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Michael Atkinson, Village Voice

  1. Child's Pose 2014 Netzer keeps faith with his countrymen's gritty aesthetic, which remains pure in the spirit of New Wave neo-realism; somehow, international success has not made the Romanians crave CGI or encouraged them to pander to hipness. full review
  2. Berberian Sound Studio 2013 Berberian Sound Studio may scan as a psychological thriller, but it's really a lavish gift to film geeks in a lovely matryoshka box. full review
  3. Big Sur 2013 You don't have to be a Beat cultist to wonder why these brilliant and transgressive volcanoes of authentic cool are so friggin' boring. full review
  4. Camille Claudel, 1915 2013 One of the year's thorniest releases. full review
  5. Drug War 2013 It doesn't attempt to raise the stakes on its genre, but instead fully exploits what's there, piecing together an elaborate narc campaign tale out of classic cliches and tight-knot plotting ... full review
  6. Gimme The Loot 2013 Leon's grungy resume indie is a modest deal, with a sweet, mumblecore-style ending, but it glows with unmistakable star power. full review
  7. The Happy House 2013 The only surprises in D.W. Young's tiny low-budget debut are how mildly he satirizes this thinnest of genres and how sincerely he treats his cliched characters. full review
  8. Hava Nagila: The Movie 2013 Patronizing from toe to chin, the film opts continually for self-congratulation and cheesy aphorism, and could've-should've been comfortable slotted into a half hour of airtime on TJC. full review
  9. In the Fog 2013 In the Fog has the inevitability of an avalanche, and only our overfamilarity with Nazi-tribulation scenarios, and perhaps its excessively punctuated ending, could slow it down. full review
  10. Man of Tai Chi 2013 This hackneyed misfit resuscitates every cliche of the grade-B '80s Hong Kong martial arts programmer, even the plot parts that were already imitating bad American TV. full review
  11. Paradise: Faith 2013 Hofstatter's performance comes off as an unselfconscious tour de force, painfully real and culturally lost. full review
  12. Paradise: Hope 2013 If this trilogy capper doesn't leave the contusions the other films have, it remains a necessary salve, particularly if you dare to binge-watch. full review
  13. Paradise: Love 2013 It might be the most lonesome film about a tropical vacation we've seen, and the greatest film ever made about the weird socioeconomics of tourism. full review
  14. 56 Up 2012 As pop anthropology, the series is unchallenged. full review
  15. Brake 2012 Dorff's mannered Bruce Willis affect seems as insincere as the script, which helplessly loses credibility as info accrues and the narrative unpeels. full review
  16. Branded 2012 There's almost a Seussian vibe in this heap, but no hint that it's intentional. full review
  17. Buffalo Girls 2012 Buffalo Girls hews close to the experience at hand, which sometimes feels a little too much like a normal leading-up-to-the-big-game Undefeated-style sports doc. full review
  18. For Ellen 2012 The film does find a patient balance between its obvious sincerity and the scenario's lack of depth and surprise. full review
  19. Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai 2012 It may well be Miike's best film, a patient, ominous piece of epic storytelling that conscientiously rips the scabs off the honorable samurai mythology. full review
  20. Solomon Kane 2012 It is, for a contemporary CGI-fraught fantasy-slash-living-video-game, not at all bad, dotted with moments of Bosch and steady on its storytelling feet. full review
  21. The Woman in the Fifth 2012 You're not sure what this is till it's over, but certainly Hawke's performance is his nerviest and most sincere in a decade. full review
  22. Leap Year 2011 There are trifling signs of freshmanship, but also a steady observant eye, and in the end Leap Year bears heartbreaking witness to hopeless depression, isolation, and the failure of sex as few movies ever have. full review
  23. The Perfect Host 2011 The heart of the film is a one-joke fizzler, leaving DHP to sashay, role-play, carry on one-sided conversations, and disco-dance on the table with just the right amount of lizardy, half-lidded sangfroid. full review
  24. I Saw the Devil 2010 Never good with nuance, Kim is a beast with disarming imagery (like the severed head that turns face-up in a river current) but has few resonating ideas, leaving the domino-tumble of brutality to become its own tiresome spectacle. full review
  25. Click 2006 It's a farce about loss, and it doesn't flinch. full review
  26. The Battle of Shaker Heights 2003 The characters talk like smart, unpredictable people, and Kelly Ernswiler is one of a kind. full review
  27. Gigli 2003 Brest would have to go back to his outline to repair this lemon and give America something akin to what it's told it really wants -- a helping of Lopez-Affleck home movies. full review
  28. The Italian Job 2003 Wide-open absurdity would've helped; instead, there's a clotting of musical interludes and a general air of stoic grit. full review
  29. Tears of the Sun 2003 This Black Hawk Down theft is a trial by cliche. full review
  30. The Sum of All Fears 2002 A trite espionage thriller without the thrills but with a lingering measure of nausea. full review
  31. We Were Soldiers 2002 By comparison, Oliver Stone's Platoon plays like the experience of a sensibly outraged man worthy of our sympathy. full review
  32. Baran 2001 Majidi's portrait of southwest Asian poverty is bloodless and fastidiously arranged, his regard for his thin characters negligible. full review
  33. Lara Croft - Tomb Raider 2001 So pandering and pebble-brained you'd guess it had been test-screened on barnyard animals. full review
  34. Croupier 2000 Polished and adroit ado about next to nothing, Hodges's film owes everything to Owen, who nails the vaguely unsavory, unreadable, half-lidded hunks that inhabit every profitable entertainment-industry outpost. full review
  35. The Gospel According to Philip K. Dick 2000 Dallies too briefly with Dick's writing, and too expansively with speculations about what Dick may or may not have experienced in February and March of 1974. full review
  36. Scream 3 2000 Logic, motivation, suspense -- anything that might make the film frightening or resonant-is buried under Dolby blams, medulla-shaming dialogue, and a rain of overdubbed hunting-knife schwings that grate like a 3 a.m. car alarm. full review
  37. Following 1998 full review
  38. Solo Con Tu Pareja 1991 Pushing the dull Cacho as a chick magnet capable of opening any pair of legs suggests that Cuaron's respect for women has gained serious ground since he was 29. full review
  39. Days of Heaven 1978 Almost incontestably the most gorgeously photographed film ever made. full review
  40. 3 Women 1977 A gauzy, perfectly executed vacation in Doppelganger-burg. full review
  41. The Good, the Bad and the Ugly (Il Buono, il Brutto, il Cattivo.) 1966 All told, and in giant widescreen, it's only blood-red adolescent fun, but it blooms like Douglas Sirk with a Gatling gun compared to the teenage demographic's current fare. full review
  42. /titles/197833 It's dire, unimaginative silliness. full review
  43. /titles/197643 More than a half-century later, Foreman was right after all: High Noon is a scorching and sour portrait of American complacence and capacity for collaborationism. full review
  44. /titles/197768 Essentially a reheating of 1982's First Blood ... but the fallout this time is simultaneously more ruthless, less emotional, and duller. full review
  45. /titles/197756 It manages to be a mildly merry film in any case, because its realism is patient and inclusive ... full review