Geoff Pevere, Toronto Star

  1. Client 9: The Rise and Fall of Eliot Spitzer 2010 It's the coolness of Gibney's account of the possibly systematic sabotaging of Spitzer's career, perpetrated by a strangely camera-friendly cast of enemies-cum-conspirators, that makes it such transfixing viewing. full review
  2. Countdown to Zero 2010 At least it makes you scared again. There's nothing more frightening than what we've learned to live with. full review
  3. Reign Over Me 2007 At the very least, it puts a whole new spin on Billy Madison. full review
  4. Zodiac 2007 It makes you want to study it even more closely, in search of things you might have missed, trailing after leads that flash by in the relentless momentum of going nowhere fast. If you're not careful, it might make you obsessed. full review
  5. Click 2006 Click is about an immature man's bumpy collision with maturity, and that's the perfect subject for the stubbornly frat-based talents of Adam Sandler. full review
  6. Curious George 2006 Despite eerie narrative parallels with King Kong, the most curious thing about Curious George is how gentle it is. full review
  7. Nacho Libre 2006 The film's sheer lack of everything that customarily passes for comic fuel -- energy, wit, character, fun, a plot -- renders Nacho Libre a torturous patience tester of the first order. full review
  8. Scoop 2006 If only it were funny instead of just passably amusing, and if only Allen's movies hadn't declined to such a state of rote self-repetition that even passably amusing is tantamount to a compliment. full review
  9. Venus 2006 Venus adheres to the general parameters of conventional Hollywood with such cheek, intelligence and sheer self-deprecating nastiness that it does more to redeem the fantasy than it does the selfish and vain old geezer who is its beneficiary. full review
  10. The Wind That Shakes the Barley 2006 ... you can feel the panic, rage and fear of the participants, and there's a rare sense in the movie of history being less recreated than relived. full review
  11. Free Zone 2005 Without fail, Gitai's determination to churn everything into metaphoric mud prevails. full review
  12. Karla 2005 You can call it guilty of exploitation, tastelessness or insensitivity if you like, but its greatest failing is a certain deadly pointlessness. full review
  13. My Summer of Love 2005 Pawlikowski doesn't spend much time explaining his characters or telling us why they do what they do, and that's exactly why they remain so compelling. full review
  14. Old Joy 2005 The real resonance of Reichardt's at once lean and profound little movie is that, without saying anything directly, it can seem to say so much. full review
  15. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room 2004 Doesn't require an interest in business affairs to be captivating. It unfolds like a Wall St. disaster movie with two eminently hissable villains presiding over the catastrophe. full review
  16. The Forgotten 2004 It's the central casting of the remarkable Julianne Moore that gives the movie both a core and a heart, particularly when Di Pego's script starts making its way further and further out along the limb of credibility. full review
  17. The Manchurian Candidate 2004 This one plays more like a contemporary techno-thriller with ultra-clammy '70s conspiracy thriller overtones, and Demme milks the atmosphere of pervasive, sleep-deprived dread beautifully. full review
  18. Oldboy 2004 While one might argue that it loses credibility and impact as it reaches further along the ledge of outrageous, tummy churning plot developments, there's no denying the turbulence it creates. full review
  19. The Passion of the Christ 2004 What graphic sex is to the use of the body in hardcore porno, graphic violence is to destruction of the body of Christ in this Passion. full review
  20. The Stepford Wives 2004 Henceforth, I fear Stepford may acquire new metaphorical implications. It will mean interesting old movies remade into lobotomized new ones. full review
  21. Wicker Park 2004 The result is a mess, but it's fun to watch it explode. full review
  22. Without A Paddle 2004 Forget being up a raging creek without a paddle, these poor losers are lost in a wilderness that permits no comedy. full review
  23. Beyond Borders 2003 To imagine that there are those who would scoff at the idea that fashion cares! As Beyond Borders demonstrates with such lavish sensitivity, fashion cares like nothing else. When it comes to giving up food, fashion practically spews concern. full review
  24. Control Room 2003 Noujaim's documentary is clearly sympathetic to the journalists of Al-Jazeera, who all seem to be professional, intelligent and reasonable, but it is not blindly biased. full review
  25. CSA: Confederate States of America 2003 By slyly nudging both history and the language of television, this mock documentary about an America won by the Confederacy ... manages to be both shocking and strangely banal in equal measure. full review
  26. Gigli 2003 It is an exquisitely bad movie: One to be savoured, marvelled over, shared with friends and generally appreciated in a state of awestruck wonder. Gourmet fromage. full review
  27. The Human Stain 2003 The stain of seriousness spreads over everything in this movie, eventually blocking out everything but the effort. full review
  28. Kill Bill: Volume 1 2003 Not only is this the work of a major and vital talent in full bloom, it's the most thrillingly entertaining American movie so far this year. full review
  29. Love Actually 2003 A form of emotional hardcore. full review
