Every year in my capacity as Film Editor of The A.V. Club, I would send out a raw list of movie titles to my core staff for year-end list consideration, ordered chronologically by their release date in New York City. But lately, I’ve been sending out “halftime” lists, too, and even published annotated versions of those lists on the site. I recently put together a halftime list for our writers at The Dissolve, too, and thought I’d share that with our Tumblr followers. A few notes:
1. To keep things simple, I’ve divided the list into “Essential” and “Also Worth Seeing.” Because the list reflects my personal tastes and priorities to a large extent, there will no doubt be some differences of opinion about what belongs where and other worthy films I’ve left out entirely. If you’re using this as a consumer guide, further research on individual titles is recommended.
2. Because I, like all the little elves at The Dissolve, am very busy working on getting the site ready for launch, I’ve limited my annotations to a few words for sanity’s sake. Again, further research is recommended.
3. Upstream Color is on Netflix Instant. What the fuck are you waiting for? (And when you’ve finished with that, Miami Connection is now there for you too.)
Side Effects (available): Steven Soderbergh’s last film* (*big fat asterisk)
NO (DVD/BD 6/25): Black comedy about Chilean elections; Gael Garcia Bernal
Like Someone In Love (TBD): Abbas Kiarostami goes to Japan
Leviathan (TBD): Experiential doc about commercial fishing
Stoker (DVD/BD tomorrow): Park Chan-wook (Oldboy) goes to America
War Witch (VOD, DVD 9/10): Child soldiers in sub-saharan Africa.
Beyond The Hills (TBD): Cristian Mungiu’s follow-up to 4 Months, 3 Weeks…
Spring Breakers (DVD/BD 7/9): Harmony Korine, shorts of every color
Reality (TBD): Matteo Garrone’s splashy comic follow-up to Gomorrah
Gimme The Loot (TBD): Charming Amerindie about NYC taggers
Upstream Color (available/Netflix Instant): Shane Carruth’s mind-blowing whatzit
The Place Beyond The Pines (in theaters): Blue Valentine re-teaming; art!
To The Wonder (VOD): Terrence Malick. For fans only. (We’re fans.)
In The House (TBD): François Ozon drama about 16-year-old lit pupil/troublemaker
Blancanieves (TBD): Silent version of Grimms’ “Snow White”
Mud (in theaters): Matthew McConaughey, Take Shelter director team-up
Something In The Air (DVD 9/24): Olivier Assayas remembers Paris ’68
Post Tenebras Lux (DVD 8/20): Inspired weirdness from Carlos Reygadas
Stories We Tell (in theaters): Sarah Polley documents a bracing personal history
Before Midnight (in theaters): Linklater, Hawke, Delpy in Greece.
Frances Ha (in theaters): Noah Baumbach and Greta Gerwig, in B&W.
An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty (TBD): Experimental feature, poetic.
Fill The Void (in theaters): Israeli drama about ultra-orthodox family.
Much Ado About Nothing (in theaters): Joss Whedon does Shakespeare, adorably.
Berberian Sound Studio (in theaters; VOD): Twisted British tribute to giallo
The Bling Ring (in theaters): Sofia Coppola and the elixir of celebrity
Also Worth Seeing
56 Up (DVD 7/2): Michael Apted revisits his subjects in late middle age.
Outside Satan (TBD): Bruno Dumont back to basics after Hadewijch
Happy People (available): Werner Herzog claims a Siberian doc as his own
John Dies At The End (available): More cult weirdness from Don Coscarelli
Koch (DVD 8/27): “He knows the time, with a fresh Gucci watch.”
Caesar Must Die (TBD): The Taviani brothers; prisoners doing Shakespeare
Lore (available): Teenager leads young siblings through post-WWII Germany
Porfirio (TBD): Harrowing true story of a hijacking in Colombia
Future Weather (available): Amy Madigan, Lili Taylor, and a troubled kid
The End Of Love (VOD; DVD 7/16): Writer/producer/director/star Mark Webber.
Welcome To The Punch (VOD): British white-knuckler with James McAvoy.
Trance (TBD): Danny Boyle’s latest. Few liked it. Are the many wrong?
Simon Killer (DVD 9/17): Antonio Campos (Afterschool) goes to Paris
From Up On Poppy Hill (DVD/BD 9/3): Hayao Miyazaki’s kid tries to imitate dad
The Angels’ Share (DVD 8/13): The lighter side of Ken Loach.
The Lords Of Salem (DVD/BD TBD): Rob Zombie, horror auteur, visits Salem
Sun Don’t Shine (VOD): Amy Seimetz’s directorial debut. Florida road trip.
Paradise: Love (DVD 8/6): Austria’s Ulrich Seidl starts a theological trilogy
Graceland (VOD, DVD/BD 7/23): Breakneck thriller about a kidnapping thwarted
The Great Gatsby (in theaters): F. Scott Fitzgerald gets Bazzed. Monocles shatter.
What Richard Did (in theaters; VOD): Privileged Dubliner does something. Bad.
Pieta (in theaters; VOD): Kim Ki-duk’s Venice award-winner polarizes critics.
Kid-Thing (VOD): Coming-of-age story with dark, dream-like imagery.
Furious 6 (in theaters): Auteurism doesn’t get more vulgar than this. Or something.
We Steal Secrets (in theaters; VOD): Julian Assange hates it, maybe you’ll like it.
Shadow Dancer (in theaters; VOD): Man On Wire director returns to features.
The East (in theaters): Batmanglij/ Marling follow up The Sound Of My Voice.
The Kings Of Summer (in theaters): Sundance loved this pile of whimsy.
You Ain’t Seen Nothing Yet (in theaters): Alain Resnais working late-period magic
Call Me Kuchu (in theaters): Doc about tragic LGBT struggles in Uganda.
In The Fog (in theaters): Supremely talented Sergei Loznitsa follows up My Joy.
Twenty Feet From Stardom (in theaters): Feel-good doc about back-up singers. —Scott Tobias