Top 20 Best Films of 2018: A Video Countdown

Here’s my Top 20 Best Films of 2018…note that there are so many films I have yet to see like Cold War, Capernaum, Vox Lux, Vice, Burning, Shoplifters, etc…

Skip to 11:25 if you don’t want to watch the whole video or click this

 

 

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Hold the Dark Review

holdthedark_HERO“Chilling but unsatisfying”


Let me start off by saying I loved Jeremy Saulnier’s previous films, Blue Ruin and Green Room, especially Green Room. So, while I was lining up to see this at TIFF (Toronto International Film Festival) me, along with several others were really excited to see this and see what Saulnier has in store for us. The story follows Medora Stone’s (Riley Keough) son gone missing in the Alaskan wilderness. She writes to Russel Core (Jeffrey Wright) to find her son and kill the wolf that took him. As this is going on Vernon (Alexander Skarsgard) comes home from the Middle East and things become much more crazy/violent.

Hold the Dark like his previous projects has great performances, gorgeous cinematography (shot in Alberta), a dark/gloomy story/atmosphere/mood, and a very intriguing story but unlike his previous two projects, suffers from its slow burn pacing. While the story has much to offer and as it progresses you learn more about what happens, its still not enough for me to completely engross me all the way through.

The pacing notably drags for me in the second-half and the ending left me very unsatisfied especially with the events that transpired. After the screening, me and several others were talking about Hold the Dark and we all basically had sort of the  same question “Is that it?”  “What was that ending?” etc.

Overall, I believe this is a must-watch if you love slow-burn thrillers and enjoy Saulnier’s previous work but if you are not a fan of either, then I’m not sure you would enjoy this very much. The characters are interesting, the performances especially from Jeffrey Wright are fantastic, the Alaskan wilderness/overall cinematography is breathtaking to the eye, but unfortunately the story as interesting as it is, doesn’t have enough substance to warrant the run-time.

Rating – ★★★


Below are the other films I have watched at TIFF:
Mid90s Review
Wildlife Review
Climax Review
Green Book Review
First Man Review
Widows Review
If Beale Street Could Talk Review

First Man Review

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“Houston, Damien Chazelle has done it again”


We all know the story but to those of you who don’t, the film is about Neil Armstrong’s (Ryan Gosling) ascent onto the moon and the events that lead up to it. Clocking in with a run-time of 2 hours and 20 minutes, First-Man I found was way too long and could have been 15-20 minutes shorter. Although the story I found was interesting, there was not enough substance to completely grip/hook me completely throughout.

In terms of the visuals, its absolutely gorgeous. From how everything was shot, making you feel super claustrophobic and how the sound design/mixing completely emulates how that experience would sound. You are inside the cockpit along with the astronaut. You feel every shake which also brings me to another thing – the use of shaky-cam I thought was overdone and kind of took me out of it at times.

The performances are all great. Gosling steals it along with his wife, Janet (Claire Foy) and the supporting cast deliver as well. Another thing I thought was great was the score. I really liked the soundtrack. 

In conclusion, First Man is really well done and you can clearly see the amount of detail that was put into this film and it is a must watch on the big screen for sure. With that being said, First Man didn’t hook me all the way through and I found it really hard to relate to Armstrong and found it a bit dull at times.

Rating – ★★★½



Below are the other films I have watched at TIFF:
Green Book Review
Widows Review
Mid90s Review
Hold the Dark Review
Climax Review
Wildlife Review
If Beale Street Could Talk Review

Green Book Review

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“Charming, Heartwarming, and Hilarious”


‘GREEN BOOK’ is as cliche as it sounds – perfect. Its a story about an Italian bouncer Tony (Viggo Mortensen) taking the job as a driver for the pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) on a tour in south america 1960s. Performances from the entire cast and especially Viggo and Mahershala are just thoroughly outstanding. Viggo and Mahershala’s chemistry is fantastic and the banter between the two is just so charming.

I couldn’t stop laughing and smiling throughout and it was just so much fun to watch. I loved literally every second and I never laughed as much as I did at TIFF out of the 5 years in a row I have attended (not counting The Princess Bride live read).
The pacing is perfect and the script is sharp.

While the film is absolutely hilarious, Green Book doesn’t hide away the problems that were prevalent in the 60s and even today. It tackles the racial issues during that time  without slamming us against the head.

Rating – ★★★★


Below are the other films I have watched at TIFF:
Widows Review
Mid90s Review
Climax Review
Hold the Dark Review
First Man Review
Wildlife Review

If Beale Street Could Talk Review

 

If Beale Street Could Talk Review

Screen20Shot202018-08-0220at2011.26.jpg“A Masterpiece”


Re-teaming with some of the former crew members he worked with on various films and Moonlight, notably James Laxton (DoP) and Nicholas Britell (Score) Barry gives us once again an incredible film with impeccable detail on all the aspects of production – costume design, sound, lighting, cinematography etc. Barry makes you transport into 1970s Harlem with ease. I watched this twice already and I can’t wait to watch this a million more times.


