2018 it’s safe to say has been pretty shocking and I think most of us have never been more uncertain about the future then we are right now. So many things have changed and a lot of them not necessarily for the better. However, I do love the fact that film in its purest form always manages to rise to the occasion and address these issues in some way or other. It could be that one film makes people stop and think, perhaps even spark a debate among its audience members. Failing that it could serve to do the complete opposite and capture your imagination for a few hours, providing a welcome relief from all the doom and gloom. This can be equally as important, after all, everyone requires an escape from time to time and movies have always been great for that.
And so I’m about to attempt the impossible by trying to cram all the movies I’ve seen this year into a top 10 list. As lists go they usually end up being rather controversial and that’s fine, but please just keep in mind that every year an unfathomable amount of films are released and as one person I can’t possibly see them all! I’ll be working with the UK release schedule and the following films have all been carefully selected based on my own personal enjoyment of them. But not just that I’ve also tried to go with films that I feel will stand the test of time, they do so much more than just entertain, they educate. So without further ado, I give you ICM Film’s Top 10 Films of 2018!
10: The Miseducation of Cameron Post – Directed by Desiree Akhavan and starring Chloe Grace Moretz, this strikingly powerful drama tackles the difficult subject of gay conversion therapy. It’s hard to believe that such a thing exists, but there are still places in the world which view attraction to the opposite sex as a major concern. These centres for conversion therapy will essentially brainwash their patients into accepting that there is something fundamentally wrong with them.
The Miseducation of Cameron Post makes a strong case for this being mental abuse and just as severe as any kind of physical abuse, it’s a lesson in self-hatred and there’s absolutely nothing healthy about that. Society has made tremendous progress over the last few years when it comes to being more accepting of gay relationships and so on, but watching this will definitely make it hit home that we haven’t quite reached the peak just yet. The Miseducation of Cameron Post is truly unmissable and Chloe Grace Moretz turns in a career-best performance.
9: Isle of Dogs – Wes Anderson is quite possibly one of the most respected and well-established directors working today. His films are always just such a delight to watch with his trademark visual style and cast of quirky characters. Here we get to see Anderson and his extremely talented team of animators push the very boundaries of stop motion animation further than they’ve ever been pushed before. If you found yourself impressed by the level of detail in 2009’s “Fantastic Mr. Fox” then this is pretty much guaranteed to blow your socks off!
Set in a dystopian near-future Japan, the story follows a young boy searching for his dog after the species is banished to ‘trash island’ following the outbreak of canine flu. Isle of Dogs is charming, hilarious and surprisingly deep at times. It’s obvious that Anderson is a firm believer when it comes to dogs being man’s best friend.
8. First Man – Damien Chazelle’s third major motion picture shoots for the moon and at the very least lands among the stars. It wasn’t perfect by any means, the lack of an American flag during the moon landing sequence certainly stirred up some controversy. But when Chazelle set out to make this though, I don’t think that capturing every single historical detail was the main goal he had in mind. Watching “First Man” it was crystal clear to me that he wanted the focus to be on Neil Armstrong and the incredible life he led. In my honest opinion that’s precisely what we ended up with, a film of two parts lovingly stitched together.
We were shown how he completely immersed himself in his career giving mind, body and soul to a cause he saw as being of the utmost importance. We’re also shown how much this impacts his home life, the looming uncertainty of whether or not he’ll even be coming home. Chazelle did such a wonderful job telling the story of this extraordinary man, so good in fact that every time he steps into the shuttle you feel as though you’re right there with him feeling the weightlessness and vibrations as the ships very foundations begin to rattle and shake all around you.
7. Bohemian Rhapsody – At number seven it’s another biopic about a man who instead of landing on the moon, made history with the power of his music and songwriting instead. That’s right I am of course talking about David Bowie! Yeah…. I wish. Seriously if we could get a movie for him with the same kind of treatment, that would be great. But not surprisingly this is actually about Freddie Mercury, who was notorious for being a very private person, so it really is amazing that this turned out to be as good as it was.
It may be a little rough around the edges as it tries to decide whether it wants to be a deeply personal biopic or a fun frolic through Queen’s discography, but when you hear about what a production disaster this was, you really do have to cut it some slack. Whether you consider yourself to be a Queen fan or not it doesn’t matter, after all, everyone knows the words to “Bohemian Rhapsody” and that’s something which demands respect. Queen were revolutionaries in the music business never to be forgotten and of course the man at the centre of it all – Freddie Mercury.
