Monday, December 2, 2019

Movie tweets to December 2, 2019 (4 of 4)




Funny Ha Ha (2002) – Bujalski perfectly channels a generation’s faltering adulthood, with the film’s modest means reflecting its milieu



Love in the City (1953) – a valuably auteur-heavy docu-fiction compilation, much more socially & existentially bleak than the title suggests



Submergence (2017) – Wenders’ strained narrative mostly fails to productively interrogate or stimulate, even less to create cinematic poetry



The Rite (1969) – Bergman’s study of art and authority in conflict is somewhat overstated and grotesque, and yet comprehensively stunning



The Falcon and the Snowman (1985) – Schlesinger’s spy drama is smoothly executed, but rather too politically and emotionally lightweight



Toute une vie (1974) – Lelouch’s romantic epic expands outward with hypnotically vast ambition, at the cost of a recurring emptiness



The Dressmaker (2015) – a borderline-gratingly eccentric patchwork, consistently well-stitched by Moorhouse, but with skin-deep impact



De Mayerling a Sarajevo (1940) – an unusual Ophuls work in its mesh of ominous political specificity and elegantly timeless romanticism



Barton Fink (1991) – the Coens’ painstaking, gusto-infused, yet largely affectless vision of Hollywood as (at least) existential purgatory



Une histoire simple (1978) – Sautet’s empathetic, anxiety-attuned study is appealing, but less striking than his propulsive genre work



The Rider (2017) – Zhao’s gloriously considered and observed film engages uniquely with damaged masculinity and compromised sense of purpose



Le cave se rebiffe (1961) – Grainger’s counterfeiter drama, entirely typical of late Gabin, plays pretty well if hardly too distinctively



Sophie’s Choice (1982) – despite its “classic” elements, Pakula’s reverent but mis-weighted adaptation is among his less impressive films



Le notti di Cabiria (1957) – for all its heavy pathos, one willingly yields by now to the contours of Fellini’s film as those of a classic



Ready Player One (2018) – Spielberg notionally asserts the primacy of reality, while rejecting it with dazzlingly kinetic repetitiveness



Sextette (1977) – an astounding concoction, hardly lacking in bizarro interest, “directed” by Hughes with a sense of despairing hopelessness



And Life Goes On (1992) – Kiarostami’s journey through extreme human resilience exemplifies his masterly, expansively interrogative method



Bed of Roses (1933) – La Cava’s girls-on-the-make comedy packs plenty of plot, but gets flatter and less snappy as the girls get gooder



Western (2017) – Grisebach’s well-observed study of cross-cultural aspirations and realities, richly lodged in the folds of modern Europe



The Island of Dr. Moreau (1977) – Taylor’s no-dawdling adaptation doesn’t have much individuality, nor much relish for the sheer weirdness



A Short Film About Killing (1988) – a promise chillingly kept: Kieslowski achieves a multi-faceted, if knowingly circumscribed perfection



Oh…Rosalinda!! (1955) – for all its formal excellence, Powell and Pressburger’s late musical too often feels rather distant and academic



Bergman Island (2004) – Nyrerod’s satisfyingly frank, often poignant (if highly selective) portrait of a filmic lion in isolated winter



Guns of the Trees (1961) – Mekas’ incompletely realized (as acknowledged) debut is nonetheless productively strange, whimsical and engaged



Tabu (2012) – Gomes’ singularly surprising film, in which classical cinematic dream-making  emerges from artful contemporary complexity



Cuba (1979) – Lester’s romance-infused drama veers from knowing classicism into uninvolving artificiality, despite many interesting elements



The Emperor of Peru (1982) – a pretty enjoyable kid-friendly fantasy, especially when Arrabal brings the subdued peculiarity to the fore



Sergeant York (1941) – among the least Hawksian and most conventionally emotion-stoking of Hawks films, but not entirely unmoving



Let the Girls Play (2018) – Hallard’s breezy film prioritizes bright & easy narrative, at the cost of much deeper engagement or illumination



Sunday too Far Away (1975) – Hannam’s study of the sheep-shearing life is modest in most respects, but always anthropologically interesting



Le pont des arts (2004) – Green’s beautiful expression of art’s transcendent, connective possibilities, and the associated earthly threats



Cool Hand Luke (1967) – the rebellion in Rosenberg’s drama is mainly skin-deep, albeit very charismatic, glisteningly photographed skin



A Useful Life (2010) – Veiroj’s study of enforced transition is nicely done throughout, with particular resonance for aging cineastes (hi!)



To Catch a Thief (1955) – Hitchcock’s mostly shallow distraction often pushes scenic sophistication into the realm of pure abstraction



Class Relations (1984) – Straub/Huillet’s stark vision of a serially enmeshing, subjugating America is among their most powerful works



Get Carter (1971) – Hodges’ gangster classic is a hard-to-look-away negotiation between cold-eyed genre swagger and locally-rooted grit



La pelicula infinita (2018) – Listorti’s compilation taps into what might be cinema’s secret dream, of becoming pure Lynchian conspiracy



Swiss Miss (1938) – worth it for Laurel, Hardy, the St. Bernard and the piano, despite the dull setting and stodgy wraparound material



Benny’s Video (1992) – Haneke’s ambiguous fable of technology-fueled deterioration is effective but limited as both diagnosis and prophecy



The Hot Rock (1972) – Yates’ film may be the epitome of the undemandingly creative, pleasantly acted, un-bothersomely weightless caper flick



The Man from Nowhere (2010) – Lee’s pitting of enigmatic protagonist against the sleazy world is muscularly stylish, but mostly unmoving



Satan in High Heels (1962) – Intrator’s melodrama spins its wheels for much of the time, seldom living up to the title’s sleazy promise



True Stories (1986) – Byrne’s eye-filling journey through puzzlin’ modern-day evidence and fancy is one of the great cinematic one-offs



Wild Strawberries (1957) – among Bergman’s most classically impeccable, all-seeing studies, less disquieting than his later savage peaks



You Were Never Really Here (2017) – Ramsay’s striking but minor film infuses low-grade melodrama with dark texture & traumatic implication



Un papillon sur l’epaule (1978) – Deray’s enjoyable journey of conspiracy-tinged bemusement, toward an arrival point of limited clarity



Bottle Rocket (1996) – Anderson’s uncannily out-of-the-box-Andersonian debut is a happy string of variously peculiar, absurd & sweet notions



Antoine et Antoinette (1947) – Becker impeccably ventilates his sweetly simple narrative with a bustling wealth of flavorful observation



Isle of Dogs (2018) – eccentric material even for Anderson, laying on layers of oddity and separation with happy, beguiling hermeticism



The Ear (1970) – Kachyna’s fluently uneasy exploration of a toxic marriage, backgrounded by pervasive state-driven insecurity & infiltration



See You in the Morning (1989) – Pakula’s interesting but rather too aridly analytical exploration of modern familial infrastructure



The Sicilian Clan (1969) – given the great trio of stars, it’s a pity Verneuil’s crime epic isn’t more tonally and thematically striking



Darkest Hour (2017) – it feels like such overly- polished & -orchestrated slabs of history should have run their course, but apparently not



Archimede, le clochard (1959) – hardly a demanding work, but lifted by its verbal ornateness and by Grangier’s loose, unfussy handling



Babylon (1980) – Rosso’s electrifying portrait of community, in all its exuberant complexity, transcendent aspiration and besieged reality



Max et les ferrailleurs (1971) – Sautet’s drama drives home its strong premise, within a rich observance of contrasting tones & moralities



The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (2018) – the Coens’ beautifully-judged, existentially-charged journey along the Western-genre spectrum of doom



The President (1919) – Dreyer’s penetrating drama of transgression and guilt, well-attuned to recurring patriarchal arrogance and injustice



Career Girls (1997) – simple and yet increasingly expansive, even mystical, Leigh enjoyably explores the complicated energies of friendship



Le voleur de crimes (1969) – Trintignant’s tale of proud self-obliteration is a bit too slight, for all its sustained eccentric intensity



Disobedience (2017) – Lelio appears almost eerily attuned to the material & milieu, creating a consistently, observantly subtle experience



Car Wash (1976) – even when embracing dumbness, Schultz’s comedy has winning interactions and a persistent feeling for societal currents



L’infant de l’hiver (1989) – early but quite assured Assayas work shows his feeling for emotional structures, if not yet fully inhabited



The Lost Weekend (1945) – Wilder’s literately wrenching drama is hardly uninteresting, but now seems over-emphatic in many respects



The Dreamed Path (2016) – Beckermann contrasts conversations between generations, crafting an alluring sense of communion across them



Unman, Wittering & Zigo (1971) – Mackenzie’s drama of British public school malevolence: no If, but effective on its own off-putting terms



Deep Crimson (1996) – Ripstein gives the macabre story an effective if limited air of twisted vulnerability and lurking deep-black comedy



A Countess from Hong Kong (1967) – Chaplin’s last film is hardly a success, but may be grudgingly admired for its stubborn artificiality



Stray Dogs (2013) – Tsai’s film is persistently, hauntingly touching and connective, despite its unique, withholding strangeness 



China Gate (1957) – Fuller’s artifice-transcending Apocalypse Now-like quest digs deeply & rawly into racial prejudice & political ambiguity



L’oeuvre au noir (1988) – Delvaux’s Inquisition-era drama leavens its prevailing studious gravity with idiosyncratic inquiry & observation



The Fury (1978) – the film bursts with sensational De Palma sequences, while ultimately seeming perplexingly unworthy of his attention



Black Tide (2018) – Zonka’s no-one-is-innocent police drama is pretty effective, despite its ample doses of hamminess and overstatement



The Music Box (1932) – a reliable delight for Stan and Ollie’s beautifully textured interplay, although this isn’t its richest expression



Farewell, Babylon! (1993) – out of not that much, Arrabal spins a mostly diverting, happily eccentric quasi-narrative (and time capsule)



Thank God it’s Friday (1978) – Klane’s sanitized, inoffensive diversion offers prototypical character antics and credits-to-credits disco



Visages villages (2017) – Varda and JR’s enchanting, sweetly poignant journey overflows with productive, respectful engagement and invention



House on Bare Mountain (1962) – Frost brings some real zest to his nudie-centric narrative, but it’s unfortunately only minimally infectious



Too Early/Too Late (1982) – Straub/Huillet’s impeccably measured indictment of capitalism’s crushing of natural dignity, agency and beauty



Stalag 17 (1953) – Wilder’s blend of dark drama and dumb comedy is well-paced and -calculated rather to the point of alienating coldness



Au poste! (2018) – Dupieux’s amiably goofy police-interrogation comedy playfully and unpredictably interrogates its own form and content



The Skin Game (1931) – a dated but still quite biting tale of conflicting values and prejudices, lifted by the odd Hitchcockian flourish



Mala noche (1986) – Van Sant’s first feature is perhaps still his most personally expressed, emotionally frank & sociologically interesting



Les naufragés de l'île de la Tortue (1976) – Rozier’s singular comedy celebrates openness to chance and discovery, in life and (and as) art



The Post (2017) – a softly conventional treatment of the material by any measure, but Spielberg certainly runs a polished, assured show



Paw (1959) – Henning-Jensen’s tale of a “boy of two worlds” is scenically pleasurable, while depending on simplistic cultural oppositions



Hammett (1982) – Wenders navigates fluidly within conventions and ambiguities, at once objectively distanced and seductively enmeshed



Profound Desires of the Gods (1968) – a compelling provocation, for all Imamura’s calculated drawing on primitivism and transgression



The 15:17 to Paris (2018) – Eastwood’s intriguingly experimental take on the material roots the heroism in extreme unadorned ordinariness



The Old Gun (1975) – Enrico discomfitingly steers from honorably anguished evocation of war to near exploitation-genre-type vengeance



Water (1985) – Clement’s cluttered colonial farce hits wanly at easy political targets, entirely ignoring the real tragedy of its premise



The Song of Home (1925) – Mizoguchi’s somewhat schematic and inevitably ragged early film already shows his deep feeling and individualism



Film Stars don’t die in Liverpool (2017) – McGuigan’s appealing but minor historical footnote lacks much sense of faded Hollywood glamour



Pravda (1970) – viewed at a time of brutally ascendant capitalism, the Vertov Group’s rather plaintive seriousness becomes reinvigorated



Fort Apache the Bronx (1981) – Petrie’s focus-shifting, episodically-ambitious cop drama ultimately lacks authorial strength and flavour



Days of Hate (1954) – Nilsson’s concise tale of an obsessed woman carries a pervasive oneiric quality, creating its own unsettling texture



Female Human Animal (2018) – Appignanesi constructs an absorbing, informatively provocative investigation, although not without missteps



Melodie en sous-sol (1963) – Verneuil’s unhurried handling & some nifty moves lift the caper mechanics, and then there’s also Delon & Gabin



How to Get Ahead in Advertising (1989) – Robinson’s very patchy & unsatisfactory film does retain shards of eloquence & conceptual grandeur



Le maître-nageur (1979) – Trintignant’s weirdo satire is dotted with piercing moments, within an uncompromisingly whimsical overall scheme



Phantom Thread (2017) – Anderson thrillingly evokes a hermetic creative world, in all its nuanced glory and seeping underlying instability



Goupi mains rouges (1943) – Becker’s bustling story of familial conflicts, evidencing all his supple mastery with character and incident



Permanent Vacation (1980) – a lonely study, modest in scope and in resources, but satisfactorily equipped with emerging Jarmuschian attitude



Le secret (1974) – Enrico’s intriguingly enigmatic if not ultimately too illuminating drama, drawing deeply on charismatic star presence



22 July (2018) – Greengrass’ reverent recreation is as solid as expected, but tends toward over-conventionality in its tone and focus



La casa del angel (1957) – Nilsson’s atmospheric study of emerging sexuality, beautifully poised between innocence, repression and menace



Heathers (1988) – Lehmann’s multi-kind-of-iconic, black-as-death-and-then-some, parody-transcending comedy still surprises and impresses



Classe tous risques (1960) – Sautet puts across the packed narrative with the optimum meeting of pacey toughness and immersed sensitivity



Molly’s Game (2017) – Sorkin’s mannered skill verges by now on grating self-parody, generating a pointless, uninterestingly proficient film



Craig’s Wife (1936) – Arzner’s condensed drama of a woman’s unraveling, filled with precise observation and wide-reaching social implication



Cure (1997) – with quietly creeping mastery, Kurosawa extends his terrific genre premise into broader implication and destabilization



The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979) – Alda and Schatzberg’s genteel calibrations and contrasts go down too soothingly to matter much now



Amour fou (2014) – Hausner transfixingly crafts a highly-poised, allusive reflection on freedom and its personal and societal ambiguities



Shadows (1959) – from the start, Cassavetes was the greatest & coolest of behavioral choreographers & investigators, also of shit disturbers



A Short Film about Love (1988) – a shivery prison of a film, but conceived and executed by Kieslowski with almost breathtaking exactitude



Charlie Bubbles (1968) – Finney’s one film as director is both formally striking and pensively authentic, if ultimately overly elusive



Roma (2018) – Cuaron’s grandly (almost disquietingly) well-achieved evocation, marked by shimmering observation and stunning set-pieces



Renaldo and Clara (1978) – Dylan wraps his Rolling Thunder tour record in wryly messy observation and wistfully eccentric playacting



Alexandria Again and Forever (1989) – Chahine’s full-blooded, politically charged outburst, overwhelmed by endless self-mythologizing



Cops (1922) – Keaton and Cline’s priceless short ranks among the most fluently and elegantly unbroken twenty minutes of comedy on film



120 battements par minute (2017) – Campillo’s essential, perfectly-calibrated memoir of Act Up - Paris is galvanizing and heartbreaking



The Late Show (1977) – the (forced) Carney/Tomlin teaming only partially elevates the prevailing ordinariness of Benton’s comedic film noir



Palermo Shooting (2008) – Wenders’ citing of Bergman & Antonioni only confirms his own film’s gimmicky, if proficiently explored, hollowness



Dementia (1955) – Parker’s sinisterly sleazy vision is a striking, if ultimately rather hollow assembly of troubled surfaces and notions



Senoritas (2013) – Rodriguez’s observation of a young woman balances intimacy & isolation, connectivity & anomie, revelation & unknowability



Kaleidoscope (1966) – Smight’s low-impact caper illustrates Beatty’s oddly recurring career-long affinity to flat, undemanding material



La balance (1982) – Swaim’s multi-faceted crime drama is skillful but not really genre-defying, rendering its stature rather mysterious



The Wrath of God (1972) – Nelson’s rambunctious movie is mostly notions and affectations, devoid of any Peckinpah-like coalescing spirit



A Fantastic Woman (2017) – a few grace notes aside, Lelio’s film draws its strength from sympathetic dignity rather than radicalism



The Flying Deuces (1939) – an enjoyably rickety Laurel and Hardy feature, with a peculiarly (ultimately nuttily) morbid underlying streak



The Voice of the Moon (1990) – Fellini’s last film doesn’t lack for characteristic flourishes, but seldom fully galvanizes or inspires



Bloodbrothers (1978) – Mulligan doesn’t seem ideally attuned to the boisterous material, although it’s dotted with searching moments



Patience (after Sebald) (2012) – Gee’s superbly-crafted essay film is at once dramatization, elucidation, extrapolation and pilgrimage



Little Peach (1958) – Naruse immerses himself deeply, often rawly, into the grind of marriage; as a woman’s choice, and as her subjugation



Finders Keepers (1984) – Lester’s breathless comedy is a relative marvel of pacing and organization, but one of pretty hollow consequence



Du rififi a Paname (1966) – given the raw elements (Gabin vs Raft!), de La Patelliere’s international crime mishmash is pretty underwhelming



Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) – McDonagh’s largely grotesque contrivance should have been shunned more than lauded



Du cote d’Orouet (1971) – beneath its easy pleasures, Rozier’s understated film explores under-examined lives & the institution of leisure



Scrubbers (1982) – Zetterling’s raucously humane study of female confinement, with an almost Kubrickian attunement to visionary strangeness



La petite Lise (1930) – Gremillon’s drama is suffused in fatalistic brooding, with sequences of intense, almost disembodied physicality



Unsane (2018) – for all Soderbergh’s practiced intensity, the movie’s ultimate impact doesn’t much transcend that of standard fraught peril



