Hitchcock knows how to combine an espionage plot with humor, and this film can also be very tense (especially in a key scene of a boy carrying a package throughout the city and on a bus), even if it is not always so effective and suffers a bit from some weak narrative choices.
Another decent piece of American propaganda made by Hitchcock during WWII following his Foreign Correspondent – and certainly a more consistent film than that one -, despite some trouble with pacing and the fact that for about every two or three hits, there is a miss.
An amusing romantic comedy with great dialogue and a sweet Cinderella feel to it, but still the plot is not so original and there is a glaring lack of chemistry between Hepburn and Bogart, who is also clearly miscast and seems too old for the role.
The Sacrament (2013)
Ti West is usually a competent director but he shows in this sloppy and horribly-edited movie that he doesn’t seem to understand at all how the found footage device should be used, as he even forces the characters to carry a camera up and down in the most ludicrous of situations.
Sacro GRA (2013)
The fact that these different individuals have only an enormous ring road in common seems like an arbitrary link between them to create a broad portrait (yet in very broad strokes) of Italian society, and it feels detached as it observes but doesn’t bring us close to these people.
Safety Last! (1923)
While it is Harold Lloyd’s everyman persona what makes us identify so much (even to this day) with the hilarious situations his character gets himself in, his insane stunts and physical gags are what make everything incredibly fun to watch, especially for those (like me) who are afraid of heights.
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
An adorable indie movie with charming characters (Plaza and Duplass have a great chemistry together), but it almost gets ruined by how Jeff’s subplot is discarded without much thought into it and by a disappointing end that comes off as meaningless and inconsistent.
St. Elmo’s Fire (1985)
It plays like a rejected backdoor pilot for a coming-of-age prime time TV drama series, with not very interesting storylines despite the good acting – and it does not help a bit that the characters and their personal conflicts don’t get enough individual screen time to fully grow on us.
Saint Laurent (2014)
The awful editing jumps almost randomly between different moments in time and turns the film into a complete mess in its last 30 minutes, but at least I admire Bonello’s nerve to make a biopic about a horribly selfish, spoiled creature without caring at all to make him any sympathetic.
St. Vincent (2014)
A recycled story full of clichés, like Bill Murray in cliched acting mode not even able to make a stroke sound convincing and an inevitable cliched final speech to make us forget the several loose ends – the loan shark, the bank money, the legal battle with the kid’s father, etc.
Salaam Cinema (1995)
Fascinating in its conception and very well edited, this Iranian docudrama interweaves reality and fiction and offers us a look at the desperate desire that some people have to become artists at all costs – which can be touching, funny and sometimes even ridiculous.
Salem’s Lot (1979)
I wish Mr. Barlow weren’t such a one-dimensional character, but although its three hours may feel a bit too long for the kind of story it wants to tell, this is a decent TV movie that relies on an engaging mystery and takes a careful time to develop it in a satisfying way.
A subtly revealing fly-on-the-wall documentary that follows the frustrations and hardships of four salesmen who try to persuade poor people to buy what they don’t need, and it makes us both feel uncomfortable and depressed to see them push expensive bibles down so many throats for a living.
The Salesman (2016)
Those acquainted with Farhadi’s works can easily see what he is trying to say about the complexity of situations and people’s actions, although he is not that successful this time, with the film being too heavy-handed in the way it wants us to sympathize with an aggressor.
Salmon Fishing in the Yemen (2011)
A silly hodgepodge of comedy and romance that tries hard to be charming and profound but ends up being just a corny melodrama, missing the promise of a political satire to offer instead a lot of preachiness and ludicrous comparisons between fishing and faith.
The action-driven plot is definitely predictable and preposterous, but at least it delivers some unpretentious fun with a good deal of fast-paced scenes and a gripping performance by the always charismatic and beautiful Angelina Jolie.
The Salt of the Earth (2014)
A profoundly revealing doc about this great artist worthy of our highest admiration for his unparalleled, eye-opening work of tremendous social consciousness, and it is so inspiring to see that he has started to regain hope in the world after so much disappointment.
Saludos Amigos (1942)
An entertaining animated travelogue with four short stories: the first one quite funny and amusing, the following two not so interesting and actually a bit dull, but finally the last one being the most gorgeous to look at, introducing the charming character of José Carioca.
The Salvation (2014)
A tense and well-constructed old-school Western that benefits a lot from a stunning cinematography and production design (with its amazing sets built from the ground in South Africa), as well as some excellent performances put in by a very sharp cast.
Le Samouraï (1967)
What is so absorbing in this highly influential crime drama is how the methodical actions of its characters (most especially Delon’s magnetic protagonist) reflect the surgical precision of the film itself, something also noticeable in its blue-grayish cinematography and stylish direction.
Samson and Delilah (1949)
Victor Mature is terrible in this ridiculous testosterone fest that feels completely dated now, with a protagonist so misogynistic and women portrayed in the worst way possible, which makes me wonder why we are supposed to admire such a brute (chosen by the “Lord,” no less) in the first place.
Samson & Delilah (2009)
A beautiful and delicate portrait of a brutal reality that is so little known to non-Australians, reaching us through an Aboriginal love story that relies on two amazing performances and smoothly moving from tender to heartbreaking moments.
San Andreas (2015)
It is usually a lot of fun to watch big cities break apart and crumble down in cool special effects, but this movie adopts a solemn, self-important tone that is, well, counterproductive, while the family drama at its core is full of clichés, contrived and, well, completely predictable.
Sand Dollars (2014)
Geraldine Chaplin delivers such a powerful and touching performance, not ashamed of showing her age and vulnerability, but the film, though appropriately raw and realistic, lacks in depth and doesn’t explore so well its themes and what it wants to say to become memorable.
Sand Storm (2016)
If being made by an Israeli woman would perhaps indicate bias against Bedouin cultures living in the country (and that is material for an article), at least Zexer does a solid job in her first full-length feature with a sad story that relies on some very fine performances.
A true lesson in documentary-making that reveals as much about its fascinating protagonist as it does about its director, who turns his initial effort into a work of impressive self-reflection and creates a timeless masterpiece about memory — both individual and collective.
São Bernardo (1972)
An intelligent and deeply compelling character study crafted with an impeccable formal rigor (especially in its mise-en-scène and long static shots) and lifted by a magnificent performance by Othon Bastos, who even makes his extensive narration sound so natural and perfect.
A very interesting character study centered on a selfish man trying to live a peaceful life but facing an existential crisis in the concrete jungle of São Paulo during the boom of the Brazilian industrialization process in the late 1950s, with Walmor Chagas in a strong performance.
The Sapphires (2012)
Even those who are not easily moved by a fairly conventional and predictable movie like this one will have plenty to enjoy in such a poignant feel-good story full of great performances and beautiful singing voices about a group of Aboriginal women and their musical talent.
Sargento Getúlio (1983)
Lima Duarte is exceptional in this clever drama full of irony and nuances, playing the kind of righteous sociopath who believes to be above the law with his own idea of justice, using a uniform to represent the interests of the powerful ones and maintain the status quo.
Though the hyperbolic running time will certainly be a barrier for many viewers, those with patience to spare may find this a visually stunning, spellbinding and darkly wry film that reveals so much about human nature as it follows a group of static, miserable lives caught in the relentless grip of Tarr’s hopelessness and nihilism.
Sausage Party (2016)
A deliciously offensive animation for adults that mocks with surprising intelligence the stupidity of prudishness and unfounded beliefs – and it looks great for a movie that is so inexpensive and benefits from some superb voicing (like Edward Norton imitating Woody Allen).
Stone manages to keep the story gripping for a while before it starts to get ruined by many unimportant scenes that stretch the plot for way too long – and he clearly has no idea how to finish it, throwing two sloppy conclusions together in a ridiculous and frustrating ending.
Saving Mr. Banks (2013)
Compelling when it comes to the making of Mary Poppins but quite sappy in virtually all the rest, it is pathetic that, just like Walt Disney did distorting her story to fulfill his needs, the movie does the same with an annoying characterization of Mrs. Travers for its feel-good purposes.
Saving Private Ryan (1998)
Technically exceptional and surprisingly unsentimental for Spielberg, this is a powerful and intense depiction of the brutality and horrors of war – a marvelous film that makes us deeply care about its characters and shows us that in war there is no honor, only death.
A gruesome, perverse and uncomfortably macabre movie that is also really ingenious and gripping when it comes to the twisted motivations behind the killer’s deeds, and the film ends with one of the most surprising and unpredictable scenes I can remember.
Saw II (2005)
Just as fascinating as the first Saw movie, this sequel works as an ingenious labyrinth of horrors, full of more gruesome and densely macabre scenes – and once again we are given another highly unexpected, jaw-dropping ending.
Saw III (2006)
This third chapter goes even beyond the high level of gore seen in the first two, pleasing the fans of the series (and gore-fest in general) but proving to be nearly unbearable for everyone else. Not as original, though, but it still offers a surprising conclusion.
Saw IV (2007)
Saw IV is not for everyone, of course, since each new movie of the series is only for those who have been watching from the beginning, and the plot is now more intricate then ever and much less original, even if it also has another shocking ending.
Saw V (2008)
The series has definitely run out of gas, proving that killing Jigsaw in the third film was a big mistake. Most of what we see here is nothing more than a ridiculous rehash of the previous films and the ending doesn’t come close to the brilliance of the first two.
Saw VI (2009)
Slightly superior to the previous chapter of this tiresome long-running series, this sixth Saw film is, of course, immensely gruesome and brutal but surprisingly intriguing sometimes – and it is also inadvertently hilarious; try not to laugh during the final scene.
Saw 3D (2010)
The series hits rock bottom with a ridiculous and completely unnecessary 3D, painful acting, an illogical mess of a plot and some of the most repellent scenes they could come up with – and it is a relief to think that this is the final chapter, or so we hope.
Hackman and Pacino are terrific in this underrated road movie, an honest and refreshing character study about two different men who develop an unlikely bond – and the effect it causes on each of them. A great drama that can be funny and also surprisingly touching.
Scary Movie (2000)
Scream was already a smart parody that made fun of horror movie conventions and clichés, so this silly (yet sometimes funny) spoof feels pretty pointless and shoots in every direction to see if it hits (even The Matrix gets thrown in the mix), but it has more misses than hits.
Scary Movie 2 (2001)
What is most awful about this crass, disgusting and vulgar atrocity of a sequel – written by a thousand incompetent writers – is not that it thinks that a bad horror movie like The Haunting should be spoofed, but that it doesn’t manage the most important: to be funny.
Scenes from a Mall (1991)
I may have had some fun watching it (I did laugh a few times), but not even a day later I realized I was incapable of remembering most of what I had seen (including the ending), which is a clear indication of how forgettable, lackluster and harmless this little comedy is.
The Scent of Green Papaya (1993)
A gorgeous, poetic and delicate film that knows that little can be said and yet all can be conveyed with beautiful images and a wonderfully subtle approach to a character’s life, and it is almost impossible not to feel enormously enchanted by the beauty and serenity of what we witness.
Scherzo Diabolico (2015)
It comes off until about halfway through as a rather unrealistic story that feels hard to buy, but soon it becomes so unabashedly over-the-top and nasty (with a lot of style, in fact) that it surprisingly works – and even those trembling aerial shots end up being highly unsettling.
Schindler’s List (1993)
Spielberg’s direction is wonderful as he recreates the abject horrors of the Holocaust in this profoundly sad and disturbing drama made with so much love and dedication by everyone involved, with a narrative that is so fascinating due to the complexity of Schindler’s character.
The Science of Sleep (2006)
Gondry has a thing for visual inventiveness but his self-indulgent, driftless narrative has dream sequences that don’t feel dreamlike at all and only grows irritating as Bernal’s character starts to resemble a wimpy Walter Mitty exchanging that horrible dialogue with Gainsbourg.
What a shame to see such a simplistic and forgettable discussion about the subject, considering all the history and evolution of music in films, while the movie also focuses way too much on American Cinema, spending even half an hour of pure hagiography on John Williams.
Scott Pilgrim vs. the World (2010)
An audaciously mad, exhilarating and ultra dynamic film with a delicious tongue-in-cheek humor and eccentric characters who seem to be aware that they belong in a fantastic video game universe, and the outstanding visuals are insanely stylish and avant-garde.
What made this meta horror movie satire so fantastic when it came out was the clever and often hilarious way that it played with the conventions and clichés of the genre and subverted them with the help of skillful editing and witty referential dialogue.
Scream 2 (1997)
Though mildly entertaining and with some inspired moments here and there, the sad truth is that this routine sequel is not clever or witty enough to subvert this “rule” that sequels are always inferior to the original film especially when it comes to horror movies.
Scream 3 (2000)
The conclusion of the “trilogy” is this unimaginative installment that relies too much on cheap scares followed by a deafening chord and is too witless to know how to play with the clichés of the genre as the first movie – and it comes up with a ridiculous, illogical revelation in the end.
Scream 4 (2011)
There was a great opportunity for the meta element here, considering the changes in horror movies along the past ten years, but this useless reboot is never original and basically redoes the same slasher of fifteen years ago. Besides, the only actor who is actually good is Hayden Panettiere.
The Sea of Trees (2015)
A pretentious, vapid and depressingly stupid drama that believes to be a lot more beautiful than it is, with cheesy, predictable twists and a baffling lack of insight into anything it sets out to discuss, despite McConaughey putting a lot of dedication into it with a good performance.
The Search (1948)
It holds a strong impact due to its devastating subject matter, with also a beautiful score and Montgomery Clift in a wonderful Oscar-nominated performance, but it starts to become more like a melodrama after its excellent first hour and the dialogue more and more artificial.
The Search (2014)
I blame the editing for how repetitious this feels, with scenes that are stretched out for too long, and there is a certain lack of cohesion and subtlety here — especially in the film’s last 40 minutes — that makes it all look more like a lecture despite the noble intentions and effort from its cast.
The Search for General Tso (2014)
Although it does come off as brief and superficial like a TV special (or Netflix special?), this documentary is enjoyable food porn and is a lot more interesting when telling us about the history of Chinese-American food than trying to find out who this elusive General Tso was.
The Searchers (1956)
A powerful epic-scale Western with a rich story full of nuances, following a complex character of dubious motivations in a search that stretches for many years – an anguishing journey set against the imposing vastness of the Monument Valley desert with stunning panoramic shots.
The clever plot gives great attention to details with a mystery that is always compelling, and the computer/phone/TV screen format, while not new or original, is consistent with the cynical way the film looks at our digital era, even if the ending goes a bit over the top.
Searching for Sugar Man (2012)
A surprising and extremely moving documentary that begins as a fascinating mystery and then grows to become a revealing true story about a star who never was but who ironically became a major idol in South Africa – influencing a whole generation without even knowing about it.
Despite the amateurish direction and weak performances, this irregular film may seem initially inconsistent but comes together quite nicely later, even if it doesn’t offer any indication about what holds Martin back and his action in the end feels more abrupt than it should.
A bold film for the time it came out, but it seems like a pathetic excuse to explore the beauty of sweaty masculine forms as some cheap soft-core gay porn, with terrible acting from everyone (delivering their lines in a stiff Latin) and amateurishly photographed especially in the night scenes.
The Second Mother (2015)
Regina Casé is wonderful at the center of a marvelous character study that is equally hilarious and thought-provoking as it comments – always in an intelligent and honest way – on matters like class differences in a country that has been undergoing surprising social changes.
Finding himself in situations that can be even more absurd and hilarious than in the first film, Fantozzi is back with another series of episodes in his unlucky life, the highlight being the one in which he is forced by a Professor to watch “Battleship Kotiomkin” over and over again.
The Secret (2006)
I don’t know what is worse, the fact that this atrocious, unscientific nonsense espoused by a bunch of quacks is completely unfounded (and even dangerous), or that its appalling “message” is repeated over and over again as a horrible infomercial for endless ninety minutes.
The Secret in Their Eyes (2009)
Another spectacular must-see by Argentinian master Juan José Campanella, with great performances, especially by Ricardo Darín, in an exceptional crime thriller about obsession and passion with those fine doses of humor and romance that Campanella loves so much.
The Secret Life of Bees (2008)
Paul Bettany is miscast in his role but Dakota Fanning proves again that she is very talented, only it is frustrating to see a relevant theme such as racism in the South Carolina of 1964 used as a means for a white girl to resolve her personal issues in a sappy, reductive way.
The Secret Life of Pets (2016)
It always amazes me how Universal never cares to create anything remotely clever when it comes to their animations, and so once again they come up with a harmless little story that wants to be cute and funny (which it is sometimes) but is only bound to be quickly forgotten.
A very pleasant movie that finds a nice balance between sincere drama and unexpected humor, even though it seems to have “for the masses” written all over it, with subtle moments coexisting in the same story with more obvious ones, which ends up diluting a bit the result.
Secrets & Lies (1996)
Mike Leigh’s steady direction is really impressive, and he creates a largely improvised family drama that surprises us with many nuances and for being so engaging, relying especially on two outstanding Oscar-nominated performances by Brenda Blethyn and Marianne Jean-Baptiste.
What makes this film stand out as a truly adorable romance is the surprising way that it tackles the spicy kinkiness of its subject as a means for two people to find happiness, while it boasts a great score/soundtrack and Maggie Gyllenhaal shines in a lovely performance.
This movie should not be sold as a comedy, for it is actually the most depressing movie of the year, and the problem lies in fact in its abrupt shifts in tone and a disastrous attempt at being both a cute road movie and a profound love story, leading to an awful ending.
