Variety Staff, Variety

  1. Our Nixon 2013 A brisk, eye-opening documentary about the Nixon White House, this triumph of editing is composed of homemovies, accompanied by later TV interviews and priceless audio from the secret tapes, making it a must-see for anyone interested in Americana. full review
  2. I Can't Think Straight 2008 The film is too schematic by half and overflows with one-dimensional characters. full review
  3. Newcastle 2008 The drama is a very low-slung affair, with the interconnections between characters poised to supply us with the only reasons to watch, other than the bodies, the landscape and the water. full review
  4. Crimson Tide 1995 This is a boy's movie all the way. full review
  5. Black Beauty 1994 full review
  6. Legends of the Fall 1994 As densely plotted as Legends of the Fall is, it's to the credit of the performers and craftsmen that the film escapes the abyss of melodrama and sentimentality. full review
  7. Basic Instinct 1992 This erotically charged thriller about the search for an ice-pick murderer in San Francisco rivets attention through its sleek style, attractive cast doing and thinking kinky things, and story, which is as weirdly implausible as it is intensely visceral. full review
  8. Beethoven 1992 Rallies at the end to prevent chaperoning adults from feeling their time was completely wasted. full review
  9. Body of Evidence 1992 A courtroom drama built around the charge that Madonna's body is a deadly weapon with which she 'fornicated' a man to death, this showcase for the singer-thesp as femme fatale is more silly than erotic. full review
  10. Candyman 1992 Candyman is an uppper-register horror item that delivers the requisite shocks and gore but doesn't cheat or cop out. full review
  11. Enchanted April 1992 Strong cast's reliable playing is undercut by a script that dawdles over well-trod territory. full review
  12. Juice 1992 Dickerson and co-writer Gerard Brown exhibit a sharp ear for dialog and have some real finds in their largely unknown cast... full review
  13. A League of Their Own 1992 Hits about .250 with a few RBI, but more than its share of strikeouts. full review
  14. A River Runs Through It 1992 A skilled, careful adaptation of a much-admired story. full review
  15. Supercop (Police Story 3) (Ging chaat goo si 3: Chiu kap ging chaat) 1992 All this is executed with a good deal of panache, if not originality, by stunt coordinator Stanley Tong. full review
  16. Wayne's World 1992 Director Penelope Spheeris, with her first major studio assignment (and eight-figure budget), delivers a colorful but uneventful picture. full review
  17. Backdraft 1991 Visually, pic often is exhilarating, but it's shapeless and dragged down by corny, melodramatic characters and situations. full review
  18. Barton Fink 1991 Scene after scene is filled with a ferocious strength and humor. full review
  19. Boyz n the Hood 1991 An absorbing, smartly made dramatic encyclopedia of problems and ethics in the black community, 1991. full review
  20. The Fisher King 1991 The Fisher King has two actors at the top of their form, and a compelling, well-directed and well-produced story. full review
  21. Grand Canyon 1991 [An] earnest, often moving but not totally successful film. full review
  22. The Naked Gun 2 1/2: The Smell of Fear 1991 Even if the laugh machine isn't operating at top efficiency, it still cranks out a few choice bits of irreverent lunacy. full review
  23. The People Under The Stairs 1991 A pretense of social responsibility and most of the necessary tension get lost in a combination of excessive gore and over-the-top perfs in The People Under the Stairs. full review
  24. The Prince of Tides 1991 A deeply moving exploration of the tangled emotions of a dysfunctional Southern family, this lovingly crafted (though unevenly scripted) film of Pat Conroy's novel centers on Nick Nolte's performance of a lifetime. full review
  25. Return to the Blue Lagoon 1991 Return to the Blue Lagoon is a pointless spinoff of the 1980 hit, which was itself a remake of a 1949 British pic. full review
  26. Soapdish 1991 Soapdish aims at a satiric target as big as a Macy's float and intermittently hits it. full review
  27. Terminator 2: Judgment Day 1991 Arnold Schwarzenegger is more comfortable and assured here than the first time around, reprising a role so perfectly suited to the voice and physique that have established him as a larger-than-life film persona. full review
  28. Cry-Baby 1990 John Waters' mischievous satire of the teen exploitation genre is entertaining as a rude joyride through another era, full of great clothes and hairdos. full review
