Top 10 Movies of 2018 So Far

The nightmare that is 2018 is almost over! Current events may be terrifying, but movies have been pretty damn good this year. Each day this week, a different member of the /Film team will be counting down his or her favorite films of the year so far, and now it’s my turn. My favorite films this year run the gamut from indie curiosities to films of absolute horror. And just to keep things from being a complete dour-fest, there’s a very nice movie about a very nice bear as well. These are the top 10 movies of 2018 so far, according to Chris Evangelista.

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New Blu-ray Releases

(Welcome to Not Dead Yet, a feature dedicated to new Blu-ray releases and what special features you should be excited about. Because yes, some of us still like to own physical copies of our movies.)

If you’re looking for the latest in physical media, you’ve come to the right place. If you’re looking for the Orange Julius, it’s on the third floor. This week’s Blu-ray round-up includes the bombastic sequel Pacific Rim Uprising; the acclaimed comedy Blockers; the indie horror-drama The Endless; Steven Soderbergh‘s iPhone thriller Unsane; and the surprisingly excellent Chappaquiddick.

Here are the new Blu-ray releases and their special features you should check out this week and beyond.

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The Endless Trailer

Those of you paying attention, yes – I’ve been quite busily covering Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s The Endless around these parts. I premiered an exclusive clip that teases an existential “Struggle,” interviewed the duo about their cinematic inspirations, and now comes the most fun reveal yet in the form of a giveaway contest! It’s time for us here at /Film to give back with a little help from our filmmaking friends, specifically, the team behind your new favorite mindfreak (according to myself and Jamie Righetti who reviewed the film out of Tribeca).

The Endless begs to be seen, and hopefully what’s about to come ignites your motivational fire.

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the endless influences

As a film critic or journalist, you’ll often find yourself assigning influences to specific movies without creator clarification. That’s part of art – an audience drawing their own connections from singular perspectives – but recently I had the chance to ask two of my favorite working filmmakers if we’re getting it right. Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead were my subjects, a cinematic duo who’ve run a gamut of “x meets y” comparisons over their career.

Spoiler alert, we (critics) were wrong…and right? Chalk up mystery of life.

In specific, Benson and Moorhead got down to exploring their most recent release, The Endless. With their heady brand of poke-around exhibitionism, it’s anyone’s guess as to where their cult-based universe came from (aside from beaming creativity). Do “Lovecraft and Linklater” play as big a role in their inspirations as critiques make it seem? Are their styles more aligned with other directing icons? Do classic films even play a part in their formation as filmmakers?

Those questions and more were answered over coffee and conversation. Welcome to the minds of Benson and Moorhead.

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the endless clip

Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead are two of the most interesting and inquisitive voices echoing throughout today’s cinematic landscape, and their latest title The Endless showcases precisely why. Two creators likened to disciples of Richard Linklater and H.P. Lovecraft, blazing a dialogue-driven trail of twisty genre exploration. Theirs is a style that’s cerebral and striking in ways others have fumbled clumsily, ponderous but still so engagingly addictive. Resolution rocks, Spring rolls and The Endless shows no slowing of momentum.

With that said, it’s our honor to debut a new clip from The Endless that spoons an ominous taste of what to expect from their third release.

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the endless interview

The Endless is Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead’s third movie. They star as Justin and Aaron Smith, two brothers returning to Camp Arcadia, the cult from which they escaped, to help Aaron get some closure. One there, they find themselves encountering a series of endless time loops.

The film has earned raves at Tribeca, Fantastic Fest and other prestigious film festivals, including one from /Film. Their previous films Spring and Resolution did well on the festival circuits as well. Moorhead and Benson spoke with /Film in Los Angeles about the themes of The Endless, including some spoilers we saved for the very bottom. The Endless opens in New York today and Los Angeles on April 13 before expanding further.

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Green Band Trailer

Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising?

This week we get all shook up over Elvis, look at a low-budget horror-comedy, see what Rachel Bloom is up to, take some photos in a war zone, and end up drinking the Kool-Aid. Read More »

The Endless Trailer

A new The Endless trailer has arrived, loaded with pull-quotes, intense music, and what looks to be one of the most interesting genre thrillers of the year. Watch the new The Endless trailer below.

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tribeca reviews my friend dahmer

Another Tribeca Film Festival has come and gone, bringing a new slew of films you should look out for. This year’s festival was particularly jam-packed, with some incredible special events, including a 25th anniversary screening of Reservoir Dogs (using Quentin Tarantino’s personal 35mm copy) and cast panel, talks with industry legends such as Tom Hanks, Kathryn Bigelow and Dustin Hoffman, VR showcases, the premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale, and the literal godfather of all events, an all-day screening of The Godfather and The Godfather II with the cast and director Francis Ford Coppola assembled for a 45th anniversary retrospective panel and reunion to close out the festival.

Sandwiched in-between these star-studded events were some truly incredible films which I had the pleasure of screening and discovering during this sleepless stretch of two weeks. Here are the narrative titles that stood out, that shocked me, thrilled me and left me in dumbfounded awe by the end credits. Here are my Best of Tribeca 2017 films!

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the endless review

I could simply begin and end this review with one simple phrase: what are you waiting for? But let me explain. The Endless isn’t just terrific – it’s poised to be that breakout genre hit that It Follows and The Babadook were in past years. This isn’t just hype. The film is sharply written, smart and funny. It’s tense and uncertain at moments, but it’s not overtly scary, which actually works in its favor. There’s no pressure to deliver big scares and there’s no let down when it doesn’t and it allows the film to just be really good.

The film opens with an H.P. Lovecraft quote: “The oldest and strongest emotion of mankind is fear, and the oldest and strongest kind of fear is fear of the unknown.” This sets the stage for The Endless, but in truth, it also speaks to why some of horror’s best offerings have endured for so long. While audiences love the shocking and terrifying reveals, they can be a mixed-bag that translate into cheap jump scares, laughably bad monsters or special effects that lose their effectiveness over time. But the films that embrace the unknown, that encourage our minds to run wild in an atmosphere of terror and fear often make a lasting impact. The Endless definitely slots into this category of filmmaking.

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