Sunday, October 30, 2016

Movie tweets to October 30, 2016 (3 of 4)

No Home Movie (2015) – Akerman’s quietly tragic last film creates an almost ghostly structure of presence and absence, belonging and exile

Equus (1977) – you can sense the power it once held on stage, but Lumet’s unpersuasive film version feels in need of a wilder master

Conte d’hiver (1992) – Rohmer’s return to the concept of life as a Pascalian wager; not among his greatest works, but entirely fulfilling

Frank (2014) – Abrahamson successfully conveys the weird beauty of wayward creative personality, & the fragile allure of living in its orbit

Miracle in Milan (1951) – De Sica’s weirdo fantasy/reality-denial, for sure not the movie you’d choose to commemorate Italian neo-realism

Carol (2015) – Haynes’ enormously engrossing film, a superb filmic expression of coded behaviour, agonized desire and social entrapment

Wild River (1960) – one of Kazan’s most richly visualized, often biting films, beautifully expressing the ambivalence that attends progress

The Middle of the World (2003) – Amorim’s film is vivid & fluent, packing a wealth of mood & incident, but its overall impression is modest

Truth (2015) – Vanderbilt’s study of scandal at CBS News is generally a lightweight piece of investigation (probably not by ironic design)

Invisible Adversaries (1977) – Export’s thrilling, disruptive investigation of stagnant discourse, one of the great films by & about women 

Further Beyond (2016) – Molloy/Lawlor’s impeccably smart yet pleasingly light-spirited reflection on filmic possibilities and restrictions

The Blood of Jesus (1941) – Williams’ pioneer film remarkably amalgamates passionately recorded truths and piercingly imagined beliefs

3 Hearts (2014) - Jacquot’s contrived drama goes down rather too conventionally, despite various points of structural and tonal interest

The Stunt Man (1980) – Rush’s tale of healing through Hollywood’s cathartic circus; often enjoyable but, indeed, more stunt than vision

La veuve Couderc (1971) – a modest drama, consistently elevated by Granier-Deferre through a rural texture both nostalgic and disquieting

Our Brand is Crisis (2015) – as the film lurches to a close, it seems more likely that Green’s brand is obnoxious, pandering dumbing-down

Billy Liar (1963) – Billy’s compulsive escape from British stagnancy is ever-relevant, even if Schlesinger’s film sometimes feels forced

Through the Olive Trees (1994) – with masterful, open-minded precision, Kiarostami’s mesmerizing films at once shape & discover their world

Black Mass (2015) – Cooper’s labored Bulger drama lacks any slash of artistic distinction or relish, even of the merely gratuitous kind

Panique (1946) – Duvivier’s well-executed, typically flavourful study of private and (in a memorable climax) public manipulation

And God Created Woman (1988) – Vadim’s mechanical remake suggests a director languishing far from his true time, place and passions

Every Which Way but Loose (1978) – in its own narrow-parametered way, I guess you could go with it as a kind of cultural celebration

The Lady in the Car with Glasses…(2015) – not a bad thriller premise, but swamped by Sfar’s nervous visual and structural hyperactivity

Light Sleeper (1992) - Schrader’s study of weary dissatisfaction occupies its own space, albeit reverberating with echoes of his other work

Yearning (1964) – another fine Naruse social study/romantic tragedy, again driven by postwar Japan’s underlying chronic incoherence

Macbeth (2015) – Kurzel for the most part reduces the play to standard-issue semi-mythical brooding bloodiness, albeit well-handled as such

Woman on the Run (1950) – fun to imagine traces of Welles in associate Foster’s tight little thriller, especially in the vertiginous finale

The Assault (1986) – Rademakers’ saga of war’s cruel arbitrariness and its aftermath is largely turgid (in the familiar Oscar-winning way)

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl (2015) – sometimes Gomez-Rejon delights you; other times you wish he’d just let the poor girl die in peace

Le camion (1977) – Duras posits, with gracefully allusive persuasiveness, that contemplating a film might be as evocative as watching one

Mo’ Better Blues (1990) – Lee’s wonderful film envelops us in jazz world sensuousness & incident, before withdrawing to more grounded dreams

Sweet Charity (1969) – the movie has some prime Fosse choreography and strong songs, but much of it is slack, flashy and over-extended

Mustang (2015) – Erguven’s chronicle of female oppression; inherently gripping & stirring, but not particularly cinematically distinguished

The Ballad of Genesis and Lady Jaye (2011) - Losier’s impressionistic study is just about as strangely touching as its dreamy title

Un temoin dans la ville (1959) – Molinaro’s thriller teems with diverse mood & action, yielding steady if ultimately rather slight pleasures

Remember (2015) – executed with somewhat more finesse than most of Egoyan’s recent work, but fundamentally no less unpleasant and ill-judged

Les fantomes du chapelier (1982) – Chabrol’s interestingly structured exploration of murder, expertly pollinated with gloomy resonances

The French Connection (1971) – the classic status hardly seems merited, despite Friedkin’s gripping car chase and artfully dank emptiness

Sully (2016) – Eastwood’s absorbingly unfussy blend of well-honed, preoccupied character study and patient, super-well-mounted spectacle

Voici le temps des assassins (1956) – Duvivier’s expertly slow-burning thriller provides a memorable variation on the film noir temptress

Brooklyn (2015) – pleasant, often well-observed viewing, although it surely wouldn’t have hurt if Crowley had extended the tonal range a bit

Girlhood (2014) – Sciamma’s hypnotically empathetic study of friendships and structures, illuminating intertwined liberations and prisons

A Matter of Time (1976) – Minnelli’s last film - ambitious & reflective in its own way, but far less impactful than his earlier masterpieces

The Shape of Things (2003) – you may doubt how many dimensions LaBute’s shape of things really has, but it’s still provocative and engaging

Berlin: Symphony of a Great City (1927) – Ruttmann’s unskeptical awe at the then-new modernity remains interesting, but hardly stirring now

Life (2015) – Corbijn recreates a snippet from the James Dean history; well-done in most respects, but just inherently not very important

Policeman (2011) – Lapid intelligently plies open some faultlines in Israel’s self-definition, allowing only the briefest hope of repair

Where does it Hurt? (1972) – some half-promising satirical elements, but swamped by Amateau’s leaden handling, and off-putting racism

Freeheld (2015) – yet another movie in which the material’s inherent worthiness is all but strangled by shockingly pedestrian story-telling

La fin du jour (1939) – Duvivier’s melancholy celebration of aging community is a little soft-hearted, but it’s a forgivable concession

Stranger than Paradise (1984) – Jarmusch’s irresistible portrait of an America of grand migrations & quests, but minimal tangible revelation

Une collection particuliere (1973) – perfectly encapsulating Borowczyk’s meticulously structural and formal approach to proud lustiness

Heart of a Dog (2015) – Anderson’s shimmering essay of love and remembrance, winding with unforced grace between the intimate and the cosmic

Miquette (1950) – Clouzot in unconventionally zany, winking-at-the-camera mode; not much sense of passion beneath the artful superficiality

Fear City (1984) – some mostly straightforward distractions - the later Go Go Tales is the only Ferrara strip joint movie anyone needs

Knife in the Head (1978) – Hauff’s imposing trauma drama, positing “craziness” as perhaps the clearest light on a drably oppressed society

Everest (2015) – Kormakur’s achingly predictable slog through stale material has lots of artificial dazzle but little cinematic presence

Love is Colder than Death (1969) – but it’s hardly worth splitting the difference, when played out in Fassbinder’s existential wasteland

White Girl in a Blizzard (2014) – Araki brings all his luminous, frank expressiveness to the material, leaving no resonance unexplored

La kermesse heroique (1935) – Feyder’s full-to-bursting comedy, its farcical qualities modulated by profound, intense underlying anxiety

Amy (2015) – for all Kapadia’s facility, the film is too easy on the industry’s & audience’s ongoing complicity in such grim case histories

Don’t Look Now (1973) – probably Roeg’s most straightforward film, and so for all its striking images & devices, one of his least necessary

Instructions for a Light and Sound Machine (2005) – Tscherkassky reconfigures violent Western genre pleasures as deep cinematic trauma

Splendor in the Grass (1961) – Kazan’s drama of broken love and sexual suppression, beautifully suspended between fragility and intensity

My Golden Days (2015) – a glowing Desplechin masterwork: an intricately structured memory excavation rendered with superb, moving naturalism

Marathon Man (1976) – much about Schlesinger’s thriller is overblown and/or outright distasteful, despite some famously effective passages

Nouvelle vague (1990) – Godard’s densely challenging text ultimately uplifts for its vision of elevation from stifling structures and codes

The Cobweb (1955) – Minnelli’s sensational expression of pervasive 50’s anxiety, a major peak of the ultra-expressive melodramatic form

Goodbye First Love (2011) – Hansen-Love’s fine exploration of the evolving architecture of desire, as sensation operated upon by time

The King of Marvin Gardens (1972) – Rafelson’s masterpiece, excavated from a nation fending off the dark with tall tales and dice throws

The Story of Piera (1983) – a rather flat experience, despite Ferreri’s jagged approach to narrative and recurringly perverse instincts

The Connection (1962) – Clarke’s landmark film brilliantly interrogates, and embodies, both sober realities and artistic artifices

A Simple Life (2011) – but in Hui’s hands a quietly evocative one; the degree to which it’s a fully realized life is inherently ambiguous

Executive Action (1973) – Miller’s interesting but underpowered pre-Stone speculation on the JFK killing feels sparse and patched together

La vie de Jesus (1997) – insisting on the sublimity in what we might disdain, Dumont frames an unadorned life as a form of pilgrimage

Holiday (1938) – Cukor’s fine comedy, energized by intuitive camaraderie, by fun and self-exploration as the driver of meaningful existence

