Movies reigned supreme in 2018 with some of the most groundbreaking and original films that I’ve not only seen this year, but EVER. From the Nicolas Cage headlined and bloodsoaked acid trip Mandy, to the social media black comedy Assassination Nation – we had it made as cinema nuts.
2017 was bullshit compared to 2018 when it comes to originality and films that are advancing the way we not only watch but create cinema. There are movies on this list that are some of the best of any year and it was EXTREMELY difficult to narrow my list to only 10. Some Honorable mentions that I felt horrible for not making my top ten include Avengers: Infinity War, Hereditary, Supergrid, Knuckleball, Solo: A Star Wars Story and Ready Player One, just to name a few…
Director Coralie Fargeat’s rape revenge action thriller Revenge is a nasty and uncompromising slice of cinema that is equally as compelling as it is disturbing. Leading lady Matilda Lutz exacts her vengeance upon these disgusting dudes in ways that I’ve not seen or cheered for in this kind of movie ever. Also – there’s so much blood in the finale that I had to shower after seeing this thing. Nudity, blood, more nudity, blood and did I mention blood? Revenge is poignant considering today’s social shifts in how society treats women and even more importantly – it is bad ass. *Note – although a 2017 festival debut, the film was released in the US in 2018*
#9. Spider-Man: Into The Spiderverse
Believe the hype – not only is Spiderverse the best Spidey flick to date, but it’s the best superhero movie of 2018, the best animated movie of 2018 and one of the best comic book adaptations of all time. There is more heart, soul, comedy and brilliant character building in this flick than anything out there flooding the Marvel Studios dominated market today. After the film hit the credits, my eight year old son turned to me and said, “Dad, I feel like I could wear the mask.” – I kid you not, this child was moved emotionally to the point where he wants to become a hero himself. It’s adorable and the best kind of praise I can award such an incredible film.
#8. Mission Impossible: Fallout
The best of the franchise and the most thrilling blockbuster movie experience of 2018 – Fallout is both a return to the glory days of big screen action spectacles as well as a groundbreaking swerve into how filmmakers explore and execute stuntwork. Tom Cruise is without a doubt the most daring and exciting movie star of our generation and the fact that he learned how to fly a helicopter, broke his leg and did a Halo jump onscreen HIMSELF for the sixth film in this franchise shows his unreal dedication to the fans and his craft as a performer.
Poetry in motion – Blindspotting is a musical in disguise. I haven’t seen another film like this one, maybe ever. Director Carlos López Estrada has crafted a socially relevant and glaring look into race relations and so much more with one of the most powerful and compelling dramas in years. I dare you to find me a better movie moment where the leading man confronts the villain with a poem. Go.
#6. A Quiet Place
Director John Krasinski may have just spawned the next great horror franchise with his riveting and masterful A Quiet Place. Using sound and the lack of as a gimmick for avoiding death at the claws of vicious monsters results in one of the most nail-biting thrillers in years. Forget about cautiously diving into your popcorn in the theater for this one, try to remember BREATHING during the birth sequence – This flick is a tremendous achievement for the genre.
Dark gritty sci-fi in the realm of Bladerunner 2049 with enough action to satisfy fans of the original Robocop – Upgrade is indie filmmaking at its finest. Leigh Whannell’s movie about a man who uses a revolutionary cybernetic enhancement to help get his revenge on a gang of bloodthirsty goons features some of the most original and unsettling kills and action sequences of the year. Leading man Logan Marshall-Green (Quarry) needs to be cast as a superhero in a major motion picture ASAP.
#4. Assassination Nation
Assassination Nation is the bastard offspring of Mean Girls and Pulp Fiction. Director Sam Levinson’s frantic take on social media’s disastrous impact on today’s youth is a perfect blend of black comedy, suspense and action. The home invasion scene might be one of the best sequences ever created and although some people may have issues with the film being unrelatable (I’m not a highschool chick myself last I checked), you can’t deny how progressive and impressive this nasty little movie can get.
#3. The Night Comes For Us
I was convinced there wouldn’t be a crazier action film than The Raid 2, but then along came this Netflix original and I don’t know what to believe in anymore. There is so much violence, chaos and uncompromising brutality littered throughout The Night Comes for Us that by the time you get to the moment where our leading man is chomping down on a box cutter that was just impaled through his face, you kinda just have to accept that this is the new bar for action cinema going forward. Director Timo Tjahjanto (Headshot) is a maniac and I applaud what he was able to accomplish here. That apartment battle…. Holy shit guys. I’ve watched that sequence about 10 times and it never ceases to shock me.
Alex Garland’s adaptation of the sci-fi novel Annihilation is a beautiful and strange odyssey through a land loaded with mutant animals and plantlife that blurs the lines between mammals and your salad. The scream-bear sequence is one of the best movie moments of 2018 and the entire experience in general is a beautiful and disturbing work of art from beginning to end. If Aliens was re-made with only strong women and took place in a garden of horrors, it would look a lot like this modern day masterpiece.
Director Panos Cosmatos has created a movie that has without a doubt paved the way for a new generation of filmmakers and changed the way we look at a film’s construction going forward. Mandy is grindhouse cinema elevated to a level that is worthy of Oscar recognition with a career-defining performance from Nicolas Cage. In a perfect world, they would be reading off the best leading actor performances at next Year’s Academy Awards and then they’d be playing a clip of Cage in his bathroom chugging vodka and scream crying in agony – all in his underwear. This isn’t just a movie, it’s an experience and one that I’ve revisited more than any other film this year.