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Desson Thomson, Washington Post

  1. Flawless 2007 Flawless makes an entertainingly nostalgic journey to old Britain -- that black-and-white world we remember from long-ago Alfred Hitchcock and David Lean movies. full review
  2. The Hunting Party 2007 A forgettable contribution to all those movies about tormented, gonzo newsmen, stranded in some hellish outpost (in this case, Bosnia), who drink to drown those terrible memories but are committed to news, news, news. full review
  3. The Rape of Europa 2007 Europa starts to lose its tight focus and becomes a cinematic cataloguing of events across seven countries. Given the moral imperative at the heart of the movie, however, perhaps more is more. full review
  4. Cashback 2006 Cashback springs from that childhood fantasy of being able to stop time and wander freely among the temporarily frozen. If only writer-director Sean Ellis had done more than use the conceit for a functional romance. full review
  5. Deep Water 2006 As directed by Louise Osmond and Jerry Rothwell, the movie breezes along at a highly watchable clip, thanks to fluid, affecting intercutting of archival, black-and-white footage and present-day interviews. full review
  6. The Treatment 2006 ...our emotional involvement remains superficial, and we never get that sense of uplift that Allen's better romantic city tales have given us. full review
  7. Free Zone 2005 The message is made clear within the first 10 minutes, leaving us with about 80 minutes of thematic repetition. full review
  8. The Ice Harvest 2005 This often macabre comedy ... allows us to doff such civilized traits as taste and decency. full review
  9. Serenity 2005 Half a millennium after Neil Armstrong's one small step for mankind and we're back in the saddle again. full review
  10. Stoned 2005 A flat riff on Jones's short life. You'll get the highlights but no sense of what made him special -- or what really haunted him. full review
  11. Dust to Glory 2004 After a while, the digital photography wears out its gritty welcome, and the footage of endless rough roading becomes repetitive. full review
  12. The Forgotten 2004 Slightly predictable and dumb when all is said and done. full review
  13. Hotel Rwanda 2004 [The movie] sweeps over you with blunt, unequivocal conviction. full review
  14. Jersey Girl 2004 This kind of weepy material works in the hands of melodrama masters like Douglas Sirk or Pedro Almodovar. But here, it's over-the-top and it's just horrible.
  15. The Manchurian Candidate 2004 A stylish hoot: entertainingly edgy and ludicrous all at once. full review
  16. Me and You and Everyone We Know 2004 Hums with compassion for its outlandish, lonely but always sweet characters. full review
  17. Oldboy 2004 Tantalizes and tortures you as it lures you into its mysterious vortex. full review
  18. White Chicks 2004 Banshee-howlingly awful. full review
  19. Bad Santa 2003 Thornton, with his one-of-a-kind drawl, his lazy gaze, restless shaggy eyebrows and misanthropic attitude, seems to be the movie's essential X-factor. full review
  20. The Battle of Shaker Heights 2003 It's simply an indie-film aping of Hollywood teen-mongering at its ultimate worst.
  21. Brother Bear 2003 It's not that the movie is bad. It's just innocuous. full review
  22. Camp 2003 Occasional clumsiness is easily coated over by the movie's overarching goodwill. full review
  23. Cold Mountain 2003 It's enough of a spectacle to enjoy. It's too bad the stars are little more than serviceable and give the movie title an irony it could certainly do without. full review
  24. Control Room 2003 Enlightening, if structurally relaxed documentary. full review
  25. Daddy Day Care 2003 Easy-on-the -sensibilities family film. full review
  26. Darkness Falls 2003 A truly awful and extremely loud scareflick.
  27. Gigli 2003 Guys, I'm telling you: Don't go to this movie! It's Chasing Amy with guns! You're walking into a trap!
  28. Holes 2003 A wonderfully dark fairy tale.
  29. Hollywood Homicide 2003 Hollywood Homicide is about murder, all right: the wholesale slaughter of anything funny, original or even vaguely logical.
  30. The Human Stain 2003 Works wonderfully as an actor's movie. The trouble is, that's the only way it works.
  31. Kill Bill: Volume 1 2003 Has matched, if not eclipsed, the power and scope of 1994's Pulp Fiction.
  32. The Missing 2003 In The Missing, Ron Howard somehow makes a great movie and an awful movie, all at the same time.
  33. Mona Lisa Smile 2003 Like the turtleneck cashmere sweaters and girdles that tie down these promising women, the movie is trite and trussed.
  34. The Recruit 2003 A compelling, if throwaway, drama.
  35. Something's Gotta Give 2003 Meyers's movie is too well done to call it anything but good entertainment.
  36. Spy Kids 3-D - Game Over 2003 A movie that aims for the fun and sensation of being inside a video game, but not a whole lot more.
