8

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

Let's be honest, nobody really expected The Lego Movie to be quite as good as it was. The opportunity the toy franchise had to essentially concoct a...
8

MOONLIGHT

The myth that there isn't a big enough market for films that deal directly with African-American experiences should hopefully take a hammer blow with...
8

HIDDEN FIGURES

At a time when American politics has seemed more sexist, racially divisive and anti-science than it has done in many years, a film that celebrates...
9

JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2

The original 2014 film John Wick was something of a sleeper hit, a seemingly unremarkable action thriller that found a bigger audience than expected...
9

LION

The true story of Saroo Brierley is something that would be dismissed as ludicrously far-fetched were it to be conjured up in a fictional Hollywood...
8

SPLIT

The curious career of M Night Shyamalan has taken another twist, appropriately enough for a man seemingly obsessed with them, with this latest film...
9

HACKSAW RIDGE

Given the imposed exile Mel Gibson has been under since a series of "personal problems" derailed his career (quite rightly, by all accounts), there...
10

LA LA LAND

Barely out of his 20s when he made this, writer and director Damien Chazelle has marked himself out as one of the brightest young filmmaking talents...
7

PASSENGERS

Sometimes a film can have a tremendous amount going for it, with all kinds of things to admire across the various disciplines on display, but all it...
9

ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY

Since their acquisition of the Star Wars licence back in 2012, much has been discussed about Disney's decision to make a third trilogy of films, the...
7

SNOWDEN

Oliver Stone has on many occasions chosen to chronicle significant figures in American history, usually with a stylistic flair that is either...
8

SULLY: MIRACLE ON THE HUDSON

At the grand old age of 86, Clint Eastwood continues to work fairly prolifically as a director and his output continues to be of a pretty high...
8

MOANA

Just as their subsidiary company Pixar have experienced a slightly bumpy ride in terms of their creative output in recent years, Disney's main...
8

FANTASTIC BEASTS AND WHERE TO FIND THEM

Such was the gargantuan success of the Harry Potter franchise that it was inevitable Warner Bros would attempt to milk a little more money out of it...
9

ARRIVAL

Such is the sheer amount of ludicrous science fiction movies that it's deeply refreshing when one comes along that adheres to the genre's best values...
8

THE ACCOUNTANT

In this cinematic era of ubiquitous superheroes, there's something genuinely intriguing about offering a dramatic protagonist whose job is more...
8

DOCTOR STRANGE

One of the most interesting things about Disney's ongoing attempts to expand their Marvel Cinematic Universe has been how they've attempted to avoid...
7

THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN

The basic idea of seven outcasts being called upon to defend a small village from a roaming gang of bandits, and in doing so discovering a nobility...
7

DON’T BREATHE

Modern horror films, American ones at least, don't have the best pedigree in recent years. They tend to start well, and usually have at least one...
8

FINDING DORY

The 2003 Pixar classic Finding Nemo is one of the company's best films, an enduring fable that was the 2nd highest-grossing animated film of all time...
7

STAR TREK BEYOND

After the 2009 franchise reboot of Star Trek got things back on track, and the sequel Star Trek Into Darkness consolidated its success, it was always...
8

THE CONJURING 2

The 2013 horror film The Conjuring was something of a surprise hit, and deservedly so - a well-crafted and old-fashioned serving of familiar haunted...
7

THE NICE GUYS

Shane Black has had an interesting and very unique career in Hollywood, from his beginnings as the first actor to be killed onscreen by the Predator,...
8

ME BEFORE YOU

On this side of a cynical millennium, it's par for the course for romantic comedies and dramas to be served with a hefty sprinkling of snark, a kind...
7

WARCRAFT: THE BEGINNING

Sometimes it's hard to tell whether a film has been a success or a failure. This example in particular had all the makings of yet another video game...
7

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE

The hostile critical reception met by this latest instalment in the X-Men franchise (the ninth in the series, if you count the various spinoffs) was...
7

GREEN ROOM

The young writer/director Jeremy Saulnier has become one of the brightest new voices on the American independent scene after his second film Blue...
7

DEMOLITION

The intriguing Canadian director Jean-Marc Vallée was on something of a high-profile roll after the mainstream success of his last two films Dallas...
9

CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR

People keep waiting for the bubble to burst with Marvel Studios' groundbreaking experiment at constructing a shared cinematic universe for its...
7

EYE IN THE SKY

The politics, legality and ethics of drone attacks could not be more relevant and topical these days, so it's surprising that more films haven't been...
8

THE JUNGLE BOOK

The original 1967 Disney animated adaptation of The Jungle Book is fondly remembered for good reasons - the last feature length cartoon that Walt...
7

EDDIE THE EAGLE

The ski jumper Eddie "The Eagle" Edwards was seen by many as something of a joke in terms of his competitive ability, but there was always something...
9

