time (e.g., the therapist's interaction with Pat at/after the football game). I liked some of the little things about it, but overall I suppose I just felt it was less than the sum of its rather maudlin parts. And even though I actually really like Jennifer Lawrence, I can't say for sure that this part really did justice to her talent (c.f., "Winter's Bone" or even "The Hunger Games") - the Oscars are virtually meaningless to me anyway so I'm ambivalent over what I think of the fact that she won for this role. I attribute this to what must have been odd direction rather than any individual actor's choice, since I found both lead characters a bit wooden when they weren't Obviously Emoting to Teach a Lesson (or spouting a sitcom-like wisecrack). The minor characters and older actors were less affected by what I can only assume was David O. Russell unsuccessfully combining overstatement and understatement, but not enough to save the whole picture overall for me, that is, enough to rate it as average or better.


I'm sure they would have called this "Identity" if that title hadn't been taken already by another forgettable movie (literally - I honestly can't remember if I saw that one...I could have sworn I did but remember nothing about it).
Unknown certainly had its exciting points, but in other ways it was rather clumsy, and I can't say I fully buy into the twist enough so as to end the movie seeing the hero as redeemable...
That said, it was an entertaining enough flick to watch on TV when nothing much else was on, so if you are in the same situation, or on an airplane, or whatever, give it half your attention. ;)
Personally, I found Bruno Ganz the most intriguing out of all of the characters, but my husband doesn't quite agree. You be the judge.

Swimming To Cambodia

This put me to sleep - couldn't get all the way through it.

Rachel Getting Married

Some good acting, some scenery chewing. Some unexpectedly long and/or awkward scenes. Some cultural appropriation apparently meant to be feelgood hipness. Glad I finally saw it, but I don't think I'd see it again.

A Dangerous Method

The only thing dangerous about this movie was how dangerously boring it was. You wouldn't expect this considering it's Cronenberg, Mortenssen, and incorporates elements (however disputed in later times) from the history of my own chosen career. However, we just couldn't bring ourselves to care very much about any of the characters, and the story line was flawed in its pacing. I'm not generally a Keira Knightley fan anyway - in this case, she's not absolutely terrible, but her accent is slightly bizarre, and her impersonation of a psychiatric patient strongly resembles Gollum from LOTR. I didn't expect a *lot* more from this film, but I did expect at least a little. Don't bother even if you are interested in the subject matter; it's nearly two hours of your life gone, and no amount of lying on a couch complaining about it will bring it back. ;)

The Birdcage
The Birdcage(1996)

Just rewatched this again for the first time in years. Some good acting and funny moments but it certainly seems dated (and heavily dependent on wacky, nonthreatening gay stereotypes). Still, it has a few good jokes.

This is 40
This is 40(2012)

I think some of the critics are missing the point. It's not meant to have formal story/structure. It's more like creative nonfiction, but without the tired cliche of people talking directly to the camera as though it's a documentary (or mockumentary). Good performances, real emotion, worth a look.

Synecdoche, New York

Wanted to see this when it came out, finally got it on DVD, and to be honest? Disappointment. Too disjointed, too full of itself, too sorry for itself. But at least now I finally have some validation for the fact that I occasionally mix up Emily Watson and Samantha Morton.

Paper Clips
Paper Clips(2004)

A bit heavy-handed with sentimentality in parts, but genuinely moving in enough other parts that I felt it was worth the experience. Recommended for sharing with young people especially.

The Ten
The Ten(2007)

I really wanted to like this film since I know some of the people who made it...but now that I've finally seen it years later, I have to admit it did nothing for me. Star-studded cast wasted on puerile attempts at transgressive humor...couldn't wait for it to end. Now I'm just glad I didn't see it when it originally came out so I wouldn't have had to lie about my reaction. Oh well.


I fully appreciate that this movie is from the 80s, I am not the target audience, and many folks' opinions of it may be colored by nostalgia. That said, in my opinion this movie does not appear to have aged well, from the low-budget exploitation scenes (topless mudwrestling?), casual ethnic stereotypes and sexism, and mugging/wisecracks that would have been better suited to an outdated sitcom, I found it almost unwatchable. In fact, I was mostly reading while my husband watched this on TV, occasionally glancing up to confirm that yes, this movie can be followed with as little attention as it takes if you have two brain cells to rub together - 80s style capering aside. I am also generally a fan of Bill Murray and John Candy, yet this appeared to me their least likeable roles in any film I've ever seen, even as you are meant to identify with/root for them. My husband seemed to enjoy this film and I wouldn't want to spoil it for him, but I'll be happy enough if it never comes on TV again in this house. :P
Incidentally, I would be curious as to how old the critics' reviews included below might be...I find it hard to believe that anyone who's watched it recently would be quite so effusive...

The Pirates! An Adventure With Scientists

It had its moments, clear creativity and a star-studded cast...I'm glad I saw it, but it didn't hold together quite as well as some other kids' movies I've seen in the past year or so (or compared to past treasures produced by Aardman).

Observe and Report

I was tempted to bump this up to 3 stars due to its creativity and good acting, but the truth is, this is a film that couldn't decide what it wanted to be. Farce, action, tragedy, social commentary? Unfortunately, and in spite of some decent darkly humorous moments, I'd have to say it's less than the sum of its parts.

The First Movie

Beautiful scenes that show insight into children's lives, even in another, very different culture. The originality of the idea and mission merit credit, but the slow pace of the events unfolding may not appeal to some viewers.

The Visitor
The Visitor(2008)

Charming - light entertainment touching on some serious issues.

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Incredibly dark and unexpected. I'm still not sure what the actual goal of the filmmakers was, but it's certainly made me think. Excellent performances, disturbing subject matter.


Gripping suspense, excellent yet understated acting, fascinating story. Highly recommended!

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

In spite of it being an action film, this was so boring it put me to sleep. I do find it interesting that so many people (including friends whose opinions I respect) got so much out of this movie. Sorry but I just have to politely disagree! I found the characters generally one-dimensional, the soundtrack hammy, and the cartoon effect trope too try-hard. Michael Cera just seemed to be playing a skinnier, whinier version of his usual character (himself), and the lameness of the female characters might have bordered on insulting if the whole film was something I could take seriously. I would have been disappointed except that I had low expectations from the start, having read some insightful articles about this film when it came out a couple of years ago. I haven't given up on Edgar Wright yet, nor have I given up on the graphic novel-to-film genre, but this is just a forgettable piece of brightly packaged fluff (I was tempted to use a more negative word than fluff, but there's no need to get TOO insulting)...

Date Night
Date Night(2010)

Without the charisma of the two leads, the holes in the script would have been harder to take. I wouldn't say this movie was predictable, per se, but it was hard to suspend disbelief enough to ignore the cheesy one-liners and silly plot points. This would have worked better as an SNL skit!

Ruby Sparks
Ruby Sparks(2012)

Mixed feelings. We anticipated a fun take on the tropes of your typical romcom, turning the MPDG on her head in favor of a healthy dose of reality where human beings' flaws are concerned. This is the case, but there were also some unexpectedly cringe-y moments, supporting roles that were fairly caricaturish in themselves, and an ending that may actually have been *less* ambiguous than we were expecting. I won't elaborate because I don't want to spoil it for anyone. Obviously, the entire premise requires a suspension of disbelief, but we still weren't sure we agreed with where it went after the denouement. Oh's worth seeing it for yourselves and making up your own minds.

Liberal Arts
Liberal Arts(2012)

Whereas I was concerned that the premise might be creepy, I'm happy to say this little gem exceeded my expectations by far. Jesse Radnor actually comes across as very sympathetic, sort of cuddlier, Jewier Jimmy Fallon. And Elizabeth Olsen truly impressed us (a bit like a younger, smarter Scarlett Johansson!) - with dignity beyond her years, I think we will see great things from her in the future. I also liked the fact that aside from being unquestionably lovely, she combines youthful exuberance *and* awkwardness, in a realistic looking body. Furthermore, an unexpected and memorable supporting cast, including longtime talents Richard Jenkins and Allison Janney, a comic cameo appearance by Zac Efron, plus rising star John Magaro, among others. But of course, a great cast would be for naught without a compelling story and a believable script. This film honestly contained both, and I highly recommend it if you are in the mood for some wry chuckles and contemplative soul-searching. A sweet surprise.

Snow White and the Huntsman

I might have said this was disappointing, if I hadn't already had such modest expectations (questions of post-feminist fairytale heroine notwithstanding)! Style over substance: while some of the special effects (including costumes/art direction) were good, it didn't make up for the fact that the film was too long, CGI was a little cheesy, dialogue was stilted, and acting uneven. Essentially, the best performances belong to the dwarves, whereas all the main characters come across as wooden, with the exception of Charlize Theron, who just seems shriekily psychotic. Kirsten Stewart *looks* like a fantastic Snow White, but unfortunately did not do much to contradict her reputation for failing to emote...she seems to indicate feeling via the volume of her voice, but barely a furrowed brow or a smile line appears in the entire film. I also felt that Chris Hemsworth ends up coming across like a poor man's Brad Pitt/Colin Farrell amalgam.
Furthermore, in spite of the fact that this is of course a fairytale, I *still* had difficulty suspending disbelief. The script was just lame, and felt like a teenage adaptation of a graphic it was no surprise to me when at the end of the movie, I remembered that the writer was none other than Hossein Amini. He wrote another excessively lengthy, melodramatic, overrated film that I reviewed earlier this year: Drive. For the record, I rated that overblown, hyped-up snoozefest even lower than Snow White, with just two stars. I can't believe he's actually won an Oscar (except for the fact that I routinely disagree with Oscar choices), and will save myself the trouble of ever bothering to pay money to see any of his films. In case you're wondering, I saw Snow White on an airplane. :/

The Cabin in the Woods

So very meta - clever Whedon. However, I seem to have much lower tolerance for slashing and screams than I did when I was younger. This film will probably appeal both to knowing audiences, and those who don't get the references but enjoy horror and don't mind the violence.


