The A-Team (2010)
Suspension of disbelief is made almost impossible when a stupid movie like this insults our intelligence from beginning to end, believing to be much smarter than it is (in fact, it is brainless) with a lazy plot that is completely obvious and would only make sense to a retard.
The ABCs of Death (2012)
It is uneven like most anthologies, with segments that range from scary to funny to clever to silly – and as such, some of them are quite efficient but many are far from that, like “M Is for Miscarriage” and “Z is for Zetsumetsu”, both of which stand out as particularly awful.
About Cherry (2012)
It is irritating to see a movie so awfully edited and structured, full of artificial conflicts and with a horrible dialogue, unable even to maintain focus and, worst of all, to offer any particularly interesting insight into its protagonist, who remains in the end a poorly delineated sketch.
About Elly (2009)
This wonderful film begins as a simple drama that slowly introduces us to the characters and to the details of their vacation together until we are suddenly hit by a devastating tragedy that brings about the bitter consequences of many hidden truths and moral issues.
About Last Night… (1986)
The kind of movie that brings out the romantic in me and breaks my heart in the same proportion, depicting love and commitment with absolute sincerity and how all the conflicts and lack of real communication can sabotage a relationship and lead to certain discontentment.
About Last Night (2014)
An average remake in which the two leads try their best but don’t have enough charm or good chemistry to make us care (especially when most of the conflicts feel artificial), and they get, alas, overshadowed by Hart and Hall as the intrusive comic relief secondary characters.
About Time (2013)
The soundtrack is spectacular and the plot so warm and delightful that it makes me want to simply forget the few missteps that pop up here and there along the way – and it is also surprisingly touching for a film that wants so much to sound profound and be a life lesson.
Above Us Only Sky (2011)
This movie is unbelievably awful, a product of sheer incompetence by a terrible debuting director incapable of creating a single coherent scene in this mess that relies on a ridiculous, illogical shred of plot and a protagonist who is unbearable and impossible to care about.
Though with elegant shots and camera movements, this flawed film depends on a deceptive score stressing all the time what the viewer should feel. Besides, the main twist is weak and leads to a cheap narrative trick in the end that is artificial and naive.
Although it does have its tense moments, this low-budget movie is not only marred by poor narrative choices and a lame cinematography but also leaves a lot unanswered and so many elements underdeveloped, with a frustrating ending that tries too hard to be profound.
The Abyss (1989)
What makes this film even more absorbing than its spellbinding visual effects is the strong sense of urgency and danger provoked by such a suffocating underwater scenario, and the special edition is even more meaningful in times of so much war and mindless destruction.
ACAB – All Cops Are Bastards (2012)
A tense movie of brutal realism, directed by Sergio Sollima’s son, who is in complete control of the gripping material in his hands. The characters are complex and human, and they make us always understand their condemnable actions in view of the draining work they have to carry on.
Las Acacias (2011)
A small gem that makes perfect use of a realistic approach to tell a sensitive story. Mostly silent and showing more than saying, it takes its time to present us the characters and the dynamics between them – and Germán de Silva is fantastic in an Oscar-worthy performance.
Despite the unnecessary flashbacks, this is a strong, heartbreaking film that tells of the hell faced by an innocent real-life woman in Netherlands – a female version of Camus’ Meursault for that matter -, condemned by public opinion mostly for her independent and reserved nature.
The Act of Killing (2012)
A shocking and terrifying film that sets out to investigate the twisted minds and souls of death squad leaders in Indonesia, growing to become a disturbing panorama of a society and offering a unique sort of moral confrontation which could only be possible through Cinema.
A bittersweet and unconventional love story that benefits mostly from Hugh Dancy’s great and extremely impressive performance as a handsome young man with Asperger’s Syndrome.
A remarkably intelligent film that blends reality and fiction to make a humorous self-reflection about an author and his creative process, and it boasts some amazing performances (Nicholas Cage is excellent) and one of the most fascinating scripts I can remember.
Adiós, Sabata (1970)
Yul Brynner doesn’t have Lee Van Cleef’s sardonic charisma to make it at least fun to watch this Sabata film – which isn’t much better than the dreadful other two -, with a ridiculous cartoonish villain and serious trouble with the mise-en-scène in its confusing action scenes.
The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
A brilliant, thought-provoking blend of romantic thriller and science fiction developed from a simple but very well-conceived idea and with a couple of characters that are so easy to relate to. Even if only loosely based on his story, I guess Philip K. Dick would have been proud.
An insufferably dull film that is so moralist it is embarrassing, and it lacks any sense of direction or real conflict beyond an awkward, preposterous premise, proving to be so completely clueless about its purpose that it doesn’t even care to offer a proper end to the story.
After his masterpiece Drained, Brazilian director Heitor Dhalia went on to make this third feature film, which strays from his usual narrative style and ventures into something more sober – only this time he seems to have plagiarized New Zealander film Rain.
Adrift in Tokyo (2007)
Being quirky doesn’t necessarily mean funny, and so this is a light, harmless comedy/road movie – or a “walk movie” – that comes up with potentially funny situations but doesn’t always know how to fully explore them or how to maintain a good focus during the second act.
In its first hour, it tries too hard to be emotional instead of just focusing on its ideas, but the film suffers mostly from an ill-thought-out third act that, despite an intriguing revelation that should have come much before, feels only forced, clichéd and is filled with cheesy dialogue.
A delightful, sweet and sensitive coming-of-age story directed by Greg Motolla, who also made the incredibly hilarious Superbad, and it has a nostalgic soundtrack and some very good performances, especially by an always great and charismatic Jesse Eisenberg.
Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
A rather silly yet mildly enjoyable comedy that belongs in the ’80s with its cheesy, dated jokes and inane sense of humor (as when someone calls another a homo as a slur), and today it won’t be seen as more than an ordinary pastime that can still offer a few laughs.
This last animated package film before Disney finally got back on track after WWII offers two satisfying stories that may pale in comparison for instance with Fun & Fancy Free, released a couple of years before and which also had only two nice-yet-not-unforgettable tales.
A modern classic road movie that finds a special balance between flamboyant comedy and poignant drama, and what makes it such an endless pleasure to watch is its refreshing combo of hilarious dialogue, excellent performances from the main trio and, of course, the music.
The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
It is a delight to see Spielberg play with the possibilities of the 3D animation – impossible camera movements, fabulous scene transitions and also an amazing long take – in this dazzling semi-noir adventure that invests more in the action than in its characters but is still a lot of fun.
The Aerial (2007)
A meaningless project of pure indulgence that makes numerous gratuitous references to silent classics just for the sake of doing so. It is certainly not an homage but an anachronistic and futile exercise of style that one expects to see made by a student as a school assignment.
Radu Jude crafts this visually classic Western in black and white with a camera that seems to glide in wide-angle long shots, and uses a comical – and curiously theatrical – approach to show the racism and sexism of a time that doesn’t seem so distant from modern Romanian society.
An Afghan Love Story (2013)
With an appropriate naturalistic approach – almost documentary-like – that makes it feel like witnessing a real story, this gut-wrenching Afghan drama shows that a patriarchal society dominated by ignorance and revolting religious values can only lead to intolerance and suffering.
African Cats (2011)
A decent family movie for parents to bring their kids to the theaters. It doesn’t really offer anything about these felines that we haven’t seen before on the Discovery Channel but is still good fun, with nice images and a great sound design.
The African Queen (1951)
A very entertaining and exciting adventure shot on location in Africa in glorious Technicolor and with a wonderful chemistry between Hepburn and Bogart – she as a smart, determined and strong-willed woman and he in a hilarious performance that granted him his only Oscar.
After Earth (2013)
Though far from the complete disaster that most critics claim it to be, this flawed star vehicle suffers from a terrible performance by Jaden Smith and a sloppy script plagued by badly conceived narrative elements in a very predictable, unsatisfying story.
After Lucia (2012)
A strongly unsettling experience that works so well due to its great cast and effective naturalistic style using long static shots – and the result is both a deeply complex character study about grieving and an important (and urgent) social statement on bullying in schools.
A nihilistic and cheap-looking exploitation crap that has Roth’s repellent fingerprints all over it: mediocre dialogue, a bunch of hateful characters we want to see dead and a huge amount of gratuitous violence and gore for the sake of mindless entertainment. In short, a waste of time.
The Age of Adaline (2015)
How frustrating it is to see a film so engaging (to a point where I would actually hold my breath many times in anticipation for what was to come next) collapse in a melodramatic conclusion that chooses the easy way instead of dealing with the thematic implications of its premise.
The Age of Stupid (2009)
This passable documentary (one of many alike), presented partly as fiction and with many interviews, is not too consistent but offers some interesting material, prompting us to realize the most probable result of our careless, destructive ways.
A powerful and thought-provoking historical drama that makes us feel like traveling back in time with its astonishing visuals while at the same time offers us an intelligent narrative that raises incredibly compelling and rewarding discussions about science and religion.
Broomfield’s second film about Aileen sheds more light on her life and her mind after a decade on death row but also feels like an appendix of his first film, a bit redundant for anyone who has seen that one and not much more than an excuse for closure after her execution.
What makes this revealing documentary so disturbing and tragic is that it shows us that Aileen was clearly in need of psychological help instead of an electric chair and was surrounded by a bunch of self-seeking psychopaths who shamelessly exploited her situation for money.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013)
A sad, melancholy Bonnie & Clyde-like crime drama that clearly borrows from Malick, and it is nice to see the way that Lowery approaches his narrative even if it is quite conventional and worth seeing more for its strong performances than by what he actually wants to tell.
Air Doll (2009)
It is frustrating to see an interesting premise be made into such an overlong film that fails because of its thematic ambition and lack of focus, as it tries to be about a good too many things at the same time and doesn’t know how to fully explore them into a consistent thesis.
Ajami is a brutal, gripping and honest look at the endless violence that has been devastating the Middle East – a complex mosaic drama set in a neighborhood where Jews, Muslims and Christians clash against each other in intense hatred and desire for revenge.
It is delightful, the songs are wonderful and the acting is good – despite Williams going too far occasionally with his buffoonery and making it a one-man show -, but there is not much besides that (especially in terms of narrative) to raise it to the level of the studio’s best works.
Albert Nobbs (2011)
Glenn Close delivers a very solid performance, but this weak drama doesn’t seem to know exactly what it wants to say, with an irregular story that wanders without a clear direction, giving in to a lot of expository dialogue and ending in an anticlimactic conclusion.
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
A delicate and deeply resonant melodrama like only Fassbinder could have made, telling with plenty of honesty a simple but objective love story centered on revolting matters like prejudice and racism – problems relevant even today when it comes to immigrants in Europe.
Alice in Wonderland (1951)
The marvelous surrealistic design with beautiful vibrant colors and curious geometric shapes that even seems to borrow from German Expressionism are sadly not enough to compensate for the film’s excess of songs and glaring lack of focus, given its frustratingly episodic structure.
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Tim Burton’s loose adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s book is a failure right from the start, as it uses a stupid “return to Wonderland” premise and turns the original surrealistic dream plot into an actual adventure with shades of Chronicles of Narnia and a lame feminist message.
A fantastic blend of sci-fi and horror, incredibly suspenseful and carefully elaborated with a perfect pacing. Scott knows very well how to slowly build a disquieting tension and elevate it to the point of nerve-wracking, and this film is a genuinely scary modern classic.
While the first film focused on creating an atmosphere of pure tension, this sequel is much more action-oriented, even if its first hour is actually very slow – and instead of one alien, Cameron has now a horde of goo-spewing, acid-blood creatures to scare the audience to death.
Frustrating and poorly made, this third chapter has an intriguing beginning but the development lacks the unbearable tension of the first film and the unstoppable action of the second, while its final act is like a tiresome slasher movie and the CGI of the creature atrocious.
Alien: Resurrection (1997)
Definitely better than the previous installment, this fourth Alien film doesn’t add anything new or relevant to the series but neither does it disappoint. It has plenty of action and scares, a mildly interesting plot and a particularly grotesque ending that works just fine.
Alien: Covenant (2017)
There is absolutely no reason for this to exist other than to be an irritating mess like Prometheus, since it doesn’t even care to answer any of the numerous questions that it raised in that movie or to come up with anything remotely intelligent to justify the five years of waiting.
An engaging film that manages to encompass low-key crime thriller, boiling family drama and sweet romance with Judaism as background – even if the result is a bit restrained and not intense enough despite the good effort put forth by both Wajeman and Marmaï.
All About Eve (1950)
This sophisticated tale of ambition, glamour and backstabbing in Hollywood and show business is superbly directed by Mankievicz, with a delicious sense of humor, a terrific ensemble cast and an altogether memorable dialogue from beginning to end.
All Good Things (2010)
It is curious to see that they changed the names of everyone involved in the Robert Durst case when even the character’s sworn statement in court is exactly the same, and this is a dark, heavy drama about how people you think you know can change – or show who they truly are.
All Is Lost (2013)
Redford carries this one-man movie on his shoulders, proving what a harrowing and absorbing experience it can be to follow a man lost at sea and struggling for survival, and all his solid work is complemented by a haunting score and an impressive job in sound design.
All Nudity Shall Be Punished (1973)
Never mind the funny one-liners or how charismatic Darlene Glória is, this is what happens when satire is made too ridiculous and becomes self-parody, with caricatures instead of characters, incomprehensible motivations and a flashback structure that doesn’t make much sense.
All That Heaven Allows (1955)
Despite the fact that the two characters seem to fall in love in such an abrupt way, this is still an involving silky melodrama whose appeal is not hard to understand, especially taking into account the impressive social criticism that made it so ahead of its time.
All the Women in the World (1966)
It does have its charming moments, even if it’s not so easy to sympathize with the main character or care enough about his relationship with the woman he falls in love with – and the movie also starts to drag after a while and lose direction close to the end.
A silly movie that believes to be romantic, sexy and tense when in fact it is only bland and banal, unable to engage us the way it wants and never audacious to come up with something clever – and its poor attempt at placing the romance above all else in the end makes it too vapid.
Almanac of Fall (1984)
The gorgeous cinematography and mise-en-scène bring to mind Tarkovsky’s works, while the uncomfortable narrative is centered on a group of petty characters who manipulate one another in ways that bring to mind Fassbinder, and so the result is something quite different from Tarr’s previous films.
Almanya: Welcome to Germany (2011)
A light, enjoyable comedy that, despite some funny moments, can’t resist turning into a corny melodrama in its third act – and even if Samdereli has her heart in the right place, she ruins the end with a lot of cheesy talking and an embarrassing slow motion that clearly begs for our tears.
Almost Famous (2000)
It is almost impossible not to fall in love with this wonderful autobiographical delight that has a wonderful soundtrack – oh man, isn’t the soundtrack just wonderful! – and a wonderful ensemble cast that makes everything so funny, sweet, moving and tremendously charming.
Despite one of the plotlines being a lot less engaging than the other, especially with an unnecessary love affair thrown in for no reason and Laurent’s poorly developed character, this is still an interesting film about a man’s spiritual journey through sorrow, guilt and closure.
Alone in the Dark (1982)
A lot in this movie is stupid or makes no sense when you think about it – like the truth about the Bleeder’s face and how that asylum doesn’t have any emergency generator -, but it has its moments and Palance, Pleasence and Landau seem to be having crazy fun as sick f***s.
