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The 100 Greatest Films Of The 21st Century By BBC Culture

Movies

Published on July 1st, 2019

In 2016, BBC asked the world’s foremost movie experts to list the best 100 films of the 21st century.

For the 100 greatest American films, BBC Culture surveyed 62 film critics from around the world. For 100 greatest films of the 21 century, BBC received responses from 177 – from every continent except Antarctica. These experts declared Mulholland Drive (2000) as the winner of the best movies since 2000.

For the purposes of this poll, BBC decided that 21st Century should include the year 2000, even though it recognizes that there was no ‘Year Zero’ and that 2001 is mathematically the start of the century. Thus, you can say these are the best movies since 2000.

Here Are The 100 Greatest Films Of The 21st Century:

1. Mulholland Drive

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A bright-eyed young actress travels to Hollywood, only to be ensnared in a dark conspiracy involving a woman who was nearly murdered, and now has amnesia because of a car crash. Eventually, both women are pulled into a psychotic illusion involving a dangerous blue box, a director named Adam Kesher, and the mysterious night club Silencio.

Review: Variety

The story is hardly straight in “Mulholland Drive,” the compelling but intentionally inscrutable return of the “weird” David Lynch that will please his hardcore fans even if it has them scratching their heads as well. After methodically building for an hour and three-quarters to a mesmerizing level of emotional intensity and narrative fascination, pic makes a severe and unwelcome turn down a lost highway, never to return to the main drag.

All one can do is shrug and accept that this is Lynch’s way, that he’s not one to explain or tie things together. But this is what will prevent a general audience from accepting what is, for much of the time, a genuinely ominous and suspenseful thriller. Good results look likely on the specialized circuit internationally and down the line on home screens.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

2.  In The Mood For Love

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Set in Hong Kong, 1962, Chow Mo-Wan is a newspaper editor who moves into a new building with his wife. At the same time, Su Li-zhen, a beautiful secretary and her executive husband also move in to the crowded building. With their spouses often away, Chow and Li-zhen spend most of their time together as friends. They have everything in common from noodle shops to martial arts. Soon, they are shocked to discover that their spouses are having an affair. Hurt and angry, they find comfort in their growing friendship even as they resolve not to be like their unfaithful mates.

Review: The Guardian

There are many reasons to adore the film, most obviously its almost unworldly, dream-like beauty. As a lead couple, Maggie Cheung (in a succession of figure-hugging cheongsam dresses), and Leung, with the slicked hair and hangdog face of a silent movie star, are among the most gorgeous in film history.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

3. There Will Be Blood

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The intersecting life stories of Daniel Plainview and Eli Sunday in early twentieth century California presents miner-turned-oilman Daniel Plainview, a driven man who will do whatever it takes to achieve his goals. He works hard but also takes advantage of those around him at their expense if need be.

His business partner/son (H.W.) is, in reality, an “acquired” child whose true biological single-parent father (working on one of Daniel’s rigs) died in a workplace accident. Daniel is deeply protective of H.W. if only for what H.W. brings to the partnership.

Eli Sunday is one in a pair of twins whose family farm Daniel purchases for the major oil deposit located on it. Eli, a local preacher and a self-proclaimed faith healer, wants the money from the sale of the property to finance his own church.

Review: The Guardian

That title is subtler than you think. Blood only makes its appearance in the very last, operatic scene. Before that, the wounds are internal, or covered by another liquid, gushing from the ground as from a slashed artery. The leading character is often to be seen darkly smothered in it, like a voodoo priest after a spectacular sacrifice. It is oil: the dwindling lifeblood of our 21st-century prosperity.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

4. Spirited Away

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Chihiro and her parents are moving to a small Japanese town in the countryside, much to Chihiro’s dismay. On the way to their new home, Chihiro’s father makes a wrong turn and drives down a lonely one-lane road which dead-ends in front of a tunnel.

Her parents decide to stop the car and explore the area. They go through the tunnel and find an abandoned amusement park on the other side, with its own little town. When her parents see a restaurant with great-smelling food but no staff, they decide to eat and pay later.

However, Chihiro refuses to eat and decides to explore the theme park a bit more. She meets a boy named Haku who tells her that Chihiro and her parents are in danger, and they must leave immediately. She runs to the restaurant and finds that her parents have turned into pigs.

Review: BBC

Winner of the Best Animated Feature Oscar in 2003 (beating Ice Age, Lilo & Stitch, Treasure Planet, and Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron) Hayao Miyazaki’s Spirited Away was one of the most impressive animated features of 2003, or any other.

It’s epic story is more imaginative, rousing and luscious than anything American animation has produced since the halcyon days of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

5. Boyhood

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Filmed over 12 years with the same cast, Richard Linklater’s BOYHOOD is a groundbreaking story of growing up as seen through the eyes of a child named Mason (a breakthrough performance by Ellar Coltrane), who literally grows up on screen before our eyes. Starring Ethan Hawke and Patricia Arquette as Mason’s parents and newcomer Lorelei Linklater as his sister Samantha, Boyhood charts the rocky terrain of childhood like no other film has before.

Review: The Telegraph

Boyhood, the new film from Richard Linklater, took 12 years to make. It may well take another 12 years to appreciate fully. Linklater has shown, perhaps with more heart-piercing acuity than any other director, how a child grows into an adult, because that’s literally what his film depicts. The young actor who plays Mason, Ellar Coltrane, was cast in the project at the age of seven, and returned to the role for those few days every year until shortly after his 19th birthday in 2013.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

6. Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

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A man, Joel Barish, heartbroken that his girlfriend Clementine underwent a procedure to erase him from her memory, decides to do the same. However, as he watches his memories of her fade away, he realizes that he still loves her, and may be too late to correct his mistake.

Review: The Guardian

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is suffused with Kaufman’s unique charm, his existential drollery, his humane affection for the lonely and vulnerable. It’s a very Kaufmanesque narrative experiment, technically ingenious and sophisticated.

As in Adaptation, Kaufman has a depressed creative guy experiencing a nagging anxiety about the meaning of life. Like Nicolas Cage in that film, he begins with a panicky, whispery voice-over about what the point of it all is, worrying away at his own discontents, which float meaninglessly out into the colossal placidity of the universe.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

7. The Tree of Life

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The impressionistic story of a Texas family in the 1950s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith.

Review: The Hollywood Reporter

The Tree of Life is a singular work, an impressionistic metaphysical inquiry into mankind’s place in the grand scheme of things that releases waves of insights amid its narrative imprecisions.

Production designer Jack Fisk and costume designer Jacqueline West make indispensable contributions to creating the film’s world. That not a single image here seems fake or artificial can only be the ultimate praise for the work of senior visual effects supervisor Dan Glass and his team, while the presence of Douglas Trumbull as visual effects consultant further cements the film’s connection to 2001.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

8. Yi Yi: A One And A Two

Yi Yi

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Each member of a family in Taipei asks hard questions about life’s meaning as they live through everyday quandaries. NJ is morose: his brother owes him money, his mother is in a coma, his wife suffers a spiritual crisis when she finds her life a blank, his business partners make bad decisions against his advice, and he reconnects with his first love 30 years after he dumped her. His teenage daughter Ting-Ting watches emotions roil in their neighbors’ flat and is experiencing the first stirrings of love. His 8-year-old son Yang-Yang is laconic like his dad and pursues truth with the help of a camera. “Why is the world so different from what we think it is?” asks Ting-Ting.

Review: The Guardian

A One and a Two’s literary quality resides in the easy yet thoughtful way Yang manages all the narrative strands, while having the confidence to go off on tangents and intriguing byways. Yang succeeds in inserting all sorts of footnotes and diverting appendices about the human condition – and modern Taiwan’s relationship with Japan and the US – and yet never loses his thread, or allows us to lose the desire to know what happens to everyone in the end.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

9. A Separation

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Nader (Payman Maadi) and Simin (Leila Hatami) argue about living abroad. Simin prefers to live abroad to provide better opportunities for their only daughter, Termeh. However, Nader refuses to go because he thinks he must stay in Iran and take care of his father (Ali-Asghar Shahbazi), who suffers from Alzheimers. However, Simin is determined to get a divorce and leave the country with her daughter.

Review: The Guardian

An unhappily married couple break up in this complex, painful, fascinating Iranian drama by writer-director Asghar Farhadi, with explosive results that expose a network of personal and social faultlines. A Separation is a portrait of a fractured relationship and an examination of theocracy, domestic rule and the politics of sex and class – and it reveals a terrible, pervasive sadness that seems to well up through the asphalt and the brickwork.

As the movie progresses, terrible things happen in a succession of unintended consequences. Flawed people behave badly and they will make ferocious appeals to justice and to law in preliminary hearings very similar to the divorce court, heard by harassed, careworn officials oppressed by the knowledge that there is no black and white, but numberless shades of grey.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

10. No Country For Old Men

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In rural Texas, welder and hunter Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) discovers the remains of several drug runners who have all killed each other in an exchange gone violently wrong. Rather than report the discovery to the police, Moss decides to simply take the two million dollars present for himself.

This puts the psychopathic killer, Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), on his trail as he dispassionately murders nearly every rival, bystander and even employer in his pursuit of his quarry and the money.

As Moss desperately attempts to keep one step ahead, the blood from this hunt begins to flow behind him with relentlessly growing intensity as Chigurh closes in. Meanwhile, the laconic Sheriff Ed Tom Bell (Tommy Lee Jones) blithely oversees the investigation even as he struggles to face the sheer enormity of the crimes he is attempting to thwart.

Review: The Guardian

The tone of the film, like that of McCarthy’s original novel, is apocalyptic: it gestures ahead, darkly, to an utter annihilation of norms and restraints.

The Coens’ adaptation in fact omits the details of Ed Tom’s experiences in second world war and with it some of the Sheriff’s internal life and his need for redemption, but this omission has the effect of intensifying the motiveless, ahistorical quality of the action, the sense that the contest between the good guys and the bad guys under the Texan sun has become even more eternally brutal.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

11. Inside Llewyn Davis

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Follow a week in the life of a young folk singer as he navigates the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Guitar in tow, huddled against the unforgiving New York winter, he is struggling to make it as a musician against seemingly insurmountable obstacles-some of them of his own making.

Review: RollingStone

Oscar Isaac (Drive) gives one of the best performances of a strong year as Llewyn Davis, a fictional musician whose career runs parallel to Bob Dylan‘s, except for the success part.Llewyn’s life is hardly freewheelin’. At the start, the Coens show him beaten in an alley, then circle back to that humiliation at the end. We see him hustle a ride to Chicago, only to be maligned with wounding hilarity by Roland Turner (John Goodman), the junkie bluesman in the back seat. Note to the Academy: Give Goodman the Oscar nomination you’ve owed him for decades. He’s magnificent.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

12. Zodiac

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Based on the true story of the notorious serial killer and the intense manhunt he inspired, Zodiac is a superbly crafted thriller form the director of Seven and Panic Room. Featuring an outstanding ensemble cast led by Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo and Chloë Sevigny, Zodiac is a searing and singularly haunting examination of twin obsessions: one man’s desire to kill and another’s quest for the truth.

