Kaitlynd Hiller (1L)

If you’re anything like me, 2018 felt like one of the longest and most confusing years of my life. Think back to all the things that happened last year: the Tide Pod challenge was a thing, Kylie Jenner had a secret baby, there was an Olympics(!), Prince Harry got married, and people began smoking weed right out in the open. For some reason what didn’t happen in 2018 was a lot of movie watching. Out of the Best Picture noms for the Oscars this year, I have only seen one of them. So for everyone as lost as I am, here is a short review-of-the-reviews which might help you prioritize which Big One to watch before the winners are announced on the 24th.

Black Panther: The Marvel Universe took a big leap forward in representation and creativity with one of the year’s most-loved films, Black Panther. Set in the fictional African nation of Wakanda, the movie has been praised for its stunning visuals, exciting action, and heartfelt story. It’s a feel-good superhero extravaganza which is high up on my to-see list. Until then, I’ll keep the Kendrick Lamar-curated soundtrack on repeat.

The Favourite: Back in 2015, comedians Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome created one of my all-time favourite Comedy Central shows: Another Period. It was basically a mash-up of Downton Abbey and The Kardashians – very good stuff. From what I can tell, The Favourite takes that concept and hands it off to “The Lobster” director Yorgos Lanthimos. It’s like my favourite concepts keep getting mashed together and I’m so happy about it I won’t even gripe about Emma Stone being in it.

Bohemian Rhapsody: After hearing that Sacha Baron Cohen dropped out of the biopic over creative differences (Baron Cohen didn’t want to tone down Freddie Mercury’s unapologetically wilder moments), I was skeptical about how the film was going to deal with Mercury’s bisexuality. From what I’ve read, they framed his lifelong struggle as a reductive good-versus-evil, domesticity-against-debauchery tale of two Freddies. I’ll let you guess which is which.

Green Book: Is it a feel-good biopic(ish) about an unlikely friendship between black jazz pianist Don Shirley and his white bouncer in the 60’s deep south? Or is it Hollywood’s latest lazy white-saviour response to America’s lingering racism? (I don’t know! I haven’t seen it!)

A Star is Born: In the latest remake of this classic love story, Bradley Cooper directs and stars opposite Lady Gaga. Both of them sing and act their hearts out, and I haven’t heard a bad word about it. In fact, I have had the most unlikely of friends tell me that they loved this one, which makes me think it’s a safe bet. Just make sure you have tissues.

Vice: Another biopic here – this one about Dick Cheney (Vice-President to George W. Bush among other things). Christian Bale has received praise for being able to portray the main character throughout most of his life, from university days until death, but the film has been criticised for being too cartoonish in its depiction of the villain, and having a pace that leaves you exhausted.

BlacKkKlansman: Spike Lee pulls no punches with his portrayal of black cop Ron Stallworth infiltrating the KKK in the 70s. Although it is obviously meant to provide a reflection on the current state of politics, it has been criticized for characterizing white supremacists as being sort of silly and hapless rather than insidious and dangerous. Does that let the main villain off the hook? You tell me!

Roma: Roma, Roma, Roma. I am so thankful that I got to experience Alfonso Cuarón’s latest masterpiece in its full glory on the big screen. Filmed in 65mm, Roma is a striking and haunting ode to his childhood caretaker – an Indigenous woman portrayed by first-time actress Yalitza Aparicio. The storyline moves along at a generous pace, but my interest was never lost. If I had a nickel for every time I whispered in wonderment “how did they get that shot?!”, I would probably have enough for a muffin at Steve’s. Am I going to recommend the only one I’ve seen as the one that you definitely MUST see? Yes. And the best part? It’s on Netflix.