Monday, December 24, 2018

Best of 2018 the Movies

This Week is all about the movies.  

I go to the movies almost every week. I purchased a “Movie Pass”  last year which allowed me to see the majority of these for free. I also picked up a Sinemia card last July so I think I’m all set
out of my 125 times at the theatre so far here are the movies I enjoyed the most in 2018.  No particular order excluding the last one which was my favorite film of the year. Plot synopsis are in black and my thoughts in red.

Game Night
Max and Annie's weekly game night gets kicked up a notch when Max's brother Brooks arranges a murder mystery party -- complete with fake thugs and federal agents. So when Brooks gets kidnapped, it's all supposed to be part of the game. As the competitors set out to solve the case, they start to learn that neither the game nor Brooks are what they seem to be. The friends soon find themselves in over their heads as each twist leads to another unexpected turn over the course of one chaotic night.
I was not expecting to like this movie. I went in figuring to find it so so at best but I laughed consistently throughout and went back to see it again.
Jason Bateman is at his most “Jason Bateman” with dry delivery and constant positive attitude.  Rachel McAdams has great comic timing something she doesn’t get to use often.  
I watched Game Night in February and its definitely one of my most gone back to movie of the year.  If I need something in the background while I work or if I just want goofy fun I put on Game Night.

Avengers: Infinity War
Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk and the rest of the Avengers unite to battle their most powerful enemy yet -- the evil Thanos. On a mission to collect all six Infinity Stones, Thanos plans to use the artifacts to inflict his twisted will on reality. The fate of the planet and existence itself has never been more uncertain as everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment.
I love and hate this movie. It’s on the list because it is the culmination of the first 10 years of the Marvel Studios movies.  It is without a doubt an amazing achievement and after Avengers Endgame drops next year the Russo brothers deserve the same honorary Oscar that Peter Jackson got for the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Although his should have been revoked after the Hobbit films.
The Russo’s are responsible for not only Avengers and Avengers Endgame but they directed the Winter Soldier which is where the Marvel Series really started all coming together and Civil War which was basically an Avengers movie in and of itself.  
I have not rewatched Infinity War since the theatre although I did watch it 3 times on the big screen.  It’s just too much until after Endgame when I know everyone is back and ok after the snap.

A brutal mugging leaves Grey Trace paralyzed in the hospital and his beloved wife dead. A billionaire inventor soon offers Trace a cure -- an artificial intelligence implant called STEM that will enhance his body. Now able to walk, Grey finds that he also has superhuman strength and agility -- skills he uses to seek revenge against the thugs who destroyed his life.
I did not watch the trailer for this movie. My friend James said it looked good and he wanted to see it so He I and JB headed to the Alamo one Sunday night.
I thought it was a very original movie. It was a little predictable plot wise as far as the heel turn near the end.
The cast was great, director Leigh Wannell put together the best fight scenes of the year with his original camera angles and pacing.  Definitely worth your time if you haven’t seen it. 

Equalizer 2
If you have a problem and there is nowhere else to turn, the mysterious and elusive Robert McCall will deliver the vigilante justice you seek. This time, however, McCall's past cuts especially close to home when thugs kill Susan Plummer -- his best friend and former colleague. Now out for revenge, McCall must take on a crew of highly trained assassins who'll stop at nothing to destroy him.
I was a big fan of the first Equalizer.  While it wasn’t quite as good it was still a fun movie.  Im a sucker for revenge or vigilante justice movies. Death Wish, Oldboy, I saw the Devil all great entries in that genre with the original Equalizer toping my list. Mainly due to its story driven action. 
The sequel in my opinion lost that balance and tried to make the motivation too personal. 
The action set pieces were great and Denzel is amazing as Robert McCall.
I remember watching the tv series as a kid and I hope this series continues to grow.

