U-Z

Umberto D. (1952)

This neorealist masterpiece by master Vittorio de Sica is a deeply heartfelt and unforgettable portrait of a poverty-stricken life in postwar Italy, avoiding any sort of easy sentimentality and needing no effort to make us love and care about its struggling character.


The Unbelievers (2013)

These guys are brilliant and I could watch their conversations for hours straight, but the movie also starts to sadly resemble a pamphlet for the “cause” instead of promoting more meaningful discussions that could really speak to people. Even so, I would recommend it to everyone.


Unbreakable (2000)

Shyamalan displays an absolute control of his film and the type of story he wants to tell, making use of many elaborate long takes and elegant camera movements to enhance the tension of his intriguing plot while keeping us always involved even when the pacing seems to slow down.


Unbroken (2014)

It is easy to see the appeal created by a true story about the resilience of the human spirit, but the flawed narrative is just too safe and poorly structured, suffering mainly from random flashbacks that come out of nowhere and a frustrated attempt to impart depth to its villain.


Uncertainty (2008)

A metalinguistic exercise in which it is the characters who have to decide, by flipping a coin, if they want to belong in a sensitive family drama or an action thriller, and so the result is an interesting indie experiment about uncertain paths, though sometimes a bit bland.


Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives (2010)

I arrived puzzled at the end of this film wondering if Uncle Boonmee could really recall his past lives, and although the direction is tight and careful, the narrative is loose and sterile, allowing of infinite symbolic interpretations but for what seems to be a lifeless, empty fable.


Under the Hawthorn Tree (2010)

A beautiful and heartbreaking film that features an exquisite cinematography and is tremendously sensitive without being sentimental – mainly because its two leads have a fantastic chemistry together and make us deeply care about their characters and want to see their happiness.


Under the Shadow (2016)

An intelligent and scary horror film that makes a more than welcome commentary on the horrors of war and gender oppression in Iran, using a lot of symbolism and keeping us in an increasing state of anxiety as it moves in a deliberate, slow-burning pace towards a terrifying climax.


Under the Skin (2013)

A harrowing and strongly atmospheric science fiction with seductive visuals, powerful dissonant music and thought-provoking ideas and meanings about what lies underneath appearances and that which makes us humans – including fear, melancholy and emptiness.


Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)

Diane Lane raises this heart-warming film above average in a very adorable performance that conveys with a lot of sensitivity the pangs of depression and yearning to start over, helping make this the kind of feel-good story that is even more enchanting thanks to the beauty of its locations.


Underdogs (2013)

The worst thing to notice in this subpar animation is that, until the entertaining climax and despite being technically well made, it is a silly, unfocused adventure with annoying characters and a badly-written script that seems to have no real clue of what it wants to tell.


Unforgiven (1992)

Eastwood deconstructs the Western myths with this dark and realistic film devoid of any of that romanticism of the Wild West, and so it is a glorious farewell for the genre with a melancholy score, an epic cinematography and a lot of tension that builds towards a brutal, fantastic ending.


Unfriended (2014)

More efficient than other recent “computer windows” horror flicks like The Den and Open Windows, it knows how to build tension and is clever to show what the protagonist is thinking through the way she writes (and sometimes erases before sending) messages on her computer screen.


Unhung Hero (2013)

The wisest thing that Moote’s girlfriend did was refuse to marry him, since he is a complete idiot who tries every sort of unreliable and unscientific procedure to enlarge his penis, and I can’t believe that he would be so incredibly stupid to actually want to see a surgical operation.


The Uninvited (2009)

A rare case of American remake that I find better than the original film, since the tension is carried out much more carefully here and with a more concise plot that wisely avoids the many twists in Kim Ji-Woon’s story and presents a more compelling reason to leave us scared.


United in Anger: A History of ACT UP (2012)

There is no doubt that ACT UP played a major role in the fight against the AIDS pandemic, but this documentary lacks a clear structure and is quite repetitious, showing too many interviews of people saying the same thing over and over – which becomes tiring really fast.


Unknown (2011)

Liam Neeson plays another middle-aged superman in this frenetic movie full of overstylish action, but even if the mediocre plot begins relatively interesting, it soon comes up with a lot of convenient holes and ends with a ludicrous explanation that is more laughable than surprising.


The Unknown Girl (2016)

The Dardennes offer us another engaging story shot in their usual naturalistic style to show us things that happen in the lives of common people, even though this time what happens seems a bit twistier than necessary and holds a lesser impact than their best works.


The Unscrupulous Ones (1962)

Ruy Guerra borrows from Antonioni and the French New Wave to create this audacious and hypnotizing film that impresses with its amount of explicit nudity for the time it was made, as well as many striking shots and one of the most iconic scenes in Brazilian Cinema.


Up in the Air (2009)

George Clooney finds the perfect tone for his charismatic character in this delicious film that has a very witty dialogue, great editing, wonderful performances and a clever balance between humor and emotions – the kind of story that makes me wish it never ends.


Upside Down (2012)

It has dazzling visuals (despite the director’s obsession with lens flares and a CGI that looks a bit artificial) and an idea that is pretty original and intriguing, but it suffers from some glaring lack of internal plausibility and a naive ending that is too silly in its romantic optimism.


Upstream Color (2013)

A highly interesting psycho-thriller that challenges us to interpret its complex narrative and cryptic symbolism, even if the result is not exactly involving – and Carruth deserves a lot of credit for how he makes use of outstanding visual and auditory match cuts.


V/H/S (2012)

It is hard to figure out what it worse here: if the fact that this pile of crap forces us to be in the company of a bunch of obnoxious people or that the stories are all dull and lead nowhere, with the found footage execution being so incredibly pretentious and even incoherent.


V/H/S/2 (2013)

It is a pleasure to see that this much superior sequel comprises four efficient stories that can be quite scary and make use of their filming technology to their advantage. Still, it is a shame though that the wrap-around story is so awful that it nearly ruins the whole experience.


Valery and Her Week of Wonders (1970)

The symbolism is a bit too obvious and calculated, with not much room for subtlety and being a tad sloppy towards the end, but this impressive film relies on an efficient surreal atmosphere like Alice in Wonderland in a Czech sociopolitical context.


