The idea of a “documentary” made exclusively of images filmed by the participants themselves is actually quite clever once we realize that the result ends up documenting something else, not needing any effort to arouse a most genuine feeling of secondhand embarrassment in us viewers.
The Pacific (2010)
While Band of Brothers had a very well-structured narrative, this second war miniseries is not so fluid, focusing on three marines who barely meet — in fact, two of them briefly do but in a context that doesn’t add much. Besides, the battle of Guadalcanal feels incredibly reduced while a major one like Iwo Jima is left to not more than ten minutes in a later episode. Even so, the result is astonishing, a very intense and powerful ten-episode production that dives into the minds and souls of soldiers to show the effect of war on their lives.
Pacific Rim (2013)
A dazzling visual spectacle that combines top-notch visual effects with a lot of fun in a way that should make any Michael Bay ashamed — and Del Toro employs a large depth of field for most of the movie, which makes it look amazing in IMAX 3D, even if it is converted.
Pacific Rim: Uprising (2018)
Despite the fact that most of the secondary characters (namely the cadets) are so poorly developed (hell, I couldn’t make any distinction between them), this decent (yet unnecessary) sequel relies on a solid structure and has enough urgency to hold us on the edge of our seats.
The Pack (2015)
It’s nearly impossible to find any redeeming quality in this ridiculous movie that never manages to be tense and is centered on a family of complete idiots (who we couldn’t give a damn about) as they get surrounded by a pack of dogs that are far more intelligent than they are.
The Pact (2012)
The mystery is compelling and holds the story together in an efficient way before the last twenty minutes (which are very tense), even though there is no pact to be seen (can a movie title get more generic and lazier than this?) and the direction is so annoyingly full of clichés.
The kind of passable family movie that seems destined to be relegated to television every year on Christmas, given how harmless and satisfied with little it is, which can be seen from its silly humor and Nicole Kidman playing a cartoonish, Cruella de Vil-like villain.
The Painted Veil (1934)
Garbo is such a marvel to behold, so captivating that she doesn’t need any effort to make us forgive her character’s sins, while the solid script and elegant dialogue always let us understand her motivations, even though the conclusion comes a bit fast and sudden.
The Painted Veil (2006)
The cinematography is stunning, while Watts’ and Norton’s outstanding performances elevate this absorbing material into a truly memorable experience, as they give shape to complex characters in an extremely engaging drama about resentment, forgiveness and love.
Amateurish acting, terrible dubbing and filming errors apart, this is a riveting example of cinéma vérité centered on many cultural differences encountered during the liberation of Italy by the Allied forces, yet although the first three stories are sublime, the last three are not so efficient.
A Paixão de JL (2015)
By letting his subject ‘speak’ freely without any sort of interference and only illustrating Leonilson’s thoughts and feelings mostly through his art and some film excerpts, Nader accomplishes something much more mature, poignant and heartbreaking than his previous works.
Palo Alto (2013)
The meandering quality of the film’s plot (which may put most viewers off) is in fact what I like the most about it, while the solid performances, nice cinematography and Gia Coppola’s firm direction help make this a solid debut for her as a filmmaker.
Pan-Cinema Permanente (2008)
I can see that everyone involved in the making of this film wanted to create something as poetic as its subject — a dear friend and talented artist who had a most eccentric and contagious spirit — but for anyone else the result may feel distant and not so satisfyingly able to probe into who he was.
Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Del Toro creates a magnificent fairy tale for grown-ups in which the innocence of fantasy collides with the horrors of war — and the result is a devastating, poignant and unforgettable film of lyrical beauty, with astonishing visuals, great performances and a wonderful score.
Paper Towns (2015)
The plot is formulaic and the performances generally weak — especially from the actors playing Quentin’s friends, who are also more annoying than they should be -, but the film is sincere and has one of the most mature endings to come out from a young adult story in recent years.
The Paperboy (2012)
It looks and feels like something made in the 1970s but with a sordid quality that makes it so absurdly hilarious in all its filthy nonsense — thanks also to a terrific performance by Nicole Kidman as the trashy Southern blonde, who steals every scene she appears in.
With an excellent performance by Steve McQueen and a stunning cinematography that employs a large depth of field to explore the setting and thus the gravity of the situation, this compelling prison film works so very well despite losing some of its credibility in the third act.
The Parade (2011)
A parade of clichés and stereotypes clearly conceived by a (well-intentioned) straight man, but apparently this must be the only type of movie that could bring such a nice message to a larger audience in a strongly homophobic country like Serbia, so points for that too.
A hard-hitting documentary that exposes the horrendous flaws of a justice system that can convict someone without any strong evidence based only on assumptions made by a jury of peers who have no instruction and are incapable of judging the case in an objective way.
A bit repetitious with so many clips from the first movie, but still it is reassuring how it shows that there are supportive people willing to help the defendants prove their innocence for free, as well as the irony of assuming that someone else is guilty because of his appearance.
Even though the first half seems more like a recap of the previous two movies, this is a well-structured and objective documentary that shows us what “beyond any reasonable doubt” should mean in a place where people can’t let go of their own preconceived opinions.
Paraguayan Hammock (2006)
A fascinating (and simple) way to tell a sad, touching story, using long static shots of the couple’s daily life as a visual anchor for extradiegetic dialogue and atmospheric background sounds (the forest and the rain) — all done through an outstanding, immersive sound work.
I would have loved to see this as the backdoor pilot of a Sliders-like TV series as it was originally intended, but as a standalone movie, despite a nice sense of humor, it has blatant problems in structure and a poorly-conceived, badly-developed concept that leaves too much unanswered.
Paranormal Activity (2007)
The idea may be interesting even if totally unoriginal, while the story is developed well in a careful pace. Still, the movie feels like a mere silly trick to scare the audience and nothing else, even if it isn’t scary or intriguing.
Paranormal Activity 2 (2010)
A superior and scarier sequel (prequel actually) that serves best as an example of what the first movie should have been but wasn’t, given that, contrary to the silly sheet tricks of that one, we’re offered this time a more interesting development of the paranormal activity.
Paranormal Activity 3 (2011)
A dull and obvious prequel with a predictable paper-thin plot that reuses the same old unscary sheet tricks of the first movie and even has a guy — stubborn to the point of stupidity — carrying a camera for much longer after good sense would have made him drop it.
The superb animation combines 3D stop-motion and CGI effects into a dazzling visual spectacle, but the plot drags with irregular pacing and only occasional funny jokes. The result is an average experience that ends with a clichéd message about how bullying is bad.
Paris 05:59 (Théo & Hugo) (2016)
The two actors are good and have a powerful chemistry together (especially in the remarkably intense initial sequence), but what the film mistakes for authenticity is in fact a lot of artificial and painfully theatrical dialogue that unfortunately dilutes their onscreen presence.
Paris Is Burning (1990)
As a revealing (and sad) portrait of this subculture of the 1980s, the film documents the balls, the “houses,” “voguing” and a “realness” competition that raises some fascinating questions about what real means (gay men even appear teaching women to behave like “real” women).
A romantic comedy that is not romantic nor funny; instead, it is silly and uninteresting in the same proportion — and not even an adorable cameo by Woody Allen himself is able to lift this movie from being merely ordinary.
Paris, Texas (1984)
While deceptively simple on the surface, this is a masterful example of screenwriting and storytelling that finds truth and poetry in the mundane and is centered on the kind of quietly nuanced characters that I guess any actor or actress would love to play once in their lives.
This is certainly an authentic portrait of life in Paris for a young Lebanese immigrant trying to find her path in a foreign city, but the film also starts to feel a bit repetitive after a while and doesn’t offer much in terms of narrative to stand out and become memorable.
Particle Fever (2013)
For those like me with a background in physics and/or up to date on the subject, this doc won’t offer much and will even prove to be a bit repetitious (and dull), as it wastes too much time on emotions instead of talking science, thus more recommended for the uninitiated than experts.
The Party (1968)
A largely improvised slapstick comedy that has no actual plot, only a series of random situations relying on Peter Sellers’s capacity for making us laugh with mostly physical gags, and as such it manages to be funny at times, whereas more often it can be just silly instead.
The Party (2017)
Highly engaging, fast-paced and with great performances (especially Timothy Spall and Cillian Murphy, who are hilarious), this smart comedy has some very funny moments and never outstays its welcome, surprising us with a well-written dialogue and delicious twists.
El Pasado (2007)
I like Babenco’s direction (despite the irregular pacing) and the film’s score and performances, but this story about a man surrounded by mad women is too puzzling and implausible in the end, when we only feel like it doesn’t have that much to say about relationships after all.
Full of the worst clichés you can think of, expository dialogue and cheesy references (even to The Shining, for no good reason), this is an immoral and horribly corny little romance that wants us to feel sympathy towards a selfish bastard as he proves to a woman that he will be the “best” thing for her.
For the most part, this is a solid thriller whose technical brilliance (mainly the fantastic art direction, mise-en-scène, cinematography, editing and score) is no surprise for a Brian De Palma movie. It is just too bad though that the story collapses in such a ridiculous, incoherent end.
