The A‑Team (2010)
Suspension of disbelief is nearly impossible when such a stupid movie insults our intelligence from beginning to end, believing to be much smarter than it is (when in fact it is just brainless) and relying on a lazy plot that couldn’t be more obvious and doesn’t even make sense.
ABC of a Strike (1990)
When compared with Linha de Montagem, which especially focused on those who were leading the labor union movement and their admirable efforts, this is an essential film whose main concern is in turn the people: their fears and uncertainties, the sad poverty and unhealthy working conditions.
The ABCs of Death (2012)
It is uneven like most anthologies, with segments ranging from scary to funny to clever and silly — and as such, some of them are quite efficient while many are far from that, like “M Is for Miscarriage” and “Z is for Zetsumetsu,” both which stand out as particularly awful.
A really good example of how to make a cohesive documentary that touches on so many aspects of a legal case and yet never loses its focus or feels superficial, becoming even quite touching and tense as we realize what is at stake for this family who needs to prove their innocence.
About Cherry (2012)
It is so irritating to see something this awfully structured and edited, full of artificial conflicts and terrible dialogue, unable to maintain focus or — even worse — offer any interesting insight into its protagonist, who in the end remains a poorly delineated sketch.
About Last Night… (1986)
The kind of movie that brings out the romantic in me and breaks my heart in the same proportion, depicting love and commitment with absolute sincerity and how all the conflicts and lack of real communication can sabotage a relationship and lead to certain discontentment.
About Last Night (2014)
An average remake in which the two leads try their best but don’t have enough charm or good chemistry to make us care (especially when most of the conflicts feel artificial), and they get, alas, overshadowed by Hart and Hall as the intrusive comic relief secondary characters.
About Time (2013)
The soundtrack is spectacular and the plot so warm and delightful that it makes me want to simply forget the few missteps that pop up here and there along the way — and it is also surprisingly touching for a film that wants so much to sound profound and be a life lesson.
Above Us Only Sky (2011)
This movie is unbelievably awful, a product of sheer incompetence by a terrible debuting director incapable of creating a single coherent scene in this mess that relies on a ridiculous, illogical shred of plot and a protagonist who is unbearable and impossible to care about.
A delicate coming-of-age character study that understands well the muzzy feelings that can be experienced by a young teenager in his transition into becoming an adult, although it is a pity that the ending feels merely adequate considering the complexity of what came before it.
Though with elegant shots and camera movements, this flawed film depends on a deceptive score stressing all the time what the viewer should feel. Besides, the main twist is weak and leads to a cheap narrative trick in the end that is artificial and naive.
Although it does have its tense moments, this low-budget movie is not only marred by poor narrative choices and a lame cinematography but also leaves a lot unanswered and so many elements underdeveloped, with a frustrating ending that tries too hard to be profound.
The Abyss (1989)
What makes this film even more absorbing than its spellbinding visual effects is the strong sense of urgency and danger provoked by such a suffocating underwater scenario, and the special edition is even more meaningful in times of so much war and mindless destruction.
A tense movie of brutal realism, directed by Sergio Sollima’s son, who is in complete control of the gripping material in his hands. The characters are complex and human, and they make us always understand their condemnable actions in view of the draining work they have to carry on.
Las Acacias (2011)
A small gem that makes perfect use of a realistic approach to tell a sensitive story. Mostly silent and showing more than saying, it takes its time to present us the characters and the dynamics between them — and Germán de Silva is fantastic in an Oscar-worthy performance.
Despite the unnecessary flashbacks, this is a strong, heartbreaking film that tells of the hell faced by an innocent real-life woman in Netherlands — a female version of Camus’ Meursault for that matter -, condemned by public opinion mostly for her independent and reserved nature.
Across 110th Street (1972)
Effectively violent, brutal and with some outstanding dialogue in its first half, soon, however, this gritty crime drama begins to insult our intelligence with a series of contrived situations that dilute the realistic feel it is aiming for and proves why it has never become a classic.
The Act of Killing (2012)
A shocking and terrifying film that sets out to investigate the twisted minds and souls of death squad leaders in Indonesia, growing to become a disturbing panorama of a society and offering a unique sort of moral confrontation which could only be possible through Cinema.
A bittersweet and unconventional love story that benefits mostly from Hugh Dancy’s great and extremely impressive performance as a handsome young man with Asperger’s Syndrome.
A remarkably intelligent film that blends reality and fiction to make a humorous self-reflection about an author and his creative process, and it boasts some amazing performances (Nicholas Cage is excellent) and one of the most fascinating scripts I can remember.
Adiós, Sabata (1970)
Yul Brynner doesn’t have Lee Van Cleef’s sardonic charisma to make it at least fun to watch this Sabata film — which isn’t much better than the dreadful other two -, with a ridiculous cartoonish villain and serious trouble with the mise-en-scène in its confusing action scenes.
The Adjustment Bureau (2011)
A brilliant, thought-provoking blend of romantic thriller and science fiction developed from a simple but very well-conceived idea and with a couple of characters that are so easy to relate to. Even if only loosely based on his story, I guess Philip K. Dick would have been proud.
An insufferably dull film that is so moralistic it is embarrassing, and it lacks any sense of direction or real conflict beyond an awkward, preposterous premise, proving to be so completely clueless about its purpose that it doesn’t even care to offer a proper end to the story.
After his masterpiece Drained, Brazilian director Heitor Dhalia went on to make this third feature film, which strays from his usual narrative style and ventures into something more sober — only this time he seems to have plagiarized New Zealander film Rain.
Adrift in Tokyo (2007)
Being quirky doesn’t necessarily mean funny, and so this is a light, harmless comedy/road movie — or a “walk movie” — that comes up with potentially funny situations but doesn’t always know how to fully explore them or how to maintain a good focus during the second act.
In its first hour, it tries too hard to be emotional instead of just focusing on its ideas, but the film suffers mostly from an ill-thought-out third act that, despite an intriguing revelation that should have come much before, feels only forced, clichéd and is filled with cheesy dialogue.
A delightful, sweet and sensitive coming-of-age story directed by Greg Motolla, who also made the incredibly hilarious Superbad, and it has a nostalgic soundtrack and some very good performances, especially by an always great and charismatic Jesse Eisenberg.
Adventures in Babysitting (1987)
A rather silly yet mildly enjoyable comedy that belongs in the ’80s with its cheesy, dated jokes and inane sense of humor (as when someone calls another a homo as a slur), and today it won’t be seen as more than an ordinary pastime that can still offer a few laughs.
This last animated package film before Disney finally got back on track after WWII offers two satisfying stories that may pale in comparison for instance with Fun & Fancy Free, released a couple of years before and which also had only two nice-yet-not-unforgettable tales.
A modern classic road movie that finds a special balance between flamboyant comedy and poignant drama, and what makes it such an endless pleasure to watch is its refreshing combo of hilarious dialogue, excellent performances from the main trio and, of course, the music.
The Adventures of Tintin (2011)
It is a delight to see Spielberg play with the possibilities of the 3D animation — impossible camera movements, fabulous scene transitions and also an amazing long take — in this dazzling semi-noir adventure that invests more in the action than in its characters but is still a lot of fun.
The Aerial (2007)
A meaningless project of pure indulgence that makes numerous gratuitous references to silent classics just for the sake of doing so. It is certainly not an homage but an anachronistic and futile exercise of style that one expects to see made by a student as a school assignment.
Radu Jude crafts this visually classic Western in black and white with a camera that seems to glide in wide-angle long shots, and uses a comical — and curiously theatrical — approach to show the racism and sexism of a time that doesn’t seem so distant from modern Romanian society.
An Afghan Love Story (2013)
With an appropriate naturalistic approach — almost documentary-like — that makes it feel like witnessing a real story, this gut-wrenching Afghan drama shows that a patriarchal society dominated by ignorance and revolting religious values can only lead to intolerance and suffering.
African Cats (2011)
A decent family movie for parents to bring their kids to the theaters. It doesn’t really offer anything about these felines that we haven’t seen before on the Discovery Channel but is still good fun, with nice images and a great sound design.
The African Queen (1951)
A very entertaining and exciting adventure shot on location in Africa in glorious Technicolor and with a wonderful chemistry between Hepburn and Bogart — she as a smart, determined and strong-willed woman and he in a hilarious performance that granted him his only Oscar.
After Earth (2013)
Though far from the complete disaster that most critics claim it to be, this flawed star vehicle suffers from a terrible performance by Jaden Smith and a sloppy script plagued by badly conceived narrative elements in a very predictable, unsatisfying story.
After Lucia (2012)
A strongly unsettling experience that works so well due to its great cast and effective naturalistic style using long static shots — and the result is both a deeply complex character study about grieving and an important (and urgent) social statement on bullying in schools.
A nihilistic and cheap-looking exploitation crap that has Roth’s repellent fingerprints all over it: mediocre dialogue, a bunch of hateful characters we want to see dead and a huge amount of gratuitous violence and gore for the sake of mindless entertainment. In short, a waste of time.
L’Age d’Or (1930)
Though definitely fascinating as a surrealistic experiment, it is more cryptic and rambling than Bunuel’s previous film Un Chien Andalou, which makes it feel sometimes that now he is going for the “anything goes” philosophy instead of having full control of his ideas.
The Age of Adaline (2015)
How frustrating it is to see a film so engaging (to a point where I would actually hold my breath many times in anticipation for what was to come next) collapse in a melodramatic conclusion that chooses the easy way instead of dealing with the thematic implications of its premise.
The Age of Stupid (2009)
This passable documentary (one of many alike), presented partly as fiction and with many interviews, is not too consistent but offers some interesting material, prompting us to realize the most probable result of our careless, destructive ways.
The Age of the Earth (1980)
If you feel the need to explain your own film, this must be a sign that your intentions are not clear even to yourself, which is the precise case with this pretentious artistic masturbation of random symbols and confusing hysteria that only Glauber Rocha could have come up with.
The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965)
What makes this film fascinating is the conflict between the two characters, which is centered mostly on a great dialogue that explores the motivations and creative process of a genius, with Charlton Heston delivering his typical overacting and Rex Harrison as magnetic as always.
A powerful and thought-provoking historical drama that makes us feel like traveling back in time with its astonishing visuals while at the same time offering us an intelligent narrative that raises endlessly compelling and rewarding discussions about science and religion.
Broomfield’s second film about Aileen sheds more light on her life and her mind after a decade on death row but also feels like an appendix of his first film, a bit redundant for anyone who has seen that one and not much more than an excuse for closure after her execution.
What makes this revealing documentary so disturbing and tragic is that it shows us that Aileen was clearly in need of psychological help instead of an electric chair and was surrounded by a bunch of self-seeking psychopaths who shamelessly exploited her situation for money.
Ain’t Them Bodies Saints (2013)
A sad, melancholy Bonnie & Clyde-like crime drama that clearly borrows from Malick, and it is nice to see the way that Lowery approaches his narrative even if it is quite conventional and worth seeing more for its strong performances than by what he actually wants to tell.
Air Doll (2009)
It is frustrating to see an interesting premise be made into such an overlong film that fails because of its thematic ambition and lack of focus, as it tries to be about a good too many things at the same time and doesn’t know how to fully explore them into a consistent thesis.
The sense of humor is juvenile to the point of getting unfunny and even ridiculous sometimes, with some (actually many) of the gags falling completely flat, but at least this insane parody has a lot of inspired moments and numerous delicious references that compensate for all that.
Ajami is a brutal, gripping and honest look at the endless violence that has been devastating the Middle East — a complex mosaic drama set in a neighborhood where Jews, Muslims and Christians clash against each other in intense hatred and desire for revenge.
It is delightful, the songs are wonderful and the acting is good — despite Williams going too far occasionally with his buffoonery and making it a one-man show — but there is not much besides that (especially in terms of narrative) to raise it to the level of the studio’s best works.
Yes, there are problems in the characterizations of Aladdin and Jafar, but this welcome live-action remake compensates with dazzling visuals (the production and costume designs are truly something), great songs and a lot of energy, working better once we overlook the plot’s flaws in logic.
Albert Nobbs (2011)
Glenn Close delivers a very solid performance, but this weak drama doesn’t seem to know exactly what it wants to say, with an irregular story that wanders without a clear direction, giving in to a lot of expository dialogue and ending in an anticlimactic conclusion.
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
A delicate and deeply resonant melodrama like only Fassbinder could have made, telling with plenty of honesty a simple but objective love story centered on revolting matters like prejudice and racism — problems relevant even today when it comes to immigrants in Europe.
The film is more impressive because of Scorsese’s direction and Burstyn’s performance than what it has to tell, since some of its narrative elements are poorly developed and even the ending suffers from the kind of vagueness that almost contradicts what the film believes to be about.
Alice in Wonderland (1951)
The marvelous surrealistic design with beautiful vibrant colors and curious geometric shapes that even seems to borrow from German Expressionism are sadly not enough to compensate for the film’s excess of songs and glaring lack of focus, given its frustratingly episodic structure.
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
Tim Burton’s loose adaptation of Lewis Carroll’s book is a failure right from the start, as it uses a stupid “return to Wonderland” premise and turns the original surrealistic dream plot into an actual adventure with shades of Chronicles of Narnia and a lame feminist message.
A fantastic combination of sci-fi and horror, incredibly suspenseful and carefully structured with excellent pacing. Scott knows very well how to slowly build a disquieting tension and elevate it to the point of nerve-wracking, making this film a genuinely scary modern classic.
