The Best Movies of 2018 (So Far)

We are now halfway through the year and as has become an annual tradition here at The End, it’s time to look back at the best movies of the year so far. As I discussed in the 2013 halfway post, the consensus movie-dating system is nonsensical and posits New York as the center of the universe. Far more logical (and much easier to use) is a system reliant on imdb’s dating system, which locates a film in whatever year it first played for an audience. That’s what we use here for all Rankings & Awards as it’s the most fair to all eras and areas. (A dating system reliant on playing in a certain locality I think can be valuable for a publication that is geographically specific, like a local newspaper or website. But here at The End, we have a global reach.)

A by-product of the system is that a number of films that first go into wide-release in any given year actually had their premiere in the year before. A number of the films on many critics’ halfway-point lists will include these films, films that find their proper home here on my 2017 list. And so here we have two lists: the Best Movies of 2018, following the strict imdb dating system, and the Best 2017 Movies of 2018, which includes those films from last year that you might find on a more chronologically-illogical list. I also have a third list, Best Unreleased Movies of 2017, of last year’s films that have yet to see a New York release and therefore don’t (yet) exist by the standards of most critics. And a fourth list, a halfway version of my annual Best Older Movies list, counting the top movies I saw for the first time this year that are more than a few years old.

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The Best Movies of 2018 (So Far)

1. Grass (Hong Sangsoo)
2. Little Forest (Yim Soonrye)
3. Dead Pigs (Cathy Yan)
4. The 15:17 to Paris (Clint Eastwood)
5. Matangi/Maya/MIA (Steven Loveridge)
6. Operation Red Sea (Dante Lam)
7. The Monkey King 3 (Soi Cheang)
8. Avengers: Infinity War (Anthony & Joe Russo)
9. Isle of Dogs (Wes Anderson)
10. Black Panther (Ryan Coogler)
11. La cartographe (Nathan Douglas)
12. Girls Always Happy (Yang Mingming)
13. How Long Will I Love U (Su Lun)
14. Detective Chinatown 2 (Chen Sicheng)
15. The Widowed Witch (Cai Chengjie)
16. The Commuter (Jaume Collet-Serra)

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The Best 2017 Movies of 2018 (So Far)

1. Claire’s Camera (Hong Sangsoo)
2. 24 Frames (Abbas Kiarostami)
3. The Green Fog (Guy Maddin, Evan & Galen Johnson)
4. Let the Sunshine In (Claire Denis)
5. Angels Wear White (Vivian Qu)
6. The Day After (Hong Sangsoo)
7. 1987: When the Day Comes (Jang Joonhwan)
8. Before We Vanish (Kiyoshi Kurosawa)
9. Western (Valeska Grisebach)
10. Zama (Lucrecia Martel)
11. The Death of Stalin (Armando Iannucci)
12. Ismael’s Ghosts (Arnaud Desplechin)
13. Did You Wonder Who Fired the Gun? (Travis Wilkerson)
14. Lu Over the Wall (Masaaki Yuasa)

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The Best Unreleased Films of 2017 (So Far)

1. Maison du bonheur (Sofia Bohdanowicz)
2. Bad Genius (Nattawut Poonpiriya)
3. Love and Goodbye in Hawaii (Shingo Matsumura)
4. The Village of No Return (Chen Yu-hsun)
5. 77 Heartbreaks (Herman Yau)
6. The Burden of Other People’s Thoughts (Don Hertzfeldt)
7. Fail to Appear (Antoine Bourges)
8. Hit the Night (Jeong Gayoung)
9. Love Education (Sylvia Chang)
10. Pumpkin Movie (Sophy Romvari)
11. SPL: Paradox (Wilson Yip)
12. Prototype (Blake Williams)
13. Sekigahara (Masato Harada)
14. Chang-Ok’s Letter (Shunji Iwai)
15. Wrath of Silence (Xin Yukun)
16. The Great Buddha+ (Huang Hsin-yao)
17. Wasteland No. 1: Ardent Verdant (Jodie Mack)
18. Mr. Long (Sabu)
19. From Nine to Nine (Neil Bahadur)
20. Scaffold (Kazik Radwanski)
21. Manhunt (John Woo)

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2018 Discoveries (So Far)

1. Kamikaze Taxi (Masato Harada, 1995)
2. Long Arm of the Law (Johnny Mak, 1984)
3. Final Victory (Patrick Tam, 1987)
4. Lost in the Mountains (Hong Sangsoo, 2009)
5. That Day, On the Beach (Edward Yang, 1983)
6. Dream Lovers (Tony Au, 1986)
7. Love Unto Waste (Stanley Kwan, 1986)
8. Cops and Robbers (Alex Cheung, 1979)
9. Princess D (Sylvia Chang, 2002)
10. Tonight Nobody Goes Home (Sylvia Chang, 1996)
11. Crime Story (Kirk Wong, 1993)
12. Duel to the Death (Ching Siu-tung, 1983)
13. Siao Yu (Sylvia Chang, 1995)
14. Women (Stanley Kwan, 1985)
15. Passion (Sylvia Chang, 1986)
16. Hit Team (Dante Lam, 2001)
17. Clan of the White Lotus (Lo Lieh, 1980)

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The Best Older Movies I Saw in 2016

An annual tradition here at The End, this is a look at my favorite film discoveries of the year, any movie more than a few years old that I saw for the first time in 2016. Previous years include: 201520142013201220112010200920082007, and 2006. I watched 320 or so movies in 2016, less than one third of which qualified for this list. Here are 60 that I liked.

