My movie preferences

I tend to strongly prefer movies with strong plots, especially those with emotionally moving stories (I also tend to split my infinitives when it feels right, but that's another story). I have mostly never cared a whole lot for special effects. Give me styrofoam rocks and a good story over a movie with special effects but a weak plot any day.

I'm looking forward to adding to my list of favorite movies, but stellar works don't come along as often as I would like. I waited a long time after the 1997 Japanese movie Shall We Dance? before Pixar's welcome release of Up in 2009. In 2012, I was glad to finally upgrade each of the original trilogy of Bourne movies starring Matt Damon to 10 ("promoting from within"). In 2013, I watched the 2006 gem, The Lives of Others.

If you find you agree with some of my tastes in movies, perhaps you'll consider looking in my lists for some potential gems which you haven't seen.

I rate movies from 1 (the worst) to 10 (the best), with an emphasis on how many times a movie is worth seeing (none at all, once, twice or more). Movies with a rating between 1 and 5 I felt were not worth seeing overall, while those with a rating of between 6 and 10 were pleasures to see. Additional notes about my ratings:

This list actually helps me when I ask myself, "Have I seen this before?", when considering films to watch. Too bad I hadn't entered Quiz Show, Weekend at Bernie's, or Joe Kidd on this list before I mistakenly watched them a second time, constantly wondering if I'd ever watched the whole of them. I also don't always find it easy to remember the content of the numerous Woody Allen films just from the movie name. This list also helped me once when, halfway around the world, I needed a short list of good movies to look for in various stores to buy for a good friend.

A first word of "A" or "The" (or their equivalent in a foreign language, e.g., "Un/Une or La/Le/L'/Les" in French) will not be counted for alphabetization purposes. Items in a series (e.g., a trilogy) will generally be ordered appropriately without regard for their titles (exception: The Bourne Legacy and Jason Bourne, because I've placed the first 3 Bourne movies separately, with My Favorite Movies). If a movie is primarily known in the USA by its foreign language name, that's how it will be ordered alphabetically in the list. Titles containing numbers will have the number portion(s) treated as numbers for ordering (e.g., 9 appears before 2046).

My Favorite Movies
Rating Title Notes
10 The Bourne Identity These original trilogy Bourne movies starring Matt Damon are all good action movies! Upgraded from a 7 to an 8 to a 9 and finally to a 10, it's really good!
10 The Bourne Supremacy These original trilogy Bourne movies starring Matt Damon are all good action movies! Upgraded from a 7 to an 8 to a 9 and finally to a 10, it's really good!
10 The Bourne Ultimatum These original trilogy Bourne movies starring Matt Damon are all good action movies! Upgraded from a 7 to an 8 to a 9 and finally to a 10, it's really good!
10 Captain America: Civil War [2016] Best superhero movie I've ever seen! Upgraded from a 9 to 10 after multiple viewings!
10 Casablanca A cynical bar owner meets an unexpected visitor from his past and faces difficult decisions during World War II.
10 Children of Paradise
(Les Enfants du Paradis)
In French. The interconnected lives of several people from different social classes in France. Centered on a young mime.
10 The Dead Zone After watching this again for the nth time, I'm wholeheartedly promoting it from a 9 to a 10. Although based on a Stephen King novel, this is pointedly not a horror movie. "The Dead Zone" refers to an unclear area (as opposed to a clear area); it is not a reference to dead versus living. Anyway, this excellent story is about a schoolteacher whose life is shattered by a tragic accident, an accident which gives him sight into events outside of the present time. Numerous facets of the characters in the small town New England setting are fascinating from a human interest point of view.
10 Eight Taels of Gold
In Cantonese. A man leaves his New York City taxi job to return to China for the first time in 10 years, seeking to reestablish ties. What he finds shakes his world up.

Note: Often incorrectly listed as Eight Tales of Gold. Tael is a measure of weight.
10 Goodbye, Children
(Au Revoir, Les Enfants)
In French. Struggles of French society during World War II as seen through a boy's eyes.
10 It's A Wonderful Life A small town businessman thrown into an unexpected crisis at the office gets a vivid chance to see what might have happened had he never existed.
Memorable quote: "WhatDidYouWishWhenYouThrewThatRock?"
10 The Lives of Others (Das Leben der Anderen) [2006] In German. A playwright and his actress girlfriend are put under surveillance by the Stasi in 1980's East Germany, which dramatically changes their lives and the life of one agent assigned to watch them.
10 My Girl A small town young girl experiences life's dramatic ups and downs as she grows up.
10 Raiders of the Lost Ark An exceptional blend of action, adventure, and comedy, centered on an archaeologist's quest for an ancient artifact with supposed mystical powers.
10 Shall We Dance? In Japanese. A man who from the outside appears to have everything he needs takes up ballroom dancing looking for what is missing from his life. The results shake up both his and his attractive dance teacher's lives. The American remake is a mere shadow of this great film.
10 Star Wars original trilogy (episodes 4-6) Several friends lead a struggle against the Empire to free the galaxy from its yoke. The lead character learns about the Force, a magical type of power that can be harnessed for good or evil by gifted individuals.
(I find it difficult to rate these three movies separately. To be consistent, I probably should, but I fear not all of them would survive with a rating of 10....)
10 Terminator 1 & 2 (but not 3, Salvation, or Genisys) Enemies from a future time where sentient machines battle men send agents back in time to change or preserve history, with extreme effects.
10 Up Animated. Simply a great story about life.

...And Some Movies That Didn't Merit A Rating of 10
Rating Title Notes
4 9 Animated.
7 12 Angry Men
6 12 Monkeys USA Today could improve their photo cropping, I think....
7 13 Conversations About One Thing Distinctly better than the somewhat similar Happenstance.
