The Top Ten Films of 2018 (Thus Far)

2018 has been an interesting year in cinema.  Marvel Studios continues to set global records while fans continue to debate the futures of cinematic universes and beloved franchises.  Six months into the year and audiences have been treated to some amazing films, both foreign and domestic, with dozens of amazing films coming soon.  What follows is 10 films that Ben and Kyle think are some of the best of the year thus far.


(Ben’s #5) Leigh Wannell’s upgrade to Robocop makes the best use of camera work I’ve seen this year (though it could be argued that Unsane shares this accolade as well.) Logan Marshall Green, who has made some rather bold films over the years, has never been the household name I think he should be. There’s an excellent twist at the end of the film that had my audience at SXSW on the edge of their seats. Nice job, BH Tilt!


(Kyle’s #5) Coralie Fargeat’s furious debut is a reverse engineered exploitation piece.  Featuring copious amounts of graphic violence, gratuitous male nudity (my favorite juxtaposition of the year), and a breakout central performance, Revenge is a must see for fans of both revenge pictures and female empowerment stories.  Matilda Lutz’s lead performance is one of my favorites of the year and Robrecht Heyvaert’s sweat soaked cinematography is gorgeous.  The transitions of the main character along with one of the year’s most intriguing surreal sequences elevate what could have been another forgettable affair into one of the year’s must-see films.


(Ben’s #4) Diablo Cody’s importance as a screenwriter cannot be overstated here. The film, which divided audiences with its third act has Charlize Theron firing on all cylinders as an overworked mom with a husband who lives in his own world. When her over protective brother suggests a surrogate to help her with their two kids, this modern, yet dramatic version of Parenthood, is exactly what parents need to see at the movies.

Before We Vanish

(Kyle’s #4) Kiyoshi Kurosawa continues to be one of the most talented auteurs currently working in foreign cinema.  His latest effort, Before We Vanish, is a hybrid science fiction-romance story that floats in between genre conventions to explore an alien invasion from the outside in.  Featuring a trio of multifaceted performances and Kurosawa’s trademark visuals, this is an interesting take on a tried and true genre that not only works but manages to present some lasting questions on the nature of personality, fear, and regret. 


(Ben’s #3) Let’s just be upfront: Paramount botched this brilliant film’s theatrical release by selling the foreign rights to Netflix. Sure, a lot of audiences got to see it, but they didn’t get to experience the film, theatrically. Alex Garland (Ex Machina, Sunshine) is a gifted storyteller and his unique style served this film very, very well. Now on home video, with a Best Buy exclusive UHD BD, this film is worth your time, even if Mr. Garland has said he would not come back to this universe. 

Madhouse Mecca

(Kyle’s #3) A small indie picture that won Best Editing at the Beverly Hills Film Festival, Virginia Beach local Leonardo Warner’s debut feature, Madhouse Mecca is an intimate foray into the devastation of a marriage.  Beautifully lensed by Hunter Chapman, Mecca is a lived-in experience, channeling the quiet fury of couples struggling to find both a mutual identity and a well-defined sense of self. 

A Quiet Place

(Ben’s #2) This film opened SXSW 2018 and the audience there just ate it up. Because of a scheduling conflict, I had to wait an extra three weeks to see how the film ended. Let’s just say that it was worth the wait. Writer-Director John Krasinski, who is better known for his comedic turn on The Office, is on both ends of the camera in this film that uses silence to its advantage. The story divided audiences when it came out in early April, but it is a wholly original film. [Yes, I’m heaping the love on Paramount because someone has to. It is an article about CBS and National Amusements, but pay attention to this fracas, because it has to power to affect Paramount.]

Tokyo Vampire Hotel

(Kyle’s #2) So, this might be technically cheating.  Madman auteur Sion Sono cut his multi-hour epic into film version to screen at film festivals, but the completed work is now streaming on Amazon Prime as a 10-part television series. Regardless of where you fall, this is an amazing experience by one of the greatest living directors.  Weaving an apocalyptic thread around a classic tale of dueling vampire clans and then infusing it with Sono’s unrivaled madness, this is more of an event than a traditional viewing experience.

Won’t You Be My Neighbor

(Ben’s #1) Okay, so my number 1 film of the first half of 2018 is a documentary. But, most of this audience grew up with Mister Roger’s Neighborhood and its star, Fred Rogers. The modest man, who uses puppets to tell children difficult stories, was a magician himself. And the number of people who repeat their interactions with Fred is astounding. It rolls out in select cities on June 8, and slowly expands through the 22nd, when it gets its nationwide release.

Let the Corpses Tan

(Kyle’s #1) Debuting at film festivals across the world and coming to blu-ray this August from Kino Lorber, Let the Corpses Tan is one of 2018’s few masterworks.  The third film by married directorial duo Helene Cattet and Bruno Forzani, Corpses tells the tale of a gold heist gone awry, with a day long shootout between the thieves, the police, and a group of Bohemian outcasts among the crumbling ruins of a mansion on the coast.  Featuring the couples’ renowned visual style, switchblade editing, and profane symbolism that will make grindhouse aficionados cheer, this is one of the greatest films of the year.

-- Ben Cahlamer & Kyle Jonathan