Best-Reviewed Movie 2018: United KingdomThe U.K. s vibrant film industry has given us some of the most exciting cinema in recent memory, and this year was no exception. Representing the best of the films either produced or filmed there is a family-friendly adventure that opened early in the year and holds onto its rare 100% on the Tomatometer even to this day.The order of the rank below reflects the Adjusted Score as of December 31, 2018. Scores might change over time.« Previous Category Next Category »
Deadly Class is an ambitious fiction for Syfy to risk airing now, one that asks a viewership shocked by multiple deadly school shootings in recent years to embrace a story about teens trained in the assassination arts – one is a sword wielder, another’s expertise is poison, and so on. It s one of the more twisted coming-of-age stories you ve ever read, filmmaker and producer Joe Russo has said of the graphic novel the series is based on. The Russo Brothers, Joe and Anthony, co-directors of Avengers: Infinity War and 2019’s upcoming Avengers: Endgame, are executive producers on the series.Lana Condor, who so recently charmed Netflix subscribers in high-school rom-com To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before, here plays Saya, master of the katana. Condor told Rotten Tomatoes that series creators Remender and Miles Orion Feldsott took pains to ensure that the violence wasn’t gratuitous and wasn’t gun-based.“It s definitely a conversation to have. I think one of the biggest things is, we don t have any guns in our school,” the 21-year-old actress said. “We absolutely do not and are not promoting any sort of gun violence in schools whatsoever … and it s very rare that you see violence between the children. A lot of the violence that comes out of our show is either outside of the school, where they genuinely — our villains are quite horrible people. And that part of the show, it s just a part of television, right?”True. Deadly Class is certainly not the first fiction to put children in peril: You can thank Charles Dickens for that trend. Or the Old Testament if you want to get Biblical about it (see “Binding of Isaac,” Genesis 22).On TV, we’ve seen The Gifted on Fox, Impulse on YouTube Premium, AMC’s The Walking Dead, FX anthology series American Horror Story, and another of this week’s releases, teen-vigilante series Wayne from Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, the writer-producer duo behind the Deadpool films. (Speaking of movies, the X-Men films, The Hunger Games series, and virtually every horror film ever regularly threatened their youngest characters, and that’s just not going to change.)The difference may be that these kids are on the offense and many have very bad intentions. Self-defense is second-nature at King s Dominion, and its student body isn’t made up of fumbling innocents. They are well-trained and lethal, and takes “jaded” to new levels.(Photo by Katie Yu/SYFY)When Rotten Tomatoes recently visited the set, series co-creator Feldsott explained that Master Lin’s (Benedict Wong) great-grandfather founded King’s Dominion as a training ground to help the disenfranchised gain power over their oppressors.“For Master Lin, one of the big journeys that he has over the course of the season is that he is trying to figure out exactly what he stands for,” he said. “Originally, his great-grandfather had a very noble intention when they founded the school. He was going to give power to the oppressed, and now as time as gone on, that mission has been somewhat corrupted, and now these more powerful organizations are giving their kids training at the academy. So he is having a crisis of conscience in the first season. He s having this argument with the teacher that Henry Rollins plays, who s saying, ‘You were different when you were younger. What do you stand for now?’ And there s also a powerful organization that is above Master Lin that expects him to maintain order in this place.”Wong, whose recent role as Wong in Marvel blockbusters Doctor Strange and Avengers: Infinity War has put him in front of massive audiences, credits the Russo Brothers for bringing him to the new character.“I was fortunate to get a call from Joe Russo. He said, ‘Hey, I really want you to be in this, and I just immediately said yes, and then said, ‘What? Sorry, what do you want me to be in then?’ Because the brothers have got an incredible pedigree,” Wong told Rotten Tomatoes.Wong reveals that the influx of criminal organizations have fueled Master Lin s crisis. It’s also important to remember that it’s fiction.“We re in a world that is not like our own world, obviously,” Wong said. “It s a heightened world, and it s more about the repercussions of violence, really, and what would happen. We re in a make-believe world of what would we do if we threw [together] the cartel, the CIA, NASA, and they send their kids to this school, and this man is now having to uphold it all and watch every lid before it flips.”(Photo by Allen Fraser/Syfy)The young Deadly Class cast members are also clearly thrilled with their roles, even if some of the main characters are described as “rats,” including new student Marcus (Benjamin Wadsworth), who is also an orphan. His lack of connections puts him at a disadvantage; he has no formal fight training like his schoolmates, for one, though his life has been hard.“We re gonna see how violence has affected Marcus,” Wadsworth promised. “He experiences some forms of psychosis. Trauma does weird things to human beings. They find unhealthy coping strategies like alcoholism, chain-smoking, drug-addiction. So I think it would show that, ‘Hey, you probably don t wanna do this or you re gonna get messed up.’”
