Tag Archives: 2018

2018 year end wrap up

1 Jan

Another year. Another list. 

 

Here is a video where I countdown my favourites from the year in cinema.

 

 

If you are, let’s say, at work or perhaps in the woods with limited data connection, or in another environment where watching a video would be inappropriate here are my top 25 films of 2018:

 

25- Have A Nice Day 

24- Thunder Road

23- Isle Of Dogs 

22- Juliet Naked

21- First Reformed 

20- Revenge

19- Unsane

18- Sicario 2  

17- Phantom Thread

16- Mandy

15- Hereditary

14- Assassination Nation 

13- Mid 90’s

12- Night Comes On

11- 8th Grade

10- The Sisters Brothers

9- The Favourite 

8- Sorry To Bother You

7- Roma

6- White Rabbit 

5- Support The Girls

4- Vox Lux

3- You Were Never Really Here

2- Annihilation

1- Suspiria 

 

Looking forward to 2019 and we have some good stuff on the horizon. Here are my most anticipated films of 2019:

 

10 – The Nightingale 

Why? Jennifer Kent proved she would be a major horror talent to keep an eye on within the genre with her stunning debut The Babadook, so seeing what she does on a bigger scale should be fascinating.

Release Date: Unknown 

9 – Sound of Metal 

Why? Derek Cianfrance has always chosen interesting projects and so it’s no surprise that his discarded script now being directed by frequent writer/collaborator Darius Marder would catch my attention.

Release Date: fall? 

 

8- JoJo Rabbit 

Why? The creative mind behind the best entry in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (Thor: Ragnarok), What We Do In The Shadows, and Flight Of The Conchords is back with a new project surrounding a young boy and his imaginary friend, Adolf Hitler. A master of dark comedy, Taika Waititi is never one to disappoint.

Release date: fall? 

7- Uncut Gems 

Why? The Safdie Brothers are back!! After the 1-2 punch of Heaven Knows What and Good Time, we see the siblings direct a crime thriller starring Adam Sandler of all people?? Hell, if it worked for Noah Baumbach, a Sandler-against-type can work for anyone.

Release date: Late summer?

6 – Ad Astra 

Why? A sprawling, big-budget space epic starring Brad Pitt, Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga and Donald Sutherland?? Count me in. Directed by James Gray, this one will hopefully be joining the likes of Chris Nolan’s Interstellar and Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity as a modern sci-fi classic.

Release date: Wide on May 24 

5- Climax

Why? Because it’s the new Gaspar Noe film and the reception from its festival bow at Cannes earlier this year is beyond positive. As one of cinema’s most interesting provocateurs, you can expect something stylish, loud, and unpredictable.

Release date: March 1 

4- Once Upon a Time in Hollywood

Why? A new Tarantino film is always cause for excitement, but this one – a story involving the infamous Manson murders from the 70’s – seems to have the most impressive ensemble cast of any Tarantino to date.

Release date: July 26

3- Velvet Buzzsaw

Why? Nightcrawler was one of the best hidden gems of 2014. A searing satire of Los Angeles culture and one of the absolute best films to truly show off Jake Gyllenhaal‘s acting prowess. The noted thespian is back again, joining forces with director Dan Gilroy in another satire/horror/wtf-freak fest centered around the LA art scene.

Release date: Feb 1st on Netflix

2- US

Why? Jordan Peele’s marvelous Get Out seemed to arrive at just the right time to encapsulate the post-Trump cultural zeitgeist. His follow-up seems more geared to be a straight-up horror flick compared to the zany and unpredictable satire piece that made Get Out such a powerful viewing experience. Peele has said his influences for this project range from The Shining to Funny Games to Martyrs. Color me intrigued.

Release date: March 15 

1- The Irishman 

Why? I’ve had this one on my lists for a while now. Roma proved the streaming giant Netflix can be taken seriously as a legit platform for awards-contenders, and this long-gestating project from Martin Scorsese should hopefully be worth the wait.

