Well I made a list last year so I better continue the tradition. It wasn’t easy to narrow 2018’s greatest down to only ten so some honorary mentions include BlacKkKlansman, Ghost Stories, Hostiles, Avengers: Infinity War and Black ’47.
10. I, Tonya
Starting off the list we have I, Tonya, done in the style of a documentary and tells the life story of American figure skater, Tonya Harding. Spanning from childhood, to her record breaking triple axel and of course the scandalous incident just before the 1994 Winter Olympics. Margot Robbie will knock your socks off with this performance. She is absolutely perfect for this part. Another stand out performance is Allison Janney as Tonya’s hardass mother, Oscar worthy for sure. Both Robbie and Janney have a wonderful onscreen presence and every scene between them is electric. Perhaps a lot of you already know what happened to Tonya Harding and her future in the sport but I didn’t so not only did I find this film interesting but it’s very entertaining. Trailers often misrepresent biography movies like this, but I, Tonya will not disappoint, the comedy gives it that extra edge and most of you are sure to enjoy it.
9. First Man
It was interesting to see how Damien Chazelle would take on the moon landing with his last two films being heavily music based. First Man shows us just how good of a story-teller he is. I normally like my space movies with a few aliens thrown in but I was fully invested in this story. I also wouldn’t exactly know many details about the moon landing which may have helped keep me interested. Gosling seemed like a good choice for Neil Armstrong although I found his performance very cold and distant the emotion comes from the rest of the cast, particularly Claire Foy as Janet Armstrong. The attention to detail for the space crafts allows you to become fully immersed. Creating the sensation of claustrophobia, you really feel like you’re in the space craft next to the astronauts. It’s gripping, emotional and highly recommended.
Daniel Day-Lewis is the renowned dress-maker Reynolds Woodcock. Living in 1950s London, his routine life takes a change when he meets his new muse, a young woman named Alma (Vicky Krieps) yet his highly organised bachelor life is soon disrupted by Alma. We’ve had a couple of films this year that decide to take a weird turn in the third act and Phantom Thread certainly went off in an unexpected direction. Not your typical love story. Day-Lewis does it again, giving another brilliant performance. Perfect casting, the chemistry between Day-Lewis and Vicky Krieps was exceptional. This one is definitely a slow burner so let yourselves become engrossed in the elegance of Phantom Thread. The level of care in every single shot is mesmerizing, from the cinematography, the lavish dresses and the spectacular score by Jonny Greenwood. There’s no denying Day-Lewis’ performance is perfect and I expect nothing less to be honest. Yet what stood out the most for me was the haunting soundtrack. Absolutely stunning, one of the best film scores in recent years and well deserving of an Oscar.
Set in Lexington, Kentucky in 2004. Spencer (Barry Keoghan) and Warren (Evan Peters) are bored with their unremarkable lives and long to experience something more. Spencer takes a tour of his university’s special collections library, home to some of the most valuable and rare books in America and describes this to Warren which sparks the unshakable idea that they could pull off the worlds easiest heist and get away with it. What starts as an idea and just talk becomes more and more real for the students. Yet it soon becomes apparent that pulling off a heist in real life isn’t quite like the movies. A solid main cast that all have great chemistry together, particularly from Peters and Keoghan. I’ll watch Evan Peters in almost anything and his performance in American Animals is wonderful. It’s a chaotic and a nail biting crime movie made all the more intense by the interviews and how all four recount the events in their own way. A dramatic re-enactment with real interviews throughout the entire film really has you invested in the story and if like me you had no idea as to the details of the real heist then it makes for some exciting cinema. It’s a fast paced and highly immersive story with moments of hilarity.
6. Isle of Dogs
From start to finish I loved every minute of Isle of Dogs. Stop motion brought to a new level, the attention to detail is simply wonderful. Directed by Wes Anderson, you know you’re going to get an off-beat comedy and the laughs just keep on coming. Filled with a star-studded cast, I could list them all but we’d be here all day. Visually stunning and immensely enjoyable. Set in Japan, Isle of Dogs tells the story of 12-year-old Atari Kobayashi and his quest to find his lost dog, Spots. After a serious case of dog flu every single dog has been exiled to trash island to live out the remainder of their lives. Abandoned by their masters and left to die. With the help of a pack of dogs on trash island Atari embarks on a journey in search of Spots. A brilliantly original story, filled with plenty of laughs and made all the better with stop motion.
5. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
The Summer blockbuster movie you need to see. This is by far the best Mission Impossible film by a long shot. It really is amazing that the sixth film in the franchise is better than its predecessors combined and if this standard maintains then it’s a franchise that certainly isn’t going away any time soon. Mission: Impossible – Fallout is not only as good as you’ve heard, it’s better. Once the action starts it just keeps on coming, an intense thrill from start to finish. The action sequences are spectacular. If there’s one thing you can count on is the stunts get better every time. Not only are they well coordinated they’re clear to watch. You’re never sitting there wondering who’s hitting who, the nausea inducing shaky cam sending you over the edge (Yeah I’m looking at you Bourne 5) or watching a car chase in a comical stream of quickly edited shots leaving you not knowing what the hell is going on (hang your head in shame Quantum of Solace). Mission: Impossible – Fallout is action filmmaking done to perfection with an electrifying film score by Lorne Balfe that compliments every scene, I loved it.
Who doesn’t love to sit back and enjoy a good animated movie? What better one to choose than Coco. Pixar has gifted us with yet another wonderful and heartfelt film so get the tissues ready. Miguel longs to be a musician but with his family’s strict ban on all things music he is forbidden to even hold a guitar. On the night of Día de Muertos Miguel enters the Land of the Dead to find his great great grandfather, the legendary singer Ernesto del la Cruz. As with most Pixar movies you’re hit with comedy and sadness all at the same time, and Coco doesn’t hold back. It’s funny, emotional and thoroughly enjoyable. The music is beautiful, the array of colours in the land of the dead is mesmerizing. It really is true that the best kids movies are ones adults can enjoy too and you will fall in love with this movie. Pixar has always been better with original ideas as opposed to sequels just for the sake of it so if you enjoy a good animation Coco is not to be missed.
In 2004 Pixar made yet another masterpiece and gave us The Incredibles. Not only was it a typical Pixar gem, full of heart, laughs and action, it was also one of the better superhero films out there. Brilliant from start to finish, it’s the type of film any age group can enjoy. It was so perfect it left us wanting more and so the waiting game began. I never really expected a sequel because Pixar rarely focused on sequels, preferring original ideas. Yet when more and more sequels came out of Pixar I, like every other Incredibles fan demanded a sequel. So after fourteen long years of waiting everyone’s favourite superhero family is back.
Director Brad Bird certainly kept us all waiting for a sequel he wouldn’t make unless he had an idea that was as good as or better than the original. And yes it is worth the wait. I loved every incredible minute, the animation is flawless and the fourteen year gap has clearly shown how 3D animation has progressed since the first Incredibles. The story picks up immediately where it left off. Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) is now in the spotlight, out saving the world with the long term aim of changing the law on superheroes. Meanwhile Mr Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) is left at home to take care of the kids. Things are tough enough with Dash and Violet but made all the more difficult with Jack-Jack’s continuously emerging superpowers. I’ve mentioned before that we’re currently in a time of endless superhero movies, with a few exceptions most are bland cash grabs but this is different. Another Pixar gem, all about family with a unique take on the superhero genre. The James Bond-esque score by Michael Giacchino has also exceeded expectations. Ultra jazzy and like the first Incredibles it’s perfect for complimenting the film. Fourteen years of expectation is not easy to meet, there was so much to live up to it could have easily been a Finding Dory or even worse, a Cars 2. Incredibles 2 is as good as its predecessor, hilarious and packed full of action.
A family must live out their lives in silence to avoid being killed by mysterious monsters that hunt purely by sound. A gripping and hugely intense experience. Starring and directed by John Krasinski, also starring Emily Blunt, Noah Jupe and Millicent Simmonds. A horror/thriller done right, A Quiet Place delivers exactly what you expect and more. It wastes no time getting started, you’re plunged into silence for a good portion of the film so for all you noisy popcorn munchers out there you’ve been warned. A movie that requires everyone to remain quiet, every sound is deafening and the frights have an even greater impact. A tense and thrilling experience build around a simple yet original idea. A Quiet Place achieves what many horrors fail at, it doesn’t fall apart in the third act but more importantly it will scare you.
The hype surrounding The Shape of Water is immense and it’s certainly not going away any time soon. So you always have to wonder going into a film like this, will it meet these expectations or fall beneath them leaving you disappointed. Absolutely not, it really does exceed all expectations. A truly magical twist on the traditional fairy tale. Sally Hawkins and Doug Jones are exceptional, along with a great supporting cast from Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer. Guillermo del Toro has somehow managed to outdo himself yet again. Everything about The Shape of Water is there to fully immerse you in the story. From the wonderful movie soundtrack by Alexandre Desplat to the cinematography and set designs. The attention to detail is perfect. A while ago I claimed Crimson Peak was del Toro’s best English language film, well move over because The Shape of Water has just taken that spot. The perfect way to lose yourself in a movie that will dazzle you with its sheer beauty. It’s hard to compare it to anything else, like a dream inside Guillermo del Toro’s imagination. A love story with a twist. Unique, magical, brilliant.
There you go and if you don’t agree then you better go make your own list, and be sure to check out Top Ten Worst Movies of 2018.
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