Alone in the Dark (2005)
A godawful, incomprehensible schlock that can’t make itself understood even with that endless, gigantic text crawl that opens it, and I don’t believe no one realized that Tara Reid can’t convince as someone who would open the door of a museum, let alone be an archaeologist.
Impeccably directed, with a wonderful art direction, an outstanding cinematography and an unforgettable performance by Abraham as the envious Salieri – the true protagonist of the story -, this is a splendid masterpiece that must definitely be seen in its three-hour director’s cut.
Amanda Knox (2016)
An interesting documentary that feels too short, not offering as much information about the case as it should, but at least takes an objective look at what happened and exposes the sheer incompetence of the investigators and lack of ethics of unscrupulous journalists.
Fellini reaches the highest point of his personal musings as an artist, using his unmistakable style to recreate his boyhood into a stupendous seriocomic collection of delicious anecdotes and semi-autobiographical reminiscences drenched in a sweet amount of nostalgia.
Amazing Grace (2006)
This average biopic has the perfect material to be made into a quintessential modern classic, but it sadly lacks soul and intensity, resulting in a rather dull experience that doesn’t quite live up to the importance of its real-life character.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
A clumsy copy of that Spider Man movie released only a decade before, taking an infinitude of time to retell the same thing. The 3D (original, not converted) is so useless and poorly done, while the story is ruined by pathetic motivations from both the hero and the cartoonish villain.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Where the previous movie failed this sequel succeeds more than well, finding the irreverent tone that was missing and making the characters more relatable, even if it also has its share of flaws, like an annoying, intrusive score and a plot crowded with villains and subplots.
The American (2010)
Corbijn focuses on slowly building a suffocating tension in this quiet, contemplative and technically astonishing drama that grabbed me from the first scene till the very last – and it benefits from a more than appropriate low-key performance by George Clooney.
American Honey (2016)
Almost three hours of film are too much for me to endure a director who doesn’t seem to know how to use a camera (I guess she must find focus an overrated feature) and a self-indulgent, directionless narrative that is full of annoying characters and doesn’t go anywhere.
American Hustle (2013)
A deliciously stylish and hilarious con movie with a clever script and a fabulous gallery of intriguing characters, even if always one step back from crossing the line between delightfully over-the-top and madly caricatural, including a miscast Jennifer Lawrence occasionally overacting.
American Pastoral (2016)
Cheesy, contrived and heavy-handed in structure, it is made even worse by how it it shows leftist revolutionaries as insane psychos/imbeciles and by the way it tries with no success to make us sympathize with a passive protagonist who never reacts to what is happening in front of him.
American Pie (1999)
Even if not always funny, this raunchy comedy has some hilarious moments that make for an enjoyable time. A refreshing comeback to the teenage sex movies of the ’80s but with a grosser and more politically incorrect flavor of the ’90s.
American Pie 2 (2001)
More of the same with one difference: they are college men now – like it matters. It follows the same formula but the gags are more stupid than funny, looking like a cheap rehash and with very little to make us laugh like the first movie.
American Psycho (2000)
Christian Bale couldn’t have possibly been more perfect as the narcissistic and deranged yuppie Patrick Bateman in this hilariously sharp commentary on American individualism that will make you laugh real hard at (not with) him and feel disgusted in the same measure.
American Reunion (2012)
A very funny and nostalgic reunion that has its heart in the right place and is strictly for the fans of the franchise, who will be pleased to see again those familiar faces from a decade ago and surprised to see that that raunchy humor still works.
American Sniper (2014)
Though understandably accused of being jingoistic and racist – even if it makes a (dishonest, yes) distinction between Iraqi civilians and terrorists -, this is an extremely tense (and very well edited) war movie and a nuanced character study with Cooper in an intense performance.
American Wedding (2003)
The funniest of the three movies thanks to the smart decision of having Stifler at the center of the story while the two most boring characters are properly ignored: Kevin, who has a smaller part here, and Oz, who does not even appear.
Although technically competent and with wonderful performances by Hopkins and Hounsou (who should have been nominated for an Oscar too), this is a bloated and misstructured film that has an alarming tendency to give in to melodrama and is not as strong as it could be.
The Amityville Horror (1979)
This incredibly dull horror movie is nothing but a terribly concocted series of bizarre events that have no relation between one another, and it goes for the cheap scares but is hardly ever scary, with an illogical plot and characters that are very poorly developed.
The Amityville Horror (2005)
What is the point of remaking a bad horror movie if you can’t make it any better or scarier? In fact, this awfully formulaic remake doesn’t manage to be scary at all, since it only reuses the most obvious clichés of the genre and seems like an uninspired copy of The Shining.
Among the Believers (2015)
Using a seemingly detached approach that doesn’t preach to the audience and understands that what it shows speaks for itself, this is an important documentary that offers a devastating look at religious fundamentalism brainwashing kids and turning them into terrorists.
It is always impressive to see how Haneke can be so subtle and forceful as with this magnificent and devastating oeuvre about aging, devotion, love and death – a film that surprises us for its deep tenderness and honesty while striking us with an overwhelming emotional power.
A sad account of an incredibly talented yet tragic artist who fell victim to drugs and self-destruction, but the film disappoints and seems more like a mere collage of archive footage and interviews to create a relatively superficial narrative of her life and not much else.
Ana, Mon Amour (2017)
It loses some of its strength with jumps in time that can be distracting and feel sometimes arbitrary, but even so this is a moving, depressing drama that relies on two exceptional performances and offers a keen look at an unstable relationship based on co-dependency.
Even if you manage to overlook how idiotic and laughable all that (highly) inaccurate information about anacondas is, it is still hard to ignore the nonsensical plot, the embarrassing dialogue, the really atrocious special effects and the terrible acting from everyone on screen.
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
With a fantastic cinematography and superb direction, this superlative courtroom procedural unfolds in an unhurried fashion, daring to make outspoken use of sexual terminology (something unthinkable at the time it was made) and presenting a brilliantly complex script centered on a fiery, breathtaking rhetorical combat of the highest quality.
It doesn’t really have a very well defined plot and feels more like a series of sketches – which is not a problem given how most of these isolated moments are pretty funny and the excellent cast makes the best of their mostly improvised lines, including those many welcome cameos.
And the Oscar Goes to… (2014)
A harmless collection of tidbits about the Academy Awards that moves from one topic to the next in a clumsy, rushed way and assumes that everybody knows the stars who are mentioned and/or speak to the camera, but still the film is enjoyable as a pleasant curiosity.
Andrei Rublev (1966)
Andrei Tarkovsky’s work is pure poetry as he dwells for over three hours on the dominions of faith, brutality, and, mainly, the role of the artist in our world. A true masterpiece that should be seen and revisited many times by those who appreciate works of Art.
Angel Heart (1987)
A spectacular thriller that knows how to blend noir and horror, with a beautiful cinematography, flawless editing, a fascinating plot that holds our attention from the first second till the very last and a remarkable performance by Mickey Rourke, who is no less than extraordinary.
The Angel Was Born (1969)
While it is provocative and relies on an unsettling atmosphere of “marginal” audacity, especially for the time it was made, it also lacks a bit in authenticity and character development – and its “anti-” structure and unconventional editing could easily put some people off.
Angels & Demons (2009)
With a much better pacing than the notably irregular The Da Vinci Code, this is an entertaining adaptation that delivers what it sets out to and is far superior to the novel, since it is clever enough to avoid some of its most ridiculous situations and implausibilities.
The Angels’ Share (2012)
Ken Loach and Paul Leverty balance drama and humor quite well in this playful but realistic story that has a good heart and never loses its grip. It is really like savoring a fine Scotch whiskey – a real pleasure to the senses that makes you always want some more.
Animal Kingdom (2010)
An intense thriller about a teenage boy who gets pulled into a lair of dangerous lions – his own criminal family. With an intelligent script and a superb direction, this well-paced drama is absorbing and has great performances, especially Jacki Weaver as the matriarch of the Codies.
The Animatrix (2003)
A well-made collection of nine short stories conceived as a companion piece to The Matrix Reloaded and exclusively for those acquainted with its universe, but the animation design is uneven from one story to another and they don’t offer much besides what we already know.
Anna Karenina (2012)
A gigantic novel impressively adapted to a little over two hours of sumptuous experience – the production design is splendid -, with the action brilliantly placed on a theater stage representing society and a powerful story that benefits from amazing performances.
Because it follows to the letter the conventions of the genre, this is an efficient yet passable horror movie that doesn’t come close to being as scary as The Conjuring but offers some good moments here and there (like the elevator scene, which is particularly terrifying).
A very human and delicate look at loneliness, told as an animation that feels like the perfect choice for this kind of story, with waxy characters that seem to wear masks and are all (but two) voiced by the same person; it is just a pity, though, that the end feels a bit abrupt.
Emmerich loses all credibility trying to make us buy his theory at any cost, and even though it has a great production design and an intriguing premise, the movie is poorly directed and has a weak script full of unnecessary soap-opera twists that make the plot even less believable.
Another Country (1984)
In his first film, Kanievska brings out solid performances from both Rupert Everett and Colin Firth but succeeds only fairly at creating a compelling story whose themes could have been more efficiently explored and led to a much more thought-provoking drama.
Another Earth (2011)
An unoriginal little drama about loss, guilt, atonement, etc., with a huge amount of clichés and using the interesting concept of an alternative Earth as a cheap metaphor for a “new chance.” At least Marling and Mapother do a very great job despite the weak project they are in.
Another Me (2013)
An abysmal genre exercise that is not only awfully written and laughably silly with regards to its inane plot and what it wants to say (whatever that is) but has also a cliched direction that fails to create any suspense and makes everything nearly insufferable to watch.
Another Year (2010)
A fascinating drama that slowly grows on us with a simple yet nuanced story that follows a year in the life of normal people. The whole cast is fantastic, and Lesley Manville deserves an Oscar for her outstanding performance as Mary the eccentric friend.
This fun, delightful movie – the last of Marvel’s Phase Two – has some great performances (Paul Rudd always so charismatic) and relies on a delicious sense of humor that blends so well with the action scenes and the kind of irreverent superhero story that it wants to tell.
Antonio das Mortes (1969)
There is virtually nothing in this film that hadn’t been said before (and in a better way) in Rocha’s most iconoclastic films, and it feels contrived, confusing, dull, and repetitious; a real endurance test for the viewer, even with so many evocative shots and mesmerizing tableaux.
The greatest delight of this entertaining film is to see that it has Woody Allen’s fingerprints all over it, mainly in the protagonist’s insecurities and neurosis, but the animation does not seem exactly fluid and natural when it comes to its wooden-faced, stiff-looking characters.
Anything for Her (2008)
A tense and well-directed French thriller with great performances by Lindon and Kruger in a plot that is pretty conventional but efficient as long as you are willing to accept its rather ludicrous premise.
The Apartment (1960)
A deeply involving dramatic romance with great dialogue and three-dimensional characters (even if the plot is a bit predictable), and it is quite a curious thing that this film is labeled by many as a comedy when in fact it is so melancholy and rather heavy in tone.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Coppola’s all-time classic is an intense Vietnam War nightmare that sets out to portray with some of the most spectacular visuals the unfathomable horror and madness of war, following a man as he goes further and further in a harrowing descent into the very heart of darkness.
Apocalypse Now Redux (1979/2001)
If most of the extra scenes don’t add anything new to the overall experience, neither do they stand in the way – except for an overlong one at a French plantation that is distracting and quite unnecessary. Still, this director’s cut is a must-see for all admirers of Coppola’s classic.
The Apple (1998)
Samira Makhmalbaf was only 17 when she made this impressive exposé of such a revolting real story and of the blatant gender inequality in Iran – and it is really shocking to see that those girls were sent home by the social worker after being discovered in such deplorable conditions.
Appropriate Behavior (2014)
It is well edited and has its moments, both comedic and dramatic, but its mistake(s) is that it isn’t as funny or insightful as it thinks it is and relies on a quirky protagonist that most of the times comes off as selfish and terribly unlikable with her narcissistic conflicts.
Sonia Braga delivers one of the best performances of her career in this exceptional story full of human warmth about people, memories and their intimate relationship with places/objects, exploring our sense of moral violation when we feel invaded in our own personal space.
A restless director plunges us in a brilliant blend of documentary and fiction to comment on the political situation of contemporary Portugal: austerity, economic crisis, unemployment and the emptiness of our times; and he does so with a lot of compassion and a wonderful humor.
It is a curious thing to notice how this second chapter of Miguel Gomes’ Arabian Nights trilogy is a lot more conventional than the first in terms of structure, but even so it is a wonderful film that achieves a level of sublime perfection in its chronicle about the tears of the judge.
Gomes relies now too much on a lot of text written on the screen, to the point that he prevents us from developing a deeper connection with the characters, but despite that this is a great film that shows us the beauty and poetry of the prosaic everyday life of those common people.
Ben Affleck proves again that he is a very talented director, nailing it with this gripping and gut-wrenching thriller that blends a lot of tension and humor with success – despite a pretty obvious and artificial desire to escalate the tension to the point of almost torture.
The Aristocats (1970)
This, in a nutshell, is Lady and the Tramp for cat lovers, only it is dull and dated with regard to stereotypes and gender roles. Besides, its jazzy tunes are not memorable (you won’t remember any of them) and the scenes with the dogs turn out to be (ironically) the most amusing.
During this fascinating documentary filmed as a fictional war film, I kept wondering how the filmmakers managed to stay alive while doing this in the line of fire. Authentic and magnificently edited, it grows even more compelling and intriguing when some ethical issues arise among the soldiers during the final act.
Army of Darkness (1992)
It is sillier compared to the previous Evil Dead movies and clearly made for a younger audience, but even if it loses steam after a while, it benefits from those moments of hysteria and absurdity that made the second movie so funny, with Bruce Campbell screaming out of control.
The kind of smart premise that should have been made into a short movie (or an episode of Black Mirror) but instead gets stretched for so long and with so much new information thrown in at every moment that plot holes pile up and become obvious once you start to think about it.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
While the first half hour is exceptionally hilarious (with Cary Grant displaying a perfect comic timing there), this madcap dark comedy soon resorts to irritating, over-the-top mass hysteria, with everyone yelling around without rest, killing what made it so funny in the beginning.
The Artist (2011)
This lovely and poetic homage from our days to Cinema and the Golden Age of Hollywood silent movies is proof that a silent black-and-white film with a 4:3 aspect ratio can be so much better than many modern talkies, with wonderful performances by Dujardin, Bejo and Uggy the dog.
As Above, So Below (2014)
Dan Brown meets The Blair Witch Project in this harrowing horror movie that has good actors and makes expert use of the subjective camera to enhance the sense of claustrophobia, taking a simple premise and fleshing it out into a terrifying, nerve-fraying descent to hell.
As We Were Dreaming (2015)
Dresen brings out uniformly solid performances from his very talented young cast in this riveting, honest and remarkably well-directed portrait of a post-GDR youth generation grappling with their lives as they felt lost and adrift in a society that held only uncertainty for them.
Ashes and Diamonds (1958)
A wicked intelligent and even hilarious political commentary with a sublime cinematography and a marvelous direction – which is noticeable from the applaudable way that Wajda maintains complete control of his material and focus even with a large gallery of characters.
The Assassin (2015)
An astonishing film with gorgeous visuals and a splendid sound design, but way too measured and cryptic in its narrative, edited in a way that makes it feel like a frustrating puzzle that lacks too much important information and doesn’t justify any effort to try to understand it.
