Sunday, February 19, 2017

2013--The Year in Review

2013 was a fantastic year for movies. Its prime entry was the eventual winner of the Best Picture Oscar, British director Steve McQueen's 12 Years a Slave--a film like no other and one completely of today, since this crime of humanity has hardly been vanquished, and particularly original because it dissects the miserable lives lived by both the enslaved and slavers. Unflinching and highly emotional, to the point of sheer hopelessness and then to miraculous release, and beautifully acted by a peerless cast (headed by the remarkable Chewitel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong'o), it's a stunning display of bravery and wisdom in the face of insistent pain. That it has been so controversial is a sure sign that we still have a lot to get over in this country, and in the world (hell, most of civilization has been built on the backs of slaves). McQueen's movie--adapted by John Ridley from Solomon Northup's memoir--deserves to be a key part of that necessary discussion, as well as of a desperately needed confrontation of history, and an equal healing. There may have been other movies from this year I'd want to watch again, but there is no other 2013 film I'm more glad to have seen or seen made12 Year a Slave is absolutely required viewing.

This was an astounding year for the sci-fi genre, though. Spike Jonze's astounding Her believably presupposed a world in which humans fall deeply in love with their computer helpers, while Ari Folman's The Congress vividly visualized a future in which humans squander their lives away in completely fabricated realities. Andrew Bujalski's Computer Chess, meanwhile, delved deep into the digital past, dramatizing with great wit the initial adoration pioneering nerds had for this new world (Bujalski wisely chose to shoot this convention between such devotees on black-and-white, '80s-era videotape, and did so with tremendous creativity). The big winner at the Oscars, Alfonso Cueron's sensational tale of survival Gravity, stunned everyone with its immersion in the dangers of space travel (its 3D and big-screen IMAXness justly convinced everyone of its greatness--once you've seen it, you feel you've a veteran astronaut). Meanwhile, films like Under The Skin (Jonathan Glazer's splendid account of an alien taking a female form in order to study male humans, with Scarlet Johannson in the lead, and Mica Levi's ravishing debut as a film composer), Shane Carruth's dazzling Upstream Color, Bong Joon Ho's barreling actioner Snowpiercer, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen's jovial apocalyptic scenario This is the End, and Mark Forster's enthralling adaptation of Max Brooks' zombie killfest World War Z all ratcheted up the genre's cinematic reputation.

But then there are earthbound movies like Martin Scorsese's breathless damnation of modern money-making The Wolf of Wall Street, commanded by Leonardo DiCaprio's astounding lead as a vicious, drug-addicted economic parasite feeding on the greed inherent in the American economy, turned out to be the director's most dynamic movie since The Age of Innocence nearly two decades earlier. UK filmmaker Clio Bernard burst onto the scene with her unflinching look at poor British kids trying to make a buck in The Selfish Giant. And France's Abdellatif Kechiche won the Palme D'Or (along with his two lead actresses, Adele Exarchopolis and Lea Seydoux, in an unusual Cannes joint commendation) for his depiction of a naive lesbian love affair in Blue is the Warmest Color. There's Paul Greengrass' exciting Captain Phillips, with the terrific Tom Hanks in the lead, but also generous enough to cast the unknown Barkhad Abdi as the incredibly dynamic head pirate. And then there are the Coen Brothers, offering one of their most morally challenging movies (and that's really saying something) with Inside Llewyn Davis, an account of a '60s-era folk musician seriously disconnected from the concepts of right and wrong. In the end, there's no question that 2013 stands as the finest movie year of recent memory. NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are only occasionally reflective of the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold.

PICTURE: 12 YEARS A SLAVE (US, Steve McQueen) (2nd: Her (US, Spike Jonze), followed by: Blue is the Warmest Color (France/Belgium/Spain, Abdellatif Kechiche); The Congress (Israel/Germany/France, Ari Folman); Computer Chess (US, Andrew Bujalski); The Wolf of Wall Street (US, Martin Scorsese); Gravity (US, Alfonso Cuarón); The Selfish Giant (UK, Clio Barnard); Under the Skin (US, Jonathan Glazer); Inside Llewyn Davis (US, Joel Coen and Ethan Coen); Gloria (Chile, Sebastian Lelio); Nebraska (US, Alexander Payne); The Lords of Salem (US, Rob Zombie); All is Lost (US, J.C. Chandor); A Teacher (US, Hannah Fidell); Beyond the Hills (Romania, Cristian Mungiu); Behind the Candleabra (US, Steven Soderburgh); Blue Jasmine (US, Woody Allen); The Spectacular Now (US, James Ponsoldt); Short Term 12 (US, Dustin Daniel Cretton); Ida (Poland, Pawel Pawlikowski); This is The End (US, Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen); The Crash Reel (US, Lucy Walker); Enough Said (US, Nicole Holofcener); 56 Up (UK, Michael Apted); Joe (US, David Gordon Green); Tim's Vermeer (US, Teller); Blackfish (US, Gabriela Coperthwaite); Sarah Prefers to Run (Canada, Chloé Robichaud); Captain Phillips (US, Paul Greengrass); Upstream Color (US, Shane Carruth); Prince Avalanche (US, David Gordon Green); Snowpiercer (South Korea/Czech Republic/US/France, Bong Joon Ho); The Grandmaster (Hong Kong/China, Wong Kar Wei); Begin Again (US/Ireland, John Carney); Only Lovers Left Alive (US/Germany/UK.France, Jim Jarmusch); Blue Ruin (US, Jeremy Saulnier); The Great Chicken Wing Hunt (US, Matt Reynolds); Side Effects (US, Steven Soderburgh); World War Z (US, Marc Forster); Night Moves (US, Kelly Reichardt); Afternoon Delight (US, Jill Soloway); August: Osage County (US, John Wells); The Bling Ring (US, Sofia Coppola); Touchy Feely (US, Lynn Shelton); Forev (US, Molly Green and James Leffler); The Tale of Princess Kaguya (Japan, Isao Takahata); Good Ol’ Freda (US/UK, Ryan White); Metalhead (Iceland, Ragnar Bragason); The Great Beauty (Italy, Paolo Sorrentino); Ain't Them Bodies Saints (US, David Lowery); The Wind Rises (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki); The Great Gatsby (US/Australia, Baz Luhrmann); Like Father Like Son (Japan, Hirokazu Koreeda); A Touch of Sin (China/Japan/France, Zhangke Jia); Fruitvale Station (US, Ryan Coogler); Mud (US, Jeff Nichols); Dallas Buyers Club (US, Jean-Marc Vallee); The To Do List (US, Maggie Carey); The Trials of Muhammad Ali (US, Bill Siegel); Zipper: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride (US, Amy Nicholson); The Institute (US, Spencer McCall); Casting By (US, Tom Donahue); The Way Way Back (US, Nat Faxon and Jim Rash); We're the Millers (US, Rawson Marshall Thurber); 20 Feet From Stardom (US, Morgan Neville); Our Nixon (US, Penny Lane); Before Midnight (US, Richard Linklater); Muhammad Ali’s Greatest Fight (US, Stephen Frears); This is Martin Bonner (US, Chad Hartigan); American Hustle (US, David O. Russell); The English Teacher (US, Craig Zisk); Belle (UK, Amma Asante); The Lunchbox (India/US/France, Ritesh Batra); Words and Pictures (US/Australia/Canada, Fred Schepisi); Inequality for All (US, Jacob Kornbluth); Iron Man 3 (US, Shane Black); Last Love (US/France, Sandra Nettelbeck); Prisoners (US, Denis Villeneuve); Frozen (US, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee); Now You See Me (US, Louis Leterrier); Alan Partridge (UK, Declan Lowney); Philomena (UK, Stephen Frears); Dealin’ With Idiots (US, Jeff Garlin); HazMat (US, Lou Simon); Only God Forgives (Denmark/France/US, Nicolas Winding Refn); Saving Mr. Banks (US, John Lee Hancock); The Zero Theorem (UK/US, Terry Gilliam); Escape Plan (US, Mikael Håfström); Escape from Tomorrow (US, Randy Moore); Sharknado (US, Anthony C. Ferrante)) 


