Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
McConaughey delivers another fantastic performance in a career already full of them, shining as a despicable man who slowly turns into a caring, likable person. It is just a pity that this poignant story becomes a bit repetitive in a third act that could have done with some polishing.
If Tarkovsky had made Wings of Desire, I guess it would look a lot like this, a bleak, formally rigorous film in which every single gorgeous shot is meticulously calculated, only it is too oppressive and detached as it observes a filthy loner who tests our patience with endless existential aphorisms.
The Damned (1969)
The first half is fascinating, showing the depravity of the rising Nazism reflected on the decay of the Essenbeck family. After that, however, it seems like Visconti doesn’t want to conclude his story, and so he goes on indefinitely in an endless soap-opera of backstabbing and murder plots.
Dan in Real Life (2007)
It is not only an endurance test to stay in the company of such a detestable character and his detestable family, but the movie is also a sentimental pile of clichés from the first scene to the last – including that unnecessary, ridiculously corny last scene during the end credits.
Dancer in the Dark (2000)
Björk is magnificent in a very demanding performance, acting and singing in this grim and devastating musical tragedy that can be really difficult for some people to watch, but no one can deny that it is incredibly thought-provoking and emotionally compelling.
A Dangerous Method (2011)
It is a pity to see this compelling subject told in such a simplistic and bureaucratic way, and so the three characters and their motivations are not really well developed, even if the actors do their best. Besides, the constant skips in time contribute to make the story less fluid.
Dangerous Minds (1995)
It may seem like just another of those countless inspirational movies about a teacher who “saves the lives” of a group of rebellious students (and it is indeed condescending sometimes, especially with those candy bars), but it is also honest enough to be definitely worth it.
Daniel’s World (2014)
An informative account that probes into a delicate issue with gentleness and surprises us with its protagonist’s bravery to come out in the open and talk about it, although the director’s approach comes off as a bit prosaic and superficial considering the novelty of the topic.
The Danish Girl (2015)
Hooper is a desperate award hunter who never takes risks even with this kind of material in his hands, trying so hard to make it all wholesome and palatable for a mainstream audience that he even includes a martyr wife who stays beside her husband till the end no matter what.
Dans Paris (2006)
Watching this is comparable to having a long sharp needle slowly going through your forehead for ninety minutes, but at least Louis Garrel is a breath of fresh air in this pretentious shot at a French New Wave film whose main character is insufferable (Honoré is no Godard).
This interesting historical drama looks absolutely stunning (almost like a Delacroix painting) but is also overlong and feels too didactic (almost like a filmed History book, to be honest) despite two very intense performances by Gérard Depardieu and Wojciech Pszoniak.
The Darjeeling Limited (2007)
It is painful to see the self-indulgent work that Wes Anderson made here, so pretentious and concerned about style over substance. The visuals are outstanding but the empty story is pointless and tedious, drifting nowhere with unfunny humor and weird seriousness.
The Dark Crystal (1982)
There is nothing that can justify the amount of effort put into creating something so visually stunning (the production design is spectacular) but none into such a tedious narrative that has no imagination, no energy, no sense of pacing and is full of annoying characters.
The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
Although not achieving the same level of quality of the exceptional previous movie, this explosive, urgent and dark chapter is still an extremely satisfying conclusion to the franchise – even if investing too much in the action and with some blatant narrative flaws (not to mention Bane’s ridiculous voice).
Dark Shadows (2012)
Even with spectacular visuals and an enjoyable performance by Depp, it is frustrating to see a promising first half give place to a meandering second half that is so unfunny and disjointed, with many unnecessary elements thrown in for no reason and a horrible ending.
Dark Skies (2013)
An average horror movie that manages to build an effective mystery and tension better than anyone would expect, even if it doesn’t offer anything original about abduction phenomenon that we haven’t seen before in better works – say, The X-Files. Still, I find the ending satisfying.
The Dark Valley (2014)
A well-written and incredibly tense Austrian Western that takes its time to build an engrossing atmosphere and benefits all the more from a strong cast, a gripping revenge story and a spectacular cinematography that explores the locations to their greatest extent.
Date and Switch (2014)
A silly and completely forgettable teen comedy that is rarely funny and only offers us cliché after cliché after cliché, with a lot of artificial conflicts and uninspired dialogue (despite a few good moments here and there); but at least it is a good thing that it has a heart.
Dawn of the Dead (1978)
In this excellent sequel, Romero replaces the ghastly, oppressive black and white of the original film with some very entertaining and gruesome gore in color full of humor and clever social satire. A classic zombie horror film that stands out as an intelligent allegory.
In times of intense blood bath in the Middle East, this excellent sequel seems like tailor-made to reflect the present conflict between Israelis and Palestinians, with a wonderful CGI that makes the apes look so human and turning out to be one of the most politically relevant movies of the year.
Day of the Dead (1985)
Leaving aside the brilliant satirical humor of Dawn of the Dead, Romero makes an attempt at a zombie drama but fails with a poorly executed plot, while the one-dimensional characters are so awfully developed and unlikable that we never care about them, and so everything falls flat.
Day of the Dead (2008)
Here is what happens when a third-rate director remakes a George Romero zombie film: he subtracts any social-political subtext and throws in cheap scares, stupid dialogue, cute but lame actors and, worse, a vegetarian zombie in love.
An intelligent and challenging science-fiction classic that makes elegant allusions to Jesus Christ’s life (even in the character’s alias, Carpenter) and speaks directly to the audience in the end defending the importance of non-aggression in a time dominated by fear.
In spite of its intriguing idea and a good cinematography, this is a safe movie that never goes deep enough into the possibilities of its premise, relying on many coincidences and contrivances, and with an attempt at a “message” in the end that disappoints.
Days of Grace (2011)
There are some amazing long takes here, yes, and the brutality depicted is really appropriate; however, it seems more than evident that Gout is only aiming for style, putting together three stories using absurd twists that render the whole meaningless.
Days of Thunder (1990)
Like Top Gun with racing stock cars, it may not be really original and is quite predictable actually, but it has a very good soundtrack and Tom Cruise injecting a lot of energy into a two-dimensional character who lacks sufficient depth and motivation for us to care.
Dazed and Confused (1993)
With a lack of a well-defined structure that works perfectly, it is funny and has a deliciously nostalgic feel that captures the spirit of those high school times in the ’70s, and it does so with an excellent ensemble cast and a flawless soundtrack that makes it absolutely irresistible.
The Dead Girl’s Feast (2008)
This unhurried drama about mysticism and the nature of faith offers a remarkable performance by Daniel de Oliveira and shapes its intriguing narrative little by little, letting us put together the pieces of that strange reality in our heads as it gradually unveils what it is about.
Dead Leaves (2004)
With very little of an actual plot and yet a series of countless things and events that seem to happen so quickly one after another in such a short running time, this insanely frenetic anime full of shapes and colors proves to be a lot of fun to be at least worth the curiosity.
Dead Man Walking (1995)
A daring, objective and thought-provoking drama that inspires us to reflect on such medieval practice and discuss it for hours straight, even if it also respects those who are in favor, and it has two magnificent and greatly nuanced performances by Sean Penn and Susan Sarandon.
Dead Silence (2007)
A creepy horror movie that builds an ominous atmosphere with an ambitious production design and great eerie cinematography (of course, James Wan), and even if the efficient story is nothing really special or original, it offers a nice twist in the end.
Dead Snow (2009)
A Norwegian blood-drenched horror movie that really wants to be gross, and gross it is. Nazi zombies, probably the only original thing in a film so full of clichés and devoid of tension, which wouldn’t be that bad if the comedy weren’t taken so absolutely seriously by the characters.
An iconoclastic, profane and hilarious superhero movie filled with pop-culture references and centered on a sassy, foul-mouthed anti-hero who makes fun of everything – even the fact that he is in a movie that plays with the clichés of the genre and doesn’t take itself at all seriously.
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)
A suffocating and emotionally stressful drama/social commentary that, made with a gripping naturalistic approach, impressed me most with the way it shows how people can be cruel and indifferent to human suffering only to display in the next moment a surprising amount of compassion.
Death Proof (2007)
A delightful homage to exploitation films of the ’70s, and it is especially amusing thanks to the way it mixes the visual elements of those movies with modern ones, but Tarantino gives in once again to his narcissistic self-indulgences in endless, tiresome exchanges of dialogue.
The Debt (2010)
What to think of a film whose characters are so inept to carry out an important mission that you end up cheering against them? – a problem that undermines an engaging story full of dramatic potential, before it goes out of control in a frustrating last act.
The Deceased (1965)
A typical melodramatic tragedy full of irony that one would expect to see in a movie based on Nelson Rodrigues, and even if the director usually makes the right choices to tell this story, the problem is that the plot is too unrealistic and doesn’t really know how to end.
A Decent Man (2015)
A solid character study that benefits from Finkiel’s strong direction (especially the elegant way he uses shallow focus and the color blue) and a fantastic performance by Duvauchelle, even if it makes it almost too hard for us to sympathize with such an aggressive character.
Declaration of War (2011)
A ridiculous and irritating film full of clichés about an annoyingly optimistic couple out of a fairy tale facing a hard situation. Not only the narration is expository and unnecessary but everything else is also trivial and unsubtle, made by an inexpert director who never seems sure of what she wants to say.
