juliryan's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

No Strings Attached

I liked Natalie Portman in this. But her buddies (the supporting cast) may be the best part of the movie. If you want to watch a rom com you could do worse than this.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen

This is a quiet charming movie with Emily Blunt. Kristin Scott Thomas is a bonus.


This doco shows what majestic intelligent creatures orca are and makes a strong case against holding them in captivity.


This is a dark thriller with Jake Gyllenhaal. Will make you reconsider how you see the news.


Steve Carell, Mark Ruffalo and Channing Tatum are all really good in this movie based on a true story.

Today's Special

I liked this movie about an Indian chef who has to save his family's failing business in Queens. It will leave you craving a good curry.


This is a sweet film by Rob Reiner that doesn't get too sentimental. The reason why it works is because of its smart casting choices. If you want to feel good about how things used to be this is a good choice.

Hot Pursuit
Hot Pursuit(2015)

The kind of movie you watch on a long haul flight when you want something mindless but this script falls flat. Witherspoon is likeable. Vergera is the same as she is in Modern Family. It just never gets going.

Someone Like You

Judd and Kinnear are good enough for this but Jackman is the main reason to watch this so-so rom com.


If you aren't too put off by heaps of violence, this is a fun action flick.

It's Complicated

Nancy Meyers (Something's Gotta Give) has made a franchise out of movies about middle aged women who find romance. In this movie Meryl Streep lives in a huge house in Santa Barbara and owns a pastry shop. It is a credit to Streep's strength as an actor that she can make this arrangement seem like something that could actually happen IRL. There are some feel-good moments in this movie about having an affair with your ex-husband but this movie is not as fresh as it could be.

Pitch Perfect

If you like Glee, High School Musical, Mean Girls and Bring It On, you will like this too.

Guardians of the Galaxy

This is Star Wars for the next generation. My 10yo and I both loved it.

What Women Want

It's not easy to like Mel Gibson. How is it possible he was once the sexiest man alive? In this we get to see him wear pantyhose and red nail polish and electrocute himself a few times. It's worth watching for the gorgeous set designs.

The Secret Garden

Maggie Smith is in this! It's a charming period piece and is gorgeous to look at. The soundtrack is a bit OTT but it doesn't detract from this powerful adaptation. Still fresh!

This is 40
This is 40(2012)

This is too long but Judd Apatow is so smart, who really cares.

Sweet Home Alabama

I like Reese Witherspoon but only watch this if you are a chick who is all by yourself on the couch with a bottle of wine on a Friday night.

The King's Speech

You may find this boring if you don't like period pieces. It is about Bertie, King George VI of England (Colin Firth), who took the throne instead of his brother before WW2. Bertie stutters and ends up going to see Lionel, a speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush), who is Australian and does not realise at first who he is treating. This is about their psychological struggle and developing friendship. For Anglophiles.


I love baseball movies. This movie is about the relationship between the general manager of the Oakland A's and an economics major from Yale. It's a well-written smart movie. It's a lot like The Social Network but I still liked it a lot.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

This is just ok. It is a coming of age story that doesn't feel fake but is a bit too earnest.

The Hunger Games

I liked this. It is mostly about being chased in the arena but who cares?

Blue Jasmine
Blue Jasmine(2013)

This movie is like a clever high school boy imagining what adult relationships are like. While it is nice to see Woody Allen leave his usual New York City setting (and by extension, Europe) it is clear that he knows very little about San Francisco, its residents, history and culture. Setting aside, this is a cruel portrait of an upper class woman fallen on hard times, which is of course a nod to A Streetcar Named Desire. However, the depiction of the working class couple in this story is EXTREMELY condescending. Cate Blanchett's performance nearly saves this, as she really makes us sympathize with her character, but I just couldn't like this. Woody Allen's outdated views on relationships are no longer relevant to me.

The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies

The final instalment of the Hobbit trilogy begins where the last movie left off. An angry dragon is destroying the town. After this problem is solved, the townspeople want to reclaim the dragon's treasure to rebuild. However, dwarves, elves and orcs also want the dragon's gold. This conflict leads to an hour-long battle sequence with more near deaths than I could count. Around the edges of the battle of course there is a hobbit Bilbo Baggins but he doesn't have much of a role in this. There is also a lot of foreshadowing of the Lord of the Rings, with a mention of Strider even. The Hobbit should have just been one movie. The Battle of the Five Armies movie is much too long but it has all of the spectacle and battles with orcs you could ever want.

Before Midnight

At first I didn't think I was going to make it through the whole thing. The characters just aren't that likeable. Maybe that's why romantic comedies always end with marriage. What happens AFTER doesn't make a good story. I mean, how entertaining is it to watch a couple bicker? But if you can stick it out until the last third of this movie, you may find a reward in it.

Shakespeare in Love

Is this a movie just for English majors? I really love all of its details. First of all it was written by Tom Stoppard (Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead). It is textured and complicated with court intrigues, disguises and comedy as well as romance. It is amazing how much power Shakespeare's lines still have. especially with the layers of meaning here. I've seen this a few times now. This time my favourite line was Paltrow's -- "I gave up the prize for a sonnet" which will resonate with anyone who has ever fallen in love with a struggling talented artist. I also love Fiennes's depiction of Shakespeare owing words to his bosses and dealing with deadlines and scouting for ideas. Judi Dench is so fun to watch as the old Elizabeth.

Did You Hear About the Morgans?

Even the likeability of Sarah Jessica Parker and Hugh Grant can't save this. They don't have any chemistry and there is nothing funny in the script. Do yourself a favour and just skip it.

True Grit
True Grit(2010)

This is so good, even if it isn't as dark as the Coens' other movies. The Dude becomes the Rooster. And there's MATT DAMON as well. It's narrated from the perspective of a 14-year-old girl who nearly steals the whole damn thing. Beautiful to look at and listen to. So, so good.

Magic Mike
Magic Mike(2012)

Working as a stripper is obviously demeaning, although I suspect it may be more so for women strippers. The screenplay is meant to be a realistic take on this world. It starts off with guys in thongs dancing routines and turns dark in the second half. This is probably Matthew McConaughey's best role as the shrewd businessman but he is still really grating. I expected more from this movie.

What's Your Number?

I like the premise of What's Your Number. At a certain point when you haven't found someone, maybe you begin to wonder about your ex boyfriends. Have there been too many? Did someone get away? Are you ever going to find someone, or are you going to spend the rest of your life alone on the couch watching dumb romantic comedies? There's always an ex who "reconnects" with you on Facebook and is BETTER now than when you were together.

Two Weeks Notice

This is a romantic comedy just like every other romantic comedy. It is actually a little better than some romantic comedies because there are good one liners. Overachieving women with zero current boyfriends will be able to relate to Lucy's orders for Chinese. "No, it's an order for one. Always for one."


My 9yo and I both liked this. "Mum, they're not singing in English." "That's because in Brazil people speak Portuguese." "Mum, this movie is not very realistic." "Most movies aren't realistic." "Mum, this movie is really kind of weird." "Is it better than Horton Hears a Who?" "YES!"

Beasts of the Southern Wild

This is a strange haunting movie about what it's like to be a child and have to fend for yourself. It almost seems like a documentary and you forget these are actors.

My Best Friend's Girl

If you fall asleep on the couch and this happens to be on when you wake up, find the remote and turn it off. It is not funny, just awful.

Hope Springs
Hope Springs(2012)

This movie is mostly about how much depth does Tommy Lee Jones have as an actor. I suppose he is pretty vulnerable in this role but I prefer him going after fugitives or aliens. Meryl Streep never gets it wrong but here she is girlish and determined and her character seems to have come of age in the 1950s. Steve Carell plays the therapist. There are no laughs in this.

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part 1

Fans of the series will be satisfied, but this is short on action and it really didn't need to be split into two parts.

The House of Mirth

I don't know what Lily ever saw in Seldon. She is a frustrating heroine because she can't make the brave choices, like marrying Rosedale, or just not paying back the debt to Trenor. I guess the point is there are bigger structural forces at play here than Lily's choices and probably no matter what she did, she'd still be doomed. Don't watch this if you are down on your luck and tend to fall in love with the wrong men.

Blue Crush
Blue Crush(2002)

I like this movie written by Susan Orlean. It knows more than most movies like this. People like these surfer girls usually end up having to work shitty jobs to pay the rent. Roger Ebert compared this movie to Saturday Night Fever. The leads in both movies are talented but love gets in the way of their ambitions.


I really love this movie. The dialogue is smart and fun. Ellen Page is a such pleasure to watch, and Jason Bateman is so much fun to hate.

Office Space
Office Space(1999)

This movie is holding up and still funny. It is a story about how work crushes the spirit. How many managers do you need to tell you you forgot to include the cover sheet with your report?

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

I don't like all the Wiki-leaks post 9/11 paranoia in this movie. Scarlett Johansson makes up for it a bit with her Black Widow.

Muppets Most Wanted

The funniest line -- "it's a sequel, and sequels are never as good." This just isn't as charming or as feel-good as it should be. I didn't like Constantine, Ricky Gervais, Tina Fey, or the prison. However, my 9yo said he liked it, so maybe kids will enjoy it.


This is very nice to look at, if you don't mind heaps of violence-packed battle scenes.

State of Play

This is a clever thriller and a newspaper movie. Russell Crowe is convincing is his role of the shaggy old-hand journalist, Rachel McAdams doesn't overplay the newbie blogger, Helen Mirren seems like a boss, and Robin Wright makes the right calls. For me, all of the pieces don't quite add up. You need to suspend your disbelief a bit for this movie to work. In real life, the corporate bad guys aren't as easy to nail down.

Albert Nobbs
Albert Nobbs(2012)

This is a captivating film if you like period dramas and enjoy thinking about life "below stairs". It is set in a hotel in 19th century Ireland. Glenn Close's character is a woman who has been living as a man for thirty years. It is a brave performance. You get the sense that this character believes love is only a business transaction, and she doesn't really understand what goes on between men and women. However, she is also lonely. I was not entirely convinced that this character hated playing the part of a man. This is a strange, sad movie.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug

This is better than the first Hobbit. In this instalment, Bilbo and the dwarves get to the mountain. There are perhaps too many threads, and the power of the climax is diluted by all the flipping back and forth between story lines. The depiction of the dragon's lair and the evil dragon Smaug make up for it, but be prepared for a cliffhanger ending.

The Wizard of Oz

I've loved this movie since I was a kid. Margaret Hamilton is the best part.

The Shawshank Redemption

This has to be one of the most inspirational movies ever made, and it's based on a story by Stephen King. Morgan Freeman's narration along with Tim Robbins understated portrayal of the hero are two of the reasons why this is such a powerful story. It is nearly impossible to resist the messages of this movie: be true to yourself no matter what, bide your time, set a quiet example, act when you have the opportunity.

