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Special Eyes: The Aro St. Video Shop Newsletter


It's our pleasure to present our annual Year-in-Review focusing on the highlights in feature films in the year of twenty-eighteen.

We managed to add another 600 titles to our library in 2018, but the road ahead continues to be tough, so stand by for "The AroVideo Survival Guide for 2019", which you can see as a work-in-progress on our Patreon page.

While we try to include something for everyone in our "Best of" list, it is admittedly skewed to festival goers and those that appreciate a range of savoury cinematic flavours, as opposed to the refined (or not-so-refined) sugars of Hollywood. We merit courageous or innovative film-making matched with exceptional craft, and also consider its impact on audiences (like you).

If some entries in the Top 50 seem like they belonged to the previous year, this is because it is specific to the DVD/Blu-Ray release in the calendar year. As it happens, the (visionary) films that occupy the top 2 places were released in January 2018, so they're indeed already a year old.

Always a bit of film-nerd fun, we hope it offers you some reliable guidance or at least stimulates some debate, so we encourage you to add your own star-rating and review/comment on any film to our website, or add any of those listed here to your personal wishlist when logged in to your My-Aro account.


Blade Runner 2049
1. Blade Runner 2049

A 35-year belated sequel of awe-inspiring beauty and intelligence


2. Mother!

This WTF horror film is actually a thrillingly audacious theological allegory

The Death of Stalin

3. The Death of Stalin

Outrageous, incisive satire for these ludicrous politcal times


4. Hereditary

A horror psychodrama directed with Kubrick-ian style and precision

The Breaker-Upperers

5. The Breaker-Upperers

A girl-powered Kiwi comedy crammed with confidence and charm

6. Ladybird

A personal, perfectly formed "alt" coming-of-age drama

The Florida Project

7. The Florida Project

American social realism with a singular, striking aesthetic

Phantom Thread

8. Phantom Thread

A spellbinding British period piece with gender-political bite

The Disaster Artist

9. The Disaster Artist

Poignant satire that charts a stranger-than-fiction Hollywood story

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

10. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Feisty, funny Mid-western crime drama


A Fantastic Woman
11. A Fantastic Woman

Compassionate, smart trans-gender character study from Chile

The Shape of Water

12. The Shape of Water

Guillermo Del Toro's Oscar-winning romantic fantasy

I, Tonya

13. I, Tonya

Shrewd black comedy biopic of Olympic ice-skating sabotage


14. Lucky

Gorgeous late-life meditation with the late, great Harry Dean Stanton


15. Disobedience

Sensual, layered tale of forbidden love in a London Jewish community

Leave No Trace

16. Leave No Trace

Graceful gem from the dir. of WINTER'S BONE starring Kiwi Thomasin McKenzie

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

17. Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Prodigious legal drama from the dir. of NIGHTCRAWLER

The Wife

18. The Wife

Gripping drama of patriarchal folly set in the elite literary world

Call Me By Your Name

19. Call Me By Your Name

Exquisite gay romance set in 1980s Northern Italy

The Post
20. The Post

Spielberg's "Pentagon Papers" media biopic made relevant for modern times

Battle of the Sexes
21. Battle of the Sexes

Adorable comedy that parodies sexism in the world of 70s tennis

Ingrid Goes West
22. Ingrid Goes West

Sharp, contemporary satire of obsession and Instagram culture

Killing of a Sacred Deer
23. Killing of a Sacred Deer

Cool and calculated thriller from the dir. of THE LOBSTER

24. Mandy

Dark, demented, deftly-controlled horror starring Nicolas Cage

The Handmaiden

25. The Handmaiden

Another astonishing psycho-sexual thriller from a Korean master

26. Upgrade

Kick-ass thriller that dispatches a fresh, hi-tech twist on revenge

The Square
27. The Square

Cannes-winning liberal satire set in the Swedish art world


28. Waru

Powerful drama threading eight shorts by NZ Maori women

Brigsby Bear

29. Brigsby Bear

Delightful indie comedy about the power of naivety

All The Money in the World
30. All The Money in the World

Ripping yarn on the Getty kidnapping scandal of the 1970s

A Quiet Place
31. A Quiet Place

Highly effective horror built on a unique premise

Isle of Dogs
32. Isle of Dogs

Daringly eccentric 3D-animation from Wes Anderson

33. Manifesto

Art installation edited as a dazzling feature film experience

Thor: Ragnarok
34. Thor: Ragnarok

Kiwi Taika Waititi's slam-dunk Marvel blockbuster

Beatriz at Dinner

35. Beatriz at Dinner

Ascerbic comedy-drama for the Trump era

A Simple Favour

36. A Simple Favour

A delicately savage comic thriller w/ Anna Kendrick & Blake Lively

Mom and Dad
37. Mom and Dad

Bonkers black comedy that ingeniously inverts a primal instinct

The Darkest Hour
38. The Darkest Hour

Churchill biopic feat. Gary Oldman's Oscar-winning performance

39. Menashe

Vividly authentic tale of a hapless father in Hasidic New York

City of Ghosts
40. City of Ghosts

Essential documentary dissection of the open wound that is Syria

41. Unsane

Teasing psychological horror from dir. Steven Soderbergh

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
42. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society

