Films by Title : K - O

K-19: The Widowmaker (2002)  Badly flawed
Khartoum (1966)  Exemplary
Kids are All Right, The (2010)  Better than average
July 16, 2010

The Kids Are All Right is a sudsy soap opera. It's a concoction of lilac water and spermatozoa -- with lots of wine and whine.

The Kids Are All Right is the story of a contemporary lesbian family. When the two children -- ... more

Kill Your Darlings (2013)  Badly flawed
November 24, 2013

Kill Your Darlings is more about the makers of the Bleat Generation than the Beat Generation.

Set in 1944, the movie focuses on three young, burgeoning writers - Allen Ginsberg (Daniel Radcliffe), Jack Kerouac (Jack Huston) and ... more

Killer Inside Me, The (2010)  Watchable
June 25, 2010

When a screenplay of a movie does not serve its literary source well, it's a major problem.

When a movie is directed tentatively, it's a major problem. When a movie is miscast, it's a major problem.

The Killer Inside ... more

King of Kings (1961)  Better than average
King of Marvin Gardens, The (1972)  Great
King's Speech, The (2010)  Exemplary
Kingdom, The (2007)  Watchable
June 22, 2009

The box office success of The Hangover puts into interesting context another movie about a bachelor party that goes wrong in Las Vegas. The other brutal bachelor blast is 1998's Very Bad Things.

The Hangover is an ... more

Kite Runner, The (2007)  Badly flawed
Kites (2010)  Better than average
May 29, 2010

Kites is an aromatic, cinematic Indian mutton stew -- if that sounds different from usual movie fare, it is.

It's a Bollywood mixture of romance, violence, action, music, and differing cultures and languages. Sometimes it's ... more

Knight and Day (2010)  Very Good
June 27, 2010

Knight and Day is a hoot.

It's a doozy. It's Road Runner and Wile E. Coyote teamed up. By the end, Wile E. has become wily Wonder Woman.

If you think Road Runner cartoons are silly, you probably won't like Kni ... more

Knocked Up (2007)  Watchable
June 14, 2007

Knocked Up is like a Hallmark Greeting Card with crude verse.

Knocked Up is an uneasy mix of ethnic humor, slacker humor, and human drama -- some is amusing, some is indulgent, and some is strained.

It has been immensely well-received ... more

L'Avventura (1960)  Exemplary
L.A. Confidential (1997)  Better than average
La Camioneta (2013)  Better than average
August 11, 2013

La Camioneta is an earnest film about earnest folk.

Its major assets are the people of Guatemala and the symbolism of a bus. The problem that documentarian Mark Kendall faces is that he tries to drive down different roads at the sam ... more

La dolce vita (1960)  Classic
La Femme Nikita (1990)  Very Good
La Vie en Rose (2007)  Very Good
Lady in the Box (2001)  Better than average
May 17, 2001

Lady in the Box debuted at CineVegas last December, then became a hit on the festival circuit

When a film has its world premiere in Las Vegas, what then happens to it?

If the film is the independent Lady in the Box, it goes from Las ... more

Ladykillers, The (2004)  Badly flawed
Larry Crowne (2011)  WatchableLarry Crowne (2011)  Watchable
Last Chance Harvey (2008)  Very Good
January 29, 2009

Last Chance Harvey is an easygoing trip abroad.

It features two relaxed pros playing acting tennis -- hitting graceful lobs to each other, and then artful returns.

The two acting aces are Dustin Hoffman and Emma Thompson, wh ... more

Last Detail, The (1973)  Better than average
Last Hurrah, The (1958)  Watchable
Last King of Scotland, The (2006)  Very Good
Last Picture Show, The (1971)  Better than average
Last Station, The (2009)  Better than average
February 13, 2010

The Last Station is a tale of venerable conflict, deception, and love.

It's an age-old, old age power struggle. But it's not just in the room down the hall of the retirement home; it's in Mother Russia.

Based on ... more

Last Temptation of Christ, The (1988)  Very Good
Last Vegas (2013)  Better than average
November 6, 2013

Last Vegas is more old coots than hoots. Fortunately, it has a saving grace.

With a quartet of aging male acting pros - Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman, and Kevin Kline - is a female that saves the day and th ... more

Laurel Canyon (2002)  Very Good
Lawless (2012)  Better than average
August 28, 2012

Where has the western gone?

It's gone to Virginia.

Lawless is about bootleggers during Prohibition in the early 1930s, but it has all the staples of a western. Instead of the five Earp brothers, Lawless is about t ... more

Lawrence of Arabia (1962)  Classic
Layer Cake (2004)  Very Good
Le Diner de Cons (1998)  Better than average
League of Their Own, A (1992)  Very Good
Leatherheads (2008)  Watchable
Lebanon (2010)  Very Good
Left Handed Gun, The (1958)  Very Good
Leon the Professional (1994)  Very Good
Les Misérables (2012)  Watchable
Letters from Iwo Jima (2007)  Great
Life Itself (2014)  Very Good
July 11, 2014

Life Itself is a profile in criticism. It's a profile in courage. And it's a profile in ego.

