BlacKkKlansman and Minding the Gap came awfully close, but it’s First Reformed for me. First Reformed is the only movie that made me feel compelled to do homework. For the first time, I watched Dryer’s Ordet and Bergman’s Winter Light and Bresson’s Diary of a Country Priest. I did this because I was desperate to know more about Paul Schrader’s movie and the ideas behind it. Many movies this year made me wonder; few made me explore.
Oh, and Ethan Hawke.
For me, Zama is the best film of the year. The final third is masterful; every aspect of cinema is used to the absolute maximum degree and it’s truly jaw dropping to behold. On top of that, it’s bitingly funny (who doesn’t love a post-colonial parody?) and brilliantly performed. I’m not going to pretend that I understand everything Martel is up to here, this film is dense, and I’m sure will reward repeat viewings. As soon as I saw this film, I made it my mission to seek out her whole filmography, and having recently caught up with all of them, I can confirm that Martel is now one of my all-time favourite directors. She understands the language of cinema better than most of her contemporaries. The sound design in Zama alone earns this film the top spot on my list. That ever descending drone sound is forever seared into my memory.
Holy cow! What a divisive year for movies! It looks like nobody can agree on a single film that rises above the pack. I think I see about 5 movies mentioned in the Other category alone.
I have not landed on my pick for sure for the best movie of 2018. Here's why: I have not been able to see The Favourite, If Beale Street Could Talk, Destroyer, or Vice. Also, I'm currently torn between Minding the Gap and BlacKKKlansman. Since the latter is actually listed on your poll, I voted for it rather than adding to the Other dump pile. Why BlacKKKlansman? Well, because I had nearly written off Spike Lee as being past his prime, but he came back hard with a film that pulls no punches, refuses to stop at pleasing the crowd and confronts us with our current climate. One might argue it's a bit of a bludgeon. But I think Spike feels we need a good slap in the face, so I get it. It's also his best narrative film since Malcolm X.
That said, folks, First Reformed is one of the most riveting films of the year, but fell out of my Top 20 due to competition and its ending. Tully loses a bit of its luster upon repeat viewings. Someone above was right that more people should've seen Searching. And I just DO NOT get the praise over The Rider and ROMA: technical craftsmanship undone by narrative slogging.
In case you're curious, out of the 55 films I've seen this year, my Top 10 in its rough form includes:
Minding the Gap
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
A Quiet Place
Sorry to Bother You
Won't You Be My Neighbor?
Crazy Rich Asians, Green Book, Leave No Trace, Revenge, and Tully.
I still have 6 more films to cram by New Years. We'll see how it shapes up by then.
There are some movies I have not had a chance to see like my new favorite director' Yorgos Lorthimos' The Favourite or If Beale Street Could Talk but Roma has astonished me the most this year, in what I believe has been a slow year for good films. Movies like First Reformed, Sorry To Bother You, Buster Scruggs and Vox Lux have left a mark on me with their originality and open endings but no movie has touched and moved me like Roma. Roma was like watching a classic masterpiece from decades ago and in that way it is timeless and beautiful.
... and now I’ve seen Roma, so need to comment again...
It was the masterpiece I hoped it would be and knew it would be.
I can’t recall a film as tactile as this in a long time... one you could smell, touch and hear in a truly panoramic way... heartbreaking snapshots of life, real life... and all the moments in between.
So pleased I got to see this on a big screen at the beautiful Vancouver International Film Festival screen at the Vancity Theatre - an absolutely perfect venue.
Keep making movies for many years to come, Alfonso Cuarón.
Nevermind. It's Roma
My 1 a and 1b are indistinguishable. Having finally seen Roma on the big screen yesterday, I am now happy to join consensus and extol its virtues. A masterpiece.
That said, I didn't write that in the empty box next to 'Other' above. Instead I had to go with The Rider. The things said and written about it by others far more eloquent than I, I second. But as a 30-something Native American born into the same kind of poverty as the film's protagonist, and in similar geography and circumstances, The Rider *felt* like a life I once led, or, at least, it *was* a portrait into the lives of my friends and family who actually do live that way still. Zhao and the cast picked me up and transported me back to the world of my childhood and left me with the people who shaped it so. Not only was it wonderful to see Native actors play real Native non-stereotyped characters, but it was wonderful to live with them again for the better part of two hours.
