1. Drive My Car
A three-hour-long, heady, Oscar-nominated Japanese film about a widower attempting to stage a version of ‘Uncle Vanya’ may not sound like riveting stuff, but ‘Drive My Car’ is as close to a game-changer as anything that has come down the pike in recent years. Though it spends most of its time wandering and meandering like an aimless stroll through an abandoned town, it never stops being absolutely riveting in its presentation. It’s not until all is said and done that you realize what a masterful film you’ve just experienced.

2. Belfast
Drawing from his own life experiences growing up during “The Troubles”, screenwriter (and director) Kenneth Branagh has put together a superb film that easily stands among the best and most affecting this year. Elegantly shot in black and white by Branagh’s longtime collaborator Haris Zambarloukos, it’s a deeply moving and wholly satisfying film about family and religion and politics and young love. The exquisite Catriona Balfe leads the way with a performance that instantly cements her legacy.

3. Spencer
Give Kristen Stewart all the awards now for her depiction of Princess Diana in this slice-of-life biopic set against the 1991 Christmas holiday at Sandringham Estate. Director Pablo Larrain (‘Jackie’), working from a pitch-perfect script by Steven Knight, creates a tinderbox, tosses the People’s Princess into the middle of it, and lets the embers crackle and pop until the whole place burns down. It’s a tough watch (and will, no doubt, infuriate many blueblood Anglophiles), but Stewart’s performance is as captivating as it is uncanny.

Locke & Key’s Emilia Jones stars as the titular young woman in CODA (short for ‘Child of Deaf Adults’), a sweet and heartwarming movie that winds up being far more successful than it has any right to be. What could have been a sappy, Hallmark-y mess instead emerges as an honest and engaging triumph. Jones runs away with the movie, but Marlee Matlin and Troy Kotsur also shine as her deaf parents.

5. The Power of the Dog
Over the years, Netflix has earned five Best Picture nods (‘Roma’, ‘The Irishman’, ‘Marriage Story’, ‘Mank’, and ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’) but they might finally win with this masterpiece from Jane Campion. The quintessential slow-burn Western, ‘Dog’ is an absolute thing of unsettling beauty, starring Benedict Cumberbatch as a bullying scoundrel who terrorizes his brother’s family in 1920s Montana. It’s subtle and creepy and unnerving and all-out fantastic.


  1. Licorice Pizza
  2. The Tragedy of Macbeth
  3. Summer of Soul (…Or, When the Revolution Could Not Be Televised)
  4. Dune: Part One
  5. The Lost Daughter
  6. The Eyes of Tammy Faye
  7. Nightmare Alley
  8. Being the Ricardos
  9. Tick, Tick…Boom!
  10. Attica
  11. Last Night in Soho
  12. Wife of a Spy
  13. Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
  14. Pig
  15. Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain
  16. The Rescue
  17. Stop and Go
  18. The Guilty
  19. No Sudden Move
  20. Encanto
  21. King Richard
  22. The Last Duel
  23. Free Guy
  24. Spider-Man: No Way Home
  25. West Side Story
  26. Burning
  27. Ghostbusters: Afterlife
  28. Sing 2
  29. Black Widow
  30. The Harder They Fall
  31. Army of Thieves
  32. The French Dispatch
  33. The Electrical Life of Louis Wain
  34. No Time to Die
  35. Worth
  36. Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed
  37. The Protégé
  38. Vivo
  39. Annette
  40. Stillwater
  41. Closed for Storm
  42. The Suicide Squad
  43. Twas the Fight Before Christmas
  44. Don’t Look Up
  45. Mixtape
  46. Jungle Cruise
  47. Gunpowder Milkshake
  48. The Tomorrow War
  49. Blackpink: The Movie
  50. The Last Letter From Your Lover
  51. Fear Street Part Three: 1666
  52. House of Gucci
  53. The Tender Bar
  54. Summer Days, Summer Nights
  55. Whirlybird
  56. Ride the Eagle
  57. Los Angeles
  58. A Clusterfunke Christmas
  59. 8-Bit Christmas
  60. Love Hard
  61. Ron’s Gone Wrong
  62. Halloween Kills
  63. Fear Street Part One: 1994
  64. Venom: Let There Be Carnage
  65. Kate
  66. Vacation Friends
  67. Jolt
  68. How It Ends
  69. Die in a Gunfight
  70. Escape Room: Tournament of Champions
  71. Fear Street Part Two: 1978
  72. Finch
  73. Silent Night
  74. Red Notice
  75. Eternals
  76. My Son
  77. Sweet Girl
  78. Lady of the Manor
  79. Muppets Haunted Mansion
  80. Warning
  81. Home Sweet Home Alone
  82. South of Heaven
  83. He’s All That
  84. Black Friday


90. The King’s Man
I called Matthew Vaughn’s 2015 original a ridiculously “profane and violent…James Bond-lite (and -like) romp”, and its 2017 sequel a “vertiginous frenzy of fast edits, tumbling camera work, and sub-sophomoric humor”. Alas, the downward spiral continues with this prequel/origin story starring Ralph Fiennes and Djimon Hounsou. Apparently, Vaughn couldn’t decide on a genre, a tone, or anything else that would help make this violent, sound-and-fury disaster worth watching. While it was in the process of being delayed and re-scheduled eight times over the last two-plus years, you’d think someone could’ve fixed it… or, better yet, make the smart decision to just shelve it altogether.

91. Reminiscence
‘Westworld’ co-creator Lisa Joy makes her directorial debut with this muddled, overblown mess that will leave you wondering how it ever saw the light of day. Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Ferguson try their best to keep it afloat (pun intended—it takes place in a future, flooded Miami), but no amount of talent helps you make sense of (or care about) what’s going on. Part Flatliners, part 40s noir detective caper, it adds up to nothing at all worth ever mentioning again.

92. The Addams Family 2
The tagline on the poster (“Unhappy to see you again.”) sums it up better than I ever could. It’s just bad, right from the get-go—lazy, moronic, and all over the place. Kudos to anyone who can make sense of it (or, better yet, care enough to make sense of it).

93. Father Christmas is Back
As much of a dumpster fire as you could possibly imagine and chock-full of god-awful, groan-worthy one-liners, this nonsensical disaster may actually make you want to swear off movies forever. Not only is it stupid and boring and lazy, it also squanders the talents of John Cleese, Elizabeth Hurley, and Kelsey Grammer… among others. What could have been a sparkling British comedy about the ultimate dysfunctional family instead crashes and burns and deserves to never be spoken of again.

94. Four Hours at the Capitol
While documentarians live by a mantra of objectivity and impartiality, sometimes it may, in fact, do more damage than if they had left well enough alone. Such is the case with director Jamie Roberts’ film about January’s siege on the US Capitol. Giving the insurrectionists yet another platform for their message (and, by the way, referring to them in the simplest of terms, such as “filmmaker”) does nothing to illustrate the severity of their crimes and may, in fact, excuse them as rational. Sure, intelligent, learned viewers can draw their own conclusions, but what about everyone else? Horribly irresponsible.