6 50 First Dates A nice casting reunion of Adam Sandler and Drew Barrymore from The Wedding Singer.
3 The 400 Blows In French.
7 588 Rue Paradis [1992] In French.
4 2046 In Cantonese, Mandarin Chinese, and Japanese. The follow-up to In the Mood For Love.
8 A.I. Artificial Intelligence
7 Absolute Power
5 Adaptation Somewhat interesting, but none of the content resonated with me enough to get a higher rating.
1 The Adventures of Baron Von Munchausen The only movie that made me want to walk out of the theater before it was over.
7 The Adventures of Tintin Animated. Fast paced, with both slapstick and adult humor. Very nice animation.
6 After Life In Japanese.
2 Alice in Wonderland Tim Burton's 2010 version. Tedious. Best part was hearing Alan Rickman's distinctive voice.
6 Along Came Polly The humor is pretty low brow at times, but (but?) this was pretty funny. The eminently flexible Hank Azaria strikes again!
8 Amélie (Le Fabuleux Destin d'Amélie Poulain) In French (note: the scene subtitled "Page St." [illogical and incorrect, presumably the result of a misreading of the translator's handwriting] should actually say "Page 51."). I happily upgraded this movie from 7 to 8 after seeing it a second time. It is packed with numerous enjoyable and/or moving points, not all of which can be adequately savored in a first viewing. Highly recommended.
5 American Beauty
6 The American President
7 Amour In French.
6 Another Woman One of the rare non-comedy Woody Allen films.
6 Ant-Man
7 Antonia's Line In Dutch.
7 Antz
6 Anything Else Basic Woody Allen quality, but nothing special.
7 Anywhere But Here
7 The Artist [2011]
7 L'Auberge Espagnole (The Spanish Apartment) In French, Spanish, English (and small portions in Catalan?). The face of the now extremely famous Audrey Tautou is the most prominent on the front of the DVD case, but she actually has a relatively small role, as one could infer from the fact that she has third billing in the list of names. Clearly the marketing department is trying to cash in on her fame. In any case, this is quite a good film, living up to The Washington Post's comment of "Funny, Smart and Sexy."
7 Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery
5 Austin Powers in Goldmember
4 The Avengers [1998] As a major fan of the 1960's TV show of the same name starring Patrick MacNee and Diana Rigg, I was interested in and cautiously optimistic about seeing this big screen adaptation of it. I was sadly disappointed by the result. And if Macnee could make a cameo appearance, why couldn't Rigg?
7 The Avengers [2012]
7 Avengers: Age of Ultron [2015]
6 Batman Begins After his Qui-Gon Jinn role in Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, I'm not sure if Liam Neeson should have taken his role in this movie. My impression of the two characters as mentor figures made it somewhat difficult to view him without preconceptions here.
5 A Beautiful Mind Apparently I cannot fully appreciate some of these big Oscar winners (cf. American Beauty). At least I saw this one for no extra cost on the plane!
4 Before Sunrise Slow and has only occasional particularly entertaining/interesting content, but the necessary prequel to Before Sunset. Without that connection, this wouldn't be worth watching.
6 Before Sunset A good follow-up to Before Sunrise. Ethan Hawke's character seems (thankfully) less wired compared to in the prequel.
7 Beijing Bicycle (十七歲的單車) In Mandarin Chinese. Nice music, too!
8 Being John Malkovich
5 Belle Epoque In Spanish.
4 Big Daddy I generally like Adam Sandler, and supporting actor Jon Stewart is my favorite comedian, but they couldn't save this movie.
7 Big Fish Robert Guillaume from the old TV sitcom Benson has a small role.
6 The Blair Witch Project
7 Blast from the Past
6 Blood Work Solid Clint Eastwood work, but not more.
6 Boogie Nights Probably more enjoyable if you're familiar with the 70's & 80's in the U.S.A., as I am. Does William H. Macy ever get to play someone who's not downtrodden? (cf. Pleasantville, Fargo) Yes! (halfway, anyway)
6 The Bourne Legacy Okay, but not in the same league as the original trilogy. Good acting from Rachel Weisz and Jeremy Renner, but regretfully only a brief appearance from Joan Allen, who was great in the trilogy.
6 Bowfinger
5 Brassed Off!
6 Brave Animated. Emma Thompson, Robbie Coltrane, and Craig Ferguson are among those who lend their voices to characters, although Ferguson's is the only one I recognized from just hearing it.
7 Breach
6 Bread & Tulips In Italian.
6 Breakfast at Tiffany's Well, I finally saw this famous film with the wonderful Moon River score. There is a jarring, horrible casting of Mickey Rooney as a Japanese character, a casting which the DVD extra features suggest Blake Edwards pushed for in 1960, although he regretted it later, though how much later is far from clear. Aside from that, Audrey Hepburn is extremely charming. Reasonably or not, when watching her character I found myself also thinking of another famous Audrey of more modern times, Audrey Tautou. And hey, that's George Peppard of Banacek fame!
7 Brokeback Mountain A good movie which I appreciated even more after reading the Wikipedia article which shed light on some points which I had missed or misunderstood.
5 Brotherhood of the Wolf (Le Pacte des Loups) In French.
7 A Bug's Life
7 Bullets over Broadway
6 The Business of Strangers
7 Cabaret
7 Captain America: The First Avenger [2011]
7 Captain America: The Winter Soldier [2014]
6 Casino Royale [2006] I've never much cared for James Bond flicks, but this one was decent.
7 Cats & Dogs Good for some laughs.
5 The Cell Vince Vaughn looks too calm after he's arrived at the desert area location late in the movie.
8 (rapidly upgraded from a 7) Charade A splendid older film starring Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant with a great musical score by Henry Mancini. As of 6/30/12, it's available for free(!) viewing and/or downloading at, being in the public domain due to studio oversights in the legal copyright arena.
