In its desire to be faithful to Kafka’s story, even as its setting is moved to Inner Mongolia, this passable adaptation manages to capture the hilariousness of the plot’s surreal bureaucracy but is harmed by an unwise choice to end as abruptly as the incomplete novel.
A disjointed film in which everything seems painfully arbitrary and with no sense of purpose, suffering from an unfocused script, a clumsy direction and an expository last scene – and it isn’t funny as a hipster comedy nor intriguing enough as a mystery as it wants to be.
It is true that Makhmalbaf tends to repeat himself sometimes (like with a redundant voice-over), but he casts a powerful look at a country living under the rule of Taliban and dominated by poverty and religious fundamentalism – which forced women into complete subjugation.
One of Fassbinder’s first films is this cynical story that, even though not remarkable, was already an early indication of his talent as a filmmaker – something visible in the way he combines the naturalistic style of the Nouvelle Vague with a detached, Brechtian mode of acting.
Keep the Lights On (2012)
The kind of gay-themed drama that is becoming increasingly rare nowadays: one that is brutally honest and devastating like real love can be when ruined by drug addiction and by one person’s dependence on another – which, if at first enraging, earns its place as the true core of the story.
Culturally significant and so lucky to have been made prior to the Brazilian military dictatorship, this is a masterclass in mise-en-scène and editing (the first Brazilian film to be nominated for the Oscars), as well as a daring look at blind faith, religious intolerance and sensationalism.
The technical aspects are just decent for this sort of major production that wants so much to be the next Lawrence of Arabia (take a look at the irregular cinematography in the night scenes), but this is an interesting epic with an excellent script for those (like me) who love war strategy.
Aaron Johnson is a very talented and charismatic young actor, and his character’s adorable anti-charm, combined with the awesome fighting skills of Chloe Moretz’s Hit-Girl and the film’s comic book style and bloody violence, makes this an endlessly fun superhero movie.
Kick-Ass 2 (2013)
By trying to combine an idiotic slapstick humor and the graphic violence that characterized the first film, the result is an irregular sequel that, even if sometimes exciting and able to make us laugh, is totally unnecessary and never on a par with that excellent movie.
The Kid (1921)
Although I find unnecessary the dream sequence near the end, this is a great 6-reeler that finds the perfect balance between funny and touching – and the highlight is sweet little co-star Jackie Coogan, who steals every scene he is in.
The Kid with a Bike (2011)
Although interesting at first, this drama is a frustrating effort that doesn’t seem to have much to say, while the characters are not well constructed or developed, the conflicts seem artificial and, more annoying than anything else, the young protagonist is way too unlikable.
Like a car accident that you can’t avert your eyes from, this is an unsettling display of sociopathy and delinquency on the part of a group of hateful, repellent teens, though it almost works as a relevant social commentary on adolescence and AIDS. I said almost.
The Kids Are All Right (2010)
I don’t know why this film is labeled a comedy since it has nothing to laugh about. In fact, it is a pathetic little drama that wants to make you feel liberal accepting a family of lesbians, but the characters are poorly developed, the conflicts are artificial and clichéd, and the story lacks dramatic drive.
Kids for Cash (2013)
An infuriating (and devastating) documentary that shows how a despicable judge was responsible for ruining the lives of thousands of teenagers and families in a shocking scandal that could have only taken place in a judicial system corrupted by aberrations like for-profit prisons.
Kiki’s Delivery Service (1989)
An average Miyazaki film that doesn’t develop so well its many elements into a cohesive narrative as it should – like for example the character’s sudden loss of power and her inability to make friends. The result is amusing, even if not that satisfying.
Kill List (2011)
A pointless and confusing mix of family drama, hitman thriller and gory horror that lacks energy, tension and is never engaging, with so many plot holes, a terrible pacing and ugly jump cuts – and not even a creepy twist in the end (which makes no sense) saves it from being a bore.
Kill the Messenger (2014)
After an engaging first half that trusts our ability to put together the details of this whole affair as we follow its character, this strong political drama is sadly weakened by some annoying clichés, including that of him becoming an “obsessed man who moves away from his family.”
Kill Your Darlings (2013)
A very engaging biopic, even more for those acquainted with these Beat Generation poets but not with this early event in their lives involving a decisive murder – and Radcliffe and DeHaan shine with a surprising chemistry together, leading a great ensemble cast.
Kill Your Friends (2015)
I liked this story a lot more when it was called American Psycho – come on, let’s face it, the comparison is inevitable -, but still, even if it starts to be predictable and lose gas after halfway through, this is a decent, darkly humored film centered on a rotten character.
Incredibly audacious (yet also a bit irregular) for the time it was made, Bressane’s classic underground film is an intelligent experimentation that uses a series of disconnected scenes to draw a sharp and bleak portrait of a desperate society.
Killer Elite (2011)
With a a messy script full of expository dialogue, confusing motivations and plot holes, this uninteresting and generic movie is also only able to move forward by relying on stupid characters who are no more a killer elite than a bunch of incompetent amateurs.
Killer Joe (2011)
It is like the Coen brothers meet David Lynch in this depraved, vicious and incredibly gripping festival of sadism that Friedkin puts us through – a spectacular thriller that is both brutal and hilarious in a twisted way, like what he did in his fantastic Bug, also written by Tracy Letts.
With more hits than misses, this amusing alien monster movie looks great and does deliver a lot of funny moments and all the goofy fun that is promised in the title – even though it can be very silly at times, especially in its harmless ending.
The Killing (1956)
Kubrick already showed early signs of his genius when he brought us this masterpiece, an elaborate heist thriller full of rich details for its time, with a deliciously wry dialogue and a suspenseful plot that grows unbearably tense until the very end.
The Killing Fields (1984)
With the film’s gut-wrenching first half devoted to depicting with gritty realism and a beautiful cinematography the takeover of Cambodia by the Khmer Rouge, the second half relies on Ngor’s superb performance to show a man in an amazing struggle to escape from hell.
Killing Them Softly (2012)
An extremely tense and brutal thriller that makes an intelligent comparison between the mafia and the American economic system, even though the analogy is also a bit heavy-handed, and it benefits from a deliberate pace and great performances from a sharp cast.
Kind Hearts and Coronets (1949)
Alec Guinness is fantastic playing eight different characters but it is Dennis Price who shines in this witty, delightful British dark comedy that proves so compelling showing the minutiae of the main character’s plan to eliminate eight people in order to obtain a title.
The Kindergarten Teacher (2014)
It has a curious premise, like a modern version of Amadeus (only with poetry, an unappreciated art form in our days, in lieu of music), following a madly obsessed woman who exploits a poor child to whom the gift of art comes so easy, but the film drags and feels a bit repetitive at times.
Guy Ritchie continues to make overstylized versions of classic stories, only this one is a tedious and derivative action movie that seems like a desperate display of virility – let’s be honest, instead of a sword, it would have been more honest to just show Arthur wielding his penis.
King Cobra (2016)
Christian Slater is really good and compensates for some poor performances by other actors (especially Alicia Silverstone), and the film uses an interesting structure (based on clever parallels) to develop its characters in a way that lets us grasp their motivations.
A King in New York (1957)
A satisfying though uneven Chaplin comedy clearly envisaged as a criticism on the American society and the absurdity of McCarthyism. There are some memorable scenes, including a hilarious surprise dinner, but also just as many less successful ones.
The King’s Speech (2010)
A fascinating period drama that will probably please everyone (and find few detractors), with great dialogue and exquisite performances by Firth and Rush, who shine in their scenes together and sell us the natural relationship that grows between the two characters.
The Kings of Summer (2013)
The kind of refreshing and funny indie dramedy tailor-made to charm everyone at Sundance, with its share of indie clichés and a director who seems very eager to show that he can direct, and it is worth seeing especially because of Nick Offerman and Moises Arias, both hilarious.
Kingsman: The Secret Service (2014)
An exhilarating and subversive homage to old spy movies that boasts a smart and hugely entertaining plot, a great cast (Jackson is hilarious), a fabulous production and costume design, and a deliciously stylized violence that makes this the Kick-Ass of spy movies.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle (2017)
It is irritating how it feels like the producers want to Americanize the franchise and make it more accessible to its American audience, and even though the movie is relatively amusing and has its exciting moments here and there, it lacks focus and doesn’t have any structure.
Kirikou and the Sorceress (1998)
An enjoyable and simple animation with an honest moral lesson, though clearly made for very small children. It makes for a good time, especially in its second act, but the ending could have been better.
Kiss of the Spider Woman (1985)
It is remarkable how this film turned out to be so superb and profound despite all the many cuts and re-edits it went through in post-production, surprising us with its direction, editing and two exceptional central performances – especially William Hurt, who deserved the Oscar he won.
Knight of Cups (2015)
Malick seems to have become one of those old pals who love to tell the same story over and over in parties, and so he gives us this redundant, repetitious and, well, pretentious meditation that doesn’t even have the consistency and beauty of The Tree of Life and To the Wonder.
An engaging odyssey with a stunning cinematography that uses an appropriately large depth of field to explore the vastness of the high sea. Also, the characters are complex and well defined in their motivations, in a story that manages to be quite tense.
Kong: Skull Island (2017)
It is hard to care about anything in this visually aseptic (yet occasionally enjoyable) monster movie whose CGI is so artificial that it feels like watching someone play video game – including an awful excess of lens flares and too much boring action for very little substance.
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
A profoundly affecting family drama in which everything conspires for something so perfect that you must be dead if you are not moved, and it relies on a beautiful script that refuses to take sides and on exceptional performances by Dustin Hoffman, Meryl Streep and Justin Henry.
Michael Dougherty is no Joe Dante, and his attempt to mix horror and comedy is only unscary and unfunny – a perfunctory, predictable and uninspired Christmas movie plagued with characters so hateful that I wanted Krampus to kill them all so that it would be finally over.
I like how Shults makes us experience the discomfort felt by his protagonist using a dissonant music and long wide-angle shots, creating a film that is so depressing and hard to stomach that we even forgive him when it feels like he is paying too much attention to his own direction.
Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
With annoying characters, a stupid protagonist and a messy plot that is more confusing than enlightening like it wants to be, this stunning stop-motion animation is predictable, unfunny and full of cheesy clichés that will please those who don’t mind a story without much imagination.
Centered on two women from a Turkish family living in Vienna, this sensitive and involving drama takes a careful time to let us understand them instead of judging their actions – thanks especially to Koldas and Akkaya, who perfectly convey all the emotion needed for their roles.
Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015)
A comprehensive documentary that combines a great amount of video and audio footage with gorgeous animation and interviews to create a profoundly revealing character study, even if the final result feels a bit too long and some things are left hanging – like, where is Dave Grohl?
La Bamba (1987)
A refreshing biopic about a short-lived star who met with a tragic death (tragic and also ironic considering his fear of flying and how his fate was decided by the flip of a coin), and it is so engaging that it breaks our hearts even if we know from the get-go how everything ends.
Labor Day (2013)
Whereas the first half may feel a tad unconvincing and predictable, with just too many clichés, it soon becomes complex and genuinely touching (always accompanied by a beautiful score) – reaching an efficiently tense third act that makes up for all the sappiness that came before.
A delightful fantasy adventure clearly inspired by The Wizard of Oz (the book appears in at least two scenes) and fairy tales (even a poisoned fruit is there), and its dated visual effects and cheesy musical numbers have a charm only found in these movies of the ’80s.
Labyrinth of Lies (2014)
It has the bland and uninspired aesthetics of a film made for television but at least understands well the complexity of its subject matter despite some typical clichés of TV movies, like the protagonist giving in to alcohol abuse and his incomprehensible decision in the third act.
Ladies in Lavender (2004)
It doesn’t take us any effort to understand the genuine fascination created by the mysterious and handsome young man played by Daniel Brühl, but this unremarkable British drama is only worth it for the superb performances by Judi Dench and Maggie Smith.
The Lady (2011)
Besson turns this real story into a conventional, underwhelming movie and stretches it forever, but still Michelle Yeoh does her best to lend an aura of elegance and honor to a character that utters cheap soundbites all the time to justify her poorly developed actions.
Lady and the Tramp (1955)
Make sure you watch the original CinemaScope widescreen version of this great Disney animation and be charmed by its stunning, vivid colors, sweet songs, adorable characters and that memorable spaghetti scene that conveys all the romance of the “lovely bella notte.”
The Lady in the Van (2015)
The biggest problem with this witless, excruciating movie is that it feels almost impossible to have any sympathy for such an odious old lady (is she supposed to be adorable in her annoying eccentricity? I can’t tell), and I couldn’t wait to see her die so it would be finally over.
Lady Jane (2008)
This French crime drama begins promising but lacks enough strength in the development of its premise, as it simply comes down to an ordinary message about revenge leading to more revenge, but still the plot has a good atmosphere of mystery and some nice twists.
Lady Macbeth (2016)
Florence Pugh is a revelation, delivering an astonishing performance in this tense, slow-burning period drama about a woman compelled by dark circumstances to act in questionable ways in order to survive an oppressive environment that would easily crush her otherwise.
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
An enjoyable but overrated film that wants so much to be funny (and make fun of British people who think only about their own problems) that it doesn’t have any tension, with a plot that, even with a curious premise, is just too contrived to be taken seriously.
An entertaining movie about the importance of not accepting defeat when in face of the toughest obstacles and how we should do everything in our power to succeed, with faith and courage – and it even finds space to discuss matters like prejudice along the way.
Land of Mine (2015)
The film is gripping and tense enough to compensate for the main character’s problems in characterization – especially his abrupt change in behavior towards the German boys, which comes off as forced and heavy-handed -, and it also benefits from a strong ending.
Land of Oblivion (2011)
This gripping recounting of a real tragedy benefits from a gradual sense of danger in its first half and the actual location of the ghost town of Prypiat in the second. Even so, the film doesn’t manage so well to generate empathy due to its uninteresting characters.
Land of Silence and Darkness (1971)
Herzog creates a sad and moving documentary that touches us as it offers us a glimpse of what it must be like to be locked inside a blind-deaf body (since we can never know exactly how it feels like) and find it so hard to communicate with other people and the world around.
Land of the Dead (2005)
An unnecessary fourth entry in the zombie trilogy even if it offers another interesting social commentary. With poorly-written dialogue and characters we never care about, this film will probably please those more interested in new ways of slaughter and blood spewing.
Lars and the Real Girl (2007)
This wonderful film could have so easily been made into a silly comedy but is fortunately instead a bittersweet drama that relies on a captivating performance by the always talented Ryan Gosling, who gives life to a sensitive character that never seems less than real.
The Last Airbender (2010)
It is no surprise that after two atrocities Shyamalan couldn’t make something superior, and so, by trying to comprise an entire season of the Nickelodeon animated series into one single movie, he creates an incomprehensible narrative with pedestrian dialogue and awful acting.
Last Days (2005)
If Van Sant’s intention was to depict Kurt Cobain’s last days as tedious and devoid of meaning as possible, he surely achieved what he wanted, but his biggest presumption was to believe that the viewers would fall for this insufferably boring, self-indulgent joke.
The Last Exorcism (2010)
A competent mockumentary that employs a precise pacing to follow a charlatan Reverend who exploits people for money until he encounters more than he bargained for. Suffice to say that it grows really terrifying, but the editing is flawed like most productions of the kind.
The Last Exorcism Part II (2013)
Despite the deliberate pacing that helps build tension, here is another sequel (to a good horror movie) that drops the subjective camera for no reason along with its main reason to exist – and it is hard not to be infuriated by its stupid, inconclusive ending.
The Last Face (2016)
The jumps in time prevent us from getting closer to its characters, and it is easy to understand why so many people hated this film when we see a cheesy love story between a white couple made more important than what there is to say about the horrors that happen in Africa.
The Last House on the Left (1972)
Exploitation is supposed to be fun, but there is no fun here unless you get off on seeing vile scenes of rape and brutality, and the movie is so trashy and tonally awful that it becomes bizarre the way it combines all that ugly violence with a ridiculous, childish sense of humor.
Last Night (2010)
An honest though unimpressive movie with decent performances, especially Keira Knightley, who shines in this story of doubt, desire and betrayal. Still, it is too bad that after ninety minutes of slow build-up it simply doesn’t offer a real pay-off.
The Last Samurai (2003)
I will never really understand why this powerful epic is so generally overlooked and underrated, when in fact it should be regarded as an extraordinary masterpiece about honor, love, loyalty and redemption, beautifully photographed, greatly acted and with a gorgeous score.
The Last Seduction (1994)
An efficient film noir with a clever plot and an extremely diabolical femme fatale played by a very inspired Linda Fiorentino. Also deserving praise is Bill Pullman, who is surprisingly funny as the furious husband trying to catch her in this witty cat-and-mouse game.
Last Shift (2014)
It may be hard to believe that Harkavy’s character wouldn’t just leave the police station under such horrific circumstances, but the actress does a great job to sell her strong perseverance in a highly creepy low-budget horror film that offers some very disturbing moments.
Last Year at Marienbad (1961)
A mesmerizing film that impresses for Resnais’ exceptional direction as he creates an enigmatic dreamlike experience that blends memory and reality through its unique use of editing and keeps us always in doubt whether what we are witnessing is the product of someone’s mind.
A good whodunit noir that, despite a plot weakened by contrivances (the worst being the detective falling in love with a dead woman’s portrait), is memorable mostly because of David Raksin’s score and the film’s great dialogue (with Clifton Webb, fantastic, getting the most cynical, priceless lines).
Laurence Anyways (2012)
Dolan’s first misstep in his so far promising career, and it is true that he had shown before a penchant for over-stylization but now he seems to think he is fabulous enough to come up with this incredibly pretentious, self-indulgent, artificial and exasperating exercise of style over substance.
Hillcoat and Nick Cave work together again to bring us this sensational gangster epic that packs an extremely intense and brutal punch with none of the romanticism expected from this kind of film – and it boasts some terrific performances and a stunning production design.
Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
A splendorous epic restored to near perfection, running now for almost four hours of magnificent visuals and fantastic dialogue, and it offers us both O’Toole and Sharif in superb performances – especially the former as a complex, contradictory man in a journey from eccentric soldier to mad exhibitionist.
Leaves of Grass (2009)
A pseudo-philosophical comedy that begins well but then dives into sheer stupidity after the first forty minutes. Even if Edward Norton is great playing twin brothers, the plot seems absolutely pointless, shifting with no tact from light comedy to overviolent thriller and cheap melodrama.
Dreyer’s third film, his cinematic breakthrough, is overlong, a bit prosaic and doesn’t offer much in terms of narrative, but his stellar mise-en-scène and George Schnéevoigt’s cinematography make every stunning shot worthy of being framed and put on a wall in any museum.
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
An awfully bleak and depressing drama that doesn’t offer us any door or way in to connect with a deplorable alcoholic who only wants to die and a pitiable prostitute in need of his love – and her interview scenes are just intrusive, unnecessary and heavy-handed like most of the script.
A suffocating and complex war movie shot entirely in a tank to depict the personal impact of a conflict and centered on four Israeli soldiers within the vehicle moving across an invaded land – isolated from the chaos outside but able to see everything through the gun-sight.
Tom Hardy is the main (or in fact only) reason for you to see this film, playing twin brothers and stealing the scene especially as the insane, dangerous and hilariously bizarre Ronnie Kray, but as a biopic it is flawed and conventional like many other gangster movies alike.
The Legend of Hell House (1973)
An interesting haunted house movie that invests in a gloomy atmosphere like a psychological horror film and benefits greatly from a chilling art direction and cinematography, although it isn’t exactly scary nor memorable as a narrative.
The Lego Movie (2014)
What makes this film really special is not only the fact that it is enormously hilarious and fun for all ages, with an awesome CGI that looks so fluid and real, but mainly because it is a true ode to creativity and imagination, and what makes us special in our own way.
It looks gorgeous and the music is great, but the best thing in this conceptual “visual album” is seeing how Beyoncé reveals so much about herself in such an experimental, artistic way, even if sometimes it seems like she is throwing a lot of different elements of her life together.
The Leopard (1963)
Visconti’s leisurely paced three-hour epic is a deeply sad and nostalgic meditation on mortality and the passing of an era. A sumptuous drama rich in nuances, with beautiful performances (especially Burt Lancaster) and an unforgettable extended ballroom scene in the end.
Less Than Zero (1987)
At first the unlikable characters keep us from relating to the story but Kanievska manages the feat of making them all sympathetic later, in a devastating portrayal of drug addiction with a great soundtrack and two terrific performances by Robert Downey Jr. and James Spader.
Set in a gloomy, oppressive location in Northern Russia, this is an uncomfortable drama of tremendous irony about a Job-like character who is forced to face the hypocrisy of conservatism in a lawless town where freedom and justice are only for the God-fearing righteous.
An insufferable specimen of tabloid movie that is more concerned with being a who’s-who of celebrities in 1955 instead of at least engaging as a narrative, and its failure can be attributed mainly to Pattinson (terrible) and DeHaan, who is completely miscast as James Dean.
