Denzel Washington just received the Cecil B. DeMille Award for lifetime achievement at the Golden Globes, scoring a rip-roaring montage that included plenty from one of his craziest performances: as a gleefully crooked and psychotic detective in “Training Day.” The actor deservedly won his second Oscar, but the movie has more going for it than Denzel. As his rookie partner, Ethan Hawke finally showed he could do more than brood angstily. And director Antoine Fuqua (late of “Southpaw” and “The Equalizer”) found the right mix of smarts and trash. It’s among the sleaziest films ever held up for AMPAS scrutiny, and that’s a beautiful thing.
Portuguese filmmaker Pedro Costa is a hard sell: the most minimalist of minimalists, the most austere of the austere. Many of his films, like “Colossal Youth” and “In Vanda’s Room,” stare dead-eyed on the impoverished,in grungy long takes that never seem to end. Angry yet playful, “Horse Money” is a series of elegant video tableaux about the country’s forgotten immigrants from the Ivory Coast, who struggle for hospital care and other social services but instead skulk about the literal shadows. It’s not built for home consumption, but unplugging your gizmos, turning off the lights and blotting out your windows should make it appropriately hypnotic.
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Tilda Swinton can do many things, but one thing she does better than most is wigged-out. She won her Oscar for playing an increasingly flabbergasted company lawyer in “Michael Collins,” and she unravels even better as a mother whose son (Ezra Miller) unleashed a Columbine-style massacre. The film, by Scotland’s great Lynne Ramsay (“Morvern Callar”), mirrors her fractured psyche, jumping around the timeline and focusing on someone who treated motherhood grouchily even before realizing she’d birthed a bad egg.