The best films of 2018

Dec 31, 2018
best films of 2018 philippines

Contrary to a lot of people would say, 2018 was not a great year for cinema. I’m not just sold on the fact that I get to watch great films, only to realize I might never get to see them again, or even more people get to have the platform to see it. 

Distribution has been a constant problem. Cinema chains have been a constant problem. Quality films will always be there, no question. But their short-lived fare on the big screen will be a gargantuan challenge to destruct. 

Philippine cinema in 2018 reintroduces us to talents that went big with their latest films (Dwein Baltazar, Irene Villamor, Whammy Alcazaren, Carlo Catu) while giving long-awaited comebacks to icons of the medium (Mike De Leon, Chito Roño, Lav Diaz). 

On the international spotlight, blockbusters still reign, but it gives non-English titles a much bigger room to broadcast their stories (at least in the online platform). 

Beyond its flaws, there are few films that I’m still thankful for. These are my personal favorites for the year, which in my book, are the best:

10. Roma (Alfonso Cuaron) (review)

roma best films of 2018 philippines

‘Roma’ was made with so much compassion and earnestness. On the basis of just how it’s technically competent, you can tell this is the film Alfonso Cuaron has been itching so long to make. It’s always a welcome treat to see filmmakers share a part of themselves, but here, he vows to put the focus on his former caretaker; this selflessness is what makes ‘Roma’ work. 

9. Paddington 2 (Paul King) 

paddington 2 best films of 2018 philippines

It’s impossible to not fall in love with this movie, even for someone like me who just almost given up watching children’s movies. I will be very honest that I do envy the kids that will grow up watching this. ‘Paddington’ might very well be one of the best film franchises out there, and a lot of people are missing a lot not seeing it.

8. Mission: Impossible - Fallout (Christopher McQuarrie) (review)

mission impossible fallout best films of 2018 philippines

Would you blame me for including this blockbuster? A sequel, let alone, the sixth installment of a franchise could really trigger interest fatigue, but the ‘Mission: Impossible’ franchise just keeps getting better and better. ‘Fallout’ has the right mix of political intrigue and action sequences to make it an exciting treat. 

7. Shoplifters (Kore-eda Hirokazu) (review)

shoplifters best films of 2018 philippines

At times, I actually feel like I wasn’t watching a movie during ‘Shoplifters.’ Its characters and their individual and familial plays feel tangible. This film instantly locked me in, and brutally shred me to pieces after. 

6. Never Tear Us Apart (Whammy Alcazaren) (review)  

fisting never tear us apart best films of 2018 philippines

I have to admit that I was unsure if I actually like this movie after watching it. The treatment can be polarizing to the large crowd, but it does grow on you as unexplainable images became new obsessions. Great films will manage to talk with you even after watching it. ‘Never Tear Us Apart’ still whispers, encouraging you to get to know it better.

5. Gusto Kita With All My Hypothalamus (Dwein Baltazar) (review

gusto kita with all my hypothalamus best films of 2018 philippines

I don’t know how she did it, but Dwein Baltazar perfectly encapsulates the idea of “male gaze” a lot of male directors weren’t able to pull off. I don’t know if everyone will accept its latter choices throughout, but it’s definitely worth a long discussion. Great film overall, but in my opinion, not the best Baltazar this year (wink wink)

4. Kung Paano Hinintay ang Dapithapon (Carlo Catu) (review)

kung paano hinintay ang dapithapon best films of 2018 philippines

‘Kung Paano Hinintay ang Dapithapon’ is lush and a breath of fresh air for senior representation in local cinema (which was noticeably improved this year with ‘Delia and Sammy’ and even ‘ML’). I cried here more than I thought it would be, anchored mostly by John Carlo Pacala’s screenplay, my favorite film script of the year. 

3. Cold War (Pawel Pawlikowski) (review)

cold war best films of 2018 philippines

Simplicity is ‘Cold War’s strongest suit. It’s about intersections and the chances for another shot at unity. Imagine Linklater’s ‘Before’ trilogy compressed in 90-minute running time, and still done effectively.  

2. Burning (Lee Chang-Dong) (review)

burning best films of 2018 philippines

I knew nothing about ‘Burning’ before seeing it. I was desperate to know how this thing will wrap itself throughout because each scene keeps outdoing itself. There’s brutal honesty in this film of the multiple class culture of its locale, and while it might feel foreign at times, the intrigue manages to seep through. And that ending, oh that ending. 

1. Oda Sa Wala (Dwein Baltazar) (review)

oda sa wala best films of 2018 philippines

I did not struggle to put this film on the top of my list. Everything about it works at just the right level. ‘Oda Sa Wala’ is conveniently paced, impressively supported by its actors (what a performance, Marietta Subong), beautifully shot, and just directed with so much care and precision. You can tell the touch of the director in every frame, of where and how each puzzle pieces of the cinematic language can be assembled to great extent.

I was perplexed leaving this movie. I can’t describe what I just saw. Could be one of the best Filipino films of the year, or of all-time. I wish more people get to see it. This film definitely needs more conversation than what it has now. 

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