6. Hotel Artemis
Current Rotten Tomatoes score – 57%
Set in a riot torn Los Angeles in 2028, the Hotel Artemis is a safe haven for criminals – a hospital where no questions are asked. Run by no nonsense the Nurse, one night the violence of the city escalates to a point where the Nurse must decide whether to change her rules and risk everything that she has worked so hard to avoid.
Drew Pearce’s Hotel Artemis made an appearance on a number of worst films of 2018 lists and was seen as one of the most disappointing films of the year, with critics and audiences criticising the film’s poor execution and weak script. As well as being a critical disappointment, Hotel Artemis was a disappointment at the box office. The film earnt $12.8 million against its $15 million budget.
Hotel Artemis may have really suffered from its slew of bad reviews, yet although Hotel Artemis is far from perfect – it does have some really great aspects to it. Firstly, the setting is brilliant – a not too distant future, post-Trump, and America is really not a happy place to be. This setting is enhanced even further by the production design and props.
From the soiled paintings on the hotel’s walls to the blood-stained cushions with the hotel’s logo on, all these little details make Hotel Artemis visually appealing. And with a brilliant performance from Jodie Foster as the Nurse, Hotel Artemis has more than enough to keep its audience entertained. It might be far from perfect, but it certainly wouldn’t look out of place with a higher Rotten Tomatoes score.
7. The Little Stranger
Current Rotten Tomatoes score – 65%
Son of a housemaid, Dr Faraday is now a country doctor. One summer he is called to a patient at Hundreds Hall, a place where his mother once worked. Now home to the Ayers family, the hall is in a state of disrepair and the family are haunted by something mysterious and ominous. As Dr Faraday tends to his new patient, he has no idea that his story is about to become intertwined with the family that he has just met.
Coming off the success of 2015’s Academy Award nominated Room, director Lenny Abrahamson’s adaptation of Sarah Waters’ supernatural novel The Little Stranger was highly anticipated. So, when it was released to little fanfare, poor box office earnings and a number of negative reviews – it was a surprise and a shame all around. But could The Little Stranger be a victim of its lack of limited marketing rather than being a badly made film?
The answer is probably yes. Audiences went to The Little Stranger with horror very much on their minds, so when the film turned out to be a slow burn psychological thriller, it was seen as a disappointment. But a lack of jump scares and nightmare inducing scenes doesn’t make The Little Stranger any less effective. Rather The Little Stranger slowly and elegantly builds an atmosphere of unease. And the result is a chilling and well-made tale.
Current Rotten Tomatoes score – 83%
Agnes has never ventured far from her home, family or the small community in which she grew up. When Agnes receives a puzzle as a present for her birthday, she realises that she has a talent for assembling puzzles. Buoyed by finding something that she excels in, Agnes decides to go to a puzzle tournament in New York City and experience independence for the first time.
Puzzle, which was based on a 2010 Argentine film of the same name, was directed by Marc Turtletaub. It premiered at Sundance Film Festival and went on to gross $2.1 million at the box office. Puzzle was released to overwhelmingly positive reviews with critics calling the film beautiful and thought-provoking, and praising the performances. Audience reviews also praised the film, so when Puzzle’s Rotten Tomatoes score stagnated in the low eighties, it was seen as surprising.
The concept of Puzzle may seem like a pretty uninteresting one, after all how can watching people do puzzles be exciting on camera? Yet Puzzle takes this subject and through its use of character development and small details, it makes a heart-warming and life affirming film. Puzzle is elevated further by the central performance from Kelly Macdonald, whose character is a pleasure to watch throughout as she blossoms and blooms into a confident and self-assured woman.
Current Rotten Tomatoes score – 70%
Based on a true story, Adrift follows the story of carefree sailors Tami Oldham and Richard Sharp who set out on an expedition to cross the ocean from Tahiti to San Diego. Unbeknownst to them, they are sailing straight into one of the biggest hurricanes ever recorded. In the aftermath of the devastating storm, Tami finds that Richard is badly injured, and their boat is damaged beyond repair. With no rescue oncoming, Tami must find the strength for both of them to get home safely.
Directed by Baltasar Kormakur, Adrift grossed $59.9 million against its $35 million budget. Adrift received mixed reviews – critics praised the performances, in particular Shailene Woodley who played Tami was singled out for a passionate and emotional performance.
However, the storyline was criticised for being too similar to various other films and being too formulaic. Yet in spite of Adrift’s Rotten Tomatoes score being ironically adrift itself, the film is one of the best love stories from last year’s romantic film offerings.
Adrift starts out as any other familiar love story – girl meets boy, they fall in love and then they are given an obstacle to overcome. But Adrift manages to set itself apart from the standard love story in several ways. Firstly, knowing that the story is based on a true life one immediately gives everything that is happening more gravitas. We know that these characters really went through this, and we can only imagine how terrifying it was.
The storm scenes really drive home the peril and power of the ocean and lift the film from being purely romantic to being dramatic as well. Finally, Adrift features a twist that if you have been fully engaged, will completely take your breath away. If you are looking for a film to shed some tears to, then Adrift is the film for you.
10. Skate Kitchen
Current Rotten Tomatoes score – 89%
After befriending a group of all female New York City skateboarders, lonely suburban teenager Camille’s life begins to change dramatically. Falling out with her mother and falling in love with a mysterious skateboarder guy turns out to be harder than trying to master a kickflip and Camille soon discovers what the true meaning of friendship is.
Skate Kitchen is the debut feature film of director Crystal Moselle. The film’s title takes its name from the real life all female skate collective Skate Kitchen and even stars members of their crew. Skate Kitchen premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and went on to gross $268,021 at the box office. The film received positive reviews from critics who praised the film’s laidback, realist style, however audiences were less impressed.
Skate Kitchen’s cinematography and style may be an acquired taste for some, but the film has much to offer in its down to earth and raw approach. Mid90s, another 2018 film which used skateboarding as one of its main elements, got a lot more attention than Skate Kitchen. But when viewed side to side, Skate Kitchen with its almost all female cast, is far by the superior film. Skate Kitchen’s lyrical portrait of a coming of age tale, with its slow-motion shots of a sport that the teenage protagonist loves, is a film that feels so realistic and relatable – you can almost imagine that you are watching a documentary instead.