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Full-length reviews of contemporary and classic films by

one of Western Canada's leading online film critics

c r a i g   j.   k o b a n

 

 

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moviequoteoftheweek

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

"You just gotta keep livin' man.  L-I-V-I-N."

 

Matthew McConaughey

 

DAZED AND CONFUSED

 

1993

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

CrAiGeR's

pick of the week

 

SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNSTMAN

(PG-13) jjj1/2  

 "...director Rupert Sanders envisions a SNOW WHITE universe of startling creativity and boundless variety."

 
 

 

 
 

CrAiGeR's movie blog:

[ ARCHIVES ]

 

Days of Future Past: The Validity of Retrofitting Yesterday's Games and Movies for Today's Fans.

September 10, 2015

 

The Most Cinematic Video Games of All-time

June 23, 2015

 

My Top 5 Favorite Video Games of All-Time!

September 19, 2014

 

James Gunn: The Guardian of Science Fiction's Future - Why his 'Guardian of the Galaxy' is the most surprising - and unlikely - hit of 2014.

August 15, 2014

 

 
     
 

craiger'srecentreviews:

Total number of reviews in archive:

1457

 

 

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My last appearance:

Thursday, April 28, 2016

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! Review

 

My next appearance:

T.B.A.

 

Previous appearances:

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Summer Film Season Preview

 

Thursday, March 31, 2016

BATMAN V SUPERMAN review

 

Friday, March 18, 2016

Must-See Films Before Seeing BATMAN V SUPERMAN

 

February 29, 2016

Academy Awards Recap

 

My Oscar Picks

 

February 4, 2016

Digital Film Festival Picks

 

January 22, 2016

Oscar Nomination Snubs

 

January 7, 2015

BEST FILMS of 2015

 

December 21, 2015

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS Review

(SPOILER FREE)

 

December 18, 2015

STAR WARS Saga Retrospective

 

November 22, 2015

MOCKINGJAY: PART 2 Review

 

November 12, 2015

SPECTRE Review

 

October 30, 2015

Recent Underrated Scary Movies

 

October 15, 2015

THE WALK review

 

October 1, 2015

Underrated Matt Damon Films

 

September 17, 2015

Underrated Johnny Depp Films

 

September 3, 2015

Fall Movie Season Preview

 

August 20, 2015

WORST FILMS of the Summer

 

August 6, 2015

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - ROGUE NATION Review

 

July 23, 2015

ANT-MAN Review

 

July 9, 2015

TERMINATOR GENISYS Discussion

 

Monday, June 22, 2015

Midterm Movie Report Card

 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

A Writer That Recently Inspired My Work

 

Monday, May 25, 2015

Directors That Began Their Careers In Animation

 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Underrated Tom Hardy Films

 

Monday, April 27, 2015

2015 Summer Film Preview

 

Monday, April 13, 2015

Most Influential Summer Films of All-time

 

Monday, March 30, 2015

Underrated Will Ferrell Movies

 

Monday, March 16, 2015

Kenneth Branagh film retrospective

 

Monday, March 2, 2015

Underrated Will Smith Performances

 

Friday, February 20, 2015

If I Picked the Oscar Winners 

 

Monday, February 2, 2015

My Most Anticipated Films of the First Half of 2015 

 

Monday, January 19, 2015

AMERICAN SNIPER and Clint Eastwood's most underrated films as a director 

 

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

ANNIE, INTO THE WOODS, and movie musicals

 

Monday, December 22, 2014

The BEST films of 2014

 

Monday, December 8, 2014

The WORST films of 2014.