The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
Baffling us with spectacular visuals and one of the most magnificent performances in the history of Cinema, it is nearly unbelievable how Dreyer made such a stunning masterpiece solely from rejected material after his original master print had been accidentally destroyed.
The Past (2013)
Farhadi proves again that he is one of the greatest storytellers nowadays to shape nuanced, three-dimensional characters, making it impossible for us to take sides or judge any of them — and his wonderful last scene, filmed in one long take, is of extraordinary sensibility.
Patch Adams (1998)
A pathetic tearjerker that tries to make us cry at all costs with every sort of cheap narrative and manipulation, not even realizing how insulting it is with Robin Williams playing a clownish retard who is supposed to be some kind of happiness hero for the pitiful ones.
Adam Driver delivers a sensitive performance in this intelligent character study that shows us a week in the life of a man living a melancholy existence, and it is great to see how Jarmusch uses black-and-white patterns to underline the character’s ordinary routine.
Pather Panchali (1955)
An impressive achievement considering that this was Ray’s first film, and he displays an enormous confidence in the direction of this hypnotizing and realistic look into the life of a Bengali family struggling with poverty as witnessed by the eyes of an eight year-old boy.
Paths of Glory (1957)
Kubrick’s best depiction of the brutal and dehumanizing face of war, it not only offers excellent performances, an exquisite cinematography and an intensely absorbing dialogue, but ends with an especially beautiful (and thought-provoking) last scene.
Patrik, Age 1.5 (2008)
A sensitive and heartwarming drama that could have been easily filled with clichés and turned into a melodrama but is wise instead to develop its story in an always believable and sincere way, relying also on two adorable performances by Skarsgård and Ljungman.
Pegg and Frost join Seth Rogen and Greg Mottola in this hilarious geek comedy that is also surprisingly full of action. The script is very smart, with many well-inspired references, and it finds a perfect balance between the humor of Shaun of the Dead and Superbad.
Pawn Sacrifice (2014)
It is dull, formulaic and directed in such a mediocre way (hell, even Zwick’s sense of geography is terrible) that there is no pleasure in going through this plodding plot so full of clichés and awful dialogue just to finally get to a tense climax that saves the film from being a disaster.
The Pearl Button (2015)
The rambling nature of Guzmán’s poetic digressions makes this film frustrating despite his sensitive intentions, and so it seems more like a mixed bag of cheesy esoteric assertions about water and random musings on indigenous people, dictatorships, pearl buttons and supernovas.
Peeping Tom (1960)
Extremely bold and perverse for the time it came out (as it was the first film to put us in the perspective of a serial killer), this is a work of great psychological depth that dives into the dark corners of misogyny and voyeurism while making us sympathetic towards its sick protagonist.
The Pelican Brief (1993)
With so much happening on screen for a bloated running time of 141 minutes, it is easy to overlook the countless inconsistencies and stupidities of this half-baked conspiracy thriller that believes to be pretty clever but is filled with paper-thin characters who rarely behave smartly.
Anchored in two great central performances, it explores and understands the poetic beauty of human shapes and movements, offering a delicate look full of intimacy and intensity into the complex relationship between a couple of artists.
It seems a bit ridiculous that a pig nose could cause people to cringe in horror and jump out of windows (especially considering the amount of ugly people in this world), but this decent little fable-like comedy has a sweet moral message and makes the best of a simple idea.
Penguins of Madagascar (2014)
A very amusing spin-off centered on the very most adorable characters of the Madagascar franchise — which, combined with a well-written plot, hilarious puns, a stunning Pixar-level animation and even a hilarious Werner Herzog narration, makes for a much superior experience.
Forming a perfect companion piece to Entreatos, which also came out in 2004 and followed Lula’s presidential campaign when he was first elected president of Brazil, Coutinho’s film looks instead at the past and especially the unknown workers who made history with their bravery.
A contemplative project that sets out to document the simple life and musings of a humble populist president who should be followed as an example by every nation leader anywhere out there. Still, despite its inspiring subject, the film doesn’t offer much else beyond that.
This enjoyable and harmless adventure directed by Chris Columbus is entertaining enough as it makes nice references to Greek Mythology gods and creatures, and it features a very amusing performance by Uma Thurman as the Medusa.
A Perfect Getaway (2009)
At first, this movie seems to be a trashy comedy due to the strange characters and goofy dialogue, but then after its first hour it evolves into an above-average thriller, surprisingly good and smarter than most slasher movies released in recent years.
Perfect Sense (2011)
Inexplicably bashed by many critics, this is a surprisingly optimistic and vivid take on the overused apocalyptic scenario. An honest romance that is really touching and beautiful, even if sometimes the stylized direction and some involuntarily funny scenes stand in the way.
The Perfect Storm (2000)
It is a shame how this movie turns a real nightmare into a dull Hollywood spectacle full of visual effects but with little character development, and it even makes the biggest mistake of showing more people caught in the storm instead of only focusing on the crew of the Andrea Gail.
The Perfection (2018)
After a thrilling and genuinely surprising first half, I can only feel immensely frustrated and disappointed to see this movie collapse into such complete stupidity and nonsense with a lot of ridiculous exposition and lame twists that manage to be dumber by the minute.
Perfumed Ball (1997)
The artificial performances and obvious attempt to look sophisticated make it seem awfully cheesy like a film made for TV, and I reached the end of this film not sure why it was made in the first place, since it doesn’t offer much nor has anything really interesting enough to say.
Though with an unnecessary twist and a few clichés in a plot that could have certainly avoided them, this is a very sincere and involving drama about what it is like to be a teenager trying to find his place in the world — and its strength lies in three excellent performances.
Personal Shopper (2016)
Kristen Stewart delivers a great performance that grabs our attention, and Olivier Assayas does a very nice job creeping us out in some moments; but it is just too bad, though, that he gets lost with a stupid script that has no focus, no direction and not much that interesting to say.
Žižek’s personal psychoanalytic dissection of Cinema is always fascinating and rewarding, even if clearly a one man’s vision. But many times he also rambles among different ideas without being really able to organize his thoughts in a coherent, logical sequence.
Žižek’s many ideas are really fascinating and always fun to watch, but once again he has trouble organizing all of them in a cohesive argument, even if now the result is less rambling than the first film due to the narrowed-down focus of what he wants to say.
Pet Sematary (1989)
King’s screenplay (adapted from his own novel) is generally well structured despite its flaws, but the movie suffers mainly from stiff dialogue and Lambert’s poor, amateurish direction, which has trouble even with the most basic things, such as the geography of the scenes.
Pet Sematary (2019)
I do applaud the filmmakers’ decision to go for something more original by making such radical changes in King’s original story, although it is hard to call them clever or feel that there is anything here that actually stands out when compared to that mediocre first adaptation.
Peter Pan (1953)
Though it is supposed to be an adventurous story of youth and innocence, it is marred by the fact that Peter Pan and Tinker Bell come off as truly unlikable characters, and it must be a sign that it isn’t really working the way it should when you see yourself rooting for Captain Hook.
Petting Zoo (2015)
Layla looks and speaks like a normal girl, with normal desires, doubts and frustrations in a defining moment of her life — which is how it should be like -, and although the ending is not that satisfying, this is an honest portrait of adolescence that doesn’t need to be a moral statement.
Silly and with no sense of structure, this movie is basically a series of random scenes put together and with a bunch of random creatures attacking the characters over and over until boredom is all that is left, with the Tall Man being one of the most stupid and unscary villains ever.
The Phantom of the Opera (1990)
This decent TV movie version adapted from Arthur Kopit’s play — which in turn is considerably distinct from the original story by Gaston Leroux — features a great performance by Burt Lancaster, a good art direction and a nice score by John Addison.
The Phantom of the Opera (2004)
The impressive sets, costumes, production direction and cinematography make for a stunning visual spectacle, but most of the songs — with the exception of two or three — are hideous (yes, I hate both Andrew Lloyd Webber and his musical) and Butler is a terrible singer.
One of the first movies to deal with delicate matters like AIDS, homosexuality and intolerance at the time of its release. Although not altogether memorable, this is a praise-worthy effort that relies on some great performances and proves to be a deeply touching experience.
The Philadelphia Story (1940)
A witty romantic comedy with a refined, intelligent dialogue and sharp performances, especially Hepburn and Stewart, although I feel reluctant to accept the sexist way that it correlates a woman’s strong character with her being a prig, as if humbling and taming were the same.
With amusing moments of humor and good performances by Dench and Coogan, this fine and sad little drama packs some unexpected emotional punches, but there is not much else into it and it is not as challenging and original as it really could have been.
Nina Hoss delivers perhaps the very best and most challenging performance of her career in this gripping film about what it is like to become a stranger to the person you love (and vice versa) — even though the suicide of a certain character comes up as quite unnecessary.
The Piano (1993)
Holly Hunter and Anna Paquin deliver two terrific performances in this beautiful, haunting story that Campion carries off with sheer sensitivity and in a slow-burning fashion that helps explore the complexity of its characters and themes like restraint, passion and loneliness.
