Journey to the Shore

***1/2 (Excellent)

Journey to the Shore could have gone in radically different directions with its intriguing premise, that of ghosts who appear to be humans for all intents and purposes. But Kiyoshi Kurosawa chooses the most counterintuitive and difficult of them all: the romantic drama. The film stays solidly grounded in the relationship between the two main characters, Mizuki (Eri Fukatsu) and Yusuke (Tadanobu Asano), using it as the basis for the more eerie or “genre” elements that Kurosawa occasionally hints at. But even in this regard, the romantic aspects are consistently elided; though the ghosts seem to have the exact same physiology as regular people, Mizuki and Yusuke almost never touch throughout the narrative, instead conveying their romance through discussions of the past, when the two were married before Yusuke’s death, and longing glances as their subdued chemistry shines through.

From the very beginning, Journey to the Shore is clearly playing by completely different rules, refusing to conform to any familiar narrative structure. After a short scene introducing Mizuki teaching piano to a young girl that will not be seen again, Yusuke shows up in her apartment without warning, having been gone for three years. Only as the scene goes along does the viewer learn that Yusuke has been dead (a fact unknown to Mizuki) and reincarnated, but it is left unexplained why Mizuki reacts with such composure. Indeed, the opening of the film is suggested to be a dream for a few moments after the couple’s reunion, an otherwise superfluous occurrence that reinforces the odd, unpredictable nature of the film.

Otherwise, Journey to the Shore proceeds in a relatively straightforward manner, staying with its two main characters as it adopts an almost episodic, road-trip style structure. For the most part, the movie revolves around a handful of extended encounters with people connected in various ways to Yusuke, all of whom he met after he became a corporeal ghost. Kurosawa never reveals their true state of being (whether it be alive or dead) until after their initial introductions, aligning his film’s viewpoint squarely with Mizuki and doling out information about the nature of the afterlife in pieces. Perhaps not coincidentally, some of the most powerful scenes in the film come at the climax of these individual encounters—one of Kurosawa’s greatest strengths in this movie is the skill with which he slowly builds the emotion of a section, unleashing it in one scene, then letting it recede during a short traveling sequence before escalating once more, matched by his impeccable use of long shots.

After a rather unexpected rupture at just past the halfway point, the rest of the film takes place in a village where Yusuke taught for a while and became acquainted with most of the inhabitants. The supernatural aspects here are most apparent, featuring a hole where the dead purportedly pass from the underworld to humanity (an idea shot down by Yusuke) and a conversation between Mizuki and her dead father, but Kurosawa ultimately leaves this all behind, focusing on the love of the central couple before things must inevitably come to an end. It is, in the end, an unbearably romantic movie, reserved but inexorable, and above all beguiling in the most mysterious and wonderful way.

Published Pieces

The pieces I have published, categorized in reverse chronological order.

Significant Lists

List of the New York Film Festival Main Slate selections.
A semi-exhaustive list of films and their aspect ratios.

Seattle Screen Scene

Participated in The Frances Farmer Show podcast episode on SIFF 2017: Part 1 2
Participated in the 2016 Year in Review: Part 1 2 3 4

The Film Stage

My Rotten Tomatoes profile.
Contributed entries on Caniba and Manhunt for this Fall 2017 festival preview.
Contributed entries on Wonder Wheel and Thelma for this Fall 2017 releases preview.
Transcribed this Todd Haynes interview at Locarno.
Transcribed this William Oldroyd interview about Lady Macbeth.
Transcribed this Demetri Martin interview about Dean.

Brooklyn Magazine Film Section

From the Other Side
In the Heat of the Sun
Hi, Mom!
Meek’s Cutoff
The Devils
The Keep
Contributed to the Ten Best Music Moments of 2016.
Contributed to the Ten Best Scenes of 2016.
Contributed to the Ten Best Performances of 2016.
Days of Being Wild
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me
Manhunter
The Battle of Algiers

Scarecrow Blog

The 89th Academy Awards Best Picture Nominees
Paris, Texas (and Harry Dean Stanton)
The Straight Story
Fargo

Muriel Awards

The Battle of Algiers
Cameraperson
Lily Gladstone in Certain Women

Other

Helped program and wrote catalog descriptions for the experimental shorts program at the 2017 Local Sightings Film Festival.

Other Lists

List of the New York Film Festival Spotlight on Documentary and Projections selections.
List of the New Directors/New Films features.
List of the Locarno in Los Angeles features.

Miscellaneous Important Links

The Title/Trailer Cards Twitter account, which I curate.
My YouTube page.
Alternate Letterboxd account for capsules.

Our Little Sister

***1/2 (Excellent)

It is always an interesting case when the original and English titles of a film differ, and the ones corresponding to Our Little Sister are especially instructive. While the English title puts an emphasis on both the eponymous character, Suzu, and the three sisters that perhaps form the emotional core of the movie, the original Japanese title, Umimachi Diary (the name of the manga that the film is based on), is even more illuminating. Umimachi means seaside town, and of course seafood and boats play a not-insignificant part in the narrative, but what really interests is the pointed inclusion of “diary” (spelled out on screen, as in the original manga). The film does not adopt the day-by-day approach suggested by this word, taking place over the course of a year, but there is an unmistakeable intimacy that feels as if the viewer is reading a diary written in tandem by these four charming young women, one that is willing to go into minute detail on the most seemingly insignificant of events. The days may pass with abandon, but nothing seems too frivolous to cherish and preserve.

Our Little Sister concerns itself with a great deal of human interactions, and the one that embeds itself in the film’s core is the unshakeable bond of the four sisters. Thankfully, Kore-eda pointedly resists creating conflict (of almost any kind in the film, but especially here) between the three sisters and Suzu, as they quickly adopt and care for her with nothing but deep genuine love—though at one point Sachi (the oldest sister) is accused of adopting her for ulterior motives, it is evident that this is hardly the case. Much of the joy of the film is in observing how various configurations of the four pinball off of each other. There is a remarkable and irrepressible chemistry that exists between all of the actresses that seems to rise to the surface in almost every occasion, whether it be a playful argument, an explanation of an old custom, or idle chatter at mealtime.

As many have noted, in both praise and derision, Our Little Sister is an extraordinarily nice film; there is almost no conflict to speak of, and the one scene that does devolve into an actual confrontation is quickly followed by a pleasing resolution. But at least for me, this is a merit, all the better to immerse the viewer into the atmosphere of Kamakura. Kore-eda’s style is ideal for this feeling, using careful, slowly moving medium shots and precise to cover all of his subjects and subtly changing his method for the ever-so-slightly more important areas—the confrontation is shot in a sharply edited and direct way, a ride through a tunnel of cherry blossoms is in slow-motion.

And through it all, the unmistakeable idea of heritage is preserved. Kore-eda is clearly optimistic about the past as it becomes further and further from the present, as the sisters continually talk about the people they had loved and lost and dutifully perform rituals with sincerity. The continually rotating supporting cast carries this torch as well; only a few persist throughout and many only appear for a few scenes, but there is a sense that, even as society becomes more and more modern (a cell phone here, a pair of jeans there), things will stay the same for the better.

It goes without saying that all four actresses are superb, but it is worth noting that each fulfills a clear-cut role and never strays far from it. Sachi (Haruka Ayase, in a remarkably empathetic performance) is the lead, if such a distinction can be applied to an ensemble film, and she is a kind of emotional anchor—as the least mercurial and oldest of the sisters, she frequently serves as the mother and carries the strongest connection to the house in which they all live in, even to the point of denouncing their estranged mother for the suggestion of selling it. A kind of middle ground between Sachi and the two younger sisters, Yoshino (a wonderfully down-to-earthMasami Nagasawa) is one of the trickiest characters to fully grasp, even though the movie begins with her character, establishing her as a sort of audience surrogate. Chika (Kaho, perhaps the best performance) is immensely joyous, an absolute pleasure to watch as she somehow manages to be even more nice than the film surrounding her. And the catalyst of the film, Suzu (played by Suzu Hirose with magnetic charm) handles herself with poise—though she is perhaps not the most mature of the sisters, as the other three claim, she is undoubtedly grown-up, though she still is clearly a young girl going through the standard ups and downs of a teenager’s life.

Of course, even after a not inconsiderable amount of scenes that could conceivably serve as endings, the film concludes with the sisters together. Our Little Sister is sweet to the end, like the plum wine that conjures up a surprising amount of meanings throughout the movie (comedy, a connection to the past, a gesture of reconciliation), but it never once becomes saccharine. Kore-eda believes in his characters too much, imbuing them with so much life, to ever be anything but genuine, and in doing so he brings the viewer along, making them believe in Sachi, Yoshino, Chika, and Suzu.

Brian De Palma Wrap-Up

A Brian De Palma Ranking

  1. Passion
  2. Carlito’s Way
  3. Femme Fatale
  4. Body Double
  5. Blow Out
  6. Casualties of War
  7. Carrie
  8. Phantom of the Paradise
  9. Dressed to Kill
  10. Scarface
  11. Snake Eyes
  12. Raising Cain
  13. Sisters
  14. Mission: Impossible
  15. The Black Dahlia
  16. Greetings
  17. The Fury
  18. Obsession
  19. Home Movies
  20. The Untouchables
  21. Mission to Mars
  22. Dionysus in ’69
  23. Hi, Mom!
  24. Murder à la Mod
  25. The Bonfire of the Vanities
  26. Redacted
  27. Get to Know Your Rabbit
  28. The Wedding Party
  29. Wise Guys

Top Ten De Palma Performances

1. Al Pacino, Carlito’s Way
2. Michael J. Fox, Casualties of War
3. Sissy Spacek, Carrie
4. Noomi Rapace, Passion
5. Nicolas Cage, Snake Eyes
6. John Travolta, Blow Out
7. William Finley, Phantom of the Paradise
8. Gerrit Graham, Home Movies
9. Antonio Banderas, Femme Fatale
10. Tom Hanks, The Bonfire of the Vanities

A Few Scattered Thoughts on the “Master of the Macabre”

To the average cinephile, De Palma is most known for his cynicism and, in his most famous film Blow Out, a perversely nihilistic sensibility. Yet this is probably not an accurate viewpoint: of his 29 films (to date), only 4 have unambiguously tragic and saddening endings, though it is perhaps not a surprise that most of them are among his greatest works (an argument could also be made for Scarface):

  • Carlito’s Way
  • Blow Out
  • Phantom of the Paradise
  • Redacted

By comparison, no less than 15 De Palma films have more or less happy endings:

  • Femme Fatale
  • Body Double
  • Casualties of War (despite tinged with sadness)
  • Snake Eyes
  • Mission: Impossible
  • The Black Dahlia (shockingly, given the absolute sordidness that had immediately preceded it)
  • The Fury (again, debateable)
  • Obsession
  • Home Movies
  • The Untouchables
  • Mission to Mars
  • Dionysus in ’69 (cheating, but it counts)
  • The Bonfire of the Vanities
  • Get to Know Your Rabbit
  • Wise Guys

and the rest of the films fall into either ambiguity or a gleeful twist. It is perhaps most accurate to classify De Palma as a filmmaker who is perfectly willing to give his characters a happy ending, even if it comes abruptly, so long as he puts them through absolute hell first.

De Palma is also known for his meditations on the image, and so here is the list of his films that I believe contain something of this sort, whether it be in celluloid, flesh, or some other medium.

  • Passion
  • Carlito’s Way
  • Femme Fatale
  • Body Double
  • Blow Out
  • Casualties of War (if you count the girl on the subway)
  • Phantom of the Paradise
  • Snake Eyes
  • The Black Dahlia
  • Greetings
  • Home Movies
  • Murder à la Mod
  • Redacted

The Glass Shield

***1/2 (Excellent)

The most dangerous trap a filmmaker can fall into while making a movie concerned with racism is losing a sense of balance. Whether it be stacking the deck in favor of the black community by making the white people little more than caricatures, or treating the white people with too much ambivalence, a lack of balance can and will destroy any sense of true meaning and consideration behind the film’s craft and message. So it is immensely gratifying to see the triumph of The Glass Shield, a film that carefully creates its environment to issue a condemnation of police corruption while elucidating how all involved, to some degree, contribute to this climate for good and ill.

The main gambit that The Glass Shield uses is that it is not truly about the protagonist, Deputy J.J. Johnson (Michael Boatman) at all. Though he is the most active force throughout the movie, after the first act or so Burnett largely breaks from his viewpoint, moving to focus on the main narrative: the trial of Teddy Woods (Ice Cube), a man who has been purposefully and wrongly charged with the murder of a white woman. But this first act is vital in its lucid development of the police force and its effect on J.J., laying out his indoctrination as a domino-like series of events. Crucially, the film quickly drops any attempts to make J.J. a clear, defined martyr or a perfect individual. He is shown as perfectly willing to initially become a better and more efficient individual, subjugating himself to the corrupt machine. Boatman’s performance also undergoes a metamorphosis, as the perpetually smiling rookie becomes a serious man before the viewer can even register the change.

But as mentioned before, this is much more than the story of J.J. Johnson, and the surprisingly robust supporting cast is weaved seamlessly into the narrative. Burnett manages a wide assortment of narrative strands, sometimes teasing out each one in small fragments that, at first blush, seem entirely disconnected. Most notably, the character of Deputy Deborah Fields (Lori Petty in a confident performance) acts as an unexpected corollary to the film’s focus on racism, illustrating how the police environment is a place of widespread discrimination as well as providing a strong, caring ally in Johnson’s investigation. In the court, the defense lawyer James Locket (Bernie Casey) and Justice Lewis (Natalija Nogulich) are perhaps the most morally good of the main characters, both dedicated to their professions with no small sense of professionalism and fairness.