Valley of Love (2015)

A clear example of nepotism at the Cannes Film Festival (it would have never competed if it were not French), and the beautiful cinematography and great actors cannot do much to save a terribly dull narrative that relies on such an awful amount of inelegant exposition.


Valley of the Dolls (1967)

It feels tremendously dated today, as I imagine it had felt back in the 1960s just as well (although obviously not also from a thematic point of view), like a mawkish vintage soap-opera that is not ashamed of its laughable dialogue and absurd situations.


Vanilla Sky (2001)

Penélope Cruz looks incredibly bored, as if forced to be in this overlong remake that seems more like an endless series of music videos with way too many songs and pop references all the time, while Crowe’s changes in the original story (despite his personal style) only make it worse.


Vantage Point (2008)

The premise is interesting, even if not original at all, and there are great action scenes full of energy here to hold our attention, but the film relies on numerous coincidences and the actors are mostly wasted playing poorly developed characters.


Venus in Fur (2013)

Polanski gives us a welcome slap across the face with this provocative and deliciously anti-sexist chamber film that is superbly well written – adapted from David Ives’ homonymous two-person play – and directed with the level of audacity that it deserves.


Veronika Voss (1982)

With a black-and-white cinematography that emulates the visual style of movies from the 1950s, this bleak story – the second of Fassbinder’s BRD Trilogy – invests in a downbeat approach, icier than the other two, with an end that curiously parallels the director’s own demise.


O Viajante (1998)

It looks and sounds like a period soap-opera, with its artificial dialogue and people who constantly speak to themselves in a cheesy, theatrical way; but the main problem is, even though we know what it is trying to say, it lacks focus and sometimes borders on misogyny.


Victoria (2015)

Splendid from the first second to the last, not only because of its magnificent single take, exceptional camerawork, charismatic actors (Frederick Lau is fantastic) and largely improvised dialogue that always sounds real, but also for the way that it stretches the tension for much longer after our nerves have been frayed to pieces.


The Victory of Faith (1933)

Thought to have been lost for over sixty years, this historically important (but terrifying) piece of Nazi propaganda was the first one made by Leni Riefenstahl before she replaced it with Triumph of the Will following Hitler’s orders that all of its copies were to be destroyed.


Victory Through Air Power (1943)

An extremely informative piece of historical document that was essential in the making of important decisions during WWII, with a hugely detailed strategy that showed Americans how to win (and end) the war in the shortest possible time and with minimum human casualties.


Videodrome (1983)

There is a very thought-provoking idea about mass media control and paranoia in this strange hallucinogenic film, but despite that and the exceptional visual effects, it is rather confusing (not in a good way though) and does not flesh out (yes, there you are) its premise so well.


Viktor and Viktoria (1933)

A hilarious musical comedy that amuses us especially with the way the characters speak in metric verses and benefits mainly from two amazing performances by Renate Müller and Hermann Thimig, who are very funny and have a fantastic comic timing.


The Village (2004)

A mystery-driven allegory that will disappoint those expecting the frightening movie the trailer wants to sell, but those more open-minded may find an interesting film with an evocative cinematography, even if the main twist (two, in fact) doesn’t carry the same impact as Shyamalan’s previous films.


Vincent & Theo (1990)

Despite an awful score and how the narrative seems sometimes as fragmented as the characters’ psyches, this biopic impresses us with a beautiful cinematography and art direction, as if seen from Van Gogh’s own eyes, and it has Tim Roth and Paul Rhys in fantastic performances.


Virunga (2014)

An important, eye-opening and infuriating documentary that shows the effort that has been made by those who are fighting in Congo for the protection of the wild life in the Virunga National Park against the unscrupulous interests of the revolting SOCO International company.


The Visit (2015)

Shyamalan’s finest movie in over ten years (which isn’t saying much actually) is this atmospheric low-budget found footage film that finds a nice balance between horror and comedy, growing uncomfortable and creepy as the story progresses until it gets incredibly nerve-wracking.


I Vitelloni (1953)

Having refined his directing skills, Fellini delivered this lyrical autobiographical story with a great cinematography and a breathtaking circus-like carnival scene, but its quasi-episodic structure makes it feel a bit unfocused, with unequal screen time devoted to each of the “vitelloni.”


Viva Maria! (1965)

Brigitte Bardot looks stunning (as usual) in this passable but unremarkable film that seems like a mere French shot at a Hollywoodian movie in Panavision, with superlative production values and a harmless, slapstick sense of humor that sometimes borders on the surreal.


Viva Riva! (2010)

A brutal and gripping Congolese neo-noir that doesn’t invest as much in character development as it does in creating a raw atmosphere, and so the result is an exciting and realistic blaxploitation movie that turns a generic plot into an interesting return to the grindhouse days.


Vive L’Amour (1994)

Tsai is an amazingly talented director and brings those themes that he explored in his first film to a higher level with a nearly silent tale of young Taipei adults who long for any spark of love or connection as they endure the relentless grip of urban loneliness and hopelessness.


The Voices (2014)

It is a rare find to see a film that works so (tonally) well trying to be simultaneously hilarious, charming, surreal and gruesome, forcing us to share its character’s insanity and the disturbing nuances of his illness and thus becoming a tragic and horrifying experience in the end.


Vou Rifar Meu Coração (2011)

It may be a bit irregular and feel sometimes like just a lot of people digressing like “experts” about brega music in Brazil and their broken hearts, but still the film benefits immensely from how inspired and delicious the interviews that we see spread all over the movie are.


The Vulgar Hours (2011)

There is a great melancholy drama about depression and hopelessness here, only dispersed in a muddled narrative that suffers from problems of structure, focus and pacing, which could have perhaps been corrected had the film been edited down by about twenty minutes.


W. (2008)

It does a pretty decent job to humanize an imbecile and make us almost sympathize with him as we see his efforts to prove himself to his family, but Oliver Stone plays it too safe and this semi-satire is also harmed a bit by its perfunctory jumps in time and random flashbacks.


Wadjda (2012)

Wadjda is not only a surprising milestone for being the first film shot entirely in Saudi Arabia and made by a female director, but is above all a marvelous cultural record that allows us to peek into this very unfamiliar and oppressive society in an incredibly heartfelt and absorbing way.


The Wages of Fear (1953)

There is nothing like having your nerves frayed to shreds by a brilliant director who knows how to create something so unbearably suspenseful (the mise-en-scène and editing are phenomenal) using the frame of biting political satire to tell an amazing story of friendship and fear.


