For the second week in a row, a new movie has received the coveted four-star rating from Washington Post critics. Last week it was “Once Upon a Time in Anatolia,” a moody Turkish murder drama that Michael O’Sullivan called “a more existential ‘Pulp Fiction.’ ” Today, Ann Hornaday lavishes praise on the documentary “This Is Not a Film,” which has quite a backstory. Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi was jailed in Tehran and then put under house arrest and charged with making anti-state propaganda and told he could not make another film for 20 years. His response is this cleverly (and dangerously) titled work, which “is indeed not a film — it’s a cry from the heart of an artist compelled to create, tell stories and respond to hostile, confounding realities,” Hornaday writes in her review.
Despite the recent preponderance of high praise, the four-star rating doesn’t pop up that often. To keep track of which movies garnered the ultra-stellar seal of approval this year, check out the photo gallery above. Some movies are still in theaters, while you can catch others on DVD; for more information about showtimes, visit the movies section of the Going Out Guide. As for your ratings quibbles — “American Reunion” was so robbed, right? — you can leave those in the comments.