Liam Lacey, Globe and Mail

  1. 20 Feet From Stardom 2013 You may never hear the Rolling Stones's Gimme Shelter the same way again after hearing Jagger's and Clayton's separate accounts of the recording of the song. full review
  2. Blue Is The Warmest Color 2013 Blue is the Warmest Colour is too exceptional a film to be defined by its controversy. full review
  3. The Croods 2013 Even the lively visuals and unrelenting thrill-ride pace can't disguise rough-hewn storytelling, or the fact that the tale of a old-fashioned macho cave dad and his family seems a bit yabba-dabba done that already. full review
  4. Cutie And The Boxer 2013 A lively double portrait of Ushio and Noriko Shinohara, two Brooklyn-based artists who, after 40 years of marriage, are still creating side by side, and tormenting each other. full review
  5. Drinking Buddies 2013 Not much happens in Drinking Buddies, which, frankly, is refreshing. full review
  6. G.I. Joe: Retaliation 2013 What a blast G.I. Joe: Retaliation is! And then another blast, and another, in a series of concussive jolts that shred any conventional sense of story as thoroughly as anything since the last Michael Bay film. full review
  7. The Grandmaster 2013 There are sequences in Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai's new film, The Grandmaster, that are as gorgeous as anything you'll see on a screen this year, or perhaps this decade. full review
  8. The Host 2013 Ronan, youthfully elegant as always, tries hard, but the material defeats her. full review
  9. Informant 2013 An unsettling portrait of a charismatic true believer, whose most consistent belief is that he's the hero of a grand narrative. full review
  10. Insidious: Chapter 2 2013 Insidious: Chapter 2 follows the further misfortunes of the Lambert family with diminishing insidious rewards. full review
  11. Jobs 2013 If Jobs had been a producer on Jobs, he would have sent it back to the lab for a redesign. full review
  12. Laurence Anyways 2013 A well-acted drama about two anguished lovers struggling with their own flaws and an unjust society. full review
  13. Let The Fire Burn 2013 Brilliantly edited, the film moves back and forth in time, first tracking the events leading up to the confrontation through news reports of the day. full review
  14. Linsanity 2013 Linsanity offers lots for b-ball fans, but also has a higher purpose. full review
  15. Olympus Has Fallen 2013 Given the premise's essential absurdity, it's almost embarrassingly entertaining. full review
  16. Our Nixon 2013 It's an exploration of the banality of evil that constantly puts banality first, but this is a relatively narrow experimental film designed to supplement rather than replace more thorough histories. full review
  17. Pandora's Promise 2013 The film's tone is boosterish, and the cursory treatment of the cost of a nuclear-based energy overhaul, or the viability of renewable energy, tends to arouse skepticism rather than allay it. full review
  18. Prince Avalanche 2013 It's an intimate two-hander with lots of dialogue, humour and poignant revelations, set against a backdrop of rugged woodland beauty. full review
  19. Short Term 12 2013 The film's climax feels a little rushed and overwrought, but the movie's real resonance is its exploration of empathy and vocation. full review
  20. Side Effects 2013 A stylish take on the psychiatric-thriller genre that, despite progressive narrative absurdities, mostly delivers a dose to the pleasure centres. full review
  21. Touchy Feely 2013 The actors are all first-rate and the performances are fascinating, though Shelton, who shuns exposition, makes you work to figure out the interrelationships. full review
  22. The World Before Her 2013 A thought-provoking film that examines women's limited choices in a patriarchal country reeling from the contradictions of rapid modernization. full review
  23. 388 Arletta Avenue 2012 388 Arletta Avenue manages to use the terrorized-couple genre to provide a timely commentary on supposedly safe homes and distant wars. full review
  24. 5 Broken Cameras 2012 Both a moving first-person essay and an artful exercise in political advocacy, 5 Broken Cameras is about the experience of West Bank protests from the inside. full review
  25. All Together 2012 As middling comedies go, the French approach has certain virtues. If good wine and long talks with friends can't prevent the inevitable, at least they make the waiting more tolerable. full review
  26. Alps 2012 Lanthimos' film, with its emphasis on death deferred, holds the chilly fascination of a gaping skull. full review
