Some favourite films of 2018
Well, 2018 has somehow gone incredibly fast, but also seems to have started a hundred years ago. And now it is nearly Christmas, which means it is time to have some fun with best of the year lists. So here, in some kind of order that is not a Top 10, a list of my favourite films of the year. The rules: I have to have seen it in 2018 (not necessarily in a cinema, I watch Netflix productions like the rest of you). The disclaimer: I am aiming to see Free Solo and The Favourite before the end of the year, and I’m really hoping they are good enough to be late additions to this list.
The ‘These are genuinely brilliant and you should watch them’ set
- Lady Bird. Saoirse Ronan has never been bad in anything in her entire career, and you feel with everything with her in this delightful film. I may be predictable, but I love the closing idea that sacred choral music feels like coming home.
- First Reformed. I hadn’t heard about this till I came across a couple of reviews from critics I trust, and I am so so glad that I went to see it. It’s righteously angry, and hurt, and sad, but also wonder-full and a a little bit hopeful, and not like anything else you’ll see about dealing with the state of the world today.
- The Old Man and the Gun. I got to see this at the London film festival, and I wore a huge grin for nearly all of it. It’s completely charming and makes such good use of Robert Redford (and in particular a collection of photos of him in his younger years) - and almost makes me want to turn to a life of relatively small scale crime.
- Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse. The superhero movie of the year by about a million miles. It’s vivid, stylish, suuuuuper fun, and its story is deep rich - even in its villains. More of this kind of thing.
- Blindspotting and Sorry to Bother You, in a double bill of smart, funny, and aware films that are at least in part about the gentrification of Oakland and how capitalism is here to screw us all (except maybe Armie Hammer). Blindspotting is perhaps the more straightforward of the two, but I don’t think it’s the lesser for that - and I’d be hard pressed to chose between them.
The ‘I really really enjoyed these, and they’re worth a watch’ set
- The Hate u Give. One to watch follow on from Blindspotting and Sorry to Bother You. I’d not read the book, but had heard such good things about it that I was really looking forward to this, and it very much lived up to expectations. For me, watching Star interact with the white kids at her school (or, them with her) was a particularly rewarding element.
- Black Panther and Ant-Man and the Wasp. For your Marvel superhero double bill, because Infinity War disappointed me, and Venom was barnstormingly (if hilariously) nuts. I enjoyed Black Panther immensely, and it had an awful lot of good things going on (SHURI) - but I also really recommend reading some of the critiques coming from various African perspectives. Ant-Man and the Wasp was just good fun, even though I have no clue how Scott manages to live in that San Francisco house, and also people were snarky to Michael Douglas in it, which is an added bonus.
- Ocean’s Eight. This would almost certainly have been even better and more stylish if Steven Soderbergh had directed it, and I would almost certainly have liked it more if it had been directed by a woman, however… it was still a huge amount of fun. Yes the plot was silly, but have you seen Ocean’s Twelve? If the boys are allowed such nonsense, so are the girls, and they do so without bad cockney accents and with Cate Blanchett in a velvet suit.
- The Spy Who Dumped Me. Hello, yes, I enjoyed Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon on an accidental Spy Trip across Europe. You have met me? It was a lot of fun, and also, the action and violence felt like it might be real and have consequences, which is annoyingly rare.
- Shadow. This isn’t out yet in the UK, but I saw it at the London Film Festival. It’s the new Zhang Yimou, and it is gorgeous. There’s plenty of other good stuff in the film, but the thing that lingers is the cinematography and the colour.
That’s the top twelve, I guess. I also enjoyed I, Tonya, Annihilation, Crazy Rich Asians, and Widows, and appear to have finally fallen prey to The Greatest Showman, which I do still think is shallow (although I like its ambition) but does give me Hugh Jackman and Zac Efron dancing on a bar.