Il n’ya pas de rapport sexuel (2011) – Siboni’s not uninformative porn documentary toys predictably with the premise of its shrewd title

Emmanuelle in Soho (1981) – and thereby stripped of any glamour or eroticism, replaced by woebegone, sociologically damning British drabness

Lisztomania (1975) – I can usually go with the bubbly Russell flow, but making it through this nutball cultural mash-up is mostly a chore

Black Sabbath (1963) – Bava’s trilogy of slow-building horrors, narratively pretty solid, enhanced through engaged lighting and camerawork

Grandma (2015) – beyond some good give-and-take and commendable liberalism, Weitz’s life-revealed-in-a-day structure doesn’t amount to much

Remorques (1941) – Gremillon’s tight but evocative fatalistic romance/drama, striking for its engaged sense of anxious community

Heartburn (1986) – Nichols’ adaptation would seem like standard-issue scene-making, absent his still, often penetrative mode of observation

Detruisez-vous (1969) – at different times, Bard’s disorienting oppositions evoke both revolution in one’s grasp, and its impossibility

Diary of a Teenage Girl (2015) – Heller’s exquisitely-considered exploration, pulsating with the excitement of self-exploration & definition

Manon (1949) – distinguished throughout by Clouzot’s grim undermining of romantic ideals, never more than in its remarkable final section

Ned Rifle (2014) – amiable enough but low-achieving extension of the Henry Fool mythology doesn’t suggest Hartley has much game left

La prima notte di quiete (1972) – Zurlini is far less striking than Antonioni, but gradually taps a similarly fascinating, desolate longing

Bridge of Spies (2015) – Spielberg in his appealingly unshowy, quietly imposing, if not very interrogative servant-of-history mode

Ballet mechanique (1924) – Leger and Murphy’s pioneering short retains its urgency, but only fleetingly taps into cinema’s sensuousness

Hanna K (1983) – Costa-Gavras’ stodgily twisting melodrama hardly provides the most effective way of illuminating or exploring modern Israel

War Requiem (1989) – a modest Jarman work, but drawing powerfully from the dark ocean of war-related imagery, from the drab to the psychotic

Woman in the Dunes (1964) – despite Teshigahara’s facility, ultimately more a visually arresting entertainment than a vital exploration

A Walk in the Woods (2015) – Kwapis’ trek movie, sticking diligently to the most banal trails, makes Wild feel like the work of Antonioni

Three Songs about Lenin (1934) – for all Vertov’s cinematic commitment, feels now much like being preached at for a (rather long) hour

Sicario (2015) – Villeneuve’s often arresting but ultimately insufficiently complex probe into America’s murky moral and legal heart

A Drama of Jealousy (1970) – Scola’s interrogative approach doesn’t ultimately excavate much depth, for all the energy and incident

Touchy Feely (2013) – Shelton has some interesting concepts & juxtapositions, but her formal experiments feel like mere artistic groping

Echappement libre (1964) – Becker’s Belmondo/Seberg reteaming is zippy fun, but stuck in genre convention, where Breathless transcended it

Inside Out (2015) – intriguing to think such a film could illuminate consciousness, if it lived way further outside the Hollywood headspace

Repast (1951) – Naruse’s absorbing study of a strained marriage, finely tuned to the ever-present reminders of other roads not taken

She’s Funny that Way (2014) – Bogdanovich observes this heavygoing farce with a glassily emphatic intensity, underlining its disembodiment

La tete d’un homme (1933) – Duvivier’s Maigret mystery is compelling for its intense, visually engaged examination of twisted psychology

The Pervert’s Guide to Ideology (2015) – among much else, a useful reference point for untangling the wearisome mechanics of Trumpism

Three into Two Won’t Go (1969) – Hall’s rather flat, or alternatively, intriguingly muted drama of middle-class lies and disappointments

Histoire de Marie et Julien (2003) – Rivette’s brilliant “ghost” story, a film of most quietly intricate structural and emotional complexity

Love Story (1970) – a lot of undistinguished 70s cinema looks more textured with time; this particular one, not really so much

The Look of Silence (2014) – Oppenheimer’s brilliantly structured, devastatingly poised interrogation of overwhelming moral complexities

Too Late for Kisses (1949) – rather plainly visualized, but you feel the collective creative relish driving Scott’s patriarchy-busting moves

Irreversible (2002) – Noe’s notorious film: too (in its way) sincere to be exploitative, too nakedly experimental to be passionately admired

Cruising (1980) – Friedkin’s notorious film isn’t without artful ambiguity & distance, but hard to separate it from the shallow opportunism

Victoria (2015) – Schipper’s single-take virtuosity expresses something of Europe’s uncertain, alternatively giddy and traumatized momentum

Mister Roberts (1955) – Ford/LeRoy’s easygoing wartime chronicle remains a pleasant showcase for star interactions, dated attitudes aside

The Practice of Love (1985) – less striking than Export’s majestic Invisible Adversaries, but in its own way as pervasively disruptive

Exorcist II: the Heretic (1977) – Boorman succeeds in evading the original’s literal-mindedness, but struggles to articulate his own vision

Android Dreams (2014) – De Sosa’s desolate approach to science fiction seems to ring with echoes of Europe’s lost vitality and coherence

The Trial (1962) – Welles’ imposing if imperfect adaptation of Kafka, heavy with darkly blended visual, psychological and historical trauma

The Exquisite Corpus (2015) – Tscherkassky converts scraps of titillation into an incendiary, seductive yet accusatory cinematic labyrinth

The Ninth Configuration (1980) – Blatty’s provocative drama glimpses the vastness of American madness, but disappointingly averts its gaze

Szamanka (1996) – Zulawski’s feverish Last Tango, each combustible encounter marking one step closer to psychic (and actual?) apocalypse

I Confess (1953) – Hitchcock’s stark study of guilt and suppression, articulated at times in a fascinatingly purged, almost Bressonian style

Macaroni (1985) – little more than a Naples travelogue, with Scola deploying Lemmon and Mastroianni in the most obvious manner possible

An Enemy of the People (1978) – Schaefer’s far too stagy, actorly & unatmospheric version of the play, unequal to McQueen’s quiet commitment

Lunacy (2005) – Svankmajer’s imposing cinematic edifice, built (over-built?) at the intersection of free will, madness and unbound flesh

I Married a Witch (1942) – gimmicks and special effects (like Veronica Lake) aside, much of Clair’s high-concept comedy is pretty pedestrian

The Future (2013) – we already know the future isn’t what it used to be, but Carrasco makes the point with virtuosic low-budget strangeness

Thieves after Dark (1983) – Fuller’s fatalistic French thriller is too often bland and slack, but his signature isn’t entirely absent

Jimmy’s Hall (2014) – not a major Loach work, but it draws powerfully on ongoing institutional fear of worker organization and expression

Loving Couples (1964) – Zetterling’s astounding drama often seems to be drawing on the entirety of female experience, desire & suppression

Beasts of no Nation (2015) – Fukunaga leads us into incomprehensible experience; perhaps the film’s failures to illuminate it are deliberate

Fantastic Planet (1973) – Laloux’s fantasy defines its own artistic universe, powered by allegory, savagery, whimsy, vision and silliness

Nightcrawler (2014) – Gilroy quite ingeniously locates modern day vampirism in the overlap of TV news and morally vacuous career drive

Walkover (1965) – Skolimowski’s early films are endlessly diverting, pugnaciously grounded while elevated with a uniquely jagged energy

Trainwreck (2015) – less funny and investigative than any random episode of Schumer’s show, and laden down with trivial distractions

The 3 Penny Opera (1931) – Pabst’s filming is piercing at times, but at others it seems to drift, ending up rather shapeless and perplexing

The Gambler (2014) – Wyatt’s film delivers some old-fashioned pleasures, but too often seems merely to strike grimly superficial poses

Todo moro (1976) – Petri’s intense, eloquently scathing representation of Italy’s governing rot, darkly foreseeing a terrible cleansing

Eisenstein in Guanajuato (2015) – or maybe it’s just a penis-fixated buffoon masquerading as him, in one of Greenaway’s less imposing works

Adua & her Friends (1960) – Pietrangeli’s study of female collaboration is so pleasurable, their final failure hits all the more tragically

A Spell to Ward off the Darkness (2013) – or else to willingly succumb to it, in Russell/Rivers’ eccentric but mysteriously balanced study

Secrets (1971) – Saville’s study of a family and its transgressions searches too hard for shards of significance, but doesn’t entirely fail

Un chant d’amour (1950) – Genet’s remains one of cinema’s most beautifully expressed wishes, of an enacted desire that displaces the law

CQ (2001) – Coppola (no Peter Strickland) throws in plenty of cinephile-friendly eye candy, but overall it’s stylistically uninteresting

The Perfume of the Lady in Black (1974) – Barilli’s grab-bag trauma drama, rendered eerily coherent by sheer well-visualized conviction

Love & Mercy (2015) – Pohlad’s Brian Wilson biography, unusually attentive both to its characters and to the texture of the creative process

Quand tu liras cette letter (1953) – Melville packs a huge amount of social observation and contrast into this still bitingly adult drama

Love & Friendship (2016) – an expertly-judged and -balanced social dissection, extending Stillman’s slowly-accumulating perfect score

The Devil’s Eye (1960) – an oddly-premised Bergman “comedy” that’s both amusing and severe, complementing his other work of the period

Crimes of Passion (1984) – Russell’s sort-of-inspired sleaze opera, intermittently pointlessly posing as a serious investigation of desire

La course du lievre…(1972) – Clement’s amazingly cast crime drama encompasses numerous intriguing takes on the genre’s inherent fancifulness

Tangerine (2015) – Baker’s wonderfully energetic mini-odyssey, a very modern application of the everyone-has-her/his-reasons philosophy