The film begins with a couple of hair-raising and rather brutal recreations of murders carried out by the mysterious killer who terrorized the San Francisco Bay area in the late 1960s and early 1970s.

Review: The Guardian

The look and the feel and the bulk of David Fincher’s new movie are so seductive. He has made a massively confident and watchable thriller about the unsolved “Zodiac” murders in 1960s San Francisco: the work of a serial killer who sent teasing codes and letters to the local papers, and who is today either dead or still at large, preparing to resume his career.

Zodiac is very different from Fincher’s other serial-killer film Seven. That was in the classical serial-killer genre, in which the culprit has a cogent, unified short-range career, conducted within a limited time-frame, leading to a clear unmasking, if not capture. This movie is quite different: Zodiac’s victims are not governed by, say, the 12 astrological signs. They are just random, anarchic.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

13. Children Of Men

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London, 2027. In this dystopian world, humans have been incapable of reproducing for eighteen years for an unknown reason, meaning the imminent extinction of the species. Britain is the one remaining civilized society on the planet, which has resulted in people wanting to immigrate there.

As such, it has become a police state in order to handle the immigrants, who are placed into refugee camps. Lowly government bureaucrat Theo Faron, once an activist, is approached by the Fishes, deemed a terrorist group, led by his ex-wife Julian Taylor, who he has not seen in close to twenty years, their marriage which disintegrated following the death of their infant son Dylan during the 2008 flu pandemic.

Although the Fishes did use terrorist means in their on-going revolution against the state in the fight for immigrant rights, Julian vows that they now garner support solely by speaking to the people.

Review: The Boston Glob

Director Alfonso Cuarón’s tense, thought-provoking “Children of Men” (2006) has drawn the odd comparison to “Blade Runner,” aptly, for its portrait of a dystopian future that’s fully realized yet tantalizingly incomplete.

In the film, adapted by Cuarón from the novel by P.D. James , it’s 2027, and the world is gripped by an infertility crisis. There hasn’t been a baby born anywhere in 18 years, and end-is-nigh despair has led to chaos and violence around the globe. (A meltdown montage early on gives Boston a cameo.) Britain, the one country that’s managed to keep it together, wages an ugly isolationist campaign to drive out foreign refugees seeking sanctuary.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

14. The Act Of Killing

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A documentary which challenges former Indonesian death-squad leaders to reenact their mass-killings in whichever cinematic genres they wish, including classic Hollywood crime scenarios and lavish musical numbers.

Review: Time Out

How do you recreate the horrors of the past without them seeming distant, like stories, or oddly irrelevant? That’s the challenge for Joshua Oppenheimer’s powerful and compellingly weird film about the legacy of genocide in Indonesia. Most of the killings (somewhere between 500,000 and 2.5 million) took place in the mid-1960s and were part of an anti-communist purge by the powers who still rule the country. The killers are not only still alive and unpunished – they’re heroes to many.

It’s this absence of closure that Oppenheimer is fascinated by. It’s why he decides – and is able – to make the killers his focus. He’s on the hunt for a lingering spirit of murderous or criminal corruption, and it’s a journey that throws up some of the most extreme characters ever seen on film.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

15. 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days

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Romania, 1987, the brutal Ceausescu communist regime is in place; birth control is illegal and abortion is a crime punishable by death. Gabita (Laura Vasliu) is almost five months into an unwanted pregnancy and in meek desperation turns to her friend and roommate, Otilia (Anamaria Marinca) for help in organizing an illegal termination. Unfortunate circumstances force the two women to use an unwanted male abortionist, Bebe (Vlad Ivanov). The bleakness of the storyline expresses a dark socio-political critique in the twilight years of a repressive dictatorship.

Review: The Guardian

Cristian Mungiu’s film is a nightmare of social-realist suspense, a jewel of what it is now considered the Romanian new wave, along with Cristi Puiu’s The Death of Mr Lazarescu and Corneliu Porumboiu’s 12:08 East of Bucharest. In more general terms, it is part of that emerging 21st-century phenomenon, ordeal cinema: a cinema that with great formal technique makes you live through a horrendous experience in what seems like real time. As a drama, it is superbly observed and telling in every subtle detail; yet it is also simply as exciting, in its stomach-turning way, as any thriller.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

16. Holy Motors

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In a dark movie theater filled with people watching a film. A man is sleeping on a bed with a sleeping dog next to another empty twin bed with the same sheets. He gets up and looks out the window and we see he is the man whose name is Mr. Oscar.

Review: The Guardian

The French enfant terrible emeritus Leos Carax is an immensely talented and highly self-conscious filmmaker who has made a mere five features in the past 28 years. It is a marvellous movie, vivid, witty, varied, puzzling, though not without its longueurs, and it uses the cinema itself as a metaphor for the journey of life, which some level-headed Anglo-Saxon audiences may find deeply irritating.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

17. Pan’s Labyrinth

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In 1944 Falangist Spain, a girl, fascinated with fairy-tales, is sent along with her pregnant mother to live with her new stepfather, a ruthless captain of the Spanish army. During the night, she meets a fairy who takes her to an old faun in the center of the labyrinth. He tells her she’s a princess, but must prove her royalty by surviving three gruesome tasks. If she fails, she will never prove herself to be the true princess and will never see her real father, the king, again.

Review: The Guardian

A bold juxtaposition of real and unreal worlds is at the heart of Guillermo del Toro’s visually inventive fantasy about Franco-ite Spain. It’s so audacious and so technically accomplished.

 

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

18. The White Ribbon

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From July, 1913 to the outbreak of World War I, a series of incidents take place in a German village. A horse trips on a wire and throws the rider; a woman falls to her death through rotted planks; the local baron’s son is hung upside down in a mill; parents slap and bully their children; a man is cruel to his long-suffering lover; another sexually abuses his daughter. People disappear. A callow teacher, who courts a nanny in the baron’s household, narrates the story and tries to investigate the connections among these accidents and crimes. What is foreshadowed? Are the children holy innocents? God may be in His heaven, but all is not right with the world; the center cannot hold.

Review: The Atlantic

The story takes place before World War I in a small German village which has its own baron (Ulrich Tukur). The waving fields of grain and gardens of cabbage give the impression of a simple, idyllic environment in which to live. But strange events soon begin to occur.

While out riding one morning, the town doctor (Rainer Bock) is injured when thrown from his horse. The cause of the accident was a wire stretched across the road. Who placed it there and was he the intended victim? Other unexplained incidents occur including a fire, farm accidents, and a murder. Children are assaulted with extreme physical punishment by their fathers. The Pastor (Burghart Klaussner) also punishes his children and then makes them wear a white ribbon, a symbol of purity.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

19.  Mad Max: Fury Road

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An apocalyptic story set in the furthest reaches of our planet, in a stark desert landscape where humanity is broken, and almost everyone is crazed fighting for the necessities of life. Within this world exist two rebels on the run who just might be able to restore order.

There’s Max, a man of action and a man of few words, who seeks peace of mind following the loss of his wife and child in the aftermath of the chaos. And Furiosa, a woman of action and a woman who believes her path to survival may be achieved if she can make it across the desert back to her childhood homeland.

Review: The Atlantic

Miller deploys his playthings with such visual virtuosity and outright ferocity that Fury Road never plays like a joke, inside or otherwise. The picture was shot by the Oscar-winning cinematographer John Seale (The English Patient), who came out of retirement for the project, and his eye for quality shows.

The action sequences are mesmerizingly choreographed and feature blessedly little overt CGI. (This is the rare movie that is genuinely worth seeing in 3D.) The reliance on stunts and practical effects helps contribute to Fury Road’s throwback-y appeal.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

20. Synecdoche, New York

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Theater director Caden Cotard is mounting a new play. Fresh off of a successful production of Death of a Salesman, he has traded in the suburban blue-hairs and regional theater of Schenectady for the cultured audiences and bright footlights of Broadway. Armed with a MacArthur grant and determined to create a piece of brutal realism and honesty, something into which he can put his whole self, he gathers an ensemble cast into a warehouse in Manhattan’s theater district.

He directs them in a celebration of the mundane, instructing each to live out their constructed lives in a small mock-up of the city outside. As the city inside the warehouse grows, Caden’s own life veers wildly off the tracks. The shadow of his ex-wife Adele, a celebrated painter who left him years ago for Germany’s art scene, sneers at him from every corner. Somewhere in Berlin, his daughter Olive is growing up under the questionable guidance of Adele’s friend, Maria.

Review: The New Republic

The first film Kaufman directed as well as wrote, Synecdoche shares the hazy, dreamlike quality that has characterized much of his work. The film is less philosophical, or even psychological, than neurological in impact. It doesn’t make an argument, it evokes a mood, a broad sensation of regret and exhaustion. The world it conjures is one in which important truths remain hidden or misunderstood.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

21. The Grand Budapest Hotel

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The Grand Budapest Hotel recounts the adventures of Gustave H, a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and Zero Moustafa, the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The story involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune — all against the back-drop of a suddenly and dramatically changing Continent.

Review: TIME

Love and death, romance and horror, comedy and tragedy duel to an elegant draw in Wes Anderson’s rich torte of a movie — perhaps the most seductively European film ever made by a kid from Houston. The Anderson world has always been enclosed, an exquisite miniature simulacrum of the real or movie world.

His camera style, showing figures in an unmoving frame, and reaction shots at a regimental 90- or 180-degree angle, mimics the viewing of museum installations by a fascinated robot.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

22. Lost In Translation

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Middle-aged American movie star Bob Harris is in Tokyo to film a personal endorsement Suntory whiskey ad solely for the Japanese market. He is past his movie star prime, but his name and image still have enough cachet for him to have gotten this lucrative $2 million job.

He has an unsatisfying home life where his wife Lydia follows him wherever he goes – in the form of messages and faxes – for him to deal with the minutiae of their everyday lives, while she stays at home to look after their kids.

Staying at the same upscale hotel is fellow American, twenty-something recent Yale Philosophy graduate Charlotte, her husband John, an entertainment still photographer, who is on assignment in Japan.

Review: The Guardian

Sofia Coppola’s second movie as a director is more than a breakthrough: it’s an insouciant triumph. She conjures a terrifically funny, heartbreakingly sad and swooningly romantic movie from almost nowhere and just makes it look very easy – as well as very modern and very sexy.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

23. Caché

Caché

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Set in France, Georges is a TV Literary Reviewer and lives in a small yet modern town house with his wife Ann, a publisher and his young son Pierrot. They begin to receive video tapes through the post of their house and family, along side obscure child-like drawings. They visit the police with hope of aid to find the stalker, but as there is no direct threat, they refuse to help. As the tapes become more personal, Georges takes it upon himself to figure out who is putting through his family through such horror. A true Michael Haneke Classic.

