Her

The first thing that must be clear about Her is that it is not satirical: its future is a believable take on a theme of hipster consumerism. Its people are realistically quirky. They are surrounded by fakery but they are not fake. They are peculiar and humane, rediscovering their spirits in a backwards world. Jonze excels at telling a story of us exaggerated into its essentials.

The Cloverfield Paradox

I have not in recent memory seen a film whose concept is more divergent from its filmmaking than The Cloverfield Paradox. It is a movie so dumbfoundingly predictable and yet so incomprehensible that it becomes meaningless even as an average film, a paradox only in the sense that its grand pretensions cannot occupy the same space as the need to connect a franchise that was never intended to be cohesive.

The Wailing (Gokseong)

Every frame of The Wailing wades into dream space and out again. Nature in it becomes a backdrop not just to a murder investigation but to the primordial evils of human emotion that would make such an investigation necessary to begin with. We never know if people murder each other because of the anger pent up in a demonic spirit or just the anger pent up in themselves.

Superman II: The Richard Donner Cut

Superman II is exciting even in its flaws: even its badness seems to defy other kinds of movies, like so long as Superman is on top of this, everything else will be okay. It’s an uneven and delightful ride with defiant special effects — they defy the ambition of their practicality and also how that ambition has aged.

Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales

No one said Pirates movies were cinematically healthy, but up till now there have been defenders of each film at least regarding tastiness. Dead Men Tell No Tales is like Davy Jones in previous films: chained to the job he was hired to do despite having no heart.

The African Queen

Movies of this kind had a habit of staging an adventure but keeping emotions safe and detached, with characters that went through the bother of dressing in jungle wear but without the bother of acting beyond their British parlors. But here Huston aims at unprecedented realism in confecting a gritty jungle for his two stars to get entangled in, particularly in the unsightly pairing of the two leads themselves, who at first seem no more compatible than they really would be.