Stephen Whitty, Newark Star-Ledger

  1. 20 Feet From Stardom 2013 When any one of these women steps up to the microphone - well, they really soar. And they carry us along with them. full review
  2. Aftershock 2013 On the seismic scale of entertainment, "Aftershock" registers a 1.5. full review
  3. The Angels' Share 2013 Like the spirit it celebrates, "The Angel's Share" is a neat little jolt of pleasure - and guaranteed to leave you feeling just a mite warmer. full review
  4. The Attack 2013 The film unfolds like an endless argument, and in a way that's perfect; the unhappy union at the heart of "The Attack" isn't just the one that Amin and Siham had, but the forced one that that Jews and Palestinians continue to have. full review
  5. Augustine 2013 A dark, and rather disturbing debut. full review
  6. Berberian Sound Studio 2013 [It's] as if someone took all the raw footage from Argento's "Suspiria," and gave it to Antonioni to recut. But, in a way, the disjointed dreaminess of it is the point. full review
  7. The Big Wedding 2013 I suppose it's always nice to get an invitation but please, this "Wedding"? Send back your regrets. full review
  8. Blue Is The Warmest Color 2013 An undeniably moving picture which is both problematic and astonishingly acted, sometimes frustratingly wrongheaded and occasionally lit by flashes of insight. full review
  9. Broken 2013 [It] drives its plot via an interesting and unusual character: the female victim who's actually a wholesale liar. full review
  10. Computer Chess 2013 The comedy of missed cues and social misdirection is a universal one, and there are a few more mainstream gags that connect reliably, from missed room reservations to run-ins with a human-potential convention. full review
  11. Concussion 2013 For all that could be said of why this character chooses this path - of what this says, or she thinks it says, about control, or submission, or transgressiveness - the movie says nothing. full review
  12. The Croods 2013 A film which, if not truly sophisticated, isn't nearly as crude as advertised. full review
  13. Dead Man Down 2013 Perhaps if Farrell and Rapace and Oplev had all stayed in Europe - and tried to do a similar script, with half-as-much firepower, and twice as much brainpower - they might have had something worth watching. Instead it's just something worth ducking. full review
  14. The English Teacher 2013 The movie doesn't do enough with its cast or its idea; it's an underachiever that simply doesn't try hard enough. full review
  15. Erased 2013 It promises little, and half-heartedly delivers. full review
  16. Escape From Planet Earth 2013 It ... provides a few smiles, and a decent amount of rainy-day, kiddie entertainment. full review
  17. Family Weekend 2013 We're sitting there, trapped. An angry little teenager's yelling at us. And we're not having any fun at all. full review
  18. Frances Ha 2013 While Gerwig's gentleness gives Baumbach's work a new warmth, his touch gives her a new maturity. full review
  19. G.I. Joe: Retaliation 2013 Unmitigated nonsense to anyone but diehard fans. full review
  20. Good Ol' Freda 2013 For any hard-core Beatles fan, this is essential stuff - and for anyone who follows pop culture, it's rather bittersweet. full review
  21. A Hijacking 2013 We're impatient for action, any kind of action - but preferably the sort that involves a team of Navy SEALs, maybe led by Dwayne Johnson. Instead, we get something like a merger meeting. full review
  22. The Host 2013 If only the movie played as nicely as it looked. full review
  23. The Hot Flashes 2013 A Lifetime movie, minus the commercials, but with every predictable twist and turn and treacly message intact. She shoots. It bores. full review
  24. How I Live Now 2013 There's nothing in the character, or Ronan's performance, to draw you in. She enters the film like a junior-grade Lindsay Lohan - all hard eyes and dyed hair and proactive disapproval - and bores almost immediately. full review
  25. The Iceman 2013 There's not much style here, beyond the uniformly good acting, and even less of a point. full review
  26. In the House 2013 Mostly, the film's a confident, very sophisticated meditation on art - on why we need it, how we identify with it and what it gives our lives. And what it can't replace. full review
  27. It's a Disaster 2013 Berger never takes the camera more than a few yards outside the house, but that's fine; there's plenty going on inside, as characters carom off each other like billiard balls, slipping down pockets of misunderstanding and jealousy. full review
  28. Jobs 2013 He was a charismatic leader, and the greatest salesman the industry ever saw. full review
  29. The Last Days On Mars 2013 Although this film presents an interesting cast, they never feel like a crew. full review
  30. The Last Stand 2013 [Kim] can't disguise the fact that Schwarzenegger, playing this seen-enough sheriff, doesn't so much look world-weary as simply tired. full review
