Smile folks, it’s been an absolute blast this year in the cinemas and on streaming services alike. Yes, if you want to jump right in with my top 10 movies, I have already compiled a top ten list which you can find HERE, but if like me, you can’t abide a whole ton of great movies not getting their dues then this is their time to shine as I’ve come up with my first ever Top 50 countdown!
*Disclaimer* – I have not seen certain films like ‘Mandy’ or ‘Leave No Trace’ hence their absence and no ‘Truth or Dare’ doesn’t rock up, though it was a fine comedy. Okay, away we go…
50 – NEXT GEN
A surprisingly fun and pacy cartoon flick with futuristic ideas and a charming connection between gal and bot.
Review – ‘Next Gen’
49 – MARY POPPINS RETURNS
Emily Blunt steps into the ten to two shoes of Julie Andrews and does a spiffing job as the prim and proper nanny with magic endlessly pulled from her special bag.
Trip the Light Fantastic over to my review – ‘Mary Poppins Returns’
48 – ROMA
Alfonso Cuaron’s black and white semi-biographical tale which hit Netflix is absolutely beautiful to look at but I just can’t quite connect to the majesty that everyone else has seen. There’s a fine story and lovely cinematography but that’s about it, no higher in the list. Don’t @ me.
My review is here – ‘Roma’
47 – BUMBLEBEE
If someone had told me that a ‘Transformers’ spin-off would have featured higher than a stunning foreign movie lauded for Oscar glory I would have scoffed…a lot. But Travis Knight has captured the fun and nostalgic appeal that Michael Bay could only dream of.
No Decepticons here, this is a good film, my review – ‘Bumblebee’
46 – A STAR IS BORN
Bradley Cooper dons a stetson and the first-time director title in this fourth telling of ‘A Star is Born’, it has some issues but a mostly great soundtrack and the might of Lady Gaga help this romantic country and western musical come alive.
Step into the Shallow end with my review – ‘A Star is Born’
45 – JOURNEY’S END
A sombre and reflective WW2 drama, this truly grips you and makes you thoughtful about the dark trench warfare these brave soldiers faced. Sam Claflin and Asa Butterfield are excellent.
The journey begins with my review – ‘Journey’s End’
44 – CAM
Another Netflix feature that took me by surprise, this has dark and original ideas and a blisteringly brilliant performance from Madeline Brewer makes this tech-thriller/horror a sexy yet smartly creepy film.
43 – GAME NIGHT
Jason Bateman & Rachel McAdams are a fun pairing in this entertaining comedic flick but the true MVP and best selling point for the films worth is Jesse Plemmons.
Roll a dice, right foot yellow and review is yours – ‘Game Night’
42 – ISLE OF DOGS
Another quirky and lovely stop-motion outing from the wonderful Wes Anderson, this poochy plot has moments of rabid darkness but plenty of delightful storytelling.
Woof! My review is out of the kennel – ‘Isle of Dogs’
41 – A SIMPLE FAVOR
Paul Feig’s latest has definitely divided audiences but I for one thoroughly enjoyed this strange concoction of humour and thrills all tinged with a French cinema flavour.
Only a simple favour to ask but please check out my review – ‘A Simple Favor’
40 – THOROUGHBREDS
Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy are chillingly exceptional in this fairly cold yet entrancing off-beat film. It’s quite simply put, an original film with unsettling music and unpredictable moments.
Give my review a thoroughread – ‘Thoroughbreds’
39 – MOM AND DAD
Crazy is as crazy does: surely a motto best suited to Nicolas Cage. This frenzied and pacy film may not be a superb film but I had a right good time watching the madness unfold and it knows what it is – a pure delightful crash of crazy.
Read more – ‘Mom and Dad’
38 – THE NIGHT COMES FOR US
Woah Nelly! This Indonesian action which is on Netflix is a furious and bloody thriller which may be light on plot but is soaring to the heavens with hellish injury detail and electrically charged, fascinating fight choreography.
37 – GHOST STORIES
Originally a stage show, which is somewhat evident at certain points, what with some theatrical elements and practical frights leading the way, this is a nightmarish and engrossing British horror with clever storytelling.
