Manila, 22 December—There was a time I didn't think my year amounted to something that was good enough for recaps; it was a rather dark time. Thankfully, this year, no matter how batshit it's been, I'm in a place where it feels like life is worth making a couple of recaps for, and I think it's great.
ANYWAY: This year we did some things more than others, and this year we watched movies—both at home and at the cinemas.
In fact: We watched SIXTEEN MOVIES at the cinemas. You're welcome, cinema owners.
MOVIE RECAP 2018: In order of appearance, I guess
The Greatest Showman (January).Loved this charming little musical led by Hugh Jackman. People singing together really, really makes me weepy. Killer track: This is Me by Keala Settle. Check out this Reimagined OST.
Call me By Your Name (February). Wrote a mini-review of this coming of age film by Luca Guadagnino starring Timothee Chalamet and Armie Hammer in extremely short shorts. Loved the summer vibe and the colors.
Black Panther (February). This movie is easily one of the most amazing experiences this year—from the all-Black cast to the breathtaking action sequences, name it. This movie had 'blockbuster' written all over it. Also: Amazing empowered women galore! Loved it.
Four Sisters and a Wedding (March). This was a late watch haha. Someone asked me who I most related to in this movie, so I had to go and watch it to be able to answer. Also: I learned so many memes, including this GIF, always a favorite. (Also, I'm a Bobbie.)
Annihilation (March). We also watched a lot of movies on Netflix, and this sci-fi thriller is definitely notable. A little bit like Stranger Things, a little like Westworld, a little like Black Mirror, a little like Orphan Black, feels a lot like Arrival. Hella trippy.
A Quiet Place (April). You'd be hard-pressed to see me voluntarily going to the cinema to watch a horror movie, but for this movie, I did. Emily Blunt and John Krasinski are stellar in this movie, which has the most stressful stair scene in the entire history of stairs.
Never Not Love You (April). James Reid and Nadine Lustre are modern young Filipino lovers Gio and Joanne in this movie about what happens after happily ever after. There's a semblance of review here (where I mash it up with A Quiet Place, btw).
Avengers: Infinity War (April). SO. MANY. QUESTIONS! It felt like many movies mashed up into one, and up to now I'm still mighty confused. Also: I love Drax and Groot. Also: Thanos in Banaue! What's not to like?
The Incredibles 2 (June). Watch for that sequence with Jack-jack and the raccoon. That's it, that's the show. Anyway, did you catch that expanded clip of Edna inventing Jack-Jack's costume? Because that was also golden.
Ocean's 8 (June). Also known as the movie where Cate Blanchett's outfits demolished me as a lesbian. Anyway. This is my kind of heist movie, Sandra Bullock is underrated as a comedian, and don't get me started on Helena Bonham Carter oh my god. How she could be Bellatrix and this character—it really does not compute, it hurt my brain. Also: the distinct lack of boys is refreshing. Like, the men here could have literally been replaced by moving lamps and it wouldn't have mattered. Except for James Corden ("two of these!"), who was so lovely here, I read him as a woman.
Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again (July). Cheesy franchise is cheesy, BUT still a delight. Lily James as a younger Donna plus the younger versions of Christine Baranski and Julie Walters really shine in this, and their comedic timing is crisp and bright. Watch for that final performance of Super Trouper.
Buy Bust (August). I don't remember breathing at all while watching this Erik Matti movie about a police drug operation gone wrong in a Manila slum. A stark look at what's wrong with the government's violent war on drugs. (tl;dr: Everything.)
Moana (August). Promise not to laugh, but the truth is, I have never watched Moana before this year. It was amazing. Moana is an easy fave. Now I get the hype.
Crazy Rich Asians (August). Kris Aquino's brief cameo in this movie definitely sold it to the Filipino audience. I remember it most for Ken Jeong and Awkwafina. Also: I learned mahjong (albeit via mobile game) so that I could understand that mahjong scene LOL. Never too late to learn.
To all the boys I've loved before (August). Well, this was an unexpected charmer. Lara Jean and Peter Kavinsky are damn cute together. Also: FAKE DATING TROPE. Sold.
Kimi No Nawa (September). Oh wow this movie made me weep. I wish I caught it at the cinemas during its commercial run. Gorgeous animation, and that twist made me pause and rewind. Also: Stellar OST is stellar! I still use it as writing background :)
Goyo (September). This movie about legendary boy general Gregorio del Pilar had me fascinated yet again about side-stories glossed over during our history lectures in school. Compared to Heneral Luna, however, Goyo is a bit more muted. Wrote a brief review about this Jerrold Tarrog film here.
Next Gen (September). Can't rave enough about this animated film which is about a girl and a robot. We rarely get girls and robots in the same story without the girl being too sexy, Transformers style. Think Big Hero 6 but the protag is a girl with anger issues. Review-ish here.
A Star is Born (October). We wanted to check for ourselves if the hype was warranted, and it was. According to critics, this is an easy Oscar nomination for Gaga, whose portrayal of rising star Ally was stellar all the way through the roughly two-hour film. Heartbreaking and gorgeous, it is easy to forget who Gaga is in the first place. I got so lost in her portrayal of Ally, whose journey to stardom is both boosted and weighed down by her alcoholic partner Jack. For his part, Bradley Cooper is charming and arresting, if a bit unintelligible (subtitles preferred). When I first heard Shallow I didn't think it was particularly special, but watching it come alive in the movie had me teary-eyed. As a friend put it, "It moved my cold dead heart." Well, if I'll Never Love Again doesn't, I don't know what to say to you.
Bohemian Rhapsody (November). One word: Glorious. The movie follows the rise and fall and rise again of rock icon and Queen frontman Freddie Mercury, played by the amazing Rami Malek (who is definitely in the running for all sorts of awards because of his performance here.) It was great to know more about an icon who's truly larger-than-life the way Freddie Mercury was, and to somehow know how it felt like to be part of a Queen concert. Hot take: I like this better than A Star is Born. Rami Malek and Lady Gaga should have just made a movie together, tbh.
Wreck-it Ralph 2 (November). Why did we find this so damn funny? No idea. Watch for the Disney Princesses and Vanellope's hilarious Slaughter Race song. Also, stay through the credits for that fitting post-credit scene. This movie nails my kind of humor.
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (December). We've heard friends raving about this being their best movie for 2018, and it certainly did not disappoint! We went in with high hopes, and yes, it truly was all that. Go watch it! It's an experience.
Rec your favorites!
Whew! That was a mouthful, wasn't it? I can't believe we were able to watch that much—or document them, for that matter. Everything feels too far away. (I feel like Black Panther was ages ago!).
What great movies did you watch this year? Rec them please :)