Favourites and Best Of lists can difficult. I don’t keep track of every single film I watch during the year (though maybe I should for 2019), so how did I judge my favourites of 2018? It came down to whether I’d seen them more than once in theatres, or if I’d watch them again. On that note, here’s my list of my five favourite films of 2018…with the caveat that I’m seeing Creed on Christmas Day and Aquaman on Boxing Day, and I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them makes my list.
1) Avengers: Infinity War – This was actually an easy number one for me, as I saw it twice in theatres and was moved both times. Fantastic performances from all the actors involved; a sympathetic villain in Thanos, who truly believes that what he’s doing is right and just; and an ending that took audiences by surprise. Infinity War was an amazing culmination of ten years of Marvel storytelling, and in my estimation, is the definition of epic filmmaking today.
2) Halloween (2018) – The only other film I saw twice in theatres. The first time was with the TIFF Midnight Madness crowd, which added an extra level of enthusiasm to the return of Michael Myers and Laurie Strode. An exceptional sequel that I just might prefer to the 1978 original, with a bravura performance from Jamie Lee Curtis, who deserves an Oscar nomination.
3) Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse – As a longtime Spidey fan, I’m of the opinion that this animated experience from Sony is, if not the greatest Spider-Man film made so far, it’s the second, waging war with Spider-Man: Homecoming (yes, yes, I know people love Spider-Man 2). The animated is spectacular, but it’s the story of Miles Morales coming into his own as his universe’s wall-crawler that really hits home. While the character of Peter Parker is certainly a big presence, Into The Spider-Verse makes it clear that there’s room for many a spider-person in the right hands. Morales creator Brian Michael Bendis and Spider-Verse creator Dan Slott should both feel great seeing their ideas come to life.,
4) Bohemian Rhapsody – While it may be a little light on the truth and the timelines, Bohemian Rhapsody still makes it onto my list thanks to an incredible performance from Rami Malek as Freddie Mercury, and the film’s stirring Live Aid finale. Queen and company wanted a PG-13 rating which meant tapering some of the salacious stories from the band’s history, but there’s enough here to make it clear was the band still resonates with millions today.
5) Mandy – This gonzo-bonkers cinematic acid trip from Panos Cosmatos isn’t for everybody, but for those that love Nicolas Cage, this film is a must watch. Though it clearly wears the influences of Kubrick and Lynch, Mandy manages to be a film that’s altogether unique and mesmerizing. Cage is in fine form, though Linus Roache must get a tip of the hat for his crazed cult leader. Plus, the soundtrack from Jóhann Jóhannsson is outstanding, atonal and captivating.