Top 5: Top Critics Celebrate the DC&C Era

By Dear Cast & Crew

Mailed on April 06, 2017

Dear Film Lovers,

We'd like to interrupt all this fifth anniversary navel-gazing with some special contributions from some of our favourite critics in the world.

We asked them to share their Top 5 Films of the DC&C Era (2012 - Today). Consider this an all-star cheat sheet for deciding (a) what films to finally catch up on, and (b) who you can trust (you know, besides us) when it comes to navigating the world of cinema.

Peter Howell – The Toronto Star

Moonlight (2016)
Barry Jenkins brings a sensitive eye and compassionate soul to this story of a man's growing up and coming out. Exceeds all stereotypes as it reminds us of the power of great cinema.

Son of Saul (2015)
László Nemes's debut feature brings home the reality of the Nazi horror while also leaving much terror to the imagination.

Boyhood (2014)
Richard Linklater's masterpiece of form and content tracks a young actor from boy to man over a span of 12 years. You're watching real life unfold on the screen -- and it's like nothing you've ever seen before.

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
The Coen Bros.' uncanny evocation of the early '60s New York City folk music scene makes for a wistful, wryly humorous and unforgettable film. A star turn for Oscar Isaac.

Holy Motors (2012)
A marvelous mystery tour to mourn and celebrate cinema. Leos Carax zooms us through one Paris day and a lifetime of movies, transported by a white limo and the chameleon Denis Lavant.

Adam Kempenaar – Filmspotting

The Master (2012)
At its core a tale of two men struggling to express and accept their love for each other, which we see throughout PTA's work – including, of course, the father-son relationship in "There Will Be Blood. His films are populated with people struggling to be self-made men, determined to assert their identities by whatever means necessary. Some succeed, but at what cost to their humanity? Anderson is the supreme chronicler of the 20th century American experience.

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
The Coens are masters at exploring fundamental existential questions free of moralizing. Their characters struggle with mortality (time and the passage of time is referenced constantly in ILD), their place in the world, the choices they make, and the consequences of the choices they make (or don't make). Llewyn is a bastard, but a bastard who is legitimately blessed with a gift that the world doesn't want or need, which makes him a tragic misfit.

Boyhood (2014)
Captures how life is about recognizing the magic in the mundane. We're always in the midst of 'next steps', segues and transitions, not grand transformative experiences, and Linklater here has pulled off one of the great cinematic tricks. He presents a coming of age story where someone actually comes of age before our eyes – an experience only a movie can offer.

The Big Short (2015)
A (frequently hilarious) crime movie where the American economy is the corpse, the entire financial system is the culprit, and the detectives all have bets on the body dropping.

Tower (2016)
Simply the most thrilling, terrifying, intense and ultimately moving 96 minutes I spent watching movies in 2016. Director Keith Maitland combines archival footage and rotoscoped recreations to put us in the middle of the chaos on that August day in 1966 when a sniper went to the top of the tower at the University of Texas campus and opened fire. Immersing the viewer in the harrowing, essentially real-time experience, there was the potential to perhaps exploit the victims' trauma, but Maitland is too sensitive a filmmaker and too interested in the personal connections and courage on display that day. He doesn't make a single misguided choice with the material.

Geoff Pevere – Critic/Author (Globe and Mail/ "Mondo Canuck"/ "Toronto on Film")

The Act of Killing (2012)
Joshua Oppenheimer's documentary about men living with the deaths they perpetrated as part of the Indonesian state killing squads is as harrowing as it is unprecedented: Oppenheimer records these defiantly unrepentent killers making movie versions of their own crimes, and the often jaw-dropping results only magnify the horror of what really happened by providing such a bizarre fictional projection of self-rationalizing evil.

It Follows (2014)
David Robert Mitchell's deftly eerie teen-horror convention mashup may evoke John Carpenter in its basic narrative and selected technical elements, but it's far more interested in the dynamics of adolescent anxiety and the disorienting shadow-play between nightmare and consciousness. So Carpenter yes, but Kubrick too, and on a Dollarama budget.

