Best Supporting Actress

[8.5] 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 …

[8.0] An associate History professor (Richard Burton) and his wife, the university president’s daughter (Elizabeth Taylor), invite a new biology faculty member (George Segal) and his wife (Sandy Dennis) to their house for drinks. But the evening goes hellishly south when the older couple begin airing marital grievances, including the whereabouts of their son on the eve of his sixteenth birthday. By sunrise, nasty games …

[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 …

[5.5] In 18th century Italy, an orphan boy comes of age with the help of nuns and a kindly mentor, falls in love, gets embroiled in the slave trade, and fights for his inheritance in this adaptation of Hervey Allen’s sprawling novel. Anthony Adverse looks and sounds great, with immense sets, period costumes, and a rich score by Erich Wolfgang Korngold. Some of the supporting …

[6.5] Broderick Crawford plays a small-town hick who attracts a populist following that takes him all the way to the governor’s mansion, even though his ascent is riddled with corruption and crime. All the King’s Men is really about Crawford’s support team and how they weather his immorality. John Ireland and Mercedes McCambridge play the two key supporters. They begin the film bright-eyed and full …

[8.5] Margot Robbie is Oscar-calibre as disgraced Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding, who was stripped of her titles and banned from the sport after her husband spearheaded an assault on her competitor, Nancy Kerrigan, in 1994. I, Tonya paints the picture of a young girl growing up poor and fatherless, with only a ruthless monster of a mother to guide her. Allison Janney (The West Wing) is in …

[6.0] Cary Grant plays a wandering Londoner who’s reluctant to settle down. This changes when he discovers his mother, played by Ethel Barrymore, has terminal cancer. Poverty and loneliness drive Grant and Barrymore to desperate measures, and just when you think things can’t get any gloomier, the film ends with foreshadowing of the second world war. None But the Lonely Heart is a dark film, …

[7.5] Precious is the kind of movie a studio exec must dread hearing a pitch about: “So, there’s this girl, and she’s really sad, her daddy raped her, she named her down syndrome baby Mongo, her mother violently abuses her, she’s HIV-positive, and, yeah, it really sucks to be her.” Surprisingly, Precious doesn’t wallow in melodrama. It plays straight-forward and honest, and you really start …

[7.5] Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly are at the top of their game in A Beautiful Mind, Ron Howard’s Oscar-winning biopic about John Nash, the brilliant but haunted mathematician who overcame schizophrenia and received the Nobel Prize. These are the best performances I’ve seen from Crowe and Connelly — their relationship is the glue that holds the film together. The first two-thirds of the movie …

[6.0] This star-studded best picture Oscar nominee is credited for kicking off the boom of disaster flicks that plagued (or bedazzled?) the 1970s. It’s entertaining enough, though I much prefer The Towering Inferno. All of the Airport movies (there would be two more over the next seven years) are fun if for no other reason than watching major Hollywood stars and revered actors slumming it …

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