Raymond Wieser's Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Zero Dark Thirty

Zero Dark Thirty, the new film by "Hurt Locker" Director Kathryn Bigelow is about the hunt for and assassination of Osama bin Laden. Coming into this film not knowing anything about the story or the politics behind it didn't help me to understand the proceedings too well. There were parts where I felt they had left stuff out because it was common knowledge, leaving me confused. But nevertheless, the film is gripping, suspenseful, and beautifully acted by the entire cast, especially Jessica Chastain, Jennifer Ehle and Mark Strong. The script is brilliantly written by Mark Boal, a former Journalist. Cinematography by Grieg Fraser is often stunning, bringing out colours and a beautiful palette in the desolate deserts of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Definitely one of the better films of the year.

Les Misérables
½

With a rousing opening, a confusing and lacklustre middle, and a moving, satisfying conclusion, Les Miserables is a commendable effort to put the musical on the big screen. Using live singing instead of pre-recorded songs, the actors can bring fresh emotion and meaning to the lyrics which has a surprisingly good effect. Anne Hathaway and Hugh Jackman give stunning performances, as well as the rest of the distinguished cast. The set pieces, production design and costumes are impeccable as well. All the songs are shot in close ups and in single shots, and sometimes I felt it was getting too in my face, and didn't let me get totally immersed in the world. Tom Hooper's Les Miserables is occasionally boring, bombastic and over the top, but it is also emotional, gorgeous and features great singing and acting across the board.

Anna Karenina
½

Boasting splendid production design, gorgeous set pieces, stunning cinematography and a wonderfully immersive score, Anna Karenina is mostly an art piece, with a love story at it's heart. The only thing about this love story is that it's too drawn out and slow moving as is the story, to really keep the audiences attention. There are some electric scenes that are stunning and elaborate technical showpieces, and there is some fantastic acting by Keira Knightley and Jude Law, but overall Joe Wright's Anna Karenina is somewhat of a bore, but made watchable by the performances, elaborate production design, music, costumes and cinematography. Expect lots of oscar nominations in the technical categories.

Django Unchained
½

Quentin Tarantino's unnecessarily bloody, bold and hilarious western Django Unchained is fantastic. Featuring outstanding performances from Leonardo DiCaprio and Samuel L. Jackson as well as Christoph Waltz and Kerry Washington, stunning cinematography, and odd but fitting music choices, this western is probably the most fun film of the year, as well as the most violent. Well worth your time and money though.

Silver Linings Playbook

Walking a thematic tight-rope, Silver Linings Playbook largely succeeds due to the plethora of stunning performances from the whole case. Bradley Cooper stunned me with his ability for dramatic, emotional acting and Jennifer Lawrence was amazing as usual. Both got completely enveloped in their roles; they weren't actors, they became their characters. Robert De Niro gives his best performance in a long time, and Jacki Weaver blew me away. David O. Russell has crafted a masterpiece that is simply one of, if not the best, film of the year!

The Perks of Being a Wallflower
½

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a touching, heartfelt and funny film from first time director Stephen Chbosky, who also wrote the script and wrote the novel. Logan Lerman, Emma Watson, and Ezra Miller give absolutely fabulous performances that deserved Award attention especially for Ezra Miller. Besides some flaws and confusion (maybe a second viewing is in order), I had a great time watching this film. The performances add humanity to the wonderful script, and the characters are so normal, that everybody can identify with them somehow. See this film, you won't regret it.

Snow White and the Huntsman
½

An overlong, uneven, but mostly well-acted update on the Snow White fairytale, this live-action version features stunning visual effects, a terrific performance by Charlize Theron, and some gorgeous cinematography as well. Kristin Stewart is getting better, but she is still reduced to nothing more than grimacing and/or pouting. The plot has some holes, and the script isn't the best; some lines are quite cringe-worthy, but the costumes and visual effects make for an entertaining, and appropriately dark take on the classic fairy-tale.

First Position

Even though it's predictable, First Position is an insightful film into the lives of aspiring ballet dancers. Upbeat, funny, involving, and precise, First Position is a window into the competitive world of the world class ballet. Getting to know all the dancers is a lot of fun and we go through their journey with them, we understand their pain, their trials and tribulations, and in the end, we can't help but clap and cheer for them. A great time at the theatre, or a great window about getting into the professional world of ballet dancing.

A Beautiful Mind
½

Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly give stunning, emotional performances in A Beautiful Mind. Ron Howard has crafted a masterful film that is a revealing look at mental illness and deserves to be seen. Brilliantly put together to create suspense, brilliantly acted to make us feel for the characters (Jennifer Connelly is astonishing), and a moving story of love and determination, A Beautiful Mind is a beautiful film.

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World
½

Steve Carell and Keira Knightley are probably two people who would be the last people to be in a relationship together, but somehow they make it work, for the most part. A charming story, that's well-acted, especially from Keira Knightley, even if the audience knows the ending right from the start. The plot has some major holes that confused me, and it seemed rushed at the end. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World is nothing to highly recommend, but it's a commendable attempt from first time director Lorene Scafaria.

Law Abiding Citizen
½

Law Abiding Citizen is entertaining, but not much else. The plot is so implausible and unbelievable that it's almost laughable. Gerard Butler and Jamie Foxx as well as the rest of the cast deliver sup-par performances as well making Law Abiding Citizen an entertaining, confusing, implausible mess. Don't waste your time unless you want a brainless action movie.

Your Sister's Sister

Considering that a lot of the dialogue in this film is improvised, this short little film is a gem. Lynn Shelton has provided some relief from the regularities of today's rom-coms and given us something fresh and original. The acting is superb; the whole thing is very real from start to finish. The characters are very relatable: I'm sure everyone can identify with one of them. It's a leisurely film that takes time to understand these characters and the choices they make. Beautifully shot on top of all that, makes Your Sister's Sister a must see film.

Safety Not Guaranteed
½

Safety No Guaranteed is a hilarious, moving, heartfelt film that features an odd, but utterly original story, and strong performances from it's cast especially Mark Duplass and Aubrey Plaza. Deftly combining comedy, drama, and suspense, Safety Not Guaranteed is guaranteed to have you laughing and crying at the same time. You will leave the theatre having wanted a longer movie, considering it's run-time comes in at 85 minutes.

Cloud Atlas
Cloud Atlas(2012)
½

Cloud Atlas is an ambitious film that could have failed miserably, or mesmerized and been spectacular. Lana Wachowski and Tom Tykwer have fortunately been able to take the scope of the novel and condense it into 3 hours of thought-provoking narrative, superb visual effects, and some fantastic acting throughout. "The key to successfully absorbing the movie is in not trying to overthink what's on screen" (James Berardinelli, ReelViews). This is also the key to enjoying the movie; to let your imagination run with it. The different stories are cut so well together, the casting choices are often jarring with heavy makeup and prosthetics changing race, gender, etc. Often, the odd casting choices are distracting, and sometimes funny (which I don't think they are supposed to be). The script isn't the best either, but the writers have done a commendable job putting it together in total. Overall, go into Cloud Atlas with an open mind, don't think too much about what's on the screen, and let your imagination run with it and have fun, and also be prepared to be deeply and profoundly moved as well.

Skyfall
Skyfall(2012)
½

With Sam Mendes directing, this new Bond film breathes new life into the 50 year old franchise. Complete with breathtaking cinematography by the great Roger Deakins, and truly fantastic acting from Judi Dench, Javier Bardem, and Naomi Harris, Skyfall is one of the best 007 films ever. There is even time to spare in the 2.5 hour running time for character development which allows the viewer to finally get emotionally connected to these characters. Sleek, sexy, riveting, beautiful and smart, Skyfall is a return to form for James Bond.

Identity
Identity(2003)
½

Identity is a film that will easily divide it's audiences. They will either be really confused, or really impressed. I was impressed, but that took two viewings to achieve. The first time I watched this film I was really confused and had no idea what was going on. It's a smart, trippy, and surprisingly involving. It's a good, not great film that deserves a chance.

The Cove
The Cove(2009)
½

The Cove is a harrowing and haunting documentary on the dolphin slaughter in Japan. Benefiting from explanations of dolphin psychology and lots of footage of them in their natural habitat and hearing stories of the connection with people helped create a personal connection to the animals. Though the documentary is very one-sided, it's very suspenseful, emotional, shocking and disturbing, but also left me wanting more. At only an hour and a half long, The Cove could have taken time to explain more about the mercury poisoning, views from the Japanese side, etc. I wouldn't have minded the longer running time since they got me so involved in the loves of the dolphins. The is an essential documentary for everybody to see nonetheless. It will stay with you long after you have seen it.

Hell and Back Again
½

Hell and Back Again is a pretty average documentary that is beautifully shot, uniquely edited, but should've delved into the psychological state of mind of Sgt. Nathan Harris instead of focusing on merely the physical struggles he faces in getting back into shape and fit for combat once more. The emotional connection could definitely been stronger and more involving. Hell and Back Again features unique cinematography and editing, but is a generic, if slightly better than average documentary.

Restrepo
Restrepo(2010)

Restrepo is a visceral, powerful documentary on the war in Afghanistan, but I found it to be way over-hyped. It wasn't as powerful or as war-like as I expected it to be, but that put aside, I felt that the film did a good job of documenting the terror, and the camaraderie that these people felt. Beautifully shot, well edited, insightful and exciting, Restrepo is one of the better war documentaries.

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen
½

Salmon Fishing in the Yemen is an inspirational film featuring fine performances from Ewan McGregor and Emily Blunt. The story overall pretty well thought out, but there were some parts of the film where I felt like I should've been filled in on more details. Some of the supporting cast's acting was unbelievable and I was shocked to see that some of the parts spoken in other languages were dubbed over, but that it was so obvious that what was being said on film was different from what was dubbed over it. Reserved, fun, emotional, and ultimately unsatisfying, Salmon Fishing in the Yemen almost makes the jump to safe ground on the ladder.

The Pianist
The Pianist(2002)

Adrien Brody and Thomas Kretschmann give tremendously haunting performances in Roman Polanski's The Pianist. The film does not seek our tears or sympathies, but instead tells the story of Polish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman just as it is, and that makes it all the more emotionally involving. It's length and use of minimalist music may prove too boring or non-dramatic for some, but the Chopin interspersed throughout gave it more than an actual score could. In conclusion, The Pianist features a haunting central performance by Adrien Brody, and despite it's length and a familiar shell story, this is told differently and is more emotionally involving than other films of this subject matter.

Atonement
Atonement(2007)
½

Joe Wright has constructed a moving, portrait of love through war. Keira Knightley, James MacAvoy and Saoirse Ronan give towering performances not to be missed. Also featuring stunning cinematography and a fantastic, unique score by Dario Marianelli, Atonement is, if somewhat leisurely, a fantastic film that is not to be missed.