Good acting and the interviews with "real people" definitely fleshed out the story. However, I felt it may have dragged on a bit be fair, I was really tired and started falling asleep, don't know if this was *because* the film felt long or if it's what *made* the film feel long. Would be willing to give it another chance and reconsider my rating.
I wouldn't class it as a comedy, though...there are funny moments, but overall it's an opportunity to evaluate the dark side of seemingly innocent relationships...and also to reflect on our own values.


A good, dark twist on the superhero theme and/or teen coming-of-age flick. What if those who acquire power are tragically ill-equipped to handle the consequences?
We didn't totally love the ending, but it didn't negate all the things we liked (or found thought-provoking).

Young Adult
Young Adult(2011)

A daring choice to make the protagonist someone so difficult to like, and then make her (and the actress) work so hard to try and win the viewer over. I can't say I liked her as a human being in the end, but I did develop some sympathy toward her. This is a testament to Charlize Theron's fine acting, plus a pretty good script (and I'm not a full-on Diablo Cody worshipper). Patton Oswalt's acting is also nuanced and superb. We had mixed feelings about the ending, but this is a fine exploration of the dark side of nostalgia, homecoming, and unhealthy love.

The Hunger Games

I was on the fence about whether I wanted to get involved in a new series, but I finally watched this film today and it was absolutely worth it. Thought-provoking, well-made, good pacing, and excellent art direction/vision. We also felt that some of the acting was pretty good, not to mention some memorable cameos/small roles.

The Wedding Video

I can't believe 73% of critics liked this movie. I specifically disregarded negative-to-lukewarm reviews (thinking, maybe they're just being snobs) in order to go and seek some light and unchallenging entertainment this afternoon. I must say, I can't recall the last time I looked at my watch in a cinema/having paid full price for a movie, prior to today. It features actors I like, but was truly less than the sum of its parts. I also would have thought I might find Rufus Hound more sympathetic (I've enjoyed his radio series about peoples' teenage diaries), but I'm not sure he's cut out for full-length, starring roles. All in all, this film was disappointing enough that I'm not sure I would have even felt it was worth so much time if I were watching it on an airplane. Give it a miss, in my opinion.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Lush cinematography but ultimately too long...granted, I'm not generally a big Western fan but I felt it was getting to the point where I couldn't wait for them to get the assassination over with already...
I wasn't won over by the suggestion of mental illness/suicidality as a way of adding depth, either. Some performances were better than others, but I don't think I'd ever want to watch this a second time.

Moonrise Kingdom

I give it credit for being original and clearly requiring a high level of design. The young actors are compelling, and a few of the famous names inspire pathos too. Anderson fans won't be disappointed. However, I tend to be a bit more cynical than some about the recurring tropes/tweeness that start to feel a bit gimmicky to me. Still, better than the Life Aquatic, but didn't feel as fresh to me as Darjeeling Limited or Rushmore.

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial

classic, everyone knows that. my dad took me to see it 3 times when it came out (though it was really because HE wanted to see it again). i used to cry when elliott got sick and wigged out.

The Angels' Share

heartwarming and surprising; deals with social realism without losing hope for humanity. recommended.


Beautiful, haunting scenery and some good acting. I loved the little old lady.


I really wanted to see this and seemed to remember it getting good reviews. Now that I've seen it, I'm not sure why it was so popular. As my husband put it, "it was definitely style over substance." And he actually liked it more than I did. I'm glad I didn't see this film in the theater because I would have felt like I wasted my money.
I honestly just wasn't able to suspend disbelief, whether it was due to the stilted script (so...many...awkward...pauses), the sudden, graphic violence, or the fact that the first 30 minutes seemed to skip over story points while the rest of it was rather drawn out. I basically felt like I was watching a live action comic book...and the protagonist was a bit of a cipher in a silly jacket, while the other characters were mostly caricatures. Seriously, it felt like the script was written by a 14-year-old.
I kept expecting to find out about some mysterious past, where he belonged to a gang called the Scorpions (or a German lite metal band), and that's why a stuntman would work as a nearly silent mechanic for 5 or 6 years yet turn effortlessly to serial killing. Instead, this film just feels like unanswered questions, created by a team whose command of language and narrative storytelling doesn't quite match their affection for exploitation cinema. Yawn...

Hamlet 2
Hamlet 2(2008)

Somewhat flimsy script, but painfully amusing main character and originality of concept bumps this up a bit to 3 stars. We saw it on TV, though - admittedly, it wouldn't have felt like it completely justified a full-price movie ticket. ;)


Some of it was hard to watch, but the acting was superb and the story heartrendingly believable.
Beautifully shot in subdued Northern English light.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

I really wanted to see this when it came out. The cave paintings were fascinating, and it would have been neat to see them in 3D. However, we both felt that stretching this to 90+ minutes was probably unnecessary...some of the interviews literally put me to sleep. Instead, it could have been a spellbinding 45 minute program, or otherwise perhaps fleshed out a bit more.
I don't think most people who are big Herzog fans will find fault with it, but that's just my honest impression!


Darkly unpredictable, but some pleasant surprises too. Great acting by all involved.

Sea of Love
Sea of Love(1989)

I finally saw this movie, though I had confused it with The Big Easy since I remember my parents talking about both of those films around the same time.
It did keep my attention all the way through, but I thought the killer should have been (SPOILER ALERT) the mama.
Also, I wonder if Al Pacino's character was supposed to be a dark horse/badass 80s hero, or more of a neo-noir antihero, since actually he was a real dick. We didn't think Ellen Barkin should have taken him back so easily...any of the times she did it...
But at any rate, entertaining enough.

Starship Troopers

I finally saw this - it did not disappoint! Clever way to make a point, well done.

Super 8
Super 8(2011)

It's no surprise to me that Spielberg would get behind this terrific flick, a 21st century update/homage to films like ET and The Goonies. I found it particularly refreshing that it was set in the days before meant that the kids had to solve problems in a different way than they might have done today. And speaking of the kids, I felt the characters were memorable and the acting really natural. Even the fact that the kids were funny without being ironic, wisecrack-spouting mini-adults felt like a bit of a throwback to the best PG-13 movies of my youth. ;)


I thought it was basically cute...nice to see Eddie Marsan in a good-guy role, for a change.

The Muppets
The Muppets(2011)

I enjoyed this film, and so did my husband, Dave. The movie theater was mainly full of other people in the 30-to-40 age group...though there were one or two actual children there who seemed to be getting laughs, even if some of the references to original muppet moments may have been over their heads. That said, I'm not sure whether it has lasting significance to a wider audience besides the nostalgia crowd and kids under 10. Dave feels like in this, it has served its purpose anyway, but I thought part of the point of this film was to introduce a new generation to a resurrected muppet movement that would be as relevant today as ever before. While I did have a good time, I am afraid it might actually be a casualty of a desensitized age, just as the naysayers within the film more or less threaten...I really don't know whether it was intended to meet lofty goals, vs. serve as a nifty trip down memory lane, or both, or whether this even matters...or whether I am taking the whole thing too seriously?
I feel torn between 3 and 3.5 stars, but I think the spirit of it and what it represents (not to mention the new musical talent) may have nudged it up a notch, anyway. Sorry if this review disappoints any die-hards who are looking for 5 stars, but I deliberately avoided anything resembling a spoiler and encourage you to see it for yourselves. Enjoy. :)


Not necessarily Scorcese's magnum opus of all time, but I enjoyed this film and actually did feel like it was good to see it in 3D. This nostalgic love letter to cinema will remind you of your own dreams. Good acting and effects, too.

The Descendants

Sad and thought-provoking. I've never seen this side of Hawaii before, but more importantly, the film is a real reflection of the complicated ways people relate to each other when the truth hurts. I especially liked the fact that the cast look like real people, not a bunch of typical Hollywood faces. Even George Clooney is allowed to look a bit haggard. He just keeps getting better with age, in my opinion.

Easy A
Easy A(2010)

It's interesting how teen movies change and yet stay the same, in terms of the subject matter of sex, friendships, etc. Some lines were funny, but I found a lot of the dialogue just a bit too hard to believe, but not good enough for me to suspend criticism the way I would have for a film like Mean Girls, Jawbreaker, Clueless, or even 10 Things I Hate About You. I felt similarly about Juno, but at least in that movie, the supporting cast was more believable/sympathetic. In Easy A, I found the supporting cast cloying at times, and excessively/unbelievably "quirky" at other times (especially the parents). I found the main character more or less sympathetic, but still not believable as a high school student (aside from the voice, her general essence was simply of an older, more mature person, more so than even the most emotionally mature teenager). However, I guess the overall point was valid...
On a side note, I wonder if it's a sign of aging that I found a movie aimed at young people to be too overtly sexual?!

As Good as It Gets

This movie would have been more enjoyable if I didn't find Helen Hunt (and her on-again, off-again fake working class accent) annoying most of the time. Jack Nicholson is great though. Greg Kinnear is pretty good too.

The Scouting Book for Boys

Good acting, unexpectedly dark twist to the story, but at the same time, some aspects of it felt a bit over-the-top (Emily's mum bears a striking resemblance to Amy Winehouse, for example).

The Squid and the Whale

I found the story kind of unsatisfying, but the acting was good. To me, the whole thing was a bit derivative of Wes Anderson, but on a lower budget...also, they didn't seem to make a completely consistent effort to do the 80s. For example, there's a Purell dispenser in the hospital, and the Hall of Ocean Life at the AMNH is very clearly the contemporary exhibit...not that it automatically makes that big of a difference, but it was noticeable to me...


boring and pretentious does not equal profound and mysterious.

Black Swan
Black Swan(2010)

This movie was, of course, very hyped up. Psychopathology and lesbian sex scenes tend to do that to an audience. However, when we finally saw it (over a year after everyone else), we felt it was we'd kind of suspected from the start. Some of the ideas were original, but the bottom line is that this seemed to be another Aronofsky pic in which people projected more depth than perhaps there was (cf. Pi). Natalie Portman was convincing, but I think it's obvious that this story of the dance world depends completely on people's lurid, rubbernecking fascination (voyeurism) with perceptions of severe mental illness. Of course, as a psychologist, it's easy for me to say that. Lastly, the "body horror" scenes were vivid and disturbing...they've stuck in my mind, but frankly I wish they hadn't. This is by far not the worst or most graphic film of its kind that I've ever seen, but on the other hand, I just don't agree that it deserved quite so many of the accolades it got.

Notting Hill
Notting Hill(1999)

Was tempted to give it 3 stars, but it was sooo long and not quite the kind of cheesy that really floats my boat. I actually had difficulty really identifying with the protagonists - William was just kind of so wimpy and tepid, and Anna was kind of manipulative and bratty a lot of the time. I liked a lot of the incidental characters more, to be honest. On a side note, if Julia Roberts and Hugh Grant ever did get together and had a kid, that kid would have HUGE teeth.

About a Boy
About a Boy(2002)

good performances, for the most part. relatively unusual story.

In the Loop
In the Loop(2009)

Thoroughly enjoyable dark comedy about political spin. Unexpected and nuanced performance by Anna Chlumsky - hadn't seen her since her awkward phase and "My Girl 2." Peter Capaldi, Mimi Kennedy, James Gandolfini, and Tom Holland were all good as well.

The Debt
The Debt(2011)

Gripping story, but I was a little disappointed by the ending (won't include any spoilers here)...wish they'd say what happens AFTER that!!! Some excellent performances, others perhaps a bit scenery-chewing.

Our Idiot Brother

I'd never heard of this film til I saw it on a plane. I found the characters likeable and engaging, with believable relationships and funny scenarios. Recommended.

Percy Jackson & the Olympians: The Lightning Thief

The concept was cute, but the execution rather ridiculous. I found much of the dialogue and acting cheesy even with my lowered, watching-it-on-an-airplane standards. I also saw the "surprise plot twist" coming about a mile away. Still, as far as teen films go, I guess it was harmless enough.

The Way
The Way(2011)

Not perfect but original, touching, and philosophical. Very human performances, beautiful scenery, and a story worth thinking about.

Shrek 2
Shrek 2(2004)

i don't love the shrek franchise, but the 2nd one was much less objectionable than i expected (how's that for faint praise?).


Incredibly moving film without all the bells and whistles of so much contemporary fare. Great writing, great acting - brought a tear to both my eye and my husband's. Since I am a psychologist myself, some of the fantasy in that relationship was a little bit distracting for me (I won't say more because I don't want to spoil it for anyone). However, this can certainly be overlooked in general, since the film was truly special.


Finally saw this, hard to believe it's 12 years old since I suspect the subject matter is as dark and thought-provoking as it ever was (though the lack of cellphones is simultaneously refreshing and dated!). What a fascinating parable. The acting is excellent, and the story actually a bit chilling. Wow!

The Awakening

Pretty decent suspense chiller. Good acting, evocative scenery. Not without flaws: there were a few odd aspects of the plot that didn't quite fit, but I was entertained enough to feel forgiving of this. In the same vein as "The Others" (though that script/plot was tighter, I think), with a dash of "The Illusionist" perhaps.

Spider-Man 3
Spider-Man 3(2007)

2 or 2.5 stars? Surprisingly disappointing. I started to wonder if the script were written by a couple of 12-year-olds. I'd heard before that the plot was a bit convoluted, what with multiple villains, but even that didn't prepare me for the ridiculous dance scene, poor quality animation (reminded me of The Scorpion King, which came out YEARS earlier), and pandering attempts at patriotism (e.g., Spidey running past a giant American flag on his way to thwart the bad guys). I watched it all the way through, but couldn't help wondering whether the decent actors in the main roles honestly felt comfortable mugging their way through this adolescent fantasy. Ironically, it actually reminded me MORE of a comic book than the first two movies, but not in a good way.


This was kind of like a very long episode of X-Files...not one of the better ones, either.

This Is England

Poignant, realistic, and so well-done. We were really impressed by the quality of the acting, especially since some of the main roles were played by newcomers to the screen.


Sad - I suspect a fairly accurate depiction of this subculture. It was actually somewhat less depressing than I expected, but still not a very uplifting slice of life. I've given in 3.5 for originality and very good acting; however I don't think I would want to watch it again...


I enjoyed this film in general, more as an example of incredible character development than following a complex plotline. I understand why viewers were divided over whether they actually found Poppy likeable. For the most part, I found the character sympathetic, but then again it could be grating/wearing to encounter a person who truly never stops talking or joking around, especially when the jokes can fall flat. However, even in her ditzy moments, you can usually see that her heart is in the right place...

The Woodsman
The Woodsman(2004)

This film could have reached the potential suggested by Kevin Bacon's acting, perhaps with a slightly better script. However, it was thought-provoking and well-made.

Children of Men

I actually really liked this, contrary to my expectations. Moving and gripping at the same time. Well-scripted and -acted.
Not out of the realm of possibility either, which makes it all the more thought-provoking.

Brighton Rock

The old version, while maybe a bit stylized due to the acting tradition of its day, is still superior. I'm still not sure whether this should get 2.5 or 3 stars - to be honest, I'm not sure the lush backgrounds and mod vs. rocker updating make up for the slightly blunted acting/dialogue. Maybe it would have been a bit zippier if 20 minutes shorter. However, I think the flaws were probably more due to the director/screenwriter preferences rather than the actors, who seemed to inhabit their roles as best they could. Long story short: see the original.

Chico & Rita
Chico & Rita(2012)

I would have rated this slightly lower for the plot that dragged on a bit and to be honest, I didn't much care for the vocalist. However, bumped it up to 3 stars for the creative animation.

Red State
Red State(2011)

Brilliant and terrifying. Some actors, like Melissa Leo and John Goodman, just keep getting better and better. I had a stronger response to this movie than my husband, don't know whether it's because I'm from the US and he isn't. However, this movie really resonated with me, not least because I fully believe it could happen. I thought Kevin Smith did a great job with the direction, editing, writing, et al., right down to the previous few injections of humor. Contemporary social commentary at its finest: no simplicity or untarnished heroes here.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy

We were looking forward to this film and it did not disappoint. Suspenseful pacing and fine, understated acting. In particular, I liked the fact that they featured all types of faces, rather than the conventionally attractive Hollywood kind of casting...gave it a much more authentic (and interesting) look.

L'Empreinte de l'ange (Mark of an Angel)

I gave it 3 stars because I did watch in suspense waiting up until the very end. That said, the ending felt rushed, strange, and tacked on by someone who works for the Lifetime movie channel...
This film is quite creepy - I do think the performance of the two lead actresses actually outshines the script.

Jane Austen's Emma

Slow-paced retelling that probably seemed particularly tepid due to being released in the same year as the more engaging Gwyneth Paltrow version. Kate Beckinsale came across as more childish/less likeable than some other actresses' interpretation of the title role, though some of the minor characters were a bit more engaging.


Truly terrifying in a way that "monster movies" can never be, because in this scenario, people are the monsters. And it's not difficult to imagine a scenario that cripples our society so that not only civilized values fall by the wayside, but basic needs can only be met by making devastating choices. I think this movie is about spiritual sickness in society; while I'm not religious, I feel like I get the point.
While the story is not without flaws, superb acting makes it all the more poignant.

Lars and the Real Girl

Sensitive and unusual portrait of a informal community mental health approach...people supporting someone troubled, in the most natural (even enthusiastic) way. I also thought the acting was excellent - you really feel for the characters.


Giving this 3 stars because the suspense made me watch the whole way through. I've not been a Sandra Bullock fan in general, but she can be surprising. On the other hand, I thought the ending of the film was lame and disappointing - I won't elaborate because I don't want to ruin it for people who still might see it.

Cold Mountain

Dialogue a bit overwrought, perhaps to compensate for Nicole Kidman's underwrought facial expressions. Honestly, was all that scenery-chewing in the love scenes meant to make up for the fact that she's almost completely unable to move her eyebrows? Thanks, Botox.
Still, the other scenes were better, and there were some interesting minor characters...I wondered how much of it was based on research into the Civil War South?

A Room for Romeo Brass

I thought the acting, particularly the two young stars, was excellent. The two dads were both interesting characters as well. Paddy Considine was disturbing, as tends to be the case. The plotline was not without flaws but I bumped my rating from 3 to 3.5 for originality.

The Skin I Live In

Brilliant...Almodovar just keeps evolving as a filmmaker.


Clumsy dialogue at times; plot derivative of Larry Clark's kids. Yet compelling enough to watch all the way through. For a fresher, more inspired take on contemporary class issues and youth culture in London, I'd recommend "Attack the Block." While a fantasy on the surface, whereas "Kidulthood" is meant to be realism, I actually found the latter to be simultaneously more conventional in its values and more sensationalistic in its plot. Both are worth a watch, but there's a comparison worth noting.

Whip It
Whip It(2009)

Underwhelming, just as I expected it to be. I maintain that Ellen Page only ever actually plays herself. However, what I didn't expect (especially since I generally like many of the other actresses) was how the script was both formulaic and kind of full of holes. There was so little character development - even the main character seemed like a cipher. The only person I felt was really fleshed out was actually the mom, played by Marcia Gay Harden. The rest of the characters were so one-dimensional, or even just caricatures. This story could have been better told as a comic seemed like someone just really liked roller derby and tried to construct a story backwards from that. It's a tenuous grasp on the cultural zeitgeist. I apologize to my friends who really like this film (or roller derby), but as much as I was entertained enough to watch til the end, I still found this movie a bit of a forgettable teen girl story on skates.

On a side note, I remember hearing that the actresses claimed to have done all their own stunts, but that it wasn't true (according to a friend of mine who plays derby and knows a couple of the stunt skaters...who received no credit).


Oliver and his parents - superbly acted, great characters. To be honest, I found the girlfriend very hard to like, but maybe you're not supposed to. Anyway, a decent film even if it seemed like Richard Ayoade randomly dropped a music video or two of his into the middle... Couldn't decide whether to give it 3 or 3.5 stars, but will go with 3.5 for originality.


I enjoyed this film more than my other half did. I thought it was creative (on a presumably small budget) and the acting was good, even if the trolls themselves looked a bit dated in terms of special effects. Obviously though, that was not the point. I struggled with what to rate this, since I normally give a 3 to a decent, watchable flick, a 3.5 to a movie that seems a bit better than average, or a 4 to something truly above average that I'd definitely want to see more than once (5 - a timeless classic, rarely bestowed rating). I think I'm giving it 3 because last year's "Rare Exports" and "Monsters" were in a similar vein but slightly better...still, I enjoyed it. I want to give it the benefit of the doubt for having a sense of humor, and being everything that the Blair Witch Project *should* have been (but wasn't).


