December 31st, 2018

BB Piano

Faves of 2018

As is the annual tradition, my favourite films, TV, music, and games from 2018.

Films. 2018 was another reasonable year, but I wouldn't call it a stand out. I'm into the second year of my cinema subscription, which means I got to see a fair few from the current year. I need to start tagging everything that's decent though throughout the year so I can add in anything older.

Shape of Water. This was the stand out among those I did watch, so the definite top film this year. For me it had it all: great and unusual story, fab performances, and a lovely soundtrack.

Annihilation. Sadly no cinema release, but another great and unusual story that somewhat channels Stalker (1979), but actually goes somewhere... ish.
The Escape. A "small" film, but a deep and important story, amazing performances, and a gorgeous soundtrack.

Honourable mentions...
Marrowbone (sometimes listed as The Secret of Marrowbone). On the festival circuit in 2017, but didn't get a proper release until 2018. A really great mystery and horror, albeit with an emphasis on the former.
Mission: Impossible - Fallout. Another great entry in the series, but perhaps not quite as good as the previous two films.
Upgrade. A small-ish science fiction film, but does mostly great things with the story.
Three Identical Strangers. The most mind-blowing documentary I've seen, at least that I can remember. Life can be stranger than fiction etc.
Bohemian Rhapsody. An incredible biopic with an amazing performance from Rami Malek, but hits my pet peeve of changing the facts to suit the film.
Green Book. A secret screening at Cineworld, and a real surprise. Again based on a true story, although I don't know how accurate it is.
Mary Poppins Returns. A surprisingly good sequel that gives the original a run for its money, albeit didn't quite make it for me.

TV. I'm not sure if due to lack of time or a bad memory, but either way I don't remember liking much TV. But of what I did watch...
Maniac. Mostly great because it was unusual, combined with an interesting story.
The Tick. The second half of season 1 was released this year. Again an unusual story, albeit based on the original comic.
Black Mirror. Technically a 2017 release, albeit late 2017. I'm sure I must have watched some of it in 2018. And there's the new interactive film that's just come out.


Nutty Noah's You Might Die. Regular readers might have picked up that I'm a huge fan of Noah, so it was a real treat to get a fourth album of songs. My definite favourite album of the year. There's a mix of pure comedy, and a couple of deeper songs with a comedy edge to them. I think Noah's a songwriting genius, managing to produce music that's fun and meaningful for both kids and parents.

The Prodigy's No Tourists. An album of reasonable Prodigy bangers, which is about as much as you can ask for.
Tom Rosenthal's Z-Sides. Tom covers his own songs with a more chilled out vibe, and he did release an EP or two as well of original material.
Sylva's Sylva EP. A collaboration between the amazing Will Cookson and Amy May Ellis, which still has that lovely Will Cookson sound. Sylva also released an EP of original Christmas songs.
Afro Celt Sound System's Flight. The latest from Afro Celt. Not quite as immediate for me as some of their albums, but I do love a couple of tracks on there.
Pogo's Ascend (and the just released Quantum Field). Hard to know how to feel about Pogo following some past interviews dug up this year, but focussing on the music it's as toe-tapping as ever, if you like dance mash ups with film and TV samples.
Sigrid. Although a mix of EPs and singles, with an album due in 2019, the Norwegian lass provides some surprisingly original and great pop songs. Spotted on Later... with Jools Holland.

Games. I always struggle for time when it comes to games, but reviewing Steam I played more than I remembered.
Raft. You literally start on a tiny raft, lost on the sea. Aside from its originality, it mostly succeeded in treading that line between grind and fun, although it's in early access and I ended up running out of interesting things to do. I sunk 13 hours into it.
Subnautica. Closing the year with this. It's received rave reviews, and rightly so as it's both deep and hugely addictive. Again, another of those games that manages to balance grind and fun, and I've sunk almost 30 hours into it so far, albeit I'm near the end.
Grand Theft Auto V. How can a Grand Theft Auto game be bad? Yet again, it can't. 15 hours played.
State of Decay: Year-One. Another fun game, set in a post-apocalyptic world of zombies, although it struggles with the fun/grind balance, and a lack of direction. It got bumped for Subnautica. 8 hours played.
Two Point Hospital. A spiritual successor to Theme Hospital that does a great job of bringing it up-to-date. Like a lot of management sims it struggled with the fun/grind balance, and I got bored of it. 11 hours played.

(Past faves from 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017.)