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Gianfranco Rosi's expansive documentary, Notturno, is far too remote for its burningly immediate subject matter.
Armando Iannucci veers sharply from pitch-black satire to a more upbeat comedy with The Personal History of David Copperfield, starring Dev Patel as a hero who would have been eaten alive in Veep.
Erik Nelson's gorgeously restored Pacific War color footage in Apocalypse '45 makes a dramatic backdrop for his revealing interviews with veterans who survived the brutality of "a war without mercy".
Fernando Frías de la Parra's I'm No Longer Here (Ya no estoy aqui) is part of a growing body of Latin American social realist films that show how creativity can serve a means of survival in tough circumstances.
Beyoncé's Black Is King's reliance on Afrofuturism recuperates the film from Disney's clutches while reclaiming Black excellence.
The wealthy, spoiled, entitled, monstrously egotistical male protagonist in Visconti's L'Innocente spends his time in various states of suffering, often sweating profusely and sometimes with eyes puffy and tear-stained.
Lugosi films Murders in the Rue Morgue, The Black Cat, and The Raven give more than a head-rolling nod to the master of poetic horror, Poe.
In Dave Franco and Joe Swanberg's hipster horror flick The Rental, the looming threat surrounding a vacationing foursome feels less crucial than the lies they tell each other.
Catherine Deneuve plays an imperious but fading actress who can't stop being cruel to the people around her in Hirokazu Koreeda's secrets- and betrayal-packed melodrama, The Truth.
Led by a misanthropic yet oddly charming performance from Jean Dujardin, Quentin Dupieux's take on the midlife crisis, Deerskin, gains power from the absurd and the enigmatic.
Judd Apatow's latest arrested development comedy, The King of Staten Island, is short on laughs and long on running time.
The four haunting tales of Masaki Kobayashi's Kwaidan are human and relatable, as well as impressive at a formal and a technical level.
The sense of artifice in Wes Anderson's The Grand Budapest Hotel helped him create an alluring reverie of both color and meaning.
Peter Medak's documentary about his ill-fated 1974 pirate comedy, The Ghost of Peter Sellers, is less bonkers tale of a production gone mad than therapeutic excursion into a traumatic memory.
Russell Rouse's The Oscar is fabulously gaudy and kitschy, with overdone sets and costumes. The film practically hyperventilates in mood, story, and acting. You should see it.
Justin Pemberton's film version of Thomas Piketty's landmark book on the dangers of today's yawning income inequality, Capital in the 21st Century, is more TED Talk than documentary, but it's a handy summary nonetheless.
Told through the voices and movements of the legends and pioneers of the '80s Harlem drag-ball scene, Paris Is Burning is an indispensable look at one of America's most influential subcultures of the last half-century.
After the nymphs wave their diaphanous rags at the camera, the boys parody their terpsichorean poses with a magically appearing ball. These and other delights in Flicker Alley's 3-D Rarities II.
Co-writer and star Alison Brie's unreliable narrator in Jeff Baena's Horse Girl makes for a compelling story about spiraling into mental illness.
If a time traveler from the past wanted to learn how to subvert democracy for a few million bucks, gerrymandering documentary Slay the Dragon would be a superb guide.
The Serpent's Egg bares many of the Bergman's trademark features – the suffocating auras of despair and an underdog's sense of triumph over tragedy – but falls short of a more intelligent rendering of human drama.
The Fan, a gritty stalker-thriller, runs like clockwork, earning a steady momentum toward a stylishly spooky finish.
My Name Is Julia Ross is fast, direct, and easy fun. It never tests the viewer's patience with unnecessary trills.
Yasujiro Ozu's films can often be described as movies in which nothing happens -- nothing except the revelation of a world, its inhabitants, and a deep understanding of their contradictions.
Nat Faxon and Jim Rash's comedy, Downhill, paints in broad strokes and peaks early, never matching the clever satire of its source material, Force Majeure.
If we judge a film by keeping us on the edge of our seat, 1971's Someone Behind the Door, starring Anthony Perkins and Charles Bronson, is a success.
A romantic thriller that boasts a contribution from John Carpenter, Eyes of Laura Mars benefits greatly from the gritty '70s Manhattan scenery.
Thanks to Richard Fleischer's Trapped, Lloyd Bridges got the chance to shine in a starring role as unregenerate slimeball Tris Stewart, among the most amoral self-centered leads in noir.
Animals is both a personal and creative coming of age story, and a satisfying yet frustrating tale about avoiding the tragedy of getting left behind.
Noah Baumbach's attention to the daily agonies of divorce in Marriage Story displays love's enduring power—or at least, its residue.