The Intouchables

The Intouchables

Directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano

2011

Based loosely on real events, The Intouchables is a French-language film about the friendship between a wealthy white quadriplegic and his poor black live-in caregiver. The Intouchables is a textbook example of a film that preaches against racism but is itself deeply racist. The film’s flailing attempts at comedy fail to leaven the tin-eared melodrama.

Would not see.

Get Out

Get Out

Directed by Jordan Peele

2017

Get Out is a satirical comedy horror film. It is Jordan Peele’s directorial debut. Get Out is thoughtfully crafted; the film balances horror, comedy, and politics adroitly. The political statements are organic to the story, they rarely feel shoehorned in. Some moments land awkwardly, but most don’t.

Would see.

In Bruges

In Bruges

Directed by Martin McDonagh

In Bruges is an English language black comedy set in Bruges. In Bruges is clever, but sometimes too clever. The jokes are consistently funny, but sometimes descend into mean-spiritedness, and the movie sometimes threatens to veer into nihilism.

Would see.

Midnight in Paris

Midnight in Paris

Directed by Woody Allen

2011

Midnight in Paris is an English language romantic comedy set in Paris. Midnight in Paris is a charming portrait of an imagined Paris, both of the 1920s and the early 2000s, filled with unabashed, but thoughtful, nostalgia and highly amusing caricatures of Lost Generation writers.

Would see.

Moonrise Kingdom

Moonrise Kingdom

Directed by Wes Anderson

2012

Moonrise Kingdom is a coming-of-age film that follows a boy and girl who run away in 1965 New England. Moonrise Kingdom is an endlessly charming film. It ineffably captures the effervescent beauty of childhood. Wes Anderson’s style is mildly divisive, but it ought not be. Nothing in Moonrise Kingdom is frivolous affectation; the style invariably contributes to the substance. The film is meticulously crafted, but it is suffused with expansive feelings and casual insight.

Must see.

Almost Famous

Almost Famous

Directed by Cameron Crowe

2000

Almost Famous is a semi-autobiographical comedy-drama about a teenage journalist writing for Rolling Stone. The film’s approach to music is both pretentious and unimpressive. The characters are one-note, the plot points are predictable, and the tone shifts between comedy and saccharine every couple minutes, making Almost Famous feel like a feature-length sitcom.

Would not see.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

Directed by Michel Gondry

2004

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a science fiction film about a man, a woman, and a company that erases memories. The film’s eloquent, complicated writing and ambitious directing easily survive the uneven acting to result in a film that is both heartfelt and intelligent.

Would see.

Don’t Think Twice

Don’t Think Twice

Directed by Mike Birbiglia

2016

Don’t Think Twice is a comedy-drama that follows an improve troupe in New York City. Don’t Think Twice aims to be funny and poignant, and the the film’s clever dialogue, talented case, and well-balanced tone go a long way towards those ends, but the problems inherent in moving improv scenes from a live audience to a movie theater and the needlessly obvious machinations of the plot leave one with the nagging feeling the film was thought out too much by half.

Would see.