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The best Netflix Original films of 2018 so far, according to critics

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The best Netflix Original films of 2018 so far, according to critics

Netflix, is it? Is that what you’re doing this evening? This afternoon? Course it is - it’s fun, a big Netflix session, what with all the movies and TV shows they’ve got on there. 

And nowadays, they’re making their own films, called Netflix Originals (which you definitely already knew). As such they come straight from Netflix themselves and are exclusive to their platform - it’s all fun and brilliant and exciting but when they already have so many - which ones are the best ones? Well, we scoured Metacritic to find out, and have listed the top 18 below.

(Note: We haven’t included documentaries here - if you want to hop on that train, head on over here)

18. The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter

Cast: Josh Brolin, Montana Jordan, Danny McBride

Running time: 83 minutes

Rating: 15

IMDB synopsis: The great hunter Buck Ferguson and his trusted cameraman Don set out for an epic weekend adventure to reconnect with Buck’s young son.

“It succeeds as a minor work from Jody Hill, which if nothing else is still good for more than a few laughs.” - Consequence of Sound, Dan Caffrey

Metacritic Score: 52

Find ‘The Legacy of a Whitetail Deer Hunter’ on Netflix here

17. Benji

Cast: Gabriel Bateman, Darby Camp and Fairfield, as Benji, the dog, we’ve included the dog here

Running time: 87 minutes

Rating: PG

IMDB synopsis: Two school kids strike up a friendship with an orphaned puppy named Benji. When danger befalls them and they end up kidnapped by robbers who are in over their heads, Benji and his scruffy sidekick come to the rescue.

“Camp’s handsomely shot new Benji manages to find that sweet spot between wholesome and enjoyable. It is cute without seeming desperate, nostalgic without feeling dated, values-based without being preachy, and sweet without being (too) cloying.” New Orleans Times-Picayune, Mike Scott

Metacritic Score: 53

Find ‘Benji’ on Netflix here

16. A Futile and Stupid Gesture

Cast: Will Forte, Domhnall Gleeson, Seth Green

Running time: 101 minutes

Rating: 15

IMDB synopsis:In the 1970s and ‘80s, National Lampoon’s success and influence creates a new media empire overseen in part by the brilliant and troubled Douglas Kenney.

“This is quite possibly the most self-referential, inside-jokey, look-at-how-clever-we-are, off-the-charts Meta Movie I’ve ever seen. Sometimes that’s pretty great. At other times, it detracts from the core story at hand.” Chicago Sun-Times, Richard Roeper

Metacritic Score: 55

Find ‘A Futile and Stupid Gesture’ on Netflix here

15. Ibiza

Cast: Gillian Jacobs, Vanessa Bayer, Phoebe Robinson

Running time: 94 minutes

Rating: 15

IMDB synopsis:A young American woman and her two best friends seek out a hot DJ in Spain.

“The three leads are so strong that one wishes Netflix had granted them a whole series to live in, their everyday lives worthy of a deeper dive. Ibiza is a fun, far-fetched frippery but I’d rather see what happened to them if they’d stayed at home.” - The Guardian, Benjamin Lee

Metacritic Score: 56

Find ‘Ibiza’ on Netflix here

14. Kodachrome

Cast: Ed Harris, Jason Sudeikis, Elizabeth Olsen

Running time: 100 minutes

Rating: 15

IMDB synopsis: Set during the final days of the admired photo development system known as Kodachrome, a father and son hit the road in order to reach the Kansas photo lab before it closes its doors for good.

