In a brand new project, I am going to be looking weekly at the complete cinematic, feature-length filmography of a director in the run up to a newly-released piece of work.
In the first Filmography project, in advance of his new film Greta to be released in April 2019, I’m looking at celebrated Irish filmmaker Neil Jordan…
The Company of Wolves can be seen as the first stirrings of what would become certain Neil Jordan trademarks in his storytelling.
Sexuality, and principally forbidden sexuality, is right at the forefront of this take on the classic Red Riding Hood fairytale story, something Jordan hinted at exploring in his first film Angel and spirals very much back to in his next film, Mona Lisa. Jordan couches these themes in The Company of Wolves very much in the Gothic romantic tradition, with the central character of Rosaleen the young, naive, innocent beauty who is eventually courted by the literal Big Bad Wolf of folklore. The result is a strange, haunting and often quite eerie piece of work.
Though not Jordan’s best piece of work, it’s a striking next step in just how markedly different it is to his previous, debut picture.
2019 is now upon us which means another year of pictures that are likely to thrill, spill and disappoint in equal measure. Some we know a lot about, some we know little, but I thought I’d pick out 12 for 12 of those I’m the most intrigued to see.
These aren’t one film per month or anything, but are probably in order of my excitement. Let’s explore some of what’s to come…
As I stated in the first group of five in my Top 10 listing of films, 2018 has been a slim year for me in what I’ve been able to see. While I imagine some of these would still end up on a best of list, would they be top 5? I’m not sure. It’ll be an ever-evolving list.
I’d love to hear your Top 5’s though. I have a litany of recommended pictures I’ll work through in time but there could well be pictures I haven’t seen that are worth recommendation, so do point me in the direction of them.
Okay then, for better or worse, here are my Top 5 Films of 2018…
You’ve already heard my best film experiences of 2018, but I intentionally left new releases off that list in order to have some clear blue water, aware that I’d be presented a 2018 only list.
Now, in all honesty, I’ve seen just over 150 movies this year, and less than 30 of them are 2018 releases. There are many omissions from this ten. This list will, in the fullness of time, absolutely change as I see films many others already have on their lists. This is what I saw, however, so this is all I can, right now, go by.
#10 to #6 then. Let’s do this…
I threw out my Worst experiences of 2018 first, saving the Best until last, but here then, continuing from the #10 to #6 list of my Best experiences of 2018, of films that were not released in 2018, are the top 5 films I watched for the first time across this year.
I’ve decided to save the best until last and carry on with my cinematic Worst of 2018 – the films I saw not from 2018 but which were the true nadir of my film watching experience this year.
Interestingly, all of these movies came out in 2017, which was otherwise a damn good year for cinema. Catching up, however, these stinkers rose out from the pack. I cannot tell you how much these should be avoided, but I’ll have a go anyway.
There are winds in the east, a storm coming in apparently for the newly released Mary Poppins Returns, if some of the box office reports are accurate.
Forbes are saying that Rob Marshall’s sequel is being seen off quite resoundingly by the surprisingly critically acclaimed Bumblebee, and the fairly divisive Aquaman. The absence of a Star Wars this Christmas for the first time in three years has meant studios have thrown a few major blockbuster candidates into the pot, but it would have been a sure fire bet that family friendly musical Mary Poppins Returns—featuring the half-century long return of one of Disney’s most iconic characters—would rule the roost. This does not seem to be the case so far.
Yet a year ago, another musical, trailing in the wake of The Last Jedi, took audiences increasingly by storm as 2018 kicked off: The Greatest Showman.
To date, Michael Gracey’s film has made $434 million dollars at the global box office, making it the fifth most commercially successful musical of all time. All. Time. In one year. It climbed considerably at the box office on the back of word of mouth, fighting off not just The Last Jedi but other competitors with franchises behind their backs – Pitch Perfect 3 (one of my worst films of 2017) and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. There was over a 70% jump weekend on weekend as the film closed out 2017, which for an original musical, and a 19th century biopic no less, is quite remarkable.
The film collected accolades and nominations for its music, particular the song ‘This Is Me’. In the UK it became only the second album in 30 years to achieve 11 consecutive weeks at number 1. Fans over just the space of a year have started attending ‘sing along showings’ of the film. A sing along version can be watched now on streaming services alongside the traditional way to view it.
This has all been in the space of just 12 months. Can you think of any other film of this genre which has captured the public consciousness in quite the same way in recent years? Only Frozen eclipses it for reach and cultural crossover between children and adults, and that has the advantage of being Disney animation. The Greatest Showman is a live action biopic. How did this happen? And my biggest question, the one that has been rolling around in my head since I watched it a year on from when it was released… how have so many people been conned by it?