The Bad Guy's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Batman: Year One

I've never read the source material that Batman: Year One is based on, but I thoroughly enjoyed this Noir origin story.

The Secret World of Arrietty
½

This movie is another great installment from Studio Ghibli. Absolutely entrancing and beautiful.

Bluebeard
Bluebeard(2010)

This re-telling of the fable adds a second level of reality to the story which sometimes works wonders but results in a strange finale.

All that being said - I really like it. I found myself enjoying every minute of it and suggest you check it out. This was my first Catherine Breillat film and I'm persuaded to check out more of her works as a result.

Chico & Rita
Chico & Rita(2012)
½

A beautifully animated film about a tragic love affair. Chico & Rita jumps off the screen and bursts with life.

The Ides of March

There was so much squandered opportunity in 'The Ides Of March', perhaps more than in any film I saw from 2011. It starts off as a compelling political thriller and then slowly devolves into tired cliches and complacency.

Nostalgia for the Light
½

A beautiful and fascinating documentary. 'Nostalgia For The Light' deals with questions of the soul in an entirely unique way, juxtaposing our exploration of the cosmos with our own histories.

A Separation
A Separation(2011)
½

One of the best films of the year.

Beats Rhymes & Life: The Travels of a Tribe Called Quest
½

As a long time fan of Tribe's music this documentary was a treat. It also shed a lot of light on the group's origins and their ongoing struggles.

Tomboy
Tomboy(2011)

Skillfully explores questions of gender identity and nature/nurture.

The Debt
The Debt(2011)
½

While it's not as philosophically edgy as it could have been, 'The Debt' is still a thrilling ride with an intriguing plot

The Turin Horse

This film is intentionally boring. It's also very well shot and provokes some intriguing philosophical questions about what makes life worth living.

We Need to Talk About Kevin
½

Nature or Nurture? This film is the exact opposite of the Greek import 'Dogtooth'. Here we're shown an image of a truly terrifying child who, despite his mother's best efforts, can't be helped.

The scenes have no consistent chronological order to them as we're taken from the future to the past and back again. Watching some of the scenes a second time shed's insight that you can only get on a re-watch.

The Adventures of Tintin
½

It's extremely fast paced for it's subject matter (probably more than it needs to be). TinTin manages to be an entertaining adventure, but it's not a particularly memorable one.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
½

I honestly did not care for the Swedish film last year. When I heard that this was being remade into a U.S. version I wondered why, but now I understand.

This may be the best example I've ever seen of how you can take a story that's been told before and tell it BETTER. There's nothing all that remarkable about the story, but Fincher and the cast elevate it to greatness. I was more excited and tense during this remake than I was at any point watching the original. That's how you know a film has succeeded - when it pushes you to the edge of your seat, even though you know what's coming next.

The Four Times (Le Quattro Volte)

Perhaps not for everyone... Le Quattro Volte succeeds as a meditation on the mysteries of life and death. It puts the viewer under a hypnotic spell.

Submarine
Submarine(2011)

A quirky and comedic coming-of-age story set in Wales during the 1970s. Submarine explores the mind of Olliver, an awkward adolescent dealing with the ups and downs of his first relationship.

Contagion
Contagion(2011)

This is an apocalypse movie done right. Probably the most frightening movie of 2011, Contagion forces us to contemplate an outbreak scenario that could really happen.

The Interrupters
½

One of the most moving and profound documentaries in recent memory. 'The Interrupters' is a harsh indictment of violence and gang culture in our urban communities, and worthwhile viewing for anyone.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes
½

I was expecting to get more out of this, but it still managed to provide for some entertainment. I think I may have been spoiled by watching Project Nim, but the science/captivity scenes seemed like a cheap Hollywood imitation by comparison.

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol

A solid action film with some impressive sequences, but it lacks a cohesive plot and a central villain.

Kung Fu Panda 2

It's entertaining throughout and while it may not live up to the original this is still one of the best animated films of 2011. It's been a weak year for animation.

Love Exposure
½

One of the strangest, most hypnotic, enjoyable films I've ever watched.

I'm almost at a loss for words at how to describe this. One would think that a subtitled 4 hour film would be slow paced, but this is one of the most subversive and frantically paced films I've ever seen.

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
½

This extremely condensed version sports a fantastic cast and thrills galore, but I felt it wasn't quite long enough or gripping enough due to it's 2hr10m run time. A three hour version might have been more appropriate.

Still, this is one of the better spy thrillers I've ever seen. It's definitely one of the more impressive films of 2011 and should serve as a nice antidote to those craving more of a realistic portrait of espionage.

The Muppets
The Muppets(2011)

Brilliant. Fantastic. Heartfelt. Joyous. Magical. Nostalgic.

Margin Call
Margin Call(2011)
½

Less of a preachy indictment of Goldman Sachs and Wall Street than I thought it would be, Margin Call is a well made psychological drama about the financial crisis.

Another Earth

I love the sci-fi premise and the ending. Another Earth may not have flawless execution but it's consistently fascinating and (in it's own way) poetic.

The Artist
The Artist(2011)

This is just a beautiful and delightful film. It's a tribute to the art of cinema and a reminder that films can be great without cutting edge technology.

Don 2
Don 2(2011)
½

I'm someone that finds myself rooting for villains from time to time. It's pretty rare that a movie caters to this for an entire film, but Don 2 is like watching The Dark Knight from the Joker's perspective. I loved that aspect of it.

It's one of the most purely entertaining films I've seen in 2011 and while it has some blatant Bollywood cliches (the one musical number, the romantic side plot) I can't help but give it a very high score.

The Descendants

A well made and emotionally resonant film about loss and family. It falls short of being great, but it's definitely worth watching. This is a movie with a lot of heart.

Warrior
Warrior(2011)
½

This movie is so much better than it has any right to be.

City of Life and Death

I see about 100 movies each year and I certainly don't shy away from things that are dark or tragic. But honestly, this may be the most disturbing movies I've ever seen. I knew going into it that it dealt with some pretty harsh subject matter (the rape of Nanking) but I'm not sure I was prepared for what I saw. This movie moved me more than anything I've seen all year.

Beginners
Beginners(2011)

A delightful story about love and making the most out of life.

Bellflower
Bellflower(2011)
½

A full day after seeing 'Bellflower' I'm still not sure what to make of it. It's a bizarre and edgy film that takes us to some very dark places. However, when it wraps up towards the end we're meant to look back on what might have been.

Everything Must Go
½

A patient and serious film. 'Everything Must Go' is not your typical Will Farrell movie so it would be wise to go in without preconceived expectations.

It's about the struggle to overcome depression, addiction, and to find meaning in life when everything looks lost.

Tucker and Dale vs. Evil

A situational comedy horror film. 'Tucker & Dale Vs Evil' is the kind of fresh spoof on the horror genre that many of us have only seen in films like Sam Raimi's Evil Dead trilogy.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.
½

Sure it's a bit contrived and predictable... but this still works on a lot of levels. It's funny, charming, and sincere.

Outrage
Outrage(2011)

A twisted tale of revenge and dishonor among thieves.

Le Havre
Le Havre(2011)
½

A magical and understated film that weaves global politics with local society.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2

I've never been a huge 'Harry Potter' fan but this last installment was well done. I kind of wished the story would have taken a different direction towards the end, but it is a children's novel so I understand why it was written this way.

Leap Year
Leap Year(2011)

I'm not really sure how I feel about this movie.

Hugo
Hugo(2011)

It's a masterpiece.

Red State
Red State(2011)
½

Mixed... but entertaining and captivating overall. It's not as political as I was anticipating, but it's pretty harsh on religious extremists and law enforcement.

Take Shelter
Take Shelter(2011)
½

A very unsettling film that gets under your skin. It's some of the best drama and acting I've seen all year. A mesmerizing work of storytelling that gives you a lot to think about.

The Last Circus
½

I thought the core concept was wild and original, but after seeing the film I'm left wondering what the hell I just saw... and not all in a good way.

Norwegian Ninja (Kommandør Treholt & Ninjatroppen)
½

Certainly one of the stranger films I've seen in 2011, Norwegian Ninja is a cold war spy spoof with subversive humor.

Tabloid
Tabloid(2011)

It may not compare to "The Fog of War" or "The Thin Blue Line", but this is still a compelling documentary about truth and sensationalism.

It probably has more in common with Rashomon than Lindsay Lohan.

X-Men: First Class
½

XM:FS may be a little cheesy at times, but this reboot is entertaining throughout. It's also a creative re-imagining of the X-Men universe and world history.

Thor
Thor(2011)

It wasn't bad but it wasn't very good either. It doesn't really excel in any area - storytelling, action etc. 'Thor' may be the second best comic book adaptation of 2011, but that's not saying much given it's competition.

50/50
50/50(2011)
½

It's almost impossible not to like 50/50. It may not be the most laugh out loud comedy, but the humor is very effective and gratifying. It definitely causes a whirlwind of emotion and had me choked up on several occasions. I lost my mother to cancer when I was younger and this brought back a lot of feelings and experiences from that time. This is definitely one of the best films of 2011.

Drive
Drive(2011)

There is nothing I don't love about this movie. It may be the most viscerally intense movie I've seen in years and it flows beautifully from one emotional scene to the next.

Page One: Inside the New York Times

A very important and thought provoking documentary about media and journalism in a world where these such things are increasingly marginalized and overlooked.

Rubber
Rubber(2011)
½

A wildly subversive and twisted ride. Rubber shatters the fourth wall and pokes fun at movie making generally.

The problem is that it's concept probably works better as a short film than something feature length.

The Stool Pigeon (Sin yan)
½

Although it may be a tad formulaic, this is still a film that manages to feature good action chases and some emotional weight.

Horrible Bosses

It's not nearly as funny as I hoped it would be, but it has it's moments.

Fast Five
Fast Five(2011)

WOW - this was a lot better than I expected. Some of the action scenes in this were amazingly epic. It puts other U.S. action movies this year to shame.

POM Wonderful Presents: The Greatest Movie Ever Sold

POM Wonderful is a solid premise for a documentary that suffers from it's execution and (perhaps) it's own corporate endorsements.

Limitless
Limitless(2011)
½

A decent sci-fi thriller that provides some fun, mindless entertainment.

Ip Man 2: Legend of the Grandmaster

Like the first film, Ip Man 2 is not without it's flaws. There are instances where the use of wires look cheesy, the British actors are bad, the plot is simplistic and predictable...

