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The Best Movies of 2018 So Far

By Kristy Puchko | Film | June 19, 2018 |

By Kristy Puchko | Film | June 19, 2018 |


We’re hitting the half-way mark in 2018. So let’s look back on the movies that had us giddy with heart-pounding joy, spine-tingling terror, and mind-snapping metaphors. According to the Pajiba Overlords, here are the best movies of 2018 so far.

Black Panther
“It’s not amazing ‘for a superhero movie’ and it’s not amazing ‘for a black movie’ or any of that shit. It’s amazing because it’s a beautiful, meticulously created, gorgeously shot, incredibly detailed, terrifically acted, brilliantly directed movie. It’s funny and exciting and wondrous to look at. And that it is all of those things, with a virtually all-black cast save for Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue and Martin Freeman as CIA agent Everett Ross, and that is an achievement because no one has ever given this type of movie a chance to even exist before. Never mind to completely cut loose. Marvel appears to have given director Ryan Coogler full rein to create a vision of his own, and that vision is utterly breathtaking.” —TK Burton (Full Review)

Paddington 2
“When it comes to comedy, Paddington 2 draws inspiration from Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin, both who gets nods in this with allusions to The General and Modern Times. An electric razor or a simple bucket can be the centerpiece for comedic brilliance. You can see King’s attention to detail, as each beat in a bit mounts, and mounts, brewing tension for an audience that knows hilarious calamity is just around the corner. We are chuffed with anticipation. And when it arrives with panache and slapstick, we explode with a full-bodied roar of laughter. It’s rapturous fun, and a far more structured and sophisticated school of comedy than most kids movies endeavor.”—Kristy Puchko (Full Review)

American Animals
American Animals isn’t a movie that I want to review. It’s a movie I want you to see already, so we can sit down over beers and chat about it. We’d probably talk over each other, passionately restating the moments that wowed us. We might slap the table occasionally for emphasis. What I mean is: I don’t want to have to avoid spoilers — I wanna dissect the minutiae with people who are as impressed with this film as I am.” —Tori Preston
(Full Review)

A Wrinkle In Time
“Some will snark at this film’s earnestness and sentimentality. To each their own. For me, I spent the first half-hour on the brink of tears because my heart was so full of overwhelming love and hope. Then I broke, and wept openly for the next 79 minutes. I cried for a lot of reasons. I cried because I relate to feeling deeply flawed and hopeless. I cried because I could see how amazing this little girl was, and how her self-doubt was holding her back. I cried because the fashion that costume designer Paco Delgado unfurled across Winfrey, Witherspoon, and Kaling, thrilled me to my core. I cried because I’ve rarely seen in movies a brother-sister relationship or a father-daughter relationship that felt so alive and familiar. And I cried because DuVernay is a master of casting, bringing the best out of every single performer to her fantasy-sci-fi epic.” —Kristy Puchko (Full Review)

“This is not a female-led Superbad, and it is not lady American Pie. It is its own unique comedy that just happens to explore female sexuality in ways that male sexuality has been explored for decades. It’s a great parenting comedy. It’s a great high-school sex comedy. It’s a great friendship comedy. It also features teenage women who have candid and honest and funny conversations about sex. ‘Where was this movie four years ago?’ a 22-year-old woman asked the director in the Q & A after the screening. Movies like this didn’t exist in 2014, but I am betting that after Blockers we’re going to be seeing a lot more of them, and of Kay Cannon. The world will be a better place for it.” —Dustin Rowles (Full Review)

A Quiet Place
“Silence permeated The Paramount Theater, where The Quiet Place made its world premiere at the SXSW Conference, weaponizing sound against its audience. Every noise in the sound design sparked goosebumps. Every groan or gasp in the audience made us collectively tense. My own screams felt not like a release, but dangerous. I found myself throwing both fists to my mouth in a desperate, clumsy attempt to muffle the sound.” —Kristy Puchko (Full Review)

Avengers: Infinity War
“The landscape of the Marvel Universe is changed in ways we never thought possible, in ways we probably cannot even believe. Yet even in the final moments, as the audience sorts through all of its emotions, it’s hard to forget the long road that brought us here. Ten years ago we’d have thought this moment impossible. Ten years ago this was a dream. It’s not. It happened, and it should be celebrated.” —TK Burton (Full Review)

“It’s so much more terrifying than I had anticipated, but in a completely different way. The hype about this movie, somehow, managed to underplay how truly traumatic a film it is. Anyone who tells you that Hereditary will leave you with nightmares presumes that you’ll actually be able to sleep again — it kept me awake long after I saw it. It’s the kind of film where you want to run out into broad daylight as soon as possible so that you can shake it off, get out from underneath its spell, the pall of horror that blankets you while watching Hereditary.” —Dustin Rowles (Full Review)

Love, Simon
“Generation Z will probably see Greg Berlanti’s Love, Simon exactly for what it is: An endearing, marvelously delightful John Hughesian coming-of-age romance about a gay high-school kid who falls in love with another guy. It is lovely and crowd-pleasing, and in so many ways, NBD. It’s just a movie about two people who fall in love…But for those of us who grew up on the films of John Hughes, it’s impossible not to reflect upon just how far we have come that a major studio is casually releasing a gay love story set in a high school in 2400 theaters.” —Dustin Rowles, (Full Review)

Upgrade is unquestionably one of the year’s more pleasant surprises. I didn’t know much going in, and it didn’t take long for it to turn into something unique and often even quite beautiful. It’s a fun, exciting, and occasionally thought-provoking film that at a brisk 95 minutes never overstays its welcome. Assuming you can handle some of its rather shocking, well-executed moments of gore, it becomes a remarkably entertaining bit of science-fiction storytelling.” —TK Burton (Full Review)

Death of Stalin
“Ultimately, the comic genius of The Death of Stalin lies in its surface: in many ways, it both looks and sounds like your typical, fancy period historical drama, up to and including the inaccurate British accents. But the people inhabiting those period trappings are patently ridiculous, so the authenticity of their surroundings renders their buffoonery all the more laughable. Call it the Young Frankenstein Principle, and the fact that this film warrants comparison to that one should be all the recommendation you need.” —Jason Bailey (Full Review)

Steven Lloyd Wilson, was not a fan. But Pajiba is a lovely family full of dissenters and not everyone agrees. Annihilation is certainly one of the most divisive films of the year so far, and I passionately adore it, how it pairs questions about love, guilt, and regret and how they intersect with images that are simultaneously fractured and regimented, chaotic and designed. A bear that screams in a woman’s voice; a bunch of flowers growing in the shape of a person; a life form that mimics our actions without necessarily understanding their intent — I can’t stop thinking about it. Although I refuse to believe that Alex Garland truly only read the book once (there are too many hints at the rest of the content of Jeff VanderMeer’s Southern Reach trilogy for me to really believe him), I respect the hell out of the movie he put together. Annihilation haunts me, and I mean that in a good way. —Roxana Hadadi (Full Review)

Peter Rabbit
Peter Rabbit is awesome. I’m completely serious…I know some of you are reading this and waiting for the ‘but’, or the reveal that I’m kidding. Nope. Peter Rabbit is genuinely and deeply entertaining and endearing. Gluck made a movie that kids will want to watch over and over for its action, animals, and silliness, and adults will be happy to revisit because of its rom-com charms and surprisingly sophisticated wit.” —Kristy Puchko (Full Review)

Kristy Puchko is the film editor of Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter.