The Films of 2018

Discuss films of the 21st century including current cinema, current filmmakers, and film festivals.
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colinr0380
Joined: Mon Nov 08, 2004 4:30 pm
Location: Chapel-en-le-Frith, Derbyshire, UK

Re: The Films of 2018

#101 Post by colinr0380 » Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:41 am

Regarding Crazy Rich Asians I am still getting over the fact that this was the first role for one of the main actors in this film, Henry Golding, who had previously been one of the longstanding presenters of the BBC's Travel Show!

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andyli
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:46 pm

Re: The Films of 2018

#102 Post by andyli » Sun Jan 20, 2019 9:56 am

colinr0380 wrote:Regarding Crazy Rich Asians I am still getting over the fact that this was the first role for one of the main actors in this film, Henry Golding, who had previously been one of the longstanding presenters of the BBC's Travel Show!
He also appeared in last year's A Simple Favor. Was it released afterwards?

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Films of 2018

#103 Post by knives » Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:52 pm

nitin wrote:
Mon Jun 18, 2018 9:55 am
I saw Disobedience tonight and I largely concur with DarkImbecile’s take on it. The acting by the three main actors is terrific, the direction and writing is mainly strong and everytime the movie sort of goes off the rails towards the back end, it quickly manages to get back on interesting and sometimes even surprising footing.
Seeing this, this is catchup season for me, and I'll third the opinion. It's nice to see one of these Anglo-Haredi dramas come across as written by someone who knows that world. The script does very little simplifying and goes out of its way to have characters, especially the husband, who are complicated through adaptation as well as rebellion. This isn't some cheap, American, A Price Above Rubies, simplistic morality tale, but a much more intimate story of balancing priorities so that you can become your happiest self. The husband's penultimate act is one of the most delightfully shocking moments from last year.

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knives
Joined: Sat Sep 06, 2008 6:49 pm

Re: The Films of 2018

#104 Post by knives » Mon Feb 11, 2019 8:34 pm

The Hate U Give (because announcing the full acronym would not be appropriate for kids)
All the kids where I work are hyped on the book and the movie is all they've been talking about this year so I felt a little obligated to see it and in the context of it being a children's movie it's great. Unlike a lot of other films with children protagonists which are completely uninterested in being interesting to children this one is. A lot of the criticism I see around misunderstands this. The critiques remind me of the famous BBC comment about Alan Clarke putting in too much incident as if drama wasn't the central aspect of drama. This film isn't supposed to be cool to a middle aged white guy, but to the diversity of teens. So with the question of corny or not out of the way I guess the question becomes is this good?

I suppose my students have good tastes because this is pretty complex. It's not really about the shooting which is a pretty blatant not good thing. Instead it's about how youth in all its varieties has to deal with this. My understanding is that the book is even more expansive on this with additional subplots and characters. It would be interesting to give more voice to the teen characters then we have (and Starr takes up the majority of that space), but given this is already over two hours and tackles issues of the shooting, racial interaction, the status of police, discovering the history of the nation (Emmett Till gets a cameo), and social pressures for survival. Possibly the most interesting in what it brings up and probably the thing that is most relevant to children is how all of these things have been changed by technology. Cell phones as the only mode of armor for black people obviously comes up, but social media is much more interesting because it is the mode the characters speak in. Tumblr provides some of the most compelling stuff since the two Starrs as she expresses herself have to be one. The film seems to say that while technology has been great in many ways it has also provided new difficulties.

The film is a kids film and is only so deep. It isn't the massive treatise that Spike Lee would put out and aesthetically it is only okay. Still, even with these limitations (which are mostly overridden by the acting) this is a vital and enjoyable film with more depth and intelligence than a lot of adult entertainment.