Marley & Me
Marley & Me(2008)

Owen Wilson is really good in this movie about the world's worst dog and starting a family. Jennifer Aniston makes it work.

Romy and Michele's High School Reunion

There are a few truths in this sweet, funny movie, and they look so adorable in the dance sequence at the end. I'm serious.

The Social Network

A very clever screenplay by Aaron Sorkin. I am a fan of Jesse Eisenberg, and Justin Timberlake is fun to watch.

The Reader
The Reader(2008)

Based on the book by Bernhard Schlink, this movie will get under your skin and make you think about how people tend to just go along. Heartbreaking.


This is a neo-noir thriller that seems contemporary because most of it takes place in a Middle East country, like Lebanon. It's about a pair of twins who set out to find their absent father and also a brother after the death of their mother. It's all a bit melodramatic, but masterfully woven together, and you won't find out the disturbing conclusion from me. Nominated for a Best Foreign Language Film Oscar.

Say Anything...

Lloyd Dobler (John Cusack) is the perfect teenage guy. Sweet, loyal (maybe a little overbearing). Cameron Crowe captures what it's like to be young and idealistic and in love with someone unattainable. The problem is we don't get to see what happens to Lloyd in 20 years. What if he turns out to be an unmotivated freeloader? Conclusion -- Lloyd Dobler is an ok choice for your first love, but only if you're an ambitious career woman, and you're sure you won't want to stay home with the kids. (Side note -- I don't like Peter Gabriel.)


I wanted to like this because of Leonardo DiCaprio and Ellen Page, but I just couldn't make it through it. Too convoluted and far-fetched to be a good heist movie.

That's My Boy

This movie is so mean spirited. Skip it.

Red Sorghum (Hong gao liang)

Set in the 1920 and early 30s, this lush film seems almost timeless. It's about a young woman's life working on a distillery for sorghum liquor in China's eastern provinces. The story seems like a fairy tale until the violence at the end. It is melodramatic, but the cinematography is so luscious and passionate that it is absolutely stunning.


This movie almost would have been better without the lead character. Roger Greenberg (Ben Stiller) is just utterly unlikable. But so human that we somehow end up sympathizing with him. Noah Baumbach HAS to be one of my favourite screenwriters. What a fascinating character study this is. Maybe not for everyone. But really insightful and provocative.

P.S. I Love You

Hilary Swank is too good for this farfetched movie. The script doesn't work as a light-hearted romantic drama, or as a dramatic story about grieving.

The Island
The Island(2005)

The first half of this movie is kind of a creepy thriller, and the second half is an action movie. Do the halves work together? I don't really know, but I enjoyed them both.

We Bought a Zoo

I can't help it. I like Matt Damon. This true story about a single dad and a fresh start is likeable, even though it's kind of cobbled together.

Six Days, Seven Nights

Harrison Ford is 80 years old, and Anne Heche is a lesbian. In a case of opposites attract, they are stranded on a tropical island, and have to avoid pirates and repair the broken landing gear on their plane. I guess a May-December romance just seems a bit gross to me at this stage in life, but these two aren't a terrible pair. I wish more of the movie was dialogue like the well-written scenes at the end, and there was, y'know, less about pirates.

The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

Great cast, interesting setting. but a predictable script, and maybe too many story lines. This is just ok.

Love Actually

This is holiday drivel that is almost but not quite saved by Hugh Grant. There are too many other stories in this movie. A few of them should have been weeded out. You can probably survive this if it is viewed whilst drinking eggnog or other seasonal alcoholic beverage. Maybe.

Mad Money
Mad Money(2008)

It's like a remake of Oceans 11, except it's not very good. There's no suspense in the plot. It's all too predictable. Keaton, Latifah, and Holmes are better than this. Wait, was that Ted Danson?

The Bourne Identity

I'll give you a ride to Paris for ten thousand dollars, Matt Damon.

Love Crime
Love Crime(2011)

I love Kristin Scott Thomas. This was fun to watch.

The Other End of the Line

This is very predictable and flat.

Liar Liar
Liar Liar(1997)

Sometimes I think it would be nice to live in a world where everyone has to tell the truth.

How to Lose Friends & Alienate People

I like British eccentrics to a point. But all the bad behaviour in the movie falls short and just seems self-destructive.

Must Love Dogs

It's impossible not to like Diane Lane and John Cusack. But this romantic comedy is...so predictable and kind of disappointing. John Cusack's character is in his 40's, doesn't make any money, and still wears Ramones tee shirts. So, I'm kind of confused. I mean, isn't this the guy we divorcees need to steer clear of?

Water for Elephants

I don't know if this story adds up. But it was nice to look at. If you need to "run away and join the circus", this might do the trick.

Take This Waltz

Oh, this is kind of sad and true abouut relationships and attraction and new love. Sarah Polley is a talented director.

The Runaways
The Runaways(2010)

I liked it. But too much Dakota Fanning, not enough Kristen Stewart.

Like Crazy
Like Crazy(2011)

I liked this movie about long-distance relationships. Felicity Jones is the best part. Her expressions! Apparently, the leads were just provided with an outline and came up with most of the dialogue themselves.

Hot Tub Time Machine

Who doesn't want a chance to go back knowing what you know now?

Zack and Miri Make a Porno

If you're a fan of Seth Rogen, you might be able to get through this But it comes up short, especially in the third act. It isn't funny. Just corny.

Blades of Glory

Pretty thin on laughs. Didn't make it to the end.

A Knight's Tale

You'd need to have a heart of stone not to be won over by this movie. It's very sweet.

The Proposal
The Proposal(2009)

I don't understand why Sandra Bullock wanted this role. Ryan Reynolds is miscast.

The Tourist
The Tourist(2010)

The plot doesn't make sense, but the scenery is nice to look at.

United 93
United 93(2006)

I can't imagine anyone would really want to see this movie. But it's very well crafted and worth watching.

The Ex
The Ex(2007)

I can't believe this predictable movie got made at all. Zach Braff is tough to stomach, and Amanda Peet is better than this. The only redeeming factor is Jason Bateman, who is a sly comic and fun to hate. I've always liked him and would probably watch him in anything. I love you, Jason!

Away From Her

This is a complicated, textured, nuanced film about the effects Alzheimer's can have on relationships. I've been a fan of Sarah Polley since Go!, but it's hard to believe that such a young director made this movie. Olympia Dukakis is a gem. The script is based on Alice Munro's short story The Bear Came Over the Mountain

Hotel Transylvania

I couldn't watch this. It grated on my nerves. Way too loud. But my 8yo said he liked it.

The Muppets
The Muppets(2011)

My 8yo and I BOTH loved this movie! Jason Segel and Amy Adams are fun to watch.


This is unlike any other Scorsese movie. My eight-year-old who loves to fix things really enjoyed this children's movie for grownups.

The Blind Side

I liked Sandra Bullock in this role. The movie is a bit too simplistic and tries too hard in places. But is ok if you are in need of mindless feel-good fluff.


In this movie, Tobey Maguire doesn't look old enough (or hot enough) to be Natalie Portman's husband. Also this is not 1950.Jake Gyllenhaal should do more than just "kiss" Natalie Portman. Come on, Hollywood!

The Chorus (Les Choristes)

This is heartwarming and not too schmaltzy.

The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey

I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. (But do there have to be so many battles with Orcs??)


Oh, this movie made me laugh, and I could relate to so much of it. But I somehow expected MORE.

The Ladykillers

I liked this "lesser" film from the Coen brothers. Tom Hanks is less annoying in this role than he has been in ages.


Ooh, I like Bradley Cooper. This is kind of like The Hangover times ten and not a comedy. Filmed in a compelling and eye-catching style. The ending falls a bit short.

Ella Enchanted

I like Anne Hathaway. But not sure if I really like the idea of spell that makes a woman "obey".

The Last Airbender

I thought the plot was a bit dull. But it is beautifully shot and the martial arts (whatever the "benders" are doing) is relaxing to watch.

Wreck-it Ralph

Some of the plot points don't make sense, but who cares? Ok, it is a little too violent in places. But fun cast. May make you crave lollies and chocolate.

Sione's Wedding (Samoan Wedding)

I don't know if this movie will mean much to you if you don't live in New Zealand. It is an affectionate and bawdy view of Samoan culture.

My Life in Ruins

This is not a Big, Fat, Greek wedding. But could be some feta for a night on the couch when you are maybe coming down with the flu and are trying to do a little work and just need some background noise?

Pour elle (Anything for Her)

A really gripping thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

This thriller is melodramatic but engrossing. I was disturbed by the graphic depictions of sexual abuse. Rapace's portrayal of Lisbeth is stunning.

Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted

I wasn't expecting much from a third installment in a franchise. But Noah Baumbach doesn't phone it in with the script. This sequel is a caper movie that will please kids and adults. There's plenty of slapstick humour, but also some snappy dialogue. Chris Rock and Frances McDormand are the most fun.

The Invention of Lying

This movie has such an interesting premise. What if there was no such thing as lying?

Knocked Up
Knocked Up(2007)

It is basically Taming of the Shrew without Shakespeare. I liked Seth Rogen in this movie. Katherine Heigl was good, even though her role was a bit of a cardboard cutout. It has misogynistic overtones, but this is a chick flick. There are some very funny parts and some great cameos. On the surface, this movie seems like a morality tale, but all the while, it is exploring the effects of aging on the psyche. A compellingly watchable film that captures the essence of our time.

Brokeback Mountain

Ledger and Gyllenhaal give amazing performances in this movie. Williams and Hathaway are also very strong. And the sweeping cinematography. Another great Ang Lee film.

The Kids Are All Right

This is a movie with an unusual premise that explores what it means to be a family.

In A Better World

This is a tough piece of work. Affecting, thoughtful, provocative.

The Company Men

Kevin Costner plays the only character with an arc in this movie about corporate downsizing. He is a carpenter, a profession that looks pretty good in bad times. But this movie isn't really about the characters. It is about how hollow corporate jobs can be, how all that really matters is the company's bottom line.

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory

Johnny Depp almost ruins this movie with his portrayal of Willy Wonka. I agree with Roger Ebert that Depp channeled Michael Jackson for this role, and the result is more than a little creepy.

Before Sunset

This romantic comedy is a sequel to Before Sunrise. The action takes place in Paris nine years after the characters first met in Vienna. Now they are older and have more to lose (or win) than before.

Before Sunrise

This is a sweet romantic comedy about a couple who meets cute on a train. Ethan Hawke is an American travelling through Europe and Julie Delpy is a French student. They get off the train in Vienna and spend 24 hours walking and talking and falling in love.

