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Top Movies

What follows below is my list of the Top Movies of  all time, at least at the present moment. There really is no reasonable yardstick by which one could compare such a diverse collection of cinematic art as the movies on this list. So, what I have emerged with is a partial order rather than a total ordering. The movies are broken up into 6 categories: the 10s, 9.5s, 9s, 8.5s, 8s and 7.5s.

It so happens that the total number of films in the 10s, 9.5s and 9s categories happen to add up to 116. I wouldn't call them the 116 best films of all time, since there are quite a number of films that are on my yet-to-see list (one more list to post when I find the time!!). I wouldn't even call them my 116 favorite movies; there are a number of movies in the 8.5s, 8s and 7.5s category that I like better in terms of pure entertainment value. They aren't the 116 greatest achievements in film history, for there are many landmark films -- great cinematic achievements in their time -- which don't make this list. This list simply represents the films I would pick, if I were required to select exactly 116 films to preserve for posterity as the best examples I've encountered of the art of film. I'm a little biased against films relying solely on thematic strength and character development -- with insufficient attention to visuals and dialogue -- since I find that such matters are best explored in books rather than on film (or CCDs, as the case may be).

I intend to come up with my own reviews of all these films pretty soon, ( read: in a few months/years ) but, in the meanwhile, you'll have to make do with IMDB.

Titanic I thought was the most dreadful piece of work I've ever seen in my entire life.

-Robert Altman

Last Updated: October 23, 2005

The 10s (1-22) [ Show | Hide ]

2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)  A triumph of visual cinema.
Amadeus (1984)  The man, the music, the madness...all in a haunting mixture.
Big Sleep, The (1946)  Arguably even better than the book, and it's hard to be better than a Chandler book.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)  Quirky western with a unique tone, Newman and Redford are terrific.
Chinatown (1974)  Neo-noir at its best...disturbingly dark.
Citizen Kane (1941)  Breathtakingly inventive in its structure, intriguing characters, somewhat gimmicky but who cares?
Clockwork Orange, A (1971)  Intelligent, ultra-violent, disturbing in its ability to toy with audience sympathies.
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)  The greatest satire ever.
Godfather, The (1972)  Elevates itself above the book, embellishing the excellent storyline with performances that ooze realism, along with superb music and pacing.
His Girl Friday (1940)  Verbal comedy at fifty frames/second.
L.A. Confidential (1997)  The greatest screenplay adaptation ever?
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)  Delightfully convoluted plot to go with funny characters and great visual style.
Maltese Falcon, The (1941)  Is there a line in the movie that's not quotable?
Memento (2000)  Unique and powerful. It's hard to make a thriller which gives away the ending in the beginning, but this is the one movie that can.
Pulp Fiction (1994)  It's all about the dialogue...
Requiem for a Dream (2000)  Unforgettable combination of brilliantly inventive visual style, great editing and music, and a searing story line.
Se7en (1995)  Atmospheric, gripping, flawless.
Shawshank Redemption, The (1994)  Tremendous storyline, perfect pacing, superb acting...and is there a film more uplifting?
Touch of Evil (1958)  Arguably Orson Welles' best film. Combines obligatory complex film noir plot with equally complex characters.
Trois couleurs: Rouge (1994)  Brilliant exploration of the role of chance and fate in human lives. Visually breathtaking, unusually for a meditative think-piece.
Twelve Monkeys (1995)  Science fiction, Terry Gilliam-style. Beautiful theme, intelligent plot.
Usual Suspects, The (1995)  The most fun of them all. Witty dialogue, combined with my favorite kind of twisted plot.

The 9.5s (23-58) [ Show | Hide ]

12 Angry Men (1957) 
All the President's Men (1976) 
Apocalypse Now (1979) Coppola's poetic take on Vietnam is best seen in the non-Redux version which is considerably shorter. Contains many brilliant individual scenes although the overall story is a let-down.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)  Cary Grant at his hilarious, contortionist best. Absolutely priceless, uh, plot with tons of side-splitting scenes.
Barry Lyndon (1975)  Period drama Kubrick-style. Brilliantly shot, perfectly paced, excellent music, flawless.
Blade Runner (1982) 
Body Heat (1981) 
Brazil (1985) 
Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (1966) Magnificently stylish Sergio Leone masterpiece with the usual mix of gentle humor, quotable one-liners and operatic scope.
City Lights (1931) 
Dial M for Murder (1954) 
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982) 
Ghost World (2001) 
Godfather: Part II, The (1974) Inspired narrative structure paralleling the rise of the father with the fall of the son arguably makes it as good as the original.
High Noon (1952) 
It's a Wonderful Life (1946) 
JFK (1991) 
Ladri di biciclette (1948) 
Lone Star (1996) Beautifully structured story, full of three-dimensional characters, seamlessly interweaving a murder mystery with insightful social commentary and an examination of personal relationships.
Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003)  The best movie in the trilogy - good old-fashioned storytelling with seamlessly woven-in special effects.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) 
Murder, My Sweet (1944) Oft considered the definitive film noir, this is a near-perfect adaptation of a perfect Chandler novel, marred ever so slightly by Dick Powell's tendency to occasionally descend into comedy
Night at the Opera, A (1935) The Marx brothers at their best. See http://www-db.stanford.edu/~prasanna/dmc/musical.html#opera for more.
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) 
Per un pugno di dollari (1964) 
Primer (2004) Brilliant low-budget time-travel pic with great atmosphere and a mindbogglingly complicated, albeit logical, plot.
Rashomon (1950) 
Schindler's List (1993) 
Sting, The (1973) Cool con movie in the style David Mamet patented later, but with greater star power, more understatement and a lovely music track.
Sunset Blvd. (1950) 
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) 
Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948) 
When Harry Met Sally... (1989) 
Yojimbo (1961) 
You Can Count on Me (2000)  A little gem of a film; absolutely perfect mix of comedy and drama with some of the most realistic characters I've ever seen.
Young Frankenstein (1974) 

The 9s (59-116) [ Show | Hide ]

Alien (1979) 
Almost Famous (2000) 
Bad Santa (2003)  Brilliantly subversive comedy with never a dull moment. Deliciously off-kilter characters spewing sharp lines in a preposterously perverse story.
Batman Returns (1992) 
Blood Simple (1984)  The funniest film noir of all time. Funny in the Coen brothers style, that is. Cosmically ironic ending that will blow you away.
Bringing Up Baby (1938) 
C'era una volta il West (1969) The quintessential Leone Western; operatic scenes of the mundane, unfolding in slow motion and magically imbued with epic scope by magnificent direction and music.
Cidade de Deus (2002)  A cross between Goodfellas and Pulp Fiction. Breathtakingly violent, teeming with energy, and mesmerizing.
Croupier (1998) 
Crumb (1994)  Documentary that provides a fascinating look into the life of Robert Crumb; unnervingly frank, insightful and provocative.
Dark City (1998)  Truly visionary sci-fi, an intriguing storyline, noir-ish atmosphere and breathtaking visuals.
Delicatessen (1991)  Brilliant fantasy/satire set in a starving future where people resort to cannibalism; loaded with rich humor and great visuals.
Diaboliques, Les (1955) 
Dirty Harry (1971) 
Do the Right Thing (1989)  Highly energetic film capturing the ethos of suburban Brooklyn and inter-racial tensions.
Double Indemnity (1944) Billy Wilder's stab at noir, defined by its dharp dialogue and a tight plot. Impressive in its building of tension despite a lack of suspense.
Duck Soup (1933) 
Fight Club (1999) 
French Connection, The (1971) 
Full Metal Jacket (1987) 
Get Shorty (1995)  As good as the book; consistently funny and ironic tale of mobster making it big in Hollywood. The dialogue sizzles with wit and humor.
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai (1999)  Stylish and atmospheric film combining the Samurai tale with the mob story, told with a hip-hop sensibility.
Graduate, The (1967) 
High Plains Drifter (1973)  Probably my favorite American western. Eastwood brings a unique mixture of humor and cynicism to a well-worn tale.
Hope and Glory (1987) 
Igby Goes Down (2002)  The Graduate of the new age; mordant wit coupled with exciting plot makes it a spiced-up version of The Catcher in the Rye.
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989) 
Jaws (1975) 
Lady from Shanghai, The (1948) 
Lethal Weapon (1987) 
Lola rennt (1998) Pulse-pounding ride exploring the chaotic nature of life via alternative realities; keenly observed details elevate it above a stylistic exercise.
Lolita (1962) 
M (1931) 
Magnificent Ambersons, The (1942) 
Magnolia (1999)  Wildly ambitious ensemble piece simultaneously tracking many interlocking lives; the first two hours are adrenaline-driven magic.
Man on the Moon (1999) 
Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)  Solid, realistically portrayed sea-faring adventure with swashbuckling action and strong performances.
My Fair Lady (1964) 
Out of the Past (1947) Classic film noir, with world-weary, hard-boiled characters, cigarette smoking and betrayal aplenty and, of course, the femme fatale.
Paths of Glory (1957) 
People vs. Larry Flynt, The (1996) 
Per qualche dollaro in più (1965) 
Player, The (1992) 
Princess Bride, The (1987) 
Psycho (1960) 
Rear Window (1954) 
Rebecca (1940) 
Reservoir Dogs (1992) 
Règle du jeu, La (1939)  Jean Renoir's satire about the bourgeoisie. Sophisticated camerawork and imagery. Maybe I'll appreciate more on multiple viewings.
Saving Private Ryan (1998) 
Shining, The (1980) 
Sin City (2005) Masterful visual extravaganza oozing pulp noir atmosphere and marvellously retro hard-boiled dialogue; far too much gratuitous gore, however.
Singin' in the Rain (1952) 
Sixth Sense, The (1999) 
Stalag 17 (1953)  Well-plotted POW movie with a heady mix of interesting characters, witty dialogue and razor-sharp storyline; classic Billy Wilder.
Thin Red Line, The (1998) 
This Is Spinal Tap (1984) 
Three Kings (1999) 

The 8.5s (117-218) [ Show | Hide ]

10 (1979)  One of the funniest of Blake Edwards' films; smart story and dialogues, neat accents, complemented by fine acting and Bo Derek.
8 1/2 (1963)  [But of course! What other score could I give it? ]
All About Eve (1950) 
Amores perros (2000) 
Annie Hall (1977) 
Apartment, The (1960) 
Artificial Intelligence: AI (2001) 
Aviator, The (2004) Entertaining story covering an exciting segment of Howard Hughes' life; the uneven pacing and episodic narrative make you alternately wish for a shorter movie and a longer one.
Back to the Future (1985) 
Batman (1989) 
Batman Begins (2005) The strongest of the Batman movies with well-rounded characters and a welcome return to the dark atmosphere and disturbing subtext of the original Batman.
Beat the Devil (1953) My Comments
Beautiful Mind, A (2001) 
Boogie Nights (1997) My Comments
Boot, Das (1981) 
Bound (1996)  Stylish thriller with a clockwork-precision plot and macabre humor. Superior to the Wachowskis' follow-up, The Matrix.
Bowling for Columbine (2002)  Compelling, viciously funny, and thought-provoking documentary(?); its questions are more interesting than its answers though.
Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957) 
Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Garcia (1974) Brilliant, despairing masterpiece from Sam Peckinpah about an amateur bounty hunter and the violent quest that transforms him.
Casino (1995) 
Cercle rouge, Le (1970)  Elegant crime movie with highly mannered characters, unimpeachable atmosphere, and suspense; only complaint is the '50s-style ending.
Charade (1963) 
Cité des enfants perdus, La (1995)  Brilliantly inventive dark fantasy set in a vividly drawn, beautiful alternative universe ; quirky characters to boot.
Clerks. (1994) 
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977) 
Contact (1997) 
Dead Again (1991)  A good movie about reincarnation? Believe it. Easily tops in that sub-genre, cool plot with lots of nice touches.
Deathtrap (1982) 
Die Hard (1988) 
Dogma (1999) 
Driving Miss Daisy (1989) 
Du rififi chez les hommes (1955)  Among the first heist movies, and perhaps the best. Awesome 28-minute heist set-piece without music or dialogue.
Ed Wood (1994) See review here.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999) 
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)  So what if it isn't a typical documentary? It's entertaining, and no one has questioned its version of the facts yet.
Following (1998)  Christopher Nolan's precursor to Memento. Brilliant for its budget, the short running time and jerky narrative makes it a very engaging thriller.
Game, The (1997) 
General, The (1998) 
Gone with the Wind (1939) 
Heat (1995) 
High Fidelity (2000) 
Horí, má panenko (1967)  The Firemen's Ball. A minor classic from Milos Forman, a comic tale of life in the Czechoslovakia. Contains some hilariously ironic scenes.
Incredibles, The (2004) One impressive piece of animation. Easily the best comic superhero film, animated or otherwise.
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) 
It Happened One Night (1934) 
Killing, The (1956) 
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)  Awesome British comedy with a wicked sense of humour. A wee bit predictable, but well worth seeing Alec Guinness in his 8 roles.
Léon (1994) 
Lawrence of Arabia (1962) 
Limey, The (1999) 
Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001) 
Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The (2002) 
MASH (1970)  Altman at close to his best; memorable characters and vicious humor bring out the madness of war; and, of course, the song is a classic.
Man Who Would Be King, The (1975) 
Manchurian Candidate, The (1962) 
Manhattan (1979) 
Manhunter (1986) 
Matrix, The (1999) 
Maverick (1994) 
Men in Black (1997) 
Miller's Crossing (1990) 
Mission: Impossible (1996) 
Modern Times (1936) 
Moulin Rouge! (2001) 
Murder on the Orient Express (1974) 
Network (1976) 
Nightmare Before Christmas, The (1993) 
North by Northwest (1959) 
Nuit américaine, La (1973)  Affectionate look at the making of movies, full of amusing interludes, technical insights and interesting characters.
Once Upon a Time in America (1984) 
Others, The (2001) 
Party, The (1968) 
Pather Panchali (1955) 
Quatre cents coups, Les (1959) 
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981) 
Rain Man (1988) 
Raising Arizona (1987) 
Ransom (1996) 
Right Stuff, The (1983) 
Road to Perdition (2002) 
Scarface (1983) 
Shakespeare in Love (1998) 
Simple Plan, A (1998) 
Some Like It Hot (1959) 
Spartacus (1960) 
Spider-Man 2 (2004) So much better than the first movie; rises above its genre roots into near-greatness.
Stagecoach (1939) 
Strada, La (1954) 
Strange Days (1995)  Superb camerawork, excellent sci-fi premise, and an engrossing plot; all let down by a weak ending, but well worth watching anyway.
Third Man, The (1949) 
Todo sobre mi madre (1999) 
Traffic (2000) 
Two Jakes, The (1990) 
Unforgiven (1992) 
Untouchables, The (1987) 
Vertigo (1958) The darkest of Hitchcock's movies with disturbing and complex characters. The predictable story is redeemed by elegant camera work and a powerful ending.
Vita è bella, La (1997) 
Wag the Dog (1997) 
Wallace & Gromit in The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005) Spectacularly funny stop-motion adventure starring our indomitable duo.
Way of the Gun, The (2000)  Neo-noir story stylishly told with the sensibility of a Peckinpah western. See Elvis Mitchell's wonderful review in the New York Times.
Wonder Boys (2000) 
Woodstock (1970) 

