Tagged 2018

Leave No Trace (Granik, 2018)

What struck me right away about Debra Granik’s latest achievement is its verdant greenness. Most frames hold one hue or another of Nature’s colour, enveloping its two protagonists like a protective shield against discovery. At once you understand why they are drawn to living in the open air rather than an environment teeming with people.…

Upgrade (Whannell, 2018)

It’s not exactly sophisticated aesthetically or thematically, being another skeptical morality play on the dangers of biotechnological advancements that seek to erase our humanity, but Upgrade is quite a likable bit of pulp. There’s a Frankenstein quality to it that appeals. Like Grey Trace’s resurrection from traumatizing disability, the film revisits key sci-fi classics such as 2001: A…

We the Animals (Zagar, 2018)

I did not know We the Animals was based on a book until after the film, which is always a sign that an adaptation did what it needed to do. Jeremiah Zagar’s vision offers a wealth of sensitivity and imagination to this coming-of-age tale of three rambunctious boys of Puerto Rican descent. At least, we begin the…

Green Book (Farrelly, 2018)

Before this film began, I sat in my seat terrified that I was going to like it. Though people whose opinions I follow have liked it, others have panned it for reasons that, to me, seemed sensible just by watching the trailer. I have been suspicious of this film since it won the People’s Choice…

Happy as Lazzaro (Rohrwacher, 2018)

Alice Rohrwacher won the Best Screenplay citation at Cannes for Happy as Lazzaro, though you could make a strong argument that she deserved more. From what I’ve seen from the unusually strong lineup, the film is a true standout: a Super 16mm fugue state that is both elegy and lament for a world that once valued…

The Guilty (Möller, 2018)

Move over, Searching. Papa’s got a truly great single-locale thriller to cheer for this year. I approached it cautiously at first, since it’s set in a police dispatch centre, with a focus on only one officer (commandingly played by Jakob Cedergren). As a rule, I’m not here for art that seeks to valorize the police, making the institution…

Minding the Gap (Liu, 2018)

Late into Minding the Gap, one of its subjects learns the true purpose of the documentary and remarks that it is a form a free therapy. So cleverly does Bing Liu frame the film at the start that we don’t realize what he’s up to for quite a while. At first, for instance, I thought this…

Predicting the 76th Golden Globes: The Nominations

I know this is primarily a site for film reviews, but awards season is upon us, and trying to predict what these finicky associations can be a fun exercise (if you have the patience for it). So please indulge this short bout of amateur punditry. I don’t believe I’ll get it all right—I just want…

Searching (Chaganty, 2018)

Reader, when that Up-inspired prologue kicked into gear, with that inanely sentimental score blaring away as a mother was diagnosed with lymphoma and then swiftly killed off, I was tempted to switch this film off and go to bed. The moment I saw someone typing “How to fight lymphoma as a family” into Google, and heard…

Hearts Beat Loud (Haley, 2018)

Like a knitted sweater, Hearts Beat Loud is a cozy and warm pleasure. Very low-stakes, unencumbered by twisty plotting, and breezily musical at heart. It’s very hard not to fall for its charms, although I can also understand why some would resist it. If you’re tuning into a film to have your invested time redeemed, then this…

Hale County This Morning, This Evening (Ross, 2018)

The cinematography in Hale County This Morning, This Evening rivals some of the best fictional work of the year, allowing every sprig of Alabaman life to become one with the larger spheres. For instance, there is one moment when Ross superimposes a full moon on a little girl playing in a bubble bath, slowly dissolving to the…

Bohemian Rhapsody (Singer, 2018)

Is this the real life, or is it just fantasy? Well, folks, I’m sorry to burst your bubbles, but it’s more the latter than the former. Taking a little dramatic license with the truth to make a film more cinematic can be done effectively. Taking a sledgehammer to the facts and oversimplifying almost every detail? That’s when…

Blindspotting (López Estrada, 2018)

I’m over the moon about all these films this year that register BLM issues and the African-American experience in such powerful ways. Blindspotting will sit alongside works like BlacKkKlansman, Black Panther, If Beale Street Could Talk, The Hate U Give and Life and Nothing More as a shining example of this cinema’s vital necessity in our times. It is also one of the best…

They Shall Not Grow Old (Jackson, 2018)

Peter Jackson certainly does us a service in terms of historical preservation by restoring century-old footage for They Shall Not Grow Old. Seeing it in a normal frame rate, and in colour, opens up the past in a new way by allowing us to see the world as those soldiers once saw it. It becomes more…

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Coens, 2018)

The Coens’ hot streak continues—and rather surprisingly at that—with The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, an anthology of six Western-style shorts that are bridged only by their stunningly-rendered vistas and grim depictions of mortality and isolation. I say “surprisingly” because anthology films are a risky undertaking in general, as the shorts therein can vary wildly in quality.…