The Selfish Giant (2013)
Barnard displays an incredibly firm hand in the direction of this powerful piece of British social realism that brings to mind the works of Ken Loach and is above all a rich character study with a great onscreen chemistry between the excellent Conner Chapman and Shaun Thomas.
A riveting and hard-hitting account of brave resistance and victory in a historical fight of universal significance, and it relies on a splendid performance by David Oyelowo and powerful dialogue to bring us this inspiring true story that still feels alive and important today.
An enthralling and heartbreaking documentary using only archive material and old interviews with the pilot and those who knew him, and it is fascinating to see the human side of an admirable man who was the greatest idol of a nation facing a major economical and political crisis back then.
Sense and Sensibility (1995)
A faithful adaptation, especially in tone, of Austen’s enjoyable novel. Even though not a remarkable story, it benefits mostly from great performances by Thompson and Winslet, in a visually enchanting period drama that combines well romance and humor.
Wayans is not as funny as he thinks he is, and this is a flat out stupid, awfully sexist male fantasy made by people who obviously don’t have a very good idea how senses work (and apparently even mistake them for reflexes) – and it hits absolute rock bottom in the last 10 minutes.
A Separation (2011)
A compelling drama full of nuances and with many unexpected twists in a story in which all of the characters have solid reasons for their actions, which makes it nearly impossible to judge them for what they do – and it should certainly grow on you after more viewings.
The September Issue (2009)
It is strangely fascinating to have a close look at the creative process behind the biggest issue of the most influential fashion magazine in the planet and see how one woman’s personal opinion can have such an incredible weight and impact on the fashion industry in general.
A Serbian Film (2010)
It is unbelievable that Spasojevic had the guts to say that there is a political commentary in this grotesque and repellent piece of torture porn that seems to have no other purpose than to shock and be polemic, raping the viewer with a sickening amount of heinous violence.
The plot is predictable and doesn’t really come together as a whole, but the film has a handsome production design, a beautiful cinematography that explores to its best extent the beauty of its locations and two very intense performances by Lawrence and Cooper to make it worth it.
This Firefly movie is an excellent follow-up to the short-lived series, offering a lot of awesome action, witty exchanges of dialogue filled with dry humor and characters that we care about – a wonderful gift for the fans and a very entertaining sci-fi Western for everyone else.
Serial (Bad) Weddings (2014)
A ridiculous “comedy” that openly celebrates stereotypes (and finds itself very smart for that) and will certainly please those who enjoy the sort of pedestrian humor of the likes of The Big Bang Theory, with a lame, retarded plot full of clichés and caricatures instead of characters.
A Serious Man (2009)
The Coen brothers chose the most perfect actors for this hilarious farce, their most personal work to date which splendidly combines dark humor and Jewish existential questions, and I can easily imagine them saying that if not even God gives us all the answers why the hell should they?
Session 9 (2001)
An ominous psychological horror that relies on an effectively creepy atmosphere, but it is a shame that the suspenseful plot lacks coherence and purpose, with many unnecessary strange moments only to create tension and an odd conclusion that is more a letdown than a nice payoff.
The Sessions (2012)
Despite its unnecessary ending with a completely out-of-place narration, this is a touching drama centered on three-dimensional characters and two wonderful performances by Hawkes and Hunt, who deserve both a million awards for their profoundly sensitive compositions.
Seven Chances (1925)
An absolutely hilarious comedy with great editing, score, framing and cinematography, even if the initial scenes in early Technicolor have not survived in such a good state – and it is really impressive to see so much action, thrill and energy in a movie made at that time.
7 Days (2010)
A gut-wrenching and extremely uncomfortable drama that follows a man yearning for revenge and doing things he could have never imagined himself capable of doing, and while it is surprisingly moving, it nevertheless goes a bit too far in its poor, shallow symbolism.
7 Days in Havana (2012)
An irregular and heterogeneous combination of seven different stories that lacks a cohesive unity and is never interesting enough to be worth our time – and not even excellent directors like Pablo Trapero and Gaspar Noé are able to save this project from being dull and tiring.
The Seven Kittens (1980)
Those who think that Nelson Rodrigues had no idea what nuance is (and was an idiot for saying all men were garbage) will find a perfect example here, since this is a trashy adaptation in which everyone changes their minds so quickly and constantly that it becomes a dumb, pointless parody.
Seven Psychopaths (2012)
A funny dark comedy that has some very inspired moments, but McDonagh doesn’t know exactly what to do with the material in his hands, and so he keeps pulling easy tricks out of his sleeves at the expense of a more elaborate structure.
The Seven Year Itch (1955)
An insufferable comedy whose sense of humor is tremendously unfunny and obvious while Ewell is unbearable with his expository babbling and his character’s stupid imagination – and the movie would have never become a classic if it weren’t for that one famous scene only.
The Seventh Continent (1989)
Haneke basically tortures the viewer to the point of almost unbearable, first focusing his film (based on real life events) on the dull, bureaucratic and apathetic routine of a modern family and then moving to the excruciatingly detailed, step-by-step preparation of a horrific incident.
7th Floor (2013)
An efficient thriller that is able to create tension and suspense especially from the protagonist’s growing state of despair (with Darín in an intense performance, as usual), but it all collapses in a preposterous and downright stupid third act that almost ruins the whole thing.
With a visual approach that makes it resemble a documentary, this realistic thriller is highly gripping as a series of tense situations faced by a man caught in a political battle, but it is only a pity, though, that the film makes some odd narrative choices in the end.
Sex and the City (2008)
In its transition to the big screen, the long-running HBO series gives birth to an endless and uneven movie, and while the TV stories of these four women living for sex and fashion in the Big Apple could be appealing, here the characters seem only shallow, stupid and vulgar.
Sex and the City 2 (2010)
Just like the first film, this sequel is stupid and stretches forever, following those four selfish, shallow middle-aged women whose pathetic personal conflicts never justify 146 minutes. And what kind of woman wears a vintage cream Valentino skirt while making muffins?
Shadow Dancer (2012)
An uninteresting drama that lacks any surprises and whose bland approach makes it emotionally distant and boring, with a plot that drags, characters who are hard to care about and scenes that should be suspenseful but only feel tedious.
Shadow of a Doubt (1943)
The title’s doubt grows in us much before it is planted inside the character’s mind halfway through this superbly-written story, which is a testament to how this tense, suspenseful mystery is slowly and carefully built in what is one of Hitchcock’s most steadily-paced thrillers.
Shadow of the Vampire (2000)
The idea is really original and Dafoe delivers a spectacular performance under that fantastic makeup (the scene of the Count devouring the bat is hysterical); it is just a pity, though, that the weak script has such a redundant dialogue and Merhige’s direction has some misfires.
An unpretentious, devastating character study that takes a disturbing look at sexual addiction with magnificent performances by Fassbender and Mulligan, and is directed with absolute control by Steve McQueen, who leaves no room for easy resolutions or happy endings.
The dazzling cinematography that explores the bucolic and idyllic landscapes, together with the strong ensemble cast, contributes to make this an unforgettable Western tale about a complex, divided hero and the relationship that he develops with a peaceful family.
Shaolin Soccer (2001)
A hilarious goofy comedy that makes me laugh to tears from beginning to end, and it is so amazing the way it embraces kung fu action, Western movies tropes, cartoonish visual effects and a lot of delicious nonsense to create a unique martial arts movie.
Kawase continues to tackle family issues that reflect her own (issues she has already approached in previous films) but the result is too uneven, unresolved, emotionally detached — bland, even — and feels like more of the same for those who are familiar with her work.
Shaun of the Dead (2004)
Pegg and Frost are so funny together in this atypical zombie movie that nicely blends British humor and a lot of gore while making a smart social commentary, and it benefits from an incredibly witty dialogue and some hilarious moments to make you laugh hard.
Shaun the Sheep Movie (2015)
An irresistible, funny and deliciously sweet adventure made in a stunning stop motion that probably ranks among the best I have ever seen, and even if it is clearly aimed at younger children, I really doubt that it won’t be a complete and utter delight to adults as well.
The Shawshank Redemption (1994)
It may deserve to be generally regarded as (one of) the most overrated film(s) ever made, but it is above all a wonderful, uplifting and deeply touching tale of hope and perseverance that certainly deserves to be remembered as one of the best adaptations of a Stephen King story.
The main problem with this irregular superhero movie is that Billy and Shazam are like two completely different people, which makes it almost impossible for us to connect with the character, and it doesn’t help that the goofy humor doesn’t always work, despite some inspired moments.
She Comes Back on Thursday (2015)
The way Oliveira blends fiction and documentary by having his family and friends perform fictional versions of themselves is always intriguing, and the film does have its moments, but his approach is so cold and detached that it loses any dramatic power that it could have.
She’s the One (1996)
Though the dialogue is usually sharp and funny (when not being blatantly redundant), the biggest problem of this comedy, besides the fact that it takes itself much more seriously than it should, is that all characters except the one played by Jennifer Aniston are so selfish and hateful.
Like Rosemary’s Baby if made by David Cronenberg, this is an unsettling film that unfolds at a deliberate pace, making us seriously cringe as it forces us to contemplate the creepy idea of a pregnant woman getting slowly wrecked by a living creature growing inside her.
A simple film that relies on the chemistry between Wright and Rowe, telling a sweet coming-of-age story about a young gay man trying to figure out what he wants in life. Unfortunately, it is also too conventional and predictable, with a lot of stereotyped conflicts.
Sherlock Holmes (2009)
What makes this film so refreshing and entertaining is Guy Ritchie’s trademark stylish direction as he updates the legendary detective to a modern pop generation, and it has great dialogue, delicious performances and a wonderful production design.
A silly yet enjoyable movie that continues to portray Holmes as a modern action hero, not trying anything new compared to the previous chapter and just going for a safe plot that is never daring. Still, it is a lot of fun, with an exciting mind battle as climax.
Sherlock Jr. (1924)
A great movie all the more remarkable due to the technique employed and how Keaton could pull off a number of risky stunts without getting killed – and his huge care is evident in a hilarious billiard scene and a fabulous moment in which he dodges many dangers on a motorcycle.
The Ship Sails On (1983)
With a gorgeous cinematography and production design, this is probably the most stunning Fellini film while also a work that offers a smart social commentary – until it goes insane in the last fifteen minutes, losing any direction and evidencing the artificiality of the story as a film.
It is hard to see what Cronenberg had in mind when he concocted this repellent film full of sexism and misogyny about fear of sexuality, as it only seems to suggest that uncontrolled sexual desires lead to people becoming irrational rapists prone to pedophilia and incest.
Reflecting on what family is and the ties that can grow between unrelated people, Koreeda gradually brings us close to his characters in this beautiful, bittersweet drama before hitting us with something quite unexpected (and brilliant) that only adds new layers of meaning to it.
Short Term 12 (2013)
A delicate and complex character study that never romanticizes what it wants so say, being instead very down to earth in its approach to show us how an underprivileged childhood can create emotionally fractured adults whose uncured issues won’t simply go away with time.
If Verhoeven’s intention was to make a satire of Las Vegas as a place of exploitation and hypocrisy then his film is brilliant, but it does feel like he is trying to make something serious, which makes its hilarious campy vibe come off as trashy and completely unintentional.
A wonderful satirical fable that cleverly subverts those well-known fairy tales, offering endless fun for kids and pure delight for adults with some astonishing visuals and acid humor while being extremely funny, enchanting and surprisingly sweet.
Shrek 2 (2004)
Although not as original and smart as the first film, Shrek 2 is equally funny and irreverent, introducing new adorable secondary characters in an excellent animation that never ceases to be a lot of fun for both adults and kids.
Shrek the Third (2007)
What used to be fresh and witty in the first two films gives place to a stupid slapstick humor full of fart and poop jokes, lacking most of the cleverness of the previous stories. Even so, the visuals never cease to be outstanding and impressive.
Shrek Forever After (2010)
Shrek stuck in an alternate reality is an interesting premise that provokes some laughs, and even if the plot is not original or memorable at all, this passable animation is an improvement over the mediocre last movie and an amusing conclusion to the franchise.
Shrew’s Nest (2014)
Macarena Gómez is absolutely sensational, delivering a complex and intense performance as a tragic figure that inspires both fear and pity in equal measure, and this anguishing (and always gripping) film does an admirable job combining family drama, character study and horror.
Shun Li and the Poet (2011)
What begins as an honest story soon becomes a frustrating experience, unable to generate enough interest due to the lack of chemistry between the two main characters. Besides, it insists on trying to create some visual and narrative poetry where there is none.
Shutter Island (2010)
Scorsese’s masterpiece in psychological horror is an intriguing and immensely unsettling film whose escalating claustrophobic tension is built from an intelligent, suspenseful mystery that bears many welcome resemblances to the greatest works of Kubrick, Polanski and Lynch.
Siberian Education (2013)
It manages to intertwine three moments of the character’s life without becoming confusing, but Salvatores does everything in his power to make it palatable to a mainstream audience, filling it up with a pile of dreadful clichés and not minding about the horrible performances.
The most intriguing aspect of this clinical psychological drama is how every character uses and manipulates one another to obtain what they want, and yet the film struggles a bit to bring its pieces together, becoming even clumsier in the end when trying to come up with a satisfying conclusion.
Much like Soderbergh’s Traffic, Villeneuve offers us this riveting and thought-provoking portrait of an endemic social malady against which every effort seems futile, and he invests in a constant sense of urgency and a nearly unbearable tension to place us inside that gritty reality.
An irregular sequel that pales in comparison to the excellent first film, especially as it betrays the motivations of the characters (which make little sense here) and becomes too implausible in the end, even if its nihilism still works thanks to the strong performances from the two leads.
Side Effects (2013)
If this is really Soderbergh’s last film, at least he departs on a good note with this smart movie that moves so expertly from one genre to another – switching protagonists and growing from an intimate drama about depression to a pharmaco-thriller with clever twists.
Its playful take on urban isolation and how internet and technology draw people apart is spot-on, with a bittersweet sense of humor that made me smile at its logical deductions, but it is only a shame that, in its insistence on being cute, the plot can be pretty clichéd and obvious.
Finding a perfect balance between touching and humorous, this revealing family drama is a fantastic ballet of camera and mise-en-scène (with many beautiful long takes), and I love the way it lets us organize in our heads the relationships between all characters in the family.
7 Años (2016)
Another Netflix original film that proves you don’t need a great budget to produce something of quality, and this is a dynamic chamber movie that holds our attention with an engaging plot centered exclusively on a clever dialogue and some very fine performances.
A detestable film that forces us to follow for eighty-eight minutes a couple of hateful psychopaths with a sick story that wants to be a very dark comedy and make fun of their gruesome atrocities – but everything is just too much bad taste to be remotely funny.
The Signal (2014)
However initially intriguing the mystery is, the only thing worse than a stupid movie that believes to be smart is a stupid movie that believes to be smart and insults its audience, and so it is just awfully confusing with a lot of stupid plot twists that don’t make much sense.
O Signo do Caos (2005)
Sganzerla’s films have this annoying tendency to become tediously repetitious after a while, and so even though this one begins pretty amusing with its cheeky sense of humor, it’s hard not to find it pretentious when images and sounds start to pile up mostly arbitrarily.
While never losing track of what he wants to say, Shyamalan knows how to build suspense with scenes that can be terrifying, although the film’s flaws start to become more and more apparent the moment we stop to think about the details (like the reasons behind the villains’ motivations).
The Silence (1998)
Makhmalbaf continues to explore the infinite possibilities of cinema and film language (as usual), creating another poetic film that impresses not only with its clever editing but also with its use of many aural match cuts that fit perfectly within the story it wants to tell.
The Silence (2010)
Not devoid of flaws but still rich in complexity and with an exquisite cinematography, this is an engaging crime thriller centered on a gallery of characters whose lives are thrown upside down when a criminal investigation brings up latent issues of a sordid long-gone past.
It begins heavy-handed and moves only gradually towards greatness, raising intelligent questions about the merits and virtue of faith when one follows a silent deity that prompts men into arrogance and blind devotion despite all the suffering that this may cause to others.
The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
This breathtaking psychological thriller and terrific character study should always be remembered for its iconic depiction of one of the most fascinating monsters ever created, Dr. Hannibal Lecter, and it deserved every award it won, although Ted Levine should have also been remembered for his fantastic performance.
The Silence of the Sky (2016)
In ways that reminded me of Kubrick’s Eyes Wide Shut, this is an intelligent drama that understands how to use the language of cinema to its best effect, conveying so much meaning through its visuals (especially the colors and composition) as it builds a complex character study full of layers.
Silent Hill (2006)
Gans deserves praise for investing in the movie’s atmosphere with an evocative cinematography and several stunning sets that look incredibly disturbing and creepy as hell – but even so, some of the scenes are way too uncomfortably graphic and the CGI creatures look atrocious.
Silent Hill: Revelation (2012)
If “revelation” means endless exposition that doesn’t reveal absolutely anything about what we already know from the first movie, then it would have been preferable to see something closer to an actual plot or at least more appealing sets, if Bessett had any imagination for that.
The Silent House (2010)
Very well made as a single long take, it impresses for the elegance and technique employed, but the script is just awful, with stupid characters, over-calculated chills (always forewarned by an intrusive score) and a ridiculous, illogical ending.
The Silent Revolution (2018)
An uneven but still effective historical drama that might have carried a much stronger impact had it not been for its strange choice to come up with unnecessary revelations about the characters that feel more like distraction and don’t really add anything relevant to the result.
Silent Running (1972)
A thought-provoking science fiction that may feel dated today even with its good visuals but raises interesting philosophical questions about solitude, the value of life and what it is like to risk everything for a conviction — which outweighs the ecological message intended.