Boo! My review – ‘Ghost Stories’
36 – TULLY
This is most certainly a film that goes somewhere a healthy percentage of audiences might not expect but it doesn’t tarnish the previously built maternal plot and Charlize Theron’s stunningly crafted performance, if anything it just makes it a more memorable story.
Don’t dilly dally – ‘Tully’
35 – THE HATE U GIVE
Upon seeing the trailer I really wasn’t expecting to get anything from this film. Happily it’s much more than a generic YA adaptation, it has emotion, heart and the richest relevance to current world events. Amandla Stenberg & Russell Hornsby are mind-blowingly effective in this.
Don’t let the THUG-life get ya, read my review – ‘The Hate U Give’
34 – THE SHAPE OF WATER
You can always trust on Guillermo del Toro to make a dark fantasy a totally captivating experience and this time the Academy Awards agreed, gifting this woman-loves-fish story the Best Picture trophy. It’s beautiful, weird and Sally Hawkins is the perfect lead.
The Shape of my Review can be found here – ‘The Shape of Water’
33 – BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE
A true ensemble piece of cinema and a film noir that almost fully sinks its teeth into you. Aside from a slightly dissatisfying story that takes over, this is a clever, highly original movie and well acted thriller which deserved higher box office.
No bad times with my review – ‘Bad Times at the El Royale’
32 – CRAZY RICH ASIANS
I openly admit I’m not an advocate for the rom-com genre but this family set story around an impending wedding really bowled me over. The luxurious visuals, stunning locations and more stunning cast balance romance and humour with finesse.
Take a walk down the aisle to my review – ‘Crazy Rich Asians’
31 – YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE
Lynne Ramsay excellently weaves a gritty and immersive city thriller, aided by an astonishing turn from Joaquin Phoenix, this has threads of ‘Taxi Driver’ and is a bold and tense piece of cinematic art.
30 – RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET
Fairly bloated with internet bustin’ gags and Disney references, but it’s fun, fast and a well animated sequel with Ralph and Vanellope just as endearing a friendship duo as back in 2012.
It’s good and that’s not bad, my thoughts – ‘Ralph Breaks the Internet’
29 – SORRY TO BOTHER YOU
Truly original and absurd, two qualities which you can’t complain about in the climate of sequels/prequels and the like. Boots Riley goes all in directing & writing a superb screenplay that links to current affairs and issues in an offbeat, comical and twisted manner.
Giddy up over to my review – ‘Sorry to Bother You’
28 – PHANTOM THREAD
Possibly Daniel Day-Lewis’ final feature, his role under the direction of Paul Thomas Anderson is sublime, as are Vicky Krieps and Lesley Manville…and a beautifully acted breakfast scene for the ages. This early UK 2018 film looks gorgeous and bursts with spits of spite and comedy.
Sew, a needle, pull and thread – ‘Phantom Thread’
27 – IN THE FADE
Diane Kruger’s first German feature and one that’s put across the audience in three parts. Not every part is as strong as the other and a finale may be slightly lacking but a gritty opening and glossy, tense court room second act along with Kruger’s formidable performance make this a solid thriller of loss and revenge.
1, 2…Kruger’s coming for you – ‘In the Fade’
26 – BLACK PANTHER
A massive hit and an even bigger stepping stone for black representation in superhero movies, this Marvel entry deals with spectacle, politics and leadership with detail and thought, fuelled by a great villain expertly handled by Michael B. Jordan, ‘Black Panther’ is a near-perfect comic-book film.
Enter Wakanda – ‘Black Panther’
25 – AMERICAN ANIMALS
This is a clever spin on the heist genre as director Bart Layton mixes truth and fiction by blending the real life people alongside his actors. As the films plan nears fruition, the gang and audience alike are left unable to back out to culpability.
A review is up for grabs just here, go on, go – ‘American Animals’
24 – THE INCREDIBLES 2
After 14 years too long, Pixar returned to the Parr family and their mix of city saving powers. The one animated feature deserving of a sequel, this one does not disappoint. Apart from a predictable turn of events and villain, this is a joyous and stunning animation to watch and any return of Edna Mode is a positive in my book.