“Raso takes Kodachrome (shot entirely on Kodak motion picture film) as a departure point to keenly deconstruct the bonds that hold families together and the betrayals that drive them apart, relying on an unshowy style that emphasizes the actors’ captivating performances.” - The Hollywood Reporter, Justin Lowe

Metacritic Score: 57

Find ‘Kodachrome’ on Netflix here

13. Alex Strangelove

Cast: Daniel Doheny, Antonio Marziale, Madeline Weinstein

Running time: 99 minutes

Rating: 15

IMDB synopsis: Alex Truelove is a well-rounded high school senior with a wonderful girlfriend Claire and a bright future ahead of him - and with plans to achieve his last teenage milestone by losing his virginity. But things get complicated when he meets Elliot, a handsome and charming gay kid from the other side of town, who unwittingly sends Alex on a rollercoaster journey of sexual exploration, kicking off a hilarious and moving adventure of love, sex and friendship in our liberated and confusing modern times.

“Landing somewhere between “Love, Simon” and “Superbad,” Alex Strangelove is a strange delight indeed.” - IndieWire, Jude Dry

Metacritic Score: 62

Find ‘Alex Strangelove’ on Netflix here

12. Set It Up

Cast: Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Lucy Liu

Running time: 105 minutes

Rating: 15

IMDB synopsis: Two corporate executive assistants hatch a plan to match-make their two bosses.

Set It Up is a classic rom-com brought to life by a pair of wonderfully well-matched stars who seem to revel in the genre. This is cinematic comfort food, the kind we’ve been starving for.” - IndieWire, Kate Erbland

Metacritic Score: 62

Find ‘Set it Up’ on Netflix here

11. White Fang

Cast: Rashida Jones, Nick Offerman, Paul Giamatti

Running time: 85 minutes

Rating: PG

IMDB synopsis: Based on the timeless novel by Jack London, White Fang follows the story of a boy who befriends a half breed wolf as he searches for his father, who has mysteriously gone missing during the Gold Rush.

“It’s better than your typical kiddie flick, often gorgeous to behold in its exquisitely painted Yukon wilderness and fierce, majestic canine protagonist.” -TheWrap, Robert Abele

Metacritic Score: 63

Find ‘White Fang’ on Netflix here

10. Ali’s Wedding

Cast: Osamah Sami, Helana Sawires, Don Hany

Running time: 110 minutes

Rating: 15

IMDB synopsis: After a “white lie” which spirals out of control, a neurotic, naive and musically gifted Muslim cleric’s eldest son must follow through with an arranged marriage, except he is madly in love with an Australian born-Lebanese girl.

“Following a thoroughly predictable rom-com template to thoroughly satisfying effect in a manner rarely seen in Australian cinema since Strictly Ballroom, Ali’s Wedding hits all the beats while deftly capturing the tensions of the first-generation immigrant, torn between the norms of the country he calls home and those espoused by his family.” - The Hollywood Reporter, Harry Windsor

Metacritic Score: 64

Find ‘Ali’s Wedding’ on Netflix here

9. Cargo

Cast: Martin Freeman, Anthony Hayes, Caren Pistorius

Running time: 105 minutes

Rating: 15

IMDB synopsis: After an epidemic spreads all over Australia, a father searches for someone willing to protect his daughter.

“From Romero’s original zombie series to the films it inspired, this type of horror succeeds when it laces its scares with biting social commentary, and Cargo utilizes this formula to great success.” - IndieWire, Jamie Righetti

Metacritic Score: 65

Find ‘Cargo’ on Netflix here

8. Come Sunday

Cast: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Martin Sheen, Jason Segel

Running time: 106 minutes

Rating: 12

IMDB synopsis: Evangelist Carlton Pearson is ostracized by his church for preaching that there is no Hell.

“The movie’s pounding heart is the remarkable Ejiofor. Imbuing his role with authority, charisma, mighty strength and wrenching human frailty, he’s enough to make believers of all of us.” -  The Hollywood Reporter, David Rooney

Metacritic Score: 65

Find ‘Come Sunday’ on Netflix here

7. The Polka King

Cast: Jack Black, Jenny Slate, Jason Schwartzman

Running time: 95 minutes

Rating: 12

IMDB synopsis: Not included it here, because it spoils it, so here’s one from Google instead: The rise and fall of Pennsylvania polka sensation Jan Lewan, who ultimately fleeced millions from investors through his polka-related activities.

