Ma Mère (2004)
Despite how flat it seems at first, this French film is so provocative and perverse that I’m afraid a lot of people won’t get its point, and I love how it explores the vulnerability of Garrel’s character through his constant nudity and overflowing sexual desire.
Ma’ Rosa (2016)
It looks poorly made and amateurish, unable to offer any actual insight into its protagonist and dragging with many long takes of people walking from one place to another instead of cutting straight to what matters, and it is more obvious and predictable than it thinks it is.
Beautifully directed and edited, with a stunning cinematography, a haunting score and two magnificent performances by Fassbender and Cotillard, this undeniably cinematic experience is a mesmerizing adaptation of Shakespeare’s classic tale of ambition, fear, guilt and madness.
An empty and silly exercise in cheap exploitation with unfunny attempts at humor and a stupid plot that is preposterous even for a film that is not supposed to be taken seriously — which makes me think that sometimes a fake trailer should just remain that.
In Cinema, a picture is really worth a thousand words, and this is a visually arresting and piercing look into the daily work of laborers at a gigantic textile factory in India, exposing in a mostly silent way the ugly exploitation and ungrateful conditions to which they are submitted.
The Machinist (2004)
Relying on a bluish palette of desaturated colors, Anderson creates a tense atmosphere of nightmare, but it is Christian Bale who deserves especial merit for his unbelievable dedication (mostly physical) in this intriguing thriller about the unbearable weight of guilt.
A Brazilian surrealist movie based on a modernist novel, full of vibrant colors and bizarre characters in what is clearly supposed to be a political commentary; it is only a pity that it is not really funny and starts to lose focus after a promising, fascinating beginning.
Mad Doctor of Blood Island (1968)
This awful low-budget B‑movie is not even bad enough to be funny and entertaining, it is just plain bad, with terrible actors, a pathetic plot that makes very little sense and a vomit-inducing use of zoom (in and out, again and again) to create tension where there is none.
Mad Max (1979)
A decent cult action movie full of great stunts and car crashes that make the best of a very low budget, even though the story takes a bit too long to speed up, making the entire beginning a little dragged and reaching its narrative core with only fifteen minutes left to end.
Mad Max 2: The Road Warrior (1981)
It may frustrate viewers looking for a well-defined plot, but for those who love fast cars and roaring engines, thrilling action and exciting stunts, it is as great as it can be, with exceptional post-apocalyptic sets and costumes that make everything look so over-the-top and unique.
It fully embraces the extravagant “pox-ecliptic” over-the-topness that had already been injected into Mad Max 2 and made that film so visually unique, thus being more entertaining than the previous movies even if more cerebral and less action-oriented (or perhaps because of that).
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Apparently, it takes an old veteran like George Miller to show this new generation of young filmmakers how action can be exhilarating, and so he gives us this high-octane, adrenaline-fueled roller coaster of a movie that is technically flawless, visually astonishing and looks amazing in 3D.
A mediocre CGI animation that was clearly conceived to please children and children only yet no one cared to make it remotely interesting for adults as well, offering a sub-par plot full of pedestrian jokes, annoying characters and silly pop references that get tired real fast.
With funnier jokes, better animation and more inspired references, this entertaining sequel is considerably superior to the first movie, boasting also a sweet message about love transcending all differences and characters much more charismatic now than ever before.
This useless sequel has a very great beginning but all the rest simply doesn’t work. It fails to engage, fails to be amusing, fails in every lousy attempt at humor, and after a while you are left with something that is so much more irritating than enjoyable.
Madame Satã (2002)
Lázaro Ramos delivers a ferocious performance in this absorbing character study that dives into the world of an outcast to explore matters like poverty, race, gender and sex, even though it feels a bit incomplete and superficial as it doesn’t go deep enough into its character as it should.
Madeline’s Madeline (2018)
Decker’s usual directing style and artsy-fartsy mannerisms become organic for a story about mental illness, making us share the character’s dissociation, but the film is sadly uneven, with almost as many brilliant moments as obvious ones and not really going anywhere in the end.
A delicious French comedy based on a real story involving Eric Rohmer and Jocelyn Quivrin, and centered on an immature yet charismatic character at the hilarious backstage and shooting of a film with its bloopers, budget problems and behind-scenes romance.
Magic in the Moonlight (2014)
The dialogue is painfully expository and it is hard to accept that such a self-centered rationalist would be this easily convinced without asking the most fundamental questions about what he is witnessing. Besides, the plot is too predictable for anyone acquainted with Allen’s works.
Magic Mike (2012)
The steady direction and great performances contribute to make this an engaging drama about two male strippers whose lives move in opposite directions of the same path. It begins amusing but then gradually grows more and more serious as the story starts to question their lifestyle.
Magic Mike XXL (2015)
Magic Mike hits the road with his guys in a fun Priscilla Queen of the Desert kind of trip and the result is this sexy and solid sequel that has its share of amusing moments and — of course — gives a special attention to those hot toned male bodies that should be expected.
The premise is a tad too familiar and nothing that hasn’t been shown before in The Walking Dead or George Romero’s movies, but Hobson makes up for it by sustaining an oppressive, relentless atmosphere of melancholy despite the film lacking in plot (and character) development.
Maggie’s Plan (2015)
It is true that it lacks enough cohesion and becomes a bit repetitive after halfway through, but still this is a sweet Woody-Allen-esque movie that works mostly because of its great cast and because Greta Gerwig is always so adorable that she makes it worth it.
Magical Girl (2014)
Vermut proves already in his second film that he has a very interesting voice, giving us this story that remains always gripping as it shows how the lives of three different people get ironically intertwined by some unhappy circumstances — most of which provoked by themselves.
The Magnificent Seven (1960)
An entertaining Western remake of Kurosawa’s samurai classic and, like that film, more concerned with developing its characters and letting them grown on us instead of just focusing on the battle, while the great cast and Bernstein’s score make it epic and unforgettable.
The Magnificent Seven (2016)
If there is an issue I have with this remake is that these mercenaries become heroes fighting for justice too fast, but all that is compensated by how thrilling and intense it is, with amazing visuals and a production design that makes it look like a true throwback to classic Westerns.
I love that song, and the film’s first hour is solid enough despite the occasionally risible lines, but then it starts to seem more and more like a cheap soap opera, with many contrived situations and a lame, awfully sexist conclusion that should make any feminist cringe with disgust.
Maioria Absoluta (1964)
By presenting numbers and offering the illiterate poor a chance to speak for themselves, Hirszman brings their distant reality to an indifferent middle class that seems completely oblivious to a horrible social disease, and it is tragic to see that things haven’t changed much ever since.
Make Mine Music (1946)
This uneven post-war animated anthology — the third of Disney’s six package films released in the 1940s — feels more like a popular version of Fantasia, with pop music in lieu of the Classics, yet none of the segments is memorable, not even as shorts, much less put together.
Making a Murderer (2015)
The kind of true crime documentary that is just too unbelievable and horrendous to be true, and while emotionally exhausting and also one-sided (to be honest, I wouldn’t be surprised if Steven Avery and Brendan Dassey did in fact kill Teresa Halbach), it offers very strong arguments and evidence to support that they are both innocent and victims of an awful justice system.
Mala Mala (2014)
The fact that this film talks about transsexuals and drag queens as if they all belonged in the same group is not only counterproductive in terms of information but exposes its lack of focus, which is also evident in the unnecessarily large amount of characters that are presented.
Angelina Jolie is radiant and delivers a nuanced performance in this decent retelling of the fairy tale that features dazzling visuals, a great score and a welcome modern message, even if the director tones it down to a light Disney level instead of making it more urgent and epic.
A movie that seems completely lost about what it wants to accomplish or say with a bunch of ideas that never come together in any consistent way, moving in the end towards something that could never be satisfying enough and managing to become sillier at each turn and revelation.
Not only poorly directed and with an awful score, but most of the gags are painfully unfunny and most of the characters are painfully annoying in a stupid story that can’t find any compelling reason to exist and is only a misfire that plods along with no sense of structure.
The Maltese Falcon (1941)
Bogart is perfect as an arrogant detective who tries (along with us) to make heads and tails of an extremely intricate and dizzy affair, and the best thing is that it has an incredibly well-constructed plot in which all of the pieces fit in the end leaving no loose ends.
It is frustrating to see an efficient (and very scary) short movie adapted into such a weak feature film that, despite some creepy moments and good visual effects, is sadly bogged down by a pile of cheap scares, clichés and inconsistencies.
Mamma Mia! (2008)
I don’t wanna talk about the things I’ve gone through, watching this trashy, cheesy and poorly directed ABBA musical in which almost no one can sing decently — especially Pierce Brosnan, who sounds like a dog barking — and it only makes me wonder what this is all for.
Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again (2018)
Despite the nice scene transitions, the two parallel storylines are not always put together in an organic way, but while Ol Parker’s direction is not so en pointe either, this uplifting sequel is notably superior to the awful first movie in about everything: singing, acting and heart.
A Man Called Ove (2015)
It is impressive how it has so many clichés but manages to be so honest and have a heart — an enormous heart actually, just like its protagonist, who wins us over despite his excessive grumpiness (or because of it) and thanks to Rolf Lassgård’s touching performance.
A Man Escaped (1956)
Bresson is not interested in big emotions or catharsis (he doesn’t even mind telling us the end of the film in the title) but rather drawn to details and method, and so he crafts a meticulous and tremendously absorbing classic that depicts each step taken by the protagonist to reach his objective.
The Man from Earth (2007)
It is always interesting to see a science fiction film centered on constant dialogue, even if it never reaches the full potential of its fascinating idea and remains somewhat obvious, with also unlikable characters. Besides, the acting is not very good either.
The Man from London (2007)
For a filmmaker who is so obsessed with aesthetic rigor, it is strange that Tárr doesn’t seem to mind about all that horrible, fake-looking dubbing, yet still this is an evocative film (albeit repetitive and not so well finished) that makes beautiful use of strong black and white contrasts.
The Man from the Future (2011)
It is quite clumsy in the beginning, with a clichéd cinematography and lame dialogue, but soon it surprises us by becoming a funny, touching and well-constructed film with smart twists, great performances and an excellent soundtrack in a story full of heart.
The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (2015)
In a year full of post-modern spy movies, it is so refreshing to see a delicious and stylish old-fashioned espionage film, not only technically sensational (mainly the cinematography, art direction and editing) but also extremely effective as an exciting mix of action and comedy.
A Man of Integrity (2017)
Rasoulof makes a daring film that exposes the endemic corruption, hellish bureaucracy and outrageous oppression embedded in Iranian society as we witness a decent man sinking deep into a nightmare and forced by some appalling circumstances to betray everything he stands for.
Man of Steel (2013)
For someone who has never been a fan of Superman as a character, this movie is not really impressive, as it relegates to flashbacks every dramatic scene that would help build him as a relatable person — and it does so in order to jump fast into brainless, inconsequential action.
Man of Tai Chi (2013)
If you watch this bilingual martial arts movie for its fighting scenes, you will have plenty to enjoy, for they are really great, but apart from that it is quite forgettable and has nothing else to offer, with Keanu Reeves directing it with no passion and playing a cartoonish villain.
The Man of the Crowd (2013)
Shot in a color-faded, Polaroid-like square image that underscores the melancholy of the story through some beautiful evocative shots, this telling study of solitude is silently moving, exploring the character’s isolation and sad inability to belong in the crowd.
The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)
A one-joke comedy that wants to carry the absurdity of its premise throughout the entire plot. At first it is a funny idea but it wears out faster than expected, with not many smart twists to keep the story fresh, but at least Bill Murray makes it an amusing experience.
