As I do each year, I always like to finish up by revealing my top 10 movies of the year. It’s a tradition I’ve had since 1996 and you can see all of my old lists here – http://www.thefilmpie.com/index.php/special?id=174.
Honourable mentions this year go to Roma, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, Blank Panther, Sweet Country, In The Fade, Avengers: Infinity War, A Star is Born, Love Simon, RBG, The Other Side of Hope, Isle of Dogs, First Man, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, Bad Times at the El Royale, Hearts Beat Loud, Hereditary and Ladies in Black. As you can see, there were a lot of great movies in 2018.
All of that said, I’ve been able to whittle down my top 10 and here they are in reverse order…
10. McQueen (out Sep 6) is a terrific documentary that looks at the life of British fashion designer Alexander McQueen. It finds the right balance between celebrating his beautiful creations while also exploring his troubled mindset. It's made even better by Michael Nyman's film score.
9. Unsane (out Apr 25) is the latest from director Steven Soderbergh and was shot entirely using three iPhone 7 Plus phones! It's a tense thriller about a young woman who is unwillingly incarcerated in a psychiatric ward and has to battle both capitalism (they're locking up sane people for profit) and a creepy stalker who has been following her for 2 years. Clare Foy is amazing in the lead role and the way she reacts is how I’d see myself if placed in the same position.
8. C'est La Vie! (out Aug 16) is a riotous French comedy about a wedding caterer trying to keep everything on track behind the scenes at a lavish wedding organised by a needy client. The characters are all fantastically memorable and it's one laugh after the other.
7. Custody (out Sep 27) is a French drama that delves into the complexities of a relationship breakdown when children get caught in the middle. Director Xavier Legrand uses a number of techniques to create a tense, uneasy experience for the viewer. The unrelenting narrative and flawless performances make this a powerful piece of cinema.
6. The Favourite (out Dec 26) is a rich, dark comedy filled with great one-liners and unexpected twists. For an 18th century period piece centered on British royalty, there are a wonderfully surprising number of sexual references and “c-bombs”. The most riveting element is the interplay between the three lead actors - Olivia Coleman, Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone. A fascinating tale of power. Grade: A.
5. Can You Ever Forgive Me? (out Dec 6) is based on the true story of Lee Israel, a struggling writer who forged personal letters from deceased authors in the 1990s to help pay the rent. Melissa McCarthy and co-star Richard E. Grant deserve praise for creating rich, complex, interesting characters. Audiences will form different opinions of them but hopefully most will agree this is one of the year's best films.
4. A Quiet Place (out Apr 5) is a terrific horror-thriller that should hook audiences from the opening scene. The world has been attacked by giant grasshopper-like creatures which devour any living thing that makes a sound. Could you go the rest of your life without making a noise if your life depended on it? Lacking in dialogue, sound and music, you may feel very uncomfortable watching this!
3. Back to Burgundy (out Jul 5) is a wonderful drama from French director Cédric Klapisch. It's the tale of three siblings who inherent their father's vineyard and must decide whether to sell or carry on the family legacy. It's a nicely balanced film that takes into account multiple perspectives while also exploring the wine making process.
2. Lady Bird (out Feb 15) is about a restless high school senior from Sacramento who isn’t sure what she wants out of life. There are storylines that we've seen before in other teen flicks but what separates this from the pack is the way in delves into the relationship between mother and daughter. Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf deserve all the praise they have received.
1. Phantom Thread (out Feb 1) is the latest from writer-director Paul Thomas Anderson and dissects the power struggles between a renowned fashion designer, his sister, and his latest lover in 1950s London. The less you know going in the better. These are fascinating characters who are part of an unorthodox love story.
Have a wonderful Christmas and a happy new year!