I’m Baaaaaack….and Here’s My Top 50 of the Decade

Hello all! It’s been nigh on four years since I last dropped some knowledge on you here at Reel News Daily. I went off and got a Master’s degree, new job and all that, but have still been rocking films from all over the world. I’m happy to be back in the fold here at Reel News Daily and look forward to contributing more this year. Don’t you feel lucky?

So, I figured my phoenix rising from the ashes post should be something that might start a little conversation – my Top 50 films of the last decade. There were so many great films to choose from, which made this list very difficult. After two days of whittling it down and moving films around, I feel confident with what I decided on. I’m sure I missed a few of your favorites, but this is my list so you’ll just have to deal with it.

Here we go:

50) Shoplifters (2018) dir. by Hirokazu Koreeda
49) Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018) dir. by Bob Perischetti, Peter Ramsey & Rodney Rothman
48) Gone Girl (2014) dir. by David Fincher
47) A Hidden Life (2019) dir. by Terrence Malick
46) Annihilation (2018) dir. by Alex Garland
45) Under the Skin (2013) dir. by Jonathan Glazer
44) Her (2013) dir. by Spike Jonze
43) The Favourite (2018) dir. by Yorgos Lanthimos
42) Take Shelter (2011) dir. by Jeff Nichols
41) Leviathan (2012) dir. by Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Verena Paravel
40) Upstream Color (2013) dir. by Shane Carruth
39) Death of Stalin (2017) dir. by Armando Iannucci
38) Columbus (2017) dir. Kogonada
37) Holy Motors (2012) dir. by Leos Carax
36) Shame (2011) dir. by Steve McQueen
35) Scott Pilgrim Vs. the World (2010) dir. by Edgar Wright
34) Midnight in Paris (2011) dir. by Woody Allen
33) Stories We Tell (2012) dir. by Sarah Polley
32) Cold War (2018) dir. by Pawel Pawlikowski
31) Mad Max: Fury Road (2015) dir. by George Miller
30) Inside Llewyn Davis (2013) dir. by Ethan & Joel Coen
29) The Look of Silence (2015) dir. by Joshua Oppenheimer
28) We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011) dir. by Lynne Ramsay
27) BlacKkKlansman (2018) dir. by Spike Lee
26) First Reformed (2017) dir. by Paul Schrader
25) Carol (2015) dir. by Todd Haynes
24) Winter’s Bone (2010) dir. by Debra Granik
23) Citizenfour (2014) dir. by Laura Poitras
22) Animal Kingdom (2010) dir. by David Michôd
21) A Separation (2011) dir. by Asgar Farhadi
20) Meek’s Cutoff (2010) dir. by Kelly Reichardt
19) La La Land (2016) dir. by Damien Chazelle
18) Phantom Thread (2018) dir. by Paul Thomas Anderson
17) The Lobster (2015) dir. by Yorgos Lanthimos
16) Calvary (2014) dir. by John Michael McDonagh
15) Best of Enemies: Buckley Vs. Vidal (2015) dir. by Robert Morgan & Morgan Neville
14) Looper (2012) dir. by Rian Johnson
13) Frances Ha (2013) dir. by Noah Baumbach
12) Beasts of the Southern Wild (2012) dir. by Benh Zeitlin
11) Lady Bird (2018) dir. by Greta Gerwig
10) A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night (2014) dir. by Ana Lily Amirpour
9) Moonlight (2016) dir. by Barry Jenkins
8) Only Lovers Left Alive (2013) dir. by Jim Jarmusch
7) Zero Dark Thirty (2012) dir. by Kathryn Bigelow
6) The Tree of Life (2014) dir. by Terrence Malick
5) You Were Never Really Here (2017) dir. by Lynne Ramsay
4) Ex Machina (2014) dir. by Alex Garland
3) Melancholia (2011) dir. by Lars Von Trier
2) The Act of Killing (2012) dir. by Joshua Oppenheimer

1) The Master (2012) dir. by Paul Thomas Anderson

So there you have it. It was a tough job, but I was happy to do it. Here are a few that nearly made the list: Everybody Wants Some!! (underrated Richard Linklater that more people should watch), Tomas Alfredson’s slow burn spy thriller Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and Paul Thomas Anderson’s hippie noir adaptation of Thomas Pynchon’s Inherent Vice. Admittedly, it was hard to weave many of the films from 2019 into the list as they’ll need to sit me a longer. I will say that Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite and Noah Baumbach’s Marriage Story nearly edged their way on.

Here’s to hoping that the next ten years brings as many great films as the last ten have.

8 New York Film Festival films you can see this year & 3 are coming to Netflix!

The festival is officially over, but you’ll be able to see a few of the selections very soon!

