And here are the other 5 movies in my list – with other films good enough to be mentioned.
6. The Rider
“The Rider”, the second feature film by Chloé Zhao, is a quiet but mesmerizing work of haunting beauty and aching poetry. Calmly and closely looking into a plain young cowboy hero and how he struggles to keep going on with his life, the movie gives us a number of indelible moments to linger on our mind for a long time, and I was quite impressed by its humble but effortless mix of realism and lyricism. I observed the movie with considerable curiosity and empathy as coming to care a lot about its ordinary hero, and I was touched a lot by how he slowly comes to find a way to move onto whatever will be next in his life.
7. Cold War
“Cold War” is a somber but mesmerizing film about two different people pushing and pulling each other in their sporadic but enduring romantic relationship. As calmly observing the ups and downs of their relationship, the movie engages us via its seemingly plain but impeccable mood and style, and its melancholic elegance is something you will not easily forget after it is over. As an arthouse film depending a lot on moods and nuances, the movie is may be too dry and slow for some of you, but it is a superlative work which will be quite rewarding once you give it a chance, and I really admire what is achieved by its director Paweł Pawlikowski, who won the award for Best Director at the Cannes Film Festival early in this year.
Spike Lee’s latest film “BlacKkKlansman”, which received the Grand Prix prize at the Cannes Film Festival early in this year, intends to deliver an urgent social message, and it did its job well in a way both entertaining and galvanizing. While it tickles us a lot via a cheerfully outrageous mix of satire and police procedural, the movie also sharply points out social issues still quite relevant in the American society even at this point, and there are a number of powerful moments which urge us to be more alert to what has been going on in the American society during recent years. This is surely another energetic work in Lee’s long, illustrious career, and I really think you should check it out as soon as possible if you have not watched it yet.
“Hereditary”, the first feature film by Ari Aster, is a creepy and insidious horror masterwork you have to see for yourself. Alternatively unsettling and harrowing in its unflinching depiction of an ordinary family under some eerie influence, the movie will disturb and then overwhelm you as pushing its story and characters as much as it can, and you will not easily forget its many scary moments as well as its palpable sense of dread surrounding its characters. To be frank with you, I am not sure whether I can watch it again, but, boy, this is indeed one hell of a scary movie.
“Annihilation” is something we do not see everyday: a smart, intelligent SF film packed with mood and ideas. While it may require some patience from you due to not only its glacial narrative pacing but also the baffling ambiguity surrounding its premise, it will impress you with a number of engrossing moments of awe and mystery, and you will eventually appreciate how much it is willing to be challenging and though-provoking in many aspects. Like director Alex Garland’s previous film “Ex Machina” (2015), this is one of more memorable SF films during this decade, and I think you should not miss its unforgettable experience at any chance.
Runner-ups (In alphabetical order)
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs”, “Black Panther”, “Blindspotting”, “Custody”, “The Death of Stalin”. “Eighth Grade”, “Lean On Pete”, “Paddington 2”, “A Star is Born”, “We the Animals”, and “You Were Never Really Here”
Honorable Mentions (In alphabetical order)
“Bodied”, “The Cakemaker”, “The Endless”, “A Fantastic Woman”, “First Man”, “Foxtrot”, “The Guilty”, “The Insult”, “July 22”, “Mandy”, “Mission: Impossible – Fallout”, “One Cut of the Dead”, “A Quiet Place”, “Ready Player One”, “Revenge”, “Searching”, “Sorry to Bother You”, “Support the Girls”, “Tully”, and “Zama”
Yes, I belatedly watched them, and they are all good (In alphabetical order)
“Call Me by Your Name”, “Coco”, “Faces Places”, “The Florida Project”, “Jane”, “Lady Bird”, “Loveless“, “Phantom Thread”, “The Post”, “The Shape of Water”, and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Documentary (In alphabetical order)
“Crime + Punishment”, “Jane Fonda in Five Acts”, “Minding the Gap”, “Shirkers”, “They Shall Not Grow Old”, and “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
Animation (In alphabetical order)
“Early Man”, “Incredibles 2”, “Isle of Dogs”, “The Night Is Short, Walk On Girl”, “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”, and “Teen Titans Go! To the Movies”