John Wick (2014)
The classic grindhouse revenge movie reconfigured as a neo-Hong Kong comic book art movie. Striking a truly delicate balance between geeky self-referentiality and respectfully visceral red-meat action ritual, Chad Stahelski and David Leitch's movie about a retired contract killer (Keanu Reeves, brilliantly cast as a human club) drawn reluctantly back into the fray when his car is stolen and dog killed is only as smart as you need it to be. Which is to say you can admire its considerable cinematic savvy or just dig the ass-kicking.

Under the Skin (2013)
In Jonathan Glazer's brilliantly unnerving science fiction noir, an alien entity (having taken the almost-human form of Scarlett Johansson) trolls the Scottish countryside for men to harvest. Her mission is complicated by the intrusion of empathy for her victims, the film's sole flicker of hope in an otherwise black universe.

O.J.: Made in America (2016)
Ezra Edelson's justly-celebrated non-fiction epic about the insinuating spectre of race in American culture and politics, unfolding as a riveting true-crime procedural on the one hand, but on the other providing as balanced, comprehensive and incisive an account of how (and why) O.J. became the unlikeliest symbol of racial inequity to ever came out of Brentwood.

Josh Larsen – Filmspotting /

  1. Beasts of the Southern Wild
  2. The Lego Movie
  3. Ex Machina
  4. The Act of Killing
  5. Mad Max: Fury Road

Chris Knight – The National Post

Arrival (2016)
This is easily my favourite film of the last five years; a science-fiction head-scratcher with a real human heart, embodied in Amy Adams' nuanced performance. It reduced me to tears, which not many movies can do.

Hell or High Water (2016)
Screenplay, casting, acting, music, cinematography – this deceptively simple "bank robber" movie transcends the genre, and gets everything right.

Paterson (2016)
Jim Jarmusch takes the life of a poet and somehow turns it into a film that is also a poem, complete with stanzas, internal rhyme and subtle metaphor.

Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015)
It isn't easy to revisit one of the most influential movies ever; even George Lucas couldn't manage it with Episodes one through three. But this return to a galaxy far away reinvigorates the franchise perfectly.

Boyhood (2014)
Almost defies description. Richard Linklater tells the story of a boy becoming a man, guided by parents, a sister and friends, but ultimately on his own path. Aren't we all?

Richard Crouse – CTV/CP24 /

Boyhood (2014)
A moving experience about the individual moments that make a life.

Frances Ha (2013)
It feels more intimate and raw than the usual twenty-ish crisis flick and with each detail we get another piece of the puzzle that makes up Frances' life.

Stories We Tell (2012)
What could have been a self-indulgent home movie is, instead, a riveting look into the dynamics of a group of individuals bound together by birth and circumstance.

Exit Through The Gift Shop (2013)
An engrossing movie about the creation of art, the exploitation of art and the meaning of art.

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Imagine the cover of "The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan" come to life.

Jay Stone –

Boyhood (2014)
Moving, insightful, and also a feat of incredible technical achievement by director Richard Linklater. It's sacrilege, I know, but I found this to be a more authentic coming-of-age story than Moonlight.

12 Years A Slave (2013)
It was very difficult to watch, but it presented the facts of American slavery — not just as a lesson in cruelty, but also as a dark illustration of the violent foundation of the country itself — with unblinking clarity. Devastating.

Room (2015)
Devastating for a different reason. A woman is locked in a shed by her abductor who fathers her child (an amazing performance by Canadian Jacob Tremblay). To the boy, the shed, which he calls "room," is the entire world. It's almost science fiction, except scarier.

Manchester by the Sea (2016)
Kenneth Lonergan's return to cinema is a bleak drama about a man (Oscar winner Casejy Affleck) who must revisit his former life to discover a tragedy he created. A heartbreaking story told with an exemplary lack of sentiment.

La La Land (2016)
Yeah, I know, but it thrilled me (even more the second time), and despite some hiccups in the musical numbers, I just loved the opening scene and the brilliant final sequence.