Review: The Guardian

A stiletto-stab of fear is what Michael Haneke’s icily brilliant new film delivers – not scary-movie pseudo-fear, but real fear: intimately horrible, scalp-prickling fear. It is a stalker-nightmare with a shiver of the uncanny and a double-meaning in the title: hidden cameras and hidden guilt.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

24. The Master

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Returning from Navy service in World War II, Freddie Quell drifts through a series of breakdowns. Finally he stumbles upon a cult which engages in exercises to clear emotions and he becomes deeply involved with them.

Review: The Guardian

Like a lot of Anderson’s previous work, it is about pioneers, leaders and dysfunctional families, and like There Will Be Blood it is about the origins of American modernity, the pre-history of a certain kind of self-help and self-belief, entrepreneurial and evangelical.

In this case, it is the Year Zero of a belief system that does not yet have extreme age to put its irrationality above reproach. The Master is about homemade spirituality and gimcrack philosophy, a snake-oil salesman of religion offering self-medication of the mind and body, attracting desperately lonely and vulnerable people to his new cult.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

25. Memento

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Memento chronicles two separate stories of Leonard, an ex-insurance investigator who can no longer build new memories, as he attempts to find the murderer of his wife, which is the last thing he remembers. One story line moves forward in time while the other tells the story backwards revealing more each time.

Review: The Guardian

The movie (based on a story by the director’s brother, Jonathan Nolan), uses a favorite plot device of postwar Freudian film noir, the hero suffering from amnesia. Hitchcock’s Spellbound is perhaps the most celebrated example. But Leonard Shelby (Guy Pearce), the protagonist of Memento, suffers from a special form of amnesia.

The photography, editing and production design are of the first rank, belying the film’s modest budget, and the performances have a strange intensity. Guy Pearce brings total conviction to Leonard, making an everyman of this bewildered questor.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

26. 25th Hour

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The 25th Hour depicts the last day of freedom for a young man before he begins serving a seven-year jail term for drug dealing. Prowling through the city until dawn with his two close male friends and his girlfriend, he is forced to re-examine his life and how he got himself into his predicament, which leads to a shocking, disturbing finale.

Review: The Sydney Morning Therald

The film is based on a first novel by David Benioff, who also wrote the screenplay, but Lee has made at least one significant change. The book came out in January 2001, but the action now takes place post-September 11 and Lee makes this obvious throughout. An important scene takes place in stockbroker Frank’s apartment near Ground Zero, where Frank and Jakob argue about whether Monty will survive in prison.

This change in setting makes the film more elegiac in tone, but also more open to misunderstanding.

The monologue is what the movie will be remembered for, because it is so aggressive and open to interpretation, but it almost wasn’t filmed.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

27. The Social Network

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On a fall night in 2003, Harvard undergrad and computer programming genius Mark Zuckerberg sits down at his computer and heatedly begins working on a new idea. In a fury of blogging and programming, what begins in his dorm room soon becomes a global social network and a revolution in communication. A mere six years and 500 million friends later, Mark Zuckerberg is the youngest billionaire in history… but for this entrepreneur, success leads to both personal and legal complications.

Review: THEWRAP

The complex drama, about the founding of Facebook and the conflicting claims over who deserved credit for its invention, lives up to the hype. “Social Network” is smart, lively, well-acted and — this is key — raises questions and issues that are both timeless and totally of the moment.

In a way, “Social Network” seems almost a throwback to the great movies of the late 1960s and ‘70s. It taps into the zeitgeist. It’s about what’s happening now. Right now. And it has a viewpoint — well, actually, a bunch of them.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

28. Talk To Her

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After a chance encounter at a theater, two men, Benigno and Marco, meet at a private clinic where Benigno works. Lydia, Marco’s girlfriend and a bullfighter by profession, has been gored and is in a coma. It so happens that Benigno is looking after another woman in a coma, Alicia, a young ballet student. The lives of the four characters will flow in all directions, past, present and future, dragging all of them towards an unsuspected destiny.

Review: ChicagoReader

Pedro Almodovar follows up his internationally acclaimed All About My Mother (1999) with this self-indulgent tale of two men who bond over their unrequited love for women who are comatose. A middle-aged writer (Dario Grandinetti) begins a passionate affair with a famous matador (Rosario Flores), who’s then gored in a bullfight and left a vegetable; visiting her in a nursing facility, he meets a sexually immature nurse (Javier Camara) who’s obsessed with an unconscious young ballet student (Leonor Watling).

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

29. WALL-E

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In a distant, but not so unrealistic, future where mankind has abandoned earth because it has become covered with trash from products sold by the powerful multi-national Buy N Large corporation, WALL-E, a garbage collecting robot has been left to clean up the mess.

Mesmerized with trinkets of Earth’s history and show tunes, WALL-E is alone on Earth except for a sprightly pet cockroach. One day, EVE, a sleek (and dangerous) reconnaissance robot, is sent to Earth to find proof that life is once again sustainable. WALL-E falls in love with EVE. WALL-E rescues EVE from a dust storm and shows her a living plant he found amongst the rubble.

Review: The Guardian

What a rich, strange and intriguing picture this is; a wintry Cassandra in the guise of a pearl-bright summer blockbuster. There is something giddyingly impressive in the way in which its makers have cherry-picked a crop of antique ingredients and then forged them into something new.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

30. Oldboy

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Abducted on a rainy night in 1988, the obnoxious drunk, Oh Dae-Su, much to his surprise, wakes up locked in a windowless and dilapidated hotel room, for an unknown reason. There, his invisible and pitiless captors will feed him, clothe him and sedate him to avoid committing suicide, and as his only companion and a window to the world is the TV in his stark cell, the only thing that helps Oh Dae-Su keep going is his daily journal. But then, unexpectedly, after fifteen long years in captivity, the perplexed prisoner is deliberately released, encouraged to track down his tormentor to finally get his retribution. Nevertheless, who would hate Oh Dae-Su so much he would deny him of a quick and clean death?

Review: The Sydney Morning Therald

Full of visual and auditory pleasures, it is a dense, carefully structured film, an enigma laid bare with merciless inevitability and moments of lyrical beauty. Some of its patterns and repetitions are apparent on a first encounter, but its intricacies need more than one viewing. It is, in the most disconcerting and disorienting of ways, an exhilarating movie.

Oldboy, in its richness and intensity, its weightiness and its lightness, feels like a compendium of movies and mystery stories, fables and case histories, myths and legends, distilled into a single devastating experience.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

31. Margaret

 Margaret

 

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Margaret centers on a 17-year-old New York City high-school student who feels certain that she inadvertently played a role in a traffic accident that has claimed a woman’s life. In her attempts to set things right she meets with opposition at every step. Torn apart with frustration, she begins emotionally brutalizing her family, her friends, her teachers, and most of all, herself. She has been confronted quite unexpectedly with a basic truth: that her youthful ideals are on a collision course against the realities and compromises of the adult world.

Review: The Guardian

Kenneth Lonergan’s long-delayed second film, starring Anna Paquin, is a brilliant, sprawling drama of modern life

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

32. The Lives Of Others

The Lives of Others

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Gerd Wiesler is an officer with the Stasi, the East German secret police. The film begins in 1984 when Wiesler attends a play written by Georg Dreyman, who is considered by many to be the ultimate example of the loyal citizen. Wiesler has a gut feeling that Dreyman can’t be as ideal as he seems, and believes surveillance is called for.

The Minister of Culture agrees but only later does Wiesler learn that the Minister sees Dreyman as a rival and lusts after his partner Christa-Maria. The more time he spends listening in on them, the more he comes to care about them.

The once rigid Stasi officer begins to intervene in their lives, in a positive way, protecting them whenever possible. Eventually, Wiesler’s activities catch up to him and while there is no proof of wrongdoing, he finds himself in menial jobs – until the unbelievable happens.

Review: The Guardian

This movie begins with a frighteningly horrible sequence in which Captain Wiesler questions a hapless young man suspected of helping a friend escape to the west. The ruthless grilling is intercut with his lecture to new Stasi recruits in which this interrogation has become a set-text: the man’s pleas, screams and sobs are replayed on tape to the earnest young students.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

33. The Dark Knight

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Set within a year after the events of Batman Begins (2005), Batman, Lieutenant James Gordon, and new District Attorney Harvey Dent successfully begin to round up the criminals that plague Gotham City, until a mysterious and sadistic criminal mastermind known only as “The Joker” appears in Gotham, creating a new wave of chaos. Batman’s struggle against The Joker becomes deeply personal, forcing him to “confront everything he believes” and improve his technology to stop him. A love triangle develops between Bruce Wayne, Dent, and Rachel Dawes.

Review: THE TIMES

Heath Ledger’s posthumous Oscar looks in the bag as The Dark Knight rewrites the comic-book thriller genre. You will feel utterly numb after the screening of The Dark Knight. The film is bleak and brilliant. Batman is Hamlet and Heath Ledger is a sensation as the Joker. The late legend doesn’t just steal the film, he murders it in style.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

34. Son Of Saul

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Two days in the life of Saul Auslander, Hungarian prisoner working as a member of the Sonderkommando at one of the Auschwitz Crematoriums who, to bury the corpse of a boy he takes for his son, tries to carry out his impossible deed: salvage the body and find a rabbi to bury it. While the Sonderkommando is to be liquidated at any moment, Saul turns away of the living and their plans of rebellion to save the remains of a son he never took care of when he was still alive.

Review: GO LONDON

Made in Hungary on a low budget ($1.5 million), Son of Saul is in some ways quite a simple film. It follows a day and a half in the life of Saul Ausländer, a member of the Sonderkommando (“special unit”) at Auschwitz in October 1944. These were the Jewish prisoners who carried out many of the functions of the extermination camp, leading the transportation of thousands of prisoners into the gas chambers, persuading them to undress, tricking them into believing they were just showers, then removing their bodies and burning them in the crematoriums and disposing of their ashes in exchange for a few months more of life themselves, before they too were murdered.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

35. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon

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In 19th century Qing Dynasty China, a warrior gives his sword, Green Destiny, to his friend to deliver to safe keeping, but it is stolen, and the chase is on to find it. The search leads to the House of Yu where the story takes on a whole different level.

Review: Newsweek

At once elegant and sublimely silly, contemplative and gung-ho, balletic and bubble-gum, a rousing action film and an epic love story, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” is one bursting-at-the-seams holiday gift, beautifully wrapped by the ever-surprising Ang Lee.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

36. Timbuktu

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Not far from the ancient Malian city of Timbuktu, proud cattle herder Kidane (Ibrahim Ahmed aka Pino) lives peacefully in the dunes with his wife Satima (Toulou Kiki), his daughter Toya (Layla Walet Mohamed), and Issan (Mehdi Ag Mohamed), their twelve-year-old shepherd. In town, the people suffer, powerless, from the regime of terror imposed by the Jihadists determined to control their faith. Music, laughter, cigarettes, even soccer have been banned. The women have become shadows but resist with dignity. Every day, the new improvised courts issue tragic and absurd sentences. Kidane and his family are being spared the chaos that prevails in Timbuktu. But their destiny changes abruptly.

Review: VULTURE

In our Western-imperialist culture, “Timbuktu” is slang for the outer fringe of East Bumfuck, but it’s the center of the world in Abderrahmane Sissako’s shattering Timbuktu — a center that cannot hold. The city is on the edge of the Sahara Desert in Mali with one foot in Islamic culture and the other in West African, and so the film has the rare distinction of being in six different languages: French, Arabic, Bambara, Songhay, Tamasheq, and English (the last employed in desperation when a character’s Arabic is too lousy to be understood).

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

37. Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives

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Suffering from acute kidney failure, Uncle Boonmee has chosen to spend his final days surrounded by his loved ones in the countryside. Surprisingly, the ghost of his deceased wife appears to care for him, and his long lost son returns home in a non-human form. Contemplating the reasons for his illness, Boonmee treks through the jungle with his family to a mysterious hilltop cave – the birthplace of his first life.

Review: READER

The dead speak with the living, animals speak to humans, and—thanks to a dense sound mix suggesting musique concrete—the northern Thai jungle just won’t shut up in this hypnotic 2010 feature by Apichatpong Weerasethakul (Blissfully Yours, Tropical Malady). The title character is a tranquil landowner in his mid-60s, attended to by an assistant and family members both living and dead as he slowly dies of kidney failure.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

38.  City Of God

City Of God

Brazil, 1960s, City of God. The Tender Trio robs motels and gas trucks. Younger kids watch and learn well…too well. 1970s: Li’l Zé has prospered very well and owns the city. He causes violence and fear as he wipes out rival gangs without mercy. His best friend Bené is the only one to keep him on the good side of sanity. Rocket has watched these two gain power for years, and he wants no part of it. Yet he keeps getting swept up in the madness. All he wants to do is take pictures. 1980s: Things are out of control between the last two remaining gangs…will it ever end? Welcome to the City of God.

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Review: The Guardian

Never before have criminals looked so young: pre-pubescent, in fact. The City of God is like one vast, dysfunctional family, neighbors from hell with no neighbors, with no parents or concerned adults. It is a cross between an orphanage and an abattoir.

The movie tells the story of this slum, a grim housing project for the poor, from the late 1960s to the early 1980s; it tracks the story of both Rocket, a would-be press photographer (and a character whose purpose is probably to ventriloquise the sensibility of Paulo Lins, on whose novel the film is based), and Li’l Dice, who follows his gangster vocation with the passionate severity of a monk – the latter renaming himself, having notionally grown to man’s estate, as Li’l Ze (Leandro Firmino da Hora).

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

39. The New World

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Captain Smith is spared his mutinous hanging sentence after captain Newport’s ship arrives in 1607 to found Jamestown, an English colony in Virginia. The initially friendly natives, who have no personal property concept, turn hostile after a ‘theft’ is ‘punished’ violently on the spot. During an armed exploration, Smith is captured, but spared when the chief’s favorite daughter Pocahontas pleads for the stranger who soon becomes her lover and learns to love their naive ‘savage’ way of harmonious life.

Ultimately he returns to the grim fort, which would starve hadn’t she arranged for Indian generosity. Alas, each side soon brands their own lover a traitor, so she is banished and he flogged as introduction to slavish toiling. Changes turn again, leading Smith to accept a northern-more mission and anglicized Pocahontas, believing him dead, becoming the mother of aristocratic new lover John Rolfe’s son. They’ll meet again for a finale in England.

Review: Newsweek

Our mental picture of the English settlers’ landing in America tends to look as stiff as a grammar-school pageant: Englishmen right, with muskets; Indians left, bearing corn. Terrence Malick’s “The New World” wipes clean our palette. The visionary director of “Badlands” and “The Thin Red Line” dispenses with pomp and rhetoric, and plunks us in a grassy field that would become Jamestown, Va., where, in 1607, weary, armour-clad white men make the first contact with “the naturals.”

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

40. Brokeback Mountain

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Two young men, Ennis Del Mar and Jack Twist, meet when they get a job as sheepherders on Brokeback Mountain. They are at first strangers, then they become friends. Throughout the weeks, they grow closer as they learn more about each other. One night, after some heavy drinking, they find a deeper connection. They then indulge in a blissful romance for the rest of the summer. Unable to deal with their feelings for each other, they part ways at the end of the summer.

Four years go by, and they each settle down, Ennis in Wyoming with his wife and two girls, and Jack in Texas with his wife and son. Still longing for each other, they meet back up, and are faced with the fact that they need each other. They undeniably need each other, and unsure of what to do, they start a series of “fishing trips”, in order to spend time together. The relationship struggles on for years until tragedy strikes.

Review: The Sydney Morning Therald

It’s a slow film – as it should be. You need to sense the west’s vastness, and its loneliness. To Ennis and Jack, Brokeback Mountain is their own planet, remembered as the first and last place where they could be themselves. And the rest of their lives is a dream about the improbability of finding it again. Lee and his collaborators have tapped into Proulx’s story and gathered it up without missing a single sad, delicate nuance.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

41. Inside Out

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Growing up can be a bumpy road, and it’s no exception for Riley, who is uprooted from her Midwest life when her father starts a new job in San Francisco. Like all of us, Riley is guided by her emotions – Joy, Fear, Anger, Disgust and Sadness.

The emotions live in Headquarters, the control center inside Riley’s mind, where they help advise her through everyday life. As Riley and her emotions struggle to adjust to a new life in San Francisco, turmoil ensues in Headquarters. Although Joy, Riley’s main and most important emotion, tries to keep things positive, the emotions conflict on how best to navigate a new city, house and school.

Review: THE TIMES

The kid moves to new city. That’s the entire plot of Pixar’s newest movie, Inside Out, yet the ordinary trauma of an 11-year-old girl coming to terms with a new life and school while losing all her old, comforting, childish certainties has become a glittering, bravura piece of cinema, a comedy both wise and tender.

It takes place in parallel universes: one inside the young girl Riley’s head, the other in her real life. Riley’s emotions are colour-coded little people, Joy, Sadness, Fear, Anger and Disgust, all fighting for supremacy in her mind, and often all shouting at once.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

42.  Amour

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Georges and Anne are a couple of retired music teachers enjoying life in their eighties. However, Anne suddenly has a stroke at breakfast and their lives are never the same. That incident begins Anne’s harrowingly steep physical and mental decline as Georges attempts to care for her at home as she wishes. Even as the fruits of their lives and career remain bright, the couple’s hopes for some dignity prove a dispiriting struggle even as their daughter enters the conflict. In the end, George, with his love fighting against his own weariness and diminished future on top of Anne’s, is driven to make some critical decisions for them both.

Review: THE NEW YORKER

Georges is a musicologist, it seems; Anne is a piano teacher; they’re a long-married couple, they’re retired; they listen to music, read, attend concerts, are in tenuous touch with their grown daughter, also a classical musician. Not a hair or an opinion is out of place—the characters just rumpled and informal enough not to seem stuffy.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

43. Melancholia

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On the night of her wedding, Justine (Kirsten Dunst) is struggling to be happy even though it should be the happiest day of her life. It was an extravagant wedding paid for by her sister and brother-in-law who are trying to keep the bride and all the guests in line. Meanwhile, Melancholia, a blue planet, is hurtling towards the Earth. Claire (Charlotte Gainsbourg), Justine’s sister, is struggling to maintain composure with fear of the impending disaster.

Review: The Guardian

Melancholia is an absurd film in many ways, and yet it would be obtuse not to acknowledge those lightning bolts of visual inspiration. When Justine goes out into the fields to look at the awesome blue planet, and then takes her clothes off to bathe in its light – that really is powerfully erotic and strange

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

44. 12 Years A Slave

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Based on an incredible true story of one man’s fight for survival and freedom. In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty personified by a malevolent slave owner, as well as unexpected kindnesses, Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist will forever alter his life.

Review: TOI

12 Years A Slave is not a film for the faint-hearted. It is one of the most haunting, daunting movies made. But despite its unrelenting, tense brutality, you’re unable to tear your eyes away. This is what makes 12 Years A Slavea work of disturbing genius.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

45. Blue Is the Warmest Color

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Adèle is a high school student who is beginning to explore herself as a woman. She dates men but finds no satisfaction with them sexually, and is rejected by a female friend who she does desire.

She dreams of something more. She meets Emma who is a free spirited girl whom Adèle’s friends reject due to her sexuality, and by association most begin to reject Adèle.

Her relationship with Emma grows into more than just friends as she is the only person with whom she can express herself openly. Together, Adèle and Emma explore social acceptance, sexuality, and the emotional spectrum of their maturing relationship.

Review: The Guardian

What a passionate film it is. At the outset, Exarchopoulos’s Adèle is a shy, smart high-schooler who finds that she is lonely and tentative in her social life. A good-looking boy who likes her is rewarded with a brief relationship, but he is merely John the Baptist to the imminent Christ: Emma, played by Séydoux, a twentysomething art student. The romantic spark between them is a lightning bolt.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

46. Certified Copy

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James Miller has just written a book on the value of a copy versus the original work of art. At a book reading, a woman gives him her address, and the next day they meet and take a country-side drive to a local Italian village. Here, they discuss various works of art found in the town, and also the nature of their relationship – which gets both more revealed and concealed as the day progresses.

Review: The Guardian

It is a film that is pregnant with ideas, and for aspiring to a cinema of ideas Kiarostami is to be thanked and admired. But the simple human inter-relation between the two characters is never in the smallest way convincing, and there is a translated, inert feel to the dialogue.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

47. Leviathan

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On the outskirts of a small coastal town in the Barents Sea, where whales sometimes come to its bay, lives an ordinary family: Kolya (Aleksey Serebryakov), his wife Lilya (Elena Lyadova) and their teenage son Romka. The family is haunted by a local corrupted mayor (Roman Madyanov), who is trying to take away the land, a house and a small auto repair shop from Kolya. To save their homes Kolya calls his old Army friend in Moscow (Vladimir Vdovichenkov), who has now become an authoritative attorney. Together they decide to fight back and collect dirt on the mayor.

Review: The Guardian

Leviathan is a tragic drama, compelling in its moral seriousness, with a severity and force that escalate into a terrible, annihilating sort of grandeur. Zvyagintsev combines an Old Testament fable with something like Tarkovsky’s Sacrifice; it also has something of Elia Kazan’s On the Waterfront or Robert Rossen’s municipal graft classic All the King’s Men.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

48. Brooklyn

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Ireland, early-1950s. Eilis Lacey is a young woman working in a grocery shop. She has greater ambitions and moves to Brooklyn, New York, leaving her mother and sister, Rose, behind. She is terribly homesick but eventually settles down, finding a job, studying to be a bookkeeper and meeting a nice young man, Tony. Things are going well but then she learns that Rose has died, and decides to return to Ireland, temporarily. She and Tony hastily get married and then she sets off back to Ireland, alone.