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brundlefly
Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2014 12:55 pm

Re: The Films of 2018

#105 Post by brundlefly » Sun Mar 03, 2019 2:21 pm

Museo (Alonso Ruizpalacios)

Buried in YouTube Premium’s Originals among concert films, projects featuring folks I take to be internet personalities, and a very earnest-looking Susan Sarandon flick, is this second feature from the director of Güeros.

Ruizpalacios attacks the 1985 Christmas Eve theft at Mexico’s National History of Anthropology with an undeniable skill-set and a lot on his mind, takes a history of plunder and thinks it into knots. It’s a heist film (though the heist is too easy, comes too late, and ends too soon), but procedural concerns are a clothesline on which to contemplate historical and cultural ownership. Where and to whom do cultural artifacts belong? Who gets to tell their stories? And the film extends this to itself, not just through a “print the legend” approach to its narrative – “This story is a replica of the original” – but by embracing an excuse to nod this way and that. Perez Prado’s “Patricia” is reappropriated from La Dolce Vita to soundtrack a porn film, reconnected later in a sequence that’s all-caps Fellini. Things are taken, things are returned.

But he’s also interested in generational disconnect. The main characters are pushing at or losing their own histories: Alpha thief Juan (Gael Garcia Bernal) rails against the upper middle-class striving of his doctor father (Pablo Larrain regular Alfredo Castro, who doesn’t have to do more than show up to be sternly effective) and rattles on about socialism and warrior codes while perpetually dallying with some sort of post-grad veterinary degree; his father’s father has recently died and, at the start of the film, Juan’s bristling at having to wear grandfather’s ill-fitting Santa suit. Sidekick/narrator Benjamin is devoted to his father, but that man’s dying of cancer. Living in their suburb is “driving in circles;” they urinate on the area’s most prominent landmark.

Juan is aggressively unlikeable, perhaps a calculation to prevent anyone from thinking him righteous or his actions redeemably Robin Hoodish. He has an abstract, intellectual connection to cultural history; the post-crime downward spiral character arc here seems meant to imbue him with deeper (even spiritual) respect, though that never registered emotionally for me. (The movie chickens out as a character study by claiming character and motivation unknowable.) It’s hard to care what happens to him, and it’s not fun spending time with him.

More provocative are the interactions with the stolen objects themselves. They’re lugged around in a duffle bag, wrapped in t-shirts advertising toys. Simon Russell Beale licks one, in awe. Sometimes they’re dismissed by other characters as “handicrafts,” common product to be peddled. At one point, they become playthings for children; considering a history of financiers, explorers, and thieves, I wondered if that wasn’t the most honest, meaningful engagement possible. It’s noted (true or not) that museum attendance skyrocketed after the heist because people wanted to see the empty cases.

As you’d expect for a self-conscious film (“And now, a fight,” they say in voice-over at the start of a fight scene) it’s showy. Unexpected angles, a lot of slow push-ins. A pretty great handmade iris out. The heist has a slideshow of mock-freeze frames that unfortunately reminded me of the ‘Police Squad!’ closing credits more than anything else. Ruizpalacios makes good use of some interesting architecture and gets a lot of mileage cutting very wide to very close. And from going very loud to very soft. There’s a very forthright sound design. The soundtrack has a children’s choir singing Castaneda quotes and. when it wants to go huge in the manner of a historical epic, noodles with Silvestre Revueltas’ music for The Night of the Mayas.

Museo has a lot under consideration and resists conclusion. It drags on. It contorts to echo itself; wherever you go, you’re driving in circles. In Satélite, Juan stares at a painting of a cliff diver in Acapulco; in Acapulco, he stares at an abstract painting and sees Satélite. Ruizpalacios’ films have a passive-aggressive Gen-X dissatisfaction to which I respond. Güeros’ circumnavigation struck me as Stranger Than Paradise with occasional kinetic outbursts. Here his overthinking, underachieving thief stumbles along on spasms of inspiration and half-assed follow-through; it’s difficult to argue that the post-heist feeling of aimlessness that sets in isn’t appropriate.

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