Foxtrot (1976) – Ripstein’s sputtering tale of class-fueled desert island breakdown is underpowered both as drama and as wartime allegory



Southern Comfort (1981) – at the engaged peak of his terse powers, Hill elevates a nastily conceived narrative to near-classic status



Ten to sen (1958) – apparently based on classic detective material, but Kobayashi’s extremely perfunctory handling hardly brings that out



The Shape of Water (2017) – del Toro’s immaculately-textured film is no doubt an immediate classic, and yet a barely relevant trifle



The Girl with a Pistol (1968) – Monicelli’s rather messy Vitti-goes-to-Britain movie teems with time-capsule, culture-clash interest



The Coca-Cola Kid (1985) – Makavejev’s strangely suppressed film barely hits as satire, maybe all the better to evoke dark corporate gravity



The Scientific Cardplayer (1972) – an enjoyably inventive, bitterly class-conscious parable, despite Comencini’s constraints as a stylist



The Other Side of the Wind (2018) – a thrilling, teeming Welles reclamation, at once interrogatingly present and receding into unknowability



Lo squadron bianco (1936) – Genina’s crisp but memorably visualized drama of self-exile and redemption belongs in the canon of desert movies



Bad Timing (1980) – probably not Roeg’s most pleasurable film, but among his most fearlessly transgressive, destabilizing and accusatory



Man on the Roof (1976) – Widerberg grounds his memorable climactic set-piece in a well-stewed portrait of police force contrasts & tensions



Downsizing (2017) – Payne’s ambitious film has many incremental strengths, none of which mitigate against a dissipated overall impact



La tete contre les murs (1959) – with appalled restraint, Franju probes the disquietingly exploitable morality of mental hospitalization



Withnail & I (1987) – Robinson’s enduringly funny comedic memoir, anchored by the priceless Grant, shot through with existential panic



The Great Silence (1968) – Corbucci’s strikingly wintery western pitilessly depicts the extinction of all goodness under a twisted law



Red Sparrow (2018) – Lawrence maintains an impersonal & unmoving efficiency, obliviously punctuated with regular nastiness & exploitation



La califfa (1970) – Bevilacqua suffuses his film in jaggedly politicized provocations and oppositions, to rather unclear ultimate ends



In the Line of Fire (1993) – Petersen’s highly proficient, characterless thriller stands at the very top rank of third-tier Eastwood films



L’auberge rouge (1923) – Epstein is among the most ominously fascinated, and visually and psychologically engaging, of silent directors



Battle of the Sexes (2017) – King’s personal & political history might deserve a movie less suffused in Hollywoodian slickness & calculation



Der Fall (1972) – you’ll seldom see a detective film that suppresses genre swagger as thoroughly as does Bruh’s absorbingly morose study



Modern Problems (1981) – Shapiro’s laughlessly scattershot telekinesis-themed comedy is poorly conceived and even more wretchedly executed



Signori & signori (1966) – Germi’s high-energy farce traffics ruthlessly in chronic sexual compulsion & its surrounding societal hypocrisies



A Field in England (2013) – Wheatley’s strange and remarkable creation, earthily and unearthily celebratory while seeped in ominous stasis



The Lady of Musashino (1951) – Mizoguchi’s tenderly clear-eyed study of a refined tradition eroded by urbanization, by modern moralities



Harlequin (1980) – Wincer’s drama steadily descends into lofty supernatural grab-bag, with unconvincing political/allegorical seasoning



Cesar and Rosalie (1972) – …and David, as Sautet’s well-played love triangle takes on more structurally and emotionally radical undertones



Marjorie Prime (2017) – Almereyda’s superbly-crafted, implication-heavy exploration of the evolving malleability of identity and memory



The Plough and the Stars (1936) – a concentrated study in Ford’s ruefully sentimental, gratingly celebratory, helplessly tribal Irishness



On ne meurt que deux fois (1985) – Deray’s investigation has an off-kilter, iconic Rampling-charged appeal, when not seeming overly murky



California Split (1974) – on repeat viewings, Altman’s texturally absorbing gambling study feels defined primarily by its ultimate emptiness



Quand on a 17 ans (2016) – Techine’s fine study of turbulent teenage attraction, richly rooted in its environment, in behavioural mysteries



The Killing (1956) – Kubrick’s first great filmic enigma, layering exacting detail over pervasive (if not yet cosmic) existential absence



Car Cemetery (1983) – Arrabal’s punky/kinky post-apocalyptic fantasia feels as much constrained as inspired by its Biblical parallels



The Illustrated Man (1969) – Smight’s Bradbury adaptation is consistently portentous, unenjoyably acted, and aggressively meaningless



Un beau soleil interieur (2017) – yet another captivating Denis masterpiece, shimmering with structural and observational delicacies



Comes a Horseman (1978) – an unusual setting for Pakula, but its thematic links to his greatest works gradually come into satisfying focus



Les uns et les autres (1981) – as Lelouch’s epic, performance-heavy spectacle expands toward greatness, its core feels smaller and emptier



The Paleface (1922) – Keaton’s film fascinates as performance and even as existential mystery, even as it now offends in many other respects



Happy as Lazzarro (2018) – at once intensely observed and serenely imagined, Rohrwacher’s graceful vision is perhaps improbably persuasive



Freebie and the Bean (1974) – amid all the goofy excess, Rush’s more intimately off-kilter sensibility shows through pretty regularly



Theories des ensembles (1990) – a delightful mini-Marker, as simple as a bedtime story, yet deeply technologically & philosophically engaged



Dishonored (1931) – Sternberg’s sensationally atmospheric showcase for Dietrich, at her most seductively amused and reality-bending



Sleeping Sickness (2011) – Kohler’s fascinatingly measured observations encompass a bracing range of cultural and political complexity



Gypsy (1962) – an adequate record of potentially sensational material, only shallowly tapped by LeRoy, and with imperfect lead casting



Mille milliards de dollars (1982) – Verneuil’s investigation of malign corporate power remains relevant, despite its suboptimal execution



Hustle (1975) – Aldrich’s stark, rather incompletely-realized drama is a melancholy channeling of its period’s confusions & contradictions



9 doigts (2017) – Ossang’s punkish spinning of myth and genre sustains a handsomely intense artificiality, but never really galvanizes



The Reckless Moment (1949) – Ophuls’ fascinating incursion of noir-ish menace into superficially perfect (but confining) domesticity



La belle noiseuse (1991) – Rivette’s film about a painting yields some of his most exquisitely realized ambiguities and complexities



They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (1969) – Pollack’s film always feels a little too removed from the fatigue & stench & ultimate hopelessness



Francofonia (2015) – Sokurov’s heavily-executed blend of recreation, history and reflection informs, but only intermittently stimulates



Saint Jack (1979) – one of Bogdanovich’s best films, navigated with understated skill, and great facility with character and atmosphere



Un coeur en hiver (1989) – Sautet’s study of emotional distance is exquisitely calibrated, but ranks below his more connective work



Sons of the Desert (1933) – prime Laurel & Hardy, the spousal dynamic adding a deliriously weird subtext to their eternal codependency



The Land of Steady Habits (2018) – probably Holofcener’s flattest & least resonant work, albeit that might kind of be its sociological point



Edouard et Caroline (1951) – Becker’s beautiful little relationship study, marked by the most delicate visual and emotional calibration



Micki & Maude (1984) – a comedy from just past the end of Edwards’ great period, always enjoyably proficient but only sporadically inspired



The Stranger within a Woman (1966) – Naruse, at his engrossing bleakest, introduces an extreme rupture into a familiar domestic structure



Outside In (2017) – as in much of Shelton’s work, the carefully sensitive observation ultimately yields a limited lasting consequence



Dorian Gray (1970) – interesting less for the narrative updating than for Dallamano’s committed channeling of period style and decadence



Mary Jane’s Not a Virgin Anymore (1996) – Jacobson’s likeably rough-edged film infuses lurking darkness into sex-positive collegiality



Six et demi onze (1927) – Epstein’s doomed romance is structurally & visually fascinating, regarding photography both as marvel & threat



Black Panther (2018) –  Coogler’s cinematic exuberance and sharply-honed contemporary instincts largely surmount the conventional aspects



Anna (1967) – Koralnik’s love letter to Karina is a rather dreamily eccentric treat, a closer relative to long-form music video than to Demy



Sea of Love (1989) – Becker’s serial killer drama is hardly memorable as narrative, but has pretty strong writerly and actorly texture



El sopar (1974) – Portabella’s alert witnessing of lives forged by resistance, allowing neither easy articulation nor clear arrival point



Call me by your Name (2017) – Guadagnino’s aspirational vision of love and pain is aesthetically impressive, if more as statue than flesh



Le dos au mur (1958) – Molinaro’s neatly-plotted adultery and blackmail drama maintains interest despite its overly passionless execution



Mr. Jealousy (1997) – Baumbach’s identity-in-formation early work is too artificially & repressively conceived, but goes down easily enough



Three Daughters (1961) – Ray’s rather unwieldy trilogy: two sensitively rendered if limited vignettes bracketing an unremarkable ghost story



The Stairs (2016) – Gibson’s study of middle-aged addiction in Toronto is a humane act of witness-bearing, devoid of false certainties



Madame Rosa (1977) – Mizrahi’s film is certainly more morally provocative and unsentimental than it sounds in outline, if calculatingly so



Willie and Phil (1980) – Mazursky’s over-affable take-off on Jules et Jim extends tolerant pleasantness to the point of near-affectlessness



Un nomme La Rocca (1961) – Becker and Belmondo allow the rather perplexingly shifting narrative a quasi-Melvillian stylistic coherence



All the Money in the World (2017) – Scott’s monotonous charting of easy oppositions is as handsome and under-invested as all his late work



La spiaggia (1954) – Lattuada’s summer resort melodrama becomes increasingly sharp in its social criticism, embodied in a distinctive ending



Scenes from the Life of Andy Warhol (1990) – Mekas’ deeply-lived personal memorial doesn’t deny the viewer a propulsive voyeuristic thrill



Jacob the Liar (1974) – Beyer’s triflingly empathetic fable offers trite foreground interest at the cost of an obscured ultimate horror



Hello Destroyer (2016) – Funk’s sad character study is also a persuasive indictment of a rampant hypocrisy at the heart of Canadian culture



An American Romance (1944) – Vidor’s grand hymn to exceptionalism eschews subtlety in favour of surrender-inducing physicality & incident



Beau pere (1981) – Blier’s transgressive love story stays on the right side of complete ickiness, with Dewaere an empathetic focal point



Jack of Diamonds (1967) – Taylor’s slick caper delivers strictly generic distractions, notwithstanding its unctuously-treated “guest stars”



Madame Hyde (2017) – Bozon puts the worn-out concept to surprisingly stimulating use, as a renewal of personal and pedagogic communication



The Medusa Touch (1978) – Gold’s smart handling of the melodrama allows the film an improbable degree of grounded, widely-indicting power



L’Anglaise et le duc (2001) – a fine extension of Rohmer’s oeuvre, stimulating both as naturalistic recreation and historical interrogation



Libeled Lady (1936) – Conway’s pacey screwball comedy is a confident delight, if a bit more mechanical and skin-deep than the genre’s highs



Boro in the Box (2011) – Mandico’s deliciously iconoclastic short film pays Borowczyk the most liberated yet loving tribute imaginable



The Jokers (1967) – Winner’s appealingly-conceived, happily thrown-together caper is certainly more fun than his later wearisome cinema



The Last Metro (1980) – Truffaut’s film is consistently and eventfully engaging, at the cost of greater historical bite or evocative power



Piranha (1978) – Dante’s early mayhem-fest is zippily written and zestily executed, with nicely judged infusions of political resonance



Voyage a travers le cinema francais (2016) – completely irresistible of course, curated by Tavernier with delightful, frank individuality



Lured (1947) – Sirk’s enjoyably busy, focus-shifting thriller, enlivened by its steady critique of woman as societal bait and decoration



Orson Welles: One Man Band (1995) – Silovic’s mesmerizing assembly properly celebrates Welles’ restless, often joyous creative radicalism



Midnight Lace (1960) – Miller’s suspense film has an enjoyably Hitchcockian surface & structure, less so the underlying acuity & intensity



Blind Massage (2014) – Lou’s informative, often-surprising portrait of an alternative community spans sensitivity, sensuality and turbulence



Funny Lady (1975) – leaving aside a few tunes and the easy nostalgia, Ross turns in a mostly dreary, going-through-the-motions sequel



Quelques jours avec moi (1988) – Sautet steers his eccentric narrative toward a quirkily engaging emphasis on connection and acceptance



County Hospital (1932) – if only for the “hard-boiled eggs and nuts,” a solid core element of the indelible Laurel and Hardy mythology



Mother! (2017) – Aronofsky’s tritely magnificent expression of monstrous creativity works best when in blackly satiric, discomfiting mode



Le Marie du port (1950) – Carne’s polished attentiveness to messy motivations and behaviour elevates an otherwise minor if eventful romance



Bad Lieutenant (1992) – Ferrara and Keitel’s absolute tour de force in absurd revelation, confounding one’s rational judgment and taste



Up to his Ears (1965) – despite de Broca’s ravishing set-pieces and backdrops, the film’s thematic weightlessness tips into insipidity



Werewolf (2016) – McKenzie’s hauntingly close, sparse study of addiction both as deprivation and as near-wondrous, if doomed, fulfilment



Nea (1976) – Kaplan’s lively “young Emmanuelle” story acts out the classic ambiguities of female-desire centric, female-directed cinema



Street of No Return (1989) – Fuller’s displaced but largely effective last film lands some old-style punches, under an often peculiar gloss



Aerograd (1935) – Dovzhenko fulfils propagandistic stipulations while (more interestingly) crafting a darkly intimate cultural study



I, Tonya (2017) – Gillespie’s tiresomely over-active movie is at best ineffectual & anthropologically shallow, at its worst barely tolerable



I fidanzati (1963) – notable for Olmi’s distinctive placement of romantic realization within almost peerless social & industrial observation



The Music of Chance (1993) – Haas is well attuned to the mysterious alternative-paradigm sort-of-coherence of the Austerian tone and method



L’invitation (1973) – Goretta skillfully crafts the characters and group dynamics, but the film seldom feels notably challenging or profound



For the Plasma (2014) – Bingham/Molzam craft a sparsely alluring, if surely under-developed, negotiation between specificity & transcendence



Ajatrik (1958) – Ghatak invests his episodic tale of a poor-man-and-his-car with consistently raw, widely observant emotion and power



Fever Pitch (1985) – Brooks’ disparaged drama provides strong doses of troubled observation & reportorial snap, its narrative excesses aside



Funeral Parade of Roses (1969) – Matsumoto’s transgender-centered drama ranges from the representationally striking to the trite and lurid



Lady Bird (2017) – Gerwig’s debut exhibits wonderful deftness, counterpointed by a warm, wise feeling for frustrations and anxieties



The Deadly Trap (1971) – Clement’s faltering grafting of Gaslight-type anxiety narrative onto vague mass-conspiracy drama, or vice versa



Nighthawks (1981) – Malmuth’s New York terrorism drama does OK for pacy spectacle but lacks much context (especially in post 9/11 hindsight)



Paradis perdu (1940) – Gance’s multi-generational story of love and loss is well-told on its own too-often tritely sentimental terms



Miss Sloane (2016) – Madden’s tiresome lobbyist drama feels as overly polished and inauthentically calculating as its political targets



Le tigre aime la chair fraiche (1964) – Chabrol handles the shenanigans with some style and deadpan wit, although to inherently limited ends



Repo Man (1984) – Cox’s classic mash-up retains a weirdly indelible stylistic and attitudinal coherence, even as the fun rapidly wears thin



Un borghese piccolo piccolo (1977) – Monicelli slyly takes a seeming “average man” satire in a rather startlingly subversive direction



Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017) – Gilroy’s diverting character study is impressively thoughtful, but narratively rather over-extended



A Girl in Every Port (1928) – a prototypically Hawksian dynamic makes for solid formative viewing, spiced & strangified by the iconic Brooks



The Double Life of Veronique (1991) – Kieslowski’s existential mystery, both propelled & (of course) restricted by its alluring calibrations



The Thomas Crown Affair (1968) – a largely bland caper, absent Jewison’s meshing of relentless materialism with stylistic over-consumption



Neighboring Sounds (2012) – Filho’s geographically-specific life study is masterfully constructed, vibrantly observed, sociologically rich



Crazy Mama (1975) – Demme’s good humour and flair with wacky group dynamics can only do so much to elevate the thin, constrained material



Maine Ocean (1986) – Rozier’s unbound narrative encompasses everything from communal goofiness to virtually end-of-the-world-type solitude



You’ll Never Get Rich (1941) – Lanfield’s Astaire-Hayworth match-up goes too light on song and dance, too heavy on turgid complications



The Strange Little Cat (2013) – with composed idiosyncrasy, Zurcher charts the mundanity, mystery and latent horror of family interactions



The Madwoman of Chaillot (1969) – the peculiar blend of whimsy and commentary only fitfully flourishes under Forbes’ overwhelmed direction



Cache (2005) – Haneke’s brilliantly articulated film carries an immense implicative scope, leaving almost no points of certainty or comfort



The Main Event (1979) – any potential for a nicely crackling face-off is squandered by substantial lack of punch, in all departments



Pieta (2012) – for all the film’s superficial diversions, Kim’s concepts and instincts seem mostly grotesque, contorted and deadening



The Fixer Uppers (1935) – an adequate but somewhat peculiarly-conceived Laurel and Hardy short, rather limiting their classic interplay



Garcon! (1983) – a relatively minor Sautet work, yet an utterly pleasurable, marvelously orchestrated anecdote of compromise and renewal



Coogan’s Bluff (1968) – Siegel’s mastery of space, attitude and pacing elevates the (now unfavourably dated) narrative’s easy oppositions



The Bridges of Sarajevo (2014) – a largely successful, if overly dutiful-feeling anthology, satisfyingly varied in style and perspective



The Groundstar Conspiracy (1972) – Johnson’s high-concept premise is offset by a vulnerable human core, to moderately diverting effect



