- Review: Laugh Riot @ Refract:21, Waterside Arts - 30 July, 2021
- Preview: Refract Festival, Waterside Arts, Manchester - 5 July, 2021
- Review: Manchester Jewish Museum - 4 July, 2021
2018 has been a great year for movies. In our list of the top 10 films of the year, there are a surprising number of horror movies, some great comedies, three films based on real events, and only one superhero movie! Here are numbers 10 to 6.
10. Crazy Rich Asians
I like this movie. It’s your basic rom-com with sickeningly rich protagonists, with the main exception that these sickeningly rich people are Singaporean. The plot is predictable, the finale heartwarming, and the outfits beyond even Sex and the City levels of fabulous – and that’s what makes it great.
The film is also packed with stars, including comedians Constance Wu (Fresh off the Boat) and Nico Santos (Superstore), rapper and actor Awkwafina, and frenetic scene-stealer Ken Park (Community) which injects the run-time with plenty of humour and gravitas.
9. The Happy Prince
Rupert Everett stars (and writes and directs) in this important film about the later years of Oscar Wilde.
Wilde is a hugely influential queer writer, and this was something of a passion project for Rupert. It’s also must-see cinema for any LGBT person who wants to know about our own history as told by ourselves.
Wilde narrates the excesses and regrets of his life from a squalid Parisian bed, taking in his love of Lord Alfred Douglas, his strained relationship with his wife, and the support of Robbie Ross on the way to his scandalous fall from grace. Despite it all, his natural wit survives long into his decline, even if his life ends on a tragic note.
8. Mission Impossible: Fallout
This is a big, bombastic action film packs a lot of tension into its running time. It’s no surprise this is more popular with audiences than recent outings in the franchise. It has almost too many twists and turns, but manages to keep it all together by the end, ramping up the stakes before avoiding an almost apocalyptic cataclysm.
The fight sequences are polished and realistic, without losing detail, and there are some neat set pieces: a fight in a nightclub toilet, parachuting onto slippery roofs, an underground shoot-out, a helicopter dangling off a cliff.
7. Bohemian Rhapsody
Bohemian Rhapsody takes a lot of license with the facts of Freddie Mercury’s life, but that’s forgivable because it creates a very moving portrait of his life that touches on important issues such as tabloid salaciousness, stigma around HIV and AIDS, and homophobia.
Directed by X-Men‘s Bryan Singer, Bohemian Rhapsody is about Queen’s rise to prominence and the lead up to 1985’s Live Aid. It focuses largely on the character of Mercury, and how he effectively took over the band and drove them to international success.
Though at times Mercury is villainised in the plot to make the rest of the band seem better, this is done for dramatic tension and can be forgiven if you’re realistic about the film’s bias. There is plenty of truth in Bohemian Rhapsody, however, and it’s certainly a positive thing that his surviving bandmates want to protect him and do his memory justice.
Overall, it’s a touching ode to a beloved rock star, and a worthy entry on this list.
6. You Might Be the Killer
You Might Be the Killer started out as a humorous Twitter exchange between two iconic genre writers, Chuck Wendig and Sam Sykes. A bit of fun between friends grew into a viral sensation, as the two jokingly detailed a fictional horror story that made comedy gold from the tropes of the genre.
Now that Twitter exchange has been turned into a film, starring Vada fave and Buffy the Vampire Slayer legend Alyson Hannigan as Chuck and Fran Kranz as Sam.
It’s directed by Brett Simmons, with producers Griff Furst and Tom Vitale (and Chuck Wendig and Sam Sykes). Without a distribution deal, it’s had limited screening so far (including at Fantastic Fest in Austin). We hope this comes to cinema screens (or at least Netflix) sometime soon, so that more audiences can enjoy it!