Film 2018

Film 2018

Year-end film lists vary a lot from one critic to another. Many focus on either UK or US release dates, making some films feel very out of date if something was released in the UK say in January, yet in the US earlier last year… So, to simplify, we go with films that have been in the spotlight in 2018 – either had its UK or US release, its premiere, or a prominent film festival screening. Because of the way we compile this list, yes, there may be some films notably absent as we probably saw them in 2017. Or some that seem out of place on this list as they’re coming out next year. But, if we saw it in 2018 and it was in cinemas or streaming from January onwards, it’s on this list, ranked in order from the best to the rest.

A Star is Born – Now this is a Hollywood movie! It has all of the ingredients from fantastic music to great performances and is a pure joy to watch, until it’s a heartbreaking drama. Everything about this film is masterful – Lady Gaga is brilliant, as is Bradley Cooper as both director and star.

Suspiria – This film is so beautiful, cinematic and eerie. I’m not sure what it all means, but I’m fully on board.

Blackkklansman – I’ve not really seen much of Spike Lee’s back catalogue, so I can’t compare his latest film stylistically. But I loved Blackkklansman and was a bawling mess by the end. A great balance of humour and poignancy, Lee isn’t afraid to draw overt and blatant parallels of KKK leader David Duke to Donald Trump. The soundtrack is also the best musical compilation in years.

The Favourite – I love Yorgos Lanthimos’ work, and The Favourite is no exception. Olivia Colman is absolutely genius as Queen Anne – both heartbreaking and hilarious.

The Sisters Brothers – This film doesn’t neatly fit into any genre category as a western, comedy and seriously depressing and poignant drama. Such a great and impactful film with wonderful performances from its star-studded cast. Disappointingly overlooked at the box office!

Green Book – A feel-good Christmas comedy-drama about racism from one of the Farrelly brothers? Uh… I didn’t see this one coming… or how genuinely great it would be!

Vice – A scathing look back at the political career of ex VP Dick Cheney. The film uses Adam McKay’s usual style of humour, alongside some really horrific imagery and facts. It’s very funny, but also very upsetting. Especially given today’s political climate.

Roma – Every shot of this film is like a painting. A true masterful work of art from director Alfonso Cuarón. His directing is so meticulous and beautiful.

Burning – Deceptively slow and boring, you don’t quite realize what you’re watching until it’s over. And even then, many questions remain. Masterful filmmaking.

Widows – A stylish female-fronted heist thriller by Steve McQueen is heightened even further by the great Viola Davis.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout – Hands down the best action film of the year.

Mary Poppins Returns – I had zero expectations for this film, and didn’t know I wanted a sequel to the beloved original. But to see a musical where the stars can actually sing and dance, and where the score is mixed audibly to perfection, is so refreshing. I can’t remember the last time a musical looked and sounded so good (not including Disney Animations). I also loved how it was a beat for beat homage to the original, without being a remake. The songs are not as memorable as the original by any means, but the joy is fully there.

Incredibles 2 – Again, I didn’t even know I wanted a sequel to this Pixar film, but here we are! The music is SO good, it elevates an already very wonderful film!

Sorry to Bother You – I can’t tell if I loved this film or hated it. It was just SO weird and wonderful throughout, but went completely off the rails by the end. I need to watch it again now that the shock value will have worn off a bit.

They Shall Not Grow Old – Peter Jackson’s WW1 documentary is astonishing from the gruesome content to the filmic colourization, frame rate enhancement, audio dubbing and overall restoration. It’s a highly immersive portrayal of WW1, almost too intense to appreciate. It’s harrowing. An amazing feat of documentary filmmaking.

Leave No Trace Winter’s Bone director Debra Granik produces another poignant ambient rural drama. No doubt taking influence from her documentary Stray Dog. Heartbreaking.

The Old Man and the Gun – A fond farewell to Robert Redford’s career. An endearing movie for an endearing actor.

The Guilty – Such a simple film that is highly gripping. As it unravels, it really hits hard.

22 July – Not an easy watch to see Paul Greengrass’s recreation of the Norwegian terrorist attack on Utoya. The way the story focuses more on the aftermath from a political and emotional perspective is fantastic. Especially how it relates to today’s political climate. Such a difficult and relevant watch.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – Not AS good as the hype, but a fun, fresh, extremely well-animated fun Spiderman film! But in the end, still just another superhero film… although, better than any proper Marvel outing!

Fahrenheit 11/9 – Michael Moore is at it again – thank goodness!!!

The Miseducation of Cameron Post – A fantastic balance of comedy and drama with fully-rounded empathetic characters.

