JUMPCUT’s Top 10 Films Of 2018

As our 2018 movie window closes, and another one for 2019 is ready to burst open.

Taking a look back over the last 12 months of film and remembering all those big blockbusters, indie treasures and specialist cinema debuts are one thing, but narrowing them all down to just ten of the best is something else.

The staff at JumpCut Online locked themselves away from social media to draw up their own personal ‘Top 1O’. From that, each nominated film was awarded points (1st = 10, 2nd = 9 etc) until a definitive list was formed.

Ladies and gentlemen, for your debating pleasure, here is that list of the JumpCut Online Top 10 of 2018 in ascending order, based on UK release dates.


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#10 – A Star Is Born
[dir. Bradley Cooper]

Jack (Bradley Cooper), a washed-up, alcoholic musician helps young singer Ally (Lady GaGa) find fame with her natural talent. But his demons threaten to send his career and even his life into a into a downward spiral from which there may be no return…

“The first half of the movie may hit some beats you’ll likely expect, but the second half will knock you for six, diving deep into the aftermath of lovesick decisions, all before reaching a devastating conclusion. Despite the pain and the many, many tears, this is a film that demands an immediate revisit as soon as the credits roll. Cooper has landed a masterpiece on his first go. You could say, a star is born.” – Cameron Frew

 

 

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#9- You Were Never Really Here
[dir. Lynne Ramsay]

Joe (Joaquin Phoenix) is a traumatized gun-for-hire who is unafraid of violence. When a job spins out of control, Joe’s nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening…

“Truly edge of your seat stuff, and whilst the comparisons with ‘Taxi Driver’ kind of write themselves, it is still amazing on its own merit. Joaquin Phoenix gives an electric, and possibly career-best performance…this is one of the most genuinely thrilling films in a long time, and one which packs a mean punch into a relatively short space. An explosive, and unmissable film.”Sarah Buddery

 

 

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#8 – Avengers: Infinity War
[dirs. Joe & Anthony Russo]

Earth’s mightiest heroes, The Avengers, must reach out to their allies in order to unite and stop Thanos (Josh Brolin), a powerful warlord intent on acquiring the Infinity Stones and using them to wipe out half of all beings in the galaxy and change things forever…

“At its best is epic, emotional and very, very shocking. It has impressive set pieces and of course it’s very funny. The few faults it does have are going to be down purely to the viewer. A knowledge of all that has happened before is essential. This is not the film for newbies….overall this was worth the wait.”Dave Curtis

 

 

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#7 – Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse
[dirs. Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey]

Young teenager Miles Morales is involved in a freak accident and becomes Spider-Man. When the evil Kingpin creates a powerful machine that blends alternate dimensions, he crosses paths with five Spider-People from other dimensions who must work together and save all of their worlds…

“It’s a universal story that can be loved by everyone, filled with beautifully touching moments for both comic book and non-comic book fans alike, great laughs, and some pretty great music. This movie really showcases what minds like Steve Ditko and Stan Lee saw in these characters and what they wanted to express; a mask is a mask, but what really matters is who is underneath it – and that could be anyone.”Fernando Andrade

 

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#6 – The Shape Of Water
[dir. Guillermo del Toro]

At a top secret research facility in 1960s America, Elisa, (Sally Hawkins) a lonely janitor, forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature (Doug Jones) that is being held in captivity by the brutal Richard Strickland (Michael Shannon) who wants to unlock super-human secrets to use against America’s enemies…

“Utterly magical in every sense of the word, and “more” than what you could wish for in all conceivable ways….with incredible performances, absolutely stunning visuals (special nod to the underwater scenes which are totally breathtaking), masterful direction, and a unique and memorable story, ‘The Shape of Water’ deserves to be looked back on with the same fondness and reverence that ‘Pan’s Labyrinth’ is. A modern masterpiece, and a truly spectacular film.”Sarah Buddery

 

 

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#5 – First Man
[dir. Damien Chazelle]

American astronaut Neil Armstrong (Ryan Gosling) and his wife Janet (Claire Foy) must deal with pressure at work and at home when he is offered a historic NASA space mission; to become the first man to walk on the Moon. But pre-flight tests and training don’t come easy, with many highs and lows that push Neil, and the mission, almost to breaking point…

“Stunning. It’s an astounding achievement for a young director on the winning streak of his life; it has two award-worthy leading performances; it’s gorgeous to look at; it’s amazing to listen to; and it’s an utterly overwhelming experience. See it on the biggest, loudest screen you can. Chazelle, you’ve done it again.”Rhys Bowen-Jones