ACTOR: Leonardo DiCaprio, THE WOLF OF WALL STREET (2nd: Robert Redford, All is Lost; followed by: Chewitel Ejiofor, 12 Years A Slave; Joaquin Phoenix, Her; Tom Hanks, Captain Phillips; Oscar Isaac, Inside Llewyn Davis; Matthew McConaughey, Dallas Buyers Club; Bruce Dern, Nebraska)

ACTRESS: Adele Exarchopoulos, BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (2nd: Cate Blanchett, Blue Jasmine, followed by: Paulina Garcia, Gloria; Brie Larson, Short Term 12; Sandra Bullock, Gravity; Meryl Streep, August: Osage County; Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Enough Said; Lindsay Burge, A Teacher)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Barkhad Abdi, CAPTAIN PHILLIPS (2nd: Jared Leto, Dallas Buyers Club, followed by: Jonah Hill, The Wolf of Wall Street; Gary Poulter, Joe; James Gandolfini, Enough Said; Michael Fassbender, 12 Years a Slave; Will Forte, Nebraska)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Lupita Nyong'o, 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2nd: Lea Seydoux, Blue is the Warmest Color, followed by: Tilda Swinton, Snowpiercer; Sally Hawkins, Blue Jasmine; Julia Roberts, August: Osage County; June Squibb, Nebraska; Margot Robbie, The Wolf of Wall Street; Scarlett Johansson, Her)

DIRECTOR: Steve McQueen, 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2nd: Alfonso Cuaron, Gravity, followed by: Spike Jonze, Her; Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street; Abdellatif Kechiche, Blue is the Warmest Color; Jonathan Glazer, Under the Skin; Andrew Bujalski, Computer Chess; Ari Folman, The Congress)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: BLUE IS THE WARMEST COLOR (France, Abdellatif Kechiche) (2nd: Gloria (Chile, Sebastian Lelio), followed by: Beyond the Hills (Romania, Cristian Mungiu); Ida (Poland, Pawel Pawlikowski) (won in 2014); Sarah Prefers to Run (Canada, Chloé Robichaud); The Grandmaster (Hong Kong, Wong Kar Wei); The Wind Rises (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki); Metalhead (Iceland, Ragnar Bragason); The Great Beauty (Italy, Paolo Sorrentino); The Tale of Princess Kaguya (Japan, Isao Takahata); Like Father Like Son (Japan, Hirokazu Koreeda); A Touch of Sin (China/Japan/France, Zhangke Jia)) 


DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: THE CRASH REEL (US, Lucy Walker) (2nd: 56 Up (UK, Michael Apted), followed by: Tim's Vermeer (US, Teller); Blackfish (US, Gabriela Coperthwaite); The Great Chicken Wing Hunt (US, Matt Reynolds); Good Ol’ Freda (US/UK, Ryan White); The Trials of Muhammad Ali (US, Bill Siegel); Zipper: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride (US, Amy Nicholson); The Institute (US, Spencer McCall); Casting By (US, Tom Donahue); 20 Feet From Stardom (US, Morgan Neville); Our Nixon (US, Penny Lane); Inequality for All (US, Jacob Kornbluth)

ANIMATED FEATURE: THE TALE OF PRINCESS KAGUYA (Japan, Isao Takahata) (2nd: The Wind Rises (Japan, Hayao Miyazaki), followed by: Frozen (US, Chris Buck and Jennifer Lee)

ANIMATED SHORT: GLORIA VICTORIA (Canada, Theodore Yushev) (2nd: Subconscious Password (Canada, Chris Landreth), followed by: The Missing Scarf (Ireland, Eoin Duffy); Hollow Land (Canada/Denmark/France,  Michelle Kranot and Uri Kranot); Mr. Hublot (Luxembourg/France, Alexandre Espigares and Laurent Witz))


LIVE ACTION SHORT: JUST BEFORE LOSING EVERYTHING (France, Xavier Legrand) (2nd: Silence (Iran, Pegah Arzi), followed by: Cavedigger (US, Jeffrey Karoff); Winter Hill (US, Melissa Bruno); Comic Book Palace (US, Felipe Jorge))

(2nd: Nicole Holofcener, Enough Said, followed by: Bob Nelson, Nebraska; Joel Coen and Ethan Coen, Inside Llewyn Davis; Clio Bernhard, The Selfish Giant))

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY: John Ridley, 12 YEARS A SLAVE (2nd: Abdellatif Kechiche and Ghalia Lacroix, Blue is the Warmest Color, followed by: Terence Winter, The Wolf of Wall Street; Walter Campbell and Jonathan Glazer, Under the Skin; Scott Neustadter and Michael H. Weber, The Spectacular Now))

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Bruno Dubonnel, INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (2nd: Emmanuel Lubezki, Gravity, followed by: Ryszard Denczewski and Lukasz Zal, Ida; Phillipe Le Sourd, The Grandmaster; Brandon Troust, The Lords of Salem)

PRODUCTION DESIGN: THE GREAT GATSBY, Her, Gravity, 12 Years a Slave, Inside Llewyn Davis

COSTUME DESIGN: THE GREAT GATSBY, American Hustle, Her, 12 Years a Slave, Dallas Buyers Club


FILM EDITING: 12 YEARS A SLAVE, Gravity, The Wolf of Wall Street, Inside Llewyn Davis, Her


