Favorites of 2018: Movies and TV

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MOVIES

“A Star Is Born”

The most purely enjoyable movie of the year, “A Star Is Born” is full of crackling drama, swoony romance and the sheer joy of great music and live concerts. It doesn’t hurt that Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga have combustible chemistry. Extra points for the supporting cast, which includes Sam Elliott and Dave Chappelle.

— Kristina Dorsey

"A Quiet Place"

What could play like a gimmick — aliens hunt humans based on sound, so people on Earth have to live all-but-silently — transforms into a crackerjack thriller shot through with family drama in the hands of John Krasinski, who co-wrote, directs and stars.

— Kristina Dorsey

"Black Panther"

This wasn't just an important release, it was also a great movie. "Black Panther" fires on all cylinders, and thanks goes to the real superhero here: director/co-writer Ryan Coogler.

— Kristina Dorsey

"The Favourite"

Provocative and decidedly off-kilter (which, since this is a Yorgos Lanthimos production, is to be expected), "The Favourite" gives Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and especially Olivia Colman juicy leading roles, and they make the most of them.

— Kristina Dorsey

“Daredevil 2”

Snark doesn’t get any more fun than this. Sure, this flick has a superhero element, but for me, Ryan Reynolds’ real killer weapon is his way with wild one-liners.

— Kristina Dorsey

“Thor: Ragnarok”

This is my second-favorite superhero comedy of the year, and it’s just a hair’s breadth behind “Daredevil 2” in the humor department. Credit goes to director Taika Waititi for his anything-goes attitude. While “Daredevil” is sarcastic, “Thor” is sillier and jubilant.

— Kristina Dorsey

“Paddington 2”

Thank you to the reviewers who raved about this release, which I had been ignoring because I pegged it as just another kids’ movie. Nope, it’s entertaining for all ages. Hugh Grant chews the scenery as an energetically egotistical actor who’s the wily bad guy. Sweet little Paddington ends up in the hoosegow, but, this being Paddington, even jail is a place where he can win hearts and turn convicts’ frowns upside-down.

— Kristina Dorsey

“A Simple Favor”

This movie is totally cuckoo and utterly bonkers — and I mean that as a compliment. It goes off the rails near the end, but, until then, its story of a single mom who gets caught up with a fellow mom (who has “bad news” written all over her and is played deliciously by Blake Lively) remains just this side of camp.

— Kristina Dorsey

 

 

 

TELEVISION

"Bosch," Season Four on Netflix

If it doesn't exist already, Hollywood will someday have a Museum of Perfect Casting. And one of the members of the inaugural class of inductees will be Titus Welliver portraying fictional LA homicide cop Harry Bosch based on the immortal novels of Michael Connelly. In the latest of this outstanding series, where the brooding tension simmers almost unbearably, a high profile civil rights attorney is gunned down and solving the crime may not be enough to stop race riots. Along with Welliver, the supporting cast is superb and the writing top-notch.

— Rick Koster

"Repertoire" by James Acaster on Netflix

In March, Netflix released British comedian Acaster's four-show collective under the "Repertoire" banner. It comprises four different live comedy specials from the genius standup artist: "Recognize," "Represent," "Reset" and "Recast." It's a marvelously ambitious idea — sort of the comedy world's equivalent of "The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway" — and the fashion in which Acaster ultimately ties together various and disparate threads from across the four presentations is almost a magic trick. Brainy, distinctive, constantly inspired and hilarious. Acaster is in his own league.

— Rick Koster

"XTC: This is Pop" on Showtime

Almost by definition — because it's about one of the most creative, visionary and overlooked pop bands of all time — this documentary is must-see for music fans. But plenty of insightful interviews with all the principal band members, as well as journalists, respected biz insiders and other adoring musicial deities, provides critical substance. Plus, it's just a really well made film. Throughout, main XTCer Andy Partridge is witty and charming and, at times, pretty impressed with himself. But at his core is a bit of poignant sadness and puzzlement as to how it all turned out.

— Rick Koster 

"Get a Room with Carson & Thom" on Bravo

What really sells this series is the banter between Carson Kressley and Thom Filicia. It's a blast to get to hang out with the two of them via this weekly show. And, oh, yeah, they redecorate some rooms, too.

— Kristina Dorsey

 

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