Statement of Intent

In my limited experience, there are two types of “favorite” films. This does not apply just to films that the viewer relates to on a personal level (although that plays a significant part) or to the towering masterpieces of cinema, but to a very particularly moving form of connection that the experience of watching and subsequent reflection activates in a viewer. These two types, described in terms of what each individual lover has to say, are as follows:

1. It is immensely difficult to articulate the nature of the film’s greatness or general quality for whatever reason. Usually, this seems to stem from more intimate movies, ones that are difficult to evaluate from an impersonal lens. They are usually films that lie closer to real life, in the small interactions and little snippets of dialogue.

2. The viewer has an inordinate amount of things to say about the film from a variety of self-imposed perspectives and aspects. This more often than not occurs concerning mammoth films that are clearly great, grandiose productions (not to be conflated with Farber’s conception of white elephant art, as these are usually incisive works), whether they be in the canon or not.

Obviously, this binary is, as all binaries are, reductive, and there are many of my favorite films that fall somewhere in between these two extremes. Nevertheless, all of them are aligned somewhat with these dual categorizations. More importantly, never have I felt the urge of the second type as strongly as I have with Silence, Martin Scorsese’s depiction of incredible, purposeful, and troubling faith in the most hostile of locales. It is a film that gives no quarter, leaves no stone unturned in its repeated questioning of its central character and by proxy the viewer, and what results is a kind of affirmation, a complicated ambiguity that feels irresistible.

It is perhaps only fair to lay out my rather considerable shortcomings in undergoing this venture of writing multiple long essays on this great film. I have seen a grand total of—at this time of writing—six Scorsese films, and among the unseen are a good deal of films both relevant (The Last Temptation of Christ, Kundun, The Wolf of Wall Street) and not but still essential (Mean Streets, The Age of Innocence). I also have not seen Masahiro Shinoda’s version of Silence, nor Shūsaku Endō’s original novel, though I do know the context in which the latter was made. And of course, I am a neophyte of cinema at best, whose cursory knowledge vastly outstrips any benchmark of actual viewing.

So why do I want to tackle such an extraordinary film in such a brazen manner? The film’s majesty, of course, speaks for itself and even for someone as unlearned as me I want to discuss it. The decidedly mixed response of the consensus as a whole (in that the detractors have stated their opinions as vociferously as the supporters) is another reason. But certainly the strongest is my identity as an Asian Christian and the ways in which it deals with that ideal. Silence challenged and moved me in ways even religion cannot, and I relish any attempt to grapple with it further.

This project of sorts will take some time, and I anticipate that posts will come out irregularly. There is no set outline at this time, but each essay will attempt to tackle some different facet of Silence, some focusing on more technical sides and others on more theological issues.

For now, this is what I have to say about Silence. There will be many, many more words forthcoming, and I pray that they will not come in the form of unadulterated fawning, but as a testament to the glory of this truly monumental work.

A Few Immediate Thoughts on The Before Trilogy

So many echoes, both conscious and (I presume, though putting anything past these three geniuses is risky at best) unconscious. Each film has a scene of “acting” in a certain way, and the rhythms and often content of the walks are admirably similar, but each feels so differentiated by the ravages of time and love. A car ride that forms the climax of Sunset becomes the first act of Midnight, the glory of Sunrise becomes more and more attenuated until it acts as a divider, and through it all Linklater grows ever more confident, as vital as ever; the sense of worldly weariness comes from the roles, not the collaborators.

March 2017 Capsules

20th Century Women
“Santa Barbara, 1979” is a place and time, but it is also a mindset. More accurately, it is a kaleidoscope of mindsets; chief among the great strengths of 20th Century Women is its utter fidelity towards representing the multiple perspectives of its five main characters. But it is so much more than that: its tone is part rebellious, part serene, and even part transcendental. In the struggle between generations that eventually comes to define the film, Mills recognizes there is no wrong answer, accepting each person warts and all. The viewer sees who these broken but valiant people as they were, as they are, and as they will be, both defined and undefined by their time, and for my part I fell in love with them. It is bittersweet, melancholic, and uniformly wonderful in its loose grace, as free as the younger generation and as composed as the older generation.

Tampopo
A curious case. For the most part, Tampopo establishes itself as an intensely lighthearted work, jumping off of the central storyline to engage in food-related vignettes with abandon. Most of these are to some degree outré, but a few stick out in their bad taste (for good and for ill). An undercurrent of violence in the film is ever present (perhaps fittingly, given its status as a “Ramen Western”) but there is a vast divide between two men beating each other for an extended period of time and a gangster getting shot in the middle of the street, or, in the film’s most fascinating and troubling vignette, a wife getting up from her deathbed to cook one last meal. But in the end, the central storyline is the main attraction, and Itami takes almost too much delight in both skewering and glorifying food, to wonderful effect.

March 10
Swiss Army Man
Went in with fairly low expectations (goodness knows how potentially irritating the premise so eagerly trumpeted by advertisements and the opening is), but Swiss Army Man manages to live down those expectations and more in fairly unexpected ways. For one, its juvenilia was even greater than anticipated, using the “miracles” of Radcliffe’s body in the most thuddingly literal manner. But what most raised my hackles was its very particular brand of emotional insincerity that it insisted so heavily upon, a bullshit and facile viewpoint on the futility and ultimate joy of life that is further bogged down by the crass humor and idiocy displayed throughout.

The Bad Sleep Well
Flat-out loved pretty much all of the first half, starting from the thrillingly contextless ten-minute long wedding banquet opening. Kurosawa handles this often confusing web of loyalties and relationships with incredible acumen, staging breathtaking tableau compositions with ease and continually keeping the viewer in the dark about Nishi’s true motivations. Once they are revealed, however, the film practically nose-dives. It’s not to say that it simplifies or regresses in any significant way, but his characterization becomes streamlined and the film loses momentum, especially in the long final third set in the bunker, which keeps the power dynamics but loses the mind-games. As a result, The Bad Sleep Well‘s final play at a certain type of nihilism falls slightly flat, but the film’s confidence remains plain to see throughout.

March 13
The Mermaid
Crazy in a way that still feels a little bit difficult to parse. Perhaps it’s because the central, relatively serious storyline that bubbles up at odd moments especially towards the end feels slightly disconnected from the hilarious and inventive setpieces (the failed assassination, the police sketches), but there is an inescapable sense of weightlessness that doesn’t weaken the film so much as it complicates it, a sentiment that is borne out by the occasionally shocking use of “real” violence. But at the end of the day, it is a wacky love story, one convincingly developed in a way that feels compatible with the morality tale at The Mermaid‘s core.

Black Girl
Almost too in line with my interests and aesthetic tastes: a fleet, intensely elliptical and immensely sympathetic portrayal of a person being psychologically worn down with a clear political message. But that does little to dissipate the power of Black Girl, of its tough but never cheap critique of imperialism and its mesmerizing depiction of the most mundane of forced tasks. Chalk it up to the asceticism of Sembène’s direction and Diop’s attuned, repressed performance, but there still remains an ineffable grace to the film that lies in how it briefly transforms from a chamber piece to a romance, in the way that the act of observing feels like a political act, and how the ending and epilogue represent victory and defeat in two images.

Christine
Feel free to ignore me on this one, as my feelings are undoubtedly influenced to an extraordinary degree by my having viewed (and fallen in love with) Kate Plays Christine before this sadly misguided film. But so much of this reads like bullshit, in its alterations of time and place, in its obvious feints at providing easy answers. The performances of the cast are all rather well done admittedly, including Hall’s, which has been feted to an alarming degree, but they all feel in service of a dubious enterprise. This is not necessarily to say that this is not a story that should be made into a film (although those feelings did rise up at certain points) but that it feels manipulative. There is, to be blunt, no human interest in Christine as a person (either in the film or in real life). By the time the climax is moved to the evening for maximum effect (contradicting in many ways why the event is so inexplicable) I felt as if Christine had crossed a moral threshold, and a bitter taste was left in my mouth as the final blandly interesting minutes played.

Resident Evil
There is an unexpected beauty to this first film’s total asceticism, dropping the viewer contextless into a dense maze of loyalties and undefined characterizations. Granted, this is likely a result of the video game origins, but Anderson’s narrative flow is relentlessly moving forward, relying on atmospheric and claustrophobic spaces and po-faced actors to surprisingly strong effect. But even if the characterizations are somewhat lacking, the viscerality of the action more than makes up for them, as Resident Evil moves with as much single-minded determination as the soldiers it virtually fetishizes.

Resident Evil: Apocalypse
It’s both easy and difficult to see why

February 2017 Capsules

Ju Dou
I think the key to this film is that, though Gong Li is as usual the nominal lead, it takes place from a mix of the perspectives of Tianqing and Ju Dou. Zhang continually emphasizes the barriers between the two; even when they do finally connect there is more focus on their surroundings, and their embraces seem to be desperate attempts for connection. The film is on the whole rather depressing, but it is earned in the false hopes and the crushing developments that manifest themselves in abject hopelessness.

Chronicle of a Summer
Even more interesting than its reputation suggests; Morin and Rouch manage to wring out a wonderful variety of approaches, and if the comparatively sedate second half, with its myriad conversations, proves less innovative than the first half’s quick interviews and wide range of subjects, it is mostly compensated by the extraordinary sequence of Marceline’s Holocaust recollections and the phenomenal epilogue, which functions as a rather potent self-critique that in and of itself offers another lens with which to view the verité style, a reflection of a reflection. It is most instructive, of course, to view this not as necessarily a statement or a manifesto but rather, as the title suggests, as a chronicle or document of a milieu.

