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.
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
Crazy Rich Asians
Even if you set aside how important Crazy Rich Asians is in terms of representation for Asians and Asian-Americans, it’s just a damn fine romcom. The film stars Constance Wu as Rachel Chu, an economics professor at NYU who doesn’t realize that her boyfriend Nick Young (Henry Golding) is basically Chinese royalty, born into the upper echelons of Singapore’s wealthy elite and all that entails. When they travel to Singapore together for a friend’s wedding, Rachel must contend with Nick’s family, especially his commanding mother Eleanor (Michelle Yeoh). Director Jon M. Chu approaches his adaptation of Kevin Kwan’s novel with a poppy, effervescent sensibility that lets you get lost in the wealthy lifestyle of the characters without ever feeling guilty. While the wealth may make the movie fun, the movie gets its big heart from the relationship between the characters and the unique cultural texture between Rachel’s Chinese-American upbringing and the Chinese values Eleanor embodies. Crazy Rich Asians is further proof that romcoms can be lovely while still having depth. – Matt Goldberg
There’s a weird moment in the middle of watching BlacKkKlansman where you know for a fact you’re watching one of the best movies Spike Lee has made in his long career. Yes, it has all the hallmarks of a Spike Lee film, both for good and ill, but it also hits with a humor and intensity that makes it more immediate than some of his other work. The true story follows Colorado detective Ron Stallworth (John David Washington), who was able to infiltrate the local chapter Ku Klux Klan by using a white voice and the help of his fellow officer Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver). Despite the outlandish (but largely true!) events, BlacKkKlansman is as biting and as revelatory as any of Lee’s other works on race in America and it demands to be seen. – Matt Goldberg
Mission: Impossible - Fallout
The Mission: Impossible franchise has solidified itself as—pound for pound—the best franchise running right now, and Mission: Impossible – Fallout marks the greatest installment yet. Writer/director Christopher McQuarrie crafts not just one of the best action films ever made, but one of the best films of 2018 bar none. This film delivers everything you’ve come to expect from the Mission franchise—a dynamic team, jaw-dropping action, and plot twists and turns—but also mixes up the series in a unique way by going internal. For the first time, audiences are invited inside the heart and mind of Ethan Hunt, which results in a surprisingly emotional viewing experience that’s all the better for it. Henry Cavill is magnificent, Rebecca Ferguson continues to thrill, and Tom Cruise has never been better. See this big and loud. You won’t regret it. – Adam Chitwood
Teen Titans Go! To the Movies
Think of Teen Titans Go! To the Movies as a family friendly version of Deadpool. It’s as meta and self-aware as the R-rated superhero movie, and it’s just as hilarious. The film follows the Teen Titans—Robin, Starfire, Raven, Beast Boy, and Cyborg—who are on a quest to get their own movies so that they’ll be taken seriously as superheroes. When they’re rebuffed, they figure that in order to get a movie, they’ll need an archnemesis, so they settle on Slade, but have more misadventures along the way as they try to make it to the big screen. The movie is consistently hilarious with some surprising bits of dark comedy that will likely fly over the heads of younger viewers. – Matt Goldberg
Tackling race relations is a very tricky prospect, but filmmaker Carlos López Estrada’s explosive feature film debut Blindspotting manages to bring something new and insightful to the table. The Do the Right Thing-esque story centers on two best friends, Collin (Daveed Diggs) and Miles (Rafael Casal), who navigate the ins and outs of Oakland against the backdrop of an officer-involved shooting. With a terrific script by Diggs and Casal, the film digs deep into universal truths about prejudice and how judging someone based on how they look affects how they interact with the world, but it does so in a way that avoids coming off as preachy or rote. This film is vibrant, dynamic, and at times extremely funny. – Adam Chitwood
Although it doesn’t quite reach the high bar set by the original, Incredibles 2 remains a completely delight from start to finish. Writer-director Brad Bird breaks the narrative into two plotlines, one following Elastigirl (Holly Hunter) as she attempts to restore the good name of the Supers, and a second following Mr. Incredible (Craig T. Nelson) as he attempts to raise the kids. Although the Elastigirl plotline has all the colorful action thrills we want from a superhero movie, the film reaches a whole new level as Mr. Incredible struggles valiantly to raise a hyperactive Dash (Huck Milner), an angry Violet (Sarah Vowell), and a Jack-Jack who is bursting with superpowers. Pixar has been uneven with its sequels, but Incredibles 2 is easily a success for the animation powerhouse. – Matt Goldberg
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.