Like Crazy
Like Crazy(2011)
½

Like Crazy is a beautiful film with powerful, emotionally affecting performances from Felicity Jones and Anton Yelchin, as well as Jennifer Lawrence. The film's schmaltziness is familiar, and the plot would make it seem like we've seen it all before. There are also some big holes in the plot where things were not explained well at all, which made it confusing and bewildering at times. But the characters are able to truly express themselves here, and we get to know these people. We know who they are beyond dialogue, and it becomes very intimate and involving. If for nothing else, see it for the acting and the intimacy which is often lacking in these sorts of films.

Food, Inc.
Food, Inc.(2009)

In this documentary on the american food industry, you get an inside view at where your food comes from. Seeing what Monsanto does to the farmers, what IBP is doing to the cattle, and what Tyson is doing to the chickens, you may never eat again. I know most people would just say that they can't live without their meat, and it doesn't bother them where it comes from, or what's in it. Being a vegetarian, this film opened my eyes to the prospect that even my organic produce may be full of harmful chemicals. Some of my classmates went vegetarian for life after seeing this disturbing, deeply affecting documentary. It's an important one to see. Watch it!

Erin Brockovich

Julia Roberts is her best here as a slightly trashy single mother. Erin Brockovich is a funny, smart, and thoughtful legal drama that despite some plot holes and character issues, is engaging, emotional, and inspiring. Aaron Eckhart is almost unrecognizable here as George, the next-door neighbour. A subdued, but strong performance from him as well, but Julia Roberts definitely steals the show.

Monster
Monster(2004)

Charlize Theron's performance as Aileen Wuornos is possibly the best I've ever seen. Prostitute turned killer, Aileen's relationship with Selby (Christina Ricci) turns tense and frustratingly accommodating as time ticks. Christina Ricci's performance cannot live up to her co-star, but she does a considerable job. What frustrated me was her character, and maybe she was like that, but for me, she was too accommodating to Aileen's needs and wants. A brilliant, haunting film, Monster is a small film with a gigantic performance by Charlize Theron for which she more than deserved her Oscar.

Take the Lead

The sole reason for seeing this film: Antonio Banderas in a charismatic lead role, and looking like he was born in a tuxedo. The dance sequences are captivating and entertaining to watch, but it's probably one of the most uninspired inspiring stories I've seen. It's full of cliches, and a formulaic plot line that couldn't hold my interest past an hour.

Brokeback Mountain

Led by two moving and powerful performances from Heath Ledger and Jake Gyllenhaal, Brokeback Mountain is a beautiful, epic western film directed by Ang Lee, who imbues it with so much universality that it's hard not to be connected with these people. I sometimes felt that the characters were a bit naive and sometimes I got frustrated. The story was often vague, leaving important pieces out to be filled in by the viewer. With a long running time, it seemed a bit drawn out. Overall, Brokeback Mountain is a moving portrait of forbidden love, and the consequences of time.

Blue Valentine

A profoundly moving, gripping examination of a marriage on the rocks, carried hugely on the beyond amazing performances of Ryan Gosling and Michelle Williams. Rarely emotionally resonant and intense, Blue Valentine will stay with you long after viewing. It's definitely not easy to watch, but in the end, it's unforgettable.

Weekend
Weekend(2011)
½

A brutally honest, revelatory film about two strangers and the effect they have on each other lives over a span of 48 hours. It's the most beautiful film about two strangers, I think. The two leads Tom Cullen and Chris New are superb here, and their chemistry is what works best. Whether the viewer is straight, bi, or gay, they will connect with the characters in some profound way. The film will linger after the first viewing; if you have ever met someone who has changed your life within a few days, you will relate to this film. Weekend, is sensationally acted, beautifully realized and full of honesty and mostly concerned with something one might not expect, the human heart.

Cracks
Cracks(2011)
½

The directorial debut of Jordan Scott, the daughter of Ridley Scott is Cracks, a film about an all-girls boarding school and the elite students part of the diving team under the direction of Miss G. It is so much fun to watch Eva Green ride that teacher off the rails, that it's almost the one reason to see this film. The film is otherwise a formless, abstract, mostly well-acted, atmospheric and sometimes boring first film for Jordan Scott.

Requiem for a Dream
½

An intense, hallucinatory film about drug addiction, and solely drug addiction. The plot does not veer away from the characters, but instead focuses on the effects the drugs have on them and their lives. Although confusing and jumpy with many explanations missing, the editing, music and imagery will stay with you for many years after. Ellen Burstyn gives an astounding performance that stands out among other searing performances from Jared Leto, and Jennifer Connelly.

21 Jump Street
½

21 Jump Street is a hilarious, raucous, smart if a bit formula teen comedy. Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum have great chemistry together which results in hilarity. The small twist at the end is gory, but at the same time gut-bustingly funny. Well-executed and well acted, 21 Jump Street is above average teen comedy that's got bite and wit.

The Uninvited

The Uninvited relies too heavily on cheesy dialogue, and jump scares to really be that frightening. It's predictable and unimaginative plot are silly, but the actors really do try their best with the material they are given. But alas, they can't save this mess. My friends and I saw the ending coming half-way through the film. This was an uninvited entry into the horror movie genre.

Marley
Marley(2012)
½

Marley is an insightful, inspirational, and deeply moving documentary on the life of a legend. Though the runtime is a bit much, and the film starts to drag near the end, for the most part, Marly features electrifying concert footage, and great interviews. Hilarious, touching, disturbing, exhausting, fascinating and sad, Marley is a must see for any Bob Marley fan.

Take This Waltz
½

Take This Waltz is an honest, truthful and emotionally intense journey through romance, love, sex, and life. Michelle Williams and Luke Kirby are simply a joy to watch as they have fantastic chemistry. Even though I thought Seth Rogan had some trouble with the dramatic scenes, I still felt he embodied his character well. The film itself was a tad slow and meandering for it to really hold my attention near the end, but the open-to-interpretation ending is great, and the film is shot really well. Some people have complained about the emotional inconsistency of the film, or how the emotions are incomplete. I felt that that's the way it should be; life is incomplete as it is. In everyday life, we don't have time to take the waltz and spend quality time dancing with, thinking about, and discussing our emotions. Life goes by way too fast for that.

Starbuck
Starbuck(2013)

Starbuck is a hilarious, witty, and heartwarming with a star-making performance from Patrick Huard. Uneven though it may be, this dramedy goes in all kinds of directions and keeps you engrossed. See it by any means possible!

Easy A
Easy A(2010)
½

Easy A is a charming, hilarious, and emotionally engaging teen comedy. Emma Stone is fantastic here. She was captivating right from the opening shot. The story was pretty good, but suffered from lack of material, and familiar plot twists. The films predictability took away from the overall experience, but overall, Easy A easily gets an A!

Moonrise Kingdom
½

Moonrise Kingdom won't be for everyone. It's whimsical, hilarious, beautifully photographed and acted. It's a different style of filmmaking all together. Jared Gilman, Kara Hayward, Bruce Willis, Frances McDormand and Edward Norton give brilliant performances here as well, and the soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat and others is fantastic, and gives the film a unique feeling and texture.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button is a wonderful, rich film by director David Fincher that features stunning performances from Cate Blanchett, Taraji P. Henson and Brad Pitt. The film may be a bit long and move a little to slowly or be to self-indulgent for some to be able to be enraptured by the whole film, but for those who can, it is a most rewarding experience. There are some brilliant sequences in the film!

Marvel's The Avengers

With just the right amounts of action, comedy, drama, suspense and everything else, Joss Whedon has created possibly the best movie of the summer. Fantastic performances all around, superb special effects, a great story; what more could you ask for? The humanity of all the heroes is never left out, the sets are outstanding, and is at times jaw-dropping. Definitely living up to it's hype, The Avengers can be enjoyed by all, even if they haven't kept up with the original Marvel superhero movies. Note: Stay to the very end of the credits. It's worth the wait.

The Karate Kid
½

Jaden Smith proves that he can act in this modern remake of the 1980's classic film. With an unusually dramatic (but excellent) performance from Jackie Chan, and an always fantastic Taraji P. Henson, The Karate Kid will please fans of the original and newcomers alike. The cinematography is superb, showcasing rural and modern China. By the end, The Karate Kid had me nearly on my feet cheering. A worth remake of the original, and a riveting, suspenseful crowd-pleaser.

The Social Network
½

With a taut, expertly written script, beautiful acting from Jesse Eisenberg and Andrew Garfield, superb direction from David Fincher, and a great score by Trent Reznor & Atticus Ross, The Social Network is a riveting film about the birth of a media revolution. It's filmmaking at it's finest.

Milk
Milk(2008)

Milk rests on Sean Penn's powerhouse performance as Harvey Milk. Without his mesmerizing performance, the film would not be what it is... Chronicling the events, struggles and triumphs of the first openly gay man elected to public office, Milk is a triumphant account of the moving and heartfelt story, told with stark focus by Gus van Sant. Josh Brolin is also fantastic here as Milk's opposer in office, as is James Franco as Harvey's lover.

Slumdog Millionaire

Slumdog Millionaire is a film that is visually stunning, emotionally resonant, and very well-acted. But, I felt that it was rushed, and there was something missing. I can't figure out what it was. That put aside, Danny Boyle has created a wonderful film that deserved the Oscars it did receive. The music written my A.R. Rahman is stunning and fits the film perfectly. Great story, great acting, great music, great visuals, great film. This one is a must-see!

The Tree of Life
½

After my first viewing of The Tree of Life, I felt deeply and profoundly moved, and at the same time frustrated and annoyed. Annoyed because I didn't fully understand some of what was going on, frustrated that I didn't know who Sean Penn was, or why some of what was was shown was in the film at all. Now, six months after my first viewing, I watched it again. This time, the film made much more sense, and I was even more deeply moved. The film changed my mood for the rest of the day, and the day after. Most people will not have the patience to sit through this impressionistic film, but for those who do, it will be a most rewarding experience like no other. In my second viewing, I had a much easier time understanding the whispered dialogue, and the cosmic montages, and had a lot more time to sit back and really enjoy the lavish and stunning cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki. The Tree of Life is a typical Terrence Malick film, but yet unlike anything you will ever experience. Second viewing will be more rewarding than the first, so the patience is extremely rewarding. Terrence Malick's The Tree of Life is nothing less than a masterpiece.

Baraka
Baraka(1993)
½

Baraka is a one-of-a-kind film that deserves to be seen. Director Ron Fricke has created a film that is stunning, and meditative, and at times even shocking. The camera work and editing has allowed for the visuals to do all the talking; there is not one word of dialogue in Baraka. I found his message clear and precise, his visuals absolutely breathtaking, the music fantastic, and the film as a whole mesmerizing. The only complaint I have is it's length. It's about 10 minutes too long in my opinion, but Baraka is not to be missed.

