2018 was a great year for movies. (Read about my favorites HERE.) So were 2017, 2016, and so on and so forth as far back as long as you care to look. I’m a big believer that every year has great movies if you look for them, and 2019 is shaping up to be another in an unbroken line. With that in mind, here are my 50 most anticipated movies of the upcoming year.
Monday, December 31, 2018
Wednesday, December 26, 2018
Despite the annual hot takes to the contrary, 2018 has been an awesome year for horror. There are always great horror movies if you care to look. As much as I love the genre, it can, admittedly, take some excavation and exploration—horror enthusiasts know we will have to wade through some dreck, but the gems are well worth the trouble. And what the hell, I’m going to run through the ones I enjoyed the most in 2018.
Alfonso Cuaron’s Roma is everything everyone says it is. Gorgeous and formally flawless, the director’s precision and meticulous craft is unmatched, and his deep, personal connection to the story readily shines through. Yalitza Aparicio delivers a wonderful performance. The milieu is layered, thematically dense, and someone much smarter than I am will have a field day unpacking relationships between the lower class maid Cleo and the wealthy family she works for. (THIS ARTICLE examining how poor people’s stories, especially those of domestic workers, are always told from the perspective of the rich, with a special eye on current Latin American cinema, is a good place to begin.)
Friday, December 21, 2018
Okay, it’s that time of year again, the time of year I swear I’m not going to make a best-of list, only to cave and ultimately do just that. At this point, you’re probably sick of hearing me rant about how I hate ranking movies, pitting them against one another, and stating that one is objectively better than another. I don’t believe that’s true. What I put stock in is personal preference. And that’s what this list is. It’s not a “ten best movies” list, that should be readily apparent, it’s a “my ten (or whatever number) favorite movies list.”
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
There’s so much going on in Aquaman I’m honestly not sure where to begin. Actually, that’s as good a place as any. There is a lot going on in Aquaman. Like, a lot. To try to map out the plot is a fool’s errand; it’s a tangle of betrayal, a reluctant hero, Aquaman’s childhood, a single throwaway line that connects to the larger DC movie universe, betrayal, revenge, destiny, heartbreak, and a litany of things I know I forgot. And director James Wan wraps all of this is a Day-Glo, candy-colored, hallucinogenic seascape that resembles the cover of an epic adventure metal album from the ‘80s. And it’s as fun and messy as that sounds.
Tuesday, December 18, 2018
Ready for a Michael Bay-less Transformers universe? Because with Bumblebee, that’s exactly what we have, and it’s obvious from the get-go. While Bay’s trademark bombast and cynicism inform the previous five films, as over the top caustic and astringent his giant robot kerfuffles are, this prequel equally exaggerates on the other end of the spectrum—all gooey earnestness and near-oppressive optimism and goofiness. It vacillates between joyous and insufferable, and despite being a mixed bag, it’s easily the most I’ve enjoyed a Transformers movie to date.
Yesterday, the Seattle Film Critics Society announced their 2018 film awards. I’m fortunate enough to be a member of that group and as such, was compelled to vote. Because I said I would, I decided to share my initial nomination ballot.
Monday, December 17, 2018
If you read this site on any regular basis, you’ve likely encountered me ranting about ranking movies, grading movies, and basically comparing works of art to one another as if there’s even a grain of objective truth to be found. I dislike it, quite a bit. But that’s a conversation for another time and place, and because of the whims and wills of writing on the internet, it’s never stopped me from assigning scores to a movie, writing “best of” lists, and all the rest. Nor has it stopped me from voting for end-of-year awards for a number of critics groups I belong to. One of these, the Seattle Film Critics Society, solicited input from our members and just revealed the 2018 Seattle Film Critics Society Awards.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
Nicolas Cage Says Sion Sono's 'Prisoners Of The Ghostland' "Might Be The Wildest Movie I've Ever Made"
Nicolas Cage is a madman who has made some wild movies. Last year he battled cultish demon bikers (Mandy), smashed a pool table with a sledgehammer while screaming “The Hokey Pokey” (Mom and Dad), and played a trucker who’s girlfriend’s daughter is possessed by the spirit of his dead wife (Between Worlds). And that was just 2018. But the Academy Award-winning actor recently said his upcoming team up with fellow cinematic lunatic, Sion Sono (Tag), Prisoners of the Ghostland, the craziest movie he’s ever made, and that’s music to my ears.