6. Coco – Don’t get me wrong I was more than entertained this summer when the Incredibles made a return to our screens, but I’ve decided to give “Coco” a special place on this list instead. Personally, I found it to be the more impressive of the two films and it’s been a while since we’ve had an original IP from Pixar, I was starting to worry that they might be losing their touch. But I stand corrected, they’ve definitely still got it!
Here we have a film that I believe can be enjoyed by children and adults alike, it ticks all the boxes. “Coco” is a real feast for the eyes with its beautiful animation and rich colour palette. The film is set in Mexico and takes place during the day of the dead festival which on the surface may sound kind of morbid, but it’s a Mexican tradition, a joyous celebration. At a time where a certain someone wishes to build walls around the very borders of Mexico, it’s nice to see something that shines more of a positive light on the country and its culture.
5. The Shape of Water – I remember being excited to see this for the longest time and it did not disappoint. Visionary director Guillermo Del Toro hit something of a bump in the road with his last venture “Crimson Peak”. Sure it looked great but other than that there wasn’t really a lot else going on, thankfully he reels it back in with this though.
Did you know it’s actually written in his contract to be referred to as a visionary director? While that may seem kind of entitled and big headed of him, I’d say he’s more than earned the right to make such demands. Every single film of his is just bursting with imagination, he always leaves you wondering how on earth he can continue to come up with such fascinating worlds and characters. The nice thing about “The Shape of Water” is that while it’s rich in fantasy and mystery, it still manages to be strikingly relevant to today’s world.
4. BlacKkKlansman – I found myself in a bit of a transitional period this summer after graduating from university and struggling to find a job. I came dangerously close to ending up flat broke so as you can imagine, I didn’t end up going to the cinema quite as much as I usually would. “BlacKkKlansman” was the first film I saw after getting myself out of this particular slump and it brought me to the sudden realisation of just how much I’d been missing the whole experience of going to see a movie.
It’s such a great film based on the true story of Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs who successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate. Being related to someone as high profile as Denzel Washington, you might find yourself struggling to be seen in their shadow, but in this leading role John David Washington stands out like the tallest skyscraper in a city’s skyline. I have tremendous respect and admiration for this film, so much so that I found myself frozen in place once it was over. I just had to sit and digest what I’d seen and for a film to have that much of an impact, well that’s a rare quality.
3. A Quiet Place – I can’t remember the last time I saw a film this tense, you often see the same labels being fired at films like this. There have been so many over the years that promise to be tense and have you on the edge of your seat, but when it all comes down to it you sit there yawning and thinking on how you’ve probably had family Christmases more tense than this. “A Quiet Place” may have the occasional cheap jump scare, but the main tool this film utilises is silence, complete and utter silence.
It’s a thing of beauty it really is, going to the cinema to see something that does such a spectacular job of captivating its audience, that nobody makes a sound. Nobody moves a muscle and I’m pretty sure most people were even holding their breath for the majority of this film’s runtime, I know I was. To think this came from US Office star John Krasinski is even more mind blowing. After the success of Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” in 2017, there really does seem to be a trend developing now with comedians directing some of the best horror/thrillers we’ve had in years. Personally, I’m all for it!
2. Lady Bird – Think back to the happiest, the safest you’ve ever felt. You’re sitting beside a warm fire surrounded by your loved ones, not a care in the world. For me that’s the kind of sensation I got from this movie, it was just so warm and inviting, resonating on such a personal level due to its delightfully humanistic approach.
I think Greta Gerwig left a piece of herself on the screen when directing this and it’s beautiful. It didn’t go unrecognized either, she ended up being one of the first female directors to be nominated by the academy and deservedly so. “Lady Bird” might not be the biggest and flashiest film of the year, but it is a film I believe can be enjoyed and understood by many at any time.
– A Star Is Born
– You Were Never Really Here
– Game Night
– I, Tonya
1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri- Martin McDonagh proves himself yet again to be the master of black comedy. In a film that deals with such sensitive subject matter, that’s certainly no easy task. Trying to find any sort of humour in the situations this film depicts really is like trying to find a needle in a haystack, but McDonagh doesn’t just pull it off, he truly goes above and beyond.
Despite being a piece of fiction “Three Billboards” and its characters are so well written, you wouldn’t be surprised if something like this had actually happened or if it did one day. McDonagh has been bringing us great films for quite some time now with the likes of “In Bruges” and “Seven Psychopaths”. I was so glad to see that 2018 ended up being his year as he entered the mainstream and cleaned up at several award ceremonies. Special praise must be given to its terrific ensemble cast too, particularly Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell. I can’t express how important it is that you see this movie, seriously, do yourself a favour.