  30. The Missing 2003 At once racially fearful, and anxiously apologetic, patriarchal and post-feminist, pacifist and trigger-happy -- The Missing is engaged in one big, long desert showdown with itself. full review
  31. Mona Lisa Smile 2003 [Roberts] is an anachronistic pop-feminist on a mission. full review
  32. People I Know 2003 Watchable but dramatically scattered. full review
  33. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl 2003 There is much by way of noise, computer-generated action, big sets and breezy laughs, and practically nothing to intrude on your thought processes afterwards. full review
  34. The Recruit 2003 The Recruit manages to be almost utterly without innovation apart from its heroic determination to make matinee idol material out of a spy agency that pioneered the process of extra-legal bureaucratic sociopathology known as 'black ops.' full review
  35. Saved! 2003 Something puts the fear of God into Saved! about halfway in. full review
  36. Tears of the Sun 2003 If you ever wanted a reason to root for a righteous invasion, this sequence -- like My Lai but improved because it's perpetrated by the bad guys -- provides it. full review
  37. The Triplets of Belleville 2003 Right down to faux black-and-white film stock and scratchy gramophones, Triplets resurrects Flesicher's world of music, debauchery, inspired illogic and crude showbiz parody. full review
  38. Uptown Girls 2003 Can two over-pampered but fundamentally lonely persons of the blonde female persuasion bond meaningfully with each other while shopping? full review
  39. American Dreamz 2002 Like a commander-in-chief who's too good-naturedly dumb to be dangerous, the writer-director is ultimately too forgiving to do much bruising. (Or maybe too calculating, which kind of blurs into the same thing.) full review
  40. Ararat 2002 A pertinent powerfully intelligent account of the morality of making history. full review
  41. Changing Lanes 2002 Although dampened by intermittent preachiness and an unconvincingly pat and uplifting resolution ... Changing Lanes nevertheless taps into emotions so convincing it elevates the movie above its own shortcomings. full review
  42. Fidel 2002 Makes an aborbing if arguable case for the man's greatness. full review
  43. Irreversible 2002 At once overwhelming and inconsequential, harrowing and banal, gimmicky and humourless, overheated and undercooked, this mega-hyped French movie may represent the ultimate triumph of cynicism in the global trade in non-English-language movies. full review
  44. Maid in Manhattan 2002 Executed by The Joy Luck Club's Wayne Wang with the professional dispatch of someone delivering room service. full review
  45. Narc 2002 Jason Patric and Ray Liotta make for one splendidly cast pair. full review
  46. The New Guy 2002 There's no getting around the fact that this is Revenge Of The Nerds Revisited -- again. full review
  47. Panic Room 2002 It feels less like a suspense movie than a video-game spinoff of a suspense movie. full review
  48. Pumpkin 2002 [A] rather thinly-conceived movie. full review
  49. Tadpole 2002 [D]emonstrate a certain affinity for the intimate observation of moral waywardness. full review
  50. The United States of Leland 2002 A depressive, civics-lesson Donnie Darko variation. full review
  51. View from the Top 2002 Might be productively -- and quite reasonably -- assaulted on a number of fronts (for its class condescension, its lack of humour, its waste of talent or even its sheer visual ugliness), but it seems both cruel and unnecessary to do so. full review
  52. The Animal 2001 A lunkheaded, sorta gross-out comedy that manages to be likeable and funny. full review
  53. Atlantis - The Lost Empire 2001 The characters and story are mere narrative lubricant to get us from one digitally goosed sensory assault to the next. full review
  54. Children Underground 2001 Heartbreaking, urgent, unsentimental and unflinching. full review
  55. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon 2001 By tapping into responses so primal they feel like magic, Lee's movie reminds you that the medium is never more powerful than when it makes myth feel fresh and new. full review
  56. Dogtown and Z-Boys 2001 This is pop history that blows your hair back. full review
  57. Hannibal 2001 Bears many of the wounds of the book's confusion. full review
  58. Pootie Tang 2001 A pretty inspired and consistently witty satirical skewering of three decade's worth of macho black pop cultural cliches. full review
  59. The Score 2001 A movie which gets the job done as simply, efficiently and intelligently as possible. full review
  60. Shaolin Soccer 2001 Catnip to those familiar with the conventions of Hong Kong martial arts movies. full review
  61. All the Pretty Horses 2000 Lovely but disengaging, mysterious but uninvolving, physical but strangely remote. full review
  62. Amores Perros 2000 Stylishly gritty. full review
  63. The Emperor's New Groove 2000 Funky, funny and free of ersatz Broadway cheese. full review
  64. The Golden Bowl 2000 In this movie, all displays of passion feel like gaudy pantomime. full review
  65. Love's Labour's Lost 2000 Love's Labour's Lost hops, bumps and skids along the ground like the flightless creature that it is.
  66. The Man Who Cried 2000 It's as though we're being dared not to take the movie seriously, although nothing but the pre-Holocaust setting compels you to do so. full review
  67. /titles/197192 With its silky textures and fluffed up fake-studio imagery, Sky Captain is like a big warm pillow that threatens to smother you in downy gorgeousness. full review

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