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1. Mahjong (Edward Yang, 1996)

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2. Love Exposure (Sion Sono, 2008)

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3. Canyon Passage (Jacques Tourneur, 1946)

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4. The Yakuza Papers (Kinji Fukasaku, 1973-74)

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5. Distant Voices, Still Lives (Terence Davies, 1988)

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6. School on Fire (Ringo Lam, 1988)

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7. Viva Erotica (Derek Yee & Law Ch-leung, 1996)

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8. Tokyo Sonata (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2008)

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9. Isn’t Life Wonderful (DW Griffith, 1924)

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10. La bête humaine (Jean Renoir, 1938)

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11. The Long Day Closes (Terence Davies, 1992)

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12. Prospero’s Books (Peter Greenaway, 1991)

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13. Duelle (Jacques Rivette, 1976)

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14. Phantoms of Nabua (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2009)

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15. Sonatine (Takeshi Kitano, 1993)

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16. The Big Road (Sun Yu, 1935)

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17. Viola (Matías Piñeiro, 2012)

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18. Suicide Club (Sion Sono, 2001)

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19. Persuasion (Roger Michell, 1995)

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20. Swamp Water (Jean Renoir, 1941)

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21. Noroît (Jacques Rivette, 1976)

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22. The God of Cookery (Stephen Chow, 1996)

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23. Violent Cop (Takeshi Kitano, 1989)

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24. Dirty Gertie from Harlem USA (Spencer Williams, 1946)

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25. Cure (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 1997)

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26. The Unchanging Sea (DW Griffith, 1910)

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27. Pulse (Kiyoshi Kurosawa, 2001)

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28. La chienne (Jean Renoir, 1931)

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29. Burning Paradise in Hell (Ringo Lam, 1994)

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30. Hearts of the World (DW Griffith, 1918)

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31. Medicine for Melancholy (Barry Jenkins, 2008)

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32. The Golden Coach (Jean Renoir, 1952)

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33. Beyond Hypothermia (Patrick Leung, 1996)

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34. Under the Cherry Moon (Prince, 1986)

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35. The Bitter Stems (Fernando Ayala, 1956)

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36. The Stunt Woman (Ann Hui, 1996)

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37. The Anthem (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2006)

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38. The Razor’s Edge (Edmund Goulding, 1946)

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39. So Dark the Night (Joseph H. Lewis, 1946)

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40. Ebola Syndrome (Herman Yau, 1996)

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41. Viva (Anna Biller, 2007)

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42. Youth of the Beast (Seijun Suzuki, 1963)

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43. Looking for Mr. Perfect (Ringo Lam, 2003)

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44. Gates of the Night (Marcel Carné, 1946)

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45. Stage Door (Shu Kei, 1996)

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46. Wishful Drinking (Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato, 2010)

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47. Desk Set (Walter Lang, 1957)

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48. Bastards (Claire Denis, 2013)

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49. Death Duel (Chor Yuen, 1977)

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50. A Letter to Uncle Boonmee (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2009)

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51. Big Bullet (Benny Chan, 1996)

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52. The Flame and the Arrow (Jacques Tourneur, 1950)

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53. Young and Dangerous 3 (Andrew Lau, 1996)

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54. The Sorrows of Satan (DW Griffith, 1926)

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55. The Black Pirate (Albert Parker, 1926)

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56. Shanghai Grand (Poon Man-kit, 1996)

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57. Mysterious Object at Noon (Apichatpong Weerasethakul, 2000)

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58. Mismatched Couples (Yuen Woo-ping, 1985)

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59. The Fun, The Luck and The Tycoon (Johnnie To, 1990)

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60. Prison on Fire II (Ringo Lam, 1991)

The Best Older Movies I Saw in 2015

An annual tradition here at The End, this is a look at my favorite film discoveries of the year, any movie more than a few years old that I saw for the first time in 2015. Previous years include: 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, and 2006. I watched 368 or so movies in 2015, roughly third of which qualify for this list. That’s a sizable decline from last year, where half the films I watched were discoveries, a result of spending more of my movie-time this year on new releases for Seattle Screen Scene and on rewatches for They Shot Pictures. Here are 75 that I liked.

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1. Linda Linda Linda (Nobuhiro Yamashita, 2005)

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2. It Felt Like a Kiss (Adam Curtis, 2009)

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3. News from Home (Chantal Akerman, 1977)

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4. Pather Panchali (Satyajit Ray, 1955)

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5. Le bonheur (Agnès Varda, 1965)

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6. The Civil War (Ken Burns, 1990)

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7. Man of Aran (Robert Flaherty, 1934)

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8. Tokyo Olympiad (Kon Ichikawa, 1965)

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9. Christmas in July (Preston Sturges, 1940)

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10. The Sun Shines Bright (John Ford, 1953)

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