Rabbit Hole (2010)
John Cameron Mitchell tells with great sensibility this delicate and painfully sad story that could have been made too depressive and hard to watch by a heavy-handed filmmaker, while the performances are outstanding, especially from Kidman and Wiest.
Rabbit Without Ears 2 (2009)
It is obvious from the get-go that this uninspired romantic comedy doesn’t have any sense of structure or purpose, lacking a defined plot and shooting for every easy gag it can come up with – like sitcomish scenes that don’t even seem to belong in the same movie.
Rabid Dogs (2015)
This solid thriller may seem too schematic and look like many other similar ones, with a basic, uninspired plot and flat characters who are not well developed, but it makes up for these flaws with a lot of style, great music and an unexpected ending.
A solid feel-good road-comedy, lighthearted and funny, with a very well-written dialogue as absolute highlight. It is really well made considering this is Levy’s first film, and it benefits from a group of irresistible characters played by some perfectly tuned actors.
Raging Bull (1980)
Superbly directed, edited and acted, this top-notch boxing drama is a fascinating character study centered on an aggressive, insecure man overcome by intense jealousy and paranoia. A haunting film crafted with a lot of honesty and unpretentious realism.
This decent Norwegian take on a monster movie plus treasure hunt for the whole family obviously borrows a lot from Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark but doesn’t disappoint, with the kind of adventure-turned-nightmare to be expected and good performances.
The Raid (2011)
Those looking for a smart script or character development are likely to be extremely frustrated, since this stylish action movie is basically a thrilling excuse for a lot of adrenaline, over-the-top brutality and exhilarating silat scenes – which it delivers.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
It is almost impossible not to be thrilled by this hugely entertaining modern classic that boasts a delicious sense of humor, a charismatic protagonist (Harrison Ford is awesome as always) and a lot of fast-paced action, with each scene more exciting than the one before.
Raintree County (1957)
A lavish production that wants to repeat the success of Gone with the Wind but is boring to death in its massive running time of almost three hours and suffers also from Montgomery Clift’s erratic performance and the bizarre change in his looks due to his tragic car accident.
Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
A film of sheer formal beauty, with a gorgeous cinematography and an enthralling allegoric story about the subjection of women in a patriarchal society, but it is infuriating how it collapses in its last forty minutes, turning into a melodramatic soap-opera with a terrible ending.
At 75 years old, Kurosawa delivers this epic and breathtaking cinematic spectacle of disgrace and tragedy falling upon mortal men, a grandiose production with overwhelming war scenes and spellbinding visuals – even if also a bit long and repetitious in its second half.
Rang De Basanti (2006)
While at first it seems like a tiresome succession of nice-looking music videos, not even caring to explain how the character can make that kind of film without money, it soon gets worse with a reprehensible message, openly advocating the use of violence to change the country.
George Lucas’ company ILM proves to be a match for Pixar with their first animation, a dazzling fun ride that is also an entertaining homage to Westerns and the Italian spaghetti subgenre, deliciously subverting the figure of the anti-hero in a story with many welcome references.
A fascinating and superbly edited overview of the life and work of Brazilian singer-legend Raul Seixas. The scenes and events depicted here are all perfectly put together in a very fluid and cohesive way, remaining always engaging and really touching towards the end.
The Raven (1963)
Corman left completely aside Poe’s ghoulish tone to make this tongue-in-cheek “adaptation” of his most famous poem, and because of that it doesn’t work as a horror story but is amusing as a light comedy, co-starring Price, Lorre and Karloff in hilarious performances.
Raving Iran (2016)
It makes it easy for us to connect with these two young men who struggle to live their art in a country where Islamic censorship is a main tool for artistic oppression, and thus lets us understand their aspirations, the difficulty they face to pursue them and the choices they make.
Stuart Gordon’s first movie is this campy horror classic of the ’80s that we could watch again and again and never get tired, offering excellent visual effects in a gory plot full of memorable moments and with a spot-on dry humor that perfectly blends in with the rest.
Reaching for the Moon (2013)
An irregular story, at times melodramatic and full of those clichés that plague most biopics (despite a nice speech scene that sounds relevant even today when it comes to dictatorships), with characters who seem like mere drafts and never become complex enough to make us care.
Garrone uses many elegant long takes and an evocative score to tell this fascinating, dream-like character study about a common fishmonger who gradually becomes obsessed with the idea of being famous – leading him to mix his yearnings with reality.
A stupendous film with an exceptional direction, a stunning art direction and cinematography, and excellent performances from Olivier, Fontaine and Anderson, even if the suspenseful plot seems to diverge a bit from its main course in a last third full of too many twists and turns.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Some things in the movie may not have aged that well, but it still pulses with youthful energy and impresses with the psychological complexity of its characters – and it should always be remembered for James Dean’s iconic looks and performance that spoke to a generation.
Rebels of the Neon God (1992)
Tsai’s first feature film was already a remarkable naturalistic look into the emptiness, lassitude and lack of human connection of Taipei youth, despite how it clings so much to an element of revenge that feels a tad poorly motivated – or perhaps that is precisely the point after all.
Not only far from being as terrifying as the original film, this sequel also makes the mistake of offering an explanation for the story, combining zombies, viruses and demons all in the same crazy pot. But even so, there are a few moments that work.
[REC]³: Genesis (2012)
It is hard to believe that the subjective camera is dropped for no reason after the first act, and this “prequel” (huh?) is so outrageously bad that it becomes great to laugh about with friends. The result is possibly the best comedy and worst movie of the year – simultaneously.
The Red Balloon (1956)
A marvelous, imaginative and magical short film (the only to have ever won an Oscar for best original screenplay) with a beautiful musical score and so many layers of meaning in its simple story that it should speak to most children and make any adult feel like a child again.
Red Desert (1964)
Antonioni impresses us with his stunning use of color (as well as his mise-en-scène, as usual, and in his first film in color, no less) to create meaning and emphasize visually what he wants to say in this intelligent and absurdly sharp study on depression and existential emptiness.
The Red Light Bandit (1968)
Visibly inspired by the French New Wave (especially Godard’s Breathless) but with a decidedly theatrical approach, this seminal classic of Brazilian “cinema marginal” is clever, provocative and deliciously cynical despite the fact that it loses some focus after a while.
Red Obsession (2013)
An enlightening documentary that can be really absorbing, showing us the art involved in winemaking and how wine has been turning into an economic investment due to its always increasing demand – especially from China – leading to an unprecedented impact on the market.
The Red Shoes (1948)
Walbrook and Shearer are absolutely fantastic in this dazzling visual spectacle that boasts an astounding art direction and cinematography in Technicolor – and in which the theater stage can assume unimaginable, magical proportions thanks especially to phenomenal editing.
Red State (2011)
Kevin Smith’s shot at a “serious” movie is this infuriating, terribly directed and unfocused mess that only manages to be morally disgusting in its childish, inconsistent political ideas while also full of implausible situations and long, unnecessary monologues.
A gripping political epic of ambitious discussions (and with a splendid production design) about an idealistic journalist/activist who became an ardent revolutionary to fight for what he believed in, and it is very well edited and well paced for a film that runs for over three hours.
It seems like a poor rehash of something that Roman Polanski has done many times better, with an intriguing premise developed into a mediocre thriller that believes to be very smart with a lot of red herrings and twists but is in fact incredibly stupid, especially in the end.
An entertaining film in which Maher approaches in an eye-opening manner the undeniable danger represented by religion and the logical nonexistence of virtue in faith, although he also waters it down a bit by mainly targeting the most stupid kind of people that he can find.
It may not be that original (it brought to my mind films as distinct as Lost Highway, Jacob’s Ladder and Synecdoche, New York), but the mystery is compelling, the character’s obsessive behavior makes it all very tense and the ideas it explores turn it into an intriguing puzzle.
Christopher Plummer delivers a powerful, poignant performance in this extremely well-directed thriller that finds a very delicate balance between quietly tense, uncomfortable and thought-provoking, even if it could have really done without that unnecessary, redundant last scene.
Remember Me (2010)
Robert Pattinson is more of a poser than an actor, playing an uncharismatic rebel without a cause in this schmaltzy little romance, a movie so embarrassing and shameless that it even dares to come up with a hugely offensive and exploitative final twist.
Nothing rings true in this insufferable musical that doesn’t have any focus and is filled with awful songs of pedestrian lyrics (some of them sung by terrible singers), centered on a completely artificial and outdated idea of New York based on stereotypes and clichés.
Repo Men (2010)
Despite its interesting premise, this film is insipid and not very original, and it goes on limping between serious action and awkward satire. What makes it a bit better, though, is its last twenty minutes, with a terrific, badass ending that will leave you thrilled and chuckling at the same time.
The Report (1977)
Abbas Kiarostami’s first feature film was this progressive drama made only two years prior to the Iranian Revolution (that is, when women could still walk around without covering their heads), and it is a sad and bleak story about how people can mess up their lives.
In his first film, Trier comes up as a promising director, using a stylish approach to tell this refreshing drama about the literary youth – a solid film that has some good moments but fails to be more engaging, ending with an optimistic, perhaps too poetic conclusion.
It doesn’t cover groundbreaking territory for those who are acquainted with Noam Chomsky’s thoughts and ideas or have read enough to know everything he says, but it is always fascinating to see him lay out with such clarity the ten principles of concentration of wealth and power.
The Rescuers (1977)
The 1970s were arguably one of the weakest decades for Disney in terms of quality, and this is another failure from the studio made in that time, with awful music, bad voicing and an irritating, painfully derivative plot that doesn’t amount to anything really worth seeing.
The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
A barely passable sequel that is not that much better than the detestable first film, off to a good start and with amusing moments (especially in the flight scenes) up until halfway through when it starts to become aimless and forgettable like most pre-Disney Renaissance productions.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
A bloody, violent and darkly-humored crime movie that already showcased Tarantino’s talent for crafting stylish narrative exercises full of energy and elongated exchanges of dialogue, even if we can see that this was an intelligent filmmaker still only at the start of his game.
Resident Evil (2002)
A frenetic electro-rockish sci-fi zombie movie that focuses more on its intriguing mystery than on the scares, especially during the well-paced first act. The sets have a nice video game look and the result is not only better due to the atrocious CGI of the genetic mutated viral creature.
Resident Evil: Apocalypse (2004)
Just about everything is unforgivably awful in this unoriginal zombie sequel, an enormous wreck with a terrible direction, stupid characters, lame dialogue and no imagination – and it feels and tastes like a video game, only it is the director, not us, who gets to play and have fun.
Even if the plot drags in the first two acts, eliminating the tension and making the mystery feel bland and not engaging, this is an interesting effort that finds a curious balance between humor and horror, with a smart meta-twist in the third act that justifies all that came before.
A detestable and irritating indie film full of indie clichés from beginning to end, and it seems to exist only to test the viewer’s patience and ability to endure a protagonist who is so selfish, immature, ill-mannered and obnoxious amid conflicts that are all artificial and ridiculous.
The Return of Ringo (1965)
More somber and even better than A Pistol for Ringo, this gripping retelling of Homer’s Odyssey using the Old West as setting is not really a sequel and is quite different from the solid first movie – both in narrative and style.
Return to Montauk (2017)
A mildly interesting (if not at all memorable) character study that benefits from strong performances (especially Nina Hoss) and displays a mature understanding of the personal conflict faced by a self-centered man who wants to relive an old romance from his past.
The Revenant (2015)
Iñárritu brings us another spectacular ballet of camera with this raw and extremely anguishing film of breathtaking cinematography, and although playing a character that at times seems to be ridiculously indestructible, DiCaprio offers a committed, intense and visceral performance that will hardly be matched this year.
Revenge of the Nerds (1984)
Like other crass comedies of the ’80s about freshmen dying to have sex in college, this movie is obviously supposed to be funny, but the problem is that it is only stupid (not hilarious stupid, just stupid), which is a pity considering its nice message against discrimination.
Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)
Barrymore doesn’t look really convincing neither as a dreamy teenager nor as a frustrated 35-year-old mother who threw away her dream, and even though the movie develops its characters as complex people with real problems like those found in real life, the end is disappointing.
With a bizarre and creepy idea involving cursed technology, this is a very effective horror movie that manages to be tense and disturbing as time starts to run out for the characters, and it has a terrifying scene in the end that should raise every single hair on the back of our neck.
A cute, entertaining yet forgettable animation with too many clichés and whose charm lies in its exuberant visuals and an exotic (but clichéd) composition of a Rio de Janeiro full of samba and colors. It is only sad, though, that the story is so conventional and never more than ordinary.
Rio 2 (2014)
Although nothing special, this amusing sequel is deliciously colorful and deserves more praise for its relevant environmental message than any narrative merits, even if it has considerably less clichés than in the first movie and we get a handful of inspired moments.
Rio Bravo (1959)
A wonderful, good-old-fashioned Western that is compelling and amusing, blending humor and drama in a multilayered story centered more on the complex characters than on the action – and it has a lot of memorable dialogue and a perfect pacing that is careful but never slow.
Rio, I Love You (2014)
More like an antiseptic postcard of the city filled with stereotypes, clichés and cheesy dialogue that make everything seem like a Brazilian soap-opera of the worst kind – which is a shock considering the excellent directors and a waste of the talent of so many great actors.
Rio 100 Degrees F. (1955)
It borrows heavily from Italian neorealism by mixing fiction with documentary and professional actors with non-actors, creating a broad and impressive portrait of a city and its people, although a few things we see are a bit dated now and the non-actors are not always that good.
Rio Zona Norte (1957)
The acting is sometimes a bit stiff, but this is a deeply touching film with Grande Otelo in an unforgettable performance, singing some wonderful sambas and breaking our hearts as a man who embodies the injustices faced by poor people in a country so full of social problems.
The digital effects may have been stunning a few years ago but now look dated and artificial, which is at least compensated by Andy Serkis’ impressive performance as the ape Caesar, who turns out to be more well developed as a character than the one-dimensional humans.
The Rite (2011)
This average horror movie begins quite promising, avoiding cheap exploitation and holding our attention with a scary premise, but later on it sadly sinks into commonplace in a generic third act that is so typical of exorcism stories, making the whole effort of its first half seem in vain.
The River (1997)
In his third film, Tsai moves his focus to the nuclear family and creates his most depressing work to date – perhaps a bit too depressing for its own sake -, as it follows a group of characters whose murky lives flow like a river through isolation and lack of communication in modern Taipei.
The Road (2009)
Cormac McCarthy’s adapted story is suffocatingly dense and devastating, a deeply haunting tale about a man struggling to keep his son alive in a hopeless post-apocalyptic world, and it relies mostly on two strong performances by Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
Road to Ythaca (2010)
I guess the directors must have some (any) idea in their minds as to why we should care at all about a bunch of idiots in a car going wherever, but clearly it doesn’t translate and everything is just pretentious and infuriatingly dull, like the perfect cure for insomnia.
The Robe (1953)
A stunning visual spectacle that should be remembered only for being the first CinemaScope movie ever released, since the direction is clunky, the plot overlong and terribly contrived (the character’s conversion is never convincing) and the dialogue so full of highs and lows.
Robin Hood (1973)
A perfunctory, lazy and unremarkable Disney animation that takes the well-known legend and does very little with it, while, despite some great voicing – mainly Peter Ustinov and Terry-Thomas -, it is a ridiculous thing to have Southern American accents in medieval England.
An unfocused, unexciting and overlong movie that is more like a mixed salad of accents without any idea if it wants to be a campy adventure for the whole family in the old-fashioned style of Errol Flynn’s movies (which it should be) or the violent PG-13 movie that it turns out to be.
Robin Hood (2010)
It is an interesting idea to make it about the character’s pre-outlaw story, which comes to life with a wonderful production design and great acting from the cast. Even so, the technical aspects are not enough in a movie that goes for so many questionable narrative choices.
A smart political satire disguised as a comic book revenge movie that combines hilarious dark humor, ultraviolence and science fiction without tonal problems, and it is a wonder to see that, even though a product of its time, it is still thought-provoking and able to entertain today.
A well-made remake that is brave enough to be completely different from the original movie, and it is so great that it touches on intriguing questions about human nature without missing the opportunity to also discuss today’s politics, despite lacking in energy and feeling.