  31. The Lifeguard 2013 The movie really depends on Bell, and her story, and neither is interesting or compelling enough to engage us. full review
  32. Lovelace 2013 It has a pair of terrific performances at its center, and an intriguing story. full review
  33. Maniac 2013 "Maniac" only takes what had merely been a disturbing film and makes it into a truly disturbed one. full review
  34. Mud 2013 "Mud" isn't just a movie. It's the firm confirmation of a career. full review
  35. Olympus Has Fallen 2013 It's a solid, simple, more-bang-for-our-buck entertainment that doesn't ask us to think. full review
  36. Only God Forgives 2013 I never had a doubt that director Nicolas Winding Refn was in absolute control. full review
  37. Parker 2013 In a world of pumped up, hyped-up action stars, Statham is one of the few who looks like a genuine man of action. Like Parker, he gets the job done. And then he moves on. full review
  38. Phantom 2013 The film remains mediocre, with flat cinematography and crudely anachronistic dialogue. full review
  39. Pieta 2013 More philosophy than film at times, it asks questions without expecting easy answers. What is money? What is love? And what would you do for either? full review
  40. A Place at the Table 2013 As rich as we are as a nation - still - many of our citizens are, at best, malnourished. One in six says they regularly don't have enough to eat. full review
  41. The Playroom 2013 A detailed, and depressing portrait of grim, forced independence. Lightened only by the sense that if these kids are learning anything, it is how to survive. full review
  42. Room 237 2013 A beautifully edited, deeply strange compendium of what different people have read into a single film. full review
  43. Safe Haven 2013 The problem with the romantic "Safe Haven" isn't that it plays it safe, but that it plays it cheap. It's also about 10 minutes too long. And there's a final twist that, well, if you have any popcorn left by the scene, you'll want to throw it at the screen. full review
  44. Salinger 2013 One of those documentaries where a lot of fancy people who never met the guy use the word "must" a lot. Oh, well, he must have thought this, they say, waving their hands around. Oh, this must be why he did this. It's all kind of annoying, actually. full review
  45. Scenic Route 2013 At the very least shows you how to make a smart, cheap little movie with only two actors, one main exterior set and no special effects. full review
  46. Shadow Dancer 2013 The movie runs into the same problem all stories like this do: Generally, audiences don't like snitches. full review
  47. Side Effects 2013 [It] will both keep you on your toes and at the edge of your seat. full review
  48. Something in the Air 2013 It does capture the high emotionalism of a very specific point in a person's life, where the magnitude of the injustices around you is surpassed only by the firm belief that you and your friends alone know an easy way to end them. full review
  49. Stuck in Love 2013 The story, while unsurprising, is also quietly satisfying. Everyone comes to accept some hard truths about themselves. full review
  50. The Summit 2013 I'm afraid it will only leave some audience members with the same nagging question I had at the beginning. Why on earth do people do this? full review
  51. The Sweeney 2013 Winstone is, as always, perfectly believable as a tough guy and after a slow start - due, somewhat, to American ears adjusting to those problematic accents - the film hits a groove. full review
  52. Unfinished Song 2013 It's all very predictable - including the competition the group enters, the tragedies along the way, and the final big-hugs-all-around ending. full review
  53. Upside Down 2013 It doesn't really develop its story, or its themes. It doesn't truly draw out its characters. It evokes no serious emotions. It has - in the end - no gravity. full review
  54. Upstream Color 2013 "Upstream Color" lacks both a clear point and, more crucially, a point of view. full review
  55. Venus And Serena 2013 Will you know Venus and Serena any better after watching this movie than you did before? Probably not. full review
  56. We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks 2013 Unlike many other non-fiction filmmakers, Gibney is not interested in scoring easy points. He has a point of view, but he also wants to be fair. full review
  57. 2 Days in New York 2012 About six hours of those "2 Days in New York" don't work at all. And, coming as they do at the end, they tend to deflate the charm of the trip. full review
  58. 56 Up 2012 "56 Up" is a rather bittersweet chapter, as age begins to further narrow those possibilities already defined at birth. And it hints that "63 Up," if we get there, may be sadder still. full review