  29. Days of Thunder 1990 Days of Thunder zigzags between exploiting Cruise's likable grin and charming vulnerability and portraying him as an emotional loser. It's an uncertain and unsatisfying mix. full review
  30. Ghost 1990 Ghost is an odd creation -- at times nearly smothering in arty somberness, at others veering into good, wacky fun. full review
  31. The Grifters 1990 Cusack underplays Roy, making him an unbelievable wiseguy, a colorless cipher too akin to the saps he loves to fleece. full review
  32. King of New York 1990 Complementing Walken's bravura turn are equally flamboyant performances by David Caruso as the young Irish cop out to destroy Walken, and Larry Fishburne as Walken's slightly crazy aide-de-camp. full review
  33. The Rescuers Down Under 1990 This sort-of sequel to the 1977 hit The Rescuers boasts reasonably solid production values and fine character voices. Too bad they're set against such a mediocre story that adults may duck. full review
  34. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen 1989 A fitting final installment in Terry Gilliam's trilogy begun with Time Bandits and continued with Brazil. full review
  35. Honey, I Shrunk the Kids 1989 [It's] in the best tradition of Disney -- and even better than that, because it is not so juvenile that adults won't be thoroughly entertained. full review
  36. Major League 1989 For sheer crowd-pleasing fun it belts one high into the left-field bleachers. full review
  37. My Left Foot 1989 All performances are on the mark in this perfect little film. full review
  38. Red Scorpion 1989 A dull, below-average action pic, lensed in Swaziland. full review
  39. Say Anything... 1989 Cusack and Skye's relationship develops nicely and believably, but Crowe has not written an entirely convincing character for the latter to play. full review
  40. Coming to America 1988 Starts on a bathroom joke, quickly followed by a gag about private parts, then wanders in search of something equally original for Eddie Murphy to do for another couple of hours. full review
  41. Eight Men Out 1988 Perhaps the saddest chapter in the annals of professional American sports is recounted in absorbing fashion in Eight Men Out. full review
  42. The Last Temptation of Christ 1988 A film of challenging ideas, and not salacious provocations. full review
  43. The Naked Gun - From the Files of Police Squad! 1988 The Naked Gun is crass, broad, irreverent, wacky fun -- and absolutely hilarious from beginning to end. full review
  44. Scrooged 1988 An appallingly unfunny comedy, and a vivid illustration of the fact that money can't buy you laughs. full review
  45. Who Framed Roger Rabbit 1988 The real stars are the animators, under British animation director Richard Williams, who pull off a technically amazing feat of having humans and Toons seem to be interacting with one another. full review
  46. Broadcast News 1987 Enormously entertaining. full review
  47. Dirty Dancing 1987 Good production values, some nice dance sequences and a likable performance by Grey make the film more than watchable. full review
  48. Fatal Attraction 1987 The screws are tightened expertly in this suspenseful meller about a flipped-out femme who makes life hell for the married man who scorns her. full review
  49. Planes, Trains and Automobiles 1987 Man versus technology has been one of the staples of screen comedy since the earliest silent days, and Hughes makes the most of the format here packing as many of the frustrations of modern life as he can into this calamitous travelog of roadside America. full review
  50. The Serpent and the Rainbow 1987 Offers a few good scares but gets bogged down in special effects. full review
  51. Three Men and a Baby (3 Men and a Baby) 1987 Film is a good showcase for the comic abilities of this threesome, all of whom seem to have their one-liner timing down pat. full review
  52. About Last Night... 1986 Film lacks much of Mamet's grittiness, but is likable in its own right. full review
  53. Children of a Lesser God 1986 A touching and universal love story. full review
  54. Down and Out in Beverly Hills 1986 Although it is more of a comedy of manners than a well-developed story, there are enough yocks and bright moments to make it a thoroughly enjoyable outing. full review
  55. Ferris Bueller's Day Off 1986 Ferris Bueller exhibits John Hughes on an off day. Paucity of invention here lays bare the total absence of plot or involving situations. full review
  56. Pretty in Pink 1986 Pretty in Pink is a rather intelligent (if not terribly original) look at adolescent insecurities. full review
  57. The Breakfast Club 1985 Does director John Hughes really believe, as he writes here, that 'when you grow up, your heart dies.' It may. But not unless the brain has already started to rot with films like this. full review