Mission Impossible: Fallout
Ethan Hunt and the IMF team join forces with CIA assassin August Walker to prevent a disaster of epic proportions. Arms dealer John Lark and a group of terrorists known as the Apostles plan to use three plutonium cores for a simultaneous nuclear attack on the Vatican, Jerusalem and Mecca, Saudi Arabia. When the weapons go missing, Ethan and his crew find themselves in a desperate race against time to prevent them from falling into the wrong hands.
Let's face it our love of these movies as a people will eventually kill Tom Cruise. He ups the anti every entry with his insane stunts and we all applaud. 
Eventually his luck is gonna run out. During the filming of this movie he broke his ankle in a cringe inducing out take you can see online.
With the largest box office opening of the franchise this series shows no sign of slowing down.   
Fallout was great but MI3 is still my favorite of the series.
In my opinion the last 3 movies start off incredibly strong but lose strength in the last 45 minutes or so.  Fallout was no exception. The helicopter chase while cool went on far too long.
Fallout was without a doubt one of the top 10 films of the year though. The bathroom fight scene alone was worth the price of the ticket or the rent if somehow you haven’t seen the movie yet. 

From visionary filmmaker Spike Lee comes the incredible true story of an American hero. It’s the early 1970s, and Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) is the first African-American detective to serve in the Colorado Springs Police Department. Determined to make a name for himself, Stallworth bravely sets out on a dangerous mission: infiltrate and expose the Ku Klux Klan. The young detective soon recruits a more seasoned colleague, Flip Zimmerman (Adam Driver), into the undercover investigation of a lifetime. Together, they team up to take down the extremist hate group as the organization aims to sanitize its violent rhetoric to appeal to the mainstream.
I read the book this movie is based on before watching the film.  The book was good but this is one of those rare cases where the movie was better.
Spike Lee uses his classic storytelling tricks to really draw you in.  
John David Washington son of Denzell Washington is perfect as Ron Stallworth who’s prank call to a KKK hotline turns into a sting operation that sees his character interacting with the upper echelon of the KKK including the Grand wizard himself David Duke.  
Blackkklansman is based on a true story and while liberties were taken in the storytelling on film the theme and the execution is solid.
The inclusion of civil rights activist Jerome Turner played by Harry Belafonte telling the true story of the lynching of African-American teen Jesse Washington is heart breaking and beautifully told. 
My only problem with this film is ending credits scenes that try and compare Trump and trump supporters to the hate filled clansmen portrayed in the film.  As if hate and race were the only reason he was elected.
That took me out of the storytelling right at the end when I should have been left sitting in the moment and thinking about the tension in the past and how far we have actually come.

The Predator
From the outer reaches of space to the small-town streets of suburbia, the hunt comes home. The universe's most lethal hunters are stronger, smarter and deadlier than ever before, having genetically upgraded themselves with DNA from other species. When a boy accidentally triggers their return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and an evolutionary biologist can prevent the end of the human race.
As a fan of the original film this movie was just fun. Not a great plot. Not particularly well acted but fun action nonsense abounds and I was in from beginning to end.

A Simple Favor

A SIMPLE FAVOR, directed by Paul Feig, centers around Stephanie (Anna Kendrick), a mommy vlogger who seeks to uncover the truth behind her best friend Emily's (Blake Lively) sudden disappearance from their small town.
This movie was another surprise for me. I had read the book and did. Not know how they were going to portray a certain story line and keep us liking the main character. A problem that  is not an issue in the book because the main character is not nearly as likable as she is when portrayed by the simply sweet Anna Kendrick.  However the changes made to the character in the film version and the completely different ending made this movie a surprise and put it in my top 10 of the year.

