|Jason Segel and Jesse Eisenberg in The End of the Tour.|
It's only the end of August and it's already been a terrific year for movies. They've arrived from all corners of the globe and each with very distinct sensibilities that set them apart from the demands of the marketplace towards being generic. Besides the quirky enchantment of Paddington, there was Olivier Assayas' sumptuously satisfying Clouds of Sils Maria, the sublime sweet sadness of the Brian Wilson bio pic Love & Mercy, Carlos Marques-Marcet's erotically charged 10,000 km, Alex Gibney's fearless scrutiny in Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief and his nuanced consideration of Sinatra: All or Nothing at All, the conventions of the western being freshly reexamined in Slow West, and the new rendering of an old theme in Ex Machina. There was the resurrection of director David Gordon Green (George Washington) returning from the wilderness of mediocrity (Pineapple Express) with Manglehorn where Al Pacino equals the bold work he did last year in the largely ignored The Humbling (which was the movie that Birdman pretended to be). If someone was trying to pose the argument that cinema was dead, I would point to these pictures as signs that the art form is still alive and breathing quite nicely. Now James Ponsoldt (The Spectacular Now) caps off the summer with the extraordinary The End of the Tour, a perceptive comic masterpiece that cuts to the quick of timely questions about celebrity and artistic authenticity and the movie does it with an intelligent wit that is as probing as it is poignant.