Film

2018: My year in film

A list of 2018 releases seen this year across the U.S., Sydney, and occasionally, VOD and mid-air. As a result, there are some late 2017 releases, and it’s missing late 2018 U.S. ones.

Initial tweet-reactions to the higher rated films included. In alphabetical order, by star rating…

5 star

Blindspotting
If it takes jabs at gentrification, it unloads a gun of seething, stylistic anger at race and identity. The climax alone is worth the price of admission.

Burning
Wickedly mysterious in its writing and pacing, with some of the best character interplay of the year that left me wanting way more than 148min. Steven Yeun is a charming devil!

Cold War
The soft, ravishing camera and framing is sheer bliss to take in, supporting the cyclical romance dealing mostly in extremes. Its musical core is felt throughout, with the choreographed numbers and songs adding plenty to the mood.

First Man
Directed by the steadiest of shaky-cam hands, this is perfect, immersive storytelling for me, utilising all cinema has to offer. The music is SO SO good.

Minding the Gap
Comprehending the scope of what this young filmmaker is pulling off as it grows in importance and courage by the minute gave me chills. I’m so glad Bing Liu got to tell his story, and it has me hopeful for other storytellers out there. A must-see.

Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Seeing Cruise, a 56 year old man, push the limits of practical action sequences in film with every new outing is a wholly unique thrill. The plane jump, the motorcycle, hell, even him just god damn running!

Phantom Thread
A PTA-constructed game is one I’m always willing to play and relish, no matter the rules. Adorned with Greenwood’s score and DDL to complete the holy trifecta.

Roma
A miracle of a movie, and certainly one I didn’t think would come from Cuaron. He’s taken his beautiful eye for cinema and movement, marrying it with the richest of milieus, and the actress of the year.

Shoplifters
Another multi-generational, humanist gem of the highest grade from Kore-eda. More pointed than I can recall his other work, particularly with the ending and its structure.

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-verse
A masterpiece in animation. In awe of how it was conceived and put together. Luckily it doesn’t stop there. Plenty of heart, action, humour, and hope, like the best of the comics.

Summer 1993
It’s as close as I’ve come to understanding and realising the complex emotions of a child. Deeply attuned writing and direction. The highs and lows all revel in nuance.

The Rider
The kind of pure, human cinema and story that is astonishing to think about when the credits roll. Easily 2018’s best to date. Hooray for Chloe Zhao. There’s so much to unpack in those taming scenes, but you know it’s special in the moment.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor
“Paddington 2 is so wholesome.” Mr Rogers: HOLD MY MARMALADE. The theatre was in danger of flooding by the end due to all the tears. Truly bittersweet given mass media today.

You Were Never Really Here
If it’s not mindless violence, is it mindful violence? Distinctive and considered in its vision by Ramsay. Joaquin is carnal and caring.

4pt5 star

A Quiet Place
What a premise! Gleefully executed to ratchet up the tension. Doesn’t skimp on the stakes. Why would you think about bringing a child into that world though? I guess it’s 2018 and you could ask the same question.

A Star Is Born
There are three scenes between Cooper and Gaga that are absolute powerhouses of emotion. Obviously the music is great. The acting equally so.

Annihilation
Every living organism is always changing, and is a reflection of everything around it. Or is it self-destructing? Why not both? Garland takes (or does he plant) this central concept and runs with it in thrilling fashion.

Beast
Mysterious misdirecting with style on all fronts, particularly the editing. Jessie Buckley is a force and a puzzle.

Black Panther
In the Marvel cinematic universe, this is a tribal, political, cultural wonder everyone from King Coogler down has come together to create. Michael B. Jordan steals every scene as probably the richest Marvel character to date!

Bodied
It’s happy to call out the cliches it revels in, making the audience an active participant in every problematic point it puts forward for our ultimate enjoyment. And oh yes I did enjoy it.

Can You Ever Forgive Me?
The loveliest, seeking-no-thrills con/job, tinged with sadness, and two charming outsiders.

Eighth Grade
A fearless performance at an uncertain, terrifying time in your life. Boy am I glad I didn’t grow up with social media. Appreciate the parent’s perspective given the care it deserves too, and the hope amidst it all.

Searching
An incredibly innovative thriller! A mirror to how technology rules our lives. A fricken Up-rivalling montage. A few too many crazy plot turns for me, but oh so worth it.

The Death of Stalin
A reminder of what great comedy is, and the types of stories only it can tell. In an insanely fun ensemble, Simon Russell Beale comes out on top.

The Tale
As essential, harrowing, and deeply personal as it gets. The stories we tell ourselves to get by, and how we reflect on them.

Vox Lux
A bitterly cold statement piece of tragedies near and removed. Portman puts on a damn good show, and the meta production of all the songs is genuinely impressive.

Widows
I’ve never laughed out loud as hard to a torture sequence, which is a testament to McQueen’s varying tone. Daniel Kaluuya is a snarling, terrifying face of evil. Happily chewed on its exploration of politics and power while waiting for the heist to go down.

4 star

A Fantastic Woman

BlacKkKlansman

First Reformed

Happy As Lazzaro

Hereditary

I, Tonya

Leave No Trace

Madeline’s Madeline

The Sisters Brothers

The Wife

Tully

Wildlife

3pt5 star

Avengers: Infinity War

Crazy Rich Asians

Foxtrot

I Am Not a Witch

In the Fade

Paddington 2

Private Life

Puzzle

Revenge

Sorry To Bother You

Stronger

The Favourite

Thoroughbreds

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

3 star

Brigsby Bear

Ex Libris

Incredibles 2

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Old Man & the Gun

Unsane

Venom

Whitney

2pt5 star

American Animals

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Border

Game Night

Mandy

Molly’s Game

The Post

2 star

Damsel

Isle of Dogs

Kusama – Infinity

Red Sparrow

The Miseducation of Cameron Post

1pt5 star

Deadpool 2

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