Spider-man: Into the Spider-verse
Bitten by a radioactive spider in the subway, Brooklyn teenager Miles Morales suddenly develops mysterious powers that transform him into the one and only Spider-Man. When he meets Peter Parker, he soon realizes that there are many others who share his special, high-flying talents. Miles must now use his newfound skills to battle the evil Kingpin, a hulking madman who can open portals to other universes and pull different versions of Spider-Man into our world.
In all honesty, I put this movie on the list before I even saw it but it earned its place for sure.  
I try to leave movies off the list that I see the last couple weeks before writing this because I worry that my in the moment feelings will cloud my judgement.  This movie however was tailor made for me.
Into the Spider-Verse is a fun movie my entire family enjoyed but there were expertly placed inside jokes for those of us that have grown up reading the comics. From comic art either inspired or downright copied from the likes of Eric Larsen and Mark Bagley. To the inclusion of suits from lesser known stories arcs and the insertion of names like Romita into the background businesses.  Spider-verse is a feast for new fans and a true Buffett for the old guard.
My favorite comic book of all time is Spider-Man 2099. I have read the entire run several times and I was honestly surprised that he wasn’t included in the film. He has been in a lot of Spider-man games including the most recent for the PS4. Being my favorite series of all time I had hoped to at least get a glimpse of him and was let down when the credits began to roll….
Then the after credit scene hit and I was rewarded for my patience by being treated to a final gag with Spider-man 2099 himself voiced by Oscar Issac (Poe Dameron) of Star Wars fame.
Very much looking forward to a sequel which has already been green lit by Sony.

Here it is, my favorite movie of 2018…..

Ready Player One.
From filmmaker Steven Spielberg comes the science fiction action adventure “Ready Player One,” based on Ernest Cline’s bestseller of the same name, which has become a worldwide phenomenon. The film is set in 2045, with the world on the brink of chaos and collapse. But the people have found salvation in the OASIS, an expansive virtual reality universe created by the brilliant and eccentric James Halliday (Mark Rylance). When Halliday dies, he leaves his immense fortune to the first person to find a digital Easter egg he has hidden somewhere in the OASIS, sparking a contest that grips the entire world. When an unlikely young hero named Wade Watts (Tye Sheridan) decides to join the contest, he is hurled into a breakneck, reality-bending treasure hunt through a fantastical universe of mystery, discovery and danger. 
The book was originally published in 2011 and It was in my “to read” list with the still unread Robopocalypse for years.
I finally read it in 2014 and was blown away. I bought the audio book as well and I listen to it at least once a year.  
It topped my best of reading list that year as well.
The film version was changed substantially from the book but for good reason.
One of the major points of the book is exactly how long it takes to get the first easter egg and to receive the first key.  You couldn’t do that in the movie because while in book form Percival playing Joust against Anorak in a cave is ridiculously exciting it just wouldn’t translate to screen.  
Somehow Cline keeps you glued to the pages as he expresses the frustration only a gamer can feel as Percival tries again and again to beat a level.
It is instead replaced with an exciting street race which includes so many pop culture references that you can’t possibly see them all without pausing the film
Directed by Spielberg this film has a very 80’s feel from jump street with the inclusion of the Amblin Entertainment logo.  
The pairing of Cline as screenwriter and Spielberg as director was a match made in heaven.  I would love to see him tackle Cline’s second book Armada as well.
The plot of the book is largely in tact with a few changes and a few added characters.  The inclusion of TJ Miller as I-ROK adds a comedy aspect that was welcome. 
The cast was great the visuals were stunning and the pop culture references were unbelievable. I’ve watched the movie 10 or so times since buying it and there is still no way to take it all in.

If you haven’t seen Ready Player One and you are over 30 years old it is a much watch.  Even if your kids don’t understand the references they will still love the movie too. All 3 of my kids have watched it multiple times and always see something they recognize. From the Delorian to Pokemon. It’s just an absolute blast.

That’s it for 2018. If you missed my top 10 books you can read that post here.

I’m pretty excited for the films of 2019.  

Avengers End Game, Captain Marvel, John Wick 3, Hellboy, Happy Death Day 2U, and Shazam to name a few.

It’s gonna be a great year.

Thanks for reading.  

