Eighty-seven Movies You DON'T Need to See Before You Die

The overrated movie list. (Note: This list is based on the popularity of films according to IMDb score, thus will tend to skew toward more iconic and modern titles.) If you're of the mind wildly popular or acclaimed films are beyond criticism, you are deluded. Let me explain why.
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The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.3/10 X  
Two imprisoned men bond over a number of years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency. (142 mins.)
Director: Frank Darabont
“ Not only isn't it the best film of 1994, nor the best Stephen King adaptation, it isn't even a good prison-escape flick, and it doesn't make sense, nevermind the other implausibilites of the plot. First, the protagonist isn't redeemed at all, he is corrupted by his own bitterness. If you didn't get it, he's supposed to be liberated or 'reborn,' the film stupidly features the Jesus Christ pose to drive the point home. The problem is, there is no actual atonement or enlightenment because he's not actually guility, regardless of his neurotic self-persecutions. The film is mostly about getting revenge; he degenerates and becomes ruthless out of necessity. The Morgan Freeman character goes as far as to say 'rehabillitation is bull$%^,' i.e. contrition is a delusion. Outside of sarcasm, 'redemption' seems a carelessly misapplied word. Curiously, the filmmakers squander the amazing oppurtunity to feature a complex portrayal of an empathetic murderer, instead opting for a conventional framed-man plot with baby-proofed edges. Even Freeman's homicidal character's crimes are played down as youthful indiscretion. In comparison to prison films of similar themes like Papillon or Un Prophet, this film has all the authenticity of Stallone's Lock Up. Complete with a 'magic negro,' cliched characters, unbelievable & neat resolutions, and a cringe-worthy ending, the film is probably the most phony prison drama I've ever seen. ” - Tin_ear
Pan's Labyrinth (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
In the falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world. (118 mins.)
“ There isn't one interesting character in the entire story. The plot is silly, only existing to set up arbitrary CGI and pointless fantasy scenarios that you can tell del Toro was eager to shoehorn in somewhere. It runs two hours, split between two randonly interwined plotlines, but the ending doesn't work regardless of the moronic allegory. (The wife is symbolic of a Spanish nation 'married' to fascism. Clever, huh?). However, the 'bad' guys are essentially indistinguishable from the 'good' rebels in the end, further undermining the film's own logic, and unintentionally becoming something of an exploitation film. What may have proved an ample oppurtunity to say something deeply poignant or insightful about Spanish history, human nature, childhood, or mythology is wasted on a morbid revenge version of a Tim Burton film, only with none of the humanity or black humor. Unlike the primitive fables it aspires to emulate, del Toro's film, despite all its esoteric symbols and grand themes, is astoundingly trivial. ” - Tin_ear
Vertigo (1958)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her. (128 mins.)
“ Panned, and rightfully, by critics when it originally debuted, this has remarkably managed to age like a vintage Dom Perignon. While the general premise is actually good, the movie has flaws, most obviously is it is incredibly unbelievable. A film can't depend on impossible coincidences one moment and then ignore gaps in logic the next and be taken seriously. Much of the film doesn't work. The love story aspect is perfunctory. The murder plot, the pillar of the film, is laughable. The climax is contrived. Vertigo is so slickly packaged even it's creators likely never realized how dumb it truly is. Its critical failure and then sudden rise to lofty prominence on so many 'Top Movie Lists' is indicative that many film critics are blatantly conformist. They were right the first time. ” - Tin_ear
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
After a car wreck on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman amnesiac, she and a perky Hollywood-hopeful search for clues and answers across Los Angeles in a twisting venture beyond dreams and reality. (147 mins.)
Director: David Lynch
“ Despite its pained artsiness and frustrating disregard for non-David Lynch fans, it's not even original or that profound; Lynch used a similiar dove-tailed narrative in one of his previous film, and later in a follow-up. The surrealism comes off as cheesy and stereotypically 'Lynchian.' The opening 'jitterbug scene' is emblematic of much of what is terrible about Lynch's work. The story is choppy and overwritten as to be so vague many of the subplots are simply frivolous deadends. The film depends on a single gimmick, which many seem to think compensates for a very bad overall production. Lynch fans will be quick to inform you you're 'too dumb' or unimaginative if you fail to see his genius, insisting this convoluted abortion is the best film of the decade. That's loyalty if I've ever seen it. ” - Tin_ear
The Great Dictator (1940)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Dictator Adenoid Hynkel tries to expand his empire while a poor Jewish barber tries to avoid persecution from Hynkel's regime. (125 mins.)
Director: Charles Chaplin
“ Chaplin mastered the silent comedy, but had no aptitude for social satire or dramatic acting in general. The climactic speech, the most feeble scene, is especially clumsy. Paradoxically, it was the silent genius's truest gesture and his biggest failure. In what was probably his greatest (and last) oppurtunity to boldy speak his mind to a large audience, we realize that Chaplin didn't really have much to say. To make matters worse, the rest of film wasn't even funny. ” - Tin_ear
No Country for Old Men (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Violence and mayhem ensue after a hunter stumbles upon a drug deal gone wrong and more than two million dollars in cash near the Rio Grande. (122 mins.)
“ I don't care what anyone says, Tommy Lee Jones' character is useless. The Anton Chigurh character isn't good either, he's just that quirky, unfathomable psycho you find in action movies because it's easier to write (in this case a Terminator robot with a Justin Bieber haircut). The two most watchable characters are relegated to minor parts, while the leads are detached, babbling or otherwise uninteresting. The film feels too methodical, too labored and toward the last half it simply appears like tedious and unconnected fragments. The film looses steam as it unravels into meaningless monologues and forced intensity. After seeing countless movies of their's, I've come to the conclusion that the Coens' strength lies not in storytelling; a Coen Brothers's flick ends regardless whether it culminates coherently or satisfactorily, it ends when they are out of cleverish ideas or when they run out of living characters to sustain the story. This is perhaps the first art-house action movie, which basically means all the crucial scenes have been omitted and replaced with talky pseudo-philosophy in diners. ” - Tin_ear
Breathless (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A small-time thief steals a car and impulsively murders a motorcycle policeman. Wanted by the authorities, he reunites with a hip American journalism student and attempts to persuade her to run away with him to Italy. (90 mins.)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
“ It really only figures this film makes the list, it is easily the most overrated film from the career of the most overrated director in history from one of the most overpraised film movements. But I digress...The ending is god awful, none of the characters really having been fleshed out much for us to really care too much about whatever happens to them. Technically it is a disaster. Only now are critics coming forward to break their silence, that the film has coasted too long on mystique and the influence of an institutional clique that equated making waves with having something to say (it was the sixties, what do you expect). There are really no memorable scenes or lines that I can recall. Breathless' real claim to fame is that it inspired a generation of more talented filmmakers. Skip this flop and watch Truffaut's The 400 Blows if you want the definitive French-New Wave classic. ” - Tin_ear
Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The Bride wakens from a four-year coma. The child she carried in her womb is gone. Now she must wreak vengeance on the team of assassins who betrayed her - a team she was once part of. (111 mins.)
“ Less interesting and less coherent than its sequel (itself highly overrated) Kill Bill Vol. 1 is noteworthy for marking the beginning of Tarantino's era of unrepentent indulgence. Cranking the cinematic allusions and violence up, and subtlety and wit down, Kill Bill is so heavily stylized one may miss the fact it is probably one of the most dull, dumb movies he's made. How dumb? The film is nothing but a predictable, over-the-top sword fight with some filler scenes. The plot doesn't even factor in because it is only explained in Vol. 2. The centerpiece sword fight is so drawn out you might actually yawn waiting for the director to run out of flailing stuntmen for Uma Thurman to impale. ” - Tin_ear
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A mysterious stranger with a harmonica joins forces with a notorious desperado to protect a beautiful widow from a ruthless assassin working for the railroad. (175 mins.)
Director: Sergio Leone
“ At three hours long, with a bloated cast & story, and one too many looming camera shots, this movie is begging for its audience to fall asleep. Unfortunately, this is the alarm bell that Sergio Leone had begun to take himself way too seriously. He simply took what made The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly and For a Few Dollars More work, and cranked it up to eleven. ” - Tin_ear
The Rules of the Game (1939)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A bourgeois life in France at the onset of World War II, as the rich and their poor servants meet up at a French chateau. (110 mins.)
Director: Jean Renoir
“ Since proclaimed one of the ten greatest films of all time in the Fifties by the prestigous Sight and Sound poll, many, many better films have been made. I can't emphasize 'many' enough. You'd have more luck getting Gandhi's widow evicted for not paying her rent than evicting this revered relic from a top-ten list (let alone top-one hundred). It's black and white, it's French, it touches on social politics, and made by a famous director during the supposed 'golden era' of filmmaking before the war. But a modern viewer should be forgiven if he sees only a laborious lovestory with some slapstick posing as satire. To paraphrase A.O. Scott (who lovingly described tRotG as the greatest movie of all time), the moral is: hypocrisy is bad. What an astute, 'devastating critique' indeed. Such is this film's reputation. Such is the nature of film criticism. C'est la vie. ” - Tin_ear
Solaris (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A psychologist is sent to a station orbiting a distant planet in order to discover what has caused the crew to go insane. (167 mins.)
“ Comparisons to 2001 are inevitable, but while Kubrick's film is memorable for its accessible yet existential themes, Tarkovsky's Solaris is stodgy and circumspect, preoccupied with convoluted questions of consciousness, scientific ethics, and psychological repression. Worst of all, it is painfully dull. The film is epitomized by the car ride scene, which is literally five minutes of silent footage from a camera strapped onto the hood of a car supposedly in Russia but with Japanese road signs (not exactly Douglas Trumbull). Also Tarkovsky unwisely chooses to switch between color and b & w for apparently no reason other than to break the monotony.