But none of that matters too much. Why? Because this movie kicks a ton of ass. It's excellent entertainment and just as good as the first martial arts masterpiece.

The Red Chapel
½

This is an admirable, though inherently limited effort at subversive comedy in the hermit kingdom.

The Guard
The Guard(2011)
½

Wow... what a movie! This is easily the best comedy I've seen in years. It's well written, it has heart, it has outrageous humor. There's basically nothing wrong with this film from start to finish. It's virtually guaranteed to make my top ten by year's end.

Bridesmaids
Bridesmaids(2011)

'Bridesmaids' doesn't live up to the hype, but it's still a refreshingly good comedy in a year without many of them. The final act dissolves into more typical Apatow fare, and there are some stale potty humor gags... but for the most part this is a solid comedy with a lot of laugh out loud humor.

Forks Over Knives

Perhaps much of it is common sense, but I've never seen such a compelling case made for a largely plant based diet. As someone who has high cholesterol it has already influenced my eating habits for the better.

The Next Three Days

This could be 2010's 'Taken', a gripping and well made film that never got the critical respect it deserved. While I have some issues with the finale, this is undeniably intense and emotional film making.

Attack the Block
½

A wild ride that has a little bit of everything, 'Attack The Block' is a prime example of what can be done with a clever concept and a low budget. At times it's hilarious, suspenseful, and even kind of moving. I feel like this could become a cult classic like Shaun Of The Dead or Evil Dead 2.

Project Nim
Project Nim(2011)
½

This is a fantastic documentary and one of the most important films ever made on the relationship between man and animal. Although it deliberately tugs at our emotions, it doesn't preach or offer easy solutions to complex problems.

Bhutto
Bhutto(2010)

This is an incredibly painful and inspiring documentary about courage under fire. A profoundly moving portrait of one of the true heroes of the modern era.

Conan O'Brien Can't Stop
½

It's interesting and fairly entertaining, but it's just not enough of either. It's also very hard to tell when Conan is being serious off camera and when he's just using a deadpan style of humor.

Waste Land
Waste Land(2010)

A genuinely affecting documentary about socio-economics and art. Waste Land may not have received a broad release (it wasn't released in my city at all) but it's a documentary that deserves to be seen by everyone.

Hesher
Hesher(2011)

Emotional, irreverent, and at times very funny. 'Hesher' is a solid effort all around.

Cell 211 (Celda 211)
½

Always intense and captivating, Cell 211 is a great film about moral relativism and brotherhood.

Poetry
Poetry(2011)

A patient and powerful film with an unforgettable ending. It's difficult to explain the impact this film will have on you until after you've seen it.

The Beaver
The Beaver(2011)

This movie was pleasant surprise. Difficult to watch at times and certainly unusual, but 'The Beaver' features strong performances and some very touching insights into the nature of depression.

Point Blank
Point Blank(2011)
½

One of the best action/thriller films of 2011, and that's saying something. It's right up there with the Korean film 'The Man From Nowhere' and others. It has a pulse rate that doesn't quit and it's almost unfairly entertaining - clocking in at less than 1 1/2 hours.

Win Win
Win Win(2011)
½

Entertaining and heartfelt, Win Win is one of best movies of 2011.

Secret Sunshine
½

A dark and powerful portrait of grief, and the impact it can have on our lives. Secret Sunshine combines psychology, religion, and personal tragedy... yet it's never preachy or contrived.

Carlos
Carlos(2010)
½

I only saw the 2 1/2 hour version because it's all I currently have access to. What I saw still puts this high in the running for best films of 2010. It's an expertly paced film that always gives the viewer something to consider, especially through the lens of modern day global politics.

Captain America: The First Avenger
½

Captain America isn't bad, but it's not good either. It's one of the most average and formulaic movies I've seen in years. Everything in this movie is calculated and predictable. It takes us places we've been 1,000 times before.

Jane Eyre
Jane Eyre(2011)

I'm not very familiar with the story, but I felt that this adaptation was well cast, well done, and that it featured a strong score.

American: The Bill Hicks Story

An insightful and well crafted documentary about one of the greatest comedians of all time. It's funny, poignant, and like Hicks' comedy it leaves a lasting impression.

Insidious
Insidious(2011)
½

Even though it's highly derivative of modern horror movies, Insidious still manages to be entertaining and frightening enough.

The Lincoln Lawyer
½

It's a bit contrived and clumsy at times, but The Lincoln Lawyer is always entertaining.

Exporting Raymond
½

Exporting Raymond succeeds when it's examining the vast culture divide between the United States and Russia.

Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

A very odd and hypnotic film about life's unanswered questions.

Anton Chekhov's The Duel
½

It's a beautiful movie to look at and it offers a thrilling final act. Some will undoubtedly be put off by the pacing and the lack of escalation or conflict for much of the film.

Cedar Rapids
Cedar Rapids(2011)

This small, unpretentious film about a fish out of water is one of the more enjoyable comedies of 2011.

I loved 'The Wire' references

Rango
Rango(2011)
½

Subversive, comical, and smarter than you might expect. Rango is easily the best animated film of 2011.

Colony
Colony(2009)
½

An insightful and balanced documentary about Colony Collapse Disorder.

Winter in Wartime
½

Winter In Wartime is a compelling thriller set in the Netherlands 1945. It's not an exceptional WW2 film, but it's one of the better ones to come out in a long time.

Cave of Forgotten Dreams

A deeply philosophical and humbling film about the earliest known works of art, some thirty thousand years ago.

The Tree of Life

Malick's latest film is an obvious ripoff of 2001: ASO, it's deeply flawed, at times it's borderline pretentious... and yet it's one of the more captivating and beautiful films of 2011.

The cinematography, music, and philosophical questions in the film are wonderful. You kind of have to see it.

Taken
Taken(2009)

Every so often an action movie comes along that exceeds expectations despite mediocre to bad reviews. Taken is one of those movies.

What I liked most about the action in this film was the length of the shots. You could easily follow what was going on without having to witness 3 angles per second.

It's not profound or exceptional in any way, but it sure is a lot of fun. If you're looking for a popcorn action flick, you could do a lot worse than 'Taken'.

Saekjeuk shigong (Sex Is Zero)
½

This may be one of the most hilarious foreign comedies I've ever seen. It's wild tonal shifts will be off-putting to some, but it's way too ridiculous to take seriously.

There are several scenes where I couldn't help but laugh uncontrollably - like the strawberry hair gel or the birthday cake slap.

Alien3
Alien3(1992)
½

The film that ruined the 'Alien' franchise. Just pretend the ending of Aliens is the end of the ride.

A lot of bad trends started in this one: the use of CGI which makes the xenomorphs look fake, the overuse of religious symbolism and a non-aggression pact between the monsters and our protagonist Ripley.

Alien Resurrection
½

Just a really bad and ill-conceived sequel. Resurrection is good for a campy romp, but it's a shame that a once proud franchise became a bloated mess.

Bus 174 (Ônibus 174)
½

Compelling, frustrating, and tragic... Bus 174 is as much about socio-economics and culture as it is about a hostage situation.

Grizzly Man
Grizzly Man(2005)
½

A beautiful and disturbing documentary by the great Herzog.

Incendies
Incendies(2011)
½

Incendies is a gripping mystery with added suspense. As the historical jigsaw puzzle starts to reveal itself we're left with an unforgettable story and an emotionally taxing experience.

Trollhunter
Trollhunter(2011)
½

A fun monster mockumentary inspired by films like Cloverfield and The Blair Witch Project.

I Saw the Devil

A solid thriller that could have only come from South Korea

The Green Hornet

It manages to provide some laughs and even a few good action scenes. But a lot of the fight scenes are filmed in a very strange way by Michel Gondry.

I feel like there was more potential for Christoph Waltz as a villain, but he does a good job with the material he was given here.

Sanjuro (Tsubaki Sanjûrô)
½

Possibly the most lowbrow of all Kurosawa's films, Sanjuro is a highly entertaining tale with a sense of humor.

Red Beard
Red Beard(1965)

Kurosawa's last film to star Tishiro Mifune and also the last that focuses on heroes. Red Beard is a powerful and affecting film about compassion.

Toy Story 3
Toy Story 3(2010)

From the trailer and the hype surrounding Toy Story 3 I actually became convinced it was going to stink. I never should have doubted Pixar... TS3 is arguably the best of the Toy trilogy.

It's funny, clever and surprisingly moving. It's a worthy addition to Pixar's library and one of the best films of 2010 so far.

L'Enfer d'Henri-Georges Clouzot (Henri-George Clouzot's Inferno)

A fascinating and cautionary tale about director hubris.

Paris, Texas
Paris, Texas(1984)
½

It should feel like a slow-paced affair, but 'Paris,Texas' is captivating throughout. A mesmerizing mystery that packs an emotional punch.

The Man From Nowhere
½

If 'Taken' and 'The Chaser' met and had a child, it would be 'Man From Nowhere'.

Hobo With a Shotgun
½

A hilarious and deliberately over-the-top ride. Hobo With A Shotgun is a grindhouse film that may become a cult classic.

Zoku Sugata Sanshiro (Sanshiro Sugata 2) (Judo Saga II) (Judo Story II)
½

While it doesn't live up to the original it's still worthwhile viewing. Certainly one of Kurosawa's least effective films, Sanshiro Sugata 2 is nonetheless a worthwhile film that is still being imitated today.

Blood Simple
Blood Simple(1984)

Blood Simple is riveting and full of twists. It's very similar to the Coens' later film Fargo.

Source Code
Source Code(2011)

I'm still not sure whether to give this an 8 or a 9... but Source Code is one of the coolest sci-fi films I've seen in quite some time. It's somewhere ahead of Moon and behind Inception.

Super
Super(2011)

I like this movie - I really do.

Undeniably demented with wild tonal shift, Super still managed to be a very endearing and entertaining film. This is a movie that plays with our emotions. Some will 'get it' and others won't.

Hanna
Hanna(2011)

A very mixed bag - Hanna is a film that doesn't take full advantage of it's premise. Yet when the action and suspense are on full display, there's little to be desired.

13 Assassins
13 Assassins(2011)
½

You could call Takashi Miike's '13 Assassins' a remake of Seven Samurai, even though the two have radically different styles.

This is much more of a kick-ass action film with a shorter run time. The themes of Samurai code vs. innate morality are explicit. It's a fairly straightforward story in all but if you like action or samurai films this is pretty exceptional.