That is the Dawn (1956) – Bunuel’s romantic drama, driven by deeply-felt social compassion, housing a calm but clear vein of transgression

The Falling (2014) – Morley’s enthralling fable of female mystery and complexity, exquisitely conceived and realized in every detail

Order of Death (1983) – Faenza’s murky storytelling doesn’t realize the potential of the premise, & certainly not of the imaginative casting

Within our Gates (1920) – Micheaux’s (objectively, often bizarrely choppy) storytelling expresses the tangled pain of black life in America

Be with Me (2005) – Khoo’s quiet drama of loss & longing doesn’t initially seem too special, but thrives through interesting juxtapositions

Obsession (1976) – De Palma’s immaculately sustained sensual reverie, channeling Vertigo’s acuteness into stunned, dream-like experience

On the Silver Globe (1988) – Zulawski’s unfinished forward-looking epic; sadly, a bit of a monotonous slog, for all its allusive power

Sabrina (1954) – not one of Wilder’s more incisive films, but an eternally pleasant confection, not least for the casting of course

The Salt of the Earth (2014) – Salgado’s work is soberingly limitless, but Wenders doesn’t bring much more than hushed reverence toward it

McCabe & Mrs. Miller (1971) – Altman’s “revisionism” mostly consists of discarding one cinematic myth for a stranger, dreamier replacement

Jane B. par Agnes V. (1988) – Varda’s blissfully inventive, ultra-Varda-ish placing of the evasive Birkin as the gateway to a cinematic maze

Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1953) – Hawks’ classic comedy of gender exaggeration, studded (!) with memorable (in various ways!) set-pieces

Misunderstood (2014) – Argento’s study of a largely unloved child, interestingly channeling the whims and extremes of her own sensibility

Tempest (1982) – a weird Mazursky project that plays almost like a bloated, unfocused parody of his best work; enjoyable viewing regardless

Sex is Comedy (2002) – a lighter yet still troubling work from Breillat, on the tensions underlying the portrayal of desire in cinema

Chicago (1927) – Urson’s precursor to the musical doesn’t exude much jazz age flavour but is enjoyable anyway, with a nice vein of cynicism

Dheepan (2015) – the derided ending is actually the most interesting artistic flourish in Audiard’s otherwise unremarkably scrupulous study

Laughter in the Dark (1969) – Nabokov’s fascinating tale probably should have yielded a sharper film than Richardson put together here

Goltzius and the Pelican Company (2012) – Greenaway remains a dauntingly astonishing architect of intellectual and cinematic structures

The Wild Duck (1976) – sad that Seberg registers so little in her final film, but it’s sensitive to the complexities of Ibsen’s play

Ricki and the Flash (2015) – Demme can’t tease much depth out of such trivial material; still, he delivers easy, if mostly flashless fun

La belle captive (1983) – one of Robbe-Grillet’s best films, crafting a stylish dream-logic narrative, pervaded by anxiety and obsession

Personal Velocity (2002) – Miller’s three-part film is an almost exemplary example of how small things, shown on screen, may become profound

Pepe le Moko (1937) – one still dreamily loses oneself in the doomed machinations, as much as in Duvivier’s fluent evocation of the Casbah

Queen of Earth (2015) – Perry’s virtuoso pivot from the flowing literacy of Listen Up Philip, deep into the unyielding contours of trauma

Battles without Honor and Humanity (1973) – and fought against a landscape largely free of hope or integrity, in Fukasaku’s gangster classic

They made me a Fugitive (1947) – Cavalcanti’s excellent study in post-war venality, hustling & despair, crackingly conceived & articulated

The Human Centipede (2009) – Six maintains the creepiness pretty well, but it’s all just too hermetically weird to have much evocative power

La tendre ennemie (1936) – in its investigation of female desire, Ophuls’ rather cluttered high-concept film calls ahead to Lola Montes

Everybody’s All-American (1988) – Hackford’s bland slog through years and regrets carries little deep sense of time, place or real character

Blanche (1971) – Borowczyk’s exquisitely controlled tale of repressed desire and manipulation, essential to a rounded view of his cinema

Magic Mike XXL (2015) – if nothing else, Jacobs’ film is striking for its near-total immersion in (a certain concept of) female pleasure

La chienne (1931) – irresistible early Renoir, telling its twisted tale with amused attentiveness to the complexities of human motivations

The Last Five Years (2014) – LaGravenese’s sweetly fluid musical, providing a more than adequate stop-off between more consequential movies

Rysopis (1965) – Skolimowski elevates the mundane through sustained imagination, pace, and affinity for everyday oddities and mysteries

She’s Gotta Have It (1986) – Lee’s joy-evoking, super-inventive debut, the all-time great cinematic appetizer to a staggeringly rich career

The Middleman (1976) – Ray’s studies of compromised modern India are among his most interesting work, despite some excessive underlining

Leviathan (2012) – Castaing-Taylor/Paravel’s turbulently meditative record/poem, wondrous and horrible, of the ocean and industrial man

Shoot the Pianist (1960) – Truffaut’s loosely discursive approach to the noir material feels largely as fresh and modern as ever

Invincible (2001) – Herzog is well-attuned to the material’s perverse elements, but too often falls merely into meandering, dour stateliness

A Walk Through H (1978) – Greenaway’s multi-layered journey, a dauntingly self-contained mythology that’s nevertheless bracingly liberating

Trois places pour le 26 (1988) – Demy’s overlooked last film, a happily retro musical that’s also a remarkable, transgressive investigation

The Symbol of the Unconquered (1920) – even in this incomplete state, Micheaux’s film provides a compelling window on racial complexities

A Hijacking (2012) – Lindholm’s drama provides a more quietly piercing, far less bombastic contrast to the broadly similar Captain Phillips

High Plains Drifter (1973) – Eastwood’s early film as director; a rigorously unfussy step on his long, active road of self-myth construction

La vie de famille (1985) – Doillon’s examination, both incisive & playful, of ambiguities that make a family (if the concept exists at all)

The Rink (1916) – Chaplin’s action-packed short is ultimately a showcase for ceaseless roller-skating aplomb, with Charlie’s delight evident

Les voleurs (1996) – one of Techine’s very best films, navigating its narrative and thematic complexities with near-supernatural assurance

Opening Night (1977) – a Cassavetes masterpiece, brilliantly expressing the traumas and liberating breakthroughs of acting and creation

My Neighbor Totoro (1988) – a more small-scale example of Miyazaki’s aesthetic – it’s the wondrous trippiness which mostly makes the movie

Nothing Sacred (1937) – Wellman’s classic, savvy comedy; the themes of public manipulation and rigged identification haven’t aged a bit

I’m Going Home (2001) – de Oliveira’s film has its own entrancing sense of ethicism and elegance, and some unexpectedly funny contrivances

Designing Woman (1957) – Minnelli’s romantic comedy is most alluring when the mostly mundane plotting gives way to cinematic exuberance

The Blue Room (2014) – Amalric’s intricately structured exercise in erotic, ominous fatalism, just about perfectly judged throughout

Best Friends (1982) – Jewison’s smoothly dawdling, star-caressing vehicle hardly registers as a comedy, or as anything at all really

Die Nibelungen: Kriemhild’s Revenge (1924) – for all its spectacle, Lang’s sequel is singularly governed by all-consuming obsession

Everybody Wants Some!! (2016) – Linklater in his most gracefully unforced mode, observing the tumble of competitiveness and camarderie

Black Lizard (1968) – Fukasaku’s crime/desire romp leaps through its knowingly outlandish narrative with gleeful, stylish self-awareness

The Black Panthers: Vanguard of the Revolution (2015) – Nelson’s linear approach sacrifices some fire and texture, but still vital viewing

A Lesson in Love (1954) – only an intermittently profound one though, in this fanciful, pleasantly over-stuffed early Bergman comedy

The Inner Life of Martin Frost (2007) – Auster’s ultra-Austerian journey through the mysteries of creativity, to no clear destination

Ro.Pa.Go.G (1963) – one of the best anthology films, leaving few aspects of consumerism unkicked; Pasolini’s segment is especially strong

Bringing out the Dead (1999) – Scorsese’s morally anguished drama is superbly rendered of course, but its darkness houses familiar ghosts

Je t’aime moi non plus (1976) – Gainsbourg’s amazing, desperate vision; a confused but unashamed psyche yelling from the world’s asshole

Miss Julie (2014) – Ullmann’s increasingly intense version of the play is more wrenching but less cinematically engaging than Sjoberg’s

The New Babylon (1929) – Kozintsev/Trauberg’s deeply immersed, full-to-bursting drama, an absolute highlight of the Soviet silent cinema

Chi-Raq (2015) – as vital as ever, Lee crafts an unflaggingly rich, angry engagement with violence, community and cinematic convention

Lola Montes (1955) – Ophuls’ gorgeous last film, limitless and liberated even as it places Lola in the most elegant of cinematic prisons

The American Dreamer (1971) – befitting its title, the portrait stamps Hopper as a gloriously messy amalgam, and a wondrous bullshitter

Documenteur (1981) – Varda’s typically frank portrayal of adaptation, suffused with quiet melancholy and ceaseless, deconstructive curiosity

An American Tragedy (1931) – Sternberg’s drama is best when immersed in shifty desire, and in the complexity of moral and social calculation

The Mysteries of Paris (2015) – a valuable stab, if haunted by absences, at the daunting task of supplementing Rivette’s masterpiece Out 1

“M” (1951) – Losey’s remake, less viscerally dazzling than the original, just as gripping for cinematic fluidity & steely social awareness

Max mon amour (1986) – Oshima’s woman-loves-chimp satire has a subversive premise and largely placid execution, which may be the main joke

Portrait of Jason (1967) – it’s impossible in Clarke’s amazing “portrait” to disentangle revelation from performance, form from content