  37. The Station Agent 2003 A slower-moving but powerfully absorbing drama.
  38. Tears of the Sun 2003 This movie should have been called Crocodile Tears of the Sun.
  39. Under the Tuscan Sun 2003 It is a glorious refreshment to spend time with characters who aren't twenty-something eye bait, someone's virtuous, whiny wife or other reductive archetypes.
  40. American Dreamz 2002 [Paul] Weitz co-directed the wonderful About a Boy in 2002, but in Dreamz -- a tediously facile satire -- his comic instincts fail him. full review
  41. Ararat 2002 In a strange way, Egoyan has done too much. He's worked too hard on this movie. full review
  42. Below 2002 An enjoyable, if occasionally flawed, experiment. full review
  43. Changing Lanes 2002 Far richer than you'd ever think possible. full review
  44. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind 2002 A darkly enjoyable roller-coaster ride.
  45. The Dancer Upstairs 2002 A slow-burning affair that may seem exotic but mainly crawls from cliche to cliche.
  46. The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys 2002 Steers refreshingly clear of the usual cliches.
  47. Fidel 2002 Although Estela Bravo's documentary is cloyingly hagiographic in its portrait of Cuban leader Fidel Castro, it's still a guilty pleasure to watch.
  48. The Hard Word 2002 Aside from the obviously Australian flavor to everything -- which can be entertaining at times -- there's no X factor to justify the whole exercise.
  49. The Hours 2002 You don't just love the movie for its structure but for the haunted people in it, making each other miserable, but forcing each other to face who they are.
  50. The Importance of Being Earnest 2002 Smart, sassy interpretation of the Oscar Wilde play.
  51. Irreversible 2002 Fails because of its gratuitous rape and violence and also because of its pretentious and intellectually one-dimensional grounds, which make the violence at the end feel even worse.
  52. Lost in La Mancha 2002 It's disconcerting to recommend this movie for its entertainment value, but highly watchable it is.
  53. Narc 2002 A well-sustained allegory-cum-cop drama.
  54. The New Guy 2002 Every bad cliche of every bad high school movie finds a home here.
  55. Panic Room 2002 It's a treat for the eyes and ears.
  56. Punch-Drunk Love 2002 In this movie, you'll see Sandler like you've never seen him.
  57. Rabbit-Proof Fence 2002 It certainly has its moving moments.
  58. Russian Ark 2002 An extraordinary dramatic experience.
  59. The Sum of All Fears 2002 One that bombs literally and figuratively.
  60. The Sweetest Thing 2002 Bound to appeal to women looking for a howlingly trashy time.
  61. Tadpole 2002 One of the smartest, most affecting movies of the year.
  62. Treasure Planet 2002 Enjoy the spectacle.
  63. View from the Top 2002 There's not much zest here, even with Mike Myers's energetic attempts to steal the movie.
  64. We Were Soldiers 2002 Goes beyond the familiar.
  65. XXX 2002 Essentially a dumb guy's day in Heaven.
  66. Ali 2001 It's the boxer you enjoy, not the sluggish 15 rounds the filmmakers put him through.
  67. Amelie 2001 There's so much here, and all of it delightful.
  68. Apocalypse Now Redux 2001 This is the one where [Coppola] honors his vision -- or clears his name, whichever way you look at it.
  69. Atlantis - The Lost Empire 2001 For the most part, the movie's a bland disappointment, on many levels. full review
  70. Baran 2001 Heartbreaking and laugh-out-loud funny, sometimes apart, sometimes together.
  71. Donnie Darko 2001 It flutters, like a mischievous butterfly, above the despairing hands of easy description. full review
  72. Hannibal 2001 Hopkins, who is electrifying in almost anything he does, reprises the mastery he brought to Silence of the Lambs. Even in a movie as patchworky as this, he's always compelling. full review
  73. Not Another Teen Movie 2001 More often than not you'll be groaning from painful recognition rather than actually laughing.
  74. Riding in Cars with Boys 2001 There's a sort of Hallmark tyranny at work.
  75. Shaolin Soccer 2001 A hoot from beginning to end.
  76. The Shipping News 2001 Hallstrom and screenwriter Robert Nelson Jacobs, the team that gave us the spectacularly ordinary Chocolat, have concocted another box of mediocrity.
