What’s 2018 look like for you?
Happy New Year to you all! I hope it’s off to a good, safe start. As we say goodbye to 2017, I’d like to list a few movies I’ve seen since I completed my Best of 2017 lists, a way of finalizing the year and preparing for 2018. Like everyone else, I’ve made a few new goals, some of which might manifest themselves on the blog. Hopefully this will translate to more (and better) writing about individual movies.
So allow me to dump on you everything I’ve seen since late November with my first-time-to-watch favorites in bold:
The Shape of Water (2017)
Written and directed by Guillermo del Toro
Produced by Guillermo del Toro, J. Miles Dale
Screenplay by Guillermo del Toro, Vanessa Taylor
Music by Alexandre Desplat
Cinematography by Dan Laustsen
Edited by Sidney Wolinsky
Production design by Paul D. Austerberry
Art Direction by Nigel Churcher
Set Decoration by Jeffrey A. Melvin, Shane Vieau
Annapolis Bow Tie Harbor 9 (2:03)
Like Guillermo del Toro, I was too young to have seen the original release of The Creature from the Black Lagoon (1954), but I imagine that something of the magic those audiences felt translated to the emotions I experienced watching The Shape of Water, a film obviously influenced by the Jack Arnold monster/horror classic. Arnold touches on the concept of “otherness” in the 1954 original, but del Toro – with the advantage of having more freedom to explore such themes in 2017 – takes the viewer on a journey not just through the “otherness” of a human/monster relationship, but other journeys that venture out to far-reaching areas of – and perhaps beyond – humanity.
2017 marks the fourth year that I’ve seriously started delving into film noir. I still consider myself a beginner as far as the number of films I’ve seen and my knowledge of noir, but I’m probably at least near the halfway point of having seen the established body of American film noir titles. I saw close to 200 film noir and neo-noir movies in 2017, but here I’m only going to concentrate on those from the established film noir era (1940-1959), although you’ll find one or two films on either end of that period. In many cases I examined some films in greater detail in previous posts. In those cases, just click on the title. Enjoy!
Missed Part I? Look no further. Now here’s more:
Lady Bird (2017)
Written and directed by Greta Gerwig
Produced by Scott Rudin, Eli Bush, Evelyn O’Neil
Cinematography by Sam Levy
Edited by Nick Houy
BowTie Harbor 9, Annapolis, MD (1:33)
On the surface, Lady Bird seems like a movie I shouldn’t relate to in any way. It’s about a high school senior (Remember, I’m in my 50s) at a Catholic school (I’m Protestant) in California (I’m from Mississippi) in 2002 (I graduated in the 80s). Plus, she’s a girl; I’m a guy. We have literally not one thing in common.
Although my family and friends cannot comprehend this, I frequently lament how few films I’ve actually seen in my lifetime. Expand that to world cinema and you’ll find enormous, cavernous spaces filled with all the international movies I haven’t seen. This year I tried to at least chip away at several of those non-English-speaking treasures. I’ll explore more of these films in Part II, but for now, here’s Part I:
Just a few days ago I realized I had probably seen enough British films in 2017 to create a separate category, but I had no idea just how many – over 20! Many of these (no surprise) are film noir or, as we like to say, “noir-stained.” I certainly want to explore more British films in 2018 so for those of you in or from the UK, I would love to hear your favorites or “must see” films I should explore next year. Until then, these are the British films I most enjoyed in 2017: