2018 offered up many specific and engrossing character studies. Bo Burnham's modestly-mounted but deeply affecting Eighth Grade is a standout coming-of-age tale with funny, wry details and an emotional pull.
CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
HAPPY AS LAZZARO
LEAVE NO TRACE
Sandi Tan's tale is a painful one from an artist's perspective, but it's brought to life in her doc with great complexity, humor, creativity and soul. A bright year for female directors. Chloé Zhao's distinctive efforts almost made my line-up and Marielle Heller's film was wonderful as well.
Bo Burnham, EIGHTH GRADE
Debra Granik, LEAVE NO TRACE
Yorgos Lanthimos, THE FAVOURITE
Alice Rohrwacher, HAPPY AS LAZZARO
Colman finally gets a centerpiece performance in The Favourite--showing tremendous range (vocally and emotionally) through all of Queen Anne's miserable existence.
Outisde of a narrowed-down five, there are so many other great lead female performances from 2018: Nadia Alexander in Blame, Glenn Close in The Wife, Viola Davis in Widows, Zoey Deutch in Flower, Edie Falco in Outside In, Maggie Gyllenhaal in The Kindergarten Teacher, Regina Hall in Support the Girls, Helena Howard in Madeline's Madeline, Lady Gaga in A Star is Born, Andrea Riseborough in Nancy (also great in Mandy), Emma Stone in The Favourite, and Charlize Theron in Tully.
Toni Collette, HEREDITARY
Elsie Fisher, EIGHTH GRADE
Melissa McCarthy, CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, LEAVE NO TRACE
The hammy collides with the more quietly introspective, in this broad, appealing mix of actorly styles--a throwback to ensemble pics of the 1970s--where, somehow, everyone seems to create a cohesive whole.
CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?
IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK
Really vivid work from Granel, with a mix of hyper-coloring and throwbacks to 30s black & white flicks like Captains Courageous. This was definitely one of the most visually-arresting works I saw this year.
Alfonso Cuarón, ROMA
Benjamin Loeb, MANDY
Mart Taniel, NOVEMBER
Lukasz Zal, COLD WAR
Most in this category have very flashy, distinctive editing styles which shape the films with unusual rhythms. The Other Side of the Wind is an astounding feat in Murawksi's six month efforts in editing Welles' famously lost picture.
Bernard Beets, LET THE CORPSES TAN
Lucas Celler, Sandi Tan, & Kimberley Has, SHIRKERS
Bing Liu, MINDING THE GAP
Joe Walker, WIDOWS
Instead of delving into his own childhood, Alfonso Cuarón explores the story of housekeeper Cleo (Yalitza Aparicio). An unmissable drama. The camera is fascinating in this movie: the way it moves--so mechanically--as such a humanistic tale unfolds. Every drab detail radiates.
I was swept up in Melissa McCarthy's portrayal of brash Lee Israrel who huckstered booksellers with forged letters. Vivid New York locales. Swoony, old-fashioned direction by Marielle Heller, which takes its time and lets its entire cast stand out.
How I loved my theatrical viewing of this twisty, pulpy heist flick, directed by Steve McQueen and co-written by Gillian Flynn, in the midst of a slushy snowstorm. Riveting and deliriously entertaining--with a great big cast--and some broad brushstrokes that I embraced. Also features one of the best cinematic sequences of the year. Hollywood makes very few smart, crackling adult dramas like this anymore.
Entrancing, engrossing mystery set in South Korea. This film has a great cinematic sequence too, a breathtaking one at dusk. It's hard to understand how a director (here, Chang-dong Lee) can sometimes so effectively put you under a spell.
Under the ingenious direction of Chloé Zhao, The Rider follows an injured rodeo rider--his friends and family--and how his physical health impacts his dreams and livelihood. Elegantly filmed and sensitively drawn.
Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie's performance is excellent as young daughter of a vet (Ben Foster) struggling with PTSD in the woods of the Pacific Northwest. The push and pull of what paths that these characters should take with their lives is perceptive and extremely moving.
Unusual saint-maybe tale, wrapped in two distinct landscapes: rambling Italian countrysides and later, in the fringes of an urban society. With a light touch, writer / director Alice Rohrwacher's clever picture explores dark issues of morality and human behavior.
A seminal movie of this year. A culture of goofiness and meanness on display in these very goofy and mean times. The sharp, bracing comedy is delivered with pitch-perfect precision in delivery by Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz, and Olivia Colman. Colman sets the film ablaze with Queen Anne's unpredictable swings of emotion and pervasive grief.
Bo Burnham's searing and immersive look at a girl in eighth grade. Lead Elsie Fisher and Josh Hamilton as concerned father both shine brightly. A seemingly simple pic, with few huge dramatic moments, and yet so quietly devastating.
the best of the rest
A Star is Born, Sorry to Bother You, Hereditary, Mandy, Cold War, Night Comes On, On Chesil Beach, Nancy, Of Fathers and Sons, Won't You Be My Neighbor?, The Miseducation of Cameron Post, If Beale Street Could Talk, El Angel, Shoplifters, The Wild Boys, The Hate U Give, Colette, First Man, Madeline’s Madeline, We the Animals, BlacKkKlansman, Ocean’s 8, The Other Side of the Wind, Suspiria, Vice, Black Panther, The Kindergarten Teacher, Minding the Gap, The Cakemaker, Love, Simon, A Quiet Place, Tully, Zama, A Private War, The Land of Steady Habits November, Unsane, The Wife, McQueen, Let the Corpses Tan, Beautiful Boy, The Day After, Disobedience, Halloween, Wildlife, Crazy Rich Asians, Support the Girls, My Art, Private Life, Crime + Punishment, Blindspotting, Game Night, Three Identical Strangers, Lean on Pete, Blame, RBG, Annihilation, Saturday Church, Werewolf, Revenge, Outside In, Flower, First Reformed, Paddington 2, Hearts Beat Loud, The Sisters Brothers, Western, Golden Exits