Mike's Movies

That old Movie Quiz >


Short reviews






Abyss, The (including Director's Cut) SF DVD
Best underwater movie ever made. The thriller aspect is tight and the science believable. Director's Cut by far superior in bringing the whole story to a close.
Ace Ventura: Pet Detective Comedy VHS 3
Some of the humor is quite juvenile, but Jim Carrey is always watchable, and his Ace Ventura is capable of something more than cartoon acting. Silly, but frequently funny.
After Life Fantasy DVD 4
Japanese film about people making films of special moments they want to bring to the after life with them. Slow and quiet, this is a very special experience that borders on the documentary at times.
Akira Anime/SF DVD 4
If you have to start your anime education, you sort of have to start with this one. The ultraviolence is juicy and disturbing, the animation still stands up today, and the soundtrack is terrific. No easy answers at the end though.
Alien SF/Horror DVD 4
Still, the best of the series, the sexual subtext makes this rise above the typical film of this genre. Revolutionary at the time, it's still very disturbing and horrific.
Aliens (including Director's Cut) SF DVD
Alien turns action movie, and suffers because of it, but the action is excellent and can definitely be enjoyed on that level. Taut and exciting, it's different in tone from Alien, but a worthy successor. The Director's Cut changes little.
Alien³ (including Director's Cut) SF/Horror DVD 3
Fatally flawed because of studio interference, David Fincher nonetheless returns to Alien's roots with this stylish story of hopelessness and depravation. The Director's Cut makes a lot more sense than the butchered original.
Alien: Resurrection SF - 1
Terrible and unwarranted sequel to the trilogy, which exists solely to show off special effects and resurrect characters that had fitting ends already. Wynona Ryder is totally lackluster as an android.
American Beauty Drama DVD 5
Masterful direction, excellent acting, and surprisingly fresh writing all justify this movie winning best picture at the Academy Awards. A strong story of redemption, and Kevin Spacey, as usual, can do no wrong.
Amerian Splendor Biopic DVD
This biography of an underground comic book writer plays with its twin media well, and is often laugh-out-loud funny for those who enjoy pathetic, yet realistic characters.
Apocalypse Now War VHS 4
Francis Ford Coppola lacks focus for me, and this does ramble on with various vignettes that don't really have to gel together, but it is the best of his work, with some memorable scenes, music and themes.
Apollo 13 Biopic DVD 4
A beautifully staged telling of the true story of the ill-fated spaceflight. It grips you like the best thriller, even though there is no villain here. Totally believable and engrossing.
Artificial Intelligence: A.I. SF DVD
Spielberg takes over from Kubrick and manages to play to both their weaknesses. It's unusually uninvolving and detached (Kubrick) and manages to tack on an additional "feel-good" (i.e. sappy) ending (Spielberg). Regardless, the Pinocchio themes are well exploited and eerie, and the whole production is superbly well done technically.
Back to the Future SF/Comedy DVD 4
Still fun, funny and exciting after all these years. Marty McFly's first travel through time is full of great moments and remains the best of this particular trilogy.
Back to the Future II SF/Comedy DVD
The sequel is all over the place and depends too much on cheap 80s humor, dual (triple, quadruple) roles for the regulars and revisits the first movie without really adding to it. A confusing mess.
Back to the Future III SF/Comedy DVD 4
That's more like it. Back to the Future does westerns and touches on the different clichés with spark and wit. This is really the Doc's story, and it combines with the other two films to create a nice comedic epic.
Barton Fink Arts DVD 4
The Cohen Brothers create a paranoid and hellish look at Hollywood scriptwriting, with their usual wit and flair. A real study in anxiety.
Batman Supers VHS
Great design ideas, though the performances tend to sound written rather than meant. Still, hard to fault Jack Nicholson's Joker, and the right mood is evoked throughout.
Batman and Robin Supers - 1
Unwatchable drivel, turning Batman back into a joke, with all performances phoned in and no sense that Gotham could be a real place. Avoid like the plague, it killed the franchise.
Batman Begins Supers VHS
The first of the new franchise, it tells the real origin of Batman beautifully, with some great performances from the supporting cast (especially Michael Caine as Alfred). The world of Batman made real for the first time.
Batman Forever Supers - 2
Jim Carrey is fun as the Riddler, but Tommy Lee Jones is dead weight as Two-Face. That plus some nipply bat-suits, a lot of noise and flashing lights, and a stupid plot make it fail.
Batman Returns Supers -
Tim Burton and Michael Keaton both return to Batman, but it's not quite the success the first one was. We get less and less Batman and more and more villains, though the Penguin is design too much like a monster. Only Catwoman catches your interest.
Barefoot Gen Anime/Biopic VHS 5
A sense of impending doom makes this true story of Hiroshima a real tear-jerker. Touching in a way that few other films have been for me.
Being John Malkovich Arts DVD
Totally weird from start to finish, there isn't an unoriginal idea in the whole screenplay. Literate, funny, well-acted and disturbing are all words apply easily to the film.
Belly of an Architect Arts DVD
A great showcase for Brian Dennehy, but Chloe Webb is just awful as his wife. The story about a descent into obession is perhaps one of the more accessible offered by Peter Greenaway, but may leave you impatient and depressed.
Big Lebowski Comedy DVD
The Cohen Bros. do it again! A Chandleresque runaround starring a total hippie slacker that's just full of quirkiness and humor.
Blade Runner (including Director's Cut) SF/Film Noir VHS 5
The emasculated theatrical release is terrible, but the director's cut is excellent. Moody, literate, full of symbolism and asking questions, it's unique among SF films.
Blood Simple Thriller DVD 4
A great thriller made on the cheap. The Cohen Brothers' first film is moody and rich, and the characters are stupid not because they are badly written, but because this is really their character.
Boogie Nights Comedy/Drama DVD
Fairly long biopic of a fictitious porn star (based on actual porn stars), it has some great moments that will stay with you forever, and an all-star cast, but is still too slow for casual watching.
