Best Visual Effects

[8] Julie Andrews stars as a magical nanny who swoops into a turn-of-the-century London family’s home to help two neglected children (Karen Dotrice and Matthew Garber) reconnect with their busy-body parents. Mary Poppins is often regarded the best of Walt Disney’s live-action efforts, thanks to an effervescent combination of music and fantasy, and charismatic performances from Andrews and co-star Dick Van Dyke, who plays a …

[6.0] After the world saw its first bona-fide blockbuster, 1975’s Jaws, daring Italian movie mogul Dino De Laurentiis decided he needed to go down in history for producing the second one. He settled on a remake of 1933’s King Kong and hired John Guillerman (The Towering Inferno) to direct. The screenplay is faithful to the original film in its broad strokes: A boat seeks passage …

[8] Bob Hoskins stars as a 1940s Hollywood detective who is reluctantly pulled into a murder investigation in which the prime suspect is a cartoon rabbit. Can he overcome his hatred of ‘toons’ and prove Roger Rabbit’s innocence? Or will the real culprit get away with much more than murder? Robert Zemeckis (Back to the Future, Romancing the Stone) directs this hybrid blend of animation …

[3.0] Elizabeth Taylor plays the powerful and sexy Egyptian queen who fends off Roman conquest while falling in love with its leaders — first Rex Harrison’s Caesar, and then Richard Burton’s Antony. First I’ll be nice to Cleopatra. The sets are sprawling, opulent, and sometime jaw-dropping. Richard Burton gives a powerful, remorseful monologue near the end, and Roddy McDowall gives one of the best performances …

[7.0] SPOILER REVIEW: The original Blade Runner is one of the finest motion pictures ever made, so the thought of Hollywood making a sequel 35 years later made my skin crawl. But color me surprised. While it pales in comparison, the sequel is actually far better than I would ever have imagined or hoped it could be. Ryan Gosling stars as an android Blade Runner, …

[8.0] After finishing The Lord of the Rings, Peter Jackson tackled a remake of his favorite film, King Kong. Jackson’s remake is largely faithful to the 1933 original, while generously expanding the storyline and embellishing some of the characters. Jackson protracts the opening act more than necessary, but his interpretation of Skull Island is amazing. It’s this middle portion of the movie that delivers the …

[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] James Cameron’s first film since Titanic is a supreme juvenile fantasy with a healthy sense of adventure and discovery. From its floating mountains to its bio-luminescent flora and fauna, the world of Pandora never stops unfolding before our eyes, and it’s a beautiful, trippy little place to visit. The core concept of Avatar — that of experiencing life through a separate host body — …

[7.0] A gaggle of Oscar-winners go topsy-turvy and fight to survive when a luxury liner capsizes at sea in the trend-setting disaster flick, The Poseidon Adventure. The film delivers on producer Irwin Allen’s desire to blow shit up (think of him as the proto-Michael Bay), but also manages to give its venerable cast plenty to chew on. The characters are engaging and no one is …

[5.0] On one hand, I like that Total Recall reminds me of an old-fashioned sci-fi yarn from the ’50s. On the other hand, it’s not quite cheesy enough for me to fully embrace that way. I don’t like Arnold Schwarzenegger in the lead role. He does the film no favors, and I can imagine dozens of other actors who might have helped the movie find …

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