Everyone who thought this was a bad year for movies, have not seen enough of them. Here are 18 highlights from another memorable movie year.
As an art form that tends to reflect its times, the films were practically invented for 2018. While 2017 was an unfortunate moment in the wake of the 2016 election, many of the year's highlights were produced before the crushed cultural shift; In 2018, the cinema became a vessel for a society in the grips of its worst identity crisis in modern history. The best films interrogated a world contrary to themselves, grappling with moral quandaries and personal values while channeling these fighting in bracing artwork. Consciously or not, this popular art form gave intimate alternatives to the explosive intensity of national headlines. Questions about identity, behavior and personal responsibility became a central motive.
These are what movies do best, on their own terms: outbursts of ideas and experiences that reflect or break the moment of their perception. They often do it in exciting ways released by the expansive possibilities of the medium, which remain freer and more flexible than television as long as it is produced outside the clutches of risky Hollywood. Of course, it would be crazy and short-term to reduce studio product this year; Of its own standards, it was abundant to celebrate, from the progressive allegorical sophistication of "Black Panther" to the sharp, innovative techniques of "Spider-Man: In the Spider Verse." But the most original and satisfying project produced by a Studio was dumped by it – Alex Garland's frantic Sci-Fi thriller "Annihilation" – celebrating some moderate blow up in commercial quality product is a bit like clapping for a baby taking his first step . Progress is progress, but by the end of the day the baby is still just a sloppy infant.
Fortunately, there is much more to celebrate about the media as for the 2018 release calendar. This time this mantra is repeated: Anyone who thinks this was a bad year for the movies, simply did not see enough of them. Each time this list becomes a little longer, the current year gives a practical excuse to extend the limitations of an entry. (Last year's 17 best movies in 2017 would have been a fight this time.) And yet it still does not feel long enough. This critic has written the top 10 lists and variations thereof for over a decade, and this was the hardest so far.
No matter how much the industry changes, as television continues to fight for dominance in the media landscape and theatrical exhibition faces an avid firefighter group of home visitors, movies continue to provide exciting new ways to see the world. Here are the highlights that give me hope.
18. "Paddington 2"
Faith hype: Critics would not go gah-gah for a live-action / CGI animated movie about a talking bear and the British family who love him unless something was special. The "Godfather: Part II" of the "Paddington" franchise provides a wonderful window for a resilient attitude in dark times. Bad Paddington, unjustly thrown behind the bars of trumpet-up fees, manages to galvanize his prison chambers and map a path forward. Director Paul King's rich visual palette transforms the story of Paddington's misadventures to the unexpectedly wonderful synthesis of Wes Anderson and Tim Burton, but this candy-colored odyssey takes most of its signals from Paddington itself, whose adorable features provide the ideal vessel for its innocent attitude. For once, CGI provides an emotional foundation for a story – this wonderful characterizes the gratifying prospects that the world desperately needs. It is the year's best superhero movie.
17. "Vox Lux"
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Brady Corbet's catching popfeberdream crowns the rise of a celebrity angel through several eras, from the pre-9/11 teen star to the bitter coin she becomes later in life. Corbet's sophisticated story begins with a devastating tragedy, when Celeste (portrayed in these early scenes of the extraordinary Raffey Cassidy) fights her newborn status as a famous survivor and faces the industry's corrupt powers that are eager to beat her up. The film then changes to years later when Celeste has exploded in adulthood – and she becomes Natalie Portman, violent and retarded, equal parts "Woman Under The Influence" and "Black Swan." The actor's best achievement for ages is a wonderful meta gambit that is synchronized with Corbet's other fast narrative devices including the brilliant decision to cast Cassidy in a different role as Celeste's daughter and a fascinating climate change sequence driven by the advancing attitude of original Sia compositions and Portman's dance changes. Her incredible girazes have much more to say about the outrageous cultures that burn modern star than anything in "One Star is Born".
