Monday, December 31, 2018

Some personal favorites, among other things, to end the year in movies

So, did you see "The Favourite," nominated for 14 Critics Choice awards by the Broadcast Film Critics Association? Or "Roma," Alfonso Cuaron's Netflix "original," which has been a darling of New York and L.A. critics groups, as well as some others? And, how 'bout "Vice," the Dick Cheney piercing which leads the Golden Globes charge with six noms from the Hollywood Foreign Press?

Well, I've watched them all and, if you check the list at left (where you'll find my ratings for many of this year's releases), you will likely determine that I must have found some worth and even charm in all three. However, each also included, in one man's opinon, a bit too much meandering and or redundancy to keep them off my personal list of favorite films from 2018.

In fact, I'm partial to these 10, in order of preference, while quickly recalling an extremely mixed bag of movie gems:

Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali help open the truth-based "Green Book." 
Green Book: It's simply the year's most entertaining movie -- and on its way to becoming a holiday standard -- as surprisingly offered by one half of those generally wild and crazy Farrelly Brothers.

Won't You Be My Neighbor? This feel-good doc about a TV show host who helped raise more kids than a country full of villages deserves a Best Picture nomination.

If Beale Street Could Talk (opens Friday): Writer/director Barry Jenkins one-ups his "Moonlight" by turning a James Baldwin novel into an immaculately told, '70s love story for the ages.

A Star is Born: The year's best first 30 movie minutes might make you go Gaga, then the "Lady" herself takes over in a mainstream musical beauty from first-time director (and star) Bradley Cooper.

First Reformed: Ethan Hawke is a knockout in a comeback thriller from Paul Schrader and, yes, it might even remind you of his "Taxi Driver."

And then there's "Shoplifters," "The Sisters Brothers," "Ready Player One," "Monsters and Men," and "Black Panther."

And how about a baker's dozen more swell surprises? "Bohemian Rhapsody," "Chappaquiddick," "Crazy Rich Asians," "Eighth Grade," "Halloween," "Hereditary," "Leave No Trace," "Love, Simon," Mission: Impossible -- Fallout," "Paddington 2," "The Rider," "Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood," and "Widows."

"MVP" John David Washington went undercover in Spike Lee's "BlackKklansman"
And some MVPs (Most Valuable Performers): John C. Reilly ("The Sisters Brothers," "Ralph Breaks the Internet," "Holmes & Watson," "Stan &  Ollie," which opens here Jan. 25); Claire Foy ("Unseen," "First Man," "The Girl in the Spider's Web"); Nicole Kidman ("Boy Erased," "Aquaman," "Destroyer"); and John David Washington ("BlacKkKlansman," "Monsters and Men," "The Old Man & the Gun," "Monster").

And finally, let's end with a six-pack of the very dullest movies from a year that ends in a few hours: "Aquaman," "Creed 2," "The Darkest Minds," "The Front Runner," "The Happytime Murders," and "Venom."

Anyone for a toast to many more smart and exciting cinematic choices in 2019?

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