bad santa
director: terry zwigoff
#1. Lauren Graham on top of Billy Bob Thornton yelling, "F*ck me Santa!" over and over and over.
#2. A string of very dark and very funny moments which will offend someone in this world and make another cry and lose their breath from laughing too much.
reviewed by: tim |  December 2003 [link] |  recommend 2 thumbs up

ballad of ramblin' jack, the
director: aiyana elliot
Made by the subject's daughter, I found this documentary fairly interesting and very aggrevating. Ramblin' Jack Elliot is essentially the link between Woody Guthrie and Bob Dylan and he is a tremendous asshole; on top of all this in my opinion he was only marginally talented (you see, the whole artist as asshole thing really only works if the artist is incredibly talented).
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  August 2000 [link] |  recommend

ballistic: ecks vs. sever
director: wych kaosayananda
If this isn't the worst movie you've ever seen, it's close enough. You don't know how terrible XXX wasn't until you've seen BALLISTIC: ECKS VS. SEVER.
reviewed by: matthewS |  September 2002 [link] |  recommend

director: tim story
A great ensemble cast speeds this movie along with complex characters, witty dialogue, and a coherent worldview, leaving you wishing for a Gandhi-length film and actually looking forward to the inevitable sitcom this flick will spawn.

In the sequel they should drop the wacky ATM subplot.
reviewed by: dave bug |  October 2002 [link] |  recommend 1 thumbs up

batman begins
director: christopher nolan
Batman is the dark star of this show; finally, no longer will the villains take over concept or screen-time, as a highly-skilled director clearly waged war on the fuck-ups of Hollywood superhero films (not just the four cape & cowl pix prior) and nailed the target right in the gut, just as Bale's ‘Bats' does when he takes it to the punks who fucked-up his town with their paltry criminal offerings (fave line (with, um, intensity): “Do I look like a cop?”).
The story of Bruce Wayne/Batman is finally re-told in an original way that honors all previous tales on the birth of the Dark Knight, yet this time with no glamorous slo-mo falling popcorn or perfectly-lit street-corner crime scenes: this Gotham might as well be today's America, and despite the several scenes in which Nolan and Bale illustrate that Bruce Wayne is clearly guided by a deep demonic will and is quite possibly criminally insane himself (the main show-villain IS a psychiatrist, no less), you may leave the theater very much wishing this particular Batman was around to help save us from our own corrupt reality, nuts or not...pick up Miller/Mazzuchelli's "Batman: Year One" for another take on the genesis of Batman (or "Batman: Son of the Demon" for more on the development of Ra's al Ghul (left neatly open by director Nolan), but this film one will inform both public and fanboy quite nicely that we can expect some serious shit to go down in Gotham from the next two sequels by the team that made Batman Begins.
reviewed by: alec |  June 2005 [link] |  recommend 5 thumbs up

before night falls
director: julian schnabel
A somewhat interesting cinematic exploration of a
homosexual poet longing for freedom in 1960's Cuba. The
film would have been better if someone learned how to use
an editing machine. (Guest Review courtesy of Mr. Ian Katz,
sorry folks, I haven't been to a talkie in two weeks)
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  March 2001 [link] |  recommend

being john malkovich
director: spike jonze
One of the most unique films I've seen in a long time. A hilarious absurdist adventure complete with giant puppets and a monkey….yes a monkey….Charlie Sheen's in it too.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  July 2000 [link] |  recommend

bend it like beckham
director: gurinder chadha (also author)
This coming of age, follow your football (soccer to you American freaks) dreams flick is a real charmer. Go see it - it's better than Monsoon Wedding and the soundtrack is hilarious.
reviewed by: raquel |  March 2003 [link] |  recommend

best in show
director: christopher guest
Yet another amazing "mockumentary" from director Guest and most of the cast from 1997's brilliant "Waiting For Guffman". Always straddling that fine line between perfect satire and painful reality, this is easily the funniest movie I've seen this year; without being too mean towards the people it pokes fun of, the film manages to be comedy of the highest order.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  October 2000 [link] |  recommend 1 thumbs up

better luck tomorrow
director: justin lin
This breakthrough Asian-American teen flick reminded me a little of the Breakfast Club except 1) the kids aren't in detention; 2) the prom queen doesn't eat sushi; and 3) the prom queen doesn't put lipstick on with her boobs. But anyway, these disaffected Asian-American teens in Southern California are not satisfied with their perfect grades and being Ivy-league shoe-ins so they seek respect from their classmates in good ol' American style (ie guns and coke).
reviewed by: robin |  May 2003 [link] |  recommend

big fish
director: tim burton
Tim Burton's latest directorial effort does a wonderful job portraying the hyperbole of a man whose imagination matched the size of his heart in this adaptation of neophyte novelist Daniel Wallace. Though graced by solid performances by Ewan McGregor and Albert Finney, the story is the star of this film; written as a wonderfully mythic tale, it truly steals the show.
reviewed by: nate |  January 2004 [link] |  recommend 4 thumbs up

billy liar
director: john schlesinger
Poor Billy, can't stand his job working in a funeral home, his parents don't get it and his only solace comes from a dream land he has invented called Ambrosia. I wonder why I could relate to this movie so well.....hmm; a cracking good time for all.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  November 2000 [link] |  recommend

black hawk down
director: ridley scott
Not much in the way of characterization but this is a very well-made war film. Imagine the first twenty minutes of Saving Private Ryan as an entire movie and you pretty much get the grisly picture.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  February 2002 [link] |  recommend