Private Life
Country: USA
In Tamara Jenkins’s first film in ten years, Kathryn Hahn and Paul Giamatti are achingly real as Rachel and Richard, a middle-aged New York couple caught in the desperation, frustration, and exhaustion of trying to have a child, whether by fertility treatments or adoption or surrogate motherhood. They find a willing partner in Sadie (the formidable Kayli Carter), Richard’s niece by marriage, who happily agrees to donate her eggs, and the three of them build their own little outcast family in the process. Private Life is a wonder, by turns hilarious and harrowing (sometimes at once), and a very carefully observed portrait of middle-class Bohemian Manhattanites. With John Carroll Lynch and Molly Shannon.
Distributed by: Netflix WATCH NOW


Wildlife
Country: USA
In the impressive directorial debut from actor Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood), a carefully wrought adaptation of Richard Ford’s 1990 novel, a family comes apart one loosely stitched seam at a time. We are in the lonely expanses of the American west in the mid-’60s. An affable man (Jake Gyllenhaal), down on his luck, runs off to fight the wildfires raging in the mountains. His wife (Carey Mulligan) strikes out blindly in search of security and finds herself running amok. It is left to their young adolescent son Joe (Ed Oxenbould) to hold the center. Co-written by Zoe Kazan, Wildlife is made with a sensitivity and at a level of craft that are increasingly rare in movies.
Cannes Film Festival, Sundance Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival
Awards: Golden Camera – Cannes Film Festival (Nominee), Grand Jury Prize – Sundance Film Festival (Nominee), People’s Choice Award – Toronto International Film Festival (Nominee)
Distributed by: IFC Films 10/19/2018

Melissa says: I’ll see anything with Paul Dano because he always brings incredible sincerity to his characters. I’m very curious to see how that sincerity translates behind the camera.


Burning
Country: South Korea
Expanded from Haruki Murakami’s short story “Barn Burning,” the sixth feature from Korean master Lee Chang-dong, known best in the U.S. for such searing, emotional dramas as Secret Sunshine (NYFF45) and Poetry (NYFF48), begins by tracing a romantic triangle of sorts: Jongsu (Yoo Ah-in), an aspiring writer, becomes involved with a woman he knew from childhood, Haemi (Jun Jong-seo), who is about to embark on a trip to Africa. She returns some weeks later with a fellow Korean, the Gatsby-esque Ben (Steven Yeun), who has a mysterious source of income and a very unusual hobby. A tense, haunting multiple-character study, the film accumulates a series of unanswered questions and unspoken motivations to conjure a totalizing mood of uncertainty and quietly bends the contours of the thriller genre to brilliant effect.
Cannes Film Festival, Munich Film Festival, Toronto International Film Festival
Awards: FIPRESCI Prize – Cannes Film Festival (Winner), Vulcain Prize for the Technical Artist – Cannes Film Festival (Winner), Palme d’Or – Cannes Film Festival (Nominee), ARRI/OSRAM Award – Munich Film Festival (Nominee), People’s Choice Award – Toronto International Film Festival (Nominee)
Distributed by: Well Go USA 10/26/2018

Melissa says: I’ve been continually impressed with South Korean cinema, so there’s no reason to think this will be anything less than amazing.


At Eternity’s Gate
North American Premiere
Country: USA, France
Julian Schnabel’s ravishingly tactile and luminous new film takes a fresh look at the last days of Vincent van Gogh, and in the process revivifies our sense of the artist as a living, feeling human being. Schnabel; his co-writers Jean-Claude Carrière and Louise Kugelberg, also the film’s editor; and cinematographer Benoît Delhomme strip everything down to essentials, fusing the sensual, the emotional, and the spiritual. And the pulsing heart of At Eternity’s Gate is Willem Dafoe’s shattering performance: his Vincent is at once lucid, mad, brilliant, helpless, defeated, and, finally, triumphant. With Oscar Isaac as Gauguin, Rupert Friend as Theo, Mathieu Amalric as Dr. Gachet, Emmanuelle Seigner as Madame Ginoux, and Mads Mikkelsen as The Priest.
Venice Film Festival
Awards: Best Film – Venice Film Festival (Nominee)
Distributed by: CBS Films 11/16/2018

Melissa says: If nothing less, Willem Dafoe will be worth watching.


