My Most Anticipated Films of 2019

Blossoms (dir. Wong Kar-wai)
Wong Kar-wai, the master filmmaker behind so many great films with my favorite being In the Mood For Love, has a new movie due out this year. Blossoms is an adaptation of a short story collection by writer Jin Yucheng, whom the director is working with on the script. The stories alternate between the end of the Chinese Cultural Revolution and the modern Shanghai, emphasizing the changes to this place over the decade. It can be assured that Wong Kar-wai will produce something meditative and meticulous and I can’t wait to see what he gives us.

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My Favorite Films I Watched in 2018 – Part 2

Here is the second part of my favorite films I viewed in 2018 and the final blog post of 2018. I will continue in 2019 starting with a State of the Blog post tomorrow.

15. Loveless (2017, dir. Andrey Zvyagintsev)
From my review:
It is entirely understandable to be at the frayed edges of a relationship and want to drag them down in the mud with you on the way down. It’s not a right way to live, but it is a behavior that is very natural to humanity. It is reasonable to want to start a new life and experience that nostalgic freshness that a burgeoning relationship can bring. Are Zhenya and Boris unrealistic in their expectations for their new partners? Oh most, definitely and we see that as the film slowly spirals to its conclusion. Zhenya and Boris are so entirely ordinary, and that is what makes Loveless cut so deeply. These are not exaggerated, grotesque characters. These people could be us if life got bad enough.

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My Favorite Films I Watched in 2018 – Part 1

As always these are films I *watched* for the first time in 2018, not necessarily that were released this year. Part 1 contains #30 – 16.

30. Lean on Pete (2018, dir. Andrew Haigh)
From my review:
Charley has never really experienced love, except for that one short time with Aunt Margy. She truly loved him, and then they had to go away. So, when Charley meets Pete, a horse considered valueless, he wants to repay that love. Charley begins to see the beauty in Pete, old but still strong, full of opinions and not easily tamed. He wants to rescue Pete in the same way he needs someone to save him. No one’s coming for Pete, so Charley takes it upon himself without ever asking if anyone is coming for Charley. So often the rural corners of our nation are portrayed as the warm, moral centers, the “Heartland.” Director Haigh has no qualms pointing out how stark and lonely the landscape and its people can be, just as devastating as any urban nightmare conjured up.

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Movie Review – The Incident

The Incident (2014)
Written & Directed by Isaac Ezban

incident

Two brothers have been caught red-handed committing an undescribed crime. They are ambushed by a police officer who directs them down the stairwell of their apartment building to his car. However, on the way, a loud boom sounds from somewhere outside, and suddenly they find themselves caught in a looping stairwell without end or beginning. A family sets out to drop off the kids with their father while mom and stepdad are headed to the beach. On the road, they hear a loud boom and then find themselves on an infinitely looping stretch of highway. What is happening? Why are these people trapped?

It is literally impossible to discuss this film without spoilers so if you don’t want to know what happens, turn back now. The film is on Netflix, come back after you have watched it.

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Movie Review – Black Panther

Black Panther (2018)
Written by Ryan Coogler & Joe Robert Cole
Directed by Ryan Coogler

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Prince T’Challa is still mourning his father’s death in the wake of Captain America: Civil War and he must be coronated the new monarch of Wakanda. After defeating his single challenger, M’Baku of the Mountain Gorilla Tribe. As his first act as the king, T’Challa decides to bring in fugitive Ulysses Klaue who is guilty of murdering multiple Wakandans and stealing their precious Vibranium. This leads our hero into crossing paths with Everett Ross again who becomes embroiled in the current drama overtaking the kingdom. Among Klaue’s ranks is an even more significant threat with deep ties to Wakanda and could be the undoing of everything T’Challa is fighting for.

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Movie Review – Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name (2017)
Written by James Ivory
Directed by Luca Guadagnino

call me by your name

Elio is the son of academics living in northern Italy. He spends his days consuming books and composing piano pieces. He is also in friendship with local girl Marzia where the beginnings of attraction are forming. Summer looks to be a monotonous season until Oliver arrives. Oliver is an American doctoral student who has come to get the aid of Elio’s father in revising his dissertation. Elio finds himself drawn to Oliver and even feeling pangs of jealousy when it appears the older man fancies a woman in town. As Elio explores and discovers himself in this formative year, he becomes aware of his feelings for Oliver. First, with some anger, he tries to push them aside, and finally, he confesses all of this to Oliver who reciprocates.

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Movie Review – The Cloverfield Paradox

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)
Written by Oren Uziel and Doug Jung
Directed by Julius Onah

cloverfield paradox

In the year 2028, an energy crisis has sent humanity to the verge of collapse. The last best hope for the world is the crew aboard an orbital particle accelerator, The Cloverfield Station. Their goal is to get the accelerator running, creating an infinite alternative energy source that would cause global tensions to subside and hope to be restored. After two years and multiple tests, it appears this is not going to work out. After a few adjustments, they make one final check, expecting nothing. But something does happen, and the crew is suddenly thrown into a bizarre new reality, where the laws of physics and nature do not operate the same. Comms officer Ava Hamilton attempts to navigate this treacherous new paradigm while keeping the crew alive around her. A new crew member appears who knows all of them but whom they have never seen before in their life. Voices speak to another who becomes violent. Everything they used to be able to rely on is crumbling.

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