The Visitor
The Visitor(2008)

This is a commentary on U.S. Immigration policy after 9/11. But it's also a movie about how a passion for life can be rekindled in unexpected ways.


This movie is spectacular to look at and should be seen as intended on the big screen in 3D. Once you enter this world, you won't want to leave. The plot is a bit simplistic, but overall it's a good message from the hippie generation. Community, good, corporate, bad. Science good, technology bad. Don't think about this too much, or you will be bummed out at the irony of movie tickets sold by corporate interests and technology needed to produce this film. Sam Worthington hits all the right notes as the hero, Jake Sully, and Signourney Weaver doesn't disappoint. But I don't know what to think about the movie's message about turncoats. What is it that makes us human?

Up in the Air

I had high expectations for this movie made by Jason Reitman (Juno). But I was let down by the script. The job as corporate hatchet man just didn't seem believable to me. The movie would have been better served by having this character be a portfolio manager. Then there could have been cameos by the people affected by the deals that were made (ie, the people who were fired after mergers).

Despite Natalie Keener's respectable performance, I believe that the script was also let down by the inclusion of her character. It also veered into a strange and somewhat unbelievable direction with the family wedding. I think the main emphasis should have been the relationship with Vera Farmiga's character. This movie really tried to do too much.

The Valet
The Valet(2007)

This is a relationship farce by master Francis Veber. A bit trite, but the plot just keeps getting more convoluted. Almost impossible not to be charmed by this. With Kristin Scott Thomas (The English Patient) and Virginie Ledoyen (The Beach).

The Twilight Saga: Eclipse

Most of the third Twilight installment is about conversations between Bella, Edward, and Jacob. The action culminates in a night in a tent. Basically, this is a tease for pre-teens, with a heavy-handed abstinence before marriage message.


Compellingly watchable Woody Allen flick.This may be a lesser Woody Allen, with recycled bits from Curse of the Jade Scorpion and Manhattan Murder Mystery. A couple funny one-liners.

In the Bedroom

This is a drama about a young man who has a summer romance with an older, newly divorced mother. The subplot is about the young man's parents and the strain a tragedy puts on their marriage.

Kill Bill: Volume 2

QT makes beautiful movies, but I kind of feel guilty for liking them. Shouldn't the gratuitous violence repel me? Anyway, I like the way QT has written the dialogue as way of explanation. The action is gripping, the characters are more developed than in Volume 1, this is a celebration of martial arts. The two volumes can each stand alone, but work together brilliantly. Genius.

The Class
The Class(2008)

Based on the novel and true story of teacher Francois Begaundeau about teaching in a French high school. So realistic, it almost seems like a documentary.

Date Night
Date Night(2010)

This movie succeeds because Tina Fey and Steve Carell play a pleasant couple who don't seem like they should be in a screwball comedy.

The Diving Bell and the Butterfly

The true story of the editor of Elle magazine who suffers a stroke. Only his left eye is not paralyzed, and he manages to dictate a book by blinking his one eye. This isn't as depressing as it sounds. It is an argument that as long as there is human consciousness, there is beauty in life.

Lawrence of Arabia

This four-hour epic deserves to be seen on the big screen. It is about the blowing sand, the heat, a dot shimmering on the horizon, the vastness of the desert. The movie is about a misfit who has a need to reject British society and identifies with the wildness of the Arabs. Still relevant.

All About Steve

This movie, even with Sandra Bullock, never gets off the ground. Her character is a loony crossword-puzzle designer. She can't win us over and never can the repetitive script. This movie could have said something about unrequited love, but it falls very short.


This movie by Sam Mendes (American Beauty) shows exactly what it was like to be part of Desert Storm. A bit repetitive and long, but maybe that is part of the point.

Funny People
Funny People(2009)

I liked Adam Sandler in this movie. His character is deeper than the stock guy he usually plays. Seth Rogen gives a thoughtful performance. The movie loses momentum in the second half, but this movie proves that Judd Apatow is a real director.

Riding in Cars With Boys

A lot of what happens to you in life is chance. The other half is how it affects you.

Where the Wild Things Are

This effort by Spike Jonze fell a bit short for me. The relationships with the Wild Things seem forced and strange. The characterizations really needed to be fleshed out more to make sense. The lunar landscapes felt cold. The plot is thin. It drags in places. However, some of the effects are amazing. At times I thought human actors were inside costumes of the Wild Things. But this is probably more of a movie for angsty teenagers and adults reminiscing than for actual kids.

Fantastic Mr. Fox

I love that Wes Anderson used stop motion to film this movie. It looks like a picture book or a view finder. The art design is a large part of the movie. You may not understand everything. It doesn't slow down for you. Kids may find some parts of it scary. And I think they should. This is a smart movie that hints of another dimension. Fantastic.

Raging Bull
Raging Bull(1980)

This movie isn't really about boxing. It's about a man with paralyzing jealousy and insecurity. For Jake, women are unapproachable until they are sullied by physical contact with him. Jake never catches Vickie cheating, but he beats her like he had. His punishment in the ring is his absolution. I like this look at the Little Italy of Scorsese's childhood, especially in the dialogue. The "I coulda been a contender" scene is heartrending.

The Big Lebowski

This movie by the Coen Brothers is the follow up to Fargo. But how do you follow Fargo? The Big Lebowski harks back in a way to Raising Arizona. It's a movie like all the movies by the Coens about how it feels to be in a place. There isn't really a plot, and it doesn't matter. The dialogue is wonderful. Everyone knows someone like The Dude (Jeff Bridges). He is a creature of the moment. This is a movie about starting each day with good intentions, but getting sidetracked by missed opportunities by evening.

The Curse of the Jade Scorpion

This may not be the best Woody Allen, but I enjoyed this romantic comedy set in 1940. The burnished colours and the styling of the female leads are terrific. A pleasure to look at. I would have liked CW not to fall short to Betty Ann--he should be infallible, wittier than she. Falls a bit short.


This is a stunning biopic about painter Frida Kahlo. The screenplay seems a bit all over the place, but so was Kahlo's life. Impressive performance by Salma Hayek. Director Julie Taymor is one to watch.

Hollywood Ending

This movie is not Woody Allen at his best. But I find Woody Allen almost compulsively likeable. There are zingy one-liners and a bit of editorializing about the movie industry. I think Allen could have taken this movie further with the blind director gags. But for the most part, it's an enjoyable clever romp. Particularly liked the twist at the end.

My Tehran for Sale

This is a story about an actress living in Tehran, who must keep her artistic expressions hidden from the oppressive controlling regime. Director Granaz Moussavi and her actors put themselves at great risk carrying out unsanctioned filming in public and private spaces in Tehran. An impressive look at life for a young woman living within a repressive regime.

Breakfast at Tiffany's

A movie about damaged goods finding true love. I feel more cynical about this movie than I used to. I want Holly Golightly to take better care of herself and act like an adult. I just don't understand her character, or respect Paul Varjak. I do like the party scene and the scene with the Tiffany's clerk.


I was never a fan of Fistful of Dollars. But I do like Unforgiven.

In a Lonely Place

This is a love story disguised as noir. It's about two people who love each other in spite of everything. Humphrey Bogart is at his best playing a conflicted character, a washed-up screenwriter who is an alcoholic. There are echoes of Casablanca in this character. Gloria Grahame (It's a Wonderful Life) has been around the block and should know better than to get involved with a wounded man. But after meeting, their feelings ignite. They are giddy with happiness, but they remain separate. They are just unable to find a way to be together.

Fever Pitch
Fever Pitch(2005)

Memoir by Nick Hornby. Jimmy Fallon and Drew Barrymore make this an enjoyable rom-com.

Cidade de Deus (City of God)

This film about gangs in the slums of Rio de Janeiro is a cry for change. Shot in a handheld style by director Fernando Meirelles (The Constant Gardener), it shows the grim and violent way of life endured by innocent people, but also gives reason to hope that some can beat the odds.

La Vie en Rose (La Mome)

This is a great biopic about singer Edith Piaf. Marion Cotillard really looks like her and gives an outstanding performance. I liked the way the storytelling flitted backwards and forwards through the events of her life, just like a little sparrow. 50 years after Piaf's death, her legacy lives on.

Vanity Fair
Vanity Fair(2004)

Of course I liked this costume drama. Reese Witherspoon is effortless in her portrayal of Becky Sharp. I am becoming a real fan of director Mira Nair (Monsoon Wedding), who captures the role India played in the British imagination at the time. I quite like the more positive view of Becky Sharp and other characters. Character faults can be understandable. My only complaint is that the movie dumbed down the book with regard to the relationship with the Marquess of Steyne. She would have had to do more than smile at him to make up for his favour! Nonetheless an enjoyable romp if you are into period pieces.

The Hangover
The Hangover(2009)

I expected this movie to be funnier than it is.But after a second viewing, I have to admit the dialogue is amazing. It is actually almost line-by-line funny.

Eat Pray Love

This movie is WORSE than the book. The premise is that Liz Gilbert, an author, goes through a bad divorce and a bad fling, and decides to take off for a year to find herself. She goes to Italy (to eat), to India (to pray), and to Bali (for love). Along the way, she discovers a lot of truisms that help her achieve Balance. The movie is very long, and all the parts don't add up to much except narcissistic navel-gazing. Julia Roberts is fine as the witty, intelligent, privileged writer. But this is the kind of story that's more fun to live than to watch.

When Harry Met Sally

The genuis of Nora Ephron, and the chemistry between Meg Ryan and Billy Crystal. If you are at all romantic, this movie will make you cry.

Stranger Than Fiction

Will Ferrell shows he is a dramatic actor in this intelligent film about an IRS agent who discovers his life is the subject of a book being written by Kay Eiffel (Emma Thompson). This is a meditation on life, art, our responsibilities.

Whale Rider
Whale Rider(2003)

Set in modern day New Zealand, this movie is about a twelve-year-old girl's relationship with her grandfather, who is the chief of his tribe.The grandfather is looking for his successor, and his granddaughter thinks *she* might be the one. Her grandfather disagrees, and this leads to a lot of heartache for young Pai. This is a feminist coming of age story, but it transcends your expectations and leaves you feeling hopeful.

Going the Distance

I'm a fan of Drew Barrymore, and I really believe that the best is yet to come from her. Her acting in this particular rom-com isn't bad at all. But she looks too old for this part, especially next to real-life boyfriend Justin Long. Long looks like he could be her son, and poor Barrymore looks like she needs to get another Botox treatment. The script, although formulaic at times, provides some laughs, as does the supporting cast (Day, Sudeikis, Applegate). I didn't like how willing Barrymore's character was to give up her dream--FOR A SECOND TIME, or the portrayal of this generation's crude way of communicating. Would have liked to see extension of metaphor in dying industries that these characters work for. And to skip the tacked-on ending. So, this movie is kind of hit or miss. And definitely a chick flick.