It's great to see more of Kristen Wiig, a rising star in contemporary comedy. Melissa McCarthy was fantastic too, and it was a pleasure to see some favorite UK talent included (Matt Lucas! Chris O'Dowd!). Fresh, funny, and daring in terms of taking you where most women's movies fear to tread. Touching moments too. I only wish I'd been able to see it with more of my own special lady friends!

Shut Up Little Man!

This is compelling viewing. The banter is initially simply hilarious, but the whole point of the film is to investigate the back story, and illuminate the (sometimes surprising) human beings behind it. Recommended.

Fish Tank
Fish Tank(2010)

Dark, almost brutal storytelling, almost a documentary in its dreary realism. The acting is good although I couldn't tell if Mia is actually supposed to be a good dancer or not. Thank goodness for some small degree of hope at the ending, I suppose...

Attack the Block

Some aspects of this film were really creative, and some reminded me of other movies (e.g., the pheromone part was reminiscent of Mimic). I heard the director interviewed recently and he said that the simply chose the best kids for the job, without considering ethnicity. Whether that's the case or not, it brings up some very relevant questions about class and race. The director also says that he doesn't like the way modern movies have to feature heroes who are "squeaky clean." The young folks in this film are definitely not in that fact they were real enough to be not entirely sympathetic, but you do find yourself rooting for them unequivocally by the end of the story. It brought up some conflicting feelings for me because they reminded me so much of the students I had when I worked in a jail. Regardless, fine performances on behalf of all the young cast members, which bump up my rating a bit.
Overall, the film is not without flaws, but it's a fast and fun take on the genre and worth a look if you are into stories that are smarter than typical horror, deeper than slapstick comedy, yet take themselves less seriously than straight-up sci-fi.


I wasn't originally interested in seeing this movie, but after hearing the director interviewed, I was intrigued. A post-post-modern fairytale about a princess who is her own knight in shining armor, a noir sense of right and wrong, and no such thing as a happy ending. Not entirely without flaws, but creative, tough, yet tender at surprising moments. Excellent use of music and scenery. Recommended.

The Princess and the Frog

Enjoyable modern-era fairtytale, though I definitely see where some of the controversy about ethnic depictions could be an issue.
great artwork in the tradition of "Beauty and the Beast" and "Aladdin." Mostly decent songs, especially since Randy Newman can be very cheesy at times. I particularly liked some of the jazzy numbers as well as the Cajun music- it was wise of the filmmakers to feature New Orleans' rich musical tradition so prominently.

Inglourious Basterds

Finally saw this film. Some parts were hard to watch, but I felt the violence was used well to aid the plot. The acting, especially on behalf of the German characters, was excellent. However, I found some of the special effects and voice-overs to be a bit random or cheesy...just didn't fit right with a drama, high-production values WWII pic to have someone's name in cartoon letters with a blaxploitation commentator. Inconsistent, too, in that they didn't do this for all the characters.
Still, a very moving fantasy.

The Fighter
The Fighter(2010)

terrific acting, sympathetic characters.

We Live in Public

a strange film about a strange person. questions about his mental/ socioemotional health are inevitable. it's a fascinating topic, whether you're already savvy about the world of the dot-com bubble or not. arguably, i and most of my friends came of age around this time, but most of us have no concept of the impact these events may have had on the current world of reality tv, interactive websites, etc. granted, some of it is a bit dated, and some is even disturbing, but on the whole i'd say it's a worthwhile peek into a strange side-road of the history of the internet.

The Virgin Queen

A bit dated (especially the cheesy but mercifully brief fight scenes), but Bette Davis imbues this role with nuance and depth, in a way a lesser actress may not have succeeded. It's definitely odd to watch Joan Collins in these early roles, in the context of who she later became.
Great costumes, which I was glad to see in technicolor!

Essential Killing

Couldn't help wondering if all the critics' enthusiasm is an Emperor's-new-clothes kind of a situation, where no one wants to appear anti-intellectual by admitting how equally boring and grim this film was. I actually would not fault Vincent Gallo for this - it's purely a writer/director misfire as far as I'm concerned. Yawn.

Black Dynamite

Literally a snoozefest. We both fell asleep, turned it off and agreed to watch it again another time. A week later, we still had no inclination to give it another chance - just too much of a one-note homage/satire, the note being flat.

The Three Burials of Melquiades Estrada

Good film but somewhat flawed in its storytelling. The acting and cinematography are noteworthy...just wish the narrative was a bit less confusing.

Goodbye Solo
Goodbye Solo(2009)

Eloquent and moving. The two leads inhabit their characters with absolutely convincing skill. Well-composed by the director, not to be missed.


Funnier than we anticipated, with a few good laughs, and great appearances by Kristen Wiig and Jane Lynch. However, it was definitely not on the level of Hot Fuzz or Shaun of the Dead, so it's best to set your expectations low and be pleasantly surprised.

Hellboy II: The Golden Army (Hellboy 2)

It was kind of hard to believe this was made by the same team as the first Hellboy. Where they must have poured energy into the costumes and make-up, they probably should have applied more ingenuity to the script. The dialogue and just general order of events was just better in the first film, and judging by some of the stilted performing, I suspect certain cast members may have felt the same way.
I also felt that there were blatant references to other films that just made this one look derivative, though perhaps I could generously see these as homages to LOTR (the director's cut) and Star Wars (Episode IV). The similarity to Pan's Labyrinth is slightly better justified since it was made by the same director, but still. I gave this movie 2.5 stars and debated about the .5, but added it since I did care enough to watch til the end...still I found this film generally disappointing.


Imaginative and entertaining, even if imperfect.

It Could Happen to You

Saw this on TV, 15 years after it was made. Some movies age well, some do the opposite. This one, strangely, does be honest it just wasn't very memorable one way or the other. I was interested enough to hold out to the ending, but didn't feel like the film was very well-made. The fact that it is "inspired by an actual incident" makes it marginally more interesing, I guess, but still, I wasn't particularly moved.

Something's Gotta Give

A preemptive apology to any of you who've been infatuated with her since "Annie Hall," but I have difficulty finding Diane Keaton anything but irritating, in virtually every role in her range from A to B.

My fiance was watching (er, snoring through) "Something's Gotta Give" on TV. A few minutes after he left the room, I turned it off, because basically I found this unwatchable.

Incidentally, I'd say I'm kind of tired of Jack Nicholson hitting on annoying younger women in films as well. :P

In Her Shoes
In Her Shoes(2005)

I thought this movie was really touching, with well-developed characters and some really funny moments! Definitely recommended.

True Grit
True Grit(2010)

I'm not a big fan of Westerns, so I was honestly, pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this movie. The characters definitely fit into the Coen Brothers' pantheon, but without being completely unbelievable or even difficult to embrace. A well-told story, colored by some fine acting.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

Creative and unusual twist on the standard holiday fare. NOT for little kids, though.

Another Year
Another Year(2010)

Amazing character portrayal, beautiful cinematography. A pure example of art imitating life- we were able to empathize with all of these people, who seemed so real. This movie may not be a big-budget blockbuster, but I think it's the best film I've seen in 2010.

The Kids Are All Right

A really good, 21st century family drama. Moving story, compelling characters (though I would have liked to get an even better sense of some of them), and very realistic dialogue. The actors really shine.

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde

They pack a lot in, even without audible dialogue. Dated cultural standards aside (the female characters), this movie is still one to watch, 90 years later!

The Disappeared

I thought it was decent, especially since it was the first full-length effort from Johnny Kevorkian. The cinematography was perfectly bleak, and the creep factor was good even when you sort of knew something was coming (or because of this). Harry Treadaway gives a very convincing performance as the main character who may or may not be suffering from a psychotic break. A decent indie horror film as far as I'm concerned.

Burke and Hare

We got a few laughs but this is definitely a dark film, not a straight-up comedy. Jessica Hynes was one of the best performers, while veterans like Tom Wilkinson and Tim Curry did admirable turns. It was fun to catch the cameos (Christopher Lee, Stephen Merchant, etc.), and in some cases actors were so well-camoflaged (Bill Bailey) that we didn't recognize them right away. Andy Serkis was very convincing, and so was Simon Pegg- he can virtually do no wrong in our book, though his performance felt restrained. Isla Fisher kind of phones it in, since as usual she comes across playing the same sort of role...I kind of don't feel she deserves such a high billing in the credits, but I guess she's more of a "name" currently than Jessica Hynes.
This film has its gruesome moments and it's definitely not for the faint of heart (or stomach)...maybe not the best movie I've seen all year, but enjoyable and good fun for a spooky Halloween flick on a wet, windy night in Edinburgh (where the whole story is set).

The Social Network

An enjoyable film that tells a good story. No more, no less. If you accept that these are BASED on real people and events, but with incredible artistic liberty, then you can sit back and enjoy the character acting. I do doff my hat to Jesse Eisenberg in this respect, and will never again call him the "poor man's Michael Cera." His acting chops are clearly way ahead.
W/r/t the criticism of this film's characterization of women, I think it's simply that it's a story about something that mainly happened to a bunch of guys. Rashida Jones does a nice job as the lawyer with a revelation, and Zuckerberg's fictional/amalgam ex-girlfriend outclasses him, but the other women are groupies. Maybe that's more of a reflection on what they thought was relevant to the story, and would sell tickets...note that in real life, he's been with the same girlfriend since 2003, and she is by all accounts an independently minded intellectual (possibly now finishing law school?) who is simply not dramatic enough as screen material.
I can understand why the individuals depicted would find this unflattering, but the bottom line is that it's just an interesting subject for a two hour flick.

Hot Tub Time Machine

I saw this for free, and am kind of glad about this. There were a few laughs, but also some cringe humor and the general feeling of an SNL sketch gone on too long. Aside from the obvious homages to 80s teen flicks, I'm not sure what Cusack was doing in this movie...fulfilling terms of some contract? Favor to a friend? Definitely not boosting his career.
I guess the point is to completely ignore all logic and most standards of taste for the sake of the yuks, but as I implied, that works better in a 7-minute sketch on SNL (or the Daily Show, with all due respect to Corddry).