Aside from the comic book opening that illustrates Johnson’s idyllic fantasies of being a police officer and some noticeable forward tracking shots, Burnett’s approach is relatively simple here, albeit stunningly shot by Elliot Davis. The Glass Shield is largely in tight close-ups that never feel suffocating, heightening the intensity while still remaining balanced with some of the incredible silhouette-esque shots that Burnett sprinkles throughout. Special attention is paid to the camera angles, which consistently look up at the authority figures, whether they be the higher ranking police officers or the people of the court.

The Glass Shield is by no means a noir, as it is perhaps too spread across various points of view to create a true sense of paranoia and distrust (especially in the scenes that follow minor characters). But it is unflinching in how it both shows the nastiness of the antagonists, which is conveyed often through a single word or phrase in their conversations, as well as their human side, most notably a birthday celebration and the attempts to save the life of one of their own. In the end, the film ends on a melancholic note, yet one with a sufficient and cathartic amount of hope. The Glass Shield never once steps wrong in its pursuit of a certain brand of truth.

2016 Viewing Log

January
+Heat (1995, Michael Mann) – 8.4 [up from 8.3]
+Yi Yi (2000, Edward Yang) – 9.3 [same]
Carol (2015, Todd Haynes) DP – 8.3
+Carol (2015, Todd Haynes) DP – 8.4 [up from 8.3]
The Big Short (2015, Adam McKay) DP – 2.8
+The Social Network (2010, David Fincher) – 7.6 [up from ~6.9]
+Reservoir Dogs (1992, Quentin Tarantino) – 5.5 [down from ~7.4]
+Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014, Alejandro González Iñárritu) – 3.5 [down from 6.0]
The Revenant (2015, Alejandro González Iñárritu) DP – 3.5
+The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964, Jacques Demy) – 8.9 [same]
+Being John Malkovich (1999, Spike Jonze) – 6.6 [down from ~7.1]
+Adaptation (2002, Spike Jonze) – 6.6 [down from ~7.0]
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, Michel Gondry) – 7.6
Synecdoche, New York (2008, Charlie Kaufman) – 4.6
Anomalisa (2015, Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson) DP – 4.8
+The Revenant (2015, Alejandro González Iñárritu) DP – 3.7 [up from 3.5]
World of Tomorrow (2015, Don Hertzfeldt)
Coraline (2009, Henry Selick) – 5.2
Steve Jobs (2015, Danny Boyle) – 5.9
+Pulp Fiction (1994, Quentin Tarantino) – 6.8 [down from ~7.5]
Jackie Brown (1997, Quentin Tarantino) – 6.8
Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003, Quentin Tarantino) – 6.4
Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2003, Quentin Tarantino) – 6.4
Death Proof (2007, Quentin Tarantino) – 7.8
Inglourious Basterds (2009, Quentin Tarantino) – 7.6
Django Unchained (2012, Quentin Tarantino) – 5.9
Room (2015, Lenny Abrahamson) DP – 4.8
The Hateful Eight (2015, Quentin Tarantino) DP – 7.2
The Battle of Brazil: A Video History (1996, Jack Mathews) – 5.1
Beasts of No Nation (2015, Cary Joji Fukunaga) – 3.4
Magic Mike XXL (2015, Gregory Jacobs) – 7.3
+Nightcrawler (2014, Dan Gilroy) – 6.0 [down from ~6.8]
The Forbidden Room (2015, Guy Maddin) – 7.9
+Blade Runner [Final Cut] (1982, Ridley Scott) – 9.0 [same]
+Blade Runner [Final Cut, Cinema Dissection] (1982, Ridley Scott) DP – 9.0 [same]
+Carol (2015, Todd Haynes) DP – 8.6 [up from 8.4]
Out 1 (1971, Jacques Rivette) DP – 8.4
Frances Ha (2012, Noah Baumbach) – 6.4
Mistress America (2015, Noah Baumbach) – 7.5
Groundhog Day (1993, Harold Ramis) – 4.8
Blackhat (2015, Michael Mann) – 7.4
Bridge of Spies (2015, Steven Spielberg) – 6.8
The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015, Marielle Heller) – 6.0
45 Years (2015, Andrew Haigh) – 7.0
When Marnie Was There (2014, Hiromasa Yonebayashi) – 7.4
Clouds of Sils Maria (2014, Olivier Assayas) – 6.3

February
Blood Simple (1984, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 5.9
Raising Arizona (1987, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 7.4
Game Change (2012, Jay Roach) – 3.2
Miller’s Crossing (1990, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 6.0
+Barton Fink (1991, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 7.5 [same]
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 5.0
+Fargo (1996, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 7.4 [~same]
+The Big Lebowski (1998, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 6.8 [down from ~7.4]
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 5.9
The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 7.3
Intolerable Cruelty (2003, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 7.2
The Ladykillers (2004, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 5.0
+Her (2013, Spike Jonze) – 6.5 [down from ~7.0]
Boy and the World (2013, Alê Abreu) DP – 5.9
+No Country for Old Men (2007, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 6.8 [down from ~7.2]
Burn After Reading (2008, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 7.0
Beauty and the Beast (1946, Jean Cocteau) DP – 7.3
Harold and Maude (1971, Hal Ashby) DP – 5.1
The Devils (1971, Ken Russell) 35mm – 8.6
The Witch: A New-England Folktale (2015, Robert Eggers) DP – 5.0
A Serious Man (2009, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 7.3
+True Grit (2010, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 6.5 [up from ~5.9]
Deadpool (2016, Tim Miller) – 3.8
Office (2015, Johnnie To) 3D – 6.2
+Inside Llewyn Davis (2013, Joel & Ethan Coen) – 7.4 [up from ~6.9]
Hail, Caesar! (2016, Joel & Ethan Coen) DP – 6.6
+It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2012, Don Hertzfeldt) – 7.7 [down from 9.0]
+Carol (2015, Todd Haynes) DP – 8.6 [same]
+Steve Jobs (2015, Danny Boyle) – 5.8 [down from 5.9]
Hard Eight (1996, Paul Thomas Anderson) – 6.0
Boogie Nights (1997, Paul Thomas Anderson) – 6.8
+Magnolia (1999, Paul Thomas Anderson) – 7.0 [down from ~7.5]
+Punch-Drunk Love (2002, Paul Thomas Anderson) – 7.2 [up from 7.0]
The Blues Brothers (1980, John Landis) – 5.0
+There Will Be Blood (2007, Paul Thomas Anderson) – 7.4 [~same]
The Master (2012, Paul Thomas Anderson) – 7.5
Inherent Vice (2014, Paul Thomas Anderson) – 7.7
Son of Saul (2015, László Nemes) DP – 4.6

March
Only Yesterday (1991, Isao Takahata) DP – 6.2
The American Friend (1977, Wim Wenders) DP – 6.8
Mustang (2015, Deniz Gamze Ergüven) DP – 6.3
+Paris, Texas (1984, Wim Wenders) DP – 9.4 [same]
+Sans soleil (1983, Chris Marker) – 9.7 [~same]
Cloverfield (2008, Matt Reeves) – 5.6
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016, Dan Trachtenberg) DP – 5.8
Nosferatu [live score by Invincible Czars] (1922, F.W. Murnau) DP – 7.6
Embrace of the Serpent (2015, Ciro Guerra) DP – 4.9
World of Tomorrow (2015, Don Hertzfeldt)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015, Joss Whedon) – 5.8
+Inside Out (2015, Pete Docter) – 6.6
+Mad Max: Fury Road (2015, George Miller) – 7.8 [same]
+Phoenix (2014, Christian Petzold) – 8.2 [same]
+Easy Rider (1969, Dennis Hopper) – 6.0 [same]
Easy Rider (2012, James Benning) – 5.8
Godzilla (1954, Ishiro Honda) – 7.5
+Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens (2015, J.J. Abrams) – 7.0 [same]
Aloha (2015, Cameron Crowe) – 6.0
Ant-Man (2015, Peyton Reed) – 5.6
Cemetery of Splendour (2015, Apichatpong Weerasethakul) DP – 7.2
Ran (1985, Akira Kurosawa) DP – 8.2
The Cheat (1915, Cecil B. DeMille) – 5.1
Buena Vista Social Club (1999, Wim Wenders) DP – 6.0
Pina (2011, Wim Wenders) 3D – 6.9 [up from 6.5]
Until the End of the World [Director’s Cut] (1991, Wim Wenders) DP – 6.7

April
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016, Zack Snyder) DP – 7.1
Zootopia (2016, Byron Howard & Rich Moore & Jared Bush) DP – 5.3
The Public Enemy (1931, William Wellman) – 5.1
+The Terminator (1984, James Cameron) – 7.5 [up from ~7.4]
42nd Street (1933, Lloyd Bacon) – 5.9
+Hercules (1997, John Musker & Ron Clements) – 3.8 [down from ~5.2]
Midnight Special (2016, Jeff Nichols) DP – 5.7
Demolition (2015, Jean-Marc Vallée) DP – 5.9
+The Hateful Eight [Roadshow Version] (2015, Quentin Tarantino) 70mm – 7.1 [down from 7.2]
+Ex Machina (2015, Alex Garland) – 5.3 [same]
Russian Ark (2002, Aleksandr Sokurov) – 6.8
No Home Movie (2015, Chantal Akerman) DP – 5.3
Francofonia (2015, Aleksandr Sokurov) DP – 5.5
I Don’t Belong Anywhere: The Cinema of Chantal Akerman (2015, Marianne Lambert) DP – 5.8
April and the Extraordinary World (2015, Christian Desmares & Franck Ekinci) DP – 5.7
+Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2015, Zack Snyder) DP – 7.0 [down from 7.1]
The Jungle Book (2016, Jon Favreau) 3D – 5.3
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016, Richard Linklater) DP – 6.9
+Casablanca (1942, Michael Curtiz) – 7.8 [up from ~6.9]
+The Big Short (2015, Adam McKay) – 3.0 [up from 2.8]
My Golden Days (2015, Arnaud Desplechin) DP – 7.5
Güeros (2014, Alonso Ruizpalacios) DP – 6.2
Chantal Akerman, From Here (2010, Gustavo Beck & Leonardo Ferreira) DP – 6.0
The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan) DP – 4.9

May
D’Est (1993, Chantal Akerman) DP – 7.2
+My Golden Days (2015, Arnaud Desplechin) DP – 7.9 [up from 7.5]
Là-bas (2006, Chantal Akerman) DP – 5.8
Purple Rain (1984, Albert Magnoli) DP – 5.5
Bataan (1943, Tay Garnett) – 5.3
+Persona (1966, Ingmar Bergman) – 9.4 [same]
Song of Lahore (2015, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy & Andy Schocken) – 4.7
Shaun of the Dead (2004, Edgar Wright) – 7.0
Captain America: Civil War (2016, Anthony & Joe Russo) DP – 5.8
Green Room (2015, Jeremy Saulnier) DP – 5.9
Hot Fuzz (2007, Edgar Wright) – 7.1
Thief (1981, Michael Mann) – 8.2
The Keep (1983, Michael Mann) – 6.7
Manhunter (1986, Michael Mann) – 8.8
Mildred Pierce (1945, Michael Curtiz) – 7.2
The World’s End (2013, Edgar Wright) – 7.3
Daydreaming (2016, Paul Thomas Anderson) 35mm
High-Rise (2015, Ben Wheatley) DP – 5.3
The Last of the Mohicans (1992, Michael Mann) – 7.3
+Heat (1995, Michael Mann) – 9.0 [up from 8.4]
The Insider (1999, Michael Mann) – 8.1
Ali (2001, Michael Mann) – 7.6
No Way Out (1950, Joseph L. Mankiewicz) – 5.5
Collateral (2004, Michael Mann) – 7.2
Café Society (2016, Woody Allen) SIFF, DP – 5.7
Miami Vice (2006, Michael Mann) – 8.7
Sunset Song (2015, Terence Davies) SIFF, DP – 7.2
Public Enemies (2009, Michael Mann) – 8.6
A Bigger Splash (2015, Luca Guadagnino) DP – 6.1
+Blackhat (2015, Michael Mann) – 7.5 [up from 7.4]
Chimes at Midnight (1965, Orson Welles) SIFF, DP – 7.0
High Noon (1952, Fred Zinnemann) – 5.1
Belladonna of Sadness (1973, Eiichi Yamamoto) DP – 6.6
+The Night of the Hunter (1955, Charles Laughton) – 9.0 [same]
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016, Bryan Singer) DP – 5.8
The Nice Guys (2016, Shane Black) DP – 5.9

June
Cameraperson (2016, Kirsten Johnson) SIFF, DP – 7.2
The Lobster (2015, Yorgos Lanthimos) DP – 5.9
Keanu (2016, Peter Atencio) DP – 4.9
Love & Friendship (2016, Whit Stillman) DP – 6.6
+Singin’ in the Rain (1952, Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly) – 7.8 [down from ~8.2]
Money Monster (2016, Jodie Foster) DP – 4.9
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016, Nicholas Stoller) DP – 5.4
Dragon Inn (1967, King Hu) SIFF, DP – 7.2
Mountains May Depart (1967, Jia Zhangke) SIFF, DP – 6.1
Now You See Me 2 (2016, Jon M. Chu) DP – 3.4
+Mulholland Drive (2001, David Lynch) – 9.8 [same]
+Sicario (2015, Denis Villeneuve) – 7.4 [same]
The Silence of the Lambs (1991, Jonathan Demme) – 6.9
John Wick (2014, Chad Stahelski) – 7.2
L for Leisure (2014, Lev Kalman & Whitney Horn) – 7.1
Blondes in the Jungle (2009, Lev Kalman & Whitney Horn) – 6.4
House of Wax (2005, Jaume Collet-Serra) – 6.2
Orphan (2009, Jaume Collet-Serra) – 6.9
Unknown (2011, Jaume Collet-Serra) – 6.4 [up from ~5.6]
Non-Stop (2014, Jaume Collet-Serra) – 7.3
Run All Night (2015, Jaume Collet-Serra) – 6.3
Das Boot [Director’s Cut] (1981, Wolfgang Petersen) – 5.9
Only God Forgives (2013, Nicolas Winding Refn) – 2.9