Le fils de l'épicier (The Grocer's Son)

There aren't any surprises in the plot of "The Grocer's Son".But that's ok.This movie is about finding your way and discovering that you can go home again. It will leave you feeling hopeful about people's potential to be selfless and find joy in life. You are never too old to change your life. The setting is beautiful Provence.

Look at Me
Look at Me(2005)

This is about a girl's relationship with her father, who is a famous and wealthy writer. Lolita can't get her father's attention, since he is too self-absorbed to notice her. Most people in her life seem to use Lolita to find a way to meet her father. Her self-esteem is eroded further by being a bit overweight and her beautiful young stepmother. This movie shows human relationships as they are.


Not much happens in this film about a busker and a pianist in Dublin. But its simplicity is part of its charm. It was shot on a very low budget, which makes it seem kind of like a home movie. It doesn't spell everything out, but trusts you to figure out what's been left unsaid. Will leave you feeling hopeful about role of friendship in attaining one's creative goals.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

Cate Blanchett is the reason to see this movie. Her subtly nuanced performance is artful. She shines. Tilda Swinton is also very good. Brad Pitt is disappointing in his role. He is more interested in exploring his own charisma than in breaking new ground as an actor. However, what he does do, works. This film is perhaps a bit too long, but it's a fun escape.


I liked this movie. It doesn't resonate quite as much with me as it did when I first saw it, on its release. Back then, I wanted to live in Paris and do nice things for people whilst living in my imaginary relationships. I even moved to San Francisco on the day Lady Diana died. (Amelie and I have the same personality type. Can you tell?)

Now I feel a bit more jaded. Paris isn't that clean. Optimism is overrated. The world is full of grotesques. Etc. But this is a unique film, and Audrey Tautou is whimsical and charming as Amelie.

Marie-Jo et Ses 2 Amours (Marie-Jo and Her 2 Lovers)

This is a melodramatic film about a middle-aged married woman who falls in love with another man. The twist is that she is also still in love with her husband. Eventually she leaves her husband to be with her lover.

Dialogue avec mon jardinier (Conversations with My Gardener)

This is a gentle film about two school friends who are reunited and spend a summer talking to each other about where their lives have gone. The film is driven by dialogue and is in many ways quintessentially French--a disillusioned French artist on the verge of divorce philosophizes about life with his gardener. On the surface it is as simple as a glass of wine on a Sunday afternoon. But somehow it sustains itself to explore a long-standing friendship.

I Love You, Man

There are some genuinely funny moments in "I Love You, Man." The first part of the movie follows a lot of the cliches of this genre. But when Paul Rudd's character meets Sydney Fife (Jason Segal), the movie takes off in another direction. A lot of the charm is in Paul Rudd's performance. The social awkwardness that he portrays is really funny. This movie makes some smart points about relationships and friendships and is heartwarming. I liked it.

The Last Kiss

Once again, Zach Braff should not be in front of the camera. It's not sexy watching Braff kiss a woman. But it's possibly better than watching him gaze moodily at the horizon. There is plenty of both in this flick, which lumbers on and on in a completely predictable fashion.This is a mediocre chick flick, which fails on multiple levels. Skip.

Monsoon Wedding

This is a different kind of film. It shows a contemporary side of India that is irresistible. You will feel as if you know the characters portrayed, even if they live half a world away.

The Fugitive
The Fugitive(1993)

Great shots of Chicago. This movie is showing its age, but it's still a thriller that keeps up the pace from beginning to end. Harrison Ford outrunning the train is pure movie magic. Ford underplays his character in this melodrama, which plays on everyone's fear of a man wrongfully accused. Tommy Lee Jones pulls off a neat trick, hunting down his prey with ferocity, but letting you know subtly through his expressions that he's beginning to believe the fugitive is innocent. I like the ensemble of cops who talk like real Chicago cops.

The Squid and the Whale

I liked this movie, even though I wasn't sure what I was meant to feel. Was I meant to feel sorry for the two boys whose parents are going through a messy divorce? Or am I meant to feel sorry for Laura Linney's character, who has been having an affair for four years because her husband really deserves to be cheated on? All of these people are going to be fine. I guess this is a movie about how you take the best stuff from your parents and forgive the rest. Enjoyable cameo from Anna Paquin.

Becoming Jane

If you are a Jane Austen fan, you may enjoy this costume drama, even if you get annoyed at Hollywood's version of her story. The movie illustrates how people in Jane's real life inspired her in creating her characters. It gives some fresh insight into happy endings.

Sidewalks of New York

This is a story about three couples in New York. Their stories are woven together, as the couples all trade partners. All of the characters are very self-absorbed. There are moments when they speak directly to the camera, which illustrates how we often say things and do something else. I would've liked this film to be a little more "Woody Allen" and less "Sex in the City". Nice to see Brittany Murphy in this role. RIP.

An Education
An Education(2009)

Carey Mulligan makes this movie. It's a cautionary tale for young women--watch out for the cads in the world. Interesting screenplay by Nick Hornby. Emma Thompson is fun as the headmistress.

Apocalypse Now

Watched this movie in high school after reading Heart of Darkness. About what we hope not to discover.

A Farewell to Arms

The book fails to carry over to the screen.

His Girl Friday

This movie is in the public domain. It's a movie about one-liners.


Gwyneth Paltrow is a convincing Sylvia Plath. But the screenplay seems two-dimensional. Plath is described as someone attracted to death, not as someone who is trying to escape the confines of a bell jar. It is a melodramatic script, and Plath is neither sympathetic nor a monster.

The Last King of Scotland

This movie is jarring. Forest Whitaker is Idi Amin, the notorious despot. James McAvoy is his personal physician, who finds himself in an inescapable nightmare.


Martin Scorsese deserves more recognition than he has received. Goodfellas is a movie about guilt. Not guilt for having done, but guilt for wanting to do again. It doesn't have a story line. More, it is a kinetic description of the life of organized crime. This movie was clearly the inspiration for The Sopranos.

Garden State
Garden State(2004)

Zach Braff has one of those faces like David Schwimmer. He should not be in front of the camera. His script is immature. There are some good details here, but it's an uneven film. It isn't believable or funny. I was disappointed that Natalie Portman's character wasn't fleshed out more. I expected more.

The Departed
The Departed(2006)

This was a great film. Great cast, great script, great director. I agree, it fizzles a little at the end, but still really good stuff.

Ice Castles
Ice Castles(1978)

When I was 10 or 11 years old, I was obsessed with this movie. So much so that I had to have an ice skating birthday party. Which was when I found out I *don't* have a natural talent for ice skating.


Gwyneth Paltrow is stunning in this role. She plays a daughter who is living in the shadow of her brilliant but mad father. She is motivated by conflicting desires. She has the ability to change her life, but she can't make herself do it.

It doesn't add to or detract from the film, but the Chicago locations are true to life. The trip from Evanston to the UofC is the way you actually go. It was a shock to find out most of the interiors were shot in London. They blend into Chicago perfectly.

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire

I don't know how Gabourey Sidibe does it, but she makes you care about her story. Mariah Carey is fun to watch as the social worker. Mo'Nique as the mother will blow you away.

The English Patient

Ralph Fiennes steals this movie in his dual role as Count Laszlo, the man with the wrong name. Kristin Scott Thomas gives a great performance, and Juliette Binoche, a favorite of mine, is absolutely incredible. It was fun to see Colin Firth in a pre-Darcy role. And Willem Dafoe isn't TOO annoying. This is a subtle and nuanced movie about passion. A masterpiece from director Anthony Minghella, whose own life was cut short.

The Constant Gardener

I really like the fragmented style in which this story is told. It is an angry story about pharmaceutical companies pouring drugs for AIDS into Africa while testing their products on people whose lives are worth nothing. It plays out like a Le Carre novel, which it should, since he wrote the screenplay. The progression from sadness to horror leaves you hoping this is all exaggeration and fearing it is not.

Day for Night

This is a movie about the love of making movies. Truffaut himself plays a director who is making a movie that we all know will bomb at the box office. But it doesn't matter. It's about feeling most alive when you are on the set. There are many stories woven together here, the aging actress and the unstable star among them. As an aside, It's fun to see moviemaking secrets revealed, like how to shoot a balcony scene.

Cat on a Hot Tin Roof

Elizabeth Taylor steals every scene, slinking around in that white dress.

Crazy Heart
Crazy Heart(2009)

Jeff Bridges plays Bad Blake. Blake is past rock bottom, a drunk and a has-been. But there is something noble about him. Even if he's playing at a bowling alley. This film works because you believe in Bridges's character, and because the music feels right. Bridges has a scratchy voice that sounds like it has been worn smooth with whiskey. This is a good movie about life without illusions, when you are too tired to embellish anything, but where there are people who still remember that you helped them out once.

Bright Star
Bright Star(2009)

This is a beautiful wistful movie by Jane Campion. The visual beauty is a match to the beauty of Keats' words.

Girl With a Pearl Earring

This is a quiet movie. It is not melodramatic. The message of the movie is that somethings a gulf between people is too large to ever be crossed. They know what could have happened, but it never will.

You've Got Mail

This is a movie about two lonely single people. He is destroying her dream, and she unknowingly turns to him for consolation. It is a smart movie, an emotional sequel to Sleepless in Seattle.

Alice in Wonderland

I am a longtime fan of Tim Burton. I'm not sure why he felt he had to make this movie in 3D. I watched it 2D, and the look and film of the film were fantastic. I'm not sure 3D would have done anything more. In fact, it may have been a distraction.

Burton's vision of Alice in Wonderland is full of grotesques, which is as it should be. The characters are engaging, especially Johnny Depp as The Mad Hatter. No matter which role he plays, he is that character through and through, and that is the case here.

This is a delightful film. My only gripe is the same as Roger Ebert's--the final act. I don't see why the big action sequence was necessary. I think it detracted from the story. It comes off as a cowardly effort to sell tickets and perhaps engage restless children, rather than carrying the story through to its end. A bit disappointing, but the film is still a very impressive take on this classic.

After Hours
After Hours(1985)

Martin Scorsese said that After Hours was an exercise in style. It is like Alfred Hitchcock, but more sinister. It is a comedy, but its intensity makes you uncomfortable.A suspenseful thriller with a winning twist at the end.

The Hours
The Hours(2002)

The Hours is about how Virginia Woolf's Mrs Dalloway affected three generations of women. These three stories are threads, and the plot has a reveal at the end where two of the threads are woven together. This twist feels contrived, and a better film would have skipped it. This film is beautifully acted, but there is a lot of feminist posturing, and the characters are literary conceits.


The more times you watch this movie, the more resonance it gains. Part of its appeal is because everyone can imagine themselves winning a love which they renounce for the greater good.