Eric W. Bolin
All these options are great, but my vote is for 'other' because none of them come close to Yorgos Lanthimos' The Favourite. I don't know if it counts as 2018 as technically its wide release (in the UK, at least)is in January 2019, but I saw it at the London Film Festival and was absolutely bowled away. Olivia Colman's stand out performance is obvious, but for me the ending is just perfect. All Lanthimos' films end exactly as they should and exactly as they need to. Plus this one is filled with rabbits!
The Favourite is MY favourite.
The best movie of 2018 is a festival leftover from 2017.
There are four or five movies I could be talking about -- First Reformed, You Were Never Really Here, The Rider, in certain areas of the globe, Paddington 2 was released last year -- but the one I have in mind is Abbas Kiarostami's final film and credited work, 24 Frames.
It's poetic, composed, beautiful, and hauntingly poignant for a final film from a master filmmaker.
It's a movie that in my estimation distils filmmaking back down to its roots - it's pure image and movement, much like the earliest examples of film, back when motion picture was an even more literal descriptor for the medium. It's a collective of mostly still images of landscapes and animals, there's no outright narrative, no dialogue, there's very minimal sound and colour, and fairly limited movement. It's an experience not unlike visiting a gallery, with each scene its own exhibition, the viewer left to their own imagination, to imprint their own philosophy onto the film and question what even constitutes a film in the first place (which is something I've personally thought more about in 2018 than ever before).
The fact that it was Kiarostami's last film too adds a layer of poignancy. It's hard not to watch under that context, knowing he died before releasing it, and thus you're left with thoughts of death, grief, and how eternal life itself is, and that life goes on even if the filmmaker switches the camera off.
Thought it was the most moving film of 2018.
I assume everyone who did not vote for Paddington 2 has not seen it.
Hard Stares all around
With much love to the other nominees, I have to go with Armando Ianucci's The Death of Stalin. We’ve heard about the banality of evil, but the capriciousness of evil, to me, is just as destructive, if not more so. Repressive regimes that rule through fear and paranoia and unpredictability create a living nightmare for everyone, not just the people thrown in jail. Though Stalin himself isn’t a prominent character in the film, even in death he looms over everything and everyone, affecting every choice or non-choice these bureaucrats wrestle with, the way the paranoid authoritarian and his regime of senseless violence did in real life.
The Death of Stalin pratfalls right into this nightmare and tries to illuminate it with the harsh light of humor. It's like an extended episode of Veep if Selina Meyer had been a repressive dictator. This juxtaposition—“slapstick horror” as Manohla Dargis called it—is jarring but somehow sings. The laughs don’t come at the expense of the true victims but in response to how the Committee members struggle with their darkly absurd circumstances, like what to do with Stalin’s soiled, unconscious body, or how to communicate with each other while standing guard during Stalin’s funeral and trying to appear stately while doing so.
Plenty of films this year offered bold and unique cinematic visions, but only The Death of Stalin made me say "I can't believe they pulled this off" aloud after seeing it.
It takes a big person to admit that they were wrong and I am just that person. Paddington 2 is not the best movie if the year. It is tied with The Rider. These polar opposite films provide the true harmony we need in 2018.
My favorite 3 movies of this year were ‘Shoplifters’, ‘Roma’ and ‘Blackklansman’. Preferring picking an option that is available rather than going for ‘others’, ‘Blackklansman’ gets my vote. Rarely a movie left me so wrecked and felt so necessary in our times.
Two movies have really stuck with me this year in a profound way, and both just happen to follow a horse and his boy. Between ‘Lean on Pete’ & ‘The Rider’ I Suppose I’ll go to bat for ‘The Rider’ in this vote.
Zhao does a tremendous job in presenting this melancholy grandeur of Brady and the word he inhabits. There’s a graciousness for what they have, but also this longing for more.