Filled with awful dialogue and completely devoid of tension, this cheap copy of Alien is a waste of time that has nothing to offer but an incredible amount of stupid characters making dumb decisions and being just a bunch of random faces to be chased by a stupid creature in a spaceship.
Life, and Nothing More… (1992)
Kiarostami blurs once again the line that separates reality and fiction, this time even making a reference to one of his previous films to offer us a delicate, compelling look at how people can move on with their lives and even help each other in the face of a terrible real tragedy.
Life, Animated (2016)
A fascinating story full of love and generosity about a young autistic man who learned how to express his feelings and open up to the world through Disney animated movies – and even if it could have gone deeper into his condition, the film can be extremely moving sometimes.
Life Itself (2014)
A beautiful tribute to a brilliant writer and inspiring man who was one of the most influential movie critics of all time, showing us his indisputable importance for the Seventh Art, his genius and flaws, and his touching fight with cancer, all in a very honest, unsentimental way.
Life of Pi (2012)
Technically impressive and with astonishing visuals (despite the poor 3D), this is a magnificent and emotionally intense allegory that uses a lot of symbolism to raise questions about God, faith and how sometimes we can be forced to face our inner beasts. A wonderful film of rare beauty, to be seen many times.
Life Stinks (1991)
An underrated Mel Brooks comedy that benefits from funny situations and great performances (especially Brooks and Warren, who steals the show every time she appears), disappointing only for coming up with a silly and implausible conclusion for the character’s problems.
An engaging chamber movie in which all action takes place inside a lifeboat, impressing us most with its technical achievement (if there was any doubt about Hitchcock’s directing skills before it, this film certainly removed it) and Tallulah Bankhead standing out in a great cast.
The Light Between Oceans (2016)
Cianfrance has become an “expert” in corny melodramas, and this is like a shameless telenovela that suffers even more from the fact that there is no chemistry between the two bland leads and nothing in there to make us feel any sympathy for a couple of baby kidnappers.
Lights Out (2016)
A decent horror movie that has its spooky moments (especially for those who are afraid of the dark) and works well enough to compensate for its clichés (such as the ludicrous details about Diana’s past, which made me laugh) and the fact that it can be too safe sometimes.
Like Crazy (2011)
The leads are very talented even if not so charismatic (and they don’t have a lot of chemistry together), but this is compensated by a mature story told with a lot of conviction and made even more sincere by its dynamic editing that shows well the power of time in a relationship.
Like Father, Like Son (2013)
Koreeda brings a great deal of his usual delicacy and sensibility to a story that doesn’t offer easy answers, even if – given the complex nature of the subject in itself – it feels like it doesn’t go as deep as it could into its themes and remains a bit more redundant than insightful.
Like Someone in Love (2012)
Kiarostami is off to a wonderful start in the first act, displaying a very refined direction, elegant camera movements and smart storytelling. Still, it is hard to see where he wants to go with this after the two characters meet, lacking a clear direction or purpose.
Like Stars on Earth (2007)
An extraordinary and magical film that should open the eyes of more and more people to a serious developmental disorder and the pain caused to many children who suffer from it – and it shows how sometimes it takes one person to care and make a difference in someone’s life.
Lili Marleen (1981)
One may wonder why Fassbinder decided to indulge himself in an unimpressive, seemingly underdeveloped Hollywood-like movie made only for entertainment, and it loses its way in the last act to the point of even including a completely pointless self-reference.
Whishaw and Cheng are great in this touching story of grief, language barriers and even the differences that are brought to light when people finally understand each other – which gives rise to some very humorous moments -, although it also avoids going deeper in its emotions.
Lilya 4-ever (2002)
A tragic and devastating film that should make us aware of something horrific that happens to so many teenage girls in Eastern Europe, and if you decide to watch it without knowing anything about it, it may perhaps be an even more shocking and compelling experience.
The Limehouse Golem (2016)
I did enjoy the delightful dialogue and solid performances, but this Victorian-era detective story tries so hard to be smart and surprising (with an “unexpected” big twist in the end) that it doesn’t realize how predictable it is in its baffling stupidity.
A deeply heartfelt story that doesn’t need too much effort to make us feel for and care about the genuine connection that grows between the two central characters. Besides, it is more than a pleasure to see Chaplin and Buster Keaton sharing the final act together.
Considered by many as the Brazilian Un Chien Andalou, this poetic classic may be quite self-indulgent and repetitious, but is also a hugely innovative film in terms of cinematography and editing for the time it was made, with so many evocative shots that linger in the memory.
An entertaining movie that you easily forget after seeing and whose curious premise runs out of steam too quickly, but this is compensated at least by a charming and charismatic Bradley Cooper who keeps you interested long after you had stopped caring about the story.
This pathetic melodrama is always more interesting when focusing on the politics involved but a very schmaltzy “life lesson” whenever Lincoln appears – shown as a wise and mythical storyteller of pure heart (but fine with bribing, of course), never a complex real man.
The Lincoln Lawyer (2011)
This entertaining crime thriller is not very original but doesn’t disappoint either, as it offers a pretty interesting plot with its typical, expected twists and some good performances – except, of course, Ryan Phillippe, who is mediocre and inexpressive as usual.
La Linea – The Line (2009)
I doubt that anyone can follow this mess without getting lost (even those who liked it). The plot is confusing and disjointed, trying to complicate everything only to seem more complex and clever than it actually is when in fact it is nothing but a dull and uninspired waste of time.
Lions Love (1969)
Varda seems to be trying to make an improvisational meta-Warhol experiment or perhaps a hippie homage to Hollywood (who knows?), but the result, despite mildly pleasant, is in fact a bit pretentious and the main trio become pretty annoying and dull after a while.
Little Ashes (2008)
A disappointing effort that doesn’t develop well the personalities of its three main characters and is unable to make us see what Lorca could possibly find so attractive in Pattinson’s Dalí. Besides, it suffers from irregular performances and some cheesy, embarrassing moments.
Little Athens (2005)
Little Athens brings together in a single independent film more than a dozen young raising stars and has a great indie soundtrack, but is no more than an ordinary, unremarkable story about youngsters dealing with sex and drugs.
A Little Chaos (2014)
Winslet and Rickman do sell their implausible scene together in the garden, but this mediocre – and awkward – little melodrama is centered on an unconvincing romance and is not ashamed to use a ridiculous “flashback attack” in the end to solve the character’s problems.
The Little Drummer Girl (1984)
What I liked most in this solid, underrated thriller was the whole complexity of its situations, alliances and strategies as seen through the eyes of a naive actress caught in the middle of a conflict and following her heart instead of any political convictions.
Little England (2013)
Overlong and a tad overbaked, this Greek period drama has an alarming tendency to exposition and cheesiness – especially with those pseudo-poetic lines uttered now and again by the characters -, but the beautiful cinematography and strong performances compensate.
The Little Mermaid (1989)
The best film of the studio in more than twenty years and an excellent return to the golden age of fairy tale classics, with wonderful songs, a delightful animation and a wonderfully-written story that set a new standard to be followed by the studio in the next decade.
Little Odessa (1994)
With an unrelatable psychopath at its center and only the strong performances to commend, especially from Tim Roth and Maximilian Schell, this is a failed combination of family drama and crime thriller that falls flat as both, seeming pointless and empty in its poor attempt at saying something.
The Little Prince (1974)
A beautiful musical adaptation that captures the essence and soul of Saint-Exupery’s classic book, even if the sight of actors playing animals must feel strange for some, and benefits from gorgeous visuals and fantastic performances – especially by the young Steven Warner.
The Little Prince (2015)
The animation is stunning, but the plot (whose title is misleading even if it does a great job to reinterpret the story in a new context) feels a bit all over the place in its second act (with a clear lack of cohesion between the two storylines) and has problems like the mother’s absurdly incoherent behavior in the end.
Little White Lies (2010)
With a first-rate cast and a great soundtrack, this is a warm and funny movie that already begins with an impressive long take, and although it has a maudlin conclusion that almost ruins it, it is centered on a group of characters who are flawed and entirely human – like they should be.
A Lizard in a Woman’s Skin (1971)
It doesn’t take a genius to see that the stupid twist in the end doesn’t make any sense after all that came before, and this trashy, nonsensical giallo is even more excruciating with its inept direction, ugly zooms, hideous trembling camera, cheesy music and terrible acting from everyone.
A strong character study with a fantastic performance by Tom Hardy, despite its excess of exposition and a director who doesn’t seem to trust his own capacity to keep us involved with a minimalist story and so tries everything to create a sense of movement with his restless camera.
In its insistence on being smart and surprising – which this efficient thriller is for the most part -, it also comes off as a bit contrived and over the top like a Melrose Place-like soap-opera, directed and edited as a telefilm and with a dialogue that sounds at times pretty expository.
Hugh Jackman delivers an intense and visceral performance in what is essentially a harrowing, gritty character study that does an amazing job to rip the viewer’s soul apart little by little with a touching story about mortality and a devastating explosion of blood and violence.
Logan Lucky (2017)
Soderbergh leaves his alleged retirement to deliver us this entertaining (yet uneven) caper that may not be remarkable but benefits from a good ensemble cast, even if the movie suffers from problems of pacing and relies on a sense of humor that doesn’t always work.
Loki: Arnaldo Baptista (2008)
Making use of a lot of great interviews and wonderful archive footage, this is a comprehensive documentary and touching tribute to one of the most important and influential names in the history of Brazilian music, and how he went from stardom to falling victim to depression.
The last film of Fassbinder’s BRD Trilogy is this sharp social satire that proves to be hilarious from start to finish, a quirky melodrama of garish visuals and glossy colors with Barbara Sukowa displaying a delicious comic timing in a story that can be surprisingly touching.
Lola Montès (1955)
The recently restored version as originally intended by Ophüls is a sumptuous chef-d’oeuvre. The production design, costumes, the fluid camerawork, the wonderful script, everything is remarkable from the first shot to the last, a great pleasure for the eyes and the heart.
The fact that Nabokov’s perverse and sensual masterpiece got adapted was a remarkable achievement, considering its polemic subject and the year the film was released, and Kubrick was a genius turn it into a subtle story that implies more than it shows while still remaining true to the novel.
Julie Delpy only shows us that she has an awful sense of humor and doesn’t realize that most of her jokes and gags are horrible and unfunny, which is made even worse by the fact that most of the characters are so selfish and detestable, and Vincent Lacoste a terrible actor.
