The Naked Kiss (1964)
Nothing rings remotely true in this outdated pulp neo-noir – not the gorgeous and ridiculously cultivated prostitute with a golden heart, not the embarrassing plot full of moralizing and certainly not the absurd ending that wants to make us feel good about the murder of a pedophile.
The Names of Love (2010)
Funny and thought-provoking, this delicious romantic comedy offers an intelligent commentary on politics and society but stands out more for its originality and for being as atypical as its eccentric characters, who we easily learn to care about.
The tranquility and sounds of the forest have a calming effect, like listening to the rain or having a massage, and I like how the characters develop a bond that goes beyond the language barrier, but the film stays on the surface of sensations and feels only inconclusive.
Nas: Time Is Illmatic (2014)
An informative and revealing documentary that takes a thrilling look at an artist’s life and the many factors that motivated him to create such an extremely influential album regarded ever since its birth as a seminal piece of artistic cry against social oppression.
National Bird (2016)
It is more interesting due to what it wants to say than how it does it, since it feels a bit repetitive after a while and relies mostly on talking heads to address a limiting subject in which there is too much that is confidential and not possible to be publicly disclosed.
A grim and powerful epic that boasts an inventive, visually rich universe and an ecological message that only gets more and more relevant in our times – and it’s wonderful to see a brave princess who fights to save her world with the fearlessness of a warrior.
Despite the cinematography in an unnecessary (but effective) black and white, this melancholy drama has quite a surprising sense of humor and characters who prove to be a lot more complex than we would give them credit for, with Dern and Squibb in fantastic performances.
Neighboring Sounds (2012)
A brilliant and extremely thought-provoking Brazilian film that uses a street in Recife as a microcosm for the social issues of middle class, exposing its latent bourgeois fears while drawing a clever parallel between a guilty past and the promise of a violent future.
A harmless Apatowian comedy that works well in its first half yet fails precisely when it tries to offer a deeper, artificial meaning to its story – which is reflected in how Dave Franco suddenly turns into a smart frat boy as soon as he is required by the plot to be the voice of reason.
Intelligent, humorous and inventive, Larraín’s film is especially impressive due to the way it uses a cat-and-mouse game as the basis for a metalinguistic exercise instead of being a conventional biography about the poet, and it has some very fine performances by the whole cast.
An intelligent and hilarious satire whose main strength lies especially in a superb ensemble cast and a fantastic script that delights us with many priceless exchanges of dialogue as it offers us a relevant, thought-provoking social commentary on the television industry.
Never Let Me Go (2010)
This melancholy and depressing film adapted from Kazuo Ishiguro’s dystopian sci-fi novel tells an achingly sad story that eschews any easy preaching and offers a delicate meditation on time and the transience of life, with very intense performances by its main trio.
The New Girlfriend (2014)
Duris delivers a profoundly sensitive performance without a hint of stereotype in this surprising drama that understands the complexity of sexuality, despite a few narrative missteps especially in the second half (the scene with Duris and Personnaz in the shower is nonsensical).
The New Kid (2015)
It is delight to see how coming-of-age stories can be so refreshing and funny to watch, and this is a faithful portrayal of adolescence and all that comes with it, made in a simple, sensitive way and with some deliciously spontaneous performances by its young cast.
New World (2013)
A derivative crime movie that wants to be a mix of The Godfather and Infernal Affairs but is so incredibly obvious, overdone and desperate to come up with twist after twist after twist that it drags for much longer past the moment when it should end and becomes utterly ridiculous.
The Next Three Days (2010)
This remake of Anything for Her is even more implausible than that film, and Haggis includes details that don’t work really well, but he also injects more tension and stretches some scenes to the point of nerve-wracking while Russell Crowe puts in a strong performance.
The Nice Guys (2016)
It is a great pleasure to see how this movie combines so perfectly film noir (including a twisty plot full of characters and turns), a lot of exciting action and buddy comedy in the best style of the ’70s – all complete with a hilarious dialogue and a killing chemistry between Crowe and Gosling.
Night and Fog (1955)
Resnais made this disturbing 32-minute documentary only 10 years after the liberation of the Nazi camps, exposing in devastating details a horrific monstrosity that must never be forgotten and turning it into a universal message to remind us that it could happen anywhere.
A Night at the Roxbury (1998)
If you find this kind of humor funny (which I do for a short time of 82 minutes), then this one-joke, nearly plotless movie should be amusing enough for you, but if you can’t stand SNL (or the show’s sketch for that matter), then it will probably be a pain to sit through. Be warned.
The Night Flier (1997)
It has the feel and aesthetics of a movie from the ’90s (like an episode of The X-Files), and it builds a nice atmosphere with an intriguing mystery, but still this barely satisfactory Stephen King adaptation leaves some strange loose ends in a story that could have avoided them.
‘night Mother (1986)
Anne Bancroft and Sissy Spacek not receiving an Oscar nomination for their performances is without a doubt one of the biggest injustices in the History of Cinema, since they give their very best in this harrowing, emotionally devastating adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning play.
Night Moves (2013)
It does a great job to let us slowly find out what it is about instead of resorting to exposition, but what could have been a thought-provoking story about ecoterrorism/environmentalism turns out to be a sterile thriller with a frustrating, utterly predictable second half.
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
This tense and bleak film noir, aesthetically mesmerizing and borrowing heavily from German Expressionism, is all the more surprising when you know that Laughton hated children – and while Mitchum is great as the expressionist villain, he seems though too one-dimensional to be truly menacing.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Romero’s first film – and his first zombie movie – is creepy, gory and realistic, with an extremely disturbing atmosphere, an incredibly sharp sociopolitical commentary and a terrifying ending, even though the acting is not that good and the plot feels a bit repetitive.
Night Train to Lisbon (2013)
A ridiculous drama that seems like a cheesy soap-opera, completely unaware of the meaning of subtlety and with everything so absolutely obvious and artificial: risible metaphors, a clichéd cinematography, self-help platitudes and an utterly embarrassing dialogue.
Night Will Fall (2014)
A powerful film that should be seen together with the unmissable restored documentary whose untold story is chronicled here. Needless to say, it brought out many tears and heartbreaking testimonies from people in the theater where I was at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival.
Jake Gyllenhaal delivers one of the very best performances of his impressive career (and should have received an Oscar nomination for it) in this fascinating, well-constructed and extremely tense thriller/character study about the lengths that one can go for sensationalism at the expense of human life.
The Nightmare (2015)
As a horror film, it is absolutely terrifying and almost made me think that I would never sleep again, but as a documentary, it is a joke that doesn’t care to offer any scientific point of view or insight into its subject, relying instead only on a bunch of unreliable people and experiences.
With an impeccable production design, a deliciously ghoulish, German Expressionist feel to its story and an excellent soundtrack replete with inspired songs, this delightful movie is even more surprising thanks to the perfect way that it combines animation and stop motion.
A relatively informative doc that discusses the birth and evolution of American horror movies in a generally entertaining way, but the problem is that a lot of it is tackled only superficially and the movie gets muddled when it enters the 1990s and talks about modern films and remakes.
Nights of Cabiria (1957)
Giulietta Masina should be forever remembered for her flawless performance in this profoundly touching and devastating tragicomic masterpiece, making us root for her character and her happiness in such a way that it is hard to be left unmoved by what unfolds before us.
Glamour, beauty and half a dozen Oscar winners starring in a Broadway musical based on Fellini, what could go wrong? Well, the movie is a total bore, pure style over no substance. Most of the songs are annoying, everything is so cold and distant, and I couldn’t wait to see it end.