Saint Laurent (2014) – Bonello’s consistently fascinating, highly multi-faceted exercise in the complexities of representation & appearance

Little Darlings (1980) – Maxwell’s film engages in some interesting ways with teen female attitudes, for all its simplification & silliness

Love One Another (1922) – Dreyer’s early, rather cluttered drama is entirely of this world, in all its frequent prejudice-stained ugliness

The Overnight (2015) – Brice jumps into his premise, enjoyably hits some safely naughty marks and quickly gets out, mission accomplished

Les carabiniers (1963) – Godard’s contempt for war’s squalid fantasies rings through every step of the film’s sparse, desperate inventions

Angel Heart (1987) – Parker’s lurid supernatural thriller, too silly and overdone to engage disciples either of the light or the dark

Okoto and Sasuke (1935) – a lovingly-told tale of devotion, more gentle in its social awareness than Shimazu’s more contemporary stories

Manglehorn (2014) – Green’s beguiling amalgam of conventional core narrative and eccentrically subjective, digressive, allusive elaboration

Black and White in Color (1976) – Annaud’s modest colonial satire, most memorable for the background authenticity of its Ivory Coast setting

The Revenant (2015) – Inarritu’s achievement is primarily a logistical and technical one, in a film of limited artistic texture otherwise

Entr’acte (1924) – the images in Clair’s short debut may carry limited bite, but his joy in cinematic play and movement is undiminished

The Graduate (1967) – Nichols’ classic has iconic moments to burn, but they barely seem now to cohere into a lastingly resonant whole

Diplomacy (2014) – Schlondorff’s old-fashioned but well-told elevation of dialogue and reflection over unquestioned military momentum

Divine Madness (1980) – Ritchie’s strong if straightforward showcase for an indelible, if inherently somewhat unknowable performer

2046 (2004) – Wong’s alluring extension of In the Mood for Love suggests a filmic universe & directorial mythology of infinite possibility

The Grapes of Wrath (1940) – aesthetic judgments hardly apply, when Ford’s drama of poverty and relocation still feels so achingly relevant

The Ugly One (2013) – Baudelaire’s poised reflection on war’s challenge to representation & reality, less fruitful than his documentaries

The Kid (1921) – Chaplin’s film is more calculation than cinematic dream, but the graceful sweetness at its centre remains captivating

The Sacrifice (1986) – despite some genuine marvels, Tarkovsky’s stately last film lacks the glorious stimulations of his greatest work

Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964) – the premise of Forbes’ low-key thriller carries it along, despite a rather journeyman quality overall

Far from the Madding Crowd (2015) – it’s hard to identify any significant respect in which Vinterberg’s version improves on Schlesinger’s

Out One: Spectre (1974) – Rivette’s edited down, more narratively propulsive version interrogates reality and meaning no less brilliantly

Ex Machina (2015) – Garland’s pristine, isolating cinematic design perfectly reflects his ominous theme, explored with probing articulacy

Une vie (1958) – Astruc’s tale of a woman, deeply immersed in its characters’ ill-fated instincts and in their unsheltering surroundings

The Guest (2014) – Wingard’s entertaining if not too illuminating parable plays rather like a Schwarzeneggerized version of Teorema

The Trio’s Engagements (1937) – not a major Shimazu film, but with some pleasantly whimsical observation of male and organizational idiocies

Slow West (2015) – one admires the imaginative precision of Maclean’s engagement with genre, without really getting all that much out of it

Mon oncle d’Amerique (1980) – Resnais’ film often feels overly schematic, but is that what I really feel, or is it a conditioned response..?

The Russia House (1990) – Schepisi’s underpowered, underrevealing and under-romantic (although often over-written) le Carre adaptation

Die Nibelungen: Siegfried (1924) – Lang’s epic becomes gradually more Langian, as dragons and magic yield to conspiracy and moral weakness

Hungry Hearts (2014) – Costanzo’s would-be unsettling drama doesn’t exactly engage progressively with the complexities of motherhood

Le revelateur (1968) – Garrel’s astonishing cinema has always seemed to occupy its own quite unnerving narrative, psychic & thematic space

Nailed (2015) – Russell’s abandoned film feels like a lost cause from the start, lacking even the meagre virtues of his other recent work

Smiles of a Summer Night (1955) – one of Bergman’s many peaks, a grand piece of comedy styling, yet rigorous & morally intriguing throughout

It Follows (2014) – a metaphorical horror concept for the ages, fully realized through Mitchell’s terrific observation and tonal control

Morning for the Osone Family (1946) – despite its faults, Kinoshita’s study of home during war retains all the power of its moment in time

Star Trek: Into Darkness (2013) – Abrams lurches from one ill-conceived notion to another, salvaging little of the original’s richness

Loulou (1980) – Pialat’s magnificently turbulent, never merely messy behavioral study has a naturalism that often feels virtually unmediated

Noah (2014) – Aronofsky’s stubbornly eccentric telling (why so few kick-ass animal shots!?) is overall more dour and dogged than visionary

Kino Eye (1924) – some of what Vertov’s eye sees is a bit tedious now, but his assertion of cinematic & social possibility remains gripping

Go Go Tales (2007) – a night in a strip joint, teeming with incident, perhaps (surprisingly?) Ferrara’s most tolerantly indulgent work

Tokyo Story (1953) – often plausibly cited as Ozu’s greatest work; certainly one of his most perfectly structured and complexly affecting

Interstellar (2014) – a very unbombastic space epic, defined as much by absence as engagement; perhaps Nolan’s most quietly satisfying film

Lancelot du lac (1974) – Bresson deploys extreme narrative & cinematic coding & reduction here; not his most transporting work, by design

Aloha (2015) – just about holds together, but whatever modest idiosyncrasy and emotional insight Crowe once possessed seems calcified by now

El (1953) – Bunuel’s wondrously controlled and expressive dissection of male passion and entitlement is among his (many many) finest films

Dying of the Light (2014) – for all the interesting frailty and moral fatigue at its centre, hardly the film one wishes for from Schrader

Our Neighbour, Miss Yae (1934) – Shimazu’s fine, surprisingly sexually aware film, demonstrating his great alertness & progressive curiosity

The Decline of Western Civilization Part III (1998) – a largely grim end to Spheeris’ trilogy, its choppy nature impeding its authenticity

Pauline at the Beach (1983) – one of Rohmer’s lighter works, although the narrative and psychological intricacy is as stunning as ever

The Crimson Kimono (1959) – a thriller that delves fascinatingly into cultural attitudes, with some prime examples of the Fuller cinema-fist

Letters to Max (2014) – a beautiful little film, in which Baudelaire’s teasing structure perfectly supports the complexities of his subject

It’s Alive (1974) – Cohen’s storytelling is frequently spasmodic and ragged, but the movie always retains its anxious, pained undercurrent

You, the Living (2007) – or the barely living, in Andersson’s uniquely indicting vision of an inwardly and outwardly drained existence

The Marriage Circle (1924) – Lubitsch’s fine comedy of mismatched desires, notable for a landmark portrayal of unashamed female horniness!

Battle Royale (2000) – Fukasaku’s teen slaughter epic provides some easy points of nihilistic identification, but not really too much else

Welcome to L.A. (1976) – Rudolph’s debut is overly posed and narrow in its preoccupations, even allowing that’s largely the point of it

Masques (1987) – Chabrol seems to be having an unambitious, genre-friendly good time here, which the audience can more or less buy into

In a Lonely Place (1950) – Ray’s spellbinding study of emotional instability pushes Bogart into a rawly confessional, deeply-affecting vein

Tomboy (2011) – Sciamma’s delicately captivating study is alert to every nuance of her protagonist’s psychology and environment

Over the Edge (1979) – Kaplan packs the film with piercing identification & pleasure points, all the way to the damn-the-consequences climax

In the Mood for Love (2000) – Wong weaves together countless structural audacities and aesthetic marvels with seductively intuitive mastery

Experiment in Terror (1962) – it’s intriguing to search for Edwards’ sensibility within such low-key (hardly experimental) early projects

The Emperor’s Naked Army Marches On (1988) – Hara’s rough-edged but galvanizing, morally probing study of a uniquely possessed individual

The Exorcist (1973) – compared to the most penetrating horror films, an absorbing spectacle that stays safely at arm’s (or puke’s) length

The Anabasis of May and Fusako… (2011) – Baudelaire’s film is riveting both as modern history and as a reflection on identity & experience

Day of the Fight (1951) – even in its brevity and narrow focus, Kubrick’s early short seems heavy with existential emptiness and exhaustion

Son of Saul (2015) – for me, Nemes’ hyperactive narrative momentum constitutes a problematic artistic and ethical approach to the Holocaust

Harlan County, U.S.A. (1976) – Kopple’s moving reality poem encompasses an entire fraught history of weary steps forward, and others back

Juliet of the Spirits (1965) – all-out Fellini, maintaining an extraordinary level of invention, and yet feeling largely tedious and inert

Youth (2015) – hard to see Sorrentino’s film as much more than a beautiful, lugubrious idiocy, with vague glimpses of some greater design

What? (1972) – Polanski’s startlingly unpredictable vision of confinement shrouds its meticulous control under multi-faceted weirdness

What we Do in the Shadows (2014) – Clement and Waititi’s deadpan, idea-spurting vampire “documentary” is dead-on scrupulous to the end

Pather Panchali (1955) – the status of Ray’s film as a “human document” remains its great strength & to some extent its cinematic limitation

The Hateful Eight (2015) – Tarantino’s high-entertainment genre-hugging work drinks deeply from America’s bloody pools of trauma

No End (1985) – Kieslowski’s supernaturally-tinged drama of pragmatism and idealism lacks the composed equilibrium of his greater works

Laggies (2014) – Shelton’s lightweight comedy is all tedious plot mechanics and predictable insights, with disappointingly little complexity

