We’ve reached the halfway point of the movie year, and although we’ve still got a lot of big hitters to come towards awards season, there have still been a bunch of big surprises and potential classics up to this point. So, here are my picks for the top 10 best movies of 2018 so far.
10. A Quiet Place
At 10 is a film from a genre that repeatedly fails to impress for me, but in the case of A Quiet Place, director John Krasinski does an exceptional job to bring real tension and thrills to proceedings with a bold and unique take on the horror genre.
In a post-apocalyptic world in the near future, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt play a married couple with young children attempting to stay alive from a mysterious threat, by staying absolutely silent, setting up what is pretty much a completely quiet movie.
And what’s more is that a film with next to no speaking isn’t just a gimmick, but an ingenious and striking way to create stunning tension throughout, all the while an intriguing and nail-biting plot that hangs on a knife-edge at every second turns the movie into a stunning thriller, and right up there among the best horror films of 2018 so far.
7.9/10 – Read full review here.
9. Game Night
I have to say that the first half of this year hasn’t been all that great for comedy movies, especially Hollywood ones, however Game Night has proved a delightful exception to that frustrating trend.
Following a group of friends who regularly meet for casual game nights that accidentally become embroiled in a kidnapping mystery that they take for a game, the film is flat-out hilarious from beginning to end, featuring both excellent slapstick and sharp wit throughout.
Although it masquerades as somewhat of a silly comedy, there is also a fairly exciting mystery plot at play too, and although you’re by no means meant to take it seriously, it’s a welcome addition of enjoyability in the middle of an already very entertaining film, and one that’s a real delight to watch.
8/10 – Read full review here.
8. Avengers: Infinity War
It’s the movie of the year, and having smashed the box office to take in over $2 billion worldwide to become the fourth highest grosser of all time, Avengers: Infinity War proved an enormous success in bringing Marvel’s 10 years of work all together.
At an enormous 149 minutes long, Infinity War’s scope and ambition is truly exceptional, and the way that it brings in characters from all corners of the Marvel Cinematic Universe so organically is a stunning accomplishment, particularly given how much work and set-up has been created over the past 10 years to get to this point.
It is a bit of a slow watch, and at times doesn’t quite hit the groundbreaking heights it aims to, but as far as a beginning to the end of this decade’s biggest franchise goes, it’s a stunning watch, ultimately leaving you fully satisfied and entertained, as well as deeply intrigued for the future of the series thanks to a powerfully bold finale that does everything to reconfirm your faith in Marvel’s stunning ability to consistently make great blockbusters.
8/10 – Read full review here.
7. The Cloverfield Paradox
The story of how The Cloverfield Paradox performed around the world is a fascinating one. With its release, runtime and full analysis crammed into little more than a few hours following its surprise release on Netflix in February, the film proved a disappointment for many caught up in the frenzy, but I think it’s a misunderstood and ultimately still brilliant addition to cinema’s most mysterious franchise.
While it undoubtedly doesn’t stand up to the fierce thrills of 10 Cloverfield Lane, or the engrossing originality and mystery of Cloverfield, The Cloverfield Paradox takes the series onto a larger scale, with a strong cast and a heap of excitement in the middle of a frantic and fast-paced yet still enthralling sci-fi story.
Its big action-packed style may not help its credentials within the Twilight Zone-esque character that the Cloverfield series has built up, but if you’re a fan of sci-fi, of thrillers, and of mystery movies, there’s a lot that The Cloverfield Paradox has to offer, and that’s what makes it such a riveting and still massively entertaining watch.
8.1/10 – Read full review here.
6. Ready Player One
My enduring hatred for Avatar has taught me to be immediately suspicious of any film that prides its visuals over anything else, which is exactly what I anticipated from Steven Spielberg’s CGI extravaganza Ready Player One.
And while the visuals do take a little getting used to at first, Ready Player One is absolutely everything Avatar wasn’t. Not only does it have some of the most stunning visual effects ever seen on the big screen, but it’s a film filled to the brim with joy, imagination and originality, featuring a simple yet enthralling story to catch the keys that will lead one man to greatness, all of which comes together to prove an exceptional time at the movies.
Of all the films I’ve seen this year, this is the one that really took me aback, not only because of those visuals, but the way in which director Steven Spielberg manages to craft an almost entirely CGI film, yet still bring a powerful and engrossing human and emotional element to proceedings, furthered by the beautiful nostalgia that he puts in by filling the film’s virtual world with retro video game references. It’s a non-stop rollercoaster ride, and one that surpassed all expectations for me, making it easily one of the best films of the year so far.
8.3/10 – Read full review here.
5. Deadpool 2
I had a lot of fun with the first Deadpool, but I was certain that its motormouth, self-aware, fourth wall-breaking sense of humour would wear very thin if a sequel were ever to come. Just two years after, however, Deadpool 2 proved me entirely wrong, by not only keeping that sense of humour working well, but actually surpassing the last film.
Along with the return of Ryan Reynolds’ endlessly entertaining and manic performance as the Merc with a Mouth, the film is filled to the brim with new and fresh ideas that help to make it so entertaining right the way through. Much like last time, the story isn’t the main focus, although the movie once again impresses with a surprisingly engrossing and exciting plot anyway, but the biggest thing you can take away from Deadpool 2 is just hilarious it is.