The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934)
Hitchcock was still learning his craft and improving his directing skills when he made this unimpressive and thematically flawed film that even he disliked — and the humor eliminates most of the tension while the weak script has villains whose motivations are never really clear.
The Man Who Laughs (2012)
Though not exactly bad, this is a soulless adaptation that lacks enough emotion to make us care. It begins as an engaging story with an efficient fable-like atmosphere but soon turns into a melodrama and gives place to a second half that is mostly cheap, cheesy and artificial.
Man with a Movie Camera (1929)
Not only Vertov’s Kino-Eye and his revolutionary cinematic experimentation were far ahead of their time in terms of formal innovation (introducing all sorts of techniques such as multiple exposure, jump cuts and stop motion) but also made history as a reflexive, avant-garde societal record.
Idris Elba does an impressive job in this respectful and nicely crafted biopic that is unfortunately not so engaging from an emotional point of view nor as memorable as the man who inspired it, and the jumps in time only contribute to dilute our involvement.
It is incredibly refreshing to see something that looks so familiar and yet so unique, drawing from a number of inspirations from the 1980s with its astounding score and stylish retro visuals full of lens flares and psychedelic colors, like some mix of Mad Max and Hellraiser on LSD.
Mango Yellow (2002)
It is the yellow of the diseases, the purulent wounds, the rotten teeth — a nearly grotesque (and for most maybe even too hard to stomach or digest) view of Recife, Brazil and the people there living as seen through the daring and cynical lens of enfant terrible Claudio Assis.
Working better as an interesting procedural in the way it leads us through a criminal investigation, this film is however less efficient as a character study about a psychopath (or psychopaths if you include Lecktor), as it doesn’t offer that much insight into their perverse minds.
This brilliant film is certainly not for everyone’s stomach, since it is a brutal, tense and intensely disturbing experience that forces us to adopt the perspective of a maniac psycho killer, using an ingenious subjective camera to put us right there inside his deranged state of mind.
Despite the striking visuals and Cate Blanchett’s impressive surrender playing 13 different characters, what we see here must work a lot better as separated gallery pieces instead of put together, since the result is chaotic, confusing, self-indulgent and gets tiring real fast.
Manon of the Spring (1986)
It is frustrating that Manon is such a weak and poorly-written character, which makes her “revenge” feel much less deserved, even though the film unfolds like a true Greek tragedy and is able to move us with a touching ending and the strength of Yves Montand’s performance.
An adorable animation that doesn’t really have a well-defined narrative as it is in fact a collection of three previously released featurettes (a fourth one, shorter and beautiful, was added to the end), and it has great songs and looks simple yet vibrant in a very sweet way.
Maps to the Stars (2014)
Julianne Moore steals the scene as what seems like an older version of Lindsay Lohan with a Mommie Dearest complex (think of Christina, not Joan) in a cynical story full of horrible characters who are forced to face their ghosts in ways that would leave Freud aroused.
Mar de Rosas (1978)
Whether or not Ana Carolina conceived this as a symbolic portrait of maximum dissatisfaction in Brazil at the time, seeing how the film can become more and more surreal and cynical at every turn is fascinating as it deconstructs the most basic concept of structure and language.
Maranhão 66 (1966)
The biggest irony lies in the fact that, when you look back at Rocha’s film decades after José Sarney asked him to make it, you see that it has grown from being a mere contrast between promise and reality to becoming concrete proof of Sarney’s deceitful demagoguery.
Marathon Man (1976)
What begins as a taut, intriguing thriller soon becomes too complicated and desperate to defy our suspension of disbelief (as with a ridiculous shootout at a country house), and it is only worth it for Olivier’s wicked villain and a fantastic scene in the New York diamond district.
It took so many years and two lawsuits to have this film edited and released, but the final result is this bloated and self-important mess of ideas that Lonergan was incapable of putting together cohesively, and it is even worse that the protagonist is so detestable.
The Margin (1967)
I really like the film’s cinematography with its daring camera movements and POV shots, but this feels more like an anti-film — or a film in search of a film — trying to make something out of rambling images and digressing aimlessly for much longer than our patience can take.
Margin Call (2011)
Chandor creates a gripping and intelligent drama that relies on a careful pace, a very sharp ensemble cast and constant first-rate dialogue to depict with a fascinating and acute realism the 24 hours prior to the financial crisis of 2008 at an investment firm.
Margot at the Wedding (2007)
In its first half, it is amusing to laugh at the expense of how far these people can go in being obnoxious, but later on it appears that what Baumbach really wants is to defy us to endure a gallery of despicable characters till in the end it has become nearly insufferable to watch.
Marguerite & Julien (2015)
Donzelli doesn’t seem to have any idea what to do with this incestuous Romeo & Juliet story and creates the worst kind of melodramatic soap opera, apparently thinking that it is super cool to make use of gratuitous anachronisms, pretentious tableaux vivants and corny “meaningful” glances.
A fascinating and surprisingly moving documentary that not only offers us an insight into the work of an artist of great charisma and magnetic presence but also shows a lot about the transforming power of Art and a challenging art form that is not appreciated as it should be.
Marriage Italian Style (1964)
An Italian delight that finds an enviable balance between comedy and drama and never drops the ball, with Sophia Loren in a surprising performance lending a lot of complexity to a character that could have been easily made into a caricature — comedy- or melodrama-wise.
The Marriage of Maria Braun (1979)
Hanna Schygulla shines as a fascinating character who grows from a desperate, devoted wife into a cynical, relentless beauty — a reflection of the decadence of postwar Germany in this always compelling character study, the first film of Fassbinder’s so-called BRD Trilogy.
Mars Attacks! (1996)
Burton intended this as an homage to a bad thing that wasn’t taken seriously by anyone in the first place — and this dreadful movie only shows that he took the idea too literally. As a parody it is even worse, not bad enough to be good and with an idiotic humor that hardly works.
Strongly inspired by Memories of Murder and sharing many elements in common with that masterpiece, this is an exceptional crime thriller about how evil survives in a broken post-fascist society even if people want to convince themselves that past sins can be simply forgotten.
Martha Marcy May Marlene (2011)
An intensely disturbing psychological thriller about how you can lose your identity by getting brutally brainwashed by an abusive sect. The editing is spectacular and the whole cast is terrific, especially Hawkes as the terrifying leader of the group and Olsen as the paranoid, mentally fractured protagonist.
The Martian (2015)
With a great 3D that explores very well the red landscapes using mostly a large depth of field, this smart science fiction also knows how to use exposition and works so well due to its delightful sense of humor and efficient moments of tension when it needs to be tense.
Whether a “vampire” or a modern Frankenstein’s creature, the protagonist of Martin is in fact a man-made proverbial monster, created by an anguished, frightened society in a deeply troubled era, repressed by conservative religious values and alienated for being what he is.
This extremely disturbing and almost unwatchable exercise in extreme sadism is always gripping, given how it follows unpredictable directions at every moment until it reaches a surprising final act that demands too much from the audience for being so nihilistic and profoundly sickening.
A Marvada Carne (1985)
As a comedy, I don’t find this movie very funny, although the fantasy gives it a special charm and Fernanda Torres is hilarious (she has a great comic timing); still, what elevates it is the great ending that makes us look back at what preceded it in a completely different way.
Mary and Max (2009)
A beautiful and heartbreaking claymation about depression, loneliness and friendship, crafted with a gorgeous production design, a wonderful direction and a bittersweet story that is so profoundly touching it is hard to imagine anyone who wouldn’t be moved by it.
Mary Magdalene (2018)
For a film about Mary Magdalene, there is sadly too much here about Jesus Christ and “God’s design” and not enough about herself, as she becomes little more than a passive spectator in a story that poorly tries to depict life as a woman in such a strongly patriarchal society.
Mary Meets Mohammad (2013)
Kirkpatrick can’t circumvent the unfortunate fact that no shooting was allowed in the detention center, which makes the bond between Mary and Mohammed seem out of the blue when we finally see it; still, this eye-opening doc should definitely be seen for its important subject.
Mary Poppins (1964)
A magical Disney film that marvels us with fantastic special effects, a splendid combination of live action and animation, an unforgettable performance by Julie Andrews and a great amount of memorable musical numbers that stay in our heads and make us hum them for hours after the movie is over.
Mary Poppins Returns (2018)
The magic of the original film gives place to mostly lifeless Broadway-esque spectacle — unfocused, repetitious and with songs that pretty much sound all alike. Besides, Emily Blunt doesn’t have the presence and charisma that the character requires, and her Mary Poppins can be really annoying.
Mary Queen of Scots (2018)
While more effective when focusing on the royal intrigue than when trying to create a forced parallel between the two queens (in fact, the whole subplot involving Queen Elizabeth could be easily removed), this is a decent period drama that comes together quite well in the end.
With a sophisticated direction, awesome make-up and a beautiful score, this underrated adaptation does an excellent job expanding and enriching Shelley’s story, especially by making the creature less a monster and elaborating more on why Victor creates him in the first place.
While this is a considerable improvement since the fiasco of For Your Consideration (even if I miss Catherine O’Hara and Chris O’Dowd is completely wasted), Guest’s return to the mockumentary style has more misses than hits, being only really fun during the presentation in the end.
Masculin Féminin (1966)
You can almost feel Godard’s sexist disdain towards female ignorance in a society that he clearly criticizes as completely plunged in consumerism, pop culture and alienation, but at the same time he curiously shows us how he is aware of his intellectual arrogance as well.
Altman’s anti-war classic is a delicious satire — irreverent, subversive and downright hilarious -, with a perfect episodic structure for the sort of anti-establishment vibe it aims for and making the most of its compositions (the Last Supper gag is hysterical) and overlapping improvised dialogue.
The Masque of the Red Death (1964)
Price is at his most diabolical here, while the stunning sets, costumes and cinematography help create an entrancing Gothic atmosphere in this which is most certainly the best adaptation made by Roger Corman of a Poe story.
The Master (2012)
A very strange yet extremely fascinating character study with a deeply unsettling atmosphere surrounding its characters — and most of its power comes from the strong cast, especially Joaquin Phoenix, who delivers one of the most intense performances of his career.
The Master of Apipucos (1959)
While amusing as an almost invitation to check out Apipucos, this also ends up becoming an unintentional portrait of “casa-grande” heritage.
The Matrix (1999)
A mind-blowing modern classic that feeds the mind with thought-provoking philosophical ideas about what reality is, and it will always be remembered as a major breakthrough in Cinema with its combination of innovative visual effects, thrilling action and iconic religious references.
The Matrix Reloaded (2003)
A solid sequel that expands the scope of the resistance and the rules of its universe in a way much greater than before, although the result is too action-driven (with endless, tedious fight scenes full of CGI that go on forever) and even the religious references are a lot more obvious.
The Matrix Revolutions (2003)
A frustrating conclusion that got way too convoluted by this point and is unable to bring the intelligent ideas proposed in the first two movies into something consistent, leaving too much unanswered and becoming only messier and more confusing with every new information.
A Matter of Size (2009)
This is in fact more a drama about self-acceptance than the comedy it is being labeled as, and it is much more efficient in its decent first half than after, when we are left with a pile of clichés and artificial conflicts that really make this a pretty forgettable movie.
A simple and affecting biopic that could have been easily made forgettable but instead benefits immensely from Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke’s fantastic performances — especially the former, who offers us a character that brings us to tears with her sensibility and sweetness.
Mauvais Sang (1986)
What is most memorable in this lyrical film about unrequited young love is Carax’s stylish direction together with a sublime cinematography and production design, even though he overdoes it sometimes and would only be en pointe with his approach in his following oeuvre.
The Maze Runner (2014)
Despite the interest generated by its intriguing mystery (in ways reminiscent of films like Cube), this recent addition to the young-adult wave that has plagued cinemas in the past few years has a silly ending that makes everything preceding it seem like a waste of time.