A Brother and his Sister (1939) – Shimazu’s unusually articulate & observant film casts a quietly keen eye on workplace & family structures

The Big Short (2015) – McKay’s shouldn’t be the only version of this daunting history, but he presents it with terrific energy and skill

Augustine of Hippo (1972) – a perfectly-sustained work of investigation and evocation from Rossellini’s reflectively pedagogic late period

The Duke of Burgundy (2014) – Strickland’s minute control is structurally fascinating, but less viscerally galvanizing than hoped for

Blow-Up (1966) – Antonioni’s beautiful, unfaded enigma, overflowing with astonishing expressions of the interplay of experience and meaning

Story of my Death (2013) – Serra’s strange but masterfully sustained project, in part a meditation on cultural decay and metamorphosis

Ulzana’s Raid (1972) – Aldrich’s unnerving Western, an absorbing crucible for the era’s political and moral ambiguities and failings

The Puppetmaster (1993) – a rich, winding chronicle of personal and national vicissitudes, one of the central pillars of Hou study/worship

Of Human Bondage (1934) – still a gripping clash of acting styles, from Francis’ quiet naturalism to Davis’ all-conquering artificiality

The New Girlfriend (2014) – Ozon has a fresh and supple way with concepts of gender and identity, less so with visual and tonal convention

Girlfriends (1978) – Weill’s film, as fresh as ever, is still an unforced, beautifully intuitive compendium of female dilemmas and desires

Tom at the Farm (2013) – consistently contrived and unpleasant material, which Dolan does very little to elevate, or even make tolerable

Come Back, Africa (1959) – over fifty years on, Rogosin’s record of apartheid makes you feel as stirred and ashamed as it surely did then

The Makes (2009) – Baudelaire’s graceful little tribute to Antonioni, reflecting on the master’s almost limitless evocative power

My Ain Folk (1973) – the second part of Douglas’ miraculous trilogy, a film of austere but unforgettable social and cinematic revelations

The Congress (2013) – Folman’s impressively bewilderingly wild ride through identity & freedom spins somewhere between great vision & folly

Magnet of Doom (1963) – Melville’s very interesting, digressive semi-noir, a film with an odd air of simultaneous expansion and contraction

The Babadook (2014) – Kent’s instantly classic horror film, a terrifically well-considered expression of unresolved sadness and trauma

Levres de sang (1975) – one of Rollin’s most unified and sustained meditative narratives, somewhat more psychologically charged than usual

Smithereens (1982) – an enjoyable film, only partly successful at capturing its environment & culture, given Seidelman’s narrative tidiness

Happiness (1935) – Medvedkin’s distinctly eccentric, surrealistically flavoured parable of collectivism’s (& life’s) bumpy relative virtues

Big Eyes (2014) – Burton’s dismally zest-free film provides little hint of why we should care about Keane’s pleasantly minor achievements

Love and Anarchy (1973) – Wertmuller’s cinema of exclamation marks, although not without impact, is overall more grating than galvanizing

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) – superb spectacle, but I don’t really understand the value judgment by which this would be the year’s best film

Il Grido (1957) – Antonioni’s masterpiece, highly specific about and yet transcending time and place, tracing a man’s doomed, futile freedom

Gallivant (1997) – Kotting’s warmly idiosyncratic road trip, finding in Britain an inexhaustible behavioural and cinematic playground

The Decline of Western Civilization Part II (1988) – Spheeris’ entertaining but overly superficial, context-light and freak-showish survey

Laila (1929) – Schneevoigt’s epic love story remains terrific viewing, more notable for scenic wonders than for stylistic or thematic ones

Losing Ground (1982) – Collins’ remarkable study overflows with fresh, original perspectives on its central relationship, on race & identity

The Land (1969) – a morally-charged film of historical and cultural interest, but Chahine too often feels like a messy, leaden director

The Captive (2014) – another unpleasant Egoyan failure, applying his woefully tired, self-important bag of tricks to a nasty core premise

Les liaisons dangereuses (1959) – even without hindsight, one could have guessed such stylish nastiness wouldn’t ultimately be Vadim’s bag

Spotlight (2015) – McCarthy’s process-oriented drama carries little lasting impact either as cinema or as a window on a poisoned institution

Planet of the Vampires (1965) - Bava’s sci-fi film is mostly just OK, lifted though by often striking, groovy-meets-haunting design & color

Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter (2014) – the Zellners maintain a pleasant eccentricity, which is as big a pot of gold as the premise can deliver

By the Bluest of Seas (1936) – Barnet and Mardanin’s quasi-fairy tale, at once both a paean to and deconstruction of the collectivist dream

Moonlighting (1982) – Skolimowski’s modest but vastly resonant and observant docu-fable, teeming with moral challenges both small and vast

Daughters of the Dust (1991) – plunging us deeply into a distinct culture and ideology, Dash all but invents a new film language and rhythm

Araya (1959) – Benacerraf’s beautiful cultural record, gorgeously composed in all respects, although not without aspects of over-insistence

Tusk (2014) – perhaps the best man-into-walrus movie imaginable, given Smith’s new burst of “auteurist” life, and full-blubber acting

House (1977) – Obayashi’s is indeed a staggering creative barrage; is it a success measure if you mostly want to hide from it in a cellar? 

Listen to me Marlon (2015) – Riley’s overly prettified and fragmented approach to the most complexly reflection-worthy of screen actors

Mamma Roma (1962) – Pasolini’s stunning film, relishing both rough-hewn naturalism and theatricality, inevitably yielding profound suffering

Dear White People (2014) – Simien’s wonderfully alert, thought-provoking, multi-faceted case study, surely one of the year’s best films

Fascination (1979) – Rollin’s initially intriguing vampire tale ends up feeling a bit thin, and relatively restrained erotica-wise (darn!)

The Decline of Western Civilization (1981) – Spheeris’ indelible punk record thrills and repels, often (as the scene warrants) both at once

Enthusiasm (1931) – Vertov’s record of industrial achievement, generally less cinematically engaging now than his Man with a Movie Camera

Unbroken (2014) – Jolie’s chronicle of suffering and survival is highly polished, such that you mostly just squint helplessly before it

The Passenger (1975) – Antonioni’s inexhaustibly reflection-worthy triumph might actually be, if I had to choose, my favourite of all films

Jacquot de Nantes (1991) – a perfect gift from Varda for Demy-philes, a memoir/scrap book you absorb with constant delight, wanting no more

The Swarm (1978) – as if to illustrate the result of placing substantial resources & legendary actors in the hands of a bumbling simpleton

Noriko’s Dinner Table (2005) – Sono’s delicately mysterious exploration of teenage girl restlessness and the multiplicity of resolutions

Foreign Correspondent (1940) – Hitchcock’s thriller is more about can-do breeziness than complexity, but with several memorable set-pieces

Phoenix (2014) – Petzold intriguingly deploys his highly artificial, noir-ish premise to interrogate Germany’s post-war moral desolation

Westworld (1973) – typical Crichton concoction of an engaging governing concept neutered by mostly disappointing detailed execution

The Wind Rises (2013) – Miyazaki’s wonderful, perpetually graceful but gravely serious meditation on flight, dreams, fragility and death

Outrage (1950) – Lupino’s wide-ranging, highly alert study of assault & its aftermath, with one of Hollywood’s more ambiguous happy endings

Alice and Martin (1998) – very distinctively Techine’s in its narrative shifts and substitutions, and overriding sense of composed purpose

China 9, Liberty 37 (1978) – Hellman injects a few inventive flashes, but it’s mostly a disappointingly plain, straightforward western

The Assassin (2015) – beneath beautiful genre trappings, entirely recognizable as an application of Hou’s scintillating methodologies

Louisiana Story (1948) – Flaherty’s engaging, all-but-Disneyfied slice of southern life doesn’t carry much insight or significance now

The Sleeping Beauty (2010) – Breillat brilliantly springboards from Demy territory, into a complex representation of awakening and maturity

Vanishing Point (1971) – the “mythic” aspects of Sarafian’s classic road picture are strained, but it’s satisfyingly atmospheric & handsome

Taxi (2015) – Panahi navigates charmingly within Iran’s human & technological possibilities, in a work of gently subversive form & content

Cul-de-sac (1966) – Polanski’s unique comedy, a wickedly finely-dug hole at the literal, symbolic and psychological end of the road 

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) – Amirpour’s interesting, if not that impactful, exercise in minimalist expectation-subversion

The Confession (1970) – Costa-Gavras’ informatively multi-faceted scream from the self-loathing heart of an ideologically righteous regime

Experimenter (2015) – the supple form of Almereyda’s sublimely stimulating film perfectly fits its protagonist’s restless investigations

Vengeance is Mine (1979) – an Imamura masterpiece, its directorial scope and control almost as terrifying as its unknowable protagonist

20,000 Days on Earth (2014) – holding “truth” and myth in perfect equilibrium, Forsyth and Pollard give the great Cave the film he deserves

Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors (1965) – Paradjanov’s high-conviction, colour-saturated imagery is among cinema’s most hauntingly distinctive

Foxfire (2012) – unexpected choice of project for Cantet, sometimes feeling largely conventional, but quietly disruptive in various ways

The Nude Vampire (1970) – Rollin’s startling brand of visionary kink can be rather mesmerizing on its own terms, if not on anyone else’s

The Martian (2015) – Scott’s feels like a patchwork of earlier movies in too many respects, but one appreciates its unpretentious nimbleness

The Crime of Monsieur Lange (1936) – less notable for the “crime” than, as always, for Renoir’s spellbinding human and moral orchestration

St. Vincent (2014) – Melfi’s ritualistic visit to cinema’s venerable odd-couple altar, the honoured sentimentality quotient well intact

The Seventh Seal (1957) – Bergman’s classic vision of life at its earthly limit, a lesson perhaps in the virtues of engaged equanimity