Wednesday, December 12, 2018
Simply put, 2015 Norwegian import The Wave is the best disaster movie in recent years. Not only does it deliver on the spectacle such movies require, it’s also full of strong characters, legitimate emotional stakes, and deep investment. It also landed director Roar Uthaug the gig helming the latest Tomb Raider iteration. And all of this for a roughly $6 million price tag.
Tuesday, December 11, 2018
The various parts of the Mo Brothers (Headshot) team have been busy as of late. Timo Tjahjanto pummeled us with brutal actioner The Night Comes for Us and horror joint May the Devil Take You, and though he produced Night, the other half of the team, Kimo Stamboel, has his own solo directorial horror film coming, DreadOut. Check out the creepy new trailer below.
Monday, December 10, 2018
The biggest problem with Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla reboot is that it eschews the titular monster in favor or lackluster (read: whack-as-hell) human characters. Sorry, no one wants to see Aaron Taylor-Johnson wooden act his way through scene after scene when we could be hanging out with the King of the Monsters. Before he tussles with King Kong, Godzilla gets another solo joint courtesy of Krampus director Michael Dougherty. Judging from this new Godzilla: King of the Monsters trailer, this movie rectifies the woeful lack of monsters in a big way.
Thursday, December 6, 2018
Burning is an apt title for South Korean director Lee Chang-dong’s new film. Not only does fire form a pivotal plot point, at 148 minutes, it’s a long, languid, slow-burn of the highest order, which is sure to put off some viewers. If you can sit through the stillness, however, the movie has much to offer, an oblique, shifting thriller with echoes of Hitchcock.
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
With movies like Dogtooth, The Lobster, and The Killing of a Sacred Deer on his CV, Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos crafts singular, alluring, if often cold and standoffish films. With his latest, The Favourite, he delivers his most accessible, warmest offering to date. Not without its own oddities, peculiarities, and the filmmaker’s trademark strangeness, it’s anchored by next-level performances; lush, intricate costume and production design; and will serve as an entry point for many into his cannon.
Friday, November 30, 2018
Scottish import Anna and the Apocalypse delivers precisely what the premise promises: a zombie high school Christmas musical. Depending on how you feel about that combination of words, your mileage may vary. Personally, I find it largely delightful.
Maybe the biggest, most pleasant surprise of 2017 was Happy Death Day. The Groundhog Day-by-way-of-teen-slasher horror flick turned out to be one of the most enjoyable, entertaining movies of the year, delivering clever thrills and a sharp, smart take on the conceit. Produced on the cheap by Blumhouse, and raking in $122 million on a $4.8 million budget, a sequel was inevitable. And that sequel, the appropriately ridiculously titled Happy Death Day 2U, arrives on Valentine’s Day and there’s a new trailer to hype it up.
Fans of legendary Hong Kong martial arts films in Seattle have a lot to look forward to in December and the early months of 2019. The Northwest Film Forum has a quartet of badass Shaw Brothers offerings to gawk at, while the Grand Illusion adds a quick blast of Sammo Hung to the mix.
Tuesday, November 27, 2018
Timo Tjahjanto’s The Night Comes for Us is the most brutal, punishing action movie probably since his last outing, Headshot (with Kimo Stamboel), or the Raid movies. I’ve never recoiled and spontaneously yelled, “Oh damn,” watching a movie so many times in my life. It’s great and on Netflix and you should watch it if you haven’t.
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
An action-heavy, martial arts-filled western from Singapore? Don’t mind if I do. Buffalo Boys, Singapore’s official submission for the foreign-language Oscar, finally has a domestic release date and to celebrate, there’s a bone-breaking, sword-playing, bullet-spraying, vengeance-exacting new trailer. Check it out after the jump.
Tuesday, November 13, 2018
Road trip movies are hard. They’ve been done so much, it’s a struggle to find anything new; they rely on a series of vignettes, so it’s difficult to maintain many carrying themes and through lines; and if the people on said road trip don’t have chemistry, your movie’s in a world of trouble. Most known for indie dramas, writer/director Hannah Fidell (6 Years) dives headlong into mismatched buddy road comedy with The Long Dumb Road. It tumbles into some of these pitfalls at the same time it skirts others, and while the results is often uneven, it’s also a raucous good time.
Monday, November 12, 2018
Thursday, November 8, 2018
Tuesday, November 6, 2018
In Fede Alvarez’s The Girl in the Spider’s Web: A New Dragon Tattoo Story (the official title is so ridiculous I can’t not write it out in full at least once), hacker extraordinaire and righter of wrongs, Lisbeth Salander (Claire Foy), finds herself embroiled in a potboiler plot of international intrigue, nuclear weapons, and her own screwed up family history. Only it’s not even a fraction as intriguing as that sounds.
Yes, this story about Robert Pattinson almost punching The Witch director Robert Eggers on the set of their new movie, The Lighthouse, is the best thing I’ve read all day. And as the world descends into chaos around us (hopefully less so after the polls close), can’t we all use a good pick-me-up? And there are also details about The Lighthouse, which sounds rad.
Wednesday, October 31, 2018
Lee Israel (Melissa McCarthy) is a miserable human being. She’s a drunk, working menial jobs she feels are below her, and does her level best to push away everyone in her life except her elderly cat. In dire straits and driven by desperation, the former best-selling author and celebrity biographer turns to forging personal letters from famous literary figures, selling her wares to unsuspecting collectors. Such is the plot of Marielle Heller’s Can You Ever Forgive Me?, which recounts Israel’s bizarre real-life saga, carried by a soaring, career-best performance from McCarthy.
Tuesday, October 30, 2018
-Blue Scholars, “No Rest for the Weary”
Joseph Kahn’s Bodied follows Adam (Calum Worthy, American Vandal), a nerdy white college student. Fully entrenched in the PC world of academia, his thesis focuses on the use of the granddaddy of all racial slurs in the world of underground rap battles. Immersing himself in this world, he, along with his mentor Behn Grymm (Jackie Long), discovers a penchant for sick rhymes and ill burns that outrages everyone around him and throws his coddled, carefully manicured life into chaos.
Monday, October 29, 2018
Chris Caldwell and Zeek Earl’s debut feature, Prospect—which adapts their short film of the same name—is a lot of things. It’s a stripped-down, retro-futuristic sci-fi narrative. It’s the story of an angry, frustrated young woman coming into her own and finding her true strength. And it’s a slow-burn, morally ambiguous western saga about two unlikely partners who are never sure they can trust one another, but may have no other choice. Except, you know, with space helmets instead of cowboy hats. Taken together, it’s a tight, promising introduction to these filmmakers.
Those of us who went to college and did a thesis often look back at them and cringe. In general, no matter what our chosen field, they’re usually bad, or at least viewing them in retrospect, we see things we could have done to make them better or improvements we should have made. That brings us to Lisa Brühlmann’s haunting new body horror Blue My Mind, which was her film school thesis, and is lightyears more accomplished than anything I churned out in college. Or beyond for that matter. After making the film festival rounds, it’s finally being released. Check out a new trailer below.
Friday, October 26, 2018
'Between Worlds' Trailer: Nic Cage's Girlfriend's Daughter Is Possessed By His Dead Wife, Or Something
Nicolas Cage is not one to rest on his laurels. Fresh off the maniac glory that is Mandy, he’s back with Between Worlds, where he plays a trucker whose dead wife’s spirit takes over the body of his current girlfriend’s daughter. Yes, you read that right. If you don’t believe me, watch this trailer.
Just to get this out of the way: I love Mandy, it’s going to land very high on my end-of-year best-of list. It wraps up in a satisfying manner and I don’t think it needs or even should receive a sequel. That said, if it does get a follow up, which it won’t, it should definitely follow director Panos Cosmatos’ sequel idea, because hot damn, it’s a doozy.