Robot & Frank (2012)
A surprising debut for Schreier, who proves to be a very talented director and shows an enormous control over a story that perfectly shifts from hilarious to moving without erring in tone or being sentimental – and Langella’s performance is amazing.
Rocco and His Brothers (1960)
Though unnecessarily overlong for the kind of story it wants to tell and tending at times more towards soap-opera melodrama than neorealism, especially in a cathartic scene in the end, this is a spellbinding, moving and brutal film with a great score and a powerful social commentary.
The Rock (1996)
A thrilling and explosive film led by a trio of fantastic actors (especially Cage) and surprisingly well directed for a Michael Bay movie, and it also impresses with the way that the smart script introduces many narrative elements which turn out to play an important role later on.
Rock of Ages (2012)
An empty experience with weak leads and a generic story, and even if it offers a few inspired moments and the music covers are a refreshing throwback to the ’80s, nothing saves this song-after-song music video from being bland – not even Tom Cruise’s magnetic presence.
Rock the Casbah (2013)
A mildly enjoyable little drama made by women for women – very much like Labaki’s Caramel -, but unfortunately the plot is a bit dispersed and more superficial than it should be, with unnecessary (and predictable) revelations that make it feel more like a soap-opera.
What makes this underdog story so special is that it is not just a mere “guy movie” about boxing but instead a touching and profoundly honest drama about a man and his personal struggle to go the distance and be the best he can – and Stallone’s performance is superb.
Rocky II (1979)
Yes, Sylvester Stallone, you really did it, and this exciting and surprisingly moving sequel – written, directed and acted by him, no less – is an impressive follow-up and definite proof that the success of that fantastic first film was a lot more than just beginner’s luck.
Rocky III (1982)
Apparently, the worst that can happen to any fighter is to get civilized, and so the great underdog drama of the previous films is gone in this forgettable, unnecessary third installment now that we are left with a famous boxing star fighting a psycho killer.
Rocky IV (1985)
This jingoistic stupidity was obviously made to show the Americans overthrowing the Russians during the Cold War, but what is even worse is that in the end it seems like nothing more than a ridiculous montage of music video clips without any passion or good drama.
Rocky V (1990)
As far as brain damage goes, Rocky V is a shameful idiocy that cannot even justify why it was made, given how the whole family drama seems completely forced, the excess of sappiness is painful to see and in the end it all comes down to unnecessary, pointless street-fighting.
Rocky Balboa (2006)
After so many years and awful sequels, it is a wonderful surprise to see that this sixth Rocky movie is almost on par with the original one in terms of quality, since Stallone seems to have finally understood that what made that film so memorable was the human drama, not the punches.
An adorable hybrid of musical, comedy and horror parody with a delightful performance by Tim Curry, who steals the show and was certainly having a lot of fun doing this movie – and it is full of great songs, delicious over-the-top acting and well-inspired moments.
Roman Holiday (1953)
A sweet and charming romantic comedy with Audrey Hepburn in her first major role (which earned her the only Oscar of her career), and it finds the perfect balance between funny and captivating, with the lovely city of Rome as eye-candy setting – where it was shot in its entirety.
Rome Adventure (1962)
It may be adorable in its first hour with that lovely song and those beautiful locations, but this corny melodrama soon shows us why it is so ridiculously outdated now with its wholesome, moralizing view of love, sex and old-fashioned chivalry (an ugly euphemism for sexism).
Rome, Open City (1945)
This quintessential classic of Italian Neorealism is an unsettling and hard-hitting portrait of an era, shot in a gritty documentary-like style and with a gallery of fascinating characters that represent, each of them, a facet of Roman society under Nazi German occupation.
The Room (2003)
Behold, ladies and gentlemen, the new Ed Wood of the 21st century, a guy so laughably inept in just about everything (his acting is atrocious) that he made me even feel sorry for him – but then I only need to think about how misogynist this awful movie is to not care anymore.
Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay offer two astonishing performances in what is one of the best and most intelligent representations of Plato’s Cave that I remember seeing (and I love the scope of its philosophical ambitions), told from the point of view of a child who has never seen the world beyond a room.
Room 237 (2012)
This pathetic and very silly mishmash of theories may be amusing for a while, especially for the most passionate cinephiles and fans of Kubrick’s film, but there is no denying that they are mostly laughable rubbish, sloppily put together and never coming to a whole.
The long takes may be a remarkable stunt but those hidden cuts are in fact extremely distracting and obvious – and, contrary to popular belief, the film does have conventional, unmasked cuts. Even so, it benefits from tense moments and a well-written plot with great dialogue.
Rosa Morena (2010)
A solid surprise that deserves credit for how it is never afraid of taking risks – and trust me, there are a lot of things in this film that could go wrong, but even the most seemingly absurd narrative options serve a purpose and lead to something impressively consistent in the end.
Rough Diamond (1933)
Terribly outdated today, this sexist and moralistic film may be a lesson in editing, but it is nearly impossible to care about or have any sympathy for a despicable man who murders his wife due to his wounded pride and always gets into fights for being a stupid macho.
The Rover (2014)
A suffocatingly tense and bleak thriller that throws us in a gritty post-collapse Australia with two stellar performances: Guy Pearce in a role that is so absolutely complex, intense and revealing, counterpoised by an impressive acting delivered by Robert Pattinson.
A Royal Affair (2012)
A sumptuous period drama with elegant dialogue and a deliberate pace that makes it always fluid and absorbing. More important, the three main characters are not only impressively complex but also leave us eager to know more about who they were and all they did in real life.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
An appealing melancholy comedy with eccentric characters who are so very well developed, in a strange, unconventional narrative that invests in an offbeat atmosphere (as if out of a dreamlike version of New York) to tackle matters like loneliness and amends.
Ruby Sparks (2012)
What first seems like a simple one-joke romantic comedy turns out to be about so much more: a deeply honest and sad story about the selfish (but real) need that some people have to control someone else so they can feel loved and make an ideal relationship work.
The Ruins (2008)
This decent and tense horror movie is well paced and relies on a good cast to turn a rather silly premise into something surprisingly terrifying. It is only a shame, though, that it ends with such an unsatisfying conclusion (I prefer the alternative ending).
The Rules of Attraction (2002)
Despite the great soundtrack, decent performances and expert direction, this film based on Bret Easton Ellis feels a bit sterile, depicting with clever irony the moral decline of our society but not as effective in making us relate to its shallow, unlikable characters.
The Rules of the Game (1939)
Concealing a lot of complexity in its apparently simple plot, this fabulous tragicomedy (which almost got lost in History) is a witty and clever commentary on the rules of bourgeoisie and social relations – a classic of French Cinema to be seen and re-seen many times.
The Rum Diary (2011)
A rambling and unengaging film that seems like a comedy that Graham Greene could have written if he had lost his talent or wit for smart social satires. Clearly in need of some editing, the story is overlong and unfocused, even if it has some few inspired funny moments.
Run All Night (2015)
In his third collaboration with Liam Neeson (who is great in his badass persona), Collet-Serra does play the exhibitionist sometimes, but at least he manages to make this average movie dynamic and fresh despite all of its expository dialogue and how forgettable it is.
Runaway Train (1985)
A solid but conventional action thriller like many others made in the 1980s, oscillating unevenly between efficient moments and scenes that simply do not work – and even if relying on a lot of coincidences and with a ridiculous villain, it offers great performances from Voight and Roberts.
Runner Runner (2013)
The plot is indeed predictable and not one bit remarkable for that matter, but even so this is a somewhat decent (and well-edited) thriller that benefits a lot from some good performances – which hold us in our seats as we see it unveil like a fine poker game.
It is the intense and surprisingly sympathetic performances by both Hemsworth and Brühl what counterbalances Ron Howard’s heavy-handed direction and an irregular script whose dialogue feels mostly artificial and whose narration is always redundant and discardable.
An adorable and refreshing comedy that works so well due to Jason Schwartzman’s and Bill Murray’s captivating performances, and it is very well directed and relies on that unique and quirky sense of humor that is Wes Anderson’s trademark style.
The Russia House (1990)
The plot is an interesting combination of espionage and romance, and it benefits from a great score and some beautiful locations, but it is just too bad that it is made into such an extremely dull affair in which the romance seems forced and the espionage is tedious to death.
Russian Ark (2002)
Russian Ark should be remembered not only as a breathtaking logistic accomplishment that knocked me off my chair with its stunning single take using a Steadicam and digital technology, but also as a sumptuous travel through Russian history and an unforgettable homage to the Hermitage Museum and to Art itself.
Russian Dolls (2005)
Despite its good moments, this is an unnecessary, forgettable sequel that relies too much on Xavier’s disastrous search for love instead of focusing on the reunion of the friends of the first film. Good to see, though, that it doesn’t get ruined by its poor narrative choices.
Rust and Bone (2012)
The visual effects are really impressive and both actors deliver great performances, but their characters are poorly developed, keeping us distant and inspiring more pity than empathy. Besides, the ending is deceptive, a refusal to deal with the conflict and bring it to a resolution.
Hitchcock knows how to combine an espionage plot with humor, and this film can also be very tense (especially in a key scene of a boy carrying a package throughout the city and on a bus), even if it is not always so effective and suffers a bit from some weak narrative choices.
Another decent piece of American propaganda made by Hitchcock during WWII following his Foreign Correspondent – and certainly a more consistent film than that one -, despite some trouble with pacing and the fact that for about every two or three hits, there is a miss.
An amusing romantic comedy with great dialogue and a sweet Cinderella feel to it, but still the plot is not so original and there is a glaring lack of chemistry between Hepburn and Bogart, who is also clearly miscast and seems too old for the role.
The Sacrament (2013)
Ti West is usually a competent director but he shows in this sloppy and horribly-edited movie that he doesn’t seem to understand at all how the found footage device should be used, as he even forces the characters to carry a camera up and down in the most ludicrous of situations.
Sacro GRA (2013)
The fact that these different individuals have only an enormous ring road in common seems like an arbitrary link between them to create a broad portrait (yet in very broad strokes) of Italian society, and it feels detached as it observes but doesn’t bring us close to these people.
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
An adorable indie movie with charming characters (Plaza and Duplass have a great chemistry together), but it almost gets ruined by how Jeff’s subplot is discarded without much thought into it and by a disappointing end that comes off as meaningless and inconsistent.
St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)
It plays like a rejected backdoor pilot for a coming-of-age prime time TV drama series, with not very interesting storylines despite the good acting – and it does not help a bit that the characters and their personal conflicts don’t get enough individual screen time to fully grow on us.
St. Vincent (2014)
A recycled story full of clichés, like Bill Murray in cliched acting mode not even able to make a stroke sound convincing and an inevitable cliched final speech to make us forget the several loose ends – the loan shark, the bank money, the legal battle with the kid’s father, etc.
Salaam Cinema (1995)
Fascinating in its conception and very well edited, this Iranian docudrama interweaves reality and fiction and offers us a look at the desperate desire that some people have to become artists at all costs – which can be touching, funny and sometimes even ridiculous.
Salem’s Lot (1979)
I wish Mr. Barlow weren’t such a one-dimensional character, but although its three hours may feel a bit too long for the kind of story it wants to tell, this is a decent TV movie that relies on an engaging mystery and takes a careful time to develop it in a satisfying way.
The Salesman (2016)
Those acquainted with Farhadi’s works can easily see what he is trying to say about the complexity of situations and people’s actions, although he is not that successful this time, with the film being too heavy-handed in the way it wants us to sympathize with an aggressor.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011)
A silly hodgepodge of comedy and romance that tries hard to be charming and profound but ends up being just a corny melodrama, missing the promise of a political satire to offer instead a lot of preachiness and ludicrous comparisons between fishing and faith.
The action-driven plot is definitely predictable and preposterous, but at least it delivers some unpretentious fun with a good deal of fast-paced scenes and a gripping performance by the always charismatic and beautiful Angelina Jolie.
The Salt of the Earth (2014)
A profoundly revealing doc about this great artist worthy of our highest admiration for his unparalleled, eye-opening work of tremendous social consciousness, and it is so inspiring to see that he has started to regain hope in the world after so much disappointment.
Saludos Amigos (1942)
An entertaining animated travelogue with four short stories: the first one quite funny and amusing, the following two not so interesting and actually a bit dull, but finally the last one being the most gorgeous to look at, introducing the charming character of José Carioca.
The Salvation (2014)
A tense and well-constructed old-school Western that benefits a lot from a stunning cinematography and production design (with its amazing sets built from the ground in South Africa), as well as some excellent performances put in by a very sharp cast.
Le Samouraï (1967)
What is so absorbing in this highly influential crime drama is how the methodical actions of its characters (most especially Delon’s magnetic protagonist) reflect the surgical precision of the film itself, something also noticeable in its blue-grayish cinematography and stylish direction.
Samson & Delilah (2009)
A beautiful and delicate portrait of a brutal reality that is so little known to non-Australians, reaching us through an Aboriginal love story that relies on two amazing performances and smoothly moving from tender to heartbreaking moments.
San Andreas (2015)
It is usually a lot of fun to watch big cities break apart and crumble down in cool special effects, but this movie adopts a solemn, self-important tone that is, well, counterproductive, while the family drama at its core is full of clichés, contrived and, well, completely predictable.
Sand Dollars (2014)
Geraldine Chaplin delivers such a powerful and touching performance, not ashamed of showing her age and vulnerability, but the film, though appropriately raw and realistic, lacks in depth and doesn’t explore so well its themes and what it wants to say to become memorable.
Sand Storm (2016)
If being made by an Israeli woman would perhaps indicate bias against Bedouin cultures living in the country (and that is material for an article), at least Zexer does a solid job in her first full-length feature with a sad story that relies on some very fine performances.
A true lesson in documentary-making that reveals as much about its fascinating character as about its director, who turns his initial effort into a work of revealing self-reflection and creates a timeless masterpiece about memory – both our individual and collective ones.
São Bernardo (1972)
An intelligent and deeply compelling character study crafted with an impeccable formal rigor (especially in its mise-en-scène and long static shots) and lifted by a magnificent performance by Othon Bastos, who even makes his extensive narration sound so natural and perfect.
São Paulo, Sociedade Anônima (1965)
A very interesting character study centered on a selfish man trying to live a peaceful life but facing an existential crisis in the concrete jungle of São Paulo during the boom of the Brazilian industrialization process in the late 1950s, with Walmor Chagas in a strong performance.
The Sapphires (2012)
Even those who are not easily moved by a fairly conventional and predictable movie like this one will have plenty to enjoy in such a poignant feel-good story full of great performances and beautiful singing voices about a group of Aboriginal women and their musical talent.
Sargento Getúlio (1983)
Lima Duarte is exceptional in this clever drama full of irony and nuances, playing the kind of righteous sociopath who believes to be above the law with his own idea of justice, using a uniform to represent the interests of the powerful ones and maintain the status quo.
Though the hyperbolic running time will certainly be a barrier for many viewers, those with patience to spare may find this a visually stunning, spellbinding and darkly wry film that reveals so much about human nature as it follows a group of static, miserable lives caught in the relentless grip of Tarr’s hopelessness and nihilism.
Sausage Party (2016)
A deliciously offensive animation for adults that mocks with surprising intelligence the stupidity of prudishness and unfounded beliefs – and it looks great for a movie that is so inexpensive and benefits from some superb voicing (like Edward Norton imitating Woody Allen).
Stone manages to keep the story gripping for a while before it starts to get ruined by many unimportant scenes that stretch the plot for way too long – and he clearly has no idea how to finish it, throwing two sloppy conclusions together in a ridiculous and frustrating ending.
Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
Compelling when it comes to the making of Mary Poppins but quite sappy in virtually all the rest, it is pathetic that, just like Walt Disney did distorting her story to fulfill his needs, the movie does the same with an annoying characterization of Mrs. Travers for its feel-good purposes.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Technically exceptional and surprisingly unsentimental for Spielberg, this is a powerful and intense depiction of the brutality and horrors of war – a marvelous film that makes us deeply care about its characters and shows us that in war there is no honor, only death.
A gruesome, perverse and uncomfortably macabre movie that is also really ingenious and gripping when it comes to the twisted motivations behind the killer’s deeds, and the film ends with one of the most surprising and unpredictable scenes I can remember.
