2. Anatomy of a Fall
5. Poor ThingsDirector Yorgos Lanthimos embraces full-on weirdness in this visually lavish story about a woman who grows to maturity. No ordinary woman, Bella Baxter (Emma Stone) was created when a surgeon (Willem Dafoe) removed the brain from the fetus of a woman who committed suicide by jumping off a bridge and, then, transplanted the fetus brain into late woman's body -- before it went cold, of course. Mark Ruffalo and Ramy Youssef add strong support as Lanthimos wrestles the late Alasdair Gray's 1992 novel into a bizarre cornucopia from which a coming-of-age tale topples. Lanthimos invites the eye to search every corner of every image.
7. The Zone of Interest
A chilling adaptation of a novel by the late Martin Amis. Adaptation? Well, sort of. Director Jonathan Glazer charts his own course as he immerses us in life inside the home of Auschwitz's commandant (Christian Friedel). Sandra Huller plays the commandant's wife in a film that traps us in a world where the value of everything feels tainted by Nazi perversity. Fully committed to a gripping style, The Zone of Interest proves unforgettable. It’s a movie haunted by what we know but don’t see — and that which many of the movie’s characters refuse to see.
9. May DecemberI had mixed feelings about director Todd Haynes' look at a husband and wife twenty years after their marriage began. The twist, he (Charles Melton) was 13 and she (Julianne Moore) was 36 when their sexual relationship became a tabloid sensation. The story acquires a mind-bending dimension when an actress (Natalie Portman) arrives to study the couple in advance of playing Moore's character in an upcoming film. Absorbing, quietly challenging, funny, and sometimes frustrating, May December is on my list because I talked about it a lot and it stayed with me.
This two-hour and 49-minute onslaught of action turned excess into virtue. Director Chad Stahelski offered so many dizzying set pieces that we're almost overwhelmed. A fight on the steps leading to Paris's Sacre Coeur is worth the price of admission alone and Keanu Reeves and cohorts do what's needed. I'm not sure I'd want to see another John Wick movie, but I'm sure as hell glad I saw this over-the-top display of action and skillfully choreographed mayhem.