Bresson’s unemotional style and wooden performances may not be accessible to everyone but it is impressive how he holds our interest in the many minutiae of the pickpocketing sleight of hand tricks, making them seem more like an art than a condemnable deed.
With a wonderful mise-en-scène and cinematography (mostly gorgeous wide-angle long shots), this amusing collection of several vignettes can be pretty ironic and surreal as they show that life is made up not only of gracious, strange and prosaic moments but also of pain and vicious deeds.
The overwhelming dramatic strength of this gut-wrenching tale of revenge makes us forgive its undeniable lack of subtlety (especially regarding its social and political ambitions) and its absurdly amateurish direction (the awful zooms and camera movements).
From the spectacular choreography of Rite of Spring to the melancholy of Café Müller, this documentary made by Wim Wenders (in a fabulous 3D) takes us on a fascinating journey into the work of an artist and her legacy in the development of the expressionist dance.
Pineapple Express (2008)
David Gordon Green directing a story by Judd Apatow is something that goes against the laws of nature, but even more surprising is how well it works, a great blend of bromance, stoner comedy and highly enjoyable action, with James Franco shining in a hilarious performance.
Pink Flamingos (1972)
An outrageous and repellent exercise in bad taste whose only infantile objective is to leave you disgusted as if eating dog shit yourself. It isn’t funny, the acting is horrible and John Waters only proves that he is an awful director with his trashy zooms and ugly camera movements.
Pink Floyd: The Wall (1982)
A silly rock musical that seems made by a dazzled hippie student who wants to rebel against the system without really knowing why (and it doesn’t help that the lyrics are so repetitious and expository sometimes); but at least a nice dose of surrealism is always welcome.
The Pink Panther (1963)
Inspector Clouseau may not be the main character, but Peter Sellers steals the show in this a delightful comedy that boasts Henry Mancini’s classic theme and some very funny moments (many of them improvised), even if its sense of humor may feel a bit dated sometimes.
Collodi’s classic fairy tale is adapted into a spellbinding animation full of adventure and tension, notably scarier and more serious in tone than the usual Disney movies. A wonderful story that holds an important moral lesson for children about the dangers of the world.
Despite showing early signs of Dante’s peculiar sense of humor (the ululating sound made by the piranhas is a hilarious example), this spoof of Jaws (or as Roger Corman put it, his “homage” to that classic) did not resist well the effect of time, looking pretty trashy and silly today.
An amusing but irregular stop-motion animation (with a useless 3D) that has many intelligent and really well-inspired scenes but also moments of pedestrian humor that make the movie look as silly as, say, an episode of The Big Bang Theory.
A movie that has no reason to exist but to make money, especially if you consider the unnecessary 3D. Everything is so silly and predictable, the characters are mostly annoying, and you know something is very wrong when even the action scenes feel repetitious and underwhelming.
Pit and the Pendulum (1961)
A very inspired adaptation that strays completely from Poe’s story — in fact, it is hard to see why it is said to be an adaptation in the first place -, and Corman builds a tense atmosphere with a firm direction, a fine art direction and Price’s magnetic performance.
The Pit and the Pendulum (1991)
Stuart Gordon does a great job again combining horror (this time from pure human evil) and camp (even though it gets a bit too campy sometimes), benefiting from Lance Henriksen’s creepy performance and offering us a solid (and underrated) adaptation of Poe’s short story.
Pitch Perfect (2012)
It may be conventional and formulaic with nearly all film clichés that Kendrick’s character disdains so much (and not with the originality of the likes of The Breakfast Club), but maybe that is the point after all: to work as a solid predictable comedy. And it does so well.
A hard-hitting portrayal of the miserable childhood faced by countless minors in Brazil who don’t see any way ahead of them except a life of crime, and it is even more painful and tragic when we consider that its main actor was murdered by the police in real life six years after it was made.
The Place Beyond the Pines (2012)
Cianfrance puts a lot of effort into generating apprehension, but he is unable to find any direction in this terribly misguided soap opera that relies on an absurd amount of contrived coincidences and is predictable, artificial, unfocused and ultimately pointless.
Le Plaisir (1952)
Apart from that natural drawback of most anthologies — being a rather uneven piece made of contrasting stories -, this film is a charming and refreshing experience that benefits mainly from its sumptuous visuals and splendid use of tracking shots and long takes.
Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959)
Ed Wood’s most infamous creation and a definite prove of how outrageously inept he was as a filmmaker. Featuring a lot of laughable acting and dialogue, ridiculous special effects and a disastrous notion of space and time, this is a masterpiece of sheer awfulness.
The whole concept behind the film is absolutely fascinating, as it not only blurs the line between fiction and reality (which would have been too simple) but defies the very idea of storytelling (and its effect on us) when we are not able to tell anymore if what we hear is real or not.
Playing by Heart (1998)
A passable yet rather predictable romantic drama that, despite a top-notch cast, seems more interested in its element of surprise at the end, reducing all the complexity of its situations and themes to a happy ending where everything works out and is wrapped up in easy fashion.
The Pledge (2001)
An exceptional character study that grows incredibly suffocating as it leads us to ponder the real motivations behind its protagonist’s actions, relying on one of the best performances in Jack Nicholson’s career and culminating in a haunting, bitter and fittingly ironic conclusion.
Plus One (2019)
While comparisons with When Harry Met Sally… are inevitable (especially considering that Jack Quaid is Meg Ryan’s son), this is a mature romcom that benefits mostly from the charisma of its two leads and their great chemistry together, even if the ending is too simple for a story that deserved more.
I do not share the negative criticism that this well-intentioned (yet naive) animation is racist and offensive to American Indians, and it is actually a lot more serious in theme and mood than the average Disney film, with also gorgeous visuals and a beautiful Oscar-winning song.
The Poet of the Castle (1959)
Poetic and lyric like the artist’s works and always aware of the alienating concrete jungle about him pushing his proverbial desire away to Pasárgada.
An uneven, overlong drama that wants to discuss many subjects but gets lost among ideas that are not fully developed or well explored, and so it is clear that it should have been better edited and focused more on the protagonist’s fascination with poetry and inspiration.
La Pointe Courte (1955)
It is a shame that few people know or talk about this remarkable directorial debut that would later inspire major filmmakers such as Alain Resnais and Ingmar Bergman, as it showcases a groundbreaking use of film language, a stunning cinematography and a truly innovative form of storytelling.
Pokémon Detective Pikachu (2019)
I wish Pikachu would partner with someone brighter and more charismatic than the whiny protagonist we have to put up with here, and this is a bland, perfunctory movie that rarely manages to be thrilling with its inconsequential action, lame villain and underwhelming twists.
Police, Adjective (2009)
This Romanian film is definitely not for everyone, considering its peculiar directing style and sluggishly slow pace, but those willing to sit through it will find a thought-provoking and morally challenging narrative with a particularly outstanding final act.
Investing in a documentary tone with a handheld camera, this realistic drama depicts the everyday life of the policemen/women in the division of crimes against children in Paris, and is a fascinating collection of situations that show their work and the relationship between them.
Even with the level of horror toned down to meet Spielberg’s crowd-pleasing standards (which is a pity considering that this movie was also directed by the guy who conceived one of the most terrifying films ever), Poltergeist is quite entertaining and has a lot of great moments.
I used to be terrified by the sight of Kane when I was a kid, but it is impossible to overlook how insufferably dull, disjointed and pointless this lame excuse for a sequel is, with a lot of bad dialogue, half-baked horror scenes and even some casual racial stereotypes thrown in.
Poltergeist III (1988)
Darker than the previous movies but uninspired, repetitious, full of inconsistencies and with characters who always behave in such ludicrous ways — like Nancy Allen’s who is initially annoying and selfish at one moment only to completely change her mind right after.
I can’t see any homage in this painfully derivative movie that reuses the worst clichés of the genre, with a lazy script that has no shame to come up with the most ridiculous “explanation” ever (drawn on paper, to appear more “scientific”) for a supernatural phenomenon.
Like a Fassbinder or Douglas Sirk movie made by John Waters, it is a mess with all his trademark filth, irritating overacting and ridiculous lack of structure and focus, and I guess it would be only amusing and worth seeing in the cinema for the Odorama scratch-and-sniff gimmick.
The re-creation of the massacre is quite efficient, depicting the shocking brutality of the real incident, but the film suffers from an irregular narrative diluted by flashbacks and jumps in time. Besides, the characters are not too well developed and the resolution is disappointing.
From a narrative point of view, this is an uninspired hodgepodge that simply recycles every cliché and convention of the genre (including an indestructible villain), being only worth it for the amusing, great-looking catastrophe, the nice score and Kit Harington’s spectacular abs.
A very adorable and visually beautiful hand-drawn animation by master Hayao Miyazaki, who goes for a more innocent and simpler approach to tell this story instead of delivering an epic of environmental message like some of his more memorable works.
A delightful and sweet adaptation that captures the innocent spirit of the comic strip and the cartoon, translating it to the screen with great songs, a splendid production design (the entirely constructed set of Sweethaven is fabulous) and priceless moments between Williams and Walston.
