I thought this year I’d try something different (I hated calling these blogs The Wills after the first time!). I made about three lists of the films seen in the cinema over the last 12 months, but in the end couldn’t decide what I would think was a sensible numerical order.
So instead I roughly categorised what my favourites and least favourites were – the text above each section ought to be enough to show you what I felt about the films underneath.
So first of all, in the spirit of openness and clarity, these films were complete crap…
The Predator – quite frankly, an incredible disappointment: unnecessarily shit, insulting and bland
Crawl – utter rubbish, slightly redeemed only by a great dog (yes really)
A few good elements in the following, but they were (on the whole) disappointing…
Pet Sematary – a lesson in the perils of knowing the twists of a book before you see a film. And then said film isn’t up to snuff anyway
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them: The Crimes of Grindlewald – this squanders what promise the first entry had, and knowing there are three more films to come makes it even worse
Glass – had this film carried on the way it began, it’d be so much higher up. But it absolutely shits the bed towards the end, in a “I can’t believe it!” way
Far superior to the above, but on reflection these films were more “okay really”:
The Aftermath – I can’t criticise this movie for its performances, setting or feel. It just wasn’t anything remarkable!
Tolkien – the same as above, but also add truncating the famous author’s life story
Godzilla: King of the Monsters – this movie is absolute trash (and I loved it for that) – though on a more sober recollection it has so many big problems
Colette – a difficult one, because I liked one performance and the setting itself. I just didn’t like the main performance, which is a bit of a deal breaker
Overlord – another trashy movie that knows it is, and runs with it. And who among us doesn’t enjoy watching Nazis getting blown to pieces?!
Films I feel bad for putting here – as they were great in their own ways, but not as good as others I saw:
Halloween (2018) – having only seen the first three, and having no interest in watching any others, this felt like an intelligent (if slight) continuation
Vice – far more uneven and imbalanced compared to The Big Short, Vice is nevertheless an impressively furious, witty attack on a truly shitty man
The Incredibles 2 – while not necessary, this is still a charmingly fun and inventive Pixar sequel that has heart and clever, funny action
Ant-Man and the Wasp – unfortunately following Infinity War, this sequel nonetheless coasts on the charisma king Paul Rudd
If Beale Street Could Talk – this is a brilliant film on multiple levels, but it’s not something I’d rewatch. A heartfelt, picturesque one-off experience
I saw a string of horrors that were top notch, and are as such deserving of their own little section:
Midsommar – more uneven than its predecessor below, this is still a masterpiece in unsettling tension and shocking gore, and one hell of an experience
Hereditary – feeling truly new and bizarre, Hereditary forms part of this new wave of horror with the films above and below – shocking, well acted and uncomfortable
Us – a less culturally critical, more straightforward Jordan Peele horror, but no less clever and unique, with some fantastic music
Some sequels and franchise entries that were far better than the usual fare:
Captain Marvel – Marvel’s first female hero headliner, this film has issues but makes up for them with sharp twists, strong emotions and the standard wit
The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part – it was never going to top the first, but is no less inventive and hilarious, with an even catchier song
Spider-Man: Far From Home – not struggling with the role of follow up to Endgame, this was the best (live action) Spider-Man movie yet
John Wick: Chapter 3 – Parabellum – while not hitting the impossible heights of the first, Parabellum is more brutal, bloody Wick – what’s not to love?!
Finally, here are a collection of historical and biopic movies that were quite frankly excellent, plus some exceptional blockbuster, action and superhero movies – all are my favourites from the year.
Three were immense, exciting cinematic experiences, while the other three were less expensive/blockbustery but strongly acted, tense, witty or thought provoking. All of these elements – not necessarily in one movie – are why we go to the cinema in the first place, so it felt right to give them all some love.
Mary Queen of Scots – an excellently acted, paced and set film that serves as a testament to female figures, whether historical or behind/in front of the camera
First Man – a surprisingly affecting, atmospheric and emotional tour-de-force about the ice cold Neil Armstrong
The Favourite – hilarious, dirty and quite affecting, with a deserved Oscar win for Olivia Colman
Mission: Impossible – Fallout – probably one of the most relentless, pulsating action films I’ve ever seen, and a peak of the Tom Cruise putting himself in danger genre
Avengers: Endgame – what else can I say except the epic franchise comes to a (temporary) fulfilling, perfectly pitched conclusion
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – perhaps one of the top animated movies and superhero films I’ve ever seen, filled with heart, laughs and a stunning visual style