Another year and another list of favourite films, it seems to have this eternal ring to it and I for one always takes the opportunity publise film whenever the chance arises. 2018 has been another year in which my viewing habits a have taken new courses including having subscribed to a Netflix account, which has given me even more films to watch that may or may not be doing the cinema rounds, more streaming sites and a return to the cinema haunts that I have always enjoyed.
So onto the favourites and best of 2018’s myriad if movies. I have to say from the onset that I have managed at least one new release a week, which is back to what I was watching pre-parenthood. Taking that into account I have enjoyed the crop of films I managed to get to see as new releases during the year, though there have been several that have slipped the net, but when doing that life juggling act you sometimes miss the odd ball.
Here, my fellow film affiliates, are what I deem the best of 2018, but to emphasis these are what I loved, what I could argue passionately about and maybe convince the reader of this blog that these films are ‘are worth a watch’…
1. BlacKkKlansman (2018]) Director Spike Lee
I have followed Spike Lees work since his debut film, She’s Gotta Have It in 1986 and as a director and writer Spike has never failed to impress me with his body of work. BlacKkKlansman is an insanely true story of African American police officer Ron Stallworth infiltrating the Ku Klux Klan with the help American Jewish police officer Flip Zimmerman posing as Stallworth’s ‘white face’ in the Klan. The whole film is beautifully realised, the sense of history exact to the point and the performances are excellent, Lee has crafted a masterpiece of Cinema storytelling.
2. You Were Never Really Here (2017) Director Lynne Ramsay
This film is a modern re-working of Taxi Driver with a stand out performance from Joaquin Phoenix as Joe, the hired ex war veteran who tracks down lost girls for a fee and uses what ever it takes to rescue them form their tormentors. As Joe depends into a nightmarish world of violence reaped on violence, he must try to keep his demons at bay and finish his most personal job. Ramsay brings this harsh drama unfolding in hallucinating visual assaults, with a pounding score which propels the film to it’s climax.
3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) Director Martin McDonagh
McDonagh drama centres on Fances McDormands character Mildred unceasing quest to find the murderrer of her daughter in the small town of Ebbing. She challenges the local sheriff played by Woody Harrelson to finally solve the crime, using three billboards to advertise her plight. The whole film plays out as if these events actually happened, but this convincing fictional scenario leaves the viewer wanting a satisfactory ending.
4. The Shape of Water (2017) Director Guillermo Del Toro
A beautifully photographed and written tale of love and prejudice set in the 1960’s with another wonderful performance from Sally Hawkins as a mute, timid janitor working at a top secret research centre who forms a loving bond with an amphibious sensitive creature who is mistreated by his captors. This is a lovely film to watch and deserves the a accolades bestowed on this original feature film.
5. Lean on Pete (2017) Director Andrew Haigh
This drama about a lonely young man looking to belong somewhere and befriending a racehorse called Lean onPete. With great support from Steve Buscemi and Chloè Sevigny this sad but hopeful story made me feel that with any adversity a silver lining can appear and the character of Charley wanders around looking to belong, you feel for him throughout the film and you hope he finds what he is looking for. Marvellous.
6. Yardie (2018) Director Idris Elba
The directorial debut of actor Idris Elba is an adaptation of Victor Headley’s British crime novel which did the rounds back in the 1980’s. A story set in the early 80’s about a small time Jamaican gangster who works his way up the hierarchy trying to find the killer of his peace loving brother. A very competent film with good direction from Elba makes this crime movie a worthy watch and a film I enjoyed very much.
7. Mandy (2018) Director Panos Cosmatos
What a film! A throw back to all those low budget 1980′ straight to video horror films that became the cult film watchers paradise Cosmatos melds Jesus freak killers, LSD bikers clad in black and insanely violent, Andrea Risborough and a gear insanely volcanic Nicolas Cage as the husband forced into brutal action to avenge the death of his wife. What’s not to like about the plot. This new release film is the only time that I have watched a feature in a reverse order, first download, next on Blu Ray then a screening at the PCC in London!
