Just a few things...

I actually thought (Bird Box) on Netflix was very well done. It has a fabulous cast, led by another very good, effective performance, from (Sandra Bullock). The setup is good, the story is compelling, and despite what I have read, I actually thought the ending was very clever and fitting. It is well worth watching on Netflix.

I finally saw (Eighth Grade) and it was absolutely fabulous. I highly recommend you see it. (Elsie Fisher) is just wonderful, and was one of several who wasn't, but should have been nominated, for an Acadamy Award. It is one of the most honest and natural performances I have seen in a long time and will bring back many painful and awkward memories from that time in your school life. It is on Amazon Prime. Also on Amazon Prime, is (Paul Shrader's) excellent (First Reformed) with (Ethan Hawke) in one of his finest performances, that also should have been nominated for an Oscar. He plays a troubled minister in a small upstate New York church, struggling with a painful past and some parishioners who are struggling with their own demons. This is one of my favorite movies of last year by far.  This is a gem. (Debra Granik) who made the stunning (Winter's Bone) hits another one out the park, with her wonderful (Leave No Trace). This is a touching story of a father and daughter living off the grid in the Pacific Northwest with the always great (Ben Foster ) and a revelatory (Thomasin McKenzie ). I really enjoyed how the film avoids the usual tropes in telling this tender tale of a PTSD veteran, who just wants to protect his daughter from the poisonous outside world. This is also on Amazon Prime and well worth it.

The Academy Awards again, are baffling with their many in my opinion, omissions this year.

I was absolutely stunned that neither (Damien Chazelle's) somber and poetic tribute to the Apollo astronaut Neil Armstrong (First Man) was snubbed, along with both (Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy's) heartfelt portrayals of Neil and Janet Armstrong. I understand that (Justin Hurwitz), at a mere 34, has already won Best Original Score for  (La La Land), but his composition for this movie is just perfect and should have been nominated. At the very least, (Toni Collette's) on fire performance in (Ari Aster's) bone-rattling (Hereditary) should have gotten a nod. I would have also included (Alex Wolff ) who was shattering as Peter, her son. This was not a film for everybody, but if you dared, it was an impressive movie that I won't soon forget, or stop shaking from fright. I love that the young and incredibly talented writer/director (Ryan Coogler's) (Black Panther) was nominated for Best Picture, but confused that he didn't get a nomination for Best Director. I don't get that one either, but it is great to see ( Spike Lee) get a nod for (BlacKkKlansman). (Alex Garland's) mindblowing (Annihilation), now on Amazon Prime, was another one that didn't get a thing, and I think this will be considered along with (Denis Villeneuve 's Arrival) among the greatest of all-time Scifi films.

I have long been jaded by the politics and other things that go into the Oscars. The magic of the pomp and circumstance on this night left me years ago. But I love film, and all the little details of it, so I watch each year and cheer when one of my favorites win, and get pissed when they don't.

In no particular order, here are my favorite films of last year:

First Man
Black Panther
First Reformed
Eighth Grade
Leave No Trace
A Star is Born