This chapter is in many ways superior to the mediocre first movie, and even if it is completely derivative (think of The Hunger Games meets I Am Legend and Mad Max and you will have an idea), it does a nice job generating excitement and tension in the action-packed scenes.
Although it is only a pity that it doesn’t delve further into McQueen’s darkness and what exactly tormented his troubled soul, this is an intimate and always compelling look at the life and work of a brilliant fashion designer who used his inner demons to create stunning art.
Gomez-Rejon is a great director who clearly loves films and has a deep knowledge of the language of Cinema — his visual compositions are just wonderful, despite a few excesses -, and this is a deliciously captivating story that understands the value of honest Art as opposed to sappy life lessons.
Me and You (2012)
Bertolucci seems aware of the fascination that he creates with his young protagonist, using the light and close-ups to explore how he curiously appears both awkward and beautiful. But the ambiguous ending feels like an easy refusal to deal with the questions raised before.
Me, Myself and Mum (2013)
Gallienne is downright amazing playing two roles in this delicate autobiographical comedy — an expertly-edited film that finds a perfect tonal balance as it moves effortlessly from hilarious to touching moments without ever becoming heavy-handed.
Mean Streets (1973)
A groundbreaking movie that already showcased Scorsese’s deep understanding of film language with a unique voice that would inspire other directors like Quentin Tarantino, and it boasts a killer soundtrack and two amazing performances by Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro.
The Measure of a Man (2015)
Vincent Lindon delivers one of the best performances of his career (truly spectacular, and his body language is particularly revealing) in a realistic drama that brings to mind the naturalistic, almost-documentary style of the Dardenne brothers’ films and the Romanian New Wave.
Carpignano’s debut is sensitive to tackle this delicate subject matter with the objectivity that it deserves, offering a realistic look at the difficult life of African migrants in Europe and achieving an honest note of sadness in the end without any need of sentimentality to move us.
The Meg (2018)
A very basic monster movie that begins fun enough but then quickly overstays its welcome, becoming big and clumsy like a Megalodon while lacking in tension, thrills or anything to hold our attention for more than an hour as things start to get repetitious, lame and purely boring.
An entertaining, smart and funny animation that doesn’t have a very original or imaginative story but is at least deliciously amusing, with some great twists that I never saw coming. It is infinitely better than Despicable Me, with which comparisons seem inevitable.
Mekong Hotel (2012)
Let’s be honest, this is not a film, it is more like a thing, an object — it just stays there, inert. It doesn’t say anything, it doesn’t become anything, it only exists, and with only a bit less than an hour of running time it overstays its welcome and you can pay attention to it or not.
Lars von Trier continues to move through the realm of desolation after Antichrist with this profoundly sad film that shows how different people react in the face of depression and the impending doom. The cast is fantastic, especially Dunst and Gainsbourg, who are both exceptional.
Melody Time (1948)
A slight improvement over Make Mine Music as another Disney package film combining music and narrative, now with seven stories that may not exactly be memorable but still manage to entertain, even after this run-of-the-mill anthology format has clearly become tired.
An intellectually stimulating and expertly-edited exercise in storytelling built upon two alternating threads that move in opposite directions (the main one backwards and a black-and-white subplot forward) until they converge in the end, making us undergo the same disorientation of its character.
Memoirs of a Geisha (2005)
The visuals and technical aspects are indeed spectacular, but the film’s flawed narrative, while enjoyable to follow for most of the time, is like a cheap soap-opera that even comes up with a ridiculous revelation in its pathetic, melodramatic last half hour.
Memoirs of Prison (1984)
Based on Brazilian writer Graciliamo Ramos’ own experiences in prison, this is a powerful and extremely well directed film that makes us feel the character’s growing emotional stress and declining health as he tries to survive political repression in times of dictatorship.
Memória do Cangaço (1965)
A deceitfully simple documentary that examines the origins of cangaço and what it actually was beyond the popular myth, using the only images ever captured in film of the famous band of Lampião and interviews with those who were there and participated in the fight.
Memories of Murder (2003)
Bong Joon-ho uses a real Korean serial killer story as the basis for this always absorbing, terribly ironic and tragically hilarious crime drama that is both an intelligent social satire and a sharp political commentary, and he never ceases to surprise us until the very last shot.
Men & Chicken (2015)
Mads Mikkelsen is priceless — and nearly unrecognizable with a cleft lip, fake teeth and an eccentric composition — in this hilarious comedy that feels like a darkly humored mix of The Island of Dr. Moreau and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre, but the ending feels a bit off.
Men and Women (1964)
It loses some of its pacing after a while, slowing down almost to a halt, and the film’s silly moralizing makes it feel a bit dated today, but still this is an absorbing drama centered on four lonely characters as they spend an empty night together in a lonely big city.
Men in Black 3 (2012)
An enjoyable but forgettable sequel that doesn’t bring anything new to the series. This time we don’t have so much of that onscreen chemistry between Smith and Jones (who is absent during most of the film), but Brolin steals the show as a younger version of Jones.
The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)
A mildly funny satire that seems to borrow from the Coen brothers’ humor and has some very fine and vigorous performances, but after halfway through it starts to lose its comedic charm and ends with a disappointing, quick and easy wrap-up.
Men, Women & Children (2014)
Reitman seems to have many ideas but can’t find a central point for them, and so he shoots in every direction with this loose, superficial drama that falls flat with a silly, artificial execution and frustratingly hollow questions about technology, internet, solitude, lack of dialogue, etc.
O Mercado de Notícias (2014)
Jorge Furtado uses his trademark sarcastic approach to make a vital analysis of the current state of journalism in Brazil and the world, especially by showing how the craft has verged into the realm of sensationalism and lost credibility with its disregard for cross-checking by some professionals.
A turning point in Fassbinder’s career with the consolidation of his style as a storyteller; a film in which he explores emotional tragedy using a theatrical frame (the acting, mise-en-scène, the distinct palette of colors) to make a striking commentary on the petit bourgeois mentality.
The Message (1976)
Akkad dodges with creativity the limitations imposed by the very Islam that he wants to depict (to celebrate blind faith, ironically) and creates an epic that should be interesting to those who don’t know much about the religion although it contradicts the Quran many times to make it look tolerant.
The Messenger (2009)
A decent character study whose main strength lies in two great performances by Foster and Harrelson, who shine in a sad story that deals with the psychological consequences of a terrible job, but the film also suffers from some tiresome pacing and unnecessary scenes.
Meteorango Kid (1969)
Another Brazilian film from the 1960s that believes that being subversive and structurally slack in order to reflect the chaos of a society under dictatorship is enough to make it worth it, but Meteorango Kid is only self-indulgent and mistakes juvenile energy for intelligence.
The visuals are definitely stunning and the plot, though not inventive, presents an interesting idea of a dystopian future in which society lives under corporate surveillance and mind control, but still the result feels a tad too clinical (and soulless) for most viewers to enjoy it.
Meu Nome É Tonho (1969)
If this is supposed to be a nihilistic anti-Western for the sake of being so (or a “marginal Western” if the term applies), the weak actors and Candeias’ disdain for structure (the first act takes roughly two thirds of the film) become a problem, even if the film looks stunning.
I’m honestly surprised with the impressive job that Adam Sandler does here, playing a character who earns our sympathy even if the film itself is basically the same shtick that Baumbach comes up with over and over again, not really funny or even close to dramatic as it wants to be.
Mia Madre (2015)
A very touching character study that perfectly blends a serious and suffocating drama with hilarious moments of humor that are never intrusive but instead helps shape the whole meta-narrative purpose of what Moretti wants to say, including his feelings about his own work.
A deeply disturbing character study that takes on the hard task of humanizing a monstrous psychopath, focusing on a three-dimensional human predator who is able to blend into society like many others — but wisely never offering easy reasons for his despicable actions.
The Midnight After (2014)
Fruit Chan crafts a gripping mystery with a lot of humor but goes too far with a rape scene and a horrid collective murder incompatible with the tone of the story, losing focus after then and not offering any explanation for the endless elements thrown in the clumsy plot.
Midnight Express (1978)
The controversy surrounding the way the Turks are depicted is not without reason, but the film is quite engaging (with a wonderful score) as a disturbing portrayal of hell as a Turkish prison, showing the ugly conditions faced by a very unfortunate man in a horrible situation.
Midnight in Paris (2011)
With this charming tale about a dissatisfied young man who would rather live in the golden days of a long past époque than in the present, Woody Allen comes up with another adorable film and seems like having a lot of fun putting those delightful witty lines in the mouth of his idols.
Midnight Special (2016)
Jeff Nichols seems to be trying to revive that magic found in Spielberg’s movies of the ’80s, but despite its absorbing mystery, his film creates the feeling that it is better than it actually is, with poorly explained elements and a development that doesn’t lead to something so interesting in the end.
Jonah Hill is not just a talented actor but also an intelligent storyteller who understands that life doesn’t offer easy solutions for problems that run much deeper beneath the surface — and he is also sensitive to realize how trying to get away can bring people together in so many ways.
The Mighty Spirit (1999)
I find it curious to see how Brazil is such a mixture of different beliefs and faiths as we listen to Coutinho’s interviewees talk about their spiritual experiences, even if some of the stories are less interesting than others and the film begins to digress towards the end.
A Mighty Wind (2003)
The impression we have here is that Guest is less interested in making fun of people and their funny idiosyncrasies with his usual satirical bite, making a film that is sweeter and more heartfelt than Waiting for Guffman and Best in Show but also a bit less funny, too.
Mildred Pierce (1945)
In an Oscar-winning performance, Crawford elevates this melodrama-noir that deserves credit for its splendid cinematography, mise-en-scène and structure, but the film hasn’t aged very well with its patriarchal view that a married woman who leaves home will inevitably meet disaster.
Mile 22 (2018)
There is something dynamic and urgent about the plot at first, but soon this generic propagandist movie descends into mindless chaos (with an awfully shaky camera and choppy editing that don’t even allow us to locate ourselves geographically) and toward a preposterous ending.
The Milk of Sorrow (2009)
A poignant allegorical drama centered on the belief that the trauma experienced by the many women raped during the years of terrorism in Peru has been passed on to the following generations, and it relies on a beautiful performance by Magaly Solier.
The Mill and the Cross (2011)
What a truly remarkable accomplishment in terms of jaw-dropping visuals, but the problem is that Cinema is not Painting, and so Majewski is unable to transpose the symbolism of Bruegel’s work to the screen without relying on an expository explanation of his intentions.
Millennium Mambo (2001)
Though not without its flaws and with a narration that feels at times (not always) redundant, this heartbreaking, melancholy film has an evocative cinematography (the first scene is memorable) and offers an honest portrait of a generation of youths trying to find their way in life.
Million Dollar Arm (2014)
A typical feel-good movie that believes that being charming is enough to keep us interested, but it is clichéd, excessively predictable to the point of being annoying and tries to sell us an incredibly corny (and laughable) message that “baseball shouldn’t be about business but about fun.”
With a kind of clever (and really funny) humor that may not appeal to everyone’s tastes, MacFarlane finds the perfect balance between slapstick nonsense and raunchy scatology (he knows how to make excrement jokes hilarious), while exploring the gorgeous sight of the landscapes.
Minding the Gap (2018)
Apart from a forced attempt at sentimentality in the end and the fact that the editing feels mostly random with not much sense of structure, I appreciate how close to Liu’s heart his film is and how it shows that skateboarding can be a means for some people to get away from domestic abuse.
Minnie and Moskowitz (1971)
Never shying away from the fact that its two main characters could be easily seen as repellent or toxic in their psychological disorders, this audacious drama is able to make us empathize with them while offering a sharp criticism of American society at the same time.
