In a season that brought us “Avengers: Infinity War,” a few hidden gems are bound to get lost in the shuffle.
We’re taking a look at movies released in spring of 2018 that received critical acclaim, but went widely unrecognized by mainstream audiences.
This understated drama comes from writer/director Paul Schrader, the same man who scripted “Taxi Driver” and “The Last Temptation of Christ.” “First Reformed” shares numerous other parallels to those aforementioned films, centering on a troubled reverend searching for a higher purpose. Ethan Hawke gives one of his best performances as Ernst Toller, who’s driven to take drastic measures on a mission to save the world God blesses us with. While the film has a strong environmental message at its core, “First Reformed” functions more as a character study about a man constantly coming up empty-handed in his search for answers. Speaking of answers, the ambiguous ending is sure to inspire plenty of debates amongst moviegoers.
This dark comedy reunites director Jason Reitman, screenwriter Diablo Cody, and actress Charlize Theron, who all produce their finest work in years. Theron stars as Marlo, an exhausted mother of two with a third on the way. Marlo is eventually convinced to hire a night nanny named Tully, played by rising star Mackenzie Davis, who you might recognize from “Blade Runner 2049” and “Black Mirror.” The mother and nanny soon begin to develop a friendship that takes them and the audience to some highly unexpected places. While “Tully” can feel a bit out-there at times, its spot-on representation of parenthood is bound to resonate with anyone who’s experienced the hardships of raising kids.
Directors Justin Benson and Aaron Moorhead previously brought us the 2012 horror film “Resolution.” In “The Endless,” which takes place in the same universe as their debut picture, the filmmaking duo play two brothers who were once part of a UFO death cult. Upon returning to the cult’s camp years later, the brothers find themselves caught in an endless loop where things are more complicated than they seem. A bit like “The Master” meets “Groundhog Day,” this is a surreal and hypnotic trip down the rabbit hole that frequently catches the audience off-guard. As strange as matters get, however, Benson and Moorhead’s dynamic remains usually relatable.
What movie from this past spring do you think slipped under the radar?