In 2018 I saw seventy-two films in theaters, fifty-six of which were new releases. Below is a video in which I discuss my favorite films of the last year but first, a couple of honorable mentions.
This was a very straight forward, pared down film. It tells the story of the events leading up to and following the night that Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Chappaqquidick Island. The filmmakers did their best to use only verified information to tell the story and I thought the result was very effective.
Avengers: Infinity War
Of course I loved Infinity War. I did a whole review project leading up to its release, that’s how excited I was. I worried a little that it wouldn’t be able to live up to all that had been built up but it did. Each of the characters got a good amount of screen/story time, and it still impresses me that they were able to get all of those people into one film and not have it feel overstuffed. As an added bonus I saw the film in Hollywood at a late screening Thursday (release) night and Kevin Feige and Joe Russo surprised the audience beforehand just to say thanks for being fans. That was an awesome, totally “Hollywood” experience, and it amped me up right before the movie started.
Mission: Impossible – Fallout
Here Ethan Hunt is dealing with the “fallout” of the events of Rogue Nation, and bringing together a team to yet again fight against a disaster of epic proportions. The Mission Impossible films have become kind of like the James Bond films in that they follow a typical formula and have recurring elements, which I think actually adds a lot to them, and makes the characters and storylines more meaningful. I enjoyed looking forward to this film, and prepared by rewatching and reviewing all of the previous films. In the end, I was impressed with the film’s ability to still surprise me with its incredible stunts, and unexpected heartfelt story.
The Old Man and the Gun
This was a nice surprise. Based on a true story, Robert Redford plays Forrest Tucker, a bank robber and prison escape artist. It is a slow moving story that really shines thanks to some solid, and understated performances. I wasn’t expecting anything from the film when I went into it and I thought the whole thing was rather charming. There is an especially great scene between Redford and Casey Affleck, who plays the detective investigating Tucker’s string of robberies.
I was a little wary of yet another indie film with a social message simply because there have been so many lately, and they’ve followed the same basic story structure. While Green Book does take on a more traditional format, and does have a social message at its heart, it stands apart thanks to the moving performances from its two leads. It is a story of two people from different worlds coming together that moves at a leisurely pace but really works thanks to Mahershala Ali, and especially Viggo Mortensen.
And now for my Top Ten Favorite Films of 2018: