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The Best Movies Of 2018 That You Completely Missed


Year after year, a ton of incredible films
are released only to end up going largely unnoticed, and 2018 is no different. But don’t
worry about missing out on all the future classics slipping under the radar – we’ve
got the scoop on the very best. Adapted from writer Joe Kelly and artist J.
M. Ken Niimura’s graphic novel with the same name, I Kill Giants stars The Conjuring 2’s
Madison Wolf as the plucky Barbara Thorson, an oddball outsider with her head in the clouds,
a pair of bunny ears atop her head, and a Norse war hammer in her bag. The introverted
Barbara uses her overactive imagination to create fantasy worlds she can escape to when
things get tough at home, and when she’s convinced a horde of giants is headed to Earth,
she’s the only one that can vanquish them. “I find giants, I hunt giants, I kill giants.” Blending together a coming-of-age tale, themes
of grief and denial, magical realism, solid CGI, and captivating performances from Wolfe
and supporting actors Imogen Poots, Zoe Saldana, and Sydney Wade, I Kill Giants is a magnificent
monster movie that’s monstrously moving. Murder is on the menu in writer-director Cory
Finley’s Thoroughbreds, a black comedy thriller that centers around childhood friends Lily
and Amanda reuniting to cook up a devious plan. With the help of a hired drug dealer
turned hitman, the two women plot to take out Lily’s tyrannical stepfather Mark. The
murder mission takes a few unexpected turns, arriving at an end you won’t see coming. [Gulp.] Rarely do first-time creatives get their debut
as right as Finley did with Thoroughbreds. Despite the film’s lack of big-budget promotion
and pre-release hype, Rotten Tomatoes says the handful of viewers who saw it in theaters
were, quote, “left squirming, laughing, and gleefully entertained.” In Academy Award-winning director Sebastian
Lelio’s Disobedience, forbidden love harkens back to Romeo & Juliet, but religious tension
pushes it past the breaking point and headfirst into dangerous territory. Based on British
author Naomi Alderman’s 2006 novel, Disobedience stars Rachel Weisz as Ronit a non-practicing
Jewish woman who returns to her former Orthodox London community she was shunned from years
earlier for a forbidden romance with a female schoolmate, Rachel McAdams’ Esti. Reunited
years later, the two fall back in love – only this time Esti’s husband Dovid turns their
relationship into a triangle. Lelio, creates a film that swirls with friction-filled
strifes and bitter truths. Critics have flocked to the film and David Rooney of the Hollywood
Reporter has praised it, saying, “The movie’s soulful reflections on collective
faith and individual freedoms get under your skin, continuing to resonate after the end
credits have rolled.” “I want to take your picture.” As commonplace as the 21st century’s technology
seems, Searching is anything but ordinary. Set almost entirely on computer and smartphone
screens, the John Cho-led thriller follows David Kim, the father of 16-year-old Margot
who goes missing. With the help of the San Jose police, David combs through Margot’s
computer, retracing her online footprint in the hopes of finding his daughter. What follows
is a heart-stopping journey that grows darker and more complex than David – and the audience
– could have ever imagined. “I didn’t know her. I didn’t know my
daughter.” Searching’s unique approach, well-sustained
suspense, and a twist you won’t see coming make it one of the best movies of 2018 – and
one of the most original thrillers in a long time. Rafeal Casal and Hamilton’s Daveed Diggs
teamed up to write the comedy-drama you really shouldn’t have missed out on. Blindspotting
follows Diggs’ Collin, a felon nearing the end of his year-long probation, and his best
friend Miles, played by Casal, a fellow troublemaker whose influence could cost Collin the final
72 hours of his sentencing. Where Collin longs for a fresh start, Miles is on the hunt for
danger in the rapidly gentrifying streets of Oakland, California. Their lives splinter
when Collin witnesses a white cop kill a black man, and Miles’ thirst for violence threatens
devastating consequences. “Don’t be who you isn’t.” Many moviegoers missed Blindspotting due to
its limited rollout last summer. Its later wide release came on the same day as the highly
anticipated Mission: Impossible – Fallout, which stole the spotlight that weekend. That
left Blindspotting, the film Business Insider called “one of the most unique” of 2018,
just out of view. Taking a fantastic novel and translating it
into an equally good film isn’t an easy task. Where many have failed before The Miseducation
of Cameron post succeeds as a coming-of-age drama that serves as a shining example of
what can happen when a silver screen adaptation does right by its source material. Based on Emily M. Danforth’s 2012 novel of
the same name, the film centers on Chloë Grace Moretz’s Cameron Post, who is outed
as a lesbian when she’s caught in the backseat of a car with another girl. Soon after, Cameron’s
conservative aunt orders her to undergo conversion therapy at a center called God’s Promise.