Porco Rosso (1992)
Miyazaki indulges himself in his passion for seaplanes with this very enjoyable project of most personal interest, an always entertaining film that benefits from a beautiful soundtrack, a spot-on sense of humor and, even better, a lot of heart.
O Porto de Santos (1978)
The man who dances encapsulates everything this film says without wanting to say it, with its narrative and purpose being seamlessly constructed, almost unnoticed, by music, images and sounds of the people who compose the geography of the port.
The Poseidon Adventure (1972)
It is irritating that nearly every female character is shown as weak or hysterical, but this is an entertaining disaster movie that can be quite tense sometimes and has a superb production design, nice action scenes and a great cast made up of mostly Oscar-winning actors.
Post Tenebras Lux (2012)
This experimental film of powerful imagery and evocative atmosphere may be intriguing at first, but soon it becomes pretty clear that Reygadas is not really interested in saying anything consistent in this aimless series of unrelated scenes that hardly come together.
It is nice to see that Ozon can still handle light comedies like this, and even if there is nothing really special about it, it is still a very pleasant and funny movie thanks mostly to Deneuve and Depardieu, who are both great as usual and shining together.
While Koyaanisqatsi is remarkable for its musical, almost mathematical precision, the images of abject poverty we see here seem to have been put together in a much more random fashion (like in a music video), which makes everything feel sadly repetitious and less revealing this time.
Pra Frente, Brasil (1982)
It is not without its flaws (especially in the end), but still this is a tense and important film that openly speaks about a dark chapter in Brazilian history when conformism was the norm and there was nothing better than soccer to distract people from what was happening.
Prayers for Bobby (2009)
A sad real story about how intolerance destroys lives and how it takes sometimes a tragedy to force people to open their eyes, and Sigourney Weaver offers a powerful performance in this movie that tends a bit towards melodrama but is sincere about what it wants to say.
The greatest achievement of this bleak drama is how it makes us sympathize with a character that could have been easily stereotyped if played by a not-so-great actress, but Sidibe is superb as well as Mo’Nique, who shines as the selfish mother.
An action-packed piece of uninspired escapism that doesn’t come close to what made the original movie so suspenseful, and despite a few good scenes and twists, it is filled with pathetic dialogue, stereotypical characters and tedious moments in which nothing happens.
The Prefab People (1982)
I don’t understand Tarr’s taste for redundant monologues in his early works when so much is already shown on screen, and here in this solid, unrelenting piece of cinema verité we can see that the mostly silent last scene is much more resonant and telling than the monologue that precedes it.
Although it doesn’t really know how to end and goes on for two scenes longer than it should, this is a hugely uncomfortable family drama that feels more cruel than most films alike and has wonderful performances from its cast (especially Thomas Blanchard, who is incredible).
Altman’s lighthearted, amusing and unfairly underrated satire on the fashion industry is a sharp ensemble piece of celebrities, designers and reporters as they meet and stumble on one another at the “prêt-à-porter” extravaganza of Paris Fashion Week.
Pretty in Pink (1986)
A sweet coming-of-age story with an adorable sense of humor, an awesome soundtrack and some superb performances by Stanton, Cryer and Potts, and if the end may not please you (like it did please me), the sincere way the movie shows the insecurities of youth definitely will.
Pretty Woman (1990)
Even if completely unrealistic, it is easy to enjoy this delightful little Cinderella story that works so well thanks to the chemistry between the two leads and the delicious dialogue, while Julia Roberts puts in a very adorable performance.
A funny and heartfelt comedy about the importance of solidarity, friendship and courage to fight for justice in our world — and thirty years after the events depicted, this real story continues to be relevant and inspiring today as a call to stand up together for equal rights.
Pride & Prejudice (2005)
With a great cast, a wonderful score and a sumptuous production design that feels like a travel in time, this is a delightful adaptation that benefits mostly from Austen’s dialogue (despite not being as charming as when you read it) and Keira Knightley’s strong performance.
The Priest and the Girl (1966)
It should be remembered more for its formal rigor and the strength of Paulo José’s performance, since, when it comes to its flawed narrative, it moves too slowly (to the point of tedious after a while) and doesn’t have much to offer beyond the thin story that it wants to tell.
Prime Time Soap (2011)
It is so disappointing to see that this film is like a naive soap opera full of clichés and with poorly developed characters in unrealistic situations, but even worse is that it seems to advocate the infuriating message that love and happiness are more important than fighting for freedom.
Produced on a minimal budget of $7,000, this mind-blowing sci-fi mystery is extremely complex and intelligent, and it is amazing how you get more details each time you watch it and try to fit the pieces of this fascinating puzzle. A brilliant film for those who like to be challenged.
Prince Avalanche (2013)
An enjoyable blend of funny and melancholy that benefits from Green’s solid direction and strong performances by Rudd and Hirsch, even if it feels a bit vague and purposely enigmatic as its title, with the dialogue also becoming artificial after a certain hip accident scene.
With a lot of clichés, a silly sense of humor and empty, ridiculous characters, this harmless swashbuckler is predictable from the first scene to the last and doesn’t even realize that the warn-out love/hate relationship between the main couple gets irritating really really fast.
The Prince of Tides (1991)
A sappy and overpraised movie that is all over the place trying to bite off a lot more than it can chew, even discarding its heavy-handed family drama (which gets solved in the most pathetic way) to focus on a corny romance — and it didn’t deserve any of the Oscar nominations it got.
The Princess and the Frog (2009)
Disney’s brief throwback to a traditional hand-drawn animation is this mildly amusing re-creation of the New Orleans of the 1920s with its jazz, voodoo, bayous and an African-American heroine who very conveniently doesn’t have to deal with any sort of prejudice in those times.
The Princess Bride (1987)
An enchanting storybook love story that has gained the status of cult movie along the years and appeals to both youngsters and adults alike thanks to its delicious blend of exciting romantic adventure and hilarious comedy — and made even more enjoyable by a great cast.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
Miyazaki returns to the ecological message that he offered us in Nausicaä and elevates it to an epic level with this story of man vs nature that benefits from stunning visuals, a wonderful score and complex characters that cannot be defined in easy terms as being either heroes or villains.
Prisoner of the Iron Bars (2003)
By offering the Carandiru prisoners an opportunity of recording their own ugly reality, Sacramento creates an episodic mosaic that reveals quite a bit of those confined lives while also exposing their subhuman, insalubrious conditions in a place that really looks like hell in a big city.
With fantastic performances (Gyllenhaal deserves an Oscar), an extremely complex script so well written in every single detail and a phenomenal direction that invests in a slow-burning tension with perfection, Prisoners is certainly one of the best films of the year.
A film that basically relies on exchanges of fine dialogue. The war scenes are now dated and the final act is very weak, with the characters saying one thing only to contradict themselves and keep the plot moving, but Davis raises the movie from ordinary to enjoyable.
The Producers (1967)
With its casual homophobia and objectification of women, the film’s sense of humor feels a bit dated and is not always efficient, but Gene Wilder and Zero Mostel are hilarious and hold this comedy together even when we realize that the plot is a lot more predictable than it seems.
A Prophet (2009)
A gripping French gangster film that depicts the many brutal changes that a man can go through after entering prison, and the 19-year-old Arab-Corsican delinquent who slowly learns to become a murderer is played with an impressive intensity by Tahar Rahim.
The Program (2015)
This is one of those biopics that tells a story that we all know and doesn’t manage the necessary to raise it above its limitations; instead, it suffers from a one-dimensional protagonist that never becomes intriguing and ends so abruptly that it feels like Frears got tired of telling it.
Project X (2012)
Another movie this year misusing the trite (and unnecessary) found footage gimmick edited from multiple cameras (even under the water!), which would have been impossible to obtain. But those looking for just pointless, forgettable fun are likely to be entertained.
Prom Night (1980)
A messy mix of Carrie, Saturday Night Fever and Halloween that takes too long to get where it is going (being even interrupted by a laughably intrusive disco dance scene), and so by the time things start to happen, there is very little tension left, even though I do like the ending.
An ambitious movie with outstanding visuals and great ideas, but the existentialist debate never goes beyond the obvious, and so even if it has a gripping mystery, this is a frustrating effort that only cares about coming up with more and more questions than ever answering them.
The Promise (1979)
There is a lot of honesty and truth in what it wants to say, especially in the way it avoids making Marion a one-dimensional villain; even so, the result is only a passable yet sappy love story with good performances but inevitably weakened by its corny dialogue.
Promise at Dawn (2017)
Despite the good performances, here is an unfocused biography that feels overlong and uneven as it wants to comprise so much information about the character’s life — and it isn’t even ashamed of “stealing” the music score from Arrival and The Leftovers.
Promised Land (2012)
For the most part, this is an engaging and thought-provoking drama with excellent dialogue and complex characters facing complex ethical issues, but it is terribly frustrating to see it all reach an unjustifiable revelation and an unconvincing — yet thematically consistent — conclusion.
The Proposal (2009)
Despite some funny moments and the good chemistry between Bullock and Reynolds, there is nothing fresh in this unoriginal romcom whose humor is more embarrassing than inspired. Even worse is how we are supposed to buy that such a tough bitch can change so much in one weekend.
