Showing posts with label articles. Show all posts
Showing posts with label articles. Show all posts

Tuesday, January 1, 2019

Everybody must know Everything about Facebook Messenger

Leave a Comment
Everybody must know Everything about Facebook Messenger 



Messenger, an instant messaging service owned by Facebook, can do a lot more than sending text. Following are the acquisition of Beluga, a group messaging app, Facebook launched Messenger in August 2011. Although it is owned and operated by Facebook, the app and website are different from Facebook.

You must not be on Facebook's website or even a Facebook account to use Messenger. When you keep a Facebook account, both are partially connected, but you do not have to be one to use Messenger.

How to access Facebook Messenger:



Messenger can be used on Messenger computers with Facebook on your computer or accessed by the Mobile Messenger app on Android and iOS devices. Because Messenger works on iPhones, it also works on Apple Watch.

Even though the Messenger website is easily available on your computer through your Facebook account and mobile app, but you can install add-ons in some browsers that are designed to make it easy to use. These add-ons are not the official Facebook app. They are third party extensions which non-Facebook developers release for free. For example, Firefox users can place Messenger on the edge of their screen and can use it on other websites, in the split-screen fashion, for Facebook Add-ons with Messenger.

Facebook Messenger Features:



There are so many features in messenger. The fact is that you do not have a Facebook account to use Messenger, it means that these allowances are also available to those people who have not signed up for Facebook or have closed their accounts.

Send text, pictures and videos:



At its core, Messenger is a texting app for both one-on-one and group messages, but it can also send images and videos. Messenger includes lots of built-in emoji, stickers and GIFs that you can find out exactly what you want send.

In order to see some useful small features included in Messenger, its typing indicator is when the person is writing something, when the message was sent, one more, most recently read for receipts, read receipts and timestamps.

Like Facebook, Messenger gives you feedback on both the website and the app.

Something about sharing images and videos via Messenger is that the app and website gather all the media files so that you can easily shift through them.

If you are using Messenger with your Facebook account, then any private Facebook message is displayed in Messenger. You can remove the collection along with these texts and can hide the message at any time to hide or show it from continuous view.

Voice or video call:


Messenger supports audio and video calls from both the mobile app, desktop messenger website and Facebook site. Where as, the phone icon is for audio calls, while the camera icon makes face-to-face video calls.

If you are using messenger calling features on Wi-Fi, you can use the app or website to make free internet phone calls.

Send money:



Messenger is a simple way to send money to people using information from your debit card. You can do this from both website and mobile app.

To send money or send money to the app, use the money send button in the computer, or send a text to it, and then click on the price to pay the money or to open a prompt to make a request. You can also add a small memo in the transaction so that you can remember what it is for.

Play the game:



Messenger lets you play games inside the app or Messenger.com website, while in group message too. These games have been made so that you do not have to download any other app or go to another website to start playing with the other Messenger user.

Share your location:



Instead of using a dedicated app to show someone where you are, you can let recipients follow your location for an hour with Messenger's built-in location-sharing feature, which only works from mobile apps .

More features in Facebook Messenger:

Although Messenger does not have a calendar, it lets you create event reminders via a reminder button on the mobile app. Another obvious way to do this is to send a message that contains a reference, and the app automatically asks you if you want to make a reminder about that message.

From inside a message in the mobile app, Messenger lets you request a ride from your Lyft or Uber account.



The name of the group message can be customized, as the message may have the nickname of the people. The color theme of each conversation thread can be further modified.

Audio clips can be sent through messenger if you want to send messages without text or make a full audio call.

On a per-conversation basis, notifications can be turned off by the desktop version of the messenger and through mobile apps for the specified hours or completely.

Add new Messenger contacts by conecting your phone or your Facebook friends. There is also a custom scan code that you can catch from within the app and share it with others, which can later scan your code to add you to your messenger immediately.
Read More

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Complete Guidelines to How to Start a Podcast Business

Leave a Comment
The Complete Guidelines to How to Start a Podcast Business
The Complete Guidelines to How to Start a Podcast Business

Podcasting is the next Stream in the digital world. Therefore, if you are a business or freelancer, then the article is for you. We have many other articles on podcast but it is going to be an end-to-end guide on how to start a podcast business.



What is podcasting?
Podcasting is a process where RSS is used to distribute and prepare the users of subscribed users. These audio files are then uploaded to different media players like iPods. Podcasts are saved as MP3 files and uploaded to make the websites available. The MP3 files have their own personal URL, which is inserted as an attachment inside the XML XML XML tags. To include podcasts in directories, they are registered with content aggregators.

There are several ways to start a podcast business And to get knowledge about how to do podcasting, read it.

Importance of Podcasting in business or personal branding:
Importance of Podcasting in business or personal branding

In podcasts, audio files are shared for distributing information on computers or other music devices such as MP3 players. Today, podcast is very popular as a content piece and many like you want to start a podcast business.