She also found Brady Jandreau who has that undeniable ‘it’ factor. The scenes between Brady and a myriad of horses certainly stand out. And if that was all the movie offered it would be very good. But what makes it something truly special is the way Brady relates to the people around him as well. There’s a magic in his cadence and movement and in his empathy. This one will make me cry for years to come.
My vote was for other, but that was not for a lack of quality choices in the poll. So far in 2018 nothing has captivated and entrances me like “A Quiet Place.” It is intense, efficient, and purposeful with all of its scenes. The acting is too notch and Krasinski behind the camera and writing hits all of the right notes. Oh and it’s 90 minutes and has a kick ass ending.
I've seen all the movies on this list, but even without seeing the list, I knew my vote was going to Annihilation. Not only did I see it five times at the theater, but it is still slowly creeping into my favorites of all time. Sadly, in a time when we are being encouraged to support films with strong female characters, garbage like the Ghostbusters remake are pushed, yet this, one of the best movies of the year, was pretty much ignored by that crowd. Also sad, the studio sent it straight to Netflix everywhere else, there was barely any marketing, and they seemed like they just wanted it to go away. Thank goodness it didn't. A couple of honorary mentions from me go to Border (don't read about it, just watch it!), Burning, Eighth Grade, Sorry to Bother You, First Reformed, Paddington2, and Searching. I really wish more people would have seen Searching.
What happens when an auteur brings his or her singular vision to a piece of pulpy genre entertainment? Well, let's see: North By Northwest, The French Connection, Dog Day Afternoon, The Dark Knight, and... Widows. Yes, I would put Steve McQueen and Gillian Flynn's exceptional film up against any of those masterpieces. Every shot of this film is SO carefully considered that McQueen can magically transform the concept of Viola Davis (who, in a just world, would get an Oscar nom for Best Actress) dropping her dog off at doggy day care (undoubtably a pedestrian sequence in the hands of a lesser director, if included at all) into a dazzling panorama that injects a moment of humor and heart into a bleak landscape, while also reminding us of the class issues that run throughout the excellent script, ALL FROM A SINGLE NON-MOVING CAMERA SHOT FROM INSIDE A CAR! Which is to say nothing of the more commonly praised sequences that will no doubt stick in my head for a long time to come: the single take that follows a car from the ghetto to blocks of vast privilege as Colin Farrell completely l loses his shit in the back seat (in a way you never see him do before or after), or the lurking and terrifying Daniel Kaluuya as he slowly circles two doomed beat-boxing rappers. This is the best time I've had at the movies since another Chicago-based genre masterpiece, the aforementioned Dark Knight, and I can't wait to see it again.
Leave No Trace is the most beautiful, most human of all the films I saw this year.
Sorry to Bother you is the funniest, most surprising and, considering the subject matter, the most joyful.
But the best movie? First Reformed. It is a movie of deep compassion and highlights the personal problems deep compassion draws to the surface. Compassion has a self-destructive side and this film reveals the struggle between compassion for the world and compassion for ourselves, as part of this world. Not only does it cover deep themes, but also has the best acting of the year, especially by Ethan Hawke and Cedric the Entertainer. It is brilliant and heart-rending.
From Vancouver, Canada
My favourite movie this year is Blindspotting. Co-Stars Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal wrote the years best script, perfectly balanced with comedy, heart, tension, originality and unpredictability. All that without ever sacrificing tonal consistency, narrative coherence, or authenticity. Add to the mix Diggs' and Casal's abundant charisma and dexterity as performers, thematic concern with truly dire material, and two contenders for musical moment of the year (including an audacious as hell climax - which is my absolute favourite scene in any film this year).
This movie blends a lot of nutrition into a drink that goes down smoother than anyone could rightly expect. With so much to offer you'd think something would have to give. You'd be wrong; Blindspotting has it all.
