Best Supporting Actor

[8.0] A family tragedy reunites three men who share a traumatic childhood experience in Mystic River. Sean Penn and Tim Robbins took home richly-deserved Oscars for their performances in this Oscar-nominated best picture from the ever-reliable Clint Eastwood. Mystic River is a gripping, well-paced mystery that employs misdirection and plot twists better than any other film in recent memory. Eastwood is at his directorial best …

[6.0] Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent star in this true but tragic love story about lovers of 40 years who are torn apart by Alzheimer’s Disease. Dench is portraying novelist Iris Murdoch, a lover of language who begins losing her ability to communicate, becoming more and more lost in her own inner world. Broadbent plays her devoted husband, desperately trying to understand her and keep …

[7.0] Ron Howard (Splash, A Beautiful Mind) directs this sweet story about a group of nursing home residents who discover a ‘fountain of youth’ in a nearby pool. Turns out, though, that the pool’s power is extra-terrestrial. Soon the old folks become friends with aliens and an interesting proposition is made: Would you like to leave Earth and live forever on an alien planet? Wilford …

[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 …

[7.0] 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 …

[7.0] Elia Kazan (East of Eden) made the jump from Broadway plays to feature films with this adaptation of the book by Betty Smith. The story centers around a young girl named Francie growing up in Brooklyn in the early 1900’s. Her father is a dreamer who has trouble providing for the family, while his mother works her fingers to the bone to compensate. The girl …

[4.0] A man named Kris Kringle (Edmund Gwenn) steps in to replace a drunken Santa in Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and does such a good job that Macy’s then hires him to play Santa in their stores during the holiday season. But when they find out he claims to be the actual one-and-only St. Nick, they try to have him institutionalized. Miracle on 34th Street resolves in …

[6.0] A pleasant screwball comedy from the versatile George Stevens. Jean Arthur, Joel McCrea, and Charles Coburn play mismatched roommates during a housing shortage. Scenes where the three narrowly avoid collision while getting ready in the morning will remind you of a ‘Three Stooges’ skit. Coburn took home a supporting actor Oscar for his avuncular role. His costars were nominated, as were Stevens and the …

[4.0] Ewan McGregor plays a man falling in love with a woman after his father has passed away. His father, played by Christopher Plummer, was married to Ewan’s mom for decades before coming out as gay and enthusiastically embracing a new outlook on life. Ewan’s character recalls his relationship with his father and tries applying lessons learned to his new relationship (Melanie Laurent). Now, I …

[6.5]  [Warning: This review contains spoilers.]  Spike Jonze directs this meta tale of a screenwriter losing his mind trying to adapt a book called The Orchid Thief. While his twin brother moves in and begins mirroring him in many ways, he decides he needs to find the author of the book to excavate its meaning. If you can’t already tell, Adaptation is a very hard …

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