instantwatcher.com

Bruce Newman, San Jose Mercury News

  1. A Mighty Heart 2007 Shooting in what often appears to be available light, and with a handheld camera that he has tamed sufficiently to prevent motion sickness, Winterbottom keeps the picture moving along like a thriller. full review
  2. Mr. Bean's Holiday 2007 The Wikipedia page on gurning lists Atkinson right behind Jim Carrey as one of the world's leading practitioners of grotesque face-making. And this is his ghastly masterpiece. full review
  3. Nanking 2007 Anyone who sees Nanking should know going in what a brutal story it is, but no one should miss it because of a restrictive rating. full review
  4. Year of the Dog 2007 There's a lot of truth and beauty in Year of the Dog, and most of it radiates from the performance of Molly Shannon. full review
  5. Brokeback Mountain 2005 If the cowboy movies of John Wayne and John Ford were about the opening of the American West, Brokeback Mountain is the somber slam of its closing.
  6. The Constant Gardener 2005 The director's fluttering hand keeps the ground constantly shifting beneath our feet, which is just what this beautifully wrenching adaptation for the screen requires.
  7. Rent 2005 The scourge of rock-opera, a musical mutation that manages to combine the least savory elements of both with the advantages of neither. full review
  8. Hotel Rwanda 2004 If [Schindler's List] had never been made, Hotel Rwanda might seem better than it does, and probably better than it is.
  9. Secuestro Express 2004 So relentlessly violent and grim that it makes you yearn for a purifying shower.
  10. White Chicks 2004 Much of what passes for humor in White Chicks derives from such charming plot devices as the lactose intolerance of one of the brothers.
  11. The Battle of Shaker Heights 2003 An inoffensive, if somewhat bedraggled, little movie.
  12. Cold Mountain 2003 It is a promontory of undeniable beauty and occasional power, but Cold Mountain remains so dark and distant on the screen -- shivering in a wintry gloom -- that it hardly casts an emotional shadow.
  13. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 2003 Pirates of the Caribbean is a movie that you ride around in circles for 2 hours and 23 minutes, until at last it brings you back where you began, exhausted and a lot dizzier.
  14. Punch-Drunk Love 2002 Manages to be both heartbreaking and happy, while managing to look like nothing you've ever seen before. full review
  15. The Sweetest Thing 2002 A bunch of intermittently amusing sketches that collectively don't add up to much of a picture. full review
  16. Baran 2001 Majidi is an unconventional storyteller, capable of finding beauty in the most depressing places. full review
  17. Love the Hard Way 2001 [The story] is often overly simplistic when it is trying hardest for emotional complexity. full review
  18. Waking Life 2001 Like My Dinner with Andre and other appallingly smart movies, this one reminded me that I need to read more books and watch less television.
  19. The Emperor's New Groove 2000 Feels like some lame, focus-grouped attempt by a bunch of people who have grown hopelessly middle-aged to make themselves hip with the kids.
  20. Godzilla, King of the Monsters! 1956
  21. Gojira 1954 Political charge elevates Godzilla far above its reputation for cheesiness, but not so far that it should be mistaken for political satire.
  22. /titles/197186 As fondly remembered as [The Bill Chill and The Decline of the American Empire] are, Arcand's Barbarian Invasions surpasses them both. full review
  23. /titles/197505 Brother's Shadow is an admirable first film. full review
  24. /titles/197180 Freaky Friday triumphs by successfully striking comic notes when it could be making loud screeching noises. full review
  25. /titles/197497 Mac and Kutcher have proved themselves better comics than actors, but both give charming, subtle performances here. full review
  26. /titles/197826 ... to have seen either the original movie, or Lane and Broderick on Broadway (I saw both) is to be reminded what a lamentable knockoff this is. full review
  27. /titles/197207 Shooter won't win any Oscars, but it has blood and brains, and even some heart. They're splattered all over the screen. full review