Bourne Identity, The Spy DVD
A strong start to this series featuring the unlikely action hero Matt Damon in a rich, complex and paranoid spy thriller that keeps you guessing.
Bourne Supremacy, The Spy DVD
Jason Bourne returns and this film, while grittier, is just as strong as the original, with a lot of great action and paranoia.
Bowling for Columbine Documentary DVD
Michael Moore's most famous "passionate eye" documentary, it is at once funny and touching, eye-opening and sassy. As with all of Moore's films, you need to know the facts are somewhat biased at times, but if you're of like-mind, it's excellent through and through.
Brazil (including Director's Cut) SF/Comedy DVD
Only the Director's Cut is watchable, but Brazil remains a little slow and irrelevant. Some moments have the brilliance of Orwell or Kafka, but the fantasy sequences show their age.
Broken Flowers Comedy DVD
Bill Murray in another pitch-perfect performance in this Jim Jarmusch film. It's funny and quirky, feels real, and is great because it frustrates our quest for answers.
Bubba Ho-Tep Comedy/Horror DVD
Brilliant and original film featuring an ageing Elvis, a black JFK and a soul-sucking mummy. If that synopsis doesn't make you want to see the movie, nothing will. I'll add that it's surprisingly touching as well.
Buckaroo Banzai Gangster DVD
Quite inventive and you can see how it became a cult favorite, but it's all a bit too silly to be of any real substance. May just capture your imagination though.
Bullitt Crime DVD
The movie that reinvented the car chase for Hollywood, it's got great atmosphere and realism, but don't look at the plot too closely. It's pretty hard to follow and doesn't reward close examination. Steve McQueen is great as usual though.
Carrie Horror DVD 4
Creepy, creepy, creepy, even to this day. One of the best and most imitated/lampooned horror films, ever.
Chasing Amy Romantic comedy DVD 4
Though you have the usual Kevin Smith dick&fart jokes, the examination of a relationship between a sexually liberated woman and a rather more restrained guy surprises and touches. Very true to life and sexy.
Cincinnati Kid, The Crime DVD
Gambling films somehow interest me and Steve McQueen is such a charismatic actor, so this poker movie was something of a sure shot. It works well, has great characters, a lot of suspense, and no Hollywood ending.
Clerks Comedy DVD
Kevin Smith's first cheapie has great humor, even if it really amounts to a series of vignettes staged in a conveninence store and a videoteque. A must-see even if you can see what little money's been spent.
Clerks II Comedy -
True to the original though with a sense of putting away childish things for director Kevin Smith. It doesn't all work, but once again, Smith makes me fall in love with a woman. Must mean I wanna screw Kevin Smith... in a totally heterosexual way.
Clockwork Orange, A SF VHS 3
Like other Kubrick movies, it's cold and intellectual and fails to grab me emotionally, in alrge part because of the English used, even though it is from the novel.
Coffee and Cigarettes Comedy vignettes DVD 3
A number of sketches featuring vairous actors, usually as themselves around a cup of coffee and a cigarette. Goes from the insubstantial to the hilarious, often with great commentary on the characters.
Contact SF DVD
A tight scientific thriller that makes math exciting! It's a thinker, which has you leave the theater talking about faith vs. science. Well made and acted.
Crash (1996) Drama - 2
So-called eroticism centering around car crashes and scars. Fairly sickening though it does hold some strange fascination.
Crash (2005) Drama DVD
An excellent ensemble cast in a study of racial prejudice. Yes, the set-up is a little strained, but the points made are never dull and the characters at once engaging and repulsive.
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon Fantasy/Hong Kong DVD 5
A beautiful, romantic epic like only the Chinese can make them. The martial arts action is incredible, but the characters have so much more depth. The actors are much more than action stars.
Cube SF DVD 3
A feature-length Twilight Zone episode, really. This Canadian film is very interesting for those who wish to think more deeply about its meaning.
Cyrano de Bergerac Comédie/Théâtre VHS 5
Very close to the play, Gerard Depardieu really makes the character come to life, with great humor and tragedy.
Daleks' Invasion of Earth 2150 A.D. SF DVD
One of those Dr. Who movies with Peter Cushing. Not without its charm, but the Daleks make irritating villains. The comedy elements may jar, but not as much as in the first Dalek movie.
Daredevil (including Director's Cut) Supers DVD 4
A much underrated superhero movie, it's dark and gritty and follows the plots from the comics very well. Good action, with Bullseye being a major draw, but Jennifer Garner's Elektra too. The Director's Cut adds a half-hour that plugs all the plot holes in the original release, but also changes a few key moments to make Daredevil even more of a hardluck hero. Both are recommended separately.
Dark City SF/Film Noir DVD
Matrix meets film noir, but this is so much more than that. Very original in concept, it's very eerie and rich in atmosphere. Highly recommended.
Dead Poets Society Drama DVD
A coming of age story that will make you like literature, both funny and sad. No overacting from Robin Williams in this one.
Deep End, The Thriller DVD 3
Tilda Swinton is very good as a mother trying to cover up her son's crime in this remake, but it's not all that remarkable. A few good, chilling scenes, but the twist is only so-so.
Desperado Gangster DVD
The sequel to El Mariachi has some great action, a trademark of Rodriguez's style, and makes Selma Hayek sexier than ever.
Die Hard Action VHS
The most copied formula in action movies starts here with Bruce Willis outgunned by thieves making like they're terrorists. Has not been equaled in the genre, and is still exciting, fun and suspensful to this day.
Die Hard 2 Action -
A bit too complicated at times, but still a worthy successor to the original film. The stakes are higher this time, and Bruce Willis' role is realistically followed up on.
Die Hard: With a Vengeance Action - 3
Not a script for Die Hard, and it shows. A good buddy movie with stunts and action, but not really in the Die Hard mold, which does weaken it.
Doctor Who and the Daleks SF DVD
The first Peter Cushing Dr. Who story, it's not quite as good as the tv series it is based on, though it looks much better. The comedy elements are definitely jarring here.