The main failing lies in the leaden metaphors and plot, and an academic-like mysticism. 2001 inspires a genuine sense of transcendence and unease amid one's own smallness in the universe. Solaris is, however, essentially interstellar navel-gazing, and has some of the most astoundingly bland dialogue ever recorded in a sci-fi movie to match. The central romance is arduous and uninteresting. The plot is little more than a haunted house story, a glorified Star Trek episode. Like many of Tarkovsky's films, haunting but pointless. ” - Tin_ear
The Big Sleep (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Private detective Philip Marlowe is hired by a rich family. Before the complex case is over, he's seen murder, blackmail, and what might be love. (114 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
“ Speaking of bad 'B' gangster flicks... There's not even a clever line or memorable scene to whet our appetite or tide us over in this overvalued dud (John Huston's Key Largo is a superb contrast to this point). Bogart's Philip Marlowe is indistinguishable from his Sam Spade, which is only fitting as this film is indistinguishable from every other mediocre crime picture that inundated the decade. Hawks was never one to care how forced a romance seemed or over-worked a weak plot was or unimpressive the acting, and it never showed more tellingly than here. The plot has something to do with blackmail and a pornographer ring, I know as much only from reading reviews. There is good reason why the genre was never taken seriously at the time. This made all the more surreal and awkward by Hawks' attempt to sell the rather androgynous Bacall as a sex symbol. ” - Tin_ear
Inception (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
A thief, who steals corporate secrets through use of dream-sharing technology, is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a CEO. (148 mins.)
“ I'm certain I will be vindicated, as future IMDb voters will rightfully judge this film honestly in hindsight. Sometimes when you insist upon making a movie that forces viewers to have to watch it several times to fully 'get' it, you aren't being deep or intellectual, you're just making things unnecessarily complicated. That is unfortunately Nolan's niche. His concepts are interesting but his characters and pacing stink, and plots always too over-burdened by minutia and an internal set of rules. Inception relies far too much on dull conversations to advance a story we're not made to care about, with characters we don't know outside of their occupation. And despite his attention, already arbitrary action scenes drag on way too long and to little effect. People have labeled this a 'smart' movie, but I can't help feeling it was a failure because of its ambition. ” - Tin_ear
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A private detective takes on a case that involves him with three eccentric criminals, a gorgeous liar, and their quest for a priceless statuette. (100 mins.)
Director: John Huston
“ This is the movie that self-respecting film critics, or movie afficionados who want to call themselves film 'experts' fawn over to validate themselves. It's got a great pedigree; it was directed by John Huston, has a great cast, a script by Dashiell Hammett, and has a few decent lines/scenes. But it is hokey and contrived, and, suprisingly, it is not very suspenseful. And the production value is similar to that of a high school play. Leonard Maltin once said this film holds up despite the fact modern audiences are much more cynical and sophisticated than moviegoers of the '40s. I disagree with his praise for precisely the same reason. ” - Tin_ear
Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A botched card game in London triggers four friends, thugs, weed-growers, hard gangsters, loan sharks and debt collectors to collide with each other in a series of unexpected events, all for the sake of weed, cash and two antique shotguns. (107 mins.)
Director: Guy Ritchie
“ A fun, cheeky, action movie, you bet. Guy Ritchie's best? Sure. One of the best crime movies of the decade. Fair enough. A modern classic. Not quite. One of the top 250 best ever made. Huh?

And definitely not an 8.2 either. Little more than an anglicized Tarantino, for all their many comedic and dramatic talents, the Brits have never been particularly good at the crime genre. ” - Tin_ear
Inglourious Basterds (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner's vengeful plans for the same. (153 mins.)
“ The title, score, and plot are all a pastiche from better films; that should say it all. Among other problems, the two subplots just aren't that immersive, consisting of a lot of prolonged conversations that (inevitably) pale in comparison to those in other Tarantino films. I can't help but be reminded of a much better Jewish victim-exploitation picture, Munich, wherein the revenge fantasy seems to function more than just a stock plot and delivery device for a series of snippets containing snappy lines and cool set pieces. The titular 'Basterds' are generally less likable, and less charismatic, than their Nazi prey. While Brad Pitt attempts a bizarre Matthew McConaughey impersonination (which is odd considering he did a convincing job with the southern shtick in Thelma & Louise), Mike Myers inexplicably appears midway through in heavy make-up to distract us from Eli Roth's mugging. The film starts strong enough but it quickly becomes bogged down in contrived dialogue and a lazy, stupid climax. Really just a massively overrated film on any level. Though there are a few non-North American supporting roles that are superb... which makes one wonder if only Europeans can act. ” - Tin_ear
District 9 (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An extraterrestrial race forced to live in slum-like conditions on Earth suddenly finds a kindred spirit in a government agent who is exposed to their biotechnology. (112 mins.)
Director: Neill Blomkamp
“ The Apartheid allegory is twenty years too late and largely a distraction. Also, the story succumbs to the traditional conventions and limitations of the sci-fi genre, i.e. the second half feels forced and reliant on CGI instead of intelligent writing. The fact it was nominated for a Best Picture Oscar is baffling, but then again, so are a lot of the Oscar nominations. As someone who deep down does still believe the Academy Awards is a respectable institution, I have to say widening the Best Picture nominee pool was probably a mistake if this is what they deem noteworthy. ” - Tin_ear
North by Northwest (1959)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive. (136 mins.)
“ Probably the most uneven movie I've ever seen. The plot is terrible, but the casting is good (despite the fact Cary Grant looks as old as his mother). The acting varies from charming to stilted, and that's just Grant. It is riveting at times, and laughably stupid at other moments. A loose collection of Hitchcock's favorite clichés and plot devices, this movie stands out mostly for some scattered but great cinematography, but with some unfortunately cheap sets thrown in for what I'm guessing are financial reasons. The cropduster scene is emblematic of the movie as a whole, entertaining but idiotic (how a plane with a front mounted gun fires behind itself I don't know, though that seem like nitpicking when you try and figure out why it rams a tanker trailer, or why the bad guys chose an elaborate, impractical object as a murder weapon). And while many point out the comically inept editing in the cafeteria scene, people seem to forget the car bumping the styrofoam prop tree in the very next scene, or the fact a Madison Ave exec can't tell Washington from Roosevelt (perhaps a jab at the intellect of advertising men but more likely the careless addition of stock footage months in post-production). In what many would consider the ultimate Hitchcock film, the director had finally managed to render a protagonist who is a living, breathing 'Macguffin' (i.e. a prop) -- the driving force of the plot that nobody can bother to care about. Though fans would inflate it as a masterpiece it's really a Corman B-movie. ” - Tin_ear
Avatar (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A paraplegic marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home. (162 mins.)
Director: James Cameron
“ 'Dances with Wolves: In Space' 'Pocohantas meets Star Wars' 'FernGully 2: Haliburton is trying to cut down the Magic Forest' 'Aguirre, the Wrath of the Smurfs' 'The Beast 2: New Age Mujahideen'....You've read the reviews, so I won't venture an indepth critique.

If you reduce the admittedly impressive 3-D graphics to 2-D, Avatar would rank a '4' or '5' (out of 10). If you add them back into the equation, it's still only a '6' or '7' at best. And even the best special effects can't save a !@#$%^ idea. James Cameron is basically Michael Bay with an Oscar. ” - Tin_ear
Amélie (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love. (122 mins.)
“ The cinematic equivalent of massed-produced, pseudo-Impressionist art framed in faux-distressed wood, that hang in hotel lobbies and Olive Gardens. ” - Tin_ear
The Big Lebowski (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
"The Dude" Lebowski, mistaken for a millionaire Lebowski, seeks restitution for his ruined rug and enlists his bowling buddies to help get it. (117 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
“ Not very funny. Not really that smart, either. The characters are simply all over-the-top and the story is absurdly idiotic and goes nowhere. Some say 'that's the point!' But why is it worth watching, it's clearly a throwaway movie. What I don't understand is how a film that's been called the definitive 'cult film' can have such a high rating; to be considered a cult film you have to admit a film failed at its primary objective (in this case, making people laugh) or was otherwise cheesy, indulgent, shoddy, or exploitive crap. Cult films are guilty pleasures, which implies you are at least a little bit embarrassed by your being entertained by them. I think people rank this highly because they genuinely like it or are convinced they are supposed to. Compelling evidence that 'cult movies' are indeed better left forgotten in the bargain bin at Wal-Mart. ” - Tin_ear
Alphaville (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A U.S. secret agent is sent to the distant space city of Alphaville where he must find a missing person and free the city from its tyrannical ruler. (99 mins.)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
“ It doesn't take long to realize Jean-Luc Godard is pulling this out of his ass. The many bad cliches, lousy puns, and allegories are a useful distraction to hide his many deficiencies. On its most basic level, it is boring and badly written, not even entertaining as a thriller or a avant-garde sci-fi. Compared to Metropolis it looks hopelessly trifling. But it is when one looks at the ever-entertaining, philosophical, dystopian-noir romance, Blade Runner, you suddenly realize what desired general effect Godard was hoping for, and how badly he failed. Defenders claim the film is mainly intended as a satire not a traditional narrative. This is a convenient defense for a film that has aged horrendously, and Godard himself, who's career depends on being taken seriously as an intellectual. The film is instead full of re-hashed Orwellian babble, feeble action scenes and effects, and lousy dialogue; the final half hour is especially poorly executed. The whole thing seems like it was conceived and filmed on a week's notice. I honestly can't tell whether Godard was experimenting, joking, or grossly incompetent. ” - Tin_ear
Woman in the Dunes (1964)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
An entomologist on vacation is trapped by local villagers into living with a woman whose life task is shoveling sand for them. (123 mins.)
“ This little 'gem' from Japan somehow merited a 8.3 rating as of my composing this list. I reckon that score is compiled by all twelve people who managed to sit through the entire film without the urge to fast-forward (or walk out, this is standard art-house fare after all). This is one those movies you watch because you want to expand your tastes and expose yourself to new and different types of films. Your admirable open mind is rewarded by a two-hour crawl that feels twice as long. This film has no pulse; it is all nuance and vague forebodings with little pay-off.