Silent Youth (2012)
A simple film whose finest quality is the careful way it moves without rushing to a resolution, making great use of a deliberate pace to explore the moments of silence and intimacy while slowly growing on us to make us care about its characters.
The Silver Cliff (2011)
With a paper-thin plot (inspired by a song) that seems stretched to fit the running time of a long-length film, this flawed drama ends up feeling too slow and doesn’t work so well as a study of depression as intended – and perhaps it could have been better as a short movie.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
The feel-good movie of the year, so refreshing, captivating and openly anti-pessimistic, and it is not only well written and directed but works even better thanks to its great ensemble cast – especially Cooper and Lawrence, who have an amazing chemistry together.
A nearly hagiographic and politically miopic film that wants to celebrate Simonal and condemn the harsh treatment he received by the press and the public, but using weak arguments that simply don’t take into account the gravity of his actions (including his own written admission at the time).
A Simple Favor (2018)
Paul Feig has shown us before what an enviable talent he has for blending different genres, but here he truly outdoes himself, making a clever, twisty and always gripping film that makes us hold our breath as it moves so effortlessly from dark comedy to crime noir to even horror.
Sin City: A Dame to Kill For (2014)
I can’t really decide which of the subplots is the dullest and most forgettable, or if Nancy’s revenge story could have possibly been any less pointless or dragged any less had it been cut by half – everything so flat that it doesn’t even make me want to write about it.
Sin Nombre (2009)
Despite relying on a lot of convenient circumstances that could have diluted the brutal realism intended by the director, this film remains a riveting portrayal of the hardships faced by those who set out to cross the Mexican border into the United States in search of a better life.
Sinfonia da Necrópole (2014)
A sweet but uneven film that impressed me so much in its first half hour as a delightful blend of hilarious comedy and inspired musical (with great songs and lyrics), only to lose its charm and grip later as the story progresses and becomes too serious for its own good.
Sing Street (2016)
It is true that it covers familiar ground and feels a bit harmless with its optimistic, feel-good vibe, but it makes up for it with a lot of conviction and a great soundtrack – both the songs played by the characters’ band and those from the ’80s that include Duran Duran and The Cure.
Singin’ in the Rain (1952)
The classic of classics when it comes to musicals, a wonderful movie that is light, entertaining and funny with priceless dialogue and amazing choreography – and where even an out-of-place Broadway number is delightful enough to make us forgive it for being there.
A Single Man (2009)
A deeply touching film with a beautiful cinematography and art direction, a wonderful score and a remarkable direction by fashion designer Tom Ford. Still, what stands out more than anything else is Colin Firth’s fantastic leading performance.
Single White Female (1992)
Though nothing special, this is an efficient thriller with the kind of subject that could have actually been made into a better movie had it played as a psychological drama. Still, It is nice to see that Schroeder manages to make it seem real enough despite its most ludicrous moments.
Despite the protagonist being a complete moron who stays in a creepy house when all good sense would make him leave, this is a disturbing movie that manages to cause unease with an ominous atmosphere – but this efficient effort is ruined by cheap scares and a terrible ending.
Some of the mysteries may be intriguing but there is no way anyone with a brain could possibly take this ridiculous New Age crap and Dr. Greer’s nonsensical claims seriously (CE‑5? Please, what a joke), and the movie is so badly edited and messy that it becomes irritating.
Meier shows that she can manage a sad subject with sensitivity while Klein shines as the adorable and charismatic young protagonist, but the film doesn’t seem to know how to end and the two only English-speaking characters added to the story are superfluous.
I’m not a fan of Amy Poehler but I love Tina Fey, and she totally steals the show in this enjoyable comedy that feels satisfying enough even if it is a bit overlong (like an extended sitcom episode) and the jokes are not as funny or frequent as they should be – hell, some of them fall real flat.
The Sisters Brothers (2018)
The film takes a while to find a focus and tell us what it wants to do with its seemingly flat characters, but then becomes a more interesting story about civilization versus barbarity in a world filled with dirt, diseases and death, even though the ending is somehow underwhelming.
Although Diab seems to have good intentions with an important subject, his lack of subtlety and heavy-handed direction sadly stand in his way, and so the result is a ridiculous and artificial melodrama that has no focus and is full of cheap contrivances and soap-opera dialogue.
The Skin I Live In (2011)
Almodóvar’s incursion into psychological horror is this fascinating, extremely disturbing and even terrifying story about insanity, desire and obsession that grabbed me from the first scene to the last – and the best way to see it is without knowing anything about it.
The Sky Above (2011)
Unfolding like a day in the lives of three very common but unique individuals, this is the kind of hybrid film that blurs so invisibly the frontier between documentary and fiction that I’m only sad it runs for just 68 minutes, for I would gladly watch two or more hours of this any time.
Kawase looks inside herself for what troubles her and makes her feel lost in the world, and in doing so she complements and gives more substance to her very personal shorts Embracing and Katatsumori – both of which I didn’t like but now seem better in retrospect.
An entertaining Bond movie with a thrilling teaser – which is one of its best features but never builds to what it promises, being soon forgotten when required by the script. Besides, the story is solid but eventually starts to feel long in its endless succession of action scenes.
Slack Bay (2016)
The physical humor and the way the characters are shown as over-the-top caricatures is initially amusing, but that gets tired fast and the film becomes silly, unfunny and repetitious — and I was rolling my eyes after the umpteenth time that someone would fall down on the ground.
An interesting sci-fi that sadly fails by only hinting at its philosophical ideas and not going deeper into them. The narrative is always fluid, with elegant scene transitions and visual rhymes, but also vague about whether it wants to be a satirical piece or not.
Sleep Tight (2011)
Reminding me sometimes of Robert Bresson’s clinical approach, this is a daring enough thriller that puts us in the shoes of a sadistic monster while focusing most on his meticulous actions (even though the guy does make some very stupid decisions), and it can be hugely tense and disturbing.
Sleeping Beauty (1959)
The most expensive and ambitious Disney animation for the time it was conceived may be regarded by many as a classic with a unique art style, yet I still fail to see much past its impressive technical achievements and be so thrilled about it with regard to its conventional narrative.
Sleeping Beauty (2011)
An empty and pretentious film that fails by not providing any depth into its character, thus leaving her actions and motivations as a complete mystery from beginning to end and making this a cold and detached experience even as a result of the large amount of loose shots.
Slow West (2015)
A more than impressive debut for John Maclean, who revisits the Western genre in an intense story about a long-gone time of violence and death, showing the West in its raw brutality but with a lot of dark humor, and backed by a beautiful cinematography and great sound design.
Snow White and the Huntsman (2012)
The darker tone is consistent with the German original tale but it is hard to overlook the problems in this adaptation: the dwarfs totally wasted, a pathetic love triangle that rivals that of Twilight, Bella Swan rapidly turning into a warrior as soon as required by the script, and so on.
Walt Disney’s first animation is an enchanting and delightful adaptation of Grimms’ fairy tale. Carefully drawn, with a great attention to details, it not only opened the door for this art in cinema but every modern animation owes a lot to this important masterpiece.
Despite some clichés and not being provocative enough for an Oliver Stone movie, this is a solid companion piece to Citizenfour with a great cinematography and editing — and Gordon-Levitt does an impressive job mimicking the real Snowden’s body language and even voice.
The sense of humor is killer in the its first half but then the movie sadly starts to lose momentum and focus; even so, this is a fun blend of genres that borrows heavily from Quentin Tarantino and spaghetti westerns (especially the music) with a welcome meta spin to it.
An enormously thought-provoking allegory that suggests a terrifying price necessary to keep the capitalist system machine functioning at full speed in a post-apocalyptic society confined in a moving train – and it is always a pleasure to see a thrilling story that makes us think.
Dark and disturbing in equal measure, this is an intelligent and well-acted character study about the roots of fascism within someone who wants an excuse to act on his psychopathy, as well as within those who accept to be led like cattle by the ones who are in power.
So Hard to Forget (2010)
I’m not a big fan of narrations, but Arósio’s voice-over here is fundamental to prevent us from disliking her blunt character. Anyway, the film fails as a study of depression by giving in to artificial dialogue and simplistic situations that never reach beyond the most obvious.
Soaked in Bleach (2015)
An engrossing documentary that may seem like old-news conspiracy theory but presents too many strong points to be overlooked (especially regarding the absurd negligence in the death investigation) and makes a compelling case for why this suspicious case should be re-opened.
The Social Network (2010)
An impeccably-directed character study with excellent performances and a top-notch script mainly sustained on a great dialogue, offering us an insightful look at the creation of the most successful social network by a misanthropic young man who was unable to keep his only friend.
With a protagonist that is most of the time irritatingly dumb and a repetitious plot that cannot come up with anything more interesting than a silly (and very obvious) attack on high society, this is a lame horror movie that turns into a complete mess in its gory third act.
Socorro Nobre (1996)
It may feel at first that this film lacks a better sense of focus or unity, as though it is struggling to connect two very different life stories, but actually it does a solid job finding what these two very different people have in common.
However talky and overly didactic, this is an interesting biography made for TV that wants to be as close as reality as possible, even if the Socrates we see here does sound more like a pedantic sophist than the influential thinker who became known for so many beautiful speeches.
The only solace I had was when this crappy derivative of Se7en ended, because there is nothing worse or more embarrassing than witnessing an amateur director trying to be clever and stylish using every awful trick up his sleeve to make a ridiculous script seem much smarter than it is.
Soderbergh deviates from the fascinating philosophical ideas proposed by Tarkovsky in his fantastic adaptation and focuses on the relationship dilemma, but the result is less involving and suffers from an obvious lack of chemistry between Clooney and McElhone.
Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
Light, enjoyable and, of course, full of references for the fans (though the movie’s insistence on showing so many of Han’s “first times” borders on fandom frivolity), this nice Star Wars footnote will definitely not become a classic any time soon but is at least entertaining enough.
Some Like It Hot (1959)
If this is the funniest film ever made I really cannot say, but it is certainly a hilarious and extremely delightful comedy. The flawless script is filled with priceless lines and witty dialogue, with the three main actors absolutely fantastic in their roles.
Something in the Air (2012)
A refreshing and well-paced semi-autobiographical drama that focuses on the uncertainties of a young man divided between his ideologies and artistic desires – but the very weak performances from almost everyone make it emotionally distant and a tad restrained for its own good.
Sofia Coppola is such a sensitive and talented director, and she seems to know well what she is talking about here, taking an interesting look at the meaningless life of an actor among empty pastimes and ephemeral pleasures. A delicate film that observes and shows a lot more than it says.
An expertly-edited, compelling and even tense documentary that gets us deeply invested as we follow the obsessive dedication of four admirable candidates who have each a personality of his own and whom we root for as they bust a gut to pass a monstrous, nearly-impossible exam.
SOMM: Into the Bottle (2015)
The editing that cross-cuts several interviews with wine specialists makes it pretty dynamic as it tries to offer some sort of global opinion from winemakers and sommeliers, but the problem is that the film relies much more on a lot of vague impressions than facts and information.
Song of the Sea (2014)
The film’s gorgeous visuals are the only thing that justifies the Oscar nomination it got, since plot-wise this is a rather weak (and bland) animation that can’t escape the fact that too much is poorly elaborated and explained, like the girl unable to speak and her sudden illness.
Song to Song (2017)
The first half of the film is an interesting, multilayered study of different types of relationships that cross-relate, but then it all becomes frustratingly uneven, repetitious and obvious, especially as the characters begin to drift with no clear direction in a series of duller moments.
A lighthearted German comedy that tries so hard to be inoffensive (an extended cut for TV has several new scenes absent from the theatrical version, some of them certainly more dramatic than anything we see here) that it will probably be more appealing to those who lived in that time.
Sons of the Desert (1933)
Laurel and Hardy are so addictive and compulsively watchable, and this film is first-rate slapstick that offers non-stop laughs with one hilarious scene after another, making us sometimes even wish it weren’t so short with its running time of only a little bit more than one hour.
Sorry Angel (2018)
Employing his usual bluish aesthetic and dry humor that pierces through its bleakness, Honoré uses the AIDS epidemic in the 1980s and ’90s as the background for a mature (if also a bit overlong) look at solitude and the fear of opening up to someone new when you cannot see any future ahead.
Sorry to Bother You (2018)
Although the sharp sense of humor is only one step away from being laugh-out-loud hilarious, this is a smart absurdist satire on conformism and modern alienation that couldn’t feel more realistic even as it confidently moves towards surrealism in ways that are quite unexpected.
Sorry We Missed You (2019)
Ken Loach turns his compassionate eye again to the least favored classes in his own country and those who struggle to survive in a brutal capitalist world, examining this time how the exploitation of labor can be the source of painful discord and unhappiness for a loving family.
The Soul of the Bone (2004)
In his efforts to evoke what it is like to be a solitary creature living in the middle of nowhere, Guimarães uses images and sounds that aim to capture the spirit of solitude, but he also seems too desperate to find poetry in the mundane, which makes his film look sadly pretentious sometimes.
Source Code (2011)
Duncan Jones is now just another filmmaker concerned about exhibiting his directing skills, and here he gives us explosions in slow motion, flies backwards through an air duct with his camera and so on. Even worse is the script, with a concept that makes no sense and a stupid character who is incapable of sticking to a mission that will save millions of lives.
The best thing about this brilliant South Park movie is not that it is “longer,” rather the fact that it is “bigger” and so ambitious: both as an incredibly hilarious comedy and as a musical full of awesome songs, while also upping the vulgarity seen on the TV show to a f***ing eleven.
Southland Tales (2006)
It feels like a bizarre mix of Blade Runner and Twin Peaks written by Bret Easton Ellis and adapted by Uwe Boll — ridiculous, pretentious, incomprehensible and full of tiring exposition from beginning to end about a universe that couldn’t be more uninteresting.
Gyllenhaal continues to show that he is one of the most interesting and talented actors of his generation, elevating this conventional boxing story that, despite an excellent start, embraces every cliché of the genre and becomes so frustratingly sentimental in its second half.
Southside with You (2016)
The two leads captivate us with strong performances in this simple walk-and-talk film, playing intelligent characters who spend a day together on a date through black culture in America, but the movie is also a bit too respectful and borders occasionally on hagiography.
The Souvenir (2019)
It would be easy to feel enraged at the character’s decisions, hadn’t we all made many of the same ones in similar circumstances, but even though the film looks gorgeous (as if truly shot in the early 1980s), Hogg’s dry approach puts us at a frustrating distance from what we see here.
Soylent Green (1973)
The greenish cinematography and ’70s visuals for a futurist dystopia look terribly dated today, and even if the film has an interesting idea and a beautiful death scene, Fleischer’s direction (more focused on the procedural and the action) makes it look silly and unimaginative.
The only film that Kubrick didn’t have control of, this sumptuous and forever influential sword-and-sandal epic balances quite well its campy moments with scenes of dramatic intensity but also has a messy script full of moralizing and confusing behavior from most of its characters.
The Spectacular Now (2013)
Teller and Woodley are excellent and have an impressive chemistry together in this sincere coming-of-age drama that feels more real and mature than most films alike, and it even ventures into a surprisingly bleak territory without the need to go for clichés and contrivances.
The premise is interesting and the visual effects are very good, but the plot is absurd and full of holes (the series of expository explanations in the end makes very little sense when you stop to think about it), feeling more like video game action than smart science fiction.
It deserves credit for its technical virtuosity, great visuals and thrilling action scenes, but in its attempt to wrap up Craig’s films as all part of a major storyline, it is made too self-important and complicated for a 007 movie – the villain’s backstory involving Bond, for instance, is pathetic.
A poorly-written film that deserves more credit for a surreal dream sequence designed by Salvador Dalí than a dated plot full of holes and casual sexism – especially how, for someone who is supposed to be so rational, Bergman’s character is more stupid than our patience can take.
Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017)
With a refreshing adolescent vibe and great performances by Tom Holland and Michael Keaton (who plays a surprisingly nuanced villain who has understandable motivations), this is a very entertaining superhero movie that is also smart to skip the character’s over-told origins.
Spider-Man: Far from Home (2019)
I guess it would be too much to hope that a Marvel movie doesn’t end in a tiresome CGI fest that makes us feel like watching someone else playing video game, but for the most part, this is a fresh chapter that can be quite funny and even more entertaining when having fun with illusions.
While the concept of alternate realities has already inspired a number of stories that pushed the envelope way farther than what we see here, this is still a very entertaining, dynamic and visually amazing movie that looks perfect as a three-dimensional version of offset-printed comics.
The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
A brilliant and spellbinding sociopolitical commentary told in a most symbolic way (and with a gorgeous cinematography) as a fabulous tale of loss of innocence centered on a sweet 7‑year-old girl who discovers evil at the heart of her beehive-like world in Francoist Spain.
Spirited Away (2001)
A remarkably innovative and extremely bizarre version of Alice in Wonderland that may even be too somber for smaller children while more fascinating to adults, and it is not only perfect due to its episodic structure that also loses momentum and decelerates in the third act.
It is frustrating to see such a fantastic idea and amazing development lead to a disappointing ending. The whole film builds as an intelligent and compelling sci-fi drama until Vincenzo Natali finally decides in the last fifteen minutes that it should be in fact a stupid horror story.
Not even James McAvoy’s stellar performance can save this predictable, poorly-directed and stupid thriller plagued with heavy-handed dialogue and with such an absurd disregard for logic or coherence — even more so when we learn about a certain name in a ridiculous third act.
An excellent ensemble cast film whose main strength lies in its superb performances and a fascinating, well-written narrative that recounts the efforts of a group of committed journalists to get to the bottom and expose a revolting truth – something that is sadly becoming so rare nowadays.