Dogma Comedy/Epic DVD 4
A fun and irreverant take on Christian myth, Dogma sometimes goes overboard (Jay and Silent Bob are not to everyone's tastes, for example), but has some unforgettable scenes and real heart.
Dr. Strangelove Comedy VHS 4
A dark comedy from Kubrick, which is an oddity. Peter Sellers and George C. Scott are really the ones that sell it as a cold war parable, though it's a bit disjointed.
Though visually arresting, it is largely undecipherable, and does not respect the novel enough for my tastes. Often just gross, I much prefer the television mini-series of the same name.
Ed Wood Biopic DVD
Johnny Depp captures Hollywood's worst director in loopy fashion, and Tim Burton shoots the picture with those sensibilities to create something with a lot of humor and pathos.
El Mariachi Gangster DVD
Very cheaply done Mexican film by Robert Rodriguez, it uses its financial limits to create an excitingly edited action film. Recommended, as is the indy film making primer that constitutes its DVD audio commentary.
Elektra (Director's Cut) Supers/Kung Fu DVD
Don't know about the theatrical release, but the more subtle Director's Cut doesn't deserve its Catwoman-like reputation. It's a relatively quiet character journey with some good martial arts scenes, though it does suffer from annoying kid syndrome.
11:14 Thriller DVD
The same few minutes seen from various angles as the truth unwraps itself before your eyes. Great fun.
Elizabeth Biopic/Drama DVD
Beautifully done historical drama about the title queen. A tour de force performance for Cate Blanchett, with great supporting work from the likes of Geoffrey Rush.
Empire Strikes Back, The (including Special Edition) SF VHS 4
The best of the Star Wars films because it is dark and ends in favor of the villains, this is Darth Vader's movie. The Special Edition adds some ok material which isn't too intrusive this time.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind SF/Romance DVD
Another uniquely original screenplay by Charlie Kaufman, its central fable becomes very true to life and visually imaginative. Very impressive work from Kate Winslet as well, creating a character that you want to fall in love with.
eXistenZ SF VHS
A quirky science-fiction tale where you never know what's real. Sometimes hard to follow, and with the usual Cronenberg gross-outs, it's nonetheless an stimulating and creepy adventure.
Farenheit 451 SF DVD 4
Ray Bradbury's fable about book-burning is slow and dry in spots, but definitely shocks, touches and interests. Its final question is quite beautiful if you are a lover of books.
Farenheit 9/11 Documentary DVD 5
Michael Moore's controversial take on 9/11 will make you want to impeach the president, or if you're a Bush supporter, go out and shoot Michael Moore. This is a disturbing film with far fewer theatrics and intentional laughs than Moore's earlier films.
Fargo Comedy/Thriller DVD 4
The Cohen Brothers' most celebrated film captures perfectly the Midwestern/small town feel, and throws a madcap thriller based on human stupidity into the mix. Great performances and direction all around.
Fifth Element SF DVD 4
The Moebius-like visuals are beautiful, and the story is like no other in SF cinema, but it does rely a bit too much on unnecessary action-star material for Bruce Willis.
Fight Club Thriller/Comedy DVD 5
Easily in my top 5 films of all time, Fight Club is a ballad to the disenfranchised Generion Xers. Dark and grimy, but poetically visual, the film adds to the novel rather than reducing it to its bare parts. A great postmodern tale.
Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within Anime/SF DVD
With its Japanses Gaea theme, it's anime despite the CGI animation. Beautifully made, with an unusual story, it may be too metaphysical at the end for its more action-oriented beginnings.
Fist of Legend Kung Fu VHS 3
Jet Li's breakout film, it features excellent true to life martial arts action. Rather standard cinema, but it works.
Fist of the North Star Anime VHS 2
Ultraviolent slugfest in the anime way. I'm not quite sure what all the hype is supposed to be about.
Fog of War, The Documentary DVD
Basically a long interview with Robert McNamara, Secretary of Defense during the Vietnam war, his recollections are vivid, his personality brilliant, and his insights invaluable to the current world crisis.
From Dusk Til Dawn Gangster/Horror/Comedy DVD
The first part is Tarantino-esque and excellent. The second part is a funny horror movie spoof/hommage. Each film has its moments of greatness, but they don't mesh so easily.
From Hell Horror DVD
Nowhere near a match for the comic it is based on, it is still interesting and occasionally chilling.
Gamers, The Comedy/Fantasy DVD
A cheap 1-hour homemade spoof of Dungeons & Dragons. For people who have role-played only, especially since the audio is so amateurish.
Garden State Comedy DVD 4
At times seeming to be plotless, this is a really surprisingly subtle and beautiful script and directorial debut by Zach Braffs with some hilarious moments and a charming performance by Natalie Portman. Great, great soundtrack too.
Gattaca SF VHS
A relevant SF tale dealing with genetic improvement of the human race that is also a tense thriller. Well done and moody.
Getaway, The Crime DVD 4
Steve McQueen is as smoldering as ever and the action relentless and fun. Each character is well drawn and original, and the direction is tops.
Ghost World Comedy DVD 4
Of a brand of comedy I would call "pathetic", which is not to say it isn't funny, just that you laugh at the characters' pathetism. Excellent examination of suburban dullness and what people do to get out of it. At times surreal, it rewards the patient viewer.
Goodfellas Gangster/Biopic VHS
Scorese's best film, with tons of classic scenes and all the best mafiosos Hollywood can afford. Very strong.
Great Escape, The War DVD
A war movie classic, it is quite long and a true story to boot. Despite the length, you're never quite sure who will make it out alive and the various escape plans are quite entertaining.
Groundhog Day Romantic Comedy DVD
Bill Murray's best comedy, in my opinion, until his later, more mature work. It has a lot of laughs, but also a few tears, and is eminently rewatchable.
Hamlet (1948) Shakespeare DVD
Laurence Olivier's version has a lot of technical originality for the time, but remains rather stagey, and his own performance lacks energy.
