Ils Sont Partout

Ils Sont Partout

Directed by Yvan Attal

2016

Ils Sont Partout [They Are Everywhere] is a French-language comedy composed of vignettes about Jews and antisemitism. Ils Sont Partout is very funny and intermittently incisive – Yvan Attal acts like a very French Woody Allen – but a handful of the sketches drag.

Would see.

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Do the Right Thing

Do the Right Thing

Directed by Spike Lee

1989

Do the Right Thing is a comedy-drama about race relations in Brooklyn. The film is paced well, directed with verve, and generally nuanced, but it is a little didactic at times.

Would see.

Play Time

Play Time

Directed by Jacques Tati

1967

Play Time is a French comedy with minimal dialogue. It is almost entirely unlike other movies, which is more than can be said for most films. Most of the scenes are funny and some are even incisive, but a handful fall flat – and the film (at 124 minutes) feels longer than it is.

Would see.

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.