While the first film focused on creating an atmosphere of pure tension, this sequel is much more action-oriented, even if its first hour is actually very slow — and instead of one alien, Cameron has now a horde of goo-spewing, acid-blood creatures to scare the audience to death.
Frustrating and poorly made, this third chapter has an intriguing beginning but the development lacks the unbearable tension of the first film and the unstoppable action of the second, while its final act is like a tiresome slasher movie and the CGI of the creature atrocious.
Alien: Resurrection (1997)
Definitely better than the previous installment, this fourth Alien film doesn’t add anything new or relevant to the series but neither does it disappoint. It has plenty of action and scares, a mildly interesting plot and a particularly grotesque ending that works just fine.
Alien: Covenant (2017)
There is absolutely no reason for this to exist other than to be an irritating mess like Prometheus, since it doesn’t even care to answer any of the numerous questions that it raised in that movie or to come up with anything remotely intelligent to justify the five years of waiting.
Alien Nation (1988)
Whereas the premise is intriguing and the cultural differences between the two main characters are amusing for a while, soon the movie decides that it should be more action than sci-fi, imploding in an awful last half-hour full of car chases, stupid twists and ugly TV clichés.
Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
I can’t think of a better example of uncanny valley than this distasteful movie, with its creepy-looking protagonist full of CGI on her face — and as for the rest, the plot is a dull, convoluted mess, the characters are flat and lifeless, and the dialogue is pretty much terrible.
An engaging film that manages to encompass low-key crime thriller, boiling family drama and sweet romance with Judaism as background — even if the result is a bit restrained and not intense enough despite the good effort put forth by both Wajeman and Marmaï.
All About Eve (1950)
This sophisticated tale of ambition, glamour and backstabbing in Hollywood and show business is superbly directed by Mankievicz, with a delicious sense of humor, a terrific ensemble cast and an altogether memorable dialogue from beginning to end.
All Good Things (2010)
It is curious to see that they changed the names of everyone involved in the Robert Durst case when even the character’s sworn statement in court is exactly the same, and this is a dark, heavy drama about how people you think you know can change — or show who they truly are.
All Is Lost (2013)
Redford carries this one-man movie on his shoulders, proving what a harrowing and absorbing experience it can be to follow a man lost at sea and struggling for survival, and all his solid work is complemented by a haunting score and an impressive job in sound design.
Never mind the funny one-liners or how charismatic Darlene Glória is, this is what happens when satire is made too ridiculous and becomes self-parody, with caricatures instead of characters, incomprehensible motivations and a flashback structure that doesn’t make much sense.
All That Heaven Allows (1955)
Despite the fact that the two characters seem to fall in love in such an abrupt way, this is still an involving silky melodrama whose appeal is not hard to understand, especially taking into account the impressive social criticism that made it so ahead of its time.
All the President’s Men (1976)
Pakula creates a remarkably absorbing drama that moves without hurry, following each step of a real-life journalistic investigation that should remind us of the absolute importance of a free press in democratic countries where powerful people still believe they can rise above the law.
All the Women in the World (1966)
It does have its charming moments, even if it’s not so easy to sympathize with the main character or care enough about his relationship with the woman he falls in love with — and the movie also starts to drag after a while and lose direction close to the end.
A silly movie that believes to be romantic, sexy and tense when in fact it is only bland and banal, unable to engage us the way it wants and never audacious to come up with something clever — and its poor attempt at placing the romance above all else in the end makes it too vapid.
Almanac of Fall (1984)
The gorgeous cinematography and mise-en-scène bring to mind Tarkovsky’s works, while the uncomfortable narrative is centered on a group of petty characters who manipulate one another in ways that bring to mind Fassbinder, and so the result is something quite different from Tarr’s previous films.
A light, enjoyable comedy that, despite some funny moments, can’t resist turning into a corny melodrama in its third act — and even if Samdereli has her heart in the right place, she ruins the end with a lot of cheesy talking and an embarrassing slow motion that clearly begs for our tears.
Almost Famous (2000)
It is almost impossible not to fall in love with this wonderful autobiographical delight that has a wonderful soundtrack — oh man, isn’t the soundtrack just wonderful! — and a wonderful ensemble cast that makes everything so funny, sweet, moving and tremendously charming.
Despite one of the plotlines being a lot less engaging than the other, especially with an unnecessary love affair thrown in for no reason and Laurent’s poorly developed character, this is still an interesting film about a man’s spiritual journey through sorrow, guilt and closure.
Alone in the Dark (1982)
A lot in this movie is stupid or makes no sense when you think about it — like the truth about the Bleeder’s face and how that asylum doesn’t have any emergency generator -, but it has its moments and Palance, Pleasence and Landau seem to be having crazy fun as sick f***s.
Alone in the Dark (2005)
A godawful, incomprehensible schlock that can’t make itself understood even with that endless, gigantic text crawl that opens it, and I don’t believe no one realized that Tara Reid can’t convince as someone who would open the door of a museum, let alone be an archaeologist.
Impeccably directed, with a wonderful art direction, an outstanding cinematography and an unforgettable performance by Abraham as the envious Salieri — the true protagonist of the story -, this is a splendid masterpiece that must definitely be seen in its three-hour director’s cut.
Amanda Knox (2016)
An interesting documentary that feels too short, not offering as much information about the case as it should, but at least takes an objective look at what happened and exposes the sheer incompetence of the investigators and lack of ethics of unscrupulous journalists.
Amant Double (2017)
Ozon concots a bizarre thriller that could have been easily made by Brian De Palma or Paul Verhoeven in the ’80s, surprising us with the laughable absurdity of his situations yet in the end failing to come up with a consistent payoff to match all the tension and curiosity evoked until then.
Fellini reaches the highest point of his personal musings as an artist, using his unmistakable style to recreate his boyhood into a stupendous seriocomic collection of delicious anecdotes and semi-autobiographical reminiscences drenched in a sweet amount of nostalgia.
Amazing Grace (2006)
This average biopic has the perfect material to be made into a quintessential modern classic, but it sadly lacks soul and intensity, resulting in a rather dull experience that doesn’t quite live up to the importance of its real-life character.
The Amazing Spider-Man (2012)
A clumsy copy of that Spider Man movie released only a decade before, taking an infinitude of time to retell the same thing. The 3D (original, not converted) is so useless and poorly done, while the story is ruined by pathetic motivations from both the hero and the cartoonish villain.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 (2014)
Where the previous movie failed this sequel succeeds more than well, finding the irreverent tone that was missing and making the characters more relatable, even if it also has its share of flaws, like an annoying, intrusive score and a plot crowded with villains and subplots.
The American (2010)
Corbijn focuses on slowly building a suffocating tension in this quiet, contemplative and technically astonishing drama that grabbed me from the first scene till the very last — and it benefits from a more than appropriate low-key performance by George Clooney.
American Factory (2019)
Sometimes it is hard to believe that the factory employers would allow a documentary crew to register on camera a lot of situations that make them look so bad, and yet what is more intriguing in this film is how it shows a clash of cultures as a by-product of wild globalization.
American Honey (2016)
Almost three hours of film is too much for me to endure a director who doesn’t seem to know how to use a camera (I guess she must find focus an overrated feature) and a self-indulgent, directionless narrative that is full of annoying characters and doesn’t go anywhere.
American Hustle (2013)
A deliciously stylish and hilarious con movie with a clever script and a fabulous gallery of intriguing characters, even if always one step back from crossing the line between delightfully over-the-top and madly caricatural, including a miscast Jennifer Lawrence occasionally overacting.
American Made (2017)
A delightfully cynical and endlessly compelling biopic full of energy just like Tom Cruise’s performance (of course), benefiting especially from its excellent, dynamic editing and exceptional cinematography that makes everything look like it actually filmed in the 1980s.
American Pastoral (2016)
Cheesy, contrived and heavy-handed, it is made even worse by how it shows leftist revolutionaries as insane psychos/imbeciles and by the unsuccessful way it tries to make us sympathize with a passive protagonist who never reacts to what is happening in front of him.
American Pie (1999)
Even if not always funny, this raunchy comedy has some hilarious moments that make for an enjoyable time. A refreshing comeback to the teenage sex movies of the ’80s but with a grosser and more politically incorrect flavor of the ’90s.
American Pie 2 (2001)
More of the same with one difference: they are college men now — like it matters. It follows the same formula but the gags are more stupid than funny, looking like a cheap rehash and with very little to make us laugh like the first movie.
American Psycho (2000)
Christian Bale couldn’t have possibly been more perfect as the narcissistic and deranged yuppie Patrick Bateman in this hilariously sharp commentary on American individualism that will make you laugh real hard at (not with) him and feel disgusted in the same measure.
American Reunion (2012)
A very funny and nostalgic reunion that has its heart in the right place and is strictly for the fans of the franchise, who will be pleased to see again those familiar faces from a decade ago and surprised to see that that raunchy humor still works.
American Sniper (2014)
Though understandably accused of being jingoistic and racist — even if it makes a (dishonest, yes) distinction between Iraqi civilians and terrorists -, this is an extremely tense (and very well edited) war movie and a nuanced character study with Cooper in an intense performance.
American Wedding (2003)
The funniest of the three movies thanks to the smart decision of having Stifler at the center of the story while the two most boring characters are properly ignored: Kevin, who has a smaller part here, and Oz, who does not even appear.
Although technically competent and with wonderful performances by Hopkins and Hounsou (who should have been nominated for an Oscar too), this is a bloated and misstructured film that has an alarming tendency to give in to melodrama and is not as strong as it could be.
The Amityville Horror (1979)
This incredibly dull horror movie is nothing but an awfully concocted series of bizarre events that have no relation between one another, aiming at the cheap scares without hardly ever being scary and relying on an illogical plot and poorly-developed characters.
The Amityville Horror (2005)
What is the point of remaking a bad horror movie if you can’t make it any better or scarier? In fact, this awfully formulaic remake doesn’t manage to be scary at all, since it only reuses the most obvious clichés of the genre and seems like an uninspired copy of The Shining.
Among the Believers (2015)
Using a seemingly detached approach that doesn’t preach to the audience and understands that what it shows speaks for itself, this is an important documentary that offers a devastating look at religious fundamentalism brainwashing kids and turning them into terrorists.
Michael Haneke creates a magnificent and beautifully-acted film that manages to be impressively subtle and hard-hitting at the same time, surprising us with a lot of tenderness and honesty in its approach towards love and aging while striking us with such an overwhelming intensity.
A sad account of an incredibly talented yet tragic artist who fell victim to drugs and self-destruction, but the film disappoints and seems like a mere collage of archive footage and interviews to create a relatively superficial narrative of her life and not much else.
Ana, Mon Amour (2017)
It loses some of its strength with jumps in time that can be distracting and feel sometimes arbitrary, but even so this is a moving, depressing drama that relies on two exceptional performances and offers a keen look at an unstable relationship based on co-dependency.
Even if you manage to overlook how idiotic and laughable all that (highly) inaccurate information about anacondas is, it is still hard to ignore the nonsensical plot, the embarrassing dialogue, the really atrocious special effects and the terrible acting from everyone on screen.
Anatomy of a Murder (1959)
With a fantastic cinematography and superb direction, this superlative courtroom procedural unfolds in an unhurried fashion, daring to make outspoken use of sexual terminology (something unthinkable at the time it was made) and presenting a brilliantly complex script centered on a fiery, breathtaking rhetorical combat of the highest quality.
While it doesn’t really have a well defined plot and feels more like a series of sketches, this turns out not to be a problem, since most of these isolated moments are pretty funny and the excellent cast (including some welcome cameos) nails it with their mostly improvised lines.
And the Oscar Goes to… (2014)
A harmless collection of tidbits about the Academy Awards that moves from one topic to the next in a clumsy, rushed way and assumes that everybody knows the stars who are mentioned and/or speak to the camera, but still the film is enjoyable as a pleasant curiosity.
Andrei Rublev (1966)
Andrei Tarkovsky’s work is pure poetry as he dwells for over three hours on the dominions of faith, brutality, and, mainly, the role of the artist in our world. A true masterpiece that should be seen and revisited many times by those who appreciate works of Art.
Angel Heart (1987)
A spectacular thriller that knows how to combine noir and horror, with a beautiful cinematography, flawless editing, a remarkable performance by Mickey Rourke (who is never less than extraordinary) and an absorbing plot that holds our attention from the first second until the very last.
The Angel Was Born (1969)
While it is provocative and relies on an unsettling atmosphere of “marginal” audacity, especially for the time it was made, it also lacks a bit in authenticity and character development — and its “anti-” structure and unconventional editing could easily put some people off.
Angels & Demons (2009)
With much better pacing than the notably irregular The Da Vinci Code, this is an entertaining adaptation that delivers what it sets out to and is far superior to the novel, since it is clever enough to avoid some of its most ridiculous situations and implausibilities.
The Angels’ Share (2012)
Ken Loach and screenwriter Paul Leverty manage to find a remarkable balance between drama and dark humor in this engaging comedy full of heart, with the result feeling almost like a fine Scotch whisky — a real pleasure to the senses that makes you always wanting more.
Animal House (1978)
Some of the gags are silly and dated (especially towards the end of the movie), but most of them are hilarious even without need of a well-defined structure to wrap around them, since this is a comedy that works quite well as a loose series of raunchy chronicles of college.