Share Relevant Business Information:

Podcasting in India is very much in demand because it is helpful in business as it can help in various purposes such as sharing information, company information or industry culture and general information about others. And thus most modern businesses rely on podcasting to reach their target audience.

Market your products:

If you ask about starting a podcast business, you can get an idea of ​​marketing your product in ads for podcasts. You can get many benefits by marketing your products on podcasting channels. You can share your expertise in the industry in audio files on the way you start podcast business or any other area, which you feel you can be an idea leader or a publicist.

Make Money from Ads:

In addition, if you publish information on a regular basis, you can earn income through ads and affiliate marketing through it. You can Make a strong connection with the audience through your voice, which will help you to establish your podcasting channel.

Create your Personal Brand:

If you can establish your business well, then you can also make your podcast brand name. In addition, production of podcasts is very easy. You do not have to spend much on your business. But you have to make high quality content. You can gain knowledge on how to do podcasting.


How to generate passive income through podcasting? Apps that provide Podcasting service?

If you have your own podcast that is running well, then you can earn money in many ways and can help. You can promote products on your podcasts....

Become an Affiliate:

You can use affiliate marketing links for your products. Or even if you have your own products and services, you can also promote them in your podcast. It can give you many benefits through commissioning.

Get Sponsorships:

When you are large enough to attract sponsors, you can earn money from the sponsorship given to the channel. There are unlimited ways through which you can earn money through podcasting. After many years of experience, you can find ways to earn money by promoting products on your podcast.

Podcast addiction - Pocket cast was not free, while podcast addiction is a very popular free podcasting app for Android, even if ads do not bother you. You can search from a massive database of 450,000 podcasts. You can also easily apply filter to your search and search your favorite content on your podcast only. The app also has various great features like Android Ware notification, compatibility with chromcast, built-in audio effects. If you like the app, you can donate some amount to your developers so that they can get some push from you. Some people are curious to know how podcasts work, so we recommend that you start with such apps and learn how podcast works practically.

Player FM - You can download this app from the Play Store. It's a progressive podcasting app that gives you access to thousands of podcasting content. You can also subscribe to it and get premium features from it.

You can also listen to your Amazon echo smart voice-controlled personal assistant with this app and podcast from your tablet. You can apply filters in your search very easily and only search your favorite content on your podcast. There are also various great features like Android wear notifications, consistency with chromecast, and many more. Its lowest membership scheme starts at only $ 0.99. If you want more specific features, then you can select a pro plan with $ 3.99. With this plan, you will get full media backup, fast feed updates, personal search, and more.


पॉकेट कास्ट एंड्रॉइड और आईओएस मोबाइल उपकरणों दोनों के लिए सबसे लोकप्रिय पॉडकास्टिंग ऐप्स में से एक है। आप शौकिया के साथ-साथ पेशेवर सामग्री निर्माता से 300,000 पॉडकास्ट सामग्री स्ट्रीम कर सकते हैं, और यदि आप आम तौर पर इसकी सदस्यता लेते हैं, तो यह स्वचालित रूप से आपके लिए एपिसोड डाउनलोड करेगा। यह आपकी सेटिंग्स को अन्य उपकरणों के साथ सिंक्रनाइज़ भी रखेगा।

It's different from other podcasting apps. This is the first of all on-demand internet radio service. Second, this is a great app for podcasts. You can listen to 100,000 podcasts on both your Android and iOS devices. You can also listen to your Amazon echo smart voice-controlled personal assistant with this app and podcast from your tablet. The Stitcher app has been integrated into various car models of various manufacturers, including Ford, BMW, GM, Volvo and many others. You can also get your personal podcasts based on your hearing habits.

The app also has various great features like Android Ware notification, compatibility with chromecast, built-in audio effects. You can also listen to your Amazon echo smart voice-controlled personal assistant with this app and podcast from your tablet. You can generally apply filters to your search and only search your favorite content on your podcast. You can also make it compatible with Android Ware devices, Chromecast and many other devices so that you can enjoy the podcast on your phone. If you buy premium packs from the Play store, you will also get additional facilities.

How to Start Podcasting?

How to Start Podcasting?


Before starting your podcast, it is very important that you should be committed to your work and have passion in it. It is very fun to create, record and publish your products. If you want to create a large audience, you should publish a podcast on a regular basis. Now the question comes, is the podcast free for the audience?

Answer Yes and in addition to some apps, your audience needs to buy an app license or just enjoy its limited edition.

What are the different podcasting equipment for beginners?

You will need some good tools that will help you in creating podcasts. There are various podcasting tools for beginners.

  • Microphone
You will need a high-quality microphone for your podcasting because the audience can definitely understand the difference between high and low quality, you can use Audio-Technica AT2020s for your podcasting. First of all, you have to understand what you want to use in your podcasting analog (XLR) or USB microphone, accordingly, you can search for the best microphone. If gaming headsets are also present, then you can also use it for podcasting.

