Its soundtrack awash in era-specific deep cuts, Last Night in Soho is a cautionary tale about the dangerous allure of nostalgia that nonetheless radiates affection for ‘60s Soho’s electric energy. Reveling in its own deliriousness, it’s a mash-up spearheaded by an enchanting Taylor-Joy as a specter whose dashed dreams are the stuff of nightmares. Loss leads to retreat for Edee (Robin Wright), a woman who responds to an unspecified tragedy by moving to a remote Wyoming cabin in Land. Willfully cut off from civilization, Edee finds her new survivalist existence more than a bit difficult, what with the bitter cold, the sparse food (courtesy of fishing), and the occasional outhouse run-in with a bear. In her directorial debut, Wright employs compositions that call understated attention to the alienated anguish of her protagonist, whom she embodies as a fragmented (and potentially suicidal) woman with a sorrow as deep and cold as the vast wilderness. A spark comes at her moment of wintery death courtesy of Miguel (Demián Bichir), a rancher who revives her first literally, and then figuratively, teaching her to hunt (as her personal Yoda) and reminding her of the vital human connection that gives everything purpose.

The movie is stunning, but also worth watching just so you can recognize when other movies reference it. Never has there been a mainstream movie so tailored to straight women’s sexuality. If you only ever see one Marvel Cinematic Universe film, make it Black Panther. This movie changed the way superhero films were thought of for a generation of young viewers, and that’s something worth watching in itself. Anchored by Jennifer Lopez as the Tejano star, Selena Quintanilla, Selena manages to make a biopic that honors the music and musician while also shedding light on her rich family life and her tragic death. Hayao Miyazaki is often called “The Japanese Walt Disney,” but even that high accolade doesn’t quite do him justice.

After more than 16 months of streaming at home, I went to a theater to watch Matt Damon sing the white-guy blues in “Stillwater.” The movie was poky and trite and irritating, and I reviewed it accordingly. And while I regretted it wasn’t better, I was still grateful because it sent me back to theaters, big screens and other moviegoers. Jamie Ballard (she/her) is a freelance writer and editor who covers news, lifestyle, and entertainment topics, including sex and relationships, TV, movies, books, health, pets, food and drinks, pop culture, shopping, and personal finance.

The movie is confounding, ridiculous, and absolutely heart-rending. On the surface, Boogie Nights is about the porn industry, and is loosely based on the life of real life performer John Holmes. Boogie Nights recreates such a specific time and place—in this case, the San Fernando Valley at the tail end of the 1970s—so perfectly, it feels almost like it was made at that time, too. It also features an all star cast including Mark Wahlberg, Burt Reynolds, Julianne Moore, Don Cheadle, John C. Reilly, Heather Graham, William H. Macy, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and more.

The original is absolutely worth seeing, an intricate head game from a master player. If one thing unites the 10 disparate choices on my list — which ranges from an old-fashioned French costume drama to an Afrofuturist science-fiction musical, with a couple of documentaries in the mix — it is that critical spirit. They seem to question not only the aspects of human experience they represent, but also their own methods and assumptions. They are pictures very much in motion, thinking out loud in the darkness. Amid endless agonizing over the State of Cinema, the actual releases proved a bounty for film lovers, whether fans of the art house or the multiplex.

top movies

Toy Story clearly established that it wasn’t just a technical animation marvel—it’s a poignant story about identity and nostalgia. Sure, it’s set in high school, and, yes, it mines the trials and tribulations of teen life for laughs, but that’s where the similarities end. Heathers is a pitch-black satire about a rebellious couple (Winona Ryder and Christian Slater) who decide to push back against the tyrannical popular kids—unfortunately, it leads to murder. It’s high school as a bizarre fever dream, with a unique style and language all its own (“What’s your damage?”). Four boys in the 1950s set off on a sunny afternoon to see a dead body.

  • Funny, satirical, and masterfully acted all around, it’s a real gem that deserves its place among the all-time classics.
  • You don’t even have to have seen a Rocky movie to know Bill Conti’s iconic score, and people throw around lines like “These go to 11” or “I’ll have what she’s having” even if they haven’t actually seen This is Spinal Tap or When Harry Met Sally.
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  • Gripping and artful, it’s a benchmark for the genre that had come a long way from old castles and bats.
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  • When a man mysteriously plummets to his death from a mountain, detective Jang Hae-joon (Park Hae-il) is sent to determine if he could have been murdered.
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  • It’s the kind of good movie that runs you through the gamut of emotion but rewards you for the journey.
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  • (We invented box office reporting, in addition to the words “showbiz” and “horse opera.”) And in making this list, we wanted to reflect the beautiful, head-spinning variety of the moviegoing experience.

This mystery about corporate raiders who literally steal ideas from people’s dreams is twisted and bizarre. It’s also bolstered by some of the most imaginative visual effects ever devised—cities folding in on themselves, a zero-gravity fight scene inside a spinning hallway, etc. The fact that director Christopher Nolan dropped this in his downtime between epic Batman movies is astounding. Most movies on a Best Of list are standouts in their genre, or they changed the way movies were made or perceived, or they defined a generation.

Each story is a self-contained vignette, and the mix of humor and melancholy wins you over each time. A past-his-prime actor (Bill Murray) in Tokyo to make quick cash doing commercials befriends the lonely girlfriend (Scarlett Johansson) of a photographer who leaves her to fend for herself while he’s off working. That’s the premise of Lost In Translation, a sweet, funny, and romantic movie about meeting your soulmate at the wrong time, and the magic of being completely out of one’s element in every conceivable way. Murray and Johansson are an unlikely but incredible onscreen couple. The late ’70s and early ’80s saw a lot of movies about the nightmare of urban living—New York, in particular, was usually the focal point of how crime-ridden and lawless cities were becoming, which led to movies like Escape from New York and Death Wish.

That’s just the beginning of the ordeal writer/director Devereux Milburn has in store for his protagonists, who are joined at their dinner by a dazed-looking man with a bandaged head, and who soon discover that Karen has devious plans for them–some of it having to do with her daughter. Crafted with jarring edits and split screens for maximum disorientation, the ensuing mayhem is stunning, scary and considerably gross, heralding the arrival of a uniquely out-there horror voice. Credit for that resilience goes in large part to the insatiable appetite of American cinephiles, as well as the abundance of terrific features that, over the past twelve months, have graced screens both big and small. No matter where they premiered (or were seen), offerings from illustrious auteurs and promising newcomers were everywhere, led by the latest from Joel Coen, Joachim Trier, Roy Andersson, Paul Thomas Anderson and Ryusuke Hamaguchi, whose dramas comprise our top five. Emmett Till—the Chicago teen who was kidnapped, tortured, and lynched in 1955 while visiting family in Mississippi—is a name Americans know.

Lawrence helped unify Arab tribes during WWI in a struggle against the German-allied Turks. The movie is a masterclass in scope and scale—filling the scene with vast desert locales so massive you can almost feel the radiating heat. It took home a boatload of Oscars after its release, and it’s not difficult to see why.

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