February 7
The Nice Guys (rewatch)
Wish I could say I liked this genuinely pleasurable film more the second time around, and some of the “big gags” landed even harder, but there’s too strong a sense of rootlessness in this. Arguably, it fits well with the pessimism of the film, the changing times so decried by Healy and March, but it doesn’t make for anything close to a consistent viewing. There are flashes of genius here, of course—the hallucination experience in particular is a beautifully sustained escalation—and Gosling and Crowe make a shockingly good team (with Rice as a wonderful connector) so there’s that.

February 23
Hunt for the Wilderpeople
It’s probably telling that Hunt for the Wilderpeople‘s best scene by far is its most comparatively lowkey, when Ricky has a nigh idyllic encounter with a girl and her father. The rest of the film is frustratingly obstinate in its refusal to pick a single mood, vacillating awkwardly between slightly mawkish sentimentality and vivacious whimsy without finding any roots to dig into. Sam Neill is, of course, absolutely wonderful in his gruff sincerity, but he’s given far too little to do compared to the wide-eyed, borderline annoying juvenilia of Julian Dennison. And almost everything to do with the actual chase, especially the hunters, is painful.

February 28
Moonlight (rewatch, out of order b)
Everything clicked in some way or another on rewatch (save for, perhaps, Paula, whose character feels much more overtly consequential than the rest of the film). There’s such an intoxicating feeling to Moonlight, a grounding in time and place that intertwines beautifully with the essential minimum of narrative. A set structure is present, yes, but it depicts moments that feel equally important and unimportant to Chiron. And throughout, there is a shimmering beauty, a vitality that doesn’t come just from the “timely” subject matter. It comes from empathy, from irresistible emotion.

Throne of Blood
Throne of Blood‘s atmosphere is nigh impossible to nail down: on one hand Kabuki-inflected and on the other operating in an almost dreamlike and ominously obscure environment. But what feels most surprising (especially to someone who’s read the play) is how much destruction is executed with so much efficiency. Macbeth is inherently a violent, bloody tale, but there is an additional dynamic inextricably tied to the heightened sense of honor, to Mifune’s sharp contrasts between rage and control, that makes Throne of Blood its own great work.

2016 Film Poll #4: Film Comment Readers’ Poll

Top 20 Films of 2016

1. Silence (Martin Scorsese)
Every shot, every action in this film is profoundly coded with faith and religion; it is on all levels a groundbeaking achievement.

2. Manchester by the Sea (Kenneth Lonergan)
The most achingly moving film of the year, but also delightful, shocking, and sensitively interior.

3. Mountains May Depart (Jia Zhangke)
Both a grandiose affair and a slow-burn melodrama, it is multi-faceted and heartbreaking in a way that grows in the mind with each passing day.

4. Cameraperson (Kirsten Johnson)
There is no doubt that these are the images that have marked Kirsten Johnson, but they are also the images of humanity: life, death, destruction, and beauty.

5. Toni Erdmann (Maren Ade)
Both the madcap comedy and the heartfelt drama as promised, and so much more.

6. My Golden Days (Arnaud Desplechin)
A wonderfully nostalgic film as beguiling as the subject’s undying love.

7. The Handmaiden (Park Chan-wook)
While most of the other films on this list aim for subdued minimalism, this film sounds the call for maximalism loud and clear, marrying a delightfully twisted narrative with the most pleasurable romance of the year.

8. Happy Hour (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)
Even more than most long films, this luxuriates in its length, never sacrificing intimacy while exploring the gamut of emotions and moods.

9. Right Now, Wrong Then (Hong Sang-soo)
The most conversational and confessional film of the year, twice.

10. Kate Plays Christine (Robert Greene)
Simultaneously provocative and sympathetic, this is a challenge to the idea of documentary carried out on all fronts.

11. Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party (Stephen Cone)
A microcosm of a very specific, unexpectedly humane climate from so many perspectives.

12. O.J.: Made in America (Ezra Edelman)
The hoopla over whether this is a film or miniseries misses the point; it is a monolithic work, a pointed exposé of the state of the union through the lens of one of its most infamous figureheads.

13. Elle (Paul Verhoeven)
It is a testament to the unbelievable prowess of all involved that this incredibly questionable premise resulted in this ravishingly clear-minded portrait of obsession.

14. Certain Women (Kelly Reichardt)
As much as anything, this is remarkably quotidian even in its triptych structure as it moves more and more into the realms of unfathomably deep emotions.

15. Things to Come (Mia Hansen-Løve)
A portrait of a woman constantly in motion.

16. SPL II: A Time for Consequences (Soi Cheang)
This is practically giddy on its own daring, on its wondrous and furious kineticism.

17. Cemetery of Splendour (Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
Appropriately mesmerizing filmmaking on every level, woven in with a history that always seems just out of reach.

18. The Edge of Seventeen (Kelly Fremon Craig)
Endlessly relatable and wonderfully, agonizingly unvarnished.

19. Creepy (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
A brilliant masterclass in sustained, mounting tension, culminating in one of the most unexpectedly soul shreddingly cathartic acts of the year.

20. 20th Century Women (Mike Mills)
Blissful, supremely assured reflections on the bittersweet things in life.

2016 Film Poll #3: The Muriel Awards

Best Feature-Length Film
1. Silence
2. Manchester by the Sea
3. Cameraperson
4. Toni Erdmann
5. My Golden Days
6. The Handmaiden
7. O.J.: Made in America
8. Mountains May Depart
9. Happy Hour
10. Right Now, Wrong Then

Best Lead Performance, Male
1. Casey Affleck, Manchester by the Sea
2. Peter Simonischek, Toni Erdmann
3. Samuel L. Jackson, I Am Not Your Negro
4. Hidetoshi Nishijima, Creepy
5. Andrew Garfield, Silence

Best Lead Performance, Female
1. Kate Lyn Sheil, Kate Plays Christine
2. Zhao Tao, Mountains May Depart
3. Isabelle Huppert, Elle
4. Sônia Braga, Aquarius
5. Sandra Hüller, Toni Erdmann

Best Supporting Performance, Male
1. Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea
2. Tom Bennett, Love & Friendship
3. Teruyuki Kagawa, Creepy
4. Issey Ogata, Silence
5. Laurent Lafitte, Elle

Best Supporting Performance, Female
1. Lily Gladstone, Certain Women
2. Sylvia Chang, Mountains May Depart
3. Michelle Williams, Certain Women
4. Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women
5. Laura Dern, Certain Women

Best Direction
1. Jia Zhangke, Mountains May Depart
2. Park Chan-wook, The Handmaiden
3. Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Creepy
4. Martin Scorsese, Silence
5. Kirsten Johnson, Cameraperson

Best Screenplay
(original or adapted)
1. Kenneth Lonergan, Manchester by the Sea
2. Hong Sang-soo, Right Now, Wrong Then
3. Maren Ade, Toni Erdmann
4. David Birke, Elle
5. Kelly Reichardt, Certain Women

Best Cinematography
1. The Handmaiden (Chung Chung-hoon)
2. Mountains May Depart (Nelson Lik-wai Yu)
3. Silence (Rodrigo Prieto)
4. Sunset Song (Michael McDonough)
5. Kaili Blues (Tianxing Wang)

Best Editing
1. Cameraperson (Nels Bangerter)
2. Manchester by the Sea (Jennifer Lame)
3. The Handmaiden (Kim Jae-Bum & Kim Sang-beom)
4. O.J.: Made in America (Bret Granato & Maya Mumma & Ben Sozanski)
5. I Am Not Your Negro (Alexandra Strauss)

Best Music
(original, adapted, or compiled)
1. The Handmaiden (Cho Young-wuk)
2. Mountains May Depart (Yoshihiro Hanno)
3. Manchester by the Sea (Lesley Barber)
4. Elle (Anne Dudley)
5. Julieta (Alberto Iglesias)

Best Documentary
1. Cameraperson
2. O.J.: Made in America
3. Kate Plays Christine

Best Cinematic Moment
(best scene or sequence)
1. Cameraperson – Violence montage
2. Silence – The voice
3. Manchester by the Sea – The accident flashback
4. Kate Plays Christine – Christine in living color
5. The Handmaiden – Throw away your books, run away in the fields
6. SPL II: A Time for Consequences – Emoji texting
7. Creepy – The interrogation
8. Mountains May Depart – “Go West” reprise
9. Happy Hour – Nightclub conversation
10. Cemetery of Splendour – The movie theater

Best Cinematic Breakthrough
(vague explanation: a performer, filmmaker, or technician who made a notable debut in film, took his/her career to a higher level, or revealed unforeseen layers to his/her talent during the year 2016)
1. Lily Gladstone
2. Kim Min-hee
3. Kirsten Johnson
4. Andrew Garfield
5. Kelly Fremon Craig

Best Body of Work
(a performer, filmmaker, or technician who made superior contributions to multiple films released in calendar year 2016)
1. Isabelle Huppert
2. Kim Min-hee
3. Andrew Garfield
4. Michelle Williams
5. Kristen Stewart

Best Ensemble Performance
1. Happy Hour
2. The Handmaiden
3. 20th Century Women
4. Love & Friendship
5. Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party

Other remarks:
It is a great honor and pleasure to contribute my first ballot to the Muriels.
There were a ridiculous amount of extraordinary performances and technical achievements that I didn’t have the space to acknowledge, so here are some very honorable mentions: Things to Come, Sully, Paterson, The Edge of Seventeen, The Shallows, Shin Godzilla, Everybody Wants Some!!, Moonlight, and The Other Side.

10th Anniversary Award, Best Feature Film 2006
1. Inland Empire
2. Miami Vice
3. Old Joy
4. Syndromes and a Century
5. Woman on the Beach

25th Anniversary Award, Best Feature Film 1991
1. A Brighter Summer Day
2. The Double Life of Veronique
3. Barton Fink
4. Until the End of the World
5. Raise the Red Lantern

50th Anniversary Award, Best Feature Film 1966
1. Persona
2. The Battle of Algiers
3. Black Girl
4. Au hasard Balthazar
5. Masculin féminin

Master List

The Academy of Muses [L’Accademia delle Muse] (2015, José Luis Guerín)
Actress (2014, Robert Greene)
Adaptation. (2002, Spike Jonze)
Aferim! (2015, Radu Jude)
Afterschool (2008, Antonio Campos)
Aguirre, the Wrath of God [Aguirre, der Zorn Gottes] (1972, Werner Herzog)
A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001, Steven Spielberg)
Air Force One (1997, Wolfgang Petersen)
Akira (1988, Katsuhiro Otomo)
Aladdin (1992, John Musker & Ron Clements)
Ali (2001, Michael Mann)
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul [Angst essen Seele auf] (1974, Rainer Werner Fassbinder)
Alice in Wonderland (1951, Clyde Geronimi & Hamilton Luske & Wilfred Jackson)
Alien (1979, Ridley Scott)
Aliens (1986, James Cameron)
All Quiet on the Western Front (1979, Delbert Mann)
Allied (2016, Robert Zemeckis)
Aloha (2015, Cameron Crowe)
Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution (1965, Jean-Luc Godard)
Always Shine (2016, Sophia Takal)
Amadeus (1984, Milos Forman)
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012, Marc Webb)
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014, Marc Webb)
The American Friend [Der Amerikanische Freund] (1977, Wim Wenders)
American Graffiti (1973, George Lucas)
American Honey (2016, Andrea Arnold)
American Hustle (2013, David O. Russell)
Anatahan (1953, Josef von Sternberg)
Angels & Demons (2009, Ron Howard)
Annie (1982, John Huston)
Annie Hall (1977, Woody Allen)
Anomalisa (2015, Charlie Kaufman & Duke Johnson)
Ant-Man (2015, Peyton Reed)
Aparajito (1956, Satyajit Ray)
Apocalypse Now (1979, Francis Ford Coppola)
Apollo 13 (1995, Ron Howard)
April and the Extraordinary World [Avril et le Monde truqué] (2015, Christian Desmares & Franck Ekinci)
Aquarius (2016, Kleber Mendonça Filho)
Are We There Yet? (2005, Brian Levant)
Argo (2012, Ben Affleck)
The Aristocats (1970, Wolfgang Reitherman)
Army of Shadows [L’armée des ombres] (1969, Jean-Pierre Melville)
The Artist (2011, Michel Hazanavicius)
Arrival (2016, Denis Villeneuve)
As You Are (2016, Miles Joris-Peyrafitte)
The Assassin [Cìkè niè Yǐnniáng] (2015, Hou Hsiao-hsien)
Assassin’s Creed (2016, Justin Kurzel)
The A-Team (2010, Joe Carnahan)
Atlantis: The Lost Empire (2001, Kirk Wise & Gary Trousdale)
Au hasard Balthazar (1966, Robert Bresson)
Autumn Sonata [Höstsonaten] (1978, Ingmar Bergman)
Avatar (2009, James Cameron)
The Avengers (2012, Joss Whedon)
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015, Joss Whedon)
Back to the Future (1985, Robert Zemeckis)
Back to the Future Part III (1990, Robert Zemeckis)
Back to the Future Part II (1989, Robert Zemeckis)
Bad Seed [Mauvaise Graine] (1934, Billy Wilder and Alexander Esway)
The Bad Sleep Well [Warui yatsu hodo yoku nemuru] (1960, Akira Kurosawa)
Badlands (1973, Terrence Malick)
Barry Lyndon (1975, Stanley Kubrick)
Barton Fink (1991, Joel & Ethan Coen)
Bataan (1943, Tay Garnett)
Batman (1989, Tim Burton)
Batman & Robin (1997, Joel Schumacher)
Batman Begins (2005, Christopher Nolan)
Batman Forever (1995, Joel Schumacher)
Batman Returns (1992, Tim Burton)
Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016, Zack Snyder)
The Battle of Algiers [La battaglia di Algeri] (1966, Gillo Pontecorvo)
The Battle of Brazil: A Video History (1996, Jack Matthews)
Battle Royale [Batoru Rowaiaru] (2000, Kinji Fukasaku)
Battleship Royale [Bronenosets Patyomkin] (1925, Sergei Eisenstein)
Beasts of No Nation (2015, Cary Joji Fukunaga)
Beauty and the Beast [La Belle et la Bête] (1946, Jean Cocteau)
Beauty and the Beast (1991, Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise)
Before Midnight (2013, Richard Linklater)
Before Sunrise (1995, Richard Linklater)
Before Sunset (2004, Richard Linklater)
Being John Malkovich (1999, Spike Jonze)
Belladonna of Sadness [Kanashimi no Belladonna] (1973, Eiichi Yamamoto)
Black Girl [La Noire de…] (1966, Ousmane Sembène)
Black Mass (2015, Scott Cooper)
Big (1988, Penny Marshall)
Big Fish (2003, Tim Burton)
Big Hero 6 (2014, Don Hall & Chris Williams)
The Big Lebowski (1998, Joel & Ethan Coen)
The Big Short (2015, Adam McKay)
A Bigger Splash (2015, Luca Guadagnino)
Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016, Ang Lee)
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014, Alejandro González Iñárritu)
The Black Dahlia (2006, Brian De Palma)
Blackhat (2015, Michael Mann)
Blade Runner (1982, Ridley Scott)
Blades of Glory (2007, Will Speck & Josh Gordon)
Blondes in the Jungle (2009, Lev Kalman & Whitney Horn)
Blood Simple (1984, Joel & Ethan Coen)
Blow Out (1981, Brian De Palma)
Blue Ruin (2013, Jeremy Saulnier)
Blue Velvet (1986, David Lynch)
The Blues Brothers (1980, John Landis)
Body Double (1984, Brian De Palma)
Bolt (2008, Chris Williams & Byron Howard)
The Bonfire of the Vanities (1990, Brian De Palma)
Boogie Nights (1997, Paul Thomas Anderson)
Bottle Rocket (1996, Wes Anderson)
The Bourne Identity (2002, Doug Liman)
The Bourne Supremacy (2004, Paul Greengrass)
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007, Paul Greengrass)
Boy and the World [Menino e o Mundo] (2013, Alê Abreu)
Boyhood (2014, Richard Linklater)
Braveheart (1995, Mel Gibson)
Brazil (1985, Terry Gilliam)
The Breakfast Club (1985, John Hughes)
Breaking the Waves (1996, Lars von Trier)
Breathless [À bout de souffle] (1960, Jean-Luc Godard)
Bride Wars (2009, Gary Winick)
Bridesmaids (2011, Paul Feig)
Bridge of Spies (2015, Steven Spielberg)
A Brighter Summer Day [Gǔ lǐng jiē shàonián shārén shìjiàn] (1991, Edward Yang)
Bring It On (2000, Peyton Reed)
Brooklyn (2015, John Crowley)
Bruce Almighty (2003, Tom Shadyac)
Buena Vista Social Club (1999, Wim Wenders)
A Bug’s Life (1998, John Lasseter)
Burn After Reading (2008, Joel & Ethan Coen)
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari [Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari] (1920, Robert Wiene)
Café Society (2016, Woody Allen)
Cameraperson (2016, Kirsten Johnson)
Cape No. 7 [Hǎijiǎo Qī Hào] (2008, Wei Te-Sheng)
Captain America: Civil War (2016, Anthony & Joe Russo)
Captain America: The First Avenger (2011, Joe Johnston)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014, Anthony & Joe Russo)
Captain Phillips (2013, Paul Greengrass)
Carlito’s Way (1993, Brian De Palma)
Carol (2015, Todd Haynes)
Carrie (1976, Brian De Palma)
Cars (2006, John Lasseter)
Casablanca (1942, Michael Curtiz)
Casino Royale (2006, Martin Campbell)
Cast Away (2000, Robert Zemeckis)
Castle in the Sky [Tenkū no Shiro Rapyuta] (1986, Hayao Miyazaki)
Casualties of War (1989, Brian De Palma)
Catch Me If You Can (2002, Steven Spielberg)
Cemetery of Splendour [Rak Ti Khon Kaen] (2015, Apichatpong Weerasethakul)
Certain Women (2016, Kelly Reichardt)
Chantal Akerman, From Here [Chantal Akerman, de ça] (2010, Gustavo Beck & Leonardo Ferreira)
Chariots of Fire (1981, Hugh Hudson)
Charley Varrick (1973, Don Siegel)
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (2005, Tim Burton)
The Cheat (1915, Cecil B. DeMille)
Chimes at Midnight (1965, Orson Welles)
Chinatown (1974, Roman Polanski)
Chi-Raq (2015, Spike Lee)
Chocolat (1988, Claire Denis)
Christine (2016, Antonio Campos)
Chronicle of a Summer [Chronique d’un été] (1961, Jean Rouch & Edgar Morin)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005, Andrew Adamson)
The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (2008, Andrew Adamson)
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (2010, Michael Apted)
Chungking Express [Chóngqìng sēnlín] (1994, Wong Kar-wai)
Cinderella (1950, Wilfred Jackson & Hamilton Luske & Clyde Geronimi)
Cinderella Man (2005, Ron Howard)
Citizen Kane (1941, Orson Welles)
City Lights (1931, Charles Chaplin)
Clear and Present Danger (1994, Phillip Noyce)
A Clockwork Orange (1971, Stanley Kubrick)
Close-Up [Nemā-ye nazdīk] (1990, Abbas Kiarostami)
