Films Watched in 2013

This is a list of all the films I've watched during the course of 2013. This includes all films viewed between January 1st 2013 and December 31st 2013. It is not restricted to films released in 2013.
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1.
Southland Tales (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
During a three day heat wave just before a huge 4th of July celebration, an action star stricken with amnesia meets up with a porn star who is developing her own reality TV project, and a policeman who holds the key to a vast conspiracy. (145 mins.)
Director: Richard Kelly
“ This may be noughties nincompoop 'auteur' Richard Kelly's (of Donnie Darko infamy) most fully realised vision of impending apocalypse. Southland Tales is a sprawling, freewheelin' absurdity, that gradually becomes a modestly intriguing imagining of modern Americana. It's World War 3 and America, that has just had a nuclear bomb detonated upon its soil, is losing its sense of self in an accelerated pursuit of omnipresent surveillance technology, oppressive political ideology, pop culture vacuousness and crudely evangelical religious prophecy. Kelly is very clearly - as both the d/c of Donnie Darko and the hideous adaptation of The Box reveal - a director lacking any sense of self-control or restraint. The lack of a coherent perspective, or perspectives, within Southland Tales is a major problem, as the film is otherwise overladen with various attempts at satire. In the end the film feels like a rather toxic vomit of modern media reference points, that manages to reach some surprisingly impressive crescendos (the 'pop video' mindlessness of Justin Timberlake's take on The Killers), but also ploughs through some utterly unnecessary soap-opera simulated acting and dialogue. Kelly's perennial obsession with time-travel as a moral cornerstone of his narratives rears its ploddingly dull head here, yet again. Not a cinematic experience I'd revisit any time soon, but there are some moments of demented charm and diluted genius in amongst the geekery and bible-bashing. ” - rohanberrywriter
 
2.
The Departure (1967)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
A fast-paced comedy about a young Belgian car nut and hairdresser's apprentice, his girlfriend, and... (93 mins.)
“ On the surface this would appear to be either a Nouvelle Vague rip-off (with Godardian shooting tricks aplenty and Truffaut's accursed discovery in the lead role), or a cinematic in-joke at the expense of contemporary French cinema, but that would be to overlook Skolimowski's constant thematic concern with sex, death and their nexus point, sado-masochism. This was the director's first film shot outside of his native Poland. It was filmed entirely in the Belgium capital, Brussels, and the surrounding countryside. What Skolimowski has in fact crafted with this gem of a movie is a complex, frequently hilarious and exceptionally inventive 'coming-of-age' drama (that happens to have extremely funny comic elements within it). The frequently insufferable Jean-Pierre Leaud turns in one of his more charismatic performances as the Porsche-obsessed hairdresser, and wannabee rally driver, Marc, who is about to discover there is more to life than the dream of fast cars. Alongside him is Catherine-Isabelle Duport, as Michele, a former model and Marc's partner in crazed abandon. This central relationship is a Skolimowski ideal, masochistic, but frequently testing the choppier waters of the sado-masochistic. In one particularly memorable sequence Leaud drives a safety-pin into the flesh below his elbow; it could be merely another one of the character's many cons, but Skolimowski ensures it has a succinct symbolic potential by putting it immediately before a sequence in which Marc will betray his affection for Michele, just to have the opportunity to realise his driving ambitions. The more I see of Skolimowski's work the more I become convinced that Poland has produced one of the finest filmmakers of the twentieth century. The dynamism that is in this film's every movement is unlike any other director's work, with narrative, camerawork and character development seeming to fuse together into a delirious visual poetry, capable of scenes like the extended mirror play of the two leads, or the depraved spectacle of swimwear modelling. The film itself has an inbuilt masochism driving it forward in reckless pursuit of first one desire, and then another, before becoming aware, on its final reel, that the only way forward is self-immolation. If you are still unconvinced of the potential merits of this movie, then just take a look at a scene about 42mins into the film, in which Marc and Michele smuggle themselves in to a car showroom after hours. Utilising a mock up Austin car on a revolving stage, along with three-to-four wonderfully elegant camera set-ups, Skolimowski creates one of the best sequences I've ever seen regarding the curious chemistry between body and machine, and the potential for human connection. It almost makes me wish that Skolimowski had been ahead of Cronenberg in the queue to adapt Ballard's Crash. Ultimately, Le Depart is a progression toward the genius of Deep End and yet further evidence of Skolimowski's undoubted flair for combining comedy, drama and intense sexuality. ” - rohanberrywriter
 
3.
After Dark, My Sweet (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
An ex-boxer is drifting around after escaping from the mental hospital. He meets a widow who convinces... (114 mins.)
Director: James Foley
“ This slyly seductive and terrifyingly cold neo-noir has its defenders - Roger Ebert considers it one of his 'Great Movies' - and it deserves rediscovery, if not quite the lavish praise that has been lumped on it in some quarters. To me it seems very much like a boneyard for once promising careers, that have gone somewhat awry: Rachel Ward, James Foley, Jason Patric. It also has that greatest of Hollywood losers Bruce Dern in a weasely, wheedling support turn. It's based upon a Jim Thompson novel and set in the anodyne suburbs of the Californian desertlands. Director Foley had some early success with works of intermittent genius, such as At Close Range and Glengarry Glen Ross, and he clearly knows how to work a camera through well-written material (behold the rather exquisite tightly-focused 360 pan at the film's close, visually indicating the volte-face that is about to occur in the movie itself). In ADMS he manages to perfect a scintillating slow-burn tension that gradually sears its way into the very celluloid the film was shot upon. The sexual chemistry between Ward and Patric is right in place from their very first barroom scene. The dialogue constantly bandied back and forth throughout the film comes to resemble so many needling stiletto blades making their mark. Never has a neo-noir being so primary colour bright and simultaneously so resolutely downbeat as it is here, with a particularly lovely little twist of ambiguity at its close. Foley knows the noir conventions, but subtly subverts many of them, particularly the manner in which a femme-fatale operates. In many ways it's these subversions that create the extra frisson of danger in the film. Jason Patric managed to turn in a series of very exciting and almost wholly underappreciated early-90s roles (Rush, Geronimo: An American Legend, Sleepers), before Speed 2 came along and ruined everything. ADMS reminds one of just what a promising talent he was. The question is why hasn't a modern-day director taken a chance on him in a significant leading role since 2002's Narc? ” - rohanberrywriter
 