With the financing for “mid-budget” films continuing to dry up in the U.S., in my opinion (comparing my own annual top 10s), 2018 has to be one of the weakest years in feature films of the last 20 years. It is all relative, I suppose, but it seems to me that the collective critical bar has been lowered to the point where truly awful performances are being utterly ignored when it comes to indies (The Rider) and didactic exercises in preaching to the converted are being lauded from the bubble (BlackKklansman, The Hate U Give). All that said, 95 films into the 2018 releases, a recent rewatch (with Bose headphones) puts You Were Never Really Here - a story about a boy and his hammer - on the top of my list. In an environment where I feel a good deal of attention is being given to certain female auteurs for the sake of being female, I am a bit surprised by the lukewarm year-end assessment of her visually and aurally rich take on a very male genre. Then again, Lynne Ramsey’s work has always been a bit difficult to swallow. (Also on my top 10: writer/director Coralie Fargeat’s impressive debut - Revenge, a visceral genre film that, contrary to popular perception, actually anticipated the #metoo movement, as it was released on the festival circuit prior to the Weinstein revelations.)
I look at my left hand, and it holds the most empathetic and sentimental movie of the year: Bo Burnham's Eight Grade. I look at my right hand, and it is weighed down by the most heavy, soul-crushingly pessimistic film of the same year: First Reformed. And what does it say about my mindset that I shall blow out a bicep in lifting First Reformed into the sky as the better? Both are great, both deserve praise (and a spot on the poll list *emphatic side eye*) but no movie has rivaled the strange feeling of grace and despair that I felt whilst walking home from Paul Schraeder's newest masterpiece.
I had to vote "Won't You Be My Neighbor". It's the movie antidote to everything else this year has been.
FIRST REFORMED marks the end of a terrific thematic through line for Schrader. ‘God’s lonely man’ stemmed from the budding rage of Travis Bickle to be then caught in the midst of John LaTour's mid-life crisis in Light Sleeper (1992). Now, later in life, Rev. Ernst Toller hosts the malignant spirit.
Cast loose on the periphery of society, these bodies drift through a town slumped in a capitalist comatose. They’re wanderers, lookers, sleepless and shirtless, disciplined but deranged, as if unsprung coils set to spring these bodies lay outstretched craving communion in every street corner, bedroom and diner.
Loved so many films this year but at time of voting I felt compelled to write in Leave No Trace. Radically compassionate, radically tender-hearted, and radically vulnerable. Transformative work by McKenzie and Foster. This film will endure in my heart for a long time.
Loved Game Night - I'll be watching that one for years, laughing every time. That's what I voted for here, but I also loved Eighth Grade and Blindspotting. Can't wait to see Roma and the Favourite.
Nice to see "Other" running away with it considering how many good films didn't make it on to the poll. Amazed to see Roma and The Favourite not on there considering all of the accolades they're collecting, although I haven't seen them yet.
My vote goes for Sorry to Bother You. It feels like there should be some sort of backlash against it for being overrated that I should be participating in right now, but darn it I really liked this film. I was already with it before I saw it for the bizarre premise and I could not have imagined the places it went. And it really felt like it wasn't just weird for the sake of it, but every bizarre event had an important purpose in delivering the theme of this film. I loved all of the performances, and I love the run Lakeith Stanfield has been on after being phenomenal in Short Term 12. Kudos as well for a performance which finally created separation in the "tall, good-looking, white guy" trio of Armie Hammer, Jamie Dornan, and Henry Cavill.
The Rider, Lean on Pete, and Leave No Trace. Three microscopic human stories that moved me like no other films this year.
The best film of 2018 has to be "If Beale Street Could Talk." This is masterful work from Barry Jenkins once again. It's like witnessing water flowing down the stream, streaks of light breaking into the ripples with colours suddenly spilling into each other... moving slowly with purpose, no end in sight.
Colourfully emotive visuals, a mood drenching jazz-classical infused score, a pitch perfect cast and "you'll never forget how you feel" moments, If Beale Street Could Talk is what the films are about for me, what cinema should be for all of us.
Some good options there, but Isle of Dogs doesn't belong. And I love Wes.
Josh was WAY wrong on Suspiria, which should have been an option. But the really shameful omission is the STUPENDOUS Sorry to Bother You. Hilarious, surprising, fresh, and with some really powerful and important things to say.
Shame! Maybe make it Golden Brick as your penance?
There are so many movies I have yet to see but of the couple of hundred I have seen, the best cinematic experience I had this year was at “American animals.
