From Blockbusters to Indies: Our Picks for the Best Movies of 2018
2018 was an excellent year for movies, from high-octane blockbusters to thought-provoking indies. I have put together a list of the best films from 2018, featuring something for everyone. Get ready to explore our top picks, including the emotional drama Capernaum, the visually stunning Spiderman: Into the Spider-Verse, the action-packed Dragon Ball Super: Broly, and the thrilling Mission: Impossible - Fallout.
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1. Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Cast: Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames
Genre: Action, Adventure, Thriller
In Mission: Impossible - Fallout, the sixth instalment of the action-packed franchise, the stakes are higher than ever. The story follows Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his team as they race against time to prevent a global catastrophe after a mission goes awry. The film is an adrenaline-pumping rollercoaster, with jaw-dropping stunts that push the boundaries of what's physically possible in action cinema.
Tom Cruise's dedication to performing his own stunts is nothing short of awe-inspiring. From the jaw-dropping halo jump, where he leapt from a plane at 25,000 feet, to the heart-stopping helicopter chase, Cruise's commitment to authenticity elevates the film to a whole new level of excitement. His performance embodies the spirit of Ethan Hunt, a character that has become synonymous with intense action and daring feats.
The film's visuals are a feast for the eyes, with breathtaking cinematography capturing the intense action sequences and stunning landscapes with artistic finesse. The thrilling motorcycle chase through the streets of Paris and the heart-pounding pursuit across the rocky mountains showcase the filmmakers' dedication to crafting visually captivating moments.
Mission: Impossible - Fallout is a masterclass in action filmmaking, leaving audiences in awe of its audacious stunts and compelling performances. With its intricate storytelling, stunning visuals, and dedication to authenticity, it sets a new standard for the action genre. The film's success lies not just in its extraordinary spectacle but in its ability to keep viewers on the edge of their seats while also delivering well-rounded characters and a gripping narrative.
2. Capernaum (2018)
Director: Nadine Labaki|
Cast: Zain Al Rafeea, Yordanos Shiferaw, Boluwatife Treasure Bankole
Capernaum (2018) is a harrowing and emotionally impactful film that explores the harsh realities of poverty through the eyes of a 12-year-old boy named Zain. The movie takes place in Beirut, where Zain struggles to survive amidst dire circumstances. He is forced to live in a squalid apartment with his abusive parents, and he must resort to stealing to get by. When his underage sister becomes pregnant, Zain runs away and befriends an Ethiopian woman named Rahil, who is in a similar situation.
I want to make a complaint against my parents. I’d want adults to listen to me. I want adults who can’t raise kids not to have any. What will I remember? Violence, insults or beatings, hit with chains, pipes, or a belt?
The film shines a light on issues such as child abuse, underage pregnancy, and the lack of identification papers that affect those living in poverty. It is a deeply personal and authentic portrayal of life on the margins. It is made all the more poignant by the fact that many of the actors are non-professional and have lived through similar experiences.
Director Nadine Labaki’s ability to blend documentary-style realism with powerful performances from her cast is truly remarkable. The film’s heart-wrenching moments are all the more effective because they feel raw and genuine. Zain’s journey is an emotional rollercoaster, and the audience is taken on a gripping and unforgettable ride.
Capernaum is not an easy watch, and its unflinching portrayal of poverty and desperation can be overwhelming. However, it is a film that demands to be seen, and it is impossible not to be moved by Zain’s story.
Capernaum is a powerful and important film that sheds light on the harsh realities of poverty through a deeply personal and authentic story. Labaki’s film is a call to action, a reminder that people are living in unimaginable conditions all around us and that we must do more to help those struggling. Nadine Labaki’s direction and the outstanding performances from the cast make this a must-see film that deserves all of the praise it has received.
3. Green Book (2018)
Director: Peter Farrelly
Cast: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
Green Book tells the story of a white bouncer, Tony Vallelonga, who becomes the driver for an African-American classical pianist, Dr Don Shirley, during his tour of the Deep South in the 1960s. The movie is based on a true story, and the title comes from the guidebook that listed hotels and restaurants that were safe for black travellers to visit during segregation.
