Best Director

[8.0] Irene Dunne and Cary Grant star as a couple who file for divorce, then proceed to thwart each other’s attempts to socialize with new partners. Both are too proud to admit they still have feelings for the other until the divorce proceedings have nearly come to a close. Under the direction of Leo McCarey (Make Way for Tomorrow), Dunne and Grant deliver some of …

[8] 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] 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 …

[5.0] George C. Scott’s charisma is the best thing Patton has going for it. The film is a pastiche of the famous (and infamous) army general’s career through World War II, including his successful invasion of Sicily, media blunders resulting in military reprimand, and his eventual aid in the fall of the Third Reich. The film initially paints Patton as a hard-ass who gets the …

[7.0] A pair of New York city narcotics cops try to bust a big heroin deal being brokered between suspected mobsters and a French connection. But one of the cops, ‘Popeye’ Doyle (Gene Hackman), has a history of recklessness and threatens to lead his partner (Roy Scheider) down another dangerous rabbit hole in his obsessive pursuit of the drug dealers. Based on a true story …

[6] Maestro Billy Wilder directs Ray Milland as a drunk writer circling the drain in the multi-Oscar-winning The Lost Weekend. Milland’s character is supposed to begin recovery on a long holiday weekend with his brother (Phillip Terry) and gal pal (Jane Wyman), but after he steals money to spend at his favorite bar, he gets drunk and misses their departure time. Things get progressively worse …

[7] Writer/director Joseph L. Mankiewicz (All About Eve, The Ghost and Mrs. Muir) won his first two Academy Awards for writing and directing this drama about three wives who reflect on their marriages when they learn a fourth woman has just left town with one of their husbands. Mankiewicz can always be relied upon for great dialogue and pitch-perfect casting. All six principles (the fourth …

[7.0] Guillermo del Toro serves up a¬†fantasy love story set in the 1960s in which a mute janitor at a top-secret research facility falls in love with… well, a fish man. Sally Hawkins plays the janitor and Doug Jones (a Del Toro regular) plays the fish. Hawkins is endearing and Jones is always reliable, but the supporting players outshine them here. Richard Jenkins is great …

[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 …

[7.0] Colin Firth plays the stuttering King George VI, who never wanted to be king for fear of his speech impediment bringing shame to him and his family. The King’s Speech focuses on the antagonistic relationship between the king and his therapist, Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush, and culminates in a live radio speech the King gives on the eve of Britain’s declaration of …

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