Thursday, October 25, 2018
Sure, on the surface, I know Cold Pursuit is a remake of the 2014 Norwegian thriller In Order of Disappearance, which is good. But god damn, it’s really difficult to take a movie about Liam Neeson as a vengeful snowplow driver seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I will watch the hell out of this movie, but we’ll see how it translates. In the meantime, watch the first trailer below.
Wednesday, October 24, 2018
I’m not entirely sure what to make of this Bird Box trailer. It doesn’t offer a lot of information, which is good considering I’d never heard of this film until yesterday. What it does have is a crazy good cast, a whole lot of juice in the creative team, and a heady, apocalyptic sci-fi premise. So I’m in. Check it out below.
Monday, October 22, 2018
I’ve been frothing at the mouth over Timo Tjahjanto’s The Night Comes for Us since the first moment I caught a whisper of its existence. The Indonesian director’s previous film, 2016’s Headshot—co-directed with Kimo Stamboel, who produced Night—serves up a vicious, angry action extravaganza that builds on what The Raid movies created. And his latest endeavor cranks things up to the umpteenth degree.
Wednesday, October 17, 2018
The new, much-discussed Halloween—a direct sequel to the 1978 original that, to the chagrin of many, completely ignores the franchise’s admittedly bumpy continuity—has issues. The plotting flails all over the place, it often ignores the most interesting elements, among others, and we’ll get to that. But what matters more than anything else, however, is that it’s goddamn lot of fun. I watched the whole thing with a goofy, shit-eating grin plastered across my face and I want to do it again. Soon.
Friday, October 12, 2018
Even if I didn’t particularly care for her last film, Let the Sunshine In (though Juliette Binoche is incredible in it), a new Claire Denis movie will always be a cause for celebration. And the Trouble Every Day and Beau Travail director helming an esoteric, erotic, deep space sci-fi thriller with an incredible cast? Well, that’s reason enough to throw a damn party. Her latest, High Life, has been on my must-watch radar since I first heard about it, and this new French trailer only cranks up my anticipation.
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
“Anyone can conceivably die on any given day.”
If heights make you queasy in any way, shape, or form, stay away—far, far away—from Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi’s new documentary, Free Solo. It is not for the faint of heart. Unless you like watching a maybe-lunatic dangle from his fingertips thousands of feet up a sheer rock face without any sort of backup plan. If that’s your jam, you’re very much in luck.
Over the course of the next two weeks, on consecutive Fridays, Netflix is set to release two of my most anticipated movies of 2018. First up is The Raid mastermind Gareth Evans’ old-timey cult saga, Apostle. Following hot on that film’s heels comes Timo Tjahjanto’s brutal gangland yarn The Night Comes for Us, which just dropped a new trailer to make action fans salivate. It also happens to prominently feature key pieces of The Raid franchise in Joe Taslim, Iko Uwais, and Julie Estelle. Watch it and get psyched.
“Sometimes dead is better.” We can go back and forth all day about the value of remakes and reboots and whatnot, but in the end, as long as a movie delivers the goods, who really cares about the origins or source material? And I know this is just a trailer, and I know we still have to wait until April of next year, but this first trailer for the new adaptation of Stephen King’s Pet Sematary looks like it has the right stuff. Check it out.
Tuesday, October 9, 2018
Following the groundbreaking success of Pulp Fiction came a wave of lesser films attempting to replicate that formula. Crime sagas with layered timelines, interlocking narratives, and eccentric characters were everywhere. With few exceptions, most of these endeavors fell flat. Bad Times at the El Royale, the latest from Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard, could easily be one of these movies.
Monday, October 8, 2018
Anytime Park Chan-wook does anything, I’m there. The same generally goes for any John le Carré adaptation. But the Oldboy director adapting the master spy novelist is too good a proposition to ignore. I’ve been eagerly waiting for Park’s version of the espionage thriller The Little Drummer Girl, and this new trailer has what I’m looking for.