Deep Impact (1998)
When a movie like this wants to be a drama about characters instead of “just” brainless catastrophe (catastrophe that takes place only in the end anyway), the least they could do is to come up with characters that matter and a plot that isn’t so offensively stupid and incoherent.
Deepwater Horizon (2016)
With a great direction by Peter Berg and a large aspect ratio that explores quite well the setting and full extension of the rig, this is an anguishing and gripping movie that stays true to the memory of those who died in a shocking disaster that could have been prevented.
The Deer Hunter (1978)
Cimino is a great director who takes his time in a long, careful first act before throwing his characters inside a terrifically tense, gut-wrenching second act that makes us deeply consider the tragic effects of war on veterans, with Walken and De Niro in spectacular performances.
Tautou is obviously not as gorgeous as the movie painfully insists and her character’s motivations are always unclear, while Damiens plays an idiot that anyone would hardly fall for, in a terribly written and poorly directed little romance that is confusing and goes nowhere.
Delicate Crime (2005)
Using many static long takes and keeping us at a certain distance from its characters, Brant creates a difficult but immensely fascinating attack on the very nature of criticism, discussing ambiguity, desire and how the way we read and perceive Art is limited by our own perspective.
Deliver Us from Evil (2014)
Although resorting a bit too much to cheap scares created by thunderous chords, this is a very efficient and creepy-as-hell horror movie (inspired by allegedly real events) that uses a great sound design and an exemplary, nasty production design to take us inside an extremely eerie atmosphere.
Dementia 13 (1963)
This low-budget horror film produced by Roger Corman and directed by Coppola before he went on the become a famous filmmaker has evident shades of Psycho but is not even frightening, with a lame, uneven plot in which nothing much really happens.
Nobody can say that Bava doesn’t have complete control of his camera, but when it comes to everything else – performances, dialogue, mise-en-scène and even his sense of geography in the scenes -, it’s all ridiculous and hilarious in the same measure, especially those amazing gory moments.
The Demons (2015)
With impressive long takes, a refined mise-en-scène and an interesting, almost fly-on-the-wall approach, this is a delicate look at a boy’s life and fears as he learns about the world, but sadly the film gets lost with a tangential subplot that focuses on another character.
The Den (2013)
The webcam found-footage is well done and the concept is quite disturbing considering the horrors that must be really found inside the deep web; the only problem is that the clichés are sometimes infuriating, like no one believing the main character and thinking she is crazy.
A beautiful, sensitive and profoundly moving ode to the beauty of life and death, with a surprising sense of humor and a gorgeous score – the kind of film that touches deep inside our feelings like few others, making us appreciate and celebrate the wonder of being alive.
The Descendants (2011)
A predictable pseudo-indie drama lazily written by someone who seems to have no clue about real people’s lives, built around artificial conflicts and embarrassing moments of humor, and centered on a group of pathetic characters who are really hard for us to care about.
The Descent: Part 2 (2009)
I was ready to accept the fact that this sequel picks up where the US edited version of the first film left off, instead of the amazing uncut one. But nothing can make me forgive the heavy-handed direction or the lack of inspiration in this silly horror movie.
As Fassbinder’s first film in English, this psychedelic drama may have an intriguing story but the direction is heavy-handed and lacks that conviction found in his earlier works. Especially the tone he adopts seems incompatible with the kind of story he wants to tell.
Despicable Me (2010)
Am I the only one or is there anyone else who didn’t laugh at all watching this? I felt like slitting my wrists with so many awful physical gags and ridiculous jokes, and it is unbearable to see all that excessive fluffiness and sentimentality. Please, Universal, don’t try to be Pixar.
Despicable Me 2 (2013)
No surprise to see that this sequel is just as detestable as the crappy first movie, obviously made by retards for retards who can find any of those ridiculous gags funny (fart jokes, really?), so watching another sequel or any Minions movie is absolutely out of question.
With such an intriguing premise, this Twilight Zone-esque movie could have been scarier and much more claustrophobic, but it only manages to be a satisfying supernatural Agatha Christie-like story whose merits are due more to its solid direction than to its weak script.
The Devil Probably (1977)
Bresson’s style is all there and it is clear that he wants to make a direct statement in what turns out to be a very political film, but sadly his usual austerity feels a bit off with the kind of story he wants to tell, and so the result seems more pretentious than it is compelling.
The Devil Wears Prada (2006)
Despite its clichéd and moralizing message about “the price you pay when you choose profession over personal life,” this is an entertaining comedy that takes a caustic look at New York’s fashion scene and has an unforgettable performance by Meryl Streep.
The Devil’s Double (2011)
A lazy and terribly-directed movie that depicts Uday Hussein as a ridiculous caricature in what is a redundant story devoid of any subtlety. Besides, Dominic Cooper is such a mediocre actor, unable to lend any sort of complexity to the two identical main characters.
The three main actors are fantastic (in their first roles), conveying with great naturalness the hardships faced by refugees who flee from their countries to Europe, but the film sadly starts to gradually lose its power as it becomes more and more artificial towards an awful last scene.
Di Cavalcanti (1977)
Frenetic, poorly made and an ugly confusion of images, narration and music, this short is less an homage than an excuse for Glauber Rocha to show that there is a director behind it.
A great thriller built on an intriguing mystery and with a very unexpected ending, but I imagine how much more tense and engaging it would have been in Hitchcock’s hands, as it feels a tad dry with its lack of score and doesn’t create the sort of impact that it naturally should.
Dial M for Murder (1954)
John Williams and Grace Kelly are surely great, but Ray Milland is fantastic in this sophisticated and intellectually stimulating thriller that fascinates with its witty, impeccably-written dialogue and the intelligent minutiae of everything that can go wrong in a perfect murder.
Naomi Watts does a good job as Diana, even in the way she walks and looks, but there is not much that she can do to save a soapy script (full of horribly corny lines) that has no real insight into her character and only shows her as immature, caricatural and not very bright.
Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2010)
This movie is so bright, amusing and sweet that it feels like only half an hour. It made me laugh real hard and I was surprised to see that it doesn’t give in to easy stereotypes nor to cheap moral lessons, remaining mostly human, honest and pretty funny.
A nice sequel that is quite funny and amusing almost in the same level of the adorable first movie, with its own share of good moments even though it did not make me laugh as hard as that one.
Diary of the Dead (2007)
Romero seems virtually incapable of following the language of modern horror films using the fake documentary style. The subjective camera is too steady and aseptic for an amateurish recording, the dialogue is unbelievable and everything else is just a pathetic embarrassment.
The Dictator (2012)
Instead of sticking to the clever mockumentary format of Borat and Brüno, Larry Charles and Cohen have sadly decided to go for a typical comedy, creating this uneven movie that has many hilarious moments but also too much unfunny toilet humor.
Die Hard (1988)
An exhilarating all-time classic action movie that is not only impressively well directed and tense when it needs to be but also always surprises us with its well-written script and realistic characterization of its witty, flesh-and-bone hero, John McClane.
Die Hard 2 (1990)
An infuriating and brainless sequel that takes an endless long time for something to finally happen and needs every single character to act as a complete idiot so that the stupid plot can move on – like Dennis Franz as an unbearable moron who is always in the way.
Die Hard: With a Vengeance (1995)
An entertaining movie full of action and humor, no doubt better than the atrocious second installment even if not in the same level of the original film. And despite a flawed last half, it has Samuel L. Jackson stealing the scene and Jeremy Irons as a great villain.
It is a bit disappointing to see an important subject matter like this become a rather heavy-handed drama in the hands of a not very talented director, with problems of editing, many unnecessary scenes and lack of emotional weight (unable even to create suspense).
Dior and I (2014)
It offers us an interesting look into the fashion house Christian Dior by showing the backstage of the stressful creation of Belgian designer Raf Simons’ first haute-couture collection, yet I guess it will please more those who work in the business and fashion buffs in general.
Dirty Wars (2013)
Scahill sets out to unravel the hidden truth behind a disturbing mystery in this always gripping documentary. Still, it is hard to shake the feeling that as a result of his investigation it also seems a bit premature and inconclusive, lacking enough corroboration to make it credible.
A sensitive drama with strong performances but unfortunately a bit longer than it should be, with a lot of unnecessary dialogue (like the final tête-à-tête between father and daughter) and not really able to resist giving in to clichés and becoming a melodrama close to the end.
A surrealist comedy of discreet humor that will probably not make you laugh as much as you will feel embarrassed for all of its petty bourgeois characters, and once again Buñuel smartly plays with his film’s structure, this time to cast a slyly provocative and cynical view on society.
What is so fantastic about this powerful, thought-provoking drama is not only the remarkably intelligent way that it raises many questions about good, evil, morality and amorality, but also that it can be incredibly tense, gripping and unpredictable.
An entertaining documentary that offers some curious information about our natural inclination for lying and the reasons that lead us to lie, even though the testimonials presented in between seem a bit arbitrary sometimes and don’t always seem related to what is being said.