Saw II (2005)
Just as fascinating as the first Saw movie, this sequel works as an ingenious labyrinth of horrors, full of more gruesome and densely macabre scenes – and once again we are given another highly unexpected, jaw-dropping ending.
Saw III (2006)
This third chapter goes even beyond the high level of gore seen in the first two, pleasing the fans of the series (and gore-fest in general) but proving to be nearly unbearable for everyone else. Not as original, though, but it still offers a surprising conclusion.
Saw IV (2007)
Saw IV is not for everyone, of course, since each new movie of the series is only for those who have been watching from the beginning, and the plot is now more intricate then ever and much less original, even if it also has another shocking ending.
Saw V (2008)
The series has definitely run out of gas, proving that killing Jigsaw in the third film was a big mistake. Most of what we see here is nothing more than a ridiculous rehash of the previous films and the ending doesn’t come close to the brilliance of the first two.
Saw VI (2009)
Slightly superior to the previous chapter of this tiresome long-running series, this sixth Saw film is, of course, immensely gruesome and brutal but surprisingly intriguing sometimes – and it is also inadvertently hilarious; try not to laugh during the final scene.
Saw 3D (2010)
The series hits rock bottom with a ridiculous and completely unnecessary 3D, painful acting, an illogical mess of a plot and some of the most repellent scenes they could come up with – and it is a relief to think that this is the final chapter, or so we hope.
Hackman and Pacino are terrific in this underrated road movie, an honest and refreshing character study about two different men who develop an unlikely bond – and the effect it causes on each of them. A great drama that can be funny and also surprisingly touching.
Scary Movie (2000)
Scream was already a smart parody that made fun of horror movie conventions and clichés, so this silly (yet sometimes funny) spoof feels pretty pointless and shoots in every direction to see if it hits (even The Matrix gets thrown in the mix), but it has more misses than hits.
Scary Movie 2 (2001)
What is most awful about this crass, disgusting and vulgar atrocity of a sequel – written by a thousand incompetent writers – is not that it thinks that a bad horror movie like The Haunting should be spoofed, but that it doesn’t manage the most important: to be funny.
Scenes from a Mall (1991)
I may have had some fun watching it (I did laugh a few times), but not even a day later I realized I was incapable of remembering most of what I had seen (including the ending), which is a clear indication of how forgettable, lackluster and harmless this little comedy is.
The Scent of Green Papaya (1993)
A gorgeous, poetic and delicate film that knows that little can be said and yet all can be conveyed with beautiful images and a wonderfully subtle approach to a character’s life, and it is almost impossible not to feel enormously enchanted by the beauty and serenity of what we witness.
Scherzo Diabolico (2015)
It comes off until about halfway through as a rather unrealistic story that feels hard to buy, but soon it becomes so unabashedly over-the-top and nasty (with a lot of style, in fact) that it surprisingly works – and even those trembling aerial shots end up being highly unsettling.
Schindler’s List (1993)
Spielberg’s direction is wonderful as he recreates the abject horrors of the Holocaust in this profoundly sad and disturbing drama made with so much love and dedication by everyone involved, with a narrative that is so fascinating due to the complexity of Schindler’s character.
The Science of Sleep (2006)
Gondry has a thing for visual inventiveness but his self-indulgent, driftless narrative has dream sequences that don’t feel dreamlike at all and only grows irritating as Bernal’s character starts to resemble a wimpy Walter Mitty exchanging that horrible dialogue with Gainsbourg.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
An audaciously mad, exhilarating and ultra dynamic film with a delicious tongue-in-cheek humor and eccentric characters who seem to be aware that they belong in a fantastic video game universe, and the outstanding visuals are insanely stylish and avant-garde.
What made this meta horror movie satire so fantastic when it came out was the clever and often hilarious way that it played with the conventions and clichés of the genre and subverted them with the help of skillful editing and witty referential dialogue.
Scream 2 (1997)
Though mildly entertaining and with some inspired moments here and there, the sad truth is that this routine sequel is not clever or witty enough to subvert this “rule” that sequels are always inferior to the original film especially when it comes to horror movies.
Scream 3 (2000)
The conclusion of the “trilogy” is this unimaginative installment that relies too much on cheap scares followed by a deafening chord and is too witless to know how to play with the clichés of the genre as the first movie – and it comes up with a ridiculous, illogical revelation in the end.
Scream 4 (2011)
There was a great opportunity for the meta element here, considering the changes in horror movies along the past ten years, but this useless reboot is never original and basically redoes the same slasher of fifteen years ago. Besides, the only actor who is actually good is Hayden Panettiere.
The Sea of Trees (2015)
A pretentious, vapid and depressingly stupid drama that believes to be a lot more beautiful than it is, with cheesy, predictable twists and a baffling lack of insight into anything it sets out to discuss, despite McConaughey putting a lot of dedication into it with a good performance.
The Search (1948)
It holds a strong impact due to its devastating subject matter, with also a beautiful score and Montgomery Clift in a wonderful Oscar-nominated performance, but it starts to become more like a melodrama after its excellent first hour and the dialogue more and more artificial.
The Searchers (1956)
A powerful epic-scale Western with a rich story full of nuances, following a complex character of dubious motivations in a search that stretches for many years – an anguishing journey set against the imposing vastness of the Monument Valley desert with stunning panoramic shots.
Searching for Sugar Man (2012)
A surprising and extremely moving documentary that begins as a fascinating mystery and then grows to become a revealing true story about a star who never was but who ironically became a major idol in South Africa – influencing a whole generation without even knowing about it.
A bold film for the time it came out, but it seems like a pathetic excuse to explore the beauty of sweaty masculine forms as some cheap soft-core gay porn, with terrible acting from everyone (delivering their lines in a stiff Latin) and amateurishly photographed especially in the night scenes.
The Second Mother (2015)
Regina Casé is wonderful at the center of a marvelous character study that is equally hilarious and thought-provoking as it comments – always in an intelligent and honest way – on matters like class differences in a country that has been undergoing surprising social changes.
Il Secondo Tragico Fantozzi (1976)
Finding himself in situations that can be even more absurd and hilarious than in the first film, Fantozzi is back with another series of episodes in his unlucky life, the highlight being the one in which he is forced by a Professor to watch “Battleship Kotiomkin” over and over again.
The Secret (2006)
I don’t know what is worse, the fact that this atrocious, unscientific nonsense espoused by a bunch of quacks is completely unfounded (and even dangerous), or that its appalling “message” is repeated over and over again as a horrible infomercial for endless ninety minutes.
The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)
Another spectacular must-see by Argentinian master Juan José Campanella, with great performances, especially by Ricardo Darín, in an exceptional crime thriller about obsession and passion with those fine doses of humor and romance that Campanella loves so much.
The Secret Life of Bees (2008)
Paul Bettany is miscast in his role but Dakota Fanning proves again that she is very talented, only it is frustrating to see a relevant theme such as racism in the South Carolina of 1964 used as a means for a white girl to resolve her personal issues in a sappy, reductive way.
The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
It always amazes me how Universal never cares to create anything remotely clever when it comes to their animations, and so once again they come up with a harmless little story that wants to be cute and funny (which it is sometimes) but is only bound to be quickly forgotten.
A very pleasant movie that finds a nice balance between sincere drama and unexpected humor, even though it seems to have “for the masses” written all over it, with subtle moments coexisting in the same story with more obvious ones, which ends up diluting a bit the result.
What makes this film stand out as a truly adorable romance is the surprising way that it tackles the spicy kinkiness of its subject as a means for two people to find happiness, while it boasts a great score/soundtrack and Maggie Gyllenhaal shines in a lovely performance.
This movie should not be sold as a comedy, for it is actually the most depressing movie of the year, and the problem lies in fact in its abrupt shifts in tone and a disastrous attempt at being both a cute road movie and a profound love story, leading to an awful ending.
The Selfish Giant (2013)
Barnard displays an incredibly firm hand in the direction of this powerful piece of British social realism that brings to mind the works of Ken Loach and is above all a rich character study with a great onscreen chemistry between the excellent Conner Chapman and Shaun Thomas.
A riveting and hard-hitting account of brave resistance and victory in a historical fight of universal significance, and it relies on a splendid performance by David Oyelowo and powerful dialogue to bring us this inspiring true story that still feels alive and important today.
An enthralling and heartbreaking documentary using only archive material and old interviews with the pilot and those who knew him, and it is fascinating to see the human side of an admirable man who was the greatest idol of a nation facing a major economical and political crisis back then.
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
A faithful adaptation, especially in tone, of Austen’s enjoyable novel. Even though not a remarkable story, it benefits mostly from great performances by Thompson and Winslet, in a visually enchanting period drama that combines well romance and humor.
Wayans is not as funny as he thinks he is, and this is a flat out stupid, awfully sexist male fantasy made by people who obviously don’t have a very good idea how senses work (and apparently even mistake them for reflexes) – and it hits absolute rock bottom in the last 10 minutes.
A Separation (2011)
A compelling drama full of nuances and with many unexpected twists in a story in which all of the characters have solid reasons for their actions, which makes it nearly impossible to judge them for what they do – and it should certainly grow on you after more viewings.
A Serbian Film (2010)
It is unbelievable that Spasojevic had the guts to say that there is a political commentary in this grotesque and repellent piece of torture porn that seems to have no other purpose than to shock and be polemic, raping the viewer with a sickening amount of heinous violence.
The plot is predictable and doesn’t really come together as a whole, but the film has a handsome production design, a beautiful cinematography that explores to its best extent the beauty of its locations and two very intense performances by Lawrence and Cooper to make it worth it.
This Firefly movie is an excellent follow-up to the short-lived series, offering a lot of awesome action, witty exchanges of dialogue filled with dry humor and characters that we care about – a wonderful gift for the fans and a very entertaining sci-fi Western for everyone else.
Serial (Bad) Weddings (2014)
A ridiculous “comedy” that openly celebrates stereotypes (and finds itself very smart for that) and will certainly please those who enjoy the sort of pedestrian humor of the likes of The Big Bang Theory, with a lame, retarded plot full of clichés and caricatures instead of characters.
A Serious Man (2009)
The Coen brothers chose the most perfect actors for this hilarious farce, their most personal work to date which splendidly combines dark humor and Jewish existential questions, and I can easily imagine them saying that if not even God gives us all the answers why the hell should they?
Session 9 (2001)
An ominous psychological horror that relies on an effectively creepy atmosphere, but it is a shame that the suspenseful plot lacks coherence and purpose, with many unnecessary strange moments only to create tension and an odd conclusion that is more a letdown than a nice payoff.
The Sessions (2012)
Despite its unnecessary ending with a completely out-of-place narration, this is a touching drama centered on three-dimensional characters and two wonderful performances by Hawkes and Hunt, who deserve both a million awards for their profoundly sensitive compositions.
Seven Chances (1925)
An absolutely hilarious comedy with great editing, score, framing and cinematography, even if the initial scenes in early Technicolor have not survived in such a good state – and it is really impressive to see so much action, thrill and energy in a movie made at that time.
7 Days (2010)
A gut-wrenching and extremely uncomfortable drama that follows a man yearning for revenge and doing things he could have never imagined himself capable of doing, and while it is surprisingly moving, it nevertheless goes a bit too far in its poor, shallow symbolism.
7 Days in Havana (2012)
An irregular and heterogeneous combination of seven different stories that lacks a cohesive unity and is never interesting enough to be worth our time – and not even excellent directors like Pablo Trapero and Gaspar Noé are able to save this project from being dull and tiring.
Seven Psychopaths (2012)
A funny dark comedy that has some very inspired moments, but McDonagh doesn’t know exactly what to do with the material in his hands, and so he keeps pulling easy tricks out of his sleeves at the expense of a more elaborate structure.
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
An insufferable comedy whose sense of humor is tremendously unfunny and obvious while Ewell is unbearable with his expository babbling and his character’s stupid imagination – and the movie would have never become a classic if it weren’t for that one famous scene only.
7th Floor (2013)
An efficient thriller that is able to create tension and suspense especially from the protagonist’s growing state of despair (with Darín in an intense performance, as usual), but it all collapses in a preposterous and downright stupid third act that almost ruins the whole thing.
With a visual approach that makes it resemble a documentary, this realistic thriller is highly gripping as a series of tense situations faced by a man caught in a political battle, but it is only a pity, though, that the film makes some odd narrative choices in the end.
Sex and the City (2008)
In its transition to the big screen, the long-running HBO series gives birth to an endless and uneven movie, and while the TV stories of these four women living for sex and fashion in the Big Apple could be appealing, here the characters seem only shallow, stupid and vulgar.
Sex and the City 2 (2010)
Just like the first film, this sequel is stupid and stretches forever, following those four selfish, shallow middle-aged women whose pathetic personal conflicts never justify 146 minutes. And what kind of woman wears a vintage cream Valentino skirt while making muffins?
Shadow Dancer (2012)
An uninteresting drama that lacks any surprises and whose bland approach makes it emotionally distant and boring, with a plot that drags, characters who are hard to care about and scenes that should be suspenseful but only feel tedious.
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
The title’s doubt grows in us much before it is planted inside the character’s mind halfway through this superbly-written story, which is a testament to how this tense, suspenseful mystery is slowly and carefully built in what is one of Hitchcock’s most steadily-paced thrillers.
Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
The idea is really original and Dafoe delivers a spectacular performance under that fantastic makeup (the scene of the Count devouring the bat is hysterical); it is just a pity, though, that the weak script has such a redundant dialogue and Merhige’s direction has some misfires.
An unpretentious, devastating character study that takes a disturbing look at sexual addiction with magnificent performances by Fassbender and Mulligan, and is directed with absolute control by Steve McQueen, who leaves no room for easy resolutions or happy endings.
The dazzling cinematography that explores the bucolic and idyllic landscapes, together with the strong ensemble cast, contributes to make this an unforgettable Western tale about a complex, divided hero and the relationship that he develops with a peaceful family.
Shaolin Soccer (2001)
A hilarious goofy comedy that makes me laugh to tears from beginning to end, and it is so amazing the way it embraces kung fu action, Western movies tropes, cartoonish visual effects and a lot of delicious nonsense to create a unique martial arts movie.
Kawase continues to tackle family issues that reflect those of her own – issues she had already talked about in previous films -, but the result is too uneven, unresolved, emotionally detached, bland even and feels like more of the same for those who are familiar with her work.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Pegg and Frost are so funny together in this atypical zombie movie that nicely blends British humor and a lot of gore while making a smart social commentary, and it benefits from an incredibly witty dialogue and some hilarious moments to make you laugh hard.
Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)
An irresistible, funny and deliciously sweet adventure made in a stunning stop motion that probably ranks among the best I have ever seen, and even if it is clearly aimed at younger children, I really doubt that it won’t be a complete and utter delight to adults as well.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
It may deserve to be generally regarded as (one of) the most overrated film(s) ever made, but it is above all a wonderful, uplifting and deeply touching tale of hope and perseverance that certainly deserves to be remembered as one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King story.
She Comes Back on Thursday (2015)
The way Oliveira blends fiction and documentary by having his family and friends perform fictional versions of themselves is always intriguing, and the film does have its moments, but his approach is so cold and detached that it loses any dramatic power that it could have.
She’s the One (1996)
Though the dialogue is usually sharp and funny (when not being blatantly redundant), the biggest problem of this comedy, besides the fact that it takes itself much more seriously than it should, is that all characters except the one played by Jennifer Aniston are so selfish and hateful.
A simple film that relies on the chemistry between Wright and Rowe, telling a sweet coming-of-age story about a young gay man trying to figure out what he wants in life. Unfortunately, it is also too conventional and predictable, with a lot of stereotyped conflicts.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
What makes this film so refreshing and entertaining is Guy Ritchie’s trademark stylish direction as he updates the legendary detective to a modern pop generation, and it has great dialogue, delicious performances and a wonderful production design.
A silly yet enjoyable movie that continues to portray Holmes as a modern action hero, not trying anything new compared to the previous chapter and just going for a safe plot that is never daring. Still, it is a lot of fun, with an exciting mind battle as climax.
