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
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
Okja, written and directed by Bong Joon-ho, is a film that is continually building and ends up offering so much, in terms of the emotions it elicits and the ideas that it causes you to think about. This is no conventional film and if you’ve seen any of Bong Joon-ho’s previous films that shouldn’t come as a surprise to you. Much like his others film, this one had me fully invested and completely overwhelmed by all that it presented/tackled, and by the time the credits rolled, I was amazed by the journey that it had taken me on. But let’s dispense with all the gushing comments and the intro itself, and get onto the review and what it is that makes Okja such an interesting film to experience. Read more
Life, directed by Daniel Espinosa, is not original in any way; it is a story and a concept that has been done many times before, and better (‘Alien’ being a prime example). But, despite it not offering anything ground-breaking or different, I did still find myself engaged and rooting for the main characters. I was intrigued by how the film approached the philosophy of the situation, and it gave just enough to make me care for people who I felt I had a decent understanding of. So there are certainly some pros and cons to the film, and getting onto the full review will help clear some of them up (hopefully). So let’s get on with it. Read more
So 2016 has been a mixed year in terms of films; the summer blockbuster season was… well a bust, and there have been a lot of films that haven’t fully hit the mark (for me). But, there have also been some real treasures – some films that have been absolutely exceptional; ones that I didn’t see coming. Now of course this is all about the films that for me, just couldn’t escape my head. The ones that burrowed themselves into my memory banks, set up shop, and politely – or sometimes quite forcefully – told me that they planned on being there for the long-haul. This was something I was completely okay with.
I suppose I should lay what you can expect from this piece, as I’m not intending for it to be the usual ‘Top 10’ lists that you’re going to be seeing around this time of year. What I want to do with this is not necessarily focus on what might be considered the absolute best-of-the best from 2016; the films that were perfect in their every effort and deserve to be recognised as the next masterpieces. This is more about me shining a light on some films that, for one reason or another (those reasons will be laid out in detail when I talk about each film) just had an effect on me, made it so that they stuck around and kept me thinking about them. The films are in no particular order, but my favourite film of 2016 will be in there somewhere. But don’t worry, you’ll know when that comes up.
I also want to point out that this list only contains films released in the UK in 2016. So films like, La La Land, Midnight, Manchester by the Sea, etc. films which everyone is singing the praises of, will not be contenders for this list. I want to keep it contained to only films released in UK cinemas in 2016. That way I can give everything a fair shot from this year.
So yeah, that’s what I intend to do with this piece. You’ll definitely recognise a lot of these films, and many other people will assuredly be talking about them, but I’m also hoping there will be 1-or-2 that slipped under your radar, and reading about them here gives you that little nudge to go watch them. So without further-a-due, let’s get into the films that stood out to me, and made their presence known, in 2016. Read more
Nocturnal Animals, directed by Tom Ford, is sinister and dark film. What immediately stood-out to me about it, was the way Ford presents his characters within his films; not only from a characteristic perspective, but also a visual one as well. Much like his previous film (‘A Single Man’) I found myself hypnotised by the honesty in his film, but this time around I was also transfixed by the subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) cruelty within, Nocturnal Animals. There’s much to say about this one, so let’s get this review underway. Read more
Demolition, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and written by Bryan Sipe, is a brilliantly executed character film. With quick, meaningful dialogue, and a host of characters that are very much outside the norm – Demolition is a film with a deep emotional core, but it is an emotional core that is damaged and in need of some help. I really became invested in this film and was surprised with what it ended up offering, but what were those offerings? Let’s jump into this review and see. Read more
‘Everest’, directed by Baltasar Kormákur is a visually engrossing film, filled with stunning vistas and some unbelievably realistic looking mountain top scenes. The film his hurt a little by its crowded – underdeveloped cast, but brings a lot of what it offers together into something unforgettable in the end. Read more
Southpaw, directed by Antoine Fugua is an emotionally charged film. Sadly, it’s also a film that never really lives up to its potential. With some rushed structuring, and some noticeably lacking development of certain integral characters, there are clear issues in a film that… at its core, still has something worthwhile in it. Read more