Illustration by Alexander Wells
Even though it’s only the midpoint of 2018, there are plenty of great movies leading the best-of pack. Bears, horses, and a Panther are all included.
Peter Mountain/Paramount Pictures
In hindsight, writer-director Alex Garland’s previous outing, 2015’s brilliant, chilly Ex Machina, feels like a grayscale precursor to the Technicolor wonder of his latest sci-fi epic — a story so sneakily clever and visually surreal that it’s still haunting our dreams (and our Halloween costume ideas) months later.
Matt Kennedy/Marvel Studios
Superhero movies have always given us supersize experiences: the scope, the scale, the CG shock and awe. Ryan Coogler’s inaugural entry into the Marvel Universe offered all that, but also so much more — an electric, action-saturated joyride, a marvelous sense of place, and a deeply personal celebration of black excellence. Wakanda forever.
Cohen Media Group
French provocateur François Ozon (Swimming Pool) dips his toes into the deep end of Hitchcockian perversity with this twisty, kinky erotic thriller about a woman (Marine Vacth) drawn to a pair of identical-twin doctors (Jérémie Renier). Jacqueline Bisset swings by to lend this utterly preposterous mindscrambler some class. Not that it needs any.
We’re only six months into the year, but right now, Ari Aster’s Hereditary is the horror movie to beat. Toni Collette gives a gutwrenching performance as a mother grappling with a family tragedy and the terrifying outer limits of the supernatural. Nineteen years after The Sixth Sense, Collette gets a more-than-worthy companion piece.
Lean On Pete
Scott Patrick Green/A24
A boy. A horse. A wide-open Western landscape. If the outlines of Andrew Haigh’s lyrical drama — anchored by the quiet, luminous presence of his young lead, Charlie Plummer — sound familiar, the reality is both infinitely harsher and more original: a film that captures with searing immediacy what it is to be young, broke, and lost in America.
Warner Bros. Pictures
Think of this magical, whimsical sequel as the best Wes Anderson movie that Wes Anderson never made. Our marmalade-loving hero, who brightens the lives of everyone he meets, has to retrieve a pop-up book stolen by Hugh Grant’s thief of a thousand disguises. Absolute perfection, regardless of your age.
Arguably the year’s most impressive onscreen superhero, the small-but-mighty Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg gets an intimate, moving, and unexpectedly funny documentary about her one-of-a-kind career. While her fiery dissents behind the D.C. bench are inspiring, the film’s biggest revelation is her years as a trailblazing feminist lawyer on an unwavering crusade for equal rights, arguing in front of the very court she would later join.
A little girl (the remarkable Laia Artigas) loses her mother to AIDS and is sent to live with her uncle in the Spanish countryside in Carla Simón’s lush autobiographical drama, a story that captures the truth of childhood with such luminous dreamlike intensity, it feels like a small death just to let it go.
Kimberly French/Focus Features
She’s the harried, overworked mother of two, with a third on the way. But when Charlize Theron’s Marlo is gifted a fantastically capable night nurse (Mackenzie Davis), the fogbank lifts. Is it all too good to be true? The answer is a revelation in this whip-smart missive on marriage, identity, and modern parenthood.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
Jim Judkis/Focus Features
If you want to see the world through the eyes of a child again — and, frankly, who doesn’t with all that’s going on in Washington? — Morgan Neville’s delightful, heartfelt documentary about PBS’ cardigan-clad Mr. Rogers is just the balm of kindness we could all use more of. Our answer: Yes, we’d love to be your neighbor.