District 9 (2009)
Besides the clichés, plot holes and incoherent use of the camera, any allusion to Apartheid seems dishonest, since it is hard to believe that anyone could be tolerant if an alien spacecraft arrived on Earth carrying over a million of those repellent giant lobsters uninvited.
It is a sad, tragic and powerful social commentary, yet it is also humorous and deeply touching thanks to the wonderful performances by Oulaya Amamra and Déborah Lukumuena, who make us love their charismatic characters and wish to see their dreams come true.
An amazing B-movie Spaghetti Western that has prompted countless imitations and unofficial sequels (one official only), boasting an iconic sullen anti-hero who would greatly influence the Italian sub-genre. A muddy, violent classic that should not be missed.
Django Unchained (2012)
Tarantino empowers a black slave named Django to get his well-deserved revenge against his white oppressors, creating an exhilarating, revisionist Western full of panache as he injects Sergio Corbucci’s directing style in a top-notch vengeance-driven blaxploitation plot.
Following a moment in Django Reinhardt’s life during World War II, this engaging drama offers us a nuanced portrait of a brilliant musician who gets caught in a very tense situation and begins to slowly realize that he must flee from the dangerous grip of a menacing regime.
Do Not Disturb (2012)
Most of this pointless film is a long, boring and unfunny build-up to something really frustrating – and things become repetitious very fast, with endless scenes and conversations stretched for much longer than our patience can take.
Doce Amianto (2013)
If David Lynch and Monty Python had a child who decided to make a trashy Cinderella pastiche in Brazil, I imagine this would be the result, a curious exercise of style and mood that is hilarious in its over-the-top nonsense but which however suffers from some lack of cohesion.
Doctor Strange (2016)
Typically expository (and tiring because of that) like most films of the Marvel Cinematic Universe whose main objective is to introduce a new superhero, the movie is at least impressive with its psychedelic visual effects and Benedict Cumberbatch in an intense performance.
An intelligent satire which only Kubrick could have made, with an acid, hilarious dialogue and magnificent performances by Scott and Sellers – who basically improvises as three different characters and makes you wish he had also played the cowboy major as he was supposed to.
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
The first three hours are spellbinding, with fascinating characters like the ones played by Courtenay and Steiger, but then the film collapses in the last half hour, when most characters go through incomprehensible changes in personality and the plot reaches an awful conclusion.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
Al Pacino is beyond priceless in this hilarious film about a hugely inept bank robbery, and Lumet balances humor and action with perfection, creating many memorable scenes in what is both a quirky character study and a sharp commentary on the power of the media.
A Dog’s Life (1918)
Chaplin delivers a very well-inspired and hilarious 3-reel silent that has one classic scene after another – and the one in which he tries to get his money back in the ballroom is the funniest.
A Dog’s Will (2000)
The film is contaminated by the aesthetics of television and its theatrical origins are quite evident (especially in its excess of dialogue), but this is all more than compensated by how delicious it is and the intelligent way that it tackles social matters and class inequalities in Brazil.
Thematically, it may not be so original (The Village comes to mind), but there is something really fascinating in this extreme case of parental overprotection gone bizarre, as it raises inevitable questions about human nature, innocence and what makes us different from animals.
La Dolce Vita (1960)
Told in a brilliant episodic structure, this fascinating character study is the truest definition of Felliniesque: an exceptional film that is magical in its fanciful depiction of glamour in Roman aristocracy and depressing in the way it shows the decadence of a society and of man himself.
Don Jon (2013)
A refreshing debut for Joseph Gordon-Levitt as a filmmaker, who delivers a solid script that holds a lot more to it than you might think and directs it with a very firm grip reflected in the strong performances that he and the rest of his fine cast put in.
Don Juan DeMarco (1994)
Marlon Brando seems miscast in this film but this is compensated by a passionate Johnny Depp, who shines as an incurable, eternal romantic. A refreshing story about love and romance, and the main song will be stuck in your head for quite a while after the movie is over.
Even with a farcical charm of its own, this is a terribly unfunny comedy that suffers from a complete lack of wit and pacing, taking too long to establish its premise by spending a lot of time on an unnecessary flashback in its first hour that doesn’t have much to offer.
Don’t Breathe (2016)
Fede Alvarez is a talented director, and the decent work he does bringing this story to the screen compensates for a thin, banal script that lacks enough original twists, interesting characters and even a plot that makes sense when you stop to think about it for a second.
Don’t Look Now (1973)
With a melancholy score and fabulous editing, this notably ominous and labyrinthine story about grief and acceptance uses symbols, omens and a constant sense of danger to make us share the intense confusion and disorientation experienced by its characters.
Don’t Worry, I’m Fine (2006)
A solid drama that begins with a simple premise but then grows increasingly engaging as it refuses to offer easy answers and always surprises us with Lioret’s firm direction – a film that will probably leave you pondering for some time about the questions it raises.
Double Indemnity (1944)
One of the most indisputable definers of noir and a classic film with a fantastic direction and cinematography, a deliciously sharp dialogue and wonderful performances in a plot that is breathtakingly tense, suspenseful and even diabolical.
It knows how to create a very creepy atmosphere and benefits from a magnetic performance by Bela Lugosi, even though the movie didn’t age so well (a deleted epilogue makes the last scene seem too abrupt today) and everything about it is more theatrical than realistic.
It is a curious thing that the handsome Joe Odagiri speaks Japanese throughout the whole film while all the other characters speak Korean and yet everyone understands each other in this mystical Jungian reflection on the Buddhist Yin/Yang attraction.
Dream House (2011)
This mess of a film has a few interesting elements but the stupid plot wants so badly to be convoluted that it forgets to be coherent or even plausible. And beware, the trailer gives away the entire movie, including the twists, which only proves that the people in charge of the marketing are complete imbeciles.
The Dresser (1983)
The exquisite dialogue and the Oscar-nominated performances by Finney and Courtenay, who are no less than splendid together, are what makes this drama so engaging, centered on such a fascinating and complex relationship between the two characters.
This arthouse action-noir is especially successful in what is so hard to see in movies today: style plus substance, with a fantastic Ryan Gosling as a sullen, calculating and self-controlled Man With No Name in a plot that perfectly blends a melancholy atmosphere and brutal violence.
Driving Miss Daisy (1989)
Why this movie won so many Oscars is something that escapes me, given its annoying and poorly-paced narrative that forces us to endure an unbearable old lady and feels tremendously episodic trying to span 25 years with skips in time that are never fluid.
The Drop (2014)
Even if the characters are interesting (with the exception of a useless policeman that shouldn’t even be there) and the slow-burning plot is engaging, the clunky ending makes it feel like it doesn’t know exactly what it wants to say, with its last two scenes being redundant and inconsistent.
Duck Soup (1933)
The Marx brothers raise hell and guns and laughter in this classic, with big musical numbers and a hysterical slapstick humor full of puns and physical gags and memorable scenes that helped define the comedy genre and were an inspiration to many great comedians who came after.
Duck, You Sucker (1971)
A minor classic that sadly pales in comparison with those other superior films made by Leone, but still this is a great Western about friendship in a political revolution, with some mesmerizing performances and an enchanting melancholy score by Ennio Morricone.
Due Date (2010)
Due Date has a good deal of funny moments and works thanks to the talent of its two stars, especially Galifianakis, who is really obnoxious at first but soon gains our sympathy.
The DUFF (2015)
What seems at first like just another ordinary teen movie turns out to be a lot better in a funnier second half that gets especially elevated by the great chemistry between Whitman and Amell, who are very charismatic and couldn’t have been a more perfect choice for their roles.
The Duke of Burgundy (2014)
This stimulating, stylish and sensual story of domination and co-dependency is not only technically irreproachable (with those gorgeous visuals, a wonderful score and an outstanding sound design) but is also intelligent and rings truer than most films about love and relationships.
Dumb and Dumber (1994)
An unpretentious comedy that never loses its fun and is non-stop laughs from beginning to end even after many viewings, relying on the hysterical raunchy humor that the Farrellys can get away with so well and on two amazing performances by Carrey and Daniels at their best.
Dumb and Dumber To (2014)
A very solid sequel that retains the goofy charm of the great original movie even if it may feel like just more of the same, and once again the Farrellys know that, like in that film, it is the characters (and their hilarious stupidity), not an actual plot, that it should be about.
The box office failure of Fantasia prompted Disney to make this much simpler animation that relies more on characters and feelings, and it has a very beautiful story (despite some ethnic stereotypes) about rejection and how one’s “defect” ends up being what makes one so special.
Fruit Chan crafts a queasy, unsettling film about vanity and obsession using an exemplary sound design to evoke tension from a really unusual premise. Still, it has problems in the editing, while the parts don’t seem to add up to an exactly satisfying whole.
It is Eileen Essell who makes it a real pleasure to watch this mildly entertaining comedy that, despite its share of funny moments here and there and a good twist in the end, has not much else to offer in terms of narrative and gets less and less funny after halfway through.
Great performances and a delightful chemistry between Roberts and Owen help lift this intelligent, funny and well-constructed espionage film above many other similar ones, and it benefits even more from a witty dialogue and clever plot twists.
The Eagle (2011)
A morally repellent movie that clearly supports imperialism (the emblem being an eagle and the Romans performed by American actors) and considers those who resist it as ruthless savages, which makes it unbelievable that Jamie Bell’s character would help the invaders regain their “honor.”