4 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory A big disappointment. Stick with the first movie adaptation of this children's story, which has far more wit and charm. I generally like Johnny Depp and also enjoyed Christopher Lee's part in this production, but while watching it I kept thinking that buying the DVD of the earlier adaptation might be needed to bring the magic of this story back for me.
6 Chasing Amy
5 Chicken Run Disappointing after the superior Wallace & Gromit series of 3 from the same creator, Nick Park. Redeemed by the later Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit!
4 A Chinese Ghost Story, The Tsui Hark Animation Animated.
5 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe I felt much of the pacing to be slow and some of the storytelling to be awkward. I'd previously seen the cartoon version of this story on television, so I was familiar with the story. Someday I may read the book to see how that experience compares....
5 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian Ah, so that's what happened between the first and third movies in this series, which I saw in that order before this one. I guess I overrated the need to see this installment.
7 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader Exceptional special effects.
3 City Heat
5 Clash of the Titans [2010]
6 The Closet (Le Placard) In French.
7 Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs Animated. Nice to hear the Sirius instrumental by the Alan Parsons Project (it led into the Eye in the Sky song).
5 Clue Based on the famous Clue board game, this movie is loaded with some good and some more obvious gags, plus famous folks from that era, including Tim Curry, Madeline Kahn, Michael McKean, Martin Mull, Eileen Brennan, Lesley Ann Warren, a surprisingly unrecognizable Christopher Lloyd, and a cameo by the Go-Go's Jane Wiedlin. I do wonder why they didn't dress the characters prominently in their board game colors.
7 Con Air
7 The Contender
2 Cookie's Fortune
7 Cop Land Quite a successful venture by Sylvester Stallone playing a very nontraditional (for him) role. Don't let his more traditional role work (presuming you don't care for that) lead you to miss this gem.
6 Corpse Bride A spirited (no pun intended, really) work sporting musical numbers.
5 The Count of Monte Cristo
5 Cousin Bette
7 Crimes and Misdemeanors
5 Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (臥虎藏龍) In Mandarin Chinese.
7 The Crying Game
7 The Curious Case of Benjamin Button
6 The Curse of the Jade Scorpion
6 Daredevil The CGI (computer-generated imagery) work for Daredevil's jumping around in inhumanly possible fashion is markedly inferior to the excellent work done for the astronauts Space Cowboys. Here, the CGI jumping sequences are nowhere near convincingly real. Fortunately, the story is pretty good, and despite a generally poor popular reception, I was pleased to see that Ebert & Roper gave this two thumbs up.
5 Dark City
7 The Dark Knight The once-best (and longest, at 153 minutes) Batman movie I've seen.
7 The Dark Knight Rises The new best (and longest, at 165 minutes) Batman movie I've seen. Joseph Gordon-Levitt was a standout as Blake.
5 Dark Shadows
7 Dave
8 Dear Frankie In Scottish English (I turned on the subtitles right after hearing the opening sentences, which I didn't fully comprehend). This movie was so splendidly good that I watched it two nights in a row. The second night was ostensibly to hear the director's commentary, which was occasionally mildly interesting, but the bigger motivation was simply to enjoy the story (and tear up!) again. A strong candidate to be upgraded to a 9 if, when I inevitably watch this again farther in the future, it continues to move me so strongly (or even more strongly!).
7 Death to Smoochy The DVD case accurately describes this as a "gleefully twisted skewering of children's TV." Good performances all around. I was glad to see my favorite comedian Jon Stewart, even in a smaller role, although I think his style shines more in the bloopers.
4 Defending Your Life
5 The Departed Not as good as Infernal Affairs, on which it is based.
7 Desperately Seeking Susan
7 The Devil Wears Prada A good, enjoyable tale.
6 Diabolique After his stellar performance in Bullets Over Broadway, I was interested in seeing Chazz Palminteri in something else, but this was a (relative) disappointment.
7 Dick Tracy
5 Die Another Day Moneypenny has the best moment of the movie.
6 Dirty Dancing
5 Dirty Pretty Things Disturbing, on more than one level.
8 Doctor Strange [2016] Very entertaining! (And two post-credits scenes worth watching, at least in the iTunes version.)
7 Dogville One critic was right on the mark calling this movie "raw," which may be the best single word to describe it, but it is also philosophic. The movie is shot like a theatrical production, much, though not entirely, like Vanya on 42nd Street. I enjoyed seeing Lauren Bacall and James Caan cast in it.
7 Double Happiness In Cantonese and English.
5 Dredd Okay (and gory), but not more.
8 Driving Miss Daisy
7 Eat Drink Man Woman In Mandarin Chinese.
5 The Eel In Japanese. I can't say I'm a fan of the quirkiness (at least as it shows up in this film) of this director, Shohei Imamura, who has apparently won a number of awards (so I guess some critics may like that quirkiness).
5 The English Patient
7 Entre Nous In French. A fascinating tale of life struggles.
8 Eraser
7 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind Quite a good flick. Many of the principal actors and actresses play roles (well) that are rather different from other roles in which they've been successful (Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Elijah Wood, Mark Ruffalo, Kirsten Dunst) -- at least based on the small set of their films that I've seen. One plot aspect is strongly reminiscent of Groundhog Day.
5 Evan Almighty Many of the story elements feel rather old and tired (a notable exception being the conversation over the fish and chips) or mundane, but the movie does have funny and touching moments. Wanda Sykes is great in her supporting role (as she also was in My Super Ex-Girlfriend), but may be in danger of being typecast. Jon Stewart's cameos were nice additions.
4 eXistenZ I found this weak and tedious.
7 The Family Man Despite a rather silly story, this movie is quite fun, and the little girl gives a great performance.
6 Fantastic 4 Better than I expected.
7 Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer More entertaining than the first volume. Reed Richards cuts loose!