Of course, I knew the story and how it ended and yet, the film was able to summon a completely visceral reaction from me. Let me explain—I saw the movie in downtown Ann Arbor, Mi, and the lot I usually parked in was full. I had to park at a meter on the street so my son, Alex, who I was meeting after the show for dinner, came to the theater early to retrieve my car keys and move my car before the meter expired. My phone started vibrating just as the heist completely crumbled and the perpetrators were trying to make their getaway. I ran to the lobby to give Alex the key but I was so invested in what was happening at that moment on screen that I was shaking and stuttering and could barely get the words out to tell him where I parked the car. Honestly I cannot remember ever seeing another film that evoked such a reaction.
Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning. Burning.
For real though, I thought that 24 FRAMES, LET THE SUNSHINE IN and THE RISE AND FALL OF A SMALL FILM COMPANY were excellent; but Lee's film has wormed its way into my brain in the best way possible. Some of my favorite scenes and moments of the year: a cat that may or may not exist, dancing at magic hour and an unsparing and unsettling ending.
There are so many films that I can think of that deserve a spot in the poll more than Isle of Dogs. Where is The Favourite, Roma, Eighth Grade, If Beale Street Could Talk, Widows, Suspiria, Can You Ever Forgive Me?....
Right now my pick is probably between The Favourite and Suspiria.
I wanted to pick other. I really really wanted to pick other. I still don't think enough people have seen The Rider, and I think people really neeeeed to see The Rider. But then I remembered that I watched Annihilation three times in theaters, and that has to count for something. I am in medical school right now, and something about kick-ass female scientists just seems to click with my nerd brain in a way that no other film has this year.
Loved Blackkklansman. Loved Buster Scruggs. Loved Paddington 2. Loved First Reformed. Loved Isle of Dogs. Boy, what a great year! However, and until I see Roma nothing is definitive, my favorite movie of the year so far is The Favorite. It's just so funny and nasty and insightful. The moment it ended, I wanted to watch it again.
My vote for film of the year goes to Hereditary. The performances, set design, cinematography and overall feeling of paranoia and looming dread make for a modern horror classic, but it gets my vote for the simple fact that it was the first film in my adult life to actually make me wake up in the middle of the night from a nightmare. Apparently, that final scene really did a number on my subconscious.
Assuming Roma, If Beale Street Could Talk, Happy As Lazzaro, or Paddington 2 don't steal my heart away from it... Leave No Trace remains my favorite film of 2018. It's as tough as it is heartfelt. I'll be very disappointed if Ben Foster's performance isn't awarded SOMETHING in 2019.
My vote went to Hereditary, a movie I never would have guessed would be my favorite of the year. But it's one of the most terrifying films I have ever seen, and that has to count for something. It's also got more on its mind than scares, so it's a movie I've kept thinking about since I saw it this summer as I've tried to decipher its themes. Plus, it has great performances, perfect editing and fantastic sound design. Simply put, Hereditary is a remarkable debut from Ari Aster and the best movie of 2018.
I didn’t imagine it would keep my top spot for the whole of 2018 but, ‘Annihilation’, one of the first movies I saw this year - first at home, then wonderfully projected on the big screen - has captivated my thoughts whenever I think about this year in cinema.
It’s the most cinematically-weird sci-fi since Garland’s predecessor, ‘Ex Machina’, and Jonathan Glazer’s ‘Under the Skin’, and was dominated by a female cast in a year when that truly meant something.
The cinematography and, well, choreography of the final act - Natalie Portman standing alone on the deserted beach and then balletically duelling her alien counterpart, are iconic images of this year in cinema. It’s a masterpiece of sci-fi moviemaking.
My consolation prize goes to Bing Liu’s ‘Minding the Gap’, which had the closest shot of taking the top prize for me - an incredible debut which has to win this year’s ‘Golden Brick’. The documentary that captures the passage of time from childhood, to teenage years, to adulthood as well as Richard Linklater’s ‘Boyhood’ but, knowing this is real life, makes my heart ache for its protagonists that much more.
I will also add my hurrah for ‘Paddington 2’, simply the finest family movie - and one of the finest movies, period - to come into our lives in recent years. Knuckles McGInty for the Oscar!!
