Rudie’s Top Ten of 2018
You hear the words “return to form” a lot with BlacKkKlansman, but Spike Lee has always been making bold and irreverent films during his entire career. However, this latest film gets a boost because of its mainstream success and brilliant performances from John David Washington and Adam Driver, who play an unlikely pair of police officers tasked with infiltrating the Klu Klux Klan. Make America Great Again? America is already great with directors like Spike Lee making movies like this.
Luca Guadagnino’s remake of the classic Italian horror movie of the same name delivers on the scares and blood for the art house crowd. Dakota Johnson shines as the new young star of a mysterious dance troupe in late ‘70s Berlin. One of the most intense theatergoing experiences of 2018 deserves a seat at the table.
Cory Finley’s directorial debut takes an even darker look at suburban life of upper middle class whites than movies like Heathers or Jawbreaker. Anya Taylor-Joy is outstanding in the film, but for my money Olivia Cooke is the one to keep an eye on for the future.
7. If Beale Street Could Talk
If Beale Street Could Talk deepens the mood director Barry Jenkin explored in Moonlight, but with a bigger budget and richer tone. The film also explores justice in an unjust country with great performances by KiKi Layne and Stephan James.
6. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Tom Cruise jumps out of a plane and into our hearts with another go around as IMF agent Ethan Hunt. Six movies into the franchise and Cruise and director Christopher McQuarrie outdo themselves with bigger stunts, more thrilling action, and a story that appeals to the heart as much as the adrenal gland.
5. Black Panther
Director Ryan Coogler does something with Black Panther that no other Marvel Cinematic Universe director has done before. Make a creative superhero movie his own way, while also making a connection with superhero fans and general audiences alike. Black Panther is a cultural touchstone that will be re-visited for decades to come.
4. First Reformed
With a long and impressive career, Ethan Hawke delivers his greatest performance as a pastor of a small congregation in upstate New York, as he struggles with his faith in God and battles with alcoholism. Don’t sleep on Cedric The Entertainer either. He gives the performance of a lifetime as the showboating pastor of the town’s mega church.
Widows isn’t just one of the best heist movies of 2018, it’s also Steve McQueen’s best film overall. Starring Viola Davis, Colin Farrell, Michelle Rodriguez, and Elizabeth Debicki, this movie takes viewers through the underbelly of Chicago politics, while also constructing one of the tightest heist sequences in the genre.
2. The Favourite
Director Yorgos Lanthimos perfectly blends early 18th century style and political intrigue with modern sensibilities and comedy. Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone shine as two rivals vying for Olivia Colman’s Queen Anne’s favor and affection through the lens of Lanthimos’ misanthrope style… and fisheye lenses.
1. Madeline’s Madeline
It’s tough to watch Madeline’s Madeline without having a big smile on your face every time Helena Howard is on the big screen. It’s also impossible to leave a movie theater and not develop a crush on the film too.
Director Josephine Decker takes an audience on a journey through the mind of Madeline, a teenager who wants more from her mother, played by Miranda July, while also not really understanding who she is herself as a young woman. Madeline’s Madeline is a very surreal film that’s full of joy and brilliant movement.
Thoroughbreds was the movie I enjoyed the most in 2018, although I know many critics consider it a 2017 film due to its festival premiere.