You see Benedict Cumberbatch, who plays its tormented villain, and in his strut you also see John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Clint Eastwood. You see the sweep of the western genre, the men and women you know, the world you live in. The story of a married couple (Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie) who are grieving the death of their young daughter forms the basis of Don’t Look Now, a movie that appears at first to be a look at love and loss but then hits you with an absolutely unexpected and, frankly, terrifying ending. The less you know, the better, but it’s a movie that lulls you along at a slow pace while planting powerful visual images in your head along the way—you won’t soon forget any of it long after it’s over. The two leads’ extraordinary performances do a lot of the heavy lifting, too.

When the son accidentally kills himself during an autoerotic asphyxiation incident, the man forges a suicide note that causes everyone to reevaluate his son and makes him an unwitting local celebrity. You don’t want to root for him (or for anyone in this movie, really), but Williams is magnetic and engaging and the story unfolds in wildly unpredictable ways. Night on Earth is made up of five short stories—each one taking place in a cab at the same time in different cities around the world.

top movies

While you’re at it, make sure to check out these hit books being made into movies this year. So, yes, more people will likely watch “The Power of the Dog,” the latest from Jane Campion, than any other film in her decades-long career because it’s on Netflix. And you should watch it whether at home or, if you can, in a theater. But I’m grateful that I’ve seen it several times projected in theaters.

Ridley Scott’s finest 2021 feature, The Last Duel fashions a real-life tale into a Rashomon-style drama that, it turns out, is less concerned with the unknowability of truth than with history’s habitual negation of female perspectives. Based on Eric Jager’s book, Scott’s 14th-century French story is about the alleged rape of Marguerite de Carrouges (Jodie Comer) by Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver), and the efforts of Marguerite’s husband Sir Jean de Carrouges (Matt Damon) to bring Jacques to justice for his crime. Scott also makes sure to deliver the warfare goods, both in early battles that demonstrate Jean’s fighting prowess, and in a climactic showdown whose viciousness speaks to the ugly machismo at the heart of this tale.


  • Duke takes what could have been a standard villain and makes him something truly memorable.
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  • Based on the true story of Brandon Teena, Boys Don’t Cry is a dramatization of his life as a trans man in Nebraska.
  • Variety, which recently celebrated its 117th anniversary, is a publication as old as cinema.
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  • The two leads’ extraordinary performances do a lot of the heavy lifting, too.
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  • In July, I watched one of the most mediocre movies that I’ve seen this year — and it was glorious.
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  • Those circumstances don’t completely change once they reach the United States, as conveyed by late non-fiction passages that address the real Ivan and Gerardo’s present-day trapped-between-two-worlds situation.

Bob Odenkirk takes one hell of a beating in Nobody–and, per a joke made by his Hutch Mansell, you should see the other guys. Yet a lack of novelty is hardly necessary in light of Odenkirk’s masterful performance as a man brought low by self-deception and, consequently, resurrected by facing his inherent angry identity. Odenkirk’s ability to handle the barrage of brutal set pieces thrown his way is itself part of this affair’s conceit, and yet once he proves his action-movie mettle, the proceedings lose none of their verve, delivering gory mayhem with a tongue planted firmly in cheek. The late participation of Christopher Lloyd and RZA only boosts the goofy charm of this R-rated romp, which goes for broke–and breaks a lot of bones in the process–to amusingly ferocious ends. Clint Eastwood’s movies are almost always best when they star their director. Back in the literal saddle for the first time in decades, the Hollywood legend’s latest finds him playing a broken-down ex-rodeo star named Milo who, to repay a debt to his former boss (Dwight Yoakam), travels to Mexico to retrieve the young man’s son Rafo (Eduardo Minett).

Sure, you can say it’s about a sweet and childlike Parisian woman who enjoys helping out her friends and neighbors, and you’d be correct, but that tells you absolutely nothing about the strange, cartoonish, and hilarious journey this movie is. A sort-of rom-com with surreal, fantastical elements and a bizarre (but funny) sense of humor, this movie is like an exotic French dessert. You have no idea how it was made or what’s in it, but you still think about how good it was years later. Director Wong Kar-wai has a filmography that could be a film course in and of itself. A genre-hopping (and convention-bending) maverick, he’s jumped from traditional wuxia films (fantastical tales of martial arts heroes) to eccentric urban dramas like Chungking Express (also worth seeing).

Naturally, many sports movies appeal to sports fans because of their focus on the joys and heartbreak of the game—but if you’re not into sports, there’s not as much to draw you in. Not true with the 1988 drama Eight Men Out, which is both an exceptional sports movie and a thoroughly engrossing historical drama. Centered on the real-life 1919 “Black Sox” scandal that saw several members of the Chicago White Sox conspire to throw the World Series, Eight Men Out is a great period piece told by an incredible cast, even if you couldn’t care less about baseball. Starting from the most ingenious, trailer-perfect line of dialogue ever (“No one can be told what the Matrix is, you have to see it for yourself”), The Matrix arrived on the scene at the turn of the century and changed action movies forever. A twisted dystopian tale about a computer hacker (Keanu Reeves) who begins to doubt the realness of the “real world” and is taken on an insane cyber adventure through a robot-controlled world, it introduced “bullet time”—a slow-mo effect that would be endlessly imitated ever since.

It’s the kind of good movie that runs you through the gamut of emotion but rewards you for the journey. When it comes to cultural touchstones, few things have the power of good movies. You don’t even have to have seen a Rocky movie to know Bill Conti’s iconic score, and people throw around lines like “These go to 11” or “I’ll have what she’s having” even if they haven’t actually seen This is Spinal Tap or When Harry Met Sally.

Rather, it’s a means of shaking up the conventional wisdom, introducing different perspectives on how greatness is defined and sparking passionate debate among the readership. This wasn’t the result of any kind of “out with the old, in with the new” intention. In some cases — Scorsese, Spike, Godard — we felt their best work was pre-21st century. In Spielberg’s case, there were several films that had love (including Minority Report and West Side Story), but none that united all six of us in full-throated enthusiasm. In other cases, as in Eastwood’s Million Dollar Baby, Malick’s The New World and The Tree of Life, and Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, there were ardent supporters but also just-as-ardent detractors. A Chinese immigrant (Michelle Yeoh) is struggling to connect with her husband (Ke Huy Quan) and her adult daughter (Stephanie Hsu) all while trying to pass a tax audit.

She regularly contributes to Cosmopolitan, Woman’s Day, Good Housekeeping, and YouGov, among other publications. When she’s not working, you can find her running, traveling, or scrolling TikTok. Sigourney Weaver ushered in the era of the female sci-fi hero as Ripley in Alien, the first entry into Ridley Scott’s extra-terrestrial horror franchise.

Any family is going to have some dysfunction—especially when trapped in an automobile together—but ultimately their squabbles feel unimportant when the purpose of their journey is revealed. Park Chan-wook is a director’s director—an auteur who is regularly lauded by the likes of Quentin Tarantino and Spike Lee (who had the temerity to mount his own version of Oldboy a decade after Chan-wook’s film shook viewers). While he’s known for his keen ability to turn acts of extreme violence into beautiful movie moments, one might argue that Decision to Leave is the auteur’s tamest effort.