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Your Best and Worst movies of 2018


IdeaOfEvil
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With about a week left in the year, this is a good nudge to let people compile their lists and thoughts on what their best and worst movies of this year was. And there's never really been a format to follow with these posts, so present what you want how you want. Typically I do a 'New to theaters' & 'New to me' list that can separate older movies from newer ones, but anything indivudual posters wanna do is all good =)

 

And as a reference of every movie released this year, I use The Movie Times.

 

 

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BEST:

Hereditary

Annihilation

Into the Spider-verse

Blackkklansman

 

 

Also shoutout to movies like Thoroughbreds, First Reformed, Eighth Grade, Support the Girls, and Disobedience. A lot I still haven’t seen. 

 

WORST:

15:17 to Paris 

Midnight Sun

Delirium 

winchester 

truth or dare 

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Honestly didnt watch too many movies this year....I still have Sicario 2 and MI: Fallout, Spiderman and Aquaman to watch..

 

to be honest nothing stood out ...parts of movies stuck out but nothing "memorable"

-I watched Black Panther after all its hype, it was pretty well made..damn shame it didnt stick the landing, I cared enough about the characters were a "spectacle" battle wasnt really necessary.

 

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I saw a lot of movies this year, but I'm having a hard time with coming up with a list of my "best". My favorite is Eighth Grade. It just hit me in a very direct, personal way that just enchanted me. Roma felt like a massively impressive piece of art, but I don't know how much I enjoyed it. Mission Impossible: Fallout was a wonderful theme park ride in movie form. I was really hyped for Widows, and it met my expectations. Hereditary messed me up in a way that I loved (though even as I was watching it, the ending had me rolling my eyes). Leave No Trace was quietly fantastic. That one has stuck with me more than I would have expected. 

 

Scrolling through my list, there are a bunch that I enjoyed, but don't exactly spark my passion. "Did you see A Quiet Place?" "Yeah, it was pretty good." *shrug

 

There were several movies that I feel like I should have enjoyed more, such as The Death of Stalin, First Man, BlackkKlansman, and Annihilation. I'll have to rewatch them at some point. I may have just been in the wrong mood on those days. 

 

As for Worst, 15:17 to Paris. It was unbelievable. Only made it about 20 minutes before giving up, and I can put up with some trash. 

 

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For what it's worth, here's my list. 51 movies in total this year =)

 

 

Good
New Releases
Avengers: Infinity War
Deadpool 2
Puppet Master The Littlest Reich
Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado

 

New to Me

Darkest Hour (2017)

The Disaster Artist

Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932 / Fredric March)
Dunkirk
Elvira - Mistress of Darkness

George Michael: Freedom (documentary)

Ghost World
Next Friday

OJ Made in America (ESPN 30 for 30)

Robot Carnival
Supergirl (1984)


Write-Ups

Spoiler

 

Avengers: Infinity War - ALL FILMMAKERS need to take note and realize that this is the perfect example of how to give the fans a deserving and well thought out story for such a long franchise buildup (I'm looking at you Star Wars!). The pacing, the visuals, and the cohesiveness of the story never swayed or disappointed from what we were being told in the previous 22 MCU movies from the past 10 years. And as a matter of fact, minus two little plot holes, this movie was absolutely everything you wanted even if you didn't know you wanted it. There are some minor quibbles with the final fight, but those problems are only for fanboys, imo. And those final 5 minutes! Holy shit that ending! I can't wait to see the next one.

 

Darkest Hour (2017) - A superb recounting of the moments when Churchill was put in power to take on the Nazi regime, with terrific performances put on by everyone involved. But the narrative lost focus, and what should have been a complete story of distrust and misguided faith in Churchill and the war sorta fizzled at the end with a not-so-satisfying speech. The pay off for us should have been with the visual of Churchill's plans having worked even though he was being plotted against by his own war room. And for all the posturing and grandstanding that came out because of the events of the war, to see the movie end with a final speech given to a small room of politicians with a brief text of what did eventually happen thanks to his plans was just kind of a letdown. To not be given a scene of Churchill after Dunkirk, or after America became involved in the war, or after Nazi Germany fell, left me disappointed. High marks for what it was, but I feel like I need to see Nolan's Dunkirk now to get a sense of completion for this movie.


Deadpool 2 - I liked it, but there are still problems. Like part 1, it's still too Ryan Reynolds heavy. His jokes, his comedy, his presence, and his aura take away from the true insanity that the Deadpool character should reach. His love story swerves things off course, but then the 4th wall relationship to the X-universe brings it back in line, only to have a demasked Ryan Reynolds talking about "stuff" swerving it off course again. There are blatant jokes from the comic books that belong here, and there's an attitude of "I don't care" that's still missing from Deadpool's demeanor. But Brolin was great as Cable, and the movie looked and sounded just fine. Juggernaut was a slight miss by not making him as powerful as he actually is in the comics, while everyone else was okay. But there seems to be some reluctance of Reynolds to truly immerse himself as the Deadpool character and not just show up as himself. I think it's what's holding this franchise back a bit. Very fun, but it paralleled the first movie while not improving on it.

