It’s time for me to dish on my favorite movies of 2018, another great year at the movies. Two of them have iconic superheroes, one of them brings a legend back to life, one of them is a remake, and one of them is just so damn brilliant. Let’s check these out.
10.) “Eighth Grade” and “Leave No Trace”
I try not to do this, but I’ve decided to give a tie vote between two Indies from last summer. Why? Because they’re both about teenage girls who want to expand their horizons, and they feature the most touching father-daughter relationships of the year. These two movies are perfect.
9.) “Mission: Impossible-Fallout”
Tom Cruise is back as Ethan Hunt, and even at 56, he continues to do his own stunts. But that’s not just why I loved this sequel. It’s also thrilling, well-written, thought-provoking, and just damn fun. It was the summer’s best blockbuster-even more so than “Avengers: Infinity War.”
8.) “Isle of Dogs”
Wes Anderson’s next stop-motion feature serves as a haiku to the abused dogs in the world, while giving Bryan Cranston his best voice work as a disgruntled, but well-meaning stray. He may not read reviews of his own movies, no matter how good they are, but he still deserves a lot of credit.
7.) “The Favourite”
Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest entry is his best film to date. It’s a sexy, smart, and hilarious portrayal of Queen Anne’s relationship with two cousins. Olivia Colman is radiant as the Queen, while Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz both deliver the goods as the cousins. Bloody Hell.
6.) “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”
While “Isle of Dogs” was dazzling in the stop-motion category, this was epic in the whole animation category. It’s the animated comic book movie of every fan’s dreams. Also with memorable voice work (Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld, among others) and bold writing, this was the best animated movie of the year.
Speaking of Marvel Superheroes…….
5.) “Black Panther”
As big as “Avengers: Infinity War” was, “Black Panther” was the best superhero movie of the year. Chadwick Boseman reprises his role as the title hero, who fights for his homeland, while learning about his family history. This takes a break from the superhero movie cliches, and I commend director Ryan Coogler for that.
Spike Lee’s first masterpiece in years fights racism during the Trump Era, even though this true story took place in the 1970s. With a great performance by John David Washington (son of Denzel), powerful dialogue, and strong motivations, this captures the pure magic of Lee’s earlier films like “Malcolm X” and “Do the Right Thing.”
3.) “A Star is Born”
Bradley Cooper directs, writes, stars, and sings in this fourth film version of a classic Hollywood love story, involving an alcoholic celeb and a young dreamer. We pretty much know what happens, but the way Cooper handles them is outstanding. And Lady Gaga deserves an Oscar nomination as that young dreamer. Hell, they both do.
Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, and Cynthia Erivo are all exceptional in Steve McQueen’s next masterpiece about women and their attempts to fight the system. It’s a crime story that pays off successfully. I just wish it got more love financially.
Alfonso Cuaron has outdone himself phenomenally by expressing the harsh realities of Mexico City during the 1970s, while introducing us to a house maid with issues of her own. Yalitza Aparicio is outstanding as that maid, and she keeps her dignity, even in her most traumatic moments. And as a black and white film, it really is remarkable.
“Avengers: Infinity War,” “Incredibles 2,” “Green Book,” “If Beale Street Could Talk,” “Blindspotting,” “Deadpool 2,” “First Reformed,” “Hereditary,” “First Man,” “The Other Side of the Wind,” “The Old Man & the Gun,” “Searching,” “A Simple Favor,” “Ready Player One,” “Can You Ever Forgive Me?,” “Annihilation”