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Along with how visually stunning and how striking/haunting the score is, the performances from the entire cast especially from Fonny (Stephan James) and Tish (KiKi Layne) are really something special. The story in short is about the relationship between Tish and Fonny. Fonny gets accused of rape and is thrown in prison while Tish discovers that she’s pregnant with their child. As the film progresses, it cuts back and forth between their relationship. Beale Street is a love story yes, but also a story about fighting a corrupt system. It’s romantic and tragic. There is also narration at times from KiKi Layne’s character, Tish. The soundtrack is also very magical and evokes lots of emotions.


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The pacing throughout the film is perfect, there was never a dull moment as my eyes were glued to the screen. Some might find the pacing to be slow but I thought that it perfectly suited the film. I highly recommend you watch If Beale Street Could Talk. It’s truly remarkable what Barry Jenkins has done.

Rating – ★★★★★

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Below are the other films I have watched at TIFF:
Green Book Review
Mid90s Review
Widows Review
Climax Review
First Man Review
Hold the Dark Review
Wildlife Review

 

My Thoughts on Avengers: Infinity War

avengers-infinity-war-image-tony-stark.jpg“Incredible”


With a running time of almost 3 hours (2 Hours 40 Minutes) Infinity War is the longest movie in the MCU and I didn’t feel like it dragged at any point. I was hooked from the very first scene and onto the last. I was shook after watching it and just devastated.
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Josh Brolin kills it as Thanos which I thoroughly believe is the best villain in the MCU right now.  He’s a compelling character despite being seen as a monster. He had lots of depth to his character. Throughout the film, when Thanos is on screen, I felt his presence and when he fought our heroes, I was legitimately afraid. This was essentially a “Thanos” film more so than the Avengers.
nullAll the performances were great overall, with the standouts in my opinion being Thanos, Spiderman, Wanda, and Gamora. The comedy was fantastic too. All the jokes land especially from the GOTG squad. The action sequences are phenomenal. Seeing the combination of all the heroes you love fight together with all the different combinations of unique fighting skills/powers they each have is just such a joy and so much fun to watch. Visuals were stellar.
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In terms of the negatives, some characters won’t have much screen time in comparison to others but that’s a given with how many characters there are in the movie. There’s also so much that happens in this movie that there really isn’t any breathing room. This movie goes 1000000000 m/ph. Trust me. Use the washroom beforehand.
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Final thoughts – Infinity War is truly a spectacle that deserves to be seen on the big screen multiple times and its insanely entertaining/rewarding. I can’t stop thinking about it and I can’t wait to see it again…and again…and again…….

Rating –  ★★★★

Top 10 Best Films of 2017

Here’s my list short & sweet……

Honorable Mentions: Dunkirk, Split, Coco, Okja, Logan, The Florida Project, Wonder Woman, Logan, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, mother!, The Big Sick, Thelma,  & The Disaster Artist

Films I haven’t seen yet at the creation of this list: Call Me by Your Name, The Post, Phantom Thread and a few others 


#10) Get Out – Great Original Thriller/Horror from first time director Jordan Peele.
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#9) Wind River – Riveting murder mystery. Fantastic debut from the very talented Taylor Sheridan. If you enjoy films like Sicario or Hell or High Water, highly recommend.
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#8) Molly’s Game – AARON SORKIN. JESSICA CHASTAIN. AARON SORKIN.
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#7) Lady Bird – Thoroughly well done coming of age movie from the lovely Greta Gerwig. Saoirse Ronan gives one of the best performances of her career. Review
Golden Globes Nominations Actress Film Comedy


#6) Good Time – Fucking awesome.GoodTime_Still02.jpg


#5) Blade Runner 2049 – Cinematography is eyegasmic. Just beautiful in every single way from the acting, story, direction…..Villeneuve killed it and he’s on a roll……
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#4) The Killing of a Sacred Deer – Great horror. Very well shot. Fantastic acting/score. If you’re a fan of a Lanthimos, def a must watch or if you love horror films.  Review
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#3) Columbus – Beautiful. Wonderful score. Quiet yet moving.
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#2) Trainspotting 2 – A wonderful sequel. Really entertaining. Felt lots of emotions.
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#1) The Shape of Water – A beautiful romantic fairy tale. Sally Hawkins deserves the Oscar for best actress. Great performances all around from the whole cast. Beautiful score from Alexandre Desplat. Del Toro nails it.  Review
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Fin.

I live in Toronto and I review movies and stuff with very bad grammer…..