Spring Breakers (2012)
After seeing it a second time, it is easier to see where Korine wants to get at with this overstylish mockery of American society, even though his hand is too heavy sometimes, but he does have conviction and the cinematography is stunning and filled with toxic sexiness.
An entertaining, imaginative and absolutely hilarious James Bond spoof the kind that only Paul Feig could have come up with – really, I can’t remember laughing this hard in a long time -, and it offers thrilling action scenes and benefits mostly from McCarthy’s endless charisma and talent.
The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018)
This movie is a little (too) much, but the most irritating is that it was made by a woman — a woman who doesn’t seem to realize how irritating it is to follow two stereotypically dumb American women who are very lucky not to get killed after five minutes (though we wish they did).
The Square (2013)
The direction is not flawless, with the camera constantly going out of focus, but this essential film remains an inspiring testament to the power of protests and the voice of the people, especially in times when rebellions ought to come up everywhere against abusive regimes.
The Square (2017)
Just like with Force Majeure, Östlund creates another intelligent, funny and always gripping satire centered on characters who are forced to go through embarrassing situations, questioning also what Art really means while exposing the hypocritical animals that we are.
How riveting it is to be immersed in this classic influential Western that is not only entertaining and exciting but is above all a sincere story that always rings true with its unforgettable gallery of three-dimensional characters who grow on us and make us care so much about them.
Stalag 17 (1953)
A spectacular prison camp drama that relies on an intriguing, compelling mystery while also being quite funny and touching when showing the camaraderie between the prisoners of Barrack 4, with numerous memorable scenes that make it an unmissable classic.
It may be a tough sit-through to some as it is not as emotionally engaging as Tarkovsky’s magnificent Solaris, but it is hard not to be mesmerized by this stunningly metaphysical and philosophical allegory of human desire and our search for happiness.
Stan & Ollie (2018)
The two actors (especially Coogan) are fantastic, embodying their characters so faithfully that it seems like they have been playing them together forever, and it is great to see how this film pays homage to those comedy legends with a balanced combination of slapstick and melancholy.
The Stand (1994)
Even with a runtime of 6 hours that could have been used to develop so many ideas brought up by its epic premise, this miniseries made for TV clearly lacks depth and feels more like a long series of moves and actions to reach an apocalyptic conclusion that is only disappointing after all.
A Star Is Born (1937)
For a film about acting, it is frustrating that we never see how Esther’s evolves or Norman’s gets worse; besides, this feels completely dated now, shifting focus halfway through from its weak female protagonist to a selfish male and coming off as awfully sexist with its traditional values.
A Star Is Born (1954)
Forget the 1937 version, this is a much superior remake that does right everything (except for that awful last line) that the original film did wrong (at least for later standards), with Garland in a stellar performance especially during her “Someone at Last” number in the living room.
A Star Is Born (1976)
Barbra Streisand is bizarrely miscast and has no chemistry whatsoever with Kris Kristofferson, which makes it baffling to see a movie so completely lost about what it is doing, as it can’t even realize that its two singing characters would never have the same public in real life.
A Star Is Born (2018)
Each A Star Is Born is a product of its time, and this one is no different: made in a digital era of viral videos and pop stars that can be born overnight, this is an infinitely more realistic and sincere version (both in plot and structure) compared to all others before.
The main problem with this first Star Trek film is that it is not original at all and looks more like a stretched TV episode that tries too hard to be 2001: A Space Odyssey, dragging endlessly in long, contemplative scenes that seem to exist only to show the higher budget.
Star Trek: The Wrath of Khan (1982)
An exceptional movie that offers everything that a Star Trek fan could ask and more: wonderful performances, engaging drama, tension, memorable dialogue, a fascinating villain bent on revenge and an incredibly well-constructed plot with an unforgettable ending.
This third Star Trek film works as a bridge between the second and the fourth cinematic chapters, with decent drama and good performances by our well-known cast, even if the plot is super convenient and lacks the same impact of The Wrath of Khan.
The voyage home is the return to the status quo now that Spock is back to the crew where he belongs, and this is the lightest of the Star Trek movies, a delightful yet not-that-original incursion into comedy with a hilarious dialogue and a very welcome ecological story.
While considered by many as the worst of the Star Trek films – and it certainly does have problems -, The Final Frontier is rather enjoyable and has some memorable moments that only fail to raise it to a higher level due to a clear lack of better polishing.
The last chapter of TOS films is an excellent farewell for Captain Kirk and his crew, concluding their long journey with a smart political mystery that cleverly parallels the end of the Cold War and embraces a future that bears new adventures for the Next Generation Enterprise.
Star Trek: Generations (1994)
The first Next Generation film is unfortunately a big mess that uses a confusing plot device to bid a ridiculous adieu to Captain Kirk in order to give space to Captain Picard’s crew in the Star Trek movies – and sadly not even its unnecessary subplot makes it worth seeing.
Star Trek: First Contact (1996)
The eighth Star Trek film (and second of The Next Generation) boasts incredible special effects and makeup, as well as an urgent plot and a most sinister, terrifying villain – and the subplot involving Data captured by the Borg is certainly the best thing in it.
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998)
The best of the odd-numbered Star Trek films, Insurrection doesn’t boast nasty villains or terrible dangers but plays like a great extended TV episode, with a compelling plot that works as a smart political commentary on Western imperialism.
Star Trek: Nemesis (2002)
Even though it has an interesting premise, this is an awful conclusion for TNG and seems like a shameless rehash of The Wrath of Khan, only the villain is completely lame, with very stupid motivations, and the conclusion a pathetic cop-out for the entire series.
Star Trek Into Darkness (2013)
A solid alternate story that ought to leave most trekkies and aficionados with major goosebumps thanks to its many awesome and well-inspired references – which compensate for how formulaic and intensely action-oriented it aims to be above everything else.
It may not be an example of originality (let’s face it, this episode is basically a rehash of A New Hope, following to the letter the structure of that movie), but even so it is a wonderful, nostalgic return to the original films while incredibly fresh and thrilling as a follow-up as well.
Doing a fantastic job in fleshing out its characters and their motivations even more amid exciting battle scenes and intelligent twists, The Last Jedi proves to be one of the most mature, epic and consistent films of the franchise to date in the way it explores its main themes.
This is the definition of fan service, when a bunch of people want so desperately to please the angry fans that they resurrect dead characters and struggle to course-correct everything that made the previous movie so interesting in order to make a harmless commercial product devoid of imagination.
I find it surprising that no one has ever come up with this incredibly original and terrific idea before, and even better is how it is developed with so much humor and tenderness into a delightful feel-good movie that will probably leave you thinking how lucky Starbuck is.
Starred Up (2013)
Written by an actual therapist following his own experiences, this gripping drama offers an extremely realistic view of prison that makes us feel like watching a documentary, and it is brutal and touching when it needs to be, anchored by superb performances (O’Connell is a revelation).
Starry Eyes (2014)
A solid movie that may be too violent and disturbing for a lot of viewers as it shows a nasty, grotesque view of Hollywood and ambition, and it makes the best use of a fantastic synthesizer score as well as an outstanding makeup and sound design that will make you writhe in anguish.
Stations of the Cross (2014)
A thought-provoking and profoundly disturbing film that exposes the harmful side of religion and faith, directed with a noteworthy formal rigor in mostly static long takes and with a skillful mise-en-scène that underlines the overwhelming pressure that the protagonist is living under.
Staying Vertical (2016)
I like Guiraudie’s usual detached style and oddball approach, but while I find this film generally interesting and enjoyable, it is hard to shake the feeling that it doesn’t have that much to say or even focus when telling this passable character study about a confused writer.
The Steam Experiment (2009)
A demented professor wants to prove the effects of global warming by locking six people in a Turkish steam room, which only proves that he is one of the most stupid villains ever. But the only thing more baffling than this ridiculous premise is the movie’s awful development.
Steamboat Bill, Jr. (1928)
Keaton was an incomparable genius and this is made pretty evident in the film’s exceptionally well-directed third act, when he tries everything to escape a storm and surprises us with his incredible audacity and endless disposition to put himself in life-threatening situations.
Steel Magnolias (1989)
This bittersweet drama has a very nice cast and deserves credit for making us laugh and cry at the same time even in its most melodramatic scenes, but the film’s last seven minutes are simply awful and should have been excised from it without any mercy.
Step Brothers (2008)
With so much that is quite retarded here, this is actually a hilarious Apatowian comedy that works so well especially thanks to Will Ferrell and John C. Reilly, who can be very charismatic playing two clueless idiots and have a great onscreen chemistry together.
Cronenberg’s first film should only please fans of his work, since it borders on pretentious (it is even hard to know weather it is meant to be taken serious or not) with poorly-edited, seemingly random images accompanied by a voice-over that is pure tedious psychobabble.
Steve Jobs (2015)
An intelligent and well-acted character study that avoids being another full-life biopic about Steve Jobs and does instead a remarkable job in fleshing out his personality through three public events in his life and a few flashbacks — which, in turn, suffer a bit from some clumsy editing.
Still Alice (2014)
Moore is terrific in this heartbreaking drama, conveying with full abandon every painful stage of a dreadful disease as her character struggles to hold on to her memories, while the nice use of long-focus lenses is key to show her disorientation and disconnection from the world around her.
Still Life (2013)
Nuanced even in its smallest details, and with an impressive performance by Eddie Marsan and a precious art direction that tells a lot about his character, this subtle film is also a delicate study on death and loneliness, although it ends with an abrupt, anticlimactic conclusion.
Still Orangutans (2007)
It doesn’t matter whether this film was entirely shot in one long take as was claimed, since the result is pretty impressive anyway, especially as it finds ways to blend dreams with reality and manipulate time without a single visible cut to ruin such an almost surreal experience.
Still the Water (2014)
However described by Kawase as her masterpiece, this is in fact just another of her typically pretentious and sluggish films that want to be poetic and see beauty in the small things of life, death and love, but the conflicts here feel forced and there is not enough consistency.
The Sting (1973)
Paul Newman and Robert Redford shine together in this brilliant and hugely amusing caper film that offers us, among many notable qualities, a marvelous production design and an ingenious (and unpredictable) plot that plays like a refined sleight-of-hand trick.
Wasikowska’s creepy and hardly bearable character is only one the problems of this mis-structured thriller that also tries to extract tension from a mystery that we don’t even know is there – and when it is finally revealed, everything that follows is made entirely predictable.
I can’t shake the feeling that this cheap fantasy is Emmerich’s Showgirls, with cheap acting, dialogue and structure (what’s with those intrusive flashbacks?), and it reduces the Stonewall riots to a minor scuffle in the life of a white-bread, Dorothy-like jock in Christopher Street the Land of Oz.
Stories We Tell (2012)
Polley surprises us with the brave and unreserved way that she exposes her family’s secrets while trying to extract a meaning from her quest, even if she doesn’t seem to know exactly how to end it, going a bit longer past what should have been its conclusion.
The Story of Adele H. (1975)
Isabelle Adjani is outstanding as an emotionally and psychologically unstable young woman driven to madness by unrequited love and obsession, in a gorgeous period drama that also impresses for its stunning cinematography and production design.
Mark Cousins knows a lot about Cinema and did an impressive research, but unfortunately his voice inflection makes it a torture to listen to him for 15 hours, while his love for hyperboles weakens the material and his inferences are usually arbitrary and absurd.
The Story of Me (2009)
This Brazilian little drama may be well-intentioned but is poorly executed, with an excessive (and obvious) narration and some awful scenes in slow motion that almost ruin it, but still the movie gets a bit better in its second half thanks to the strength of the story itself.
La Strada (1954)
Giulietta Masina lends a captivating innocence – almost impossible not to love – to a Chaplin-like waif while Fellini breaks away from neorealism with this magical and whimsical circus fable/road movie that has a beautiful score by Nino Rota and an unforgettable ending.
Straight Outta Compton (2015)
A very well-directed, provocative and comprehensive – albeit a bit overlong – biopic that shines with exquisite camera movements and amazing performances to tell this compelling story of the three men who popularized the gangsta rap movement that came up in the 1980s.
The Straight Story (1999)
An unusually straightforward and delicate film by David Lynch that calls for a bit of patience from the viewer but proves to be extremely moving and more than rewarding – and Richard Farnsworth is just wonderful, a world of emotions conveyed in every detail of his face and expression.
Oliveira is at his most self-indulgent, throwing gorgeous visual compositions in a strange film that never decides if it is supposed to be a technically refined drama or a surrealistic comedy, while the actors overact, the dialogue is terrible and the nonsensical plot leads nowhere.
A nightmarish, LSD-induced exercise of style clearly inspired by the Italian giallo, technically impeccable and gorgeous, although it offers little in terms of narrative (or anything else to keep us interested for too long) and is sexist to suggest that women corrupt men, driving them mad with desire and fatal obsession.
The Stranger (1967)
The fact that this is an extremely faithful, line-by-line adaptation is ironically the problem with this film, especially considering Mastroiani’s off-the-mark, far-from-nuanced composition. Besides, Visconti’s cheap direction doesn’t help with all the horrible zooms and inept lighting.
Stranger by the Lake (2013)
Guiraudie deserves praise for the unrestrained way he shows male nudity and explicit sex, approaching all with the level of openness that one expects from this kind of provocative, erotic thriller, while building it slowly in a deliberate pace to reach moments of great suspense.
The cast is terrific and this solid character study is always engaging as it examines the lack of emotional stability in a dysfunctional family, but it is frustrating that it ends on an ambiguous note that makes the whole film feel almost like a good effort for nothing.
The Strangers (2008)
An inconceivably horrid display of sadism with an amount of stupidity that I can’t remember seeing before (and I really wanted to punch Bertino in the face for raping my brains like that), relying on two characters who seem to be competing for most shockingly stupid of all time.
The Strangers: Prey at Night (2018)
Skip that atrocious first movie with Liv Tyler and go for this instead, a surprising sequel that may suffer from poor characterizations and characters making dumb decisions (of course!) but does a nice job keeping us tense and invested while making welcome references to the horror genre.
Strangers on a Train (1951)
An overrated thriller that does have a gorgeous cinematography and an intriguing premise but whose development has its share of unnecessary narrative flaws and drags unforgivably, feeling bloated (and even tiresome) with scenes that are elongated for too long.
Stray Dogs (2013)
It seems like Tsai is trying way too hard to be Tarkovsky (his previous film also gave strong indications of that) with extremely elongated static shots that can be really tiring for most viewers and dilutes into near banality the strength of the sad story that he wants to tell.
An intense and well written drama that deals with matters like racism, homophobia, self-acceptance and the dehumanizing side of war, relying on a revealing dialogue and with strong performances by its entire ensemble cast, especially Michael Wright and George Dzundza.
A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
Apart from the wonderful dialogue and fabulous score, the most fascinating in this outstanding classic is how it contrasts the naturalistic composition of Brando with the affected mannerisms of Leigh, who breaks our hearts as a terribly miserable and emotionally fractured woman.
Streets of Fire (1984)
It was conceived as a “movie about visuals” but never mind, the music is the only great thing in it – especially in the exciting opening and closing scenes -, since the script is a colossal piece of crap with no structure, the dialogue is simply awful and the performances are pathetic.
The Stroller Strategy (2012)
It is hard not to fall in love with Raphaël Personnaz and Charlotte Le Bon, who are so charismatic and have such a great chemistry together in this decent French comedy that may be predictable and full of clichés but has its moments and is funny enough to make it worth it.
Rossellini scandalized the United States with this excellent and daring drama about an unfortunate woman stuck with small-minded people on a volcanic rock, and it hits us with powerful scenes that are hard to be forgotten, like the horrific tuna fishing and the volcano explosion.
Strong Island (2017)
By structuring this film as an intimate exploration of the pain and personal suffering that a family was forced to go through following a horrific tragedy, Ford creates a poignant and heartbreaking documentary that exposes the injustices of a racist society and justice system.
Stuck in Love (2012)
Despite the great soundtrack, here is a frustrating movie that shows every sign that it could have been great, with a lot to say about moving on and opening our hearts up to something new, but the payoff is contrived and doesn’t ring half as true as what came before it.
The music is cliched and Mr. Henri’s feelings for Constance grow in a way that seems a bit rushed when you stop to think about it (it made me wish I could know more about his motivations), but the movie has a heart and is mature enough to be worth our time.
The Stuff (1985)
It is so appallingly awful that it doesn’t even work as a commentary about the kind of crap people ingest without knowing what it is, and so it is only trashy, nonsensical, with a ridiculous sense of humor and terribly directed by someone who clearly has no idea what mise-en-scène is.
It is hard to care about anything here: the cheap love story, the half-baked motivations or the numerous times someone looks at a cell phone and doesn’t send a message — and it only works when discussing (yet superficially) the atrocities committed in the worst corners of this planet.
Subterrâneos do Futebol (1965)
This looks more like an appendix of Garrincha, Alegria do Povo, especially due to their similar aesthetics (which includes filmed scenes intercut with still photographs), but the film is as interesting as it is repetitious, with its narrator saying many times the same thing.
Sucker Punch (2011)
The hyperstylized visuals are spectacular and a total delight, but they are not enough to make up for an empty plot that is almost unengaging, and the idea of mixing wuxia, war movies, Nazi zombies and robots is indeed curious but not sufficient to be worth our attention.
Suely in the Sky (2006)
A deceptively simple drama that works not only as a nuanced character study about a single mother struggling to raise her child but also as a touching social commentary on the miserable conditions faced by those who leave the countryside of Brazil looking for a better chance in life.
I really wanted to like this film for the importance of what it wants to say, but while it isn’t bad, it is too conventional and marred by some clichés and silly plot devices to create suspense – like someone conveniently finding a newspaper with an information that he needs.