The Debt
The Debt(2011)

John Madden has created a taut, suspenseful, smart thriller that featured an excellent cast. The time-shifting story may create some confusing and distracting casting problems, but I feel the film needed to be told in this way. Overall, after a great first-half, the story starts to turn slower, and may lose the interest of some viewers, but ultimately, The Debt is a supremely well-acted film that is smart, suspenseful and moves at a good pace.

The Ides of March
½

While George Clooney, Ryan Gosling, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Giamatti give great performances, it's Evan Rachel Wood that stole the show for me. She can change emotions and character so fast, and it's so convincing. The story was not as great as I expected it to be, but it did have a fantastic script. The Ides of March doesn't reveal any revelatory truths about politics, it does however show the corruption and the inner workings of an election race. So, if for nothing else, see the Ides of March for the fine acting on display by the whole cast, and for the tight, witty, thoughtful script.

The Adjustment Bureau

Matt Damon and Emily Blunt have spectacular chemistry in The Adjustment Bureau and it's so great to watch them play off each other. The story and concept of The Adjustment Bureau is really very interesting and thought-provoking. George Nolfi (first-time writer/director) does a relatively good job keeping the same tone throughout but sometimes it's abrupt changes are distracting. The main reason to see this film is for the thought-provoking concept and the wonderful chemistry between Matt Damon and Emily Blunt.

The Kite Runner

The performances make this film, so the actors needed to be right on point, or this film wouldn't have been nearly as good as it is. Marc Forster and David Benioff have made a faithful adaption from the book, leaving out parts only necessary to the central story. The acting on display here is immensely powerful, as is the whole film. I was very pleased with the transition from book to screen, but the magic in the book was lost. It's not completely vanished, but it's not as prominent as it should be. The Kite Runner is a powerful, riveting, emotional film that is a faithful adaptation from the excellent novel.

Life Is Beautiful (La Vita è bella)
½

Roberto Bernigni is fantastic in Life is Beautiful as Guido, a father who goes to elaborate lengths to keep his son (played superbly by Giorgio Cantarini) from understanding the truth about their situation in Italy under German rule at the start of WWII. In the beginning, I could understand that Guido was a bit of an eccentric character, and it would have worked if the film had stayed as an outrageous and hilarious comedy, but as soon as the war started, the film did a u-turn in terms of tone and genre. It's jarring, disrupts the story's flow, and even though the performances stayed consistent, that was one thing that really bugged me; Benigni's performance. That's not to say it wasn't great, because it was. His eccentricity started to annoy me once the film turned into a war drama, and I always felt that Nicoletta Braschi wasn't acting enough or something. She needed to show more emotion on her regularly blank face. Maybe I'm just being really picky.... Overall, the ending was touching, and the imaginary story woven throughout was cute and touching as well; and no doubt, Roberto Benigni is an exceptional actor.

The Pursuit of Happyness
½

A story that is inspirational, and moving, predictable, and moves a little too slowly is elevated considerably by the incredibly moving and touching performances of Will Smith and Jaden Smith. It could have been extremely melodramatic, but the great performances and comic moments keep it at great, emotional drama.

Quantum of Solace
½

Quantum of Solace is best seen a day after watching the much better Casino Royale for the sole reason to know who the characters are and the events that take place and the reasons behind all of that. In Quantum of Solace, the filmmakers expect the audience to already know details and remember them. I, for one, did not remember what happens in Casino Royale, or remember some characters that appeared again in Quantum of Solace. Throughout the whole film, I was confused about why certain characters were in the film at all, what events M and 007 were talking about to do with Vesper. The action is definitely well done in this film, and it's brutal and breathless action at that, but Quantum of Solace also had some great cinematography to keep everything looking great. I would highly recommend that you watch Casino Royale before seeing Quantum of Solace. It will help greatly in understanding the plot.

Knight & Day
Knight & Day(2010)
½

Cameron Diaz and Tom Cruise give some pretty good performances in Knight & Day which elevates this formulaic summer action-comedy considerably. It's got a good pace, good chemistry, a somewhat implausible and predictable story (but hey, it's summer fun, so what does that matter?), and some good cinematography. Paul Dano also gives a really nice performance as Simon Feck. I found it to be great fun, charming and occasionally funny, and I found the ending quite touching and suitable (and funny). Others may find it cheesy....

The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest

The conclusion to the swedish trilogy is quite a disappointing one. Knowing the events of the first two films before seeing this one is highly recommended because it will be easier to understand what is going on. Because the third book, is based mostly in the courtroom, and the main character is bedridden in a hospital for most of the first half, the film doesn't really have much to do. It's not boring to the point that it's unwatchable, it's just that it's slower, more relaxed, and then at the end things start happening again. Noomi Repace is great as usual, and so are the other actors, but the chemistry between the characters is lacking here. Overall, The Girl who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is a disappointingly uneven and unsatisfying conclusion to the trilogy.

Bad Teacher
Bad Teacher(2011)
½

Bad Teacher is sometimes actually quite funny, and at other times it had me chuckling at how utterly stupid it was. The acting for the most part felt really overdone, but I did enjoy watching Jason Segel, Lucy Punch and Phyllis Smith. Cameron Diaz was pretty good, but her character was just too annoying to be likeable. Bad Teacher could have been so much better and funnier, and squanders it's potential with some truly horrible dialogue and some really awkward moments.

Bellflower
Bellflower(2011)

Bellflower is not so much a continuous story as it is a blurred study of young adults sensitivity and rage set against the end of the world. Evan Glodell who is the writer/director/star of Bellflower is definitely someone to watch. Bellflower being his debut for which he built the Medussa (the wicked car in the film), the flamethrowers, and the cameras used to film it. There is a real over-saturation of colours (especially reds and yellows) that I found really cool. It makes the atmosphere look really hot like a desert which for me reflected the characters feelings. The acting was quite good, especially from Jessie Wiseman and Evan Glodell. Overall, Bellflower is not as much an exciting debut, and it is a really promising debut, but it's an interesting study of how young adults minds work, and their rage.

Titanic
Titanic(1997)

James Cameron's Titanic is no doubt a classic and it boasts some awesome visual spectacles, music, and costumes. The acting is for the most part fantastic, especially that of Kate Winslet, Frances Fisher, Victor Garber and Gloria Stuart. Other supporting actors such as Bill Paxton, Suzy Amis and Danny Nucci make for somewhat cheesy and/or cringeworthy sections, but perhaps that's partly because of some horrible dialogue in those parts. Cheesy as the story and execution is, Titanic draws audiences in, but (for me) fails to move me in any noticeable way. With Avatar, Cameron had me really involved and sending urgent telepathic messages to the characters on screen telling them what to do or what not to do. With Titanic, most people are really bawling their eyes out, but for me, the film just glosses over the real tragedy, but it worked in the way it was supposed to. There is no doubt in my mind that James Cameron is a great director, and that Titanic will be a classic for many many years to come.

District 9
District 9(2009)

District 9 is a brilliant film from director Neill Blomkamp and producer Peter Jackson. With great characters, great CGI aliens (or Prawns), a fantastic score, and a fascinating, original storyline, District 9 is one summer film not to be missed. Wikus van der Merwe is the main character here, and is so relatable in many ways, it's hard not to feel for him and connect with him almost right away. It's emotionally wrenching to watch what he goes through, but at the same time, we feel for the Prawns that are being so mistreated. We get both sides of the highly imaginative story, and don't feel like we've just sat through 2 hours of clashing metal and ear-splitting noise. It's quite the contrary actually; we feel breathless, shaken, and most of all (for me at least) shamed.

The Help
The Help(2011)

Viola Davis, Octavia Spencer, Jessica Chastain, Bryce Dallas Howard, and Emma Stone give stunningly powerful performances in The Help. The powerful performances are what drives this film, and I hate to think what a mess it probably would have been if it weren't for these gifted actresses. Tate Taylor has done a relatively good job adapting the rather large novel into a rather long movie, and sometimes I found myself confused at jumps the plot had made and had expected the audience to just follow along. I think the plot wasn't given as much thought and careful construction as the performances were, but the story is still extremely powerful and moving. I guess one could also say that the film glosses over it's racial themes, but I think they keep enough of it in there so that the audience knows it's an issue. I mean, it's not really the focus of the film. The focus is definitely about the racial gap at the time, but it's not a history lesson, it's a character study on a few people who dared to bring the truth out into the open. Overall, The Help is hugely bolstered by the extremely powerful performances from the cast, but it's a good film that is definitely worth seeing.

The Hunger Games
½

A faithful adaptation to the book (a few minor changes), The Hunger Games is thrilling, suspenseful, and captures the raw emotion, and the violence of the novel. The violence is violent, but director Gary Ross makes sure it's not explicitly shown on screen. Jennifer Lawrence is absolutely stunning as Katniss Everdeen even though she never really looks like she suffered during the games. Like in the book, I would have hoped that they show how difficult is was to find food and water in the arena by having her look a little gaunt or starved. I just was hoping for some inclination that she suffered. Maybe my expectations were too high. After all, books and movies are different forms of media; they can't be identical. The other actors were all superb in their roles but I thought that Stanley Tucci may have overacted in parts. But I'm nit-picking here. The Hunger Games is a thrilling, well-acted and dramatic start to what could be the next Harry Potter phenomena. Let's hope the production crew can keep the bar high.

Syriana
Syriana(2005)
½

Syriana is not a film for everyone. It requires the audience to be extremely attentive, and may even require multiple viewings to be able to fully understand who is doing what, where they're doing it, and why they're doing it. The plot is so complicated and ambitious that at the beginning I found myself frustrated and annoyed that I didn't get it and that it was moving at such a slow pace. There are also multiple plot lines that never really have anything to do with each other except that the actions of one affects one of the other plot lines thus altering the outcome. But all these quibbles put aside, Syriana is a wake-up call to people who think everything is going well in the oil sectors of the world, it's got this docu-drama feel to it, and it rings true in every sense. George Clooney stands out amidst an outstanding cast. I think I'd need to see it again, and pay much closer attention to be able to fully comprehend and understand what was going on. Definitely go see Syriana, but see it when you are awake and prepared to pay attention.

Unknown
Unknown(2011)

Liam Neeson seems to be reinventing himself as an action actor. With Unknown, he brings a lot of good stuff to the film that make it better than if someone else had been in it. In other words, Neeson makes Unknown a lot better than it would have been without him. The problem with Unknown is that it is way too implausible to be in the least bit believable, but yet at the same time, I had a lot of fun, and right from the beginning, it had me nervous, on the edge of my seat wondering what would happen next. What I loved about the film though is that once you think you've figured out the plot and you say "Oh I know what's happening! This guy is going to do this and that, and then this will happen...", they throw a twist at you, and then you figure it out again, and they throw another twist at you. It is constantly getting more complicated and interesting, but after a certain point it gets too implausible, but it's still fun - just not as fun. January Jones is perfectly cast here as Neeson's wife. She exudes such an icy demeanour (like the whole film) and is perfect in her role. Diane Kruger is also excellent. Overall, Unknown is a decent action/psychological thriller film that has slightly above average acting, a very intriguing storyline, but ultimately becomes to implausible to keep most of the interest by the end. The plot twists just get to be too much.

