Javier Bardem is an inadequate lead in Alejandro Amenábar’s pro-euthanasia melodrama The Sea Inside. But the supporting cast is first-rate.
Darrell Roodt’s Oscar-nominated Zululand-set AIDS drama Yesterday is a must-see partly thanks to a sensational central performance by Leleti Khumalo.
Johnny Depp is a lifeless, Disneyfied version of Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie in Marc Forster’s feel-good family tragedy Finding Neverland.
Brad Silberling’s handsomely mounted fantasy adventure Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events is a Jim Carrey mugfest. But Meryl Streep is wasted.
Christophe Barratier’s boys school drama The Chorus is an unabashedly sentimental rehash of numerous other such tales (e.g., Going My Way).
A superlative Hilary Swank can’t beat the odds against Clint Eastwood’s cliché-ridden boxing + surrogate father-daughter melo Million Dollar Baby.
A superb Don Cheadle stars as Kigali hotel manager Paul Rusesabagina in Terry George’s absurdly ‘uplifting’ genocide drama Hotel Rwanda.
Meryl Streep is an ‘inspirational’ presence in Wes Craven’s unusually sentimental and gore-free real-life-based drama Music of the Heart. Angela Bassett costars.
As weirdo billionaire Howard Hughes, Leonardo DiCaprio Is both fully convincing and badly miscast in Martin Scorsese’s overblown biopic The Aviator.
Featuring a superficial Denzel Washington as jailed U.S. boxer Rubin Carter, Norman Jewison’s contrived biopic The Hurricane is probably his worst film.
Julia Roberts delivers the most effective performance in Mike Nichols’ 2004 movie Closer, a lesser cinematic study of off-kilter heterosexual relationships.
Starring an over-the-top Al Pacino and a mannered Russell Crowe, The Insider movie shows that corporate greed + simplistic narratives are bad for you.
Stephen Daldry’s uneven drama The Hours is immensely helped by the performances of Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman + Philip Glass’ haunting score.
Alexander Payne’s road movie comedy Sideways suffers from a much too ardent desire to pander to its audience - to the detriment of its characters.
The last of the Romanovs are at the center of Nicholas and Alexandra, a lavish but appallingly conventional Oscar-nominated historical drama.
Imelda Staunton delivers a superb performance as a mid-1950s abortionist in Mike Leigh’s socially conscious family drama Vera Drake.
Robert Siodmak’s 1957 political drama The Devil Strikes at Night asks whether serial killers are any worse than socially sanctioned mass murderers.
A first-rate Tom Hanks learns no one is indispensable in Cast Away, Robert Zemeckis’ adventure flick exalting the Triumph of the Human Spirit nonsense.
John Frankenheimer and Dalton Trumbo’s anti-Semitism drama The Fixer is ruined by a preachy and simple-minded script, and by badly miscast lead Alan Bates.
Stagy screenplay and 3 of its 4 leads hinder Fred Zinnemann’s early drug addiction drama A Hatful of Rain. Eva Marie Saint is the sole standout.
Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks can’t save Nora Ephron’s unromantic and unfunny (but commercially successful) 1993 romantic comedy Sleepless in Seattle.
Best Actor Oscar nominee Johnny Depp is flawlessly weird in the surprisingly entertaining Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl.
In a difficult role, Oscar nominee Joan Allen delivers a masterful performance in Rod Lurie’s engrossing but unconvincing 2000 political drama The Contender.
Miscast cast (Michael Douglas, Tobey Maguire et al) + heavy directorial hand hinder Curtis Hanson and Steve Kloves’ Wonder Boys movie adaptation.
The Oscar-nominated The Grandfather works both as a Fernando Fernán Gómez showcase and as an irresistible message movie.
As a 1930s London stage diva, Annette Bening has a fantastic time in István Szabó’s All About Eve-ish period comedy Being Julia.
Daniel Day-Lewis is the sensationally cruel heart of Martin Scorsese’s generally engrossing sociopolitical + historical drama Gangs of New York.
As a proudly evil Nazi, Laurence Olivier Is by far the best thing about the confusing and absurd 1976 political thriller Marathon Man. Dustin Hoffman stars.
Menahem Golan’s Oscar-nominated flag-waving 1977 political thriller Operation Thunderbolt is a dismal failure as both cinema and propaganda.
Starring Liam Neeson as the polemical sex researcher, Bill Condon’s otherwise well-made Kinsey movie biopic suffers from an excess of scruples.
Valerie Perrine overshadows a miscast Dustin Hoffman in Bob Fosse’s unfocused 1974 biopic Lenny, about polemical standup comedian Lenny Bruce.
Paul Schrader’s well-made and great-looking Affliction movie adaptation is marred by absurd situations and Nick Nolte’s overwrought performance.