The world’s full of lonely people afraid to make the first move.
The performances of Viggo Mortensen and Mahershala Ali are excellent, and their chemistry is the heart of the film. Mortensen gained around 45 pounds for his role and based his portrayal of Tony Vallelonga on his Italian-American family members. Ali, who won an Oscar for his performance, learned to play the piano for the film, but his piano scenes were dubbed over by the musician Kris Bowers.
The film was directed by Peter Farrelly, best known for directing comedies like Dumb and Dumber and There’s Something About Mary. Green Book is a departure from his usual style, and the result is a well-crafted buddy movie that tackles issues of racism and prejudice with a light touch.
Green Book is a feel-good movie with a message of hope and friendship, and it is a reminder of the progress that has been made in the fight against racism, as well as the work that still needs to be done. It is a story that resonates with audiences, and the film won three Oscars, including Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali.
4. I Want to Eat Your Pancreas (2018)
Director: Shin’ichirô Ushijima
Cast: Mahiro Takasugi, Lynn, Yukiyo Fujii
Genre: Anime, Drama, Family
The film I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is a heartwarming, bittersweet, and underrated masterpiece that tells the story of two unlikely friends, a boy and a girl, who come together in a hospital where the girl is receiving treatment for a fatal illness. The boy, Haruki, discovers the girl’s diary and learns that she is terminally ill, leading him on a journey of self-discovery and personal growth.
Right now, I, as formed as such, am living in this moment, I am living through our choices, right now, right here, you, and me as well, are living.
The film is an emotional rollercoaster filled with moments of humor and sadness, and its themes of life, death, and love will resonate with audiences of all ages. The film’s animation is breathtaking, particularly the cherry blossom sequences, which are nothing short of stunning.
One of the most notable aspects of this film is character development. The two main characters, Haruki (Spring Tree) and Sakura (Cherry Blossom), have very complementary names to each other, which is fitting for the journey they embark on together. The film handles the subject of a dying girl with maturity, empathy, and grace, and it is a true testament to the filmmakers’ storytelling abilities.
I Want to Eat Your Pancreas is a must-watch for those who love coming-of-age stories and films that are rich in emotion and impact. The film’s third act is heart-wrenching and beautiful; despite its heavy themes, it delivers a beautiful, heart-rending ending that will stay with you. This film is truly a touching and unforgettable emotional experience, not to be missed.
5. A Star Is Born (2018)
Director: Bradley Cooper
Cast: Lady Gaga, Bradley Cooper, Sam Elliott
Genre: Drama, Music, Romance
“A Star Is Born” is a remake of a remake, with the first version released in 1937, followed by remakes in 1954 and 1976. In this latest version, Bradley Cooper stars as Jackson Maine, an alcoholic singer-songwriter who discovers and falls in love with Ally, played by Lady Gaga, a rising star with a powerful voice.
The chemistry between Cooper and Gaga is electric, and their performances are raw and authentic. The music, composed and performed by both Cooper and Gaga, is outstanding, with the standout song “Shallow” winning an Academy Award for Best Original Song.
The film tackles issues of addiction, fame, and the music industry, all while portraying a beautiful love story. Cooper’s directorial debut is impressive, and he skillfully balances musical performances with character-driven drama. The film’s 42-day shoot took place in various locations, including California, Arizona, and New York.
Overall, “A Star Is Born” is a captivating film that will leave you emotionally invested in the characters and their journey. The story has been told multiple times, but Cooper’s direction interpretation feels unique, fresh, and timeless, coupled with his and Gaga’s performances, making this film a must-watch.
6. Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms (2018)
Director: Mari Okada
Cast: Manaka Iwami, Miyu Irino, Yôko Hikasa
Genre: Adventure, Drama
Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms is an epic fantasy anime film and the directorial debut of Mari Okada. The movie tells the story of Maquia, a member of an immortal race called the Iorph, who live isolated from humans and are able to weave memories into cloth. One day, Maquia becomes involved in the life of a human baby, Erial, after his mother dies. Maquia decides to take care of Erial as her own son, leading to a moving exploration of mother-son relationships, the pain of ageing, and the beauty of mortality.
