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Noumenon 27th Dec 2017 22:39

Filmlist 2018
My last one was left half done, I expect the same fate awaits this!

01 White Dog (Fehér isten), 2014 ***00
A strange Hungarian movie, which starts off quite realist but escalates in unusual ways. It follows a young teen girl, Lilli, whose relationship with her pet dog Hagen is undermined by her unfriendly, estranged parents (problematic adults proving nigh universal here). Girl and dog are separated and the story continues, but the film spends at least an equal amount of time on the dog's story - and it's quite a performance, easily able to hold the viewer's attention. The animal action never feels staged, exactly, but not exactly naturalistic either, especially when things go way off the deep end. The film has a home-made quality at times, or better to say that some of the shooting/editing used to get around elements of violence feels a bit old-fashioned; but the final scene is pretty powerful stuff, and the final shot... strange.

02 Paddington ****0
I'd only heard good things, and the appearance of a sequel with an equal reputation pushed me into risking a warmed heart. A joy from start to finish (and I loved that author Michael Bond got a fleeting cameo and a tip of the hat from his creation).

03 Brawl at Cell Block 99 ****0
After I watched Bone Tomahawk, probably about a year ago, I found myself wondering if writer-director S. Craig Zahler felt some kind of personal grudge against that part of the human anatomy I've best heard referred to as "the chin-rest". Having now seen Brawl on Cell Block 99 as well, I've come to the conclusion that I was wrong: it's heads he's got the problem with... In every way a crunching bit of crime-and-then-prison drama, though "drama" doesn't really cut it. It all gets a bit medieval (as do the prison sets, with a definite slide from the modern to the old school to the grimly Gothic visually underlining an impassive Vince Vaughn's progressive imperilment). Grit your teeth and enjoy.

04 Star Wars: The Last Jedi ***00
It was pretty good. I admire the scope, and yet I feel like these films try to juggle too many things and suffer from bloat in a way that the original trilogy didn't; and that sense of over-reach is, sadly, balanced by under-reach in terms of dialogue - in this vast universe, it seems there are only so many familiar-flavoured soundbites through which galaxy-spanning drama can be played out. I don't think they are doing for the culture what the originals did; maybe that's not possible any more, but I suspect there's a next-level pop-scifi narrative overdue (but it won't be a remake/reboot, and it won't be a Marvel).

05 The Levelling ****0
Sombre UK drama, but well-written, directed and played throughout.

06 Ma vie de Courgette (My Life as a Courgette) *****
A beautiful little animated film, following a small French boy who is sent to a foster home after his mother's death. Difficult subject matter is handled frankly and simply, and the result is a sweet, funny tear-jerker, really wonderfully done.

07 The Florida Project ****0
Set in the shadow of Disney World, The Florida Project is America-gritty with a healthy dose of humour. It follows, mainly, the daily lives of a handful of kids from various families semi-permanently living in a row of run-down motels just the other side of the wall from every child's dream holiday. This side of that wall includes sub-minimum-wage employment or worse, and in the case of the children no education except for what they make for themselves or gleam from the often questionable behaviour of the adults around. It melds an almost documentary air with some great juvenile performances, and the adults (led by Willem Defoe) get it all right too.

08 Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri ****0
Continuing a pretty stellar start to my viewing year, this is probably an Oscar-level effort on at least four counts: Francis McDormand for Best Actress, Sam Rockwell for Best (probably Supporting, although I'd say) Actor, and writer-director Martin McDonagh for either of those. Skates knowingly close to cliche but steers clear each time, and made me laugh aloud on several occasions. Not bad for what's at times a harrowing drama. Edit: I posted this just before the Golden Globes gave this three out of the four, so I was feeling pretty smug right then...

09 The Shape of Water ***00
I'll need to think about whether three stars is too stingy, or whether (to take a fairy-tale tone) it's just right. Much like Pan's Labyrinth in that it transplants archetypal fantasy into an oppressive historical setting, here we have something akin to Beauty and the Beast played out against Cold War '50s America. It's not as good as that predecessor, but I found it enjoyable throughout - Michael Shannon is always a treat, and Sally Hawkins led the line well (she was good in Paddington too!).

10 Cop Land ***00
Watched due to recently seeing someone on Youtube talk about the project's interesting history as a darling-script that was passed around Hollywood for years before finally being made, and (given limited success on release) its somewhat retrospective acceptance as a bit of a classic. And I thought it was not bad.

11 Coco ****0
Really, very nice. A little predictable in the core twist but, as is often the case with me and animated family heart-warmers, there was not a dry eye in my face well before the end.

12 Jack Reacher ***00
Tracked down and put away solely because the first JR novel was such a good read in 2017. And this is, meh, it's fine. Something to play in the background while you do other things. But not bad.

13 Zombieland ***00
Repeat viewing, mainly because I've recently signed up to Amazon Prime in Spain (it's so cheap, about a quarter of the price for the UK!) and I'm trying it out (also why I tried Jack Reacher, come to think of it, and watched in a similar manner).


2017 list | 2016 list | 2015 list | 2014 list | 2013 list | 2012 list | 2011 list | 2010 List | 2009 List | 2008 List | 2007 List

elwood 3rd Jan 2018 1:30

Films/Movies seen for the first time in 2018:
Books: 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010 Films: 2018 2017 2016 2015 2014 2013 2012 2011 2010

***00½ The Lego Movie (2014)
***00 - Jurassic World (2015)

Daughter No.1 6th Jan 2018 1:42

Re: Filmlist 2018
Black Narcissus
A film that Junkmonkey (my father) has been meaning to show me for AGES. It is one of his absolute all time favourite films, which he could talk about for hours and hours on end, and would frequently do so if I didn't change the subject so often.
The film follows a group of catholic nuns, who are invited to run a convent from an abandoned brothel in the Indian countryside.
I quite liked it.
Welcome to Collingwood
A forgettable American heist comedy.
(The original)
A rather good little comedy starring Michael Caine as the titular Alfie,a cockney arsehole whose hobbies involve using women and stirring up trouble, occasionally simultaneously.
The Graduate
Ah yes, the classic. My first time seeing it and I'm glad to say I liked it; the only problem arising with the occasional unironic use of "Hello darkness my old friend..." Something I can never take seriously.
[I have, somehow, developed a habit for going "Hm!" after watching this.]
The Old Dark House (1932)
A weird little horror movie, worth the watch if only for the extreme cinematic parallels [oh, how JM hates me saying that! I sound like a film student, god forbid.] With the Rocky Horror Picture Show. you could almost name the characters as they appeared, with the Columbia character Gladys entering with a whoop and a short tapdance.
scared the crap out of me! I loved it!
It took me a day to catch on to title.
The Hunger
The first five minuets were brilliant! Everything you needed for a good night out: Bauhaus, David Bowie, a sleazy club, sex and brutal vampire murders! After that the film falls downhill, with Bowie growing old and getting shoved in a box so his vampire lover Catherine DeNeuve can have a fling with Susan Sarandon.
One nice little surprise was Sarandon's suspicious boyfriend was played by Cliff deYoung, who Played Brad in Shock Treatment. Janet 1.0 is snogging Brad 2.0! What a time to be alive.

Colyngbourne 7th Jan 2018 14:57

Re: Filmlist 2018
3. War for the Planet of the Apes - ****0 I loved a PotA film, and this was great, even though Caesar ended up playing Moses. Musically and stylistically and narratively and locations-wise, they did a good job of beginning to develop the iconography of the 1968 film.
2. Spider-Man: Homecoming - ***00½
1. Paddington - ****0 Can't wait to see the sequel.

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