4.
The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A reluctant hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of dwarves to reclaim their mountain home - and the gold within it - from the dragon Smaug. (169 mins.)
Director: Peter Jackson
“ Is that title not a bit of a misnomer? Isn't everything in the world of Middle Earth just a big fate-driven contrivance, a game of wizardry that allows Gandalf to arrive on the scene and unleash some pyrotechnics? I was prepared to be 'whelmed', and was modestly surprised at the end of three hours to have enjoyed the film quite a bit (seen at Bałtyk in Łódź in 2D with the correct projection speed). You know that there is going to be zero investment in the 'unexpected' when it comes to Jackson's Tolkien adaptations - which isn't to say they are faithful, but rather that like Tolkien's fiction they are concerned with the wholehearted embrace of traditional forms of narration. I'd read countless reports of the film's repetitious nature, seeming to be a remake of the LOTR, with far too many 'boring' Shire bits at the start. I can accept a little of the first two complaints, but take issue with the final complaint, as surely the heart and soul of Tolkien's work is to be found in his 'nice' Utopian idyll of the Hobbit homeland. Home is the point, as the general thrust of the saga's good/evil, light/darkness dichotomies is about the preservationary instincts that come with a strong sense of home and tradition, versus the marauding destruction of a fearful 'new' presence. Martin Freeman is rather excellent here as the young Bilbo Baggins. His performance is a rare instance of subtlety in Jackson's hammer and tong approach to the material. The range of expression that Freeman's face is capable of is actually surprising, particularly for anyone that has been used to his recent television outings in Sherlock. Jackson was very astute in that particular piece of casting and it seems almost like a pointed riposte to the growing number of techies that have been predicting the death of acting. Or at least it would be if the other remarkable performance in the film wasn't a far more vivid, and genuinely frightening Gollum - finally resembling the craven and malevolent creature of my childhood nightmares. One noticeable difference in The Hobbit is Jackson's approach to special effects. The LOTR was positively groundbreaking with regard to the creation of almost wholly CGI-generated landscapes and battle sequences. Yet over the last decade that quantum leap in cinema technology hasn't developed as thoroughly as some would have liked. Here Jackson seems to have gone for a hybrid material and CGI effects approach, that pays dividends with the Ghostbusters-like Wargs. The film actually flies by at a fair clip and becomes progressively more engrossing, particularly when entering the Goblin kingdom. Prior to this Boschian underworld there is the standout moment of the movie, in my opinion, in the form of a spectacular (and spectacularly pointless) fight between The Stone Giants, that the dwarf/hobbit party are presently traversing. The decision to add some depth and dynamism in the form of the Orc-king Azog is fairly inspired work by Jackson and has team, although Radagast's similar inflation seemed of far less immediate interest (although it is always nice to see Sylvester McCoy getting a run out in bizarre outfits and make-up). The daftly camp value of much of Jackson's early work also leaves its impression here in: the pre-battle stare-offs between key adversaries, the Steptoe and Son trolls, the thinly veiled drug references (pipe smoking and mushroom consumption) and the manner in which Ian McKellen's performance as Gandalf has become so absurdly measured and crinkle-eyed that you'd have to be a bastard in need of a sense-of-humour transplant not to cherish it. All in all this visit to Middle Earth is pretty much what one would have expected, but it's all the better for it. ” - rohanberrywriter
 
5.
A Prophet (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young Arab man is sent to a French prison. (155 mins.)
Director: Jacques Audiard
“ Jacques Audiard's inverted Bildungsroman about a nineteen-year-old Arab who becomes schooled in organised crime whilst doing a six-year stint for assaulting a police officer is really all about ways of seeing. It's an intriguing blend of gritty docu-camera realism and 'spiritual' journey, that features a magnificent central performance from Tahar Rahim as Malik. The remarkable work of Rahim is only fully appreciated when reviewing the opening exchanges of the movie. The visual discrepancy between the rather aimless, puppy-fat and hair, youth that enters the prison system and the tightly wound, utterly self-possessed, lean young man that exits the other side of a six-year term, is testament to Rahim's performance within a performance. Malik's genius is to realise the power of benignity early on. Alienated from the considerable Muslim contingent in the prison, due to the pressures exerted by Niels Alestrup's Corsican kingpin Cesar, Malik is able to transcend the crude racial and cultural stereotyping of prison life. Rahim modulates his performance perfectly, having just the right mix of naivety, street smarts, tenacity and attentive, watchful intelligence. It is this latter quality that is at the heart of Un Prophete, as the prison system is all about watching who is watching who doing what. Audiard manages to find a way of representing this constant monitoring of behaviours, by showing the docu-realist camerawork to approximate the attentions of the key inmates, and in particular Rahim's Malik. As the film progresses toward its conclusion, Malik is shown to gain an increased sense of consciousness, of self-awareness and mastery, and Audiard's camera shots become noticeably longer, and more fixed in their focus on the medium to long. Audiard also plays with the sense of a well-rendered prison reality, by showing the camera's view to be occluded in darkness and obscurity at two significant points in the movie. At the film's opening Malik is viewed through the camera lens, as if the camera were a human mind gaining gradual cognizance of its surroundings. Later in the film, Malik almost has his eye gouged out by Cesar, and for a few minutes the film shows this same half-realised vagueness of visual perception. What Audiard appears to be suggesting here is that these are expansions in Malik's own consciousness. The first sees him gradually coming to terms with prison reality, whilst the second shows him that he must find a way to remove, or circumvent, the considerable obstacle that Cesar represents. Audiard laces in moments of textured lyricism: the grotesquerie of Reyeb's death and then his continual presence as Malik's spiritual sounding board, the part-obscured wrestling with an angel or a demon, the hellish embers burning brightly upon the back of Reyeb, the bizarre vision of deers running in the darkness (which ultimately provides the metaphorical moment for the title of the film). There are also direct references to the influence of a film like The Godfather, particularly in the final third of the film, where business is very much taken care of, and Malik walks out of the shadows into the light of his newly established criminal career. If it sounds like bleak viewing, then imagine a happy ending that has all of the dark, hellish weight found in Coppola's dissection of American morality, only here everything is out in the open, shot in the light of day, a man who has wrestled with his angels and demons, is now about to impose his own sense of the law. ” - rohanberrywriter
 
6.
Flight (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
An airline pilot saves almost all his passengers on his malfunctioning airliner which eventually crashed, but an investigation into the accident reveals something troubling. (138 mins.)
Director: Robert Zemeckis
“ Robert Zemeckis's first live-action film since 2000 is a tried and tested morality play about an alcoholic pilot who may have rescued the lives of 96 people on board his flight from Florida to Georgia by executing an extraordinary emergency landing (thrillingly rendered in the movies opening half hour). The pilot in question, Whip Whitaker, is played by Denzel Washington, and although he's saved the lives of almost all on board, he has done so whilst drunk and high on cocaine. Early in the film the straight-talking lawyer played by Don Cheadle, puts it to Denzel Washington's pilot that 'somebody has to pay', and for a long time in this movie Denzel plays it safe behind his team of union operatives and legal council. However, Washington's character has a horrid self-destructive streak and seems hell bent on undoing all of the hard work that has gone on around him to fabricate the cosy lie of an All American hero. Flight features some excellent supporting performances from Bruce Greenwood (how has this man not had a more substantial A-list career?), Cheadle and, briefly, Melissa Leo. It's a well-meaning moral drama, with an interesting central dilemma and an enthralling opening sequence. Yet doesn't Denzel look so very tired here. Remarkably, Flight is Washington's second major feature of 2012. In the other film, Safe House, he looked as athletic and handsome as he had when his career first took off in the early nineties, some twenty years ago. Flight sees a different Washington, listless, flabby, looking tired and bored and every second of his 58 years. Yes, it's all in aid of the character, a self-hating and self-destructive alcohol, but it is still difficult to come to terms with, particularly in those odd moments (such as the few scenes he has with the hopelessly miscast Kelly Reilly) when Denzel seems to not really get this character. Washington is one of the few Hollywood A-list actors who plays good and bad characters with equal skill and facility. Despite being a supposedly devout Christian and family man, he exudes a certain dangerous sexual energy and charm, that animates his finest performances (such as in Glory, Devil in a Blue Dress, Malcolm X, He Got Game and Training Day). Here the chemistry between himself and Kelly Reilly is all wrong (I'm not even sure why this character is in the drama, other than to give an angle on dependency and recovery issues), a point further emphasised by the easy charm of the opening scenes with a nude Nadine Velazquez. About an hour into the film I had the distinct impression that I was watching a Washington performance where he is going very efficiently through the motions, safe in the knowledge that Greenwood and Cheadle will bolster him with their sterling support work. Another failing of Zemeckis's direction is the manner in which the director is so eager to trawl through the whizz-bang camera kinetics of a Darren Aronofsky, with rapid zoom whipshots of cocaine snorting and superfluous tracking shots of Washington getting himself good to go. These rather distracting and juvenile camera antics resurface whenever John Goodman steps into the frame as Washington's dealer (soundtracked, inevitably, by Altamont-era Rolling Stones). It's almost as if Zemeckis doesn't quite trust that the drama of the film will hold an audience's attention for 140 minutes (the film could easily have been 30 minutes shorter) and tries to branch out into unnecessarily comic interludes, ultimately leaving the overall tone of the film very uneven. That said the film tries its best to tackle a very serious issue admirably, and has enough initial spectacle and tension to keep an audience interested for the duration. In short, this is the kind of movie that features state-of-the-art CGI effects, but badly photo-shopped wedding photos. ” - rohanberrywriter
 