6 Fantastic Mr. Fox Animated. Odd, quirky, and kind of funny. A certain element is similar to something in The Incredibles.
6 Fantastic Planet (Planète Sauvage) Animated. In French. The video's English subtitles are white and often difficult to read, so having French language background will help when viewing it.
7 Fargo
7 Fast Food Nation Not for the faint of stomach. I found it a little unsettling to think about eating beef after watching this powerful film. The scene where Greg Kinnear's character responds, "Not really." is quite a kicker. This film covers notably more than the topic of fast food.
8 Fat, Sick & Nearly Dead An amazing, inspirational tale. Although I don't have weight issues, I immediately made vegetables a dramatically larger part of my regular meals after seeing this. I was truly touched by Phil's struggles and his life journey (although Joe's trials are what led to the creation of this movie).
7 La Femme Nikita In French.
6 Fight Club Quirky.
7 The Fighter A well-acted good story, and my friend Walter has a small role as a Court Officer!
7 Final Fantasy Animated.
6 Finding Nemo Animated.
6 Finding Neverland Not as touching as I'd hoped, but still good. Amusing outtakes.
7 Flame and Citron In Danish.
4 Flirting with Disaster Despite an all-star cast (Ben Stiller, Tea Leoni, Patricia Arquette, Mary Tyler Moore, George Segal, Lily Tomlin, Alan Alda) and a "Two thumbs up" from Siskel & Ebert, I found this generally tedious and overall quite disappointing, although I did laugh occasionally.
7 The Flowers of War (金陵十三钗 )
3 The Forgotten Strongly reminiscent of one of my favorite short stories, Jokester by Isaac Asimov (sorry, that's a spoiler if you know the story, but I don't recommend this movie anyway).
7 The Founder [2016] "Embellished", according to someone who once worked at "The Golden Archives", the archives for McDonald's Corporation, but that's exactly what I would expect from a movie "based on a true story".
7 French Twist In French.
5 Friday Night (Vendredi Soir) In French. Kind of sweet. Musical score is quite nice, and clearly absent at times by design. Tiny bits of special effects similar to those found in Amélie.
6 The Full Monty
7 Futurama: The Beast with a Billion Backs
7 Galaxy Quest
6 The Game
9 Gattaca Nicely handled treatment of personal and social issues, enhanced by its focus on achieving individual dreams and the personal conflicts depicted.
6 Get Smart A bit slow at the beginning but it picks up later. Nice performances from the main characters, and enjoyable cameos by Kevin Nealon and Bernie Kopell. No doubt more fun for viewers familiar with the original TV show.
7 The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo In Swedish.
7 The Girl Who Played with Fire In Swedish. One isolated French conversation.
7 The Girl Who Kicked the Hornets' Nest In Swedish.
5 Godzilla The version with Matthew Broderick. Call me sentimental, but I prefer the original Godzilla over the modernized version in this movie. Godzilla just isn't Godzilla when he's done up with modern special effects. This movie also pokes fun at Siskel & Ebert (before Siskel passed away in 1999), perhaps America's most famous film critics.
7 The Golden Compass Fast paced, perhaps a little too fast for those like me who read and appreciated at least some of the book. I really liked the Lee Scoresby character's acting, and the young girl playing the Lyra character was also quite good. Despite the addition of the "cachet" of Ian McKellen (as the voice of the Iorek Byrnison polar bear), his voice seemed a little out of place. I didn't actually love the trilogy of books of which the first is the basis for this movie, but it's too bad this movie's relative lack of success at the box office suggests volumes 2 and 3 will not be made into movies. This movie is good entertainment ("Help, Lyra!").
7 Gosford Park
7 The Graduate
5 The Green Hornet Tidbits of Mandarin Chinese. I think the writers worked pretty hard and achieved a few decent laughs, but overall the movie just doesn't pull the viewer in enough.
6 Green Lantern
6 Guardians of the Galaxy [2014]
7 Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 [2017]
6 Hanging Up Rather overdone at times, but insightful (reminiscent?) enough about family relations, particularly concerning a parent in declining health.
6 Happenstance (Le Battement d'Ailes du Papillon) In French. Some interesting, thought-provoking dialogue and events, but definitely not as good as star Audrey Tautou's Amélie (the movie that rapidly brought her to much of the world's attention, somewhat like Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope did for Harrison Ford). 13 Conversations About One Thing better executes a similar theme.
6 Happy Accidents Uneven, but some conversations between characters were quite good.
6 Happy Times (幸福時光) In Mandarin Chinese. Some themes seemed perhaps already too familiar from movies such as Eight Taels of Gold and Amélie.
8 Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone I saw this before reading the book. After subsequently reading the book, I felt they had done a good job with the movie, leaving out little detail and translating the experience quite well from this, the first book of the Harry Potter series.
6 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets I saw this after having read (and having thoroughly enjoyed) the book. Indeed, I saw this after having read books 1-4. I think the task of translating the experience of book 2 (the Chamber of Secrets) to the movie was more difficult than the same task associated with book 1. The greater amount of detail meant more had to be compacted or cut, for which the movie experience suffers. Nonetheless, I continue to look forward to each future Harry Potter installment!
7 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban Better than installment #2, Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets. One moment in particular (think steed) filled me with an exhilarating feeling of wonder.
6 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire Those kids are growing fast! Nice Pensieve rendition and some other nice special effects, but with more and more material in the books it's unavoidable that much material must be cut to make a reasonably-lengthed movie, which makes the movies rather less satisfying. Voldemort was scarier in the first movie; here he seemed almost rushed. Thank goodness for books!!
7 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix Some very nice special effects (think brooms and magic battles).
6 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince You can't miss any of these movies because they're all part of a series, but Alan Rickman, who plays a wonderful Snape, was the high point for me, and he didn't even have much screen time.