State of Play

State of Play is a good political thriller with twists coming at you when you least expect them. Russell Crowe, Rachel McAdams, Ben Affleck, Helen Mirren and Robin Wright Penn were absolutely fantastic in this film. They carry the film through some implausible plot twists which left me somewhat confused, but somehow, the film always made sure the audience was following along. They'd stop and say "OK what've we got so far?". Some times the story just felt rushed, like they were making an effort to keep the audience in the loop, but wanting to keep the pace up and complicate the story a bit more.... The script is very intelligent and well-written, and the direction by Kevin MacDonald was good as well. Overall, State of Play left me in a mild state of confusion, but in the end, it all made sense, and kept me involved (even a little breathless at times).

In Time
In Time(2011)
½

Even with a very interesting and intriguing storyline, In Time is so predictable, the cast can't do anything with the horrible script, and the characters are so thinly written. I laughed at parts that weren't supposed to be funny, cringed at some dialogue, and knew what was going to happen from early on. The premise could have made a great film, but In Time is for pure entertainment, and it's not very good entertainment at that.

A Separation
A Separation(2011)
½

A Separation is definitely one of the best foreign language film of the year. The story is a relatable one, the acting is superb, the script is incredible. It is very morally complex, involving and plays like a mystery in a way. It was shot extremely well making use of viewpoints that keep the audience from seeing certain things which is really great for the mystery. This film is intense and it's insight into dissolving relationships is very keen. A definite must see, A Separation will have you in long discussions after the credits roll.

Monsieur Lazhar

Monsieur Lazhar is a wonderful French-Canadian film that was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 2012 Oscars. Mohamed Fellag is excellent as Bachir Lazhar. He is human, and very relatable and quietly intelligent and respectable. This film is a wonderfully subtle, humanistic and touching drama that captures the pulse of elementary school life and canadian immigration. The kids here are exquisitely acted as well. Sophie Nelisse and Emilien Neron are really wonderful to watch. It's a quiet, touching drama that sneaks up on you and delivers a powerful emotional punch. Monsieur Lazhar was a pleasant surprise. I highly recommend it.

The Descendants
½

George Clooney, Shailene Woodley, and Amara Miller all give superb performances in The Descendants. Filmed entirely on location in Hawaii, one could expect that this film would've indadvertedly turned into a tourist grabber for the state. I was happy to find that's not the case. The film's plot and acting make it so realistic, at one point I thought I was watching a really good documentary of someone's life. I really liked how the plot seemed ordinary enough, there were lots of times when there were little twists, or revelations that came about just like they would in real life. Life is unpredictable and messy, but life is also beautiful, and this film managed to capture all that wonderfully. The Descendants is a comedy and a drama at the same time. Most films with that classification have sections or comedy, then one of sadness or fighting or something like that. Here, it's all intermingled which is really nice. The comedy is genuine and actually made me laugh, and the drama was real and filled with raw emotions. Sometimes it's really funny and really sad at the same time. There was more than one occasion I sat there crying my eyes out and laughing. Overall, Alexander Payne has created a film that is funny, beautifully acted, and intensely moving.

Dreamgirls
Dreamgirls(2006)

Bill Condon directs an incredible cast in the movie version of the Broadway musical Dreamgirls. Let me say this before I say anything else: I was so stunned by the performances and musical numbers in this film that I literally had to tell myself to close my mouth. Jennifer Hudson got an Oscar for her role as Effie White, and did she ever deserve it. Beyonce was not far behind, but I have to say I prefer her singing songs like the Oscar nominated song "Listen" than "Run the World". This film also proves that Eddie Murphy can act. He just needs proper direction, and the right role. He was really great the role as James Early which got him an Oscar nomination. Overall, Dreamgirls features electrifying performances from the whole cast especially from Jennifer Hudson, and incredible musical number that sent shivers down my spine. Even though I felt that the ending was rushed a little, it was very moving and satisfying.

Freedom Writers
½

Yes it's corny, yes it's predictable, and yes these characters are as generic as ever, but that doesn't stop Freedom Writers from being extremely powerful, moving and inspirational. Hilary Swank does a great job in the lead here, but the unknown actors and actresses who play the Freedom Writers are the soul of the film; they are incredible. Apart from being predictable and square, this film had me crying and laughing at the same time, had me snickering and get angry at character that I disliked, and more than once made me want to jump and yell with joy. It's a must see film.

The Artist
The Artist(2011)

Jean Dujardin and Berenice Bejo are unbelievably amazing in this black and white silent film that is definitely the best film of 2011, followed closely by Matin Scorsese's Hugo. Not being able to express oneself in words, and still have the audience really understand what is being said, even if you don't get all the exact words (which is mostly possible through lip reading in this film) you still understand the gist of what is said. All the actors in this film are superb. We really feel for them and understand them. Of course with a silent film, I need to say something about the music because it acts as the connector between the audience and the actors on screen. Ludovic Bource's sweeping 1920's style score is wonderful and emotional and is simply put: a masterpiece. Perfectly replicating the 20's and 30's style and charm, beats, instrument selections and more, the Oscar winning score is the perfect compliment to the years crowd-pleasing, and joyous tribute to silent cinema. With dazzling visual style, imagination, and superb performances, The Artist is unforgettable.

Water for Elephants
½

I haven't read the book, but the film is wonderfully told, and absolutely breathtakingly shot. Some people say that Robert Pattinson can't act, and that may be true for Twilight, but I think he's pretty good here as Jacob. Some complaints about the acting though are that Reese Witherspoon and Christoph Waltz look ravishing, they really do lack chemistry. Now that may have been done purposely to enhance the fact that they are not happily married, or it may just be that: no chemistry. The relationship between Witherspoon and Pattinson is a bit better, but still feels cold and distant. On another note, I really loved Hal Holbrook here as the older Jacob. He was by far the most effective actor on screen. Water for Elephants is a wonderful, touching, and sometimes horrifying and sad film that features stunning cinematography and above average storytelling.

Source Code
Source Code(2011)

Plot holes can quickly be forgotten by Source Code's fast pace and slick style. Screenwriter Ben Ripley and director Duncan Jones do a great job here giving us an intriguing, complex storyline and Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan and Vera Farmiga give powerful human performances. I think Source Code may require more than one viewing to fully grasp the complicated science behind the plot but it's short, brisk runtime helps keep the film compact, and from going off topic which could have made it more complicated than necessary. Overall, Source Code is a mostly satisfying, well-acted, stylishly done science fiction thriller with an unusually complex and human story.

The Iron Lady
½

Meryl Streep is absolutely incredible as Margaret Thatcher, having mastered the accent, quirks, and style perfectly, but on the other hand, the film itself is not a complete triumph. Phyllida Lloyd has chosen to structure this film similarly to La Vie en Rose where the story is told as flashbacks. In La Vie en Rose, this method is effective and moving, but here it just serves as a checklist of the most important events in Thatcher's career which becomes muddled and confusing. After a slow and somewhat boring first half, the film picks up the pace and gets deeper into the story allowing the audience to become involved and care about the characters. What doesn't help that process though, is the fact that the film doesn't really know what it wants to say about Thatcher, who was such a controversial political figure; loved by some, despised by others. I can understand the fear of trying to portray one view of Thatcher and not the other, but at least say something. I came away feeling like she was somewhat of a hypocrite and failed to do what she so strongly strived for in life. Maybe it was supposed to be that way as a depiction of her struggle against dementia, which was accurate if you ask me. Dementia is a horrible thing; worse I think than cancer, but Thatcher never lost her political side which provided some mild comic relief. Abi Morgan's screenplay was fairly well written, but it could definitely have been better as there were moments when I thought "How staged is that?", or "That was awkward...". The Iron Lady is worth the price of admission to see the impeccable Meryl Streep, but the film just gets bogged down and muddled trying to get all the big and important events fit into the film, and if the career of Maggie was presented in a different format, I feel the audience may have connected to Thatcher more and it would have been much more moving at the end. The Iron Lady she was.

We Need to Talk About Kevin

Tilda Swinton delivers a tour-de-force performance as a mother dealing with her first-born, cruel son. We Need to Talk About Kevin is a blend of mystery, drama, and horror, and the use of symbolism adds a great effect. We see the film through the eyes of Eva (Tilda Swinton). It cuts back and forth in time without knowing what present or past as the characters views and reflects on the events in one jumbled mess. This method is effective in keeping the climax secret from the audience, but in some ways, it was given away too early/obviously and I was just waiting for it to come up and show us exactly what happened. I was surprised with the outcome even so, which was great because it kept me interested and feeling for the characters. We Need to Talk About Kevin is one of the better films of the year, but it's a hard watch, and definitely not for kids. Special mention to Ezra Miller who was also really fantastic.

The Thin Red Line
½

Terrence Malick's The Thin Red Line is a complex, intense, intimate, humbling, moving, and powerful portrayal of war and the moral chaos of war. Although at times hard to follow the storyline, and hard to keep track of who is who and why they are doing what they are doing, The Thin Red Line is a captivating, beautifully shot and superbly acted war film.

The Grey
The Grey(2012)

The Grey is an unusually philosophical and surprisingly moving film about survival in the wilderness. It's got really great characters that the filmmakers have really taken time to fill out/give weight to. The wolves are done really well, it's exciting, there is a lot of suspense, stunning cinematography and a great score by Marc Streitenfeld.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close
½

I'm not really sure what everyone is complaining about. In regards to the comments saying it's too heavy-handed, I think it's a pretty heavy story. For me, the direction worked well. Now, I can see why people are saying it's too manipulative or pretentious, and I agree about that to a certain extent. I don't think you can call the direction by Stephen Daldry pretentious, but if you think something about it is possible pretentious, I think that may be the story in general, and it was told how it was supposed to be told. The story or subject matter is definitely not for everyone. Jonathan Safran Foer, and Eric Roth have written about these characters and events very truthfully. The 9/11 scenes in the film are not even depicting real-life events although people probably were falling off the buildings as depicted, but in the film, those shots take place in Oskar's mind as he thinks about his father. Some people are still grieving about that event. For a lot of people, it may even still be too soon to bring up the subject so vividly. Anyways, I just think that there is some truth in what most other people say about this film, but for me, it worked brilliantly. Thomas Horn, Sandra Bullock, Zoe Caldwell, and especially Max von Sydow portrayed their characters wonderfully. Also, for those who are saying they don't know why Max von Sydow received an Oscar nomination for his role as the mute renter, I think it's pretty clear: it's such a subtle performance. We understand every emotion and every gesture even though he never says one word. That is the sign of great acting. For those criticizing Thomas Horn on being too weird, I say this: The kid most likely had mild Asperger's Syndrom and acted it out very well. The obsessive searching for the lock, his extreme boldness and shyness, his vocabulary, his actions, the way his parents were treating him, etc. His character is indeed different and unique, but he is so likeable and vulnerable that my heart just went out to him. On a whole, this film is very difficult to watch, it's emotionally draining, but worth every penny. It was for me at least. I just have to talk about the way the filmmakers portrayed all the various characters that appeared in the film. It was so authentic and so well done, that I think if everyone was not as afraid to do what Oskar did, and go out and actually socialize with the people or somehow get connected would bring communities closer together. The range of characters (those willing to help, and those unwilling), was great to see. Viola Davis was really wonderful for the few scenes she was in. Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close hit me hard and close to me. I'm going to remember it for a long time.