16. "We the animals"
The borders of "We Animals" are as easy as they come, and it's not the source of their lyrics (the same can be said about the Justin Torres novel that gave inspiration). Above all, director Jeremiah Zagar depicts the experiences of a youth boy who expresses his dysfunctional family and his emerging sexuality as a swirling cyclone of nostalgia, brutal arguments and bittersweet pontifications. Like Jonah, newcomer Evan Rosado exudes the confusing feelings of a child who grows in his own mind, apart from the family entity surrounding him. Every moment helps develop perceptions of world-renowned eyes and a rominative voiceover turns the film into a poetic variation on the upcoming age formula less fixed on display than the ghostly beauty of growing up.
15. "Can you forgive me?"
Melissa McCarthy has shown the potential for a role that worsens her presence on the screen for a while, but her brash, racial performances have been confined to broad comedies that usually do not investigate what such a sign may be under more realistic circumstances. Finally, she landed the right opportunity with "Can you forgive me?" Director Marielle Heller's charming melancholic comedy about real actor killed by criminal Lee Israel who threw around 400 letters of dead celebrities and bowed them to the FBI caught up with the scheme her. A lonely, raging New York woman inclined to beat her happiness, regardless of the cost, Israel gives McCarthy the ideal goal of projecting her talents on a more sophisticated plane, and – complemented by a top-rated Richard E. Grant as Israel's partner -in crime – she is getting up to date.
In the beginning, "Border" is the story of a banned woman named Tina (Eva Melander), who is working on an outside Swedish port where she threw out smuggling, and long ago accepted that she was expelled due to her unusual appearance. But this is not your average ugly duck breast story. As the film charts a groundbreaking self-esteem, it comes to a six scene so unexpectedly and ridiculously that it immediately turns the movie into a dark adventure. Iran's born director Ali Abbasi sophomore's effort (after 2016's "Shelley"), written by the author of the Swedish vampire battle "Let It Right In", builds such an unusual premise that it may turn into incredible infinity, but Abbasi justifies the story in an emotional foundation even when it flies out of the skins. As Border becomes a complex, gender-bending investigation of identity policy with Melander's stubbornness in the center. This unusual unpredictable love story is one of the year's great conversation starters.
13. "Support the girls"
Burn later productions / Kobal / REX / Shutterstock
Regina Hall is amazing in Andrew Bujalski's touching look at a serious woman who controls a tiresome Texas Breastauraunt, how many things go wrong in a single hectic day. Bujalsky's typically bad character-based stories take on a new volume of warmth and sensitivity with this striking investigation of surviving difficult times through unfortunate empathy. It may sound incredible under any circumstances, but Bujalski is such a wizard when it comes to scanning authentic dialog as "Supporting the Girls" can also be a documentary. Halls leads suits every new challenge with a solid solution that makes her one of Bujalski's biggest characters, the unthinkable creation of a filmmaker who excels by exploring the nuances of human behavior.
Even before Nicolas Cage makes a series of coke of crushed glass in "Mandy", the movie has entered the batshit insane territory. Panos Cosmato's follow-up to his wacky debut "Beyond the Black Rainbow" is another amazing dose of psychedelics and degradation, this wrapped up in the limitations of a woodsy revenge player, but it's mainly an excuse for Cage to free up his most psychotic extremes. Cosmatos gives him many opportunities in this hypnotic midnight movie, which runs from amazing, expressive exchanges to gory mayhem without a compromise. For years, Cage has been swinging wild in search of gonzo material; In the end, he found a movie that was willing to match his intentions. And yet, "Mandy" is more than just a vehicle for Cage's wounded display presence; It communicates with the frenzy of all that rages by turning it into a vehicle of true sorrow.
A visual artist whose films have treated hunger, sex abuse and slavery, Steve McQueen has never been considered a safe commercial game. What just makes "Enker", his bracing, moody heist thriller about women who finish the race their husbands started, even more satisfying: McQueen has made a first-rate singing training – led by a defiant Viola Davis in one of her very best roles – which doubles As a dissertation on race and gender, juggling dramatic payout with heavier themes. "Enker" includes its filthy, melodramatic twists and turns while deepening their potential. If all escapism looked like this, America would be smart again.
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