Wait Until Dark (1967)

This is such a well-made, exquisitely-directed and nail-biting thriller that we easily overlook how contrived the plot may be, while Audrey Hepburn and Alan Arkin elevate this to a classic and offer us a climax that should be remembered as one of the most terrifying of all times.


Waiting for Godot (2001)

A solid adaptation of Samuel Beckett’s “tragicomedy in two acts” that may be about nothing in particular but even so inspires a great number of interpretations and discussions, while the film’s expert camera work contributes to make this a true cinematic experience.


The Walk (2015)

Zemeckis displays his usual inventiveness with breathtaking visuals in 3D and stylish camera movements, offering us a nerve-wracking climax that should cause a heart attack on anyone afraid of heights, despite an unwelcome tendency towards corniness in the end.


A Walk Among the Tombstones (2014)

Taking place in a pre-9/11 NYC, this conventional and unsurprising thriller seems dated like a revival of the TV series Millennium (despite its great cinematography), and even the juxtaposition of freeze-framed action with a voice-over about the 12 steps of AA feels bland and arbitrary.


The Wall (2012)

Despite Gedeck’s strong performance and a splendid cinematography that makes the most of its gorgeous locations, it raises several questions and ideas that are never fully explored, while the unnecessary and annoyingly intrusive narration makes it seem like a filmed novel.


Wall Street (1987)

With Michael Douglas in a superb and unforgettable performance as the voracious shark Gordon Gekko, this is an excellent film that relies on an elegant dialogue to tell us a fascinating story about man’s greedy desire to score more and more in the stock market game of power.


Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps (2010)

A great sequel about the endurance of the money game and the pleasure for some to be in the speculation battle, with a sharp dialogue and another amazing performance by Douglas in this compelling story whose sole misstep is a weak, unnecessary conflict in the final act.


Wanted (2008)

With an exhilarating plot that cleverly modernizes the Greek Fates myth, this is a top-notch action-packed movie that defies the laws of Physics with a stylish direction, great performances, a lot of class and endless energy to offer us something truly unique.


A War (2015)

After a rather clumsy first hour that feels a bit too static and even predictable in its unfolding, this great naturalistic war drama surprisingly grows in its second half to raise intelligent and relevant questions about the kind of ugly decisions a good soldier can make in the line of fire.


War for the Planet of the Apes (2017)

What a wonderful surprise to see how much this movie is centered on its characters when it would have been so easy to focus mostly on the action (after all, there is a “war” in the title), being instead an intelligent and careful drama that takes its time to earn our emotional investment.


War Horse (2011)

Even if technically efficient, this awfully heavy-handed melodrama follows a “miraculous horse” and his inexpressive owner in an overlong journey towards making the audience cry at all costs, and so it is an overly sentimental soap opera that lacks any real sensibility.


War Witch (2012)

A sensitive drama that deserves credit for exposing a disturbing real subject without trying to be shocking or melodramatic – and it finds a perfect balance between poetical mysticism and honest dramatic power, while surprising us with a delicate and involving love story.


Warcraft (2016)

It seems like this lumbering adaptation was made exclusively for fans of the game, since for the uninitiated (like me) it will be really hard to care about paper-thin characters and a convoluted plot that feels more like the first chapter in an endless saga of movies full of noise and CGI.


Warrior (2011)

A compelling drama that develops well the personalities and motivations of its two main characters – and even though the plot is driven by several coincidences and we know exactly from the start where it is going, we end up rooting and deeply caring for the both of them.


Waste Land (2010)

A profoundly moving documentary that delves into the creative process of an artist and shows how Art can truly change people, and the most fascinating is to see the deep and unexpected relationship that grows between the artist and the people who are the subject of his creation.


The Water Diviner (2014)

Russell Crowe’s performance is the only thing that prevents this from being a complete disaster, since his awful direction and the lame script turn the film into a Mexican telenovela for alpha males, with ludicrous situations, cheesy dialogue and Olga Kurylenko as an irritating caricature.


Water Drops on Burning Rocks (2000)

As a curious exaggeration of stereotypes, this film may be interesting at a first look, but the many attempts at a dark humor are not funny and only feel awkward and out of place – which can also be said about the surreal tone that makes it all seem sterile and pointless.


The Wave (2008)

Even if based on real events, it is a bit hard to believe that everything that we see here would happen so fast; still, this is a thought-provoking film about people’s terrifying disposition to let themselves be seduced by a fascist-like autocracy that could take root in any society.


The Way He Looks (2014)

A delicate and tremendously sweet coming-of-age story that left me smiling the whole time thanks to its sensibility and adorable characters – and Ribeiro directs it with an impressive confidence, expanding the short film it is based on into a much more nuanced narrative.


The Wayward Cloud (2005)

At first, this is an unfocused musical drama that shoots in every direction to see what sticks, including some unnecessary musical numbers and random scenes that have no purpose, but that until it reaches a striking last scene that is provocative, meaningful and touching.


W.E. (2011)

Madonna employs her shallow view of life in this self-indulgent project of pure vanity to tell two insipid stories that hardly blend together, creating an excruciating and unfocused mess about two pathetic women full of self-pity and with no self-respect.


The We and the I (2012)

The kind of honest and outspoken portrayal of youth that works quite well with its use of great non-professional actors and loose storytelling, rambling on from one casual talk to the next while always keeping our full interest in its realistic, flesh-and-bone characters.


We Are Not Angels (1992)

This light and charming comedy may have been a great success in its home country and be widely considered now as the funniest Serbian film ever made, but it is also a bit trashy and the sense of humor doesn’t translate very well to foreign audiences (some jokes fall real flat).


We Are Still Here (2015)

It is easy to see what Geoghegan is trying to do with this old-school throwback to the horror movies of the 1970s, but while it is creepy, well paced and really scary, it is also very badly written to the point that nothing makes sense and I can’t make heads and tails of it.


We Are the Flesh (2016)

The kind of crap that gives bad fame to so-called “art films” (a term that I hate, by the way), made by someone who is clearly a fan of Gaspar Noé and David Lynch but who mistakes shock for meaning, and so all he makes is trashy, disgusting porn dressed up as artistic.


