Five Fingers for Marseilles
I have very little hesitation in saying that this is the best film I was sent for review in 2018. A stylish South African play on the Western, set across the end of Apartheid. You can read the full review here – http://corkingmovies.com/reviews/five-fingers-for-marseille/
Another of the films I was sent for review, this is an interesting story of a man, disconnected from his community, who euthanizes their pets in as peaceful and “happy” a fashion as possible, usually whilst telling the owners what terrible people they are. He falls foul of a far right organisation when he embarrasses one of them in front of the rest. http://corkingmovies.com/reviews/euthanizer/
The Phantom Thread
A lot of Daniel Day Lewis performances I’ve seen have, I have to say, left me underwhelmed. It seems to be about facial hair and shouting. In Phantom Thread, however, he has no facial hair. Which seems to have led to a more subtle, nuanced performance. In the Phantom Thread, he plays a dress designer, something of a 1950s Tom Ford, living with his assistant. However, when he meets Alma (Vicky Krieps), who he seems to love for the way his clothes hang on her, rather than anything else, this changes. There are strong echoes of Rebecca in the way his assistant reacts to the newcomer (in fact, there is a shot that apes the famous staircase scene), but he is much less accommodating than de Winter. It is beautifully shot, with excellent performances and has a marvellous twist.
I’d been looking forward to this for a while, after hearing comments about the performances of the lead characters. I think this film could have worked as one of those character pieces that exist almost entirely without narrative. Ostensibly, it is the story of a girl coming to the end of her youth and about to graduate High School. More than that, it is about the way parents shape the lives of their children and the sexual and social politics of teenagers. The acting was as good as I’d heard, and Saoirse Ronan was unlucky to be up against Frances McDormand for the Oscar for Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role – I can’t imagine many other years where she wouldn’t have won it (I would have voted for her over Frances McDormand, but still).
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
An obvious pick, I know, but I was genuinely impressed by this. It felt like an early Coen brothers film, and not just because of Frances McDormand. Whilst there was a cast heavy in quality, they all seemed to allow each other to breathe, and none seemed to want to upstage their fellow actors. Aside from Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell’s and Woody Harrelson’s performance are also worthy of praise. I feel that two of the younger cast members Caleb Landry Jones and Lucas Hedges are going to feature heavily in future top ten lists (Lucas Hedges was also in Lady Bird, so he’s here twice already.
The Death of Stalin
I’ve always liked the humour of Armando Iannucci, so it’s no surprise that a film of his makes this list. I’d been looking forward to it for a long time. It’s safe to say it’s an ensemble cast, starring such actors as Michael Palin, Steve Buscemi, Jeffrey Tambor and Jason Isaacs. What is particularly amusing in this is the accents. A conscious decision was made not to attempt terrible Russian accents, and instead, actors went with something a little closer to home. Isaacs, for example, plays Zhukov as a sweary, plain speaking Yorkshireman. You really get the feeling that this was a labour of love for all involved, as they seem to be enjoying themselves.
The killer clown thing may have been done to death (the fact I nearly typed Killer Klown provides another example), but Art the Clown in Terrifier is right up there with Tim Curry in It. It’s a brutal film, that by turns has you horrified, unsettled and amused. It’s not a film that brings anything particularly new to the genre, but it does what it does remarkably well, well enough to leave an impression. If you do like the genre, then there’s no reason not to watch this.
The Night Comes For Us
Thanks to Spencer Hackett for this one. I wouldn’t have known about it if not for his review – http://corkingmovies.com/reviews/the-night-comes-for-us/ I’ve always had a fondness for heroic bloodshed, having spent many hours watching the films of John Woo and the sadly recently departed Ringo Lam in my early 20s. The Night Comes For Us is a modern take on the genre, which fans of The Raid will enjoy. Special mention must be made of
The last two films on my list are Marvel ones. I make no apologies. I love the MCU. It was a difficult choice between Black Panther, Deadpool and Infinity War. Black Panther takes one of the places because it is well written, well shot, well acted and humorous. Letitia Wright steals every scene she’s in.
Avengers: Infinity War
I know, I know, it’s the obvious choice, but I really enjoyed this. It was big, it was loud, it was funny and it was dark. It was no mean feat to take such a large cast of both big actors and big characters and not make them feel as if they were all squeezed in. It felt like a long film in that a lot happened, but not in that it seemed to drag. Where characters were brought together, they seem to have been paired well – Stark and Strange, Thor and Rocket – they all played off each other well.