 

Monday, November 24, 2014

THE HUNGER GAMES: MOCKINGJAY PART 1 Discussion

 

Thursday, November 13, 2014

TBT: Top 3 Films of the 1960s

 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

TBT: Top 3 Films of the 1970s

 

Thursday, October 30, 2014 

TBT: Top 3 Films of the 1980's

 

Thursday, October 16, 2014 

TBT: Top 3 Films of the 1990's

 

Thursday, October 16, 2014 

GONE GIRL discussion

 

Wednesday, September 29, 2014 

Movies Based on TV Shows

 

Wednesday, September 15, 2014 

INDIE FILM TRIBUTE:

Richard Linklater's BOYHOOD

 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014 

Fall Movie Preview

 

Monday, August 18, 2014

Robin Williams Tribute

(video unavailable...sorry)

 

Friday, August 8, 2014 

Guardians of the Galaxy discussion 

 

Monday, July 21, 2014 

San Diego Comic Con

 

Monday, July 7, 2014 

Reflecting on my site's 10th Anniversary 

 

Wednesday, June 23, 2014 

2014 Midterm Movie Report Card

(video unavailable)

 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014 

Edge of Tomorrow Discussion

 

Friday, May 23, 2014 

Memorable Monster Films

 

Friday, May 9, 2014 

Amazing Spider-man 2 Discussion 

 

Friday, April 25, 2014 

Summer Film Season Preview 

 

Friday, April 11, 2014 

Captain America: The Winter Soldier Discussion 

 

Friday, March 28, 2014 

DIVERGENT

 

Friday, March 14, 2014 

Great Graphic Novel Film Adaptations 

 

Friday, February 14, 2014 

Unconventional Romance/Date Films

 

Friday, January 31, 2014 

Great Frankenstein Films 

 

Friday, January 17, 2014 

BEST FILMS of 2013

 

Friday, January 3, 2014 

Biggest Movie News Stories of 2013 

 

Friday, December 20, 2013 

Tribute to director Al White / GEEKS 

 

 

 

 

 

EVERYBODY WANTS SOME!! 

(Rjjj1/2      

That 80's Movie!!

When Richard Linklater’s DAZED AND CONFUSED was released back in 1993 it was heralded as a love ballad to 1970’s nostalgia and the universal social pastime of “hanging out.” The latter sentiment obviously has broad appeal.  I was barely a child during the mid-1970s (the time when the film was set), but I nevertheless intimately related to the film's comings and goings of its high school characters...

Posted April 29, 2016

THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER'S WAR

(PG-13jj    

Two medieval twisted sisters for the price of one

Question: Was the movie world ravenously clamoring for a Snow White-less sequel to 2012’s SNOW WHITE AND THE HUNTSMAN?  Answer: Not…really.  To quote its full title, THE HUNTSMAN: WINTER’S WAR commits the greatest cinematic sin possible for big screen fantasies: it’s resoundingly dull and inspires frequent watch checking...

Posted April 29, 2016

ONE MORE TIME (Rjjj        

A melody of family dysfunction

Robert Edwards’ ONE MORE TIME is superficially about a dysfunctional family unit and an aging, washed up pop star, so thoughts of it spiraling out of control and into multiple overused and stale genre conventions were pretty overwhelming for me going in.  Surprisingly, the film is quite a bit more perceptive and smartly defined with its characters than I was frankly expecting...

Posted April 29, 2016

THE JUNGLE BOOK 

(PGjjj1/2     

This boy's life

Jon Favreau’s THE JUNGLE BOOK is arguably one of the greatest examples of a live action film fabricated from literal nothingness that I’ve ever seen.  Calling this Disney adaptation of the company’s own beloved 1967 animated film (in turn, based on Rudyard Kipling’s collective literary works) a “live action film” is almost inaccurate...

Posted April 23, 2016

CRIMINAL (Rj1/2     

A criminally wasted ensemble cast of industry veterans

A funny thing happened to me about 20 minutes into watching the new action/espionage thriller CRIMINAL.  It soon dawned on me that the rather impeccably assembled cast in the film have all been in super hero films from Marvel and DC.  Doing some quick witted mental gymnastics, I realized that CRIMINAL stars Commissioner Gordon, Two Face, Deadpool, Jonathan Kent, Wonder Woman, and Faora-UI...

Posted April 23, 2016

HARDCORE HENRY (Rjj1/2    

High octane action from a different perspective

For years critics have frequently bemoaned that many modern Hollywood action films look and feel like simplistically adrenalized video games.  HARDCORE HENRY is a new action thriller that goes well out of its way to ostensibly mimic the aesthetic of video games (more specifically, first person shooters) throughout its 96-minute running time...