7.
Texas Chainsaw 3D (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 4.8/10 X  
A young woman travels to Texas to collect an inheritance; little does she know that an encounter with a chainsaw-wielding killer is part of the reward. (92 mins.)
Director: John Luessenhop
“ What was the last even part-way decent horror feature I've watched? Yes, Insidious and The Collector had a certain amount of ingenuity and intrigue, but few genuine frights. Kill List was pretty horrific, but would probably fit more comfortably into the thriller genre. Going back far enough, both Innocence and Dahmer had unremittingly tense and alien atmospheres. Yet all of these movies are well outside the mainstream of modern horror, a hideous gloop of naff seventies franchise horror remakes, ill-thought out exploitation flick and aimless exercises in sadistic gore. This latest entry in Tobe Hooper's royalty retirement fund could easily fulfill that full criteria by itself. It's also the film that effectively has broken this camel's back. After Bambi and James Bond, my first exposure to the power of cinema was through watching classic Universal horrors like The Mummy and The Creature from the Black Lagoon, not to mention an illicit foray into modern horror with Nightmare on Elm Street, Part 2 (that literally gave me nightmares). These are not necessarily great works of cinema, but they were undoubtedly effective frighteners, searing images into the impressionable imagination far more effectively than almost any other type of film. I've heard the arguments that horror is strictly a teenage cinema genre, more about event viewing than film viewing, but until very recently I'd stayed loyal to it, regardless of let down's like Hostel or A Cabin in the Woods, or Dario Argento's woeful follow-up to Suspiria and Inferno - The Mother of Tears. The original Texas Chainsaw Massacre was a film I didn't see until I was at university, and yet I thought it a horror masterpiece, brimful of dread atmosphere and malevolent black humour (is there a more perfect sequence in modern horror than the extreme angle shot/counter-shot of Marilyn Burns, head over a bucket, awaiting the palsied hammer strike of granddad?). Franchised, the original has since had sequels, remakes and prequels galore, with the 2003 remake being the most financially profitable. Ironically it is the 2003 remake, a frankly awful film, that layers on a pseudo-documentary element that makes the initial events of this 2013 sequel chronologically impossible. This is the first sign that John Luessenhop and his team aren't really concerned with minor cinematic elements such as narrative, plotting or plausible characterisation. Texas Chainsaw 3D is so bad that it goes beyond even the capacity for ironic amusement. The screenwriting team of Elms, Marcus and Sullivan deal almost wholly in broad stereotypes, with no subtlety of character. Generic teens meet their generic deaths in a generic hick-town where generic things have been happening for years and nobody seems any the wiser for that knowledge. What the writers bring to the party this time is a back story in which the townsfolk burn Leatherface's family home to the ground, shortly after the events of the 1974 film (shown in condensed opening credit shots), assuming they have killed all of the heinous Sawyer clan. However a baby survives and this baby grows up to become our central character Heather Miller, who is all pseudo-goth eye make-up and slinky-hipped midriff ridiculousness. Preposterously another family member, Verna Carson (played by the original film's heroine Marilyn Burns), dies leaving her considerable estate to Heather (because she has been keeping tabs on her, of course), which is the first inkling Heather has, that her parents aren't who they claim to be. Horror has become so reductive and jaundiced as a genre, that it is sufficient for a character to say things like: it really hurts to discover your parents have been lying to you all your life. Furthermore, Heather just jumps right on into a souped up camper van (keeping it retro) and takes her friends down to her new property without even a cursory probe into her family tree. Suffice to say, having shown such disdain for any kind of basic narrative detailing, our teens are soon being carved up 1974 style, with Luessenhop thinking it a grand idea to essentially rip-off exact shots and sequences from the original film (a crawling body trying to escape, a gleefully rendered meat-hook sequence), only to present them here in extravagant 3D blood-spattered gore (about the only actual noticeable 3D effect, other than the occasional chainsaw lunge). The enclosed circularity of the modern horror genre, is very much a serpent feasting upon its own tail, however that tail has long since been ingested and now the brains have been sucked right on down also. Not only is their absolutely no attempt at seriously constructing a narrative framework for the violence and horror, thus robbing the film of even the faintest slither of morality or ambiguity, but there is even a corrosive prudishness at the film's heart, which wishes to titilate without actually having the courage of eroticism (the teens are sexually aware and frequently run around with exposed areas of flesh, but the film stops short of actual sexual encounter, because that would be crude). This attitude toward sex in the films, is mirrored in the attitude toward violence. As long as the film remains brainless, and the characters remain cardboard cutouts, then it allows the filmmakers to pile up the gore quotient to daftly sadistic levels, safe in the knowledge that none of this 'horror' will actually stick in the mind. Part of the power of the original film was the manner in which Hooper evoked a macabre new imagery forged from the black & white stills of frontier grand guignol, and the sensational stories of serial killers like Ed Gein. In 2013, these visual tropes have become a series of hollow fetishes, crude indicators of 'depravity', that provoke little more than a knowing snigger from the audience. Modern horror is very much a cinematic blunt force trauma, and Texas Chainsaw 3D, despite the eponymous power tool's propensity for effective limb lopping, does nothing to stymie the brain damage inflicted upon its target audience. ” - rohanberrywriter
 
