March 2012

by raadadz | created - 01 Apr 2012 | updated - 06 Apr 2012 | Public

All the feature-length films I've seen in March. I also saw Oliver Stone's Looking for Fidel, but IMDB doesn't seem to have it listed.

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1. Laura (1944)

Passed | 88 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery

A police detective falls in love with the woman whose murder he is investigating.

Director: Otto Preminger | Stars: Gene Tierney, Dana Andrews, Clifton Webb, Vincent Price

Votes: 39,608 | Gross: $4.36M

While most of the film is a triumph of plot and atmosphere, it starts disintegrating towards the end, largely due to the increasing emphasis on a harebrained romantic angle. [B+]

2. The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

63 Metascore

A lawyer defending a wealthy man begins to believe his client is guilty of more than just one crime.

Director: Brad Furman | Stars: Matthew McConaughey, Marisa Tomei, Ryan Phillippe, William H. Macy

Votes: 200,437 | Gross: $58.01M

Some snappy editing, scoring, and directing make what could have been an entirely forgettable movie something more. [B-]

3. The Hit List (2011)

R | 90 min | Action, Thriller

A disgruntled man creates a hit list with a stranger during a drunken night out and must then race to try to save those he marked for extermination as the bodies begin to pile up and all fingers point to him.

Director: William Kaufman | Stars: Cuba Gooding Jr., Cole Hauser, Jonathan LaPaglia, Ginny Weirick

Votes: 11,153

Just as *beep* as you'd expect it to be, and then some. [F]

4. Higher Ground (2011)

R | 109 min | Drama

74 Metascore

A chronicle of one woman's lifelong struggle with her faith.

Director: Vera Farmiga | Stars: Vera Farmiga, Joshua Leonard, Dagmara Dominczyk, Norbert Leo Butz

Votes: 2,895 | Gross: $0.84M

A fascinating effort, although not an entirely successful one. For a film more matter-of-fact and complex than most movies about faith, it's startlingly closed-off when it comes to its characters.

5. High Noon (1952)

PG | 85 min | Drama, Thriller, Western

89 Metascore

A town Marshal, despite the disagreements of his newlywed bride and the townspeople around him, must face a gang of deadly killers alone at high noon when the gang leader, an outlaw he sent up years ago, arrives on the noon train.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Gary Cooper, Grace Kelly, Thomas Mitchell, Lloyd Bridges

Votes: 92,293 | Gross: $9.45M

Admirably straightforward but ultimately too earnest to lend credibility to its heavy-handed political agenda. [B-]

6. Battle Royale (2000)

Not Rated | 114 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

81 Metascore

In the future, the Japanese government captures a class of ninth-grade students and forces them to kill each other under the revolutionary "Battle Royale" act.

Director: Kinji Fukasaku | Stars: Tatsuya Fujiwara, Aki Maeda, Tarô Yamamoto, Takeshi Kitano

Votes: 161,729

Obnoxiously stupid. Trying to have its cake and eat it too, Battle Royale tries to be an over-the-top film about child murder and a Serious Political Movie at the same time. Needless to say, it fails miserably at both. [D]

7. Point Break (1991)

R | 122 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

58 Metascore

An F.B.I. Agent goes undercover to catch a gang of surfers who may be bank robbers.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow | Stars: Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Lori Petty

Votes: 144,465 | Gross: $43.22M

One of the slickest, most adrenalin-pumping action movies of the '90s, if not ever. [A-]

8. The Take (2007)

R | 96 min | Action, Crime, Drama

67 Metascore

After he's shot during a heist in East L.A., an armored truck driver wrestles with rehabilitation and tracking down the man who committed the crime.

Director: Brad Furman | Stars: John Leguizamo, Tyrese Gibson, Rosie Perez, Bobby Cannavale

Votes: 2,119

It never decides if it wants to be a complicated story of a man slowly going insane or a simple revenge pic, cannibalizing itself in the process of its own indecision. [C-]

9. The Bang Bang Club (2010)

R | 106 min | Biography, Drama, History

48 Metascore

A drama based on the true-life experiences of four combat photographers capturing the final days of apartheid in South Africa.

Director: Steven Silver | Stars: Ryan Phillippe, Malin Akerman, Taylor Kitsch, Neels van Jaarsveld

Votes: 9,714

An amazingly unmemorable film. [D-]

10. Naked (1993)

Not Rated | 132 min | Comedy, Drama

84 Metascore

Parallel tales of two sexually obsessed men, one hurting and annoying women physically and mentally, one wandering around the city talking to strangers and experiencing dimensions of life.