The Suicide Shop (2012)
Leconte seems unsure about the tone of the story, mixing playful musical numbers with a morbid, gloomy subject that is definitely not for children. At the end, what we are left with is a disappointing animation that is too dark for kids and too silly and optimistic for adults.
Tom Hanks and the movie’s last half hour save this lousy hagiography from being a complete disaster, but that after a lot of hideous, expository dialogue and useless flashbacks that don’t offer any insight into anything – all just to convince us with few arguments that he is a hero.
Summer Showers (1978)
It is a bit hard to care about most of what we see in this forgettable drama, since it feels like its different plot elements are rather loose and don’t really come together as a whole, even though the scene between Joffre Soares and Míriam Pires in the end is quite touching.
An engaging love story that feels so relevant in our times considering that same-sex marriage was a much discussed topic in France only two years before it came out, and it is also a mature film about how we must live with the choices that we make in life but cannot unmake.
The ultimate silent film, released right after the talkies had already become a reality. Featuring some splendid superimpositions and impossible camera movements, this wonderful movie is both an impressive technical achievement and a beautiful story about love.
Employing his trademark storytelling style to follow a protagonist in constant movement through an unsettling nightmare of sounds and coincidences, Nemes makes a film that looks like a cross between Son of Saul and Winter’s Bone, and yet it can be repetitious and excruciating sometimes.
Sunset Blvd. (1950)
The definition of timeless classic, superbly written and directed, blending dark humor and tragic film noir – and it offers splendid performances by William Holden and Gloria Swanson, who play a sarcastic writer and a histrionic diva of yore, respectively.
Working pretty well as a sympathetic character study centered on a righteous man who believes he is on a divine mission from God, this inspired movie is like a sassy brother of Kick-Ass: oddly funny, amusing and making no concessions regarding its amount of violence.
Super 8 (2011)
This intriguing adventure is a nostalgic return to the late ’70s and early ’80s of Spielberg’s movies. But even if it offers exhilarating visual effects and solid performances, the poor script gets ruined by a lame ending that comes with a cheesy resolution for all the conflicts.
Bertrand Duarte delivers an intense performance in this curious salad of influences that is brief enough not to overstay its welcome, presenting us the world as filtered by the eyes of a subversive schizophrenic bump and exposing how pathetic Brazilian society is.
Support the Girls (2018)
The sense of humor doesn’t always work in this witty comedy, but Regina Hall has a lot of charisma and is able to make the whole experience more enjoyable than we might imagine, even if the movie loses energy and doesn’t seem to know where to go after a certain while.
Joe Anderson is a talented, handsome actor but he can’t save this muddled thriller devoid of insight and plagued with ridiculous dialogue, and even the use of flashbacks along the movie is amateurish in the way that it tries – and fails – to gradually shape the character’s motivations.
This early Buñuel is indeed compelling, but if he intended it as a satire, it simply doesn’t translate (the ending is embarrassing), being instead a misogynistic melodrama in which every male is tempted into becoming obsessive lunatics by a seductive, conniving vixen.
The romance between the two characters is developed in a clumsy way in the beginning, but soon the film grows to become a nice, taut thriller directed with a firm grip by Hitchcock, who builds a gripping suspense that only disappoints in the end with a silly, frustrating payoff.
Dario Argento is not really interested in plot or consistency here, but rather in creating a slowly absorbing — and unrelenting — atmosphere of apprehension, with an unsettling score, a jaw-dropping production design and a trippy cinematography of intense, saturated colors.
While I admire that Guadagnino’s remake is so radically different from the original classic in terms of aesthetics, narrative approach and the themes it touches on, it pains me that it takes itself so seriously trying to be about too many things at once but in a rather inconsistent way.
A delicate drama that effortlessly captures the idyllic atmosphere of its locations before hitting us with the heavy weight of a tragedy. It is only a pity, though, that the film’s non-professional actors are not always that good and that soon it starts to drift and become a bit repetitious.
Swades: We, the People (2004)
What seems to be at first a predictable and clichéd Bollywood romance turns out to be a surprisingly sincere story full of heart and conviction that argues in favor of the importance and necessity of social changes (especially in India), offering a modern view on tradition and progress.
The Swimming Pool (1969)
What this sensuous, provocative and elegant French film does so remarkably well is sustain a constant tension in the air between its characters, be it of a sexual nature or unspoken thoughts that are conveyed mostly through meaningful looks and glances.
Swimming Pool (2003)
An absorbing and highly stimulating film that intriguingly dissolves the barrier that separates reality and fiction to tell a strange story about that point of an artist’s creative process when she has to search inside herself to reach that sparkle of inspiration that eludes her.
Swiss Army Man (2016)
It is one of those movies that seem like tailor-made for Sundance, so insanely quirky and trying so hard to be extraordinary that the quirkiness feels like an end in itself; even so, the actors are good enough to raise it above its limitations and it works better than we would imagine.
Switchblade Romance (2003)
A trashy and extremely gory slasher that does have its tense moments here and there but sinks like a rock with an incredibly stupid protagonist and a twist so awful, retarded, offensive and absolutely nonsensical in the end that it should leave most people utterly infuriated.
The Sword in the Stone (1963)
Even if it doesn’t have much focus and becomes predictable towards the end, this is an amusing Disney animation with a nice message for children about the importance of education – and the whole squirrel sequence is especially hilarious and fun.
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance (2002)
The first film of Park Chan-Wook’s Vengeance Trilogy is this intense, tragic and highly stylish thriller/bloodbath that plunges its miserable characters into a bleak and inescapable circle of misfortunes and revenge.
It wants to be a smart low-budget science fiction like Primer combined with romance, film noir and a twisty plot like Timecrimes (which generally works), but it is also full of clichés (what’s with all those ridiculous lens flares?) and feels like a completely missed opportunity.
Syndromes and a Century (2006)
The emperor has no clothes, and I can’t see any point in trying to look for a purpose in this infuriating and self-indulgent experiment that finds itself much more original and inventive than it is but has the same effect of random images of just about anything on a blank screen.
For a while, the impression we have is that this film doesn’t have that much structure, as things just seem to happen randomly to the protagonist (played by an excellent Tom Mercier), but in fact this apparent non-linearity works as a clever reflection of his unbalanced psychological state.
THX 1138 (1971)
An excessively cold sci-fi that doesn’t deserve credit for its plot (Lucas doesn’t seem to care enough about exploring his ideas to come up with a consistent social commentary) as it does for its technical merits, with a great use of visual effects and nice sound design.
While the film borders sometimes on the sensationalism that it criticizes (even visibly delighting in how bizarre this whole story is), Morris finds a perfect anchor for it in the ludicrous way the tabloid media exploit anything that is crazy enough to attract readers.
With a gorgeous black-and-white cinematography and an impressive thematic rigor, this is a welcome surprise of tremendous poetry, a film that confronts frustration and memory as a lyrical homage to silent movies accompanied by a haunting narration.
The Tailor of Panama (2001)
Sometimes messy and a bit too implausible to be taken serious, this is not one of the best John le Carré adaptations, but still it has some good performances (Rush, Brosnan and Curtis) in an average spy story that most of the time manages to be pretty entertaining.
Take Shelter (2011)
A compelling, gloomy and unsettling allegory that moves in a careful slow pace towards a glorious conclusion and is centered on a modern Noah, paranoid and on the verge of a mental breakdown, played with such an extraordinary intensity by Michael Shannon.
Take the Money and Run (1969)
It doesn’t matter how I look at it, the humor of this early Wood Allen semi-mockumentary doesn’t work for me at all with those gags that may look great on paper but are a failure on screen, and it is just irritating to see one funny joke for every three or four terrible ones.
Take This Waltz (2011)
Despite its minor flaws, which includes a clumsy beginning that relies on many coincidences, this bittersweet drama surprisingly grows to become quite mature and revealing, making natural even the seemingly contrived relationship between the character and her husband.
Take Your Pills (2018)
Perhaps this film also suffers from ADHD, because it shoots in a lot of directions without developing several points (like microdosing, for example). And I’m not even sure where it stands with regard to the consumption of those pills, even if it understands the complexity of the subject.
Taken 2 (2012)
This cheap sequel is basically a rehash of the first movie, only with a few changes to make it look original – something that not even that previous chapter was. And it is less exciting and even more implausible.
Taken 3 (2014)
Besson and Megaton have apparently decided that they could come up with any crap to justify another sequel, and so they don’t mind insulting our intelligence with a stupid plot full of ridiculous contrivances and awful, chopped-up editing that doesn’t let us see anything.
It is absolutely ridiculous that a woman in such advanced state of Alzheimer’s wouldn’t be committed immediately after proving to be a serious danger to herself and to others, but this is just one of the many problems in a silly, unscary plot that recycles every cliché possible.
Taking Woodstock (2009)
Lee’s film manages to capture the groovy vibe of the famous festival, although it doesn’t quite develop the protagonist very well and isn’t that revealing about the magic of Woodstock itself. The result is enjoyable yet definitely underwhelming.
The Tale of Princess Kaguya (2013)
That the title of the original folktale places its importance on the bamboo cutter is symptomatic of those ungrateful times for women like our tragic heroine, and this is a gorgeous-looking, sad story whose only flaw is a frustrating suggestion that its most beautiful scene could be a dream.
Tale of Tales (2015)
The costume design and art direction stand out in this messy film that lacks cohesion and suffers from serious tonal problems as it moves from amusing dark farce into something uncomfortably grotesque — and it is frustrating that it doesn’t seem to go anywhere.
A Tale of Two Sisters (2003)
Sometimes it is better for a film to be more straightforward in order to work, and this sinister Asian horror movie is ironically too unpredictable for its own good and fails to be as scary as it believes to be (and that is because it is so strangely confusing until the end).
Tales of Terror (1962)
An uneven anthology of Poe stories in which the finest one is unfortunately the one that goes for the laughs, but at least Price and Lorre are really funny together, especially in a hilarious wine tasting scene that is definitely the best moment in the film.
Talk to Her (2002)
It is easy to read this as an insensitive melodrama that uses the suffering of two women to tell a story about the friendship that grows between two men, but the film is actually so much more than that, full of nuances and taking us in many unpredictable directions.
The Tall Man (2012)
An outrageous and painfully despicable piece of garbage that has no understanding of pacing and offers one of the most morally disgusting pseudo-sociological messages ever committed to celluloid — which leads me to think that Laugier is just as repulsive as his work.
Tamara Drewe (2010)
A messy dramedy that doesn’t understand its own characters, their motivations or why they do what they do, and so nearly everything looks fake and implausible here, with a bunch of people changing their minds at every second in the kind of flat plot that you find in soap operas.
Despite being as messy as its protagonist, tonally awkward and suffering from Tammy’s poor characterization (whose grating personality seems to oscillate every other time), this movie can be amusing and funny enough thanks to McCarthy, who is able to make its raunchy humor work.
Tancredo: A Travessia (2010)
As the third film of Tendler’s “interrupted dreams” trilogy, this is an insightful and tragic documentary about an admirable man — a tactful conciliator who would have probably been a great president had his life not been cut short together with the dreams of those who sought change.
A refreshing proof that you can make a funny and insightful film with a simple plot, naturalistic performances and an iPhone 5s – which adds to it and makes it look even more authentic, like a realistic fairy tale in the streets of L.A. (the character’s name is even Sin-Dee Rella).
With one of the most beautiful scores of the year, this is a powerful and deeply melancholy anti-war story that uses a long-unresolved conflict to show us how two good, three-dimensional men could have been friends in different circumstances hadn’t they been caught on opposite sides of a war.
A very pleasant and delightful Disney animation with astonishing visuals, great songs and many entertaining moments. It is definitely not one of the best films of the studio nor an instant classic but it is a more-than-welcome return to its traditional fairy-tale stories.
It is like Romeo and Juliet (though based on actual events) set against the volcanic landscapes of a South Pacific island, offering us a peek into a patriarchal society based on arranged marriages that forced women to abide by the decisions that were made for them.
For a short film that tries so hard (and well) to unsettle us with creepy images and compositions, it is just irritating that there is nothing else beyond that.
A hugely entertaining roller coaster of a movie that perfectly combines 2D animation with 3D background, dazzling us with exhilarating scenes of Tarzan surfing through the jungle trees and a classic story that offers a very nice message about acceptance and self-identity.
Taste of Cherry (1997)
The frustrating last scene feels like a copout included by Kiarostami only to draw some puzzling intellectual reaction from his audience; but still, this is a deeply human film that moves us in its simplicity while never offering a reason for a man wanting to end his life.
An exceptional and daring film that showcases the enormous talent of a whole ensemble cast and offers us a challenging story that bursts with huge subversive power and overwhelming sexual intensity as it relies mostly on the fantastic chemistry between its two leads.
Panahi dodges his 20-year ban in secrecy with this revealing and highly provocative piece of cinema verité that says a lot about Iranian society in general and even finds the most perfect moment to comment on the absurd censorship rules imposed on artistic freedom in Iran.
An interesting film that may be too repulsive but still we never look away. With a memorable direction and camera work, it tells a cynical (and often hilarious) story about three generations of deviant men who are a reflection of Hungary’s History since WWII.
There is almost nothing here of what makes South Park so hilarious, as this is pretty much like watching two very dumb seven-year-old (American) kids playing with their toys for nearly two hours (and trying to be offensive towards everyone) but barely managing to be funny.
A very funny comedy with a very obscene humor, which curiously doesn’t come out offensive from a teddy bear’s mouth, but it is also surprisingly warm and sincere, showing Ted as a complex character and making him totally believable with a flawless animation job.
Ted 2 (2015)
A solid sequel that thematically couldn’t be more relevant in our times, and if you can take the whole raunchiness of it all, it will also prove to be a very amusing experience, even if it is pretty predictable towards the end – I mean, does anyone really not see that coming?
As hilarious and audacious as it is shockingly underrated, this feminist masterpiece should be the wet dream of any psychoanalyst worth their salt, since it uses a bizarre (but existing) folk tale to brilliantly expose the way our sexist culture has forever demonized female sexual pleasure.
An unfocused drama that, despite a promising premise, never delves into the themes that it only touches upon, ending on a pretty vague note – and it doesn’t help at all that the protagonist is such an unlikable teenager that doesn’t really inspire our sympathy.
It is surprising that this excellent film is so underrated and has never been appreciated as it should be. Dudley Moore is a great actor and a great comedian, and this is a hilarious story that takes a very honest look at the middle age crisis and inchoate yearnings.
For an experimental film made in such a simple and minimalist way (mostly improvised by non-professional actors), it is always fascinating to observe how it comments almost casually on many aspects of Iranian society, including the role of women from different points of view.
10 Cloverfield Lane (2016)
Surprising for not being shot in found-footage form like the first film, this second Cloverfield movie has great performances and is smart to invest in another type of suspenseful plot, one that is tense and claustrophobic as we follow events that take place almost entirely inside a bunker.
The Terminator (1984)
The exhilarating cyberpunk classic that started the successful franchise, an intelligent, well-written science-fiction that is always extremely tense and well paced, offering us a terrifying, indestructible villain and the scary view of a bleak post-apocalyptic future.
Even if it may feel a bit overlong, this fantastic sequel is perhaps even more thrilling than the first film, this time investing more in the action and first-rate special effects with a bigger budget to create something epic – and it is always awesome to see Schwarzenegger as the big hero.
An unnecessary third movie that only repeats the formula of the one before, with unstoppable (and even tiresome) action for those who enjoy seeing cyborgs destroying an entire city – and it is easy to notice how it destroys the continuity of the series.
Terminator Salvation (2009)
This pointless sci-fi action war film doesn’t add anything new to the universe of the series but is neither an embarrassment. In fact, the only thing that makes up for its sheer inconsistencies and lack of emotional resonance is Sam Worthington’s complex character.
Terminator Genisys (2015)
This dreadful sequel has an ambitious premise but tries so hard to be intricate and surprising that it only grows more and more stupid with a horrible dialogue full of exposition, laughable plot incoherencies, awful attempts at humor and brainless action scenes that never seem to end.
Terms of Endearment (1983)
A wonderful drama that finds a perfect balance between sweet, humorous and sad with sublime performances by the whole cast (mainly MacLaine and Nicholson), while the superb editing keeps the narrative always fluid as it spans several years in the lives of its characters.
Terra Deu, Terra Come (2010)
There is not so much that can be fascinating about a few simple lives dwelling in a tiny little place forgotten by time, but listening to Pedro de Alexina’s superstitious stories can be quite amusing and a nice treat for some time, if only for his charisma and innocence when telling them.
La Terra Trema (1948)
A sadly misguided film that deserves more credit for what it wants to say than for how it does it, since it is marred by stiff, unnatural performances by non-actors (like watching a school play), heavy-handed dialogue, a redundant narration and a formal rigor not so in tune with the kind of neorealist docufiction that Visconti wants to make.
An involving story centered on the contrast between the traditions and the needs of a new generation on an island, which is reflected in the way the young protagonist has to deal with his problems — and the wonderful cinematography explores really well the beautiful landscapes.
A resonant and visually stunning period piece about a beautiful but unfortunate young woman born in an ungrateful time and divided between two men who are bound to abuse her – and even if the film may feel too long, the cinematography and art direction are a marvel to behold.
Despite pacing issues, a confusing ending and how we are usually too many steps ahead of the characters, it isn’t hard to understand why the Third Reich, which was a nationalist regime that strongly defended order, banned this thought-provoking crime film when it came out.
