Terry Lawson, Detroit Free Press

  1. Crazy Love 2007 ... Crazy Love is something less than artful, while being completely compelling in its attempt to comprehend the incomprehensible. full review
  2. Day Watch 2007 To the credit of [director] Timur Bekmambetov, it is possible to dive into the second chapter of the ambitious, visually dazzling Russian fantasy trilogy that began with 2004's Night Watch without feeling completely adrift. full review
  3. Eagle vs. Shark 2007 So the only real argument I can make for Eagle vs. Shark, a stupid-absurdist comedy from New Zealand, is that I laughed a lot, often despite myself, and that while I might not be able to wholly justify it, I can mount a questionable defense. full review
  4. Freedom Writers 2007 What is profoundly different about this based-on-fact film is that although we leave the theater wishing there were more teachers as devoted as the one depicted here. full review
  5. Hot Rod 2007 Director Akiva Schaffer apparently thinks that by adding stupid stunts to the formula, Hot Rod also can attract the Jackass crowd. full review
  6. The Hunting Party 2007 The Hunting Party has good aim, but just misses. full review
  7. Into the Wild 2007 It's a beautiful, big, sorrowful film that manages to celebrate America while reexamining what it has stood for and what it has become. full review
  8. Mr. Bean's Holiday 2007 A throwback to silent movie clowns. full review
  9. No End in Sight 2007 Ferguson's case is so confidently built that it seems unassailable... full review
  10. Puccini for Beginners 2007 There is pleasure and even insight to be had in Puccini but it all feels second-hand, and therefore, of questionable provenance. full review
  11. Year of the Dog 2007 Year of the Dog has been perfectly cast, and Shannon is a small revelation; shorn of the antic energy she has invested in her sketch characters and, given an actual character to play, she accomplishes something welcome and unexpected. full review
  12. You Kill Me 2007 Who knew there was such a high burnout rate in hit men? And who knew they suffered from so many varieties of treatable neuroses? And who knew they were such amusing guys? full review
  13. Akeelah and the Bee 2006 Akeelah and the Bee is not short on inspiration, emotion and uplift, but would go down better without all the refined sugar. full review
  14. Failure to Launch 2006 Parker does occasionally make us forget that Failure to Launch is so bereft of comic ideas that it ultimately stoops to giving Terry Bradshaw a nude scene to milk a laugh. full review
  15. Flyboys 2006 A good documentary might have been a far more interesting film to make. full review
  16. Golden Door 2006 Turns an old story into something completely new. full review
  17. Harsh Times 2006 ...As well-written and acted as Harsh Times may be, you will be relieved when the adrenaline returns to an acceptable level. full review
  18. Jesus Camp 2006 Jesus Camp does what documentaries ought to do: It poses serious questions, then steps out of the argument. full review
  19. Keeping Up With The Steins 2006 We get the distinct feeling this film has been made by people who don't really want to offend their friends, who would rather spend a million dollars impressing others as opposed to throwing it away on hunger relief or American education. full review
  20. Maxed Out 2006 Maxed Out exposes the credit card sham for what it is, and fingers the hustlers who perpetuate it. full review
  21. Nacho Libre 2006 The irony is that just about any actual Mexican wrestling movie is funnier than this would-be parody, which never gets off the mat. full review
  22. This Is England 2006 A hard-fisted punch of reality based on the filmmaker's experiences growing up in England's Midlands in 1983. full review
  23. Brokeback Mountain 2005 Brokeback Mountain the power to break your heart -- and, perhaps more important, to open it. full review
  24. Broken Flowers 2005 You can't take your eyes off [Murray], and you leave Broken Flowers hoping he's feeling better -- about life, love, everything.
  25. Capote 2005 The best movie about journalism since All the President's Men, and one of the best films about writing ever made.
  26. Casanova 2005 Casanova finds [director] Hallstrom more inspired, or at least lively and engaged, than he has been in years, and he's in the company of the actor of the moment. full review
  27. The Constant Gardener 2005 A character-driven drama of actual import that delivers a message and dramatic punch, but with a visual edginess and narrative ingenuity that is in the service of the story, as opposed to the filmmaker's cleverness.