Review: The Guardian

Empathetically adapted by Nick Hornby from Colm Tóibín’s novel, this tells the story of Eilis (the immaculate Saoirse Ronan), a young woman from Enniscorthy, County Wexford who finds herself almost unwittingly “away to America” and the new horizons of the titular east coast borough.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

49. Goodbye To Language

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The idea is simple: A married woman and a single man meet. They love, they argue, fists fly. A dog strays between town and country. The seasons pass. The man and woman meet again. The dog finds itself between them. The other is in one, the one is in the other and they are three. The former husband shatters everything. A second film begins: the same as the first, and yet not. From the human race, we pass to metaphor. This ends in barking and a baby’s cries.

Review: The Washington Post

“Goodbye to Language” is a confounding, even maddening thing, an abstract, purposefully opaque cinematic essay that invokes everything from Alexander Solzhenitsyn to Mao Zedong and Adolf Hitler but whose most lasting impression is the lambent gaze of a soulful, unusually charismatic dog.

That canine protagonist is named Roxy, and it belongs to the director, Jean-Luc Godard, the worshiped godfather of the French New Wave who here seems to be straining for depth, heft and relevance.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

50. The Assassin

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In 8th century China, 10-year-old general’s daughter Nie Yinniang is handed over to a nun who initiates her into the martial arts, transforming her into an exceptional assassin charged with eliminating cruel and corrupt local governors.

One day, having failed in a task, she is sent back by her mistress to the land of her birth, with orders to kill the man to whom she was betrothed – a cousin who now leads the largest independent military region in North China.

After 13 years of exile, the young woman must confront her parents, her memories and her long-repressed feelings. A slave to the orders of her mistress, Nie Yinniang must choose: sacrifice the man she loves or break forever with the sacred way of the righteous assassins.

Review: The Guardian

The Assassin was several years in the making, and finds the acclaimed director of Dust in the Wind, A City of Sadness and The Puppetmaster taking a groundbreaking foray into ancient history.

Loosely based on a Tang dynasty tale of a young woman raised as a killer (to which Hou and his writers have added both historical detail and imaginative backstory), The Assassin centres on Nie Yinniang (Shu Qi), taken from her home and raised by her aunt, the Princess-nun Jiaxin (Sheu Fang-yi), who teaches her to cut down quarry like “a bird in flight”.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

51. Inception

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Dom Cobb is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb’s rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved.

Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible, inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea, but to plant one. If they succeed, it could be the perfect crime. But no amount of careful planning or expertise can prepare the team for the dangerous enemy that seems to predict their every move.

Review:

DiCaprio, as a thief-for-hire named Cobb, doesn’t merely skulk around sleeping minds, pilfering strangers’ secret thoughts. He and his team, complete with architect, actually construct the dream worlds they’ll enter, with streets that can rise up and become walls—the city as Murphy bed—or, if things go wrong, a train roaring through city traffic.

You may get a headache keeping up with the plot as Cobb tries to plant a new idea in a man’s brain; stealing thoughts is simple, but adding one is a risky operation involving a dream within a dream within a dream. Even as you tick off the film’s overload of references, though—a Matrix here, a James Bond there—the amazing effects and Cobb’s quest carry you along.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

52. Tropical Malady

 Tropical Malady

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‘Tropical Malady’ explores the passionate relationship between two men with unusual consequences. The film is divided into two parts. The first half charts the modest attraction between two men in the sunny, relaxing countryside and the second half charts the confusion and terror of an unknown menace lurking deep within the jungle shadows.

Review: The Guardian

There is a sort of film – a rare sort – that has you leaving the cinema in a light-headed daze, pointing back at the exit and asking the person you’re with: “What just happened in there?” Such a one is this beautiful and strange Thai movie from director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, whose last film Blissfully Yours, about a Burmese immigrant and his Thai girlfriend was a little more conventional.

It may turn out to be a masterpiece or simply a cult classic or just barking mad. Either way, it’s sumptuous and scary, and a brilliant adventure in structure and style.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

53. Moulin Rouge!

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The year is 1899, and Christian, a young English writer, has come to Paris to follow the Bohemian revolution taking hold of the city’s drug and prostitute infested underworld.

And nowhere is the thrill of the underworld more alive than at the Moulin Rouge, a night club where the rich and poor men alike come to be entertained by the dancers, but things take a wicked turn for Christian as he starts a deadly love affair with the star courtesan of the club, Satine.

But her affections are also coveted by the club’s patron: the Duke. A dangerous love triangle ensues as Satine and Christian attempt to fight all odds to stay together but a force that not even love can conquer is taking its toll on Satine.

Review: The Guardian

From the first frame of this film, and all the way through until it slows right down for a ponderous, Andrew Lloyd Webber-style tragic ending, Moulin Rouge screams along at breakneck pace.

There is never a moment when we are not being frantically jolted and dislodged by some tic or quirk. This movie, though blessed with some stunning architectural design, never pays its audience the compliment of giving them the time and space to look around.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

54. Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

 Once Upon a Time in Anatolia

In the dead of night, a group of men drive through the Anatolian countryside to look for a corpse, the serpentine roads and rolling hills lit only by the headlights of their cars.

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Review: The Guardian

Few films are about simply waiting and talking, but this is one; a film in which, for most of the time, nothing appears to be happening – but, in fact, everything is. Nuri Bilge Ceylan’s new film is long and difficult, and perhaps not for everyone, but it is a kind of masterpiece: audacious, uncompromising and possessed of a mysterious grandeur in its wintry pessimism.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

55. Ida

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Poland, 1962. Anna, an orphan brought up by nuns in the convent, is a novice. She has to see Wanda, the only living relative, before she takes her vows. Wanda tells Anna about her Jewish roots. Both women start a journey not only to find their family’s tragic story, but to see who they really are and where they belong. They question what they used to believe in.

Review: RollingStone

Ida is an art film in the finest sense of the term — it is austere technique counterbalanced by emotions that bleed. Director and co-writer Paweł Pawlikowski (My Summer of Love) sets his tale in 1962, when convent-raised Anna (Agata Trzebuchowska), 18, is about to take her final vows. That’s when she learns she has an aunt, Wanda (Agneta Kulesza), a boozy, chain-smoking judge known for her hard line against enemies of Communism.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

56. Werckmeister Harmonies

 Werckmeister Harmonies

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This story takes place in a small town on the Hungarian Plain. In a provincial town, which is surrounded with nothing else but frost. It is bitterly cold weather – without snow. Even in this bewildered cold hundreds of people are standing around the circus trailer, which is put up in the main square, to see – as the outcome of their wait – the chief attraction, the stuffed carcass of a real whale. The people are coming from everywhere.

From the neighboring settlings, even from quite far away parts of the country. They are following this clumsy monster as a dumb, faceless, rag-wearing crowd. This strange state of affairs – the appearance of the foreigners, the extreme frost – disturbs the order of the small town. Aambitious personages of the story feel they can take advantage of this situation. The tension growing to the unbearable is brought to explosion by the figure of the Prince, who is pretending facelessness.

Review: The Guardian

In the present climate of art and life, to sit and watch Werckmeister Harmonies, the seventh feature film by the Hungarian director Béla Tarr, is to feel almost like a participant in an act of insurrection.

The story of Werckmeister Harmonies is taken from The Melancholy of Resistance, a 1989 novel by László Krasznahorkai, who has been one of Tarr’s collaborators on his three most recent films. These include Damnation (1987), with which he began to win an international audience, and the seven-hour Sátántangó (1994), of which Susan Sontag remarked: “I’d be glad to see it every year for the rest of my life.”

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

57. Zero Dark Thirty

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Maya is a CIA operative whose first experience is in the interrogation of prisoners following the Al Qaeda attacks against the U.S. on the 11th September 2001. She is a reluctant participant in extreme duress applied to the detainees, but believes that the truth may only be obtained through such tactics.

For several years, she is single-minded in her pursuit of leads to uncover the whereabouts of Al Qaeda’s leader, Osama Bin Laden. Finally, in 2011, it appears that her work will pay off, and a U.S. Navy SEAL team is sent to kill or capture Bin Laden. But only Maya is confident Bin Laden is where she says he is.

Review: CNN

The movie — which is utterly gripping — is an authoritative, precise, largely dispassionate account of how a CIA analyst in Pakistan worked for a decade tracking down Osama bin Laden. That work involved torture in the years immediately following 9/11, as a matter of historical record.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

58. Moolaadé

Moolaadé

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In an African village, this is the day when six 4-9-year-old girls are to be ‘cut’ (the act of female genital mutilation) All children know that the operation is horrible torture and sometimes lethal, and all adults know that some cut women can only give birth by Caesarean section. Two of the girls have drowned themselves in the well to escape the operation.

The four other girls seek “magical protection” (moolaadé) by a woman (Colle) who seven years before refused to have her daughter circumcised. Moolaadé is indicated by a coloured rope. But no one would dare step over and fetch the children. Moolaadé can only be revoked by Colle herself.

Her husband’s relatives persuade him to whip her in public into revoking. Opposite groups of women shout to her to revoke or to be steadfast, but no woman interferes. When Colle is at the wedge of fainting, the merchant takes action and stops the maltreatment. Therefore he is hunted out of the village and, when out of sight, murdered.

Review: The Guardian

This powerful movie addresses female mutilation as both a cruel practice to be abolished and as a metaphor for the traditional subjugation of women in a society dominated by self-regarding men who stand idly by as their wives do most of the work, the thinking and the child rearing. It ends affirmatively with the women on the point of controlling their destinies.

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59. A History Of Violence

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This is the story of a mild-mannered man, named Tom Stall, who becomes a local hero through an act of violence, he lives a happy and quiet life with his lawyer wife and their two children in the small town of Millbrook, Indiana. But one night their idyllic existence is shattered when Tom foils a vicious attempted robbery in his diner.

Sensing danger, he takes action and saves his customers and friends in the self-defence killings of two-sought-after criminals. Heralded as a hero, Tom’s life is changed overnight, attracting a national media circus, which forces him into the spotlight.

Uncomfortable with his newfound celebrity, Tom tries to return to the normalcy of his ordinary life only to be confronted by a mysterious and threatening man who arrives in town believing Tom is the man who wronged him in the past.

Review: The Sydney Morning Therald

Nobody goes to a David Cronenberg film to seek reassurance. His mission in life is to make you uncomfortable – to consider the sinister side of being human.

His latest film, A History of Violence, is fairly typical. Although truly dedicated Cronenberg fans have been carping at its mainstream tendencies, it, too, explores his preoccupation with the human capacity for doing damage.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

60. Syndromes And A Century

 Syndromes and a Century

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A story about director Apichatpong Weerasethakul’s parents who were both doctors, and director’s memories about growing up in the hospital environment.

Review: The Guardian

Syndromes and a Century is a poem on screen: a film of ideas and visual tropes that upends conventional narrative expectations, not out of a simple desire to disconcert but to break through the carapace of normality, to give us the knight’s-move away from reality that the Russian formalists said was the prerogative of art. It’s a movie to be compared with the work of Antonioni – or Sergei Parajanov.

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61. Under The Skin

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An alien entity inhabits the earthly form of a young woman who combs the roads and streets of Scotland in search of the human prey she came to plunder. She seduces her isolated and forsaken male victims into an otherworldly dimension where they are stripped and consumed. However, existence in all its complexity begin to change the alien visitor. She begins to discover herself as a human with tragic and terrifying consequences.