Tara Thorne – The

Frances Ha (2012)
Greta Gerwig has redefined American acting with her naturalistic performances, not clawing her way out of the limiting mumblecore world but tap-dancing with charm and aplomb. She's done most of her best work in the past five years—Mistress America, Maggie's Plan, 20th Century Women—but Frances is so far her masterwork, a beautiful mess of a girl blindly dancing her way across New York City.

Before Midnight (2013)
Boyhood gets all the accolades but Linklater—and his stars, Julie Delpy and Ethan Hawke—spent even more time on three films chronicling the spark and flicker of a full relationship. Boyhood's a better gimmick, but the Befores are better movies, including this fierce, truthful conclusion, which finds Celine and Jesse worn and weathered but still caring for the flame lit on that first night in Vienna.

Enough Said (2013)
Nicole Holofcener is one of our least appreciated but best directors. Every movie she's made—just five in total—is an eminently watchable character study, centred on not-always-likable women staring down their lives. Enough Said pulls a gentle performance from the late James Gandolfini, but it's remarkable because it offers Julia Louis-Dreyfus her first starring film role (ever!) and gives her shades we've never seen her play before.

The Heat (2013)
The Heat's toss-off plot is nowhere near the point. Sandra Bullock does capital-A acting in Gravity but this kind of material—the uptight cop forced to unravel—is where her charm and wit shine brightest. It also cements Melissa McCarthy as one of the most vital performers of the past decade, her foul-mouthed gonzo fearlessness Bullock's perfect foil. I would watch 10 bad Heat sequels.

Spotlight (2015)
Journalists love Spotlight because it shows us in our natural environment—windowless, pizza-stained, poorly clothed and coiffed. But really it's a procedural cop drama in the form of an historical newspaper investigation—one that uncovered the Catholic Church's deepest secrets. A terrific ensemble—Mark Ruffalo and Rachel McAdams leading the team—makes an the nuts and bolts of an inherently uninteresting thing (reporting) as riveting as a high-stakes sports match.

Thom Ernst – CBC / Making Movies (TV1) / This Movie's About You (podcast)

Moonlight (2016)
It's the most recent one that had any real impact on me - although a documentary from Toronto's Hugh Gibson had a similar affect. Both films took everything I thought I knew about Urban drug culture and slapped some sense into me.

Boyhood (2014)
Screw the backlash. This film is one of the most important films to be released- and not because it took 12 years to make - that's just the hook on which the promotion department hangs the lure. The film is not so much about being a boy (or a girl, for the film need not be gender specific) but about what it means to be an adult - and how we get to where we're going. Every little moment, the significant ones, the open ended ones, the easy to forget ones, all help to shape who we become. I think I'm a reasonably good father, uncle, friend and neighbour - but after this movie I vowed to be even more aware of my interaction with young people recognizing that even the smallest of interactions can have a lasting affect.

The Overnighters (2014)
A documentary worthy of John Steinbeck with an ending equal to anything concocted by Todd Haynes.

Her (2013)
A film that shouldn't work but does. I might have edited out the sex-via-computer scene which seemed to push the element of techno-love a bit too far - but the rest of the film is believable mostly because of Spike Jonze direction and Phoenix's subdued performance. I have never looked at my laptop the same since.

The Lego Movie (2014)
Written by the same dudes who gave us 22 Jump Street and Freaks & Geeks. Self-referential (self-critical) and highly entertaining. It marks the first time my daughter left the theatre quoting her favourite lines. Moves briskly from opening scene to the last. Ironic, and yet still wraps up with a good-old fashion family message.

Carsten Knox – Flaw in the Iris

A Separation (2012)
I'm a latecomer to the work of Asghar Farhadi, but I loved how this film's momentum reached escape velocity in three acts. It goes from a domestic drama to courtroom thriller, a fascinating look at the inequities of Iranian society.

