Best Costume Design

[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 …

[6.0] Somewhere in Africa, there’s a secret society hidden away by fancy technology. They have, like, a really super-strong metal there that the rest of the world wants, but the secret African people know the rest of the world will just destroy itself if it ever gets their metal, so they don’t share it. But then one of their metal weapons is found in a …

[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 …

[7.5] George Miller has stopped making talking pig and dancing penguin movies (Babe, Happy Feet) long enough to give us another installment in his seminal apocalyptic Mad Max series. The result is probably one of the greatest non-stop action movies ever made. Tom Hardy takes the reigns from Mel Gibson as the title character, but gets to sink his teeth into the role quite a …

[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 …

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