The Best Movies 2018

What are the best movies of 2018? Everyone asks in December, but we'd rather tell you them now with a rolling ranking, updated on the regular, featuring the best of the best movies that we 100% recommend. This is not a top 10 list. This is all the best movies of 2018. No mixed bags, interesting trainwrecks, or blockbusters that boast big box-office tallies. Just the true greats -- movies big, small, and from around the world.

Your time is precious, and so is your money, but you need to see these 2018 movies. (And don't forget to check out The Best Movies of 2017 either.)

mute 2018

5. The Road Movie

Released: February 2
Director: Dmitrii Kalashnikov
Why it’s great: Nearly every Russian that owns a car owns a dashboard camera due to the country's corrupt law enforcement and laws that delegitimize first-hand accounts of accidents. Of course, there's a silver lining to dash-cam lifestyle: an influx in shocking, stupid, and surreal videos that have may their way to YouTube. These clips -- high-speed chases, violent disputes, flipping flatbed trucks, cars high-tailing it through natural disasters, comets blasting through the sky -- form the basis of Dmitrii Kalashnikov's exhilarating, found-footage documentary, which stitches dash-cam footage together in a way that revels in the potential terrors that await an everyday commute and paints a specific portrait of Russian life behind the wheel.   
Where to see it right now: In theaters (watch full movie)

4. Mary and the Witch's Flower

Released: January 18
Cast: Ruby Barnhill, Louis Ashbourne Serkis, Kate Winslet, Jim Broadbent
Director: Hiromasa Yonebayashi (When Marnie Was There)
Why it’s great: The announcement of famed animator Hayao Miyazaki's retirement in 2013 sent tremors through the Japanese animation industry -- could his Studio Ghibli, "the Disney of the East," and the medium as a whole go on without him? Ghibli producer Yoshiaki Nishimura didn't wait to learn the answer, breaking out with several animators to form Studio Ponoc. Luckily the company's first feature, based on The Little Broomstick by Mary Stewart, packs all the imagination, color, and speed of Miyazaki's previous work, but with a YA spin. The gawky teenage experience is fully realized with Mary, who stumbles into a witching college only to be mistaken for "the chosen one." Fluffier than Spirited Away or The Wind RisesMary and the Witch Flowerstill continues Ghibli's tradition of vibrant fantasy storytelling paired with honest explorations of youth, English dub be damned.
Where to see it right now: In theaters (watch full movie)

3. Black Panther

Released: February 16
Cast: Chadwick Boseman, Michael B. Jordan, Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira
Director: Ryan Coogler (Creed)
Why it’s great: We live in a depressing world where an Afrofuturistic James Bond spy movie that crescendos to a Lord of the Rings-like battle between man and armored rhinoceroses would not get an automatic $150 million greenlight from one of the major movie studios. No, the only way that movie's getting made is if it's the 18th installment of a comic-book mega-franchise. Black Panther is part of the "Marvel Cinematic Universe," but it's the most advantageous of the bunch, sidelining Easter eggs and Avengers setup for the ravishing, robust culture of the hidden African nation of Wakanda. The movie strings together car chases, spear duels, laser shootouts, and encounters with the aforementioned rhinos, and Ryan Coogler -- backed by a brimming soundtrack of drums, chants, and Kendrick Lamar -- pulls them off. But the joy of Black Panther is the friction between history and progression, and a consequentialist logic that gives weight to the standoff against king T'Challa (Boseman) and the don't-give-a-fuck Killmonger (Jordan). Lupita Nyong'o and Danai Gurira's as Black Panther's warrior operatives are like cherries atop the sundae, if the sundae had two scoop-sized cherries in the bowl. Did we mention this movie is a blast?
Where to see it right now: In theaters (watch full movie)

2. Western

Released: February 16
Cast: Meinhard Neumann, Reinhardt Wetrek, Syuleyman Alilov Letifov, Veneta Frangova
Director: Valeska Grisebach (Longing)
Why it’s great: You will not find cowboys, Indians, bandits, heroes, scuffles, shootouts, or 10-gallon hats in this bluntly titled drama, yet the pillars of the Old West prop up the somber journey of man caught between two pastoral worlds. Meinhard (Meinhard Neumann), a weathered man-for-hire, bridges the gap between his people, a group of xenophobic German construction workers building a hydroelectric plant along a Bulgarian river, and the locals that regard them as intruders thanks to years of lingering, post-war animosity. With a clear sense of the genre, Grisebach finds her John Ford backdrops in the dawn-lit hills of Bulgaria, her Clint Eastwood in the crags of Meinhard's stoic face, a classic conflict in territorial brutality, and horse riding in... horse riding. Yes, Western is a Western, but Grisebach's Euro lens strips down the fanfare to tell a raw story about the common man.
Where to see it right now: In theaters (watch full movie)

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