8.
The Paperboy (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
A reporter returns to his Florida home-town to investigate a case involving a death row inmate. (107 mins.)
Director: Lee Daniels
“ The Paperboy is a genuine oddity of recent American cinema. It manages to concoct an atmosphere of overarching promiscuity, whilst simultaneously showing exactly where the social/moral lines were being drawn in late-60's Florida. This is a film about sex, violence, sexuality and race, in which many of the main characters invert or subvert the initial presentations of themselves. Shots bleed into one another here, Daniels frequently using multiple exposures of the frame, to layer imagery in such a way as to embody this central theme. The film has its problems, mainly to do with the narrative framing. Macy Gray is the film's narrator, and also plays a peripheral character, as the black maid of the Jansen household. The start of the film insinuates that some kind of documentary is being made about the events that have taken place, however this element is never re-examined, and the film ends on a bizarrely perfunctory note. Where Daniels does manage to work wonders is in the casting of his three main roles. Nicole Kidman is a very difficult actress to pin down. Her most memorable roles have tended to see her align her sexual charm with a cold, clinical detachment, or a certain barely controlled neuroses (think Birth, Dogville, To Die For). Yet she is capable of playing with both of these elements simultaneously, allowing them to inform one another, a trick she nailed absolutely in her breakthrough movie The Dead Calm. Here she is playing a trashy, pulp role, which superficially she would appear to be too cerebral an actress to carry off, yet, as is the case with almost every character in the movie, there are layers and layers of subterfuge at work, making the carefully orchestrated and overwhelmingly sexual force that she projects in the film's opening hour, a more needy and pathetic figure in the film's closing sequences. Kidman's performance has been lavishly praised, but I would highlight the fact that it is aided by very strong turns from Matthew McConaughey and Zac Efron, as the Jansen siblings who are investigating the murder of a Police Sheriff, from years earlier. The way that Daniels filters so much of the sexuality within the movie through the unformed fantasies of Efron's high-school dropout gives the film a potency that it otherwise wouldn't have had, and places it fairly close to Jerzy Skolimowski's work about sexual awakening, Deep End. McConaughey, meanwhile is one of the most effortlessly charismatic of Hollywood actors, yet here Daniels gives him an edginess and subtle physical disfigurements, that hint at a 'secret life' underneath the character's showy bravado. What is most unusual about The Paperboy is the manner in which it sets up an investigation that never really splutters into life. There is a strong sense that the timeline is more elastic than it would initially appear, with events seeming to follow a chronological order, but not necessarily being coherently realised - again the idea of promiscuity is at the fore. It also needs to be borne in mind that the narrative voice throughout is that of Macy Gray's character, a figure who is constantly on the periphery of the film, who has strong sexual feelings for Efron's character, and whom all but disappears from the final third of the movie. John Cusack's performance is perhaps the most problematic element of the film, as it is the most obviously close to 2D caricature. Cusack is the oddly named Hillary Van Wetter, a sweaty, openly perverse and sadistic man, who may, or may not, have killed the Sheriff. Playing the role with a predatory, lip-smacking relish, Cusack's, more so than Kidman's Barbie-doll construct, Van Wetter is a site of camp performance, or pastiche. The presence of Van Wetter in a scene, tends to bring out the most ridiculous elements in Daniels' visual patterning, particularly the absurd sex sequence between Van Wetter and Kidman's Charlotte Bless, that is crudely intercut with images of alligators and pigs. It is this careful positioning upon the precipice of outright parody, that gives The Paperboy it's rather unique energy and dynamism, even if the film itself is ultimately a disjointed affair. The work was based on Peter Dexter's 1995 novel of the same name and visually references movies as disparate as A Touch of Evil and The Big Easy, yet it remains an original, sultry and sweaty thriller, resolutely following its own thrills, wherever it can get them. ” - rohanberrywriter
 
9.
Strawberry Wine (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
This is not a love story though it is full of love. It is not a comedy though the characters often say funny things... (109 mins.)
“ This Polish/Slovakian co-production based on the 1995 novel 'Opowieści galicyjskie' (Tales of Galicia) by one of the most prominent of the post-Communist generation of Polish writers Andrzej Stasiuk, is a disappointingly slight affair. The story involves Andrzej (played by Czech actor Jiri Machacek, who was surely cast for the resemblance to Stasiuk) a Warszawa police officer who has lost his daughter and has chosen to relocate to the rural mountainous area along the Polish-Slovak border, possibly as a means of coming to terms with this loss. The small town he settles in is called Dukla, where his new boss is an unreconstructed Communist, who pines for the good old days of 'authority' (played light-heartedly by Mieczysław Grąbka). Among the town's other residents are: Janek (Maciej Stuhr), a rather simple tractor-driver, Władysław (Marek Litewka), a repairer of rubber goods, Adam (Marian Dziędziel), a butcher and stable-owner, and Edek (Cezary Kośinski), a patronising US-obsessed importer/exporter. All of these men are bound together in their fascination with Lubica (Zuzana Fialova), a wild, sexual, force of nature, who would appear to be of Ruthenian/gypsy stock, and works at Edek's town kiosk. Stasiuk's writing has become increasingly elusive and impressionistic over time, but that does not excuse the rather bizarre approach of Dariusz Jabłonski, who seems more concerned with raising a few broad laughs, or evoking a sub-Kusturica atmosphere of booze-addled rural low-life, than actually delineating strong characters. This isn't helped by Machacek's central performance as Andrzej, which is spectacularly leaden. Having recently watched Dumont's L'humanite, which features a similarly shell-shocked and childlike police officer at it's core, I can appreciate that an impenetrable central protagonist may still have dramatic potential, but in Wino Truskawkowe the character of Andrzej has so little of interest to offer an audience, that it sinks the film long before the ham-fisted iconography of the closing ten minutes. Andrzej's actions seem unknown to even himself, as he cycles around the town and countryside, occasionally stumbling into trees, or falling off of his bicycle, or getting into mundane conversations about 'collective farms'. There is a nostalgia in the film that isn't particularly healthy, especially when considering the role of Jerzy Radziwiłowicz as a priestly figure of undermined authority. In one scene the priest and police chief sit and reminisce about when their jobs had a purpose, the point being that nobody takes notice of authority any longer, be it the law courts, or divine law. Freedom has left people without ideology and without god, so they plod along in pointless occupations, unable to find any purpose outside a bottle of the eponymous alcoholic beverage. This is lumpen, reactionary politicking, masquerading as fable, rather like Latin American writers such as Coelho, and certainly doesn't chime with Stasiuk's own subtle ironies. The fact that the film has at least two murders in its mix and three deaths, goes almost unnoticed as Jabłonski falls in love with swooping aerial shots of the Galician countryside, and pointless little moments of CGI (a blossoming flower, even Terence Malick would restrain himself here). There was a potentially interesting film to be made out of Stasiuk's material, but the twee magic-realism of Jabłonski's adaptation fails to deliver anything other than a picture postcard evocation of a rarely filmed corner of Central Europe. This feeling of missed opportunity is only further compounded by the crass ending in which the townsfolk are united in church, whilst Andrzej's daughter reveals herself beside a digitally enhanced tree (in the 'Garden' afterall). ” - rohanberrywriter
 