Husbands and Lovers (1991) – Bolognini’s overly prettified tale of agonized polyamory is far better at exposing bodies than emotional truth



The Disaster Artist (2017) – Franco’s watchably breezy but unimportant quasi-tribute feels more like a borrowed ride than an actual one



La nuit de carrefour (1932) – Renoir’s early crime drama, fascinatingly rooted in the sensual and behavioural textures of shadowy lives



Looker (1981) – Crichton’s forward-looking thriller doesn’t lack for interesting concepts, nor sadly for uninteresting narrative & character



Sudden Rain (1956) – Naruse’s small-scale drama subtly charts perhaps-irresolvable familial and communal anxieties and discontentments



Keanu (2016) – enjoyable but thematically blunted Key and Peele romp has future Oscar-winning screenwriter all over it (uh, not really…)



Vice and Virtue (1963) – Vadim’s rather grotesque visual and narrative concepts do little to illuminate the morality of war, or of anything



Eureka (1983) – Roeg’s strange, mythically-infused tale of intertwined discovery and loss is as productively challenging as any of his works



Le parfum de la dame en noir (1931) – L’Herbier dispatches the somewhat creaky narrative with some panache, if minimal broader implication



Blade Runner 2049 (2017) – despite any number of impressive & thoughtful concepts, Villeneuve’s film is more trudge than transporting vision



The Arrival of Joachim Stiller (1976) – Kumel’s winding tale of faith and influence is distinctly eccentric, but very shrewd and winning



Wolfen (1981) – Wadleigh’s genre picture generally feels rather distant and underinvolving, despite various points of broader resonance



Manon 70 (1968) – Aurel’s film provides rather too much easy enjoyment & prettiness to fully impress as an investigation of moral relativity



Their Finest (2016) – Scherfig’s quite stirring film articulately explores cinematic compromises while (unironically?) capitulating to them



A Woman’s Face (1938) – Molander’s enjoyable melodrama never transcends absurdity, skipping along on easy transitions and contrasts



Slaves of New York (1989) – the movie has its pleasures, but Ivory never feels sufficiently close to the milieu or its anxieties & attitudes



The Lion Hunters (1966) – Rouch’s hypnotically rich chronicle of the hunt, as respectful of its layered myths as of its meticulous realities



Detroit (2017) – Bigelow applies her visceral organizational skills to still-incendiary material, evoking a deep and righteous anger



Malj (1977) – Ilic’s ominously-styled short film is certainly one of the more singular expressions of survival and escape in cinema history



The Morning After (1986) – one of Lumet’s more low-impact dramas, embodying a missed opportunity to engage with Fonda’s shifting star image



Les plus belles escroqueries du monde (1964) – Godard’s closing segment subtly indicts the mostly undemanding pleasures that precede it



The Lost City of Z (2016) – Gray’s historical drama, rich with old-fashioned pioneering grandeur, feels at once unresolved and inevitable



Le rideau cramoisi (1953) – Astruc’s seductively enigmatic short story of desire would be the blackest of comedies, if pitched differently



Heist (2001) – it’s narratively clever of course, but also chilly and mechanical, suffused in Mamet’s writerly affectations and maneuvers



The Third Lover (1962) – a modest but effective study of envy and malign intervention, perfectly suited to Chabrol’s fascinated scrutiny



Dunkirk (2017) – Nolan’s formally impressive, immersive recreation transcends genre norms in many ways, remains limited by them in others



Imperative (1982) – Zanussi’s honorable but forced philosophical investigation ultimately just about overcomes its rather arid gravity



The Blot (1921) – Weber’s silent landmark remains immensely empathetic and intimately moving, shimmering with intertwined complexities



Things to Come (2016) – an absorbing, probing tapestry of life adjustments & passages, luminously woven by Hansen-Love & embodied by Huppert



Big Bad Mama (1974) – Carver’s loosely-driven period piece is brashly engaging, even if its main commitment is to redneck-brand titillation



Docteur Chance (1997) – Ossang’s road movie is a strangely beautiful artifice, placing doomed, pouting momentum over conventional coherence



Brief Ecstasy (1937) – Greville’s alert handling of stodgy melodrama, not least the (unresolved) emphasis on female intellectual fulfilment



In the Fade (2017) – Akin’s drama is mostly schematic & sensationalistic, relying heavily for any sense of coherence on Kruger’s conviction



The Drowning Pool (1975) – Rosenberg’s polished but no-big-deal detective flick almost seems weightily reflective by latter-day standards



Invitation au voyage (1982) – when not feeling forced, Del Monte’s transgressive pop-inflected odyssey sustains a darkly romantic charge



Bedtime Story (1964) – Levy’s confidently-motoring, savvily twisting artificiality, with Niven and Brando an abstractly empathetic tag team



The Unknown Girl (2016) – the Dardennes’ spartan but hauntingly acute investigation of the nature and toll of responsibility and redemption



Night Call Nurses (1972) – Kaplan’s lively exploitation picture actually is almost as preoccupied with trauma & activism as with titillation



Mahjong (1996) – Yang’s film teems with incident and stringent moral implication, but doesn’t cohere as pleasingly as his greatest works



The Fly (1958) – Neumann’s straight-faced absurdity benefits from its visual and vague thematic kinship to the period’s domestic melodramas



Happy End (2017) – Haneke’s utterly enveloping study of multi-faceted destabilization; of intertwining literal and figurative death wishes



The Toolbox Murders (1978) – Donnelly gets the highlights, if that’s what they are, out of the way early; the rest is mostly a blank



Veronika Voss (1982) – Fassbinder positions his Sunset Boulevard-like narrative as a window on cold-hearted cultural & historical transition



King & Country (1964) – Losey’s concentrated case study of wartime inhumanity is potently visualized, but narrow in its scope and impact



The Dreamed Path (2016) – a bit less satisfying than Schanelec’s previous work, despite its impeccable precision and alluring layerings



Show People (1928) – an early example of Hollywood’s self-absorption, conveyed by Vidor in his lightest, most happily celebratory vein



Nelly & Monsieur Arnaud (1995) – Sautet’s fine body of work ends on a delicately woven, immaculately restrained study of life transitions



The Eiger Sanction (1975) – Eastwood delivers on the material’s scenic potential, and doesn’t seem to aim to fire anything else out of it



Logan Lucky (2017) – Soderbergh’s well-made caper comedy doesn’t amount to much, despite its bedrock of cultural sympathy and attentiveness



Diary of a Shinjuku Thief (1969) – Oshima’s astounding exercise in narrative rebellion, powered by a kind of aggressive semi-callowness



Labyrinth (1986) – Henson’s fantasy never cooks up much magic, but has the occasional striking element, and Bowie! (sure, not prime Bowie)



Lac aux dames (1934) – Allegret’s pleasant film delivers varied incident and (surprising) titillation more surely than emotional depth



Southside with You (2016) – Tanne doesn’t tap Linklater-type enchantment, but any Obama mythology/nostalgic longing is pretty irresistible



The Empty Canvas (1963) – Damiani’s tale of obsession and frustration provides plenty of interest, despite its overall aesthetic modesty



Stealing Beauty (1996) – Bertolucci’s Tuscan contrivance skirts insipidity, and yet his sensuous cinematic observation remains remarkable



La fievre monte a El Pao (1959) – Bunuel’s socially-conscious, somberly-rendered drama, underlain by moral compromise & twisted desire



Beatriz at Dinner (2017) – Arteta’s largely well-played if unsurprising clash of worldviews isn’t exactly a beacon of hope for progressives



The Woman in Blue (1973) – Deville ultimately steers an initially flimsy-seeming enigma into more intriguing, pensively reflective territory



The Hand (1981) – Stone does pretty well at giving events a fraught, varied texture (kinda like JFK!), but the upside is inherently limited



La pyramide humaine (1961) – Rouch’s fascinating , forgivably earnest meeting of cultures is both cinematic experiment & idealistic reverie



Gimme Danger (2016) – Jarmusch’s Stooges documentary is an archival delight, contemplative for all its (never dangerous) visual energy



Farewell to Spring (1959) – for all its empathetic care, Kinoshita’s study of maturing friendship in wrenching times seldom pierces deeply



Crossroads (1986) – the dubiously-conceived myth-inflected narrative reduces Hill to ambling triviality; the music is the main compensation



The Girls (1968) – Zetterling’s innovatively provocative clash of art and life interrogates just about every stale assumption about women



Fahrenheit 451 (2018) – Bahrani’s insufficiently-reflective, repetitively-pounding filming feels like a missed opportunity in every respect



From the Clouds to the Resistance (1979) – Straub/Huillet challengingly interrogate the persistence of humanity’s violent submission to myth



Mascara (1987) – Conrad’s myth-stained melodrama feels forged in committed inside-out queerness, however oddly framed, located and expressed



The Eagle with Two Heads (1948) – Cocteau’s grandly singular structure of political and regal intrigue, rendering twisted tragedy as triumph



The Comedian (2016) – in no way a Pupkin-update (if only!) but still a relative triumph for De Niro, if one of easy effects and pleasures



Le Tigre se parfume a la dynamite (1965) – raggedly-plotted espionage stuff, so loosely controlled by Chabrol as to seem mildly subversive



Personal Best (1982) – Towne’s sports film remains a stimulatingly problematic text in representing female physicality and fluid desire



Numero zero (1971) – Eustache’s respectful record of his grandmother’s life testimony, a pure channeling of weary, turbulent experience



Brad’s Status (2017) – White’s preoccupied character study never transcends “first world problems”-type introspection and self-readjustment



L’oro di Roma (1961) – Lizzani’s piercing but constrained drama doesn’t quite rank among the cinema of occupation’s most lasting works



Lulu on the Bridge (1997) – for all its clunky peculiarities, Auster’s film intrigues for its sense of elemental investigation and pleasure



Party Girl (1958) – Ray’s rather bumpy melodrama is most compelling for its central sense of worn-out decency, under siege by empty swagger



La soledad (2016) – Armand’s film hardly lacks for haunted, bewildered impact, even as he pushes too hard to encompass Venezuela’s tragedy



The Man who Knew too Much (1934) – Hitchcock’s effective thriller, pushing throughout toward greater future depth & psychological complexity



Grandeur et decadence… (1986) – Godard treads fairly lightly & affectionately through times of change, rendering you poignantly stimulated



The Domino Principle (1977) – Kramer’s serviceable assassination thriller falters at delivering much on its apparent grander ambitions



Ismael’s Ghosts (2017) – Desplechin may be dancing on the spot, but the choreography and rhythms remain uniquely beguiling and stimulating



The Royal Hunt of the Sun (1969) – Lerner’s quite compelling opening out of Shaffer’s fascinating sun-drenched, humanity-stained quest



Fado majeur et mineur (1994) – a grave yet playfully confounding fragment from Ruiz’s bottomless cinema of echoes, layers and dreams



Telefon (1977) – an effective thriller for Siegel’s assured tone and pacing and the anxious subtext, although with muted ultimate impact



Victoria (2016) – Triet’s end-of-her-tether comedy seems to aspire to a wilder, more tempestuous tone than its cutes and clutter allow



The Seventh Victim (1943) – Lewton and Robson’s quietly threat-laden devil worshipper drama leaves a complexly troubled aftertaste



Un mauvais fils (1980) – an astutely-measured, searching study of incremental renewal, a peak illustration of Sautet’s more intimate mode



The Choirboys (1977) – the material should surely sing of a messed-up America more scabrously and roughly than it does in Aldrich’s hands



Orly (2010) – Schanelec sets out pleasingly innovative routes into the well-established existential possibilities of airport departures



Topaz (1969) – Hitchcock’s late film at times seems stolid and artificial, at other times almost experimental in its shifts and abstractions



A Confucian Confusion (1994) – Yang’s sharply genial study of a society where economic growth outpaces the emotional and intellectual kind



Hardcore (1979) – a strong, inherently diverting film, but for Schrader, something of a missed moral, sociological and stylistic opportunity



La loi de la jungle (2016) – Peretjatko’s satire of unprincipled development is mostly a goofy slog, with little real bite or panache



The Man in the White Suit (1951) – Mackendrick’s smart, sure-footed comedy, cleverly foreseeing the looming fragility of industrial society



Eaux profondes (1981) – Deville’s Highsmith adaptation falls a bit short overall, despite striking stylistic, tonal and structural moves



Pass Over (2018) – Lee’s exemplary filming of vivid theatrical material, a Godot-like expression of America’s complex culture of oppression



Les nouveaux messieurs (1929) – Feyder’s silent drama stirringly contrasts the promise of the left & the practiced persistence of the right



Blue Black Permanent (1992) – Tait’s wonderfully measured, alert conversation between generations, and reflection on seeing and recording



Anima nera (1962) – Rossellini ruthlessly deconstructs the stereotype of male irresponsibility, stripping it down to its outmaneuvered core



I Called Him Morgan (2016) – Collin makes unusually effective use of archival materials, crafting a haunting memoir of thwarted artistry



Ugetsu (1953) – Mizoguchi’s chillingly beautiful tale of earthly tumult & fracture that lets in the ghosts of temptation, & those of comfort



HealtH (1980) – Altman’s thinly allegorical satire is enjoyable enough, but rather too defined by the transient hollowness it observes



A Woman’s Decision (1975) – Zanussi’s study is one of his looser works, but deeply attuned to existential anxieties and social heaviness



Wonder Wheel (2017) – one of Allen’s more sustained late works shifts effectively from easeful period evocation into stark, pitiless tragedy



The Walls of Malapaga (1949) – Clement’s doomed romance endures for its immersion in time and place, despite its familiarly fatalistic core



Surrender (1987) – Belson’s lazily-handled comedy of intertwined emotional and economic anxiety never works up much pace or punch



La punition (1962) – Rouch’s captivating (seemingly Varda-inflected?) meditation on the freedom and limitation of exploration and encounter



Lady Macbeth (2016) – Oldroyd’s chilling drama: superbly sparse and confined, yet infused with an ambiguous air of broader societal shifting



Les amis (1971) – Blain’s calmly radical treatment of potentially transgressive material, carefully evasive and indirect, never merely coy



Tequila Sunrise (1988) – Towne’s film is an able study in structure, mood and light, until plot mechanics ultimately triumph over all else



A double tour (1959) – Chabrol extracts just about every tortured, loathing nuance possible from the ultimately somewhat thin material



War for the Planet of the Apes (2017) – Reeves’ is an impressively conceived and sustained vision, if seldom very conceptually stimulating



Immortal Love (1961) – Kinoshita’s eventful drama of relentless familial pain is rather too dutiful & restrained to penetrate as it intends



Star 80 (1983) – Fosse’s filmography ends in flashy disappointment, extracting little of substance from its unpleasant case history 



The Tenant (1976) – Polanski’s effective if rather over-elaborated tale of paranoia, at its best when evoking anxiety and persecution



A United Kingdom (2016) – Asante’s welcome excavation of a significant historical episode feels a little more stifled than necessary



Zouzou (1934) – Allegret’s atmospherically bustling, often saucy rags-to-riches tale provides an effective showcase for Josephine Baker



Things Change (1988) – a pleasant, well-played trifle, but Mamet’s affinity for such pervasively genre-limited cinema is hard to figure out



Bande a part (1964) – Godard’s legendary film pulsates with the allure of losing oneself in an invented moment, and with its sadness



The Trip to Spain (2017) – a get-together as ingratiatingly familiar by now as any mainstream franchise, but funny and seductive throughout



T. R. Baskin (1971) – a film of modest virtues, since contemporary dehumanization and personal enigma aren’t Ross’s most natural territory



The Nights of Zayandeh-Rood (1990) – wrecked by censorship, Makhmalbef’s family chronicle speaks tremulously to the trauma of revolution



The Devil is a Woman (1935) – von Sternberg/Dietrich’s rather coldly capricious last film lacks the overwhelming allure of its predecessors



A Decent Woman (2016) – Rinner’s well-crafted showdown of nudists and materialists is too straightforward to really stir or challenge



The Rowdyman (1972) – Carter/Pinsent’s film chugs along rather too easily to achieve lasting impact, other than as a marker of time & place



Histoires d’Amerique (1988) – Akerman’s mesh of jokes & testimony is both celebratory & eerie, mirroring the fraught Jewish-American odyssey



Cactus Flower (1969) – the familiarly-honed material neither stings nor blossoms cinematically, but Saks navigates it pleasantly enough



Bird People (2014) – Ferran extends the weary metaphorical possibilities of airports to wondrously extreme, persuasively unfettered heights



The Yin and the Yang of Mr. Go (1970) – Meredith’s jumbled, pseudo-idealistic action-comedy, suffused in dopiness and antiquated attitudes



Sankofa (1993) – Gerima’s always strikingly-conceived, often astounding expression of reborn communion with past culture and injustice



Isle of the Dead (1945) – a modest narrative, but suffused with Lewton’s remarkable shadow-infused play of preoccupation and fragility



The Handmaiden (2016) – likely Park’s best film, if only for obscuring his hermetic limitations with sheer narrative & visual sumptuousness



Mandingo (1975) – Fleischer’s terrifyingly well-realized exploration of slave-owning America’s moral and psychological wretchedness



The Supplement (2002) – Zanussi’s interesting exercise in fleshing out the bones of an earlier film, rather labored on its own terms though



Single Room Furnished (1968) – Mansfield is strikingly plaintive in her last film, which Cimber generally handles with a decent touch



The Square (2017) – Ostlund’s sleek, assured exhibit of a film, an impressively multi-pronged exploration of art-world ethics & absurdities



Blue Collar (1978) – Schrader’s powerful debut remains a key film of its period about labour, race, power and their complex interaction



The Case is Closed (1982) – with understated power and empathy, Sen dissects the bottomless inequalities and injustices of Indian society



The Narrow Margin (1952) – Fleischer’s terse and tight thriller is great viewing, but ranks below film noir’s thematic and sensual peaks



Queen of Katwe (2016) – Nair delivers the expected tale of colourful odds-beating assertion, with an (equally expected) absence of much else



Being Two isn’t Easy (1962) – Ichikawa’s eyes-of-a-child slice-of-life drama is at best trifling, and frequently tedious and/or insipid



9 to 5 (1980) – Higgins’ easy-to-take comedy can be seen now as unnecessarily and counterproductively rigged, and only half-woke at best