  27. The Cabin in the Woods 2012 Cabin is a meta-horror-comedy mash-up that, at least for two-thirds of its running time, holds together smartly. full review
  28. California Solo 2012 Lewy's script doesn't cop out with any sentimental redemption, but neither does it establish why the self-destructive Lachlan deserves our sympathy. full review
  29. Citizen Gangster 2012 Inspired by Boyd's story, rather than literally retelling it, the movie is less a gangster film than an existential allegory of choices and limitations. full review
  30. Friends With Kids 2012 Whom is this movie for, really? It's too tame for the whooping crowds of women who made hits of the Sex and the City movies and Bridesmaids. And for sure it isn't for parents with kids. full review
  31. The Grey 2012 The film sustains some suspense and brooding atmosphere for its first half, but eventually the cliches of character and dialogue drag it struggling to ground. full review
  32. Headhunters 2012 Headhunters is slick and spritely, a mixture of corporate skullduggery and low-life slapstick that plays like The Firm meets Blood Simple. full review
  33. Jack Reacher 2012 Cruise is too mature, diminutive and fine-looking for the role, even if he has gym-sculpted abs, which he manages to show off. full review
  34. Jiro Dreams of Sushi 2012 A profile of a celebrity chef, a quick cultural immersion and many mouth-watering montages of food preparation in one package. full review
  35. A Late Quartet 2012 The screenplay by Seth Grossman and Israeli-American director Yaron Zilberman is old-fashioned and melodramatic but stirring in its portrait of people struggling with individual egos to produce something nobler than themselves. full review
  36. Nobody Walks 2012 Has the fragranced whiff of a missed opportunity. full review
  37. Of Two Minds 2012 The intimacy and confessional nature of these stories are the documentary's strength, but the stories feel like only a part of a larger puzzle. full review
  38. One for the Money 2012 One for the Money is tepidly glib throughout. Even violent murders are followed by wisecracks or another prurient opportunity to ogle Heigl's behind and cleavage. full review
  39. Pink Ribbons, Inc. 2012 Pool's documentary provides some cold clarity on a well-advertised if misunderstood disease. full review
  40. Playing for Keeps 2012 Butler beware: In acting as in soccer, if you keep taking dives, sooner or later you pay the penalty. full review
  41. The Raven 2012 The pervasive gore overpowers the few clumsy attempts at wit here... full review
  42. Red Dawn 2012 Preposterously insincere ... full review
  43. A Royal Affair 2012 For all its incident, A Royal Affair is slow and picturesquely framed - more of a languorously animated coffee-table book than a gripping drama. full review
  44. Step Up To The Plate 2012 A pleasurable, if drama-free portrait of French chef Michel Bras as he begins the handover of his three-star Michelin restaurant to his son, over the course of four seasons. full review
  45. Take This Waltz 2012 The premise is undermined by casual pacing and a protagonist who seems not 28, but 18, or younger. full review
  46. Coriolanus 2011 It's a film of vigorous performances and provocative modern resonances, though it sometimes struggles to grapple with a grim, politically ambiguous, 400-year-old play. full review
  47. The Flowers of War 2011 An unsettling mixture of spectacular brutality and sentimentality that might make even Steven Spielberg blush. full review
  48. Gerhard Richter Painting 2011 A documentary about the 80-year-old German artist putting paint on canvas that offers a look at the mighty mountain of creative achievement. full review
  49. Hobo With a Shotgun 2011 If, on the other hand, you appreciate a droll and savvy satire of the melodramatic excesses of seventies vigilante thrillers from a filmmaker who clearly knows his stuff, then get in the ticket line. full review
  50. Hugo 2011 Scorsese's film is a richly illustrated lesson in cinema history and the best argument for 3-D since James Cameron's Avatar. full review
  51. An Insignificant Harvey 2011 Kopas's script never manages to set the dramatic wheels in motion. Instead, we get a Sundance-like, episodic quirk-a-thon. full review
  52. The Interrupters 2011 Where James's film excels is as direct experiential cinema -- without narration, onscreen interviews or acknowledgment of the presence of the camera -- it is an intensely dramatic window into a world. full review
