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A Quiet Place was a stunning debut from John Krasinski, showing that the horror genre has the scope to be emotionally-intelligent when handled properly. The film follows Lee Abbott (played by John Krasinski), Evelyn Abbott (Emily Blunt) and their children, who are struggling to navigate a world overrun by violent aliens who are attracted by any level of noise. The only way to stay safe is to stay silent. Not an easy feat with young children in tow.

For a film built around silence to have such masterful foley is truly impressive; the distinctive clicks the aliens emit send your skin crawling. In limiting shots of the aliens head-on and teasing with glimpses and low angles instead, Krasinski creates and maintains a strong sense of dread which carries the film during its less eventful moments.

But what earns A Quiet Place a space on the best of 2018 list is its successful suturing of the audience into the mindset of its characters. Our fear is borne from what’s at stake for them, not jump scares or gore. We’re on edge because Lee is scared for his little girl, who can’t hear and is therefore the most at risk of making noise. We’re on edge because Evelyn is pregnant and that baby is bound to cry when it’s born.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is wholesome teenage fantasy. It tells the story of Lara Jean (played by Lana Condor), a sweet and shy girl who develops crushes very easily but struggles to actually make connections with boys. This will be a bittersweet memory for many, and a fresh of breath air for current teenagers frustrated watching media feed them ideas of breezy confident teens engaging in casual sex (which is fine and real but not the reality for all). Watching this film is akin to curling up with a hot drink at a sleepover and finding out that you’re not as different as you thought.

The film doesn’t ridicule or sneer at its characters, unfortunately this is a rarity for media aimed at teenage girls! We recognise young girls as a lucrative demographic but boy do we hate em for it. Director Susan Johnson deftly explores LJ’s urge to make a connection and by the end we understand that losing her mother young has given Lara Jean a fear of loss so strong that she can’t let any of her crushes get close. There are visual separations and frames throughout the first half of the film to reflect the distance LJ fiercely maintains, this gradually breaks down and the colour palette moves from gentle pastels to sharp vibrant blues and reds when Lara Jean and Peter (Noah Centineo) finally kiss. It’s a well-constructed film which accounts for its mass popularity.

To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is a great example of American-Vietnamese representation. Because Lara Jean and her sisters just exist as American-Vietnamese people, it’s there but it’s not signposted constantly because it’s just part of who they are, an aspect of their experience – which is how whiteness and white characters relationship with race is always portrayed.

Director: J. A. Bayona Starring: Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Isabella Sermon Running Time: 128 minutes

The central conflict of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom isn’t about dinosaurs, it’s not even about being pro-dino rights or pro-bioweapons. The central conflict is the friction caused by J. A. Bayona’s directing style bumping against the constraints of this franchise, like a T-rex testing an electric fence who can’t help getting burnt.

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Established in 1999 by Tomm Moore, Nora Twomey and Paul Young, Kilkenny-based studio Cartoon Saloon has released exactly 3 feature length films. All 3 have received Oscar nominations for Best Animated Feature Film.

If you get the chance to see The Breadwinner, a poignant and uplifting exploration of a young girl’s life growing up under the Taliban in Afghanistan, you’re likely to understand why.

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Director: Steven Spielberg Starring: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk Runtime: 116 minutes

Steven Spielberg’s name has long been synonymous with the Great Hollywood Blockbuster. When we hear the name Spielberg, we imagine runaway boulders, we feel the ground quiver under the weight of reptilian feet, we choke on seawater. Hearing that Spielberg was tackling a historical docudrama about a newspaper was a little surprising. But rest assured, The Post is not overwrought history reeled out to humour a director’s quirk. The Post documents a defining moment for the Washington Post newspaper, with deep resonance in the current political climate.

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Director: Jake Kasdan Runtime: 119 mins Starring: Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnston, Kevin Hart,  Jack Black, Karen Gillan, Nick Jonas

Don’t adjust your screens, that is not a typo. Jumanji: Welcome to The Jungle is a disappointment. But it’s not for the reasons you might expect. We’re used to sequels coming years after their originals these days, and in this respect the film actually has a lot going for it. In a similar vein to Jurassic World’s comment that ‘Kids aren’t impressed by dinosaurs anymore’, young Colin Hanks asks ‘Who even plays boardgames anymore?’ as a teen in 1996. Jumanji decides to update itself, becoming a wooden video game console overnight and next thing we know Hanks’ disappearance is still a local legend 20 years on.

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Director: Hany Abu-Assad Starring: Kate Winslet, Idris Elba, Austin the Dog, Raleigh the Dog Running time: 103 mins

The Mountain Between Us opens on Alex Martin (Kate Winslet) with a skilled American accent and an arsenal of questions, a complete contrast to Ben’s (Idris Elba) British stoic suave. They are total strangers, thrown together by bad weather and circumstance. They arrive at the airport to find out all flights to Denver are cancelled, but with Ben flying out to perform a surgery and Alex trying to make it to her wedding, they can’t wait until the next morning. Alex charters a plane, piloted by a sweet old man and his faithful dog, and having overheard his troubles, she invites Ben to tag along. Disaster ensues.

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Director: Hallie Meyers-Shyer Starring: Reese Witherspoon, Candice Bergen, Nico Alexander, Nat Wolff, Jon Rudnitsky Running Time: 97 minutes

First off, Home Again is not a rom-com. Don’t listen to what the critics want to tell you. It follows Alice, played with aplomb by Reese Witherspoon, who has recently left her man-child husband (Michael Sheen) in New York and returned to the restorative comforts of Los Angeles. With the help of her mother, she reclaims her identity and finds fulfilment.

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