Drama

[6.5] Christian Bale stars as a factory machinist eaten away by paranoia as he suffers a year of insomnia. After an accident at work in which Bale is partly responsible for another man losing his arm, Bale suspects his coworkers are conspiring to get him fired. There’s a man he’s talked to that no one else has ever seen or heard of. There are mysterious …

[5.0] Gwyneth Paltrow stars as the title character in this adaptation of Jane Austen’s Emma. Emma Woodhouse takes it upon herself to be a matchmaker for all her friends and neighbors. While her interference tends to do more harm than good, Emma fails to notice that her own opportunity for courtship may be just under her nose. Director Douglas McGrath (Nicholas Nickleby) abides by Miramax …

[7.5] Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams star as young lovers from different social backgrounds whose relationship is torn apart by interfering parents and World War II. When they reunite many years later, she’s engaged to another (James Marsden), but their feelings for one another remain. The Notebook, based on the book by Nicholas Sparks, essentially boils down to, “Which boy will she choose?” But it …

[5.5] John Wayne gave up the lead in 1971’s Dirty Harry and came to regret it. McQ is his attempt to get in on the vigilante cop craze, playing a cop who starts out investigating the murder of a friend and ends up unearthing a police corruption scandal. Along the way Diana Muldaur and Colleen Dewhurst compete for his affection. Both women have secrets and …

[5.5] In 18th century Italy, an orphan boy comes of age with the help of nuns and a kindly mentor, falls in love, gets embroiled in the slave trade, and fights for his inheritance in this adaptation of Hervey Allen’s sprawling novel. Anthony Adverse looks and sounds great, with immense sets, period costumes, and a rich score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Some of the supporting …

[6.5] Jennifer Jones and William Holden star as a widowed Eurasian doctor and a married American news correspondent who fall in love despite cultural differences and wartime separations during China’s communist revolution. Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing is one of the quintessential ’50s romance movies. It’s about strangers falling in love in an exotic land, aided as these lovers often are by sandy beaches and …

[7.0] Marlon Brando stars in Sydney Lumet’s adaptation of Tennessee Williams Orpheus Descending. (Williams co-wrote the screenplay with Meade Roberts.) Brando plays a young man trying to shed his criminal background and start a new life in a new town. But the new town has three women in it who all find Brando alluring. Joanne Woodward plays the reckless party animal, Maureen Stapleton plays the …

[6.5] Writer/director Ryan Murphy (Nip/Tuck, Glee) brings Augusten Burroughs’ memoir to the big screen. Joseph Cross plays young Burroughs, a thirteen-year-old whose emotionally unstable mother hands him off to her therapist. Running with Scissors is primarily about Burroughs trying to fit in at the therapist’s bizarre household while learning to accept that his mother will never be what he needs her to be. Annette Bening …

[4.0] A group of Asian-American high schoolers get bored of being diligent students and begin dabbling in criminal activity. Before long, they’re in over their heads and regretting everything. You don’t get to know any of the characters very well, except that one is a loose cannon the others keep in check by occasionally beating him up a little. There’s a love interest for one …

[7.0] Charles Bronson headlines this above-average low-budget thriller about a cop of questionable morals (Bronson) in pursuit of a serial killer (Gene Davis) who kills in the nude. Early in the film, Bronson tells his boss (Wilford Brimley) that the killer’s “knife is his penis.” The killer is motivated to kill because women won’t give him attention otherwise, making 10 to Midnight all the more …

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