Barney's Version

The whole film is filled with impeccable performances but Paul Giamatti, Rosamund Pike and Dustin Hoffman really stand out. Barney's Version may move a little slow for some, but it's comedy and drama, and insight into modern romance make for a great story by Mordecai Richler, even if it's a little confusing in places and hard to watch.

Mission: Impossible Ghost Protocol
½

With an unusually complex and deep story, fantastic set pieces, and stylish, fast-paced direction, Brad Bird has brought us a great Mission Impossible film. Suspenseful, action-packed, and funny at times, this is a big-budget christmas movie that is really fun and it works. The fancy, stylish costumes, incredible on-location set pieces, and great cinematography really helped the story and made it believable.

Back to the Future Part III
½

This last film in the Back to the Future trilogy is the most unrealistic of the three, but the story is much better than Part 2. The whole point here is to have fun, not to be scientifically accurate or believable, so enjoy the crazy ride for what it is.

Back to the Future Part II

The second part to the Back to the Future trilogy is more confusing, cheesy, and hokey than the first one (especially the aging make-up), but it's still lots of fun. It's future scenes are definitely clunky, and are probably the most confusing of all the scenes in the movie. But when they have fun, so do we, and that's the whole point of this second part.

Back to the Future

Back to the Future is a hilarious, imaginative, and unforgettable time-travel adventure. It's well-acted, well directed and edited, and it's spirit is immense. The science is actually thoroughly explained so it makes perfect sense which makes it great fun for audiences of all ages. Back to the Future will keep people coming back again and again. The only reason I didn't give it perfect is because it does get a little hokey and cheesy in places. But they are minor details....

Chronicle
Chronicle(2012)

Chronicle chronicles the adventures of three high school kids that discover a hole in the ground and somehow get superpowers from the thing they found inside. For a directorial debut for Josh Trank, and an acting debut for most of the actors, Chronicle is really well acted, and it's got some fast-paced directing going on, and the visual effects are really fantastic. I found that it really started to draw me in when it started going dark and twisted. I don't know if the filmmakers were trying to send out a message (probably not), but to me, this film was a pretty great depiction of what power does to some people. Power is corruptive, and that people are really shaped and defined by their prior life experiences. I loved that about this film. The script was written smartly, and it was realistic of teens today, and that authenticity was only helped along by the great performances from the young cast members.

The Guard
The Guard(2011)

The Guard is a raucous, violent comedy that takes place in Ireland. Now, let this be a warning, it's a little hard to understand all that is being said because of the thick irish accent. But I think you'll get used to it. Brendan Gleeson is great in this role, and strikes great chemistry with Don Cheadle. I highly recommend this film, but be on your guard because the language comes fast, there is a lot of swearing (and I mean a lot), and it's hilarious to the point of crying. Just a fair warning....

Watchmen
Watchmen(2009)
½

A compelling, visceral, visually stunning film, Watchmen is a powerful experience unlike anything I've seen. There are other films that depict the end of humanity, and reveal its flaws, and power. But none have depicted it like this. The complex narrative, which I may not have fully understood on first viewing, and which may frustrate others, is fantastic at keeping the film from being a preaching anti-human movie. Not that it turns into that; no, in the end, it's message is unsettling for those who are really listening, and may linger on in our minds for a long while. The slowed-down action sequences are intoxicating, the soundscape and visual effects are astounding, and the soundtrack is awesome. The length of the film, and the acting (which wasn't bad, but could have been improved upon), are my only complaints.

Immortal Beloved

Gary Oldman is absolutely phenomenal here as Ludwig van Beethoven but the supporting cast is a bit overacted or sometimes wooden and fake. The film itself is a little confusing and slow but it's easy to forget that when you're wrapped up in the mystery, and when watching Oldman give a tour de force performance, and listening to the magnificent music of Beethoven.

Monsters
Monsters(2010)
½

I have to say I really enjoyed this movie. It's highly original and unique. It is definitely not your average alien invasion film. This is about human characters trying to get home. The aliens are not even considered aliens anymore, they are residents. Monsters is gorgeously shot, suspenseful, exciting, the acting is so real and believable, and the special effects are just jaw-dropping for such a low budget film. I can't wait to see what Gareth Edwards does next!

Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
½

I'm sure Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is a great film if you have read the book and are willing to sit through roughly 2 hours of anxiety, paranoia, and not knowing anything until the last few minutes. I for one, was able to sit through it, and enjoy it quite a bit. I highly suggest reading the book, or if you can't handle that then a second or third viewing may do you good if you are keen on understanding exactly what happens. I hear it's filmed pretty much the way the book reads: as if you are on the inside and don't know anything either; you find out details as the characters do. This works incredibly well here, it's just that it was a bit too slow and a teeny bit long for me. Maybe the spy genre isn't my thing. I must mention the acting and cinematography though, because this film is almost worth seeing just for that. Gary Oldman is riveting here, and so is the rest of the cast, but Oldman stands out here. The cinematography in this film is absolutely phenomenal.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
½

Did the swedish films really need a remake already? I think that in some ways, this one has improved the original, but in other ways, just makes it a worthless remake. Fincher's version carries his typical flair and style, and has great acting across the board (although Daniel Craig seems a little too comfortable in dangerous situations, and Rooney Mara completely embodies the role of Lisbeth Salander which deserves that Oscar nom.), but out of it's 2.5 hours, there is a lot of emptiness. More character development, and more background on the situation is needed. Another thing that bothered me: the first third was well done and was captivating, the second half was a lot of music and fast back-and-forth editing where they skipped a lot of story, and the third act was confusing. I have to make a special note about the opening credits though. I had to literally pick my jaw up off the floor; I don't think I've ever seen anything more spectacular. That little part was for me the best part of the film, and needs an Oscar. If you are debating whether to see this version or the swedish version, in my opinion, the original is the clear winner.

Lean on Me
Lean on Me(1989)
½

Morgan Freeman is great in this role, but Lean on Me is a bit cheesy and predictable.

The English Patient

Based on the book of the same name, The English Patient is a sweeping drama that is complex, moving, and very powerful. It's breathtakingly shot, and the score by Gabriel Yared is one of the most beautiful I've ever heard. Juliette Binoche, Ralph Fiennes and Kristen Scott Thomas give emotional, powerful performances as well.

Star Trek
Star Trek(2009)
½

Seeing the older Star Trek movies before this may be a good idea, but it's not necessary, as this newer version covers most of it all, but I found myself confused a tiny bit only because I had never seen the originals before I saw this one. This newer one is funny, it's got a great story, fantastic visual effects, and lots of action. A great movie that will be fun for the family.

War Horse
War Horse(2011)

Steven Spielberg brings us another of his signature films: A sprawling, sweeping epic that tugs at the heartstrings. Great acting all around, stunning cinematography, and a sweeping score by John Williams is really what makes this movie fly, although I felt that it was trying too hard to get people to cry (it succeeded with me), and that it was a bit over the top at times.

A Dangerous Method
½

I think the only reason people might really enjoy this movie is if they are really interested in the subject matter. The way it's told is great, but it's not going to be for everybody. Keira Knightley's performance is almost worth the price of admission though as she gives a riveting performance that may well be the best she's ever done. Viggo Mortensen and Michael Fassbender also do a great job with their roles, but the pacing of the film is really slow and laid back and may lull some uninterested people to sleep, or to be frustrated that nothing really happens. If you are going to see A Dangerous Method, see it to be intellectually stimulated and to see the fantastic performances, especially by Keira Knightley.

The Constant Gardener
½

Fernando Meirelles has created a great suspense thriller here with The Constant Gardener. Based on John Le Carre's book of the same name, the film is riveting from start to finish and is carried by two fantastic performances from Ralph Fiennes and Rachel Weisz. The Constant Gardener is a gripping, suspenseful thriller that features beautiful the beautifully photographed landscapes of Kenya, and two great performances from the leads. A first-rate spy thriller.

La Vie en Rose (La Mome)

La Vie en Rose needs more than one viewing to understand what the filmmakers are trying to say. I loved the way Olivier Dahan took Edith Piaf's life, and took it for what it was. Her life is a very depressing and sad story with happiness and relevant parts scattered throughout. Basically, the life of famed french singer Edith Piaf is life is like a scattered puzzle. Random pieces are found when we are looking for something else. The movie really tries to show the way she lived her life in the way they put the film together. It jumps back and forth, sometimes without giving timelines, she's old in one scene, and young in the next. While I was watching the film, I got very confused, and near the end of it's almost 2.5 hour running time, I felt like the film was starting to drag. Maybe that's partly because I didn't understand the film for what it was.

The cinematography, the sets, the art direction, and costumes were all very impressive. The music was wonderful and made me feel like I was in Paris. Edith Piaf's voice is just marvellous and I think it can connect with anyone no matter who they are. But I think the main reason this film is a must see is for no other reason than Marion Cotillard. I only have one word for that performance as Edith Piaf: Jaw-dropping. She simply becomes Piaf. I mean there is no Marion Cotillard in there, it's all Piaf. That performance is probably one of the best of the last decade. So overall, La Vie en Rose is an artsy, sad and depressing biopic on France's famed singer Edith Piaf with a simply mesmerizing performance from Marion Cotillard.

Rabbit Hole
Rabbit Hole(2010)
½

Despite having a fantastic script and stunning performances from Nicole Kidman, Aaron Eckhart and the rest of the cast, Rabbit Hole is very painful and depressing to watch. It didn't hit me as hard as it might hit other people, but for me, Rabbit Hole was powerful and emotional, and just blew me away.

Fair Game
Fair Game(2010)

A fantastic political thriller type film that features great performances from Naomi Watts and Sean Penn, but it moves a little too slowly in parts, and gives no real depth to the characters. This film is brimming with anger, which is compelling, and the performances are brilliant which is what drives the film. Overall, Fair Game is an above average political thriller/biopic that deserved more attention.

Lovely, Still

With a beautiful story, great camera-work, interesting characters, and absolutely incredible acting from Martin Landau and Ellen Burstyn, "Lovely, Still" is a great romance film that is initially heartwarming, but ultimately turns bitter-sweet. The characters were not as compelling as they could have been, and I felt manipulated to cry, but "Lovely, Still" is lovely, still.

