Sid and Nancy (1986)
"Even if "Sid and Nancy" doesn't quite represent the imperfect perfection in which punk music so often traffics, Alex Cox's confident visual symbolism -combined with Chloe Webb & Gary Oldman's performances -grant it piercing volume and knotty shape."
"Like "What Lies Beneath," another Zemeckis genre programmer that digs into ideas of intimate betrayal but with superior results. He sacrifices his usual brand of burnished gentleness and wowing spectacle for something gruff, grim and sometimes gory."
"Ostensibly an alien story, "Arrival" tackles, with confidence and clarity, conflict in whether mankind will acquiesce or aggress, come together or cloister tighter, compromise or collapse. Here is a masterwork of both the moment and the millennium."
From Dusk Till Dawn (1996)
Oasis: Supersonic (2016)
Jack Reacher: Never Go Back (2016)
The Accountant (2016)
"Embraces its idiosyncratic and icy reserve before immolating it with a four-blowtorch attack of dopey sentiment, clunky exposition, unsurprising "surprises" and illogical twists. After 128 minutes, the promising setup feels four films ago."
Big Night (1996)
"It will send your salivary glands into Tex Avery territory, but "Big Night" is layered with the delicacy, care & closely guarded alchemy of a family recipe - evolving beyond food as emotional or communicative currency into something more bittersweet."
Deepwater Horizon (2016)
"It's often easy to zone out early, but let the weight of the math behind the numbers hit you relative to the lives lost - danger, devastation and death due to worry about a one-millionth profit percentage. That, and the second act's fury, floors you."
"Umberto Eco seems unduly dismissive of a film that had to excise his postmodern trappings and scholarly sidebars. But it hasn't just been stripped down to a tawdry whodunit. Here, albeit in a streamlined way, the whydunit matters as much, if not more."
War Dogs (2016)
"There's no "Gimme Shelter," but "War Dogs" feels like a sort of Martin Scorsese LEGO set down to a Jonah Hill minifig with articulated middle fingers you can raise. Were it not for Hill's slyly physical performance, the film would be utterly useless."
Sausage Party (2016)
"Cranks the absurdity of the narrative and the anxieties in frightening, analogous real-world neuroses we cling to long past sell-by dates. Sounds like a harshed mellow, but the whole thing is stoned immaculate. Your body will hurt from laughing."
Jason Bourne (2016)
"Like watching three NBA All-Stars, whom you know haven't lost a step, return to the court and perform nothing but three-man weave drills. Worse yet, it actively undoes everything about Bourne that elevated him above an amnesiac, ass-beating cipher."
Something Wild (1986)
"Radiantly human even as, and after, it erupts in violence and rage, "Something Wild" remains an astonishing rarity - a bittersweet romantic tragicomedy that's generally optimistic ... but also hesitant and harmful exactly where it needs to be."
"As generously global as it is intensely introspective, this is the finest pure-music documentary since 2012's "A Band Called Death." A splendid look at the happy accidents, and intentional elation, found in a fermata of fertile creativity."
The Purge: Election Year (2016)
"Continues to tap into very believable oppression and outrage, and the outer limit of how greatly you might lay your body down for a platform and a person. A natural endpoint offering far tougher face-offs against real-world ideas than you may expect."
The Phantom (1996)
"Maybe "The Phantom" would have been better served betting the house on its old-school aesthetic. Supertitles. Narrators. Melodramatic music. Cheesy? Sure, but bravely so, in a way that would make it a bold outlier rather than a mostly blasé casualty."
Independence Day: Resurgence (2016)
"Whatever enjoyment you find is more of an OK-fine white flag than a willful surrender to masterful spectacle. Though consistently slick, the visual effects in "Independence Day: Resurgence" boast all the awe and wonder of a software upgrade. "
Now You See Me 2 (2016)
"A character in "Now You See Me 2" calls Macau "the Vegas of Asia." Consider this, then, the Fremont Street of sequels: a curiosity whose novelty fades fast and only gets cheesier, sadder and more shamelessly desperate to please the longer you linger."
Flirting With Disaster (1996)
"An immaculately constructed Rube Goldberg device that accumulates comic energy and speed as it reaches its finale, built from social and emotional hypocrisies we use to try and paper over our vices. It's what Russell does now, only far less serious."
"Ultimately, "Popstar" and the Lonely Island tip more sacred cows than they slaughter, but their approach absolutely fits the material. This isn't a satire of the way we live now, but it's a wise, wicked and funny satire of the way we leisure now."
Wise Guys (1986)
"It's tempting to dismiss "Wise Guys" as a pointless, ill-advised forebear to "Dumb and Dumber." But even if only for an act, you sense De Palma striving for more artful zaniness a la the Marx Brothers or a grimmer side of the Ealing Comedy spectrum."
Staub (Dust) (2007)
"Before it came to a thudding halt with a craven, creatively bankrupt franchise cash-grab, the rich world of "Highlander" - in all its bombast and bereavement - was, and is, worth getting lost in for two hours."
Black Moon Rising (1986)
"One long, fuel economy-eroding idle before a mildly interesting vehicle stunt. For all its potential, "Black Moon Rising" only proves history's deep, dark cracks are there for a reason and some movies are fated to fall into them at 325 miles an hour."