July
+Mission: Impossible (1996, Brian De Palma) – 6.7 [up from ~6.1]
The Untouchables (1987, Brian De Palma) – 6.3
Sisters (1973, Brian De Palma) – 6.9
Carrie (1976, Brian De Palma) – 7.4
+The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964, Jacques Demy) – 8.9 [same]
The Gang’s All Here (1943, Busby Berkeley) – 7.6
Actress (2014, Robert Greene) – 6.2
Holy Motors (2012, Leos Carax) – 7.5
Kate Plays Christine (2016, Robert Greene) – 7.2
True Lies (1994, James Cameron) – 5.8
Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party (2015, Stephen Cone) – 6.6
Murder à la Mod (1967, Brian De Palma) – 5.1
The Wedding Party (1969, Brian De Palma) – 4.2
Greetings (1968, Brian De Palma) – 6.2
Phantom of the Paradise (1974, Brian De Palma) – 7.2
Hi, Mom! (1970, Brian De Palma) – 5.1
A Brighter Summer Day (1991, Edward Yang) – 9.5
Dionysus in ’69 (1970, Brian De Palma) – 5.6

August
Sing Street (2016, John Carney) – 5.7
Eye in the Sky (2015, Gavin Hood) – 5.4
+Aloha (2015, Cameron Crowe) – 7.0 [up from 6.0]
Home Movies (1980, Brian De Palma) – 6.0
A Train Arrives at the Station (2016, Thom Andersen)
Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972, Brian De Palma) – 4.6
Obsession (1976, Brian De Palma) – 6.1
Dressed to Kill (1980, Brian De Palma) – 7.1
Scarface (1983, Brian De Palma) – 7.1
Blow Out (1981, Brian De Palma) – 7.7
South (1999, Chantal Akerman) – 6.3
From the Other Side (2002, Chantal Akerman) – 7.0
+Blow Out (1981, Brian De Palma) [same]
Trust (1990, Hal Hartley) – 8.9
Zatoichi (2003, Takeshi Kitano) – 6.4
+Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000, Ang Lee) – 8.0 [up from ~7.8]
+Blackhat (2015, Michael Mann) – 7.5 [same]
Joint Security Area (2000, Park Chan-wook) – 6.0
Rehearsals for Extinct Anatomies (1987, Steven & Timothy Quay)
Looper (2012, Rian Johnson) – 6.9
The Comb (1990, Steven & Timothy Quay)
+Sans soleil (1983, Chris Marker) – 9.7 [same]
De Artificiali Perspectiva, or Anamorphosis (1993, Steven & Timothy Quay)
In Absentia (2000, Steven & Timothy Quay)
River of Grass (1994, Kelly Reichardt) – 7.0
Old Joy (2006, Kelly Reichardt) – 7.2
Blue Ruin (2013, Jeremy Saulnier) – 5.8
Wendy and Lucy (2008, Kelly Reichardt) – 7.6
Amuse-guele # 1: “Digital Destinies” (2012, Gina Telaroli)
Meek’s Cutoff (2010, Kelly Reichardt) – 8.3

September
The Invitation (2015, Karyn Kusama) – 5.9
Night Moves (2013, Kelly Reichardt) – 6.8
The Fury (1978, Brian De Palma) – 6.5
Jason Bourne (2016, Paul Greengrass) DP – 5.2
Wise Guys (1986, Brian De Palma) – 2.4
Casualties of War (1989, Brian De Palma) – 7.6
The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990, Brian De Palma) – 4.9
Carlito’s Way (1993, Brian De Palma) – 8.9
Raising Cain (1992, Brian De Palma) – 6.9
Chungking Express (1994, Wong Kar-wai) – 9.0
Days of Being Wild (1990, Wong Kar-wai) – 8.1
Body Double (1984, Brian De Palma) – 8.0
Femme Fatale (2002, Brian De Palma) – 8.2
Bad Seed (1934, Billy Wilder and Alexander Esway) – 5.6
The Glass Shield (1994, Charles Burnett) – 6.6
+Mountains May Depart (2015, Jia Zhangke) – 7.2 [up from 6.1]
House of Little Deaths (2016, Scout Tafoya) – 4.9
SPL II: A Time for Consequences (2015, Soi Cheang) – 7.1
Snake Eyes (1998, Brian De Palma) – 6.9
Mission to Mars (2000, Brian De Palma) – 5.6
The Black Dahlia (2006, Brian De Palma) – 6.4
Redacted (2007, Brian De Palma) – 4.6
Passion (2012, Brian De Palma) – 8.8
Our Little Sister (2015, Hirokazu Kore-eda) – 6.3
Journey to the Shore (2015, Kiyoshi Kurosawa) – 6.1
Fish Tank (2009, Andrea Arnold) – 5.5
American Honey (2016, Andrea Arnold) DP – 5.2
Broadway by Light (1958, William Klein)
Suicide Squad (2016, David Ayer) DP – 1.9
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016, Travis Knight) DP – 6.5
Don’t Breathe (2016, Fede Alvarez) DP – 6.1
Hell or High Water (2016, David Mackenzie) DP – 6.2
Sully (2016, Clint Eastwood) DP – 7.2
De Palma (2015, Noah Baumbach & Jake Paltrow) – 6.5
+Cameraperson (2016, Kirsten Johnson) DP – 8.1 [up from 7.2]
Los Sures (1984, Diego Echeverria) – 5.8

October
+The Night of the Hunter (1955, Charles Laughton) DP – 9.3 [up from 9.0]
The Shallows (2016, Jaume Collet-Serra) – 7.0
Something Between Us (2015, Jodie Mack)
+The Shallows (2016, Jaume Collet-Serra) – 7.0 [same]
O.J.: Made in America (2016, Ezra Edelman) – 7.7
The Distance (2014, Sergio Caballero) – 5.3
+Mistress America (2015, Noah Baumbach) – 8.2 [up from 7.5]
The Day He Arrives (2011, Hong Sang-soo) – 7.3
In Another Country (2012, Hong Sang-soo) – 6.7
Right Now, Wrong Then (2015, Hong Sang-soo) – 7.2
Krivina (2012, Igor Drljaca) – 5.4
Fe26 (2014, Kevin Jerome Everson)
Mad Ladders (2015, Michael Robinson)
+Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, Michel Gondry) – 7.6 [same]
The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (2015, Ben Rivers) – 5.1
Regal (2015, Karissa Hahn)
Now: End of Season (2015, Ayman Nahle)
Cilaos (2016, Camilo Restrepo)
Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids (2016, Jonathan Demme) – 7.1
Lemonade (2016, Kahlil Joseph and Beyoncé Knowles Carter) – 6.0
Possession (1981, Andrzej Zulawski) – 8.1
On the Silver Globe (1988, Andrzej Zulawski) DP – 5.1
Shin Godzilla (2016, Hideaki Anno) DP – 7.0
Deepwater Horizon (2016, Peter Berg) DP – 5.3
The Magnificent Seven (2016, Antoine Fuqua) DP – 5.2
Certain Women (2016, Kelly Reichardt) DP – 7.2
Foyer (2016, Ismaïl Bahri)
Indefinite Pitch (2016, James N. Kienitz Wilkins)
Afterschool (2008, Antonio Campos) – 6.9
Simon Killer (2012, Antonio Campos) – 4.9
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956, Don Siegel) – 6.7
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002, Park Chan-wook) – 6.2
Oldboy (2003, Park Chan-wook) – 7.1
Kwaku Anase (2013, Akosua Adoma Owusu)
Lady Vengeance (2005, Park Chan-wook) – 7.1
The Handmaiden (2016, Park Chan-wook) DP – 7.8
The Heart of the World (2000, Guy Maddin)

November
Moonlight (2016, Barry Jenkins) DP – 6.4
The Fighter (2010, David O. Russell) – 5.6
+Kate Plays Christine (2016, Robert Greene) DP – 7.2 [same]
Tower (2016, Keith Maitland) DP – 6.6
+The Handmaiden (2016, Park Chan-wook) DP – 7.8 [same]
Arrival (2016, Denis Villeneuve) DP – 6.2
You Can Count on Me (2000, Kenneth Lonergan) – 7.2
Meet the Patels (2014, Geeta V. Patel & Ravi V. Patel) – 4.8
Margaret (2011, Kenneth Lonergan) – 7.9
+Margaret [Extended Cut] (2011, Kenneth Lonergan – 8.3 [Theatrical Cut: 7.9]
Titicut Follies (1967, Frederick Wiseman) 35mm – 6.0
High School (1968, Frederick Wiseman) 35mm – 6.2
Hospital (1970, Frederick Wiseman) 35mm – 6.1
Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience (2016, Terrence Malick) DP – 5.9
Doctor Strange (2016, Scott Derrickson) DP – 5.8
Hacksaw Ridge (2016, Mel Gibson) DP – 5.8
The Neon Demon (2016, Nicolas Winding Refn) – 3.5
La La Land (2016, Damien Chazelle) DP – 5.1
13th (2016, Ava DuVernay) – 4.9
Two Days, One Night (2014, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne) – 7.6
Dead Slow Ahead (2015, Mauro Herce) DP – 6.1
Creepy (2016, Kiyoshi Kurosawa) DP – 7.1
Allied (2016, Robert Zemeckis) DP – 6.4
I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016, Feng Xiaogang) DP – 6.2
+Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience (2016, Terrence Malick) DP – 6.0 [up from 5.9]
Rules Don’t Apply (2016, Warren Beatty) DP – 6.1
Viva (2007, Anna Biller) – 5.6
The Love Witch (2016, Anna Biller) 35mm – 6.1
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016, Ang Lee) DP – 5.2

December
+Sing Street (2016, John Carney) – 5.5
Manchester By The Sea (2016, Kenneth Lonergan) DP – 8.1
The Edge of Seventeen (2016, Kelly Fremon Craig) DP – 7.1
Neruda (2016, Pablo Larraín) – 6.1
The Fits (2015, Anna Rose Holmer) – 5.8
Wavelength (1967, Michael Snow) 16mm – 8.8
To Lavoisier, Who Died in the Reign of Terror (1991, Michael Snow) 16mm – 7.0
+Love & Friendship (2016, Whit Stillman) – 7.0
Nocturnal Animals (2016, Tom Ford) DP – 4.9
Krisha (2015, Trey Edward Shults) – 5.0
Things To Come (2016, Mia Hansen-Løve) – 7.2
Jackie (2016, Pablo Larraín) DP – 4.6
In the Shadow of Women (2015, Philippe Garrel) – 6.6
Aquarius (2016, Kleber Mendonça Filho) – 7.1
The Treasure (2015, Corneliu Porombuiu) – 6.3
Knight of Cups (2015, Terrence Malick) – 6.1
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016, David Yates) DP – 5.5
Fences (2016, Denzel Washington) DP – 5.7
Assassin’s Creed (2016, Justin Kurzel) DP – 4.3
Inner Workings (2016, Leo Matsuda) DP
Moana (2016, John Musker & Ron Clements) DP – 5.8
+Manchester By The Sea (2016, Kenneth Lonergan) DP – 8.1 [same]
Rogue One (2016, Gareth Edwards) DP – 6.4
Elle (2016, Paul Verhoeven) DP – 7.3
+It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, Frank Capra) 35mm – 7.9 [down from ~8.1]
Cosmos (2015, Andrzej Zulawski) – 4.4
Lion (2016, Garth Davis) DP – 4.8
Passengers (2016, Morten Tyldum) DP – 4.9
The Academy of Muses (2015, José Luis Guerín) – 6.2
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016, Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone) – 6.0
Aferim! (2015, Radu Jude) – 6.1
Weiner (2016, Josh Kriegman & Elyse Steinberg) – 6.4

Mildred Pierce

**** (Great)

It is perhaps tempting to name Mildred Pierce strictly as a film noir. Based on the novel of the same name by James M. Cain, one of the progenitors of hard-boiled crime fiction, and shot in gloriously shadowy black-and-white, it rightly bears the hallmarks of that most hallowed of film styles. Yet it feels like something more, owing as much to melodrama as to noir in the hands of Michael Curtiz while still remaining refreshingly down-to-earth. More than anything, it is a devastating blend, using each genre’s strengths in order to develop its wrenching tale of a woman undone by the people around her, fatalistic yet hopeful.

It perhaps goes without saying that the most noir-inflected scenes in Mildred Pierce are confined to the framing scenes. Jarringly, the film begins in medias res at the film’s very end, and while this is perhaps a concession to the conventions of noir, it conveniently allows for Joan Crawford’s superb, part-satisfied-part-wistful narration to supplement the story—the film’s tone isn’t the most consistent, and the narration helps to smooth over and remind the viewers of the tragic conclusion to come. In tandem, the police station where Mildred relates her “confession” is almost preposterously shadowy, complete with a glaring lamp, shuttered windows, and a haze of cigarette smoke, which only makes the fade back to the past more astonishing.

The mood of Mildred Pierce quickly pivots to a much more sunny, and perhaps more emotionally involved tenor, following Mildred from practically the moment that she makes the pivotal decision of her life—separating from her husband Bert (played by an admirably stolid Bruce Bennett). The shadows from the aftermath of a crime are replaced with a sunny, domestic situation, but if anything the emotions and broiling tension are accentuated. Even here, the narrative begins at the end of one stage of life, but Mildred’s character seems almost fully formed from the start, such is the magnetism of Crawford’s confidence and poise.