Annihilation – There is a LOT to love about this film, but that bear is going to haunt me indefinitely.

Disobedience – Sebastian Lelio takes on Orthodox Judaism and lesbian romance in this wonderful film.

Thunder Road – A very low-key indie film that has mastered that fine line between laughing and crying. The opening scene alone had me teetering on the edge of both for its duration. Such a wonderful film and full of heart.

Crazy Rich Asians – This is the year of the romcom! It’s back baby, with a vengeance. Crazy Rich Asians is the best one of the year! Looking forward to the sequels.

You Were Never Really Here – Not being a fan of Joaquin Phoenix, I put all of my faith in director Lynne Ramsay’s redefining of the gangster film genre. And it paid off.

Arctic – Mads Mikkelsen is infinitely watchable and carries this film so boldly in his mostly silent and stoic performance.

The Wife – AKA Glenn Close acting her butt off! She’s just great!!!

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs – The Coen Brothers have made a wonderful film with Buster Scruggs, but the anthology format suffers from lack of emotional engagement in the stories.

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before – This is a teen romcom on Netflix, but it’s part of 2018’s comeback of the genre, and I love it.

The Breaker Upperers – New Zealanders do comedy so well! Such a funny, great film!

Colette – How many period pieces can one actress fit into a career? Keira Knightley adds one more to her repertoire, arguably her best effort yet!

Tag – One of the funniest films of the year. I had less than zero expectations (that poster is AWFUL), but I laughed a LOT!

Game Night – An actually funny comedy film shouldn’t be so rare, but it is these days. This is one of the good uns!

Blockers – What a good year for comedy! Another actually funny and sweet film!

My Generation – I loved this Michael Caine led documentary about London’s swinging 60’s! Really gives firsthand insight into the era.

Mary Queen of Scots – Wonderful performances from Saoirse Ronan and Margot Robbie. Interesting framing of the historical story to portray all of the men as the problem.

Sweet Country – A harrowing Australian western. Beautiful landscapes and a very tragic tale!

An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn – I HATED Jim Hosking’s previous film The Greasy Strangler. An Evening With Beverly Luff Linn has a lot of commonalities with it, but the excellent and highly appropriate casting elevates the film to an enjoyable comedic place.

The Tale – An immensely personal story for Jennifer Fox, The Tale depicts the director’s abuse as a child, her relationship with the memory of it, and the complex path to dealing with the trauma. Not an easy watch.

Private Life – A depressing and inspiring film about a couple desperately struggling to have a baby later in life.

Black Panther – The hype was too much. It’s good for a Marvel film, but its social significance is stronger than its cinematic achievements.

Ready Player One – A Spielbergian epic. Fun, but ultimately shallow.

The Post – Spielberg, Streeps, Hanks and a big FU to the Trump administration – what more do you need? (It’s a little dull and unmemorable though.)

Avengers: Infinity War – It’s all been leading up to this… and it is a fine action film for comic book fans! There was actually someone snoring loudly in the screening I attended. I was crying from laughter – it’s such a LOUD film, even if it’s boring, how could they have slept!?

Can You Ever Forgive Me? – Great performances from Melissa McCarthy and Richard E. Grant.

Dumplin’ – This film has more potential than it reaches, but there’s still a lot to love about it. And of course, DOLLY PARTON.

Shadow (Ying) – A visually and aurally stunning martial arts epic that falls flat on plot.

First Reformed – A very demanding film. Even after days of digesting it, I’m not sure how I feel about it.

Lizzie – Quite a bold (yet subtle) adaptation of the tale of Lizzie Borden.

Outlaw King – Lots of battles. Lots and lots of battles. Aaron Taylor-Johnson is playing it crazy. But it’s still quite a good watch.

Bird Box – Not as bad as the reviews make it out to be, but not as good as it could be. Netflix’s most-viewed film in opening week to date!

Happy New Year, Colin Burstead– Ben Wheatley makes another film about assholes yelling at each other. Fun but a bit headache-inducing.

Ocean’s 8 – What you see is what you get. A fun female-fronted caper!

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald – What happened? The first Fantastic Beasts was one of the freshest and best Hollywood movies to come along in years. This one is so bog-standard, special effects driven, it may as well have been a screensaver with an added on weird plot-twist that doesn’t make sense.

Rampage – Not the worst video-game to film adaptation! And not really that bad in general – the film knows what it is and embraces its idiocy! Jeffrey Dean Morgan in particular knows exactly what kind of film he’s in. Kinda fun, with good action, a great cast, and The Rock!

Cargo – Martin Freeman’s Netflix zombie movie is quite good! But it’s still just another zombie movie.