  77. Vanilla Sky 2001 For all the filmmakers' efforts, this project is something of an artistic albatross.
  78. Waking Life 2001 It's thoughtful, provocative, liberating and fun.
  79. Zoolander 2001 Maybe another rewrite, maybe an extra writer, maybe a better concept...
  80. American Psycho 2000 It's hard to summon up enthusiasm for a performance so rooted in bloody banality. I mean, as Patrick, Bale's most emotionally pressing dilemma is: Chainsaw or butcher knife? full review
  81. Amores Perros 2000 Definitely fierce and most definitely human. full review
  82. The Golden Bowl 2000 A victim of painfully drawn out excessiveness. full review
  83. The Man Who Cried 2000 I prefer to think of this movie as The Critic Who Cried.
  84. Merci Pour le Chocolat 2000 Every moment of the way, there is a delectable sense of suble menace.
  85. Our Song 2000 After watching Our Song, we leave with a very potent sense that these characters have become so real, they continue living beyond the close of the movie.
  86. The Tigger Movie 2000 This Tigger outing feels more like an overblown TV special than a grand theatrical release. full review
  87. Urban Legends: Final Cut 2000 It's about as funny as the Yellow Pages. full review
  88. Hercules 1997 [An] insipid, lifeless, animated feature. full review
  89. Inventing the Abbotts 1997 full review
  90. A Smile Like Yours 1997 You feel embarrassed for the actors and the crew that had to film them. full review
  91. Beautiful Girls 1996 The movie is wry, touching and fun to sit through... full review
  92. Big Night 1996 A charming, delicate repast prepared by Stanley Tucci and Campbell Scott. full review
  93. From Dusk Till Dawn 1996 The movie, which treats you with contempt for even watching it, is a monument to its own lack of imagination.
  94. Harriet the Spy 1996 A very draggy affair because Harriet's exploits are treated like an episodic laundry list. full review
  95. James and the Giant Peach 1996 It's ripe to bursting with visual effects a heady combination of stop-motion and computer-generated imagery.
  96. Pocahontas 1996 As for the songs, they're guaranteed to keep your shoes glued to the floor
  97. Stealing Beauty 1996 [A] hilariously inscrutable exercise in pseudo-profundity.
  98. Trainspotting 1996 The movie tags at the heels of Edinburgh social dropouts Renton, Spud, Sick Boy and Begbie, for whom getting off beats getting out. full review
  99. Bad Boys 1995 Even by the low-low standards of cheap action flicks, this one's bad, boys. full review
  100. Congo 1995 The least interesting adventure ever filmed. full review
  101. Crimson Tide 1995 full review
  102. The Crossing Guard 1995 full review
  103. Cry, the Beloved Country 1995 full review
  104. Desperado 1995 In this movie, words and actions speak equally loudly. full review
  105. Devil in a Blue Dress 1995 Franklin's picture is effortlessly wise beneath its entertaining surface. full review
  106. Four Rooms 1995 The segments are uniformly weak. full review
  107. A Month by the Lake 1995 full review
  108. Smoke 1995 full review
  109. Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead 1995 full review
  110. Tommy Boy 1995 As a sketch for a Saturday Night Live show, it would have been a tour de force. But as part of this rather unimaginative movie, it's just a bit with a burning desk. full review
  111. Black Beauty 1994 full review
  112. Beverly Hills Cop III 1994 [A] goofy vanity project. full review
  113. Blue Chips 1994 If it wasn't for some exciting roundball action, Shaquille O'Neal's hulking-dunking presence and a wonderfully guttural performance from coach Nick Nolte, you'd slither off the bench asleep. full review
  114. Clear and Present Danger 1994 For what it is, Clear and Present Danger is fun to sit through. full review
  115. Clerks 1994 A collegiate and post-collegiate laugh fest. full review
  116. The Crow 1994 If he had to die so soon, this movie is the best and most appropriate sendoff Lee could have hoped for. full review
  117. Forrest Gump 1994 Hanks is superb, reemploying the childlike presence he brought to Big. full review
  118. Fresh 1994 full review
  119. Heavenly Creatures 1994 Jackson (who wrote the script with Frances Walsh) evokes the girlsa(TM) fantasy world with scenes featuring plasticene figures, creating an eerie, metaphysical dimension to the movie. full review
  120. Hoop Dreams 1994 An extraordinarily affecting documentary. full review
  121. Legends of the Fall 1994 We see ... misery, betrayal, heartbreak, ridiculous plot twists and, after he sustains a stroke, Hopkins apparently doing a composite impression of Popeye and Quasimodo. full review
  122. Mother's Boys 1994 full review
  123. Pulp Fiction 1994 Brilliant and brutal, funny and exhilarating, jaw-droppingly cruel and disarmingly sweet. full review