Assault on the Pay Train (1962)
A Brazilian classic clearly inspired by the structure, aesthetics and themes of Italian neorealism (including a touch of melodrama in the end), tackling matters like social and racial inequality while making us relate to a group of characters who only want a chance in life.
An appealing afterlife drama with nice visuals and elegant scene transitions but unfortunately marred by weak performances and moralist speeches constantly declaimed. Also, you can hardly see the reasons that compel the protagonist to change so much along the story.
Marins is a great director and creates some powerful imagery, while he has a magnetic presence as the cruel Coffin Joe and the film’s dialogue (despite the generally weak acting) is what makes this a memorable Brazilian horror movie that should be rediscovered and remastered.
A strong film that makes the best use of great performances, beautiful locations and a gorgeous score to tell a thought-provoking story about cultural differences and the white man’s abusive condescension (especially religious) toward those he considers inferior and primitive.
The Attack (2012)
A tragic and sad film that explores the complexity of a never-ending conflict through the impossibility of confronting someone for answers when that person is dead – and even those unnecessary details offered in the last fifteen minutes are not able to dilute its intensity and urgency.
L’Auberge Espagnole (2002)
A lovely, funny and touching film about friendship and love that will please even more those who know what it is like to live abroad, and it portrays with a charming sincerity the insecurities and fears of youth through a group of characters that we easily relate to and care about.
The Auction (2013)
This decent Québécois drama has decent performances and makes good use of its locations, and it is deserving of every bit of our attention due to the delicate, intimate way that it tells its story – even though it never really takes off to become something special or memorable.
The shifts in tone along the film are baffling, as it begins as a strange drama, then becomes a romance, and then it is finally revealed that all that was a weird prelude to an absurdly shocking, outrageous and confusing third act that doesn’t really make much sense.
Audrie & Daisy (2016)
It should be watched back to back as a companion piece to The Hunting Ground about this revolting type of crime that goes unpunished because there are people who blame rape victims for what happens to them – like that despicable sheriff who is proof of this ugly rape culture.
August: Osage County (2013)
An emotionally exhausting film that defies us to put up with two detestable women at the center of a horribly dysfunctional family (Streep and Roberts wonderful, alongside a fantastic Cooper), and not even the moments of humor are able to relieve the discomfort.
August Winds (2014)
Although it does have supporting actors who look directly into the camera in several occasions, this is an extremely rewarding drama that invests plentifully in static shots and situations – thus demanding a bit of patience – with a noteworthy formal rigor and care in its structure, editing and direction.
This almost-good drama is a missed opportunity, considering its intriguing premise and the talent of the actors involved. What could have been a fascinating exploration of a psychological illness gives place to too much clichéd doctor-patient sexual tension.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
A decent (yet irregular) horror movie that relies on a compelling mystery and knows how to slowly build tension (despite a few annoying jump scares), but it is also a bit frustrating to see how it is weakened by clichés and by a silly ending that doesn’t really work.
The technical aspects are really impressive, quite exceptional indeed, and the plot may not be too original or clever but is mostly engaging and thought-provoking, with many welcome details about the fascinating world of Pandora and its humanoid race Na’vi.
The Avengers (2012)
An entertaining assembly of Marvel superheroes that benefits from Whedon’s Buffy-humor and from a well-written dialogue that explores the interaction between the characters, their personalities and differences – even though Banner’s self-control issue is really inconsistent along the movie.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Joss Whedon is too talented to keep making these thin, unremarkable Marvel movies, and this is a lazy sequel that feels like more of the same compared to the first Avengers film, especially as it has all the problems found in that one and a plot that is even more poorly developed.
I really admire what Antonioni is trying to do here, even though it seems like he doesn’t always go for the right choices, making the romance feel a bit too cold and the dialogue mostly repetitious; still, this classic film has so many scenes that were simply born iconic.
The Awakening (2011)
Despite a promising beginning and a solid art direction, this conventional ghost story never goes beyond its clearly derivative narrative – which, among many deficiencies, tries to be clever with a lame (and unnecessary) twist but is only convoluted and obvious.
Awakening of the Beast (1970)
Marins shows again that he has a great eye for creating unsettling compositions, but while it isn’t hard to see what he wants to do here, his climactic psychedelic sequence in color is more like laughable nonsense and the conclusion it draws doesn’t carry the impact intended.
Away We Go (2009)
With terrific performances and a wonderful soundtrack, this sweet, sensitive and funny road movie proves to be both heartwarming and sharp as Mendes’ previous works – and the whole scene with Maggie Gyllenhaal in Madison is just priceless.
The BFG (2016)
The visual effects using performance capture are great, but there is no magic, beauty or even genuine emotion in this lifeless, poorly-structured and tedious movie that almost put me to sleep and certainly ranks now as one of the worst of Spielberg’s entire career.
A vigorous and well-edited film that uses an impressive amount of mostly unseen archive footage of the ’80s to show the evolution of the West-Berliner music scene against a background of social turmoil and intense desire for change and revolution that marked those times.
Though it is not hard to see the intention when you know Brecht, it is curious that this adaptation is less straightforward and more rambling than one would expect from one of his stories, being more of a pseudo-poetic mind trip than a consistent social commentary.
Baarìa is an involving autobiographical drama with good performances, but I feel disappointed at Ennio Morricone’s ordinary score and how unnecessarily overlong the film is. Besides, the last fifteen minutes almost manage to ruin everything that was built up until then.
The Babadook (2014)
It is always a wonderful surprise to see an intelligent horror film with such profound psychological and emotional scope, making use of a rich symbolism to tell the story of a woman who succumbs to her own inner shadow and is forced to confront it as it takes over her sanity.
Babette’s Feast (1987)
This sublime ode to art, gift, love and grace should be remembered for its wonderful direction and a magnificent narrative that never ceases to surprise us with what it has to offer and the unbelievable amount of depth that it holds in every detail of its apparently simple story.
An experience akin to staring at an aquarium for 80 minutes and observing the fishes in their habitat – which can be something interesting in the case of babies from different cultures, only not for so long. But still, babies are so cute and adorable that they make it worth it.
An absorbing and well-paced psychological thriller that never loses its grip, with an intriguing mystery that keeps us at the edge of our seats trying to figure out what is really going on – and Noomi Rapace is fantastic as the center of this sad, devastating story.
This is probably what The Hangover would have been like had it been made with female characters: a raunchy version of Bridesmaids that is dirtier, more politically incorrect and funny as hell – gladly lacking that typical sentimentality found in most comedies today.
Carrera and screenwriter Sabina Berman approach a very serious social matter with incredible competence as it exposes the open wound of Cd. Juárez, Mexico, a land in turmoil over an appalling series of endless sexually-related murders of women.
Bad Hair (2013)
An irregular film that suffers from the contradictory behavior of its two main characters but has a poignant ending, even if the mother played by Castillo seems like a telenovela villain in urgent need of psychiatric help – although I do know that the world is full of people like that.
Master director Werner Herzog delivers here his most mainstream movie to date, a highly entertaining, hilarious and twisted crime drama with an insane Nicholas Cage in one of the greatest performances of his career.
Bad Taste (1987)
Not hysterical and priceless as Braindead but still a very funny low-budget trashy fun with nice gore and makeup effects, even though it is also a bit hard to overlook the movie’s disjointed structure (there was never a script, and things seem to happen mostly randomly).
Bag of Bones (2011)
In its insistence on following closely the structure and pacing of King’s wonderful novel, this ridiculous and overlong adaptation drags and feels painfully repetitious, suffering also from an excess of irritating dream scenes and too much camp that dilutes the gravity of the story.
Bagdad Cafe (1987)
This enjoyable fable is expertly edited and knows how to use a surreal cinematography to enhance the sense of oddness created by its rather unusual story. But it also doesn’t know how to end and simply drifts without any clear direction in the last fifteen minutes.
This truly riveting and important political thriller exposes without any concessions a horrendous episode in History that has been kept in silence for a long time, and it is always fluid in the way it shows us what happened to Roger East in parallel with the tragic fate of the Balibo Five.
A gorgeously animated film that may not please everyone due to its greater focus on characters and lack of a well-defined plot, but it is well-deservedly recognized as a classic now with its contemplative portrayal of love, nature and the cruelty of men against the forest and its animals.
At one point, Woody Allen’s character says to Louise Lasser’s: “I fail to see the humor of this,” which is exactly how I felt watching this terribly unfunny comedy that is more like random scenes and sketches sloppily put together – some of them so irritating they are nearly unbearable.
Bang Bang (1971)
I have no idea what a “Maoist detective comedy” is supposed to be (that is how Andrea Tonacci called this self-indulgent experimental film), and while its energy and lack of structure may be amusing at first, soon it becomes infuriating with endless chases and pointless scenes.
Even if this cynical and moralistic drama is allegedly based on real events, it is really hard to believe that 16-year-old teenagers would engage so openly in those sort of sexual practices, and the narrative is also weakened by an irregular structure and obvious lack of focus.
A subtle romance with a historical context and great performances, blending love and politics in an engaging story that also explores the curious contrast between the vivid landscape of East Germany’s countryside and the sad universe the protagonist is forced to live in.
Barren Lives (1963)
One of the most important Brazilian films ever made is this classic, unrestrained story of poverty and hardship as faced by a family living in a hellish, barren land and depicted with all the rawness that it needs – including a notable absence of sentimentality and even music.
Barry Lyndon (1975)
A fabulous picaresque tale – satirical and tragic – in which we see Kubrick make every splendid shot look like an authentic 18th-century painting while using a cynical and essentially cold approach to recount a long series of barely connected episodes in our anti-hero’s ill-fated life.
Barton Fink (1991)
An always smart and intriguing film that combines acid criticism (especially of Hollywood) and a surreal feel of nightmare the way the Coen brothers do best, with a cynical, sophisticated sense of humor, priceless dialogue and a delicious gallery of fascinating characters.
With a confusing structure and plot threads that go nowhere fast, this fragmented film noir also fails to keep us involved by never going deep into the characters’ motivations, and it leaves loose ends in an artificial resolution that makes it seem incomplete and pointless.
Batman Forever (1995)
With unbelievable dialogue, goofy action and ridiculous cartoonish characters, this softened Batman movie after Burton’s installments is only embarrassing and laughable, with a pathetic story full of plot holes. Not even Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey can save this nonsense.
Batman & Robin (1997)
It is nearly impossible not to feel ashamed for everyone involved in this mess (especially Joel Schumacher), an over-the-top disastrous movie whose actors look like flamboyant drag queens in a colorful carnival parade uttering some of the worst lines ever written.
The biggest problem with this bloated, exhausting movie is that it sinks trying so desperately to bite off (so much) more than it can chew, with a convoluted plot that is all over the place and too many characters whose motivations are mostly contrived and infuriatingly inconsistent.
The Battle of Chile: Part 1 (1975)
An essential piece of historical document that should be shown in schools everywhere in the world, about the rise of fascism in Chile and the power of people’s resistance against the efforts of a reactionary bourgeoisie that used dishonest means to overthrow a legitimate government.
The Battle of Chile: Part 2 (1976)
The second part of this magnificent historical production is a devastating examination of the horrible consequences of those events that led to the erasure of all democracy in Chile despite everything that the people and supporters of the government did to prevent a coup d’état.
The Battle of Chile: Part 3 (1979)
This third part seems more like a complement to the other two made of footage that didn’t fit in the previous films, since it repeats many things that were already shown but in greater details to create an overview of the growth of popular power during Allende’s government.
Battlefield Earth (2000)
Worse than its ridiculous overuse of Dutch angles, color filters and cheap special effects is how overwhelmingly illogical this dreadful piece of junk is, with such a colossal amount of plot holes and incoherences – however curious and amusing it is to observe the many ways it finds to get worse.
Battlestar Galactica (TV pilot miniseries) (2003)
This breathtaking miniseries that started the exceptional TV series features a steady direction, great dialogue and elegant long takes, while also raises many moral issues with intelligence and keeps the focus always on the characters and on the human aspect of the battle.
Battlestar Galactica: Razor (2007)
Razor does not work as a stand-alone movie, being more of a backdrop for season 4 – even if it takes place before the settling in New Caprica. Among its efficient elements, it gives new details about the origin of the hybrid cylon, but some unnecessary scenes could have been left out.
Even if showing more of the cylon attack on the 12 colonies, this fragmented and unnecessary BSG movie doesn’t add anything new or relevant to the completed series and also relies on many flashbacks of scenes that had already been shown before.
It embraces camp in a ridiculous way, with obnoxious characters, shitty actors (even though Dwayne Johnson is charismatic), awful CGI (a clear indicator of a lazy director) and nothing of the kitsch charm that made the TV show so amusing and successful in the first place.
The Beach (2000)
The visuals are jaw-dropping and the idea is promising, but the film is irregular and shoots in every direction without managing to fully explore the possibilities of its premise, remaining a lost opportunity to show how paradise is not really about a place but the people living in it.
Beasts of No Nation (2015)
A brutal, harrowing and devastating film that is beautifully directed, photographed (especially in two incredibly gut-wrenching scenes) and acted, with intense performances by Attah and Elba, about a boy’s loss of innocence and childhood amid a horrible war in a nightmarish place.
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
A spellbinding film that uses a shaky handheld camera (and grainy image) together with a lot of visual poetry to create a combination of naturalism and fantasy, with a wonderful performance by the young Quvenzhane Wallis in a touching story about love and courage.
Romain Duris is fantastic, doing an exceptional work in the composition of his character with a special care for small details, in what turns out to be a compelling, fascinating character study about an dissatisfied man trying to have his life back and follow his dream.
It is a delight to witness now all that Beatlemania hysteria and the members’ cheeky sense of humor in a lot of priceless archive footage combined with welcome interviews, but this nice doc is also a bit too unpretentious and doesn’t offer much new insight about the band and their touring years.
The Beautiful Person (2008)
Christophe Honoré is like a film student who doesn’t have any idea of what he wants to say (that is, if he does have anything to say at all) and so creates an unfocused, pretentious narrative that has no sense of purpose and is full of poorly-developed characters and clichéd dialogue.
Beauty and the Beast (1946)
An enchanting film that surprises us with its magical atmosphere and dazzling visual effects, even if the plot can be a bit repetitive and contrived when focusing on the development of the characters’ relationship, leading to an end that is not as satisfying as it should be.
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
The overwhelming flood of songs makes a good part of it seem like filler, to be honest – as much as most of these songs are great and the animation is always impeccable -, but it will be hard for anyone not to be deeply moved by this beautiful story of deceiving appearances.
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
It is hard sometimes to shake the feeling that this live-action Disney adaptation is relying too much on the 1991 animation, to the point that it almost feels like an extended version of that film; but even so, it offers a fresh and modern look at the classic story that makes it worth it.
The Beaver (2011)
Firmly directed by Jodie Foster and with a heartfelt performance by Gibson, this is an interesting drama about a depressed man suffering from schizophrenia and projecting part of his personality into a puppet. Even so, the script is unfocused and has an easy, sappy conclusion.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)
An uneven, overlong and sometimes dull Disney movie that tries to follow in the footsteps of Mary Poppins, the main difference being that none of the songs is remotely memorable (in fact, most of the musical numbers are annoying) and the last act is just terrible.
Before Midnight (2013)
It is immensely refreshing to see again these two characters who we once (twice) learned to love, now in a story that examines with utmost honest the natural conflicts of married life – which are also present for this couple who seemed so suited for a happy ending together.
