With only two months to go until 2018 expires, we recently published our guide on where to stream the best films of 2018. There’s also plenty of worthwhile theatrical options, including a long-awaited film 40 years in the making, darkly comedic period pieces, highly-anticipated Best Picture follow-ups, and much more.
Matinees to See: Boy Erased (11/2), A Private War (11/2), Distant Constellation (11/2), The Front Runner (11/7), Overlord (11/9), Outlaw King (11/9), El Angel (11/9), The New Romantic (11/9), The Long Dumb Road (11/9), Shoah: The Four Sisters (11/14), At Eternity’s Gate (11/16), Jonathan (11/16), The World Before Your Feet (11/21), Anna and the Apocalypse (11/30), and Sicilian Ghost Story (11/30)
15. Searching for Ingmar Bergman (Margarethe von Trotta; Nov. 2)
The celebration of Ingmar Bergman’s immaculate career continues on his birth centenary. Well-timed with the release of The Criterion Collection’s epic new box set, a new documentary on the Swedish master will arrive this month. Margarethe von Trotta’s Searching for Ingmar Bergman take an intimate look at the director’s life and career through interviews with some of his closest collaborators and family, including Liv Ullmann; Daniel Bergman & Ingmar Bergman, Jr. (Bergman’s sons); Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel (Bergman’s grandson), Olivier Assayas, Ruben Östlund, Mia Hansen-Løve, and more. Leonardo Goi said in our review, “In the year of the Swedish master’s 100th birthday, Margarethe Von Trotta wraps a belated, posthumous gift with her Searching for Ingmar Bergman, a portrait of the artist as seen and experienced by a handful of acolytes and former collaborators, who conjure up a communal memoir so affectionate and heartfelt that by the time Searching clocks its 99 minutes, the feeling is to be leaving a dinner table where people have gathered to mourn a longtime friend-cum-mentor.”
14. Mirai (Mamoru Hosoda; Nov. 30)
Responsible for some of the most impressive animations of the century, including The Girl Who Leapt Through Time, Wolf Children, and The Boy and the Beast, Japanese director Mamoru Hosoda is back with Mirai. An acclaimed Cannes premiere and Oscar contender, the film follows a young boy who discovers a strange occurrence with his sister as the very fabric of time bends.
13. Bodied (Joseph Kahn; Nov. 2)
After premiering at TIFF last year, Joseph Kahn’s Detention follow-up Bodied will finally arrive this week after a lengthy festival run. Ethan Vestby said in his review, “Coming at the beginning of “Trump’s America,” and it is, if anything, a middle-finger to “The Movie We Need Right Now” ethos dolloped out on a daily basis. The most ideological of the three, it’s also formally a bit more inconsistent than the previous two, which saw Kahn taking all the skills learned from hundreds of music videos to the extreme for the sake of deconstructionist pop-filmmaking. Bodied is as much a “pop” film, but it definitely feels a little rougher around the edges, if justly suited to its underground California battle rap setting. Though that may have to also do with the fact that the film’s chief concern is words.”
12. Green Book (Peter Farrelly; Nov. 16)
Responsible for some of the most iconic comedies of the 1990s with Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary, Peter Farrelly is now breaking into the field of drama with his solo directorial effort Green Book. Playing like a reverse Driving Miss Daisy, it follows Viggo Mortensen’s character as an Italian-American bouncer from the Bronx who works as a driver for Mahershala Ali’s character, a famous pianist on tour. With the Eastern Promises star sporting quite an accent, it looks to be an uplifting, powerful film from Farrelly, and should certainly make for a hit this fall following taking home the top prize at TIFF.
11. Creed II (Steven Caple Jr.; Nov. 21)
One of the few franchise rejuvenation that had its intended effect, Creed was the rare blockbuster that embodied the spirit of the original while opening up the story in worthwhile directions. While director Ryan Coogler won’t be back for the follow-up, due to his busy schedule reteaming with his star Michael B. Jordan on Black Panther, another promising up-and-coming director has taken the reigns. Steven Caple Jr., helmer of the Sundance hit The Land, directs Creed II, the eighth film in the franchise,w which features the return of Jordan and Sylvester Stallone, and Tessa Thompson, as well as Phylicia Rashad, Andre Ward, and Wood Harris. In the follow-up, Creed will go against Viktor Drago (Florian Munteanu), son of Ivan Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren, who also returns.