Mesrine: Public Enemy #1
½

An excellent follow up to the first film in this two part series. Public Enemy #1 is every bit as entertaining as the original and it's even more captivating.

Wrecked
Wrecked(2011)

Wrecked isn't as good as it's recent competition in the survival genre (Buried, 127 Hours) but it's still an interesting journey. I think it would have been better served if it were more grounded in reality though, as much of the suspense involves the protagonist's imagination. We're left wondering "is this real?" rather than feeling genuine tension.

A Film Unfinished

A Film Unfinished serves as an authentic and powerful history lesson. We're reminded of how easily the truth can be manipulated to serve evil purposes.

Death Race 2
Death Race 2(2010)

It's entertaining at times but a lot of that has to do with unintentional laughs from the dialogue. Poorly directed and ill conceived, Death Race 2 is stupid fun without enough fun to make it worthwhile.

Get Low
Get Low(2010)

A solid effort all around. Get Low is an intriguing mystery and a moving story about one man's isolation from the world.

Even the Rain (Meme La Pluie)

It may not be subtle or unpredictable, but Even The Rain works. If you are a fan of Howard Zinn you'll be sure to enjoy this one. It's also an effective movie about making a movie.

We Are What We Are

'We Are What We Are' is a disturbing horror film that's rich with atmosphere and intrigue. Love it or hate, you won't be able to turn away.

I thought the messages behind the film were handled well - not preachy or emotionally manipulative. Some may prefer their horror without commentary on family and tradition, but even if those elements didn't work for you this can still be effective.

Of Gods and Men
½

A powerful film about faith and selfless heroism.

Ip Man
Ip Man(2010)
½

It may not be a substantive masterpiece and creative liberties were apparently taken... Ip Man is such a great martial arts flick that it's hard not to enjoy it.

If you like kung fu movies at all you owe it to yourself to check out this one. The Wing Chun mastery of Donny Yuen is a real treat to watch.

Never Let Me Go

Never Let Me Go doesn't just have a compelling title. It's one of the most original science fiction novel/film stories to come around in a while. This is a story as relevant to the debate on science and morality as Shelly's Frankenstein was.

The acting is great all around and there are haunting moments in here that you won't be able to forget.

Biutiful
Biutiful(2010)
½

This may be the hardest film I've had to review from 2010, simply because I'm not sure what to make of it. I will probably be coming back to edit this in the future.

It's basically a much bleaker version of Kurosawa's Ikiru, with elements of transcendental science fiction thrown in. The scene with his daughter where he tells her to look at his face is one of the most powerful I've seen... but the film as a whole still leaves me wondering.

Another Year
Another Year(2010)
½

Another Year is a film that's heavy on realism and character. It's also one of the most memorable and moving films of 2010, despite the lack of car chases and gun battles.

Micmacs (Micmacs à tire-larigot)

It's good whimsical fun and provides for some moments of sheer comic brilliance. Some have accused it as being laborious and tiring, but I didn't find that to be the case.

Enter the Void (Soudain le vide)
½

Undeniably unique and undeniably overlong, 'Enter The Void' is one of the most surreal films you're likely to ever see. It's an interesting exploration of the drug DMT, secreted when we are born and when we die.

Red
Red(2010)
½

Red is an enjoyable ride and sports a strong cast. Each celebrity has left their ego behind in order to team up for this irreverent action/comedy. It's not quite as funny as Kick-Ass but it's still solid entertainment.

Dogtooth (Kynodontas)

This is profoundly disturbing but powerful film making nonetheless. Probably the best counter-argument to any parent who has claimed they have a right to raise their child any way they see fit.

Youth in Revolt

Turns out there are a few laugh out loud moments in this - many carried out by alternate ego Francois and the drug-loving Paul. Sure it's a coming of age story with a message, but it's mostly just a comedy.

The A-Team
The A-Team(2010)

It's stupid fun, but at least it's fun. That's more than I can say for most mainstream action films these days.

The Illusionist (L'illusionniste)
½

Beautiful and unique, L'illusionniste is a mesmerizing animated film. It has more in common with Lost In Translation than the Triplets of Belleville. Perhaps I was unusual, but the ending packed a strong emotional punch for me.

Lebanon (Levanon)
½

A claustrophobic story about an Israeli tank unit during the 1982 war. Probably it's greatest success is putting us in the place of a trigger man who must choose between the safety of his team or the safety of civilians.

Tiny Furniture

There's not much to this, but it's a fascinating portrait of human behavior and occasionally quite funny.

The Social Network

The editing was superb, the music was excellent, the acting ranged from good to great and the story was interesting. It's hard to find anything bad to say about Fincher's latest "The Social Network" and it's one of the defining films of 2010.

The Fighter
The Fighter(2010)

One of the better boxing films I've ever seen. It may not be War And Peace, but this is a raucous crowd pleaser.

The Iron Giant

One of the best animated American films to come out in the past 20 years. The Iron Giant is a delight for all ages.

Blue Valentine
½

A brutally honest tale about falling out of love. 'Blue Valentine' is emotionally devastating, but we never feel like it's overly dramatic or manipulative.

Smoke (Dym)
Smoke (Dym)(2007)
½

It may show flashes of skill and potential, but Smoke is ultimately held back by it's own nonsensical plot (or lack thereof). While dreamlike cinema can be a positive, I feel that there is too much unrelated stuff going on in a too short a time period.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1

Maybe the best Harry Potter film to date. Hallows part 1 is a dark, emotional journey that doesn't have a beginning or an end.

Tron Legacy
Tron Legacy(2010)
½

The 7 for this film is on the condition that it's viewed in IMAX 3D. Any other format would drop the rating to a 6.

The Runaways
The Runaways(2010)

Great acting from Shannon, Stewart and Fanning. Perhaps it helped that I wasn't versed on The Runaways history as a band, but I was definitely a fan of this film's rock and roll vibe.

It's also a commentary on the fleeting nature of success as well as art colliding with commerce.

Waiting for Superman

It's a well crafted documentary but I'm concerned that it's too simplistic (and too biased) to ever fulfill it's ambition. According to the performance agenda this movie touts, many of my best teachers would have been fired for deviating from the sacred curriculum.

The film is obsessed with measurable performance, which often leads to disgruntled students and teachers that spend all their time prepping kids for the next exam. Not surprisingly, math is the subject given the most focus in this doc because it fits neatly into the narrative. One can easily measure performance in mathematics and there is a consensus about what ought to be taught. That's not the case with the humanities - there are radically conflicting ideas about what makes a good government, social studies, or English lit teacher.

I had a U.S. history teacher in middle school that spent an entire class reading letters from Union & Confederate soldiers from the Civil War. It may sound dumb but before that class I never really understood history. I'd never been exposed to the hopes and fears of common people from another era - just names, dates and exams.

What makes a good teacher? It's a tough question... a lot more complex and controversial than this film would suggest.

Somewhere
Somewhere(2010)
½

Some will undoubtedly label it as 'boring', but for those willing to let the film work it's magic it's strengths overcome it's weaknesses. I wasn't a huge fan of the ending, but there is enough at play to make this a worthwhile experience.

I Love You Phillip Morris

A pleasant surprise and very funny to boot. Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor are great in their roles. Devotchka adds to the musical backdrop and there's plenty here to entertain.

This seems like a hard film not to like, but some will probably have an issue with the gay factor.

Animal Kingdom

A powerful and patient film. It's a long, bad road but a journey well worth taking.

The Other Guys
½

It's no comedy masterpiece, but The Other Guys is one of the funnier films of 2010.

Tangled
Tangled(2010)
½

A pleasant surprise of a 'kids film'. Tangled has more in common with classic disney animation like The Little Mermaid than it does with modern Pixar cinema.

That's not entirely a bad thing, however. This is genuinely funny and good times for old and young alike.

True Grit
True Grit(2010)
½

This was pure awesome. Mattie Ross' character is hysterical and unbelievably charismatic. It's a simple western told plainly and it works beautifully being just that. It's funny, moving and a great adventure.

Catfish
Catfish(2010)
½

A bizarre and captivating documentary about the elusive nature of truth on the internet.

I Am Love
I Am Love(2010)
½

Tilda Swinton is exceptional as usual - this time showing off fluent Italian in the lead role. Perhaps some of it's impact was diminished after watching the very similar French film Partir from the same year. It's a well crafted infidelity tale with patience and style. It's just not as original or engaging as it could have been.

Night Catches Us
½

An interesting debut with a lot of under-appreciated black actors. It's a fascinating glimpse into my home town (Philadelphia) from over 30 years ago when racial tensions were still seething. An interesting meditation on political extremism and it's real world implications, 'Night Catches Us' is a good film... but it's not memorable enough to be called great.

The King's Speech

Very well cast and enjoyable. 'The King's Speech' may be predictable but it's execution wins the audience over.

Despicable Me
½

It works as a movie for kids and adults, but it's still leagues behind Pixar's latest efforts and borrows heavily from films like 'The Incredibles'. It has several funny moments and even a few iconic film references sprinkled in for good measure, but Despicable Me fails to surpass other 2010 animated films like How To Train Your Dragon, The Secret of Kells or Toy Story 3.

Easy A
Easy A(2010)

Emma Stone is a revelation and the script is near brilliant for a teen comedy. Probably the funniest comedy of 2010.

Mugabe and the White African
½

Inspiring and emotional, 'Mugabe And The White African' is one of the best examples of courage under fire ever put to film. Quite possibly the best documentary of 2010 and it puts Claire Denis' 2010 film White Material to shame.

The Town
The Town(2010)

This is essentially a poor man's HEAT. That's not a bad thing but 'The Town' fails to be one of the best movies of the year due it's own contrivances.

There's more than enough here to entertain you and if you like bank robberies it definitely delivers on that front. In the end this film succeeds because of it's strong action sequences and tension - not because of it's plot.

The Kids Are All Right
½

It's an enjoyable family drama with a quirky sense of humor. I just wish it had been a little bit more than that. The film leads to an awkward conclusion in which one character is made a pariah and the rest are redeemed somehow.

Hadewijch
Hadewijch(2010)
½

A young girl is overcome with religious piety and struggles to find purpose in her life. Her zealotry gets her kicked out of the seminary and leads her to extremism.

It's a fascinating and unlikely story that's directed with a minimalist touch. It isn't as emotionally engaging or nuanced as it could be, but Hadewijch is worthwhile viewing for anyone willing to invest the time.