One of the earliest movies to be shuffled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, The Lovebirds was transferred to Netflix by its studio, Paramount Pictures, following the cancellation of its South by Southwest world premiere in March. The action-comedy reunites actor Kumail Nanjiani with his The Big Sick director, Michael Showalter, and pairs him with Issa Rae as they play a couple on the run after witnessing a murder. According to the first reviews of the movie, it’s a minor treat because of the romantic and comic chemistry of its two leads, who provide plenty of entertainment that almost distracts from a mediocre plot.Here’s what critics are saying about The Lovebirds:How does the movie compare to other action rom-coms?The Lovebirds truly stands out amongst the rest… with genuine commentary on the ups and downs of relationships and coupledom. Britany Murphy, Geeks of ColorIn the hands of lesser actors, The Lovebirds would quickly fall apart and feel like a lesser version of a movie like Date Night. Matt Goldberg, ColliderMichael Showalter and company aren t reinventing the wheel here, but it s a solidly made wheel. Kristy Puchko, IGNAs long as you don’t go in expecting some kind of reinvention of the genre, you’ll get something enjoyable and easy to watch. Joey Magidson, Hollywood NewsThere isn t a lot that sets The Lovebirds apart… it’s a fun movie, but just ok. Deirdre Molumby, entertainment.ieIs it funny?I knew that The Lovebirds would be a funny movie, but I wasn’t expecting to laugh until my cheeks hurt. Tessa Smith, Mama s GeekyThe Lovebirds is a pleasing comedy, funny from beginning to end. Mick LaSalle, San Francisco ChronicleNothing is treated as low-hanging fruit when it comes to humor and the cast more than delivers the goods. Douglas Davidson, Elements of Madness(Photo by Netflix)Do the leads have good comedic chemistry?Issa Rae and Kumail Nanjiani have original comedic styles that mesh well… [They] work cooperatively, setting one another up for jokes and generating a rapport that s authentic. Mike McGranaghan, The Aisle SeatEven if you don’t always buy these people as a couple, their slapstick comedy hits its marks; it s hard not to root for this pair of adorable screwballs. Beandrea July, Hollywood ReporterKumail Nanjiani and Issa Rae are fantastic together… They’re one of the best comedy duos of the year so far. Joey Magidson, Hollywood NewsLikable though they are, their distinct comedic personalities don’t gel at all. Johnny Oleksinski, New York PostAnd how about the romantic chemistry?They click as romantic leads… A lot of rom-coms can make you root for their characters because they are funny together. Far fewer pull off the heat that The Lovebirds offers. Kristy Puchko, IGNNanjiani and Rae are irresistible together… The chemistry never feels manufactured, it feels earned. Michael Roffman, Consequence of SoundThere is always something undeniably likable and charming about the two of them as a couple… Rae and Nanjiani are kind of perfect together. Perri Nemiroff, Perri NemiroffYou wouldn t say their chemistry here is anything to write home about. But then they are meant to be playing a couple struggling to find a spark. Deirdre Molumby, entertainment.ieNanijani and Rae work well together, although chemistry is perhaps a stretch. Peter Bradshaw, Guardian(Photo by Netflix)Should they do more movies together?I would definitely love to see the pair reunite for another film, for sure. Britany Murphy, Geeks of ColorBy the end of the movie, it’s hard to make the case that Jibran and Leilani should be together, but we definitely want another movie starring Nanjiani and Rae. Matt Goldberg, ColliderMy only real complaint about The Lovebirds is I want more. Kristy Puchko, IGNIs The Lovebirds a good example of inclusion?One of the pleasant surprises of The Lovebirds is that it neither makes a big deal of nor blindly ignores the fact that its Average Joe