Noah Baumbach’s incisive and compassionate look at a marriage breaking up and a family staying together. (IMDb)
Exquisite in its script, performances, and craft: the feels are real and raw and wrenching, and there’s a lot of them (love, hate, heartbreak, awkwardness, tension, release); the leads, meanwhile, bring them all home, and the camera knows to just stay focused on them and not cut. In its monologues, songs, long takes, and dramatic emotion it almost has the feel of a theatrical play (with the troupe and their babbling commentary serving as the chorus), and it works perfectly with the material.
The sheriff of a suburban New Jersey community populated by New York City police officers slowly discovers the town is a front for mob connections and corruption. (IMDb)
Well-acted, and that includes action-star Stallone in a softer, more subtle role than I’ve ever seen him in. A simple crime plot is still engaging, and allows the characters to shine (De Niro’s IA agent still feels mostly inconsequential, but Liotta’s complex and volatile Figgis is a perfect complement to the more straight-forward duo of Freddy and Ray), but ultimately feels undercooked, with the issues underlying the initial point of conflict left untouched and the conclusion a little too neat.
Henry Hill and his friends work their way up through the mob hierarchy. (IMDb)
Magnificent in its epic scope, as seen both in its decades-long timeline and its lengthy, immersive scenes, thoughtfully written with loads of dialogue that goes beyond just plot-driving, building instead an authentic, enveloping world that yanks you along with Liotta’s engaging lead to every boisterous dinner party, roadside grave-digging, and mistress’ apartment (the coke-fueled adventures near the end are particularly wild). Great music and cool audio scene overlaps are also notable here.
A motorcycle stunt rider turns to robbing banks as a way to provide for his lover and their newborn child, a decision that puts him on a collision course with an ambitious rookie cop navigating a department ruled by a corrupt detective. (IMDb)
A gripping three-part crime drama that deftly follows a multi-generational set of characters through their respective lives as they connect in startling and moving ways. Morality, family, and revenge are just a few of the complex themes expertly explored in the rich script that’s phenomenally acted out by a stacked cast. Add in a wonderfully-crafted soundtrack and beautiful cinematography and you have an amazing and epic film that gives the cops and robbers premise astonishing emotional depth.