Sunday, December 23, 2018

ZEBRAS IN AMERICA: EPISODE 82 (BEST OF 2018)




On the last episode of 2018 we take a look back at the solid movie year that was 2018.

Enjoy...

Friday, December 14, 2018

THE BEST OF 2018!!

Artwork courtesy of Patrick Horvath


This year was is a little strange. Not bad, just strange...
While there were certainly lots of good/solid/entertaining films (Black Panther, Upgrade, The Green Fog, etc), there were only a handful of exceptional releases that truly stood out to me (Zama, Shoplifters, The Rider, etc) along with a few pleasant surprises (Game Night, Lowlife, etc).
The rest of my Top 10 is made up of slightly flawed works with head-scratching endings (First Reformed) or movies from the early 1980’s that didn’t get a theatrical run until this year (Personal Problems).

I admit that my excitement for 2018 died a little when I discovered films like High Life, Our Time & American Dharma wouldn’t be released until 2019 (who knows when American Dharma will get a proper release). But I guess the positive is that 2019 is already shaping up to be a good year (all the aforementioned films are already in my top 10 for next year).

I still had fun documenting, podcasting & writing about the 2018 movie year (make sure to go back and explore both PINNLAND EMPIRE & Zebras In America as I’ve given my thoughts on every film on this list in either written form or podcast form).


Enjoy...



TOP 10

1-4: ALL AROUND GREAT 
(films that I felt were just all around great. Essentially the 1st tier of great 2018 films)
Zama/ Shoplifters
The Rider / You Were Never Really Here


5-6: SOLID 
(the 2nd tier of all-around great films from 2018)
Burning / The Favourite


7-8: UNDER THE RADAR 
(films I loved from 2018 that may not have had the same exposure or platform as the larger releases, but are still great)
Lowlife / Monrovia, Indiana


9: FRUSTRATING BUT REWARDING 
(all around great but one major flaw or weird aspect that really bugged me)
First Reformed


10: BEST NEW OLD MOVIE 
(an old film that didn't get a proper release until this year which, in my opinion, makes it a 2018 movie)
Personal Problems





JURY PRIZE
These are movies that I genuinely loved but I also have some kind of personal connection to either the film or the filmmaker. In this year's case, I happen to know Kurt Vincent & Irene Chin (Friends Of Wonder) and I have a very biased love towards Bruno Dumont and his work as he's slowly becoming one of my all-time personal favorite filmmakers (Jeanette...)
Jeanette: The Childhood Of Joan Of Arc / Friends Of Wonder / 24 Frames





HONORABLE MENTION
It wouldn't be right to define an entire year with just a handful of movies. Below are some more solid releases from 2018 worth your time...

TOP TIER:
The Taste Of Cement / Blue / Cold War


THESE MOVIES HAD NO BUSINESS BEING THIS GOOD:
Game Night / Upgrade / Equalizer 2


SOLID:
Black Panther / Marlina: The Murderer In Four Parts


FRUSTRATING BUT REWARDING:
Vox Lux / The Green Fog / Widows





HONORABLE HONORABLE MENTION
A few more movies from 2018 worth your time...

Suspiria / Three Identical Strangers
Claire's Camera / Mandy
Hereditary / The Night Comes For Us
Avengers: Infinity Wars / Roma





OTHER MOVIES POSSIBLY WORTH YOUR TIME
These aren't exactly the best films from 2018 but they all had something that earned them a mention on this year's list...
Deadpool / Grace Jones: Bloodlight & Bami
The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs / If Beale Street Could Talk
Death To Stalin / Ant & Wasp
Sorry To Bother You / 8th Grade




UNDECIDED...
(I need more time to process these)
Madeline's Madeline / The House That Jack Built






(PERSONAL) FAVORITE PERFORMANCES OF 2018
Matheus Nachtergaele - Zama*
Shaye Ogbonna - Lowlife*
Topher grace - Blackkklansman
Ryan Reynolds - Deadpool 2
Joaquin Phoenix - You Were Never Really Here*
Rachel Mcadams - Game Night*
Millicent Simmons - A Quiet Place
Stacy Martin - Vox Lux
Steve Yeun - Burning
Regina King - If Beale Street Could Talk
Nicholas Cage - Mandy
Sam Elliot - A Star Is Born
Emma Stone/Rachel Weisz/Coleman - The Favourite*
Ethan Hawke - First Reformed*
Matt Dillon - The House That Jack Built
Daniel Kaluuya - Widows
Mia Goth - Suspiria
Toni Colette - Hereditary





PERSONAL FAVORITE IMAGES FROM 2018
Mandy

Burning

Grace Jones: Bloodlight & Bami

Grace Jones: Bloodlight & Bami

Blue

First Reformed

The Rider

Zama

Zama

Zama

You Were Never Really Here
24 Frames

24 Frames





HIGHLIGHTS, LOWLIGHTS & OTHER RANDOM MOVIE MOMENTS FROM 2018...