Before the Revolution (1964)
Bertolucci was still developing his technique when he made this flawed, imperfect attempt at an Italian Nouvelle Vague film that is in fact more about style than substance, made by someone full of ideas but who would still need time to mature his vision of things.
Begin Again (2013)
A refreshing and superbly-edited dramatic comedy from the director of Once, who depicts once again a warm, platonic relationship born from the mutual love shared by two people for music, and oh boy, aren’t the songs in this film just so lovely and beautiful!
This is certainly not a comedy (the sense of humor doesn’t work that well), and I found it sad and depressing, contrary to those who thought it was sweet and optimistic. Besides, the characters seem too shallow in their artificial indie quirkiness and the dialogue is very annoying.
Behind the Candelabra (2013)
Soderbergh offers a consistent blend of camp and sincerity in this entertaining biopic centered on a complex Liberace amid his fabulous palatial kitsch, with Douglas chewing the scenery in a magnificent performance that surprises for its authenticity and pathos.
Behind the Walls (2008)
A splendid, heartbreaking and realistic French drama that could be seen as a worthy follow-up to films like The 400 Blows, considering the way it portrays the sad lives of young boys in a prison-like orphanage, and I’m sure that it will move some to tears like it did me.
Being Ginger (2013)
It is hard to believe that so many people would hate something so beautiful as red hair (yes, I’m a ginger lover), but it is insufferable to see this guy Scott make it all about himself in this empty, time-wasting “documentary” and whine about his self-confidence for endless 70 minutes.
Bel Ami (2012)
A rushed and insipid soap-opera with lame performances, especially by Robert Pattinson, who is a terrible actor completely miscast as an ambitious seducer, unable to show how his character feels and what could possibly draw those refined women to him beside his looks.
A handsome period drama about an admirable young woman who manages to maintain her dignity in a society ruled by certain laws that, as one character puts it, were in fact frameworks for crime – and the gracious script avoids clichés and proves to be surprisingly moving.
Anna Magnani is a true Italian delight, so charismatic and funny, and she makes it real difficult for us not to sympathize with her character for trying so hard to enroll her little daughter in a film part competition, in this amusing and touching story that has its heart in the right place.
Twohy does a great job (mainly in the first hour) to slowly build an absorbing mystery in this claustrophobic mix of horror and war movie (like Das Boot meets The Shining), even if later on it is weakened by stupid plot holes and a silly attempt to sound profound in the end.
If there is something more discomforting than Willard befriending rats is seeing a sweet sick kid developing a touching relationship with his little friend Ben the disgusting intelligent rat, which is what makes this trashy B movie creepier than the first movie, especially with that song.
Even though Charlton Heston is a terrible actor, Ben-Hur will always be remembered as a spectacular epic that boasts an astonishing production design, breathtaking cinematography and exhilarating action scenes. It is only a pity though that the focus of the story is shifted from Juda to the Messiah in the last act, turning into a preachy religious movie and losing some of its power in a hallelujah ending.
Berberian Sound Studio (2012)
An imaginative and expertly-edited psychological thriller/meta exercise that dissolves the barrier between reality and fiction using a fantastic sound design, beautiful scene transitions and a smart cinematography that nicely references the style of the Italian giallos of the ’70s.
Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980)
The pièce de résistance of Fassbinder’s career, an extraordinary 15-1/2 hour magnum opus that represents both the cinematic realization of his seminal inspiration and the culmination of his themes – and he properly departs from his detached style to deliver his most heartfelt and moving character study up to then, with a phenomenal central performance by Günter Lamprecht and a magnificent score by Peer Raben.
Image and sound, rhythm and music, an entrancing audiovisual experiment in five parts showing a day in the life of a city that lives and breathes, with a fantastic use of Soviet intellectual montage to create brilliant visual rhymes on the many different aspects of urban life.
Berlin Syndrome (2017)
It can be tense and disturbing at times, even though it feels a bit too familiar (like a mix of Fear and Misery) and moves too slow for such a predictable type of movie, not managing that well to be entertaining as a thriller and being rather dull and unpleasant to watch.
Even if mildly refreshing and centered on a group of elderly people, which is something we don’t see very often, this film is full of highs and lows, with a weak script that has too many clichés and artificial resolutions but is still compensated by a superb ensemble cast.
Best of Enemies (2015)
An exciting analysis of the beginning of a major change in political journalism as it became a theater stage for egos, shown in this pivotal debate between two arrogant men who we can’t deny were brilliant orators – even though I despise Buckley’s political views and Vidal’s aggressive ad hominem attacks.
The Best Offer (2013)
With an appalling lack of subtlety, awful dialogue and badly-constructed characters (the protagonist’s actions and motivations are puzzling from beginning to end), it seems like this corny little romance full of clichés and predictable twists is making a huge effort to be bad.
The Best Things in the World (2010)
A wonderful and incredibly honest film about the several ups and downs of adolescence as lived by a teenage boy in São Paulo, and it is a great pleasure to see how it escapes all those typical clichés of teen movies, developing its characters in an always sensitive, realistic way.
Best Worst Movie (2009)
A surprising and bittersweet doc that will certainly appeal more to those out there who share the same strange fascination for this unexpected cult phenomenon (me included), even if it simplifies the reason for its shocking success into simple matters of being entertaining.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
A deeply touching and significant post-WWII classic that depicts the psychological trauma and several obstacles encountered by veteran soldiers of different backgrounds returning from war, and it does so with an expert use of deep focus and a wonderful mise-en-scène to create many meaningful visual compositions.
The Better Angels (2014)
Edwards doesn’t even try to hide the obvious and unoriginal way that he emulates Malick’s style, and he seems more concerned with creating a powerful meditative experience than offering any real insight into what shaped Lincoln in his childhood to become the man he would be.
A poignant, tragic drama that explores the psychological consequences of a turbulent childhood marked by alcoholism – and it is incredibly sad to see good people allowing it to destroy the harmony in their family, causing such a profound emotional damage to all their lives.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009)
This modern remake of Fritz Lang’s last American thriller is undeniably flawed – especially when you stop to think how preposterous it all really is -, but still it manages to be entertaining and tense sometimes, with a welcome twist in the end.
Beyond the Hills (2012)
Mungiu delivers yet another powerful and nerve-wracking film that is bound to leave you totally drained by the end of it. Though also a bit unnecessarily repetitive after a while, it is nevertheless a challenging, devastating drama about liberty, devotion, security and obsession.
Beyond the Walls (2012)
A profoundly moving and heartbreaking gay romance about an overwhelming passion that gradually grows and breaks apart – and the two very talented leads give life to such complex characters who we can strongly identify with in their feelings for each other.
The Bicycle Thief (1948)
Humorous, poignant and heartbreaking, this wonderful gem of Italian neorealism deserves every bit of its long-lasting reputation as a classic and unforgettable social statement, and it is always beautiful to see how it eschews any sentimentality and remains always honest in its emotions.
Bicycling with Molière (2013)
A light and charming comedy that may be a bit irregular and not very well focused but has some nice dialogue and good moments of humor – and along the rehearsal of Molière’s work by the leads we are given a decent exploration of the nuances in the interaction between them.
Il Bidone (1955)
This forgotten Fellini classic – which was initially a flop in Italy and also in the USA – is a poignant and heartbreaking character study that manages to make us feel pity and sympathy towards the worst kind of swindler, the one who deceives and takes money from the poor.
The Big Chill (1983)
A lifeless and depressing movie that seems more interested in its songs than in creating a relatable plot (yet even if the soundtrack is great the lyrics simply don’t reflect what we see on screen), forcing us to stay in the company of a group of unlikable narcissists.
The Big Country (1958)
A classic pacifist Western that feels always fluid (even with a long running time of almost three hours) and is most certainly an intelligent allegory of Cold War, boasting a memorable score and a great cast, especially Burl Ives in an Oscar-winning performance.
Big Eyes (2014)
It is true that Art should elevate, but this superficial, unimpressive biopic does pander to the lowest common denominator with a cliched direction, uneven pacing and serious tonal problems in a ridiculous trial scene in the end that only feels silly and artificial.
Big Fan (2009)
Big Fan is a humorous look at the lonely life of a fanatic sports fan, and first-time director Siegel manages what seemed to be almost impossible: to make a poignant portrayal of a loser who only thinks of football, a task that is helped mostly by Oswalt’s terrific performance.
The Big Gundown (1966)
Sollima’s Western is an exciting manhunt that follows the structure of a road-movie, with its two main characters meeting over and over in many different situations. A thrilling movie with a vibrant performance by Tomás Milian and an unexpected twist in the third act.
Big Hero 6 (2014)
A highly amusing and captivating movie with a wonderful animation and exhilarating action scenes, even if the script suffers from some exposition and doesn’t come up with a very convincing motivation for its villain – despite how everything is well wrapped up in the end.
The Big Lebowski (1998)
The “Dude,” another specimen in the Coen gallery of fascinating, eccentric characters, easily wins our sympathy thanks especially to Jeff Bridges, who is wonderful and shines together with John Goodman in a very funny and engaging story.
The Big Short (2015)
McKay simplifies a highly complicated subject (economy) with all types of ingenious (and hilarious) narrative devices (even breaking the fourth wall many times) to bring us an intelligent story about those who decided to bet against the American economy and the revolting dishonesty of a lot of people involved in it.
The Big Sleep (1946)
A smart detective story full of the most exquisite dialogue and with an extremely complex plot that prompts us to try to connect the pieces of the intricate puzzle in our heads, even if it actually does not answer all of the questions (the death of a certain character is left unsolved).
A Bigger Splash (2015)
A very fine example of remake that differs considerably from the original movie, not to be better but to come up with new turns and possibilities to an existing story, and so it ends up offering a good deal of additional layers to a narrative and characters that already had many.
Billy Elliot (2000)
It comes as a truly delightful surprise how a simple story like this can be made into such a wonderful, captivating film that makes us cry and laugh in equal measure, and the best thing is that it never resorts to easy clichés or shows things in black and white like many would.
Biohazard: Degeneration (2008)
A prelude to the game Resident Evil 5, thus made for the fans. It can also be taken as a follow-up to RE: Apocalypse deviating from the way the movie series is going. The purists will love it, but as a film it has enormous plot holes, stupid characters, cheesy dialogue and the animation is subpar.
The Birdcage (1996)
With a deliciously flamboyant Nathan Lane stealing the scene and Robin Williams in a greatly nuanced composition, this fun comedy also boasts elaborate camera movements and knows really well how funny it is, not even resorting to any sort of cute music to underline its humor.
An embarrassing dreck that is so bad it defies comprehension, with what seems to be the most incompetent editing and worst (unmixed) sound ever. And what to say of those ridiculous CGI birds? Even Ed Wood would run away from something like this.
A spectacular piece of virtuoso cinema that impresses not only for its remarkable technical achievement (Lubezki reached heavens with that jaw-dropping “forged” long-take), but also for being an incredibly well-constructed (and hilarious) character study with Michael Keaton in a magnificent career-defining performance.
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
It was definitely innovative in many ways when it came out and still delivers a timeless anti-war message, but it is nearly impossible to read “the helpless white minority” and not feel outraged by the film’s odious racism as it vilifies black people and glorifies the Ku Klux Klan.
The Birth of a Nation (2016)
There is great material for a powerful drama here, but director Nate Parker tries too hard to soften it and avoid any controversies regarding his hero’s actions – which is a pity considering that they are perfectly understandable in view of the horrible suffering he endures.
Bitch Slap (2009)
A trashy, over-the-top and deliciously sly exploitation flick that comes up as a bitch slap indeed, with three sexy big-breasted chicks kicking asses and firing huge guns in a stylish comic book universe and a clever narrative full of fun twists.
A very sharp, thought-provoking and also superbly directed story conceived within a perfect 4-act-and-an-epilogue structure and having only a room as stage to depict the degrading vices of relationships, like manipulation, self-humiliation and power games.
A Bittersweet Life (2005)
A tragic tale of revenge with very well-choreographed fighting and violence – which can be shocking given the level of physical abuse that the character is put through -, and it features a spectacular performance by Byung-hun Lee and a surprisingly beautiful, touching ending.
This sad and depressing drama wants to rely on an unbearable sense of tragedy that doesn’t always feel genuine, but even so it benefits from a strong performance by Bardem, who is able to inject some complexity into his character despite the rather artificial plot.
Björk: Biophilia Live (2014)
Biophilia is not one of my favorite Björk albums, far from it actually, but for the fans out there who love it more than I do this concert film will certainly prove to be a special experience, a psychedelic trip in which her music is interwoven so harmonically with beautiful images.
The Black Cauldron (1985)
It is too uncomfortably dark for children (in a way that made me think of He-Man), while also too silly, shallow and unmemorable for an older audience – thus, not aimed at any audience in particular and flawed enough to be remembered only for its technical accomplishment.
Black Coal, Thin Ice (2014)
It is baffling to see that the Berlin International Film Festival gave the Golden Bear to this sterile movie that plods along through some very dull revelations and doesn’t work in any level: not as a mystery/thriller/film noir, nor as a romance, nor even as a character study.
Black Dynamite (2009)
An amusing and sometimes hilarious tribute to low-budget 1970s blaxploitation films, with clumsy zooms, saturated colors and intentional filming errors to create the illusion of belonging to that era – something that Tarantino could have done better in his Death Proof.
Black God, White Devil (1964)
An essential milestone of Brazilian Cinema that displays a strong sociopolitical conscience and throws us inside a powerful merging of hopeless reality and nightmarish mysticism in a cruel sertão plagued by starvation, drought, violence and religious fanaticism.
Black Ice (2007)
A tense psychological thriller that grows gripping and suffocating as we follow a cheated woman carrying a twisted plan of revenge till the last consequences – and it is brilliantly directed, paying great attention to details, and with two amazing performances by the lead actresses.
Black Mass (2015)
The trailer is incredibly misleading and makes the film seem like a Tarantinoesque comedy when in fact it is dense and too serious in tone, but at least it isn’t that bad once you stop caring about Johnny Depp’s ridiculous makeup and everyone else’s annoying faux-Bostonian accent.
Black Swan (2010)
Portman is dragged into insanity in what is for sure one of the most extraordinary performances of her career, and this is a spectacular (and fantastically directed) film that dives into the psyche of a disturbed character with a lot of symbolism and an incredible intensity.
Black Venus (2010)
A devastating and emotionally exhausting film that exposes without concessions (almost like a documentary and with the use of extreme close-ups) the real-life suffering of a poor woman brutally exploited, humiliated and treated like an animal for other people’s pleasure.
A revolting and well-edited documentary that exposes the infuriating reality behind aquatic shows performed by poor orcas that are kept in captivity and in extremely cruel conditions – and let’s only hope it will make people reconsider going to parks like SeaWorld ever again.
Blade Runner (1982)
A dazzling post-modern sci-fi noir with an evocative atmosphere and a fascinating philosophical story about humanity, death and oblivion. The splendid ultimate deluxe version, or Final Cut, is considerably superior to the theatrical one, without its cheap, concocted happy ending and expository narration.
Blair Witch (2016)
Even if the use of the camera is a lot more organic and natural than in the first movie (and in so many other found footage films), this unoriginal rehash feels unnecessary and is not only a waste of time thanks to its effective, anguishing third act (kudos to the production design).
An absorbing narrative exercise that plays with our perception of reality as it makes us see things from the perspective of its blind protagonist’s imagination, but it may also prove too unemotional an experience for some to care about unreal characters and situations.