We Are What We Are (2013)

An effective psychological horror film that works precisely because it avoids cheap scares, adopting an oppressive cinematography to create a slow-burning and disturbing experience centered on religion, tradition and patriarchy, despite being a bit predictable sometimes.


We Have a Pope (2011)

Even with Piccoli in a strong performance, it doesn’t live up to the promise of its premise, offering us an efficient first half with a good pacing but then becoming disjointed and dragging with no direction towards nowhere. Besides, Moretti’s character seems completely useless.


We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

A disturbing, terrifying and emotionally devastating drama that examines how evil can grow inside people from the way they are raised – and Tilda Swinton is wonderful in an Oscar-deserving performance as a mother who doesn’t have any idea how to raise her son.


We Steal Secrets: The Story of WikiLeaks (2013)

A fascinating documentary that sheds a revealing light on the largest whistleblowing scandal of recent times, its repercussions and the moral dilemma involved, even though Gibney also has a bit of trouble editing all this material together in a cohesive way.


Wedding Crashers (2005)

A very funny comedy that invests more in odd situations than in punch line gags, with Vince Vaughn in a magnetic performance and a priceless Will Ferrell, but the film is unfortunately about thirty minutes longer than it should be, dragging a little bit in its third act.


The Wedding Director (2006)

Even if the incomprehensible last half-hour is a miss, this is a well-directed and sharp comedy with a great performance by Castellitto – and the scenes involving a film director faking his own death are the highlight.


Weekend (2011)

A wonderfully honest and realistic portrayal of a sexual encounter leading to something profound and unexpected, and it is in essence a universal story that makes it so easy for us to empathize with these characters who are so three-dimensional, well constructed and complex.


Weekend at Bernie’s (1989)

Odious and completely unfunny, it really amazes me that this awful movie has become some sort of trashy cult along the years, and it is nearly unbearable to see a bunch of stupid characters incapable of noticing that a man is obviously dead.


Welcome Aboard (2012)

With a heavy-handed direction and absolutely no subtlety, this film starts well but soon turns into a cheap melodrama with a corny soundtrack and an artificial ending. Besides, Chesnais may be fantastic, but Jeanne Lambert is terrible as an annoying caricature of a teenager.


Welcome to Me (2014)

Kristen Wiig is talented and charismatic enough to sell us this uneven story and not alienate us from her selfish, awkward character, although the film doesn’t really find the best balance between comedy and drama.


Welcome to the Rileys (2010)

Kristen Stewart puts in a fine performance and is backed by two great performances by James Gandolfini and Melissa Leo, in a drama that begins very well but soon starts to lose momentum as it gradually advances towards an optimistic resolution – although I do like the ending.


Werckmeister Harmonies (2000)

Bela Tárr reaches the point of formal perfection with this spellbinding allegory about foreign occupation composed of 39 masterful long takes, a thematically thought-provoking film that is more well structured than his previous works and has a wonderful score by Mihály Víg.


West Side Story (1961)

A colorful musical version of Romeo and Juliet in the 1960s New York that should always be remembered for Bernstein’s great score and its wonderful musical numbers and editing, yet it is hard to overlook the pedestrian dialogue, the corny romance and Beymer miscast as a street gang kid.


Westworld (1973)

It takes too long for things to start to finally happen in this dull precursor of Jurassic Park (although everything is quite predictable right from the beginning), with also a glaring problem of focus and terrible pacing and editing, but Yul Brynner looks cool as a killing robot-cowboy.


What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

Davis and Crawford embrace their roles with a tremendous intensity, delivering two spectacular performances like horror queens in a campy, bizarre story and making this a hilarious psychological thriller that is really entertaining as far as classic exploitation goes.


What Happened, Miss Simone? (2015)

A sad and memorable film that draws a remarkably wide picture of an ideologically admirable (yet psychologically unstable) woman who would use her sublime voice to sing her demons and not go crazy in an ugly time and world that could not accept her and her freedom.


What Happens in Vegas (2008)

They handpicked two of the most annoying (and terrible) actors to play these unbelievably detestable characters, in a loathsome romcom that panders to the lowest common denominator with a ludicrous premise and a heap of clichés from the first scene to the last.


What If (2013)

Radcliffe and Kazan are irresistible and have a lovely chemistry together in this sweet romcom whose best asset is its charming, funny dialogue; even so, the movie is also a bit too obvious with the kind of predictable story that we have all seen many times before.


What Maisie Knew (2012)

A sensitive and sad film that can be uncomfortable and infuriating sometimes as we witness a child getting caught in the middle of a troubling divorce between her pitiful parents – and it knows how to tackle this delicate matter with the subtlety that it deserves.


What the #$*! Do We (K)now!? (2004)

Don’t be fooled by this pseudoscientific garbage that uses misleading information of quantum mechanics to sell some self-help propaganda for a cult without even having the good faith to tell us the identity of its “illustrious” interviewees before the movie is already over.


What Time Is It There? (2001)

Despite its evocative visuals, it feels repetitious to see Tsai explore once again his favorite themes of loneliness and emptiness but in a film that is too puzzling and lacks in consistency – especially with regard to the character’s odd obsession with clocks and a woman he barely meets.


What to Expect When You’re Expecting (2012)

Apart from a few funny scenes, this is a lame romantic comedy that follows five uninteresting couples (some of them really annoying) and has a ridiculous and embarrassing sense of humor involving gases, urine and vomit – which only shows how witless the producers are.


What We Do in the Shadows (2014)

This original one-joke comedy is more impressive for its fantastic special effects than for its plot, since it begins belly-achingly hilarious but then starts to slowly wear off as the novelty gives place to familiarity, proving that some ideas work better when made into short movies.


What’s in a Name? (2012)

Even funnier than Roman Polanski’s Carnage, this smart French comedy (also adapted from a play) is lifted by a very sharp cast and has a dynamic direction that knows how to maintain a good pace, focusing mostly on a well-written dialogue that is so hilarious.


Whatever Works (2009)

Larry David may not be the best choice for the role of Woody Allen’s alter-ego, but the film’s script, written in the 1970s, is a refreshing return to the first half of Allen’s career and to his beloved New York after the movies he made in London and Spain.


When Harry Met Sally… (1989)

Ephron’s screenplay is marvelous, deliciously funny and deserving of every award – and much of the improvised dialogue in several moments fits so perfectly that they seem scripted -, but what makes the movie even more adorable is the chemistry between Crystal and Ryan.