Yes, folks, they're still in the sand pit. Check back next week for further developments. ” - Tin_ear
Léon: The Professional (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
Mathilda, a 12-year-old girl, is reluctantly taken in by Léon, a professional assassin, after her family is murdered. Léon and Mathilda form an unusual relationship, as she becomes his protégée and learns the assassin's trade. (110 mins.)
Director: Luc Besson
“ According to IMDb's demographic breakdown, this film is universally beloved, regardless of age or gender. Even IMDb staffers gave it a staggering 8.3, and that's low in comparison to every other demographic. That really is mindblowing when you let it sink in. Why is it so respected? I have not the slightest idea, considering it is a rather silly and unspectacular shoot-em-up, satisfactorily entertaining but forgettable. Gary Oldman chews the scenery, and the story is so dopey it almost elicts laughter. She's neglected and orphaned, and he's a lonely, gruff assassin with repressed paternal instincts... ugh, that is terrible, Disney-worthy writing. And it comes no where close to matching Besson's best work, the far more intelligent and edgy Le Femme Nikita. Further more, one movie critic raised the possibility that the appeal lies in a 'prepubescent' Natalie Portman. God, I hope that isn't it, that would be creepy and sad. ” - Tin_ear
The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A surreal, virtually plotless series of dreams centered around six middle-class people and their consistently interrupted attempts to have a meal together. (102 mins.)
Director: Luis Bunuel
“ I'll save you two hours, the 'brillant' satire is: all rich people are heartless and lead trivial lives. Luis Bunuel, never one to offer a truly innovative or enlightening opinion on anything other than the broadest cynicism, here provides his most ponderous mash of hateable caricatures, in several forgettable vignettes of supposedly humorous content, intercut with dream-like sequences. Unlike his masterpiece Belle de Jour, this film's presentation is so dry and mentally numbing the dream scenes may very well catch you by surprise while you try and figure out what deeper significant the last banal scene was getting at. Bunuel's style in TDCotB is much like a dream, his navel-gazing, clumsy symbolism, flat jokes, and pointless repetitions are as profound and entertaining as someone else's daydreams. This is the kind of indulgent, second-rate rehash that many famous artists churn out to a swooning public eager to make up for a lifetime of overlooking them out of ignorance or prudishness. Naturally he won the Foreign Best Picture Oscar. ” - Tin_ear
The Usual Suspects (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.6/10 X  
A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which begin when five criminals meet at a seemingly random police lineup. (106 mins.)
Director: Bryan Singer
“ To me it always seems that these kinds of incredible twist endings seem less ingenious in retrospect.

The suprise ending is essentially the movie. The rest of could have been writen any number of ways; it doesn't matter. The rest, quite honestly, isn't that good anyway save one scene in the very opening of the movie. The movie is just a gimmick. The fact that stupid people can take pleasure in knowing that smart people could not predict the ending, and in the end those same uncritical people can feel good about that fact, sums up the mass appeal of The Usual Suspects. Not even deserving of 'cult' status. ” - Tin_ear
Three Colors: Red (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Final entry in a trilogy of films dealing with contemporary French society concerns a model who discovers her neighbour is keen on invading people's privacy. (99 mins.)
“ Red is possibly one of the most over-praised and dull 'masterpieces' in film history. While it takes itself to the utmost level of seriousness, Red is an intricate meditation into pretentious, overwrought nothingness. The symbolism is blunt and amateurish (red representing the French flag, and the film epitomizing a third of the national motto, 'fraternity'), and worse, the affectedly high brow plot is mistaken as 'transcendent' and 'contemplative,' when it is in fact pedestrian and slightly absurd. Even more irritating, the rather lame destiny/'parallel lives'/fate allegory is an elaborate cheat, a method of expressing nothing original or meaningful while still appearing deep and artistic. Some films are made to be watched in a theater and others are made to be laboriously studied in a college classroom. I'll let you figure out which category this movie falls into. ” - Tin_ear
A Man Escaped (1956)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
Captured French Resistance fighter Andre Devigny awaits a certain death sentence for espionage in a stark Nazi prison... (99 mins.)
Director: Robert Bresson
“ Flat acting, dull ending, monotonous pacing, interchangeable characters, etc., everything you would not suspect from a supposedly 'classic' film. The prison escape genre should be the easiest to film, the expectations are generally pretty low, but A Man Escaped is a significant disappointment, regardless. The film, caught up in its bland minimalism, vague religious overtones, and hands-off direction, never realizes how detached and suspenseless it is. The lead role is played by a non-professional actor and it shows. The direction is terrible, too, but Robert Bresson is not only a real director he is also a celebrated international figure. Further fueling my belief that French cinema is the most overrated in the world. ” - Tin_ear
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A harried movie director retreats into his memories and fantasies. (138 mins.)
“ From a brief look at internet archives, it's apparently impossible to make your bones as a film critic without writing the necessary article '8 1/2 is a masterpiece.' The film drags on for an hour longer than necessary and the protagonist is a mopey, charmless twit throughout. One gets the impression Fellini has already satsfactorily covered this ground before in La Dolce Vita, with even the same actor playing the same detached, bored womanizer. Fellini, in essence, admitted he was out of interesting stories here, reiterating the idea over the next three decades in case we missed it. There's a lot of surreal shots, beautiful women, cool sunglasses, stylish cinematography, etc, but, sadly, it's all as refreshing as bathing in bilgewater. While the dull characters drone on in the forefront, the bombastic score and set pieces linger behind as some kind of ever-mugging consolation.

Fellini had to have known he was making a bloated, boring, frivolous, self-obsessed gimmick of a film. The meta movie-within-a-movie idea usually always fails because the filmmaking process, and celebrities in general, rarely are as intriguiging as show business folk think, nor are their tortured lives, personas, and neuroses. Reality TV has made that painfully clear, but Fellini proved it first. ” - Tin_ear
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
While trying to secure a $1 million donation for his museum, a befuddled paleontologist is pursued by a flighty and often irritating heiress and her pet leopard, Baby. (102 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
“ Katherine Hepburn is obnoxious, Cary Grant is wooden, and the jokes are forced and fall flat. Very rarely has a throwaway comedy made me this angry. Movies like this make me question just how 'great' the Greatest Generation actually were if they laughed at this $?!&. ” - Tin_ear
Mr. Arkadin (1955)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An American adventurer investigates the past of mysterious tycoon Arkadin...placing himself in grave danger. (93 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
“ The cult of Orson Welles is almost as over-populated as that of da Vinci. Much like the Mona Lisa, Mr. Arkadin is a proficient but mostly unremarkable work. This movie has been labeled a masterpiece by the decree of a few influential critics. But look again, in fact free on IMDb if you choose. The editing kills any sense of continuity, and plot is comically tortuous, the climax ridiculous in its sheer, cheap stupidity. The film is botched on many levels. Even the tragic title character is only a Europeanized version of Welles' more iconic Kane, and so too the plot and basic moral. I couldn't have cared less for the characters. And I have my doubts on the originality of the script. ” - Tin_ear
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and lead the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks. (216 mins.)
Director: David Lean
“ A less convoluted, less idiotic version of Dune, many hail L of A the pinnacle of the artform, yet it is hard to sit through without a cigarette break or two. The abominable spectacle that is Dune will at least keep you awake in befuddled shock. I think the film crew spent more time filming in the desert than the actual T.E. Lawrence did fighting there. Ever wonder why better films like Star Wars, The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly, or Patton don't dwell on the early desert scenes, and by comparison the rest of those movies seem so damn enthralling? Or a better example, how Pasolini's barren dust-pic, Arabian Nights, manages to induce sleep despite the fact it has sex scenes every six minutes? Sand is just boring.

