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#344 December 25, 2018

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    By Entertainer

    Matt writes: In this final Ebert Club newsletter of the year, released to you on Christmas Day, we are sharing the staff's picks for the Top 10 Films of 2018. You can find each of the writer's lists (including the one penned by your's truly) by clicking here. As for the list comprised of films selected cumulatively by the site's regular roster of critics, Alfonso Cuarón's "Roma" led the pack, crowned as the best film released over the past twelve months. It was followed by Joel & Ethan Coen's "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs," Boots Riley's "Sorry to Bother You," Paul Schrader's "First Reformed," Barry Jenkins' "If Beale Street Could Talk," Sandi Tan's "Shirkers," Alex Garland's "Annihilation," Spike Lee's "BlacKkKlansman," Lee Chang-dong's "Burning" and Paweł Pawlikowski's "Cold War." To read the critics' thoughts on each of the aforementioned choices, click here.



    Where'd You Go, Bernadette? (2019). Directed by Richard Linklater. Written by Richard Linklater, Holly Gent and Vincent Palmo Jr. (based on the novel by Maria Semple). Starring Cate BlanchettJudy GreerKristen Wiig. Synopsis: After her anxiety-ridden mother disappears, 15-year-old Bee does everything she can to track her down, discovering her troubled past in the process. Opens in US theaters on March 22nd, 2019.

    Rendezvous in Chicago (2018). Written and directed by Michael Glover Smith. Starring Clare CooneyDave McNultyShane Simmons. Synopsis: A short comedic feature film comprised of three vignettes corresponding to the beginning, middle and end stages of a relationship. US release date is TBA.

    Piercing (2019). Written and directed by Nicolas Pesce (based on the novel by Ryû Murakami). Starring Mia WasikowskaChristopher AbbottLaia Costa. Synopsis: A man kisses his wife and baby goodbye and seemingly heads away on business, with a plan to check into a hotel, call an escort service, and kill an unsuspecting prostitute. Opens in US theaters on February 1st, 2019.

    Adult Life Skills (2019). Written and directed by Rachel Tunnard. Starring Jodie WhittakerLorraine AshbourneBrett Goldstein. Synopsis: Anna is stuck: she's approaching 30, living like a hermit in her mum's garden shed and wondering why the suffragettes ever bothered. She spends her days making videos using her thumbs as actors - thumbs that bicker about things like whether Yogi Bear is a moral or existential nihilist. Opens in US theaters on January 18th, 2019.

    Mapplethorpe (2019). Directed by Ondi Timoner. Written by Ondi Timoner and Mikko Alanne. Starring Matt SmithHari NefJohn Benjamin Hickey. Synopsis: A look at the life of photographer Robert Mapplethorpe from his rise to fame in the 1970s to his untimely death in 1989. US release date is TBA.

    Brexit (2019). Directed by Toby Haynes. Written by James Graham. Starring Benedict CumberbatchRory KinnearLiz White. Synopsis: Strategist Dominic Cummings leads a campaign to convince British voters to leave the European Union. Premieres on HBO on January 19th, 2019.

    The Wild Pear Tree (2019). Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Written by Akin Aksu, Ebru Ceylan and Nuri Bilge Ceylan. Starring Dogu DemirkolMurat CemcirBennu Yildirimlar. Synopsis: An aspiring writer returns to his native village, where his father's debts catch up to him. Opens in US theaters on January 30th, 2019.

    The Mustang (2019). Directed by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre. Written by Laure de Clermont-Tonnerre, Brock Norman Brock and Mona Fastvold. Starring Matthias SchoenaertsConnie BrittonBruce Dern. Synopsis: The story of Roman Coleman, a violent convict who is given the chance to participate in a rehabilitation therapy program involving the training of wild mustangs. Opens in US theaters on March 15th, 2019.

    Captive State (2019). Directed by Rupert Wyatt. Written by Rupert Wyatt and Erica Beeney. Starring Ashton Sanders, John Goodman, Vera Farmiga. Synopsis: Set in a Chicago neighborhood nearly a decade after an occupation by an extra-terrestrial force, this film explores the lives on both sides of the conflict - the collaborators and dissidents. Opens in US theaters on March 29th, 2019.

    Hotel Mumbai (2019). Directed by Anthony Maras. Written by Anthony Maras and John Collee. Starring Dev PatelArmie HammerJason Isaacs. Synopsis: The true story of the Taj Hotel terrorist attack in Mumbai. Hotel staff risk their lives to keep everyone safe as people make unthinkable sacrifices to protect themselves and their families. Opens in US theaters on March 29th, 2019.

