2018 is nearly coming to close (apparently it just flew by, I feel like it took it's time but whatever moving on) and we've had quite a few ups and downs when it comes to the movie industry. We've had huge ensemble films like Infinity War and Ocean's 8 and we've had incredible low budget human stories like Leave No Trace. So which ones were worth the money and time and which ones were just unfortunate releases that benefited in no way; read on to find out!
Number 5 of the Best: Infinity War
I have never made it much of a secret how I feel about the MCU, I have been off and on with how I think the MCU has gone from various highs to pretty deep lows. But man oh man was Infinity War a true breath of fresh air. The culmination of 10 years of ground work, the ultimate finale to the huge setup of multiple characters, plot threads and setbacks. And it felt every bit as intense, epic, heartbreaking and bittersweet as anybody could have hoped for.
The amount of talent, love and work that went into each scene in this movie is wonderful and feels like a true work of comic book fanfare and art. You feel the emotions of these characters, the humor is thankfully very minimal in the second half and left at the wayside once the true stakes of what is happening sets in for the characters.
And Thanos, Josh Brolin brought the Mad Titan to life in a way that I don't think most of anybody expected. Hu humanizes him with subtle shows of physical emotion and grounds him as a serious force and willful being with vocal and expressional emotion. The lines are iconic, the delivery flawless and the payoff is just heart wrenching.
A phenomenal penultimate sendoff to some of the greatest heroes and icons we've ever witnessed.
Number 4 of the Best: Vazante
Not for the faint of heart, the easily turned off or for the easily distracted. Vazante is a dark, grim foreboding tale of humanity, morality and courage in the face of seemingly unforgivable and insurmountable problems.
Focusing on a farm owner who employs the help of slavery while trying to protect his young daughter and wife from the horrors of the world. Vazante is a modern fairy tale rooted in the reality of what makes the world so dark at times and the history of what came before us.
And yet Vazante doesn't punish the viewer, it doesn't treat you as unintelligent or accuse you of being the perpetrator of these heinous acts. It's more a cautionary tale about morality and judgement, rather then a direct condemnation towards any specific ethnicity or personage.
Do yourself a favor and watch it, bring a couple tissues and enjoy the experience.
Number 3 of the Best: Hostiles
One of the most intensely grim, depressing and unflinching looks at the Old West that you will ever see brought to film.
Hostiles has one of the coldest first, middle and third acts of any film that I have personally seen in a long time. while the ending is definitely more of a high note, everything that came before it is steeped in death, setback, loss and depressive PTSD.
This movie is not for the emotionally weak.
Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike, Wes Studi turn in some of the finest performances they've done. Delivering the raw emotion of hate and stubbornness is Bale. The fragility of the human min in the face of horror and the reliance on faith to find solidarity is Pike. And the steadfastness of tradition, the refusal of breaking in the face of death is Studi.
The cinematography is gorgeous, shot primarily on the Arriflex 235 and the Panavision Panaflex Millennium XL2, the scenery just chews up the attention, the filtering is spot on and the usage of grit and dirt and adherence to the time period is commendable.
A truly underappreciated film that should be watched by both casual fans and aficionados.
Number 2 of the Best: The Death of Stalin
A dark satiric look at how the death of the leader of Russia's Soviet Union threw the nation into a state of panic and upheaval.
Led by a fantastic cast of comic masters like Tom Brooke, Paddy Considine, Steve Buscemi, Jason Isaacs and Jeffery Tambor. The comedy is both hard hitting and perfectly delivered. The timing is absolutely on point.
The writing is sharper than a whip crack in the cold air and yet despite all this humor there's this awful feeling of paranoia and dread seeping into every other scene. That old Cold War feeling of a powder keg just waiting to be lit.
Number 1, the best film so far: Leave No Trace
Man... Where to even begin with this movie... I felt everything in this movie, paranoia, sadness, depression, elation, joy, fear... This movie is just so reminiscent of what life is like inside the mind of a familial relationship that it hits home harder than you expect it to.
Leave No Trace focuses on a father tormented by his PTSD and inability to adapt and his young daughter unaware of what life is usually like for most girls her age as her father teaches her how to live off the land and outside of the normal day to day life of society.
It's an engrossing look at how fragile the human mind is, how innocence is never a bad thing to preserve, how humility is just as good as pride and how humans will always learn to adapt.