The cast is stellar, the source story great, the director able, but this is less than the sum of its parts. Lean did not invent the epic, but he did perfect Oscar-bait. You can thank him for the lifeless sagas that are Gandhi, Dances With Wolves, The English Patient, Titanic, and The King's Speech. And, yes, possibly even Dune, too. ” - Tin_ear
Sin City (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A film that explores the dark and miserable town, Basin City, and tells the story of three different people, all caught up in violent corruption. (124 mins.)
“ If it weren't for Tarantino and Bruce Willis this would probably be a direct-to-video production. ” - Tin_ear
Detour (1945)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Chance events trap hitch-hiker Al Roberts in a tightening net of film noir trouble. (67 mins.)
Director: Edgar G. Ulmer
“ Complete with an anonymous cast and microscopic budget, this early noir also notably features some of the most corny dialogue ever conceived, lousy audio, sloppy editing, and topped off with a terrible story and unrewardingly flimsy ending. The film introduces characters and plot points and then just as quickly dispenses with them alltogether; the movie looks half-filmed, or at least half-written. It isn't as if this was chock full of inherently bad ideas, it's the $%^&* execution that destroys the film. I hate to kick somebody when they're down, but in this case the film in question isn't down at all, it has a 7.4 user rating. A special breed of professional film critic, out to disprove the egalitarian notion that anyone can be a critic, customarily takes to scouring marginalized works to prove their acumen by finding some redemptive feature (just think of Vertigo or Douglas Sirk's rehabilitation). For Detour, they'd stand better odds discovering water in the Sahara. Of all the overrated films I have seen on IMDb, this is by far the most baffling discrepancy (except for Dune's 6.5). ” - Tin_ear
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
An east European girl goes to America with her young son, expecting it to be like a Hollywood film. (140 mins.)
Director: Lars Von Trier
“ It won the Palm d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, proving that poor judgement is not limited to Oscar voters alone. (For whatever reason, Cannes juries have increasingly bought into the idea of obligatorily championing transgressive, subversive, or otherwise uber-arty films as a way to differentiate themselves from the equally glamourous but more 'low brow' Oscars and Baftas.) Dancer in the Dark is dreary and emotionally manipulative almost to the level of nihilistic masochism. The heroine dies because she is apparently delusionally principled/mildly retarded in addition to being afflicted by poverty, blindness, being a single parent, and barely fluent. The plot is contrived and ham-handed enough as it is (if it wasn't blatant enough, immigrants are saints in this movie and the bulk of native-born American characters are heartless or otherwise antagonistic jerks. I think Lars confused the cliché of the 'American Dream' with a golden ticket or Dorthy's ruby slippers, a misconception he bases his entire film upon.), but it's the tone-deaf, grating musical sequences sung by Bjork which are truly cringeworthy. Enfant terrible von Trier has a long history of fetishizing the Joan of Arc complex, and the critical praise from this film probably reinforced that fixation. ” - Tin_ear
Un Chien Andalou (1929 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dalí present seventeen minutes of bizarre, surreal imagery. (16 mins.)
Director: Louis Bunuel
“ The ultimate film-student film, though that genre obviously didn't exist in 1929. Despite all the hype, that is essentially what it is, an experimental work, some might even call it a gag (especially considering Bunuel and Dali created it). The fifteen minute short features one shocking shot, and a lot of other less interesting, inexplicable images all seemingly placed in random order, like in a dream. This is important cinematically (I've been told), but it is rather silly and trivial in any other regard. ” - Tin_ear
Memento (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
A man creates a strange system to help him remember things; so he can hunt for the murderer of his wife without his short-term memory loss being an obstacle. (113 mins.)
“ One probably shouldn't take Nolan seriously when he attempts to revive the old 'amnesia plot'; it wasn't believable the first time around in Spellbound and it still isn't six decades later. Nor was it in Angel Heart or Mister Buddwing, but they were at least entertaining. The payoff is so unrewarding it hardly validates the two hours of confusing buildup for it to be laboriously revealed amid a seemingly aimless trajectory. ” - Tin_ear
Contempt (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Screenwriter Paul Javal's marriage to his wife Camille disintegrates during movie production as she spends time with the producer. Layered conflicts between art and business ensue. (103 mins.)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
“ This narrowly beat out 8 1/2, among several others, in the category 'most insipid semi-autobiographical film about a filmmaker.' The film is plagued by a monotonous & overly melodramatic score, a bland premise, and a bickering, vacuous couple as protagonists. The critique on the film industry is banal, the metaphors idiotic, JLG elaborating upon the least-interesting aspects of The Bad and the Beautiful. According to one expert, the film is based on the 'futility and romance of love and of cinema,' which is as pretentious and boring as it sounds. While I'll admit it is one of Godard's most watchable movies (if only because it is apolitical, technically sound, and the fact Bardot's ass could have merited star-billing), the story is conceived so poorly and characters developed so thinly, that the ending has precisely zero impact. A dud in any language. I swear if Richard Brody convinces me to sit through one more lame Godard movie I'm going to kick him in the nuts. ” - Tin_ear
The Thin Red Line (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Terrence Malick's adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War. (170 mins.)
Director: Terrence Malick
“ Mostly famous for being the other war film released in 1998 besides Saving Private Ryan, the two are often compared to each other. Malick devotes most of the three hours on cinematography, reducing the greatest actors of this generation into glorified cameos, and this is all while ponderously exploring the relationship between man & nature (or man & God, himself or whatever) in deeply 'meaningful' shots of saplings and abandoned baby birds. Whereas Spielberg's grunts are convincing because they speak and act like real soldiers, Malick's characters can really only communicate through symbolism, and more directly in rigid dialogue and loopy soliloquys. They often don't even seem like real people, just stock war types (eg, enlightened & sacrifical 'Jesus,' shell-shocked basket case, ambitious CO, disillusioned anti-hero, gung-ho Texas idiot, etc). ” - Tin_ear
Brazil (1985)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A bureaucrat in a retro-future world tries to correct an administrative error and himself becomes an enemy of the state. (132 mins.)
Director: Terry Gilliam
“ Terry Gilliam has a schizophrenic visual flair, but that's about the extent of his creative ability. The fact he never even bothered to give credit to co-writer Charles Alverson for twenty years seems to suggest that, in addition to being artistically limited, he's also amazingly selfish (if you have any doubts about Mr. Gilliam's respect for intellectual property talk to Alex Cox.) In any case, you can assume the few legitimately clever, original ideas in Brazil were probably Tom Stoppard's. The truth is this is nothing more than a bad genre piece, a vague warning against bureaucracy. Think of it as a politically and intellectually neutered reworking of Darkness at Noon. Escapism for a generation of self-proclaimed educated people who were too busy getting wasted to understand Koestler or read Kafka, thus have no clue they are watching a pale imitation of The Trial. ” - Tin_ear
Grindhouse (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez's homage to exploitation double features in the 60s and 70s with two back-to-back cult films that include previews of coming attractions between them. (191 mins.)
“ This film-suite has an IMDb rating of almost 8. If you don't realize there is something terribly depressing about that fact you probably didn't make it this far in the list anyway. Even Tarantino considers Death Proof his worst film, and Planet Terror is worse, still. ” - Tin_ear
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A newly engaged couple have a breakdown in an isolated area and must pay a call to the bizarre residence of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. (100 mins.)
Director: Jim Sharman
“ One or two entertaining scenes, one memorable performance by Tim Curry... that is really about it. Other than The Time Warp, the music isn't even that good. This movie survives to this day as a testament to kitsch and nostalgic interest in trainwrecks. Though terrible in most aspects, Rocky Horror is so popular and mainstream today that even hipsters are confused whether they are supposed to despise it or wear it on a T-shirt. ” - Tin_ear
All About My Mother (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Young Esteban wants to become a writer and also to discover the identity of his father, carefully concealed by his mother Manuela. (101 mins.)
“ Despite the initial tragedy, the story is sugary sweet and uplifting. In fact it feels like there is nothing at stake regardless of the fact that ...........(spoilers)..........three people could potentially die of AIDS, not suprisingly untimely death is the central motif. Funnily enough, these fates don't really come as a surprise, because everything is foreshadowed even as it is completely astounding. As a result, the story is melodramatic & shocking, but never threatening or uncomfortable. For this reason, All About My Mother has rightly been compared to a daytime soap. Much like many of the director's other films, I think he is too in love with his characters to 'kill his darlings.' ” - Tin_ear
Man with a Movie Camera (1929 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A man travels around a city with a camera slung over his shoulder, documenting urban life with dazzling invention. (68 mins.)
Director: Dziga Vertov
“ The Man with a Camera is an experimental film, which according to its creator was part of a movement to abolish all non-documentary filmmaking. You can figure out how well that went over. He thought staged scenes and plots were disingenuous, though this film itself has sequences that are arguably staged, and clearly edited for effect, and the title itself is misleading as there are obviously at least two men and two cameras which vaguely insinuates a narrative. So much for that conceit. Aside from a handful of brief scenes, the film is rather mundane. Many of the scenes date, and in the end it just looks like a lot of home movies pieced together; you can only show mass transit and factory workers for so long before it gets tedious. ” - Tin_ear
Repulsion (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A sex-repulsed woman who disapproves of her sister's boyfriend sinks into depression and has horrific visions of rape and violence. (105 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
“ After the brillant, minimalist movie Knife in the Water, you might've expected better from Roman Polanski. If you want a plot or a character arc, you are going to have to supply them yourself. I shouldn't have to say this, but when you fail to give characters motivation or fail to create some sense of narrative or suspense it is really hard to care what happens to the characters, let alone understand why. Some movies can draw you in, but frankly Repulsion isn't all that scary or thoughtful, stuff just inexplicably happens and then you are confused until something else weirder happens. As opposed to well-rounded characters like Hannibal Lector, Carrie, or the main character from the movie M, aloof, unknowable & sociopathic killing machines make lousy characters... and boring movies. ” - Tin_ear
Midnight in Paris (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
While on a trip to Paris with his fiancée's family, a nostalgic screenwriter finds himself mysteriously going back to the 1920s everyday at midnight. (94 mins.)
Director: Woody Allen
“ The real world and fantasy world in Midnight in Paris is populated exclusively by caricatures of people, living and dead. With all the authenticity of a renaissance fair, the story flops from cliché to cliché (Paris is full of them) without one legitimately funny moment in the whole thing. The really awful part is that it appears the director not only can't bother supplying personality to his protagonists, he also can't seem to summon depth or complexity from his famous dead idols either, each one more pointless than the prior. To further annoy the audience, one of the film's better scenes is shamelessly lifted from Back to the Future. Woody Allen can really only write about himself, and frankly his diminishing talent as a filmmaker is starting to show. I hated practically every line, idea, and scene in this film, and I even once considered myself a big fan of Allen, so that's saying something. Probably Woody's thinnest and most indulgent film to date, if you don't know or care who Jean Cocteau is, then avoid this. ” - Tin_ear
Get Carter (1971)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
When his brother dies under mysterious circumstances in a car accident, London gangster Jack Carter travels to Newcastle to investigate. (112 mins.)
Director: Mike Hodges
“ Much like Vertigo, this is yet another movie that gathered incredible hype in old age, despite the fact nobody gave a crap about it when it debuted even though Caine was at the peak of his stardom. There are quite frankly dozens of more entertaining, smarter movies out there if you are into the old-school crime genre. A film that it is intricately shot and stylish looking yet clichéd, action-packed yet boring, with a story adapted from a novel yet seems triflingly thrown-together story-wise and has and a loud, empty ending. It's one of those films where the filmmakers could have added or subtracted half an hour, or cut or inserted six characters and the film would be no better or worse. ” - Tin_ear
Superbad (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Two co-dependent high school seniors are forced to deal with separation anxiety after their plan to stage a booze-soaked party goes awry. (113 mins.)
Director: Greg Mottola
“ Let's admit it now that we're a few years wiser, Superbad really isn't funny. ” - Tin_ear
Anonymous (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
The theory that it was in fact Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, who penned Shakespeare's plays. Set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I and the Essex rebellion against her. (130 mins.)
Director: Roland Emmerich
“ Though it fails both historically and cinematically, enough viewers grant it worthy of a high-six rating. Irate British people have understandably found it especially annoying that a German director and an American writer have rewritten their history, attacking their greatest literary figure. But considering that one in four Brits do not believe NASA landed on the moon (a conspiracy theory apparently inspired by the plot of the film Capricorn One), I guess we can call it even. ” - Tin_ear
The Dark Knight (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9.0/10 X  
When the menace known as the Joker wreaks havoc and chaos on the people of Gotham, the caped crusader must come to terms with one of the greatest psychological tests of his ability to fight injustice. (152 mins.)
“ I could deride this over-hyped film for many reasons, at very least I should point out its deficiencies as compared to the original and still perfectly satisfactory 1989 Batman film: ie Christian Bale's silly growl, a suit equipped with every technology possible yet oddly defenseless against bullets, a hideous batmobile, an iconic protagonist who is the least interesting character in his own film, an over-reliance on gadgets and set pieces to communicate what the dialogue is supposed to, a mediocre design (the fabled Gotham is basically indistiguishable from Houston or Indianapolis, how imaginative), a boring subplot, the over-the-top Two-face make-up/CGI, the bloated story (Wtf is Batman doing in China?), a lack of the slightest tinge of actual humor or wit (ironic, considering the film's tagline), a convoluted yet still not very interesting plot with a clumsily executed romantic angle, a series of incoherent action scenes, and an uninspired climax. Also the general message of the film, that the ends justify the means and lying is sometimes good if it is in the public's best interest, is both a cynical and complacent view of power only Nixon would find plausible.