  • Portable XLR recorder
You can use analog microphone for podcasting. You can capture several microphone channels through the portable XLR recorder. You can buy this amazing tool from $ 100 to $ 500. It depends on the no. of channels you want in your podcast.

  • Audio Interface
The audio interface is required if you want to record directly from your computer. You can switch in multiple analog MICs which will convert analog sound to digital sound. This audio interface will be connected to your computer through USB. The price of this device is $ 30 to $ 300.

  • A computer 
Windows or Mac computers will need to edit, publish, record or upload your podcast. But for every device, the right port needs to be connected. Any USB Mike requires a USB port and requires any analog MICs XLR port. For all audio interface, 3.5mm jack is a must.

  • Audio Editing Software
A digital audio workstation or DAW is required for actual editing and recording purposes. The reason for professional DAW or cost of Pro Tools is $ 300 to $ 900 in their license. The cost of ordinary audio editing software like Hiddenberg is approximately $ 100. You can get rapper at $ 60 which is a fully loaded audio software. Adobe's audio editing software spends $ 19.99 on audition CC monthly subscription. But if you are new to the business, then you have to use Audacity, a free open source program.

  • Pop filters  
To clarify your podcast sound crystal, pop filters are cheaper options for you. It keeps plosives away from your recordings and prevents it from making a bad sound. You can even create your own pop filters too.

Now to establish your podcast business, you have to follow certain specific places in your podcasting. There are many podcasts present. So it is possible that you will find a podcast about every topic you can find. So you have to choose any topic from the old words, which you can make a new topic by spinning some words or ideas. You have to choose your personalized nickname on which you will upload the podcast.

Few popular Epic Stories of Top 5 podcaster and their income:

If you are a powerful publicist or speaker, you can attract targeted customers and make yourself the leader in podcasting. There are some podcasters whose success stories are discussed.

John Lee Dumas - He runs Entrepreneur on Fire which is the topmost business in podcasting. In his channel, topmost entrepreneurs are interviewed from around the world. This business of EOFire gets the best iTunes along with 1200+ interviews of inspiring entrepreneurs.John Lee Dumas - It runs entrepreneurs on fire which is the largest business in podcasting. In its channel, top entrepreneurs from around the world are interviewed. This EOFER business has received an award for Best I.Tunes with 1200+ interviews of inspirational entrepreneurs....

John Lee Dumas


Jam Tardy - The ownership of a podcast business called Eventual Millionaire is Jam Tardy. He is primarily the author of a book with the same name as well as a writer. 250 multi-millionaire interviews have been conducted by him. In the first month of the release of its podcast, it was exceeding 30,000 downloads.

Jam Tardy


Tim Ferris - Tim Ferris has developed a unique podcast for himself and has become a successful podcaster. They have a wonderful list of records, and they are called 'world's guinea pig' by Newsweek. They are called 'The Cross between a Jack Welch and a Buddhist monk' by The New York Times.

Tim Ferris


Pat Flynn - Smart Passive Income Blog and Podcast is owned by Pat Flin. In iTunes, this is the highest ranking business. It has also been shown in the New York Times.

Pat Flynn


Amy Porterfield - She is a strategist in social media. She is also a co-author of Facebook Marketing All-In-One for Dummies and Facebook marketing expert.
She is a very successful as an online entrepreneur. Online Marketing Made Easy is a podcast that crosses 100,000 downloads every month.

Amy Porterfield


Future of Podcasting:
Mainstream media is killed by podcasts for a few years, and many channels have evolved in this process. Now radio and TV are also following this distribution process as it attracts a large audience.
Popular players like NPR have already started to reach this big audience in this area. The podcast is now gaining popularity. In the past, podcast ads were directly recorded in the podcast but now, ads have been dynamically inserted, and in 2016 they account for 56% of the expenditure.
It helps to switch ads from different slots, even if it has been previously published. Podcasts help in host podcast delivery too. 60% of the revenue from the podcast comes from host-reading advertisements. Therefore, the creators do not have to adhere to the strict rules of original advertisements. Another revenue source is branded content. 27% of podcasts and expenses are responsible for brand awareness ads and other materials. Podcasts are heavily dependent on the popularity of the ad show. But for 1000 listeners, it's between $ 15 and $ 30. Sponsorship of the most popular shows have a huge amount of six figure figures. Sponsorship of only one episode spends almost thousands of dollars per minute. There are many concerns related to podcast. Audience base of podcasts is very small although it is increasing day by day. There is also a lack of quality content in the past because podcasts are created by amateur. Although the quality is increasing because people are getting experience and are becoming an expert on it. But nowadays it has been seen that if your content is of high quality then listeners will be spending money.
Reader, it is a ready calculator to start the podcast world and podcast business. If you think we have missed something important, please comment below, I would love to hear your comments.
Read More

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

The Best Stunning Hollywood Movies of 2018

Leave a Comment

The Best Stunning Hollywood Movies of 2018 


The Best Stunning Hollywood Movies of 2018

From multiplex to art house, there are stand-alone films of the year 2018.