Prozac Nation (2001)
The strong performances from Ricci and Lange elevate this depressing drama and prevent us from fully hating a troubled character who can’t stop hurting everyone around her, and it is very sad how it shows the tragic effects of depression on a person and on those who love her.
A seminal classic of horror by master Alfred Hitchcock, with some of the most memorable iconic scenes in the history of Cinema. Tense, horrific and a superb lesson in filmmaking, it offers well-constructed characters, a lot of revealing dialogue and a huge regard for details.
A Public Opinion (1967)
Following a similar structure to Geraldo Sarno’s challenging Viramundo while also incorporating scenes from Leon Hirszman’s unsettling Maioria Absoluta, Jabor makes an insightful effort to capture the zeitgeist of Brazil’s middle-class life in the late 1960s, the dreams and the alienation.
There is a nice movie about alienation and loneliness in the age of Internet lost in the middle of this silly, heavy-handed mess that, despite being effectively creepy, dark and oppressive, tries too hard to have a “message” and be profound (to the point of obviousness).
Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
Adam Sandler shows, much to our utmost surprise, that he can act when he wants and that he was the perfect choice for Anderson’s take on a romantic comedy, a sweet, darkly humorous and amazingly well-directed film that is miles above most romcoms that Hollywood produces.
The Purge (2013)
What comes up as a thought-provoking allegory that doesn’t shy away from the sociopolitical implications of its premise soon gets lost in a last half hour that falls flat with a ridiculous excess of dei ex machina and reduces the Purge to what seems like a laughable sect.
The Purge: Anarchy (2014)
With a plot that is more consistent than that of the unsuccessful first movie, even though still insisting on that ridiculous idea of making the Purge look like a cartoonish sect of religious fanatics, this superior sequel also offers now an intriguing Hostel twist to it.
The Purge: Election Year (2016)
There is no tension or subtlety to be found in this pointless sequel that doesn’t offer anything that we haven’t seen before in the previous two movies, just tiresome action and silly political commentary in times of presidential election (the whole “martyr” thing makes no sense).
The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)
Will Smith is absolutely splendid in this inspirational real story of struggle and determination that holds an intense dramatic power without any need to become a cheap melodrama — which is something Hollywood has long grown used to, unfortunately.
Puss in Boots (2011)
It is sad to see that Dreamworks could not maintain the same level of quality of Shrek in this spin-off. Focusing on a minor character who was once adorable in homeopathic doses, this silly animation suffers from lack of originality and a predictable plot that is totally forgettable.
The great original adaptation of Shaw’s satiric play, which would be remade as the classic musical My Fair Lady many years later in 1964. Clever and convincing, this version relies on a sharp, well-written dialogue and superb performances by Hiller and Howard.
Quai des Orfèvres (1947)
Even for a more commercial effort, Clouzot lends his unique style and voice to a well-written and exquisitely-directed crime story that has great touches of humor and some very delightful performances by Delair and Jouvet (who is hilarious and gets the best lines).
Queen of Earth (2015)
Elizabeth Moss puts in a terrific performance in this mature psychological drama about bitterness, resentment and narcissism, a film that is especially intelligent when it make us participate in the thoughts and feelings of its two characters, even if it is also a bit elusive.
Queen of the Desert (2015)
A frustrating biopic that lacks in consistency and real sense of purpose or direction, as it remains unfortunately nothing more than a reverential story that suffers even more from a complete absence of chemistry between Gertrude/Kidman and both her lovers.
Fassbinder’s last work only proves that he wasn’t really in tune with Genet’s vision to adapt one of his stories, since this is only a convoluted, aimless mess packed with ridiculous, pseudo-poetic dialogue and unable to make you feel any connection with its characters.
The Quiet American (2002)
A faithful adaptation of Greene’s wonderful novel, very well edited and with an exquisite production design, a beautiful score and Michael Caine in one of his best performances — besides the exceptional way that the narrative interweaves romance and politics to near perfection.
A Quiet Place (2018)
The film is certainly not flawless and sometimes even has trouble following the rules it establishes for its own universe, but even so this is an excellent, well-directed horror movie that makes us care about its characters and manages to be quite tense and scary.
The Quispe Girls (2013)
Sepúlveda approaches his material with a careful, unadorned formalism as he depicts the daily life of the sisters in their isolation and concludes his story with a sharp blow that is all the sadder in the way that it avoids any sort of romanticism, without even a musical score to be heard.
Quiz Show (1994)
Even if the script is a lot less subtle than it believes to be — with some lines that are quite heavy-handed at times — this is a clever film that examines the perverse irony of who gets to win and who gets to lose in the world of show business when you try to do the ‘right thing.’
I can’t help think that the information presented here is a bit stuffed together without that much fluidness from one topic to the next, but still this is a solid documentary about a truly remarkable woman who won’t step down because she knows how important her fight is.
Rabbit Hole (2010)
John Cameron Mitchell tells with great sensibility this delicate and painfully sad story that could have been made too depressive and hard to watch by a heavy-handed filmmaker, while the performances are outstanding, especially from Kidman and Wiest.
Rabbit Without Ears 2 (2009)
It is obvious from the get-go that this uninspired romantic comedy doesn’t have any sense of structure or purpose, lacking a defined plot and shooting for every easy gag it can come up with – like sitcomish scenes that don’t even seem to belong in the same movie.
A bunch of disconnected ideas don’t make a film, and so this bizarre movie feels more like an amalgam of unripe ideas thrown together without a clear purpose (much like Shivers before it), making me wonder why Cronenberg cast a porn movie actress as a grotesque sexual predator.
Rabid Dogs (2015)
This solid thriller may seem too schematic and look like many other similar ones, with a basic, uninspired plot and flat characters who are not well developed, but it makes up for these flaws with a lot of style, great music and an unexpected ending.
The Rachel Divide (2018)
There is a tremendously intriguing subject for debate in the middle of this — the possibility of transracial identity, which has already raised a lot of controversy — but the film remains mostly on the surface and never goes deep enough into the complexity of what this could mean.
A solid feel-good road-comedy, lighthearted and funny, with a very well-written dialogue as absolute highlight. It is really well made considering this is Levy’s first film, and it benefits from a group of irresistible characters played by some perfectly tuned actors.
The intentions are definitely noble, especially considering that the film was made in a country where homosexuality means a death sentence, but unfortunately the love story is developed in an extremely corny way and the ending is a dishonest cop-out that frustrates for its naiveté.
Raging Bull (1980)
Superbly directed, edited and acted, this top-notch boxing drama is a fascinating character study centered on an aggressive, insecure man overcome by intense jealousy and paranoia. A haunting film crafted with a lot of honesty and unpretentious realism.
This decent Norwegian take on a monster movie plus treasure hunt for the whole family obviously borrows a lot from Jurassic Park and Raiders of the Lost Ark but doesn’t disappoint, with the kind of adventure-turned-nightmare to be expected and good performances.
The Raid (2011)
Those looking for a smart script or character development are likely to be extremely frustrated, since this stylish action movie is basically a thrilling excuse for a lot of adrenaline, over-the-top brutality and exhilarating silat scenes – which it delivers.
Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)
It is almost impossible not to be thrilled by this hugely entertaining modern classic that boasts a delicious sense of humor, a charismatic protagonist (Harrison Ford is awesome as always) and a lot of fast-paced action, with each scene more exciting than the one before.
Raintree County (1957)
A lavish production that wants to repeat the success of Gone with the Wind but is boring to death in its massive running time of almost three hours and suffers also from Montgomery Clift’s erratic performance and the bizarre change in his looks due to his tragic car accident.
Raise the Red Lantern (1991)
A film of sheer formal beauty, with a gorgeous cinematography and a gripping allegoric story about the subjection of women in a patriarchal society, but it is infuriating how it collapses in its last forty minutes, turning into a melodramatic soap opera with a terrible ending.
Raising Arizona (1987)
The inspired dialogue is so hilarious and the absurdities we see here pile up so insanely that this loony comedy turns out to be one of the most delicious and unpredictable of the Coen brothers’ entire filmography, with a bunch of excellent performances from an excellent cast.
Ralph Breaks the Internet (2018)
As a proud product of 2018, it is safe to say that this movie will soon be dated and half of its jokes will be lost for a new generation, but despite that (and the fact that the climax is a bit messy), it can be quite entertaining with its concept and design of an internet world.
Rambo: Last Blood (2019)
No kidding, this is more like a bloody version of Home Alone played by a mentally retarded Liam Neeson (the comparisons with Taken seem inevitable to me), but it’s nowhere near as fun as I make it sound, just irritating with its rehashed carnage, horrendous dialogue and obvious jingoism.
At 75 years old, Kurosawa delivers this epic and breathtaking cinematic spectacle of disgrace and tragedy falling upon mortal men, a grandiose production with overwhelming war scenes and spellbinding visuals – even if also a bit long and repetitious in its second half.
Rang De Basanti (2006)
While at first it seems like a tiresome succession of nice-looking music videos, not even caring to explain how the character can make that kind of film without money, it soon gets worse with a reprehensible message, openly advocating the use of violence to change the country.