The Lone Ranger (2013)
It is true that it is overlong and has an irregular pacing (some editing required), but it manages to be a very entertaining popcorn movie, making the best of it all with a delicious slapstick humor, a gorgeous production design, top-notch visual effects and an amazing score.
Lone Survivor (2013)
The title and initial scenes make the film quite predictable, but this is compensated by a surprisingly brutal second act with a first-rate sound job. Problem is, Berg is too concerned about making it a brainless pro-troop action movie, something clearer in the stupid third act.
The Long Goodbye (1973)
An intricate film noir satire that has all the elements that we expect from a Raymond Chandler story, only this time the protagonist of The Big Sleep is updated to the 1970s with a shocker in the end and a delicious melancholy song that will stay in your head for a long time.
The Look of Silence (2014)
Despite its tendency to place more the interviewer at the center of the doc than its subject, and how his confrontation seems at times fruitless and misguided, this welcome follow-up to The Act of Killing is also revealing as it exposes a country trying to bury its past.
Look Who’s Back (2015)
Masucci should win an Oscar for his performance in this masterpiece of genius that combines fiction and mockumentary and achieves moments of absolute brilliance when it induces people to expose their worst side and makes Borat seem like an amateur by comparison.
Looking for Eric (2009)
A delightful and amazingly engaging tragicomedy that blends sadness, tenderness and a lot of humor to deliver this heart-warming story that benefits from some amazing performances – especially by a hilarious Eric Cantona at his most philosophical.
A very smart and thought-provoking science-fiction that injects some thrilling action scenes in a compelling time travel narrative and deserves special praise for its great direction, fine acting and for respecting our intelligence like any first-rate sci-fi should.
The Lorax (2012)
A cute and enjoyable animation that stays true to the ecological message of Dr. Seuss’s book. With an optimistic and hopeful story that speaks to all children, it proves to be much more efficient (and funnier) than the likes of Ice Age 4 and Madagascar 3, also released in the same year.
A disastrous drama that feels repetitive and pointless, never making clear what Shortland wants to say with this – and her heavy-handed direction makes even more blatant the way she embraces the most obvious of soap-opera clichés and cheap narrative artifices.
Lost and Delirious (2001)
It is really interesting to see how Pool makes this Shakespearean story of unrequited love and obsession look like it could be taking place in any time, and it is also very nice the way that she gradually moves her main focus from Barton’s character to the film’s true protagonist, Paulie.
The Lost City of Z (2016)
James Grey makes a weak film that wants to be an exciting adventure (yet it does manage to be tense at times) but is mostly uninteresting and overlong, with not much to offer besides a lot of clichés, silly dialogue and poorly-developed motivations for its obsessed protagonist.
Lost Islands (2008)
A refreshing coming-of-age comedy that perfectly captures the feel of bygone days with a wonderful ’80s soundtrack and a great production design – and it is impressively well edited and evolves into a strong drama centered on family, dreams and choices.
Lost River (2014)
Gosling creates an ominous atmosphere with a hypnotizing cinematography and a great score, but this incredibly pretentious and self-indulgent salad of influences – Lynch, Bava, Argento, Refn and so on – has a terrible sense of lack of purpose, with apparently nothing to say.
Louder Than Bombs (2015)
Trier follows his excellent Oslo, 31. August with another devastating drama, this time about a family who must cope with the weight of loss, and, even if a bit uneven, it is nice to see the sincere way that it shows and explores the complexity of the characters’ feelings.
A self-indulgent (and endless) film with maybe the worst 3D I have ever seen (it simply has no sense of depth and makes the film look too dark), while the dialogue is infantile and awful, the actors terrible (Muyock is easily the worst) and it feels almost impossible to care about such a detestable protagonist.
Love & Friendship (2016)
I love the English language, and it is a delightful pleasure to listen to Jane Austen’s delicious and funny dialogue from the mouths of such a wonderful cast (especially Kate Beckinsale and Tom Bennett), and the film benefits from a jaw-dropping production and costume design.
Love & Mercy (2014)
Paul Dano and John Cusack offer two exceptional performances as Wilson in two distinct (and at times even contrasting) stages of his life, and this insightful biopic is very well directed, beautifully photographed and filled with the wonderful music of The Beach Boys.
Love & Other Drugs (2010)
I disagree with the common feeling that this movie doesn’t exactly know what story it wants to tell; in fact, it is a decent romantic comedy that balances well its different plot elements, with a great chemistry between the leads and a very hot Jake Gyllenhaal almost naked in several scenes.
The Love Guru (2008)
A movie so absolutely puerile, unfunny and dreadful in every aspect imaginable that it makes you want to take Mike Myers by the hair and beat him with a tire iron. Is there really still anyone in this planet who thinks that name puns and diarrhea jokes are at all funny?
Love Me Forever or Never (1986)
Pretentious, tiresome and repetitious, this is a poorly-directed male fantasy that doesn’t even seem to realize how sexist it is, with cheap dialogue and centered on two selfish characters who become more and more detestable as the story moves on towards a stupid ending.
Love Me If You Dare (2003)
Not only is every scene between mother and son hideously corny and sentimental, but it is almost impossible to put up with two sociopaths so utterly immature, disgusting and loathsome amid conflicts that are all childish, irritating and artificial.
Love Songs (2007)
The songs are mostly nice (when the lyrics are not so irritatingly pretentious), but the film seems to wander around without a clear sense of purpose, conviction and focus, while also being way too bleak and downbeat for its own good with its blueish, monotonous visuals.
The most interesting thing in this solid biopic is how it shows us one side of Linda Lovelace’s life and then subverts it to reveal the real dark truth behind all that we are witnessing, becoming a touching drama about a terribly unlucky woman caught in a very sad life.
The Lovely Bones (2009)
It pains me to see this huge mistake made by Peter Jackson, a ridiculous blend of contrived thriller, unconvincing drama and pathetic afterlife fantasy full of self-indulgent CGI effects – and even worse is the despicable way that it wants us to accept the murder of a 14-year-old girl as part of life.
The Lovers on the Bridge (1991)
A beautiful and profoundly moving tale of amour fou about what it means to live with (and to be set free from) any crutches of dependency, being those real or symbolic (like a blinding disease or the need of someone else’s affection), imposed on us by society, ourselves or our own limitations.
I find it remarkable how Nichols uses a sober, unsentimental approach (with a very nice attention to details) to tell this real-life story and move us because of the sheer strength of what he wants to say, benefiting mostly from two excellent central performances.
Loving Vincent (2017)
It will be definitely remembered for how it looks: absolutely gorgeous and unique like a Van Gogh painting in motion, that is for sure; yet the film’s unimpressive Citizen-Kane-esque plot doesn’t offer as much to match its incredible technical achievement, which is a pity.
Lucio Flavio (1977)
The dialogue is awkward sometimes and it can be a bit frustrating that the film’s two most powerful scenes turn out to be dreams, but even so this is an excellent and well-directed biopic that lets us sympathize with a real-life bandit who was mainly a pawn in the hands of a corrupt police.
The type of bafflingly stupid movie that believes to be much smarter than it ever comes close to be, incapable of raising any minimally constructive philosophical questions beyond the most obvious pseudo-metaphysical silliness and with Johansson in a terrible performance.
The Lunchbox (2013)
A warm, melancholy drama that enchants and moves us even more thanks to the way that its three-dimensional characters reveal so much about themselves between the lines – and it is only a pity, though, that it drags a bit in the third act and ends in a rather frustrating conclusion.
Ma Mère (2004)
Despite how flat it seems at first, this French film is so provocative and perverse that I’m afraid a lot of people won’t get its point, and I love how it explores the vulnerability of Garrel’s character through his constant nudity and overflowing sexual desire.
Ma’ Rosa (2016)
It looks poorly made and amateurish, unable to offer any actual insight into its protagonist and dragging with many long takes of people walking from one place to another instead of cutting straight to what matters, and it is more obvious and predictable than it thinks it is.
Beautifully directed and edited, with a stunning cinematography, a haunting score and two magnificent performances by Fassbender and Cotillard, this undeniably cinematic experience is a mesmerizing adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tale of ambition, fear, guilt and madness.
An empty and silly exercise in cheap exploitation with unfunny attempts at humor and a stupid plot that is preposterous even for a film that is not supposed to be taken seriously – which makes me think that sometimes a fake trailer should just remain that.
In Cinema, a picture is really worth a thousand words, and this is a visually arresting and piercing look into the daily work of laborers at a gigantic textile factory in India, exposing in a mostly silent way the ugly exploitation and ungrateful conditions to which they are submitted.
The Machinist (2004)
Relying on a bluish palette of desaturated colors, Anderson creates a tense atmosphere of nightmare, but it is Christian Bale who deserves especial merit for his unbelievable dedication (mostly physical) in this intriguing thriller about the unbearable weight of guilt.
A Brazilian surrealist movie based on a modernist novel, full of vibrant colors and bizarre characters in what is clearly supposed to be a political commentary; it is only a pity that it is not really funny and starts to lose focus after a promising, fascinating beginning.
Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1968)
This awful low-budget B-movie is not even bad enough to be funny and entertaining, it is just plain bad, with terrible actors, a pathetic plot that makes very little sense and a vomit-inducing use of zoom (in and out, again and again) to create tension where there is none.
Mad Max (1979)
A decent cult action movie full of great stunts and car crashes that make the best of a very low budget, even though the story takes a bit too long to speed up, making the entire beginning a little dragged and reaching its narrative core with only fifteen minutes left to end.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
It may frustrate viewers looking for a well-defined plot, but for those who love fast cars and roaring engines, thrilling action and exciting stunts, it is as great as it can be, with exceptional post-apocalyptic sets and costumes that make everything look so over-the-top and unique.
Mad Max Beyond Thunderdome (1985)
It fully embraces the extravagant “pox-ecliptic” over-the-topness that had already been injected into Mad Max 2 and made that film so visually unique, thus being more entertaining than the previous movies even if more cerebral and less action-oriented (or perhaps because of that).
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Apparently, it takes an old veteran like George Miller to show this new generation of young filmmakers how action can be exhilarating, and so he gives us this high-octane, adrenaline-fueled roller coaster of a movie that is technically flawless, visually astonishing and looks amazing in 3D.
A mediocre CGI animation that was clearly conceived to please children and children only yet no one cared to make it remotely interesting for adults as well, offering a sub-par plot full of pedestrian jokes, annoying characters and silly pop references that get tired real fast.
Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (2008)
With funnier jokes, better animation and more inspired references, this entertaining sequel is considerably superior to the first movie, boasting also a sweet message about love transcending all differences and characters much more charismatic now than ever before.
