The 14 best movies of 2018
Let the disagreements begin!
It did start as a top 10, but we simply couldn't leave some of these out!
2018 was a very decent year for great cinema, between this and our Hidden Gems of 2018 (and also not-so-great cinema, check out our Worst Of 2018 list here), so let us go back over some of the highlights:
#14 - BLOCKERS
It was a toss up between this and Game Night, but we had to give this one the edge, simply because the trailer was so horrendously awful, that the really-very-funny final product came as a total shock.
Plus, the female-centric coming-of-age sex comedy gave us a new angle on a done-to-death sub-genre. And there was butt-chugging, and that's never not funny.
#13 - WIDOWS
An incredible heist thriller, that takes the viewer's perceptions of what a heist thriller is, and effectively turns it on its head.
Viola Davis leads an all-star cast with her powerful, incendiary performance while director Steve McQueen brings his arthouse directorial style to meet Gillian Flynn's pulpy genre script at an entertaining, intelligent halfway point.
#12 - PHANTOM THREAD
Everyone expected There Will Be Blood 2.0. Instead they got a darkly erotic comedy?
Daniel Day Lewis gives one of the most insular performances of his career, while director Paul Thomas Anderson sets us up for the ultimate rug pull in terms of actual genre.
Just as you've settled in for a period romantic drama, we hear DDL make the world's longest breakfast order, and we suddenly know what we're in for.
#11 - BLACKKKLANSMAN
Spike Lee takes something as tricky as race relations and the KKK and decides to run away from common sense, turning the true story into a blaxploitation comedy.
It is a big swing, which makes the resulting big hit all the sweeter. It cements Washington Junior as a bone fide star, while Adam Driver once again proves he is capable of doing just about anything.
#10 - LADY BIRD
Saoirse Ronan got her third Best Actress Oscar nomination here (ultimately missing out due to Frances McDormand in Three Billboards, a near miss for this list), but singling Ronan out misses the point of the movie.
From writer/director Greta Gerwig's peerlessly light touch to Laurie Metcalf's perfectly realised fussy mother to the exceptional supporting cast (Timothee Chalamet, Lucas Hedges, Tracy Letts, everyone take a bow), there is just too much to love here.
But, yeah, Ronan was robbed.
#9 - SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
If it weren't for a certain finger-snapping villain, this would've been the best comic book movie of the year.
Instead, it will just have to settle for being the smartest, funniest comic book movie of the year.
#8 - ISLE OF DOGS
Wes Anderson's pitch-perfect animated comedy had more jokes per minute than any other film this year, which makes it all the more impressive that almost every single joke was hilarious, on top of the fact that the film was absolutely heartbreaking in places.
The unique visual aesthetic, mixed with the incredible all-star voice cast made it impossible to forget.
#7 - INCREDIBLES 2
It is tough to make a sequel as good as the original, and while Toy Story 2 (and then 3) were immediately recognised as being equals to the classic original, it does feel like Incredibles 2 is going to take a bit longer to get the same recognition.
As funny as the first movie but with action scenes that up the ante hugely, as well as a villain that takes the original's idea of toxicity and smartly turns it inside out, there is so much to enjoy here that it actually takes more than one watch to let it all seep in.
#6 - AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR
From the outside in, this probably shouldn't have worked.
Featuring half a million talking characters (rough estimate), it should have buckled under the weight of its own hubris. Instead, the makers smartly made Thanos the lead character and just pinned everyone else to his story.
If next year's Endgame can match the quality of this outing, then the argument for greatest two-parter of all time can officially be made.
#5 - MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT
The reason why these films work is because we know how much Tom actually hurts himself making them!
Director Christopher McQuarrie returned after Rogue Nation to make an action movie that he knew nobody would be able to follow up, with sequences that will have action fans embed their jaws in the ground.
Between the bathroom scrap, the helicopter chase, the bike through Paris, and the bit where he broke his leg in London, Fallout has viewers on the edge of their seats because it gives us a giddy thrill unmatched in an age of CGI and stunt doubles.
#4 - ANNIHILATION
The guy behind Ex Machina returns with a Netflix exclusive about an all-female scientist group sent into the woods to find out why every other scientist group that has gone in there has never come back.
One of the most visually beautiful horrors ever made, it boasts the kind of IQ that is probably the exact reason why they kept it away from the cinema in the end.
Natalie Portman delivers a brilliant performance but really this is another feather in the cap of writer/director Alex Garland.
#3 - A STAR IS BORN
If you made it all the way through this movie without crying, then you're stronger than we were.
The directorial debut of Bradley Cooper completely blew us all away, not least because of the Lady Gaga performance that silenced any of the nay-sayers.
Added to an incredible soundtrack - 'Shallow' will most likely be the most iconic song of 2018, too - and a heartfelt screenplay brought to life by Cooper's loving eye.
It is tough to talk about without getting emotional all over again...
#2 - A QUIET PLACE
John Krasinski pulled off triple-duty here, playing writer/director/star for this minimalist horror with a face-palm'ingly obvious, why-didn't-anyone-think-of-this-before premise.Monsters will kill you if you make any noise, so silence is your friend.
The movie forced audiences to let their popcorn go uneaten as the fear of making any noise spilled into reality, as Krasinski and real-life wife Emily Blunt managed to get you on the family's side almost immediately, and then follow through with some of the most insanely tense set-pieces you can imagine.
#1 - HEREDITARY
We went into detail on the movie's most shocking scene, but Hereditary is so much more than that.
Oscar-worthy performances. Absolutely beautiful imagery. A thoughtful drama on the stresses of family and the damages passed on down from parents to their children.
And then there is the horror aspect, which creeps under your skin just enough to be constantly setting off goosebumps, all the while building up a constant sense of dread.
With normal horror movies there is a build-up and then there is a scare, and then our tension is reset to zero.
In Hereditary, there is a build-up and then a scare, but there is no relief.
It simply continues to build up the tension until you're convinced you're going to have a panic attack. More endurance test than entertainment, and all the better for it.