2018 Films

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Leave No Trace















Will (Ben Foster) and his teenage daughter, Tom (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie), have lived off the grid for years in the forests of Portland, Oregon. When their idyllic life is shattered, both are put into social services. After clashing with their new surroundings, Will and Tom set off on a harrowing journey back to their wild homeland. The film is directed by Debra Granik from a script adapted by Granik and Anne Rosellini.

Directed by Debra Granik     Written by Debra Granik and Anne Rosellini
Rated PG     In theaters June 29, 2018     Limited release by Bleecker Street     Runtime 109 minutes

Debra Granik (Winter’s Bone) directs with a touch that’s as gentle on the audience as bees are to Tom. There is not a move, cut, sound, or deliberate stretch of silence that in some way doesn’t advance and inform the plot.  Scott Marks, San Diego Reader


Black KkKlansman

From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero. It’s the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream. Produced by the team behind the Academy-Award (R) winning Get Out.

Directed by Spike Lee     Written by Charlie Wachtel, David Rabinowitz, Kevin Willmott, Spike Lee
Rated R     In theaters August 10     Wide release by Focus Features     Runtime 135 minutes

For all its revelations of racist rot at the core of American society, Lee also offers a clear, specific, and wondrous, if wary, view of change that’s possible because, at one time and to some extent, it actually happened.  Richard Brody, New Yorker


Eighth Grade

Thirteen-year-old Kayla endures the tidal wave of contemporary suburban adolescence as she makes her way through the last week of middle school–the end of her thus far disastrous eighth grade year before she begins high school.

Directed by Bo Burnham     Written by Bo Burnham
Rated R     In theaters August 3, 2018     Wide release by A24     Runtime 94 minutes



Collin (Daveed Diggs) must make it through his final three days of probation for a chance at a new beginning. He and his troublemaking childhood best friend, Miles (Rafael Casal), work as movers, and when Collin witnesses a police shooting, the two men’s friendship is tested as they grapple with identity and their changed realities in the rapidly-gentrifying neighborhood they grew up in. Longtime friends and collaborators, Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal co-wrote and star in this timely and wildly entertaining story about friendship and the intersection of race and class set against the backdrop of Oakland. Bursting with energy, style, and humor, and infused with the spirit of rap, hip hop, and spoken word, Blindspotting, boldly directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada in his feature film debut, is a provocative hometown love letter that glistens with humanity.

Directed by Carlos Lopez Estrada     Written by Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal
Rated R     In theaters July 20, 2018     Limited release by Lionsgate    Runtime 95 minutes


The Rider

Based on his a true story, The Rider stars breakout Brady Jandreau as a once rising star of the rodeo circuit warned that his competition days are over after a tragic riding accident. Back home, Brady finds himself wondering what he has to live for when he can no longer do what gives him a sense of purpose: to ride and compete. In an attempt to regain control of his fate, Brady undertakes a search for new identity and tries to redefine his idea of what it means to be a man in the heartland of America.

You can almost feel the wind and smell the dust of the South Dakota plains, so deeply is Chloé Zhao’s new film steeped in the reality of its environment.
Peter Howell, Toronto Star

The Rider comes as close to a spiritual experience as anything I’ve encountered in a movie theater this year.
Justin Chang, Los Angeles Times

Zhao turns material that might have been treacly and simple-minded into an allegory of male identity…with the quality of myth. Peter Keough, Boston Globe

Directed by Chloe Zhao     Written by Chloe Zhao
Rated R     In theaters April 13, 2018     Limited release by Sony Pictures Classics     Runtime 104 minutes


Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

photo by Jim Judkis.

From Academy Award-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville (20 Feet from Stardom), Won’t You Be My Neighbor? takes an intimate look at America’s favorite neighbor: Mister Fred Rogers. A portrait of a man whom we all think we know, this emotional and moving film takes us beyond the zip-up cardigans and the land of make-believe, and into the heart of a creative genius who inspired generations of children with compassion and limitless imagination.

Directed by Morgan Neville     Documentary
Rated PG-13     In theaters June 8, 2018     Limited Release by Focus Features     Runtime 94 mintes


Farmer of the Year

After selling his farm, an aging farmer struggles to maintain his youth by road tripping across the country in a ’73 Winnebago.

When Hap Anderson, a widowed 83 year old Minnesota farmer that thinks he’s still quite the ladies’ man, sells his family farm, he finds himself adrift and staring a short future in the face. Driven by the possibility of showing up with an old flame and impressing his old army buddies, he sets out to attend his 65th WWII reunion in California. Encountering oddball tourist attractions and eccentric characters along the way he realizes that age is just a number and the most important person to impress is himself.

With typical understated Midwestern humor and restraint, Farmer of the Year delicately blends the comedy and drama of life.

Directed by Vince O’Connell and Kathy Swanson
In theaters April 13, 2018     Limited release by Yellowhouse Films  Runtime 103 minutes


An epic adventure set in the last Ice Age, Alpha tells a fascinating, visually stunning story that shines a light on the origins of man’s best friend. While on his first hunt with his tribe’s most elite group, a young man is injured and must learn to survive alone in the wilderness. Reluctantly taming a lone wolf abandoned by its pack, the pair learn to rely on each other and become unlikely allies, enduring countless dangers and overwhelming odds in order to find their way home before winter arrives.

Smit-McPhee’s performance is astonishing, and believable in every respect as a boy on the cusp of adulthood who must dig deep to find the courage and resourcefulness to survive.   Bruce DeMara, Toronto Star

An old-fashioned movie made with new-fashioned finesse. Owen Gleiberman, Variety

Directed by Albert Hughes     Written by Daniele Sebastian Wiedenhaupt
Rated PG-13     In theaters August 17, 2018     Wide release by Sony Pictures     Runtime 97 minutes