Director: Mike Leigh | Stars: David Thewlis, Lesley Sharp, Katrin Cartlidge, Greg Cruttwell

Votes: 31,282 | Gross: $1.77M

Mike Leigh at his finest. Funny, brilliantly cynical, and downright lyrical, Naked offers one of the finest portraits of contemporary England. [A]

11. The Thomas Crown Affair (1968)

Approved | 102 min | Crime, Drama, Romance

66 Metascore

A debonair, adventuresome bank executive believes he has pulled off the perfect multi-million dollar heist, only to match wits with a sexy insurance investigator who will do anything to get her man.

Director: Norman Jewison | Stars: Steve McQueen, Faye Dunaway, Paul Burke, Jack Weston

Votes: 20,863

The screenplay is just an increasingly weak series of excuses for McQueen and Dunaway to display their sexual chemistry, which would be fine if they had any. Over the course of the film, it becomes clear that McQueen is more interested in himself than in his airheaded costar. [C+]

12. Punch-Drunk Love (2002)

R | 95 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

78 Metascore

A psychologically troubled novelty supplier is nudged towards a romance with an English woman, all the while being extorted by a phone-sex line run by a crooked mattress salesman, and purchasing stunning amounts of pudding.

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson | Stars: Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Jason Andrews

Votes: 136,763 | Gross: $17.84M

Nothing short of great. Don't be put off by the casting of Sandler or the mess that was Magnolia (Anderson's previous effort). I can't think of another recent American film that displays such boundless charm and exuberant beauty. [A+]

13. Freaks (1932)

Not Rated | 64 min | Drama, Horror

80 Metascore

A circus' beautiful trapeze artist agrees to marry the leader of side-show performers, but his deformed friends discover she is only marrying him for his inheritance.

Director: Tod Browning | Stars: Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams, Olga Baclanova, Roscoe Ates

Votes: 39,501

Running at a slim 60-plus minutes, it's more a quick, forgettable curio than a fully-fledged film. [C]

14. Assassination Games (2011)

R | 101 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Two assassins agree to work together as one tries to avenge his wife and the other collect a reward for a job.

Director: Ernie Barbarash | Stars: Jean-Claude Van Damme, Scott Adkins, Ivan Kaye, Valentin Teodosiu

Votes: 15,978

Shamelessly derivative and cheap, Assassination Games is one of those movies you watch then completely forget about. Van Damme is still a badass, though. [D]

15. The Seven Year Itch (1955)

Not Rated | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

When his family goes away for the summer, a hitherto faithful husband with an overactive imagination is tempted by a beautiful neighbor.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Tom Ewell, Evelyn Keyes, Sonny Tufts

Votes: 31,637 | Gross: $12.00M

Billy Wilder's filmmaking prowess is nowhere to be found here; it's nothing more than a lazy excuse for Monroe to wiggle across the screen. [C]

16. Rampart (2011)

R | 108 min | Crime, Drama

70 Metascore

Set in 1999 Los Angeles, veteran police officer Dave Brown, the last of the renegade cops, works to take care of his family, and struggles for his own survival.

Director: Oren Moverman | Stars: Woody Harrelson, Ben Foster, Sigourney Weaver, Jon Bernthal

Votes: 22,377 | Gross: $0.97M

Really disappointing. I loved Moverman's last film, The Messenger, but Rampart is too unfocused to effectively capture any of that film's bittersweet humanity. [C]

17. Le Beau Serge (1958)

Not Rated | 98 min | Drama

After long absence, a man returns to his hometown only to find his best friend has become an alcoholic.

Director: Claude Chabrol | Stars: Gérard Blain, Jean-Claude Brialy, Michèle Méritz, Bernadette Lafont

Votes: 2,702

It's a film about growing up, it's a film about hometowns. It's about small town vs. big city. It's about social perceptions and memory. It's genteel and sophisticated while being unabashadly and unpretentiously emotional. It's nothing short of brilliant. [A]

18. Dead End (1937)

Approved | 93 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

The lives of a young man and woman, an infamous gangster and a group of street kids converge one day in a volatile New York City slum.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Sylvia Sidney, Joel McCrea, Humphrey Bogart, Wendy Barrie

Votes: 5,690

Unequivocally awful. The astonishingly bad acting is outweighed only by Wyler's shallow and condescending characterization of the lower classes. [D+]

19. My Joy (2010)

Not Rated | 127 min | Adventure, Drama

78 Metascore

A few days in the life of truck driver Georgi, which seems to be a never-ending nightmare, a spiral of violence and abuses of power.