Ex Machina (2014)
A Bride of Frankenstein for the 21st Century, Alex Garland's artificial intelligence drama cooks along with the best of Charlie Brooker's Black Mirror,_ _a slab of tech anxiety served up on a prickly bed of male assumptions.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Pure adrenalized vehicular badassery. No action movie in living memory has been as much fun, with the especially welcome addition of socio-political thought amidst the pistons and polecats.

Personal Shopper (2016)
Just squeezing in under the wire---it opens soon in Halifax---Olivier Assayas new picture gives Kristen Stewart a restless, fidgety vehicle highlighting her restless, fidgety presence. It breaks all kinds of genre rules by refusing to commit, but despite that it's still great. Maybe because.

Stories We Tell (2012)
Sharper eyes than mine caught Sarah Polley's fictionalized conceit from the first act, but I was fooled in the most wonderful way. Rarely has such a personal film mixing documentary with drama managed to feel both authentic and universal.

Rad Simonpillai – Your Morning (CTV)

  1. The Master (2012)
  2. Inherent Vice (2013)
  3. Tabu (2012)
  4. Phoenix (2014)
  5. Gone Girl (2014)

Greg Klymkiw – The Film Corner

The Act of Killing (2012)
This work's importance as art is matched only by its truly formidable significance as a document of humanity/inhumanity amidst a collection of the most repugnant individuals ever profiled in any film. Focusing upon several notorious members of a Indonesian death squad who committed unspeakable acts of torture and murder almost fifty years ago, we witness, our jaws to the floor, as these men continue to live - free, wealthy and revered as heroes. They not only discuss their activities in detail, they do so with pride. Director Joshua Oppenheimer then allows them to recreate their horrors dramatically. This is an iron-clad guarantee. You have not seen, nor will you EVER see a movie like The Act of Killing.

God Knows Where I Am (2016)
With God Knows Where I Am, directors Todd and Jedd Wider deliver a poetic documentary infused with the sublime. Elegiacally charting the final weeks of middle-aged Linda Bishop, found dead in a New Hampshire farmhouse, we experience gorgeously-composed, exquisitely-lit Vilmos-Zsigmond-like dollies and tracking shots within the real location. Accompanied by actress Lori Singer's off-camera readings from Bishop's actual journal, we learn she existed on rainwater and apples. Trapped by fear, she embraced the comfort afforded by loneliness. As the apples ran out, the unheated house battered by the coldest winter in New Hampshire history; comfort gave way to agony and ultimately, to a state of grace. Interspersed by interviews with her daughter, friends, a policeman and medical examiner, then most heartbreakingly, 8mm movies of Bishop as a child - once happy and full of promise - profoundly poetic truths about mental illness are rendered with an oh-so terrible, terrible beauty.

The Great Beauty (2013)
With The Great Beauty, director Paolo Sorrentino is clearly paying homage to Federico Fellini's La Dolce Vita (with dollops of 8 1/2), but this is no mere nod to cinematic mastery (one which might even be working at a subconscious level) - he explores a world the late maestro visited half-a-century ago and uses it as a springboard into contemporary Italy and most importantly, as a flagrantly florid rumination upon the decline of culture, the long-ago loss of youthful ideals and the deep melancholy rooted in an old man seeking answers as to why the woman he loved left him behind to his own devices. Set against the backdrop of a historic Rome in ruins, the empire that fell so mightily, we're plunged into a dizzying nocturnal world as blank and vacant as the eyes of a ruling class that rules nothingness.

Hurt (2015)
During the 1980s, 18-year-old Steve Fonyo ran 8000 km across Canada with a prosthetic leg. Raising $14 million for cancer research, he received the Order of Canada. After suffering three decades from abject poverty and various addictions within the dark underbelly of the criminal class, this Canadian Hero was transformed into a pariah by pencil-pushers in the nation's capitol and turfed from the country's highest recognition. HURT has its masterpiece status guaranteed. Charting one year in Fonyo's life, Alan Zweig pulls off a miracle. This stunning documentary is as narratively searing and artistically compelling as the grim and gritty 70s cinematic forays into crime, punishment and atonement, not unlike Martin Scorsese's Raging Bull and Peter Yates's The Friends of Eddie Coyle. The very process of filmmaking and Zweig's intervention as both artist and humanitarian offers the promise of healing and redemption. The picture cold-cocks you as frequently as it wrenches tears.

