2018 has been, in my considered opinion, a hell of a good year for movies, and all without even getting to “good movie season”. Well, we’re here now, and it does indeed look kind of good, though maybe not as disproportionately so as the year as a whole has been. But anyway, here we go, on to the Oscarbait!
And what ever could be more Oscarbaity than Venom, a new character study starring Tom Hardy and Michelle Williams? It’s a… ooh, no, I got my notes mixed up. Venom is the comic book anti-hero picture that seems stalled out in the ’90s, and has a trailer that makes it look Catwoman-bad. The Oscarbait is A Star Is Born, the fourth film of that title in 81 years, with Bradley Cooper and the starring debut of Lady Gaga, a film the internet has become intensely enthusiastic for, one of Rob and Carrie’s most-anticipated films of the season, and a film that, I am sure, will be perfectly fine.
Another film that both of my colleagues are excited for, and another major Oscar playing in waiting: First Man, Damien Chazelle’s attempt to dig into the mind of Neil Armstrong. And I should have every reason in the world to be excited: I love NASA and movies about NASA, and a friend of mine who was all set to hate the film enjoyed it quite a bit, and Chazelle is a talented filmmaker. But also, Neil Armstrong is maybe the least-interesting human who ever walked on the moon – it was indeed for this reason that he was chosen to command the first mission. Coupled with my usual impatience with biopics, and this just sounds like misery waiting to happen.
A couple disparate genre films to round things out: kiddie horror picture Goosebumps 2: Haunted Halloween, which loses Jack Black and thus the only interesting thing about the first Goosebumps; and Bad Times at the El Royale, yet a third film on Rob’s list, and one that appears to have been frozen in amber since 1996, when every other film was a Tarantino knock-off. In limited release, we also get to see one of the more overtly dreary of the awards hopefuls, the addiction drama Beautiful Boy.
Frankly, I am far more excited for the Netflix original genre film Apostle than any of these: Gareth Evans returns to the cult thriller genre of his delightful segment of V/H/S/2. And yes, I am aware of what the phrase “Netflix original genre film” has come to connote over the past several months.
The latest in the unending series of attempts to do something at all with the Halloween franchise comes courtesy of director David Gordon Green. And I’m definitely not not excited. The trailers are working on me pretty good, actually, particularly the bit where the erase the existence of all the shitty Halloween sequels and reboots. Still, this is sacred ground they’re treading on, and the opportunities to fuck it up are enormous. Easily the film that has me the most nervous all month, possibly the film that has me the most excited.
Also, there is a teen message movie, The Hate U Give, which looks to have a lot of talking-about-themes and an overindulgent running time to talk about them. Whoopee, I guess?
In limited release, Melissa McCarthy wants to know, Can You Ever Forgive Me?, and since it means that I will not have to see the trailer anymore, yes, I believe that I can.
Such a complete deadzone that I almost don’t want to humiliate the wide releases by talking about them. Hunter Killer is a Gerard Butler (boo!) submarine thriller (yay!) with very fucking weird politics about Russia. Indivisible is one of those Christian movies about how nothing in the world is worse than divorce, not even war. And Johnny English Strikes Again is mistaken in the world’s general investment in the Johnny English franchise.
Some lucky bastards get to see Luca Guadagnino’s new version of Suspiria this weekend; my Midwestern ass will have to wait a week.