This list is a work in progress. I suspect it might expand further over the next month, as certain celebrated films from 2018—Cold War, for example—still haven’t opened in Seattle yet, and I’m playing catch-up on some important titles. But now… let’s get this party started.

Twenty Nine Honorable Mentions

Ask me about my Top 10 of 2018, and I’m likely to name any of these movies, depending on the moment. I found much to admire and enjoy in all of them. But, at this moment, these movies fall just short of my top ten — which means it was a fantastic year at the movies. [UPDATE: Want to skip right to the Top Ten? Here they are.]

Two Films That Celebrate
the Careers of Iconic Legends
Without Being Merely Hagiographic

The Old Man and the Gun

written and directed by David Lowery

Nothing Like a Dame

directed by Roger Michell


Two Coming-of-Age Movies
That Are Strong Where
Most Coming-of-Age Movies
Are Weak

The Hate U Give

directed by George Tillman Jr.

written by Audrey Wells

Check out these reviews by Scott Renshaw and Steven Greydanus.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before

directed by Susan Johnson

written by Sofia Alvarez

Read these reviews by Joel Mayward and Linda Holmes (a big fan of the genre).


Two Action-Packed,
Adrenaline-Rushing Sequels

Mission: Impossible — Fallout

written and directed by Christopher McQuarrie

Read these reviews by Steven Greydanus, Ann Hornaday, and Anthony Lane.

Incredibles 2

written and directed by Brad Bird

Here’s a review by Steven Greydanus.


Three Films About Boys
Becoming Men Without
Strong Parental Guidance

Three Identical Strangers

directed by Tim Wardle

Here’s my review.

Minding the Gap

directed by Bing Liu

Here’s an article and interview with Bing Liu by Alissa Wilkinson, and here are reviews by Josh Larsen and Kevin McLenithan.

Lean on Pete

written and directed by Andrew Haigh

based on a novel by Willy Vlautin

Here are reviews by Joel Mayward, Josh Larsen, and Alissa Wilkinson.


Four Intimate and Empathetic Portraits
of Women Struggling in a World
Designed By (and For) Men

Let the Sunshine In

directed by Claire Denis

Here are reviews by Ann Hornaday and Glenn Heath Jr., Richard Brody, Anthony Lane, and Glenn Kenny.

Roma

written and directed by Alfonso Cuarón

Here are reviews by Richard Brody, Joel Mayward, Glenn Heath Jr., A.A. DowdAnthony Lane, and Josh Larsen.

Support the Girls

written and directed by Andrew Bujalski

Here are reviews by Mike D’Angelo, Richard Brody and Justin Chang.

Puzzle

directed by Marc Turtletaub

written by Oren Moverman and Polly Mann

Here’s my review.


Three Films in Which
Men Journey to Other Worlds
and It Costs Them, But Women
— Some Following, Some Staying Behind — See Things Clearly… and Suffer

Annihilation

written and directed by Alex Garland

First Man

directed by Damien Chazelle

written by Josh Singer

Here’s my review.

Prospect

written and directed by Zeek Earl and Chris Caldwell

Here’s my review.


Two Ambitious Theological Films
That Have Unforgettable Scenes
Largely Due to Bold Formal Decisions
But That Lose Something (for me)
in Their Last Act

Jeannette: The Childhood of Joan of Arc

written and directed by Bruno Dumont

Here are my first impressions at Letterboxd, and here’s a review by Steven Greydanus.

First Reformed

written and directed by Paul Schrader

Here’s my review.


Three Movies That Expose
White Supremacy With Imagination,
Personal Passion, and Humor

Black Panther

directed by Ryan Coogler

written by Ryan Coogler and John Robert Cole

Here’s my review.

BlacKkKlansman

directed by Spike Lee

written by Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, and Spike Lee

Here are my first impressions at Letterboxd, and here’s a review by Ann Hornaday.

Sorry to Bother You

written and directed by Boots Riley

Here are my first impressions at Letterboxd, and here are reviews by Josh Larsen and Brian Tallerico.


…and One That Does So With
Long, Color-Saturated Close-Ups

If Beale Street Could Talk

written and directed by Barry Jenkins

based on the book by James Baldwin


Two Brilliant Contemporary Westerns
That Deliver the Goods
While Also Questioning the Goods

The Ballad of Buster Scruggs

written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen

Here reviews by Josh Larsen, Glenn Kenny, A.A. Dowd, and Richard Brody.

The Sisters Brothers

directed by Jacques Audiard

written and directed by Jacques Audiard and Thomas Bidegain

Here are reviews by Ann Hornaday, A.A. Dowd, Justin Chang, Anthony Lane,


The Smartest Comedy of the Year
Which is Also the Best Movie About the Current U.S. Presidency

The Death of Stalin

directed by Armando Iannucci

written by Armando Iannucci, David Schneider, Ian Martin, Peter Fellows

Here are reviews by Anthony Lane, Glenn Kenny, Bilge EbiriIgnatiy Vishnevetsky, and A.A. Dowd.


The Comedy I Will Revisit Most Often
Because It’s Hilarious and
Because It Riffs Brilliantly
On a Cult Classic: The ‘Burbs

Game Night

directed by John Francis Daley and Jonathan Goldstein

written by Mark Perez

Here’s my review.


Best Black-and-White Cinematography
of the Year

and

Best Fantasy Movie of the Year

November

directed by Rainer Sarnet

written by Rainer Sarnet, based on the novel by Andrus Kivirähk

Here’s a review by Glenn Kenny.


Two Movies I Am Most Regretful
About Not Rating in My Top Ten
(and I May Yet Change My Mind)

— Also —

Two Movies Directed by Women
About Men Deeply Wounded By Violence
Who Misjudge the Capabilities
of the Young Women
They Are Trying to Rescue

Leave No Trace

directed by Debra Granik

Here’s my review.

You Were Never Really Here

directed by Lynne Ramsay

Here’s a review by Melissa Tamminga.

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