The French Way (1945) – De Baroncelli’s low-energy farce makes poor use of Josephine Baker, largely pushed to the narrative’s bland margins



The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) – Lanthimos’ imposing if knowingly alienating exercise in ominous, mythologically-informed displacement



Slap the Monster on Page One (1972) – Bellocchio’s dark study of establishment hypocrisy remains potent, for all the territory’s familiarity



Iceman (1984) – notwithstanding its Sorkin-ish science chatter, Schepisi’s drama just gets increasingly silly, contrived and clumsy



Les enfants terribles (1950) – a mesmerizing, disruptive amalgam of Cocteau’s poetic extremity & Melville’s skeptical, unsparing observation



I, Daniel Blake (2016) – near-vanishing-point Loach, the weight of injustice reducing a quietly worthy man to a dying assertion of identity



The Structure of Crystal (1969) – Zanussi’s understated reflection on relative freedoms, a very subtle posing of the personal as political



Lookin’ to Get Out (1982) – the movie sustains a superficial, raucous energy, but it all matters far less than Ashby’s enduring earlier work



Torso (1973) – the impact of Martino’s lascivious, committed fluidity is rather limited by the film’s thematically sparse narrative



The Florida Project (2017) – Baker’s sociologically, morally & stylistically rich study walks an immaculate line between cute & troubling



L’argent (1928) – L’Herbier’s milestone silent drama, epically grappling with the unequal power and morality of man and financial markets



Rough Cut (1980) – a passable caper, but would be low-energy, textureless stuff from anyone, let alone a film notionally signed by Siegel



Jaguar (1968) – Rouch’s dizzyingly stimulating country-to-city African odyssey throbs with incident and underlying social implication



Paterson (2016) – Jarmusch’s masterful observation of inner lives, an implicit rebuke to the prevailing brainlessness of dominant culture



The Tree of Wooden Clogs (1978) – Olmi’s moving chronicle of peasant life, encompassing generous humanism and quiet political indictment



Dreamscape (1984) – Ruben’s thriller falls short of Pakula on one hand and Ken Russell on the other, but is good, lightly-implicating fun



The Silence (1963) – Bergman’s highly arresting study of conflict and flight is one of his most sensuous, implication-laden enigmas



Girls Trip (2017) – Lee’s energetic movie doesn’t flag, but the narrative & moral trajectory & sexual frankness are predictably calibrated



It (1927) – Bow still radiates - if not all of “it” - at least a big piece of it, showcased by Badger’s admiring, fleet-footed narrative



Dog Day (1984) – Boisset’s injection of the iconic Marvin into a raucously bawdy French rustic context shambolically fails to come off



Justine (1969) – Cukor’s formally impressive but distant film feels too inertly classical to tap the material’s rich potential complexities



Antiporno (2016) – Sono at once creates candy-porn, jerks off to it and blows it up, in formally impressive if ideologically suspect style



The Klansman (1974) – Young’s film stimulates for its wretched sociological background, more than for its ploddingly ugly foreground drama



Une etrange affaire (1981) – Granier-Deferre’s elegant, mysterious but precise fable of charismatic leadership and its reality-bending orbit



The Whole Town’s Talking (1935) – an enjoyably fast-paced if never biting comedy, a fluent adjunct to Ford’s primary cinematic achievement



Mountains may Depart (2015) – Jia’s limitlessly fascinating straddling of experiences, of personal and societal shifts and displacements



Time after Time (1979) – Meyer’s high-concept film appeals most for its pleasant incongruities, before fraught plot mechanics take over



Purple Butterfly (2003) – Lou’s historical reverie/thriller is frequently dreamily enveloping, at other times rather murkily disorienting



The Queen’s Guards (1961) – a pageantry-seeped military memoir, with Powell fitfully engaged by its more skeptical and anguished elements



Cezanne et moi (2016) – for better & worse, Thompson scenically observes her epochal protagonists more than she stylistically channels them



Cisco Pike (1972) – Norton’s loose-limbed drug-dealer drama, a great little time capsule of in-the-moment presences and interactions



Chronicle of a Death Foretold (1987) – Rosi’s only superficially engaging adaptation is heavy with over-deliberation and over-prettification



Battling Butler (1926) – a pleasant but relatively subdued Keaton comedy, not equaling the cinematic and physical grace of his best works



Roxanne Roxanne (2017) – Larnell’s intuitively-shaped, empathetic chronicle, emphasizing Shante’s perseverance against chronic male weakness



Porte des lilas (1957) – Clair’s late film feels like a settling for less, but finds some darker veins within its small-scale observation



The First Deadly Sin (1980) – Hutton handles the weary procedural aspect solidly enough, but flails at the apparent broader intentions



Mother Kusters goes to Heaven (1975) – Fassbinder’s stylistically restrained but utterly fascinating exercise in frustration and venality



Norman (2016) – Cedar’s nimble film, at its best in exploring the textures of connection, ultimately leaves a softer impact than one hopes



Amore et rabbia (1969) – five varied provocations, most notably Bertolucci’s possessed performance art and Godard’s interrogative beauty



Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) – Murakami delivers some colorfully goofy visions of community, stranded among much anonymous space padding



La beaute du diable (1950) – Clair’s fine treatment of Faust, propelled throughout by exquisite narrative fluidity and directorial elegance



Last Flag Flying (2017) – Linklater’s knowingly old-fashioned Vietnam reunion odyssey sinks easefully into contradictory American attitudes



Petit a petit (1970) – beneath its loose, often goofy surface, Rouch’s film reflects on the delights & limitations of cultural interchange



Suburbia (1984) – Spheeris’ super-cool, attitude-heavy vision of (inevitably doomed) alternative community amid a hostile & clueless society



Liliom (1934) –  a rather draggy supernaturally-infused tale of redeemed brutishness, notable though as an uncharacteristic Lang work



Free Fire (2016) – Wheatley tightly concocts a carnage-strewn, no-way-out, near-vanishing-point of genre cinema, to somewhat unclear ends



The Condemned of Altona (1962) – despite its heavy-footedness, De Sica’s brooding Sartre adaptation wades in fascinating moral waters



Dreamchild (1985) – Millar and Potter’s reverie nimbly spans ages and registers, but the calculated restraint and taste limits its impact



Bellissima (1951) – Visconti’s neo-realist grounding is merely an intermittent anchor for choreographic flourishes and actorly histrionics



Obvious Child (2014) – of course, the (modest yet meaningful) virtue of Robespierre’s abortion-centered comedy is its very ordinariness



Kleinhoff Hotel (1977) – Lizzani’s erotic drama is calculatingly exploitative, and yet not without a striking commitment and preoccupation



Max Dugan Returns (1983) – Ross/Simon’s low-impact comedy would be a grim study of moral and material surrender, if it meant anything at all



Fraulein Doktor (1969) – hints of decadence & a powerful final battle scene aside, Lattuada’s war drama is largely mechanical & passionless



Gold (2016) – Gaghan’s Bre-X fictionalization maintains interest, but one often wishes for the hand of a Mann or Pakula (or Eureka’s Roeg!)



Portrait of Madame Yuki (1950) – another calmly potent Mizoguchi study of toxic gender relations, ultimately all but conflating sex & death



Track 29 (1988) – Roeg/Potter’s mostly underwhelming drama layers rather strained elaborations on top of a central psychological enigma



Irezumi (1966) – Masumura’s bloodily devouring, desirous melodrama; one of his more straightforward works, but utterly gripping throughout 



Manifesto (2015) – Rosefeldt’s unique high-concept piece is a near-marvel of organization, imagination, pedagogery and pure performance



Lust for Life (1956) –  Minnelli’s expressive powers are ironically constrained by fidelity to Van Gogh’s; but Douglas compels throughout



La naissance du jour (1980) – Demy’s small-scale literary adaptation most intrigues for fleetingly complex glimpses of his unique sensibility



The Getaway (1972) – a decent thriller on its own terms, although a minor, morally weightless work in the context of Peckinpah’s cinema



Wet Woman in the Wind (2016) – Shiota ventilates the brisk soft-porn material with an appealingly deadpan, lightly absurdist sensibility



The Magnificent Ambersons (1942) – at its frequent finest, a transporting, sensitive, evocative record of Welles’ immense cinematic fluency



Decoder (1984) – Muscha’s brooding drama is appealingly dated in its punkish analog trappings, very little so in its broader preoccupations



Leo the Last (1970) – Boorman’s peculiar, voyeuristic sociological parable/channeling of revolutionary desires/chaotic provocation



Journey to the West (2014) – Tsai’s (slowly!) dreamy and gracefully funny short film, seemingly carrying a subtext of understated indictment



Madigan (1968) – Siegel’s tough, propulsive detective thriller; impeccably weaving moral contrasts and shadings and shifting perspectives



Marseille (2004) – Schanelec’s impressively considered film crafts a most unusual alchemy of person & place, & expression of new beginning



No Blade of Grass (1970) – Wilde’s environmental collapse thriller is at best a brash visual assault, at (frequent) worst unhinged & jarring



Informe general II (2016) – Portabella’s clear-eyed if genteel charting of the gulf between small-group awareness and state-wide torpor



The Leopard Man (1943) – Lewton/Tourneur’s brilliantly-sustained classic, a haunting, seldom-equaled marriage of delicacy and pained gravity



Salto nel vuoto (1980) – for all Bellocchio’s acuity, this repression-laden, corroded-establishment drama is a bit too heavy & unsurprising



Lost Lost Lost (1976) – but also vibrantly and permanently found; in Mekas’ absorbing survey of exile, arrival, evolution and community



Journey to the Shore (2015) – Kurosawa’s calm rewriting of our metaphysical universe, studiously free of conventional genre trappings



The Bronze Buckaroo (1939) – Kahn’s bare-bones all-black Western carries its unstated otherness with shambling charm, but few fireworks



The Constant Factor (1980) – Zanussi’s almost mathematically powerful study of pervasive corruption and the limits of a moral response to it



Colossal (2016) – could Vigalondo have foreseen that his out-there movie would so resonate as a remarkable allegory of Trumpian menace?



Come Drink with Me (1966) – vividly enjoyable but not yet full-throttle Hu, in terms of both raw technique and underlying sensuousness



Superstar (1988) – Haynes’ Karen Carpenter bio-pic is at once an eerily multi-faceted investigation, and a negation of any such possibility



Ossessione (1943) – hard not to think of Visconti’s adaptation primarily in earthier, hungrier contrast to its Hollywood counterparts



Alien: Covenant (2017) - Scott sure knows how to punch it out, but the feeling of repetition, redundancy and overreach is insurmountable



Birds in Peru (1968) – Gary’s ritualistic, sun-baked ceremony of sex, death & fate taps (albeit rather strenuously) a sparse elemental power



Working Girl (1988) – Nichols’ overvalued comedy, heavily dependent on reality-obscuring simplifications, feels now like a dusty relic



I Will Buy You (1956) – Kobayashi’s (rather strenuously) heavy-hearted baseball scouting drama is among the most somber of sports films



Fences (2016) – Washington does right by the (inherently not so cinematic) play, such that you lose yourself in the language and evocation



The Garden of the Finzi-Continis (1970) – De Sica’s rather familiarly, elegantly rarified, but nonetheless moving drama of looming Holocaust



Galaxina (1980) – Sachs’ genre parody is perplexing in most ways, hardly aiming for quality yet drearily tentative in its raunchy cheesiness



Letters by a Novice (1960) – an artful mixture of austere investigation and calculating decadence, seemingly entirely up Lattuada’s alley



The Beguiled (2017) – Coppola’s restraint and feeling for female community serves here to push the material toward virtual invisibility



The Music (1972) – Masumura/Mishima’s astonishingly-rendered, pained erotic extremity, conflating psychoanalysis & transgressive invention



Revolution (1985) – Hudson’s film is mostly effective when channeling chaotic mass experience, much less so in its narrative contrivances



Mammy Water (1953) – Rouch’s brief but teeming study exuberantly straddles eye-filling actualities and respectfully-presented myths



Christine (2016) – Campos renders a sad real-life tale as a case study in pervasive discomfort, and in coping mechanisms taken and spurned



Michael Kohlhass (1969) – Schlondorff’s tale of injustice and rebellion, its impact rather muddied by its attempt to channel the sixties



Maria’s Lovers (1984) – Konchalovsky’s minor post-war drama feels mostly trivial and arbitrary, not tapping its actors’ considerable powers



The National Health (1973) – Gold/Nichols’ carefully-gauged hospital comedy, its diagnosis both directly scathing and challengingly evasive



Marguerite & Julien (2015) – Donzelli’s period-bending treatment of transgressive material, intriguingly straddling history & romantic myth



A Woman of Paris (1923) – its modest sensitivity to female perspective & desire aside, Chaplin’s drama is of limited cinematic interest now



Mourir a 30 ans (1982) – Goupil’s memoir of 1968, somberly but piercingly contrasting all-consuming activism & subsequent directionlessness



The Night Visitor (1971) – Benedek’s ingenious thriller delivers fascinating logistics, although its echoes of Bergman are merely frost-deep



Raw (2016) – at its harrowing best, Ducournau’s vivid film is a startling expression of the scorching, perilous power of female desire



Tom Jones (1963) – occasional pell-mell interest aside, Richardson’s relentless opportunism now seems mostly tiring and alienating



Lost Persons Area (2009) – Strubbe’s representation of Europe’s shifting order is highly well-conceived, but carries a muted overall impact



The Reckoning (1970) – Gold’s super-meaty class-conscious drama, anchored by Williamson’s sensationally contemptuous, possessed presence



Une jeunesse allemande (2015) – Periot’s absorbing film conveys the turbulent passing of a very era-specific melding of culture and action



Raw Deal (1948) – under Mann’s alert handling, a thriller narrative of hard-driving visual eloquence, suffused with unfulfilled longing



Kung-fu master! (1988) – no director can bridge loveliness and social transgression as easefully yet meaningfully as the incomparable Varda



Julia (1977) – Redgrave’s moving presence aside, Zinnemann’s lead-footed memory piece seldom feels fully-inhabited or very evocative



The Future Perfect (2016) – Wohlatz’s beguiling study of a young immigrant’s multiple aspirations, navigating self-assertion & assimilation



Station Six-Sahara (1963) – superficially a potboiler, but infused by Holt with substantial behavioral relish & subtle structural mysteries



A Cat in the Brain (1990) – pure immersive cinema of a kind, although Fulci’s show of anguished self-reflection is only semi-persuasive



Story of a Love Story (1973) – Frankenheimer’s all-but-lost film is ceaselessly if strenuously investigative, and surprisingly rewarding



A Ghost Story (2017) – Lowery’s extraordinarily well-judged amalgamation of tangibly-depicted myths and sparse, searching ambiguities



The Mascot (1934) – Starewicz’s remarkable stop-motion adventure is an early spanning of Toy Story & Tim Burton, of the cute & the freaky



Goya’s Ghosts (2006) – the narrative contrivances of Forman’s blandly handsome film seriously weaken its historical and cultural impact



La terra trema (1948) – Visconti’s searching emphasis on realism is moving, yet highly mediated, arguably undermined by wider ambitions



Snowden (2016) – Stone applies relative directorial restraint to potentially paranoia-strewn material, with respectable but limited results



The Corruption of Chris Miller (1973) – Bardem’s expressively visualized semi-elevation of a lurid killer narrative, with a dash of Persona!



Peggy Sue Got Married (1986) – Coppola affectionately makes it all feel more meaningful than it is, aided by seen-the-future-level casting



My Second Brother (1959) – the major impact of Imamura’s engaging and committed early film lies in its bleak social and economic awareness



Wonderstruck (2017) – Haynes’ parallel lives story has the multi-dimensional beauty of a diorama, to be meticulously explored and caressed



L’attentat (1972) – Boisset’s solid, wide-ranging entry into a classic tradition, finding corruption and complacency inside every dark suit



Death Proof (2007) – hard not to admire Tarantino’s artful balance of leisurely good spirits, deceptive finesse, and insistent disposability



Marketa Lazarova (1967) – Vlacil’s turbulent, imposing historical chronicle, both vividly direct & narratively elusive, even hallucinatory



The Bad Batch (2016) – Amirpour’s film becomes increasingly intriguing, as a sly subversion of swaggering post-apocalypse-type cliches



Kill! (1971) –  Gary’s murky drug-trade thriller, fitfully sparked by the tussle between intellectual ambitions and mostly pulpish execution



Wrong is Right (1982) – Brooks’ well-titled farce-attack is both absurd & prescient, stylistically uncertain & (thus) pretty much on target



The Burmese Harp (1956) – Ichikawa’s transcendence-seeking tale of post-war Burma seldom surpasses superficial grandeur and spirituality



Good Time (2017) – the Safdies’ very striking blend of propulsively inventive crime narrative and extraordinary observational directness



The Golden Fortress (1974) – you might view Ray’s handling of the flamboyant material either as overly staid, or as carefully interrogative



Heat (1995) – a modern genre landmark, for Mann’s awe-inspiring, deeply-searching mastery of narrative, visual and thematic geometry



La ligne de demarcation (1966) – Chabrol’s effective Occupation drama emphasizes dogged collective solidarity over individual heroism



Hidden Figures (2016) – Melfi’s bland conventionality leaves little basis for distinguishing inspirational truths from trite exaggerations



Dear Summer Sister (1972) – Oshima’s unusual, oddly troubling layering of an almost naively beaming surface on deeply fractured depths



Mike’s Murder (1984) – Bridges plays observantly and languidly with textures and contrasting milieus, although to limited ultimate ends



Les maitres fous (1955) – Rouch’s unique, often astonishing anthropological record also acts as a savage parody of hollow colonial pomp



Wonder Woman (2017) – Jenkins’ blockbuster is pretty fresh and engagingly literate, when not lost in interminable pyrotechnic abstraction



A Special Day (1977) – Scola’s precisely rendered study of a brief encounter, affectingly contrasting intimate truths and national delusions



Casino (1995) – illustrating Scorsese both at his most technically unimpeachable, and at his most relentlessly & under-rewardingly hermetic



Vie privee (1962) – Malle rather peculiarly extrapolates Bardot’s immense if rather shallow mythology into a fatalistic death ritual



