instantwatcher.com

John Anderson, Newsday

  1. Adore 2013 The film has an impressive pedigree -- screenplay by Christopher Hampton, from a novel by Nobel laureate Doris Lessing -- but still feels like something of a bodice-ripper, if people bothered to wear that much clothing. full review
  2. Aftershock 2013 Cross "The Hangover" with the Apocalypse and that'll give you some idea of the level of debauched mayhem that makes "Aftershock" such a shameless and titillating exercise in horror. full review
  3. The Angels' Share 2013 Unexpectedly, and blithely, amusing. full review
  4. The Attack 2013 Delicately executed thriller balances its political baggage with unflagging suspense. full review
  5. Augustine 2013 The hysterics contained in Alice Winocour's "Augustine" -- and "hysteria" is what it's about -- can't obscure the understated, smoldering subtext of what is a sometimes playfully smart and irony-laden story. full review
  6. Blackfish 2013 Informative, earnest, but less than briskly paced. full review
  7. Blue Is The Warmest Color 2013 The more wondrous things about "Blue Is the Warmest Color" include its emotional honesty, precision, abandon and need. full review
  8. Crystal Fairy 2013 "Crystal Fairy" isn't going to be the mind-expanding movie buzz that blows your mind, but in its laconic, trippy way it gets under the skin. full review
  9. The Grandmaster 2013 "The Grandmaster" is the work of a director whose work throughout his career has been visually exhilarating, sensuous, even sublime. To that end, "The Grandmaster" doesn't disappoint. full review
  10. Hannah Arendt 2013 Mixed bag, fascinating in its treatment of the Eichmann case, but stilted in its treatment of Arendt and her coterie. full review
  11. The Iceman 2013 As both violent drama and character study, Israeli director Ariel Vromen's film does everything it should. full review
  12. In the House 2013 Ozon is an artful provocateur and observer of human nature. full review
  13. Mud 2013 Nichols' wild narrative tributaries all eventually intersect, and at no time does he let one's attention stall. full review
  14. Nicky's Family 2013 What's nettlesome about director Matej Minac's clunkily constructed documentary is what it says about our perverse but understandable need to spin some kind of happy ending onto the Holocaust. full review
  15. Room 237 2013 There's enough real evidence supporting the theory that Kubrick was a genius, and that's pretty entertaining all by itself. full review
  16. Salinger 2013 Cataloging what's missing from Salerno's movie -- for instance, why "The Catcher in the Rye" worked, or didn't, and what it meant and still means to the American novel -- would run into the sports section. full review
  17. Short Term 12 2013 Tender, funny and real as a kick in the ribs. full review
  18. Starbuck 2013 "Starbuck" is essentially a situation comedy, but what a situation. full review
  19. A Touch of Sin 2013 In addressing the two-pronged beast of westernization / corruption, Jia gives us a multipronged and engrossing set of plots. full review
  20. Unfinished Song 2013 Shamelessly sentimental, cute to a fault, but the acting is first-rate. full review
  21. Upstream Color 2013 Elliptical and utterly fascinating adventure in cinema, one that defies simple explanations, but worms its way into the brain. full review
  22. We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks 2013 Engaging, kinetic, revelatory and unexpected. full review
  23. What Maisie Knew 2013 Mischievous updating of the Henry James novel, made especially moving by young Onata Aprile. full review
  24. 2 Days in New York 2012 Much of the alleged humor is based on French-English language gags, or cultural differences or continental mores vs. the priggishness of Americans, but it's all more irritating than funny. full review
  25. 56 Up 2012 Apted creates a graceful back-and-forth from the earlier films to the present, and the experience of seeing people who have lived so much on screen is quite profound. full review
  26. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry 2012 A movie that somehow mixes apprehension for Ai with a feeling of warmth and, certainly, fun. full review
  27. Any Day Now 2012 Generally abysmal. full review
  28. Barbara 2012 A sturdy suspense story, set in Stasi-infected East Germany, rich in moral compromise, individual integrity and general desperation, it's elevated by Hoss to something sublime and unforgettable ... full review
