Here we go again. I’ve spent the last couple of weeks reading other peoples (real actual critics) top tens of the year, and I finally feel ready to do mine. It’s depressing to think that I’ve seen 70 films that have come out this year (in the UK), and I paid to see every single one of them (cinema or streaming). Personally, I think it’s been a great year for film, especially for UK releases, because there’s films like The Shape of Water and Coco that haven’t even made the top 20. Now, like with all these lists, you have to take them with a pinch of salt. It is not a definite top ten best films of 2018 list, not at all, and is simply my favourite ten as of right now. The chances of it changing, as I watch things for a second time, is very high, but the list is still fun to do anyway. And it’s a chance for you to get some recommendations…
10. Avengers: Infinity War
I’m not a huge fan of superhero movies, and I’m really passive on the whole Marvel story. Going into the cinema, I hadn’t seen the trailer, and I was expecting to not enjoy it. Then it blew me away, because it’s a phenomenal movie. The action is ingeniously put together, the plot is exciting and daring, and it has a good bad guy. All of this is executed well, and it hits the perfect superhero formula. Okay, on second viewings, some of it is contrived and Mark Ruffalo looks like he doesn’t want to be there, but it is still a thoroughly exciting film, and one that will be remembered as a blockbuster classic in the future.
Hirokazu Kore-eda is a Japanese director who I need to catch up on, because this film is superb. The connection with the characters is strong throughout the film, and there is a beautiful sentiment in their relationships with each other. This endearing movie about a disjointed family, will totally reel you in, then break you heart.
8. Isle of Dogs
This film is stunning, and I’m worried it’s going to get forgotten because of the plethora of great films this year, and due to the silly cultural appropriation/racism claims. It’s a love letter to Japanese culture, and a truly joyous experience. Wes Anderson is a master of animation directing, and the artistry of this film is remarkable. Full review here: https://robsfocuspull.blog/2018/02/23/isle-of-dogs-film-review/
7. First Man
I’m a Damien Chazelle fanboy, so I definitely enjoyed this film more than the majority of critics. The premise that the only way an emotionally isolated man can get over a trauma is by literally leaving the planet is expertly presented, being both hopeful and melancholic. The music is astounding, and Gosling’s performance worked with the character. His distance and shallowness is the point! Claire Foy is also terrific.
6. Cold War
I only saw this film recently, and its beauty crept up on me. I would describe the film as totally European, in its form and its content. The love story is incredibly passionate, volatile and believable. At first I thought it was just going to be another romance between an old guy and a young girl, then the story develops and takes unexpected turns. The cinematography is measured and gorgeous as well.
5. Phantom Thread
What more can I say about this? It is a perfect movie, from Paul Thomas Anderson, who is the greatest director working. It features a triumphant final performance from legendary Daniel Day Lewis, who is fiercely matched with newcomer Vicky Krieps in a romantic and sadistic tale. I wrote about the film’s themes of health and eating here: https://robsfocuspull.blog/2018/02/13/phantom-thread-health-and-eating/
4. First Reformed
This is an emotionally complex, and theologically deep film. Ethan Hawke give his best performance (and the best performance of the year) to convey such astounding drama. Its message is poignant and for me this is a must watch for EVERYONE. I wrote about faith and silliness in the film here: https://robsfocuspull.blog/2018/07/24/first-reformed-religion-faith-and-silliness/
3. The Old Man & The Gun
Most of this list is intense dramas, and masterclasses in thematic story telling. This is different, this is a delightful film about touching characters, and subtle moments of human happiness. Robert Redford and Casey Affleck are splendid in a simple film, without pointless conflict, and I adored it as soon as it begun. I wrote about how much it affected me here: https://robsfocuspull.blog/2018/12/15/the-old-man-and-the-gun-roma-smiling-through-tears/
Alfonso Cuaron is another master, and this could be a masterpiece. His use of the frame is mesmerising, where there is a never-ending depth of field. It’s so rich with life, and has moments of actual amazement. I wrote about how much it affected me here: https://robsfocuspull.blog/2018/12/15/the-old-man-and-the-gun-roma-smiling-through-tears/
I have never had a cinematic experience like this. I was wrecked by this unbelievable documentary. Being ignorant to the work of Alexander McQueen, seeing his brilliance inspired me. The filmmakers choices of how to present his life were impact full, and it’s the most exciting film of the year, with it’s unmatched energy from scene to scene. It’s a travesty that this hasn’t even been shortlisted for best documentary at the Oscars.
… here are 11-20:
12. You Were Never Really Here
13. The Wife
14. Ghost Stories
15. I, Tonya
16. A Star is Born
17. A Quiet Place
20. Lady Bird
… and here’s 66 -70 (the bottom five):
66. Mary Magdalene
67. All the Money in the World
68. The Commuter
69. The Cloverfield Paradox
70. The Predator
🙂 my twitter: @insiderobbie