Nocturnal Animals (2016) – Ford’s tiresomely pretentious, airlessly “well-crafted” drama is almost entirely unpleasant and unedifying



The Penal Colony (1970) – Ruiz’s strangely ominous creation almost seems now like a prediction of degrading political & factual objectivity



An Unsuitable Job for a Woman (1982) – Petit’s film is less a detective story than a genre- and gender-defying study in absence and darkness



Mother Never Dies (1942) – Naruse’s moving story of life after loss, rather more sentimental (& ultimately jingoistic) than his finest work



My Cousin Rachel (2017) – Michell’s drama of suspicion and desire avoids Gothic excess, but at the cost of diluted ambiguity and impact



The Silent Partner (1978) – Duke’s pretty nifty, sometimes surprisingly raw thriller, cherishable as an all-time-great Toronto time-capsule



In the White City (1983) – Tanner’s questing cinema finds here its most mythic port of call, experience and memory shimmeringly intertwining



Hud (1963) – the physical and emotional territory of Ritt’s bleak drama frequently evokes stronger, less constrained films, before and since



Frantz (2016) – with customarily precise yet somewhat passionless virtuosity, Ozon navigates post-war misdirections and compromises



Steelyard Blues (1973) – Myerson’s frequently grating drop-out comedy does happily elevate at times (mostly due to the inspired Peter Boyle)



Une vieille maitresse (2007) – Breillat’s brilliant 19th century drama, composed yet destabilizing, of a desire that pushes toward death



Carmen Jones (1954) – Preminger’s all-black musical now seems more like an artificialized denial of black culture than an elevation of it



The Other Side of Hope (2017) – Kaurismaki’s customarily well-honed, wide-ranging and supple survey of multi-cultural dreams and realities



Reminiscences of a Journey to Lithuania (1972) – Mekas’ remarkable, captivating memory film, feeling at once unfiltered and highly mediated



The Girl from Trieste (1982) – Campanile’s undercharged story of obsession does find its way to a strikingly doomed, alienated finale



Hot Thrills and Warm Chills (1967) – for Berry, thrills and chills evidently drive their own unknowable laws of narrative, framing & pacing



Nocturama (2016) – Bonello’s sleekly knowing, trite yet stimulating terrorism drama sleekly rejects conventional representational dilemmas



Real Life (1979) – Brooks’ evasively fascinating, at least semi-premonitory collision of showbiz stylization and documentary-style flatness



Life as a Fatal Sexually Transmitted Disease (2000) – Zanussi’s drama pushes as hard as its title, but attains a sort of cranky magnificence



Veiled Aristocrats (1932) – Micheaux’s clear-eyed, ultimately celebratory assertion of racial identity and (also!) female self-determination



Baby Driver (2017) – for the most part, the film zooms & flies on Wright’s happy cinematic air, infused with barely flagging creative joy



Moderato Cantabile (1960) – one of the period’s memorably doomed enigmatic encounters, hauntingly observed by Brook (& Antonioni’s spirit?)



Phobia (1980) – if only Huston had brought some bleak relish and a greater sense of the absurd to the mechanical serial killer narrative…



The Man who Put his Will on Film (1970) – Oshima’s stark enigma seems to posit cinema as a shifting, almost autonomously malevolent threat



Jackie (2016) – at once highly immersive and dreamlike, Larrain’s precise recreation taps the ambiguities of intimate witnessing of history



Haxan (1922) – Christensen’s unequaled blend of historical pedagogy, lurid fantasy & socially-aware self-reflection remains quite remarkable



Rollover (1981) – few films ever grappled with global financial complexity as Pakula’s does, even fewer with such stylistic audaciousness



Le temps de mourir (1970) – paranoia spawns its own bleak destiny in Farwagi’s enigmatic, occasionally striking drama of predestination



Logan (2017) – Mangold at least brings some modest literacy, cinematic grandeur & emotional frailty to the essentially meaningless material



Moi, un noir (1958) – Rouch’s vastly impactful study of African exile, aspiration & resentment remains ambiguously revelatory & troubling



Mr. Patman (1980) – in various oddly interesting ways, Guillermin’s murky drama symbolizes its strange, displaced era in Canadian cinema



Monsieur Klein (1976) – Losey’s dark case history of the Holocaust’s perversion of fate and rationality, articulated with unforced mastery



La La Land (2016) – Chazelle’s airily pretty but passionless appropriation of classic forms yields only fleeting, if not vapid pleasures



The Champagne Murders (1967) – an enjoyably anxious exercise in highly-designed, ambiguous confinement; second-tier Chabrol at best though



The Color of Money (1986) – Scorsese’s perhaps most underrated movie, placing stark psychological structures within restless cinematic ones



Trois jours a vivre (1957) – Grainger’s rather rushed marriage of backstage theatrics and noir-type tension never satisfactorily coheres



A Quiet Passion (2017) - Davies' outstanding study of Emily Dickinson enthralls with its sensitivity and precise charting of complexities



La memoire courte (1979) – de Gregorio’s increasingly bracing, Rivette-tinged investigation into evasive histories and unreliable narrators



I Dreamt I Woke Up (1991) – Boorman’s loving exploration of his Irish home, both facilitated and cluttered by playfully mythic inventions



Ten Nights in a Bar Room (1926) – Calnek’s tale of lost moral compasses ultimately rather chills for its repurposed imagery of mob justice



I Am Madame Bovary (2016) – Feng’s alert, tragi-comic charting of classically thwarted female determination in an age of dismal bureaucracy



Monterey Pop (1968) – Pennebaker’s (too short!) concert film contains some indelible, almost incomparably vivid images of key performers



Wimbledon Stage (2001) – Amalric’s enigmatic investigation of a non-writing writer balances persuasive mystery & lightly-observed detail



There was a Crooked Man (1970) – Mankiewicz’s late-career slumming exercise maintains its brassy swagger, but it’s all offputtingly coarse



The City Below (2010) – Hochhausler’s quite fascinating immersion in intertwined possibilities – personal & corporate, elevating & ominous



He Ran all the Way (1951) – a modest set-up, boosted by Berry’s expressive direction and Garfield’s hauntingly tortured final performance



Vanishing Point (1984) – like cinematic breath, Ruiz’s film draws in toward its ominous secrets, out toward a world of cryptic possibilities



The Goodbye Girl (1977) – under the narcotic-like patter, Simon’s comedies now seem relentlessly complacent and behaviorally under-engaged



Europe, she Loves (2016) – Gassmann’s observant study of marooned modern youth presses the “Europe is lost” theme rather too single-mindedly



The Nest of the Cuckoo Birds (1965) – Williams’ rediscovered, obsession-ridden oddity is proudly defiant, yet often strangely lovely



The Diary of Lady M (1993) – Tanner’s intimate films with Mezieres are strong and progressive, but more transient than his major works



Murder on the Orient Express (1974) – Lumet’s (indeed) plushly train-like version doesn’t allow the concept or the cast much fresh air



First they Killed my Father (2017) – for all its committed skill, Jolie’s memoir of 1970’s Cambodia feels overly mediated and composed



Bride of Frankenstein (1935) – Whale’s grandly-visualized horror milestone teems with intense repression & feeling, amid wondrous mythology



Cheerful Wind (1981) – Hou’s early film belongs very much to his lighter, even goofy, side, but already hints at the scope of his concerns



The Birth of a Nation (2016) – Parker’s persistent lack of subtlety fortunately doesn’t obscure the film’s central, primally righteous force



Manji (1964) – Masumura’s creepily expansive (if hardly optimistic) vision of desire and fulfilment at once thrills and repels you



Full Metal Jacket (1987) – Kubrick immerses us in soldiering and war as a journey into hermetic, edge-of-madness self-fictionalization



Traffic Jam (1979) – Comencini gradually supplants the initial broad comedy with a bleak portrait of societal paralysis and venality



The End of the Tour (2015) – who knows whether Ponsoldt’s film captures the “real” Wallace, but it’s persuasive on its own intimate terms



Cesar (1936) – Pagnol’s prolonged talkiness increasingly impresses as a form of psychologically and sociologically engaged modernism



War Machine (2017) – Michod’s McChrystal-by-another-name semi-satire is mostly heavy-footed stuff, often seeming tonally all wrong



Camouflage (1977) – Zanussi’s confidently scathing portrait of the multi-faceted rot, if not outright madness, underlying hermetic academia



Cutter’s Way (1981) – Passer’s brilliantly, evasively tortured film seems even more prescient in a fractured, dark-fantasy-ridden America



Charulata (1964) – the perfectly nuanced sensitivity of such genteelly interiorized Ray films is both their majesty and their limitation



Silence (2016) – a luminously immersed testing of faith, in which the relative silence of “Scorsese” may be as prominent as that of God



Joe Bullet (1973) – for all its pulp limitations, de Witt’s apartheid-era drama buzzes with the possibility of unconstrained action



Desert Hearts (1985) – Deitch’s beautiful period story of women in love, a restrained small step & clear-eyed large one for American cinema



La traversee de Paris (1956) – Autant-Lara’s rather grating Occupation comedy increasingly flails around as it grasps at darker resonance



Queen & Country (2014) – a mostly pleasing cinematic withdrawal by Boorman into memoir, dense with calmly-observed anxiety & repression



Ludwig (1973) – a study of anguished royalty, typifying Visconti’s problematic placement between turgidity and genuine tormented grandeur



Mudbound (2017) – Rees’ patient, ultimately traumatizing drama presages the geographic & cultural divides that will all but consume America



Dragon Inn (1967) – Hu’s gorgeous classic sinks with relish into genre skirmishes while increasingly seeming to dream beyond it, toward Zen



To Live and Die in L.A. (1985) – Friedkin’s strangely compelling straddling of vulgar disposability and almost spiritually-infused certainty



Le mouton enrage (1974) – Deville’s evasively peculiar comedy of compromised self-determination, built on bleakly twisted underpinnings



Personal Shopper (2016) – Assayas’ scintillating cinematic tapestry, woven from a myriad of artistic and existential strivings and mysteries



Ten Minutes to Live (1932) – hard to surmount the limitations of Micheaux’s revue/drama, likely the least necessary of his surviving films



Good Men, Good Women (1995) – Hou’s impeccable work of reflective commemoration, spanning generations of national and personal traumas



Escape from Alcatraz (1979) – Siegel’s classic escape film is a tersely vivid tapestry of figurative, spiritual and physical confinements



Jauja (2014) – in Alonso’s beautiful, respectful cinema of discovery and exile, the potentially startling flows as naturally as clear water



Barefoot in the Park (1967) – Simon’s facile writing now seems beyond machine-like, almost monstrous in its faking of human intercourse



On Body and Soul (2017) – Enyedi’s beautifully attentive film, on what our dreams know better than our tired, ritualistic waking minds



Little Murders (1971) – Arkin’s black, black comedy has a highly distinctive angle on contemporary alienation, disarray and screwed-up hope



The Future is Woman (1984) – Ferreri strikingly (if not so subtly) welds an amped-up disco surface onto an elemental, nurturing underbelly



Woman of the Year (1942) – considered at a time of yawning cultural divide, the central conflict of Stevens’ comedy seems all the fresher



The Human Surge (2016) – Williams’ artfully rough-hewn global survey captures cultural parallels & divergences, possibilities & confinements



Child’s Play (1972) – a limited, contrived piece of theater, but lifted by Lumet’s dark shaping and by crackerjack actorly presences



To Die Like a Man (2009) – Rodrigues’ fascinating, melancholy film, rich with unusual representations of performance and self-assertion



The Chase (1966) – Penn’s overstuffed but powerful, premonitory allegory of American delusion, ugliness and societal incoherence



Land of Mine (2015) – an effective depiction by Zandvliet of post-war abstractions, even if it follows familiar emotional and dramatic beats



Just a Gigolo (1979) – Hemmings’ film doesn’t exhibit much relish for the period/setting, the decadence nor (most sadly) its striking cast



L’amant double (2017) – Ozon’s sleek, erotic creepy-twin melodrama is to lasting cinema what phantom pregnancies are to population growth



The Flying Ace (1926) – Norman’s niftily plotted and quite fluid thriller doesn’t mention or hint at race, which fuels its quiet radicalism



Ce jour-la (2003) – Ruiz’s singular comedy progresses from rather grating wackiness to (I think) strangely complex allegorical depths



The Brood (1979) – one of Cronenberg’s less gripping or persuasive creations, at least up to the eye-popping, repulsion-rich final stretch



Toni Erdmann (2016) – Ade’s highly successful serio-comic investigation of our faltering personal and collective spontaneity & connectivity



The Bellboy (1960) – Lewis’ engagingly alienating (if that makes sense) directorial debut, at once formally exacting & conceptually unbound



The State I am in (2000) – Petzold’s coolly allusive drama of modernity possessed by past; endless flight indistinguishable from stasis



Daisy Miller (1974) – Bogdanovich’s pleasant but passionless James adaptation, limited by insufficient tonal and analytical precision



Okja (2017) – Boon’s film feels ultimately like a soft punch, despite all its whimsy, biting satire, technical panache and general oddness



One A.M. (1916) – an impeccable exhibition of dexterity, although feeling now rather as if Chaplin barely sensed the audience beyond himself



Querelle (1982) – Fassbinder’s remarkable, no-way-back meditation; a ritualistic, anguishing enacting of intertwined awakening and death



The Founder (2016) – Hancock’s flavorless McDonald’s origin story doesn’t even hint at the fast food industry’s mostly toxic social legacy



Three Rooms in Manhattan (1965) – clash-of-culture interest aside, Carne’s over-extended study in romantic anguish falls mostly flat



So Fine (1981) – Bergman’s comedy is enjoyable and varied enough but never really sparks, with the central gimmick contributing little



Les maries de l’an deux (1971) – Rappeneau puts together a grand, fast-paced historical romp, little of which seems to matter much now



The Big Sick (2017) – absent its modest contribution to filmic diversity, Showalter’s comedy would be no more than unremarkably pleasant



Letter from Siberia (1958) – Marker at once descends deeply and ethically into his complex subject, and seems to whimsically ascend above it



Pi (1998) – perhaps Aronofsky’s most lasting film, pounding its way to some kind of jittery coherence (if not necessarily persuasiveness)



Flic story (1975) – a largely familiar detective/gangster structure, enhanced by actorly charisma & Deray’s evocation of post-war weariness



Lion (2016) – Davis’ quite offputtingly well-polished, sociologically and otherwise mostly valueless piece of one-in-a-million feel-goodery



Seisaku’s Wife (1965) – Masumura (epically under-celebrated) unflinchingly depicts the repression and meanness at the heart of rural society



Chain Letters (1985) – Rappaport’s distinctive take on contemporary unease feels at once highly stylized and yet near-randomly unearthed



I Am Self-Sufficient (1976) – Moretti’s early film is a bit underpowered, even allowing that dissatisfied lassitude is its main fuel source



Get Out (2017) – Peele’s metaphorically-charged horror comedy is sharp and eerily effective, yet has surely been too generously appraised



My Love has been Burning (1949) – Mizoguchi’s film is an absolute landmark in the cinema of women’s rights, activism and self-determination



Xanadu (1980) – Greenwald’s mostly ill-considered, what-were-they-thinking mishmash at least exhibits a spurting idiosyncratic dreaminess



Elle (2016) – hard to know how to react to Verhoeven’s elegantly calculated displacements, or (beyond admiring Huppert) how much even to try



The Deadly Affair (1966) – Lumet and le Carre’s familiarly solid, unshowy exercise in institutional, ethical and domestic exhaustion



Eden (2001) – Gitai’s evocation of 1940s Israel feels like a boringly missed opportunity, allowing only flashes of insight or identification



Shampoo (1975) – Ashby/Towne’s impeccable utilization, extension and ultimate (transient) hollowing-out of the bottomless Beatty mystique



Sacro GRA (2013) – Rosi’s well-caught quotidian observations seem to hint at an underlying unifying loss, a troubling existential darkness



Sergeant Madden (1939) – about five parts unimportantly enjoyable police drama to one part visually and thematically engaged von Sternberg



13 Tzameti (2005) – Babluani’s tight, unsentimental drama is impressively (if not that consequentially) fully-imagined in every detail



The Seven-Per-Cent Solution (1976) – a Holmes/Freud mash-up more stimulating in Meyer’s concept than in Ross’s blandly rendered actuality



Neruda (2016) – Larrain’s meta-fiction narrative might have seemed strained, in the hands of a less graceful weaver of cinematic tapestries



All Fall Down (1962) – Frankenheimer’s family melodrama has plenty of meat and color, but ultimately lacks emotional and expressive potency



Cobra Verde (1987) – Herzog’s drama piles on eye-filling scenes, while surely grappling inadequately with the representation of slavery



All that Jazz (1979) – Fosse’s cinematic testimony is a whirl of the repellent and the visionary, artistic virtuosity and mere restlessness



Scabbard Samurai (2010) – Matsumoto’s is the most enjoyably Letterman-ish samurai movie we’re likely to see, cutesy sentimentality aside



I Was a Male War Bride (1949) – Hawks’ brilliantly unforced comedy of frustration and denial, soberly building to a classic final stretch



Pars vite et reviens tard (2007) – Wargnier drives an interesting urban paranoia premise toward strictly superficial, convoluted rewards



Dead Pigeon on Beethoven Street (1973) – Fuller’s rather peculiar German thriller is at once classical and chaotic, immediate and abstracted



Julieta (2016) – Almodovar’s sensuous melodrama hardly seems aware of real life’s messy textures, but easily envelops on its own terms



Uptight (1968) – Dassin’s powerful, often anguished informer melodrama, galvanized by the era’s tensions, debates and social realities



Historias extraordinarias (2008) – Llinas’ binge of storytelling, drunk on narrative possibility, while retaining an evenly wry sobriety



Pete ‘n’ Tillie (1972) – Ritt’s episodic, philosophical, often bitter comedy, propelled by beautifully dry writing, directing and acting



Abuse of Weakness (2013) – Breillat’s fascinating, masterfully-controlled case study in the ambiguous exercise of power and exploitation



Birthright (1939) – for all its imperfections, Micheaux’s drama is a deeply-felt expression of anger at persistent belittlement & injustice



Shadows in Paradise (1986) – an emblematic illustration of Kaurismaki’s peculiar melding of gloomy denial and tight-lipped hopefulness