7 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1
7 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 Somewhat better than Part 1. A fitting conclusion to the movie series.
7 The Haunted Mansion A solid Eddie Murphy comedy. I imagine some of the dialogue was intentionally written to humorously evoke memories of The Sixth Sense and The Princess Bride.
5 He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not (À La Folie...Pas du Tout) In French.
5 Hero [2002] In Mandarin Chinese. I am not really into the Kung Fu genre.
7 Dear Etranger (Osanago warera ni umare) [2017] In Japanese.
9 High Plains Drifter
6 Hitch The last few minutes are especially well done and great fun.
6 The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey [2012] Well done, but the story feels stretched. However, I may be biased, having read the book, and knowing that Peter Jackson plans to make a total of three movies from the one book.
4 Horton Hears a Who! Steve Carell's role as Mayor is strongly reminiscent of his role in Evan Almighty.
4 Hot Shots!
5 How to Train Your Dragon Animated. Craig Ferguson, whose voice I should have recognized, is entertaining as usual.
7 Howl's Moving Castle Animated. Originally in Japanese. Dubbed into English with several famous voices, but the reality of Billy Crystal's voice might prove distracting from the fantasy world of the story. (I chose French audio with English subtitles as French language reinforcement, so I unwittingly avoided that issue.) I haven't really been enthused about works by Director Hayao Miyazaki -- the genre doesn't really grab me -- but I liked this work and Spirited Away the best.
6 Hulk
9 Hugo [2011] A swell tale, loaded with well-known and some less well-known actors. I had a hard time believing I was seeing Sacha Baron Cohen. Two Harry Potter movie alumnae have roles. A sparkling performance by Chloë Grace Moretz.
7 The Hunger Games
7 I Could Never Be Your Woman A sweet, funny tale. Small parts from Henry Winkler, Wallace Shawn, and Sally Kellerman. Nice singing from Saoirse Ronan.
6 I, Robot
5 Ice Age Animated. Everybody including me may love Raymond (TV's Everybody Loves Raymond star Ray Romano provides the voice of the woolly mammoth in this movie), but I didn't find Ice Age particularly entertaining.
6 The Ice Storm Co-stars Elijah Wood before he starred as Frodo in Lord of the Rings. Another movie with Joan Allen as the mother and Tobey Maguire as the son.
7 The Illusionist And a lovely Philip Glass musical score to boot (if you like his work, which I do)!
6 In the Company of Men I'd have to go with Newsweek's David Ansen's "Disturbing and controversial!", emphasis on the "Disturbing", over Siskel & Ebert's "Two thumbs up, way up! A great picture."
5 In the Mood For Love In Cantonese and Shanghainese. Followed up by 2046.
6 Inception
7 An Inconvenient Truth Please see this film!
5 The Incredible Hulk Unlike some other folks, I didn't find this to be better than its predecessor (Hulk). Edward Norton in this movie is a better choice than Eric Bana (in Hulk) as Bruce Banner, though.
7 The Incredibles Quite entertaining and great music, too!
5 Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull Nice to see an old character reappear, but still not particularly entertaining.
7 Infernal Affairs (無間道) In Cantonese. The 2006 movie The Departed was modeled on this film.
7 Insomnia An impressive step up from director Chris Nolan's earlier work, Memento.
9 The Iron Giant Animated. Aimed at children.
5 Iron Man Some of the CGI work earlier in the movie felt pretty fake, making me think of the similarly bad work in Daredevil.
6 Iron Man 2 Entertaining.
8 Jason Bourne
7 Jean de Florette. The first half of the story continued in Manon of the Spring. In French.
4 Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius Animated.
5 Joe Kidd
6 Johnny Mnemonic
6 Journey to the Far Side of the Sun If you liked the UFO TV series, you will probably enjoy this movie (as I did), where you'll see several actors in supporting roles before they went on to that. Music and visual effects are also quite similar. If you're not a fan of UFO, you may find this film's pace too slow.
5 Jumper Mildly strange to see Hayden Christensen and Samuel L. Jackson together again like this after their Star Wars roles.
7 K-Pax The underlying humanity-oriented storyline satisfyingly trumps the out-there science fiction premise! Nicely done, "Spacey-man!"
7 Kate and Leopold Meg Ryan's closing speech is distractingly melodramatic and long, but her earlier breakfast performance, though brief, is fantastic.
7 Kick-Ass Quite entertaining!
7 The Killing Fields Harshly compelling.
5 King Arthur [2004]
5 King Kong The 2005 Peter Jackson version. A well-done modernization of the tale, despite a bit of silliness on Skull Island, but not a story I can get excited about.
6 Kinsey
7 Kiss The Girls
7 Knowing
6 Kung Fu Hustle In Cantonese and Mandarin Chinese. I'm not into kung fu movies, but this is an enjoyable comedic fantasy tale. It is, however, probably more enjoyable if you have someone explaining various linguistic and cultural subtleties, as I had.
7 Kung Fu Panda
5 Lara Croft, Tomb Raider The post-movie segment on the video were in some ways more interesting than the movie itself.
5 Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life A tad better than the first installment.
5 Last Night The 1998 Canadian production written and directed by Don McKellar, starring himself, Sandra Oh and Geneviève Bujold.
5 The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen
4 Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events Quite uninspiring.
7 Liar, Liar An enjoyable Jim Carrey movie, and I am not a fan of his.
7 Life is Beautiful In Italian.
5 Little Manhattan
5 Little Otik (Otesánek) In Czech. A number of scenes are rather unpleasant to watch.
6 The Lorax Animated.
8 Lord of the Rings Animated.
9 Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring Nicely done.
8 Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers
8 Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King Somewhat better than The Two Towers, but not better than The Fellowship of the Ring. Certainly longer than either of them, weighing in at about 3 1/2 hours! Excellent value for your movie ticket money! Thank you, director Peter Jackson, for a worthy live action rendition of this trilogy on the big screen!
6 Lost In Space
7 Love Actually An impressive collection of vignettes with many famous names.
8 The Magnificent Seven Yeah, yeah, rip-off of The Seven Samurai, I know. At least on the DVD they credit the earlier film.
7 The Majestic Music was a bit overpowering and believability was stretched at times, but still a good story. Can you say Tony Orlando and Dawn?
6 Malena In Italian.
7 Manhattan Most or all Woody Allen movies probe human relationships, but having forgotten almost all of the plot, I was pretty floored by the last 5 minutes' powerful "punches" when I re-watched this recently.
7 Manon of the Spring (Manon des Sources). The second half of the story begun in Jean de Florette. In French.
6 Mary and Max Animated. Probably best for emotionally mature audiences. Pen pals from Australia and New York experience a large amount of life's trials and tribulations.
6 The Mask
5 Match Point Not particularly inspired, but I've loved Emily Mortimer ever since seeing her in Dear Frankie.
7 The Matrix
5 The Matrix Reloaded What a disappointment. As a francophile, I was quite amused by a character's comment about cursing in French, and that was probably the high point of the movie for me.
5 The Matrix: Revolutions Better than part 2, but a far cry from the original
7 Me, Myself & Irene Some nice songs.
6 Memento If you like this, check out Chris Nolan's later Insomnia.
7 Midnight in Paris A fine Woody Allen movie, including lovely music and a fine performance from Owen Wilson. A visit to IMDB revealed that Carla Bruni, who I'm used to seeing referenced in the context of her association with Nicolas Sarkozy rather than in films, played one of the characters.
7 A Mighty Wind
6 Minority Report It's nice to see Max Von Sydow in another supporting role after Judge Dredd.
6 MirrorMask
4 M:I 3 (Mission: Impossible 3) I didn't find the characters particularly interesting, but perhaps that would be asking too much from this series (even going back to the original TV series - it's an action show). Philip Seymour Hoffman plays a different type of role than I've seen him in previously.
7 Monsters, Inc. Animated.
5 Mulholland Dr. Too esoteric for me.
7 Multiplicity Quite entertaining.
5 Muppets From Space Rob Schneider, Ray Liotta, and Andie MacDowell have small parts.
7 Music and Lyrics
6 Must Love Dogs Not bad, but a weak ending.
5 My Best Friend's Wedding
7 My Super Ex-Girlfriend A fun flick with great characters! And the Professor's website does exist....
6 Mystery Men A well-done parody of superheroes. Hank Azaria displays his splendid voice talents (so commonly heard on The Simpsons, but here you get to see him in action), Ben Stiller and Janeane Garofalo (who wrote a humorous book together) show some amusing chemistry, Paul Reubens gets another piece of the limelight (it was fun to hear some of his PeeWee Herman-ish voice), William H. Macy gets to be the hero for once, Greg Kinnear does an amusing Captain Amazing, and The Sphinx is an amusing "cliché-spewing philospher" (from the videobox description).
6 Next Stop Wonderland
7 Next
7 Nicholas Nickleby
6 Novocaine
6 Nurse Betty
7 The Nutty Professor The version starring Eddie Murphy. Some amusing outtakes at the end.
6 Office Space A staple of popular office culture, but if it weren't, I would have rated it lower.
4 One Hour Photo Execution fell short of the promise of the story concept.
6 The Others Nicole Kidman and the two child actors are very good.
5 Over the Hedge The Verminator is voiced wonderfully.
6 P.S. Laura Linney is quite good as usual, and Topher Grace is good as well.
5 Panic Room
7 Passenger 57
7 Pay It Forward
7 The Personals (徵婚啟事) In Mandarin Chinese.
7 Picture Bride Nice music.
6 Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl
8 Pleasantville Nicely handled treatment of personal and social issues. Evokes some memories of The Donna Reed Show, a favorite rerun of mine. Another movie with Joan Allen as the mother and Tobey Maguire as the son.
5 Ponyo Animated. Originally in Japanese.
8 The Prestige Quite an entertaining film about two competing magicians in the late 1800's. Interesting on many levels.
8 Pride and Prejudice The version starring Keira Knightley.
6 The Princess Diaries
5 Princess Mononoke Animated. Originally in Japanese.
5 The Punisher
6 Puss in Boots Animated.
6 Queen to Play In French.
6 Quiz Show Hey, that's none other than Hank Azaria, voice extraordinaire from The Simpsons, as the sleazy Al Freedman.
6 Red Rock West
4 Rendezvous in Paris In French.
8 Return to Me Touching, funny (wittily scripted!), and can get you thinking. With luck more people will consider becoming organ donors after seeing this movie!
6 The Ring I'm not into horror movies, but I'd heard enough about this to borrow it from the library. The DVD has a good "Don't watch this" feature which is apparently outtakes, but those outtakes fill in plot gaps which were probably created when editing to shorten the film's length.
5 The Ring Two
5 Rise of the Planet of the Apes
8 Robocop
4 Romy and Michele's High School Reunion
6 The Royal Tenenbaums Entertaining. Gene Hackman rarely plays comedic roles like this.
6 Sabrina The 1954 black and white original version starring Audrey Hepburn, Humphrey Bogart, and William Holden.
8 The Santa Clause
6 The Santa Clause 2 Not as good as the first, but still quite enjoyable. Several cute scenes with kids.
6 Saving Face Partly in Mandarin Chinese. Breaking traditional mores in a Chinese-American setting.
7 Saving Private Ryan
6 Say It Isn't So Weaker than There's Something About Mary and Me, Myself & Irene, other movies from the Farrelly brothers, but it has its moments.