Junun (2015) – Anderson’s pleasant, resourceful but unforced observance of musical fusion occupies its own graceful space within the genre

The Two of Them (1978) – it’s rather sad that Meszaros’ astute study of women and their environment still seems so relatively unusual

Predestination (2014) – a seriously impressive feat of plotting by the Spierigs, and a one-of-a-kind manipulation of gender boundaries

Princess Yang Kwei Fei (1955) – Mizoguchi’s beautiful, deeply empathetic tale of the tragic constraints at the centre of opulent power

Cobain: Montage of Heck (2015) – for all Morgen’s strenuous efforts, Cobain’s is the archetypal narrative that mostly resists illumination

Old and New (1929) – Eisenstein’s hymn to agricultural modernization conveys virtually boundless belief in imagery and industry alike

Lucy (2014) – Besson’s fantasy of supercharged human capacity, a film so enjoyably unleashed that it actually does feel kind of liberating

The Merchant of Four Seasons (1972) – Fassbinder’s piercing, subversive study of death by small capitalistic steps, wretched 70’s-style

Just Tell me what you Want (1980) – perhaps Lumet was drawn to the idea of a “romantic comedy” containing almost nothing you’d call “sweet”

Je t’aime je t’aime (1968) – Resnais transforms a familiar sci-fi premise into a mesmerizing fabric of loss, regret and helpless experience

Kill the Messenger (2014) – Cuesta provides plenty to chew on, even if his storytelling frequently seems too straightforwardly seasoned

Sansho Dayu (1954) – Mizoguchi’s gorgeous, tragic masterpiece encompasses immense narrative scope and great emotional and moral delicacy

The Walk (2015) – expected 3-D spatial high-points aside, Zemeckis delivers disappointingly little high-wire-level cinematic poetry here

Christ Stopped at Eboli (1979) – Rosi’s quietly charged chronicle of exile and assimilation, impressive despite overly calculated elements

The Homesman (2014) – Jones again shows himself a darkly fascinating, alert director, crafting a very full and distinctively haunting tale

Elsa la rose (1966) – a charming Varda miniature, perhaps expressing a gentle wish for her own creative and personal partnership to endure?

You’re Next (2011) – Wingard slashes through the familiar set-up with skill and intelligence, although hardly to a genre-transforming extent

A Page of Madness (1926) – Kinugasa’s deeply disorienting onslaught of expressionistic images still leaves you ravished, and reeling

Magic in the Moonlight (2014) – Allen muses pleasantly again on the meaning of existence, tapping Rex Harrison more than Ingmar Bergman

Bad Luck (1960) – Munk’s well-sustained sad-sack comedy, in which the hero’s misfortunes reflect Poland’s ever-evolving traps and pitfalls

Going Clear (2015) – as pristine and well-organized as all Gibney’s work, which as usual constitutes both a strength and a limitation

That Obscure Object of Desire (1977) – Bunuel’s final masterpiece is both elemental & cosmic, a gracefully pointed undermining of everything

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes (2014) – Reeves’ sequel loses most of the first film’s pleasures, for a lot of standard-issue dystopian gloom

Tokyo Twilight (1957) – one of Ozu’s saddest, most desolate works, filled with indelible brief studies of loneliness and thwarted hope

The Misfits (1960) – Huston/Miller’s doom-ridden drama blends wrenching emotional observation and uncomfortable writerly/actorly excess 

Le garcu (1995) – Pialat’s last film explores familiar territory, but with all his brilliant feeling for turbulent, contradictory experience

Klute (1971) – Pakula’s investigation of sexual identities and narratives sometimes seems forced, but still a fascinating mesh of elements

Mommy (2014) – for a “natural filmmaker” of Dolan’s energy and panache, it’s a shame how substantively unrewarding his films ultimately feel

To Be or Not to Be (1942) – Lubitsch’s legendary wartime comedy is a masterpiece of structure, magically navigating moral darkness and light

Dreams (1990) – over time, it’s easier to tolerate Kurosawa’s visual & thematic didacticism here, to succumb to what’s beautiful in the film

Rio Lobo (1970) – Hawks’ last film is highly enjoyable, but it doesn’t have the emotional and behavioural coherence of its predecessors 

Love (2015) – Noe’s erotic meditation, shimmering with sometimes naïve conviction, at least doesn’t lack for intriguing moods and constructs

Night of the Living Dead (1968) – the brilliantly stark beginning to it all, with Romero’s chilling concept already rich in implication

Cure: the Life of Another (2014) – Staka’s politically-charged ghost story of sorts engages imaginatively & hauntingly with Europe’s traumas

Psychomania (1973) – certainly a nutballish concoction, but a more gleefully unhinged director would probably have helped (or “helped”)

Pirates (1986) – or, way too many knives in the water, given the strain of appreciating Polanski’s sensibility within this handsome oddity

Death of a President (1977) – Kawalerowicz’s deeply-immersed exploration of the complexity of political calculation, influence & consequence

Get on Up (2014) – Taylor’s approaches Brown’s life as a structurally audacious hall of memories, with overly academic, passionless results

The Bad Sleep Well (1960) – high-end pulp revenge drama, steered by Kurosawa into a gripping exploration of power in all its manifestations

Jimi: all is by my side (2013) – Ridley’s reflectiveness, alert to racial politics & cultural ambiguities, intriguingly rejects biopic norms

Les hautes solitudes (1974) – Garrel’s singular viewing experience, both liberating and troubling, permeated by Seberg’s sad resonances

Rosewater (2014) – Stewart’s mostly forgettable debut, too weighed down with artificialities to yield much emotion or sense of discovery

Days of Youth (1929) – Ozu’s silent film is largely driven by delightful goofiness, but you already feel greater reflectiveness percolating

The Color Wheel (2011) – Perry’s uneasy comedy is always smart and stimulating, then in its closing scenes becomes quietly remarkable

The Tin Drum (1979) – as filmed by Schlondorff, a conceptual carnival that seldom feels like a very illuminating engagement with history

Citizenfour (2014) – perhaps the rather muted impact of Poitras’ Snowden documentary fits the shadowy nature of the threat, I don’t know

The Last Day of Summer (1958) – …or maybe of anything at all, in Konwicki’s starkly beautiful, ultimately rather slight two-person encounter

S.O.B. (1981) – a festering evisceration of Hollywood from Edwards’ most fascinating period, bleakly seeped in the attitudes it disparages

Noroit (1976) – Rivette’s “pirate movie” is perhaps his most intensely strange; a complex dance with genre, narrative and performance

Love is Strange (2014) – it’s strange and often sad, and so is the way the world intrudes on it, in Sachs’ beautifully judged reverie

Macario (1960) – Gavaldon’s wonderful fable of death and illusion, full of magical elements, but with a properly stark sense of suffering

Mistress America (2015) – another Baumbach high-water mark in contemporary comedy, with wonderful, fully-loaded pace and unforced complexity

Helle (1972) – a quiet period study of small-town dysfunction; helps somewhat to broaden the usual view of Vadim, albeit not that memorably

The Skeleton Twins (2014) – Johnson’s film is often quite distinctively morose, but then settles for flimsy, uninteresting images of repair

Partner (1968) – another compelling early Bertolucci masterwork – a deeply strange embrace of untapped otherness, of unrealized revolution

Results (2015) – Bujalski’s most conventional, least interesting film overall, despite its engaging riffing on life-philosophy cliches

The Bitter Tears of Petra von Kant (1972) – Fassbinder’s landmark power study, told through startling visual and psychological compositions

Grace of Monaco (2014) – quite striking for Dahan’s explorations of artifice and performance, although a lot of the rest is pretty mundane

The Ipcress File (1965) – the first Harry Palmer movie is solid nuts-and-bolts entertainment, driven by unsubtle class-based discomfort

Tournee (2010) – Amalric’s directing, like his acting, distinctively blends provocation and desolation, the mercurial and the rueful

Bell Book and Candle (1958) – Quine’s ponderous Novak/Stewart bewitchment comedy gains some unwarranted interest from its odd Vertigo echoes

The Night of the Hunted (1980) – Rollin’s haunting premise spawns a lot of poignantly creepy image making, despite some narrative jerkiness

The Rose (1979) – Rydell’s ever-fascinating interplay of a somewhat unremarkable narrative and the mesmerizing presence at its centre

Le petit lieutenant (2005) – Beauvois’ extremely engrossing, surprising police drama encompasses a vast amount of low-key, fluid complexity

Journey into Fear (1943) – Foster’s tight little drama, dense with threat and behavioural eccentricity, and more than a trace of Welles

Level Five (1997) – a lesser-known Marker masterpiece, fascinated with new technologies, deeply aware of their capacity for obscuring truth

MASH (1970) – now seems not so much irreverent as merely crude and chaotic, despite the many points of Altmanesque interest

Triple Agent (2004) – Rohmer’s late masterpiece, a stunning reflection on the interplay of personal and political positioning and action

I Know Where I’m Going! (1945) – a wonderful spell of culture and community, woven by Powell’s lovely imagery and compelling interactions

Calvary (2014) – McDonagh serves up cracking lines and scenes like free drinks at a bar, so you hardly bother about the big picture, if any

Le baby sitter (1975) – an enjoyable, unsurprising thriller, Clement’s last; somewhat distinguished by his empathy for his lead actresses

Palo Alto (2013) – Coppola delves hauntingly into teenage experience; maybe the absence of much that feels new is largely the point of it

Young Torless (1966) – Schlondorff’s tale of evolving self-awareness doesn’t engage much as a film, for all its underlying complexities

Irrational Man (2015) – Allen’s bleak central concept often seems imperfectly articulated, and yet the film has a stark confessional force

Travelling Actors (1940) – one of Naruse’s quirkier explorations is pleasant but mostly slight, up until its whimsically liberating ending