How incredibly frustrating it is to see a movie so compelling, wonderfully directed, technically exemplary and with a gorgeous cinematography go into self-destruction mode in the last thirty minutes, when it gives in to predictable revelations and silly situations worthy of a lame soap opera.
An unforgettable horror classic that proved low budget can be terrifying when done right, taking a careful time to build up its tension to an almost unbearable degree before fraying our nerves to pieces with its horrendous sadism, hysterical editing and documentary-style camerawork.
A ridiculous sequel that makes you endure a bunch of obnoxious hillbillies in a lame and unscary gorefest, trying to be the most gruesome and grotesque it can be but sinking deep in its terrible attempts at a dark comedy.
This decent remake is not half as terrifying and shocking as the original masterpiece (how could it be?), while Jessica Biel pales in (an unfair) comparison with Marilyn Burns, whose absolute terror was evident there, but the movie does have its good moments.
Thank You for Smoking (2005)
With a solid performance from Aaron Eckhart and offering us a deliciously clever commentary on rhetoric, Reitman’s debut is an enjoyable satire — even though it must have looked real nice on paper but doesn’t really work that well on the screen (especially its sense of humor).
That Cold Day in the Park (1969)
An irregular psychological drama that is well made in some aspects (especially the cinematography and editing) but not so successful in its direction, as it fails to engage and create the impact that one would expect from this story of deranged loneliness and manipulation.
That Man from Rio (1964)
It must think that it is so exciting to make Jean-Paul Belmondo run up and down the entire movie, but in fact it is only repetitious, predictable and inane, with a sense of humor that usually falls flat (despite a few good moments) and a loose structure that makes it feel overlong.
That’s It (2008)
I am a sucker for this kind of film: low-budget, experimental, about the end of a relationship – the first case of a Brazilian indie production to make it to national distribution. Funny and delightful, it benefits mostly from the spontaneous performances by its main leads, who display a great chemistry together.
A tense and powerful debut feature set against the breathtaking vastness of the Jordanian desert and with a deliberate pace, an evocative score and assured performances by its non-professional Bedouins that are proof of Naji Abu Nowar’s talent in directing actors.
Though it may seem at first like an unoriginal combination of Carrie and Blue Is the Warmest Color, Thelma is a haunting and sometimes pretty tense film centered on a young teenage girl from a strongly religious family struggling with her sexual impulses and desires.
Thelma & Louise (1991)
Wonderfully well acted and with a stunning cinematography, this delicious road movie finds an awful snowball of trouble for two unfortunate women in this sexist society – and the setting of such story in the south of the U.S. makes its feminist statement even more significant.
“I take care of me and God takes care of the others,” we hear Theodorico declare in this revealing documentary made for television in which he openly exposes his prejudices, selfishness and will to rule over others in a clear perpetuation of an oppressive system (see Coronelism in Brazil).
The Theory of Everything (2014)
Everything about its technical aspects is obvious and clichéd – the cinematography, the direction, the score – but what lifts this conventional biopic above average and banal is the strength of its two leading performances and the importance of the man who inspired it.
Amenábar’s low-budget debut stands out as the first display of his talent as both a writer and director, a suffocating thriller that is not only extremely tense and suspenseful but also respects the viewer’s intelligence and keeps us always engaged.
Thesis on a Homicide (2013)
Darín is fantastic as always in this intelligent thriller that uses a careful approach to reveal without hurry the many details of its well-constructed plot, and it also impresses with a great direction and cinematography, especially in a wonderful panning shot close to the end.
They Don’t Wear Black Tie (1981)
Carlos Alberto Riccelli is not a very good actor, and I find it curious how the film seems to judge his character’s (completely understandable) actions so harshly; but still it it hits the mark with quite a complex discussion about the fight against labor exploitation during hard times.
They Killed My Brother (2013)
With an unobtrusive, low-key approach that doesn’t want to distract us from what he wants to say, Burlan returns to a devastating moment in his family’s past in a touching effort to piece together the fragments left by a tragedy and examine the feelings of those who are still alive.
They Live (1988)
For a movie with such an intriguing idea, it is a real pity to see how superficial and silly this whole execution is, marred by lame acting, cheesy dialogue, too much action and even inconsistent ideology (like with Roddy Piper’s character judging the aliens by their appearance).
They Look Like People (2015)
Masculinity is such a fragile little thing, and this is a creepy low-budget psychological thriller that offers a curious take on the male fear of losing power and control of his life/world, but it is just a pity that the movie is a bit predictable and has a rather implausible ending.
The Thin Blue Line (1988)
Errol Morris has brought true crime documentaries to a high-quality level with this influential, mind-changing and at times quite scary film that offers some compelling evidence of how flawed the American justice system is and how easy it is to convict an innocent man of murder.
The Thing (1982)
Helped by an evocative score and by astounding make-up and special effects, this gruesome sci-fi thriller is suspenseful and creates a highly claustrophobic atmosphere of nerve-wracking paranoia and tension, where no one knows who to trust and anyone can be The Thing.
Things to Come (2016)
There is a certain intuitive feel to Mia Hansen-Løve’s films, as though she prefers to always follow her heart in order to find a direction for her characters and narrative – which, in turn, ends up being a bit irregular and repetitive, even if lifted by Huppert’s excellent performance.
The Third Man (1949)
Despite its distracting overuse of Dutch angle shots, this is a classic film noir crafted beautifully by Reed and Graham Greene (who worked on it by writing his excellent novella), with a fascinating villain, a fabulous post-war Vienna as its location and a perfect choice for a score.
Third Person (2013)
I admire the type of narrative exercise that Haggis is aiming at here, but the result is prolix, convoluted and disjointed, trying to bite off more than it can chew with too many silly revelations and moving from one twist to the next like a messy soap opera.
Although somewhat irregular and overlong, this is a wonderfully stylish, well-directed and bloody vampire Korean film whose pitch-black humor contributes to set a hysterical, hugely bizarre tone in Park’s surreal gore fest, with Kim Ok-bin in a priceless performance.
13 Assassins (2010)
I wish the film had taken some time to explore more the 13 assassins, at least to make us able to better distinguish them in the exhilarating final battle, but still Miike crafts a gorgeous and extremely intense samurai epic in the best tradition of the genre.
13 Minutes, or Elser (2015)
The kind of run-of-the-mill biopic that seems like a telefim, with a conventional script that lays every detail out in the open (in case you have any cognitive problem) and a series of irrelevant flashbacks that don’t really help us understand the character as well as they should.
A piercing, urgent and impeccably edited documentary that dissects the horrific vilification of African Americans and their almost return to slavery in the USA, as well as the flaws and abuses of the US justice system, all of which to benefit corporations that profit from people’s misery.
An excellent documentary that sets out to examine this curious phenomenon of collective hatred towards a famous person and works also as a compelling character study about a cocky, handsome and talented basketball player who didn’t mind being hated by everyone.
The 39 Steps (1935)
There are few things like a good thriller with a nice sense of humor, even though the humor doesn’t always work here; and while it is well directed and has some clever twists, it relies on too many coincidences and gets weakened by a silly semi-romance that feels always forced.
I admire the way Thamrongrattanarit wants to tell his story in 36 simple static shots, but the result is not so effective as he takes for granted our engagement and his scenes feel more like impressions that, when put together, don’t lead to something as telling as it could be.
I would have loved to see a movie centered exclusively on that hilarious detective Carlos Lacerda who talks like a real-life film noir character, but instead what we have is a not-so-impressive investigation that does have nice moments despite an irritating score and a loose conclusion.
The 33 (2015)
Despite the good acting, this is an unimpressive and barely passable movie that fails to be tense and takes for granted our engagement with poorly-constructed characters who are no more than random faces in a group of people, and it doesn’t help that the dialogue is so heavy-handed.
This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006)
An excellent documentary that exposes this veiled type of censorship and a group of hypocritical moralists who find themselves in the position to decide what we can and cannot watch, using a questionable system that benefits mostly the interests of movie studios and corporations.
This Is It (2009)
A very well-edited behind-the-scenes clearly made for fans, showing nice rehearsals and backstage footage of Michael Jackson’s concert that never was, but let’s only hope this is not the ultimate film to be made about him.
This Is Sodom (2010)
A failed spoof that leans more towards, say, Astérix & Obélix than Monty Python, as in being a specific one-laugh joke intended for a certain public and expanded into a movie — and it oscillates too much between witty (some of the jokes do work well) and stupid (most don’t).
This Is Spinal Tap (1984)
A truly priceless mockumentary filled with numerous hilarious moments that should make you laugh out loud until your belly hurts, relying on a deliciously ironic sense of humor that pokes fun at the rock-and-roll universe (the stars and also the fans) in an always intelligent way.
This Is the End (2013)
A silly but amusing comedy that works surprisingly well because of the vulgar and self-deprecating way the actors play themselves. Some of the jokes do fall short but most of the plot is very funny and entertaining with its highly ad-libbed obscene humor.
This Must Be the Place (2011)
A messy movie that throws many narrative elements together without any cohesion, drifting from odd character study to hunt-the-Nazi road-movie, and it is so rambling and disjointed in its structure that it feels pointless, with Sean Penn in an extremely annoying performance.
I love when Coffin Joe blasphemes at the top of his lungs, but this sequel is full of problems, like two women falling madly in love with Joe right after meeting him, a trashy sequence in color more laughable than scary and a heavy-handed ending of preachy religious overtones.
This Summer Feeling (2015)
A nice and delicate drama that follows two characters trying to move on and reconstruct their lives after a tragic event, and I like how it focuses mostly on everyday moments as they talk with friends and hope things will get better, even if mostly keeping a certain distance from us.
Despite the talent of the strong lead, who is also incredibly handsome and charismatic, this superhero blockbuster is very unimpressive and never takes risks, trying more to be a prequel to The Avengers than anything else. Besides, the character goes through sudden changes in his personality that are really hard to buy.
Thor: The Dark World (2013)
Notably superior to the first movie and a decent follow-up to The Avengers, this entertaining film has a consistent plot, plenty of humor, an always charismatic Chris Hemsworth and also Tom Hiddleston stealing every scene he appears in as the deceitful god Loki.
Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
A relatively amusing but forgettable movie that lacks in structure and focus; relies too much on a harmless, artificial-looking CGI; and suffers from inconsistencies and one-dimensional characters — especially Cate Blanchett as an incredibly boring villain.
While not exactly funny, witty, suspenseful or engaging enough, this mediocre comedy-thriller is at least proof of first-time director Cory Finley’s talent behind cameras, as he manages to make a very cinematic film from a dialogue-heavy script that was originally written for the stage.
Thou Wast Mild and Lovely (2014)
It suffers from all the directing problems of Decker’s previous film (the same horrible framing and the image constantly going in and out of focus for no reason), but at least this time there is a script and no hideously improvised dialogue – even if most of it is hideous as well.
A Thousand Times Good Night (2013)
Despite its gorgeous cinematography and good performances, it is frustrating that, after a hard-hitting first hour, this disjointed drama loses focus with unnecessary details (the guilt issue, the plutonium remarks) and alienates us by turning the protagonist into a hideously selfish person.
Tykwer seems to be more interested in pretentious artsy shots than creating a resonant story, and the fact that the female character is unbearable and the plot unbelievable and boring to death only helps make this film an ordeal to sit through.
Three Ages (1923)
This Keaton early comedy is fairly amusing but there is not much else into it, with an hour seeming almost like an eternity, but still it is nice to see it remastered after rediscovered in very bad condition, even if some damage in the image quality is still quite visible.
The Three Caballeros (1944)
A solid follow-up to Saludos Amigos that combines animation and live action with sheer perfection, even if it is a bit irregular and only really amusing until the last ten minutes, when it goes in Fantasia mode Latin style and freaks out in a mad and tedious psychedelia of colors and music.
Three Colors: Blue (1993)
Kieslowski takes us in a painful incursion into grief and heavy suffering as he creates an intriguing association between sorrow and emotional liberty (a terribly ironic interpretation of the color blue in the French flag), and Binoche is wonderful as a woman torn by lost.
Three Colors: White (1994)
The lightest installment in Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colors Trilogy is this sharp film that works quite well as a strange type of comedy (or anti-comedy) that offers an ironic look at evenness and equality (ideals symbolized by the color white in the French flag).
Three Colors: Red (1994)
The last and most remarkable film in Kieslowski’s Three Colors trilogy is this warm and beautiful depiction of solidarity and fraternity (symbolized by the color red in the French flag), with excellent performances and bringing the trilogy to a wonderful, haunting conclusion.
3 Faces (2018)
Still under his 20-year filmmaking ban in his home country Iran, Panahi makes a very simple film (structurally, not formally) that moves away from the mystery it initially proposes to turn its attention to the misogyny and absurd censorship imposed by a theocratic society.
300: Rise of an Empire (2014)
A cheap excuse for an obvious rehash that, despite gorgeous visuals, has no vitality, intensity or a personality of its own — and its lame hero is even obfuscated by the sexy villain played by Eva Green, who we end up rooting for to slaughter every single Greek in that place.
An unimpressive drama about people, decisions, situations – vague as it sounds and using a high-class cast to state the obvious. The stories are never resonant, while the characters are never given enough time to develop into flesh-and-blood figures.
Weingartner doesn’t have what it takes to handle the kind of philosophical discussions that he is aiming at, creating a corny (and overlong) Before Sunrise-like romance that basically consists of a typically cynical guy mansplaining without end to a naive, optimistic girl.
Three Identical Strangers (2018)
I honestly don’t know why anyone would find this story so amazing and incredible — a story that is actually filled with vague speculation and moralizing about the separation of twin babies — but what I find really unbelievable is how these boys became famous just because of that.
3 Idiots (2009)
Despite Aamir Khan’s charismatic performance, this initially amusing comedy gets sadly lost in a melodramatic second half full of ludicrous situations and unnecessary revelations, with a pathetic conclusion that believes that hugs and laughs are enough to solve everything.
Three Monkeys (2008)
Ceylan only seems to confirm the reservations I had about his previous film, as he goes even further than before in terms of aesthetics with a splendid cinematography but employs his pretentious, self-indulgent direction in behalf of an empty story that has nothing to say.
Three Times (2005)
It is always interesting to see Hou put together in the same film three stories that feel like a culmination of the main themes found in his work along so many years, even though the third leaves a lot to be desired and I find too distracting the fact that the second one is silent.
Through the Olive Trees (1994)
Kiarostami continues to prove us that he is a genius in the way he interweaves reality and fiction, and even if this third Koker film may feel a bit redundant when placed side-by-side with the other two, there is something absolutely unique about what he is trying to do here.
Through the Shadow (2015)
This story has already been made into a Gothic classic, Jack Clayton’s The Innocents (a must-see masterpiece), but this Brazilian adaptation doesn’t pale in comparison and proves to be an absorbing psychological drama, even if it loses some of the original story’s ambiguity.
A compelling look at the lives of normal people on a moving train: while the first story is the weak link and the second lacks a more satisfying conclusion, the movie hits the mark with the last one and proves to be a delightful omnibus film made by three great directors.
The Tiger and the Snow (2005)
Roberto Benigni repeats the same formula of his bittersweet masterpiece Life Is Beautiful to an exasperating degree, which makes this film appear quite unoriginal and unnecessary, but even so it is funny, touching and has a beautiful ending.
Tiger Girl (2017)
A thrilling movie that feels like a shot of adrenaline right in the vein, full of improvisation, pulsing with a lot of energy and showing almost in the stylized ways of comic books how anarchy can be a pretty exciting drug for those who don’t have any limits or a moral compass.
O Tigre e a Gazela (1976)
Raulino’s camera is like an observing eye that forces us to look at the beggars and the disadvantaged poor in the streets, invoking images, music and literature to make us grasp the perverse logic of colonialism without the need of preaching.
A devastating portrait of religious hell as a place under the rule of jihadists who employ abuse, intimidation and horrendous punishments on those who disobey their abominable laws – proof that, as Steven Weinberg said it, “for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.”
This wonderful drama is one of Kim’s saddest and most powerful films about the way time affects our lives and relationships, and how it is hard for love to resist obsessions, insecurities and our inability to cope with our own pettiness before the unrelenting action of time.
The Time Machine (2002)
A simplistic yet entertaining adaptation that eliminates the smart social commentary found in H. G. Wells’ story and focuses on a lot of action with very little imagination, but while it has some problems, it will be enough fun for time travel fans.
Time Masters (1982)
An uneven sci-fi animation that has a great electronic score but ends up losing some of its focus as it tries to explore its universe in different plot lines like a road movie — and the conclusion also feels a bit inconsistent and frustrating, even though it is surprising.
Time to Leave (2005)
A perfunctory, soulless drama about a selfish man who finds out that he is terminally ill and becomes completely distasteful, impossible to relate to in any level. Even worse, most of the actors are bad and the end only shows that the director didn’t really have anything to say.
A decent time-travel film that seems like an extended Twilight Zone episode lacking a strong main character, and while it is really mysterious and intriguing in its first half hour, it soon becomes quite predictable, despite a clever twist in the last act of its circular plot.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)
A complex espionage thriller that makes impeccable use of a careful pace to stretch the tension to its maximum and an appropriately dark cinematography to recreate the paranoia of the ’70s and the Cold War maneuvers, while Gary Oldman underacts in a perfect performance.
To Be or Not to Be (1942)
It takes a brilliant filmmaker to find the perfect tone for something as insane as a slapstick satire involving Nazis at the height of World War II, and Lubitsch not only hits the mark with a fabulous cast (Jack Benny is priceless) but creates a film that is truly hilarious.
To Die Like a Man (2009)
Visibly inspired by Fassbinder and Almodóvar, Rodrigues tells a story that is made more intriguing by the atypical way he does so rather than by what he actually has to say, but his narrative is not so consistent and his direction can be pretty self-indulgent and pretentious, too.
