The Best Movies I've Seen So Far in 2018
By Dennis D. McDonald
It's the middle of June. We’re almost halfway through the year. I thought I would make a list of the best movies I’ve seen so far in 2018.
Not at all these films were first released in 2018 but if I haven’t seen it before it’s new to me!
By far the best film I have seen so far is Paul Schrader’s First Reformed. It’s a stunning film. The last time I can remember being as impressed with a director's vision was Terrence Malik’s epic Tree of Life. Also, I’d love to get my hands on the First Reformed screenplay just to re-experience the intelligent dialog.
Alex Garland’s Annihilation is next. Really good science fiction films are rare. The genre in recent years has drifted into the more-explosions-and-gunplay-the-better territory. The ideas on display in this film however are intriguing, the visual imagery is stunning, and Natalie Portman again shows, as she did in Jackie, she’s one of the best actors working today. This film also has the distinction of being the only Blu-ray disc I’ve bought this year.
Wes Anderson’s Isle of Dogs is next on my list. I love "quirky" and this is about as quirky as they get. The references to Japanese cinema are clever and the subtle humor and imagination on display are constant. My one complaint about the film, if you can call it that, is that the movie is, after all, a comedy. There are certainly darker themes buried in there they appear to have been purposely smothered. I would love to see, for example, what Wes Anderson would do with something like Anna Karenina or The Brothers Karamazov.
I’d like to add something a bit more "mainstream" to this list. That honor goes to Doug Liman’s American Made. I found this mix of action, intrigue, comedy, and above all political satire to be incredibly entertaining and proof, again, that Tom Cruise is one of the most flexible and hardest working actors in the business today—when he’s given the right material.
Finally, I should mention the best animated film I've seen this year. While I've enjoyed a variety of anime series the best animated film is by far Sunao Katabuchi's In Our Corner Of The World. This gentle contemplation of the horrors visited on civilians by war is profoundly moving.
Copyright (c) 2018 by Dennis D. McDonald