Animal Kingdom (2010)
An intense thriller about a teenage boy who gets pulled into a lair of dangerous lions — his own criminal family. With an intelligent script and a superb direction, this well-paced drama is absorbing and has great performances, especially Jacki Weaver as the matriarch of the Codies.
The Animatrix (2003)
A fine collection of nine short stories conceived as a companion piece to The Matrix Reloaded and made exclusively for those acquainted with its universe, but the problem is that the animation is uneven from one story to the next and they don’t offer much besides what we already know.
Anjos do Arrabalde (1987)
Even though this film doesn’t have much focus and easily digresses (there is a sequence in the beach, for instance, that could have been entirely removed), it is a curious thing that it feels as though made by a woman and grasps so well the horrors of being one in a misogynist society.
Anna Karenina (2012)
Joe Wright does an impeccable job adapting this gigantic classic novel into no more than 130 minutes of sumptuous experience (the production design is splendid), placing the entire action on a theater stage that represents society and benefiting from some excellent performances.
Because it follows to the letter the conventions of the genre, this is an efficient yet passable horror movie that doesn’t come close to being as scary as The Conjuring but offers some good moments here and there (like the elevator scene, which is particularly terrifying).
Annabelle: Creation (2017)
Much more effective than the first Annabelle movie, this is a smart prequel made by a very competent director who knows how to avoid the clichés and build tension mostly through the use of silence, relying on a creepy mystery that slowly grows to become something terrifying.
Annabelle Comes Home (2019)
Another horror movie that simply wouldn’t exist if the characters were not so damn stupid all the time to make the stupidest decisions over and over (decisions that no one would ever make in real life), which even eliminates the tension in some scenes that could have been really creepy.
A very human and delicate look at loneliness, told as a stop-motion animation that feels like the perfect choice for this kind of story, with waxy characters that are all (but two) voiced by the same person; it is just a pity, though, that the end feels a bit abrupt.
Emmerich loses all credibility trying to make us buy his theory at any cost, and even though it has a great production design and an intriguing premise, the movie is poorly directed and has a weak script full of unnecessary soap-opera twists that make the plot even less believable.
Another Country (1984)
In his first film, Kanievska brings out solid performances from both Rupert Everett and Colin Firth but succeeds only fairly at creating a compelling story whose themes could have been more efficiently explored and led to a much more thought-provoking drama.
Another Earth (2011)
An unoriginal drama about loss, guilt, atonement and so on, with a huge amount of clichés and using the interesting concept of an alternative Earth as a cheesy metaphor for a “new chance,” but at least Marling and Mapother do a very great job despite the weak project they are in.
Another Me (2013)
An abysmal exercise of genre, awfully written and laughably silly when you think about its inane plot and what it wants to say (whatever that is), while made nearly insufferable to watch by an also clichéd direction that fails to create any suspense at all.
Another Year (2010)
A fascinating drama that slowly grows on us with a simple yet nuanced story that follows a year in the life of normal people. The whole cast is fantastic, and Lesley Manville deserves an Oscar for her outstanding performance as Mary the eccentric friend.
This fun, delightful movie — the last of Marvel’s Phase Two — has some great performances (Paul Rudd always so charismatic) and relies on a delicious sense of humor that goes so well with the action scenes and the kind of irreverent superhero story it wants to tell.
Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
The hugely absurd, second-rate “quantum” science and the sloppy, harmless script are at least compensated by (relatively) effective action scenes and a (relatively) funny sense of humor, but the most ironic is that the only really interesting scene happens mid end-credits.
Antonio das Mortes (1969)
There is virtually nothing in this film that hadn’t been said before (and in a better way) in Rocha’s most iconoclastic films, and it feels contrived, confusing, dull, and repetitious; a real endurance test for the viewer, even with so many evocative shots and mesmerizing tableaux.
The best thing about watching this entertaining film is seeing Woody Allen’s fingerprints all over it, mainly in the protagonist’s insecurities and neurosis, even though the animation doesn’t seem really fluid or natural when it comes to its wooden-faced, stiff-looking characters.
Anything for Her (2008)
A tense and well-directed French thriller with great performances by Lindon and Kruger in a plot that is pretty conventional but efficient as long as you are willing to accept its rather ludicrous premise.
The Apartment (1960)
A deeply involving dramatic romance with great dialogue and three-dimensional characters (even if the plot is a bit predictable), and it is quite a curious thing that this film is labeled by many as a comedy when in fact it is so melancholy and rather heavy in tone.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
Coppola’s all-time classic is an intense Vietnam War nightmare that sets out to portray with some of the most spectacular visuals the unfathomable horror and madness of war, following a man as he goes further and further in a harrowing descent into the very heart of darkness.
Apocalypse Now Redux (1979/2001)
If most of the extra scenes don’t add anything new to the overall experience, neither do they stand in the way — except for an overlong one at a French plantation that is distracting and quite unnecessary. Still, this director’s cut is a must-see for all admirers of Coppola’s classic.
The Apple (1998)
Samira Makhmalbaf was only 17 when she made this impressive exposé of this revolting real story and of the blatant gender inequality in Iran — and it is really shocking to see that those girls were sent home by a social worker after being discovered in such deplorable conditions.
Appropriate Behavior (2014)
It is well edited and has its moments, both comedic and dramatic, but its mistake(s) is that it isn’t as funny or insightful as it thinks it is and relies on a quirky protagonist that most of the times comes off as selfish and terribly unlikable with her narcissistic conflicts.
I like how this refreshing and visually spectacular superhero movie combines the old-fashioned concept of hot machos beating each other with their phallic, pointy weapons and a more modern approach, with brave female warriors kicking ass and a welcome message about prejudice.
Sonia Braga delivers one of the best performances of her career in this exceptional story full of human warmth about people, memories and their intimate relationship with places/objects, exploring our sense of moral violation when we feel invaded in our own personal space.
A restless director plunges us in a brilliant blend of documentary and fiction to comment on the political situation of contemporary Portugal: austerity, economic crisis, unemployment and the emptiness of our times; and he does so with a lot of compassion and a wonderful humor.
It is a curious thing to notice how this second chapter of Miguel Gomes’ Arabian Nights trilogy is a lot more conventional than the first in terms of structure, but even so it is a wonderful film that achieves a level of sublime perfection in its chronicle about the tears of the judge.
Gomes relies too much now on a lot of text written on the screen, to the point that he ends up preventing us from developing a deeper connection with the characters, but despite that this is a great film that shows us the beauty and poetry of the everyday life of those common people.
Tense, harrowing and benefiting from a stellar performance by Mads Mikkelsen, this is a surprising survival film that explores well the white vastness of its inhospitable locations and understands the power of silence to tell a story about compassion without the need of unnecessary words.
Ben Affleck proves again that he is a very talented director, nailing it with this gripping and gut-wrenching thriller that blends a lot of tension and humor with success — despite a pretty obvious and artificial desire to escalate the tension to the point of almost torture.
The Aristocats (1970)
In a nutshell, this is Lady and the Tramp for cat lovers, only it is dull and dated with regard to stereotypes and gender roles. Besides, its jazzy tunes are not memorable (you won’t remember any of them) and the scenes with the dogs turn out to be (ironically) the most amusing.
During this fascinating documentary filmed as a fictional war film, I kept wondering how the filmmakers managed to stay alive while doing this in the line of fire. Authentic and magnificently edited, it grows even more compelling and intriguing when some ethical issues arise among the soldiers during the final act.
Army of Darkness (1992)
It is sillier compared to the previous Evil Dead movies and clearly made for a younger audience, but even if it loses steam after a while, it benefits from those moments of hysteria and absurdity that made the second movie so funny, with Bruce Campbell screaming out of control.
The kind of smart premise that should have been made into a short movie (or an episode of Black Mirror) but instead gets stretched for so long and with so much new information thrown in at every moment that plot holes pile up and become obvious once you start to think about it.
Arraial do Cabo (1960)
A smooth combination of observational ethnography and poetic documentary in the vein of Italian neorealism, though it kind of feels a bit overcalculated.
Arsenic and Old Lace (1944)
While the first half hour is exceptionally hilarious (with Cary Grant displaying a perfect comic timing there), this madcap dark comedy soon resorts to irritating, over-the-top mass hysteria, with everyone yelling around without rest, killing what made it so funny in the beginning.
The Artist (2011)
This lovely and poetic homage from our days to Cinema and to the Golden Age of Hollywood silent movies is proof that a silent black-and-white film with a 4:3 aspect ratio can be so much better than many modern talkies, with wonderful performances by Dujardin, Bejo and Uggy the dog.
As Above, So Below (2014)
Dan Brown meets The Blair Witch Project in this harrowing and well-acted horror movie that makes great use of a subjective camera to create an intense feel of claustrophobia, taking a simple premise and fleshing it out into a terrifying, nerve-fraying descent to hell.
As We Were Dreaming (2015)
Dresen brings out solid performances from his very talented young cast in this riveting, honest and remarkably well-directed portrait of a post-GDR youth generation grappling with their lives as they felt lost and adrift in a society that held only uncertainty for them.
Asako I & II (2018)
With a silly plot full of clichés, ridiculous coincidences and one-dimensional characters that you could easily find in a soap-opera, this is a pathetic little romance that wouldn’t find that much to say if it weren’t centered on an awful, selfish protagonist who only thinks about herself.
Ash Is Purest White (2018)
Much like Mountains May Depart, Jia Zhangke comes up with another rambling, unfocused film whose cheesiness can be found in the very title, and it is centered on a dull love story that couldn’t possibly be interesting to anyone, despite a solid effort by the main actress.
Ashes and Diamonds (1958)
A wicked intelligent and even hilarious political commentary with a sublime cinematography and a marvelous direction — which is noticeable from the applaudable way that Wajda never loses control of his material and the film’s focus even with such a large gallery of characters.
The Asphalt Jungle (1950)
What makes this classic noir/heist film so engrossing is the deliberate and unemotional way it takes us through the minutiae of a plan that involves a large group of characters, and even more interesting is how it manages to keep these characters as its primary focus.
The Assassin (2015)
A stunning film with gorgeous visuals and a splendid sound design, but also way too measured and cryptic in its narrative, edited in a way that makes it feel like a frustrating puzzle that lacks important information and doesn’t justify any effort to try to understand it.
Assault on the Pay Train (1962)
A Brazilian classic clearly inspired by the structure, aesthetics and themes of Italian neorealism (including a touch of melodrama in the end), tackling matters like social and racial inequality while making us relate to a group of characters who only want a chance in life.
An appealing afterlife drama with nice visuals and elegant scene transitions but unfortunately marred by weak performances and moralist speeches constantly declaimed. Also, you can hardly see the reasons that compel the protagonist to change so much along the story.
At Eternity’s Gate (2018)
Even as they do reflect the character’s fragmented mind, the film’s visual and stylistic excesses begin to feel like mere affectation after a while, but at least Willem Dafoe delivers a committed performance as a tormented artist who longs to understand his purpose in the world.
Marins is a great director and creates some striking images here, hypnotizing us with his magnetic presence as the cruel Coffin Joe while the film’s dialogue (despite the generally weak acting) makes this a memorable Brazilian horror movie that should be rediscovered and remastered.
A strong film that makes the best use of great performances, beautiful locations and a gorgeous score to tell a thought-provoking story about cultural differences and the white man’s abusive condescension (especially religious) toward those he considers inferior and primitive.
At War (2018)
Admirable in its intentions and conveying well the complexity of a situation that doesn’t offer simple solutions, this film works as a solid follow-up to The Measure of a Man and benefits from another excellent performance by Lindon, despite relying too much on repetitive discussions.
Atomic Blonde (2017)
Despite being deliciously stylish, technically impeccable and quite amusing in its hilarious absurdity, the movie is sadly bogged down by how hard it tries to be “clever” and twisty, becoming convoluted instead and bordering too much on stupidity for us to care.
The Attack (2012)
A tragic and sad film that explores the complexity of a never-ending conflict through the impossibility of confronting someone for answers when that person is dead — and even those unnecessary details offered in the last fifteen minutes are not able to dilute its intensity and urgency.
L’Auberge Espagnole (2002)
A lovely, funny and touching film about friendship and love that will please even more those who know what it is like to live abroad, and it portrays with a charming sincerity the insecurities and fears of youth through a group of characters that we easily relate to and care about.
The Auction (2013)
This decent Québécois drama has fine performances and makes good use of its locations, deserving every bit of our attention due to the delicate and intimate way that it tells us its story — even though it never takes off to become something special or memorable.
The shifts in tone along the film are completely baffling, as it begins as an unsettling drama, then becomes a romance, and then finally makes it clear that all that was just a weird prelude to a shocking, outrageous and confusing third act that doesn’t make much sense.
Audrie & Daisy (2016)
It should be watched back to back as a companion piece to The Hunting Ground about this revolting type of crime that goes unpunished because there are people who blame rape victims for what happens to them — like that despicable sheriff who is proof of this ugly rape culture.
August: Osage County (2013)
An emotionally exhausting film that defies us to put up with two detestable women at the center of a horribly dysfunctional family (Streep and Roberts wonderful, alongside a fantastic Cooper), and not even the moments of humor are able to relieve the discomfort.
August Winds (2014)
Although it does have supporting actors who look directly into the camera in several occasions, this is an extremely rewarding drama that invests plentifully in static shots and situations — thus demanding a bit of patience — with a noteworthy formal rigor and care in its structure, editing and direction.