How could I become more of a mother to him? But I can’t seem to find an answer. Even now, I don’t think I’ll find an answer soon.
The animation in Maquia is stunning, with the film’s world and characters brought to life in vibrant and intricate detail. The film’s emotional climax is tender and heartbreaking, and Okada’s direction ensures that every scene is infused with a deep sense of empathy and humanity.
At its core, Maquia is a film about the human lifespan and the inevitability of change. The film explores the idea that while life is fleeting and ultimately finite, the memories we create and the love we share can live on long after we are gone. This theme is powerfully conveyed through the relationship between Maquia and Erial, who must eventually say goodbye to each other as Maquia’s long lifespan ensures that she will outlive Erial and all of his descendants.
The film’s exploration of motherhood is also deeply moving, with Maquia serving as a surrogate mother for Erial and learning what it truly means to love and care for a child. The film’s strong female lead and exploration of maternal love is a refreshing and much-needed departure from the male-dominated narratives often dominating the epic fantasy genre.
Maquia: When the Promised Flower Blooms is a stunning directorial debut for Mari Okada and a beautiful exploration of the human experience. The film’s mortality, longevity, and motherhood themes are conveyed with sensitivity and depth, and the animation and music are gorgeous and immersive.
7. Roma (2018)
Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Cast: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira, Diego Cortina Autrey
Roma is a personal and intimate film that focuses on the life of Cleo, a maid and nanny working for a middle-class family in Mexico City in the 1970s. The film is a beautiful tribute to the women who often go unnoticed and are undervalued in society. The black and white cinematography adds to the film’s beauty and helps create a dreamlike quality.
The film deals with class and social hierarchy issues in Mexico City, with Cleo and her family living in poverty while working for a wealthy family. The film also touches on political issues, with protests and violence in the streets of Mexico City in the story’s background.
Roma is a semi-autobiographical film for Cuarón, based on his memories of growing up in Mexico City. The character of Cleo is based on his own family’s maid and nanny, Libo. Cuarón dedicated the film to Libo and all the women like her who have dedicated their lives to caring for other families.
Roma was nominated for ten Academy Awards and won three, including Best Director for Cuarón. The film was also the first Netflix original film to be nominated for Best Picture. It was widely praised by critics and audiences for its beauty, emotion, and personal storytelling.
Roma is a stunning and personal film that captures the beauty and struggles of life in Mexico City in the 1970s. Cuarón’s direction, the black and white cinematography, and Aparicio’s performance make this a must-see film. It is a powerful tribute to the women who often go unnoticed and undervalued in society and a reminder of the importance of memory and personal history.
8. The Favourite (2018)
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Cast: Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz
Genre: Biography, Comedy, Drama
The Favourite explores the complex relationship between Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) and her two closest confidantes, Sarah Churchill (Rachel Weisz) and Abigail Masham (Emma Stone). It’s a story of power, politics, and female rivalry, set against the backdrop of the 18th century. Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone deliver outstanding performances, playing off each other’s energy with razor-sharp wit and cunning. Olivia Colman, who won an Oscar for her role, is equally impressive as the temperamental queen.
The film also explores the power dynamics between the wealthy and the working class, as Abigail starts out as a lowly maid in Queen Anne’s court before rising through the ranks. The film’s stunning visuals, including the grandeur of the palace and the lush landscapes surrounding it, provide a perfect backdrop to the characters’ machinations.
The Favourite is a film that doesn’t shy away from the harsh realities of the time period it depicts, including the physical toll of childbirth and the use of corporal punishment. However, it does so in a way that is both humorous and engaging without trivializing the issues at hand.
The Favourite is a masterful film that is visually stunning and boasts an outstanding cast and an engaging storyline. It tackles complex themes such as power, politics, and gender with wit, humour, and intelligence and provides a fresh perspective on a historical era often overlooked in cinema. It’s a film that is well worth watching for its entertainment value and insightful commentary on the human condition.