 

 

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#4 – Phantom Thread
[dir. Paul Thomas Anderson]

Set in 1950s London, Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) is a renowned dressmaker whose fastidious life is disrupted by a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who becomes his muse and lover and who turns his view on life, and himself, upside down…

“When it comes down to it, ‘Phantom Thread’ is surprisingly quotable, cinematically very pleasing and a joy to watch. The cast all share strong chemistry and with a little help from Johnny Greenwood, Paul Thomas Anderson has created another excellent film which sits very nicely with his back catalogue. If this is Daniel Day-Lewis’ last ever film, then I will happily watch his old films with a smile on my face…but I do hope he changes his mind. He is just too good. He has loads left in the tank.”Dave Curtis

 

 

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#3 – Hereditary
[dir. Ari Aster]

After the family matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets. The mother, Annie (Toni Collette), begins to see her family slow fall apart, and while she is the only one who can hold them together, the supernatural powers surrounding them become too strong to contain…

“There are clear inspirations from classics such as Rosemary’s Baby and The Omen (and even 2011’s much underrated Kill List). And like those fondly remembered shockers, Aster’s film isn’t perfect – it’s a little overlong, occasionally fumbling around the good stuff towards the end… An outstandingly horrifying achievement from a debut filmmaker, Hereditary is a classic in the making, built on rock-solid, terrifying, atmospheric terror.”Cameron Frew

 

 

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#2 – Roma
[dir. Alfonso Cuarón]

Set in the early 1970s in Mexico City, we follows the life of live-in housekeeper Cleodegaria “Cleo” (Yalitza Aparicio) to an upper-class family. It tells the story of situations; the life Cleo and her family face in and around Mexico City at a time when living and providing was nothing but a struggle for most…

“Visually striking, aurally immersive and emotionally captivating, ‘Roma’ is undoubtedly one of the finest films of the year and arguably Cuarón’s best film. It is certainly his most personal film, and the labour of love that this film represents permeates through every single frame. With exceptional performances, beautiful imagery, and the finest sound design in recent years, ‘Roma’ isn’t just a film which deserves to be seen on the big screen, it is one which deserves to be heard on the big screen. It bears repeating: ‘Roma’ is a masterpiece.” – Sarah Buddery

 

 

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#1 – Mission: Impossible – Fallout
[dir. Christopher McQuarrie]

IMF agent Ethan Hunt (Tom Cruise) and his allies must race against time to find a deadly crime syndicate intent on throwing the world into chaos. CIA agent August Walker (Henry Cavill) is also on hand to make sure IMF can do the job in hand when it becomes clear there is a mole within their ranks…

“Not only is ‘Fallout’ fun to watch, but it is also technically brilliant. From the score to the cinematography and the stunt work, it’s amazing to think about the hours of hard work the crew have had to put in to make a movie like this. They are the real MVP’s. I salute them…It is a proper popcorn flick which only has a few minor flaws. To think this franchise has been going for 22 years and it still feels this fresh and new is a testament to the director and star. I can’t imagine what they have in store for Mission Impossible 7. Surely only outer space beckons now.” – Dave Curtis


So there we have it. Agree or not, that’s the consensus for the Top 10 best films of 2018 from a team who, between them, have probably watched all that has been on offer.

Films that narrowly missed out a spot include ‘Beast’, ‘Black Panther’, ‘Isle Of Dogs’, ‘A Prayer Before Dawn’ and ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’.

We can’t wait to do it all again next year for the barnstorming 2019 offerings ahead!

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REVIEW: First Man

Year: 2018
Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Starring: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Corey Stoll, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler

Written by Rhys Bowen-Jones

You’d think the moon landing would have a bigger filmography. By my count, there are 25 films about the general Apollo program, two of which are Men In Black 3 and Transformers: Dark of the Moon. Given such an astonishing feat, it was about time it received a proper cinematic treatment, and Damien Chazelle (of Whiplash and La La Land fame) is on hand to deliver just that.

And my word, does he deliver.

I’m not sure how much I need to say about the film. First Man is about the moon landing. It’s about NASA, rocket scientists, Neil Armstrong’s family, and Neil Armstrong himself as they attempt to finally get one over on the Russians in the infamous space race of the 1960s. First Man does do a splendid job of filling in many of the gaps in my knowledge of the story, and it does so on the shoulders of two tremendous leading performances from Ryan Gosling and Claire Foy.