Clouds of Sils Maria (2014, Olivier Assayas)
Cloverfield (2008, Matt Reeves)
Collateral (2004, Michael Mann)
Commando (1985, Mark L. Lester)
Contact (1997, Robert Zemeckis)
Contempt [Le Mépris] (1963, Jean-Luc Godard)
Coraline (2009, Henry Selick)
Cosmos (2015, Andrzej Zulawski)
C.R.A.Z.Y. (2005, Jean-Marc Vallée)
Creed (2015, Ryan Coogler)
Creepy [Kurîpî] (2016, Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
Crimson Tide (1995, Tony Scott)
Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon [Wò hǔ cáng lóng] (2000, Ang Lee)
A Cure for Wellness (2016, Gore Verbinski)
The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008, David Fincher)
Curse of the Golden Flower [Mǎnchéng Jìndài Huángjīnjiǎ] (2006, Zhang Yimou)
The Da Vinci Code (2006, Ron Howard)
Dancer in the Dark (2000, Lars von Trier)
The Danish Girl (2015, Tom Hooper)
The Darjelling Limited (2007, Wes Anderson)
The Dark Knight (2008, Christopher Nolan)
The Dark Knight Returns (2012, Christopher Nolan)
Das Boot (1981, Wolfgang Petersen)
Daughters of the Dust (1991, Julie Dash)
The Day After Tomorrow (2004, Roland Emmerich)
The Day He Arrives [Bukchon Banghyang] (2011, Hong Sang-soo)
Days of Being Wild [Ā Fēi Zhèng Zhuàn] (1990, Wong Kar-wai)
Days of Heaven (1978, Terrence Malick)
Dazed and Confused (1993, Richard Linklater)
De Palma (2015, Noah Baumbach & Jake Paltrow)
Death Proof (2007, Quentin Tarantino)
Deadpool (2016, Tim Miller)
Dead Slow Ahead (2015, Mauro Herce)
Deepwater Horizon (2016, Peter Berg)
The Deer Hunter (1978, Michael Cimino)
Deidra & Laney Rob a Train (2017, Sydney Freeland)
Demolition (2015, Jean-Marc Vallée)
The Departed (2006, Martin Scorsese)
Despicable Me (2010, Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud)
Despicable Me 2 (2013, Pierre Coffin & Chris Renaud)
D’Est (1993, Chantal Akerman)
The Devil Wears Prada (2006, David Frankel)
The Devils (1971, Ken Russell)
The Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015, Marielle Heller)
Die Hard (1988, John McTiernan)
Die Hard 2 (1990, Renny Harlin)
Die Hard with a Vengeance (1995, John McTiernan)
Dinosaur (2000, Ralph Zondag & Eric Leighton)
Dionysus in ’69 (1970, Brian De Palma)
The Distance [La Distancia] (2014, Sergio Caballero)
Django Unchained (2012, Quentin Tarantino)
Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1941, Victor Fleming)
Dr. No (1962, Terence Young)
Doctor Strange (2016, Scott Derrickson)
Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964, Stanley Kubrick)
DodgeBall: A True Underdog Story (2004, Rawsom Marshall Thurber)
Dog Day Afternoon (1975, Sidney Lumet)
Don’t Breathe (2016, Fede Alvarez)
Dont Look Back (1967, D.A. Pennebaker)
Don’t Think Twice (2016, Mike Birbiglia)
Double Indemnity (1944, Billy Wilder)
The Double Life of Veronique (1991, Krzysztof Kieslowski)
Dragon Inn [Lóng Mén Kè Zhàn] (1967, King Hu)
Dredd (2012, Pete Travis)
Dressed to Kill (1980, Brian De Palma)
Drive (2011, Nicolas Winding Refn)
The Duke of Burgundy (2014, Peter Strickland)
Dune (1984, David Lynch)
Easy Rider (1969, Dennis Hopper)
Easy Rider (2012, James Benning)
The Edge of Seventeen (2016, Kelly Fremon Craig)
Edge of Tomorrow (2014, Doug Liman)
[Otto e mezzo] (1963, Federico Fellini)
Elegy to the Visitor from the Revolution [Elehiya sa dumalaw mula sa himagsikan] (2011, Lav Diaz)
The Elephant Man (1980, David Lynch)
Elle (2016, Paul Verhoeven)
Elysium (2013, Neill Blomkamp)
Embrace of the Serpent [El abrazo de la serpiente] (2015, Ciro Guerra)
The Emperor’s New Groove (2000, Mark Dindal)
The Empire Strikes Back (1980, Irvin Kershner)
Equilibrium (2002, Kurt Wimmer)
Eragon (2006, Stefan Fangmeier)
Eraserhead (1977, David Lynch)
E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982, Steven Spielberg)
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004, Michel Gondry)
Evan Almighty (2007, Tom Shadyac)
Everest (2015, Baltasar Kormákur)
Everybody Wants Some!! (2016, Richard Linklater)
Ex Machina (2015, Alex Garland)
Extraordinary Measures (2010, Tom Vaughan)
Eye in the Sky (2015, Gavin Hood)
Eyes Wide Shut (1999, Stanley Kubrick)
Fantasia 2000 (1999, Don Hahn/Pixote Hunt/Hendel Butoy/Eric Goldberg/James Algar/Francis Glebas/Paul Brizzi/Gaëtan Brizzi)
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016, David Yates)
Fantastic Four (2005, Tim Story)
Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007, Tim Story)
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009, Wes Anderson)
Fargo (1996, Joel & Ethan Coen)
Femme Fatale (2002, Brian De Palma)
Fences (2016, Denzel Washington)
Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986, John Hughes)
Festen [The Celebration] (1998, Thomas Vinterberg)
A Few Good Men (1992, Rob Reiner)
The Fighter (2010, David O. Russell)
Film ist. 1-6 (1998, Gustav Deutsch)
Film ist. 7-12 (2002, Gustav Deutsch)
Finding Nemo (2003, Andrew Stanton)
First Blood (1982, Ted Kotcheff)
Fish Tank (2009, Andrea Arnold)
The Fits (2015, Anna Rose Holmer)
(500) Days of Summer (2009, Marc Webb)
Five Easy Pieces (1970, Bob Rafelson)
The Five People You Meet in Heaven (2004, Lloyd Kramer)
The Forbidden Kingdom (2008, Rob Minkoff)
The Forbidden Room (2015, Guy Maddin and Evan Johnson)
Forrest Gump (1994, Robert Zemeckis)
45 Years (2015, Andrew Haigh)
42nd Street (1933, Lloyd Bacon)
The 400 Blows [Les Quatre Cents Coups] (1959, François Truffaut)
Foxcatcher (2014, Bennett Miller)
Frances Ha (2012, Noah Baumbach)
Francofonia (2015, Aleksandr Sokurov)
Freaky Friday (2003, Mark Waters)
From the Other Side [De l’autre côté] (2002, Chantal Akerman)
Frozen (2013, Chris Buck & Jennifer Lee)
Full Metal Jacket (1987, Stanley Kubrick)
Furious 7 (2015, James Wan)
Fury (2014, David Ayer)
The Fury (1978, Brian De Palma)
Gallipoli (1981, Peter Weir)
Game Change (2012, Jay Roach)
The Game Plan (2007, Andy Fickman)
The Gang’s All Here (1943, Busby Berkeley)
Gattaca (1997, Andrew Niccol)
Get Out (2017, Jordan Peele)
Get to Know Your Rabbit (1972, Brian De Palma)
Ghost in the Shell [Kōkaku Kidōtai Gōsuto In Za Sheru] (1995, Mamoru Oshii)
Ghostbusters (1984, Ivan Reitman)
The Gift (2015, Joel Edgerton)
The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo (2011, David Fincher)
Gladiator (2000, Ridley Scott)
The Glass Shield (1994, Charles Burnett)
Glory (1989, Edward Zwick)
The Godfather (1972, Francis Ford Coppola)
The Godfather Part II (1974, Francis Ford Coppola)
Godzilla [Gojira] (1954, Ishiro Honda)
The Golden Compass (2007, Chris Weitz)
Goldfinger (1964, Guy Hamilton)
Gone in 60 Seconds (2000, Dominic Sena)
Good Morning, Vietnam (1987, Barry Levinson)
Good Will Hunting (1997, Gus Van Sant)
Goodfellas (1990, Martin Scorsese)
The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014, Wes Anderson)
The Grandmaster [Yī Dài Zōng Shī] (2013, Wong Kar-wai)
Grave of the Fireflies [Hotaru no haka] (1988, Isao Takahata)
Gravity (2013, Alfonso Cuarón)
The Great Debaters (2007, Denzel Washington)
Green Room (2015, Jeremy Saulnier)
Greetings (1968, Brian De Palma)
Groundhog Day (1993, Harold Ramis)
Guardians of the Galaxy (2014, James Gunn)
Güeros (2014, Alonso Ruizpalacios)
Hacksaw Ridge (2016, Mel Gibson)
Hail, Caesar! (2016, Joel & Ethan Coen)
Halloween (1978, John Carpenter)
Hamlet (1996, Kenneth Branagh)
Hancock (2008, Peter Berg)
The Handmaiden [Agassi] (2016, Park Chan-wook)
Happy Feet (2006, George Miller)
Happy Hour [Happî awâ] (2015, Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)
Happy Times [Xìngfú Shíguāng] (2000, Zhang Yimou)
A Hard Day’s Night (1964, Richard Lester)
Hard Eight (1996, Paul Thomas Anderson)
Harold and Maude (1971, Hal Ashby)
Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets (2002, Chris Columbus)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 (2010, David Yates)
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2 (2011, David Yates)
Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (2005, Mike Newell)
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (2009, David Yates)
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007, David Yates)
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban (2004, Alfonso Cuarón)
Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone (2001, Chris Columbus)
The Hateful Eight (2015, Quentin Tarantino)
The Haunted Mansion (2003, Rob Minkoff)
Heat (1995, Michael Mann)
The Heat (2013, Paul Feig)
Hell or High Water (2016, David Mackenzie)
Henry Gamble’s Birthday Party (2015, Stephen Cone)
Her (2013, Spike Jonze)
Hercules (1997, John Musker & Ron Clements)
Hero [Yīngxióng] (2002, Zhang Yimou)
Hi, Mom! (1970, Brian De Palma)
Hidden Figures (2016, Theodore Melfi)
High Noon (1952, Fred Zinnemann)
High-Rise (2015, Ben Wheatley)
High School (1968, Frederick Wiseman)
Hill of Freedom [Jayuui Eondeok] (2014, Hong Sang-soo)
The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug (2013, Peter Jackson)
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012, Peter Jackson)
Holes (2003, Andrew Davis)
Holy Motors (2012, Leos Carax)
Home Alone (1990, Chris Columbus)
Home Movies (1980, Brian De Palma)
Horse Money [Cavalo Dinheiro] (2014, Pedro Costa)
Hospital (1970, Frederick Wiseman)
Hot Fuzz (2007, Edgar Wright)
House of Flying Daggers [Shí Miàn Mái Fú] (2004, Zhang Yimou)
House of Little Deaths (2016, Scout Tafoya)
House of Tolerance [L’Apollonide: Souvenirs de la maison close] (2011, Bertrand Bonello)
House of Wax (2005, Jaume Collet-Serra)
The Hudsucker Proxy (1994, Joel & Ethan Coen)
Hugo (2011, Martin Scorsese)
The Hunchback of Notre Dame (1996, Gary Trousdale & Kirk Wise)
The Hunger Games (2012, Gary Ross)
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (2013, Francis Lawrence)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 1 (2014, Francis Lawrence)
The Hunger Games: Mockingjay – Part 2 (2015, Francis Lawrence)
The Hunt for Red October (1990, John McTiernan)
Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016, Taika Waititi)
The Huntsman: Winter’s War (2016, Cedric Nicolas-Troyan)
I Am Not Madame Bovary [Wǒ Búshì Pān Jīnlián] (2016, Feng Xiaogang)
I Am Not Your Negro (2016, Raoul Peck)
I Don’t Belong Anywhere: The Cinema of Chantal Akerman (2015, Marianne Lambert)
The Imitation Game (2014, Morten Tyldum)
In Another Country [Dareun Naraeseo] (2012, Hong Sang-soo)
In the Heart of the Sea (2015, Ron Howard)
In the Mood for Love [Huāyàng niánhuá] (2000, Wong Kar-wai)
In the Shadow of Women [L’Ombre des femmes] (2015, Philippe Garrel)
Inception (2010, Christopher Nolan)
The Incredibles (2004, Brad Bird)
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008, Steven Spielberg)
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989, Steven Spielberg)
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom (1984, Steven Spielberg)
Indignation (2016, James Schamus)
Inglourious Basterds (2009, Quentin Tarantino)
Inherent Vice (2014, Paul Thomas Anderson)
Inland Empire (2006, David Lynch)
Inside Job (2010, Charles Ferguson)
Inside Llewyn Davis (2013, Joel & Ethan Coen)
Inside Out (2015, Pete Docter)
The Insider (1999, Michael Mann)
Interstellar (2014, Christopher Nolan)
Intolerable Cruelty (Joel & Ethan Coen)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956, Don Siegel)
Invictus (2009, Clint Eastwood)
The Invitation (2015, Karyn Kusama)
Ip Man [Yè Wèn] (2008, Wilson Yip)
Ip Man 2 [Yè Wèn Èr: Zōng Shī Chuán Qí] (2010, Wilson Yip)
Iron Man (2008, Jon Favreau)
Iron Man 2 (2010, Jon Favreau)
Iron Man 3 (2013, Shane Black)
It Follows (2014, David Robert Mitchell)
The Italian Job (2003, F. Gary Gray)
It’s a Wonderful Life (1946, Frank Capra)
It’s Such a Beautiful Day (2012, Don Hertzfeldt)
Ivan’s Childhood [Ivanovo detstvo] (1962, Andrei Tarkovsky)
Jackie (2016, Pablo Larraín)
Jackie Brown (1997, Quentin Tarantino)
James White (2015, Josh Mond)
Jason Bourne (2016, Paul Greengrass)
Jaws (1975, Steven Spielberg)
Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles (1975, Chantal Akerman)
Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011, David Gelb)
John Wick (2014, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch)
John Wick: Chapter 2 (2017, Chad Stahelski)
Joint Security Area [Gongdong Gyeongbi Guyeok JSA] (2000, Park Chan-wook)
Journey to Italy [Viaggio in Italia] (1954, Roberto Rossellini)
Journey to the Shore [Kishibe no Tabi] (2015, Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
Ju Dou [Jú Dòu] (1990, Zhang Yimou and Yang Fengliang)
Jules et Jim (1962, François Truffaut)
Julieta (2016, Pedro Almodóvar)
Jumanji (1995, Joe Johnston)
Jumper (2008, Doug Liman)
The Jungle Book (1967, Wolfgang Reitherman)
The Jungle Book (2016, Jon Favreau)
Jurassic Park (1993, Steven Spielberg)
Justin Timberlake + The Tennessee Kids (2016, Jonathan Demme)
Kaili Blues [Lu bian ye can] (2015, Bi Gan)
Kanehsatake: 270 Years of Resistance (1993, Alanis Obomsawin)
The Karate Kid (1984, John G. Avildsen)
The Karate Kid (2010, Harold Zwart)
Kate Plays Christine (2016, Robert Greene)
Keanu (2016, Peter Atencio)
The Keep (1983, Michael Mann)
Kill Bill: Volume 1 (2003, Quentin Tarnatino)
Kill Bill: Volume 2 (2004, Quentin Tarantino)
The Killer [Diéxuè shuāngxióng] (1989, John Woo)
Killer’s Kiss (1955, Stanley Kubrick)
The Killing (1956, Stanley Kubrick)
King Kong (2005, Peter Jackson)
The King’s Speech (2010, Tom Hooper)
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014, Matthew Vaughn)
Knight of Cups (2015, Terrence Malick)
Koyaanisqatsi (1982, Godfrey Reggio)
Krisha (2015, Trey Edward Shults)
Krivina (2012, Igor Drljaca)
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016, Travis Knight)
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015, Brett Morgen)
L for Leisure (2014, Lev Kalman & Whitney Horn)
Là-bas (2006, Chantal Akerman)
La Dolce Vita (1960, Federico Fellini)
La La Land (2016, Damien Chazelle)
La Notte (1961, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Lady and the Tramp (1955, Hamilton Luske & Clyde Geronimi & Wilfred Jackson)
Lady Vengeance [Chinjeolhan geumjassi] (2005, Park Chan-wook)
The Ladykillers (2004, Joel & Ethan Coen)
The Last Mimzy (2007, Bob Shaye)
The Last of the Mohicans (1992, Michael Mann)
The Last Picture Show (1971, Peter Bogdanovich)
Last Year at Marienbad [L’Année dernière à Marienbad] (1961, Alain Resnais)
L’Atalante (1934, Jean Vigo)
L’Avventura (1960, Michelangelo Antonioni)
Lawrence of Arabia (1962, David Lean)
L’Eclisse [Eclipse] (1962, Michelangelo Antonioni)
The Lego Batman Movie (2017, Chris McKay)
The Lego Movie (2014, Phil Lord & Chris Miller)
The Leisure Class (2015, Jason Mann)
Lemonade (2016, Kahlil Joseph and Beyoncé Knowles Carter)
Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004, Brad Siberling)
Léolo (1992, Jean-Claude Lauzon)
Les Misérables (2012, Tom Hooper)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004, Wes Anderson)
Life of Pi (2012, Ang Lee)
Lincoln (2012, Steven Spielberg)
Lion (2016, Garth Davis)
The Lion King (1994, Roger Allers & Rob Minkoff)
The Little Mermaid (1989, John Musker & Ron Clements)
Live by Night (2016, Ben Affleck)
Live Freaky! Die Freaky! (2006, John Roecker)
Live Free or Die Hard (2007, Len Wiseman)
The Lobster (2015, Yorgos Lanthimos)
Logan (2017, James Mangold)
Lolita (1962, Stanley Kubrick)
Looper (2012, Rian Johnson)
The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring (2001, Peter Jackson)
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003, Peter Jackson)
The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers (2002, Peter Jackson)
Lorenzo’s Oil (1992, George Miller)
Los Sures (1984, Diego Echeverria)
Lost Highway (1997, David Lynch)
Lost in Translation (2003, Sofia Coppola)
The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997, Steven Spielberg)
Love & Friendship (2016, Whit Stillman)
Love & Mercy (2014, Bill Pohlad)
The Love Witch (2016, Anna Biller)
Lumumba (2000, Raoul Peck)
M (1931, Fritz Lang)
Macbeth (2015, Justin Kurzel)
Mad Max (1979, George Miller)
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015, George Miller)
Mad Max 2 [The Road Warrior] (1981, George Miller)
Madagascar (2005, Eric Darnell & Tom McGarth)
Magic Mike XXL (2015, Gregory Jacobs)
The Magnificent Seven (2016, Antoine Fuqua)
Magnolia (1999, Paul Thomas Anderson)
Man of Steel (2013, Zack Snyder)
The Man Who Wasn’t There (2001, Joel & Ethan Coen)
Manchester by the Sea (2016, Kenneth Lonergan)
Manhunter (1986, Michael Mann)
Mao’s Last Dancer (2009, Bruce Beresford)
March of the Penguins (2005, Luc Jacquet)
Margaret (2011, Kenneth Lonergan)