Kumiko The Treasure Hunter (2014)
Fargo, the movie by the Coen Brothers, is not just an instrument which inspires the title character's desires, it's Kumiko's very soul and represents an ethos of both America and madness. Kumiko is no mere stranger in a strange land, but a stranger in her own land who becomes a stranger in a strange land - a woman without a country save for that which exists in her mind. There isn't a false note to be found in this gorgeously acted, directed and photographed movie. It is not without humour, but none of it is at Kumiko's expense and when the film slowly slides into full blown tragedy, the Zellners (director David and writer Nathan) surround Kumiko in the ever-accumulating high winds and snow under the big skies of Minnesota. We get, as she does, a bittersweet taste of happiness - a dream of triumph, a dream of reunion, a dream of peace, at last.

Patrick Mullen – POV Magazine /

Jean-Marc Vallée's kaleidoscopic take on Cheryl Strayed's memoir is an exhilarating and moving spiritual journey. This is how you do a great adaptation.

Stories We Tell
Sarah Polley's intimate and shapeshifting documentary mines family hiistory to find a universal truth within a personal tale. There's no better example for the value of telling our own stories.

Anna Karenina - Joe Wright's adaptation of Tolstoy's classic novel is an audacious fusion of film and theatre. If all the world's a stage in Anna Karenina, then the cast and crew should take a well-deserved bow.

Mommy - Dolan truly hit his stride with Mommy. That he made such a great film only at the age of twenty-five, well, only makes Mommy all the more impressive. Take that, Orson Welles!

Youth - Built on a series of repetitions and exquisitely-shot set pieces by Luca Bigazzi, Youth conveys that aging is simply all in the mind as one can either look forward or look back, and either be burdened by the past or be revitalized by the opportunities of the future.

Anne Brodie – Metro News

Project X (2012)
As much as Daniel Day-Lewis' Lincoln was the essence of great history-based filmmaking, Project X took us home. Suburban kids revolt and light up the neighbourhood, experiencing love, joy and unleashed power. It was exhilarating and launched the careers of the talented young actors.

Nebraska (2013)
Alexander Payne's rural meditation on family took great risks as a slow-paced story about old people, shot in black and white. But it is a jewel, a wicked mix of wit, irony, drama and poignancy, beautifully written, directed and acted. Spectacular performances from the tiny ensemble.

Nightcrawler (2014)
Xavier Dolan's Mommy_ ripped our hearts out and _Wild Tales made us pay attention, but Jake Gyllenhaal's stunning work in Nightcrawler wins thanks to Jake Gyllenhaal's stunning commitment to the part of a dangerously ambitious news shooter.

The Revenant (2015)
The Revenant is a superior film. There are good movies and then there is The Revenant. Dogged by extreme shooting conditions and requiring much from Leonardo Di Caprio and the rest of the cast, this transcendent Old West revenge tale may never be equalled.

Moonlight (2016)
Moonlight is a beautiful work of art on all levels from music to performance and direction to its exquisite cinematography. So much about it is counterintuitive to our ideas about filmmaking, classical music heightens everyday life in a Miami ghetto, a drug dealing saviour is its heart, an unlovable mother neglects her ever-evolving boy. So much to savour.

Linda Barnard – Toronto Film Critics Association / Alliance of Women Film Journalists

Amour (2012)
Michael Haneke's surprising love story is an unblinking examination of aging, as a couple is forced to face their mortality and, unthinkably, life without the other. It happens to both, but only one is consistently aware and therein lies the heartbreak. As tender as it is wrenching, Amour is sentimental in the right ways and remarkably free of melodrama.

Her (2013)
In the 3½ years since its release, Her has become even more relevant, feeling less sci-fi and more present day in its examination of how the technology designed to bring us closer indeed strips humanity. An old-fashioned love story for a new age, it's elevated by Joaquin Phoenix's everyman Theodore.