  28. Factotum 2005 One of the few films that gets to the heart of what a writer does and how he does it, without the clichés of pages being torn from the typewriter, crumpled and tossed on the floor. full review
  29. My Summer of Love 2005 While the movie's young lovers happen to be female, this is not a story of forbidden fervor, but one that effectively captures the first flush of teenage infatuation and passion that will resonate with anyone, of any sex. full review
  30. Neil Young: Heart of Gold 2005 It does what the best movies of any genre do: turn the produced and scripted into something sincere and honest. full review
  31. The Producers 2005 There are bad movies, there are terrible, misguided mistakes and there are unbearable and embarrassing ordeals. The Producers: The Movie Musical is all of those. full review
  32. Serenity 2005 Most of Serenity is talk, and thankfully, it is pretty great.
  33. The World's Fastest Indian 2005 Without apology, Munro's story has been embellished and romanticized right to the edge of cornball, where it manages to make a hairpin turn and restore its balance. full review
  34. After Innocence 2004 After Innocence is, without making it overly obvious, anti-death penalty on the grounds that a just society cannot afford to make any mistakes that we cannot attempt to rectify. full review
  35. Downfall (Der Untergang) 2004 Succeeds, perhaps too well for us to believe Hitler was some aberration who could never happen again. full review
  36. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room 2004 Allow yourself the pleasure of being thoroughly entertained while being equally outraged by this movie. full review
  37. The Final Cut 2004 It's all modestly clever but decidedly under-baked. full review
  38. A Good Woman 2004 Rarely have so many regularly employed professionals created something so utterly undistinguished as A Good Woman. full review
  39. Hotel Rwanda 2004 If Hotel Rwanda does nothing more than provoke the obvious questions of 'How did this happen?' and 'How can we prevent it from happening again?' it has, like the hotelier who refuses to consider himself a hero, done its job. full review
  40. The Lost Skeleton of Cadavra 2004 It's not really cheese, it's Velveeta. As many who have tried have learned, midnight movies can not be manufactured, they must be discovered. full review
  41. Me and You and Everyone We Know 2004 Easily the year's most imaginative movie.
  42. The Passion of the Christ 2004 There are scenes in The Passion that will remain forever with those who see it. full review
  43. American Wedding 2003 American Wedding has the decided taste of day-old bakery -- although, of course, that could just be some errant body fluid. full review
  44. Beyond Borders 2003 At its worst, Beyond Borders could be accused of exploiting the very cause it wants to champion; at its best, it only makes us wish someone had abandoned this campaign as a lost cause, and started all over again. full review
  45. Brother Bear 2003 It's hard to avoid concluding that Brother Bear was pitched as Pocahontas meets The Lion King since it recycles the themes of both, not to mention a character or two. full review
  46. Camp 2003 Fame may seem silly in retrospect, but Camp, with its dippy dialogue and characters revealing even less complexity than the ones from 42nd Street, arrives silly. full review
  47. Control Room 2003 It does a good job of showing just how much media manipulation is taken for granted by those who have the job of massaging the facts and the ones who simply lie back and enjoy it. full review
  48. CSA: Confederate States of America 2003 Willmott's battlefield strategy is parody, not drama, and he makes his points with far more invention than finesse. full review
  49. Daddy Day Care 2003 The humor is strictly potty-level, with its biggest laughs reserved for pee-pee gags and the inevitable gas-passing. full review
  50. Dirty Pretty Things 2003 Dirty Pretty Things is in fact dirty and pretty, reminding us how much beauty there can be in the things we would rather not see. full review
  51. The Missing 2003 A first-rate psychological thriller that also happens to be a classic Western. full review
  52. Mona Lisa Smile 2003 A classy, handsome and serviceable entertainment that may not change your life, but could help you appreciate how you came to have it. full review
  53. Party Monster 2003 There is nothing remotely affecting about Party Monster. full review
  54. Saved! 2003 There is undoubtedly a funny social satire to be set in a Christian high school, but Saved! is neither bold nor insightful enough to be it. full review
  55. Swimming Pool 2003 Clever and exceedingly well-acted. full review
  56. Touching the Void 2003 An edge-of- the-seat, what-else- could-go- wrong thriller with the building momentum of fiction. full review
  57. American Dreamz 2002 American Dreamz is as forgettable and lacking in insight as the great majority of dreams that trespass on our subconscious. full review
  58. Assassination Tango 2002 The characters and situations here are all stereotypical or undercooked.
  59. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind 2002 I have to confess there's nothing very dangerous going on in a comedy that is neither as twistedly weird as your average Gong Show contestant nor as arch as an interview on The Newlywed Game. full review
