Saturday, December 29, 2018

Film Finds 2018

Every year there are a whole bunch of films that are too good not to be remembered but which for some reason just fall short of the Best of the Year list.

BUFFALO BOYS-  A western so far to the west it's set in Asia. Indonesian entry for the upcoming Oscars is just a hellaciously good action film.

MURDER MADE EASY- wonderfully tricky film about dinner and murder---and to say more is telling except it is an absolute blast and I love it.

CHOOSING SIDES- screamingly funny film about the child of a mixed religion couple having to choose a faith-as crazy as it is in real life, this is funnier.

HANAGATAMI-Nobuhiko Obayashi's passion project about youth in Japan during the Second World War is a one of a kind film that only Obayahi could have directed.

NIGHT EATS THE WORLD- One of the best zombie films you'll see has a man waking up after a party to find the world zombified. If it wasn't for one small logic bump it would be on my best of the year list.

I CAN SPEAK- Unexpectedly moving film about a bitch on wheel senior wanting to learn English so she can testify about being a comfort woman during WW2. Funny and deeply moving it is an unexpected joy.

LIGHTHOUSE- Based on a true story film about the madness that encounters some light house keepers during a storm that strands them. Suspenseful and haunting it was not what I expected and a real gem.

GIANT WOMEN MICRO BUDGET-Jason Kartalian, one of my favorite directors, scores with a glorious film about filmmakers making films because they have to. It will make you love the movies even more

MCQUEEN- Portrait of the late fashion designer Steve McQueen is at its best a beautiful marriage of image and music (by Michael Nyman)

CROSSROADS- This portrait of a high school lacrosse team shouldn't work- it hits every cliche in the book- and yet it is as deeply moving a sports film as is possible to make.

TO DUST-wickedly funny buddy film about grief and worrying about when our loved ones will ultimately find eternal peace. It is one of a kind and will touch your heart.

ISLAND OF HUNGRY GHOSTS- this should probably be on the best of the year list but I flinched. This is a fantastic look at how we restrict human migration but will go to great lengths to help some crabs across the road.

EARTHLY ENCOUNTERS- glorious short about a kid trying to save is brother maybe the greatest Spielberg film that Spielberg never made

MORI-ARTIST HABITAT-day in the life of an artist forces us to rethink about how we see the world. What could be better?

BLOOD OF WOLVES-mix of old school yakuza film as and modern buddy films makes for one of the most entertaining films of the year

OUTLAWS- seasoned cop who knows how to bend the rules takes on the Chinese gangs doesn't break new ground but it still kicks ass.

HEARTS BEAT LOUD- magical moving and marvelous story about the ability of music to bring us together. It is wonderful on every level and a must see

INTERPRETERS- damning look at how the US abuses the people who help or soldiers in war  ravaged countries.

TROLL INC-  story of an expert in click bait becoming a target of the government.

ANYTHING Matt Bohmer gives a great performance as trans woman who begins an affair with a widower.  Absolutely lovely and proof of how good Bohmer can be.

SONG OF BACK AND NECK - worst title of the year hides a glorious one of a kind film about a man who is so tense the acupuncture needles in his back and neck sing

COUNTERS- a look at hate speech in Japan is warning to people everywhere.

OUTLAW KING- Chris Pine film about Robert the Bruce is an old fashioned epic that is also a kick ass romance.

SUPERGRID- old school exploitation film about two brothers trying to pick up a package in a dangerous wasteland. Entertaining as they come.

VENUS- just as Sid comes out as a trans she discovers that she has a son. Its 100 minutes with good people.

CROWN AND ANCHOR- raw real family crime drama has some of the best moments in any film I saw in 2018

NIGHT COMES ON-young woman just out of prison wants to reconnect with her ex and kill the person who killed her father. It's not the plot but the people that move you

BULLITT COUNTY- distillery crawl morphs into a quest for stolen money and finally tragedy. Rarely has a criminal falling out been this compelling

BIG KILL- Wonderful western hits all the right buttons and is way better than you think.

VIRGIN BLACK TOP- nostalgic look at some of the first skateboarders and where they are now.

SEARCHING FOR INGMAR BERGMAN- a truly great doc just missed the best of the year cut. This look at why Bergman matters is just awesome.

LIFE AND NOTHING MORE- slice of life that will move you

WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO WHEN THE WORLDS ON FIRE-one of the best films at NYFF was in the doc sidebar where its look at racial inequality just leaves you broken

SGT STUBBY- nominal a kids film that doesn't shy away from war and becomes something greater than most of the American animated films released today.

BIG BAD FOX AND OTHER TALES- the ERNEST AND CELESTINE crew is back and we are better for it

GUNN- modern film noir done right

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