ENJOY THE SHOW
"Good cinema is good cinema." -Agnes Varda. Looking back at the 69th Berlin Film Festival this year, there honestly weren't that many great films. A few really stood out (like Golden Bear winner Synonyms), but in general the line-up was pretty dismal. Even the competition selection was mostly awful. I saw a total of 24 films over 10 days at Berlinale 2019, and looking back over them, my favorites were all documentaries. So to recap Berlinale this year, I put together a list of my 5 favorite docs which also happen to be 5 excellent films that are very much worth watching. It's always hard to convince people (anyone, really) to watch a documentary. So the least I can do is highlight my favorites and try to explain why they're good. If you have time, watch all five, but if not, at least watch one of them - I guarantee you'll be enriched by these fine films.
The 2018 Sundance Film Festival has finally come to an end and to put a wrap on the fest and finalize our nearly two weeks of coverage, it's time to present our Best of the Fest list. I was able to see a total of 44 films across 10 days, but I couldn't catch everything and missed a few films getting lots of good buzz from critics (e.g. The Souvenir, Them That Follow, Queen of Hearts, Monos). I saw around 12 documentaries this year, so instead of separating docs and features this year, I decided to present one big list of my 8 favorite films - a mix of docs and features. All of these films below are worth seeing, and I highly recommend seeking them out. I am so happy that Sundance continues to program some of the best films all year, as well as more innovative, unique, challenging, fascinating, and enchanting features from all over the world. Below are my favorites, the films that stuck with me and have remained on my mind throughout the festival. Let's dive in.
"I keep feeling like big moments get stolen away from me." Another year, another Top 10 list. And although we're already well into 2019, it's never too late to share this list. It's time to present my personal list of my Top 10 Favorite Films of 2018. Admittedly, it's always a challenge for me to put together a Top 10 list, just because there's never enough time to watch (and rewatch) everything. Many of these I really wanted to see again before writing about. So I just have to go with what I feel in my gut. My top three this year are some of the most innovative, ambitious, and awe-inspiring films I've seen in a long time - and I love them all in equal measure. So I ranked them here anyway but could easily switch them around depending on how I feel each day. But I am more than happy to reveal my favorites, all the films I fell madly in love with in 2018.
Over the last 12 months, I've seen more than 110 new releases — that's over nine days of time in total spent watching movies — and I'm happy to report that it's been an exceptional year at the cinema. In fact, I could probably make a Top 50 Best Films of 2018 list and still leave off a few notable titles. Just think about it – we got to see vital new work from visionary filmmakers like Steven Spielberg, Alex Garland, Alfonso Cuaron, Spike Lee, Lynne Ramsay, and newcomer Boots Riley, whose Sorry to Bother You is one of the most unique and refreshingly original movies of the year. We witnessed fantastic performances by Lady Gaga, Ethan Hawke, Rachel Weisz, Emma Stone, Mahershala Ali, Richard E. Grant, as well as Christian Bale. We saw breathtakingly beautiful films like Roma, The Favourite, If Beale Street Could Talk, and First Man – works of flawless craftsmanship by cinematographers and production designers alike.
Great films need an equally great score to back them up. And 2018 has been an incredible year for both! The marriage between sound and image is a special craft that too frequently goes unrecognized or under-appreciated. Depending on your school of thought (what you were taught), original scores should either fold in seamlessly into the fabric of a film or they should stand out as a way to enhance the storytelling. A perfect film, however, knows how to balance both where we can marvel when necessary. The few I've chosen to highlight as my favorites have a shared through-line. Not only are there superficial commonalities (like former members of rock groups making the list), collectively they form a musical time capsule for the year's universally-shared emotions. I've excluded musical creations that are primarily soundtracks (sorry, A Star in Born), but it was still a challenge to narrow down the 10 that deserve to be highlighted (and purchased).