Hamlet (1990) Shakespeare DVD 3
Mel Gibson's turn in the role has a unique visceral quality, but Zeffirelli has butchered the play, cutting a lot of the subtext from it. A lesser effort, though not without its successes.
Hamlet (1996) Shakespeare DVD
Kenneth Brannagh's integral Hamlet cuts not a single line, so it's massively long, but keeping all the subtext, turns out to be the best film adaptation of Shakespeare's best play.
Hamlet (2000) Shakespeare DVD
An interesting experiment in staging Hamlet in the year 2000, with Bill Murray as a particular highlight, but after Romeo+Juliet, it feels like a bit of a stunt.
Hellboy Supers/Horror DVD 3
A real melting pot of genre concepts, Hellboy has merit, but throws a few too many things at the wall hoping they'll stick. Fairly entertaining, but not enough shines through.
Henry V Shakespeare VHS
Brannagh's first Shakespeare film is a clear success, taking one of the lesser historicals and making it a rousing epic filled with star-studded talent.
Hero Fantasy/Hong Kong DVD
A Rashomon-style story in which we see various versions of the same tale, this hardly takes away from the emotional heart of the story. And as can be expected, the martial arts are beautiful.
House of Flying Daggers Fantasy/Hong Kong DVD
Another beautiful wuxia romance in the style of Crouching Tiger or Hero, but at least as satisfying and no less tragic. These films have not yet managed to repeat themselves.
Hulk Supers DVD
Flawed by an extra ending (Nick Nolte not being that engaging as a villain), Hulk nonetheless has some great directorial  ideas and eye-opening effects. Manages to get at the core of what the Hulk is about.
Hustler, The Drama DVD
A pool/gambling movie? I'm there! Turns out this is far darker than you'd expect and Paul Newman eats up the screen.
Importance of Being Earnest, The Comedy/Theater DVD 4
Oscar Wylde's wittiest of plays is given extra life in this movie version, with all the actors doing a spectacular job, in particular, the eminently watchable Reese Witherspoon.
In the Company of Men Comedy/Drama DVD
An original, but very harsh indie movie that takes no prisoners. Brilliantly executed, and may just create one of the greatest movie villains of all time.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade Pulp DVD
The series is refereshed by the addition of Sean Connery to the cast, and the look at Indiana's very first dig is fun and relevant. As usual, great action pieces and a thinking man's climax.
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom Pulp DVD
The sequel to Raiders of the Lost Ark, it has an interesting venue and some good action, but Indiana's sidekicks will annoy you no end whenever they are onscreen, especially the screechy Kate Capshaw.
Jackie Brown Gangster DVD 4
Slightly quieter than Tarantino's other films, it is nonetheless excellent, with the great return of some ageing 70s movie stars used to great effect, and a tight and witty Elmore Leonard story.
Jarhead War DVD 4
A war movie without any fighting, it may disappoint those expectations, but is a wonderful look at the frustrations of the Gulf War and how disenfranchised that generation of soldiers was. Totally relevant and masterfully directed and acted.
Jaws Horror DVD
Jump-out-of-your-seat thriller that has yet to be equaled. Spielberg showed at an early age that he could effectively manipulate an audience, and the screenplay goes beyond the simple tropes of the genre.
Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back Comedy DVD 3
A big, stupid inside joke for anyone who's seen Kevin Smith's other films, and it's worth seeing if you're among that number.
Jersey Girl Comedy DVD 4
It may seem like a simple comedy, but it has a lot of heart and some terrific acting from Ben Affleck. Don't let the Jennifer Lopez credit deter you, this is not Gigli and she's out early.
Junior Bonner Western DVD 3
I definitely admire the film for its detailed look at the life of a rodeo star and its emotional realism, but I'm not that interested in rodeos to begin with, so I was waiting for some scenes to just end.
K-Pax SF/Drama DVD
Kevin Spacey can do no wrong. In addition, Jeff Bridges plays against him beautifully as the psychologist who may or may not believe him when he claims to be from another planet. With an ending that can be interpreted in more than one way, this movie is interesting and uplifting.
Kafka Film Noir/SF VHS 3
Kafka's life as if he had himself written it. It has its moments of creepy atmosphere, but it ultimately less than satisfying in its resolution.
Logan's Run SF DVD
A classic from the 70s, it's a must-see example of its type. Somewhat sexy with some twists and reasonable effects. And if you like, unintentionally funny.
Looking for Richard Documentary/Shakespeare VHS
Al Pacino directs this half-documentary, half-staging of Richard III, and though sometimes self-indulgent, it masterfully captures many question surrounding the play and Shakespeare's relevance in modern times.
Lord of the Rings: Fellowship of the Rings (including Extended Edition) Fantasy DVD 4
All set-up with not that much resolution, the first part of the trilogy is nonetheless visually stunning and a more than worthy adaptation of Tolkien's work.
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (including Extended Edition) Fantasy DVD
Better than Fellowship, the battles are spectacular and the Rohan especially well designed. The one flaw is perhaps the longish (or not long enough, if you speak to fans) Treebear sequences.
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (including Extended Edition) Fantasy DVD 5
It's finally come into its own. Extremely beautiful and stunning, with everything falling into place, and tears being drawn from your eyes. Makes the entire trilogy a 12-hour must-see.
Lost in Translation Comedy DVD 4
A quiet little film that puts Bill Murray on a totally new level, with Japan as an unusual backdrop that continually interests and surprised. Beautiful and poetic, especially the ending.
Made Comedy/Gangster DVD 3
Jon Favreau and Vince Vaughn team up for a second time, with the same comedic flair. Peter Falk turns in a fun performance as well. A fun runaround.
Magnificent Seven, The Western DVD 3
Though full of classic scenes, Yul Brenner and Horst Buchholz stick out like sore thumbs. More than made up for by the rest of the cast though.