This useless sequel has a very great beginning but all the rest simply doesn’t work. It fails to engage, fails to be amusing, fails in every lousy attempt at humor, and after a while you are left with something that is so much more irritating than enjoyable.
Madame Satã (2002)
Lázaro Ramos delivers a ferocious performance in this absorbing character study that dives into the world of an outcast to explore matters like poverty, race, gender and sex, even though it feels a bit incomplete and superficial as it doesn’t go deep enough into its character as it should.
A delicious French comedy based on a real story involving Eric Rohmer and Jocelyn Quivrin, and centered on an immature yet charismatic character at the hilarious backstage and shooting of a film with its bloopers, budget problems and behind-scenes romance.
Magic in the Moonlight (2014)
The dialogue is painfully expository and it is hard to accept that such a self-centered rationalist would be this easily convinced without asking the most fundamental questions about what he is witnessing. Besides, the plot is too predictable for anyone acquainted with Allen’s works.
Magic Mike (2012)
The steady direction and great performances contribute to make this an engaging drama about two male strippers whose lives move in opposite directions of the same path. It begins amusing but then gradually grows more and more serious as the story starts to question their lifestyle.
Magic Mike XXL (2015)
Magic Mike hits the road with his guys in a fun Priscilla Queen of the Desert kind of trip and the result is this sexy and solid sequel that has its share of amusing moments and – of course – gives a special attention to those hot toned male bodies that should be expected.
The premise is a tad too familiar and nothing that hasn’t been shown before in The Walking Dead or George Romero’s movies, but Hobson makes up for it by sustaining an oppressive, relentless atmosphere of melancholy despite the film lacking in plot (and character) development.
Maggie’s Plan (2015)
It is true that it lacks enough cohesion and becomes a bit repetitive after halfway through, but still this is a sweet Woody-Allen-esque movie that works mostly because of its great cast and because Greta Gerwig is always so adorable that she makes it worth it.
Magical Girl (2014)
Vermut proves already in his second film that he has a very interesting voice, giving us this story that remains always gripping as it shows how the lives of three different people get ironically intertwined by some unhappy circumstances – most of which provoked by themselves.
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
An entertaining Western remake of Kurosawa’s samurai classic and, like that film, more concerned with developing its characters and letting them grown on us instead of just focusing on the battle, while the great cast and Bernstein’s score make it epic and unforgettable.
The Magnificent Seven (2016)
If there is an issue I have with this remake is that these mercenaries become heroes fighting for justice too fast, but all that is compensated by how thrilling and intense it is, with amazing visuals and a production design that makes it look like a true throwback to classic Westerns.
I love that song, and the film’s first hour is solid enough despite the occasionally risible lines, but then it starts to seem more and more like a cheap soap-opera, with many contrived situations and a lame, awfully sexist conclusion that should make any feminist cringe with disgust.
Make Mine Music (1946)
This uneven post-war animated anthology – the third of Disney’s six package films released in the 1940s – feels more like a popular version of Fantasia, with pop music in lieu of the Classics, yet none of the segments is memorable, not even as shorts, much less put together.
Making a Murderer (2015)
The kind of true crime documentary that is just too unbelievable and horrendous to be true, and while emotionally exhausting and also one-sided (to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey did in fact kill Teresa Halbach), it offers very strong arguments and evidence to support that they are both innocent and victims of an awful justice system.
Angelina Jolie is radiant and delivers a nuanced performance in this decent retelling of the fairy tale that features dazzling visuals, a great score and a welcome modern message, even if the director tones it down to a light Disney level instead of making it more urgent and epic.
Not only poorly directed and with an awful score, but most of the gags are painfully unfunny and most of the characters are painfully annoying in a stupid story that can’t find any compelling reason to exist and is only a misfire that plods along with no sense of structure.
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Bogart is perfect as an arrogant detective who tries (along with us) to make heads and tails of an extremely intricate and dizzy affair, and the best thing is that it has an incredibly well-constructed plot in which all of the pieces fit in the end leaving no loose ends.
It is frustrating to see an efficient (and very scary) short movie adapted into such a weak feature film that, despite some creepy moments and good visual effects, is sadly bogged down by a pile of cheap scares, clichés and inconsistencies.
Mamma Mia! (2008)
I don’t wanna talk… about the things I’ve gone through… watching this trashy, tacky and poorly directed ABBA musical in which nearly no one can sing decently – especially Pierce Brosnan, who sounds like a dog barking -, and it only makes me wonder what the point is.
A Man Called Ove (2015)
It is impressive how it has so many clichés but manages to be so honest and have a heart – an enormous heart actually, just like its protagonist, who wins us over despite his excessive grumpiness (or because of it) and thanks to Rolf Lassgård’s touching performance.
A Man Escaped (1956)
Bresson is not interested in big emotions or catharsis (he doesn’t even mind telling us the end of the film in the title) but rather drawn to details and method, and so he crafts a meticulous and tremendously absorbing classic that depicts each step taken by the protagonist to reach his objective.
The Man from Earth (2007)
It is always interesting to see a science fiction film centered on constant dialogue, even if it never reaches the full potential of its fascinating idea and remains somewhat obvious, with also unlikable characters. Besides, the acting is not very good either.
The Man from London (2007)
For a filmmaker who is so obsessed with aesthetic rigor, it is strange that Tárr doesn’t seem to mind about all that horrible, fake-looking dubbing, yet still this is an evocative film (albeit repetitive and not so well finished) that makes beautiful use of strong black and white contrasts.
The Man from the Future (2011)
It is quite clumsy in the beginning, with a clichéd cinematography and lame dialogue, but soon it surprises us by becoming a funny, touching and well-constructed film with smart twists, great performances and an excellent soundtrack in a story full of heart.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
In a year full of post-modern spy movies, it is so refreshing to see a delicious and stylish old-fashioned espionage film, not only technically sensational (mainly the cinematography, art direction and editing) but also extremely effective as an exciting mix of action and comedy.
A Man of Integrity (2017)
Rasoulof makes a daring film that exposes the endemic corruption, hellish bureaucracy and outrageous oppression embedded in Iranian society as we witness a decent man sinking deep into a nightmare and forced by some appalling circumstances to betray everything he stands for.
Man of Steel (2013)
For someone who has never been a fan of Superman as a character, this movie is not really impressive, as it relegates to flashbacks every dramatic scene that would help build him as a relatable person – and it does so in order to jump fast into brainless, inconsequential action.
Man of Tai Chi (2013)
If you watch this bilingual martial arts movie for its fighting scenes, you will have plenty to enjoy, for they are really great, but apart from that it is quite forgettable and has nothing else to offer, with Keanu Reeves directing it with no passion and playing a cartoonish villain.
The Man of the Crowd (2013)
Shot in a color-faded, Polaroid-like square image that underscores the melancholy of the story through some beautiful evocative shots, this telling study of solitude is silently moving, exploring the character’s isolation and sad inability to belong in the crowd.
The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)
A one-joke comedy that wants to carry the absurdity of its premise throughout the entire plot. At first it is a funny idea but it wears out faster than expected, with not many smart twists to keep the story fresh, but at least Bill Murray makes it an amusing experience.
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
Hitchcock was still learning his craft and improving his directing skills when he made this unimpressive and thematically flawed film that even he disliked – and the humor eliminates most of the tension while the weak script has villains whose motivations are never really clear.
The Man Who Laughs (2012)
Though not exactly bad, this is a soulless adaptation that lacks enough emotion to make us care. It begins as an engaging story with an efficient fable-like atmosphere but soon turns into a melodrama and gives place to a second half that is mostly cheap, cheesy and artificial.
Idris Elba does an impressive job in this respectful and nicely crafted biopic that is unfortunately not so engaging from an emotional point of view nor as memorable as the man who inspired it, and the jumps in time only contribute to dilute our involvement.
Working better as an interesting procedural in the way it leads us through a criminal investigation, this film is however less efficient as a character study about a psychopath (or psychopaths if you include Lecktor), as it doesn’t offer that much insight into their perverse minds.
This brilliant film is certainly not for everyone’s stomach, since it is a brutal, tense and intensely disturbing experience that forces us to adopt the perspective of a maniac psycho killer, using an ingenious subjective camera to put us right there inside his deranged state of mind.
Despite the striking visuals and Cate Blanchett’s impressive surrender playing 13 different characters, what we see here must work a lot better as separated gallery pieces instead of put together, since the result is chaotic, confusing, self-indulgent and gets tiring real fast.
Manon of the Spring (1986)
It is frustrating that Manon is such a weak and poorly-written character, which makes her “revenge” feel much less deserved, even though the film unfolds like a true Greek tragedy and is able to move us with a touching ending and the strength of Yves Montand’s performance.
An adorable animation that doesn’t really have a well-defined narrative as it is in fact a collection of three previously released featurettes (a fourth one, shorter and beautiful, was added to the end), and it has great songs and looks simple yet vibrant in a very sweet way.
Maps to the Stars (2014)
Julianne Moore steals the scene as what seems like an older version of Lindsay Lohan with a Mommie Dearest complex (think of Christina, not Joan) in a cynical story full of horrible characters who are forced to face their ghosts in ways that would leave Freud aroused.
Marathon Man (1976)
What begins as a taut, intriguing thriller soon becomes too complicated and desperate to defy our suspension of disbelief (as with a ridiculous shootout at a country house), and it is only worth it for Olivier’s wicked villain and a fantastic scene in the New York diamond district.
It took so many years and two lawsuits to have this film edited and released, but the final result is this bloated and self-important mess of ideas that Lonergan was incapable of putting together cohesively, and it is even worse that the protagonist is so detestable.
Margin Call (2011)
Chandor creates a gripping and intelligent drama that relies on a careful pace, a very sharp ensemble cast and constant first-rate dialogue to depict with a fascinating and acute realism the 24 hours prior to the financial crisis of 2008 at an investment firm.
Margot at the Wedding (2007)
In its first half, it is amusing to laugh at the expense of how far these people can go in being obnoxious, but later on it appears that what Baumbach really wants is to defy us to endure a gallery of despicable characters till in the end it has become nearly insufferable to watch.
Marguerite & Julien (2015)
Donzelli doesn’t seem to have any idea what to do with this incestuous Romeo & Juliet story and creates the worst kind of melodramatic soap-opera, apparently thinking also that it is super cool to make use of gratuitous anachronisms, pretentious tableaux vivants and cheesy “meaningful” glances.
A fascinating and surprisingly moving documentary that not only offers us an insight into the work of an artist of great charisma and magnetic presence but also shows a lot about the transforming power of Art and a challenging art form that is not appreciated as it should be.
