(‘Tis the season for end of year lists and Hammer to Nail has you covered! Enjoy Chris Reed’s favorite films of 2018 below and stay tuned for Editor Don R. Lewis’ next week! Like what you see here on Hammer to Nail? Why not pay just $1.00 per month to help keep us going?)
It was an excellent year for both fiction and documentary films, especially if one looked outside mainstream commercial cinema, which is what we do here at Hammer to Nail (though there were a few big movies I liked enough to include in my lists, below). Under such circumstances, it becomes extremely hard for me to limit my choices to a traditional Top 10, as I found much to admire in a variety of genres and styles. Anything that took chances with story, form and tone caught my eye, though it also had to synthesize its various elements into a cohesive cinematic tapestry, however odd the pattern.
Here, then, are my Top 10 (plus 10 runners-up) for both narrative fiction and documentary films (I do not differentiate between foreign and domestic work, as a movie is a movie is a movie, irrespective of language). Some of these may not yet have been released (theatrically or online) in 2018, but since I, myself, caught them this year, I include them as if they have already come out (which gives you something to look forward to, right?). Where I have previously reviewed a film, I hyperlink its title to that review (most on this site, but a few for Film Festival Today, where I also write). Where no review (yet) exists, I include a few words to explain my choice.
Top 10 Best Narratives (in alphabetical order):
- Eighth Grade
- The Favourite
- First Reformed
- If Beale Street Could Talk
- The Rider
- Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
Top 10 Best Documentaries (in alphabetical order):
- The Dawn Wall
- Free Solo
- Hale County This Morning, This Evening
- Our New President
- Science Fair
- They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead
- Three Identical Strangers
- Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
10 Narrative Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):
- 3 Faces
- Black Panther
- Border – our editor, Don Lewis, plans to review this (lucky guy!), but here are my brief thoughts: Border, based on a short story by John Ajvide Lindqvist (who wrote the novel Let the Right One, itself turned into a great film), gives us a twisted fantasy where nothing is quite what it seems, and that’s all for the best. Protagonist Tina, with her scarred skin, beady eyes, excessive hair and bad teeth, is seen as an odd duck (or ugly duckling) by all, yet her ability to smell fear and discomfort makes her an ideal customs official. And then, one day, she meets a man just like her, and nothing is thereafter the same. Great performances and crazy plot twists make this a delightful arthouse horror-cum-fairytale-cum-thriller.
- The Captain
- Monsters and Men
- Night Comes On
- Summer 1993
- The Swan
- We the Animals
10 Documentary Runners-Up (in alphabetical order):
- Charm City
- The Island
- Island of the Hungry Ghosts
- Minding the Gap
- On Her Shoulders
- 306 Hollywood
- The World Before Your Feet
- Yours in Sisterhood
And that’s all folks! Happy Cinematic New Year to All!
– Christopher Llewellyn Reed (@ChrisReedFilm)
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