Annie Hall
Annie Hall(1977)

It's amazing this movie won an Academy Award. Amazing because movies like this don't get made any more. Smart movies with lots of talking, with references to obscure things that most people won't get. And this movie is such a hodge-podge, it's remarkable that it works so well. I dare you not to laugh at "as big as a Buick". It's a comedy, but it's also an introspective look at the pitfalls in male-female relationships. The biggest takeaway is probably the view that love can't endure, but we all keep seeking it.

Whip It
Whip It(2009)

I liked this movie. Ellen Page proves one again that she is the real deal. Juliette Lewis is smokin'. And I heart Drew Barrymore. Yes, this is a predictable sports story and kind of girly. But it's also a coming of age flick with a heart.

Oliver Twist
Oliver Twist(2005)

I somehow overlooked that Roman Polanski made this movie. It is interesting that Dickins' Oliver is the same age in the novel as Polanski was in 1943 when he was left in the Krakow ghetto. Dickins was sent to a workhouse at a similar age. Despite success later in life, none of them were able to put those horrors behind them. What is particularly interesting about Polanski's film is the idea that some people who may be bad or viewed as bad can do good things and be kind.

Looking for Mr. Goodbar

Diane Keaton's performance is stunning. And I am fairly certain that I have dated Richard Gere's character. However, I was a bit disappointed that the movie veered away from the book. It is a more interesting story for Theresa to have a self-destructive bent. She picks up guys because she knows they'll be trouble. In the movie she is just a hedonist.

Pretty Woman
Pretty Woman(1990)

This is a Cinderella story about two realists who fall in love. If you like Julia Roberts, this is Julia at her best. I would have preferred a more hard-boiled screenplay without the happy ending. But this confectionary is nearly irresistable. I particularly like Hector Elizondo's performance as the hotel manager.


A good biopic of early feminist Amelia Earhart with stunning period details.

The Time Traveler's Wife

If you think about it, really think about it, this movie is more horror than romance. Henry manipulates a young girl and forces her to devote her life to him. This is about an abusive relationship. For me, it was unwatchable because Clare and Henry play it so straight, as if it really was a love story.

Intolerable Cruelty

'Intolerable Cruelty' has all the elements of a screwball comedy. Clooney and Zeta-Jones are both hustlers, and they admire each other. The screenplay falls short, however, because (not to spoil it) there is no payoff at the end. You want to like these characters, and you do like these characters, but the Coens strip away those sentiments. Maybe they go too far. Still there are some very funny scenes.


The look and feel of this film is noteworthy, as is the story, of which some bits are fictionalized to better suit the film's purpose. A gripping thriller, and a remarkable look at the early years of Elizabeth I.

The Young Victoria

Emily Blunt is fun to watch in this costume drama, which was largely shot on location. If you are an Anglophile, you will enjoy this.


After the success of Good Will Hunting, Gus Van Sant realized that he now has the freedom to make movies that he finds interesting. He no longer needs to worry about commercial success. And there is no way that Hollywood would have made this movie, with the subject matter of Columbine, no screenplay, no "real" actors, and no explanations. It is an argument against violence, but it doesn't bring Hollywood catharsis. It is honest and chilling.

Capitalism: A Love Story

I don't know if anyone in America is listening, but I hope Michael Moore keeps trying to wake them up.

Manhattan Murder Mystery

This movie is a farce on a thriller about solving a murder in Manhattan. Maybe the funniest part of this movie is the part about neighbours in the city--how you have an unspoken agreement to studiously ignore what they are doing.

The Royal Tenenbaums

It's a movie about family, but it is really a series of scenes that are not cohesively knit together. It is about outwitting the institution of family. It is silly and precious, but you really aren't quite sure how to react to it.

500 Days of Summer

This is a quirky playful film about unrequited love in postmodern L.A.

The Wedding Singer

This movie is cloyingly sweet and contrived. Adam Sandler is not right for the lead. In fact a lot of things about this movie just don't make sense. It is really kind of dumb and exhausting watching two characters take so long to figure out that they are meant for each other.


This movie is full of funny one-liners, and it is shot beautifully. It is really about loss, about how we don't realize what we have lost until it is gone.

Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist

This is a kind of stupid story about two kids wandering around NYC looking for a mythical band and trying to look after a stupid drunk friend. The leads are engaging and deserve better than this script.

Away We Go
Away We Go(2009)

Some funny cringe-worthy scenes. But this film at heart is about neurotic navel-gazing. Characters in end come off as entitled and overly earnest.

School of Rock

I like movies about rebel teachers who achieve great things. Jack Black is himself in this movie, but he doesn't let it get cheesy. Joan Cusack is a laugh as the principal. This is a smart funny kids' movie that adults will like.

Home Alone
Home Alone(1990)

I like this movie because it is set in Chicago. None of it is realistic, but Five thought it was hilarious.

The Birdcage
The Birdcage(1996)

The funniest part of this movie is Gene Hackman as the conservative Senator.

The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas)

This is a Holocaust movie that tells its tale from a child's point of view until the conclusion when it shifts to the adults. It explains how ordinary professional people could participate in evil and treat it as routine business.This is a heartbreaking story of murder, war, and loss of morality.

Escape From Alcatraz

I like prison movies, and I can't believe it took me so long to get around to seeing Escape from Alcatraz. Clint Eastwood is predictably outstanding in the role of Frank Morris.The escape is a bit anticlimatic, but the movie's real strength is in its detailing of life in Alcatraz. If you love San Francisco, this classic is a must-see.


I was kind of disappointed when the balloon-people appeared midway through the movie. The animation really is stunning. I actually needed to do a bit of work to figure out some of the ideas in this movie. It is a pretty good science fiction film that adults can appreciate. That there is little dialogue makes it all the more amazing.

The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2

Like Gossip Girl and Ugly Betty, but not as smart.

The Chamber
The Chamber(1996)

The problem with this movie (and Mr. Grisham's book) is that the plot doesn't quite add up. Why would Adam Hall want to save his racist bigot grandfather if he is against racism? Is it because he is more against the death penalty? And why, if Sam Cayhall was a Klansman and a racist, would the black prisoners farewell him like they do?

There are too many racist ephithets and scenes that seem like they are glorifying the KKK, which is not presented as boring and stupid (although the Klansmen are presented as the bad guys). This film will leave a bad taste in your mouth. I'd skip it.

Steel Magnolias

As delightful as the female ensemble is, this movie uses a dramatic trick that cheapens it somewhat at the end. However, there are enough comic one-liners to make up for this. Olympia Dukakis and Shirley MacLaine are superb, and Dolly Parton is a natural. This is definitely a chick flick. It will make you cry, but it's not Terms of Endearment.

The Talented Mr. Ripley

I love this intelligent sophisticated thriller based on Patricia Highsmith's crime story. Matt Damon's Tom Ripley is a subtle, nuanced criminal. He is helped by Jude Law's unlikeable Greenleaf and Gweneth Paltrow's blind Marge.

Coco Before Chanel

This biopic shows Coco Chanel's early beginnings. It is a fascinating story about the woman who changed the way that women dress. Audrey Tautou's eyes do most of the speaking.

Monsters vs. Aliens

Even Reese Witherspoon can't save this movie. It is one dimensional because of a lacklustre script. There are lots of references to other movies, but they fall flat. Disappointing..

The Incredibles

More spellbinding animation from Pixar. But this is a smart satire and a perceptive look at American culture. A kid's movie that adults can enjoy.

Some Like It Hot

Marilyn Monroe smolders in this clever movie. Just try to take your eyes off her. She still seems to be reinventing herself, as she seems a bit different every time that I watch this. Tony Curtis is hilarious in his parody of Cary Grant. He is supposed to have said that kissing Monroe was like kissing Hitler, but it still looks hot. Jack Lemmon is hilarious as Daphne. This funny movie is all about sex.

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

This movie is like Lord of the Rings for children. It is beautifully shot, and it is magical without sermonizing too much, especially given the source material. Tilda Swinton is excellent as the White Witch.

The Informant!

This is a corporate satire, and Matt Damon's take on ADM's Mark Whitacre is spot on. Whitacre is part innocence, part guile, a pathological guy who gets in too deep because of a swelled head. This movie lets you make your own moral conclusions.


This is a funny engaging movie for all ages. Intelligent with great animation.

The Secret Life of Bees

The movie was better than the book. The actors are good, and the script is OK. It's a sentimental, sappy movie, and it's not realistic. But it isn't terrible either.

Inglourious Basterds

QT once again proves his genius with this tactile movie that isn't really about the fall of the Third Reich. It's about a geeky love of the movies. This is a gorgeous film to look at, and as always the dialogue is what makes QT's characters bigger than life. Col. Hans is a masterpiece, brilliantly acted by Christoph Waltz. Brad Pitt has a few hilarious moments. However, these characters are exaggerated, nearly satire. And QT continues to try to shock with violence while masturbating to his other fetishes. He is an adolescent filmmaker, but this movie which is a bit long ticks along and entertains. I think QT's best work is yet to be seen.

Julie & Julia

Another charming recipe for commercial success from Nora Ephron. The best part of this movie is Meryl Streep's fluttery portrayal of Julia Child.


When I was eight years old, the earthquake scene really wowed me. Good special effects for its time. And a surprisingly witty movie.

Rachel Getting Married

You will feel like you are a guest at this wedding. Anne Hathaway acts the heck out of this role.

Reality Bites

This movie falls short on a few levels. It was supposed to speak for a generation, but it just wasn't realistic. Lelaina Pierce (Winona Ryder) is not a very good film maker, and it would have been a much more interesting and realistic movie if someone had told her so. The affair with Ethan Hawke's character is predictable. Funnily enough, the work that Michael's (Ben Stiller) people do in New York turns Lelaina's documentary into what could be today's reality TV.

Romeo and Juliet

In ninth grade English class, getting to watch the nude scene was pretty hot stuff.

Gran Torino
Gran Torino(2009)

This is Clint Eastwood as a grumpy, old man and a commentary on race relations in America.


When I was was growing up in the 80s, I wanted to go to the NYC High School for the Performing Arts that is depicted in this movie. Fame is all about New York City. It is grimy and bittersweet and big-city. It is a thousand miles away from the quiet traditions of my high school in the Midwest.

Hotel Rwanda
Hotel Rwanda(2004)

A movie about the genocide of a million people that took place in the country of Rwanda in the 90s while the world did nothing. This is the heartwrenching story about the bravery of one man when the world has gone mad.

Enemy of the State

Director Tony Scott (Top Gun) makes technology look so pretty. While the U.S. government may not be able to listen to any call at any time, it is certainly monitoring more people than it is supposed to be. Fun appearance in this movie by Jack Black.