 

The Disaster Artist - Wow! This is so fantastically uncomfortable that I ended up having to pause multiple scenes because I was laughing so hard. The Room in itself is a grind to get through. But this recounting of it is pretty fantastic, and the ending side by side montage of the original film scenes being placed next to this movies scenes was pretty great. It created a fantastic "in your face" example of how you never noticed just how lost the Franco's got into their roles by seeing how close they came off compared the original actors. A+


Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1932 / Fredric March) - A movie I've been dying to watch for many years now, but kept forgetting about. And when I finally remembered to find the restored uncut version on dvd, I knew going in that I would be more excited about watching it when compared to other movies that I only had casual interest in. And while this movie is a story that I never read or knew the entire synopsis of, it's so ensconced in the pop culture of the world that I knew a basic bit about it - a good man drinks some potion he made and becomes evil. So, I couldn't really tell you anything more of the story before seeing it for this first time, but I can say that what did endear me to it was Fredric March alone. He's a favorite golden age actor of mine, and I was really hyped to see this performance because I had read that he was the first and only actor for 60 years to have won the best actor Oscar for a horror film (Hopkins and Silence of the Lambs would be the next). And I must say, even with all the hype I put on myself when watching this movie, it was really fantastic. March is the true stand out here, giving us a performance that rivals any classic (even modern classic) performance from any actor of the past ninety years since this movie was released. And for him to be able to go from this dashing, handsome gentleman's gentleman to a grimy monster that barely resembled a decent human being was amazing. And it's one of those types of performances where every other actor that's on screen with him at the same time were given a boost in their own performances as well. The leading lady of this movie (one of the two leading ladies, I suppose) really gave a terrific performance as a whore who no one cared about that was being raped and beaten by the villainous Hyde. And she so convincingly portrayed the terror she was living through in that performance that she instantly broke through the boundaries of her era of movies with the type of acting that you know is special while you're watching it. The backdrops, the amazing makeup, the lighting!, the set pieces, and the costumes all stuck out as great visuals here. I would say this was a timeless performance from everyone involved, actors-director/production/etc, and it has immediately become one of my "Must Watch before you die" movies. S-class.

 

Dunkirk - My grandfather was a history nut. And because his generation was raised to worship the heroes and villains of WW2 I've come to know movies and documentaries on the subject of this conflict from all forms of media - movies, books, tapes, calendars, news programs, prayer circles, military functions, etc. But the story of Dunkirk escaped me, which makes me curious - Was everything I heard in passing through my grandfather's interests only from the view point of the Americans? This seems like it was a pretty important battle in the war... In any case, I've noticed since my gramp's passing that maybe humanity as a whole is far enough away from this war that movies that are based on certain events of WW2 subject matter kinda now have a Hollywood blockbuster/GI Joe feel to them. I'm not seeing the familiar Hollywood romance or hero worship that tugs at the strings of the older generation that my grandfather belonged to anymore. Now, there's a feeling of giving only the stone cold facts of what soldiers were doing to get out of that war alive, and this movie did it very well - something that I know my grandfather did not like. A+


Elvira - Mistress of Darkness - I remember my two uncles watching this in front of me when I was a little kid, and I had vague memories of certain scenes when watching it all these years later. But even with some previous exposure to this film, I found myself a little embarrassed and shocked that as an adult all I could focus on was Elvira's cleavage throughout the entire movie. Everything about her just oozes sex, and during my breakdown review after the movie ended I realized that she perfectly crafted a flik that didn't allow the viewer to get away from her control where she dictated and commanded your attention all through the power of her assets. And it's definitely a movie that needs to be watched again just so you can experience it without the sticker shock of her rockin tits (lol) to really appreciate how she manipulated every inch of the screen. The perfect one liners that you might have missed need to be heard again (*piece of plastic falls on top of her* "How's your head?" "I haven't had any complaints yet."), to the wonderful sets and lighting that she blends her character into (both the inky gothic and the clean white-wash surroundings). But even without a second viewing, you can tell this movie holds up very well. The jokes are timeless cheese, mixed in with the raunchy sexuality that doesn't shy away from blatantly stating 'women want to be her, men want to be with her.' Solid A movie!

 

George Michael: Freedom (documentary) - He was an artist I grew up with since my parents were fans of his. And it was kinda sad to see a documentary that focused on only one specific narrative of his life rather than all of it. And I get that this was created by George Michael while he was alive, so it gets a pass in terms of not telling an all encompassing life story. But I was relatively exposed to his life since I was a kid, and there were many things that were big news when they happened that didn't get much more than a simple mention in this. Still, the point of what it wanted to focus on came across clear, and it was done very well. It was especially nice to see the other musical artists he crossed paths with over time talking about George's talents when they individually worked together with him.

