It’s not quite the end of the year just yet1, but I have decided that it is highly unlikely I am going to leave the house and make the five minute journey to my local multiplex. My film logging widget tells me that I saw fewer films in total this year than I did last year and from looking at last year’s films in review blog and my letterboxd list of 2018 films, I also saw fewer new films. Was it just that there were fewer films that took my fancy released? Could I just not be bothered to go out and see them? I know there were a few that I thought “well, I’ll just wait for them to be on TV” that I can’t even remember the titles of now.
I nearly said that there wasn’t a Star Wars film out in 2018 but I guess Solo counts as one of those, so it’s not even that. I could really do with a new Star Trek film – although Discovery is coming back in the new year and I am p excited for that.
Anyway, onward – from least liked to most liked. Once again, “least liked” doesn’t necessarily mean it was bad but I think I did watch more films I felt kind of indifferent about this year:
- Long Day’s Journey Into Night – This film was really long and didn’t seem to go anywhere. Sure the 3D 50 minute long single shot take is a technical achievement but like… what was the point. I guess the first section was just too vague and I didn’t care about the main character.
- In Fabric – Parts of this film were entertaining but then other bits induced too much second-hand embarrassment.
- The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned from a Mythical Man – I don’t know that I’m really that interested in Bill Murray’s hijinks, but it was nice to hear from people who had such good experiences and to its credit, this film is only 70 minutes long and doesn’t try to pad itself out with pointless filler.
- Aquarela – Ok so this film is about water and only that. Glaciers, frozen lakes, waterfalls, oceans, hurricanes etc. all to an industrial classical soundtrack. The director said that it was supposed to showcase the immensity of water on our planet but it had been a long day and the water noises along with metal-cello accompaniment were really relaxing and I might have drifted off once or twice2.
- The Quake – I didn’t see The Wave, to which this is a sequel to, but I don’t think I really needed to. Most disaster movies that I’ve seen tend to be all action, which is fine. This film has action, sure, but most of the drama comes from within the characters’ regular lives and their reactions to the disaster of the previous film. Which is a nice change.
- Ash Is Purest White – I spent 20 minutes trying to remember which of the films on the list had the ballroom dancers in and it was this one. Anyway, Ash Is Purest White kind of starts off as a gangster film, but then actually follows the life of the “gangster’s moll” character who is far more interesting than anyone else.
- Arctic – I actually had this one just above Aquarela but then I started thinking about it and had to move it up the list a bit. Mads Mikkelsen is exceptional in this.
- Solo: A Star Wars Story – This was OK. I kind of want to rate it lower but maybe that’s because I kind of expected more from a film about Han Solo and on the whole it was fine. Unnecessary maybe, but fine. I would probably have preferred a Chewie film.
- A Family Tour – There’s a lot here that I recognise in my own family, although of course, none of us currently live in exile from China or have suffered the kind of injustices that the main character here has. Although saying that, thinking about the race riots in Malaysia in the late 60s, I do wonder if I am wrong about that one.
- Duplicate – This film is called “Jonathan” in a bunch of places but I guess it must have got renamed to Duplicate. Did not go in the direction I had thought it would at all, mostly because I had no clue where the story would go from the start (but in a good way).
- The Man Who Killed Don Quixote – This is the only Adam Driver film I saw this year, although in a sense it was like 3 Adam Driver films in one, so I guess I’ve probably equalled last years Adam Driver film total.
- Happy as Lazzaro – I didn’t really know what to expect from this film and it turned out to be kind of a meditation on sainthood. Also, did not expect the direction the second half took at all, which was great.
- Outlaw King – I enjoy historical films with loads of violence, what can I say?
- Deadpool 2 – Also contemporary films with loads of violence. I feel like this wasn’t as enjoyable as the first one.
- Out of Blue – I guess I would compare this one to last year’s Small Town Crime, only the main character in that was a mess and Patricia Clarkson’s detective is not really.
- The Hummingbird Project – This was way more heart-warming than I thought a film about putting in a fibre optic cable across America would be and I am glad of it. And SALMA HAYEK plays a great villain.
- Assassination Nation – I really enjoyed this although I think it was trying to position itself as something more controversial than it was. Also another film with loads of violence. Basically, 80% of films I watch have violence in them I guess.
- Widows – This was so so good and deeply satisfying. Also, there is a cute dog.
- A Wrinkle in Time – I saw this so long ago, but I guess it says something that a film from right near the beginning of the year stuck in my memory and maintained its position in my chart – I often find that more recent films chart a bit higher sometimes because I remember them more. I’ve not read the book but I don’t think that’s a problem. This is a really beautiful film but wow Charles Wallace is annoying.
- Can You Ever Forgive Me? – I picked this film because I really enjoyed seeing Melissa McCarthy in Spy and the title sounded interesting. It turned out to be one of the best films I’ve seen this year – both funny and unexpectedly touching.
- The Favourite – Rachel Weisz is awesome. Her name is Rachel, so of course. Olivia Coleman and Emma Stone are also excellent, though they are not Rachels. Their performances made the characters seem real – even though they are real people that existed, the distance of time renders them as “just” characters in a story. Anyway, this was great and funny and moving and I really enjoyed it.
- I Used to Be Normal: A Boyband Fangirl Story – I was never a boyband fangirl myself. I just didn’t get the appeal, but I have been a fan of other things and it was a DELIGHT to watch this and feel those feels and see other people feeling those feels. Not only does this documentary tell the stories of a range of different fangirls, but it also follows the changes in their fandom and what their love of their particular boyband has enabled them to achieve. And it takes all of their fangirling and love and out-there antics and takes it all seriously. Everyone should see this.
- Little Forest – This is a film where a young woman spends a lot of time cooking for herself and for her friends, eating the nice food she has cooked and hanging out with a puppy and I think this is the gentle film that the world needs right now.
- Pacific Rim: Uprising – In contrast, I don’t think the world needed this particular Pacific Rim film (perhaps del Toro’s version would have been different) and yeah, there is one element of the story that is CLEARLY RIDICULOUS and UNCALLED FOR. That said, I enjoyed the story and the robots and John Boyega is a national treasure.
- Avengers: Infinity War – I am here for Captain America 5eva. And most of the rest of them too.
- Ocean’s Eight – This is literally the only Ocean’s film I have seen in a cinema rather than just waiting for it to be on the telly and that was an excellent decision. Sandra Bullock is my perennial fave and she and her team are just so good at all of it. Richard Armitage is there being awful in the best way. The only thing that could have been better would be if they had just put someone else in as the insurance fraud investigator.
- Black Panther – It feels like Black Panther came out a million years ago but it was literally only like eleven months. Everything about this film was just right and I loved T’Challa and Shuri and her being the genius little sister.
And that’s it for the new films I saw in 2018. I feel like I would have liked to go to more gigs, but sometimes I’m just not interested in the people who are touring here. I visited Norfolk on holiday and that was great. I ate a great many delicious things. 2018 was okay.
1. Well, I started writing this 3 days ago.
2. It had been a long day.