When Marnie Was There (2014)

The animation is gorgeous like everything Studio Ghibli makes (though this is perhaps its final production, following Miyazaki’s retirement), but the film is not without its flaws, such as trouble with pacing and a twisty plot whose revelations are more predictable than insightful.


Where Do We Go Now? (2011)

Labaki fails trying to combine in the same film a lighthearted comedy and a serious statement on intolerance in the Middle East, as her story moves with no tact from constant silly jokes to tragedy to melodrama and ends with a naive last scene that is an offense to the viewer’s intelligence.


Where Is the Friend’s Home? (1987)

Kiarostami crafts an incredibly sensitive and deceptively simple film that shows a lot about a strict society in which adults don’t listen to children, creating a lingering impact on the viewer as we follow the action take place mostly from the point of view of a generous kid.


Where the Truth Lies (2005)

Although this unremarkable film noir has a good pacing and sometimes even seems carefully elaborated, the story is not really compelling or interesting, so you will probably not even remember it after seeing it.


Where the Wild Things Are (2009)

Spike Jonze’s auteurish adaptation of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book is dark, visually haunting and more adult in tone than the original story, taking us on a melancholy journey into a kid’s inner self where his wild things are.


Where to Invade Next (2015)

Moore’s films always seem a bit too scripted, as if drawing simplistic conclusions from facts only to corroborate his points of view, but even so this is an intriguing documentary that should make Americans have a look at what other cultures around the world could teach them.


While We’re Young (2014)

Noah Baumbach is becoming an expert in this kind of quirky little movie centered on irritating characters who are seen as inexplicably adorable by the public (like Frances Ha), and even if it is funny and enjoyable, I really can’t relate to most of its ideology that young people are idiots.


Whiplash (2014)

An intense, nerve-wracking and incredibly complex character study whose main features are its outstanding editing and fantastic, Oscar-worthy performances by Simmons and Teller, who carry together the story with sheer musical precision towards a most exhilarating final scene.


The Whistleblower (2010)

I don’t like that some actors/characters are wasted and disappear without explanation (like Benedict Cumberbatch), but still this is a riveting film based on a real story that is so horrendous (a huge stain in the history of the UN) that it is even hard to believe it happened.


White Collar Blues (1975)

Structured as a series of sketches that can be quite hilarious (even if also harmless), this is a very funny slapstick comedy that became a classic in Italy, following an incredible amount of unfortunate events in the life of the unluckiest white collar worker you can imagine.


White Chicks (2004)

This awful comedy is not only derivative and obvious (more than half of it is just a rehash of Some Like It Hot) but seems made for the same sort of retards who can’t see through a ridiculous disguise that only makes the Wayans brothers look like hideous caricatures.


White Dog (1982)

The excellent editing and gripping story (despite the expository dialogue) compensate well for Fuller’s problems in direction – he really knows how to work with dogs but has serious trouble to articulate the action in the mise-en-scène without killing the tension.


White Elephant (2012)

Trapero delivers another hard-hitting drama with many wonderful long takes and Darín in a fantastic performance (as usual), depicting without concessions a hard reality where faith and commitment seem futile in a society dominated by an endemic neglect and lack of care.


White Girl (2016)

Elizabeth Wood displays an enormous talent behind the cameras of her first feature film, almost placing us right there next to her character and managing what is most difficult: to make us sympathize with someone in a spiraling descent into mad obsession and drug addiction.


White God (2014)

Despite some poor narrative choices (mainly in the last half hour) and how it feels rather vague when it comes to its main statement, there is a gripping parable about oppression here and Mundruczó deserves praise for his amazing direction, especially his directing of the dogs.


White Material (2009)

A thought-provoking political commentary in which Denis sets out to examine the white colonialist abuse and its consequences in a French-speaking African country, even if it doesn’t feel so well finished, especially when it comes to Manuel’s erratic (and puzzling) actions.


White Out, Black In (2014)

I really like how it combines reality and fiction in a way that you can’t see where one ends and the other begins, but the film also suffers from pacing issues and a tiresome lack of focus, while its relevant social commentary becomes pretty heavy-handed after a while.


The White Ribbon (2009)

Perfectly crafted in a gorgeous black-and-white and a more than appropriate slow pace, this film is Haneke’s absolute masterpiece, thematically thought-provoking and incredibly nerve-wracking and suspenseful, even in small conversations and long silent shots.


The White Sheik (1952)

Fellini’s first solo effort is this lovely gem that already showcased his talent for combining a neorealist structure with delightful touches of farce and fantasy, especially in those hilarious moments when Leopoldo Trieste is desperate to find his missing wife.


Whitney: Can I Be Me (2017)

Another of those passable but uninspired documentaries that feel more like a reportage, as they set out to tell us about someone’s life and yet in the end we have only the strong impression that we didn’t learn much about who that person was, felt or even thought.


The Wicker Man (1973)

Extremely audacious for the time it came out, this creepy cult classic should be remembered for the many intelligent questions it raises about religious intolerance and blind faith, while offering us also a memorable performance by Christopher Lee and a terrifying, unforgettable ending.


Wiener-Dog (2016)

Solondz is extremely arrogant to think that only he knows what “real art” is, proving only the opposite with this mediocre film that is artificial as a bad theater play and so tonally awful that it feels way too bleak for a comedy, no matter how dark it is supposed to be.


Wild (2014)

With a very solid performance by Witherspoon and gorgeous landscapes that reflect all the strenuousness of her character’s journey, this rewarding and impeccably-edited character study shows how trying to escape one’s own life can be a powerful door to self-discovery.


The Wild Bunch (1969)

Initially panned by the critics due to its graphic amount of violence, this is an explosive and unforgettable Western classic that depicts with brutal intensity the last breath of an era, when outlaw gunfighters were finally becoming obsolete for a new, modern generation.


Wild Grass (2009)

Alain Resnais proves at 87 years old that he still has a lot of imagination, delivering this curious nonsensical fable that plays with the conventions of the genre and with our expectations, and the result may feel like not much but is daring enough to be worth our time.


Wild Mouse (2017)

Although it is obviously supposed to be a comedy, the film is only unfunny and unforgivably dull, suffering mainly from a glaring lack of structure and with too many characters in a plot that doesn’t know what to do with them nor has any idea where it wants to go.