1.) MANDY

The psychosexual hallucinatory heavy-metal grindhouse revenge saga of your cinematic dreams, Mandy is a midnight movie of mythic madness. Director Panos Cosmatos’s wickedly deviant and humorous follow-up to 2011’s Beyond the Black Rainbow concerns a woodsman named Red (Nicolas Cage) whose wife, Mandy (Andrea Riseborough), is taken hostage at their secluded forest home by cultists led by crazed guru Jeremiah Sand (Linus Roache). After that situation ends in cataclysm, Red embarks on a rampage as trippy as it is brutal, as Cosmatos creates a pulpy atmosphere of pulsating LSD-fueled doom and gloom that envelops his protagonist as he descends into ever-more-depraved territory. Torture, mayhem, and shadowy supernatural fiends factor into this orgiastic pulp, which features—among its many euphorically insane sights—its hero lighting a cigarette from a flaming decapitated head, a boozy bathroom freak-out, and the greatest big-screen chainsaw fight since 1986’s The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. Hovering over the action like a wide-eyed goth specter, Riseborough proves an enchanting object of black-magic desire. A maniacal Cage is equally transfixing in a turn of fantastical, often silent ferocity that culminates in a triumphant smile designed—like the gonzo film itself—to haunt your nightmares.


2.) ANNIHILATION

Annihilation is the best sci-fi film in years, a mind-blowing trip into an inscrutable heart of darkness that marks writer-director Alex Garland as one of the genre’s true greats. Desperate to understand what happened to her soldier husband (Oscar Issac) on his last mission, a biologist (Natalie Portman) ventures alongside four comrades (Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson, Gina Rodriguez, Tuva Novotny) into a mysterious, and rapidly growing, hot zone known as the “Shimmer.” What follows is an unsettling, and finally hallucinatory, tale of destruction and transformation, division, and replication—dynamics that Garland posits as the fundamental building blocks of every aspect of existence, and which fully come to the fore during a climax of such surreal birth-death insanity that it has to be seen to be believed. Apropos for a story about nature’s endless cycles of synthesis and mutation, it combines elements of numerous predecessors (Apocalypse Now2001: A Space OdysseyStalkerThe Thing) to create something wholly, frighteningly unique.


3.) LOVE AFTER LOVE


The type of mature adult drama that mainstream American cinema rarely produces these days, writer-director Russell Harbaugh’s exceptional debut mires itself in a thicket of barbed emotions. In the wake of her husband’s death, Suzanne (Andie MacDowell) strives to start anew, as does her son Nicholas (Chris O’Dowd)—albeit, in the latter’s case, in ways that are as clumsy as they are ugly. Their concurrent efforts to find a way forward (romantically and otherwise) unfold with fractured grace and beauty, as Harbaugh plumbs profound depths via evocative compositional framing and a seductive editorial structure. Complications soon pile on top of each other until practically no one is capable of breathing (save for during release-valve outbursts), with a piercing MacDowell and magnetic O’Dowd (in a staggeringly raw performance) digging deeply into their characters’ interior messes. What they discover, ultimately, are alternately unpleasant and inspiring truths about what we do, and what it takes, to survive in the aftermath of tragedy.


4.) THE RIDER


The West is wild to its core in Chloé Zhao’s The Rider, a stunning verité drama about a young rodeo star facing an uncertain future after a catastrophic accident. Zhao amalgamates fact and fiction for her sophomore behind-the-camera effort, as her story is based, in part, on the life of actor Brady Jandreau (here cast alongside his own relatives and acquaintances in his native South Dakota). That life-art marriage lends bracing potency to this ode to frontier existence, as does the quiet magnetism of its twenty-something lead. Nonetheless, the material is truly enlivened by the director’s artful aesthetics, which balance intimate close-ups and at-a-remove panoramas of solitary figures set against expansive rural landscapes—never more so than in a late oncoming-storm shot that could double as an Old West painting. Meanwhile, multiple sequences in which Jandreau trains stallions provide a powerful, tactile sense of communion between man and beast, and in doing so, silently evoke the warring emotions battling for supremacy in the young bronco rider’s soul.


5.) YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE


Joaquin Phoenix reconfirms his status as his generation’s finest leading man with You Were Never Really Here, a startling drama that cares less for straightforward thrills than for penetrating psychological intensity. Barreling forward with both urgent momentum and fragmented lyricism (thanks to oblique edits and jarring flashbacks), the latest from Scottish auteur Lynne Ramsay (RatcatcherWe Need to Talk About Kevin) tracks a mentally scarred war vet (Phoenix) as he tries to rescue a senator’s young daughter from a child prostitution ring. There’s plenty of bloodshed throughout that underworld quest, yet Ramsay’s treatment of violence is anything but exploitative; rather, her masterful film resounds as a lament for the trauma of childhood abuse, which lingers long after adolescence has given way to adulthood. Reminiscent of Taxi Driver, and energized by Phoenix’s magnetic embodiment of masculine suffering and sorrow, it’s a gut-wrenching portrait of a volatile man’s attempts to achieve some measure of solace from his inner demons—sometimes via the use of a ball-peen hammer.