Dash over to my review – ‘Incredibles 2’
23 – BLACKKKLANSMAN
This Spike Lee joint is a funny and disturbing tale of KKK infiltration. It makes you laugh but importantly, it’s something which makes you irate, angry and fits nicely against the backdrop of divide so felt nowadays. Style and power rip through this film.
Don’t be a Duke, click my review – ‘BlackKklansman’
22 – THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
The Coen Brothers enter the Netflix way of life with this western anthology of six mini stories. The likes of James Franco, Tim Blake Nelson and Zoe Kazan excel in their segments. Sure, not all the tales are great and there may not be a resolute connection between them but it’s masterfully acted and captures the heart…and dust of the western genre.
21 – OVERLORD
You’d not be wrong in thinking from outside glance this would be a naff horror but it’s in fact so much better than that. A gem of war, thriller and gory zombie effects, this is a brain-splattering delight.
Come on over – ‘Overlord’
20 – WILDLIFE
Paul Dano & Zoe Kazan create a thing of quiet beauty in this drama about family. The former calls the shots as debut director and this adaptation of a 1990 novel is stunning not to just to look at but to revel in the towering acting from Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan. Scenic views, fraught relationships and a teen running home in the snow are tenderly accomplished.
Check out the ‘Wildlife’
19 – THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
I’ve always enjoyed the writings of Irish playwright and ‘In Bruges’ commander Martin McDonagh, this angry tale of grief and, well anger is no exception. The mix of great comedy and uneasy darkness clouding over Ebbing are thickly coated but don’t outweigh Sam Rockwell and Frances McDormand.
More of my musings – ‘Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri’
18 – HEREDITARY
Jinkies, this horror from Ari Aster is a chilling and terrifyingly effective narrative of family tensions. If you took out all the damned creepy moments then this would be a drama on grief and that only highlights the weirder, scarier qualities included by Aster. Toni Collette is absolutely fantastic in this.
Don’t click your tongue, lcckk – ‘Hereditary’
17 – WIDOWS
Steve McQueen tackles the thriller genre but makes sure to keep his sturdy understanding of character to make this an investing movie, led by four strong women. The moments of heist drama are tense and the more politically angled aspects are wonderfully handled.
Mission: read my review. I’m sure you’ve got the balls to pull this off – ‘Widows’
16 – COCO
Two Pixar releases for the UK in 2018 and both make my top 50, mostly because their animation is always so delectable but on top of this they’re a studio almost always capturing emotional and captivating stories. ‘Coco’ is no exception, this Day of the Dead inspired animation tugs on the heart strings and incorporates tingling music and colourful visuals.
Don’t forget to click my review, Remember Me – ‘Coco’
15 – ASSASSINATION NATION
This is 100% a movie which will split people, I can see why some will dislike the heck out of it but I positively loved the stuffing out of this bold, loud and violent film. It pops with trigger warnings of every nature and the feminine power of the above fearsome foursome are a force to be reckoned with as their town turns on them.
Reveal some more secrets – ‘Assassination Nation’
14 – ANNIHILATION
Shamefully Alex Garland’s recent sci-fi didn’t get to UK cinemas but it’s streaming on Netflix and is a sheer masterpiece of visuals and is also a movie which leaves you thinking. Headed by a brave team of females, this mix of science and horror is dreamy, ambiguous and downright superb.
Enter the Shimmer – ‘Annihilation’
13 – UPGRADE
Rammed to the skies with inventive camera shots and pacy fight scenes, this adrenaline fuelled futuristic flick bursts out of the screen with entertaining energy. On top of this, it has flashes of humour, body-horror and stylish flair.
There’s no need to Upgrade to find my review – ‘Upgrade’
12 – A QUIET PLACE
This film has magnificent levels of sustained threat, wince-inducing visuals of pain, smart uses of playing around with sound and Emily Blunt on top form as a pregnant wife caught up in a farmhouse of fear. John Krasinski becomes feature director for the first time and really gets to grips with the model of horror building making this one of the most effective cinema experiences I’ve ever been part of.
