The Best Movies in Theaters Right Now
While we’re overwhelmed with what to watch at home with so many streaming services offering so many choices, not to mention the age of Peak TV, the theater can be somewhat forgotten. And yet we will always advocate for theaters because they’re unique settings where you can truly become lost in a story, free from distraction and letting a storyteller hold your attention for a couple hours.
We’ll be updating this article weekly, and we’ve compiled the best movies that are currently in theaters. Some of these are almost on their way out while others will be here for a few months, but until these films hit Blu-ray and DVD, we’ll be recommending that you get out, find them at your local theater, and lose yourself in the magic of the big screen.
Imagine a Transformers movie that’s actually appropriate for children! Freed from the clutches of Michael Bay, the spinoff Bumblebee turns its focus on characters and story rather than a mess of CGI gears smashing into each other. Set in 1987, the plot has Bumblebee coming to Earth and fleeing the Decepticons with the help of a teenage girl (Hailee Steinfeld). Although it’s a shameless mashup of E.T. and The Iron Giant, you could do far worse for inspirations, especially for a series that desperately needed to find some heart. Bumblebee has humor and charm to spare, and it should make for a perfect family film over the holiday season. – Matt Goldberg
Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
If you thought that there were too many Spider-Man movies and reboots, you may need to take a beat and give Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse a chance. The animated film is rich, vibrant, and thoughtful as it deconstructs Spider-Man lore to build something exciting and new. The story follows Miles Morales (Shameik Moore), who not only gains spider powers, but meets up with a bunch of other Spider-People from other dimensions. While it may seem like a case of overload on Spider-People, these supporting characters help focus on what it means to be Spider-Man and the importance of his heroism. You think you know the story, but Into the Spider-Verse shows that there are still unique and exciting ways to tell it. – Matt Goldberg
Yorgos Lanthimos’ new movie is a serious contender in this year’s awards race and with good reason—it’s a wry, biting, acerbic, hilarious, and melancholy look at power struggles in the court of Queen Anne. The plot sees Lady Sarah (Rachel Weisz) and her cousin Abigail (Emma Stone) fighting for the affection of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman) and the power such affection brings. Beneath its nihilistic politics and underhanded dealings, The Favourite is a story about why love needs limitations and that true love is handled with honesty rather than flattery. The tragedy of Queen Anne in this movie is that she cannot tell the difference. – Matt Goldberg
Don’t be fooled by the milquetoast marketing: Instant Family is a movie that will honestly pull at your heartstrings and still make you laugh with some edgy humor. Based off the experiences of director and foster parent Sean Anders, the movie follows married couple Pete (Mark Wahlberg) and Ellie (Rose Byrne) who decide they need to pull themselves out of a rut by fostering three children. What makes Instant Family work so well is that it doesn’t shy away from how hard fostering can be and how hard parenting can be. And yet it never becomes so in love with its own message that it can’t make time for some sharp jokes and observations. It’s a magnificent balancing act that also brings awareness of fostering to a more mainstream audience. – Matt Goldberg
Luca Guadagnino’s Suspiria is more of a reimagining than a remake, but it shares the same DNA of profound paranormal horrors and stunning visuals with Dario Argento’s iconic 1977 film of the same name. However, where Argento’s film was one of the great style over substance marvels of the genre, Guadagnino’s interpretation digs deeper into theme to explore the violence of revolution and the turmoil of generational conflict, while still delivering a gorgeous fever dream nightmare. Working from a screenplay from The Terror co-creator David Kajganich, a score by Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, cinematography by his Call Me by Your Name DP Sayombhu Mukdeeprom, and a breathtaking physical performance from Dakota Johnson, Guadagnino has crafted a spectacular horror masterpiece that invokes the senses and rattles the mind. — Haleigh Foutch
Paul Dano has made one of hell of a directorial debut with his first feature, Wildlife. The story takes place in 1960 and follows the dissolution of a marriage between Jeanette (Carey Mulligan) and Jerry (Jake Gyllenhaal) through the eyes of their teenage son Joe (Ed Oxenbould in a breakthrough performance). What makes Wildlife such a powerful film is that it cares deeply about the internal lives of its characters and has a great amount of sympathy for them even when they screw up. It’s a unique coming-of-age film where Joe matures by being forced to see his parents with all their flaws rather than people who will nurture and protect him. That can make it painful to watch at times, but never in sadistic or cloying way. Every emotion feels earned and honest thanks to the strong performances, especially from Mulligan, who does some of the best work of her impressive career. – Matt Goldberg
The Hate U Give
Don’t let anyone call this “That Black Lives Matter” movie. The Hate U Give is so much more. George Tillman Jr.’s rich adaptation of Angie Thomas’ novel feels like a part of the Black Lives Matter movement, but never in a preachy or pedantic way. First and foremost, it’s a coming-of-age story that focuses on Starr (Amandla Stenberg), a young African American woman who has to code switch between her life in a primarily black neighborhood and a primarily white prep school. When one of her closest friends is shot while reaching for a hairbrush by a white police officer, Starr is forced to re-examine her racial identity and finding her true voice.
