I'm coughing, wheezing, spluttering and dribbling copiously as I write this, with the additional inconvenience of a fever I've had which suddenly came over me on Sunday, since when most of my time has been spent under the duvet, only getting up to feed the five pussycats (at latest count) who are relying on me to satisfy their appetites, something I don't possess myself under current conditions.
I haven't been in appropriate frame of mind to spend time anguishing over my choices this year or their respective placings in the list so here are the ones which leapt out for me. Both choices and positions may well change tomorrow. Too bad if they do 'cos there'll be no updates!
10. The Wife - Glenn Close shows again why she deserves the accolade of 'star'.
9. Widows - Steve McQueen pulls off a thoroughly enjoyable heist romp with a spectacular twist.
8. The Post - lucid account of struggle between American newspaper and government. With Streep and Hanks leading the cast it could hardly have been bettered.
7. Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again - Many said that this was even better than the original. I'll only say that it was at least as good, which is sufficiently handsome praise in itself.
6. A Quiet Place - one of those films, in this case a 'horror', which haunts the mind and will stay with me probably forever.
5. American Animals
Based on audac-ious, true story of stealing certain price-less library books, the film makes for a near-perfect entertainment which I wouldn't have thought could possibly have been real. Good stuff!
Spike Lee gives one of his punchiest films yet in this true tale of black American infiltrating the K.K.K.
3. Mary Poppins Returns
I reckon this might be my most contro-versial inclu-sion. I don't care, having had a whale of a time, and if I wasn't feeling so under the weather I'd have been to see it again. Still want to.
2. Three Billboards Ourside Ebbing Missouri
Profound, troubling story flawlessly brought to screen with casting that's perfection itself.
And a drumroll, please, for...........
1. The Phantom Thread
Totally hypnotic from start to finish, though you do need to be a Daniel Day Lewis fan to appreciate it to its fullest. Even if this turns out not to have been his final screen appearance he's going to find it very hard indeed to top this. My idea of cinematic perfection.
My short list consisted of 32 films (out of 87, one less than 2017) but I don't have time nor inclination to argue why so many of them missed out on final inclusion. Gripe if you want to!
Oh, and my 'Turkey of the Year'? That goes to 'Stanley: Man of Variety' which you almost certainly won't recall or will ever have heard of, despite it virtually solely starring that dependable stalwart, Timothy Spall. But that's the way the cookie crumbles, is it not?
22 minutes ago