The dialogue, especially toward the end, is forced and too matter-of-fact. And it has to be said, the Joker is not much but a collection of menacing mannerisms. Though he claims to have no plan and is purely an agent of chaos, he clearly has meticulous plans, rendering most of his dialogue unreliable ramblings or ironic posturing and his actual goals or desires abstract and confusing. He comes across as a mechanical stereotype of a Nietzschean super villain; think Hans Gruber's plot with Cujo's motivations. Also, notably this film has a very generic soundtrack; the original Batman soundtrack, by Danny Elfman, is Wagnerian and gothic, Hans Zimmer's score is just repetitive and obnoxious. ” - Tin_ear
Scenes from a Marriage (1973 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Ten years of Marianne and Johan's relationship are presented. We first meet them ten years into their marriage... (283 mins.)
“ Though probably my favorite director, even Ingmar Bergman had his weaknesses. Scenes from a Marriage is emblematic of many of his vices or crutches, mainly an overt theatricality (as in more suited to a stage than celluloid) and dependence on autobiographical cues. Here in particular, he has a tendency to simply record long, static conversations that, while having deep personal reasonace, don't lead anywhere and drag over twenty minute spans. There are really only two characters in the whole thing, and three hours is more than enough of them. Which makes me wonder how hard the five-hour TV version is to sit through. The shock value of divorce and infidelity have inevitably dated some. The story is dreary and not particularly interesting; this seems to lack the energy and purpose of his better films. One of his previous films, Shame, actually does a superior job detailing a deteriorating marriage and clash of gender roles than this. In my own view, it is almost always better to address a weighty concept obliquely, rather than with a sledghammer. ” - Tin_ear
Diary of a Country Priest (1951)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A young priest taking over the parish at Ambricourt tries to fulfill his duties even as he fights a mysterious stomach ailment. (115 mins.)
Director: Robert Bresson
“ There is a phrase in literature that goes 'show, don't tell.' It could just as easily have been coined after watching a Robert Bresson film. The disparity between the delivery and dialogue in this film sums up Bresson's style. The protagonist explains he is outraged while he dons a vacant stare on his face, the next scene he narrates 'I raced to ..' as he leisurely walks his bicycle. These are just a few examples of lazy, amateurish looking filmmaking, puncuated by a lot of religious-tinged, annoying platitudes. Journal entry is the easiest narrative device, but unless the script is truly engaging it quickly becomes the most tedious. Simply tackling grand themes does not make a film great. Bresson has said he prefers to evoke emotional responses over intellectual, which is unusual because the narrators in his films are forced to literally tell us (in the most detached manner possible, no less) what they are experiencing. ” - Tin_ear
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Two warriors in pursuit of a stolen sword and a notorious fugitive are led to an impetuous, physically skilled, adolescent nobleman's daughter, who is at a crossroads in her life. (120 mins.)
Director: Ang Lee
“ Unless you are a fan of second rate-romance, period pieces, or stagey-looking martial arts, this movie is not for you. The fluid, sensible fighting technique that Bruce Lee perfected in popularizing the genre has pretty much been completely discarded in favor of people flying in the air while doing cartwheels. It is this type of childish, Jackie Chan-style choreography that continues to discredit the genre (though Chan's stunts are at least real). Even with a plot reminiscent of a video game it was inexplicably nominated for both Best Picture & Best Foreign Language Oscars. ” - Tin_ear
Santa Sangre (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A young man is confined in a mental hospital. Through a flashback we see that he was traumatized as a child... (123 mins.)
“ Surrealism for its own sake rarely works, crappy production values and an unoriginal premise don't help. The film stupidly stumbles from one bodily-fluid soaked, hammy scene to another. This thoroughly cheesy psychodrama culminates in a predictable whimper, seemingly incapable or unwilling to determine what it wants to be, other than a Psycho knock off. Neither scary or suspenseful, funny or intellectual, it awkwardly has found its niche as pretentious schlock horror, which places Jodorosky along side such 'notable' company as Rob Zombie and Brian De Palma. In my opinion, this is the film that finally exposed the director Alejandro Jodorosky for the charlatan he is. Which places him in even finer company. ” - Tin_ear
L'Avventura (1960)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A woman disappears during a Mediterranean boating trip. During the search, her lover and her best friend become attracted to each other. (143 mins.)
“ One gets the impression Antonioni had seen so many movies that he figured anyone could just make one as long as they included obligatory plot, characters, dialogue, conflict, romance, etc. But he has absolutely no clue what one is supposed do with these elements or how to make them interesting, evident in the fact the two and a half hour long film consists mostly of scenes in which actors walk around aimlessly for minutes at a time staring blankly in different directions, arranged in interesting composition shots, saying virtually nothing and arbitrarily pursuing a mystery we've already stopped caring about halfway through the film. Which was probably the point, but in that case you have to make the romantic storyline compelling if not at least convincing. The last scene is completely worthless. It was booed at Cannes and then awarded a prize, which, humorously, perfectly encapsulates the festival's provacative and often pointlessly contrarian rep. ” - Tin_ear
Wild at Heart (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Young lovers Sailor and Lula run from the variety of weirdos that Lula's mom has hired to kill Sailor. (125 mins.)
Director: David Lynch
“ Nic Cage's recent horrible career choices suddenly make perfect sense. He's nothing if not consistent. ” - Tin_ear
Strange Days (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A former cop turned street-hustler accidentally uncovers a conspiracy in Los Angeles in 1999. (145 mins.)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
“ Even though it is one of producer James Cameron's more forgettable projects, it is inexplicably rated a seven on IMDb. Inspired by Cameron's exploitation of Y2k fascination and paranoia, Roland Emmerich would later make 2012. This is the gift that keeps on giving. ” - Tin_ear
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A New York City doctor, who is married to an art curator, pushes himself on a harrowing and dangerous night-long odyssey of sexual and moral discovery after his wife admits that she once almost cheated on him. (159 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
“ To paraphrase one of Kubrick's close friends, Kubrick claimed to have been emotionally/intellectually 'raped' by his super-couple stars while making this; he reportedly considered it his worst film. Whether you want to believe that or not, the Cruises' lack of chemistry is undeniable. By the end of the film I had forgotten about the two leads and only wanted to find out more about the creepy Bohemian Grove-inspired sex parties and Sidney Pollack's role in all this. I'm still not sure what it was about, if anything, and I doubt it really matters even to those sycophants who called it a masterpiece, and this is coming from one of Kubrick's biggest sycophants. ” - Tin_ear
The Simpsons Movie (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
After Homer accidentally pollutes the town's water supply, Springfield is encased in a gigantic dome by the EPA and the Simpson family are declared fugitives. (87 mins.)
Director: David Silverman
“ There really is no reason for this thing to exist; it's just like three episodes (and not even good ones like Monorail or Camp Krusty, but later, crappy ones) were spliced together, only with better guest cameos (if you consider Green Day better). It should have been a twentieth-anniversary special or a cliffhanger season finale, etc., but to release it as a feature film reeks of base, financial motivations. Confusing themselves for South Park, the filmmakers failed to realize their show frankly was a decade past its prime and no longer relevant or thoughtful. It had become the 'Death Wish VI' it had once mercilessly lampooned, an institution devoid of any remaining worth. As if the syndication deal that prevents the 'golden-era' episodes from airing wasn't painful enough, this bitter reminder of the Nineties' glory will likely only prolong that pact with Satan. ” - Tin_ear
Good Will Hunting (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
Will Hunting, a janitor at M.I.T., has a gift for mathematics, but needs help from a psychologist to find direction in his life. (126 mins.)
Director: Gus Van Sant
“ Never has a first screenplay looked so much like a first-time screenplay. A perfect, bad combination of dilettantism: preachy dialogue, big emotional climaxes, glorified semi-biographic characters, with simplistic, shallow stabs at wisdom and social criticism one might expect from a twenty-year-old (or Matt Damon for that matter). ” - Tin_ear
The Exterminating Angel (1962)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
The guests at an upper-class dinner party find themselves unable to leave. (95 mins.)
Director: Luis Buñuel
“ Luis Bunuel has some interesting conceits but I never thought he could write and direct actors very well. As it turns out, he preferred to provoke awkward, stilted performances from actors by refusing to talk to or acknowledge them on set. Which his actors apparently claimed to to have found charming, probably as to avoid looking stupid or having to admit they were too 'bourgeois' or offended to want a director who could actually give them practical advice or encouragement (yet another reason to hate Bunuel's brand of surrealism). The people in this film do not so much have personalities as quirks; they are 'interesting' because they are incestuous, adulterous, or have handbags full of rooster feet. His sense of humor is dry and childishly subversive. The film's satirization of the illusions of class differences/impossibility of social mobility is duly noted, but never is it more funny or profound than Trading Places or the 1989 film, Society, a sleazy yet fun film wherein a Beverly Hills yuppie is literally a talking anus. ” - Tin_ear
Barton Fink (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood. (116 mins.)
Director: Joel Coen
“ Instead of finishing the script or making a perfectly good short film, the Cohens made what is possibly the most pointless, unwatchable, pretentious film of their career (no small claim). I think it was trying to make a statement about the creative process, or be satire about Hollywood or show business or pre-war American leftist culture in general, but that would require the themes, smirky clichés, allusions, and doom-laden atmosphere to actually amount to something other than just being signifiers inserted to make it look smart. As Jonathan Rosenbaum noted, the characters and personas in the film almost sync-up with real-life counterparts but don't in any tangible, factual sense, which seems to imply as if these prototypes were haphazardly selected to deliberately express ...something(?). I honestly can't tell if it is trying to be a hard-boiled critique on the common man (as some film critics have strenuously deduced) or is just a sloppy art-film. That is to say it intentionally expresses nothing. Which, as Cannes so often proves, has it own rewards. ” - Tin_ear
Weekend (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A supposedly idyllic week-end trip to the countryside turns into a never-ending nightmare of traffic jams... (105 mins.)
Director: Jean-Luc Godard
“ It opens with a Penthouse Forum letter, transitions to political diatribes, and ends with a pig being bludgeoned and knifed to death by cannibalistic hippies. One can imagine Godard tripping over his feet trying to top himself in every successive scene. While a skillful director like Louis Malle could elicit longing, elegance, contempt, or pity with as little as an actor's glance, we can't be bothered to wonder what lies behind JLG's character's faces. I'm often confused whether the characters in his movies are the cynical, shallow, boring ones, or whether he's the one with nothing to say. Compared to the innovative improvisations Roman Polanski pulled off in Knife in the Water just years earlier, on a shoe-string budget battling state censors, Godard's political posing and raw aesthetic have never seemed so inept. Even after reading all the well-meaning analyses, I can't see the seven-minute traffic jam, or the seven-minute piano scene, or the pig scene, or the Leaud cameo, or the throwaway literary references, or the Beatle-esque extras, or the hijacking scene etc., as anything but an attempt to kill time in a very flimsy plot (perhaps Godard's sarcasm is rubbing off, or maybe I've just scene enough of his films to know better). Godard is responsible for shaping the decade, but he is equally responsible for turning it into a parody of itself. After having watched Weekend in its entirety, I envy the pig. ” - Tin_ear
Caché (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
A married couple is terrorized by a series of surveillance videotapes left on their front porch. (117 mins.)
Director: Michael Haneke
“ Michael Haneke, always a hit-or-miss kind of director, here is at his most tedious. Great films always have ideas, but the probelm with this movie is precisely that it gets bogged down telling those grand ideas. The film inspires such studiousness -- or boredom -- I was looking at an Eminem poster trying to decipher what the director was trying to say in the film. At two hours long it feels disproportionately long, like a short story stretched to feature length. Perhaps in the case of a film like this it's a matter of culture; national hang-ups don't translate very well. Or maybe it's the clinical feel that permeates every scene, word, and piece of scenery. In any case, Haneke's love of inexplicable and random violence has never felt more forced and crass. ” - Tin_ear
Slumdog Millionaire (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A Mumbai teen reflects on his upbringing in the slums when he is accused of cheating on the Indian Version of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire?" (120 mins.)
“ This managed to win an Oscar for Best Picture though it wasn't even the best film nominated that year, in what was very much an 'off year' in cinema. You could make a more convincing point why a myriad of un-nominated films like The Dark Knight, The Wrestler, or Hunger were more deserving. If you include foreign-language films in the discussion, the rationale for giving the award to Danny Boyle's soap opera is even more strained... which precisely sums up why so many judge the Oscars as such a poor arbiter of quality. ” - Tin_ear
A Separation (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease. (123 mins.)
Director: Asghar Farhadi
“ As gritty and transgressive as it may be in Iran, to many Western viewers it will appear yet another overwrought kitchen-sink drama. From Kramer vs Kramer, to Away From Her, to Starting Out in the Evening, to Crash, to every other Ken Loach film, etc., let's not delude ourselves into forgetting theaters are already glutted with depictions of divorce, the plight of the working class, the social effects of aging, and parental/filial obligations. Also, for a film Oscar nominated for writing, the characters were pretty predictable; the wife is a deferential woman trying to find her own voice, while her husband is a traditional man struggling to keep his family together without showing emotion, both frustrated by a faceless & detached bureaucracy. But you can tell as much just by looking at the poster. ” - Tin_ear
The King's Speech (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The story of King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it. (118 mins.)
Director: Tom Hooper
“ An adequate, comfy, horribly predictable buddy-movie. In retrospect it deserves more hatred for the fact it is trying so desperately to appeal to Oscar voters, a fact that even many cynical, smug British film critics who loathe the monarchy casually disregarded. The film's central and only real plotpoint is an inflated personal crisis. The climax is as unrewarding as it is mind-numbingly trifling. An unhappy ending might've been endearing at least. A king struggling with his own self-esteem problems as his country struggles with theirs during the Blitz?... Maybe not historically accurate, but when did that ever stop a filmmaker? Though, to be honest, who can really remember whats-his-name, anyway; inspiring Britain was Churchill's job. I'm sure the hundreds of thousands of Britons who had family members killed in the war really gave a crap about an inbred regent's stutter. There is more subconscious awe for royalty in Britian and America than I've ever suspected. After they make the inevitable Diana biopic, they must surely be out of royal-themed movie ideas for a few generations, but don't be surprised if you see Richard III comeback as a zombie or a road-picture based on George IV's trip to Scotland. ” - Tin_ear
Bowling for Columbine (2002 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Filmmaker Michael Moore explores the roots of America's predilection for gun violence. (120 mins.)
Director: Michael Moore
“ A dishonest, shallow movie, all the the more obnoxious because it diverts valuable time and attention away from an issue that badly needs to be addressed seriously. The film is filled with many inaccuracies and blatant deceptions, which one might be willing to overlook if it weren't a jumbled editorial tenuously connecting different aspects of American culture Michael Moore hates and therefore sees a common link between. This film doesn't start a discussion, it filibusters it with a lot of grandstanding. Most Americans believe that gun crimes have increased in the last twenty years, where they have actually been proved to have statistically dropped almost seventy percent. A tangent I agree, but instead of actually noteworthy statistics like that, you have Michael Moore making jokes about Wall Street in this film. ” - Tin_ear
High and Low (1963)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
An executive of a shoe company becomes a victim of extortion when his chauffeur's son is kidnapped and held for ransom. (143 mins.)
Director: Akira Kurosawa
“ As huge a fan as I am, this is difficult. But I gotta admit, between this film and Dersu Uzala, Akira Kurosawa's later works do seem to be somewhat overrated. Now a cliche, underrated geniuses tend to be flooded with adoration later in life as some kind of consolation prize for years of being overlooked. I digress... An over-methodical cop-drama, the film loses steam over the course of it's long runtime (not actually as long as Throne of Blood, but it feels twice as long), a far cry from Kurosawa's much better, early procedural-thriller, Stray Dog. ” - Tin_ear
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Two criminals and their hostages unknowingly seek temporary refuge in an establishment populated by vampires, with chaotic results. (108 mins.)
“ While clearly drawing inspiration from such horror flicks as The Thing, The Fly, and countless George Romero films, it lacks the wit and terror that made those previous films so great. This is more like Home Alone with monsters. ” - Tin_ear
Double Indemnity (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator's suspicions. (107 mins.)
Director: Billy Wilder
“ In a film class I remember hearing some of my classmates giggle at some the lines. Yet more proof that many of the early noirs have not dated well, despite the insistance of film critics that the Forties crime genre was the high-water mark of American cinema. ” - Tin_ear
Laura (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating. (88 mins.)
Director: Otto Preminger
“ The idea of a woman being the suspect in her own murder case, is pretty damn brillant; the twist half-through still is shocking despite the fact I knew it before hand. The tension and acting is a tad flat, but the formulaic ending and predictable romantic subplot are really the problem. The second half is a let down. It's always a tragedy when a great plot is doomed because of a paint-by-numbers screenplay. The overly symbolic ending is such a wasted oppurtunity; a better screenwriter or director could have done so much with that set-up. ” - Tin_ear
Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The story of how an eccentric French shop-keeper and amateur film-maker attempted to locate and befriend Banksy... (87 mins.)
Director: Banksy
“ Excluding Banksy's mundane indictment of contemporary society, his condescending attitude and selective use of information alone render this documentary severely flawed. His Oscar denial fortunately deprived him of the oppurtunity to further his self-promotional performance art project, basking in Academy glory while ironically mocking the award, the A-listers in the theater, the sponsors, the audience, and Western civilization in general, either getting booed for being too 'edgy' or getting a round of applause for his convictions from celebrities too dumb to realize (or resigned to the fact) the joke is on them no matter what. We get it, you're irreverent because you're cool; you're cool because you're irreverent. Now go back to making your glorified New Yorker cartoon and recycled clip art stencils. ” - Tin_ear
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
Eight years after the Joker's reign of anarchy, the Dark Knight, with the help of the enigmatic Catwoman, is forced from his imposed exile to save Gotham City, now on the edge of total annihilation, from the brutal guerrilla terrorist Bane. (164 mins.)
“ Finally what the world was waiting for: a three-hour, comic book epic starring the kid from Third Rock From the Sun, an indestructible Catwoman as comic relief (this despite the fact she has zero muscle tone and her jokes suck), Tom Hardy doing his best impersonation of Lord Humungus, and Marion Cotillard doing her best impersonation of a sentient being. There's a lot of symbolism, allusions, and ideas connecting the French Revolution, The Battle of Falluja, Occupy Wall Street, and A Tale of Two Cities. All things the screenwriters throw around to lend their film credibility and a sheen of menacing realism but don't really know what to do with. I think Chris Nolan/David Goyer read the phrase 'Reign of Terror' and thought it'd look neat if they could incorporate it into a story about terrorists amid the hellish imagery of the 'War on Terror.' Get it, see the pattern? The provocatively-named 'Dent Act' harkens to the Patriot Act but more closely equates to something in between the RICO statutes and the 'Three Strikes Law,' indicative of the film's disordered attempts at social commentary -- this is what a stupid person's idea of a smart movie looks like. Though, I might be giving it too much credit to assume that it even contains subtext.

