Action/Adventure • Character Study • Comedy • Documentary • Drama • Fantasy • Musical • Romance • Sci-Fi • Suspense/Thriller • True Story • Western
With a Repertoire of 3300+ titles, fully reviewing each one obviously isn’t feasible. But I do track the full monty – every one is annotated, rated, and indexed.
I expand bare-bones entries as they come up in conversation (or as I catch up after the end-of-year awards screening flurry!). If you’re curious for an expanded discussion of one, just email me and I’ll have it up within 24 hours.
These pieces are among the ones that ended up featured on the main page of their publication, or otherwise struck a positive nerve with folks. They’re a nice sampling of my style and perspective.
Explanation of Ratings
Here you’ll find pure “Audience-response” criticism (Pure what?). Respectful? Absolutely. Reasoned? Always. Humble? Perhaps. Objective? Never.
77 Stars: Desert Island
If forced to choose a handful of films for life, these make the list; I feel “due” to see them at least every few years (a few much more often, like months). Definitely holding a personal meaning, they are probably magnificently executed as well (though not required to be). Sometimes they creep up on me (An Education), other times I fall instantaneously (Inception). However it happens, it isn’t about like or dislike. It’s unconditional love. (Note: It seems like a lot, but it’s still only 2% of my total, so it can’t be said that I’m indiscriminate!)
5 Stars: Magnificent
Perfectly realized, and completely satisfying on whatever level it sought to be. (Does one “love” The Killing Fields? You get my meaning…) These I’ll watch at any opportunity, use as background instead of music (in the lighter cases, of course), and generally carry with me throughout life.
4 Stars: Great
I really liked these ~ they were a terrific experience and I’ll happily see them multiple times. I don’t carry them with me, but I’d sure hate to have to leave them behind.
3 Stars: Time Well Spent
Solidly handled overall or possessing some notable feature. Most titles fall into this range, so I’ve broken it into ranges for clarity.
High (with green bar) ~ For one reason or another these ju-u-u-st didn’t quite make it to four stars. I’ll likely watch them again if they cross my path, or if I get a bug to watch a certain performance.
Regular (color) ~ Hitting dead center on my affections continuum. Almost no opinion, except that they were very fine films and I’m glad to have seen them.
Low (black & white) ~ Fine in their own rights, but just vibe on a different wavelength from mine or lack some requisite attribute. They were like a decent blind date ~ good guy, good time, but it won’t happen again.
2 Stars: Disappointing
1 Star: Accursed
Either some aspects are so badly handled that the film actually irritates, or it contains a major betrayal of the rules of fiction. Very occasionally, I just loathed it for some reason of personal taste (e.g., Cry Baby). Behold,
hours weeks of my life I’ll never get back.