Movie reviewer Roger Ebert plays the lead role of the courageous, driven egotist in the documentary of his own life [now on VOD]. ... more

Life of Pi (2012)  Very Good
Life, Above All (2010)  Better than average
September 9, 2011

Life, Above All is 100 minutes of grief and courage.

We share an arduous trek with 12-year old Chanda (Khomotso Manyaka) in rural South Africa, as she tries to fathom fatal illness around her. She has multiple, heavy burdens on her ... more

Light of Day (1987)  Better than average
Lilo and Stitch (2002)  Better than average
Limitless (2011)  Very Good
Lincoln (2012)  Better than average
Lincoln Lawyer, The (2011)  Better than average
Lion King, The (1994)  Great
Lions for Lambs (2007)  Awful
Little Miss Sunshine (2006)  Watchable
Live Free or Die Hard (2007)  Very Good
July 13, 2007

Live Free or Die Hard is an over-the-top, fun rampage.

Moviegoers often have to suspend their disbelief to relate to a movie. They have to accept the unbelievable, even, at times, the ridiculous, to enjoy themselves. But the movie has to e ... more

Locke (2014)  Very Good
Lolita (1962)  Great
Lone Ranger, The (2013)  Badly flawed
July 3, 2013

When I was a small boy, I thought The Lone Ranger was The Long Ranger.

Little did I know how prescient I was.

In 2013 The Lone Ranger is long. Very, very long. And clumsy. And tacky. Director Gore Verbinski shows how tacky a ... more

Lone Survivor (2013)  Better than average
January 8, 2014

In an age in which everyone who wears a uniform is called a "hero," it may be jarring to see a movie that is based on an actual heroic event. Lone Survivor is such a movie.

Of course, the difficulty in telling a "true ... more

Long Goodbye, The (1973)  Great
Long Green Line, The (2008)  Better than average
December 10, 2012

The Long Green Line is a high-spirited celebration of life on a high school cross country team in Illinois.

It's not your average cross country team. It's the York Dukes in Elmhurst, Illinois, who had won 24 state titles, an ... more

Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977)  Badly flawed
Lookout, The (2007)  Exemplary
Looper (2012)  Watchable
September 25, 2012

Looper is stylish mayhem.

It careens along the edge of silliness. It stalls and starts and spins out. It's a spastic attack on its audience's suspension of disbelief.

Who knew the future could contain so much hokum? ... more

Loren Cass (2006)  Badly flawed
Lost in Translation (2003)  Very Good
Lost Weekend, The (1945)  Better than average
Love Crime (2011)  Very Good
October 9, 2011

Love Crime is a slick French cinema croissant filled with sweet and sour revenge.

Part way through, you wonder what is going on. You simply aren't sure where it's going.

It all falls into place at the end -- perhaps ... more

Lovely Bones, The (2009)  Better than average
Lucky You (2007)  Better than average
May 10, 2007

I don't think I believed the movie Lucky You, but I sort of enjoyed it.

A caveat: I enjoy watching poker on ESPN. If you don't, this movie will bore you.

Set in Las Vegas, Lucky You is a relationship movie, but that damned poker keeps gett ... more

Lucy (2014)  Better than average
July 29, 2014

Lucy takes us on giddy flights of fancy.

It's a taut, wild 89 minutes. Lucy is a lark. And a rhino, a chimp, and a star-computer.

In Taiwan, Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) becomes a drug mule, the package breaks inside ... more

M*A*S*H (1970)  Great
Magic in the Moonlight (2014)  Very Good
July 24, 2014

Magic in the Moonlight is a trifle. But it's a Woody Allen trifle, which means it twinkles.

It should please its target audience, as well as those looking for easy escapism.

In Magic in the Moonlight, Woody takes ... more

Magnificent Ambersons, The (1942)  Exemplary
Malena (2001)  Badly flawed
February 1, 2001

Giuseppe Tornatore's Malena lacks emotional resonance

For those of us who love Cinema Paradiso, the news that its Italian director Giuseppe Tornatore and his musical soulmate Ennio Morricone were getting back together to do another ... more

Maltese Falcon, The (1941)  Classic
Mamma Mia! (2008)  Watchable
Man of Steel (2013)  Watchable
June 15, 2013

Man of Steel is clutter and clatter. It's racket and rumpus.

It soars, but it also flounders.

