The Best Films of 2018 (Rhys's List)
Well here it is, my top 10 films of 2018. This has been one of the hardest lists for me to whittle down as there were so many great films this year, which is certainly a good kind of problem to have, I’m just sad that more couldn’t be included.
Just because I can’t help but at least recognize these films in some way, here are my honorable mentions:
You Were Never Really Here - Lynne Ramsay
Mission: Impossible - Fallout - Christopher McQuarrie
Sorry to Bother You - Boots Riley
Black Panther - Ryan Coogler
Suspiria - Luca Guadagnino
Halloween (2018) - David Gordon Green
Also, here are some notable films that I couldn’t get around to seeing, but I feel would have had a good chance at making the list:
The Favourite - Yorgos Lanthimos
If Beale Street Could Talk -Barry Jenkins
Roma - Alfonso Cuaron
They Shall Not Grow Old - Peter Jackson
Director: Coralie Fargeat
Though this film technically came out in 2017, it wasn’t released in the United States until February of 2018, so I will give it its due this year. Revenge is a pulpy, tense and action-heavy thriller featuring an empowering performance by Matilda Lutz. The plot is simple: a girl gets revenge on three sexually abusive, murderous men, but the way the story unfolds is unlike any action film I’ve seen. It’s a frenetic fever-dream that never has a dull moment.
Director: Spike Lee
Spike Lee brings biting social commentary and humor to a more-or-less true story. What’s great about BlacKkKlansman, though, is how Lee uses dark humor as a teaching tool whilst also keeping me entertained. The ending especially cuts to the heart of what is still happening in the world today when it comes to race relations, and assures that what transpired in the film isn’t simply a relic of the past.
Director: Ari Aster
Hereditary is the horror genre firing on all cylinders. It presents an interesting setting, with slightly off-kilter characters, but not off-kilter enough to be completely un-relatable. Then a sinister element is added and the tension and horror ratchets up to a fever pitch, that for once, does not disappoint. Also, Toni Collette should win awards.
7. Eighth Grade
Director: Bo Burnham
Bo Burnham stunned everyone this year with his sincere, and accurate-to-a-tee depiction of the late middle school/early high school years. I was never a young woman like Kayla (Elsie Fisher) was in Eighth Grade, but everything she went through here was so painfully relate-able and cut to the core of why that time in everyone’s lives is so achingly awkward and ultimately transformative.
6. Avengers: Infinity War
Directors: The Russo Brothers
Overall, Avengers: Infinity War, while an incomplete story, is an altogether satisfying one that knows exactly how to handle all of its characters. It’s truly amazing that the Russo brothers were able to give so many characters the service they deserve, introduce a new villain who can arguably be viewed as the protagonist, and bring all of these disparate, moving pieces together into a package that is both stirring and epic in all of the right ways. While there are times where you can see the machinery behind the facade, Infinity War is nonetheless one of the most impressive cinematic achievements in recent memory.
5. Spider-man: Into the Spider-Verse
Directors: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman
What a ride. I knew Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse had the chance to be something special, but somewhere in the back of my mind I doubted its ability to fully deliver. Well, I’ve never been happier to be slightly wrong. This film is a masterpiece and a stunning accomplishment on many levels.
4. Free Solo
It’s not often that you get to see what could be the pinnacle of one man’s life on screen. There’s a lesson for all of us to learn in Free Solo and it doesn’t mean we all have to go and climb El Cap, but the film teaches us that no goal is un-attainable, and it does so by letting us be an audience to something truly awe-inspiring. See this movie.
Director: Alex Garland
Annihilation tackles heady topics in one of the most compelling science fiction genre exercises I’ve seen in the past few years. Natalie Portman’s performances is spot-on as a scientist throwing herself down a self-destructive path.
Director: Panos Cosmatos
Mandy is a film that is uncompromising, and one of the few movies out there where you can really tell that its director was given full freedom to make the film he wanted to make.
1. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
Directors: The Coen Brothers
It’s so hard to tell one great story, but to tell six, and to have them all be near-perfect, well, that’s a hat trick that you don’t see very often. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs is a masterclass in storytelling and my favorite film of the year.