There, Cameron forms friendships with a handful of other teens who, like her, put up a fight
against being “re-educated.” “I’m tired of feeling disgusted with myself.” A limited release that didn’t register on
most people’s radar, The Miseducation of Cameron Post has been praised by Glenn Whipp of the
Los Angeles Times as “[…] a powerful rejoinder to anyone who’d
shame people into denying their authentic selves.” From Academy Award-nominated director and
co-writer Debra Granik, Leave No Trace begins just before the boiling point: war veteran
Will, played by Ben Foster, and his 13-year-old daughter Tom have been living in an isolated
section of a public park. But when the survivalist duo make one small misstep, social services
comes calling. “Do you feel safe living with your dad?” “We didn’t need to be rescued.” “Your dad needs to provide you shelter and
a place to live.” “He did.” They’re taken in for extensive evaluations
and set up with everything they need to live a “normal” life: hot meals, clean clothes,
stable shelter in the suburbs, school for Tom, a job for Will. While Tom tries her hardest
to adapt to her new environment and embrace her surroundings, her father grows increasingly
rigid until he decides to take Tom back into the wilderness. “We need to adapt.” “We’re wearing their clothes, we’re
in their house, we’re eating their food, we’re doing their work, we have adapted.” Leave No Trace definitely made its mark on
audiences who caught it during its limited release run in June. San Diego Reader’s Scott
Marks had the most incisive point, saying, “Oscar will remember this movie.” Award-winning director Steven Soderbergh casts
aside the traditional trappings of filmmaking and embraces B-movie mojo with Unsane, a psychological
horror-thriller pic shot entirely on an iPhone 7 Plus. Claire Foy leads as Sawyer Valentini, a financial
analyst who moved away from her hometown in an attempt to evade her longtime stalker,
David. Even hundreds of miles away, Sawyer’s still experiencing the effects of David’s
torments, and admits to her therapist that she’s had self-destructive thoughts. Sawyer’s
confession lands her in a mental institution against her will. “I just needed to talk to someone and the
counselor said that I… did she tell you to do this?” “Ms. Valentini, are you refusing to cooperate?” As if being locked away in a psychiatric hospital
wasn’t jarring enough, Sawyer’s soon forced to confront her darkest fear while trapped
inside those walls. The only question is: Is the fear real, or just a product of her
paranoia? “I must be insane.” Despite its experimental nature and it being
a Soderbergh joint, Unsane didn’t drum up as much buzz as you’d expect. Still, though,
it hasn’t gone without critical praise. The New Yorker’s Richard Brody calls Unsane “[…] one of [Soderbergh’s] best movies,
[…] the very spark of his artistic passion.” All the more reason to see it yourself. One part pulpy crime story, one part heart-grabbing
drama, Bomb City is a brilliant little film that made a bang without the general public
even noticing. The Jameson Brooks-directed film follows Brian, a punk music-obsessed
teen from Amarillo, Texas, who sticks out like a mohawk-adorned thumb in his conservative
town. Thankfully, there are a number of other punks out there, who view Brian as a sort
of mouthpiece for the movement. But there are an equal number of jocks who regularly
clash with the punks. Tensions bubble below the surface, then explode into a violent altercation
that comes with a fatal consequence. “I lost my self control.” Director Brooks based Bomb City on the real-life
story of 19-year-old Brian Deneke, a punk who was killed in a furious fracas with the
Texas town’s seemingly clean-cut jocks. Not only does the film present the tragedy of
Brian’s death in a truthful and harrowing light, it also serves as a reminder that the
American justice system isn’t always moral. As Danielle White of The Austin Chronicle
aptly puts it, “The film’s message, which it wields like
a war chain, is a timeless one: Don’t be such a d— to people because they look different
from you.” Joaquin Phoenix is in top form in You Were
Never Really Here, writer-director Lynne Ramsay’s film adaptation of Jonathan Ames’ novel of
the same name. Phoenix gives a darkly fervid performance as Joe, a former law enforcement
agent and combat veteran struggling with PTSD. “McLeary said you were brutal.” “I can be.” Post-FBI, Joe supports himself and his ailing
mother by locating missing and trafficked young girls. On the brink of committing to
one of his many suicidal fantasies, Joe’s boss tasks him with finding 13-year-old Nina,
the daughter of a New York State Senator, who offers Joe a sizable sum to discreetly
bring Nina home. Though Joe is properly equipped for the job, what he isn’t prepared for is
the triple-layer twist and the searing horrors that await him. Variety’s Guy Lodge called the film “stark,
sinewy, [and] slashed-to-the-bone.” You Were Never Really Here is more than worthy of the
global adulation its heavily-promoted cinematic counterparts have received this year.

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