5 Scary Movie But I probably would have given it a lower rating if I hadn't already seen Scream, the primary movie parodied by this one.
4 Scream
7 Season of the Witch Well delineated and acted characters, well-paced.
6 The Secret of Roan Inish
5 Secretary Reasonably gently explores sado-masochism and society.
6 Serenity A fairly good wrap-up to the storyline from the cancelled TV series Firefly.
7 Shadow Play (Portraits Chinois) In French. Helena Bonham Carter speaks French!
5 Shall We Dance? The American remake with Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, and Susan Sarandon (and Anita Gillette, who I remember from her What's My Line? days), the merest shadow of the fantastic original Japanese film. Susan Sarandon has some nice lines about marriage for the detective in the bar scene, and the detective's assistant also has a good line feeding off of Thoreau's "quiet desperation."
6 Shallow Hal Gwyneth Paltrow's fine performance contributes signficantly to getting this movie a rating of 6 instead of a 5. Her comments in the HBO special feature included on the DVD are revealing of society; she describes her sad experience walking around a hotel in the "fat suit" which was part of her make-up.
6 Shanghai Triad In Mandarin Chinese.
7 She's the Man Quite entertaining.
6 Shooter
6 Shopgirl Claire Danes is great in this artistically done movie about life and romance.
7 Shower (洗澡) In Mandarin Chinese.
8 Shrek Animated.
7 Shrek 2 Animated. Antonio Banderas' character is a great addition to Shrek, Fiona, and Donkey. Quite entertaining.
5 Shrek the Third Animated. The franchise continues to get weaker....
6 Shutter Island Powerful concluding words from Leonardo DiCaprio's character. I enjoyed seeing Mark Ruffalo (who I didn't actually recognize, IMDB clarified that), Emily Mortimer, and Max von Sydow in their supporting roles.
7 Silent Movie
6 16 Blocks
6 The Sixth Day
8 The Sixth Sense
7 Sleepless in Seattle
6 Sleepy Hollow Tim Burton and the Deppster (Johnnie Depp) with another entertaining if macabre flick (like Edward Scissorhands previously).
6 Sliding Doors Not great, but entertaining enough. One character is the kind of person who deserves a good swift kick or three.
5 Small Time Crooks
5 Solaris "Artistically paced."
7 Soylent Green A 1973 science fiction classic of life in 2022, starring Charlton Heston. Some other cast members I recognized were Chuck Connors, Dick Van Patten, Brock Peters, and Celia Lovsky, though I needed the Internet Movie Database to clarify that I knew the last two's voices from Star Trek connections.
7 Space Cowboys Quite enjoyable. It is probably coincidence that one of the younger astronauts is named Ethan, but it made me think (fondly) of the space travel movie Gattaca, which stars Ethan Hawke.
6 The Spanish Prisoner Well-done, but it gave me little in the way of compelling memories, feelings, or contemplations to take away.
4 Sphere
5 Spider-man
5 Spider-man 2
7 Spirited Away Animated. Originally in Japanese. I haven't really been enthused about works by Director Hayao Miyazaki -- the genre doesn't really grab me -- but I liked this work and Howl's Moving Castle the best.
8 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan
8 Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country
6 Star Trek: Nemesis Not a bad way to go out, if this really ends up being the final Star Trek: The Next Generation movie.
6 Star Trek: Beyond [2016]
8 Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones Despite its being panned by numerous critics, I quite enjoyed this chapter of the Star Wars saga. The welcome display of lightsabers and of the Force, combined with complex political machinations, brought back the magic of the original Star Wars trilogy (Episodes IV-VI) for me after a disappointing (for me) Episode I, despite some unnecessary, weak jokes and heavy-handed foreshadowing of future (Episodes IV-VI) events. C-3PO, a protocol droid [robot], who discovers that his head has been mistakenly attached to the body of a battle droid, has the hilarious line, "I'm programmed for etiquette, not destruction!"
7 Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith Better than Episode I, not as good as Episode II. I was surprised by the execution of developments with the Count Dooku (rapidity with which an event occurred) and General Grievous (I think I was probably thinking of his weaponry; I should have put in a complete note when I first wrote this movie entry) characters, unpleasantly and pleasantly, respectively.
8 Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens
7 Star Wars: The Last Jedi
5 Stardust
4 Starship Troopers
7 State and Main
7 A Summer's Tale In French.
4 Super 5 reasonably well-known actors including Rainn Wilson, Ellen Page, Liv Tyler, and Kevin Bacon, though after watching it, I had to consult IMDB to find out what role Nathan Fillion had played. Definitely different....
6 Super 8
7 Super Size Me ("A Film of Epic Portions") I have some gripes about the way "producer/director/guinea pig" Morgan Spurlock presented his story, e.g., would he expect not to gain weight when eating roughly twice his recommended caloric consumption for 30 days, regardless of whether he ate McDonald's food or vegan fare? However, this remains quite an entertaining and interesting documentary. He was good enough to show that the fellow who ate over 19,000 Big Macs (but rarely ate the french fries) had very low cholesterol, rather contrary to what one would expect. I'm still going to enjoy McDonald's fries, even after seeing the "Smoking Fry" extra included on the DVD.
7 Superhero Movie A very funny spoof, loaded with numerous well-known folks.
7 Take This Waltz
5 Tampopo In Japanese.
7 Tape A potent exploration, well-crafted and well-acted, into what people claim they are, what they think they are, and what they really are. Highly recommended.
8 Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines Not as good as Terminator 1 and 2, but still quite entertaining.
4 Terminator Salvation Hackneyed references to the franchise's earlier movies.
7 Terminator: Genisys A significant improvement over Terminator Salvation.
7 The Thirteenth Floor I understand this science fiction gem was unfairly overshadowed by The Matrix, which was released around the same time. I have seen it incorrectly classified in video stores under horror, presumably because someone mistakenly thought its title meant it was in the same genre as Friday The Thirteenth.