You probably missed it watching all the explosions, but the entire plot -- based upon the premise that Bane was instigating a Maoist styled uprising from the bottom up -- was largely forgotten about in the last hour in favor of an elaborate murder-suicide plot based upon an ancient Asian cult. It isn't what it spends two hours convincing us it is and it counts on us not caring. Which begs to suggest Nolan was either trying to make an observation about jihadism or simply lost his own thread among a ticking bomb, a metaphorical prison, a revenge plot set up two films ago, a bungling police state, and pseudo-Catwoman and Robin. The ending marked by another of Nolan's literal yet annoyingly obfuscated finales. ” - Tin_ear
Day for Night (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A committed film director struggles to complete his movie while coping with a myriad of crises, personal and professional, among the cast and crew. (115 mins.)
“ There hasn't been a great meta-movie (a film about filmmaking) made since Sunset Blvd., which probably has a lot to do with the fact that these films inevitably expose the entire process as rather mundane, the actors unsympathetic prima donnas or twits, writers and directors as little more than self-absorbed hacks with messy personal lives, and producers and insurers as churlish shylocks, etc. I always give credit to Truffaut for his technical skill, but in the end, Day for Night fails for the same reason so many other movies do, a slight script and drab characterization. The autobiographic nature of Sullivan's Travels and the novel The Last Tycoon have served as the inspiration for countless films throughout the years with exponentially diminishing returns, from Fellini's 8 1/2, Godard's Contempt, to Paul Mazurksy and Woody Allen's inevitable Fellini homages. David Lynch's later-period Hollywood pictures the ultimate product of this introspective and insufferable genre. The director compelled to chronicle his craft is predictable, like the novelist who sooner or later succumbs to laziness and incorporates into his work his writer's block, alcoholism, divorce, and teaching gig at a liberal art's college. ” - Tin_ear
Magnificent Obsession (1954)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
When churlish, spoiled rich man Bob Merrick foolishly wrecks his speed boat, the rescue team resuscitates... (108 mins.)
Director: Douglas Sirk
“ Simply horrid. Douglas Sirk's later-period melodrama cycle, -- including All That Heaven Allows and Written on the Wind -- contemporary critics seem to indicate, were intended by the director as deadpan, god-awful dreck. You can forgive critics back then for thinking this particular one was phoned in, Sirk's career up to this point was bloated and unremarkable, producing over twenty films in the Fifties alone, and quality is the first casualty of the workaholic. Certainly the film has had no great shelf life, nobody took it seriously at the time. If his admirers are to be believed, the entire film is basically a joke, a mail bomb filled with irony, addressed 'to whom it may concern.' Academics would recast the hack as a latter-day Swift. A $!@&-eating grin is ugly when it is worn by someone who has nothing but contempt for his audience, adopted country, studio, actors, and genre, and it's all the more unattractive when it's worn by a bitter, frustrated ingrate who modern critics imply would rather have made Mother Courage but liked money too much. Proof that if you throw around the correct key-words & phrases like 'subversive' and 'Brechtian' you can elevate any garbage in the eyes jaded film aficionados. 'Snide' is a better word, I think. Whatever the case, churning out low-brow weepies unfortunately were his gift/curse from the cinematic gods. Work indicative of a man who apparently felt he had wasted his life, and I can't disagree. One of the biggest losers in film history. ” - Tin_ear
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A man decides to turn his moribund life around by winning back his ex-girlfriend, reconciling his relationship with his mother, and dealing with an entire community that has returned from the dead to eat the living. (99 mins.)
Director: Edgar Wright
“ Is this an homage or a spoof? Is this a romantic comedy or satire? Is this a black comedy or a popcorn flick? A postmodern film or just an Anglicized 'bro-comedy' re-imaginaing of Dawn of the Dead? Borrowing a lot of the clichés (actually all of them) from George Romero, Shaun of the Dead basically repackages them to make nearly the identical statement about the detached, zombie-like drudgery most people live everyday in a meaningless arc of static survival and consumption. I'm not sure if this movie is mocking white-collar office jobs, gun-ownership, burnouts, the zombie genre, and alcoholism or not. I'm not really sure what it is doing, and it wouldn't matter anyway. The namesake character notably ties a red bandana around his head, alluding to the Russian roulette scene from The Deer Hunter. Just another example of fillmakers keen to show us how smart they are, in a scene that exists presumably out of the simple rationale that the film had to fill out 99 minutes somehow. It barely functions as a romance, only partially works as a horror film, and oddly enough, the comedic bits are probably the weakest component simply because the jokes are so low-brow and inert.