SOUND: GRAVITY, All is Lost, Captain Phillips, World War Z, Inside Llewyn Davis 

SOUND EFFECTS: ALL IS LOST, Gravity, Iron Man 3 

ORIGINAL SCORE: Steven Price, GRAVITY (2nd: Mica Levi, Under the Skin, followed by: William Butler and Owen Pallett, Her; Alex Ebert, All is Lost; Mark Orton, Nebraska)

ORIGINAL SONG: "Please Mr. Kennedy" from INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS (Music and lyrics by Ed Rush, George Cromarty, T Bone Burnett, Justin Timberlake, Joel Coen, and Ethan Coen) (2nd: "For The Time Being" from The Way Way Back (Music and lyrics by Edie Brickell), followed by: "Young and Beautiful" from The Great Gatsby (Music and lyrics by Elizabeth Grant and Rick Howels); "Let It Go" from Frozen (Music by Robert Lopez, lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez); "The Moon Song" from Her (Music by Karen O, lyrics by Karen O and Spike Jonze); "Atlas" from The Hunger Games: Catching Fire (Music and lyrics by Chris Martin, Guy Berrymkan, Jonny Buckland and Will Champion); "Ordinary Love" from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom (Music and lyrics by Paul Hewson, David Evans, Adam Clayton, Larry Mullen Jr., and Brian Burton); "In Summer" from Frozen (Music by Robert Lopez, lyrics by Kristen Anderson-Lopez); "Get Used to Me" from The Sapphires (Music and lyrics by Diane Warren))

SPECIAL EFFECTS: GRAVITY, World War Z, The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Pacific Rim, Iron Man 3


Wednesday, February 15, 2017

2012--The Year in Review

Rarely can I remember a film falling so swiftly from grace as did Paul Thomas Anderson's The Master. Met with excited anticipation and confused raves upon its October release, but abandoned with utter contempt only a month later, Paul Thomas Anderson's superb character study left many viewers wondering "What went wrong?" But why?! The picture's quality and intent was crystal clear. Joaquin Phoenix delivered the performance of the year--I mean, James Dean-level brilliance--as Freddie Quell, a twisted, horndog, alcoholic war veteran who parlays his mastery of photography and chemistry into a friendship with Lancaster Dodd, a megalomaniacal cult leader played with equal grandeur by Philip Seymour Hoffman. This film seemed so simple: it was about the battle for Freddie's soul, and this is something Freddie is not going to give up so easily. What was wonderfully complex about The Master was that Lancaster Dodd's questionable brainwashing methods actually DO help Quell come to some sobering conclusions about himself. But this doesn't mean Quell owes Dodd his LIFE! (And this is where the film's main criticism of Scientology lies.) It remains, though, that The Master has profound feelings for both of its main characters (and deep suspicions about its most villainous presence, in the unlikely, chilly embodiment of Amy Adams as Dodd's imperious wife). It has great respect for Lancaster and Freddie's friendship, but it also knows that Freddie has other fish to fry, and it generously let's him go about doing so (this is underlined in the film's gloriously carnal final scene). With another earth-rocking score from Jonny Greenwood and astounding 70mm photography from Mihai Malaimaire Jr. (I swear, I gasped when those reproductions of Freddie's '40s-era photographic set-ups flashed onto the big screen), The Master left my body and soul buzzing after seeing it, as if I'd imbibed some of Freddie's intoxicating jet fuel. It was clearly the best film of the period, and glaringly worthy of the sweep I give it (and certainly better than the still entertaining Oscar winner Argo). 

Still, 2012 was a terrific year for international cinema, with Michael Haneke's end-of-life love story Amour; Brazilian filmmaker Kleber Mendonça Filho's riveting tale of a high-rise bedeviled by crime Neighboring Sounds; the little seen truck-stop romance Araf/Somewhere in Between, from Turkey's Yesim Ustaoglu; the terrific political film No, shot on '80s-era videotape by Spain's Pablo Larrain; the stunningly idiosyncratic Holy Motors, from French auteur Leos Carax (and starring the remarkable Denis Levant); the often over-the-top, time-hopping, makeup-caked international production Cloud Atlas; and especially the deeply moving musical documentary Searching for Sugar Man by Sweden's Malik Bendjelloul (who, sadly, committed suicide only a year after winning the Oscar). As for the Americans, I was dazzled by Craig Zobel's account of a real-life hoax perpetrated against the workers at a fast food joint. Compliance was easily the most unfairly overlooked film of the year, with an ensemble cast that miraculously make you see how something this astoundingly wrong can happen with ease (it's Ann Dowd, in the nominal lead as the restaurant's confused manager, who really grabs us by the throat--it's arguable, the notion that hers is a supporting performance rather than a lead, but I'm siding with the latter, since she's the first and last major character we see on screen). It and Zero Dark Thirty, Kathryn Bigelow's tense account of the hunt for Osama Bin Laden, landed along with P.T. Anderson's movie as the best American products of the year, though I loved Behn Zeitlin's Beasts of the Southern Wild, Don Hertzfeldt's mindbending animated feature It’s Such a Beautiful Day, Steven Spielberg's regal Lincoln, Hamony Korine's wild ride Spring Breakers, Richard Linklater's underappreciated Bernie, David O. Russell's hit romance Silver Linings Playbook, and Steven Soderburgh's utterly fun Magic Mike. All in all, an encouraging year for film. NOTE: These are MY choices for each category, and are only occasionally reflective of the selections made by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (aka The Oscars). When available, the nominee that actually won the Oscar will be highlighted in bold.