ZOOTROPOLIS

Disney's in-house animation department has been on something of a roll in recent years with the inventive Wreck-It Ralph, world-conquering Frozen and...
7

10 CLOVERFIELD LANE

The 2008 film Cloverfield was an intriguing oddity that benefited enormously from its deliberately obtuse marketing - most audiences barely knew a...
7

KUNG FU PANDA 3

The original Kung Fu Panda film from 2008 was a surprisingly high quality affair, showing a reasonably respectful approach to Chinese culture and...
9

DEADPOOL

Although many people like to complain (perhaps with good reason) about the seemingly never-ending glut of superhero movies that Hollywood has been...
9

SPOTLIGHT

The recent child abuse scandal in the Catholic church is one of the worst coverups of our lifetimes, and the scale of it still hasn't quite sunk in...
8

THE BIG SHORT

The 2008 global financial crash and the American housing crisis that helped cause it is perhaps not the most obvious subject matter for a generally...
8

CREED

The underdog success of the original Rocky film in 1976 was one of those wonderful moments where art imitated life - struggling actor Sylvester...
9

THE REVENANT

It's been fascinating to watch Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu carve a very particular style of his own as his career has progressed, despite working in...
9

ROOM

Emma Donoghue's extraordinary 2010 novel is told entirely from the perspective of a young boy who has been kept prisoner his whole life inside a...
7

THE DANISH GIRL

The increasingly prominent discussion of transgender rights in recent years is long overdue, so it's hardly surprising to see a topical issue of the...
8

THE HATEFUL EIGHT

After the massive commercial success of his last two films (the revisionist war movie Inglourious Basterds and the blaxploitation Spaghetti Western...
9

STAR WARS: THE FORCE AWAKENS

It's hard to think of a film that comes with more cultural baggage than a new Star Wars instalment. Since original creator George Lucas sold the...
8

BRIDGE OF SPIES

The 1960 U2 incident during the Cold War was a huge embarrassment to the United States, and contributed a great deal to the breakdown of its...
8

BROOKLYN

The immigrant experience is something that's very much in the spotlight these days, and it's comforting to be reminded that there was a time when it...
7

CAROL

The literary work of Patricia Highsmith is dominated by her contributions to the psychological thriller, particularly her Tom Ripley series of...
7

STEVE JOBS

Attempting a character portrait of one of the most influential public figures of this generation was always going to be a tricky task. The...
7

ANOMALISA

Charlie Kaufman has been one of the most consistently unique writers working in independent American film for about fifteen years now. His...
7

THE LOBSTER

Greek writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos has for a while now been one of the darlings of the indie movie circuit, with his 2009 film Dogtooth earning...
7

BLACK MASS

The story of Irish-American criminal Whitey Bulger and his collusion with the FBI is a fascinating one, with enough scandal and drama to carry a TV...
8

SICARIO

French-Canadian writer/director Denis Villeneuve has carved out a pretty remarkable résumé in the last few years, with the terrific likes of his...
7

THE WALK

The daring escapades of Philippe Petit, the French high-wire artist who walked across the twin towers of the World Trade Center in 1974, have already...
7

THE INTERN

It's always interesting to look at the issue of gender in Hollywood, and one of the ways to do that is to examine how films directed by women are...
9

THE MARTIAN

The underdog success story of Andy Weir's novel The Martian was a hugely encouraging publishing phenomenon - an initially self-published book by an...
7

EVEREST

The tragic events on Mount Everest in May of 1996 claimed the lives of eight people, and led to many questions being asked about the...
7

LEGEND

The notorious Kray twins of East London have always had a peculiar relationship with the British media. Although they were brutally violent murderers...
8

ME AND EARL AND THE DYING GIRL

There's a bit of an ongoing fad at the moment in American cinema for teen drama that mixes romantic comedy staples with serious life issues, usually...
9

STRAIGHT OUTTA COMPTON

The hip hop group NWA are among the most influential artists in the medium's history, and with the still comparatively young artform gaining more...
7

THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E.

It was perhaps a questionable decision to attempt a film reboot of this 1960s TV series, given the very crowded field of international spy films from...
7

THE GIFT

It's always interesting to see how established actors get on when they step behind the camera to direct, and even more intriguing when they show a...
8

MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION

This has been a strange film franchise. Kicking off as long ago as 1996, the original attempt to establish a Bond-rivalling series based on the late...
9

AMY

Amy Winehouse was a tremendously talented, highly idiosyncratic performer whose life and early death panned out in the public eye like an inevitable...
7

SOUTHPAW

Jake Gyllenhaal has been trying to win an Oscar for some time. After being nominated for Brokeback Mountain back in 2005, he has regularly pursued...
9

INSIDE OUT

More than any other animation company, in fact probably more than any other film company of any kind, Pixar Animation Studios have very, very high...
8

