2018 has already been a huge year for movies – and there’s so much more yet to come. Here’s the best of the year so far.
1Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (January 12)
Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell both picked up Oscars for their performances in this bleak comedy about a town reeling from various personal tragedies. You’ll laugh and cry in equal measure.
2Black Panther (February 12)
The first major superhero film with a predominantly black cast was also the best Marvel film yet, mixing idiosyncratic humour and phenomenal action sequences with spiky social commentary. A blast.
3The Shape of Water (February 14)
Somewhere between Beauty And The Beast and The Creature From The Black Lagoon lies Guillermo Del Toro’s enchanting Cold War-set fantasy. It tells the story of Elisa (Sally Hawkins), a mute caretaker in a government facility who develops a relationship with a mysterious humanoid being held in captivity. It took home four Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.
4Lady Bird (February 16)
Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is a coming-of-age tale set in Sacramento, California, where her pretentious titular protagonist (Saiorse Ronan) rails against the mediocrity of her hometown and its inhabitants – not least of whom is her mum (Laurie Metcalf). Its tale of teenage aspiration is clever, but affecting, too, and the film received five Oscar nominations.
5I, Tonya (February 16)
The tale of ice-skater Tonya Harding is told in this biopic starring a sensational Margot Robbie. Taking inspiration from the mad true story it’s based on, it’s a quirky, muddy film that mixes comedy and drama to fascinating effect; Robbie was Oscar-nominated for her leading role, while her in-film mother Alison Janney took home the Best Supporting Actress gong.
6Isle of Dogs (March 30)
Following 2009’s ‘Fantastic Mr Fox’, Wes Anderson returns to stop-motion animation with this original story set in a near-future dystopian Japan, where dogs – believed to be the cause of a mysterious illness – are outlawed and sent to an island dump. In true Wes Anderson style, it’s a caper full of quickfire dialogue and perfect symmetry.
7Annihilation (March 12)
Fresh from his superlative 2014 sci-fi horror Ex Machina, director Alex Garland stuck with the genre for another brilliant journey into darkness. Here Natalie Portman leads an all-female team of scientists investigating a strange phenomenon in a Florida swamp known as ‘Area X’ – caused by a mysterious falling meteor that kills most people who go near. A wonderfully tense watch.
8A Quiet Place (April 5)
Hot on the heels of Annihilation came another tense horror: this one starred real-life husband and wife team John Krasinski and Emily Blunt as a couple living in a world inhabited by noise-sensitive monsters who attack at the slightest sound. The premise is genius – and the silence is captivating.
9Love, Simon (April 6)
A landmark LGBTQ film, Love, Simon details the titular high-schooler’s bumpy coming-out. Part Clueless, part Beautiful Thing, it’s a hugely warm film that pushes the envelope for diversity in major films and is likely to become as culty as the aforementioned teen classics.
10Avengers: Infinity War (April 26)
The most expensive film of all time is the culmination of 10 years of Marvel universe-building – and it doesn’t disappoint. Its huge action sequences make comparable Lord of the Rings and Harry Potter climaxes look tiny by comparison – and it’s also the darkest episode in the series by far. But, in the best-of-both-worlds Marvel tradition, it’s also very funny.