The Night Listener

premise okay, but they kind of made a mess of it.

The Illusionist (L'illusionniste)

I found this really sad, but tender and lovely and worth seeing.

Winter's Bone

Absolutely excellent, phenomenal film. The characters are compelling, the story chilling. Highly recommended.

Toy Story 3
Toy Story 3(2010)

We were utterly charmed- not a dry eye in the house. This film had every good aspect of its predecessors and then some. Anyone whose funnybone wasn't tickled or heartstrings pulled, no matter what your age, you need to be unfrozen, ungrinched, and have some sense knocked into you. Pixar has outdone itself yet again!

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

Saw this movie the week it came out and was absolutely floored. Burton and Depp have both outdone themselves...the artistic genius of this film cannot be overstated. I'm not even a Sondheim fan, but what an incredible treatment! One caveat: the graphic murder scenes are not for the faint-of-heart.

Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

Just saw it on TV again for the first time in years. Of course some parts are cheesy (in that special late 80s/early 90s way) but it's an enjoyable retelling of a classic story. Why not?

Robin Hood
Robin Hood(2010)

Not *the* best film I've ever seen in my life, but definitely entertaining. Echoes of LOTR with Cate Blanchett (who is compelling) and forestry scenes...also, the orphan boys reminded me of he Lost Boys from Peter Pan. Still, an engaging enough way to spend a couple of hours.

Four Lions
Four Lions(2010)

This was a powerful movie- it was marketed as a comedy, but in fact, I actually found it very sad. There are no winners in this war...just like in real life.

Dogtooth (Kynodontas)

Dark, original cinema. I felt that they used shock very effectively, unlike a movie that is all shock without enough substance (an example that comes to mind is "Dans ma peau"). Dogtooth is not for the faint of heart, and there are some scenes that would make most people at least a bit uncomfortable...however, if you are open-minded and want to see a film about family pathology on the far edge of the map, I'd recommend it.

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

I never think of myself as a western fan, but I've been wrong before. I enjoyed this film and it held my attention from start to finish, even though a couple of events confused me a bit. Dave and I both felt like the ending was a slight letdown- otherwise I might have actually rated it a bit higher. At any rate, good story and characters.


Entertaining, but flawed. Woody was pretty much ideal casting, but I did wonder if Jesse Eisenberg's part might have been originally written for Michael Cera? I felt that this movie had trouble straddling the line between a hip, winking kind of comedy, vs. a generic splatter-fest. Shaun of the Dead did it better, even (and I can't believe I'm about to say this, w/r/t a ZOMBIE flick) in terms of plot holes. I enjoyed this movie enough to say that I'm not sorry I watched it, but I wish it had been a bit lighter on the cheesiness and senseless destruction (under the guise of "enjoy the little things") and heavier on the wry comedy. Even a guest appearance by Bill Murray couldn't make up for lagging dialogue. :/
Oh well!

Cemetery Junction

We both enjoyed this movie- in my case, more than I initially expected. Gervais & Merchant's script and casting were spot-on. It may not be the most original choice of subject matter, but they handled it in a touching and refreshing way. Impeccable use of soundtrack as well.

Side note: I rated this 3 stars, which is my standard rating for an enjoyable flick. It's not like giving it a C instead of an A or B. I think it's a good movie and recommend it for pretty much anyone except kids.

Also: the description above ("A 1970s-set comedy centered on three upstart professional men working at an insurance company. ") is wrong.
Out of the three friends, only one of them works for the insurance company, along with the father and fiance of the female lead character (and love interest). That description ignores the class issues at play in the story, which are *key.*


I'm actually enjoying this ridiculous movie on the basis of just how silly it is. In terms of the acting style, it's like an old school swords-and-sandals epic, but minus the coherent story arc. Who was more at fault, the writer(s) or director? I can't remember the last time I saw so many well-respected actors giving such underwhelming performances. Also, I suspect Angelina's nuttiness is not actually "acting." We've been sitting her trying to figure out who or what is mainly to blame for this mess...still, the train wreck is not without charm, even if that charm stems primarily from ironic appreciation of details like Colin's sculpted blond wig, Jared's doe-eyes, and the strange choice of assigning Irish accents to the Macedonians. What's wrong can feel right if it's funny...but Dave pointed out that this 3-hour-long cliche without irony would have seemed awfully tedious in a movie theater (and after having shelled out cash for the tickets, instead of watching it for free on TV). He changed the channel after an hour. Would we have held out longer if bedtime weren't looming? Maybe...maybe not. Might rent it at some point, just to see how they handle the rest of the story...but it won't be at the top of my list.

Shirley Valentine

Really charming little film. I think later movies must have been inspired by it, but when it came out, I think it was really something new and unusual!

The Terminator

Finally saw this, and now I can wear my Governator t-shirt without wondering what I missed out on. Seriously, a good old flick.

Teen Wolf
Teen Wolf(1985)

Never saw this film til 20-25 years after everyone else, but it was worth it. The original jokes are still funny, but the retro appeal is pure 80s-tastic nostalgia. Love it!

Micmacs (Micmacs ŕ tire-larigot)

Enjoyable and original. While not necessarily my favorite from this filmmaker, I thought the message was poignant* and the execution of the idea was engaging.

*I was going to say timely, but actually I'd say it'd relevant at most if not all times in recent history; "timely" boxes it in too much.

School of Rock

Funny, engaging story and dialogue. Fantastic child performers who seem so natural. Very re-watchable. :)

Little Miss Sunshine

Excellent story, dialogue, and ensemble cast performance. Highly recommended.

Alice in Wonderland

I am very glad we decided to see it. While not my favorite Tim Burton film of all time, this is a well-done revisiting of the classic tale, in some ways probably more faithful to Carroll's twisted visions than many other, sanitized versions. For this reason as well, think twice before bringing young children who scare easily.
The costumes and details were great. There were some artistic decisions I didn't quite get, and I would have left out the pop music from the dance scene and end credits (it felt just about as weird as when they used it for the Oompa Loompas in Burton's revision of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory"). However, I'd still recommend that anyone into fantasy or the weirder side of the Victorian age should go and see it on the big screen (we saw it in 3D, but I think you could enjoy it in regular old 2D).

Where the Wild Things Are

I found this movie very sad. I understand that it was based on Dave Ego's (I mean Eggers') novel adaptation, and was fully endorsed by Maurice Sendak other than Spike Jonze's decision to move the wild world out of Max's room. Anyway, I am glad I saw it, and I thought the artistic aspects of the film were stunning, but I found the Yeah Yeah Yeahs' music and the framing plot (about Max's family) distracting, the neurotic monsters were depressing, and the violence would be disturbing for little kids. I realize Sendak himself would probably tell me where to shove it, but that's okay. In my opinion, this could have been an amazing short film if it stayed faithful to the original story. Instead, we got a dragged out child's nightmare of a Woody Allen family dressed in monster costumes. Sorry, but that's just the way I saw it.


Entertaining, fun romp for the imagination. Michelle Pfeiffer is a natural as the evil witch. Claire Danes essentially plays the same character she always does (herself) and her accent is lame, but I didn't hate her. ;)
Overall, good fun.

Bottle Rocket

Entertaining, yet mediocre. An early glimpse into some of Wes Anderson's stock bag of tricks and gimmicks...the acting is not bad but the story and characters might have seemed fresher if I hadn't already seen so many other Wes Anderson movies.

The Lovely Bones

Interesting new path for Peter Jackson (and his writing team). I've wanted to read the book since it came out; have heard that the film is a bit of a departure, but regardless, it was creative, enjoyable, and gripping. We both enjoyed it and would recommend it!

Rumor Has It
Rumor Has It(2005)

This movie was almost unwatchable. The premise was uninspired, the story line bordered on creepy, and the characters were mostly wooden. In general, I think Jennifer Aniston is a highly overrated actress with a limited range...this is a fairly Aniston-y movie, but that doesn't explain why talented actors like Costner, MacLaine, or indie-darling Ruffalo would deign to make an appearance unless it fulfilled some studio contract (or in Costner's case, back debts after Waterworld). We also found ourselves wondering if it had been filmed some time ago, but had a delayed release, due to the inexplicable fuss made over the fact that Aniston's character has a (borrowed!) CELLPHONE. Don't waste your time on this movie unless you are drunk and amused by that sort of thing...and it's on TV, because we would have been even more turned off if it had cost us any money to watch it. :P

Up in the Air

good human drama, with nice comedic touches.


Yes- this movie rocked. My high school computer teacher actually showed us this movie, though I had seen it before! Dan Aykroyd's nickname is "Mother," and Redford is "Bishop." River Phoenix was in it too, and Sidney Poitier gets a free trip to Tahiti. Cool movie!

The Book of Eli

We liked the style of this film, and the story was definitely compelling. The end was a little confusing, but still, I'd say it was worth the ride.


I still don't understand all the naysayers. A well-made film that kept me interested throughout, this was like FernGully on steroids, possibly also inspired a bit by "Ishmael," by Daniel Quinn. And unlike my previous experience with the new 3D films, I'd definitely say this one was worth seeing with all the bells and whistles.

A Serious Man

good characters and cinematography, but not my favorite coen bros. film.

A Scanner Darkly

Better than Waking Life, maybe not as good as some similar themed movies, like Minority Report.

The Dark Knight

Joker maybe a little overrated due to halo effect, but otherwise a good film, good acting and script. Maybe better than Batman Begins.


Very funny and creative, but also overbearing and icky in a few moments. Mostly great on the whole.

Wedding Crashers

even my grandma liked this one, but i can't dig the concept.

He's Just Not That Into You

I actually liked this movie more than I expected to. I saw it on an airplane (rather than paying $12 to see it in a theater) but it rang true in many parts. Surprising especially since the book it's based on was not appealing to me.

V for Vendetta

Not without minor flaws, but otherwise this film was phenomenal. I actually cried a little bit at the end! Scary, artistic, inspiring (more so than other dystopic visions).

Dodgeball - A True Underdog Story

Actually, cuter and funnier than I thought it was going to be.

