2000’s

[9] Steven Spielberg remakes H.G. Wells’ sci-fi classic, and as far as I’m concerned, it’s easily his best movie in many, many years. Through the eyes of a single father (Tom Cruise) and his two children (Dakota Fanning and Justin Chatwin), we experience the apocalypse — the end of the world — as towering alien tripods climb out of the Earth and begin destroying humanity …

[9] Martin Scorsese directs Leonardo DiCaprio in this biopic of Howard Hughes, the billionaire aviator, filmmaker, and playboy whose considerable ambition was tragically counterbalanced by his mental illness. The Aviator opens with Hughes’ mammoth, three-year-long production of the aerial battle movie Hell’s Angels and his budding romance with Katharine Hepburn (Cate Blanchett). He makes considerable advances in the field of aviation and challenges the movie …

[10] Peter Jackson (Dead Alive, The Frighteners) embraces the Herculean task of bringing Tolkien’s supreme fantasy to the silver screen, and hits a home run. The Fellowship of the Ring gets the trilogy off to a strong start, as Frodo Baggins and his companions set off to destroy the One Ring.  Jackson is faithful to the source material while masterfully balancing action, horror, heart, and …

[8] X2: X-Men United maintains the first film’s emphasis on drama and character, but adds the sizzle a bigger budget can provide. This is, quite simply, a summer movie that delivers the goods. I love the raid on Xavier’s school, Magneto’s escape from his plastic prison, Nightcrawler’s attack at the White House, Pyro’s assault on the police, and the entire third act at the dam. …

[9] The Hours is a fascinating exploration of three women living in different times and different places, each of them struggling to find their personal bliss against the pressures and expectations of marriage and motherhood. The film is a meditation on death and sacrifice — obviously not the kind we associate with men on the battlefield, but the quiet, stifling kind suffered by people, traditionally …

[9] A racist, alcoholic prison guard finds himself falling in love with an African-American woman who just happens to be the widow of a man he helped to execute in this film from Marc Forster (Stranger than Fiction, Finding Neverland). Halle Berry is stunning in her Oscar-winning performance, but so is the rest of the cast, including Billy Bob Thornton as the prison guard, Heath …

[9] Donnie Darko stands alone:  an edgy, sophisticated science-fiction movie that mixes time travel and nightmarish visions with family drama and ’80s nostalgia. The tangled narrative revolves around the emotionally disturbed Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal), a teenager who strikes up a relationship with a hallucination — a man in a horrid rabbit costume (James Duvall). The rabbit tells him what to do and Donnie does it …

[8] I’ve loved James Dean ever since my high school art teacher showed me East of Eden and Rebel Without a Cause, which prompted me to write a senior essay on the famous actor’s life and work. So I’m coming to Mark Rydell’s made-for-cable biopic with some healthy scrutiny and high expectations. The film may be a little too brief in its overview to satisfy …

[10] Michael Douglas gives a career highlight performance as a fifty-year-old college professor worried about following up a sensational debut novel in this warm, character-driven comedy from Curtis Hanson (L.A. Confidential, 8 Mile) and author Michael Chabon. I was quickly hooked on each of the movie’s ensemble of anxious, quirky characters, all grappling with their own life-changing dilemmas. Tobey Maguire is excellent as the sullen …

1 28 29 30