Oscar Winners

[7.5] A curmudgeonly obsessive-compulsive (Jack Nicholson) falls for a charming waitress (Helen Hunt) and strikes up an unlikely friendship with a gay neighbor (Greg Kinnear) in As Good as It Gets, another comedy/drama hybrid from the sometimes brilliant mind of James L. Brooks (Terms of Endearment, Broadcast News). In lesser hands, this one could have turned out a tonal mess, but Brooks and the cast …

[5.5] Janet Gaynor and Fredric March star in a love story so good, they’ve made it four times now — most recently with Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper in the roles. Gaynor plays a small-town girl with dreams of becoming a Hollywood actress. With encouragement from her grandmother, she arrives in Tinseltown bright-eyed and bushy-tailed only to discover what everyone discovers — that opportunity is …

[7.5] A young German man (an award-worthy David Kross) has an affair with an older woman (Kate Winslet), only to discover many years after the affair ends that she was a guard at the Auschwitz concentration camp. After she is found guilty of murder and sentenced to life in prison, the man (later played by Ralph Fiennes) still can’t get her out of his mind. …

[9.5] In picturesque Italy, 1983, a seventeen-year-old boy falls in love with an older man who is working as his father’s research assistant. That’s it. That’s all Call Me By Your Name is about. And it’s marvelous. So many other coming-of-age, coming out, and gay-centered love stories focus on outside forces exerting pressure on the characters. But James Ivory’s (Maurice, The Remains of the Day) …

[9.0] Not since 1980’s Ordinary People have we had such a genuinely affecting movie about loss and mourning. In Manchester by the Sea, a man with a tortured past discovers he is the legal guardian of his late brother’s teenaged son. Casey Affleck is remarkable and nuanced in the lead role, playing a character who has repressed his feelings for so long that the mere …

[7.0] In the third Bond film, agent 007 (Sean Connery) is trying to stop a nefarious gold tycoon from breaking into Fort Knox. Goldfinger is still one of the most popular entries in the franchise because it has everything we’ve come to expect in a Bond flick. Goldfinger himself is the quintessential Bond villain. He knows it’s not enough just to have a wicked plan. …

[7.5] It’s formulaic, overblown and downright preposterous at times, but it’s also everything moviegoers want in a summer action movie. Speed has a tight, rapid-fire script, awesome sound design, a remarkably kinetic score, and surprisingly good acting for a movie of its type. Sandra Bullock gives a sweet, naturalistic performance as a woman stuck driving a bus full of passengers that will explode if it …

[7.0] In this potpourri of Middle-Eastern folklore, a banished king (John Justin) and a street boy (Sabu) team up to stop an evil magician (Conrad Veidt) from marrying a beautiful princess (June Duprez). The Thief of Bagdad tries to combine everything you can imagine from “Arabian Nights”, including the Genie and the magic carpet. Disney certainly used this classic as a springboard for their own …

[8.0] Oliver Stone’s Platoon was one of the first major motion pictures to deal with the Vietnam war. Charlie Sheen stars as an infantry volunteer who finds himself in a moral quandry, torn between two sergeants of differing philosophies. Tom Berenger and Willem Dafoe give solid, Oscar-nominated performances as the two sergeants, but it’s the director’s voice that comes through most strikingly in Platoon. As …

[8.0] You know how people often say such-and-such actor “lights up the screen?” Well, that phrase was made for Audrey Hepburn, because that’s what she does in Blake Edwards’ adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. As Holly Golightly, she plays a woman trying to reinvent herself by marrying rich. George Peppard plays an up-and-coming writer who can’t help but fall in love with …

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