  59. Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry 2012 As this sometimes haphazard documentary shows, Ai won't stop talking. Or blogging. Or tweeting. full review
  60. Any Day Now 2012 Gets its point across, and its sad drama. And it spotlights a marvelous performance by Alan Cumming. full review
  61. Arbitrage 2012 Giving the tale an extra dose of reality is Richard Gere. full review
  62. Assassin's Bullet 2012 Why is Slater in this? Why are Sutherland and Spall? Why am I even watching it? full review
  63. ATM 2012 None of it builds to anything or engenders any real suspense. full review
  64. The Awakening 2012 When these sudden surprises work, as in "A Beautiful Mind" or "The Others," you're too stunned to swallow that next handful of popcorn; when they don't, you're tempted to throw your whole box at the screen. full review
  65. Bachelorette 2012 Its actresses - particularly Dunst - are terrific. Headland has a nice feel for music, too, and takes some editing risks. full review
  66. Beneath The Darkness 2012 The screenplay gets nothing out of the claustrophobic terror of being locked up in that narrow grave, and the "mystery" is obvious from the start. full review
  67. The Big Picture 2012 A dark little fable, the story of two separate roads that briefly intersect - and what happens when a man suddenly jumps from one mapped journey to the other. full review
  68. Blancanieves 2012 It creates something new out of something old. And it does it by treating a treasured children's story with the grown-up respect it deserves, and retelling it with a smile - but never a wink. full review
  69. Bully 2012 The access varies widely, there's far too much music telling us what to feel, and at the end its focus begins to drift. If it at least gets people talking, though, that's a good thing. full review
  70. Butter 2012 The movie's entire superior attitude is kind of annoying. full review
  71. The Cabin in the Woods 2012 "The Cabin in the Woods" gets at the story underneath the story, and the reason behind the cliches. full review
  72. Casa de mi padre 2012 A product as cheap, empty and worth of a good beating as a pinata. full review
  73. The Central Park Five 2012 It's still chilling to see how easily "The Central Park Five" evokes those mad days of urban distrust. full review
  74. Chasing Ice 2012 Terribly, chillingly important. full review
  75. Dark Horse 2012 Characters turn out to have improbable secret lives, or pop in and out like hallucinations. Plotlines that start to satisfy, attitudes that start to make sense, are ruthlessly upended. full review
  76. Deadfall 2012 This is the sort of movie best encountered accidentally and for free, caught on basic cable late at night. full review
  77. Detachment 2012 It wants to be an expose of the pervasive horrors of modern life. Instead, it just forces us to detach as well. full review
  78. The Devil Inside 2012 It's better when you don't show too much - but if your story is about the supernatural, eventually you're going to have to come up with something. "The Devil Inside" can't. full review
  79. The Dictator 2012 For once, Baron Cohen has a real script and a supporting cast as skilled at improv as he is. And those complementary elements make a difference. full review
  80. The Do-Deca-Pentathlon 2012 There's a joke here, obviously, in the spectacle of two out-of-shape adults making fools of themselves at sporting events. Unfortunately it's the only joke, and it eventually wears thin. full review
  81. Dredd 2012 We have seen this future. And not only does it not work - it no longer even surprises. full review
  82. Flight 2012 This is Washington's movie from beginning to end, and full of little layers. full review
  83. Friends With Kids 2012 Imagine - a romantic comedy that's actually both. It's been a long, long time. full review
  84. Girl In Progress 2012 It never gives us a character we truly care about, or a consistent reason for watching. full review
  85. God Bless America 2012 The film features elaborate (and spot-on) parodies of mean-girl reality shows, YouTube nonsense and fatuous news reports but the people are thin and the plot meanders a bit. full review
  86. The Good Doctor 2012 Its meaning is unclear. Its vital signs are shaky. And before long, the whole frail thing's on life support, just begging for somebody to pull the plug. full review
  87. The Grey 2012 Somewhere along the line, apparently, it was decided that having men fight for their lives is not enough to hang a movie on. It has to be a movie about Big Ideas. full review
  88. The Guilt Trip 2012 It takes more than a few wrong turns. And once you've reached the end, you have no urge to ever do it again. full review
  89. How to Survive a Plague 2012 Mostly the film toggles between two emotions - the high of watching brave people go to war, and the low of seeing so many of them fall, as entire communities are destroyed. full review
