Another year of cinematic wonder - and some turkeys for good measure...
The box office might be at a 30 year high but there's still a lot of dross being pumped out (looking at you The Meg etc) but thankfully there are some excellent films too!
Here's what Darkmatters Editor Matt Adcock enjoyed the most:
10. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
"I see this spark in you. It's amazing. Whatever you choose to do with it, you'll be great."
Enough to make everyone want to get bitten by a radioactive spider - the Spider-Verse was a refreshing burst of comic-book energy. Miles Morales as Spider-Man meeting Peter Parker, Spider-Gwen, Spider-Ham and more to battle Kingpin. Both a loving homage and a kick-ass adventure, this even put the return of The Incredibles in the shade and was by far the best animated film of the year!
9. I, Tonya
“America. They want someone to love, they want someone to hate.”
This was worth getting your skates on for a winning ice-skate-em-up which delves behinds the scenes of one of the most notorious incidents in sporting history. Olympic U.S. ice skater Tonya Harding (a superb redneck Margot Robbie) became infamous for supposedly having her rival Nancy Kerrigan attacked back in 1994. I Tonya gives a fascinating, darkly amusing and engaging insight into the lives of Harding and those around her in the lead up to the attack and details the fallout afterwards too.
8. The Shape of Water
“If I told you about her, what would I say? That they lived happily ever after?”
Ever fallen in love with someone you shouldn’t have? Ever felt that special spark arc between you and someone completely unexpected or from so left field that it doesn’t even feel real until you’re in the moment and head-over-heels? But have you ever developed feelings for, erm, a fish person?
7. A Star is Born
"Unless you get out there and try to do it, you'll never know. That's just the truth."
A Star Is Born follows a country singer with a drinking problem who discovers and falls in love with a younger undiscovered singer (Lady Ga Ga). Bradley Cooper directed and acted his heart out in this tragic movie which packed some great tunes too.
6. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
“You know, if you hadn't stopped coming to church, you'd have a little more understanding of people's feelings...”
Not much can prepare you for this brutally dark comic drama from Academy Award nominee Martin ‘In Bruges’ McDonagh. The harrowing story is set some months after the horrific rape and murder of a young woman. The plot packs gut-churning raw grief and recriminations, but also some wonderful laugh-out-loud dialogue. It’s a killer combo of superb acting and incredible cinematography that elevates Three Billboards to classic status.
5. You Were Never Really Here
"Wake up, it's a beautiful day!"
When a teenage girl goes missing, a jaded, brutal enforcer (Joaquin Phoenix) attempts a rescue mission. So far, so standard but as the plot uncovers corruption and abuse of power and ramps up the tension You Were Never Really Here becomes a dark masterpiece that brings righteous vengeance and much violence but will captivate you and leave you breathless.
4. Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado
"No rules this time..."
What if Isis started moving suicide bombers into the United States through Mexico? We get to witness the US government response which sends gruff agent Matt Graver (Josh Brolin) and specialist assassin Alejandro (Benicio del Toro) work to incite a fully-fledged war between the cartels by kidnapping the spoilt teenage-princess daughter of a cartel boss, Isabel Reyes (a career-making role for Isabela Moner). This is macho action with a strong political element, edge of your seat stuff!
3. First Man
“That's one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.”
It’s hard to believe that we managed to send men to the moon in the 1960s… But it sure makes for a great cinematic event watching Armstrong (Ryan ‘Drive’ Gosling) struggle both with the mission and his family situation. From the nail-biting Top Gun adrenalin rush of the opening atmosphere busting altitude test flight through to the epic, inspiring and the breath-taking climactic moon landing, First Man is an intelligent and thought-provoking film.
2. First Reformed
"These kids, they want certainty. You know, they don’t think, follow. They fall prey to extremism. It’s a world without hope."
The pastor of a small church in upstate New York spirals out of control after a soul-shaking encounter with an unstable environmental activist and his pregnant wife. First Reformed delivers a powerful meditation on faith’s place in the modern world and Ethan Hawke in the lead role (who Empire Mag described as a 'kind of Travis Bickle in a dog collar') is incredible. As a believer, I found this treatise on church, religion and suffering super strong stuff.
1. Avengers: Infinity War
“ Fun isn't something one considers when balancing the universe. But this...
... does put a smile on my face.”
Nothing could have fully prepared you for this most epic of superhero showdowns. Over ten years Marvel have brought the Avengers and their allies from their comic books to impressive big screen life. Infinity War though is the first time pretty much all of them were brought together and even threw in the Guardians of the Galaxy into the action too. Everything 'clicked' (if you've seen it you'll get that ref) and a mightly epic smackdown ensued. Just a pure joy to witness.
Runners-up (you really should check these out too!):
Mission Impossible: Fallout
Ready Player One
Sorry To Bother You
A Quiet Place
Read the 2017 top ten here