Kristen Stewart is a better actor than most people think. This film is a kinder, gentler effort by the maker of Superbad. It is set in the 80s, and it will make you remember summer jobs that you had in your late teens and early 20s. A sweet look at coming of age.

Confessions of a Shopaholic

A sweet, funny movie with a big heart. This movie is much better than you might expect, and it owes much of its success to Isla Fisher, a great comedic talent.

Body of Lies
Body of Lies(2008)

In his review, Roger Ebert wrote that this film is kind of like a James Bond set in the Middle East. I found it gripping. But I doubted that Leonardo DiCaprio's character was really able to do all that he does, and even less that the American military had the capabilities that are depicted. I guess I just expected more from Ridley Scott. Also, I am tired of the graphic torture scenes in these kinds of films. Some things *can* be left to the imagination.

Catch Me If You Can

I liked this film. DiCaprio was great, and Hanks was commanding. An entertaining film based on a true story.

The Wedding Planner

Matthew McConaughey is miscast. The script is not convincing or romantic. Even Jennifer Lopez can't save this bad movie. Skip.

The Twilight Saga: New Moon

This movie should have been better. Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner just are not able to overcome the script's pathetic dialogue and illogical plot. You really need to be a Twilight fan to like this movie. The script is a failure.

Mississippi Masala

There is too much going on in this movie. It is really a masala of three movies. A story about leaving Uganda, a love story, and a story about living in the south. Any one of these stories would have been enough for a movie. But it is still heartwarming and funny. Beautiful shots of Mississippi.

New In Town
New In Town(2009)

It's kind of like if Fargo met Silkwood but wasn't as good as you'd expect. Contrived, predictable, disappointing. Chick flick.

French Kiss
French Kiss(1995)

Meg Ryan and Kevin Kline have chemistry, and it goes a bit to waste. Never mind. It is confectionary. A movie for francophiles.

Bring It On
Bring It On(2000)

"Spirit fingers!" If you ever wanted to be a cheerleader, you will like this movie.

The Ron Clark Story

This movie is not Dangerous Minds. The script is a failure, and Matthew Perry is miscast. Thumbs down.

Schindler's List

This film has an overwhelming emotional impact. It is a series of images that will haunt you, never to be forgotten.

Maid in Manhattan

I keep getting drawn into this romantic Cinderella story. Lopez deserves to be a diva. She shines in this.

Le Divorce
Le Divorce(2003)

This film is supposed to be a comedy of manners. Comes up short.


Viola Davis gives an amazing performance. Streep, Hoffman, and Amy Adams also shine. Ambiguous ending.

View from the Top

It's like someone wrote my True LIfe story, except in my story, the airlines wouldn't hire me. Because I failed the personality test. Whatever, United! I would have been great! A movie for wanna-be flight attendants who should have been pilots.


This biopic is all over the place. It moralizes too much, and it doesn't answer big questions, like what did Big really think, and how were his songs produced. What path was he really on? This film just makes Big's mother and Sean Combs look good for posterity.The only authentic voice is in the music.

17 Again
17 Again(2009)

A lot of the plot points don't add up (and I'm not just talking about the role swap). For instance, the jock in this movie wouldn't really go out with a goth girl. The May-September romance is weird. The funny romance with the high school principal should have been funnier. And why cast Matthew Perry? I was disappointed.

The Ghosts of Girlfriends Past

This movie isn't romantic or funny.

District 9
District 9(2009)

District 9 is like a violent E.T. It may not be subtle, and it may not all make sense, but it is interesting sci fi.

The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian

This movie was very long, and there was a lot of fighting. It really needed more magic, but it does OK as an action adventure flick.

Uptown Girls
Uptown Girls(2003)

I liked this movie. Brittany Murphy is luminescent and turns this movie into more than a cliche. She is vulnerable, sexy, ditzy. There are echoes from her character in Eight Mile. Murphy's light went out much too soon.

Public Enemies

I'm not the only one who has been thinking about the 30s. Public Enemies is a film that is worth seeing. It was good to see Depp as John Dillinger. It all comes off a little two-dimensional, but maybe there just isn't more to this story. Dillinger was who he was.

The Children of Huang Shi

Beautiful to look at. KIlled by melodramatic script.

Risky Business

This is a smart, funny satire with great dialogue. I really like what Rebecca De Mornay does with her character. An iconic 80s movie.

Star Trek
Star Trek(2009)

The special effects in this movie are spectacular. However, the story fizzles at a critical point and never regains its momentum. Time travel in this movie is a lot like "Lost". It just defies logic. Going back in time also invites a problem with sequence logic, where older ships look more modern than they should (as in the Star Wars prequels). Also, the jerky motion of the camera made me feel a bit seasick. Chris Pine was annoying in his performance of James Kirk. He was over the top. Still, it was an entertaining film and a good ride.

The Missing
The Missing(2003)

Some great cinematography. Cate Blanchett gives a solid performance. The script is just a bit too melodramatic. Pity.

The Beach
The Beach(2000)

I like this movie. It's not as good as the book, but I'm a fan of DiCaprio, Ledoyen, and Swanson, and they don't disappoint. Unfortunately, this film doesn't know if it's a thriller or a love story, and it sinks into cheesiness at times. It's clumsy. If you have been on the backpacker trail, some of this movie will ring true.


There are so many elements to this movie. It is a thriller that could have been created by Hitchcock. It is a documentary of the Amish way of life. And it is a love story about two people who learn to respect each other, and who have a powerful physical attraction to each other. It's a great, classic movie.

Mr. Deeds
Mr. Deeds(2002)

I guess we are supposed to cheer on the small town guy who tries to save a big corporation in the big city. And I guess it's supposed to be funny, It falls flat. So many problems with this movie.

In the Valley of Elah

"In the Valley of Ellah" makes me want to see more by director Paul Haggis. Theron and Sarandon give solid performances. Tommy Lee Jones is the only actor who could have pulled off the role of Hank, the father of the AWOL soldier. There is no over-acting in this film. It's a subtle and powerful thriller.

The Duchess
The Duchess(2008)

A captivating almost-true costume drama. Keira Knightley's character is so beautiful, witty, politically liberal, and fashionable that I want to somehow become a 21st century version of her.


A man does the job that needs to be done. A bit too heavy-handed for me, but undeniably a classic.

In the Name of the Father

Daniel Day-Lewis is terrific. However, I'm disappointed this movie is not entirely true. Agree with Roger Ebert. Too much dialogue, too many scenes in the prison.

Pride and Prejudice

I prefered the television series with Colin Firth, too. Firth is the best Darcy. I agree Keira Knighley is a bit rocky as Elizabeth and I just couldn't warm up to Matthew Mac Fadyen. He just seemed awkward. And it did feel a bit rushed. Still, I'm giving it four and half stars. It was a beautfiul costume drama. Liked it.

Groundhog Day

It's a classic.


Sean Penn gives an inspired performance in this biopic. I'm a fan of Gus Van Sant, and at times, this film reminded me of Drugstore Cowboy and My Own Private Idaho.

Saturday Night Fever

I am a sucker for dance movies, and Saturday Night Fever is one of my favourites. Especially the scene when Travolta is getting ready to go out. Hot! Travolta has got great moves. "He is the king out there." Iconic soundtrack.

North by Northwest

This film is gorgeous. Still seems fresh. Very entertaining. It's got thrills and romance and laughs. The cropduster plane sequence is particularly eerie.

Midnight Cowboy

Just got around to watching this controversial classic. (It's embarrassing to admit I had never even heard of it.) Jon Voight reminds me of his daughter (Angelina Jolie) in his role as the naive male prostitute. Dustin Hoffman plays an earlier version of Rainman as the sick friend. The story is a sad commentary on social decline. The "mod" party scene and stylistic dream sequences date the film. In some ways, this film is like a 60s version of My Own Private Idaho.

At First Sight

A trite romantic melodrama about a blind masseuse who regains his sight. Based on a true story.


Kevin Bacon in Footloose is an 80s icon. Even with its trite melodrama, this movie and its soundtrack helped define a generation. A classic dance movie with a lot of good moves.


This film is almost perfect. It is nearly timeless, in that it's still fresh. The cinematography is impeccable. Interesting to consider in a historical context. Nicholson and Dunnaway have great chemistry. It's a great noir in the tradition of Raymond Chandler. The twist at the end is a bit disappointing, perhaps over the top.

The 40 Year Old Virgin

Beginning to wonder if I'm really a fan of Apatow or Carell. This movie doesn't crack me up like it is supposed to. Jane Lynch plays a version of her character on Glee.

Night at the Museum

Special effects movie. The first half is good, when the museum comes to life. Fizzles a little in the end. Kids will love it. Adults, maybe not so much.

The Holiday
The Holiday(2006)

Kate Winslet is a favourite, and I sometimes like Cameron Diaz. Why, oh why, did you two make this movie? It was sentimental and trite. It might be OK to watch again, if I were heavily medicated.

He's Just Not That Into You

He's Just Not That Into You, but all the girls still get the guy in the end. This movie is *not* like real life. Sexist, contrived, no real arc. Barrymore's monologue is the only bright spot.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop

This is a cute movie. It could have been funnier.

The Cutting Edge

Only watch this movie if you dreamed of being an ice skater when you were little. And you are super depressed, lying on the couch, eating chocolate, and thinking of simpler times.

Purple Rain
Purple Rain(1984)

This movie is about the music and watching Prince perform.

Center Stage: Turn It Up

Not realistic. AT ALL. Only recommended for fans of dance movies.

Something's Gotta Give

The dialogue in this movie is so amazing, as is the look and feel of the film. Keaton and Nicholson are a terrific pair. The only sour note is Reeves. He is just not believeable (and this may be a fault of the script). A very smart sit-com.


This is a good biopic. Basquiat's character reminds me of artists that I used to know. David Bowie is fantastic as Andy Warhol.

Reign Over Me

If you want to spend two hours watching someone who is catatonic with grief, this flick will do the job.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show

When I was a teenager, I was never allowed to go to this movie at the local theater. Pity. It's a boring movie without the side show.

The Green Mile

We watched this movie AGAIN over the summer holidays. I think it's on EVERY year. Still, I always seem to get pulled in. Tom Hanks is a better actor than I give him credit for. I always like him, in spite of myself.

Nights in Rodanthe

Contrived and cliche. What else would you expect from Nicholas Sparks? Richard Gere and Diane Lane lend their charisma and star appeal to what otherwise would have been a disaster.

Bee Movie
Bee Movie(2007)

Lots of talent in this movie and it's not too preachy.

Under the Tuscan Sun

A far-fetched escapist chick flick. The movie is better than the book.

Brideshead Revisited

A British period drama, with Emma Thompson, who never disappoints.

Heavenly Creatures

This disturbing film is based on a true story, "the crime that shocked a nation". I love Peter Jackson's view of 1950s New Zealand. The film is spellbinding and seamlessly woven together. Kate Winslet, as always, is brilliant.

Never Been Kissed

This is a chick flick. I want to be Drew Barrymore's character in this movie. Her character is a journalist, and her first assignment at age 25 is to go undercover in high school. Drew Barrymore may not be the best actress, but the camera loves her. And Leelee Sobieski is fun to watch.


This is a sappy melodramatic costume drama with a somewhat annoying child narrator. The film places a god-like status on the aborigines, which seems a bit condescending. And it is difficult to believe that Lady Ashley and Drover are able to cross the cultural divide between them. And it is too long. But it is beautiful to watch.

Goodbye Pork Pie

A Kiwi classic. It's surprising that Wellington looked almost the same back then as it does now. The scene with the railway cars and the ferry is unforgettable.

The Handmaid's Tale

The screenplay and the film fall short of Margaret Atwood's novel. It seems more like Lifetime porn than a disturbing look at a possible future. Disappointing.

Baby Mama
Baby Mama(2008)

I guess this movie is supposed to be about social class. It's about how different women relate to each other. Steve Martin and Sigourney Weaver steal the show.

Dirty Dancing

Jennifer Grey is so appealing as Baby. Cynthia Rhodes outdances everyone. The soundtrack is amazing. Who didn't fall in love with Johnny Castle in the summer of '87? This is a great dance movie. RIP Patrick Swayze.

The Sound of Music

One of my favourite musicals.


A dialogue-driven story about two Americans in Barcelona.

10,000 B.C.
10,000 B.C.(2008)

There is no historical accuracy, and director Emmerich wasn't brave enough to go for cheesy camp. The script is terrible, and so is the acting. So bad on so many levels. An extra half star for the digital effects, especially the birds.

8 Mile
8 Mile(2002)

This is one of the best overlooked movies ever. RIP Brittany Murphy.


This is a smart satire about different kinds of personalities. If you are a compulsive overachiever, it might make you cringe.


This movie is so romantic and bittersweet. It really makes me want to be a better person.

Romancing the Stone

Total classic. I love this movie.


I read the book first, which might have spoiled the movie for me. I didn't like the beginning of the movie, when two versions of the same events are shown. However, I'm just not sure how it could have been done better. The lush cinematography makes up for this minor fault.

Fast Times At Ridgemont High

If you went to high school in the 80s, this movie will bring you back. An extra half star for the star-studded cast.

Peggy Sue Got Married

What would you do if you could go back, knowing what you know now? You might have to be middle aged and possibly on the brink of divorce to get this movie. If you have recently been wallowing in nostalgia, it might make you cry. An extra half star for Kathleen Turner.

The People Vs. Larry Flynt

A good biopic. Courtney Love is very good. The second half of the movie loses its edge.

Sleepless in Seattle

Nora Ephron is a genius. I found myself identifying with the woman who laughs like a hyena.

Madonna: Truth or Dare

As many others have said, Warren Beatty steals the show with his comments about Madonna "not wanting to live off camera". Love her or hate her, this is still an interesting look inside Madonna's life.


Jane Fonda deserves better than this stupid, implausible movie. I'm giving it an extra half star, because it is fun to watch her nonetheless.

Kill Bill: Volume 1

This is a gory martial arts bloodbath. It's about action and style, and it's kind of brilliant. I didn't even get many of the references. Uma Thurman sizzles (we see a lot of her feet). Lucy Liu is surprisingly good. The mace-wielding teen bodyguard (Chiaki Kuriyama) is captivating. There is a long anime sequence, and a beautiful snow scene in a Japanese garden.

Girl, Interrupted

This movie falls short of what it could have been. It is a series of scenes without a plot to hang them on. I wanted there to be more about Susanna not really being insane. Ryder and Jolie are still fun to watch.

Jurassic Park III

Don't expect too much.

Charlie's Angels

This is cheesy rubbish. Sure, it's not smart, and the plot is thin, but it's still fun. Murray is a refreshing foil, even though he doesn't do much. Diaz as the nerd steals the show with her Soul Train performance.

I Could Never Be Your Woman

Michelle's performance is a repeat of One Fine Day, but not as good, with an older kid and a younger crush. I didn't like Paul Rudd in this (he was better served by Clueless). Sacirse Ronan's covers of Oops, I Did It Again and Ironic are the only bright lights. Script and casting FAIL.

The Other Boleyn Girl

Uneven costume drama with beautiful dresses.

What Happens in Vegas

Don't watch this. Seriously, don't you have something better to do?

All the Pretty Horses

Damon gives a good, understated performance. But maybe he is edgier as a bad boy. There is no spark between Damon and Cruz. This movie does not do justice to Cormac McCarthy's excellent novel. Director Billy Bob Thornton's take is just too simple.

Sex and the City

Great clothes, and great shots of the City. Jennifer Hudson steals every scene she is in. But the script? Gah. Words fail me. This is awful, trite crap written by men. And Hollywood is making a sequel. (sigh)

Burn After Reading

This movie is sort of hit-or-miss. I give it an extra half star. Because I like how the Coen brothers actually take risks. And making fun of American's growing stupidity is a great game. Of course Frances McDormand (Fargo) is brilliant. Brad Pitt shows us something that we have never seen from him before. Tilda Swinton and John Malkovich are very good. Funny stuff.

Cold Mountain

I was let down by the casting of the leads in this film. They all work hard, but Nicole Kidman has had many similar roles. Jude Law seems like a simpleton when he tries to act shy.He gets better as the film progresses. Renee Zelleger plays a buffoon. Supporting characters like Brendan Gleeson, Giovanni Ribisi and Natalie Portman are good, and the war and countryside scenes are shot well. Still, I was disappointed. I expected more.

Good Will Hunting

Matt Damon has a lot of good moments in this movie. And this is one of Robin Williams' best roles. It's a predictable story, but sometimes director Gus Van Sant nails it.

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull

LeBeouf was pretty good, and Ford has still got it. But overall I was disappointed. The script was uneven, and Cate Blanchett's role was one-dimensional.

Finding Neverland

Finding Neverland is a bit of a snooze. I wanted to see Barrie's character played with more of an edge. Depp plays it a little too safe. Kate Winslet, as always, is a refreshing foil. Beautifully filmed.

Little Women
Little Women(1994)

It is beautifully shot, but falls a bit short for me. Kirsten Dunst and Susan Sarandon give strong performances. Claire Danes is pretty good. Christian Bale and Winona Ryder are miscast. I do not like Samantha Mathis or Eric Stolz in their roles either.

Top Gun
Top Gun(1986)

This movie is so great. It was made back when Tom Cruise was still hot, with the awesome Kelly McGillis, and a great little role for Meg Ryan. Val Kilmer is amazing. I can recite all the lines from beginnning to end. A classic.

X-Men: The Last Stand

This movie is all action with too many characters. Halle Berry fell short as Storm. Elllen Page was fun to watch.

Out of the Blue (Aramoana)

This was a beautiful and disturbing film about a madman in New Zealand. Based on a true story.

Iron Man
Iron Man(2008)

This movie is better than you might think. The cast is very good. And the plot has an unexpected twist. There is plenty of cheese, but it is still a fun ride.

Garfield - The Movie

I can see why they cast Bill Murray. But the script just doesn't deliver. Unless you're a kid, maybe.

A Beautiful Mind

This is an interesting look at schizophrenia. Russell Crowe is convincing, and Jennifer Connelly is outstanding.

Wedding Crashers

This is fluff. I sort of liked the premise, and there were a few funny moments. Isla Fischer is probably the best part of this movie. But yeah, to me, it just wasn't that funny. Sorry.

Drillbit Taylor

This movie will remind you of something better that you've seen before.

Maria Full of Grace

This is a gritty movie that should make you question America's drug policies, when you see their effects on the most powerless, the mules.

The Terminal
The Terminal(2004)

This movie reminded me too much of Forrest Gump and Cast Away. Zeta-Jones' character falls short.

The Motorcycle Diaries

This film offers a simple view of the beginnings of Che's political conversion. I wanted more.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall

Like Knocked Up and Superbad, this movie is about social embarrassment. I liked the slight parody of Hawaiian holidays. Like other critics have said, Jason Segel doesn't quite pull off his role, but he almost manages it. Kristen Bell adds some nuance to hers. Russell Brand and Mila Kunis steal the show.


A slow clever thriller about guilt and shame. A subtle and powerful film.

An American in Paris

I like Gershwin. And Gene Kelly's dance segments are amazing. The final ballet is the reason to see this movie.


It is a dreamy vision of a Paris from another era. I liked "Ah, Yes, I Remember It Well."

Twelve Mile Road

This is the kind of Lifetime movie that you might find yourself watching when your child is up all night with a tummy bug. The plot is a cliche and the acting is uninspired. Ohio's Maggie Grace is probably the highlight.

Gangs of New York

The strength of this film is its portrayal of New York before the Civil War. I agree with some of the other critics that it is a Dickensonian vision and that sometimes the setting takes over the story. Diaz was miscast, however, Daniel Day-Lewis' take on the Butcher is memorable. I feel like Scorsese didn't quite get inside these characterics. A flawed but still great film.

Out of Africa

The chemistry between Redford and Streep works. This is an epic romance that is beautiful to watch.

Three Kings
Three Kings(1999)

A great action movie with insightful social commentary and a star-studded cast.

Once Were Warriors

If you want to understand Kiwi culture, this film is a must-see. It is extremely powerful and disturbing.

A Fond Kiss
A Fond Kiss(2004)

This is a modern Romeo and Juliet movie, set in Glascow. The star-crossed lovers are a Muslim and a lapsed Catholic. A good little film with insightful social commentary.

Lions for Lambs

I would have been more interested in following just one of the stories, the story of the troops on the hill of Afghanistan, or the story of the journalist, or even the story of the college professor. I think the screenplay sets out to do too much and it fails. It is ironic that the strongest performance is from Cruise, as the Republican senator with presidential ambitions. This is not the intended message of the film.


This is a smart murder mystery that focuses on the endless police investigation and not too much on the actual gore of the Zodiac murders. However there is a very creepy and well done basement scene. Gyllenhaal, Downey, and especially Ruffalo are very convincing in their roles. As others have said, the film is a bit like a History Channel special, which may be why I liked it.

Children of Men

I like dystopian stories. This film is a good modern take on the novel, first published in the early 1990s. There are some impressive sequences in the film, and at times it even might keep you on the edge of your seat. I liked it.

Miracle Run
Miracle Run(2004)

I wonder if this was a made-for-TV movie? It's a sappy, sentimental film about a strong mother who refuses to give up on her autistic sons. I can't fault the film's messages about not treating the kids any differently and refusing to acknowledge autism as a disability. However, I would have liked to see the mother's character struggle a bit more. She never seemed to have a moment of doubt, or throw her hands up and not know what to do.