Crucially, Mildred is conceived as a remarkably well-rounded character, possessing in equal amounts ambition, care, and a strong work ethic. Despite her pampering of her daughters, especially Veda, she is never blind, and works as a waitress even while Veda disparages the profession in order to support them all. But the filmmakers take care to show that, no matter how successful she gets as an improbably profitable restaurant owner, she will never achieve a true sense of happiness; her two marriages fall apart, Veda looks down on her mother and her work while becoming more and more ingrained with the upper class, and she eventually has to compromise her own principles to satisfy Veda, sending her life into a downward spiral.

All of this isn’t necessarily novel, but what distinguishes Mildred Pierce is the cumulative force that imparts practically every single scene with a sense of importance. As mentioned before, the voiceover plays a large part in sustaining the momentum of the film, but the two most important parts are the performances of Crawford and Ann Blyth as Veda. The two clash frequently, but the relationship becomes almost one-sided as it is clear Mildred cares about Veda more than anything in the world, a fact which Veda exploits. The film is fundamentally about a daughter’s betrayal of her mother, and Blyth is as cruel as Crawford is desperate, a potent combination that comes to a head in the devastating climax.

Mildred Pierce is a film of power, more concerned with emotions than anything else, but nevertheless everything in the film is done to perfection. After the narrative inevitably boils over, it ends on a note of surprising optimism: Mildred and Bert silhouetted against a glistening skyline. The world is theirs, though the shadows still linger.

Manhunter

***** (Masterpiece)

If one had to choose the trait that defines all of Michael Mann’s oeuvre, it would very likely be his dedication to depicting professionalism, whether it be that of DEA agents in Miami Vice, master thieves and the LAPD in Heat, or even the Nazi military in The Keep. Manhunter is very likely the apex of this ethos, a compact film where nothing is wasted in depicting both the thrills and frustrations of the chase, matched by Mann’s impeccable perfection. It is Mann’s most perfect film, a cold, gleaming diamond burnished by the highest craftsmanship possible, yet, especially in the development of Francis Dollarhyde, there is something more, a genuine beating heart that only serves to accentuate the power of this truly consummate film.

Manhunter‘s first two scenes provide a look into the impulses that will drive the images to follow. The first is a shakily filmed, low-res affair that looks akin to a home movie, moving up to the bedroom of a darkness-shrouded house. Underscored by shimmering synth music, it ends in ambiguity as the title card blazes onto the screen. The second scene, after the opening credits, is much more indicative of the overall style of the film, staged in immaculate frames by Spinotti’s incredible cinematography that, after the initial shot, takes place in relatively simple shot-reverse-shot. Yet, despite the charge of the dialogue that manifests itself throughout the film, it and the next few scenes are set in an idyllic location, a sunny beach house removed from the perils of the city and of suburbia. Manhunter seeks to unite these two extreme contrasts, taking place largely in cramped, dark locations but shot using intense, immaculate medium shots.

Much of the pleasure in viewing Manhunter is observing the pieces come together, as Will Graham and his associates calmly but urgently search for clues to capture Fracis Dollarhyde, alias The Tooth Fairy. From lab work to viewing home videos by the deceased families to visiting the homes, Graham observes all, voicing his deductions in an analytical but never detached voice, conveyed by an intensely committed and forceful performance by William Petersen that remains consistently mesmerizing both in stasis and in motion. In turn, Mann observes Graham and company with the eye of a lab worker, using an extraordinary amount of camera angles (but preferring straight-on, slightly off-center compositions) to capture every aspect of the investigation. He withholds nothing, lying in wait to accentuate every development with minute curiosity, often providing quick close-ups on various objects including photographs, documents, and especially the home movies in order to emphasize the tactile, vital nature of these items towards the investigation (epitomized in the brilliant forensic scene with Dollarhyde’s letter).

Of course, Manhunter is perhaps best known for being the first Hannibal Lector (or “Lecktor” here) movie. But his appearance is both well-integrated yet subtly set aside from the rest of the film. He is far more divorced from the action here than in The Silence of the Lambs, and there’s no doubt here that Brian Cox is very much a supporting character, but his menace is clear and apparent, though he only appears in three short scenes, two of which are within the first third of the film and only one in person with Graham. Lecktor is encased in a spotless white cell, itself housed in a building seemingly made entirely out of glass and white blocks. The color of white is robbed of all of its innocuous connotations and replaced with a sickening, overbearing feeling that Lecktor seems to harness with his dismissive sneer, forcing Graham to run out of the building to regain his composure. His forbidding sense of calm extends to Cox’s use of body language: even though he’s always sitting he seems to be hunched over Graham, his eyes glaring hungrily as he dissects him verbally.

By the steady pace and continual suspense of the first two-thirds or so, Mann could have continued in the procedural vein for the entirety of Manhunter, but he decides to make a daring and quite possibly more successful gambit. First, he upstages the investigation in spectacular fashion, using Lecktor to introduce both a suddenly urgent menace and to flesh out Graham’s relationship with his family more, in a series of truly touching conversations that enhance his core humanity even in the face of so much bloodshed. But then, after an intense monologue by Graham staring at his rain-soaked reflection, the film suddenly switches to the perspective of Dollarhyde, who had been heretofore seen only briefly, albeit in an extraordinarily creepy introduction. As the Tooth Fairy, Noonan is both an imposing and astonishingly uncertain presence, as his killer channels his considerable awkwardness into bloodlust, his obsession with William Blake’s The Great Red Dragon paintings offering some way of escape. Graham appears sparingly in these parts, allowing Mann to craft a strangely primal romance between Dollarhyde and his blind co-worker Reba. From the strangely soothing appearance of a drugged tiger to one of the only displays of emotion on his part, Noonan makes this seemingly disconnected section work, connecting his character to Graham’s displays of affection for his own family while still remaining distant.

Of course, this section can’t last forever, and after perhaps the two most startling moments in the film (an imagined kiss that is scorchingly backlit and set improbably to The Prime Movers’ “Strong As I Am” and a shocking vision of one of the deceased women with her eyes and mouth replaced with blank spots looking at Graham), Manhunter resumes its procedural mode for a short while before the final confrontation at Dollarhyde’s home. At this final scene, scored supremely to “In-A-Gadda-Vida” by Iron Butterfly, the film seems as if it shatters into pieces with the window that Graham jumps through, blatantly using slow motion and jump cuts (often to events that had taken just seconds before) in order to create a sense of disorientation. The action itself is quick and straightforward, but it feels punchier, more brutal this way.

Manhunter‘s magnificence is difficult to describe, as it and all of Mann’s films work best in the moment, as they carry off the viewer in their sensual pleasures, but the best way is to talk about the feeling aroused in the viewer at the end of the film. It is one of irrepressible catharsis, as Graham finally gets what he saw in the vision in roughly the middle of the film. As he stares out into the ocean with his family, he and the viewer feel relief, with Red 7’s “Heartbeat” soaring and the sunniness shines over all. It is an affirmation that there is some semblance of good, and if it is one of Mann’s most unambiguously positive endings, it comes only after a dark, immersive plunge into the chase and all that comes with it. That is the Mann ethos, and it comes in its purest, most perfect form in Manhunter.

Cameraperson

**** (Great)

When I first heard about the significant buzz surrounding Cameraperson, it seemed heavily reminiscent of Sans soleil, Chris Marker’s 1983 magnum opus that I regard as the greatest film I’ve ever seen. The description, detailing how it was comprised of outtakes from various documentaries all shot by the same cameraperson, Kirsten Johnson, was intriguing, only slightly removed from the other film’s freewheeling examination of the human condition and memory using footage shot mostly in Tokyo, Guinea-Bissau, and San Francisco. But it took me more than half the runtime to realize that the film is not Sans soleil, and that it was just one of the many, many aspects that makes Cameraperson the stunning, quietly revolutionary work that it is.

It begins in a manner that both boldly announces its intentions and introduces the sensitive intimacy that defines the film to come. After an opening intertitle that describes the following images as Johnson’s memoir of sorts, with the striking line “These are the images that have marked me”, Johnson cuts to footage of a Bosnian shepherd on horseback leading sheep. Without context, this shot in and of itself holds little tangible meaning, but Johnson (in the moment, as the cinematographer) unexpectedly breaks the camera’s line of sight, plucking a few blades of grass out of the way so she can better capture the sheep trundling down the path next to her. This, coupled with the next shot, as Johnson first gasps at a lightning strike she is filming and then sneezes, are perhaps the clearest sign of Johnson’s presence in actively changing the shot, but they come significantly just before the title card.

Johnson’s primary concern in both the construction of Cameraperson and in her general cinematography seems to be one of sensitivity. Even though the most apparent signs of Johnson’s presence off-screen (for example, in the aforementioned shot changes) are confined to the first half, the viewer never loses sight of her active role in crafting the situations she is in. From her incisive but gentle questions to the often intimate framings, Johnson never gets so close as to be intrusive but always maintains the exact level of remove that is required, both in the footage she shot on assignment in some of the most traumatized regions of the world and in the “home movies” of the most seemingly inconsequential occurrences in day-to-day life.

Here, perhaps, is the greatest point of divergence with Sans soleil, which conducts its dialogue with its subjects entirely through visual means. Marker seems to reject an overtly personal bent, seeking to diminish his directorial presence in favor of offering his vision of the world, whereas Johnson seeks to strike a more tenuous balance. Of course, there are many other differences. For starters, Sans soleil utilizes an extensive narration, supposedly made of letters written by a separate filmmaker. The letters (written in actuality by Marker) in turn both establish a level of remove and a partial explanation of the sometimes inexplicable images that are appearing on the screen. Cameraperson, on the other hand, forgoes this tactic. Though the images are never remotely abstract, Johnson never feels beholden to explain the context or even the original purpose of the footage, instead putting an intertitle stating the location where the footage was shot and the occasional chyron with the name and occupation of the person being interviewed. For me, this idea took some time getting used to. As I was expecting the whirlwind of information in Sans soleil, I felt slightly alienated by the stop-and-start rhythm of images that at first glance seemed to be banal and “ordinary”, and the locations seemed too disparate for Johnson to return to (in contrast to the localized repetitions of Marker’s film).

But Johnson is operating in an entirely different mode of communication, one of astonishing patience and power. Aside from two essentially stand-alone montages, one of people walking and the other a stunning display of sites of massacres and murders from around the world, including such disparate locations as Ground Zero, a church in Rwanda, a school in Bosnia, and a truck in Texas, Johnson sticks to the vignettes of footage that, in some way, all come back to the idea of the shared humanity and its effect on the cameraperson. Johnson never lets the overarching themes become apparent, but in the little moments that rise out of everyday life, such as Jacques Derrida commenting on her tripping as she is filming him, or her capturing a sudden snowfall while she is shooting a woman whose mother killed herself, she makes it clear that the cameraperson is human, and that it is in some way her responsibility to capture humanity not as it should be, but as it is.

Nowhere is this clearer than in the home videos of both Johnson’s children and her mother, who died of Alzheimer’s. In this showing of people both at the beginning and at the end of their lives, she makes a statement that is at once both universal and personal, and ties it back to other footage that surrounds it. For instance, she implicitly connects footage of a Golden Gloves boxer being comforted by his mother (one of the most notable examples of Johnson returning to footage) to her mother brushing Johnson’s hair in the only moment where she can be seen on camera.

However, what may be the most striking is the extraordinary breadth of life that Johnson has captured. From a lecture in Queens to a Michael Moore interview to a premature baby being born in Nigeria, the subject matter and tone frequently change in a single edit, but the unmistakable vitality that Johnson brings out of her subjects and images remains constant. Johnson most frequently returns to a family in Bosnia that is recovering after the war there, and emphasizes both the injustice that has been done and the family’s will to live on. Cameraperson is an optimistic film that never shies away from the truth, and throughout, Johnson’s will to document is paramount. It is a noble thing to document all of this life experience, and the skill with which Johnson and editor Nels Bangerter have constructed this supremely monumental film is evident in every transition, every moment. Cameraperson is a great film in every sense of the word, and one that I’ll be grappling with for years to come.

“Polls” Lists/Commercial Releases

The following lists are produced mostly based off of Mike D’Angelo’s commercial release lists.