ANT-MAN

After the large-scale event of their last film Avengers: Age of Ultron, it makes a lot of sense for Marvel to tone things down with the 12th feature...
9

SONG OF THE SEA

The fairly small-scale Irish animation production company Cartoon Saloon made a bit of a splash back in 2010 when their hugely impressive first...
8

LOVE & MERCY

Brian Wilson, one of the founding members and principle creatives of The Beach Boys, has led a fascinating but difficult life, as is the case with...
7

SLOW WEST

Mainstream audiences have been a little starved of Westerns in recent years - with the notable exceptions of Quentin Tarantino's glorious Django...
7

THE LONGEST RIDE

Literary phenomenon Nicholas Sparks seems to have entered the weird echelon of authors who have every single piece of work they produce turned into...
7

JURASSIC WORLD

The enormous financial success of this film underlines the public appetite for two very clear things. Firstly, the fondness people hold for Steven...
7

SPY

Such is the anticipation for the upcoming Ghostbusters reboot that this film was seen by some as a kind of audition, given that it shares the same...
9

MAD MAX: FURY ROAD

Now that this film is out, and has been showered with rapturous critical praise as well as doing very well at the box office, it's easy to forget how...
7

THE AGE OF ADALINE

Time is the enemy of love, they say - and the fleeting nature of our existence is the weighty theme being tackled (if never quite properly explored)...
8

AVENGERS: AGE OF ULTRON

And so the Marvel Cinematic Universe juggernaut rumbles on. Its cynics remain (they've been there since it started, and will never go away), and in...
7

JOHN WICK

The action thriller genre has sunk into a bit of a slump in recent years, with a strangely family-friendly approach watering everything down and...
7

FURIOUS 7

The Fast and the Furious franchise is pretty extraordinary in several ways. For starters, it has torn up the usual rulebook of diminishing returns -...
7

THE WATER DIVINER

Russell Crowe has always been a robust and distinctive onscreen presence, so it comes as little surprise that his choice for a directorial debut is a...
7

CINDERELLA

The astonishing (and rarely commented upon) financial success of Tim Burton's live-action adaptation of Alice in Wonderland - it was the 8th...
9

WILD TALES

Anthology films rarely work, and it's hard to pinpoint exactly why. You have to go back pretty far to find any really good examples like Grand Hotel...
8

STILL ALICE

Hollywood has an uneasy history with the way it portrays physical and mental illness. While it's often the case that major films can draw attention...
8

SELMA

Films like Selma are crucially important, especially given the ongoing struggles against institutionalised racism by African-American communities...
8

EX MACHINA

Alex Garland has spent the last decade or so carving a name for himself as a screenwriter of intelligent, inventive science fiction, from his...
9

KINGSMAN: THE SECRET SERVICE

Matthew Vaughn sure does like his comic books. Apart from his promising debut film Layer Cake, he's made a career out of adapting a pretty varied...
8

BIG HERO 6

Walt Disney Pictures had an initially rough ride when it came to producing computer-animated feature films of its own. Beaten to the entire concept...
7

WILD

It's encouraging to see Reese Witherspoon use her clout as a celebrity and a producer to get challenging and worthy projects off the ground, even...
10

WHIPLASH

This is a film about the pursuit of perfection. The driving, ambitious, passionate desire to be the very best you can be at something which is...
7

AMERICAN SNIPER

There have been two very strong reactions to this film. The first has been slightly unexpected, in that it has become a huge success at the box...
7

FOXCATCHER

The real-life events that this film is based on are almost senselessly tragic and quite depressing, so if you're already familiar with them you'd be...
8

BIRDMAN

It's hard to do anything new with films these days. Genuine originality and innovation becomes more elusive the older the medium gets, and it's a...
8

THE THEORY OF EVERYTHING

The life of the extraordinary scientist Stephen Hawking could easily lend itself to half a dozen autobiographical stories, such is the breadth and...
7

UNBROKEN

At her best, Angelina Jolie has been an excellent actor, from her early breakthrough role in Girl, Interrupted to more developed work like her...
7

PADDINGTON

The English children's author Michael Bond's whimsical creation Paddington Bear is not the most obvious candidate for a crowd-pleasing Christmas...
7

ST. VINCENT

Bill Murray's wry, sardonic face has gradually become one of the most naturally crowd-pleasing things in modern American independent film. Having...
9

THE IMITATION GAME

The life of Alan Turing was extraordinary - a genius decades ahead of his time, whose work cracking the Enigma code was instrumental in defeating the...
7

THE DROP

Sometimes a film doesn't need to do anything particularly special or innovative to stand out, and can get by on the strength of just doing the basics...
10

INTERSTELLAR

It's quite a ballsy thing to promise audiences they will not only be visually stunned, but will be shown something they have never seen before. It's...
9

