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Cinema

The 25 best films of 2018, from Avengers: Infinity War to Widows, released in Hong Kong

  • Heartbreak, humour, satire, betrayal, fantasy, reality ... these films span emotions and genres
  • See if you agree with our critics’ selection of the best movies of the year
PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 8:04pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 18 December, 2018, 8:10pm

Having gone through our list of the year’s 25 worst films, it’s time to sample some of the best that 2018 had to offer. Here are the 25 best films that the Post critics reviewed this year (up until December 18). Tell us your favourites in the comments.

25. Ash Is Purest White

Chinese filmmaker Jia Zhangke’s latest film is a complex and involving gangster saga. With a mood that swings from violence to humour to melancholy, it is led by the magnetic and irrepressible actress Zhao Tao, and has a verve to it that cannot be ignored. Read the full review

24. A Quiet Place

A Quiet Place is a post-apocalyptic horror set in a world where alien beasts have arrived and feed off humans. Their means for tracking prey? Sound. The film makes use of deadly effective creature VFX work. You’ll be grabbing your armrest tighter and tighter with this one. Read the full review

23. Can You Ever Forgive Me?

This true story of small-scale forgery and deceit is elevated by a deeply felt and well-schooled performance from Melissa McCarthy, and a colourful showing from Richard E. Grant. As a character study it’s excellent, smartly avoiding any scenes of sentimentality or redemption. Read the full review

22. Bright Sunshine In

French director Claire Denis returns with one of her more playful films in a story about finding love in your waning years. Juliette Binoche plays a Parisian artist in her mid-fifties glimpsed across a series of amorous encounters, and the result is both profoundly silly and acutely observed. Read the full review

21. Hereditary

Less a jump-out-of-your-seat roller coaster than a creeping mist of inescapable dread, Hereditary terrifies from its first unnerving moments to its bombastic, nerve-shredding finale. This is the most affecting and effective horror film of the year. Read the full review

20. One Cut of the Dead

We’ve probably all seen enough zombies and “films within films” to last a dozen lifetimes, yet Shinichiro Ueda’s innovative horror comedy proves there is still nourishment to be sucked from the zombie genre, if it’s seasoned with a little heart and brains. Read the full review

19. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

The second prequel to the Harry Potter series, this thrilling adventure is liable to have fans leaping from their seats. J.K. Rowling has never been afraid to get political and so it goes here. This richly rewarding tale feels like a blockbuster for our troubled times. Read the full review

18. Mission: Impossible – Fallout

Fallout is full of outrageous stunts, exotic locales, an engrossing plot and nerve-shredding tension, with writer-director Christopher McQuarrie serving up an old-fashioned action movie that draws from earlier episodes and, somehow, puts a new spin on familiar tropes. Read the full review

17. Somewhere Beyond the Mist

Nine years after he cemented his status as one of Hong Kong’s best documentary filmmakers with the acclaimed KJ, Cheung King-wai finally makes his full-length feature debut with this crime drama. It is a slow-burning masterpiece that makes you wonder why he did not try this earlier. Read the full review

16. The Shape of Water

A decade after Pan’s Labyrinth, fantasy film maestro Guillermo del Toro finally turns out another bona fide masterpiece. This sublime romantic fable is as much his homage to creature features and vintage Hollywood musicals as a call to arms for the oppressed minorities everywhere. Read the full review

15. 120 Beats per Minute

French filmmaker Robin Campillo’s film revolves around the Parisian branch of the HIV advocacy group ACT UP at the start of the 1990s as its members try to raise awareness of the Aids epidemic. It is at once an intensely personal film and one that will resonate with viewers today. Read the full review

14. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Not since the first Sam Raimi-directed live-action Spider-Man has there been a movie about Marvel’s web-slinging superhero that has been so darn fun. Using an exhilarating blend of computer-generated and 2D hand-drawn animation, it is also one of the most original cartoons in years. Read the full review

13. I, Tonya

This clever drama takes an innovative approach to telling disgraced Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding’s story. Director Craig Gillespie uses dramatised interviews, flashbacks, straight-to-camera dialogue and alternative points of view, and expertly cuts it all together to make a compelling whole. Read the full review

12. A Fantastic Woman

A story of grief, alienation and identity from a perspective rarely seen in any medium, this Chilean drama is easily one of the most important, and intimate, films of recent years. It is fully deserving of its Oscar win for best foreign language film. Read the full review

11. Widows

This adrenaline-fuelled contemporary thriller weaves sexual, racial and social politics into a gripping, muscular story. 12 Years a Slave director Steve McQueen smartly depicts a world where betrayal and corruption are rife, and his new film is a provocative, pulse-racing piece of work. Read the full review

10. The Florida Project

After shooting Tangerine on iPhones, director Sean Baker traded up and shot this on 35mm film to glorious effect. There are echoes of recent indie hits Moonlight and Beasts of the Southern Wild in how he perceives a chaotic home life through the innocent eyes of children. Read the full review

9. Avengers: Infinity War

With a sequel still to come, this gargantuan comic-book blockbuster is the culmination of a decade’s worth of superhero films. Full of death, destruction and sacrifice – both good and bad – Infinity War does not hold back. This is easily the best Marvel movie ever made. Read the full review

8. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

As he did so expertly in his debut In Bruges, director Martin McDonagh interweaves grief, humour, honesty and stylised thrills into a rich narrative tapestry that is at once unpredictable and wholly relatable. Read the full review

7. You Were Never Really Here

Joaquin Phoenix can always be relied upon to go above and beyond the call of duty for a role, but in this film one wonders if he has not done lasting physical and emotional damage to himself. His portrait of a broken man, lost in an incomprehensible world, is just that good. Read the full review

6. The Square

As in his previous film, Force Majeure, Swedish writer-director Ruben Östlund cuts to the heart of masculine fragility, and scrutinises the exposed entrails with unflinching honesty. The Square is satire at its finest and a hilarious takedown of snobbery and elitism. Read the full review

5. First Man

Damien Chazelle follows up his best director Oscar win for La La Land with a thrilling re-enactment of mankind’s giant leap. Ryan Gosling is perfect as Neil Armstrong, but it’s the film’s impeccable balance of visceral heroics and tender family drama that makes it one of the year’s best. Read the full review

4. Loveless

A stern, sombre and utterly rigorous work, Loveless is as bleak as its title suggests. Directed and co-written by Andrey Zvyagintsev (Leviathan, Elena), it’s a tale of a missing child that explores in great depth the themes of marriage and love, Russian society and the world at large. Read the full review

3. Phantom Thread

Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest film is unique even by his remarkable standards. And Daniel Day-Lewis, in what he claims to be his final role, is quite marvellous: cruel, vulnerable, humorous and preening. Read the full review

2. Shoplifters

Winner of the Palme d’Or at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, Shoplifters sees Hirokazu Koreeda pool his favourite themes into a heartbreaking drama that ranks among his very best. This quiet, angry masterpiece reaffirms once again that no other filmmaker working today has a better understanding of – or compassion for – families. Read the full review

1. Roma

Mexican maestro Alfonso Cuarón returns with his most personal film yet. Roma is a beautiful black-and-white love letter to his own childhood in early 1970s Mexico City, glimpsed through the eyes of the maid who raised him. With real-life events folded into the very minutiae of life, Cuarón has created one of the great films of this century. Read the full review

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