Top 10 Films of 2018

Overall 2018 was quite a decent year for cinema, far from a great year but far from a bad year either. I really enjoyed a lot of films from last year so it was really difficult to narrow them down into a list of 10. But I tried my best and finally got there. So without further ado, here's the list of my top 10 films from 2018.

10. First Man

On the heels of their six-time Academy Award®-winning smash, La La Land, Oscar winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling team up again for First Man, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969. A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost on Armstrong and on the nation as he undertakes of one of the most dangerous missions in history.

It’s incredible how half of this movie is a plaintive, quiet drama that might read to some as boring (i mean, it’s from one of the writers behind The Post) and the other half of this movie is tense, close-quartered action that had me literally leaning forward and clutching my chest with one hand while I bit the nails on my other hand down to the fucking skin. This one is gonna stress people out. Chazelle really went all out to prove he’s not a one-trick pony, and he nails it. There’s so little about this movie that would ever suggest it’s from the same guy that made Whiplash and La La Land.

Claire Foy is terrific. Gosling is good, but not in any way that’s gonna secure him an Oscar. Frankly, I can’t see this movie winning any Oscar in particular, but I’ll be damned if it doesn’t deserve nominations for sound design, cinematography, supporting actress, and direction.

9. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Miles Morales is juggling his life between being a high school student and being Spider-Man. However, when Wilson “Kingpin” Fisk uses a super collider, another Spider-Man from another dimension, Peter Parker, accidentally winds up in Miles’ dimension, joining others from across the “Spider-Verse”.

As some of you might know I'm really not a fan of superhero films, I don't mind that other people like them, I just don't enjoy them myself. So I bet some of you are surprised to see a Spider-man movie on my top 10.

I went into this film fully sceptical, I probably wouldn't have went to see it in cinema if my younger brother didn't nag me to take him. And to say I enjoyed this film would be a serious understatement. For somebody who adored Spider-man cartoons and comics when I younger, this is the Spider-man movie that I've been wanting for a long time. It’s everything you want it to be and more. I could talk about this forever, but there’s really no point. Go and see it. The action is exhilarating, the comedy is hilarious, the characters are engaging and sympathetic, the references and callbacks never feel forced, and the visual style is incredibly inventive and refreshing. On top of everything, the overall theme of “anyone can be Spider-Man” is empowering and progressive without bogging the film down in the slightest, which is a truly astounding feat for a comic book movie and an excellent message for the kids of today. 

This isn't just the best Spider-man movie ever made, I'd go as far as saying it's one of the best comicbook movies ever made.

8. Annihilation

After a meteorite crashes and contaminates an area in the Florida swamps. A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into the mysterious zone where the laws of nature don’t apply.

I really can't get my head around why I love this film so much more than other people seem to like it. I was a massive fan of Jeff VanderMeer's Southern Reach Trilogy and when I found out that Alex Garland was directing an adaptation of Annihilation I was so hyped. And the film was everything I wanted it to be. It's bold and beautiful. The film's colour palette and production design are top notch. And I love the way that Garland doesn't feel the need to answer every question, I love it when films leave things open to interpretation.

7. If Beale Street Could Talk

In early 1970s Harlem, daughter and wife-to-be Tish vividly recalls the passion, respect and trust that have connected her and her artist fiancé Alonzo Hunt, who goes by the nickname Fonny. Friends since childhood, the devoted couple dream of a future together, but their plans are derailed when Fonny is arrested for a crime he did not commit.
I love James Baldwin's book, but it's a testament to Barry Jenkins' talent as a filmmaker that many of the most beautiful parts of this adaptation are of his own invention (Dave Franco's scene being a clear and particularly moving example). What an extraordinary, generous, perseverant and culturally relevant this film this is.

6. Green Book

Dr Don Shirley is a world-class African-American pianist, who is about to embark on a concert tour in the Deep South in 1962. In need of a driver and protection, Shirley recruits Tony Lip, a tough-talking bouncer from an Italian-American neighbourhood in the Bronx. Despite their differences, the two men soon develop an unexpected bond while confronting racism and danger in an era of segregation.