Magnolia Drama/Arts DVD 5
One of my favorite films of all time, the themes, direction, acting and writing all trump the basic obstacle of unsympathetic characters and a loopy fable ending. Love it and its moments of surreal apotheosis.
Mallrats Comedy DVD
Kevin Smith's bog-standard "stupid" PG-13 comedy, it is the least of his films. Still some good geeky moments, but not enough to warrant a recommendation for non-adepts.
Man Who Wasn't There, The Film Noir DVD 3
Admirable for its film noir feel and atypical story, but this is one instance where creating a dull character makes the movie dull itself. Takes a particular mindset.
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World Naval DVD
Excellent epic with a detailed rendering of what a seaman's life was like, with great action and well-developped themes. Totally engrossing despite overrated Russel Crowe's presence.
Matrix, The SF DVD
The unequaled original, it totally changed the face of modern American cinema, and with good reason. A trippy ride with cool effects and mindboggling action, but also grand ideas.
Matrix Reloaded, The SF DVD 3
In trying to make the Matrix a multi-media experience, Reloaded comes off as incomplete (you need other sources to fill in the blanks), so it's all effects and action, and the big ideas are rushed and opaque. Still, that highway sequence is great.
Matrix Revolutions, The SF DVD 4
Underrated because by then special effects were getting relatively standard and half the story takes place outside the Matrix. Nonetheless, the characters all get an ending and plot strands are resolved satisfactorily. Superior to Reloaded as a story.
Melinda and Melinda Comedy DVD 4
Woody Allen pulls of a charming experiment wherein the same plot is handled in tragedy and comedy terms. Quite amusing and clever.
Memento Gangster DVD 4
Famous as the movie shown in reverse, it's a very cool idea pulled off amazingly well. You're made to feel like the main character, being as confused as he is through this process. Even rewards rewatching.
Metropolis SF DVD 4
Fritz Lang's classic film about the oppression of the masses is as strong as people say it is. There is a colored version with a soundtrack by Queen which doesn't detract from the feel of the film at all.
Metropolis, Osamu Tezuka's Anime/SF DVD
A retelling of Fritz Lang's classic film, it manages to disappoint with its too-cartoony characters and lackluster transposition of robots as the worker class. Not too bad, just ordinary.
Midwinter's Tale, A Comedy VHS 4
A charming black and white indie from Kenneth Brannagh about lovable losers putting on a production of Hamlet. Hilarious in the same way that This Is Spinal Tap is.
Minority Report SF DVD
Spielberg's best SF movie in years, it creates a detailed future and uses its Philip K. Dick ideas to great effect. Gripping action and a deeper meaning complete the whole.
Moby Dick Drama/Literary VHS
Patrick Stewart is of course good as Ahab, but the movie is very badly edited, with intrusive cuts. Also shows how long it takes before you get to the whale.
Monster's Ball Drama DVD
The unusual relationship between Billy Bob Thornton and Halle Berry has a psychological depth to it and shows the actors in a fairly brave performance.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail Comedy DVD 3
The funniest of the Python films by far, it still doesn't beat the tv series in terms of comedy. Many set pieces fall flat, but those that don't become your favorite inside jokes after a single viewing.
Moulin Rouge Musical DVD
The musical is turned on its head with the use of popular music in new contexts, so if you can stomach the frenetic first 15 minutes, the rest will play itself out as beautiful operatic romance laced with tragedy.
Much Ado About Nothing Shakespeare/Comedy VHS 5
Another lesser play made great by Brannagh, this comedy has tons of great lines and beautiful performances from a number of actors, including Denzel Washington and the riveting Emma Thompson.
Mystery Men Supers/Comedy DVD 3
A fun superhero spoof that is a bit too dark for its own good at times, with some fart jokes that could have been cut. The characters are charming enough for a recommendation however.
Naked Lunch SF/Arts DVD 3
The task of adapting Naked Lunch to the screen would not have been an easy one, but it works. Still, it's often gross and dissengaging. The originality of content alone should attract more literate viewers.
Neon Genesis Evangelion: The End of Evangelion Anime/SF DVD
Bringing the tv series to a (second) end, it manages to ask a lot more questions than it answers them, but seen with the series, resonates for a long time.
Never So Few War DVD 2
Witty script, but stagey direction weighs down this war movie, which is more of a romance than an action picture. Frank Sinatra is a bit of a stiff, but the supporting performances of McQueen and Bronson shine (when they are actually on screen).
Nightmare Before Christmas, The Animated DVD 4
Great claymation, great songs, this really should have become more of a holiday favorite than it seems to have become.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? Comedy DVD
A cheeky and stylish retelling of the Odyssey, it's not exactly James Joyce, but it's damn funny at times and inventive from top to bottom.
Once Upon a Time in Mexico Action DVD
The Mariachi returns for a third film, and this time, the story's a bit more outlandish, but the action and music more than make up for the oddities. Johnny Depp's character has a large and intriguing role as well.
Once Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Drama DVD 4
Rightfully a classic, Jack Nicholson turns in a great performance as do the riveting Brad Dourif and Louise Fletcher.
Othello Shakespeare VHS
A bit long, still remains an excellent adaptation of this powerful play, with Kenneth Brannagh being a brilliant Iago.
Panic Room Thriller DVD
A fairly standard thriller from David Fincher, but the direction has a lot of flair and the characters are multi-layered, even what could have been cookie-cutter hoodlums.
Papillon Crime DVD 3
Another true story of prison escape starring Steve McQueen, it's worthy of its subject matter, though it does seem to go on for a long time.
Pi Thriller/Arts DVD
A strange black and white thriller about mathematics, it has a real sense of paranoia and manages to be quite shocking and though-provoking.
Pirates of the Carribean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Swashbucklers DVD 3
A half-hour too long, Pirates is a fun romp with a uniquely fun performance from Johnny Depp, but does tend to be flighty at times, especially when the pretty boys and girls or the zombies are on screen.
Pirates of the Carribean: Dead Man's Chest Swashbucklers -
Overlong with hardly any plot to hold it together, an uncomfortable mix of gore and cartoonish action, and to top it off, there's no resolution to any plot strand. A big set-up to a third film, but no real incentive to come back.