An imaginative, funny and very cute French-Belgian animated movie that proves to be a lot of delightful fun for all ages — especially children, of course, who should love it -, with a good sound design, a great score and a sweet animation in a dialogue-free story.
The Miracle Worker (1962)
Even with a slight tendency towards melodrama, this is a wonderful film that impresses with a gorgeous cinematography, beautiful direction (the mise-en-scène is exceptional), two superb Oscar-winning performances and an incredible 8‑minute fight to “housebreak” a feral child.
What an awful voice they chose for Kun in the Japanese version (the voice of an 18-year-old girl), and yet more annoying for me is how condescending this film is towards children instead of speaking to them, with the result feeling more unfocused and banal than it should.
Mirror Mirror (2012)
Julia Roberts seems to be having a lot of fun in this amusing satire that plays with fairy tale clichés — a feminist take on the classic story full of witty dialogue and with a solid script much more inspired than Snow White and the Huntsman, even if not remarkable either.
Les Misérables (2012)
It is impossible to care about a heavy-handed melodrama full of flat characters endlessly singing and crying their misery for nearly three hours non-stop. Besides, Hooper’s direction is extremely amateurish and inept, with the camera appearing to be held by an epileptic.
The Misplaced World (2015)
This honest drama benefits from strong performances but disappoints for relying on too many family revelations and situations worthy of a TV soap opera, such as the characters going back and forth from Germany to New York as if they were simply crossing the street.
Miss Julie (2014)
The three actors, especially Chastain and Farrell, are splendid in this talky and bleak adaptation whose theatrical origins are quite transparent, but which unfortunately starts to resemble more and more a melodrama as the (overlong) story advances and finally falls flat in the end.
Burton shows us again his talent for combining imaginative fantasy with the macabre to create an exciting dark adventure like he hasn’t made in quite a while (almost a decade), and not even the rather formulaic action scenes eliminate the pleasure of watching this delightful movie.
Miss Representation (2011)
There are some interesting things here, but they are sadly lost in this clumsily-edited huddle of talking heads and randoms opinions instead of being supported by solid arguments from people with qualification who could discuss these issues in depth and with a lot more consistency.
Miss Sloane (2016)
It is certainly more interesting than one would expect from a movie about lobbying, but it also feels forced and silly at times, with an ending that is proud of its own stupidity and a protagonist who is more a caricature of the workaholic “machine woman” than an actual person.
Miss Violence (2013)
This awfully disturbing film is careful to introduce us without haste to its characters and their dynamics together before starting to dig up what lies beneath their tight family discipline — which is reinforced by Avranas’ rigorous direction and even a beautiful ten-minute long take.
The Missing Picture (2013)
Rithy Panh uses archive footage, claymation, dioramas and a sublime sound design to make a devastating account of the nightmare that was his life as a prisoner of the Khmer Rouge regime, in order to recreate and expose that tragic missing piece in the history of his country.
The Mission (1986)
A remarkable and profoundly moving drama about redemption and the transforming power of love, not only visually stunning and boasting a wonderful Ennio Morricone score but also with Robert De Niro and Jeremy Irons carrying the film in two outstanding performances.
An exhilarating, action-driven installment in which the script is clearly the least important, since this is more than anything else a pretty awesome excuse for a lot of badass chase scenes, insane car crashes, elaborate set pieces and more fascinating ultra-high-tech equipment.
This breathtaking movie is possibly the finest and most well-constructed installment in this franchise so far, with an intelligent espionage plot, fantastic editing (I could even swear that Brian De Palma directed that splendid opera scene) and exhilarating action scenes.
With each new film, the Mission: Impossible franchise keeps finding ways to exhilarate us more and more with insanely amazing action scenes, and in this sixth chapter we are offered a large number of mind-blowing, explosive moments that should be remembered for their audacity.
Mission to Mars (2000)
What a ridiculous pseudo-philosophical sci-fi that makes no sense. Morricone’s score is beautiful as always, but the horrid script is utterly implausible and illogical, with a blatant disregard for details and coherence.
Mistaken for Strangers (2013)
A captivating rock-doc that begins rather clumsy but later grows to become a surprisingly revealing portrait of a man who has always felt diminished compared to his successful brother — who happens to be the lead singer of a fantastic indie rock band of worldwide reputation.
Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005)
This is what happens when you try to combine action and romantic comedy without any idea how. The humor is irritating and the story has no actual conclusion, finishing on a completely unsatisfying note. Still, the chemistry between Pitt and Jolie saves it from being a disaster.
Mr. Holmes (2015)
Lifted by an excellent performance from Sir Ian McKellen, this is an insightful look at a de-romanticized, “real” Sherlock Holmes trying to hold on to his aging mind and volatile memories this side of life’s wall while finally getting to realize the nuances of human complexity.
Mr. Long (2017)
A surprising film that finds an enviable balance between whimsical comedy and heartbreaking tragedy, making us laugh and cry in nearly equal doses while gradually pulling us in with its wide emotional scope and a magnetic central performance by Chen Chang.
Mr. Nobody (2009)
Dormael’s ambition, though appealing, moves dangerously towards pretentiousness as he attempts to concoct this intricate, convoluted plot — which bears many unnecessary elements that end up bloating it into a flawed, overlong structure without clear focus.
Mr. Skeffington (1944)
Davis is absolutely outstanding in her Oscar-nominated performance — as well as Rains, who was also nominated -, and the most remarkable in this excellent film is Sherman’s amazing direction as he fluidly conducts us through more than twenty years of his characters’ lives.
James Stewart and Jean Arthur are both amazing in this magnificent political drama — a film still relevant when it comes to corruption and our powerless indignation reflected in an idealistic young Senator who boldly demands honor from the ones betraying their vows in Washington.
Mr. Turner (2014)
An excruciating slog that seems made only to mock those who see art in something made by a monkey throwing feces at a blank canvas, since J. M. W. Turner is portrayed as a repulsive, vulgar and contemptible hog and played by Spall as a ridiculous growling caricature.
Mistress America (2015)
It is great to see a Noah Baumbach movie that doesn’t try my patience for a change with his insufferable characters, as he crafts a delightful story that works really well precisely because it understands that their flaws don’t make them at all lovable or cute in their pathetic quirkiness.
It trips a bit in the end (post-climax) and how the characters seem to change their minds all the time, but even so this is a great animation that looks gorgeous in every way imaginable and has beautiful songs and a modern Disney Princess who is strong, independent and determined.
Modern Times (1936)
The first twenty minutes are the work of genius, but then the film loses some of its focus and becomes a usual collection of sketches — though most of them hilarious and memorable. And Chaplin’s idea of using spoken voices only from mechanical devices is brilliant.
What actually bothers me in this disturbing — and perversely hilarious — Korean Oedipal-Buddhist parable is not those hard-to-stomach scenes of genital mutilation, rape and incest but how technically awful it all is — the lighting, continuity, clumsy zooms and ugly camera movements.
An unconvincing revenge story that doesn’t manage to make us feel sorry for its main character as it should, being just another forgettable film among so many others and with many problems that are hard to overlook, like Olivier Chantreau’s complete lack of purpose in the narrative.
Molly’s Game (2017)
Despite a Freudian tête-à-tête between father and daughter close to the end that threatens to ruin the whole thing, Jessica Chastain is wonderful and makes this film entertaining enough no matter how exhausting it may feel to keep up with Sorkin’s incessant, rapid-fire dialogue.
A Moment of Innocence (1996)
Makhmalbaf sees a golden opportunity to make amends with his own past as he creates this groundbreaking meta-cinematic experiment that blends reality and fiction in so many different, unpredictable levels, while managing to surprise us at the most unexpected moments.
Mommie Dearest (1981)
A disjointed and episodic adaptation that will appeal more to those who are curious to know about Joan Crawford’s abusive relationship with her daughter, since it makes no effort in character development and is only worth it for Faye Dunaway in a histrionic, over-the-top performance.
A decent but uneven effort that feels too long for the kind of story it wants to tell and not really well polished as a whole, and its unusual 1:1 aspect ratio may be clever, especially as a basis for the most beautiful scene of the film, but also starts to be tiring after some time.
Mommy Dead and Dearest (2017)
Delving into a horrendous case of Munchausen syndrome by proxy, this is a shocking and disturbing documentary that unfolds like some vicious version of Twilight, making a strong argument about our need for freedom before smacking us hard on the face with an even more sinister turn.
Brad Pitt is great in this smart drama that makes the most of the fact that it is a real story, with no need to turn to Hollywood contrivances or moral lessons — and it has its best moments when showing the offstage of baseball and discussing statistical strategies.
Monkey Business (1931)
A consistently funny comedy (with some amazing moments) but only until the characters leave the ship; after that, however, the film becomes more irregular, with jokes that don’t work so well despite how addictive the Marx brothers are in nearly every scene they appear.
Monkey Business (1952)
It is Cary Grant’s and Ginger Rogers’ talent what raises this amusing screwball comedy above average and keeps the balls rolling, as they make us laugh out loud especially in those hysterical moments when they behave like reckless, naughty youngsters.
Monsieur Lazhar (2011)
Even if the performances are not that strong, this is a delicate drama that could have been easily made into a maudlin melodrama in the wrong hands but instead goes for a realistic approach that renders it much more involving, touching and sincere than most films of the kind.
Monsieur Verdoux (1947)
Except for one touching moment and a hilarious poisoning scene, this uneven “comedy of murders” is of extreme bad taste and has a serious problem in structure and tone — placing a putrid character in such a sloppy attempt at a commentary.
Those expecting a typical horror movie with aliens may be disappointed, for this is in fact a more dramatic and deeply absorbing low-budget film about love and the emptiness of life without it, while the monsters serve as a trigger for the connection between the two characters.
Monsters, Inc. (2001)
After toys and bugs, Pixar came up with this adorable animation that, even if not exactly an instant classic as the company’s better works, is a whole lot of fun and a visual treat for all ages — including adults, who will find it equally funny and irresistible.
Monsters University (2013)
A really thrilling prequel, always funny and exciting, that takes the clichéd premise of overcoming our own limits and turns it into endless fun — and it will leave you sure that Pixar is finally back on track after its two previous weak, forgettable entries.
The Monuments Men (2014)
George Clooney is obviously no Robert Altman, which is made pretty clear in this excruciatingly dull fanfare that has no sense of structure, focus or pacing, while also offering empty characters and failing immensely in being funny as a comedy or honest as a drama.
Mood Indigo (2013)
Gondry displays his usual visual creativity to bring us this surreal universe where abstract is made literal, but his overstuffed narrative has absolutely no structure and it is impossible not to feel exhausted with such a distracting amount of nonsensical elements thrown in at every second.
Moonrise Kingdom (2012)
Wes Anderson was probably bored with his toys when he decided to make this movie, out of a lack of anything better to do. He clearly has nothing to say here and throws everything he can think of (including a great cast) in this pointless, unfunny mess that leads nowhere.
Nicholas Cage is completely miscast as Ronny and his chemistry with Cher is nonexistent, while the movie’s script doesn’t have that much substance to match its charm and generally effective sense of humor; even so, this romantic comedy makes for an amusing pastime.
Most Likely to Die (2015)
Derivative, obvious and full of the most tedious exposition, this is a pathetic slasher that believes to be one step ahead of its viewers when in fact all about it is completely predictable (including the identity of the killer) and it can’t find anything original to say outside of its formula.
A Most Violent Year (2014)
Chandor continues to prove that he is an incredibly talented director with this intelligent, quietly tense and exquisitely photographed dramatic thriller that plunges the characters in shadows as it follows a man fighting hard to keep his hands clean in a world of decay and corruption.
