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The best films of 2018 (1 Viewer)

Winston T. Boogie

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So, I've been seeing all kinds of year end lists with people selecting whatever they feel are the best pictures of 2018.

2018 to me at this point will be, sort of, a sad year for film in my mind. It marks the year where it really feels like somebody drove a spike through the heart of adult films being wide release pictures shown in cinemas. It is the year that Netflix became the primary place people would see a Coen Brothers picture, a great film from Alex Garland, and the likely primary landing spot where most people will watch the next Scorsese film.

All that said there were some excellent films released this year and I will try to add to my list as I think of things or get to see some of the pictures I have yet to see this year.

In no particular order here are some of the pictures that come to mind as great films I saw in 2018:

Annihilation: This did get a limited release in US cinemas but the rest of the world apparently watched this on Netflix. Truth is most people in the US probably watched this on Netflix as well. I sat in a nearly empty cinema watching what to me seemed like some of the most beautiful head trip science fiction since 2001 but I have to say if 2001 was actually being released now it also would likely be sent directly to a streaming service. Alex Garland delivers a gorgeous piece of science fiction for the thinking person. Also in the year of Me Too his film features a cast loaded with bad ass women as they are the ones that journey into the mysterious zone to discover what is happening there. In a better world this film would have been a smash hit that left people talking as they walked out of the cinema and for years afterward.

First Reformed: Paul Schrader proves he can still make outstanding cinema that is both emotional and makes you think. Not only that but the subject matter is timely and he gets an outstanding performance from Ethan Hawke. This picture is classic Schrader with an intense male main character that seems to be losing the battle to contain the madness within him, which is driven by what he sees as the ills of the world.

Mandy: A truly crazed cinematic experience that again...most people probably did not get to see in a cinema. Gorgeously shot and wonderfully conceived on what is basically a shoe string budget these days. Pano Cosmatos brings us a unique piece of horror that plays like a tone poem that is trying to bring 1970s album covers to life one moment and then shifts into a crazed gore fest the next , where two guys might do battle with chainsaws. There is probably no good way to explain what you will see in this film...it is something you just have to experience...and we get so few pictures like this these days. I don't think it is meant to make sense as much as it is to just draw emotions out of the viewer. You'll laugh, you'll cringe, you'll say "Holy shit!" and if you are like me at the end you'll want to go back and watch it all again.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs: Yes, the Coen Brothers are back...and on Netflix. This also got a limited run in select theaters but chances are most people watched it on Netflix. Once again they deliver. Beautiful photography and blackly comic dialogue that was instantly recognizable as coming from the Coens, as well as wonderful performances from all the actors. I see this film as a comedy built around the gruesome ways people could get killed off in the Old West but some people find it harrowing and a real gut punch. Particularly the segment titled Meal Ticket. When I saw this was playing at a cinema near me I pretty much ran there to get in line. Sadly, I don't think many people got that chance.

I'll leave off there for now as there are still things I want to watch but those are four pictures that have remained with me since I watched them.

So, what are the best pictures you've seen so far in 2018?
 
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TravisR

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I want to see the rest of this year's movies but I enjoyed Isle Of Dogs, Incredibles 2, Mission: Impossible- Fallout, Blackkklansman and
A Star Is Born but my favorite was probably the wonderfully crazy Sorry To Bother You.

Also, I'd like to give a nod to the sweet little kids movie Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero. It was a kind, little independent animated movie that was just nice and patriotic (without being jingoistic) and it deserved to be seen by more kids and adults.

EDIT: I already realized I missed Eighth Grade. And for Rami Malek's great Freddie Mercury performance, I also give it up to Bohemian Rhapsody.

