The 20 best films of 2017

2017 didn’t improve much on 2016. If anything, the horror and dread of last year only seemed to take root and blossom this year, as some of our worst collective fears were realized and the future seemed to grow dimmer with every bad-news bulletin and misjudged tweet. If there was a constant, at least for cinephiles,…

The best film scenes of 2017

Ryan Gosling slugging it out with Harrison Ford in a ballroom of holograms. Saoirse Ronan defiantly rolling out of a moving vehicle. Soldiers sitting like ducks on a beach as a German fighter plane dives menacingly out of the sky. All of the above moments—and a couple dozen more besides—would have made fine additions…

Nocturama is a mesmerizing, disturbing tour de force—and one of the best films of the year

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A nocturama is the part of the zoo where they keep the small animals that only come out at night. The term is obscure, but evocative—so, an apt title for the audacious and disturbing new film by the French writer-director Bertrand Bonello (House Of Pleasures, Saint Laurent), the longer second part of which finds a…

This year, the Oscars celebrate 60 years of ignoring movies from around the world

I’m not going to pretend that Bertrand Bonello’s Nocturama is the kind of film that would ever be nominated for an Oscar, even in that strange tide pool of a category called Best Foreign Language Film. It’s more than just an unlikely candidate: It’s an anti-candidate, an unseemly cinematic monster so hopeless that…

Christopher Guest presents Mascots and we pick our festival favorites

Mascots (Grade: C), Christopher Guest’s first mockumentary since A Mighty Wind (and first feature as a director in over a decade), offers up an unwieldy cast of familiar Guest-ian caricatures, but little sympathy. There’s another problem: The wacky sports mascot competition in which this particular set of over-sharing…