 

Ghost World - I think I'm more enamored with this film than I should be, and I'm probably focusing on the incorrect agenda of its narrative instead of pondering whether it's a good film or not (it being well casted, well choreographed, well made, etc). But seeing the main character going through a sudden, odd shift in life as a newly labeled adult while not letting go of her childhood ideas (ie - society deeming that she needs to become a grown up now that High School is over) very much reminded me how I was just like her when I graduated - (more) cynical of the world, feeling alone, greatly focused on art, understanding that my hobbies were not popular (at that time), disconnected with my parent and step-parent, my friends deciding to reach for an apex in life that I viewed as boring and rather uninspired, etc. And then to see Steve Buscemi as the older, ideal adult for the main character to semi-idolize, with his collections and particular tastes, also sparked reflections of how he's what I think I've grown up to be. And what allures me to this movie the most is the idea of the journey between the two eras of my own life. For all the world traveling that I've done, the various jobs that I've taken because of their intrigue versus their pay, the lifelong friends I made from pursuing my odd interests, the chances and the luck (and sometimes bad luck) I've experienced that have molded my views on the world today; did I become this perennial loser in the eyes other people because I don't "fit into the normal"? Did I become that older person to be admired by the kind of young people who would look at my possessions and experiences in life? Should I even care? There's a lot for me to process with this flik, and I'm sure it's one I'm going to be coming back to for many years.

 

Next Friday - Being such a fan of the first movie, it was an odd revelation that I had never watched this one at all. And maybe it was because most of the original cast didn't return, or that I was too busy watching other movies at the time. But finally seeing it now really put a smile on my face. It had absolutely great moments of blatant and subtle comedy that I'm kinda sad it took me so long to finally see this. But then again, maybe it's a blessing in disguise that it took so long because maybe I wouldn't have liked it as much if I saw it when I was younger.

 

OJ Made in America - A fantastic piece of work that explores reasoning and cultural awareness as the catalyst to one of the biggest events in pop culture history. But the minor problems that keep this from being truly perfect have to do with there not being enough time given to each episode. Many side points of various individuals are quickly mentioned, but then never fully explored to their current conclusion (What happened to Fuhrman after the trial, who were the other ten jurors that weren't interviewed, did the Brown family team up with the Goldman family for any activities after the trial, etc). And there are also smaller points in the main narrative of OJ himself that were never mentioned yet clearly had to of happened (when did he divorce his first wife, who exactly were the men who had his merchandise at the end, who were the men that helped OJ with the robbery and what were their individual outcomes, etc). I think what also hurt this was the notion that there were five hour-and-a-half long episodes to go through, and that the task of watching each one always weighed you down in the back of your mind. Absolutely the five episodes were great, and there was never a lull while watching them. But sitting down for that long five times in a row still felt heavy.

 

Puppet Master The Littlest Reich - What an absurd, dumb, idiotic, masterpiece of a horror movie. The tongue-in-cheek visuals and plot line of this movie is so perfectly balanced that I guarantee anyone who watches this and says they saw nothing appealing is lying their ass off. It starts off slow, and has some awkward casting choices (I asked my friend "Is that Udo Kiur?", right before asking "Isn't that the guy from Reno 9-11?" out loud). But once the puppets get going and you start seeing the various kills, it's doesn't disappoint. And what's probably so shocking is that the genius of this movie is that it knows it's stupid, knows where this franchise came from, and doesn't offend you one bit by thinking it's at all clever. A+!

 

Robot Carnival - I can remember watching this in pieces when I was much younger. But the only short I could recount had to do with a guy creating a girl robot, getting old, and then still pining for said girl robot years later. But in any case, watching this in its entirety for the first time was pretty decent. It's strictly going to give older anime fans who enjoy the older hand-drawn type of animation a charge, because I can't see many newer fans appreciating what this type of movie is. There are definitely pacing issues with some of the shorts, and a lot of the themes of "star-crossed love" is shared between them all. But it was still refreshing to see older designs and styles from animes-past done well once again. It's niche, but it's my kind of niche.

 

Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado - I really enjoyed this. But much like the first movie, it's going to take a couple of rewatches to fully absorb what all is happening, who's doing it, why are they doing it, and why did it resolve the way it did. I think Benicio is an absolute master as an action hero, much like Liam Neeson found himself to be because of his Taken series, and I can only hope that he (Benicio) doesn't allow this franchise to run on too long or too far from how excellent the first movie was and how (seemingly) great this second one is.