  90. The Innkeepers 2012 "The Innkeepers" may have some of the retro charm of a boardwalk spookshow. But the ride is too long - and too few of the attractions seem to be up and running. full review
  91. The Intouchables 2012 Two very different men, joined for purely businesslike purposes, finding their way to an intuitive, interdependent and quietly fulfilling union. full review
  92. Intruders 2012 This is ... an intelligent, scary little movie. Because it's smart enough to know what's really scary is what's inside us. full review
  93. Jack Reacher 2012 It only ends up reminding us of how much better Cruise's riskier, more personal work - particularly his outside-the-box performances in pictures like "Tropic Thunder," "Magnolia" and "Rock of Ages" - truly is. full review
  94. Katy Perry: Part of Me 2012 [It] goes a bit beyond the usual music documentaries, which rarely document anything beyond how beloved their stars are. full review
  95. A Late Quartet 2012 Unless you're channeling the forgiving spirit of Casals, I'm afraid this one hits too many off notes to recommend. full review
  96. Little White Lies 2012 Pretty easy to take, and not just because of the lovely photography of the French coast, all oyster farms and pink wine and long dinners under the trees. Because there are also these wonderful performers. full review
  97. Lovely Molly 2012 Sanchez ... is not making his debut here, and after more than a decade he should be willing to do something besides jerking the camera around and making noises offscreen. full review
  98. The Magic of Belle Isle 2012 That Freeman would be willing to settle for this, perhaps, isn't that surprising; he hasn't been interesting in breaking a sweat for awhile now. But is this really the best that director Rob Reiner can manage? full review
  99. Marley 2012 It's hard to imagine audiences who don't know much about the man sticking around for more than a few minutes of this. And they're the ones who need to know about him most of all. full review
  100. Mirror Mirror 2012 The dwarves provide wonderful fun, Singh's visuals have true magic and Alan Menken's score is charming. full review
  101. Monsieur Lazhar 2012 The film, alas, seems determined to be as careful, as gentle, as Lazhar himself. full review
  102. Not Fade Away 2012 What makes this movie unique is that it's not just one more story of a band that got big in a hurry. full review
  103. One for the Money 2012 I guess I can't call the movie sexist as it was largely produced, directed and written by women. So I'll settle for calling it dull, corny and amateurish instead. full review
  104. The Pact 2012 McCarthy is clearly an economical director and what he gets on screen here - while hardly new - is still effective and occasionally creepy. full review
  105. The Paperboy 2012 Simple ugly trash. full review
  106. Price Check 2012 Walker finds a few fresh veins to mine, and some nice performances. full review
  107. The Queen of Versailles 2012 Dig into your popcorn, and get ready for some snide schadenfreude. full review
  108. The Raven 2012 It lingers intolerably on some inessential scenes, rushes through others, and fails to provide any motivation either for Poe's devoted (albeit fictional) love, or the film's archvillain. full review
  109. Red Hook Summer 2012 Welcome back, Spike. It's good to see you again. full review
  110. Red Lights 2012 How did a cast like this sign on for a movie like this? full review
  111. A Royal Affair 2012 It does a fine job of dramatizing the pure power of ideas and the attraction of like minds. And what happens when those ideas, and that attraction, runs counter to the pleasures of the most powerful man in the land. full review
  112. Safe 2012 Yeah, "Safe" is a long way from perfect. But rented, in a few months, it'll go great with a six-pack and a hold-the-anchovies special. full review
  113. The Sapphires 2012 While the fish-out-of-water story remains a little overused, the sweet soul music still provides a terrific hook. full review
  114. Seeking Justice 2012 What is it, Nic? What happened? What do they do, send you the angry-guy action movies that Liam Neeson turns down? full review
  115. Side by Side 2012 An unapologetically serious, geek-friendly documentary, it talks pixels, grain, depth of field and other technical concerns with a variety of directors, cinematographers, special-effects wizards and more. full review
  116. Silent House 2012 [Olsen is] terrific at showing shifts of emotion just underneath the skin of her wide, china-doll face. full review
  117. Sleepless Night 2012 The sort of stripped-down, Francophone picture that's been spoiling American action fans over the last few years. There are no Cuisinarted fight scenes, no pauses for awkward romantic subplots. full review
  118. Solomon Kane 2012 Few characters have much to do but grunt and scream and bleed. full review
