As happens every year I have seen too many great films for a simple 10 Best list- to that end here is the first part of my personal BEST OF 2018 List. There is no listing as to which is better than the other- these all kick ass and take names.
LIFECHANGER- horror film as love story as character study about a shapeshifter trying to find the person he loves most again.
HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING THIS EVENING- Life as lived beautifully explained.
COMMANDER ARIAN- A STORY OF A WOMAN WAR AND FREEDOM- portrait of a hero and super soldier who just happens to be a woman. If you want to know if women belong in the military aee this film.
LAST STOP CONEY ISLAND- portrait of the artist and his subject is just a series of oh wow moments-more so if you love New York (This is a perfect double feature with THE WORLD BEFORE YOUR FEET- which is on the list tomorrow)
LAILA AT THE BRIDGE- moving story of a woman trying to help all of the drug addicts created in the wake of the American invasion of Afghanistan
EVELYN- A family walks in the places their lost sibling loved as they try to come to terms with his suicide. Bring several boxes of tissues and prepare to be kicked to the curb. This isn't just about loss but how we see all of life.
CHERRY GROVE STORIES - the story of a place on Fire Island that gave a haven to the LGBT community gave me a burning nostalgia for a place I've never been and never heard of. Magic.
MY NAME IS MYEISHA- This theater piece on the big screen doesn't always translate well but when it does it is one of the best films of the year.
SEAMAN and 207- the story of a couple of God who live in their car at the title address and will gladly speak to anyone who needs them at any time of the day. Forget the people who preach from the pulpit these people are as close to God as you can get.
WAR AT HOME- re-release of an Oscar nominated film from the late 70's shakes up everything we thought of the Vietnam War and puts it into proper perspective.
ALL ABOUT NINA- comic on the verge battles herself and her craft in a film that has just gotten better and better since I first saw it. A staggering lead performance from Mary Elizabeth Winstead which will criminally be left off the best of the year lists
OF FATHERS AND SONS- vitally important look at the jihadist mindset through an examination of the fathers and sons in the movement.(Its on the Oscar short list)
TIGERS ARE NOT AFRAID- the best Guillermo del Toro film--except its not by del Toro. A stunning magical realistic fairy tale which will break your heart.
DA HU FA- awesome unexpected animated film that is unlike anything anyone is doing
THETA GIRL- grand old school exploitation done right.
OKAASAN (MOM) the directors love letter to her mom will make you tear up and want to call your mom.
GHOST OF PETER SELLERS- Peter Medak's examination of Seller's unchecked insanity is a frightening portrait of mad egos and studio stupidity on a grand scale
OLYMPIA- one of the finest portraits of an actor (in this case Olympis Dukakis) ever made
STARS IN THE SKY- a fantastic explanation of why people hunt
EXIT/AFTERWARD- two separate films about explorations concerning why people hate and how we can turn things around.. The films both played at DOC NYC and they echoed each other to such an extent I linked them when I reviewed them and now at the end of the year.
UNDER THE WIRE- This doc about recounts the final trip of legendary reporter Marie Colvin. The story it tells is one of the great stories of the year- I just wish it wasn't told in a vacuum and we got to connect more to Colvin and the rest of the people in it.
TITO AND BIRDS - while the film as a whole is a bit too dark and brooding for my tastes the animated sequences are among the most amazing things I've seen all year.
The opening sequence of IN WINTER is just as good an opening shot as films can have
GRIT- The images of the destruction of villages by mud are etched into my brain
SEDER MASOCHISM- I will say very little about this film other than despite my extreme displeasure at the director-whose personal beliefs run counter to what she is saying in this film- this is an artistic achievement-which we should all probably let remain buried.
INTRODUZIONE ALL’OSCURO- Glorious remembrance of a now departed friend by a master director
RV- a stern important warning of what will happen if the far right is allowed to take over
BORN BOURE BORN- a good film in which the final shot, when taken in context, is as breathtaking an image as 2018 has produced.
BLANK 13-Koji Hashimoto ponders the death of his father and forces us to reconsider how we see all the people in our lives.
CHARM CITY- an incredible portrait of Baltimore that is deservedly on the Oscar short list
ITS A HARD TRUTH AIN'T IT- prisoners in a documentary class defy expectations and make you truly consider what prison is more than any other prison doc you'll see.
716th- awesome science fiction short has to be leading to something bigger because it just is so damn good.
ACCIDENCE- Must be seen as big as possible film about that happens on group of terraces...its just an awesome short
TRACKING EDITH-director Peter Stephan Jungk discovers his aunt was a Soviet spy- and the film is her story. WOW.
THEORY OF SUNSET- one of the most stunning films of the year of any length concerns sunsets and I have been haunted by it since I saw it.
WAY IT BEGINS- two people meet and dance-its one of the greatest musicals of the last few years- and it's only a couple of minutes long
And lastly WHEN LAMBS BECOME LIONS- I am hedging my pick here in that I am a Jon Kasbe fan- I have been talking him up for years and I was dragging people to see this film at Tribeca because he is one of the greatest filmmakers working today (yes, he is, you just don't know it yet). I absolutely love this film to death but I am so in awe of Kasbe that I don't know if I can even feign objectivity-Kasbe's film is a masterpiece to me but I don't know if I can put it on the Best of the Best list and not feel people questioning me (even though most people will have no idea how big a fan of Kasbe's work I am).... That said this look at wildlife poaching will force you- no matter what side you are on - to reconsider you position. It is one of the tip top films of 2018 to me but because I have been the Kasbe fan club all year pushing the film I have to hedge my bets or feel odd.
(Jon -if you are seeing this - you've made one of the truly best films of the year and I will swear to it.)