Review:  Chicago Tribune

The style of the picture is startling, combining many influences but never frivolously. Glazer shot much of it like a gritty, street-level documentary, with several tiny hidden characters placed inside the alien’s Ford van.

As “Under the Skin” travels farther north and the remote Scottish countryside presents new and dangerous horizons, the alien begins to assess the human race in a new way.

A lot of people, mostly men, will give “Under the Skin” a try because of the nudity. But it’s not that kind of nudity, really. It’s not any sort of conventional anything.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

62. Inglourious Basterds

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In German-occupied France, young Jewish refugee Shosanna Dreyfus witnesses the slaughter of her family by Colonel Hans Landa.

Narrowly escaping with her life, she plots her revenge several years later when German war hero Fredrick Zoller takes a rapid interest in her and arranges an illustrious movie premiere at the theater she now runs.

With the promise of every major Nazi officer in attendance, the event catches the attention of the “Basterds”, a group of Jewish-American guerrilla soldiers led by the ruthless Lt. Aldo Raine. As the relentless executioners advance and the conspiring young girl’s plans are set in motion, their paths will cross for a fateful evening that will shake the very annals of history.

Review: The Guardian

It fails as conventional war movie, as genre spoof, as trash and as pulp. Tarantino’s genius always lay in his audacious and provocative adventures in style, making generic textures bubble and react. His great riffs were sublime, similar to what Godard saw in Nicholas Ray: pure cinema. What happens when these surfaces fail to fizz? You get what you have here: great heavy lumps of nothing.

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63. The Turin Horse

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1889. German philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche witnessed the whipping of a horse while traveling in Turin, Italy. He tossed his arms around the horse’s neck to protect it then collapsed to the ground. In less than one month, Nietzsche would be diagnosed with a serious mental illness that would make him bed-ridden and speechless for the next eleven years until his death. But whatever did happen to the horse?

This film, which is Tarr’s last, follows up this question in a fictionalized story of what occurred. The man who whipped the horse is a rural farmer who makes his living taking on carting jobs into the city with his horse-drawn cart.

The horse is old and in very poor health, but does its best to obey its master’s commands. The farmer and his daughter must come to the understanding that it will be unable to go on sustaining their livelihoods. The dying of the horse is the foundation of this tragic tale.

Review: boston.com

The philosopher Nietzsche’s final act before going mad was to intervene when he saw a cabman beating a horse. This event took place in Turin. Hence the title of Béla Tarr’s ninth feature film, “The Turin Horse.”

“The Turin Horse” is in a very gray black and white. It looks the same way it feels: bleak, pure, forbidding, transfixing. Watching it, frankly, can be a bit of an ordeal. There’s hardly anything in “The Turin Horse” you would describe as entertaining, but there is a very great deal that’s beautiful and absorbing.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

64. The Great Beauty

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Journalist Jep Gambardella has charmed and seduced his way through the lavish nightlife of Rome for decades. Since the legendary success of his one and only novel, he has been a permanent fixture in the city’s literary and social circles, but when his sixty-fifth birthday coincides with a shock from the past, Jep finds himself unexpectedly taking stock of his life, turning his cutting wit on himself and his contemporaries, and looking past the extravagant nightclubs, parties, and cafés to find Rome in all its glory: a timeless landscape of absurd, exquisite beauty.

Review: The Guardian

Paolo Sorrentino’s La Grande Bellezza is a compelling tragicomedy of Italy’s leisured classes in the tradition of Antonioni’s La Notte or Fellini’s La Dolce Vita. It is a pure sensual overload of richness and strangeness and sadness, a film sometimes on the point of swooning with dissolute languour, savouring its own ennui like a truffle.

This is Sorrentino’s best film so far, a movie with all the angular caricature and cosmopolitan suavity that marked films such as Il Divo, The Family Friend and The Consequences of Love.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

65. Fish Tank

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Mia, an aggressive fifteen-year-old girl, lives on an Essex estate with her tarty mother, Joanne, and precocious little sister Tyler. She has been thrown out of school and is awaiting admission to a referrals unit and spends her days aimlessly. She begins an uneasy friendship with Joanne’s slick boyfriend, Connor, who encourages her one interest, dancing.

Review: The Guardian

In this film, Andrea Arnold has demonstrated her mastery and fluency in the social-realist idiom, and simply makes it fizz with life.

At the centre of the story is newcomer Katie Jarvis, playing Mia, a tricky, lairy 15-year-old in trouble with the social services for breaking a girl’s nose after a contretemps in one of the windswept municipal canyons lying between tower blocks.

Jarvis has given a wonderfully honest and open performance to be compared with David Bradley in Kes, or Émilie Dequenne in the Dardenne brothers’ Rosetta. Her relationship with Fassbender is what gives the film its beating heart.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

66. Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter…And Spring

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In the midst of the Korean wilderness, a Buddhist master patiently raises a young boy to grow up in wisdom and compassion, through experience and endless exercises. Once the pupil discovers his sexual lust, he seems lost to contemplative life and follows his first love, but soon fails to adapt to the modern world, gets in jail for a crime of passion and returns to the master in search of spiritual redemption and reconciliation with karma, at a high price of physical catharsis.

Review: The New York Times

”Spring, Summer, Fall, Winter . . . and Spring” is an exquisitely simple movie. Written and directed by Kim Ki Duk, it was filmed at a single location — a remote and picturesque mountain lake in a South Korean wilderness preserve — and it concentrates on the relationship between a Buddhist monk and his young protégé, characters whose names are never spoken. But like Blake’s ”Songs of Innocence and Experience,” the film’s lyrical plainness is the sign of a profound and sophisticated artistic sensibility.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

67. The Hurt Locker

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An intense portrayal of elite soldiers who have one of the most dangerous jobs in the world: disarming bombs in the heat of combat. When a new sergeant, James, takes over a highly trained bomb disposal team amidst violent conflict, he surprises his two subordinates, Sanborn and Eldridge, by recklessly plunging them into a deadly game of urban combat, behaving as if he’s indifferent to death. As the men struggle to control their wild new leader, the city explodes into chaos, and James’ true character reveals itself in a way that will change each man forever.

Review: TOI

The beauty of Bigelow’s film lies in the middle-of-the-road path it traverses. It may not be an overtly anti-war film like James Cameron’s Avatar; yet, it surely isn’t a pro-war film that unabashedly celebrates America’s foreign policy offensive in alien lands. It is a thinker’s film, that forces you to ponder on both the necessity and futility of violence in the modern world.

There’s a poignant — and thought provoking scene — at the end of the film where Sgt James (Jeremy Renner), who has defused 800 plus bombs, says he doesn’t know why he does it.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

68. The Royal Tenenbaums

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Three grown prodigies, all with a unique genius of some kind, and their mother are staying at the family household. Their father, Royal had left them long ago, and comes back to make things right with his family.

Review: The Guardian

Every single character in The Royal Tenenbaums is drawn with terrific wit and intelligence. But is it possible to feel moved by any of them, as Wes Anderson evidently expects? The answer – for all the soundtrack-melancholy that the director conjures up with vinyl classics from the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s – is no, because, unlike the more humanly ordinary Rushmore, the Royal Tenenbaums are a quirk away from real life

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

69. Carol

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In an adaptation of Patricia Highsmith’s seminal novel The Price of Salt, CAROL follows two women from very different backgrounds who find themselves in an unexpected love affair in 1950s New York. As conventional norms of the time challenge their undeniable attraction, an honest story emerges to reveal the resilience of the heart in the face of change.

A young woman in her 20s, Therese Belivet (Rooney Mara), is a clerk working in a Manhattan department store and dreaming of a more fulfilling life when she meets Carol (Cate Blanchett), an alluring woman trapped in a loveless, convenient marriage. As an immediate connection sparks between them, the innocence of their first encounter dims and their connection deepens.

While Carol breaks free from the confines of marriage, her husband (Kyle Chandler) begins to question her competence as a mother as her involvement with Therese and close relationship with her best friend Abby (Sarah Paulson) come to light.

Review: The Guardian

There is a shrewd homage to Brief Encounter, and the film also allows you to see the lineaments of classic Highsmith crime. The two women’s discontent casts light on a structural homoeroticism in Highsmith’s Strangers on a Train, famously filmed by Hitchcock: two men collude in a transgression to be rid of their respective encumbrances. Carol takes this through the gender looking glass, although here the transgression is a matter of love and free will.

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70. Stories We Tell

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In this inspired, genre-twisting new film, Oscar®-nominated writer/director Sarah Polley discovers that the truth depends on who’s telling it. Polley is both filmmaker and detective as she investigates the secrets kept by a family of storytellers. She playfully interviews and interrogates a cast of characters of varying reliability, eliciting refreshingly candid, yet mostly contradictory, answers to the same questions. As each relates their version of the family mythology, present-day recollections shift into nostalgia-tinged glimpses of their mother, who departed too soon, leaving a trail of unanswered questions. Polley unravels the paradoxes to reveal the essence of family: always complicated, warmly messy and fiercely loving.

Review: boston

“Stories We tell’’ is mostly about how we make narrative out of memory, carving events into fictions that answer our own private needs. It’s a process not unlike directing a movie, a fact of which Polley is well aware and which she gradually cops to, peeling layers off the onion of family mythology until every sibling, parent, and family friend is revealed as the author of what he or she saw. With this movie, Polley wants to put all the stories together and see where they fit together.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

71. Tabu

Tabu

Jacob Waldron stars as David, a handsome grad student who is smitten by Leyla, a beautiful undergrad from Turkey played by the talented Surrah Derleth. As an Armenian, David knows that dating a Turkish girl is beyond forbidden. It is tabu. Director D.R. Deranian takes interethnic love and the ensuing conflict to the edge.

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Review: The Guardian

All of the films is in black and white, but this shift into the past is accompanied with a new aged-up graininess, a quasi-silent movie. There is no dialogue, but rather a narrative voiceover from the older Ventura (Henrique Espírito Santo). It is a self-conscious conceit, but carried off elegantly.

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72. Only Lovers Left Alive

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Adam (Tom Hiddleston), an underground musician, reunites with his lover for centuries (Tilda Swinton) after he becomes depressed and tired with the direction human society has taken. Their love is interrupted and tested by her wild and uncontrollable little sister (Mia Wasikowska).

Review: The New York Times

In many ways, “Only Lovers Left Alive” is among Mr. Jarmusch’s most voluptuous movies — full of rare and gorgeous images and sounds, heavy with wistful sighs and sprinkled with wry, knowing jokes — but it is also thin and pale, and perhaps too afraid of daylight for its own good.

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73. Before Sunset

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Early thirty-something American Jesse Wallace is in a Paris bookstore, the last stop on a tour to promote his best selling book, This Time. Although he is vague to reporters about the source material for the book, it is about his chance encounter nine years earlier on June 15-16, 1994 with a Parisienne named Celine, and the memorable and romantic day and evening they spent together in Vienna.