George Lucas’ company ILM proves to be a match for Pixar with their first animation, a dazzling fun ride that is also an entertaining homage to Westerns and the Italian spaghetti subgenre, deliciously subverting the figure of the anti-hero in a story with many welcome references.
A fascinating and superbly edited overview of the life and work of Brazilian singer-legend Raul Seixas. The scenes and events depicted here are all perfectly put together in a very fluid and cohesive way, remaining always engaging and really touching towards the end.
The Raven (1963)
Corman left completely aside Poe’s ghoulish tone to make this tongue-in-cheek “adaptation” of his most famous poem, and because of that it doesn’t work as a horror story but is amusing as a light comedy, co-starring Price, Lorre and Karloff in hilarious performances.
Raving Iran (2016)
It makes it easy for us to connect with these two young men who struggle to live their art in a country where Islamic censorship is a main tool for artistic oppression, and thus lets us understand their aspirations, the difficulty they face to pursue them and the choices they make.
This kind of metaphor for the awakening of female sexuality as an uncontrollable force and transition phase into adulthood may not be an example of originality (check out Teeth and Ginger Snaps), but fans of body horror and vomit-inducing gore should find a lot to enjoy here.
Stuart Gordon’s first movie is this campy horror classic of the ’80s that we could watch again and again and never get tired, offering excellent visual effects in a gory plot full of memorable moments and with a spot-on dry humor that perfectly blends in with the rest.
Reaching for the Moon (2013)
An irregular story, at times melodramatic and full of those clichés that plague most biopics (despite a nice speech scene that sounds relevant even today when it comes to dictatorships), with characters who seem like mere drafts and never become complex enough to make us care.
Ready Player One (2018)
Despite its annoying excess of exposition, this exciting retro-futuristic salad of pop-culture references from the 1980s and 1990s is a wonderful return to form for Spielberg, who makes this a blast for cinephiles and gamers while also offering a welcome anti-neoliberal message.
Garrone uses many elegant long takes and an evocative score to tell this fascinating, dream-like character study about a common fishmonger who gradually becomes obsessed with the idea of being famous – leading him to mix his yearnings with reality.
The Realm (2018)
Sorogoyen makes an intelligent political thriller that manages to be extremely tense, funny and sophisticated, with numerous amazing long takes (including a seemingly impossible one outside a window) and a protagonist whose hypocrisy represents a lot of corrupt politicians out there.
A stupendous film with an exceptional direction, a stunning art direction and cinematography, and excellent performances from Olivier, Fontaine and Anderson, even if the suspenseful plot seems to diverge a bit from its main course in a last third full of too many twists and turns.
Rebel Without a Cause (1955)
Some things in the movie may not have aged that well, but it still pulses with youthful energy and impresses with the psychological complexity of its characters — and it should always be remembered for James Dean’s iconic looks and performance that spoke to a generation.
Rebels of the Neon God (1992)
Tsai’s first feature film was already a remarkable naturalistic look into the emptiness, lassitude and lack of human connection of Taipei youth, despite how it clings so much to an element of revenge that feels a tad poorly motivated – or perhaps that is precisely the point after all.
Not only far from being as terrifying as the original film, this sequel also makes the mistake of offering an explanation for the story, combining zombies, viruses and demons all in the same crazy pot. But even so, there are a few moments that work.
[REC]³: Genesis (2012)
It is hard to believe that the subjective camera is dropped for no reason after the first act, and this “prequel” (huh?) is so outrageously bad that it becomes great to laugh about with friends. The result is possibly the best comedy and worst movie of the year – simultaneously.
The Red Balloon (1956)
A marvelous, imaginative and magical short film (the only to have ever won an Oscar for best original screenplay) with a beautiful musical score and so many layers of meaning in its simple story that it should speak to most children and make any adult feel like a child again.
Red Desert (1964)
Antonioni impresses us with his stunning use of color (as well as his mise-en-scène, and in his first film in color, no less) to create meaning and visually emphasize what he wants to say in this intelligent and absurdly sharp study about depression and existential emptiness.
The Red Light Bandit (1968)
Visibly inspired by the French New Wave (especially Godard’s Breathless) but with a decidedly theatrical approach, this seminal classic of Brazilian “cinema marginal” is clever, provocative and deliciously cynical despite the fact that it loses some focus after a while.
Red Obsession (2013)
An enlightening documentary that can be really absorbing, showing us the art involved in winemaking and how wine has been turning into an economic investment due to its always increasing demand – especially from China – leading to an unprecedented impact on the market.
The Red Shoes (1948)
Walbrook and Shearer are absolutely fantastic in this dazzling visual spectacle that boasts an astounding art direction and cinematography in Technicolor – and in which the theater stage can assume unimaginable, magical proportions thanks especially to phenomenal editing.
Red Sparrow (2018)
An overlong, dull and ludicrous espionage thriller that spends an awful amount of time showing that Jennifer Lawrence’s character is a terrible agent (and an idiot) before deciding to make us believe that she is a near-psychic genius and we were the stupid ones not to have noticed it.
Red State (2011)
Kevin Smith’s shot at a “serious” movie is this infuriating, terribly directed and unfocused mess that only manages to be morally disgusting in its childish, inconsistent political ideas while also full of implausible situations and long, unnecessary monologues.
A gripping political epic of ambitious discussions (and with a splendid production design) about an idealistic journalist/activist who became an ardent revolutionary to fight for what he believed in, and it is very well edited and well paced for a film that runs for over three hours.
It seems like a poor rehash of something that Roman Polanski has done many times better, with an intriguing premise developed into a mediocre thriller that believes to be very smart with a lot of red herrings and twists but is in fact incredibly stupid, especially in the end.
An entertaining film in which Maher approaches in an eye-opening manner the undeniable danger represented by religion and the logical nonexistence of virtue in faith, although he also waters it down a bit by mainly targeting the most stupid kind of people that he can find.
It may not be that original (it brought to my mind films as distinct as Lost Highway, Jacob’s Ladder and Synecdoche, New York), but the mystery is compelling, the character’s obsessive behavior makes it all very tense and the ideas it explores turn it into an intriguing puzzle.
Christopher Plummer delivers a powerful, poignant performance in this extremely well-directed thriller that finds a very delicate balance between quietly tense, uncomfortable and thought-provoking, even if it could have really done without that unnecessary, redundant last scene.
Remember Me (2010)
Robert Pattinson is more of a poser than an actor, playing an uncharismatic rebel without a cause in this schmaltzy little romance, a movie so embarrassing and shameless that it even dares to come up with a hugely offensive and exploitative final twist.
Nothing rings true in this insufferable musical that doesn’t have any focus and is filled with awful songs of pedestrian lyrics (some of them sung by terrible singers), centered on a completely artificial and outdated idea of New York based on stereotypes and clichés.
Repo Men (2010)
Despite its interesting premise, this film is insipid and not very original, and it goes on limping between serious action and awkward satire. What makes it a bit better, though, is its last twenty minutes, with a terrific, badass ending that will leave you thrilled and chuckling at the same time.
The repetitions and flickering effect feel like an almost refusal to show what the audio describes (images that Conner simply did not have), which ends up illustrating the sensationalist coverage by the media before the film goes on to make witty visual comparisons to reinforce that.
The Report (1977)
Abbas Kiarostami’s first feature film was this progressive drama made only two years prior to the Iranian Revolution (that is, when women could still walk around without covering their heads), and it is a sad and bleak story about how people can mess up their lives.
The Report (2019)
I’m not a big fan of this kind of narrative structure built on flashbacks within flashbacks, since they can be quite distracting sometimes, but the film is interesting even if it suffers a bit from too much exposition and that old cliché of the obstinate investigator obsessed with his work.
In his first film, Trier comes up as a promising director, using a stylish approach to tell this refreshing drama about the literary youth – a solid film that has some good moments but fails to be more engaging, ending with an optimistic, perhaps too poetic conclusion.
This slow-burning psychological horror is quite disturbing and unsettling, more because of what it implies than what it actually shows as it delves into the fractured mind of a beautiful woman who cannot bear living — and being crushed — in a world where men are potential rapists.
It doesn’t cover groundbreaking territory for those who are acquainted with Noam Chomsky’s thoughts and ideas or have read enough to know everything he says, but it is always fascinating to see him lay out with such clarity the ten principles of concentration of wealth and power.
Even if not very well paced (especially close to the end) and a bit underdeveloped when it comes to its (obvious) political ambitions, this is a minor Spaghetti Western that manages to come up with a handful of iconic moments that make it entertaining enough to keep us interested.
The Rescuers (1977)
The 1970s were arguably one of the weakest decades for Disney in terms of quality, and this is another failure from the studio made in that time, with awful music, bad voicing and an irritating, painfully derivative plot that doesn’t amount to anything really worth seeing.
The Rescuers Down Under (1990)
A barely passable sequel that is not that much better than the detestable first film, off to a good start and with amusing moments (especially in the flight scenes) up until halfway through when it starts to become aimless and forgettable like most pre-Disney Renaissance productions.
