Monday, February 4, 2019

2018 Crime Flick Picks: Honorable Mentions

Earlier I talked up my favorite ten crime flicks from 2018 and, like every year, it included a lot of obvious choices, but I like to follow up with the 11-20 slots 'cause hisotically that's where I can get into a few that may've slipped through the cracks. Here they are in alphabetical order.

American Animals - Bart Layton - True story of a group of suburban boys taking their shot at greatness by stealing some valuable books from a library and selling them to European gangsters told in a combination of dramatic recreation and talking head interviews with the real life characters (offenders, victims, family members). It's funny, alarming, suspenseful and manages to leave room for competing reactions like amusement, dread and withering scorn. Layton, the dude who made the great true crime doc The Imposter a few years ago is back with another true crime tale that plays with documentary/drama form and has impressive results

BuyBust - Erik Matti - Matti's been burning up my radar since On the Job and this one is another terrific Manila-set thriller that just doesn't let up. It suffers slightly from coming out the same year as The Night Comes For Us and also drawing predictable comparisons to The Raid, but there's no way this one isn't a great time for fans of those films too. So excited to see a sequel to On the Job is on the way!

The Euthanizer - Teemu Nikki - A mechanic whose sideline is euthanizing pets goes about his work in a humane and unflinching manner, but when some nazi assholes get in his way it's quickly apparent that he treats animals much kinder than people. Nikki is new to me, but I will definitely be catching up on his work after this one. Puzzling out the very specific code of honor the protagonist lives and dies by is a sometimes harrowing sometimes hilarious experience

Kills on Wheels - Attila Till - Two wheelchair bound boys find a mentor of sorts in a disabled gangster/hitman who takes them on as apprentices. It's a helluva premise and mostly works with utter nihilism not quite overtaking a healthy dose of teenaged fuck-the-world angst. The last ten minutes are a little disappointing, but make sense out of questions bothering me in the structure, and won't keep me from enjoying a revisit in the future

Let the Corpses TanHélène Cattet & Bruno Forzani - another exercise in extremely stylized and sensual violence and mayhem that's a whole lotta gonzo fun from the duo responsible for AMER and others. Based on the novel by Jean-Patrick Manchette

Like Me - Robert Mockler - This crime-spree/social media satire pushes the low-fi/hi-concept visuals to eleven. Addison Timlin and Larry Fessenden's kidnapper/kidnappee couple on the run are one of the best onscreen duos of the year. Never quite know where it's going

Lowlife - Ryan Prows - Prows projects leap to the top of my what the fuck comes next list after this mulit-narrative-strands gonzo crime/horror mashup feature debut. Whoa.

Sollers Point - Matthew Porterfield - This man out of prison flick is a crime and consequence drama whose low-key thriller elements nicely balance the will he/won't he get his life together elements that can feel preachy in so many other films - nice trick

Superfly - Director X - This update/remake is all attitude and style and if you do it right you'll not stop to think things through before you're whisked off to the next outrageous set piece. More fun than it has any business being. Imagine if Hype Williams watched a bunch of Michael Mann movies and decided that was what he was going for next

Unsane - Steven Soderbergh - Low-fi, slow burn psychological thriller - probably the best of its kind since Side Effects. If this is what retirement looks like here's hoping he quits again.

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