10. Infinite Football (Corneliu Porumboiu; Nov. 9)
The World Cup may be over, but Corneliu Porumboiu has delivered the definitive soccer-related film of the year, complete with his particular brand of dry humor that will make for a great double feature with next year’s Diamantino. Rory O’Connor said in review, “He returns to the beautiful game in 2018 with Infinite Football, a contemporary portrait of a man who suffered a bad injury before his career—at least in his eyes–had the chance to take off.” The brief, but no less excellent documentary follows the filmmaker listening to his friend, who aims to change the very way the sport is played, going to increasingly amusing lengths.
9. The Favourite (Yorgos Lanthimos; Nov. 23)
There’s no shortage of period dramas this awards season, but there’s one that stands out from the pack. Yorgos Lanthimos injects his idiosyncratic vision into The Favourite, which might eventually wear out its welcome, but is nonetheless a strong showcase for its trio: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz. Leonardo Goi said in his review, “A triumph of production and costume design (courtesy of Fiona Crombie and Sandy Powell, respectively), The Favourite is a joy for the eyes. Robbie Ryan’s cinematography alternates camera spins and fisheye lenses, capturing some stupefying interiors and the distorted perspective of solitary royals populating them – mirroring, to some degree, the visual experiments Lanthimos had toyed with in The Killing of A Sacred Deer. Endlessly quotable and serendipitously timely — all the more so considering the whole project was conceived nine years ago — The Favourite is a zany, piercing close-up on three women so replete with swagger as to reduce their male counterparts to disposable extras.”
8. Shoplifters (Hirokazu Kore-eda; Nov. 23)
With his subtly humanistic touch, Hirokazu Kore-eda may often get overlooked for not being as flash as other directors on the international circuit, but thankfully he’s getting his due this. His latest film, Shoplifters, picked up the Palme d’Or at Cannes and has been selected as Japan’s Oscar entry, and will arrive in theaters this month. Rory O’Connor said in his review, “By drawing our empathy for such morally dubious and potentially damaging characters, Shoplifters remains a real heartbreaker, the kind of which only this director seems capable.
7. The Great Buddha+ (Huang Hsin-yao; Nov. 23)
Taking a bit of a backward route when it comes to distribution, The Great Buddha+ hit VOD back in the spring, but thanks to its Oscar consideration from Taiwan, it’ll now hit theaters in limited release this month. Jason Ooi said in his review from New Directors/New Films, “Huang Hsin-Yao is a new voice in independent Taiwanese cinema, and his first narrative feature–an adaptation of his short film The Great Buddha–carries itself with all of the vitriol that one would expect from somebody angry at the state of the Taiwanese film industry and government. This is apparent from the outset of The Great Buddha+, when Huang speaks to the audience as the credits roll, speaking harshly about the producers and delivering a personal statement. This anger remains throughout–a character named after the producer that Huang is particularly dissatisfied with is even killed off in a darkly humorous manner.”
6. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs (Joel and Ethan Coen; Nov. 8)
The Ballad of Buster Scruggs represents a few firsts for Joel and Ethan Coen: their first anthology film, their first digitally-shot film, and their first collaboration with Netflix. Thanks to its format, it also shows their range like few other films of theirs. Starring James Franco, Zoe Kazan, Liam Neeson, and Tim Blake Nelson in the titular role, Rory O’Connor said in his review, “Scruggs is, of course, the latest work from brothers Joel and Ethan Coen, and represents a ravishing if wildly uneven addition to their catalogue. It also marks their first foray into the odd waters of the portmanteau subgenre, which is perhaps a little surprising when considering the duo’s dexterity with so many cinematic modes, not to mention their signature ability to switch between such a wide range of serious and farcical tones.”