The East (2013)
The kind of stupid thriller that tries to pass as nuanced but only insults our intelligence with too much exposition and gaps in logic that make any suspension of disbelief impossible. And Brit Marling makes it worse playing a character who can’t convince as an undercover agent.
East of Eden (1955)
A timeless and profoundly touching retelling of the Biblical story of Cain and Abel using the early 20th century California as backdrop. While the visuals and music are wonderful, it is James Dean’s performance the most spectacular here, especially in the poignant final scene.
Easy Street (1917)
A light and funny silent short in which Chaplin the tramp gets a job as a policeman and must put order in the London slums.
Eat Pray Love (2010)
Even if Julia Roberts is adorable and the stunning scenery will probably make you want to go backpacking around the world, this weak movie feels a bit bloated and too long for a romantic drama, and it doesn’t have what it takes to keep our interest for all that running time.
Oliveira, who was over a hundred years old when he made this film, crafts an interesting sixty-minute adaptation of a short story written by the 19th-century Portuguese writer Eça de Queirós, with an intriguing narrative that brings to mind the surreal style of Luis Buñuel.
The boldest film of Antonioni’s informal trilogy in terms of language, since he makes choices that would objectively be considered wrong but couldn’t feel more right – and he even uses some powerful symbolism to pull us in and make us feel the characters’ dissatisfaction.
Ed Wood (1994)
Burton treats his idiosyncratic character with great affection and respect, in a delightful (and very funny) biography that emulates with perfection the visuals of classic horror movies – making us even want to check out Ed Wood’s turkeys. Besides, Depp and Landau are magnificent.
Eddie the Eagle (2016)
The kind of inspirational story in which we know everything that is going to happen but still we happily embrace the clichés that make it seem like a delicious throwback to the ’80s (the music is great), and Egerton has so much charisma that we can’t help but fall in love with his character.
Hansen-Løve’s intimate, low-key approach may come off as a bit too stiff for the film’s own sake – mainly, the dialogue sounds markedly stiff and the delivery of the lines by the actors also -, but there is a sensitive quality to her story that makes it curiously affecting.
Edge of Tomorrow (2014)
It may not be exactly original but this efficient and expertly-edited sci-fi does a great job to combine aliens and a Groundhog Day plot using top-notch visual effects and an excellent sound design – and Tom Cruise sells his character’s evolution with a usual magnetic performance.
An Education (2009)
A charming, provocative and, above all, mature coming-of-age drama with a simple yet morally complex story that never gives in to easy solutions – and, while the cast is wonderful, it is Carey Mulligan who definitely shines in a remarkable performance.
Effi Briest (1974)
Fassbinder directs this period piece with an impressive technical sophistication, something evident in the exquisite mise-en-scène and cinematography. And he finds in Fontane’s criticism of society a perfect material to be adapted by him, although the result is a bit too long.
The Eichmann Show (2015)
Uninspired and banal like a TV movie, it doesn’t live up to the complexity of the moral questions that it inevitably raises regarding Eichmann’s trial and ends up feeling as manipulative and self-important as the spectacle it tells us about.
Fellini takes his existential musings from La Dolce Vita to a radical level with this fascinatingly intimate and gorgeous exercise in self-reflection (the title couldn’t be more perfect), shaping it as a stylish anti-comedy and building it upon a surprising anti-structural narrative skeleton.
Eight Hours Don’t Make a Day (1972)
Eight hours of this delicious family miniseries made by Fassbinder is more than anyone could ask for, delighting us with great performances and a lot of hilarious situations that prove to be just as entertaining as they are clever as a commentary on society, family and class.
8 Mile (2002)
Eminem shows he has a natural talent for acting, delivering a strong performance in this solid underdog story that could have been the first of many for him, and this is a well-written drama despite the linear structure that doesn’t really allow for many surprises.
Eisenstein in Guanajuato (2015)
It may not be easy for some to tolerate Greenaway’s stylistic excesses and kitschy depiction of Eisenstein, but once you get used to all that, you will find an eccentric biopic that could have only come from him and is lifted by a committed central performance by Elmer Bäck.
El Dorado (1966)
Hawks re-teams with John Wayne in this obvious remake of Rio Bravo (although he always denied that), which despite lacking in originality and being too familiar for its own good, boasts a stunning cinematography, elegant dialogue and Robert Mitchum virtually stealing the scene.
An amusing satirical film that may take us more than one viewing to grasp its subtle, dark humor and the sharp irony of what it wants to say involving ethics and morality – and it benefits immensely from some very nuanced characters played by the actors in excellent performances.
An intriguing drama of fascinating moral complexity and ambiguity, with an elegant direction that makes use of several long takes to show us the everyday life of its main character and the drastic choices that she decides to make in view of some hard circumstances.
With a flawless direction and elegant long takes, this hypnotizing film moves in a careful pace to follow its characters prior to an impending tragedy. I only wish I felt more involved with them, while the amateur actors could have conveyed a more authentic sense of terror.
Even better than the exceptional first movie, it presents an intelligent story in which drug trafficking in Rio de Janeiro is beaten but then a new enemy rises – a potential scenario that exposes a complex social cancer that goes all the way up to the politicians, including the corrupt Military Police and the shady interests of the media.
A handsome period drama that looks stunning but feels more like reading a History book, with a plain screenplay that doesn’t offer many surprises and a cold, didactic direction by Shekhar Kapur that doesn’t leave us engaged in the way that it actually should.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
Overly dramatic and cheesy like a soap-opera, this stupid costume drama made to dazzle us with its sumptuous production design seems like two stories in one and cannot decide if it wants to be a romance for women or a backstabbing period drama, and so it simply fails as both.
Verhoeven creates a highly effective and absorbing combination of thriller and character study, being particularly successful as the former and benefiting from a careful, nuanced performance by Isabelle Huppert, who offers a whole lot of depth to a difficult character.
Elvis & Nixon (2016)
Even if it doesn’t have that much to offer apart from being an amusing curiosity about an iconic moment immortalized in a photograph, the film is super funny and fun to watch, with great dialogue and two priceless performances by Michael Shannon and Kevin Spacey.
Aside from Jodie Foster’s over-the-top performance and an irritating shaky camera that makes it hard sometimes to follow what is happening in the action scenes, Blomkamp really hits the mark with this efficient sci-fi that is entertaining and even thought-provoking.
Embodiment of Evil (2008)
It is fun to see how it updates the trashy quality of Coffin Joe’s previous films to modern times, but Marins is a terrible actor (what happened to the guy who used to dub him?) and the movie is a ridiculous mess that also exaggerates in its mindless scenes of violence against women.
End of Watch (2012)
It takes a very incompetent director to be this incapable of using the (clichéd) subjective camera in a minimally coherent way – and Ayer also sinks his decent plot with inconsistencies and a pathetic ending that even includes a useless epilogue.
Endless Love (1981)
I guess I must be one of the very few who managed to feel the despair of the character’s obsessive love (to the sound of that heartbreaking Lionel Richie song), but sadly after one hour the movie becomes a sappy, overplotted soap-opera and doesn’t even care to offer us a conclusion.
Endless Love (2014)
Bearing no resemblance at all to the original story, this endlessly awful teenage melodrama basically tries to create conflict by turning the girl’s father into a monster but only manages to be nonsensical – really, it doesn’t even have any idea of what a recommendation letter is.
Endless Night (2015)
With an impressive cinematography that widely explores the isolation and vast whiteness of the Arctic, this is an engaging story centered on a cultural clash experienced by two very different characters who are forced to endure a terrifying glacial nightmare together.
A challenging and disorienting puzzle that moves at a slow-burning pace and builds an extremely tense atmosphere to promote discussions and interpretations regarding its mind-twisting plot – which may be simpler than it seems, with a key to it on one of its posters.
The English Patient (1996)
The kind of overlong and self-important epic-scale drama that seems tailor-made to win every award for its outstanding visuals, performances, make-up and editing, but which suffers from an excess of characters and subplots while lacking in focus and meaning.
Enough Said (2013)
A sweet and mature romantic comedy that, behind its apparent simplicity, is more nuanced than one would imagine, offering an honest insight into love between middle-aged people and with great performances by Dreyfus and Gandolfini (who will be missed).
Enter the Void (2009)
With this uncomfortable drug-like experience of strong colors and strobe lights, Gaspar Noé proves again that he is such an imaginative director, taking us with his subjective camera in a depressing psychedelic trip presented entirely from the point of view of its main character.
I have never seen the HBO series (and don’t intend to), but this silly (and rarely funny) movie was obviously conceived for fans only, with lots of celebrity cameos and characters who look terribly shallow – Ari being the exception, even overshadowing the protagonist, Vince, who is barely there.
Entranced Earth (1967)
This Brechtian allegory of great cinematic and historical importance never feels obsolete considering that a lot remains unchanged when it comes to politicians and their twisted ethics, and it is a delirious and audacious film of spellbinding imagery with no diverting subtlety.
Entre Nós (2013)
A delicate and profoundly complex character study that finds a most perfect balance between melancholy and humor, with multidimensional characters (played by some excellent actors), an elegant, fluid direction and a spontaneous dialogue that feels as though it were all ad-libbed.
Tanovic tells this revolting real story using a welcome verité style and non-professional actors who play themselves, all in a way that invites comparisons with the Iranian New Wave, but his plain, fly-on-the-wall approach may feel distant and prevent us from a greater emotional response to it.
Unfairly underrated, Equilibrium clearly borrows from The Matrix and classic sci-fi films such as Fahrenheit 451 and 1984 but stands out on its own mostly thanks to the main character’s personal emotional conflict and its intense, well-choreographed fighting scenes.
Ernest & Celestine (2012)
Made from simple artisanal drawings of pastel tones and with a great sound design, this joyful tale of friendship offers a smart commentary on prejudice and acceptance of people’s differences – a very important message for children today.
John Rhys-Davies must be desperate to be in just about any project, for nothing else justifies him being in this preachy Christian garbage about God and faith that looks like a cheap TV movie with lousy acting and not even a decent cinematography to explore the beauty of its locations.
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
An efficient prison break movie that manages to be tense and gripping, even though there is nothing really memorable about the plot and it doesn’t even make any attempt to conceal its artificial and clearly manipulative efforts to create suspense in many key scenes.
The Escapist (2008)
For those who have seen more than two or three prison break movies in their lives, this mediocre film won’t offer anything new even if it believes to be doing something pretty smart and profound with an annoying flashback structure and a silly Ambrose Bierce twist in the end.
Escobar: Paradise Lost (2014)
So what that Escobar is not the protagonist, when Del Toro’s magnetic presence looms over the whole film like a terrifying menace and we are offered a second half that is so nerve-wracking? – despite the first half being too conventional and the supporting characters frustratingly one-dimensional.
Essential Killing (2010)
Even if not original and proving to be a wearing experience, this visceral film deserves credit for being almost without dialogue – and Gallo does a good job as a desperate man struggling for survival in an inhospitable place, while the locations highlight well his isolation.
A harmless but mildly pleasant Brazilian indie romance that has some good moments here and there but is irregular as a whole and without much focus or rhythm, with a script that roams around without knowing where to go and silly philosophical musings that are a real bore.
Europa ’51 (1952)
Despite its noble intentions, this preachy film was clearly made as a vehicle for Rossellini’s marxist discourse – and not only it relies on a contrived premise that is hard to buy but also has a very heavy-handed execution, with a clumsy dialogue and a terrible lack of subtlety.
A pretty funny teen sex comedy full of dirty jokes and bathroom humor. It is nothing special and definitely not supposed to be taken seriously, so just let yourself go with it and you may laugh real hard at its hilarious nonsense and inspired moments.
Even the Rain (2010)
An intriguing Spanish drama that raises many complex questions about morality with well-constructed characters who have solid motivations for their actions, and the plot makes some curious parallels between the early colonization of America and modern-day imperialism.
Event Horizon (1997)
A lousy and unimaginative mix of Solaris, 2001: A Space Odyssey, Alien, The Shining, Hellraiser and more – and if being a ragbag like this doesn’t give you an idea of the disaster that could only come from it, the cheap, loud scares and Anderson’s awful direction are definite proof.
A nerve-wrecking and moving film that recounts the real story of an adventure that turned into a nightmare at the top of the world, and it is great to see how it depicts the whole incident as a realistic consequence of a risky journey instead of making it about mere visual entertainment.
Every Thing Will Be Fine (2015)
I can’t stop thinking how unnecessary – even if very well made – the 3D is in this uneven film, and, although James Franco is great as always, the film’s confused attempt at becoming a thriller at a certain point doesn’t work and it all falls flat with an unconvincing resolution.
Everything’s Alright (1978)
Irregular and sometimes a bit irritating with its hysterical hubbub of people yelling pointless monologues, at least it compensates for all that with excellent performances and many hilarious moments when making fun of the ridiculousness and hypocrisy of Brazilian middle class.
The Evil Dead (1981)
A fun splatter movie with tons of gore that make it so gruesome and funny. It is cheesy, silly and poorly made, with awful acting and many filming and continuity errors, but compensated by an amazing make-up and bizarre sense of humor.
Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn (1987)
Not really a sequel but more a different remake of the first one with superior special effects and camera work, and it is definitely a lot funnier, with a more bizarre physical humor that includes a squealing possessed hand and a hysterical Bruce Campbell stealing the scene.
Evil Dead (2013)
It seems like Alvarez didn’t really get what made the original Evil Dead movies so successful, and so he basically eliminates the bizarre humor that made them so much fun and now goes for a bloodbath of pure gore that is entirely derivative and relies on ridiculous cheap scares.
Even though the protagonist is a flawed, intriguing demagogue, this visually stunning but tiresome (and oversung) musical makes it hard for us to care, given how insufferable most of the songs are (except for two or three), like nearly everything made by Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Ex Machina (2015)
The direction is a bit predictable and the film goes on for a few minutes past what should be its conclusion (even though I like the last shot), but this is an intelligent sci-fi that offers an amazing production design, impressive visual effects and great food for thought.
Although it begins quite well, Exam is too unoriginal and only draws inevitable comparisons to The Apprentice and films like Cube and The Method. However, the real problem is how pointless the story really is, including a frustrating ending.
Built on a gripping atmosphere of mystery, this is an intriguing sci-fi thriller that pulls us deeper and deeper into a highly strange universe that leaves us always curious to know more about – even if after a while it doesn’t take us much to see where it is going.
Exit Through the Gift Shop (2010)
A fascinating documentary about an eccentric guy who decided to film the work of street artists – which could immortalize their ephemeral art -, and it is not only the record of a movement but an amusing character study that also makes us question the nature and value of Art itself.
A wonderful epic that boasts one of the most beautiful scores in the history of Cinema, a gorgeous cinematography that makes the best use of its locations, fantastic performances (Sal Mineo is the highlight) and an incredibly well-written script that still feels relevant today in its message in favor of peace.
Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)
Another major Biblical epic with dazzling visuals released in 2014, and like Darren Aronofsky’s Noah it also understands that the God depicted in the Old Testament is, well, a cruel and sadistic murderer, only this time Moses follows the opposite path, from reluctant to believe to religious fanatic.
The Exorcist (1973)
Exquisitely directed and with a careful pacing, this is a true classic that drives its characters into a genuine state of pure terror in the presence of unspeakable Evil and scared the hell out of audiences when it was released – something that will be more difficult to happen today.
The Expendables (2010)
The idea of having these stars together is of course appealing, updating the ’80s to modern times, but the formulaic action scenes are never entertaining enough to justify this. Besides, the dialogue is so painful and none of the stupid jokes ever works.
The Expendables 2 (2012)
You get what you expect: a brainless action flick with lousy dialogue, unfunny jokes, boring character interaction that makes you long for the explosions and an epileptic camera that makes it almost impossible to follow the fighting scenes. Yet also funny and with Chuck Norris!
The Experiment (2010)
A stupid movie about a psychological experiment that makes no sense. The men in the role of prisoners are a bunch of imbeciles in every way imaginable and the ones playing guards are sick sociopaths, so what is the point here? Even worse is the terrible ending.
The stylized direction is sometimes unnecessarily distracting (even though the breaking of the fourth wall does work) and in some occasions the narrative seems to digress, but still this is a compelling account of a fascinating experiment that says a lot about human nature.
This overly sentimental drama could have been genuinely moving but gets ruined by terrible narrative choices, remaining not only infuriatingly manipulative, given its exploitative matter, but also with an extremely obnoxious protagonist that pushes our patience to the limit.
Eyes Wide Open (2009)
A simple, powerful and intense Israeli drama about desire versus religious faith in Jerusalem, presenting an extremely engaging forbidden love story between two orthodox Jewish men whose profound feelings for each other grow incredibly real.
Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
A slow-burning Kubrickian exploration of extramarital sexual desire and jealousy full of symbolism, and it throws us together with the characters in a nightmarish odyssey highlighted by a terrific game of colors using blue and red to suggest menace and unconscious sex impulses.
I don’t know how autobiographical this film is, only that Tsai makes it as some sort of self-reflexive experiment (which doesn’t actually suit him) that probes into his mind and creative process at the expense of any clear structure but has some moments of poetic beauty.
The Face of an Angel (2014)
I see where Winterbottom and screenwriter Paul Viragh want to go with this film – I get the point and I admire them for pushing the envelope like this -, but it is hard to shake the feeling that their many unripe ideas result in a sort of mixed bag that is not entirely satisfying.
Face to Face (1967)
Sollima’s following film after his outstanding The Big Gundown is this gripping Western that features Milian and Volonté as two very different men who start to become like each other – even though Volonté’s character seems to change too fast and not in a very convincing way.
Fading Gigolo (2013)
Despite its good moments – and there really are a handful of them, largely thanks to the presence of Woody Allen in it -, this comedy is so harmless in many ways that its sweet message about loneliness and connection gets even diluted by how perfunctory the plot is.
Fahrenheit 451 (1966)
Transposed to the screen by Truffaut and with an evoking score by Bernard Herrmann, Bradbury’s terrifying vision of a future is a brilliant allegory that remains intelligent and pertinent even today, when books may not be destroyed but are scorned by people.