  58. Fright Night 1985 Chris Sarandon is terrific as the vampire, quite affable and debonair until his fingernails start to grow and his eyes get that glow. full review
  59. Just One of the Guys 1985 Joyce Hyser, affecting a lower register, a short haircut, and a subtle swagger, is not totally convincing as a boy because she's too pretty and too chic. full review
  60. A Nightmare on Elm Street 2 - Freddy's Revenge 1985 Episodic treatment is punched up by an imaginative series of special effects. full review
  61. Re-Animator 1985 Pic has a grisly sense of humor, and sometimes is so gross and over the top the film tips over into a bizarre comedy. full review
  62. Silverado 1985 Real rewards of the film are in the visuals and rarely has the West appeared so alive, yet unlike what one carries in his mind's eye. Ida Random's production design is thoroughly convincing in detail. full review
  63. Witness 1985 Witness warms up as the attraction builds between Ford, McGillis and Haas -- all performing excellently through this portion. full review
  64. Beverly Hills Cop 1984 Expectations that Eddie Murphy's street brand of rebelliousness would devastate staid and glittery Beverly Hills are not entirely met in a film that grows increasingly dramatic. full review
  65. Footloose 1984 Essential to the result is young Kevin Bacon, superb in the lead part. full review
  66. The Karate Kid 1984 Morita is simply terrific, bringing the appropriate authority and wisdom to the part. full review
  67. The Muppets Take Manhattan 1984 A genuinely fun confection of old-fashioned entertainment. full review
  68. Romancing the Stone 1984 Turner is like a lot of unwitting screen heroines ahead of her, guaranteed that her drab existence is about to be transformed -- probably by a man, preferably handsome and adventurous. full review
  69. Starman 1984 There is little that is original in Starman, but at least it has chosen good models. full review
  70. Top Secret! 1984 Secret! shares the same wonderful wacky attitude that allows just about any kind of gag to come flowing in and out of the picture at the strangest times. full review
  71. The Big Chill 1983 Characters are generally middle-of-the-roaders, and pic lacks a tough-minded spokesman who might bring them all up short for a moment. full review
  72. Flashdance 1983 Virtually plotless, exceedingly thin on characterization and sociologically laughable, pic at least lives up to its title by offering an anthology of extraordinarily flashy dance numbers. full review
  73. Trading Places 1983 Trading Places is a light romp geared up by the schtick shifted by Dan Aykroyd and Eddie Murphy. full review
  74. Gandhi 1982 Once in a long while a motion picture so eloquently expressive and technically exquisite comes along that one is tempted to hail it as being near perfect. full review
  75. Sophie's Choice 1982 Astoundingly tedious. full review
  76. Endless Love 1981 A Cotton-candy rendition of Scott Spencer's powerful novel, Endless Love is a manipulative tale of a doomed romance which careens repeatedly between the credible and the ridiculous. full review
  77. Heavy Metal 1981 Initial segments have a boisterous blend of dynamic graphics, intriguing plot premises and sly wit that unfortunately slide gradually downhill. full review
  78. On Golden Pond 1981 Without question, these are major, meaty roles for Katharine Hepburn and Henry Fonda, and there could have been little doubt that the two would work superbly together. full review
  79. Airplane! 1980 From the clever Jaws take-off opening to the final, irreverent title card, laughs come thick and fast. full review
  80. The Final Countdown 1980 As a documentary on the USS Nimitz, The Final Countdown is wonderful. As entertainment, however, it has the feeling of a telepic that strayed onto the big screen. full review
  81. Gregory's Girl 1980 Much of the pic's peculiar fascination comes from tangential scenes, limning each character's odd obsession, be it food, girls, soccer, or just watching the traffic drive by. full review
  82. My Bodyguard 1980 In his directorial debut, Tony Bill assembles a truly remarkable cast of youngsters with little or no previous acting experience. full review
  83. The Jerk 1979 An artless, non-stop barrage of off-the-wall situations, funny and unfunny jokes, generally effective and sometimes hilarious sight gags and bawdy non sequiturs. full review
  84. Manhattan 1979 Allen has, in black and white, captured the inner beauty that lurks behind the outer layer of dirt and grime in Manhattan. full review
  85. The Muppet Movie 1979 Jim Henson, Muppet originator, and Frank Oz, creative consultant, have abandoned the successful format of their vidshow, and inserted their creations into a well-crafted combo of musical comedy and fantasy adventure. full review
