The Films That Stood Out to Me in 2018

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

Review – Bumblebee

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

Review – Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

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

Review – The Old Man & the Gun

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

Review – Sorry to Bother You

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

Review – Creed II

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

Review – Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald. directed by David Yates and written by J.K. Rowling, is in dire need of a little bit of focus and a lot of heart. If it had either of those qualities (but preferably both) it could have really been a film to sing the praises of. Unfortunately, this will be my second review where I lament the failings of this new Harry Potter inspired franchise (though this one won’t be as negative as my review for Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them). So, let’s get on with the review; explore all that this film has to offer, and see if we can find a little bit of light in a review that I hope to not just be solely negative. Read more

Review – Robin Hood

Robin Hood, directed by Otto Bathurst, had the potential to add an interesting new spin on a story and character that has been well and truly done at this point. Unfortunately, despite some minor, and somewhat interesting choices, Robin Hood is a bland, forgettable film in which my opinion of it could best be communicated with a shrug of the shoulders. This won’t be the most riveting of reviews I’ve had the opportunity to write recently, but it will do you the favour of letting you know if you should make the effort to go see this film. So, without further ado, let’s get on with the review. Read more

Review – The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, has ample opportunity to fill you with a bevy of emotions. It could delight you, it could unnerve you, it could fill you with sadness or leave you feeling full of joy… but unfortunately my time spent with the film left me mostly feeling bored and full of sighs of tedium. Despite a varied and talented cast, and six individual short stories, there’s a constant flat emptiness to the proceedings of the film, and only in two of the stories did I ever find myself caring about the little tales I was experiencing. There’s certainly much to unpack with this film, so let’s not dilly-dally with the introduction anymore and instead get on with the review. Read more

Review – Suspiria

Suspiria, directed by Luca Guadagnino, is a viscerally overwhelming experience that had me transfixed by its unrelenting atmosphere and allured by the incomparable work by Tilda Swinton. However, those standout elements weren’t enough to distract me from the remakes many faults, some of which are so infectious, that it leaves me unsure if I can recommend this film. I’m really interested to explore all that Suspiria has to offer, as there are some well-handled offerings in this film – offerings that severely affected me physically and mentally, but there are also points to this film that are interesting to explore because of how damaging they are to a film that had within it the potential to be good. So, with all that being said, let’s dispense with this introduction and get to exploring the sinister depths of Suspiria. Read more

Review – Wildlife

Wildlife, co-written and directed by Paul Dano, was a hypnotically peaceful experience that I willingly fell into and slowly drifted along with on its emotionally tumultuous journey. Offering some of the most effective character study of a family who I was completely engrossed with and wholly empathetic too; Wildlife was a film that immediately grabbed a hold of my heart and subsequently never lost it. This is going to be a review that I will lovingly get to write, as it will be a about a film that I found to be truly moving and wonderfully made. So, let’s get to it. Read more

Review – Widows

Widows, co-written and directed by Steve McQueen, is yet another enthralling piece of cinema from a director who is yet to make a bad film. Enveloping an eclectic and uniquely damaged cast of characters in an ever-evolving story that continuously keeps you on your toes; Widows is a film that engages you and challenges you every step of the way. It’s been too long since I’ve had the pleasure to talk about a McQueen film, so let’s be done with this introduction and get to the review, so I can delight in talking about a director I adore. Read more

Review – Outlaw King

Outlaw King, co-written and directed by David Mackenzie, brings to Netflix what might be one of its strongest exclusives to date. Like the historical epics that used to dominate the cinema, Outlaw King is epic in scope and brutal in tone, but it also has heart to it – a proud Scottish heart that beats strong (and I’m not just saying that because I am a fellow Scot), but the film isn’t without faults. Some serious pacing issues and a lack of depth can sometimes leave the film feeling a little out of breath. I’m very excited to explore all that Outlaw King has to offer. Is this one of Netflix’s best? Maybe. Do the film’s failings lessen its impact – it’s effectiveness? Again, maybe. Let’s explore those questions and much, much more in my review. Read more

