Thursday, December 27, 2018

2018 – 40 Favorites and more

I started to work on a list of favorite film writing of 2018, books like Ben Fritz's The Big PictureJane Giles' Scala Cinema 1978-1993 and Lee Gambin's Nope, Nothing Wrong Here: The Making Of Cujo, as well as essays like Alexandra Heller-Nicholas' Ladykillers: An A-Z of Women’s Horror Filmmaking, Nick Pinkerton's Le Cinéma du GlutEric Allen Hatch's Why I Am Hopeful and K. Austin Collins' What Do We Want From Critics In The Morality Wars?. And maybe I'll eventually put together a longer post devoted to film writing, but it certainly won't be this week.

My favorite film discussion podcast episodes of 2018 would include:
I Blame Dennis Hopper Allan Arkush
The Projection Booth - Episode 393: Roommates (1981)
The Film Comment Podcast - Reckoning With Misogyny
The Bret Easton Ellis Podcast - 9/7/18 Joshua John Miller
Pure Cinema Podcast 28A and 28B – Carpenter!
Gilbert Gottfried's Amazing Colossal Podcast - #212 Peter Fonda
The Movies That Made MeKeith Gordon
The Rialto ReportJamie Gillis in 1976

Bill Gunn’s Personal Problems was made in 1980 and had been shown previously as part of film festivals and retrospectives like Tell It Like It Is: Black Independents in New York, 1968 – 1986 (an astonishing series programmed by Jake Perlin and Michelle Materre), yet it never received a proper theatrical run until 2018. If pressed to pick a favorite film for the year, it would be Personal Problems. But if that’s too much of a cheat, then I’d say Frederick Wiseman’s Monrovia, Indiana.
As far as what’s on my list of favorite films this year, I included a few titles I caught at festivals that have yet to be released in the U.S., as well as titles that had limited runs or went straight to streaming in 2018. 2017 festival titles Bad Genius (which appears to have gone straight to Netflix in the U.S.), Let The Corpses Tan, Let The Sunshine In, Thoroughbreds and Zama were all on last year’s list, or I’d include them this year.

In alphabetical order:

Angels Wear White (Vivian Qu)

Araby (João Dumans and Affonso Uchoa)

Asako I & II (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)

Blue My Mind
(Lisa Brühlmann)

Border (Ali Abbasi)

A Bread Factory, Part One and A Bread Factory, Part Two (Patrick Wang)

Burning (Lee Chang-dong)

Custody (Xavier Legrand)

The Day After (Hong Sang-Soo)

Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? (Travis Wilkerson)

Eighth Grade (Bo Burnham)

The Endless (Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead)

The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos)

First Reformed (Paul Schrader)

Game Night (John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein)

Good Manners (Marco Dutra, Juliana Rojas)

Hale County This Morning, This Evening (RaMell Ross)

Happy as Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher)

Holiday (Isabella Eklöf)

The House That Jack Built (Lars Von Trier)

I Am Not a Witch (Rungano Nyoni)

If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins)

Keep An Eye Out (Quentin Dupieux)

Leave No Trace (Debra Granik)

Long Day's Journey Into Night (Gi Ban)

Lover For A Day (Philippe Garrel)

Madeline's Madeline (Josephine Decker)

Minding The Gap (Bing Liu)

Monrovia, Indiana (Frederick Wiseman)

Montparnasse Bienvenüe, aka Jeune femme (Léonor Serraille)

Non-Fiction (Olivier Assayas)

On Body And Soul (Ildikó Enyedi)

The Other Side Of The Wind (Orson Welles)

Personal Problems (Bill Gunn; made in 1980, theatrically released in 2018)

The Rider (Chloé Zhao)

Shirkers (Sandi Tan)

Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda)

Upgrade (Leigh Whannell)

Werewolf (Ashley McKenzie)

What You Gonna Do When the World's on Fire? (Roberto Minervini)

Favorite Blu-Rays

Images (Arrow Video)
My Twentieth Century (Second Run)
The Last House On The Left (Arrow Video)
De Niro & De Palma: The Early Films (Arrow Video)
The Reincarnation Of Peter Proud (Kino Lorber)
Modern Romance (Indicator)
William Castle at Columbia Vol. 1 & 2 (Indicator)
Ingmar Bergman’s Cinema (The Criterion Collection)
Dietrich & Von Sternberg In Hollywood (The Criterion Collection)
Little Murders (Indicator)
Blue Collar (Indicator)
Night Of The Demon (Indicator)
They Shoot Horses, Don’t They? (Kino Lorber)
Daisies (Second Run)
Liquid Sky (Vinegar Syndrome)
Female Trouble (The Criterion Collection)
Scalpel (Arrow Video)
Derek Jarman Volume One: 1972 -1986 (BFI)
The Color Of Pomegranates (Second Run)
A Matter Of Life And Death (The Criterion Collection)

Honorable Mentions include: Maniac (Blue Underground), Five Tall Tales: Budd Boetticher & Randolph Scott at Columbia (Indicator), Death Smiles On A Murderer (Arrow Video), Night Of The Living Dead (The Criterion Collection), Light Sleeper (Umbrella Entertainment), My Man Godfrey (The Criterion Collection), The City Of The Living Dead (Arrow Video), The Hired Hand (Arrow Video), The Exorcist II: The Heretic (Shout Factory), The Magnificent Ambersons (The Criterion Collection), Early Hou Hsiao-Hsien: Three Films 1980-1983 (Eureka/Masters Of Cinema), Basket Case (Arrow Video), The Tree Of Life (The Criterion Collection) and Intimate Lighting (Second Run). 


  1. if you had to rank your top five, which would be your favorites?

  2. Personal Problems would be my favorite movie to receive a theatrical release in 2018, though it's kind of a special case because it was made in 1980. If I leave out Personal Problems, as well as films that are probably going to receive a theatrical release in 2019, like Asako I & II, which I loved...then I guess the first 5 favorites could be Monrovia, Indiana, Burning, First Reformed, Blue My Mind and either I Am Not A Witch or Hale County This Morning, This Evening. But I feel equally positive about every title on the list, more or less.