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While more people binge on peak TV, the best filmmakers let us binge on images and outsized emotions, telling stories.
While more people binge on peak TV, the best filmmakers let us binge on images and outsized emotions, telling stories that make the most of the medium.
D: Sean Baker
The Little Rascals run amok in the run-down, ironically titled community next to Disney World in this powerful look at the dark side of the American dream. Yes, everyone talks about that last scene, but its the penultimate one that lingers with me.
D: Paul Thomas Anderson
Andersons sumptuous movie about a control freak fashion designer (Daniel Day-Lewis) whose life begins to unravel after meeting his latest muse (a revelatory Vicky Krieps) has mystery and dark secrets stitched into its gorgeous seams. Anderson has become the most fluid storyteller around. Opens January 5.
D: Jordan Peele
Heres how you make a box office smash that appeals to a mass audience and yet comments oh so effectively on race, class, sex and movies themselves. I cant wait to see what Peele does next.
D: Francis Lee
Against the rocky, unforgiving Yorkshire landscape, a self-destructive young farmer (Josh OConnor), stuck running the family farm after his father has a stroke, forms a connection with a migrant worker (Alec Secareanu). This, and not that tepid tourist ad Call Me By Your Name, was the queer romance of the year.
D: Christopher Nolan
Go ahead and watch that Netflix series on your phone. Nolans epic about the pivotal Second World War battle deserves to be seen on as big a screen as possible. He understands that its images, and not exposition, that we go to the movies for. And did anyone else love Hans Zimmers homage to the Nimrod variation during the stirring climax?
D: Greta Gerwig
An insufferable, entitled young woman (Saoirse Ronan) tries on identities to see what fits and doesnt care who she upsets in the process in Gerwigs achingly true coming-of-age film. Worth it for the Sondheim audition scene alone.
D: Edgar Wright
Wrights kinetic film about a fresh-faced getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) who wants to go clean is a love letter to genre cinema and the pleasures of fast cars, catchy tunes and the love of a good woman. Its a shame Kevin Spaceys presence will ruin rewatches.
D: Nora Twomey
Theres no Disney gloss to this animated drama about an Afghani girl who pretends to be a boy to support her family after her father is imprisoned by the Taliban. While a story-within-a-story adds humour and contrasting visuals, the main narrative is tough and never panders, respecting its characters dignity and the viewers intelligence.
D: Kathryn Bigelow
Bigelows carefully researched, disturbingly visceral recreation of the brutal events at the Algiers Motel in Detroit 1967 is obviously a commentary on the current wave of police violence against Black people. No one saw it, perhaps because it was released in the summer and hit too close to home. A shame.
D: Benny and Josh Safdie
The Safdies heart-pounding thriller can be enjoyed as a crime picture and a great vehicle for Robert Pattinson as a robber who wades deeper into shit after a botched robbery attempt. But its also a subtle commentary about white privilege.