8. Isle of Dogs (2018) Director Wes Anderson
In another of Anderson’s stop motion animation, in the near future, Japan declares all dogs. Illegal and they are systematically exterminated or sent to The Isle of Dogs where there is no escape. Along comes a young boy, Atari, searching for his missing dog who crash lands on the island and is befriended by Chief and his band of loyal dogs. Together they go on a search for Atari’s missing dog. I loved the animation, the one liners and the all star cast that had a good time with the film and I also enjoyed Fantastic Mr Fox (2009) so this easily appealed to me.
9. Revenge (2017) Director Coralie Fargeat
This tale of the rape-revenge storyline is nothing new, but the way it has been directed and shot gives Revenge a newly polished addition to the controversial sub genre in which the film sits. Fargeat gives this a slight feminist angle to an over used plot line but delivers a bloody and visceral assault on the viewers senses which leaves you with a sense of satisfaction. Check my more in-depth Review here https://cultofthecinema.wordpress.com/2018/05/17/revenge-2017/
10. Disobedience (2017) Director Sebastián Lelio
This film was was one of the last films I watched in 2018 and it was a very thoughtful drama. Set in North London’s Orthodox Jewish community the story unfolds with the death of a prominent Rabbi and the return of his errant daughter, played by Rachel Weize, who in turn opens up passionate feelings in her best friend and upset in the community at her very presence. As a Londoner, films set in my city interest me, this one being no exception. The performances are superb and the storyline is measure and paced very well.
11. King of Thieves (2018) Director James Marsh
Michael Caine, Ray Winstone, Paul Whitehouse, Jim Boardbent and Tom Courtney in a heist caper film that is based on a true story and set in London again, what is not to like about this film. I love a good old fashioned crime film and to here Maurice Micklewhite say the C word a few times is worth a watch anytime. Seriously this is a well paced, nicely scripted movie with a top cast of actors all having obvious fun making the film.
12. Solo A Star Wars Story (2018) Director Ron Howard
Being a life-long Star Wars fan any film related to the Lucasfilm franchise was always going to be a ‘worth a watch’ so along comes Solo with a eclectic cast a storyline all fans of the films know about and a series of problems during the production that saw the original directors jettisoned into space and Ron Howard on board to navigate the final cut of the film. I have tried to find the cracks in Solo but to little avail and to be honest, there are many films out there that are awful, pointless sequels and re- vampings so Solo remains an example of how to do a pointless film correctly and still be a winner.
13. The Last Movie Star (2017) aka Dog Years Director Adam Rifkin
The final film in Burt Reynolds career is a lovely semi- autobiographical account of an ageing film star asked to attend a screening of his work with the lure of a life time achievement award to find that it is his die-hard fans that have created a mini retrospective of his films much to his annoyance. Splicing classic Reynolds footage with dream sequenced paradox’s of an ageing Reynolds talking to his much younger self, you get to appreciate that Burt was an actual actor who could act, but career choices got him the fame and money but not enough respect from his peers. A great comedy-drama with a tinge of sadness. Also nice to see Chevy Chase having a great one on one with Reynolds.
14. Good Time (2017) Director Benny Safdie
Robert Pattison in a crime drama set on the seeker side of New York was a great drama which came out at the end of 2017 but I managed to catch up with it in January of 2018 and I am glad that I did. Safdie manages to get a lot of sympathy for Pattison’s character as he blames small time criminality with trying to get his mentally scarred brother out of the local hospital and away form the authorities. A rock solid story with some excellent performances.
15. Proud Mary (2018) Director Babak Najafi
If Najafi film had been made in the 1970’s then this ode to Blaxploitation films would have definitely starred Pam Grier. Najafi take of a hit woman and her last job before refusing to do more work is far from original, but at a short running time, the storyline and the set pieces raw along like the suped up car Mary drives. With the Tina Turner inspired track running thorough out the film, Proud Mary works on all it’s levels and makes no pretence to be what it is, cool entertainment.
And, as the storyteller says, is that, another favourite films of the year list done and dusted for another year. I have to say it is refreshing that I have managed to see at least one new Cinema release a week, which is more like my old pre-parenting days. The future still hold more film watching times ahead and with so many options to watch films, next year could bring an even more diverse selection of celluloid delights and I will continue to Explore Cinematic Diversity in the coming twelve months.
Thanks for reading and keep on going to the Cinema.