2018

  1. The Day After (2017, Hong Sang-soo)
  2. Claire’s Camera (2017, Hong Sang-soo)

2017

  1. On the Beach at Night Alone (2017, Hong Sang-soo)
  2. Faces Places (2017, Agnès Varda & JR)
  3. Good Time (2017, Josh & Benny Safdie)
  4. Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016, Paul W.S. Anderson)
  5. 120 BPM (Beats Per Minute) (2017, Robin Campillo)
  6. The Lost City of Z (2016, James Gray)
  7. Nocturama (2016, Bertrand Bonello)
  8. Ex Libris – The New York Public Library (2017, Frederick Wiseman)
  9. Song to Song (2017, Terrence Malick)
  10. John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017, Chad Stahelski)
  11. Marjorie Prime (2017, Michael Almereyda)
  12. The Ornithologist (2016, João Pedro Rodrigues)
  13. Starless Dreams (2016, Mehrdad Oskouei)
  14. The Son of Joseph (2016, Eugène Green)
  15. Person to Person (2017, Dustin Guy Defa)
  16. A Quiet Passion (2016, Terence Davies)
  17. Get Out (2017, Jordan Peele)
  18. Escapes (2017, Michael Almereyda)
  19. The Beguiled (2017, Sofia Coppola)
  20. Personal Shopper (2016, Olivier Assayas)
  21. Your Name. (2016, Makoto Shinkai)
  22. The Unknown Girl (2016, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)
  23. Staying Vertical (2016, Alain Guiraudie)
  24. Alien: Covenant (2017, Ridley Scott)
  25. Baby Driver (2017, Edgar Wright)
  26. By the Time It Gets Dark (2016, Anocha Suwichakornpong)
  27. Dawson City: Frozen Time (2016, Bill Morrison)
  28. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017, Martin McDonagh)
  29. Split (2016, M. Night Shyamalan)
  30. A Cure for Wellness (2016, Gore Verbinski)
  31. Okja (2017, Bong Joon-ho)
  32. The Florida Project (2017, Sean Baker)
  33. Bronx Gothic (2017, Andrew Rossi)
  34. Harmonium (2016, Kôji Fukada)
  35. Graduation (2016, Cristian Mungiu)
  36. Blade Runner 2049 (2017, Denis Villeneuve)
  37. After the Storm (2016, Hirokazu Kore-eda)
  38. Spettacolo (2017, Jeff Malmberg & Chris Shellen)
  39. The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki (2016, Juho Kuosmanen)
  40. The Great Wall (2016, Zhang Yimou)
  41. A Ghost Story (2017, David Lowery)
  42. Gook (2017, Justin Chon)
  43. Casting JonBenet (2017, Kitty Green)
  44. The Fate of the Furious (2017, F. Gary Gray)
  45. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (2017, James Gunn)
  46. Beach Rats (2017, Eliza Hittman)
  47. The Lego Batman Movie (2017, Chris McKay)
  48. Wonder Woman (2017, Patty Jenkins)
  49. Logan (2017, James Mangold)
  50. The Big Sick (2017, Michael Showalter)
  51. Cézanne et moi (2016, Danièle Thompson)
  52. The Void (2016, Jeremy Gillespie & Steven Kostanski)
  53. Wind River (2017, Taylor Sheridan)
  54. As You Are (2016, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte)
  55. mother! (2017, Darren Aronofsky)

2016

  1. The Terrorizers (1986, Edward Yang)
  2. Silence (2016, Martin Scorsese)
  3. Manchester by the Sea (2016, Kenneth Lonergan)
  4. Cameraperson (2016, Kirsten Johnson)
  5. Toni Erdmann (2016, Maren Ade)
  6. My Golden Days (2015, Arnaud Desplechin)
  7. Mountains May Depart (2015, Jia Zhangke)
  8. Right Now, Wrong Then (2015, Hong Sang-soo)
  9. The Handmaiden (2016, Park Chan-wook)
  10. O.J.: Made in America (2016, Ezra Edelman)
  11. Happy Hour (2015, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)
  12. Cemetery of Splendour (2015, Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
  13. Elle (2016, Paul Verhoeven)
  14. Kate Plays Christine (2016, Robert Greene)
  15. Certain Women (2016, Kelly Reichardt)
  16. Things to Come (2016, Mia Hansen-Løve)
  17. Dragon Inn (1967, King Hu)
  18. Sunset Song (2015, Terence Davies)
  19. Sully (2016, Clint Eastwood)
  20. Paterson (2016, Jim Jarmusch)
  21. SPL II: A Time for Consequences (2015, Soi Cheang)
  22. Creepy (2016, Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
  23. Aquarius (2016, Kleber Mendonça Filho)
  24. I Am Not Your Negro (2016, Raoul Peck)
  25. The Shallows (2016, Jaume Collet-Serra)
  26. Shin Godzilla (2016, Hideaki Anno)
  27. Everybody Wants Some!! (2016, Richard Linklater)
  28. Love & Friendship (2016, Whit Stillman)
  29. The Other Side (2015, Roberto Minervini)
  30. 20th Century Women (2016, Mike Mills)
  31. Moonlight (2016, Barry Jenkins)
  32. Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party (2015, Stephen Cone)
  33. The Edge of Seventeen (2016, Kelly Fremon Craig)
  34. Kaili Blues (2015, Bi Gan)
  35. In the Shadow of Women (2015, Philippe Garrel)
  36. Belladonna of Sadness (1973, Eiichi Yamamoto)
  37. Tower (2016, Keith Maitland)
  38. Julieta (2016, Pedro Almodóvar)
  39. Kubo and the Two Strings (2016, Travis Knight)
  40. Hail, Caesar! (2016, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  41. Allied (2016, Robert Zemeckis)
  42. Rogue One (2016, Gareth Edwards)
  43. Weiner (2016, Josh Kriegman & Elyse Steinberg)
  44. De Palma (2015, Noah Baumbach & Jake Paltrow)
  45. Our Little Sister (2015, Hirokazu Kore-eda)
  46. I Am Not Madame Bovary (2016, Feng Xiaogang)
  47. The Treasure (2015, Corneliu Porumboiu)
  48. Rules Don’t Apply (2016, Warren Beatty)
  49. Knight of Cups (2015, Terrence Malick)
  50. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016, Zack Snyder)
  51. Only Yesterday (1991, Isao Takahata)
  52. The Academy of Muses (2016, José Luis Guerín)
  53. Hell or High Water (2016, David Mackenzie)
  54. Arrival (2016, Denis Villeneuve)
  55. Café Society (2016, Woody Allen)
  56. Aferim! (2015, Radu Jude)
  57. Always Shine (2016, Sophia Takal)
  58. The Love Witch (2016, Anna Biller)
  59. Neruda (2016, Pablo Larraín)
  60. Don’t Breathe (2016, Fede Alvarez)
  61. Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016, Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone)
  62. Valley of Love (2015, Guillaume Nicloux)
  63. The Mermaid (2016, Stephen Chow)
  64. Voyage of Time: The IMAX Experience (2016, Terrence Malick)
  65. Green Room (2015, Jeremy Saulnier)
  66. The Invitation (2015, Karyn Kusama)
  67. The Lobster (2015, Yorgos Lanthimos)
  68. Indignation (2016, James Schamus)
  69. Moana (2016, John Musker & Ron Clements)
  70. The Fits (2015, Anna Rose Holmer)
  71. The Nice Guys (2016, Shane Black)
  72. Là-bas (2006, Chantal Akerman)
  73. Los Sures (1984, Diego Echeverria)
  74. 10 Cloverfield Lane (2016, Dan Trachtenberg)
  75. Hacksaw Ridge (2016, Mel Gibson)
  76. I Don’t Belong Anywhere: The Cinema of Chantal Akerman (2015, Marianne Lambert)
  77. I, Daniel Blake (2016, Ken Loach)
  78. A Bigger Splash (2015, Luca Guadagnino)
  79. April and the Extraordinary World (2015, Christian Desmares & Franck Ekinci)
  80. Fences (2016, Denzel Washington)
  81. Midnight Special (2016, Jeff Nichols)
  82. Demolition (2015, Jean-Marc Vallée)
  83. Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016, David Yates)
  84. Sing Street (2016, John Carney)
  85. Francofonia (2015, Aleksandr Sokurov)
  86. Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016, Nicholas Stoller)
  87. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016, Bryan Singer)
  88. Captain America: Civil War (2016, Anthony & Joe Russo)
  89. No Home Movie (2015, Chantal Akerman)
  90. Doctor Strange (2016, Scott Derrickson)
  91. Deepwater Horizon (2016, Peter Berg)
  92. High-Rise (2015, Ben Wheatley)
  93. Zootopia (2016, Byron Howard & Rich Moore)
  94. The Jungle Book (2016, Jon Favreau)
  95. American Honey (2016, Andrea Arnold)
  96. The Magnificent Seven (2016, Antoine Fuqua)
  97. Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016, Taika Waititi)
  98. Jason Bourne (2016, Paul Greengrass)
  99. Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016, Ang Lee)
  100. Eye in the Sky (2015, Gavin Hood)
  101. Nerve (2016, Henry Joost & Ariel Schulman)
  102. The Witch: A New-England Folktale (2015, Robert Eggers)
  103. Krisha (2015, Trey Edward Shults)
  104. Passengers (2016, Morten Tyldum)
  105. A Monster Calls (2016, J.A. Bayona)
  106. Embrace of the Serpent (2015, Ciro Guerra)
  107. The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan)
  108. Money Monster (2016, Jodie Foster)
  109. Keanu (2016, Peter Atencio)
  110. Nocturnal Animals (2016, Tom Ford)
  111. 13th (2016, Ava DuVernay)
  112. Lion (2016, Garth Davis)
  113. La La Land (2016, Damien Chazelle)
  114. Jackie (2016, Pablo Larraín)
  115. Christine (2016, Antonio Campos)
  116. Live by Night (2016, Ben Affleck)
  117. Cosmos (2015, Andrzej Zulawski)
  118. Assassin’s Creed (2016, Justin Kurzel)
  119. On the Silver Globe (1988, Andrzej Zulawski)
  120. Hidden Figures (2016, Theodore Melfi)
  121. Deadpool (2016, Tim Miller)
  122. Don’t Think Twice (2016, Mike Birbiglia)
  123. The Neon Demon (2016, Nicolas Winding Refn)
  124. Now You See Me 2 (2016, Jon M. Chu)
  125. Swiss Army Man (2016, Daniel Scheinert & Daniel Kwan)
  126. Suicide Squad (2016, David Ayer)

2015

  1. Out 1 (1971, Jacques Rivette)
  2. Carol (2015, Todd Haynes)
  3. Phoenix (2014, Christian Petzold)
  4. Mistress America (2015, Noah Baumbach)
  5. The Forbidden Room (2015, Guy Maddin)
  6. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015, George Miller)
  7. The Assassin (2015, Hou Hsiao-hsien)
  8. Blackhat (2015, Michael Mann)
  9. When Marnie Was There (2014, Hiromasa Yonebayashi)
  10. Sicario (2015, Denis Villeneuve)
  11. Rebels of the Neon God (1992, Tsai Ming-liang)
  12. Horse Money (2014, Pedro Costa)
  13. Magic Mike XXL (2015, Gregory Jacobs)
  14. Queen of Earth (2015, Alex Ross Perry)
  15. L for Leisure (2014, Lev Kalman & Whitney Horn)
  16. The Hateful Eight (2015, Quentin Tarantino)
  17. Aloha (2015, Cameron Crowe)
  18. Star Wars: Episode VII — The Force Awakens (2015, J.J. Abrams)
  19. Clouds of Sils Maria (2014, Olivier Assayas)
  20. The Mend (2014, John Magary)
  21. Heaven Knows What (2014, Josh & Benny Safdie)
  22. Bridge of Spies (2015, Steven Spielberg)
  23. The Duke of Burgundy (2014, Peter Strickland)
  24. Creed (2015, Ryan Coogler)
  25. Tangerine (2015, Sean Baker)
  26. Inside Out (2015, Pete Docter)
  27. 45 Years (2015, Andrew Haigh)
  28. Mustang (2015, Denis Gamze Ergüven)
  29. Run All Night (2015, Jaume Collet-Serra)
  30. Office (2015, Johnnie To)
  31. James White (2015, Josh Mond)
  32. The Martian (2015, Ridley Scott)
  33. Güeros (2014, Alonso Ruizpalacios)
  34. Spotlight (2015, Tom McCarthy)
  35. Brooklyn (2015, John Crowley)
  36. The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015, Marielle Heller)
  37. Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (2015, Christopher McQuarrie)
  38. Saint Laurent (2014, Bertrand Bonello)
  39. Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015, Joss Whedon)
  40. Steve Jobs (2015, Danny Boyle)
  41. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015, Francis Lawrence)
  42. Boy and the World (2013, Alê Abreu)
  43. Everest (2015, Baltasar Kormákur)
  44. The Walk (2015, Robert Zemeckis)
  45. Trainwreck (2015, Judd Apatow)
  46. Ant-Man (2015, Peyton Reed)
  47. It Follows (2014, David Robert Mitchell)
  48. Ex Machina (2015, Alex Garland)
  49. Love & Mercy (2014, Bill Pohlad)
  50. Straight Outta Compton (2015, F. Gary Gray)
  51. Furious Seven (2015, James Wan)
  52. Room (2015, Lenny Abrahamson)
  53. Anomalisa (2015, Charlie Kaufman)
  54. Meet the Patels (2014, Geeta V. Patel & Ravi V. Patel)
  55. The Wolfpack (2015, Crystal Moselle)
  56. Song of Lahore (2015, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy & Andy Schocken)
  57. Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015, Brett Morgen)
  58. Spectre (2015, Sam Mendes)
  59. Son of Saul (2015, László Nemes)
  60. The Gift (2015, Joel Edgerton)
  61. Chi-Raq (2015, Spike Lee)
  62. Macbeth (2015, Justin Kurzel)
  63. The Revenant (2015, Alejandro González Iñárritu)
  64. Black Mass (2015, Scott Cooper)
  65. In the Heart of the Sea (2015, Ron Howard)
  66. Beasts of No Nation (2015, Cary Joji Fukunaga)
  67. The Danish Girl (2015, Tom Hooper)
  68. The Big Short (2015, Adam McKay)
  69. Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014, Matthew Vaughn)
  70. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon)