Zoolander 2 (2016)
"Profoundly unfunny. Ferrell and Wiig work their usual weird, wacky magic together. But even they take on the sad desperation of EMTs who are wielding defibrillators that have, like the Blue Steel-lipped corpse beneath them, expired a long time ago."
"Condensed in clever ways that meet standards of class commentary set forth by both Austen and Romero, however dissimilar their methods. These two great tastes may not taste great together per se. But it's worth taking down an entire box just once."
Beautiful Girls (1996)
"Does "Beautiful Girls" philosophically aspire to much more than mirroring a Counting Crows lyric from "Mr. Jones?" Maybe not. But there's a barroom eloquence, bottle-bottomed anxiety and stumblebum sadness to it that lingers in its bones."
"This may sound like a work of novelty animation or perhaps a novella of an idea for Kaufman. But here is an acridly funny, achingly resonant and meticulously constructed film about emotional insecurity, delusional envy and the myopia of loneliness."
"Bay seems enraged by the military-industrial complex you'd expect him to embrace. It feels like a major tipping point. It also still feels like a Michael Bay movie. But his occasional excesses don't overwhelm an otherwise raw, ragged, merciless film."
The Revenant (2015)
"A coonskin-cap "Saving Private Ryan" opening suggests a compelling confluence of Michael Mann and John McTiernan. Instead, this becomes a long - insufferably long - day's journey into night, indulging Iñárritu's intrusive filmmaking more than usual. "
"Ominous, operatic, often emulated but never equaled. This is go-for-broke, GOAT-level filmmaking - not only upending expectations but exceeding them with unanticipated success in its elegant, exciting examination of existential and emotional entropy."
The Hateful Eight (2015)
"This is Quentin Tarantino's bleakest vision yet -a bit unruly and untidy but unforgettable because it's the filmmaker at his angriest and most ambitious. It's an enraged fireside chat and a tremendously entertaining, caustically humorous Western. "
"Todd Haynes' most rapturous, riveting film in two decades. An exquisite romance of both gossamer beauty and gargantuan emotions, propelled by two of the year's best female performances and a synesthetic symbiosis between its cinematography and score."
"Even as it gets stuck between stations, "Joy" is an engaging - and, at the right moments, enraging - tale about both perseverance and the psychology behind purchasing. It may be time for David O. Russell to move on from his repertory players, though."
Cutthroat Island (1995)
"It's hardly the landlubber suggested by its reputation (which has more likely shifted more toward novel curiosity than cautionary tale). But if all the parties involved suspected they were going broke, they should have gone *for* broke to boot."
In the Mouth of Madness (1995)
"Despite its otherworldly milieu, "Madness" taps into apocalyptic anxieties about real-world rhetoric - chiefly that it's turning virulent to a point where our collective cultural antibodies can't, or won't, fight off the disease. A fine horror film."
Mississippi Grind (2015)
"A captivating, contemporary, sometimes comic spin on the antebellum allure of a downriver gambling odyssey - soaking in the sights of the trip and soaring on unexpectedly excellent juju of the odd-couple casting for the two low-rollers at its center."
After Hours (1985)
"As absurdist angst-ridden comedy, "After Hours" isn't flawless. As Martin Scorsese's way of using art to cathartically shake off bugaboos, exorcise demons and bounce back stronger after major dream-project setbacks, it's its own sort of masterpiece."
The Walk (2015)
"Despite a wobbly start, "The Walk" eventually finds its feet once you realize Zemeckis and company are delivering a confident, charming and unexpectedly stirring version of the tale aimed more at children than Marsh's warts-and-all documentary."
The Green Inferno (2015)
"Minor beefs aside, "The Green Inferno" is both a furious, full-stop cannibal horror show and a way for Eli Roth to ferociously gnaw at meat on the bone he has to pick with today's social-media milieu."
Real Genius (1985)
"A witty, whip-smart and wise classic. It checks crowd-pleasing boxes of college-comedy tropes while boasting a cheerful view that optimism in education is not a sucker's bet but one to place over and over to keep things interesting ... and weird."
My Science Project (1985)
"The inventive finale can't save a painfully slow film that feels like a cheap, hastily wrapped assembly-line product. Like "Back to the Future," it's instructive in the perils of rose-colored nostalgia, but only because it's worse than you remember."
"The grueling obstacles here bypass injury straight into a sort of Cronenberg on Ice body-horror show. You want mountain-climbing ecstasy? Go see "Meru." Harsh, humbling, haunting and exhausting, "Everest" chronicles the agony and skillfully so."
American Ultra (2015)
"Aided by martial arts training (footage of which would make the greatest Blu-ray extra ever), Jesse Eisenberg can only keep "American Ultra" moving for so long before it tops out at modest velocity squarely in the middle of the road."
Straight Outta Compton (2015)
"The first hour is electrifying in all the right ways. Its second half trades impact for incident, ultimately rendering "Straight Outta Compton" little more than a multimillion-dollar reenactment - albeit a persuasively acted and vividly rendered one."
The Gift (2015)
"It does little to reinvent how it riles you, but it doesn't have to. Co-star/writer/director Joel Edgerton delivers a confidently patient, psychologically potent and wonderfully acted (especially by Bateman) parable of victimization and vindication."
"To call "Re-Animator" campy and leave it at that seems a knee-jerk reaction to discredit, or disregard, the clear skill behind an excellent American horror movie. Even at its most outrageous, it's controlled by a steady, confident hand with a plan."
Mute Witness (1995)