Wild Tales (2014)

A hilarious satire that pokes fun at social classes, bureaucracy and the legal system with six wild stories in which the characters face extreme, absurd situations and are taken by insane impulses of violence and revenge in what seems like the best definition of catharsis.


Willard (1971)

If you read the rats as a metaphor for a misfit’s innermost dark impulses (like Psycho with rodents), then you will find more to enjoy in this trashy, clumsy and poorly-directed movie that can’t even make sense of how Willard learns to communicate with his disgusting little friends.


Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory (1971)

Gene Wilder is a genius, and he makes us love this magical film that may not be as well polished as it could have been but has a lovely charm of its own and has become a cult childhood favorite for so many people – like a younger sibling of The Wizard of Oz and Mary Poppins.


Willow Creek (2013)

It may be “The Blair-Squatch Project” but I haven’t seen a found footage movie this well made and scary in a very long time – and it is so great to see how it takes its time to bring us close to its characters before throwing them (with us) in such a terrifying situation.


The Wind Rises (2013)

Miyazaki’s farewell is this lyrical, more adult and very personal project that, though technically splendid and paying an incredible attention to details, may be more appealing to himself as an artist than to most people, with also too many dream scenes that make it feel a bit repetitive.


The Wind Will Carry Us (1999)

The film is light, funny and very amusing in the way it shows the prosaic everyday life of common people as witnessed by an idle and increasingly impatient man visiting a Kurdish little village in Iran, even if the poignant result ranks among one of Kiarostami’s minor works.


Winnie the Pooh (2011)

Everything that made the first Winnie the Pooh animated feature so adorable (the official one, also by Walt Disney Animation Studios) is found here too, from great songs to adorable stories, and it is a delightful return to the traditional hand-drawn animation of the old days.


Winter on Fire: Ukraine’s Fight for Freedom (2015)

A riveting and essential account of an inspiring revolution, or 92 days that changed History in 2013 and 2014 when people bravely went to the streets in Ukraine to fight for their civil rights and freedom of expression and had to face the cruel violence of the Berkut police to silence them.


Winter Sleep (2014)

An enthralling and challenging drama with a wonderful cinematography, beautifully complex characters and thought-provoking discussions about matters like religion, morality, resignation and conscience, in ways that would leave Ingmar Bergman and Anton Chekhov proud.


Winter’s Bone (2010)

With an excellent performance by Jennifer Lawrence, this is a haunting and extremely distressing drama whose downbeat atmosphere feels always suffocating and real as it drags us into this bleak universe filled with dreadful people living in so much misery and poverty.


Wish I Was Here (2014)

An indie little movie full of indie clichés and indie songs to fill an indie soundtrack – just what Zach Braff loves -, but the worst is that he doesn’t even care to wrap up the loose ends of his silly narrative replete with corny “life lessons” and give it a decent conclusion.


The Witch (2015)

The very definition of terror in the purest sense of the word – a disturbing and nerve-wracking slow burn whose profoundly anguishing atmosphere made my skin crawl and left me almost squeaking in panic, and I don’t think I will ever want to see this horrific nightmare again.


Witchfinder General (1968)

Vincent Price embodies with perfection the horrors of religious bigotry (a subject that is still not outdated), but the strength and brutality of the story get a bit diluted by its lack of a clearer direction and people who keep running around back and forth searching for each other.


Witness of the Prosecution (1957)

The star here is definitely Charles Laughton, who steals the show and makes each one of his lines sound memorable in this delightfully witty and clever plot by Agatha Christie adapted by Billy Wilder into a near perfect piece of thought-provoking entertainment.


The Wizard of Oz (1939)

Conceived by MGM as an answer to Walt Disney’s Snow White, this sweet and colorful fable full of music and adventure will always be a pleasure to children everywhere due to its relatable characters and universal message, though it may prove a bit slow for adults nowadays.


Wolf at the Door (2013)

An engrossing film made by a filmmaker in absolute control of the story he wants to tell (it doesn’t have a single shot or camera movement out of place), moving in a careful, deliberate pacing towards a shocking conclusion and with Leandra Leal in a top-notch performance.


Wolf Children (2012)

Hosoda wants to tell an honest story using a simple artwork, but he also tries too hard to make us cry at all costs, with many clichés and a conclusion that begs for our tears. Besides, the film is too long and many scenes could have been left out.


Wolf Creek 2 (2013)

While the gripping original movie took its time to develop its characters and make us care about their fate, this effective sequel takes the risk of focusing on people we know almost nothing about but is able to create a lot of tension in an extremely nerve-wrecking second half.


The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

With this mordacious biopic full of nuances about a true Gordon Gekko disciple, Scorsese takes us into an incredible universe of overwhelming ambition, helped by a top-notch cast and making brilliant use of a hysterical humor to expose the ludicrousness of his despicable protagonist.


Wolfhound of the Grey Dog Clan (2006)

This big budget, post-Soviet Russian fantasy epic embraces all clichés of the genre and comes up with a formulaic plot, simplistic dialogue and a terrible ending.


The Wolverine (2013)

The action and fighting scenes are exciting enough to save this movie from being a complete dreck, but even so the script is badly written and with many irritating clichés. At least Hugh Jackman has a magnetic presence that makes it generally entertaining.


The Woman Who Left (2016)

Diaz creates a compelling and tragic revenge tale despite its long running time, with a beautiful cinematography and great performances, even if he continues to show a disdain for pacing and makes his film seem unfocused before Horacia and Hollanda become friends.


The Woman in Black (2012)

The technical aspects are impeccable and Radcliffe puts in an efficient performance, but the unoriginal script is unfocused and full of clichés, with more cheap scares than genuine tension. Besides, the pseudo-optimistic conclusion is lame and anticlimactic.


Woman in Gold (2015)

Despite Reynolds’ strong performance, this film can’t make up for the poor, unconvincing motivations of its characters; a structure that relies too much on usually haphazard flashbacks; Helen Mirren as a caricature of the “eccentric old lady;” and a sentimental ending.


The Woman of Everyone (1969)

It is definitely poorly made and screams of amateurism (even in the poor dubbing), which feels intentional and adds to the audacity the film is aiming for, but the only problem is that it doesn’t offer much (in terms of plot and language) and becomes repetitious after a while.


Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown (1988)

A hilarious farce by Pedro Almodóvar with over-colored kitsch visuals and a hysterical story full of eccentric characters in absurd situations – and it is impossible not to laugh at that extravagant taxi and the many times that someone throws something out of the window.


The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl (1993)

An overlong but fascinating documentary about this remarkable filmmaker who mastered her techniques better than many directors, yet not only was limited as an artist (in terms of ideals) but also spent her life denying her guilt for collaborating with a genocidal regime.


Woody Allen: A Documentary (2012)

An enjoyable biography that is also, quite unfortunately, too safe to be memorable, and it doesn’t help that the second part skips many of Allen’s films to focus on his “best moments” after 1980, preventing this from being an essential documentary about him.


The Words (2012)

There is virtually nothing that works in this convoluted, nonsensical and terribly-written drama in which not even the visuals escape the artificial and clichéd, and so everything is a complete failure, from the expository narration to the ridiculous story-within-a-story-within-a-story structure.


World on a Wire (1973)

An intriguing film of philosophical ideas that could have only come from Fassbinder – his style is all over it, including dazzling visual compositions that reflect with elegance what he wants to say (like with the mirrors) -, but the narrative is a bit repetitious in its expository dialogue.


World War Z (2013)

A forgettable and unoriginal zombie movie in times when the theme has already been explored and re-explored ad infinitum, and it cannot even justify its existence, being completely unclear about its actual purpose – hell, it hardly manages to be entertaining.


The World’s End (2013)

An exhilarating and hilarious comedy that is a lot smarter and more complex than it seems at first, as it even surprises us by turning into something completely different when you least expect it and whose brilliant editing and priceless lines make it a true winner.


World’s Greatest Dad (2009)

This touching dramatic comedy has a hilarious sense of humor that fits incredibly well with the sort of thought-provoking character study it wants to be, and it is even more heartbreaking when you see that Williams couldn’t take to heart his film’s own reflections on suicide.


Wrath of the Titans (2012)

Even worse than the lame first movie, with the same tasteless hero, hideous dialogue, endless action scenes with no energy or tension and a terrible script full of mythological elements without any coherence – and it is sad to see Ramirez totally wasted in this mess.


Wreck-It Ralph (2012)

It is not always that we see a visually stunning animation with such a well-written script full of originality, welcome references and dozens of narrative elements that are all so brilliantly wrapped up along the story. A very funny, entertaining and also incredibly moving experience.


The Wrecking Crew (2008)

A fascinating documentary – especially for those who love music – that surprises us as we see that so many of those well-known songs were arranged by a group of people that the public had never heard about, and it is all the more absorbing when showing how hard it can be to have your work recognized in the music industry.


Wrong (2012)

The silly plot remains mostly intriguing, with a pileup of Lynchian and Kaufmanian nonsense that proves to be quite amusing and hilarious, even if it doesn’t have anything intelligent or consistent to say and actually feels a bit longer than it is.


Would You Rather (2012)

It is almost funny how Jeffrey Combs, eternal cult star of trashy B movies, seems to be the only one having a lot of fun pretty much like his character, while everyone else – all other characters and also us viewers – are forced to partake in this pointless torture porn derivative of Saw.


Wuthering Heights (1939)

With a gorgeous cinematography that uses strong black-and-white contrasts, this is an absorbing classic that eschews most of the crushing darkness and evil found in Bronté’s novel (to be more accessible to the public) and yet manages to move us with its own dramatic power.


X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

Despite the generally good dialogue and exciting action scenes, the script is an irritating mess full of inconsistencies and plot holes, especially regarding Victor Creed’s motivations and the stupid plan conceived by one of the most inept villains ever created, Col. Stryker.


X-Men: First Class (2011)

The greatest achievement of this film is how it makes us care so much about its characters even though we know beforehand that they are not going to die – the big curse of prequels -, while balancing a lot of action and an intelligent social commentary with absolute perfection.


X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

An exhilarating, urgent and bold new chapter that doesn’t shy away from the possibilities and consequences of its time-travel premise, and Singer keeps the stakes always at the highest while maintaining the focus on the multilayered aspects of the “mutant rights” battle.


X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

It is hard to shake the feeling that, however satisfying this chapter is, it is in fact unnecessary and not very well-inspired, as it suffers from clumsy dialogue, flat characters defined only by their powers, an uninteresting villain and many gaps in the internal logic of the series.


XXY (2007)

It is quite nice to see how this intimate and poignant human drama about intersexuality appropriately avoids easy answers and resolutions, being mostly subtle, delicate and silent in its approach, with outstanding performances by Ricardo Darín and Inés Efron.


Xanadu (1980)

This horribly dated 1980 fantasy is such a trashy mess with no structure that it doesn’t surprise me that the script was written during filming, and even if it has some (few) nice songs, it is shocking how they threw so much money into something that looks so tacky and cheap.


Xica da Silva (1976)

Diegues has a poor sense of mise-en-scène, the acting is decidedly theatrical and nobody cares about the accents (I mean, look at all these Portuguese characters speaking like Brazilians), but still it is quite amusing and funny to see a woman make a man go crazy for her.


Yakuza Apocalypse (2015)

I don’t think I will ever understand what makes a talented director like Miike embark on this kind of disaster, a colossal piece of garbage that is completely unfunny in its baffling stupidity and made me only stare at this mess of gangsters, vampires and giant frogs in total disbelief.


The Year My Parents Went on Vacation (2006)

Relying on solid performances, this is an enjoyable coming-of-age drama that touches us and amuses us in the same proportion, even if it doesn’t stand out as particularly outstanding or politically relevant despite the moment in Brazilian history that it takes place.


Yes Man (2008)

Jim Carrey is hilarious with his customary physical humor, but he can’t do much to compensate for gags that are mostly poorly conceived or just ridiculous, not to mention a plot that borders on complete implausibility and is all about artificial conflicts.


Yojimbo (1961)

Kurosawa’s classic film that served as a major inspiration for other directors like Sergio Leone and Quentin Tarantino, employing a curious, dark sense of humor in a very entertaining samurai story that also features a great performance by Toshiro Mifune.