10.
Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
An almost accidental romance is kindled between a German woman in her mid-sixties and a Moroccan migrant worker around twenty-five years younger. They abruptly decide to marry, appalling everyone around them. (93 mins.)
“ This was my first encounter with Fassbinder's work - somehow I have avoided his cinema for well over two decades - therefore I'm not sure how much I can fruitfully offer in terms of criticism. What follows represents my initial impressions, which will undoubtedly change as I come to understand more of this filmmakers prodigious oeuvre. Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (A:FES) left me feeling simultaneously bemused and intrigued. For much of the films running time I couldn't help but laugh at the absurdly simple needs of the 'representative' foreign-worker Ali (even the name is an approximation), culminating in his desperate search for couscous. There was something so schematic about the film - an issue that I've had with other, more recent, German works such as Atomised and Die Welle - that it felt, at times, like an educational movie for schools, a means of pointing out to young people the issues of multiculturalism. On the other hand, the film had a visual poetry at work that belied this rudimentary approach to 'problem' cinema. Fassbinder clearly exhibits a preference for tightly-framed shots, forcing his actors into extremely awkward physical intimacy, hemming them in, showing how the camera in some way embodies the wanton cruelty of 'God', in the way that it controls, shapes and defines these fragile lives. The story is pure soap opera. A cleaning lady approaching retirement, Emmi (Brigitte Mira, a sad-eyed and diminutive presence), falls into a relationship with a Berber car mechanic twenty years her junior, Ali (played by Fassbinder's lover El Hedi ben Salem). The soap opera aspect of the melodramatic narrative, which has frequently been compared to Douglas Sirk's All That Heaven Allows, is pushed into excruciatingly painful territory, by the manner in which Fassbinder chooses to integrate these two lonesome souls with the Munich society that surrounds them. At first Emmi is rejected by her neighbours, family and work colleagues, for marrying a 'dirty' black person, but gradually Emmi's relationship is viewed as something exotic, with the very people that criticised her gradually readjusting their views in accordance with what they themselves need. Fassbinder's politics come most to the fore in these volte-faces, particularly the shopkeeper who admits that he cannot afford to be prejudiced toward Emmi and Ali when considering how much business has been taken from his store by the opening of a supermarket. Essentially, prejudice is shown to be a fear of the unknown 'other', most effectively converted into 'tolerance' by the material needs of a consumer-driven society (which brings a whole array of new 'fears' with it, mainly to do with status). Yet Fassbinder doesn't stop at this fairly modern understanding of globalisation processes, he undercuts this materially motivated tolerance, by showing the desperately lonely existences of so many of the character's within the film. Emmi and Ali are ultimately pulled together out of a shared loneliness, visually highlighted by striking shots of them isolated, or together, in doorways, as well as the mechanically repetitious manner in which they position themselves in the bar, or whilst dancing. There is a defiant sense of 'us against them', which is brilliantly articulated in the opening sequence, carefully conveyed by the length and direction of stares, and resurfaces in ridiculous moments, such as the couple's meeting at a park cafe, where the staff stand a distance away, reproachfully glowering at them. The audacity of staging a sequence in a Munich cafe that, as Emmi proudly tells us, was Hitler's favourite, shows the critical intellect at play in Fassbinder. Whilst little moments - such as when Emmi's neighbour first encounters Ali and quickly tells another neighbour that Mrs Kurowksi is seeing a 'black', only to then cast doubt on Emmi's Germanic lineage, as she is called Kurowksi after all - are particularly satisfying, as they reveal an ignorance and prejudice that is quickly recast (in this case Emmi reveals that she was married to a Pole). What is most difficult to grasp, and perhaps most disquietingly effective, is the manner in which Fassbinder develops Ali's character as a remote and somewhat alien one. Ali is nice, it would seem, but what does the viewer really come to know about him during the film: he works in a garage, he works for money, he has lots of older sisters, he feels Germans are different from Arabs, he has a fear of being in a dangerous situation, he likes couscous, gambling, trad music, brandy and taking showers. Throughout the film ben Salem plays Ali with only the barest of recognisable expressions on his face. Disturbingly I found my own attitudes to Ali were defined less by what I saw him doing, than by the way in which others, including Emmi, behaved toward him. Fassbinder is remarkably conscious of just how the group modifies the individual's perspective - look at the way Emmi's co-workers shun her, then reconfigure themselves against the Herzegovinan immigrant Yolanda (economics once more playing a central role). I will undoubtedly come back to A:FES after I have seen more of Fassbinder's work, as there was sufficient here to intrigue, even if the film feels less urgent in the light of modern movies like Ghosts or The Visitor. That is assuming that the thematic concern with immigration is the core of the movie, when I suspect it is much more to do with loneliness and alienation. ” - rohanberrywriter
 
11.
Certified Copy (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In Tuscany to promote his latest book, a middle-aged British writer meets a French woman who leads him to the village of Lucignano. While there, a chance question reveals something deeper. (106 mins.)
“ As with Fassbinder, so with Kiarostami. I've made it my mission for 2013 to watch as much of the new-wave of cinematic auteurs as possible, with Kiarostami being at the forefront of those. Unlike with Michael Haneke, I've not kept abreast of the 'great' Iranian filmmaker's work over the years, so Certified Copy is a 'safe' leap into those cerebral waters where memory is just another facsimile. Certified Copy plays out like a role-playing exercise in a drama workshop. Binoche and Shimell (a genuinely unusual piece of casting from opera) are like the Delpy/Hawke couple from Before Sunrise, except now horribly bourgeoisie and high-brow. The story takes place over the course of a day, but extends back and forth over a fifteen year time span. Shimell plays James Miller, the author of an academic work on the lack of appreciation given to the idea of a 'copy' within, presumably, Western culture. In the opening sequence of the film he is giving a talk in Tuscany, regarding the translation of the book into Italian. Already Kiarostami is playing with the audience, as language piles upon language, translation is shown to be another 'copy'. Miller recounts other talks he has given and previous experiences of Tuscany, that served as inspirations for his book and that will be approached more obliquely later on in the narrative. Experience is then catalouged as something copiable, with memory as the device, the medium, through which experience can be reconfigured as copy, as account, as recollection. Binoche's mysterious mother then enters into Miller's life, a woman living amongst the copies of Renaissance art in her antique store, with a strained and playful relationship with her son. Miller and Binoche embark on a tour around the local area, that soon reveals itself to be a memorial, of sorts, for a mutual affection held at a distance. Certified Copy is as infuriating a film as the two leads are to each other; the anger is always kept in check by an intense longing and affection. Binoche is growing into herself with age, becoming more assured, more expressive and more sexually playful. Her role here is to goad a response out of Shimmel's self-absorbed pontificator, to provoke a moment of intimacy that is comparable to, and ultimately transcends, the original qualities of intimacy between them. Kiarostami has a love of direct camera shots, that are fastidiously framed, and densely layered. This is a film about viewpoints, about slow accretions of information, that cast new light upon the central relationship, about the manner in which actions and emotions translate differently in various cultural contexts. A favoured composition is to foreground a lead's face, normally in portrait, against a backdrop of action occurring out of focus, or partially obscured. This enables Kiarostami to place the viewer in the position of the scrutinised, or at least it simulates that effect as often the actor in shot is responding to something off camera (either the other actor, or something occurring beyond). In almost every shot in the film there are reflections on mirrors, in picture frames, upon the surface of window glass, phantom copies of what is happening beyond the cinematic frame - this is most fully realised with a superb reverse tracking shot of the two leads in a car, as they travel through a narrow, cloistered street, the rooftops of the buildings reflecting down upon the windscreen of the car, like the grooves on a cine-reel. The relationship between Binoche and Shimell develops through a series of jumps in roleplay, as if they are breaking character for a moment to process a psychological revelation. Gradually, and not entirely successfully, the couple reconstruct a fragmentary sense of a relationship, which is all the more painful for its elisions and omissions. The film comes to serve as a microcosmic representation of their disintegrating marriage. My personal favourite scene involved the Italian trattoria owner who is amazed that Miller doesn't speak Italian, or French, when his wife clearly does. Binoche is brazen and natural in these moments, whilst the couple enjoy playing with their contrivances to both bamboozle the trattoria owner, and needle one another. Certified Copy is a frivolous exercise in love, laced with sly little ironies and played out against the 'living museum' backdrop of Tuscany. Like Miller's assertions about his sister-in-law, it is surprisingly simple, yet isn't it truly difficult to be just that simple. ” - rohanberrywriter
 
12.
Shadowboxer (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
When an assassin is diagnosed with terminal cancer, she decides to carry out one final killing, assisted by her lover and stepson, Mikey. (93 mins.)
Director: Lee Daniels
“ Some films get grossly overlooked upon release; and Shadowboxer is one of those films. Lee Daniels' directorial debut is a lithe and erotic thriller that trawls around the fecundity of love and death, switching gears midway through the film to become a work that recalls the fatefulness of Le Samourai and the entrapment of Fassbinder's Ali: Fear Eats the Soul. Central to the films understated power is the manner in which Daniels manages to cross-pollinate experimental cinema (the hyper-attuned cross-cutting during moments of sex and moments of violence), camp iconography (the absurd Elysian field of Mirren's death sequence, the casual use of drag queens and transgendered characters, Macy Gray), well-worn thriller motifs given a breath of life (the loner gunman, the sadistic gangster, the damsel in distress) and a virtuoso, hyper-modern, multiracial/bisexual style that is all his own (the presence of Precious - subject of a later film, or the casualness of the mother/son/lover relationship between Gooding Jnr. and Mirren). Cuba Gooding Jnr. hasn't been this focused since he demanded to be shown the money, and his performance is riven with quiet intelligence. What I found so engrossing about this film was the manner in which it set about its material with all the determination and focus of the hitmen at its heart. This is a cycle of violence movie, in which love becomes bound up with cruel and wicked acts. The opening sequence shows Cuba Gooding Jnr.'s Mikey as a 7-year-old, playing with his father's gun, disrupting the domestic violence that is going on off camera by firing the loaded weapon at a mirror, but not before he has injected the first bits of tension into the tale by aiming it at his own face, as if unaware what a gun is actually used for. At the film's end another child completes the cycle of violence, only to begin it again in a new context, by doing what Cuba Gooding Jnr.'s character was unable to do. The film goes out on the strangest of limbs with the central relationship between Mirren and Gooding Jnr., which is partly partner-in-crime, partly mentor, partly surrogate mother and partly lusting - and lusted after - love interest. Vanessa Ferlito's feminine wiles have a hard job of squeezing inbetween the chemistry between Mirren and Cuba Gooding Jnr., even after the former has ended up in the ground. This is a rigorous little petri dish of a movie, cultivating some of the basic tropes of 'promiscuity' that will go on to inform The Paperboy. Whereas that film feels loose, free-form and quite radical, Shadowboxer feels more self-composed, but with the same engine of curiosity pushing away at the predictable seams of the genre. A film that should be more widely enjoyed, particularly as Daniels really does appear to have some talent. ” - rohanberrywriter
 
13.
Dogtooth (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Three teenagers live isolated, without leaving their house, because their over-protective parents say they can only leave when their dogtooth falls out. (94 mins.)
“ Once Kynodontas has established its tightly controlled central reality – a cold, clinically arranged, almost ascetic family home and walled garden – it plays out like a particularly unsettling black comedy. It’s a film about patriarchal power and systemic tyranny, that features a family, which for the contemporary viewer will undoubtedly be haunted by the historical proximity of the Fritzl affair.

You are never sure if the family in Kynodontas are a proper family, or some concocted ‘abduction’ family, suffering from an extreme form of Stockholm Syndrome. Either way the household is dominated by the controlling antics of the father figure (played with a frighteningly still insanity by Christos Stergioglou).

Gender issues are foregrounded in Kynodontas by the manner in which the father is seen to favour the son with the ‘stickers’ and sexual experiences that are a mark of reward for ‘tasks’ well done. The women in the household have a numerical advantage, but seem to initially be playing second fiddle to the father/son relationship. Gradually however, we become aware of the subtle control being exercised by the mother, who has chosen to give horrific words a safe, innocuous meaning, entirely detached from any negative influence. Thus a *beep* becomes a large lamp.

The older of the two sisters in the film is the character who ultimately begins to explore the world beyond the strictly limited one presented to her. Conversation with the prostitute/security guard who visits the brother, gives way to sexual manipulation, blackmail, Hollywood cinema and explicit violence. The parent’s best efforts to control the manner of their children’s stimulation – to the point where labels are peeled off of purchased products and music lyrics are reinterpreted in a ideologically more acceptable manner – are ultimately undone by sex and violence.

Lanthimos’s approach in Kynodontas is to simulate the experimental ‘deprivation’ the young people experience. The audience is fed a very carefully modulated filmic reality. The childish behavior of the kids offset by their adult physiques – reminiscent of Dennis Potter. Bodies are frequently framed with a focus upon the torso, leaving the heads of the actors spilling out of shot, robbing the audience of crucial identifiers. The interior of the house is decorated in pale, washed-out colours, with an overabundance of clinical, blank whites in the children’s bedrooms, depriving them, and us, of a dispersed series of focal points. Sex is portrayed as a mechanical act, two naked bodies in a system relation. With few exceptions Lanthimos refuses to present the limited space of this domestic compound as a continuous space, leaving the impression that the children inhabit separate, detached cells. Language is likewise bamboozling as it doesn’t adhere to the patterns we’d expect. Similarly the children’s mimicry of film scenes, pain and animals, has a ‘fakeness’ about it that disorients and unsettles.

Kynodontas is a relentlessly programmatic film, that forces its audience to endure the blanking deprivations of its protagonists. It’s a torture-trap of a movie, that is far crueler than the blunt grotesqueries of modern horror’s post-Saw obsessions. It’s a film that lingers in the darkest parts of the imagination, and whose power can be summed up in an opening shot that drags tension out of the anticipation of a name that is never forthcoming. Like dogs we are easily trained, whilst like zombies we simply await the impending apocalypse. ” - rohanberrywriter
 
14.
Drive (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A mysterious Hollywood stuntman and mechanic moonlights as a getaway driver and finds himself in trouble when he helps out his neighbor. (100 mins.)
 
15.
Ivansxtc (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Update on Leo Tolstoy's "The Death of Ivan Ilyich," set in contemporary Hollywood. (92 mins.)
Director: Bernard Rose
 
16.
Life of Pi (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger. (127 mins.)
Director: Ang Lee
 
17.
The Spirit of the Beehive (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
In 1940, after watching and being traumatized by the movie Frankenstein, a sensitive seven year-old girl living in a small Spanish village drifts into her own fantasy world. (97 mins.)
Director: Víctor Erice
 
18.
Jack Reacher (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A homicide investigator digs deeper into a case involving a trained military sniper who shot five random victims. (130 mins.)
 
19.
Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present (2012 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A documentary that follows the Serbian performance artist as she prepares for a retrospective of her work at The Museum of Modern Art in New York. (106 mins.)
 
20.
Lifeboat (1944)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
Several survivors of a torpedoed ship find themselves in the same boat with one of the men who sunk it. (97 mins.)
 
21.
Twentieth Century (1934)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
A flamboyant Broadway impresario who has fallen on hard times tries to get his former lover, now a Hollywood diva, to return and resurrect his failing career. (91 mins.)
Director: Howard Hawks
 
22.
Post Mortem (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
In Chile, 1973, during the last days of Salvador Allende's presidency, an employee at a Morgue's recording office falls for a burlesque dancer who mysteriously disappears. (98 mins.)
Director: Pablo Larraín
 
23.
Django Unchained (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
With the help of a German bounty hunter, a freed slave sets out to rescue his wife from a brutal Mississippi plantation owner. (165 mins.)
 