2014

  1. Boyhood (2014, Richard Linklater)
  2. Manakamana (2013, Stephanie Spray & Pacho Velez)
  3. Inherent Vice (2014, Paul Thomas Anderson)
  4. Two Days, One Night (2014, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)
  5. The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014, Wes Anderson)
  6. The Immigrant (2013, James Gray)
  7. Non-Stop (2014, Jaume Collet-Serra)
  8. John Wick (2014, Chad Stahelski)
  9. Stranger by the Lake (2013, Alain Guiraudie)
  10. Night Moves (2013, Kelly Reichardt)
  11. Actress (2014, Robert Greene)
  12. Whiplash (2014, Damien Chazelle)
  13. Nightcrawler (2014, Dan Gilroy)
  14. Chantal Akerman, From Here (2010, Gustavo Beck & Leonardo Ferreira)
  15. Edge of Tomorrow (2014, Doug Liman)
  16. The Lego Movie (2014, Phil Lord & Chris Miller)
  17. Interstellar (2014, Christopher Nolan)
  18. Blue Ruin (2013, Jeremy Saulnier)
  19. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014, James Gunn)
  20. Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014, Anthony & Joe Russo)
  21. Foxcatcher (2014, Bennett Miller)
  22. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014, Bryan Singer)
  23. Selma (2014, Ava DuVernay)
  24. The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014, Francis Lawrence)
  25. Big Hero 6 (2014, Don Hall & Chris Williams)
  26. Fury (2014, David Ayer)
  27. The Imitation Game (2014, Morten Tyldum)
  28. Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014, Alejandro González Iñárritu)
  29. The Theory of Everything (2014, James Marsh)
  30. The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014, Marc Webb)

2013

  1. Passion (2012, Brian De Palma)
  2. Before Midnight (2013, Richard Linklater)
  3. To the Wonder (2012, Terrence Malick)
  4. Inside Llewyn Davis (2013, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  5. Frances Ha (2012, Noah Baumbach)
  6. The World’s End (2013, Edgar Wright)
  7. The Act of Killing (2012, Joshua Oppenheimer)
  8. Leviathan (2012, Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Véréna Paravel)
  9. The Unspeakable Act (2012, Dan Sallitt)
  10. 12 Years a Slave (2013, Steve McQueen)
  11. Gravity (2013, Alfonso Cuáron)
  12. Her (2013, Spike Jonze)
  13. The Grandmaster (2013, Wong Kar-wai)
  14. Upstream Color (2013, Shane Carruth)
  15. Captain Phillips (2013, Paul Greengrass)
  16. The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013, Francis Lawrence)
  17. Pacific Rim (2013, Guillermo del Toro)
  18. American Hustle (2013, David O. Russell)
  19. Star Trek Into Darkness (2013, J.J. Abrams)
  20. Frozen (2013, Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee)
  21. Simon Killer (2012, Antonio Campos)
  22. The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013, Peter Jackson)
  23. Iron Man 3 (2013, Shane Black)
  24. Man of Steel (2013, Zack Snyder)
  25. Elysium (2013, Neill Blomkamp)
  26. The Heat (2013, Paul Feig)
  27. World War Z (2013, Marc Forster)
  28. Monsters University (2013, Dan Scanlon)
  29. The Wolverine (2013, James Mangold)
  30. Now You See Me (2013, Louis Leterrier)
  31. Thor: The Dark World (2013, Alan Taylor)
  32. Olympus Has Fallen (2013, Antoine Fuqua)
  33. Despicable Me 2 (2013, Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud)
  34. Only God Forgives (2013, Nicolas Winding Refn)

2012

  1. The Day He Arrives (2011, Hong Sang-soo)
  2. Moonrise Kingdom (2012, Wes Anderson)
  3. It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2012, Don Hertzfeldt)
  4. Holy Motors (2012, Leos Carax)
  5. The Master (2012, Paul Thomas Anderson)
  6. Resident Evil: Retribution (2012, Paul W.S. Anderson)
  7. In Another Country (2012, Hong Sang-soo)
  8. The Wise Kids (2011, Stephen Cone)
  9. Looper (2012, Rian Johnson)
  10. Cloud Atlas (2012, Lana & Lilly Wachowski & Tom Tykwer)
  11. Prometheus (2012, Ridley Scott)
  12. Skyfall (2012, Sam Mendes)
  13. Battle Royale (2000, Kinji Fukasaku)
  14. Django Unchained (2012, Quentin Tarantino)
  15. Dredd (2012, Pete Travis)
  16. Argo (2012, Ben Affleck)
  17. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011, David Gelb)
  18. Life of Pi (2012, Ang Lee)
  19. The Dark Knight Rises (2012, Christopher Nolan)
  20. Marvel’s The Avengers (2012, Joss Whedon)
  21. Lincoln (2012, Steven Spielberg)
  22. The Hunger Games (2012, Gary Ross)
  23. The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012, Peter Jackson)
  24. The Amazing Spider-Man (2012, Marc Webb)
  25. Les Misérables (2012, Tom Hooper)
  26. The Words (2012, Brian Klugman & Lee Sternthal)

2011

  1. A Brighter Summer Day (1991, Edward Yang)
  2. The Tree of Life (2011, Terrence Malick)
  3. Margaret (2011, Kenneth Lonergan)
  4. Meek’s Cutoff (2010, Kelly Reichardt)
  5. Historias extraordinarias (2008, Mariano Llinás)
  6. Melancholia (2011, Lars von Trier)
  7. House of Tolerance (2011, Bertrand Bonello)
  8. Pina (2011, Wim Wenders)
  9. The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011, David Fincher)
  10. Unknown (2011, Jaume Collet-Serra)
  11. Midnight in Paris (2011, Woody Allen)
  12. Moneyball (2011, Bennett Miller)
  13. Cave of Forgotten Dreams (2010, Werner Herzog)
  14. Hugo (2011, Martin Scorsese)
  15. Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011, Guy Ritchie)
  16. Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (2011, Brad Bird)
  17. Pariah (2011, Dee Rees)
  18. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011, Tomas Alfredson)
  19. The Artist (2011, Michel Hazanavicius)
  20. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011, David Yates)
  21. Ip Man 2 (2010, Wilson Yip)
  22. Bridesmaids (2011, Paul Feig)
  23. X-Men: First Class (2011, Matthew Vaughn)
  24. Drive (2011, Nicolas Winding Refn)
  25. War Horse (2011, Steven Spielberg)
  26. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011, Joe Johnston)
  27. Thor (2011, Kenneth Branagh)

2010

  1. Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010, Edgar Wright)
  2. The Social Network (2010, David Fincher)
  3. Sweetgrass (2009, Ilisa Barbash & Lucien Castaing-Taylor)
  4. Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010, Paul W.S. Anderson)
  5. True Grit (2010, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  6. Toy Story 3 (2010, Lee Unkrich)
  7. Inside Job (2010, Charles Ferguson)
  8. Inception (2010, Christopher Nolan)
  9. Ip Man (2008, Wilson Yip)
  10. The Fighter (2010, David O. Russell)
  11. Fish Tank (2009, Andrea Arnold)
  12. The King’s Speech (2010, Tom Hooper)
  13. Tangled (2010, Nathan Greno & Byron Howard)
  14. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010, David Yates)
  15. Despicable Me (2010, Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud)
  16. C.R.A.Z.Y. (2006, Jean-Marc Vallée)
  17. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010, Michael Apted)
  18. The A-Team (2010, Joe Carnahan)
  19. Iron Man 2 (2010, Jon Favreau)
  20. Mao’s Last Dancer (2009, Bruce Beresford)
  21. The Karate Kid (2010, Harold Zwart)
  22. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010, David Slade)
  23. Extraordinary Measures (2010, Tom Vaughn)

2009

  1. Public Enemies (2009, Michael Mann)
  2. Two Lovers (2008, James Gray)
  3. Inglourious Basterds (2009, Quentin Tarantino)
  4. Up (2009, Pete Docter)
  5. Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009, Wes Anderson)
  6. Orphan (2009, Jaume Collet-Serra)
  7. Afterschool (2008, Antonio Campos)
  8. A Serious Man (2009, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  9. Star Trek (2009, J.J. Abrams)
  10. Coraline (2009, Henry Selick)
  11. Red Cliff (2008, John Woo)
  12. Sherlock Holmes (2009, Guy Ritchie)
  13. Avatar (2009, James Cameron)
  14. Taken (2008, Pierre Morel)
  15. Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009, David Yates)
  16. Up in the Air (2009, Jason Reitman)
  17. Invictus (2009, Clint Eastwood)
  18. Angels & Demons (2009, Ron Howard)
  19. Michael Jackson’s This Is It (2009, Kenny Ortega)
  20. 17 Again (2009, Burr Steers)
  21. The Soloist (2009, Joe Wright)
  22. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009, Gavin Hood)
  23. (500) Days of Summer (2009, Marc Webb)
  24. Bride Wars (2009, Gary Winick)
  25. Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009, Michael Bay)

2008

  1. WALL•E (2008, Andrew Stanton)
  2. Wendy and Lucy (2008, Kelly Reichardt)
  3. 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days (2007, Cristian Mungiu)
  4. Burn After Reading (2008, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  5. As Tears Go By (1988, Wong Kar-wai)
  6. The Dark Knight (2008, Christopher Nolan)
  7. Iron Man (2008, Jon Favreau)
  8. Viva (2007, Anna Biller)
  9. Cloverfield (2008, Matt Reeves)
  10. Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008, Steven Spielberg)
  11. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008, David Fincher)
  12. Synecdoche, New York (2008, Charlie Kaufman)
  13. Bolt (2008, Chris Williams & Byron Howard)
  14. The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (Andrew Adamson)
  15. The Forbidden Kingdom (2008, Rob Minkoff)
  16. Quantum of Solace (2008, Marc Forster)
  17. Hancock (2008, Peter Berg)
  18. 27 Dresses (2008, Anne Fletcher)
  19. The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008, Rob Cohen)
  20. The Express (2008, Gary Fleder)
  21. Twilight (2008, Catherine Hardwicke)
  22. Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008, Dave Filoni)
  23. Jumper (2008, Doug Liman)

2007

  1. There Will Be Blood (2007, Paul Thomas Anderson)
  2. Hot Fuzz (2007, Edgar Wright)
  3. No Country for Old Men (2007, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  4. The Host (2006, Bong Joon-ho)
  5. Resident Evil: Extinction (2007, Russell Mulcahy)
  6. Ratatouille (2007, Brad Bird)
  7. The Darjeeling Limited (2007, Wes Anderson)
  8. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007, Paul Greengrass)
  9. Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007, David Yates)
  10. Spider-Man 3 (2007, Sam Raimi)
  11. National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007, Jon Turteltaub)
  12. Redacted (2007, Brian De Palma)
  13. Life Free or Die Hard (2007, Len Wiseman)
  14. Blades of Glory (2007, Will Speck & Josh Gordon)
  15. Stardust (2007, Matthew Vaughn)
  16. Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007, Gore Verbinski)
  17. Rush Hour 3 (2007, Brett Ratner)
  18. The Great Debaters (2007, Denzel Washington)
  19. Mr. Bean’s Holiday (2007, Steve Bendelack)
  20. Shrek the Third (2007, Chris Miller)
  21. Transformers (2007, Michael Bay)
  22. The Game Plan (2007, Andy Fickman)
  23. Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007, Tim Story)
  24. The Golden Compass (2007, Chris Weitz)
  25. The Last Mimzy (2007, Bob Shaye)
  26. Evan Almighty (2007, Tom Shadyac)
  27. Lars and the Real Girl (2007, Craig Gillespie)

2006

  1. Inland Empire (2006, David Lynch)
  2. Miami Vice (2006, Michael Mann)
  3. Old Joy (2006, Kelly Reichardt)
  4. Lady Vengeance (2005, Park Chan-wook)
  5. The Black Dahlia (2006, Brian De Palma)
  6. Casino Royale (2006, Martin Campbell)
  7. Army of Shadows (1969, Jean-Pierre Melville)
  8. The Prestige (2006, Christopher Nolan)
  9. The Departed (2006, Martin Scorsese)
  10. The Devil Wears Prada (2006, David Frankel)
  11. Mission: Impossible III (2006, J.J. Abrams)
  12. Curse of the Golden Flower (2006, Zhang Yimou)
  13. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006, Gore Verbinski)
  14. Happy Feet (2006, George Miller)
  15. Cars (2006, John Lasseter)
  16. Night at the Museum (2006, Shawn Levy)
  17. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006, Brett Ratner)
  18. Monster House (2006, Gil Kenan)
  19. The DaVinci Code (2006, Ron Howard)
  20. Eragon (2006, Stefan Fangmeier)

2005

  1. The New World (2005, Terrence Malick)
  2. Oldboy (2003, Park Chan-wook)
  3. Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002, Park Chan-wook)
  4. House of Wax (2005, Jaume Collet-Serra)
  5. Joint Security Area (2000, Park Chan-wook)
  6. King Kong (2005, Peter Jackson)
  7. Batman Begins (2005, Christopher Nolan)
  8. Pride & Prejudice (2005, Joe Wright)
  9. Serenity (2005, Joss Whedon)
  10. Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith (2005, George Lucas)
  11. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005, Mike Newell)
  12. March of the Penguins (2005, Luc Jacquet)
  13. Cinderella Man (2005, Ron Howard)
  14. The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005, Andrew Adamson)
  15. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005, Tim Burton)
  16. Madagascar (2005, Eric Darnell & Tom McGarth)
  17. Zathura (2005, Jon Favreau)
  18. Fantastic Four (2005, Tim Story)
  19. Are We There Yet? (2005, Brian Levant)