  119. Struck by Lightning 2012 Colfer is still very young, but he needs to learn that "snide" is not a point of view. full review
  120. Take This Waltz 2012 It's about ... the realization that sometimes, before you can learn anything about other people, you need to learn something about yourself. full review
  121. This Is Not a Film 2012 The film is terrific ... at capturing the drip-drip-drip of what amounts to, basically, Panahi's home imprisonment. full review
  122. Union Square 2012 An interesting study of families, of class-consciousness, of little passive-aggressive tricks. full review
  123. Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning 2012 "There... is... no... end" Van Damme announces in between blows. As a comment on the current film, I'll agree. As a prediction - all I can do is shudder. full review
  124. What to Expect When You're Expecting 2012 Director Kirk Jones and screenwriters Shauna Cross and Heather Hach consistently fall back on corny music and slow-motion to try to get laughs. Very little of this movie feels risky, or even frisky. full review
  125. The Woman in the Fifth 2012 It is guaranteed to haunt you for awhile. full review
  126. The Adventures of Tintin 2011 If I wanted to spend two hours watching a plucky kid and his feisty dog run around having adventures, I'd dig out my old "Jonny Quest" cartoons. full review
  127. Another Happy Day 2011 Sam Levinson has proven that he can get a movie made. Good for him. But he still has to prove that he has a story to tell. full review
  128. The Artist 2011 Says something about stubbornness and ego (look at the pretension in that title again) and about the dangers everyone faces when they refuse to see that their world is changing around them. full review
  129. Beautiful Darling 2011 A fairly besotted look, produced under the guidance of a longtime friend. full review
  130. Brighton Rock 2011 Mirren is marvelous, as is Riley. The score, with Martin Phipps clearly channeling Bernard Herrmann, is full of tentative, melancholy melodies and dark, swirling moods. full review
  131. Burke and Hare 2011 It's just scene after scene of two obnoxious people killing various other obnoxious people. full review
  132. Dirty Girl 2011 Undoubtedly this movie means something to its director and screenwriter - a former dancer making his feature-film debut. So why didn't he put more care into the period? full review
  133. Footloose 2011 This new version will quite capably supply the same amount of carefree fun to a new generation. Which is exactly what a clever, if not particularly ambitious, remake sets out to do. full review
  134. Friends With Benefits 2011 It's gross and kind of embarrassing. For everyone. full review
  135. Ironclad 2011 The problem is that the movie is only swords and stage blood. The suits of armor are all empty. full review
  136. The Kid with a Bike 2011 As is usual in their films, the Dardennes remain both deeply interested and carefully objective. The photography and editing are unfussy and unhurried. There is no attempt to do anything but present these small fictions as simple fact. full review
  137. Klitschko 2011 It's a no-nonsense look at what it takes to become a champion - and what it takes out of a man to hold on to that title. full review
  138. The Last Rites of Joe May 2011 Farina is terrific, getting the pathos of the character while avoiding the self-pity, and leavening the tragedy with some occasional sputtering humor. full review
  139. Like Crazy 2011 It's just the small story of two young people trying hard to decide whether this is an infatuation worth growing past, or a real relationship worth growing into. full review
  140. Magic Trip 2011 It's fascinating and sometimes surprising stuff. full review
  141. My Week with Marilyn 2011 No other actress has quite understood the frustrated, maternal side of Monroe that informed so many of her performances. Or quite recaptured that absolutely luminous quality she had on film. full review
  142. One Lucky Elephant 2011 It's really just the story of two friends - one with a black top hat, and the other with a long gray trunk. full review
  143. The Other Woman 2011 While Natalie Portman and Lisa Kudrow do some terrific work, it's hard to care about these awful characters. full review
  144. Our Idiot Brother 2011 Dude, where's the movie? full review
  145. Page One: Inside the New York Times 2011 The documentary is especially interesting to anyone concerned about journalism, communications and technology. And occasionally, it's especially frustrating, too. full review
  146. Paranormal Activity 3 2011 If you haven't seen the first two movies, why are you watching this? And if you have seen the first two movies, why do you need to watch this? full review
