Rogue One

Poster for the movie "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story"

At first, I was going to give this one a pass. And then, I started to hear good things about it. Great thing about it, even. So, I grew curious, and went… Wow, what a treat. This will be my second favourite Star Wars movie, I am sure. Take note, George Lucas. This is how you make a prequel. Oh, and those last few frames were just the perfect ending.

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The Handmaiden

Poster for the movie "The Handmaiden"

First things first: Yes, I agree, this is not as good as Oldboy (but then again, how many things are?). However, this movie is still head and shoulders above most of Hollywood’s production. Disturbing, provocative, full of twists and turns, just sit back and enjoy the ride.

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Nocturnal Animals

Poster for the movie ""

This was powerful… Disturbing (there is a gruelling 20 minutes scene near the beginning that I found quite hard to watch), but powerful. And superbly stylish, although I expect no less from Tom Ford. Will Amy Adams be her own competition when it comes to Oscars season? In any case, a masterclass in acting performance by all involved. Definitely one of my top 10 favorite movies of 2016.

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Margin Call

Poster for the movie ""

I was skeptical. Especially after having endured Wall Street 2. How wrong was I. Finally, a movie about the financial crisis (and trading floors) that is not a caricature, is actually pretty close to the truth, and still a good movie to watch! With a phenomenal cast, a great script (with only a couple of clunky let-me-explain-to-you-what-is-going-on dialog moments), this was a very pleasant surprise indeed.

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Twelve Monkeys

Poster for the movie "Twelve Monkeys"

There are not many very good Science-Fiction movies out there, let alone ones that would appeal to a broader audience than the typical fans of the genre. This is one of them. From the acclaimed former Monty Python Terry Gilliam (I promise to talk about Brazil as well at a later stage), comes a visual and intellectual treat, which still remains fun and easy to watch. And now I can’t get this Astor Piazzolla tango out of my head…

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The Game

Poster for the movie "The Game"

I don’t know why I like this movie so much. Granted, David Fincher is obviously one of my favourite directors, but this particular film has never generally been considered to be one of his finest. Yet somehow, I don’t seem to care, and every time I watch it, I get sucked in for the ride and thoroughly enjoy it. Am I the only one?

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Eastern Promises

Poster for the movie ""

I’ve already discussed David Cronenberg’s A history of violence, and in this one the director teams up again with Viggo Mortensen (with a superb Naomi Watts along for the ride) to produce yet another masterpiece. Still not for the squeamish (I’m looking at you, extraordinarily brutal Turkish bath scene), but well worth your time.

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The Lincoln Lawyer

Poster for the movie ""

I will confess freely that I was not a huge fan of Matthew McConaughey until now. However, after seeing this movie, I can change my mind and agree that he not only has the looks, he also has the (acting) chops necessary to pull off this adaptation of Michael Connelly‘s novel. Let’s not forget some great supporting actors (special mention to Marisa Tomei) who definitely help fleshing out the characters of the book. I can’t wait for the sequel, or to see if somebody will dare to bring Harry Bosch to the screen after this.

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Poster for the movie "Surveillance"

Jennifer Lynch is most definitely her father‘s daughter. I believe the words twisted and disturbing were featured on the poster and, for once, those quotes were actually very much warranted. Filmed with a small budget, the great performances by Julia Ormond and Bill Pullman elevate this movie to a much bigger level. Save it for a day where your stomach doesn’t feel too tender though…

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Lust, Caution

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Ang Lee certainly made some bigger and more famous movies (Brokeback mountain, The ice storm and Crouching tiger, hidden dragon) but this one is an overlooked little gem. A beautiful love, duty and espionage story set in Japanese-occupied China, this movie deserves to be on your Netflix queue. Oh, and if you are wondering where you have seen Joan Chen (Mrs Yee) before, this is where

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Inside Man

Poster for the movie "Inside Man"

I am a sucker for a good crime caper. The perfect murder, the perfect con, and now, the perfect heist. Maybe a strange choice for Spike Lee to direct, but a great little treat as a result. Do you like Denzel Washington? Jodie Foster? Clive Owen? Then sit back, enjoy, and watch (very carefully)…

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Black Swan

Poster for the movie "Black Swan"

To begin with, it wasn’t my first pick. Let’s see, a movie about a possibly psychotic ballet dancer… Not exactly made for me. I had found Darren Aronofsky’s Requiem for a dream way too depressing, but this time he nails it with this little gem. Not great for a popcorn movie night out, but a fantastic performance by Natalie Portman, well deserving her Oscar win.

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L.A. Confidential

Poster for the movie "L.A. Confidential"

Talking about Chinatown in my previous post reminded me about another Film Noir favourite of mine. From a novel by James Ellroy, one of the greatest crime writers, with a superb ensemble cast, L.A. confidential is a masterpiece and sets the bar very high for any adaptation to the screen of a supposedly difficult book… It can be done, and this is how you do it.

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The Ghost Writer

Poster for the movie "The Ghost Writer"

Whatever you think of the man himself, Roman Polanski is an amazingly talented director, and this might just be his finest movie. I know I may have to argue that statement when I finally get around to posting about Chinatown, but I stand by it. Great (and understated) performances by all the actors involved, and a taut thriller of a script like I haven’t seen in a while, make for a very enjoyable movie until the very last seconds.

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The Hurt Locker

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One of last year’s very pleasant surprises and a well deserved oscar for Kathryn Bigelow. Although to be fair the last few years best picture has been more or less on the mark since the triple fiasco of 2001 (Gladiator?), 2002 (A beautiful mind??), and 2003 (Chicago???). But I digress. Jeremy Renner is superb, both tense and human at the same time, the editing is phenomenal and will grip you and won’t let go. This is not your average war movie.

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No Country for Old Men

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Featuring the scariest haircut in the history of Hollywood and some otherwise less hair-related great performances by Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Tommy Lee Jones and Woody Harrelson, this is a modern classic. Even if you think the Coen Brothers have already filmed that same movie a few too many times, this is their masterpiece. Scary and funny in turns, well worth watching if you haven’t seen it already.

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V for Vendetta

Poster for the movie "V for Vendetta"

Remember, remember the 5th of November… I guess I am a tad late for this, but that little nursery rhyme was playing in my head today and reminded me that I should write about this movie. You may not care about comic books but Alan Moore who wrote this one (as well as Watchmen and From Hell, amongst others) is very good. With a fantastic plot set in a parallel fascist United Kingdom, great acting from both Natalie Portman and a masked Hugo Weaving, you will be hooked until the final fireworks.

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Vivement Dimanche!

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François Truffaut’s last (and in my opinion best) movie, an hommage to his beloved Alfred Hitchcock. Fanny Ardant is in superb form and Jean-Louis Trintignant is the perfect grumpy unwilling counterpoint. A little gem of a funny film noir or comedy crime mistery, whatever you want to call it, this movie is well worth watching.

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Infernal Affairs

Poster for the movie "Infernal Affairs"

As much as I like Martin Scorcese and The Departed, this was yet another case of a perfectly unnecessary remake. Unless you really can’t get past the fact that it has subtitles, you should watch the original. Fast paced and even more intense, with no big names on the screen to distract from the plot, it won’t let you go until the end. And in case you are lucky enough not to know what this is about, don’t read anything about it. It will be even better!

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Poster for the movie "Laura"

As I (slowly) work my way through the list of all my favourite movies, I realized that between all the 40s classics, I like Casablanca, I really enjoy The Maltese falcon, but Laura is the only one I really truly love. A perfect little gem of a film noir with Gene Tierney and Dana Andrews, don’t miss it if you have never watched it before.

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