2018 Was So Last Year

Good things come to those who wait they say. So I’m sure you’ll all have been waiting for my top 10 list of 2018. That’s right, three weeks into 2019 I’ve finally finished writing this, but to be fair I have a full time job. Be nice! Anyway, here’s my list from 2018, I’ve not included a top 10 worst because I honestly didn’t see enough terrible films this year. Don’t get me wrong, I saw some stinkers but just not 10 of them. An idea was given to me by the gf who suggested that instead of this top 10 worst, I include subjects like biggest surprise and biggest disappointment.

I hope this was worth the wait…

Top 10 Movies of 2018

10. The Guilty

One location films always sound like such a bad idea, it’s the movie equivalent of judging a book by it’s cover. However, Buried, Locke and to a lesser extent Phonebooth have proved that wrong. The Guilty continues this superb trend by doing something similar to Locke which puts one person in a location on the phone for the whole time, building up the tension before a shocking conclusion. What makes this film as gripping as it is is the central performance from Jakob Cedergren who goes on a short but fascinating journey as his character develops whilst talking on the phone. He’s a police officer who is currently working in alarm dispatch when he has to race against time in order to help a woman who has been kidnapped. He spends his time talking to her and helping her through this trauma, all whilst ignoring other calls and dealing with his own deep seeded issues. A superb film which is only 1 hour 25, how you craft something this thrilling in such a short space of time is beyond me.

9. Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

Without question the best DC film since The Dark Knight (yes, this includes Wonder Woman) Teen Titans Go! To the Movies is based on the kids TV series. Directed by Aaron Horvath and Peter Rida Michail who both work on the TV show, the pair created a film which was not only brilliantly entertaining and very funny but incredibly self-aware. In recent years we’ve had an influx of superhero movies primarily from Marvel and DC, to the point that some have been as over saturation. I don’t agree however I understand that it can seem a bit much and samey. Teen Titans takes what we know about the genre, turns it on its head, takes the piss out of it and throws in Michael Bolton for good measure. What’s not to love and laugh at?? It also gave us Nicolas Cage as Superman, he finally made that dream come true.

8. They Shall Not Grow Old

Peter Jackson has returned to the director’s chair for They Shall Not Grow Old. There’s so much footage from World War 1, so choosing what he did in order to create a structured narrative throughout is impressive, despite what I’ve heard a few people say which is that it’s been whitewashed. It hasn’t, he picked a moment in time and still managed to show some people of colour in it. Anyway, for those of you who have seen it will know that this isn’t the most impressive aspect about it, what he’s managed to do is colour almost the entire film. This coupled with the speech experts who created regional accents and dialogue for those who could be seen talking is a truly remarkable feat.

7. Journeyman

Emotionally hitting harder than the physical punches it throws, Journeyman deals with a boxer in peak form who suffers a life changing head injury. It is yet another film which showcases the enourmous talent Paddy Considine is as star, writer and director. He stars along side current Doctor Who, Jodie Whittaker who has to deal with her husband in a state which no longer resembles himself. He has to learn how to fend off himself and with this comes his stumrughlea as well as that of his wife. Whilst Whittaker is sadly sidelined for a large chunk of the movie, getting to see Paddy perform in this way in which he realises how difficult things are for him and those around him is a beautiful and difficult portrayal.

6. A Star is Born

As the third remake of a film which most people will know of, it’s surprising that it can be this good. This is thanks to two in sync performances from Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper who also manages to direct his first feature with ease. The story is a simple on; famous boy meets non-famous but talented girl, boy helps her succeed, they fall in love. Crafting intricate scenes to go along side the infectious live music performances especially the gig the film starts with. The pair share plenty of intimate scenes which come across as genuine, as do the performances of the supporting cast especially Cooper’s on-screen brother Sam Elliott who works on his management team. Their relationship is divided but close, they clearly have a love for one another and one heart breaking scene shows how fractured things are between them. Almost everything about this film is beautiful!

5. Black Panther

We come to the second best superhero movie of the year which shows that we can have a fully diverse cast AND a great movie! Black Panther enters the MCU with director Ryan Coogler at the helm who puts our hero in a position against a villain who is genuinely sympathetic and compelling. Never have we seen a Marvel villain who is layered in a way that makes us understand and sympathy for his motives. Chadwick Boseman takes on the role of the hero while Michael B Jordan is Killmonger, a man who wants what is rightfully his. Creating a narrative which shows in intriguing back story as well as female characters who are tough, developed and even more fierce than their male counterparts is something we rarely see in cinema. It’s about time a film as mainstream as this came along. And for all you haters out there who intentionally voted this down without reason, FUCK YOU.

4. The Rider

In recent years, the issue of masculinity has come under the microscope several times, primarily due to its toxic nature. In The Rider the matter of toxic masculinity is steeped within its narrative as a young rodeo rider suffers a near fatal head injury and needs to re-discover his identity and what it means to be a man. Played by Brady Jandreau, the film’s protagonist brilliantly deals with peer pressure stemming from this kind of rampant pressures from working in a difficult environment, wanting to prove himself to others whilst knowing full well that he needs to take care of himself. It’s heartbreaking final moments push these boundaries set by social norms like no other film has.

3. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

When Homecoming was about to be released, there were a number of people who questioned why we needed yet another Spider-Man, including me despite my love for the MCU. This new animated one, directly from Sony almost came under the wire until the launch of its first astounding trailer in December 2017, a full year before its release. Starring Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, Mahershala Ali, Nicolas Cage, Kathryn Hahn and Liev Shreiber, this is one hell of a surprise when it comes to its animation. Whilst yes the trailers looked great, there was never any guarantee that it’ll be any good but it turned out to be the best superhero movie in 2018 (sorry Infinity War fans!) The story put multiple Spider people into one universe, which gave them directors a perfect excuse to combine multiple animation techniques at once. The result was a multi-layered animated story with break taking visuals, sharp dialogue, very funny jokes and more hear than you’d ever expect.

2. First Man

The effort being put into cinema to make it immersive is almost impressive. Most of it is terrible (hello 3D and 4DX) however when you have a movie like First Man, those immersive tricks are not needed at all. Taking the story of Neil Armstrong becoming the first man on the moon and using it to tell the story of NASA’s attempts and subsequent failures whilst Ryan Gosling plays the man himself. Director Damien Chazelle focused on his home life and how he interacted with family and friends, as well as how he chose to deal with the death of his daughter. Mixing the aspects of grounded life and space flight created an atmospherical drama using a shaky cam technique with the launches, and sucking out all of the sound upon reaching the moon. A superb film, with stellar performances from all but especially Gosling and Clair Foy.

1. A Quiet Place

Trips to the cinema are usually marred with phones, talking, crinkly packets. You name it, it’ll probably piss me off. The first thing you will notice when you watch A Quiet Place at the cinema is how self-conscious you feel and that everyone around you feels the same. This is because of the films astounding script which uses inventive ways to keep quiet in order to survive the alien invasion. But of course that’s not the only reason why it’s my number one film from 2018. A Quiet Place, directed by, co-written and starring John Krasinski creates an atmosphere most horror films would kill for, the intense silence, along with the sudden moments of noise both illustrate how these films should be made. It’s a truly terrifying film but it also has a lot of heart. From the opening scene you care deeply for this family and what happens to them thanks to the performances put in by real life couple Krasinski and Emily Blunt as well as their children Millicent Simmonds and Noah Jupe. LOVED IT! Woops, quiet now…

Honourable Mentions

Some of you will have noticed that, unlike many best film lists from 2018, I didn’t include Avengers: Infinity War. It is of course in my top 20, I’m a big Marvel fan but I’m not biased. I saw someone compare Thanos to Darth Vader and that’s just wrong. It’s a 4 star film (some times I think 3 star but I won’t go there) but it was let down because of Thanos. He was too close to the poor villains we’ve seen in the MCU before. Great character interactions and action set pieces but it didn’t hit home emotionally. The deaths (besides Tom Holland’s Spider-Man which was handled beautifully) were pretty cold and we all know that they are coming back. Another film I’ve like to include is Coco which is a beautifully animated film, Pixar’s latest which skillfully deals with death and shows that we should be talking about. It’s a moving story that will make you want to hold on to your loved ones and never let them go. Three Identical Strangers took this story about three men who found out that they had been separated at birth and analysed it to a fascinating level. The story of the three of them finding each other is one thing, where it leads to is something else. I won’t spoil it at all but I can assure you that this is unbelievably.

Biggest Disappointments

Disobedience

After receiving more than its fair share of praise (84% on Rotten Tomatoes), I went to see this film which starred Rachel Weisz, Rachel McAdams and Alessandro Nivola. After the overly running time of almost two hours I left the cinema thinking that this is probably the most overrated film of the year. Story is that Wesiz comes back home after the death of her father, she meets McAdams and Nivola after not seeing them for several years and discovers they are married. This leads to one of the most unconvincing lesbian love stories I’ve ever seen. The pair get together and the entire time nothing feels natural. It all feels forced with not even a hint of chemistry between them. It’s one of the most dull, bland passion-less love story you’ll see.

The Meg

Jason Statham punching a massive shark is what we were promised, what we go was far less fun. A film about a giant shark with one of the most absurd modern action stars we have was something a lot of people looked forward to however instead of swimming it sank after taking itself far too seriously. First of all there were two of them, second they were not that big, third it takes a dark turn when the people on the under water marine base are double crossed. Excuse the spoilers but if you’ve not seen it by now, don’t bother.

Biggest Surprise

Love, Simon

I got to see this as part of Cineworld’s secret screenings they occasionally do and what a delightful surprise! It tells the story of Simon, who as a gay teenager has more than enough issues to deal with and then someone outs him to the whole school. Determined to find out who it is, he goes on a journey to discover who he is and what this all means to him. It’s a very funny, sweet and heart warming story which is possibly the first time we’ve seen a mainstream gay teen romantic comedy.

Reel Resolutions

  • Write this thing up MUCH earlier
  • Watch fewer films and focus on things I need to sort out in my life
  • Write more reviews
  • Attend more networking events

Keep. It. Reel

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