A pair of animated superhero fares managed to blow away much of the fatigue I felt for the particular genre. Teen Titans Go! was the cheekier of the two, hiding a pretty effective deconstruction of the economics of the endless barrage of Supermans, Spider-mans and avenging Marvel heroes, in a colourful, hilarious romp with some fabulous music. Into the Spider-Verse, on the other hand, managed to be incredibly moving, resoundingly funny, and packed with terrific action sequences. Both are brilliant, and infinitely more grounded and likeable then any other superhero film this year.
I couldn't possibly pick one of these terrific horrors over the other. Revenge took one of the worst horror subgenres (rape revenge films are almost as unforgivingly terrible as torture porn) and reshaped it into a feminist cry of rage. Matilda Anna Ingrid Lutz gives one of the best performances of the year, while Coralie Fargeat sensationally directs the film. On the other hand, Halloween has some of the best horror sequences of the year whilst feeling decidedly of the moment, exploring the impact of abuse by jettisoning the increasingly dire Halloween sequels and drawing off of the original.
Corey Finley's startling debut feels uniquely of its own. Intricately constructed and icily unapproachable, it makes for a wonderfully hypnotic watch. Marking Anton Yelchin's tragic final film, it is greatly enhanced by his sleezily pathetic turn. But the real stars are Olivia Cooke and Anya Taylor-Joy, two of the most exciting actors currently working in Hollywood.
7. Love, Simon
Love, Simon is equally part uplifting and heartbreaking. The film lulls you into a false sense of security by being a glossy teen rom com, but then packs a series of emotional punches that make the second half almost too painful. It is all carried off by a pitch perfect ensemble, headed up by an endearing turn from Nick Robinson (not that one).
Officially released on New Year's Day, The Favourite is previewing over the next few weeks enough to sneak into my top 10. A vulgar, fabulous, baroque comedy, The Favourite is a lot of movie, an uproariously entertaining film that will make you laugh, want to cry and run from the screen. But stay in your seat and you'll treated to a trio of sensational performances from Weisz, Stone and Colman (please give her the Oscar).
A powerful drama that devastates as much as it uplifts. Telling a much-needed story, the film was a worthy winner of the Best Foreign Film Oscar. Director Sebastián Lelio mixes a gentle, caring touch with moments of wonderful surrealism. And yet the film would not work if it weren't for a blistering performance from Daniela Vega.
4. Lady Bird
Greta Gerwig has steadily been cultivating her craft, and chose this year to unleash her proper directorial debut in the form of Lady Bird, a deeply personal story that nonetheless has fragments throughout that resonate with the audience. Saoirse Ronan continues her terrific run of films in an ensemble that is just wonderful. A film that feels universal for my generation.
There are so few films like Roma. Simultaneously intimate and breathtakingly intimate, it is the work of a director at the height of their craft. Writer-director Cuarón (who also marshalls the film's cinematography) produces a film that resonates on an emotional level, astounds on a technical level, and will surely linger as one of the great masterpieces of the past five years.
Somehow a franchise that is 22 years old and six films in has managed to produce its freshest and best installment yet. Propelling itself from action sequence to action sequence at a frantic pace, the film has everything you could want in a modern blockbuster. I loved every single minute, from that incredible toilet fight through to the bonkers helicopter chase that closes the film.
Really any of my top four could have been my top film. But there is something about American Animals that has lingered for months. A funny, enraging look at toxic masculinity and the role of truth in cinema (and maybe even society as a whole), it really is a cinematic triumph. Like The Social Network if their genius idea had been to steal an expensive book.