Through 4 months we've witnessed a pretty impressive opening to the 2018 film year. From an early year Spielberg movie to a meaningful Marvel film this year has a lot of intrigue. Here is my list of the 10 best films in the first quarter of the year. Also 5 films to see later this year and an interview with Director Richard Lanni.
2018's Best Films – 1st Quarter Jan-Apr.
10. Thoroughbreds – Impressive how easily connected we can be to teenage "killers". Thoroughbreds is perfectly paced and the back and forth banter is not only joyfully funny but truly diabolical. Very theatrical in its sequences while still innovative with the shot selections in the cinematography by Lyle Vincent (Cooties, A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night, A Bad Batch). Olivia Cooke is becoming one of those superior talents who can be a really amazing actress.
9. Love, Simon – "Everyone Deserves A Great Love Story" is a perfect sentiment to have and to our enjoyment Director Greg Berlanti and the Nick Robinson lead cast deliver something heartfelt. The movie holds a pace set like Ten Things I Hate About You just replacing Shakespeare with Cabaret and making social media take over for sonnets. The movie is worth seeing just for a spectacular dance sequence that shows what Nick's character's dream of college is all about. Overall though a film that speaks to its audience with something fresh, truthful and entertaining. In the end everyone deserves a great love story especially Simon.
8. Red Sparrow – JLa channels the power of Le Femme Nikita closer than any previous female lead. The Russian/American spy element makes the film so much more relevant. Suspense mysteries need to get things by you but still showcase them enough to say "Ah, ha" at the end. Red Sparrow passes the test with flying red colors. Some might be red-cheeked by the outlandish sexuality in the film. The sequences are never crude but rather powerful in the image of control. The film ties the story together rather nicely.
7. Sgt. Stubby – Fun Academy Motion Pictures has created a thoughtful and thought provoking animated feature with an adorable and amazing lead pooch. The accompanying score by Patrick Doyle and well cast leads Logan Lerman, Helena Bonham Carter and Gerard Depardieu help elevate this to an early Oscar contender. Director Richard Lanni and his Georgia based team have crafted a visually aware animated landscape and highlight the amazing career of Sgt. Stubby: An American Hero. For a fun BONUS! Here is an interview I had with Director Richard Lanni about everything SGT. STUBBY.
6. Foxtrot – Bold in it's non-linear structure, shot selection, sound design and so much more. Bold filmmaking in showing a tragic event and it's devastating ramifications. Actor Lior Ashkanazi (Big Bad Wolves) gives an incredible performance as the film literally is in his face for multiple moments. A hot-button film that has already caused a stir back home in Israel and may push Americans thoughts and minds.
5. Black Panther – A record-setting Marvel film. A blockbuster with a great story. A film with a powerful villain. A huge money-maker of a film. Most importantly it's a film that is ground breaking with it's statement of culture. Wakanda Forever.
4. Isle of Dogs – Wes Anderson's return to the wacky and wonderful animated world is a much needed breath of fresh air. Wes Anderson's work pops the brightest and highlights the puppetry, dialogue, and structure of his scripts so much better in animated form. The wealth of talent assembled is spectacular, but it's the traditional boy searching story that shines. Overall a top 5 W.A. film for me and with multiple viewings might end up being my favorite.
Here are 5 films to put on your calendars as MUST SEE.
3. Boy Erased
1. Eighth Grade
Top 3 Films of 2018's 1st Quarter.
3. Annihilation – Alex Garland's work tests our view of character, story and genre. His visual eye and intelligent script lead us on a journey of weird unexplained suspense. Tremendous female empowerment unit goes much further than any other group had. The ending causes a wonderful slew of questions to be created. A film that makes you yearn for more and yet still ask what did I just watch.
2. A Quiet Place – Poignant and petrifying take on an alien invasion film. The heart and the horror mixed together makes for something truly gripping. Rarely can a film impact your physical world in the way in which the silence of this film can. A movie that is a full experience and yet the story is weaved so easily it's totally captivating.
1. Ready Player One – The great maestro returns to his best qualities. Blockbuster material. Inventive visual and audio levels reached. Coming of age story told in an understandable and enjoyable way. Embrace Steven's dives back into Sci-Fi and Coming of Age. ET meets Mission Impossible meets the future. Please take the time to read Ernest Cline's book before, short quick read that will make you love the underdog all over again.
Go enjoy the films!