A Most Wanted Man (2014)
Hoffman delivers a fantastic and underactedly visceral performance in his last completed movie, a suspenseful espionage thriller that grabs us and keeps us always guessing all the way until it reaches a suffocatingly tense climax and surprises us with a spectacular ending.
Bong combines intense tragedy and dry humor to create a witty, unexpected sense of bizarreness in this ironic narrative that surprises us with its clever plot twists, elegant cinematography and an absolutely magnificent performance by Kim Hye-ja.
Mother and Child (2009)
García made a really powerful drama here with a highly emotional and sincere story about regrets and how some choices that we make in our lives define our paths and future, and it has a fantastic cast, especially Annette Bening and Naomi Watts, who deserve to be praised.
The Mother and the Whore (1973)
Even if Eustache’s romantic side takes the lead in the end and reduces a bit its power, this is a vibrant film that pulses with a youthful verve and feels so alive even in its imperfections, and it feels nearly impossible not to fall in love with Léaud’s adorably annoying character/persona.
Mother’s Instinct (2018)
It is obvious that this is supposed to be a throwback to Hitchcock’s films (it even takes place in the 1950s for apparently this sole reason), but the result is a cheesy, melodramatic thriller that takes itself too seriously and is a lot more Desperate Housewives than anything like Vertigo.
Mountains May Depart (2015)
A disjointed, cheesy and poorly-acted film that constantly shifts focus between characters (even abandoning them for no reason), with arbitrary leaps in time that make everything seem too superficial and unimportant to work as a look at the lives of common people.
The Mourning Forest (2007)
Kawase is clearly trying to make a sensorial film in which little is said and we are supposed to feel in our hearts the pain that troubles the characters, but she ends up with something insufferably dull, empty and pretentious that wants to appear a lot more profound than it is.
A Movie (1958)
Bruce Conner sees ‘a movie’ begin where others end, and this is an seminal classic that only few people seem to know about, created from film scraps that were reassembled to form something new (with new meanings) and becoming an important example of the power of editing.
The Movie of My Life (2017)
Selton Mello creates a delicate and emotionally mature (not to mention gorgeously shot) film that moves slowly yet steered by the steady hand of a director who knows what he wants to do, as he offers us a beautiful story full of symbolism about time, memories and growing up.
Movie 43 (2013)
It’s hard to believe that so many first-rate stars could be involved in such a distasteful compilation of bad taste stories, which are so exceedingly gross and offensive that only a very few are actually original and funny. (There are two versions available, both equally terrible).
The Moving Creatures (2013)
The music is a bit redundant and Gotardo’s direction awkward sometimes (especially the mise-en-scène, more suitable for children’s theater), but this slice-of-life drama can be devastating as it shows us three situations about people’s lives torn apart by startling tragedies.
What impresses most in this gripping coming-of-age drama is how it avoids easy answers, with complex characters and no need of clichés to work. Besides, the careful pacing proves to be one of its finest qualities, while Tye Sheridan shines in a strong performance.
Despite lacking in enough intensity and the fact that all female characters only seem to be spectators of what happens around them, this is a haunting film that exposes a depressing moment in American history when slavery was in many ways perpetuated long after it was over.
A visually wonderful animation made with gorgeous colors and a simple design in watercolor like the style of Chinese painting, and in addition to a great score it finds a most delicate balance between refreshing humor and themes like war, honor and the bravery of women.
The Mule (2018)
For all purposes, this is Gran Torino 2 — or how Clint Eastwood plays another cartoonish old geezer who has the depth of a saucer (and befuddling motivations) and is supposed to be funny by talking shit to strangers — so, let’s just forget this and go for Breaking Bad instead.
Mulholland Dr. (2001)
One of the most complex, seductive and brilliant journeys into the obscure underworld of the unconscious mind to ever be experienced, brought to us by the incredible mind of a filmmaker who pulls us into an elaborate dreamscape that holds the key to an extremely sad reality.
The Mummy (1932)
With a marvelous make-up and cinematography, Freund displays a firm grasp for his first movie (also in the flawless use of music and silence), but the plot suffers from inconsistencies, like the mummy leaving the scroll in the museum after killing the guard even if he would need it later.
Murder by Death (1976)
With the obvious exception of Truman Capote (who is terrible as an actor), this is a hilarious spoof of detective stories that relies on an astonishing collection of high-class thespians and has an impressive amount of great jokes, even if some of them do miss the mark here and there.
Despite the amazing cast, almost everyone is wasted (and Kenneth Branagh looks pathetic as a cartoonish Hercule Poirot) in this watered down adaptation made to look like a major Hollywood production: full of special effects but witless and ridiculously solemn at times.
Murder Party (2007)
It is always great to see people trying to make something look cool and relatively sophisticated with an almost nonexistent budget, but there is not much here besides nice music and cool camera movements to compensate for the film’s tedious lack of laughs, thrills and fun.
A beautiful tribute to the legacy of one of the most (or should I say the most) influential and international of Brazilian musicians, who crossed borders with his music and even after dead proves us once and for all that you don’t need spoken words when music language is enough.
The Music Box (1932)
You can see the huge influence that this classic short comedy and other similar ones by Laurel and Hardy had on an infinitude of movies, cartoons and comedians that came out after, and it is really funny to see those two wrestling with a piano up and downstairs over and over.
The Music of Strangers (2015)
It lacks enough music and a clear focus, as it tries to talk about too many things at the same time and only becomes scattered, but at least the musicians’ personal stories make it worth it and the movie is always lifted when it focuses on them and their relationship with music.
The Music Room (1958)
Ray exhibits a complete and enviable control of his camera behind this sumptuous drama that deserves credit even more for its elegant, classic direction and noteworthy formal rigor than for an impeccable narrative about a proud, stubborn man who refuses to become obsolete.
At first, it seems like a Turkish Virgin Suicides with a social commentary on the cultural oppression of women in that country, but soon it starts to become less and less subtle as the story progresses to the point of even including an unnecessary element of sexual abuse.
Despite the good sound design and mixing, the child actors have serious trouble with enunciation, and most of the time it is hard to understand what they are saying. Still, this is a sincere drama that moves in a careful pace and is touching till the end.
My Bloody Valentine (1981)
The kind of crappy slasher that doesn’t even manage to be fun, with pedestrian dialogue and a repetitious plot that basically says that men are jerks and women are weak and whiny, forcing us to put up with two ridiculous machos at each other’s throats the whole time.
My Cousin Rachel (2017)
The film’s approach is so heavy-handed that it is almost impossible not to think of its protagonist as an idiot and the whole attempt at ambiguity completely lost, trying so hard to convince us of something only to surprise us with an ending that insults our intelligence.
My Darling Clementine (1946)
It is a welcome surprise to see a lighthearted Western that places its importance more on the characters than on the famous real gunfight depicted — and the deep-focus shots are beautiful -, but still the film has trouble with maintaining the focus and pacing in the second act.
My Fair Lady (1964)
Pygmalion is a great film but not as charming as this My Fair Lady, an adorable musical version of the same play with delightful songs and a splendid cast — but even so, Doolittle’s change doesn’t seem as gradual here, and the film ends with a rather vexing, sexist conclusion.
My Friend Dahmer (2017)
A very interesting character study that does a fine job building a nuanced portrait of a high school outcast prior to becoming a famous serial killer, and it benefits from some good performances and a nice amount of subtlety that is essential for a film like this to work.
My Hindu Friend (2015)
Dafoe’s character (that is, Babenco’s obvious alter-ego) is a selfish, odious bastard who is not worth our time, in an equally detestable film that believes to be witty, touching and profound with so much cheap symbolism but is only a self-indulgent exercise in pure narcissism.
My King (2015)
Bercot and Cassel give their best and shine with a fantastic chemistry in this superbly-directed film about the hardships of being so deeply in love and emotionally attached to someone who is irresistible yet so immature that he causes more pain and suffering than anything else.
My Life as a Zucchini (2016)
Though it isn’t really special, a lot of people will find it hard to resist this sweet and tender story full of heart about abandonment and friendship, given the realistic way it talks about its themes and its expressive characters made in a very lovely stop-motion animation.
My Man Godfrey (1936)
A witty political satire that will probably leave you smiling more than laughing out loud, especially when showing the hilarious eccentricities of its crazy family, and it boasts some wonderful, Oscar-nominated performances by Powell, Lombard and Brady.
My Mom Is a Character (2013)
If it weren’t for Paulo Gustavo’s talent, comic timing and quick tongue delivering hilarious one-liners, there would be very little left worth seeing in this misstructured mess so poorly directed like a cheap TV show and flooded with some nearly unbearable moments of melodrama.
My Neighbor Totoro (1988)
An enchanting movie for children, so beautiful in its wonderful simplicity, innocence and sweetness that it feels like almost impossible not to be touched by such an adorable story devoid of clichés and with no need to rely on villains or contrived conflicts.
My Sweet Little Village (1985)
An endlessly delicious and hilarious comedy with a wonderful cinematography and a large gallery of adorable characters living in a little Czech village (each with their own adorable peculiarity), relying also on a truly magnificent performance by János Bán.
My Sweet Orange Tree (2012)
It is not because it is based on a children’s book (and evidently made for that same audience) that it can be this shameless, ridiculous melodrama with an awful direction full of clichés, terrible acting from everyone (especially Ávila) and such a blatant disregard for quality.
My Week with Marilyn (2011)
A decent yet unmemorable biopic that has Michelle Williams doing a good job even though she doesn’t resemble the real Marilyn at all (she can’t even imitate her voice) — not to mention, of course, that this is a role that should be played by an actress with a much greater sex appeal.
My Wonderful West Berlin (2017)
It doesn’t cover much new ground and could have been more insightful, but still it offers an interesting overview of a subculture, examining how it evolved and met with many challenges in the period from the end of WWII and the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Leslie Nielson is hilarious with his deadpan face and playing the clumsiest cop since Inspector Clouseau in a very funny parody of film noirs and James Bond movies that is a considerable step above Airplane! and Top Secret! in terms of more well-inspired jokes and gags.
The Naked Kiss (1964)
Nothing rings remotely true in this outdated pulp neo-noir — not the gorgeous and ridiculously cultivated prostitute with a golden heart, not the embarrassing plot full of moralizing and certainly not the absurd ending that wants to make us feel good about the murder of a pedophile.
Nalu on the Border (2016)
It is not hard to see what the film is trying to do with this simple but interesting story, but the problem is that its dry structure and generally weak performances stand in the way and dilute the result, thus failing to create the lasting impact that it definitely should.
The Names of Love (2010)
Funny and thought-provoking, this delicious romantic comedy offers an intelligent commentary on politics and society but stands out more for its originality and for being as atypical as its eccentric characters, who we easily learn to care about.
The tranquility and sounds of the forest have a calming effect, like listening to the rain or having a massage, and I like how the characters develop a bond that goes beyond the language barrier, but the film remains on the surface of sensations and feels only inconclusive.
Reggio’s psychedelic use of visual effects is quite bold considering how dated they may certainly look for many today (although I see them more as vintage effects), and we find more cohesion here than in Powaqqatsi, even if the result becomes equally loose and repetitious after a while.
Nas: Time Is Illmatic (2014)
An informative and revealing documentary that takes a thrilling look at an artist’s life and the many factors that motivated him to create such an extremely influential album regarded ever since its birth as a seminal piece of artistic cry against social oppression.
National Bird (2016)
It is more interesting due to what it wants to say than how it does it, since it feels a bit repetitive after a while and relies mostly on talking heads to address a limiting subject in which there is too much that is confidential and not possible to be publicly disclosed.
Natural Born Killers (1994)
This movie may be audacious, yes, but there is no way it could be more obvious, proving to be a self-indulgent parody that is more irritating than clever, bombarding us with an excessive amount of visual hysteria and basically calling subtlety an overrated bitch.