Boyhood (2014)
Exceptional performances carry writer-director Richard Linklater's 12-year odyssey about a boy's life. It's bracketed by his parents narrative as they navigate their marriage, breakup and new lives as individuals. Powerful and honest, it succeeds as a commercial film and a bold experiment.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
I love Wes Anderson and I love this film for all its quirky charms and wonderful performances. The onscreen liberation of Ralph Fiennes to play oddball M. Gustave reveals an engaging, skilled comic actor. We'd see it again in A Bigger Splash, one of my favourite films of 2016. The colourful production design is like one of Mendl's fanciful confections. To see it is to smile. A pure delight.

La La Land (2016)
Poor La La Land. It was once loved. Now it has become rather fashionable to hate it. Perhaps because I grew up on an endless TV loop of musicals from Hollywood's golden age, I was struck by both is lush familiarity and fresh spirit. Visually stylish, rich with colour, it's romantic and escapist. Sometimes you have to quit looking for subtext and just dive in.

Bill Chambers – Film Freak Central

Brooklyn (2015)
A film about how you have to reconcile the fact that you can't make major life decisions without hurting somebody, somewhere--that's life. Brooklyn is life.

Take This Waltz (2012)
The rare portrait of infidelity that isn't excessively dour and doesn't lean on a genre crutch, featuring a horny, humid Toronto that almost never gets captured on screen--not to mention the definitive use of "Video Killed the Radio Star."

This Is Not a Film (2012)
The Iranian government has banned Jafar Panahi from making movies, but as they say in Jurassic Park, "life will find a way." A riveting film (or "effort") that almost wills itself into being.

Under the Skin (2013)
A staggeringly insightful essay on the power of beauty and the vulnerability of the exotic, contained in the vessel of a cerebral but often viscerally terrifying sci-fi masterpiece.

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
The antidote or B-side to countless rags-to-riches biopics--sometimes, talent and drive aren't enough. Hang me, oh hang me.

Jason Anderson – The Grind

Toni Erdmann (2016)
The decade's most perfectly executed comedy about work, family and false teeth.

Force Majeure (2014)
A perfect evisceration of male vanity and vulnerability – plus, like Toni Erdmann, it's very, very funny

Holy Motors (2012)
Unbridled, utterly gorgeous cine-delirium *and* it has a Kylie cameo.

Leviathan (2012)
Not the Russian one with the whale bones but the one with all the dead fish by the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab – the first and last masterpiece to emerge from the blessedly shortlived moment for GoPro cinema.

A Touch of Sin (2013)
Jia Zhang-ke goes pulp.

Jason Gorber – Screen Anarchy

Looper (2012)
Sicario (2015)
Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Loving (2016)
The Act of Killing (2012)

Jason Stettner – Gamer Headquarters

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
My absolute favorite film of all time provides the best of Wes Andersen not only in terms of visuals, but in the magic of the charming and entertaining story. It's got every big name that's ever worked with Wes in the past and there's something new with every viewing.

La La Land (2016)
I love musicals and I find that La La Land is a masterpiece capturing that classic Hollywood feeling while providing an emotional modern story. The music is amazing and the film is filled with glorious colors that highlight every scene.

Birdman (2014)
A rather dark tale that follows an actor past his prime that is held to the standard of a worn out super hero that he no longer wants to be. Featuring many stunning long shots and some of Keaton's best work this is a great film.

The LEGO Movie (2014)
This one deserves great praise for being a film that surprised me on so many levels. I was curious what exactly they were going to do with a movie about LEGO bricks, but they created a strong universe with characters you care about and even had some surprising emotional aspects that made many go pull out their LEGO bricks to build.

Hail, Caesar! (2015)
I'm not sure why this one was so overlooked in 2016, it was a beautiful look at the golden age of Hollywood being a simple story about one man's job on a production studio plot. It had many interesting characters all doing their own thing and showed the creation of classic looking films.