6.) FIRST REFORMED


It’s been forty-two years since Taxi Driver first verified Paul Schrader’s greatness, and with First Reformed, the writer-director provides a magnificent companion piece to that earlier triumph. Also indebted to Robert Bresson, Andrei Tarkovsky, and Ingmar Bergman, Schrader’s religious drama (shot in a boxy 1.37:1 aspect ratio) fixates on Reverend Toller (Ethan Hawke), an upstate New York man of the cloth whose ongoing crisis-of-faith is accelerated by an encounter with an environmental activist beset by hopelessness and anger. Toller’s ensuing relationship with that man’s wife (Amanda Seyfried), as well as the leader of a local mega-church (Cedric the Entertainer), forms the basis of Schrader’s rigorously ascetic—and occasionally expressionistic—film, which is guided by Toller’s journal-entry narration about his fears and doubts. Formally exquisite and led by a tremendous performance from Hawke as a Travis Bickle-like country priest who can’t quell the darkness within, it’s a spiritual inquiry made harrowing by both its mounting misery and its climactic ambiguity.


7.) ZAMA


Ten years after The Headless Woman, Argentinean director Lucrecia Martel returns with another mesmeric reverie—Zama, an adaptation of Antonio di Benedetto’s 1956 novel about an 18th century Spanish official, Don Diego de Zama (Daniel Giménez Cacho), stuck in a Paraguay River outpost from which he cannot escape. Awash in existential doubt and despair, Zama tends to mundane magisterial tasks, flirts with a noblewoman (Lola Dueñas), and vainly requests transfer back home to see his wife and kids—the last of which is pointedly and hilariously dramatized during a scene in which a llama wanders into the frame behind Zama, accentuating his absurdity. Cinematographer Rui Poças’s exquisitely framed imagery, and Guido Berenblum’s arresting natural-noises sound design, lend unreal beauty to the first half’s series of go-nowhere bureaucratic and personal encounters, which underline the protagonist’s purgatorial condition as well as the prejudiced power dynamics that serve as this new society’s foundation. A finale in which Zama takes action then transforms the film into a nightmare of confusion, alienation and futility.


8.) 24 FRAMES


Before passing away in 2016 at the age of 76, Iranian master Abbas Kiarostami completed work on this, his final film, an experimental documentary that serves as a melancholy meditation on mortality and the moving image. As original as it is striking, 24 Frames features twenty-four scenes, each containing a still photograph taken by Kiarostami (save for the opening shot of Pieter Bruegel’s 1565 painting “The Hunters in the Snow”) that then slowly comes to animated life courtesy of sly digital effects that cause animals to run, clouds to roll by, and smoke to billow from chimneys. By lingering on each of these sights as they spring into action, the director situates viewers in a trancelike realm. While no overt commentary is provided, the repetition of objects, figures and rhythms soon impart the project’s underlying fascination with issues of loneliness, compassion, romance and the inexorable forward march of time—a subject that, in the end, reveals Kiarostami’s swan song as a moving treatise on his, and mankind’s, fundamental impermanence.


9.) A PRIVATE WAR


Rosamund Pike gives the performance of the year in A Private War, exuding a complex mixture of fierce determination and PTSD-fueled torment as real-life war correspondent Marie Colvin, who perished during Syria’s Siege of Homs in 2012. Directed by Matthew Heineman (Cartel LandCity of Ghosts), this jagged, riveting drama details the acclaimed career of Colvin, whose fearless expeditions to global hot-spots to capture the human face of war took an immense toll on her psyche. Donning the reporter’s signature eye patch and speaking in her gravelly voice, Pike brilliantly evokes the messy contradictions of Colvin’s life—her bravery, her instability, and her dogged desire to make people care about the world’s horrors as much as she did. Her performance is matched by the direction of Heineman, who employs a fractured editorial structure and tragic up-close-and-personal warfare imagery in order to carry on Colvin’s mission of making the political deeply personal. In an age in which the media is under increasing attack, it’s a bracing and timely portrait of journalistic courage and sacrifice.


10.) EIGHTH GRADE


Teenagerdom is tough, and Bo Burnham’s Eighth Grade captures the difficult ups and downs of that universal experience with amusing and moving realism. Elsie Fisher is a revelation as thirteen-year-old Kayla, whose day-to-day existence on the cusp of middle school graduation is defined by social media, squabbles with her single dad (Josh Hamilton), and social anxiety and ostracism. Burnham’s plot is littered with specific bits that anyone who is (or is living with someone) this age will recognize as spot-on (“LeBron James!”). More compelling still is his depiction of social media’s role in kids’ process of self-definition, of girls’ awkward and often unpleasant first forays into romantic and sexual territory, and of the peer pressure-created insecurities that complicate one’s maturation (and relationship with parents). Unvarnished to the point of sometimes being outright cringe-worthy, it recognizes how tough it is to figure out who you are—and locates hope in the knowledge that that process continues long after you’ve moved on to high school.