Posted April 17, 2016

THE BOSS (Rj    

McCarthyism run amok

I don’t hate Melissa McCarthy.  I really don’t, contrary to what many of you may think.  She’s talented.  That much is clear.  Yet, I’ve grown to despise what’s developing into a laundry list of witless, puerile, and dreadfully unfunny comedies that’s she’s written, starred in, and co-produced.  Cringe inducing, laugh-free endurance tests of will like the grotesquely awfully TAMMY and the equally wretched IDENTITY THIEF wallowed in portraying the same tired and overused version of the obligatory McCarthy comedic character...

Posted April 17, 2016

DEMOLITION (Rjjj

Destruction therapy

Jean-Marc Vallee’s DEMOLITION is a problematic, but pretty fascinating drama that taps into the rather unexpected – and sometimes unhealthy – ways that people sift through grief, personal trauma, and mourning.  Far too frequently, losing the life of a loved one produces a whirlwind of conflicting emotions that are difficult to process and deal with...

Posted April 17, 2016

EYE IN THE SKY (Rjjj1/2   

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind

Much like 2015’s terribly underrated and little seen GOOD KILL, Gavin Hood’s methodically unnerving and thematically absorbing EYE IN THE SKY is a thriller that channels suspense not from cookie cutter action sequences, per se, but rather with its deliberate and agonizingly prolonged pacing...

Posted April 7, 2016

THE WAVE (Rjjj

A disaster epic that mostly washes away Hollywood troupes

I’ve become so jaded and tired of the natural disaster genre that I frankly have to pinch and remind myself that this is one that’s somehow worthy of me caring about it.  At their best, these films are sometimes gloriously engineered spectacles that inspire fear and wonder in the mayhem presented, but at their worst they're intellectually vacant eye candy motivated by cheap, sensationalistic titillation that borders on – and then crosses it – shameful disaster porn...

Posted April 7, 2016

BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE

 (PG-13) jjj   

When larger than life orphans clash

To quote its full – and somewhat longwinded – title, BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE is a super hero epic (the second entry in the DC Cinematic Universe post-MAN OF STEEL) that has an operatic visual scope and scale that oftentimes – but not all of the time – matches its fairly courageous story and thematic ambitions...

Posted March 29, 2016

THE LAST MAN ON THE MOON

(No MPAA Rating) jjjj   

Confessions of a space cowboy

Only twelve people have ever journeyed through the heavens, into outer space, and stepped foot on the moon.  Let that settle in for a bit.  Some of these brave heroes even managed to make the pilgrimage to our nearest satellite not once, but twice.  Apollo astronaut Eugene Cernan was just one of those men.  He first went to the moon – albeit, without actually touching down on it – as part of the Apollo 10 surveying mission...

Posted March 29, 2016

THE DIVERGENT SERIES: 

ALLEGIANT  (PG-13) j1/2   

I'm an insurgent that refuses to swear allegiance to Divergent series

The stakes have never been more non-existent and disinteresting in THE DIVERGENT SERIES as they are in ALLEGIANT, the second last (sigh) installment in a four film series based... on a trilogy of books (double sigh).  I was, in all fairness, responsive towards the world presented in the 2014 introductory chapter, hoping that its would-be thought provoking ideas and themes would germinate more in its follow-up...

Posted March 25, 2016

WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT (R) jjj

A much needed feminist prerogative of life covering the war torn trenches

 

The new fact-based Afghanistan wartime dramedy WHISKEY TANGO FOXTROT (military slang for WTF?) does something that most other examples of this genre have seemingly failed to do: It paints a fairly compelling and refreshing portrait of strong-willed and career focused women on a journey of self-discovery in combat-ravaged countries and tells the ground zero story of the conflict from their perspectives...