  124. Beethoven's 2nd 1993 full review
  125. Coneheads 1993 A respectably funny -- but small -- effort, a reunion party best watched in your living room, while you consume mass quantities of pizza with extra molten lactate extract of hooved mammals. full review
  126. Heart and Souls 1993 full review
  127. The House of the Spirits 1993 full review
  128. Indecent Proposal 1993 full review
  129. King of the Hill 1993 It's his best work by far. full review
  130. Last Action Hero 1993 Even if this intermixing of kid fantasy and adult shoot'em-up, Hollywood insider jokes and cheap Arnold puns, doesn't completely bowl you over, it's clever and intriguing. full review
  131. The Nightmare Before Christmas 1993 This brilliant combination of stop-motion animation, three-dimensional sets and superbly imaginative graphics, brings animation to new peaks. full review
  132. Philadelphia 1993 This AIDS courtroom drama is so pumped full of nitrous oxide, you could get your teeth drilled on it. full review
  133. Robin Hood: Men in Tights 1993 full review
  134. Rudy 1993 Astin gives these familiar doings the charm they need, as he pushes towards a virtually impossible goal. full review
  135. The Snapper 1993 Stephen Frear's The Snapper hits the spot nicely, if your spot likes hearty rounds of working-class comedy. full review
  136. What's Eating Gilbert Grape 1993 Director Lasse Halstrom and cinematographer Sven Nykvist do their best to disguise the predictability with their own grace notes. But all the music in the world can't hide a tone this false. full review
  137. Basic Instinct 1992 A predictable, surprisingly uninvolving affair. full review
  138. Body of Evidence 1992 What do you say about this kind of movie? full review
  139. Bram Stoker's Dracula 1992 In Bram Stoker's Dracula, director Francis Ford Coppola wins endless vam-Pyrrhic victories but loses the narrative war. full review
  140. Enchanted April 1992 It would seem from a spate of films lately that the English can only find their warmer, truer selves abroad -- usually in Italy. Enchanted April takes this familiar path, but traipses along with charm and glory, as if for the very first time. full review
  141. Glengarry Glen Ross 1992 full review
  142. Passion Fish 1992 full review
  143. Patriot Games 1992 Director Phillip Noyce, who made the gripping thriller Dead Calm, has earned his directorial hack license here. full review
  144. Reservoir Dogs 1992 A nod to such noir crime classics as Stanley Kubrick's "The Killing," the movie's more than savvy sensationalism. Suspense, horror and humor are expertly interwoven. full review
  145. A River Runs Through It 1992 It doesn't hurt matters that the story's set in one of the world's most beautiful corners -- rendered in pre-twilight glows by cinematographer Philippe Rousselot. full review
  146. Rock-A-Doodle 1992 full review
  147. Sarafina 1992 full review
  148. Single White Female 1992 You watch this thing coolly intrigued and sometimes amused, rather than terrified and taken in -- even when the stabbing raises its bloody, predictable hand. full review
  149. Sneakers 1992 If you think of Sneakers as a slick, updated Mission: Impossible, it's a lot of fun. full review
  150. Strictly Ballroom 1992 full review
  151. Wayne's World 1992 You'll laugh, you'll cry, you'll drive home. As Wayne or Garth would say, it's schweeeet. full review
  152. All I Want for Christmas 1991 Miracle on 34th Street this ain't. full review
  153. Backdraft 1991 Director Howard is so mesmerized by the flames, he squirts formulaic lighter fluid over everything. full review
  154. Barton Fink 1991 If Fink lacks cumulative punch, its fighting power is a technical knockout. full review
  155. Boyz n the Hood 1991 ingleton adroitly lets the emotions wash over the didacticism, his feet placed squarely on direct experience and timeliness. full review
  156. Bugsy 1991 full review
  157. Dutch 1991 Hughes, a man more prolific than Stephen King and less inspired than Aaron Spelling, has produced yet another forgettable project. This movie shouldn't even be allowed on planes. full review
  158. The Fisher King 1991 A modern epic that fuses myth with hard-edged reality, it's a one-of-a-kind, thoroughly engaging experience. full review
  159. Hook 1991 The exposition is so underlined and re-underlined, you could teach yourself to fly waiting for something to happen. full review
  160. Paris Is Burning 1991 full review
  161. The Prince of Tides 1991 A big-hearted performance by Nick Nolte puts The Prince of Tides over the top. full review
  162. The Silence of the Lambs 1991 A smart, restrained entertainment, it doesn't splash around in blood and hysteria. full review
  163. Slacker 1991 The experience is funny, surreal and weird. Sometimes it's even scary. full review
