The Year in Review: Byte’s Top-Reviewed Movies of 2018
This year has been quite a long year, or at least it felt that way. There are many movies released that most people probably forgot came out this year. For example, Sony Pictures’ Slender-Man released this year. Remember when that happened? Venon was also this released year and was one of the biggest successes of the year, believe it or not. This year was loaded with remakes, reboots, reshoots, and plenty of trash. Which is not to say this year wasn’t lacking great films or even some original films as well. There’s only one film that perhaps in another Spider-Verse would’ve made the cut-off for this year’s list. The rest of these films are highly deserving of their place on this list, and should be seen by any person looking for a good time.
by Eli Sokeland
Incredibles 2 had a lot of anticipation leading up to its release. While many familiar faces are back, the film does an excellent job showcasing new characters. Furthermore, Incredibles 2 mixes the family aspect along with action better than its predecessor. Lastly, the visuals and music wraps the film into an excellent show for both newcomers and veterans of an older Pixar generation.
by Emily Reuben
David Green’s Halloween is without a doubt the best horror entry in 2018, an amazing feat for a mainstream horror flick to accomplish. Halloween manages to not only be a loving nostalgic callback to the original film, but a solid narrative in its own right. The cinematography is solid, and actually quite impressive in some instances, John Carpenter’s iconic score fits the film fabulously, and the acting, specifically Jamie Lee Curtis’ role as Laurie Strode, makes for an energetic ride from opening to credits.
While Halloween isn’t exactly scary, it is unlikely that many horror fans are coming for a genuine scare; fans watch for Michael Myers, and for the most part Myers doesn’t disappoint. Myers is just as ruthless as he was in past entries in the franchise, but it should be noted that the film does chicken out of allowing Michael to be irredeemably evil, most likely to appease sensible audiences. Despite this minor gripe, Halloween is a must see for any horror fan and far surpassed expectations.
Avengers: Infinity War
by Phil Akin
Watching every Marvel isn’t necessary to enjoy Avengers Infinity War, because it’s a fully complete story from Thanos’ perspective. Despite the seemingly huge cliffhanger of course. The hero Thanos carries the movie despite constant conflict from the other “heroes” who want to steal the spotlight. Despite a few flaws here and there, the movie succeeds in bringing together 10 years worth of MCU history.
Ralph Breaks the Internet
by Trevor Sheffield
Ralph Breaks the Internet, at first glance, is a risky gamble for not only the Wreck-It Ralph series but the current streak of successes coming from Disney’s flagship animation studio. Thanks to an extremely strong emotional throughline and some of the best vocal performances I’ve seen in an animated film to date, Ralph Breaks the Internet manages to defy these expectations and then some. Its depiction of the Internet is the closest Hollywood has come to depicting a “realistic” version of the Net despite its sanitization (because Disney) and manages to still feel timeless despite being very much rooted in 2018 and our relationship with an “always on” world. While it is held back by some timing constraints and the occasional lack of restraint, it still stands as one of 2018’s best features.
by Daniel O’Connell
When I first went to see Annihilation, I thought it would be your standard science fiction horror that would please the genre fans, as would be expected from writer-director Alex Garland. When I left the theater, I got that and a lot more. The film honestly feels like a spiritual successor to the Andrei Tarkovsky film Stalker. The movie is surreal, with the atmosphere of the Shimmer being unsettling and makes one paranoid while watching it. There are also beautiful and interesting visuals within the Shimmer, ranging from the creatures to the landscapes. Helping the movie are great performances by the cast, especially Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Add in a thought provoking ending, and you have one of the best films of the year.
The Best of Heartland Film Festival 2018
This year, Byte was once again invited to attend the Heartland Film Festival, and our team of reviewers dove into and reviewed a ton of amazing films at the show this year. Although not every film was a winner, there were many tear-jerking and heart-warming films that deserve to be seen. The ones mentioned here are the cream of the crop from Heartland this year.
by Trevor Sheffield
Howard is at its core a celebration and a eulogy for a songwriter whose work has become ingrained in our pop culture and only grows more and more immortal by the day. Through a unique visual language and a massive emphasis on the subject at center stage (Howard Ashman, who is known for his work on the Little Shop of Horrors musical, along with numerous Disney features), you get a genuine picture of who Ashman was as a person and the true tragedy of his death. While the film does deal with some pacing issues in its latter half, it doesn’t diminish the emotional punch that it all builds to. Howard deserves more recognition overall, and it deserves to stand as one of Heartland’s best this year.
by Tanner Kinney
During Heartland, I had a hard time picking out my favorite film between Thunder Road, Radium Girls, and Nathan’s Kingdom. Now that some time has passed, I’ve realized that Thunder Road is the real winner of this non-competition and is probably the best movie I’ve seen this year. It’s a wild ride, one that is both heartwarming and discomforting, lead by the amazing writing, directing, and acting style of Jim Cummings. There were so many great and memorable moments in the film that even a couple months after seeing the film, I can still piece together all of the great scenes in my mind, which almost never happens with movies for me. Thunder Road is a fantastic watch, and if you have an afternoon and eight dollars, I would more than recommend buying it off Amazon and watching it as soon as you can. It’s just that amazing.
by Tanner Kinney
A close second of my favorite Heartland films, Radium Girls tells a story about corruption in corporate America that has never truly been explored in a visual format. It tells the story of the New Jersey Radium Girls in a way that’s both a cinematic beauty and a historical artifact. This film would sit perfectly on the shelves of both cinephiles and middle school history teachers. The greatness of this film can be attributed to great performances, particularly from Wish Upon’s Joey King, a gorgeous visual aesthetic in costuming and set design, and a perfect time-appropriate soundtrack. It’s equal parts horrible and hopeful, with a sucker punch ending that makes one hell of a statement. Once Radium Girls officially releases, I definitely recommend picking this one up for both educational and emotional enjoyment.
Images: IMDb, Heartland Film Festival, and Post Star
Featured Image: Tt Shinkan
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