The titles are listed alphabetically; here’s G to M
Get Out (Jordan Peele, 2017) “Get Out” is a horror film—there are all manner of shocks and jumps—but like all great genre films it isn’t just that. It could more rightly be called a social thriller, a film that looks at everyday ills—in this case racial tension—through the lens of a genre movie.
The Grand Budapest Hotel (Wes Anderson, 2014) It’s a wittily whimsical story that feels transported in from a bygone era. It’s funny and elegant, feeling like a throwback to the Ealing Comedies complete with social commentary, farce and laugh-out-loud situational comedy.
The Handmaiden (Park Chan-wook, 2016) What begins as a con game ends as a (SPOILER ALERT) a triumph of undervalued women who use the manipulation of the men in their lives as a weapon. It’s a complicated revenge story, ripe with detail and secrets. As vaguely trashy art house cinema goes, however, it doesn’t get much more enjoyably escapist than “The Handmaiden.”
Inception (Christopher Nolan, 2010) It’s a movie that takes ideas very seriously—ideas drive the plot—and, as a result, takes its audience seriously. It never talks down to the crowd and in return demands viewers to pay attention. For those who do there are many rewards, and for those who aren’t willing to get drawn into the surreal story there are still many pleasures. That’s how finely crafted this movie is.
Inside Out (Pete Docter, 2015) From dazzling animation, to a script that toggles between childlike wonder and ingenious introspection “Inside Out” is glued together with a degree of emotional acumen not often found in mainstream film. In other words, it will make you laugh, cry and think.
Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig, 2017) “Lady Bird” bangs familiar gongs but director Greta Gerwig and Saoirse Ronan, with ample help from the supporting cast, help those notes resonate loudly and clearly. The material is tenderly observed on both sides of the camera, imbued with a refreshingly genuine point of view.
The Lighthouse (Robert Eggers, 2019) “The Lighthouse,” an expressionist nightmare captured in shadows and light by director Robert Eggers, is a period piece that pits Willem Dafoe and Robert Pattinson against the primal forces of paranoia and pathological behavior. Despite the presence of two very popular actors “The Lighthouse” is not exactly a mainstream movie. Instead it is more of an expertly rendered gothic slow burn that brings with it an atmosphere of dread shrouds the film like fog rolling into shore.
Melancholia (Lars von Trier, 2011) It’s a feel bad movie, heavy with symbolism and in no hurry to explain itself, but in its own claustrophobic, closed-down way is a naturalistic and compelling look at people in distress.
Moonlight (Barry Jenkins 2016) “Moonlight” is a movie that beats with a very human heart while subverting expectations with almost every scene. Jenkins has placed obstacles in the way of the story telling—multiple actors playing the same characters, and a lead who is succinct almost to the point of being mute—but overcomes those hurdles with a combination of social conscience, fine acting and interesting characters who constantly defy pigeonholing.