Ben Reiser is a Programmer and Accounts Manager of the UW Cinematheque, as well as the Coordinator of the Wisconsin Film Festival
THE GUEST The only film I saw twice in a theater this year. This is a pitch perfect amalgam of Halloween and The Terminator. THE GUEST is an embarrassingly entertaining genre film mash-up in which the whole is even greater than the sum of it’s parts.
THE ONE I LOVE – What starts out feeling like a gimmick winds up mining surprisingly deep territory when it comes to how married people feel about each other after the bloom is off the rose. I was really impressed with the subtleties of Mark Duplass’s performances.
THE GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL – Not all Wes Anderson movies are created equal, and this one transfixed and delighted me in a way I hadn’t experienced since THE ROYAL TENNENBAUMS. I watched it a second time recently paying exclusive attention to Ralph Fiennes and got the sense that I could probably do the same thing with equally enjoyable results with some of the other performances.
IT FELT LIKE LOVE – Made me feel like I was seeing the Brooklyn, New York of my youth as it had never been seen on screen before.
UNDER THE SKIN – I’ll entertain any arguments about the rest of the film, but the scene on the beach is the stuff of nightmares – the kind that rarely get captured on film as convincingly and excruciatingly as they do here.
THE SACRAMENT – Ti West continues to know exactly where to place the camera for maximum tension and suspense.
THE DROP – This kept me on the edge of my seat throughout. Tom Hardy and James Gandolfini are both riveting in this film.
JOHN WICK – The most purely pleasurable action film I’ve seen since ROADHOUSE.
THE HOBBIT: THE BATTLE OF THE FIVE ARMIES – If I’m being honest with myself, only two of the six Tolkein films made by Peter Jackson are what I would consider to be good movies – THE TWO TOWERS and now this one. It’s tightly focused and full of classical visual storytelling.