 

Posted March 25, 2016

PEE-WEE'S BIG HOLIDAY 

(No MPAA Rating) jjj1/2  

Prep your mind, body, soul and root bear barrels for a grand adventure

There’s a moment in PEE WEE’S BIG HOLIDAY that solidifies why the character is such an endearing original.  It also put a smile on my face that was impossible to wipe off for over 90 minutes.  Pee Wee (still played by the shockingly ageless Paul Reubens) is in his car and making his very first pilgrimage outside of the quaint and comfy confines of his hometown, the appropriately named Fairville...

Posted March 25, 2016

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE  

(PG-13) jjj1/2  

A refreshingly different kind of monster film...and sequel

 

CLOVERFIELD – which was then shrouded in more enigmatic secrecy than a typical STAR WARS franchise installment – kind of came out of relative nowhere back in 2008 and did a reasonably solid job of revitalizing the giant rampaging monsters genre.  Thanks largely to a brilliantly opaque marketing campaign and compelling usage of a found footage aesthetic, the J.J. Abrams produced and Matt Reeves directed affair...

 

Posted March 19, 2016

THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY (Rjj

A grimly and oftentimes tastelessly unfunny spy comedy

I have absolutely no idea how I’m supposed to review this film, nor do I truly know whether I should recommend it on any tangible level.  Granted, that’s precisely what a film critic is supposed to do with every review, but THE BROTHERS GRIMSBY throws real qualitative curveballs at its audience throughout its mercifully brief 82 minute running time...

Posted March 19, 2016

LONDON HAS FALLEN (Rjj1/2  

DIE HARDERER

2013’s OLYMPUS HAS FALLEN was one of the most blatantly obvious – but also one of the best – DIE HARD clones that I’ve ever seen.  It also was the finer of the two White House Invasion movies that were also released that year (sorry, WHITE HOUSE DOWN).  Watching a one-man army engage in a deadly and clandestine mission to rid the president’s home of nasty Korean terrorists had a distinctive John McClane-ian vibe to it all, and gloriously so...

Posted March 13, 2016

EDDIE THE EAGLE (PG-13) jj1/2  

This eagle has not quite landed

EDDIE THE EAGLE is an awfully warm hearted and sweetly sentimental reality based inspirational sports drama that’s awfully hard to hate.  Regrettably, it’s also a film that milks every single obligatory cliché and convention from its genre and never fully feels inclined to go creatively beyond its manipulative schmaltz...

Posted March 13, 2016

GODS OF EGYPT

(PG-13) j

These all-powerful deities deserve a more powerful movie

The new fantasy film GODS OF EGYPT feels like it was written by a five-year-old boy that likes to play with action figures in his sandbox, making up his own outrageously nonsensical narrative as he goes along...

Posted March 8, 2016

TRIPLE 9  (Rjjj

A standard order genre thriller with a few devious tricks up its sleeve

John Hillcoat’s TRIPLE 9 is a new crooked cops ‘n robbers heist thriller that initially gets bogged down in some convoluted and murky storytelling, but once the film achieves momentum and lift off and builds towards a rather sensationally intense climax it became easy to forgot its somewhat troublesome scripting flaws...

Posted March 8, 2016

THE WITCH (Rjjjj

A masterfully eerie tale of colonial horror

Any horror film can throw violence, gore, and jump scare up on the screen in hopes of terrifying audience members.  I’ve always been more frightened, though, of the intangible unknown of what’s to come next in a film from scene to scene.  Recent magnificent horror films like last year’s IT FOLLOWS and THE WITCH understand this notion rather perfectly...

Posted March 1, 2016

RACE (PG-13jjj

A sports film with more on the line than simply relaying athletic glory

 

RACE, as far as sports biopics go, is a fairly paint-by-numbers affair in terms of its approach and certainly doesn’t break any new substantial ground in the already crowded genre.  The film dutifully covers key aspects of its subject matter’s life – in its case, American track and field athlete and four-time Olympic gold medalist Jesse Owens – in a fashion that would mostly suit the modest needs of a made-for-TV film...

 

Posted March 1, 2016

DEADPOOL (Rjjj1/2

Time to make the chimi-f--kin-changas!!!

