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by P u l p
Tue Jan 22, 2019 7:14 am
Forum: General Discussion
Topic: All About Lists
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Re: All About Lists

CineVue’s Top 20 Films of 2018


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1. Shoplifters (dir. Hirokazu Kore-eda)

What we said: “The performances are peerless, with Lily Franky again exceptional as the ne’er-do-well father figure whose Fagan-esque tutelage seems inspired as much by childish exuberance as criminal inclinations. Stealing is fun. Sakura Ando, as his life partner, suggests a deeper more moral person: someone who knows she is wrong and tragically understands that a deserved emotional reckoning is coming. The children – as ever – provide such naturalistic performances, the word doesn’t even apply.”

2. Roma (dir. Alfonso Cuarón)

What we said: “It’s fitting that [director Alfonso] Cuarón is also the cinematographer, as Roma is a deeply personal handsome vision. Cuarón is a master at visual storytelling, pointing to a small change in the frame that will be important later on. A scene where the children get into trouble swimming in the ocean is as thrilling and tense as anything in Gravity. The depth of his focus and the black and white photographer that is so crisp and varied as to belie its reductive moniker. Good black and white photography is always in colour and this is as good as it gets. There are hints of Bergman and Fellini in the mix here too.”

3. Happy as Lazzaro (dir. Alice Rohrwacher)

What we said: “Alice Rohrwacher returns with her remarkable third film about a rural Italian community. Happy as Lazzaro sparkles with soul, enchantment and introspection – it’s no wonder that it took the Best Screenplay Award at Cannes this year.”

4. If Beale Street Could Talk (dir. Barry Jenkins)

What we said: “Narrative conventions that would hobble a film in less capable hands become near-transcendent moments under Jenkins’ direction. That crutch of the literary adaptation – the voice-over, here delivered by Layne – becomes delicious poetry spilled across a screen dominated by deep browns, rich caramel and swirling smoke. James Laxton’s gorgeous cinematography, in harmony with the costume and set designs, underlines the film’s opening thesis that Black America as a culture and identity springs from the urban environment. It’s difficult not to simply get swept up in the sheer beautiful craft of it all, but underneath the aesthetic pleasures lies a celebration of and rallying cry for black identity”.

5. The Sisters Brothers (dir. Jaques Audiard)

What we said: “At the heart of the film are two pitch perfect lead performances. Though Reilly and Phoenix don’t look particularly like brothers, they certainly behave like them. Their endless teasing and bickering make for some of the best moments in the film. Reilly is the put-upon elder brother who feels he needs to protect Charlie from his worst excesses, but even Charlie also has something like a dirty innocence. He’s a wounded soul whose blank incomprehension when he finds one of his victims praying is both funny and horrifying: “What are you talking about?” he says before delivering the coup de grace.”


6. The Favourite (dir. Yorgos Lanthimos)

What we said: “At the film’s centre are three irresistable performances. Colman transforms herself into a wretched, insecure tantrum-throwing baby, her chin flecked with vomit as she compulsively crams hunks of blue cheese into her face. Yet among the venal power struggles moving around her frail figure, Anne somehow retains something approaching sympathy. Meanwhile, Stone gives the performance of her career, a creature equal parts venomous, scheming and desirable, her mannerisms are peppered with Lanthimos’ typical moments of deadpan surreality.”

7. Cold War (dir. Pawel Pawlikowski)

What we said: “[Director Pawel] Pawlikowski challenges the naïve notion that for those living behind the Iron Curtain, happiness simply meant making it to the West. Neither Wiktor nor Zula are able to truly settle down in Paris, despite Wiktor’s connections in the film and music industries and Zula’s promising beginnings as a French chanteuse. In one especially beautiful sequence in what is an extremely beautifully film, the couple take a silent midnight boat ride down the Seine. As they float past Paris’ iconic monuments, the camera itself seems almost alienated by the grandeur of the architecture, as if to say that these émigres will never truly feel at home here.

=8. Suspiria (dir. Luca Guadagnino)

What we said: “What do we want from our big-screen remakes, if we even permit their very existence? In the case of Suspiria, should we really have expected – from an Oscar-nominated filmmaker – the same exact runtime, the same exact tone, and to have rehired the same exact actors playing the same exact roles but 40 years younger? From the very outset, Guadagnino simultaneously confirms and subverts our expectations, retaining the overall plot while inflecting it with an air of Baader-Meinhof-era paranoia.”

=8. Border (dir. Ali Abbasi)

What we said: “Based on a short story by John Ajvide Lindqvist – the author of Let the Right One In – Border is a grown-up fairytale about self-discovery, evil and love. From Angela Carter to Shrek, outsiders, ogres, werewolves and trolls have been given their own perspectives and allowed to voice the complaint that it is humanity that is truly monstrous. But here the argument gets a new witty twist and the surprises are excellently produced.”

=8. The Grand Bizarre (dir. Jodie Mack)

=8. Ray & Liz (dir. Richard Billingham)

=12. Climax (dir. Gaspar Noé)

=12. Make Me Up (dir. Rachel Maclean)

=12. An Elephant Sitting Still (dir. Bo Hu)

=12. Vox Lux (dir. Brady Corbet)

=16. Widows (dir. Steve McQueen)

=16. TERROR NULLIUS (dir. Soda_Jerk)

=16. Lords of Chaos (dir. Jonas Åkerlund

=16. Leave No Trace (dir. Debra Granik)

=16. A Star is Born (dir. Bradley Cooper)


Daniel Green

1. Roma
2. If Beale Street Could Talk
3. Burning
4. The Sisters Brothers
5. Shoplifters


Christopher Machell

1. Shoplifters
2. If Beale Street Could Talk
3. Roma
4. The Favourite
5. Widows


Ben Nicholson

1. The Grand Bizarre
2. Make Me Up
3. TERROR NULLIUS
4. Happy as Lazzaro
5. Consensual Healing


Patrick Gamble

1. Ray & Liz
2. An Elephant Sitting Still
3. Happy as Lazzaro
4. The Sun Quartet
5. A Family Tour


Katie Driscoll

1. Suspiria
2. Climax
3. Lords of Chaos
4. Mandy
5. Wildlife


John Bleasdale

1. Border
2. Vox Lux
3. The Sisters Brothers
4. The Favourite
5. First Man


Caitlin Quinlan

1. Happy as Lazzaro
2. Roma
3. A Star is Born
4. Shoplifters
5. The Old Man & The Gun

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