Marriage Italian Style (1964)
An Italian delight that finds an enviable balance between comedy and drama and never drops the ball, with Sophia Loren in a surprising performance lending a lot of complexity to a character that could have been easily made into a caricature – comedy- or melodrama-wise.
The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979)
Hanna Schygulla shines as a fascinating character who grows from a desperate, devoted wife into a cynical, relentless beauty – a reflection of the decadence of postwar Germany in this always compelling character study, the first film of Fassbinder’s so-called BRD Trilogy.
Mars Attacks! (1996)
Burton intended this as an homage to a bad thing that wasn’t taken seriously by anyone in the first place – and this dreadful movie only shows that he took the idea too literally. As a parody it is even worse, not bad enough to be good and with an idiotic humor that hardly works.
Strongly inspired by Memories of Murder and sharing many elements in common with that masterpiece, this is an exceptional crime thriller about how evil survives in a broken post-fascist society even if people want to convince themselves that past sins can be simply forgotten.
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)
An intensely disturbing psychological thriller about how you can lose your identity by getting brutally brainwashed by an abusive sect. The editing is spectacular and the whole cast is terrific, especially Hawkes as the terrifying leader of the group and Olsen as the paranoid, mentally fractured protagonist.
The Martian (2015)
With a great 3D that explores very well the red landscapes using mostly a large depth of field, this smart science fiction also knows how to use exposition and works so well due to its delightful sense of humor and efficient moments of tension when it needs to be tense.
This extremely disturbing and almost unwatchable exercise in extreme sadism is always gripping, given how it follows unpredictable directions at every moment until it reaches a surprising final act that demands too much from the audience for being so nihilistic and profoundly sickening.
Mary and Max (2009)
A beautiful and heartbreaking claymation about depression, loneliness and friendship, crafted with a gorgeous production design, a wonderful direction and a bittersweet story that is so profoundly touching it is hard to imagine anyone who wouldn’t be moved by it.
Mary Meets Mohammad (2013)
Kirkpatrick can’t circumvent the unfortunate fact that no shooting was allowed in the detention center, which makes the bond between Mary and Mohammed seem out of the blue when we finally see it; still, this eye-opening doc should definitely be seen for its important subject.
Mary Poppins (1964)
A magical Disney film that marvels us with fantastic special effects, a splendid combination of live action and animation, an unforgettable performance by Julie Andrews and a great amount of memorable musical numbers that stay in our heads and make us hum them for hours after the movie is over.
Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein (1994)
With a sophisticated direction, awesome make-up and a beautiful score, this underrated adaptation does an excellent job to expand and enrich Shelley’s story, especially as it makes the creature less a monster and elaborates more on why Victor creates him in the first place.
Altman’s anti-war classic is a delicious satire – irreverent, subversive and downright hilarious -, with a perfect episodic structure for the sort of anti-establishment vibe it aims for and making the most of its compositions (the Last Supper gag is hysterical) and overlapping improvised dialogue.
The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
Price is at his most diabolical here, while the stunning sets, costumes and cinematography help create an entrancing Gothic atmosphere in this which is most certainly the best adaptation made by Roger Corman of a Poe story.
The Master (2012)
A very strange yet extremely fascinating character study with a deeply unsettling atmosphere surrounding its characters – and most of its power comes from the strong cast, especially Joaquin Phoenix, who delivers one of the most intense performances of his career.
The Matrix (1999)
A mind-blowing modern classic that feeds the mind with thought-provoking philosophical ideas about what reality is, and it will always be remembered as a major breakthrough in Cinema with its combination of innovative visual effects, thrilling action and iconic religious references.
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
A solid sequel that expands the scope of the resistance and the rules of its universe in a way much greater than before, although the result is too action-driven (with endless, tedious fight scenes full of CGI that go on forever) and even the religious references are a lot more obvious.
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
A frustrating conclusion that got way too convoluted by this point and is unable to bring the intelligent ideas proposed in the first two movies into something consistent, leaving too much unanswered and becoming only messier and more confusing with every new information.
A Matter of Size (2009)
This is in fact more a drama about self-acceptance than the comedy it is being labeled as, and it is much more efficient in its decent first half than after, when we are left with a pile of clichés and artificial conflicts that really make this a pretty forgettable movie.
A simple and affecting biopic that could have been easily made forgettable but instead benefits immensely from Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke’s fantastic performances – especially the former, who offers us a character that brings us to tears with her sensibility and sweetness.
Mauvais Sang (1986)
What is most memorable in this lyrical film about unrequited young love is Carax’s stylish direction together with a sublime cinematography and production design, even though he overdoes it sometimes and would only be en pointe with his approach in his following oeuvre.
The Maze Runner (2014)
Despite the interest generated by its intriguing mystery (in ways reminiscent of films like Cube), this recent addition to the young-adult wave that has plagued cinemas in the past few years has a silly ending that makes everything preceding it seem like a waste of time.
This chapter is in many ways superior to the mediocre first movie, and even if it is completely derivative (think of The Hunger Games meets I Am Legend and Mad Max and you will have an idea), it does a nice job to generate excitement and tension in the action-packed scenes.
Gomez-Rejon is a great director who clearly loves films and has a deep knowledge of the language of Cinema – his visual compositions are just wonderful, despite a few excesses -, and this is a deliciously captivating story that understands the value of honest Art as opposed to sappy life lessons.
Me and You (2012)
Bertolucci seems aware of the fascination that he creates with his young protagonist, using the light and close-ups to explore how he curiously appears both awkward and beautiful. But the ambiguous ending feels like an easy refusal to deal with the questions raised before.
Me, Myself and Mum (2013)
Gallienne is downright amazing playing two roles in this delicate autobiographical comedy – an expertly-edited film that finds a perfect tonal balance as it moves effortlessly from hilarious to touching moments without ever becoming heavy-handed.
Mean Streets (1973)
A groundbreaking movie that already showcased Scorsese’s deep understanding of film language with a unique voice that would inspire other directors like Quentin Tarantino, and it boasts a killer soundtrack and two amazing performances by Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro.
The Measure of a Man (2015)
Vincent Lindon delivers one of the best performances of his career (truly spectacular, and his body language is particularly revealing) in a realistic drama that brings to mind the naturalistic, almost-documentary style of the Dardenne brothers’ films and the Romanian New Wave.
Carpignano’s debut is sensitive to tackle this delicate subject matter with the objectivity that it deserves, offering a realistic look at the difficult life of African migrants in Europe and achieving an honest note of sadness in the end without any need of sentimentality to move us.
An entertaining, smart and funny animation that doesn’t have a very original or imaginative story but is at least deliciously amusing, with some great twists that I never saw coming. It is infinitely better than Despicable Me, with which comparisons seem inevitable.
Mekong Hotel (2012)
Let’s be honest, this is not a film, it is more like a thing, an object – it just stays there, inert. It doesn’t say anything, it doesn’t become anything, it only exists, and with only a bit less than an hour of running time it overstays its welcome and you can pay attention to it or not.
Lars von Trier continues to move through the realm of desolation after Antichrist with this profoundly sad film that shows how different people react in the face of depression and the impending doom. The cast is fantastic, especially Dunst and Gainsbourg, who are both exceptional.
Melody Time (1948)
A slight improvement over Make Mine Music as another Disney package film combining music and narrative, now with seven stories that may not exactly be memorable but still manage to entertain, even after this run-of-the-mill anthology format has clearly become tired.
An intellectually stimulating and expertly-edited exercise in storytelling built upon two alternating threads that move in opposite directions (the main one backwards and a black-and-white subplot forward) until they converge in the end, making us undergo the same disorientation of its character.
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
The visuals and technical aspects are indeed splendid; but the flawed narrative, though enjoyable to follow during most of the time, seems like a cheap soap-opera that even comes up with a ridiculous revelation in a pathetic, melodramatic last half-hour.
Memoirs of Prison (1984)
Based on Brazilian writer Graciliamo Ramos’ own experiences in prison, this is a powerful and extremely well directed film that makes us feel the character’s growing emotional stress and declining health as he tries to survive political repression in times of dictatorship.
Memories of Murder (2003)
Bong Joon-ho uses a real Korean serial killer story as the basis for this always absorbing, terribly ironic and tragically hilarious crime drama that is both an intelligent social satire and a sharp political commentary, and he never ceases to surprise us until the very last shot.
Men & Chicken (2015)
Mads Mikkelsen is priceless – and nearly unrecognizable with a cleft lip, fake teeth and an eccentric composition – in this hilarious comedy that feels like a darkly humored mix of The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but the ending feels a bit off.
Men and Women (1964)
It loses some of its pacing after a while, slowing down almost to a halt, and the film’s silly moralizing makes it feel a bit dated today, but still this is an absorbing drama centered on four lonely characters as they spend an empty night together in a lonely big city.
Men in Black 3 (2012)
An enjoyable but forgettable sequel that doesn’t bring anything new to the series. This time we don’t have so much of that onscreen chemistry between Smith and Jones (who is absent during most of the film), but Brolin steals the show as a younger version of Jones.
The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)
A mildly funny satire that seems to borrow from the Coen brothers’ humor and has some very fine and vigorous performances, but after halfway through it starts to lose its comedic charm and ends with a disappointing, quick and easy wrap-up.
Men, Women & Children (2014)
Reitman seems to have many ideas but can’t find a central point for them, and so he shoots in every direction with this loose, superficial drama that falls flat with a silly, artificial execution and frustratingly hollow questions about technology, internet, solitude, lack of dialogue, etc.
The Merchant of Four Seasons (1971)
A turning point in Fassbinder’s career with the consolidation of his style as a storyteller; a film in which he explores emotional tragedy using a theatrical frame (the acting, mise-en-scène, the distinct palette of colors) to make a striking commentary on the petit bourgeois mentality.
The Message (1976)
Akkad dodges with creativity the limitations imposed by the very Islam that he wants to depict (to celebrate blind faith, ironically) and creates an epic that should be interesting to those who don’t know much about the religion although it contradicts the Quran many times to make it look tolerant.
The Messenger (2009)
A decent character study whose main strength lies in two great performances by Foster and Harrelson, who shine in a sad story that deals with the psychological consequences of a terrible job, but the film also suffers from some tiresome pacing and unnecessary scenes.
The visuals are definitely stunning and the plot, though not inventive, presents an interesting idea of a dystopian future in which society lives under corporate surveillance and mind control, but still the result feels a tad too clinical (and soulless) for most viewers to enjoy it.