Warm & whimsical WWII tearjerker


43. Coco

Another Pixar stunner levelled only by expectation


44. Mountain

Rhapsodic spectacle about our fascination with mountains

Game Night

45. Game Night

Wildly entertaining Hollywood crime confection

46. BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee's 70s-set satiric thriller fuelled with contemporary rage

47. Beirut

Tense, old-school espionage thriller

48. Faces Places

Beguiling French road movie tour of art and friendship

The Rider

49. The Rider

Subtle and deeply felt portrait of an injured rodeo rider


50. Searching

Unique cyber-thriller filmed entirely on "screens"

These also made the not-so-short list for the Best (or at least notable) releases of 2018 ~

In Drama (UK/Ire): The Party, Goodbye Christopher Robin, God's Own Country, Lady Macbeth, The Bookshop, Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool, Funny Cow, Edie, Crooked House, Mary Shelley, The Journey, The Escape, Ethel & Ernest, Loving Vincent.

In Drama (US): Chappaquiddick, Detroit, Ali's Wedding, Borg Vs. McEnroe, Brad's Status, Breath, Sweet Country, LBJ, Last Flag Flying, Mary Magdalene, Maudie, The Hero, Tully, Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, Certain Women, Novitiate, The Lovers.

In Comedy: Crazy Rich Asians, Blockers, Love, Simon, Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again, The Greatest Showman, Book Club, Tag, Downsizing, Ideal Home, The Happytime Murders, Finding Your Feet, Ladies in Black, That's Not Me, Ali's Wedding. 

In Documentary: Bombshell: The Hedy Lamarr Story, McQueen, The Farthest, Tea With the Dames, Spitfire, Chicken People, Take Every Wave, Marina Abramovic in Brazil, The Gospel According to Andre, Whiteley, Plus doco imports (multizone player required): Leaning into the Wind, Human Flow, Dawson City: Frozen Time, Wizard Mode, The Land of the Enlightened, The Final Year, Citizen Jane: Battle for the City, Dries, My Journey Through French Cinema. 

In Foreign Language: Graduation, Pop Aye, Loveless, Foxtrot, The Other Side of Hope, I Am Not a Witch, The King's Choice, BPM, In the Fade, Blade of the Immortal, Le Redoutable, Sami Blood, The Teacher, Happy End, Kiki, Love to Love, The Death of Louis XIV, Frantz, See You Up There, Back to Burgundy, The Second Mother, The Midwife, C'est La Vie. 

In Sci-Fi/Fantasy:  Ready Player One, Avengers: Infinity War, Black Panther, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Ant-Man and the Wasp, Deadpool 2, The Meg, Rampage, What Happened To Monday. 

In Action/Crime: Mission: Impossible - Fallout, Ocean's 8, Sicario: Day Of The Soldado, Brothers' Nest, Hotel Artemis, Red Sparrow, Only the Brave, Den of Thieves, Shot Caller, Walking Out. 

In Horror: Happy Death Day, Better Watch Out, The Monster, and stranger things: The Endless, A Dark Song, Good Manners, My Friend Dahmer, Dude Bro Party Massacre III, The Evil Within.

In Family: Paddington 2, Wonder, Christopher Robin, The House With the Clock in its Walls, Incredibles 2, Smallfoot, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies, Swallows and Amazons, My Life as a Zucchini, Ferdinand, Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, Mary and the Witch's Flower, Early Man, Peter Rabbit.

In Music: Elvis Presley: The Searcher, Whitney, Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, Midnight Oil 1984, Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars, Jimmy Barnes: Working Class Boy, Gurrumul, The Go-Betweens: Right Here, Buena Vista Social Club: Adios, Rumble.

NZ connection: No Ordinary Sheila, Hibiscus & Ruthless, Kobi, Wellington Paranormal, The Free Man, 6 Days.

Outstanding TV Mini-series and series debuts (US): The Handmaid's Tale, Twin Peaks, Sharp Objects, The Path, StartUp, Tin Star, Cardinal, Mr. Mercedes, The Sinner, Search Party, (UK): Patrick Melrose, Broken, Hard Sun, Rellik, Keeping Faith, In the Dark, Fearless, Howards End, Little Women, The Crown, (Aus): Top of the Lake: China Girl, Mystery Road.

If all that's not enough, be sure to browse the Adopted Movies New to our Catalogue and also the AroVideo Top 50 Films of 2017 newsletter...




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