My Favourite Films of 2018

It has not been a good year for me and movies. I traveled around too much. The QFT was closed for refurbishment for about a century. I lost my password to Netflix. I only managed a paltry 75 films this year; about 30 less than last year. I also noted a worrying trend, (which you’ll see reflected in some of my short reviews). Otherwise sublime films were repeatedly ruined by heavy-handed directing/writing/acting in the final ten minutes. I found myself leaving the cinema several times muttering, “I loved that movie until the last ten minutes.” I’ve also left out Three Billboards which would probably have made my best of list if I hadn’t rewatched it six months after it first came out. It just doesn’t stand up to a second viewing. If I had to draw any judgments about myself based upon my favourite movies of the year I’d say this year I mostly fell for very traditional storytelling, strong character driven pieces and tight scripts. These might not be the trendiest movies of the year, but they’re the films I genuinely enjoyed the most. I’ve limited myself to one stand out movie plus ten other must-sees and a clunker so bad it would be remiss not to warn you off it. I’ve included photos and the short reviews I wrote at the time.

I will now make my annual plea to support your local independent cinema; ideally this will be the QFT. Buy a membership. Support independent programming and film festivals. Buy all your snacks in-house. I still don’t like musicals and I thought Widows was dull as got out. That’s me signing off for 2018.

Movie of the Year: You Were Never Really There

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“I always say the best movies leave you with an oddly unsettled feeling that what you just watched was reality and the real world isn’t quite real anymore. I will be reeling from this for days. It’s brutal. It’s beautiful. It’s utterly hopeless and at the same time really optimistic. It left me feeling the same mixed up bag of emotions I felt the first time I watched Half Nelson. Go see. Or maybe don’t if you have kids.”

Twelve (Sorry I Just Couldn’t Get Them Down To Ten) Best Movies of the Year

 

  1. Journeyman. “Oh dear goodness, Paddy Considine just broke my heart in a really good way. It’s years since I cried this hard over a film. Stunning.”
  2. First Reformed. “One of the best films I’ve seen this year, possibly the best role Ethan Hawke’s ever had, worst ending I’ve been subjected to in ages.”
  3. Apostasy. “No fuss. No nonsense. Just a powerful script and some incredible acting. Surely a contender for British film of the year.”
  4. Cold War. “This is stunning. One of the most beautifully shot films I’ve seen in a long, long time.”
  5. I, Tonya. “I’ve been waiting ages to see this and it did not disappoint at all. It’s such an odd story and superbly well delivered with some great performances. What I wasn’t prepared for was how emotional I felt by the end of the story. There are no heroes here but it’s really hard to tell who the villains actually are.”
  6. The Post. “Hats off to Meryl Streep. She’s just too marvellous and this is a great wee movie which actually could have been a tiny bit longer. I feel like the last part was a little rushed but the rest of it is a great watch.”
  7. Ladybird. “Dear Greta Gerwig, wherever you’re heading I’m right behind you. Laughed, cried, remembered the time I thought Dave Matthews was the highest form of art.”
  8. The Miseducation of Cameron Post. “Such a hard watch but what a powerful piece of cinema. Chloe Moretz plays a blinder.”
  9. Lucky. “The perfect movie for the day that it’s been. We are so very fortunate to have had Harry Dean Stanton for such a long time. What a beautiful man.”
  10. Wildlife. “I loved this. Carey Mulligan is brilliant. It’s shot beautifully. It’s subtly disturbing. The only thing I struggled with was believing that Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhal’s combined genes would have created such a strange looking child.”
  11. Darkest Hour. “There’s a fair amount of sentimental bunkum thrown in here but some of this is epic and Oldman is phenomenal and I have to admit the sentimental bunkum still made me cry. Definitely worth a watch.”
  12. A Quiet Place. “This is brilliant. Great cast. Interesting concept. Lots of good twists. AND it’s only 90 minutes long.”

Absolute Worst Film of 2018, (Possibly the Decade)

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  • Downsizing. “I don’t understand. How can you be responsible for Sideways and The Descendants and think this utter drivel is fit to be called a film. Completely banal. Downright offensive in places. And, even though, at one point, there’s the distinct possibility that Matt Damon might be locked in an underground cave for 8000 years, potentially redeeming the movie a little, yes, you’ve guessed it, they let him out to mumble more fridge magnet truisms whilst sporting a range of block coloured polo shirts and chinos. I have not been this cross at a movie since that rubbish with Viggo Mortenson playing a hippy and dancing around to Guns n Roses. Already a candidate for most pointless film of 2018.”
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