In recent years, one horror film emerges early on as the best horror film of the year. In 2017 it was Jordan Peele’s exceptionally smart social thriller Get Out; in 2016 it was Robert Eggers’ period stunner The Witch; in 2018 that honor goes to Ari Aster’s Hereditary. Starring Toni Collette as a woman struggling to cope with the increasingly disturbing implications of her mother’s death, Aster’s ferocious directorial debut plumbs the darkest depths of mental illness to reveal the true meaning of psychological terror.
For decades the coming-of-age sex comedy has belonged to the guys: Raunchy, horned-up teen boys desperate to lose their V-cards during one crazy night before heading off to college. Though recent years have given rise to more honest and unflinching coming-of-age stories about teen girls (see: Edge of Seventeen, Lady Bird), women haven’t really been served with the same sex-crazed high school comedies. (Maybe because our needs are more complex than those of the budding patriarchy?) But Blockers finally gives young women the teen sex comedy they deserve — one that’s insanely goofy and hilarious without sacrificing its emotional core.
Atomic Blonde is an easy sell: It’s Charlize Theron in a stylish spy thriller from one-half of the directing duo behind John Wick. But the first solo directorial effort from David Leitch is a little more James Bond than Blonde Wick — James Blonde, maybe, and that’s not a bad thing. It’s certainly more plot-driven (and at times, slightly convoluted) than John Wick, but no less enjoyable, and though the action scenes are every bit as awesome as you’d hope, it’s not quite the film you might be expecting.
You know an Edgar Wright film when you see one, even if Simon Pegg isn’t nearby — the distinctive (and often heartfelt) sense of humor, the impressive editing, the momentum, and the predictably awesome soundtrack, all working in time to deliver a film that’s remarkably poignant for such a well-oiled machine. Baby Driver might not be quite what you’re expecting from the director of Scott Pilgrim and Shaun of the Dead, and yet it’s entirely what you’re hoping to see. Despite some of its unexpected qualities and low-key visual style, it is perhaps the most Edgar Wright film to date.