Built For Speed, Movies of 2018
Hi to all our listeners. We hope you enjoyed the ‘Built For Speed End of Year Spectacular’. In case, you missed it, there’s a repeat this Friday 4th Jan from 8-10pm.
Here are CJ and Nick’s picks for best, worst, most overrated and underrated films of 2018.
Best Movies for 2018
- My Generation
- American Animals
- Bohemian Rhapsody
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
- Lady Bird
- Solo: A Star Wars Story
- Sweet Country
- The Shape of Water
- Sicario: The Day of the Soldardo
- Ready Player One
- I Tonya
- The Grinch
- Jumanji – Welcome to the Jungle
- The Greatest Showman
- Black Panther
- A Star is Born
Best Aussie Films
- Sweet Country
- The Merger
Best films of 2018
- Lean on Pete
Lean on Pete was this year’s I, Daniel Blake, a powerful and exceptionally moving humanist drama that also touched on the austere films of Robert Bresson, British social realism and the western as it projected its lead character, the innocent, socially-detached but astonishingly resilient teen, Charley, into a wide western landscape. Testament to the quality of director Andre Haigh’s filmmaking is that this was largely about a topic – horseracing – in which I have no interest but I was utterly immersed in the characters’ lives.
2. Cold War
This remarkable tribute to traditional Polish musical culture and new wave cinema of the late 1950’s from Ida director Pawel Pawlikowski is probably the most visually stunning film of the year. It’s striking black and white cinematography betters Roma while it’s tempestuous story of two musically gifted lovers’ odyssey across post-war Europe – which at times resembles an Eastern European art house A Star is Born – never loses its grip on the audience. Wonderful performances from the two leads Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot and lots of great music. Deserves the best foreign language film Oscar.
3. Sweet Country
Warwick Thornton is head and shoulders above any director in Australia at the moment. This powerful, confronting and superbly shot film, that was rightfully honoured at the recent AACTA awards, is a classic Australian western. The film seers itself into the memory for many reasons but mainly because of the superb performances from lead Hamilton Morris as well as Sam Neil and Bryan Brown, wonderful cinematography from Dylan River and Warwick Thornton that recalls Walkabout, films like The Searchers and a Russell Drysdale painting and its unflinching examination of this nation’s past (and present).
This creepy, slow-burn supernatural horror film is one of the more stylish additions to the genre of recent times and announced an impressive new filmmaking talent in writer/ director Ari Aster who made his feature debut here. This film evoked classic early 70’s haunted house movies like The Changeling but did so with a startlingly original visual style.
A witty, honest, charming and often moving directorial debut for Greta Gerwig that featured a superb central performance from probably the actress of the moment Saoirse Ronin and a really nice turn from Laurie Metcalf as her hyper-judgemental mother.
Justifiably one of the most lauded films of the year. Its deliberate slow pace and fixation on mundane everyday activities of a household maid (Yalitza Aparicio) in early 70’s Mexico disguised a potent personal drama and a fascinating examination of at a volatile time when the Central American Marxist revolutions were resonating through Mexico. This was one of two stunning black and white films this year and once again featured Alfonso Cuaron’s magnificent cinematography and his remarkable sense of space.
7. Bad times at the El Royale
A film that drew on Hitchcock and Tarantino but avoided being too derivative by incorporating a highly inventive structure and unusual performances. Despite a slight stumble with Chris Hemsworth’s character toward the end, this was a lot of fun. The film also exposed us to a remarkable talent in Cynthia Erivo who was great in Widows.
8. I, Tonya
Featured one of the best soundtracks of the year and terrific lead performances from Margot Robby as Tonya Harding, Sebastian Stan as porno-moustache wearing oddball Jeff Gillooly and a hilariously weird turn from Paul Walter Hauser as his buddy and self-proclaimed secret agent, Shawn.
9. Journey’s End
Powerful British WW1 drama that examined the devastating psychological effect of life in the trenches of France. Great performances from Sam Claflin, Tom Sturridge, Paul Bettany and Asa Butterfield.
10. Phantom Thread
This is a film that seemed to completely divide audiences which is usually the mark of a good movie. Phantom Thread was another wonderfully weird character study from Paul Thomas Anderson, this time featuring Daniel Day Lewis as an intense, obsessive 1950’s fashion guru. This was one of Anderson’s most striking looking films with its pristine cinematography and meticulous period detail. Equally good were the performances from Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps as his lover/ servant and the sensational Leslie Manville as his officious sister and business partner.