11.) THUNDER ROAD




Thunder Road begins with a ten-minute single-take scene of such cringe-worthy humor and wrenching pathos that it’s a borderline miracle the film manages to live up to it. That it certainly does, as writer-director-star Jim Cummings’s first feature deftly navigates the uneasy tragicomic territory inhabited by its main character, Texas police officer Jim Arnaud. Reeling from the death of his mother (whose funeral is the setting for the aforementioned opener), and coping with an impending divorce from his ex (Jocelyn DeBoer) and the cold-shoulder treatment from his fourth-grader daughter (Kendal Farr), Jim begins to lose it both at home and at work, this despite the best efforts of his kindhearted partner (Nican Robinson). Cummings’s expertly calibrated turn moves between heartbreaking and absurd at a moment’s notice, providing an unvarnished snapshot of one angry, unstable but good-natured man’s grief-stricken disintegration. It’s a film that knows what it’s like to feel as if your world is falling apart, and the difficulty of making it—and yourself, and your family—whole again.

12.) SHOPLIFTERS


Life on the margins is imagined in complex, full-bodied terms by Japanese auteur Hirokazu Kore-eda in Shoplifters, an achingly empathetic story about a makeshift Japanese household that steals to survive. Living in the home of their granny, a couple decides to add to their brood by taking in a young girl being neglected by her own parents. The precise reality of this clan’s circumstances—and composition—winds up being, for a long stretch, shrouded in mystery. Nevertheless, hints provided along the way suggest that their bond has been forged less by biology than by their shared suffering and love for each other. The director so expertly evokes the intricacies of his central relationships that, when revelations ultimately do arrive, they resound with seismic force, especially given that they’re wholly in tune with his larger inquiry into the nature of family. At the same time, his depiction of these people’s daily turmoil, bliss, and sorrow (as during a shattering close-up single-take toward film’s end) is steeped in overwhelming compassion for their complicated plight.

13.) THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS




A bountiful anthology of Western tales from Joel and Ethan Coen, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs lavishes the classical genre with love while nonetheless dissecting it with a sharp analytical eye. Laced with a fatalism that’s emblematic of their finest work, the Coens’ six tales progress from jaunty to gloomy, although there’s plenty of humor and pessimism to be found in each of these captivating installments. From James Franco’s desperado trying to rob a remote prairie bank and Tom Waits’ prospector searching for gold, to Liam Neeson’s showman endeavoring to make a living with an armless-and-legless performer and Zoe Kazan’s single woman struggling to survive during a wagon-train trip across the plains, the absurd and the mournful constantly converge in unanticipated and striking ways. That’s most true of the dazzling opening salvo, in which Tim Blake Nelson’s crooning gunslinger Buster Scruggs proves a simultaneous homage to (and critique of) the Roy Rogers archetype—and, by extension, the myths of the West it helped beget


14.) FILMWORKER




Leon Vitali delivered a star-making turn as Lord Bullingdon in Stanley Kubrick’s 1975 period-piece Barry Lyndon. After that performance, however, the actor opted to become his director’s right-hand man—a position he would hold until Kubrick’s death in 1999. Filmworker, Tony Zierra’s outstanding documentary about Vitali, is a portrait of a man who subsumed his own priorities and personality in order to be whatever his employer required, which in this case included operating as an acting coach, a script supervisor, an exacting technician, and an advertising manager. A study of obsessive devotion and self-destruction, Zierra’s film conveys the round-the-clock arduousness of assisting a perfectionist like Kubrick, and the toll such employment took on Vitali’s health and relationship with his family. Now an apprentice without a master, Vitali proves a complex figure of commitment taken to a crazy extreme—as well as a charismatic artist in his own right, whose recognition for the work he did alongside the 2001 and The Shining auteur remains long overdue.


15.) PADDINGTON 2




A superior slice of children’s entertainment, Paul King’s sequel to 2015’s Paddington is a sheer joy, infused with comic inspiration and irresistible sweetness. In this second series installment based on the stories of author Michael Bond, the perpetually hatted Paddington (voiced by Ben Wishaw) winds up in prison after he’s framed for the theft of an elaborate pop-up book that he planned to purchase for his dear Aunt Lucy (Imelda Staunton)—a crime that’s actually been perpetrated by a faded local actor (and master of disguise) played, to cartoonish perfection, by Hugh Grant. The set pieces are uniformly inventive, the hybrid live-action/CGI aesthetics are superb, and the supporting cast—including Sally Hawkins, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters, Jim Broadbent, and Peter Capaldi—is across-the-board fantastic. Only the hardest of hearts could resist its good-natured charm, epitomized by its sincere belief (advocated by Paddington himself) that the key to improving the world and ourselves is compassion, affection, politeness and positivity.