This movie is best described as beautiful and sad. It tugs at the heartstrings, lifts the spirits and makes you feeling empty long after the credits have ended.
The Absolute Worst of the Worst
Number 5 of the Worst: Venom
Venom... What went wrong man? WE had such a good setup going here... An R-rating, an A-list actor, a solid script writer and a convincing look at the anti hero Venom. So why did we get this... Mess?
Loads of editing errors, clearly cut footage, inconsistent storytelling, technical issues with cameras and audio synching and completely bizarre scenes like that one where Carlton Drake never answers that little girls question just led to this movie making no sense.
The cinematography was all over the place, with entire sceneries being shot entirely in CGI or in really obvious stage sets.
The only saving grace of this movie was Tom hardy's portrayal of Eddie Brock and his dual partner of Venom. But even his committed performance cannot change how amateur the rest of this movie is.
Number 4 the only somewhat worse: Jurassic World II: The Fallen Kingdom
God this movie sucked.
So let's start with the first problem, this movie is nearly a shot for shot remake of The Lost World and the first Jurassic World. Nearly every scene looks like it was ripped straight from the previous movies and made to look just slightly different.
Secondly, the plot makes no sense. Why weren't these animals transported to the other island confirmed to still exist as these are not separate movie universes, and even then why not just ignore the island in general since that other island contains every species as well? Just saying.
thirdly, this movie tries way too hard to be relevant and enjoyable to everybody. Like jokes? There's way too many so you're covered. Love feminist role models? Don't worry we got that too. Love dinosaurs? WE got lots of those. Love environmental patronizing? WE got that too. See the problem? This movie could not pick a damn lane.
Number 3, somehow worse: The First Purge
Ever wondered what kind of movie you would get if Michael Moore decided to direct a horror movie based upon the idea of one single day where crime is legal? Well then you would probably get The First Purge.
This movie relies so heavily on racial pandering and fear mongering it gets nauseating after a little while. African Americans are treated as godlike and infallible, white people are shown as power hungry, racist, misogynistic and murderous assholes. You get the idea. The previous movies toyed with this idea, and if you had kept up with the production of this movie this would not have been a huge surprise.
It's perfectly fine to throw political strife and story in a horror movie or in any movie. But it should either be well done or accurate to compensate for it. This movie does neither and it comes off as hateful, pandering and lost.
Number 2, this is where the fun begins: Mile 22
I desperately wanted to like this movie. I love Peter Berg, love Mark Wahlberg, love Rhonda Rousey and I love the Panavision Millennium DXL footage. But this movie feels like it was edited on cocaine, shot on speed, scripted on LSD and then published by a drunkard.
the editing is sporadic as hell with the exception of the action scenes. Which makes no sense, why are we getting action shots and quick zooms during dialogue scenes. It's just off putting and really confusing.
The shots are all over the place. Some parts being very well crafted and reminiscent of Black Hawk Down and then other parts feel like the Bourne Legacy. Just too inconsistent.
The script is basically atypical warfare nonsense with the profanity of a homeless man. There is an F-bomb roughly every 45 seconds in this movie. It gets really old after a few minutes. And I do love Rousey and Cohan, but god they really do not pull off the military hardass well. Cohan does a better job with it, benefit of being in The Walking Dead but Rousey feels so miscast it blows my mind.
Number 1, the worst of the worst: The Predator
Okay let me just preface this real quick, I understand that this could realistically be claimed as one of the better action movies of this year but let's not kid ourselves. This movie, was absolutely horrendous.
The editing, I know I said this before, but this movie feels like it was edited by a highschooler. Scenes make no cohesive sense, we go from day to night, from one room to another, one facial expression to an instantly different expression.
The story is just absolute trash, somehow some disabled kid learns how to use alien technology. The whole concept of Predators getting trophies by ripping out spines is turned into some dumbass story about how their using our spinal juice to improve themselves (nope not kidding). The main characters being psychopaths feels forced since they do nothing for the longest time. And the Ex Machina's in this movie are so frequent and nonsensical it honestly hurt my damn head.
2018 isn't over just yet, we have some truly awesome looking movies coming out soon like The Mule, Fantastic Beasts, Bohemian Rhapsody, The Frontrunner, Creed II, Anna and the Apocalypse and Aquaman. But so far we've had some rather big duds and some inspiring highs, time will tell if this list gets knocked over by the upcoming competition. Guess we will have to wait and see!