First Man is a step out of Chazelle’s comfort zone. Having given us back to back show-stoppers in music-centric and impressively stylish efforts, he reigns back the sweep pans and on-the-beat camera cuts in favour of something far more paranoid. This becomes immediately apparent in its stunning opening scene with the introduction to how the film uses its shaky camera. Shaky camera has its criticisms when used poorly (badly choreographed fight scenes, I’m looking at you), but Chazelle uses it so perfectly here. It manages to absolutely convince you that Ryan Gosling has literally been sent to space in a tin can. Armstrong endures multiple trips to at least the Earth’s atmosphere, and the way they’re shot from almost entirely within or attached to the space craft made me feel, as cliché as it sounds, like I was right in there with him and that this might completely fail at any second.

Chazelle wants to express a combination of total wonder of what’s possible with a sense of complete isolation as the key players of the film rocket towards a seemingly impending doom. Shots of Armstrong sitting alone at the dinner table surrounded by darkness, or shots of Claire Foy’s Janet Shearon (Armstrong’s wife) standing alone in a doorway, again surrounded by darkness, imply so much of their relationship; their personal dilemmas, their frustrations with one another, their annoyance at their reluctant thrust into fame, all the while dealing with 2 blissfully unaware young children whose only preoccupation is whether they can play outside.

The necessary confrontation between Janet and Neil is shot with the same quiet intensity as a space trip, with Neil facing a reality he didn’t want to; having to tell his young children he might not come home. This is sure to be one of the many highlights Gosling and Foy send off for their almost guaranteed award nominations. Some may think Gosling is just being Gosling, the quiet, stoic leading role who doesn’t say all that much and stays focused on the job, but when your mission is the most dangerous mission in human history that may be your end, you could forgive his stoicism. Foy leaves a particularly strong impression as the wife left at home with the kids, as she stands up to the NASA scientists who, in one instance, cut the connection to her radio linked to Mission Control. As an aside, Claire Foy now has back to back stunning performances after Unsane earlier in the year, and I can’t wait to see her portrayal of Lisbeth Salander in The Girl in the Spider’s Web.

What I feel is important to address is that First Man isn’t the space adventure some may expect. It spends the majority of the film firmly on Earth, getting to know its key characters and showing us the blood, sweat, and tears that went into getting onto the moon. Having said that, when it does go to space, it goes. The fuck. To space.

The space scenes are spectacular. From its first flight to the Apollo 11 mission we all came to see, it begins being shot with surprising restraint. I kept wishing for the camera to just pull back slightly and give us a wide shot, I found out the long way that the restraint is worth it for what’s to come. The moon landing sequence is a stunner. It’s a knock your socks off, awe-inspiring, blow your face clean off its hinges sequence. Much of the film has a very old-school, grainy look to it to give it a 1960s authenticity, but the switch to IMAX for this sequence is put to fabulous use. The gargantuan size of the actual moment of a human being setting foot on the moon is given the wonder treatment with one of the film’s rare flashy moments in which the camera swoops down the shuttle’s steps and just stops dead in its tracks, almost in shock, to appreciate the horizon. The vastness of the moon laid out in front of our very eyes. It’s jaw-dropping. The time Chazelle and co. spent building up to this very moment is all completely worth it. This was a moment felt by the entire cinema, as the music cuts out completely, it was just us, Neil Armstrong, and the moon. You could’ve heard a pin drop. Dozens of pairs of eyes locked on the screen, transfixed by something so spectacular that I can’t say I’ve experienced a moment like it in film in a long time. Of all this film’s impressive elements, this sequence is the crowning achievement and it deserves all the praise it receives.

There is so much more that could be praised. Justin Hurwitz’s score has an almost ethereal feel at times, balletic at others, and completely epic when it needs to be. The music rarely swells to the overwhelming levels of, say, Hans Zimmer’s glorious work on Interstellar. Like the rest of the film, it holds itself back until it needs to, and when it hits the moment it needs to, it completely overwhelms you with its sheer power and beauty.

On a similar note, the sound design is sure to be one of its many award recipients come February. During the major space sequences, the aforementioned Gosling-in-a-tin-can stuff, the clanging and the clattering and the spinning and the exploding and the ringing all bring you to near breaking point. When you feel the sound has reached its highest point, it somehow finds another level, and then another, and then another to bring me to gasping-for-breath levels of anxious.

First Man is stunning. It’s an astounding achievement for a young director on the winning streak of his life; it has two award-worthy leading performances; it’s gorgeous to look at; it’s amazing to listen to; and it’s an utterly overwhelming experience. See it on the biggest, loudest screen you can. Chazelle, you’ve done it again.