EDIT 2: Annihilation
 
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Jake Lipson

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It makes sense in theory to start this thread now, but considering the insane volume of new releases coming at us in the next two weeks or so, I don't want to make any best-of lists just yet. I count 11 wide releases between December 12 and December 25 (or 12 if you count The Favourite, which is already out and will have a wide expansion next weekend.) Plus a bunch of awards contenders that will start small and expand into the new year. It's very possible that some of these late-breaking releases might end up being things I want to recognize on my best-of list. So I don't do them just yet at this point in the year, personally.
 

benbess

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Although there are some significant movies that will be released in the next couple of weeks, since the year is about 95% over I think it's ok to begin to think about some of our favorite films from this year. To me, overall, it has still been a fairly good year for movies—and thanks to first MoviePass and now AMC's A-list I've seen more movies from this year theatrically than any other year of my life.

Responding to Reggie's first post, like him I really liked The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and First Reformed. Perhaps I just wasn't in the right mood for it, but for me Annihilation was interesting, gripping, and lovely in places, but just didn't work as well in the last half hour or so. I still haven't seen Mandy, and the reviews said it was so gruesome that I wasn't sure I was up to seeing it.

Here are some of my other favorites from 2018, listed in order of theatrical release. In other words, it's not ranked, but just lists my favorite movies from Jan, then Feb, March, etc....

Mary and the Witch's Flower
Winchester (I might be alone in really liking this one)
The Cloverfield Paradox (again, I'm probably alone in really enjoying this "B" Sci Fi film, but my family found it tense, funny, and entertaining)
Ready Player One (Haven't read the book and so liked it)
A Quiet Place
Leisure Seeker
Lean on Pete
Love, Simon
Tully
Overboard
Sgt. Stubby
Lu Over the Wall
Solo (Alone here probably. I liked it!)
Deadpool 2 (laughed a lot)
1945 (black and white Hungarian film. Grim but good)
Adrift (based on a real story. Intense.)
Mission Impossible: Fallout (entertaining for the kind of movie it is)
Crazy Rich Asians
Operation Finale
Papillon
A Simple Favor
Blackkklansman
The Bookshop
A Star is Born
Bad Times at the El Royale
The Hate U Give
Bohemian Rhapsody
Beautiful Boy
A Private War
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

It will be tough to try to chop that down to a top 10 or even top 20. Plus there are those movies that are coming up in the rest of December....
 
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TJPC

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Wow! I consider myself well versed in popular culture. We live around the corner from an IMAX complex and attend the movies about every other week. Still the titles of so many movies named as best of the year here that I have never even heard of before astonishes me.
 

Winston T. Boogie

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Wow! I consider myself well versed in popular culture. We live around the corner from an IMAX complex and attend the movies about every other week. Still the titles of so many movies named as best of the year here that I have never even heard of before astonishes me.

Well, one of the main reasons I started this thread is I know I probably missed stuff, as an example I had never even heard of Sorry to Bother You and Travis and Matt both named that film as a favorite, so I am hoping to hear about titles like this I should go and check out. So, you are not alone, Terry. Unlike you though, I don't think I am well versed in popular culture...in fact I would describe myself as basically clueless.
 

Winston T. Boogie

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I want to see the rest of this year's movies but I enjoyed Isle Of Dogs, Incredibles 2, Mission: Impossible- Fallout, Blackkklansman and
A Star Is Born but my favorite was probably the wonderfully crazy Sorry To Bother You.

Yes, I would include Isle of Dogs as one of the really good films this year but will confess that's a very biased opinion because I have really loved all of Wes Anderson's work. Also I want to see BlackkKlansman as that looks pretty damn funny and seems to fit my sense of humor...which is obviously a bit bizarre. I know I'm not supposed to make fun of people here but in real life I have spent a lifetime doing all kinds of crazy things to racists so a movie about messing with racists seems right up my alley.

On Sorry to Bother You...well...somehow this is the first I have heard of this picture. Truly I have no idea what's going on.
 