I’m honestly surprised with the impressive job that Adam Sandler does here, playing a character who earns our sympathy even if the film itself is basically the same shtick that Baumbach comes up with over and over again, not really funny or even close to dramatic as it wants to be.
Mia Madre (2015)
A very touching character study that perfectly blends a serious and suffocating drama with hilarious moments of humor that are never intrusive but instead helps shape the whole meta-narrative purpose of what Moretti wants to say, including his feelings about his own work.
A deeply disturbing character study that takes on the hard task of humanizing a monstrous psychopath, focusing on a three-dimensional human predator who is able to blend into society like many others – but wisely never offering easy reasons for his despicable actions.
The Midnight After (2014)
Fruit Chan crafts a gripping mystery with a lot of humor but goes too far with a rape scene and a horrid collective murder incompatible with the tone of the story, losing focus after then and not offering any explanation for the endless elements thrown in the clumsy plot.
Midnight Express (1978)
The controversy surrounding the way the Turks are depicted is not without reason, but the film is quite engaging (with a wonderful score) as a disturbing portrayal of hell as a Turkish prison, showing the ugly conditions faced by a very unfortunate man in a horrible situation.
Midnight in Paris (2011)
With this charming tale about a dissatisfied young man who would rather live in the golden days of a long past époque than in the present, Woody Allen comes up with another adorable film and seems like having a lot of fun putting those delightful witty lines in the mouth of his idols.
Midnight Special (2016)
Jeff Nichols seems to be trying to revive that magic found in Spielberg’s movies of the ’80s, but despite its absorbing mystery, his film creates the feeling that it is better than it actually is, with poorly explained elements and a development that doesn’t lead to something so interesting in the end.
Mildred Pierce (1945)
In an Oscar-winning performance, Crawford elevates this melodrama-noir that deserves credit for its splendid cinematography, mise-en-scène and structure, but the film hasn’t aged very well with its patriarchal view that a married woman who leaves home will inevitably meet disaster.
The Milk of Sorrow (2009)
A poignant allegorical drama centered on the belief that the trauma experienced by the many women raped during the years of terrorism in Peru has been passed on to the following generations, and it relies on a beautiful performance by Magaly Solier.
The Mill and the Cross (2011)
What a truly remarkable accomplishment in terms of jaw-dropping visuals, but the problem is that Cinema is not Painting, and so Majewski is unable to transpose the symbolism of Bruegel’s work to the screen without relying on an expository explanation of his intentions.
Millennium Mambo (2001)
Though not without its flaws and with a narration that feels at times (not always) redundant, this heartbreaking, melancholy film has an evocative cinematography (the first scene is memorable) and offers an honest portrait of a generation of youths trying to find their way in life.
Million Dollar Arm (2014)
A typical feel-good movie that believes that being charming is enough to keep us interested, but it is clichéd, excessively predictable to the point of being annoying and tries to sell us an incredibly corny (and laughable) message that “baseball shouldn’t be about business but about fun.”
With a kind of clever (and really funny) humor that may not appeal to everyone’s tastes, MacFarlane finds the perfect balance between slapstick nonsense and raunchy scatology (he knows how to make excrement jokes hilarious), while exploring the gorgeous sight of the landscapes.
An imaginative, funny and very cute French-Belgian animated movie that proves to be a lot of delightful fun for all ages – especially children, of course, who should love it -, with a good sound design, a great score and a sweet animation in a dialogue-free story.
The Miracle Worker (1962)
Even with a slight tendency towards melodrama, this is a wonderful film that impresses with a gorgeous cinematography, beautiful direction (the mise-en-scène is exceptional), two superb Oscar-winning performances and an incredible 8-minute fight to “housebreak” a feral child.
Mirror Mirror (2012)
Julia Roberts seems to be having a lot of fun in this amusing satire that plays with fairy tale clichés – a feminist take on the classic story full of witty dialogue and with a solid script much more inspired than Snow White and the Huntsman, even if not remarkable either.
Les Misérables (2012)
It is impossible to care about a heavy-handed melodrama full of flat characters endlessly singing and crying their misery for nearly three hours non-stop. Besides, Hooper’s direction is extremely amateurish and inept, with the camera appearing to be held by an epileptic.
The Misplaced World (2015)
This honest drama has strong performances but disappoints for relying on too many family revelations and situations worthy more of a soap-opera – like the characters going back and forth from Germany to New York as if they were just across the street from each other.
Miss Julie (2014)
The three actors, especially Chastain and Farrell, are splendid in this talky and bleak adaptation whose theatrical origins are quite transparent, but which unfortunately starts to resemble more and more a melodrama as the (overlong) story advances and finally falls flat in the end.
Burton shows us again his talent for combining imaginative fantasy with the macabre to create an exciting dark adventure like he hasn’t made in quite a while (almost a decade), and not even the rather formulaic action scenes eliminate the pleasure of watching this delightful movie.
Miss Representation (2011)
There are some interesting things here, but they are sadly lost in this clumsily-edited huddle of talking heads and randoms opinions instead of being supported by solid arguments from people with qualification who could discuss these issues in depth and with a lot more consistency.
Miss Sloane (2016)
It is certainly more interesting than one would expect from a movie about lobbying, but it also feels forced and silly at times, with an ending that is proud of its own stupidity and a protagonist who is more a caricature of the workaholic “machine woman” than an actual person.
Miss Violence (2013)
This awfully disturbing film is careful to introduce us without haste to its characters and their dynamics together before starting to dig up what lies beneath their tight family discipline – which is reinforced by Avranas’ rigorous direction and even a beautiful ten-minute long take.
The Missing Picture (2013)
Rithy Panh uses archive footage, claymation, dioramas and a sublime sound design to make a devastating account of the nightmare that was his life as a prisoner of the Khmer Rouge regime, in order to recreate and expose that tragic missing piece in the history of his country.
The Mission (1986)
A remarkable and profoundly moving drama about redemption and the transforming power of love, not only visually stunning and boasting a wonderful Ennio Morricone score but also with Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons carrying the film in two outstanding performances.
An exhilarating, action-driven chapter that is certainly on par in quality with the excellent previous one. The script is obviously the least important here, since this is actually a pretty great excuse for badass chases, exciting car crashes, elaborated set pieces and more fascinating ultra-high-tech equipment.
This electrifying chapter is possibly the best and most well-constructed film of this successful franchise so far, with an intelligent espionage plot, a fantastic editing job (I could really swear that Brian De Palma directed that splendid opera scene) and exhilarating action scenes.
Mission to Mars (2000)
What a ridiculous pseudo-philosophical sci-fi that makes no sense. Morricone’s score is beautiful as always, but the horrid script is utterly implausible and illogical, with a blatant disregard for details and coherence.
Mistaken for Strangers (2013)
A captivating rock-doc that begins rather clumsy but later grows to become a surprisingly revealing portrait of a man who has always felt diminished compared to his successful brother – who happens to be the lead singer of a fantastic indie rock band of worldwide reputation.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)
This is what happens when you try to combine action and romantic comedy without any idea how. The humor is irritating and the story has no actual conclusion, finishing on a completely unsatisfying note. Still, the chemistry between Pitt and Jolie saves it from being a disaster.
Mr. Holmes (2015)
Lifted by an excellent performance from Sir Ian McKellen, this is an insightful look at a de-romanticized, “real” Sherlock Holmes trying to hold on to his aging mind and volatile memories this side of life’s wall while finally getting to realize the nuances of human complexity.
Mr. Long (2017)
A surprising film that finds an enviable balance between whimsical comedy and heartbreaking tragedy, making us laugh and cry in nearly equal doses while gradually pulling us in with its wide emotional scope and a magnetic central performance by Chen Chang.
Mr. Nobody (2009)
Dormael’s ambition, though appealing, moves dangerously towards pretentiousness as he attempts to concoct this intricate, convoluted plot – which bears many unnecessary elements that end up bloating it into a flawed, overlong structure without clear focus.
Mr. Skeffington (1944)
Davis is absolutely outstanding in her Oscar-nominated performance – as well as Rains, who was also nominated -, and the most remarkable in this excellent film is Sherman’s amazing direction as he fluidly conducts us through more than twenty years of his characters’ lives.
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)
James Stewart and Jean Arthur are both amazing in this magnificent political drama – a film still relevant when it comes to corruption and our powerless indignation reflected in an idealistic young Senator who boldly demands honor from the ones betraying their vows in Washington.
Mr. Turner (2014)
An excruciating slog that seems made only to mock those who see art in something made by a monkey throwing feces at a blank canvas, since J. M. W. Turner is portrayed as a repulsive, vulgar and contemptible hog and played by Spall as a ridiculous growling caricature.
Mistress America (2015)
It is great to see a Noah Baumbach movie that doesn’t try my patience for a change with his insufferable characters, as he crafts a delightful story that works really well precisely because it understands that their flaws don’t make them at all lovable or cute in their pathetic quirkiness.
It trips a bit in the end (post-climax) and how the characters seem to change their minds all the time, but even so this is a great animation that looks gorgeous in every way imaginable and has beautiful songs and a modern Disney Princess who is strong, independent and determined.
Modern Times (1936)
The first twenty minutes are the work of genius, but then the film loses some of its focus and becomes a usual collection of sketches – though most of them hilarious and memorable. And Chaplin’s idea of using spoken voices only from mechanical devices is brilliant.
What actually bothers me in this disturbing – and perversely hilarious – Korean Oedipal-Buddhist parable is not those hard-to-stomach scenes of genital mutilation, rape and incest but how technically awful it all is – the lighting, continuity, clumsy zooms and ugly camera movements.
An unconvincing revenge story that doesn’t manage to make us feel sorry for its main character as it should, being just another forgettable film among so many others and with many problems that are hard to overlook, like Olivier Chantreau’s complete lack of purpose in the narrative.
A Moment of Innocence (1996)
Makhmalbaf sees a golden opportunity to make amends with his own past as he creates this groundbreaking meta-cinematic experiment that blends reality and fiction in so many different, unpredictable levels, while managing to surprise us at the most unexpected moments.
Mommie Dearest (1981)
A disjointed and episodic adaptation that will appeal more to those who are curious to know about Joan Crawford’s abusive relationship with her daughter, since it makes no effort in character development and is only worth it for Faye Dunaway in a histrionic, over-the-top performance.
A decent but uneven effort that feels too long for the kind of story it wants to tell and not really well polished as a whole, and its unusual 1:1 aspect ratio may be clever, especially as a basis for the most beautiful scene of the film, but also starts to be tiring after some time.
Brad Pitt is great in this smart drama that makes the most of the fact that it is a real story, with no need to turn to Hollywood contrivances or moral lessons – and it has its best moments when showing the offstage of baseball and discussing statistical strategies.
