Pacific Rim (2013)

Guillermo del Toro brings a proper sense of weight to his tribute to kaiju films. His considered visuals and habit of infusing all of his films with such an obvious, identifiable, eclectic sense of style makes the film rise above a lot of the thinness of its genre. Both the monsters and the gargantuan human-piloted…

Annihilation (2018)

Writer-director Alex Garland follows up his excellent 2015 science-fiction film about artificial intelligence, “Ex Machina”, with a much more ambitious and bold film, “Annihilation”, a cerebral look at stasis and change, growth and stagnation, and humanity’s inclination towards self-destruction. Garland’s writing is strong, but his direction rarely embodies the imaginative nature of the premise (apart…

Boogie Nights (1997)

An effortlessly stylish look at the creative process, and finding family wherever one can. Paul Thomas Anderson makes it look easy with how much style he has on display (though he never really manages to top the excellent long tracking shot that opens the movie), and the cast is game with their kooky set of…

The Lost City of Z (2016)

“The Lost City of Z” follows the life of Percy Fawcett, and his many exploratory journeys to South America which became searches for a supposed lost city in the jungles of Brazil called “Z”. It a stunning, ambitious epic of a film, a story told so strangely, but with such confidence, precision, and scale. For…

Personal Shopper (2016)

An interesting rumination on grief in the guise of a horror film and by ways of examining the role of technology in the modern world (and what that means for modern “ghost stories”). Kristen Stewart maps a journey from a woman cursed to live a half-life, to avoid feeling anything out of (managed, under-the-surface) fear…

The Terminal (2004)

Part inspired-by-a-true-story (of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who really did live for years in an airport), part Spielbergian riff on Tati’s “Playtime”, “The Terminal” is a fun, inoffensive Tom Hanks romp with enough absurdity to let it rise slightly above its generic romantic comedy drama nature. The film is at its best when its prodding the…

Phantom Thread (2017)

An astonishingly well-made, gorgeous, very precisely composed take on power dynamics within relationships. At times period drama, at times a very sly romantic comedy, it’s a fascinatingly original take on the eccentric male genius and his young muse story, never interested in the easy or most satisfying decisions, always probing deeper and slyer. It’s a…