Sherlock Jr. (1924)
A great movie all the more remarkable due to the technique employed and how Keaton could pull off a number of risky stunts without getting killed – and his huge care is evident in a hilarious billiard scene and a fabulous moment in which he dodges many dangers on a motorcycle.
The Ship Sails On (1983)
With a gorgeous cinematography and production design, this is probably the most stunning Fellini film while also a work that offers a smart social commentary – until it goes insane in the last fifteen minutes, losing any direction and evidencing the artificiality of the story as a film.
It is hard to see what Cronenberg had in mind when he concocted this repellent film full of sexism and misogyny about fear of sexuality, as it only seems to suggest that uncontrolled sexual desires lead to people becoming irrational rapists prone to pedophilia and incest.
Short Term 12 (2013)
A delicate and complex character study that never romanticizes what it wants so say, being instead very down to earth in its approach to show us how an underprivileged childhood can create emotionally fractured adults whose uncured issues won’t simply go away with time.
If Verhoeven’s intention was to make a satire of Las Vegas as a place of exploitation and hypocrisy then his film is brilliant, but it does feel like he is trying to make something serious, which makes its hilarious campy vibe come off as trashy and completely unintentional.
A wonderful satirical fable that cleverly subverts those well-known fairy tales, offering endless fun for kids and pure delight for adults with some astonishing visuals and acid humor while being extremely funny, enchanting and surprisingly sweet.
Shrek 2 (2004)
Although not as original and smart as the first film, Shrek 2 is equally funny and irreverent, introducing new adorable secondary characters in an excellent animation that never ceases to be a lot of fun for both adults and kids.
Shrek the Third (2007)
What used to be fresh and witty in the first two films gives place to a stupid slapstick humor full of fart and poop jokes, lacking most of the cleverness of the previous stories. Even so, the visuals never cease to be outstanding and impressive.
Shrek Forever After (2010)
Shrek stuck in an alternate reality is an interesting premise that provokes some laughs, and even if the plot is not original or memorable at all, this passable animation is an improvement over the mediocre last movie and an amusing conclusion to the franchise.
Shrew’s Nest (2014)
Macarena Gómez is absolutely sensational, delivering a complex and intense performance as a tragic figure that inspires both fear and pity in equal measure, and this anguishing (and always gripping) film does an admirable job to combine family drama, character study and horror.
Shun Li and the Poet (2011)
What begins as an honest story soon becomes a frustrating experience, unable to generate enough interest due to the lack of chemistry between the two main characters. Besides, it insists on trying to create some visual and narrative poetry where there is none.
Shutter Island (2010)
Scorsese’s masterpiece in psychological horror is an intriguing and immensely unsettling film whose escalating claustrophobic tension is built from an intelligent, suspenseful mystery that bears many welcome resemblances to the greatest works of Kubrick, Polanski and Lynch.
Siberian Education (2013)
It manages to intertwine three moments of the character’s life without becoming confusing, but Salvatores does everything in his power to make it palatable to a mainstream audience, filling it up with a pile of dreadful clichés and not minding about the horrible performances.
Much like Soderbergh’s Traffic, Villeneuve offers us this riveting and thought-provoking portrait of an endemic social malady against which every effort seems futile, and he invests in a constant sense of urgency and a nearly unbearable tension to place us inside that gritty reality.
Side Effects (2013)
If this is really Soderbergh’s last film, at least he departs on a good note with this smart movie that moves so expertly from one genre to another – switching protagonists and growing from an intimate drama about depression to a pharmaco-thriller with clever twists.
Its playful take on urban isolation and how internet and technology draw people apart is spot-on, with a bittersweet sense of humor that made me smile at its logical deductions, but it is only a shame that, in its insistence on being cute, the plot can be pretty clichéd and obvious.
Finding a perfect balance between touching and humorous, this revealing family drama is a fantastic ballet of camera and mise-en-scène (with many beautiful long takes), and I love the way it lets us organize in our heads the relationships between all characters in the family.
7 Años (2016)
Another Netflix original film that proves you don’t need a great budget to produce something of quality, and this is a dynamic chamber movie that holds our attention with an engaging plot centered exclusively on a clever dialogue and some very fine performances.
A detestable film that forces us to follow for eighty-eight minutes a couple of hateful psychopaths with a sick story that wants to be a very dark comedy and make fun of their gruesome atrocities – but everything is just too much bad taste to be remotely funny.
The Signal (2014)
However initially intriguing the mystery is, the only thing worse than a stupid movie that believes to be smart is a stupid movie that believes to be smart and insults its audience, and so it is just awfully confusing with a lot of stupid plot twists that don’t make much sense.
O Signo do Caos (2005)
Sganzerla’s films have this annoying tendency to become tediously repetitious after a while, and so even though this one begins pretty amusing with its cheeky sense of humor, it’s hard not to find it pretentious when images and sounds start to pile up mostly arbitrarily.
The Silence (1998)
Makhmalbaf continues to explore the infinite possibilities of cinema and film language (as usual), creating another poetic film that impresses not only with its clever editing but also with its use of many aural match cuts that fit perfectly within the story it wants to tell.
The Silence (2010)
Not devoid of flaws but still rich in complexity and with an exquisite cinematography, this is an engaging crime thriller centered on a gallery of characters whose lives are thrown upside down when a criminal investigation brings up latent issues of a sordid long-gone past.
It begins heavy-handed and moves only gradually towards greatness, raising intelligent questions about the merits and virtue of faith when one follows a silent deity that prompts men into arrogance and blind devotion despite all the suffering that this may cause to others.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
This breathtaking psychological thriller and terrific character study should always be remembered for its iconic depiction of one of the most fascinating monsters ever created, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, and it deserved every award it won, although Ted Levine should have also been remembered for his fantastic performance.
Silent Hill (2006)
Gans deserves praise for investing in the movie’s atmosphere with an evocative cinematography and several stunning sets that look incredibly disturbing and creepy as hell – but even so, some of the scenes are way too uncomfortably graphic and the CGI creatures look atrocious.
Silent Hill: Revelation (2012)
If “revelation” means endless exposition that doesn’t reveal absolutely anything about what we already know from the first movie, then it would have been preferable to see something closer to an actual plot or at least more appealing sets, if Bessett had any imagination for that.
The Silent House (2010)
Very well made as a single long take, it impresses for the elegance and technique employed, but the script is just awful, with stupid characters, over-calculated chills (always forewarned by an intrusive score) and a ridiculous, illogical ending.
Silent Running (1972)
A thought-provoking science fiction that may feel dated today even with its good visuals but raises interesting philosophical questions about solitude, the value of life and what it is like to risk everything for a conviction – which outweighs the ecological message intended.
Silent Youth (2012)
A solid simple film whose finest asset is the careful way that it moves without rushing to a resolution, making good use of a deliberate pacing to explore the moments of silence and intimacy while slowly growing on us to make us care about its characters.
The Silver Cliff (2011)
With a paper-thin plot (inspired by a song) that seems stretched to fit the running time of a long-length film, this flawed drama ends up feeling too slow and doesn’t work so well as a study of depression as intended – and perhaps it could have been better as a short movie.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
The feel-good movie of the year, so refreshing, captivating and openly anti-pessimistic, and it is not only well written and directed but works even better thanks to its great ensemble cast – especially Cooper and Lawrence, who have an amazing chemistry together.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)
I can’t really decide which of the subplots is the dullest and most forgettable, or if Nancy’s revenge story could have possibly been any less pointless or dragged any less had it been cut by half – everything so flat that it doesn’t even make me want to write about it.
Sinfonia da Necrópole (2014)
A sweet but uneven film that impressed me so much in its first half hour as a delightful blend of hilarious comedy and inspired musical (with great songs and lyrics), only to lose its charm and grip later as the story progresses and becomes too serious for its own good.
Sing Street (2016)
It is true that it covers familiar ground and feels a bit harmless with its optimistic, feel-good vibe, but it makes up for it with a lot of conviction and a great soundtrack – both the songs played by the characters’ band and those from the ’80s that include Duran Duran and The Cure.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
The classic of classics when it comes to musicals, a wonderful movie that is light, entertaining and funny with priceless dialogue and amazing choreography – and where even an out-of-place Broadway number is delightful enough to make us forgive it for being there.
A Single Man (2009)
A deeply touching film with a beautiful cinematography and art direction, a wonderful score and a remarkable direction by fashion designer Tom Ford. Still, what stands out more than anything else is Colin Firth’s fantastic leading performance.
Single White Female (1992)
Though nothing special, this is an efficient thriller with the kind of subject that could have actually been made into a better movie had it played as a psychological drama. Still, It is nice to see that Schroeder manages to make it seem real enough despite its most ludicrous moments.
Despite the protagonist being a complete moron who stays in a creepy house when all good sense would make him leave, this is a disturbing movie that manages to cause unease with an ominous atmosphere – but this efficient effort is ruined by cheap scares and a terrible ending.
Some of the mysteries may be intriguing but there is no way anyone with a brain could possibly take this ridiculous New Age crap and Dr. Greer’s nonsensical claims seriously (CE-5? Please, what a joke), and the movie is so badly edited and messy that it becomes irritating.
Meier shows that she can manage a sad subject with sensitivity while Klein shines as the adorable and charismatic young protagonist, but the film doesn’t seem to know how to end and the two only English-speaking characters added to the story are superfluous.
I’m not a fan of Amy Poehler but I love Tina Fey, and she totally steals the show in this enjoyable comedy that feels satisfying enough even if it is a bit overlong (like an extended sitcom episode) and the jokes are not as funny or frequent as they should be – hell, some of them fall real flat.
Although Diab seems to have good intentions with an important subject, his lack of subtlety and heavy-handed direction sadly stand in his way, and so the result is a ridiculous and artificial melodrama that has no focus and is full of cheap contrivances and soap-opera dialogue.
The Skin I Live In (2011)
Almodóvar’s incursion into psychological horror is this fascinating, extremely disturbing and even terrifying story about insanity, desire and obsession that grabbed me from the first scene to the last – and the best way to see it is without knowing anything about it.
Kawase looks inside herself for what troubles her and makes her feel lost in the world, and in doing so she complements and gives more substance to her very personal shorts Embracing and Katatsumori – both of which I didn’t like but now seem better in retrospect.
An entertaining Bond movie with a thrilling teaser – which is one of its best features but never builds to what it promises, being soon forgotten when required by the script. Besides, the story is solid but eventually starts to feel long in its endless succession of action scenes.
Slack Bay (2016)
The physical humor and the way the characters are shown as over-the-top caricatures is initially amusing, but that gets tired fast and the film becomes silly, unfunny and repetitious – and I was rolling my eyes after the umpteenth time that someone would fall down on the ground.
An interesting sci-fi that sadly fails by only hinting at its philosophical ideas and not going deeper into them. The narrative is always fluid, with elegant scene transitions and visual rhymes, but also vague about whether it wants to be a satirical piece or not.
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
The most expensive and ambitious Disney animation for the time it was conceived may be regarded by many as a classic with a unique art style, yet I still fail to see much past its impressive technical achievements and be so thrilled about it with regard to its conventional narrative.
Sleeping Beauty (2011)
An empty and pretentious film that fails by not providing any depth into its character, thus leaving her actions and motivations as a complete mystery from beginning to end and making this a cold and detached experience even as a result of the large amount of loose shots.
Slow West (2015)
A more than impressive debut for John Maclean, who revisits the Western genre in an intense story about a long-gone time of violence and death, showing the West in its raw brutality but with a lot of dark humor, and backed by a beautiful cinematography and great sound design.
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
The darker tone is consistent with the German original tale but it is hard to overlook the problems in this adaptation: the dwarfs totally wasted, a pathetic love triangle that rivals that of Twilight, Bella Swan rapidly turning into a warrior as soon as required by the script, and so on.
Walt Disney’s first animation is an enchanting and delightful adaptation of Grimms’ fairy tale. Carefully drawn, with a great attention to details, it not only opened the door for this art in cinema but every modern animation owes a lot to this important masterpiece.
Despite some clichés and not being provocative enough for an Oliver Stone movie, this is a solid companion piece to Citizenfour with a great cinematography and editing – and Gordon-Levitt does an impressive job in mimicking the real Snowden’s body language and even voice.
The sense of humor is killer in the its first half but then the movie sadly starts to lose momentum and focus; even so, this is a fun blend of genres that borrows heavily from Quentin Tarantino and spaghetti westerns (especially the music) with a welcome meta spin to it.
An enormously thought-provoking allegory that suggests a terrifying price necessary to keep the capitalist system machine functioning at full speed in a post-apocalyptic society confined in a moving train – and it is always a pleasure to see a thrilling story that makes us think.
Dark and disturbing in equal measure, this is an intelligent and well-acted character study about the roots of fascism within someone who wants an excuse to act on his psychopathy, as well as within those who accept to be led like cattle by the ones who are in power.
Soaked in Bleach (2015)
An engrossing documentary that may seem like old-news conspiracy theory but presents too many strong points to be overlooked (especially regarding the absurd negligence in the death investigation) and makes a compelling case for why this suspicious case should be re-opened.
The Social Network (2010)
An impeccably-directed character study with excellent performances and a top-notch script mainly sustained on a great dialogue, offering us an insightful look at the creation of the most successful social network by a misanthropic young man who was unable to keep his only friend.
The only solace I had was when this crappy derivative of Se7en ended, because there is nothing worse or more embarrassing than witnessing an amateur director trying to be clever and stylish using every awful trick up his sleeve to make a ridiculous script seem much smarter than it is.
Soderbergh deviates from the fascinating philosophical ideas proposed by Tarkovsky in his fantastic adaptation and focuses on the relationship dilemma, but the result is less involving and suffers from an obvious lack of chemistry between Clooney and McElhone.
Some Like It Hot (1959)
If this is the funniest film ever made I really cannot say, but it is certainly a hilarious and extremely delightful comedy. The flawless script is filled with priceless lines and witty dialogue, with the three main actors absolutely fantastic in their roles.
Something in the Air (2012)
A refreshing and well-paced semi-autobiographical drama that focuses on the uncertainties of a young man divided between his ideologies and artistic desires – but the very weak performances from almost everyone make it emotionally distant and a tad restrained for its own good.
Sofia Coppola is such a sensitive and talented director, and she seems to know well what she is talking about here, taking an interesting look at the meaningless life of an actor among empty pastimes and ephemeral pleasures. A delicate film that observes and shows a lot more than it says.
An expertly-edited, compelling and even tense documentary that gets us deeply invested as we follow the obsessive dedication of four admirable candidates who have each a personality of his own and whom we root for as they bust a gut to pass a monstrous, nearly-impossible exam.
SOMM: Into the Bottle (2015)
The editing that cross-cuts several interviews with wine specialists makes it pretty dynamic as it tries to offer some sort of global opinion from winemakers and sommeliers, but the problem is that the film relies much more on a lot of vague impressions than facts and information.
Song of the Sea (2014)
The film’s gorgeous visuals are the only thing that justifies the Oscar nomination it got, since plot-wise this is a rather weak (and bland) animation that can’t escape the fact that too much is poorly elaborated and explained, like the girl unable to speak and her sudden illness.
A lighthearted German comedy that tries so hard to be inoffensive (an extended cut for TV has several new scenes absent from the theatrical version, some of them certainly more dramatic than anything we see here) that it will probably be more appealing to those who lived in that time.
Source Code (2011)
Duncan Jones is now just another filmmaker concerned about exhibiting his directing skills, and here he gives us explosions in slow motion, flies backwards through an air duct with his camera and so on. Even worse is the script, with a concept that makes no sense and a stupid character who is incapable of sticking to a mission that will save millions of lives.
Southland Tales (2006)
It feels like a bizarre mix of Blade Runner and Twin Peaks written by Bret Easton Ellis and adapted by Uwe Boll – ridiculous, pretentious, incomprehensible and full of tiring exposition from beginning to end about a universe that couldn’t be more uninteresting.
Gyllenhaal continues to show that he is one of the most interesting and talented actors of his generation, elevating this conventional boxing story that, despite an excellent start, embraces every cliché of the genre and becomes so frustratingly sentimental in its second half.
Southside with You (2016)
The two leads captivate us with strong performances in this simple walk-and-talk film, playing intelligent characters who spend a day together on a date through black culture in America, but the movie is also a bit too respectful and borders occasionally on hagiography.