  53. Keep the Lights On 2011 A heart-breaking love story and call for emotional transparency in relationships. full review
  54. Tales from the Golden Age 2011 Though much lighter than the country's art-house fare of the past few years, the collection serves as a sampler of the much-heralded Romanian cinema. full review
  55. True Legend 2011 Somewhere between masterful and messy, Yuen Woo-ping offers lots of kinetic kicks, but his CGI work deserves a kick in the pants. full review
  56. Undefeated 2011 This film is distinctly minor league. But it does provide the thumbs-up emotional lift of a bumper-sticker message on game day. full review
  57. The Women on the 6th Floor 2011 A sporadically amusing, occasionally off-putting French farce. full review
  58. Young Adult 2011 A low-key, indie-style comedy that plays precariously close to an unfunny sociopathic case study. full review
  59. The American 2010 The dread in the film is so quickly forgotten. What remains is an urge to fly to Italy, rent an apartment in a medieval city and invent your own adventure. full review
  60. Bill Cunningham New York 2010 Bill Cunningham New York is as winning as its subject, the affable chronicler of New York style from the sidewalk to the runway. full review
  61. Cherry Tree Lane 2010 full review
  62. Heartbeats 2010 Quebec director Xavier Dolan's follow-up to his precocious art-house hit, I Killed My Mother, is a sweet and creamy, puffed-up dessert of a film. full review
  63. I Saw the Devil 2010 After a while, the sheer length and repetitiousness of the film begins to feel pornographic in the dullest sense. full review
  64. Love Ranch 2010 In theory, it had all the signs of a ripe Mirren performance, but she's undone by a weak script that leaves her flailing like an Olympic swimmer in a pool full of jelly. full review
  65. Marwencol 2010 A must-see. full review
  66. Rubber 2010 More a deadpan art provocation than a real movie, Rubber is spun out like a musical theme through a series of variations. full review
  67. Somewhere 2010 Throughout, Dorff is doggedly credible as an obtuse actor, but the richer performance here is from Fanning, and it might have been a stronger movie told from her character's point of view. full review
  68. The Proposal 2009 Onscreen chemistry is an elusive notion but you know it when you see it, and Sandra Bullock and Ryan Reynolds definitely have it in The Proposal. full review
  69. The Boys Are Back 2009 On the tougher side are Allan Cubitt's script, which is good-natured but doesn't idealize any character, and the prickly honesty of Owen's performance. full review
  70. Crude 2009 A legal thriller, it's a three-year investigation into the disaster environmentalists call the "Amazonian Chernobyl" that offers both sides of the story and leaves the viewer in the position of jury. full review
  71. Extract 2009 Mocking an officious middle-manager is always fair game; ridiculing blue-collar workers who resent their mindless jobs just feels mean. full review
  72. The Limits of Control 2009 What a drag it is to descend from coolly blank to boringly meaningful. full review
  73. Mary and Max 2009 The mixture of artistic sophistication and emotional crudeness cancel each other out. full review
  74. Food, Inc. 2008 If you're planning on seeing Food, Inc. as a date movie, make sure you have dinner beforehand. full review
  75. Happy-Go-Lucky 2008 As refreshing as it is to find a movie that leaves you smiling, it's something much rarer to discover a film that makes you think about what a commitment to happiness really means. full review
  76. I Can't Think Straight 2008 Although she has made two films in rapid succession, Sarif shows no discernible aptitude for her new medium. full review
  77. I Think We're Alone Now 2008 Donnelly's film offers no insights, just a string of reality-TV moments. full review
  78. The Tale of Despereaux 2008 Like the old adage about too many cooks, The Tale of Despereaux is full of ideas, but the combination is more perturbing than satisfying. full review
  79. Zack and Miri Make a Porno 2008 There may not be a special movie rating for this kind of coyness, but it definitely feels like emotional porn. full review
  80. Day Watch 2007 It's exhausting just trying to imagine what 46-year-old director Timur Bekmambetov would do with Hollywood money. Yet, as puffed up as it is, Day Watch is redeemed by its sardonic, Slavic take on the end of the world. full review
  81. Eagle vs. Shark 2007 If you just can't get enough of watching a waif being mistreated for comic effect, by all means go see Eagle vs. Shark. full review
  82. Evening 2007 Designers will drool, but the problem is that Evening should have more going for it than Architectural Digest allure. full review
  83. Mr. Bean's Holiday 2007 The humour in Mr. Bean's Holiday, more chucklesome than uproarious, doesn't feel particularly contemporary. It has the kind of simplicity that's most likely to appeal to either the old or young. full review
  84. Outsourced 2007 A frothy romantic comedy that makes a serious point about the arrogance of treating human beings from around the world as interchangeable economic units. full review
  85. There Will Be Blood 2007 Conjure up the maddest despot scene you can remember and you might get a sense of the seismic register of Day-Lewis's extravagant performance. Watch and marvel, though you may have to suspend your disbelief from the top of an oil derrick. full review
  86. You Kill Me 2007 Given a choice between a dark film with comic elements and a comedy that purports to be edgy, the filmmakers took the easy way out. full review
  87. Zodiac 2007 The most provocative aspect of this compulsive riddle is how it resists closure. full review
  88. Golden Door 2006 Unfolding like a gorgeous coffee-table book of photographs, Emanuele Crialese's film Golden Door is as lovely to look at as it is dramatically inert. full review
  89. Last Holiday 2006 The pace drags, the stunt double work is obvious and the slapstick, especially a ski-hill scene, is contrived and extended. full review
  90. Nacho Libre 2006 Disappointment, my fellow gringos, presumes positive expectations, so perhaps it is best to report, with some sorrow but no deep surprise, that the new comedy starring Jack Black and directed by Jared Hess, is not illustrious. full review
  91. Penelope 2006 Perhaps the best reason to recommend Penelope is that it offers an opportunity to watch Catherine O'Hara in action as the alarming Mrs. Wilhern. full review
  92. Scoop 2006 The movie is watchable, there's the occasional good one-liner, but it's extremely slight, overly drawn out and never for a moment believable. full review
  93. Free Zone 2005 Too slight as a metaphor for the larger catastrophe of the Mideast, too preachy to work as an emotionally compelling drama. full review
  94. 13 Going on 30 2004 The lanky action star of the cult television series Alias is assigned a tired playbook in this film, but she finds room to manoeuvre in a performance that exceeds expectations. full review
  95. A Good Woman 2004 ... willfully odd movie ... full review
  96. Hotel Rwanda 2004 There is much to respect in Hotel Rwanda, not least Cheadle's subtly crafted performance, which allows the audience a direct connection to his ethical growth. full review
  97. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra 2004 A little too true to it sources and ends up reminding you just how boring inept acting, editing and story-telling can be. full review
  98. Mean Girls 2004 Lohan ... is a good reactive young actress, and London, Ont., native Rachel McAdams is excellently evil. full review
  99. Camp 2003 There are moments when you're not sure whether you're supposed to scoff with Camp, or at it. full review
  100. Dirty Pretty Things 2003 A classic piece of Frears's fine carpentry. full review
  101. Gigli 2003 Rarely has a movie that doesn't star Madonna achieved such a skin-crawling mixture of deluded preening and bungled humour. full review
  102. The Missing 2003 A movie that is, by turns, needlessly unpleasant for cheap effect and misguidedly heart-warming when it should remain stringent. The Missing lives down to its title. full review
  103. Party Monster 2003 Gracelessly executed, it throws out mock documentary, fantasy sequences and rapid montages, but still drags on woefully, and looks like it was soaked in dirty water. full review
  104. Saved! 2003 This is one of the most intriguing rite-of-passage teen comedies in a long time. full review
  105. Spy Kids 3-D - Game Over 2003 While there's a certain rough charm to the handmade virtual reality world [Rodriguez] creates, the movie still has the undeniable drawback that it causes a headache. full review
  106. Timeline 2003 Plays out like a 1950s B-movie with a fat special-effects budget. full review
  107. Touching the Void 2003 Nail-biting. full review
  108. Fidel 2002 Has the kitsch appeal of a farm implement on a restaurant wall, or an Andy Warhol Mao poster: Interesting, but not for its original purpose.