The Martian (2015, Ridley Scott)
Masculin féminin: 15 faits précis (1966, Jean-Luc Godard)
The Master (2012, Paul Thomas Anderson)
Matilda (1996, Danny DeVito)
The Matrix (Lana & Lilly Wachowski)
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015, Alfonso Gomez-Rejon)
Mean Girls (2004, Mark Waters)
Meek’s Cutoff (2010, Kelly Reichardt)
Meet the Patels (2014, Geeta V. Patel & Ravi V. Patel)
Melancholia (2011, Lars von Trier)
The Mend (2014, John Magary)
The Mermaid [Měi rén yú] (2016, Stephen Chow)
Miami Vice (2006, Michael Mann)
Michael Jackson’s This Is It (2009, Kenny Ortega)
Midnight in Paris (2011, Woody Allen)
Midnight Special (2016, Jeff Nichols)
Mildred Pierce (1945, Michael Curtiz)
Miller’s Crossing (1990, Joel & Ethan Coen)
Million Dollar Baby (2004, Clint Eastwood)
Minority Report (2002, Steven Spielberg)
Minotaur [Minotauro] (2015, Nicolás Pereda)
The Mission [Cheung foh] (1999, Johnnie To)
Mission: Impossible (1996, Brian De Palma)
Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol (2011, Brad Bird)
Mission: Impossible — Rogue Nation (2015, Christopher McQuarrie)
Mission: Impossible III (2006, J.J. Abrams)
Mission: Impossible II (2000, John Woo)
Mission to Mars (2000, Brian De Palma)
Mr. Bean’s Holiday (2007, Steve Bendelack)
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939, Frank Capra)
Mistress America (2015, Noah Baumbach)
Moana (2016, John Musker & Ron Clements)
Money Monster (2016, Jodie Foster)
Moneyball (2011, Bennett Miller)
A Monster Calls (2016, J.A. Bayona)
Monster House (2006, Gil Kenan)
Monsters, Inc. (2001, Pete Docter)
Monsters University (2013, Dan Scanlon)
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975, Terry Gilliam & Terry Jones)
Moonlight (2016, Barry Jenkins)
Moonrise Kingdom (2012, Wes Anderson)
Morocco (1930, Josef von Sternberg)
Mountains May Depart [Shānhé gùrén] (2015, Jia Zhangke)
Much Ado About Nothing (1993, Kenneth Branagh)
Mulan (1998, Barry Cook & Tony Bancroft)
Mulholland Drive (2001, David Lynch)
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008, Rob Cohen)
Murder à la Mod (1967, Brian De Palma)
Mustang (2015, Deniz Gamze Ergüven)
My Golden Days [Trois souvenirs de ma jeunesse] (2015, Arnaud Desplechin)
Nashville (1975, Robert Altman)
National Treasure (2004, Jon Turteltaub)
National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007, Jon Turteltaub)
Neighbors 2: Sorority Rising (2016, Nicholas Stoller)
Neruda (2016, Pablo Larraín)
The Neon Demon (2016, Nicolas Winding Refn)
Network (1976, Sidney Lumet)
A New Leaf (1971, Elaine May)
The Nice Guys (2016, Shane Black)
Night at the Museum (2006, Shawn Levy)
Night Moves (2013, Kelly Reichardt)
The Night of the Hunter (1955, Charles Laughton)
Nightcrawler (2014, Dan Gilroy)
No Country for Old Men (2007, Joel & Ethan Coen)
No Home Movie (2015, Chantal Akerman)
No Way Out (1950, Joseph L. Mankiewicz)
Nocturnal Animals (2016, Tom Ford)
Non-Stop (2014, Jaume Collet-Serra)
North by Northwest (1959, Alfred Hitchcock)
Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922, F.W. Murnau)
Now You See Me (2013, Louis Leterrier)
Now You See Me 2 (2016, Jon M. Chu)
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000, Joel & Ethan Coen)
Obsession (1976, Brian De Palma)
Office [Huálì shàngbān zú] (2015, Johnnie To)
O.J.: Made in America (2016, Ezra Edelman)
Old Joy (2006, Kelly Reichardt)
Oldboy [Oldeuboi] (2003, Park Chan-wook)
Olympus Has Fallen (2013, Antoine Fuqua)
On the Occasion of Remembering the Turning Gate [Saenghwalui balgyeon] (2002, Hong Sang-soo)
On the Silver Globe [Na srebrnym globie] (1988, Andrzej Zulawski)
On the Waterfront (1954, Elia Kazan)
One Hundred and One Dalmatians (1961, Wolfgang Reitherman & Hamilton Luske & Clyde Geronimi)
102 Minutes That Changed America (2008, Nicole Rittenmeyer & Seth Skundrick)
Only God Forgives (2013, Nicolas Winding Refn)
Only Yesterday [Omoide Poro Poro] (1991, Isao Takahata)
Osmosis Jones (2001, Peter Farrelly & Bobby Farrelly)
Orphan (2009, Jaume Collet-Serra)
The Other Side (2015, Roberto Minervini)
Our Little Sister [Umimachi Diary] (2015, Hirokazu Kore-eda)
Out 1 (1971, Jacques Rivette)
Pacific Rim (2013, Guillermo del Toro)
The Parent Trap (1998, Nancy Meyers)
Paris, Texas (1984, Wim Wenders)
Passengers (2016, Morten Tyldum)
Passion (2012, Brian De Palma)
The Passion of Joan of Arc [La Passion de Jeanne d’Arc] (1928, Carl Theodor Dreyer)
Paterson (2016, Jim Jarmusch)
Pather Panchali (1955, Satyajit Ray)
Paths of Glory (1957, Stanley Kubrick)
Patriot Games (1992, Phillip Noyce)
Persona (1966, Ingmar Bergman)
Personal Shopper (2016, Olivier Assayas)
Peter Pan (1953, Hamilton Luske & Clyde Geronimi & Wilfred Jackson)
Phantom of the Paradise (1974, Brian De Palma)
Phoenix (2015, Christian Petzold)
Picnic at Hanging Rock (1975, Peter Weir)
Pierrot le fou (1965, Jean-Luc Godard)
Pina (2011, Wim Wenders)
Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End (2007, Gore Verbinski)
Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl (2003, Gore Verbinski)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest (2006, Gore Verbinski)
Playtime (1967, Jacques Tati)
Pooh’s Grand Adventure: The Search for Christopher Robin (1997, Karl Geurs)
Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (2016, Akiva Schaffer & Jorma Taccone)
Possession (1981, Andrzej Zulawski)
Predator (1987, John McTiernan)
The Prestige (2006, Christopher Nolan)
Pride & Prejudice (2005, Joe Wright)
The Princess Bride (1987, Rob Reiner)
The Princess Diaries (2001, Garry Marshall)
The Princess Diaries 2: Royal Engagement (2004, Garry Marshall)
Princess Mononoke [Mononoke-hime] (1997, Hayao Miyazaki)
The Public Enemy (1931, William Wellman)
Public Enemies (2009, Michael Mann)
Pulp Fiction (1994, Quentin Tarantino)
Punch-Drunk Love (2002, Paul Thomas Anderson)
Purple Rain (1984, Albert Magnoli)
Quantum of Solace (2008, Marc Forster)
The Quiet American (2002, Phillip Noyce)
Queen of Earth (2015, Alex Ross Perry)
Raging Bull (1980, Martin Scorsese)
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981, Steven Spielberg)
Rain Man (1988, Barry Levinson)
Raise the Red Lantern [Dà Hóng Dēnglong Gāogāo Guà] (1991, Zhang Yimou)
Raising Arizona (1987, Joel & Ethan Coen)
Raising Cain (1992, Brian De Palma)
Ran (1985, Akira Kurosawa)
Rashomon (1950, Akira Kurosawa)
Ratatouille (2007, Brad Bird)
Ray (2004, Taylor Hackford)
Rebel Without a Cause (1955, Nicholas Ray)
Red Cliff (2008, John Woo)
Red Cliff Part II (2009, John Woo)
The Red Shoes (1948, Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger)
Red Sorghum [Hóng gāoliáng] (1987, Zhang Yimou)
Redacted (2007, Brian De Palma)
Remember the Titans (2000, Boaz Yakin)
Reservoir Dogs (1992, Quentin Tarantino)
Resident Evil (2002, Paul W.S. Anderson)
Resident Evil: Afterlife (2010, Paul W.S. Anderson)
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004, Alexander Witt)
Resident Evil: Extinction (2007, Russell Mulcahy)
Resident Evil: Retribution (2012, Paul W.S. Anderson)
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter (2016, Paul W.S. Anderson)
Return of the Jedi (1983, Richard Marquand)
The Revenant (2015, Alejandro González Iñárritu)
Right Now, Wrong Then [Jigeumeun-matgo-geuttaeneun-tteullida] (2015, Hong Sang-soo)
River of Grass (1994, Kelly Reichardt)
The Road Home [wǒde fùqin mǔqin] (1999, Zhang Yimou)
RoboCop (1987, Paul Verhoeven)
The Rock (1996, Michael Bay)
Rocky (1976, John G. Avildsen)
Rocky IV (1985, Sylvester Stallone)
Rocky III (1982, Sylvester Stallone)
Rocky II (1979, Sylvester Stallone)
Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016, Gareth Edwards)
Romeo and Juliet (1968, Franco Zeffirelli)
Romeo + Juliet (1996, Baz Luhrmann)
Ronin (1998, John Frankenheimer)
Room (2015, Lenny Abrahamson)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001, Wes Anderson)
Rules Don’t Apply (2016, Warren Beatty)
The Rules of the Game [La Règle du jeu] (1939, Jean Renoir)
Run All Night (2015, Jaume Collet-Serra)
Rush Hour (1998, Brett Ratner)
Rush Hour 2 (2001, Chris Columbus)
Rush Hour 3 (2007, Brett Ratner)
Rushmore (1998, Wes Anderson)
Russian Ark [Russkij Kovcheg] (2002, Aleksandr Sokurov)
Saint Laurent (2014, Bertrand Bonello)
Sans soleil (1983, Chris Marker)
Saving Private Ryan (1998, Steven Spielberg)