The Family Stone

Treacly nonsense. I have never understood the popularity of Diane Keaton, and usually find SJP irritating too, but ironically the latter was a more sympathetic character in this film.


revealing, hard to watch, but important.


kind of disappointing, but not unwatchable...

Stealing Beauty

poignant story, gorgeous scenery.

Minority Report

Well-made, gripping adventure movie.


This movie was very difficult to watch...mainly I got through it because I like Will Forte and find Jay Chandrasekhar attractive...but all in all, a fratty flop.

Belle Epoque (The Age of Beauty)

Beautiful and sexy of the first for Penelope, but the ensemble cast is what really does it.


Entertaining, but hard to follow in parts. Also, it's weird to see Dakota all growed up...

Slumdog Millionaire

Moving, sad, spellbinding. Parts of it were hard to watch, but I was glad it had a happy ending - so few stories do.

The Haunting
The Haunting(1999)

Entertaining enough, but a bit over-theatrical at the end, and Lily Taylor's character becomes a bit grating. I think this may have been my first exposure to Owen Wilson...had to say that I actually looked forward to his character's demise. On the whole, I found the cheesy, made-for-TV film "Rose Red" to be the most entertaining recent version of this old formula, but still, there's creativity in this one.

Y Tu Mama Tambien

Decent character development, but what I liked most was the visual journey through Mexico.

Catch Me If You Can

I only just saw this movie (having DVR'd it) and must say, I enjoyed it so much! The pacing was fun and acting was great without being overstated. Amazing to think it's based on a true story!

The Devil Wears Prada

It held my interest til the end (probably because I have worked for someone as evil as that), but overall a dud.

Independence Day

Everyone else saw this already, whereas I'm 13 years late to the party. It was as enjoyable as any other action/sci-fi flick, but I must say it was really weird to watch it from the perspective of a post-9/11, neo-Cold-War society...


Amazing ensemble cast- real life issues and it's not always pretty. Very well done.

Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure

Classic, and not just because of Socrates. ;)

Waking Life
Waking Life(2001)

This movie was sooooo boring- seriously, I know everyone loves it, but I found it almost unwatchable, including the disconcerting animation. The best part was the music.

La Dolce Vita

One of my favorite Fellini films. Amazing soundtrack, too!


One of my favorite Fellini films.

Bruce Almighty

It was a neat concept but ultimately fell kind of flat for me. Maybe it's because I'm not a religious person, but the prayer thing felt like overkill...I'd recommend Dogma instead, if you want to see a movie about questioning faith.

The Producers

The two stars are generous, in my opinion...I couldn't get through this whole movie, but I'm thinking maybe it got better at the end. I loved the original film, and while I thought the changes in the stage version were unnecessary, it was still enjoyable. Translating that stage version back into a film pretty much sucked the life out of it. Lane and Broderick aren't awful, but they can never compare to Wilder and Mostel. Sorry. If you have to choose, SEE THE ORIGINAL!

The Producers

Maybe some of the humor is a little dated, but in my opinion that just adds to the overall charm. It's a CLASSIC, people. Runs rings around the remake, in my opinion... I know the musical update was a success (at least, the stage version), but I still don't really feel it was necessary to change it so much. Also, Mostel & Wilder are better than Lane & Broderick- sorry, it's just true.

Ghost Town
Ghost Town(2008)

I don't care if it's unoriginal, it has Ricky Gervais in it!

The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor

Yay! I loved the first two. Not ashamed to admit it! If you see them as a send-up of 1930s-era adventure comics, you'll get the joke. Not to mention the revolving cast of man candy! ;)

The House Bunny

Seriously, I do want to see it. Anybody else???

Needful Things

I remember seeing this when it first came out. Total small-town creepiness achieved. It's on TV today and it's still freaky, especially the use of cassical music and off-beat actors like Amanda Plummer.

The Holiday
The Holiday(2006)

I just watched it again for the umpteenth time. This is one of my favorite little movies, I don't care if it's cheesy!


Saw it on TV, so I'm not sure what was edited out. But it was entertaining enough to hold my interest, anyway. Now I'm curious about the graphic novels.


I don't think there's anything unusual or bizarre about giving a baby up for adoption. Anyway, I finally saw this movie, after reservations due to not thinking teenage pregnancy should be taken lightly (now Knocked Up, on the other hand- that was funny!). As I expected, it was pretty gimmicky, and I didn't find the main character that sympathetic. On the other hand, I liked many of the smaller characters more, and enjoyed the soundtrack (even though Lisa quoted the Onion as describing it as "being hit over the head with the world's twee-est umbrella"). Anyway, I was thankful that at least they didn't use that weird fake slang in the whole movie. It was entertaining enough for the $2.25 I paid to rent it, anyway.

House on Haunted Hill

It's holding my interest (while I'm also online) but the special effects are kind of ridiculous and the acting uninspired. I'd like to see the original. In the meantime, I can recommend Rose Red or The Haunting, heck, even Scary Movie 2, as better scary-house-movies.

Mystery Men
Mystery Men(1999)

This movie is still funny, years later. Not the most ingenious thing ever, but creative, quirky, and funny.

Marie Antoinette

Sofia Coppola is incredibly overrated. However, if you accept this movie as a pretty piece of fluff to watch as brain candy, then it's worth a rental.

Edward Scissorhands

Incredible, original story. One of Tim Burton's best and most moving films, ever, even the music (which to this day is used in ads for other films). If you are a fan, you should also check out Matthew Bourne's dance version!

Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory

I always found this movie a little disturbing, but I still say it was decent enough that a remake was unnecessary. The songs are corny, but catchy, too.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

I can finally update this rating. Originally, I checked off "Not Interested," and wrote:
"I'll probably see it at some point, but why mess with the original if you're not actually putting a new spin on things? This seemed even creepier than the 1970s version."
Well, now I have seen it, and can honestly say that it was different, but not really better, in spite of modern technology and digital color. I still don't really see the point of changing the story. I found Gene Wilder's portrayal a tad creepy when I was a kid, but I feel like Johnny Depp's was actually more so. Too much like Michael Jackson, complete with eerie Peter-Pan-syndrome and aversion to parents. That accent was so weird- like a cross between Wisconsin and Baltimore, with a dash of Church Lady. I normally am a big fan of both Tim Burton and Johnny Depp, but this is probably not one of the films I'll watch over and over...

Men in Black
Men in Black(1997)

Fun sci-fi flick that also stars the true NYC!


I was initially kind of skeptical about this movie- glad to say I was wrong! A memorable, adorable film that's fun for the whole family. I loved the ending!

Kiss Me, Guido

This movie seemed much more hilarious back when I was in college, but it still has its charms...especially for the uninitiated.

The Royal Tenenbaums

I liked this movie more upon re-watching it (2008!). I still think Wes Anderson is a bit over-rated, but I guess I'm glad I gave this movie another chance. I upped my rating from 2.5 to 3 stars.
Here's my original review, if you're curious:
This movie had some great moments, but on the whole it just felt too gimmicky to me. The characters were so contrived, and Gwyneth moping around didn't disguise that. I generally like quirky films but this one just didn't convince me. Maybe that's why my favorite character was Chas (Ben Stiller), who felt the most like a real, fleshed-out person.
Unlike most of my friends, I prefer Rushmore.

Romy and Michele's High School Reunion

Lighthearted, fun look at high school silliness. The fact that half the action takes place in the 80s makes it even better...though I must say that those dresses at the climax scene of the reunion are pretty hideous. :)

Léon: The Professional

Powerful, dark, and devastating- truly a classic. Natalie Portman deserves every single one of the accolades she got, Reno is elegant, and Oldman as psychotic as ever. In response to the criticism that it represents pedophilia, I'd like to point out that Leon NEVER returns Matilda's affection physically, and it is the legion of pedophile FANS who want to interpret this movie as something it's not.

The Big Lebowski

Classic movie- some people don't seem to "get it" and if not, the rest of us may not be able to explain it to you. The Dude abides.

Sleepy Hollow

One of my favorite Tim Burton movies- the aesthetic throughout the movie is perfect. The characters, even small ones, are fantastic. The script is funny. I feel like it deserves more credit! :)

Almost Famous

I liked the kid- interesting enough story. I still don't totally get the experience of completely devoting oneself to a particular musician, band, or even genre (though plenty of people I know and love have done it)...

Saving Silverman

Pretty freakin' funny, even when edited for TV

The Ring Two
The Ring Two(2005)

Not quite as scary as the first one, but held my interest the whole time (on an airplane at 2 AM)!

Pride and Prejudice

I liked it more than I thought, since I find Keira generally pretty limited. However, it's hard to screw up a good Jane Austen story, plus I liked Wright's artistic treatment with the costumes, sets, etc.

The Brothers Grimm

Terry Gilliam does get very creative, but this movie still wasn't quite as amazing as I expected it to be...
Still, definitely worth a look.

Ella Enchanted

Cute twist on what would otherwise be a very tired genre. Jokes for the parents, plus great cameos by Joanna Lumley and Cary Elwes! Anne Hathaway has great comic timing, and can even sing. Worth your self-indulgence. ;)

Batman & Robin

Appallingly bad. I don't know if they were camping it up on purpose, but the jokes are embarrassing even on TV, 10 years later, knowing how much they must have spent on this ridiculous project...

Just Friends
Just Friends(2005)

Surprisingly amusing for the genre. Sometimes goes for the cheap laughs, but I must admit that watching it for free on Comedy Central was worth the two hours or so I devoted to it!
Anna Faris's over-the-top performance as a thinly-veiled reference to Paris Hilton takes the cake.

Crna macka, beli macor (Black Cat, White Cat)

Brilliant comic work- my favorite Emir Kusturica film thus far. This endearing cultural gem never gets old as far as I'm concerned! Even the music is amazing. A must-see if you have any sense of humor at all.

Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair(2004)

Opulent treatment of an incredible work of literature. Mira Nair has great style, but I ink the script could have been more polished.