The first film pushed all the boundaries when it comes to a R-rated blockbuster. This film, in the knowledge that that shock value had now worn off, decides to push those boundaries even further, doing things that you would have never thought of seeing in a comic book movie like this, and yet impressing to an extent that leaves you splitting your side laughing and smiling right the way through.
8.4/10 – Read full review here.
Now, when it comes to fierce originality and spectacular thrills, there are few out there as talented as director Alex Garland, as once again proves the case with the mind-blowing sci-fi thriller Annihilation.
From the director of Ex Machina, Annihilation follows a group of scientists and soldiers who venture into a mysterious bubble where the laws of nature don’t apply, as they encounter a wide range of impossible threats that leave them desperate and confused as they try to stay alive and find out what is happening within.
Filled with imagination that seems light years ahead of anything else on the silver screen at the moment, Annihilation is on a par with the likes of Blade Runner and 2001: A Space Odyssey in its hauntingly beautiful depiction of what lies beyond our knowledge, featuring gorgeous psychedelic visuals that combine with a deeply unsettling story and powerfully eerie atmosphere to make one of the most eye-catching and mind-blowing movies of recent years, furthered by stunning performances across the board, and two eternally memorable scenes that I’ve seen aptly described as both ‘beautiful’ and ‘soul-scarring’.
It’s an enthralling and deeply intelligent piece that many missed out on this year due to no theatrical release across most of the world, but if you do get the chance to see Annihilation (and on a big screen if possible), then it will prove one of the most impressive films you see in all of 2018.
8.4/10 – Read full review here.
3. Mission: Impossible – Fallout
As has proved the case for the last two films, the Mission: Impossible franchise somehow seems to keep getting better and better. And now, 22 years in after the release of the original, Mission: Impossible – Fallout manages to hit unthinkable new heights as one of the most awesome movies of the whole year.
Not only does it build on the breathless entertainment that both Rogue Nation and Ghost Protocol have brought us over the last seven years, featuring stunningly exciting action sequences throughout, but it features the series’ most riveting and dramatic story yet, at times grabbing you in a way that you would never have believed possible for what seems like a mere blockbuster.
Director Christopher McQuarrie outdoes his stunning effort from the last film, and along with bringing his signature style to the action in brilliant fashion once again, he goes one step further with a bold and new take on the franchise’s classic plot, with a slightly more serious atmosphere that, combined with a truly thrilling plot where everything seems to hang in the balance at every moment, left me completely awestruck after two and a half hours of stunning thrills and excitement, somehow proving the series’ best a whole two decades after it began back in 1996.
8.8/10 – Read full review here.
2. Go-Go Sisters
I’ll put all of my money on the fact that you haven’t seen Go-Go Sisters. But if you get the chance this year, then you definitely, definitely should.
A Vietnamese comedy-drama that tells the story of a group of women aiming to reunite three decades after the glory days of their youth, the film is the very definition of joy and nostalgia. Draped in positive, uplifting and endlessly delightful themes throughout, it’s a story of friendship that goes past what you may think of as cheesy, and manages to put an enormous smile on the face of even the grumpiest viewer, stunning from beginning to end as the year’s most wonderful cinematic piece.
Whether it be the stunning energy of its large lead cast, both the actresses playing the young and modern day versions of the characters, whether it be the fantastic humour that made me laugh right the way through, or whether it be that delightful portrayal of childhood nostalgia that never leaves you no matter what, Go-Go Sisters is the film to make you smile, and give you a good time, all the while impressing with a wonderful and engrossing story that combines with everything else to create two hours of near cinematic perfection.
8.8/10 – Read full review here.
1. Incredibles 2
A sequel to what I see as the greatest animated film of all time. 14 long years of waiting after that masterpiece. And of course my most anticipated movie at the start of the year. You can’t begin to understand how happy I am to say that Incredibles 2 is my absolute favourite film this year.
While I’ll be the first to say that The Incredibles remains Pixar’s best of all, this sequel takes the world’s favourite superhero family and puts them in yet another immensely entertaining story once again, complete with wall-to-wall action, brilliant visuals, and by far the funniest humour of any film so far this year.
Much like its predecessor, the family values are right at the film’s core, making it a brilliant watch for all, but also restating the brilliance of a film that far outstretches anything that Marvel or anybody else has produced in a long, long time. While Incredibles 2 is a massively entertaining superhero movie that’s jam-packed with stunning action and genuinely breathless thrills, it does what the last film did and brings the family element to the forefront, once again focusing on its brilliant cast of characters in a way that you just don’t see anywhere else on the big screen.
My overriding memory of this film is wetting myself with laughter and being really taken aback by how intense and genuinely exciting its action plot was. It may be a fairly predictable and generic plot in that regard, but it’s done so brilliantly in combination with Pixar’s endless fountain of originality and filmmaking genius, making this undoubtedly Pixar’s best sequel of all, and deservedly up there as one of the studio’s best outings, as well as one of the top animations of all time, one of the top superhero movies of all time, and definitely the best movie of 2018 so far.
9/10 – Read full review here.