2004 Top 10 - #3 and The Hall of Shame (2004 Dec 28)

#3: Before Sunset : For an early summer Valentine to all of us romantic movie-goers, Richard Linklater not only formulated a worthy sequel to his early-'90s love story, Before Sunrise, but he crafted 2004's best English-language motion picture. ...

2004 Top 10 - #4 (2004 Dec 27)

#4: Moolaadé : For me, one of the great disappointments of 2004 was the anemic performance of this compelling feature at the art-house box office. If one of the purposes of movies is to take us to places we have never previously visited, most ...

2004 Top 10 - #5 (2004 Dec 26)

#5: Sea Inside, The : The most mature and emotionally wrenching film to-date from Spanish director Alejandro Amenabar (Open Your Eyes, The Others), The Sea Inside represents a cathartic and satisfying experience. Based on a true story, this film ...

2004 Top 10 - #6 (2004 Dec 25)

#6: Million Dollar Baby : One could make a strong argument that this is the best movie Clint Eastwood has ever been involved in, either in front of or behind the camera. Although Million Dollar Baby will be classified as a "sports movie" by many, ...

2004 Top 10 - #7 (2004 Dec 24)

#7: Closer : Closer is an anti-romance film. At first, it appears to be about longing and love, but it quickly becomes apparent that the forging and breaking of relationships in this movie are conduits for gaining power and causing pain. Sex is more...

2004 Top 10 - #8 (2004 Dec 23)

#8: Sideways : Sideways represents the most mature film to-date from director Alexander Payne, whose impressive resume already includes Election and About Schmidt. By turns poignant and hilarious, Sideways follows the misadventures of two mismatched...

2004 Top 10 - #9 (2004 Dec 22)

#9: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind : An early-year release that will probably not get much (if any) Oscar consideration becuase of its opening date, Eternal Sunshine is already available on DVD for the enjoyment of those who missed its March ...

Let the Countdown Begin (2004 Dec 21)

In the past, I always wrote an end-of-the-year commentary called "Rewinding XXXX - The Year in Movies." This year, the more appropriate place for those thoughts is here. Rather than lumping everything together into one mega-long ReelThought on ...

Closer Later/Mixed Messages (2004 Nov 30)

One unfortunate aspect of living so far from screening locations is that I occasionally have to miss a screening for one reason or another (a 2-hour movie eats up about 5 hours of my time). Admittedly, I don't have an overwhelming desire to see ...

The Last Month (2004 Nov 24)

Gripe time again... I like writing these downbeat little pieces - they help to get something off my chest.It appears that 2004 is about to conclude with more of a whimper than a bang. I have never been so unenthused about a December release ...

Playing Politics (2004 Nov 02)

And now I will proceed to piss of a certain percentage of my readers... For those who don't think a film critic has any business writing about politics or expressing a political viewpoint, I can safely say that today's ReelThoughts isn't for you. (...

Scary Movies (2004 Oct 31)

Not everyone loves scary moves, but most people do. This isn't a new phenomenon, although the genre commonly referred to as "horror" has changed radically since our great-grandparents hunkered down in theater seats. This brief essay is not in any ...

The Review that Almost Wasn't (2004 Oct 26)

In each of the past few years, I have seen about 200 movies theatrically (with another 100+ per annum on DVD). Of these, I typically review about 150. (Last year, it was 171.) However, although the 75% "review rate" might be considered aggressive, ...

Halftime Report: The Top 10 (2004 Jul 09)

Generally speaking, no one talks about Top 10 lists until the November/December timeframe. While that makes sense for annual (January-December) lists, there's no reason not to take a snapshot of an evolving Top 10 list any time during the year, and ...

The Phantom Defense (2004 Jun 22)

It has become fashionable over the last five years to bash all things related to George Lucas in general, and The Phantom Menace in particular. Let me be the first to say that Lucas deserves a fair amount of criticism. He's not what one might call ...

Summer Preview (2004 Jun 20)

Since I posted my review of The Terminal, I have received numerous e-mails taking exception to the following comment: "The premise - that a man could live months of his life in an airport terminal - holds a certain fascination (especially for those ...

Whither ReelThoughts? (2004 May 30)

I have received a number of e-mails inquiring whether I have given up on ReelThoughts. The answer is "no," but, in terms of priorities, this column doesn't occupy a high space. With respect to the site, it's in third place, behind reviews of new ...