At the end of their encounter at the Vienna train station, which is also how the book ends, they, not providing contact information to the other, vowed to meet each other again in exactly six months at that very spot. As the media scrum at the bookstore nears its conclusion, Jesse spots Celine in the crowd, she who only found out about the book when she earlier saw his photograph promoting this public appearance.

Review: The Guardian

It’s a very talky film, with lots of unbroken travelling takes as Jesse and Céline meander through the parks and thoroughfares of Paris, generating funny, funky dialogue, which Delpy, Hawke and Linklater have co-written

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74. Spring Breakers

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Brit, Candy, Cotty, and Faith have been best friends since grade school. They live together in a boring college dorm and are hungry for adventure. All they have to do is save enough money for spring break to get their shot at having some real fun. A serendipitous encounter with rapper “Alien” promises to provide the girls with all the thrill and excitement they could hope for. With the encouragement of their new friend, it soon becomes unclear how far the girls are willing to go to experience a spring break they will never forget.

Review: The Guardian

Like that other spring-break classic, Piranha 3D, Spring Breakers is naturally an excuse to show lots of semi-naked women and men – but mostly women – with in-your-face/in-their-swimsuit-area shots. Alien is always gasping at how pretty his foursome are: giggling, they pose for the imaginary photo he frames with his fingers – and yet all the women and indeed men on camera are pretty.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

75. Inherent Vice

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During the psychedelic 60s and 70s Larry “Doc” Sportello is surprised by his former girlfriend and her plot for her billionaire boyfriend, his wife, and her boyfriend. A plan for kidnapping gets shaken up by the oddball characters entangled in this groovy kidnapping romp based upon the novel by Thomas Pynchon.

Review: The Guardian

This movie is so distinct from everything and everyone else, and watching it is like encountering a higher order of film-making, more advanced and evolved. The mystery of Doc’s lost love has a freaky power, but also delicacy, melancholy and charm. I can’t wait to see it again.

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76. Dogville

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Late one night, a beautiful and well-dressed young woman, Grace (Nicole Kidman), arrives in the mountainous old mining town of Dogville as a fugitive; following the sound of gunshots in the distance which have been heard by Tom (Paul Bettany), the self-appointed moral spokesman for the town. Persuaded by Tom, the town agree to hide Grace, and in return she freely helps the locals.

However, when the Sheriff from a neighbouring town posts a Missing notice, advertising a reward for revealing her whereabouts, the townsfolk require a better deal from Grace, in return for their silence; and when the Sheriff returns some weeks later with a Wanted poster, even though the citizens know her to be innocent of the false charges against her, the town’s sense of goodness takes a sinister turn and the price of Grace’s freedom becomes a workload and treatment akin to that of a slave. But Grace has a deadly secret that the townsfolk will eventually encounter.

Review: The Guardian

Dogville is a formal experiment in filmed theatre, inspired by televised drama classics such as the Royal Shakespeare Company’s small-screen Nicholas Nickleby of the 1970s. It is set in a small town in Depression-era America, but shot on one giant sound stage, with the street plan marked in chalk. The turning of doorhandles is mimed, and the sound effect overdubbed.

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77. The Diving Bell And The Butterfly

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Forty-three-year-old Elle magazine editor Jean-Dominique Bauby – Jean-Do to his friends – awakens not knowing where he is. He is in a Berck-sur-Mer hospital, where he has been for the past several weeks in a coma after suffering a massive stroke.

Although his cognitive facilities are in tact, he quickly learns that he has what is called locked-in syndrome which has resulted in him being almost completely paralyzed, including not being able to speak. One of his few functioning muscles is his left eye.

His physical situation and hospitalization uncomfortably bring together the many people in his life, including Céline Desmoulins, his ex-lover and mother of his children; Inès, his current lover; and his aged father who he calls Papinou. Among his compassionate recuperative team are his physical therapist Marie, and his speech therapist Henriette.

Review: The Guardian

Armed with Ronald Harwood’s robust screenplay, Schnabel has applied his visual sense to create a distinctive look and feel for his movie, part magic lantern, part hallucinatory fuzz, a watery depth from which float up memories and reveries, fantastical constructions and visions.

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78. The Wolf Of  Wall Street

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Jordan Belfort is a Long Island penny stockbroker who served 22 months in prison for defrauding investors in a massive 1990s securities scam that involved widespread corruption on Wall Street and in the corporate banking world, including shoe designer Steve Madden.

Review: The Guardian

While The Wolf of Wall Street slavishly apes the style and structure of Goodfellas, the dramatic magnetism that made Ray Liotta’s Henry Hill so watchable is sorely absent. This is not a criticism of DiCaprio, whose full-throttle performance is both tightly nuanced and insanely OTT. Rather, it’s a problem with the subject, whose reptilian repugnance and vacuum-sealed amorality Scorsese and screenwriter Terence Winter fail to crack.

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79. Almost Famous

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The early 1970s. William Miller is 15-years old and an aspiring rock journalist. He gets a job writing for Rolling Stone magazine. His first assignment: tour with the band Stillwater and write about the experience. Miller will get to see what goes on behind the scenes in a famous band, including the moments when things fall apart. Moreover, for him, it will be a period of new experiences and finding himself.

Review: Newsweek

“Almost Famous” is sunny, poignant and often hilarious. After a grim, overhyped summer, it’s a rush to encounter a movie that actually makes you feel good.

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80. The Return

The Return

In the Russian wilderness, two brothers face a range of new, conflicting emotions when their father – a man they know only through a single photograph – resurfaces.

Review: The Guardian

It looks and feels like a classic, not just a Russian classic, but an English schoolroom classic like something by RL Stevenson or William Golding or John Le Carré.

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81. Shame

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Brandon is a 30-something man living in New York who is unable to manage his sex life. After his wayward younger sister moves into his apartment, Brandon’s world spirals out of control. Shame examines the nature of need, how we live our lives and the experiences that shape us.

Review: The Guardian

Shame is an interesting title: Brandon feels spasms of disgust and self-pity more than shame, but the point is rather that shame lies deeply buried under all of this. Brandon and Sissy live in an underworld melodrama of fear – not so much Crime and Punishment, but Addiction and Humiliation. With tremendous performances from Fassbender and Mulligan, and such superb technique from McQueen, this is a horrible inferno.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

82. A Serious Man

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Bloomington, Minnesota, 1967: Jewish physics lecturer Larry Gopnik is a serious and a very put-upon man. His daughter is stealing from him to save up for a nose job, his pot-head son, who gets stoned at his own bar-mitzvah, only wants him round to fix the TV aerial and his useless brother Arthur is an unwelcome house guest.

But both Arthur and Larry get turfed out into a motel when Larry’s wife Judy, who wants a divorce, moves her lover, Sy, into the house and even after Sy’s death in a car crash they are still there. With lawyers’ bills mounting for his divorce, Arthur’s criminal court appearances and a land feud with a neighbour Larry is tempted to take the bribe offered by a student to give him an illegal exam pass mark.

And the rabbis he visits for advice only dole out platitudes. Still God moves in mysterious – and not always pleasant – ways, as Larry and his family will find out.

Review: The Guardian

The Coen brothers’ authorial identity as film-makers has always marked out an intriguing spectrum between broad, bright comedy and bitter darkness, and when their creations are pitched at just the right distance between each, the resulting film is a marvel. So it is here. It has something to do with the tonally elusive quality of the film, and also with not using established stars – which makes sure that we do not get our bearings.

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83. A.I. Artificial Intelligence

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In the not-so-far future the polar ice caps have melted and the resulting rise of the ocean waters has drowned all the coastal cities of the world. Withdrawn to the interior of the continents, the human race keeps advancing, reaching the point of creating realistic robots (called mechas) to serve them.

One of the mecha-producing companies builds David, an artificial kid which is the first to have real feelings, especially a never-ending love for his “mother”, Monica. Monica is the woman who adopted him as a substitute for her real son, who remains in cryo-stasis, stricken by an incurable disease.

David is living happily with Monica and her husband, but when their real son returns home after a cure is discovered, his life changes dramatically.

Review: RogerEbert

The first act of the film involves Henry and Monica Swinton (Sam Robards and Frances O’Connor). Henry brings David home to fill the gap left by their own sick little boy, Martin (Jake Thomas). Monica resists him, and then accepts him.

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84. Her

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Theodore is a lonely man in the final stages of his divorce. When he’s not working as a letter writer, his down time is spent playing video games and occasionally hanging out with friends. He decides to purchase the new OS1, which is advertised as the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system, “It’s not just an operating system, it’s a consciousness,” the ad states.

Theodore quickly finds himself drawn in with Samantha, the voice behind his OS1. As they start spending time together they grow closer and closer and eventually find themselves in love. Having fallen in love with his OS, Theodore finds himself dealing with feelings of both great joy and doubt. As an OS, Samantha has powerful intelligence that she uses to help Theodore in ways others hadn’t, but how does she help him deal with his inner conflict of being in love with an OS?

Review: The Guardian

The film draws distantly on futuristic fantasies like Isaac Asimov’s I, Robot, with a molecule of Michael Crichton. Yet Scarlett Johansson clearly approached her role in nothing like the same spirit that Yul Brynner played the cowboy-robot in Westworld, in 1973.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

85. A Prophet

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Nineteen year-old Franco-Arab Malik El Djebena is just starting his six year prison sentence in Brécourt. Although he has spent the better part of his life in juvenile detention, this stint is his first in an adult prison. Beyond the division of Corsicans and Muslims in the prison (the Corsicans who with their guard connections rule what happens in the prison), he has no known friends or enemies inside.

He is just hoping to serve his time in peace and without incident, despite having no prospects once he’s out of jail since he’s illiterate and has no support outside of the prison. Due to logistics, the head of Corsican inmates, a sadistic mafioso named César Luciani, co-opts Malik as part of the Corsicans’ activities, not only regarding what happens inside the prison, but also continued criminal activities outside. The innocent Malik has no idea what to do but cooperate.

Review: The Guardian

It comports itself like a modern classic from the very first frames, instantly ­hitting its massively confident stride. This is the work of the rarest kind of film-maker, the kind who knows precisely what he is doing and where he is going. The film’s every effect is ­entirely intentional.

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86. Far From Heaven

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Cathy is the perfect 50s housewife, living the perfect 50s life: healthy kids, successful husband, social prominence. Then one night she stumbles in on her husband Frank, kissing another man, and her tidy world starts spinning out of control.

In her confusion and grief, she finds consolation in the friendship of their African-American gardener, Raymond – a socially taboo relationship that leads to the further disintegration of life as she knew it. Despite Cathy and Frank’s struggle to keep their marriage afloat, the reality of his homosexuality and her feelings for Raymond open a painful, if more honest, chapter in their lives.

Review: The Guardian

This extraordinary film, written and directed by Todd Haynes in homage to the “women’s drama” Hollywood pictures of Ross Hunter and Douglas Sirk, is a cinematic event – an event where I came to mock and stayed to pray.