24.
The Campaign (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
An incumbent congressman embroiled in personal scandal faces a no-holds-barred challenge from a naive newcomer funded by two unscrupulous billionaire lobbyist brothers. (85 mins.)
Director: Jay Roach
 
25.
Elena (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
When a sudden illness and an unexpected reunion threaten dutiful housewife Elena's potential inheritance, she must hatch a desperate plan ... (109 mins.)
 
26.
Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified advertisement seeking a companion for time travel. (86 mins.)
Director: Colin Trevorrow
 
27.
What Richard Did (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
What Richard Did follows Richard Karlsen, golden-boy athlete and undisputed alpha-male of his privileged set of South Dublin teenagers... (88 mins.)
 
28.
The Death of Mr. Lazarescu (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
Mr. Lazarescu, a 63 year old lonely man feels sick and calls the ambulance. When it arrives, the paramedic... (153 mins.)
Director: Cristi Puiu
 
29.
Duel (1971 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A business commuter is pursued and terrorized by the malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer. (90 mins.)
 
30.
The Stranger (1946)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
An investigator from the War Crimes Commission travels to Connecticut to find an infamous Nazi. (95 mins.)
Director: Orson Welles
 
31.
The Master (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A Naval veteran arrives home from war unsettled and uncertain of his future - until he is tantalized by The Cause and its charismatic leader. (144 mins.)
 
32.
The Girl (2012 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
The turbulent relationship between filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock and actress Tippi Hedren. (91 mins.)
Director: Julian Jarrold
 
33.
Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
In the 16th century, the ruthless and insane Don Lope de Aguirre leads a Spanish expedition in search of El Dorado. (93 mins.)
Director: Werner Herzog
 
34.
Les Misérables (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
In 19th-century France, Jean Valjean, who for decades has been hunted by the ruthless policeman Javert after breaking parole, agrees to care for a factory worker's daughter. The decision changes their lives forever. (158 mins.)
Director: Tom Hooper
 
35.
Taken 2 (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
In Istanbul, retired CIA operative Bryan Mills and his wife are taken hostage by the father of a kidnapper Mills killed while rescuing his daughter. (92 mins.)
Director: Olivier Megaton
 
36.
Hit and Run (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  
Former getaway driver Charlie Bronson jeopardizes his Witness Protection Plan identity in order to help his girlfriend get to Los Angeles. The feds and Charlie's former gang chase them on the road. (100 mins.)
 
37.
Gangster Squad (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
It's 1949 Los Angeles, the city is run by gangsters and a malicious mobster, Mickey Cohen. Determined to end the corruption, John O'Mara assembles a team of cops, ready to take down the ruthless leader and restore peace to the city. (113 mins.)
Director: Ruben Fleischer
 
38.
Pitch Perfect (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Beca, a freshman at Barden University, is cajoled into joining The Bellas, her school's all-girls singing group. Injecting some much needed energy into their repertoire, The Bellas take on their male rivals in a campus competition. (112 mins.)
Director: Jason Moore
 
39.
Lincoln (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
As the Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves. (150 mins.)
 
40.
Broken (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
The story of a young girl in North London whose life changes after witnessing a violent attack. (91 mins.)
Director: Rufus Norris
 
41.
Holy Motors (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the shadowy life of a mystic man named Monsieur Oscar. (115 mins.)
Director: Leos Carax
 
42.
Moonlighting (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A Polish contractor, Nowak, leads a group of workmen to London so they can provide cheap labor for a government official based there... (97 mins.)
 
43.
Hadewijch (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
The aspirant nun Céline vel Hadewijch is invited to leave the convent where she studies and she returns to the house of her mother in Paris... (105 mins.)
Director: Bruno Dumont
 
44.
Outside Satan (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
In a village on the French Opal Coast, a drifter engages in a perplexing relationship with a young woman who has suffered abuse. (110 mins.)
Director: Bruno Dumont
 
45.
The Possession (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
A young girl buys an antique box at a yard sale, unaware that inside the collectible lives a malicious ancient spirit. The girl's father teams with his ex-wife to find a way to end the curse upon their child. (92 mins.)
Director: Ole Bornedal
 
46.
Hotel Transylvania (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Dracula, who operates a high-end resort away from the human world, goes into overprotective mode when a boy discovers the resort and falls for the count's teen-aged daughter. (91 mins.)
 
47.
[Rec] (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A television reporter and cameraman follow emergency workers into a dark apartment building and are quickly locked inside with something terrifying. (78 mins.)
 
48.
The Factory (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
An obsessed cop is on the trail of a serial killer prowling the streets of Buffalo, N.Y. but when his teenage daughter disappears, he drops any professional restraint to get the killer. (104 mins.)
Director: Morgan O'Neill
 
49.
Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own. (122 mins.)
 
50.
Viola (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A group of actresses performing in a production of Shakespeare's "Twelfth Night" get caught up in a web of romantic intrigue and revelation. (65 mins.)
 
51.
Gold (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
In the summer of 1898, a small group of German compatriots head into the hostile northern interior of British Columbia in search for gold at the height of the Klondike Gold Rush. (101 mins.)
Director: Thomas Arslan
 
52.
The Student of Prague (1913)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
A poor student rescues a beautiful countess and soon becomes obsessed with her. A sorcerer makes a deal... (85 mins.)
 
53.
When I Saw You (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
1967. The world is alive with change: brimming with reawakened energy, new styles, music and an infectious sense of hope... (98 mins.)
Director: Annemarie Jacir
 
54.
Nobody's Daughter Haewon (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The secret relationship between a student and a teacher, will their love last? (90 mins.)
Director: Sang-soo Hong
 
55.
On My Way (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
Facing a failed relationship and a struggling restaurant, a woman hits the road for a trip with her grandson. (116 mins.)
 
56.
Fifi Howls from Happiness (2013 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A documentary on provocative artist Bahman Mohassess, the so-called "Persian Picasso," whose acclaimed paintings and sculptures dominated pre-revolutionary Iran. (96 mins.)
Director: Mitra Farahani
 
57.
Rust and Bone (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
Put in charge of his young son, Alain leaves Belgium for Antibes to live with his sister and her husband as a family. Alain's bond with Stephanie, a killer whale trainer, grows deeper after Stephanie suffers a horrible accident. (120 mins.)
Director: Jacques Audiard
 
58.
Break Up the Dance (1957 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
Youths get ready for a party, decorating the dance floor, cleaning out the fountain of a pond. That evening... (8 mins.)
Director: Roman Polanski
 
59.
Pusher (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.5/10 X  
In London, a street dealer's life spins out of control over the course of one week after he borrows money from his supplier on what's supposed to be a sure thing. (89 mins.)
Director: Luis Prieto
 
60.
Inbred (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.2/10 X  
Four young offenders and their care workers visit the remote Yorkshire village of Mortlake, which prides on keeping itself to itself. A minor incident with locals rapidly escalates into a blood-soaked, deliriously warped nightmare. (90 mins.)
Director: Alex Chandon
 
61.
The Deep End (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A woman spirals out of control while trying to keep her son from being found culpable in a murder investigation. (101 mins.)
 
