Sunday, July 2, 2017

Movie tweets to July 2, 2017 (4 of 4)



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








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