Hidden Gems of 2018

by Craig B.

The Oscars have come and gone and left me in a reflective mood. Every year, I see movies that I think should get more attention than they receive from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Sometimes, I’m downright baffled by their choices. Unfortunately, I’ve never been invited to join their ranks. I’ve also never directed a movie, acted in a film, or written a script that’s survived longer than 30 pages before expiring from inattention, so I suppose I’ll cut the Academy a little slack. Anyway, if they were to ask me which movies should have received a little more love from Tinseltown’s glitterati, I might have suggested some of the following titles.

Shoplifters

Writer and director Hirokazu Kore-eda’s Shoplifters taps a powerful vein of drama (flavored with a dash of wistfulness) by turning the “family is where you find it” trope on its ear. Newcomer Miyu Sasaki is heartbreakingly adorable as Yuri Hojo, a young girl who is taken in by a ragtag family of petty criminals. Sparse but bold art direction helps bolster the film’s understated beauty. Shoplifters won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and heartily deserved it.

The Endless 

When two brothers receive a video tape in the mail from a commune they had left years ago, they decide to take a road trip to check up on their old acquaintances. What they find makes them begin to wish they’d stayed home. The Endless walks a tightrope between magical realism and metaphysical horror with calculated skill. Its enigmatic finale had me jumping back down the rabbit hole for clues I might have missed.

Annihilation

If Annihilation hadn’t been written by an English writer/director and adapted from an American novel, I would have guessed it was Russian. Its pace is meditative, its cinematography careful and lavish, and its aim philosophical. It doesn’t scare you so much as it makes you think, and I imagine anybody going to the theater expecting a summer blockbuster would have been disappointed. That’s too bad, because it’s really quite a lovely little film. Not only that, but it’s the first sci-fi film I’ve seen in quite some time with an all-female lead cast.

Isle of Dogs 

Director Wes Anderson returns to stop animation filmmaking with the utterly delightful Isle of Dogs. Anderson, true to form, saturates his world with an almost absurd attention to detail. This is, of course, exactly what Wes Anderson junkies expect. The artistry is so charming, in fact, that you might just miss how equally charming the script is.

I hope you enjoy these titles! Be sure to comment with any additional titles you discover so I can add them to my list.

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Comments

5 responses to “Hidden Gems of 2018”

  1. Jennifer says:

    I loved Bad Times at the El Royale. Cynthia Erivo blew me away. Does that count as a hidden gem?

    • Craig Burgess says:

      Indeed it does! At the time of writing the list, however, I had not yet seen it. I think it would make a great addition. I’ll add it!

  2. Isaac H. says:

    Loved Annihilation (the film). It was incredibly underrated, and one of those rare examples of a movie being better than the book material it was based on. I also thought “Sorry to Bother You” was a huge hidden gem ignored at the Oscars. I was shocked Green Book won so many awards yet “Sorry To Bother You” received nothing.

    • Craig Burgess says:

      I haven’t seen “Sorry to Bother You” yet! I love when someone points out a potential hidden gem. I’m adding it to my short list.

    • Lisa C says:

      Just seconding the Sorry to Bother You recommendation. LaKeith Stanfield is great and music by The Coup!

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