instantwatcher.com

Lisa Kennedy, Denver Post

  1. Adore 2013 What's shocking here is how not shocking all this is. Watts and Wright provide interesting portraits of two friends who really do appear to have an unconditional fondness for each other. They make the unfathomable believable -- almost. full review
  2. The Croods 2013 It captures the wonder (and more gently, the anxiety) of discovery time and time again. And the filmmakers have a hoot playing with the Croods' encounters with, as well as their misunderstandings of, all things new. full review
  3. The Iceman 2013 Shannon gets at his character's pent-up torment as well as his efficient disconnect. When his two worlds start to converge -- on his daughter's sweet 16th birthday, no less -- you feel for him. full review
  4. A Place at the Table 2013 You don't have to be a fan of info-graphics in social-justice docs to be troubled by one showing that the price of processed food has decreased in almost exact proportion to the rise in cost of fresh fruits and vegetables. full review
  5. Short Term 12 2013 Short Term 12 captures the complex rhythms of institutional life -- for worker and inhabitant -- while weaving the story of Grace's journey through anguish toward, we hope, happiness. full review
  6. Side Effects 2013 "Side Effects" does a nice job teasing current anxieties about depression, medical ethics and class striving with the classic thriller quandary of "Who's playing whom?" full review
  7. A Touch of Sin 2013 This masterwork is set in contemporary China, where the gulf between those able to maneuver (or manipulate) the country's economies of change and those left behind or defeated by the seismic shifts widens. full review
  8. Upstream Color 2013 Sci-fi might have been too familiar a word, for what may induce a kind of hallucinatory melancholy in its viewers. full review
  9. Arbitrage 2012 Gere's very good at making Robert's compromises seem more human than horrid. He portrays the philanthropic, philandering patriarch with his customary twinkle. full review
  10. Marvel's The Avengers 2012 It's two-plus hours of visual brawn, unexpected heartbeats and welcome humor. full review
  11. Bernie 2012 Bernie has chuckles, but it's hardly riotous. And this is a good thing. full review
  12. Bully 2012 Bully" is smart and compassionate about the pain of its wounded subjects and the frustration felt by their parents, seemingly abandoned by the system. What the powerful film lacks is insight into bullying. full review
  13. The Cabin in the Woods 2012 And you thought you were just headed for a weekend getaway. full review
  14. The Central Park Five 2012 The doc is rife with smart or wrenching or shameful moments. The fresh interviews with the accused, now men, are invaluable. full review
  15. Flight 2012 An old-fashioned drama and all the better for it. full review
  16. The Forgiveness of Blood 2012 The leads -- both non-actors -- hit sharp, natural notes. full review
  17. Friends With Kids 2012 Sitcom-amusing, in that middle-of-the-road way. full review
  18. Gregory Crewdson: Brief Encounters 2012 Shapiro's film is fascinating even if it can't possibly answer all the mysteries propelling the work of a photographer whose interest in secrets was rooted in wondering what tales were being uncovered in his psychologist father's basement office. full review
  19. The Hunger Games 2012 Ross moves between action and human drama with nimble awareness of the weight of the issues coursing through the story of fascism, propaganda, and, yes, adolescence under the weight of the world. full review
  20. The Paperboy 2012 Yes, it's a dizzying stew set to boil. full review
  21. A Royal Affair 2012 What a piece of work is this historical drama. full review
  22. The Sapphires 2012 The harmonies they strike in this reality-inspired charmer are sweetly sublime. full review
  23. Silent House 2012 It's Olsen's performance that makes Sarah's plight matter. And the actress proves that her mesmerizing turn in last fall's Martha Marcy May Marlene -- about a woman on the lam from a cult -- wasn't a fluke. full review
  24. Skyfall 2012 Craig has settled into a well-suited, grim-reaper role. Even when James flirts and trysts, his creased face suggests an unmovable weight. full review
  25. The Waiting Room 2012 The level of frankness and vulnerability of those featured suggests just how compassionate a filmmaker Nicks (who acted as his own cinematographer) must be. full review
  26. The Artist 2011 A silent movie shot in sumptuous black-and-white, no less. A silent flick made with not a jot of distancing winking, but instead born of a heady affection for a bygone, very bygone, era of filmmaking. full review