 

Supergirl (1984) - I have very vague memories of having seen this when I was a little kid, but I have no real memory of it outside of maybe one scene where Supergirl is looking at a poster of Superman. So, watching it now as an adult near 35 years later I'm actually surprised at how enjoyable it is as far as the character goes. First of all, the big standout to me was the amount of Howard Jones music that this flik was able to license, and it's pretty surprising to hear kids listening to actual real life chart topping music and not some generic made-for-the-movie nonsense that a low-budgeted film would create for itself. Second, somehow/someway DC comics continued their streak of luck by finding a great unknown actor/actress to take the lead in this Superman franchise movie. Helen Slater was terrific as the main character, and it's a shame she never got to revisit this role afterwards. And finally, the movie is a great companion piece to the Reeves Superman films, imo. It's got the light-hearted nature, is "innocent to a fault," and has overacted villains and subdued heroes that are representations of the type of fun other Super-franchise movies has. I'd recommend anyone that's tired of seeing common DC/dark-for-no-reason story telling comic movies to check this one out just for a change of pace from the norm.

 


Meh
New Releases
Black Panther
Creed 2
Upgrade

 

New to Me
Blade of the Immortal
Hardcore Henry
Ichi the Killer
Lady Bird
Small Town Crime

Super


Write-Ups

Spoiler

 

Black Panther - A fine movie, but not Marvel's best. I appreciated Michael B Jordan's main villain a lot, but it took too long to get him going. He was set up strong as an outsider who was screwed over by his lineage. But the quick resolution of him as a problem was uninspired. He wins fairly, he gets the super strength, gets the suit, people don't like him, the hero comes back, the hero wins, the bad guy dies. Ugh... Yet still, the settings were fine, the acting was fine (all the dancing and gyrating of the various tribes was a bit forced, imo), and the action pieces were good. But my biggest complaint is that the story was a bit stretched and unfocused in the beginning, and for it to be the final movie before the Infinite War blockbuster really made it feel out of place. If I ever watch this again, it's only going to be for the sake of completion in watching every Marvel movie in some freakish marathon starting with Iron Man through to finishing with Infinite War.


Blade of the Immortal - Miike is one of the last masters of action direction left in this world, and this movie does not disappoint in that field. But where it does fail is in its story. I only knew so much of the manga's beginning and ending, and nothing really of the middle, and so I was let down a bit from seeing what this movie omitted and changed from the source material that I did know. And then characters came and went too quickly, the idea of why the main hero was killing for the little girl was often lost, and simple things like where the main hero got all his weapons from were let go. It's first half was very good, only to see the last half lose its focus and try to tie up loose ends all too quickly. It may just be that I'm spoiled because I can compare this to the live action Rurouni Kenshin  franchise where it was given three movies to tell a more fleshed out story. Blade of the Immortal would have benefited greatly if it were given the same opportunity, imo.

 

Creed 2 - This was a movie with all the correct ingredients to be an instant classic within the franchise, but then mishandled the basic story element that the previous movies always pushed and it just left fans of the franchise confused at the end. It was essentially a movie with no teeth, that lost what the premise of Rocky and the first Creed were all about - taking on challenges as the underdog when no one believes in you - that for some reason made the villain into this person and then flipped the script one him and gave us a movie where the true underdog never stood a chance. Things just happened, focusing on point-A and then on to point-B without branching the two ideas together to explain the basics of "Why" or "How" (our hero gets destroyed in his fight and is hospitalized, but then nothing ever affects him again after that). The movie was done well enough that it won't kill my love for the franchise, but it certainly didn't help at all.

 

Hardcore Henry - ... I don't know about this one. The concept and story was keeping my attention. But the first person action was so "shaky-cammed" that I couldn't keep my eyes focused on it for too long. And the way the story was unfolding just kinda did a disservice to what this world looked like in the background - There's an air fortress? There's futuristic robots? There's monsters with psychic powers? The elements were all there, but the camera kept running away from them =/ I can't imaging coming back to this one, but I can respect the filmmakers attempt to do something kinda fun here even if it didn't reach its full potential.

 

Ichi the Killer - I've known of this movie for forever and a day, but every time I attempted to watch it something would always come up. And now after all these years when I do see it, I'm kinda left disappointed. Over the years I've seen various clips of extreme violence from trailers and youtube links, but my memory of those are more extreme than what I actually did see in the movie. The cg work for early Japan in the 2000's is still painful to watch, but there are still truly great moments in this film that all have to do with the main villain. And I was so surprised and shocked at how he's an essential blueprint for Heath Ledger's Joker character that I'm truly contemplating which actor gave the better performance as 'the ultimate'. Plus, what's more surprising is how both this movie and The Dark Knight follow a similar path of being a weak movie that's injected with a tremendous villain. I think the only difference between the two is that The Joker was surrounded with great actors to create individual fantastic scenes to embolden how special he was while the villain in Ichi only had himself to rely on at any given moment with not much around him.