Soylent Green (1973)
The greenish cinematography and ’70s visuals for a futurist dystopia look terribly dated today, and even if the film has an interesting idea and a beautiful death scene, Fleischer’s direction (more focused on the procedural and the action) makes it look silly and unimaginative.
The only film that Kubrick didn’t have control of, this sumptuous and forever influential sword-and-sandal epic balances quite well its campy moments with scenes of dramatic intensity but also has a messy script full of moralizing and confusing behavior from most of its characters.
The Spectacular Now (2013)
Teller and Woodley are excellent and have an impressive chemistry together in this sincere coming-of-age drama that feels more real and mature than most films alike, and it even ventures into a surprisingly bleak territory without the need to go for clichés and contrivances.
The premise is interesting and the visual effects are very good, but the plot is absurd and full of holes (the series of expository explanations in the end makes very little sense when you stop to think about it), feeling more like video game action than smart science fiction.
It deserves credit for its technical virtuosity, great visuals and thrilling action scenes, but in its attempt to wrap up Craig’s films as all part of a major storyline, it is made too self-important and complicated for a 007 movie – the villain’s backstory involving Bond, for instance, is pathetic.
A poorly-written film that deserves more credit for a surreal dream sequence designed by Salvador Dalí than a dated plot full of holes and casual sexism – especially how, for someone who is supposed to be so rational, Bergman’s character is more stupid than our patience can take.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
With a refreshing adolescent vibe and great performances by Tom Holland and Michael Keaton (who plays a surprisingly nuanced villain who has understandable motivations), this is a very entertaining superhero movie that is also smart to skip the character’s over-told origins.
The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
A brilliant and spellbinding sociopolitical commentary told in a most symbolic way (and with a gorgeous cinematography) as a fabulous tale of loss of innocence centered on a sweet 7-year-old girl who discovers evil at the heart of her beehive-like world in Francoist Spain.
Spirited Away (2001)
A remarkably innovative and extremely bizarre version of Alice in Wonderland that may even be too somber for smaller children while more fascinating to adults, and it is not only perfect due to its episodic structure that also loses momentum and decelerates in the third act.
It is frustrating to see such a fantastic idea and amazing development lead to a disappointing ending. The whole film builds as an intelligent and compelling sci-fi drama until Vincenzo Natali finally decides in the last fifteen minutes that it should be in fact a stupid horror story.
Not even James McAvoy’s stellar performance can save this predictable, poorly-directed and stupid thriller plagued with heavy-handed dialogue and with such an absurd disregard for logic or coherence – even more so when we learn about a certain name in a ridiculous third act.
An excellent ensemble cast film whose main strength lies in its superb performances and a fascinating, well-written narrative that recounts the efforts of a group of committed journalists to get to the bottom and expose a revolting truth – something that is sadly becoming so rare nowadays.
Spring Breakers (2012)
After seeing it a second time, it is easier to see where Korine wants to get at with this overstylish mockery of American society, even though his hand is too heavy sometimes, but he does have conviction and the cinematography is stunning and filled with toxic sexiness.
An entertaining, imaginative and absolutely hilarious James Bond spoof the kind that only Paul Feig could have come up with – really, I can’t remember laughing this hard in a long time -, and it offers thrilling action scenes and benefits mostly from McCarthy’s endless charisma and talent.
The Square (2013)
The direction is not flawless, with the camera constantly going out of focus, but this essential film remains an inspiring testament to the power of protests and the voice of the people, especially in times when rebellions ought to come up everywhere against abusive regimes.
How riveting it is to be immersed in this classic influential Western that is not only entertaining and exciting but is above all a sincere story that always rings true with its unforgettable gallery of three-dimensional characters who grow on us and make us care so much about them.
Stalag 17 (1953)
A spectacular prison camp drama that relies on an intriguing, compelling mystery while also being quite funny and touching when showing the camaraderie between the prisoners of Barrack 4, with numerous memorable scenes that make it an unmissable classic.
It may be a tough sit-through to some as it is not as emotionally engaging as Tarkovsky’s magnificent Solaris, but it is hard not to be mesmerized by this stunning metaphysical and philosophical allegory about human desire and search for happiness.
The main problem with this first Star Trek film is that it is not original at all and looks more like a stretched TV episode that tries too hard to be 2001: A Space Odyssey, dragging endlessly in long, contemplative scenes that seem to exist only to show the higher budget.
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
An exceptional movie that offers everything that a Star Trek fan could ask and more: wonderful performances, engaging drama, tension, memorable dialogue, a fascinating villain bent on revenge and an incredibly well-constructed plot with an unforgettable ending.
This third Star Trek film works as a bridge between the second and the fourth cinematic chapters, with decent drama and good performances by our well-known cast, even if the plot is super convenient and lacks the same impact of The Wrath of Khan.
The voyage home is the return to the status quo now that Spock is back to the crew where he belongs, and this is the lightest of the Star Trek movies, a delightful yet not-that-original incursion into comedy with a hilarious dialogue and a very welcome ecological story.
While considered by many as the worst of the Star Trek films – and it certainly does have problems -, The Final Frontier is rather enjoyable and has some memorable moments that only fail to raise it to a higher level due to a clear lack of better polishing.
The last chapter of TOS films is an excellent farewell for Captain Kirk and his crew, concluding their long journey with a smart political mystery that cleverly parallels the end of the Cold War and embraces a future that bears new adventures for the Next Generation Enterprise.
Star Trek: Generations (1994)
The first Next Generation film is unfortunately a big mess that uses a confusing plot device to bid a ridiculous adieu to Captain Kirk in order to give space to Captain Picard’s crew in the Star Trek movies – and sadly not even its unnecessary subplot makes it worth seeing.
Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
The eighth Star Trek film (and second of The Next Generation) boasts incredible special effects and makeup, as well as an urgent plot and a most sinister, terrifying villain – and the subplot involving Data captured by the Borg is certainly the best thing in it.
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
The best of the odd-numbered Star Trek films, Insurrection doesn’t boast nasty villains or terrible dangers but plays like a great extended TV episode, with a compelling plot that works as a smart political commentary on Western imperialism.
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Even though it has an interesting premise, this is an awful conclusion for TNG and seems like a shameless rehash of The Wrath of Khan, only the villain is completely lame, with very stupid motivations, and the conclusion a pathetic cop-out for the entire series.
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
A solid alternate story that ought to leave most trekkies and aficionados with major goosebumps thanks to its many awesome and well-inspired references – which compensate for how formulaic and intensely action-oriented it aims to be above everything else.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
It may not be an example of originality (let’s face it, this episode is basically a rehash of A New Hope, following to the letter the structure of that movie), but even so it is a wonderful, nostalgic return to the original films while incredibly fresh and thrilling as a follow-up as well.
I find it surprising that no one has ever come up with this incredibly original and terrific idea before, and even better is how it is developed with so much humor and tenderness into a delightful feel-good movie that will probably leave you thinking how lucky Starbuck is.
Starred Up (2013)
Written by an actual therapist following his own experiences, this gripping drama offers an extremely realistic view of prison that makes us feel like watching a documentary, and it is brutal and touching when it needs to be, anchored by superb performances (O’Connell is a revelation).
Starry Eyes (2014)
A solid movie that may be too violent and disturbing for a lot of viewers as it shows a nasty, grotesque view of Hollywood and ambition, and it makes the best use of a fantastic synthesizer score as well as an outstanding makeup and sound design that will make you writhe in anguish.
Stations of the Cross (2014)
A thought-provoking and profoundly disturbing film that exposes the harmful side of religion and faith, directed with a noteworthy formal rigor in mostly static long takes and with a skillful mise-en-scène that underlines the overwhelming pressure that the protagonist is living under.
Staying Vertical (2016)
I like Guiraudie’s usual detached style and oddball approach, but while I find this film generally interesting and enjoyable, it is hard to shake the feeling that it doesn’t have that much to say or even focus when telling this passable character study about a confused writer.
The Steam Experiment (2009)
A demented professor wants to prove the effects of global warming by locking six people in a Turkish steam room, which only proves that he is one of the most stupid villains ever. But the only thing more baffling than this ridiculous premise is the movie’s awful development.
Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)
Keaton was an incomparable genius and this is made pretty evident in the film’s exceptionally well-directed third act, when he tries everything to escape a storm and surprises us with his incredible audacity and endless disposition to put himself in life-threatening situations.
Steel Magnolias (1989)
This bittersweet drama has a very nice cast and deserves credit for making us laugh and cry at the same time even in its most melodramatic scenes, but the film’s last seven minutes are simply awful and should have been excised from it without any mercy.
Cronenberg’s first film should only please fans of his work, since it borders on pretentious (it is even hard to know weather it is meant to be taken serious or not) with poorly-edited, seemingly random images accompanied by a voice-over that is pure tedious psychobabble.
Steve Jobs (2015)
An intelligent and well-acted character study that avoids being another full-life biopic about Steve Jobs and does instead a remarkable job to flesh out his personality through three public events in his life and a few flashbacks – which, in turn, suffer a bit from some clumsy editing.
Still Alice (2014)
Moore is terrific in this heartbreaking drama, conveying with full abandon every painful stage of a dreadful disease as her character struggles to hold on to her memories, while the nice use of long-focus lenses is key to show her disorientation and disconnection from the world around her.
Still Life (2013)
Nuanced even in its smallest details, and with an impressive performance by Eddie Marsan and a precious art direction that tells a lot about his character, this subtle film is also a delicate study on death and loneliness, although it ends with an abrupt, anticlimactic conclusion.
The Sting (1973)
Paul Newman and Robert Redford shine together in this brilliant and hugely amusing caper film that offers us, among many notable qualities, a marvelous production design and an ingenious (and unpredictable) plot that plays like a refined sleight-of-hand trick.
Wasikowska’s creepy and hardly bearable character is only one the problems of this mis-structured thriller that also tries to extract tension from a mystery that we don’t even know is there – and when it is finally revealed, everything that follows is made entirely predictable.
I can’t shake the feeling that this cheap fantasy is Emmerich’s Showgirls, with cheap acting, dialogue and structure (what’s with those intrusive flashbacks?), and it reduces the Stonewall riots to a minor scuffle in the life of a white-bread, Dorothy-like jock in Christopher Street the Land of Oz.
Stories We Tell (2012)
Polley surprises us with the brave and unreserved way that she exposes her family’s secrets while trying to extract a meaning from her quest, even if she doesn’t seem to know exactly how to end it, going a bit longer past what should have been its conclusion.
The Story of Adele H. (1975)
Isabelle Adjani is outstanding as an emotionally and psychologically unstable young woman driven to madness by unrequited love and obsession, in a gorgeous period drama that also impresses for its stunning cinematography and production design.
Mark Cousins knows a lot about Cinema and did an impressive research, but unfortunately his voice inflection makes it a torture to listen to him for 15 hours, while his love for hyperboles weakens the material and his inferences are usually arbitrary and absurd.
The Story of Me (2009)
This Brazilian little drama may be well-intentioned but is poorly executed, with an excessive (and obvious) narration and some awful scenes in slow motion that almost ruin it, but still the movie gets a bit better in its second half thanks to the strength of the story itself.
La Strada (1954)
Giulietta Masina lends a captivating innocence – almost impossible not to love – to a Chaplin-like waif while Fellini breaks away from neorealism with this magical and whimsical circus fable/road movie that has a beautiful score by Nino Rota and an unforgettable ending.
Straight Outta Compton (2015)
A very well-directed, provocative and comprehensive – albeit a bit overlong – biopic that shines with exquisite camera movements and amazing performances to tell this compelling story of the three men who popularized the gangsta rap movement that came up in the 1980s.
The Straight Story (1999)
An unusually straightforward and delicate film by David Lynch that calls for a bit of patience from the viewer but proves to be extremely moving and more than rewarding – and Richard Farnsworth is just wonderful, a world of emotions conveyed in every detail of his face and expression.
The Strange Case of Angelica (2010)
Oliveira is at his most self-indulgent, throwing gorgeous visual compositions in a strange film that never decides if it is supposed to be a technically refined drama or a surrealistic comedy, while the actors overact, the dialogue is terrible and the nonsensical plot leads nowhere.
A nightmarish, LSD-induced exercise of style clearly inspired by the Italian giallo, technically impeccable and gorgeous, although it offers little in terms of narrative (or anything else to keep us interested for too long) and is sexist to suggest that women corrupt men, driving them mad with desire and fatal obsession.
The Stranger (1967)
The fact that this is an extremely faithful, line-by-line adaptation is ironically the problem with this film, especially considering Mastroiani’s off-the-mark, far-from-nuanced composition. Besides, Visconti’s cheap direction doesn’t help with all the horrible zooms and inept lighting.
Stranger by the Lake (2013)
Guiraudie deserves praise for the unrestrained way he shows male nudity and explicit sex, approaching all with the level of openness that one expects from this kind of provocative, erotic thriller, while building it slowly in a deliberate pace to reach moments of great suspense.
The cast is terrific and this solid character study is always engaging as it examines the lack of emotional stability in a dysfunctional family, but it is frustrating that it ends on an ambiguous note that makes the whole film feel almost like a good effort for nothing.
The Strangers (2008)
An inconceivably horrid display of sadism with an amount of stupidity that I can’t remember seeing before (and I wanted to punch Bertino in the face for raping my brains like this), relying on two characters who seem to be competing as most shockingly stupid of all time.
Strangers on a Train (1951)
An overrated thriller that does have a gorgeous cinematography and an intriguing premise but whose development has its share of unnecessary narrative flaws and drags unforgivably, feeling bloated (and even tiresome) with scenes that are elongated for too long.
Stray Dogs (2013)
It seems like Tsai is trying way too hard to be Tarkovsky (his previous film also gave strong indications of that) with extremely elongated static shots that can be really tiring for most viewers and dilutes into near banality the strength of the sad story that he wants to tell.
An intense and well written drama that deals with matters like racism, homophobia, self-acceptance and the dehumanizing side of war, relying on a revealing dialogue and with strong performances by its entire ensemble cast, especially Michael Wright and George Dzundza.
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Apart from the wonderful dialogue and fabulous score, the most fascinating in this outstanding classic is how it contrasts the naturalistic composition of Brando with the affected mannerisms of Leigh, who breaks our hearts as a terribly miserable and emotionally fractured woman.
Streets of Fire (1984)
It was conceived as a “movie about visuals” but never mind, the music is the only great thing in it – especially in the exciting opening and closing scenes -, since the script is a colossal piece of crap with no structure, the dialogue is simply awful and the performances are pathetic.
The Stroller Strategy (2012)
It is hard not to fall in love with Raphaël Personnaz and Charlotte Le Bon, who are so charismatic and have such a great chemistry together in this decent French comedy that may be predictable and full of clichés but has its moments and is funny enough to make it worth it.
Rossellini scandalized the United States with this excellent and daring drama about an unfortunate woman stuck with small-minded people on a volcanic rock, and it hits us with powerful scenes that are hard to be forgotten, like the horrific tuna fishing and the volcano explosion.
Stuck in Love (2012)
Despite the great soundtrack, here is a frustrating movie that shows every sign that it could have been great, with a lot to say about moving on and opening our hearts up to something new, but the payoff is contrived and doesn’t ring half as true as what came before it.
The Student and Mister Henri (2015)
The music is cliched and Mr. Henri’s feelings for Constance grow in a way that seems a bit rushed when you stop to think about it (it made me wish I could know more about his motivations), but the movie has a heart and is mature enough to be worth our time.
The Stuff (1985)
It is so appallingly awful that it doesn’t even work as a commentary about the kind of crap people ingest without knowing what it is, and so it is only trashy, nonsensical, with a ridiculous sense of humor and terribly directed by someone who clearly has no idea what mise-en-scène is.
Sucker Punch (2011)
The hyperstylized visuals are spectacular and a total delight, but they are not enough to make up for an empty plot that is almost unengaging, and the idea of mixing wuxia, war movies, Nazi zombies and robots is indeed curious but not sufficient to be worth our attention.
I really wanted to like this film for the importance of what it wants to say, but while it isn’t bad, it is too conventional and marred by some clichés and silly plot devices to create suspense – like someone conveniently finding a newspaper with an information that he needs.