6 Thor
6 Thor: Ragnarok [2017]
6 Thunderbirds Directed by Jonathan Frakes (Commander Riker of Star Trek: The Next Generation fame). Probably more fun for people like me, who grew up enjoying the original Gerry Anderson Thunderbirds television show, upon which this movie is based. Thank goodness they reprised the original music!
5 The Time Machine This remake has a flavor which is comfortably similar to that of the original film.
7 Timeline An enjoyable film based on the Michael Crichton novel of the same name, if a bit heavy handed on the foreshadowing. Foreshadowing is probably a bane of many movie directors, who have far more stringent length constraints than do novelists.
5 Titan A.E. Animated.
9 To Live (活著) In Mandarin Chinese.
8 Together (和你在一起) In Mandarin Chinese. Very moving, though some scene transitions didn't seem extremely smooth.
7 Tomboy [2011] In French.Occasionally slow.
5 Top Secret!
7 Toy Story 3 The whole series is well-written and each installment has been enjoyable.
7 Tron: Legacy Well-paced, with music well-matched to the story's tempo. Almost made me want to see the original Tron again. Almost...I remember not caring much for that years ago.
9 True Lies
4 Transformers This is probably more enjoyable for folks who watched the cartoons when growing up (I didn't). Much lame juvenile humor (I'm not so much against the juvenile aspect, it's the lame part I don't like).
6 The Truman Show
7 The Truth About Cats & Dogs
7 Two Mules for Sister Sara Some unnecessary shock gore, but also some good humor. A fine western.
7 Two Weeks Notice
6 Un Coeur En Hiver (A Heart In Winter) In French.
6 Unbreakable
7 Under the Tuscan Sun
7 V for Vendetta Although the (fantastic) graphic novel upon which this film is based is a significantly better experience, I found this to be quite an excellent adaptation for the movies. Because I'd much likelier see myself rereading the book than watching this movie again, by my own rating criteria I can't give this more than a 7, but it's an exceptional 7.
6 The Vanishing (Spoorloos) In Dutch and French. The original Dutch version, without which there would not have been the American version, but I still prefer the American version.
7 The Vanishing The American version with Jeff Bridges, Kiefer Sutherland, Nancy Travis, and Sandra Bullock.
7 Vantage Point Another good action movie, certainly on par with the Bourne movies in terms of being engaging and entertaining. Dennis Quaid's car looks pristine rather overly long in the car chase scene, and some foreshadowing is overly heavy-handed, but I quite enjoyed this on the big screen.
7 Venus Beauty Institute (Vénus Beauté Institut) In French. Audrey Tautou, who would later become much more well known as Amélie, has a supporting role.
6 Village of Dreams In Japanese. A pair of artist twins go over images of growing up in their childhood village.
8 Walking and Talking Catherine Keener is great in this fine independent movie.
5 Wall-E Animated.
7 Wallace & Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit A fine piece of work, markedly better than the previous Chicken Run.
6 War of the Worlds Stephen Spielberg's rendition. Had some flavor akin to that of the original movie, which was positive for me.
6 Watchmen A decent translation from the comic book medium, but I suspect it's far less enjoyable if you lack that background.
6 Wayne's World 2 Reasonably entertaining, with a bevy of celebrity guest stars.
6 Weekend at Bernie's Silly, but funny. An original idea for a comedy.
7 What Planet Are You From? Some aspects of this film were like what I mistakenly feared What Women Want would be, but overall this film is quite worth watching. Annette Bening's acting was strikingly good. Gary Shandling displays quite amusing proof of his "alien-ness." This film also partially answers the question, "Whatever happened to Saturday Night Live's Nora Dunn?"
8 What Women Want Very good!
7 What's Eating Gilbert Grape?
7 While You Were Sleeping
8 Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory The original movie starring Gene Wilder (not Charlie and the Chocolate Factory starring Johnny Depp). A great movie.
7 The Winslow Boy Quite good!
8 Wonder Woman [2017] Awesome, and great theme music, too!
7 X-Men
8 X2: X-men United Action-packed special effects combined with a tight, well-written script and attention to detail make this quite an improvement over the original, and make me look forward to another installment! (Regrettably, my hopes for similar or better quality were not fulfilled.)
There's a short and funny scene at the end of "The Second Uncanny Issue of X-men: Making of X2" on the extras DVD, right after director Bryan Singer begins discussing whether there will be another X-Men movie.
6 X-Men: The Last Stand Good entertainment and some thought-provoking societal commentary, but not the installment I hoped it would be. Includes a nice nod to some fine X-Men background from comics, including the Sentinels and a memorable future line story. Some coarse language was gratuitous and completely unnecessary for the plot.
5 X-Men Origins: Wolverine Ugh, the X-men movie franchise is going downhill. The characters are getting less interesting and the stories less compelling.
7 X-Men: First Class To think I was willing to miss the first 20 minutes or so of this just to see an earlier showing (in the end, I caught a later showing and the whole movie)! Excellent story, characters, pacing, and eminently reasonable continuity with other movies, plus a cameo from a player from another movie in this franchise! A great leap above my mistakenly low expectations.
7 X-Men: Days of Future Past
8 X-Men: Apocalypse [2016]
6 Y Tu Mamá También In Spanish. The video box description hits the nail on the head: "Julio and Tenoch are two teens ruled by raging hormones and a mission to consume exotic substances...[who]...learn more about life than they bargain for when they set off on a wild cross-country trip with seductive, 28-year old Luisa."
5 Yi Yi (一一) In Mandarin Chinese & Taiwanese.
7 You Can Count On Me
4 Zoolander A few laughs, but mostly a big disappointment.

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