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2018: The best movies of the year, so far

Our resident film reviewer Dave Howarth, gives his views on the best, and worst, that the world of cinema has given us this year. The films included were all released in the UK between January and June 2018.

Let us start with the worst:

Dave's worst 5:


5. Rampage
Animal behaviourist Davis Okoye (Dwayne ‘The Rock' Johnson) befriends George the giant ape. When a megalomaniac accidentally infects George with a violence-inducing hormone, only Davis can stop his primate friend from literally going ape on the city of Chicago.

Answer me this: is there anything that the future POTUS Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson can’t do?



4. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom makes Jurassic Park III look like The Lost World: Jurassic Park. If we have not yet put you off, you can read our full review here.

3. Tomb Raider
The poor script, predictable plot and hackneyed action sequences could all be forgiven if they didn’t ONLY RAID ONE TOMB.

2. Show Dogs
You know what’s a cool new idea? Talking dogs that work as undercover police agents! The idea is actually quite good and could make for an entertaining family film. Unfortunately the idea is a lot better than the execution. Although, the film doesn’t take itself seriously, to be fair.

1. Hurricane Heist
It’s even worse than it looks. I watched it for a laugh and I didn’t actually laugh very much. It’s so bad that it’s bad.

And now, Dave's top 10 movies of the year so far.


Dave's best 10:


10. The Shape of Water
The mythical meets the mundane in this quirky twisted fairytale. A moving examination of man’s innate fear of the other. Or is it just fish porn? Either way, the academy approved.

9. The Post
‪This is post-millennial Spielberg at his politically-charged best. ‬It’s clearly prescient in this ‘fake news’ era and it’s a story that deserves to be told again.



8. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Martin McDonagh’s black comedy-drama is a difficult but rewarding film watch. It’s a film about pain, grief and the co-existence of broken people in a broken world. (Read our full review here.)

7. Hostiles
Scott Cooper’s brooding, bloodthirsty Western follows a U.S cavalry officer on his last assignment: escorting his sworn enemy across the feral landscape of America’s Wild West to his home in Montana before he dies. It’s slow and hard hitting but it’s also full of beauty and depth.

The performances are really strong. Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and Wes Studi, especially. They carry the weight of the film’s brutal themes with grace.

It’s one of Bale’s best performances in recent years and easily Cooper’s most powerful film to date.

6. You Were Never Really Here
Intense, dark and gripping yet full of moments of beauty. With echoes of Taxi Driver and Drive, Joaquin Phoenix channels his inner rage-fuelled introvert with a mission. He manages to convey so much beneath the surface with very little on top. A stunning central performance and a stunning film from Scottish writer-director Lynne Ramsay.

5. A Quiet Place
A lean, stripped-down film that’s more thrilling than horrifying. The fact that the film that cares as much about its characters as it does about creating tension absolutely makes it for me. A cracking watch.

The best villain of 2018 so far.....that nail.

 4. Coco
By Pixar’s ridiculously high standards, this is not their best work. Some of the visual gags were quite easy and the script isn’t rapier sharp like the classic Pixar films we know and love.

It does, however, have tremendous heart and soul. It tells an important message about family and remembering those that have gone before us, whilst also teaching about following your heart, even against great odds. It deals with the issues of ageing and death in a powerful and unexpected way.

It’s also FULL of imagination. Visually, this IS classic Pixar. It’s aesthetically beautiful and it succeeds in taking us to another world (another classic Pixar trait).

It’s also a film about the beauty and tradition of a foreign culture. In an era of division between cultures, that in itself is a positive thing. Our full review can be read here.

3. Annihilation
Alex Garland’s dream-like sci-fi drama/horror is a film that stayed with me for a long time. It’s enigmatic, atmospheric and visually stunning and it will leave you pondering and processing for a while. Not only does it ask big questions, it gives few answers. Not for the faint hearted, it was deemed ‘too intellectual’ for mainstream audiences, prompting Netflix to snap up the international distribution rights.


2. Ready Player One
A joyous audio visual feast. An Amblin cinematic romp. There’s no one that elicits child-like joy like Steven Spielberg. (Link to our full review here)



1. Phantom Thread
Phantom Thread is such a wonderfully intricate film. Every frame carefully stitched and every scene woven with finesse. Not to mention the performances and the score. Simply the best film of 2018 so far. (Link to our full review here.)


But, do you agree? 



Dave Howarth


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