By Jack Dignan
From multiple film festivals to big fancy premieres to making new friends and connections, this has been a really fun year at DCM. I’m not one for sappy end of year posts, but I just want to thank everyone who’s clicked on a link, liked a review, or left a comment, because your interactions mean so much to me. And to the studios that have been generous enough to let me see all these films early, I love you too. 2018’s been our biggest year yet, and the films have been just as brilliant. So much so that I struggled to file them all down into a top 15. But enough of me talking. Let’s get into the list!
Full disclaimer: I am human. I have not seen every film this year. While last year I waited until well into February to post my Top list, this year I managed to watch almost everything I wanted to by December. If The Mule, Welcome to Marwen or First Reformed end up all being good enough though, I do apologise. But also who cares, it’s just a list, the world will keep spinning, I’m not that important. I should honestly just put Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again in all 15 spots because that film rocks so hard (I regret my negative review).
HONOURABLE MENTIONS (in alphabetic order): The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, Black Panther, Eighth Grade, First Man, Hereditary, Tully.
15. Shoplifters & The Miseducation of Cameron Post
I know this is technically cheating, but choosing between these two films proved far more difficult than I could have ever anticipated, but, as Salty Popcorn writer/editor Jason King would put it, I didn’t want to cut either at risk of losing my pretentious art-house credibility, so they’re both staying (this is a joke, by the way, I do genuinely love both these films, please do not leave snarky comments). MY REVIEW FOR CAMERON POST.
Ex Machina is one of the best modern science fiction films ever made, and my initial 4 star review feels almost blasphemous in hindsight. Alex Garland’s follow-up, Annihilation, is brilliant in its own right. It’s a trippy, psychedelic allegory that features possibly the scariest on screen bear since 2015’s The Revenant. Good luck getting its screams out of your head. I still have nightmares. MY REVIEW.
13. Vox Lux
And the second Natalie Portman film to make it to the list is the deranged, politically charged musical I knew almost nothing about when sitting down to watch it at the TIFF premiere. But wow, what a film. It’ll no doubt polarize and divide audiences, but it’s a shocking and provocative tale worth experiencing just so you can form an opinion. Hit me up when you do. I will be more than happy to debate this film. MY REVIEW.
12. The Favourite
I’ll keep my thoughts on The Favourite brief, because my review will be popping online some time this week, but Yorgos Lanthimos is an absolute madman and I love him to pieces. Please, see this movie on Boxing Day. It’s bonkers in all the right ways. REVIEW COMING SOON.
11. Mary Poppins Returns
As someone with limited nostalgia for the first, Mary Poppins Returns really blew me away. It’s a dazzlingly retro musical that delves deeper into these beloved characters and crafts a mesmerising, toe tapping sequel that’s even better than the first. Most probably won’t agree, but hey, that’s the beauty of opinions, no? It’s a sequel that’s practically perfect in (almost) every way. MY REVIEW.
10. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse was going to be slightly lower down on my list, but after watching it again yesterday, I had to move it up into the top 10. What a remarkable achievement and the absolute best animated film of the year. Just give it the Oscar now. Everything from the animation style to the humour to the characters to the warm, emotional storyline just works perfectly. It is, without a doubt, the best Spider-Man movie yet. Give Spider-Man Noir his own franchise you cowards. MY REVIEW.
Steve McQueen’s follow-up to 12 Years a Slave has been one that’s refused to leave my head since finishing the TIFF screening. Armed with quite possibly my favourite screenplay of the year, and directing that’s truly knocked it out of the park, Widows just gets better and better as it resonates in my mind. Watching it a second time was like watching it for the first time all over again, which is something I rarely say, if at all. MY REVIEW.
8. High Life
I debated for a long time about whether I should include High Life on this list or not. Its US and Australian release dates will be next year, but its international and film festival release dates were this year. So hey, here it is. Maybe it’ll make the list again next year because it’s just that good. High Life is a deranged, psychosexual exploration of humanity’s primal desires. It’ll shock, provoke and stir great debate, but it’s one the smartest, most human films of the year, and I implore you all to watch. MY REVIEW.
Did you guys know that Roma is available to stream on Netflix right this very second? Well, it is, and you should watch it. A black and white foreign film from an acclaimed Academy Award winning director being instantly available in homes all around the world is remarkable, and you really need to give it a go. You’re going to be hearing this title a lot during Awards Season, so it’s probably best you get ahead of the crowds and watch it right now. MY REVIEW.
BlacKkKlansman. My god. Spike Lee’s mad and what results is a masterpiece. It’s a powerful, haunting and hilarious “fuck you” to Trump and the people who helped bring him to power. I work at a cinema and every time this film played, I would always try sneak in and watch people’s stunned reactions to this film’s closing montage. It’s one of, if not the greatest ending to any film this year. MY REVIEW.
5. A Star Is Born
Tell me somethin' girl. Are you happy in this modern world? Or do you need more? Is there somethin' else you're searchin' for? I'm falling. In all the good times I find myself longin' for change, and in the bad times I fear myself. Tell me something boy. Aren't you tired tryin' to fill that void? Or do you need more? Ain't it hard keeping it so hardcore? I'm falling. In all the good times I find myself longing for change, and in the bad times I fear myself. I'm off the deep end. Watch as I dive in, I'll never meet the ground. Crash through the surface, where they can't hurt us. We're far from the shallow now. MY REVIEW.
4. You Were Never Really Here
The fact that I’ve seen this film on so few end of year lists is deeply saddening. Ever since walking out of it at the Sydney Film Festival, I’ve struggled to get it off my mind. Lynne Ramsay needs to make more movies. Over its very short runtime, she continues to unravel layer upon layer, hurtling us towards a final, unforgettable act of violence. And you feel everything. Every time I talk about it, I crave a rewatch. Maybe I should watch it again right now. MY REVIEW.
3. Avengers Infinity War
There’s no way this wasn’t going to make my list. Watching the original Iron Man in theatres in 2008 changed my life, and now, ten years later, it’s all coming to an end. Avengers Infinity War shocked and devastated audiences all around the world, bringing tears to many eyes, my own included. Sure, it’s not without its problems, but this is a film that made me feel more than any other superhero movie before it, and for that, I applaud. MY REVIEW.
2. If Beale Street Could Talk
Barry Jenkins, you brilliant bastard, thank you for making my heart whole and then completely shattering it all within the span of a 119-minute masterpiece. The Academy Award winning director’s heart wrenching follow-up to Moonlight feels like the work of a much stronger filmmaker, something I didn’t think was even possible. It’s an immaculate, sensual, meditative think piece that everyone needs to see. MY REVIEW.
And slotting in in the prestigious number one slot is Suspiria, the absolute best horror film released in years. This is the closest we’ve come to a modern day equivalent of The Shining, in that it’s a sickening, grotesque, allegorical reimagining of its source material that’s able to proudly stand on its own without ever sacrificing what made the original work. After the film premiered at Venice, it was met with a series of simultaneous boos and rounds of applause. It’s a film that’ll divide audiences today, but years from now we’ll be hailing it as one of the all-time greats. If the Blu-Ray could hurry up and be released, I would greatly appreciate that. MY REVIEW.
Chris Campo's Top 15 Films of 2018:
15. Blood Fest
14. Love, Simon
11. Game Night
9. Avengers Infinity War
7. American Animals
6. Eighth Grade
4. Sorry To Bother You
3. A Star is Born
1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
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