To Each His Own Cinema (2007)
It is surprising that neither Quentin Tarantino nor any awarded exponent of the Spanish Cinema like Pedro Almodóvar participated in this project, and even if some of the shorts are bland, most offer a pleasant look into each filmmaker’s style and vision (my favorite being Iñárritu’s “Anna”).
To Have and Have Not (1944)
Bacall exudes a lot of magnetism and sensuality in her debut on the screen, a decent sort-of-rip-off of Casablanca – based on Hemingway and co-written by William Faulkner no less – that relies on a strong chemistry between her and Bogart in their first of four films together.
To Kill a Man (2014)
The film is technically competent and well directed, which can be seen from a tense night scene shot in a long take with a handheld camera, but the problem is that it fails to let us in on the main character’s personal conflict and decisions, which mostly seem contrived.
To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
A wonderful yet inevitably condensed adaptation of Harper Lee’s sublime novel that, despite harmed a bit by some of the changes, is heartfelt, moving and always true to the soul of her story, with Gregory Peck in a fantastic performance even if a bit stiff in the trial scene.
To Live and Die in L.A. (1985)
An explosive thriller very well directed by William Friedkin, with great performances, many awesome action scenes – especially an exhilarating car chase – and a morally thought-provoking story that culminates in a fantastic, shocking ending.
To My Beloved (2015)
With a premise that could be taken in so many directions (like a confrontational drama or a revenge thriller), Muritiba prefers to focus on the characters, never allowing them to be easily defined by their motivations while intelligently exploring where rancor and grief can lead us.
To Rome with Love (2012)
A minor Woody Allen that is basically a collection of sitcom jokes stretched to the point of repetitious. Besides, even with some good moments, the film disappoints for never using Rome as an organic setting, since these stories could take place anywhere.
To the Left of the Father (2001)
The film’s astonishing formal rigor reflects the very emotional and moral imprisonment in which the protagonist is forced to dwell, while its gorgeous poetry (both visual and in words) conveys the sensibility and sexual impulses that make him so different from his castrating home.
To the Wonder (2012)
Love according to Malick, and not really a character study but in fact a “director study” that feels like a direct follow-up to The Tree of Life, or a lyrical and extremely revealing self-portrait of a deeply sensitive man who is able to dive into sheer beauty but never into real passion.
Tom at the Farm (2013)
A much more restrained Xavier Dolan after his pretentious previous film, and he displays an assured direction and firm control of this suspenseful thriller, even though the narrative seems to move too fast as the characters start to act in ways that are not always convincing.
A very honest drama that raises some interesting questions about sexual identity or why genders should matter, and Sciamma directs her film with simplicity, observing her characters and using a welcome naturalistic direction to approach this delicate subject.
It is pretty heavy-handed at times – I guess it thinks that subtlety is overrated when it comes to a younger audience -, but it compensates for its flaws with a welcome message (if oversimplified to the point of silliness) about the importance of, well, saving the world.
Tongues Untied (1989)
I cannot but urge everyone to rediscover this audacious, provocative and essential masterpiece that spoke and still speaks for the black/gay fight against oppression – a wonderfully poetic call to action that remains important as long as silence continues to echo with complicity.
Tony Manero (2008)
A compelling crime drama centered on a miserable sociopath obsessed with a movie character to the point of murder – which makes him also a surprisingly tragic figure -, relying on a gripping performance by Alfredo Castro and also making a subtle political commentary.
Tootsie is simply the worst type of American humor: one that has a clever idea in its hands but takes it in a completely wrong direction, letting it die in a predictable plot that looks like a cheap soap opera and bears a stupid sitcom sense of humor.
Top Secret! (1984)
With less jokes per second than Airplane! (which was the kind of comedy that shot in every direction to see what could hit), this decent spoof of spy movies is more Mel Brooks than the Marx brothers and less irregular than that movie, even though not nearly as memorable.
El Topo (1970)
Despite being always intriguing and boasting stunning visuals and an evocative atmosphere, this esoteric Western of religious references is still an unripe Jodorowsky, clearly lacking in narrative structure before he began developing better his ideas in later works.
Total Recall (2012)
An unnecessary and gloomy remake devoid of the charming nonsense that made the original movie so intriguing. Besides, it has a ridiculous excess of lens flares everywhere and endless action scenes that make the movie become quite repetitive after a while.
Touch of Evil (1958)
It is great to be able to see this film now as Welles first intended it to be, a very complex character study (and also visually dazzling, opening with a gorgeous long tracking shot) about a corrupted man strongly convinced that any means are justifiable to achieve his idea of justice.
A Touch of Sin (2013)
A solid film that intertwines four compelling stories loosed based on real events about the senselessness of violence, aggression and brutality, as well as people’s obsession with it – which, as the film suggests, makes us not so different from animals, only perhaps worse.
Tour de Force (2014)
With an unoriginal story that feels like something we have all seen millions of times before, this pathetic and terribly insipid little drama full of clichés is incapable of the most important: to make us connect with its characters in any level or care about their personal conflicts.
The Tourist (2010)
To say the plot is preposterous is to say the least, and this piece of garbage unbelievably conceived by three Oscar-winning screenwriters is an insult to anyone’s intelligence, with a ridiculous, deceitful ending that turns everything that happened before into sheer nonsense.
The Town (2010)
A gripping, superbly acted and highly tense thriller that could have been even better had the director Ben Affleck invested more in the characters and their conflicts. The result is a very effective but typical crime film that doesn’t escape the clichés, especially in the end.
Toy Story (1995)
This classic landmark of huge advance and innovation in animation is an amazing roller coaster that blends so well a lot of entertaining adventure and delightful humor, while its main strength definitely lies in the endless charisma of its unforgettable characters.
Toy Story 2 (1999)
Even better than the first film, this sequel benefits from the fact that we already know and care about the characters, which is used in favor of a story that is much richer and more profound than the previous one, becoming another instant classic just as well.
Toy Story 3 (2010)
A true masterpiece that exceeds the level of quality of the previous films and reflects Pixar’s own growth in storytelling, being not just an amazing entertainment as the other two but above all a mature and emotionally devastating movie that moved me to tears with its unforgettable final act.
Toy Story 4 (2019)
Although the result could have felt less like an afterthought, I’m really glad that the writers found a compelling reason to bring those characters back for a fourth movie, as they dig deeper this time into Woody’s dependency in order to discuss our fears of being rejected and moving on.
What a bore to follow in endless landscape shots this detestable protagonist who has the nerve to treat her photographer like garbage when she is being financed by his magazine to go on a fanciful journey that seems exciting only to herself and no one else.
Trading Places (1983)
The Book of Job meets Pygmalion in this intelligent comedy that benefits from great performances (especially by Eddie Murphy), and, no matter how utterly implausible everything we see here is, at least it sells us the whole thing with enough conviction to make it a blast.
An always engaging and expertly-edited multi-character drama that offers a grim portrait of the war on drugs and understands that there are no easy solutions for this complex problem. But Soderbergh also exaggerates in his blatantly unsubtle cinematography.
Train to Busan (2016)
It is amazing to see what can still be done in films about the living dead taking over the world, and this is not only a tense and exhilarating movie like Snowpiercer with zombies but also — and most importantly — an intelligent social commentary in the best tradition of the kind.
Comedy is a very personal genre, and in this case some jokes fell completely flat for me (the Radcliffe movie, for instance, is a total miss) while others worked pretty well (the pineapple safe word scene is hilarious), and the result is a sweet yet rather uneven rom-com.
The Traitor (2019)
It is not that easy a task to humanize a mafia criminal and make us sympathize with him, and yet Bellocchio not only pulls that off but also manages to keep us constantly tense with an always gripping narrative that benefits from a strong performance by Pierfrancesco Favino.
A very effective Hitchcockian thriller that starts off as a modest drama, taking a good time to develop its characters in a careful way, and then starts unexpectedly to become suffocatingly tense as the characters find themselves trapped more and more in an unbearable situation.
Now and then it does offer some insight into the country’s social inequality and police brutality, but as a whole this is a cheap fantasy filled with nonsense (like a villain that seems more like a psychic) and naive optimism to make poor people believe that it is easy to have a happy ending.
Trash Humpers (2009)
Korine believes to be making something provocative and artsy by refusing anything similar to a plot and shooting endless unrelated scenes of abhorrent scum in VHS, but all he does is bore us to death with an interminable, painfully unwatchable load of crap.
Walter Huston steals the scene and deserved the Oscar he won, but Bogart was unfairly not even nominated for his phenomenal performance in this classic that is all at once a light adventure, a riveting character study and a powerful morality tale about greed and paranoia.
The Tree of Life (2011)
With breathtaking visuals and an emotionally compelling story, this is a magnificent spectacle that confronts the smallness of mankind with the majesty of the universe – and a mesmerizing, transcendental ballet of images that attempt to evoke the true essence of the Divine.
Trees Lounge (1996)
A melancholy yet humorous look into alcoholism that should be remembered for its great dialogue that never sounds expository, yet the plot feels a bit dispersed around many situations, which somehow curiously reflects how Buscemi’s character lives his unfocused life.
Now this is what a monster movie should be like: tense, entertaining as hell, funny and super well made – and I don’t mean only those gooey creatures that look really nice on screen, but it is really cool how they make all those houses shake on their foundations like that.
The Trespasser (2002)
This absorbing Brazilian thriller directed by the always versatile filmmaker Beto Brant may be a bit irregular sometimes but has some good performances and never stops being interesting.
The Trial (1962)
This fascinating existential nightmare is less Kafkaesque and more Wellesian, expanding physical spaces to amplify the character’s feeling of smallness and impotence before a crushing judicial system and not focusing so much on the cynical gibe found in Kafka’s novel.
While it is more convoluted than it needed to be, this film remains intriguing as it compels us to try to understand what is going on, creating a continual sense of confusion that makes it feel like a nightmare and offering a conclusion that is more bitterly ironic than we would imagine.
The Tribe (2014)
Made in 34 fabulous long takes, this unique and relentlessly brutal film is a revolutionary illustration of the “show, don’t tell” cinematic rule, more so as it refuses to offer any translation of the language that we see on the screen and yet remains always comprehensible to us viewers.
Tricked: The Documentary (2013)
An interesting documentary that sets out to discuss a horrible endemic social cancer (to which there seems to be no solution), presenting the causes of human trafficking and modern-day slavery even though it may feel a bit superficial and not as in-depth as it could have been.
The Trip (2010)
A funny and charming two-men mockumentary (of which most is improvised), edited from the BBC TV series and relying on a great chemistry between Coogan and Brydon – and it is almost impossible not to laugh hard at their hilarious impersonations and remarks on the food.
The Triplets of Belleville (2003)
A wonderful dialogue-free animation — funny, odd and quite enchanting — that relies on a superb artwork and fabulous sound design, paying an enormous attention to its eccentric details, surreal touches, inventive scene transitions and extremely imaginative character traits.
It takes a while to figure out what Winterbottom wants to say with what appears to be a conventional love story set in India, but soon the film proves to be more ironic, intense and emotionally draining than it seemed at first – with a very surprising third act.
The dubbing of Deneuve’s voice into Spanish seems to diminish the impact of her performance, but sill this a fascinating story of power, hypocrisy, resentment and bitterness as seen through the eyes of two complex characters in a society dominated by religious and patriarchal values.
Triumph of the Will (1935)
To make it clear: propaganda is not documentary; that said, however dull it may be, this film is a remarkable piece of monstrous propaganda that should be regarded today as a history lesson and as an insightful documentary about the power of propaganda on the weak-minded.
Troll 2 (1990)
As a perfect example of “so bad it’s good,” this is an inadvertently hilarious trash gem that earned its reputation as the best worst movie ever made, with a terrible script full of plot holes the size of a goblin, ridiculously over-the-top performances and shocking continuity errors that should make you choke with laughter.
The dazzling visuals may have been a unique experience when this film came out, boasting highly advanced computerized effects for the 1980s, but nothing saves the script from being a ridiculous, tiresome mess with an uninteresting shred of story that is painful to sit through.
TRON: Legacy (2010)
While the original Tron was a tiresome mess, this sequel is in fact a huge evolution in about every aspect, featuring a better narrative, more entertainment and, of course, superior technology and visuals. The result is dazzling fun with an awesome soundtrack by Daft Punk.
Trophy Kids (2013)
An appalling display of monstrous parenting that is not easy to watch, and even though a bit manipulative of our feelings, it is undeniable proof that certain people should not have children, given how they abuse theirs with such unbelievable pressure and psychological domination.
Tropic Thunder (2008)
Apart from the hilarious first scene and a few others that work very well, there is little else in this film other than stupid, offensive jokes mixed with a lot of tiresome big action scenes — which seem to be there only to entertain those unable to understand the obvious satire.
Tropical Malady (2004)
Even with an absorbing atmosphere and a powerful sound design, this strange film is like two different unrelated stories sloppily combined and loosely bound together, allowing of several different interpretations and coming off as frustratingly vague and empty in its essence.
It is frustrating to realize how little we learn from this superficial (and sadly conventional) documentary, as it drifts unfocussedly from topic to topic without delving far enough into any of them and cannot even explain why the music critics disliked those singers so much.
Trouble Every Day (2001)
It’s all about creating a haunting, unsettling mood (and this is clearly reflected in the vague title), but the problem here is that this arthouse cannibal film starts from nowhere and goes nowhere, failing to engage us in its weird plot and not amounting to anything in the end.
Trouble in Paradise (1932)
The first two thirds of the film are impeccable, relying on exceptional performances (especially Herbert Marshall) and a delightfully sophisticated dialogue, so it is really a pity that the plot starts to become a bit implausible and contrived after that, towards the end.
True Grit (2010)
A mesmerizing epopee that evokes the true grandeur of classic Westerns, with a beautiful melancholy score, well-developed characters, a magnificent cinematography, endless memorable lines and top-notch performances, especially from Bridges and Steinfeld.
True Story (2015)
Jonah Hill puts in a solid performance and James Franco is always magnetic in this fascinating morality study about the responsibility of journalism to the truth and the often blurry line that separates facts and lies, even though the final scene is unnecessary and obvious.
It doesn’t matter how cinematic or worthy of being told a real story is (which is the case) when it is made into an ordinary, uninspired biopic full of clichés and one-dimensional characters – and it is even worse that it looks like a cheap TV movie made by an obviously mediocre director.
Schwimmer really makes us empathize with his characters and directs this disquieting drama with a remarkable confidence, never letting the plot become exploitative or trivial, but the third act gives in to some unnecessary conflicts and the resolution is a bit clichéd.
Like other similar films such as Fair Game and Spotlight, this is an intelligent political drama full of revealing nuances and centered on an exquisitely-written dialogue, and it benefits from an excellent ensemble cast, especially Cate Blanchett in an outstanding performance.
Truth of Dare (2012)
It doesn’t forgo its share of laughable contrivances, but at least it is always entertaining to see this amusing horror movie defy common expectations by playing with typical genre clichés and coming up with a delicious twist in the end and Jennie Jacques as the bitchy bad girl.
A sympathische road movie with adorable characters (played by two very charismatic young actors), excellent dialogue and a plot that is usually hilarious despite the fact that it loses steam after a while and sometimes its attempts at humor don’t work as well as they should.
Tucker and Dale vs Evil (2010)
It is super nice to see how instead of being a one-joke movie stretched for two hours it manages to find new ways to surprise us and make fun of slashers clichés without seeming stupid or missing what makes it so funny – and it is very funny, with the bonus of also having a heart.
Tudo É Brasil (1997)
Sganzerla’s tireless obsession with Orson Welles has led to yet another schizophrenic film essay about the American filmmaker, one that is all over the place without that much cohesion (even though it is not as messy and chaotic as It’s Not All True) and dully repetitious after a while.
Tuesday, After Christmas (2010)
An engaging drama that gives us the impression that the excellent actors are improvising in the many long takes, so natural and unaffected they seem in their roles. But this Romanian film could have opted for close-ups in its key scenes to enhance the dramatic intensity.
Tulip Fever (2017)
Twisty to the point of complete stupidity, this sumptuous period drama may be relatively impressive with its production design and costumes but in the end is nothing more than a cheap soap opera that can’t even entertain us with its corny display of ardent sexual desire.
Here is a decent film that seems to be in desperate search of a conflict (any conflict, at each and every turn) to justify its existence, so much that it simply comes up with an implicit twist in the end to sound profound — a twist that actually does work despite, well, being a cliché.
Dvortsevoy blurs the line between fiction and reality with this mesmerizing peek at an almost alien universe, displaying a remarkable control of his shaky handheld camera and capturing some incredibly fortuitous shots against the barren and ruthless sights of the Kazakh steppe.
The sort of enjoyable eye candy whose interesting premise gets sabotaged by a very predictable development full of played-out clichés about being who you are and overcoming your own limits. Still, it is entertaining enough and offers a great voice work.
Turbo Kid (2015)
As a throwback to a retro 1980s style, it is a pity that it looks so cheap and goofy as if made by someone who had just left film school without a dime in his pocket, but despite its flaws, it is an entertaining pastiche full of energy, with Leboeuf and Ironside stealing the show and obviously having a lot of fun.
The Turin Horse (2011)
Dialogues (and monologues) have never been Tárr’s forte, so it is wonderful to see him make a mostly silent and simple portrayal of the burden of existence in thirty hypnotizing long takes – the most visually and narratively well polished film of his career, yet ironically his last one.