The Suicide Shop (2012)
Leconte seems unsure about the tone of the story, mixing playful musical numbers with a morbid, gloomy subject that is definitely not for children. At the end, what we are left with is a disappointing animation that is too dark for kids and too silly and optimistic for adults.
Tom Hanks and the movie’s last half hour save this lousy hagiography from being a complete disaster, but that after a lot of hideous, expository dialogue and useless flashbacks that don’t offer any insight into anything – all just to convince us with few arguments that he is a hero.
An engaging love story that feels so relevant in our times considering that same-sex marriage was a much discussed topic in France only two years before it came out, and it is also a mature film about how we must live with the choices that we make in life but cannot unmake.
The ultimate silent film, released right after the talkies had already become a reality. Featuring some splendid superimpositions and impossible camera movements, this wonderful movie is both an impressive technical achievement and a beautiful story about love.
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
The definition of timeless classic, superbly written and directed, blending dark humor and tragic film noir – and it offers splendid performances by William Holden and Gloria Swanson, who play a sarcastic writer and a histrionic diva of yore, respectively.
Working pretty well as a sympathetic character study centered on a righteous man who believes he is on a divine mission from God, this inspired movie is like a sassy brother of Kick-Ass: oddly funny, amusing and making no concessions regarding its amount of violence.
Super 8 (2011)
This intriguing adventure is a nostalgic return to the late ’70s and early ’80s of Spielberg’s movies. But even if it offers exhilarating visual effects and solid performances, the poor script gets ruined by a lame ending that comes with a cheesy resolution for all the conflicts.
Joe Anderson is a talented, handsome actor but he can’t save this muddled thriller devoid of insight and plagued with ridiculous dialogue, and even the use of flashbacks along the movie is amateurish in the way that it tries – and fails – to gradually shape the character’s motivations.
The romance between the two characters is developed in a clumsy way in the beginning, but soon the film grows to become a nice, taut thriller directed with a firm grip by Hitchcock, who builds a gripping suspense that only disappoints in the end with a silly, frustrating payoff.
A delicate drama that effortlessly captures the idyllic atmosphere of its locations before hitting us with the heavy weight of a tragedy. It is only a pity, though, that the non-professional actors are not always that good and later on it starts to drift and become a bit repetitive.
Swades: We, the People (2004)
What seems to be at first a predictable and clichéd Bollywood romance turns out to be a surprisingly sincere story full of heart and conviction that argues in favor of the importance and necessity of social changes (especially in India), offering a modern view on tradition and progress.
The Swimming Pool (1969)
What this sensuous, provocative and elegant French film does so remarkably well is sustain a constant tension in the air between its characters, be it of a sexual nature or unspoken thoughts that are conveyed mostly through meaningful looks and glances.
Swimming Pool (2003)
An absorbing and highly stimulating film that intriguingly dissolves the barrier that separates reality and fiction to tell a strange story about that point of an artist’s creative process when she has to search inside herself to reach that sparkle of inspiration that eludes her.
Swiss Army Man (2016)
It is one of those movies that seem like tailor-made for Sundance, so insanely quirky and trying so hard to be extraordinary that the quirkiness feels like an end in itself; even so, the actors are good enough to raise it above its limitations and it works better than we would imagine.
The Sword in the Stone (1963)
Even if it doesn’t have much focus and becomes predictable towards the end, this is an amusing Disney animation with a nice message for children about the importance of education – and the whole squirrel sequence is especially hilarious and fun.
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
The first film of Park Chan-Wook’s Vengeance Trilogy is this intense, tragic and highly stylish thriller/bloodbath that plunges its miserable characters into a bleak and inescapable circle of misfortunes and revenge.
It wants to be a smart low-budget science fiction like Primer combined with romance, film noir and a twisty plot like Timecrimes (which generally works), but it is also full of clichés (what’s with all those ridiculous lens flares?) and feels like a completely missed opportunity.
Syndromes and a Century (2006)
The emperor has no clothes, and I can’t see any point in trying to look for a purpose in this infuriating and self-indulgent experiment that finds itself much more original and inventive than it is but has the same effect of random images of just about anything on a blank screen.
THX 1138 (1971)
An excessively cold sci-fi that doesn’t deserve credit for its plot (Lucas doesn’t seem to care enough about exploring his ideas to come up with a consistent social commentary) as it does for its technical merits, with a great use of visual effects and nice sound design.
With a gorgeous black-and-white cinematography and an impressive thematic rigor, this is a welcome surprise of tremendous poetry, a film that confronts frustration and memory as a lyrical homage to silent movies accompanied by a haunting narration.
The Tailor of Panama (2001)
Sometimes messy and a bit too implausible to be taken serious, this is not one of the best John le Carré adaptations, but still it has some good performances (Rush, Brosnan and Curtis) in an average spy story that most of the time manages to be pretty entertaining.
Take Shelter (2011)
A compelling, gloomy and unsettling allegory that moves in a careful slow pace towards a glorious conclusion and is centered on a modern Noah, paranoid and on the verge of a mental breakdown, played with such an extraordinary intensity by Michael Shannon.
Take the Money and Run (1969)
It doesn’t matter how I look at it, the humor of this early Wood Allen semi-mockumentary doesn’t work for me at all with those gags that may look great on paper but are a failure on screen, and it is just irritating to see one funny joke for every three or four terrible ones.
Take This Waltz (2011)
Despite its minor flaws, which includes a clumsy beginning that relies on many coincidences, this bittersweet drama surprisingly grows to become quite mature and revealing, making natural even the seemingly contrived relationship between the character and her husband.
Taken 2 (2012)
This cheap sequel is basically a rehash of the first movie, only with a few changes to make it look original – something that not even that previous chapter was. And it is less exciting and even more implausible.
Taken 3 (2014)
Besson and Megaton have apparently decided that they could come up with any crap to justify another sequel, and so they don’t mind insulting our intelligence with a stupid plot full of ridiculous contrivances and awful, chopped-up editing that doesn’t let us see anything.
The Taking of Deborah Logan (2014)
It is absolutely ridiculous that a woman in such advanced state of Alzheimer’s wouldn’t be committed immediately after proving to be a serious danger to herself and to others, but this is just one of the many problems in a silly, unscary plot that recycles every cliché possible.
Taking Woodstock (2009)
Lee’s film manages to capture the groovy vibe of the famous festival, although it doesn’t quite develop the protagonist very well and isn’t that revealing about the magic of Woodstock itself. The result is enjoyable yet definitely underwhelming.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)
That the title of the original folktale places its importance on the bamboo cutter is symptomatic of those ungrateful times for women like our tragic heroine, and this is a gorgeous-looking, sad story whose only flaw is a frustrating suggestion that its most beautiful scene could be a dream.
Tale of Tales (2015)
The costume design and art direction stand out in this messy film that lacks cohesion and suffers from serious tonal problems as it moves from amusing dark farce into something uncomfortably grotesque – and it is frustrating that it doesn’t seem to go anywhere.
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
Sometimes it is better for a film to be more straightforward in order to work, and this sinister Asian horror movie is ironically too unpredictable for its own good and fails to be as scary as it believes to be (and that is because it is so strangely confusing until the end).
Tales of Terror (1962)
An uneven anthology of Poe stories in which the finest one is unfortunately the one that goes for the laughs, but at least Price and Lorre are really funny together, especially in a hilarious wine tasting scene that is definitely the best moment in the film.
Talk to Her (2002)
It is easy to read this as an insensitive melodrama that uses the suffering of two women to tell a story about the friendship that grows between two men, but the film is actually so much more than that, full of nuances and taking us in many unpredictable directions.
The Tall Man (2012)
An outrageous and painfully despicable piece of garbage that has no understanding of pacing and offers one of the most morally disgusting pseudo-sociological messages ever committed to celluloid – which leads me to think that Laugier is just as repulsive as his work.
A refreshing proof that you can make a funny and insightful film with a simple plot, naturalistic performances and an iPhone 5s – which adds to it and makes it look even more authentic, like a realistic fairy tale in the streets of L.A. (the character’s name is even Sin-Dee Rella).
With one of the most beautiful scores of the year, this is a powerful and deeply melancholy anti-war story that uses a long-unresolved conflict to show us how two good, three-dimensional men could have been friends in different circumstances hadn’t they been caught on opposite sides of a war.
A very pleasant and delightful Disney animation with astonishing visuals, great songs and many entertaining moments. It is definitely not one of the best films of the studio nor an instant classic but it is a more-than-welcome return to its traditional fairy-tale stories.
It is like Romeo and Juliet (though based on actual events) set against the volcanic landscapes of a South Pacific island, offering us a peek into a patriarchal society based on arranged marriages that forced women to abide by the decisions that were made for them.
A hugely entertaining roller coaster of a movie that perfectly combines 2D animation with 3D background, dazzling us with exhilarating scenes of Tarzan surfing through the jungle trees and a classic story that offers a very nice message about acceptance and self-identity.
Taste of Cherry (1997)
The frustrating last scene feels like a copout included by Kiarostami only to draw some puzzling intellectual reaction from his audience; but still, this is a deeply human film that moves us in its simplicity while never offering a reason for a man wanting to end his life.
An exceptional and daring film that showcases the enormous talent of a whole ensemble cast and offers us a challenging story that bursts with huge subversive power and overwhelming sexual intensity as it relies mostly on the fantastic chemistry between its two leads.
Panahi dodges his 20-year ban in secrecy with this revealing and highly provocative piece of cinema verité that says a lot about Iranian society in general and even finds the most perfect moment to comment on the absurd censorship rules imposed on artistic freedom in Iran.
An interesting film that may be too repulsive but still we never look away. With a memorable direction and camera work, it tells a cynical (and often hilarious) story about three generations of deviant men who are a reflection of Hungary’s History since WWII.
A very funny comedy with a very obscene humor, which curiously doesn’t come out offensive from a teddy bear’s mouth, but it is also surprisingly warm and sincere, showing Ted as a complex character and making him totally believable with a flawless animation job.
Ted 2 (2015)
A solid sequel that thematically couldn’t be more relevant in our times, and if you can take the whole raunchiness of it all, it will also prove to be a very amusing experience, even if it is pretty predictable towards the end – I mean, does anyone really not see that coming?
An unfocused drama that, despite a promising premise, never delves into the themes that it only touches upon, ending on a pretty vague note – and it doesn’t help at all that the protagonist is such an unlikable teenager that doesn’t really inspire our sympathy.
It is surprising that this excellent film is so underrated and has never been appreciated as it should be. Dudley Moore is a great actor and a great comedian, and this is a hilarious story that takes a very honest look at the middle age crisis and inchoate yearnings.
For an experimental film made in such a simple and minimalist way (mostly improvised by non-professional actors), it is always fascinating to observe how it comments almost casually on many aspects of Iranian society, including the role of women from different points of view.
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
Surprising for not being shot in found-footage form like the first film, this second Cloverfield movie has great performances and is smart to invest in another type of suspenseful plot, one that is tense and claustrophobic as we follow events that take place almost entirely inside a bunker.
The Terminator (1984)
The exhilarating cyberpunk classic that started the successful franchise, an intelligent, well-written science-fiction that is always extremely tense and well paced, offering us a terrifying, indestructible villain and the scary view of a bleak post-apocalyptic future.
Terminator 2: Judgment Day (1991)
Even if it may feel a bit overlong, this fantastic sequel is perhaps even more thrilling than the first film, this time investing more in the action and first-rate special effects with a bigger budget to create something epic – and it is always awesome to see Schwarzenegger as the big hero.
An unnecessary third movie that only repeats the formula of the one before, with unstoppable (and even tiresome) action for those who enjoy seeing cyborgs destroying an entire city – and it is easy to notice how it destroys the continuity of the series.
Terminator Salvation (2009)
This pointless sci-fi action war film doesn’t add anything new to the universe of the series but is neither an embarrassment. In fact, the only thing that makes up for its sheer inconsistencies and lack of emotional resonance is Sam Worthington’s complex character.
Terminator Genisys (2015)
This dreadful sequel has an ambitious premise but tries so hard to be intricate and surprising that it only grows more and more stupid with a horrible dialogue full of exposition, laughable plot incoherencies, awful attempts at humor and brainless action scenes that never seem to end.
Terms of Endearment (1983)
A wonderful drama that finds a perfect balance between sweet, humorous and sad with sublime performances by the whole cast (mainly MacLaine and Nicholson), while the superb editing keeps the narrative always fluid as it spans several years in the lives of its characters.
La Terra Trema (1948)
A sadly misguided film that deserves more credit for what it wants to say than for how it does it, since it is marred by stiff, unnatural performances by non-actors (like watching a school play), heavy-handed dialogue, a redundant narration and a formal rigor not so in tune with the kind of neorealist docufiction that Visconti wants to make.
An involving story centered on the contrast between the traditions and the needs of a new generation on an island, which is reflected in the way the young protagonist has to deal with his problems – and the wonderful cinematography explores really well the beautiful landscapes.
A resonant and visually stunning period piece about a beautiful but unfortunate young woman born in an ungrateful time and divided between two men who are bound to abuse her – and even if the film may feel too long, the cinematography and art direction are a marvel to behold.
The Testament of Dr. Mabuse (1933)
Despite pacing issues, a confusing ending and how we are usually too many steps ahead of the characters, it isn’t hard to understand why the Third Reich, which was a nationalist regime that strongly defended order, banned this thought-provoking crime film when it came out.
How incredibly frustrating it is to see a movie so compelling, wonderfully directed, technically exemplary and with a gorgeous cinematography go into self-destruction mode in the last thirty minutes, when it gives in to predictable revelations and silly situations worthy of a lame soap-opera.
A ridiculous sequel that makes you endure a bunch of obnoxious hillbillies in a lame and unscary gorefest, trying to be the most gruesome and grotesque it can be but sinking deep in its terrible attempts at a dark comedy.
The Texas Chainsaw Massacre (2003)
This decent remake is not half as terrifying and shocking as the original masterpiece (how could it be?), while Jessica Biel pales in (an unfair) comparison with Marilyn Burns, whose absolute terror was evident there, but the movie does have its good moments.
Thank You for Smoking (2005)
With a solid performance from Aaron Eckhart and offering us a deliciously clever commentary on rhetoric, Reitman’s debut is an enjoyable satire – even though it must have looked real nice on paper but doesn’t really work that well on the screen (especially its sense of humor).
That Cold Day in the Park (1969)
An irregular psychological drama that is well made in some aspects (especially the cinematography and editing) but not so successful in its direction, as it fails to engage and create the impact that one would expect from this story of deranged loneliness and manipulation.
That Man from Rio (1964)
It must think that it is so exciting to make Jean-Paul Belmondo run up and down the entire movie, but in fact it is only repetitious, predictable and inane, with a sense of humor that usually falls flat (despite a few good moments) and a loose structure that makes it feel overlong.
That’s It (2008)
I am a sucker for this kind of film: low-budget, experimental, about the end of a relationship – the first case of a Brazilian indie production to make it to national distribution. Funny and delightful, it benefits mostly from the spontaneous performances by its main leads, who display a great chemistry together.
A tense and powerful debut feature set against the breathtaking vastness of the Jordanian desert and with a deliberate pacing, an evocative score and assured performances by its non-professional Bedouins that are proof of Naji Abu Nowar’s talent in directing actors.
Thelma & Louise (1991)
Wonderfully well acted and with a stunning cinematography, this delicious road movie finds an awful snowball of trouble for two unfortunate women in this sexist society – and the setting of such story in the south of the U.S. makes its feminist statement even more significant.
The Theory of Everything (2014)
Everything about its technical aspects is obvious and clichéd – the cinematography, the direction, the score – but what lifts this conventional biopic above average and banal is the strength of its two leading performances and the importance of the man who inspired it.
Amenábar’s low-budget debut stands out as the first display of his talent as both a writer and director, a suffocating thriller that is not only extremely tense and suspenseful but also respects the viewer’s intelligence and keeps us always engaged.
Thesis on a Homicide (2013)
Darín is fantastic as always in this intelligent thriller that uses a careful approach to reveal without hurry the many details of its well-constructed plot, and it also impresses with a great direction and cinematography, especially in a wonderful panning shot close to the end.