The Blind Side (2009)
A patronizing drama that uses a manipulative narrative structure to make you buy its disgusting message that for a black young kid such as Big Mike to succeed in life, he should follow closely what he is told by his “white Republican saviors,” for only they know what is best.
The Bling Ring (2013)
Coppola adopts an interesting neutral approach to this ironic and witty story of glamour and celebrity culture, never pointing fingers or trying to understand her characters but just taking a wry look at the empty lives of a bunch of shallow, selfish and spoiled teenagers.
Blissfully Yours (2002)
A languid film that wants to capture a moment in time and create an evocative atmosphere with an immersive sound design, but director Apichatpong Weerasethakul seems to think that idyllic and tedious are the same, and so the film ends up having the effect of a sleeping pill.
Blood Ties (2013)
It is a world of men, and so all female characters are one-dimensional and revolve around them, while Billy Crudup delivers the only nuanced performance in a weak movie filled with too many characters that are mostly underdeveloped and make it lose focus like a soap-opera.
Antonioni exhibits a wonderful eye for colors, shapes and stunning compositions, benefiting mostly from David Hemmings’ impeccable performance and Carlo di Palma’s exceptional cinematography to dissolve the limits between reality and our perception of it.
The Blue Angel (1930)
What is most memorable in this first-rate tragic classic, apart from Jannings’ superb performance, is Marlene Dietrich’s incredibly enticing, magnetic presence – which not by chance launched her into international stardom -, but the film also looks and sounds a bit dated today.
Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)
Kechiche does a phenomenal work to adapt a maudlin graphic novel into this powerful, deeply sincere and devastating drama that gets under our skin with an incredibly real intensity and is lifted even more by a sensational, Oscar-deserving performance by Exarchopoulos.
Blue Jasmine (2013)
At the head of a great cast, Cate Blanchett deserved all the awards that she got for her fantastic performance in this thought-provoking character study, given how she is able to inspire our most profound sympathy as a pitiful woman who we would hardly want to have around us in real life.
Blue Jay (2016)
What is most incredible in this profoundly sensitive, mature drama is that there is no script and the wonderful dialogue is entirely improvised, while Duplass and Paulson have such an amazing chemistry together that everything their characters tell each other sounds so real and painful.
The Blue Light (1932)
One of Hitler’s favorite films was this well-photographed but harmless fable that doesn’t offer much to compensate for how dull and silly it is – not to mention the obvious problem that arises from the fact that a blue light is the last thing that can be seen in a black-and-white movie.
The Blue Room (2014)
It is very hard to find something appealing in a sterile drama that plods along with a suspense devoid of tension, dull courtroom scenes and a whodunit plot that is never engaging, all without making us relate to its characters in any level, especially when they are all equally dull.
Blue Ruin (2013)
A visceral revenge story whose nerve-wracking tension is combined so well with a dark sense of humor as it follows the inept (and sometimes hilarious) efforts of its amateur protagonist, moving in a deliberate, slow-burning pace towards a lacerating conclusion.
Blue Valentine (2010)
A careful pacing and two three-dimensional characters are what makes this drama so realistic and involving, a wonderful and sincere portrait of a relationship in collapse and how the weight of real life can irremediably damage the happy-end dream for a couple living together.
I never like to think of what a movie could have been, but it is hard not to do so when you see an uninspired film like this that, despite a few good cynical moments, is generally superficial in its ambitions and hardly manages to be tense, engaging or anything beyond cliched.
Body Double (1984)
Brian De Palma seems to be enjoying quite a lot to poke fun at the artificiality of cinema with this delicious pastiche that pays homage to Hitchcock’s films (mainly Vertigo and Rear Window) and plays with the limits of narrative and language as he injects his own style into it.
The Book of Eli (2010)
The direction is so ridiculously overstylish, with a showy camera flying through windows and door holes so many times, that it almost made me forget how beautiful the static shots are. Even worse is the terrible story, a huge mess with several plot holes, impossible twists and conspicuous religious preaching everywhere.
The Book Thief (2013)
Messy as this aseptic drama is from a narrative point of view, with language inconsistencies and dozens of pointless elements, it is also a mystery what it wants to say after all, lacking emotional weight and tension while being completely detached from the real world.
Das Boot (1981)
A tense, claustrophobic and intense film that makes us empathize with soldiers from the wrong side of an inglorious war, and what a a terrific cinematography and outstanding sound and sound design, especially considering that the whole movie was shot silent and later re-dubbed.
Born to Be Blue (2015)
A mature romance/biopic that takes an anguishing look at the life of a self-destructive artist struggling to have his old life back after becoming a heroin addict, with Ethan Hawke conveying an exceptionally nuanced combination of arrogance, vulnerability and determination.
Born Yesterday (1950)
Judy Holliday steals the show in this very funny and surprisingly thought-provoking romantic comedy about the importance of thinking and seeking knowledge in our society, where, still today, opinions are shaped by a ruling class that wants to conserve its position of power.
The Bourne Identity (2002)
A thrilling movie that combines old-school espionage and great action scenes with intelligence and fine performances, and it is surprising how it works so well considering the many difficulties between Liman and the studio that led to a lot of rewrites and reshoots during production.
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Even superior to the first movie, this exhilarating sequel boasts a lot of action while it is always exciting to see Bourne use his brains and skills to stay one step ahead of the people who are after him, creating a clever inversion of roles in which the hunters become the prey.
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
This excellent third chapter is the best of the trilogy, with non-stop thrilling action, great performances and an intelligent plot that plays with our own perception of what we thought we knew (especially the last scene of the previous film) to come up with a satisfying conclusion.
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
A pathetic and useless follow-up to an excellent trilogy, making us follow another fugitive guy while Jason Bourne is only mentioned but never appears. Besides, apart from a few efficient scenes, it is mostly confusing and tedious, especially in its uninspired chase scenes.
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
You may not agree with Moore’s sometimes questionable methods, but there is no denying that he presents some very strong arguments in this important, thought-provoking exposé of what drives and motivates these occurrences in a country where fear is instilled into people by a crippled system.
The Box (2009)
Forget the box, the only real mystery in this huge atrocity is how a talented director like Richard Kelly could have devised it from a story by Richard Matheson, with awful dialogue, terrible acting and a ridiculous plot that doesn’t make any sense and doesn’t know how to end.
The Boxtrolls (2014)
A decent and visually pleasing 3D CGI stop-motion animation that is enjoyable but doesn’t do much outside the box, as it touches upon some interesting themes but never explores them in an entirely satisfying way – even though it does have its share of good moments.
The Boy (2015)
As innocuous as its title, it is awfully directed and edited, poorly paced and hugely incompetent in whatever it is trying to do as it fails to portray the kid’s evolution into a psychopath (he comes off as just annoying), and it is only not a complete disaster because of its forceful ending.
The Boy (2016)
The premise is creepy enough and could have been made into something much better than this stupid horror movie that is so banal, poorly written (the character’s motivations are laughable) and full of clichés (does anyone still get scared by those cheap dream scares?)
Boy A (2007)
Relying on an excellent performance by Andrew Garfield and at first a thought-provoking film about guilt, atonement and the right to start over as a new person, after two intriguing acts it all soon ends in a contrived conclusion that is disappointing and insubstantial.
Boy and the World (2013)
With a simple and lovely animation in pencil and crayon full of blank spaces contrasted with a kaleidoscope of images to show a world seen through the eyes of a child, this is an impressive story that grows to become a relevant commentary, even if it is not really subtle in doing so.
A fascinating and extremely captivating project shot over the course of twelve years to follow a boy from his childhood to his late adolescence, and what is most impressive is how fluid it always is even with a fragmented nature that doesn’t rely on a defined plotline.
A stupid film that embraces nearly every cliché of the gay-themed drama subgenre with a complete disregard for structure – as can be seen from the character’s erratic behavior that makes him look like a selfish retard and a subplot involving his brother that is simply discarded.
The Boys Are Back (2009)
A touching drama with a great melancholy soundtrack by Sigur Rós and an outstanding performance by Clive Owen as an adorable character whose actions you may not agree with but still you empathize with his honest efforts to raise his sons the way he believes to be the best.
The Boys from Brazil (1978)
It benefits from an intriguing mystery (though more ludicrous than disturbing), while Olivier and Peck have both their moments of excellence in a compelling thriller where they mostly seem to be in a hilarious dispute to see who overacts more and devours the whole scenery.
Boyz n the Hood (1991)
An unpretentious portrait of a neighborhood dominated by violence, police abuse and even misogyny, and, while it does have some funny moments, it is a serious, realistic look at a slice of American society at constant odds with limited opportunities and public indifference.
Both a showcase of Rodrigo Santoro’s talent and an exposé of the horrible conditions of mental institutions in Brazil (based on a real life story), this is an tragic and unsettling drama that looks quite realistic with its use of handheld camera and blueish cinematography.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Coppola tries so hard to make something stylish above anything else that his film seems like a ludicrous comedy, with so many laughable camera movements, ridiculous overacting and cheesy effects in a mostly incoherent adaptation of what is supposed to be a terrifying story.
Brancaleone at the Crusades (1970)
With an always priceless Vittorio Gassman and this time even including some fantasy in its plot, this intelligent, hilarious and fabulous sequel is almost on a par with the original Italian masterpiece, although I really miss Gian Maria Volonté and the ending is not so great.
The Brand New Testament (2015)
I hate Poelvoorde and it is a torture to endure him in this complete failure that doesn’t work as a comedy (it is simply not funny) nor as the clever, insightful parable that it (wrongly) believes to be, being instead dull, empty and pointless, while suffering from serious tonal problems.
After Cars 2, Pixar continues in its downward spiral with another subpar animation. On one hand, it is great to see an independent princess who doesn’t need a prince to protect her – but a pity though that the weak script relies on a quite obvious, unoriginal message.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
This adorable blend of romance, comedy and sweetness includes several new narrative elements and significant alterations in the original story that only add to it making it even more delightful – and even if miscast, Hepburn surprises with a very special performance.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
An adorable classic of the ’80s that still feels fresh, showing five teenage kids opening up about their personal problems with a great dialogue and inspired actions – and it is Judd Nelson who is unforgettable as the rebel youngster that acts as the catalyst of everyone’s emotions.
With this tender and sensitive film that ought to be felt and experienced, Kim Ki-Duk explores again many of the narrative elements that are also present in his previous films and which he is so fascinated about, such as love, silence, loneliness and the passage of time.
The Breath (2009)
This Turkish piece of Nationalist propaganda could have been a nice character study if it weren’t for its pathetic directing choices (the dream scenes and delusions are ridiculous) and all that awful, pseudo-profound poetry constantly declaimed throughout the whole film.
With an excellent direction by Karl Markovics (who also wrote the script and starred in The Counterfeiters), this is a moving drama that follows a nuanced and well-constructed character played impressively well by the so far unknown but very talented Thomas Schubert.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Whale returns to his Frankenstein with this amusing sequel that has an even campier, deliciously wrier humor and offers more depth to Karloff’s Monster, while everything is also more complete here (despite gaps in logic), including a score that was missing in the original movie.
Bride of Re-Animator (1989)
It is clearly meant to be a reference to Bride of Frankenstein but the script is stupid and makes very little sense considering what happened in the first film. Still, Jeffrey Combs and David Gale steal the scene and the movie has some nice moments of gory humor.
Bride of the Monster (1955)
If you are acquainted with Ed Wood’s works, you know well what to expect, but the problem is that this is never bad enough to be worth a laugh, only a horrible schlock full of hideous performances and with a plot that defies all comprehension and good sense.
Sure it could have been less drippy and relied less on talking heads, but this documentary at least makes up for that with the strength of what it tells: a heartbreaking story about a stupid death, the pain that comes with it and the intolerance of religious people.
Brideshead Revisited (2008)
This is an interesting yet certainly not memorable drama with fine performances and a strong story about family, religion and faith in the context of the decadence of British aristocracy prior to WWII, and it may leave you thinking about it long after the film is over.
A hilarious comedy with a gross sense of humor that elevates its first act to incredibly hilarious before moving confidently to a more emotional tone, with Kristen Wiig in a great performance. I can only complain, though, that it is a bit overlong and has a rather too-easy conclusion.
Bridge of Spies (2015)
Spielberg shows once again that, even with a strong material in his hands, he can’t resist giving in to the usual lack of subtlety that has plagued his most recent works, and so this is a decent but heavy-handed film that is obvious even in its score and cinematography.
The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)
An excellent war movie focused on characters rather than on battles, with an intense Oscar-winning performance by Alec Guinness. The cinematography is not flawless, with some scenes visibly filmed during the day and darkened to appear as night, but this is compensated by a suspenseful climax that is unforgettable.
Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
Zellweger is quite adorable in this heartwarming romantic comedy that compensates for its relative predictability with a lot of charm and heart, and it is also very nice to see how the great songs heard in the film punctuate what happens on screen with a good deal of sensibility.
While in the first movie Bridget Jones was an adorable character, here she is a neurotic, irritating and selfish caricature that gets herself in only stupid, artificial situations, and even worse than the fact that this film seems like an unfocused collage of sketches is that it is not funny at all.
Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016)
Bridget Jones used to be adorable and charismatic in the first film, but now it can be irritating to see her behave so much like a retard; besides, the movie has a lot of clichés and doesn’t manage to be consistently funny, even if it does have its hilarious moments and some charm.
Brief Encounter (1945)
A delicate and tearful romance that offers a surprisingly honest look into extramarital love considering when it was made, my sole objection being intrusive scenes involving secondary characters which interfere sometimes with the focus and tone of the main plotline.
Bright Star (2009)
A mostly genteel and restrained love story between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, with very solid performances by Abbie Cornish, Paul Schneider and Ben Whishaw – and there is one particularly cathartic scene by the end of the film that did move me to tears.
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
It is ironic that this enjoyable film flopped when it was still original and now is highly regarded as a masterpiece when it is obviously outdated and full of silly gags for today’s standards – and despite her great chemistry with Grant, Hepburn is more irritating than funny.
The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012)
An emotionally intense, realistic and expertly edited drama about love, loss and sorrow, with two great heartfelt performances and a stirring bluegrass soundtrack. It is just a shame, though, that in the third act it simply chooses to embrace a dishonest spiritual conclusion.
Broken Embraces (2009)
A pretentious soap-opera/melodrama, ridiculously self-aggrandizing, that seems like an empty exercise to explore the beauty of Almodóvar’s muse Penélope Cruz with his lustful camera – and the unwelcome self-reference to one of his classic films is not only unfunny but a complete embarrassment.
The Brood (1979)
From the master of body horror David Cronenberg comes this gruesome and thoroughly amusing film that is better to be seen without you knowing anything about (even if it isn’t really surprising), and it has an unforgettable ending that could only become an instant classic.
What makes this handsome, sensitive drama so likable is not only Saoirse Ronan’s remarkable central performance (and her undeniable chemistry with Emory Cohen), but also how well it understands the pain of homesickness and our longing to figure out where home is.
An honest Venezuelan drama that benefits from the heartfelt way that it depicts the intense relationship between the two brothers and how much they care about each other, and it reaches a solid ending that reflects a harsh reality where dreams get shattered by misery and violence.
The Brotherhood of Satan (1971)
A dreadful horror movie that seems completely incapable of being any scary, which can be blamed on how awfully edited and directed it is, with scenes that get stretched much beyond what we can take – and it does not help that the lame plot is so nonsensical.