The Ninth Gate (1999)
An engaging, slow-burning satanic thriller in the first hour, but soon the mysteries start to pile up in a plot that leaves too much unanswered (the reason behind the first death, Corso’s behavior in the end, etc.), and it falls flat with a very anticlimactic conclusion.
With a magnetic performance by Bernal and appropriately filmed in videotape to recreate the looks of back then, this is an intensely engaging and thrilling account of an important episode of Chilean history and how dictatorship was defeated by a lot of courage and struggle.
No Regret (2006)
An intense and tragic romance between an orphan who becomes a male prostitute and a rich young businessman who becomes obsessed with him, and both actors are great, especially Lee Young-hoon, who is not only incredibly handsome but also notably talented.
A multilayered parable that defies us to consider the implications of serving the demands of a cruel, manipulative, petty and sadistic Creator (entity and faith) instead of facing Him to follow our hearts – which is something that unfortunately happens even today with many religious people.
No Way, Spider (1970)
As cryptic and puzzling as its title, this Brazilian experimental film lacks a clear narrative and is more like a series of disconnected, handheld-shot long takes that want to expose the ugly insanity of what it is like to live in a country under military dictatorship.
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
The dialogue is a little bit heavy-handed sometimes, but still Tom Ford brings us a sophisticated and well-acted thriller about marital disillusion and resentment, blending reality with “fiction” using stunning scene transitions, superb editing and a gorgeous cinematography.
Nomad: The Warrior (2005)
The gorgeous locations and epic fight scenes can’t compensate for all of the bad acting, laughable dialogue and an awful plot full of clichés.
A highly entertaining action movie that overcomes its flaws (mainly an almost unbelievable last act) with a suspenseful whodunit, an awesome, badass Liam Neeson and an impressively dynamic direction that helps maintain a constant tension and claustrophobia.
The Normal Heart (2014)
With wonderful performances from an excellent cast, this extremely important, heartbreaking and infuriating drama exposes the revolting indifference and intolerance of American authorities in the early years of the AIDS epidemics – something that cost the lives of a lot of gays.
Norte, the End of History (2013)
Diaz uses mostly long shots to make a clinical study of guilt and the nature of evil, but after a solid build-up in the first hour the film is slowed down by long passages where nothing much happens and its poetic attempt at an end is frustrating in its refusal to bring the story to an actual conclusion.
North Sea Texas (2011)
A frustrating drama that uses a teenage boy’s sexual awakening to shape a narrative that drags so unforgivably and seems constructed solely around endless silences, “meaningful glances” and contrived situations, and it doesn’t help a bit that the acting is terrible.
Away from his homeland Russia, Tarkovsky delivered this phenomenal masterpiece, a wonderfully directed film that boasts a most gorgeous cinematography and takes us in a beautiful journey through nostalgia, faith, frustration and a man’s longing to find his own path.
Nostalgia for the Light (2010)
A beautiful, contemplative and deeply poetic exploration of the past in which Guzmán draws an intelligent parallel between our search for the origins of the universe through science and our general tendency to ignore our recent history, especially a chapter that should never be forgotten.
Nothing in Return (2015)
Despite how familiar everything is and the fact that some of its narrative elements are so underdeveloped (especially Darío’s relationship with Antonia, which seems to go nowhere), this is a satisfactory coming-of-age drama with a very good performance by Miguel Herrán.
Despite a forced romance that comes out of nowhere and how the protagonist’s motivations are not really convincing (especially with all that misogyny towards her), it has a wonderful direction and becomes extremely suspenseful after a while, with its two leads in great performances.
La Notte (1961)
Antonioni makes all the right choices here and with a remarkable sophistication, using many silent passages to slowly draw us to the characters’ ennui and telling this absorbing story about how people are unable to communicate or understand one another.
Now You See Me (2013)
A stupid caper movie that believes to be so much smarter than it really is when in fact it is a cheap Hollywood sleight of hand concealing a huge pile of implausibilities and the nonsensical nature of its twists/tricks – and the silly dialogue and idiotic ending only make it worse.
Nowhere Boy (2009)
An authentic and moving drama that takes a look at the life of a pre-Beatles 15-year-old John Lennon and mainly benefits from its sensitive narrative approach and remarkable performance by Aaron Johnson, who impresses us even if he looks nothing like the real John.
The Nut Job (2014)
This is what you get when an animation director decides to direct an animation of his own: a movie that is visually appealing but is also unfunny, cliched and totally forgettable, aimed at easy fun for undemanding small kids and nothing else.
Nymph()maniac: Vol. I (2013)
A complex and fascinating character study with an always absorbing structure that connects many episodes of the character’s life in a fluid narrative, raising in the process brilliant intellectual discussions about the nature of her intriguing sexual obsession and desire.
Nymph()maniac: Vol. II (2013)
Though notably less interesting than the first part, at least proposes some more intelligent discussions and wraps up its story as a powerful feminist statement about every woman’s right to have pleasure from their own sexual impulses and desire.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
George Clooney is completely miscast in this insufferable and unexciting adventure comedy that fails in every lousy attempt at humor (especially in its nods to Homer’s Odyssey) and feels just pointless – one of the worst films in the Coen brothers’ excellent career.
Repetitious, confusing and mainly unfocused, Oblivion is a misconceived hodgepodge of clichés and contrivances from the first scene to the last, and it is hard to imagine how the result could have been stodgier or more predictable than what we see here.
Observe and Report (2009)
A clever yet uneven comedy that may be too downbeat for everyone’s tastes as it raises sharp questions about our society with a lot of political incorrectness, but it is a pity that it remains only one step back from being truly hilarious, even though it does have its inspired moments.
Just take the basics of movies like Fatal Attraction, Swimfan, Notes on a Scandal, even The Cable Guy, mix them all up together, then spice it up with Beyoncé giving a major badass attitude and you will end up with something like this mediocre little thriller.
An intelligent horror film that invests in a constant tension instead of resorting to scares and deserves credit for the amazing way that it fuses (and confuses) the present with the past through wonderful transitions, remaining always fluid as it jumps back and forth in time.
Ode to My Father (2014)
I deeply admire what Youn Jk wants to say with this moving, compelling story, I only find it a pity that he tries too hard to draw a strong emotional response from the viewer and cares too much about the aesthetics of his film as though he’s eager to show that there is a director behind it.
Of Gods and Men (2010)
A wonderful and heartbreaking film that moved me to tears with a story (based on real events) that takes the necessary time with a deliberate pace to introduce us to each of the characters and their lives together, and make us truly care about them and their tense situation.
Of Mice and Men (1939)
No wonder why Lon Chaney Jr. was propelled to stardom after shining as Lennie in this solid adaptation of Steinbeck’s good story, as he finds the perfect tone for a mentally disabled character who could have become really irritating if played by a lesser actor.
Of Mice and Men (1992)
A decent adaptation that flunks due to a miscast John Malkovich in an over-the-top, cartoonish performance, looking too smart and cynical for the role and making Lennie seem irritating and seriously retarded, so much more than in the original story.
Office Space (1999)
Anyone who knows and appreciates the satirical office humor of the Dilbert comic strips will probably find this sophisticated comedy very funny – and those who hate their jobs will find it hard not to relate to it -, with a clever dialogue that makes us laugh during most of the time.
An Officer and a Gentleman (1982)
A wonderfully honest film that grows so much on us for two hours that we end up embracing its clichés without the slightest reservation, and it has splendid performances from the entire cast, especially Louis Gossett Jr., who is fantastic and deserved the Oscar he won.
The Official Story (1985)
Even though the changes undergone by the protagonist seem rushed (not even her hair seems to follow an entirely consistent evolution), this is a deeply disturbing and painful drama that poses hard questions and examines the terrifying truth about a horrific moment in History.