The Hate U Give is one of the smartest and emotionally powerful movies you’ll see this year. All of the performances are excellent, but the true miracle of this movie is how it puts Starr’s journey at the center and then lets the social and political subtext shine through. The Hate U Give has a lot of things it wants to say, but it says them all with force and eloquence. – Matt Goldberg
A Star Is Born
A Star Is Born is not just one of the best films of 2018, it’s one of the most impressive directorial debuts period. Bradley Cooper gets behind the camera for the first time with the third remake of this well-worn story, but he infuses each frame with such passion, artistry, and confidence that it feels brand new. Cooper plays an alcoholic, fading rock star who meets and falls in love with a young, fresh talent (Lady Gaga). As he mentors her and her career begins to take off, their relationship traverses rocky territory and issues of family, addiction, and fame take hold. The soundtrack is incredible, the performances—from both Cooper and Gaga—are phenomenal, and Matthew Libatique’s cinematography is at times downright jaw-dropping. This is the kind of movie you definitely want to see in a big theater, with a big crowd, with the volume turned all the way up. – Adam Chitwood
The Sisters Brothers
The new movie from Jacques Audiard (A Prophet) follows brothers Charlie and Eli Sisters (Joaquin Phoenix and John C. Reilly), who are hired guns in the old west who must kill off a prospector (Riz Ahmed) that has a valuable formula for mining gold. I caught The Sisters Brothers at TIFF and it was easily one of my favorite movies of this year’s festival. It’s tough to make a genre like the western feel fresh, but Audiard pulls it off by jumping between tones without ever losing the thread of his movie. The film is as turns silly, somber, strange, and reflective, but it all feels cohesive rather than jarring. The performances are all excellent with Reilly serving as the standout with his melancholy turn as an assassin who just wants a quiet, simple life. – Matt Goldberg
1/4 – We’ve removed Bad Times at the El Royale, which is now on Blu-ray and DVD.
12/21 – We’ve added Bumblebee.
12/14 – We’ve added Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse and The Favourite and removed Blindspotting, Mission: Impossible – Fallout, and Crazy Rich Asians.
11/2 – We’ve added Suspiria.
10/19 – We’ve added Bad Times at the El Royale and Wildlife.
10/12 – We’ve added The Hate U Give.
10/5 – We’ve removed Three Identical Strangers and The King and added A Star Is Born.
9/21 – We’ve removed Ocean’s 8 and added The Sisters Brothers.
9/7 – We’ve removed Hereditary and Won’t You Be My Neighbor?
8/24 – We’ve removed First Reformed.
8/17 – We’ve added Crazy Rich Asians.
8/10 – We’ve added BlacKkKlansman.
8/3 – We’ve added Teen Titans Go! To the Movies.
