The Best Of 2018
(By Patrick and Steven)
Into the new Year we go but not without looking back on the year that has gone by and the movies it brought. Patrick has seen several excellent movies that are making the rounds at festivals this year. Being stuck with multiplexes and home entertainment I've seen a lot of dissapointments and some low grade gems too.
Over the past year I have tried to keep track of all the films I’ve seen. Not only to make a list but also simply because I need to have something to get back to these days. Not only do I see a lot of films, I also see a lot of crap. Movies that should never been made, films that aren’t worth to distribute and of course the once in a while so bad it becomes good again film. I counted over 130 films on my list and be sure I’ve forgotten to write down a couple for sure. Anyway over a 130 films in 2018 is not that bad I believe.
Recently I saw the Polish feature “Werewolf”, which was my second polish film this year (first one was The Man With The Magic Box) and I have to say, the Polish genre films are scarce but they are really good for sure. Werewolf is not a genre film pur-sang, but comes with that dark atmosphere and a title that is asking to get categorised as a genre film. However, it is a very good thriller that keeps you focused for the complete duration of the Film. The other Polish genre film I was talking about came from the hand of Bodo Kox, and deals with time travelling. Be assured, “The Man With The Magic Box” is a damn good film. Great Sci-fi and above all very well made.
Sci-Fi and Thrillers, that’s more or less what I’m going to talk about for 2018.
In the Thriller genre I came across films like“The Summer of 84”, “Lords Of Chaos”, “Cutterhead”, “A young Man With High Potential”, and “Utoya”. All of them are on top of my recommendation list and often for different reasons. But each these films should be on your bucket list if you haven’t seen them already. Cutterhead is a plain and simple thriller, Summer of 84 has that eighties feeling and comes with a certain Goonies atmosphere, only a bit darker of course. A Young Man is even more darker. Some festivals were afraid to show this film in the wake of the #metoo craziness but not Razor Reel of course. And to be honest, not every rape-murder event has something to do wiht #MeToo, A Young Man with High Potential has certainly nothing to do with it. Utoya was a blast. Sure the main actress is wining all the way through the film and sure it’s a moment of relief near the end but hell that doesn’t mean the film is bad. Not at all, this movie is packed with deep tense and a lot of wining. Lords of Chaos is without doubt on top of my list for this year. It took me some time to see it but I could finally lay my eyes on it last month in Warsaw and boy this is truly a blast!
Science fiction films seems to be hot again. Well there were a couple of movies on the festival circuit that I’ve seen and whom are one by one truly great sci-fi flicks. I mentioned already the time travelling The Man With the Magic Box, but there is also “the Russian Frontier”, a kind of time travelling film which I saw earlier this year (called Rubezh in Russian) and while we are on the subject of Russian movies, “A Rough Draft” (Chernovik in Russian) is a cross over between fantasy and sci-fi with a dash of steampunk. Furthermore there was the Serbian film, “Ederlezi Rising” and of course “Solis” and “Prospect”. All of them quite decent flicks that any sci-fi buff out there should seek out.
There is of course a lot more out there to be found. Take for instance the Russian trilogy on the diaries Gogol. If you liked Viy, then this is for sure your poison. A must see film is “Skif” (The Scythian) who takes you to a mind-bending fantasy adventure that comes with some very crazy and weird scenes. You have to see it to believe it but due to the high action rate I can assure you, this can’t go wrong. But wait, the world is bigger then Russia alone. “Number 37” from South Africa is another great must see film. And what about the Austrian “Luz” or the Scandinavian “Gränz”. The latter will find its way to Belgium Theatres early January, so no reason to bail out on this one.
And with putting Belgium on the list I like to close down my review for 2018 with three co-productions. “We”, “Keep and Eye out” and “Bluebird in my heart”. We is a Flemish-Dutch co-production based on the book by Elvis Peeters (from Aroma Di Amore fame), Keep and Eye out (Au Poste) is Walloon/French based and features Benoit Poelvoorde in a crazy film directed by Quintin Dupieux . Bluebird in my heart is also Walloon/French but features Veerle Baetens. While the latter is totally not my favourite for sure, the film is certainly something that I can recommend if you have seen all the rest on my list already.
I've seen a lot of dissapointments in 2017. Ranging from movies that were so bad they were physically painful to watch to movies that were decent but nowhere near as good as hyped. My biggest dissapointment of the year must have been Susperia. Full disclosure I'm part of the minority here. Deep Blue sea 2 is what happens when you're not even trying. Horor comedy my favorite genre had little to offer this year. Blood Fest was a joke but not in a good way. It's the kind of horror movie Netflix tends to produce safe and unremarkable. Office Uprising was only marginally better, but a few good performances draw it over the line into the decent. Yes Mandy actually wasn't bad. But no it wasn't the second coming of Christ my God it was only barely a good movie. Revenge wasn't bad either but it either wasn't credible aenough or wild enough.
Somewhere in the middle there was a Quiet Place which has too many plotholes to be my favorite horror movie of the year but ends close on the second spot trailing The Strangers: Prey At Night, a tense little slasher that surpasses ther original.
Two franchises attempted a revitalisation. Both surprised me in a positive way but both had some serious criticism to endure. There was Predator which was nearly destroyed by critics. Although the overall plot sucked the script has some seriously funny dialogue. Also Olivia Munn is fantatstic in it. But this isn't the kind of humor one would expect in a Predator movie. Instead the movie feels more like part of the Jurrasic Parc franchise, in tone at least. So people yearning to see another Predator were invariably dissapointed. Scrap the last ten minutes of the movie, call it Alien Hunter instead of Predator and presto one excellent adventure movie.
Better received was Halloween. The plot had a few flaws as did the script but the execution was excellent from casting to cinematography and editing. The soundtrack alone should earn this movie a top spot in any list for 2018.
Also deserving a spot on any best of list is Red Sparrow. Action thrillers that can still interest me are scarce but Red Sparrow was the exception to the rule this year.
As for animation there's no denying Spider-Man is Into the Spider-Verse is a great animation movie for fans young and old but it's been praised as if we're going into a new age of animation. Show me an adult orientated movie like they do in the DC universe that actually has animation that doesn't want to make you cry for shame. Batman Ninja was a step in the right direction and a fun romp but it still has a long way to go.
It has been a good year for super hero movies. Avengers Infinity War is probably the best Avengers movie and one of the best in the Marvel Universe. If you haven't been a fan of super hero movies this won't win you over. But then again who sais you have to like every genre. Neither will it satisfy purists but nothing ever does. The Antman Sequel did what it had to do as did Deadpool 2 basically offering the audience more of the same. And Aquaman although I haven't seen it yet is getting positive reviews at least. It would be nice to have another watchable Super Hero movie. The haters will have to grind their teeth a little longer it doesn't seem that the super hero movies are getting less popular.
Item added : 31/12/2018