16.) THE ENDLESS




Indie directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s first two features, 2012’s Resolutionand 2014’s Spring, were an idiosyncratic blend of indie character drama and supernatural menace and madness. That mix is even more apparent in their excellent third feature, which charts the odyssey of two brothers (played by Benson and Moorhead) as they make a return visit to the remote California UFO sex cult that they first fled—under controversial and headline-making circumstances—years earlier. Existing in the same fictional cine-verse as their low-budget debut, The Endless generates unease, and then dawning terror, from its raft of beguiling mysteries, which, from a simple starting point, spiral outward in an increasingly all-consuming manner. Yet no matter its gradual descent into unreal terrain, its primary focus remains the fraught relationship between its sibling protagonists, whose push-pull rapport is central to the film’s overarching, and affecting, examination of conformity, rebellion, and the insidious cycles (of thought, and behavior) that threaten to trap us where we stand.


17.) A PRAYER BEFORE DAWN



Thai prisons are best avoided at all costs, and Jean-Stéphane Sauvaire’s adaptation of Billy Moore’s autobiography is disturbing proof of that fact. After a life of selling (and abusing) drugs lands him in the notorious “Bangkok Hilton,” boxer Moore (Joe Cole) struggles to survive a new world for which he’s not prepared. Acts of rape and violence are omnipresent in this ramshackle environment, which Sauvaire horrifyingly dramatizes through blistering handheld cinematography and jarring sound design, replete with Thai dialogue that’s left un-subtitled for maximum disorientation. Tracing Moore’s rocky path from wanton self-destruction to uneasy transcendence, the film is as unsentimental as it is brutal, especially in its pugilistic sequences, which the director shoots with an astounding measure of up-close-and-personal viciousness and an apparent lack of choreography, as combatants wail on each other with reckless abandon. Cole’s go-for-broke performance as this out-of-control man—all crazy-eyed desolation and battering-ram physicality—is the stuff that turns actors into stars.

18.) LEAVE NO TRACE



Eight years after her last fictional feature (2010’s Winter’s Bone) introduced the world to Jennifer Lawrence, writer-director Debra Granik returns with Leave No Trace, a pensive, thorny character study about a father (Ben Foster) and daughter (newcomer Thomasin McKenzie) living off the grid, illegally, in the national forests of the Pacific Northwest. Once again teaming with co-screenwriter Anne Rosellini and cinematographer Michael McDonough (this time on an adaptation of Peter Rock’s novel My Abandonment), Granik details the ins and outs of her characters’ isolated circumstances while plumbing the trauma that’s driven Foster’s dad to retreat from society—and the tension that develops between him and his daughter, who finds it difficult to assume her father’s grievances (and, thus, lifestyle). There’s no judgment here, just empathetic curiosity about unique lives situated on society’s fringe—as well as some wonderful acting from a silently tormented Foster and a confused and brave McKenzie in a sterling debut performance.


19.) BURNING



The angry disaffection of South Korean youth, and the sinister trouble it can breed, is the focus of Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, which melds suspense and social commentary to eerie effect. Jong-su (Ah-in Yoo) is a delivery boy whose heart is enflamed after a run-in with beautiful Haemi (Jong-seo Jun), a former classmate he can’t remember. After having Jong-su catsit for her while she visits Africa, Haemi returns with a new friend in tow—wealthy, suave Ben (Steven Yuen), whose intrusion into their budding romance frustrates the jealous Jong-su. While that set-up suggests a love triangle drama, what ensues is something far more beguiling, as Haemi goes missing and Ben expounds on his fondness for setting rural greenhouses on fire. Thrust into the role of detective, Jong-su searches for Haemi but, as with her cat (which is never seen), he finds few answers to his questions about anyone, or anything. Led by terrific turns by Yoo and Yuen, Lee’s latest is an ambiguous examination of class, envy, and the unknowable mysteries of the world.



20.) BISBEE ’17


In 1917, the sheriff of Bisbee, Arizona—a remote mountain-nestled enclave then known for its wealth of copper—rounded up the town’s striking German and Mexican miners and, with the aid of a 2,000-man posse, took them out to the desert and left them there, never to be seen or thought about again. Robert Greene’s daring and accomplished Bisbee ’17 refuses to consign those unjustly persecuted victims to the forgotten realms of history, instead using traditional documentary footage and dramatic reenactments—often taking the surprising form of musical numbers—to revisit that calamitous event. As in his prior Actress and Kate Plays Christine, Greene’s blending of fiction and non-fiction techniques is assured, and results in an insightful investigation into race relations, class conflicts, and the nature of memory. A mournful ghost story that doubles as an act of resurrection and reclamation, it’s a saga about past crimes with undeniable present relevance.