Noah R. Taylor – Dork Shelf

Killing Them Softly (2012)
While there's nothing subtle about this low level crime story updated by Andrew Dominik to reflect America's financial crisis, there's something infinitely watchable about the ensemble's performances paired with the style and dark humour Dominik brings to the screen. James Gandolfini's completely inconsequential hitman is just one of several digressions that make Killing Them Softly dynamic, even if it is trivial at times.

Inside Llewyn Davis (2013)
Has there ever been a character that embodies pathos better than struggling folk musician Llewyn Davis? The Coen brothers' circular narrative is just one aspect that put Inside Llewyn Davis in a league of its own. The atmosphere created by Bruno Delbonnel's cinematography and the fully realized performances, particularly by Oscar Isaac in the lead, cannot be overpraised.

Under the Skin (2013)
This film lives up to its title in its Kubrickian take on alien abduction. Johnathan Glazer takes lots of liberties with the source material to make this a truly unique cinematic experience. Scarlett Johansson's largely silent performance pairs well with Her, released the same year.

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014)
Just when you thought you were sick of Wes Anderson, he comes out with a film that somehow makes all of his annoying tendencies feel fresh and innovative again. In addition to its visual beauty, The Grand Budapest Hotel manages to be equal parts comedy and tragedy.

Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Art, meet Entertainment. I know you're strange bedfellows, but somehow this franchise that lay dormant for thirty years brought you together in a beautiful ballet of sand and fire... we thought nothing would ever be the same, 2016's "blockbusters" proved otherwise.

Dave Becker – 2,500 Movies Challenge

5 - Django Unchained (2012)
Tarantino does it again with this witty, violent, and incredibly engaging western. A great cast and an equally impressive soundtrack helped make this one of QT's all-time best.

4 - Train to Busan (2016)
Despite the influx of zombie movies in the past 10-15 years, this Korean flick still managed to distinguish itself. A high-energy horror film that's as fun as it is frightening.

3 - The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
I went in expecting a very different kind of movie, and was genuinely surprised by this poignant, romantic, and life-affirming film.

2 - Birdman, or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance)
A perfect storm of creativity, with style to spare and excellent performances by Michael Keaton, Emma Stone, and Edward Norton. This one actually gets better each time I see it!

1 - The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Even at 70 years old, Martin Scorsese can still turn out an edgy, stylish film, with all the bells and whistles we've come to expect from a guy I consider one of the greatest directors of all-time. DiCaprio is superb, and the movie is so well-paced that its 3-hour run time seems to fly by. <<<<<<< HEAD

Susan G. Cole - Now Magazine

Manchester by the Sea (2016) In a film anchored by Casey Affleck’s heartbreaking performance as a man broken by grief, writer-director Lonergan mines complex family relationships to devastating effect. A scene in which Affleck and Michelle Williams try to reconnect is one of the best written I’ve ever seen.

Mr. Turner (2014) This visually sumptuous portrait of the painter J.M.W. Turner at the peak of his powers features Timothy Spall spewing and grunting his way through the role that won him best actor in Cannes.

Phoenix (2014) Nelly, a concentration camp survivor, returns to her hometown in Germany and finds her husband, Johnny (Ronald Zehrfeld), who may have betrayed her to the Nazis – and doesn’t recognize her. As Nelly, who fantasizes she can go back to her old life, Nina Hoss embodies trauma as if she's actually experienced it herself. The last scene is jaw-droppingly intense.

Mustang (2015) A first-time director transforms her fury at Turkey’s patriarchal system into a powerful work of art in this story of five teenagers confined to their home after they’ve had too much fun celebrating the end of the school year.

The Great Beauty (2013) Toni Servillo stars as 60-something journalist Jep, who wrote a bestselling novel when he was in his 20s but hasn't written a thing that matters since, immersing himself in all things shallow instead. Garish party sequences collide with serene images of Rome's ancient art; beautiful, inspirational music meets club bangers. Just let the damn thing wash over you.


Dear Cast & Crew

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