Reservoir Dogs (1992)
A bloody, violent and darkly-humored crime movie that already showcased Tarantino’s talent for crafting stylish narrative exercises full of energy and elongated exchanges of dialogue, even if we can see that this was an intelligent filmmaker still only at the start of his game.
Resident Evil (2002)
A frenetic electro-rockish sci-fi zombie movie that focuses more on its intriguing mystery than on the scares, especially during the well-paced first act. The sets have a nice video game look and the result is not only better due to the atrocious CGI of the genetic mutated viral creature.
Just about everything is unforgivably awful in this unoriginal zombie sequel, an enormous wreck with a terrible direction, stupid characters, lame dialogue and no imagination – and it feels and tastes like a video game, only it is the director, not us, who gets to play and have fun.
Even if the plot drags in the first two acts, eliminating the tension and making the mystery feel bland and not engaging, this is an interesting effort that finds a curious balance between humor and horror, with a smart meta-twist in the third act that justifies all that came before.
A detestable and irritating indie film full of indie clichés from beginning to end, and it seems to exist only to test the viewer’s patience and ability to endure a protagonist who is so selfish, immature, ill-mannered and obnoxious amid conflicts that are all artificial and ridiculous.
The Return (2003)
It has the stunning, bleak and oppressive beauty found in Andrei Tarkovsky’s films, with a cold and blueish cinematography that offers no relief from the underlying tension that is basically omnipresent, and it benefits especially from three excellent central performances.
The Return of Ringo (1965)
More somber and even better than A Pistol for Ringo, this gripping retelling of Homer’s Odyssey using the Old West as setting is not really a sequel and is quite different from the solid first movie – both in narrative and style.
Return to Montauk (2017)
A mildly interesting (if not at all memorable) character study that benefits from strong performances (especially Nina Hoss) and displays a mature understanding of the personal conflict faced by a self-centered man who wants to relive an old romance from his past.
The Revenant (2015)
Iñárritu brings us another spectacular ballet of camera with this raw and extremely anguishing film of breathtaking cinematography, and although playing a character that at times seems to be ridiculously indestructible, DiCaprio offers a committed, intense and visceral performance that will hardly be matched this year.
Revenge of the Nerds (1984)
Like other crass comedies of the ’80s about freshmen dying to have sex in college, this movie is obviously supposed to be funny, but the problem is that it is only stupid (not hilarious stupid, just stupid), which is a pity considering its nice message against discrimination.
Richard Jewell (2019)
Another in a series of mediocre biographies made by Clint Eastwood that only manage to showcase his worst vices and right-wing prejudices, which is a pity considering what he could have said about the case if he weren’t so intent on portraying Kathy Scruggs as a despicable bitch.
Riding in Cars with Boys (2001)
Barrymore doesn’t look really convincing neither as a dreamy teenager nor as a frustrated 35-year-old mother who threw away her dream, and even though the movie develops its characters as complex people with real problems like those found in real life, the end is disappointing.
The idea of a man shooting at cars driving down a road with a rifle may be intriguing, but mere ideas don’t make a movie, and so director Davi Pretto seems to be struggling to find any layer of meaning with a film that moves at an excruciatingly slow pace without going anywhere.
Right Here Right Now (2018)
Even if it doesn’t have a very good sense of direction (especially close to the end), this is a well-balanced film that manages to be both melancholy and hilarious, with great music and injecting a lot of style and energy through its constant use of jump cuts and split screens.
With a bizarre and creepy idea involving cursed technology, this is a very effective horror movie that manages to be tense and disturbing as time starts to run out for the characters, and it has a terrifying scene in the end that should raise every single hair on the back of our neck.
A cute, entertaining yet forgettable animation with too many clichés and whose charm lies in its exuberant visuals and an exotic (but clichéd) composition of a Rio de Janeiro full of samba and colors. It is only sad, though, that the story is so conventional and never more than ordinary.
Rio 2 (2014)
Although nothing special, this amusing sequel is deliciously colorful and deserves more praise for its relevant environmental message than any narrative merits, even if it has considerably less clichés than in the first movie and we get a handful of inspired moments.
Rio Bravo (1959)
A wonderful good-old-fashioned Western that is compelling and amusing, blending humor and drama in a multilayered story centered more on the complex characters than on the action – and it has a lot of memorable dialogue and a perfect pace that is careful but never slow.
Rio, I Love You (2014)
More like an antiseptic postcard of the city filled with stereotypes, clichés and cheesy dialogue that make everything look like a Brazilian soap opera of the worst kind — which is a shock considering the excellent directors and the wasted talent of so many great actors.
Rio 100 Degrees F. (1955)
It borrows heavily from Italian neorealism by mixing fiction with documentary and professional actors with non-actors, creating a broad and impressive portrait of a city and its people, although a few things we see are a bit dated now and the non-actors are not always that good.
Rio Zona Norte (1957)
The acting is sometimes a bit stiff, but this is a deeply touching film with Grande Otelo in an unforgettable performance, singing some wonderful sambas and breaking our hearts as a man who embodies the injustices faced by poor people in a country so full of social problems.
The digital effects may have been stunning a few years ago but now look dated and artificial, which is at least compensated by Andy Serkis’ impressive performance as the ape Caesar, who turns out to be more well developed as a character than the one-dimensional humans.
The Rite (2011)
This average horror movie begins quite promising, avoiding cheap exploitation and holding our attention with a scary premise, but later on it sadly sinks into commonplace in a generic third act that is so typical of exorcism stories, making the whole effort of its first half seem in vain.
The Ritual (2017)
This is like The Blair Witch Project but without imagination (and with characters who don’t behave very smartly in the middle of a godforsaken forest), and yet the third act is so gripping and brings everything together so elegantly that I’m willing to forgive whatever preceded it.
The River (1997)
In his third film, Tsai moves his focus to the nuclear family and creates his most depressing work to date – perhaps a bit too depressing for its own sake -, as it follows a group of characters whose murky lives flow like a river through isolation and lack of communication in modern Taipei.
The Road (2009)
Cormac McCarthy’s adapted story is suffocatingly dense and devastating, a deeply haunting tale about a man struggling to keep his son alive in a hopeless post-apocalyptic world, and it relies mostly on two strong performances by Viggo Mortensen and Kodi Smit-McPhee.
Road to Ythaca (2010)
I guess the directors must have some (any) idea in their minds as to why we should care at all about a bunch of idiots in a car going wherever, but clearly it doesn’t translate and everything is just pretentious and infuriatingly dull, like the perfect cure for insomnia.
The Robe (1953)
A stunning visual spectacle that should be remembered only for being the first CinemaScope movie ever released, since the direction is clunky, the plot overlong and terribly contrived (the character’s conversion is never convincing) and the dialogue so full of highs and lows.
Robin Hood (1973)
A perfunctory, lazy and unremarkable Disney animation that takes the well-known legend and does very little with it, while, despite some great voicing – mainly Peter Ustinov and Terry-Thomas -, it is a ridiculous thing to have Southern American accents in medieval England.
An unfocused, unexciting and overlong movie that is more like a mixed salad of accents without any idea if it wants to be a campy adventure for the whole family in the old-fashioned style of Errol Flynn’s movies (which it should be) or the violent PG-13 movie that it turns out to be.
Robin Hood (2010)
It is an interesting idea to make it about the character’s pre-outlaw story, which comes to life with a wonderful production design and great acting from the cast. Even so, the technical aspects are not enough in a movie that goes for so many questionable narrative choices.
Robinson Crusoe (1954)
Perhaps the most “normal” film made by Luis Buñuel but not as simple as it may seem, since you can find a lot here about power relationships, religion, civilization and — most especially — loneliness, in an adaptation that benefits from a solid performance by Dan O’Herlihy.
A smart political satire disguised as a comic book revenge movie that combines hilarious dark humor, ultraviolence and science fiction without tonal problems, and it is a wonder to see that, even though a product of its time, it is still thought-provoking and able to entertain today.
A well-made remake that is brave enough to be completely different from the original movie, and it is so great that it touches on intriguing questions about human nature without missing the opportunity to also discuss today’s politics, despite lacking in energy and feeling.
Robot & Frank (2012)
A surprising debut for Schreier, who proves to be a very talented director and shows an enormous control over a story that perfectly shifts from hilarious to moving without erring in tone or being sentimental – and Langella’s performance is amazing.
Rocco and His Brothers (1960)
Although unnecessarily overlong for the kind of story it wants to tell and sometimes tending more toward soap opera melodrama than neorealism, especially in a cathartic scene in the end, this is a spellbinding, moving and brutal film with a great score and a powerful social commentary.
The Rock (1996)
A thrilling and explosive film led by a trio of fantastic actors (especially Cage) and surprisingly well directed for a Michael Bay movie, and it also impresses with the way that the smart script introduces many narrative elements which turn out to play an important role later on.
Rock of Ages (2012)
An empty experience with weak leads and a generic story, and even if it offers a few inspired moments and the music covers are a refreshing throwback to the ’80s, nothing saves this song-after-song music video from being bland – not even Tom Cruise’s magnetic presence.
