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Entries in Tues Top Ten (128)

Tuesday
Mar122019

Nathaniel's (Belated) Top Ten List of 2018

by Nathaniel R

Given that we're two months into a new year, the best cinema of 2018 is receding in our mind's eye, still shimmering but moving out of focus. But so much vivid color and feeling remains. Before we are fully blinded to its beauties (until, that is, they are "old films" and we can revisit) by a whole new batch of cinematic images to obsess over, here's one last post to honor the year that was. Here's your host's choices for the 25 best films of 2018.

This year's HONORABLE MENTIONS are a varied bunch taking us from horny self-discovery in Swedish woods to a trash-heap island in Japan. Strangely, grief was the year's most defining theme across genres as diverse as horror, tragicomedy, bopics, thrillers, character studies, and romantic dramas.

The films are listed in loosely ascending order, though we always reserve the right to change our minds where lists and rankings are concerned:

  • Paddington 2 (Paul King, UK) If all franchises were crafted with this much heart and warmth and wit, Hollywood wouldn't feel souless at all.
  • Border (Ali Abassi, Sweden) A refreshing oddity which totally commits to its own hybrid identity as its protagonist discovers hers.
  • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (Ramsey, Persichetti, and Rothman, US) If all superhero movies were this fun, inclusive, and inventive, they'd deserve their now automic success in the marketplace.
  • First Man (Damien Chazelle, US) A nation's epic ambitions paired with a marriage's intimate drama. So elegantly crafted.
  • Burning (Lee Chang-dong) as elusive and mysterious as a cat that doesnt want to be seen, until it saunters boldy into sight to stare you down.
  • First Reformed (Paul Schrader, US) The year's most disturbing drama. Hard to shake and necessary.
  • Widows (Steve McQueen) Overstuffed and strangely paced, but reverberating with provocative ideas and juicy characters. 
  • Capernaum (Nadine Labaki, Lebanon) For all that urgency and visceral feeling, not to mention one of the great child performances.
  • Support the Girls (Andrew Bujalski, US) for its ramshackle charms and subtle character-portrait
  • Hereditary (Ari Aster, US) What a calling card debut, from that dollhouse opening shot all the way through that psychotic break ending, a new horror classic. 

RUNNERS UP. Oh, if there were room in the top ten for all of these...

Click to read more ...

Friday
Jan042019

Months of Meryl: An Epilogue

John and Matthew watched every single live-action film starring Meryl Streep. 

Meryl has been a superstar for 40 years now

MATTHEW: You never forget the performers who first reach out to you from an illuminated screen and lay claim to your gaze, mind, and devotion. Before I knew anything about the art of screen acting, I knew about the miraculous and almost mythic marvel that is Meryl Streep. Months of Meryl was an undertaking that exhausted and aggravated me without end: for every unparalleled Silkwood in Streep’s filmography, there are at least two The House of the Spirits; for every forgotten or underrecognized gem like The Seduction of Joe Tynan, One True Thing, or A Prairie Home Companion, there are at least three Still of the Nights, Primes, or Dark Matters. But, more importantly, this project illuminated a great deal about a veteran artist whose empathetic interest in the lives of others moved me at such an impressionable age and will never cease to do so.

Watching and writing about Streep’s films side by side by side for well over a year has not taught me a single overarching lesson, but only deepened my appreciation for her mastery...

Click to read more ...

Tuesday
Dec042018

AFI Top Ten plus "Roma" but "Where is Crazy Rich Asians"?

The American Film Institute has announced their top 10 of the year... well top 11 since they did a bit of cheating this year. Well, more than a bit of cheating. Though their raison d'etre is to honor American films (see: their name), they included The Favourite, which is clearly a UK/Ireland production with a Greek director (even if some of the money is American). They also felt the need to give Mexico's Roma a special award. Can you blame them? Otherwise those two movies would have gone without awards this season. [Editor's note: Sarcasm!]

Their top ten is as follows...

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Monday
Dec032018

It's the most wonderful time of the year... 'Top Ten List' time

by Nathaniel R

I've been gleefully reading top ten lists for as long as I've loved movies. The first I waited for impatiently was in the Detroit Free Press in the 1980s and decades later I still love the impulse to live best movies, no matter how many people occassionally play contrarian to dismiss them as irrelevant and reductive. Top ten lists are definitely the latter but they're hardly the former, since what people value tells us so much about them and the idiosyncracies of individual top ten lists as well as occassional consensus across them are are especially beautiful if you love the magic that happens between any artform and its audience.

That said they'll make you crazy as often as they delight you. After the jump three early top ten lists worth discussing...

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Tuesday
Nov202018

Top Ten: Ezra Miller Lewks

by Nathaniel R

Tilda & Ezra 7 years ago. He learned from a master

We have been greatly remiss in celebrating Ezra Miller's rising fashion-icon insanity. I am pleased in retrospect to have been one of the five people who saw and admired his debut performance in the disturbing art film Afterschool which made $3,911* at the box office in 2009 (*actual figure, not sarcasm). I vividly remember seeing it because when I left the theater, a friend who worked at the Nashville Film Festival ran up to tell me that Nicole Kidman & Keith Urban had attended the screening directly before mine. (A tragedy truly: we saw the same movie at the same festival on the same day but weren't in the same showing. ARGH!)

More than ever in 2018, Miller has proven that his casting as Tilda Swinton's son in his breakout picture, Lynne Ramsay's We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) was more than a little prescient because he's following in Tilda's iconoclastic and androgynous footsteps in the department of causing stirs on the red carpet.

So herewith a top ten of Ezra fashion after the jump...  

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