2004

  1. Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003, Tsai Ming-liang)
  2. Before Sunset (2004, Richard Linklater)
  3. Days of Being Wild (1990, Wong Kar-wai)
  4. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, Michel Gondry)
  5. Hero (2002, Zhang Yimou)
  6. Collateral (2004, Michael Mann)
  7. House of Flying Daggers (2004, Zhang Yimou)
  8. Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004, Quentin Tarantino)
  9. The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou (2004, Wes Anderson)
  10. Shaun of the Dead (2004, Edgar Wright)
  11. Primer (2004, Shane Carruth)
  12. The Incredibles (2004, Brad Bird)
  13. Zatoichi (2003, Takeshi Kitano)
  14. Million Dollar Baby (2004, Clint Eastwood)
  15. Spider-Man 2 (2004, Sam Raimi)
  16. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004, Alfonso Cuarón)
  17. The Bourne Supremacy (2004, Paul Greengrass)
  18. Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004, Alexander Witt)
  19. The Ladykillers (2004, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  20. Ray (2004, Taylor Hackford)
  21. Mean Girls (2004, Mark Waters)
  22. The Dreamers (2003, Bernardo Bertolucci)
  23. National Treasure (2004, Jon Turteltaub)
  24. Shrek 2 (2004, Andrew Adamson & Kelly Asbury & Conrad Vernon)
  25. The Final Cut (2004, Omar Naim)
  26. Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy (2004, Adam McKay)
  27. The Day After Tomorrow (2004, Roland Emmerich)
  28. DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story (2004, Rawsom Marshall Thurber)
  29. Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004, Brad Silberling)
  30. The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004, Garry Marshall)
  31. Super Size Me (2004, Morgan Spurlock)

2003

  1. Platform (2000, Jia Zhangke)
  2. Lost in Translation (2003, Sofia Coppola)
  3. Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003, Quentin Tarantino)
  4. Intolerable Cruelty (2003, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  5. From the Other Side (2002, Chantal Akerman)
  6. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003, Peter Jackson)
  7. The School of Rock (2003, Richard Linklater)
  8. Finding Nemo (2003, Andrew Stanton)
  9. X2 (2003, Bryan Singer)
  10. Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003, Gore Verbinski)
  11. The Italian Job (2003, F. Gary Gray)
  12. Big Fish (2003, Tim Burton)
  13. Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas (2003, Tim Johnson & Patrick Gilmore)
  14. Freaky Friday (2003, Mark Waters)
  15. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003, Jonathan Mostow)
  16. Bruce Almighty (2003, Tom Shadyac)
  17. Holes (2003, Andrew Davis)
  18. The Haunted Mansion (2003, Rob Minkoff)

2002

  1. Femme Fatale (2002, Brian De Palma)
  2. Spirited Away (2001, Hayao Miyazaki)
  3. Punch-Drunk Love (2002, Chantal Akerman)
  4. The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002, Peter Jackson)
  5. Jackass: The Movie (2002, Jeff Tremaine)
  6. Russian Ark (2002, Aleksandr Sokurov)
  7. Resident Evil (2002, Paul W.S. Anderson)
  8. Minority Report (2002, Steven Spielberg)
  9. Adaptation. (2002, Spike Jonze)
  10. Catch Me If You Can (2002, Steven Spielberg)
  11. Spider-Man (2002, Sam Raimi)
  12. Lilo & Stitch (2002, Chris Sanders & Dean DeBlois)
  13. The Bourne Identity (2002, Doug Liman)
  14. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002, Chris Columbus)
  15. Happy Times (2000, Zhang Yimou)
  16. Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones (2002, George Lucas)
  17. Equilibrium (2002, Kurt Wimmer)
  18. Return to Never Land (2002, Robin Budd)
  19. Ice Age (2002, Chris Wedge)
  20. The Quiet American (2002, Phillip Noyce)
  21. Scooby-Doo (2002, Raja Gosnell)

2001

  1. Mulholland Dr. (2001, David Lynch)
  2. In the Mood for Love (2000, Wong Kar-wai)
  3. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001, Steven Spielberg)
  4. Ali (2001, Michael Mann)
  5. The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  6. The Royal Tenenbaums (2001, Wes Anderson)
  7. The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001, Peter Jackson)
  8. Monsters, Inc. (2001, Pete Docter)
  9. Sexy Beast (2000, Jonathan Glazer)
  10. Lumumba (2000, Raoul Peck)
  11. Shrek (2001, Andrew Adamson & Vicky Jenson)
  12. Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (2001, Chris Columbus)
  13. The Road Home (1999, Zhang Yimou)
  14. Rush Hour 2 (2001, Brett Ratner)
  15. Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001, Kirk Wise & Gary Trousdale)
  16. The Princess Diaries (2001, Garry Marshall)
  17. Osmosis Jones (2001, Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly)

2000

  1. Yi Yi (2000, Edward Yang)
  2. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000, Ang Lee)
  3. The Emperor’s New Groove (2000, Mark Dindal)
  4. You Can Count on Me (2000, Kenneth Lonergan)
  5. Dancer in the Dark (2000, Lars von Trier)
  6. Mission to Mars (2000, Brian De Palma)
  7. O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  8. Gladiator (2000, Ridley Scott)
  9. X-Men (2000, Bryan Singer)
  10. Fantasia/2000 (1999, Various)
  11. Mission: Impossible II (2000, John Woo)
  12. Cast Away (2000, Robert Zemeckis)
  13. Shower (1999, Zhang Yang)
  14. Gone in Sixty Seconds (2000, Dominic Sena)
  15. Dinosaur (2000, Ralph Zondag & Eric Leighton)
  16. Bring It On (2000, Peyton Reed)
  17. Remember the Titans (2000, Boaz Yakin)

1999

  1. Close-Up (1990, Abbas Kiarostami)
  2. Eyes Wide Shut (1999, Stanley Kubrick)
  3. The Insider (1999, Michael Mann)
  4. Princess Mononoke (1997, Hayao Miyazaki)
  5. Magnolia (1999, Paul Thomas Anderson)
  6. The Straight Story (1999, David Lynch)
  7. The Matrix (1999, Lana & Lilly Wachowski)
  8. Toy Story 2 (1999, John Lasseter)
  9. Being John Malkovich (1999, Spike Jonze)
  10. Buena Vista Social Club (1999, Wim Wenders)
  11. Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace (1999, George Lucas)

1998

  1. The Thin Red Line (1998, Terrence Malick)
  2. Taste of Cherry (1997, Abbas Kiarostami)
  3. The Celebration (1998, Thomas Vinterberg)
  4. Rushmore (1998, Wes Anderson)
  5. Snake Eyes (1998, Brian De Palma)
  6. Saving Private Ryan (1998, Steven Spielberg)
  7. The Big Lebowski (1998, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  8. Ronin (1998, John Frankenheimer)
  9. Mulan (1998, Barry Cook & Tony Bancroft)
  10. The Prince of Egypt (1998, Brenda Chapman & Steve Hickner & Simon Wells)
  11. Rush Hour (1998, Brett Ratner)
  12. A Bug’s Life (1998, John Lasseter)
  13. The Parent Trap (1998, Nancy Meyers)

1997

  1. Lost Highway (1997, David Lynch)
  2. Jackie Brown (1997, Quentin Tarantino)
  3. Boogie Nights (1997, Paul Thomas Anderson)
  4. Hard Eight (1996, Paul Thomas Anderson)
  5. Gattaca (1997, Andrew Niccol)
  6. Air Force One (1997, Wolfgang Petersen)
  7. Contact (1997, Robert Zemeckis)
  8. Anastasia (1997, Don Bluth & Gary Goldman)
  9. The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997, Steven Spielberg)
  10. Good Will Hunting (1997, Gus Van Sant)
  11. Hercules (1997, John Musker & Ron Clements)
  12. Batman & Robin (1997, Joel Schumacher)

1996

  1. Chungking Express (1994, Wong Kar-wai)
  2. Ashes of Time (1994, Wong Kar-wai)
  3. Breaking the Waves (1996, Lars von Trier)
  4. Vive L’Amour (1994, Tsai Ming-liang)
  5. Fargo (1996, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  6. Bottle Rocket (1996, Wes Anderson)
  7. Mission: Impossible (1996, Brian De Palma)
  8. Ghost in the Shell (1995, Mamoru Oshii)
  9. Hamlet (1996, Kenneth Branagh)
  10. The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996, Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise)
  11. Romeo + Juliet (1996, Baz Luhrmann)
  12. The Rock (1996, Michael Bay)
  13. Space Jam (1996, Joe Pytka)
  14. Matilda (1996, Danny DeVito)

1995

  1. Heat (1995, Michael Mann)
  2. Before Sunrise (1995, Richard Linklater)
  3. Clueless (1995, Amy Heckerling)
  4. Toy Story (1995, John Lasseter)
  5. River of Grass (1994, Kelly Reichardt)
  6. The Glass Shield (1994, Charles Burnett)
  7. Die Hard With a Vengeance (1995, John McTiernan)
  8. Devil in a Blue Dress (1995, Carl Franklin)
  9. Pocahontas (1995, Mike Gabriel & Eric Goldberg)
  10. Apollo 13 (1995, Ron Howard)
  11. Balto (1995, Simon Wells)
  12. Crimson Tide (1995, Tony Scott)
  13. Pushing Hands (1992, Ang Lee)
  14. Braveheart (1995, Mel Gibson)
  15. Jumanji (1995, Joe Johnston)
  16. Batman Forever (1995, Joel Schumacher)

All lists below are based off of the dates of reviews published in the New York Times.

1994

  1. To Live (1994, Zhang Yimou)
  2. Pulp Fiction (1994, Quentin Tarantino)
  3. True Lies (1994, James Cameron)
  4. Clear and Present Danger (1994, Phillip Noyce)
  5. Speed (1994, Jan de Bont)
  6. The Shawshank Redemption (1994, Frank Darabont)
  7. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  8. Forrest Gump (1994, Robert Zemeckis)
  9. The Lion King (1994, Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff)

1993

  1. Carlito’s Way (1993, Brian De Palma)
  2. Schindler’s List (1993, Steven Spielberg)
  3. Jurassic Park (1993, Steven Spielberg)
  4. Dazed and Confused (1993, Richard Linklater)
  5. The Wedding Banquet (1993, Ang Lee)
  6. Groundhog Day (1993, Harold Ramis)
  7. The Story of Qiu Ju (1992, Zhang Yimou)
  8. Sleepless in Seattle (1993, Nora Ephron)
  9. Much Ado About Nothing (1993, Kenneth Branagh)
  10. Léolo (1992, Jean-Claude Lauzon)

1992

  1. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me (1992, David Lynch)
  2. The Last of the Mohicans (1992, Michael Mann)
  3. Raise the Red Lantern (1991, Zhang Yimou)
  4. Raising Cain (1992, Brian De Palma)
  5. Daughters of the Dust (1991, Julie Dash)
  6. Batman Returns (1992, Tim Burton)
  7. A Few Good Men (1992, Rob Reiner)
  8. Reservoir Dogs (1992, Quentin Tarantino)
  9. Patriot Games (1992, Phillip Noyce)
  10. Aladdin (1992, John Musker & Ron Clements)
  11. Lorenzo’s Oil (1992, George Miller)

1991

  1. Trust (1990, Hal Hartley)
  2. The Killer (1989, John Woo)
  3. The Double Life of Veronique (1991, Krzysztof Kieslowski)
  4. Barton Fink (1991, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  5. Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991, James Cameron)
  6. Until the End of the World (1991, Wim Wenders)
  7. Ju Dou (1990, Zhang Yimou)
  8. The Silence of the Lambs (1991, Jonathan Demme)
  9. Beauty and the Beast (1991, Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise)

1990

  1. The Unbelievable Truth (1989, Hal Hartley)
  2. Wild at Heart (1990, David Lynch)
  3. Akira (1988, Katsuhiro Otomo)
  4. To Sleep With Anger (1990, Charles Burnett)
  5. Goodfellas (1990, Martin Scorsese)
  6. Miller’s Crossing (1990, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  7. The Hunt for Red October (1990, John McTiernan)
  8. Die Hard 2 (1990, Renny Harlin)
  9. Back to the Future Part III (1990, Robert Zemeckis)
  10. The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990, Brian De Palma)
  11. Home Alone (1990, Chris Columbus)

1989

  1. Do the Right Thing (1989, Spike Lee)
  2. Casualties of War (1989, Brian De Palma)
  3. Castle in the Sky (1986, Hayao Miyazaki)
  4. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989, Steven Spielberg)
  5. Chocolat (1988, Claire Denis)
  6. Batman (1989, Tim Burton)
  7. The Little Mermaid (1989, John Musker & Ron Clements)
  8. Back to the Future Part II (1989, Robert Zemeckis)
  9. Glory (1989, Edward Zwick)

1988

  1. Wings of Desire (1987, Wim Wenders)
  2. The Thin Blue Line (1988, Errol Morris)
  3. Die Hard (1988, John McTiernan)
  4. Violence at Noon (1966, Nagisa Oshima)
  5. Red Sorghum (1987, Zhang Yimou)
  6. The Land Before Time (1988, Don Bluth)
  7. Rain Man (1988, Barry Levinson)
  8. Big (1988, Penny Marshall)
  9. Shoot to Kill (1988, Roger Spottiswoode)

1987

  1. RoboCop (1987, Paul Verhoeven)
  2. Raising Arizona (1987, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  3. Full Metal Jacket (1987, Stanley Kubrick)
  4. Sign “O” the Times (1987, Prince)
  5. The Princess Bride (1987, Rob Reiner)
  6. Predator (1987, John McTiernan)
  7. Tampopo (1985, Juzo Itami)
  8. The Untouchables (1987, Brian De Palma)
  9. Maurice (1987, James Ivory)
  10. Good Morning, Vietnam (1987, Barry Levinson)

1986

  1. Manhunter (1986, Michael Mann)
  2. Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch)
  3. The Green Ray (1986, Eric Rohmer)
  4. Something Wild (1986, Jonathan Demme)
  5. Aliens (1986, James Cameron)
  6. Big Trouble in Little China (1986, John Carpenter)
  7. Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986, John Hughes)
  8. Desert Hearts (1985, Donna Deitch)
  9. Top Gun (1986, Tony Scott)
  10. Wise Guys (1986, Brian De Palma)