  147. Red State 2011 Add a bunch of forgettable characters (including a one-note Melissa Leo) and an ending which flirts with (but then flees from) a truly provocative climax, and you've got a project which perhaps only Rob Zombie could have made something of. full review
  148. Sarah Palin: You Betcha! 2011 Like his subject, Broomfield prefers flash to facts. full review
  149. Sympathy for Delicious 2011 While, as director, Ruffalo is a little too fond of hand-held shots, he keeps all the performances simmering and moves the story ahead in simple, straightforward steps. full review
  150. This Must Be The Place 2011 Sean Penn has received a mantle's worth of humanitarian awards over the years. But he might have to give one of them back, just to make amends for "This Must Be the Place." full review
  151. True Legend 2011 A silly and yet often enjoyable action film, the movie isn't so much a winking homage to those late-'70s Hong Kong exports as another entry... full review
  152. Undefeated 2011 There are interesting edges and unexpected sides to "Undefeated" beginning with that title - because, not long after we've settled in, we watch the team lose its very first game. full review
  153. The Ward 2011 The shocks mostly consist of figures suddenly rising up in the background, or thunderclaps from a seemingly endless thunderstorm. full review
  154. The Whale 2011 This is not "Free Willy" - nor, unfortunately, is there quite enough here to sustain a feature-length documentary. full review
  155. The Women on the 6th Floor 2011 It gives us the sort of problem-free escape that poor beleaguered Jean-Louis can only daydream of. full review
  156. You've Been Trumped 2011 Baxter is a little too staid, too polite to get outrageous - and that keeps the film from outraging us the way it should. full review
  157. Young Adult 2011 "Young Adult" finally stumbles not because it tries to make us like Mavis, but because everyone else in it seems to, no matter what she does. full review
  158. The American 2010 [It] has a cold, compelling focus. And -- like its hero -- when it does finally pull the trigger, it soundly hits the bull's eye. full review
  159. Casino Jack 2010 If you care about the material, you already saw it done earlier, and better, in the Gibney film. full review
  160. City of Life and Death 2010 Directed by Lu Chuan, it's a fascinating film, and an unusual entry in the current Chinese cinema. full review
  161. Henry's Crime 2010 Reeves seems more laid-back than loser - it's hard to accept him as someone who has let half of his adult life go to waste without minding, or even noticing. full review
  162. Joan Rivers: A Piece Of Work 2010 "Oh grow up," Rivers used to snap. You wonder if she ever will. full review
  163. The Kids Are All Right 2010 The specifics of the story only underlie its general, and universal theme: Marriages and families can be hard work -- and kind of worth it. full review
  164. A Little Help 2010 That this is small comedy is fine. That it doesn't have a single big laugh is a little tiresome. full review
  165. Love Ranch 2010 There's no flash, no sizzle, no surprise. Just beefcake and cheesecake, served on a plastic plate. full review
  166. Monsters 2010 full review
  167. Senna 2010 Kapadia has, quite daringly, decided to rely completely on primary materials - although occasionally we hear the voices of after-the-fact observers, what we see is what happened then. full review
  168. The Switch 2010 The truly dusty cliche it drags out again is the cute couple who don't, you know, think-of-each-other-like-that. Until, of course, they do. full review
  169. Tabloid 2010 Morris realizes he has a genuine character in McKinney, and gives her the spotlight. full review
  170. Vanishing On 7th Street 2010 Anderson does a lot with very little - a wavering light, a patch of darkness - and Jaswinski's script tries to break up the stage-bound monotony with a few well-timed (if not particularly informative) flashbacks. full review
  171. The Whistleblower 2010 That you leave the film with nagging doubts and questions is not a problem. That you leave it with a sense of disappointment, however, is. full review
  172. The Proposal 2009 A mostly harmless, completely unsurprising romantic comedy. full review
  173. An American Affair 2009 It's a good rule of thumb that any film that grandly puts "American" in its title is going to try to make some statements way beyond its pay grade. full review
  174. Cairo Time 2009 It's as refreshing as a glass of mint tea. full review
  175. Crude 2009 The film is fair (which is different from being objective) and works hard at representing both points of view. That it's already been denounced in some quarters is only proof he has the oil companies worried. full review
  176. Double Take 2009 This isn't a normal movie; it's an art installation. And whatever it may have been meant to be, it takes its real meaning from you. full review