Ssssh, my review is over here – ‘A Quiet Place’
11 – THE BREADWINNER
The creators behind ‘Song of the Sea’ have gifted the world another animated gem. This one is less fantastical though and this Middle-Eastern texture only makes the film a much more heart-felt trip, one that’s interspersed with yarns of magic but the plight of a girl stepping up and out to help her family is a powerful and outstanding watch.
My review for #11 is here – ‘The Breadwinner’
There we have it, those were my top 40 films of 2018 and now it’s time to reveal my faves of faves as I collect the big 10.
10 – SEARCHING
John Cho leads a frenzied hunt for his missing daughter in a screen-set thriller that is anything but a cheap gimmick. The tension is palpable and the story is riveting, as it’s portrayed through calls, Facebook and other social media searches.
No need to search far as the review is here – ‘Searching’
9 – HALLOWEEN
Michael Myers returned, swiftly and thankfully, slashing away all the sequels, letting this story follow on 40 years after what happened to Laurie Strode that fateful Halloween night. David Gordon Green shows he has a skill for the horror genre and the entire team clearly adore the original which is why this feels like a perfect chilling return to form for the Shape.
Don’t fear the Boogeyman – ‘Halloween’
8 – LADY BIRD
Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is a brilliant, humour filled coming of age story about mothers and daughters. There are great pangs of emotion and with perfect performances from Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf, you feel wrapped up in a comforting blanket watching this film.
It’s the titular role – ‘Lady Bird’
7 – HEARTS BEAT LOUD
Well, here is a film that utterly bowled me over and completely surpassed my expectations for it being a generically mediocre Sundance indie. What this film is, is pure charm and sunshine, with Offerman and Clemons providing great music as a dad and his daughter. The songs are glorious and I’d be lying if I said I don’t listen to them almost constantly.
Don’t blink, my review isn’t a million miles away – ‘Hearts Beat Loud’
6 – BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY
I truly don’t care what some filmy types and critics have been saying about this film. I positively adored the majority of this foot-tapping, hand-clapping tale of Queen and its front man, the legendary Freddie Mercury, who is exquisitely played by Rami Malek. The film is fun and the music speaks for itself. A stadium sized biopic that will rock you.
You are the Champions if you give my review a read – ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’
5 – I, TONYA
Margot Robbie steps onto the ice as Tonya Harding in this fresh and exciting visceral take on an ill-fated moment of Winter Olympics drama. Allison Janney is a great supporting feature as Harding’s mum and throughout we see a story presented in way that’s unreliable but entertaining, which makes the latter emotional moments that more resounding.
Get your skates on to the review – ‘I, Tonya’
4 – REVENGE
This is a blood soaked film, one which side-steps away from the schlock way of vengeful flicks and becomes an engrossing thriller capably led by bad-ass Matilda Lutz. This is an explosive female led and directed movie from Coralie Fargeat which arrived in May and I haven’t forgotten about in the slightest.
My review won’t put up a fight – ‘Revenge’
3 – AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
Snapping its fingers and claiming bronze, this is an epic comic-book celebration that I saw three times and didn’t tire with any minute of it. Unlike repeat viewings of ‘Iron Man’ or ‘Age of Ultron’, this is a blockbuster outing which grows better upon more watches. There’s the purple might of a superb villain, great visuals and a cracking conclusion to ten years of MCU building.
You don’t need to assemble any heroes to locate my review – ‘Infinity War’
2 – SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
Miles Morales swings into the hot spot of silver, in the only animation to feature on my top ten. This is not only one of the most sensational animations I’ve seen but one of the best films, full stop. The styles are incredible, the voice work is perfect and the story is just right for the Spider-Man world.
Sling yourself over to the review – ‘Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse’
1 – MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT
This is the sixth instalment in the M:I franchise and it is showing no signs of exhaustion, in fact quite the contrary, with action hero Tom Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie again teaming up to make Ethan Hunt and his globe-trotting, ankle-breaking antics an exhilarating treat to see. The stunts are next level and knowing they are practically executed makes you appreciate the action that much more than a second rate movie filling in set pieces with CGI. Fallout is 100% the real deal and is one of the finest action films I’ve seen…ever.
My review won’t self destruct in 30 seconds – ‘Mission:Impossible – Fallout’