Find the best movies and show to watch from the year 2018. These handpicked recommendations are highly-rated by viewers and critics.
The title of this 2018 Palme D'or winner is not to be taken metaphorically: Shoplifters is about a marginalized family of day workers, crooks, and small-time outlaws, who live on the fringes of Japanese society. Osamu (Lily Franky) and Nobuyo (Sakura Andô) both have jobs but spruce up their low-wage income by committing petty crimes. One day in winter, Osamu takes in a bruised girl he finds outside in the cold and introduces her to the family in his ramshackle house. But when the second-youngest member of the family, Shota (Kairi Jyo), finds himself teaching her how to shoplift, he faces a moral dilemma that threatens to unravel the family's fabric. If you were hitherto unfamiliar with the unique storytelling and social realism of Hirokazu Koreeda, we really recommend checking it out—as well as his other movies, namely, Still Walking, Like Father, Like Son, I Wish, and After the Storm. His 2018 outing features the last ever performance of Kirin Kiki, who plays the elderly matriarch and passed away that same year. Like many of Koreeda's works, Shoplifters is an understated, beautiful, and mysterious study of the effects of poverty and trauma and a delicate portrait of a family in Japan's urban underbelly.
Patriot is about a secret agent meddling with the Iranian elections to stop Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. Ok, so like Homeland? Yes, and also very much no. Its protagonist is not a hardened, larger-than-life secret operative but a singer-songwriter stoner with PTSD.
As far as spy dramas go, Patriot certainly takes a lot of risks. Professional assassin John Tavener (played by Michael Dorman), whose dad (played by the amazing Terry O'Quinn from Lost) is the intelligence chief, is on an undercover mission in Iran. But, he's not sure he wants to be. On top of that, he faces an incompetent federal bureaucracy, challenges to maintaining his cover, and bouts of mental illness.
Tavener is no hero. Patriot is more a mix between offbeat spy thriller and workplace comedy with a lot of dark humor in between.
Julia Roberts first small-screen role is that of Heidi Bergman, a woman working as a caseworker at the Homecoming Transitional Support Center, a facility that helps war veterans return to civilian life. Her boss Colin Belfast, superbly played by Bobby Cannavale, is a busy and eager man with questionable motives. Four years on, Bergman no longer works for the mysterious facility, when a visitor forces her to confront what she has been telling herself about her past.
Created by Sam Esmail, who also brought you Mr. Robot, this is mysterious sci-fi at its best. A haunting vibe, heart-stopping cinematography, and a slew of stellar supporting actors like Shea Whigham and Stephan Janes make Homecoming a gripping and breathtaking experience. With each episode clocking in at about 30 minutes, you will frequently be left hungry for more.
In the year of the Netflix TV Show Maniac, another absurdist title stole critics’ hearts. Sorry to Bother You is a movie set in an alternate reality, where capitalism and greed are accentuated. Lakeith Stanfield (Atlanta) is a guy called Cassius who struggles to pay his bills. However, when at a tele-marketing job an old-timer tells him to use a “white voice”, he starts moving up the ranks of his bizarre society. A really smart movie that will be mostly enjoyed by those who watch it for its entertaining value, and not so much for its commentary. It is like a Black Mirror episode stretched into a movie.
This crazy heist movie is told in a very original way. Because it's based on a true story, the movie (with actors and a story) is sometimes interrupted by the people it's about. The opening scene even reads: "this movie is not based on a true story, it is a true story". Two friends decide to rob their local library from rare books worth millions. They're driven by money but also by wanting something different than their monotonous everyday lives in Kentucky. The need for a change is a big theme in this movie, but the story and the way it's told never cease to be breathtakingly thrilling. American Animals stars amazing actors like Barry Keoghan (Dunkirk), Evan Peters (Kick-Ass), and many more; but perhaps equally as notable is the director: Bart Layton, who is fresh from his amazing 2012 sleeper-hit The Imposter.
Led by fine-tuned performances from Ben Whishaw and Hugh Grant at the top of their game, this three-episode series dives headfirst into the sex scandal between Norman Scott and former Liberal Party leader Jeremy Thorpe with devastating wit. Neither character is treated as morally superior over the other, as both become consumed by the media frenzy surrounding the English justice system's thirst for controversy. And Russell T Davies' writing and Stephen Frears' direction allow the show's tone to pivot from brilliantly timed notes of humor to profoundly sad stretches of tragedy and drama. Given its short length, A Very English Scandal seems to be designed for binge-watching, but it should still reward patient and attentive viewing.
Paul Giamatti and Damian Lewis (Homeland) star opposite each other as a prosecutor and a billionaire suspect in this well-crafted drama. Axe is a venture-capitalist who lost his business partners in 9/11 and who is widely appreciated in the public eye for his charity work. He comes under scrutiny from a ruthless and unusual public prosecutor (Giamatti) after allegations of insider-trading. The two alpha-male types go head-to-head which makes for an immensely watchable fight.
This six-part BBC crime drama is about two detectives who try to solve cold murder cases. In the first season, they try to solve the murder of a young man from the 70s who left a diary full of seemingly unconnected names.
Like most BBC mysteries, it’s grounded, believable, and consistent. Still, the second and third seasons of Unforgotten are better than the first, offering a reward for sticking with the show.
An insightful and thoughtful Canadian coming-of-age drama, Giant Little Ones is about two seventeen-year-old best friends whose relationship changes after an incident one night. Spanning a quick 90 minutes, it manages to tell its story quickly and honestly, as it touches on themes of sexual identity not only for the teenagers but for their parents as well. And it has a great message about tolerance. It's a lovely and wholesome movie.
In Lyon, the second biggest city in France after Paris, a man confronts the church about a prominent priest who sexually assaulted him and his friends when they were young.
The man, being religious, wanted to keep the issue within the church. He only asked that the pedophile’s priesthood be revoked so that he doesn’t assault more children.
When it becomes clear that the church will not act, he considers legal action, even though the statute of limitations has expired. But, as is usual in these cases, he was far from being the only victim.
Present-day Mexico City—Ariela comes from a Jewish family that insists on getting married only to people of the same religion. This rule is complicated when Ariela falls in love with the non-Jewish Iván. She is then faced with the dilemma of choosing herself or her family, who for all their severity, she still loves deeply.
Leona’s modern-day retelling of Romeo and Juliet recalls the likes of Crazy Rich Asians and The Big Sick, but unlike those big-budgeted movies, this intimate Spanish-language film exchanges melodrama for restraint, and it’s all the better for it. Leona is a quietly moving story that’s easy to relate to, despite the specificity of its premise.