So this without a doubt has to be one of the most embarrassing selection of best picture nominations I’ve seen in quite some time. When I look back at the piece I did last year on the 2018 nominations for the Oscars (click this link to check that out), I wish for a list as strong and full of such incredible films as that. I vividly remember struggling to rank those films, as almost all of them were full of something that was genuinely special; I struggled too not give them all the top spot for one reason or another.
However, this year, I find myself struggling to decide which one of these films is worse. Don’t get me wrong, a number of these films are good – and one in particular holds within it the same special magic that many of last year’s nominations had – but that’s the problem, most of them are only good films, while some actually outstanding films seems to have been ignored completely (‘First Man’ or ‘You Were Never Really Here’, for example). Minus a few of them, there’s nothing on this list that stands out to me as a film I remember having a significant impact on me. For most of these films, when I was writing the review for them, I remember how underwhelmed or how forgettably fine I was with them. To look at this list and see some of the films that are now being given a significant spotlight to shine makes me… sad.
Anyway, enough with my frustrated ramblings. Let’s get on with the ranking and find out where each film falls on the list. Read more
Velvet Buzzsaw, written and directed by Dan Gilroy, felt more like a schlocky TV drama, rather than a delectably vicious dissection of some of the unbearable people who inhabit the art world. Filled to the brim with unlikable characters and a plot that feels pulled out of a ‘Goosebumps’ book, this film almost immediately had me switching off and wishing I hadn’t once again given a Netflix original another shot. It seems like Gilroy’s unavoidably exciting and unnerving feature debut, ‘Nightcrawler’, might have just been a successful flook, because if Velvet Buzzsaw is anything to go off of, then there’s very little excitement left in me for his future work. So, let’s make our way into the review and see what it is that makes this another Netflix exclusive film that isn’t worth clicking on. Read more
If Beale Street Cold Talk, adapted for the screen and directed by Barry Jenkins, is a film that at times was overwhelmingly beautiful and captured my every ounce of care and attention. But it was also a film that felt bogged down by a plot that I hoped would pay off, but ultimately felt weak and pointless. There’s much to be said about Jenkins and his new film, so let’s not waste any more time with this intro, and instead get into all there is to write and talk about. Read more
The Mule, directed by Clint Eastwood, is an awkward, confusing experience that somewhere beyond the uncomfortable scenes and odd directorial decisions in a somewhat charming little film that I think I enjoyed. Genuinely, I am going to struggle with this review, because even at this very moment, having had a decent amount of time to try to evaluate what exactly I sat through, I’m still conflicted and confused as to what The Mule was supposed to be and some of the decisions that made it into the film. So, join me on this journey, as I try to figure out what it was, I watched and if it was any good. Read more
Roma, written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón, is a delicately personal, astounding beautiful piece of cinema that I now think stands as the directors most wonderful work to grace the screen. I’ll admit, I’m a little intimidated by this review. Roma is a beautiful film that I just don’t think I have the ability to properly explore and talk about. I’m certainly excited to have the chance to think more about this film and get lost in all that Cuarón achieves… I just hope I can do it justice. Here we go. Read more
Green Book, directed by Peter Farrelly, is exactly what I thought it would be; a safe, comfortable, crowd pleasing film that fails to meaningfully explore the lofty themes at its disposal. It relies on jokes and plot points that go nowhere and ultimately tries to wrap everything in a neat, comfortable bow that has you leaving the cinema without a worry or a care. Green Book is in no way a bad film; I found it quite enjoyable and I was fully endeared to the relationship between the film’s two lead characters… but I was just hoping for so much more. This will be an interesting and challenging review to work through, but I’m looking forward to doing it. So, let’s make our way into the review and see just how Green Book shapes up. Read more
Destroyer, directed by Karyn Kusama, isn’t able to salvage what it a dower, cliché revenge drama, despite having two scenes near the very end of the film that do a lot of work to try and evolve the film into something more than what it primarily is. To be honest, my enthusiasm for this review is low, as when it comes to Destroyer, there’s very little to talk about that doesn’t feel like me rehashing things I’ve said about plenty of other films that are exactly like this one. Anyway, let’s drop ourselves down into the review and see what to make of Destroyer. Read more
Can You Ever Forgive Me, directed by Marielle Heller, with its morose, nihilistic view, there’s a wit and a charm… and even the tiniest little hint of heart, offers an experience that speaks to you and in its own unique way, endears you to its characters. So, let’s explore all of those qualities and more in my review and see if this is a film you might want to see. Read more
Glass, written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, might possibly be the filmmakers best work to date (with Unbreakable or Signs being its primary competition). With a meaningful focus on characters, a competency with the camera that hasn’t always been there, and a noticeable cinematic growth by Shyamalan; Glass ends up being one of the most compelling films and experience from a director who has often struggled to deliver on the vision he seems to have in his head. For the first time in a very long time, I’m excited to be talking about and reviewing an M. Night Shyamalan film, so let’s get to it. Read more
Mary Queen of Scots, directed by Josie Rourke is a film that feels as if it’s constantly going around in circles; never achieving anything impactful, never feeling like a film that’s finding a purpose or drive that results in something meaningful. Sadly, there’s not much I was ever able to find compelling about this film… but maybe there’s something in it that makes it worth seeing; maybe there’s something that makes it worth seeing. So, let’s get into the review and see if there’s anything that makes it worthwhile. Read more