  27. Being Elmo: A Puppeteer's Journey 2011 The film also provides an inspiring reminder for the young and the rest of us that there is a vital relationship between the best kind of work and passionate play. full review
  28. Bellflower 2011 Bellflower is weirdly gorgeous. Its intentional post-romanticism is mirrored in evocative chapter headings and ace cinematographer Joel Hodge's images (using a camera of the director's tweaking). full review
  29. The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975 2011 Broken into nine chapters -- one for each year -- the documentary isn't a rigorous work but a felt piece of vital, if flawed, art. full review
  30. Crime After Crime 2011 Though rife with talking-head interviews and straightforwardly shot, the movie is quietly riveting and cumulatively galling. full review
  31. Friends With Benefits 2011 Directed with quick-witted ease by Will Gluck, the [film is a] frank, frisky, even touching romantic comedy. full review
  32. Gun Hill Road 2011 Gun Hill Road is shot through with performances at once intense and relaxed. full review
  33. I Don't Know How She Does It 2011 How nice it would have been had McKenna penned a couple of those audience-addressing interludes for Richard or Jack. What would these modern, succesful men tell us of themselves? full review
  34. The Interrupters 2011 Tense, moving, and, at times brain-draining. full review
  35. The Iron Lady 2011 Often "The Iron Lady" relies on montages to get to - and plow through - historic high points. full review
  36. My Week with Marilyn 2011 After My Week, Monroe remains an enigma. And that isn't a failing of Williams' performance but an expression of its nuance. full review
  37. Pina 2011 Pina is a tribute of an artist by an artist, a friend to a friend. But its great genius comes from the mournful, as well as celebratory, reckoning of the performers Bausch pushed, collaborated with and inspired. full review
  38. Trishna 2011 Trishna engages the potent collisions of the rural and the urban, the poor and the rich, and considers how these interactions unfold in a romance and how they might also destroy it. full review
  39. Undefeated 2011 [A] winning documentary. full review
  40. Young Adult 2011 There's little about Mavis that makes for feel-good revelry. That's an understatement, perhaps. Yet, Theron's work feels true to Mavis' malaise -- and often, just as sad. full review
  41. The American 2010 If you're expecting a star-propelled thriller with the usual bob, weave and one-two punch, this isn't your ticket. full review
  42. And Everything Is Going Fine 2010 Think of the film as Gray's final monologue. full review
  43. Biutiful 2010 Inarritu has a delicate yet searing sense of intimacy, which cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto captures with hand-held determination. full review
  44. Blue Valentine 2010 Blue Valentine comes on like a bittersweet cautionary tale. full review
  45. Casino Jack 2010 Spacey has fun doing Abramoff doing Al Pacino, President Ronald Reagan and Sylvester Stallone. But the typically strong Spacey isn't the only actor doing commanding work here. full review
  46. The Company Men 2010 "The Company Men" is a worthwhile outing that takes despair - but also resilience - seriously. full review
  47. Countdown to Zero 2010 The news is ugly. The film is often gorgeous and wields a cumulative power to humanize potential devastation. full review
  48. I Am Love 2010 Cinematographer Yorick Le Saux's elegant images of buildings -- stony exteriors, lux interiors -- and weather-worn statuary suggest centuries-old tradition but also invite a meditative or appreciative silence. full review
  49. Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work 2010 Were James Brown still with us, he'd have to at least share his "hardest working man in showbiz" honors with Rivers. full review
  50. The Joneses 2010 [Demi Moore is] She's one reason to see writer-director's Derrick Borte's zeitgeist fable The Joneses. Though she's not the only one. full review
  51. The Kids Are All Right 2010 Cholodenko and cowriter Stuart Blumberg have crafted a loving work about family that will resonate as true for those who find their experience reflected on the big screen and will be revelatory to others. full review
  52. The King's Speech 2010 It is an intelligent, winning drama fit for a king -- and the rest of us. And this year, there were far too few of those coming from Hollywood. full review
  53. Monsters 2010 Monsters is part immigration parable, part war allegory with a dose of It Happened One Night and The African Queen tossed in. full review