After a really nice and promising first hour, it seems like this overlong and irritating movie simply decides to try our patience with insufferable characters who yell and fight nearly all the time: the women being mostly weak and hysterical while the men are despicable and odious.
Oh My God! (2007)
An amusing little comedy that draws a lively, colorful picture of the cultural life in Pelourinho in Salvador, Brazil but unfortunately drags with musical scenes that adds nothing to the whole and has a bleak, maudlin ending that doesn’t fit at all with the tone of the movie.
Despite the overacting and lack of subtlety, this is a touching film that benefits from astonishing visual effects and offers a welcome ecological message about the exploitation of science and atrocities committed against animals for profit to the detriment of people’s health.
Perhaps those are problems created by the heavy editing of Lee’s cut, but this unnecessary and watered-down remake not only doesn’t add anything new to the exceptional Korean film but is also full of plot holes and makes its jaw-dropping twist in the end seem only ludicrous.
The Olive Tree (2016)
It is not always subtle when it comes to its drama and has an easy ending that makes it feel like it lacks something as a character study, but it compensates for that with a lot of heart, honesty and an intense performance by Anna Castillo to make it definitely worth it.
Oliver & Company (1988)
A harmless modern retelling of Dickens’ story with the setting shifted to late 1980s New York City and not a glimpse of the social commentary found in the novel, and it relies too much on its street smart charm and is toned down to be no more than just a fleeting pastime.
Olmo & the Seagull (2015)
An endlessly fascinating docufiction hybrid that pulls us deep into the sadness of a pregnant actress suffering from depression as it blurs the barrier between reality and enactment to question why such distinction should matter when the feelings they both provoke are real.
Like with Paradise Now, Abu-Assad finds a perfect balance between delicate drama and taut thriller in this well-constructed Palestinian film that depicts with intense realism life under Israeli occupation, while posing difficult questions to which there are no easy answers.
The Omen (1976)
A rare type of horror film that is more about its mystery and building an ominous feel of danger than trying to scare us, and it works quite well when it’s not too silly – as for instance with the ridiculous priest who babbles Catholic prophecies and could never be taken seriously.
On Body and Soul (2017)
With an exquisite direction, impeccable performances and an absolutely wonderful screenplay, this profoundly sensitive and unconventional love story uses a lot of humor to depict in a most irresistible way the discovery of love by two lonely, introspective people.
On My Way (2013)
Bercot’s firm direction and some amusing moments aren’t enough to redeem a cliché-ridden script that has no structure and is full of poorly developed characters, and it seeks to provide some feeling of apparent resolution that cannot hide the loose ends and lack of real conclusion.
On the Ice (2011)
An Alaskan thriller that benefits from its locations and cinematography, efficiently exploring the white vastness of the snow and the atmosphere of isolation. However, the amateurish actors put in weak, irregular performances, while the unoriginal script does not offer any surprises.
On the Road (2012)
Salles follows closely the heartbeat and structure of the iconic novel to capture the wild spirit of the Beat Generation, to which he is more than faithful, and so this is an exciting collection of road anecdotes revolving around the friendship between Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady.
On the Waterfront (1954)
Kazan’s self-defense for naming names to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) in 1952 (and his apologia for denunciation) is a gritty combo of realistic crime drama, romance and character study with a stellar central performance by Marlon Brando.
On Tour (2010)
Amalric proves that he is not only a great actor but also an extremely talented director, displaying a lot of confidence and maturity with this hugely involving film that doesn’t need any effort to make us empathize with its characters and want to know more about them.
Once in a Lifetime (2014)
Too bad that after a promising start that seems like it wants to propose relevant discussions about cultural differences in the suburbs of Paris, this misguided drama becomes an extremely didactic narrative about a subject that bears no direct relation with the reality of those students.
Once Upon a Time in America (1984)
Available now in its four-hour director’s cut, Leone’s supreme masterpiece is a magnificent epic – superbly directed, full of fantastic performances and with a beautiful story of friendship and betrayal that culminates in a profoundly moving, achingly sad ending.
Once Upon a Time in Anatolia (2011)
An absorbing drama that relies on an engaging dialogue and a peculiar sense of humor, following a group of characters in a crime investigation as they talk about trivial things and reveal a lot about themselves in the process – and it boasts an impressive sound design and astonishing cinematography.
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Leone’s ultimate Western is this classic operatic elegy for the dying genre – a perfect masterclass of cinema with unforgettable scenes from beginning to end, memorable dialogue, an evocative use of silence, outstanding performances and a wonderful score.
Though flawed in a few aspects, this decent little film is well balanced between melancholy and poetic, and it tells more about the viewer than the characters, since there will be diverse feelings about the ending depending if you are more of a realist or a romantic.
One Day (2011)
A touching story with a beautiful score, impeccable makeup and captivating characters that really grow on us as we catch up with them once in a year for such a long period of time – although it is just a pity that in the end it reuses a typical melodramatic cliché of romances.
One Deadly Summer (1983)
An interesting character study that benefits from a strong performance by Adjani as a beautiful young woman bent on revenge. Even so, the story is not only greater due to a predictable ending that you can see coming halfway through the film.
Jack Nicholson is super charismatic as a free-spirited character who refuses to abide by the rules at a mental institution, in a great drama that has its best moments when showing his obstinate attempts to get through to people who have given in to conformism.
One from the Heart (1981)
An overdirected and overproduced exercise of style that can be tremendously annoying with its insane excess of colors, sounds and neon signs in a fake Las Vegas that looks dated even as a satirical concept – all as an end in itself and without anything interesting or substantial to say.
With a gorgeous animation job using xerography that ranks among the best the studio has ever done – though Walt Disney strongly disliked it -, this is a very entertaining film that also offers a memorable villain and knows well how to create suspense in scenes of danger.
101 Dalmatians (1996)
The fact is, there is one reason only to watch this completely forgettable movie that can’t seem to decide if it wants to be a merely amusing pastime or a silly nonsense, and that reason is Glenn Close, who devours the scenery with a deliciously over-the-top performance.
127 Hours (2010)
Boyle seems to care only about his own direction, as he invests in a heavy-handed, tumultuous approach, using everything from pointless subjective cameras to split screens, but leaves the story without a clear purpose. What saves the film, though, is Franco’s strong performance.
One Night (2012)
An honest and vigorous portrait of a troubled city, centered on three youngsters (played by excellent non-professional actors) who struggle to find a way out of their ungrateful lives while discovering their own sexuality – and the last act is tense and has a strong ending.
Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior (2003)
Like so many martial arts movies out there, it lacks in structure and is clearly more an excuse to show great fighting scenes – and great they definitely are, with Tony Jaa performing all his spectacular Muay Thai stunts without the use of wires or special effects.
Ong Bak 2: The Beginning (2008)
Though better made than the first movie (even avoiding those annoying playbacks), what is obvious is its purely commercial interest, from the title (this is not a sequel or a prequel) to the use of flashbacks so that the movie can jump straight to the action – and the ending is terrible.
Only God Forgives (2013)
Refn’s Lynchian nightmare never makes you think that he is not in absolute control of this gripping arthouse film, as he crafts a hypnotizing atmosphere of strangeness that feels like a hard punch in the guts with so much visceral power and crushing intensity.
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
Jarmusch knows quite well the kind of engrossing atmosphere that he wants to invoke with this story of old-fashioned, cultivated vampires who feel deeply disappointed in people’s disdain for Science and Art and are doomed to succumb in the mediocrity that dominates the world.
An Open Heart (2012)
It is really hard to care about a detestable couple formed by an immature, alcoholic jackass and his weak, accepting wife as they deal with their artificial marital conflicts – and it gets even worse when it all ends in a ridiculous dream sequence that is cringe-inducingly clichéd.
Open Windows (2014)
The plot is smart and Vigalondo’s direction following multiple open windows on a computer is imaginative and well conceived, but he also seems too desperate to make it ingenious, and so the film starts to devolve into a convoluted mess of twists close to the end.
Open Your Eyes (1997)
Amenábar follows his intelligent debut Thesis with this equally smart, well-written and nicely-acted psychothriller that takes a simple premise and shapes it into something so puzzling that we can’t see where reality ends and illusion begins – and the strong ending is more than earned.
The Opposite of Sex (1998)
It has the kind of cynical and darkly politically incorrect humor that is among my favorite (it made me laugh out loud the whole time) and an excellent script (which I wish I had written) that makes fun of how ridiculous the characters are as they expose the worst in themselves.
A decent mix of Jaws and Moby Dick with a beautiful score and unsettling scenes of animal cruelty, about a miserable, ignorant whaler driven to madness and forced to understand the full agony of an unstoppable beast consumed with a furious desire for revenge.
Orchestra Rehearsal (1978)
It is deliciously odd that Fellini would have a documentary crew in this unpretentious story handling an omnipresent camera that seems to be everywhere even in impossible (and invisible) moments, which gives the film a surreal vibe that goes well together with what he wants to tell.
I hope I don’t develop any brain damage after watching this awful piece of crap that goes for every single ridiculous cliché of horror movies: from stupid scares even when there is nothing to be afraid of to the most irritating idiocy of nobody ever believing the main character.
The first Afghan film since the fall of the Taliban, Osama is a deeply harrowing and touching movie of great historical importance set during a monstrous regime that seems to have existed centuries ago, only it hasn’t been that long that it came to an end.
Oslo, August 31st (2011)
A poignant character study, melancholy and sad, about a man facing a desolate moment in his life when all hope seems lost, everything left is despair and he sees no reason to keep on trying, and it relies on a compelling performance by Anders Danielsen Lie.
A clever, witty spoof of spy movies that smartly plays with the conventions of the genre and recreates with perfection the looks of movies in the late ’50s, especially the special effects – and Dujardin is hilarious as the stupid, condescending French spy of the title.
OSS 117: Lost in Rio (2009)
The best thing about this French comedy is its delicious ’60s visuals with all the clumsy zooms and split-screens, and while the laughs are not so plentiful, the story has many inspired nonsensical moments in this fun spoof on the 007 series and spy movies in general.
The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Natalie Portman is great and in fact the only one who stands out from the cast, but even though mildly intriguing, it is too bad that this period drama feels like a slow-paced soap-opera more concerned about melodrama than historical accuracy.
The Other Side of Hope (2017)
It has everything that anyone can expect from an Aki Kaurismäki film, including his hilarious deadpan humor and usual style with a theatrical mise-en-scène and palette of saturated colors – all of which he uses to make a caustic commentary on the racism of Finnish society.
The Other Side of the Door (2016)
It has an intriguing premise that could have led to a more original movie, but the result is just terribly predictable and full of clichés from beginning to end, especially in an awful third act that seems like a compilation of every horror movie cliché you can think of.
The Other Son (2012)
A compelling drama that relies on the charisma of its two main characters and the way they deal with a delicate situation, but it leaves some loose ends and tries too obviously to make a statement, ending on a rather frustrating, optimistic note.
The Other Woman (2009)
It would have been easy to make a melodrama with this subject and the sort of unexpected revelation that comes up in the third act, but Roos avoids that and delivers this emotionally complex film devoid of villains and lifted by two excellent performances by Natalie Portman and Lisa Kudrow.
There are a few good moments here and there but mostly this is a predictable stupidity full of clichés and apparently written by retards who don’t care a bit if it doesn’t make any sense – which can be seen from how the spirit’s motives are just nonsensical and ridiculous.
Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
Infinitely better than the first Ouija movie, this intelligent prequel understands quite well how silence can be much more terrifying than loud noises, giving us also time to care about the characters and cleverly subverting the most stupid clichés of the genre.
Our Beloved Month of August (2008)
This ingenious Portuguese production is a curious amalgam of documentary and fiction – an adorable metalinguistic experiment that plays with blending reality and performance to tell its story. The result may not appeal to everyone, but I found it quite interesting.
Our Children (2012)
Even though the first scene eliminates some of the impact that the end should create, we can’t deny how powerful and moving this film is – and Émilie Dequenne is fantastic, conveying with such anguishing intensity the whole suffering of an emotionally depressed woman.
Our Hospitality (1923)
There are many amusing moments here (the bumpy train, the dangerous river ride, Keaton afraid of leaving his foes’ house and be killed) and a good eye for props and elements (the dandy horse, the tunnel shaped like a train) that make this a funny, enjoyable comedy.
Our Last Tango (2015)
Fans and admirers of tango may find this documentary satisfying – and it offers some beautiful dance shots for their pleasure -, but it disappoints with a manipulative direction that feels so artificial in the way the film is shot (and edited) to provoke specific emotions in the viewers.
Out in the Dark (2012)
From a thematic standpoint this is an always interesting film, but as a narrative it is heavy-handed and ridden with clichés and tacky dialogue – and its romance never feels natural or involving but only contrived and mechanical, with a terrible performance by Nicholas Jacob.
Out of the Furnace (2013)
No great cast could save this from becoming an excruciatingly dull and predictable experience – a pointless film with an uneven structure where the first act takes more than an hour just to shape its simple premise and whose development is nothing that we haven’t seen before.
Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
An exciting roller coaster of a prequel with endless welcome references to the original movie and tons of more adventure and exuberant visuals that look quite nice in 3D – and it also aims for a broader public, being just as pleasant to adults as it is to children and munchkins alike.
The Pacific (2010)
While Band of Brothers had a very well-structured narrative, this second war miniseries is not so fluid, focusing on three marines who barely meet – in fact, two of them briefly do but in a context that doesn’t add much. Besides, the battle of Guadalcanal feels incredibly reduced while a major one like Iwo Jima is left to not more than ten minutes in a later episode. Even so, the result is astonishing, a very intense and powerful ten-episode production that dives into the minds and souls of soldiers to show the effect of war on their lives.
Pacific Rim (2013)
A dazzling visual spectacle that combines top-notch visual effects with a lot of fun in a way that should make any Michael Bay ashamed – and Del Toro employs a large depth of field for most of the movie, which makes it look amazing in IMAX 3D, even if it is converted.
The Pack (2015)
It’s nearly impossible to find any redeeming quality in this ridiculous movie that never manages to be tense and is centered on a family of complete idiots (who we couldn’t give a damn about) as they get surrounded by a pack of dogs that are far more intelligent than they are.
The Pact (2012)
The mystery is compelling and holds the story together in an efficient way before the last twenty minutes (which are very tense), even though there is no pact to be seen (can a movie title get more generic and lazier than this?) and the direction is so annoyingly full of clichés.
The kind of passable family movie that seems destined to be relegated to television every year on Christmas, given how harmless and satisfied with little it is, which can be seen from its silly humor and Nicole Kidman playing a cartoonish, Cruella de Vil-like villain.
The Painted Veil (1934)
Garbo is such a marvel to behold, so captivating that she doesn’t need any effort to make us forgive her character’s sins, while the solid script and elegant dialogue always let us understand her motivations, even though the conclusion comes a bit fast and sudden.
The Painted Veil (2006)
The cinematography is stunning, while Watts’ and Norton’s outstanding performances elevate this absorbing material into a truly memorable experience, as they give shape to complex characters in an extremely engaging drama about resentment, forgiveness and love.
