Furious Cinema Top 20 Films of 2018

Well, It’s time for Furious Cinema‘s MAD AS HELL look back at the year 2018 in cinema. Obviously we haven’t seen every single film that came out, but we did our best to catch some of the most pivotal cinematic moments, and here is our selection, along with some thoughts. Our picks are in random order not best to worst.

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs

The Coen brothers’ anthology western premiered on Netflix as a movie, after original plans to do a mini-series were abandoned. While it is ripe with references to classic Western themes and stories, and beautifully shot and acted, it didn’t convince all fans alike. At Furious Cinema, Peter really liked it, but Sebastian felt it wasn’t nearly as memorable as most other works of the directors. In the end, it’s like Broken Mirror in the old west. Some stories will be talked about for years probably. Definitely worth a look! (Seb)

First Man

First Man

If you’re part of the older generation, you might remember sitting in front of TV watching the original moon landing. Or you’re a fan of Capricorn One and have sympathy for the whole thing being a fake. Or you remember watching Apollo 13 in theaters, biting your lips and clenching your armrests. First Man is a captivating experience, a breathtaking cinematic experience and harrowing character study alike. A high degree of physical realism paired with top notch emotional story-telling. Go see it! (Seb)

Avengers Infinity War

Avengers: Infinity War 

The first half of the culmination of the first 10 years of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has The Avengers facing their most imposing foe, Thanos: The Mad Titan (played by Josh Brolin). The movie might not work as well for non MCU fans but if you’ve followed the characters since 2008, it delivers across the board. The Russo Brothers along with the writers Markus & McFeely were able to balance and tie up so many stories and ideas, while packing its 2 hours with humor, emotion and lots of sci fi action/adventure. Next May, Avengers: Endgame will be the grand finale for this universe size epic adventure. We are extremely excited to see it! (Pete)

Mandy

Mandy

Panos Cosmatos’ heavy metal nightmare acid trip features eccentric wild man Nicolas Cage in a very memorable and visceral work of supernatural horror cinema. Out of all the films that were released this year, Mandy hit us like a sledgehammer to the soul. We can’t wait to see what the director does next! (Pete)

Annihilation

Annihilation

If you’re into science-fiction films or into mind-fuck type stories, Annihilation is for you. It’s visually breathtaking, philosophically challenging and unlike most movies you’ve seen – even though some aspects might strike veteran buffs not as entirely original. It’s one of Netflix’ better ventures and shows Garland’s creative prowess.. (Seb)

A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place 

Wow! John Krasinski came out of nowhere with this extremely suspenseful and imaginative sci-fi thriller that had us on the edges of our seats the entire running time. One of our favorite genre films of the year. (Pete)

Leave No Trace

Leave No Trace 

If you’re looking for a film that doesn’t rely on action, gore or special effects to take your breath away, Director Debra Granik’s intimate portrait of a psychologically damaged war veteran (Ben Foster) and his daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) is an incredibly moving experience. (Pete)

Don't Worry He Won't Get Far On Foot 

Don’t Worry He Won’t Get Far On Foot 

Based on the life of the late handicapped artist John Callahan, this is easily one of our favorite performances from Joaquin Phoenix. Gus Van Sant beautifully crafts a story filled with humor and anguish, redemption and love. The supporting cast which includes Rooney Mara, Jonah Hill, and Jack Black is superb. (Pete)

Mission Impossible: Fallout

Mission Impossible: Fallout

Balls to the wall action, stunts that will put all other movies to shame and a story you’d wish the Bond writers had thought of. Fallout is totally over the top, but it’s damn solid action film entertainment, a near perfect action movie theater experience. In that respect, it might be the best of the series yet – even though we are highly sympathetic to John Woo’s stylish sequel. (Seb)

BlackKKlansman

BlackKKlansman

Spike Lee’s politically loaded film came at a very timely moment. It is impossible to judge the film outside today’s context. Which makes for two problems: the movie is probably not enough of a political statement in that regard, and the ending with footage of the car slaughter in Charlottesville, seems a bit misplaced. The other problem is that it’s neither super serious nor super funny so as a theater goer you’re left wondering about the real point of the film. If you look past that, it’s fine acting, a gripping story and some hilarious moments. Peter liked it, Sebastian was a bit disappointed. Worth watching? Definitely. (Seb)

Black Panther

Black Panther

Director Ryan Coogler’s magnificent celebration of the African people seen through the prism of science fiction, is, at its core, a story about family, honor and loyalty. It is easily one of the best produced films yet from Marvel Studios, introducing us to another corner of their expanding universe through a kinetic brilliance and superbly executed vision. (Pete)