They Don’t Wear Black Tie (1981)
Carlos Alberto Riccelli has a horrible diction and is not a very good actor, while the film tends to be a bit repetitious and takes too long to engage; but when it does it hits the mark with a complex discussion about the fight against labor exploitation during hard times.
They Look Like People (2015)
Masculinity is such a fragile little thing, and this is a creepy low-budget psychological thriller that offers a curious take on the male fear of losing power and control of his life/world, but it is just a pity that the movie is a bit predictable and has a rather implausible ending.
The Thing (1982)
Helped by an evocative score and by astounding make-up and special effects, this gruesome sci-fi thriller is suspenseful and creates a highly claustrophobic atmosphere of nerve-wracking paranoia and tension, where no one knows who to trust and anyone can be The Thing.
Things to Come (2016)
There is a certain intuitive feel to Mia Hansen-Løve’s films, as though she prefers to always follow her heart in order to find a direction for her characters and narrative – which, in turn, ends up being a bit irregular and repetitive, even if lifted by Huppert’s excellent performance.
The Third Man (1949)
Despite its distracting overuse of Dutch angle shots, this is a classic film noir crafted beautifully by Reed and Graham Greene (who worked on it by writing his excellent novella), with a fascinating villain, a fabulous post-war Vienna as its location and a perfect choice for a score.
Third Person (2013)
I admire the type of narrative exercise that Haggis is aiming at here, but the result is prolix, convoluted and disjointed, trying to bite off more than it can chew with too many silly revelations and moving from one twist to the next like a messy soap-opera.
Although somewhat irregular and overlong, this is a wonderfully stylish, well-directed and bloody vampire Korean film whose pitch-black humor contributes to set a hysterical, hugely bizarre tone in Park’s surreal gore fest, with Kim Ok-bin in a priceless performance.
13 Assassins (2010)
I wish the film had taken some time to explore more the 13 assassins, at least to make us able to better distinguish them in the exhilarating final battle, but still Miike crafts a gorgeous and extremely intense samurai epic in the best tradition of the genre.
13 Minutes, or Elser (2015)
The kind of run-of-the-mill biopic that seems like a telefim, with a conventional script that lays every detail out in the open (in case you have any cognitive problem) and a series of irrelevant flashbacks that don’t really help us understand the character as well as they should.
A piercing, urgent and impeccably edited documentary that dissects the horrific vilification of African Americans and their almost return to slavery in the USA, as well as the flaws and abuses of the US justice system, all of which to benefit corporations that profit from people’s misery.
An excellent documentary that sets out to examine this curious phenomenon of collective hatred towards a famous person and works also as a compelling character study about a cocky, handsome and talented basketball player who didn’t mind being hated by everyone.
The 39 Steps (1935)
There are few things like a good thriller with a nice sense of humor, even though the humor doesn’t always work here; and while it is well directed and has some clever twists, it relies on too many coincidences and gets weakened by a silly semi-romance that feels always forced.
I admire the way Thamrongrattanarit wants to tell his story in 36 simple static shots, but the result is not so effective as he takes for granted our engagement and his scenes feel more like impressions that, when put together, don’t lead to something as telling as it could be.
The 33 (2015)
Despite the good acting, this is an unimpressive and barely passable movie that fails to be tense and takes for granted our engagement with poorly-constructed characters who are no more than random faces in a group of people, and it doesn’t help that the dialogue is so heavy-handed.
This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)
An excellent documentary that exposes this veiled type of censorship and a group of hypocritical moralists who find themselves in the position to decide what we can and cannot watch, using a questionable system that benefits mostly the interests of movie studios and corporations.
This Is It (2009)
A very well-edited behind-the-scenes clearly made for fans, showing nice rehearsals and backstage footage of Michael Jackson’s concert that never was, but let’s only hope this is not the ultimate film to be made about him.
This Is Sodom (2010)
A failed spoof that leans more towards, say, Astérix & Obélix than Monty Python, as in being a specific one-laugh joke intended for a certain public and expanded into a movie – and it oscillates too much between witty (some of the jokes do work well) and stupid (most don’t).
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
A hilarious and delicious mockumentary that features numerous memorable, well-inspired moments and works so well mostly because of its intelligent, ironic sense of humor as it pokes fun at the rock ‘n’ roll universe (the stars and the fans) in a very lighthearted way.
This Is the End (2013)
A silly but amusing comedy that works surprisingly well because of the vulgar and self-deprecating way the actors play themselves. Some of the jokes do fall short but most of the plot is very funny and entertaining with its highly ad-libbed obscene humor.
This Must Be the Place (2011)
A messy movie that throws many narrative elements together without any cohesion, drifting from odd character study to hunt-the-Nazi road-movie, and it is so rambling and disjointed in its structure that it feels pointless, with Sean Penn in an extremely annoying performance.
I love when Coffin Joe blasphemes at the top of his lungs, but this sequel is full of problems, like two women falling madly in love with Joe right after meeting him, a trashy sequence in color more laughable than scary and a heavy-handed ending of preachy religious overtones.
This Summer Feeling (2015)
A nice and delicate drama that follows two characters trying to move on and reconstruct their lives after a tragic event, and I like how it focuses mostly on everyday moments as they talk with friends and hope things will get better, even if mostly keeping a certain distance from us.
Despite the talent of the strong lead, who is also incredibly handsome and charismatic, this superhero blockbuster is very unimpressive and never takes risks, trying more to be a prequel to The Avengers than anything else. Besides, the character goes through sudden changes in his personality that are really hard to buy.
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Notably superior to the first movie and a decent follow-up to The Avengers, this entertaining film has a consistent plot, plenty of humor, an always charismatic Chris Hemsworth and also Tom Hiddleston stealing every scene he appears in as the deceitful god Loki.
Thou Wast Mild and Lovely (2014)
It suffers from all the directing problems of Decker’s previous film (the same horrible framing and the image constantly going in and out of focus for no reason), but at least this time there is a script and no hideously improvised dialogue – even if most of it is hideous as well.
A Thousand Times Good Night (2013)
Despite its gorgeous cinematography and good performances, it is frustrating that, after a hard-hitting first hour, this disjointed drama loses focus with unnecessary details (the guilt issue, the plutonium remarks) and alienates us by turning the protagonist into a hideously selfish person.
Tykwer seems to be more interested in pretentious artsy shots than creating a resonant story, and the fact that the female character is unbearable and the plot unbelievable and boring to death only helps make this film an ordeal to sit through.
Three Ages (1923)
This Keaton early comedy is fairly amusing but there is not much else into it, with an hour seeming almost like an eternity, but still it is nice to see it remastered after rediscovered in very bad condition, even if some damage in the image quality is still quite visible.
The Three Caballeros (1944)
A solid follow-up to Saludos Amigos that combines animation and live action with sheer perfection, even if it is a bit irregular and only really amusing until the last ten minutes, when it goes in Fantasia mode Latin style and freaks out in a mad and tedious psychedelia of colors and music.
Three Colors: Blue (1993)
Kieslowski takes us in a painful incursion into grief and heavy suffering as he creates an intriguing association between sorrow and emotional liberty (a terribly ironic interpretation of the color blue in the French flag), and Binoche is wonderful as a woman torn by lost.
Three Colors: White (1994)
The lightest installment in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors Trilogy is this sharp film that works quite well as a strange type of comedy (or anti-comedy) that offers an ironic look at evenness and equality (ideals symbolized by the color white in the French flag).
Three Colors: Red (1994)
The last and most remarkable film in Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy is this warm and beautiful depiction of solidarity and fraternity (symbolized by the color red in the French flag), with excellent performances and bringing the trilogy to a wonderful, haunting conclusion.
300: Rise of an Empire (2014)
A cheap excuse for an obvious rehash that, despite gorgeous visuals, has no vitality, intensity or a personality of its own – and its lame hero is even obfuscated by the sexy villain played by Eva Green, who we end up rooting for to slaughter every single Greek in that place.
An unimpressive drama about people, decisions, situations – vague as it sounds and using a high-class cast to state the obvious. The stories are never resonant, while the characters are never given enough time to develop into flesh-and-blood figures.
3 Idiots (2009)
Despite Aamir Khan’s charismatic performance, this initially amusing comedy gets sadly lost in a melodramatic second half full of ludicrous situations and unnecessary revelations, with a pathetic conclusion that believes that hugs and laughs are enough to solve everything.
Three Monkeys (2008)
Ceylan only seems to confirm the reservations I had about his previous film, as he goes even further than before in terms of aesthetics with a splendid cinematography but employs his pretentious, self-indulgent direction in behalf of an empty story that has nothing to say.
Three Times (2005)
It is always interesting to see Hou put together in the same film three stories that feel like a culmination of the main themes found in his work along so many years, even though the third leaves a lot to be desired and I find too distracting the fact that the second one is silent.
Through the Olive Trees (1994)
Kiarostami continues to prove us that he is a genius in the way he interweaves reality and fiction, and even if this third Koker film may feel a bit redundant when placed side-by-side with the other two, there is something absolutely unique about what he is trying to do here.
A compelling look at the lives of normal people on a moving train: while the first story is the weak link and the second lacks a more satisfying conclusion, the movie hits the mark with the last one and proves to be a delightful omnibus film made by three great directors.
The Tiger and the Snow (2005)
Roberto Benigni repeats the same formula of his bittersweet masterpiece Life Is Beautiful to an exasperating degree, which makes this film appear quite unoriginal and unnecessary, but even so it is funny, touching and has a beautiful ending.
Tiger Girl (2017)
A thrilling movie that feels like a shot of adrenaline right in the vein, full of improvisation, pulsing with a lot of energy and showing almost in the stylized ways of comic books how anarchy can be a pretty exciting drug for those who don’t have any limits or a moral compass.
A devastating portrait of religious hell as a place under the rule of jihadists who employ abuse, intimidation and horrendous punishments on those who disobey their abominable laws – proof that, as Steven Weinberg said it, “for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
This wonderful drama is one of Kim’s saddest and most powerful films about the way time affects our lives and relationships, and how it is hard for love to resist obsessions, insecurities and our inability to cope with our own pettiness before the unrelenting action of time.
The Time Machine (2002)
A simplistic yet entertaining adaptation that eliminates the smart social commentary found in H. G. Wells’ story and focuses on a lot of action with very little imagination, but while it has some problems, it will be enough fun for time travel fans.
Time Masters (1982)
An uneven sci-fi animation that has a great electronic score but ends up losing some of its focus as it tries to explore its universe in different plot lines like a road movie – and the conclusion also feels a bit inconsistent and frustrating, even though it is surprising.
Time to Leave (2005)
A perfunctory, soulless drama about a selfish man who finds out that he is terminally ill and becomes completely distasteful, impossible to relate to in any level. Even worse, most of the actors are bad and the end only shows that the director didn’t really have anything to say.
A decent time-travel film that seems like an extended Twilight Zone episode lacking a strong main character, and while it is really mysterious and intriguing in its first half hour, it soon becomes quite predictable, despite a clever twist in the last act of its circular plot.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
A complex espionage thriller that makes impeccable use of a careful pace to stretch the tension to its maximum and an appropriately dark cinematography to recreate the paranoia of the ’70s and the Cold War maneuvers, while Gary Oldman underacts in a perfect performance.
To Each His Own Cinema (2007)
It is surprising that neither Quentin Tarantino nor any awarded exponent of the Spanish Cinema like Pedro Almodóvar participated in this project, and even if some of the shorts are bland, most offer a pleasant look into each filmmaker’s style and vision (my favorite being Iñárritu’s “Anna”).
To Have and Have Not (1944)
Bacall exudes a lot of magnetism and sensuality in her debut on the screen, a decent sort-of-rip-off of Casablanca – based on Hemingway and co-written by William Faulkner no less – that relies on a strong chemistry between her and Bogart in their first of four films together.
To Kill a Man (2014)
The film is technically competent and well directed, which can be seen from a tense night scene shot in a long take with a handheld camera, but the problem is that it fails to let us in on the main character’s personal conflict and decisions, which mostly seem contrived.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
A wonderful yet inevitably condensed adaptation of Harper Lee’s sublime novel that, despite harmed a bit by some of the changes, is heartfelt, moving and always true to the soul of her story, with Gregory Peck in a fantastic performance even if a bit stiff in the trial scene.
To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)
An explosive thriller very well directed by William Friedkin, with great performances, many awesome action scenes – especially an exhilarating car chase – and a morally thought-provoking story that culminates in a fantastic, shocking ending.
To Rome with Love (2012)
A minor Woody Allen that is basically a collection of sitcom jokes stretched to the point of repetitious. Besides, even with some good moments, the film disappoints for never using Rome as an organic setting, since these stories could take place anywhere.
To the Wonder (2012)
Love according to Malick, and not really a character study but in fact a “director study” that feels like a direct follow-up to The Tree of Life, or a lyrical and extremely revealing self-portrait of a deeply sensitive man who is able to dive into sheer beauty but never into real passion.
Tom at the Farm (2013)
A much more restrained Xavier Dolan after his pretentious previous film, and he displays an assured direction and firm control of this suspenseful thriller, even though the narrative seems to move too fast as the characters start to act in ways that are not always convincing.
A very honest drama that raises some interesting questions about sexual identity or why genders should matter, and Sciamma directs her film with simplicity, observing her characters and using a welcome naturalistic direction to approach this delicate subject.
It is pretty heavy-handed at times – I guess it thinks that subtlety is overrated when it comes to a younger audience -, but it compensates for its flaws with a welcome message (if oversimplified to the point of silliness) about the importance of, well, saving the world.
Tongues Untied (1989)
I cannot but urge everyone to rediscover this audacious, provocative and essential masterpiece that spoke and still speaks for the black/gay fight against oppression – a wonderfully poetic call to action that remains important as long as silence continues to echo with complicity.
Tony Manero (2008)
A compelling crime drama centered on a miserable sociopath obsessed with a movie character to the point of murder – which makes him also a surprisingly tragic figure -, relying on a gripping performance by Alfredo Castro and also making a subtle political commentary.
Tootsie is simply the worst type of American humor: one that has a clever idea in its hands but takes it in a completely wrong direction, letting it die in a predictable plot that looks like a cheap soap opera and bears a stupid sitcom sense of humor.
El Topo (1970)
Though always intriguing and making use of stunning visuals and an evocative atmosphere, this esoteric Western of religious references is still an unripe Jodorowsky, clearly lacking in narrative structure before he started developing better his ideas in later works.
Total Recall (2012)
An unnecessary and gloomy remake devoid of the charming nonsense that made the original movie so intriguing. Besides, it has a ridiculous excess of lens flares everywhere and endless action scenes that make the movie become quite repetitive after a while.
Touch of Evil (1958)
It is great to be able to see this film now as Welles first intended it to be, a very complex character study (and also visually dazzling, opening with a gorgeous long tracking shot) about a corrupted man strongly convinced that any means are justifiable to achieve his idea of justice.
A Touch of Sin (2013)
A solid film that intertwines four compelling stories loosed based on real events about the senselessness of violence, aggression and brutality, as well as people’s obsession with it – which, as the film suggests, makes us not so different from animals, only perhaps worse.
Tour de Force (2014)
With an unoriginal story that feels like something we have all seen millions of times before, this pathetic and terribly insipid little drama full of clichés is incapable of the most important: to make us connect with its characters in any level or care about their personal conflicts.
The Tourist (2010)
To say the plot is preposterous is to say the least, and this piece of garbage unbelievably conceived by three Oscar-winning screenwriters is an insult to anyone’s intelligence, with a ridiculous, deceitful ending that turns everything that happened before into sheer nonsense.
The Town (2010)
A gripping, superbly acted and highly tense thriller that could have been even better had the director Ben Affleck invested more in the characters and their conflicts. The result is a very effective but typical crime film that doesn’t escape the clichés, especially in the end.
Toy Story (1995)
This classic landmark of huge advance and innovation in animation is an amazing roller coaster that blends so well a lot of entertaining adventure and delightful humor, while its main strength definitely lies in the endless charisma of its unforgettable characters.
