2018 crome yellow top films

So this is where we stand huh? As usual, selecting the top films of 2018 wasn’t an easy task, but it also yielded an absolutely rewarding look at where we’ve been and where we’re going. More than ever, this was the year of breaking through the mold, taking big risks and making big statements about the world we live in. Let’s dig in:

Mandy review Andrea Riseborough

Mandy: Where do you even start with a film like this? Panos Cosmatos’ latest might be the cinematic mic drop of the year. This is heavy metal the movie, unabashedly pummeling our senses into a pile of dust and then laughing sadistically over the remains. Yeah, it’s that crazy. Psychedelic visuals, Cage gone wild and pure lunacy. Just watch this one ASAP and let it completely consume your life. FULL REVIEW

Leave No Trace Ben Foster Thomasin McKenzie

Leave No Trace: Debra Granik’s narrative follow-up to Winter’s Bone is another example of masterful storytelling. The story concerns a father and daughter forced to reintegrate into society after deliberately living a life of isolation in a nature reserve outside of Oregon. Granik boasts a discovery with star Thomasin McKenzie, who holds her own with Ben Foster to deliver one of the year’s most profound on-screen relationships. FULL REVIEW

annihilation review natalie portman tessa thompson

Annihilation: Picking up where he left off with Ex Machina, Alex Garland has delivered another high-concept sci-fi classic. Adapting an impossible novel from Jeff VanderMeer, Garland brings to life stunning imagery and existential horror. This has got one of the year’s most horrifying sequences, and an incredible ensemble of women confronting the idea of creation by destruction. FULL REVIEW

Minding the Gap review

Minding The Gap: Suddenly, Mid90s feels inconsequential and fake after this documentary. Armed with 12 years of footage, director Bing Liu turns cameras on himself and two of his close friends, exploring the gap between adolescence and adulthood. Skating is our entry point for something much darker and more devastating, and by the end of it all, you will absolutely be crying. Ugly crying. For sure. 

Happy as Lazzaro review Adriano Tardiolo

Happy As Lazzaro: I was expecting this to be good, but it completely destroyed any of my preconceived notions and quickly shot to one of my favorite films this year. Alice Rohrwacher has created a timeless fairy tale that somehow transcends time and explores the nature of good in a constantly shifting world. The grasp of this film is huge. Don’t watch any trailers or read anything beforehand, just go in cold and come out completely blown away. FULL REVIEW

Blindspotting Daveed Diggs Rafael Casal still

Blindspotting: Probably one of the most important films of the year, this buddy comedy subverts everything we know or choose to believe about the world around us. This is absolutely the most complex and genuine critique of modern race relations, and it tells its story with so much style, energy and truth. You will be obsessed with stars/writers Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal by the time those credits roll. FULL REVIEW

Her Smell review Elisabeth Moss

Her Smell: Alex Ross Perry’s punk rock assault is not for the weak of heart. Told in just five extended scenes, we are never given shelter from Elizabeth Moss’ crumbling state of mind, forced to weather an onslaught of fury and rage as we cower with those who put up with her. Not an easy film to stomach, but a masterful one with real heart and poignancy. You’ll be cheering at the empowering female relationships on display by the time those credits roll. FULL REVIEW

Widows Viola Davis Michelle Rodriguez Cynthia Erivo Elizabeth Debicki

Widows: Steve McQueen did it. He turned the heist film upside down and created a surefire crowd pleaser on his own terms. Laced with social critique and lined with an ensemble of killer women, this film will have you on the edge of your seat and does not compromise. This is the popcorn film at its most thrilling but with a message. Every character could be the film’s star, and there are zero weak links. I saw this in a crowded theatre twice, and both times, the audiences were cheering, gasping and shifting in their seats. FULL REVIEW

The Night Comes for Us Mission Impossible Fallout

The Night Comes For Us and Mission: Impossible – Fallout: Say hello to the new standard in unflinching action entertainment. Tom Cruise’s latest mission is dazzling, big budget spectacle and a herculean feat of technical mastery. Timo Tjahjanto’s mercilessly bloody bout of extremism has us constantly tapping out due to its unflinching nature. Both films take the genre by storm, one providing thrills for the multiplexes, the other an endurance test of epic proportions. Either way, both of these films will get your blood pumping or you’re already dead. FALLOUT REVIEW – NIGHT COMES REVIEW

First Reformed Ethan Hawke

First Reformed: This is the moment that director Paul Schrader has building up to. Hi latest is a spiritual successor to Taxi Driver, but blending the social and spiritual quandaries of modern day. I’ve never seen someone tackle faith like his before. He never demonizes it, but also critiques a life of extreme isolation and ideology. This macro focuses of course carries bigger implications for the world at large, and it’s a sight to see and contemplate. Ethan Hawke will destroy you. FULL REVIEW