Asparagus (1979) – Pitt’s brief, vivid, sensuous animation drinks/sucks from strange, deep pools/organs of individual & collective desire



It’s only the end of the world (2016) – largely dour & limited family material, but rather interestingly interrogated & ventilated by Dolan



Indecent Desires (1968) – marginally interesting for Wishman’s modestly innovative structure of desire, and for its starkly pitiless ending



Symbol (2009) – Matsumoto’s great tease of a movie, positing utter nonsense as the heart of all meaning & connection (or something anyway…)



The War between Men and Women (1972) – Shavelson’s pretty ambitious Thurber-inspired comedy too often bogs down in tedious wheel-spinning



Potiche (2010) – Ozon’s broad, breezy tale of female awakening plays pretty successfully with garishly outdated attitudes and aesthetics



Eleven P.M. (1928) – Maurice’s drama is often confusingly articulated, but still intrigues for its sad, ultimately other-worldly conviction



Plein sud (1981) – Beraud’s preoccupied drama of erotic collision and chaotic personal reinvention is pleasingly engaged and unpredictable



Arrival (2016) – Villeneuve’s well-crafted alien visitor drama ultimately privileges dreaminess over investigation, rather disappointingly



Farewell, friend (1968) – Herman’s twisty thriller is well-plotted and -paced and has the striking Delon-Bronson team-up, so that’s all good



Until the end of the World (1991) – a great escalation of Wenders’ movie wanderlust, yet a relative stagnation in his artistic expansiveness



Le trio infernal (1974) – Girod’s rather rigidly nasty piece of period decadence makes only a modest satirical or stylistic impact



The Dinner (2017) – more a fussy dog’s breakfast of family anguish, as Moverman unenjoyably and indigestibly burns up the cinematic kitchen



Rififi (1955) – the film now might seem alternatively either conventional or forced, but Dassin finds in it a pained, pessimistic coherence



Author! Author! (1982) – interesting only for stray glimpses of a preoccupied centre, but barely breaking through Hiller’s ineffectual gloss



A Touch of Zen (1971) – Hu’s great epic travels from rich, intimate narrative to an astounding relinquishment of earthly and cinematic bonds



Rules don’t Apply (2016) – Beatty’s fascinating exercise in evasiveness – his subject’s, his own, that of his film’s preoccupied playfulness



I knew her well (1965) – Pietrangeli’s brilliantly observant, assumption-challenging study of a young woman, both celebratory and sobering



Local Hero (1983) – for every nicely observed element of Forsyth’s widely-treasured film, there’s another that seems crass or undercooked



Shock Treatment (1973) – the hedonistic sheen of Jessua’s breezy modern vampirism drama is more striking than the cynical underpinning



The Lovers (2017) – navigating most deftly between lightness and gravity, Jacobs explores ideas of intertwined withering and renewal



Toni (1935) – Renoir’s tragic drama of thwarted desire and ambition; as always, rich in broader, impeccably-seeded social implication



Modern Romance (1981) – one of Brooks’ best & most elusively funny films, at once universal & distinctly, itchily precise (space floor?!)



‘Tis Pity She’s a Whore (1971) – Griffi’s film sustains a suitably pained if somewhat overly prettified air, on the way to its bloody finale



I Am Not Your Negro (2016) – for all its clear strengths, Peck’s film is maybe a less electric interlocutor than Baldwin’s work would merit



Not Reconciled (1965) – Straub’s brief work implicitly rebukes an entire tradition of stale, conventional narrative and representation



He Knows you’re Alone (1980) – a moderately lively slasher, limited by Mastroianni’s lack of cinematic relish, nastiness-wise or otherwise



Two English Girls (1971) – one of the finest illustrations of Truffaut’s navigation between intimacy & distance, whimsicality & formality



Song to Song (2017) – Malick’s immersive new cinema remains both vital & alienating, experience & sensation at once elevated & flattened



Sunday in Peking (1956) – viewing China primarily as bucolic fulfilment of past dreams, Marker could hardly imagine the shape of its future



Swamp Thing (1982) – Craven’s film isn’t very dramatically or thematically imposing, but skips by on bursts of broadly-etched zestiness



Ecce bombo (1978) – Moretti’s early not-quite comedy is a rather interestingly ungraspable exercise in blankness and dissatisfaction



20th Century Women (2016) – for all its vivid sincerity, Mills’ film seems strained & artificial next to, say, Reichardt’s Certain Women



La chamade (1968) – not much in Cavalier’s film penetrates too deeply, albeit that the sense of weightlessness is inherent to the theme



Werner Herzog eats his Shoe (1980) – worth seeing just for the concept, even if the movie is short on actual unambiguous shoe-eating



Shadowman (1974) – Franju’s late, sporadically insinuating thriller provides some elemental narrative pleasures, but limited overall potency



T2 Trainspotting (2017) – strained regrets aside, Boyle’s sequel has a lot of synthetic-feeling energy & conflict, but little real feeling



Utamaro and his Five Women (1946) – Mizoguchi’s captivating, deeply-connected reflection on integrity and self-determination in art and love



The First Monday in October (1981) – time-capsule interest aside, Neame’s plodding semi-comedy doesn’t argue a very stirring case for itself



In a Year with 13 Moons (1978) – among Fassbinder’s most extreme expressions of trauma, querulously balancing intimacy and ungraspability



Loving (2016) – Nichols’ study appeals most for its reticence; its quiet observance of social revolution embodied by unassuming people



Le trou (1960) – Becker’s near-hypnotic prison escape drama builds to a devastating final evaluation of relative freedom and morality



Some Kind of Hero (1982) – Pressman’s overly brisk downward-spiral Vietnam vet movie needed more character, and a far less flimsy redemption



The Outside Man (1973) – a terse, efficient thriller, vastly elevated by Deray’s fascinated immersion in Los Angeles geography and culture



The Meyerowitz Stories (2017) – despite inspired stretches and overall consummate skill, the film doesn’t much extend our sense of Baumbach



Conflagration (1958) – Ichikawa’s hermetic but intensely gripping tale, darkly propelled by barely expressible self-loathing and anguish



Compromising Positions (1985) – Perry’s not-exactly-Lynchian exposure of suburban secrets and discontent plays it a bit too soft throughout



Story of Sin (1975) – Borowczyk painstakingly, almost austerely charts the moral ambiguities underlying his potentially lurid chronicle



The Eyes of my Mother (2016) – hard not to admire Pesce’s straddling of tranquility & malevolence, while also praying for release from it



Red Angel (1966) – Masumura’s amazing study of war’s perverting yet cleansing effects, suffused in physical and psychic damage and suffering



Eyewitness (1981) – beneath its rather conventional surface, Yates’ drama is heavy with the detritus of America’s scarred moral landscape



Sauvage innocence (2001) – a mesmerizingly-executed slow collision with fate, perhaps somewhat conventionally conceived for Garrel though



The Electric Horseman (1979) – a nice little ramble, leaving aside the inherent hypocrisy of its anti-corporate, simplicity-embracing creed



A Man called Ove (2015) – Holm at least brings some decent warmth to his distinctly familiar-feeling melting-of-a-crusty-old-man tale



The Bedford Incident (1965) – Harris navigates a grippingly mirthless course to a highly Strangelove-ian abstract/realist end-point



Amelie (2001) – Jeunet’s notably skillful crowdpleaser no doubt hits every target for which it aims, albeit they’re mostly valueless ones



1,000 Convicts and a Woman (1971) – the title is pretty much the only relish-worthy aspect of this largely joyless British contrivance



Century of Birthing (2011) – Diaz’s mighty reflection on faith, creativity and commitment, encompassing the grotesque and the sublime



It’s Always Fair Weather (1955) – if only Donen/Kelly’s musical could have dug even deeper into the melancholy that tempers its exuberance..



Thomas in Love (2000) – Renders maintains the governing gimmick quite ably, but the film doesn’t leave much lasting impression of any kind



The Mackintosh Man (1973) – a rather plain drama, but lifted by Huston’s seasoned, unshowy pleasure in the life-draining spy machinations



Ruined Heart…(2014) – Khavn’s doomed criminal/whore love story is a strikingly individual, aggressively visualized performance-art piece



Bad Girls go to Hell (1965) – Wishman injects a trace of quiet authorial sympathy into a generally disembodied & mechanical victimhood drama



Danton (1983) – Wajda skillfully navigates historical events & oppositions, yet his film hardly taps the revolution’s complex momentousness



Our Souls at Night (2017) – you wish the still-magnetic stars were in harder-edged material, but a pleasing movie on its own flaccid terms



Casque d’Or (1952) – Becker’s drama of doomed romance might almost embody the huge virtues of the period’s French cinema, & its limitations



The Loveless (1981) – Bigelow/Montgomery’s striking collision, at once direct & evasive, of classic biker aesthetics & small-town repression



Ali: Fear Eats the Soul (1974) – among Fassbinder’s most precise, unerring works; occupying a unique space between reverie & social document



Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk (2016) – Lee’s engaging cavalcade of American idiocies and failings is generally more dutiful than incisive



Record of a Tenement Gentleman (1947) – Ozu’s exquisite portrait, both bleak and hopeful, of a post-war community’s gradual rehumanization



Paris, Texas (1984) – Wenders’ finely weighted, and yet somewhat forced, navigation between old- and new-world connections and ruptures



Police Woman (1973) – an often disengaged-feeling martial arts potboiler, suffused in the kind of mediocrity one can be nostalgic about



The Light between Oceans (2016) –  Cianfrance’s tragi-romance is mostly pleasantly if unremarkably old-fashioned, without being cloying



Odd Obsession (1959) – Ichikawa’s darkly preoccupied family drama might have a racy synopsis, but is a largely monotonous viewing experience



Critical Care (1997) – interesting enough material, not lacking in care, but Lumet needed to give it some extra fire, or kick, or passion…



Turkish Delight (1973) – few films have immersed themselves in gleeful, unashamed animal spirits as boisterously as Verhoeven does here



Berlin Syndrome (2017) – the grimly unappealing core material ultimately proves unworthy of Shortland’s multi-faceted engagement with it



3 hommes a abattre (1980) – Deray’s efficient but rather mechanical man-in-the-wrong-place thriller feels only intermittently engaged



The Girl from Chicago (1932) – its depiction of varying morality aside, one of Micheaux’s weaker, more thematically limited surviving films



Ares (2016) – Benes’ grim vision of a strained future benefits from being viewed in fanciful hindsight as a pumped-up prophecy of Macron!



Rabid (1977) – Cronenberg’s vividly punishing early work effectively occupies the intersection of intimate and collective anxieties



Chungking Express (1994) – perhaps the most purely enjoyable, kinetic, wondrously intuitive expression of Wong’s beautiful cinematic gifts



The Big Clock (1948) – Farrow’s structurally-striking thriller is great to watch, but lacks the thematic & tonal depths of classic noir



John From (2015) – Nicolau’s idiosyncratic, precise deconstruction of teenage dreams & rituals, in the most beguiling of sun-kissed packages



The Driver’s Seat (1973) – Griffi’s odd little jigsaw movie (with Taylor & Warhol!) draws fairly effectively on the era’s multiple anxieties



Oldboy (2003) – no doubt a gift from Park to genre fans, bringing a patina of tragic grandeur to its manipulations and contrivances



The Sorcerors (1967) – Reeves’ great little mind-control drama, seeped in local texture, agonized emotion and overall genre mastery



Evolution (2015) – Hadzihailovic’s eerily precise, mythic tale of ritual and mutation; suffused in alienated, somehow accusatory beauty



Born to Win (1971) – Passer’s sadly under-remembered movie is a distinctive blend of eccentric delight and grim, no-way-out junkiehood



The Factory (2004) – Loznitsa’s short study sets out unchanging brutal realities, couched within semi-abstract, almost wondrous mystery



The Scar of Shame (1927) – some biting thematic elements aside, Perugini’s drama is a bit less notable than other “race film” landmarks



Spetters (1980) – Verhoeven propels the broadly-drawn, often biting material with his swift, brutally frank cinematic, social & moral relish



Barry (2016) – Gandhi’s gentle Obama mythology now seems as far removed as Columbus, given America’s current Presidential atrocities



Investigation of a Citizen above Suspicion (1970) – the orderliness of Petri’s comedy of degraded power may feel weirdly comforting now



Blue Steel (1989) – Bigelow’s minutely alert but short-of-redemptive visualization of a dispiritingly ugly relentless killer narrative



Rome, Open City (1945) – one feels Rossellini methodically constructing, if not yet fully crossing, a bridge to cinematic modernity



Night will Fall (2014) – Singer’s chronicle of recovered Holocaust film is reverent and moving, but can it ever pierce us sufficiently now?



La prisonniere (1968) – Clouzot’s strained last film is most gripped & gripping when immersed in pure cinematic &/or behavioral manipulation



Kicking and Screaming (1995) – Baumbach’s debut lacks much overall punch, but provides many appealing, often quite Stillman-esque fragments



Stavisky (1974) – Resnais’ sumptuous surface incrreasingly yields a study of extraordinary complexity, subtlety and regretful allusiveness



The Girl with all the Gifts (2016) – McCarthy’s impeccable character-driven vision both delivers and transcends zombie-genre pleasures



Touchez pas au grisbi (1954) – Becker’s famous, precisely rendered crime drama, marked throughout by wearily understated observation



Starman (1984) – Carpenter’s basic-feeling alien visitor road movie is generally pleasant, but no great shakes in any department whatsoever



Storm Children (2014) – Diaz’s observation of devastation; a quietly challenging fusion of pictorial mastery and sociological helplessness



The Sandpiper (1965) – pretty insipid stuff in all respects, with Minnelli’s expressive mastery seemingly shamed into timid submission



Trance (2006) – Villaverde’s study of enforced prostitution finds startling, quasi-mythic ways to chart the limits of our identification



The Spy who Loved Me (1977) – a sporadically pretty but hollow & unengaged Bond epic, hardly sustaining the “nobody does it better” branding



Jonas et Lila, a demain (1999) – Tanner’s enthralling late-career investigation is allusive & romantic, but also alert to threats & limits



The Lodger (1927) – Hitchcock’s tightly gripping silent film foretells his later masterly explorations of sexual obsession and trauma



Therese Desqueyroux (2012) – Miller’s careful but unsurprising telling feels far less alive and piercing than Franju’s earlier version



The Shooting (1966) – Hellman’s mythic ambitions can seem rather strained, but the film nevertheless emanates a strange, sparse power



Demain on demenage (2004) – in its own celebratory yet haunted way, Akerman’s comedy is as radically destructive as her epic Jeanne Dielman



Prime Cut (1972) – Ritchie’s should-be classic thriller is sparsely & scenically articulated, on a startlingly weird underlying sensibility



Our Little Sister (2015) – Koreeda’s Ozu-lite tale is overly prettified and hardly momentous, but filled with subtle, satisfying virtues



Hellbound train (1930) – for all its hectoring strangeness, Gist’s film is a raggedly authentic cry of wide-ranging societal anguish



Grenouilles (1983) – Arrieta’s short film plays engagingly (in its minimal, abstracted way) with low-budget genre myths and contrivances



The Accountant (2016) – O’Connor’s weirdly over-stuffed narrative is all debits and few credits, bursts of accounting-talk notwithstanding



Sounds from the Mountain (1954) – Naruse’s masterfully observed, often severely piercing study of faltering relationships and structures



What Women Want (2000) – Meyers’ unmemorable comedy is largely free of complexities, ambiguities or ironies (oh, or of real laughs either)



The Tenth Victim (1965) – Petri’s playful futuristic thriller is diverting and good-looking, but doesn’t have his later forceful bite



The Last Married Couple in America (1980) – beneath the standard contrivances, Cates provides bitter glances at a vast emotional wasteland



Keetje Tippel (1975) – a strikingly expansive chronicle of social and sexual exploitation, well-served by Verhoeven’s unflinching brashness



American Honey (2016) – Arnold’s microcosm of strained capitalism; a lovely, piercingly observant odyssey of cinematic pollen-gathering



The Village Teacher (1947) – initial promise as a character study yields to Donskoy’s dutifully reverent evocation of Soviet achievements



Black Hawk Down (2001) – despite Scott’s exacting focus on immersive authenticity, the film doesn’t really expand the genre’s vocabulary



Description d’un combat (1960) – Marker strains to see Israel’s future, and (of course) fails, even as the most effortless of time travelers



Black or White (2014) – Binder’s tidily balanced conventionality hardly allows his greater thematic ambitions (such as they are) to flourish



Drunken Master (1978) – whatever one’s affinity for the genre, Chan’s almost constant, cleanly-observed ultra-physicality is mesmerizing



Mirror, Mirror (1990) – Sargenti smartly positions the lurid Carrie-like material to reflect female desires, insecurities, bonds and rifts



The 400 Blows (1959) – Truffaut’s film taps a romantically poignant, searching totality that binds and transcends the sum of its parts



Cafe Society (2016) – hardly a fully-achieved Allen film, but appealing for its gorgeous surfaces and quietly regretful, dreamy undertones



Les bas-fonds (1936) – Renoir’s peerlessly varied observation of social complexities culminates in offsetting states of relative liberation



Captive (1986) – Mayersberg’s somewhat detached but resonant reflection on, perhaps, the intertwined confinements of storybook princesses



The Triplets of Belleville (2003) – Chomet’s wonderfully-executed animated treasure, pitched at a previously uncharted angle to the world



Model Shop (1969) – Demy’s treasurably dead-end American film, drifting plaintively at an intersection of drab depression & displaced beauty



Florentina Hubaldo, CTE (2012) – Diaz’s ultimately devastating investigation of the cruel contours and legacy of extreme personal trauma



Scum (1979) – Clarke’s unsparing portrait of callous institutional uselessness ultimately verges on draining, Kubrickian horror fantasy



Ashik Kerib (1988) – less satisfying than his earlier works, Parajanov’s fantasy spans both painstaking conservation and hermetic denial



The Exile (1931) – Micheaux’s film groundbreakingly digs into racial constructs and perceptions, technical limitations notwithstanding



Big Man Japan (2007) – Matsumoto wittily spins his superhero mumbo-jumbo-mythmaking to absurd lengths, & yet finds a rumpled grandeur there