  86. The Onion Field 1979 James Woods as the near-psychotic Powell is chillingly effective, creating a flakiness in the character that exudes the danger of a live wire near a puddle. full review
  87. Star Trek: The Motion Picture 1979 The expensive effects (under supervision of Douglas Trumbull) are the secret of this film, and the amazing wizardry throughout would appear to justify the whopping budget. full review
  88. The Boys from Brazil 1978 With two excellent antagonists in Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier, The Boys from Brazil presents a gripping, suspenseful drama for nearly all of its two hours -- then lets go at the end and falls into a heap. full review
  89. Days of Heaven 1978 One of the great cinematic achievements of the 1970s. full review
  90. Grease 1978 Grease has got it, from the outstanding animated titles of John Wilson all the way through the rousing finale as John Travolta and Olivia Newton-John ride off into teenage happiness. full review
  91. Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band 1978 A totally bubblegum and cotton candy melange of garish fantasy and narcissism. full review
  92. Julia 1977 The period environment, brilliantly recreated in production design, costuming and color processing, complements the topflight performances and direction. full review
  93. The Rescuers 1977 Four years of work were invested on this $7.5 million production and the expense, care, and expertise shows. full review
  94. The Turning Point 1977 The Turning Point is one of the best films of its era. full review
  95. Assault on Precinct 13 1976 Novelty of a gang swearing a blood oath to destroy a precinct station and all inside is sufficiently compelling for the gory-minded to assure acceptance. full review
  96. The Bad News Bears 1976 An extremely funny adult-child comedy film. full review
  97. Carrie 1976 Carrie is a modest but effective shock-suspense drama about a pubescent girl, her evangelical mother and cruel schoolmates. full review
  98. The Conversation 1974 A major artistic asset to the film -- besides script, direction and the top performances -- is supervising editor Walter Murch's sound collage and re-recording. full review
  99. Dirty Mary Crazy Larry 1974 What little narrative or characterization shows up on screen could barely fill an abridged short story. full review
  100. The Great Gatsby 1974 The Francis Coppola script and Jack Clayton's direction paint a savagely genteel portrait of an upper class generation that deserved in spades what it got circa 1929 and after. full review
  101. The Longest Yard 1974 An outstanding action drama, combining the brutish excitement of football competition with the brutalities of contemporary prison life. full review
  102. Thieves Like Us 1974 Thieves Like Us proves that when Robert Altman has a solid story and script, he can make an exceptional film, one mostly devoid of clutter, auterist mannerism, and other cinema chic. full review
  103. Charley Varrick 1973 full review
  104. Don't Look Now 1973 This British-Italian suspenser, in which the horror gets to one almost subliminally, as in Rosemary's Baby, is superior stuff. full review
  105. The Paper Chase 1973 The Paper Chase has some great performances, literate screenwriting, sensitive direction and handsome production. full review
  106. Paper Moon 1973 Tatum O'Neal makes a sensational screen debut. full review
  107. Serpico 1973 Sidney Lumet's direction adeptly combines gritty action and thought-provoking comment. full review
  108. Silent Running 1971 The production lacks much dramatic credibility and often teeters on the edge of the ludicrous. full review
  109. The Aristocats 1970 Helped immeasurably by the voices of Phil Harris, Eva Gabor, Sterling Holloway, Scatman Crothers and others, plus some outstanding animation, songs, sentiment, some excellent dialog and even a touch of psychedelia. full review
  110. Five Easy Pieces 1970 The film's nervewracking quality is consistent with its content. Nicholson's performance is a remarkably varied and daring exploration of a complex character, equally convincing in its manic and sober aspects. full review
  111. Love Story 1970 Love Story is an excellent film. full review
  112. M*A*S*H 1970 In the end M.A.S.H. succeeds, in spite of its glaring faults. full review
  113. Patton 1970 War is hell, and Patton is one hell of a war picture, perhaps one of the most remarkable of its type ever made. full review
  114. Tora! Tora! Tora! 1970 Both overall director Richard Fleischer and his Japanese counterparts do a dull job, and the monotonously low-key tone of scene after scene almost suggests that each was filmed without a sense of ultimate slotting in the finished form. full review