Amateurish acting, terrible dubbing and filming errors apart, this is a riveting example of cinéma vérité centered on many cultural differences encountered during the liberation of Italy by the Allied forces, yet although the first three stories are sublime, the last three are not so efficient.
Palo Alto (2013)
The meandering quality of the film’s plot (which may put most viewers off) is in fact what I like the most about it, while the solid performances, nice cinematography and Gia Coppola’s firm direction help make this a solid debut for her as a filmmaker.
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Del Toro creates a magnificent fairy tale for grown-ups in which the innocence of fantasy collides with the horrors of war – and the result is a devastating, poignant and unforgettable film of lyrical beauty, with astonishing visuals, great performances and a wonderful score.
Paper Towns (2015)
The plot is formulaic and the performances generally weak – especially from the actors playing Quentin’s friends, who are also more annoying than they should be -, but the film is sincere and has one of the most mature endings to come out from a young adult story in recent years.
The Paperboy (2012)
It looks and feels like something made in the 1970s but with a sordid quality that makes it so absurdly hilarious in all its filthy nonsense – thanks also to a terrific performance by Nicole Kidman as the trashy Southern blonde, who steals every scene she appears in.
With an excellent performance by Steve McQueen and a stunning cinematography that employs a large depth of field to explore the setting and thus the gravity of the situation, this compelling prison film works so very well despite losing some of its credibility in the third act.
A hard-hitting documentary that exposes the horrendous flaws of a justice system that can convict someone without any strong evidence based only on assumptions made by a jury of peers who have no instruction and are incapable of judging the case in an objective way.
Paradise Lost 2: Revelations (2000)
A bit repetitious with so many clips from the first movie, but still it is reassuring how it shows that there are supportive people willing to help the defendants prove their innocence for free, as well as the irony of assuming that someone else is guilty because of his appearance.
Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011)
Even though the first half seems more like a recap of the previous two movies, this is a well-structured and objective documentary that shows us what “beyond any reasonable doubt” should mean in a place where people can’t let go of their own preconceived opinions.
Paraguayan Hammock (2006)
A fascinating (and simple) way to tell a sad, touching story, using long static shots of the couple’s daily life as a visual anchor for extradiegetic dialogue and atmospheric background sounds (the forest and the rain) – all done through an outstanding, immersive sound work.
I would have loved to see this as the backdoor pilot of a Sliders-like TV series as it was originally intended, but as a standalone movie, despite a nice sense of humor, it has blatant problems in structure and a poorly-conceived, badly-developed concept that leaves too much unanswered.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
The idea may be interesting even if totally unoriginal, while the story is developed well in a careful pace. Still, the movie feels like a mere silly trick to scare the audience and nothing else, even if it isn’t scary or intriguing.
Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
A superior and scarier sequel (prequel actually) that serves best as an example of what the first movie should have been but wasn’t, given that, contrary to the silly sheet tricks of that one, we’re offered this time a more interesting development of the paranormal activity.
Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
A dull and obvious prequel with a predictable paper-thin plot that reuses the same old unscary sheet tricks of the first movie and even has a guy – stubborn to the point of stupidity – carrying a camera for much longer after good sense would have made him drop it.
The superb animation combines 3D stop-motion and CGI effects into a dazzling visual spectacle, but the plot drags with an irregular pacing and only occasional funny jokes. The result is an average experience that ends with a clichéd message about how bullying is bad.
Paris 05:59 (Théo & Hugo) (2016)
The two actors are good and have a powerful chemistry together (especially in the remarkably intense initial sequence), but what the film mistakes for authenticity is in fact a lot of artificial and painfully theatrical dialogue that unfortunately dilutes their onscreen presence.
Paris Is Burning (1990)
A revealing (and sad) portrait of this subculture of the 1980s, it documents the balls, “houses” (or “families”), “voguing” and a “realness” competition that raises fascinating questions about what it is to be real (gay men even appear teaching women to behave like “real” women).
A romantic comedy that is not romantic nor funny; instead, it is silly and uninteresting in the same proportion – and not even an adorable cameo by Woody Allen himself is able to lift this movie from being merely ordinary.
This is certainly an authentic portrait of life in Paris for a young Lebanese immigrant trying to find her path in a foreign city, but the film also starts to feel a bit repetitive after a while and doesn’t offer much in terms of narrative to stand out and become memorable.
Particle Fever (2013)
For those like me with a background in physics and/or up to date on the subject, this doc won’t offer much and will even prove to be a bit repetitious (and dull), as it wastes too much time on emotions instead of talking science, thus more recommended for the uninitiated than experts.
The Party (2017)
Highly engaging, fast-paced and with great performances (especially Timothy Spall and Cillian Murphy, who are hilarious), this smart comedy has some very funny moments and never outstays its welcome, surprising us with a well-written dialogue and delicious twists.
El Pasado (2007)
I like Babenco’s direction (despite the irregular pacing) and the film’s score and performances, but this story about a man surrounded by mad women is too puzzling and implausible in the end, when we only feel like it doesn’t have that much to say about relationships after all.
Full of the worst clichés you can think of, expository dialogue and cheesy references (even to The Shining, for no good reason), this is an immoral and horribly corny little romance that wants us to feel sympathy towards a selfish bastard as he proves to a woman that he will be the “best” thing for her.
For the most part, this is a solid thriller whose technical brilliance (mainly the fantastic art direction, mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing and score) is no surprise for a Brian De Palma movie. It is just too bad though that the story collapses in such a ridiculous, incoherent end.
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Baffling us with spectacular visuals and one of the most magnificent performances in the history of Cinema, it is nearly unbelievable how Dreyer made such a stunning masterpiece solely from rejected material after his original master print had been accidentally destroyed.
The Past (2013)
Farhadi proves again that he is one of the greatest storytellers nowadays to shape nuanced, three-dimensional characters, making it impossible for us to take sides or judge any of them – and his wonderful last scene, filmed in one long take, is of extraordinary sensibility.
Adam Driver is great and delivers a sensitive performance in an intelligent character study that shows us a week in the life of a man living a melancholy existence, and it is very nice to see how Jarmusch uses black-and-white patterns to underline the character’s ordinary routine.
Pather Panchali (1955)
An impressive achievement considering that this was Ray’s first film, and he displays an enormous confidence in the direction of this hypnotizing and realistic look into the life of a Bengali family struggling with poverty as witnessed by the eyes of an eight year-old boy.
Paths of Glory (1957)
Kubrick’s best depiction of the brutal and dehumanizing face of war, it not only offers excellent performances, an exquisite cinematography and an intensely absorbing dialogue, but ends with an especially beautiful (and thought-provoking) last scene.
Patrik, Age 1.5 (2008)
A sensitive and heartwarming drama that could have been easily filled with clichés and turned into a melodrama but is wise instead to develop its story in an always believable and sincere way, relying also on two adorable performances by Skarsgård and Ljungman.
Pegg and Frost join Seth Rogen and Greg Mottola in this hilarious geek comedy that is also surprisingly full of action. The script is very smart, with many well-inspired references, and it finds a perfect balance between the humor of Shaun of the Dead and Superbad.
Pawn Sacrifice (2014)
It is dull, formulaic and directed in such a mediocre way (hell, even Zwick’s sense of geography is terrible) that there is no pleasure in going through this plodding plot so full of clichés and awful dialogue just to finally get to a tense climax that saves the film from being a disaster.
The Pearl Button (2015)
The rambling nature of Guzmán’s poetic digressions makes this film frustrating despite his sensitive intentions, and so it seems more like a mixed bag of cheesy esoteric assertions about water and random musings on indigenous people, dictatorships, pearl buttons and supernovas.