A compelling drama that examines the emotional impact of war on the family of a soldier who is presumed dead in Afghanistan. The intense performances, especially by a superb Tobey Maguire, and the honest dialogue prevent it from slipping into easy melodrama.
Brothers at War (2009)
An honest documentary about the lives of American soldiers in Iraq, initially conceived by the filmmaker as a way to portray the routine and experiences of his two brothers serving there but then growing into something quite revealing about the relationship between them.
The Brothers Bloom (2008)
A delightful, clever and whimsical comedy that boasts great performances by its entire cast and an amusing – if also forgettable – narrative with many scenes that bring to mind the humor seen in the films of Wes Anderson and the Coen brothers.
The Brown Bunny (2003)
Almost silent and surprisingly tender, this is a sad and haunting portrait of a man with a broken heart and full of sorrow, and it evokes a constant feeling of melancholy and solitude, like with the songs that play along the film following the character’s fragmented state of mind.
Not really about the mafia of hormones as it is about a tormented man insecure about his masculinity – but the film’s misled attempt to focus on both subjects makes it too complicated, with so many unnecessary scenes. Still, Schoenaerts is perfect as the fascinating protagonist.
An important doc focusing on an enraging matter that has always been a very serious problem in schools. Still, it could have been better edited to have those five stories put together – and after a while it even starts to become a bit redundant and repetitious.
A manipulative thriller that wants to be a claustrophobic experience but has an irritatingly intrusive score and a heavy-handed, unnecessarily overstylish direction. Besides, Reynolds is not very good and his character acts like an imbecile during most of the film.
I don’t know what is worse, the insufferable songs or how this trashy modern musical fairy-tale is so predictable, boring and full of clichés from the first scene till the last. There is nothing original or remotely interesting in it and it isn’t even bad enough to make us laugh.
Burn After Reading (2008)
An insanely hilarious melange of comedy and thriller as one would imagine from the Coen Brothers, with a bizarre story full of characters who are stupid beyond comprehension and great performances by its whole cast, especially Brad Pitt stealing the scene.
Bus 174 (2002)
An always gripping, harrowing and thought-provoking documentary that dives deep into an open sore of Brazilian society and exposes some of the most terrible social issues that have been driving out of control a city dominated by violence and indifference.
But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
This clever satire is actually sadder than funny when you realize that, even as an exaggeration with its overuse of pink/green and showing the rehab camp people as caricatures, it is not so far from reality, especially when you see that idiots like that really exist trying to cure gays.
A disappointing hippie Western that is too light for its own good and errs in tone by diluting the urgency of the story with a tongue-in-cheek humor and endless landscape shots that make it painfully slow – not to mention how hard it is to care about its one-dimensional characters.
The Butler (2013)
A sincere drama with good intentions but which simplifies an important matter to the point of seeming rather contrived and reductionist. Despite that, it is Forest Whitaker who makes up for its flaws and for the important feel that is evident in its cast full of stars.
Butter on the Latch (2013)
Josephine Decker is a terribly incompetent filmmaker who clearly has no understanding of the basic function of a camera or how it works, as she exhibits in this empty and insufferable waste of time an awful sense of framing and apparently believes that lack of focus is “artsy.”
The concept of alternate realities is always intriguing and Berger’s excellent editing expertly moves between the two storylines using fluid scene transitions, but the problem is that the silly, unimpressive plot doesn’t have much else to offer beyond a good idea.
Bye Bye Brazil (1980)
It may seem like it lacks a stronger conclusion, but this deceptively simple road movie benefits from some fine performances and uses a lot of humor to address social matters that couldn’t be brought up so directly at the time it was made – the military dictatorship in Brazil.
Cabin Fever (2002)
There is no other way to put it, but Eli Roth is a dick – a nihilistic, misogynist, homophobic and racist dick – and this piece of crap is like a horror movie made by Adam Sandler full of odious characters who are stupid beyond belief, and I couldn’t wait to see that guy Bert get torn to pieces.
The Cabin in the Woods (2012)
In times of reality shows, this type of meta-film is such a brilliant idea, an incredibly smart and thought-provoking commentary that plays with the conventions of the genre using plenty of humor, sharp irony and intelligence – and the last half-hour is especially amazing.
The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
A terrifying and highly influential milestone of German Expressionism, and also a radically anti-bourgeois work of art that intended back then to express with its chilling stylized visuals the deepest feelings of a post-war society in crisis and in search of artistic innovation.
Caesar Must Die (2012)
An interesting docufiction that is both an intelligent meta-narrative feat and an important record of a real production – the staging of Shakespeare in a prison. But above all, it shows how Art can have a transforming impact on even the most unexpected of people.
Café de Flore (2011)
The two types of love that it presents are not comparable and the consequences of Jacqueline’s obsession are just ludicrous, but this is a mysteriously charming film about how things change in our lives – and that wonderful song Café de Flore will probably stick in your head.
Café Lumière (2003)
Hou’s moody tribute to Ozu is more revealing and significant from what is left unsaid as it shows a woman in transit (she spends a good part of the film on moving trains) and who never discusses her pregnancy with her traditional parents. Still, it left me a bit too cold to care.
Café Society (2016)
A weak and self-indulgent Woody Allen movie that lacks in focus, structure and wit, as it seems more concerned about referencing dozens of Golden Age Hollywood stars than having a purpose and looks a lot more cliched than charming, with a cheesy art direction and cinematography.
A true showcase for Aniston’s incredible – yet rarely seen – talent for dramatic roles, given how she brings so much weight to a safe drama that never takes risks and prefers the easy way with clichés, dreams and silly hallucinations that would befit more a movie made for TV.
The Call (2013)
A conventional thriller that doesn’t try anything new but is developed in a relatively satisfying way for most of its running time – until it collapses in a ridiculous, laughable third act that only insults the viewers’ intelligence and believes to be much smarter than it is.
Call Me by Your Name (2017)
Although it is not always subtle and can be a bit repetitious sometimes, this is a touching coming-of-age drama that benefits from an excellent performance by Timothée Chalamet (a revelation) and understands so well the insecurities and anguish that come with first love.
The Caller (2011)
Matthew Parkhill shows us once again that he is one of the worst directors in the history of Cinema with this ridiculous atrocity that doesn’t make any sense when you stop to think about it for two seconds and is equally full of clichés and devoid of actual thrills.
Although the very idea that a Catholic priest in Ireland would face such increasing rejection does not entirely convince me, this is a provocative and ironic drama centered on a goodhearted but undeniably hypocritical man who represents an institution that has always been a source of pain to so many people.
Cama de Gato (2002)
The choice of songs is terrible and Stockler’s adolescent direction is sometimes exaggerated to the point of hysterical, but I like the energy and freshness that he injects into it (an ironic answer to Dogma 95), even if he sounds like a teenager who just learned to use a camera.
Camille Rewinds (2012)
Needless to say, there is not much originality in this ordinary comedy that reuses the cliched plot of the character who goes back in time to have a second chance in life. Even so, the story proves to be more enjoyable than it leads us to imagine.
The Canal (2014)
Kavanagh is an excellent director who cares about building a disturbing, eerie atmosphere with a superb cinematography and sound design, and the result is a terrifying movie that could have really become a classic if it weren’t for its last ten minutes with such a silly, clichéd twist.
An eerie, scary and surprisingly efficient horror film that invests in an atmospheric score and an intriguing mystery about a living rumor who can only be real through his spooky legend – and it firmly keeps its roots in the real world while the gore never feels unnecessary.
This lame sequel is incoherent with regard to the first movie and full of cheap scares followed by some stupid exploding sound. But even worst is to see that the brilliant idea of Candyman being a living rumor is replaced by a ghost-in-the-mirror curse.
The beautiful cinematography and production design do a great job to illustrate the character’s meticulosity and tidiness, but it is a pity though that what could have been an intriguing character study gets undermined by an artificial, naive attempt at a bizarre love story.
Cannibal Holocaust (1980)
The real animal killing is revolting but still this controversial and trashy piece of B horror delivers well what it wants to say about the media and journalists who go way too far for the sake of insane sensationalism – even if Deodato seems to be doing the same in the process.
The Canyons (2013)
Apart from Lohan, almost everyone else in the cast is just lame (Deen should stay in porn) and has to deliver some ridiculous exposition amid an atmosphere of cheap soft-porn – and nothing can justify the combined talents of Schrader and Ellis leading to this pointless bore.
Cape Fear (1991)
A stylish neo-noir from Martin Scorsese, more mainstream than the rest of his work but still with his personal touch. It is a smart and anguishing thriller that takes a good time to build tension and boasts a terrifying performance by De Niro as the psychopath Max Cady.
Capitalism: A Love Story (2009)
Michael Moore is more serious than ever before, offering us another very well-edited and thought-out documentary that manages to leave us outraged and indignant just as well over what people and a corrupt system are capable of doing for money.
Another forgettable prequel to The Avengers that doesn’t seem to be something of its own, with a plot that is mostly dull, action scenes that are unimpressive for a superhero movie, and a poorly developed villain with uninspired plans of destroying the world.
While its first half is extremely good, well paced and has electrifying action scenes, the movie soon becomes bloated with silly revelations and twists. Besides, the plot also includes quite a few absurdities that demand a lot of our suspension of disbelief.
Captain America: Civil War (2016)
Finally an Avengers movie I was waiting for this whole time: complex, intelligent and exhilarating as it divides our heroes into two rival groups at war against each other – each character with compelling motivations for their choices and actions, just as well as the smart villain.
Captain Fantastic (2016)
An irresistible and intelligent film that understands the fascinating complexity of its main character, his questionable actions and the way he believes to be the best to raise his children – which inspires our sympathy even more thanks to Mortensen’s splendid performance.
Captain Phillips (2013)
Greengrass proves once again that he can build apprehension and sustain it like few can, even when we have a good idea of where the plot is heading, and Hanks’ incredible performance raises it from extremely urgent to a deeply moving, heartbreaking experience.
A spectacular thriller, gripping, visceral and directed with an intense realism by Trapero, who uses a handheld camera and long takes to simulate a documentary style and keep the audience incredibly tense – and the last scene is fulminating, almost driving the viewers to a heart attack.
It may be interesting as a collection of chronicles about life in a Brazilian prison, but sadly this is a frustratingly superficial and simplistic film that doesn’t discuss the actual causes of the revolt that led to the Carandiru massacre, being also uneven and full of awful talking heads.
Ramirez is outstanding in this biopic that explores the ambiguous nature of a revolutionary terrorist fervently devoted to a cause but who was also a self-centered man wanting to hold power over those around him – and even more fascinating is how the character needs to adapt to the many changes that occur in the world along twenty years. Excellent, but make sure you watch the full 330-minute version, not the condensed one.
What is the point of telling the life story of a princess and not doing anything with it? Everything is so lifeless and didactic, the accents are ridiculous, the sense of humor is awful and it is hard to believe that this was the movie that caused the resumption of Brazilian cinema in the 1990s.
A very funny comedy of manners adapted from an acclaimed play and elegantly directed, even if a bit repetitive after some time – and it takes place entirely inside an apartment, sustained by a sharp dialogue and exquisite performances, with Winslet and Waltz stealing the show.
Carne is a visceral and shocking arthouse short story, a solid forty-minute prelude to Noé’s fantastic full-length film I Stand Alone, superbly edited and crafted like no other director would.
The fact that this absorbing romance exists (and deserves) to be told is a tragic indication of an outrageous intolerance that hasn’t been left in the past but sadly persists even today, and it is a beautifully-directed film with two wonderful central performances and a gorgeous score.
De Palma surprises us with his splendid choice of making a very delicate and emotionally resonant drama from King’s novel (with a magnificent direction, even if not so well edited), and he leaves the horror only for the tragic climactic explosion of blood and fury in the end.
This passable remake is proof that you can redo a great film in a different way and still obtain an effective result, even if far from the same level of quality – and most of its faults can be attributed to stylistic excesses and obvious inconsistencies that appear in the end.
Cars 2 (2011)
Entertaining but unnecessary, this irregular sequel is the weakest film made by Pixar so far. It wisely goes for something different from the first movie but still suffers from uninspired gags, a deplorable ecological message and a stupid twist in the end.
Cartel Land (2015)
What is most admirable in this excellent film is how Heineman risks his life in the middle of the crossfire with his camera so that he can show us this tragic, appalling and complex situation to which there seems to be no solution and where one step forward means two steps back.
Casa Grande (2014)
A brilliant drama that manages to be both depressing and hilarious in the biting, unapologetic way that it exposes nearly every malaise deep-rooted in Brazilian society, always hitting with remarkable sharpness where it shoots and not letting anyone escape the heavy blow.
This undeniable classic is always charming and irresistible, even if far from perfect – the characters, for instance, do not always act consistently with their personalities. But we’ll always have the love, the classic lines, the timeless scenes and that unforgettable tune.
Case of the Naves Brothers (1967)
It may seem clinical at times, but this is a compelling (and disturbing) film based on a revolting real story that became known as one of the greatest miscarriages of justice in Brazilian History and which publicly exposed the abuses committed in times of military dictatorship.
Castle in the Sky (1986)
Miyazaki is a versatile artist who can make just as many thought-provoking stories as lighter ones. This one ranks among the latter, a very delightful animation that has its share of sillier moments but makes up for them with a lot of fun and adventure.
The Castle of Cagliostro (1979)
Miyazaki’s directorial debut is an entertaining film that makes for a lot of fun with a very charismatic character in its center, although the action-packed plot is nothing special and certainly not in the level of his better works that came after.
Cecil B. Demented (2000)
At first, it seems like John Waters wants to make an audacious hate letter to mainstream cinema with some nice moments of brilliance, but then you realize his “revolutionaries” are a bunch of freaking tards and the film gets too over-the-top and all over the place to have a point.
The Celebration (1998)
The first film of the Dogme 95 movement is this riveting – and remarkably well put together – amalgam of hilarious farce and devastating family drama, where the dirty laundry is washed in an extremely revealing criticism of a bourgeoisie trying to maintain its status quo.
Celeste & Jesse Forever (2012)
An enjoyable rom-com that finds itself smarter and more insightful than it really is, but still it benefits from a great chemistry between the adorable leads – and Jones proves that she is quite talented enough to carry a film on her shoulders.
The Cell (2000)
It is certainly a gorgeous film to look at but the plot is weakened by the fact that Jennifer Lopez is seriously miscast and not at all convincing as a psychiatrist well suited for her job, especially given how the character’s motivations are so unprofessional and confusing in the last act.
Censored Voices (2015)
A profoundly revolting and eye-opening documentary that exposes the tragedy of Zionism through censored archive records in which Israeli soldiers recount the atrocities they committed in the Six-Day War and which aren’t so different from what was done to the Jews in the Holocaust.
Central Station (1998)
Warm and deeply moving, this is not your typical road movie but a wonderful drama that will make you laugh, cry and in the end feel like you got to know these characters and shared this unique experience with them – a merit also of its two magnificent central performances.
Certain Women (2016)
It is very uninteresting and dull to watch the banality of these women’s lives, and while the film does have a good cast, I can’t find any meaning in this poorly-put-together anthology of which only the last story seems to have something to say after all.
Certified Copy (2010)
A brilliant drama that begins with a realistic approach but then suddenly shifts to a more surrealistic tone after halfway through, becoming so emotionally involving and raising a fascinating discussion about our perception of the value of Art – original or not.