Yossi & Jagger (2002)

An inept romance that mistakes amateurish for naturalistic, looking like a cheap movie made for TV and with actors who are below the level of mediocre – and it works better when focusing on the daily life of the soldiers than on a corny gay love story that goes nowhere.


Yossi (2012)

Relying on a bigger budget and on Knoller’s superbly underplayed performance, this superior sequel works perfectly on its very own as a rich character study about grief and self-acceptance, even though it makes the mistake of ending in an implausible and easy way.


You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet (2012)

The theatricalization of Cinema as intended by Resnais may be absorbing at first as it explores a touching sense of nostalgia from the characters/actors, but this scene play is not compelling enough to deserve two hours, becoming artificial and vapid after a while.


You and the Night (2013)

An aesthetically gorgeous film infused with intense eroticism in its “sensory jukebox” and with a surreal atmosphere highlighted by M83’s trippy score, although it goes a bit too far in its efforts to be profound and poetic, becoming instead prolix and self-indulgent.


You Don’t Mess with the Zohan (2008)

My eyes and ears bled as I suffered through this execrable, vulgar, offensive and appallingly stupid pile of turd that made me only feel profoundly ashamed for everyone involved in it, possibly the worst “movie” of Sandler’s ridiculous career.


You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010)

Allen could have come up with something a lot more interesting to say than that illusion is always better than reality; and so this is only a very soulless tale of sound and fury that signifies nothing and never knows if it wants to be a comedy, a romance or a drama.


You’re Next (2011)

A stupid slasher that tries to be modern with a heroine who can fight back and not only scream and run, but nothing can really make up for how most of the actors are awful, the characters a bunch of freaking morons and the plot so ridiculous and hard to buy.


Young Adult (2011)

Charlize Theron is perfect once again after shining as Aileen Wuornos in Monster, making it easy for us to feel sympathy towards a character who is so immature and selfish – thanks also to Diablo Cody, who wrote a smart script and really knows how to blend dark humor and bitterness.


Young & Beautiful (2013)

Marine Vacht gives shape to an enigmatic character that remains fascinating during the whole time even if we don’t understand what drives her to act and behave the way she does – which makes for engaging viewing despite the fact that she never opens up to us.


The Young and Prodigious T.S. Spivet (2013)

A visually gorgeous fable (even the 3D is amazing) that Jeunet really knew how to make entirely believable, but still it feels like a first draft with structural problems and in need of a better treatment. Besides, Catlett is pretty terrible at times, while only Carter and Davis stand out.


The Young Victoria (2009)

An engaging and sumptuous royal drama that features an exquisite art direction and costume design, but still the very best about it is both Emily Blunt and Rupert Friend, who shine together as Victoria and Albert and really make us care about their characters.


Youth (2015)

Sorrentino delivers a beautiful film clearly inspired by Fellini and touches upon so many themes (like life, love, memory and desire) that any brief comment wouldn’t be sufficient to describe it. Besides, it looks gorgeous and has spectacular performances by Caine, Keitel and Fonda.


Yugoslavia: How Ideology Moved Our Collective Body (2013)

A poetic remembrance constructed as a collage of archive footage, and an important historical document that reflects on the power of collectivity, but the research feels a bit incomplete as it concludes too prematurely, about fifteen years before the making of the film.


Yves Saint Laurent (2014)

Niney is outstanding, but in a weak biopic that fails to extract any meaning from the character’s life story, and it has a climax conceived to give us viewers the illusion of a satisfying conclusion when in fact it only makes evident the lack of direction and resolution.


Zardoz (1974)

An underrated futuristic social satire that is definitely self-indulgent but also more thought-provoking and smart than it appears to be, while its mind-blowing visuals and bizarre dialogue contribute to give shape to a surrealistic allegory that is both fascinating and original.


Zatoichi (2003)

It is easier to appreciate this very fine samurai film due to its formal rigor (especially with such a great cinematography and score) than to enjoy it, since its narrative structure suffers from being a bit overplotted and has too many characters in constant fight for screen time.


Zeitgeist (2007)

Poorly structured, self-important and awfully dishonest in its arguments, this unfortunately compelling movie is however convincing when trying to sell us so many ludicrous conspiracy claims using fallacies, false historical references and plain lies that have already been debunked. (If you want to know more: read this.)


Zeitgeist: Addendum (2008)

Peter Joseph calls people stupid but can’t even make a basic research before coming up with another repetitious pile of lies, fallacies and inane conspiracy theory – now to advocate an interesting possible solution (technocracy) that however gets lost amid so much bull crap. (If you want to know more, read this.)


Zelig (1983)

A delightful, original and funny Woody Allen mockumentary that is most impressive due to Gordon Willis’ spectacular cinematography and the technique employed to make it look like old film from the 1920s, with even the actors inserted into real archival footage from back then.


Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Some of the dialogue may be a bit repetitious, but Bigelow’s direction is very effective and she knows how to maintain a constant level of nerve-racking tension in this descriptive (and essentially objective) account of a historical operation whose end is already known.


The Zero Theorem (2013)

The production design is impressive, as well as the use of tilt shots and wide angle lenses to distort what we see, but still this is a silly and frustrating film whose interesting ideas get reduced in the same way that science is portrayed as a video game of fitting blocks.


Zombi 2 (1979)

There is absolutely no point in trying to make any sense of this ridiculous, trashy movie (which is not even a sequel of anything despite its title), and so I guess the best thing to do is just enjoy the great score (really, it is great) and those laughable gory scenes.


Zombieland (2009)

A highly enjoyable and funny zombie road movie that blends ironic comedy and gore fest in a way that will make you laugh out loud in many improbable moments. Also, Bill Murray and Woody Harrelson are hilarious, and I really love the soundtrack.


Zoolander (2001)

A solid and entertaining satire that makes fun of the fashion world and the people involved in it (even though in a very obvious way) with many inspired moments, including a hilarious gas station explosion and a priceless “walk-off” scene with David Bowie as judge.


Zootopia (2016)

An excellent Disney animation that offers us a very well-written and entertaining story about diversity, tolerance and the importance of being who you want to be no matter what others tell you – an always important message for both children and adults, today still more than ever.


Zulu (2013)

An extremely intense, gripping and brutal crime drama with two powerful performances by Bloom and Whitaker – the latter playing a man running away from his past but forced to face his own sense of forgiveness in this bleak post-Apartheid South Africa where society still struggles in an informal war.