9. Searching (2018)
Director: Aneesh Chaganty
Cast: John Cho, Debra Messing, Joseph Lee
Genre: Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Searching (2018) is a unique and experimental film that takes place entirely on computer screens. It tells the story of a father’s desperate search for his missing daughter and the subsequent investigation. Through social media, messaging apps, and online videos, the film explores the many ways we use the internet to connect with each other.
John Cho delivers a powerful performance as the father, David Kim, who becomes increasingly desperate as he tries to find his daughter. The film uses the computer screen as a canvas to create a sense of tension and urgency as David navigates through the many digital clues he uncovers. The film’s use of technology is not just a gimmick but an effective way of telling a deeply emotional and relatable story.
One of the film’s strengths is its portrayal of the father-daughter relationship. Through flashbacks and memories, we see how close David was to his daughter and how much he loved her. The film explores the challenges of parenting in the digital age and how technology can connect us and drive us apart.
Searching is a thrilling and emotional film that is both timely and relevant. It’s a testament to the power of storytelling and the many ways in which we can use technology to tell stories in new and innovative ways.
10. Cold War (2018)
Director: Pawel Pawlikowski
Cast: Joanna Kulig, Tomasz Kot, Borys Szyc
Genre: Drama, History, Music
Set against the backdrop of post-war Poland and Europe, Cold War tells the story of a passionate but troubled love affair between a musician and a young singer. Their tumultuous relationship spans several years and countries as they navigate the challenges of artistic and personal differences, political turmoil, and the barriers of their respective backgrounds.
The film is a stunning visual and auditory experience, with gorgeous black-and-white cinematography and a haunting soundtrack of traditional folk music. It captures the era’s atmosphere with a keen eye for detail and a subtle sense of nostalgia.
One of the most impressive things about Cold War is how it conveys so much emotion and complexity in such a short running time. Clocking in at less than 90 minutes, it is a masterclass in the economy of storytelling, using every shot and scene to maximum effect. Every gesture, every glance, every note of music feels like it carries weight and meaning.
The lead performances by Joanna Kulig and Tomasz Kot are nothing short of extraordinary. They have a magnetic chemistry on screen, and their characters’ passion and pain feel raw and honest. The film is a testament to their talent and that of director Paweł Pawlikowski, who crafts an epic and intimate story.
While the film may be a bit too ambiguous and elliptical for some viewers, it is undeniably a work of art. It is a rare example of a film that manages to be both deeply personal and universally resonant, a story of love and loss that transcends time and borders.
11. Annihilation (2018)
Director: Alex Garland
Cast: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson
Genre: Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson
Annihilation is a visually stunning film filled with incredible special effects and impressive creature design. The shimmer, the mysterious zone the expedition team enters, is where the laws of nature are twisted and mutated, and it is brilliantly realized on screen. The film’s cinematography is also remarkable, with a moody and atmospheric visual style that creates a sense of unease and dread.
The cast, led by Natalie Portman, gives strong performances that anchor the film’s fantastical elements in a relatable emotional reality. Portman plays Lena, a biologist who joins the expedition to the shimmer in search of answers about her missing husband. She is joined by an all-female team of scientists, each with their own motivations and personal demons. The film explores themes of grief, guilt, and self-destruction, and the cast brings depth and complexity to their characters, making the story more resonant.
One of the most fascinating aspects of Annihilation is its use of mutation and evolution as a metaphor for the human condition. As the team delves deeper into the shimmer, they encounter bizarre and terrifying creatures resulting from genetic mutations. These mutations reflect the characters’ innermost fears and desires, and as the film progresses, it becomes clear that the shimmer is not just altering the world around them but also their own bodies and minds.
Annihilation is a thought-provoking and visually stunning sci-fi film that leaves a lasting impression. The film rewards multiple viewings, as its complex themes and symbolism are layered and nuanced. While it may not be for everyone, for those willing to take the journey, Annihilation is a thrilling and rewarding experience.
12. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)
Director: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey
Cast: Shameik Moore, Jake Johnson, Hailee Steinfeld
Genre: Animation, Action, Adventure
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is an animated superhero film that delves into the multiverse of Spider-Man. It features teenage superhero Miles Morales, bitten by a radioactive spider and gains spider-like abilities. As he navigates his new powers and responsibilities, he finds himself caught up in interdimensional travel when he meets different versions of Spider-Man from other dimensions.
That person who helps others simply because it should or must be done, and because it is the right thing to do, is indeed without a doubt, a real superhero.
The animation style of the film is unique and visually stunning. It combines traditional hand-drawn animation with cutting-edge computer-generated techniques to create a distinct and dynamic look. The film employs a bold, comic book-inspired aesthetic, with bright colours, thought bubbles, and sound effects popping up on the screen.
The film’s script is clever and self-aware, poking fun at the clichés of the superhero genre while still delivering a heartfelt and emotional story. It explores themes of identity, family, and the responsibility that comes with great power. The interdimensional travel aspect of the story allows for a unique exploration of these themes as the characters confront alternate versions of themselves.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a celebration of Spider-Man’s legacy and a love letter to the comic book medium. It is a movie that appeals to both longtime Spider-Man fans and newcomers to the character. Its unique animation style, diverse cast, and clever script make it a standout in the crowded superhero genre.
13. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
Director: Anthony Russo, Joe Russo
Cast: Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo
Genre: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
Avengers: Infinity War is a superhero movie that features an ensemble cast of Marvel superheroes such as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and the Guardians of the Galaxy. The plot revolves around the search for the six Infinity Stones that grant immense power to whoever wields them. The villain, Thanos, is on a mission to collect all the stones, and his ultimate goal is to wipe out half of all life in the universe to achieve balance. This sets the stage for a glorious and action-packed showdown.
The theme of genocide is prominent in this movie, adding a layer of gravity and emotional weight to the story. Thanos’s motivation for wiping out half of all life may seem misguided, but his convictions and the lengths he is willing to go to achieve his goal make him a compelling villain. The stakes are high, and the audience can feel the tension and urgency of the heroes’ mission.
The movie’s length is one of its criticisms, as it can sometimes feel overlong and exhausting. However, the Russo brothers balance the large cast of characters and multiple storylines without making the movie feel cluttered or confusing. Each character has their moment to shine, and their interactions and dynamics with one another add humour and heart to the film.
Avengers: Infinity War is a thrilling and ambitious superhero movie that brings together an impressive ensemble cast and a marvellous story of epic proportions. It may sometimes suffer from some overwhelming pacing issues, but it ultimately delivers on its promise of action, humour, and emotion.
14. Shoplifters (2018)
Director: Hirokazu Koreeda
Cast: Lily Franky, Sakura Andô, Kirin Kiki
Genre: Crime, Drama
Shoplifters is a poignant and insightful examination of the complexity of family dynamics and the human condition, wrapped in a heart-wrenching social realist tale. The film follows a makeshift family, living in poverty and surviving through petty thefts, as they take in a neglected child and provide him with the warmth and love he desperately needs. The relationships between the characters are beautifully drawn, as the family members find solace and meaning in their shared experiences, despite their difficulties.
Director Hirokazu Kore-eda is a master at creating empathy and emotional depth with his characters, and he does not shy away from exploring the darker corners of human behaviour. The film tackles issues such as domestic abuse, homelessness, and the social stigma of poverty, with sensitivity and nuance, never resorting to easy answers or simplistic judgments. The characters are not portrayed as saints but rather as complex individuals shaped by their circumstances and past experiences.
Shoplifters is a powerful and moving film that reminds us of the importance of human connection, even in the most challenging of circumstances. It is a testament to the resilience and strength of the human spirit and a reminder of the devastating impact of poverty and social inequality. The film’s message is clear: no matter the situation’s dire, we all need love, compassion, and a sense of belonging to survive.
