The Ballad of Lefty Brown (2017)

A refreshingly traditional western. There’s a bit of narrative tweaking of the western formula in centring the film around a traditional sidekick character you’d find in a western instead of the more traditional hero, but everything else is played so straight that the film stands out in a time of neowesterns and revisionist westerns. Bill…

Lucky (2017)

A very fitting sendoff for the great Harry Dean Stanton. It’s great to see him in a leading role in a film presumably written around him. Written after his passing in many ways, after the fact. Stanton’s titular character in the film, a remarkably healthy (for his age) loner atheist, spends the runtime grappling with…

Detroit (2017)

“Detroit” is a strange film. It opens with an animated montage covering African-American history, spends half an hour or so jotting around different characters and subplots, spends the majority of its runtime on one sequence, then spends what minutes are left on denouement. That long sequence is executed very well by Kathryn Bigelow, feeling properly…

Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)

An offputtingly aimless and long and plodding and centred around a misfire of a performance from Washington. There’s elements that work, but it’s so damn overlong and formless that it’s hard to hang onto them. Parts of Washington’s character are likable but too often he’s either a cipher or overplayed and offputting. When the film…

Columbus (2017)

A brilliant, lowkey cinematic simile, drawing connections between architecture and life, symmetry and relationships. Architecture is baked into the entire film, not just the writing, as the cinematography constantly finds interesting ways to film buildings that serve as some sort of commentary on the characters and their relationships as well. The fascination and obsession Malick…

The Cloverfield Paradox (2018)

The Cloverfield series seems to consist of JJ Abram’s production company Bad Robot picking up science-fiction movies that would possibly not fare too well upon release, adding (at the script level, or filming level through reshoots) connections to the 2008 Cloverfield movie, then releasing with some sort of innovative marketing strategy making a point of…

The Square (2017)

A delightful send-up of the modern art world, and a scathing satire of the limits of people’s empathy, the bystander effect and so on. The film is shaggily episodic, with enough of a plot throughline to provide some thrust through the many scenes lampooning modern art society (some more successful than others), but ultimately sagging…