Top movies of 2018
RACQ journalist and film and television buff Nathan Torpey breaks down his top five movies of 2018.
While 2018 was a great year for television, I don’t think the same can be said for the movie industry.
Yes, there were several great films released last year, but I felt it was lacking clear standouts like 2017’s Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri or 2015’s Spotlight.
Rather, it seemed the ‘Hollywood summer blockbuster’ was again in full effect and favoured style over substance.
Superhero films again dominated the box-office and many cinemagoers hearts, with two films making this list.
Without further ado and in no set order (because it was way too hard to choose), here are my top five movies of 2018.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
If you told me an animated film would be one of my favourite films (if not my favourite) of 2018, I wouldn’t have believed you. But the team behind Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse did a phenomenal job creating a movie that was entertaining for cinemagoers of all ages. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse isn’t your average Saturday morning cartoon, but rather a fully realised movie world that feels fresh and original despite featuring characters we’ve seen on-screen many times before. From a diversity standpoint, it was the second film this year to feature an African-American lead as the superhero and, in a lot of ways, I feel it surpassed Black Panther as a movie and for its significance.
- Film Rating: PG
- Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey and Rodney Rothman.
- Cast: Zoe Kravitz, Chris Pine, Hailee Steinfeld, Nicolas Cage, Live Schreiber, Jake Johnson, Shameik Moore.
- If you liked the movie, try: The Incredibles, Big Hero 6, Lego Batman, The Lego Movie and any movie or television show in the Spider-Man universe.
Avengers: Infinity War
What a cast. What a movie. Avengers: Infinity War featured just about every Hollywood A-list celebrity under the sun onscreen together for the first time. If you weren’t blown away by seeing Robert Downey Jr’s Iron Man and Chris Pratt’s Star Lord on screen together, then you would be by the break-neck action and relentless humour. Avengers: Infinity War is the culmination of a decade of work in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and paid off in a big way with arguably its strongest film to date. Despite being overstuffed with characters and falling into some common superhero movie themes, the film is a blast from start to finish. Will it revolutionise the movie industry? Probably not. But it has certainly revolutionised superhero films and set a high standard for what will be expected in the next phase of Disney/Marvel films. The ending will leave you with shivers and counting down the seconds until Avengers: Endgame is released.
- Film Rating: M15+
- Directors: Anthony and Joe Russo.
- Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Chris Evans, Chris Pratt, Mark Ruffalo, Benedict Cumberbatch, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Holland, Tom Hiddleston, Bradley Cooper, Josh Brolin.
- If you liked the movie, try: Any other marvel superhero film.
A Quiet Place
Thank you, Hollywood. As a devout fan of horror films, I have always had a love/hate relationship with the industry, as most Hollywood horror films are shallow and rely merely on jump scares or gore. But the industry has certainly picked up its act of late and delivered several horror classics – most notably, Get Out, Hereditary, IT and A Quiet Place. A Quiet Place is the directorial debut of John Krasinski and is set in a post-apocalyptic world, where humans are forced to live in silence from blind monsters with an acute sense of hearing. Simply put, if they hear you, they hunt you. The tension in A Quiet Place is palpable. I cannot remember a cinema experience when the theatre was so quiet. The movie does a terrific job of absorbing you into its horrifying world. Heck, I was terrified of eating popcorn as my chewing might alert the monsters on screen or ruin the terrifying atmosphere in the theatre.
- Film Rating: M
- Director: John Krasinski
- Cast: Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, Millicent Simmonds, Noah Jupe, Cade Woodward.
- If you liked the movie, try: Bird Box, Don’t Breathe, Hush, Get Out, IT, Hereditary, 10 Cloverfield Lane.
Without a doubt, Bohemian Rhapsody was the film I spent the most time debating whether to include on this list. The film is loved by fans around the world and loathed by critics. Ultimately, I decided to include the film for one reason and one reason alone – Rami Malek. Malek’s performance as Queen’s legendary front man, Freddy Mercury, is one for the ages. Malek perfectly encapsulates everything that made Mercury such an iconic entertainer, from his charisma and magnetism on stage to his private pain when the microphones were turned off and the cameras stopped rolling. While the film has a number of narrative shortcomings and is rather shallow, glossing over key moments in Mercury’s life such as his AIDS diagnosis and battle with his sexuality, it is entertaining. Movie wise, Bohemian Rhapsody is nothing special. Performance wise, it is just that… special.
- Film rating: M15+
- Director: Bryan Singer
- Cast: Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Joseph Mazzello, Mike Myers, Ben Hardy, Aiden Gillen, Gwilym Lee, Tom Hollander.
- If you liked the movie, try: Straight Outta Compton, Walk the Line, Sid and Nancy, Jersey Boys, Rock Star.
There might be some contention over the inclusion of Darkest Hour as it was released in 2017 for most countries, but we Aussies had to wait until 2018 (thanks Hollywood). Like Bohemian Rhapsody, Darkest Hour is not without its flaws. As a whole, the biopic is rather limited in scope, but sure packs one hell of a knockout punch with Gary Oldman. Oldman disappears into his performance as Winston Churchill and is the prime reason the film must be seen. You will be hard-pressed not to feel goose bumps from his Academy Award and Golden Globe winning performance. Darkest Hour focuses primarily on Churchill’s early days as Prime Minister showing his public triumphs and moments of reflection and self-doubt when out of the public eye. If you’re a history buff or a lover of world-class performances, Darkest Hour is the movie for you.
- Film Rating: PG
- Director: Joe Wright.
- Cast: Gary Oldman, John Hurt, Kristin Scott Thomas, Ben Mendelsohn, Lily James.
- If you liked the movie, try: Dunkirk, Churchill, The King’s Speech, Bridge of spies.
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