A Star is Born

A Star is Born

Against all odds and despite the obnoxious year-long buildup, A Star is Born is solid entertainment: a perfectly cast and executed film that delivers its fantasy goods all the while making you believe that every moment is true. Producer/director/co-writer (with Eric Roth and Will Fetters) Bradley Cooper is to be commended for this carefully crafted look back: not so much a nostalgia trip but instead a marked update: 2018 has nothing to do with the past, and this tale with its cell phones, streaming and internet related details will speak to a new generation of young people who aspire to live the artist’s life. Jack and Ally are just like the rest of us: they want to be seen, heard and remembered. (Josiah)

Suspiria

Suspiria

If you’re a fan of Dario Argento‘s classic original, you’ll be left loving or hating this one. If you don’t know the original, you might feel the same. Up front: in its entirety, this film is an amazing achievement, both stylistically and also in terms of craftsmanship. It’s an elegantly told creepy-fest, with crazy dance choreography, masterful production design and effective sound editing. It’s not nearly as horrific or shocking as one would expect from a horror movie made in 2018, it’s way more subtle. Yes, there are moments that will turn your stomach, but the real horror is beneath the surface. It’s not a masterpiece milestone like the original was (and yet it’s not a 1:1 remake anyway), but it’s certainly one of the best films this year and creepy as fuck. (Seb)

Roma

Roma

Alfonso Cuarón‘s audio-visual feast will barely be seen in theaters by more than a few thousand people, but it’s already being touted as a major awards contender. No wonder: It looks and sounds fantastic, it’s a beautiful motion picture and a magnificent little time capsule endeavor. The only thing holding the movie back from greatness is the lack of what would only be clumsily be described as a conventional plot. It’s the best art film in years, but it won’t transcend art film spheres. Too bad most people will never see it projected in 4K on a huge screen with all that Dolby Atmos stuff. I felt quite enchanted by it, what an achievement. (Seb)

First Reformed

First Reformed

Paul Schrader started as a film critic and later wrote screenplays (The Yakuza, Taxi Driver, Obsession) before moving into directing his own seminal works (Blue Collar, Hardcore, American Gigolo). 40 years into his career comes this harrowing story of a small town priest (Ethan Hawke) caught in a spiritual crisis. The film’s subject matter is as bleak as it gets, with a theme Schrader keeps revisiting in his movies about alienation and inner torment. The real tour de force is Ethan Hawke’s exquisite performance. (Pete)

The Old Man & The Gun

The Old Man & The Gun

Robert Redford stars in this film based on the true story of career criminal Forrest Tucker. While the story is clearly about Tucker’s life as an outlaw, what we also get is a celebration of Redford’s own life in movies which has roots in crime classics such as The Chase, Butch Cassidy and The Sundance Kid, The Hot Rock and The Sting. The veteran bank robber Tucker plays it calm and cool, with an inherent charm and wit, a type that Redford knows inherently well and was made to play. The supporting cast which includes Sissy Spacek (Badlands), Casey Affleck and Danny Glover are all excellent. (Pete)

 

Sad Hill Unearthed

Sad Hill Unearthed

Two documentaries had to make it on our list. For the first one we chose the one that put tears of joy into our eyes. Sad Hill Unearthed is the incredible story of a group of young Spaniards who restored an overgrown movie location close to their hometown. That location is none other than the legendary cemetery of The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. What started as a weekend project escalated into a global online fundraiser, a 50th anniversary screening on location with fans from around the world and original crew members present, thousands of new “graves” and a documentary that features video messages by Clint Eastwood and Ennio Morricone. It’s an incredible document that shows the power of enthusiasm and love for cinema, and what literal stones this love can move in the service of preserving the cultural heritage of this film. Out on Netflix everywhere (Seb).

Spider-Man: Into The Spider Verse

Spider-Man: Into The Spider Verse

We’ve got a lot of Marvel on our list this year, but I had to include this film because it’s gold. At its best, the animated format can create a viewing experience that live action can’t quite obtain and that’s exactly what this film was able to do. A multiverse of webheaded wallcrawlers come together for a very funny and heartwarming adventure in this brilliant cinematic comic book. (Pete)

Burning

Burning

A stunning modern Korean thriller that captivates and disturbs. Lee Chang-dong masterfully creates an atmosphere and character based mystery that haunts you. (Pete)

Filmworker

Filmworker

Everyone who loves films surely knows the name Stanley Kubrick, but they might not know the name Leon Vitali. This intimate, moving documentary directed by Tony Zierra focuses on the incredible career of Kubrick’s faithful actor turned assistant and his integral work on some of cinema’s greatest productions. (Pete)

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Peter

Editor-In-Chief of The Grindhouse Cinema Database/Furious Cinema contributor. Pete is a rabid movie geek who enjoys everything from wild n' crazy exploitation/cult flix to big budget mainstream classics. His other interests include: graphic design, cartooning and music.

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