Well it’s been another great year for cinema fans and we’ve also taken pride in celebrating our fifth anniversary here at SpicyPulp in 2018.
And now with the year winding down we’re ready to countdown our top 10 films of 2018:
10. Maui’s Hook
Heart-wrenching and powerful, this impressive documentary focuses on one of the most raw issues affecting contemporary society today: suicide. Clinical psychologist turned director Paora Joseph focuses his camera on an issue that has torn apart so many families and undertakes a hikoi wairua (spiritual journey) to help a group of six families to come to terms with their loss and find a sense of healing through a journey across New Zealand’s upper North Island. At every stage you are moved by the stories you witness and Joseph presents his film with a unique narrative and style that is all its own. We can’t think of more essential needed viewing than Maui’s Hook this year.
If you were looking for a film that was practically perfect in everyway then you need not look further than Mary Poppins Returns. This big, bold and colourful musical entertained from its very first note and took audiences on a fantastic adventure courtesy of the world’s favourite nanny Mary Poppins (Emily Blunt). Emily Blunt proved herself to be an eloquent song bird, and was the perfect choice to channel the magical enthusiasm of Mary Poppins, and add in an amazing collection of songs and a great message about the power of family and you had a film that was sure to enchant the whole family.
They say truth is sometimes stranger than fiction, and it didn’t get much stranger than the incredible true life story of Detective Ron Stallwell in BlackKklansman. Director Spike Lee is a filmmaker who always likes to push the boundaries and he really pushed them here with a film that packed together a hysterical narrative with scathing political commentary. Stars John David Washington and Adam Driver made a great team as two mismatched police officers, and Topher Grace stole the show as a racist with delusions of grandeur. Add in a funkadelic score and great 1970s stylings and we had ourselves a truly remarkable piece of cinema with BlackKklansman.
Motherhood 2018 was the theme of Tully and director Jason Reitman and star Charlize Theron made incredible magic together on this one. On Theron’s part it was commitment over and above anything else she’s done before as she brought the pain, sorrows, struggles and joys out of Marlo Moreau, a mother caught up in modern life. Packing a thoroughly clever screenplay by Diablo Cody, Tully really took audiences for a ride and was a great piece of character exploration for Theron. Rising star Mackenzie Davis also made a great impression as night nurse Tully, and both she and Theron had great chemistry together. Unflinchingly raw and hysterically funny all at the same time, Tully was definitely a film to savor this year.
Things got intense with this full-on science-fiction ride of an artificial intelligence gone haywire in Upgrade, and it really delivered one hell of a snap along the way. Boasting one of the most original screenplays we’ve ever had the pleasure to witness, Upgrade was packed out with jagged twists that you could never see coming. Thrust into the middle of all of it was star Logan Marshall-Green as Grey Trace, a technophobe who gets in touch with his superior side thanks to the power of A.I. STEM. Delivering brutal action and captured with a masterful eye, Upgrade seriously got your adrenaline going.
It didn’t get more adorable this year than Disney’s Christopher Robin and this sweet tale of friendship and imagination most definitely warmed your heart. Featuring Ewan McGregor as a now grown Christopher Robin who has seemingly lost his way, the adult Christopher gets a chance to reconnect with his imagination and the joys of his life once again thanks to the belief and power of his friends Pooh, Piglet, Eeyore, Tigger, Kanga, Roo, Rabbit and Owl. The beauty of the Hundred Acre Woods shone through here and the film had a perfectly polished English countryside aesthetic. Beautiful and heartfelt at every turn, Christopher Robin was sure to fill your heart with joy and set your imagination free.
If you wanted pure escapism then there was no better way to experience it than through director Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster adaptation of cult classic novel Ready Player One. This digital extravaganza was a thrill from beginning to end and its pop culture treasure hunt was certain to make any cinema fan’s mind sparkle with amazing references to everything we loved about the 1980s. With magnificent special effects and a hard charging soundtrack of powerful rock ballads, Ready Player One took us to a far away universe of digital imagination that truly made us go WOW!
The full breadth of love was felt by all with Bradley Cooper’s masterful epic re-telling of A Star Is Born, and all who watched it were sure to feel their emotions run high here. Every moment of this film was presented with perfection and star Lady Gaga gave the performance of a lifetime as sheltered singer-songwriter Alley, who through the love and trust of volatile rocker Jackson Maine (Cooper) is finally able to set her voice free. Narrative and character drove this cinematic experience, and with the addition of its rocking soundtrack you found yourself embraced in a film of extraordinary vision and soul.
What is it to chase the impossible? That’s where director Damien Chazelle (La La Land, Whiplash) took us in this incredible true story of one man’s dream to push through the stars and reach the moon in First Man. With grand scope and incredible realism, Chazelle fully visualizes the incredible push it took to reach the moon and the toll that was exacted on those who set foot on it. Both Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy gave the performances of their lives as Neil Armstrong and his wife Janet, and the boundaries of their relationship were certainly pushed to the limit with this incredible tale. Bound by breathtaking visuals and the incredible willpower of the human spirit, First Man was a testament to the power of man’s endeavour to reach the extraordinary.
If you wanted blockbuster action than you need not look further than Mission: Impossible – Fallout and this colossal cinema experience was ready to give you the ride of your life! Tom Cruise once again returned to the role of intrepid superspy Ethan Hunt and this time it was go big or go home. With a narrative that cracked forward with a supercharged pace and action scenes which exploded with power, you found yourself pulled in every direction imaginable and the result was electrifying. And then there was the film’s epic third act extravaganza of a helicopter chase gone crazy which certainly left you needing a replacement adrenal gland after its wild thrills. To put it straight Mission: Impossible – Fallout was just AMAZING and this crazy rollercoaster of action was incredible to behold.
Images: Roadshow Films, Paramount Pictures, Universal Pictures, Walt Disney Pictures, Studio Canal, Mad Man Films