DEADPOOL marks the only time in big screen Marvel super hero history that its title mutant character refers to another hero as – ahem! – a “chrome cock-gobbler.”  Right out of the gate, DEADPOOL emphatically states its case for being in a whole other league apart from not only other Marvel films, but also from all other films based on costume clad crusaders of justice…period...

Posted February 20, 2016

ZOOLANDER 2 (PG-13jj1/2

Is it time to write this franchise's eugoogly?

I typically love comedies about hopelessly clueless idiots.  This is probably why I adored the first ZOOLANDER film back in 2001, which featured a main character as intellectually vacant as they came that paraded around in a delightfully madcap and hilarious send up of the fashion industry as a whole...

Posted February 20, 2016

CAROL (Rjjj

A tale of love during an era that admonished its kind

Even though Todd Haynes' CAROL is set decades in the past, his thoroughly moving and touchingly performed period drama speaks to many modern truths about the manner that society imposes narrow-minded rules on certain individuals as to what’s acceptable and what’s not...

Posted February 20, 2016

HAIL, CAESAR! (PG-13jjj1/2

Hail, Coen Brothers!

The Coen Brothers’ HAIL, CAESAR! is not the first time that the sibling directorial team has made a film that has satirized and/or commented on the industry that they work in, nor is it the only film on their resumes to be bathed in 1950’s nostalgia.  After the wonderful, but decidedly somber INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS, HAIL, CAESAR! represents a rousing and pleasant return to comedic filmmaking waters for the Coens...

Posted February 14, 2016

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES (PG-13jjj

This ain't your grandparents' Jane Austen

If you overlook its beyond obvious one-joke premise, PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND – yes – ZOMBIES is a film that is pretty damn faithful to the essence and spirit of Jane Austen’s beloved and classic novel…while throwing in hordes of the undead and copious amounts or gravity defying martial arts and all-out gory mayhem...

Posted February 14, 2016

KUNG FU PANDA 3

(PGjjj

SKADOOSH!

I have to be honest here: I didn’t think that there could possibly be three delectably satisfying films about a relatively simplistic, one-joke premise involving an animal – in this case, yes, a panda – that knows kung fu...

Posted February 8, 2016

THE FINEST HOURS 

(PG-13jjj1/2    

A traditionally told human survival drama done exceedingly well

The descriptor “old fashioned” often gets thrown out in film review circles these days with a largely negative connotation.  THE FINEST HOURS is a new historical man versus nature disaster film that’s old fashioned to its very core.  It’s told with broad and traditional strokes...

Posted February 8, 2016

THE 5TH WAVE (PG-13j1/2   

An invasion of overused alien invasion and young adult conventions

THE 5TH WAVE is one of the dopiest alien invasion films that I’ve seen as of late.  It also just might be one of the most lazily derivative, seeing as it seems to be lamentably cherry picking some of the most overused concepts and ideas from countless other past – and better – sci-fi genre films...

Posted January 29, 2016

13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI (Rjj   

It's no secret: Michael Bayian overkill hurts this fact-based thriller

13 HOURS: THE SECRET SOLDIERS OF BENGHAZI is a potentially great reality based military/political thriller trapped within a very mediocre shell.  Based on Mitchell Zuckoff’s 2014 book of the same same, the film deals with the 2012 Benghazi attacks that took place on the anniversary of 9/11 in 2012...

Posted January 29, 2016

Here's where the fun begins!  After much delay, here are my TOP 10 reasons why you all should have rushed out to the cinemas in 2015.  Beyond that, I've expanded my list, as I do every year, to a broader TOP 25 to celebrate the other great films worthy of mention.

Posted January 18, 2016 

Updated January 22, 2016

THE REVENANT (Rjjjj    

Thirsting for vengeance in an oppressively bleak world

As both a meditative commentary on the nature of obsessively seeking revenge and a powerfully rendered outdoor survival thriller, Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s THE REVENANT is clearly in a class all by itself.  The recent Oscar winning director (for BIRDMAN) has returned with his sixth film, this time fully exploring the harsh extremes of an oppressively hostile wilderness and how that adds fuel to the emotional fires of men that wish to do harm to one another...