Lady Bird - Pretty basic slice of life flik that I connected with easily. Just like the main character here, I was in a Catholic school in Northern California for a number of years with a very confused parent who needed everything to be done her way, so there was a lot of common ground I saw between what the main actress was going through and what I had to put up with in my life. And there were a lot of little moments that I could really appreciate - one of them being that you have to say that you're from San Francisco, even though you're not, because that's the closest city anyone is gonna recognize to the actual the area you do live in. And about the only off-putting moments I came across were when some of the kids were talking with forced sounding slang. I'm a Norcal kid (I did grow up in SF, actually), and being told that this took place in Sacramento in the early 2000's I could just tell the dialogue was written by someone who didn't grow up around here, lol. Decent cuz I knew the lifestyle, but a little too familiar to my actual life that it's nothing I think I'd want to come back to =)


Small Town Crime - Perfectly fine Saturday afternoon tv flik, but nothing I would have paid money to see in theaters. Though it was a good enough distraction if you've got nothing else going on, imo, and I was actually surprised at how well done the final gun fight choreography ended up being.


Super - Not bad. Kinda had a weak mix of dark comedy and cheap violence to it that didn't really let the main actor shine as bright as he could have. He didn't come off too crazy, and he didn't do anything that was really hilarious. So, it was just a kinda middle of the road movie that surprisingly let Ellen Page go off the rails and be the highlight of the whole thing.

 

Upgrade - By chance I saw this bluray sitting on my shelf and remembered that I had watched it this year, but for some reason didn't review it when I finished. And what's bad is I don't remember much about it. Something about a guy who's wife died? And then he was paralyzed? Then had something implanted in his head that was hooked up to the future internets that could control his body? And then something about him meeting up with the villain inventor who created the program, but who turned out to be a victim himself as it was the program controlling everything all along? Jeez... Something tells me that it started off slow, but when the action picked up it became entertaining seeing this guy do super-human nonsense, BUT then the movie kinda just petering off with a lame conclusion to the story. I'll have to give this another spin one day to really remember how bad or good it was.

 

 

 


Bad
New Releases
Annihilation
Apostle
Hellraiser: Judgement
Mission Impossible: Fallout
Pacific Rim Uprising
The Predator
A Quiet Place
Ready Player One
Tomb Raider
Venom


New to Me
Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh
Downsizing
Elektra
Hitman's Bodyguard
Kickboxer Vengeance
The Mountain Between Us
Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
Professor Marston and the Wonder Women
The Snowman
The Thing from Another World
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Warcraft


Write-Ups

Spoiler

 

Annihilation - This was eye-rolling, not eye-catching. I was constantly looking away when nothing was happening on screen, and then would turn back just in time for the minimal action to have come and gone when anything did. The narrative was a little too simple and the acting was definitely uninspired, imo. And what's probably the biggest issue with this movie is that we've seen so many of these concepts done to death through other media - video games, specifically - that if you're a person who's been exposed to such things over the years then this movie can only be boring. The best way to describe these problems is that while maybe for a movie the visuals and story presentation are revolutionary, for a gamer it's a regression. Nothing I saw here was beyond a mixture of The Last of Us on PS4 and any independent movie that has a monster in the dark from the past 20 years. And when you spend some time to kinda really dig deep to find the hidden layers of the storytelling, you start to realize that all the tired tropes are blatantly in your face. "I'm a sexy, brilliant scientist female who was also a bad ass Navy Seal beforehand. And I'm the only one who can figure this out. Not because it's the right thing to do. But it's because my husband is missing who went on this same mission before me..." It's thrown out so casually to the audience that there's just nowhere for this movie to go that isn't as absurd as the next movie that uses the same ideas. And honestly, if the story wants to go that route, then Natalie Portman is not the actress to fill this role. Everything was just boring, with actors and actresses who aren't convincing in their roles, and I doubt I'll ever watch it again.

 

Apostle - Wanting to watch this movie was strictly a decision based on loving Gareth Edwards two Raid movies, and sadly this one's an unfortunate miss for his filmography. It was an odd tale that stretched five different ways that all had nothing to do with one another. And to be fair, there was plenty here to be positive about. But overall this movie needed to be stretched into a mini-series if it wanted to keep a clear cohesiveness with everything it was trying to do. The acting was top notch, while the camera angles and lens movements came off as if it were made for a basic cable television show. The simple set pieces, the costumes, the musical score, and all the special effects were good to great. But the story just buried all of the positive vibes everything else was laying down. A shame, really, because a lot of promise was here, and if any of these plot points had been given room to breathe in a stretched out series of some kind it could have been a winner. Oh well.