Fahrenheit 9/11 (2004)
At the risk of making his film sound too preachy, Michael Moore examines with a lot of sardonic humor the causes behind one of the most shameful chapters in recent American history, creating an insightful and well-edited documentary that should be seen by everyone.
Fair Game (2010)
A compelling and well-written political drama based on an outraging, shocking real story, and the most interesting is to see how the whole situation deeply affects the relationship between the characters, who are played so superbly well by Naomi Watts and Sean Penn.
FairyTale: A True Story (1997)
All that this pathetic and incredibly silly movie wants is to be cute, and so it shies away from the truth with a ridiculous justification that more important than reality is “magic” – even if coming from a deceiving fraud that supposedly brings comfort to people. Truth is, it is not.
The Fall (2006)
Aesthetically stunning, with a wonderful cinematography and production design, this is a highly imaginative and ambitious (yet also certainly self-indulgent) film about love, and it is impossible not to love little Catinca Untaru, who couldn’t be any better or cuter, she is fantastic.
A delightful and compelling drama with a wonderful soundtrack and a gallery of characters that we really learn to care about, and the best is to see that it is told so fluidly in loosely organized fragments and never loses its pacing thanks to the great editing.
An underrated remake of a great film with new characters dealing with personal conflicts and following their dream to become a famous star, and while the first hour is engaging, I am glad that the film doesn’t get ruined by that lame Broadway-like ending.
Family Nest (1979)
In his feature debut, Béla Tarr offers an uncomfortable look into communist Hungary using the Budapest school style of cinema verité and a camera that glides almost invisible among the non-professional actors, but it becomes a bit repetitious in the last half hour with a few redundant monologues.
Fando & Lis (1968)
It is always interesting to see how Jodorowsky wanted to push the cinematic envelope with this provocative surrealist film of striking visuals – which, even if notably amateurish and flawed, already showed that he was an artist full of ideas and promising talent.
It is always a pleasure to return to this universe full of wonders and fantastic beings conceived by J. K. Rowling, who dazzles us once again with her usual astonishing imagination and a delightful adventure that also works as another intelligent allegory about prejudice and acceptance.
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)
A visually stunning animation that dazzles us at every second especially as we see the amazing attention that it pays to its smallest details, and the result is a delightful fun for all ages with a clever, witty plot, great voicing and Wes Anderson’s trademark sense of humor.
Fantastic Planet (1973)
A silly and sterile animation that believes to be much smarter than it is (even the wordplays Oms and Terr are obvious), not to mention that it is visually and audibly dated (the music is awful) and constantly loses focus with too much unnecessary detailing about the wild life in Ygam.
A Fantastic Woman (2017)
Sebastián Lelio is becoming now one of my favorite directors, and Daniela Vega delivers a magnificent performance in this complex and enraging drama that makes us share all the suffering and humiliation that the character is put through by so many people around her.
Far from Men (2014)
A careful and slow-burning drama that knows how to wonderfully explore the desolate landscapes of the Algerian desert and has an intense Viggo Mortensen at the center of a narrative that surprises us as we realize in the end how involved we have become with its characters.
Far from the Madding Crowd (1967)
A very faithful adaptation that may not be a memorable classic but translates well the essence of Hardy’s novel into a concise narrative that benefits from a uniformly perfect cast and takes its time to tell what it needs without rush, despite the rather hasty ending.
Far from the Madding Crowd (2015)
Vinterberg tones down the melodrama of Hardy’s pastoral novel to make a more sober adaptation but misses the intensity of the protagonist’s misery – which is not only a fault of his off-putting direction but also because Carey Mulligan is clearly miscast in the role.
Farewell, My Queen (2012)
With many inelegant zooms and clumsy camera movements, this irregular drama also fails to develop Sidonie’s devotion to the Queen, and so their trust relationship feels forced and rushed. Still, the story creates some good tension following a fictional character of uncertain fate.
Though some may find strange that Hannah Schygulla is only briefly mentioned, this is a very interesting documentary made with love about one of the most important and prolific directors of all time, and it focuses mostly on his fantastic body of work, themes and approach.
The Fault in Our Stars (2014)
A bittersweet and occasionally honest little romance that falters trying too hard to be cute (Hazel and Augustus, seriously?) and is ridden with too much sappiness. Still, it’s the extremely adorable (and surprisingly talented) leads who compensate for the movie’s clichés.
A difficult, uncomfortable and predictable thriller that forces us to be in the company of human garbage (which is what the protagonist is), but it is hard to figure out what the film is trying to do – are we supposed to have any sort of sympathy (or pity) for this woman or just fear?
Intelligent and gripping, the kind of well-constructed character study that keeps us always intrigued trying to figure out who is really in control of the situation, and it has two excellent performances to hold it all together as it shows the imprisoning influence of beliefs on a weak mind.
The Fear of 13 (2015)
A moving, surprising and compelling film in so many ways, and Nick Yarris has an incredible literary eloquence that makes everything he says sound fascinating (or fake even, to be honest), while the film is smart to just let him talk throughout without any sort of interference.
Félix & Meira (2014)
It must be a sign that a film is not working when you wish to know more about a two-dimensional supporting character (Meira’s husband) than about the two main ones, who are as dull as the artificial dialogue and the tedious dynamics between them – and the film only goes into high gear with thirty minutes left to end.
Fellini – Satyricon (1969)
After Juliet of the Spirits, Fellini decided to push the colorful envelope even further with this dazzling, surrealistic version of Ancient Rome filled with greed, depravity and hedonism, but the big problem is that this disjointed, plotless film doesn’t seem to know what it wants to say.
Fellini’s Casanova (1976)
Never had a Fellini film looked so incredibly stunning as this gorgeous period drama/character study that, even though a bit overlong, has the kind of episodic structure typical of Fellini but all the more suitable here for a story about a pitiful man who goes from one bed adventure to the next in his sterile life.
Fellini’s Roma (1972)
Fellini continues to experiment with the limits of structure and language after his previous films, this time to take a sharp, episodic and humorous look at the Rome of his youth, the Rome of then and his ambivalent feelings for this city (or his idea of it) that he seems to love and hate.
A Few Hours of Spring (2012)
Except for one cathartic scene at the end, this bleak and sleep-inducing film feels like an empty exercise in silent resentment, as it tries the very opposite of any other family drama and is centered on two miserable human beings who never talk through their issues.
Field of Dreams (1989)
The truest definition of a magical film, with great performances, one of the most beautiful scores I can remember and a touching narrative that is not about baseball as it is about going the distance and making amends with the past – and the ending is simply wonderful.
The Fifth Element (1997)
There is something amusing about the way it embraces camp but Besson crosses the line into goofy, ridiculous flamboyance with an insufferable Chris Tucker, an over-the-top Gary Oldman overacting insanely and a really preposterous plot that makes impossible any suspension of disbelief.
The Fifth Estate (2013)
An absolutely contemptible, preachy and misguided film in every way possible, clearly made to crucify Assange as a selfish bastard instead of creating a complex character study – and it only gets worse when it tries to make us believe that it’s letting us decide who is right.
It is hard to believe that they managed to make a movie about glamour and music (with a great soundtrack) into something so uninteresting and vapid – to the point that ask ourselves why we should care or why these poorly-developed characters would even consider each other friends. (Theatrical version)
Fifty Shades of Grey (2015)
An infinitely more sexist version of Twilight, only with BDSM (or the ridiculous, twisted idea that E. L. James has of it) in lieu of vampirism but, of course, with another low-self-esteem “heroine” and a gorgeous, domineering and overcontrolling stalker as her phallic object of desire.
Fight Club (1999)
Fight Club represents the desperate cry of the consumerist modern man for something to end his anxiety and conformism – which takes shape as a brutal anarchy of religious echoes -, and this is a dangerous movie whose brilliant, powerful statement may not be fully grasped by a mainstream audience.
The Fighter (2010)
It is always a pleasure to see a sincere drama that doesn’t give in to cheap clichés or easy melodrama but is instead a compelling film that simply relies on the power of a true story and the strength of an altogether perfect ensemble cast.
James McAvoy’s outstanding performance is what lifts this always intriguing dark comedy above its minor flaws – mainly the discrepancy in tone that starts to become more and more evident as the character sinks further into a too serious state of psychosis.
A declaration of love to Cinema made by a true aficionado – and a must-see for all cinephiles in the world. Pálfi takes the most trivial and cliched story of all and retells it using excerpts from 450 films to create something superbly edited and extraordinary.
Final Destination (2000)
Glen Morgan and James Wong, two of the best X-Files writers, did a fantastic job in this excellent, clever and original teen horror movie that has an intriguing premise and knows how to build genuine tension, especially in the nerve-wracking sequence that opens it.
Final Destination 2 (2003)
This sequel deserves credit for its spectacular first sequence, which is really tense and well made. What follows, though, is more tongue-in-cheek, making fun of Death’s ingenious traps and with an intriguing idea about how the plot is influenced by the events of the first film.
Final Destination 3 (2006)
Morgan and Wong are back for this third film, only with no originality. Everything here is a rehash of the first installment, predictable and gory, with a roller coaster accident instead of an airplane. The tone aims for seriousness but with poor dialogue and an end that is dull and stupid.
