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Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

  1. Puccini for Beginners 2007 A sharp-witted romantic comedy that takes the old Woody Allen screwball style and mood and amusingly applies them to a story about tangled gay and straight relationships in modern Manhattan. full review
  2. Year of the Dog 2007 It's enjoyable in a dry but fervent way that most American comedies aren't. full review
  3. Golden Door 2006 An often lyrical and moving movie. full review
  4. The Wind That Shakes the Barley 2006 [Loach is] the master of the docu-drama or the realist social film, and Wind is one of his masterpieces. full review
  5. 49 Up 2005 I can think of no single movie, fictional or factual, that more strongly awakens our common humanity or that establishes such a marvelous, tight bond with its characters. full review
  6. Broken Flowers 2005 Jarmusch is a brilliant critic of the dead-ends of American culture and society and a first-rate painter of the absurdities of the Now and the traps of the Then. full review
  7. Factotum 2005 Hamer illuminates Bukowski's dark, sleazy little corner. He makes us feel with Hank and, surprisingly, at times, feel for him. full review
  8. Forgiving Dr. Mengele 2005 Its subject enobles the work. full review
  9. Into Great Silence 2005 Into Great Silence is a film of great spiritual intensity and haunting minimalism that enlarges your concepts of movies and of life. full review
  10. Old Joy 2005 Fresh as spring water and warm as sunlight, it steeps us in the beauties we will always miss, if we keep dividing the world into winners and losers. full review
  11. Psychopathia Sexualis 2005 full review
  12. Stoned 2005 In the end, a Stones (or a Jones) movie with no Stones songs is itself a bit like death by misadventure. full review
  13. The World's Fastest Indian 2005 These days, when movies often fatuously exploit youth and condescend to age, it's refreshing to see something like Roger Donaldson's picaresque action movie The World's Fastest Indian. full review
  14. Agnes and His Brothers 2004 It's a slick, ambitious movie that doesn't always nail all the many moods and themes it's after. But the actors give it force and depth. full review
  15. Danny Deckchair 2004 Danny's a nice enough guy and it's a nice enough movie, if your standards aren't too strict and your tastes not too elitist -- and you don't get overly miffed about huge gaping plot holes all over a movie. full review
  16. My Boss's Daughter 2003 This is a movie that boggles the mind: a bad-taste comedy that makes the average effort by the Farrelly Brothers (mysteriously thanked in the credits) look like a Merchant-Ivory film. full review
  17. Ararat 2002 In the end, Ararat has enough artistry and intelligence -- and enough commitment from Egoyan, producer Robert Lantos and company -- to justify more than a higher-than-mixed rating. full review
  18. The Believer 2002 One of the year's most thought-provoking, hard-hitting films, gutsily opening up a subject rarely done with this kind of all-out chutzpah. full review
  19. Changing Lanes 2002 A thrilling ride but also a thoughtful one, it's a movie that does manage to do more good than bad by the end of the day. full review
  20. The New Guy 2002 Bad beyond belief and ridiculous beyond description. full review
  21. Paid in Full 2002 It's good, hard-edged stuff, violent and a bit exploitative but also nicely done, morally alert and street-smart. full review
  22. Spy Kids 2: The Island of Lost Dreams 2002 You don't have to be a child to enjoy Spy Kids 2, but it certainly helps. full review
  23. The Sum of All Fears 2002 An implausible apocalypse without depth or resonance, a cartoon of international politics presented with no James Bond-like playfulness and with all the superficial realism money can buy. full review
  24. We Were Soldiers 2002 Probably the best thing you can say about We Were Soldiers is that it does justice to an awful conflict. full review
  25. Black Hawk Down 2001 A first-rate war movie that presents its subject so horrifyingly well that it doesn't need to probe or preach. full review
  26. America's Sweethearts 2001 All these good actors and all Crystal's sass and witty candor can't bring back the heyday of Billy Wilder and Preston Sturges. Or even, most of the time, their off-days. full review
  27. Apocalypse Now Redux 2001 Coming back decades later to it, Coppola has been able to reshape these extraordinary scenes with a wisdom and humility perhaps missing before.