Magnificent Obsession (1954) – Sirk immaculately renders the astounding plot contrivances  & settings as confining as they are transcending



Fire at Sea (2016) – Rosi’s suprising, quietly audacious approach to the migrant crisis draws out sharply tragic parallels and oppositions



They’re a Weird Mob (1966) –  a proficient if often toothless romp, elevated by Powell’s playfully brutal observations of masculinity



Brotherhood of the Wolf (2001) – it’s hardly worth recalling the nominal plot, but Gans’ escalating abandon makes some kind of impression



The Spook who sat by the Door (1973) – Dixon’s remarkable, incendiary blend of biting satire and deadly serious revolutionary quasi-prophecy



In a Glass Cage (1985) – for all Villalonga’s exacting skill with challenging material, there’s little to be gained from watching the film



Dirty Gertie from Harlem U.S.A. (1946) – Williams’ rather under-realized melodrama teems with interesting, sometimes provocative fragments



Denial (2016) – any contribution to the cinema of rationality is ever-timely and valuable, despite Jackson’s overly conventional instincts



Two Women (1960) – De Sica’s ending largely retains its bleak power, but much of the film’s querulous suffering feels strenuously calculated



A Beautiful Mind (2001) – Howard’s highly watchable (of course), not unmoving movie is laden with predictable simplifications & limitations



Le Amiche (1955) – Antonioni’s early masterpiece, suffused with spiritual misalignment beneath its ceaselessly observant, probing surface



James White (2015) – a film of essentially small parameters, but deftly seeded by Mond & the fine actors with unusual hurts & grace notes



Pointilly (1972) – Arrieta’s fragment of preoccupation (and abuse?), both watchful and mythic, is intriguing enough that you wish for more



The Last Days of Chez Nous (1992) – Armstrong’s modest but vividly, expansively observed drama of familial transitions and displacements



Menilmontant (1926) – Kirsanoff’s supremely haunting narrative is a glory of cinema’s expressive power, both as disruption and as comforter



Certain Women (2016) – Reichardt’s exquisitely observed and geographically rooted, deeply-felt study in circumscribed but meaningful lives



That Man from Rio (1964) – de Broca’s pantheon-worthy romp, its underlying coldness mightily offset by the epically charismatic Belmondo



Unrelated (2007) – Hogg demonstrates a superb, sometimes quietly heartbreaking feeling for the shifts in human connection, and their victims



O Henry’s Full House (1952) – Hawks’ sequence aside, the use of five directors doesn’t prevent a frequent feeling of sanitized repetition



Sogni d’oro (1981) – Moretti’s incident-filled 8 ½-type self-mythology is at once sort of unsummarizably brilliant, yet mostly uninteresting



Nude on the Moon (1961) – hard to imagine whose erotic reveries would exactly have been satisfied by Phelan/Wishman’s perplexing fantasy



Dog Days (2001) – Seidl’s unique deployment of cinema’s inherent voyeurism opens up knowingly problematic yet oddly expansive sexual terrain



Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970) – Schatzberg’s study of a fashion model taps both the industry’s modish surfaces and its enervating heart



The Salesman (2016) – Farhadi’s well-honed investigative method again probes rewardingly into Iran’s distinct yet very human hypocrisies



The Thing from Another World (1951) – it’s true - Nyby’s classic yarn most enthralls for the constantly masterful Hawksian group dynamics



Le cent et une nuits de Simon Cinema (1995) – Varda’s goofy, ramshackle star-studded homage teems with defiantly elemental creative pleasure



Dr. Strangelove (1964) – a lasting achivement, if frequently a stifling one, for Kubrick’s visual grandeur and structural cleverness



The Tribe (2014) – Slaboshpitsky’s stylization is arguably overdone, but the film is still something of a startling triumph on its own terms



Christopher Strong (1933) – Arzner’s fascinating study of intertwined female capacity and (both self- and externally-imposed) limitations



The Settlement (2002) – Loznitsa crafts his film almost as strange displaced science fiction, but challenges us to see the humanity within



De Palma (2015) – Baumbach and Kasdan deliver just about as effective and illuminating a survey as one can imagine in the time allotted



The New Land (1972) – the second part of Troell’s fine saga, as eerily well-attuned to the new life’s isolation as to its grand belonging



Married to the Mob (1988) – on its own terms, capable only of demonstrating Demme to be a proficient enhancer of largely turgid material



Jack Frost (1964) – Rou’s charmingly tangible musical fantasy evokes its magical rustical world with beguiling, knowing primitivism



Equity (2016) – Menon’s control and the well-worked-out script make for gripping viewing, despite the project’s narrow, hermetic nature



Listen to Britain (1942) – Jennings and McAllister bring diverse observations of a challenged nation into precise, watchful equilibrium



The Legend of Suram Fortress (1985) – Parajanov/Abashidze’s film is an alluring, somewhat weary emissary from a far-off aesthetic tradition



The Last Picture Show (1971) – Bogdanovich’s haunting film merits its reputation, even if its poetic desolation can feel over-calculated



An Investigation on the Night that Won’t Forget (2012) – Diaz’s commemoration could hardly be cinematically simpler, or more vastly human



Year of the Dragon (1985) – Cimino’s provocatively flawed but often brashly scintillating expression of America’s escalating tribal madness



La carriere de Suzanne (1963) – Rohmer’s second moral tale, dense with deeply considered relationships, is among the most rawly complex 



The Sea of Trees (2015) – an increasingly depressing slog through the forest, as the full depth of Van Sant’s insipidity blooms into view



Double Indemnity (1944) – a fascinating noir web, with Wilder’s snappy perfection almost entering a zone of spiritually-drained abstraction



Cemetery of Splendour (2015) – as always, Apichatpong’s exquisite perceptions seem to open up wondrous new spiritual and narrative spaces



The Fabulous Baker Boys (1989) – Kloves’ film poses at being harder-edged than it is, but is pleasingly seeped in taciturn charisma



Requiem for a Vampire (1971) – Rollin seems rather lacking in conviction here, leaden plotting somewhat undercutting his erotic ritualism



Pride (2014) – Warchus’ calculating film is hardly hard-edged, but is pleasing & persuasive in its evocation of community & shared struggle



Wind Across the Everglades (1958) – hardly as focused as Ray’s best work, but increasingly propelled by a central relish and intensity



Italian for Beginners (2000) – Scherfig unproductively applies the minimal ‘Dogme’ style to a contrived piece of romantic wish-fulfilment



White Girl (2016) – somewhat familiar territory, greatly ventilated by Wood’s alert direction and Saylor’s fascinatingly vital fragility



Los Olvidados (1950) – Bunuel’s grimly indelible landmark, its severe sociological potency magnified through constant expressive mastery



Psycho II (1983) – Franklin references the original’s general form and assorted content with aplomb, but can’t revive its potent substance



The Man who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) – Ford’s film remains a key if subdued reference point in exploring America’s founding myths & lies



Under the Shadow (2016) – much in Anvari’s “ghost” story feels overly generic, for all its powerful metaphoric and social elements



eXistenZ (1999) – a fascinating, if relatively more rigid expression of Cronenberg’s magnificently unsettled, premonitionary sensibility



Belladonna of Sadness (1973) – Yamamoto’s weirdly lovely submission to narrative and artistic iconoclasm, stoked by recurrent erotic frenzy



I Smile Back (2015) – Palky’s film is most interesting for Silverman’s complex presence, and for hints of a broader critique of domesticity



The Frozen North (1922) – enjoyable, relatively low-key Keaton short is somewhat harder-edged than expected, until its dreamy final reveal



The Asthenic Syndrome (1990) – Muratova’s remarkable, overspilling expression of our screwed-up, deadened societal train to nowhere



The Shipping News (2001) – Hallstrom’s adaptation feels frosted, distant and overly compressed, achieving little of lasting interest



Andrei Rublev (1969) – Tarkovsky’s inexhaustible, daunting recreation; cinema as teeming, immersive, cruel and transcendent pilgrimage



A Hologram for the King (2016) – it’s enjoyable and sociologically diverting, even if Tykwer’s crisp proficiency doesn’t yield much depth



Suddenly, Last Summer (1959) – Mankiewicz’s lugubrious drama warrants no more than a minor place in the museum of cinematic repression



JLG/JLG (1994) – Godard’s beguiling self-mythology, possessed by mourning and retrenchment while (of course) restlessly investigative



Sausage Party (2016) – as craftily polished as a supermarket tomato, Tiernan & Vernon’s (let’s say) liberation fantasy is tirelessly amazing



The Emigrants (1971) – Troell’s steady, entirely persuasive chronicle draws its power from wondrous faith, rooted in stark necessity



The Last of England (1987) – Jarman’s scorching evocation of a death-spiraling Britain; perhaps overdone but forgivably and masterfully so



The Last Vacation (1947) – Renoir might have found vitality in this family vignette; Leenhardt assembles pretty, undistinguished mechanics



A Bigger Splash (2015) – not ultimately a major film, but galvanized by Guadagnino’s ravishing taste in cinematic and emotional architecture



The Age of the Medici (1973) – Rossellini’s unerring rationality and measured clarity sustains a mesmerizing historical representation



The Crying Game (1992) – Jordan’s singular fusion of political and romantic destinies; fascinating despite its soft, unresolved heart



A Quiet Place in the Country (1968) – the narrative’s generic aspects fetter Petri’s fine madness, notwithstanding its anti-consumerist bite



The Childhood of a Leader (2015) – Corbet audaciously & painstakingly represents our futile desire to trace back evil to explicable origins



Wedding in Blood (1973) – a straightforward Chabrol drama, with all his practiced skill but little of narrative or psychological distinction



Moonlight (2016) – Jenkins’ utterly enveloping, structurally impeccable study carries a wondrous sense of elevation, immersion and destiny



Le Testament d’Orphee (1959) – Cocteau’s farewell film, a marvelously strange but enraptured assertion of restless poetic sensibility



Body Double (1984) – one’s assessment would drown in reservations, if not for De Palma’s often ravishing, utterly spellbinding scenemaking



The Sidewalk is Gone (2002) – but even in such a relatively minor diversion, Tsai’s peculiar deadpan poetry of absences remains alluring



Villain (1971) – Tuchner’s slab of British gangland nastiness; only modest surprises, but should satisfy most cravings for red meat



Divines (2016) – Benyamina’s deeply-rooted yet transcendent drama of young female overreach radiates thrilling cinematic and human energy



The Wild Bunch (1969) – in its chilling nihilistic perfection, Peckinpah’s tirelessly orchestrated epic remains an astonishment to behold



Cafe Lumiere (2003) – Hou pays beautiful tribute to Ozu’s complex grace and mild quirks, while noting Japan’s subsequent social evolution



The Big Sky (1952) – a work of grand spectacle and classic Hawksian human structures, tapping the faultlines of the nation’s harsh formation



The Innocents (2016) – Fontaine’s stark drama is moving and well-told, if ultimately slightly lacking in cinematic and moral distinctiveness



Winter Kills (1979) – Richert plays drolly with America’s unquenchable, helplessly romantic obsessions with conspiracy, power & myth-making



Demons (1985) – Bava’s gorily concentrated relish-fest may be, if nothing else, the movie a Billy Idol/Motley Crue et al soundtrack needs



You Only Live Twice (1967) – the fifth Bond film is already a largely ponderous experience, visual excellence & skin-deep “exoticism” aside



High-Rise (2015) – Wheatley’s fearsomely well-orchestrated, tightly-packed adaptation encompasses epochs of social delusions and faultlines



The Third Generation (1978) – Fassbinder’s pitiless diagnosis of post-war Germany as little more than a political and behavioral toilet



The Mirror has Two Faces (1996) – the movie’s vaguely affirmative core gets smothered by Streisand’s gooey, superficial manipulations



Hour of the Wolf (1968) – with ruthless concision, Bergman extrapolates the preoccupations of the artistic sensibility into pure horror film



Dog Eat Dog (2016) – Schrader impressively ventilates and transcends his paltry material, but the film still feels way beneath him



The Phantom of the Moulin-Rouge (1925) – Clair’s central dream of mischievous transcendence just about wins out over stodgy plotting



Second-Hand Hearts (1981) – one hopes Ashby’s angle was affectionately sociological more than raucous condescenion, but it’s tough to tell



Fellini’s Casanova (1976) – maybe Fellini’s most undervalued film, weary with the toll of such relentless pursuit and climax and aftermath



Danny Collins (2015) – in the absence of much else, Fogelman’s film feels as if everyone involved was basically just enjoying Pacino’s act



The Games of Angels (1964) – Borowczyk’s brief animation of industrialized destruction lies among his most precisely calculated visions



The Postman always Rings Twice (1981) – the mild erotic charge aside, Rafelson’s interest in the dated material remains a little mysterious



Wet Dreams (1974) – best known for Nick Ray’s (hauntingly wrecked) piece, but diverting throughout as a giddy/dirty conceptual time capsule



Little Men (2016) – another fine, minutely calibrated work from Sachs, deeply sympathetic to practical, economic and human limitations



La belle et la bete (1946) – Cocteau’s delightfully articulated, emotionally vivid myth, suffused in magic both as facilitator & as barrier



Winter of our Dreams (1981) – almost every scene of Duigan’s modest but precise drama feels possessed by some form of loss, lack or absence



Aquarius (2016) – Filho’s film teems with exquisitely measured social and personal observation, indelibly anchored by the incredible Braga



The Owl and the Pussycat (1970) – Ross’s drab comedy now looks like a time capsule for a particular strain of ugliness and coarseness



Une femme de menage (2002) – Berri’s film has all the prototypical virtues of French cinema, even if nothing about it is too surprising



Private Property (1960) – Stevens’ rediscovered class-conscious drama has a pretty effective angle on catastrophic envy and desire



The Wave (2015) – Uthaug’s throwback fjord disaster movie is just about passably watchable, as long as you can shut out the dialogue



The Trouble with Harry (1955) – for all its dark-sounding premise, Hitchcock’s comedy is mostly a trifling diversion from his major work



The Official Story (1985) – Puenzo’s solid study of political awakening is perhaps more conventionally executed than its theme requires



The Terminal Man (1974) – modestly cautionary "mind control" drama, enhanced by Hodges’ chilly, astute, deliberately-paced precision



Elegy to the Visitor from the Revolution (2011) – Diaz’ shimmering lament, suffused with loss, yet powered by the hope inherent in creation



Go Down, Death! (1944) – Williams’ morality tale remains startling for its potent conviction in the intervening reality of heaven and hell



The Oberwald Mystery (1980) – an unusual expression of Antonioni’s pervasive disquiet, emphasizing its technical modernity, yet lost in time



Sleeping Giant (2015) – Cividino ventilates his simple tale through superb feeling for youthful behaviour, morality and environment



Juste avant la nuit (1971) – Chabrol’s eerily well-controlled examination of transgression, guilt and morality; among his strongest works



Manchester by the Sea (2016) – Lonergan’s film isn’t without humour, but makes its mark as a rare sustained study of the contours of sadness



A Simple Story (1959) – aptly named, and yet the meticulousness and purity of Hanoun’s observation is its own kind of aesthetic complexity



Cannery Row (1982) –  Ward’s desired mythic artifice never entirely gels, but I may never forget the Nolte/Winger dancing scene at least



Nathalie Granger (1972) – Duras’ film is calm and almost narrative-free, yet seems to draw on a world of individual and systemic trauma



Lost River (2014) – Gosling’s strikingly weirdo directorial effort is strangely haunting, for all its stylistic and narrative excesses



Le roman de Werther (1938) – Ophuls’ eloquent, emotionally gripping tragic love story pulsates with his empathetic cinematic elegance



I Am Sam (2001) – Nelson’s film is such obvious nonsense that it’s best to treat the whole thing as an absurd parody, which mostly works



Salut les cubains! (1971) – Varda’s joyous (if arguably underly-politicized?) creativity renders still photographs as breathless as dance



Joy (2015) – perhaps the most straightforwardly satisfying example of Russell’s facility for effortless-seeming, intuitive organization



Onibaba (1964) – Shindo’s striking dark tapestry; perhaps not a work of great depth, but one of memorably needy, lusty, fearful texture



That’s Entertainment! III (1994) – a workmanlike compilation overall, distinctly lifted by some striking previously unseen material



Les intrigues de Sylvia Couski (1975) – Arrieta’s intriguingly elusive film; a highly fluid, open exercise in identity and performance



The Search (2014) – Hazanavicius provides some strikingly bleak recreations, but his narrative structure is overly limiting and unpersuasive



The Tiger of Eschnapur (1959) – almost at career-end, Lang concocts his most exotically ravishing expression of his ensnaring narrative



The Verdict (1982) – Lumet positions familiar material as a gripping wintery vision of light in the personal and institutional darkness



Business is Business (1971) – beneath the brash shenanigans, Verhoeven’s film is a somewhat wistful survey of a bleak sexual landscape



Hell or High Water (2016) – Mackenzie reaches a bit too strenuously for broader resonance, but it’s still a super-solid, loss-seeped drama



What did the Lady Forget (1937) – Ozu’s mildly provocative early sound film has all his smooth facility with distinctive family structures



I Ought to be in Pictures (1982) – hardly feels like Simon or Ross were really trying, but weary old-time know-how holds it together



The President (2014) – Makhmalbaf’s deeply-felt odyssey constitutes a desolately resonant reference point for Trump-fueled despair



Eldridge Cleaver (1970) –  Klein’s punchy portrait should strike our politically destitute era as hard as ever, as iconography & as attitude



Fruits of Passion (1981) – Terayama’s committed but inherently rather detached film of intense erotic presences within structuring absences



The Revolt of Mamie Stover (1956) – Walsh’s provocative deconstruction of women and/as currency, presented with suitably brassy polish



Rams (2015) – Hakonarson’s film is surprisingly satisfying both as quirky sociological window and as cornerstone of the sheep-film pantheon



Out of Season (1975) – Bridges’ meaningless, glumly-acted drama feels like observing a turgid funeral march toward a well-signposted grave



Lessons of Darkness (1992) – Herzog’s relatively conventional pictorial mastery communicates reverence but too, at times, unexpressed horror



49th Parallel (1941) – Powell’s Nazis-in-Canada epic still excites with its ambition and commitment, despite its over-emphatic aspects