Director: Sergey Loznitsa | Stars: Viktor Nemets, Vladimir Golovin, Aleksey Vertkov, Dmitriy Gotsdiner

Votes: 2,083 | Gross: $0.01M

A dense and sometimes oblique film, but never boring. Seamlessly weaving brutal and surreal vignettes that span decades, My Joy creates an astonishing and refreshingly original look of Russian society.

20. The Football Factory (2004)

R | 91 min | Crime, Drama, Sport

An insight on the gritty life of a bored male, Chelsea football hooligan who lives for violence, sex, drugs & alcohol.

Director: Nick Love | Stars: Danny Dyer, Frank Harper, Tamer Hassan, Roland Manookian

Votes: 27,396

Little more than just another Guy Ritchie knockoff, but still fun while it lasts. [C+]

21. Sunday Bloody Sunday (1971)

R | 110 min | Drama

The emotional intricacies of a polyamorous relationship between young artist Bob and his two lovers: a lonely male doctor and a frustrated female office worker.

Director: John Schlesinger | Stars: Peter Finch, Glenda Jackson, Murray Head, Peggy Ashcroft

Votes: 5,085

The story of two people teetering on the edge of inevitable heartbreak, Sunday Bloody Sunday flawlessly captures the ups, downs, and flatlines of impending tragedy. Much like David Lean and Noel Coward did 25 years before with Brief Encounter, Schlesinger creates a love story that never forgets the relative mundanity of its characters but never sells them short, embracing the everyday beauty and tragedy found in every human relationship. [A+]

22. This Sporting Life (1963)

Not Rated | 134 min | Drama, Sport

Despite success on the field, a rising rugby star senses the emerging emptiness of his life as his inner angst begins to materialize through aggression and brutality, so he attempts to woo his landlady in hopes of finding reason to live.

Director: Lindsay Anderson | Stars: Richard Harris, Rachel Roberts, Alan Badel, William Hartnell

Votes: 5,455

Gorgeous photography, smooth direction, and a knockout performance by notorious hellraiser Richard Harris all lend this quintessentially British film a whiff of greatness. [A]

23. Dark City (1950)

Not Rated | 98 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

Gamblers who "took" an out-of-town sucker in a crooked poker game feel shadowy vengeance closing in on them.

Director: William Dieterle | Stars: Charlton Heston, Lizabeth Scott, Viveca Lindfors, Dean Jagger

Votes: 1,693

Something of a cop out; it's as if halfway through the film the makers of the film realized they had a thoroughly despicable protagonist and threw in every tired movie shortcut to make him sympathetic. [C]

24. One-Eyed Jacks (1961)

Not Rated | 141 min | Drama, Western

After robbing a Mexican bank, Dad Longworth takes the loot and leaves his partner Rio to be captured but Rio escapes and searches for Dad in California.

Director: Marlon Brando | Stars: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Pina Pellicer, Katy Jurado

Votes: 9,012

A pleasant surprise. While it's not a classic, it is more engaging and ambiguous than I expected.

25. Intacto (2001)

R | 108 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

59 Metascore

An enigmatic tale of four incredibly lucky people whose lives are intertwined by destiny are subject to the laws of fate. They discover that they cannot afford to be without luck as they ... See full summary »

Director: Juan Carlos Fresnadillo | Stars: Max von Sydow, Eusebio Poncela, Leonardo Sbaraglia, Mónica López

Votes: 12,391 | Gross: $0.30M

Entirely forgettable, Intacto's novel premise only serves to make the film more intriguing at the time. [C]

26. Hotel California (2008)

95 min | Action, Crime, Drama

When TROY turned on crime boss DMITRI DEBARTOLLA he was forced to leave Los Angeles and lay low in Miami. After two years, and the loss of his leg in a shootout with a Cuban crime syndicate... See full summary »

Director: Geo Santini | Stars: Erik Palladino, Tyson Beckford, Simon Rex, Tatyana Ali

Votes: 274

One of those post-Tarantino pics that seems to think that inserting the word '*beep*' between every two syllables distracts the audience from inane and inconsequential dialogue. [F]

27. Stagecoach (1939)

Passed | 96 min | Adventure, Drama, Western

93 Metascore

A group of people traveling on a stagecoach find their journey complicated by the threat of Geronimo and learn something about each other in the process.