A grim and powerful epic that boasts an inventive, visually rich universe and an ecological message that only gets more and more relevant in our times — and it’s wonderful to see a brave princess who fights to save her world with the fearlessness of a warrior.
Despite the cinematography in an unnecessary (but effective) black and white, this melancholy drama has quite a surprising sense of humor and characters who prove to be a lot more complex than we would give them credit for, with Dern and Squibb in fantastic performances.
Neighboring Sounds (2012)
A brilliant and extremely thought-provoking Brazilian film that uses a street in Recife as a microcosm for the social issues of middle class, exposing its latent bourgeois fears while drawing a clever parallel between a guilty past and the promise of a violent future.
A harmless Apatowian comedy that works well in its first half yet fails precisely when it tries to offer a deeper, artificial meaning to its story — which is reflected in how Dave Franco suddenly turns into a smart frat boy as soon as he is required by the plot to be the voice of reason.
Nelson Cavaquinho (1969)
Hirszman seems guided by pure instinct and feeling with this one, capturing a handful of precious moments and fragments of the composer’s life that are just as melancholy as the best sambas he ever wrote, even if the result feels just as ephemeral as well.
Nelson Freire (2003)
Freire’s jaw-dropping talent alone would be enough to make this documentary fascinating to watch, but Salles takes it to another level by beautifully editing together (in a seemingly arbitrary way) fragments of the artist’s life to compose a somewhat impressionist portrait of who he is.
Intelligent, humorous and inventive, Larraín’s film is especially impressive due to the way it uses a cat-and-mouse game as the basis for a metalinguistic exercise instead of being a conventional biography about the poet, and it has some very fine performances by the whole cast.
An intelligent and hilarious satire whose main strength lies especially in a superb ensemble cast and a fantastic script that delights us with many priceless exchanges of dialogue as it offers us a relevant, thought-provoking social commentary on the television industry.
Never Let Me Go (2010)
This melancholy and depressing film adapted from Kazuo Ishiguro’s dystopian sci-fi novel tells an achingly sad story that eschews any easy preaching and offers a delicate meditation on time and the transience of life, with very intense performances by its main trio.
Never Look Away (2018)
What von Donnersmarck does here is embrace a number of narrative elements that are so common in melodramas and then simply refuse to bring out the kind of conflict that one would expect to see from them — which ends up being simultaneously frustrating, daring and more meaningful.
The New Girlfriend (2014)
Duris delivers a profoundly sensitive performance without a hint of stereotype in this surprising drama that understands the complexity of sexuality, despite a few narrative missteps especially in the second half (the scene with Duris and Personnaz in the shower is nonsensical).
The New Kid (2015)
It is delight to see how coming-of-age stories can be so refreshing and funny to watch, and this is a faithful portrayal of adolescence and all that comes with it, made in a simple, sensitive way and with some deliciously spontaneous performances by its young cast.
A New Leaf (1971)
The ending is a bit hard to buy (which is a flaw that should be attributed to the producer who re-cut the film against Elaine May’s wishes), but still this is a refreshing and extremely funny comedy that benefits from an excellent script and Matthau’s hilarious performance.
New World (2013)
A derivative crime movie that wants to be a mix of The Godfather and Infernal Affairs but is so incredibly obvious, overdone and desperate to come up with twist after twist after twist that it drags for much longer past the moment when it should end and becomes utterly ridiculous.
News from a Personal War (1999)
With a concise duration of 56 minutes, this is a necessary documentary that should be watched by everyone who sees things in black and white when it comes to violence in Brazil, as it analyzes in a very straightforward way this endemic social disease that appears to be insolvable.
The Next Three Days (2010)
This remake of Anything for Her is even more implausible than that film, and Haggis includes details that don’t work really well, but he also injects more tension and stretches some scenes to the point of nerve-wracking while Russell Crowe puts in a strong performance.
The Nice Guys (2016)
It is a great pleasure to see how this movie combines so perfectly film noir (including a twisty plot full of characters and turns), a lot of exciting action and buddy comedy in the best style of the ’70s — all complete with a hilarious dialogue and a killing chemistry between Crowe and Gosling.
Nico, 1988 (2017)
Trine Dyrholm offers us a jaw-dropping performance — intense, committed and unforgettable — as an aged star struggling with depression and drug addiction, while this honest character study paints a three-dimensional portrait of who Christa Päffgen was in her last years before her death.
Night and Fog (1955)
Resnais made this disturbing 32-minute documentary only 10 years after the liberation of the Nazi camps, exposing in devastating details a horrific monstrosity that must never be forgotten and turning it into a universal message to remind us that it could happen anywhere.
A Night at the Opera (1931)
It is true that this film is more uneven when compared to Duck Soup, stopping many times for musical numbers that hinder the comedy a bit (although I do love seeing Chico and Harpo at the piano), but even so there are a lot of hilarious moments here that make it pretty delicious as well.
A Night at the Roxbury (1998)
If you find this kind of humor funny (which I do for a short time of 82 minutes), then this one-joke, nearly plotless movie should be amusing enough for you, but if you can’t stand SNL (or the show’s sketch for that matter), then it will probably be a pain to sit through. Be warned.
The Night Flier (1997)
It has the feel and aesthetics of a movie from the ’90s (like an episode of The X‑Files), and it builds a nice atmosphere with an intriguing mystery, but still this barely satisfactory Stephen King adaptation leaves some strange loose ends in a story that could have avoided them.
A Night in 67 (2010)
Even if it glosses over some basic important information about the format and context of the festival (or even, for instance, why people would boo certain songs), this is an always interesting documentary, especially as it looks into the cultural-political seeds of Tropicalism.
‘night Mother (1986)
Anne Bancroft and Sissy Spacek not receiving an Oscar nomination for their performances is without a doubt one of the biggest injustices in the History of Cinema, since they give their very best in this harrowing, emotionally devastating adaptation of the Pulitzer-winning play.
Night Moves (2013)
It does a great job letting us slowly find out what it is about instead of resorting to exposition, but what could have been a thought-provoking story about ecoterrorism and environmentalism turns out to be a sterile thriller with a frustrating, utterly predictable second half.
Night of the Demon (1957)
The sad fact that this classic horror movie shows the monster right away in the beginning (against the director’s wishes) doesn’t eliminate its undeniable qualities, such as an elegant dialogue and an intelligent plot with characters who behave like intelligent people would.
The Night of the Hunter (1955)
This tense and bleak film noir, aesthetically mesmerizing and borrowing heavily from German Expressionism, is all the more surprising when you know that Laughton hated children — and while Mitchum is great as the expressionist villain, he seems though too one-dimensional to be truly menacing.
Night of the Living Dead (1968)
Romero’s first film — and his first zombie movie — is creepy, gory and realistic, with an extremely disturbing atmosphere, an incredibly sharp sociopolitical commentary and a terrifying ending, even though the acting is not that good and the plot feels a bit repetitive.
Night Train to Lisbon (2013)
A ridiculous drama that feels like a cheesy soap opera, completely unaware of the meaning of subtlety and with everything so absolutely obvious and artificial: risible metaphors, a clichéd cinematography, self-help platitudes and an awfully embarrassing dialogue.
Night Will Fall (2014)
A powerful film that should be seen together with the unmissable restored documentary whose untold story is chronicled here. Needless to say, it brought out many tears and heartbreaking testimonies from people in the theater where I was at the 64th Berlin International Film Festival.
Jake Gyllenhaal delivers one of the very best performances of his impressive career (and should have received an Oscar nomination for it) in this fascinating, well-constructed and extremely tense thriller/character study about the lengths that one can go for sensationalism at the expense of human life.
The Nightmare (2015)
As a horror film, it is absolutely terrifying and almost made me think that I would never sleep again, but as a documentary, it is a joke that doesn’t care to offer any scientific point of view or insight into its subject, relying instead only on a bunch of unreliable people and experiences.
With an impeccable production design, a deliciously ghoulish, German Expressionist feel to its story and an excellent soundtrack replete with inspired songs, this delightful movie is even more surprising thanks to the perfect way that it combines animation and stop motion.
A relatively informative doc that discusses the birth and evolution of American horror movies in a generally entertaining way, but the problem is that a lot of it is tackled only superficially and the movie gets muddled when it enters the 1990s and talks about modern films and remakes.
Nights of Cabiria (1957)
Giulietta Masina should be forever remembered for her flawless performance in this profoundly touching and devastating tragicomic masterpiece, making us root for her character and her happiness in such a way that it is hard to be left unmoved by what unfolds before us.
Glamour, beauty and half a dozen Oscar winners starring in a Broadway musical based on Fellini, what could go wrong? Well, the movie is a total bore, pure style over no substance. Most of the songs are annoying, everything is so cold and distant, and I couldn’t wait to see it end.
A decent Stephen King adaptation that takes perhaps a bit too long to kick in, yet when it does it can be quite atmospheric and somber in the way it shows the gradual decadence of a tormented man who starts to succumb to the weight of guilt in rural Nebraska, 1922.
Somehow I’m taken aback by how quickly Garbo’s character changes from one scene to the next (which is in fact coherent with the film’s obvious anti-Sovietism and casual sexism), but her magnetic presence and the excellent dialogue make everything an enormous pleasure to watch.
The Ninth Gate (1999)
An engaging, slow-burning satanic thriller in the first hour, but soon the mysteries start to pile up in a plot that leaves too much unanswered (the reason behind the first death, Corso’s behavior in the end, etc.), and it falls flat with a very anticlimactic conclusion.
With a magnetic performance by Bernal and appropriately filmed in videotape to recreate the looks of back then, this is an intensely engaging and thrilling account of an important episode of Chilean history and how dictatorship was defeated by a lot of courage and struggle.
No Regret (2006)
An intense and tragic romance between an orphan who becomes a male prostitute and a rich young businessman who becomes obsessed with him, and both actors are great, especially Lee Young-hoon, who is not only incredibly handsome but also notably talented.
A multilayered parable that defies us to consider the implications of serving the demands of a cruel, manipulative, petty and sadistic Creator (entity and faith) instead of facing Him to follow our hearts — which is something that unfortunately happens even today with many religious people.
No Way, Spider (1970)
As cryptic and puzzling as its title, this Brazilian experimental film lacks a clear narrative and is more like a series of disconnected, handheld-shot long takes that want to expose the ugly insanity of what it is like to live in a country under military dictatorship.
Nocturnal Animals (2016)
The dialogue is a little bit heavy-handed sometimes, but still Tom Ford brings us a sophisticated and well-acted thriller about marital disillusion and resentment, blending reality with “fiction” using stunning scene transitions, superb editing and a gorgeous cinematography.
Nomad: The Warrior (2005)
The gorgeous locations and epic fight scenes can’t compensate for all of the bad acting, laughable dialogue and an awful plot full of clichés.
A highly entertaining action movie that overcomes its flaws (mainly an almost unbelievable last act) with a suspenseful whodunit, an awesome, badass Liam Neeson and an impressively dynamic direction that helps maintain a constant tension and claustrophobia.
The Normal Heart (2014)
With wonderful performances from an excellent cast, this extremely important, heartbreaking and infuriating drama exposes the revolting indifference and intolerance of American authorities in the early years of the AIDS epidemics — something that cost the lives of a lot of gays.
Norte, the End of History (2013)
Diaz uses mostly long shots to make a clinical study of guilt and the nature of evil, but after a solid build-up in its first hour, the film is slowed down by long passages where nothing much happens, and its poetic attempt at an end is frustrating in its refusal to bring the story to an actual conclusion.
North Sea Texas (2011)
A frustrating drama that uses a teenage boy’s sexual awakening to shape a narrative that drags so unforgivably and seems constructed solely around endless silences, “meaningful glances” and contrived situations, and it doesn’t help a bit that the acting is terrible.
Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979)
With a cold and solemn approach, Herzog makes an entrancing remake of Murnau’s classic that is always beautiful to look at — much like a painting in motion — even though it is not scary, intense or even haunting, and the impression is that it was all about how to make it, not why.
Nossa Escola de Samba (1965)
It is nice to have a glimpse of the carnival and the city of Rio de Janeiro in 1965, with its streets, culture, fashion, samba, hills and the people who lived up there preparing for the annual carnival parade; but still, in the end, the film is just that: a glimpse.
Away from his homeland Russia, Tarkovsky delivered this phenomenal masterpiece, a wonderfully directed film that boasts a most gorgeous cinematography and takes us in a beautiful journey through nostalgia, faith, frustration and a man’s longing to find his own path.
Nostalgia for the Light (2010)
A beautiful, contemplative and deeply poetic exploration of the past in which Guzmán draws an intelligent parallel between our search for the origins of the universe through science and our general tendency to ignore our recent history, especially a chapter that should never be forgotten.
Nothing in Return (2015)
Despite how familiar everything is and the fact that some of its narrative elements are so underdeveloped (especially Darío’s relationship with Antonia, which seems to go nowhere), this is a satisfactory coming-of-age drama with a very good performance by Miguel Herrán.
Despite a forced romance that comes out of nowhere and how the protagonist’s motivations are not really convincing (especially with all that misogyny towards her), it has a wonderful direction and becomes extremely suspenseful after a while, with its two leads in great performances.
La Notte (1961)
Antonioni makes all the right choices here and with a remarkable sophistication, using many silent passages to slowly pull us into the characters’ ennui while telling an absorbing story about how people are unable to communicate or understand one another.
Now You See Me (2013)
A stupid caper movie that believes to be so much smarter than it really is when in fact it is a cheap Hollywood sleight of hand concealing a huge pile of implausibilities and the nonsensical nature of its twists/tricks — and the silly dialogue and idiotic ending only make it worse.
Nowhere Boy (2009)
An authentic and moving drama that takes a look at the life of a pre-Beatles 15-year-old John Lennon and mainly benefits from its sensitive narrative approach and remarkable performance by Aaron Johnson, who impresses us even if he looks nothing like the real John.
The Nun (2018)
Lazy and unable to come up with anything other than cliché after cliché from the first scene till the last (including a bunch of loud cheap scares), this is a nearly insufferable prequel that offers absolutely nothing original to the series and — which is worse — is never ever scary.
The Nut Job (2014)
This is what you get when an animation director decides to direct an animation of his own: a movie that is visually appealing but is also unfunny, cliched and totally forgettable, aimed at easy fun for undemanding small kids and nothing else.
The Nutty Professor (1963)
Despite its sexist tendencies that make it seem outdated for today’s standards, this uneven comedy has many funny moments and can be quite impressive with Jerry Lewis playing two very different (and magnetic) characters — that is, if we don’t take its implausible ending so seriously.
The Nutty Professor (1996)
The makeup is awesome and it is fun to see Eddie Murphy having fun playing so many different characters, but the movie is pretty juvenile, relying on a lot of fart jokes that get tired real fast, and has an ending even more implausible than that of Jerry Lewis’ version.
Nymph()maniac: Vol. I (2013)
A complex and fascinating character study with an always absorbing structure that connects many episodes of the character’s life in a fluid narrative, raising in the process brilliant intellectual discussions about the nature of her intriguing sexual obsession and desire.
Nymph()maniac: Vol. II (2013)
Though notably less interesting than the first part, at least proposes some more intelligent discussions and wraps up its story as a powerful feminist statement about every woman’s right to have pleasure from their own sexual impulses and desire.
O Brother, Where Art Thou? (2000)
George Clooney is completely miscast in this insufferable and unexciting adventure comedy that fails in every lousy attempt at humor (especially in its nods to Homer’s Odyssey) and feels just pointless — one of the worst films in the Coen brothers’ excellent career.
Repetitious, confusing and mainly unfocused, Oblivion is a misconceived hodgepodge of clichés and contrivances from the first scene to the last, and it is hard to imagine how the result could have been stodgier or more predictable than what we see here.
Observe and Report (2009)
A clever yet uneven comedy that may be too downbeat for everyone’s tastes as it raises sharp questions about our society with a lot of political incorrectness, but it is a pity that it remains only one step back from being truly hilarious, even though it does have its inspired moments.
Just take the basics of movies like Fatal Attraction, Swimfan, Notes on a Scandal, even The Cable Guy, mix them all up together, then spice it up with Beyoncé giving a major badass attitude and you will end up with something like this mediocre little thriller.
Ocean’s Eight (2018)
Derivative, predictable and mostly unfunny (the dialogue is awful), this mediocre spin-off seems like written by someone who has never seen a heist movie in their life, unable to come up with any decent twist to make it worth it and being saved only by the amusing heist itself, which is fun.
An intelligent horror film that invests in a constant tension instead of resorting to scares and deserves credit for the amazing way that it fuses (and confuses) the present with the past through wonderful transitions, remaining always fluid as it jumps back and forth in time.
Ode to My Father (2014)
I deeply admire what Youn Jk wants to say with this moving, compelling story, I only find it a pity that he tries too hard to draw a strong emotional response from the viewer and cares too much about the aesthetics of his film as though he’s eager to show that there is a director behind it.
Of Fathers and Sons (2017)
Derki makes such an effort to be a fly on the wall that it becomes obvious how overly labored and edited together the result is (just pay attention to where the camera is), but at least he captures a disturbing reality in which childhood innocence dies with fanaticism and hatred.
Of Gods and Men (2010)
A wonderful and heartbreaking film that moved me to tears with a story (based on real events) that takes the necessary time with a deliberate pace to introduce us to each of the characters and their lives together, and make us truly care about them and their tense situation.
Of Mice and Men (1939)
No wonder why Lon Chaney Jr. was propelled to stardom after shining as Lennie in this solid adaptation of Steinbeck’s good story, as he finds the perfect tone for a mentally disabled character who could have become really irritating if played by a lesser actor.
Of Mice and Men (1992)
A decent adaptation that flunks due to a miscast John Malkovich in an over-the-top, cartoonish performance, looking too smart and cynical for the role and making Lennie seem irritating and seriously retarded, so much more than in the original story.
Office Space (1999)
Anyone who knows and appreciates the satirical office humor of the Dilbert comic strips will probably find this sophisticated comedy very funny — and those who hate their jobs will find it hard not to relate to it — with a clever dialogue that makes us laugh most of the time.
A wonderfully honest film that grows so much on us for two hours that we end up embracing its clichés without the slightest reservation, and it has splendid performances from the entire cast, especially Louis Gossett Jr., who is fantastic and deserved the Oscar he won.
The Official Story (1985)
Even though the changes undergone by the protagonist seem rushed (not even her hair seems to follow an entirely consistent evolution), this is a deeply disturbing and painful drama that poses hard questions and examines the terrifying truth about a horrific moment in History.
After a really nice and promising first hour, it seems like this overlong and irritating movie simply decides to try our patience with insufferable characters who yell and fight nearly all the time: the women being mostly weak and hysterical while the men are despicable and odious.
Oh My God! (2007)
An amusing little comedy that draws a lively, colorful picture of the cultural life in Pelourinho in Salvador, Brazil but unfortunately drags with musical scenes that adds nothing to the whole and has a bleak, maudlin ending that doesn’t fit at all with the tone of the movie.
Despite the overacting and lack of subtlety, this is a touching film that benefits from astonishing visual effects and offers a welcome ecological message about the exploitation of science and atrocities committed against animals for profit to the detriment of people’s health.
The Old Dark House (1932)
The humor is irregular, the tension almost nonexistent and the characters flat as they can be (some even falling in love after having just met!), and so this is amusing enough but didn’t age very well, worthy only for those delightful performances by Ernest Thesiger and Eva Moore.
Perhaps those are problems created by the heavy editing of Lee’s cut, but this unnecessary and watered-down remake not only doesn’t add anything new to the exceptional Korean film but is also full of plot holes and makes its jaw-dropping twist in the end seem only ludicrous.
Olive Kitteridge (2014)
Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins give their best as usual, but it can’t be a good sign that the most (only) fascinating character in this uneven, confused miniseries (played by Cory Michael Smith) simply disappears without any explanation after serving no well-defined purpose.
The Olive Tree (2016)
It is not always subtle when it comes to its drama and has an easy ending that makes it feel like it lacks something as a character study, but it compensates for that with a lot of heart, honesty and an intense performance by Anna Castillo to make it definitely worth it.
Oliver & Company (1988)
A harmless modern retelling of Dickens’ story with the setting shifted to late 1980s New York City and not a glimpse of the social commentary found in the novel, and it relies too much on its street smart charm and is toned down to be no more than just a fleeting pastime.
Olmo & the Seagull (2015)
An immensely fascinating docufiction that pulls us into the sadness experienced by a pregnant actress who is suffering from depression, blurring the barrier between reality and enactment to question why any such distinction should matter when the feelings they both provoke are real.
Los Olvidados (1950)
The fact that this daring classic enraged its audiences in Mexico when it came out is completely understandable, considering all implies without actually showing and the unromanticized way that it exposes the misery faced by poor children and teenagers amid all the indifference.
Like with Paradise Now, Abu-Assad finds a perfect balance between delicate drama and taut thriller in this well-constructed Palestinian film that depicts with intense realism life under Israeli occupation, while posing difficult questions to which there are no easy answers.
The Omen (1976)
A rare type of horror film that is more about its mystery and building an ominous feel of danger than trying to scare us, and it works quite well when it’s not too silly — as for instance with the ridiculous priest who babbles Catholic prophecies and could never be taken seriously.
On Body and Soul (2017)
With an exquisite direction, impeccable performances and an absolutely wonderful screenplay, this profoundly sensitive and unconventional love story uses a lot of humor to depict in a most irresistible way the discovery of love by two lonely, introspective people.
On Chesil Beach (2017)
Although it is easy to become frustrated by the characters’ immaturity, especially as we get deeper into the nature of their decisions, there is no denying how the remarkable complexity of their feelings drives everything we see here into a first-rate portrait of sexual frigidity.
On My Way (2013)
Bercot’s firm direction and some amusing moments aren’t enough to redeem a cliché-ridden script that has no structure and is full of poorly developed characters, and it seeks to provide some feeling of apparent resolution that cannot hide the loose ends and lack of real conclusion.
On the Basis of Sex (2018)
While this film may be well intentioned, it is formulaic and simplified to a fault, with a sense of self-importance that makes it sound clichéd even when telling something that is true, so you may as well just skip it and go for the much superior RBG documentary instead.
On the Ice (2011)
An Alaskan thriller that benefits from its locations and cinematography, efficiently exploring the white vastness of the snow and the atmosphere of isolation. However, the amateurish actors put in weak, irregular performances, while the unoriginal script does not offer any surprises.
On the Road (2012)
Salles follows closely the heartbeat and structure of the iconic novel to capture the wild spirit of the Beat Generation, to which he is more than faithful, and so this is an exciting collection of road anecdotes revolving around the friendship between Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady.
On the Waterfront (1954)
Kazan’s self-defense for naming names to the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC) in 1952 (and his apologia for denunciation) is a gritty combo of realistic crime drama, romance and character study with a stellar central performance by Marlon Brando.
On Tour (2010)
Amalric proves that he is not only a great actor but also an extremely talented director, displaying a lot of confidence and maturity with this hugely involving film that doesn’t need any effort to make us empathize with its characters and want to know more about them.
