Bruce Westbrook, Houston Chronicle

  1. Crazy Love 2007 ... though Crazy Love remains a far cry from heartening, it is more amusing than disturbing, especially given the cranky yet symbiotic couple of today. full review
  2. Zodiac 2007 The most perverse thing about Zodiac isn't that its Hollywood's umpteenth serial-killer flick, when such crimes are rare in reality. It's that Zodiac, though based on actual crimes, is one of the dullest of these films to date. full review
  3. Charlotte's Web 2006 Charlotte's Web adapts a classic, which is not to say it is one. full review
  4. Deep Water 2006 For this gripping and amazing documentary, such truth emerges not just from the facts, but also the poetry of men who redefine themselves in a risky race on small sailboats. full review
  5. Golden Door 2006 Its minutiae don't bring a lump in the throat -- just a drumming of the fingers. full review
  6. Harsh Times 2006 It's an ugly, brutal picture, and it's not about 'times' but rather timeless macho posturing run amok. full review
  7. Jesus Camp 2006 Perhaps indoctrination is in the eye of the beholder. But one thing is certain: All Christians aren't the same. I'm one, and I found this film to be saddening, not heartening. full review
  8. Scoop 2006 Scoop, an amiable romp of lighthearted fun. full review
  9. This Is England 2006 A drama that's so potent and persuasive yet also natural and intimate that it almost has the heft of a documentary. full review
  10. Unknown 2006 It's a good gimmick, but still a gimmick, and we're left with more confusion than tension. full review
  11. Capote 2005 It's a fully realized look at a time and place as well as a riveting study of career obsessions warring with a sense of justice. full review
  12. The Ice Harvest 2005 The Ice Harvest is like Sin City without the bold style and crooked smile, disgorging grisly bloodbaths without drawing artful things out of them. full review
  13. Neil Young: Heart of Gold 2005 Some defiant rockers are forever young. This one is in name only. full review
  14. After Innocence 2004 After Innocence is a crusading documentary driven by DNA testing that's brought freedom for men who served years in prison for crimes they didn't commit. full review
  15. Dust to Glory 2004 As dull as dust for much of its look at the Baja 1000. full review
  16. Little Black Book 2004 Starts as the playful romantic comedy, then veers into an ensemble piece about ruthless careerism before settling for melodramatic self-obsession. full review
  17. Mean Girls 2004 With colorful characters and snappy performances, Mean Girls is a rare laugh-out-loud film. full review
  18. Brother Bear 2003 A lame duck of a movie. full review
  19. Holes 2003 At the least, it's original. full review
  20. Saved! 2003 Blessed by a potent cast, Saved! lets its teens be teens -- pimples, if not warts, and all. full review
  21. Scary Movie 3 2003 Despite one of the year's best trailers, this horror-film spoof is as laugh-challenged as the woeful first sequel. full review
  22. Timeline 2003 Where are the Knights Who Say 'Ni!' when we need them? full review
  23. Uptown Girls 2003 Though Murphy is radiant, and her laughs are infectious, her free-spiritedness is thrust in our face like a pointy object in a 3-D movie. full review
  24. Pumpkin 2002 [T]hose same extremes prevent us from taking its message seriously, and the Stepford Wives mentality doesn't work in a modern context. full review
  25. The Sum of All Fears 2002 Toward the end Sum of All Fears morphs into a mundane '70s disaster flick. full review
  26. Tadpole 2002 Tadpole is emblematic of the witless ageism afflicting films: Young is cool, and too young is too cool. full review
  27. XXX 2002 For all its alleged youthful fire, XXX is no less subservient to Bond's tired formula of guns, girls and gadgets while brandishing a new action hero. full review
  28. The Animal 2001 A silly, stupid story with a one-joke comic premise. full review
  29. Atlantis - The Lost Empire 2001 Its visuals are executed skillfully, it takes time to develop characters, and its voice cast has personality. But in today's context of broadened animation appeals, Atlantis seems as stale as uncirculated submarine air. full review
  30. Get Over It 2001 A breath of fresh air. full review
  31. Not Another Teen Movie 2001 A breath of fresh, frisky air, even if it does hinge on cliches. full review
  32. Riding in Cars with Boys 2001 Too much of its reality involves joyless response to circumstantial failure, and instead of being ironic or bittersweet, it's mostly bitter. full review
  33. The Wash 2001 Shows not how far we've come since '76, but how low comic standards have sunk. full review
  34. Center Stage 2000 In terms of story and characters, this film pirouettes into the orchestra pit. full review
  35. Scream 3 2000 You're bound to scream -- perhaps real loud -- but it may be out of impatient dismay as much as Pavlovian reaction. full review
  36. Urban Legends: Final Cut 2000 What ensues is painfully horrific and reprehensible as entertainment. full review
  37. The Blair Witch Project 1999 If you can handle its unconventional approach, you won't feel as if you're seeing a film so much as witnessing a living nightmare. full review
  38. Superstar 1999 Another SNL misfire. full review
  39. Jack Frost 1998 Its sentiment is rote, its truths are culled from a trip down the aisles of a greeting-card shop. full review
  40. Scream 1996 Whatever you do, don't close your mind to such an inventive concoction. One last time, despite all your better instincts, go ahead -- open that theater door.

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