protagonists are Asian and black. This is not a case of inclusive casting to score shallow diversity points. Beandrea July, Hollywood ReporterTo have a mixed-race couple (without a white half) as our romantic leads is a fresh and welcome sign of the changing Hollywood landscape. Ian Sandwell, Digital SpyCould the movie help me with my own relationship?Some of the best commentary on relationships (and what plagues them) from any movie I’ve seen in a long time. Britany Murphy, Geeks of ColorA farcical murder mystery, it turns out, provides just the right backdrop for an exploration of why long-term relationships can fizzle out — and why doing the work necessary to maintain them can be worth it. Beandrea July, Hollywood Reporter(Photo by Netflix)Does it do justice to the New Orleans setting?I loved the New Orleans setting… Showalter did a really solid job of capturing exactly what makes the location stand out. Perri Nemiroff, Perri NemiroffNew Orleans [is] treated as a slapdash backdrop more than a spectacular setting to explore through hijinks. Kristy Puchko, IGNHow about the action?The Lovebirds is not only hilarious, there is some pretty great action in there too. Tessa Smith, Mama s GeekyThe action of this action-comedy is pretty low-key… Still, these scenes pack a punch because of the superb comic timing of its stars. Kristy Puchko, IGNIt offers less antic violence than the average TikTok. David Ehrlich, IndieWireAnd the story?While The Lovebirds are sparkling conversationalists, as the plot gets more convoluted, the champagne starts to go flat…that leads to a sluggish last half hour. Katie Rife, AV ClubWhat lets The Lovebirds down is that its main plot isn t all that original… The murder-mystery/conspiracy side of The Lovebirds isn t that interesting. Ian Sandwell, Digital SpyThe Lovebirds slows to a crawl during the second act. The murder mystery isn’t clever, instead strung together through sparse clues with none posing any inherent importance. Robert Daniels, The PlaylistRae and Nanjiani are two of the most exciting voices working in film and television today, as actors, writers and creators…. [but this] was not created or written by either. And at times, you kind of wish it had been. Lindsey Bahr, Associated PressAs predictable as most of The Lovebirds is, there are enough original turns to incite surprise in an audience. Douglas Davidson, Elements of MadnessThere were some plot twists I didn’t see coming. That is what made this movie not only funny, but actually really worth a watch — because of a good plot. Tessa Smith, Mama s Geeky(Photo by Netflix)Is the movie better off on Netflix?A perfect fit for the streaming service – and that s not a back-handed compliment. Ian Sandwell, Digital SpyExactly what you want right now in quarantine… The perfect date movie, and it’ll do gangbusters for Netflix, who has yet to issue an original rom-com of this quality. Michael Roffman, Consequence of SoundIt’s something you might watch on a plane. Right now, that’s no putdown: an unappreciated comfort from happier times. Peter Bradshaw, GuardianIt’s a fine movie to spend 86 minutes watching from the comfort of your own home. Lindsey Bahr, Associated PressAs a night out movie, it’s a stretch to say that The Lovebirds would be worth the effort of going to the theater, but on Netflix, it’s an easy recommendation for a Friday night date movie. Matt Goldberg, ColliderMuch of The Lovebirds doesn’t work without an audience… [It] really needs the energy of a crowd to really generate mojo. Douglas Davidson, Elements of MadnessYes, it might have been even funnier with an audience, but it’s funny enough as it is. Mick LaSalle, San Francisco ChronicleThe Lovebirds is all too happy to embrace its destiny as a disposable movie in a throwaway year. David Ehrlich, IndieWireFor a Netflix night in, you could do worse. Deirdre Molumby, entertainment.ieThe Lovebirds premieres on Netflix on Friday, May 22.