A critical aspect of Romero's films is sociology, the fact that Americans are diverse, compelled toward consumption, fatally optimistic, and alarmingly heavily armed (all with advantages and necessary complications). 28 Days Later acknowledged the awesome power the military holds in periods of civil unrest in non-armed nations, not to mention islands. In this film the firearms and military/police are just a deus ex machina much like the trap door in the pub. Like all zombie films SotD fuels our deep-seated lust for violence while justifying it as righteous self-defense. But unlike smarter zombie films SotD seems preoccupied with that single idea to the exclusion of anything more worthwhile. Yet another complacent, retrograde entry in the Zombie genre. Enough with the %#\@ing 'Zombie Apocalypse' already. ” - Tin_ear
Au Hasard Balthazar (1966)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The story of a mistreated donkey and the people around him. A study on saintliness and a sister piece to Bresson's Mouchette. (95 mins.)
Director: Robert Bresson
“ Whether you like this film probably depends how much you like or buy into Robert Bresson's Christianity. Needless to say, I was annoyed by the passivity and detached reactions by most of the characters. It has to be noted that Bresson believed in predestination, Au Hasard Balthazar is steeped in fatalism and sacred suffering. If we further buy into the accepted premise, the namesake beast of burden is a symbol of 'quiet dignity.' The ownership of Balthazar paralleling the lack of agency of Marie. Unlike his human counterpart, Balthazar is noble or christ-like for turning the other cheek. Only a donkey fundamentally lacks consciousness and free will; animals aren't any more capable of dignity than neuroticism or romance -- the traditional critical reading of the movie itself is simplistic and kinda absurd; I'm not sure if most viewers fully understand Bresson's condemnation of humanity as little but vain animals (perhaps the most misunderstood classic ever). If the awkward theology and Biblical allegories weren't already strained, the heroine rightfully announces in a moment of clarity that there is no virtue in pointless misery. The film then predictably continues to suffocate this lone rational thought. ” - Tin_ear
The Act of Killing (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers. (115 mins.)
“ The Act of Killing spins itself into a rather tedious, conventional documentary -- which speaks more to the sophistication of the genre. No offense to Vice Magazine, but when you initially get over the shock of the characters' apathy and misguided braggadocio this feels like any cagey third-world 'interview with a colorful warlord/despot' doc. Most of the film is repetitive and over-deliberate, and only barely edited enough to hint at catharsis. (Spoilers) The film pins its dramatic conclusion on the admission of guilt of its main character. But the most intriguing moments were the asides and impromptu moments involving state media and bureaucrats not the re-staged atrocities, the bit the director surely assumed the heart of the documentary. Frankly I think Mr. Oppenheimer buries the lede, Indonesia seems a like deeply dysfunctional, corrupt, and surreal country. I agree you should judge something as it is not by how you thought it should be, but to me it's clear there must be a better doc locked within. This is not much more than a spectacle disguised inside another spectacle. ” - Tin_ear
The Patriot (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son. (165 mins.)
Director: Roland Emmerich
“ This film has no business garnering a 7.0 on IMDb, a fact I chalk up to nobody taking the movie seriously enough to fact check. Yes, I have that much time on my hands, but even the briefest of glimpses of Roland Emmerich's film's Wikipedia page should be enough reason to understand why so many are irritated by this jingoistic, shallow tale. ” - Tin_ear
Withnail & I (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
London, 1969 - two 'resting' (unemployed and unemployable) actors, Withnail and Marwood, fed up with damp... (107 mins.)
Director: Bruce Robinson
“ I'm not sure this qualifies as a cult movie or a comedy. It was not financially successful but it is technically proficient, as a drama it isn't bad. It's only problem is that it is lite-tragedy. The homophobic subplot, drinking jokes, and hippie characters aren't so dated they don't work, but neither are they all that funny, not all that different from a Benny Hill episode. I don't know if it has anything to do with age or not, I imagine the film was attempting to dissuade kids from the preconception the Sixties was a psychedelic utopia, but that is a myth most modern hedonists have absolutely no interest to bother pondering anyway. The entire movie a bleak, pathetic downer. If you logically continue the film's trajectory, which in retrospect the film practically invites, Withnail is dead within five years choking on his own vomit. Charming indeed. ” - Tin_ear
It Happened One Night (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A spoiled heiress, running away from her family, is helped by a man who is actually a reporter in need of a story. (105 mins.)
Director: Frank Capra
“ If you've seen the hitchhiking scene, you've seen the about as much as you need. The fact it won Oscars says more about the eccentric, nascent Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences or sparse selection of quality films that year, than it does of Frank Capra's surprise winner. Don't forget they also voted to give Rin Tin Tin the first Best Actor Award for 1928, not to take anything away from Gable and Colbert who both give precisely the kind of performances the subject material demands. ” - Tin_ear
Children of Men (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
In 2027, in a chaotic world in which women have become somehow infertile, a former activist agrees to help transport a miraculously pregnant woman to a sanctuary at sea. (109 mins.)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
“ A 7.9 for this? It isn't so much a film as a lot of heavy-handed symbolism and foreboding shaky-cam. When science fiction has a message, the flow charts are rather predictable. I was almost tempted to parse an innovative reading of the film amid all the Biblical allusions. Maybe an ironic morality tale, a plea to value and care for each child in a world that is battling an exploding population rate -- a population bomb if you will -- where kids are so expendable we throw them in the trash as an afterthought. Or a sarcastic nod to a future, presumably with global warming shrinking its coastline, wherein people desperately flee their home to journey to Britain solely on account of its spacious tenement flats and functioning government. A warped dystopian future where activism is synonymous with failure, our only hope a bureaucracy. But that would be too clever. Satire doesn't sell, and the film certainly isn't looking at radical Islamic ideology in Europe as anything but a passing piece of scenery to lend it credibility. As we've already learned with Brazil, you don't have to actually have anything to say if the film looks the part. 'Dystopian' now operates as theme, plot, genre, tone, moral, and cinematography.

