Best Costume Design

[8.0] A lonely writer falls in love with a singing, dancing courtesan in this bawdy musical that soars on the charms of co-stars Nicole Kidman and Ewan McGregor. The song numbers cannibalize lyrics from love songs over the past century, an approach you’re either going to love or hate. I think the musical sequences are the best part of Moulin Rouge!, whether it’s the Tex …

[3.5] Near the end of both Singin’ in the Rain and An American in Paris, there is a big, epic dance number that feels very out of place. It’s the only thing I don’t like about Singin’ in the Rain, and the only thing I DO like about An American in Paris. The later film is essentially a superb 20-minute dance number tacked onto an …

[3.0] A Jew and a Christian compete in the 1924 Olympics, both running in the name of God and adversity. I’m sorry to say I just couldn’t give a shit. I couldn’t empathize with their motivations. They feel God when they run. Good for them. It would at least be nice if the two competed against one another in the third act, but they don’t. …

[8.0] Errol Flynn makes a triumphant return to the genre that made him a star (after Hollywood shelved period action flicks for the duration of WWII). Adventures of Don Juan is splashy, colorful, good-humored, and terrifically entertaining. Despite public knowledge that Flynn’s boozing and whoring were spiraling out of control by this point in his life, he delivers a quintessential Flynn performance as the legendary …

[5.0] At her sister’s funeral, an eccentric woman meets her uptight nephew and takes him globe-trotting to find an old flame. The combination of the great George Cukor and the ever-acerbic Maggie Smith doesn’t add up to anything compelling in this Auntie Mame wannabe. The screenplay, based on Graham Green’s novel, is distractedly episodic and Smith’s performance is over-the-top even for her. The tone is …

[5.0] Beautifully shot and slavish to Kubrick’s singular, intentionally off-putting vision, Barry Lyndon follows the circuitous rise and fall of an unscrupulous man through love and war, as he swindles his way into aristocracy and sews the seeds of his own ultimate misfortune. I can appreciate the exercise, creating an immaculate vision so emotionally restrained, it’s almost devoid. But the film is a conundrum for …

[3.0] What a shitty Best Picture winner Gigi is. It’s a musical about an unhappy playboy (Louis Jourdan) and an unhappy debutante (Leslie Caron) who fall in love, but then out of love, and back in love, and out, and finally in again. Apparently neither one feels right playing by the rules of Parisian upper-crust society and doing what is expected of them, so they …

[2.0] There’s precious little to keep you interested in this hideous-looking and busily boring shit-fest of a film that is both a nadir for director Tim Burton’s creative trajectory and emblematic of everything wrong with Hollywood in the early 21st century. Much muchness? Indeed. Alice in Wonderland is the cinematic equivalent of a priapism.

[6.5] John Huston adapts Tennessee Williams’ play for the big screen, and finds big stars to play the parts. Richard Burton and Ava Gardner deliver great performances as a defrocked priest and a jaded hotel owner, both on the verge of nervous breakdowns, who mingle with libidinous guests at Gardner’s jungle inn south-of-the-border. It’s less stagey than most theater adaptations, even though it stays largely …

[4.5] I knew I would eventually have to watch this 3-hour 20-minute behemoth and thank goodness it’s over. Doctor Zhivago is a sprawling epic about the Russian Revolution as seen through the eyes of a doctor (Omar Sharif) who wants to have his cake (his wife is played by Geraldine Chaplin) and eat it, too (his mistress is played by Julie Christie). The first half …

1 2