Inside Job
Inside Job(2010)

It's hard for me to objectively review Inside Job since I'm not an expert on the financial services industry. However, I thought this was exceptionally well made and did it's best to explain complex financial schemes to a wide audience.

It comes at the issue from an obvious point of view and the interviews play out like a lawyer grilling a witness. But at the same time it's hard to find any of the questions inherently unfair. There are quite a few revelatory remarks that come out of this one.

Perhaps it's too concerned about Wall Street's vices in the form of cocaine and prostitutes. Frankly, I don't care about any of that stuff.

Vengeance (Fuk sau)

It seems like every eastern film I watch these days is about revenge. But Johnnie To's "Vengeance" offers a unique plot and a very different message that sets it apart.

The action scenes are directed with a realism that's refreshing - something lacking in To's other films.

Cronos
Cronos(1994)
½

While it's far from his best film Cronos highlights why Del Toro is loved as an imaginative director. More heartwarming than heart pounding, this is a fascinating fairy tale about life and death.

Black Swan
Black Swan(2010)
½

While it takes a while to fully sink in, Black Swan is a bold and powerful portrait of an artist under stress.

Natalie Portman is exceptional, the score by Clint Mansell is solid and it's visually arresting. The film leaves you drained afterward but in a good way. Probably deserving of multiple viewings.

Valhalla Rising
½

There are images here that will stay burned in your memory and it gives the viewer a sense of being transported to an ancient world. However, there are portions that are borderline pretentious and overly symbolic.

Many will probably find this boring, but it's strengths as a film outweigh it's shortcomings. This is fascinating (but flawed) dreamlike cinema.

Ong Bak 3
Ong Bak 3(2011)

This is a perplexing and disappointing sequel. It's a shame that this is Tony Jaa's last film because when he's at his best it's a joy to watch.

Alien
Alien(1979)

Alien is the definition of a science fiction classic. Still one of the scariest films ever made, Alien now gets the visual re-release it deserves on Blu Ray.

Fong juk (Exiled)
½

While it has moments of cartoonish action there is still a lot to like about Johnnie To's 'Exiled'.

At times the film moves in unpredictable directions as the protagonists constantly get in a car asking where they're going or flip coins to determine which option to take. It's as if John Woo and new wave cinema were tossed into a blender.

Exit Through The Gift Shop
½

This documentary is a blast and an unintentional comedy. 'Exit' asks some very tough questions about art. What makes good art good art? What makes bad art inferior?

Thierry's MBW exhibit is such a bizarre spectacle that it forces us to consider what was so great about street artist's like Banksy to begin with.

White Material
½

Claire Denis' latest film is stylistically similar to her previous work but has bleaker themes.

It's a compelling story about French ex-patriots in Africa and one woman who desperately clings to her coffee farm in the face of insurmountable opposition. Definitely one of the more haunting films of 2010 - White Material is a solid entry in an otherwise lackluster year for French cinema.

Cyrus
Cyrus(2010)
½

It may not be a modern masterpiece, but it's offbeat humor and strong cast make it worth your time.

Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale

What a delightfully twisted Christmas movie this is. In the spirit of Sam Raimi, "Rare Exports: A Christmas Tale" provides horror elements in addition to laughs.

Destined to become a holiday cult film.

GasLand
GasLand(2010)
½

This is one of the most disturbing documentaries I have ever seen. Films with environmental messages tend to be pigeonholed or mocked, but the real-life evidence in this film should make even the most dyed in the wool libertarian recoil in horror.

Sugata Sanshiro (Judo Saga) (Judo Story)
½

It's easy to see why Kurosawa went on to be known as "The Master" by watching his first entry. This is an extremely captivating film that feels way ahead of it's time.

A shame that the original version is unavailable.

Restrepo
Restrepo(2010)

While it didn't blow my mind, Restrepo was an unforgettable and genuine look at the Afghanistan war.

Babies
Babies(2010)

An undeniably unique documentary, 'Babies' is at times mesmerizing and dull at other moments. Clearly asking a lot of viewer's mental and emotional heavy lifting, this documentary will reward those who have a natural love of children or intellectual curiosity.

But on the whole I'm not sure it's worth buying or re-watching. Certainly worth seeing once.

Four Lions
Four Lions(2010)
½

Four Lions is often as uncomfortable as it is comical. If you took Dr. Strangelove and mixed it with Mr. Bean and sprinkled some radical Jihad flavor on top... you'd get this movie.

Lone Wolf and Cub - Sword of Vengeance (Kozure Ôkami: Kowokashi udekashi tsukamatsuru)

A very entertaining first entry. It's a bit over the top but that only adds to it's charm.

Kimjongilia
Kimjongilia(2009)
½

The testimonies in the documentary and some of the propaganda footage are worthwhile for anyone interested in the subject. The doc will also shock many who are less familiar with these stories and the human rights violations taking place in North Korea.

But I will never understand why human rights groups and filmmakers can't let the story speak for itself. Is the epic dysfunction and misery in North Korea not captivating enough? Do we really need interpretative dance to emphasize why three generation policies are horrifying? These types of techniques feel emotionally manipulative and unnecessary.

Scott Pilgrim vs. the World

Scott Pilgrim is a refreshing and enjoyable film from start to finish. It's quirky humor goes well with the fast paced editing and nonsensical fight scenes.

Definitely the best film Michael Cera has been in. My only problem with it is that the ending doesn't feel quite right and I think I know why as I watch the alternative ending. For such an otherwise bold film it's message is one you find in mainstream Hollywood romances.

Leaving (Partir)

Partir has a lot of infidelity cliches but is bolstered by a strong lead performance. It's an interesting glimpse into the mind of a cheating wife's self-destruction and the collateral damage to those around her.

Marwencol
Marwencol(2010)

A fascinating documentary about outsider art that transcends it's subject. This is a deeply affecting film about coping with loss and using imagination as therapy.

Get Him to the Greek
½

While parts of it are undeniably funny, the movie lacks the hilarious consistency of recent hits like "Black Dynamite" or even "The Hangover". This will likely be a bit overrated by viewers in 2010 because it's the best American comedy in a pretty weak year for the genre.

127 Hours
127 Hours(2010)
½

This movie is intense, fast-paced and probably too short given it's real life subject matter. Bolstered by a strong lead performance, we're given a glimpse into the victim's state of mind.

This is a haunting and inspirational film that's well worth your time. Danny Boyle also manages to make this film a visually arresting hour and a half, which is surprising given it's premise. Warning: not for the squeamish.

The 9th Company (9 rota)

I've never really been wild about Russian films and this one is no exception. Yes, it has it's moments... but the movie has very little to say besides "war is hell".

Unstoppable
Unstoppable(2010)
½

A well crafted suspense film based on real life events.

Winnebago Man

This funny and surprisingly poignant documentary is well worth your time. It's a fascinating exploration of the internet 'viral video' phenomena and the real world consequences of it all.

Leaves of Grass
½

Part sitcom and part drama, Leave Of Grass features a great double performance by Edward Norton. Many of have complained about the tonal shifts in this movie and while there is some merit to that I like the unpredictability.

This isn't a great movie overall but I think there's enough here to make it worth your time. If you're looking for something a bit different give it a watch.

The Secret of Kells
½

The Secret of Kells is an exceptional animated film. It has a vintage style and the feel of a bedtime fairy tale.

The movie suggests that a culture's knowledge and art can be a culture's most enduring contribution to the world. It reminds me of the Athenian's great wall which sealed their fate against the Spartans. Yet their legacy of Plato, Homer, the great tragedies, their architecture etc. live on.

Let Me In
Let Me In(2010)
½

While I'm still a bit upset that Let The Right One In got remade simply because it featured subtitles, I have to admit that this is about as faithful an adaptation I've ever seen of a foreign film.

I loved the Swedish version and declared it the best film of 2008, giving it a perfect 10/10. For that reason it's hard to objectively review this. I'll admit that certain elements are lacking compared to the original (acting, music, cinematography etc.) but LMI also manages to remove some of the originals more distracting elements (CGI Cats, mannequin crotch shots).

All in all, if this is what most Americans will see of this brilliant and complex tale... I can't really complain. Let Me In is crafted with reverence and love. It's a rare Hollywood remake that doesn't pander to it's audience.

8 1/2
8 1/2(1963)

It may not be casual viewing, but Fellini's 8 1/2 is immensely rewarding for anyone who is willing.

On the surface the film appears to be an autobiographical picture about a filmmaker with a serious case of writer's block. Ultimately, it ends up being a commentary on the absurdity of life itself.

Hubble 3D
Hubble 3D(2010)
½

I think that Hubble is one of the pinnacle achievements of mankind. While this less than 1-hour film may not cover the vast range of images and information, it is an undeniably special viewing experience.

If you live near an IMAX you owe it to yourself to see this. It's the closest any of us are likely to get to the cosmos and it's a vicarious journey with the NASA crew.

The Secret in Their Eyes (El Secreto de Sus Ojos)
½

I have a hard time understanding why this won the academy award for best foreign film. It's not bad but much of it plays out like a glorified episode of a TV crime drama.

There are interesting moral questions raised in the film and it holds one's attention. But as I look back parts of the film seem inconsistent, especially the romance angle. I'm not really sure why some consider it great.

Greenberg
Greenberg(2010)

It has a good deal going for it, but I feel that Greenberg isn't enjoyable or insightful enough to warrant a second viewing.

The Winning Season
½

One of the better sports films I've seen in a while. Sam Rockwell is amazing as always and while the end product is somewhat uneven I found it captivating, funny and even emotionally resonant.

I'm Still Here

This is a fascinating film / faux documentary. As someone who doesn't keep up much with celebrity gossip I was aware of Phoenix's downfall but much of the footage and specifics were new to me.

Knowing that it was all a hoax makes this one of the most interesting performances in the modern era and the result is at times hilarious. I greatly enjoyed watching this one and appreciate the artistic courage it took to piece it together.

My Son, My Son, What Have Ye Done
½

I have to admit that I didn't really "get" this one. I'm normally a Herzog fan and will admit that his latest is at least captivating from start to finish. That's not enough to earn it a great score, but at least this seemingly pointless excursion was enjoyable.

Children Of Invention

This was a well crafted film with a lot of emotional impact. It doesn't use manipulative editing or music because it's more concerned with painting a realistic portrait of a single, immigrant mother and her two kids.