 

Candyman: Farewell to the Flesh - A typical horror sequel where the only narration a studio can come up with is to write an origin story. And while the first movie (to this day) creeps me out, this movie was full of 90's cliche's where loud bangs and screeches pop out of your speakers when nothing more than a person walks on screen. It's terrible scare-baiting, and it sets up a mood where the viewer is more annoyed than anything else. The eventual unfolding of the story is also boring, where the idea of racism and disgusting human nature is the catalyst for the titular villain to become a super-villain. But Tony Todd (Candyman) is such a beloved character actor to me that all I was was confused by the narrative - do I root for him now, or should I still hate him? The kills were pretty uninspired, the actors were mediocre (save for Todd), and the story was paced too slow. The very (very!) few set pieces where there were altars of worship for Candyman look excellent, while the backdrop of Louisiana in the day time gave no further life to this film. Pretty sad, and I doubt I'll come back to it. 

 

Downsizing - Eh.... The idea of a Gulliver's Travels or The Incredible Shrinking Man story was completely lost with this movie as it took away the fun of seeing smaller versions of people mixing with giant sized everyday objects. And there were too many agendas being focused on that inevitably dragged the story down to the point that you had no cares or remembrance that this was supposed to be a movie about people shrinking themselves. I haven't seen a huge miss of a movie like this in a long while.

 

Elektra - A horrible reminder of how Hollywood had no clue on how to handle comic book movies in the late 90's/early 2000's. This was clearly a cash cow attempt at putting a young Jennifer Garner in a tight outfit and having her do nothing more than slow motion wire jumping. Everything from the story to the action to the cinematography to the costuming was God-awful. And thank baby Jesus Marvel got their act together and made comic book movies a viable source of entertainment years later, because without them Elektra would be the standard formula we'd still be seeing in today's comic book movies (a couple of recent fliks still follow this horrible formula today, even).

 

Hellraiser: Judgement - Hiring a good special effects designer as the director gave this movie more hype than it deserved. The shots of Pinhead and the hell house were all very cool. But the story lacked any originality (especially since it mimics another Hellraiser sequel story already), and not moving away from this horrible idea of Heaven versus Hell as the catalyst for the franchise is beyond repair at this point. Hellraiser doesn't need a reboot, and it doesn't need more of these trash sequels. It needs someone that cares to be in charge and in complete control of what the story originally depicted in its ecstasy versus agony motif if it ever wants to be viable again.


Hitman's Bodyguard - Pretty by the numbers buddy action flik. Reynolds and Jackson have a couple of brief fun moments in their banter, but this movie was clearly written by someone who didn't allow them to veer too far away from the script. Meh.

 

Kickboxer Vengeance - There was just nothing fun about this movie. The fights were boring, Van Damme looks tired in his old age, and the story (for what it's worth) was nonsensical. The chick was hot, but then she got naked for a pointless sex scene and I lost respect for her, lol

 

Mission Impossible: Fallout - I haven't seen ANY of the Mission Impossible movies after the first one. But I was told that they were so isolated from each other that watching this shouldn't be an issue. Annnnddddd, I wasn't impressed. The action pieces, certain characters dying, other characters living, the macguffin super-weapon they're all trying to get... It was all just too formulaic and boring to me.

 

The Mountain Between Us - Maybe it failed because of my own expectations in seeing a complete focus on survival against the elements during a plane crash in the snow. But when this movie turned into a weak love story that dragged on for a terribly drawn out ending that felt way out of place, I was already bored to tears. Pretty bad.


Murder on the Orient Express (2017) - I have a long history with watching murder mysteries thanks to my grandmother - a known junkie for Poirot, Holmes, Murder She Wrote, Matlock, Columbo, CSI, and everything else that was on television for the last 40 years of her life. And as such, this Agatha Christie story wasn't foreign to me, and I knew the outcome of the murder already. So, while watching this movie, I was maybe already robbed of what the director was setting out to do in full effect. And while the movie does look pretty, it also looks cheap with all the cgi backdrops and long shots of the train in motion. And then you add the large ensemble cast (who are just kind of cookie cutter to me) to the visual mess of the movie, the viewer ends up feeling like there's little room left to take all that seriously with the narrative. With Johnny Depp's makeup and all the lousy accents being put on by every other actor I kinda felt like this was a less fun/less hammy Sin City stylized movie. And that's where I think this movie failed. It wasn't serious enough to really make the viewer feel like they were there to figure out the murder along with Poirot. And it wasn't self conscious enough to be a character driven movie that you could have any fun watching the actors bounce off each other with. It just kinda coasted this middle line of household named actors all being in one room, throwing out whatever accents and characters that we've seen them do before (and do better in other movies), all while Brannagh takes the main spotlight from them as a not-as-good-as-David-Suchet Poirot actor. If I ever feel the need to see this story play out on my television again, I'll stick to the better 2010 made for television version.