PICTURE: THE MASTER (US, Paul Thomas Anderson) (2nd: Searching for Sugar Man (Sweden/UK, Malik Bendjelloul), followed by: Amour (France, Michael Haneke); Zero Dark Thirty (US, Kathryn Bigelow); Compliance (US, Craig Zobel); Neighboring Sounds (Brazil, Kleber Mendonça Filho); Araf/Somewhere in Between (Turkey, Yesim Ustaoglu); No (Spain, Pablo Larrain); Frances Ha (US, Noah Baumbach); Holy Motors (France, Leos Carax); Cloud Atlas (US/Germany/Hong Kong, Tom Tykwer, Andy Wachowski and Lara Wachowski); Beasts of the Southern Wild (US, Benh Zeitlin); It’s Such a Beautiful Day (US, Don Hertzfeldt); Lincoln (US, Steven Spielberg); Spring Breakers (US, Harmony Korine); Bernie (US, Richard Linklater); Silver Linings Playbook (US, David O. Russell); Magic Mike (US, Steven Soderburgh); Wreck-It Ralph (US, Rich Moore); What Maisie Knew (US, Scott McGehee and David Siegel); A Hijacking (Denmark, Tobias Lindholm); Haywire (US, Steven Soderburgh); Hope Springs (US, David Frankel); The Cabin in the Woods (US, Drew Goddard); Killing Them Softly (US, Andrew Dominik); The Sessions (US, Ben Lewin); Django Unchained (US, Quentin Tarantino); Passion (US, Brian De Palma); Your Sister’s Sister (US, Lynn Shelton); Skyfall (US/UK, Sam Mendes); The Act of Killing (Denmark/Norway, Joshua Oppenheimer); Player Hating: A Love Story (US, Maggie Hadleigh-West); After Lucia (Mexico/France, Michel Franco); Frankenweenie (US, Tim Burton); Anna Karenina (UK, Joe Wright); This is 40 (US, Judd Apatow); Detropia (US, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady); The Avengers (US, Joss Whedon); Jeff Who Lives at Home (US, Jay Duplass and Mark Duplass); West of Memphis (US, Amy Berg); Basically Frightened: The Musical Madness of Col. Bruce Hampton (US, Tom Lawson and Michael Koepenick); Argo (US, Ben Affleck); Return (US, Liza Johnson); How to Survive a Plague (US, David France); Flight (US, Robert Zemeckis); The Dark Knight Rises (US, Christopher Nolan); You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet (France, Alain Resnais); Life of Pi (US, Ang Lee); Street Dogs of South Central (US, Bill Marin); The Queen of Versailles (US, Lauren Greenfield); Le Capital (France, Costa-Gavras); The Hunt (Denmark, Thomas Vinterberg); Stories We Tell (Canada, Sarah Polley); Liv and Ingmar (Norway/Sweden, Dheeraj Akolkar); Paul Williams Still Alive (US, Stephen Kessler); Celeste and Jesse Forever (US, Lee Toland Kreiger); The Place Beyond the Pines (US, Derek Cianfrance); To the Wonder (US, Terrence Malick); Arbitrage (US, Nicholas Jarecki); Pitch Perfect (US, Jason Moore); The Guilt Trip (US, Anne Fletcher); Rock of Ages (US, Adam Shankman); 21 Jump Street (US, Phil Lord and Christopher Miller); Musical Chairs (US, Susan Seidelman); A Late Quartet (US, Yaron Zilberman); Trash Dance (US, Andrew Garrison); The Perks of Being a Wallflower (US, Stephen Chbosky); The Giant Mechanical Man (US, Lee Kirk); Whore’s Glory (Germany/Austria, Michael Glawogger); Stand Up Guys (US, Fisher Stevens); Hitchcock (US, Sasha Gervasi); Brave (US, Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, and Steve Purcell); Les Miserables (US/UK, Tom Hooper); The Pirates: Band of Misfits (UK, Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt); The Impossible (US/Spain, J.A. Bayona); On the Road (US/UK, Walter Salles); Moonrise Kingdom (US, Wes Anderson); Barbara (Germany, Christian Petzold); The Hunger Games (US, Gary Ross); The Imposter (UK, Bart Layton); Cosmopolis (US, David Cronenberg); Looper (US, Rian Johnson); The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (US/New Zealand, Peter Jackson); Prometheus (US, Ridley Scott))

ACTOR: Joaquin Phoenix, THE MASTER (2nd: Denis Levant, Holy Motors, followed by: Daniel Day Lewis, Lincoln; Jack Black, Bernie; Denzel Washington, Flight; Jean-Louis Tritignant, Amour; Bradley Cooper, Silver Linings Playbook; John Hawkes, The Sessions)

ACTRESS: Ann Dowd, COMPLIANCE (2nd: Emmanuelle Riva, Amour, followed by: Greta Gerwig, Frances Ha; Jessica Chastain, Zero Dark Thirty; Jennifer Lawrence, Silver Linings Playbook; Qu’venzhane Wallis, Beasts of the Southern Wild; Meryl Streep, Hope Springs; Onata Aprile, What Maisie Knew)

SUPPORTING ACTOR: Phillip Seymour Hoffman, THE MASTER (2nd: Matthew McConaughey, Magic Mike, followed by: James Franco, Spring Breakers; Dwight Henry, Beasts of the Southern Wild; Samuel L. Jackson, Django Unchained; Robert De Niro, Silver Linings Playbook; Christoph Waltz, Django Unchained; Tommy Lee Jones, Lincoln)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS: Amy Adams, THE MASTER (2nd: Helen Hunt, The Sessions, followed by: Anne Hathaway, Les Miserables; Mickey Sumner, Frances Ha; Sally Field, Lincoln; Dreama Walker, Compliance; Doona Bae, Cloud Atlas; Anne Hathaway, The Dark Knight Rises)

DIRECTOR: Paul Thomas Anderson, THE MASTER (2nd: Malik Bendjelloul, Searching for Sugar Man, followed by: Michael Haneke, Amour; Pablo Larrain, No; Kathryn Bigelow, Zero Dark Thirty; Craig Zobel, Compliance; Leos Carax, Holy Motors; Yasim Ustaoglu, Araf/Somewhere in Between)

NON-ENGLISH LANGUAGE FILM: AMOUR (France, Michael Haneke) (2nd: Neighboring Sounds (Brazil, Kleber Mendonça Filho), followed by: Araf/Somewhere in Between (Turkey, Yesim Ustaoglu); No (Spain, Pablo Larrain); Holy Motors (France, Leos Carax);  A Hijacking (Denmark, Tobias Lindholm); After Lucia (Mexico/France, Michel Franco); You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet (France, Alain Resnais); Le Capital (France, Costa-Gavras); The Hunt (Denmark, Thomas Vinterberg); Barbara (Germany, Christian Petzold))

DOCUMENTARY FEATURE: SEARCHING FOR SUGAR MAN (Sweden/UK, Malik Bendjelloul) (2nd: The Act of Killing (Denmark/Norway, Joshua Oppenheimer), followed by: Player Hating: A Love Story (US, Maggie Hadleigh-West); Detropia (US, Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady); West of Memphis (US, Amy Berg); Basically Frightened: The Musical Madness of Col. Bruce Hampton (US, Tom Lawson and Michael Koepenick); How to Survive a Plague (US, David France); Street Dogs of South Central (US, Bill Marin); The Queen of Versailles (US, Lauren Greenfield); Stories We Tell (Canada, Sarah Polley); Liv and Ingmar (Norway/Sweden, Dheeraj Akolkar); Paul Williams Still Alive (US, Stephen Kessler); Trash Dance (US, Andrew Garrison); Whore’s Glory (Germany/Austria, Michael Glawogger))

ANIMATED FEATURE: IT'S SUCH A BEAUTIFUL DAY (US, Don Hertzfeldt) (2nd: Wreck-It Ralph (US, Rich Moore), followed by: Frankenweenie (US, Tim Burton); The Pirates: Band of Misfits (UK, Peter Lord and Jeff Newitt); Brave (US, Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman, and Steve Purcell))

