THE YEAR THAT WAS… 2018
5) COLD WAR (Drama)
A superbly photographed and passionately acted love story.
Cold War Review: https://thevelvetcinephile.wordpress.com/2018/12/21/3865/
4) MANDY (Horror)
This bold, bloody tale about cult leaders and a demon biker gang is easily 2018’s most daring and divisive film and, as such, is probably the one that’ll probably prove to be the most controversial entry on this list.
Mandy, much like Lars Von Trier’s The House That Jack Built, is a movie that you’re either onboard with from the get-go and one in which you instantly appreciate its many quirks and idiosyncrasies or, conversely, you dismiss it and discard it as little more than a nasty piece of exploitation. I, for one, am firmly in the former camp; this is one of the most bizarre balls-to-the-wall genre mashup movies I’ve seen in a long, long time.
It’s unapologetic embracing of gory, kitsch horror and operatically excessive acting from Nic Cage make it instantly indelible. Mandy is the dictionary definition of a contemporary cult movie – granted, maybe it tries to hard to reach such a status, but I fell for it, hook-line and sinker.
Mandy Review: https://thevelvetcinephile.wordpress.com/2018/11/05/2644/
3) SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (Animation)
When it came to the department of animation, 2018 proved to be somewhat lacklustre – Peter Rabbit is a strong contender for the most annoying movie in Christendom while Illumination continued their cancerous spread on the medium by force feeding us yet another adaptation of Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch, a film that did little to soften my solemn heart. Granted, there were some highlights such as the beguiling Isle of Dogs from everyone’s favourite corduroy wearing hipster Wes Anderson and, of course, Pixar churned out two respectable outputs in the form Ralph Breaks the Internet and The Incredibles II, the latter being the long-awaited sequel which, though entertaining, certainly doesn’t hold a candle to its predecessor not to mention some of its other contemporaries like Up (2009) or Toy Story 3 (2010).
Thankfully, the one notable shining light amongst this cull came in the unlikely form of yet another familiar superhero property, that of course being Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, a film that accomplished the rare feat of not only meeting people’s expectations and intrigue, but gleefully exceeded them. This latest incarnation of everyone’s favourite arachnid themed crime-fighter is not only the best animated offering of the year as well as the best superhero movie of the year, it’s probably one of the best the decades has to offer, ranking up the with the likes of the aforementioned Toy Story 3, as well as Your Name (2016) and Loving Vincent (2017).
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse Review: https://thevelvetcinephile.wordpress.com/2018/12/08/3442/
2) LEAVE NO TRACE (Drama)
Debra Granik’s drama about a veteran father suffering from PTSD and his daughter living a life of solitude in the middle of a large park in Portland, Oregon, until a mistake swiftly derails their lifestyle isn’t exactly what you’d call mainstream friendly – but don’t let that moniker hinder your perception of this film. What we have here is a tangible, believable and minimalist movie about outsiders that echoes Captain Fantastic (2016) and Shakespeare’s The Tempest.
The relationship between the parent and the offspring is brilliantly drawn, with Ben Forster as the masonic and sympathetic father delivering yet another great performance to add to his CV, while the palpable overtones of subdued sadness, lack of dialogue and reliance on compelling visuals, subtle expressions and gestures to drive the narrative is done in sublime fashion. It’s a fulfilling film that, from beginning to end, never steps out of line. A masterfully minimalistic film if ever there was one.
1) ROMA (Drama)
Roma Review: https://thevelvetcinephile.wordpress.com/2018/12/08/3478/