Peeping Tom (1960)
Extremely bold and perverse for the time it came out (as it was the first film to put us in the perspective of a serial killer), this is a work of great psychological depth that dives into the dark corners of misogyny and voyeurism while making us sympathetic towards its sick protagonist.
Anchored in two great central performances, it explores and understands the poetic beauty of human shapes and movements, offering a delicate look full of intimacy and intensity into the complex relationship between a couple of artists.
It seems a bit ridiculous that a pig nose could cause people to cringe in horror and jump out of windows (especially considering the amount of ugly people in this world), but this decent little fable-like comedy has a sweet moral message and makes the best of a simple idea.
Penguins of Madagascar (2014)
A very amusing spin-off centered on the very most adorable characters of the Madagascar franchise – which, combined with a well-written plot, hilarious puns, a stunning Pixar-level animation and even a hilarious Werner Herzog narration, makes for a much superior experience.
A contemplative project that sets out to document the simple life and musings of a humble populist president who should be followed as an example by every nation leader anywhere out there. Still, despite its inspiring subject, the film doesn’t offer much else beyond that.
This enjoyable and harmless adventure directed by Chris Columbus is entertaining enough as it makes nice references to Greek Mythology gods and creatures, and it features a very amusing performance by Uma Thurman as the Medusa.
A Perfect Getaway (2009)
At first, this movie seems to be a trashy comedy due to the strange characters and goofy dialogue, but then after its first hour it evolves into an above-average thriller, surprisingly good and smarter than most slasher movies released in recent years.
Perfect Sense (2011)
Inexplicably bashed by many critics, this is a surprisingly optimistic and vivid take on the overused apocalyptic scenario. An honest romance that is really touching and beautiful, even if sometimes the stylized direction and some involuntarily funny scenes stand in the way.
The Perfect Storm (2000)
It is a shame how this movie turns a real nightmare into a dull Hollywood spectacle full of visual effects but with little character development, and it even makes the biggest mistake of showing more people caught in the storm instead of only focusing on the crew of the Andrea Gail.
Though with an unnecessary twist and a few clichés in a plot that could have certainly avoided them, this is a very sincere and involving drama about what it is like to be a teenager trying to find his place in the world – and its strength lies in three excellent performances.
Personal Shopper (2016)
Kristen Stewart delivers a fine performance that grabs our attention and Olivier Assayas does a very nice job to creep us out in some moments; it is just too bad, though, that he gets lost with a stupid script that has no focus, no direction and not that much interesting to say.
Žižek’s personal psychoanalytic dissection of Cinema is always fascinating and rewarding, even if clearly a one man’s vision. But many times he also rambles among different ideas without being really able to organize his thoughts in a coherent, logical sequence.
Žižek’s many ideas are really fascinating and always fun to watch, but once again he has trouble organizing all of them in a cohesive argument, even if now the result is less rambling than the first film due to the narrowed-down focus of what he wants to say.
Pet Sematary (1989)
King’s screenplay (adapted from his own novel) is generally well structured despite its flaws, but the movie suffers mainly from a stiff dialogue and Lambert’s poor, amateurish direction, which has trouble even with the most basic things like the geography of the scenes.
Peter Pan (1953)
Though it is supposed to be an adventurous story of youth and innocence, it is marred by the fact that Peter Pan and Tinker Bell come off as truly unlikable characters, and it must be a sign that it isn’t really working the way it should when you see yourself rooting for Captain Hook.
Petting Zoo (2015)
Layla looks and speaks like a normal girl, with normal desires, doubts and frustrations in a defining moment of her life – which is how it should be like -, and although the ending is not that satisfying, this is an honest portrait of adolescence that doesn’t need to be a moral statement.
The Phantom of the Opera (1990)
This decent TV movie version adapted from Arthur Kopit’s play – which in turn is considerably distinct from the original story by Gaston Leroux – features a great performance by Burt Lancaster, a good art direction and a nice score by John Addison.
The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
The impressive sets, costumes, production direction and cinematography make for a stunning visual spectacle, but most of the songs – with the exception of two or three – are hideous (yes, I hate both Andrew Lloyd Webber and his musical) and Butler is a terrible singer.
One of the first movies to deal with delicate matters like AIDS, homosexuality and intolerance at the time of its release. Although not altogether memorable, this is a praise-worthy effort that relies on some great performances and proves to be a deeply touching experience.
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
A witty romantic comedy with a refined, intelligent dialogue and sharp performances, especially Hepburn and Stewart, although I feel reluctant to accept the sexist way that it correlates a woman’s strong character with her being a prig, as if humbling and taming were the same.
With amusing moments of humor and good performances by Dench and Coogan, this fine and sad little drama packs some unexpected emotional punches, but there is not much else into it and it is not as challenging and original as it really could have been.
Nina Hoss delivers perhaps the very best and most challenging performance of her career in this gripping film about what it is like to become a stranger to the person you love (and vice versa) – even though the suicide of a certain character comes up as quite unnecessary.
The Piano (1993)
Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin deliver two terrific performances in this beautiful, haunting story that Campion carries off with sheer sensitivity and in a slow-burning fashion that helps explore the complexity of its characters and themes like restraint, passion and loneliness.
Bresson’s unemotional style and wooden performances may not be accessible to everyone but it is impressive how he holds our interest in the many minutiae of the pickpocketing sleight of hand tricks, making them seem more like an art than a condemnable deed.
With a wonderful mise-en-scène and cinematography (mostly gorgeous wide-angle long shots), this amusing collection of several vignettes can be pretty ironic and surreal as they show that life is made up not only of gracious, strange and prosaic moments but also of pain and vicious deeds.
The overwhelming dramatic strength of this gut-wrenching tale of revenge makes us forgive its undeniable lack of subtlety (especially regarding its social and political ambitions) and its absurdly amateurish direction (the awful zooms and camera movements).
From the spectacular choreography of Rite of Spring to the melancholy of Café Müller, this documentary made by Wim Wenders (in a fabulous 3D) takes us on a fascinating journey into the work of an artist and her legacy in the development of the expressionist dance.
Pineapple Express (2008)
David Gordon Green directing a story by Judd Apatow is something that goes against the laws of nature, but even more surprising is how well it works, a great blend of bromance, stoner comedy and highly enjoyable action, with James Franco shining in a hilarious performance.
Pink Flamingos (1972)
An outrageous and repellent exercise in bad taste whose only infantile objective is to leave you disgusted as if eating dog shit yourself. It isn’t funny, the acting is horrible and John Waters only proves that he is an awful director with his trashy zooms and ugly camera movements.
Collodi’s classic fairy tale is adapted into a spellbinding animation full of adventure and tension, notably scarier and more serious in tone than the usual Disney movies. A wonderful story that holds an important moral lesson for children about the dangers of the world.
Despite showing early signs of Dante’s peculiar sense of humor (the ululating sound made by the piranhas is a hilarious example), this spoof of Jaws (or as Roger Corman put it, his “homage” to that classic) did not resist well the effect of time, looking pretty trashy and silly today.
The Pirates! Band of Misfits (2012)
An amusing but irregular stop-motion animation (with a useless 3D) that has many intelligent and really well-inspired scenes but also moments of pedestrian humor that make the movie look as silly as, say, an episode of The Big Bang Theory.
A movie that has no reason to exist but to make money, especially if you consider the unnecessary 3D. Everything is so silly and predictable, the characters are mostly annoying, and you know something is very wrong when even the action scenes feel repetitious and underwhelming.
Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
A very inspired adaptation that strays completely from Poe’s story – in fact, it is hard to see why it is said to be an adaptation in the first place -, and Corman builds a tense atmosphere with a firm direction, a fine art direction and Price’s magnetic performance.
The Pit and the Pendulum (1991)
Stuart Gordon does a great job again to combine horror (this time from pure human evil) and camp (even if it gets a bit too campy sometimes), benefiting from Lance Henriksen’s creepy performance and offering a very nice and underrated adaptation of Poe’s short story.
Pitch Perfect (2012)
It may be conventional and formulaic with nearly all film clichés that Kendrick’s character disdains so much (and not with the originality of the likes of The Breakfast Club), but maybe that is the point after all: to work as a solid predictable comedy. And it does so well.
A hard-hitting portrait of the miserable childhood faced by many minors who don’t see any way ahead of them but a life of crime in Brazil, and it is even more painful and tragic when we think that its main actor was murdered by the police in real life six years after it was made.
The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
Cianfrance puts a lot of effort into generating apprehension but is unable to find any direction in this horribly misguided soap-opera that relies on an absurd amount of contrived coincidences and is downright predictable, artificial, unfocused and pointless.
Le Plaisir (1952)
Apart from that natural drawback of most anthologies – being a rather uneven piece made of contrasting stories -, this film is a charming and refreshing experience that benefits mainly from its sumptuous visuals and splendid use of tracking shots and long takes.
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
Ed Wood’s most infamous creation and a definite prove of how outrageously inept he was as a filmmaker. Featuring a lot of laughable acting and dialogue, ridiculous special effects and a disastrous notion of space and time, this is a masterpiece of sheer awfulness.
Playing by Heart (1998)
A passable yet rather predictable romantic drama that, despite a top-notch cast, seems more interested in its element of surprise at the end, reducing all the complexity of its situations and themes to a happy ending where everything works out and is wrapped up in easy fashion.
I do not share the negative criticism that this well-intentioned (yet naive) animation is racist and offensive to American Indians, and it is actually a lot more serious in theme and mood than the average Disney film, with also gorgeous visuals and a beautiful Oscar-winning song.
An uneven, overlong drama that wants to discuss many subjects but gets lost among ideas that are not fully developed or well explored, and so it is clear that it should have been better edited and focused more on the protagonist’s fascination with poetry and inspiration.
Police, Adjective (2009)
This Romanian film is definitely not for everyone, considering its peculiar directing style and sluggishly slow pace, but those willing to sit through it will find a thought-provoking and morally challenging narrative with a particularly outstanding final act.
Investing in a documentary tone with a handheld camera, this realistic drama depicts the everyday life of the policemen/women in the division of crimes against children in Paris, and is a fascinating collection of situations that show their work and the relationship between them.
I can’t see any homage in this painfully derivative movie that reuses the worst clichés of the genre, with a lazy script that has no shame to come up with the most ridiculous “explanation” ever (drawn on paper, to appear more “scientific”) for a supernatural phenomenon.
Like a Fassbinder or Douglas Sirk movie made by John Waters, it is a mess with all his trademark filth, irritating overacting and ridiculous lack of structure and focus, and I guess it would be only amusing and worth seeing in the cinema for the Odorama scratch-and-sniff gimmick.
The re-creation of the massacre is quite efficient, depicting the shocking brutality of the real incident, but the film suffers from an irregular narrative diluted by flashbacks and jumps in time. Besides, the characters are not too well developed and the resolution is disappointing.
From a narrative point of view, this is an uninspired hodgepodge that simply recycles every cliché and convention of the genre (including an indestructible villain), being only worth it for the amusing, great-looking catastrophe, the nice score and Kit Harington’s spectacular abs.
A very adorable and visually beautiful hand-drawn animation by master Hayao Miyazaki, who goes for a more innocent and simpler approach to tell this story instead of delivering an epic of environmental message like some of his more memorable works.
A delightful and sweet adaptation that captures the innocent spirit of the comic strip and the cartoon, translating it to the screen with great songs, a splendid production design (the entirely constructed set of Sweethaven is fabulous) and priceless moments between Williams and Walston.
Porco Rosso (1992)
Miyazaki indulges himself in his passion for seaplanes with this very enjoyable project of most personal interest, an always entertaining film that benefits from a beautiful soundtrack, a spot-on sense of humor and, even better, a lot of heart.
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
It is irritating that nearly every female character is shown as weak or hysterical, but this is an entertaining disaster movie that can be quite tense sometimes and has a superb production design, nice action scenes and a great cast made up of mostly Oscar-winning actors.
Post Tenebras Lux (2012)
This experimental film of powerful imagery and evocative atmosphere may be intriguing at first, but soon it becomes pretty clear that Reygadas is not really interested in saying anything consistent in this aimless series of unrelated scenes that hardly come together.
It is nice to see that Ozon can still handle light comedies like this, and even if there is nothing really special about it, it is still a very pleasant and funny movie thanks mostly to Deneuve and Depardieu, who are both great as usual and shining together.
Pra Frente, Brasil (1982)
It is not without its flaws (especially in the end), but still this is a tense and important film that openly speaks about a dark chapter in Brazilian history when conformism was the norm and there was nothing better than soccer to distract people from what was happening.
Prayers for Bobby (2009)
A sad real story about how intolerance destroys lives and how it takes sometimes a tragedy to force people to open their eyes, and Sigourney Weaver offers a powerful performance in this movie that tends a bit towards melodrama but is sincere about what it wants to say.
The greatest achievement of this bleak drama is how it makes us sympathize with a character that could have been easily stereotyped if played by a not-so-great actress, but Sidibe is superb as well as Mo’Nique, who shines as the selfish mother.
An action-packed piece of uninspired escapism that doesn’t come close to what made the original movie so suspenseful, and despite a few good scenes and twists, it is filled with pathetic dialogue, stereotypical characters and tedious moments in which nothing happens.
The Prefab People (1982)
I don’t understand Tarr’s taste for redundant monologues in his early works when so much is already shown on screen, and here in this solid, unrelenting piece of cinema verité we can see that the mostly silent last scene is much more resonant and telling than the monologue that precedes it.
Although it doesn’t really know how to end and goes on for two scenes longer than it should, this is a hugely uncomfortable family drama that feels more cruel than most films alike and has wonderful performances from its cast (especially Thomas Blanchard, who is incredible).
Altman’s lighthearted, amusing and unfairly underrated satire on the fashion industry is a sharp ensemble piece of celebrities, designers and reporters as they meet and stumble on one another at the “prêt-à-porter” extravaganza of Paris Fashion Week.
Pretty in Pink (1986)
A sweet coming-of-age story with an adorable sense of humor, an awesome soundtrack and some superb performances by Stanton, Cryer and Potts, and if the end may not please you (like it did please me), the sincere way the movie shows the insecurities of youth definitely will.
Pretty Woman (1990)
Even if completely unrealistic, it is easy to enjoy this delightful little Cinderella story that works so well thanks to the chemistry between the two leads and the delicious dialogue, while Julia Roberts puts in a very adorable performance.
A funny and heartfelt comedy about the importance of solidarity, friendship and courage to fight for justice in our world – and thirty years after the events depicted, this real story continues to be relevant and inspiring today as a call to stand up together for equal rights.
The Priest and the Girl (1966)
It should be remembered more for its formal rigor and the strength of Paulo José’s performance, since, when it comes to its flawed narrative, it moves too slowly (to the point of tedious after a while) and doesn’t have much to offer beyond the thin story that it wants to tell.
Prime Time Soap (2011)
It is so disappointing to see that this is like a naive soap-opera full of clichés and with poorly developed characters in unrealistic situations, but even worse is that it seems to advocate an infuriating message that love and happiness are more important than fighting for freedom.
