Heyo, welcome to ‘IFHFB’ a blog which is basically going to be a pretentious film students wet dream, as a result of me being a former film student. However, just a gentle nudge that I’ve started this blog for my own personal enjoyment, all opinions are my own.
Anyway on to the first post. I’m ranking all of the A24 films I’ve seen, which was a lot more Than I thought it would have been. So, on with the task.
S – Tier: This is the films which I’m classing as the best of the best, in terms of A24. When making this list I focused on the usual cinematography and acting and what not, except I also focused on whether the film was memorable. As you can see from the informative tier list thing at the bottom of this post, my top four are as followed: ‘GOODTIME’, ‘EX-MACHINA’, ‘HEREDITARY’ and ‘THE END OF THE TOUR’. To be honest I couldn’t have picked four more different films to go in the top tier. But I have my reasons, ‘THE END OF THE TOUR’ is such an honest representation of one of the generations greatest and most obscure writers (David Foster Wallace), Jason Segel embodies every weird mannerism and quirk David Foster Wallace had, a career best for good ol’ Jason. Though not shot spectacular ‘THE END OF THE TOUR’ is the most down to earth film I have seen from A24, a real good bit of character study cinema.
Now something very different with ‘HEREDITARY’, my second favourite film of 2018 (also massively robbed by the academy, Toni Collette deserved a nomination at least). There’s been a lot said on whether modern horror is ‘bad’, a statement which I am hesitant to agree on if we are talking post ‘It Follows‘. However, there is one thing Hereditary isn’t and that is bad. The first film in a long time in which I have had to look away from the screen (saw it on the big screen so that was extra hard), it’s a film built on incredible tension, literally from the opening scene, there is a career best performances from Alex Wolff, who genuinely hit his face off a desk when filming the scene in the classroom. One final thing to mention about ‘HEREDITARY’, the trailer sets up a completely different antagonist and it makes for a much better experience when you aren’t expecting the film to take the turn it does.
The third of the top tier films, is a film which I need to re-watch, ‘EX-MACHINA’. I’ve seen ‘EX-MACHINA’ I think about four times now and each time the film doesn’t lose its edge. It comments on interaction, relationship, genius status and being isolated. Though the reason I have given it a spot in my top tier is its commentary on the aforementioned relationships. In the space of its 1 hour and 48 minute run time, you see relationships develop between man, women and robot (not sure whether to call Alicia Vikander’s character a robot or an android). A weird technological love triangle develops, which is then completely subverted in the final third of the film, with Alicia Vikander’s character triumphing over isolation and over creation. Also not to mention the now famous dance scene, Oscar Isaac can dance.
Now! the big boy, the number one, the greatest A24 film of all time, ‘GOODTIME’. If you’ve read reviews, you’ll now no that this film is no Good Time, more so a pile driver of intensity, carried by the charismatic, often self obsessed driven Robert Pattinson, who’s proving himself to be the prince of art house cinema. The Safdie Brothers have created a social realistic world of crime and chaos, stooped in personal relations and close encounters. ‘GOODTIME’ really was the best film of 2018 (for me in the UK, i’m not quite sure of its US release date), and a great development of the Safdie brothers filmography, after their gritty, heroine centred third feature, ‘Heaven Knows What’.
A – Tier: This was an arduous task putting this list together so the next tiers overviews will be just that, brief and simple. Therefore, on with the list. Firstly ‘LADY BIRD’, I saw Greta Gerwig’s debut with my girlfriend, and I think as a result of us both being 20 year old university students, the themes of this film resonated a lot with us, it left a lasting effect on us after leaving the cinema, it’s is a film which is made for a specific audience who’s themes very much relate to that, so don’t listen to the middle age white film critique who said it was ‘boring’, they’re wrong, it’s simple, but incredibly good.