The Heartbreak Kid

Another movie from the Farrelly brothers (I'm not a fan). There are just a few funny moments. What could be smart and funny movie is sacrificed for over-the-top childish pranks. Skip it.

Starter for 10

A coming-of-age romantic comedy set in the 80s. Sort of like an English Pretty in Pink or High Fidelity. The soundtrack, with the Cure, the Smiths and Tears for Fears, is a nice nostalgia trip. James McAvoy (Atonement, The Last King of Scotland), is charming and likeable. Rebecca Hall is a class act. Quite a good little film.

The Jane Austen Book Club

This is a film that might be better than the book. And it is definitely a chick flick. The California setting is beautfiul. It was well acted and I especially enjoyed Emily Blunt's performance as the confused wife. Even if you haven't read Jane Austen, this film is a pleasure.

The Devil Wears Prada

I thought this movie was better than the book. This is a chick flick. Streep and Hathaway give good performances. And I liked Emily Blunt too. I do feel like Streep's character needed to be meaner and Hathaway's character was maybe too attractive. Also, there were some confusing subplots. Overall, however, this film was a fluffly bit of fun.

No Country for Old Men

I really liked the Coen brothers' take on No Country For Old Men (the book was better). Tommy Lee Jones and Woody Harrelson were both excellent. As was Javier Bardem. I was perhaps a little disappointed in the casting of Josh Brolin. I imagined his character more like Matt Damen (All the Pretty Horses). Still a very fine film. One of the decade's best.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street

We started watching this movie, but we had to stop because Project Runway was on. I know, priorities! Husband: This is the only musical I've ever wanted to see. Me: Helena Bonham Carter should have NEVER made that stupid Planet of the Apes movie. It's ruined her.

Martian Child

This movie reminds me of About a Boy. It's syrup-y, slow, and a bit cute, if you like kids and John Cusack.


Did they run out of film at the end?


Maybe it was because I was on a long haul flight with screaming babies in front of me, but I really liked this romantic teen movie. Now I need to read the book!

Slumdog Millionaire

Visually stunning. A feel good rags to riches story that shows the many different faces of Mumbai. Brilliant.

Second Hand Wedding

Here's a piece of Kiwiana, full of self-deprecating humour. And it was shot on the beautiful Kapiti Coast, right up the road from where I live. A film worth seeking out.

The Kite Runner

The best part of this film is its powerful portrayal of Afghanistan from the 70s, when the women wore short skirts, through the Soviet invasion to a medieval state under the power of the Taliban. The children who play Amir and Hassan give flawless performances. Homayon Ershadi as the indulgent father is excellent. The screenplay just falls a bit short. The controversial rape scene is probably not necessary to the story. Hassan's character is one-dimensional (ie, too perfect), and Amir's character is not balanced either. It is too easy in the film to judge Amir as a weak boy and man. He does not seem haunted. He just seems deferential. I would have liked to see more complexity in the way all of the film's characters are portrayed. The film's pacing is sluggish at times. The ending ties up all the loose ends rather too neatly. Still, a film worth seeing.

Mamma Mia!
Mamma Mia!(2008)

I'm such a cheese. I liked it. It's all about the dancing and singing. Christine Baranski easily shows up the rest of the cast, with "Does Your Mother Know."


This movie was horrible. It was as if Jake and Reese were like, let's do something dramatic and POLITICAL. Even if the script sucks. The graphic torture scenes were unnecessary. The message was heavy-handed. And Meryl Streep was way too The Devil Wears Prada. She was almost comical, especially at the end. Skip it.

Yes Man
Yes Man(2008)

I missed the first bit of this movie, so maybe I missed all the good parts. Jim Carrey looks like an old man in this movie. It seemed like Zooey Deschanel's character was just humouring a curmudgeon with bipolar disorder. The script is not funny. It's sappy and trite. It's sort of like a cross between Shallow Hal and Bruce Almighty. Rhys Darby is the only redeeming feature in this film, and even he can't save it. My husband thought it was all right. He'd give it three stars.

I Am Legend
I Am Legend(2007)

I really like dystopian stories. In I AM LEGEND, Will Smith's character is the sole survivor of the plague that has wiped out humanity and transformed the rest. Smith is how he always is in a film, but he was especially convincing in his portrayal of a survivor going insane. There are some holes in the plot that are not tied up. The first half of the movie kept me on the edge of my seat. The ending was a bit of a letdown. And I found the biblical references quite heavy-handed. Still a good film.


The first half of this movie had some amusing bits. Unfortunately, the second half drags on a bit. McLovin and the cops were great.

Into the Wild

The main character comes across as a Jesus figure. The love story is good, but it was too girly for my husband. And I didn't like watching the end.

Lost In Translation

The look and feel of this film is truly great. Coppola captures the essence of what it is to be an American overseas. Bill Murray isn't too annoying and Johansson gives a mesmerising performance. If I could live in this movie, I would.

Sense and Sensibility

I just watched this movie this year, after reading the book. I really liked the movie. Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet give very strong performances. Hugh Grant is perfectly cast. Alan Rickman is surprisingly good. Ang Lee has shot a beautiful film. Thumbs up!

Marie Antoinette

I absolutely loved this girlie costume drama. If you have gone to Versailles and pretended to be Marie Antoinette, or just wanted to, you will love this modern take on her story. Kirsten Dunst is luminous. Amazing production by a very talented director.

Little Miss Sunshine

I really liked this dark comedy. I related to Abigail Brelin's character, as I was often the little performer as a child. Some very funny moments and at times very touching.

Bridget Jones's Diary

I love this girlie chick flick. There are some great comic moments. The Christmas sweater? The knickers in the office? I laugh every time.

Boys Don't Cry

I remember seeing this movie and thinking Hilary Swank was amazing. It was on TV not long ago, and I couldn't bring myself to watch it again. It was too disturbing and sad and graphic. A very good film.

Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

I don't like Jim Carrey, but he was very good in this movie. And of course Kate Winslet is fantastic. If you liked Being John Malkovich, you'll probably like this too.

In the Line of Fire

I'm sorry, sometimes Clint Eastwood is a bit corny. And I know there was a bit of tongue-in-cheek going on here. But Eastwood was too old for the lead role in this movie. He does have a certain charisma, I'll give him that. The love interest with Russo isn't believeable. In fact, was the romantic part of this story even needed? The menacing scenes with Malkovich are the best part.


How many times have I seen this movie? Stockard Channing steals the show. Newton-John's transformation at the end is a classic. And Travolta? He's still got all the right moves.

Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back

This is my favourite Star Wars movie. What can I say? I'm a romantic.

The Seven Year Itch

I absolutely love this movie. I've always been a huge Monroe fan. This is one of her best.

Gone With the Wind

This is one of my all time favourites. Some of the lines in this movie! Incredible. Like when Clark Gable tells Vivien Leigh, "You need kissing. And badly." Makes my knees go weak. Every time. The movie might be even better than the book.


Yeah, I sort of liked this. Thurman is good and Streep saves this movie from being a total cliche.

My Super Ex-Girlfriend

Uma Thurman was surprisingly disappointing in this movie. I don't think it was her fault. Luke Wilson wasn't up to the task here and the script was not edgy enough. You can skip this one.

Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith

Revenge of the Sith is the worst of the three prequels. It was let down by the script and some poor acting and directing. Still the visual effects make it worth watching.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

I think this is one of those movies that's actually BETTER than the book. Depp is of course amazing. This film is stunningly nice to look at. Comical and absurd. Probably a classic.

Men in Black II

Aren't sequels almost always destined to fall short? Why does Hollywood make them anyway? In any case, MIB II isn't the worst sequel, by a long shot. The first half hour is quite funny. And Lara Flynn Boyle is fun as the villain. But I started thinking about how Tommy Lee Jones was looking old and Will Smith was trying too hard and Rosario Dawson was too nubile. Oh well, it's still a pretty good sequel.

Meet the Fockers

OK, a few funny moments. But Ben Stiller doesn't do it for me, and Robert De Niro wasn't as good as he should have been. Maybe it was the writing. Not that funny.


The first time I saw this, I remember really liking it. I like Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst. Willem Dafoe is a great villain. However, over time, I find I'm liking this movie less and less. Still, a very good superhero movie. One of the best.

King Kong
King Kong(2005)

I liked King Kong MUCH much more than I thought I would. The visual effects are of course stunning and Naomi Watts is amazing in her role. A good epic.

Music and Lyrics

I like Drew Barrymore. Even though she's not a great actress, the camera still likes her. And I like Hugh Grant. He's a good washed-up has-been in this. There ARE some funny moments. But it just isn't edgy enough. Too sentimental and hokey.

Men in Black
Men in Black(1997)

Over the years I'd seen bits and pieces of this movie. I just watched the whole thing. It was dumb and I liked it. Some of Will Smith's gags are starting to show their age, but the film is still an enjoyable bit of fluff.


Brilliant performances from Zeta Jones and Zellweger. Great choreography. Five stars.

Last Holiday
Last Holiday(2006)

Queen Latifah almost but not quite rescues this movie. The script is farfetched and not in a fun way. I would not watch it again unless I was bedridden and/or ill.

The Queen
The Queen(2006)

I loved this inside look at the royals. Helen Mirren is amazing.


Shrek was just on TV Christmas Eve. I love Eddie Murphy in this movie. It's a great feel-good movie. Good for kids and adults. Great twist at the end.


I love Kate Winslet in almost everything, and I really like Dicaprio. I watch this movie every time it's on TV. I just love the first half of the movie, Rose and Jack's story. And the second half of the movie stays with me after I watch it. The scenes are larger than life. After watching the movie, I go to sleep thinking about Rose swimming down the corridor to rescue Jack, or the scene where she blows her whistle. Replaying scenes in my head, years later, after seeing the movie many times, indicates a great movie in my book. Five stars.

10 Things I Hate About You

I like Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger. I'd probably watch this movie again, but I wouldn't subject my husband to it. It's definitely a girl movie.


Here's another Russell Crowe movie. I just watched it for the first time. Really epic. Joaquin Phoenix is brilliant.

American Pie
American Pie(1999)

OK, this movie was just on TV again over the summer holidays. Am I the only person in the world who doesn't love it? I caught myself watching a bit of it, but I think I just like Alyson Hannigan. This type of humor just doesn't do it for me. Sorry.

The Bourne Ultimatum

This is an enjoyable action thriller. As other reviewers have pointed out, you don't want to think about the plot too much. There are a few holes. All the same, I like me some Matt Damon and Julia Stiles. Thumbs up.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Another movie I just saw in its entirety. I'm starting to like Russell Crowe more and more. I think he looks a bit like my husband.