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FIRST REFORMED Review – ****

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The special brilliance of First Reformed is that, for as much as it confronts us with the ugliness of life, both in an eternal sense and in a sense of the issues we face at this very moment, it repeatedly counters its own arguments by reminding us of the persistence of life, of its simple joys and pleasures. It’s a film which brings us to the brink of despair time and again, and each time, in its own way, pulls us back. It’s a measure of its greatness as a film that its doing so never feels like a cop-out, but like the essential truth.

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My Top 20 Films of the Decade: v. 0.0

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Talking to a friend of mine the other day, we found ourselves musing over what the best films of the decade were. He had his own ideas, and I had at least three which immediately came to mind, which led me to say, off-handedly, that I should compile a list of the decade’s best at some future point. But the idea stuck with me, as ideas do, and I soon began drawing up a longlist from which a more definitive list could be derived.

Of course, I say “more definitive” and not “definitive.” There are still films I haven’t seen, films I need to see again, films I may have ranked too low – or too high – for reasons that had nothing to do with them and everything to do with me, or films which I dropped from the longlist, itself an imperfect document, for questionable reasons.

Hence I call this list the “Version 0.0” of this list – there may well be, in a year’s time, an “0.1” or “0.5” before, sometime in 2020, I make a serious attempt at a definitive list. But I hope that this embryonic effort is not wholly off-base; I hope that, even if you don’t consider these the very best films of the decade, you can understand why I am putting them forth as some combination of the decade’s best and most definitive films.

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Reviewing the 90th Academy Awards

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Just gonna start by saying – I’m really happy with how this year turned out. Even though there were few outright surprises (only a couple, honestly), it still felt good to see things play out the way they did. And that all starts with…

Best Picture: The Shape of Water

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My 7th Annual Film Awards, in the Style of the Golden Globes

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No nominations in my regular awards, but here? It gets some love.

You may recall I’d done my 2014 awards in this fashion. I’d drawn this up for fun, but after posting my official awards, I figured I’d post this as well. Because this year was so dominated by Dramas, the Comedy awards give some under-appreciated films the respect they deserve.

Picture – Drama:

  1. Dunkirk
  2. The Shape of Water
  3. Blade Runner 2049
  4. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
  5. Phantom Thread

Picture – Musical/Comedy:

  1. Get Out
  2. I, Tonya
  3. The Big Sick
  4. Lady Bird
  5. Coco

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Predicting the 90th Academy Awards

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What a time to be alive, when such a film could not only get into the Oscar race, but do so with a vengeance.

I’m going to start by saying that I won’t get as in-depth, nuts-and-boltsy with this post as I did with my predicting-what-will-be-nominated post. Some of that may be due to personal fatigue. But a lot of it is due to what this season has become – a melange of yawn-inducing locks, conflicting precedents, and confounding dead heats. At this point, I could write a whole article arguing with myself over what will win Best Picture. And there are several categories which could end up being swing categories, changing the course of the big night when it’s far too late for me to cover my analytical ass.

This is the kind of year where you could call most of the categories with a reasonable degree of confidence. That’s if you had an abiding trust in the stats and the Academy’s capacity to behave themselves. I don’t, and this year I’m going to try not to take too much for granted. It may be for naught, but isn’t everything, if you take a broad enough view?

We’ll start with the big ‘un.

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My 7th Annual Film Awards: The Winners and Rankings

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And here we are once again. Remember that my top 5 in each category were the nominees unless otherwise noted. I’m listing my top 20 in each category except Picture, where I list 25. The nominees themselves, along with additional information on these categories, can be found here.

A quick key: * – Oscar nominee; ** – Golden Globe nominee but NOT Oscar nominated; *** – BAFTA nominee but not Oscar or Globe nominated; **** – SAG nominee.

And now, the winners:

Picture:

  1. Dunkirk*
  2. The Shape of Water*
  3. Blade Runner 2049
  4. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
  5. Phantom Thread*
  6. A Quiet Passion
  7. Columbus
  8. Get Out*
  9. Lady Macbeth***
  10. Detroit
  11. I, Tonya**
  12. The Big Sick
  13. Lady Bird*
  14. Kedi
  15. Molly’s Game
  16. Coco
  17. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
  18. Call Me by Your Name*
  19. The Little Hours
  20. Wonder Woman
  21. Mudbound
  22. The Post*
  23. Faces Places
  24. The Florida Project
  25. War for the Planet of the Apes

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