A Futile and Stupid Gesture – So many bad wigs in this awesome movie! David Wain does good by Doug Kenney in this comedy biopic of the man who started National Lampoon!

If Beale Street Could Talk – I was really underwhelmed by Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight follow up. The two lead characters are the worst thing about it, and I despise the subordinate and weak characterization of the female lead. Ugh.

Mortal Engines – This YA film is trying to be too epic for its own good. Please please please cut back on the ridiculous score!

Beautiful Boy – Hype and social relevance, but a boring film.

Duplicate – This indie sci fi isn’t too shabby, but lets itself down with a bit of dumb exposition in the end.

First Man – A technical masterpiece and an emotional dud, Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong biopic doesn’t need to exist. It doesn’t need to be 2.5 hours long. It’s a great recreation of flying in space and landing on the moon, but it’s utterly pointless and boring.

Wildlife – Paul Dano is now a director. It’s a decent first effort, but it’s dull and a little bit difficult to emotionally engage with.

Like Father – Silly and empty Netflix film. But I love Kelsey Grammer and Kristen Bell.

Set It Up – Netflix has brought back the “classic” rom-com! It’s not “good”, but it’s very comforting!

Shirkers – This documentary is certainly well made and eventually makes a nice commentary on friendship, but it feels very self-indulgent which is disappointing.

The Boy Downstairs – This indie romance movie is nothing more than sweet really, but quite enjoyable.

All the Money in the World – This film will be remembered for its scandals rather than its merit, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.

Yardie – Idris Elba does alright with his directorial debut. A few flaws here and there, but very on point subject matter!

How to Talk to Girls at Parties – Well made and stylish as eff (I expect nothing less from director John Cameron Mitchell). Unfortunately the film’s plot is an absurdist mess.

Bohemian Rhapsody – This film’s runaway success at the box office and early awards season baffles me. It’s a right mess, feels like it has no director and is more like a 3 hour infomercial for Queen’s music than a film. Rami Malek is doing a caricature of Freddie Mercury rather than a realization and they even go as far as to recreate the Live Aid set in its entirety, and not nearly as well as the original was performed. WHY!? I know people love Queen, their music is fantastic, but please stop pandering to this self-indulgent rubbish!

Papi Chulo – Matt Bomer is SO good in this film, especially in his comic timing and delivery. It’s a shame the film is let down by pointless twists and heightening that actually detract from its emotional core.

The Polka King – What a bizarre film, both tonally and story wise.

Roman J. Israel, Esq. – Denzel Washington may give a great performance, but he can’t save this messy boring movie.

Mowgli – I’m not sure why this Jungle Book adaptation was even attempted.

Vox Lux – Oof, this is bad. So pretentious it hurts.

Mandy – WTF is this film? The first half is an abstract surrealist art-piece and the second half a Nicolas Cage fronted schlock horror. I prefer the second half. Nicolas Cage goes FULL Nicolas Cage by the end. I needed more of this.

Brad’s Status – This Ben Stiller drama about a mid-life crisis is so middle-of-the-road, I don’t know why it bothers to exist.

Tomb Raider – Another unneccessary reboot.

Anon – A middling sci-fi film that is just a bit dull really.

Brain on Fire – A dull, melodramatic missed opportunity.

Destroyer – Such a boring and laboured film. Sure, Nicole Kidman looks rough in it, but some makeup does not make a good performance or film.

The Little Hours – With such a great comedy cast, this film is really rather unfunny.

Hold the Dark – I loved Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room and Blue Ruin, and with Hold the Dark, he still succeeds with his brand of building tension and violently bold set pieces. The plot is the problem here – and I made it more than halfway through before admitting to myself that it would never become any clearer what the characters’ motivations were, therefore what the plot actually was. Really misguided and lost in its own mood.

Ibiza – Netflix is clearly just filling its original content quota with this one.

Killing Gunther – SNL Alumni Taran Killam’s directorial debut is very misjudged. But it’s good to see Arnold Schwarzenegger having some fun!

Hurricane Bianca: From Russia With HateRuPaul’s Drag Race alum cash in with help from Netflix with this awful sequel to an awful original, starring the otherwise wonderful Bianca del Rio.

Never Goin’ Back – Why does Kyle Mooney keep showing up in things? This film is neither drama nor comedy, but I think it’s trying to be both. Just unbearable.

Been So Long – I think I lasted maybe 10 minutes with this Camden-based musical. Unwatchable.

Mute – OMG. What was anybody invovled in this thinking!!!??? One of the objectively worst films I’ve ever seen. Yet, I couldn’t stop watching… WTF was happening!? Paul Rudd – what are you doing in this film?? You’re too good for it!


Comments are closed.