As we are nearing Christmas and New years, we are going to follow suit this year and propose our own end of the year list. Our film writers have all carefully selected the favourite, least favourite films of the past year as well as films they look forward to in 2019.
Favourite Film: Capernaum / Mission Impossible: Fallout
No film this year has moved me or felt more real than Capernaum. The story of a child who has run away from home, navigating the streets of Beirut is a heart wrenching but sympathetic film. Winner of the Jury Prize in Cannes and now nominated for a Golden Globe this film is steadily getting the attention it deserves.
It astounding that Mission Impossible: Fallout has made it into my top films this year, but it is a incredibly well made film. Just from the way the film is blocked and edited, it is visually spectacular. While the story is penetrable and filled with references for die-hard fans of the series. As the sixth film in the franchise it still has lots of life still in it.
Least Favourite Film: 50 Shades Freed
Flashy cars, stylish clothing and kinky sex aren't enough to distract from the blandness of these characters. Which is partly why the series is so popular, allowing anyone to insert themselves into the film. Only the fans will appreciate this for what it is.
Film Looking Forward To: Aladdin
Unlike any other film in 2019 this live-action remake of the Disney classic fills me with both joy and trepidation. This adaptation has already bolstered hope, by casting diverse leads and bringing in Will Smith. If the film manages to capture the magic of the original (or the campiness of the West End musical) then this could be a great film.
Sunny Ramgolam @SunnyRamgolamRachel Weisz and Olivia Colman in the film THE FAVOURITE. Photo by Yorgos Lanthimos. © 2018 Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation All Rights Reserved Favourite Film: Nureyev
Jacqui and David Morris’s retelling of Rudolf Nureyev’s life, which was riveting like nothing else I’ve seen this year, is notable for being a rare depiction of individual greatness which has no pomposity or tedium about it. It was refreshing that the documentary explored the complicated nature of trying to unpick where and how greatness originates, and that it lay side by side so easily with the pleasure of watching Nureyev dance and live – his talent for both was inimitable.
Least Favourite Film: The Happy Prince
The Happy Prince, on the other hand, makes a hash of the last years of its mythic artist, Oscar Wilde. It’s the fruit of Rupert Everett’s great love of his subject, but is little more than safe, stuffy and disappointing save a few flashes of visual interest and Everett’s own performance which comes at the expense of everything else. Really my worst film of the year was Ozon’s preposterous L’Amant Double, but at least I wasn’t bored.
Film Looking Forward To: The Favourite
I’m looking forward to this strange and highly subjective history lesson. It was only a matter of time before Lanthimos, the master of the terror of group dynamics, turned towards an exploration of the most eternally incestuous and sensational of institutions – the English court. I can’t wait for the costumes, the pineapples and the insults.
Best Film: First Reformed
It left me stunned and, admittedly, a little confused at first – but over the year, this has been the one film I have repeatedly returned to. It's a one of a kind and, although it’s an austere and restraint film, it deals with incredibly weighty topics in a radical way. It also includes Ethan Hawke’s best performance to date. Notable mentions to Hereditary, Searching and Eighth Grade.
Worst Film: The Meg / The Nun
A close tie between The Meg and The Nun – one managed to make a big-budget shark film boring and tame, while the other took the spooky premise of a haunted convent and sadly just stopped writing the story there.
Film Looking Forward To: New Mutants
My most anticipated film or next year has to be New Mutants – simply because, from the trailers, it seems to avoid the generic ‘uniting together to save the world' formula of comic movies and instead layers genuine horror onto the X-Men universe. I'm excited to see how this experiment plays out. Notable mentions also to Us and Knives Out – both have the vaguest synopsis but, with the directors in charge and actors cast, promise great things.
Oliver Smith @oliisaac_
Favourite Film: You Were Never Really Here
Lynne Ramsey's exceptional revenge thriller You Were Never Really Here is the kind of film that rarely gets made anymore: It is brutal without gratuitous violence, tackling the heavy subjects of PTSD and child sex trafficking without being emotionally cloying. A career best performance from Joaquin Phoenix elevates the film even further, the actor bringing a quiet intensity to his grizzled war veteran-turned-mercenary character, while Johnny Greenwood's eerie score drenches the film in an off-kilter atmosphere.
Least Favourite Film: Venom
While Venom is the worst film of the year, with its terrible CGI and woeful pacing, it may also be The Greatest Film of All Time. What other film sees a possessed Tom Hardy disturb a busy restaurant before climbing into a lobster tank for a bath? The supporting cast seem to be stuck in a post-The Dark Knight superhero snore-fest, as Hardy channels 90s Jim Carrey and Wicker Man Nic Cage in one of the strangest performances of the year. Venom feels like it should have been made in 2003, sitting alongside Catwoman and Elektra in the pantheon of terrible comic book adaptations.
Film Looking Forward To: Once Upon a Time In Hollywood
In a post-#metoo, post-#OscarsSoWhite world, where representation and social awareness seem to be the most valuable currency when it comes to independent filmmaking, it is going to be fascinating to see how the world reacts to a new Quentin Tarantino film. Using the Manson family murders as a backdrop to a pulpy thriller is a risky move for anyone, let alone a director infamous for his sometimes questionable use of graphic violence. Still, Tarantino is one of the few remaining superstar directors with a nearly flawless track record, and with Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio attached to star, there's no doubt Once Upon a Time In Hollywood will be one of the most talked about films of 2019.
Ethan Megenis- Clarke @_ethanmc
Favourite Film: First Man
This movie was breath-taking. The use of LED lights instead of the usual green screen for VFX, amped the creativity into another dimension. Both Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy captured the retelling of this historic event exceptionally and the score by Justin Hurwitz, The Landing is so stunning that I set it as my alarm clock music.
Least Favourite Film: Downsizing
Not sure if this will count as it was in cinema last Dec, but DVD release was this year. I thought ‘little’ of this film, an opportunity for an interesting concept that flopped due to a terrible storyline. But, the scenes shot in Trollfjorden we’re stunning, of course.
Film your looking forward to: The LEGO Movie 2: The Second Part
I’ve only recently jumped aboard the LEGO Movie train (shame on me) but now, I’m obsessed. I have no doubts that this film will bring copious amounts of joy and laughter once again. I mean, Chris Pratt and his LEGO Instagram stories for build-up… hilarious!
Lisa Coleman @Lisa_D_Coleman
A big, big thank you to each and everyone of Candid’s film writers for all their valuable and exceptional contribution over the past year.
Daniel Theophanous, Film Editor @danny_theo_.
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