Best Score

[8.0] You know how people often say such-and-such actor “lights up the screen?” Well, that phrase was made for Audrey Hepburn, because that’s what she does in Blake Edwards’ adaptation of Truman Capote’s novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s. As Holly Golightly, she plays a woman trying to reinvent herself by marrying rich. George Peppard plays an up-and-coming writer who can’t help but fall in love with …

[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 …

[7.0] Paul Newman and Robert Redford star in this influential, genre-bending Western about two outlaws who hole up in Bolivia to hide from a pursuing ‘superposse.’ William Goldman’s celebrated screenplay would become the progenitor of countless buddy films for decades to come. Paul Newman has referred to the film as “a love story between two men.” What’s remarkable is that the camaraderie between the two …

[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 …

[8.5] Disney goes Broadway in the first animated motion picture ever nominated for a Best Picture Oscar (in the days before they rolled out a separate category for the medium). This version of the classic fairy tale is fueled by power-house songs from Howard Ashman and Alan Menken, memorable characters, and a calibre of design and refined skillsmanship unseen for decades in the studio’s output. …

[7.0] An unusual sequel of sorts, The Godfather Part II spends equal time in the past and the present, exploring the early life of Vito Corleone (with Robert DeNiro taking over the mantle from Marlon Brando) while also following the continuing story of Vito’s son Michael (Al Pacino reprises his role). Thematically and emotionally, the movie plays like a long and redundant epilogue to the first …

[5.5] John Wayne leads an ensemble cast in this William Wellman film about the passengers and crew of a trans-Pacific flight who experience engine failure and a loss of fuel. When they realize they won’t reach the California shore, everyone prepares for the worst. The High and the Mighty plays more like a straight drama than the disaster flicks that would come after it in the 1970s. …

[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. …

[7.0] In colonial Kenya, a Danish baroness has an ongoing affair with a big game hunter. On one hand, Sydney Pollacks’ Oscar-winning best picture is long and subdued. But on the other hand, it does a great job transporting you to another time and place. The wildlife, cinematography, and music score (another fine work from John Barry) will whisk you away whether you want whisked or …

[8.0] The Disney Animation Studios took Shakespeare’s Hamlet and transplanted it to the African savanna with an all-animal cast. Buoyed by a hit soundtrack, lush visuals, memorable characters, and a daring blend of intense drama and whacky humor, the film became the critical and financial climax of the late ’80s/early ’90s Disney renaissance. For me, the truly exceptional elements of the film are the music, …

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