This almost-good drama is a missed opportunity, considering its intriguing premise and the talent of the actors involved. What could have been a fascinating exploration of a psychological illness gives place to too much clichéd doctor-patient sexual tension.
The Aura (2005)
Loose, uneven and with too many elements and symbolism that don’t quite gel in the end, this Argentinian heist thriller is more efficient and intriguing when focusing on its plot than on Darín’s character, who in the end remains a strange puzzle with creepy motivations.
The Autopsy of Jane Doe (2016)
A decent (yet irregular) horror movie that relies on a compelling mystery and knows how to slowly build tension (despite a few annoying jump scares), but it is also a bit frustrating to see how it is weakened by clichés and by a silly ending that doesn’t really work.
The technical aspects are really impressive, quite exceptional indeed, and the plot may not be too original or clever but is mostly engaging and thought-provoking, with many welcome details about the fascinating world of Pandora and its humanoid race Na’vi.
The Avengers (2012)
An entertaining assembly of Marvel superheroes that benefits from Whedon’s Buffy-humor and from a well-written dialogue that explores the interaction between the characters, their personalities and differences — even though Banner’s self-control issue is really inconsistent along the movie.
Avengers: Age of Ultron (2015)
Joss Whedon is too talented to keep making these thin, unremarkable Marvel movies, and this is a lazy sequel that feels like more of the same compared to the first Avengers film, especially as it has all the problems found in that one and a plot that is even more poorly developed.
Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
The main problem with this Avengers movie is not that it is confusing, with its large amount of characters and parallel subplots, but rather lazy in the way it brings them together, with some annoying plot holes and lacking in enough urgency to make a major tragedy that convincing.
Avengers: Endgame (2019)
I will always be surprised at how this final chapter of a gigantic franchise of 22 films manages to be so well wrapped-up, incredibly urgent and even heartbreaking, with the stakes raised to a maximum and the possibility of a well-deserved closure offered to some of its most iconic characters.
I really admire what Antonioni is trying to do here, even though it seems like he doesn’t always go for the right choices, making the romance feel a bit too cold and the dialogue mostly repetitious; still, this classic film has so many scenes that were simply born iconic.
The Awakening (2011)
Despite a promising beginning and a solid art direction, this conventional ghost story never goes beyond its clearly derivative narrative — which, among many deficiencies, tries to be clever with a lame (and unnecessary) twist but is only convoluted and obvious.
Awakening of the Beast (1970)
Marins shows again that he has a great eye for creating unsettling compositions, but while it isn’t hard to see what he wants to do here, his climactic psychedelic sequence in color is more like laughable nonsense and the conclusion it draws doesn’t carry the impact intended.
Away We Go (2009)
With terrific performances and a wonderful soundtrack, this sweet, sensitive and funny road movie proves to be both heartwarming and sharp as Mendes’ previous works — and the whole scene with Maggie Gyllenhaal in Madison is just priceless.
The BFG (2016)
The visual effects using performance capture are great, but there is no magic, beauty or even genuine emotion in this lifeless, poorly-structured and tedious movie that almost put me to sleep and certainly ranks now as one of the worst of Spielberg’s entire career.
A vigorous and well-edited film that uses an impressive amount of mostly unseen archive footage of the ’80s to show the evolution of the West-Berliner music scene against a background of social turmoil and intense desire for change and revolution that marked those times.
Though it is not hard to see the intention when you know Brecht, it is curious that this adaptation is less straightforward and more rambling than one would expect from one of his stories, being more of a pseudo-poetic mind trip than a consistent social commentary.
Baarìa is an involving autobiographical drama with good performances, but I feel disappointed at Ennio Morricone’s ordinary score and how unnecessarily overlong the film is. Besides, the last fifteen minutes almost manage to ruin everything that was built up until then.
The Babadook (2014)
It is always a wonderful surprise to see an intelligent horror film with such profound psychological and emotional scope, making use of a rich symbolism to tell the story of a woman who succumbs to her own inner shadow and is forced to confront it as it takes over her sanity.
Babette’s Feast (1987)
This sublime ode to art, gift, love and grace should be remembered for its wonderful direction and a magnificent narrative that never ceases to surprise us with what it has to offer and the unbelievable amount of depth that it holds in every detail of its apparently simple story.
An experience akin to staring at an aquarium for 80 minutes and observing the fishes in their habitat — which can be something interesting in the case of babies from different cultures, only not for so long. But still, babies are so cute and adorable that they make it worth it.
Baby Driver (2017)
With thrilling action scenes, interesting characters, a killer soundtrack and exceptional editing that follows the beat of the music as if the music is a character itself, Baby Driver delivers a hell lot of style and substance, being always smart in the way that it tells its story.
An absorbing and well-paced psychological thriller that never loses its grip, with an intriguing mystery that keeps us at the edge of our seats trying to figure out what is really going on — and Noomi Rapace is fantastic as the center of this sad, devastating story.
The Babysitter (2017)
A hilarious gory movie that makes us laugh out loud with its surreal dialogue, bizarre situations and absurd deaths, all that while combining comedy and horror in a very efficient way and benefiting from some good performances by Judah Lewis and Samara Weaving.
This is probably what The Hangover would have been like had it been made with female characters: a raunchy version of Bridesmaids that is dirtier, more politically incorrect and funny as hell — gladly lacking that typical sentimentality found in most comedies today.
Back to Burgundy (2017)
A passable little film that may be a bit too long, repetitive and even predictable, not offering much that we haven’t seen before in superior family dramas, but is at least charming with some funny moments and good performances that make it worth watching.
Back to the Future (1985)
A wonderful adventure that relies on a first-rate script full of nuances and details (some of which you only notice after watching the film thirty times), great visual effects, an unforgettable score and an exceptional cast — especially Crispin Glover, who deserved an Oscar.
Carrera and screenwriter Sabina Berman approach a very serious social matter with incredible competence as it exposes the open wound of Cd. Juárez, Mexico, a land in turmoil over an appalling series of endless sexually-related murders of women.
Bad Hair (2013)
An irregular film that suffers from the contradictory behavior of its two main characters but has a poignant ending, even if the mother played by Castillo seems like a telenovela villain in urgent need of psychiatric help — although I do know that the world is full of people like that.
Master director Werner Herzog delivers here his most mainstream movie to date, a highly entertaining, hilarious and twisted crime drama with an insane Nicholas Cage in one of the greatest performances of his career.
Bad Taste (1987)
Not hysterical and priceless as Braindead but still a very funny low-budget trashy fun with nice gore and makeup effects, even though it is also a bit hard to overlook the movie’s disjointed structure (there was never a script, and things seem to happen mostly randomly).
Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)
Much like Quentin Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, this is a clever allegory of America centered on a group of peculiar characters who represent each a facet of American society (not only of the 1960s but also today), wrapped up in a stylish and sexy film-noir package with great performances.
Bag of Bones (2011)
In its insistence on following closely the structure and pacing of King’s wonderful novel, this ridiculous and overlong adaptation drags and feels painfully repetitious, suffering also from an excess of irritating dream scenes and too much camp that dilutes the gravity of the story.
Bagdad Cafe (1987)
This enjoyable fable is expertly edited and knows how to use a surreal cinematography to enhance the sense of oddness created by its rather unusual story. But it also doesn’t know how to end and simply drifts without any clear direction in the last fifteen minutes.
This truly riveting and important political thriller exposes without any concessions a horrendous episode in History that has been kept in silence for a long time, and it is always fluid in the way it shows us what happened to Roger East in parallel with the tragic fate of the Balibo Five.
The last two segments would be worth the entire film alone, but in fact all six stories presented here are uniformly excellent, which is something quite rare in anthologies, and together they capture very consistently the meaninglessness of life in a wild, lawless country.
A gorgeously animated film that may not please everyone due to its greater focus on characters and lack of a well-defined plot, but it is well-deservedly recognized as a classic now with its contemplative portrayal of love, nature and the cruelty of men against the forest and its animals.
At one point, Woody Allen’s character says to Louise Lasser’s: “I fail to see the humor of this,” which is exactly how I felt watching this terribly unfunny comedy that is more like random scenes and sketches sloppily put together — some of them so irritating they are nearly unbearable.
The Bandit (1953)
A classic Brazilian Western (or “Nordestern”) heavily inspired, of course, by Hollywood Westerns and offering everything you could possibly expect (action, romance and stunning landscapes) while being technically impeccable, gorgeous and epic like the best films of the genre.
Bang Bang (1971)
I have no idea what a “Maoist detective comedy” is supposed to be (that is how Andrea Tonacci called this self-indulgent experimental film), and while its energy and lack of structure may be amusing at first, soon it becomes infuriating with endless chases and pointless scenes.
Even if this cynical and moralistic drama is allegedly based on real events, it is really hard to believe that 16-year-old teenagers would engage so openly in those sort of sexual practices, and the narrative is also weakened by an irregular structure and obvious lack of focus.
The Bar (2017)
A hysterical and irritating movie that cannot even justify its own existence, forcing us to sit through a brainless plot (the explanation for its mystery is pathetic and embarrassingly stupid) and witness a group of characters yelling without end amid some disgusting scatology.
Bar Esperanza (1983)
I’m not a fan of Brazilian bar humor, and so even though this film begins very funny and clever (the Nuremberg joke is hilarious), soon it becomes dull and completely unfunny, making it hard for us to overlook its ugly cinematography or how irregular its script is, so full of hits and misses.
A subtle romance with a historical context and great performances, blending love and politics in an engaging story that also explores the curious contrast between the vivid landscape of East Germany’s countryside and the sad universe the protagonist is forced to live in.
Fatalist and deterministic in the way it plays with the concept of temporal paradox, Furtado’s short film is also a touching look at memory and guilt.
Barren Lives (1963)
One of the most important Brazilian films ever made is this classic, unrestrained story of poverty and hardship as faced by a family living in a hellish, barren land and depicted with all the rawness that it needs — including a notable absence of sentimentality and even music.
Barry Lyndon (1975)
A fabulous picaresque tale — satirical and tragic — in which we see Kubrick make every splendid shot look like an authentic 18th-century painting while using a cynical and essentially cold approach to recount a long series of barely connected episodes in our anti-hero’s ill-fated life.
Barton Fink (1991)
An always smart and intriguing film that combines acid criticism (especially of Hollywood) and a surreal feel of nightmare the way the Coen brothers do best, with a cynical, sophisticated sense of humor, priceless dialogue and a delicious gallery of fascinating characters.
With a confusing structure and plot threads that go nowhere fast, this fragmented film noir also fails to keep us involved by never going deep into the characters’ motivations, and it leaves loose ends in an artificial resolution that makes it seem incomplete and pointless.
Batman Forever (1995)
With unbelievable dialogue, goofy action and ridiculous cartoonish characters, this softened Batman movie after Burton’s installments is only embarrassing and laughable, with a pathetic story full of plot holes. Not even Tommy Lee Jones and Jim Carrey can save this nonsense.
Batman & Robin (1997)
It is nearly impossible not to feel ashamed for everyone involved in this mess (especially Joel Schumacher), an over-the-top disastrous movie whose actors look like flamboyant drag queens in a colorful carnival parade uttering some of the worst lines ever written.
The biggest problem with this bloated, exhausting movie is that it sinks trying so desperately to bite off (so much) more than it can chew, with a convoluted plot that is all over the place and too many characters whose motivations are mostly contrived and infuriatingly inconsistent.
The Battle of Chile: Part 1 (1975)
An essential piece of historical document that should be shown in schools everywhere in the world, about the rise of fascism in Chile and the power of people’s resistance against the efforts of a reactionary bourgeoisie that used dishonest means to overthrow a legitimate government.
The Battle of Chile: Part 2 (1976)
The second part of this magnificent historical production is a devastating examination of the horrible consequences of those events that led to the erasure of all democracy in Chile despite everything that the people and supporters of the government did to prevent a coup d’état.
The Battle of Chile: Part 3 (1979)
This third part seems more like a complement to the other two made of footage that didn’t fit in the previous films, since it repeats many things that were already shown but in greater details to create an overview of the growth of popular power during Allende’s government.
Battle of the Sexes (2017)
Emma Stone and Steve Carell are great in a solid biopic that may be relatively conventional and obviously predictable but manages to build tension until the final match, even if it has its own share of casual sexism that is almost outrageous in a film that is supposed to be feminist.
Battlefield Earth (2000)
Worse than its ridiculous overuse of Dutch angles, color filters and cheap special effects is how overwhelmingly illogical this dreadful piece of junk is, with such a colossal amount of plot holes and incoherences — however curious and amusing it is to observe the many ways it finds to get worse.
Battlestar Galactica (TV pilot miniseries) (2003)
This breathtaking miniseries that started the exceptional TV series features a steady direction, great dialogue and elegant long takes, while also raises many moral issues with intelligence and keeps the focus always on the characters and on the human aspect of the battle.
Razor does not work as a stand-alone movie, being more of a backdrop for season 4 — even if it takes place before the settling in New Caprica. Among its efficient elements, it gives new details about the origin of the hybrid cylon, but some unnecessary scenes could have been left out.
Even if showing more of the cylon attack on the 12 colonies, this fragmented and unnecessary BSG movie doesn’t add anything new or relevant to the completed series and also relies on many flashbacks of scenes that had already been shown before.
It embraces camp in a ridiculous way, with obnoxious characters, shitty actors (even though Dwayne Johnson is charismatic), awful CGI (a clear indicator of a lazy director) and nothing of the kitsch charm that made the TV show so amusing and successful in the first place.
