A (Half) Year At the Movies: a working list of films I see in 2018

Given that we’ve reached the halfway point, I figured I would check in on what I’ve been watching,

Here is a link to my official working list and tally:
https://letterboxd.com/davetcourt/list/a-working-ranked-list-of-the-films-i-see/

In total this is a list of 37 films that I have seen that have an official release date listed as 2018.

My Top 10:
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10. Game Night

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9. Black Panther

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8. Peter Rabbit

 

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7. A Quiet Place

 

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6. Isle of Dogs

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5. First Reformed

 

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4. Ready Player One

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3. Tully

 

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2. Paddington 2

 

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1. Infinity War

Some Points of interest from my top 10 list:

  • I was genuinely shocked to see Tully eventually overtake Ready Player One. Ready Player One had been my most anticipated film of 2018 for a long time and I haven’t been shy about sharing how much I loved seeing it on the big screen. But the emotional force of Tully, which played on an extremely personal level, spoke louder than my fandom.
  • The two films that have shuffled the least are my number 1 and my number 2 (Infinity War and Paddington 2 respectively). I fully expect them to stay where they are, but there is a whole half a year waiting to challenge them.
  • The single film that has shuffled the most? Peter Rabbit. It has teetered at a few points with getting bumped out of my top 10, but it just keeps persisting and fighting its way back up.
  • The most intriguing match up for me to watch? A Quiet Place and Isle of Dogs. Both are films that highlight the Director. Isle of Dogs cemented itself as my favourite Wes Anderson film, while A Quiet Place showed such a strength behind the camera it was impossible to ignore. I resonated with the narrative of A Quiet Place on a deeper level than I did with Isle of Dogs, but I anticipate Isle of Dogs having more layers to peel back and explore on subsequent viewings.
  • The film I anticipate moving up over time? First Reformed. I saw it. I can’t stop thinking about it. And the more I think about it the more it keeps breaking me over, and over and over again. I also won’t be surprised if Hereditary ends up cracking the top 10. I need more time to digest it. Definitely the scariest movie I’ve seen in 2018.

Some points of interest from my full working list of 37 films:

Most Underrated Film(s) of 2018
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Paul, The Apostle of Christ
An above average faith based film, and even though that doesn’t necessarily sound like high praise, I really did appreciate what this film did both narratively and with some of the cinematography. It deserves to be seen for sure.

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Hotel
Artemis
I had heard middling reviews of this one and I almost passed it up. I’m glad I didn’t. What drew me in to want to see it was the premise. What caught me off guard was the social commentary, a film about having the strength to not only enter into the worlds brokenness but to participate in the worlds brokenness, and the complimenting performances of Brown and Foster.

Biggest Surprise(s) of 2018
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Upgrade
A film I knew nothing about, had been quietly earning some fans where it was screening (in larger cities south of the border), but that I had to wait what felt like eons to even have a chance to see (and even then I almost missed it sneaking onto a single screen locally). Now that I’ve seen it, totally worth it. Nothing flashy, but it has a unique story, engages some compelling themes, and plays like The Matrix on a modest budget.

Peter Rabbit
I believe there is a surprising narrative strength to this children’s film even if you know nothing of the source material, but it is in relationship to the source material this film reaches another level, especially as a children’s story. I had zero expectations going into this one. I left experiencing every emotion on the spectrum. And yes that means I cried.

Most Intriguing Match Up

Tomb Raider and Wrinkle In Time (Sitting at 20 and 21 respectively) have been the two films that have probably shuffled around the most over the last 6 months. Although I could (and can) admit that it had its flaws, A Wrinkle In Time was such an important book for my childhood that I was willing to forgive a lot to embrace the film. In a couple movie discussion groups I participate in I found myself a lone voice attempting to champion the film. Tomb Raider earned the same rating from me but was much easier to find champions for in those same groups.

