I love those seasonal EW movie preview issues. The Holiday Movie Preview always features an early Oscar-buzz section that's especially fun to mull over. In Best Picture (and Director), among the 3 Front-Runners is The Descendants, which I'm eager to see due to Alexander Payne, but surprised to see it get such a showing. Although not among my personal favs, The Help seems to me to be the surer front-runner (listed in their "other contenders"). Another of these, Midnight in Paris, I hope makes the cut.... however that "needs to be #1 on 5% of the ballots" rule might do it some harm, as I can see people listing it more likely #2 through #10. Glad to see Brad Pitt in there for Moneyball, and the acknowledgment that it wasn't some scenery-chewing performance, but deserves the attention. I'm very, very curious to see if Meryl Streep is great as Margaret Thatcher, and not just an assumption that she will automatically be great: I agree with EW however when they say: "Would you consider betting against her? We wouldn't." Ditto for Glenn Close. Are we just assuming she'll be great just because of the role and her track record? Interesting to see Christopher Plummer on the list for Supporting Actor-- who only got his first career nom two years ago. So happy to hear that Max Von Sydow is supposed to be good in Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close and hope he gets nominated-- I wished he had been nominated for The Diving Bell and the Butterfly; he's only had one career nomination, which doesn't seem to be enough. Even though it was a typical "Oscar" show-off performance, I was a sucker for Octavia Spencer in The Help. I also agree with EW that Melissa McCarthy is a definite contender for Supporting Actress for Bridesmaids (I'm happy when any purely comedic performance gets nominated, they are so few and far between, so, "fingers-crossed"). I love Judy Greer and so I was happy to see her name appear, even if just under "long shots," for Supporting Actress for The Descendants.
Here is a list of the 2018 films I've seen, and my opinion of them. Filmmakers who toil on the almost-impossible mission of making a feature length film should not have their work dismissed on a pass-fail basis so easily. That being said, this is just one man's opinion, and on a blog at that, and the savvy moviegoer will read enough of the reviews of professional film critics to allow a blog here and there to "list" favorites and least favorites.
Quiet Place, A. Farfetched, but compelling in its short running time, with a perfect ensemble.
15:17 to Paris. Modest, sincere.
Black Panther. A rich narrative, which introduces several compelling characters.
Game Night. Screenwriter-y nonsense, with hit or miss laughs, but a fun cast and enough silliness to brighten your day.
I Feel Pretty. A bit of a mixed message, but much funnier than its reviews suggest.
Isle of Dogs. Yeah, mostly cutesy.
Paddington 2. Another winner, with an enjoyable Hugh Grant performance.
Ready Player One. Harkens back to Spielberg of old.
Tomb Raider. Vikander is certainly pretty enough, but it's just a tired formula film still reaping rewards from (1981s!) Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Tully. Not a particularly compelling movie that might have been better as short fiction.
Annihilation. Slow moving and derivative.
Red Sparrow. Corny and absurd.
Super Troopers 2. Like a way-too-late TV series reunion.