Conviction
Conviction(2010)

Conviction could have been a compelling, extremely moving, and heat-warming story, but the way Tony Goldwyn and the cast of Conviction tell it, it's not so gripping (boring even at parts) and compelling, but it tries to manipulate the audience to care, to cry, to cheer. But to tell the truth, it got about half-way. There is almost no history to these characters, and there are a lot of people to remember the names of, and we are supposed to hate, or love these people, but we don't know much about them, nor have we seen much of them either. The performances by Hilary Swank, Sam Rockwell, Melissa Leo, Minnie Driver, Juliette Lewis, Baliee Madison, and Tobias Campbell are what keep this film above water. See this film for the extraordinary performances, if for nothing else.

American Violet
½

It's a story that's been done many times, and it's a bit predictable, but American Violet is a gripping docudrama about the Texas justice system that features powerful and award-worthy performances from the whole cast but I expect nothing but greatness and stardom for Nicole Behairie. (Alfre Woodard is also amazing).

Goldfinger
Goldfinger(1964)
½

I'm not too fond of Sean Connery's James Bond. There is something missing. Goldfinger is not a great film, but it is good entertainment, and I guess I enjoyed it for that. The plot sometimes doesn't make sense, and it's predictable, but it's good entertainment.

Highlander
Highlander(1986)
½

Highlander is almost awesome in it's badness. From visible equipment, mismatched audio/visual, incredibly bad acting, cheesy and cringe-worthy dialogue, bad music, and some pretty awful special effects, Highlander had me torn: It has a really interesting and original concept that made me want to keep watching, but at the same time, it was so bad that I just wanted it to stop. I can't believe that they made this into a 5 movie series. Who would go see it?? Not me, that's for sure.

Bridesmaids
Bridesmaids(2011)

After a slow first half, Bridesmaids really gets going. This female-driven gross-out comedy is at times hilarious, and at other times awkward to watch because of the events on screen. Melissa McCarthy's performance is hilarious and real, the movie is chaotic and messy, and full of characters of all kinds, just like a real wedding. I had a lot of fun watching this movie, but Melissa McCarthy just took it to a whole other level. The second half definitely makes up for the slow, not as funny first half.

Contact
Contact(1997)
½

It's nice to see a science-fiction movie go into depth about things and not just have aliens blowing things up everywhere. Discussions about religion and the existence of god, relationships, space and other things really give great depth to the movie and it's characters. The concept here is great and original, and the execution surprisingly engaging and incredibly interesting and realistic. A great, but little known film from a great filmmaker with a great, cast that performs beautifully. Come in contact with Contact at least once.

The Adventures of Tintin

People are complaining about the looks of the characters in Tintin, saying they look rubbery and fake. If you have grown up reading the Hergé comics, then you would know that they are supposed to look that way. I think that Steven Spielberg and Peter Jackson did Tintin justice, although the action sequences may have been a little overdone. Motion capture has really come a long way. Everything looks really realistic, and the voice acting was incredible. The Adventures of Tintin is a thrilling, fun, old-fashioned movie that the whole family should find entertaining.

The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers

The continuation of the Lord of the Rings trilogy by Peter Jackson is one of epic, sweeping, intense, breathtaking and extraordinary quality. Loved every minute of it.

Braveheart
Braveheart(1995)
½

No doubt an epic film, Braveheart is unnecessarily violent and long and historically incorrect. Nevertheless, Mel Gibson is riveting as William Wallace, the medieval Scottish patriot, the action and drama and romance have a decent balance, and the cinematography is absolutely phenomenal.

Hugo
Hugo(2011)
½

Hugo is probably the best family movie to see this holiday season. It is so gorgeously shot, the sets are breathtaking and the special and 3D effects are superb. The film does get off to a bit of a slow start, and it may be a little too long for the younger audiences, but it's engaging and should please people from all age categories. See Hugo if you can.

Jump Ashin!
Jump Ashin!(2011)

Great subject matter, a fabulous script that's funny, touching, and heartfelt, and great acting from the whole cast make Jump Ashin! a rousing crowd-pleaser and an emotional roller-coaster ride that will have you crying, and then standing on your feel cheering! (This film contains some strong, graphic violence and some drug use. Kids under 13 should have parent supervision).

Transformers: Dark of the Moon
½

Transformers: Dark of the Moon is so long that I lost interest about half-way through. I still can't tell the difference between the good and evil robots and the ones that were supposed to be funny actually annoyed me. The script is cringe-worthy and lacking in depth, but the acting is marginally decent and the special effects are impressive. Dark of the Moon is an over- long, loud, flashy movie that gave me a headache and left me feeling nothing.

Puss in Boots
½

Directed at kids, Puss in Boots is witty, cute, and charming. The animation, cinematography and 3D effects were very well done, and the music by Henry Jackman and Rodrigo y Gabriela was very original. Overall, even if the plot wasn't anything special and had a few holes, the voice acting, animation, and music made it a fun ride.

Super 8
Super 8(2011)

It's plot is kind of familiar, but J.J. Abrams's Super 8 has awesome Special Effects, and incredible performances from the young cast (especially Elle Fanning) which make up for the plot in the end. Super 8 is a great movie for the family (although not for kids); its got lots of thrills, adventure, mystery, and unexpected emotional depth.

Defiance
Defiance(2009)
½

Despite a great and inspiring story, and wonderful actors and director, it's hard to think that Defiance wouldn't be great, but the reality is not quite so positive. The cinematography is extremely gorgeous: shot on location in Lithuania. The actors do a good job (except for Daniel Craig who can't seen to keep his accent), and James Newton Howard provides an intense, powerful score that should have won the Best Soundtrack Oscar, but the screenplay is cliched, and the film doesn't have any depth or emotional gravity to be powerful and involving.

Up
Up(2009)

Pixar never seems to fail to captivate audiences with relatable, humorous, and genuine characters, but they manage to once again with Up, an amazingly animated, voice-acted, and well-told adventure. It's exciting, hilarious, touching and heart-warming. The score by Michael Giacchino is one of the best, and is definitely deserving of the Oscar.

Beginners
Beginners(2011)

Ewan McGregor, Christopher Plummer, and Melanie Laurent give really fantastic performances in this unusual film (based on the director's own life) about a man who's father comes out as gay months before his death, and the things that come afterwards that bring back memories of his father. Beginners is a candid, funny, and sad but deep look at modern romance.

Hereafter
Hereafter(2010)
½

Hereafter presents the audience with a complicated, touchy, and thought-provoking premise and delivers pretty well. Clint Eastwood does a great job weaving the multiple story lines together, the film looks great, and there is exceptional acting skills by supporting cast. But the films effectiveness is diminished because of it's slow pace, it's slight predictability, and it's repetitiveness. Consensus: Hereafter has a thought-provoking premise and the film is too long, but has great acting and three great story lines that are told and woven together quite effectively.

Sarah's Key
Sarah's Key(2011)

A fictional story built around historical facts and events, Sarah's Key is an incredibly well-made film which draws us in and never lets go. Even after it's over, the images and emotions linger in my mind. I've been thinking about it for days. Beautiful cinematography, amazing acting from the young actors, and a powerful emotional punch make Sarah's Key unmissable. Read the book first, but do not dare miss this film.

J. Edgar
J. Edgar(2011)

You should know about J. Edgar and what he did before you see this movie. I believe it would help you make some sense of the events that are described. But that doesn't mean you can't enjoy this movie if you don't know who J. Edgar was before seeing the film either.
The jumping back and forth in time is sometimes useful in films, but a caption telling dates may have been useful here as I was confused as to what happened when, and who was who under all the sometimes over exaggerated aging makeup. This film doesn't go into any depth about the background on J. Edgar, or into any details about who he was outside work and why he made the decisions he did. The movie serves as a checklist of events to be touched upon from his life.
Leonardo DiCaprio gives a predictable powerful, possibly oscar calibre performance and Naomi Watts gives a gentle, subtle performance as well, but Armie Hammer as Clyde Tolson definitely deserves an oscar for such a scene-stealing, captivating performance.
Overall, J.Edgar is a bit slow, long and confusing but is worth seeing for the performances.

Note: The Rottentomatoes consensus states that there is poor lighting and cheesy makeup. The lighting is very shadowy, and moody, but I believe it was used to reflect the time period when electric light was not widely used, and to reflect J. Edgar himself as a person leading a moody, shadowy life.

Life in a Day

Life in a Day is a remarkable achievement by Director Kevin Macdonald and Producer Ridley Scott. Taking 4500 hours of video from 192 countries and making it into a film 1 hour and 30 mins long that touches on all topics, races of people, and parts of the world is no easy feat but Life in a Day only skimmed the surface of what could have been a moving portrait of life on earth. The footage scattered and stories minimal, it was hard to find a connection to the people and find a common story line. It lost my interest in parts, moved me, shocked me and made me smile in others. Life in a Day could have been more coherent, more involving, but it's beautifully captured and beautiful to see.

Wanted
Wanted(2008)
½

Plenty of incredible action sequences, a smart script and some substantial plot twists make Wanted the a better-than-average summer blockbuster.

V for Vendetta
½

Awesome visuals effects, great performances from Natalie Portman and Hugo Weaving, a thought-provoking story, and a roiling score by Dario Marianelli make V for Vendetta one hell of a ride but the political proclamations may irk some viewers.

The Great Debaters

When it comes to the racial issues touched upon in this film, we only skim the surface, but when it comes to the art of debating, this film is more than a regular formula drama of similar subject matter. It's engrossing, well-written, inspiring, and powerfully acted all round. I would expect nothing less than stardom for Nate Parker and Jurnee Smollett very soon.

The Dark Knight
½

A combination of incredible acting from the whole cast, especially Heath Ledger as the Joker, a powerful score by Hans Zimmer and James Newton Howard, amazing direction and writing from Christopher Nolan, and a fantastic story make The Dark Knight a wild, dark, complex, jaw-dropping, and unforgettable film.

Resident Evil
½

Resident Evil has an intriguing premise, but ultimately fails in almost every way. The acting is horrible, it's not scary, the CGI is crap and really unrealistic, it's loud, cheesy, and predictable. Milla Jovovich fighting zombies in a mini-skirt was the only entertaining thing, and maybe some nice cinematography as well.

The Motorcycle Diaries

The Motorcycle Diaries is a wonderful, heartfelt film about two Argentinians who decide to bike across South America from Buenos Aires, to Valpariso, and on to Machu Picchu and Caracas in Venezuela. Gael Garcia Bernal and Rodrigo de la Serna star in this beautifully photographed, profound film, but the film doesn't go into any details about Ernesto "Che" Guevara's life as the Cuban Revolutionary, and the story gets pretty scattered and it's sometimes hard to know where they are in the trip or how they got to where they are.

Inception
Inception(2010)

With Inception, Christoper Nolan has confirmed his status as one of the greatest directors and writers in recent years. Inception is mind-blowing, innovative and thought-provoking stuff, and will leave you in a trance long after it's over. It's almost as if Nolan as performed inception on his audience.

