Our annual compilation of overlooked films. Each reviewer chose five films to highlight.
“Duck Butter”: Laia Costa and Alia Shawkat face off in this erotic lost weekend film about a relationship between two women that runs its course over 24 hours of sex and soul-baring. Co-written by Shawkat, directed by Miguel Arteta, it’s destined to be a queer cult classic. Netflix; VOD
“Revenge”: Director Coralie Fargeat tore into the rape-revenge genre with a startling, ferocity in her brightly hued debut feature, which parodied the male gaze, flipped the phallus on its head, and introduced us to one of the most uncompromising horror heroines of the year. An unflinching entry into the new canon of French feminist horror revisionism. Shudder; VOD
“El Angel”: Directed by Luis Ortega, Argentina’s Oscar submission chronicles the crime spree of young Carlos Eduardo Robledo Puch, who terrorized Buenos Aires in the early 1970s. Lorenzo Ferro makes his insouciantly seductive screen debut as the baby-faced criminal in this sensual twist on a “Bonnie & Clyde” tale.
“Never Goin’ Back”: Augustine Frizzell’s sweaty Southern romp through the lives of two Texas waitresses is the wild child little sister of “Support The Girls.” Sisterhood is survival for these strong-willed teens played by Camila Morrone and Maia Mitchell. This loose, raunchy comedy is surprisingly charming imbued with a sly social commentary to boot. Amazon Prime; Kanopy
“Beast”: Michael Pearce brings a local’s perspective to the dark history of the isle of Jersey in this psychological thriller. Jessie Buckley tears into the role of a repressed young woman getting in touch with her wild side though a romance with a mysterious young man against the backdrop of a serial killer terrorizing the island. VOD
More: Rom-coms! With “Crazy Rich Asians,” “Set it Up” and “To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before” (among others), love is in the air, and not a moment too soon in these troubled times.
Less: Clint Eastwood movies. With two offensively bad 2018 films in “The 15:17 to Paris” and “The Mule,” it would be great to have fewer of Eastwood’s dashed off, poorly thought out, nearly unwatchable projects. That male film critics either give him a pass (or hail them as masterpieces) salts the wound.