For the film industry, 2018 was, in many ways, a turning point — a moment in which the combination of years-long calls for proportionate representation, the rolling aftershocks of #MeToo and #TimesUp, and the increased availability of inclusive storytelling resulted in a rich assortment of movies and moviemakers, painting on canvasses as vast as the IMAX screen and as small as the iPhone screen. If you go to the trouble of reading about movies in this space, I thank you sincerely. May I repay your kindness by recommending a film or two (or 30) from the past 12 months that are worth your time and trouble, along with where you can see them most easily?
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE
The Other Side of the Wind / Amazing Grace
I’ve never swiped this film festival–friendly consolation prize designation (Roger Ebert used to do it, but some things only Ebert could do), and yet it seems like the only way to properly recognize these two films, both of which are easily among the top 10 films of their respective categories — but both are long-delayed assemblies of works shot in the 1970s (the first by Orson Welles, the second by Sydney Pollack), so to rank them among contemporaries seems like cheating. I mean, let’s face it, popular art was generally better back then, and both feel like works that are just impossible now (even if their creators were still with us). Or, to look at it from the opposite direction, maybe they seem better than they are because of the rose-colored glasses of nostalgia, to say nothing of the delicious flavor of unavailability for decades? Better just to put them here, to mark them as great, and to move on to the business at hand. [On Netflix / back in theaters, early 2019]