  177. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 2009 There's nothing calming about director Niels Arden Oplev's style, which is fast and furious and smartly mirrors content. full review
  178. The House of the Devil 2009 A slightly faster set-up, and slightly more drawn-out climax, would make this even better. full review
  179. I Hate Valentine's Day 2009 For I Hate Valentine's Day, Vardalos has chosen to direct. And that's a mistake that only compounds the ones in her screenplay. full review
  180. The Limits of Control 2009 The Limits of Control feels like a dream I had after a slightly off paella and way too much bad wine. full review
  181. The Perfect Game 2009 A big, bland serving of corn that wouldn't have been out of place on The Wonderful World of Disney 50 years ago. full review
  182. Valhalla Rising 2009 It's Herzog deconstructed and reconstructed, amped up and slowed down -- like the way '60s band Vanilla Fudge used to take Top 40 hits and drag them out for most of an album side. full review
  183. Elegy 2008 A remarkable example of the actor at his best -- conveying wounded hurt or burning hunger with a glance. full review
  184. Happy-Go-Lucky 2008 Happy-Go-Lucky ultimately charms -- just like its dizzy, disarming heroine. full review
  185. I Sell the Dead 2008 Movie fans of all kinds will appreciate a film that knows the differences among 'terror,' 'terrible' and 'terribly good fun.' full review
  186. Management 2008 A large part of Management's charm, [is that] it wanders through some fresh locations (Maryland, Arizona and Washington), takes some offbeat detours and just generally refuses to be predictable. full review
  187. The Tale of Despereaux 2008 Their gentle care and attention help fill out this sweet tale. So, too, do the background artists who have created wonderfully intricate universes for the different rodents to inhabit. full review
  188. Zack and Miri Make a Porno 2008 The mood lurches around a bit, and the film itself feels a bit diluted -- as if Kevin Smith were doing Judd Apatow doing Kevin Smith. And Smith, and his fans, are far too original to settle for that for long. full review
  189. The Babysitters 2007 Although the film is pitched as dark comedy, there's nothing very funny about the sexualization of teenagers. full review
  190. Cidade dos Homens (City of Men) 2007 Yet even with its reined-in aims, City of Men still gives you what few American urban crime movies do -- a sense of life as it's really lived in the slums, where there are few options and almost all of them are bad. full review
  191. Flawless 2007 This is supposed to be a caper movie. Shouldn't it have a heroine who looks as if she could, you know, conceivably, caper? full review
  192. Freedom Writers 2007 An unashamed heart-tugger, Freedom Writers is based on the true story of Erin Gruwell, a teacher so full of gee-whiz decency she can only be played by Hilary Swank. full review
  193. Hot Rod 2007 There is nothing remotely 'worthwhile' in this mix. full review
  194. The Hunting Party 2007 Although Gere and Howard's characters are invented, they feel the truest of all. They are often more foolhardy than courageous, less brave than simply stubborn. They are not real heroes, in the classic sense. But they are simply real. full review
  195. A Mighty Heart 2007 [Winterbottom] puts us in the middle of things, and lets us watch. full review
  196. Puccini for Beginners 2007 For fans desperate for a funny new romantic comedy, and willing to expand their definitions of just what a date movie might entail, Puccini for Beginners offers a good 101 introduction to the genre. full review
  197. You Kill Me 2007 Eventually it's just too much of a bad thing -- and only leaves you wondering why you began it at all. full review
  198. Zodiac 2007 For a director whose earlier films include the influential Seven and cult-fave Fight Club, the results are merely good -- not great. full review
  199. Akeelah and the Bee 2006 Akeelah and the Bee won a screenplay contest a few years ago, and it reads as if its writer studied too many screenplays first. full review
  200. Charlotte's Web 2006 Unfortunately, Charlotte's Web is an unremarkable collection of cute kids, talking animals and syrupy sentiment. There's little of White's original spare style and even less to entertain anyone but the very undemanding. full review
  201. Flyboys 2006 The high-altitude combat is thrilling, and aviation buffs will thrill to all the pretty biplanes sailing through the clouds. But the characters are corny and the situations are cliched. full review
  202. Harsh Times 2006 It's true that we don't need to like characters for a movie to work. We should, however, at least find them interesting. full review
  203. Jackass: Number Two 2006 A solid hour-and-a-half, plus outtakes, of gratuitous violence and endless stupidity. full review
  204. Nacho Libre 2006 The combination of body slams and bathroom jokes makes it a heck of a lot livelier than Cars. full review