ANIMATED SHORT: FRESH GUACAMOLE (US, Adam Pesapane) (2nd: Adam and Dog (US, Minkyu Lee), followed by: Requiem for Romance (Canada, Jonathan Ng); Paperman (US, John Kahrs); Feral (Canada, Daniel Sousa))

LIVE ACTION SHORT: IK BEN ECHT NIET BANG! (I’M NEVER AFRAID) (Netherlands, Willem Baptist), (2nd: Curfew (US, Shawn Christensen), followed by: Last Words of the Holy Ghost (US, Ben Sharony); Buzkashi Boys (US/Afghanistan, Sam French); Patti (US, Haley Webb))

ORIGINAL SCREENPLAY: Paul Thomas Anderson, THE MASTER (2nd: Craig Zobel, Compliance, followed by: Mark Boal, Zero Dark Thirty; Michael Haneke, Amour; Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach, Frances Ha)

ADAPTED SCREENPLAY:  Pedro Peirano, NO (2nd: David O. Russell, Silver Linings Playbook, followed by: Richard Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth, Bernie; Lucy Alibar and Behn Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern WildChris Terrio, Argo)

CINEMATOGRAPHY: Mihai Malaimaire Jr., THE MASTER (2nd: Roger Deakins, Skyfall, followed by: Benoit Debie, Spring Breakers; Frank Gribe and John Toll, Cloud Atlas; Grieg Fraser, Zero Dark Thirty)

ART DIRECTION: ANNA KARININA, Lincoln, Cloud Atlas, Moonrise Kingdom, Skyfall

COSTUME DESIGN: ANNA KARININA, Moonrise Kingdom, Mirror Mirror, Snow White and the Huntsman, Lincoln 

FILM EDITING: ZERO DARK THIRTY, The Master, Searching for Sugar Man, Skyfall, Haywire 

SOUND: ZERO DARK THIRTY, Skyfall, Django Unchained, Life of Pi, Lincoln

SOUND EFFECTS: ZERO DARK THIRTY, Skyfall (tied at the Oscars), The Avengers 

ORIGINAL SCORE: Jonny Greenwood, THE MASTER (2nd: Reinhold Heil, Johnny Klimek and Tom Tykwer, Cloud Atlas, followed by: Cliff Martinez, Spring Breakers; Dan Roman and Behn Zeitlin, Beasts of the Southern Wild; Dario Marinelli, Anna Karinina)

ORIGINAL SONG: “Looking for a Sign” from JEFF WHO LIVES AT HOME (Music and lyrics by Beck Hansen) (2nd: “Metaphorical Blanket” from Any Day Now (Music and lyrics by Rufus Wainwright), followed by: “Who Were We?” from Holy Motors (Music by Neil Hannon, lyrics by Leos Carax and Neil Hannon); “Skyfall” from Skyfall (Music and lyrics by Adele and Paul Epworth); “Who Did That To You? from Django Unchained (Music and lyrics by John Legend); “Before My Time” from Chasing Ice (Music and lyrics by J. Ralph); "Dull Tool" from This is 40 (Music and lyrics by Fiona Apple); "Wide Awake" from Katy Perry: Part of Me (Music and lyrics by Katy Perry, Lukasz Gottwald, Bonnie McKee, Maz Martin and Henry Walter); "Anything Made of Paper" from West of Memphis (Music and lyrics by Bill Carter and Ruth Ellsworth); "Still Alive" from Paul Williams Still Alive (Music and lyrics by Paul Williams))

SPECIAL EFFECTS: LIFE OF PI, Cloud Atlas, The Avengers

MAKEUP: CLOUD ATLAS, Holy Motors, Lincoln

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

The 20 Best Movies of 2016

For the longest time, 2016 felt like a bottomless nadir for movies. By November, seeing that the studios had abandoned all good taste, and that foreign product was nearly impossible to see, I was ready to name the collected titles in the current TV revolution as my number one pick of the year. I mean, when you have miniseries like American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson, Horace and Pete, The Night Of, The Crown, and The Night Manager, and series TV like Baskets, Ray Donovan, The Americans, Black Mirror, Better Things, Atlanta, black-ish, Stranger Things, and This Is Us, plus occasional TV movies like Madoff, Confirmation, and All The Way...well, that's an avalanche of great stuff that can't be ignored. I still probably got more enjoyment out of TV than the movies this year, but the big screen finally came through for us with a tsunami of distinguished titles at the end of the year (to be fair, the indie world gave us some terrific material during the year's midsection). I still think the movies are in deep trouble, but maybe the current direness in the real world is gonna give the creative community a big goose. That's the brightest angle I can take on a dismal year. Anyway, here's my top 20 and supplemental lists:

1. La La Land (US, Damien Chazelle) 
Don't sit there and tell me this is a big nothing when it totally moved me to honest tears with its tuneful emotion, its superb lead performances from the generous Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, and Damien Chazelle's emphatic direction. I'm as cynical as they come, and I can confidently tell you that this is the movie of the year--a movie lover's movie, eaten up with an adoration of what makes the art form lavish and exciting. Screw the bitter naysayers of the Oscar season: with its often dark and always enraptured examination of things that might have been, La La Land captured my heart from its first frame and never let go. It continues to do so with many others moviegoers, and I'm priveleged to be in this happy cabal. 

2. Manchester by the Sea (US, Kenneth Lonergan) 
Lonergan's third film is a continuation of his ongoing exploration of grief, and is possibly his best effort yet, after the superb You Can Count on Me and Margaret. Casey Affleck delivers a commanding lead--the single finest performance of the year--as a member of the walking dead thrust into a role of responsibility after tragedy has scarred his life again and again. I loved that the film had the guts to hold the character back from some final epiphany that delivers him to phony movie glory. There are just some obstacles we cannot conquer. The entire cast, right down to the smallest player, exercises perfection in service of a remarkably insightful script, set in an unforgettably wintery locale.

3. O.J.: Made in America (US, Ezra Edelman) 
This dazzling documentary treats a massive subject with the completeness it deserves; its seven-hour length speeds by like O.J., whether on the gridiron or in the white Bronco. In the process, it puts into perspective this controversial personality's embattled tour through both white and black America, and let's us all know where we stand now. The editing in Edelman's film is astounding; even attempting to whittle this story down into a manageable shape is a bear, but this filmmaker did it with adroitness. 

4. Love and Friendship (Ireland/France/Netherlands, Whit Stillman)
With his adaptation of Jane Austen's novella, Stillman emerged with a beautiful marvel, especially when one considered the threadbare materials with which he was surely working (it's a movie that took him more than a decade to produce). The project justly matched his urbane writing abilities with a past classicism, as its costumes, photography, art direction and wisely-picked classical score achieve perfection in their regalness. Most importantly, the entire cast--led by the laudable Kate Beckinsale as the slyly nefarious Lady Susan--deserves applause as the finest ensemble of 2016, just as its witty script deserves similar accolades. With its clever wordplay and subtle spoofery, Love and Friendship is a cult film in the making.