Fury (2014) – Ayer’s exploration of war’s unfathomable psychological complexities evokes great respect, but little real sense of discovery

More (1969) – Schroeder’s sensually eventful dive into the period’s freedoms and risks; more striking now for the highs than for the lows

Jinxed! (1982) – Siegel’s last film, potentially an effectively peculiar little thriller, lacks his usual artful shaping and control of tone

Faraon (1966) – Kawalerowicz’s politically charged Egyptian epic increasingly turns inward, absorbingly exploring the limitations of power

Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2014) – Lee repositions Ganja and Hess as an apparent cautionary parable on the draining of purpose and engagement

Scandal (1950) – Kurosawa’s libel yarn is enjoyable viewing, its real heart increasingly coming to lie in a mini-Ikiru-like character study

Savage Messiah (1972) – an energetic account of a difficult relationship, but one of the more monotonous works of Russell’s peak period

The Dreamers (2003) – Bertolucci’s erotic piece of nostalgia/denial all but wallows (quite mesmerizingly, to me) in its gorgeous irrelevancy

And God Created Woman (1956) – Vadim’s notorious breakthrough has a surprisingly desultory quality, punctuated by flashes of Bardot delirium

Kiss me, Stupid (1964) – Wilder’s nasty comedy of small-town moral hypocrisy leaves you little left to believe in (under God or otherwise)

Jeune & jolie (2013) – Ozon both titillates us with & deconstructs a teenage whore story, but would have done better with less of the former

Juggernaut (1974) – an enjoyably rollicking creation, with Lester bringing a distinct wryness to the impressively assembled disaster cliches

Lore (2012) – Shortland’s affecting journey through end-of-war Germany, quietly resonant about the breakdown of morality and certainty

The Boat (1921) – another master class in Keaton’s gorgeously multi-faceted imagination; Buster’s uniqueness transforms the world itself

The Second Game (2014) – with no visuals except dreary old soccer footage, Porumboiu whips up a stimulating personal & philosophical dynamic

Some Call it Loving (1973) – Harris’ entirely unique meditation, fanciful but utterly serious, on fantasy & play & their tragic limitations

The Territory (1981) – Ruiz transforms a relatively accessible core narrative into something wondrously, startlingly strange & implicating 

Othello (1952) – Welles’ highly stripped down version of the play, a brilliantly visualized and sustained study of manipulation and weakness

Eden (2014) – the thrill of the scene, the emptiness at its centre; Hansen-Love holds it all in terrific, minutely observant equilibrium

The House that Dripped Blood (1971) – Duffell’s solid anthology, from a time when everyone involved knew exactly how seriously to play it

Absolute Beginners (1986) – Temple’s ambitious period musical remains a disappointment, most everything about it seeming forced & affectless

Mother (1926) – Pudovkin’s drama of coalescing revolution remains stirring of course, but more narrowly so than his great Storm over Asia

Maps to the Stars (2014) – a Hollywood of disturbing rituals, excesses and breakdowns; fascinating, if not Cronenberg’s most vital work

Tout le monde il en a deux (1974) – rampantly porny Rollin work, built on a ritualistically dressed-up tussle between free and coerced sex

Boogie Nights (1997) – Anderson’s tremendously entertaining breakthrough, one of cinema’s more unique explorations of family structures

Eroica (1958) – two wartime stories from the astonishing Munk, fully demonstrating his great range of cinematic fluidity and human awareness

A Most Wanted Man (2014) – Corbijn’s defiantly generic Le Carre adaptation, perhaps great for connoisseurs of comparative movie spycraft

Rashomon (1950) – gripping for Kurosawa’s narrative cleverness & bold visualization, more than for its often-cited philosophical reflections

Blackhat (2015) – in a necessarily uneasy fusion, Mann applies his shimmering, tangible classicism to a new world of power and threat

All these Women (1964) – Bergman’s arch, male-effacing comedy is pitched very differently from his usual work, but it mostly just irritates

The Jersey Boys (2014) – Eastwood embraces the material’s artificiality, playing with ideas of memory, of the slipperiness of experience

The Spider’s Stratagem (1970) – an endlessly alluring early Bertolucci work, forged from his intuitive mastery of analytical, probing cinema

Belle (2013) – Asante’s historical drama is aesthetically conventional and overly glib, but skillfully sets out its complexities and ironies

Rape (1969) – Lennon/Ono’s unsettling tracking of a woman, implicitly questioning our collective complicity in multiple forms of violation

A Pigeon sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence (2014) – and did it damn well, thanks to Andersson’s mind-boggling exactitude and scope

The Fortune (1975) – an extremely minor interlude for Nichols and all involved; striking ending, but feels like you wait a long time for it

The Face you Deserve (2004) – one’s interest in Gomes’ unique, super-creative exploration of male anxiety ultimately dwindles a bit, sadly

Too Much Johnson (1938) – restoration of lost Welles footage, seemingly showcasing modest early inventiveness, and a youthful playfulness!

The Wonders (2014) – Rohrwacher’s family study is most fascinating at its Erice-like simplest; its grander inventions are a little puzzling

Gimme Shelter (1970) – the Maysles’ Rolling Stones film, justly famous for some of the most scarily vivid concert footage ever recorded

Warsaw Bridge (1989) – Portabella’s typically ravishing, challenging meditation on the generation of meaning and beauty in art and life

Johnny Guitar (1954) – Ray’s legendary Western, endlessly and gleefully analyzable for its intensely realized psychological maneuvering

Up the Yangtze (2007) – Chang’s film is a great eye-opener, even if it’s somewhat burdened with clichéd “great documentary” trappings

Play it as it Lays (1972) – Perry’s rather stunning exploration of existential despair, artfully hyped-up and yet chillingly naturalistic

No Man’s Land (1985) – another fascinating meditation by Tanner on inner and outer states of exile, if perhaps not his most fully-developed

The Awful Truth (1937) – McCarey’s joyous, wonderfully transgressive comedy; the very epitome of the kind of film they don’t make any more

From what is before (2014) – Diaz’s very long but immensely rewarding, unsettling, morally anguished study of utter induced destruction

Vault of Horror (1973) – Baker punches home the formula as if he, rather than the central storytellers, had been living it for eternity

The Mill and the Cross (2011) – Majewski’s deep exploration of a painting spawns an often ravishing dialogue between worlds and forms 

Daguerrotypes (1976) – Varda’s lovely, nostalgia-provoking record of her neighbourhood finds poignant magic in life’s mundane repetitions

Computer Chess (2013) – Bujalski’s super-smart comedy comes to suggest a weird, troubling synthesis; chess’s infinite possibility unleashed!

The Quiet Duel (1949) – Kurosawa’s stark, somewhat overdone drama of disease and sacrifice; moving for Mifune’s repressed pain and desire

American Sniper (2014) – Eastwood’s huge hit compels for its pared-away qualities, supporting multiple political/cultural interpretations

The Conformist (1970) – Bertolucci’s dark masterpiece is a stunning mesh of thematic and psychological richness, and compositional mastery

Keep the Lights On (2012) – Sachs’ modest but quietly impressive film, on how the weight of time and hurt gradually blocks out the flame

A Report on the Party and the Guests (1966) – Nemec’s fable of influence and coercion, allowing as much absurdist parallelism as one wishes

Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) – Gunn’s well-calibrated nuttiness and oddball intimacy provide a nice trail through the digital overkill

The Bride wore Black (1968) – an intriguing blend of well-sustained “Hitchcockian” surface and milder-mannered Truffaut-ian subtext 

Third Person (2013) – it’s clear from the start this will be another Haggis waste of time; the only surprise is in finding out just how much

Strike (1925) - if not the “best” of Eisenstein’s films, the easiest to succumb to as pure narrative and (sometimes crude) visceral assault

Top Five (2014) – given an overly busy set-up, it’s a surprise Rock’s movie breathes as much as it does; no surprise about the laughs though

Le gai savoir (1969) – Godard’s almost spiritually austere work of cinematic divestment, reexamining the nature of knowledge and meaning

ABBA the Movie (1977) – by Hallstrom’s later standards, almost a gritty, cinematically fearless, no-holds-barred expose (well, almost)

Oil City Confidential (2009) – Temple can’t resist overly revving up his Dr. Feelgood documentary, but a grounded portrait still emerges

Three Faces of a Woman (1965) – Antonioni’s introduction has a recognizably desolate quality, contrasting oddly with the other two segments

Beyond the Lights (2014) – mostly conventional material, highly elevated by Prince-Bythewood’s awareness & empathy, & by the fine Mbatha-Raw

L’opera mouffe (1958) – Varda’s early short already illustrates her very distinctive brand of cinematic joy and wondrous fearlessness

Trash Humpers (2009) – well, Korine’s trash humpers aren’t really my type, but as visions of America go, I’ll take it over Ted Cruz’s

Bed and Sofa (1927) – Room’s Stalin-era Jules et Jim, vibrant with the pulse of new times, increasingly interesting for its sexual politics

Words and Pictures (2013) – Schepisi’s comedy does full justice to neither, but builds reasonable goodwill through its fluency and sincerity

Pearls of the Deep (1966) – a five-part Czech New Wave anthology, overflowing with creative energy, although periodically rather grating

Still Alice (2014) – Glatzer/Westmoreland demand little more of the viewer than reverent sympathy, which Moore of course makes easy to give

A Geisha (1953) – one of Mizoguchi’s finest, most quietly devastating films, chillingly frank about the reality of the geisha’s existence

Tales from the Crypt (1972) – Francis’ horror anthology delivers reliably no-nonsense, if often somewhat elderly-feeling squeamishness

A Zed & Two Noughts (1985) – Greenaway’s gorgeously rich intellectual frolic, dense with intertwining concepts of organization and decay

Master of the House (1925) – lacks the intense depths of Dreyer’s later works, but it’s notable for its detailed examination of domesticity

While we’re Young (2014) – Baumbach’s become virtually a brand for reliable mature pleasure, but this particular entry is a bit mechanical

Shoot First, Die Later (1974) – no-nonsense Di Leo drama ends by asserting crime doesn’t pay, but doesn’t make honesty look so hot either

Eyes Wide Shut (1999) – Kubrick’s final film is a grippingly strange deep dive into the convolutions of desire, repression and power

Street Without End (1934) – Naruse’s highly engaged, socially aware slice of life, focusing ultimately on a woman’s strength, and its cost

Afternoon Delight (2013) – Soloway’s comedy has much of the frankness and emotional acuity of her major subsequent achivement, Transparent

La notte (1961) – maybe Antonioni’s most exacting work of his great period, befitting its exploration of spiritual contortment & maroonment

Selma (2014) – DuVernay’s sombrely elegant, anguishingly ever-relevant investigation, far outpacing conventional historical reconstruction

Que viva Mexico! (1932) – reconstruction of Eisenstein’s unfinished work conveys its vast ambition, grappling with both beauty and cruelty

Far from the Madding Crowd (1967) – Schlesinger’s adaptation, although amply watchable, might be viewed as overly passive in various ways

Le Week-End (2013) – the film’s bittersweet character dance always feels too tidy and compressed; if only Cassavetes had gotten hold of it..