  205. Saint of 9/11 2006 If you think you can't bear to see another World Trade Center movie, you should still see the new documentary, Saint of 9/11. full review
  206. Sherrybaby 2006 ... Sherrybaby remains a lost soul, if not an absolute lost cause. And while we can pity her continued descent, it's hard to want to watch. full review
  207. This Is England 2006 A gripping bit of British drama. full review
  208. The Wind That Shakes the Barley 2006 A truly Irish tale, The Wind That Shakes the Barley demands some work from American audiences. full review
  209. Brokeback Mountain 2005 Like all great love stories, Ang Lee's is one of tragic romance, strongly acted by Heath Ledger as the most buttoned-up of cowboys, and Michelle Williams as his betrayed and enraged wife. full review
  210. Broken Flowers 2005 Broken Flowers is a road movie, and like the best road movies, it doesn't take a straight path. full review
  211. My Summer of Love 2005 No friendship is ever quite as consuming as one between two adolescent girls, and My Summer of Love very quickly moves on into dangerous Heavenly Creatures territory. full review
  212. Right at Your Door 2005 It's the Cold War redux, but with the Enemy now everywhere. full review
  213. The Final Cut 2004 It's not quite as smart as it thinks it is. full review
  214. Fond Kiss..., Ae, (Just a Kiss) 2004 A small movie, told in a familiar way, and it fails to draw the big picture it could. But it does provide one unusual, and very striking sketch of two lives in crisis, and one community in transition. full review
  215. The Forgotten 2004 The only mystery here, once the lights come up, is why these good people signed on to appear in this sad mistake. full review
  216. A Good Woman 2004 Wilde isn't supposed to be lovely, or charming. He's supposed to be funny, wicked, rude and as full of serious feeling as a lavender butterfly. full review
  217. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra 2004 A straight-faced parody of every bad movie Edward D. Wood never made. full review
  218. Mean Girls 2004 Takes on issues of self-loathing, body image, competition and female sabotage. Even better, it does it with a smile. full review
  219. Bulletproof Monk 2003 Everything here is borrowed from other movies ... full review
  220. CSA: Confederate States of America 2003 There's a rough, raw kind of genius here, and one that resonates. Because how far off is Willmott's scenario anyway? full review
  221. Daddy Day Care 2003 Murphy is now as sweet and safe as Jell-O pudding. And about as exciting. full review
  222. Gigli 2003 Such an utter wreck of a movie you expect to see it lying on its side somewhere in rural Pennsylvania, with a small gang of engineers circling and a wisp of smoke rising from the caboose. full review
  223. The Italian Job 2003 Like the tiny cars it features, it's not particularly extravagant or terribly sophisticated. It is amusingly put together and a fun ride. full review
  224. Mona Lisa Smile 2003 The movie is only interesting intermittently, and the period details don't feel right. full review
  225. Party Monster 2003 Both pointless and grotesque, it accomplishes nothing but the impossible: It makes the charismatic look merely tiresome, and dangerous decadence look deadly dull. full review
  226. Spy Kids 3-D - Game Over 2003 IMAX this isn't. full review
  227. Timeline 2003 It looks like cheesy '60s television, with paper-thin characters and crummy special effects that wouldn't even have made it in the last season of Star Trek. full review
  228. Tokyo Godfathers 2003 Great animation can delight children or adults; truly great animation may delight both. But Tokyo Godfathers seems unlikely to enthrall either -- or be remembered much past the flicker of its final cel. full review
  229. The Deserted Station 2002 Like all of Iranian cinema, Deserted Station is marked by unaffected, neo-realist performances, particularly by Nezam Manouchehri as the testy and uncertain husband, and Leila Hatami as his quietly sad wife. full review
  230. The United States of Leland 2002 Isn't it sad that a boy like this could feel so lost that he had to kill someone? Well, maybe. But isn't it sadder that someone's dead? full review
  231. Love the Hard Way 2001 Full of bad dialogue, cheap locations, unbelievable situations and a lot of characters who have clearly spent too much time watching B-movies. full review
  232. Rosemary's Baby 1968 One of the finest horror films ever made. full review
  233. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo.) 1966 It's great to see a great director's film as he intended it, with rich color and restored sound. full review
  234. Gojira 1954 An interesting exercise in nostalgia as well as an informative look at the origins of a sci-fi giant who's stamped through nearly 30 films. full review

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