5. 20th Century Women (US, Mike Mills)
This one really hit me where I live, as it seems like a movie totally about my own late-70s childhood. Annette Bening ended up delivering my second favorite performance of the year as a chain-smoking single mother trying to understand her pubescent son as he garners interest in the opposite sex and in the adult world. Mills' well-scripted movie, an unofficial prequel to his previous film Beginners, is acutely aware of its surroundings, with popping art direction, a well-chosen score of punk and new wave classics, and another of the year's most remarkable ensembles, with Elle Fanning, Greta Gerwig and Billy Crudup all needling their way into our souls. 

6. Indignation (US, James Schamus) 
The most unfortunately ignored movie of the year is a whip-smart adaptation of Philip Roth's novel--and anyone who so effectively does the unfilmable Roth on screen deserves some attention. Writer/director Schamus is no stranger to movies, but he really impresses with this directorial debut that follows a Jewish college student (Logan Lerman) on a punishing jaunt though a '50s-era Christian college, with a sickeningly shaky love affair determining his fate. This movie is packed with fantastic performances--Lerman's Hoffman-esque lead, Sarah Gadon's dangerously alluring femme fatale, Linda Emond's broken-down Jewish mother and, especially, Tracy Letts as the school's stern dean. The tense 20-minute debate between Lerman and Letts might be most stunningly brave movie scene of 2016.

7. Paterson (US, Jim Jarmusch) 
Jarmusch's attention to the little joys in life is probably the year's most resplendent celebration of fleeting happiness and insistent humanity. Adam Driver exquisite embodiment of this New Jersey bus driver with an unsung talent for poetry remains among 2016's finest performances, but it's Jarmusch himself who imbues this everyman tale with a haunting embrace of the tiny moments that enrich our lives, even if we're unable to recognize these shining seconds as they pass. Chance encounters, sweet kisses (with his girlfriend, an excellent Golshifteh Farahani), and elegant words written on water all adorn this low-key yet immutable film. It's a movie that will demand you examine your own life for its essential worth. 

8. I, Daniel Blake (UK/France/Belgium, Ken Loach) 
Loach encapsulates the struggles of the poor against the choking indifference of a system that can't deal with the overwhelming need of the many. A radiant Dave Johns portrays the charitable carpenter who's worked hard all of his life only to find himself abandoned at its end. He gives his heart to a struggling family he meets at the welfare office (Hayley Squires, as a defeated mother, matches Johns' remarkable performance), but his clashes with nasty bureaucracy build a wall too towering to climb. This movie puts us squarely in a frustrating place that could prove deadly for us all, and it does so with utterly poignant empathy. 

9. Little Men (US, Ira Sachs) 
This tale deeply struck me with its blending of the resplendent joy of teenage friendship between two NYC boys (Theo Taplitz and the charismatic Michael Barbieri) with the realities of a world that is suffocating the middle class. Greg Kinnear is superb as Taplitz's father, a struggling actor who inherits his late father's Brooklyn real estate, only to find that he needs to up the rent for a longtime tenant (an equally effective Paulina Garcia), thus putting the boys' newfound freindship in peril. This is a small movie, yet it feels massive at its big heart. I have to say, Little Men has one of my favorite scores of the year, by Dickon Hinchliffe. 

10. Southside With You (US, Richard Tanne) 
Tika Sumpter and Parker Sawyers are ridiculously beguiling as the young Michelle Robinson and Barack Obama, whose first date is fondly detailed from its rocky beginnings to its assured conclusion. I feel like writer/director Richard Tanne took much inspiration from the movies of, say, John Sayles or Richard Linklater, thus making exceedingly easy to separate ourselves from the obvious politics of the piece (which are definitely not given short shrift), enabling us to see this as the beginnings of a immense love affair that would shake the world. This movie quakes with sweetness. 

11. Kate Plays Christine / Christine (US, Robert Greene / US, Antonio Campos) 
This double bill bowled me over in numerous ways. Christine, led by Rebecca Hall's tremendously committed performance, is at once a compelling film about depression, mercenary media, and one woman's fatal brawl with misplaced integrity. In telling the story of '70s Florida news anchorwoman Christine Chubbock, who infamously shot herself on live TV, it searches for unsure answers and assuredly finds them (with supporting-actor-of-the-year Tracy Letts contributing yet another forceful performance as the station's lead asshole). Meanwhile, Greene's genre-bending documentary Kate Plays Christine follows actress Kate Lyn Sheil as she endeavors to embody the anchorwoman, without any clues, in a much less effective-looking film, and ends up almost losing her own mind in the process. Both movies bounced off each other in such an eventful way that I felt altogether justified in praising them as fraternal twins.
12. The Jungle Book (US, Jon Favreau) 
This was the one gigantic studio movie that completely swept me away with true wizardry that worked in unexpected fashions. Its fusing of those things we loved in the 1967 Disney classic--the songs, the score, the set pieces--with the modern CGI world were the signs of a director that totally embraced his thorny mission. The Jungle Book is absolutely successful in its vibrant reading of Rudyard Kipling's familiar tale, adorned with the most wondrous visual effects of 2016. 

13. Weiner (US, Josh Kriegman and Elyse Steinberg) 
Throughout Weiner, we're struck with awe that the cameras were there to capture not only the damnation of a political career that once seemed promising, but--even more--of the dissolution of a marriage that appeared ideal, but which crumbles before our eyes. This is an account of madness brought about by an internet addiction that we probably all share, but which few of us let get to such desperate straits. It's a difficult movie to get through, knowing where we are now (few of us wanna see this disgusting jerk anymore) but it's an essential watch anyway. 

14. 13th (US, Ava Duvernay) 
Another of the year's most devastating documentaries, Duvernay's masterfully organized argument against the national targeting of black people as criminal miscreants, and as renewed recipients of prison-driven slavery, is turbulent and demoralizing. It's the kind of truth-telling we all need to hear--it's the only way we're going to get to a place of greater justice. Much work needs to be done, but Duvernay's dazzling film gets the ball rolling in justifiably incendiary fashion.

15. Things to Come (France, Mia Hansen Love) 
Led by Isabelle Huppert (in the performance that should have gotten her first Oscar nomination--scratch that...she should have been nominated years ago, at least for La Ceremonie or The Piano Teacher), this eloquent character study of a French literature professor whose life takes one colossal hit after another looms as the year's most moving account of the gallantry it takes to keep on living after those things that make one want to live have finally escaped. Mia Hansen Love's scripting and direction are completely on point, preternaturally so, in this tale of dignified resolve. 