5. Widows (Steve McQueen; Nov. 16)
Steven McQueen expands his scope with his 12 Years A Slave follow-up which tells the story of four women who must continue on with their husbands’ lives of crime after they are murdered. Starring Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo, Michelle Rodriguez, Colin Farrell, Liam Neeson, Carrie Coon, Brian Tyree Henry, Daniel Kaluuya, and Robert DuVall, Christopher Schobert said in his review, “Survival at all costs. That’s the theme–or, more precisely, a theme–of Steve McQueen’s timely, tremendously entertaining Widows. This is precision entertainment, a crackling, pulse-pounding heist movie with a sterling cast, a whip-smart script, and undeniable social resonance, calling to mind heavyweight champs like The French Connection and Heat. It never quite matches those cinema milestones, but make no mistake, Widows is a knockout.”
4. Roma (Alfonso Cuarón; Nov. 21)
This nearly didn’t make the list, but in the 11th hour, Netflix has decided to give an early theatrical run to Alfonso Cuarón’s Roma, arriving in limited release on November 21 in NY/LA and expanding in the weeks leading up to (and beyond) its Netflix debut. Rory O’Connor said in his review, “Roma is comprised of a series of richly detailed vignettes, shot in deep-focus, in which the viewer can glance around, pluck out the most vibrant signs of life and thus string the narrative together. Despite the echoes of Fellini, the result feels almost new in a way and given the immersive nature of Roma it doesn’t seem so radical to consider experiencing its cinematic beauty with a clunky headset on. Granted, it’s rather hackneyed to use a term like “immersive” in film criticism these days, but we should note that Cuarón may be chief amongst those responsible for its ubiquity in film marketing.”
3. If Beale Street Could Talk (Barry Jenkins; Dec. 14)
Update: After posting this feature, Annapurna has pushed the film back to December 14.
While the films that won Best Picture for a director can be compelling, it’s often just as fascinating to see how they use their new clout to take on something perhaps more daring next. This is the case for Barry Jenkins, who adapts the intricately-woven, fiery writings of James Baldwin with If Beale Street Could Talk. Christopher Schobert said in his review, “Barry Jenkins has created a film both tender and tough, with a time, a place, and a story to lose oneself in. Sublime in its depiction of an emotional connection and subtle in its layers of systematic oppression, Beale Street is a major work from a filmmaker whose gifts are clearly boundless.”
2. Happy as Lazzaro (Alice Rohrwacher; Nov. 30)
A handful of our picks this month are Netflix releases, but there’s one we especially hope doesn’t get overlooked. Alice Rohrwacher’s Happy as Lazarro is a deeply imaginative adventure and one of the stand-outs of Cannes and New York Film Festival. Rory O’Connor said in his review, “The films of Alice Rohrwacher have always been rich with the sensory magic of growing up, but that atmosphere has, up to this point, been enhanced with the knowledge that puberty was approaching, just out of sight, with all the subtlety of a B52 bomber. With her newest, Lazarro Felice, she has largely forgone that period of adolescence, while somehow not forgoing that sense of everyday magic. What emerges is not simply a next step in her oeuvre and creative growth but a fully formed expression of her virtuosic talents.”
1. The Other Side of the Wind (Orson Welles; Nov. 2)
Orson Welles’ long, long-anticipated film The Other Side of the Wind has now been completed. Starring John Huston, Bob Random, Peter Bogdanovich, Susan Strasberg and Oja Kodar, the meta satire follows a director who returns to Hollywood after being exiled in Europe and plots his comeback movie. There is simply no bigger cinematic event in 2018, and thankfully the film continues the director’s prescient vision. Leonardo Goi said in his review, “To enter The Other Side of the Wind is to mend through a two hours-long cacophony of sounds and colors, a party of forking storylines endlessly crisscrossing each other: Hannaford and Otterlake’s; Hannaford’s comeback film — a cat-and-mouse silent arthouse feature parodying Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point and starring Welles’ own partner, Oja Kodar — snippets of which are screened to dozens of dumbfounded guests; Hannaford’s hunting down his lead actor and wrestling with his solitary debacle as the party enters its climax.” Also streaming is Morgan Neville’s documentary on its making, They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead, which Daniel Schindel reviewed here.
What are you watching this month?