WHAT TO WATCH
It might have closed the year by winning the AACTA Award for Best Australian Film, but this January release spent the whole year as 2018’s finest work. Never have the wide open expanses of the outback felt so claustrophobically menacing. Not a frame, sound, look or gesture is out of place in this brutal, beautiful and bitterly insightful experience. If you haven’t seen it already, track it down this summer.
2ISLE OF DOGS
An incredible feat of both stop-motion animation and refined screen aesthetics from the great Wes Anderson ( Grand Budapest
Hotel). A dream combo of adventurous storytelling, accessible humour and some of the finest vocal performances ever recorded for an animated production.
A modern horror masterpiece, slowly and sinisterly building a tower of cower from which there is no coming down. Luring you all the way up to intimidating heights is an incredible, career-best performance from Toni Collette, riskily reaching for notes clearly beyond most actors.
Clearly one of the most graceful, funny, alert and alive coming-of-age pictures ever made. The ultra-consistent Saoirse Ronan reached a dizzying new high as the precocious student perpetually at loggerheads with her home town, her mother and herself.
5THEY SHALL NOT GROW OLD
This stunning documentary was a longtime passion project for decorated director Peter Jackson, who guided audiences on a deeply immersive, haunting and all-too-human jour- ney across the battlefields of World War 1. In full colour and in 3D.
6 A STAR IS BORN
It might have been the fourth time Hollywood visited this familiar tale of triumph, tragedy and trusting in love when all else fails. Nevertheless, the innate filmmaking nous of Bradley Cooper and the instinctive acting of Lady Gaga found plenty that was fresh, relevant and moving.
7 A QUIET PLACE
This brilliant apocalyptic thriller expanded one basic idea - make a single noise and you die - into a complex mental endurance course. Writer-director John Krasinski crafted an experience that was nerve-shredding, spellbinding and utterly impossible to turn away from.
8 FIRST MAN
While it remains a mystery as to why Hollywood took so long to tell the story of the first successful expedition to the moon, the wait proved to be truly worth it. The bravely unor- thodox visual style and skeletal storytelling structure both triumphed against the odds.
9THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI
Funny, sad, wildly unpredictable and shrewdly insightful, this gripping drama defiantly marched to the beat of its own drum. Leading from the front was an Oscar-winning Frances McDormand as an anguished mother seeking justice for her late daughter.
The first Marvel movie blockbuster to put a superhero of colour at the epicentre of the action didn’t just hit its marks. It left marks. landmarks. Not just in the interests of racial diversity on screen, but also gender equality. The most significant box-office hit of the year.
Scene from Sweet Country