16. Toni Erdmann (Germany, Maren Ade) 
This mini-epic of father-daughter reconnection is maybe a bit longish for some, but I found myself unexpectedly moved by its humor, particularly in its last third, where an estranged father's odd sense of playfulness has finally gotten through to a daughter whose been rendered soulless by her corporate alligeance. Believe me, by the end, your mouth will have dropped, and you'll find yourself laughing and crying at the same time. Any movie that can do that is worth loving. Incredible performances by Sandra Hüller and Peter Simonischek cement this movie's gentle power.

17. Sully (US, Clint Eastwood) 
Eastwood's best film in some time, Sully also stands as only the second big studio movie on this list--an assured account of the "Miracle on the Hudson" and a profile of a man who was simply doing his job as well as he could, and is uncomfortable being lauded for it. Tom Hanks--who's continual brilliance is strangely now taken for granted--is mutedly noble in this economically powerful drama that also stands as among the most meticulously crafted movies of the year. 

18. Loving (US, Jeff Nichols) 
Two brilliantly restrained performances--from Ruth Negga and Joel Edgerton--highlight this tender telling of the interracial love affair that transformed the American landscape. I highly admire writer/director Jeff Nichols' ability to recount this yarn without the cliches that we're used to seeing in movies set in this often abused world. 

19. Sunset Song (UK, Terrence Davies) 
Davies' adaptation of the landmark Scottish novel about the troubled life of a early-20th-Century farmer's daughter landed as one ot the year's most moving mini-epics, with sublimely burnished photography and a story that jolts us with its frank drama. Agyness Deyn is a real find as the film's resilient lead, heading a marvelous cast. 

20. Rules Don't Apply (US, Warren Beatty) 
I was simply and unexpectedly captivated by this critically (and unfairly) beat-up movie that had Beatty commanding an immense cast as millionaire Howard Hughes. I found the lead performances by Lily Collins and Alden Ehrenreich to be particularly charming, and Beatty's own quasi-supporting performance to be a somehow fitting final note to his legendary career (assuming that this is his final film, which I hope it is not). Special note should be paid to the memorable title song, and to Caleb Deschanel's handsome photography. 

OF NOTE: Blood Father, De Palma, Hunt for the Wilderpeople, Eye in the Sky, Certain Women, The Neon Demon, The Edge of Seventeen, Maggie's Plan, Silence, Tower, A Monster with A Thousand Heads, A Hologram for the King, Sing Street, Welcome to Leith, Fences, Aquarius, War Dogs, The Founder, Nocturnal Animals, Remember, The Infiltrator, Jackie, The Invitation, The Witch, The Phenom, Don't Think Twice, Zootopia, Hell or High Water, Amanda Knox, The Birth of a Nation, Train to Busan, Bad Moms, Moonlight, Mr. Church, Audrie and Daisy, The Trust, Into the Inferno, The Fits, The Lobster, Embrace of the Serpent, Lo and Behold: Reveries of the Connected World, The Accountant

FAIR: Pee-Wee's Big Holiday, Consumed, Hello My Name is Doris, Keanu, Manson Family Vacation, The Bandit, The Nice Guys, The Meddler, The Shallows, Class Divide, The Witness, Norman Lear: Just Another Version of You, Imperium, Kubo and the Two Strings, Hands of Stone, By Sidney Lumet, The Hollars, Denial, Anthropoid, A Bigger Splash, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Team Foxcatcher, A Man Called Ove, Patriot's Day, Hidden Figures, Deepwater Horizon

BLAH: The Program, High Rise, Hail Caesar!, Everybody Wants Some!!, Midnight Special, Eddie the Eagle, Victoria, An Open Secret, Elvis and Nixon, The Beatles: Eight Days a Week--The Touring Years, Ghostbusters, Florence Foster Jenkins, Cafe Society, Snowden, Morris from America, Pete's Dragon, Popstar: Never Stop Never Stoppin', Arrival, Stealing Cars, Golden Years, Fire at Sea, Life Animated, Miss Sloane, Passengers, Hacksaw Ridge, Lion

THE WORST: Sausage Party, Deadpool, Bad Santa 2, Captain Fantastic, Get A Job, Triple 9, Victor Frankenstein, The Wave, The Girl on the Train, USS Indianapolis: Men of Courage, Money Monster, Approaching the Unknown, Don't Breathe, Green Room

LEAD ACTOR OF THE YEAR: Casey Affleck, MANCHESTER BY THE SEA (2nd: Dave Johns, I, Daniel Blake, followed by: Peter Simonischek, Toni Erdmann; Adam Driver, Paterson; Tom Hanks, Sully; Logan Lerman, Indignation; Denzel Washingston, Fences; Ryan Gosling, La La Land; Joel Edgerton, Loving; Michael Keaton, The Founder; Parker Sawyer, Southside with You; Jonah Hill, War Dogs; Mel Gibson, Blood Father; Christopher Plummer, Remember)

LEAD ACTRESS OF THE YEAR: Annette Bening, 20TH CENTURY WOMEN (2nd: Emma Stone, La La Land, followed by: Kate Beckinsale, Love and Friendship; Rebecca Hall, Christine; Natalie Portman, Jackie; Ruth Negga, Loving; Tika Sumpter, Southside with You; Sonia Braga, Aquarius; Hailee Steinfeld, The Edge of Seventeen; Sandra Hüller, Toni Erdmann; Taraji P. Henson, Hidden Figures; Greta Gerwig, Maggie's Plan; Jana Raluy, A Monster with A Thousand Heads; Lily Collins, Rules Don't Apply)

SUPPORTING ACTOR OF THE YEAR: Tracy Letts, INDIGNATION (2nd: Tom Bennett, Love and Friendship, followed by: Issei Ogata, Silence; Michael Barbieri, Little Men; Lucas Hedges, Manchester by the Sea; Tracy Letts, Christine; Michael Shannon, Nocturnal Animals; John Goodman, 10 Cloverfield Lane; Mahershala Ali, Moonlight; Greg Kinnear, Little Men; Stephen McKinley Henderson, Fences; Jeff Bridges, Hell or High Water; Warren Beatty, Rules Don't Apply; Alan Rickman, Eye in the Sky; Ethan Hawke, The Phenom)

SUPPORTING ACTRESS OF THE YEAR: Viola Davis, FENCES (2nd: Michelle Williams, Manchester by the Sea, followed by: Hayley Squires, I, Daniel Blake; Linda Emond, Indignation; Paulina Garcia, Little Men; Greta Gerwig, 20th Century Women; Gillian Jacobs, Don't Think Twice; Angourie Rice, The Nice Guys; Golshifteh Farahani, Paterson; Lily Gladstone, Certain Women; Sarah Gadon, Indignation; Naomie Harris, Moonlight; Helen Mirren, Eye in the Sky) 

DISCOVERED (my favorite movies from the past that I watched for the first time this year):  

Terror in a Texas Town (Joseph H. Lewis, 58)