The main clutterer is writer David S. Goyer [Christopher Nolan also contributed to the story.] The clatterer is director Zack ... more

Man on Fire (2004)  Badly flawed
Man on the Moon (1999)  Great
Man on Wire (2008)  Very Good
Man Who Fell to Earth, The (1976)  Great
Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)  Great
Manhattan Melodrama (1934)  Better than average
Manhunter (1986)  Great
March of the Penguins (2005)  Exemplary
Margin Call (2011)  Very Good
October 24, 2011

Margin Call puts human faces behind the masks of Big Business.

Although one character says, "This is not a prison" -- in many ways the business monoliths on Wall Street can be related to prisons.

They both have harsh ... more

Marley (2012)  Great
Marnie (1964)  Very Good
Master, The (2012)  Watchable
September 26, 2012

Writer/director Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master baits the audience.

One notable reviewer, in a major magazine, ended his rave: "He [Anderson] clarifies nothing, but leaves us brooding on our own confusion."

WTF ... more

Match Point (2005)  Great
McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971)  Great
Mean Streets (1973)  Exemplary
Mechanic, The (1972)  Better than average
Medora (2013)  Very Good
April 8, 2014

Medora is a poignant gasp at the devastation of small town America.

The sometimes-fascinating documentary - ably shot by cinematographer Rachael Counce - is a bleakly elegiac glance at a disappearing rural Indiana small town ... more

Melancholia (2011)  Great
Melvin and Howard (1980)  Exemplary
Men in Black 3 (2012)  Exemplary
June 2, 2012

1968 was the year both Will Smith and Josh Brolin were born.

Now Smith and Brolin get together on screen for about an hour in Men in Black 3 - set when? 1969.

It's a serendipitous uniting. Smith again plays Agent ... more

Men Who Stare at Goats, The (2009)  Watchable
Mesrine: Killer Instinct (2008)
Mesrine: Public Enemy #1 (2010)  Very Good
October 27, 2010

The late Swedish author Stieg Larsson is the literary darling of 2010. His Millennium trilogy -- three novels published posthumously -- has caused an international sensation. I admit that I am among the smitten.

Larsson's novels are en ... more

Messenger, The (2009)  Very Good
Miami Vice (2006)  Badly flawed
Michael Clayton (2007)  Better than average
Micmacs (2010)  Badly flawed
July 4, 2010

Micmacs is a Gallic mishmash.

It's a sloppy souffle that falls more than it rises. It's airless whimsy.

Micmacs is the sporadic story of Bazil (Dany Boon), whose father was killed by a landmine in north Africa. Bazil ... more

Midnight Cowboy (1969)  Very Good
Midnight in Paris (2011)  Great
Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy, A (1982)  Better than average
Mighty Macs, The (2011)  Watchable
Milk (2008)  Very Good
Million Dollar Arm (2014)  Better than average
May 19, 2014

Million Dollar Arm could be subtitled The Best Exotic Marigold Pitching Mound.

It's a genial - in this case, Disneyfied - human interest tale that is loosely based on an actual occurrence.

Facts are not a ... more

Million Dollar Baby (2005)  Great
Million Ways to Die in the West, A (2014)  Badly flawed
May 31, 2014

A Million Ways to Die in the West is a clumsy, overwrought comedy. It's raucously dumb.

It could be subtitled How the Wit Was Lost.

It doesn't push the envelope - it crams it full of urine and excrement an ... more

Mini, The (2007)  Watchable
July 15, 2010

When a critic reviews an independent movie, he realizes it has the creator's heart and soul in it. He may cut it some slack.

Ron Beck wrote and directed the indie The Mini on a budget of $25,000. It has some stylistic grace, and ... more

Minority Report (2002)  Better than average
Miracle (2004)  Very Good
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)  Very Good
March 27, 2008

People often complain, "they don't make movies like they used to." But on occasion a film is made for that audience.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is such a film. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day is a well-acted comedy with en ... more

Miss Potter (2006)  Exemplary
Mission Impossible II (2000)  Very Good
Mission, The (1986)  Exemplary
Mission: Impossible - Ghost Protocol (2011)  Very Good
December 18, 2011

Mission Impossible - Ghost Protocol was was made for IMAX. Be sure to see it on the huge screen.

It's MI - Maximum. It blows up the Mission Impossible Force's stature. It also blows up part of of the Kremlin. As well as reason and l ... more

Mississippi Burning (1988)  Very Good
Missouri Breaks, The (1976)  Watchable
Moneyball (2011)  Better than average
September 26, 2011

Moneyball is an impelling triple. It's smart, agile, and effective.

But it's anti-climactic, as though the runner is stranded on third base.

Moneyball is the story of Billy Beane (Brad Pitt), the general manag ... more

Mongol (2008)  Very Good
Monitor, The (2012)  Watchable
July 28, 2012

The Monitor [originally titled Babycall] is a morose sturdy of morose behavior with an actress giving a morose performance. It's all pretty morose.