21.) I AM NOT A WITCH


In Zambia, women are still accused of being witches—and then sent to live in camps, forced to perform manual labor, and (most stunning of all) compelled to preside over criminal trials, where they’re supposed to use their supernatural powers to make judgments. This insane real-life scenario is brought to bleakly satiric life by I Am Not a Witch, Rungano Nyoni’s directorial debut about a young girl dubbed Shula (Maggie Mulubwa) whose world is turned upside-down after authorities determine she’s a witch. Under the guidance of government official Mr. Banda (Henry B.J. Phiri), Shula embarks on an odyssey that’s littered with indignities and absurdities, including appearing on a TV talk show where she’s asked to hawk magic “Shula eggs” to the audience like some infomercial huckster. Set to an eclectic score (sharp strings, harsh noise) that’s sometimes at odds with the action, Nyoni’s drama—playing like a droll, horrifying 21st century riff on The Crucible—is a startlingly inventive story about modern institutionalized misogyny.

22.) THE SISTERS BROTHERS


Can a man change his malevolent ways—and, more difficult still, manage to help a loved one do likewise? Such is the question at the heart of The Sisters Brothers, an eccentric and disarming Western from director Jacques Audiard (A Prophet) about two assassins—Charlie (Joaquin Phoenix) and Eli Sisters (John C. Reilly)—ordered by their boss (Rutger Hauer) to track down a chemist (Riz Ahmed) with the assistance of a detective (Jake Gyllenhaal). That phenomenal foursome is led by Reilly in a career-best performance as a killer caught between loyalty to his merciless sibling and a personal desire to forever holster his six-shooters in favor of a more cultivated existence (here epitomized by his experimentations with a toothbrush). Adapted from Patrick deWitt’s novel, the film segues between no-nonsense action, dry comedy and lyrical drama, all of which is shrewdly rooted in the tension—both individual and national—between the civilized and the wild.


23.) MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT


Tom Cruise risks life and limb—literally, in many instances—for his sixth go-round as Ethan Hunt in Mission: Impossible—Fallout, the finest action film since 2015’s Mad Max: Fury Road. In writer-director Christopher McQuarrie’s adrenalized espionage thriller, Hunt is tasked with recovering a trio of plutonium cores while juggling his relationships with colleagues (Simon Pegg, Ving Rhames, Alec Baldwin), alluring spy Ilsa Faust (Rebecca Ferguson), and former wife Julia (Michelle Monaghan)—not to mention CIA-assigned assassin August Walker (Henry Cavill), who has orders to kill Hunt should he stray from his assignment. That intertwining of the personal and professional provides a sturdy backbone for a series of set pieces that, especially in IMAX, are nothing short of astonishing, as McQuarrie begins with a slam-bang bathroom brawl and then continually ups the eye-opening ante, culminating with an aerial showdown between Hunt and Walker aboard helicopters that establishes Cruise, and the series, as the reigning kings of Hollywood spectacle.


24.) THE FAVOURITE


Yorgos Lanthimos’s fascination with hermetically sealed social units is again explored in The Favourite, albeit this time in an unlikely setting—the 18th-century court of England’s Queen Anne (Olivia Colman). In her luxurious abode, the ill health-plagued monarch is aided in her duties by doting best friend/lover Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz), whose adoration is designed for maximum manipulation. Their bond is shaken by the arrival of Sarah’s cousin Abigail Masham (Emma Stone), whose attempts to rise from her lowly position and usurp Anne’s affections leads to a backstabbing battle with Sarah that’s intertwined with the country’s dilemma over whether to continue pursuing war with France or, per conniving opposition leader Robert Harley (Nicholas Hoult), settle for peace. Lanthimos’ fisheye-lensed cinematography presents this opulent milieu as warped and deranged, and his droll characterization of his many players—who entertain themselves by racing ducks and throwing fruit at naked men—augments the action’s eccentric satire. His three female leads, meanwhile, are equally tremendous: pitiful and bitter Colman; cunning and ruthless Weisz; and clever and amoral Stone.


25.) BLACKKKLANSMAN


As energized as anything he’s made in years, Spike Lee’s BlacKkKlansman tackles our current white nationalist-stained era via the based-on-real-events tale of 1970s African-American rookie undercover detective Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), who infiltrates the KKK with the aid of Jewish partner Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver). Lee has a tendency to let scenes run on long after their point (and impact) has been made, yet here, that habit rarely undercuts the electricity of his action, which has Stallworth and Zimmerman posing as a racist white man (the former on the phone, the latter in person) to gain the confidence of the Klan and its leader, David Duke (Topher Grace)—all as Stallworth develops a less-than-upfront relationship with an African-American activist (Laura Harrier). Concerned with issues of intolerance and identity (and what it takes to “pass” in particular societies), rife with current-events parallels, and canny about its own place in cinema history (and movies’ effect on the national discourse), it’s amusing, suspenseful, and intensely engaged with the present moment.

Read More