Rock the Casbah (2013)
A mildly enjoyable little drama made by women for women — very much like Labaki’s Caramel — but unfortunately the plot is a bit dispersed and more superficial than it should be, with unnecessary (and predictable) revelations that make it feel more like a soap opera.
The musical numbers look great and the film benefits a lot from Elton John’s songs, but the truth is that the script really needed polishing, as some characterizations are essentially caricatures and there are a lot of honest scenes here coexisting with just as many cheesy ones.
What makes this underdog story so special is that it is not just a mere “guy movie” about boxing but instead a touching and profoundly honest drama about a man and his personal struggle to go the distance and be the best he can – and Stallone’s performance is superb.
Rocky II (1979)
Yes, Sylvester Stallone, you really did it, and this exciting and surprisingly moving sequel – written, directed and acted by him, no less – is an impressive follow-up and definite proof that the success of that fantastic first film was a lot more than just beginner’s luck.
Rocky III (1982)
Apparently, the worst that can happen to any fighter is to get civilized, and so the great underdog drama of the previous films is gone in this forgettable, unnecessary third installment now that we are left with a famous boxing star fighting a psycho killer.
Rocky IV (1985)
This jingoistic stupidity was obviously made to show the Americans overthrowing the Russians during the Cold War, but what is even worse is that in the end it seems like nothing more than a ridiculous montage of music video clips without any passion or good drama.
Rocky V (1990)
As far as brain damage goes, Rocky V is a shameful idiocy that cannot even justify why it was made, given how the whole family drama seems completely forced, the excess of sappiness is painful to see and in the end it all comes down to unnecessary, pointless street-fighting.
Rocky Balboa (2006)
After so many years and awful sequels, it is a wonderful surprise to see that this sixth Rocky movie is almost on par with the original one in terms of quality, since Stallone seems to have finally understood that what made that film so memorable was the human drama, not the punches.
An adorable hybrid of musical, comedy and horror parody with a delightful performance by Tim Curry, who steals the show and was certainly having a lot of fun doing this movie – and it is full of great songs, delicious over-the-top acting and well-inspired moments.
For a film that relies so much on ellipses and constant dialogue, this underrated biography does a fine enough job exploring Rodin’s personality, which is in part thanks to Lindon’s strong performance as a self-absorbed artist obsessed with human forms and almost trying to become a real-life Pygmalion.
Roman Holiday (1953)
A sweet and charming romantic comedy with Audrey Hepburn in her first major role (which earned her the only Oscar of her career), and it finds the perfect balance between funny and captivating, with the lovely city of Rome as eye-candy setting – where it was shot in its entirety.
Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)
Denzel Washington delivers one of the strongest and most multifaceted performances of his career in a decent, if flawed film that knows how to explore the personality and motivations of such a complex protagonist, even though it nearly gets lost in a confused third act.
Rome Adventure (1962)
It may be adorable in its first hour with that lovely song and those beautiful locations, but this corny melodrama soon shows us why it is so ridiculously outdated now with its wholesome, moralizing view of love, sex and old-fashioned chivalry (an ugly euphemism for sexism).
Rome, Open City (1945)
This quintessential classic of Italian Neorealism is an unsettling and hard-hitting portrait of an era, shot in a gritty documentary-like style and with a gallery of fascinating characters that represent, each of them, a facet of Roman society under Nazi German occupation.
The Room (2003)
Behold, ladies and gentlemen, the new Ed Wood of the 21st century, a guy so laughably inept in just about everything (his acting is atrocious) that he made me even feel sorry for him – but then I only need to think about how misogynist this awful movie is to not care anymore.
Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay offer two astonishing performances in what is one of the best and most intelligent representations of Plato’s Cave that I remember seeing (and I love the scope of its philosophical ambitions), told from the point of view of a child who has never seen the world beyond a room.
Room 237 (2012)
This pathetic and very silly mishmash of theories may be amusing for a while, especially for the most passionate cinephiles and fans of Kubrick’s film, but there is no denying that they are mostly laughable rubbish, sloppily put together and never coming to a whole.
The long takes may be a remarkable stunt but those hidden cuts are in fact extremely distracting and obvious – and, contrary to popular belief, the film does have conventional, unmasked cuts. Even so, it benefits from tense moments and a well-written plot with great dialogue.
Rosa Morena (2010)
A solid surprise that deserves credit for how it is never afraid of taking risks – and trust me, there are a lot of things in this film that could go wrong, but even the most seemingly absurd narrative options serve a purpose and lead to something impressively consistent in the end.
Rosemary’s Baby (1968)
An excellent and unsettling supernatural thriller in which paranoia grows in a maddening crescendo, and the most ironic is how Polanski made Repulsion and this film (both about rape and women getting horrendously abused) before being convicted of raping a minor years later.
Rough Diamond (1933)
Terribly dated today, this sexist and moralistic film may be a lesson in editing, but it is nearly impossible to care about or have any sympathy for a despicable man who murders his wife because of his wounded pride and always gets into fights for being a stupid macho.
The Rover (2014)
A suffocatingly tense and bleak thriller that throws us in a gritty post-collapse Australia with two stellar performances: Guy Pearce in a role that is so absolutely complex, intense and revealing, counterpoised by an impressive acting delivered by Robert Pattinson.
A Royal Affair (2012)
A sumptuous period drama with elegant dialogue and a deliberate pace that makes it always fluid and absorbing. More important, the three main characters are not only impressively complex but also leave us eager to know more about who they were and all they did in real life.
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
An appealing melancholy comedy with eccentric characters who are so very well developed, in a strange, unconventional narrative that invests in an offbeat atmosphere (as if out of a dreamlike version of New York) to tackle matters like loneliness and amends.
Ruby Sparks (2012)
What first seems like a simple one-joke romantic comedy turns out to be about so much more: a deeply honest and sad story about the selfish (but real) need that some people have to control someone else so they can feel loved and make an ideal relationship work.
The Ruins (2008)
This decent and tense horror movie is well paced and relies on a good cast to turn a rather silly premise into something surprisingly terrifying. It is only a shame, though, that it ends with such an unsatisfying conclusion (I prefer the alternative ending).
The Rules of Attraction (2002)
Despite the great soundtrack, decent performances and expert direction, this film based on Bret Easton Ellis feels a bit sterile, depicting with clever irony the moral decline of our society but not as effective in making us relate to its shallow, unlikable characters.
The Rules of the Game (1939)
Concealing a lot of complexity in its apparently simple plot, this fabulous tragicomedy (which almost got lost in History) is a witty and clever commentary on the rules of bourgeoisie and social relations – a classic of French Cinema to be seen and re-seen many times.
The Rum Diary (2011)
A rambling and unengaging film that seems like a comedy that Graham Greene could have written if he had lost his talent or wit for smart social satires. Clearly in need of some editing, the story is overlong and unfocused, even if it has some few inspired funny moments.
Run All Night (2015)
In his third collaboration with Liam Neeson (who is great in his badass persona), Collet-Serra does play the exhibitionist sometimes, but at least he manages to make this average movie dynamic and fresh despite all of its expository dialogue and how forgettable it is.
Runaway Train (1985)
A solid but conventional action thriller like many others made in the 1980s, oscillating unevenly between efficient moments and scenes that simply do not work – and even if relying on a lot of coincidences and with a ridiculous villain, it offers great performances from Voight and Roberts.
Runner Runner (2013)
The plot is indeed predictable and not one bit remarkable for that matter, but even so this is a somewhat decent (and well-edited) thriller that benefits a lot from some good performances – which hold us in our seats as we see it unveil like a fine poker game.
It is the intense and surprisingly sympathetic performances by both Hemsworth and Brühl what counterbalances Ron Howard’s heavy-handed direction and an irregular script whose dialogue feels mostly artificial and whose narration is always redundant and discardable.
An adorable and refreshing comedy that works so well due to Jason Schwartzman’s and Bill Murray’s captivating performances, and it is very well directed and relies on that unique and quirky sense of humor that is Wes Anderson’s trademark style.
The Russia House (1990)
The plot is an interesting combination of espionage and romance, and it benefits from a great score and some beautiful locations, but it is just too bad that it is made into such an extremely dull affair in which the romance seems forced and the espionage is tedious to death.
Russian Ark (2002)
Russian Ark should be remembered not only as a breathtaking logistic accomplishment that knocked me off my chair with its stunning single take using a Steadicam and digital technology, but also as a sumptuous travel through Russian history and an unforgettable homage to the Hermitage Museum and to Art itself.
Russian Dolls (2005)
Despite its good moments, this is an unnecessary, forgettable sequel that relies too much on Xavier’s disastrous search for love instead of focusing on the reunion of the friends of the first film. Good to see, though, that it doesn’t get ruined by its poor narrative choices.
The first 40 minutes make for a solid beginning, with good dialogue and a competent sense of structure, but then the film loses its way and never manages to find it back, failing to really explore Renet’s motivations and mistaking intentional slowness for complex development.
Rust and Bone (2012)
The visual effects are really impressive and both actors deliver great performances, but their characters are poorly developed, keeping us distant and inspiring more pity than empathy. Besides, the ending is deceptive, a refusal to deal with the conflict and bring it to a resolution.