Oscar Winners

[6.0] After the world saw its first bona-fide blockbuster, 1975’s Jaws, daring Italian movie mogul Dino De Laurentiis decided he needed to go down in history for producing the second one. He settled on a remake of 1933’s King Kong and hired John Guillerman (The Towering Inferno) to direct. The screenplay is faithful to the original film in its broad strokes: A boat seeks passage …

[8.5] Tension between rival New York City gangs the Jets and the Sharks is wound to a tragic snapping point after one young Jet falls head over heels for the sister of the Sharks’ leader. West Side Story is based on the landmark stage musical featuring music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, and exciting dance choreography by Jerome Robbins, who co-directs this film …

[7.0] Cary Grant stars as an angel from Heaven who comes to Earth just before Christmas to help a Bishop (David Niven) and his wife (Loretta Young) raise money for construction of a new cathedral. But Grant has ulterior motives, trying to get the Bishop to realize that happiness lies in prioritizing his marriage over any construction project — and that the fundraising money is …

[8.0] An associate History professor (Richard Burton) and his wife, the university president’s daughter (Elizabeth Taylor), invite a new biology faculty member (George Segal) and his wife (Sandy Dennis) to their house for drinks. But the evening goes hellishly south when the older couple begin airing marital grievances, including the whereabouts of their son on the eve of his sixteenth birthday. By sunrise, nasty games …

[4.0] On the barren moors of Yorkshire, a young girl befriends an orphan boy her father brings home from a trip to Liverpool. The friendship turns romantic, but when the girl’s father dies, her nasty blood brother becomes master of the estate and forces her adopted brother into the role of stable boy. Eventually, the young woman marries a wealthy neighbor and the stable boy …

[7.0] Gregory Peck stars as a widowed magazine reporter who spends six months pretending to be Jewish while researching for an article about anti-semitism. He’s startled to discover the ways bigotry manifests in his undercover life — openly at ‘restricted’ clubs and secretly in hiring practices, coming from bullies in his son’s schoolyard and even from other Jews who don’t want to draw attention to …

[9.0] If you think of this movie as Jaws on land, as director Steven Spielberg has suggested, it can’t quite compare to that masterpiece. The characters aren’t strong enough. But it’s still a hell of a summer event movie, delivering groundbreaking effects and well-choreographed thrills. The Michael Crichton story focuses on an island theme park where a wealthy entrepreneur (Richard Attenborough) has resurrected dinosaurs from …

[3.5] Cliff Robertson stars as Charly, a mentally disabled man who agrees to have an experimental operation that makes him more intelligent. But just as the experiment’s success is announced to the scientific world, Charly learns he will soon regress to his original state. Robertson gives an fairly effective performance here, but Charly, based on the required junior high school reading title, Flowers for Algernon, …

[7.0] F. Scott Fitzgerald’s most required reading is faithfully script-adapted by Francis Ford Coppola, with Jack Clayton directing a production as lavish as required for the story of the uber-wealthy but mysterious Jay Gatsby. We enter into Gatsby’s opulent world through the eyes of Sam Waterston as Nick Carraway. Robert Redford is superbly cast as the reticent but disarming Gatsby, who ends up roping Carraway …

[7.5] Joaquin Phoenix stars in writer/director Spike Jonze’s sci-fi romance about a divorced man who falls in love with a computer operating system. Her takes place in a not-so-distant future in which society has become increasingly reliant on technology to fulfill our emotional needs. Phoenix’s operating system, named Samantha and voiced by Scarlett Johansson, is constantly evolving. Like a human being, she learns from trial …

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