The 8s (219-333) [ Show | Hide ]

24 Hour Party People (2002)  An energetic memoir of post-Punk. Steve Coogan's performance sublimely captures the anarchy and madness of the times.
Adaptation. (2002)  Inspired, probably by Escher. Clever and funny, way better than Being John Malkovich. Pity about the pacing.
All Quiet on the Western Front (1930) 
American History X (1998) 
American President, The (1995) 
Anatomy of a Murder (1959) 
Aparajito (1956) 
Asphalt Jungle, The (1950) 
Before Sunset (2004) Interesting experiment with continuous filming of realistic conversation between two people; story goes nowhere particular but it's fun while it lasts.
Being There (1979)  A Peter Sellers masterpiece. Brilliant and funny, without ever being comic.
Bob le flambeur (1955)  As good as its remake, The Good Thief. Stylish and funny. Interesting characters and an ironic ending.
Broken Flowers (2005) Interesting Jim Jarmusch fare with Bill Murray in yet another minimalist acting role. Detailed review here
Bugsy (1991) 
Bullitt (1968) 
Carlito's Way (1993) 
Carrie (1976) 
Contender, The (2000) 
Conversation, The (1974)  Character study of a pro eavesdropper racked by his conscience; virtuoso camera work, phenomenal sound.
Cook the Thief His Wife & Her Lover, The (1989)  Elegant and artistic portrayal of the depths of depravity with a Swiftian bite. Not recommended on a full stomach.
Cookie's Fortune (1999) 
Cool Hand Luke (1967) 
Crow, The (1994)  My Comments
Dead Man Walking (1995) 
Dog Day Afternoon (1975) 
Don't Look Now (1973)  Atmospheric, disturbing psychic thriller/horror film, brilliant despite a weak ending.
Donnie Darko (2001)  Fantasy teen movie with sci-fi elements. Interesting throughout with a convoluted plot, but let down by the usual paradoxes of time travel.
Edward Scissorhands (1990) 
English Patient, The (1996) 
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)  Memento meets the romantic comedy, with the usual Charlie Kaufman loopiness; Carrey is mercifully non-contortionist
Fargo (1996) 
Few Good Men, A (1992) 
Fresh (1994) See review here.
Gaslight (1944) 
Gattaca (1997) 
Godfather: Part III, The (1990) Never quite captures the atmosphere of the first two movies, as the unoriginal plot fails to distinguish itself.
Good Thief, The (2002/I)  Amazing dialogue, a PG-13 version of Tarantino, with some great accents and characters thrown in.
Good Will Hunting (1997) 
Green Mile, The (1999) 
Grifters, The (1990)  Searing film noir, about as bleak as it gets, with hard-boiled dialogue and an uncompromising storyline.
Hotel Rwanda (2004) Solidly acted, realistic drama capturing one man's small-scale fight against genocide in Rwanda in the face of world apathy. A little too long, and occasionally a little facile, but very good nonetheless.
Hustler, The (1961) 
I, Robot (2004) A high-quality genre movie with smart plotting and beautiful visualization; a perfect tribute to Asimov, sharing both his strengths and weaknesses.
In the Heat of the Night (1967) 
Inherit the Wind (1960) 
Insider, The (1999) 
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978) Longer than the original Don Siegel, and not as starkly realistic, but very good nonetheless.
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956) 
Iron Giant, The (1999) 
Jackie Brown (1997)  Nice, Tarantino-esque adaptation of Elmore Leonard; trouble is, Tarantino ought to be doing better than Tarantino-esque.
Jules et Jim (1962)  Poetic work chronicling the complex relationships among a bohemian trio; alternately funny and sad, while never lapsing into sentimentality.
Kill Bill: Vol. 2 (2004)  A lot more talky, and less violent, than Vol. 1, which is a good thing. Dialogue still doesn't reach the heights of Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs.
Killing Fields, The (1984) 
Klute (1971) 
Lantana (2001)  Rich human drama cloaked as a mystery. Excellent performances, cool Australian accents.
Last Seduction, The (1994)  Stylish neo-noir with truly evil lead character and near-perfect plotline.
Layer Cake (2004) Stylish, refreshing take on the British mob scene, with just the right mix of interesting characters, complex plot and visual flourishes.
Lifeboat (1944)  Excellent, engaging, and funny Hitchcock effort chronicling the adventures of 9 people stuck in a lifeboat.
Long Goodbye, The (1973) Robert Altman doing Chandler! Stylish noir with occasional dose of subtle humor
Man Who Wasn't There, The (2001) 
Manufacturing Consent: Noam Chomsky and the Media (1992)  Thought-provoking; Chomsky brilliantly argues that the media is the government's mouthpiece.
Mariachi, El (1992) 
McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) 
Millions (2004) Offbeat comedy involving two young boys stumbling upon a load of money just as the pound is being phased out by the euro; occasionally feels like it ought to be funnier than it actually is, but very good nonetheless.
Minority Report (2002) 
Monster's Ball (2001)  Well-observed story about three-dimensional characters dealing with loss; surprisingly upbeat, and far from depressing, given the subject matter.
Mulholland Dr. (2001) 
Nine Queens (2000) See review here.
Notti di Cabiria, Le (1957) 
Nuovo cinema Paradiso (1988) 
Odd Couple, The (1968)  Classic Lemmon-Matthau comedy. A little stagy, but fun nevertheless.
On Her Majesty's Secret Service (1969)  Easily the best Bond movie, despite George Lazenby. A real story for a change, combined with vintage action.
On the Waterfront (1954) 
Panic Room (2002) 
Patton (1970) 
Philadelphia Story, The (1940) 
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003)  When was the last time a big-budget Hollywood movie was this fun? Johnny Depp is amazing.
Platoon (1986) 
Pledge, The (2001) 
Postman Always Rings Twice, The (1946) 
Presumed Innocent (1990) 
Pygmalion (1938)  Strong adaptation of Shaw's play, more incisive and much more faithful than My Fair Lady. Pity about the altered ending...
Red Rock West (1992) 
Rope (1948) 
Rosemary's Baby (1968) 
Runaway Train (1985)  One of those rare intelligent thrillers. The final shot alone is worth the price of admission...
Rushmore (1998)  Full of quirky, disagreeable characters...just the way I like 'em.
Say Anything... (1989)  A good teen romance!!!
Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)  One of the best animated fantasies ever...full of three-dimensional characters and exciting to boot.
Serenity (2005) Charming retro sci-fi space combat story; nothing overwhelming to write home about but much more interesting and intelligent than the Star Wars saga.
Shichinin no samurai (1954)  Action extravaganza, Kurosawa-style
Shop Around the Corner, The (1940)  Sweet and solid romantic comedy, 40s style. Curiously, the story is set in Budapest.
Short Cuts (1993) See review here.
Sideways (2004) Highly enjoyable comedy following the escapades of a perennially depressed, middle-aged, wine-loving wannabe-writer and his about-to-be-married buddy. Would rate it higher if not for some one-dimensional characters.
Solyaris (1972)  Way too long for the average viewer, but rewarding if you can stay awake through it.
Stand by Me (1986)  Taut and touching, good story, great direction.
Strangers on a Train (1951)  One of Hitchcock's more engaging films, good mix of humor and suspense.
Straw Dogs (1971)  Sam Peckinpah's violent drama stretches plausibility, but is disturbing and thrilling nevertheless.
Tape (2001)  A dialogue-driven three-person play about the unreliability of memory; brilliant first half but left me somewhat unsatisfied by the end.
The Constant Gardener (2005) See review here.
The Cooler (2003) Excellent indie drama about an old-fashioned mobster in an old-fashioned casino and his bad-luck charm employee who cools off all hot streaks by his very presence nearby; William H. Macy and Alec Baldwin are superb in building atmosphere and believable characters.
Thin Man, The (1934) 
Things to Do in Denver When You're Dead (1995) 
To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)  Bleak cops-and-robbers tale with morally ambiguous, noir-ish characters. Beautifully shot, with the feel of a classic B-movie.
Topsy-Turvy (1999) 
Trzy Kolory: Bialy (1994) Comedy, Kieslowski style, with a bleak and off-center sense of humor. A meditative version of a Coen brothers story
Two Weeks Notice (2002)  Where is the apostrophe?
Very Long Engagement, A (2004) Off-beat romance set amidst the first world war; not as good as Jeunet's other movies, perhaps because it is a little more serious.
Violon rouge, Le (1998) 
Waking Life (2001)  Beautiful animation, to go with some interesting, and sometimes sophomoric, conversations.
Waking Ned Devine (1998) My Comments
Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966) 
Witness for the Prosecution (1957) 
Wo hu cang long (2000) 
Wyatt Earp (1994) 
À bout de souffle (1960) 