Vice, written and directed by Adam McKay, is a film that always felt on the verge of ascending into something truly incredible; something that completely captivated you – and that’s all because of the film’s primary focus (Dick Cheney and the tornado of people around him) and the actors that perfectly embody some of history’s most defining politicians. But… there is one massive and obtrusive obstacle in the way of this really good film from being something truly great, and that is Adam McKay’s ‘shock and awe’ style directing, and frankly… his ego. So, the question is: does this film’s incredibly rich characters and its monumentally important story break through all the nonsense of Adam McKay’s writing and directing and deliver something worth seeing? Well, let’s figure that out together in this review, shall we? Read more
Stan & Ollie, directed by Jon S. Baird, is a pleasantly endearing film. It makes you smile, it draws you into a bond and a friendship that is sweet and funny. It all makes for an experience I sat through and… happily enjoyed. But… with Stan & Ollie, I always got the sense that it was struggling to find a driving force that was overly compelling. While I liked my time with the film, it was never one that fully grasped my attention; I drifted from it a few times. My time spent with Stan & Ollie was mixed, and much like it, my path through this review will also be mixed. So, let’s get on with the review and see if those mixed opinions add up to a film worth seeing. Read more
The Favourite, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, was a delightfully self-indulgent film that I gleefully grinned throughout its bitingly clever dialogue and its incredibly nuanced characters. Watching as the film’s three main characters battled one another in the most deceptively sinister ways was something that… to put it bluntly: I gorged myself on every dark, comedically brilliant moment of. And now, I’m very excited to dive deep into all it has to offer. So, let’s stop with all the adjectives (in this intro, there’s about to be a whole lot of adjectives thrown your way throughout this review) and get on with things. Read more
Aquaman, directed by James Wan, in all its flashy camera moves, vibrant landscapes and somewhat entertaining action, is a big, dumb, empty film that I found myself inevitably checking out of and forever having to mentally try to keep up with an experience that genuinely seemed confused by what it wanted to be. With this review, I’m going to try to not be totally negative, but I must stress that Aquaman doesn’t make that an easy thing to do. Read more
Not to start this celebration of films off on a glum note, but 2018 has been one of the toughest years for me, personally, and because of that my time spent in the cinema or watching films hasn’t been as extensive as previous years. Why am I telling you this? Well it means that this year’s list might have what you may consider to me omissions. That could either be because I wasn’t able to see the film, or I thought they weren’t as good as everyone else seemed to think they were (I’m talking about you, Hereditary).
Still though, this has been another great year for cinema, and when I have made it to the chapel of film, I’ve been treated to a number of special experiences – I even found myself wowed and excited by a Marvel movie this year with Avengers: Infinity War (a film that I enjoyed the first time round and then loved the second time). So, despite my limited time with films this year, there are still plenty of standout films that I’m excited to share with you in this list.
Before I get started properly, I want to as always lay out the fact that this list is not one comprised of what are perhaps the absolute best films of the year (though some definitely are in my opinion). This is more a list about exploring films that for one reason or another stuck with me and made an impact on me when I saw them. And as always, this list will contain the film that was my favourite of the year – a decision I have struggled with when looking at the list. So, enough with this rambling intro, let’s get to the list and see what were the films that stood out to me in 2018! Read more
Bumblebee, directed by Travis Knight, proves that with just a little bit of heart, a lot of fun, and nothing of what Michael Bay considers filmmaking; that you can make a big-screen adaption of Transformers be a surprisingly wonderful experience. I’m really looking forward to writing this review, and that’s because it keeps me thinking about a little film that continues to make me smile with its innocent, joyful offerings. So, let’s get to it, shall we? Read more
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, directed by Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rotham, is not just one of the best superhero movies to grace the big screen, but it stands as one of the best comic book movies I think I’ve ever seen. Its vibrant style, its infectious sense of humour, its dazzling animation and its total willingness to be a comic book in motion – plus so much more – makes every second of time with this film an absolute joy. Settle in while I gush over a film that had me smiling throughout and had me feeling like a big happy kid sitting in the cinema. Read more
The Old Man & the Gun, written and directed by David Lowery, is a devilishly charming film in which you’ll willingly and effortlessly fall in love with its characters, and eagerly get lost in its simple but endearing story. It could be argued that the film meanders along; it’s not exactly the most thrilling experience for a general audience, which I’ll explore in my review, but there’s something that’s just lovely about this film, and I’m looking forward to writing my review of it… so let’s get to it. Read more
Sorry to Bother You, written and directed by Boots Riley, is at times like a hallucinogenic ride through the waking nightmare that is sometimes real-life. With it’s politically charged themes and its bonkers way of approaching everything and anything, this is a film that from the very beginning makes a mark on you, and it’s a mark it makes sure you don’t forget getting. This review will be a true representation of my rambling thoughts, while I try to cobble together everything I felt and thought during and after, Sorry to Bother You. Join me, won’t you? Read more
Creed II, directed by Steven Caple Jr., once again handles its character and the legacy of the franchise beautifully. It drew me in, in ways I never expected, and it affected me emotionally in ways I knew it would but still found to be extremely effective. Now, the film doesn’t always pace itself well, and it does fall to the mat in some places, but this is a worthy sequel to a film that I adored, and I’m very excited to talk about. Anyway, let’s dispense with the introduction and get on with the review. Read more