2018 is halfway over, and there have been some truly outstanding films that have already been released in what is usually considered the slower part of the year for movies. 2018 started off with some true gems, and here are the movies that have stood out to me, in alphabetical order, as highlights of the first six months of 2018.
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Avengers: Infinity War” had every reason to fail, it had every reason to disappoint, but somehow I am here to say that it surpassed all of my wildest expectations. The comedy was there, the heroes all gave terrific performances and the action sequences are phenomenal. But, none of that mattered if Josh Brolin wasn’t perfect as Thanos, and he absolutely was. This is Marvel’s darkest turn, their most emotional and Thanos is their most complete villain, and the Russo brothers truly pulled off something amazing with this one.
The second Marvel movie to make this list, and for good reason. Marvel kicked off another busy year with one of their most original and bold films to date, and “Black Panther” worked because of those risks in nearly every single way. Ryan Coogler brought a fantastic new direction and implemented a sense of culture and strong dramatic themes that the MCU desperately needed, and he truly pulled off something exceptional. The action sequences are terrific, Chadwick Boseman shines throughout and Michael B. Jordan’s Killmonger is one of the best villains in Marvel’s history.
What is sure to be the horror film of the year, Ari Aster’s intense, visceral and stunning directorial debut should not be ignored. Toni Collette has one of the best performances of 2018 so far, and what makes this movie work is how unbelievably smart it is with what it is telling you, how it is telling you it and how it all leads to a third act that will send chills down your spine for a good 40 minutes. This film works as a tense drama, then works even more so as a downright terrifying horror movie, and it has made for a movie that I still think about to this day.
“Isle of Dogs”
Wes Anderson has once again pulled off something beautifully original, this time with his charming story about a boy and his pup in “Isle of Dogs”. This stop-motion film is full of gorgeous shots, wonderful characters and witty comedy, while also making a story that is heartfelt and genuine. The voice performances across the board are fantastic, and Anderson proves once again that he works the best on the most out there story ideas imaginable.
The highest rated movie of all-time on Rotten Tomatoes for good reason, “Paddington 2” stole my heart early in the year, and has not let go since. Paul King is the master of movies about a tiny bear who loves marmalade, and he somehow managed to improve in every way from an already-terrific predecessor. This is the movie that brings a smile to my face by simply thinking about it, but also was able to make me cry with a strong sense of family and understanding. Hugh Grant gives the film the villain it deserved, and add all that to some beautiful cinematography and you have a winning combination for a perfect kid’s movie that is fun for all ages.
Almost undoubtedly the most overlooked film of the first half of the year, “Thoroughbreds” is a stunning mix of comedy, dread and drama, and features three of my favorite performances of the year from its three leads. For Cory Findley’s first directorial effort to be this perfect is beyond impressive, as he nails the characters, the tone and the story to an absolute tee. Make sure to see this film if you haven’t yet, because it more than deserves your attention.
“Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”
Rounding out this list is the documentary that made me cry more than I am comfortable sharing. “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” gives the proper detail to Mister Fred Rogers that he deserves, and it does so with using smart clips and giving loads of insight on the man past all the great things he accomplished on his show. It is entertaining and really hits you in the soft spot, as it is just hard to watch a man do such good things out of the kindness of his heart without having an emotional breakdown. This is a documentary made to give you the feels, but they all felt earned, and this movie just reminds you of why kindness is so important to have in this world.
What was your favorite movie so far in 2018? Comment below with your thoughts.