Miss Julie (1951) – Sjoberg elegantly and resourcefully “opens up” the play, while preserving its charged, fascinating shifts and shadings

Kramer vs. Kramer (1979) – still effective as an upper-class weepy, but Benton’s reticence and tidiness resist real pain and discovery

Epidemic (1987) – early expectation-confounding von Trier film is most appealing at its lightest; overall, it’s a bit academic & distancing

Intolerance (1916) – one can enjoy Griffith’s epic melodrama (often a bit bewilderingly) as spectacle, but little in it resonates deeply now

Persepolis (2007) – an effective rendering of Satrapi’s autobiographical material, although impacting mostly as an accomplished curio

Pretty Baby (1978) – Shields is still fascinating, but Malle’s then-controversial provocations and ambiguities seem overly studied now

Hard to be a God (2013) – German’s “science-fiction” epic like no other, astoundingly well-realized, knowingly oppressive and exhausting

Meet Marlon Brando (1966) – Brando’s gleeful waywardness with interviewers makes for as great & evasive a show as many of his actual roles

Slumming (2006) – Glawogger’s comedy is initially rather grating, but intriguingly works its way to an unexpectedly reflective final stretch

The Sailor who fell from Grace with the Sea (1976) – Carlino’s diverting but pretty silly blend of romanticism, erotica, and creepy kids

Clouds of Sils Maria (2014) – Assayas crafts some classic art-movie pleasures and complexities, while musing seductively on changing times

Un chien andalou (1929) – in Bunuel’s hands, aggressive incoherence becomes a form of grace, measured by unforgettably potent images

Videodrome (1983) – still an amazing Cronenberg vision, even if his fleshy fusions are some way from our sterile screen-induced reality

The Cat o’ Nine Tails (1971) – one of Argento’s more mundane works, seldom very striking either as a narrative or as a cinematic rush

Fading Gigolo (2013) – Turturro’s reticent approach, and the film’s gentle acting, emphasize the fading rather more than anything else

Torment (1944) – Sjoberg’s ungainly drama is most compelling for the sense of scriptwriter Bergman developing his inclinations and concerns

Wild (2014) – Vallee vividly weaves together experience, emotion and memory; but the film never seems particularly important or compelling

Army in the Shadows (1969) – Melville’s Resistance drama charts the war’s brutal spiritual toll; the loneliness behind each act of heroism

Upstream Color (2013) – Carruth’s consistently wondrous, very high-concept but intimately grounded flow of heightened moments and mysteries

By the Law (1926) – Kuleshov’s intense drama of crime & punishment; fascinating as cinema, a bit less so as moral/psychological exploration

A Most Violent Year (2014) – Chandor’s somewhat underwhelming drama, most intriguing for how it undercuts the apparent promise in its title

The Demoniacs (1974) – Rollin’s disjointed mumbo-jumbo is more striking than it deserves to be, if only for its rather plaintive weirdness

The Double (2013) – Ayoade’s fable rapidly becomes thin and aesthetically limited, granted that it hardly seems intended as anything else

Libel (1959) – Asquith’s actor-friendly but largely staid, contrived courtroom drama, modestly enhanced by its subtext of class envy

Winter Sleep (2014) – Ceylan’s long study of character & conscience is very fine, although the work of a careful builder more than of a poet

Killer’s Kiss (1955) – a tight little crime/chase narrative, transformed throughout by Kubrick’s fascinated eye and simmering ambition

Ushpizin (2004) – Dar’s film sometimes feels headed toward stuffiness, but is truly deeply felt, and more subtle than it initially appears

Thunderbolt and Lightfoot (1974) – the film’s beauty & confidence surely indicated Cimino would go places; could never have guessed where…

Hurlevent (1985) – Bronte as a spatial and thematic labyrinth; the result is entirely Rivette, but less rewarding than his other works

Regeneration (1915) – Walsh’s early gangster film has relatively epic ambition, and a strong affinity for social deprivation and division

White God (2014) – Mundruczo’s dog epic is pretty interesting as a logistical exercise, not so much thematically, or in any other way

Confessions of a Driving Instructor (1976) – a formulaic crowd-pleaser, rather weirdly interesting for its air of class-driven joylessness

The Theory of Everything (2014) – actually, it’s mostly the same old theories of tastefully life-affirming, conventionally well-acted cinema

Les dames du bois du Boulogne (1945) – Bresson’s piercing study of desire & manipulation, more tolerant of conventions than his later work

Carrie (2013) – hopes of a distinct perspective from Peirce are mostly unrealized, perhaps constrained by the material’s inherent hysteria

The Language of Love (1969) – odd, often stilted Swedish amalgam of sober instruction and flagrant titillation; “dated” hardly captures it…

Beyond Rangoon (1995) – Boorman’s drama maintains strong momentum and humanitarian outrage, but many aspects seem simplistic and untextured

The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974) – Herzog’s chronicle of difference explains little, but it’s a memorable exercise in multi-faceted oddity

Edge of Tomorrow (2014) – Liman’s live/die/repeat opus, imaginative enough in some ways to make you regret all the ways in which it isn’t

Le Testament du Docteur Cordelier (1959) – Renoir’s compassion for human desire and weakness elevates otherwise hokey Jekyll/Hyde material

­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­­Bad Words (2013) – Bateman’s debut is drearily tidy and smooth - too conventionally “good” for all the “bad” stuff to make it worthwhile

Bay of Angels (1963) – Demy’s drama is finely attuned both to gambling’s idiocy & its intoxication, as he surely was to those of film itself

The Fall of the Louse of Usher (2002) – Russell’s deliriously silly home movie at least has an age-defying, semi-infectious joy about it

Ryan’s Daughter (1970) – Lean’s epic is far less passionate than a plot summary might seem to demand, yielding a rather beautiful enigma

The Silence before Bach (2007) – the graceful, fun complexity of Portabella’s methods meshes into an evocative, nicely contemporary tribute

The Three Caballeros (1944) – odd Disney patchwork; trivially pleasant, tediously dated and weirdly trippy in more or less equal measure

The Autobiography of Nicolae Ceausescu (2010) – Ujica’s brilliant assembly of imposing official truths and simultaneously chilling falsehood

The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975) – mostly conventional piece of anxiety-ridden Simon shtick, somewhat interesting as a time capsule

Wild Tales (2014) – of course, wildness alone only takes you so far; most interesting for Szifron’s intermittent shards of social commentary

The Professionals (1966) – none more professional than Brooks himself, as compared to Peckinpah’s feverish genius with similar material

Fallen Angels (1995) – a near-peak in Wong’s shimmering cinema of connection & memory, thrillingly intertwining the fleeting & the enduring

Theatre of Blood (1973) – what a mix – imaginatively nasty lowbrow thrills, and an actual relish for hammy Shakespearean declaiming!

Robinson in Ruins (2010) – Keiller’s meditation on landscape and consciousness, charting a unique intersection of serenity and ominousness

Storm over Asia (1928) – Pudovkin’s Mongolian epic is a brilliantly cinematic dissection of exploitation, with an unforgettable finale

Jodorowsky’s Dune (2013) – Pavich’s lively telling of the “visionary” failed project likely goes down easier than the work itself would have

Eden and After (1970) – Robbe-Grillet’s fragmented (even for him), beautifully chilly enigma navigates between the confined and the unbound

Tattoo (1981) – the skin art is lovely, but the stuff with three-dimensional people is mostly a silly puddle of lurid black ink

Loin du Vietnam (1967) – furious multi-director tapestry; functions now as an amalgam of historical record and ambiguous aesthetic mirage

Blood Ties (2013) – Canet’s attempt at an American movie of classic sweep and impact never acquires much power, conviction or atmosphere

Madame de…(1953) – Ophuls’ apparent beautiful frivolity reveals itself as a highly serious expression of society’s restrictions on women

Whiplash (2014) – Chazelle’s overpraised, no more than superficially gripping film is highly artificial on matters of life and art alike

Company Limited (1971) – Ray’s study of the price of success has all his piercing subtlety, even if the overall trajectory is a bit forced

Perfect Sense (2011) – Mackenzie’s high-concept film is a highly intriguing, observant expression of humanity’s fragility and resilience

Black Panthers (1968) – Varda’s fascinated brief portrait of the movement may temporarily stir you into forgetting our despairing present

Force majeure (2014) – Ostlund’s handsome study of relationship complexities doesn’t ring very true, for all its well-crafted ambiguities

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