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2018’s Best Movies: The EDGAR List

Words by Thomas Billinghurst

2018 has produced some mesmerising performances from actors at the top of their game. Here’s the EDGAR list of the best films released so far this year.

2018 has been a breakthrough year in film. From Black Panther to Crazy, Rich Asians to Lady Gaga taking on a serious acting role (and owning it), Hollywood has gone some way to restoring our faith in the Land of Make Believe after what has been a turbulent time in the film industry’s regrettable recent past. So let’s focus on the positives, and the films and performances that have wowed us at the cinema so far this year.

First Man

The reason this movie is in here (and there was initial pre-watching resistance to it, believe me) is because it’s not the patriotic, propagandist material you might expect a story about a Great American being the first to do something awesome (in the true sense of the word.) With Damien Chazelle and Ryan Gosling (the dream team behind La La Land) running the show this biopic about arguably America’s most famous icon of the 20th century is less about an interstellar feat pulled off by a fearless maverick, than it is about a man struggling to find his place in this increasingly fractured and evolving world. It’s a tender examination of man’s desire to belong. And for that we salute.

 

A Star is Born

A remake done right. Bradley Cooper’s directorial debut has had us thinking about the tempestuous but beautiful relationship between the two stars on screen – both as actors and characters – since we saw it. It’s one of those rare, jaw-dropping, tear-jerking cinematic phenomenons that, when they arrive, announce themselves with a gravity, pathos and seriousness that demands respect and wins your heart. Did someone say Oscar for Gaga?

Bohemian Rhapsody

The story of Freddie Mercury is one full of incident, media speculation and the sort of outrageous rock ‘n’ roll antics that give lead singers their reputation. Rami Malek’s depiction of the Queen front man hits the high notes on just about every aspect of the superstar’s life in this masterfully crafted biopic.

Will it rock you? *Clap, clap, wave.*

First Reformed

Ethan Hawke wins our hearts and minds in this role. A story of redemption, faith under stress and reconciliation with former demons. Fewer films this year have presented us with a pathos as silently intense as this. It’s not your easy going flick. Far from it. It’s bleak. Cold. Cerebral. And you ask a lot of hard-hitting questions. But it’s all the more pertinent and important for that. We can’t have fun all the time, after all.

Isle of Dogs

Stunning stop-motion animation is Wes Anderson at his absurd and dark comedic best. An outbreak of canine flu in Japan leads to the formation of a quarantined zone for dogs on an island separate from the mainland. Given a backdrop of totalitarian political control, government conspiracy and a heart-warming resistance narrative, this is a beautifully woven piece of cinema right from the heart of Anderson’s distinctive story-telling playbook.

Black Panther

A cultural tour de force and one of, if not the most talked about movie of the year, and for all the right reasons. The first superhero franchise lead by a majority black cast got us asking the right questions about diversity and ethnic representation in Hollywood film, while unleashing the already proven talents of Chadwick Boseman as the King of Wakanda. Also some of the best action sequences in any superhero movie to date.

Deadpool 2

There was a lot riding on Deadpool 2. After all, the first movie absolutely shattered the box office, the formula of superhero movies, and fans hearts across the multiverse. It would be a tough act to follow – and the producers knew it.

Luckily it delivered, and solidified itself among the greatest superhero movies of our time. Deadpool is refreshing and the movies stay true to the character. We would go as far as saying; the Deadpool movies now, can be compared to the Iron Man movies of 2008. Movies that started a cultural phenomenon, we can’t wait to see how this universe grows come 2028.

Crazy Rich Asians

Yes, it’s cheesy. Yes, it’s formulaic. And yes, you’ve seen this movie a hundred times before. But let’s not forget this is another momentous occasion for film. An all Asian cast would once have been the stuff of ridiculous fantasy in Hollywood corridors. But this film has made 2018 one of the most diverse and accepting years in the film industry’s history. And the film, once you put your cynical predispositions aside, is a sweet tale of love through adversity.

Mission Impossible: Fallout

A main course of action, with a side of action, garnished with a light dusting of action. It’s in the franchise and Tom Cruise’s DNA. And the latest instalment of the MI story that keeps on going doesn’t disappoint on that level. Look out for Henry Cavill as the bad guy: he’s the real star of the show here.

The Worst Movie of 2018?

The Meg: Giant prehistoric shark versus Jason Statham in a fight… TO THE DEATH: Enough said.

And the Oscar goes to…

Picture: A Star is Born

Actress: Lady Gaga

Actor: Rami Malek

(You heard it here first)

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