Children Of Invention is rich storytelling and well worth the journey.

Flandersui Gae (Barking Dogs Never Bite) (Flanders' Dog)

This film left me feeling a bit confused. It's a pleasant diversion from reality and there are flashes of brilliance... but the overall product left me wondering "what's the point?".

Stray Dog (Nora inu)

This may be my least favorite Kurosawa, which is kind of like saying something is Shakespeare's worst play or Michael Jordan's worst playoff performance...

Needless to say, Stray Dog is still a fascinating look at post war Japan and compelling storytelling. It's a good movie that lacks the power and emotional content of some of the master's other works.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
½

A competently crafted mystery / thriller, 'The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo' is a worthwhile viewing experience but not a particularly special one. It's certainly not for the faint of heart, but adventurous viewers will appreciate it.

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

A very interesting re-telling of Bram Stoker's classic novel. "Nosferatu" feels dated in moments but never at a stretch. A worthwhile film experience for anyone who is a fan of the book or movie history.

Ikiru
Ikiru(1956)

Instantly jumps onto my list of greatest films of all time. Ikiru is a devastating and inspirational work of art.

Mother (Madeo)

Bong Joon Ho turns out yet another good one with 'Mother'. This genre-bending film focuses on the ties of family and our tendency to look past the harm we do to those outside our circle.

While it may be a little too eccentric for some, I personally got a lot out of it and feel it ranks up there with his other best works like 'The Host' and 'Memories of Murder'.

8: The Mormon Proposition

While it's information about the Mormon church's influence on the Prop 8 issue is fascinating, there's little else you haven't seen / heard before.

Seven Samurai (Shichinin no Samurai)

Kurosawa's epic and possibly his masterpiece. Seven Samurai is so expertly filmed and constructed that I find myself getting lost in it and forgetting it's lengthy run time.

Battlefield Earth

There's really not much to say...

Solntse (The Sun)
½

A fascinating insight into the life of a human God. The Sun touches on cultural Japanese tradition colliding with modernity, without ever ignoring the realities of it's historic context.

Shutter Island
½

Scorsese's latest is a bit of a mess, with overly dramatic editing, predictable plot twists etc.

It's just not a very satisfying end product given the potential of the ideas. If this had stayed a pure thriller or a mystery I would have gotten a lot more out of it. As it stands this simply isn't worth your time or money.

Inception
Inception(2010)

Christopher Nolan has now cemented himself - in my mind - as one of the best directors working today. His newest film Inception is an intriguing take on an old concept; the manipulation of dreams.

But where this film parts company with similar films like Paprika is that Inception has more philosophical depth and more visceral entertainment. This is a film that can stand on it's own either as a Hollywood action film or as philosophy of the mind. This is head and shoulders above the usual summer movie slop and the ending is far more open ended than you may have been told.

Apocalypto
Apocalypto(2006)

While it may be more fixated on thrills and violence than historical information, Apocalypto is an undeniably mesmerizing trip through time.

Working mainly as an action/adventure film this is a riveting story with high production values. The acting, tension, the scenery... it's all well executed and convincing. This is probably the best film Mel Gibson has ever (or will ever) direct.

Good Bye, Lenin!

This film got me thinking about the people throughout history who gave their lives to a movement/ideology that - for whatever reason - failed.

All in all it's a well told story about German reunification. The film works a family drama, comedy, as well as political commentary. In my opinion this is a hard film not to like.

Predator 2
Predator 2(1990)

Having just seen 'Predators' watching this inferior sequel almost feels like a Mystery Science Theater 3000 experience. That's not to say Predators is a masterpiece, but this film is clearly forgettable and a bit of a mess.

Predators
Predators(2010)
½

Predators, a reboot, is easily the best film in the franchise since the original. For that alone this is a refreshing experience but the overall result is good - not great.

As an action film Predators holds it's own. I certainly appreciated the concept of the game preserve and the expanded mythology around these creatures. However, the script is a bit of a weak link... I could have done without lines like "we're the Predators of OUR world" and "I'm one of you".

Overall though not a bad movie experience. The film starts off fast from the opening scene - letting us know we're in for a wild ride. Predators mostly delivers on that... I just wish it could have been something more.

Incident at Loch Ness
½

A faux documentary that is at times hilarious and confusing. There is a moment when Herzog stares into the camera and asks "can you tell me who is real and who is not?" which could sum up much of the documentary.

I enjoyed it for it's subversive humor, it's interesting perspective on truth, as well as the conflict between modern "reality" productions and genuine documentary film making. If you like Werner Herzog you'll probably like this.

Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans
½

Don't let the title fool you - this is not a remake of anything, just a wildly original romp through the big easy with Cage and Herzog.

The film is absolutely hysterical and a joy to watch. Few films of '09 contained this much raw entertainment. Some might argue that the plot is disjointed or that it lacks substance. While the theme of laws and man will be lost on some viewers, Herzog's film still works both as movie mayhem and social commentary.

Soo
Soo(2001)

Soo is a South Korean film about revenge that's not quite Oldboy but not bad either. The plot centers around two brothers who were separated in their youth, one (now a criminal and a killer) looking to avenge the other.

There are great moments of action and intrigue, but overall the film's script and ending left me a little cold.

Enter the Dragon

Re-watching Enter The Dragon has confirmed that it stands the test of time and is still a great action film by today's standards. Has it lost a tiny bit of the pizazz it once had? Perhaps, but whatever kitsch or or shortcomings exist are counterbalanced by the pop culture relevance, the quotable lines and Lee's charismatic presence.

The Crazies
The Crazies(2010)
½

The Crazies is a remake to a 70s film which I'll admit to never having seen. This is a well made zombie film that's intelligently shot and manages tension quite well. However, it is painfully predictable. Part of this was due to the awful trailer that revealed the ending long before it was in theaters (i hate that), but even if the trailer hadn't spoiled the movie I would have been able to call out how it progressed.

So it depends on what you're looking for... and for all I know the film's predictability is because it tried to stay true to the original.

[Rec] 2
[Rec] 2(2010)
½

REC 2 is a worthy sequel to REC. Picking up just after the end of the first film, this one expands on the mythology and back story.

R2 is a well above average horror film that could easily wind up being the best of it's genre in 2010.

[Rec]
[Rec](2007)

REC is a top notch horror import from Spain. While it borrows from previous horror in substance and style, it's overall fright factor exceeds just about all other horror out there these days.

The Book of Eli

The Book of Eli has some things going for it - the attractiveness of Mila Kunis, the great villain portrayal by Gary Oldman... but at the end of the day there's just not enough to recommend it over recent post-apocalyptic films like "The Road".

Oddly enough the action wasn't very consistent in quality. Many of the fight scenes were overly choreographed and dull, with only a few truly entertaining action sequences.

Bulletproof Salesman
½

A new take on the concept of war profiteering. Bulletproof Salesman, a netflix doc about a German armored car salesman in Iraq, is sure to provide plenty of food for thought / discussion. It's not an exceptionally crafted documentary but it's certainly interesting.

Winter's Bone
½

One of the best films of the new year. Winter's Bone features an exceptional lead performance Jennifer Lawrence's Ree, a 17 year old who must go to great lengths or risk losing the roof over her family's head.

The ambiance is nearly perfect and the moral tension takes the pace from slow to slow burn. Winter's Bone is likely to stay in your head long after you've seen it (especially certain scenes). It's a testament to how far we're willing to go to help the people we love.

Hot Tub Time Machine

HTTM is a passable comedy that could have been so much more. There are only a couple truly laugh out loud moments and the potential of actors like Chevy Chase were squandered by lazy scriptwriting. Don't bother if you haven't seen recent comedy classics like 'Black Dynamite' or 'The Hangover'.

Whisper of the Heart (Mimi wo sumaseba) (If You Listen Closely)

Whisper of the Heart is a dreamlike coming of age story with loads of charm. Not the best that Ghibli / Miyazaki have to offer but well worth watching for it's transcendent moments.

The Karate Kid
½

This Karate Kid remake is formulaic but endearing. Some could argue it's Hollywood cheese, but it's the kind of Hollywood cheese that you'd buy in an upscale grocery store.

Solid performances - especially Chan - breath new life into this old story and it's hard not to be entertained.

Metropolis
Metropolis(1927)
½

I'm writing this review for the 2hour version rather than the newly restored 2010 version.

While Metropolis is undoubtedly influential and ahead of it's time at portraying a sci-fi world, it is very disjointed and exaggerated. I will have to see the newly restored cut and come back to this review soon. I feel like an additional 20 minutes of footage could be just the thing I need to appreciate it.

M
M(1931)

Clearly ahead of it's time, M is a serial killer film that is on par with today's classics in the genre. It works as suspense but also as a reflection of society's ills and the merits of law.

La Nana (The Maid)

"La Nana" may appear to be a film about haves and have-nots, but it's not. Instead the film focuses on psychology, relationships, family. It's not the biggest or boldest film but it gets under your skin and offers some interesting insights into how the people around us can change who we are.

Chocolate
Chocolate(2008)

This nifty Thai import is the next best thing after Tony Jaa's retirement. The female protagonist in this film "Zen" is a delight and extremely talented. I got a lot of enjoyment out of this and might even re-watch it in the future.

Taxidermia
Taxidermia(2006)
½

It's almost too strange for it's own good. Taxidermia may be the biggest mind-**** of a movie that I've seen in years but it's an ultimately pointless film that lacks a coherent plot.

Paprika
Paprika(2006)

While it borrows ideas from literature and other anime, Paprika is very original by today's standards. I love escapism in cinema and Paprika has that in abundance.

It has some stylistic flaws and narrative problems... but as pure entertainment and artistic freedom, Paprika excels.

High and Low (Tengoku to jigoku)
½

This is a gripping thriller with a mixture of social commentary. It's a terrific film and a pleasant departure from Kurosawa's typical samurai fare.

Crumb
Crumb(1995)

Perhaps I needed to be more familiar with Robert Crumb's work to appreciate this documentary, but it left me feeling underwhelmed.

$9.99
$9.99(2008)
½

I'm not really sure what the hell this was about, but it wasn't all bad either.

Memories of Murder

It doesn't conform to it's genre cliches, but I'll still call this one of the best police thrillers I've seen in a long while. Based on a true story in S. Korea during the 1980s, Memories of Murder is a riveting reenactment of real events.

