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Tag Archives: 2018

Wildlife

Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Jeannette (Carey Mulligan) have recently moved to Montana with their only son Joe (Ed Oxenbould). Jerry, an ex-golf pro, loses his job at the golf course and, needing a sense of purpose, decides to go off to fight a major wildfire that is burning in the nearby mountains for 1.00 per day. Jeanette and Joe are left to fend for themselves. Carey Mulligan is exceptional, and in many ways,  this is her film. The film is set around 1960, at a time when women were still expected to live by traditional norms. She wants more, and …

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The Wild Pear Tree

(Turkey, English Subtitles): Sinan has just graduated college and returns home to a small and more rural town, hoping to publish his first book that he refers to as an “auto-fiction meta novel” (which in itself reflects the film’s ability to get you to constantly try to unpack the narrative). His father is a schoolteacher who has gambled away the family home. He is close to retiring, and at the beginning of the film, he is trying to dig a well on a family plot that everyone says will never run. The film is partly a father-son relationship journey, but …

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Holiday

(Danish): Sascha is a young woman whose older boyfriend is a drug dealer – and is also very controlling. The film seems to be an examination of her life with her boyfriend over several days. There were a couple of aspects of the film I liked. The lead actress who played Sascha is very good, and I liked how the cameral focused much of the film on her. The director captured the nuances of her character very well. Otherwise, I found the film rather boring. There is a story, but the story itself did not make a lot of sense …

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Burning

(Korean): Burning tells the story of three people. Lee, an unemployed writer, and recent college graduate, accidentally meets up with Shin, a young woman who is working at a department store. Shin claims she knows Lee, but Lee seems rather disinterested, yet he agrees to have dinner with her. They have sex, and she soon goes away on a trip to Africa; she asks Lee to watch her cat. Shin comes back with Ben, a guy who seems to come from a lot of money and who she met while stranded in an airport. The film is about the odd …

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Best of 2018

Favorite Films of 2018 2018 was a defining year for film in so many ways. In the U.S., I cannot recall any year where there were so many films from African-American directors and involving African-American actors. The stories were diverse – from Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman, based on an unbelievably true story, to Sorry to Bother You, one of the most original films in many years that reminded me of Charlie Kaufmann movies. Then there were all of the others – Black Panther, the largest grossing Marvel Comics film of all time and a breakthrough in its central story from a …

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Never Look Away

(German) This film is described as being loosely based on the life of abstract artist Gerhard Richter. It tells the story of Kurt Barnert’s life over about 30 years, beginning when he was a little boy just as the Nazis were coming to power and his beloved Aunt Ellie was taken away, through the beginnings of adult life in communist East Germany as a painter of propaganda murals, his falling in love with and marriage to Ellie, and his later years once his art career began to take off. I loved the film. The cinematography is breathtaking, and the score …

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What Will People Say?

(Norwegian) Nisha is a Pakistani teenager growing up with her family in Norway. At home, she conforms very closely to what is expected of her by her family and culture; away from home, she is the typical, westernized teenager. One night, her father discovers that she has her boyfriend in her room, and the price for this is that she is shipped off to Pakistan to live with her distant relatives. This is a really fine film with wonderful acting, especially by the actress who plays Nisha (this appears to be her first acting role) and the actor who plays …

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Thunder Road

This movie popped out of nowhere on a 2018 best movies list in one of my FB film groups. I had never heard of it and to my knowledge got very little if any press, although it has picked up a number of awards on the independent film circuit. Jim Cummings plays Jim, a man whose life seems to be falling apart around him while he valiantly tries to keep all of the pieces propped up. In the opening scene – which is one of the best I have seen – Jim is giving a eulogy for his mother who …

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They Shall Not Grow Old

Peter Jackson of Lord of the Rings Trilogy fame creates a technically marvelous documentary by using 100-year-old footage from World War I and telling a story about what it was like for the soldiers who enlisted and went to the front lines. He does this in a very innovative way by colorizing the film (the scene where he switches to color is breathtaking), slowing it down to real-time, and overlaying stories told by WWI vets in the 1960s and 1970s. His team also incorporates many of the posters of the era and overlays moving footage, which creates a very unusual …

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MId90’s

In Jonah Hill’s first hand at directing and screenwriting is the story of Stevie (“Sunburn”), played by Sunny Suljic, who lives in Los Angeles and is frequently beaten up by his older brother. Stevie finds a new set of older role models in a skater group. The boys of mixed ages introduce him to skating and usher him into adulthood in a way that his family can’t. Overall, I liked the film. The writing and the directing reminded me of Richard Linklater’s earliest films like Slacker; the camera works to merely observe without complicated plot and without judgment. I was …

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