From purple space tyrants with surprising character depth, to a love story between a mute cleaner and an aquatic creature, it’s fair to say the best films of 2018 have been an interesting mix.
Outlandish thrillers, unhinged horrors, powerful dramas and charming comedies have all played their part.
We asked members of our Screen Babble discussion group on Facebook for their favourite films released in the UK in 2018 to date. Here’s what they had to say.
The blockbuster to end all blockbusters?
In a year where many major popcorn releases struggled to wow fans and critics, one huge superhero team-up nonetheless managed to be a bona fide crowd-pleaser.
“I know it’s populist,” says Chris Slinn, “but I genuinely thought Avengers: Infinity War was superb. It’s not easy to successfully juggle that number of characters AND have an emotional pay-off at the end.”
Gareth Maddieson, who also praises Marvel’s Black Panther for “taking another lesser-known hero and making an excellent movie out of it”, notes that Infinity War “somehow manages to balance The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy, Dr Strange, the aforementioned Black Panther and Spiderman”, threads together “10 years worth of a movie universe” and “still manages to tell a fantastic story”.
“Gotta love a film that has two Sherlock Holmes sassing each other, and makes you feel emotional.”
Steve Wilkins brands the movie and its much-discussed ending “radical franchise making”, while John Whitehouse asserts that “few films could manage to pull together such a huge cast and years of background to make an effective film, yet somehow it’s managed here”.
Comedy, romance and horror
Away from the comic book blockbusters, other Screen Babble members found themselves charmed by everything from anthology Westerns to coming-of-age wonders.
For Nick Long, acclaimed crime drama Widows – a heist movie with a real difference – proved a highlight from the filmmaker behind Hunger and 12 Years A Slave. “Steve McQueen can do no wrong.”
Rhea Wolfe hails tragi-comic Coen Brothers medley The Ballad of Buster Scruggs as “sublime” meanwhile, and “the very best of this year”. With its stunning short stories ranging from the hilarious to the profound across a range of Western archetypes, it’s certainly made its mark.
Another anthology movie to cause a stir has been Jeremy Dyson and Andy Nyman’s eerie, accomplished Ghost Stories. “It’s a great film,” says Sharon Sayed – who is just one of the many horror fans to have fallen under its chilling spell.
Denise Morphett, meanwhile, “loved Lady Bird“, a semi-autobiographical comedy-drama about a Californian teen that brings unexpected poignancy. For once, this is more than just ‘girl meets boy’.
“I watched it with my 18-year-old daughter who will also (hopefully) be heading off to Uni next year,” notes Morphett, “so the film did resonate.” Of Lady Bird and her mother, Morphett adds: “I found their relationship heartbreaking.”
For Cheryl R Brooks, Guillermo Del Toro’s thoroughly unconventional Oscar-winning romance The Shape of Water has to be right up there too.
“The story was beautiful. The colours amazed me…so different from other movies and the music was just perfect.”
Mind-bending sci-fi drama Annihilation got an enthusiastic response from several Screen Babble members when it landed on Netflix in the UK back in March.
“Absolutely brilliant from start to finish,” was Ben Garnham’s verdict, praising the “excellent” cast, the “superb” cinematography and the fact it gave viewers “a lot to think about”.
Terrific films you might have missed
Of course, not every movie deserving of praise in 2018 will have made it to wider attention.
“One that seemed to pass most people by, that should be in the running for next year’s Oscars, was The Wife,” notes Jez Garrett. Starring Glenn Close as a talented writer who has been forced to live in her famous husband’s shadow, Garrett says it has “great plot, direction and casting. Glenn Close must be in contention for Best Actress at next year’s awards.”
Fiona Garratt also thought The Wife was “incredible”, noting that “it felt more like a play than a film” and “haunted [her] for days.”
Fiona McClymont believes wider attention is also merited for awkwardly named wartime drama The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. “It’s funny, sad and everything in between. Thoroughly entertaining.”
Mark Turpin, meanwhile, says his film of the year is 120 BPM – “a French movie about a group of HIV/AIDS activists in the late 80s/early 90s and the relationship between two of the activists. Poignant yet uplifting at the same time.”
Alan Clark found himself charmed by Alpha, a prehistoric drama about a hunter who bonds with a wolf. “It’s such a simple film of survival against the odds – and a friendship struck between a wild animal and a coming of age hunter.”
And if we want to turn our attention to great documentaries, Jez Garrett insists there’s been none better than They Shall Not Grow Old.
Other 2018 films saluted by Screen Babble members:
- Phantom Thread
- Bad Times at the El Royale
- Isle of Dogs
- Bohemian Rhapsody
- Crazy Rich Asians
- Deadpool 2
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
• Have your say on the latest TV and film with Screen Babble, our discussion group on Facebook
This article originally appeared on our sister site, iNews.