Given that these two films sat side by side on my working list, I spent a lot of time wrestling with which one should come out on top. I fully expected A Wrinkle In Time to personally (and honestly) work its way up over time, while I thought Tomb Raider might trend the other way. At this point in time it is the other way around, but I haven’t given up on the possibility that A Wrinkle In Time might muscle its way back in the running on subsequent viewings.

Top 3 Best Performances (lead or supporting) of 2018 So Far (in no particular order):
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1. Claire Foy in Unsane
2. Ethan Hawke in First Reformed
3. Charlize Theron in Tully

Most Fun I’ve Had in the Theatre in 2018 So Far:
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1. Game Night
2. Ready Player One
3. Rampage

Most Emotional Experience of 2018 So Far:
Tully 

Scariest Film of 2018 So Far:
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Hereditary 

Funniest Film of 2018 So Far:
Game Night

Overall Thoughts at the half way point:
While 2017 was solid all around, 2018 feels like one of the stronger years for film that I can remember in a while. But aside from the fact that there have been some really stand out films so far, there are two things I have noticed to be particularly true this year:

1. The number of films that have seen extremely limited release
It’s been hugely frustrating to see films sparking tons of dialogue and gaining a ton of buzz but being unable to see them without driving at minimum six and a half hours to the closest, big American city. And what makes this even more frustrating is that these are films that could have likely been very successful given even a single screen beside the more recognizable blockbusters (Isle of Dogs, Upgrade, Won’t You Be My Neighbour, First Reformed, just to name a few). As has been documented (https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/box-office-revenue-hits-a-record-33-billion-2q-2018-1124371) theatres are still breaking records in terms of box office revenue, but the trend towards giving smaller films less time and less access feels like a lost opportunity.

2. Might there finally be an uptick in the spoiler adverse crowd?
I am not sure I have ever seen as much dialogue surrounding trailers and spoilers. A big part of this was no doubt the long awaited arrival of Infinity War and the dance between efforts to talk about the film without giving anything away. There also seems to be some carry over from the advertising debacle that was last years Mother, with people arguing over films like A Quiet Place and Hereditary and the idea of seeing the film that was advertised without giving away the twists and turns (with people feeling like they got more than they needed in advertisements for A Quiet Place and maybe not enough for Hereditary).

But what all this conversation seems to have sparked is a bit of welcome push back to the growing embrace and expectation of having our movies spoiled for us. It was only as far back as 2015/2016 that we saw a gluttony of articles being published declaring that spoilers abound because we want our movies spoiled (see: http://ew.com/article/2015/07/27/trailer-spoilers-southpaw/). It appears that the tide might finally be changing, and one of the methodologies I have seen some implementing is embracing the teaser trailer while shunning and avoiding the others. And thankfully teaser trailers are now being made more and more accessible and sparse.

Best Films I Caught Up With From 2017
1. Hostiles 
2. The Endless
3. Unfriended

Anticipated Films that have already seen limited release but that I have yet to see in 2018
1. Hearts Beat Loud
2. Won’t You Be My Neighbour
3. The Rider

Looking Ahead: Most Anticipated Films From the Second Half of 2018:
Blockbusters
1. Mission Impossible Fallout
2. Bumblebee
3. Aquaman
Honourable Mention: Spiderman Into the Spiderverse

Dramas:
1. First Man
2. BlacKKKlansman
3. Welcome to Marwen
Honourable Mention: Bohemian Rhapsody

Sequels
1. Ralph Breaks the Internet
2. Creed 2
3. Equalizer 2
Honourable Mention: Fantastic Beasts 2

Remakes or Reboots
1. Christopher Robin
2. Mowgli
3. The Nutcracker and The Four Realms
Honourable Mention: Robin Hood

Outliers
1. Mandy
2. Sorry to Bother You
3. The Sisters-Brothers
4. Splinters In Time
5. Widows
6. The House With the Clock In It’s Walls
7. The Captain
8. Down a Dark Hall
9. Kin
10. A Star is Born

Published by davetcourt

I am a 40 something Canadian with a passion for theology, film, reading writing and travel.

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