Inglourious Basterds
½

Violent, humorous, and stylish, Inglorious Basterds is a classic entertainer that features a unhinged performance by Christoph Waltz and Melanie Laurent.

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is a hilarious, thrilling adventure through space. Although people unfamiliar with the source material (such as I) will be confused at a lot of things and events, the film's objective isn't to be faithful to the book or to make complete sense, it's purpose is to entertain and amuse. It successfully does both.

The Aviator
The Aviator(2004)

As much as I like Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio, The Aviator left me feeling oddly left out of the life of Howerd Hughes, but definitely in on how many women he went out with, most notably Katherine Hepburn. Despite the loose ends, and the distant feel, Cate Blancett steals the screen as Katherine Hepburn, and Ian Holm is great as well, but I feel Leonardo DiCaprio always acts the same in all the movies. The Aviator has a great story, but failed to get me connected to the man it's all about.

Gandhi
Gandhi(1982)

Watching Ben Kingsley play Indian politicial and spiritual leader Mahatma Gandhi is a truely breathtaking and remarkable experience to say the least, but Richard Attenborough's film drags in the first half, and then finds it's voice. Looking at the film as a whole is a must, and once you've done that, it becomes clear that Richard Attenborough's Gandhi is a humbling but exhilirating, lengthy biopic.

The Devil Wears Prada
½

Having read the source novel not too long ago, I was disappointed with some of the changes, but I have to say they were not bad changes. The Devil Wears Prada is a hilarious comedy with an always fantastic Meryl Streep (deserving of that Oscar nom.) and Anne Hathaway delivering a great performance. The story isn't much, but the characters are genuine and relatable. At the end of the day, The Devil Wears Prada is witty and good evening comedy.

Some Like It Hot

A genius comedy that features a great script, and brilliant acting by Marilyn Monroe, Tony Curtis and Jack Lemmon, Some Like It Hot will have you boiling over with laughter.

Gran Torino
Gran Torino(2009)

Eventhough it may be a little predictable and some of the supporting actors could use some acting lessons, Gran Torino is a funny, touching story with a great performance from Clint Eastwood.

The Lion King

A richly drawn, beautifully animated story that features breathtaking scenes and songs, a great script with a great ensemble of characters (of which Rafiki is my favourite) that will make The Lion King a fun and emotional journey for kids and adults alike. (The 3D was unnecessary though).

Ben-Hur
Ben-Hur(1959)
½

Epic in scope, and a spectacle to behold, Ben-Hur is a defining classic of modern cinema with lavish sets and production design. It's uneven, the music (although excellent) was too overpowering, and the acting all the same (except for Hugh Griffith who was by far the best), but Ben-Hur still manages to thrill, awe, and entertain.

The Blind Side

Finding the right balance between sports, comedy and family drama, The Blind Side is one heart-warming, inspirational film with a great performance from Sandra Bullock. She is definitely deserving of that Oscar.

Children of Men

Alfonso Cuaron is a great director and with Children of Men which takes place in the year 2027, where society is without hope since humankind can no longer procreate, he brings the desolate world to stark reality. It blew me away from the very beginning. It's beautiful cinematography juxtaposes all the violence in the world, and the script brings it closer to home, but I had to watch it twice to fully understand the reasons for the major events in the story, and there were some story lines that met dead-ends that I would have liked to have seen completed. It's definitely a powerful, beautifully shot film.

Seven (Se7en)
½

David Fincher has another fine film on his list here with Seven (Se7en). It's a brutal, grim story with a message and features genuine characters which are brilliantly acted by Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman. The fantastic, gripping finale shocks, and haunts me still, but it's a fitting ending for a great movie.

Yes Man
Yes Man(2008)

"Yes Man" is well-acted by Jim Carrey and Zooey Deschanel (who make a great on-screen ensemble), and it has a sweet, touching story at it's heart but it's humour is just too silly to be genuinely funny. So, don't say yes to "Yes Man" just because you have to, do it because you really want to.

Fight Club
Fight Club(1999)

An interesting plot, great acting, amazing directing, and a major twist at the end make the Fight Club a worthy, fun, adrenaline-pumping ride.

The Island
The Island(2005)
½

Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson try their best to get us to care for their characters, but it all gets lost amidst the bombastic, loud although fantastic action sequences, and the plot has some major holes. Overall, The Island is visually fantastic, and the action sequences are jaw-dropping, but the characters are boring and bland.

The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The third in the series, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader's leisurely pace will help kids enjoy it; it's fantastic performances, story, and visual effects will help the adults enjoy it. Overall, Dawn Treader is visually spectacular, exciting and moving, even if it's a little slow.

Salt
Salt(2010)
½

"Salt" adds a little salt but not much pepper to the regular summer action blockbusters. It's an action-packed, high-voltage thriller that has great action sequences and a good title performance from Jolie, but ultimately gets stuck in the grinder with it's ludicrous and somewhat predictable plot. I'd still be interested in the sequel though.

When Harry Met Sally
½

When Harry Met Sally, they didn't really like each other, but as the years went by, they kept bumping into each other. Soon enough, they start hanging out together and then something starts to happen. Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan have great chemistry, and give great but hilarious performances. When Harry Met Sally is a touching, funny, and well acted romance film.

Rise of the Planet of the Apes

Rupert Wyatt's Rise of the Planet of the Apes features fantastic special effects and a moving and mesmerizing performance by Andy Serkis making this a worthy movie to see. On a side note: Tom Felton's acting is pretty much the same as it was in Harry Potter. This role made me doubt his abilities of versatile acting, but we shall have to wait and see.

Jurassic Park
½

Steven Spielberg never fails to do the impossible, which at the time, most of the visual effects would have been. Jurassic Park is a spectacle of these effects which makes the creatures even scarier. The sustained sequences of tension and terror make this an edge of your seat ride from beginning to end.

The Matrix
The Matrix(1999)

Keanu Reeves may not be the greatest of actors but he doesn't need to do much here other that do Kung-fu and wield a gun (or lots of them). The Matrix is an ingenious film that has a combination of ground-breaking visual effects and an imaginative premise, which really makes this an interesting, thought-provoking film.

Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire
½

The subject matter may be a downer, but this ultimately hopeful and inspirational story is a realistic, powerful film with incredible performances from the whole cast, but Mo'Nique just blew me away.

Vicky Cristina Barcelona

This is a beautiful tragicomedy, that shows off one of Spain's most beautiful cities, and also features bravura performances from the whole cast, but it really belongs to Bardem and Cruz.

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Flickan som lekte med elden)

The second instalment in the Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series isn't as tense or gripping as the first, but it still has the great performances, the atmosphere, the awesome score and the violence of the first.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo
½

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a gripping, tense, violent but extremely well made piece of work with powerhouse performances from Noomi Repace and Michael Nyqvist. It's length and violence may be too much for some viewers.

King Kong
King Kong(2005)
½

King Kong showcases some of the most visually spectacular CGI I've seen, and has some great performances, but it's sporadic action segments, daydreaming calmer sections and sprawling length make it hard to follow and a bit of a bore.

Nothing But the Truth

Nothing but the Truth is a well-crafted, gripping and tense thriller that features fantastic performances from Kate Beckinsale, Matt Dillon, Vera Farmiga and Alan Alda.

Crazy, Stupid, Love.

"Crazy, Stupid, Love" is a comedy that's (after a slow start) funny, touching, sweet and terrifically acted by the entire cast. There's even a small "twist" at the end to keep it exciting and to help it stand out from usual Hollywood comedies.

The Hours
The Hours(2002)
½

The two hours it took to watch this astounding film, I was completely enraptured by the three stories in three different times which were seemingly unconnected but became beautifully interwoven near the end of the film, and by the powerful and impressive acting on display by the three leads Nicole Kidman, Julianne Moore and Meryl Streep. Don't miss this film. The Hours will not be wasted.

Winter's Bone

Debra Granik has made one great piece of work here. Winter's Bone is so genuine I almost forgot it was a movie. It's haunting, chilling, suspenseful and hopeful but what made this a true pleasure to watch were the performances by Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes and Dale Dickey.

Agora
Agora(2010)

Neither Rachel Weisz's gripping performance, the impressive sets, the beautiful cinematography, nor the interesting subject matter can entirely save Agora. It is tainted by a poor script, slow pacing and mediocre acting from supporting roles.

The American
The American(2010)
½

The American is a rare film of slow suspenseful buildup not blaring, dumb action. The cinematography of Martin Ruhe is so stunningly beautiful that the landscapes take on it's own character that reflects the mood of the whole plot and of the characters themselves. George Clooney is unusually subdued in his role here but the performance is still powerful and real, and Violante Placido and Paolo Bonacelli give excellent performances as well. Breathtaking cinematography, impressive performances and a subtle but powerful score by Herbert Grönemeyer make this an emotionally restrained suspense art film that is worth your while.

The Abyss
The Abyss(1989)

James Cameron never fails to criticize humanity in his work, but the message here is plain and simple so that everyone can understand. Seriously cool and gorgeous special effects, amazing acting and a suspenseful story make this one claustrophobic, nail-biting thriller with interesting characters.

Ratatouille
Ratatouille(2007)
½

Ratatouille is a superbly animated feel-good, inspiring, fast-paced, funny movie with great voice acting that the kids will love.

Mean Girls
Mean Girls(2004)

Mean Girls is not your average comedy. It's better than an average teenaged comedy. It's script (although it can be cheesy at times) and story make it funnier than expected. Rachel McAdams, Lindsay Lohan and Amanda Seyfried turn in surprisingly good performances as well. They're mean girls.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2

Not growing up reading the books or watching the movies, I have deprived myself of something that was, is and forever will be part of our generations culture. Now that I have read them and seen all the movies, I have become extremely involved with the characters more so than in any other book or movie for that matter, and have come to love everything to do with Harry Potter and his friends.

Now 10 years and 8 movies later, the biggest franchise in movie history is coming to a close. It was such a thrilling, emotional, and magical experience, it left me and many in the theatre in tears. Harry Potter and all other characters will remain in our hearts forever.

Alan Rickman, Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Ralph Fiennes and of course Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson gave stunning performances, but I have to give special mention to Alan Rickman for such a moving and heart-wrenching performance which stole the show and left me with tears running down my face (as did most of the film). Deserving of an Oscar if you ask me....

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 2 is definitely the best movie in the series, quite possibly even the best this year! I certainly hope the film garners itself a couple of Oscar nominations at least, especially in the visual effects and the acting categories. Maybe even a Best Picture nod? We can be hopeful....

A seriously complex story handled deftly and magnificently, visual effects and 3D effects to rank at the top with the best of them, and a roll call of monumental actors all giving phenomenal and powerful performances, an excellent balance between action and drama or quieter moments. This is what makes this the best movie in the Harry Potter series. This is what we have all been waiting for. This is one stunning, heat-stopping, phenomenal movie. This is the perfect ending to such a prolific set of phenomenal films.