Toy Story 2 (1999)
Even better than the first film, this sequel benefits from the fact that we already know and care about the characters, which is used in favor of a story that is much richer and more profound than the previous one, becoming another instant classic just as well.
Toy Story 3 (2010)
A true masterpiece that exceeds the level of quality of the previous films and reflects Pixar’s own growth in storytelling, being not just an amazing entertainment as the other two but above all a mature and emotionally devastating movie that moved me to tears with its unforgettable final act.
What a bore to follow in endless landscape shots this detestable protagonist who has the nerve to treat her photographer like garbage when she is being financed by his magazine to go on a fanciful journey that seems exciting only to herself and no one else.
An always engaging and expertly-edited multi-character drama that offers a grim portrait of the war on drugs and understands that there are no easy solutions for this complex problem. But Soderbergh also exaggerates in his blatantly unsubtle cinematography.
Comedy is a very personal genre, and in this case some jokes fell completely flat for me (the Radcliffe movie, for instance, is a total miss) while others worked pretty well (the pineapple safe word scene is hilarious), and the result is a sweet yet rather uneven rom-com.
A very effective Hitchcockian thriller that starts off as a modest drama, taking a good time to develop its characters in a careful way, and then starts unexpectedly to become suffocatingly tense as the characters find themselves trapped more and more in an unbearable situation.
Now and then it does offer some insight into the country’s social inequality and police brutality, but as a whole this is a cheap fantasy filled with nonsense (like a villain that seems more like a psychic) and naive optimism to make poor people believe that it is easy to have a happy ending.
Trash Humpers (2009)
Korine believes to be making something provocative and artsy by refusing anything similar to a plot and shooting endless unrelated scenes of abhorrent scum in VHS, but all he does is bore us to death with an interminable, painfully unwatchable load of crap.
Walter Huston steals the scene and deserved the Oscar he won, but Bogart was unfairly not even nominated for his phenomenal performance in this classic that is all at once a light adventure, a riveting character study and a powerful morality tale about greed and paranoia.
The Tree of Life (2011)
With breathtaking visuals and an emotionally compelling story, this is a magnificent spectacle that confronts the smallness of mankind with the majesty of the universe – and a mesmerizing, transcendental ballet of images that attempt to evoke the true essence of the Divine.
Trees Lounge (1996)
A melancholy yet humorous look into alcoholism that should be remembered for its great dialogue that never sounds expository, yet the plot feels a bit dispersed around many situations, which somehow curiously reflects how Buscemi’s character lives his unfocused life.
Now this is what a monster movie should be like: tense, entertaining as hell, funny and super well made – and I don’t mean only those gooey creatures that look really nice on screen, but it is really cool how they make all those houses shake on their foundations like that.
The Trespasser (2002)
This absorbing Brazilian thriller directed by the always versatile filmmaker Beto Brant may be a bit irregular sometimes but has some good performances and never stops being interesting.
The Trial (1962)
This fascinating existential nightmare is less Kafkaesque and more Wellesian, expanding physical spaces to amplify the character’s feeling of smallness and impotence before a crushing judicial system and not focusing so much on the cynical gibe found in Kafka’s novel.
An unusual thriller that deserves credit for its exquisite direction and genuinely oppressive, mysterious atmosphere. But even though the plot seems ingenious and smart, it is in fact too illogical and with so many plot holes that by the end it doesn’t really make any sense.
The Tribe (2014)
Made in 34 fabulous long takes, this unique and relentlessly brutal film is a revolutionary illustration of the “show, don’t tell” cinematic rule, more so as it refuses to offer any translation of the language that we see on the screen and yet remains always comprehensible to us viewers.
Tricked: The Documentary (2013)
An interesting documentary that sets out to discuss a horrible endemic social cancer (to which there seems to be no solution), presenting the causes of human trafficking and modern-day slavery even though it may feel a bit superficial and not as in-depth as it could have been.
The Trip (2010)
A funny and charming two-men mockumentary (of which most is improvised), edited from the BBC TV series and relying on a great chemistry between Coogan and Brydon – and it is almost impossible not to laugh hard at their hilarious impersonations and remarks on the food.
The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
A wonderful dialogue-free animation – funny, odd and quite enchanting – that relies on a superb artwork and fabulous sound design, paying an enormous attention to its eccentric details, surreal touches, inventive scene transitions and extremely imaginative character traits.
It takes a while to figure out what Winterbottom wants to say with what appears to be a conventional love story set in India, but soon the film proves to be more ironic, intense and emotionally draining than it seemed at first – with a very surprising third act.
The dubbing of Deneuve’s voice into Spanish seems to diminish the impact of her performance, but sill this a fascinating story of power, hypocrisy, resentment and bitterness as seen through the eyes of two complex characters in a society dominated by religious and patriarchal values.
Triumph of the Will (1935)
To make it clear: propaganda is not documentary; that said, however dull it may be, this film is a remarkable piece of monstrous propaganda that should be regarded today as a history lesson and as an insightful documentary about the power of propaganda on the weak-minded.
Troll 2 (1990)
A hugely entertaining trash gem that earned its reputation as the best worst movie ever made, so appallingly bad it’s hilariously great, with an awful script full of plot holes the size of a goblin, ridiculous over-the-top performances and shocking continuity errors that will make you choke with laughter.
The dazzling visuals may have been a unique experience when this film came out, boasting highly advanced computerized effects for the 1980s, but nothing saves the script from being a ridiculous, tiresome mess with an uninteresting shred of story that is painful to sit through.
TRON: Legacy (2010)
While the original Tron was a tiresome mess, this sequel is in fact a huge evolution in about every aspect, featuring a better narrative, more entertainment and, of course, superior technology and visuals. The result is dazzling fun with an awesome soundtrack by Daft Punk.
Trophy Kids (2013)
An appalling display of monstrous parenting that is not easy to watch, and even though a bit manipulative of our feelings, it is undeniable proof that certain people should not have children, given how they abuse theirs with such unbelievable pressure and psychological domination.
Tropic Thunder (2008)
Apart from the hilarious first scene and a few others that work very well, there is little else in this film other than stupid, offensive jokes mixed with a lot of tiresome big action scenes – which seem to be there only to entertain those unable to understand the obvious satire.
Tropical Malady (2004)
Even with an absorbing atmosphere and a powerful sound design, this strange film is like two different unrelated stories sloppily combined and loosely bound together, allowing of several different interpretations and coming off as frustratingly vague and empty in its essence.
True Grit (2010)
A mesmerizing epopee that evokes the true grandeur of classic Westerns, with a beautiful melancholy score, well-developed characters, a magnificent cinematography, endless memorable lines and top-notch performances, especially from Bridges and Steinfeld.
True Story (2015)
Jonah Hill puts in a solid performance and James Franco is always magnetic in this fascinating morality study about the responsibility of journalism to the truth and the often blurry line that separates facts and lies, even though the final scene is unnecessary and obvious.
It doesn’t matter how cinematic or worthy of being told a real story is (which is the case) when it is made into an ordinary, uninspired biopic full of clichés and one-dimensional characters – and it is even worse that it looks like a cheap TV movie made by an obviously mediocre director.
Schwimmer really makes us empathize with his characters and directs this disquieting drama with a remarkable confidence, never letting the plot become exploitative or trivial, but the third act gives in to some unnecessary conflicts and the resolution is a bit clichéd.
Like other similar films such as Fair Game and Spotlight, this is an intelligent political drama full of revealing nuances and centered on an exquisitely-written dialogue, and it benefits from an excellent ensemble cast, especially Cate Blanchett in an outstanding performance.
Truth of Dare (2012)
It doesn’t forgo its share of laughable contrivances, but at least it is always entertaining to see this amusing horror movie defy common expectations by playing with typical genre clichés and coming up with a delicious twist in the end and Jennie Jacques as the bitchy bad girl.
A sympathische road movie with adorable characters (played by two very charismatic young actors), excellent dialogue and a plot that is usually hilarious despite the fact that it loses steam after a while and sometimes its attempts at humor don’t work as well as they should.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
It is super nice to see how instead of being a one-joke movie stretched for two hours it manages to find new ways to surprise us and make fun of slashers clichés without seeming stupid or missing what makes it so funny – and it is very funny, with the bonus of also having a heart.
Tuesday, After Christmas (2010)
An engaging drama that gives us the impression that the excellent actors are improvising in the many long takes, so natural and unaffected they seem in their roles. But this Romanian film could have opted for close-ups in its key scenes to enhance the dramatic intensity.
Tulip Fever (2017)
Twisty to the point of complete stupidity, this sumptuous period drama may be relatively impressive with its production design and costumes but in the end is nothing more than a cheap soap-opera that can’t even entertain us with its corny display of ardent sexual desire.
Dvortsevoy blurs the line between fiction and reality as he offers us an unforgettable peek at an almost alien universe, displaying a remarkable control of his shaky camera and capturing some incredible fortuitous shots against the barren, ruthless sight of the Kazakhstan steppe.
The sort of enjoyable eye candy whose interesting premise gets sabotaged by a very predictable development full of played-out clichés about being who you are and overcoming your own limits. Still, it is entertaining enough and offers a great voice work.
Turbo Kid (2015)
As a throwback to a retro 1980s style, it is a pity that it looks so cheap and goofy as if made by someone who had just left film school without a dime in his pocket, but despite its flaws, it is an entertaining pastiche full of energy, with Leboeuf and Ironside stealing the show and obviously having a lot of fun.
The Turin Horse (2011)
Dialogues (and monologues) have never been Tárr’s forte, so it is wonderful to see him make a mostly silent and simple portrayal of the burden of existence in thirty hypnotizing long takes – the most visually and narratively well polished film of his career, yet ironically his last one.
Turkish Delight (1973)
The film is a bit irregular but Verhoeven makes up for that with a lot of conviction, energy and pathos (helped by the dynamic editing), creating an adorable couple of characters who grow on us as we witness their oddball relationship develop and break.
The Turning Point (1977)
An insufferable and melodramatic soap-opera that didn’t deserve any of the eleven Oscar nominations it got, especially for a mediocre script that has no structure or clear focus and the acting nods for Browne and Baryshnikov, whose nominations are an insult to any real actor.
12 Angry Men (1957)
An impressive achievement considering it was Lumet’s first film, extremely well-written and superbly directed, with many elegant shots, fluid camera movements and a gripping plot that takes place entirely inside a room and is sustained only by a tense, smart dialogue.
12 Years a Slave (2013)
It is not very clear what McQueen wants with this unflinching but detached story of survival, as he throws together scenes of brutal realism with theatrical dialogue, cartoonish villains and a plot that seems more interested in the torture than offering any new insight into the subject.
20th Century Women (2016)
It begins dull and uninteresting but later becomes an adorable and complex film drenched in nostalgia, with a great soundtrack, an Oscar-deserving award by Annette Bening and an impressive cinematography that makes it look like it was really made in the late 1970s.
20 Feet from Stardom (2013)
An interesting and occasionally poignant insight into the work of these talented artists unfairly neglected in the background of fame, even if the rather clumsy editing also makes it a bit hard for us to keep our interest for too long, as it scatters their stories together.
20,000 Days on Earth (2014)
This funny, revealing and well-edited film is a must-see for fans of Nick Cave and also for those who would like to take an intimate look into an artist’s creative process and motivation, even if the charm wears off fast and the doc is also stuffed with a tad too many concert scenes.
Twenty Years Later (1985)
Combining footage that he obtained prior to the rise of the Brazilian dictatorship in the 1960s with interviews that he conducts 17 years after, Coutinho attempts to piece together the lost years of most people involved in the filming, creating in the process a remarkable and heartbreaking piece of enormous historical importance.
Twilight Portrait (2011)
An uncomfortable, disturbing drama that grabs our attention but is also too ambiguous in its purpose, as it draws a twilight portrait of a society formed by despicable people and makes us follow a submissive character who hardly inspires our sympathy.
It is shocking that some people could possibly think that such a sexist story is romantic, but maybe it could have been a bit better if it weren’t for its corny dialogue and weak performances that help make this a schmaltzy teen flick to please only the hardcore fans and no one else.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)
A slight improvement (albeit almost insignificant) over the first movie, with a few things that do work, but the lame, uninteresting main couple (along with Pattinson’s inexpressive performance) and the cheesy dialogue get very tiresome after a while.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
With awful dialogue, ridiculous plot contrivances and painful acting by everyone, this movie could be easily subtracted from the series without any loss – and it is actually a mystery how a poor narrative like this can be called a “saga” when nothing ever really happens.
Not as terrible as the previous chapter, since at least things start to finally happen and the technical aspects are decent enough to make it watchable, but the actors achieve the lowest bottom in awful acting and the whole misogyny of the plot is shocking and abysmal.
I’m surprised that this final chapter does have something to say after many movies about nothing, but while things do happen for a change and the climax is urgent and exciting, we are hit by a ridiculous twist that makes it collapse entirely to the ground. At least it is finally over.
Put bluntly, this is not for the uninitiated; but for those who saw the series, this messy prequel is much easier to understand than it seems, inviting us into the dark world of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee is fantastic) yet failing to present any reason as to why it had to be made at all.
It is painful to see Coppola indulge himself with this personal nonsense, an incoherent mess that doesn’t know if it wants to be an unscary Gothic horror story, an overstylized nightmare or an unfunny comedy. It is only bland, pointless and, even worse, sleep-inducing.
2 Days in New York (2012)
In this pathetic follow-up to the enjoyable first film, Delpy seems to have run out of inspiration, aiming at silly, predictable jokes that get tired really fast – maybe they work better on paper than on screen. Besides, the story is just a lot of clichés.
2 Days in Paris (2007)
This delightful and funny look into an eccentric couple’s relationship proves that Delpy can be as good a filmmaker as she is an actress, and my only complaint is an unnecessary narration in the end instead of a dialogue that is unfortunately not shown to us.
Two Days, One Night (2014)
Marion Cotillard delivers a fantastic performance in this delicate character study (directed by the Dardenne brothers in their naturalistic style full of long takes) about the burden of depression and a woman’s need to find her strength back through an anguishing situation.
The Two Escobars (2010)
A sad and shocking documentary that looks back at the monstrous impact of narcotraffic on politics and sports in Colombia in the 1990s, as well as how the fate of drug lord Pablo Escobar was tragically interwoven with that of soccer star Andrés Escobar.
The Two Faces of January (2014)
Even if not exactly impressive or as tense and gripping as it could have certainly been, this is still a pretty efficient directorial debut for Amini, with a solid story about bad choices and disappointment, an exquisite camera work and great performances from the main trio.
200 Cigarettes (1999)
A stupid and misguided comedy that has many funny moments but whose characters are empty and only follow the needs of a lame script – which also has no organic reason to be set in 1981 other than to be packed with 200 songs from back then.
Two Lives (2012)
A nuanced drama that gradually unfolds as it delves into the complex dilemma faced by a protagonist who cannot escape her tragic web of lies, but the contrived last act has a completely unnecessary flashback that almost undermines the power of her final decision.
Two Lovers (2008)
A profoundly involving romantic drama that benefits from a sophisticated direction and great performances from its cast – mainly Joaquin Phoenix, who is absolutely perfect and brings this melancholy tale of depression and impulsive passion to another level.
Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)
A mildly entertaining Western with funny moments, but the movie’s problem lies in a frustrating, illogical revelation that takes place during the third act, something that doesn’t make much sense and unfortunately ruins the entire coherence of the story.
Two Streams (1999)
It deserved a bit more polishing, though it is always nice to witness the work of an experienced director who has a considerable knowledge of film language (which can be seen from his use of dolly zooms and diegetic music) and relies on a great dialogue and fine performances.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
With an extraordinary production design and cinematography – which includes mind-blowing photographic effects – this impressive work of poetic contemplation depicts Nietzsche’s philosophical concept of the Übermensch in a truly majestic cinematic experience.
This intriguing combination of mystery, romance and sci-fi in a post-apocalyptic scenario knows well how to explore the striking visuals of its waterlogged locations, but the plot does not create enough tension nor offers a substantial payoff, floating adrift in a vague, inconclusive ending.
The two main characters are downright unbearable and it is irritating to see how they are so pathetic and self-destructive dealing with their conflicts. Besides, the film wants to shock the audience to create pathos, when clearly it has no direction and apparently nothing to say.