Film Scott Phillips' Film Reviews

My Favorite Films of 2018 (Part Two of Two)


My most eagerly anticipated film of 2018 exceeded my expectations. What happens when one of the best young directors in film (Steve McQueen) explores my favorite genre (crime films)? Cinematic magic. When a robbery crew is wiped out in a police shootout, the mobsters behind the heist expect the thieves’ spouses to pay back their missing money. Boasting the best ensemble cast of the year, Widows digs deep into its characters as it simultaneously fashions a riveting thriller. The supporting players (Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Arivo, Brian Tyree Henry and Daniel Kaluuya) somehow manage to outshine their famous castmates (Viola Davis, Liam Neeson, Colin Farrell). McQueen continues to dazzle with stylistic visuals. The camera is never quite where you expect it to be and to great effect. (The sequence when Farrell drives from a rally in an impoverished neighborhood to his home on the fringes of the same electoral district is one of the best shots of the year.) Widows is an instant crime classic. (Currently playing in theaters and hits digital platforms on January 22, 2019 with a physical media release on February 5, 2019)

Won’t You Be My Neighbor

I caught this film at the True/False festival way back in March 2018. When the credits rolled, there wasn’t a dry eye in the house. (I was having allergy issues that day so my eyes were watering off and on.) This documentary about the television career of Fred Rogers is the antidote to our intolerant troll culture. If you’re expecting to hear the dirt on the guy that seems too good to be true, you will be sorely disappointed. The twist to this film is the kindly children’s television host was truly a great guy who loved kids and wanted to help them deal with the stresses of childhood. Director Morgan Neville combed through hundreds of episodes of Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood and interviewed everyone who played a role in front of the camera and behind it. It’s a moving tribute to a man who lived his life to help others. (Currently available on digital platforms and physical media)

You Were Never Really Here

Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) has a special set of skills … and a claw hammer … that help him rescue missing children. Each blow from that hammer chips away at Joe’s psyche and his soul. He’s a traumatized veteran living with his elderly mother, and he only seems to understand the world around him when he’s killing the predators hiding in the shadows of society. You Were Never Really Here is a dark, bleak marvel from writer/director Lynn Ramsey (We Need to Talk About Kevin) and features an astonishing lead performance from Phoenix. If quiet, internal acting is your bag, this film should be at the top of your must-see list. (Currently available on digital platforms and physical media)

1 comment on “My Favorite Films of 2018 (Part Two of Two)

  1. Pingback: From Our Members’ Desks (Jan. 14, 2019) – Online Film Critics Society

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