  28. Baran 2001 A mix of gritty realism, crisp storytelling and radiant compassion that effortlessly draws you in. full review
  29. Dogtown and Z-Boys 2001 Few sports films catch their time, place and sport so well. full review
  30. Donnie Darko 2001 Just another self-absorbed teen chronicle, with the added twist of a little time travel and a surprise ending. full review
  31. Shaolin Soccer 2001 While Shaolin Soccer may not wow Western audiences the way it did Asian ones, you should get more than a few kicks out of it. full review
  32. American Psycho 2000 All we get is a second-rate nightmare.
  33. Gladiator 2000 The most visually spectacular of all Roman Empire epics. full review
  34. The Man Who Cried 2000 A poetic look at transience, betrayal, loss and doom. full review
  35. Merci Pour le Chocolat 2000 An impeccable study in perversity. full review
  36. The Original Kings of Comedy 2000 This often hilarious quartet use the foul-ups, aggravations and muddles of everyday life to produce more laughs than most movies you'll see this year.
  37. Reindeer Games (Deception) 2000 It's a heist without a plan, a crime without a brain, a thriller without a decent script.
  38. Shaft 2000 This new Shaft has the stuff to grab its audience in a big way, maybe even opening up a new franchise.
  39. The Yards 2000 A rare and often quite good try at making a thriller with real people and believable contemporary backgrounds.
  40. The Haunting 1999 In The Haunting, the moviemakers succeed in something very difficult: creating a haunted house with real personality and terror.
  41. Mansfield Park 1999 Spins the most interesting modern re-interpretation of the Austen canon.
  42. Music of the Heart 1999 One of the year's most heartfelt movies. full review
  43. The Ninth Gate 1999 Elegant, scary fun.
  44. Runaway Bride 1999 A shiny bauble full of dead weight, gloppy good feeling and airless cliches!
  45. The Talented Mr. Ripley 1999 The movie gives us enticing sights and sounds, brilliant scenes, gifted actors and artists and at least part of one of the all-time great nerve-jangling thriller plots.
  46. Tarzan 1999 Entertaining and spectacular!
  47. The Thomas Crown Affair 1999 Remade with lots of pizzazz but little wit or soul.
  48. The Prince of Egypt 1998 For a cartoon, the movie is overpowering!
  49. Shakespeare in Love 1998 Prepare to be ravished!
  50. Braveheart 1995 In this mix of historical tragedy and hip adventure, Gibson may be as galvanic a movie swashbuckler as Errol Flynn and Burt Lancaster were in their day. full review
  51. Bushwhacked 1995 Bushwhacked isn't much of a movie. But it made me laugh more than I'd like to admit. full review
  52. The Usual Suspects 1995 It's a nerve-shredding suspense movie about corruption, a bravura actor's show full of deliciously twisted cops and robbers, and a complex riddle packed with unexpected turns. full review
  53. While You Were Sleeping 1995 It plays like a movie dreamed up by people in a studio marketing department who'd decided to bare their souls. full review
  54. Forrest Gump 1994 This tall tale may reach monumental proportions, but Forrest Gump always keeps its magical airiness and grace. full review
  55. Legends of the Fall 1994 There's a vast psychodrama being played out on the Ludlow ranch, battles between generations, philosophies, races and sexes. And the landscapes, photographed by John Toll, majestically backdrop all the personal and cultural furies. full review
  56. Days of Heaven 1978 Perhaps the most typical example of a '70s American art film -- daring, romantic, rebellious but also filled with longing for the beauty of the past. full review
  57. Carrie 1976 A voluptuously shot horror movie. full review
  58. Patton 1970 Scott strikes an unforgettable figure. full review
  59. The Graduate 1967 Few movies have communicated with such dark hilarity all the anxiety and flamboyant misery of youthful sexual initiation
  60. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo.) 1966 An improbable masterpiece -- a bizarre mixture of grandly operatic visuals, grim brutality and sordid violence that keeps wrenching you from one extreme to the other. full review
  61. Becket 1964 Ripe with homoerotic undercurrents -- which O'Toole mines with relish in his great hysterical performance, full of cunning, eloquence and mad outbursts. full review

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