The Beach (2000)
The visuals are jaw-dropping and the idea is promising, but the film is irregular and shoots in every direction without managing to fully explore the possibilities of its premise, remaining a lost opportunity to show how paradise is not really about a place but the people living in it.
Beach Rats (2017)
Yet another gay-themed drama about a teen’s struggle with self-acceptance that belongs 20 years ago, with a silly, confused plot that doesn’t really go anywhere and the kind of outdated and prejudiced view of homosexuality that you find in hundreds of films alike.
The Beaches of Agnès (2008)
Rarely have I seen an artist talk so candidly and playfully about her history, career and inspirations like Agnès Varda does in this wonderful combination of intimate memoir and self-analysis that celebrates life and (her) memories with a lot of humor and nostalgia.
The Beales of Grey Gardens (2006)
There are a lot of priceless scenes here that didn’t make into Grey Gardens, so this ‘bonus material’ is a true gift for the fans who would love to see more of those two women after three decades, even if for others it may just feel like more of the same, though.
An uncomfortable and often brutal film that focuses on the consequences of war for two women who couldn’t be more different from each other — something emphasized by a beautiful production design that uses colors (green and red) to show how their lives become irremediably intertwined.
Beasts of No Nation (2015)
A brutal, harrowing and devastating film that is beautifully directed, photographed (especially in two incredibly gut-wrenching scenes) and acted, with intense performances by Attah and Elba, about a boy’s loss of innocence and childhood amid a horrible war in a nightmarish place.
Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012)
A spellbinding film that uses a shaky handheld camera (and grainy image) together with a lot of visual poetry to create a combination of naturalism and fantasy, with a wonderful performance by the young Quvenzhane Wallis in a touching story about love and courage.
Romain Duris is fantastic, doing an exceptional work in the composition of his character with a special care for small details, in what turns out to be a compelling, fascinating character study about an dissatisfied man trying to have his life back and follow his dream.
It is a delight to witness now all that Beatlemania hysteria and the members’ cheeky sense of humor in a lot of priceless archive footage combined with welcome interviews, but this nice doc is also a bit too unpretentious and doesn’t offer much new insight about the band and their touring years.
Le Beau Serge (1958)
If this was the first film of the French New Wave I cannot really say, but it was the first of the Chabrol’s fascinating career, with great performances and a gorgeous cinematography, and presenting us a bleak portrait of human decadence in a provincial town.
Beau Travail (1999)
Denis knows how to build an unsettling atmosphere of arid sensuality that pulls us in, but the problem is that, without the character’s narration, it would have been nearly impossible to grasp what is going on in his head from images that feel mostly repetitious and not exactly telling.
Beautiful Boy (2018)
The story’s impact is almost diluted by the film’s editing (with its jumps in time and flashbacks within flashbacks) and questionable choice of music, which makes it kind of emotionally stiff, even though that is compensated by two amazing performances by Timothée Chalamet and Steve Carell.
I don’t know if it’s just me, but I think that Tom Hanks plays Fred Rogers in a way that makes him look weirdly shady sometimes (as though he is hiding something), while this feels less like a film and more like a hagiographic self-help book on “how to face your fears and overcome your anger.”
The Beautiful Person (2008)
Christophe Honoré is like a film student who doesn’t have any idea of what he wants to say (that is, if he does have anything to say at all) and so creates an unfocused, pretentious narrative that has no sense of purpose and is full of poorly-developed characters and clichéd dialogue.
Beauty and the Beast (1946)
An enchanting film that surprises us with its magical atmosphere and dazzling visual effects, even if the plot can be a bit repetitive and contrived when focusing on the development of the characters’ relationship, leading to an end that is not as satisfying as it should be.
Beauty and the Beast (1991)
The overwhelming flood of songs makes a good part of it seem like filler, to be honest — as much as most of these songs are great and the animation is always impeccable -, but it will be hard for anyone not to be deeply moved by this beautiful story of deceiving appearances.
Beauty and the Beast (2017)
It is hard sometimes to shake the feeling that this live-action Disney adaptation is relying too much on the 1991 animation, to the point that it almost feels like an extended version of that film; but even so, it offers a fresh and modern look at the classic story that makes it worth it.
The Beaver (2011)
Firmly directed by Jodie Foster and with a heartfelt performance by Gibson, this is an interesting drama about a depressed man suffering from schizophrenia and projecting part of his personality into a puppet. Even so, the script is unfocused and has an easy, sappy conclusion.
Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971)
An uneven, overlong and sometimes dull Disney movie that tries to follow in the footsteps of Mary Poppins, the main difference being that none of the songs is remotely memorable (in fact, most of the musical numbers are annoying) and the last act is just terrible.
Entertaining and creative with its hilarious idea of afterlife, Beetlejuice is an early Tim Burton movie that finds a fine balance between horror and comedy, impressing us with an amazing set design and making us laugh out loud with Michael Keaton’s loony performance.
Before Midnight (2013)
It is immensely refreshing to see again these two characters who we once (twice) learned to love, now in a story that examines with utmost honest the natural conflicts of married life — which are also present for this couple who seemed so suited for a happy ending together.
Before the Revolution (1964)
Bertolucci was still developing his technique when he made this flawed, imperfect attempt at an Italian Nouvelle Vague film that is in fact more about style than substance, made by someone full of ideas but who would still need time to mature his vision of things.
Begin Again (2013)
A refreshing and superbly-edited dramatic comedy from the director of Once, who depicts once again a warm, platonic relationship born from the mutual love shared by two people for music, and oh boy, aren’t the songs in this film just so lovely and beautiful!
This is certainly not a comedy (the sense of humor doesn’t work that well), and I found it sad and depressing, contrary to those who thought it was sweet and optimistic. Besides, the characters seem too shallow in their artificial indie quirkiness and the dialogue is very annoying.
The Beguiled (2017)
Sofia Coppola creates an unsettling and slow-burning film that doesn’t impress so much for its plot as it does for its evocative atmosphere — an effective combination of underlying tension and bursting sensuality that benefits from excellent performances, especially Nicole Kidman.
The most interesting here is that the necessity of replacing the actual kids with other ones from a similar background ends up preventing the audience from (pre)judging them and allows us to have a much more objective look at their predicament as part of a larger social context.
Behind the Candelabra (2013)
Soderbergh offers a consistent blend of camp and sincerity in this entertaining biopic centered on a complex Liberace amid his fabulous palatial kitsch, with Douglas chewing the scenery in a magnificent performance that surprises for its authenticity and pathos.
Behind the Curve (2018)
It would be so easy to mock those people that I find it surprising that the film empathizes with them, focusing on how we should engage in constructive debate instead of ostracizing them — that, of course, until it plays the devil’s advocate by reminding us of how dangerous they can be.
Behind the Sun (2001)
It is easy to fall in love with the film’s gorgeous visuals, but let’s not overlook how the script is poorly developed and clearly deserved a few rewrites to be more efficient, being instead an obvious revenge story that feels contrived and lacks in narrative cohesion.
Behind the Walls (2008)
A splendid, heartbreaking and realistic French drama that could be seen as a worthy follow-up to films like The 400 Blows, considering the way it portrays the sad lives of young boys in a prison-like orphanage, and I’m sure that it will move some to tears like it did me.
Being Ginger (2013)
It is hard to believe that so many people would hate something so beautiful as red hair (yes, I’m a ginger lover), but it is insufferable to see this guy Scott make it all about himself in this empty, time-wasting “documentary” and whine about his self-confidence for endless 70 minutes.
Bel Ami (2012)
A rushed and insipid soap opera with lame performances, especially by Robert Pattinson, who is a terrible actor completely miscast as an ambitious seducer, unable to show what his character feels or what could possibly draw those refined women to him beside his looks.
A handsome period drama about an admirable young woman who manages to maintain her dignity in a society ruled by certain laws that, as one character puts it, were in fact frameworks for crime — and the gracious script avoids clichés and proves to be surprisingly moving.
Belle de Jour (1967)
Audacious for the time it was made and still provocative and enticing today, this film in an intelligent and psychologically nuanced exploration of sexuality and desire as experienced by a repressed bourgeois woman who feels strongly compelled to act upon her fantasies.
Anna Magnani is a true Italian delight, so charismatic and funny, and she makes it real difficult for us not to sympathize with her character for trying so hard to enroll her little daughter in a film part competition, in this amusing and touching story that has its heart in the right place.
Twohy does a great job (mainly in the first hour) in slowly building an absorbing mystery in this claustrophobic mix of horror and war movie (like Das Boot meets The Shining), even if later on it is weakened by stupid plot holes and a silly attempt to sound profound in the end.
If there is something more discomforting than Willard befriending rats is seeing a sweet sick kid developing a touching relationship with his little friend Ben the disgusting intelligent rat, which is what makes this trashy B movie creepier than the first movie, especially with that song.
Even though Charlton Heston is a terrible actor, Ben-Hur will always be remembered as a spectacular epic that boasts an astonishing production design, breathtaking cinematography and exhilarating action scenes. It is only a pity though that the focus of the story is shifted from Juda to the Messiah in the last act, turning into a preachy religious movie and losing some of its power in a hallelujah ending.
Benny’s Video (1992)
Like The Seventh Continent, this is a disturbing film that wants to probe into the glacial apathy of modern society (and also the sociopaths it creates), even though Haneke seems a bit too categorical in his criticism of mass media as something inherently alienating and damaging.
Berberian Sound Studio (2012)
An imaginative and expertly-edited psychological thriller/meta exercise that dissolves the barrier between reality and fiction using a fantastic sound design, beautiful scene transitions and a smart cinematography that nicely references the style of the Italian giallos of the ’70s.
Berlin Alexanderplatz (1980)
The pièce de résistance of Fassbinder’s career, an extraordinary 15–1/2 hour magnum opus that represents both the cinematic realization of his seminal inspiration and the culmination of his themes — and he properly departs from his detached style to deliver his most heartfelt and moving character study up to then, with a phenomenal central performance by Günter Lamprecht and a magnificent score by Peer Raben.
Berlin, I Love You (2019)
I don’t understand why they keep making these terrible postcard movies that amount to almost nothing — and if it weren’t for the segment with Helen Mirren and Keira Knightley, I would give zero stars to this crap that doesn’t capture anything of what makes the city of Berlin so special.
Image and sound, rhythm and music, an entrancing audiovisual experiment in five parts showing a day in the life of a city that lives and breathes, with a fantastic use of Soviet intellectual montage to create brilliant visual rhymes on the many different aspects of urban life.
Berlin Syndrome (2017)
It can be tense and disturbing at times, even though it feels a bit too familiar (like a mix of Fear and Misery) and moves too slow for such a predictable type of movie, not managing that well to be entertaining as a thriller and being rather dull and unpleasant to watch.
Even if mildly refreshing and centered on a group of elderly people, which is something we don’t see very often, this film is full of highs and lows, with a weak script that has too many clichés and artificial resolutions but is still compensated by a superb ensemble cast.
Best in Show (2000)
The laughs are not as plentiful as in Waiting for Guffman (although this is an also very funny film for anyone who loves mockumentaries and deadpan humor), and yet we have the same hilarious cast much more en pointe here with a level of improvisation that works even better.
Best of Enemies (2015)
An exciting analysis of the beginning of a major change in political journalism as it became a theater stage for egos, shown in this pivotal debate between two arrogant men who we can’t deny were brilliant orators — even though I despise Buckley’s political views and Vidal’s aggressive ad hominem attacks.
The Best Offer (2013)
With an appalling lack of subtlety, awful dialogue and badly-constructed characters (the protagonist’s actions and motivations are puzzling from beginning to end), it seems like this corny little romance full of clichés and predictable twists is making a huge effort to be bad.
The Best Things in the World (2010)
A wonderful and incredibly honest film about the several ups and downs of adolescence as lived by a teenage boy in São Paulo, and it is a great pleasure to see how it escapes all those typical clichés of teen movies, developing its characters in an always sensitive, realistic way.
Best Worst Movie (2009)
A surprising and bittersweet doc that will certainly appeal more to those out there who share the same strange fascination for this unexpected cult phenomenon (me included), even if it simplifies the reason for its shocking success into simple matters of being entertaining.
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
A deeply touching and significant post-WWII classic that depicts the psychological trauma and several obstacles encountered by veteran soldiers of different backgrounds returning from war, and it does so with an expert use of deep focus and a wonderful mise-en-scène to create many meaningful visual compositions.
Bressane is a master who always knows exactly what to do with a camera in his hands — a camera that becomes almost a character itself, moving closely and freely as he makes this an intimate portrait of one of Brazil’s most talented singers at the beginning of her career.
The Better Angels (2014)
Edwards doesn’t even try to hide the obvious and unoriginal way that he emulates Malick’s style, and he seems more concerned with creating a powerful meditative experience than offering any real insight into what shaped Lincoln in his childhood to become the man he would be.
The Beyond (1981)
It can be amusing for those who love gore and fun special effects, but Fulci must have been completely stoned when he made this ridiculous movie that doesn’t make any sense at all (who cares about plot, right?) and is only a bafflingly stupid mess full of awful performances.
A poignant, tragic drama that explores the psychological consequences of a turbulent childhood marked by alcoholism — and it is incredibly sad to see good people allowing it to destroy the harmony in their family, causing such a profound emotional damage to all their lives.
Beyond a Reasonable Doubt (2009)
This modern remake of Fritz Lang’s last American thriller is undeniably flawed — especially when you stop to think how preposterous it all really is -, but still it manages to be entertaining and tense sometimes, with a welcome twist in the end.