 

Pacific Rim Uprising - This is one of those films where a viewer who's seen the best of the worst of this type of genre in all media formats (be it books, cartoons, anime, other movies, etc) gets a little antsy because the film misses some basic structuring that would make it a more enjoyable watch overall. I tend to "not click" with del Toro movies in any case, and as such I wasn't all that enamored with the first Pacific Rim movie. And because of that feeling of indifference, I can't really compare this sequel to the first film and find why this one wasn't much better. It has uninteresting robot designs and boring looking weapons. The monsters are generic looking and are barely on screen. The action is simple mocap hand fighting without any sense of weight or destruction to them. And using a backdrop of corporate greed and backstabbing as the basis of your turmoil is so stupid with these types of stories. I dare anyone to watch the first monster fight from the Evangelion anime and then watch any of the fights in this movie and say that the 20 year old Eva series isn't leaps and bounds better. And it's really just that simple - that something animated twenty years ago is head and shoulders better than a blockbuster movie from today. I doubt I'll come back to this movie.  

 

The Predator - A giant step in the wrong direction for where this franchise needs to go. The typical Hollywood formula of "giant ensemble cast with male, female, child, generic hero, idiot villain" is slathered all over this movie that it stopped being the traditional Predator formula long before the titular "monster" even showed up. Ideas that tried expand on the lore, that no one was asking for, came off poorly and misguided when all people really want to see were gruesome kills, giant gun play scenes, cool alien weapons, and great fight scenarios playing out on screen. But what we got here was no better than any old episode of Star Trek Voyager mixed in with a little Power Rangers action... It's sad, really. And it's sadder knowing that the last Predator film before this one (by Rodriguez) was perfectly fine for what the franchise should always be about - various cool characters with their own distinctions going up against a monster, and seeing which one of them survives and dies. Pretty meh.

 

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women - There's something very pedestrian about this movie that somehow makes it... lame. I like all the actors involved just fine, and the subject matter was interesting. But the way it comes off, with its light hearted music combined with flimsy psychological terminology was a bit off putting. There were some interesting visuals that were clear foreshadows of what the eventual Wonder Woman comic book character would be. But they were few and far between, and the story mainly stayed focused on the perversions of three people without doing all that much to tie those actions to the creation of the Wonder Woman comic book franchise in the end (aside from one brief montage). It would have been nice to see more of the main character plotting and planning for the comic book, but instead we get a rushed scene where he has all the names and ideas plotted out before we quickly get back to the rigmarole of three way sex and masturbation in the 1940's. Meh...

 

A Quiet Place - Holy hell, what a contrived mess of plot holes and bad writing. I mean, things were happening just for the sake of this movie having something to do. Monster appears here, we do this; old guy in middle of forest is here, I guess he's automatically crazy; gotta go grocery shopping, bring the whole family!; monsters are nowhere to be seen, but appear instantly out of nowhere when they are. There's a nail in the stairs!; Why not?! ffs... It really sucked. Every scenario, every consideration to plot conveniences (like the sand poured down a trail to hide footsteps) were all trumped by dumber plot conveniences to get them in trouble so something could justifiably happen (that f'ing nail! *ugh*).

 

Ready Player One - What a mess of a movie. Spielberg never disappoints in taking a decent movie concept and showering it with his dumb musical queus, take-a-child-by-the-hand visuals, and terrible endings that ruin the entire narrative that came before it. And while the story was interesting enough as a puzzle solver, it didn't really have a strong focus (or even puzzles, for that matter). People are either "in the Matrix" doing what they do, or there's some evil corporation hell bent on killing them in the real world to maintain their world power. And there was no sense of urgency in either place of existence. The screen is either over-run with visual cameos from other franchises that you're racing your eyes around to catch as many as you can, or we have to stare at the static, uninspired visuals that this movie came up with on its own. I'll never return to this.

 

The Snowman - This was extremely uninteresting. Whether it was the setting in the snow (somewhere in Europe, I think), or the lily white cast that all look the same, or the tired calling card of the murderer's crappy snowmen left at every crime scene, or the simple fact that the murders themselves were uninspired - I just couldn't keep focus on this movie. Not only do I not have any idea of what these murders were about, and not only do I not know who any of these people are (was that Val Kilmer?? What was he doing?), I'm not sure if I should review this movie simply because I couldn't give a fair assessment of anything that happened in it. I guess Fassbender was good as a drunk? And the lighting was nice? But even still, the editing, the pacing, most of the cinematography, the cg, and the music all sucked. I doubt I'll ever remember having seen this movie in the next few years of my life, lol

 

