by Rob DiCristino
1. Game Night (2018, Dir. John Francis Daley & Jonathan Goldstein)
Spider-Man: Homecoming) to wield their sharp and talented cast like kitchen knives. Rachel McAdams is the MVP (How many times have we said that, now?), but Jason Bateman finds a nice shade of nebbish underachiever that doesn’t have me thinking of Michael Bluth the whole time. Ultimately, Game Night’s key strength is its understanding that story can and should always be molded around character. The jokes are motivated by circumstance and deepened by escalation; they’re not all non sequiturs or cutaway gags that could be copied and pasted anywhere. That’s why they last, and that’s why Game Night should be a new cult classic.
2. RBG (2018, Dirs. Julie Cohen & Betsy West)
3. Sorry to Bother You (2018, Dir. Boots Riley)
4. Cam (2018, Dir. Daniel Goldhaber)
5. Searching (2018, Dir. Aneesh Chaganty)
Unfriended is the foremost example), but Searching is its finest entry yet. Chaganty and co-writer Sev Ohanian embrace the gimmick without using it as a crutch, pushing themselves to fuse form with story in creative ways. It’s the rare movie about technology made by people who actually seem to understand how and why we use it (writing out a long screed before deleting it; going through the torture of password recovery), which immediately endears us to its protagonist and allows us to actively participate in solving the mystery. John Cho’s performance as David — a single father tracing his missing daughter’s digital footsteps — has already earned some awards buzz, but Searching is fueled by its audience’s inevitable urge to follow every click and search across every browser window (the details of daughter Margot’s [Michelle La] disappearance are foreshadowed early, and eagle eyed viewers will spot the breadcrumbs on rewatch). It’s a welcome evolution for the subgenre and a powerful exercise in Parent Nightmare Fuel that should inspire the right kind of imitation.