  60. The Dancer Upstairs 2002 Reflects its director, being intelligent and elegantly turned-out but distant. full review
  61. The Dangerous Lives of Altar Boys 2002 [An] engrossing and imaginative coming-of-age film.
  62. Equilibrium 2002 If there was a solitary new idea or actual emotion in Equilibrium, the Prozium must have rendered me oblivious. full review
  63. The Hard Word 2002 It's fun as far as it goes, but that isn't very far. full review
  64. The Hours 2002 The performances are so beautifully synchronized -- for which Hare, Daldry and editor Peter Boyle also deserve credit -- that it is impossible to choose one as being better than another. full review
  65. Irreversible 2002 Extremely difficult to endure, and if you choose to endure it, it could leave you feeling angry and upset. Nevertheless, this is serious filmmaking, and Noe is a gifted filmmaker. full review
  66. Men in Black II 2002 The first film was laugh-till- you-can't- remember-what- you're-laughing -at funny, while MIIB prefers gags that take a second or two to absorb but stick around the cerebrum a lot longer. full review
  67. Narc 2002 Narc isn't the great movie the gifted Carnahan probably has in him, but it's a great cop B-movie. full review
  68. The Pianist 2002 The brilliance of The Pianist, a film that stands with any of the great dramas about the Holocaust, is not that its story is so unbelievable, but that it is so relentlessly matter-of-fact. full review
  69. Pumpkin 2002 Though Pumpkin extends its jaundiced joke too far, it's almost worth it for Ricci's final scene, which tells us everything we need to know about what will become of her. full review
  70. Punch-Drunk Love 2002 Director Paul Thomas Anderson hasn't reinvented Sandler; he's just allowed those of us who tired very quickly of his innocent naif shtick to see how effectively it can be put in the service of something to care about. full review
  71. Rabbit-Proof Fence 2002 This is a heartfelt story ... it just isn't a very involving one. full review
  72. Star Trek - Nemesis 2002 May satisfy the faithful but can leave the casual moviegoer feeling as if he's walked into a bar where nobody knows his name. full review
  73. The United States of Leland 2002 It simply mopes along to one of those joyless alt-rock soundtracks that have thankfully started to fall out of fashion since the film was produced, leaving vague unpleasantness in its wake. full review
  74. Black Hawk Down 2001 Except for the opening 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan and the middle 45 of Pearl Harbor -- produced, like this film, by action overlord Jerry Bruckheimer -- no film has ever dropped us so convincingly into combat. full review
  75. Along Came a Spider 2001 Wears the one-size-fits-all jumpsuit of a hundred forgettable crime capers.
  76. The Animal 2001 Should you consider getting near it, understand that it doesn't smell so good.
  77. Atlantis - The Lost Empire 2001 A fine Disney adventure about the legendary lost land.
  78. Dogtown and Z-Boys 2001 When these guys were headed down the street at 50 m.p.h., you got out of the way. full review
  79. Heartbreakers 2001 It ignores one of the game's unbreakable rules: Do the job and get out quick. Instead, Heartbreakers spends more than 2 hours meandering its way through the story.
  80. Monkeybone 2001 An ugly mishmash of stop-motion animation, bad Halloween costumes and worse acting.
  81. The Mothman Prophecies 2001 The Mothman Prophecies is mostly well-cast and acted. full review
  82. Pootie Tang 2001 Funny as the joke may be, it's still only one joke. full review
  83. The Emperor's New Groove 2000 The first Disney animated movie since The Little Mermaid that amounts to nothing more than a throwaway.
  84. Happy Accidents 2000 The charm of Happy Accidents is that, like Ruby, we half-believe Sam Deed. full review
  85. Malena 2000 Any moral lesson the film pretends to hold is as muddled as it is misguided.
  86. Memento 2000 It will be an unadventurous or lazy filmgoer who doesn't want to play the movie's ingenious game.
  87. The Taste of Others 2000 Confirms that France may be producing, per capita, more good films than any country on the globe.
  88. Traffic 2000 Walk straight and steady into Steven Soderbergh's dizzying drug drama Traffic and minutes later you'll feel as woozy as if you had fallen into one of Wonderland's smokiest sinkholes.
  89. Vertical Limit 2000 Nearly all, from a gut-crunching helicopter drop to a literal cliff-hanger of excruciating tension, will have you mentally grasping for a lifeline, even if you fail to completely comprehend what's going on.
  90. The Weight of Water 2000 A boring, pretentious muddle that uses a sensational, real-life 19th-Century crime as a metaphor for -- well, I'm not exactly sure what -- and has all the dramatic weight of a raindrop. full review
  91. The Nightmare Before Christmas 1993 This is the movie puts the "oooh" back in "boo." full review

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