The 2018 Sundance Film Festival has finally come to an end and to put a wrap on the fest and finalize our nearly two weeks of coverage, it's time to present our Best of the Fest list. I was able to see a total of 42 films across 10 days, but I couldn't catch everything and missed a few films getting lots of buzz (Burden, Madeline's Madeline, Never Going Back, Monster, Yardie). I saw a total of 10 documentaries, so instead of separating docs and features this year, I decided to present one big list of my 8 favorite films (in honor of it being 2018). There was no Call Me By Your Name this year (that one stayed my #1 the entire year), but I enjoyed so many other wonderful films and I'm happy I could see so many at the festival. Let's get into this.
"If you only knew how little I really know about the things that matter…" It was a year of masterpieces, another outstanding year of films big and small, funny and serious, that I fell madly in love with. It's time to present my personal list of my Top 10 Favorite Films of 2017. Admittedly, it's always a challenge for me to put together a Top 10 list, just because there's never enough time to watch (and rewatch) everything. So I just have to go with what I feel in my gut. This year, my #1 film is one that could not be topped for the entire year - I first saw it at the Sundance Film Festival in January, and it remained my #1 for the next 11 months. As for the rest of my picks, I've included two documentaries because they both made me unabashedly happy.
Another year, another stellar slate of motion pictures seeing release. Despite what others might say about it (once again) being an off year at the movies, there were definitely some true winners worth seeking out. All you had to do was find them. Films that moved us, resonated with us, and out-and-out blew us away all saw release in 2017, so much of them, in fact, that, as with previous years at the cinema, it was difficult coming up with the 10 best. Here you will find my Top 10 Films of 2017, those motion pictures that spoke to me more than others, but someone else's Top 10 could just as easily be a completely different set of movies. It's a testament to just how strong a year is for movies that the Best Of lists are so diverse (view Adam's here).
Over the last 12 months, I've seen more than 100 new releases — that's over eight days of time in total spent watching new movies — and I'm happy to report that it's been another incredible year at the cinema, despite claims that "film is dead." This year, I was lucky enough to see vital new work by visionary filmmakers like Denis Villeneuve, Guillermo del Toro, Steven Spielberg, and Darren Aronofsky. I witnessed soul-stirring performances by Frances McDormand, Timothee Chalamet, Mary J. Blige, Willem Dafoe, Sally Hawkins, and Michael Stuhlbarg. And I was thoroughly entertained by emotionally engaging, visually impressive blockbusters like War for the Planet of the Apes, Wonder Woman, Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Blade Runner 2049. So which films did I enjoy the most? Which are my favorites? Let's find out.
The best of the best - that you didn't see last year. We have returned with another set of worth watching, underseen films from 2016. Back again is our annual list of the 19 Best Movies That You Didn't See in 2016 (find all the past lists here: 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007). Featured below is a hand-picked, double-checked line-up of the best independent and/or mainstream films that were either quietly dumped, ignored by audiences, or not marketed well enough. There's a mix of documentaries and features, all of them criminally underseen. So to give them some extra attention in the spotlight, and to support some of the finest filmmakers out there, here's our best you didn't see in 2016 recap. Full list below!
"Without love, what reason is there for anything?" What a year. Admittedly, it's always a challenge for me to put together a Top 10 list, just because there's never enough time to watch (and rewatch) everything. That said, I fell head-over-heels in love with a number of movies in 2016 and it was easy to put them on this list. I learned so much from my Favorite Films of 2016. Paterson taught me to love poetry (and write some of my own). La La Land reminded me that dancing is the key to life, and jazz is awesome. Captain Fantastic taught me to always seek the truth. Pete's Dragon reminded me that sometimes we must believe in magic. I'm invigorated by how much movies often affect me, and the more emotional I get, the more I love them.
More often than not a good soundtrack in a movie can be just as captivating as the visuals in which it accompanies. We live within the world of that film as we experience watching it, but a good soundtrack – composed score or curated list of songs – can allow us to reengage with the film on a purely auditory level sometimes even offering up an entirely new perspective. It's why this list is always such a joy to put together at the end of any year (review my previous soundtrack picks for the Best of 2014 and Best of 2013). Listed below are my Top 10 Soundtracks/Scores of 2016, and, as always, it's a fun list to put together. These are the scores and song lists I will surely be listening to in the coming months, the soundtracks that are every bit as memorable as the films themselves. (You can also find my Top 10 Films of 2016 here.) Enjoy!