The Final Destination (2009)
More of the same for the umptieth time. The characters are uninteresting in a plot that follows a formula, but the worst is that we are always ahead of them. It gets boring to see them learning of Death’s design when we all know the rules, only not the laughable ways they are each going to die.
Finding Dory (2016)
This average sequel came only thirteen years too late, and it does lack a bit in terms of originality (especially since we are talking about Pixar), but at least it is entertaining and visually fantastic like what we have come to expect from the studio in terms of first-rate animation.
Finding Vivian Maier (2013)
An absorbing and well edited documentary that unveils the life of this secretive and incredibly talented woman in an attempt to find out who she was, raising in the process inevitable questions about someone’s right (or lack thereof) to expose the work of someone who died.
The Firemen’s Ball (1967)
Banned from Czechoslovakia for being understood as a satire that openly mocked the heroes of the Communist regime (the people), Milos Forman’s first film in color is this hilarious story made by a talented filmmaker who did know his way with an unpretentious dark comedy.
I obviously don’t belong to the target audience of this moralizing, pro-marriage piece of Christian propaganda, but nothing can excuse it for being so awfully schmaltzy, predictable, sexist and poorly made, preaching to the converted and making everyone else cringe in pain.
Despite the nice special effects and musical score, this is more a mere excuse for pyrotechnics instead of a story made to offer us anything close to real drama or character development, and it doesn’t even understand the character’s power enough to make it consistent.
Fish Tank (2009)
Even though not really original or insightful, the winner of the Cannes Jury Prize in 2009 is a realistic and deeply sad British coming-of-age drama that relies on two terrific performances by Katie Jarvis and Michael Fassbender.
A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
Leone’s classic that laid the ground for a new era for Westerns, and even though it is not as fantastic and visually stunning as what he would make after, you can already find here the seeds of his unique directing style and the introduction of Eastwood’s sullen anti-hero, The Man With No Name.
The kind of immersive contemplation (and homage) more akin to video art than an actual sort of narrative, but I really like how it produces a calming, soothing effect (like a fireplace) and would provide great ambience in the background of any living room.
5 Broken Cameras (2011)
A Palestinian peasant teamed up with an Israeli director to deliver this remarkable and moving work of historical importance that exposes the outrageous situation of abusive oppression by invading Israeli forces in the West Bank village of Bil’in.
(500) Days of Summer (2009)
Despite its clever idea, this unfunny romantic comedy full of clichés is centered on an annoying, uninteresting couple who never convinces us of what they feel – and it is almost impossible to understand how anyone would fall in love with Zooey Deschanel’s detestable character.
The Five-Year Engagement (2012)
Like Stoller’s previous movies, this perceptive romantic comedy is less about the laughs (they are there, only timidly) than actually offering a keen and complex look into modern relationships, and it could have been even better if not for a long middle act, uneven in tone and pacing.
Beals has talent and charisma but she cannot save a paper-thin plot (full of unnecessary scenes and secondary characters) that is only an excuse for a long series of music video scenes, and the upbeat last dance scene is only there to leave us with a satisfied heart.
The Flat (2011)
What makes this documentary so revealing and intriguing is not so much the mystery that Goldfinger tries to uncover or its shocking implications but all the collective propensity of second-generation Jews and Germans to close their eyes and leave the past and secrets behind.
Denzel Washington offers a strong performance in this unsurprising character study that goes downhill in clichés after a thrilling beginning. Besides, it suffers from being overlong and uneven in tone, with an artificial and unconvincing redemptive ending.
Flight of the Red Balloon (2007)
Hou’s first film outside of Asia and his tribute to Lamorisse’s Oscar-winning short is always engaging and pleasant to watch, even when at times we have the impression that it is drifting like the red balloon and its conflicts don’t become as compelling as they could.
Florence Foster Jenkins (2016)
Stephen Frears has become an expert in making forgettable biopics in recent years, and so he gives us another silly and harmless light drama with comedic touches and a great performance by Meryl Streep, who steals the show like she always does when starring in unimpressive films.
Flowers of Shanghai (1998)
A gorgeous-looking film with a beautiful art direction and a camera that appears to glide through the sumptuous spaces and rooms of those four brothels in 38 stunning long takes, making it feel almost like a travel in time to the atmospheric Shanghai of the end of the 19th century.
The Flowers of War (2011)
With astonishing visuals and an impeccable sound design, this compelling war film constitutes, however, an oxymoron of gorgeous ugliness, centered on a most hideous massacre of History whose re-creation needed no stylistic ornaments or artificial revelations.
The Fog (1980)
A simple but effective horror movie with an atmospheric score and some good scares even if the script is sometimes illogical and full of plot holes. Besides, it proves that showing dead people knocking on doors before entering can be really scary (apart from hilarious).
Food, Inc. (2008)
We are what we eat, and this is an informative documentary that exposes some disturbing – yet not exactly unknown – truths about the food industry in the USA and shows how vital it is for people to start consuming natural/organic products in order to live healthy lives.
Foolish Heart (1998)
Babenco made this autobiographical film only for himself, since it has nothing that could make anyone else relate to such a detestable story that doesn’t manage to develop any of its plot points and is all about a guy who is strangely in love with an insufferable insane woman.
Sure it doesn’t make much sense that the teenagers of this small town that has outlawed dancing for five years could all dance so well, yet this is an enjoyable film with a great soundtrack and John Lithgow as a character who is more complex than your typical zealot antagonist.
A Fond Kiss… (2004)
A modern Romeo and Juliet story directed by Ken Loach. It may be a little soapy sometimes but it is always honest, told with simplicity and raising some solid questions about religious and cultural intolerance.
For a Few Dollars More (1965)
This second film of Leone’s Dollar Trilogy is a significant step up compared to the previous one, as he starts to polish his stylish direction and is helped by a great cast to create some of the most unforgettable scenes in the Spaghetti Western subgenre.
For Love and Gold (1966)
I never get tired of watching this Italian comedy classic that is so funny and delicious in every way possible, with great performances – especially a priceless Vittorio Gassman in the main role – and hilarious road movie situations filled with dry humor and subtle irony.
The Forbidden Room (2015)
It works as a strange object of curiosity more than anything else – an empty exercise of style that could have been at least amusing as a short movie but remains only overdone, impenetrable and interminable as it is, and an insufferable waste of time that doesn’t have anything to say.
Force Majeure (2014)
An uncomfortable and darkly-humored examination of masculinity centered on a family man who becomes a pathetic coward due to some hilarious circumstances while his wife hesitates to deal with it – but the film doesn’t know how to end and lingers on for two or three scenes longer than it should.
Foreign Correspondent (1940)
Amusing enough, with a great cinematography and memorable set pieces, this is a passable film even with those irritating flaws that have become now the worst types of clichés, like a forced romance and how no one believes the main character and thinks he is crazy for no reason.
Foreign Land (1995)
A decent film that holds our attention and keeps us always interested even if its attempt at being a combination of drama, thriller and (forced) romance is not that successful – not to mention how the characters’ motivations are fuzzy especially in its third act.
Even if it deals with something that is quite disturbing in itself, the film is mostly dull, with characters that are more detestable that anything else and a protagonist whose motivations come off as inconsistent and artificial regarding what she believes and wants for herself.
Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)
The perfect example of a clever comedy that made me laugh more in a silent way (on the inside, if that is possible) than out loud, while pulling me gradually into its story by how touching it actually is, with a deeply honest narrative and a homogeneously great cast.
Forrest Gump (1994)
With a fine performance by Tom Hanks, this is a refreshing feel-good movie that is always fun and charming, even if sometimes sentimental and a bit vague about its purpose – and if you are able to overlook its flaws, you will find a captivating story of innocence and optimism.
45 Years (2015)
A nuanced and mature story about mature people, enriched by two outstanding performances from the main leads; still, it feels like the strength of the narrative is diluted somehow by Haigh’s restrained, schematic direction, especially in its silent moments of introspection.
42nd Street (1933)
With jokes that are dated for today’s standards and a silly, unconvincing plot that basically invented the backstage clichés, this musical is worth it only for Busby Berkeley’s spectacular choreography and astonishing production numbers that could never take place on a theater stage.
The 40 Year-Old Virgin (2005)
Steve Carell proves to be a really talented and funny actor in his first main role on the big screen, and this is a solid comedy that, even if a bit too long and structured more as a series of isolated sketches, offers a lot of fun with its largely improvised lines and amusing performances.
Found Memories (2011)
A contemplative work of intense narrative and visual poetry, using a simple yet strongly resonant story to raise delicate musings about the transience of life and the emotional power of our memories – how we perceive them and their importance as time passes and we age.
Four Days in September (1997)
It shows revolutionaries fighting a dictatorship as a bunch of confused amateurs (I wonder how they don’t get killed after halfway through), while also trying to humanize torturers in a muddled plot that doesn’t really know what to do with this sort of material in its hands.
This could have been a smart psychological horror but instead feels sterile and pointless, missing the chance to explore the possibilities of its premise and the character’s issues. Besides, it becomes repetitive after some time, even though John Cusack compensates with a strong performance.