Bo Burnham got into the mind of an eighth grade girl and Elsie Fisher embodied her shrinking self. Plus, social media is front and center. Plus, there's an incredible scene that tidily sums up rape culture, without any touching. It's also doing it's part to encourage women to stand tall and don't slouch.
A three way tie between Buster Scruggs, Roma, and Sorry to Bother You. It was a good year for from-the-heart personal projects by writer/director types!
Is it really possible that Paddington 2 is the best movie of the year? I think so. Simply put, it is pure joy on the big screen. The best family movies have stories simple enough for children to follow, yet intricate enough to keep adults engaged and entertain (movies like E.T. and Holes). And that's exactly what we get here. From the very start, Paddington 2 is a roller coaster of fun, heartache, excitement and drama, all flashed across the screen in a sea of wonderful colors. Add on top of that a top-notch ensemble performance, Hugh Grant's career-best performance (I said it), and you get what this movie is: a true delight.
The have been a lot of fine films this year, but Shoplifters is by far my favorite. It is poetry like no other film this year, something really special.
Leave no Trace is just wonderful - can’t believe it’s not on your list. On second thoughts I often think that about your lists. ????
There are several movies I still haven't seen from this year, but my favorite so far as to be Isle of Dogs. It's rare for a movie to have so much on its mind, even rarer for its relevance and poignancy to increase in the weeks and months following its release. Add to that the fact that it's incredibly beautiful and takes the craft of stop-motion animation to new heights, and you have a film that deserves to be ranked as one of the year's best.
Gräns or Border which is the English title is Swedish/Danish romantic fantasy thriller like I have never seen it before.
It has themes of alienation, cruelty and grotesqueness which is depicted and explored in an original and fairly abstract form. Despite the unreal setting, the movie draws you in completely. It gives a lot more food for thought, than would be expected if only presented with the premise and outline.
You should check it out :)
Of the ones I have seen on the list my favorite is Isle of Dogs which I actually think is Wes Anderson's funniest yet.
Nothing's been able to top You Were Never Really Here, a film that's haunted me since I saw it in May. I've returned to Jonny Greenwood's aching score and often thought of the whiplash-inducing ending. To do some Kempanaar-esque theme imposing on 2018's cinema, what's come up again and again in my favorites (First Reformed, Eighth Grade, First Man, Lean on Pete) has been bone-deep despair, and Lynne Ramsey's latest masterpiece exemplifies how it sticks to a soul and how it radiates out into the world.
Has to be Leave no Trace for me. A beautiful, heartbreaking film that is tough minded about our ability to overcome personal demons when faced with great responsibility. But it avoids becoming maudlin or miserable by virtue of the people and communities in the film all being portrayed, with great attention by Debra Granik, as fundamentally decent. Thomasin McKenzie gives the best performance of the year, and the end credits song is one of my favorite pieces of music of the year.
My best film of 2018 is the Mister Rogers documentary "Won't You Be My Neighbor". The film lovingly captured the life and work of one of America's greatest treasures in a way I've never experienced with a documentary before. But more importantly, any film that caused me to openly weep in the middle of a theater (not once, but several times during its runtime) and not even care who saw me doing it deserves the highest praise I can offer.
I still have a number of movies to see (The Favourite, If Beale Street Could Talk etc) but from the moment I saw Roma, I have fallen in love. Haven been in the Roma district earlier this year, and spent a lot of time in Latin America, it hit me in that sweet spot. I love that you will be focused on thing on screen, and there will be another off to the side that you won't see until Cuaron wants you to see it.
Of the (completely English language-centric) list on the poll, then First Reformed would be my choice. But a good chunk of my favourites this year have been in a language other than English, with the gentle yet heart-wrenching Shoplifters at the very top. I will never give up on encouraging people to get past the subtitles and watch films which are not in English!
Maybe, just maybe, picking Paddington 2 as the best film of the year will finally legitimize it. It's a beautiful film that deserves to be taken seriously. Josh! Champion of the marginalized and animated, lift up Paddington 2!
Black Panther! For once the highest grossing movie of the year is the best!