The Best Films of 2018 So Far
January to June, the Best of 2018
We're only half way through 2018, and we've already seen our fair share of great films. From sweeping blockbusters to quiet indies, this year has produced a diverse pool of cinematic gems, and it isn't even awards season yet. Consider this the first installment of our semi-annual best of list. Our favorite films of 2018 so far are...
Paul Schrader’s best film in years, First Reformed stars the perennially underrated Ethan Hawke in a masterful performance as a former military chaplain mourning the death of his son, tasked with harboring an explosive secret. First Reformed touches on heavy themes with sensitivity as well as propulsiveness - a gripping meditation on depression, faith, and in an unlikely turn, the environment.
A 2017 film with a 2018 release Stateside, François Ozon’s spiritual sequel to Young & Beautiful is trash done right. With 50 Shades idiotically culling the “pleasure” from “guilty pleasure,” Double Lover is here to fill that void of psychosexual camp. The tale of a woman caught between twin psychologist brothers is sexy, fascinating, and demented. De Palma by way of Cronenberg with its body horror and surreal twists, it's an erotic thriller that won’t insult your intelligence.
A Quiet Place
Who knew that John Krasinski had a horror film in him? And a good one at that. Following a post-apocalyptic family on the run from sound-sensitive beasts, A Quiet Place delivers with its scares and taut suspense, all without making a sound. Silent and powerful performances from Krasinski, Emily Blunt, and deaf actress Millicent Simmonds elevate the film above standard frightful fare.
Ryan Coogler's Black Panther is a black cinema milestone, it just also happens to be disguised as a popcorn superhero film. Dripping in rich culture and inspiring afrofuturism, the film is among Marvel's very best. Having one of the greatest villains also doesn't hurt - Michael B. Jordan's Killmonger is tragic, dangerous, and sympathetic in a way most movie baddies are not. You can read our full review here.
Corey Finley's feature film debut is a simple thriller that flexes its intimate stage play roots while also employing a sharply witty script, magnetic visuals, and some of the best sound design heard in modern film. Anya Taylor-Joy and Olivia Cooke play Lily and Amanda, two estranged friends brought together by a plot to murder Lily's father. Acerbic and biting, Thoroughbreds is a refreshing take on the modern thriller. Read our review here.
Jump scares and ghastly apparitions are bush league compared to the deep-rooted, traumatizing, and truly disturbing horror of Hereditary, the first feature-length film from director Ari Aster. The film follows the implosion of the Graham household after the death of the family matriarch. Toni Collette puts forth a career best as Annie Graham, twisting her face and unleashing unholy wails as she experiences terror after terror. Dark family secrets come out to play in one of the scariest films of the year. Our review is here.
A raunchy comedy with a heart of gold, Blockers is one of the funniest films of the year so far. Too often, R-rated comedies dip into a well of cruelty for their jokes, but Blockers is a refreshing change of pace. The story of a group of high schoolers with a pact to lose their virginities and the parents that try to stop them, Pitch Perfect writer Kay Cannon's directorial debut is an uproarious comedy of errors, and hilarious without being mean.
You Were Never Really Here
Joe (Joaquin Phoenix), a loner with a history of violence, is hired by a politician to rescue his teenage daughter from sex traffickers. A laser-focused, razor-simple story, You Were Never Really Here is a Westlake-esque exploration of darker themes. Running a palatable 89 minutes, director Lynne Ramsay's film is lean, impactful, and thrilling.