Whereas David Lynch is a master of creating great psychological stories full of symbolism, his daughter Jennifer always barely scratches the surface, here with another obvious film that is not really well conceived, be it literally or metaphorically (as a tale of parental “chains”), and the end is awful.
The Changeling (1980)
An engaging ghost story that deserves more credit for its twisty plot, uncomfortable atmosphere and Medak’s refined direction than for being actually scary (even though it does have its creepy moments), and it boasts a very fine performance by George C. Scott.
Eastwood’s firm direction and Angelina Jolie’s powerful performance help make this a gripping film that is as tough to watch as it is definitely rewarding, and it features a fabulous production design and cinematography as well.
Un Chant d’Amour (1950)
The only film made by the controversial playwright Jean Genet – an extremely sensual and provocative homoerotic tale that was certainly ahead of its time, with so much powerful imagery and intense desire overflowing from the screen.
A stupendous biopic centered on the life of the perfectionist genius obsessed with his work that was Charles Chaplin, and it boasts a spectacular production design, a marvelous script, a beautiful score and Robert Downey Jr. in one of his most amazing performances.
The first two acts are clumsy and overstuffed, with so many plot holes and inconsistencies that it feels like a self-parody, but still it gets saved from being a complete disaster by stunning special effects, an excellent score and a thrilling third act that offers amazing action scenes.
Despite the visible age difference, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn display a nice chemistry together in this charming blend of Hitchcockian thriller and screwball comedy – a classic spy film that benefits from a delicious sense of humor and a fantastic, suspenseful conclusion.
Chariots of Fire (1981)
It is certainly overrated and doesn’t justify the many Oscars it won/was nominated to, but still it is technically competent (especially Vangelis’ music and the film’s editing) even if it is also a bit too conventional and slows down in its second half almost to the speed of a turtle.
Chariots of the Gods (1970)
Some of the mysteries are intriguing, yes, but the fact that many of Däniken’s claims have been proved false calls into question the whole veracity of everything else; not that it changes much, though, since his ideas are a pile of speculative rubbish based on pseudo-scientific fallacies.
The Chaser (2008)
A surprising and intelligent Korean serial killer thriller that defies the viewer’s expectations at every turn and combines taut suspense with black humor to insert an unlikely (anti-)hero in a completely unpredictable plot and hold the audience by the throat.
Chasing Amy (1997)
Joey Lauren Adams got on my nerves with her grating voice, but even so it is hard not to fall in love with this adorable and funny movie (the dialogue is simply wonderful) as Kevin Smith translates in such a surprisingly heartfelt and sincere way the complications of being in love.
Chasing Ice (2012)
A terrifying film that offers both a stunning collection of images and an indisputable evidence of global climate change. It is only a pity, though, that it loses some of its focus wanting to praise Balog’s efforts and doesn’t propose any real scientific solution for the problem.
Chatô: The King of Brazil (2015)
After twenty years of waiting, it is so ironic to finally see that this Brazilian mix of Citizen Kane and Lola Montès is a splendid film that uses a hilarious sense of humor and a confusion of thrombotic hallucinations and memories to make us see it from the point of view of an unreliable narrator.
Che: Part One (2008)
Soderbergh’s political biography about Che Guevara and his involvement in the Cuban Revolution is expertly directed and even feels like a documentary, but is also frustrating as it shows him as a nearly flawless hero and avoids any of the controversies surrounding his character.
Che: Part Two (2008)
This well-made second chapter of Soderbergh’s two-part epic, centered now on Che in the Bolivian guerrilla, is more objective than the first one and does a better job to portray the character more as a man than a hero, which helps make it a slight improvement over Part 1.
This seems more like a project of pure egocentrism and self-indulgence from Jon Favreau, as he plays an idiot surrounded by gorgeous women like Sofia Vergara and Scarlett Johansson in a feel-good story that will only feel good to himself – really, it doesn’t even have a real conflict.
Although not really involving nor exactly compelling, this romantic drama based on Colette is at least charming, with a wonderful production design and a nice chemistry between Pfeiffer and Friend.
Chicken Run (2000)
An exhilarating stop-motion animation that is not only impressively well made and visually spectacular but above all else should be proud of its delicious story full of adorable characters, hilarious dialogue and amazing action scenes, making for so much fun.
Un Chien Andalou (1929)
A mind-blowing piece of work that represents a landmark in Cinema due to its fantastic boldness for the time it came out, making use of Freudian symbolism not only to take us in a dream-like surrealist experience but also to challenge the very conception of narrative.
Child 44 (2015)
It wouldn’t be hard to forgive this messy thriller for its expository dialogue and for being too long and confusing about its purpose, but it is impossible to overlook the way it insults our intelligence with a ridiculous, one-dimensional villain and laughable plot absurdities.
Child’s Pose (2013)
Gheorghiu is fabulous as the monstrous, over-controlling bourgeois mother in this sharp amalgam of social critique and family drama that even manages to make us feel pity towards her, conveying a world of complexities in its details, dialogue and characters’ behavior.
Children of a Lesser God (1986)
A sincere and touching drama with laudable performances by William Hurt and Marlee Matlin, whose wonderful chemistry together always convinces us of their characters’ feelings for each other and of the real, authentic difficulties they meet in their relationship.
Children of Heaven (1997)
It feels almost impossible not to love these two adorable young children who carry on their shoulders this beautiful tale of innocence, poverty and compassion – a film that pulls us with such power into the situation faced by its characters that we can’t be left unmoved.
The Children’s Hour (1961)
From a moral point of view, this is a terribly outdated drama (even if daring for then) that serves as a portrait of an ugly time when it would be considered a danger for children to be “exposed” to lesbian teachers – which the film sometimes also seems to agree as being “unnatural.”
The China Syndrome (1979)
An effectively tense thriller that must have been even more terrifying when it came out, when fear of nuclear power was greater, and it is very well directed (the car chase scene is nerve-wracking) and has three amazing performances from its leads, especially Jack Lemmon.
An extremely complex film noir full of mystery and intelligent twists that keep us always guessing and trying to put together the pieces of the puzzle, while its brilliant script is only matched by Polanski’s excellent direction and Jack Nicholson’s nuanced performance.
A Chinese Ghost Story (1987)
An odd, entertaining and very funny supernatural romance that blends horror and slapstick humor quite efficiently, with great special effects and a lot of style, even though the musical numbers are pretty embarrassing and the end is a bit frustrating.
Chinese Take-Away (2011)
A delightful film that is not only hilarious but also surprisingly touching, and it never succumbs to cheap melodrama, remaining believable all the time – even with such an odd premise. Also, Ricardo Darín is excellent as always, providing the story with some very funny moments.
Perhaps it should have been called Fatal Attraction 2, since despite his assured direction Egoyan doesn’t seem to realize how incredibly predictable his movie is, with a silly plot that also defies credibility especially regarding the actions of Julianne Moore’s character.
The Chorus (2004)
It is very easy to feel enchanted by the beautiful songs and the accessible, formulaic narrative, but the problem is that this film is in fact a silly fantasy that could hardly take place in real life, with a predictable plot and all those clichés found in movies about inspirational teachers.
A strangely cold drama that doesn’t leave us much room for emotional investment or for anything that we haven’t felt before in superior films about loss, and it is hard to get past the intrusive voice-over and the characters’ self-pity that sometimes borders on masochism.
The few changes made in the original story only weakens this flawed adaptation and makes its premise seem even more ludicrous than it already is, but at least all this is compensated well enough by the movie’s style, expert editing and Carpenter’s firm direction.
A Christmas Carol (2009)
As an adaptation of a classic story that has been told so many times, this is an impressively well-made motion capture animation with a very fine performance by Jim Carrey. Even so, it would have been better if Zemeckis had left out some of its endless roller-coaster-ride moments.
Christmas Cottage (2008)
I hate these little Christmas family melodramas, and this is a very cheap one with nice performances but very little else worth noticing apart from the fact that Jared Padalecki is a strikingly handsome young actor, and that’s it.
The structure is a refreshing novelty for this kind of story but also the weak point here, with footage obtained from several different sources (which would be impracticable) and people filming even in illogical circumstances. Even so, the characters are well developed and the climax quite thrilling.
The first-rate special effects and nice adapted script contribute to create this fine, delightful – yet also notably harmless – adventure for the whole family despite the fact that most of the young actors lack in charisma and the plot is longer and more predictable than it seems.
What raises this entertaining sequel a tiny bit above the first movie is definitely its more pronounced urgency and sense of danger, while the action scenes are decent enough and the special effects still great, even though the acting continues to be mediocre.
This movie has such a great production design that it almost makes me forget how lame the story is. The characters are poorly developed, the plot confusing, drifting from one scene to the next without any cohesion, and the religious allegory is now even more obvious, resorting many times to an “Aslan ex machina” that is really frustrating.
La Ciénaga (2001)
There is something fascinating in the way this brilliant film is constructed, directed and edited, as Martel draws a dreary, uncomfortably humid (and even hilariously exaggerated) portrait of Northern Argentinian bourgeoisie, especially with regards to social oppression.
Besides sweet songs and adorable characters, what is so amazing about this fabulous Disney animation – which actually saved the company after the war and brought it back to shape after those forgettable anthologies – is how it creates anticipation even when we know the fairy tale inside out.
In times of subversive and revisionist takes on fairy tales, it is a pleasure to see Branagh be so faithful to the classic story with such a passionate, magical and dazzling approach that includes a gorgeous art direction and costume design, astonishing visual effects and a beautiful score.
Cinema Paradiso (1988)
The theatrical version is definitely great, a wonderful homage to Cinema, but the extended director’s cut is a new and altogether different experience that gives a lot more space to the love story, resulting then in a much richer and complete narrative.
Cinema Verite (2011)
A decent film that portrays the controversial behind-the-scenes of the first reality show on American television, a risky format that would become what now is highly popular in the whole world. The highlights include the accurate ’70s visuals and the solid performances.
The movie has interesting ideas and makes nice remarks about human nature but is marred by a clumsy, confusing beginning (it is ridiculous how the characters understand the rules of the game so fast like that), some heavy-handed dialogue and a final scene that leads nowhere.
The Circus (1928)
A very amusing and delightful silent film that probably would have been better had it been made a bit shorter, since it begins extremely hilarious but after a while starts to become less funny – even though the climax on the tightrope is belly-achingly hysterical.
Cirkus Columbia (2010)
A remarkable film with three-dimensional characters who become always more complex as the story progresses, as they face the menace of an imminent war that would plunge their land into so much pain and suffering in the following years – and to know this makes the final scene so touching and bittersweet.
Citizen Kane (1941)
Watching Citizen Kane today is almost like an exercise in deciding what is more perfect: if Gregg Toland’s cinematography and gorgeous deep focus; Robert Wise’s exceptional editing; Welles’ magnificent direction and acting; or the film’s superlative script told in a non-linear structure.
Citizen Koch (2013)
A great doc that should be seen by every American (especially the average clueless Republican and those who don’t vote), about how an outrageous decision of the Supreme Court set a precedent for campaign advertisement that would change forever the outcome of US elections.
This alarming and terrifying exposé is both a tense real-life espionage thriller that came at the right moment when the events were still fresh in people’s minds and a fascinating character study about a brave man who put his life at risk to reveal what he knew to the world.
City Lights (1931)
Chaplin’s first sound film (but still with no voices, for he wanted it to be a universal tale) was this wonderful and funny movie of transition from the silents to the talkies, structured as a series of fantastic sketch-like scenes and with an incredibly moving, unforgettable last scene.
City of God (2002)
With an elaborate plot centered on a dozen characters (most of which are played by excellent amateur actors from slums), Meirelles creates a stylized and superbly-edited modern classic that throws us into a war between rival factions in a dangerous Brazilian favela.
The City of Lost Children (1995)
This lumpy steampunk dark fable is a perfect example of too much style over substance, offering us astonishing visuals, a beautiful soundtrack and spectacular plot devices (like the chain of events originated by a teardrop) but not so able to use all that in a more meaningful narrative.
City of Men (2007)
A worthy follow-up and conclusion to the TV series, but unfairly shadowed by the greatness of City of God. The two long-time friends now deal with problems that are more compelling than before, and they even get caught up in a war between rival gangs that could cost them their friendship.
A City of Sadness (1989)
This strong and resonant historical drama has a deliberate pacing and takes a good time to shape what it wants to say and find a focus, but the waiting is more than worth it and the result full of significance, even if it may be hard for the viewers to follow its intricate narrative.
The Clan (2015)
It creates a strong impact by forcing us to be accomplices in the family’s criminal activities, with the help of a great cinematography and camera movements/long takes (claro, Pablo Trapero), but it feels hard not to root against all characters – including the young protagonist.
Clash of the Titans (2010)
A noisy, dull and flat blockbuster that plays exactly like a video game, with no character development or energy, and fails so miserably due to an overly serious tone, a horrible script and a hero with no charisma – and the tense Medusa scene is the only thing that works.
The Class (2008)
As an authentic depiction of Western contemporary teaching in a multicultural school in Paris, this honest film wisely uses a documentary style and young non-actors to offer a realistic view into a culturally diverse city, beautifully escaping the Hollywood school clichés.
Cleo from 5 to 7 (1962)
Varda’s direction is impeccable, with a wonderful attention to the mise-en-scène, camera movements and use of mirrors to show an absorbing real-time hour-and-a-half (not two hours as the title indicates) in the life of a narcissistic singer forced to face the emptiness of her life.
Kevin Smith deserved all the recognition that he got after presenting us with this hilarious slice-of-life cult movie, which was made with a very limited budget and yet is more authentic, refreshing and amusing than many comedies out there.
Ceylan crafts this enthralling story of a collapsing marriage with an enviable use of visuals and sound, but the film is also too thematically ambiguous, leaving us unsure if it wants perhaps to expose Turkish sexism or blame it on a presumed female weakness of attitude and character.
An enchanting film with great special effects, yet I feel reluctant to regard the aliens as peaceful and awe-inspiring since they do abduct people, even children – and it is also hard to accept the protagonist’s selfish decision at the end without any concern for his family.
Blending fiction and reality in ways that make it a unique experience, Kiarostami creates a fascinating piece of fiction-documentary hybrid that reveals always more and more about its characters and Iranian society (including social issues) than we could imagine to be possible.
Closely Watched Trains (1966)
A master class in direction, mise-en-scène, cinematography and editing (there is not a single shot out of place), and it makes the best use of a smart symbolism and hilarious sarcasm to jibe the Czech people and society as well as the soviet regime they were living under at the time.
Once in a lifetime a film/play like this comes up, one that works as a true mirror to our own faults, flaws and vices, embodied by four fascinating, multidimensional protagonists who hurt and manipulate one another, using their words as cruel weapons and revealing their innermost weaknesses in the process.
Cloud Atlas (2012)
This is what happens when you go crazy and try to make the most ambitious film ever, a pretentious and megalomaniac project that attempts to comprise all genres and be bigger than life but is only a complete and utter mess. It is overlong, tiring, cheesy, uneven and unbearably confusing.
Clouds of Sils Maria (2014)
Fiction and reality (in this case, “reality”) merge in this fascinating meta-discussion that brings to mind Ingmar Bergman’s Persona and also works as a biting satire on celebrity culture, with excellent performances from its three actresses, especially a surprising Kristen Stewart.