Director: John Ford | Stars: John Wayne, Claire Trevor, Andy Devine, John Carradine

Votes: 39,549

My first Ford. The character dynamics are wonderfully fleshed out, never succumbing to the temptation of caricature or cliche. I could've done without the unearned sentimentalism at the end, but that's really a minor complaint. [A-]

28. The Yellow Sea (2010)

R | 136 min | Action, Crime, Drama

70 Metascore

When the attempt to kill a professor goes wrong, a series of violent events are triggered which force a taxi driver to run for his life.

Director: Hong-jin Na | Stars: Jung-woo Ha, Yoon-seok Kim, Sung-ha Jo, Seok-jeong Hwang

Votes: 16,858

The needlessly convoluted setup is really just prep for some memorable action sequences, which, in the end, can't redeem a soulless and otherwise turgid movie. [C]

29. The Naked Spur (1953)

Passed | 91 min | Thriller, Western

A bounty hunter trying to bring a murderer to justice is forced to accept the help of two less-than-trustworthy strangers.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: James Stewart, Janet Leigh, Robert Ryan, Ralph Meeker

Votes: 9,343

James Stewart seems a bit out of his element (that may have been the point) in a Western with a few great moments. [B+]

30. 21 Jump Street (2012)

R | 109 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

69 Metascore

A pair of underachieving cops are sent back to a local high school to blend in and bring down a synthetic drug ring.

Directors: Phil Lord, Christopher Miller | Stars: Jonah Hill, Channing Tatum, Ice Cube, Brie Larson

Votes: 487,270 | Gross: $138.45M

Fun, surprisingly heartfelt Odd Couple flick. [B-]

31. Shaun of the Dead (2004)

R | 99 min | Comedy, Horror

76 Metascore

A man's uneventful life is disrupted by the zombie apocalypse.

Director: Edgar Wright | Stars: Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kate Ashfield, Lucy Davis

Votes: 482,419 | Gross: $13.54M

Wright, Pegg and co. are so gleefully reverent of their movie icons it's contagious.

32. Cape Fear (1962)

Passed | 106 min | Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

A lawyer's family is stalked by a man he once helped put in jail.

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Lori Martin

Votes: 24,468

Mitch's bravura performance and a terrifically developed sense of dread power this noir-tinged picture. [B+]

33. No Way Out (1950)

Passed | 106 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A black doctor is assigned to treat two white racist suspects who are brothers, and when one dies, it causes tension that could start a race riot.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Stars: Richard Widmark, Linda Darnell, Stephen McNally, Sidney Poitier

Votes: 3,999

It's hard to trash a movie with such good intentions, but No Way Out is, frankly, nothing short of incompetent, and in the end, too timid to handle such explosive material (the black man is relegated to a role sitting uneasily between top billing and second fiddle. [C]

34. Tower Heist (2011)

PG-13 | 104 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

59 Metascore

When a group of hard-working guys find out they've fallen victim to their wealthy employer's Ponzi scheme, they conspire to rob his high-rise residence.

Director: Brett Ratner | Stars: Eddie Murphy, Ben Stiller, Casey Affleck, Alan Alda

Votes: 127,233 | Gross: $78.05M

Though occasionally very funny, it's kind of a half-assed job on everybody's part. [D]

35. Immortals (2011)

R | 110 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

46 Metascore

Theseus is a mortal man chosen by Zeus to lead the fight against the ruthless King Hyperion, who is on a rampage across Greece to obtain a weapon that can destroy humanity.

Director: Tarsem Singh | Stars: Henry Cavill, Mickey Rourke, John Hurt, Stephen Dorff

Votes: 155,068 | Gross: $83.50M

A bizarre pop art fixture, but more importantly, a blast of a B-movie. [B-]

36. The Spiral Staircase (1946)

Approved | 83 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

In 1916, a shadowy serial killer is targeting women with "afflictions"; one night during a thunderstorm, the mute Helen feels menaced.

Director: Robert Siodmak | Stars: Dorothy McGuire, George Brent, Ethel Barrymore, Kent Smith

Votes: 8,335

A valiant attempt at a murder mystery/social commentary fails on both counts. [C]

37. Gun (I) (2010)

R | 82 min | Action, Crime, Thriller

A drama set in the world of gun-running.

Director: Jessy Terrero | Stars: 50 Cent, Val Kilmer, AnnaLynne McCord, James Remar

Votes: 3,507

Jesus *beep* Christ they don't get worse than this. Incompetent on every level imaginable, but not even in an inadvertantly funny way. [F]

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