There are cliches and then there are film criticism cliches. The former are irritating, but the latter are used so often and are so insidious that we've developed an immunity to them. Writers get away with them even while sounding pretentious. What follows are translations of some of the most oft used terms in film reviews and discussions. I hope this helps understand what's really being said.
Avant Garde - Grainy black and white.
Neo realism - They were too cheap to hire actors.
Expressionistic - I had no idea what was going on.
Auteur - Director went on an ego trip.
Cinema Verite - I had no idea what was going on.
Art house film - Deathly boring.
Tour de force - I'm trying to seem smart while saying it totally rocks.
Cult classic - It sucks.
Explosive - Dude, there totally were car crashes.
A feel good story - There's a happy ending.
Hugely entertaining - The cinematic equivalent of empty calories.
Emotionally satisfying - I liked the movie but can't explain why.
Formulaic - I could follow the story.
Homage - They copied some stuff.
A real roller coaster ride - Mindless drivel.