  29. Bernie 2012 Linklater, admirably unconcerned about how his film can be categorized, has made a comedy, a drama and most certainly a character study. full review
  30. Blancanieves 2012 Sensuous, mischievous, hotblooded retelling of the old Teutonic fairy tale. full review
  31. Dark Horse 2012 Even though Todd Solondz' latest journey into suburban dysfunction may seem dark (and is), it's also about joy, and how easily it's wasted. full review
  32. Detropia 2012 Just as the film finds an aesthetic in its dilapidated setting, the city's residents find hope in a desperate place, a place that once represented hope itself. full review
  33. Elles 2012 This is not an entirely new idea. Nor does "Elles" offer any new insights into either domestic slavery or sex work. But it does offer a lot of sex, which for some will be just fine. full review
  34. The Flat 2012 A fascinating and sensitive examination of Jewish-Nazi collaboration, generational amnesia and the delicate construction of the thing we call history. full review
  35. The Intouchables 2012 If you loved "The Bucket List," you'll be exclaiming, "Incroyable!" full review
  36. Jiro Dreams of Sushi 2012 As exhausting as Jiro may be, he's also inspiring. full review
  37. A Late Quartet 2012 Engaging, intelligent, but direction doesn't quite live up to a first-rate cast. full review
  38. A Royal Affair 2012 The film tells an intimate story with an enormous amount of grace. full review
  39. Seeking Justice 2012 It's a perfectly palatable and even engaging thriller, albeit one requiring several leaps of faith and/or disengagement with reality. full review
  40. Take This Waltz 2012 No one's a cliche; no one speaks dialogue the viewer could have muttered a beat or two ahead of the movie; no one hews to a mode of behavior fabricated to explain away his or her irrational behavior. full review
  41. This Is Not a Film 2012 There are fireworks -- and an ending that's as dramatic as anything made by any director making a film, which is something Panahi accomplishes with a bit of a wink, and no small amount of courage. full review
  42. Union Square 2012 The kind of character-driven movie about whacked-out characters we need more of (the characters and the movies). full review
  43. Unraveled 2012 As both man and metaphor, Drier is a pretty potent subject. full review
  44. We Have a Pope 2012 There's a sweetness to Italian director Nanni Moretti's "We Have a Pope" that belies its seemingly unholy premise... full review
  45. The Adventures of Tintin 2011 A frenetic bonbon with an empty center, and a movie made without any perceivable audience outside of filmmakers besotted by their own innovative processes. full review
  46. Another Happy Day 2011 Levinson piles on the anguish with such abandon he never convinces you that these people would ever speak to each other, much less live under the same roof. full review
  47. Hugo 2011 Although it brings Scorsese together with people and techniques he hasn't worked with before, it also touches on themes close to his heart: the birth of cinema, and its preservation. full review
  48. The Whistleblower 2010 Director Larysa Kondracki's debut film is unsparing in its portrayal of sexual trafficking in a supposedly civilized world. But it's valiant, too -- especially regarding Rachel Weisz's performance as reluctant crusader Kathryn Bolkovac. full review
  49. Bottle Shock 2008 A winning cast and a magnum's worth of subplots make Bottle Shock extremely watchable, perhaps a bit fruity, with grace notes of leather, oak and no ham. full review
  50. The Business of Being Born 2008 [Director] Epstein's opinion on the issue is never in doubt and once the attitude of the film is established, it seems to make the same points repeatedly. Fortunately, Epstein herself gets pregnant, and she gets to test her own theories. full review
  51. Before the Rains 2007 The film is well-acted, a broad colonial allegory, and again, visually gorgeous. full review
  52. Day Zero 2007 There's very little that rings true. full review
  53. The Devil Came on Horseback 2007 The failure of world conscience haunts The Devil Came on Horseback. full review
  54. For the Bible Tells Me So 2007 This rational, human and very serious documentary by Daniel Karslake gets at the historical distortions of the Good Book as well as the ease with which holy writings have been used in America to propagate hate. full review