‘MOONLIGHT’, remembered sadly for the Academy slip up, is in its self not a slip up. A film which highlights LGBT+ relationships, in an engaging and topical way. Set over three key points in one boys/mans life. ‘MOONLIGHT’ shows you a different world and makes you support the antagonist through it. I’m going to attempt to summarise ‘THE LOBSTER’ in a sentence. I didn’t understand it at first but now I love it and I am a whore for Yargos Lanthimos. ‘THE VVITCH’ is ‘HEREDITARY’s cousin. ‘FLORIDA PROJECT’ is probably Willem Defoe’s best film to date, as well as being one of the more beautiful films A24 have made.
I can never decide whether I prefer ’20TH CENTURY WOMEN’ or ‘LADY BIRD’, for some reason I always compare these two. Probably because I love coming of age films and these are two of my favourite. Annette Bening, is outstanding playing a single, caring mum, learning how to raise and deal with the angst of a teenage son, A real wholesome film.
Finally, ‘ENEMY’, to be honest I didn’t know it was A24, but I love the big creepy spiders so it’s A-Tier.
B – Tier: The still good but not good enough to be A tier films.
A lot of these films I probably need to re-watch as I have seen a number of these only once, which is the case with the first, ‘UNDER THE SKIN’. This film is fucking weird, one of the only films in which Scarlett Johansson hasn’t really annoyed me, it’s also visually spectacular for having such a small budget. It really shows how you can do sci-fi without breaking the bank. ‘GREEN ROOM’ is a film I can imagine going up to A-tier if I was to re-watch it, I was captivated by the closeness of this film, the camera is never less than 5ft away from the main characters, another film which builds tension from the start and never lets it go. It’s also hard not to mention Anton Yelchin, who stood out in this film among a great cast, an actor I would have loved to see go further and get the recognition he had coming, but sadly that can’t be the case, at least we have ‘GREEN ROOM’ which really showcased what he can do best.
Next! ‘GHOST STORY’, it’s dark, not much happens, but that is also the point it’s meant to focus on recovery and loss. However, Casey Affleck is in it which is bad, he ruins it, fuck Casey Affleck.
As I did with ‘THE LOBSTER’ I’m going to try and summarise ‘A KILLING OF A SACRED DEAR’ in one sentence: It’s fucking weird, not as good as ‘THE LOBSTER’ in my personal opinion, but it will make you feel all sorts of gross while watching it.
‘AMY’ is heartbreaking, showcasing one of this generations greatest voices, an incredibly moving documentary from Asif Kapadia, who’s proving himself to be the master of the documentary. Moving on too… ‘THE ROVER’, it’s okay, I was recommended it by my friend. He rated it very, probably too, highly. I think my heightened expectations might have skewed my judgment. Due for a re-watch. Finally, I wish I could put ‘SPRING BREAKER’s’ higher because I love the weird world of Harmony Korine, ‘SPRING BREAKER’s’, though only made in 2013, now feels dated. A clever concept to subvert the expectations of the actresses (all former Disney actresses) in the film, though after re-watch, it feels very of its time, very 2012-2013. That’s B-Tier done, on to C.
C – Tier: Probably some controversial opinions here, but nether the less they are here.
Here we go! the second last tier. Firstly, ‘SWISS ARMY MAN’. The concept of this film is fucking great, a stranded man who uses a dead man as his makeshift survival tool, Quality stuff. But I found my self bored, even though I really wanted to love the film and had heard a lot of praise for the Paul Dano lead film. Maybe you have to be in the right frame of mind to enjoy such an odd film, I should probably re-watch, maybe.
Now this is the one I think is controversial. With ‘ROOM’, the general story is incredibly well executed, with Brie Larson getting her self an Academy Award (though I think Cate Blanchett should have taken it for ‘Carol’ personally). I again found my self bored, though the film is emotionally perfect, with brie Larson being utterly convincing in her role, I just didn’t get the same out of this film as a lot of other people did. ‘LOCKE’ loved it the first time watching, fell asleep the second. Finally, I wish Noah Baumbach would experiment, ever since I saw ‘Frances Ha’ (one of my all time favourite films), I have this feeling that he’s been trying to recreate the same sense of reality constructed in that film and ‘WHILE WE’RE YOUNG’ is no different, a slow burner who’s characters are too quirky for their own good.
D – Tier: Fuck Tusk.