15. Eighth Grade (2018)
Director: Bo Burnham
Cast: Elsie Fisher, Josh Hamilton, Emily Robinson
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Eighth Grade is an introspective, coming-of-age film that follows the life of Kayla, an introverted teenage girl navigating the awkwardness of middle school. The film captures the essence of teenage insecurity, shyness, and uncomfortable conversations between parents and children. The story revolves around Kayla’s personal growth and her father-daughter relationship.
Growing up can be a little bit scary and weird.
Director Bo Burnham’s masterful storytelling and Elsie Fisher’s nuanced performance make the movie relatable and authentic. The film touches on social media, teenage sexuality, and anxiety, making it a relevant portrayal of today’s youth. It offers a refreshing take on the traditional coming-of-age story, highlighting the complexities of adolescence and the challenges of growing up in the digital age.
Eighth Grade’s strength lies in its ability to capture the subtle nuances of teenage life, from how Kayla fidgets with her hair to how nervous she feels when talking to her crush. It’s a relatable portrayal of the awkwardness and insecurity that come with adolescence and a poignant reminder that growing up is never easy.
Eighth Grade is a beautiful, heartfelt film that perfectly captures the struggles and joys of growing up. It’s a reminder that no matter how awkward and uncomfortable adolescence can be, it’s a necessary part of the journey towards self-discovery and personal growth. The film is a must-watch for anyone who has ever felt like an outsider or struggled to find their place in the world.
16. Dragon Ball Super: Broly (2018)
Director: Tatsuya Nagamine
Cast: Masako Nozawa, Aya Hisakawa, Ryô Horikawa
Genre: Anime, Action, Adventure
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a visually stunning anime film with electrifying fights and epic transformations. The movie takes the character Broly, a fan favourite from the previous Dragon Ball Z movies, and incorporates him into the series canon. This is the first time Broly has been given a proper backstory and motivation, making him a more well-rounded and sympathetic character. The animation quality is top-notch, and the colours are vibrant and explosive.
The film’s pacing is a bit of a mixed bag. While the action scenes are exciting and engaging, the plot can sometimes be convoluted and confusing. The movie expects its audience to have prior knowledge of the Dragon Ball series and its characters, which may be intimidating for newcomers. However, for fans of the series, the film offers plenty of Easter eggs and references that will satisfy their cravings.
The film also features a killer soundtrack, with high-energy rock and electronic tracks that perfectly complement the action on screen. The sound effects are crisp and impactful, adding weight and power to every punch and explosion.
Dragon Ball Super: Broly is a must-watch for fans of the series. It delivers on the promise of epic battles and offers a deeper look into the characters and their motivations. The film may not be accessible to newcomers, but for fans, it’s a love letter to everything that makes Dragon Ball great.
17. Won't You Be My Neighbor (2018)
18. First Man (2018)
19. Free Solo (2018)
Director: Jimmy Chin, Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi
Cast: Alex Honnold, Tommy Caldwell, Jimmy Chin
Genre: Documentary, Adventure, Sport
"Free Solo" is an exhilarating and heart-stopping documentary that follows the journey of rock climber Alex Honnold as he attempts to achieve the seemingly impossible - climbing the 3,000-foot vertical rock face of El Capitan in Yosemite National Park without any ropes or safety equipment, a style known as free solo climbing. Directed by Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi and Jimmy Chin, the film takes viewers on a breathtaking adventure into the world of extreme climbing.
Anyone can be happy and cosy. Nothing good happens in the world by being happy and cosy.
The film captures the essence of Alex Honnold's remarkable skill, unwavering determination, and the sheer audacity of his ambition. Through candid interviews and captivating cinematography, the audience gets an intimate look into Honnold's mind and the mental and physical preparation required for such a death-defying feat. It explores the risks and sacrifices he makes in pursuit of his passion, while also delving into the impact of his dangerous pursuits on his relationships and personal life.
The documentary not only showcases the incredible athleticism and courage of Honnold but also raises thought-provoking questions about the nature of risk-taking, human limits, and the pursuit of greatness. It challenges conventional notions of achievement and success, pushing viewers to ponder what drives individuals to push themselves to such extremes and what it means to truly live life to the fullest.