It becomes hilarious to see the level of ignorance and xenophobia that a person can reach when trashing a country with their dumb view of things, but more embarrassing is how awful this movie is, going from just insulting to being a showcase of complete incompetence by a terrible director.
Turkish Delight (1973)
The film is a bit irregular but Verhoeven makes up for that with a lot of conviction, energy and pathos (helped by the dynamic editing), creating an adorable couple of characters who grow on us as we witness their oddball relationship develop and break.
The Turning Point (1977)
An insufferable and melodramatic soap opera that didn’t deserve any of the eleven Oscar nominations it got, especially for a mediocre script that has no structure or clear focus, as well as for Browne and Baryshnikov, whose nominations are an insult to any real actor.
12 Angry Men (1957)
An impressive achievement considering it was Lumet’s first film, extremely well-written and superbly directed, with many elegant shots, fluid camera movements and a gripping plot that takes place entirely inside a room and is sustained only by a tense, smart dialogue.
12 Years a Slave (2013)
It is not very clear what McQueen wants with this unflinching but detached story of survival, as he throws together scenes of brutal realism with theatrical dialogue, cartoonish villains and a plot that seems more interested in the torture than offering any new insight into the subject.
20th Century Women (2016)
It begins dull and uninteresting but later becomes an adorable and complex film drenched in nostalgia, with a great soundtrack, an Oscar-deserving award by Annette Bening and an impressive cinematography that makes it look like it was really made in the late 1970s.
20 Feet from Stardom (2013)
An interesting and occasionally poignant insight into the work of these talented artists unfairly neglected in the background of fame, even if the rather clumsy editing also makes it a bit hard for us to keep our interest for too long, as it scatters their stories together.
25th Hour (2002)
With an overly depressing color palette, awfully jumpy editing, subplots that go nowhere and an ubiquitous melancholy music that never stops for a second, Spike Lee overloads his film and seems desperate to drag us into a bottomless abyss of sadness at nearly all costs.
20,000 Days on Earth (2014)
This funny, revealing and well-edited film is a must-see for fans of Nick Cave and also for those who would like to take an intimate look into an artist’s creative process and motivation, even if the charm wears off fast and the doc is also stuffed with a tad too many concert scenes.
22 July (2018)
The film does a fine job recounting Breivik’s attacks and their aftermath in its first half, but then it gets lost trying to appeal to our emotions with snowmobile clichés and easy sentimentality as it focuses its climax on a witness that doesn’t prove anything about Breivik’s sanity.
Twenty Years Later (1985)
Revisiting after 17 years the documentary he tried to make right before the 1964 military coup in Brazil, Coutinho attempts to piece together the lost years of those involved in the filming and creates in the process a heartbreaking piece of enormous historical importance.
Twilight Portrait (2011)
An uncomfortable, disturbing drama that grabs our attention but is also too ambiguous in its purpose, as it draws a twilight portrait of a society formed by despicable people and makes us follow a submissive character who hardly inspires our sympathy.
It is shocking that some people could possibly think that such a sexist story is romantic, but maybe it could have been a bit better if it weren’t for its corny dialogue and weak performances that help make this a schmaltzy teen flick to please only the hardcore fans and no one else.
The Twilight Saga: New Moon (2009)
A slight improvement (albeit almost insignificant) over the first movie, with a few things that do work, but the lame, uninteresting main couple (along with Pattinson’s inexpressive performance) and the cheesy dialogue get very tiresome after a while.
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse (2010)
With awful dialogue, ridiculous plot contrivances and painful acting by everyone, this movie could be easily subtracted from the series without any loss — and it is actually a mystery how a poor narrative like this can be called a “saga” when nothing ever really happens.
Not as terrible as the previous chapter, since at least things start to finally happen and the technical aspects are decent enough to make it watchable, but the actors achieve the lowest bottom in awful acting and the whole misogyny of the plot is shocking and abysmal.
I’m surprised that this final chapter does have something to say after many movies about nothing, but while things do happen for a change and the climax is urgent and exciting, we are hit by a ridiculous twist that makes it collapse entirely to the ground. At least it is finally over.
Put bluntly, this is not for the uninitiated; but for those who saw the series, this messy prequel is much easier to understand than it seems, inviting us into the dark world of Laura Palmer (Sheryl Lee is fantastic) yet failing to present any reason as to why it had to be made at all.
It is painful to see Coppola indulge himself with this personal nonsense, an incoherent mess that doesn’t know if it wants to be an unscary Gothic horror story, an overstylized nightmare or an unfunny comedy. It is only bland, pointless and, even worse, sleep-inducing.
2 Days in New York (2012)
In this pathetic follow-up to the enjoyable first film, Delpy seems to have run out of inspiration, aiming at silly, predictable jokes that get tired really fast – maybe they work better on paper than on screen. Besides, the story is just a lot of clichés.
2 Days in Paris (2007)
This delightful and funny look into an eccentric couple’s relationship proves that Delpy can be as good a filmmaker as she is an actress, and my only complaint is an unnecessary narration in the end instead of a dialogue that is unfortunately not shown to us.
Two Days, One Night (2014)
Marion Cotillard delivers a fantastic performance in this delicate character study (directed by the Dardenne brothers in their naturalistic style full of long takes) about the burden of depression and a woman’s need to find her strength back through an anguishing situation.
Two Drifters (2005)
Like a pointless Pedro Almodóvar melodrama that lacks depth or even a sense of purpose, Rodrigues’s frustrating film suffers mainly from the fact that his characters are barely sketches defined solely by their constantly erratic behavior that feels completely arbitrary.
The Two Escobars (2010)
A sad and shocking documentary that looks back at the monstrous impact of narcotraffic on politics and sports in Colombia in the 1990s, as well as how the fate of drug lord Pablo Escobar was tragically interwoven with that of soccer star Andrés Escobar.
The Two Faces of January (2014)
Even if not exactly impressive or as tense and gripping as it could have certainly been, this is still a pretty efficient directorial debut for Amini, with a solid story about bad choices and disappointment, an exquisite camera work and great performances from the main trio.
200 Cigarettes (1999)
A stupid and misguided comedy that has many funny moments but whose characters are empty and only follow the needs of a lame script – which also has no organic reason to be set in 1981 other than to be packed with 200 songs from back then.
Two Lives (2012)
A nuanced drama that gradually unfolds as it delves into the complex dilemma faced by a protagonist who cannot escape her tragic web of lies, but the contrived last act has a completely unnecessary flashback that almost undermines the power of her final decision.
Two Lovers (2008)
A profoundly involving romantic drama that benefits from a sophisticated direction and great performances from its cast – mainly Joaquin Phoenix, who is absolutely perfect and brings this melancholy tale of depression and impulsive passion to another level.
Two Mules for Sister Sara (1970)
A mildly entertaining Western with funny moments, but the movie’s problem lies in a frustrating, illogical revelation that takes place during the third act, something that doesn’t make much sense and unfortunately ruins the entire coherence of the story.
Two Rabbits (2012)
It is funny to see how Poyart’s frantic, MTV-esque directing style helps make this twisty movie so dynamic, fresh and fun instead of standing in the way — which could have been very easy, since self-discipline is a term that could never be associated with anything we see here.
Two Streams (1999)
It deserved a bit more polishing, though it is always nice to witness the work of an experienced director who has a considerable knowledge of film language (which can be seen from his use of dolly zooms and diegetic music) and relies on a great dialogue and fine performances.
2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
With an extraordinary production design and cinematography – which includes mind-blowing photographic effects – this impressive work of poetic contemplation depicts Nietzsche’s philosophical concept of the Übermensch in a truly majestic cinematic experience.
This intriguing combination of mystery, romance and sci-fi in a post-apocalyptic scenario knows well how to explore the striking visuals of its waterlogged locations, but the plot does not create enough tension nor offers a substantial payoff, floating adrift in a vague, inconclusive ending.
The two main characters are downright unbearable and it is irritating to see how they are so pathetic and self-destructive dealing with their conflicts. Besides, the film wants to shock the audience to create pathos, when clearly it has no direction and apparently nothing to say.
Umberto D. (1952)
This neorealist masterpiece by master Vittorio de Sica is a deeply heartfelt and unforgettable portrait of a poverty-stricken life in postwar Italy, avoiding any sort of easy sentimentality and needing no effort to make us love and care about its struggling character.
The editing is great and the art direction is gorgeous using strong saturated colors, but for me this is an awfully frustrating film and the music very much like fingernails on a blackboard, absolutely insufferable as everything is sung through like a horrible arioso piece.
The truth may still be out there, and I do find it curious that this film makes a rather persuasive case about an alleged alien cover-up conspiracy, but there is also a lot of vague speculation here, especially from untrustworthy people spouting nonsense about stuff like free energy.
The show had ten seasons, so it is pathetic that this superficial, poorly-made and fan-made-looking tabloid flick focuses only on the first four, even if it can be amusing and the actresses who play Shannen and Jennie bear an incredible resemblance to their real-life counterparts.
I cannot imagine anyone who would enjoy watching empty, amateurish crap like this — except, of course, those who love tabloids, television gossip and useless trivia about celebrities, backstage love affairs and so on. Besides, the show ran for seven seasons, not just three.
The Unbelievers (2013)
These guys are brilliant and I could watch their conversations for hours straight, but the movie also starts to sadly resemble a pamphlet for the “cause” instead of promoting more meaningful discussions that could really speak to people. Even so, I would recommend it to everyone.
Shyamalan displays an absolute control of his film and the type of story he wants to tell, making use of many elaborate long takes and elegant camera movements to enhance the tension of his intriguing plot while keeping us always involved even when the pacing seems to slow down.
It is easy to see the appeal created by a true story about the resilience of the human spirit, but the flawed narrative is just too safe and poorly structured, suffering mainly from random flashbacks that come out of nowhere and a frustrated attempt to impart depth to its villain.
A metalinguistic exercise in which it is the characters who have to decide, by flipping a coin, if they want to belong in a sensitive family drama or an action thriller, and so the result is an interesting indie experiment about uncertain paths, though sometimes a bit bland.
I arrived puzzled at the end of this film wondering if Uncle Boonmee could really recall his past lives, and although the direction is tight and careful, the narrative is loose and sterile, allowing of infinite symbolic interpretations but for what seems to be a lifeless, empty fable.
Under the Hawthorn Tree (2010)
A beautiful and heartbreaking film that features an exquisite cinematography and is tremendously sensitive without being sentimental — mainly because its two leads have a fantastic chemistry together and make us deeply care about their characters and want to see their happiness.
Under the Shadow (2016)
An intelligent and scary horror film that makes a more than welcome commentary on the horrors of war and gender oppression in Iran, using a lot of symbolism and keeping us in an increasing state of anxiety as it moves in a deliberate, slow-burning pace towards a terrifying climax.
Under the Silver Lake (2018)
As an exercise of style, this indie neo-noir has its moments and holds our attention with an intriguing mystery, but the problem is that it ends up feeling like a bunch of unripe ideas that were thrown together by someone who didn’t have a very good idea what to do with them.
Under the Skin (2013)
A harrowing and strongly atmospheric science fiction with seductive visuals, powerful dissonant music and thought-provoking ideas and meanings about what lies underneath appearances and that which makes us humans — including fear, melancholy and emptiness.
Under the Tuscan Sun (2003)
Diane Lane raises this heart-warming film above average in a very adorable performance that conveys with a lot of sensitivity the pangs of depression and yearning to start over, helping make this the kind of feel-good story that is even more enchanting thanks to the beauty of its locations.
The worst thing to notice in this subpar animation is that, until the entertaining climax and despite being technically well made, it is a silly, unfocused adventure with annoying characters and a badly-written script that seems to have no real clue of what it wants to tell.
Eastwood deconstructs the Western myths with this dark and realistic film devoid of any of that romanticism of the Wild West, and so it is a glorious farewell for the genre with a melancholy score, an epic cinematography and a lot of tension that builds towards a brutal, fantastic ending.
More efficient than other recent “computer windows” horror flicks like The Den and Open Windows, it knows how to build tension and is clever to show what the protagonist is thinking through the way she writes (and sometimes erases before sending) messages on her computer screen.
Unfriended: Dark Web (2018)
For quite some time, this is a solid sequel that grows carefully and steadily scary (with even some terrifying moments) before deciding to venture into faux-supernatural territory and coming up with a big twist in the end that is too preposterous to make much sense.
Unhung Hero (2013)
The wisest thing that Moote’s girlfriend did was refuse to marry him, since he is a complete idiot who tries every sort of unreliable and unscientific procedure to enlarge his penis, and I can’t believe that he would be so incredibly stupid to actually want to see a surgical operation.
The Uninvited (2009)
A rare case of American remake that I find better than the original film, since the tension is carried out much more carefully here and with a more concise plot that wisely avoids the many twists in Kim Ji-Woon’s story and presents a more compelling reason to leave us scared.
There is no doubt that ACT UP played a major role in the fight against the AIDS pandemic, but this documentary lacks a clear structure and is quite repetitious, showing too many interviews of people saying the same thing over and over — which becomes tiring really fast.
The Unknown (1927)
Around 14 minutes of the original film are deemed lost and yet nothing seems to be missing, since this only surviving version is so straight to the point and benefits from a spectacular performance by Lon Chaney, who keeps our eyes glued to the screen with each twitch of his expressive face.
Liam Neeson plays another middle-aged superman in this frenetic movie full of overstylish action, but even if the mediocre plot begins relatively interesting, it soon comes up with a lot of convenient holes and ends with a ludicrous explanation that is more laughable than surprising.
The Unknown Girl (2016)
The Dardennes offer us another engaging story shot in their usual naturalistic style to show us things that happen in the lives of common people, even though this time what happens seems a bit twistier than necessary and holds a lesser impact than their best works.
In times when a country seems to have forgotten its past or actively wants to erase it, this is the kind of important film that examines with a lot of sensibility and tact the emotional scars left by a murderous regime and the generational gap that makes remembering so hard for so many people.
Soderbergh is a filmmaker who is always interested in exploring new possibilities and technologies, and here he uses an iPhone 7 Plus camera to make a barely decent genre exercise that has too many clichés but at least manages to be fun when relying on Claire Foy being a tough bitch.
The Unscrupulous Ones (1962)
Ruy Guerra borrows from Antonioni and the French New Wave to create this audacious and hypnotizing film that impresses with its amount of explicit nudity for the time it was made, as well as many striking shots and one of the most iconic scenes in Brazilian Cinema.
Up in the Air (2009)
George Clooney finds the perfect tone for his charismatic character in this delicious film that has a very witty dialogue, great editing, wonderful performances and a clever balance between humor and emotions — the kind of story that makes me wish it never ends.
Up Series: Seven Up! (1964)
Even if it embraces a too deterministic view of society by presuming it can predict a child’s future just from their social class, this is a fascinating film (and experiment) that reveals so much about the multiple contrasting ways those seven-year-old kids perceive the world around them.
Up Series: 7 Plus Seven (1970)
The fact that this series of films is so firmly intent on proving the inescapability of class immobility doesn’t affect how impressive it is to see the changes in those children from when they are 7 to seven years later, and how their life views are so strongly molded by their environment.
Up Series: 21 Up (1977)
One wonders what an amazing piece of sociological study this would have been in the hands of a more skillful filmmaker, but even if Apted’s approach continues to be a tad too mechanical, the answers we get from the participants (and the shock of seeing how their lives changed) compensate immensely.
Up Series: 28 Up (1984)
Apted’s questions are much more intelligent and less judgmental now than in the previous films, making this the best installment so far as it shows us how fascinating those people and their lives have become with time, even if he leaves the most interesting stories for the beginning.
Up Series: 35 Up (1991)
At first, the impression is that this is more of the same following what we saw in 28 Up, with very basic questions about work, marriage and family, but then the film grows much more interesting as it begins to take a deeper look into the complexities and nuances of those people’s lives.
Up Series: 42 Up (1998)
A surprising installment in the Up series for those who don’t believe you can change your life (sometimes quite radically, I would say) after you’re 35 — and right when you think you have seen it all, things get even more interesting and impressive as we approach the end of the film.
Up Series: 49 Up (2005)
Made during the boom of reality television, this is curiously the first chapter in which some of the participants snap back at Michael Apted for his questions, giving us a wonderful insight into what they feel about being part of the series and also how it has affected their lives.
Up Series: 56 Up (2012)
This chapter makes for an always engaging look at middle age, even though there is not so much novelty here since 49 Up, especially as it feels that Apted is not that interested in exploring some issues more deeply (like when he barely questions Tony about his unconscious racism).
Up Series: 63 Up (2019)
Apted is still not the best person to carry out this type of sociological experiment, but still, catching up with these now 63-year-old participants can be really touching and revealing as they look back at the choices they have made in their lives and also talk about the people they have lost.
Upside Down (2012)
It has dazzling visuals (despite the director’s obsession with lens flares and a CGI that looks a bit artificial) and an idea that is pretty original and intriguing, but it suffers from some glaring lack of internal plausibility and a naive ending that is too silly in its romantic optimism.
Upstream Color (2013)
A highly interesting psycho-thriller that challenges us to interpret its complex narrative and cryptic symbolism, even if the result is not exactly involving — and Carruth deserves a lot of credit for how he makes use of outstanding visual and auditory match cuts.
If there is something more terrifying than alien body snatchers, it is our own dark sides crawling out of our depths to take our places in society, and Peele creates an intelligent allegory replete with symbolism of how today’s ‘US’ is making this red chain of madness all the more possible.
Utopia e Barbárie (2009)
An impressively affecting documentary that took 19 years to be made and feels like one of Tendler’s most personal films, as he offers a comprehensive overview of our world’s modern history with utopism and oppression and examines what has really changed ever since he started the project.