So far, 2018 has given us brilliant films such as A Quiet Place, Sorry To Bother You and BlacKkKlansman. Both received cinematic stays and tons of pre-release publicity to let movie-goers know of their releases. What about the movies that weren’t shoved down our throats by Hollywood or the ones that didn’t do as well as they deserved in the box office? This list counts down the top fifteen films that you may have missed in 2018. Here are numbers 8-15.
15. The Christmas Chronicles
After the recent loss of their father, Kate (Darby Camp) and Teddy (Judah Lewis) decide to stay awake on the night of Christmas Eve to catch Santa Claus (Kurt Russell) in the act. However, he’s down and back up the chimney before either catch a good glance at him. The two run outside and, upon raising their eyes to the sky, they see a sleigh led by flying reindeer hovering above their heads. While Santa is still delivering presents to neighboring houses, the kids sneak aboard hoping for the ride of a lifetime. Instead, thousands of miles from home, the sleigh plummets back down to earth in a near-death crash, sending Santa’s big bag of toys and magical hat flying. Racing against the clock, Santa, Kate and Teddy must recover the lost items, all the while dealing with the disbelieving police, dangerous crooks and a lack of Christmas spirit.
Because it’s December, of course I had to begin with a holiday movie. The Christmas Chronicles is the best choice if you’re looking for a new Santa movie. Like any other Christmas flick, this one has its fair amount of cheesy moments, but it’s one of the better films of this genre in recent years. Russell makes his character his own, adding a fun side to the Santa Claus that kids already know and love. Although young, Camp and Lewis show off their talent, which can only get better as they get older and get more practice. This may not be the case for everyone, but this is definitely a movie that’ll become a tradition to watch in my household every December.
14. To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before
Lara Jean (Lana Condor) arrived at school one morning thinking that it was just another normal day. However, Peter (Noah Centineo) approaches her with a letter that was mailed to him from her. Realizing that the five love letters that she had written had somehow been given to her five crushes, Lara Jean panics. Her sister’s ex-boyfriend and most recent crush Josh (Israel Broussard) tries to talk to her about the letter he’d received, so she avoids him and instead comes to an agreement with Peter, where they will pretend to date on another until everything blows over. This causes her faux beau’s ex-girlfriend to become jealous, just like he wanted.
There are very few romantic comedies that I’ve come to like, but this one has made this list. It’s an original idea and all the elements come together nicely to create this cute teen flick.
13. Leave No Trace
Leave No Trace is a tale about a father (Ben Foster) and daughter (Thomasin McKenzie) who live alone in the woods because the dad, named Will, suffers from PTSD due to the war. Unfortunately, the pair is caught by park rangers and the police, who then force the family of two to move into a house. Will is required to work and his daughter Tom must register for school. Unable to adapt despite Tom’s willingness to give this new life a shot, Will and his daughter set out to start over in the woods again, but Tom realizes that they were missing the company of others and no longer wants to live a life isolated from the world like her father.
Based on the novel My Abandonment by Peter Rock, Leave No Trace mastered subtlety. Debra Granik (writer/director) and Anne Rosellini (writer) worked together to create a film that could say a lot in little to no words.
Exhausted mother-of-three, one being a newborn, Marlo (Charlize Theron) hires a night-nanny named Tully (Mackenzie Davis) thanks to the suggestion of her brother Craig (Mark Duplass). With this new help, Marlo is able to get the rest she desperately needs. In addition to taking care of the new baby, Tully strikes up a friendship with Marlo and helps her learn how to become the mother that she’s always wanted to be.
This is a metaphorical story detailing the toll that taking care of children day and night have on mothers, especially those who have chosen to breastfeed and are unable to take turns by passing off feeding time to their husbands. Hopefully, this movie does what it set out to do and shows the world how strong women are and teaches husbands to appreciate and aid their wives and mothers of their children.
11. Unsane Sawyer (Claire Foy), who has moved from Massachusetts to Pennsylvania to escape her stalker, makes an appointment to see a therapist because she is still struggling mentally at times when she is around men. Unknowingly, she signs a form, voluntarily committing herself to a full twenty-four hour stay at Highland Creek Behavioral Center, which ends up turning into a week-long stay. She befriends another patient named Nate (Jay Pharoah), who tells her a big secret about the hospital that they are in. While there, Sawyer sees her stalker (Joshua Leonard), who is now one of the orderlies and, therefore, has a lot of power over her. As the story unfolds, everything spirals down to a series of events that turn deadly.
Director Steven Soderbergh often experiments with new things in his films and this movie is no different because it is shot entirely on an iPhone 7. Admittedly, the beginning of Unsane is incredibly frustrating, but if you stick with it, it’ll have you yourself questioning whether or not Sawyer is actually insane.
Alice (Madeline Brewer) is a camgirl. Unlike some of her competition, she has three rules: she doesn’t do public shows, she doesn’t fake her orgasms and she doesn’t tell her viewers that she loves them. Alice is desperate to move up in the rankings and take the top spot from her rival Baby (Imani Hakim), but she sticks by her morals — that is, until she logs into her account and sees that she’s already going live, but it’s not her; it’s a lookalike. This doppelgänger is stealing her money, her fans and her livelihood, so Alice must solve the mystery and win her account back, doing things she never thought she would do along the way.
This movie reminded me a lot of the video games Sara Is Missing and Simulacra, so if you liked them, you would like this movie and vice versa. Cam is able to capture its audience’s attention right off the bat and hold it until its final moments.
Margot (Michelle La) goes missing and her father David (John Cho) becomes desperate to find her in this suspenseful mystery-thriller that takes place completely on electronic devices, such as computers, phones and video cameras. With the help of Detective Vick (Debra Messing), David begins to search for clues that lead to the whereabouts of his only daughter. He manages to hack into her computer and search through endless messages, pictures, videos and posts, hoping that it’ll help speed up the investigation. As he learns more and more, he begins to realize that he didn’t know his daughter as well as he’d thought. When the pieces of the puzzle come together, David begins to suspect the unlikeliest of suspects.
Like with the Unfriended series, the creators of Searching decided to try something a little different and tell this story by only using electronic devices that have cameras. In addition to this and the fact that Cho gave a great performance as a worry-stricken father desperate to find his missing daughter, the writing for this crime drama was refreshing and inventive. I tend to steer clear of this genre because each “mystery” is predictable and, if it’s predictable, then I feel like I’ve wasted my time, but Searching offered a surprising conclusion that I very much appreciated.
8. Cover VersionsStarfoxy is a synth-rock band made up of four members: Jackie (Katie Cassidy), Kirk (Austin Swift), Byron (Drake Bell) and Travis (Jerry Trainor). The night before their expected performance at a big music festival, they throw a party and wake up the next morning to find a dead girl floating in their pool. Each are interrogated by the police, and each share a different version of what went down the previous night. As each band member shares his/her perspective, more and more pieces of the puzzle are put together, leading to a shocking ending that no one could have predicted.
Despite being a flick made up of Disney and Nickelodeon stars and ruining your childhood by having them engage in foul language, sexual situations and drug and alcohol abuse, Cover Versions is actually a skillfully-put-together movie. As well as the obvious details that change from one account to the other, writer and director Todd Berger tossed in several smaller and more subtle details that differ from each story, such as outfits or make-up. Although seemingly unimportant at first glance, this actually displays how one character views another. Despite some questionable acting here and there, Cover Versions is a highly underrated movie and deserves much more credit that it receives.
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