  164. Soapdish 1991 Lines like this are amusing, but they pop instantly, like soap bubbles. full review
  165. What About Bob? 1991 With his twisted lower lip, doleful eyes and trademark deadpan, [Murray] exudes an awkward -- and funny -- vulnerability. full review
  166. Ghost 1990 Surprisingly entertaining. full review
  167. The Grifters 1990 This is one human board game that's absorbing to watch. full review
  168. The Hunt for Red October 1990 A Reagan youth's wet dream of underwater ballistics and East-West conflict. full review
  169. The Krays 1990 full review
  170. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen 1989 Another brilliantly inventive epic of fantasy and satire. full review
  171. Ghostbusters 2 1989 You want more. full review
  172. Harlem Nights 1989 Does it matter to Eddie Murphy whether Harlem Nights is good or bad? It doesn't look like it. full review
  173. My Left Foot 1989 Not only does Day-Lewis master the physical aspects of the role, the minute-to-minute struggle of almost complete paralysis, he lives the painful genesis of an artistic character. full review
  174. Steel Magnolias 1989 full review
  175. Cocoon: The Return 1988 full review
  176. Coming to America 1988 The main pleasure in America comes in the romancing of prince and pauper. But the comedy is a mere handmaiden. full review
  177. The Last Temptation of Christ 1988 There are too many epic moments and impassioned performances to dismiss Scorsese's work. full review
  178. School Daze 1988 Spike Lee had something in mind while he shot School Daze, his follow-up to the cult hit She's Gotta Have It. Unfortunately it's still lodged behind his cranium. full review
  179. The Thin Blue Line 1988 full review
  180. Who Framed Roger Rabbit 1988 Not only a technical tour de force, it crackles with entertainment. full review
  181. Beverly Hills Cop II 1987 full review
  182. Broadcast News 1987 Brooks' observations are as keen as Woody Allen's but without the neurotic narcissism. full review
  183. Dirty Dancing 1987 The dance finale between Gray and Swayze, although an obvious crowd-pleaser, is performed to a contemporary song clearly intended for the charts, which blows the period feel right off the dance floor. full review
  184. Fatal Attraction 1987 Close should take pride in her performance. She should also expect a depressing avalanche of scripts requiring a she-wacko. full review
  185. Ishtar 1987 full review
  186. La Bamba 1987 full review
  187. Planes, Trains and Automobiles 1987 The script and direction by Hughes ... amount to wobbly passes that Martin and Candy turn into touchdowns anyway. full review
  188. The Serpent and the Rainbow 1987 [Craven[ seems wiser and more story-conscious -- but thankfully still full of the same surprises. full review
  189. Three Men and a Baby (3 Men and a Baby) 1987 Director Leonard Nimoy does not use his ears for comedy -- nor his eyes, even. His three leads recite their lines as though they wanted to take their jumbo-sized salaries and run -- which, given this movie, maybe isn't such a dumb idea. full review
  190. The Untouchables 1987 ...an entertaining but incongruous mix of class and pulp. full review
  191. Switchblade Sisters 1975 Sublime, exploitative camp.
  192. Becket 1964 Becket may seem like a movie of yesteryear, but its timeliness brims over with rousing, meditative discourses between Henry and the church leaders on the separation of church and state. full review
  193. Gojira 1954 There's a surprisingly powerful thrust to this film. full review
  194. /titles/197186 Admirable in its refusal to be politically correct. full review
  195. /titles/197415 It's a warm, often funny reunion of the sassiest, chattiest characters ever to buzz a brother's head. full review
  196. /titles/197153 Basically, the movie's an extended setup for a dinner-table comedy of errors, in which the mismatched relatives confront one another in a nerve-racking test of appearances. full review
  197. /titles/197197 full review
  198. /titles/197180 Cheerful, energetic and on the money. full review
  199. /titles/197205 Director Julian Jarrold and screenwriters Geoff Deane and Tim Firth trade in hackneyed dualities. full review
  200. /titles/197152 Those not yet wise to formulaic pablum are likely to enjoy this ice hockey kiddie ensemble comedy. But their older escorts might want to bring a novel and a flashlight, or a Walkman or portable television with earphones. full review
  201. /titles/197182 Despite Stallone's bantamweight attempts to insert, like, character into the fifth Rocky, it's the same old fight with the same old round of regulars. full review
  202. /titles/197171 Never evokes the sweet allure of Billy Wilder's original film. full review
  203. /titles/197177 Hanks, who can even grace a film such as "The 'Burbs," is always a movie's best friend. full review