The 7.5s (334-531) [ Show | Hide ]

About a Boy (2002) 
Abre los ojos (1997)  So much better than its remake, Vanilla Sky, primarily thanks to its lack of Tom Cruise's star presence.
Adventures of Robin Hood, The (1938) 
Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes (1973)  Chronicles a 16th century expedition seeking El Dorado; disturbing portrayal of a man's quest for power.
Aladdin (1992) 
Amarcord (1973)  Beautiful, entertaining portrait of life in a small Italian town. Lots of lovely moments, but kinda long.
American Beauty (1999) 
American Splendor (2003)  Quirky and funny look at the life of the quintessential everyman and his shot at fame.
Angel Heart (1987) 
Angst essen Seele auf (1974)  Strong story exposing societal intolerance, and two people's ability to cope with it.
Animal Crackers (1930) 
Apollo 13 (1995) 
Arlington Road (1999) 
Army of Darkness (1993) 
As Good As It Gets (1997) 
At the Circus (1939) 
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001) 
Auberge espagnole, L' (2002) Moderately funny, story about people of different nationalities rooming together in Spain; offbeat style adds spice to tired formulae.
Avventura, L' (1960) 
Back to the Future Part II (1989) 
Back to the Future Part III (1990) 
Bank Dick, The (1940) 
Barton Fink (1991)  Interesting Coen brothers effort set in wartime Hollywood...too many pretentious, indecipherable, pseudo-profound scenes though.
Basic Instinct (1992)  Arbitrary plotting and implausible characters aside, there is still a decently (forgive the pun) entertaining thriller to be found here. A good B-movie.
Being John Malkovich (1999) 
Bend It Like Beckham (2002)  Hilarious look at the life of British-Indian girls.
Big Fish (2003) A Princess Bride-wannabe, surprisingly mild-mannered for a Tim Burton film. Always entertaining, with wild and fantastic episodes, but eventually unmemorable.
Big Store, The (1941) Underrated Marx madness with the usual suspects.
Blowup (1966)  Social critique in a thriller's body. Rambles a little too much and is too abstruse for my liking, but has some brilliant set pieces.
Bourne Supremacy, The (2004) Superior action movie with a touch of seriousness sorely lacking in its lousy predecessor.
Braveheart (1995) 
Bride of Frankenstein (1935) 
Bridget Jones's Diary (2001) Disarmingly funny middle-brow British comedy. Marginally better than the sequel.
Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason (2004) Fairly inoffensive romantic comedy involving the improbable adventures of the cute-verging-on-tiresome Bridget Jones.
Bullets Over Broadway (1994) 
Bulworth (1998) 
Cabaret (1972) 
Casablanca (1942) 
Catch Me If You Can (2002) 
Cold Mountain (2003)  Civil war drama with an annoying made-for-Oscars tone. Renee Zellweger and the cinematography are the saving graces.
Collateral (2004) Lesser Michael Mann, but good nonetheless; very competent, could have done with a less predictable ending.
Color of Money, The (1986) 
Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)  Confused, uneven, but immensely engaging and watchable.
Crazy/Beautiful (2001) 
Cronos (1993)  Neat little horror movie from Mexico, good doses of humor and atmosphere and entertaining throughout.
Crossing Guard, The (1995)  Sedate character study of an alcoholic father looking to avenge his daughter's death, and the repentant killer seeking to rediscover life.
Dancer Upstairs, The (2002)  Sedately paced and reflective, like a good novel. Excellently sketched characters and situations.
Day at the Races, A (1937)  Usual zany Marx brothers madness; fast-forward through the songs, and you've got an even better movie.
Days of Heaven (1978)  Langorous and poetic; more memorable for its beautiful images and haunting music, than for the relatively subdued storyline
Dazed and Confused (1993) 
Dead Poets Society (1989) 
Death on the Nile (1978) 
Deep End, The (2001) 
Detour (1945) 
Devil's Advocate, The (1997) 
Dick Tracy (1990) 
Dirty Pretty Things (2002)  Refreshingly different thriller involving immigrants in London; intelligent and character-driven. Only quibble is with the facile ending.
Doors, The (1991) 
Down by Law (1986)  Quirky comedy about three men brought together in a prison cell. Beautiful cinematography and subdued humor.
Elephant Man, The (1980)  Touching, brilliantly acted, great music, and has the David Lynch touch going for it. Pace flags every now and then though.
Enfants du paradis, Les (1945) High-quality moviemaking that never shows its age, but not the kind of story that grabs me.
Erin Brockovich (2000) 
Espinazo del diablo, El (2001)  Creepy, elegant ghost story with loads of style and atmosphere; logical plot, no loose ends, and lots of symbolism too.
Fabuleux destin d'Amélie Poulain, Le (2001) 
Fahrenheit 451 (1966) 
Ferris Bueller's Day Off (1986)  Very funny high-school romp.
Fifth Element, The (1997) 
Finding Nemo (2003)  Outstanding animation.
Forrest Gump (1994) 
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) 
Gandhi (1982) Great character, great acting, but not a great movie; main flaws are the artificial English dialogue, and narration through irrelevant Western characters
Gangs of New York (2002) 
Garage Days (2002) Irrepressible energy and dazzling visual style save this unambitious story from oblivion. An enjoyable feel-good, popcorn movie.
Get Carter (1971) 