The Last King of Scotland

Ugandan dictator Idi Amin was portrayed as a funny, charismatic and tender guy, but he never let us forget that he was a maniacal monster. This is a brutal political thriller about power and corruption. The film shows the lengths at one will go for power and money and the persuasion of the population to believe in something that does not exist. The Last King of Scotland is brilliantly acted by Forest Whitaker and James McAvoy and is almost worth seeing for the performances alone.

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince

Half-Blood Prince is a much more dark, thrilling and mature film than the rest of the Potter films, as are the characters which are played well by Daniel Radcliffe, Rupert Grint and Emma Watson. Humour also finds it's way into the film giving it the much needed comic relief. Visually stunning, and in the end emotionally satisfying as well, Half-Blood Prince is by far, the best Potter film yet.

The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring

J.R.R. Tolkien has created this fantastic world, and Peter Jackson takes it to another level entirely. Fellowship of the Ring is thrilling and visually stunning. The sets and costumes look beautiful and the computer generated effects are absolutely superb. The acting is also superb, especially that of Ian McKellan as Gandalf. This marks the beginning of the greatest trilogy of all time.

GasLand
GasLand(2010)
½

Scary and shocking, Gasland opened my eyes to the practise of Hydrolic Fracturing or "Fracking" and it's effects on the groundwater and on the people who are affected. The statistics and the footage of interviews and conferences, are just so upsetting to see. How can people be treated this way?? Gasland is a documentary you do not want to miss.

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix

Order of the Phoenix is the longest book (not including Deathly Hallows) and is the shortest movie, but that does not stop from making this the most visually spectacular and dark Harry Potter yet. Imelda Staunton and Helena Bonham Carter deserve special mention for their performances as Dolores Umbridge and Bellatrix Lestrange respectively. The only problems in this one are that there is virtually no character development, and the events happen so disjunctly that it doesn't flow properly or have the emotional effect that it should.

The First Grader

From the director of The Other Boleyn Girl comes a completely different story; one about perseverance and fighting for what is right. After just studying the Mau Mau of Kenya and their struggles against the British in the 1960's for a school project, it's devastating to see it on the big screen. The flashbacks are vivid, violent and disturbing, but the rest of the story is extremely heart-warming and inspiring. Oliver Litondo and Naomie Harris are absolutely superb in their roles. Harris is so different here from her role in Pirates of the Caribbean as Tia Dalma. I would highly recommend this film because it conveys some very important messages, it is beautiful, extremely up-lifting and well-done.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire
½

The actors are finally maturing, the story gets more complicated and the filmmakers are getting astoundingly good at their magic in the editing room. The fourth instalment in the Harry Potter franchise, Goblet of Fire is definitely the most tense and dark so far, but it also has great emotional depth and fantastic performances from it's whole cast, especially from Miranda Richardson and Ralph Fiennes, adding up to make this the most complex, but the best Harry Potter film so far.

Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides
½

This latest instalment of the Pirates series does better on the high seas than the previous one, but does not recapture the magic of the first one. The characters are somewhat flat, there is no depth and the plot is very fragmented and also somewhat irrelevant. There is clearly going to be a fifth movie, but I think the series is losing fans and becoming more dull and pointless. Note: Stay to the end as there is a little clip after the credits (as there always is in the Pirates movies).

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban undergoes a lot of changes from it's predecessor: Firstly, the characters are maturing, there is a new actor playing Dumbledore and there is a new director Alfonso Cuaron. In the third movie, we get much more background on Harry and his parents which ads a lot of emotional depth, but we are also still treated to the filmmakers skill with computer generated images as they continue to develop and practice their magic just as the pupils of Hogwarts. Consensus: The third Potter movie has much more emotional depth than the last two and also delves swiftly, deeper into the story and comes out relatively unscathed.

Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

The second movie in the Harry Potter saga is much darker than the first one but also more thrilling. Keneth Branagh and Toby Jones as Dobby turn in fantastic performances, which ultimately bring the comic relief to the story as it becomes darker and more serious.

Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone

The first movie in the series stays true to the book, which will please the fans, but it leaves little room for surprise. The actors acting skills are not totally believable, but Richard Harris as Professor Dumbledore steals the show. There is plenty of humour, thrills, magic here to satisfy kids and adults, fans and newcomers, and leaves you eagerly awaiting year two at Hogwarts.

Gladiator
Gladiator(2000)
½

Gladiator is visually beautiful and thoroughly engaging. The story is incredibly indepth, and the emotion is really heart-felt, helped by stellar performances from the whole cast, and a fantastic score by Hans Zimmer and haunting vocals by Lisa Gerrard.

Hanna
Hanna(2011)
½

An artsy, fast-paced, unique and suspenseful coming-of-age thriller that has fantastic acting and stunningly beautiful cinematography as well as well-choreographed action sequences. Truly a breath of freah, clean air.

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1
½

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 is a beautifully filmed, well acted and exciting prelude to the grand finale of the Harry Potter series. It's not like the other HP movies; it's more mature, the characters have moved away from Hogwarts now, out into the real world, and it's filled with details leading up the the penultimate film in the series. This is one of the better films in the series.

Love and Other Drugs

Jake Gyllenhaal and Anne Hathaway are absolutely amazing in this refreshing adult comedy. It was intriguing, pulled me in and got me attached to the characters. Overall, very well done, with superb acting. A pleasure to watch.

The Tourist
The Tourist(2010)

Though Angelina Jolie and Johnny Depp look stunningly beautiful, as does Venice, The Tourist's slow, confusing, distant plot is frustrating and there is no chemistry between the leads.

Eat Pray Love

Beautifully shot in Italy, India and Bali, Eat Pray Love's run time is a little long, but it's very inspirational and resonant as I was able to connect to the main character. I really enjoyed the supporting people in the film, especially the Balinese Medicine man and the old italian woman. For some people though, Eat Pray Love will be boring.

Unstoppable
Unstoppable(2010)

It will keep you on the edge of your seat, it's fast-paced, heart-pounding and entertaining. Denzel Washington, Chris Pine and Rosario Dawson are really great. Unstoppable is unstoppable.

Tron Legacy
Tron Legacy(2010)

Tron Legacy's script and story are quite terrible, and I found myself bored for most of the movie except for parts of the beginning, and the end, but the visual effects, production design and score made seeing this movie worthwhile.

Red
Red(2010)
½

R.E.D. is not your typical action movie. It's stylish, funny and has an awesome cast that execute their parts dangerously well. Some of the humour is lost on younger audiences. Overall, R.E.D. is hot stuff.

Angels & Demons

This prequel to the ealier film The Da Vinci Code, Angels and Demons is a fast-paced code cracking thriller that looks incredidbly beautiful, boasts some impressive visual effects, an fantastic score by Hans Zimmer, and a touching and perfect performance by Armin Mueller-Stahl as Cardinal Strauss who should have gotten an award.

The Stoning of Soraya M.
½

The Stoning of Soraya M. is a film that every one should see. It is an extremely powerful, shocking, heart-wrenching and unforgettable film that looks into rural Iranian life, and the horrifying fate a woman might be forced into. Shohreh Aghdashloo, Mozhan Marno and the rest of the cast deliver superb performances that should have gotten award attention. NOTE: This film contains a long and very graphic, disturbing stoning sequence.

Nine
Nine(2009)

It's visually stunning, and has beautiful costumes and art direction, but ultimately Nine is a disjunct, hard to follow and distant film. The cast handle's the sining and dancing very well and there are some great performances though.

The Kids Are All Right
½

The Kids Are All Right is a realistic, honest, sad, funny, humane and sexy film with a fantastic script and amazing acting by Annette Bening, Julianne Moore and Mark Ruffalo.

Tangled
Tangled(2010)

A new take on the Rapunzel fairytale, this film has stunning visuals and great voice acing making it an entertaining and fun entry into the Disney collection.

A Single Man
A Single Man(2009)

This debut film from fashion designer Tom Ford is one of heart-stopping beauty, visual dazzle and emotional resonance featuring beautiful costumes, stunning art direction, a breathtaking score and a masterful, oscar-worth performance by Colin Firth.

Invictus
Invictus(2009)

It's not one of Eastwood's best, but it's a rousing, moving and inspirational drama with a spectacular performance by Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandela.

Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work

Joan Rivers: A Piece of Work is a very honest depiction of her life and career and of show business that really opens your eyes and shows you who Joan Rivers really is. It's a funny, sad and inspiring documentary that's a must see for anyone who wants to be in the entertainment industry.

The Tracker
The Tracker(2003)

Tracker is a haunting, and engrossing film that showcases the beautiful talent of David Gulpilil in the title role, and uses music to help tell the story, but it may prove to be overused by some.

Rabbit-Proof Fence

Rabbit-Proof Fence is visually stunning, well-acted film telling of the racism by the British against the Aboriginal peoples of Australia in the 1930's. It's an emotional, heart-breaking jouney enhanced by a haunting and beautiful score by Peter Gabriel.

Black Swan
Black Swan(2010)

Black Swan is an intense, passionate and thrilling ride which features a stunning performance by Natalie Portman and the incredible music of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake. Black Swan is a film of immense and surreal beauty.

True Grit
True Grit(2010)

This film is fantastic. Jeff Bridges and Hailee Steinfeld give masterful performances, eventhough Bridges may be a hard to understand in parts. True Grit is visually stunning, well-written, and is well worth your time.

The Fighter
The Fighter(2010)
½

This is an outstanding film that features outstanding performances from Melissa Leo, Christian Bale and Amy Adams. It's a little predictable but it's a solid, on-your-feet, emotionally arresting, entertaining boxing drama.

Rango
Rango(2011)

Rango boasts some of the most beautiful and detailed animation I've seen. Johnny Depp steps seamlessly into the title character and is as charming as ever. The humour falls a little flat in this film and some of the references from Spaghetti Westerns are lost to the younger crowd, but Rango is smart, creative entertainment with an environmental message.

The Queen
The Queen(2006)
½

Stephen Frears' The Queen is a masterpiece. Helen Mirren gives an astounding, pin-point perfect performance as The Queen. With it's impeccable script, it's a moving, humorous, compassionate and human film.

My Sister's Keeper

Much like the book of the same title, My Sister's Keeper is an instant audience grabber which gets beautiful and powerful performances from everyone in the cast. It's a tissue-filled, heart-wrenching, and powerful film.

2012
2012(2009)
½

A little long and somewhat farfetched. The visuals are really great and it's engaging.

The King's Speech

Very inspirational and moving. Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, and Geoffrey Rush are absolutely amazing!

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King

Definitely deserved the 11 Oscars it got. The best one of the trilogy!!

127 Hours
127 Hours(2010)

Not easy to watch. There is some very graphic violence, but overall James Franco does a masterful job, and the film is very inspiring.