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Top Ten Films of 2018

Image from IFC Midnight's GHOST STORIES

There weren’t too many conventional movies in 2018 that really proved to be great. Because of this, we’re provided with what looks to be a unique year in film when looking back. That’s one of the main reasons it was a little awkward putting together a list of the ten best movies.

What I did come up with is something that I couldn’t have predicted at first. My list is an array of movies that come from all types of genres and have a plethora of stories to tell. And although they’re different and don’t follow any specific method, I did end up realizing that they’re all well-rounded and fairly complete pictures.

Unlike the films that made the list, the honorable mentions that are listed below consist of movies that I enjoyed but just missed out due to not being as complete and structured as the others. A little more work and those pictures could have found their way onto my list.

1. Black Panther

Chadwick Boseman in Marvel Studios' BLACK PANTHER
Superhero movies have never been regarded as high-grade art, but Black Panther may have changed that. This picture has just about everything you could ask for in a film and contains more than we’ve ever seen in a movie about superheroes. The only thing you could really complain about is the CGI. When looking at all of the other elements we get in this film, just about everything else is as good as you would hope.

2. BlacKkKlansman

Poster image from Focus Features' BLACKKKLANSMAN
BlacKkKlansman is a consistently strong feature that has a lot working in its favor. You may take issue with some of the more fictional elements and characters who are included to add to the drama, but it’s a fine piece of work overall. Before this movie, I was thinking that Spike Lee’s best days as a filmmaker may have been behind him. He proved me wrong with this and gave us what may be his third best movie ever behind Malcolm X and He Got Game.

3. Deadpool 2

Ryan Reynolds stars in 20th Century Fox's DEADPOOL 2
Most people seemed to enjoy Deadpool when it was released a few years earlier. It was seen as a risk back then, but its sequel was not. Deadpool 2 ended up living up to the hype that came before it and rewarded its viewers with a fantastic joyride that never takes itself too seriously. I would love to see where this could go, but that might not happen with Disney controlling the rights now after the deal with 20th Century Fox was approved.

4. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Tom Cruise stars in Paramount Pictures' MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE - FALLOUT
Mission: Impossible – Fallout was one of my biggest surprises of the year. Outside of Ghost Protocol, I haven’t been much of a fan of the other movies from this franchise. So when this one popped up and proved to be as good as it is, I was a bit taken aback. Admittedly, it lacks the emotional depth that most of the movies on this list have, but it’s entertainment value and overall quality is nearly unmatched.

5. Shoplifters (Manbiki kazoku)

(L-R) Ando Sakura, Matsuoka Mayu, Sasaki Miyu, Jyo Kairi and Lily Franky star in Magnolia Pictures' SHOPLIFTERS
I didn’t really know much about Shoplifters before watching it. After seeing it, it came to be one of those movies I would recommend to anyone. It’s an amazing piece of cinema that works in a way that few movies are able to. That opinion is based on the usual aspects of film that it includes, but the structure, the way it’s all set up and ultimately delivered can stimulate you mentally in a way that’s rare and rewarding. I know most people don’t enjoy watching foreign films, but this one is worth checking out.

6. The Guilty (Den Skyldige)

Jakob Cedergren stars in Magnolia Pictures' THE GUILTY
The way I feel about Shoplifters is the way I feel about The Guilty. One of the main differences between these two movies is that we pretty much only get to see one actor throughout this one. I thought this would be used as a gimmick more than anything, but it’s actually here to help tell the story and create the necessary suspense that we’re all hoping for with movies like this. While this is also a foreign language film, they’re planning an American version starring Jake Gyllenhaal. I don’t know how I feel about that since American remakes usually fail.

7. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Shameik Moore stars in Sony Pictures' SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE
Another one of my biggest surprises was Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse. Sony’s been struggling recently with a number of projects, so my expectations were low going in. Fortunately, this a movie that showed they are still able to put out some really good content. It’s one of the better animated movies I’ve seen in years and makes me more optimistic when looking at what Sony could have in store in the future as a studio and in terms of turning this into a potential franchise on its own.

8. Ghost Stories

Image from IFC Midnight's GHOST STORIES
Ghost Stories is conventional in some ways, but it’s handled in a fashion that doesn’t allow that to take away from all of its positive attributes. And although it does have some conventional parts, this horror movie from the United Kingdom is also original in some ways as well. When you get around to watching this, you’ll discover a collection of tales that come together to work in a style that will grab your attention and remind you what we can actually get when horror movies are done right.

9. Searching

John Cho stars in Screen Gems' SEARCHING
I saw Searching late in the year (that’s why there’s no review), but it managed to sneak its way into my top ten. At best, I expected it to be a good little movie, but it actually proved to be more than that. The way that it’s shot is kind of gimmicky, but that doesn’t take away from all that the film has to offer. The only real issue I had with it was the ending. I understand why they chose to go with the one they went with, but I would have gone in a different direction.

10. Ralph Breaks the Internet

Sarah Silverman and John C. Reilly star in Walt Disney's RALPH BREAKS THE INTERNET
Before seeing Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse, I thought Ralph Breaks the Internet would be my number one animated movie of the year. Well, it didn’t hold up, but finishing number two isn’t bad at all. There’s a lot going on in this movie, but it’s all put together well and is a great experience that rivals Wreck-It-Ralph in my opinion. I still don’t know why it wasn’t called Ralph Wrecks the Internet. That would have made more sense.

Honorable mentions:

Hereditary, Creed II, Upgrade, Den of Thieves, Game Night

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