Posted January 18, 2016

THE BIG SHORT (Rjjj   

The long subprime mortgage financial con

THE BIG SHORT is a new comedy satire that displays a remarkable level of creativity and nerve in trying to make sense out of the completely senseless Financial Crisis of 2008.  Based on the 2010 Michael Lewis book of the same name (which chronicled the then housing market and credit bubble)...

Posted January 14, 2016

CONCUSSION (PG-13jjj   

Game brain

It’s sort of amazing to consider that in our modern technologically advanced era that the human brain remains largely a mystery to medical science.  Anyone doubting that assertion needs to consider the fact that properly diagnosing concussions – and treating them as severe injuries to the brain with potentially life altering consequences to those affected - is a relatively new phenomenon...

Posted January 14, 2016

BROOKLYN (PG-13jjj1/2  

Alone in America

BROOKLYN is one of those exceptionally rare period dramas that’s low key, understated, and serenely heartrending.  It’s an intimately and deeply felt chronicle of a young Irish women bravely thrusting herself into the unknown by moving away from her homeland and trying to make a new life for herself in America...

Posted January 14, 2016

LEGEND (Rjjj  

Two Tom Hardys for the price of one

Not to be confused with the 1985 Ridley Scott fantasy film starring Tom Cruise of the same name, LEGEND is a new fact-based crime drama that explores twin brother gangsters that were the foremost leaders in organized crime in the East End of London during the 1950’s and 1960’s...

Posted January 14, 2016

LABYRINTH: 

30th Anniversary Tribute Review

(PG) jjj1/2   

"So, the labyrinth is a piece of cake, is it? Let's see how you deal with a little slice?"

LABYRINTH would never be made today.  In our pixelized-heavy modern age with movie after movie relying on a heavy preponderance of computer generated fakery to tell stories, it sure was a refreshing trip to recently re-visit Jim Henson’s 1986 fantasy...

Posted January 14, 2016

 

2015 has come and gone, so I've taken it upon myself to inform everyone of the ten reasons why you should have stayed away - far away - from cinemas in the year that was.

And trust me...all ten mentioned here were very worthy contenders.

Posted January 11, 2016

THE HATEFUL EIGHT (Rjjjj   

And they're all most assuredly despicable to their cores

Ever since writer/director Quentin Tarantino made an explosive debut 23 years ago with RESERVOIR DOGS he has populated all of his films with a rich and colorful menagerie of degenerate lowlifes that were all somehow paradoxically endearing.  I don’t think that any previous entry on his resume will prepare viewers for the sadistically duplicitous vermin that appear in THE HATEFUL EIGHT...

Posted January 8, 2016

 

 

 

 

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CrAiGeR's REVIEW ARCHIVES

All of CrAiGeR's full-length reviews of contemporary films since Jan 2004

 

 

CrAiGeR's FOUR STAR REVIEWS

Listing of every FOUR STAR review that CrAiGeR has ever written (excludes retro-reviews)

 

 

CrAiGeR's WORST REVIEWS

Listing of every one and a half star or lower review that CrAiGeR has ever written

 

 

CrAiGeR's RETROSPECTIVE REVIEW ARCHIVES

CrAiGeR revisits classic films from

the past

 

 

CrAiGeR's YEARLY BEST/WORST LISTS

CrAiGeR dishes out his TEN BEST and TEN WORST films for every year since 2000

 

 

CrAiGeR's SO BAD, THEY'RE GOOD!

CrAiGeR looks at 25 films that he knows are stinkers, but still finds that they are actually kind of good

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN MOST OVER-RATED FILMS OF ALL-TIME

CrAiGeR unleashes his list of ten films that he felt did not deserve universal fan accolades and critical praise.

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN MOST INFLUENTIAL FILMS OF THE LAST 25 YEARS 

CrAiGeR ruminates on ten films he feels most directly influenced the business and making of movies since 1986.

 

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 2000's

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1990's

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1980's

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1970's

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1960's

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1950's

 

 

CrAiGeR's TEN BEST FILMS of the 1940's