 

Rhys’ Verdict:

5

New Trailer For Damien Chazelle’s ‘First Man’ Lands As The Film Premieres At Venice Film Festival

“On the heels of their six-time Academy Award®-winning smash, ‘La La Land’, Oscar®-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ ‘First Man’, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969.  A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost—on Armstrong and on the nation—of one of the most dangerous missions in history.”

Directed by: Damien Chazelle

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Patrick Fugit, Ciaran Hinds, Ethan Embry, Shea Whigham, Corey Stoll, Pablo Schreiber

Release Date: October 12th, 2018

Ryan Gosling Embarks On An Impossible Journey In The First Trailer For ‘First Man’

“On the heels of their six-time Academy Award®-winning smash, ‘La La Land’, Oscar®-winning director Damien Chazelle and star Ryan Gosling reteam for Universal Pictures’ ‘First Man’, the riveting story of NASA’s mission to land a man on the moon, focusing on Neil Armstrong and the years 1961-1969.  A visceral, first-person account, based on the book by James R. Hansen, the movie will explore the sacrifices and the cost—on Armstrong and on the nation—of one of the most dangerous missions in history.”

Directed by: Damien Chazelle

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Patrick Fugit, Ciaran Hinds, Ethan Embry, Shea Whigham, Corey Stoll, Pablo Schreiber

Release Date: October 12th, 2018

La La Land Live Is Coming To The UK!

Following it’s success over the awards season, picking up fourteen Academy Award nominations and winning six, and also taking home all seven Golden Globes it was nominated for, it’s been announced that ‘La La Land’ will be doing a small UK tour accompanied by a sixty-piece orchestra and choir. 

The dates announced are for this September at: 

21st – Manchester Bridgewater Hall
22nd – Bristol Colston Hall
23rd – York Barbican
24th – Birmingham Symphony Hall
27th – Edinburgh Usher Hall

Many are hoping the tour will announce more dates across the UK soon as I’m sure tickets for the announced showings will sell out pretty quick. 

The show will kick off on May 26th at the Hollywood Bowl in Hollywood, where composer Justin Hurwitz, who won two Academy awards last month for his work on ‘La La Land’, will conduct a 100-piece orchestra and choir. From there the tour will visit multiple US cities before making it’s way to countries such as UK, Italy, Switzerland, Canada, and more! Hurwitz has confirmed that the orchestra playing are the same that actually worked on the film. 

Will you be hoping to secure tickets to see ‘La La Land’ live?

Written by Tom Sheffield

The Full List Of EE British Academy Film Award Winners

Stephen Fry hosted the 70th British Academy Film Awards in London’s Royal Albet Hall and it’ll come as no surprise to many, ‘La La Land’ waltzed away with 5 BAFTA wins, including ‘Best Picture’, ‘Best Direction’, and ‘Best Original Music’.

The latest actor to step into the Spider-Man suit, Tom Holland, won the ‘Rising Star’ award which was voted for by the public. Casey Affleck walked away with ‘Best Leading Actor’ and Viola Davis collected her much deserved award for ‘Best Supporting Actress’. Former ‘Skins’ star, Dev Patel, won ‘Best Supporting Actor’ for his brilliant performance in ‘Lion’and ‘I, Daniel Blake’ took home the prize for ‘Outstanding British Film’.

Below you can find the full list of winners:

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A Beginners’ Guide To Awards Season

Written by Chris Gelderd

Ladies and gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to write my first ever article for JumpCut UK, and what better place to start, at this time of the year, than with a Beginners’ Guide to Awards Season.

Now, Hollywood runs to a pretty tight calendar. Spring usually offers up plenty of family-friendly films; Summer is all about the big-budget blockbusters; Autumn gives us the horrors and thrillers, whilst winter signals the start of awards season, when studios battle it out with their carefully selected productions, aiming to surprise and move audiences, with one eye firmly placed on adding some gold statues to their trophy cabinets. There are awards-skeptics who now regard all of this as simply over-the-top, politically and racially motived, Hollywood excess, whilst others can’t wait to delve into the treasures that studios have been saving for this time of year. Lastly, there are those who are new to the whole awards season buzz. If you fit into this category, then hopefully you’ll find this simple guide to be a helpful introduction to the glitz and glamour of awards season.

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La La Land Sweeps Everyone Off Their Feet At Golden Globe Awards

Last night, Jimmy Fallon hosted the 74th Golden Globe Awards at the Beverley Hilton in California and unsurprisingly, La La Land waltzed away with all 7 awards it was nominated for. Other winners included Aaron Taylor-Johnson for his skin-crawlingly creepy supporting role in Nocturnal Animals,  Casey Affleck won the award for best performance by an actor in a drama for his role in Manchester by the Sea, and Zootopia took home the award for best animated feature film.