State Legislature (Frederick Wiseman, 2007) 

Marie Antoinette (W.S. Van Dyke, 38)

Ride the Pink Horse (Robert Montgomery, 47)

Man in the Shadow (Jack Arnold, 57)

Witness to Murder (Roy Rowland, 54)

Cassandra's Dream (Woody Allen, 2007)

Riot in Cell Block 11 (Don Siegel, 54) 

Ten Second Film (Bruce Conner, 65) 

Boomerang! (Elia Kazan, 47)  

The Woman in the Window (Fritz Lang, 44)  

Enter The Dragon (Robert Clouse, 73) 

On The Yard (Raphael D. Silver, 78)

Impact (Arthur Lubin, 49)  

Fade-In (Jud Taylor, 68) 

Harry Tracy (William A. Graham, 82)

That's the Way of the World (Sig Shore, 75)

Secret of the Incas (Jerry Hopper, 54) 

Dear Frankie (Shona Auerbach, 2004)

Universe (Colin Low, 60) 

MORE FINE DISCOVERIES: The Agony and the Ecstasy, The Last Run, The President's Plane is Missing, Maniac Cop, Fear is the Hunter, Led Zeppelin Played Here, Shoot Out at Medicine Bend, Rasputin (96), Shadow of the Thin Man, Reality, Diary of a Chambermaid (46), The Last Mogul, Hondo, The American Friend, Deadly Hero, Rewind This!, Manhunt: The Search for Osama Bin Laden, Crime Wave (54), Thieves' Highway,  The Proud and the Profane, Town Without Pity, The Son's Room, Busting, Nightfall (57), Jeopardy (53), James White, Labyrinth of Lies, Deadline at Dawn, Grey Gardens (2009), CrissCross (92), Indictment: The McMartin Trial, Frequently Asked Questions About Time Travel, Pumpkinhead, Son of Saul, Break Point, I Don't Buy Kisses Anymore, Rome (TV series), The Bubble, Message From Space, Fighting Back, Into the Storm, The Raging Moon (aka Long Ago Tomorrow), The Shanghai Gesture, Raw Deal, 99 River Street, Railroaded, Dear Brat, Creature from the Haunted Sea, Redwood Highway, Attack of the Giant Leeches, Lady of Burlesque, Pervert Park, Run for Cover, Altman, Robin and Marian, Shaun the Sheep Movie, Barber Shop: The Next Cut, Con Man (web series), The Dust Bowl (Ken Burns), Bleak House (BBC), Mrs. Parfrey at the Claremont, Code of Silence, Tortilla Soup, Fiend Without a Face, Anna Karenina (48), Topper Returns, Daisy Kenyon, Trouble Man, Dark Web, Rockaway: Before and After, Peter and the Wolf (2006), Today's Special, Witness to Murder, In Jackson Heights, The Store, Illegal, The Big Steal, Nestor

REDISCOVERED: Shakedown, Oh God, Last Night at the Alamo, Inside Man, Seconds, Scarlet Street, Thief, The Godfather Saga, Key Largo, The Graduate, Life Stinks, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (89), Idiocracy, Day of the Outlaw, Ghost World, Robot Monster, Heavy Metal Parking Lot, The Gauntlet, Moneyball, Noises Off!, A Dangerous Woman, T-Men, Donnie Brasco, Reds, Thelma and Louise, Stripes, The Arrival, The Defiant Ones, The Spy Who Loved Me, The Uninvited, California Dreaming, Superman, The Fall, Zodiac, The Killing Fields, He Walked by Night, No Highway in the Sky, Seize the Day, Ticket to Heaven, Logan's Run, Rhubarb, Gregory's Girl, Casino, Ed Wood, Quatermass and the Pit, It Happens Every Spring, Shaft (71), Soylent Green, Warner Brothers cartoons, Cleopatra (63), Year of the Dragon, The Pope of Greenwich Village, The Celebration, No Country for Old Men, Office Space, Julia (2009), Force of Evil, Melancholia, Primary Colors, Halloween, They Live, Escape from Alcatraz, The Fog, Heaven's Gate, Pulp Fiction, The Monster of Piedras Blancas, Stuart Saves His Family, Los Angeles Plays Itself, Howards End, Taps, Rocky II, Paths of Glory, The Andy Griffith Show (all 9 seasons), Curb Your Enthusiasm (all 8 seasons), The Siege, Everybody's Fine, Beautiful Girls, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Conspiracy, The Bad Seed, Time Out of Mind, Interiors, Blow Up, The Age of Innocence, A Raisin in the Sun, Love and Death 

BAD MOVIES FROM THE PAST: The Devil's 8, Leave 'Em Laughing, The Young Savages, The Trouble with Angels, Record City, The Book of Eli, The Bridge at Remagen, Million Dollar Mystery, Tunnelvision, Author Author, The Naked Gun 2: The Smell of Fear, The Imaginarium of Dr. Parnassus, The Longshot, Mississippi Grind, Crimson Peak, Keeper of the Flame, Children of Giant. Monsignor, A Single Shot, Away From Here, Hawaii, Losing Ground, National Lampoon: Drunk Stoned Brilliant Dead, Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw, Superman II, Spongebob Squarepants: Sponge Out of Water, Best Seller, Six Pack, UFO: Target Earth, The Fury, Stick, Out of Time, Hoppy Serves a Writ, Slithis, Creature, The Beast with 1,000,000 Eyes, The Happening, The Laughing Policeman, The House That Dripped Blood, The Brain That Wouldn't Die, Eegah, You've Got Mail, Crocodile Dundee II, Hostile Witness, Father's Little Dividend, Murder by Television, Anna Karenina (35), Fuzz, In the Mouth of Madness, The Black Sleep, Prince of Darkness (John Carpenter), Heist (2015), Under the Tuscan Sun, Pressure Point, The Cotton Club, Cop Hater, Young Man with a Horn, Saints and Soldiers, Extreme Justice, Stormy Monday, Queen and Country

GREAT TELEVISION: American Crime Story: The People Vs. O.J. Simpson, Horace and Pete, Baskets, Madoff, Confirmation, All The Way, Billions, Ray Donovan, Better Call Saul, Broad City, It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Real Time with Bill Maher, Chopped, American Pickers, The Carmichael Show, Veep, Trailer Park Boys, The Americans, Masterchef Australia, Hard Earned, Last Week with John Oliver, Black-ish, The Night Of, The Crown, Stranger Things, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Better Things, Atlanta, Frontline ("The Choice"), Black Mirror, Saturday Night Live, This Is Us, The Night Manager, The Young Pope 
BLAH TV: Animals, Vinyl, 11/22/63, Wayward Pines, Ride with Norman Reedus, The Walking Dead, The Exorcist, Crisis in Six Scenes. Graves, Designated Survivor, Westworld