David Thomson is one writer whose appraisals are as riveting and entertaining as the films and performances he describes. His The New Biographical Dictionary of Film is one of the dozen or so indispensable reference works every film fan needs.
His latest book is “Have You Seen . . . ?”: A Personal Introduction to 1,000 Films. He does not waste time trying to be too specific or consistent about his guidelines (okay, so “Monty Python” and “The Sopranos” are television programs, not movies, they’re still must watching) and thank goodness he does not try to rank anything. That does not mean you won’t find something to argue with. But it does mean that the arguments it sparks will be a lot of fun. Critics are cranky. But crankiness can be a lot of fun. Whether he included or dissed your favorites, it cannot be denied that every movie on his list is worth seeing and every entry in this book is worth reading.