Best Film Editing

[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 …

[8.5] Harrison Ford must hide among the Amish after he discovers corruption within his police department. Witness was an opportunity for Ford to show his acting chops, and it remains one of his best performances. This was the first American film made by Australian director Peter Weir (Picnic at Hanging Rock, Fearless). Weir is probably my favorite director. He balances poetic license with elegant restraint …

[7.0] Kathryn Bigelow (Strange Days, Near Dark) won the Oscar for directing this suspense thriller about three soldiers who disarm bombs in Iraq. The movie also won Best Picture, maybe just because nothing better came out during the year (except the REAL best picture, District 9, but I digress). It’s far from groundbreaking and surprisingly predictable — but it’s a brisk, entertaining flick that hits …

[8.0] A movie about corporate betrayal and litigation is normally not my idea of a good time, but The Social Network turns out to be a well-made, voyeuristic look back at the birth of a now-ubiquitous product that many users can’t live without. In fact, you wouldn’t be reading this review without it. Screenwriter Aaron Sorkin (The West Wing) is a shoe-in come Oscar time …

[7.5] Close-knit friends from a mining community share a harrowing experience during their tour of duty in Vietnam. Michael Cimino’s three-hour long film focuses primarily on the aftermath of the ordeal, now one of the most famous scenes in movie history, a deadly game of Russian roulette forced upon prisoners at a POW camp. Robert DeNiro plays the most level-headed friend, who tries to help …

[7.5] Sidney Poitier plays a black Northern detective who reluctantly aides a white Southern sheriff (Rod Steiger) in solving a murder case. The mystery itself is a bit thin, but it’s bolstered by good performances from the leads and a commendable handling of volatile subject matter. (Though the film takes place in Mississippi, the film’s crew decided to shoot no further south than Tennessee for …

[4.5] Around the World in 80 Days is a three-hour-long, episodic adventure that’s high on spectacle and low on story or character. I wager it played better to a 1950s audience interested in seeing a cliche-ridden “It’s a Small World”-like pastiche of world cultures. I wish leading actor David Niven had more to do in his role — it could have really helped the film …

[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 …

[6.5] Steve McQueen stars as a San Francisco cop charged with protecting a mobster who is about to squeal for a US senator. When the witness is killed, McQueen works around the clock to discern the identity of the killers before the senator has his head. First off, I have to say that was one of the hardest synopses I’ve ever done. Bullitt is a …

[8.0] Score another point for Ben Affleck. I never much cared for him as an actor, but between this film and 2007’s Gone Baby Gone, the guy has shown us some serious directing chops. Argo is the true story of how the U.S. Government worked with Hollywood to rescue six Americans who escaped the U.S. Embassy during the 1980 Iranian hostage crisis. Affleck plays the …

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