WHAT TO WATCH

Sunday Territorian - - FRONTIER -

1SWEET COUN­TRY

It might have closed the year by win­ning the AACTA Award for Best Aus­tralian Film, but this Jan­uary re­lease spent the whole year as 2018’s finest work. Never have the wide open ex­panses of the out­back felt so claus­tro­pho­bi­cally men­ac­ing. Not a frame, sound, look or ges­ture is out of place in this bru­tal, beau­ti­ful and bit­terly in­sight­ful ex­pe­ri­ence. If you haven’t seen it al­ready, track it down this sum­mer.

2ISLE OF DOGS

An in­cred­i­ble feat of both stop-mo­tion an­i­ma­tion and re­fined screen aes­thet­ics from the great Wes An­der­son ( Grand Bu­da­pest

Ho­tel). A dream combo of ad­ven­tur­ous sto­ry­telling, ac­ces­si­ble hu­mour and some of the finest vo­cal per­for­mances ever recorded for an an­i­mated pro­duc­tion.

3HEREDITAR­Y

A modern hor­ror master­piece, slowly and sin­is­terly build­ing a tower of cower from which there is no com­ing down. Lur­ing you all the way up to in­tim­i­dat­ing heights is an in­cred­i­ble, ca­reer-best per­for­mance from Toni Col­lette, riskily reach­ing for notes clearly be­yond most ac­tors.

4LADY BIRD

Clearly one of the most grace­ful, funny, alert and alive com­ing-of-age pic­tures ever made. The ul­tra-con­sis­tent Saoirse Ro­nan reached a dizzy­ing new high as the pre­co­cious stu­dent per­pet­u­ally at log­ger­heads with her home town, her mother and her­self.

5THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD

This stun­ning doc­u­men­tary was a long­time pas­sion project for dec­o­rated di­rec­tor Pe­ter Jack­son, who guided au­di­ences on a deeply im­mer­sive, haunt­ing and all-too-hu­man jour- ney across the bat­tle­fields of World War 1. In full colour and in 3D.

6 A STAR IS BORN

It might have been the fourth time Hol­ly­wood vis­ited this fa­mil­iar tale of tri­umph, tragedy and trust­ing in love when all else fails. Nev­er­the­less, the in­nate film­mak­ing nous of Bradley Cooper and the in­stinc­tive act­ing of Lady Gaga found plenty that was fresh, rel­e­vant and mov­ing.

7 A QUIET PLACE

This bril­liant apoc­a­lyp­tic thriller ex­panded one ba­sic idea - make a sin­gle noise and you die - into a com­plex men­tal en­durance course. Writer-di­rec­tor John Krasin­ski crafted an ex­pe­ri­ence that was nerve-shred­ding, spell­bind­ing and ut­terly im­pos­si­ble to turn away from.

8 FIRST MAN

While it re­mains a mys­tery as to why Hol­ly­wood took so long to tell the story of the first suc­cess­ful ex­pe­di­tion to the moon, the wait proved to be truly worth it. The bravely unor- tho­dox vis­ual style and skele­tal sto­ry­telling struc­ture both tri­umphed against the odds.

9THREE BILL­BOARDS OUT­SIDE EBBING, MIS­SOURI

Funny, sad, wildly un­pre­dictable and shrewdly in­sight­ful, this grip­ping drama de­fi­antly marched to the beat of its own drum. Lead­ing from the front was an Os­car-win­ning Frances McDor­mand as an an­guished mother seek­ing jus­tice for her late daugh­ter.

10BLACK PAN­THER

The first Mar­vel movie block­buster to put a su­per­hero of colour at the epi­cen­tre of the ac­tion didn’t just hit its marks. It left marks. land­marks. Not just in the in­ter­ests of racial di­ver­sity on screen, but also gen­der equal­ity. The most sig­nif­i­cant box-of­fice hit of the year.

Pic­ture: SUP­PLIED

Scene from Sweet Coun­try

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