This autobiographical documentary covering the span of Brian DePalma’s 50+ year filmmaking career is taken from the man himself. From budget-less independent films to multi-million dollar box-office projects, he offers a fascinating professional history. But don’t expect critical analysis of his frequently controversial choices (such as the infamous oversized drill used as a murder weapon in Body Double)—he will acknowledge the existence of these issues, if only to grin and shrug them off, at times literally. What you can expect is to feel you are taken by the hand through Hollywood filmmaking experiences over the course of decades: negotiations, rewrites, stolen scripts, scuffling actors; tours of technical points of interest from his movies with commentary on deftly chosen film clips. You don’t have to be a fan to get a wealth of entertainment here. Not to be missed.
Find the best movies and show to watch from the year 2016. These handpicked recommendations are highly-rated by viewers and critics.
In Cameraperson, documentarian and cinematographer Kirsten Johnson creates an incredible patchwork of her life—and her life’s work. Johnson has been behind the camera of seminal documentaries like Citizenfour, The Invisible War, and The Edge of Joy. Here, Johnson stitches together fragments of footage, shot over 25 years, reframes them to reveal the silent but influential ways in which she has been an invisible participant in her work.
In one segment, Johnson places the camera down in the grass. A hand reaches into the frame briefly, pulling up weeds that would otherwise obscure the shot. Cameraperson is a must-see documentary that challenges us to reconsider and reflect upon how we see ourselves and others through the camera lens, and beyond it.
An HBO show that's almost too suspenseful to watch. It stars Riz Ahmed as a kid who steals his father's cab to go to a party, only to later find himself tangled up in a crime. Everything leading up to his arrest, while not necessarily indicative of anything criminal, boasts cut-throat suspense. And that's the magic of this show, it's taking familiar crime story arcs, adding flawless acting and incredible writing, and perfecting the thrills. You'll want to binge this show but, if your anything like me, your heart might not be able to take it.
Search Party starts off with a simple mystery: whatever happened to Chantal, that girl Dory (Alia Shawkat) barely knew in college? She's been pronounced dead by authorities but Dory is sure she's seen her alive just recently. With nothing else going on in her life, a life she imagined would be filled with big feats and adventures by now, Dory enlists the help of her fellow 20-something friends and decides to get to the bottom of the case.
What ensues is a terrific mystery—perfectly paced and twisted—elevated by Dory and company's comic self-absorption, which buoys the story with great wit and humor. It's both a self-contained mystery and a satire, and none overwhelms the other.
As the series progresses, Search Party gets even deeper down the loony hole. The crimes get darker, the stakes get higher, and their sanities barely withstand the new cracks they get. But it also gets even more complex and interesting, with many things to say about our so-called lost generation, the millennial generation, who would rather solve mysteries and find simple cure-alls than look at ourselves in plain light.
Sometimes, nothing beats the easygoing entertainment of watching two attractive characters flirt and fall in love on screen, or seeing a group of ride-or-die friends get into trouble together. HBO's Insecure, which ran for five successful seasons, knows that it doesn't need to exaggerate or put a subversive twist on the romantic comedy to find relatable and affecting storylines. The series stays mostly locked in to South Los Angeles, California as it follows Issa (Issa Rae) navigate the modern dating scene, try to settle on a career path, and manage her friendships as an ambitious and somewhat awkward thirtysomething Black woman.
Even if you don't have much in common with Issa, Insecure is a massively comforting watch. Rae and co-creator Larry Wilmore have an impeccable eye for the messy, unspoken rules of social and romantic interaction that other shows might write off as too trivial. But this show lives and breathes in the ordinary, realistic problems—while still indulging in the warm and fuzzy feelings brought about by meeting someone new or seeing yourself grow up just a little more.
Probably the weirdest film you'll ever see. Paul Dano plays a borderline suicidal man who befriends a farting corpse that washed up from the sea as played by Daniel Radcliffe. It's an adventurous, witty and hilarious film yet it is filled with discreet and very deep lessons about society and norms. The soundtrack is so charmingly unique as well, it's a definite must-watch for anyone looking for a refreshing comedy.
Jessica Chastain plays a driven Washington lobbyist called Elizabeth Sloane in this high-speed political thriller. After being pitched to work for the gun lobby, she decides to work for the opposition: an NGO trying to pass a background check bill. It's a long movie, and even if everything happens fast, it still lags.
The events do wrap up by the end to explain the complex plot. Not to mention, Chastain's performance something to behold and is reason enough to watch. Her character's hidden motive and questionable methods make her an anti-hero, but Chastain always keeps a lure of hope that her character will redeem herself. That delicate balance might be the most thrilling aspect of Miss Sloan.