Plan 9 From Outer Space Bad SF VHS 3
So bad it's good kind of deal. Ed Wood's terrible "best" movie has plenty of unintentional laughs and isn't too long, but there are longueurs.
Pollock Biopic DVD
Excellent performances bring the 1950s-60s art scene to life wonderfully, though some may find it rather slow and quiet at times. As true stories sometimes tend to be.
Primer Indy/SF DVD
A time travel story made for a handful of dollars, it's sometimes mystifying, but always interesting. Definitely rewards the repeat viewer trying to make sense of the various time jumps.
Princess Bride, The Fantasy/Comedy DVD 4
A somewhat silly fantasy film, it has some great kickass moments, but is also sensitive enough to touch your heart. Great comedic performances throughout.
Princess Mononoke Anime/Fantasy VHS
Miyazaki's best film for my money, the clash of technology and spirituality is well captured and exciting, with some disturbing demons and engaging heroes.
Professional, The Anime/Gangster VHS
An only so-so anime about a hitman. Some memorable moments, but not a memorable movie.
Pulp Fiction Gangster DVD
Tarantino's best script, it's a story of redemption like no other, where every single scene is a quotable classic. And can anyone fault the music in this?
Punch-Drunk Love Romantic comedy/Arts DVD
What if you made an Adam Sandler comedy with an artfilm sensibility? You'd get this strangely touching "pathetic" comedy. It has some weird touches that are hard to explain which could lead to frustration. I can only imagine those going to see it expecting another Little Nicky.
Punisher, The Supers/Action DVD 4
Perhaps because of the dark comedy and gritty violence, I don't think the film got its due as a really well made action movie. What Vice City would look like if put to film.
Quest for Fire Cavemen DVD 3
No one speaks in this fairly realistic caveman picture, and yet, it's totally engrossing.
Quiet Earth, The SF DVD 3
A strange Australian film in which almost everyone on Earth disappears mysteriously. Eerie and captivating, though the end may disappoint.
Quills Drama/Literary DVD 4
Kate Winslet's life is touched by the Marquis de Sade, and it's not particularly creepy, though tragic. An inventive historical drama where the de Sade's work creates a tone for the story.
Raiders of the Lost Ark Pulp DVD 4
The first Indiana Jones movie may still be the best, or at least has the best female lead and the most classic moments. If you only see one, this is it.
Reservoir Dogs Gangster DVD 4
Tarantino's directorial debut is about perdition, mirroring Pulp Fiction's later redemptive theme. A lot more talky, but always great, with laughs and shocks along the way.
Return of the Jedi (including Special Edition) SF VHS
A lot of fun and the Ewoks are not as grating as you remember, with the story coming to a satifying close and the cliffhanger from the previous film well resolved. The Special Edition adds some fluff and changes some music. No need for it.
Richard III Shakespeare VHS 3
A World War I version of the play, it leaves me cold despite the presence of Sir Ian McKellan in the title role. Other performances are less engaging, but the stageing is at least interesting.
Ride the High Country Western DVD 4
In some ways a typical western, in others spins the conventions in new and interesting ways, with real sadness, great dialogue and a charming role for Mariette Hartley.
Roger & Me Documentary DVD
Michael Moore's first documentary about corporate greed is a lot more stunt-ridden and cheeky than later efforts, so it's not quite on Columbine's level, but still full of both fun and real-life drama.
Romeo and Juliet Shakespeare VHS
Zeffirelli's classic take is still relevant today. It's sexy, and it's sad, and well played by all concerned. It does cut a crucial line from the play however, but this is me being my armchair Shakespeare scholar here.
Romeo + Juliet Shakespeare DVD
The modern take on Shakespeare's play works, but the two main characters' casting doesn't. Or perhaps their motivations cannot be sold in a modern context. That is the fatal flaw that fails this otherwise interesting and appealing experiment.
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead Comedy DVD 4
A brilliant play well adapted to the screen with fascinating new touches. Despite some slowness and silly slapstick, true wit cannot help but shine through.
Russian Ark Indy DVD
The whole of Russian history in ONE SINGLE SHOT, NO CUTS, NO TRICKS. Technically magical and makes you think, but it may not be for you. It's very slow and strange. Working knowledge of Russian history is also helpful. But recommended for cinema lovers.
Se7en Police Thriller DVD 4
This very dark police drama has a lot of psychological value up and above the shocking elements, and the performances are flawless. Bit depressing though.
Sex, Lies and Videotape Drama DVD 4
A lovely independent film with sex as a central point without it ever becoming exploitation and beautifully rich performances from all four main stars.
Sexy Beast Gangster DVD
Ben Kingsley offers up one of the nastiest villains in cinema history, but the rest of the cast is equally excellent in what could have been a very ordinary heist movie in other circumstances. Touches of poetry and great direction. Warning on the opaque accents though.
Shakespeare in Love Romantic Comedy/Biopic DVD 5
The possible life and loves of Shakespeare as he writes Romeo and Juliet is what made me appreciate that play! Incredibly witty, detailed and allusive, like the best of the Bard's own work. A true and touching winner.
Sideways Comedy DVD
A great comedy that surpasses expectations. You will learn to love wine and it's a crime Paul Giamatti didn't get an Oscar nomination for this.
Signs SF/Thriller DVD 4
Maligned for lack of a good "twist", this is missing the point about this film. It's a take on War of the Worlds, but seen from the little man's perspective. As such, it works beautifully, with some genuine scares and yes, a perhaps daft reveal at the end.
Sin City Gangster/Comic book DVD 4
Looks just like the comic, and like no other film you've ever seen. This is both a strength and a weakness. Definitely a feast for the eyes, it doesn't really bring much to those who read the comic.
Sixth Sense, The Horror DVD
Rich horror tale that is still watchable even if you somehow learn about the twist before hand. Bruce Willis shows that he can be something other than an action hero here.
