Did your favorite movies make the list?
2018 was a BIG year for film. The Avengers all died, horror continued its much needed renaissance, and streaming continued to be insanely popular. A lot of great films were made, but not everyone can get on our extremely prestigious and well respected list. Awards like that are saved for very special films. Films like…
“The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” by the Coen Brothers. Originally designed to be a Netflix miniseries and eventually converted into a movie, this western anthology film deals with existentialism, morality, and above all else, some rootin’ tootin’ westerness. The cast holds huge names, most of which give outstanding performances that are often against type. The script is relatively tight, and the cinematography is very well done. But what really sets this film apart is the stellar direction the Coen’s provide.
Next up we have “Annihilation” by Alex Garland. A movie set during a tumultuous set of events, the most compelling drama might very well be the personal ones. The way Garland interweaved main character Lena’s drama into the unique fictional nightmare the movie takes place in is extremely well done and worthy of note. Natalie Portman also gives a stellar performance here.
The next two films were a little more indie. “Eighth Grade” and “You Were Never Really Here” wowed the few who actually watched them. The first film deals with growing up in the digital age, and the stress that can cause. Written and directed by comedian Bo Burnham in his first film venture, his attempt is very reminiscent of Jordan Peele’s recent turn with the unbelievable “Get Out”. Elsie Fisher gives one of the best performances I have ever seen from a child actress here, as her character Kayla experiences the highs and lows of her final year in junior high.
In the second indie darling listed, Joaquin Phoenix continued to add to his wildly underrated career with the near pitch perfect performance of a man nearing his emotional limits. Lynne Ramsay’s deconstruction of violence in this tightly written script deserves much, much more praise than it received, especially considering how far behind the rest of hollywood when it comes to the subject matter. The final thirty minutes are amongst my favorite of the 21st century, let alone the year.
Last, and definitely not least, we have the masterclass of horror filmmaking that is the film “Hereditary” by Ari Aster. Everything about this movie is what I want in my horror. Light on cheap scares, filled to the brim with tension, doubling as a metaphor for something larger, and all in all being a very, very well executed film, Aster has created something special. Focusing on the family, it showcases strong performances from the whole cast, top to bottom. The way problems like leaving disorders and personal struggles behind for your kids is expressed is near genius. I cannot gush about this movie enough. However, the ending could have been handled a little more…elegantly. But still, amazing film.
Of course, these are not the only worthwhile films from the year. Animated films like “The Incredibles 2” and “Into the Spider Verse” were extremely well recieved by children and adults alike, and blockbusters like “Infinity War” and “Black Panther” proved that Marvel is here to stay for the long foreseeable future. And even I haven’t seen Oscar favorites like “The Favourite” and “If Beale Street Could Talk”.
Point is, 2018 rocked film-wise and you should try to see any number of movies. But the previously mentioned five are a great starting point.
Feature photo courtesy of the Associated Press.