From action throwbacks to kid-friendly fare, hard-hitting dramas to game-changing horror, this year has already delivered a bumper crop of excellent flicks for film lovers. We’re still just a few pages for the calendar, but let’s take a quick look back at the best movies of so far.
- The LEGO Batman Movie
Trying to follow up The LEGO Movie was a tough proposition, and spinning off Will Arnett’s Batman into his own movie could easily have backfired. The filmmakers could’ve faltered under the pressure of making this Batman likable or interesting enough to carry his own film — or buckled under the weight of all those DC Comics in-jokes and gags … “Crazy Quilt, Eraser, Polka Dot Man, Mime, Tarantula, King Tut, Orca, Killer Moth, March Harriet, Zodiac Master, Gentleman Ghost…” Happily, The LEGO Batman Movie turned out to be one of the best family-friendly movies in ages, while packing in enough smart comic stuff to keep Batman geeks coming back for repeat viewings. Fun, wacky, and a rollicking adventure in the wild world of LEGO, the movie’s been showered with praise from critics who are calling it one of the best-animated offerings of the year — and one of the best Batman movies ever.
- John Wick Chapter
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More than years after The Matrix saga began Keanu Reeves has reinvented himself as an action hero for a whole new generation. This sequel to his surprise action hit John Wick is a bone-crushing, R-rated thrill ride that finds Reeves’ namesake hitman pulled out of retirement to take on a shady international conspiracy. “So I guess you have a choice. Do you want a war, or do you just want to just give me a gun?” Sure, it’s mostly just a setup for Reeves to kick — and shoot — a bunch of bad-guy butts. Critics, however, say the film feels like a throwback to the simpler days of action films, focusing on practical effects instead of distracting CGI. It’s also one of the most stylish films of the year, regardless of genre.
- Hidden Figures
This historical drama technically opened late in but didn’t go wide until this year.It tells the inspiring true story of the black women who worked for NASA during the early days of the U.S. space program, and the critical roles they played in helping America with the space race. Stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe did a fantastic job of bringing this era to life while lending genuine emotional heft to the film’s portrayal of their struggles and triumphs. Not only is it a fascinating real-life story — it’s uplifting and all-around entertaining.
- Patriots Day
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Director Peter Berg’s dramatic retelling of the real-life Boston Marathon bombing stars Mark Wahlberg, making this his third fact-based thriller with Berg. Wahlberg plays a police sergeant thrust into the middle of the chaos and the ensuing investigation of the bombing. Critics have praised Patriots Day, which also opened in limited release late in, for managing to tell a compelling story without exploiting the real-life tragedy. While some reviews question whether it’s too soon to bring this particular story to the cineplex, there’s no denying it finds Berg and Wahlberg in their wheelhouse… and lets Wahlberg be Boston as all get-out “You gotta start lettin’ Boston working’ for us, I’m telling you.”
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Pretty much no one saw it coming, but this one’s surprise hit, Split, is among the best films of the year. The taut thriller follows a group of young women abducted by a man, played by James McAvoy, with multiple personalities. And those personalities’ struggle for dominance threatens to upend his plans…or make things even worse for his captives. Critics have hailed it as an unexpected return to form for the writer/director, and a big Part of the film’s buzz comes from Shyamalan’s traditional big twist in the final act. And it isn’t just the shocking fact that the twist is actually good this time that makes Split so much fun, either. McAvoy ties it all together with a tour de force performance.
- The Founder
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This true-story tale follows Ray Kroc, played by Michael Keaton, and the twisty real-life saga of how the McDonald’s fast-food chain was born. For those who’ve never stopped to consider the Big Mac’s origin story, it’s a surprisingly timely tale that delves into the dark side of the American Dream. “I just cannot stop thinking about this tremendous restaurant!” Critics have praised Keaton for his multifaceted performance. And while some have noted that the movie could have dug a little deeper, it all goes down about as easy as a Micky D’s shake… “Do they have Krusty partially gelatinated, non-dairy gum-based beverages?
- Get Out
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Point to a February horror movie on your average release calendar, and you’re probably singling out a pretty lame film. But there’s always an exception. This year, Get Out is that amazing exception. Helmed by first-time feature director Jordan Peele of Key & Peele fame …”Everybody here gets to design their own gremlin.” … this horror/comedy hybrid follows the increasingly frightening misadventures of a young man venturing into the suburbs to meet his girlfriend’s parents. They have no idea he’s black until he arrives, which feeds into the film’s creeping tension…but of course, that’s only the start. Thrilling as it is thought-provoking; this is one movie no film buff will want to miss.
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Comic’s fans have loved Wolverine for decades, partly because the character has a dark, violent streak a mile wide. And although Hugh Jackman has played the X-Man just about perfectly, none of those outings have truly captured the grueling angst and berserker rage that help make his saga so poignant. That all changes with Logan, a loose adaptation of the Old Man Logan comic book story that finds our hero in a grim wasteland, called upon to defend a mysterious girl targeted by a pack of bloodthirsty villains. A brooding Western road trip with claws, Logan’s been hailed by critics as a fitting farewell for Jackman — and perhaps the best entry in the X-Men franchise to date.
- Kong Skull Island
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It’s been a long time coming, but Warner Bros. and Legendary Pictures knocked it out of the park with the new-look version of King Kong in Skull Island. The story follows a team of explorers and soldiers as they head off to a mysterious island…that turns out to be the home of giant monsters. Critics have been raving about the A-list cast, praising the aesthetics of the setting, and saying it strikes the perfect balance of big stakes, dumb fun, and wildly enjoyable action. “I call them skull crawlers…”Why?” Never said that name out loud before. It sounds stupid now that I said it. You call them whatever you want.” It also looks to set the stage for an eventual crossover with Godzilla that’ll set up the studio’s MonsterVerse. Skull Island is only the beginning. With luck, we’ll finally get that modern reboot of the greatest monster story ever told Godzilla’s.
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From the dark night to inception to interstellar Christopher Nolan has given us some of the best movies of the past decade away however Dunkirk is somewhat new territory for the acclaimed director the film is a science fiction epic or a crime thriller but an American war drama depicting the Dunkirk evacuation the story follows allied soldiers during World War two with Nolan behind the camera Dunkirk has the potential to be one of the most intensely emotional and exquisitely shot war pictures since Saving Private Ryan another good feeling about this one we’re lonely colectomy feel good about anything will this be the film that finally wins Nolan and Oscar more importantly well the Academy finally nominate him for Best Director clearly.