Scarface (1983, Brian De Palma)
Schindler’s List (1993, Steven Spielberg)
Scooby-Doo (2002, Raja Gosnell)
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010, Edgar Wright)
The Searchers (1956, John Ford)
Secret [Bùnéng shuō de mìmì] (2007, Jay Chou)
Selma (2014, Ava DuVernay)
Serenity (2005, Joss Whedon)
A Serious Man (2009, Joel & Ethan Coen)
Seven Samurai [Shichinin no Samurai] (1954, Akira Kurosawa)
17 Again (2009, Burr Steers)
The Seventh Seal [Det sjunde inseglet] (1957, Ingmar Bergman)
The Seventh Continent [Der siebente Kontinent] (1989, Michael Haneke)
Sexy Beast (2000, Jonathan Glazer)
The Shallows (2016, Jaume Collet-Serra)
Shaun of the Dead (2004, Edgar Wright)
The Shawshank Redemption (1994, Frank Darabont)
Sherlock Holmes (2009, Guy Ritchie)
Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011, Guy Ritchie)
Shin Godzilla [Shin Gojira] (2016, Hideaki Anno and Shinji Higuchi)
The Shining (1980, Stanley Kubrick)
Shoot to Kill (1988, Roger Spottiswoode)
Shower [Xǐzǎo] (1999, Zhang Yang)
Shrek (2001, Andrew Adamson & Vicky Jenson)
Shrek 2 (2004, Andrew Adamson & Kelly Asbury & Conrad Vernon)
Shrek the Third (2007, Chris Miller)
Sicario (2015, Denis Villeneuve)
Silence (2016, Martin Scorsese)
The Silence of the Lambs (1991, Jonathan Demme)
Simon Killer (2012, Antonio Campos)
Sing Street (2016, John Carney)
Singin’ in the Rain (1952, Stanley Donen & Gene Kelly)
Sisters (1973, Brian De Palma)
The Sky Trembles and the Earth is Afraid and the Two Eyes Are Not Brothers (2015, Ben Rivers)
Skyfall (2012, Sam Mendes)
Sleeping Beauty (1959, Clyde Geronimi)
Sleepless in Seattle (1993, Nora Ephron)
Snake Eyes (1998, Brian De Palma)
The Social Network (2010, David Fincher)
The Soloist (2009, Joe Wright)
Some Like It Hot (1959, Billy Wilder)
The Son of Joseph [Le Fils de Joseph] (2016, Eugène Green)
Son of Saul [Saul fia] (2015, László Nemes)
Song of Lahore (2015, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy & Andy Schocken)
The Sound of Music (1965, Robert Wise)
South [Sud] (1999, Chantal Akerman)
Space Jam (1996, Joe Pytka)
Spartacus (1960, Stanley Kubrick)
Spectre (2015, Sam Mendes)
Speed (1994, Jan de Bont)
Spider-Man (2002, Sam Raimi)
Spider-Man 2 (2004, Sam Raimi)
Spider-Man 3 (2007, Sam Raimi)
Spirited Away [Sen to Chihiro no Kamikakushi] (2001, Hayao Miyazaki)
SPL II: A Time for Consequences [Shā Pò Láng Èr] (2015, Soi Cheang)
Split (2016, M. Night Shyamalan)
Spotlight (2015, Tom McCarthy)
Star Trek (2009, J.J. Abrams)
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013, J.J. Abrams)
Star Wars (1977, George Lucas)
Star Wars: The Clone Wars (2008, Dave Filoni)
Star Wars: Episode I — The Phantom Menace (1999, George Lucas)
Star Wars: Episode III — Revenge of the Sith (2005, George Lucas)
Star Wars: Episode II — Attack of the Clones (2002, George Lucas)
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015, J.J. Abrams)
The Star Wars Holiday Special (1978, Steve Binder)
Stardust (2007, Matthew Vaughn)
Steve Jobs (2015, Danny Boyle)
Stop Making Sense (1984, Jonathan Demme)
The Story of Qiu Ju [Qiū Jú dǎ guān sī] (1992, Zhang Yimou)
Straight Outta Compton (2015, F. Gary Gray)
The Straight Story (1999, David Lynch)
Sully (2016, Clint Eastwood)
Suicide Squad (2016, David Ayer)
Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans (1927, F.W. Murnau)
Sunset Boulevard (1950, Billy Wilder)
Sunset Song (2015, Terence Davies)
Super Size Me (2004, Morgan Spurlock)
Sweet Smell of Success (1957, Alexander Mackendrick)
Swiss Army Man (2016, Daniel Scheinert & Daniel Kwan)
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance [Boksuneun Naui Geot] (2002, Park Chan-wook)
Synecdoche, New York (2008, Charlie Kaufman)
Taken (2008, Pierre Morel)
The Taking of Pelham One Two Three (1974, Joseph Sargent)
Tampopo [Tanpopo] (1985, Juzo Itami)
Tangerine (2015, Sean Baker)
Tangled (2010, Nathan Greno & Byron Howard)
Taxi Driver (1976, Martin Scorsese)
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016, Dan Trachtenberg)
The Terminator (1984, James Cameron)
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991, James Cameron)
Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003, Jonathan Mostow)
The Terrorizers [Kǒngbù fènzǐ] (1986, Edward Yang)
The Theory of Everything (2014, James Marsh)
There Will Be Blood (2007, Paul Thomas Anderson)
The Thin Blue Line (1988, Errol Morris)
The Thin Red Line (1998, Terrence Malick)
Thief (1981, Michael Mann)
Things to Come [L’Avenir] (2016, Mia Hansen-Løve)
The Third Man (1949, Carol Reed)
13th (2016, Ava DuVernay)
Thor (2011, Kenneth Branagh)
Thor: The Dark World (2013, Alan Taylor)
Throne of Blood [Kumonosu-jō] (1957, Akira Kurosawa)
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011, Tomas Alfredson)
Titicut Follies (1967, Frederick Wiseman)
To Lavoisier, Who Died in the Reign of Terror (1991, Michael Snow)
To Live [Huózhe] (1994, Zhang Yimou)
Tokyo Story [Tōkyō Monogatari] (1953, Yasujiro Ozu)
Toni Erdmann (2016, Maren Ade)
Tootsie (1982, Sydney Pollack)
Top Gun (1986, Tony Scott)
Touch of Evil (1958, Orson Welles)
Tower (2016, Keith Maitland)
Toy Story 2 (1999, John Lasseter)
Toy Story 3 (2010, Lee Unkrich)
Trainwreck (2015, Judd Apatow)
Transformers (2007, Michael Bay)
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009, Michael Bay)
The Treasure [Comoara] (2015, Corneliu Porumboiu)
Trouble in Paradise (1932, Ernst Lubitsch)
True Grit (2010, Joel & Ethan Coen)
True Lies (1994, James Cameron)
Trust (1990, Hal Hartley)
Turn Left, Turn Right [Xiàng zuǒ zǒu, xiàng yòu zǒu] (2003, Johnnie To & Wai Ka-Fai)
12 Years a Slave (2013, Steve McQueen)
20th Century Women (2016, Mike Mills)
27 Dresses (2008, Anne Fletcher)
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968, Stanley Kubrick)
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010, David Slade)
Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me (1992, David Lynch)
Two Days, One Night [Deux jours, une nuit] (2014, Jean-Pierre & Luc Dardenne)
The Umbrellas of Cherbourg [Les Parapluies de Cherbourg] (1964, Jacques Demy)
Unknown (2011, Jaume Collet-Serra)
The Unspeakable Act (2012, Dan Sallitt)
Until the End of the World [Bis ans Ende der Welt] (1991, Wim Wenders)
The Untouchables (1987, Brian De Palma)
Up (2009, Pete Docter)
Up in the Air (2009, Jason Reitman)
Valley of Love (2015, Guillaume Nicloux)
Vertigo (1958, Alfred Hitchcock)
Viva (2007, Anna Biller)
Vivre sa vie: film en douze tableaux [My Life to Live] (1962, Jean-Luc Godard)
Voyage of Time (2016, Terrence Malick)
The Walk (2015, Robert Zemeckis)
WALL-E (2008, Andrew Stanton)
War Horse (2011, Steven Spielberg)
Wavelength (1967, Michael Snow)
We Will Rock You (1984, Saul Swimmer)
The Wedding Party (1969, Brian De Palma & Wilford Leach & Cynthia Munroe)
Weiner (2016, Josh Kriegman & Elyse Steinberg)
Wendy and Lucy (2008, Kelly Reichardt)
When Marnie Was There [Omoide no Mānī] (2014, Hiromasa Yonebayashi)
Whiplash (2014, Damien Chazelle)
Wild at Heart (1990, David Lynch)
Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971, Mel Stuart)
Wings of Desire [Der Himmel über Berlin] (1987, Wim Wenders)
Wise Guys (1986, Brian De Palma)
The Wise Kids (2011, Stephen Cone)
The Witch (2015, Robert Eggers)
The Wolverine (2013, James Mangold)
A Woman Is a Woman [Une femme est une femme] (1961, Jean-Luc Godard)
A Woman Under the Influence (1974, John Cassavetes)
The Words (2012, Brian Klugman & Lee Sternthal)
The World of Apu [Apur Sansar] (1959, Satyajit Ray)
World War Z (2013, Marc Forster)
The World’s End (2013, Edgar Wright)
Xala (1975, Ousmane Sembène)
X-Men (2000, Bryan Singer)
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016, Bryan Singer)
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014, Bryan Singer)
X-Men: First Class (2011, Matthew Vaughn)
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006, Brett Ratner)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009, Gavin Hood)
X2 (2003, Bryan Singer)
Yi Yi (2000, Edward Yang)
You Can Count on Me (2000, Kenneth Lonergan)
The Young Girls of Rochefort [Les Demoiselles de Rochefort] (1967, Jacques Demy)
Zathura: A Space Adventure (2005, Jon Favreau)
Zatoichi (2003, Takeshi Kitano)
Zootopia (2016, Byron Howard & Rich Moore)

January 2017 Capsules

Dog Day Afternoon
A much stranger film than I expected, but the most concrete criticism I have is that it feels tame. More accurately, its ambitions and wildly clashing tones feel like they require the touch of a far more skilled director and writer, one more attuned to a sense of rhythm and character. Dog Day Afternoon wants to be a black comedy, a city film, a character study, a ticking time bomb of a heist, and much more all in one, but fails to fully achieve any of them. There is no doubt a sense of real feeling in more than a little of the film, and Pacino and Cazale absolutely nail their feverish robbers. But, so much else feels like the overheated flop-sweat that accumulates over the course of this film, which feels like it ages every character 20 years.

Always Shine
Almost too obviously fiendish in its presentation; from the opening shot and frenetic credits Takal makes it clear how confrontational much of the film will be, perhaps to the detriment of the film as a whole. Of course, Always Shine is anchored by two phenomenal performances, and to some extent they anchor the film, overriding the needlessly spiky edits and grounding it in a believably acidic relationship. The final third does feel like a bit of a misjudgment, dragging out the obvious “persona swap” premise for all its worth, but the last scene brings it back home.

January 19
The Other Side
It is naturally dangerous to say that one film or the other is necessarily “important” or “essential”, but I’d have relatively few qualms considering The Other Side as befitting both of these adjectives. The movie performs its act of documentation almost frighteningly well, to the point where the scenes occurring before the viewer bear a stronger resemblance to a drama than the conventional ideal of documentary. It is this quality that makes the film one of the most heartbreaking works of 2016 for me; there is such a strong tenderness in such desolate and obviously destitute places that it feels fully and beautifully human. In many ways, the final quarter seems to be both a misstep and an essential part of the documentary (for this reason I feel like I’m underrating it), a sort of other side to the other side. It is utterly of this moment and thus, timeless.

Café Society (rewatch)
What seems most striking (especially on a rewatch) is Café Society‘s overwhelming sense of nostalgia. From Allen’s vigorous narration opening with an explicit reference to the film being set in the 1930’s to the general, ever-so-slightly starstruck perspectives of Bobby and Vonnie, there is a melancholy and a longing for the times and stars that seem just out of reach (notably, no movie stars are ever shown, apparently just off camera). The second half set in New York, prolonged as it is, still retains a shade of that glamour; there is no doubt that Café Society would benefit from tightening but as is, the restrained opulence of Storaro’s cinematography and the reservedness of the main performances make this film into something truly intimate.

January 24
Valley of Love
It’s almost passé at this point to say that Isabelle Huppert gave a great performance in 2016, but the magnificence of her and Depardieu’s performances can’t be overstated, especially since the film is almost exclusively a two-hander. As a byproduct of this extreme, the supporting characters acting mostly as provocations to the main characters and, intriguingly, a reflection and sort of critique of Americana. But Valley of Love‘s full dedication to the grief of this reunited couple consumes the film in ways both welcome (the pair of long letter readings, shot with so much compassion) and more unnerving (the strange encounters with ghosts that seem to rise out of the landscape). Perhaps the almost non-ending of the movie is fitting for a work of such single-minded obsession.

January 30
Happy Hour
Even more than most long movies, I find it extremely hard to do Happy Hour justice. By design it seems to announce itself as both a small, intimate film and a sweepingly large movie, down to the opening scene, one of three sequences (which probably do take up half the film but don’t necessarily feel that way) that features all four principal characters interacting. Hamaguchi’s skill and the unified magnificence of seemingly every actor in the ensemble, especially the main actresses, ensure that the film feels exactly pitched in the right way, making the most mundane exercises and casual conversations (especially during the absolutely extraordinary workshop and subsequent hangout sequences, probably the greatest stretch of filmmaking I’ve seen released in 2016) seem monumental. Of course, it is ultimately a drama, and all the time spent with the characters makes the final 30 minutes absolutely devastating in the unraveling of so many relationships. And yet, there are so many delightful moments, so many odd things that make this film compulsively, achingly able to be experienced.

January 31
Red Sorghum
Just from my conventional understanding, Zhang Yimou seems to have always straddled the line between the commercial and arthouse, and Red Sorghum certainly feels as if it belongs in that vein. As frequently bawdy as it is “transcendental” (in a Malickian sense), the film seems to move in fits and starts in a way that seems both intended and unintended; the true through-line is Gong Li, and she doesn’t even function quite like that. The only connector is the evocative feeling engendered by Zhang’s images, which are stunning even on an incredibly poor transfer. The shots all come from an earthy beauty, and in a way accentuate the film’s eventual emphasis on tradition and celebration, even in the face of destruction.

Don’t Think Twice
Simply put, this movie annoyed the hell out of me. It feels toxic in so many ways, especially towards the main characters themselves. Even though Birbiglia is essentially one of the lead characters, there is an undeniable self-hatred that is played off as “just another thing to be solved.” So much faux-compassion is present in the face of so little sincerity, and Don’t Think Twice frequently devolves into watching as a great deal of talented actors move around in circles, making fools out of themselves without ever creating a sense of a collective that they so obviously want to make. By the time Amy Schumer is brought in for no purpose than to drive home the shallowness of the whole enterprise, Don’t Think Twice is intolerable.

A Monster Calls
A Monster Calls succumbs to that all-too-common problem of attempting to tackle far too much with inferior material, but even more mystifying is how it comes to that point. Bayona almost single-handedly rescues the film, with “conventional” scenes that manage to be unnerving by the little touches added by his off-kilter visualizations and, of course, the truly spectacular dream/story sequences. The animations are beautiful enough (as a side note, the opening credits are entirely welcome) but even more wonderful is the way it weaves Conor and the Monster into the stories, combining a hand-drawn style with live-action and CGI. Nevertheless, merely stunning direction can’t entirely compensate for a subpar script. Attempting to stuff bullying, grief, disease, and mythology does little to give any of them weight, doubly so when the characters feel as shallow as they are and the actors feel this limp.

Indignation
The long debate between Lerman and Letts is as great as advertised, but it oddly feels like it has been airlifted in from a very different film. Most of Indignation focuses on the relatively less interesting romance between Lerman and Gadon, but even there there is a wonderful sense of purposeful sterility that stems from the climate of the 1950s that Schamus is trying to evoke. It feels old-fashioned in an appealing way, and if it occasionally feels less purposeful than it ought to be, it is continually interesting in the way it displays secrecy and transgression.

Split
Utterly bizarre in nearly every conceivable way, starting from the very first shot, a slow dolly zoom on Anya Taylor-Joy. Putatively a horror film, it plays far more often as a drama of sorts, relegating the locked-room struggle of the three girls to the backburner. Yes, there ultimately is a climax that the film is clearly building up to, but much (almost too much) time is spent negotiating the strange condition that James McAvoy’s character has. Nevertheless, Shyamalan’s direction is continually stunning, a flurry of off-kilter and perfectly menacing frames that never let up, and the final shot is a provocation that feels successful to me.

A Series of Unfortunate Events, Season One

I hope you’ll forgive the momentary lapse in my #brand, but here are a few thoughts on the first season of the Netflix adaptation of A Series of Unfortunate Events.

It’s difficult for me to tell just how much of my love for the show is tied to my admittedly up and down appreciation for the books (which in turn is due in no small part to their more outré elements; currently I love them). In some ways, the show acts like a perfect distillation of why I love the books with few of the parts that I dislike. The format of having every book in two parts allows the stories to breathe while cutting most of the fat, every actor does a marvelous job (Harris is of course essential and acquits himself well), and there are two elements that are absolutely key: Warburton as Snicket and the consistent foregrounding of VFD.

These two constitute the greatest break with the books and exemplify the strange dance the show has with the books, playing with them and freely mixing different aspects with gleeful abandon. It feels almost braver in a way, and if it missteps occasionally it always makes up for any downsides in spades.

Capsules Catch-Up 2016

In an effort to feel less guilty about all the blank spaces I have next to a good half-year’s worth of diary entries on Letterboxd, I am endeavoring to write a capsule (and probably more) for all of those spaces. In chronological order of writing (and of last watch).

The World’s End
The cut from Gary’s description of his wild youthful days to him sitting with a slightly bemused, slightly discomfited look on his face in a support group says it all. The World’s End, certainly the most mature of the Cornetto Trilogy, is as self-critical of its hero as it is celebratory. Wright continually walks a tight-rope, using a trip intended to recapture the “good old days” as a journey into both the past and the future. In the almost deliberately unbalanced, unambiguous finale, it is made clear just how much and how little he has changed, in a way that feels both immensely heartbreaking and shockingly heartening.

High-Rise
Especially in the first half, there’s a sort of single-minded blandness to much of High-Rise. Call it my aversion to vicious satire that brands itself specifically as vicious satire, but there’s very little to Wheatley’s sensibility that doesn’t register as on the surface, however fundamental to the text it may be. The slow slide into anarchy, seemingly precipitated in part by the disconcerting dancing of Luke Evans, is rather appreciated, and the flatness of the ending teased in the beginning flash-forward is greatly mitigated by the extraordinary montage set to a Portishead cover of ABBA’s “SOS” and the climactic murders seen through a dazzling kaleidoscope.

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