Thursday, October 4, 2018
Venom is a bad movie and I can’t in good conscience recommend it to anyone. It’s not good, y’all. Unless you’re a stoned 15-year-old boy. In that case, have at it, you’re going to love this shit. Honestly, that goes for pretty much everything Todd McFarlane has ever done. (I know, I know, there’s the debate about who actually created Venom, but McFarlane influenced what the character ultimately became more than anyone else, and this the film largely draws from his work, so…)
Wednesday, October 3, 2018
Did you know Lady Gaga is a phenomenal singer? Apparently only Bradley Cooper does, which is the basic premise for his directorial debut, yet another remake of A Star is Born. Which also happens to be yet another movie where a mediocre white dude is the only one who truly recognizes how talented, remarkable, and beautiful the central female figure is. So, that’s obnoxious. The movie is actually very good and emotional and romantic and all the other superlatives bandied about—to degrees—but there’s that one massive hurdle to get over, so your mileage may vary.
Monday, October 1, 2018
Because your movie watching doesn’t contain nearly enough “symphonic post-apocalyptic reindeer-grinding Christ-abusing extreme war pagan Fennoscandian metal,” Finnish import Heavy Trip is here to rectify that glaring oversight.
Tuesday, September 25, 2018
It looks like Black Fawn Films is up to their old tricks again. The Canadian brain trust behind The Heretic, Bite, Bed of the Dead, and a slew of other horror nasties is back with the first trailer for I’ll Take Your Dead from director Chad Archibald. It’s a bit of a different flavor, but still looks rad. Check it out below.
Monday, September 24, 2018
Timo Tjahjanto, one-half of directorial duo the Mo Brothers (Headshot), has been on the warpath lately. His action banger The Night Comes for Us and his horror yarn May the Devil Take You both recently debuted at Fantastic Fest. But not to be outdone, the other part of that equation, Kimo Stamboel (who also produced Night), has his own horror film coming. Check out the first trailer for DreadOut.
Tuesday, September 18, 2018
Oh hey, after however many dozens of movies Marvel has cranked out in their expansive cinematic universe, we finally get one with a female protagonist. It’s almost like women like things, make up half the population, or that there are great female comic book characters to put on screen. That sounds just crazy enough to work. All sarcasm aside, this first Captain Marvel trailer looks damn sweet and I can’t wait, especially because I’m pretty sure Brie Larson punches an old lady in the face, and I think that’s funny because I am a bad person. Take a gander below.
Monday, September 17, 2018
Over the next few weeks, Netflix will release two of my most-anticipated movies of 2018, movies I’ve been frothing at the mouth for since I first heard they exist. They drop Jeremy Saulnier’s Hold the Dark this month, and in October, they release Apostle, the latest film from The Raid mastermind Gareth Evans. That doesn’t hit until October, but as if Evans’ very involvement doesn’t land this at the top of your must-watch list, this first trailer should do the trick.
Thursday, September 13, 2018
As the kids say (who am I kidding, I have no idea what anyone says), this trailer for Rupert Wyatt’s upcoming alien invasion flick Captive State is 100% my shit. It has a grim vibe, aliens, a near future that looks all-too-similar to our own present, and a great cast. I’m in. Check it out below:
Tuesday, September 11, 2018
Some schools of thought posit striving for immortality and finding ways to stave off death as the driving force behind everything we as the human race do. Regardless of the veracity of that stance, it’s also formed a key component of science fiction as a genre. That includes the trailer for the new French sci-fi thriller series Ad Vitam, where people live well past 100 and that stars Raw breakout Garance Marillier. Take a peek after the jump, it looks like a damn fine time.
Monday, September 10, 2018
There’s a scene in Panos Cosmatos’ new mind-fuck revenge horror film, Mandy, where a character dips his gloveless hands into a cistern of pure liquid LSD in the most casual manner imaginable. The more I think about it, the more that single moment perfectly represents this bug-nuts crazy, drug-addled, apocalyptic-doomsday-cult-fueled, chainsaw-fighting, demon-biker-having madness and mania. Sure, dip your bare hands into this powerful hallucinogen and see what the hell happens. And it’s glorious.