Produced on a minimal budget of $7,000, this mind-blowing sci-fi mystery is extremely complex and intelligent, and it is amazing how you get more details each time you watch it and try to fit the pieces of this fascinating puzzle. A brilliant film for those who like to be challenged.
Prince Avalanche (2013)
An enjoyable blend of funny and melancholy that benefits from Green’s solid direction and strong performances by Rudd and Hirsch, even if it feels a bit vague and purposely enigmatic as its title, with the dialogue also becoming artificial after a certain hip accident scene.
With a lot of clichés, a silly sense of humor and empty, ridiculous characters, this harmless swashbuckler is predictable from the first scene to the last and doesn’t even realize that the warn-out love/hate relationship between the main couple gets irritating really really fast.
The Prince of Tides (1991)
A sappy and overpraised movie that is all over the place trying to bite off a lot more than it can chew, even discarding its heavy-handed family drama (which gets solved in the most pathetic way) to focus on a corny romance – and it didn’t deserve any of the Oscar nominations it got.
The Princess and the Frog (2009)
Disney’s brief throwback to a traditional hand-drawn animation is this mildly amusing re-creation of the New Orleans of the 1920s with its jazz, voodoo, bayous and an African-American heroine who very conveniently doesn’t have to deal with any sort of prejudice in those times.
The Princess Bride (1987)
An enchanting storybook love story that has gained the status of cult movie along the years and appeals to both youngsters and adults alike thanks to its delicious blend of exciting romantic adventure and hilarious comedy – and made even more enjoyable by a great cast.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
Miyazaki returns to the ecological message that he explored in Nausicaä and elevates it to an epic level with this splendid story of man vs. nature, and more wonderful than its stunning visuals and score is to see so many complex characters who can’t be defined as heroes or villains.
With fantastic performances (Gyllenhaal deserves an Oscar), an extremely complex script so well written in every single detail and a phenomenal direction that invests in a slow-burning tension with perfection, Prisoners is certainly one of the best films of the year.
A film that basically relies on exchanges of fine dialogue. The war scenes are now dated and the final act is very weak, with the characters saying one thing only to contradict themselves and keep the plot moving, but Davis raises the movie from ordinary to enjoyable.
A Prophet (2009)
A gripping French gangster film that depicts the many brutal changes that a man can go through after entering prison, and the 19-year-old Arab-Corsican delinquent who slowly learns to become a murderer is played with an impressive intensity by Tahar Rahim.
The Program (2015)
This is one of those biopics that tells a story that we all know and doesn’t manage the necessary to raise it above its limitations; instead, it suffers from a one-dimensional protagonist that never becomes intriguing and ends so abruptly that it feels like Frears got tired of telling it.
Project X (2012)
Another movie this year misusing the trite (and unnecessary) found footage gimmick edited from multiple cameras (even under the water!), which would have been impossible to obtain. But those looking for just pointless, forgettable fun are likely to be entertained.
An ambitious movie with outstanding visuals and great ideas, but the existentialist debate never goes beyond the obvious, and so even if it has a gripping mystery, this is a frustrating effort that only cares about coming up with more and more questions than ever answering them.
The Promise (1979)
There is a lot of honesty and truth in what it wants to say, especially in the way it avoids making Marion a one-dimensional villain; even so, the result is only a passable yet sappy love story with good performances but inevitably weakened by its corny dialogue.
Promised Land (2012)
For the most part, this is an engaging and thought-provoking drama with excellent dialogue and complex characters facing complex ethical issues, but it is terribly frustrating to see it all reach an unjustifiable revelation and an unconvincing – yet thematically consistent – conclusion.
The Proposal (2009)
Despite some funny moments and the good chemistry between Bullock and Reynolds, there is nothing fresh in this unoriginal romcom whose humor is more embarrassing than inspired. Even worse is how we are supposed to buy that such a tough bitch can change so much in one weekend.
Prozac Nation (2001)
The strong performances from Ricci and Lange elevate this depressing drama and prevent us from fully hating a troubled character who can’t stop hurting everyone around her, and it is very sad how it shows the tragic effects of depression on a person and on those who love her.
A seminal classic of horror by master Alfred Hitchcock, with some of the most memorable iconic scenes in the history of Cinema. Tense, horrific and a superb lesson in filmmaking, it offers well-constructed characters, a lot of revealing dialogue and a huge regard for details.
There is a nice movie about alienation and loneliness in the age of Internet lost in the middle of this silly, heavy-handed mess that, despite being effectively creepy, dark and oppressive, tries too hard to have a “message” and be profound (to the point of obviousness).
Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
Adam Sandler shows, much to our utmost surprise, that he can act when he wants and that he was the perfect choice for Anderson’s take on a romantic comedy, a sweet, darkly humorous and amazingly well-directed film that is miles above most romcoms that Hollywood produces.
The Purge (2013)
What comes up as a thought-provoking allegory that doesn’t shy away from the sociopolitical implications of its premise soon gets lost in a last half hour that falls flat with a ridiculous excess of dei ex machina and reduces the Purge to what seems like a laughable sect.
The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
With a plot that is more consistent than that of the unsuccessful first movie, even though still insisting on that ridiculous idea of making the Purge look like a cartoonish sect of religious fanatics, this superior sequel also offers now an intriguing Hostel twist to it.
The Purge: Election Year (2016)
There is no tension or subtlety to be found in this pointless sequel that doesn’t offer anything that we haven’t seen before in the previous two movies, just tiresome action and silly political commentary in times of presidential election (the whole “martyr” thing makes no sense).
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Will Smith is absolutely splendid in this inspirational real story of struggle and determination that holds an intense dramatic power without any need to become a cheap melodrama – which is something Hollywood has long grown used to, unfortunately.
Puss in Boots (2011)
It is sad to see that Dreamworks could not maintain the same level of quality of Shrek in this spin-off. Focusing on a minor character who was once adorable in homeopathic doses, this silly animation suffers from lack of originality and a predictable plot that is totally forgettable.
The great original adaptation of Shaw’s satiric play, which would be remade as the classic musical My Fair Lady many years later in 1964. Clever and convincing, this version relies on a sharp, well-written dialogue and superb performances by Hiller and Howard.
Quai des Orfèvres (1947)
Even for a more commercial effort, Clouzot lends his unique style and voice to a well-written and exquisitely-directed crime story that has great touches of humor and some very delightful performances by Delair and Jouvet (who is hilarious and gets the best lines).
Queen of Earth (2015)
Elizabeth Moss puts in a terrific performance in this mature psychological drama about bitterness, resentment and narcissism, a film that is especially intelligent when it make us participate in the thoughts and feelings of its two characters, even if it is also a bit elusive.
Queen of the Desert (2015)
A frustrating biopic that lacks in consistency and real sense of purpose or direction, as it remains unfortunately nothing more than a reverential story that suffers even more from a complete absence of chemistry between Gertrude/Kidman and both her lovers.
Fassbinder’s last work only proves that he wasn’t really in tune with Genet’s vision to adapt one of his stories, since this is only a convoluted, aimless mess packed with ridiculous, pseudo-poetic dialogue and unable to make you feel any connection with its characters.
The Quiet American (2002)
A faithful adaptation of Greene’s wonderful novel, very well edited and with an exquisite production design, a beautiful score and Michael Caine in one of his best performances – besides the exceptional way that the narrative interweaves romance and politics to near perfection.
The Quispe Girls (2013)
Sepúlveda approaches his material with a careful, unadorned formalism as he depicts the daily life of the sisters in their isolation and concludes his story with a sharp blow that is all the sadder in the way that it avoids any sort of romanticism, without even a musical score to be heard.