The Thirteenth Floor

Haven't seen it in years, but I remember enjoying it.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

Entertaining- not the best movie I've ever seen of all time, but it held my interest and featured some neat special effects, especially the animals. I definitely understood why people have noted a strong resemblance to LOTR, especially the Two Towers (also the river sequence from the Fellowship of the Ring), but it didn't prevent me from enjoying the rest of it.
As I have previously stated, the people who dissed it or who say C.S. Lewis is crap need to stop hating- go back to your supermarket paperbacks and conserve your brain cells. These movies are way better for kids than most of the other junk out there, so even if you have no imagination, don't get angry at people who do have it!

So I Married an Axe Murderer

I don't care if people are turned off by the goofy title- this is still one of the funniest movies Mike Meyers has ever made, and it beats out a lot of other comedians' work as well (in the pre-digital age, no less!). My friends and I still quote this movie, to say nothing of what it's done for my fake Scottish accent. ;)

Cruel Intentions

I just wrote an incredibly scathing review of this movie and erased it by accident, but my dislike of this movie was compelling enough to make me type it again.
I cannot believe I know anyone who actually loved this movie NON-IRONICALLY. Everyone else I know saw it nearly 10 years ago, and I was unprepared for the cheesefest: the awful, wooden dialogue surpassed only by the poor pacing and ridiculous interpretation of the way manipulative teens move, not to mention DRESS (seriously, what was up with that weird Audrey Hepburn/Jackie O. costume during the lesbian make-out scene in the park?). This movie wasn't even funny enough good-bad, like "The Craft." Just bad-bad.
If you want to see a clever/twee/slightly-dark teen movie, go for something like "Scream," "Jawbreaker," or "Sugar & Spice..."
Or if remakes are your thing, even "Clueless" and "10 Things I Hate About You" were both more original. Don't see this movie unless you are such a hardcore Buffy fan that you are disinclined to be at all judgmental...
P.S. Why would Cecile (the apparently brain-damaged Selma Blair character) be so happy about passing out copies of that diary (the one that reveals her slutty, gullible behavior) at the end of the movie? I think they just didn't know how to end it, and a massive slow-clap scene would have been too cheery... ;)

Wet Hot American Summer

Funny send-up, though I suspect that anyone not familiar with the genre it's spoofing (or who never went to camp) would miss a lot of the humor. Still, I appreciate Wain's subversive approach!


Fascinating imaginary world- plot is loosely connected at times, but the amazing art and visual effects make up for it!

Run Fatboy Run

Not as creative as Simon Pegg's last two features, but still a cute and funny way to spend 2 hours, +/-. One of the silliest fight scenes ever, plus a klepto drag queen who runs a marathon! What more do you want?


LOTR meets Gladiator (complete with several of the cast members). Some of the eye candy was nice, but the other stuff wasn't very a length of over 2.5 hours, I'm not sure the pros outweighed the cons...though I did like those groovy tie-dyed Greek outfits! Worth a rental I guess. ;)


I didn't expect much from this, and eventually saw it on an airplane. I thought John Travolta was awful, especially his fake B'more accent: Divine did NOT talk that way in the original, which is part of what made the character funny. Amazingly enough, Amanda Bynes was one of the *better* performances. I thought the music was twee and irritating. I can't imagine any real John Waters fans would have the patience for this movie, unless they love him SO much that they are blind to any and all faults.
Considering all the hype, this depressingly bad version doesn't hold a candle (no pun intended, given the gratuitous political demonstration scene) to the original...and renews my lack of faith in the taste of so many of my compatriots...

White Chicks
White Chicks(2004)

Amusing enough light fare.


I'd been reluctant to see this because of my mistaken impression that it was yet another film making light of mental illness, or implying that sufferers have some special insight or powers that make it all worthwhile. I'm glad to admit I was wrong! When I finally did see it, I was awestruck at its sensitive portrait of the family. Highly recommended.

Shakespeare in Love

I still don't understand why everyone liked this movie so much. I thought the story-line was trite and (if I remember correctly, since I saw this so long ago and had no desire to see it again) the script made my eyes roll at some points. Was Judi Dench under some contractual obligation? And why did Gwynnie win an Oscar for this? Certainly not her best performance or her most interesting film. As usual, Oscar baffles me.

Ghostbusters 2

My parents took us to see this at the discount theater upstate when I was a kid. It may be the only movie I ever had to walk out on...because the idea of having a river of angry snot running beneath NYC -my hometown- profoundly disturbed my 10-year-old mind.
I'm not afraid of it anymore, though...thankfully. ;) Plus, they brought the Statue of Liberty to life- how cool is that?

The Italian Job

I thoroughly enjoyed this movie...I don't care if it's a remake- I've seen clips of the original (admittedly, not the whole thing) and I bet I would probably still have liked this one more! Fantastic ensemble cast, witty script, and great action without too much bloody violence. I used to watch it every time it was on TV, and then I just wound up buying a copy for myself. Fun light fare, never tiring. Don't be a snob- it's good. :)


Enjoyable, even if a little bit overrated. I happen to love James McAvoy. I am not a big fan of Keira Knightley, but she succeeds in this role because I think it's not much of a stretch for her. Saoirse Ronan is most impressive, I think. Aside from that, the music, costumes, and overall attention to period detail are what make the film so memorable. It gave me a new perspective on WWII as well.

Fat Girl
Fat Girl(2001)

Absorbing, but ultimately defeating film about rivalry between two pubescent sisters. It was worth seeing, but the ending was deeply disturbing and felt like a cheap (almost Wagnerian) way out. Breillat depends too much on shock value. However, it's still an important look at the dark world of teenage girls.

In My Skin (Dans ma peau)

This movie was a disgusting, self-absorbed exploration of voyeuristic shock value. The one star I gave it is for the somewhat artistic cinematography. The only reason I stayed in the theater for the entire film was because I kept hoping it would have some point or get better. I did not find it deep at all. In fact, as a mental health professional, I felt that it trivializes/fetishizes the plight of self-injurers in a way that turns them into zoo animals (or at best, anthropological oddities to be gawked at) rather than multidimensional human beings. If you want to see a sensitive (but still erotic) portrait of a self-injurer, see "Secretary" instead of this overrated, self-referential, self-obsessed garbage.


Disappointing, if I remember correctly...and I'm not sure I do because I saw it so long ago and was clearly underwhelmed...

Mad Hot Ballroom

Yes, I know everyone else saw this years ago, but I finally saw it last weekend and was pleased to discover that the hype was justified. The children are amazing, candid, and real. I enjoyed watching this film.

La Vie en Rose (La Mome)

Moving, arty, and sad. Outstanding performance by the lead actress!

Death at a Funeral

Amusing, good mix of dark and light humor for a Saturday afternoon DVD with friends. :)

In Bruges
In Bruges(2008)

Dark stuff. Very unusual, doesn't fit neatly into the gangster, comedy, or drama categories. The ending actually did surprise me, and there were some really funny moments. It's not for everyone, but I definitely enjoyed it.

The Brave One

According to my dad, the guy in the video store was underwhelmed by this film. I thought it was pretty decent and unusual enough to be worthy of interest. Some parts were hard to watch (because of where I work), but I also really appreciate that violence is neither glamorized nor glorified. Our culture has become too desensitized and movies like this are an important reminder of how ugly violence truly is...whether it happens to you or someone else.

A Nous la Liberté (Liberty for Us)

Charming, refreshing, original. Very little dialogue, but the visuals say it all. If you like Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin (as it says in the Flixter description, Chaplin was accused of ripping off the idea of "Modern Times" from this film), you'll enjoy this sweet little comedy.

Shaun of the Dead

I will never, ever, ever get tired of watching this movie. And each time you catch more of the jokes!
Plus, zombies.

Hot Fuzz
Hot Fuzz(2007)

Hilarious cop send-up, especially when viewed with Brits who can explain the occasional joke or cultural reference new to a Yank like myself. I still like "Shaun of the Dead" better, but only just.

The Cook, the Thief, His Wife & Her Lover

Awful. The one star I gave it is for the art direction and Gaultier costumes...otherwise, I have no freaking idea why my supervisor told me to see this movie. It wanted to be some kind of cross between David Lynch ("Blue Velvet?") and Terry Gilliam ("Brazil?"). I just kept clicking the time-remainng button to see how much more there might be... Sadly, so overrated.

Garden State
Garden State(2004)

I just watched it again on TV. It irked me less this time, maybe because I've since become a Scrubs fan. I still think some parts were a little too cutesy, but I am raising my rating from 2.5 to 3. ;) Good soundtrack too.

Night on Earth

I can never decide which part I like the most- New York, Paris, or Rome?

Strangers with Candy

I laughed, but the TV show works better in my opinion.

The Darjeeling Limited

Wes Anderson can be gimmicky but this movie was terrific!

The Simpsons Movie

Better than I expected...because I expected it to suck. But I will say that it's worth it to see it in the theater if you can.

Becoming Jane

Meh. James McAvoy is cute.

Finding Nemo
Finding Nemo(2003)

I finally saw this on an airplane, and I will admit I cried a little at the end. ;)

Pan's Labyrinth

I enjoyed this unusual, original film. The director really seems to empathize with children, despite some gruesome scenes. Overall though, I preferred his previous film, "The Devil's Backbone."


spiderman 2 was good.


One of my favorite movies of all time.

The Devil's Backbone (El Espinazo del diablo)

Spooky, suspenseful, and utterly surprising. The children in this movie are unbelievably good, but then, so is the tale.

Run Lola Run
Run Lola Run(1999)

Frenetically paced suspense flick. I'm a sucker so I prefer ending #3. ;)

Control (Kontroll)

See it- you won't forget it, ever!

Everything is Illuminated

One of those few examples of a film being better than the book on which it was based. Surprising and slightly disturbing, but also beautiful and sad. Plus, it led me to Gogol Bordello, and that alone was worth it!

Napoleon Dynamite

For about the first 10 minutes or so, I was like, "What the hell is going on?" Then...I got it.


I loved this movie when I first saw it (still like it, but slightly less intensely). Bill Murray's character is such a wry, funny, yet poignant meditation on the mid-life crisis...much more so than in Lost in Translation, in my opinion. Jason Schwartzman was more or less an unknown before this, and he truly IS Max. By my vote, this film is better than The Royal Tenenbaums and The Life Aquatic.