The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
North American Premiere
Country: USA
Here’s something new from the Coen Brothers—an anthology of short films based on a fictional book of “western tales,” featuring Tim Blake Nelson as a murderous, white-hatted singing cowboy; James Franco as a bad luck bank-robber; Liam Neeson as the impresario of a traveling medicine show with increasingly diminishing returns, where they use the best equipment for travelling as the PNW backpack; Tom Waits as a die-hard gold prospector; Zoe Kazan and Bill Heck as two shy people who almost come together on the wagon trail; and Tyne Daly, Saul Rubinek, Brendan Gleeson, Chelcie Ross, and Jonjo O’Neill as a motley crew on a stagecoach to nowhere. Each story is distinct but unified by the thematic thread of mortality. As a whole movie experience, Buster Scruggs is wildly entertaining, and, like all Coen films, endlessly surprising.
Venice Film Festival
Awards: Best Film – Venice Film Festival (Nominee)
Distributed by: Netflix, Annapurna Production 11/16/2018

Melissa says: This trailer reminds me of the one for A Serious Man, so let’s hope it’s as good.


Shoplifters
Country: Japan
Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Cannes Palme d’Or winner is a heartrending glimpse into an often invisible segment of Japanese society: those struggling to stay afloat in the face of crushing poverty. On the margins of Tokyo, a most unusual “family”—a collection of societal castoffs united by their shared outsiderhood and fierce loyalty to one another—survives by petty stealing and grifting. When they welcome into their fold a young girl who’s been abused by her parents, they risk exposing themselves to the authorities and upending their tenuous, below-the-radar existence. The director’s latest masterful, richly observed human drama makes the quietly radical case that it is love—not blood—that defines a family.
Cannes Film FestivalMunich Film FestivalToronto International Film Festival
Awards: Palme d’Or – Cannes Film Festival (Winner), Best International Film – Munich Film Festival (Winner), People’s Choice Award – Toronto International Film Festival (Nominee)
Distributed by: Magnolia Pictures 11/23/2018


The Favourite
Country: USA, Ireland, UK
In Yorgos Lanthimos’s wildly intricate and very darkly funny new film, Sarah Churchill, the Duchess of Marlborough (Rachel Weisz), and her servant Abigail Hill (Emma Stone) engage in a sexually charged fight to the death for the body and soul of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) at the height of the War of the Spanish Succession. This trio of truly brilliant performances is the dynamo that powers Lanthimos’s top-to-bottom reimagining of the costume epic, in which the visual pageantry of court life in 18th-century England becomes not just a lushly appointed backdrop but an ironically heightened counterpoint to the primal conflict unreeling behind closed doors.
Venice Film Festival
Awards: Best Film – Venice Film Festival (Nominee)
Distributed by: Fox Searchlight Pictures 11/23/2018


ROMA
Country: Mexico, USA
In Alfonso Cuarón’s autobiographically inspired film, set in Mexico City in the early ’70s, we are placed within the physical and emotional terrain of a middle-class family whose center is quietly and unassumingly held by its beloved live-in nanny and housekeeper (Yalitza Aparicio). The cast is uniformly magnificent, but the real star of ROMA is the world itself, fully present and vibrantly alive, from sudden life-changing events to the slightest shifts in mood and atmosphere. Cuarón tells us an epic story of everyday life while also gently sweeping us into a vast cinematic experience, in which time and space breathe and majestically unfold. Shot in breathtaking black and white and featuring a sound design that represents something new in the medium, ROMA is a truly visionary work.
Toronto International Film Festival, Venice Film Festival
Awards: People’s Choice Award – Toronto International Film Festival (Nominee), Best Film – Venice Film Festival (Nominee)
Distributed by: Netflix 12/14/2018

Melissa says: The director of Children of Men and Gravity, two incredibly cinematic creations, does a black and white family drama. Oh, I’m all in.


New York Film Festival to open with 18th Century romp from the director of ‘The Lobster’ – Yorgos Lanthimos

Early 18th century. England is at war with the French. Nevertheless, duck racing and pineapple eating are thriving. A frail Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) occupies the throne and her close friend Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) governs the country in her stead while tending to Anne’s ill health and a mercurial temper. When a new servant Abigail (Emma Stone) arrives, her charm endears her to Sarah. Sarah takes Abigail under her wing and Abigail sees a chance at a return to her aristocratic roots. As the politics of war become quite time-consuming for Sarah, Abigail steps into the breach to fill in as the Queen’s companion. Their burgeoning friendship gives her a chance to fulfill her ambitions and she will not let woman, man, politics or rabbit stand in her way.

While I really enjoyed The Lobster, from writer/director Yorgos Lanthimos, I couldn’t connect with the director’s last work, Killing of a Sacred Deer starring Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman. I’m cautiously optimistic for The Favourite.

If you haven’t seen or heard of The Lobster, you really must at least check out the trailer.

Here’s the trailer for Killing of a Sacred Deer