  54. Restrepo 2010 In hewing closely to the rhythms of war, Junger and Hetherington forgo different considerations about war. full review
  55. Senna 2010 A psychologically intriguing if at times too hagiographic portrait of a man who often held pole position in his profession and felt nearer to God because of it. full review
  56. Somewhere 2010 The writer-director of "Lost in Translation" and "Marie Antoinette" has made the malaise of the privileged her special turf. Ennui is her milieu. And Coppola has a talent for revealing its existential and cultural dimensions. full review
  57. The Switch 2010 The comedy itself suffers from awkward scheduling. Though this isn't its only wrinkle. full review
  58. Tiny Furniture 2010 It's one of the loveliest lowest-budget features to come down the pike. full review
  59. Vanishing On 7th Street 2010 Brad Anderson's supernatural thriller is stacked to keep us guessing. Initially, this makes it watchably atmospheric. But the inconclusive hints lead to the sense that he's withholding too much. full review
  60. Beeswax 2009 Beeswax reminds viewers that in talkative films much can go unspoken. For writer-director Andrew Bujalski these betwixt-between, hem-haw spaces are the places to be. full review
  61. The Proposal 2009 The script encases Margaret in rusted defenses from which it can't free her without awkward leaps and cheats. full review
  62. Antichrist 2009 Von Trier and cinematographer Anthony Dod Mantle use sumptuous black-and-white photography and saturated color. Few movies are as beautifully wrought as this. full review
  63. The Boys Are Back 2009 Clive Owen was spared the role of James Bond. And The Boys are Back is an example of why we are all the better for it. full review
  64. Bruno 2009 For all his idiocy, Kazakh journalist Borat Sagdiyev was a more likable jester than Bruno, who is the sum of his nether parts. One is a naif in a strange land. One is a jerk no matter where he travels. full review
  65. Extract 2009 These days, it appears to be a rare gift to do comedy in a way that comes across as smart, but never superior or willfully crass. Bateman has that talent to spare. full review
  66. Fish Tank 2009 The film swims in an anguish not solely the result of Mia's coming of age -- and yet, it surfaces for air in ways compelling and uncompromising. full review
  67. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest 2009 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest is too akin to the tidying up of a television-series finale - albeit a very classy franchise with fine characters and able performances. full review
  68. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 2009 The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo grapples with far more than "whodunit." And it does a handy job of answering that question, too. full review
  69. Great Directors 2009 The number of interviewees makes the film a signpost survey, more meaningful to film- study newbies than veterans. full review
  70. The Limits of Control 2009 Let its craft wash over you. Go with its flow. full review
  71. The Road 2009 This is a willfully, skillfully crafted film with insufficient heart to the task it undertakes. It never fully connects us to love amid its ruins. full review
  72. Vision: From the Life of Hildegard von Bingen 2009 Vision is shot through with issues of power - personal, political, spiritual. Which makes it a terrifically resonant work. full review
  73. World's Greatest Dad 2009 Making Kyle godawful may seem edgy, even authentic. But it's pure setup. full review
  74. The Burning Plain 2008 Possibly the stories fit too neatly. If so, it's hardly a fatal flaw. full review
  75. Let the Right One In 2008 Like the best vampire sagas, the film is rife with aching melancholy and existential crises. Its haunting beauty isn't marred, but complemented by strong, disquieting images. full review
  76. Man on Wire 2008 A gift of a documentary. full review
  77. Rachel Getting Married 2008 By the time you leave the theater, you feel like you were one of the guests. I, for one, was happy for the invitation. full review
  78. Valkyrie 2008 What if this lesser-known chapter of German resistance had been more deeply captured? What if the moral conflicts running through this movie about love of country and revolt said more about Germany, war and, yes, genocide? full review
  79. Into the Wild 2007 It is we who are made a little more complete for wrestling with, and watching, Penn's film. full review
  80. No End in Sight 2007 No End in Sight makes one thing clear: Were it not so bloody, the war in Iraq would be destined to become a case study in the nation's business schools. full review