One could just as easily read the film as a dire warning against Europe's plunging birthrates unable to sustain it's aging population and social system, and/or Britain's fate as the violent crime capital of Europe, which it prefers to ignore. But again those interpretations are probably too awkward and imaginative for a progressive mainstream filmmaker to contemplate, let alone address in a film. So let's just go with pollution and racism -- the only thing missing is the Joan Baez soundtrack. Forget Slavoj Zizek, this is an over-calculated and utterly dispensable movie. ” - Tin_ear
The Truman Show (1998)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
An insurance salesman/adjuster discovers his entire life is actually a television show. (103 mins.)
Director: Peter Weir
“ (Spoilers) A brilliant set-up wasted on a predictable ending. Not only does he get the girl, the film ends nearly identically to the earlier Jim Carrey film, The Cable Guy. Carrey must really have an ax to grind against the medium. Much like the entertainment industry it satirizes -- and reality t.v. craze it portends -- this film is a little shallow and simplistic. The not so subtle critique of middle-class culture and Eisenhower-era Americana are all so rote that the writing of the film comes off as just the type of lazy, forty-years-too-late-to-be-useful, reactionary social consciousness that found its way into every Fifties suburban comedy/drama of the turn-of-the-century from Pleasantville to Revolutionary Road to Far From Heaven to American Beauty. Carrey would later make The Majestic which is arguably the epitome of just precisely this sub-genre, though that film succumbed to full-blown revisionist fantasy.

All technical and suspension of disbelief issues aside, the one thing that ruins the movie is that the entire premise is based around a globally popular t.v. institution in which the secret of the show is making the lead character's life as boring as humanly possible. All of the characters are one-dimensional on or off screen, and none of them really seem that important to the overall story except Truman himself. Oddly The Truman Show is marketed as a comedy (one assumes because Jim Carey is in it) when it comes across more as standard, lite sci-fi. ” - Tin_ear
Forrest Gump (1994)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 X  
Forrest Gump, while not intelligent, has accidentally been present at many historic moments, but his true love, Jenny Curran, eludes him. (142 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
“ Amusing -- and marginally better than Shawshank-- but not nearly as good as Pulp Fiction, or on that note a dozen other classics from 1994 from Ed Wood to Interview With a Vampire to The Last Seduction to Clerks to Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Like Dances With Wolves, an earnest, historical Best Picture winner from the Nineties that doesn't hold up against its competition. ” - Tin_ear
Dead Man (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
On the run after murdering a man, accountant William Blake encounters a strange North American man named Nobody who prepares him for his journey into the spiritual world. (121 mins.)
Director: Jim Jarmusch
“ Upon dwelling on Jim Jarmusch's (over)celebrated film Down By Law, a buddy-picture which left me so disinterested I couldn't be bothered to even form an opinion on, I decided to give Jarmusch another shot. Johnny Depp was arguably the most interesting actor of the decade, and yet he somehow is the least engaging character in the movie. Gary Farmer and Michael Wincott steal the show while Depp looks like he's sleepwalking, like he's doing us all a favor by merely showing up. The cinematography is beautiful, but the movie feels as if every line and scene was literally improvised five minutes before it was shot. The ending's so nonchalant it makes me think some element of or bridge to William Blake's poetry was lost in Jarmusch's head which might have been a unifying tread instead of being a signifying nothing. I understand the point of arty movies, and more so 'road-movies,' is making it all about the journey and not the destination, but there are moments when the film is just walking in circles. Other than setting up a few clichés and archetypes about the Old West just to knock down, there isn't much here. ” - Tin_ear
Tokyo Story (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
An old couple visit their children and grandchildren in the city; but the children have little time for them. (136 mins.)
Director: Yasujirô Ozu
“ This isn't a long film, but it feels like it (the tell tale sign of a poorly edited film). I stuck it out, but it did not prove itself worthy of the massive hype. The message was pretty dated (I think the Henry Chapin song is more profound, and that isn't a joke), the story and pace was abysmal, and literally every thought and emotion is spoken as to exclude the need to imply or insinuate anything. At the very end the old guy could have just let it sink in subtly that his daughter-in-law was his only "real" child, but he has to go and literally explain that to the audience, too.

You might notice the janky direction. The dialogue is spoken directly into the camera, which is just awkward, as is the camera lingering on scenes far longer than necessary. I understand why you would do that to stress the importance of a mood or for the dramatic effect, but when you do it for every single scene it comes across as poor craftsmanship.

Nothing really happens until the end, and it is so over-foreshadowed and predictable as to not have any effect whatsoever, and also there is absolutely no character development or discernible character arcs to speak of...I'm not sure how this is possible, but if the Sight & Sound poll of greatest films ever is proof, apparently directors eat this stuff up. Oh, wait, that probably explains most of the films on this list. Nevermind. ” - Tin_ear