Below you will find a complete list of the movies I watched this year if you are interested.  It’s up to date as of the writing of this.  I’ll close the year out with at least 125 movies this year from just the few movies left this year I want to see but haven’t had a chance yet.  Movies like BumbleBee, Mary Queen of Scots, Holmes and Watson as well as films I will see again in the theatre before the year is up.
  1. 1/4 Molly’s Game (Alamo) (Kinch and Kyle)
  2. 1/18  12 Strong (Kinch Kyle)
  3. 1/18 Den of Thieves (Kinch Kyle)
  4. 1/21 The Post (Kinch)
  5. 1/21 the Commuter (Kinch Kyle)
  6. 1/25 Maze Runner the Death Cure (Kinch Kyle)
  7. 1/26 Hostiles (JB)
  8. 2/1 Winchester (Kyle)
  9. 2/6 Game Night (Kinch)
  10. 2/11 15:17 to Paris (Kinch)
  11. 2/17 Black Panther (Kinch, Ash)
  12. 2/22 Game Night (Kinch)
  13. 2/24 Annihilation (Kinch) (Alamo)
  14. 2/25 Samson (Mom, Carrie)
  15. 3/1 Red Sparrow (Kinch)
  16. 3/1 Death Wish (Kinch)
  17. 3/8 Gringo (Kinch, Luke, Kyle)
  18. 3/8 The Strangers (Kinch, Luke)
  19. 3/10 Thuroughbreds (Kinch) (Alamo)
  20. 3/11 Hurricane Heist (Kinch)
  21. 3/15 A Wrinkle in Time (Kinch)
  22. 3/15 Tomb Raider (Sweet T, JB, Kinch, Luke, Kyle, Jeremy)
  23. 3/17 Tomb Raider (Alamo Ash, Mom, Carrie)
  24. 3/19 I Can Only Imagine (Movie Meet-Up)
  25. 3/22 Pacific Rim Uprising (Kinch)
  26. 3/24 Black Panther (Graham) (Alamo)
  27. 3/29 Ready Player One - JB Kinch
  28. 4/3 Ready Player One - (Ash, Stew, Matt, Pat)
  29. 4/5 Blockers (JB Kinch)
  30. 4/5 A Quiet Place (JB Kinch)
  31. 4/7 God’s Not Dead (AMC 11)
  32. 4/12 Rampage (Kinch)
  33. 4/12 Truth or Dare (Kinch)
  34. 4/13 Chappaquiddick (Alamo)  (JB)
  35. 4/26 Rampage
  36. 4/26 Anengers Infinity War (JB Kinch, Trevin, Marcus, Luke, Jeremy Aaron)
  37. 4/27 Avengers Infinity War (Ash)
  38. 5/3 You Were Never Really There (Alamo) (Kinch)
  39. 5/5 Bad Samaritan 
  40. 5/6 Avengers Infinity War (Alamo) (JB, Kinch, Kelly, Don Hockman Arron King)
  41. 5/10 Life of the Party (Kinch)
  42. 5/10 Breaking In (Kinch)
  43. 5/20 DeadPool 2 (Kinch JB)
  44. 5/21 Deadpool 2 (Stew)
  45. 5/24 Solo a Star Wars Story (JB, Kinch, Sweet T)
  46. 5/27 Solo a Star Wars Story (Aaron and Chad)
  47. 5/31 Adrift 
  48. 6/3 Upgrade (Alamo JB & Kinch)
  49. 6/7 Hereditary (Kinch Sweet T Mary Anne)
  50. 6/9 Oceans 8 (AMC Tulsa)
  51. 6/10 First Reformed (AMC Tulsa)
  52. 6/10 Hotel Artemis (AMC Tulsa)
  53. 6/14 the Incredibles 2 (Kyle, Kinch, Sweet T)
  54. 6/14 Tag (Kinch, JB, Sweet T)
  55. 6/21 Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom (Kinch & Darrell)
  56. 6/21 Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom (JB)
  57. 6/22 Won’t you be my Neighbor (Alamo) (JB)
  58. 6/24 Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom (Mom Carrie) 