62.
Lore (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
As the Allies sweep across Germany, Lore leads her siblings on a journey that exposes them to the truth of their parents' beliefs. An encounter with a mysterious refugee forces Lore to rely on a person she has always been taught to hate. (109 mins.)
Director: Cate Shortland
 
63.
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L.s Team 6 in May 2011. (157 mins.)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow
 
64.
For a Good Time, Call... (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
Former college frenemies Lauren and Katie move into a fabulous Gramercy Park apartment, and in order to make ends meet, the unlikely pair start a phone sex line together. (85 mins.)
Director: Jamie Travis
 
65.
Sparkle (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
In the 1960s, three sisters form a girl group and soon become local sensations with major label interest, but fame becomes a challenge as the close-knit family begins to fall apart. (116 mins.)
Director: Salim Akil
 
66.
There Will Be Blood (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
A story of family, religion, hatred, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of the business. (158 mins.)
 
67.
Camouflage (1977)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A group of students are spending the summer vacation at a university camp studying the science of linguistics... (106 mins.)
 
68.
Holiday (1938)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A young man falls in love with a girl from a rich family. His unorthodox plan to go on holiday for the early years of his life is met with skepticism by everyone except for his fiancée's eccentric sister and long-suffering brother. (95 mins.)
Director: George Cukor
 
69.
Michael (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
Five months in the life of a pedophile who keeps a 10-year-old boy locked in his basement. (96 mins.)
 
70.
We Are What We Are (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.7/10 X  
When the patriarch of the family passes away, the teenage children must take responsibility for the family chores: the preparation of the rituals... (90 mins.)
 
71.
Home Movie (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
In the remote woods of Upstate New York, David and Clare Poe are attempting to live an idyllic life. However, their twin children's bizarre behavior might just tear the family apart. (77 mins.)
 
72.
The Man Who Cried (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.2/10 X  
A young refugee traveling from Russia to America in search of her lost father falls for a gypsy horseman. (100 mins.)
Director: Sally Potter
 
73.
Goodbye, Dragon Inn (2003)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
On a dark, wet night a historic and regal Chinese cinema sees its final film. Together with a small handful of souls they bid "Goodbye, Dragon Inn." (82 mins.)
Director: Ming-liang Tsai
 
74.
Lust, Caution (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
During World War II era, a young woman, Wang Jiazhi, gets swept up in a dangerous game of emotional intrigue with a powerful political figure, Mr. Yee. (157 mins.)
Director: Ang Lee
 
75.
The Headless Woman (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.5/10 X  
After running into something with her car, Vero experiences a particular psychological state. She realizes she might have killed someone. (87 mins.)
Director: Lucrecia Martel
 
76.
Une partie de cartes (1896 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.1/10 X  
Three friends are playing cards in a beer garden. One of them orders drinks. The waitress comes back with a bottle of wine and three glasses on a tray... (1 mins.)
 
77.
Transformation by Hats (1895 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  
In commedia dell'arte style, an actor on a stool presents six distinct characters through speedy application of whiskers and a hat or... (1 mins.)
Director: Louis Lumière
 
78.
Skyscrapers of New York City, from the North River (1903 Documentary)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.0/10 X  
This short film shows a panoramic view of Manhattan Island, as it appeared in 1903. The island is viewed from the North River (Hudson River)... (3 mins.)
Director: J.B. Smith
 
79.
Four Heads Are Better Than One (1898 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
One of the greatest of black art pictures. The conjurer appears before the audience, with his head in its proper place... (1 mins.)
 
80.
The One-Man Band (1900 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A band-leader assembles an orchestra by mystifying means. (2 mins.)
 
81.
The Enchanted Drawing (1900 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A cartoonist defies reality when he draws objects that become three-dimensional after he lifts them off his sketch pad. (2 mins.)
 
82.
Holy Motors (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
From dawn to dusk, a few hours in the shadowy life of a mystic man named Monsieur Oscar. (115 mins.)
Director: Leos Carax
 
83.
A Trip to the Moon (1902 Short Film)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
A group of astronomers go on an expedition to the Moon. (13 mins.)
 
84.
Flanders (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  
Bruno Dumont follows up the controversial Twentynine Palms with this tale of a group of young soldiers who go off to war and experience some life-changing events. Flandres won the Grand Prix Prize at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival. (91 mins.)
Director: Bruno Dumont
 
85.
Ruby Sparks (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A novelist struggling with writer's block finds romance in a most unusual way: by creating a female character he thinks will love him, then willing her into existence. (104 mins.)
 
86.
Funny Face (1957)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
An impromptu fashion shoot at a book store brings about a new fashion model discovery in the shop clerk. (103 mins.)
Director: Stanley Donen
 
87.
Demonlover (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
Two corporations compete for illicit 3D manga pornography, sending spies to infiltrate each other's operations. (129 mins.)
Director: Olivier Assayas
 
88.
Princess Mononoke (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
On a journey to find the cure for a Tatarigami's curse, Ashitaka finds himself in the middle of a war between the forest gods and Tatara, a mining colony. In this quest he also meets San, the Mononoke Hime. (134 mins.)
Director: Hayao Miyazaki
 
89.
The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A newly engaged couple have a breakdown in an isolated area and must pay a call to the bizarre residence of Dr. Frank-N-Furter. (100 mins.)
Director: Jim Sharman
 
90.
Liberal Arts (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
When 30-something Jesse returns to his alma mater for a professor's retirement party, he falls for Zibby, a college student, and is faced with a powerful attraction that springs up between them. (97 mins.)
Director: Josh Radnor
 
91.
Compliance (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A normal Friday service at a fast food restaurant becomes interrupted by a police officer who claims an employee stole from a customer, but something more sinister is going on. (90 mins.)
Director: Craig Zobel
 
92.
Hyde Park on Hudson (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.9/10 X  
The story of the love affair between FDR and his distant cousin Margaret "Daisy" Suckley, centered around the weekend in 1939 when the King and Queen of the United Kingdom visited upstate New York. (94 mins.)
Director: Roger Michell
 
93.
The Phantom of the Opera (1990 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Count de Chagnie has discovered Christine's singing talent on a market place and sent her to his friend Carriere... (168 mins.)
Director: Tony Richardson
 
94.
Garden State (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A quietly troubled young man returns home for his mother's funeral after being estranged from his family for a decade. (102 mins.)
Director: Zach Braff
 
95.
Almost Famous (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A high-school boy is given the chance to write a story for Rolling Stone Magazine about an up-and-coming rock band as he accompanies them on their concert tour. (122 mins.)
Director: Cameron Crowe
 
96.
Beginners (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young man is rocked by two announcements from his elderly father: that he has terminal cancer, and that he has a young male lover. (105 mins.)
Director: Mike Mills
 
97.
Cactus Flower (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A dentist pretends to be married to avoid commitment, but when he falls for his girlfriend and proposes, he must recruit his lovelorn nurse to pose as his wife. (103 mins.)
Director: Gene Saks
 
98.
Ruby Sparks (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A novelist struggling with writer's block finds romance in a most unusual way: by creating a female character he thinks will love him, then willing her into existence. (104 mins.)
 
99.
The Guilt Trip (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.8/10 X  
As inventor Andy Brewster is about to embark on the road trip of a lifetime, a quick stop at his mom's house turns into an unexpected cross-country voyage with her along for the ride. (95 mins.)
Director: Anne Fletcher
 
100.
Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L.s Team 6 in May 2011. (157 mins.)
Director: Kathryn Bigelow