The Fourth Kind (2009)
It is impossible to take this any seriously, a stupid fictional film that insults the audience trying so hard to make you believe that everything it tells is real – but the hoax is unconvincing, the screen splitting gimmick is ridiculous and Mila Jovovich a terrible actress.
The Fourth Man (1983)
The symbolism is made a bit too obvious (especially in a rather expository third act), but still it is hard to resist this stylish, sensual and technically splendid thriller that makes some very nice use of colors and is always intriguing in the way it blends reality and imagination.
Fox and His Friends (1975)
Another successful allegory in which Fassbinder illustrates again his main recurrent theme of the exploitability of feelings through a sharp and painfully sad story about how love can be used as a most efficient instrument of manipulation, humiliation and repression.
The Fox and the Hound (1981)
The animation job is exceptional, but the songs are not that great and the simple story, while solid, suffers a bit from the same problems found in most of the movies made by the studio in the 1970s, especially how it feels rather perfunctory and watered down for children.
The true strength of this engrossing drama lies in its three central performances, and Steve Carell delivers a magnificent one – probably his best to date – in a complex, engaging and well-directed character study centered on three clashing, multilayered personalities.
An intriguing thriller that holds our attention as it relies on the combined talents of Hopkins and Gosling, who are both amazing in their roles, and it is great to see them dueling in this smart mind confrontation, an above-average cat-and-mouse crime film.
Frances Ha (2012)
An example of a promising Woody Allen-esque story that has as its main character a woman so absolutely infantile that it becomes very difficult not to find her irritating (even if Greta Gerwig is definitely adorable). Besides, the film is not half as funny as it believes to be.
Fassbender should be praised for the intelligent way that he composes a whole fascinating character whose face we can’t see, in an insightful film that is so well balanced between comedy and drama, with eccentric characters and an astute understanding of our need to be loved.
A timeless classic, perhaps the most notable and influential of the Universal monsters, and even if more amusing than terrifying for today’s standards, it remains a striking experience, with stunning visuals that owe their inspiration to German Expressionism.
Tim Burton is certainly not in a fruitful moment of his career, making one derivative movie after another such as this one, a stop motion animation that is supposed to be a comedy but is only silly and unfunny, with an uninspired premise and a very uninteresting development.
McMorrow takes a bold shot in his directing debut, making an ambitious film that has a very original idea, but the problem is that the plot begins so complex and hard to understand that, by the time it reaches one hour, it is already too confusing for us to care.
Free Birds (2013)
A mediocre, run-of-the-mill animation destined to be rapidly forgotten by everyone, not only for being mostly unfunny and full of clichés but also because it holds few to no surprises, making sure that every joke is explained and leaving almost nothing to our imagination.
Free Fall (2013)
Even if the actors don’t always manage to do their best and sometimes the plot goes for the needless clichés of gay-themed movies, this drama outweighs its problems with a surprising chemistry between the leads and a satisfying conclusion.
A very interesting and remarkably intelligent film of ambitious ideas that is mostly impressive due to its well-constructed plot and clever use of colors to associate the characters’ personalities with their frequency levels – red being the lowest frequency in the visible spectrum and purple the highest.
Ice Cube has no talent as a writer (nor much as an actor) but did find who would want to direct this crappy stoner comedy that feels like the worst and most unfunny sitcom ever, plagued with awful actors (Chris Tucker is unbearable), painful gags and stereotypes instead of characters.
Friday the 13th (1980)
When you think that this is the first movie of the infamous long series, it is hard to believe that the one that started it all is so awful and sluggish, and yet it did help shape the conventions of the slasher subgenre and at least has a good cinematography and great makeup effects.
Friday the 13th Part 2 (1981)
After a long recap of the first movie and impressive long takes in a tense opening scene, this equally brainless sequel just follows the formula of its predecessor – only with more fun gore -, helping define the now well-known clichés of the genre including an indestructible villain.
Friday the 13th Part III (1982)
Jason gets his trademark hockey mask, the deaths are gorier (despite the cuts to avoid an X rating), the music is even worse than before and there are cheap scares all over this stupid, overwhelmingly brainless piece of junk that even copies the end of the first movie.
It is funny to see how many times you can kill a (dead) man and yet he always comes back, but this movie is way too laughably stupid (at one point a guy even goes down into a basement for no other reason than to get killed), filled with paper-thin characters and atrocious dialogue.
Of course they wouldn’t just kill the golden goose, so they naturally had to came up with a sorry excuse for a “new beginning,” but it is not even fun to watch when everything (and everyone) is so extremely irritating, the script is pure garbage and the dialogue is awful beyond belief.
It took five crappy movies before someone finally realized that the only way to extract any fun from this worn-out formula would be to make it explicitly campy, and so this is the best chapter of the series, with a hilarious metahumor, witty dialogue and even good performances.
Friday the 13th (2009)
Obviously, one goes into this movie expecting a lot of gruesome deaths, huge breasts and a lot to laugh about, just like when watching any other chapter of this trashy, brainless series. But this remake is never scary, tense or anything besides a predictable imbecility.
Friends with Kids (2011)
It is frustrating to see this intriguing idea and a smart first half lead to a predictable and moralizing message about love and the “importance of family” when it comes to having kids – something so clichéd that it bogs down the whole potential of its premise.
Fright Night (1985)
Funnier and more amusingly disgusting than actually scary, this decent little vampire horror movie combines fright and humor in a really efficient way, making for a very enjoyable time despite – or maybe also because of – its outdated makeup and looks from the 1980s.
From Beginning to End (2009)
One of the few qualities of this film is the lyricism of the silent shots (well photographed by Ueli Steiger, who turned down Emmerich’s 2012 to be in this project), but it is impossible to overlook the corny dialogue, weak performances and lack of conflict in this poorly-written story.
From Beyond (1986)
It grows tense and mysterious with excellent special effects and make-up while always holding our interest, but in the last half-hour it goes completely astray and over the top, losing its direction and becoming a hilarious mess with an insane climax.
From Here to Eternity (1953)
The camera loves Montgomery Clift and his perfect face, and he is exceptional as always along with Lancaster and Sinatra, but while during its first hour it feels like a film that you can watch forever, it soon starts to drag and make all too evident its lack of a well-defined structure.
From the Land of the Moon (2016)
Marion Cotillard composes her character with enough sensitivity to prevent her from becoming insufferable in her selfishness, managing to make us feel sympathy for a pitiful woman who is in desperate need to surrender to her sexual urges and a love that will consume her.
From Up on Poppy Hill (2011)
A sweet and harmless animation that is surprisingly grounded in reality without the fantasy seen in the works of Hayao Miyazaki (who wrote the story), and it benefits from a lighthearted humor and tender nostalgia, even with a rather silly conflict that ends in a not-very-inspired way.
The fact that this film is tense and terrifying as hell and has three great performances is what compensates for a generally thin dialogue and the characters’ lack of intelligence, bringing to mind other great minimalist horror movies like Open Water but with wolves instead of sharks.
A visually stunning Disney animation with wonderful songs and a story that boldly subverts the conventions of fairy tales by having no women in need of princes to rescue them – even though it could have done without a shocking, cliched revelation about a certain character in the last act.
Fruitvale Station (2013)
A tragic story of intolerance and injustice that sustains an ubiquitous tension right from the first scene (when we are told how it all ends) and eschews any hint of melodrama, showing Oscar as a three-dimensional person with qualities and flaws in order to remind us of the value of human life.
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
A powerful and cynical film that portrays with dark humor and acid criticism the dehumanizing side of war, with R. Lee Ermey and D’Onofrio stealing the show in the most memorable scenes. Still, the second part never achieves the level of excellence of the first half, turning into just another war movie.
Fun & Fancy Free (1947)
An uplifting and sweet animated package film that combines music and narrative in ways superior to Make Mine Music, Disney’s previous effort, and has two very nice stories – too long for shorts and too short for features – that are worth our time.
The Fundamentals of Caring (2016)
Another of those quirky little indie movies that try so hard to please Sundance, and while I really like it in its first hour (especially because of its performances), it almost sinks in its third act when it starts to give in to unnecessary clichés and some cheap sentimentality.
Funny Games (1997)
A brilliant narrative exercise that cleverly plays with the conventions of mainstream Cinema to create a cruel and merciless experience for the viewers, who are forced to face their own taste for (and obsession with) violence and is refused any sort of catharsis or relief.
Funny Games (2007)
A shot-for-shot remake in English of the brilliant Austrian thriller that Haneke himself made ten years before – which makes me wonder what the point is, since it is the exact same plot. At least it is worth checking out for Naomi Watts’ spectacular performance.
Funny People (2009)
An uneven Apatow dramedy in which the first half is great but the second not really. The problem is that the story stretches for too long with many scenes that should have been left out in the edition room, leading to a serious lack of pace that bogs down the final result.
An intense and suspenseful war movie with strong performances and a welcome unsentimental approach to show the dehumanizing side of war in its raw, unflinching details and that which makes us humans, like the bravery and mercy found in people in the worst of circumstances.
Futuro Beach (2014)
A hypnotizing visual experience with an indelible score but whose abstract way to approach its story makes it difficult for us to connect to the characters in an emotional level, being a romance that lacks passion and subtlety to deal with its themes even though they are there.