  55. Mr. Untouchable 2007 Marc Levin, whose last documentary, Protocols of Zion, was a gutsy examination of post-9/11 anti-Semitism, has an even tougher job on his hands with Leroy 'Nicky' Barnes: making the man interesting. full review
  56. Sangre De Mi Sangre 2007 The grimy elegance of this Sundance award winner elevates it well above the standard-issue immigrant drama. full review
  57. Steal a Pencil for Me 2007 Some may think the Holocaust has nothing new to offer up, but Michele Ohayon says otherwise. full review
  58. Trumbo 2007 The film is an enlightening recap of '50s Red Scare politics, and a parade of actors giving meaningful, earnest readings of Trumbo's speeches and letters. full review
  59. Choking Man 2006 The film looks so good it could play without sound. full review
  60. Day Night Day Night 2006 [Director] Loktev provokes in her audience an involuntary shudder, because we realize that whether an act is madness or inspiration really depends on what side you're on. full review
  61. I'm Reed Fish 2006 The acting is good, the turf is familiar, and the mood is sweet without causing diabetes. full review
  62. Trailer Park Boys: The Movie 2006 Co-writer/director Mike Clattenburg is right on target with his trio of inept trailer-park criminals. full review
  63. The Treatment 2006 An odd, funny film. full review
  64. Aeon Flux 2005 A failure even on the action-adventure/vicarious-butt-kicking level. full review
  65. Into Great Silence 2005 Into Great Silence is one of those films -- Martin Scorsese's Kundun is another example -- wherein the spiritual aspiration of the filmmaker informs, and even exalts, the film itself. full review
  66. Psychopathia Sexualis 2005 What Woods achieves in his arch, velvet-cushioned vignettes is a sense of the subjects being reduced to symptom and diagnosis. full review
  67. Stoned 2005 Played with such an utter lack of charisma by Leo Gregory, Jones comes across as a rocker so drug- and ego-addled he doesn't have enough sense to lie down. full review
  68. CSA: Confederate States of America 2003 Offensive? Yes, and creatively so. full review
  69. I Like Killing Flies 2003 It's a rough-hewn film, more interesting, probably, to those who've actually made it through a meal there, but fun and maybe even inspiring. full review
  70. Stander 2003 It's Jane, breaking out of pretty-boy roles in vacuous movies, who provides Stander its vortex of violent conflict and makes the film both kinetic and socially resonant. full review
  71. Tears of the Sun 2003 Painfully obvious, yet confusing. full review
  72. Changing Lanes 2002 Engaging, in a coldly intellectually fashion, but depressing sociologically, emotionally. full review
  73. Panic Room 2002 Taut and forbidding, enough so that you won't mind the implausibilities. full review
  74. Along Came a Spider 2001 Thoroughly surprising and far from unsatisfactory. full review
  75. America's Sweethearts 2001 Occasionally amusing, but also an irritating mess. full review
  76. Hannibal 2001 Not as good as you hoped, better than you feared. full review
  77. Love the Hard Way 2001 The movie is of the sort that relies exclusively on charm and charisma. Love the Hard Way has neither. full review
  78. Monkeybone 2001 Too much of everything, a lo mein-stuffed lasagna in banana bechamel sauce. With a coffee malted. And pickles. full review
  79. Novocaine 2001 An impressive directorial debut, but you wish Atkins had not made his movie's gradual descent seem as inevitable as Frank's. full review
  80. Shaolin Soccer 2001 With no inhibitions about whom or where he borrows from, Chow makes us complicit in his stylistic shoplifting. The result is the definition of guilty pleasure. full review
  81. Lara Croft - Tomb Raider 2001 Highly anticipated adaptation of the popular computer game is uneven, sometimes awkward, but Angelina Jolie makes the title character a virtual icon of female competence and coolth. full review
  82. Vanilla Sky 2001 [Crowe] should stick to more conventional narratives and leave the cerebral gymnastics to someone who can handle them. full review
  83. Zoolander 2001 A refreshingly funny movie. full review
  84. Diamond Men 2000 It provides a charming showcase for an actor [Forster] whose lack of stardom will never be adequately explained. full review
  85. The Gift 2000 Uneven and conventional. full review
  86. Hamlet 2000 Provocative!