Into the top ten I go. Click on hyperlinks for full reviews.
12. Sorry to Bother You, dir. Boots Riley.
A mess of a film, but the story of 2018 at the movies, if a motif exists, is accepting tonal disparities and fictive leaps into the absurd. This office comedy that turns into an apocalyptic comedy envisages class war waged on a managerial class with an interest in turning their workforce into beasts of burden. Unlike my students, I won’t “turning” with “literally.”
11. Monrovia, Indiana, dir. Frederick Wiseman.
“The master documentarian’s latest project, his third long one in three years, explores the lives of residents of a a rural corner in south center Indiana. For a majority of the audience, these are the kinds of people familiar from six thousand New York Times and Washington Post stories since 2016: the Trump voters in so-called Red America. The president’s name goes unspoken, yet Wiseman exploits the audience’s secondhand knowledge of small towns to create, beneath the Zen serenity of his long takes, a quiet tension. When will the racists snap? But Wiseman isn’t Barbara Kopple, and Monrovia, Indiana isn’t Harlan County, USA.”
10. Burning, dir. Lee Chang-dong.
“Lee Chang-dong’s first film since 2011’s marvelous Poetry amalgamates Haruki Murakami’s title story and elements from William Faulkner’s “Barn Burning” into an unsettling, uneven creation. Its leisurely, almost serene pace is Lee’s acknowledgment that good and bad things both require a steady gaze.”
9. Museo, dir. Alonso Ruizpalacios.
“For his second film, Alonso Ruizpalacios (Gueros) examines how the Christmas Day 1985 theft of Mayan artifacts from Mexico City’s Anthropology Museum re-awakened the country’s outrage over several century’s worth of cultural looting. Museo functions as heist film and social comedy; its last third is pure absurdism. It confirms Ruizpalacios as a director to reckon with.”