I saw close to 100 new releases in 2018. I saw many of them in the theater. I saw many others on streaming services, including one on my phone (not ideal). Here are my favorites of the year. Adjust your upcoming moviegoing and streaming accordingly.
10. A Star Is Born
Director: Bradley Cooper
Moment: Lady Gaga takes over “Shallow” mid-song and your goosebumps rise to attention.
9. If Beale Street Could Talk
Director: Barry Jenkins
Moment: Every time a character looks directly into the screen. Jenkins’ portraits are paintings, lit perfectly and with dignity.
Director: Paul Dano
Moment: Jake Gyllenhaal and Carrie Mulligan, playing divorced parents, sit beside their son and pose for their first family photo.
Director: Steve McQueen
Moment: Collin Farrell sits inside his town car and engages in conversation with his political campaign manager. In one shot, the camera, perched outside the car, captures the drive from an impoverished Chicago neighborhood into their tony suburb.
6. The Favourite
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos
Moment: Emma Stone shoots a bird; blood spatters onto Rachel Weisz’s face.
5. Eighth Grade
Director: Bo Burnham
Moment: A single father expresses his immense love for his daughter around a campfire in their backyard. Gucci.
4. First Reformed
Director: Paul Schrader
Moment: Ethan Hawke pours Pepto Bismol into his whiskey, creating a swirling pink and brown cocktail, a mixture of hope and despair.
Director: Alfonso Cuaron
Moment: The camera pans out the window of a retail store to witness a youth protest turn violent, then keeps turning as the violence enters the store, then back into the street where cries and gunshots synchronize.
2. Minding The Gap
Director: Bing Liu
Moment: A one-on-one interview between the filmmaker and his mother, discussing the abusive husband and father of their past, becomes a tear-inducing therapy session.
1. The Rider
Director: Chloe Zhao
Moment: A glorious wide shot of a young man with a traumatic past riding his horse through the open South Dakota plains as the sun sets.
Other great movies in 2018: Annihilation, Paddington 2, Black Panther, Game Night, The Death Of Stalin, Blockers, A Quiet Place, Lean On Pete, Let The Sunshine In, Hearts Beat Loud, Three Identical Strangers, Leave No Trace, Sorry To Bother You, Blindspotting, Mission Impossible: Fallout, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, Madeline’s Madeline, Support The Girls, Searching, Private Life, First Man, The Ballad Of Buster Scruggs, Shirkers