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Winston T. Boogie

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It makes sense in theory to start this thread now, but considering the insane volume of new releases coming at us in the next two weeks or so, I don't want to make any best-of lists just yet. I count 11 wide releases between December 12 and December 25 (or 12 if you count The Favourite, which is already out and will have a wide expansion next weekend.) Plus a bunch of awards contenders that will start small and expand into the new year. It's very possible that some of these late-breaking releases might end up being things I want to recognize on my best-of list. So I don't do them just yet at this point in the year, personally.

The Favourite is a film I am really excited to see and based on my personal track record with Yorgos Lanthimos pictures, I expect it to be one one of my favorites of the year.

You don't have to list all your favorite films of the year in one post, I am just trying to keep some sort of tally of the ones that I most enjoyed and that I thought were great cinema.

My issue is I also don't know what my Top Ten are and what if I just don't think there were 10 excellent films this year? Or what if I think there were 14? I mean I think list what you liked, that's all that matters not really the count.
 

Winston T. Boogie

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Although there are some significant movies that will be released in the next couple of weeks, since the year is about 95% over I think it's ok to begin to think about some of our favorite films from this year. To me, overall, it has still been a fairly good year for movies—and thanks to first MoviePass and now AMC's A-list I've seen more movies from this year theatrically than any other year of my life.

Responding to Reggie's first post, like him I really liked The Ballad of Buster Scruggs and First Reformed. Perhaps I just wasn't in the right mood for it, but for me Annihilation was interesting, gripping, and lovely in places, but just didn't work as well in the last half hour or so. I still haven't seen Mandy, and the reviews said it was so gruesome that I wasn't sure I was up to seeing it.

Here are some of my other favorites from 2018, listed in order of theatrical release. In other words, it's not a ranked, but just lists my favorite movies from Jan, then Feb, March, etc....

Mary and the Witch's Flower
Winchester (I might be alone in really liking this one)
The Cloverfield Paradox (again, I'm probably alone in really enjoying this "B" Sci Fi film, but my family found it tense, funny, and entertaining)
Ready Player One (Haven't read the book and so liked it)
A Quiet Place
Leisure Seeker
Lean on Pete
Love, Simon
Tully
Overboard
Sgt. Stubby
Lu Over the Wall
Solo (Alone here probably. I liked it!)
Deadpool 2 (laughed a lot)
1945 (black and white Hungarian film. Grim but good)
Adrift (based on a real story. Intense.)
Mission Impossible: Fallout (entertaining for the kind of movie it is)
Crazy Rich Asians
Operation Finale
Papillon
A Simple Favor
Blackkklansman
The Bookshop
A Star is Born
Bad Times at the El Royale
The Hate U Give
Bohemian Rhapsody
Beautiful Boy
A Private War
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

It will be tough to try to chop that down to a top 10 or even top 20. Plus there are those movies that are coming up in the rest of December....

So, when I was looking at year end lists one person said screw a Top Ten and did a Top 40...maybe that would be better for you, Ben!

I had not heard of Mary and the Witch's Flower but I love that title so now I have to go look that up. I have to confess though the next two titles on your list, Winchester and The Cloverfield Paradox, I fell asleep trying to watch both of those. So, I still need to go back and try to finish them.

Annihilation was just, for me, exactly the type of film I tend to enjoy. So, it was really a great experience to sit in a cinema and watch that. I honestly loved how in a science fiction setting the film examined love, loss, disease, how human beings confront and react to something they don't understand, how we react to "the other", and how when we lose somebody in life that they are still with us in many ways. Just a wonderful film for me and of course gorgeous to look at. To me it just seems such a rarity that we get science fiction pictures with that much heart and intelligence. Sadly, I think Alex Garland was deeply upset by what happened to that film and how it was handled. I can't blame him really. I hope that in time the picture's reputation grows and more people find it a true classic of the genre.
 

TravisR

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On Sorry to Bother You...well...somehow this is the first I have heard of this picture. Truly I have no idea what's going on.
I wouldn't feel too bad, it didn't exactly have an Avengers-sized promotional campaign.