Everything about Far from Heaven playfully yet reverently alludes to the 1950s as a movie genre. The rich and digitally enhanced autumn leaves feature as tableaux, and as a discreet and tasteful design for the opening and closing credits.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

87. Amélie

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Amélie is a story about a girl named Amélie whose childhood was suppressed by her Father’s mistaken concerns of a heart defect. With these concerns Amélie gets hardly any real life contact with other people. This leads Amélie to resort to her own fantastical world and dreams of love and beauty. She later on becomes a young woman and moves to the central part of Paris as a waitress.

After finding a lost treasure belonging to the former occupant of her apartment, she decides to return it to him. After seeing his reaction and his new found perspective – she decides to devote her life to the people around her. Such as, her father who is obsessed with his garden-gnome, a failed writer, a hypochondriac, a man who stalks his ex girlfriends, the “ghost”, a suppressed young soul, the love of her life and a man whose bones are as brittle as glass. But after consuming herself with these escapades – she finds out that she is disregarding her own life and damaging her quest for love.

Review:  The Guardian

The most remarkable fantasy of this movie is the “Paris” that Jean-Pierre Jeunet conjures up. Bizarrely, it is supposed to be modern Paris, or at any rate the Paris of 1997, at the time of Princess Diana’s death. But what with the accordion music and the cafes and the sepia tint that soaks through panoramic shots of the city skyline, it could be the Paris of 50 years before.

The most successful part of the movie is the first act: Amelie’s childhood, when all the fantasy and naivety work best.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

88. Spotlight

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When the Boston Globe’s tenacious “Spotlight” team of reporters delves into allegations of abuse in the Catholic Church, their year-long investigation uncovers a decades-long cover-up at the highest levels of Boston’s religious, legal, and government establishment, touching off a wave of revelations around the world.

Review: The Guardian

With its convincingly mundane scenes of journalists bashing phones, knocking on doors and trawling through dusty records, Spotlight inevitably draws comparison with Alan J Pakula’s All the President’s Men. Precise detail aside, there’s little of Pakula’s cinematic panache on display here.

For Full Movie Review, Click Here.

 

89. The Headless Woman

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This film is centered around Vero, an Argentinean bourgeois woman, and how her life slowly twists out of control after she hits something, or someone, with her car. Here comes the incident that changes everything, as Vero is driving, she is distracted by her cell phone and looks down to get to it. By the time she does this, her car hits something but the camera stays in it as we see her car shaking and rattles.

Although Vero seems indifferent about the situation, it is clear that it has a toll on it as she acts different from the Vero that we saw briefly at the beginning of the film. She acts clumsy and out of place, barely saying anything, and when she does, it doesn’t always make sense or has a lot of substance. This solidifies towards the end of the movie when she is going to retrace her steps to remember her memory, but in the hospital and the Hotel she stayed in, there was no record proving that she was there.

Review: The Guardian

In the past decade, there have been three great films about guilt, denial and the return of the repressed: Mike Leigh’s Vera Drake in 2004, Michael Haneke’s Hidden in 2005 – and this is the third, La Mujer Sin Cabeza, or The Headless Woman, directed by Lucrecia Martel and co-produced by Pedro and Agustín ­Almodóvar. It is a masterly, disturbing and deeply mysterious film about someone who strenuously conceals from ­herself the knowledge of her own guilt.

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90. The Pianist

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In this adaptation of the autobiography “The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man’s Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945,” Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jewish radio station pianist, sees Warsaw change gradually as World War II begins. Szpilman is forced into the Warsaw Ghetto, but is later separated from his family during Operation Reinhard. From this time until the concentration camp prisoners are released, Szpilman hides in various locations among the ruins of Warsaw.

Review: The Sydney Morning Therald

It’s hard to make a great film about the Holocaust, as Steven Spielberg discovered with Schindler’s List. How to tell this story and keep faith with those who went through it, and still make it bearable to watch?

There’s a difference between authenticity and credibility. Spielberg made a film full of the former, but his characters lacked credibility. He had to imagine what evil looked like, and decided it should be visible on the surface, as movies often do.

In the end, his engrossing movie still felt like a movie. The Holocaust demands something more – a higher standard of reality, perhaps, or the sense of testament. With The Pianist, his best movie since Chinatown in 1974, Roman Polanski does just that. He’s telling someone else’s story, but it’s a displaced form of autobiography.

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91. The Secret In Their Eyes

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In 1999, retired Argentinian federal justice agent Benjamín Espósito is writing a novel, using an old closed case as the source material. That case is the brutal rape and murder of Liliana Coloto.

In addition to seeing the extreme grief of the victim’s husband Ricardo Morales, Benjamín, his assistant Pablo Sandoval, and newly hired department chief Irene Menéndez-Hastings were personally affected by the case as Benjamín and Pablo tracked the killer, hence the reason why the unsatisfactory ending to the case has always bothered him.

Despite the department already having two other suspects, Benjamín and Pablo ultimately were certain that a man named Isidoro Gómez is the real killer. Although he is aware that historical accuracy is not paramount for the novel, the process of revisiting the case is more an issue of closure for him.

Review: The Guardian

And so, yet another great film gets a pointless and slightly wrong Hollywood remake, and this one tiptoes sheepishly into cinemas while everyone is looking the other way – preparing for the Academy Awards. It

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92. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

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Taking place in the American Northwest in the early 1880s, the film dramatizes the last seven months in the life of famed outlaw Jesse James, beginning with the Blue Cut train robbery of 1881 and culminating in his assassination at the hands of Robert Ford the following April. In the time between these two fateful events, the young and jealous Ford befriends the increasingly mistrustful outlaw, even as he plots his demise.

Review: The Atlantic

The bulk of the film concerns itself with the shifting dynamics between these men, the affection and jealousies, alliances and betrayals. The others are all in awe of James, but terrified of him, too, and not without reason. The tension is most acute for young Ford, who has kept a stash of Jesse James storybooks under his bed since youth.

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93. Ratatouille

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A rat named Remy dreams of becoming a great French chef despite his family’s wishes and the obvious problem of being a rat in a decidedly rodent-phobic profession. When fate places Remy in the sewers of Paris, he finds himself ideally situated beneath a restaurant made famous by his culinary hero, Auguste Gusteau. Despite the apparent dangers of being an unlikely, and certainly unwanted, visitor in the kitchen of a fine French restaurant, Remy’s passion for cooking soon sets into motion a hilarious and exciting rat race that turns the culinary world of Paris upside down.

Review: The Guardian

Judged solely in terms of animation technique, Bird’s film is a masterpiece. The over-bright, fauvist colours that typified those early CGI outings have now been tempered by a richer, more subtle palette.

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94.  Let the Right One In

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Oskar, a bullied 12-year old, dreams of revenge. He falls in love with Eli, a peculiar girl. She can’t stand the sun or food and to come into a room she needs to be invited. Eli gives Oskar the strength to hit back but when he realizes that Eli needs to drink other people’s blood to live he’s faced with a choice. How much can love forgive? Set in the Stockholm suburb of Blackeberg in 1982.

Review: Los Angeles Times

In this sinister but gorgeous and compelling film by director Tomas Alfredson, being human and acting human don’t always go together. Oskar meets Eli one night in their building’s courtyard, and he’s naturally drawn to her. A dusky ice princess with black hair, fathomless eyes and the ability to maul a man four times her size, she is everything the fragile, translucent Oskar is not.

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95. Moonrise Kingdom

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Set on an island off the coast of New England in the 1960s, as a young boy and girl fall in love they are moved to run away together. Various factions of the town mobilize to search for them and the town is turned upside down – which might not be such a bad thing.

Review: The Guardian

Anderson’s movies often mark out their own weirdly regressive, faintly dysfunctional space, from which the modern world has been politely excluded, and whose occupants communicate in a kind of modified private language. In Moonrise Kingdom he takes us back to 1965, in a little coastal town in New England called New Penzance.

Anderson’s movies are vulnerable to the charge of being supercilious oddities, but there is elegance and formal brilliance in Moonrise Kingdom, as well as a lot of gentle, winning comedy.

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96. Finding Nemo

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A clown fish named Marlin lives in the Great Barrier Reef and loses his son, Nemo, after he ventures into the open sea, despite his father’s constant warnings about many of the ocean’s dangers. Nemo is abducted by a boat and netted up and sent to a dentist’s office in Sydney. While Marlin ventures off to try to retrieve Nemo, Marlin meets a fish named Dory, a blue tang suffering from short-term memory loss. The companions travel a great distance, encountering various dangerous sea creatures such as sharks, anglerfish and jellyfish, in order to rescue Nemo from the dentist’s office, which is situated by Sydney Harbour. While the two are searching the ocean far and wide, Nemo and the other sea animals in the dentist’s fish tank plot a way to return to the sea to live their lives free again.

Review: The Times

A Delicious tale by the Pixar maestros who gave us Toy Story and Monsters, Inc. The tropical pleasure is a beautifully imagined adventure that beguiles children and tickles adults. Nemo is a hapless clown fish who gets separated from his classmates on his first day at school and incarcerated in a saltwater aquarium in a dental surgery in Sydney.

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97. White Material

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Denis revisits Africa, this time exploring a place rife with civil and racial conflict. A white French family outlawed in its home and attempting to save its coffee plantation connects with a black hero also embroiled in the tumult.

Review: The Guardian

There’s a mysterious, brooding presence throughout the film in the shape of Ivorian actor Isaach de Bankolé, a terrifically charismatic actor who featured in Denis’s debut, the Cameroon-set Chocolat in 1988. Here, he plays The Boxer, a inspirational Che-like guerrilla fighter wanted by government troops, who lies wounded and bleeding to death, hidden on the Vial estate.

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98. Ten

 Ten

Ten women find themselves in a vacant mansion on Spektor Island in December, 1972. Each believes she’s traveled to the house on business, but they all agree that something seems strange.

99. The Gleaners And I

The Gleaners and I

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An intimate, picaresque inquiry into French life as lived by the country’s poor and its provident, as well as by the film’s own director, Agnes Varda. The aesthetic, political and moral point of departure for Varda are gleaners, those individuals who pick at already-reaped fields for the odd potato, the leftover turnip.

Review: The Guardian

The term “gleaners” refers to a now-defunct strand of mainly female agricultural workers who flourished in feudal France. The “I”, in this case, is film-maker Agnes Varda, apparently still going strong in her eighth decade.

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100. Carlos

Carlos

Olivier Assayas electrified the Cannes Film Festival with CARLOS, his epic and definitive portrait of the notorious international terrorist known as Carlos the Jackal, who masterminded a wave of terror attacks in Europe and the Middle East in the ’70s and ’80s.

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Review: The Guardian

This is a film about the spectacle, or perhaps more specifically the secret spectacle, of a shadowy individual with a military flair for terrorism and a monkish vocation for revolution in its most rigidly abstract sense, which resulted in an existence that was not “stateless” exactly – Carlos’s privileges were granted by the super-state of Soviet communism – but nomadic, lonely, galvanised by the compulsive preparation for violent assault and the fear of arrest.

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