Below is the full list of film award winners. 

Best motion picture – Drama

  • Winner: Moonlight
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Lion
  • Manchester by the Sea

Best motion picture – Comedy or Musical

  • Winner: La La Land
  • 20th Century Women
  • Deadpool
  • Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Sing Street

Best performance by an actor in a motion picture – Drama

  • Winner: Casey Affleck – Manchester by the Sea
  • Joel Edgerton – Loving
  • Andrew Garfield – Hacksaw Ridge
  • Viggo Mortensen – Captain Fantastic
  • Denzel Washington – Fences

Best performance by an actress in a motion picture – Drama

  • Winner: Isabelle Huppert – Elle
  • Amy Adams – Arrival
  • Jessica Chastain – Miss Sloane
  • Ruth Negga – Loving
  • Natalie Portman – Jackie

Best performance by an actor in a motion picture – Comedy or Musical

  • Winner: Ryan Gosling – La La Land
  • Colin Farrell – The Lobster
  • Hugh Grant – Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Jonah Hill – War Dogs
  • Ryan Reynolds – Deadpool

Best performance by an actress in a motion picture – Comedy or Musical

  • Winner: Emma Stone – La La Land
  • Annette Bening – 20th Century Women
  • Lily Collins – Rules Don’t Apply
  • Hailee Steinfeld – The Edge of Seventeen
  • Meryl Streep – Florence Foster Jenkins

Best performance by an actor in a supporting role in a motion picture

  • Winner: Aaron Taylor-Johnson – Nocturnal Animals
  • Mahershala Ali – Moonlight
  • Jeff Bridges – Hell or High Water
  • Simon Helberg – Florence Foster Jenkins
  • Dev Patel – Lion

Best performance by an actress in a supporting role in a motion picture

  • Winner: Viola Davis – Fences
  • Naomie Harris – Moonlight
  • Nicole Kidman – Lion
  • Octavia Spencer – Hidden Figures
  • Michelle Williams – Manchester by the Sea

Best Director – Motion Picture

  • Winner: Damien Chazelle – La La Land
  • Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals
  • Mel Gibson – Hacksaw Ridge
  • Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
  • Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea

Best Screenplay – Motion Picture

  • Winner: Damien Chazelle – La La Land
  • Tom Ford – Nocturnal Animals
  • Barry Jenkins – Moonlight
  • Kenneth Lonergan – Manchester by the Sea
  • Taylor Sheridan – Hell or High Water

Best Animated Feature Film

  • Winner: Zootopia
  • Kubo and the Two Strings
  • Moana
  • My Life as a Zucchini
  • Sing

Best Foreign Language Film

  • Winner: Elle
  • Divines
  • Neruda
  • The Salesman
  • Toni Erdmann

Best Priginal Score – Motion Picture

  • Winner: Justin Hurwitz – La La Land
  • Hans Zimmer, Pharrell Williams, Benjamin Wallfisch – Hidden Figures
  • Dustin O’Halloran, Hauschka – Lion
  • Johann Johannsson – Arrival
  • Nicholas Britell – Moonlight

Best Original Song – Motion Picture

  • Winner: City of Stars – La La Land
  • Can’t Stop the Feeling – Trolls
  • Faith – Sing
  • Gold – Gold
  • How Far I’ll Go – Moana
Written by Tom Sheffield

Ryan Gosling Reteaming With La La Land Director for Neil Armstrong Biopic

La La Land‘ director Damien Chazelle is helming a Neil Armstrong biopic based on the biography ‘First Man: A Life Of Neil A. Armstrong’, written by James Hansen. Writing the script for ‘First Man’ will be oscar-winning Josh Singer, who co-wrote ‘Spotlight’, and now it’s being reported that Ryan Gosling is officially set to star in Universal’s biopic.

Neil Armstrong was of course the first man to walk on the moon following NASA’s successful mission in 1969, a mission in which Armstrong, along with fellow astronaut crew mates Buzz Aldrin and Michael Collins, made history. The film is set to focus on Armstrong and NASA in the run up to Apollo 11’s mission, and delve into the troubles, costs, and sacrifices that this mission caused not only the team at NASA, but also the United States of America. 

With both ‘Whiplash’ and ‘La La Land’ already under his directorial belt, I have complete faith that Chazelle will approach this film with as much passion and enthusiasm that is evident in both his previous films and deliver something truly spectacular.

‘First Man’ will hit cinemas October 12th 2018

Written by Tom Sheffield