The Descent 2
½

I was pleasantly surprised by The Descent: Part 2, which was actually a decent horror flick. While some aspects of it are a little forced (one could argue they had to be) it's a consistent product overall and doesn't tarnish the first film which I love.

Punch-Drunk Love
½

This is a very odd journey but one that's worth taking

Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in The Hood

While it's far from perfect this is good satire with laugh out loud moments.

Sita Sings the Blues
½

Unrelentingly imaginative, Sita Sings The Blues often has a style all it's own. As an irreverent re-telling of the classic Indian fable, this is a reminder that while culture may change the relationships between men and women stay the same.

The Proposition

One of the better "westerns" I've ever seen. Dealing with themes ranging from the want of civility to family loyalty, The Proposition weaves a morbid and memorable tale.

Inglourious Basterds
½

This has become my favorite Tarantino movie after repeat viewings. The film utilizes tension, language, style... but mostly it's carried by Colonol Hans Landa (Cristoph Waltz).

A refreshing WW2 movie that's not about WW2, IB is Quentin at his best.

Iron Man 2
Iron Man 2(2010)
½

If you liked Iron Man you'll like Iron Man 2.

This sequel is campier than the original but it excels in ways the first one doesn't. This is a better pure action film and features superior villains in Rourke and Rockwell.

George Washington
½

A bit too strange and confusing for it's own good, George Washington is still a fascinating watch. I can honestly say there's nothing quite like it.

Platoon
Platoon(1986)

An inconsistent product overall, Platoon is still a very good war film.

Catch Me If You Can

It may be a straightforward chase film, but it's one done with great care. Catch Me If You Can benefits from a great real life story and while it's hard to find fault with it's execution the story is the movie's greatest strength.

Spirited Away

I hereby declare this movie to be... awesome

Groundhog Day
½

This is an example of why I love movies. One of the most imaginative comedies of all time, Groundhog Day is a classic and a must-see.

Oasis
Oasis(2003)

I'll probably need a good 24 hours to think of what rating this should get. It was at times a very difficult film to sit through, but it's one that I'm very glad I watched.

CJ7
CJ7(2008)
½

It's definitely not Chow's best but it's still an enjoyable film. It has some major issues in terms of tone and consistency, as it's often too serious for it's own good.

Lost In Translation
½

It's been compared to Wong Kar-Wai's "In the Mood for Love" and the Swedish "Let The Right One In". LiT is an expertly crafted tale about two isolated people inevitably finding and comforting each other. I'll avoid spoilers for those who haven't seen it but this is in no way slow as some have claimed, this is exhilarating film-making.

Ghost Dog - The Way of the Samurai
½

A strange melding of style and substance, Ghost Dog is a worthwhile viewing experience but falls short of being iconic.

Oldboy
Oldboy(2005)
½

Oldboy is one of the greatest Korean films ever made. If I had to compare it stylistically to something in the U.S. it would be Fight Club, although the two films are vastly different in theme.

This is one of the best film's I've ever seen on the topic of revenge and it has enough cinematic flair to satisfy people of all different stripes. As long as you don't have a weak stomach and keep an open mind there's a lot to love about Park's Oldboy.

Desperado
Desperado(1995)

Although it's wildly uneven in terms of quality, Desperado is an enjoyable departure from reality.

Mutluluk (Bliss)

Perhaps not as emotionally resonant as it could be - Bliss is still a memorable journey into a world of medieval religious custom as well as an escape from it.

The film is clearly siding with modernity and makes the religious custom out to be cruel and outdated (duh). But it also shows us the religious fervor of Meryem and Celan who are both willing to kill or be killed in the service of their faith.

The Good, the Bad, and the Weird

An entertaining ride that's a lighthearted knockoff of the western classic. TGTBTW features some awesome action sequences and memorable characters.

44 Inch Chest

This was a bit of a disappointment considering who made it and the actors starring in it. 44 Inch Chest can't overcome it's bizarre structure and ramblings.

Someone really needs to cast Ian McShane in a lead role with a good script, because the guy is criminally underused.

Revolver
Revolver(2005)

It stinks!

Ritchie attempts to fuse his film with philosophy and ends up looking like a pretentious fool. It's a good thing he got back to his roots with Rock'N Rolla after this turd.

Special
Special(2006)
½

Not a very notable addition to film history's recent fake super-hero trend. This is at times engaging and interesting, but it's ultimately an average product that's forgettable - inferior to other recent films in it's genre.

The Ghost Writer

A solid thriller with a lot to think about, "Ghost Writer" is one of the best films of the early 2010 pool.

Monsters, Inc.
½

Monsters, Inc. is one of my least favorite Pixar films. Which is kind of like being one of the ugliest girls at a beauty pageant.

It's decent, but nothing worth re-watching or owning. This was one of Pixar's least sophisticated attempts at connecting adult themes with childhood themes. They would go on to do this much better with films like WALL-E, Up, and The Incredibles.

Kick-Ass
Kick-Ass(2010)
½

This is one hilarious and wildly entertaining ride. I loved it! Hit Girl steals the movie.

The Hole (Le Trou)

I had never even heard of this film until recently... but boy am I glad I discovered it. This is a highly minimalist effort that sports no soundtrack or gimmicks - relying instead on the tension and realism of prison life.

I found this to be an exceptionally filmed suspense thriller that was also a literal and philosophical parallel to 'the prisoner's dilemma' concept. I won't say more for risk of spoiling the plot, but if you haven't already seen this I highly recommend it.

35 Rhums (35 Shots of Rum)

Solid film, doesn't quite live up to it's own hype but it's a haunting and touching film that's well worth watching for anyone.

Defendor
Defendor(2009)
½

I didn't know what to expect going in, but Defendor is an intriguing mix of genre elements. It's definitely worth a watch and will probably resonate more with people who grew up reading comic books.

Unfortunately I'm not sure that I agree with the film's message. Explaining why would be a major spoiler so I'll just leave it at that.

The Informant!
½

It's not a bad movie but it's a fairly forgettable one. Matt Damon does a good job in his role and there are some funny moments, but on the whole it's pretty average.

The Chaser (Chugyeogja)
½

A pretty bad ass thriller with an iconic villain.

Red Cliff (Chi Bi)

The international version (roughly 5 hours in length) is an impressive spectacle that can stand toe to toe with any big budget war film. It has Woo's over-the-top action, but in a way that's more impressive and resonate than in any of his previous films.

I own the BD of the 2-disc International Cut and I suggest you seek it out.

Predator
Predator(1987)
½

Predator is the best movie monster ever. Yes, that includes Alien, Jaws, The Host etc.

This may not be high-brow cinema but it's essential viewing - a brilliant concept that's never been duplicated (although Rodriguez will try in 2010) this is arguably Arnold's best movie and entertaining as hell.

How to Train Your Dragon

If I were judging this as an IMAX3D presentation, I'd give it a 9 instead of an 8. This may be a movie geared towards children, but it's a great roller coaster ride and a surprisingly good time.

I gave it a lower score than possible because I'm not sure if it's worth owning on BD, but if you live near an IMAX it's an absolute must-see.

Every Little Step
½

A fascinating documentary - a picture of a picture about following your dreams in pursuit of the arts. Mostly everyone will fail, some will succeed... and the viewer can't help but be absorbed into the world of the broadway musical.

Into the Wild

A fascinating vicarious journey. Into The Wild will make everyone that sees it consider the possibilities of life and to ask some very tough questions about what's really important.

I have not read the book, but I plan to after seeing this.

A Prophet (Un prophete)
½

One of the best crime dramas I've ever seen. It's also an insight into how prison can serve as a finishing school for criminals.

24 City (Er shi si cheng ji)

It's unfortunate that some of this poses as documentary because it's still a very honest look at China's modern history.

Black Dynamite
½

Can you feel what I'm talking about you JIVE mother****KABOOM!!

Gives you OOoOooOooooo

Kung Fu Hustle

One of my favorite comedies of all-time. Kung Fu Hustle is such an obvious parody but it's more than just nonsense. Stephen Chow has created an international classic here that deserves to be seen again... and again...

Burma VJ: Reporter i et Lukket Land (Burma VJ: Reporting from a Closed Country)

Burma VJ is a strong contender for best documentary of 2009. It's emotionally powerful and inspiring despite it's dark subject matter.

This is must-see material for anyone interested in politics and human rights. The people responsible for this documentary are heroes!

Tokyo Sonata (Tokyo Sonata)

The best film of 2009. Trying to explain why it's so good would spoil it, however. So all I'm going to say is that this was an almost magical experience with an all-time great ending. See it!

Shaolin Soccer
½

This is one of the most hilarious films I've seen in years. Everything about it is so hysterical and obviously satire/parody that you can't help but enjoy yourself.

While it's not quite "Kung Fu Hustle" it's a truly awesome comedy that demands repeat viewings and the rolling of wacky tabacky.

Zombieland
Zombieland(2009)

Zombieland is the movie equivalent of "Left 4 Dead". Forget any kind of sentimentality or horror and just enjoy the inexplicable carnage. This is a fun film that has laugh out loud humor. It's hard not to like it.

The only question is whether Jesse Eisenberg is guilty of a violation by playing nearly identical characters... in two 2009 movies... that both end in "LAND".

The Damned United
½

A sports movie that rarely gets on the field, The Damned United is more of a character study about controversial football manger Brian Clough and his unrestrained ego.

It's a violation of most sports movie cliches and for that it's extremely refreshing. But something about it was ultimately underwhelming. I would have liked to see more sports action mixed in, for example. However, it's tough to complain about TDU much and it's a great watch for anyone who has ever coached, played or followed professional sports.

Crash
Crash(2004)

I really, really don't like Crash. Why do I hate it? For starters the film is unbelievably one dimensional. I have no problem with something being concerned with only one idea - but it has to be portrayed with some nuance or depth. Crash basically has fully charged unrealistic racial dialogue the whole way through... THE WHOLE WAY THROUGH!

Real racism is not like this. Racism is much more subtle and less explicit than this and nowhere on planet Earth does race occupy 100% of everyone's time and mental faculties. This was Oscar-baiting, overly sentimental and pompous garbage.

Chungking Express
½

Chungking Express is a fascinating journey that somehow adds up to more than the sum of it's parts. Not only has it made it impossible to listen to "california dreaming" without thinking of Faye Wong, it's also a reminder about the endless possibilities of love and life.

