02 Jul The top 10 films of 2018 so far
Oh, yes. It’s already half-yearly report time. Where did six months of films go? It’s been a rather mixed-bag of a year, thus far. As always, the year’s truly great films are being saved for awards season time, so we’re still yet to see the bulk of films which will likely make up most critic’s end-of-year lists. But, thankfully, there have been several gems which may still be hanging around when it comes time to write the top ten of 2018. And maybe even a few which could be awards contenders. Let’s take a journey back with ten of the best (and unranked) of the year, so far.
Before we get started, just one little disclaimer. There were several films I saw at the recent Sydney Film Festival (reviews are coming, I promise) which should absolutely be on this list. But given their wide-release/official is yet to come, it seems unnatural to include them on this particular list.
A Quiet Place
Writer/director John Krasinki’s concept of “one noise equals instant death” creates the most uncomfortable yet intoxicating level of tension and suspense which will leave your heart racing throughout almost the entire film. A Quiet Place is a supremely tense, deliciously thrilling, and wonderfully suspenseful rollercoaster ride which never lags and keeps you on your toes the entire time. You’ll have an absolute ball, and that’s exactly how a truly terrifying film should make you feel. Just remember to breathe…quietly.
Avengers: Infinity War
The culmination of ten years of groundwork. A master plan unlike anything ever before seen in the history of cinema. Everything has led to this moment, and what a moment it ends up being. Avengers: Infinity War is both wildly entertaining and utterly devastating, keeping its audiences constantly on its toes with where this film is heading and who won’t be left standing by its conclusion. It’s a film which will demand repeat viewing and delivers a painful wait until the second chapter next year. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll cheer. You’ll shriek. But, most of all, you’ll have the bloody good time you’ve been waiting ten years for. It was worth the wait.
Standing both as a terrifically entertaining and stoically socially-aware piece of cinema, Black Panther expertly toes the line between big, popcorn blockbuster and important and relevant gamechanger. With its incredible cast of nearly-all black actors, coupled with its beautiful and glorious African-inspired visual style, the film stands alone as the most distinctive chapter in Marvel’s franchise, so far. The film is the start of a new age for this franchise and one that must be celebrated, at every turn. All hail the king. Wakanda forever.
With a truckload of laughs, a wonderful ensemble cast, and a firecracker of a screenplay filled with hilarious situational comedy, quick wit and delicious sarcasm, Blockers is a wonderful crowd pleaser. Both a touching ode to the perils of young adulthood and a tribute to the difficulty of being a parent, the film is ultimately a terrifically entertaining comedy for all ages. By showcasing both sides of this narrative, Blockers is relatable and accessible to any generation. Parents will love it. Teenagers will adore it. And they’ll both laugh their damn asses off.
The one film on this list that didn’t receive a full The Jam Report review. Why? Well, the trailers and marketing for Game Night did nothing to suggest the mastery of what truly is the year’s best comedy, so far. This film critic stupidly stayed away from seeing it. Then the groundswell of support and chorus of rave reviews began, and it was obvious I was missing out on something special. With a sublime ensemble cast, a sharp screenplay, and sublime direction, Game Night is the year’s biggest surprise package. It’s a zany adventure filled with twists and turns plus a bucketload of laughs. If you were foolish enough to miss it in cinemas, source it out immediately. You won’t be disappointed.
Hereditary is deeply, deeply unsettling and horrifically disturbing, filled with imagery that will genuinely haunt you for a lifetime. Writer/director Ari Aster wisely avoids the endless stream of jump-scares most horror movies serve up. His shocks instead come from his dazzling and confronting imagery, which may be some of the most downright disturbing of recent times. But the glue which holds this film together is the astonishingly-good Toni Collette, in what is easily the best female performance this year and will be damn hard to beat. It’s a career-defining tour-de-force display, which is saying something, given her back-catalogue.
This is everything Pixar fans could hope for. Every bit as entertaining, enjoyable, and joyous as the original, Incredibles 2 is a masterclass of cinema that proves a sequel can meet high expectations, and then some. The follow-up feels more poignant, self-aware, and sophisticated than the original. And much more entertaining. It’s an absolute joy from start to finish. It’s able to hit the ground running and never look back. Like all of Pixar’s finest films, Incredibles 2 works for audiences of all ages. Parents will be as dazzled and delighted as their children. 20-somethings who were kids when the original came out will be swept right back into the film they fell in love with 14 years ago.
Isle of Dogs
Auteur director Wes Anderson’s meticulousness is on display in the dazzling and charming Isle of Dogs, his second adventure into the painstaking world of stop-motion animation. He cranks up the weird with his latest endeavour, crafting something even stranger, yet entirely captivating and ultimately incredibly satisfying, especially if you’re a canine lover. The visual mastery is more than enough to be swept away by, as are the gorgeous performances from the sublime voice cast. This will no doubt become another piece of cinema hipsters will flock to, but it’s still entirely congenial enough for anyone to access.
Much to everyone’s surprise, Paddington 2 became the best-reviewed film of all time on Rotten Tomatoes, achieving a perfect score of 100%. And rightly so. Yes, it’s that good. With an almost Wes Anderson-like quality, Paddington 2 is visually gorgeous and narratively beautiful, delivering something truly delightful for both young and old. With its charming message of acceptance and the importance of family, Paddington 2 brings the feels with its warm and inviting narrative that’s impossible not to adore. We could all use the dose of overwhelmingly positivity and joy Paddington 2 brings. It’s exactly what this world needs right now.
One of the most underrated of the films so far, Tully is a deeply important and incredibly relevant film which breaks the often verboten subject matter on what parental life is really like behind closed doors. With another sensational performance by Charlize Theron and a beautiful yet stark portrayal of motherhood, Tully is a sublime piece of cinema that will touch any audience member. For those mothers who feel like they are alone in their private battles, Tully will feel like the film you’ve long been waiting for. And for those outside the parenthood bubble, Tully stands as an eye-opener to a life that’s hard to understand if you’re not living it.