blair witch 2-book of shadows
director: joe berlinger
Book of Crap is more like it, I didn't really expect much from this film to be honest and I got a hell of a lot less than I bargained for. Where the first film was an interesting one-shot experiment this plays like the umpteenth installment of the Nightmare on Elm St series, pray that no more "footage" is "found".
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  October 2000 [link] |  recommend

blood simple-director's cut
director: joel coen
The prototype of Fargo, this film is still an entertainingly twisty little game after all these years. Not as much obvious humor as in their later films, this is really the Coen Brothers at their darkest…great film noir is a wonderful thing.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  August 2000 [link] |  recommend

director: ted demme
More "Goodfellas" than "Boogie Nights" this near epic boasts two kickass performances: one from Johnny Depp, the other from Ray "I Normally Appear In Crap " Liotta. I like the first half of this film a lot, unfortunately it loses steam and some focus after a while but it manages to never get preachy; I just wish they had spent some more time fleshing out the other characters.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  April 2001 [link] |  recommend

boiler room
director: ben younger
"Wall Street" meet "Young Guns", "Young Guns" meet "Wall" ; and the rest, as they say, is film history. Lame morality tale which proves, once and for all, that greed really is bad; meanwhile we have to watch Ben Affleck channel Alec Baldwin's character from "Glengarry Glenross" and the likeable Giovanni Ribisi just wanders around with his mouth slightly agape…..not a real hoot.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  July 2000 [link] |  recommend

borat: cultural leanings of america for make benefit glorious nation of kazakhstan
director: larry charles
reviewed by: rich |  November 2006 [link] |  recommend 4 thumbs up

bourne identity, the
director: doug liman
Decent spy film which by the last reel ends up being a build up towards a big nothing. Still, the scenery is nice and the colors are pretty....plus there's jumping running and kicking!
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  June 2002 [link] |  recommend

bourne supremacy, the
director: paul greengrass
Despite the fact that Jason Bourne still has the nagging amnesia and the main protagonist from Supremacy was gunned down in the street, the second film still packs a lot of action and intrigue into two hours (or so). Oh yeah, and there's another car chase.
reviewed by: Eddie |  August 2004 [link] |  recommend 2 thumbs up

bowling for columbine
director: michael moore
Michael Moore has made a smart, funny, multifaceted movie about guns, featuring conversations with everyone from Michigan Militiamen to a "COPS" television producer to Moore's (and my) fellow hinterlander Chuck Heston. Turning the camera on real people, he captures characters and events that audiences would find implausible in fiction -- like the Littleton, CO home security salesman whose scene is played for laughs until he becomes unexpectedly emotional over the Columbine shootings.
reviewed by: matthewS |  October 2002 [link] |  recommend

bridget jones's diary
director: sharon maguire
I saw the makings of a really good film in all this (I'm told the book is great) but something about it didn't quite make it across. The cast is great, the story is inconsistent and at times downright silly; I wonder if fans of this book felt as screwed as I did when I saw High Fidelity.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  May 2001 [link] |  recommend 1 thumbs up

bright star
director: jane campion
I knew from English Lit class and Keats' first cough how it was going to end, but watching young Fanny cry out for her dead love was such a thing of beauty that I wept right along with her.
reviewed by: jen |  September 2009 [link] |  recommend 1 thumbs up

bringing out the dead
director: martin scorsese
The life of a paramedic in New York is rough (I had that pegged at 6) but fear not, this is a Martin Scorsese film, and redemption is just a blatant Christ figure away. This film is essentially a rehash of "Taxi Driver", just nowhere near effective.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  July 2000 [link] |  recommend

broke back mountain
director: ang lee
who cares that it's two dudes (who happen to be very sexy, by the way) - it's a heartachingly beautiful and sad love story. heath ledger gives a wonderfully subtle, oscar-worthy performance.
reviewed by: mina |  December 2005 [link] |  recommend 4 thumbs up

broken flowers
director: jim jarmusch
Jim seems to be losing a bit of steam or inspiration or something because he directs Bill Murray exactly the way Sofia Coppola directed Bill Murray and it is a little sad to see a guy of Jim's stature ripping off directors who are younger than I am. That said, 'Broken Flowers' is funny in that Jarmucshian way, but disappointing in a way that makes me wonder if my expectations were too high (oh and btw, Jeffrey Wright is hysterical and Jim's magic at choosing locations and soundtrack remain undiminished).
reviewed by: blaine |  August 2005 [link] |  recommend 1 thumbs up

brotherhood of the wolf
director: christophe gans
Yeah, I feel a little duped by this one; for some reason I got the idea that this was going to be about werewolves and karate (which would have been the best thing since….well, you know). SPOILER WARNING. I really hate movies when there’s an asskicking character and when someone finally lands a punch on them you know they’re going to be dead within ten minutes.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  February 2002 [link] |  recommend

bubba ho-tep
director: don coscarelli
What if Elvis Presley faked his death, what if he was currently residing in a retirement home in Texas, what if he teamed up with an eldery black man who claimed to be JFK to fight a mummy who was sucking out the souls of the elderly? Thankfully, we no longer have to speculate on how this would go down; if you're a fan of Bruce Campell's work in the Evil Dead series (and if you're not, you ought to be ashamed) then this unpolished gem will go down smooth.
reviewed by: JohnLawton |  September 2003 [link] |  recommend 1 thumbs up

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