Hold The Dark

Y’all really liked this? (Hold The Dark)*

So this is becoming a genre now? (Blindspotting, The Hate You Give, First Purge, Monsters & Men)

It really was that bad (Venom)

Venom

Jesus christ - stop waisting Michelle Williams' time! (Venom)*

If you actually liked this movie I honestly hate you (The First Purge)

Grace Jones being an unbelievable diva in Grace Jones: Bloodlight & Bami

Hereditary

the clicking noise in Hereditary*

Meh: Blackkklansman, Unsane , Annihilation, Thoroughbreds , Roxanne Roxanne, Fahrenheit 451, Let The Sunshine In 

Mission Impossible: Fallout
ok, I guess: Creed 2, Isle Of Dogs, Mission Impossible Fallout* & A Quiet Place

The lama scene in Zama

chasing after the bus at the end of Shoplifters

All the estrogen in Suspiria

Lowlife
El Monstro going in to rage mode in Lowlife*

The respect Ryan Prows showed Lucha wrestling in Lowlife

mad that I missed: Paddington 2, The World Before Your Feet & Bisbee 17

indifferent about missing: The Green Book, First Man & Vice

completely fine with missing: Tyrel & Bohemian Rhapsody 

The Rider

the hospital visits in The Rider*

the overall ambiance of The Rider

The overall ambiance of Mandy

Uma Thurman’s scene in The House That Jack Built

The OCD scene in The House That Jack Built 

Climax

the first 20 minutes of Climax*

Bill Duke's cameo in Mandy

Chainsaw fight in Mandy

Joaquin Phoenix staying with the agent (that he murdered) in his final moments (You Were Never Really Here)

The sex scene in Burning

The headbanging in Jeanette: The Childhood Of Joan Of Arc

O Lucky Man /
Sorry To Bother You

Boots Riley paying homage to O Lucky Man in Sorry To Bother You*

The freemason meeting in Monrovia, Indiana

Game Night
Lamorne Morris' Denzel Washington impression in Game Night*

Danny Huston's appearance in Game Night

Game Night

"How can that be profitable for Frito Lay?" (Game Night)*

"I'm sorry I called you bald...you little bitch!" (Game Night)

Seeing Michael Beach in a major theatrical release (If Beale Street Could Talk)

The heist scene in Widows

A final talk between Colin Farrell & Robert Duvall in Widows

That shit was not necessary (Marcus’ death in Widows)

Upgrade's underrated ambient score

Upgrade

The dorky main villain in Upgrade*

Clancy Brown's death in The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs

The title cards in The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs

Special shoutout to Wes Anderson for the Kidney Transplant angle in Isle Of Dogs

can we see more of you in 2019?: Betty Gabriel, Alex Descas, Sam Elliot, Juliette Binoche, Angeliki Pappoulia & Gregg Turkington/Neil Hamburger

can we see just as much of you in 2019 as we did in 2018?: Rachel Mcadams, Colin Farrell & Daniel Kaluuya

can we see less of you in  2019?: Tiffany Haddish, Kevin Hart, Will Ferrell, Mel Gibson, Mark Wahlberg & Bradley Cooper


Reasons to look forward to 2019: High Life, Us, Our Time, American Dharma, The Mountain & Peterloo


PERSONAL PROBLEMS (RUPERT PUPKIN SPEAKS)




I wrote about Bill Gunn's Personal Problems (one of my favorite new/old films of the year) for Rupert Pupkin Speaks. Click here or the image above to go to the article.

Enjoy...

Friday, December 7, 2018

ZEBRAS IN AMERICA EPISODE 81 (SPECIAL GUEST MTUME GANT)



We're joined by real life friend/friend of the show; Mtume Gant. Listen as we talk about everything from Widows & Creed 2 to Shoplifters.

Enjoy...

Saturday, December 1, 2018

THE SCHOOL OF CHANTAL AKERMAN PART 6: MOVING IMAGERY

On this latest entry, we take a look at a particular scene from one of Akerman's most well known films and the (possible) influence it may have had on LGBTQ cinema (along with a few other bonus comparisons).

Enjoy...

Also - make sure to check out:
PART ONE
PART TWO
PART THREE
PART FOUR
PART FIVE


Je Tu Il Elle / Mulholland Drive

Je Tu Il Elle / Blue Is The Warmest Color

Je Tu Ill Elle / Carol

Je Tu Il Elle / The Handmaiden

Je Tu Il Elle / High Art

Jeanne Dielman... /
Blue Is The Warmest Color

Jeanne Dielman... /
Manhunter

Je Tu Il Elle / Attenberg

Toute Une Nuit / Down By Law

Toute Une Nuit / No Fear No Die / US Go Home / Nenette & Boni / 35 Rhums

Family Business / Henry Fool

Jeanne Dielman... / Ida