  59. 6/28 Tag (Kinch)
  60. 6/28 Sicario 2: Day of the Soldado (Kinch, JB, Trevin
  61. 7/5 Ant-Man & the Wasp (Kinch)
  62. 7/5 Ant-Man & the Wasp (JB Sweet T)
  63. 7/7 Ant-Man & the Wasp (IMAX Ash Mom Carrie)
  64. 7/12 Skyscraper (Kinch)
  65. 7/12 Skyscraper (Trevin Kinch JB)
  66. 7/19 Equalizer 2 (Kinch)
  67. 7/19 Equalizer 2 (Sweet T, JB)
  68. 7/22 Ant-Man 8 the Wasp (Aaron King, JB Dex Kelly)
  69. 7/22  Sorry to Bother You (Alamo JB, Kinch)
  70. 7/23 Hotel Transylvania 3 (Lin Ash Bat Brennan Mom Carrie JB Olivia Brighton Dexter Link)
  71. 7/26 Teen Titans Go! (Lin, Ash, Bat, Pickles, Kinch, Colby)
  72. 7/26 Mission Impossible: Fallout (JB, Kinch, Trevin)
  73. 7/28 Mission Impossible: Fallout (Lin) (AMC Tulsa)
  74. 8/5 the Spy Who Dumped Me (Kinch)
  75. 8/5 Three Identical Strangers (JB Kinch) (Alamo)
  76. 8/9 the Meg (Kinch)
  77. 8/9 the Meg (JB Sweet T)
  78. 8/12 the Meg (Fuel and Kinch)
  79. 8/13 BlacKKKlansman (Kinch JB Sweet T) (Alamo)
  80. 8/20 Mile 22 (Kinch)
  81. 8/23 Slenderman (Kinch Aaron)
  82. 9/8 Peppermint (Kinch) (Alamo)
  83. 9/8 Searching (Kinch) (Alamo
  84. 9/13 the Predator 
  85. 9/20 the House with the Clock in the Walls. 
  86. 9/22 Assasination Nation (Waynesville)
  87. 9/33 A Simple Favor (Waynesville) (Kinch)
  88. 9/27 Night School (Aaron, Kinch)
  89. 9/27 HellFest (Kinch)
  90. 9/28 House with the Clock in the Walls. (Ash, Bat, Pickles)
  91. 10/4 the Predator 
  92. 10/4 Venom (Kinch, JB, Sweet T)
  93. 10/6 Venom (Aaron King)
  94. 10/7 A Star is Born 
  95. 10/9 Venom (Aaron Daniels)
  96. 10/11 Bad Times at the El Royale
  97. 10/13 Venom (Alamo DraftHouse) (Ash, Mom, Carrie)
  98. 10/14 First Man (Mom, Carrie)
  99. 10/18 Halloween (JB Olivia Kinch Sweet T)
  100. 10/20 Halloween (Mom, Carrie)
  101. 10/25 Hunter Killer (Kinch)
  102. 11/1 Bohemian Rhapsody- (Kinch JB Sweet T)
  103. 11/4 Mid90s (Alamo) (Kinch JB)
  104. 11/8 Overlord (Kinch)
  105. 11/10 the Girl in the Spiders Web. 
  106. 11/11 Overlord (Alamo) (JB Kinch)
  107. 11/15 Instant Family (Kinch Aaron)
  108. 11/18 Widows
  109. 11/19 the Grinch (Lin and the kids, Stew and the girls)
  110. 11/20 Creed 2
  111. 11/21 Ralph Breaks the Internet (Lin and the kids, the Brakes)
  112. 11/25 Creed 2 (JB, Kinch)
  113. 12/1 Robin Hood
  114. 12/6 The Possession of Hannah Grace (Kinch, Aaron)
  115. 12/12 Once Upon a Deadpool (Kinch) (Alamo)
  116. 12/13 Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse (Lin and the Kids)
  117. 12/13 Spider-Man into the Spider-Verse 
  118. 12/15 AquaMan (Kinch)
  119. 12/15 the Mule (Kinch)
  120. 12/20 Bumblebee
  121. 12/20 Aquaman
  122. Aquaman
  123. Aquaman
  124. the Favorite
  125. Mary Queen of Scots

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