Release date: who knows? Netflix can’t possibly put this off for another year can they?? Perhaps the company will pull a “Cloverfield Paradox” and drop the thing without warning right after the superbowl. Your guess is as good as mine. 

 

Mandy (2018 Sundance)

15 Sep

It’s hard to pinpoint exactly when it happened, but somewhere in the 2000’s or perhaps 2010’s there was a collective cultural reawakening and renewed appreciation for the actor Nicolas Cage. Perhaps it was due to the broadening of meme culture and prevalence of GIFs as a viable communication tool. Perhaps it’s entirely due to the infamy of Neil LaBute‘s unnecessary remake of The Wickerman which is often cited as being one of the best (worst?) of the so-bad-it’s-great horror collection. Or maybe it had something to do with fan-made “greatest hits” video mashups of the thespian’s most outlandish moments. Whatever the reason, the Chuck Norris of the internet age had gone from acclaimed dramatic actor to C-movie superstar with roles in such abysmal works like Knowing, Drive Angry, and Left Behind.   

And then we get to Mandy, the follow-up from the elusive director of Beyond the Black RainbowPanos Cosmatos. Premiering in the Midnight section at the Sundance Film Festival, Mandy is exactly the sort of thing that the best midnight movies are made of. Cage stars alongside Andrea Riseborough (playing the titular character Mandy) as a woodsman hauling trees somewhere in the Pacific Northwest. The two appear to be husband and wife, and have settled themselves comfortably away from civilization in a remote mountian lodge.  One day as Mandy is out for a morning jog, she crosses paths with an eclectic group of self-identified “Jesus Freaks” who then kidnap poor Mandy to be used as some sort of cosmic, ritualistic sacrifice.

Mandy is essentially two separate hour-long films; the first half being the more surreal, psychedelic, visually-impressive storytelling that we are familiar with Cosmatos doing so well in Beyond the Black Rainbow. Scene by scene, the pulsating music, visuals, and 80’s aesthetic become so overwhelming that one becomes simultaneously distanced and hypnotized by the dreamstate that unfolds.  Characters ramble on and on about cosmic deities and philosophical musings and destiny and the nature of good and evil. Things make absolutely no narrative sense but you don’t really don’t care because Cosmatos believes so intensely in his unique drug-fuelled vision and the vivid details carry the film far above its C-level script. One becomes increasingly less-concerned with why and more transfixed with how things happen as the film progresses.  This part of Mandy looks and feels like a painting lifted straight out of a 1992-era Dungeons & Dragons game manual and the scenes are crafted with such Kubrickian-like artistry rarely seen in cinema today.

Eventually one part of the story bleeds into the next and the hallucinatory effect of Cosmatos’ cinema-drug starts to wear off as various images emerge and dissipate. A burned body….. cloaked figures chanting in a circle…. and….. is that Nicolas Cage forging a battle axe?!? Suddenly the lucid dream we were experiencing comes to halt and we are snapped into a vicious action story centered around a vodka-infused character (Nicholas Cage) out for blood.  Here the film completely embraces Cage’s legacy as the gaudy cult-icon he has become and events go from mildly absurd to full-bore bonkers as Cosmatos turns the Outrageous dial up to 11.  Mandy never enters full on camp territory however, even as Nic Cage breaks the fourth wall to stare directly into the camera and give his signature “You Don’t Say” face (soaked in blood this time, of course); Cosmatos is so committed to his vision that things still feel cemented in a serious story – even when moments become outlandishly bizarre.

By the end of Mandy, I found myself mentally and physically exhausted. This film takes you on a journey and steeps its way deep into the subconscious long after viewing. It’s definitely not for everyone, but those inclined toward midnight genre fare are in for a treat.

Bottom Line: While some might have a hard time with the film’s slower, more metaphysical first half, Mandy rewards patient viewers with an all-out assault on the senses that culminates into a truly original and exciting viewing experience. 

Rating: 7.6 / 10

Film Recipe: Enter the Void + The Evil Dead pt II + Beyond the Black Rainbow + The Visitor