The Thing from Another World - This was a rough watch. The interest in seeing this is there because of the classic 1980's remake. But it's still an older sci-fi movie that has a lot of the common problems of its specific era in it. Character dialogue is God-awful, the familiar "monster music" of a blaring trumpet screeching over the actual in-movie noise is horrible, and the set pieces look rather bland. And though it was awesome to see the fire scene and the quick "open the door, monster just misses a backhand" scene, those were the only two awesome scenes. Everything else was mired in dragged-out dialogue with absolutely no tension in them. It even really slowed down to a point where I started looking on the internet while the movie was playing because there was nothing to focus on that was interesting in any of the scenes being presented. The intro was about planning the trip to the base camp - dialogue. Then flying to the base camp - dialogue. Arriving at the base camp - dialogue. Talking to the scientists - dialogue. Heading out to "the something in the snow" scene - dialogue. Finding the spaceship - dialogue. Bringing the alien back - dialogue. What should we do with the alien? - dialogue. Alien escapes - dialogue. Can't find alien - dialogue. Still can't find alien - dialogue. Alien appears for one second and we lock him in a room - dialogue. Scientists want to talk to it/soldiers want to kill it - dialogue. We have a plan to kill it with electricity and are baiting it, but the scientist jumps out into the trap to talk to it - dialogue. Fuck me... lol


Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri - This is one of those movies that follows the domino effect of one action leading to another that's completely unrelated to the basic first premise presented to the audience. And it doesn't stop. It's a kind of hodgepodge story that just didn't make me care about anything that happened in it because nothing was given any closure. Sure, the performances were all strong. But when you go from point A to point N, back to point 1, forward to point Omega, and then back to point B, you tend to lose interest. And it's a shame, because the initial premise of a grieving mother who was causing a stir that made her small town upset kept me interested in seeing a resolution based on that simple through line. But there were too many branching ideas that eventually went nowhere, and again were just dominos falling and trailing off from the end goal. This is pure Oscar bait, and it's the type of movie film reviewers love to dissect and discuss with their city college psychology degrees. And I just can't stand it.

 

Tomb Raider - A giant waste of time, filled with utterly horrible writing. Lara is portrayed as a Mary Sue, who is given no conflicts, is above everyone else in terms of intellect and physical prowess (without any explanation or back story to justify it), and is someone who is simply moving from point-A to point-B with no real turmoil along the way. The intro basically tells us that all the men she hangs with want her, that all men can only chase her, that none of the men can catch her, and that all the men are stupid in the presence of her *rolls eyes*. But the biggest annoyance of the movie is that it's a case study of cliche'd moments and modern movie tropes that are just littered throughout every-single-scene here, and the narrative is constantly confusing who this movie is being made for. The bad guys with their machine guns can only hit rocks and trees when shooting - so let's keep it PG. Lara is to be non-sexualized on an island full of men who have been trapped on said island for seven years with no other women, and they show no cares even though every camera angle of Lara is looking down her cleavage while she's sporting a tight tank top - I guess that at least makes it PG-13. And then the action scenes are full of fake tension, where chasing after some kids who stole a back pack deserves shaky cam and loud techno music effects, or walking across a 10-foot rickety ladder over a dark ditch of dead bodies needs to be drawn out with eerie music playing. And even if someone wants to take some of the heat off of this movie and rest the narrative confusion on the first video game reboot that this story is following, the movie still does a poor job of creating the same tension and character growth by trying to fit within the parameters of other action-adventure movie outlines that have come before (Indiana Jones, Romancing the Stone, and even the dumber other Tomb Raiders comes to mind). And what's really a shame is that it's all wasted while this movie looks really good. The main actress is a fine, athletically strong Lara Croft come to life, while the actual tomb (when you finally get to it) looks great. But for a 2 hour movie to make you suffer an hour and twenty minutes inside a not-so-subtle safe space environment for young women, and doing everything else except actually tomb raiding, you might feel better just being punched in the groin instead of watching this.

 

Venom - Such a boring movie, I left the theater near the climax to go feed the meter in my car, lol. A good friend of mine has simplified my feelings for comic movies with his own criteria to decide if he's even gonna put in the effort to watch them - Is the villain just someone in a lab coat that gets cgi'd into some monster at the end for a big fight? If the answer to that question is 'yes' then he's out, lol and it's a good strategy to follow. Venom was a mess. A boring villain mixed with terrible music overlays mixed with dumb relationship plot points mixed with even stupider fight scenes. It didn't hearken back to anything MacFarlane created in his 90's comic book, and the movie suffered from the same idiotic formula that all the early 2000's comic book movies suffered from. It really belongs with the likes of The Fantastic Four, X-Men, and Daredevil films of that crappy era.


Warcraft - The failing of this movie was in the fact that it wasn't grand enough to respect the various games. Entire squadrons of different types of characters were reduced to one person roles - there was one griffon rider, one shaman priest, one mage, etc etc. And the simple fact that Warcraft is a game of armies, buildings and upgrading was lost entirely. We got actors who didn't look or sound the part of their characters, mixed in with cg ogres and dwarves that looked questionable at times, that when they all came together for different scenes they just looked even more odd. The fights were underwhelming, and trying to squeeze in the politics of both sides of the war did this movie no favors. It was very forgettable, especially considering Blizzard creates fantastic cg cut scenes for their games already that would make much better feature length films than this one.

 

 

 


 

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