Getaway, The (1972) 
Go (1999)  An energetic, comic, pulp-fictionesque adventure.
Go West (1940)  Underrated Marx brothers comedy, with shades of Buster Keaton's "The General". The climactic train chase is hilarious.
Grande illusion, La (1937) 
Grapes of Wrath, The (1940) Decent enough as classics go, but shows its age with the black-and-white storytelling and preachiness.
Great Dictator, The (1940)  Chaplin should have stuck to silent film. His sentimentality boils over in a terrible climactic speech, nearly drowning the film in pathos.
Gun Crazy (1949) Classic film noir, if a little two-dimensional with its female characters. Tightly paced story is a pre-cursor to Bonnie and Clyde.
Hable con ella (2002)  Only Almodavar can make a watchable film about people in a coma. Half comedy, half soap opera, as usual.
Hard Day's Night, A (1964) 
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004)  Finally, a real movie in the HP series! Just the right dash of grim atmosphere combined with a serviceable plot.
Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, The (2005) A poor adaptation of Douglas Adams that manages to lose most of its literary comedy and coherence; that it is still watchable is testament to how much better it could have been.
Home Alone (1990) 
Home Alone 3 (1997) 
Hotaru no haka (1988)  Super-realistic anime, full of beautiful images, and deeply sad. Marked lack of a survival instinct in the protagonists annoyed me though.
Hurricane, The (1999) My Comments
I Heart Huckabees (2004) This isn't a movie; it's an experience. Many funny moments, many strange ones, one weird movie, but pretty fun all in all.
Insomnia (1997) 
Intacto (2001)  A thriller in the cloak of an art film; smart storytelling, stylish look and interesting premise make up for the overall shallowness of concept.
Intolerable Cruelty (2003)  Throwback screwball comedy, Coen brothers-style.
Jurassic Park (1993) 
Kabinett des Doktor Caligari, Das (1920) 
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)  Interesting half-movie tribute to Hong Kong action films, with a Tarantino twist. Style doesn't compensate for the lack of substance though...
Krieger und die Kaiserin, Der (2000)  Offbeat romance set amidst a bank heist and a lunatic asylum. Beautiful images, but weighted down by pretentious sobriety.
Lady Vanishes, The (1938) My Comments
Ladykillers, The (1955)  Classic British comedy involving bumbling criminals and nosy ladies. Cynical tone makes it distinctive, although it is predictable sometimes.
Lavender Hill Mob, The (1951) 
Long Good Friday, The (1980)  Gritty, distinctive, British gangster film; excellent performances; interesting ending; watch out for Pierce Brosnan in a cameo.
Lost in Translation (2003)  Sedate, realistic take on the evolving relationship between two people out of place in Tokyo. Suspect I'll appreciate it more as I get older...
Love and Death (1975) 
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)  Far superior to the first Mad Max movie. Solid action set in the Australian wastelands.
Marche de l'empereur, La (2005) Pretty interesting documentary capturing the exploits of emperor penguins in Antarctica; brilliant images but far too resemblant of a National Geographic episode to keep me engaged.
Mariée était en noir, La (1967) 
Matchstick Men (2003)  Elegant con movie enhanced by the story of an intriguing father-daughter relationship. A pity about the obvious plot twists.
Midnight Cowboy (1969) 
Million Dollar Baby (2004) See review here.
Monkey Business (1931) 
Mononoke-hime (1997)  Classic adventure yarn, with beautiful animation. Too preachy and fantastic to captivate me completely.
Monsters, Inc. (2001) 
More the Merrier, The (1943)  Very funny comedy set in war-time Washington. Crisp dialogue, only occasionally let down by misguided scenes of romance.
Motorcycle Diaries, The (2004) Depicts the adventures of a young Che Guevara; politically uninsightful, but an excellent travelogue with its share of funny moments
Mr. and Mrs. Smith (2005) Surprisingly good Hollywood blockbuster that gets by on pure chemistry and charm.
Murder by Death (1976) 
My Big Fat Greek Wedding (2002) 
My Darling Clementine (1946) 
Mystery Train (1989)  Exotic Jarmusch fare, weaving together three stories around a hotel. All of them interesting, lots of style, but somewhat pointless overall.
Mystic River (2003)  Grim murder mystery with richly drawn characters; not exactly uplifting, but what do you expect from Eastwood?
Natural Born Killers (1994) 
Night in Casablanca, A (1946)  Not as good as the classic Marx brothers, but has some funny set-pieces nonetheless.
Ninth Gate, The (1999)  A guilty pleasure. B-movie storyline with A-movie dialogue and strong atmosphere. Ending sucks, but the journey's fun.
Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)  Among the best silent films, with some beautiful images and atmospheric, non-cheesy take on Dracula.
Nóz w wodzie (1962)  Polanski's debut feature, engrossing in its building of tension out of whole cloth. Eventually a little pointless though.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000) 
One False Move (1992)  Solid thriller with well-motivated characters. Realistic and well-thought out for the most part, but occasionally descends into cliché.
Out of Sight (1998) 