“Maya Forbes has crafted a zippy comedy about a charismatic charlatan and the disastrous impact his fakery has on the rubes gullible enough to fall for his schtick.” - Paste Magazine, Andrew Crump

Metacritic Score: 65

Find ‘The Polka King’ on Netflix here

6. 6 Balloons

Cast: Abbi Jacobson, Dave Franco, Jane Kaczmarek

Running time: 74 minutes

Rating: 15

IMDB synopsis: A woman (Jacobson) learns her brother (Franco) has relapsed on heroin.

“Anchored by Jacobson’s touchingly layered turn as a dutiful enabler, this risk-taking piece has an effectively anxious, naturalistic feel (it was inspired by producer Samantha Housman’s own experience), with Franco bringing credible charm and desperation to the messed-up Seth.” - Los Angeles Times, Gary Goldstein

Metacritic Score: 66

Find ‘6 Balloons’ on Netflix here

5. Manhunt

Cast: Zhang Hanyu, Masaharu Fukuyama, Ha Ji-won

Running time: 106 minutes

Rating: 15

IMDB synopsis: Accused of heinous crimes he didn’t commit, a prosecutor sets out on a mission to clear his name.

Critics say: “This film offers something that is never in sufficiently plentiful supply: fun.” - The Guardian, Peter Bradshaw

Metacritic Score: 68

Find ‘Manhunt’ on Netflix here

4. First Match

Cast: Elvire Emanuelle, Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, Colman Domingo

Running time: 102 minutes

Rating: 15

IMDB synopsis: Hardened by years in foster care, a teenage girl from Brooklyn’s Brownsville neighborhood decides that joining the boys wrestling team is the only way back to her estranged father.

Critics say: “Newman has pretty serious filmmaking chops: She shoots action cleanly, coherently, with an eye for the poetry of a well-executed suplex and the brutality of a back alley brawl. Her strongest work, though, is seen in her characters and in her lead.” - Paste Magazine, Andrew Crump

Metacritic Score: 68

Find ‘First Match’ on Netflix here

3. Roxanne Roxanne

Cast: Chanté Adams, Mahershala Ali, Nia Long

Running time: 100 minutes

Rating: 15

IMDB synopsis: In the late 80s/ early 1990s, the most feared battle MC in Queens, New York, was a fierce teenage girl with the weight of the world on her shoulders. At the age of 14, Lolita “Roxanne Shanté” Gooden was well on her way to becoming a hip-hop legend as she hustled to provide for her family while defending herself from the dangers of the streets of the Queensbridge Projects in NYC.

Critics say: “A film that breaks the musical biopic mold in ways that are sometimes frustrating and frequently exhilarating.” - Los Angeles Times, Sheri Linden

Metacritic Score: 75

Find ‘Roxanne Roxanne’ on Netflix here

2. Calibre

Cast: Jack Lowden, Martin McCann, Tony Curran

Running time: 101 minutes

Rating: 15

IMDB synopsis: Two lifelong friends head up to an isolated Scottish Highlands village for a weekend hunting trip. Nothing could prepare them for what follows.

Critics say: “A brutally effective little thriller which rings welcome changes on hackneyed urbanites-vs-backwoodsfolk templates.” - The Hollywood Reporter, Neil Young

Metacritic Score: 75

Find ‘Calibre’ on Netflix here

1. Sunday’s Illness

Cast: Susi Sánchez, Bárbara Lennie, Richard Bohringer

Running time: 113 minutes

Rating: 15

IMDB synopsis: A high-class old lady receives the unexpected visit of her long-time stranded daughter that she had left over thirty years ago, asking a strange request: to spend ten days the two together.

Critics say: “With breathtaking elegance and stunning assurance, Ramón Salazar takes a melodramatic chestnut and makes it flower with unexpected emotion in Sunday’s Illness.” - Variety, Jay Weissberg

Metacritic Score: 92

Find ‘Sunday’s Illness’ on Netflix here

(Images: Netflix)