Arthur Christmas (2011) – 10/10 Filled with heart, humor, and rich animation, Arthur Christmas is a modern holiday classic for the whole family. Blackbeard’s Ghost (1968) – 10/10 A gut-busting comedy anchored by a boisterous performance from Peter Ustinov as the titular spirit; possibly Disney’s best live-action comedy ever. The Bishop’s Wife (1948) – 10/10 An unusual fantasy premise and stellar performances from its trio of leads solidifies The Bishop’s Wife as a holiday gem. Captain Marvel (2019) – 6/10 A wasted period setting and forced humor aimed at turning Carol Danvers into the new Tony Stark makes for one of Marvel’s most lackluster outings to date. Charlie Brown Christmas (1965) – 10/10 Funny, touching, and unabashed in its themes of faith, A Charlie Brown Christmas is the best Peanuts special and one of the greatest Christmas specials of all time. A Christmas Carol (Scrooge) (1951) – 10/10 Mostly faithful with a few tasteful addendums, this 1951 version of Charles Dickens’s legendary tale boasts a performance by Alastair Sim which sets a high bar for all Scrooge portrayals to follow. A Christmas Carol (1984) – 10/10 An incredibly faithful, cinema quality TV adaptation, featuring a tour de force performance form George C. Scott as Scrooge; possibly the best Christmas Carol on film. A Christmas Carol (2011) – 7/10 Though some of the visual choices for the heaviest fantasy sequences are questionable, if you’re Robert Zemeckis and directing an animated Christmas Carol, an all-star cast and state of the art motion capture effects doesn’t hurt. The Dragon Prince, Season 1 (2018) – 6/10 A solid premise, rich world-building, and engaging characters are severely undercut by the juvenile-only humor and gaping logic holes; still, for a kid’s fantasy action cartoon, it’s not bad. Elf (2003) – 10/10 A hilarious holiday flick that also checks the boxes of “heart,” “sentiment,” and “happiness,” requisite for any great Christmas movie. Frosty (1969) – 8/10 Though the required logic suspension is a little much even for a kid’s holiday fantasy, Frosty is still a well-animated, charming Christmas classic. A Garfield Christmas (1987) Featuring the comic strip’s signature humor and the heart we all know underlies that sarcastic orange exterior, A Garfield Christmas isthe best special in the fat feline’s filmography and a true holiday classic. Holiday Inn (1942) – 10/10 Memorable musical numbers, intriguing premise, competent plotting, and likable leads make Holiday Inn one of the greatest Christmas films of all time; a severely underrated gem. Home Alone 2: Lost in New York (1992) – 7/10 Though it’s essentially just a remake of the original, the gags are funnier, and Tim Curry’s presence is a definite plus. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (1966) – 10/10 Narrator Boris Karloff, director Chuck Jones, and writer Dr. Seuss combine their distinctive skills to spin an undisputed Christmas legend. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946) – 10/10 Over 70 years later, Frank Capra’s thought-provoking fantasy drama remains the greatest Christmas-set film ever produced. The Mandalorian, Season 1 (2019) – 8/10 Though it dips severely in the middle, the inaugural season of the first ever live-action Star Wars TV series is bookended by a set of generally spectacular episodes, anchored by the best sci-fi/western storytelling since Firefly. Mickey’s Christmas Carol (1983) – 10/10 An excellent adaptation of the Charles Dickens classic, starring your favorite Disney characters. Miracle on 34th Street (1947) – 10/10 A brilliant, Academy Award-winning script and a spectacular ensemble cast unite to create a humorous, unique, and ultimately heartwarming Christmas flick. Muppet Christmas Carol (1993) – 7/10 The title says it all. Noelle (2019) – 6/10 A made-for-TV-type holiday movie with a larger budget and better cast, Noelle is fine for the kiddies but far from an all-time great. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006) – 8/10 A dark, haunting, visually disturbing “historical” fairytale that loses points for glossing over the communist revolutionary undertones of several protagonists—or perhaps quietly championing them. Red River (1948) – 10/10 Director Howard Hawkes delivers a western masterpiece featuring one of John Wayne’s career best performances. Rio Grande (1950) – 9/10 The family dynamics between John Wayne’s Captain Yorke and his estranged wife (Maureen O’Hara) and son are so well-played, the film feels flat when it actually gets to the typical cavalry vs. Indians antics in the last act. Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer (1964) – 10/10 A feat of claymation, sporting legendary Christmas songs and some pretty weighty themes. The Santa Clause (1994) – 8/10 A clever, Christmas comedy granted emotional depth by some serious family drama; just don’t ask too many questions about the fantasy premise. The Santa Clause 2 (2002) – 5/10 Had the filmmakers jettisoned the ludicrous “robo-Santa” subplot and focussed on the story of Santa trying to win the woman of his dreams while bringing his son back from the dark side, they might have made a really good Christmas movie. The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Clause (2006) – 1/10 An inane outing that barely resembles the thoroughly enjoyable original that started the franchise. The Shop around the Corner (194?) – 9/10 Though Margaret Sullavan’s shrewish female lead makes the overarching romance plot a little implausible, Jimmy Stewart’s typically relatable persona and a fine supporting cast carry the intelligent comedy/drama script to a satisfying conclusion. Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (2004) – 8/10 The best 1940s adventure serial homage since Raiders of the Lost Ark; features groundbreaking effects. Star Wars: Episode IX – The Rise of Skywalker (2019) – 7/10 Though continuity errors and plot holes abound, if you choose not to look too deeply, Skywalker can be enjoyable; at any rate, it’s still better than any of the prequel trilogy films. That Darn Cat (1964) – 9/10 Disney’s stab a Clousseau-esque crime spoof stands as one of the studio’s best ’60s, live-action offerings. White Christmas (1954) – 9/10 Not quite as good as Holiday Inn but still a touching classic with catchy, well-choreographed musical numbers.
11. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008) – 2/10
10. Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace (1999) – 4/10
9. Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002) – 5/10
8. Star Wars: Episode VIII – The Last Jedi (2017) – 6/10
7. Star Wars: Episode III – Revenge of the Sith (2005) – 7/10
6. Rogue One (2016) – 7/10
5. Solo (2018) – 8/10
4. Return of the Jedi (1983) – 9/10
3. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (2015) – 10/10
2. The Empire Strikes Back (1980) – 10/10
1. Star Wars (1977) 10/10
13. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) – 2/10
12. Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) – 5/10
11. Star Trek Beyond (2016) – 6/10
10. Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) -7/10
9. Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) – 7/10
8. Star Trek: Generations (1994) – 7/10
7. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) – 8/10
6. Star Trek III: The Search for Spock (1984) – 9/10
5. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991) – 9/10
4. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) – 9/10
3. Star Trek (2009) – 10/10
2. Star Trek: First Contact (1996) – 10/10
1. Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) – 10/10
2019 has marked a couple of big anniversaries for the Caped Crusader, including 80 years of existence (celebrated on “Batman Day” last weekend) and 30 years of the Tim Burton-directed cinematic blockbuster, titled simply Batman. In commemoration of these marks in the Dark Knight’s illustrious career, every big screen outing for the hero is ranked and reviewed below in easy to swallow capsules.
9. Batman & Robin (1997) – 1/10
Clooney isn’t bad as Bruce Wayne, but unfortunately, that’s about the only positive thing that can be said of this big budget camp fest.
8. Batman Forever (1995) – 2/10
Gone is the shadowed, adult-oriented tone of the previous installments, and in it’s place sits a 90s rendition of the 1960s series’ spoofiness, resulting in an over-blown, ludicrous adventure for the Cape Crusader.
7. Batman v Superman (2016) – 2/10
Attempts at realism and thematic depth play as unnecessary grimness and surface philosophical musings, while the plot and action sequences flow as a series of “wouldn’t it be cool if…” ideas kicked around among comic book super-fans over pizza.
6. Batman Returns (1992) – 6/10
Though unbridled Burton allows his weirder sensibilities a little too much latitude, the first Bat-sequel is at least passable, if not good.
5. Batman (1966) – 8/10
Young viewers can be enjoy it as a colorful action/adventure, while more mature audience members can guffaw at the farce it actually is.
4. The Dark Knight Rises – 8/10
Though not quite as good as its predecessor,The Dark Knight Rises is nevertheless a compelling picture and a fitting closer to one of the greatest cinematic trilogies in history.
3. Batman Begins – 9/10
Director Christopher Nolan strips away the goofiness associated with the superhero genre and delivers the darkest, grittiest, most realistic comic book origin tale to date.
2. Batman (1989) – 10/10
Michael Keaton and Jack Nicholson are superb as Batman and Joker respectively, while director Tim Burton proves a darker, more adult take on superheroes can work just fine.
1. The Dark Knight – 10/10
Featuring breathtaking sequences, a stellar ensemble cast, an intelligent script, and Heath Ledger’s Oscar-winning turn as The Joker, The Dark Knight is not only the best super hero film of all time but also an exceptional crime-thriller.