The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou

I liked this one better than The Royal Tenenbaums, but it is still pretty gimmicky. Even the lovely soundtrack serves as a reminder of this, I think.

Meet Joe Black

This movie dragged on and on. I thought the cute Mr. Death thing was cheesy (e.g., his obsession with peanut butter but discovery that he likes sex even more). Anthony Hopkins could have phoned this one in. In his sleep. With laryngitis.

Good Will Hunting

My favorite part is when Minnie Driver asks the Magic 8 Ball if she'll ever play in the NBA.

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Disturbing, but fascinating. The scenes of the Italian coast are so gorgeous, they border on obscenity. Matt Damon is chilling and convincing, although it's too bad he couldn't admit publicly that he played Ripley as homoerotic.

The Bourne Supremacy

Even better than the first one! Go Matt!

The Bourne Identity

Enjoyable adrenaline rush, while still a relatively cerebral action flick. Matt Damon's easy on the eyes, too.

The Village
The Village(2004)

Enjoyable suspense chiller. I liked it more than my friends did. A neat little world!

The Others
The Others(2001)

Chilling, suspenseful, and generally well-done.

Ghost World
Ghost World(2001)

I laughed at some parts, but mostly this movie made me uncomfortable (and not in the fun way). Maybe it's because I didn't like the main character much at all...yet people kept telling me to see this film because I reminded them of her, or I'd like her, or whatever. Overrated and depressing.

The Black Dahlia

Disjointed and disappointing. Scarlett Johansson was surprisingly decent, but Hilary Swank and Fiona Shaw were over the top. Most of the film is forgettable, and the rest made little sense (like they editted out the parts that might have explained it). See L.A. Confidential instead!

L.A. Confidential

Classic- you really get into this world. Excellent writing, acting, and atmosphere... Beats "The Black Dahlia" hands down!


Well-scripted, -produced, and -acted. An all-around epic film.

The Triplets of Belleville

Original, whimsical animation. My favorite scenes are the boat and waves.

Twelve Monkeys (12 Monkeys)

An original, sad fantasy.

Dark City
Dark City(1998)

I didn't like it the first time I saw it, but that must have been due to being really tired. This is a really creative, graphically deep world, with a chilling and original story. And amazingly enough, something like a happy ending. ;)


Hilarious, original and dark.


Adorable, larger-than-life nostalgic view of an amazing little world. Jeunet outdid himself, as far as I'm concerned.

Monsoon Wedding

Wonderful, colorful, not-to-be-missed. The acting is amazing, and the story of this family is really memorable.

Betsy's Wedding

I will probably never stop liking this movie. And not just because it's about a family with one Italian and one Jewish parent! Cute and funny.

Muriel's Wedding

I don't think this movie could get any better. Funny story, marvelous acting, and even the nasty characters are lovably so.

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert

Wonderful, funny, moving, not-to-be-missed.

Fight Club
Fight Club(1999)

More violent than I might usually like, but it more than compensates with hilarious dark humor and excellent acting.

Lost Highway
Lost Highway(1997)

I really enjoyed this movie, and saw it more than once, though most of my friends didn't feel the same way. Eerie concept well-executed in my opinion.

The Saddest Music in the World

Disjointed and depressing, despite a promising concept. I know Guy Maddin has a cult following, but so

Blue Velvet
Blue Velvet(1986)

Creepily sublime. So original!

Mulholland Drive

I almost-hated this movie. It seemed so clearly to be a cobbled-together TV pilot trying to ride on the coattails of Twin Peaks and such. The lesbian sex scene could not have been more male-oriented, in my opinion. The old people were creepy and pointless. Some of my friends loved it, but I was really disappointed.

The Usual Suspects

Classic. It doesn't get much better than this film.


Great suspense, chilling concept, excellent acting. A must-see.

The Prestige
The Prestige(2006)

Suspenseful, intriguing look into the weird world of 19th century prestidigitators (with 9.5 digits). Darn good!

Lost In Translation

I liked it significantly more than I expected, given my skepticism about Sofia Coppola's talent, Scarlett Johansson's chops, and white peoples' fascination with Japan in general. But since my expectations were so low to begin with, maybe that's not saying much.

The Virgin Suicides

Monotonous, bordering on kiddie porn. Read the book instead, it's 10x better and has nothing to do with Sofia Coppola (maybe BECAUSE it has nothing to do with Sofia Coppola).

I Heart Huckabees

I thought the concept was really neat, but the execution of it was flawed. Great performances by Marky Mark and Dustin Hoffman above all. I don't know whether to blame the writer or the director for the parts that were derivative, hammy, contrived... Yet some of my friends loved it! Worth a rental, at least. You decide.


Very weird, but brilliant in spite of its shortcomings.

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

loved this film. ingenious concept, and one of jim carrey's finer endeavors.

The Science of Sleep

definitely creative as a concept, but on the whole it was disappointingly vague. i guess maybe that was the point, since it is about dreams after all, but the resulting effect was one of depression and vague discomfort on my part.

Amores Perros

Sad, even scary at times, but beautiful, moving, and not to be missed!


Some people have debated whether or not this movie has a happy ending. I say it does.

Mona Lisa Smile

interesting to see the choices women had to make back then. nice characters, cute costumes too!

Agnes and His Brothers

I saw this film awhile ago. I remember it as a moving character study, but profoundly depressing. If I'd liked it more, I'd probably remember more about it.

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

I'm not sure what I was expecting. I definitely got a few laughs out of it, and I was impressed by the naked fight scene because really, who else would go there?
On the other hand, I didn't feel like the film-length format improved on the concept, compared to the TV show. At times, I really felt like the movie was dragging along like those half-baked Saturday Night Live skits. Honestly, I think the short films and TV episodes were better.

The Breakfast Club

It's a classic, even though they always edit out some of the funny scenes when it's shown on TV. ;)
Maybe we don't all fit so perfectly into these 80s categories but it was fun watching the Brat Pack do it.
And I do watch it, pretty much every time I notice it's on. ;)

Breakfast at Tiffany's

Wildly overrated. This movie really annoyed the hell out of me; I don't know if it's because of the dated sexual adventures, or the aggravating main character herself (interestingly, Hepburn herself felt she was miscast, and the character was originally written with Marilyn Monroe in mind). I don't understand how people can be so obsessed with Audrey(and/or jewelry) that they overlook the depressing mediocrity of this film.

Roman Holiday

After seeing this lovely little flick, I didn't mind admitting that Audrey Hepburn has her moments.

Some Like It Hot

It doesn't get much better than this. And it's 56 years old!!!

Serial Mom
Serial Mom(1994)

Hilarious. My favorite quote is "Chip, you know I don't like the brown word."
Not as over-the-top as some of John Waters' other films, but not for the faint of heart. ;)


Enjoyable little film- I actually thught the dialogue was well-written without seeming artificial. Liked it more than I expected!

Thank You for Smoking

Hilarious, cynical film. Pay close attention...

Ginger and Cinnamon

Love it. Every time I see it (in spite of the occasionally exasperating teenage hissy fits).

Tea with Mussolini

Sweet historical film that really surprised me. I didn't think I'd like it nearly as much as I did!

The Wicker Man

Okay for the genre, but slightly long-winded and jumbled. Remakes can definitely be much worse than this, but don't go out of your way to see it. And skip the unrated ending unless you like a more drawn-out torture scene...


It doesn't get much better than this movie. The characters are lovable, three-dimensional people who don't just pander to stereotypes. It's an old story, but done so well. Plus, Cher kicks ass.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest

Better than the original, in my opinion. Loved the fishface people and the cage of bones. Also, Keira Knightley was more bearable this time (maybe less screentime?).

My Big Fat Greek Wedding

i didn't think i would like this movie, since it seemed like a big gooey ball of ethnic stereotypes. however, when i finally caved, i was happy to eat my words. fun, lovable, nutty family!

Dirty Dancing

ugh- overrated. period.

Little Nicky
Little Nicky(2000)

i saw this on tv. it was actually kinda funny.

The Sixth Sense

fantastic suspense thriller. i honestly did not guess the ending ahead of time.

The Goonies
The Goonies(1985)

near-perfect film for the young and not-so-young. andee (the ditzy girl) is the only character who's kind of lame. everyone else rocks, from the opera-trilling fratelli brothers (incidentally, fratelli means brothers in italian to chunk and his dance moves. gotta love it.

The Lost Boys

classic- see it for the hairdos and the double-corey action if nothing else. memorable line spoken by the taxidermy-obsessed grandpa: "one thing i never could stomach (stand?) about santa carla: all the damn vampires."

Donnie Darko
Donnie Darko(2001)

okay, but overrated. why assume schizophrenics can time-travel?

Scary Movie
Scary Movie(2000)

I laughed at parts of this, but it was a really gross-out fest and kind of embarassing to see with my dad (he invited me, not knowing about that icky penis scene).

Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl

enjoyable but overrated. Johnny Depp was a little TOO over the top in my opinion, and Keira Knightley can only make about 5 facial expressions, tops.

Love Actually

even though i wished for more happy endings and less keira knightley, i loved this pic.

Pretty Woman
Pretty Woman(1990)

haven't seen it in years, which means i can't have liked it THAT much.

50 First Dates

cute. not as good as the wedding singer.

The Ring
The Ring(2002)

decent; definitely SCARY! i watched this one alone, at night, while it was raining. had to pause it a couple times. ;)

Sin City
Sin City(2005)

gory but fantastic, very original cinematography.

The Matrix
The Matrix(1999)

honestly, i think it's tremendously overrated. it held my interest but i had no desire to ever see it again, really. plus, i thought it was derivative- sort of a cross between "hackers" and "dark city."

War of the Worlds

decent, despite my current aversion to both tom cruise and dakota fanning. eerie scenes reminiscent of 9-11 were disconcerting.

Meet the Fockers

a few laughs, but generally regrettable.

Austin Powers in Goldmember

a few good larfs, but overall a subpar austin powers flick. and the skin-eating thing was grosser than fat bastard, in my opinion.

Ace Ventura: Pet Detective

hated it, if i recall correctly. one star because i didn't quite slit my wrists.

American Pie
American Pie(1999)

gross, but pretty funny.

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

3 endings a bit much, but love LOTR as a whole anyway!