    Triple Frontier (2019). Directed by J.C. Chandor. Written by J.C. Chandor and Mark Boal. Starring Ben AffleckPedro PascalCharlie Hunnam. Synopsis: Five former Special Forces operatives reunite to plan a heist in a sparsely populated multi-border zone of South America. US release date is TBA.

    Brightburn (2019). Directed by David Yarovesky. Written by Brian Gunn and Mark Gunn. Starring Elizabeth BanksMeredith HagnerDavid Denman. Synopsis: What if a child from another world crash-landed on Earth, but instead of becoming a hero to mankind, he proved to be something far more sinister? Opens in US theaters on May 24th, 2019.

    Hellboy (2019). Directed by Neil Marshall. Written by Andrew Cosby (based on the comic books by Mike Mignola). Starring David Harbour, Milla JovovichIan McShane. Synopsis: Caught between the worlds of the supernatural and human, Hellboy battles an ancient sorceress bent on revenge. Opens in US theaters on April 12th, 2019.

    Breakthrough (2019). Directed by Roxann Dawson. Written by Grant Nieporte. Starring Topher GraceChrissy MetzRebecca Staab. Synopsis: When he was 14, Smith drowned in Lake St. Louis and was dead for nearly an hour. According to reports at the time, CPR was performed 27 minutes to no avail. Then the youth's mother, Joyce Smith, entered the room, praying loudly. Suddenly, there was a pulse, and Smith came around. Opens in US theaters on April 17th, 2019.

    King of Thieves (2019). Directed by James Marsh. Written by Joe Penhall (based on the magazine article by Mark Seal). Starring Charlie CoxMichael CaineMichael Gambon. Synopsis: A true crime film about a crew of retired crooks who pull off a major heist in London's jewelry district. What starts off as their last criminal hurrah quickly turns into a brutal nightmare due to greed. Based on infamous true events. Opens in US theaters on January 25th, 2019.

    Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon (2019). Directed by Will Becher and Richard Phelan. Written by Jon Brown and Mark Burton (based on the characters by Nick Park). Starring Justin Fletcher. Synopsis: When an alien with amazing powers crash-lands near Mossy Bottom Farm, Shaun the Sheep goes on a mission to shepherd the intergalactic visitor home before a sinister organization can capture her. US release date is TBA.

    Bathtubs Over Broadway (2018). Directed by Dava Whisenant. Synopsis: A Late Night comedy writer stumbles upon a hilarious, hidden world of entertainment and finds an unexpected connection to his fellow man. Now playing in US theaters.

    Downton Abbey (2019). Directed by Michael Engler (based on the characters by Julian Fellowes). Starring Maggie Smith, Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern. Synopsis: The film version of the popular British television show. Opens in US theaters on September 20th, 2019.

    Polish Oscar contender "Cold War" 

    Matt writes:'s comprehensive coverage of "Cold War," the latest masterwork from Oscar-winning "Ida" director Paweł Pawlikowski, includes a four-star review by Tomris Laffly, my own in-depth interview with Pawlikowski and a video interview with the filmmaker conducted by Scout Tafoya.


    Great Performances of 2018

    Matt writes: In this annual round-up of great performances delivered over the last twelve months, various writers at single out major talents worthy of recognition during awards season, such as Helena Howard ("Madeline's Madeline"), John Cho ("Searching"), Elsie Fisher ("Eighth Grade"), Sakura Andô ("Shoplifters"), Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie ("Leave No Trace"), Raffey Cassidy ("Vox Lux") and many more. To read the full list, click here.


    Free Movies

    The Judy Garland Christmas Show (1963). Directed by Dean Whitmore. Written by John Aylesworth, John Bradford, Frank Peppiatt. Starring Judy Garland, Liza Minnelli, Lorna Luft. Synopsis: The holiday special of "The Judy Garland Show," featuring guests Mel Torme, Jack Jones, Tracey Everitt and more.

    Watch "The Judy Garland Christmas Show"

    Frosty the Snowman (1969). Directed by Jules Bass and Arthur Rankin Jr.. Written by Romeo Muller. Starring Jackie VernonBilly De WolfeJimmy Durante. Synopsis: A living snowman and a little girl struggle to elude a greedy magician who is after the snowman's magic hat.

    Watch "Frosty the Snowman"

    A Christmas Carol (1984). Directed by Clive Donner. Written by Roger O. Hirson (based on the novel by Charles Dickens). Starring George C. ScottFrank FinlayAngela Pleasence. Synopsis: An old bitter miser who rationalizes his uncaring nature learns real compassion when three spirits visit him on Christmas Eve.

    Watch "A Christmas Carol"

    By: Matt Fagerholm
    Posted: December 25, 2018, 6:01 am


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