And I agree on Annihilation. Absolutely fantastic movie. I'm glad that us folks in America got the chance to see it in a theater.
 

Bryan^H

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MANDY

nothing groundbreaking in the story department, but the Nic Cage and the look of the film make it may favorite of 2018. Very well done.
 

Jake Lipson

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All that in my above post having been said, as of today my favorite film of 2018 is Paddington 2, which was released all the way back in January. (Some people will count this for 2017 since it was an end-of-year international release, but I'm counting it for 2018 because the U.S. release was in January and that's where I am.) I certainly did not expect a January release to be my #1 film of the year entering December, but I think it is absolutely brilliant, and I haven't seen anything that tops it all year. There have been a lot of great films this year but -- so far at least -- it hasn't even come close to being dislodged from its position as my favorite.
 

Winston T. Boogie

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I still haven't seen Mandy, and the reviews said it was so gruesome that I wasn't sure I was up to seeing it.

Well, the interesting thing about Mandy is the first 30 or 40 minutes or so are this sort of dreamy mixture of music and images that is, quite frankly, drop dead gorgeous. After this the film shifts into a revenge tale, the sort of thing Quentin Tarantino might have as a wet dream, and then it turns fairly bloody. However, the film is so highly stylized and seems such a love letter to cinema and the emotional impact it can have on you that there is true beauty in the mayhem. So, to me anyway, it does not have that "Oh my god that's cruel and disgusting!" vibe. I mean this is not what I would call "torture porn" like a Saw movie. Mandy is much more thoughtful in its mayhem.

Plus the film melds all of this with bits of animation, odd sort of science fiction dreaminess, and a beautiful score. So, I guess you could sort of call it "art house horror" as it is not at all just a horror picture or just a revenge picture. Cosmatos actually has said the film is about an emotional journey inspired by the loss of his parents...which is interesting if you ponder that.

Yes, we do have to deal with Nicolas Cage pretty much giving us a pretty wide spectrum of emotion and wacky freak out. In all honesty though, as others have said, this film may be the absolute perfect vehicle for all things Nicolas Cage.

It sort of amazes me that writer/director Panos Cosmatos did not initially envision him in the part because it seems like it was specifically written for him. Cage owns this role and does give a fantastic performance.
 

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The only addition I would make to this otherwise already impressive list is February's Black Panther. Not only was it a commercial and critical success, bringing in over $1 billion at the box office, it generated early Oscars buzz as well. I don't know if it will win anything come this spring, but it's easily my pick for Best Film of 2018.
 

Winston T. Boogie

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I would add to my list Lynne Ramsay's You Were Never Really Here which features another excellent performance from Joaquin Phoenix. Phoenix plays Joe, a man that tracks down missing children and well...does not treat the people that have them too nicely. This film has some interesting twists and turns which for the most part will keep the audience reassessing what they have seen.

 

Jake Lipson

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Mary And The Witch's Flower is a terrific film, but a 2017 release. It was eligible for last year's Oscars.

This is another one I'm putting on my 2018 list personally because the theatrical release here in the U.S. began in January. I think they could probably have had an Animated Feature nomination for it this year if it had been held back until 2018 in terms of awards consideration, but oh well.
 

Jeff Adkins

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This is another one I'm putting on my 2018 list personally because the theatrical release here in the U.S. began in January. I think they could probably have had an Animated Feature nomination for it this year if it had been held back until 2018 in terms of awards consideration, but oh well.
I'm not sure why they handled it that way. It obviously played for a week in Los Angeles County in 2017 to be eligible, but I'm pretty sure it was a Fathom Events film for the rest of the country in January. At least they got smart with Mirai and did a Fathom release last week. I noticed it's been nominated for Best Animated Feature by a couple of groups already.

The reason I only use the Oscar release dates for my list because it keeps it simple. If I rank films like The Post, Phantom Thread or Hostiles (all of which opened outside of LA/NY in January), then it negates any comparison of my own list vs. most of the others.
 

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