Snatch Gangster DVD 3
Tarantino-esque effort that is way too frenetic for its own good. It shows off at every turn, and despite some great music and funky performances that you will want to carry with you always, the whole is less than the sum of its parts.
Spartan Thriller DVD 4
A detailed black ops procedural, it gives nothing away through unnecessary exposition and lets you live in that world. As with other David Mammet scripts, it's incredibly well written.
Spider-Man Supers DVD
A great start to the Spider-Man saga, creating an utterly believable world, and some charming characters.
Spider-Man 2 Supers DVD 5
The Spider-Man sequel is better than the original despite the silly science because it sticks to a very solid theme. Great emotional depth adds to the now-finetuned effects.
Spirited Away Anime/Fantasy DVD 4
Incredibly imaginative, it's a very Japanese film and may seem more unfathomable than interesting to occidental audiences. The animation alone is worth the price of admission.
Star Trek: The Motion Picture (including Director's Cut) SF DVD 1
Slow and plodding, the first Star Trek movie rehashes plots from the series and has terribly 70s design elements. A real snore, made only slightly tighter in the Director's Cut.
Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (including Director's Cut) SF DVD 4
For many the best Star Trek movie, though I find it to have dated somewhat. Still, the Kirk/Khan conflict is one of the greatest in all of Trek and there's no lack of great moments here.
Star Trek III: The Search for Spock SF DVD
More science fantasy than science fiction, it's not a strong as the previous movie though it does follow directly from it. Still, the fate of the Enterprise is one of the best moments in this series.
Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home SF/Comedy DVD 4
More of a comedy about fish out of water, "the one with the whales" has good moments for each member of the cast, which is a big plus. And it is funny.
Star Trek V: The Final Frontier SF DVD 2
Better than it is usually remembered, but only for its character moments. The plot itself about Kirk meeting God isn't just lame, it's not well realized on any front. The Klingons are wasted here as well.
Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country SF DVD
The 6th installment in the series is much better than the 5th, with a Manchurian Candidate-style political story, and some slam-bang action. Great villains, and a real and touching sense that this is the end of an era.
Star Trek: Generations SF DVD 3
Though you have some good reasons to watch this (Data's emotion chip, the start of the TNG era of movies, Kirk's final fate), the story is fairly ordinary, and in some important cases, out of character. Ok, but less than it should have been.
Star Trek: First Contact SF DVD 5
The best TNG movie, bar none, the comedy and coming of age stuff occuring on Earth counterbalances nicely the edge of your seat thriller on the Enterprise. Lots of great lines and moments, and some excellent guest stars. Best Trek movie there is.
Star Trek: Insurrection SF DVD
A more light-hearted story than most Star Trek films, though it has its action pieces and emotional centre. A lot of people say it was too much like a regular episode, and they're right. Nothing truly life-changing happens to anyone.
Star Trek: Nemesis SF DVD 3
The Romulans are revamped with some interesting bits, but the villain doesn't quite work for some reason, and the effects seem a bit more grimy than in the past. Suitable, but not epic enough at this point.
Star Wars (including Special Edition) SF VHS 3
Slow in parts, it nonetheless builds the universe well, and has some rollicking action. The Special Edition adds some intrusive scenes and famously has Han Solo shoot Greedo only in self-defense. The original cut is better and George Lucas should stop fiddling with these films.
Star Wars: The Phantom Menace SF DVD
George Lucas is the king of overdone, special effects events with wall-to-wall noise and music and connect-the-dots plots. At least according to all 3 new episodes. This just doesn't work for adults and is either childish or much to repetitive to be satisfying.
Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones SF DVD 2
The Obi-Wan/clone Fett stuff is watchable, and the Yoda duel nifty, but all the Anakin stuff is just awful. Hayden Christensen is totally out of his depth and he and the usually good Natalie Portman have no chemistry. Again, all overdone and senseless.
Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith SF DVD
People have said this is the 2nd best of all 6 Star Wars films. I don't agree at all. Best of the new 3, maybe, but that's it. Once again, it's overdone to the point of making me not care. How is the final duel ever going to resonnate when it's the 5th or 6th I've seen in the movie? And Christensen still isn't selling it. Oh, they're all well done as far as stunts, effects and most acting, but the direction, choices and writing are ineffective.
State and Main Comedy DVD 4
David Mamet's comedy about filming a movie in a small town is deliciously funny in a satirical, understated way, where many of the actors get to make fun of themselves.
Superguy: Behind the Cape Mockumentary DVD 3
Fairly well-made parody of a superhero in the real world. Some improvised performances are hilarious, though the parodied tv personalities do hurt suspension of disbelief.
Superman Supers - 3
Nostalgia would have it better than it really is, with some hokey performances and some dubious powers on Superman's part. Still, it's the best of the original four with Christopher Reeve emerging as a totally believable Superman.
Superman II Supers - 2
It's the one you remember was cool as a kid. It has aged very badly, with cheesy effects and some stupid plot about Superman losing his powers when he marries Lois Lane.
Superman III Supers/Comedy - 2
More of a Richard Pryor comedy than a Superman movie, it has a couple of cute moments, but disappoints as a superhero movie. Silly fluff.
Superman IV: The Quest for Peace Supers - 1
Just awful. The science makes no sense. The villains are stupid, especially Luthor's nephew, skater Lennie Luthor. And Superman has any power you need him to have. Easily the worst of the bunch.
Superman Returns Supers -
it looks great and has a strong thruline, takes risks and of course, Kevin Spacey can do no wrong. But it's a half hour too long, is otherwise hopelessly miscast, and makes the mistake of continuing on from Superman II instead of rebooting the legend with a modern twist.
Sweet Hereafter, The Drama DVD 4
Atom Egoyan's quiet and tragic story is wonderfully and subtly acted, and chilling in a way that only the Canadian landscape can be.
Swingers Comedy DVD
Some of Jon Favreau's best comedic (and dramatic!) work, and we already know Vince Vaughn is funny as hell. More a portrait of an era than a plot, it nonetheless rewards on that level as well.
