Our reviewers weigh in with lists of under-seen movies from 2016, as well as trends they’d like to see more and less of.
“De Palma”: Brilliant, oft-misunderstood director Brian De Palma talks to fellow filmmakers Noah Baumbach and Jake Paltrow about his tumultuous career, going movie by movie in a stripped-down documentary that doubles as the story of what happened to the early ’70s “New Hollywood” crowd once they started mixing art and show business.
“The Eyes of My Mother”: Shot in stark black-and-white, writer-director Nicolas Pesce’s debut film is like a deeply disturbing horror novella, with an edge-of-the-seat prologue about a rural home invasion gone wrong and then a long, semi-sympathetic look at how the little girl who witnessed the crime grew up to be a psychopath.
“Justin Timberlake + the Tennessee Kids”: Director Jonathan Demme proves once again that he’s the maestro of the concert film, turning a massive Las Vegas arena show into an at once joyous and intimate experience.
“April and the Extraordinary World”: French cartoonist Jacques Tardi’s retro-futurist aesthetic is perfectly suited to the stylized designs of animation, but what’s so remarkable about this brainy fantasy film is how it turns his ideas into a cohesive story, following an adventurous young scientist on an alternate Earth. The steampunk look and twisty plot make for a lively “what if?”
“Peter and the Farm”: The daily misery of one opinionated, frequently drunk, 68-year-old Vermont farmer provides the drama in one of the year’s best documentaries: an unflinching look at how the paradise of his youth has become a prison in his old age.
More please: Small-scale action-adventure flicks. “The Shallows” and “Green Room” are great examples of how to make entertaining genre films that don’t cost $100 million and don’t feel overstuffed and unfocused.
No más: Hollywood, please stop announcing “shared universes” and six-picture “arcs” before the first film of a series even goes into production. Just make one good movie. If people like it, make more.