It's been described as French New Wave which is probably accurate. This is my favorite Wong Kar Wai film although his only others that I've seen are "In the Mood for Love" and "Ashes of Time".

The Messenger

The Messenger is a sobering portrayal of the human cost of war. It's handled in a measured way that doesn't force a narrative down your throat. We're left to ourselves to judge the merits of war and the characters on screen.

The performances are believable and compelling despite several actors being celebrities. It never feels like Oscar-bait or over-dramatized.

It's intensity may not be for everyone, but it's appropriate considering the subject matter. I hope it becomes more popular, since it's flying below most people's radar.

The White Ribbon (Das weisse Band)

This is one of the most haunting and disturbing films I've seen all year. Set just before the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and the coming World War, the story takes place in a northern German village.

Evil misdeeds are taking place and the culprit remains at large. Suspicion and malice run through the town as we head toward the inevitable loss of Germany's innocence and the oncoming war.

It may not be the most entertaining film but it's hard to shake and very rewarding for those wiling to give it the time and thought it deserves. It didn't win the Palme D'or for nothing.

Brazil
Brazil(1985)
½

Brazil is an acid trip of a movie. Gilliam combines the wit of Monty Python with the dark futuristic vision of George Orwell.

While it hasn't aged well (nothing 80s does) it's still a bizarre, comic dream about the tyranny and madness of bureaucracy.

Sin Nombre
Sin Nombre(2009)

Sin Nombre was one of the great surprises of 2009. The director actually went down to South America in order to do the journey himself (despite looking like a gringo). While he regretted it at the time, I'm sure it helped make Sin Nombre a more authentic film in portraying the perilous journey through Mexico.

The landscape shots are gorgeous, the music is very good and the story is tense and emotional. My favorite scene is the ending frames before it fades to black... a memorable journey.

The Dark Knight

This is the best comic book film ever. It's one of the greatest action films I've ever seen and also contains one of the best screen villains I've ever seen.

Yes, TDK's closing act isn't very good. Yes, it's a film about a guy who dresses up like a bat and whose nemesis is a clown looking guy - it's not supposed to be Shakespeare. But it's damn near impossible to think of how anyone is going to top this in the realm of comic book movies, Batman or otherwise.

Heath Ledger's Joker is simply unbelievable. Every moment he's on screen is an experience.

Fish Tank
Fish Tank(2010)

Fish Tank is not as consistently bleak as some make it out to be, but it has many heavy themes and addresses them head on and without sentiment.

One critic described it as a "lower class version of An Education... but more effective" which I think is insightful and correct. Katie Jarvis is every bit as good as Carey Mulligan and the coming of age themes are similar.

Fish Tank is oddly optimistic despite it's harsh setting and script and I loved it's unique and uncompromising style.

There Will Be Blood

This is a dark and uncompromising fable about free market capitalism. The protagonist of the film is, in fact, a villain. Daniel Plainview is one of the most captivating and truly evil characters you're likely to see in cinema and Daniel Day Lewis portrays him perfectly.

Accompanied by an excellent score and a thought-provoking script based on the novel by Upton Sinclair, There Will Be Blood is one of the best films of the past decade and a must see.

A Single Man
A Single Man(2009)
½

This is a poignant and emotional film that is held together by Colin Ferth's great performance. It's set in 1962 USA amidst the backdrop of the Cuban missile crisis. So our protagonist has to cope with the loss of his 16-year gay lover privately while also contemplating the possible holocaust looming over everything he knows.

A Single Man is a unique perspective into one man's struggle and a reminder of the little things that make life exciting... and worth living.

Whip It
Whip It(2009)
½

'Whip It' is just a lot of fun. It's a familiar story but told with a lot of heart and genuinely funny moments. Ellen Page is adorable in it and the role fits her well.

Too bad that they overboard with the setup toward the end and it becomes a cliche, because the film has potential to be better.

WALL-E
WALL-E(2008)

WALL-E may be Pixar's best, although the fact that this is even debatable proves that they are the gold standard in modern animation.

The first 30 minutes of WALL-E are cinematic brilliance. The film as a whole is impossible not to love (unless you're some right-wing anti-environmental extremist I guess). It's a treat for the eyes, the heart and the mind. A really special movie-going experience for kids and adults.

My favorite scene is the "define dancing" moment when WALL-E and Eve fly around the spacecraft together. At that point I knew I was seeing something great!

Extract
Extract(2009)

'Extract' could have been good... but it wasn't. Mike Judge has made great comedy and Mila Kunis is lovely as always. While it has a few laugh-worthy scenes it just never adds up to much more than a muddled script that's not very funny.

If 'Office Space' is a classic comedy with big laughs this is the opposite - a totally forgettable experience. Except for Mila Kunis... she's hot.

Bright Star
Bright Star(2009)
½

Bright Star may not feel very original, but it's well executed and based on a true story of the poet John Keates and his love affair with Fanny Brawne.

It's an inspiring and tragic film about love's perseverance in the face of impractical circumstances. It's also filled with good poetry and raw emotion.

Where the Wild Things Are

Where the Wild Things are is one of those rare movies that is able to remind us what it's like to be a kid. There's something about this that portrays the joy and suffering of childhood in a way that hits home. It also doesn't hurt that I read (but can no longer remember) the book.

WtWTA is surprisingly sad at times and funny at others. It's bound to be a controversial film as many will assume it's geared for children. It's a mature and moving experience that reminds us why we go to the cinema.

Observe and Report

For anyone who likes their comedy dark and a little crazy, Observe and Report will give you your fix. Seth Rogan plays an unbelievably insane protagonist who is head of mall security and takes his job too seriously.

There are enough laugh out loud moments in here to get it a decent score but it's not something I'll be adding to my film collection.

Funny People
Funny People(2009)
½

For all of "Funny People"'s strengths it never lives up to its cast or it's aspiring themes. I have no problem with attempting something more serious or fusing comedy with drama (many great films make you laugh and move you) but the result here is mediocrity on both fronts.

It's ultimately an interesting but forgettable comedy/drama.

Broken Embraces
½

'Broken Embraces' is a haunting, tragic and occasionally suspenseful film by Almodovar. Penelope Cruz turns in a memorable performance as Lena, an aspiring actress caught in a love triangle. Her selfish ex-lover seeks revenge as she and Mateo Blanco work to finish their comedy film and seek a new life together.

Told as a re-telling of past events, it's simultaneously exhilarating and depressing.

The Hurt Locker

The Hurt Locker is an incredibly suspenseful film and for good reason - it's about defusing IEDs in the midst of the Iraq war. It's also about the rush of combat and how each person copes with that tension; ranging from irrational fear to dangerous addiction.

Despite it's Iraq setting, this is far from a political film. It's a thriller about psychology that happens to take place in Iraq.

Du Levande (You, The Living)
½

'You, The Living' is a fascinating set of short sketches, songs and images. It's unique style might not be for everyone, but I feel that even a skeptic will be moved by many of the jokes, moments and ideas.

YtL seems to suggest that even at life's most difficult we can still dream a beautiful dream... that we're wrong when we think nobody understands us... and that life is valuable but fleeting.

Moon
Moon(2009)

MOON is a paranoid sci-fi thriller with philosophical depth. Sam Rockwell is excellent in a nearly solo performance and the soundtrack is one of the best of the year.

I liked it enough to purchase the BR disc of it.

Public Enemies
½

I'm a fan of Michael Mann but this was a disappointment in my eyes. I was never able to buy into the film and Bale's absurd southern twang was a total miscast.

That being said, PE did have it's moments. The scene where Dillinger is walking around Purvis' office is amazing, some of the action is clever and the ending is fine. But it's nothing you haven't seen done before (and done better).

The Wrestler
The Wrestler(2008)

The Wrestler was one of my top 5 films of 2008. All the hype you've heard about Rourke's performance is true and Marissa Tomei is also very good.

The script and direction are top notch and the film is never dull or emotionally flat. The ending is terrific.

Pray the Devil Back to Hell
½

While it may not be exceptionally crafted and the narrative sometimes focuses too much on gender - PtDBtH is still a must see documentary.

It's an inspiring story of the Liberian women's peace movement which transcended religious and cultural barriers. United in their desire for peace, they are able to risk their lives, defy great odds and inspire change.

My Effortless Brilliance

My Effortless Brilliance is described as a comedy in the synopsis of RT but I found it to be a drama with occasional moments of humor.

The acting is solid, and the script is a refreshingly honest take on the difficulties of friendship. However, it just feels like something is missing and it falls short of being... well, brilliant.

Ong Bak 2
Ong Bak 2(2009)
½

Tony Jaa is totally awesome and while this isn't exactly Shakespeare it's also a pretty badazz martial arts film. OB2 has some striking images and great action.

I feel it actually could have used a lot more of Tony Jaa fighting. But the scenes he does have are very good indeed.

The Cove
The Cove(2009)
½

One of the best documentaries of 2009 - The Cove is a very moving account of the Ta'aji (sp?) dolphin trade that involves both exhibition and mass slaughter.

It's a challenging documentary that will force even the most ravenous meat-eater to contemplate man's place in nature and our relationship with other intelligent life. I was moved by this documentary and while I wasn't a dolphin advocate before - I certainly support the movement now.

L'Heure d'été (Summer Hours)
½

Summer Hours is certainly worth watching, but I was left a bit disappointed considering all the hype. There are moments of excellence where I was very moved and fascinated. However, the film is limited by it's own premise and the audience (much like the protagonist) are left shrugging their shoulders and merely accepting the inevitable outcome.

The Devil's Backbone (El Espinazo del diablo)
½

The Devil's Backbone is a fascinating and haunting story that's not quite horror. Viewing it as a genre film would diminish the value of the story and it's emotional resonance.

Although it doesn't live up to the brilliance of Del Toro's later Spanish Civil War fantasy "Pan's Labyrinth", TDB is without a doubt a good film in it's own right.

Smiles of a Summer Night

The OG of the romantic comedy. SoaSN is a seductive blend of playful humor and erotic intrigue. I loved it!

Big Fish
Big Fish(2003)
½

Tim Burton's most colorful film - Big Fish is an imaginative cinematic journey. A celebration of fantasy over realism, the film seems to suggest that tall tales can be an imaginative re-telling of real events and experiences.

While it's not always able to live up to it's potential, Big Fish is still a memorable film experience that is well worth seeing.

Baraka
Baraka(1993)

Baraka is a poetic, visual experience that will stick with you. What it is about varies depending on who is watching but there are moments where the audience clearly is asked to think about man's place in the universe.

