Mad Max: Fury Road

Boisterous, bountiful, bombastic, berserk, and bonkers, Mad Max: Fury Road is a barn-burner of an operatic extravaganza; a scrap-metal demolition derby of a popcorn flick; and a gargantuan grunge symphony of vehicular mayhem and twisted metal. Extravagantly deranged and utterly unhinged, it’s gutsy, unapologetic, peripatetic, high-octane, and unstoppable, a defiantly individual riposte to committee-led blockbusters that tend to steamroll the summer season.

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While We’re Young

Droll, observant, bittersweet, and unexpectedly sympathetic, While We’re Young is a delicious satirical drama about hipsters and their discontents; a routine middle-age sitcom for over-educated urbanites; and an excruciatingly pleasurable and wince-inducing study in insecurity. It’s an easygoing Sunday afternoon at the movies.

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No

Quietly impassioned, admirably measured, excellently authentic, and ingeniously realized, No is a Latin American Mad Men, a fascinating piece of history that escaped much of the world’s notice, and a prescient case study in basic-level democracy. It’s a canny comedy, a cutting critique, and a cunning combination of high-stakes drama and media satire.

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Carlos

Pulsingly cinematic, relentlessly exciting, and tremendously absorbing, Carlos is a riveting account of a scoundrel’s rise and fall; a landmark of pop politics taken to extremes; and a shocking high-wire act of incredible precision. Brutal and romantic, it’s wizardly, bravura narrative filmmaking.

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Clouds of Sils Maria

Enigmatic, tender, subtext-laden, and played with conviction, Clouds of Sils Maria is a heady psychosexual drama steeped in dense anxieties; a multilayered rapture on the subject of woman, performing; and a poetic meditation on acting, aging, and acceptance. A bonbon spiked with malice and wit, it’s a great midlife crisis film.

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The Salt of the Earth

Stunning, moving, and, in the aggregate, almost overwhelming, The Salt of the Earth is an odyssey of a tragic observer; an intimate reverie on family and aesthetics; and a monumental tribute to a peerless talent that feels both grand and modest in scale. It’s a voyage into the surreal that stays in the mind and heart for many weeks.

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White God

Brave, tantalizing, deliriously unclassifiable, and hackle-raising in its intensity, White God is a poignant Hungarian revenge fantasy, a rousing creature-feature suspense story, and a feat of practical filmmaking. Dickensian and dystopian, it’s a triumphantly idiosyncratic, technically accomplished live-action fable in a dog-eat-dog world, a social conscience movie with real cinematic bite.

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