45 Years

Economical, understated, and flawlessly calibrated, 45 Years is a mature, potent drama of great nuance and even greater emotion; a searching, inescapably authentic portrait of a marriage on the brink of disaster; and a confirmation of a new cinematic voice and the glorious results that artistic experience can facilitate. Refined, believable, and ultimately devastating, it is a romance to treasure for years to come.

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2015 Retrospective

In 2015, James Cameron lost his box office reign as JJ Abrams finally did George Lucas’ legacy justice and brought Star Wars: The Force Awakens to a marketplace primed for record-shattering. Amazon and Netflix continued to show their muscle in an ever-evolving environment for artistic distribution. And the best films managed to claw their way to the surface, stirring joy and sadness, provoking awe and terror, stoking love and desire, in discerning audiences worldwide.

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The Hateful Eight

Riotously profane and ridiculously self-indulgent, The Hateful Eight is an unruly, over-the-top mystery of epic proportions; a verbose, Ennio Morricone-scored whodunit; and a wild, daring showcase for all that’s right and wrong with its auteur. Adventurous and exasperating, it’s somehow nearly unmissable, if only because no one does it like this.

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Audacious in concept, awash in nuance, and astonishing in execution, Carol is an indelible portrait of a society suppressed; a calm, luscious creation of breathtaking art and velvety beauty; and an ardent, extraordinarily important drama of sleek precision and pure ardour. Not only one of the best films of the year, it’s a love story for the ages.

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The Forbidden Room

Wild, wacky, and wondrous, The Forbidden Room is a nerve-shredding, discombobulating experience; a scathing dreamscape of a film whose bits and pieces overwhelm, dazzle, and confuse in equal measure, evading every scrap of reason and making one’s temple throb incessantly. Madcap, mock-heroic, faux-mythic, and aggressively experimental to the point of being inscrutable, it’s an avant-garde behemoth of “boggling puzzlements.”

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The Martian

Brisk, heartwarming, genial, and celebratory, The Martian is a geeky survival yarn with personality, an exciting gem of a science fiction adventure, and an irresistible affirmation of collaboration. It’s an ode to scientific ingenuity, a humane spectacle with a genuine hero, and a robust cinematic take-off that lands on solid ground.

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Terse, tense, and thrumming like a pounding drum, Sicario is a smart, seamy, sweaty foray into the netherworld of drug trafficking; a trip-wired, arthouse/grindhouse ambush of disorienting ambiguity; and a nihilistic existential nightmare without boundaries. It’s a violent action thriller to die for.

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