Life of Riley (2014) – a perfect end point for Resnais: a magnificent artificiality, suffused with dreamy yet intricate cinematic mystery



Score (1974) – Metzger’s full-bodied, fairy-tale-inflected, cinematically & verbally quite well-articulated celebration of bisexual hedonism



Melancholia (2008) – Diaz’s enormously striking, anguished, necessarily fractured expression of relentless personal and national trauma



Grass (1925) – Cooper and Schoedsack’s documentary odyssey falls a little short of cinematic grandeur, for all its many stunning images



Maggie’s Plan (2015) – the Miller/Gerwig brand names feel to be severely flagging in this unaccountably mechanical, low-insight effort



Courage for every day (1964) – Schorm’s fluidly observed but not greatly distinctive study of escalating (righteous) rage against the system



Mistress (1992) – Primus’ love/hate Hollywood vignette occasionally spins its general flatness into something more interestingly dark



Perceval le gallois (1978) – tonally & structurally, one of Rohmer’s most distinctive works, but no less morally & sociologically bracing



Knight of Cups (2015) – hard to assess whether Malick is trapped in cinematic affectation, or in some sense truly artistically liberated



The Sorrow and the Pity (1969) – Ophuls’ milestone film is (true to the history it addresses) as pervasively unsatisfying as it is imposing



Heat (1986) – the movie has hints of something darker and dreamier, but Richards’ sometimes appealing rhythms aren’t enough to get there



The Ghost that Never Returns (1930) – Room’s drama is just about as hauntingly evocative as its title, with terrifically visualized moments



Captain Fantastic (2016) – the film’s weaknesses are easily forgiven, given Ross’s genial skill and the inherent appeal of non-conformity



The Exterminating Angel (1962) – Bunuel’s brilliantly strange expression of the corrupt stasis at the heart of the ruling establishments



Time out of Mind (2014) – Moverman’s largely effective study of homelessness, drawing on both immersed realism and resourceful artifice



The Demons (1973) – on paper it sounds like a feverish trash explosion, but in practice Franco renders it plodding, flat and repetitive 



Viva (2007) – Biller’s immensely pleasurable, perfectly designed and sustained 70’s evocation/parody/critique/lament/you name it…



Mr. Freedom (1969) – Klein’s remarkable piece of pop-art distills American grandstanding to a hyperactive, brightly coloured junkyard



Swiss Army Man (2016) – just when you think there can be no new love stories, Kwan and Scheinert’s dank yet delicate oddity proves otherwise



The Ballad of Narayama (1958) - Kinoshita’s grim tale has a sustained beauty, but one of sustained artificiality, and inherent distance



Ornette: Made in America (1985) – Clarke’s strategically eccentric approach perfectly complements Coleman’s genially iconoclastic power



Bang Gang (2015) – Husson’s study of “modern love” is accomplished and searching in some respects, overly posed and perfunctory in others



The Front (1976) – Ritt’s blacklist comedy is rather too sparse and unatmospheric to leave much of an impression, beyond dutiful admiration



Love Battles (2013) – Doillon & the actors arrive at some memorably erotic physical & emotional architecture, which must count for something



Primary (1960) – Drew’s alert and stimulating time-capsule study of the low-tech drudgery and mundanity on the road to ultimate power



Ashes (2012) – Apichatpong dreams briefly, turbulently of pushing his cinema away, but ultimately it returns, in all its elemental beauty



Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973) – perhaps Peckinpah’s greatest, most epically rueful film, seeped in a decay both romantic and terrible



City of Women (1980) – only Fellini could rattle around deep inside his own ass with such sustained, unbound, happily problematic brilliance



The Spy in Black (1939) – Powell’s well-paced film certainly points toward the confidence and scope of his soon-to-follow masterworks



Green Room (2015) – hard to give much of a damn about Saulnier’s drama, for all its attention to detail and engagingly naturalistic aspects



The Marquise of O (1976) – Rohmer’s striking case study of tangled proprieties & impulses provides a strong adjunct to his core achievement



Big Trouble (1986) – feels most like Cassavetes when the messy narrative yields to an eccentric observance of life as actorly improvisation



Liebelei (1933) – not as glorious as Ophuls’ later works, but demonstrating all the elements of his expansive, empathetic cinematic mastery



Born to be Blue (2015) – Budreau’s Chet Baker film benefits from Hawke’s performance, but feels overly formal and emotionally distanced



L’ange et la femme (1977) – Carle’s strange, sparse, isolated fantasy somehow seems to draw on Quebec’s politically-charged otherness



Short Term 12 (2013) – Cretton’s film is deft and often quite moving, even if driven by a familiar form of narrative over-compression



The Pumpkin Eater (1964) – striking when at its most rawly, despairingly Pinteresque; at other times it feels forced in its icy alienation



11 Minutes (2015) – Skolimowski’s exercise in connection & causation is skillful, but certainly more limited & mannered than his best work



Sudden Impact (1983) – Eastwood’s brash portrayal of America as crime-ridden cesspit; one hopes the intention was at least quasi-satiric



Oyuki the Virgin (1935) – Mizoguchi’s study of female self-determination against society’s disdain; not as potent now as his greatest works



Sunset Song (2015) – Davies’ beautiful, intimate deeply-rooted rural chronicle holds a wealth of sociological and philosophical complexity



Blood and Black Lace (1964) – Bava at lurid play in his perfect stylized milieu; the results are often ravishing, if only fleetingly



Money Monster (2016) – Foster’s movie is to an impactful topical commentary as a bunch of tweets are to an eloquently reflective essay



Le chat (1971) – Granier-Deferre’s sober tale, somewhat more enduring than the clapped-out lives it depicts; Gabin/Signoret obviously help



The Lobster (2015) – Lanthimos’ unique comedy expresses with superb elegance the desperate tyranny of our social and cultural ideologies



The Battle of the Sexes (1928) – one perhaps detects Griffith most keenly when the battling yields to depicting stupidity and suffering



Vagabond (1985) – Varda’s calmly expansive approach places questions of self-determination vs. victimhood into constant, doomed tension



Trumbo (2015) – I suppose it’s somewhat ironic that Roach’s portrayal of a writer’s fiery defiance should be so safe and pedestrian



Woyzeck (1979) – Herzog’s small-scale film encompasses a wealth of twisted observation, with Kinski’s staggering presence at its fulcrum



Midnight Special (2016) – Nichols brings it a reflective sheen and classy casting, but ultimately it’s just more unilluminating hocus-pocus



Festival panafricain d’Alger (1969) – Klein’s productively exhausting record pulsates with music, incident and hunger for revolution



The D Train (2015) – Mogul/Paul’s comedy of renewal through sexual and social repositioning stops well short of scorching the tracks



Dernier domicile connu (1970) – Giovanni’s solid worn-out-shoe-leather police drama, seeped in disillusionment at societal shortcomings



Neighbors (1981) – Avildsen’s stiff corpse of a comedy, surely one of the more clueless efforts ever turned in by an Oscar-winning director



Coming Home (2014) – Zhang’s drama is no doubt heartfelt, but ultimately a trifling way of dealing with politically charged material



Night Mail (1936) – Watt and Wright’s propulsive portrait of pre-war Britain evokes both industrial ingenuity and menial human confinement



Tale of Tales (2015) – Garrone’s happy if unimportant blend of the inconsequentiality of bedtime stories, & the adult dreams to follow later



Super Fly (1972) – O’Neal’s mountainously iconic presence thrives mightily against Parks’ provocatively textured cinematic rhythms



Le beau marriage (1982) – Rohmer’s merely superficially slight comedy somehow seems to foresee the vexing weightlessness of the online era



45 Years (2015) – Haigh’s wondrously acted (or inhabited) study is a quietly tragic masterpiece of emotional calibration and evocation



The Lickerish Quartet (1970) – Metzger asserts erotica’s reality-bending power, and all but seduces/bludgeons you into believing it



Interior. Leather Bar. (2013) – Franco/Mathews’s film is certainly fascinating, even if marked as much by glibness as by profound reflection



Princesse Tam-Tam (1935) – Greville’s movie would be of little interest, beyond its compromised, contradictory use of Josephine Baker



The Shallows (2016) – Collet-Serra’s concentrated (and, yes, un-deep) woman-in-peril drama does sustain a certain sensationalistic beauty



La rupture (1970) – Chabrol pushes events & characterizations near absurdity, all the better to emphasize the film’s central moral strength



Anomalisa (2015) – the existential despair and inner heaviness may not be so new, but Kaufman’s astounding expression of it certainly is



Un certo giorno (1968) – Olmi’s calmly probing observation of a business executive, musing on the contingencies of success and contentment



Black Widow (1987) – for all its limitations, Rafelson’s drama is perpetually alluring for its immersion in female desire and fascination



All our Desires (2011) – Lioret’s amalgam of modest social crusade & hankie-friendly melodrama; smooth, but rather perplexingly forgettable



The Phynx (1970) – Katzin’s bizarre, leaden attempt at a madcap generation-spanning celebrity-strewn romp evokes near-total bewilderment



By the Sea (2015) – generally interesting but persistently limited attempt by Jolie to occupy the cinematic territory of past masters



The Night Heaven Fell (1958) – Vadim delivers accomplished Bardot-ogling, but his largely bleak film talks of passion more than it evokes it



Roar (1981) –  much as Harrison’s one-of-a-kind movie asserts man/beast harmony, the sense of otherness and threat is often plain terrifying



Messidor (1979) – another sparsely transporting study by Tanner, of the intertwined living & dying fueled by directionless, doomed movement



The Sky Trembles…(2015) – Rivers’ powerfully disquieting drama, seemingly a challenge to underexamined ideas of cinema as cultural leveler



The French (1982) – Klein’s wide-ranging tournament record, free of pumped-up glamour, teeming with solid time capsule-type pleasures now



Yolanda and the Thief (1945) – not the most coherent of musicals, but Minnelli’s expressive mastery compensates for its deficiencies



The Witch (2015) – Eggers’ impressive film navigates with imposingly chilly finesse between disparate occurrences and uncertainties



Nora Helmer (1974) – Fassbinder gives Ibsen’s play a fascinatingly ritualistic tone, eloquently evoking social and psychological constraints



The Neon Demon (2016) – like its subject, Refn’s film of fleetingly alluring surfaces & concepts seems designed to be rapidly disposed of



Mr. and Mrs. Kabal’s Theatre (1967) – Borowczyk’s disquieting, sparse animation, studded with piercing dreams of real-world erotica ahead



Straight Outta Compton (2015) – Gray’s essentially old-fashioned telling often falls a bit flat, excepting when it taps into social currents



La promesse (1996) – emblematic Dardenne brothers work, applying propulsive narrative technique to searching, socially-grounded material



Ill Met by Moonlight (1957) – a well-told yarn, but too narrow in its scope for Powell and Pressburger’s masterful sensibility to flourish



Starstruck (1982) – Armstrong happily delivers the requisite tacky set-pieces, while never losing her sense of social and cultural realities



Mauvaise graine (1934) – Wilder’s debut (!) is an appealing if rather rushed drama, more at ease with the convivial than the hard-bitten



The Forbidden Room (2015) – Maddin/Johnson’s astounding, unprecedented creation, crafted with volcanic relish from cinema’s scrappy margins



Serail (1976) – de Gregorio’s playful and yet deadly serious mystery, drawing ever-inward while suggesting limitless further unpackings



Hail, Caesar! (2016) – with consummate skill, the Coens celebrate both the technical mastery and mythic reach of classic Hollywood



Demons 2 (1986) – the movie races along in its opportunistically haphazard way, seldom providing much basis for rating Bava Jr. as a stylist



Frankenstein must be Destroyed (1969) – Fisher’s study in escalating anguish and doom is intensely focused, if stately by modern standards



Steve Jobs (2015) – Boyle/Sorkin’s highly structured, mannered, repetitive approach falls flat, to the point of near-boredom by the end



The Goalie’s Anxiety…(1972) – from Wenders’ early, questing period; full of smart moves, but not ultimately yielding his richest outcomes



Code 46 (2003) – Winterbottom’s enigmatic semi-thriller, a deadened distillation of elements from similar films, never seems necessary



Full Moon in Paris (1984) – Rohmer’s beautifully structured (albeit highly typical) study of a young woman’s doomed idealistic overreach



Leave her to Heaven (1945) – Stahl paints the prettiest of aspirational postcards, then lets loose Tierney’s sensational malevolence



The Invitation (2015) – Kusama expertly shapes the Purge-like premise into a human exploration as well as a genre-friendly creep-out



Edvard Munch (1974) – Watkins’ rewarding multi-facteted investigation, intimately evocative while insisting on social and historical context



99 Homes (2014) – Bahrani’s film is full of compelling observation, fortunately not too obscured by the labored, unconvincing plot mechanics



Spirits of the Dead (1968) – Malle, Fellini & Vadim execute their respective segments with solidity, tortured razzle-dazzle & shamelessness



Spectre (2015) – Mendes’ digitized spectacle-making often fleetingly dazzles, but the film’s heart feels entirely weary, if not absent



Heremias (2006) – Diaz’ long but monumentally rewarding narrative of wrenching personal evolution in a cruel, unyielding environment



My Brilliant Career (1979) – Armstrong’s eternally pleasurable, well-observed study of a vibrant young woman determined to set her own path



The Treasure (2015) – Porumboiu holds the drudgeries of existence and the possibility of mythic triumph in mysteriously perfect balance



Things to Come (1936) – the film’s strident certainty is hard to warm to now, no less than the oppressive scale of Menzies’ visualizations



Sid and Nancy (1986) – Cox ably charts the relationship’s raucous otherness, but at the (inevitable?) cost of a rather wearying film



The Virgin’s Bed (1969) – even as it utterly strangifies the Biblical references, Garrel’s stark film is carried by revolutionary faith



Creed (2015) – Coogler’s object lesson in renewing familiar devices & structures, through sensitivity to character, & sheer cinematic smarts



The Sunday Woman (1975) – Comencini’s mystery has an appealing cast and playful streak, but just succumbs to endless unilluminating tangles



Last Love (2013) – Nettelbeck’s glossy, deadening sap-odyssey lurches shambolically from one meaningless exchange/confrontation to another



Lightning (1952) – Naruse’s customarily acute observation of family turmoil winds its way to a quiet assertion of self-determination



Suffragette (2015) – much in Gavron’s scrupulous film is stirring, but such a history surely demanded a more radical, wayward presentation



The Strange Affair (1968) – and also just a bit strained, as Greene jazzes up a familiar trajectory through seediness and stained decency



Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine (2005) – Tscherkassky reconfigures violent Western genre pleasures as deep cinematic trauma



Room (2015) – Abrahamson’s affinity for the child’s perceptions, & for the competing confinements of lived experiences, bring it in solidly



May Days (1978) – Klein’s loosely-compiled record of Paris 1968, a wistful/stirring reference point for dreams of counter-Trumpian action?



Paris by Night (1989) – Hare’s sharp modern noir, a politically charged deconstruction of Rampling’s superbly incarnated protagonist



Camille 2000 (1969) – the plot and characters barely register really, but Metzger’s erotic set-pieces are something to contemplate



Hitchcock Truffaut (2015) – Jones’ essay film is a twinkling, maturely-flavoured drink from one of film culture’s inexhaustible fountains



Looking for Mr. Goodbar (1977) – Brooks’ fragmented, impressionistic filming and Keaton’s idiosyncrasy yield a fascinatingly evasive study



Conte d’ete (1996) – Rohmer’s beautiful study of, essentially, behavioural and emotional shallowness, against a setting of quiet continuity



Crimson Peak (2015) – not untypically, the blood all flows through del Toro’s design and imagery, seldom through his pale narrative



Viktor und Viktoria (1932) – Schunzel’s zippy little trifle, not a major entry in the cinema of desire, even less that of queerness



Dirty Pretty Things (2002) – Frears provides plenty to grimly chew over, but sacrifices some penetration for the sake of thriller mechanics



Female Vampire (1972) – the only structuring principle of Franco’s trudging, barely sentient grab-bag is Romay’s perpetually naked body



The Danish Girl (2015) – Hooper’s deadening sensitivity & caution often seem like a denial of the story’s physical & emotional specificity



The Running Man (1963) – Reed’s cat-and-mouse drama trots blandly along, seemingly barely engaged with the material’s possibilities



Trances (1981) – El Maanouni’s multi-faceted exploration of performance & environment; informative & rousing, if not quite deliriously so



Two Men in Town (2014) – Bouchareb’s chronicle of the hateful erosion of new beginnings, most interesting in its wider angle moments



Du cote de la cote (1958) – Varda’s exquisite cataloguing of sights from the Riviera, ultimately as attuned to exclusion as to celebration



Concussion (2015) – Landesman only sporadically rises above soft-centered pedestrianism to evoke, say, the steel and scope of a Michael Mann



Nada (1974) – Chabrol’s brisk terrorism drama often flirts with quasi-absurdity; but then, it seems to ask, what political project doesn’t?



River of Grass (1994) – Reichardt’s not unrewarding but often rather peculiar debut is far from her most unified or fully realized work



The Camp Followers (1965) – Zurlini’s desolate odyssey of war and sexual brutality accumulates in despairing, near-disbelieving power



Every Thing Will Be Fine (2015) – occasionally interesting for its icy dread and regret, but Wenders generally feels rather marooned here



Charley Varrick (1973) – Siegel’s memorable thriller, a beautifully structured abstraction layered with terse observation and texture



Ceremonie d’amour (1987) – Borowczyk’s late return to form, almost like an interrogation held within an erotically-charged private structure



Bright Road (1953) – the sentimental, insulated triviality of Mayer’s film largely undermines the historical significance of its black cast



On my Way (2013) – Bercot plays around with Deneuve’s star image and lasting if wearier allure, to pleasant if not very significant effect



The Warriors (1979) – propelled by Hill’s feeling for edgy confrontations in ominous spaces; civilization out at the margins, if anywhere



Perdida (2009) – a little treat of a movie, albeit rather softball-ish, as Garcia-Besne excavates intertwined family & film industry history



Commandment Keeper Church… (1940) – in their frail endurance, Hurston’s fragmented recordings evoke a quiet sea of reverence, and some fear