- Boy Erased.
- A Quiet Place.
- American Animals.
- The Post.
- What Will People Say.
- Sicario: Day of the Soldado.
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri.
- First Man.
- The Seagull.
- Bohemian Rhapsody.
- Ghost Stories.
Worst films of 2018
This revenge fantasy starring Jennifer Garner was pure drivel, a vile, stupid, ultra-right wing mix of Death Wish and 80’s video nasties that featured appallingly stereotyped Mexican criminals and the disgraceful idea that only a white person with a gun could clean up the streets – it was insulting in the extreme. It was also plain dumb with an utterly implausible heroine who seemed to appear in three places at once – hilariously she survives an explosion that would level a city only to pop out of sewer like a ninja turtle right where the bad guys are driving past.
2. A Wrinkle in Time
Yet another failed attempt to bring a popular teen fantasy novel to the big screen. This schmaltzy mess which infamously features a giant Oprah Winfrey played like a garish pantomime and was devoid of energy, fun or a sense of adventure.
3. Mortal Engines
Apart from a startling opening sequence that first exposes us to London as a mobile city rumbling across a post-apocalyptic landscape on tank tracks, this was a dull, derivative disaster. Seemingly borrowing ideas but none of the filmmaking quality from Star Wars, Mad Max and Terminator, it was completely predictable. Worst of all, though, it featured awful acting including Derek Zoolander-approved one facial expression performances and some godawful Welcome to Woop Woop-style scenery chewing.
I’m sure there’s a mathematical equation that predicts the decline in quality of Robin Hood films since the 1938 Errol Flynn classic. This one, featuring Tarryn Egerton as laddish Robin battling a scenery chomping Sherriff of Nottingham (Ben Mendelsohn) was visually ugly and completely silly without being fun.
5. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
I’m a huge fan of the Harry Potter films but their so-called prequels the Fantastic Beasts movies, which feature Eddy Redmayne as magical beast wrangler Newt Scamander, have been duds. Waterlogged with CGI and particularly in the case of Grindelwald, hamstrung by a ridiculously convoluted plots, these films lack the wit, charm and excitement and most of all the sense of wonder that made Potter movies so great.
6. The Now Sound
Probably the most disappointing film of the year. This documentary about the Melbourne music scene would have been hotly awaited by indie rock fans but unfortunately it was (for the most) a limp, poorly-edited ad for some lame house party musicians and triple J acts. It was almost redeemed by terrific appearances from Romy Vega Group and Jen Cloher but the rest of it was dull and sterile and would have had non-Melbournians wondering what the hell all the fuss was about with Melbourne’s music scene.
7. The Nun
A roundly and justifiably hated movie. It featured a reasonable set up that captured a fairly imposing horror atmosphere in a haunted nunnery before turning into a ludicrous Marilyn Manson video.
Whether we needed a remake of 70’s blaxploitation film Superfly is debatable but beyond any question is the fact that we didn’t need this film. At first, looking unintentionally like a 30 Rock-style parody of indulgent, sexist, materialist hip-hop culture, this film turned into that staple of 1980’s cinema the video nasty. An ugly mess of a film.
9. The Bookshop
I was expecting a warm, charming low-key brit romantic drama but this film about a perky widower (Emily Mortimer) taking over a bookshop in a small English village featured weirdly off-kilter performances and a story that never gained any momentum or generated any emotion.
10. Tomb Raider
Maintaining that dubious tradition of video game to cinema adaptation this snooze worthy attempt at an action adventure from director Roar Utaugh had the production values of a home movie and the pacing of a bowls match.
I’m not particularly invested in superhero films so I wasn’t outraged by this. It was just a dull, poorly-conceived generic Marvel effort with an unconvincing anti-hero in Tom Hardy’s alien monster Venom and a total waste of Michelle Williams as his love interest.
Disappointing Australian bikie movie. The film made clumsily obvious references to Macbeth and Of Mice and Men, contained some dodgy acting and suffered from obvious budget restrictions.
12. The Darkest Minds
From the cookie-cutter young adult, post-apocalyptic sci-fi romance factory. Not awful but entirely unmemorable.
- See You Up There.
- Let the Sunshine In.
- Crazy Rich Asians.
- The Breaker-upperers.
- Isle of Dogs.
- A Star is Born.