Terminator, The SF DVD
SF turns to thriller in the original which has Schwazenegger in a rare vllain's role, tight and pacey, and with some great ideas, which pay off in the sequel (for those who have only seen that one).
Terminator II: Judgement Day (including Director's cut) SF DVD 4
A great ride with cool effects and stunts. The time travel stuff remains complex enough to keep your interest and Linda Hamilton really comes into her own here.
Terminator III SF -
For all the action and special effects, this is a boring sequel that could have used James Cameron's touch. The lead-in to the dark future is interesting, but it's hardly worth the trouble.
Thelma & Louise Action DVD
A great road trip with charming characters and loads of excitement. It's the chick flick for guys. It really is.
Thomas Crown Affair, The Gangster DVD
The original with Steve McQueen. Funky 60s direction makes the movie visually engaging, and the heist elements are loads of fun. Totally fab.
Time and Tide Hong Kong/Gangster DVD 3
An incomprehensible plot, but it doesn't matter. The energy put into it, and original camera work are more than enough to entertain.
Titan A.E. Animated/SF DVD
Something of a disappointment with some CGI elements that don't quite fit. The story is ok and a lot of good actors do the voices.
Titus Shakespeare DVD
Extremely stylish version of Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. Not his greatest play by any means, but done with such style and good actors that it brings out its greatness. May leave you cold though.
Tom Horn Western DVD
Steve McQueen is engaging as an ageing cowboy in a disappearing west, and some touches have it beat Unforgiven by a few years, but it has a strange beat, extremely slow with violent punctuations. Depressing.
Tombstone Western DVD
Val Kilmer and Michael Bean's best roles ever (with a couple of really cool gun duels). And though Kurt Russell is pretty stoic as Wyatt Earp, there's real soul there. And Dana Delaney is delicious.
Traffic Drama DVD 4
No easy answers in this examination of the drug problem from every angle. The all-star cast really shines.
Trainspotting Arts DVD
Some might find it offensive in parts, but there's real humor and a fun visual sense throughout. Ewan McGregor's breakout film.
True Romance Gangster/Romantic Comedy DVD
A sweet romance written by Tarantino (if you can imagine that), but directed with gusto by the more action-oriented Tony Scott.
Truth About Cats & Dogs, The Romantic Comedy DVD 4
Janeane Garofalo charms the pants off me in this Cyrano take-off, a movie that is better than it has any right to be. Uma Thurman also hands in a good performance and doesn't become the usual cliché
Twelfth Night Shakespeare/Comedy DVD
The comedy has an opaque plot that isn't made clearer here, especially the bits with the clowns which should really have been paired down. Ben Kingsley's great as the fool though.
12 Monkeys SF DVD 4
Dark, gritty and to some degree oppressive, this is a textured and complex time travel story that makes no compromises.
2001: A Space Odyssey SF VHS
First part with the monkeys is great, but not for everyone. The second part with the space waltz is pretty, but boring. The third part with HAL is excellent and chilling. The fourth part with the drug trip is good at asking questions but goes on way too long.
2010 SF VHS
The follow-up to 2001 isn't so trippy, but it's a tight political thriller with an answer you may or may not like about the nature of the obelisks.
Unbreakable Supers DVD 4
What if superheroes existed in the real world? The coda is a little silly, but the exploration of Bruce Willis' powers is effective drama.
Usual Suspects, The Gangster DVD
A funny and wonderful ensemble cast in a nonlinear plot that will have you finding clues even on repeated viewings. Bryan Singer's direction is surprisingly good for a first effort, and the actors are all more than up to the challenge.
V for Vendetta SF/Thriller -
Alan Moore's graphic novel suffers from many alterations, but the film still manages to be a savage satire with cool action scenes,  thought-provoking ideas, and an engaging mystery.
Vampire Hunter D Anime/Horror VHS
Pretty forgettable vampire take, but not badly made. Was that one breast shot really necessary though?
Very Long Engagement, A Drama DVD
Very very complicated mystery, but an imaginative storytelling style. May frustrate, but is ultimately pretty and pleasant.
Village, The Supers DVD 4
I hope people stop looking for the twists in M. Night Shyamalan's movies soon because they are far better than those simple end twists. The Village turns out to be rather touching and has great moments of suspense and mystery.
Wag the Dog Comedy DVD 3
David Mamet's material is better when he directs it himself, but the story remains a relevant one about spin doctors and the nature of truth in a multi-media world. Slightly unaffecting though.
Waking Life Animated/Philosophy DVD 4
Chockful of ideas and looking like no animation you've ever seen before, this is a beautiful dream within a dream which makes some wonderful points about, well, everything.
War of the Roses, The Comedy DVD 3
Dark comedy about divorce, told in Danny DeVito's usual narrative-heavy way. It has some great moments, though is slightly slow to start.
Whale Music Drama VHS
Based on the Canadian novel, it features the great music of the Rheostatics and a strong performance by Maury Chaykin.
When Harry Met Sally Romantic Comedy DVD 4
Though it feels like the first modern romantic comedy, it actually has unique subject matter and is well played by Billy Crystal and Meg Ryan. Funny and heart-warming.
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? Classic/Drama/Theater DVD
Edward Albee's play cannot be made better than this, with Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor turning in pitch-perfect performances. Darkly absurd, funny and disturbing.
Wild Bunch, The Western DVD
Ultra-violent anti-western that revolutionized American cinema forever, with some incredible action scenes and efficient scripting. A must-see, but you have to be in the right mood to enjoy it.
X-Men Supers DVD 3
Made on smaller budget than many of these, X-Men suffers from rushed writing and sometimes crap effects (for its day). Still, the Wolverine/Rogue relationship holds up very well at the heart of the movie.
X2: X-Men United Supers DVD

One of the best superhero movies ever, the story is very exciting and everyone gets to do at least a little something. The new characters in the cast are all interesting, and it feels like the comic at its best.