We’ve hit the midway point of 2018 and it’s been a pretty swell year so far for cinema. We’ve seen Black Panther take the world by storm and a movie about fish-human intercourse win Best Picture at the Oscars. Spielberg and Wes Anderson have both added to their filmographies and yet more Star Wars, Jurassic World and MCU films have been thrown at us.
Here at Forge we like to both look at the future and reflect on the past. So here are five of this year’s cinematic highlights, followed by five things to keep an eye out for the remainder of 2018.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
It feels like an age since this absolute gem came out in January. Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) perfected his dark comedy-style by adding some real substance. Combined with extraordinary performances from Frances McDormand, Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson and one of the most underrated scores in recent years, this film was a cracking way to start the year. Its iconic billboards even inspired acts of political activism worldwide, including a Justice4Grenfell version which read: ’71 Dead’, ‘And Still No Arrests?’, ‘How Come?’
Alex Garland’s follow up to the stunning Ex-Machina was shunned by Paramount Studios after one producer reportedly found it “too intellectual”. Luckily Netflix sweeped in and allowed the world to see this mind-blowing piece of work. A sensory experience, which stimulates both emotionally and intellectually, ideally it would’ve been seen on the big screen but be sure to check it out on Netflix. It’s the kind of movie that needs to be seen.
Isle of Dogs
Oh Wes. Yet another delightful addition to the catalogue for Mr Anderson, who returned to stop-motion animation with this tale of dog-exile. Visually beautiful, full of heart and larger-than-life characters, it comfortably wins the dog-film-of-the-year award ahead of Show Dogs. Who could have possibly seen that coming?
A Quiet Place
Who could have dreamt that Jim from The Office (US) would swap wry glances at the camera to directing and starring in one of the most high-concept, nuanced and sheer heart-rate raising horrors we’ve seen in a long time? It’s mightily impressive seeing a director take the impact of a single sense (sound) and exploring not only its effectiveness, but its importance, to cinema. Film. Of. The. Year. (So far).
Avengers: Infinity War
Just when you thought the Marvel Cinematic Universe was turning stale they switched it up last year with Thor: Ragnarok. Next up was Black Panther, an honourable mention on this list, which was not only a cultural phenomenon but a really bloody good film. The culmination of all that work, however, was Infinity War. There was no way this film should have worked but somehow the Russo brothers pulled it off. Tonnes of fun, the franchise’s best villain to date and some truly cataclysmic moments; the as-yet untitled ‘Infinity War 2’ has a lot to live up to.
Coming soon to your local cinema…
Sicario 2: Soldado (29.6.18)
This one is fascinating. Sicario is one of the finest films of the last five years from Denis Villeneuve, who’s one of the best working directors today. Sadly he was too busy Blade Runner 2049-ing to return for the sequel, so can number two hit the same heights? The brilliant Benicio Del Toro returns, as does 2018s MVP Josh Brolin (post-Thanos and Cable antics). Most importantly, writer Taylor Sheridan (Hell or High Water) is once again the man behind the story.
The Meg (10.8.18)
Commonwealth Games diver, action hero supreme and all-round national treasure Jason Statham versus a 75-foot-long prehistoric shark? If that’s not enough to make you pre-order all the tickets then quite frankly I’m ashamed of you. Sure, it won’t be Citizen Kane (probably) but it should be a great time at the pictures.
When the trailer for Spike Lee’s latest politically punchy feature dropped on Twitter, it grabbed the internet by the balls and squeezed, hard. It tells the incredibly true story of Ron Stallworth, Colorado Springs Police Department’s first ever African-American detective, who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in 1979. Yes, that’s right. Wow indeed.
First Man (2.11.18)
Damien Chazelle is one of the most exciting young directors in Hollywood. He’s smashed it out the park with his last two features – the excellent Whiplash and the astonishing La La Land, which earned him Best Director at the Oscars and saw him become the youngest ever winner of the award. Now he’s teamed up again with Ryan Gosling to bring the life of Neil Armstrong, first man (get it?) on the moon, to screen. Gosling is on fire right now and hopefully Chazelle can keep up his fine form behind the camera.
Paul Dano (There Will Be Blood, Little Miss Sunshine) turns to directing for the first time with this festival darling. Nominated at Sundance and Cannes, it received rave reviews and is sure to feature heavily in awards season. The movie follows a boy who witnesses the collapse of his parents’ marriage. Starring Jake Gyllenhaal and Carey Mulligan, expect big things.
Image credit – Movie DB.