7/27 – We’ve removed Isle of Dogs, added Mission: Impossible – Fallout and Blindspotting.
7/13 – We’ve removed A Quiet Place.
7/6 – We’ve removed Blockers.
6/29 – We’ve added Three Identical Strangers.
6/22 – We’ve removed Unsane and The Death of Stalin.
6/15 – We’ve removed Love, Simon and added Incredibles 2.
6/5 – We’ve removed Annihilation and added Hereditary, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?, and Ocean’s 8.
5/18 – We’ve removed Black Panther and added First Reformed.
4/27 – We’ve removed Paddington 2, which is now available on Blu-ray.
4/20 – We’ve removed The Post.
4/13 – We’ve removed Phantom Thread and added A Quiet Place and Blockers.
3/30 – We’ve removed Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
3/23 – We’ve added Isle of Dogs and Unsane.
3/16 – We’ve added Love, Simon, and removed The Shape of Water, Call Me by Your Name, The Disaster Artist, and I, Tonya because they’re now on Blu-ray/DVD.
3/9 – We’ve added The Death of Stalin, and removed Lady Bird and Thor: Ragnarok.
3/2 – We’ve removed Coco and Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, which are now available on Blu-ray/DVD.
2/23 – We’ve removed The Florida Project and added Annihilation.
2/16 – We’ve added Black Panther.
2/1 – We’ve removed Professor Marston and the Wonder Women, which is now available on Blu-ray/DVD.
1/19 – We’ve removed IT and Blade Runner 2049; we’ve added Paddington 2.
12/22 – We’ve removed Stronger, The LEGO Ninjago Movie, and Dunkirk; we’ve added The Post.
12/15 – We’ve removed Detroit and added I, Tonya and Star Wars: The Last Jedi.
12/1 – We’ve removed Logan Lucky and added The Disaster Artist and The Shape of Water.
11/24 – We’ve removed Good Time and added Coco and Call Me By Your Name.
11/17 – Wind River and Brigsby Bear are now on Blu-ray/DVD.
11/10 – Your Name and Ingrid Goes West are now available on Blu-ray/DVD; we’ve added Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri.
11/3 – We’ve added Thor: Ragnarok and Lady Bird.
10/27 – War for the Planet of the Apes and Personal Shopper are now on Blu-ray and DVD, so they’ve been removed from the list.
10/20 – We’ve removed Spider-Man: Homecoming and The Beguiled, which are now on Blu-ray/DVD.
10/6 – We’ve added Blade Runner 2049 and The Florida Project.
9/22 – Wonder Woman, The Big Sick, Slack Bay, Raw, and Paris Can Wait are all now on Blu-ray/DVD so they’ve been removed; we’ve added The LEGO Ninjago Movie and Stronger.
9/8 – We’ve added IT.
8/25 – Guardians of the Galaxy. Vol 2 is now on Blu-ray, so we’ve removed it from this list.
8/18 – We’ve added Logan Lucky.
8/11 – We’ve added Ingrid Goes West and Good Time.
8/4 – Colossal is now on Blu-ray; we’ve added Detroit and Wind River.
7/28 – We’ve added Lady Macbeth and Brigsby Bear.
7/21 – Free Fire and Kong: Skull Island are now on Blu-ray; we’ve added Dunkirk.
7/14 – The Lost City of Z and A Quiet Passion are now on Blu-ray; we’ve added War for the Planet of the Apes.
7/7 – Song to Song is now on Blu-ray/DVD; Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Beguiled, and Paris Can Wait have been added.
6/28 – Get Out, Power Rangers, T2 Trainspotting, The LEGO Batman Movie, Logan, and John Wick: Chapter Two are now on Blu-ray/DVD, so they’re off the list. We’ve added Wonder Woman, The Big Sick, and Baby Driver.
5/3 – La La Land and Hidden Figures are now out on Blu-ray/DVD so they’ve been removed; we’ve added The Lost City of Z, Colossal, A Quiet Passion, Slack Bay, Free Fire, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.