Ortonville filmmaker calls 2018 a ‘standout year’ for movies | Local News

The nominations for the 91st Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 22.

While we await this announcement, Robert Butler of Ortonville, an award-winning filmmaker, shared his top picks for best movie of the year.

“It was truly a standout year that offered plenty of great films for many different viewers and tastes,” said Butler, chief critic at DeFacto Film Reviews and winner of the Remi Award at the 50th Annual Worldfest.

Here’s Butler’s list of his top 10 movies of 2018 (read his full article at defactofilmreviews.com):

1. Roma: “Hands down, the finest piece of cinema of 2018. … By telling a visually striking story in chromatic black-and-white, (Director Alfonso) Cuaron truly elevates the craft and artistry of cinema and what it can do with concepts of time and memory. … A film like ‘Roma’ is why I love and celebrate cinema to begin with.”

2. Burning: “In the course of 20 years, Korean filmmaker Lee Chang-Dong has only made six feature films. … Here, Lee Chang-dong has made a film that will be celebrated in years to come. A modern Hitchcockian thriller that looks deep inside the soul of South Korea and where the country stands in terms of society.”

3. Shoplifters: “(Director Hirokazu Kore-eda) explores a forgettable part of society – the livelihoods of individuals who are trapped in poverty. A sublime and thoughtful drama that centers on the story of a Tokyo family trying to survive day-to-day by a cycle of shoplifting food. … The way the film unfolds is with many surprises and grace. This film is destined to become a classic of our times.”

4. The House that Jack Built: “A deeply disturbing film with touches of dark comedy, this mesmerizing suspense-thriller from Lars von Triers is an exercise of provocation that will stay with you long after you view it. … It’s a stylish and dense work where you see (Matt) Dillon deliver the performance of his career.”

5. Suspiria: “‘Suspiria’ is a towering artistic achievement. (Director Luca) Guadagnino proves here that vision goes a long way and that remakes actually can be just as essential and as breathtaking as the original, as rare as that sounds.”

6. You Were Never Really Here: “(Director) Lynne Ramsey’s fourth feature is a return to form for her and her strongest film to date. … A look inside how the aftermath of violence can shatter our minds and souls, Ramsey uses clever visual techniques by cutting away from violence to impact the viewers’ psychology.”

7. Isle of Dogs: “This has been a great year for animated films, but Wes Anderson’s ninth feature film ‘Isle of Dogs’ had a passion and care that seems rare in animated films today; (Director Wes) Anderson truly cares about Japanese culture and here he plays great tribute.”

8. At Eternity’s Gate: “Artist turned director Julian Schanbel has a love and passion for art and the artists behind it. … ‘At Eternity’s Gate’ is both an outstanding film and a refreshing ode to Vincent Van Gogh played with humility and melancholy by Wilem Dafoe.”

9. Let the Sunshine In: “The film is a personal portrait of a lonely middle-aged Persian woman trying to find love and all she finds is betrayal, deception, and ultimately emptiness. Juliette Binoche is absolutely radiant here, honing in a performance of empathy and tenderness.”

10. Vox Lox: “It’s a very bizarre film where you always feel something sinister lurking beneath the surface, as it explores the complexities of celebrity and stardom. Natalie Portman delivers one of her most impressive performances of her career in a film with ravishing cinematography, haunting music, and compelling ideas.”

For more film reviews by Butler and co-reviewer Noah Damron, a resident of Troy, visit defactofilmreviews.com.

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