Once in a Lifetime (2014)
Too bad that after a promising start that seems like it wants to propose relevant discussions about cultural differences in the suburbs of Paris, this misguided drama becomes an extremely didactic narrative about a subject that bears no direct relation with the reality of those students.
Available now in its four-hour director’s cut, Leone’s supreme masterpiece is a magnificent epic — superbly directed, full of fantastic performances and with a beautiful story of friendship and betrayal that culminates in a profoundly moving, achingly sad ending.
An absorbing drama that relies on an engaging dialogue and a peculiar sense of humor, following a group of characters in a crime investigation as they talk about trivial things and reveal a lot about themselves in the process — and it boasts an impressive sound design and astonishing cinematography.
We can see how personal this film is for Tarantino (probably his most personal, according to him) from the way he eschews a defined plot in favor of recreating the mood and atmosphere of a time that is so important to him, and especially from how wonderfully bittersweet his last shot is.
Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)
Sergio Leone’s ultimate Western is this glorious operatic elegy for the dying genre — a true masterclass in cinema filled with unforgettable scenes from beginning to end, endlessly quotable lines, an evocative use of silence, iconic performances and a sublime score.
Once Upon a Time Veronica (2012)
Anchored by Hermila Guedes’s committed performance, this is an interesting and nuanced portrait of discontent, anhedonia and the unbearable weight of apathy in a decadent Brazilian city, even if it becomes repetitious after a while and doesn’t really seem to go anywhere in the end.
Though flawed in a few aspects, this decent little film is well balanced between melancholy and poetic, and it tells more about the viewer than the characters, since there will be diverse feelings about the ending depending if you are more of a realist or a romantic.
One Day (2011)
A touching story with a beautiful score, impeccable makeup and captivating characters that really grow on us as we catch up with them once in a year for such a long period of time — although it is just a pity that in the end it reuses a typical melodramatic cliché of romances.
One Deadly Summer (1983)
An interesting character study that benefits from a strong performance by Adjani as a beautiful young woman bent on revenge. Even so, the story is not only greater due to a predictable ending that you can see coming halfway through the film.
Jack Nicholson is super charismatic as a free-spirited character who refuses to abide by the rules at a mental institution, in a great drama that has its best moments when showing his obstinate attempts to get through to people who have given in to conformism.
One from the Heart (1981)
An overdirected and overproduced exercise of style that can be tremendously annoying with its insane excess of colors, sounds and neon signs in a fake Las Vegas that looks dated even as a satirical concept — all as an end in itself and without anything interesting or substantial to say.
With a gorgeous animation job using xerography that ranks among the best the studio has ever done — though Walt Disney strongly disliked it — this is a very entertaining film that also offers a memorable villain and knows well how to create suspense in scenes of danger.
101 Dalmatians (1996)
The fact is, there is one reason only to watch this completely forgettable movie that can’t seem to decide if it wants to be a merely amusing pastime or a silly nonsense, and that reason is Glenn Close, who devours the scenery with a deliciously over-the-top performance.
127 Hours (2010)
Boyle seems to care only about his own direction, as he invests in a heavy-handed, tumultuous approach, using everything from pointless subjective cameras to split screens, but leaves the story without a clear purpose. What saves the film, though, is Franco’s strong performance.
One Night (2012)
An honest and vigorous portrait of a troubled city, centered on three youngsters (played by excellent non-professional actors) who struggle to find a way out of their ungrateful lives while discovering their own sexuality — and the last act is tense and has a strong ending.
One of Us (2017)
Although it loses momentum and becomes repetitious in its second half, this is a solid and very interesting documentary that works as a nice companion piece to Jesus Camp, as it also offers us a disturbing — and even terrifying — look at the harmful side of religion.
Ong-Bak: Muay Thai Warrior (2003)
Like so many martial arts movies out there, it lacks in structure and is clearly more an excuse to show great fighting scenes — and great they definitely are, with Tony Jaa performing all his spectacular Muay Thai stunts without the use of wires or special effects.
Ong Bak 2: The Beginning (2008)
Though better made than the first movie (even avoiding those annoying playbacks), what is obvious is its purely commercial interest, from the title (this is not a sequel or a prequel) to the use of flashbacks so that the movie can jump straight to the action — and the ending is terrible.
Only God Forgives (2013)
Refn’s Lynchian nightmare never makes you think that he is not in absolute control of this gripping arthouse film, as he crafts a hypnotizing atmosphere of strangeness that feels like a hard punch in the guts with so much visceral power and crushing intensity.
Only Lovers Left Alive (2013)
Jarmusch knows quite well the kind of engrossing atmosphere that he wants to invoke with this story of old-fashioned, cultivated vampires who feel deeply disappointed in people’s disdain for Science and Art and are doomed to succumb in the mediocrity that dominates the world.
An Open Heart (2012)
It is really hard to care about a detestable couple formed by an immature, alcoholic jackass and his weak, accepting wife as they deal with their artificial marital conflicts — and it gets even worse when it all ends in a ridiculous dream sequence that is cringe-inducingly clichéd.
Open Windows (2014)
The plot is smart and Vigalondo’s direction following multiple open windows on a computer is imaginative and well conceived, but he also seems too desperate to make it ingenious, and so the film starts to devolve into a convoluted mess of twists close to the end.
Open Your Eyes (1997)
Amenábar follows his intelligent debut Thesis with this equally smart, well-written and nicely-acted psychothriller that takes a simple premise and shapes it into something so puzzling that we can’t see where reality ends and illusion begins — and the strong ending is more than earned.
Operações Especiais (2015)
I don’t really understand why this film is so underrated, since it is a solid character study that relies on a compelling arc for Cleo Pires’ character while offering a great commentary on how hard it is to fight corruption in a country that favors the interests of the powerful ones.
The Opposite of Sex (1998)
It has the kind of cynical and darkly politically incorrect humor that is among my favorite (it made me laugh out loud the whole time) and an excellent script (which I wish I had written) that makes fun of how ridiculous the characters are as they expose the worst in themselves.
A decent mix of Jaws and Moby Dick with a beautiful score and unsettling scenes of animal cruelty, about a miserable, ignorant whaler driven to madness and forced to understand the full agony of an unstoppable beast consumed with a furious desire for revenge.
Orchestra Rehearsal (1978)
It is deliciously odd that Fellini would have a documentary crew in this unpretentious story handling an omnipresent camera that seems to be everywhere even in impossible (and invisible) moments, which gives the film a surreal vibe that goes well together with what he wants to tell.
I hope I don’t develop any brain damage after watching this awful piece of crap that goes for every single ridiculous cliché of horror movies: from stupid scares even when there is nothing to be afraid of to the most irritating idiocy of nobody ever believing the main character.
The first Afghan film since the fall of the Taliban, Osama is a deeply harrowing and touching movie of great historical importance set during a monstrous regime that seems to have existed centuries ago, only it hasn’t been that long that it came to an end.
Oslo, August 31st (2011)
A poignant character study, melancholy and sad, about a man facing a desolate moment in his life when all hope seems lost, everything left is despair and he sees no reason to keep on trying, and it relies on a compelling performance by Anders Danielsen Lie.
A clever, witty spoof of spy movies that smartly plays with the conventions of the genre and recreates with perfection the looks of movies in the late ’50s, especially the special effects — and Dujardin is hilarious as the stupid, condescending French spy of the title.
OSS 117: Lost in Rio (2009)
The best thing about this French comedy is its delicious ’60s visuals with all the clumsy zooms and split-screens, and while the laughs are not so plentiful, the story has many inspired nonsensical moments in this fun spoof on the 007 series and spy movies in general.
The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Natalie Portman is great, and in fact the only one who stands out from the cast, but even though mildly intriguing, it is too bad that this period drama feels like a slow-paced soap opera more concerned about melodrama than historical accuracy.
The Other End (2016)
The build-up is stronger than the payoff, and yet the actors (especially Tom Karabachian) are so comfortable in their roles that sometimes I felt that they were improvising (I have no idea if they were, though), which somehow enriches this simple story about loneliness.
The Other Side of Hope (2017)
It has everything that anyone can expect from an Aki Kaurismäki film, including his hilarious deadpan humor and usual style with a theatrical mise-en-scène and palette of saturated colors — all of which he uses to make a caustic commentary on the racism of Finnish society.
The Other Side of the Door (2016)
It has an intriguing premise that could have led to a more original movie, but the result is just terribly predictable and full of clichés from beginning to end, especially in an awful third act that seems like a compilation of every horror movie cliché you can think of.
The Other Son (2012)
A compelling drama that relies on the charisma of its two main characters and the way they deal with a delicate situation, but it leaves some loose ends and tries too obviously to make a statement, ending on a rather frustrating, optimistic note.
The Other Woman (2009)
It would have been easy to make a melodrama with this subject and the sort of unexpected revelation that comes up in the third act, but Roos avoids that and delivers this emotionally complex film devoid of villains and lifted by two excellent performances by Natalie Portman and Lisa Kudrow.
There are a few good moments here and there but mostly this is a predictable stupidity full of clichés and apparently written by retards who don’t care a bit if it doesn’t make any sense — which can be seen from how the spirit’s motives are just nonsensical and ridiculous.
Ouija: Origin of Evil (2016)
Infinitely better than the first Ouija movie, this intelligent prequel understands quite well how silence can be much more terrifying than loud noises, giving us also time to care about the characters and cleverly subverting the most stupid clichés of the genre.
Our Children (2012)
Even though the first scene eliminates some of the impact that the end should create, we can’t deny how powerful and moving this film is — and Émilie Dequenne is fantastic, conveying with such anguishing intensity the whole suffering of an emotionally depressed woman.
Our Hospitality (1923)
There are many amusing moments here (the bumpy train, the dangerous river ride, Keaton afraid of leaving his foes’ house and be killed) and a good eye for props and elements (the dandy horse, the tunnel shaped like a train) that make this a funny, enjoyable comedy.
Our Last Tango (2015)
Fans and admirers of tango may find this documentary satisfying — and it offers some beautiful dance shots for their pleasure -, but it disappoints with a manipulative direction that feels so artificial in the way the film is shot (and edited) to provoke specific emotions in the viewers.
Our Little Sister (2015)
Despite the charisma and talent of its actresses, Koreeda’s film is so uneventful and without a clear focus that it feels dull and uninteresting, failing to offer a reason compelling enough to make us follow a family of sisters who just live together.
Our Struggles (2018)
I love how Senez makes everything look so natural by having the actors improvise their lines (which is pretty visible), but I also feel that this is a very simple drama that doesn’t fully explore the possibilities of its premise and ends up seeming more detached than it should.
Out in the Dark (2012)
From a thematic standpoint this is an always interesting film, but as a narrative it is heavy-handed and ridden with clichés and tacky dialogue — and its romance never feels natural or involving but only contrived and mechanical, with a terrible performance by Nicholas Jacob.
Out of Africa (1985)
A sumptuous romantic drama that not only dazzles us with its gorgeous cinematography and art direction but sweeps us with the complexity of the characters’ emotions and feelings (what unites and separates them), with Meryl Streep and Robert Redford in splendid performances.
Out of the Furnace (2013)
No great cast could save this from becoming an excruciatingly dull and predictable experience — a pointless film with an uneven structure where the first act takes more than an hour just to shape its simple premise and whose development is nothing that we haven’t seen before.
The movie can be quite tense and thrilling, and it is funny that, while not very bright, the main character is lucky enough to stumble on information after information by pure chance and not get killed after thirty minutes — which makes everything even more fun to watch.
Oz the Great and Powerful (2013)
An exciting roller coaster of a prequel with endless welcome references to the original movie and tons of more adventure and exuberant visuals that look quite nice in 3D — and it also aims for a broader public, being just as pleasant to adults as it is to children and munchkins alike.