The Monitor is the story of Anna (Noomi Rapace) who has come to Os ... more

Monkeybone (2001)  Badly flawed
March 1, 2001

The already flopping Monkeybone deserves its fate

The film Monkeybone is a raucous mess. Director Henry Selick mixes animation and live action to the noisy, clumsy detriment of both.

It's the strident story of cartoonist Stu Miley ( ... more

Monsieur Lazhar (2012)  Very Good
July 5, 2012

Maybe the best thing about Monsieur Lazhar is that the school children in it really seem to care about education.

Of course, it's in Canada.

Set in a middle school in Montreal, the French-language Canadian film is the st ... more

Monster (2003)  Very Good
Monuments Men, The (2014)  Watchable
February 9, 2014

George Clooney is a man of many talents. He's an engaging movie star.

But at times his glibness takes over. His geniality gets in the way.

The Monuments Men is a project that should make a serious - if not profound & ... more

Moon is Blue, The (1953)  Better than average
Most Wanted Man, A (2014)  Watchable
July 23, 2014

A Most Wanted Man is The Spy Who Came in from the Tepid.

For much of its length, the adaptation by Aussie screenwriter Andrew Bovell, of a John le Carre novel, is espionage ennui.

Le Carre's writing has spirit, depth, an ... more

Mother (2010)  Very Good
Motherland (2009)  Watchable
July 17, 2009

I'm afraid criticizing a movie such as Motherland is like booing at a funeral.

It's almost out of place to have doubts about a movie that so earnestly wants to offer healing. Almost.

I have a soft spot for an endeavo ... more

Motorcycle Diaries (2004)  Exemplary
Mud (2013)  Great
Muppets, The (2011)  Exemplary
December 26, 2011

The "Rainbow Connection" is reconnected in 2011. It's a dazzling reunion.

The Muppets is a joyful mix of the nostalgic past and a vibrant present. It tops the list of family movies for the holidays.

If you're ... more

Must Read After My Death (2009)  Better than average
February 5, 2009

Playwright Luigi Pirandello once wrote Six Characters in Search of an Author.

Filmmaker Morgan Dews has concocted a movie that could be called Six Family Members in Search of a Way Out.

Dews's film is titled Mu ... more

My Best Friend's Wedding (1997)  Watchable
My Week with Marilyn (2011)  Very Good
Mysterious Skin (2004)  Classic
Mystic River (2003)  Great
Nanny McPhee (2005)  Watchable
Nashville (1975)  Classic
Nathalie (2003)
National Treasure (2004)  Very Good
National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007)  Better than average
Natural, The (1984)  Better than average
Nebraska (2013)  Better than average
December 11, 2013

Nebraska is The Last Picture Show (1971) without the picture show.

Photographed in black and white, it's mostly set in fictional Hawthorne, Nebraska, which lacks even tumbleweeds. I suppose the bleak town has seen better ... more

Neil Young Journeys (2012)  Exemplary
New World, The (2005)  Better than average
Night Listener, The (2006)  Badly flawed
Night of the Hunter (1955)  Classic
Nixon (1995)  Great
No Country for Old Men (2007)  Classic
No Way Out (1987)  Great
Non-Stop (2014)  Watchable
March 1, 2014

Non-Stop is Mistakes on a Plane.

It's not Taken: it's Mistaken.

If you're satisfied to see Liam Neeson, playing Atlas of the air, trying to carry a movie on his wide shoulders, you should enj ... more

North by Northwest (1959)  Classic
Not Fade Away (2012)  Better than average
December 26, 2012

Not Fade Away is one of those films that really depend on what you bring to it.

It's a personal experience - both for the writer/director David Chase and maybe for scattered audience members. It may leave the average audienc ... more

Nowhere Boy (2009)  Badly flawed
Nymphomaniac: Volume 1 (2014)  Badly flawed
March 29, 2014

Early in Nymphomaniac: Volume 1, Seligman (Stellan Skarsgard) talks about fly fishing. Except this fly has a zipper. And another one. And another one.

Seligman discovers Joe (Charlotte Gainsbourg) one night, bloody and beaten, lying ... more

Oblivion (2013)  Badly flawed
April 23, 2013

Scientologists, forget wives.

Get Tom Cruise some actresses. Please.

Cruise's forte, as an actor, is his solid credibility. But in Oblivion he has more chemistry with drones than with his two love interests.

They ... more

Of Gods and Men (2010)  Exemplary
Once in a Lifetime (2006)  Watchable
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)  Classic
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)  Classic
Ordinary People (1980)  Very Good
Outlaw Josey Wales, The (1976)  Very Good

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