Burning review Ah-in Yoo Jong-seo Jeon Steven Yeun

Burning: Lee Chang-dong’s latest is an evolving mystery that keeps things so close to the chest until it’s ready to hit you with the death blow. This is a film where literally anything can happen, as Lee dissects masculinity and modern relationships in a way that hit so hard. The triptych of performances by Steven Yeun, Jeon Jong-seo and Yoo Ah-in are monumental and can’t be missed at any cost. FULL REVIEW

The Rider review Brady Jandreau

The Rider: Chloe Zhao’s latest is an inextricable blend of fact and fiction, resulting in one of the most profound films you can experience ever. Zhao basically chronicles reality for rehabilitating rodeo riders, which she then transforms into a portrait of survival, strength and solidarity. This is reserved, meditative storytelling at its most profound and poetic. Nothing can prepare you for the way it all ends.

Roma review Yalitza Aparicio

Roma: Alfonso Cuaron’s latest is the unequivocal masterpiece in this list. Cuaron’s snapshot of 1970s Mexico City hits us like a freight truck. There’s no way to be prepared for what happens here, blending unassuming domesticity with political and personal upheaval. Every shot is delicately crafted and Yalitza Aparicio’s performance is a total knockout. It’s true this movie is streaming on Netflix, but if you have the opportunity, see it on the biggest screen possible and give it your full attention. FULL REVIEW

Spider-Verse review

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: Just when we thought the Spider-mythos had been played out. Peter Parker has seen frankly too many on-screen iterations, but this latest chapter focuses on the rise of Afro-Lantinx pre-teen Miles Morales. The film is dense and nuanced, dissecting the superhero template and proudly acknowledging previous Spider-films in an effort to dramatically push things forward. The results are a deeply moving coming-of-age story that dances to its own defiant and fresh beat. FULL REVIEW

Border review Eva Melander

Border: Adapting a story from Let the Right One In writer John Ajvide Lindqvist, director Ali Abbasi’s timely and surprising fairy tale is as unique as it is soul-shaking. My advice, don’t read anything, don’t see any trailers, just hunt this one out and get lost in it. FULL REVIEW

Revenge review Matilda Lutz

Revenge: Coralie Fargeat’s rape revenge thriller hits us with the precision of a super powered sniper rifle. Fargeat’s taken back the male gaze and created an new heroine for the ages. Using a razor-sharp plot drenched in subtext and A LOT of blood, this pulse-pounding thriller is one of the year’s most satisfying films.  FULL REVIEW

Infinity War Black Panther review Marvel

Infinity War/Black Panther: Marvel broke ground twice this year. Ryan Coogler’s Black Panther was the definitive superhero film about black culture, injecting cathartic mythologies and new heroes into the zeitgeist. It’s one of the few Marvel films that feels like it takes place in our universe, and its impact and importance are undeniable. For Infinity War, the Russo bros. created Marvel’s first true epic. Undoubtedly one of the biggest films ever made, it connected over ten years of storytelling with deft precision and grace. It also took a lot of risks and near killed all of us with that ending. Both films are bold, brave and bound to be timeless blockbuster classics. IW REVIEWBLACK PANTHER REVIEW

Favourite review Emma Stone

The Favourite: Yorgos Lanthimos’ latest is his most masterful. Playing fast and loose with colorful irreverence, Lanthimos paints a portrait of political farce, as three infinitely complex women work to parlay their positions of power and influence. The film renders a political state led by messy personal whims, making a timely critique that cuts deep. Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz and Olivia Colman are incredible and worth the viewing alone. FULL REVIEW

Suspiria 2018 Dakota Johnson

Suspiria: No other horror film this year created as much conversation as Suspiria. Director Luca Guadagnino delivered a film that expanded on the concepts and ideas of Dario Argento’s technicolor original. The key here, is that he made the story and world completely his own, never once aping what came before for something new, but reverent. From the dense political leanings of the film, to its portrait of sadness and grief, the film is a worthy companion to its predecessor and arguably a deeper experience. FULL REVIEW

The House that Jack Built Matt Dillon

The House that Jack Built: This is the defining moment of eternal provocateur Lars Von Trier. This time, Von Trier turns his camera inward, with a shocking meta story that dissects his own work in savage form. Split into six chapters, this is a dark descent that I can’t recommend to everyone, but is a self-reflexive, hypercritical work of art from one of our most original storytellers. Brutal until the very end and containing the most perfect third act of any film this year.

never really here review joaquin phoenix Ekaterina Samsonov

You Where Never Really Here: Lynne Ramsay’s latest is the type of film I honestly don’t want to talk or write about. I say that because to me, it’s something that’s lessened when explained. Above all, this is a film that’s felt. It’s savage, unflinching and doesn’t bend to expectation. But there’s also a beauty and humanity beneath the utter darkness. Joaquin Phoenix and Ekaterina Samsonov render two lost souls with a lot in common. Profound, shocking and unforgettable. FULL REVIEW

SG