The Best and Worst of Hollywood 2018
2017 was a brilliant year for film. Instant classics like Baby Driver, Shape of Water, Logan and Dunkirk were released. Imagine being 2018 and having to follow up on one of the best years for film ever. Although this year didn’t trump 2017, it was still a great year for film industry.
The Best of Horror
First up is Horror, one of my favourite genres and this year delivered some horror films which will be watched and re-watched for years to come. Some of the best were John Krazinski’s A Quiet Place, Nicolas Cage’s Mandy and Possum, a film that came under universal scrutiny. One thing these have in common is that they explore new directions and venture into sub genres unknown to the casual cinema goers.
A Quiet Place is about a family that has to survive in a post-apocalyptic world where aliens with acute sense of hearing have taken over. They must survive without making much noise. The film is intense, beautifully shot and Emily Blunt gives a stellar performance. Mandy follows Red (Nicolas Cage) as he descends into insanity following the murder of his wife. The plot may sound similar to other generic horror revenge films but the amount of symbolism and the grain filled colour grading make it stand out from your typical, gory, revenge thrillers.
Possum is a depressing tale about a puppet master and his puppet where the puppet represents his guilt and throughout the film we see him trying to get rid of it but failing to do so. The role is brilliantly played by Sean Harris and the score is haunting.
The Worst of Horror
The worst of this genre were Astral, Slender Man and Insidious: Last Key. Astral is quite possibly the worst horror film I’ve ever seen and is as unoriginal and generic as can be. Slender Man is nothing but a cash grab. Sony used the good ol’ trick of taking a popular urban legend and making a choppy, predictable 90-minute borefest. Insidious: Last Key isn’t anything the original one and exists only to gain some money from the people who adored the original for its creativity.
The Best of Action
The best action films of this year were, Mission Impossible: Fallout and Avengers: Infinity War. Fallout is the sixth film in the Mission Impossible franchise and still hasn’t lost any steam.
The reason for its brilliant action is the use of practical effects. Tom Cruise did most of his stunts and even broke his ankle while jumping from one building to another. The helicopter chase should be shown in every film school whilst discussing camera and stunt work. Avengers: Infinity War is the polar opposite of Fallout. It relies on CGI for a lot of the action but does it in a creative and innovative manner.
Other films like Justice League also had a massive budget of 300 million dollars but the special effects resembled those of some PS2 game. This proves that a large budget isn’t all it takes to create a captivating blockbuster. You need to have creative people behind the wheel and Infinity War certainly did. Joe and Anthony Russo created an epic conclusion that gives us heartfelt moments and thrilling action.
The Titan Fight and The Battle of Wakanda look like they have leapt off the pages of a comic book.
The Worst of Action
The worst of this genre are Skyscraper and Venom. Skyscraper attempts to recreate Die Hard but comes off as a Walmart version. The characters are one dimensional, the tension isn’t present and the action is as predictable and by the numbers as possible. Venom is another colossal failure to introduce the iconic character to the silver screen. There is a great film trapped beneath the insane amount of reshoots and studio interference. Tom Hardy attempts to make the film good but his performance isn’t enough to save the film from its terrible pacing, laughably bad CGI and awful script.
The Best of Drama
The best ones were The Hate U Give and Searching.
The Hate U Give follows Young Starr as she must expose what goes on in her black dominated neighbourhood after the death of her close friend at the hands of a cop. The film has brilliant performances, great characters and the third act will leave you speechless. Searching is shot entirely on a Macbook and we see a father trying to find his missing daughter through her social media and friends. The film is my favourite of the year and the opening ten minutes are the saddest opener to a film I’ve ever seen. The limited location and space mean that the actors had to give it their all and they did.
Searching gave me hope in the screen shared sub-genre after the unfriended series stomped on it with its dirty boots.
The Worst of Drama
The Worst of Drama Films were Meerkat Moonship and A Simple Favor. Meerkat Moonship tries to build a friendship between two introverted children but so much can be done when the actors are hardly even trying. The movie is paced brutally and the 1 hour 30 minute run time feels like a lifetime at some points.
A Simple Favor has a captivating first act but everything goes downhill once Blake Lively’s character disappears. Characters suddenly change and their decisions make no sense. The film loses all sense of reality and characters start flipping in the air when run over by vehicles. A shame considering how good the first act was.
All in all, this was a good year for the Hollywood. It wasn’t ground breaking like 2017 or 2014 but was good enough to satisfy me. I wasn’t able to discuss all genres but there are quite a few films I didn’t talk about. I hope 2019 will be amazing because there are lots of potential classics coming out this year that we all much watch out for.
The author is a student and based in Lahore.