The Clown (2011)
This delightful and sensitive road-fable is both moving and hilarious, and it takes a special time to introduce its adorable characters and make us genuinely care about them – even though it finds a rather too easy resolution for the main character’s emotional conflict.
The Club (2015)
Larraín tackles a thorny subject like child molestation and other misdemeanors in the Catholic Church with great tact, and if at first the film’s ironic conclusion may feel a bit contrived, it ends up giving a well-deserved punch on the revolting hypocrisy of said religious institution.
A deliciously ingenious and funny adaptation that lives up to the fun of the famous board game on which it is based and exhibits an amazing attention to details, while Tim Curry stands out in the great cast and completely steals the scene in the film’s clever possible endings.
Coco Before Chanel (2009)
The plot is too conventional and feels somehow incomplete when it comes to showing what was exactly so special about the character that propelled her into recognition and fame, but this is a decent film with some strong performances and a gracious score.
A soulless romance that lacks intensity and passion, with an atypically awkward Mads Mikkelsen and an insipid Anna Mouglalis trying hard to appear sophisticated but forgetting to look human – her character even mourns the death of her lover but we cannot see or feel her pain.
An intelligent and post-structuralist narrative exercise that, shot in a series of single-take fragments, plays with the structural codes that form the basis of storytelling to reflect how people can’t understand each other in this society with their very own signs (languages, gestures, cultures, moral values).
Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)
Casual as a coffee break and with Jarmusch’s delicious offbeat humor, this unpretentious collection of vignettes in black and white is curiously entertaining and sometimes even hilarious, flowing by from one chat to another as its celebs savor their java and smoke.
A Coffee in Berlin (2012)
Visibly influenced by Woody Allen, not only in its black and white but also in the downbeat mood, the jazz score and mainly the deliciously wry humor, Gerster’s impressive debut as a filmmaker tells a very thoughtful story about a young man who feels like he doesn’t belong anymore.
The awful score is so off-putting and the film unapologetically ambiguous about its intentions (which are never made exactly clear), as though just to place Groff’s character from HBO TV series Looking – cocky, awkward and easily intimidated – in this sort of situation and not go anywhere from there.
An intelligent low-budget sci-fi that does a first-rate job in exploring the many possibilities of its intriguing premise, focusing mostly on a largely improvised dialogue and making use of an expert, minimalist approach that brings to mind the brilliant time travel sci-fi Primer.
A grim and thought-provoking must-see documentary that should leave you terrified for the doomed future that Michael Ruppert foresees and saddened by the shattered life of a man who has tried his whole life to warn people of something he knows he is right about.
Despite the weak performances by the two young actresses, this is a delicate and tremendously bleak portrait of the desolation, despair and tenderness of people and entire families whose lives were profoundly affected by the economic crisis that hit Portugal in recent years.
Colombian Love (2004)
An amusing film that is more like an Israeli take on typical French romantic comedies – yet with more about marriage and family than meets the eye -, even though the first scene is completely disconnected from the narrative considering how the movie ends.
Though this competent thriller based on real events does manage to be really tense – almost to the point of suffocating -, the sort of manipulation to achieve that purpose is never subtle, in a way that makes it work purely as gripping entertainment (even if it is undeniably unrealistic).
The Colossus of Rhodes (1961)
This grandiose epic directed by Sergio Leone – his first film before he went on to perfect his craft with his well-known Spaghetti Westerns – relies mostly on its stunning visuals, complete with dazzling sets and costumes, and also features some nice action scenes.
Come Undone (2000)
The actors seem very natural together, depicting well the intensity and wonders of first love, but the movie has a big problem in its fragmented narrative, which jumps randomly between two moments in time and so the story becomes less fluid and not very easy to relate to.
The Comedy (2012)
This mumblecore piece of avant-garde comedic drama is certainly not for everyone’s taste but I found strangely compelling to observe (yes, that’s the word) the life of this revolting character who is composed by Heidecker (always fantastic) mostly through improvisation.
Coming Home (2012)
Videau’s film wisely avoids being shocking or maudlin, given the disturbing subject; instead, it explores the emotional effect of long endured isolation and the strange relationship between the two main characters, raising interesting questions about identity and freedom.
Coming Home (2014)
Li Gong shines in a nuanced performance that conveys many emotions such as sadness, confusion and a desperate longing for her husband; it is just a pity, though, that the film feels a bit repetitive and there is even an unnecessary revelation about an incident in the character’s past.
The Company Men (2010)
A demanding film that wins us over little by little, tackling a downbeat topic with a slow, careful approach and asking us to be patient because the result will certainly be rewarding, and its main strength lies in three exceptional performances by Jones, Affleck and Cooper.
It is hard to believe that such a revolting and absurd story could really happen, but believe it or not, it is based on real events – and this well-directed film grows effectively disturbing as we are forced to see how stupid people can be in the hands of skilled psychopaths.
Pete Doherty may be great as a musician and songwriter, but as an actor he proves to be just as abysmal as this unendurable film – a sterile drama that is not only as dull as watching paint dry but also corny, artificial and painfully repetitive.
With a great performance by Deborah Secco, despite her character not being really well delineated, this solid film works very well until halfway through, when from then on it suddenly decides to be an overcoming story that sounds artificial and terribly moralizing.
The Congress (2013)
It may feel disjointed to some viewers as it did to me when I first saw it, but I was wrong; in fact, this is a beautiful film that has Robin Wright in a fantastic performance and offers a fascinating discussion about reality and the thin line that separates the escapism of Hollywood films from alienation.
Conjugal Warfare (1974)
An irregular, witless and pointless exercise in self-indulgence that makes it clear that Andrade is trying to be the next Fassbinder – only what he is making is a stupid parody, a male fantasy in which all female characters are shown as weak, flighty or submissive to disgusting men.
The Conjuring (2013)
Since Insidious a horror film hasn’t scared the crap out of me like this, and Wan follows that great movie with this genuinely terrifying story that knows how to maintain a steady level of pure terror by relying on an extremely creepy atmosphere and cinematography.
The Conjuring 2 (2016)
James Wan tends to exaggerate when showing off with his camera, but even so he continues to prove that he knows how to find the most interesting ways to creep us out, avoiding the cheap scares and investing instead in its characters and a constantly oppressive atmosphere.
The Conspirators (1972)
It feels like a theater play filmed by someone trying to be a Brazilian Shakespeare, and so it isn’t aesthetically appealing or cinematic (even the mise-en-scène is artificial), while the actors don’t speak but declaim their lines in an affected manner; still, it would make an engaging play.
The Constant Gardener (2005)
Meirelles directs this taut political thriller with a remarkable control over the material in his hands and fantastic performances from his cast, and the result is a gripping, suspenseful mystery, an engaging love story and an intelligent statement on an important subject.
A viral epidemic on a worldwide scale is not an original concept but it is nice to see how the film focuses on the search for a cure and the politics involved – until it turns into a basic apocalyptic scenario full of clichés and with a conclusion that is not entirely satisfying.
A powerful and devastating story that depicts with painful honesty the gradual dismantling of a marriage triggered by an ambiguous lack of trust, and it is a big-budget Godard gem that blends sentiment and intellectual musings in a very unique way.
The Conversation (1974)
A sophisticated and taut narrative in which Coppola does with sound what Antonioni had done with image in his Blow-up, following a paranoid man unable to open up to anybody and trying desperately to put the pieces together of something that he cannot understand.
A gorgeous and stylized gem that will prove to be of hard digestion (yes, pun intended) for many viewers, but those with an open mind will find a lot more to it than “just” a magnificent score, cinematography, art direction and costume design (the game of colors is fantastic).
Cool Hand Luke (1967)
What elevates this engaging drama to a remarkable ode to nonconformity is definitely Paul Newman’s intense performance and its taut, compelling script, which both compensate for the story’s exceedingly slow-moving pace and Rosenberg’s inept direction.
Le Corbeau: The Raven (1943)
An absorbing thriller that surprises us with the way its mystery becomes always more gripping and with its pessimistic view of mankind and the rottenness hidden inside all of us – and it came out in a perfect time for that sort of discussion during the German occupation of France.
Corn Island (2014)
This beautiful and nearly silent minimalist film feels like a true definition of the Art of visual poetry, as it tells a simple yet deeply resonant story that doesn’t need words to express what it wants, relying on a gorgeous cinematography and Ilyas Salman in a fantastic performance.
A provocative journey into the lustful fever of post-modern cyber-capitalism, with a magnetic performance by Pattinson, whose character remains intriguing from one casual talk to another while keeping our interest in his bizarre universe – even if sometimes the talking is just cliché.
The Counselor (2013)
It is shocking that so much talent could lead to this terrible mess, a clumsy and bloated movie with no structure and full of dreadful dialogue and pointless scenes, even though after eighty minutes of tedium it finally shows that it has something to say after all.
The Counterfeiters (2007)
This dark film based on a true story works as an absorbing moral exercise about the terrible choices that some were forced to make in order to survive the horrors of the Holocaust, and it deserves even more credit for making us sympathize with a not-very-likable anti-hero.
The Countess (2009)
Despite its first-rate costume design and Erzsébet Báthory being such a fascinating subject, this flawed historical drama seems more like a soap-opera that tries too hard to soften her image as someone broken-hearted by love but ends too ambiguous for us to care.
A Countess from Hong Kong (1967)
Chaplin’s last film and the only one in color, a funny, delicious screwball comedy with very fine performances by a great cast – except Tippi Hedren, who is not really in tune with the others. And the chemistry between Brando and Loren is phenomenal.
The Courier (2012)
A dull and painful mess that seems like a clumsy mix of The Transporter, Angel Heart and Kill Bill, forcing us to put up with an unbelievably stupid protagonist amidst embarrassing clichés, a lot of godawful dialogue, absurd plot holes and a ridiculous ending.
The Cove (2009)
Both thrilling and devastating, this daring documentary exposes the revolting covert massacre of dolphins in Japan, urging us to act against the horrible things that men do to animals all over the world. Some may even feel that the filmmakers’ arguments are not very consistent but no one can deny the importance of what is discussed here.
An awful documentary that screams of amateurism and incompetence with a lot of vague speculation about a supposed “cowspiracy,” and it is so irritating that Andersen digresses all the time and puts himself (and his “quest”) at the center of it instead of what he wants to discuss.
Karine Teles is excellent – and the only reason to watch this movie, since it is awfully directed (switching aspect ratio in ways that feel completely arbitrary), the cinematography is hideous and the plot, while well written to a certain degree, doesn’t seem to go anywhere in the end.
A perversely disturbing and highly uncomfortable film that bursts with overwhelming sexual intensity as the characters engage in a compulsive fetishistic psychopathology that is strangely telling, even if it will probably leave most viewers repelled and make them never want to see it again.
The deserving winner of the Oscar for Best Picture in 2006 is this spectacular morality study on racism, intolerance and xenophobia, and it probes into those loathsome sores of society in such a powerful and unsettling way, to show us that there are no easy solutions for them.
The Crazies (2010)
A tedious, formulaic movie full of clichés, deus ex machinas, irritating loud bumps and characters who behave in the most incomprehensible way – which is a pity considering its good performances (especially Joe Anderson) -, and it has a terrible, ridiculous conclusion.
Crazy Heart (2009)
Even though somehow similar to it, The Wrestler came out as a hard punch while this one feels more like a soft country song that benefits a lot from Jeff Bridges’ outstanding performance and turns out to be a satisfying yet unoriginal drama.
Crazy, Stupid, Love. (2011)
An average romantic comedy that boasts a terrific cast, especially Steve Carell and Ryan Gosling, who is clearly one of the most versatile actors of his generation. Despite some silly moments that threaten to bog down the story, it is touching enough to be worth it.
A solid and mostly restrained biopic about all the sadness and personal conflict that Charles Darwin went through while writing a book that would forever change History, and fortunately it avoids any sign of melodrama and has a strong performance by Paul Bettany.
The creature’s makeup and design are stunning and look very realistic for the time the movie came out, while the underwater scenes are really awesome and creepy, making for a classic monster movie that aged well enough and can still be fun for modern audiences.
Coogler does an amazing job (his direction is excellent, especially in the boxing scenes) to tell this story that, though too familiar in its structure, echoes beautifully that of Rocky Balboa in his films and benefits mostly from the relationship developed between him and Apollo Creed’s son, with Stallone in a wonderful, sensitive performance.
A movie so stupid in every way possible that it is really hard to take it any seriously, with a nonsensical plot, characters who behave like idiots all the time (to the point that you will want to punch the director in the face) and a ridiculous villain without any discernible motivation.
I always find it really funny that the main characters of these found footage films never stop filming even in situations of great danger, and this thriller is pretty efficient to extract tension from moments that can be simultaneously creepy, hilarious and uncomfortable.
Creepshow 2 (1987)
Despite the cheap production values and the subpar animation that serves as the comics-come-to-life wrap-around thread, this is a very amusing collection of three competent stories, with the first one being only average and the following two more interesting and entertaining.
Cria Cuervos (1976)
A devastating drama of profound political symbolism in which even the most deceptively trivial scenes have a meaning, and it is wonderful to see how it is shown from the point of view of Ana’s seemingly confused memories as they jump between different moments of her bleak childhood.
Crimson Peak (2015)
What is most splendid in this Gothic tale is its sumptuous production design, costumes and Technicolor-like cinematography – all of which should be awarded a thousand-fold – at the service of an atmospheric horror story comparable to the finest works of Shelley and Poe.
The Croods (2013)
A visually stunning and very entertaining postmodern crossing of The Flintstones and The Simpsons that will prove exciting for the whole family, offering a touching and quite appealing message about discovery and fear of change.
The good thing about this urban-legend-hunters documentary is that it is creepy and unsettling as hell, and it proves to be a fascinating blend of doc and horror film; the bad thing, however, is that the lack of answers is really frustrating and everything is left too inconclusive.
Words are not enough for me to express how much I adore this film – a deeply poetic, romantic and compelling experience that has a fantastic cast, a wonderful dialogue, one hell of a great direction and some of the most amazing martial arts scenes I have ever seen in a movie.
The solid script doesn’t try to be a mere copy of Ang Lee’s masterpiece (despite a few similar moments here and there), while the visuals are dazzling and the fighting scenes spectacular, although the excess of CGI kills some of the fun and the film ends in a lame last scene.
The Crucible (1996)
Be it an allegory of the American anti-communist witch hunt of the 1950s or a gripping story about the horrors of religious fanaticism, collective hysteria and paranoia, this is a riveting, stomach-turning drama with intense performances by an excellent ensemble cast.
In John Waters’ movies, everyone is a walking caricature and everything looks like a witless self-parody, and this is an irritating musical that sounds silly and superficial when trying to be a clever commentary, as well as a horribly unfunny comedy filled with awful dialogue.
A Cure for Wellness (2016)
The visuals are stunning, but the movie is too long and messy in terms of ideas or whatever it wants to say, to the point that it doesn’t make any sense and seems more like an amalgam of a lot of things that worked infinitely better in other movies (like Shutter Island).
Cutie and the Boxer (2013)
What first seems like a simple documentary turns out to be a complex and deeply sad portrait of an old couple of artists whose creative force derives from their many differences and conflicts together, with their art revealing a lot about their resentment and unhappiness.
The Cyclist (1987)
It is not without its flaws, like a certain character who has a motorcycle accident and is never mentioned again, but this powerful drama benefits from superb editing and an exceptional score to deliver an honest social message and keep us anguished until the very last frame.