  81. Sangre De Mi Sangre 2007 [Director Christopher] Zalla may have provided his characters with a overly constructed tragedy, but his eye for city life and his seeming gift with actors promises astute, generous work to come. full review
  82. There Will Be Blood 2007 If [Day-Lewis] does not win the Academy Award for this protean portrayal, it will be because he's won before. Or because his gift, his discipline, is so daunting it can be confounding. full review
  83. Year of the Dog 2007 Is it possible for a movie to anthromorphize humans? full review
  84. Failure to Launch 2006 Like The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Wedding Crashers, Failure to Launch reminds us that Hollywood is set on making romantic-comedy counterparts to the chick flick. full review
  85. Jesus Camp 2006 One of those documentaries so well crafted you should wonder what was left on the cutting-room floor. full review
  86. Last Holiday 2006 For a movie about overcoming fear and living out loud, Last Holiday's too-tidy conclusion isn't a sign of hope so much as a lack of nerve. full review
  87. United 93 2006 ... in telling the story of the one terrorist-commandeered jet that did not hit its target on Sept. 11, 2001, United 93 does so much right. full review
  88. Brokeback Mountain 2005 Like these indelible cowboys, you, too, may find it impossible not to succumb to the powerful, quiet greatness that is Brokeback Mountain. full review
  89. Broken Flowers 2005 Don's is a journey more bittersweet than riotously funny. But then, Murray is becoming a relentless minimalist. full review
  90. Capote 2005 Hoffman and company make Capote well worth seeing. What makes the movie important is the way Capote exposes the work of journalism. full review
  91. My Summer of Love 2005 My Summer of Love is willfully romantic -- and just as smart about the dangers in that. full review
  92. Neil Young: Heart of Gold 2005 Like its troubadour, Heart of Gold is smart and generous with its seeming simplicity. full review
  93. Old Joy 2005 Subdued, artistic, with beautifully nuanced performances that are as true as they are often elusive of commercial triumph. full review
  94. The Producers 2005 It may not be great, but it is a movie. full review
  95. 13 Going on 30 2004 Often 13 Going on 30's pleasures aren't deep so much as they are the trained responses to a push of our MTV-programmed buttons. full review
  96. Downfall (Der Untergang) 2004 It provides a compelling glimpse at a nation wrestling with its greatest demon. full review
  97. Little Black Book 2004 Raises the question: When does a movie go from being an homage to being a parasite? full review
  98. Me and You and Everyone We Know 2004 First-time feature director July's success has a great deal to do with her bold embrace of childhood and its gnarly truths. full review
  99. The Passion of the Christ 2004 A film of artistic ambition and devotion. full review
  100. The Puffy Chair 2004 The Duplass brothers have stuffed their first feature with fine details. Not all of them are comfy. But they're well-crafted and hint at funny, ouchy films to come. full review
  101. Beyond Borders 2003 Beyond Borders invites ruminations about style over substance. full review
  102. Camp 2003 Restraint and exuberance, joy and tenderness, and a cameo by the patron saint of musical theater, Stephen Sondheim. full review
  103. Control Room 2003 A must-see movie. full review
  104. Hollywood Homicide 2003 It's Get Shorty, but not as agile. full review
  105. The Italian Job 2003 The Italian Job has a decent enough heart, and, thanks to Seth Green and Mos Def, some funny moments. It's just not racing with enough adrenaline. full review
  106. Party Monster 2003 In the end, for all the vibrancy, there's not much there there. Maybe that's the point, but I doubt it. full review
  107. Radio 2003 The result is just as the filmmakers hoped. You'd have to hold a stubborn defensive line not to be moved by this film's heart. full review
  108. Something's Gotta Give 2003 As dazzlingly enjoyable as it is deeply intelligent. full review
  109. Swimming Pool 2003 In taking one sort of movie and seemingly teasing it into another, the director and his leading ladies have made a lovely argument about where the real mysteries lie in our lives. full review
  110. Bukowski: Born into This 2002 The filmmaker knows when to shift the rhythm of his investigation. The authenticity of art is woven with the artifice of life. full review
  111. The Dancer Upstairs 2002 Moving, melancholy, and, yes, political. full review
  112. The United States of Leland 2002 Ambitious but flawed. full review
  113. Gojira 1954 The rampaging reptile is back to remind us that monsters have meaning. full review