A journey of two different man, Tony Lip, who hates black skin people and Don Shirley who hates Fried Chicken. Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali's on screen chemistry is what really makes this film work for me. Ali's performance in particular being a stand out part of the film.

I mean, yes, it's lacking in subtlety and, yes, it's a sanitized look at racism, but my God it's perfect entertainment and it flies by with no real lulls. 

5. Cold War

A man and a woman meet in the ruins of post-war Poland. With vastly different backgrounds and temperaments, they are fatally mismatched and yet condemned to each other.
Mesmerising. every second of this is so engrossing to me that this viewing felt only minutes long. I haven’t stopped thinking about it since i saw it last year, and tonight I watched it for the second time and it only got better. I almost felt weightless afterwards, in some kind of cinematic trance.

Joanna Kulig gives one of my favourite performances of 2018. The camerawork, lighting and music and everything else all add up to a seriously incredible film.

4. Hereditary

When the matriarch of the Graham family passes away, her daughter and grandchildren begin to unravel cryptic and increasingly terrifying secrets about their ancestry, trying to outrun the sinister fate they have inherited.

I honestly don't know how to talk about this movie. There are no words that could describe how terrifying, heartbreaking, hysterical and fucking brilliant this movie is. I went into the cinema to see this blind, without reading anything about it or even watching a trailer and I'm so glad I did.

I have fallen in love with plenty of movies over and over again, but horror movies never seem to captivate me in the same way films in other genres do. But Hereditary is so fresh.

Hereditary busted through our doors, confident and blazing. Hereditary doesn't let the genre define what it can be. Hereditary takes your head and slams it into the goddamn wall, and will not apologize. 

3. Shoplifters

A couple in Tokyo are stuck with part-time jobs and low incomes begin to shoplift to provide for their struggling family. They are not alone in this behaviour, the younger and the older children of the household are also thieves. The unusual routine is about to change from care-free and matter-of-fact to something more dramatic when the couple open their doors to a young homeless girl.

In many ways one of the most human movies I've seen. A great take on what it really means to be a family and all the things that hold us together. I've always been quite fond of movies that focus primarily on their characters, what's said and even more what isn't said.
I wish more people would give foreign movies a chance, they're missing some of the best stuff out there.

2. The Favourite

In 18th century England, the close relationship between Queen Anne and Sarah Churchill is threatened by the arrival of Sarah’s cousin, Abigail Hill, resulting in a bitter rivalry between the two cousins to be the Queen’s favourite.

I was thinking about writing a serious review for this but I don’t think I can add any thing new to the conversation or even put this crazily perfect film into words. moving this up to my 2nd of the year, and probably my favourite score as well. If Horatio the Fastest Duck in the City doesn't get nominated for best supporting actor then I'm boycotting the Oscars. In all seriousness I really hope it wins best original screenplay because it's so smart, witty and snappy.

Overall one of my favourite experiences in the cinema not just last year, but probably ever.

1. Roma

Set in 1970 and 1971, the film is a semi-autobiographical take on Cuarón's upbringing in Mexico City, reconstructed from Cuarón's childhood memories. The film follows the life of a live-in housekeeper to a middle-class family as the father leaves for an extended period of time.

If you know me then you know that I haven't shut up about Roma and with good reason. I can't remember the last time that a film has left me completely speechless, like speechless to the extend where I went on a night out after the screening of this film and barely muttered a word all night because I couldn't get this film out of my head. It's rare that a film even comes close to reaching this level of technical ability, cultural relevance, and just purely masterful storytelling that feels so honest and heartfelt. 

If I had to recommend any film to anybody from last year, the word "Roma" is coming out of my mouth without a single doubt about it. Heck, if someone asked to recommend any film from the last 10 years I'd still say Roma. That's how fucking good it is.