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Gerri's Annual Best/Worst Movies - 2018

 

GERRI’S ANNUAL REVIEW of FILMS

 

Disclaimer: I don’t claim to have seen every film that came to our local screens in 2018. Nor do I include documentaries (too many varied subjects). Nevertheless, here is my annual biased and incomplete recap of 2018 feature film highlights (and low-lights.) Feedback encouraged!

Best Film:

Can You Ever Forgive Me?A “small” movie with beautiful texture of time and place and carefully observed social setting. The acting by Melissa McCarthy and fellow grifter Richard E. Grant is sublime. McCarthy's portrayal of a complicated, conflicted character is both moving and, at times, hilarious. The performance merits the “Best Actress” Oscar but probably won’t get it. (See The Wife, below).

Runner Up: The Black Panther: Astoundingly, the film manages to evoke the legacy of the Transatlantic Slave Trade, carry it into the present and still entertain. Whether you relish the James Bond-spoof elements, enjoy superhero face-downs, or just want to gape at the resplendent African aesthetic, this is an audience-pleasing trip with great character development and wit. Fierce woman warrior Danai Gurira almost steals the show.

 

Worst Film:

Hereditary. Poor Toni Collette: hasn't she suffered enough? First, as an anguished mom to a young son who sees dead people everywhere in The Sixth Sense (1999). And this year, in Hereditary, she loses a child to decapitation, and Collette herself is the victim of demonic possession and possible defenestration. As far a portrayal of familial dysfunction goes, the Addams Family was better adjusted and also provided more laughs. Many critics loved Hereditary, but to me it had nothing to offer but gore and a ho-hum reveal (i.e., witchcraft, that stale staple of countless horror movies.)

Most Disappointing:

 The Wife. Glenn Close has been an exceptional actress in so many roles that I wanted to root for this one. But the film is a dreary slog with a contrived premise and not much to say about the creative process it purports to represent. Close is limited to one repressed expression throughout. All the male characters are villains or weaklings. She will probably get the Oscar nod to make up being overlooked for her fine work in other, better films.

Runner Up: Downsizing.Takes some intriguing ideas about consumerism, the environment, technology run amok, etc. and delivers a dull, repetitive snooze fest. (The film does include some interesting miniaturization effects.) The reliable and usually amiable Matt Damon has the charisma of a lump of coal in this one.

Category ??? 

First Reformed. Not that I didn’t adore that beautiful, deep-focus black-and-white cinematography, the moral questions raised, and another intelligent, committed Ethan Hawke performance. But what’s with the ending, which features a couple levitating above what seems to be a psychedelic Grand Canyon??

 

Honorable Mentions:

A Star is Born. If only the film could edit out everything except Lady Gaga, and if only the songs were worthy of her incredible voice. An incandescent screen presence, she is a natural for many more roles in the future. Watch her performance at the 2015 Oscars to see why she can conquer the world. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JxcFcKvjZCk

The Party(dir., Sally Potter): A biting mix of feminism, politics, and cocaine-fueled mania erupting during an evening's soiree. Fine ensemble acting, with an ending that will make you drop your popcorn bag or streaming remote in surprise.

 

Looking forward to catching up with:

Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma

If Beale Street Could Talk

Crazy Rich Asians

Paddington 2

Sorry to Bother You
 

Parting Thoughts from movie critic Dana Stevens (https://slate.com/culture/2018/12/best-movies-2018-roma-a-star-is-born.html)

"...We don’t just watch and share and debate movies, we use them in ways that aren’t always easy to define. Carried within us for months or years after viewing, they can serve as places of psychic respite and replenishment, reminders that there are still such things in the world as beauty, courage, humor, and joy."

Happy Viewing to you in 2019! - Gerri

 

 

 

 

 

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