Beyond the Hills (2012)
Mungiu delivers yet another powerful and nerve-wracking film that is bound to leave you totally drained by the end of it. Though also a bit unnecessarily repetitive after a while, it is nevertheless a challenging, devastating drama about liberty, devotion, security and obsession.
Beyond the Walls (2012)
A profoundly moving and heartbreaking gay romance about an overwhelming passion that gradually grows and breaks apart — and the two very talented leads give life to such complex characters who we can strongly identify with in their feelings for each other.
I don’t really buy the film’s ending, but it does make sense within Moretti’s purpose, especially as he cleverly depicts Bianca as a woman with no personality and makes fun of his own character for being an old-fashioned romantic whose fears and excessive neurosis border on insanity.
The Bicycle Thief (1948)
Humorous, poignant and heartbreaking, this wonderful gem of Italian neorealism deserves every bit of its long-lasting reputation as a classic and unforgettable social statement, and it is always beautiful to see how it eschews any sentimentality and remains always honest in its emotions.
Bicycling with Molière (2013)
A light and charming comedy that may be a bit irregular and not very well focused but has some nice dialogue and good moments of humor — and along the rehearsal of Molière’s work by the leads we are given a decent exploration of the nuances in the interaction between them.
Il Bidone (1955)
This forgotten Fellini classic — which was initially a flop in Italy and also in the USA — is a poignant and heartbreaking character study that manages to make us feel pity and sympathy towards the worst kind of swindler, the one who deceives and takes money from the poor.
The Big Chill (1983)
A lifeless and depressing movie that seems more interested in its songs than in creating a relatable plot (yet even if the soundtrack is great the lyrics simply don’t reflect what we see on screen), forcing us to stay in the company of a group of unlikable narcissists.
The Big Country (1958)
A classic pacifist Western that feels always fluid (even with a long running time of almost three hours) and is most certainly an intelligent allegory of Cold War, boasting a memorable score and a great cast, especially Burl Ives in an Oscar-winning performance.
Big Deal on Madonna Street (1958)
Although not so consistently funny throughout (in fact, there are quite a few moments that fall short on the humor scale), this charming yet overrated Italian comedy compensates for that with an excellent cast (especially Totò) and some effective scenes that are truly hilarious.
Big Eyes (2014)
It is true that Art should elevate, but this superficial, unimpressive biopic does pander to the lowest common denominator with a cliched direction, uneven pacing and serious tonal problems in a ridiculous trial scene in the end that only feels silly and artificial.
Big Fan (2009)
Big Fan is a humorous look at the lonely life of a fanatic sports fan, and first-time director Siegel manages what seemed to be almost impossible: to make a poignant portrayal of a loser who only thinks of football, a task that is helped mostly by Oswalt’s terrific performance.
The Big Gundown (1966)
Sollima’s Western is an exciting manhunt that follows the structure of a road-movie, with its two main characters meeting over and over in many different situations. A thrilling movie with a vibrant performance by Tomás Milian and an unexpected twist in the third act.
Big Hero 6 (2014)
A highly amusing and captivating movie with a wonderful animation and exhilarating action scenes, even if the script suffers from some exposition and doesn’t come up with a very convincing motivation for its villain — despite how everything is well wrapped up in the end.
Big Jet (2016)
In case it is still necessary, here is definitive proof of Matheus Nachtergaele’s monstrous talent as an actor, and he really surpasses himself playing two diametrically opposed characters in this sensitive coming-of-age story about a teenager discovering his sexuality, his passions and his dreams.
The Big Lebowski (1998)
The “Dude,” another specimen in the Coen gallery of fascinating, eccentric characters, easily wins our sympathy thanks especially to Jeff Bridges, who is wonderful and shines together with John Goodman in a very funny and engaging story.
The Big Short (2015)
McKay simplifies a highly complicated subject (economy) with all types of ingenious (and hilarious) narrative devices (even breaking the fourth wall many times) to bring us an intelligent story about those who decided to bet against the American economy and the revolting dishonesty of a lot of people involved in it.
The Big Sick (2017)
If there is something that no one can blame this film from being is predictable, since it always finds ways to surprise us with its maturity and sincerity, benefiting from solid performances and a very fine balance between heart and humor to tell us this real-life story.
The Big Sleep (1946)
A smart detective story full of the most exquisite dialogue and with an extremely complex plot that prompts us to try to connect the pieces of the intricate puzzle in our heads, even if it actually does not answer all of the questions (the death of a certain character is left unsolved).
A Bigger Splash (2015)
A very fine example of remake that differs considerably from the original movie, not to be better but to come up with new turns and possibilities to an existing story, and so it ends up offering a good deal of additional layers to a narrative and characters that already had many.
Billy Elliot (2000)
It comes as a truly delightful surprise how a simple story like this can be made into such a wonderful, captivating film that makes us cry and laugh in equal measure, and the best thing is that it never resorts to easy clichés or shows things in black and white like many would.
A prelude to the game Resident Evil 5, thus made for the fans. It can also be taken as a follow-up to RE: Apocalypse deviating from the way the movie series is going. The purists will love it, but as a film it has enormous plot holes, stupid characters, cheesy dialogue and the animation is subpar.
Bird Box (2018)
Raising inevitable comparisons to The Happening and A Quiet Place, this movie may not be a great example of originality but offers a very solid and often scary plot about parental protection (or overprotection) versus taking risks in a world of invisible, blinding dangers.
The Birdcage (1996)
With a deliciously flamboyant Nathan Lane stealing the scene and Robin Williams in a greatly nuanced composition, this fun comedy also boasts elaborate camera movements and knows really well how funny it is, not even resorting to any sort of cute music to underline its humor.
An embarrassing dreck that is so bad it defies comprehension, with what seems to be the most incompetent editing and worst (unmixed) sound ever. And what to say of those ridiculous CGI birds? Even Ed Wood would run away from something like this.
A spectacular piece of virtuoso cinema that impresses not only for its remarkable technical achievement (Lubezki reached heavens with that jaw-dropping “forged” long-take), but also for being an incredibly well-constructed (and hilarious) character study with Michael Keaton in a magnificent career-defining performance.
The Birth of a Nation (1915)
It was definitely innovative in many ways when it came out and still delivers a timeless anti-war message, but it is nearly impossible to read “the helpless white minority” and not feel outraged by the film’s odious racism as it vilifies black people and glorifies the Ku Klux Klan.
The Birth of a Nation (2016)
There is great material for a powerful drama here, but director Nate Parker tries too hard to soften it and avoid any controversies regarding his hero’s actions — which is a pity considering that they are perfectly understandable in view of the horrible suffering he endures.
Bitch Slap (2009)
A trashy, over-the-top and deliciously sly exploitation flick that comes up as a bitch slap indeed, with three sexy big-breasted chicks kicking asses and firing huge guns in a stylish comic book universe and a clever narrative full of fun twists.
A very sharp, thought-provoking and also superbly directed story conceived within a perfect 4‑act-and-an-epilogue structure and having only a room as stage to depict the degrading vices of relationships, like manipulation, self-humiliation and power games.
A Bittersweet Life (2005)
A tragic tale of revenge with very well-choreographed fighting and violence — which can be shocking given the level of physical abuse that the character is put through -, and it features a spectacular performance by Byung-hun Lee and a surprisingly beautiful, touching ending.
This sad and depressing drama wants to rely on an unbearable sense of tragedy that doesn’t always feel genuine, but even so it benefits from a strong performance by Bardem, who is able to inject some complexity into his character despite the rather artificial plot.
Björk: Biophilia Live (2014)
Biophilia is not one of my favorite Björk albums, far from it actually, but for the fans out there who love it more than I do this concert film will certainly prove to be a special experience, a psychedelic trip in which her music is interwoven so harmonically with beautiful images.
Black Box BRD (2001)
An uninteresting and frustratingly dull documentary that makes us want to know more about what motivated Wolfgang Grams but keeps forcing us to see and hear endless people talk about his and Alfred Herrhausen’s lives like two very superficial biographies thrown together.
The Black Cauldron (1985)
It is too uncomfortably dark for children (in a way that made me think of He-Man), while also too silly, shallow and unmemorable for an older audience — thus, not aimed at any audience in particular and flawed enough to be remembered only for its technical accomplishment.
Black Coal, Thin Ice (2014)
It is baffling to see that the Berlin International Film Festival gave the Golden Bear to this sterile movie that plods along through some very dull revelations and doesn’t work in any level: not as a mystery/thriller/film noir, nor as a romance, nor even as a character study.
Black Christmas (1974)
Even if uneven and with many unnecessary scenes that are there just to bloat the paper-thin plot, this is an effective horror movie (and one of the precursors of the slasher subgenre) that can be quite disturbing and tense when refusing to reveal the killer’s identity.
Black Christmas (2006)
Just another shitty remake in a world so full of many: unpleasant (but not in a good way), completely devoid of scares and with an awful, unimaginative plot in which no one is smart enough to call the police when things become seriously weird.
Black Dynamite (2009)
An amusing and sometimes hilarious tribute to low-budget 1970s blaxploitation films, with clumsy zooms, saturated colors and intentional filming errors to create the illusion of belonging to that era — something that Tarantino could have done better in his Death Proof.
Black God, White Devil (1964)
An essential milestone of Brazilian Cinema that boasts a strong sociopolitical conscience and throws us inside a powerful amalgam of hopeless reality and nightmarish mysticism in a cruel sertão plagued by starvation, drought, violence and religious fanaticism.
Black Ice (2007)
A tense psychological thriller that grows gripping and suffocating as we follow a cheated woman carrying a twisted plan of revenge till the last consequences — and it is brilliantly directed, paying great attention to details, and with two amazing performances by the lead actresses.
Black Mass (2015)
The trailer is incredibly misleading and makes the film seem like a Tarantinoesque comedy when in fact it is dense and too serious in tone, but at least it isn’t that bad once you stop caring about Johnny Depp’s ridiculous makeup and everyone else’s annoying faux-Bostonian accent.
If the intention was to create some kind of anti-interactive experience, then this is really unsettling with its ideas about control and free will, which couldn’t be more in accordance with the way it ties our hands; and yet, I would have definitely liked to see a much better plot here.
Black Panther (2018)
It was about time we saw a Marvel superhero blockbuster starring mostly African-American actors and achieving the success and popularity that it did — and even better is how great it is, with a thrilling climax and relatable characters that compensate for a couple of flaws in the script.
Black Sabbath (1963)
The visuals may be impressive, but logic is definitely not Bava’s forte, and so the first two stories we see here are laughably ridiculous (with also some serious misogynistic and racist undertones) while the last one (“The Drop of Water”) is the only effectively creepy.
Black Sunday (1960)
Bava may have a good eye for shadows and compositions, but his silly plot (which clearly borrows from Dracula) doesn’t make much sense once you stop to think about it, and so the result, which is now terribly dated, basically ranges from pathetic to laughable, with awful dialogue and acting.
Black Swan (2010)
Portman is dragged into insanity in what is for sure one of the most extraordinary performances of her career, and this is a spectacular (and fantastically directed) film that dives into the psyche of a disturbed character with a lot of symbolism and an incredible intensity.
Black Venus (2010)
A devastating and emotionally exhausting film that exposes without concessions (almost like a documentary and with the use of extreme close-ups) the real-life suffering of a poor woman brutally exploited, humiliated and treated like an animal for other people’s pleasure.
The Blackcoat’s Daughter (2015)
The film is quite effective in the way it builds a dark, unsettling atmosphere that makes us feel that something is wrong even if we don’t know exactly what, but still it fails to develop its themes and characters more consistently and just makes it really hard for us to care.
A revolting and well-edited documentary that exposes the infuriating reality behind aquatic shows performed by poor orcas that are kept in captivity and in extremely cruel conditions — and let’s only hope it will make people reconsider going to parks like SeaWorld ever again.
With this well-deserved answer to The Birth of a Nation, Spike Lee tells us a curious story using plenty of humor, conviction and style while making a necessary parallel between those events from the 1970s and the horrific resurgence of racial hatred today in Trump’s America.
Blade Runner (1982)
A dazzling post-modern sci-fi noir with an evocative atmosphere and a fascinating philosophical story about humanity, death and oblivion. The splendid ultimate deluxe version, or Final Cut, is considerably superior to the theatrical one, without its cheap, concocted happy ending and expository narration.
Blair Witch (2016)
Even if the use of the camera is a lot more organic and natural than in the first movie (and in so many other found footage films), this unoriginal rehash feels unnecessary and is not only a waste of time thanks to its effective, anguishing third act (kudos to the production design).
Blazing Saddles (1974)
There are a few moments here and there that made me laugh out loud, but on a whole this raunchy comedy shoots in every direction with a bunch of silly, hit-or-miss gags whose punch lines we can see from miles away — and also, what the hell is so funny about people farting?
An absorbing narrative exercise that plays with our perception of reality as it makes us see things from the perspective of its blind protagonist’s imagination, but it may also prove too unemotional an experience for some to care about unreal characters and situations.
The Blind Side (2009)
A patronizing drama that uses a manipulative narrative structure to make you buy its disgusting message that for a black young kid such as Big Mike to succeed in life, he should follow closely what he is told by his “white Republican saviors,” for only they know what is best.