1985

  1. Brazil (1985, Terry Gilliam)
  2. Ran (1985, Akira Kurosawa)
  3. After Hours (1985, Martin Scorsese)
  4. Night and Fog in Japan (1960, Nagisa Oshima)
  5. Back to the Future (1985, Robert Zemeckis)
  6. Commando (1985, Mark L. Lester)
  7. Blood Simple (1984, Joel & Ethan Coen)
  8. The Breakfast Club (1985, John Hughes)
  9. Rocky IV (1985, Sylvester Stallone)

1984

  1. Paris, Texas (1984, Wim Wenders)
  2. Stop Making Sense (1984, Jonathan Demme)
  3. The Terminator (1984, James Cameron)
  4. Dune (1984, David Lynch)
  5. Body Double (1984, Brian De Palma)
  6. Cruel Story of Youth (1960, Nagisa Oshima)
  7. Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984, Steven Spielberg)
  8. Amadeus (1984, Milos Forman)
  9. Ghostbusters (1984, Ivan Reitman)
  10. Purple Rain (1984, Albert Magnoli)
  11. The Karate Kid (1984, John G. Avildsen)

1983

  1. Sans soleil (1983, Chris Marker)
  2. Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975, Chantal Akerman)
  3. Possession (1981, Andrzej Zulawski)
  4. Koyaanisqatsi (1982, Godfrey Reggio)
  5. Scarface (1983, Brian De Palma)
  6. Return of the Jedi (1983, Richard Marquand)
  7. The Keep (1983, Michael Mann)

1982

  1. Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott)
  2. Stalker (1979, Andrei Tarkovsky)
  3. E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982, Steven Spielberg)
  4. Mad Max 2 (1981, George Miller)
  5. Das Boot (1981, Wolfgang Petersen)
  6. First Blood (1982, Ted Kotcheff)
  7. Tootsie (1982, Sydney Pollack)
  8. Rocky III (1982, Sylvester Stallone)
  9. Annie (1982, John Huston)

1981

  1. Thief (1981, Michael Mann)
  2. Blow Out (1981, Brian De Palma)
  3. Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, Steven Spielberg)
  4. Chariots of Fire (1981, Hugh Hudson)
  5. Gallipoli (1981, Peter Weir)

1980

  1. Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch)
  2. The Shining (1980, Stanley Kubrick)
  3. Raging Bull (1980, Martin Scorsese)
  4. Dressed to Kill (1980, Brian De Palma)
  5. The Empire Strikes Back (1980, Irvin Kershner)
  6. The Elephant Man (1980, David Lynch)
  7. Home Movies (1980, Brian De Palma)
  8. Mad Max (1979, George Miller)
  9. The Blues Brothers (1980, John Landis)

1979

  1. Apocalypse Now (1979, Francis Ford Coppola)
  2. Alien (1979, Ridley Scott)
  3. Remember My Name (1978, Alan Rudolph)
  4. Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975, Peter Weir)
  5. Rocky II (1979, Sylvester Stallone)

1978

  1. Days of Heaven (1978, Terrence Malick)
  2. Halloween (1978, John Carpenter)
  3. The Deer Hunter (1978, Michael Cimino)
  4. The Fury (1978, Brian De Palma)
  5. Autumn Sonata (1978, Ingmar Bergman)

1977

  1. Annie Hall (1977, Woody Allen)
  2. Star Wars (1977, George Lucas)
  3. Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1974, Werner Herzog)
  4. The American Friend (1977, Wim Wenders)
  5. The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh (1977, John Lounsbery & Wolfgang Reitherman)

1976

  1. Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese)
  2. Carrie (1976, Brian De Palma)
  3. Network (1976, Sidney Lumet)
  4. Solaris (1972, Andrei Tarkovsky)
  5. Rocky (1976, John G. Avildsen)
  6. Obsession (1976, Brian De Palma)

1975

  1. Nashville (1975, Robert Altman)
  2. Jaws (1975, Steven Spielberg)
  3. Barry Lyndon (1975, Stanley Kubrick)
  4. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975, Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones)
  5. Xala (1975, Ousmane Sembène)
  6. Dog Day Afternoon (1975, Sidney Lumet)

1974

  1. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
  2. Chinatown (1974, Roman Polanski)
  3. Phantom of the Paradise (1974, Brian De Palma)
  4. The Godfather Part II (1974, Francis Ford Coppola)
  5. A Woman Under the Influence (1974, John Cassavetes)
  6. The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974, Joseph Sargent)

1973

  1. An Autumn Afternoon (1962, Yasujiro Ozu)
  2. Playtime (1967, Jacques Tati)
  3. Badlands (1973, Terrence Malick)
  4. Sisters (1973, Brian De Palma)
  5. American Graffiti (1973, George Lucas)
  6. Charley Varrick (1973, Don Siegel)
  7. Theatre of Blood (1973, Douglas Hickox)
  8. Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972, Brian De Palma)

1972

  1. Tokyo Story (1953, Yasujiro Ozu)
  2. The Heartbreak Kid (1972, Elaine May)
  3. The Godfather (1972, Francis Ford Coppola)

1971

  1. A New Leaf (1971, Elaine May)
  2. The Devils (1971, Ken Russell)
  3. The Last Picture Show (1971, Peter Bogdanovich)
  4. Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971, Mel Stuart)
  5. Harold and Maude (1971, Hal Ashby)
  6. A Clockwork Orange (1971, Stanley Kubrick)

1970

  1. Au hasard Balthazar (1966, Robert Bresson)
  2. Five Easy Pieces (1970, Bob Rafelson)
  3. Dionysus in ’69 (1970, Brian De Palma)
  4. Hi, Mom! (1970, Brian De Palma)
  5. The Aristocats (1970, Wolfgang Reitherman)

1969

  1. Pierrot le fou (1965, Jean-Luc Godard)
  2. Black Girl (1966, Ousmane Sembène)
  3. Easy Rider (1969, Dennis Hopper)
  4. The Wedding Party (1969, Brian De Palma & Wilford Leach & Cynthia Munroe)

1968

  1. The Young Girls of Rochefort (1967, Jacques Demy)
  2. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanely Kubrick)
  3. Greetings (1968, Brian De Palma)
  4. Romeo and Juliet (1968, Franco Zeffirelli)
  5. Murder à la Mod (1968, Brian De Palma)

1967

  1. Persona (1966, Ingmar Bergman)
  2. The Battle of Algiers (1966, Gillo Pontecorvo)
  3. Dont Look Back (1967, D.A. Pennebaker)
  4. Chimes at Midnight (1965, Orson Welles)
  5. Titicut Follies (1967, Frederick Wiseman)
  6. The Jungle Book (1967, Wolfgang Reitherman)

1966

  1. Masculin féminin (1966, Jean-Luc Godard)

1965

  1. Chronicle of a Summer (1961, Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin)
  2. Alphaville (1965, Jean-Luc Godard)
  3. The Sound of Music (1965, Robert Wise)

1964

  1. The Umbrellas of Cherbourg (1964, Jacques Demy)
  2. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, Stanley Kubrick)
  3. Contempt (1963, Jean-Luc Godard)
  4. A Hard Day’s Night (1964, Richard Lester)
  5. Goldfinger (1964, Guy Hamilton)

1963

  1. Vivre sa vie (1962, Jean-Luc Godard)
  2. 8½ (1963, Federico Fellini)
  3. The Bad Sleep Well (1960, Akira Kurosawa)
  4. Ivan’s Childhood (1962, Andrei Tarkovsky)
  5. Dr. No (1962, Victor Fleming)
  6. The Sword in the Stone (1963, Wolfgang Reitherman)

1962

  1. Last Year at Marienbad (1961, Alain Resnais)
  2. Lolita (1962, Stanley Kubrick)
  3. Lawrence of Arabia (1962, David Lean)
  4. La Notte (1961, Michelangelo Antonioni)
  5. L’Eclisse (1962, Michelangelo Antonioni)
  6. A Woman Is a Woman (1961, Jean-Luc Godard)
  7. Jules et Jim (1962, François Truffaut)

1961

  1. Breathless (1960, Jean-Luc Godard)
  2. La Dolce Vita (1960, Federico Fellini)
  3. L’Avventura (1960, Michelangelo Antonioni)
  4. Throne of Blood (1957, Akira Kurosawa)
  5. One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961, Wolfgang Reitherman & Hamilton Luske & Clyde Geronimi)

1960

  1. The World of Apu (1959, Satyajit Ray)
  2. Hiroshima mon amour (1959, Alain Resnais)
  3. The Bellboy (1960, Jerry Lewis)
  4. Spartacus (1960, Stanley Kubrick)

1959

  1. Rio Bravo (1959, Howard Hawks)
  2. The 400 Blows (1959, François Truffaut)
  3. Some Like It Hot (1959, Billy Wilder)
  4. North by Northwest (1959, Alfred Hitchcock)
  5. Aparajito (1956, Satyajit Ray)
  6. Sleeping Beauty (1959, Clyde Geronimi)

1958

  1. Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock)
  2. The Seventh Seal (1957, Ingmar Bergman)
  3. Touch of Evil (1958, Orson Welles)
  4. Pather Panchali (1955, Satyajit Ray)

1957

  1. Paths of Glory (1957, Stanley Kubrick)
  2. Sweet Smell of Success (1957, Alexander Mackendrick)

1956

  1. Seven Samurai (1954, Akira Kurosawa)
  2. The Searchers (1956, John Ford)
  3. Godzilla (1954, Ishiro Honda)
  4. The Killing (1956, Stanley Kubrick)
  5. Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956, Don Siegel)

1955

  1. The Night of the Hunter (1955, Charles Laughton)
  2. Journey to Italy (1954, Roberto Rossellini)
  3. Rebel Without a Cause (1955, Nicholas Ray)
  4. Artists and Models (1955, Frank Tashlin)
  5. Kiss Me Deadly (1955, Robert Aldrich)
  6. Lady and the Tramp (1955, Hamilton Luske & Clyde Geronimi & Wilfred Jackson)
  7. Killer’s Kiss (1955, Stanley Kubrick)

1954

  1. Rear Window (1954, Alfred Hitchcock)
  2. Anatahan (1953, Josef von Sternberg)
  3. On the Waterfront (1954, Elia Kazan)

1953

  1. The Big Heat (1953, Fritz Lang)
  2. Peter Pan (1953, Hamilton Luske & Clyde Geronimi & Wilfred Jackson)

1952

  1. Singin’ in the Rain (1952, Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly)
  2. High Noon (1952, Fred Zinnemann)

1951

  1. Rashomon (1950, Akira Kurosawa)
  2. The Tall Target (1951, Anthony Mann)
  3. Alice in Wonderland (1951, Clyde Geronimi & Hamilton Luske & Wilfred Jackson)

1950

  1. The Rules of the Game (1939, Jean Renoir)
  2. Sunset Blvd. (1950, Billy Wilder)
  3. The Third Man (1949, Carol Reed)
  4. Cinderella (1950, Wilfred Jackson & Hamilton Luske & Clyde Geronimi)
  5. No Way Out (1950, Joseph L. Mankiewicz)

1949

  1. Act of Violence (1949, Fred Zinnemann)

1948

  1. The Red Shoes (1948, Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger)
  2. T-Men (1947, Anthony Mann)

1947

  1. L’Atalante (1934, Jean Vigo)
  2. Beauty and the Beast (1946, Jean Cocteau)

1946

  1. The Big Sleep (1946, Howard Hawks)
  2. Brief Encounter (1945, David Lean)
  3. It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, Frank Capra)
  4. Gilda (1946, Charles Vidor)

1945

  1. Detour (1945, Edgar G. Ulmer)
  2. Mildred Pierce (1945, Michael Curtiz)

1944

  1. Double Indemnity (1944, Billy Wilder)
  2. Laura (1944, Otto Preminger)

1943

  1. Casablanca (1942, Michael Curtiz)
  2. The Gang’s All Here (1943, Busby Berkeley)
  3. Bataan (1943, Tay Garnett)

1942

  1. Bambi (1942, David Hand)

1941

  1. Citizen Kane (1941, Orson Welles)
  2. Dumbo (1941, Ben Sharpsteen)
  3. The Maltese Falcon (1941, John Huston)
  4. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941, Victor Fleming)

1940

  1. Pinocchio (1940, Ben Sharpsteen & Hamilton Luske)
  2. Fantasia (1940, Various)
  3. Stranger on the Third Floor (1940, Boris Ingster)

1939

  1. The Wizard of Oz (1939, Victor Fleming)
  2. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939, Frank Capra)

1938

  1. Holiday (1938, George Cukor)
  2. Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937, David Hand)

1933

  1. M (1931, Fritz Lang)
  2. Marius (1931, Alexander Korda)
  3. 42nd Street (1933, Lloyd Bacon)

1933

  1. Trouble in Paradise (1932, Ernst Lubitsch)

1931

  1. City Lights (1931, Charles Chaplin)
  2. Tabu (1931, F.W. Murnau)
  3. The Public Enemy (1931, William Wellman)

1930

  1. Morocco (1930, Josef von Sternberg)

1930

  1. Nosferatu (1922, F.W. Murnau)

1929

  1. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928, Carl Theodor Dreyer)

1929

  1. Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928, Charles Reisner and Buster Keaton)

1927

  1. Sunrise (1927, F.W. Murnau)
  2. It (1927, Clarence Badger)

1926

  1. Battleship Potemkin (1925, Sergei Eisenstein)

1924

  1. Sherlock Jr. (1924, Buster Keaton)
  2. The Thief of Bagdad (1924, Raoul Walsh)
  3. The Marriage Circle (1924, Ernst Lubitsch)

1922

  1. Nanook of the North (1922, Robert J. Flaherty)

1921

  1. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920, Robert Wiene)

1915

  1. The Birth of a Nation (1915, D.W. Griffith)
  2. The Cheat (1915, Cecil B. DeMille)