Ian Buckwalter, NPR

  1. Berberian Sound Studio 2013 It accomplishes the tricky task of paying homage to one type of scary movie while indulging in an entirely different style itself. full review
  2. Grabbers 2013 Wright checks off the expected genre boxes with the gleeful mischief of a gremlin trashing a plane engine. full review
  3. Maniac 2013 A remake that, rather than trying to fix the deep flaws of its source, just covers them in a shinier coat of paint. full review
  4. Olympus Has Fallen 2013 It has to be a joke, right? full review
  5. Red Flag 2013 Karpovsky's anxiety-ridden shtick here combines the crippling doubt and self-loathing of many Woody Allen protagonists with the obnoxious solipsism of Larry David. full review
  6. Resolution 2013 A smart and chilling indie horror from co-directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead ... full review
  7. Rubberneck 2013 Both the mystery and the character piece wind up feeling incomplete. full review
  8. Shadow Dancer 2013 Shadow Dancer feels like a thriller, but Marsh is wisely more interested in the tension than in the release. What thrills exist here are carefully tempered by the considered pacing. full review
  9. We Are What We Are 2013 At 72, Parks turns in one of the most tender performances of his career - before reminding us, in the end, that he's still a guy who can sit across a table and make you tremble in fear with a stony gaze. full review
  10. What Maisie Knew 2013 The film raises more uncomfortable questions about Maisie's uncertain future than it ever answers, but that's in keeping with the emotional honesty the filmmakers are striving for. full review
  11. The ABCs of Death 2012 There are just too many stories to fit into two hours - and even with fewer weak links, The ABCs of Death might have fallen short all the same. full review
  12. The Cabin in the Woods 2012 For all of its many intellectual pleasures, and smart commentary, Cabin in the Woods is a visceral roller coaster of a movie at heart. And like the best thrill rides, when it's over, you just want to get back on and go again. full review
  13. Cheerful Weather For The Wedding 2012 The dominance of the madcap side of the film's split personality lays an airy veneer over Dolly and Joseph's woes, making them seem inconsequential - as unsubstantial as an observation about wedding-day weather. full review
  14. The Collection 2012 Genre aficionados are likely to revel in every crunched bone, gratuitous decapitation and slow-motion iron-maiden impaling. full review
  15. Dark Horse 2012 Despite its flaws, Dark Horse largely succeeds as yet another installment in Todd Solondz's career-long examination of the lust for love and security among the deeply damaged. full review
  16. The Do-Deca-Pentathlon 2012 Do-Deca-Pentathlon showcases the deft way with interpersonal relationships that's making the Duplasses two of our premier chroniclers of just why it is that we can never seem to get along. full review
  17. A Fantastic Fear of Everything 2012 The effect eventually becomes that of about a dozen story pitches all strung together. Any one of them might have the potential for greatness in isolation. Try to mash them up into one movie, though, and much like Jack, they fall to pieces. full review
  18. Funeral Kings 2012 That headlong hormonal rush toward what boys perceive as the benefits of adulthood is what the brothers McManus capture here with candor and occasional hilarity. full review
  19. The Grey 2012 The Grey has a certain muscular pull: It's a tough-as-nails study of hardened men struggling with the ostensibly conflicting pulls of stoic masculinity on one hand and love, faith and fear of death on the other. full review
  20. High Ground 2012 Brown takes advantage of the opportunity to present a broad array of feelings, less on the nature of these conflicts in particular and more on the mindset of the soldier in war - and the difficulties faced when no longer in the midst of the conflict. full review
  21. Little Birds 2012 Despair may be an emotion of emptiness, of the absence of hope, but that doesn't mean a movie about someone spiraling down into that emotion has to feel so empty as well. full review
  22. Marley 2012 Stylistically unremarkable, playing it safe with structure, the film is still quietly revelatory. full review
  23. Nobody Walks 2012 Russo-Young's characters simply feel like complex, confused people trying desperately to be happy without also destroying their lives with their poor impulse control. full review
  24. Red Hook Summer 2012 From a storytelling perspective, Red Hook Summer is an absolute mess. full review
  25. Sassy Pants 2012 Sweet and well-intentioned, Sassy Pants is difficult to dislike, despite its missteps. full review
  26. Shut Up and Play the Hits 2012 Shut Up and Play the Hits manages to effectively display the power of that final concert while putting the band's leader into thoughtful cultural perspective. full review
  27. Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie 2012 Even with a measly $3 million dollar price tag, Tim and Eric's Billion Dollar Movie feels like the work of comedic outlaws getting away with something. full review
  28. Burke and Hare 2011 To call it a black comedy is probably misleading: It's grey at best, and apart from a few scattered chuckles, it dies as quickly and gracelessly as Burke and Hare's victims. full review
  29. Dirty Girl 2011 It's probably appropriate that a film about adolescent identity crises has trouble figuring out what it wants to be. full review
  30. The Perfect Host 2011 Around every corner is a new twist, a strategically placed misdirection or another switch of predator and prey. But while the gamesmanship is satisfying in moderation, it becomes a little monotonous in excess. full review
  31. Trishna 2011 Something in Hardy's tragic inclinations obviously appeals to Winterbottom; this is the third time he's adapted one of the author's novels, with the liberties he takes with the source material increasing each time. full review
  32. All Good Things 2010 There's plenty of information on what (might have) happened, but not much thought given to why. full review
  33. And Everything Is Going Fine 2010 Soderbergh imposes a shape until the film begins to feel less like puzzle pieces in search of their place and more like one seamless picture: with this collage of the artist's past work, he's created an entirely new final monologue for Gray. full review
  34. Bill Cunningham New York 2010 The equal billing in the title is no accident: Cunningham's story is the story of New York itself, about the ways it has changed through the decades and how that history was captured on all those miles of film passing through Cunningham's camera. full review
  35. Black Death 2010 "Going medieval" on your enemies isn't just a figure of speech in Christopher Smith's stylish spatter-horror exercise, which uses desperation-fueled religious fervor to interrogate the intersection of fear and faith. full review
  36. Casino Jack And The United States Of Money 2010 The narrative trots all over the globe, including stops for labor exploitation in the Marianas Islands, dealings with Russian mobsters,ripping off Indian tribes in the desert southwest, and jetting to Scotland to golf with impressionable politicians. full review
  37. Rubber 2010 Either of the film's sides - the horror comedy or the post-modernist commentary - probably wouldn't be enough to sustain the movie on its own. But with both facets taken together, writer/director Quentin Dupieux can have his cake and deconstruct it too. full review
  38. Fish Tank 2009 A bold new entry in the long-standing British tradition of disquieting social realism. full review
  39. The Fourth Kind 2009 When the director divides the screen into quadrants for his big finish, the effect is just laughable -- but then by that point, the movie is too. full review
  40. Great Directors 2009 The film jumps around in dizzying disorganization, illustrating the fact that part of what a director provides to a film is not just vision and leadership, but also, as the word suggests, a narrative direction. full review

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