  115. Night of the Living Dead 1968 Although pic's basic premise is repellent -- recently dead bodies are resurrected and begin killing human beings in order to eat their flesh -- it is in execution that the film distastefully excels. full review
  116. Rosemary's Baby 1968 Several exhilarating milestones are achieved in Rosemary's Baby, an excellent film version of Ira Levin's diabolical chiller novel. full review
  117. Doctor Dolittle 1967 Leslie Bricusse's adaptation retains the delightful aspects while taking considerable liberty with the plot. His music and lyrics, while containing no smash hits, are admirably suited to the scenario. full review
  118. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo.) 1966 The third in the Clint Eastwood series of Italo westerns, The Good, the Bad and the Ugly is exactly that -- a curious amalgam of the visually striking, the dramatically feeble and the offensively sadistic. full review
  119. Zulu 1964 Joseph E. Levine makes an impressive debut in British film production with Zulu, a picture that allows ample scope for his flamboyant approach to showmanship. full review
  120. The Sword in the Stone 1963 The feature-length cartoon demonstrates anew the magic of the Disney animators and imagination in character creation. full review
  121. The Apartment 1960 Most of the time, it's up to director Wilder to sustain a two-hour-plus film on treatment alone, a feat he manages to accomplish more often than not, and sometimes the results are amazing. full review
  122. From the Terrace 1960 From The Terrace builds up to one big cliche. full review
  123. Anatomy of a Murder 1959 Preminger purposely creates situations that flicker with uncertainty, that may be evaluated in different ways. Motives are mixed and dubious, and, therefore, sustain interest. full review
  124. House On Haunted Hill 1958 full review
  125. Imitation of Life 1958 While this device lends more scope, it also results in the overdone busy actress/neglected daughter conflict. full review
  126. The Long, Hot Summer 1958 This picture is strikingly directed by Martin Ritt. full review
  127. Invasion of the Body Snatchers 1956 This tense, offbeat piece of science-fiction is occasionally difficult to follow due to the strangeness of its scientific premise. Action nevertheless is increasingly exciting. full review
  128. The Seven Year Itch 1955 What counts is that laughs come thick and fast, that the general entertainment is light and gay. full review
  129. Three Coins in the Fountain 1954 The film has warmth, humor, a rich dose of romance and almost incredible pictorial appeal. full review
  130. White Christmas 1954 Bing Crosby and Danny Kaye, along with VistaVision, keep the enteratinment going in this fancifully staged production, clicking well. full review
  131. The Robe 1953 The performances are consistently good. full review
  132. Monkey Business 1952 Attempt to draw out a thin, familiar slapstick idea isn't carried off. full review
  133. Twelve O'Clock High 1949 As a drama, High deals soundly and interestingly with its situations. full review
  134. The Bells of St. Mary's 1945 [Bergman's] clashes with Crosby...are moments that will have an audience alternately laughing and sniffling. full review
  135. Double Indemnity 1944 MacMurray has seldom given a better performance. It is somewhat different from his usually light roles, but is always plausible and played with considerable restraint. full review
  136. Dumbo 1941 There's a pleasant little story, plenty of pathos mixed with the large doses of humor, a number of appealing new animal characters, lots of good music, and the usual Disney skillfulness in technique. full review
  137. His Girl Friday 1940 Casting is excellent, with Cary Grant and Rosalind Russell in the top roles. full review
  138. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 1939 One of the finest and consistently interesting dramas of the season. full review
  139. The Lady Vanishes 1938 This film, minus the deft and artistic handling of the director, Alfred Hitchcock, despite its cast and photography, would not stand up for Grade A candidacy. full review
  140. She Done Him Wrong 1933 Director Lowell Sherman turns in a commendable job. full review
  141. The Mummy 1932 The transformation of Karloff's Im-Ho-Tep from a clay-like figure in a coffin to a living thing is the highlight. full review
  142. Intolerance 1916 Intolerance reflects much credit to the wizard director, for it required no small amount of genuine art to consistently blend actors, horses, monkeys, geese, doves, acrobats and ballets into a composite presentation of a film classic. full review