Monkey Business (1952)
It is Cary Grant’s and Ginger Rogers’ talent what raises this amusing screwball comedy above average and keeps the balls rolling, as they make us laugh out loud especially in those hysterical moments when they behave like reckless, naughty youngsters.
Monsieur Lazhar (2011)
Even if the performances are not that strong, this is a delicate drama that could have been easily made into a maudlin melodrama in the wrong hands but instead goes for a realistic approach that renders it much more involving, touching and sincere than most films of the kind.
Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
Except for one touching moment and a hilarious poisoning scene, this uneven “comedy of murders” is of extreme bad taste and has a serious problem in structure and tone – placing a putrid character in such a sloppy attempt at a commentary.
Those expecting a typical horror movie with aliens may be disappointed, for this is in fact a more dramatic and deeply absorbing low-budget film about love and the emptiness of life without it, while the monsters serve as a trigger for the connection between the two characters.
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
After toys and bugs, Pixar came up with this adorable animation that, even if not exactly an instant classic as the company’s better works, is a whole lot of fun and a visual treat for all ages – including adults, who will find it equally funny and irresistible.
Monsters University (2013)
A really thrilling prequel, always funny and exciting, that takes the clichéd premise of overcoming our own limits and turns it into endless fun – and it will leave you sure that Pixar is finally back on track after its two previous weak, forgettable entries.
The Monuments Men (2014)
George Clooney is obviously no Robert Altman, which is made pretty clear in this excruciatingly dull fanfare that has no sense of structure, focus or pacing, while also offering empty characters and failing immensely in being funny as a comedy or honest as a drama.
Mood Indigo (2013)
Gondry displays his usual visual creativity to bring us this surreal universe where abstract is made literal, but his overstuffed narrative has absolutely no structure and it is impossible not to feel exhausted with such a distracting amount of nonsensical elements thrown in at every second.
A very interesting science-fiction, clever and well constructed, that boasts a solid performance by Sam Rockwell and a noteworthy debut direction by David Bowie’s son, Duncan Jones.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Wes Anderson was probably bored with his toys when he decided to make this movie, out of a lack of anything better to do. He clearly has nothing to say here and throws everything he can think of (including a great cast) in this pointless, unfunny mess that leads nowhere.
Nicholas Cage is completely miscast as Ronny and his chemistry with Cher is nonexistent, while the movie’s script doesn’t have that much substance to match its charm and generally effective sense of humor; even so, this romantic comedy makes for an amusing pastime.
Most Likely to Die (2015)
Derivative, obvious and full of the most tedious exposition, this is a pathetic slasher that believes to be one step ahead of its viewers when in fact all about it is completely predictable (including the identity of the killer) and it can’t find anything original to say outside of its formula.
A Most Violent Year (2014)
Chandor continues to prove that he is an incredibly talented director with this intelligent, quietly tense and exquisitely photographed dramatic thriller that plunges the characters in shadows as it follows a man fighting hard to keep his hands clean in a world of decay and corruption.
A Most Wanted Man (2014)
Hoffman delivers a fantastic and underactedly visceral performance in his last completed movie, a suspenseful espionage thriller that grabs us and keeps us always guessing all the way until it reaches a suffocatingly tense climax and surprises us with a spectacular ending.
Bong combines intense tragedy and dry humor to create a witty, unexpected sense of bizarreness in this ironic narrative that surprises us with its clever plot twists, elegant cinematography and an absolutely magnificent performance by Kim Hye-ja.
Mother and Child (2009)
García made a really powerful drama here with a highly emotional and sincere story about regrets and how some choices that we make in our lives define our paths and future, and it has a fantastic cast, especially Annette Bening and Naomi Watts, who deserve to be praised.
The Mother and the Whore (1973)
Even if Eustache’s romantic side takes the lead in the end and reduces a bit its power, this is a vibrant film that pulses with a youthful verve and feels so alive even in its imperfections, and it feels nearly impossible not to fall in love with Léaud’s adorably annoying character/persona.
Mountains May Depart (2015)
A disjointed, cheesy and poorly-acted film that constantly shifts focus between characters (even abandoning them for no reason), with arbitrary leaps in time that make everything seem too superficial and unimportant to work as a look at the lives of common people.
The Mourning Forest (2007)
Kawase is trying to make a sensorial film in which little is said and we are supposed to feel in our hearts the pain that troubles the characters, but she ends up creating something terribly dull and empty that wants to look a lot more profound than it is.
Movie 43 (2013)
It’s hard to believe that so many first-rate stars could be involved in such a distasteful compilation of bad taste stories, which are so exceedingly gross and offensive that only a very few are actually original and funny. (There are two versions available, both equally terrible).
The Moving Creatures (2013)
The music is a bit redundant and Gotardo’s direction awkward sometimes (especially the mise-en-scène, more suitable for children’s theater), but this slice-of-life drama can be devastating as it shows us three situations about people’s lives torn apart by startling tragedies.
What impresses most in this gripping coming-of-age drama is how it avoids easy answers, with complex characters and no need of clichés to work. Besides, the careful pacing proves to be one of its finest qualities, while Tye Sheridan shines in a strong performance.
A visually wonderful animation made with gorgeous colors and a simple design in watercolor like the style of Chinese painting, and in addition to a great score it finds a most delicate balance between refreshing humor and themes like war, honor and the bravery of women.
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
One of the most complex, seductive and brilliant journeys into the obscure underworld of the unconsciousness to be ever experienced, brought to us by the incredible mind of David Lynch, who takes us into this elaborate dreamscape that holds the key to an extremely sad reality.
The Mummy (1932)
With a marvelous make-up and cinematography, Freund displays a firm grasp for his first movie (also in the flawless use of music and silence), but the plot suffers from inconsistencies, like the mummy leaving the scroll in the museum after killing the guard even if he would need it later.
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
Despite the amazing cast, almost everyone is wasted (and Kenneth Branagh looks pathetic as a cartoonish Hercule Poirot) in this watered down adaptation made to look like a major Hollywood production: full of special effects but witless and ridiculously solemn at times.
The Music of Strangers (2015)
It lacks enough music and a clear focus, as it tries to talk about too many things at the same time and only becomes scattered, but at least the musicians’ personal stories make it worth it and the movie is always lifted when it focuses on them and their relationship with music.
The Music Room (1958)
Ray exhibits a complete and enviable control of his camera behind this sumptuous drama that deserves credit even more for its elegant, classic direction and noteworthy formal rigor than for an impeccable narrative about a proud, stubborn man who refuses to become obsolete.
At first, it seems like a Turkish Virgin Suicides with a social commentary on the cultural oppression of women in that country, but soon it starts to become less and less subtle as the story progresses to the point of even including an unnecessary element of sexual abuse.
Despite the good sound design and mixing, the child actors have serious trouble with enunciation, and most of the time it is hard to understand what they are saying. Still, this is a sincere drama that moves in a careful pace and is touching till the end.
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
The kind of crappy slasher that doesn’t even manage to be fun, with pedestrian dialogue and a repetitious plot that basically says that men are jerks and women are weak and whiny, forcing us to put up with two ridiculous machos at each other’s throats the whole time.
My Cousin Rachel (2017)
The film’s approach is so heavy-handed that it is almost impossible not to think of its protagonist as an idiot and the whole attempt at ambiguity completely lost, trying so hard to convince us of something only to surprise us with an ending that insults our intelligence.
My Darling Clementine (1946)
It is a welcome surprise to see a lighthearted Western that places its importance more on the characters than on the famous real gunfight depicted – and the deep-focus shots are beautiful -, but still the film has trouble with maintaining the focus and pacing in the second act.
My Fair Lady (1964)
Pygmalion is a great film but not as charming as this My Fair Lady, an adorable musical version of the same play with delightful songs and a splendid cast – but even so, Doolittle’s change doesn’t seem as gradual here, and the film ends with a rather vexing, sexist conclusion.
My Friend Dahmer (2017)
A very interesting character study that does a fine job to build a nuanced portrait of a high school outcast prior to becoming a famous serial killer, and it benefits from some good performances and a nice amount of subtlety that is essential for a film like this to work.
My Hindu Friend (2015)
Dafoe’s character (that is, Babenco’s obvious alter-ego) is a selfish, odious bastard who is not worth our time, in an equally detestable film that believes to be witty, touching and profound with so much cheap symbolism but is only a self-indulgent exercise in pure narcissism.
My King (2015)
Bercot and Cassel give their best and shine with a fantastic chemistry in this superbly-directed film about the hardships of being so deeply in love and emotionally attached to someone who is irresistible yet so immature that he causes more pain and suffering than anything else.
My Life as a Zucchini (2016)
Though it isn’t really special, a lot of people will find it hard to resist this sweet and tender story full of heart about abandonment and friendship, given the realistic way it talks about its themes and its expressive characters made in a very lovely stop-motion animation.
My Man Godfrey (1936)
A witty political satire that will probably leave you smiling more than laughing out loud, especially when showing the hilarious eccentricities of its crazy family, and it boasts some wonderful, Oscar-nominated performances by Powell, Lombard and Brady.
My Mom Is a Character (2013)
If it weren’t for Paulo Gustavo’s talent, comic timing and quick tongue delivering hilarious one-liners, there would be very little left worth seeing in this misstructured mess so poorly directed like a cheap TV show and flooded with some nearly unbearable moments of melodrama.
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
An enchanting movie for children, so beautiful in its wonderful simplicity, innocence and sweetness that it feels like almost impossible not to be touched by such an adorable story devoid of clichés and with no need to rely on villains or contrived conflicts.
My Sweet Little Village (1985)
An endlessly delicious and hilarious comedy with a wonderful cinematography and a large gallery of adorable characters living in a little Czech village (each with their own adorable peculiarity), relying also on a truly magnificent performance by János Bán.
My Sweet Orange Tree (2012)
It is not because it is based on a children’s book (and evidently made for that same audience) that it can be this shameless, ridiculous melodrama with an awful direction full of clichés, terrible acting from everyone (especially Ávila) and such a blatant disregard for quality.
My Week with Marilyn (2011)
A decent yet unmemorable biopic that has Michelle Williams doing a good job even though she doesn’t resemble the real Marilyn at all (not even her tone of voice) – not to mention, of course, that this is a role that should be played by an actress with a greater sex appeal.
My Wonderful West Berlin (2017)
It doesn’t cover much new ground and could have been more insightful, but still it offers an interesting overview of a subculture, examining how it evolved and met with many challenges in the period from the end of WWII and the fall of the Berlin Wall.