  109. Men in Black II 2002 Instead of the fresh comic concept of the 1996 blockbuster, we have a calculated piece of product: a lightweight, occasionally laboured copycat skewed to a younger children's demographic to move the action figures and video sales. full review
  110. Narc 2002 A cop movie that refuses to cop out in the usual way. full review
  111. Pumpkin 2002 The results are perversely watchable, as much for the movie's evasions as the controversial issues with which it toys. Often, it just seems carelessly smug. full review
  112. Roger Dodger 2002 An unusually smartly written and performed American independent film. full review
  113. Star Trek - Nemesis 2002 Familiarity breeds content with Star Trek fans, and the 10th movie in the series does nothing to mess with the series' comfortably monotonous fantasy formula. full review
  114. The United States of Leland 2002 It's neither an insightful nor well-made film. full review
  115. Along Came a Spider 2001 There are popcorn movies, and then there are movies like this one, which, by its conclusion, make you want to toss your empty popcorn bag at the screen. full review
  116. Atlantis - The Lost Empire 2001 The movie loses sight of those old nuisances, character and story, behind a chain of spectacles. full review
  117. Baran 2001 Though the pathos of this fable-like love story feels overcalculated, Majidi succeeds in playing the classical Dickensian balance, with the sentimental hook justified by the social sweep of the narrative. full review
  118. Dogtown and Z-Boys 2001 Blatant promotion aside, the chronicles of Dogtown make for fascinating insider cultural history. full review
  119. Novocaine 2001 The laughs aren't warm enough, or the crimes cold enough, to move anyone to shake or shiver. full review
  120. Zoolander 2001 Zoolander's vain stupidity gets as wearisome on film as such behaviour is in real life. full review
  121. The Emperor's New Groove 2000 Will the kids buy it? You bet they will. full review
  122. Scream 3 2000 The result is the usual fragmentary mixture of jolts and jokes, knife-wielding maniacs and red herrings. full review
  123. The Tigger Movie 2000 When it comes to Pooh stories, a shortage of ambition and reluctance to improve on success should be counted as assets. full review
  124. Urban Legends: Final Cut 2000 Impossible to follow. full review
  125. The Blair Witch Project 1999 What can anyone say about The Blair Witch Project that hasn't been trumpeted from a thousand Web sites already? full review
  126. Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels 1999 The best one can say is that it's a smart cartoon, and a fairly exhausting viewing experience. full review
  127. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut 1999 Rude, but inspired. full review
  128. The Wood 1999 Choppy coming-of-age story. full review
  129. Antz 1998 It's a perfect picnic, without the pesky human interference. full review
  130. Can't Hardly Wait 1998 Manages to serve up new rock, eighties dance music, rap and Barry Manilow -- a combination custom-made to annoy audiences of all ages. full review
  131. Pi 1998 Audacious and bursting with ideas. full review
  132. The Prince of Egypt 1998 Takes itself too seriously. full review
  133. The House of Yes 1997 This is a definitive Posey performance: wide-eyed, smiling and ultrafeminine, but plastic and cold as a store mannequin. full review
  134. McHale's Navy 1997 A useless movie. Not funny, suspenseful, moving or even offensive enough to want to torpedo. Just devoid of any conceivable value. full review
  135. The Ghost and the Darkness 1996 Ranges in quality from adolescent boys' adventure stories to Heart of Darkness. full review
  136. Scream 1996 Turns slasher flicks into slapstick. full review
  137. Trainspotting 1996 THE experience of watching Trainspotting -- the electric, nasty and slick descent into the milieu of young Scottish junkies -- is a little like speeding through the digestive tract of some voracious beast. full review
  138. Devil in a Blue Dress 1995 A bland, workaday detective flick. full review
  139. Swimming with Sharks 1994 This excessively talky, incoherently plotted, would-be film noir is not very good. full review
  140. True Grit 1969 full review

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