Review – Overlord

Overlord, directed by Julius Avery, has an interesting premise, a setting that’s always rich for compelling stories and an opening scene that had me feeling really positive about the journey I was about to set out on. And so, even with all that, it’s a real shame that Overlord doesn’t take advantage of any of them and instead embarks on a meandering, boring experience that never amounts to anything memorable or interesting and slowly but surely devolved into a film that struggled to hold my attention for any significant amount of time. Where is it Overlord goes so wrong? Is there anything that maybe makes it worth your time? Well, let’s explore all that Overlord has to offer and see if there’s anything to it that can salvage what is mostly a forgettable film. Read more

Review – Apostle

Apostle, written and directed by Gareth Evans, has within it many secrets, mysteries and unyielding brutality, and all of it is enacted by an assortment of severely broken characters who all in their own way have something to them that intrigues you or unsettles you. But is that enough to make Apostle an engaging watch? The quality and answers to some of them are perhaps not. Let’s explore all of this and more in my review, shall we. Read more

Review – Bohemian Rhapsody

Bohemian Rhapsody, directed by Brian Singer (and technically also Dexter Fletcher), is a cheap, shallow film that uses the joy inducing music of Queen, and a possible career best performance from Rami Malek to try and make you think it’s better than it actually is. Beyond the music we all know and love; this is a film that is devoid of anything that feels… alive. For much of my time with Bohemian Rhapsody, I was either frustrated, unengaged and so desperately wishing it would give the exposure to the characters that they deserved. This is the worst kind of biopic film and my review will sadly be centred around what that is, so let’s get to it. Read more

Review – Halloween

Halloween, co-written and directed by David Gordon Green, had me completely hooked. I sat there in my seat giddy at what I was seeing; a good Halloween film that was paying homage to the original in a way that I loved, while also standing on its own as something new and exciting. But then a significant shift in the film’s tone occurred during its middle portion; all that was good disappeared, and the film shifted into a place that DIDN’T work and had me feeling severely deflated. But then it brought it back for an ending that maybe won me back. I’m really eager to dive into this new Halloween film; explore where it goes very right and also very wrong and see if this is a film that I can recommend, because I’m genuinely still not sure. I’m very conflicted on how I feel about this one, but that’s because I so wanted it to be good. Anyway, let’s bring this rambling introduction to an end and get on with the damn review. Read more

Review – First Man

First Man, directed by Damien Chazelle, takes a bold direction with one of history’s most well-known and beloved figures. Rather than a pleasant, uplifting exploration of the life of Neil Armstrong, First Man pulls back the curtain and explores the darker, far more depressing story of a man who truly lived a life full of struggle and pain. However, with a solemn atmosphere and a hefty feeling runtime, I do think this is a film that some audience goers might struggle with. So, let’s explore all that First Man has to offer, and the methods it employs to do so, to see if it’s a film you’ll be wanting to see. Read more

Review – Bad Times at the El Royale

Bad Times at the El Royale, written and directed by Drew Goddard, is a film that fully luxuriates and indulges – and sometimes languishes – in its dialogue heavy scenes. While some serious trimming could have occurred to help streamline this film, it does mean you’ll never find yourself wanting for more. With nuanced and intriguing characters and a plot that is always full of twists and turns, Bad Times at the El Royale justifies its overly indulgent ways (to an extent). So, let’s dive deeper into the offerings of this film and see if it’s one that you’ll want to see. Read more

Review – The Wife

* This review contains SPOILERS for The Wife! *

The Wife, directed by Björn Runge, initially seemed to be a pretty sedate, simple film that would for the most part engage me. But, as it went on, two towering performances from two incredible actors (Glenn Close and Jonathan Pryce) slowly drew me into a film that had me completely gripped. There’s nothing particularly standout about this film (or so it seems) but when you begin to dive deeper into the film’s two lead characters and the performances from those leads intensifies in quality and depth, you’ll find yourself lost in a story that completely holds you. So, let’s explore the inner workings of this film and see if it’s one you might fancy checking out. Onto the review. Read more