"Baby Geniuses" (1999), dir: Bob Clark, 1.5 stars - "This is an old idea, beautifully expressed by Wordsworth, who said, 'Heaven lies about us in our infancy.' If I could quote the whole poem instead of completing this review, believe me, we'd all we happier. But I press on."
"Badlands" (1973), dir: Terrence Malick, 4 stars - "Nature is always deeply embedded in Malick's films. It occupies the stage and then humans edge tentatively onto it, uncertain of their roles"
The Samuel Goldwyn Company
"Baraka" (1992), dir: Ron Fricke, 4 stars - "If man sends another Voyager to the distant stars and it can carry only one film on board, that film might be 'Baraka.' It uses no language, so needs no translation. It speaks in magnificent images, natural sounds, and music both composed and discovered. It regards our planet and the life upon it. It stands outside of historical time. To another race, it would communicate: This is what you would see if you came here. Of course this will all long since have disappeared when the spacecraft is discovered."
"Battlefield Earth" (2000), dir: Roger Christian, 0.5 stars - "Some movies run off the rails. This one is like the train crash in 'The Fugitive.' I watched it in mounting gloom, realizing I was witnessing something historic, a film that for decades to come will be the punch line of jokes about bad movies. There is a moment here when the Psychlos' entire planet (home office and all) is blown to smithereens ... If the film had been destroyed in a similar cataclysm, there might have been a standing ovation."
Penthouse Films International
"Caligula" (1980), dir: Tinto Brass, 0 stars - "'Caligula' is sickening, utterly worthless, shameful trash. If it is not the worst film I have ever seen, that makes it all the more shameful: People with talent allowed themselves to participate in this travesty. Disgusted and unspeakably depressed, I walked out of the film after two hours of its 170-minute length."
"Dr. Strangelove" (1964), dir: Stanley Kubrick, 4 stars - "Kubrick made what is arguably the best political satire of the century, a film that pulled the rug out from under the Cold War by arguing that if a "nuclear deterrent" destroys all life on Earth, it is hard to say exactly what it has deterred."
20th Century Fox
"Freddie Got Fingered" (2001), dir: Tom Green, zero stars - "This movie doesn't scrape the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't the bottom of the barrel. This movie isn't below the bottom of the barrel. This movie doesn't deserve to be mentioned in the same sentence with barrels."
"The Godfather: Part II" (1974) dir: Ford Coppola, 4 stars - "And now I come back to the music. More than ever, I am convinced it is instrumental to the power and emotional effect of the films. I cannot imagine them without their Nino Rota scores. Against all our objective reason, they instruct us how to feel about the films. Now listen very carefully to the first notes as the big car drives into Miami. You will hear an evocative echo of Bernard Hermann’s score for 'Citizen Kane,' another film about a man who got everything he wanted and then lost it."
"The Great Dictator" (1940), dir: Charlie Chaplin, 4 stars - "In 1938, the world's most famous movie star began to prepare a film about the monster of the 20th century. Charlie Chaplin looked a little like Adolf Hitler, in part because Hitler had chosen the same toothbrush moustache as the Little Tramp. Exploiting that resemblance, Chaplin devised a satire in which the dictator and a Jewish barber from the ghetto would be mistaken for each other. The result, released in 1940, was 'The Great Dictator,' Chaplin's first talking picture and the highest-grossing of his career, although it would cause him great difficulties and indirectly lead to his long exile from the United States."
Fine Line Features
"Hoop Dreams" (1994), dir: Steve James, 4 stars - "'Hoop Dreams' contains more actual information about life as it is lived in poor black city neighborhoods than any other film I have ever seen."
"North" (1994), dir: Rob Reiner, zero stars - "I hated this movie. Hated hated hated hated hated this movie. Hated it. Hated every simpering stupid vacant audience-insulting moment of it. Hated the sensibility that thought anyone would like it. Hated the implied insult to the audience by its belief that anyone would be entertained by it."
New Line Cinema
"Seven" (1995), dir., David Fincher, 4 stars - "This grim death sets the tone for David Fincher's "Seven," one of the darkest and most merciless films ever made in the Hollywood mainstream. It will rain day after day. They will investigate death after death. There are words scrawled at the crime scenes; the fat man's word is on the wall behind his refrigerator: Gluttony."
"Spice World" (1998), dir: Bob Spiers, 0.5 stars - "The Spice Girls are easier to tell apart than the Mutant Ninja Turtles, but that is small consolation: What can you say about five women whose principal distinguishing characteristic is that they have different names?"
20th Century Fox
"Star Wars" (1977), dir: George Lucas, 4 stars - "'Star Wars' is a fairy tale, a fantasy, a legend, finding its roots in some of our most popular fictions. The golden robot, lion-faced space pilot, and insecure little computer on wheels must have been suggested by the Tin Man, the Cowardly Lion, and the Scarecrow in ;The Wizard of Oz.; The journey from one end of the galaxy to another is out of countless thousands of space operas. The hardware is from 'Flash Gordon' out of ;2001: A Space Odyssey,; the chivalry is from Robin Hood, the heroes are from Westerns and the villains are a cross between Nazis and sorcerers. 'Star Wars' taps the pulp fantasies buried in our memories, and because it's done so brilliantly, it reactivates old thrills, fears, and exhilarations we thought we'd abandoned when we read our last copy of Amazing Stories."
Buena Vista Pictures
"The Village" (2004), dir: M. Night Shyamalan, 1 star - "To call it an anticlimax would be an insult not only to climaxes but to prefixes. It's a crummy secret, about one step up the ladder of narrative originality from It Was All a Dream. It's so witless, in fact, that when we do discover the secret, we want to rewind the film so we don't know the secret anymore."