One of the most beautiful Blu Ray purchases you can make. Baraka is the best HDTV screensaver since Planet Earth.

Goodbye Solo
Goodbye Solo(2009)
½

A minimalistic, haunting film about friendship and loneliness. I feel like I need to watch it a second time before coming up with a more coherent review.

The ending of this film was one of the most memorable scenes of '09.

Aliens
Aliens(1986)

"Aliens" is friggin' awesome. If you haven't seen it you probably live under a rock or don't like awesome movies. Sucks to be you.

The Directors Cut is even better than the original version I remember from my youth. Definitely one of the best sci-fi films ever made and was light years ahead of the ill-conceived Alien 3 and Alien Resurrection.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
½

I just watched this on Blu Ray and have to give credit where credit is due - the people who designed the CGI effects for this movie have some serious talent.

The rest of the movie however, is astonishingly bad. There are pointless scenes that run too long as if "editing" doesn't exist and I never truly cared about what was happening. The 2hr40m run time is totally unnecessary in a film with only about a solid hour or so of action. When transformers aren't fighting this film STRUGGLES.

Avatar
Avatar(2009)
½

This film has it's flaws. The imperfections are obvious enough that a random person could exit the theater on 1st viewing and already have several ways to improve the film.

So why on Pandora am I giving it a 9/10? Because Avatar is, quite simply, the most visually awe-inspiring thing I've ever witnessed in a movie theater. I walked out of it giddy with excitement, unable to form sentences that didn't include the words "wow" or "holy ****ing ****". There are action sequences in here that are as good as (if not better than) anything I have ever seen. If you haven't seen it in IMAX 3D you have done yourself an extreme disservice.

12
12(2007)
½

I'd have to say that overall I enjoyed it but that it's over-ambition is a weakness. Part of "12" seems too preoccupied with touching on everything... without always focusing on the rational. This led to a rather disjointed ending with supernatural/religious overtones.

Other than these complaints it's a worthwhile and engaging film. Clearly flawed, yes, but it's 2hr40m run time feels much shorter and there are moments of excellence, however brief.

Star Trek
Star Trek(2009)

I admit that I'm not up to speed on the Star Trek universe and I could probably use more knowledge on the subject. However, I got a lot of enjoyment out of this sequel/reboot and feel that you don't have to be a Trekkie to enjoy it.

A strong contender for best 2009 action/popcorn flick, Star Trek is at times touching, funny and always fast paced. It's a must-see for Trek fans and recommended viewing for everyone else.

El Baño del Papa (The Pope's Toilet)
½

This is a solid film that falls short of being exceptional. It's very well filmed, acted and written - the subtlety and care that went into making it deserve recognition.

It also has (in my opinion) a valuable message about religious disconnection from poverty. It also offers moments of profound insight into an unseen world. However, 'The Pope's Toilet' drags at times and has what appears to be unnecessary changes in tone. Ultimately it's a good, but not great work.

Pan's Labyrinth

This is without a doubt one of the best movies I have EVER seen. Not just the best film of 2006 - Pan's Labyrinth deserves it's place in history alongside some of the greatest films ever made.

Excellent cinematography, a compelling script, great acting and haunting theme music. I don't want to spoil it for those who have yet to see it. I'll only say that this film's themes and setting caused me to look at fables and even religion in a new light. It should help anyone understand the need to believe in things, no matter how inherently skeptical we are. Sometimes the human mind needs an escape from an often cruel and lonely world.

Antichrist
Antichrist(2009)
½

You have to respect a film that is as ambitious and memorable as this one, but that respect is tempered by poor writing and use of symbolism.

While there are some moments of cinematic excellence, the film is (when taken as a whole) something of a disappointment. Unnecessarily vague and gruesome, Antichrist is sure to inspire strong emotions of revulsion or adoration. Whether the film is worth watching depends on how adventurous you are - a flawed work that has it's moments.

The Fog of War: Eleven Lessons from the Life of Robert S. McNamara

I can't say enough good things about this documentary, which may be my all-time favorite of the genre.

First of all - this may be the scariest movie I've ever seen. Some of the insights into the Cuban Missile Crisis, the Fire Bombing of Japan, Vietnam etc. will challenge your faith in human rationality and open your eyes to some critical questions.

Not just a must-see film for political junkies, 'The Fog of War' is masterful on all fronts from it's haunting soundtrack to it's exceptional editing. Even the least political viewer will likely be entertained from start to finish. An amazing and important documentary.

Rambo (Rambo IV)
½

Do you like violence? How much do you like violence? That's probably a good barometer for how much you'll get out of 'Rambo'.

At times it appears the film has something to say, like when Stalone talks about brute force being the only solution to solve problems. But ultimately this is basically a non-stop action flick filled with gallons of gore and shell casings. As an action film it works, plus it has a very short run time (1hr 15m). Fans of the original Rambos should enjoy it, so in that sense it's a success.

Jumper
Jumper(2008)
½

This is pretty lame, disposable entertainment. If you're looking for something to leave on as background noise this one does the trick... but as far as your valuable time and money go this is one to avoid.

Predictable plot devices, nonsensical character actions (a high-paced car ride through China? for what?) and mediocre action. I guess Samuel L really is willing to take any part.

Paranormal Activity
½

This is one of the freshest and most original horror films I've seen in a while. While I wouldn't say it's the best horror film of 2009, it might be the one most likely to mess with your sleep and cause lasting fright.

I understand that the backlash is already here and that soon this movie will be considered a popular joke - as is the case with any low budget indy horror that gets hype (Blair Witch etc.) but don't let that stop you from seeing this. After all, it's popular opinion that has crap like One Missed Call and Jason X making big money at the box office. Psychological terror like this is more effective, and Paranormal Activity has that in spades.

Twilight
Twilight(2008)

This was quite easily the worst film I saw of 2008. I haven't read the book so I can only comment on the quality of the film... but for fans' sake I certainly hope the books are better.

The movie is tedious and stupid from start to finish. The relationship between Bella and Edward seems totally unbelievable and forced. The special effects are laughably bad and used too often, destroying any willing suspension of disbelief whenever they're implemented. The final 'fight scene' is one big Hollywood cliche snooze fest.

Vampires are not supposed to sparkle in the sunlight, they do not play baseball, they ARE supposed to drink human blood and they do not take people to the prom. Granted, the complete lack of vampire lore could have been overcome by a compelling script, good acting etc. none of which this film has. Ignore this pop culture kitsch - it's not worth your money.

Anvil! The Story of Anvil
½

This is one of the best documentaries I've ever had the pleasure of watching. I had no idea what to expect going into it other than it was about a Metal group called Anvil.

What I got was an intensely emotional and entertaining documentary. The group had their 15 minutes of fame but never managed to have any lasting success. Now in their 50s Lips and Rob are still rocking out and working on their thirteenth album while they tour Europe in a last ditch effort to finally realize their dreams.

At first I found the band's quirky antics (vibrators on stage, archived footage, lips' crazed grin at the camera) funny in a Spinal Tap kind of way. But as the film goes on you really start to empathize with them... even feel sad for their lack of success despite such obvious commitment.

'Anvil! The Story of Anvil' is a movie for dreamers in any line of work and you don't have to like metal music at all to enjoy this film. It will certainly make you wonder about the merits of pursuing your dreams in the face of unrealistic odds.

Adoration
Adoration(2008)
½

This isn't a bad film, but it's a pretty odd and unremarkable one.

One critic referred to it as a "film for naval-gazing blowhards" which sounds about right. The characters' motivations seem forced, certain lines of dialogue are inexplicably dumb and puzzling.

Ultimately, it's a better movie to talk about afterward than it is to actually watch. It has some interesting insights into things not being what they seem, family etc. but it's probably not worth the mess.

Ballast
Ballast(2008)
½

Ballast is a minimalist film that's heavy on human emotion and short on dialogue. Clearly made with great care and thought, the film demands viewer introspection for the plot and ending to be pieced together.

I didn't find it to be greatly entertaining, but I don't think it was meant to be. The film works as a portrait of struggle and strife... the film says a lot about the ability to help save one another even when we can't save ourselves.

Up
Up(2009)

UP is not only Pixar's best film - it may be the best animated film I've ever seen and that's saying a lot. The first 15 minutes of UP are so brilliant and moving that it had people crying in my theater, and that's not the only scene that packs an emotional wallop.

Add to that the film is genuinely funny, amazingly animated, has great voice acting... you get the idea.

It's often been said that Pixar makes kid movies for adults. Well, with WALL-E and now UP Pixar seems more interested these days in making adult movies for kids. The profound sadness of loss, the balance of dreams differed and dreams realized, the sense of timeless adventure... it all adds up to a Pixar work that is not only funny and enjoyable but also an artistic achievement.

The House of the Devil

This movie is... awesome! The House of The Devil is the best horror of 2009 and I fell in love from the opening scenes.

The film relies on pacing and style rather than cheap scares and cliche violence. There are moments where you simply sit back and take in the film's unique vibe, anticipating the inevitable terror that's sure to follow. I wish more horror films were made with such obvious care and attention.

Let the Right One In

The best film of 2008 - Let the Right One In has often been described as a swedish horror film, but I don't think it fits in that genre.

Let the Right One In hits all the right notes; beautiful cinematography, a jaw-dropping musical score, excellent actors, great direction and a script that demands heavy emotional introspection and analysis. The ending forces the viewer to contemplate some very tough questions and has been known to inspire very different interpretations depending on the viewer.

This is a profound fable about the need for companionship in what is often a very lonely world, the ability to accept people despite their flaws and the sacrifices we make to be with the people we love.

Il Divo
Il Divo(2009)
½

First off, I did find the Italian political scene and breakneck speed disorienting. While I didn't always know the characters' backgrounds the film lured me in with it's wholly unique style and it's lead actor playing Andreoti.

It clearly dances to it's own tune and constantly shifts from satirical comedy to the political and the profound. This is something that can probably be appreciated by anyone interested in politics, not just Italian politics.

Unser täglich Brot (Our Daily Bread)
½

This is the best documentary I've seen on the production of food. The lack of any narrative enhances the film's visual impact and demands the viewer come up with his or her own conclusions.

While it may not be for everyone, 'Our Daily Bread' is an objective look at modern day agriculture that is an important historical record and an eye-opener for anyone adventurous enough to watch.