Part II Most enjoyable movies of 2018

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(Editor’s note: This is part two of a two-part article. See last week’s edition for part one which listed Tony Medley’s Top 15 most enjoyable movies.)

16. Colette: A biopic of the great French writer whose quality is more than a sum of its parts. For me, the best of it is the cinematography (Giles Nuttgens). The locales are so beautifully framed and shot many of the scenes could stand as magnificent oil paintings. The visual values of this movie blew me away.

17. Hal: An engrossing documentary about Hal Ashby, an individualistic, one-of-a-kind maverick who directed some of the more memorable films in the 1970s, highlighted by interviews with many of his actors like Jane Fonda, the Bridges brothers Jeff and Beau, Louis Gossett, Jr., and Roseanna Arquette, along with Judd Apatow, David O. Russell, and Alexander Payne.

18. Leave No Trace: Director Debra Granik’s last film was the surprise stunner Winter’s Bone (2010) that introduced the world to Jennifer Lawrence as a backwoods girl. Once again Granik is in the mountains. This time she introduces us to Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie in her debut, and all she does is give a performance that is the equal of the aforementioned Ms. Lawrence. Granik needs to make more than one film every eight years.

19. Instant Family: I was not looking forward to this movie. It sounded saccharine and dull. How wrong that was!

20. Journey’s End: A brilliant exposition of what life was like in the trenches of WWI and the futility of even trying to hope. The battle scenes are excruciatingly realistic.

21. Jurassic Park: Fallen Kingdom: I have liked every one of these, and this is no exception.

22. Love, Gilda: Everything you’ve ever wanted to know about Gilda Radner, but not enough of Roseanne Roseannadanna.

23. Moynihan: An interesting documentary on a fascinating man.

24. Red Sparrow: Excellent performances by Jennifer Lawrence (of whom you see more than you’ve ever seen before) and Joel Edgerton. But, for me, Matthias Schoenaerts, who plays Lawrence’s manipulative uncle, gives the performance that stands out, and that’s saying a lot because Lawrence and Edgerton are near the top of the A-List.

25. The Seagull: The play that was the game-changer for Doctor/writer Anton Chekhov translated by a terrific cast is as heavy as you might expect, but well worth it.

26. Sicario: Day of the Soldado: Three big changes from the first, a new director, new composer, and no female lead. Since Taylor Sheridan wrote both films, it’s clear that all the changes led to this much better, cohesive film.

27. Solo: A Star Wars Story: Even without the CGI, this is a good, involving movie on its own. The story could survive if it were set in our galaxy, on our little planet, in today’s time.

28. Tully: After what seems like an interesting, entertaining, well above average dramedy, a reveal in the last moments causes one to wonder if something metaphysical has been going on here.

29. Trust Machine: The Story of Blockchain: You’re not going to come out of this understanding bitcoin and the rest completely, but you will know a lot more coming out than you knew going in.

30. Puzzle: I cannot think of one single thing that I would change about this film. The acting is incomparable, the directing deft, and the writing poignantly brilliant. All should get Oscar nominations, but that is a pipe dream for a small movie like this.

31. Under the Tree: An involving film about revenge with the moral that it is often better to turn the other cheek and let things roll off your back, to mix aphorisms. In Icelandic.

32. Widows: Loaded with violence, mostly emotional, but physical, too. The acting is outstanding.

Tony Medley is an MPAA-accredited film critic. See more reviews at TonyMedley.com.

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