NIGHTCRAWLER

There's something strangely heartening about seeing an absolutely terrific film turn up almost out of nowhere, with little hype or expectation placed...
8

THE BOOK OF LIFE

In the crowded field of feature-length animated films, it's a pleasant surprise to see something come along out of nowhere, with little expectation...
8

FURY

There have been a few decent films set during World War II lately (The Book Thief and The Wind Rises for example), but not many which have focused...
8

THE JUDGE

Robert Duvall only pops up every now and then these days, which is a great shame considering how tremendously talented he is. He has portrayed two of...
9

GONE GIRL

David Fincher has for a while now been one of the most interesting American directors working today, ever since he made two of the best films of the...
7

THE EQUALIZER

I never saw the 80s TV series this is ostensibly based on, but given that it was a violent, vigilante revenge thriller it's not surprising to see it...
7

THE HUNDRED-FOOT JOURNEY

There's been an emerging market in the last few years for a certain kind of gently whimsical drama aimed at a slightly older audience than most other...
9

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY

People complain so much about how bored they are at the ubiquity of superhero movies nowadays that their complaints have become boring themselves....
8

BEGIN AGAIN

It's a real shame that not that many people have gone to see this film, as it's that rare thing - a modern romcom that manages to be both romantic...
8

DAWN OF THE PLANET OF THE APES

The original 1968 Planet of the Apes film is a fondly-remembered science fiction classic, which featured special effects from the late John Chambers...
9

BOYHOOD

Every once in a while a film comes along that does something completely and utterly unique, something which may have influences but none with such...
9

HOW TO TRAIN YOUR DRAGON 2

Following up the unexpectedly fantastic How to Train Your Dragon was always going to be a tricky task. The only American animated film to rival...
7

CHEF

It's nice to see Jon Favreau return to the indie roots that launched his career with the likes of Swingers (which he wrote, starred in and...
9

THE FAULT IN OUR STARS

There's always a lot of sneering that goes on when films like this get made, and to be fair a lot of the time it's justified - making a Hollywood...
7

22 JUMP STREET

The huge success of this film's predecessor 21 Jump Street was unexpected at the time (although in retrospect, after its writer/director team went on...
9

EDGE OF TOMORROW

Some people enjoy watching Tom Cruise being heroic, some people would like to see him get violently killed (in a fictional context of course) in as...
7

MALEFICENT

Despite snitty reviews and a marketing campaign that seems to have consisted entirely of just Angelina Jolie's enhanced cheekbones, it's been very...
9

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST

With six previous entries in the franchise, the X-Men series of films has had its ups and downs and enjoyed different levels of quality, but has...
8

THE WIND RISES

It really cannot be overestimated how much of a loss to the world of cinema the announcement of Hayao Miyazaki's retirement in September 2013 was....
9

THE RAID 2

Sometimes when a film set itself incredibly bold targets, such as attempting to be the definitive example of its genre in the history of cinema, and...
9

CAPTAIN AMERICA: THE WINTER SOLDIER

Many people are complaining about market saturation when it comes to superhero movies, and not without reason. The continued success of pretty much...
9

THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL

Despite being recognised as one of American independent cinema's true iconoclasts, and despite an impressively consistent CV that doesn't contain a...
8

THE BOOK THIEF

Setting any film during the second World War and skirting a theme as weighty and unimaginably awful as the Holocaust is always going to be a tricky...
7

NON-STOP

While Liam Neeson's late-career rebranding as badass middle-aged action hero has been somewhat bizarre and certainly unexpected, it has provided some...
8

THE LEGO MOVIE

A lot of people (I was one of them) were pretty snotty when this project was first announced. No doubt they've been hastily deleted now, but there...
9

DALLAS BUYERS CLUB

While on the surface this might look like one of those Oscar-baiting, oh-so-worthy films that ends up boring you into submission with the weight of...
8

LONE SURVIVOR

Making a film set in the Middle East based on real events is challenging for many reasons, but one of the biggest problems with it is that it's an...
7

AUGUST: OSAGE COUNTY

Anyone's appreciation of this adaptation stands a very good chance of being tempered if you were lucky enough to catch it in its original stage form....
7

INSIDE LLEWYN DAVIS

Despite the wide variety in their work, you pretty much know what you're getting with a Coen brothers film. Unquestionably amongst the most unique...
9

THE WOLF OF WALL STREET

How satisfying to see Martin Scorsese, arguably the world's greatest living filmmaker, and a man who's had his fair share of commercial difficulties,...
9

12 YEARS A SLAVE

First of all, this is every bit the masterpiece people are claiming. Hopefully the first of what should be many long-overdue documents. There have...
7

AMERICAN HUSTLE

It's taken me a while to warm to David O Russell. I was pretty indifferent to his first two films (Spanking the Monkey and Flirting with...