It is hard to see an intelligent film that transits so smoothly from buddy comedy to serious drama within a structure that is essentially Shakespearean, with characters that never seem less than real and a hard-hitting racial statement delivered with the necessary acuity and perception.
The Bling Ring (2013)
Coppola adopts an interesting neutral approach to this ironic and witty story of glamour and celebrity culture, never pointing fingers or trying to understand her characters but just taking a wry look at the empty lives of a bunch of shallow, selfish and spoiled teenagers.
Blissfully Yours (2002)
A languid film that wants to capture a moment in time and create an evocative atmosphere with an immersive sound design, but director Apichatpong Weerasethakul seems to think that idyllic and tedious are the same, and so the film ends up having the effect of a sleeping pill.
Blood Simple. (1984)
The Coens’ first film was this extremely well-written and well-directed neo-noir that blends violence and humor and relies on an insane amount of misunderstandings and absurdities involving its characters — something that would become their trademark narrative style.
Blood Ties (2013)
It is a world of men, and so all female characters are one-dimensional and revolve around them, while Billy Crudup delivers the only nuanced performance in a weak movie filled with too many characters who are mostly underdeveloped and make it lose focus like a soap opera.
Antonioni shows a wonderful eye for colors, shapes and stunning compositions, relying mostly on David Hemmings’ impeccable performance and Carlo di Palma’s exceptional cinematography to dissolve the limits between reality and our perception of it.
The Blue Angel (1930)
What is most memorable in this first-rate tragic classic, apart from Jannings’ superb performance, is Marlene Dietrich’s incredibly enticing, magnetic presence — which not by chance launched her into international stardom -, but the film also looks and sounds a bit dated today.
Blue Is the Warmest Color (2013)
Kechiche does a phenomenal work to adapt a maudlin graphic novel into this powerful, deeply sincere and devastating drama that gets under our skin with an incredibly real intensity and is lifted even more by a sensational, Oscar-deserving performance by Exarchopoulos.
Blue Jasmine (2013)
At the head of a great cast, Cate Blanchett deserved all the awards that she got for her fantastic performance in this thought-provoking character study, given how she is able to inspire our most profound sympathy as a pitiful woman who we would hardly want to have around us in real life.
Blue Jay (2016)
What is most incredible in this profoundly sensitive, mature drama is that there is no script and the wonderful dialogue is entirely improvised, while Duplass and Paulson have such an amazing chemistry together that everything their characters tell each other sounds so real and painful.
The Blue Light (1932)
One of Hitler’s favorite films was this well-photographed but harmless fable that doesn’t offer much to compensate for how dull and silly it is — not to mention the obvious problem that arises from the fact that a blue light is the last thing that can be seen in a black-and-white movie.
The Blue Room (2014)
It is very hard to find something appealing in a sterile drama that plods along with a suspense devoid of tension, dull courtroom scenes and a whodunit plot that is never engaging, all without making us relate to its characters in any level, especially when they are all equally dull.
Blue Ruin (2013)
A visceral revenge thriller whose nerve-racking tension goes hand in hand with its dark sense of humor as it follows the inept (and sometimes hilarious) efforts of its amateur protagonist and moves in a deliberate, slow-burning pace towards a depressing conclusion.
Blue Valentine (2010)
The careful pacing and three-dimensional characters are what makes this drama so realistic and involving, a wonderful and sincere portrait of a relationship in collapse and how the weight of real life can irremediably damage the happy-end dream for a couple living together.
The Blues Brothers (1980)
Even if it is bloated, overlong and not really able to maintain a regular rhythm for a comedy, thus dragging exceedingly and making its jokes feel sparse sometimes, this is still a charming film that can be very funny in its best moments to compensate for those flaws.
I never like to think of what a movie could have been, but it is hard not to do so when you see an uninspired film like this that, despite a few good cynical moments, is generally superficial in its ambitions and hardly manages to be tense, engaging or anything beyond cliched.
Body Double (1984)
Brian De Palma seems to be enjoying quite a lot to poke fun at the artificiality of cinema with this delicious pastiche that pays homage to Hitchcock’s films (mainly Vertigo and Rear Window) and plays with the limits of narrative and language as he injects his own style into it.
Body Electric (2017)
By focusing the action on a series of seemingly uneventful situations that may trick us into thinking they are trivial, Caetano creates a subtle film that takes place between the lines of what is shown, when we are able to catch glimpses of what must be weighing on the character’s soul.
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
In the end, it doesn’t really matter that you have all those amazing songs and some fantastic performances if the movie’s script is so lazy and mediocre at best, unable to explore who Freddie Mercury was as a person and frustratingly superficial about the whole thing (including the songs).
This feels pretty much like what it is: an important story about women standing up against systemic patriarchal domination but told by men — which, in this case, means something oversimplified (not just the story but also the debate) and only on the nose when it shouldn’t really be.
Bone Tomahawk (2015)
The third act is only brutally shocking and terrifying because of Zahler’s wise decision to take his time and focus the first two acts on the characters, thus calmly developing their motivations and personalities in order to make us care about the horrors that befall them next.
The Book of Eli (2010)
The direction is so ridiculously overstylish, with a showy camera flying through windows and door holes so many times, that it almost made me forget how beautiful the static shots are. Even worse is the terrible story, a huge mess with several plot holes, impossible twists and conspicuous religious preaching everywhere.
The Book Thief (2013)
Messy as this aseptic drama is from a narrative point of view, with language inconsistencies and dozens of pointless elements, it is also a mystery what it wants to say after all, lacking emotional weight and tension while being completely detached from the real world.
Das Boot (1981)
A tense, claustrophobic and intense film that makes us empathize with soldiers from the wrong side of an inglorious war, and what a a terrific cinematography and outstanding sound and sound design, especially considering that the whole movie was shot silent and later re-dubbed.
Despite dragging a bit towards the end, this is an atypical fantastic romance that can be more bizarre and shocking than one would imagine — and Eva Melander and Eero Milonoff are phenomenal under tons of incredible makeup that almost made me believe their characters were real.
Born to Be Blue (2015)
A mature romance/biopic that takes an anguishing look at the life of a self-destructive artist struggling to have his old life back after becoming a heroin addict, with Ethan Hawke conveying an exceptionally nuanced combination of arrogance, vulnerability and determination.
Born Yesterday (1950)
Judy Holliday steals the show in this very funny and surprisingly thought-provoking romantic comedy about the importance of thinking and seeking knowledge in our society, where, still today, opinions are shaped by a ruling class that wants to conserve its position of power.
The Boss Baby (2017)
There is absolutely no excuse for this crappy animation to have been nominated for the Academy Awards (or anything other than the Razzies, which is what it deserved), since everything we see here is poorly thought out, the gags are pedestrian and terribly unfunny, and the plot just lame.
Bottle Rocket (1996)
Despite losing focus after a while and overstaying its welcome, Wes Anderson’s feature debut was already an early showcase of his impressive talent and great eye for compositions, offering us enough unpretentious amusement for as long as it lasts and reaching a hilarious climax.
The Bourne Identity (2002)
A thrilling movie that combines old-school espionage and great action scenes with intelligence and fine performances, and it is surprising how it works so well considering the many difficulties between Liman and the studio that led to a lot of rewrites and reshoots during production.
The Bourne Supremacy (2004)
Even superior to the first movie, this exhilarating sequel boasts a lot of action while it is always exciting to see Bourne use his brains and skills to stay one step ahead of the people who are after him, creating a clever inversion of roles in which the hunters become the prey.
The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)
This excellent third chapter is the best of the trilogy, with non-stop thrilling action, great performances and an intelligent plot that plays with our own perception of what we thought we knew (especially the last scene of the previous film) to come up with a satisfying conclusion.
The Bourne Legacy (2012)
A pathetic and useless follow-up to an excellent trilogy, making us follow another fugitive guy while Jason Bourne is only mentioned but never appears. Besides, apart from a few efficient scenes, it is mostly confusing and tedious, especially in its uninspired chase scenes.
Bowling for Columbine (2002)
You may not agree with Moore’s sometimes questionable methods, but there is no denying that he presents some very strong arguments in this important, thought-provoking exposé of what drives and motivates these occurrences in a country where fear is instilled into people by a crippled system.
The Box (2009)
Forget the box, the only real mystery in this huge atrocity is how a talented director like Richard Kelly could have devised it from a story by Richard Matheson, with awful dialogue, terrible acting and a ridiculous plot that doesn’t make any sense and doesn’t know how to end.
The Boxtrolls (2014)
A decent and visually pleasing 3D CGI stop-motion animation that is enjoyable but doesn’t do much outside the box, as it touches upon some interesting themes but never explores them in an entirely satisfying way — even though it does have its share of good moments.
The Boy (2015)
As innocuous as its title, it is awfully directed and edited, poorly paced and hugely incompetent in whatever it is trying to do as it fails to portray the kid’s evolution into a psychopath (he comes off as just annoying), and it is only not a complete disaster because of its forceful ending.
The Boy (2016)
The premise is creepy enough and could have been made into something much better than this stupid horror movie that is so banal, poorly written (the character’s motivations are laughable) and full of clichés (does anyone still get scared by those cheap dream scares?)
Boy A (2007)
Relying on an excellent performance by Andrew Garfield and at first a thought-provoking film about guilt, atonement and the right to start over as a new person, after two intriguing acts it all soon ends in a contrived conclusion that is disappointing and insubstantial.
Boy and the World (2013)
With a simple and lovely animation in pencil and crayon full of blank spaces contrasted with a kaleidoscope of images to show a world seen through the eyes of a child, this is an impressive story that grows to become a relevant commentary, even if it is not really subtle in doing so.
Boy Erased (2018)
Another film that suffers from a non-linear structure, as Edgerton breaks the flow of his story with unnecessary flashbacks and creates a sometimes confusing, disorienting feeling, and it is also a pity that there are only few moments that make what we see here stand out.
A fascinating and extremely captivating project shot over the course of twelve years to follow a boy from his childhood to his late adolescence, and what is most impressive is how fluid it always is even with a fragmented nature that doesn’t rely on a defined plotline.
A stupid film that embraces nearly every cliché of the gay-themed drama subgenre with a complete disregard for structure — as can be seen from the character’s erratic behavior that makes him look like a selfish retard and a subplot involving his brother that is simply discarded.
The Boys Are Back (2009)
A touching drama with a great melancholy soundtrack by Sigur Rós and an outstanding performance by Clive Owen as an adorable character whose actions you may not agree with but still you empathize with his honest efforts to raise his sons the way he believes to be the best.
The Boys from Brazil (1978)
It benefits from an intriguing mystery (though more ludicrous than disturbing), while Olivier and Peck have both their moments of excellence in a compelling thriller where they mostly seem to be in a hilarious dispute to see who overacts more and devours the whole scenery.
Boyz n the Hood (1991)
An unpretentious portrait of a neighborhood dominated by violence, police abuse and even misogyny, and, while it does have some funny moments, it is a serious, realistic look at a slice of American society at constant odds with limited opportunities and public indifference.
BPM (Beats per Minute) (2017)
The experience of watching this film can be nearly unbearable, as it not only depicts the strenuous efforts of ACT UP in the ’80s but mainly forces us to look and face the horrible consequences of an epidemic that ruined the lives of so many people while those in power refused to see.
The power lies in the hands of the people, who should not fear those who want to control or silence them, and this is such an inspiring documentary of great historical importance that proves that small labor victories can create a big impact even in ungrateful times of military oppression.
Both a showcase of Rodrigo Santoro’s talent and an exposé of the horrible conditions of mental institutions in Brazil (based on a real life story), this is an tragic and unsettling drama that looks quite realistic with its use of handheld camera and blueish cinematography.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
Coppola tries so hard to make something stylish above anything else that his film seems like a ludicrous comedy, with so many laughable camera movements, ridiculous overacting and cheesy effects in a mostly incoherent adaptation of what is supposed to be a terrifying story.
With an always priceless Vittorio Gassman and this time even including some fantasy in its plot, this intelligent, hilarious and fabulous sequel is almost on a par with the original Italian masterpiece, although I really miss Gian Maria Volonté and the ending is not so great.
The Brand New Testament (2015)
I hate Poelvoorde and it is a torture to endure him in this complete failure that doesn’t work as a comedy (it is simply not funny) nor as the clever, insightful parable that it (wrongly) believes to be, being instead dull, empty and pointless, while suffering from serious tonal problems.
While the music feels a bit excessive sometimes, this is a concise and informative documentary that may be too short to cover more aspects of the city but touches on some very interesting points as it takes a look at its depressing contradictions.
After Cars 2, Pixar continues in its downward spiral with another subpar animation. On one hand, it is great to see an independent princess who doesn’t need a prince to protect her — but a pity though that the weak script relies on a quite obvious, unoriginal message.
The Breadwinner (2017)
With beautiful visuals and a similar premise to the devastating Osama, this is a poignant animated film that doesn’t shy away from its harrowing subject and yet is able to come up with a surprising amount of lightness in the fantasy stories that its protagonist always returns to.
It becomes unsettling to see and hear the film running backwards after it is over, as Toni Basil seems to be fighting desperately to break free with her frenetic dance moves from the celluloid chains that hold her still in each frame and locked within the screen.
Breaking the Waves (1996)
It is curious to see how Lars von Trier uses a number of plot elements and devices that could be simply considered too hard to buy and more appropriate in a soap opera, and yet he manages to make everything so touching and genuinely devastating, with a powerful performance by Emily Watson.
Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961)
This adorable blend of romance, comedy and sweetness includes several new narrative elements and significant alterations in the original story that only add to it making it even more delightful — and even if miscast, Hepburn surprises with a very special performance.
The Breakfast Club (1985)
An adorable classic of the ’80s that still feels fresh, showing five teenage kids opening up about their personal problems with a great dialogue and inspired actions — and it is Judd Nelson who is unforgettable as the rebel youngster that acts as the catalyst of everyone’s emotions.
Breaking In (2018)
There is nothing remotely original, clever, entertaining, tense or exciting in this lousy break-in thriller that reuses the dullest clichés you could think of and is filled with dumb characters who make the most stupid decisions all the time, even when trying to appear smart.
With this tender and sensitive film that ought to be felt and experienced, Kim Ki-Duk explores again many of the narrative elements that are also present in his previous films and which he is so fascinated about, such as love, silence, loneliness and the passage of time.
The Breath (2009)
This Turkish piece of Nationalist propaganda could have been a nice character study if it weren’t for its pathetic directing choices (the dream scenes and delusions are ridiculous) and all that awful, pseudo-profound poetry constantly declaimed throughout the whole film.
With an excellent direction by Karl Markovics (who also wrote the script and starred in The Counterfeiters), this is a moving drama that follows a nuanced and well-constructed character played impressively well by the so far unknown but very talented Thomas Schubert.
Bride of Frankenstein (1935)
Whale returns to his Frankenstein with this amusing sequel that has an even campier, deliciously wrier humor and offers more depth to Karloff’s Monster, while everything is also more complete here (despite gaps in logic), including a score that was missing in the original movie.
Bride of Re-Animator (1989)
It is clearly meant to be a reference to Bride of Frankenstein but the script is stupid and makes very little sense considering what happened in the first film. Still, Jeffrey Combs and David Gale steal the scene and the movie has some nice moments of gory humor.
Bride of the Monster (1955)
If you are acquainted with Ed Wood’s works, you know well what to expect, but the problem is that this is never bad enough to be worth a laugh, only a horrible schlock full of hideous performances and with a plot that defies all comprehension and good sense.
The Bride with White Hair (1993)
I can clearly see where the inspiration for my beloved Xena came from, but this cheesy Hong Kong martial arts film is just passable entertainment that relies too much on the use of step-printed slow motion and is filled with repetition and expository dialogue instead of enough fighting.
Sure it could have been less drippy and relied less on talking heads, but this documentary at least makes up for that with the strength of what it tells: a heartbreaking story about a stupid death, the pain that comes with it and the intolerance of religious people.
Brideshead Revisited (2008)
This is an interesting yet certainly not memorable drama with fine performances and a strong story about family, religion and faith in the context of the decadence of British aristocracy prior to WWII, and it may leave you thinking about it long after the film is over.
A hilarious comedy with a gross sense of humor that elevates its first act to incredibly hilarious before moving confidently to a more emotional tone, with Kristen Wiig in a great performance. I can only complain, though, that it is a bit overlong and has a rather too-easy conclusion.
Bridge of Spies (2015)
Spielberg shows once again that, even with a strong material in his hands, he can’t resist giving in to the usual lack of subtlety that has plagued his most recent works, and so this is a decent but heavy-handed film that is obvious even in its score and cinematography.
An excellent war movie focused on characters rather than on battles, with an intense Oscar-winning performance by Alec Guinness. The cinematography is not flawless, with some scenes visibly filmed during the day and darkened to appear as night, but this is compensated by a suspenseful climax that is unforgettable.
Bridget Jones’s Diary (2001)
Zellweger is quite adorable in this heartwarming romantic comedy that compensates for its relative predictability with a lot of charm and heart, and it is also very nice to see how the great songs heard in the film punctuate what happens on screen with a good deal of sensibility.
While in the first movie Bridget Jones was an adorable character, here she is a neurotic, irritating and selfish caricature that gets herself in only stupid, artificial situations, and even worse than the fact that this film seems like an unfocused collage of sketches is that it is not funny at all.
Bridget Jones’s Baby (2016)
Bridget Jones used to be adorable and charismatic in the first film, but now it can be irritating to see her behave so much like a retard; besides, the movie has a lot of clichés and doesn’t manage to be consistently funny, even if it does have its hilarious moments and some charm.
Brief Encounter (1945)
A delicate and tearful romance that offers a surprisingly honest look into extramarital love considering when it was made, my sole objection being intrusive scenes involving secondary characters which interfere sometimes with the focus and tone of the main plotline.
A Brief History of Time (1991)
As conventional as a routine documentary made for television, it feels not only superficial in the way it covers Hawking’s life and theories (sometimes even lacking in clarity) but also irritating as it doesn’t let us know who the interviewees are (there are no captions whatsoever).
A lousy movie made by someone who clearly doesn’t understand allegories and who probably loves RPGs but has no idea how to write a script — which in this case is full of awful redundant dialogue, wasted villains and Will Smith so irritating trying to be sassy all the time.
Bright Star (2009)
A mostly genteel and restrained love story between poet John Keats and Fanny Brawne, with very solid performances by Abbie Cornish, Paul Schneider and Ben Whishaw — and there is one particularly cathartic scene by the end of the film that did move me to tears.
Brigsby Bear (2017)
There’s not a single note in this Spike Jonze wannabe Sundance indie that rings true or plausible, as it plods along with serious tonal issues until reaching a stupid ending in which the characters behave in ways that are completely incoherent with what we just saw from them.
Bringing Up Baby (1938)
It is ironic that this enjoyable film flopped when it was still original and now is highly regarded as a masterpiece when it is obviously outdated and full of silly gags for today’s standards — and despite her great chemistry with Grant, Hepburn is more irritating than funny.
Britney: For the Record (2008)
Despite the promo vibes surrounding the making of this film and how it feels maybe too short for the subject it wants to cover, we leave this touching documentary with a sour taste in the mouth after watching such a popular artist talk so candidly about what it is like to be herself.
Broadcast News (1987)
It deserved all Oscar nominations it got (especially for its exceptional script) and should have received another for best director too, considering how well Brooks understands his characters and draws impeccable performances from its three actors, who have an amazing chemistry together.
An emotionally intense, realistic and expertly edited drama about love, loss and sorrow, with two great heartfelt performances and a stirring bluegrass soundtrack. It is just a shame, though, that in the third act it simply chooses to embrace a dishonest spiritual conclusion.
Broken Embraces (2009)
A pretentious and ridiculously self-aggrandizing melodrama that feels like an empty excuse to explore the beauty of Almodóvar’s muse Penélope Cruz with his camera — and that unwelcome self-reference to one of his classic films is not only unfunny but a complete embarrassment.
The Brood (1979)
From the master of body horror David Cronenberg comes this gruesome and thoroughly amusing film that is better to be seen without you knowing anything about (even if it isn’t really surprising), and it has an unforgettable ending that could only become an instant classic.
What makes this handsome, sensitive drama so likable is not only Saoirse Ronan’s remarkable central performance (and her undeniable chemistry with Emory Cohen), but also how well it understands the pain of homesickness and our longing to figure out where home is.
An honest Venezuelan drama that benefits from the heartfelt way that it depicts the intense relationship between the two brothers and how much they care about each other, and it reaches a solid ending that reflects a harsh reality where dreams get shattered by misery and violence.
The Brotherhood of Satan (1971)
A dreadful horror movie that seems completely incapable of being any scary, which can be blamed on how awfully edited and directed it is, with scenes that get stretched much beyond what we can take — and it does not help that the lame plot is so nonsensical.
A compelling drama that examines the emotional impact of war on the family of a soldier who is presumed dead in Afghanistan. The intense performances, especially by a superb Tobey Maguire, and the honest dialogue prevent it from slipping into easy melodrama.
Brothers at War (2009)
An honest documentary about the lives of American soldiers in Iraq, initially conceived by the filmmaker as a way to portray the routine and experiences of his two brothers serving there but then growing into something quite revealing about the relationship between them.
The Brothers Bloom (2008)
A delightful, clever and whimsical comedy that boasts great performances by its entire cast and an amusing — if also forgettable — narrative with many scenes that bring to mind the humor seen in the films of Wes Anderson and the Coen brothers.
The Brown Bunny (2003)
Almost silent and surprisingly tender, this is a sad and haunting portrait of a man with a broken heart and full of sorrow, and it evokes a constant feeling of melancholy and solitude, like with the songs that play along the film following the character’s fragmented state of mind.
Buccaneer Soul (1993)
Visibly inspired by the French New Wave in his approach and in the way he follows his intuition as an artist, Reichenbach creates a very personal yet uneven film that seems to be struggling to find a focus but makes up for that with a lot of soul, conviction and affection.
A Bucket of Blood (1959)
What is most amusing in this light, unpretentious comedy-horror movie is seeing how it makes fun of the beatniks and relies on the protagonist’s hilarious maladroitness for ironic ends. Still, the low budget shows, especially in an unimpressive climax that lacks the thrills to make us care.
Buena Vista Social Club (1999)
The music is definitely wonderful, and it is more than a pleasure to listen to these musicians talk about their lives; but it is hard to overlook Wenders’ weird direction, with his annoying camera circling around them all the time, and the excess of attention he pays to Ry Cooder.
Buffalo ’66 (1999)
It doesn’t care at all if we are going to hate his character, and despite being a bit uneven, especially close to the end when its protagonist’s motivations feel weirdly out of character, this is an always absorbing film that manages to make us empathize with such a detestable person.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992)
The best thing is that Joss Whedon’s cult TV show is infinitely better than this cheesy and poorly-directed (non-canonical) movie that leaves out nearly all of the best parts of the script (which is not even that good) and has basically only Kristy Swanson’s charisma to commend.
Not really about the mafia of hormones as it is about a tormented man insecure about his masculinity — but the film’s misled attempt to focus on both subjects makes it too complicated, with so many unnecessary scenes. Still, Schoenaerts is perfect as the fascinating protagonist.
An important doc focusing on an enraging matter that has always been a very serious problem in schools. Still, it could have been better edited to have those five stories put together — and after a while it even starts to become a bit redundant and repetitious.
Michael Bay should take notes from Travis Knight on how to make a Transformers movie that lets you see and understand what is happening before your eyes, and this is an exhilarating throwback to the ’80s that looks and feels like something Steven Spielberg would have made in that decade.
An insightful look at an unconventional transgressive artist who would challenge the limits of art and what art can be by trying to evoke the most visceral reactions of shock and discomfort from the audiences, and it is his complexity that makes this documentary so fascinating.
A manipulative thriller that wants to be a claustrophobic experience but has an irritatingly intrusive score and a heavy-handed, unnecessarily overstylish direction. Besides, Reynolds is not very good and his character acts like an imbecile during most of the film.
I don’t know what is worse, the insufferable songs or how this trashy modern musical fairy-tale is so predictable, boring and full of clichés from the first scene till the last. There is nothing original or remotely interesting in it and it isn’t even bad enough to make us laugh.
Burn After Reading (2008)
An insanely hilarious melange of comedy and thriller as one would imagine from the Coen Brothers, with a bizarre story full of characters who are stupid beyond comprehension and great performances by its whole cast, especially Brad Pitt stealing the scene.
The Burning (1981)
A 1980s slasher that manages to be efficient despite looking so trashy (there are scenes we can’t even say if they are meant to take place during day or night), deserving more credit for its gore (especially in an infamous raft scene) than for being less brainless than Friday the 13th.
Unlike Lee’s previous film Poetry, which couldn’t bring together so many plot elements into a cohesive and consistent whole, here the large number of elements, details and subtext are more than crucial in the construction of a complex narrative so rich in layers and meaning.
Bus 174 (2002)
An always gripping, harrowing and thought-provoking documentary that dives deep into an open sore of Brazilian society and exposes some of the most terrible social issues that have been driving out of control a city dominated by violence and indifference.
But I’m a Cheerleader (1999)
Even as an exaggeration, with its overuse of pink/green and showing the rehab camp people as caricatures, this smart satire is actually sadder than funny when you realize it is not so far from reality, especially when you see that idiots like that really exist trying to cure gays.
A disappointing hippie Western that is too light for its own good and errs in tone by diluting the urgency of the story with a tongue-in-cheek humor and endless landscape shots that make it painfully slow — not to mention how hard it is to care about its one-dimensional characters.
The Butler (2013)
A sincere drama with good intentions but which simplifies an important matter to the point of seeming rather contrived and reductionist. Despite that, it is Forest Whitaker who makes up for its flaws and for the important feel that is evident in its cast full of stars.
Butter on the Latch (2013)
Josephine Decker is a terribly incompetent filmmaker who clearly has no understanding of the basic function of a camera or how it works, as she exhibits in this empty and insufferable waste of time an awful sense of framing and apparently believes that lack of focus is “artsy.”
The concept of alternate realities is always intriguing and Berger’s excellent editing expertly moves between the two storylines using fluid scene transitions, but the problem is that the silly, unimpressive plot doesn’t have much else to offer beyond a good idea.
By the Grace of God (2018)
I like how Ozon takes his time to focus on each character before moving to the next, creating a mosaic study of the personal trauma faced by victims of pedophilia in the Catholic Church and also of the solidarity and friendship that grew between those people who shared a tragedy in common.
Bye Bye Brazil (1980)
While it may seem that it lacks a stronger conclusion, this deceptively simple road movie benefits from some fine performances and uses a lot of humor to address social matters and discuss the alienation of a people struggling to find its own identity in decadent times.