Perfect Candidate, A (1996)  Trenchant behind-the-scenes look into the politics of a Senate election; confirms our worst fears while being darkly funny.
Pi (1998)  Strange, dark film about the line between genius and madness; brilliantly shot in beautiful b&w, but somewhat incoherent and unpleasant to stomach.
Pleasantville (1998) 
Prizzi's Honor (1985) 
Punch-Drunk Love (2002) 
Quills (2000) 
Ran (1985) 
Rebel Without a Cause (1955) 
Repo Man (1984)  Totally weird fantasy involving alien beings, suburbia, codes of honor and car repossessors. Funny lunacy.
Reversal of Fortune (1990)  Interesting, darkly funny, real-life tale about a man accused of murdering his rich wife and his defense by Alan Dershowitz.
Roma (1972) 
Romancing the Stone (1984) 
Rounders (1998) 
Royal Tenenbaums, The (2001) 
Salaam Bombay! (1988)  Strong tale portraying life on the streets, excellent music.
Salaire de la peur, Le (1953)  Excellent thriller, would rate it much higher if not for that denouement that I hated, hated, hated.
Saw (2004) Gruesome, convoluted thriller along the lines of Se7en, only less smart and more gory.
Scotland, Pa. (2001)  Amusing update of Macbeth to the modern era. The parallels are fairly interesting, but the lack of suspense is a problem...
Seabiscuit (2003)  Well-shot crowd-pleaser based on a true story; a little too innocent and sentimental for my liking.
Secret Life of Walter Mitty, The (1947)  Based on the James Thurber short story, full of funny set pieces.
Secret Lives of Dentists, The (2002)  Half-fantasy, half-realism make for a strange mix. I liked the realism better, with its nuanced dialogue and well-etched characters.
Secretary (2002)  Strictly for the non-prudes. Off-kilter, funny but somehow honest take on sado-masochism.
Serpico (1973)  Gritty realism pervades this tale of a NY cop trying to clean up the system. Engrossing up to a point, but Pacino's screaming eventually got to me...
Set-Up, The (1949) Grim, realistic boxing noir. Tight storytelling and lean running time add to the atmosphere. Strictly for fans of the genre.
Sex, Lies, and Videotape (1989) 
Shadow of the Vampire (2000) 
Shrek (2001) 
Shrek 2 (2004)  About as good as the first part, some boring clichéd scenes mixed-in with inspired animation and funny lines; watch out for Antonio Banderas.
Silence of the Lambs, The (1991) 
Silverado (1985) 
Six Degrees of Separation (1993) 
Sjunde inseglet, Det (1957) 
Sleeper (1973)  Typical Woody Allen, with an extra dash of sci-fi madness and slapstick.
Sleuth (1972) 
Sling Blade (1996)  Creates one of the most intriguing characters seen on screen, the pacing is too leisurely for my liking though...
Snake Eyes (1998)  Worth seeing for that first scene alone...
Snatch. (2000) 
So I Married an Axe Murderer (1993)  The best Mike Myers movie around...
Spartan (2004) See review here.
Spider (2002) Admirable, but hard-to-watch drama about a man released from a mental institution who regresses back into his memories and fantasies while suffering a mental breakdown.
Spider-Man (2002) Good superhero movie with mediocre special effects; skipping to the sequel buys you a much better movie.
Star War: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) Far better than the first two episodes, with a reasonably engaging and nuanced story; the dialogue is still terrible but what else do we expect from George Lucas?
Star Wars (1977) 
Star Wars: Episode III - Revenge of the Sith (2005) The best of the second Star Wars trilogy and worth watching for its satisfying conclusion, if one can put up with the atrocious-as-usual dialogue and acting.
Straight Story, The (1999) 
Stranger, The (1946)  Orson Welles. Need I say more?
Streetcar Named Desire, A (1951) 
Sweet Hereafter, The (1997)  A lovely film, but just way too depressing...
Tailor of Panama, The (2001)  John Boorman does it again...
Taking of Pelham One Two Three, The (1974)  Tense, taut action thriller set in the subway.
Talented Mr. Ripley, The (1999)  Moody
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991) 
Terminator, The (1984) 
Titanic (1997) 
Tootsie (1982) 
Toy Story (1995) 
Toy Story 2 (1999) 
Trois couleurs: Bleu (1993) A little too slow and boring for my liking. Still worth watching for Kieslowski fans.
Trouble in Paradise (1932)  Fairly untaxing comedy from the 30s that sometimes shows its age. At least it's not dumb.
Unfaithful (2002)  Well-packaged drama/thriller about a suburban housewife tempted into infidelity. Decent plot, complemented by good performances.
Vanity Fair (2004) Solid adaptation of Thackeray's novel; nothing much to criticize, nothing outstanding about it either.
Vérités et mensonges (1976)  Vintage Orson Welles, a self-referential semi-documentary about art forgery. Jumps around a lot, but gathers a lot of steam by the end.
Wall Street (1987) 
Whale Rider (2002)  Powerful, realistic and immensely watchable portrayal of a young Maori girl attempting to go where no Maori woman hadn't.
Who Is Cletis Tout? (2001)  Crime comedy which plays like Pulp Fiction crossed with The Usual Suspects. Well-plotted, and very funny if you dig movie references.
Wild Bunch, The (1969) 
Wuthering Heights (1939) 
Y tu mamá también (2001) 
Ying xiong (2002)  Zhang Yimou's martial-arts venture. Beautifully shot but pointlessly slow. The ending is poorly developed and feels like government propaganda.
You've Got Mail (1998)