Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

My Top 10 Movies of 2018

Another year, another list!  2018 wasn’t an outstanding year for movies, but mostly because the majority were under average.  That doesn’t mean there weren’t still some awesome films, and here are some examples of great movies that came from the year.  I don’t know if any are going to end up becoming beloved favourites of mine, but they are the 2018 movies I highly recommend.

10. Annihilation

This sci-fi thriller came out early in the year and received a lot of praise.  For me, the creepy bear scene alone is almost enough to put it on this list.  I really liked the mysterious mature of this phenomenon that Natalie Portman and the others have to explore.  It provides some great visuals and some good ideas.  I don’t feel like they stuck the landing mind you, but up until that ending I was very engaged.

9. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

This animated features was a surprise success.  It fully embraces its identity as animation, even exploring different styles within the film itself.  Miles is a great central character and is arc works really well.  This movie is a lot of fun for anyone who wants to freshen up their superhero palate.

8. Avengers: Infinity War

I am not immune to spectacle.  And after ten years and 20 movies, Infinity War was certainly a lot of spectacle.  This extravaganza of Marvel plots and characters has been the culmination of the most popular connected universes in the movies.  I for one loved it.  I understand why people don’t. I understand the “comic book fatigue”, I understand how people point to Marvel as the downfall of blockbuster entertainment.  But to see all these threads come together is pretty neat.   Thanos has already become a memorable villain, and his “snap” has made it into the pop culture milieu, something that is becoming harder and harder for movies to do.  This was the biggest movie of the year, and I for one had fun going along with the ride.

7. BlackkKlansman

Spike Lee’s biggest film in a long time tells the true life story of a black police officer who infiltrates the KKK.  Its funny yet mordant, its got great performances, and the story always keeps you engaged.  Lee isn’t subtle in trying to get across what he wants to say, but that’s okay.  We don’t always need subtlety; sometimes we need a loudspeaker in our faces.

6. First Man

Visceral space flight set pieces and a brilliantly underscored performance by Ryan Gosling makes this one hell of a watch.  I don’t think the at-home aspects work so well, bu the NASA stuff definitely does.  Armstrong’s NASA interview is one of my favourite scenes of the year.

5. A Quiet Place

I’m becoming more a fan of horror films lately, which is easy when they are as interesting as A Quiet Place.  Sometimes high concepts sound cool but end up being lame, or are cool but not much is done with them, or they simply start out bad.  But when a high concept works and is used to full effect, its a great cinema-going experience.  This is what happened with this story of a family trying to survive in a world where monsters are attracted to dangerously low levels of noise.

4. Eighth Grade

I have never been a girl in grade eight, but I am still able to sense the authenticity in this story of Kayla living out her last week of middle school.  Its hard not to emphasize with the struggles of middle years teens when seeing things through their perspective, and I really appreciated that aspect of this movie.  Its also really funny, and I had a lot of laugh-out-loud moments.  One of my favourite aspects of the film was Kayla’s relationship with her dad, a plot-line which paid off big time with the fire scene.

3. Hereditary

Hereditary was probably the most celebrated horror film to come out this year, and for good reason.  This is a solidly constructed film with great performances, and a mystery which keeps you guessing and intrigued.  And of course there is one scene in particular which is just plain shocking.  Be warned, this film gets dark, but it is masterfully crafted.

2. Mission Impossible: Fallout

Speaking of masterfully crafted, we come to one of the best pure action films I’ve seen in a while.  I caught some of Speed on TV the other day and marveled for a while at how they don’t make action movies like they used to.  Then I shook my head and remembered Mission Impossible.  Say what you will about Tom Cruise, but the guy is on a mission to entertain.  Here we get fight scenes and car chases which aren’t boring (because trust me, I find it really easy for both of those things to be boring), we get the much talked about halo jump, and that spectacular helicopter sequence at the end.  And all of this within a top notch spy story.

1. Roma

Roma, Alfonso Cuaron’s latest film after a five-year hiatus, seems like a simple story of a Mexican maid working for a wealthy white family.  But under the layers it is so much more.  It is also a critique of the class system and how easy it is to take advantage of others.  It is also a commentary on tragic events and where they fall within the context of everything else that happens around you.  We see a number of tragedies unfolding around Cleo and how she just soldiers on through all of them.  But when things become more personal, she experiences this all from the other end, as do we.

Being a Cuaron film, there are a lot of amazingly shot sequences, and when you come across them you will recognize them.  The furniture store is one people are talking about, as it the beach scene.  (By the way, I know I added the most cliche picture for this film on this post. Sorry.)  There is one other I wont mention in specifics which is emotionally devastating.  And the cinematography throughout is spectacular, as per usual for Cuaron.  The black and white really makes the details pop.

Roma may seem simple if you are not looking closely, but there is a lot happening inside the subtext here.  It will give you a lot to think about if you let it, and it is probably the strongest film I’ve seen this year.

One Response to “My Top 10 Movies of 2018”

  1. Great list! Still gotta check out a few of these

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