Trying to fall in love with film again.

2018 in Retrospect

Usually, at the end of the year, you see a lot of film reviewers put out their best and worst of the year lists but I'm not doing that with this blog post. This post is more about looking at the movies released in the past year that  I saw and giving a very brief review of each one. We have a lot of movies to get through, so let's begin. (Quick note, I reviewed some of these movies on my YouTube channel but I haven't posted a review on there in months!)

Coco 

Image result for coco posterCoco started out this year right. It was one of my favourite movies last year and definitely one of Pixar's best. Miguel's journey throughout the film is one that we can all relate to and the resolution is absolutely perfect. The animation is stunning and the music is phenomenal. I haven't seen this movie since I saw it the first time (which is a crying shame. I'm going to rectify that as soon as possible) and I still remember all the emotions I felt when I watched it. That film showed me a different side to Mexican culture but it was done in a respectful way. This was definitely one of my favourite movies from last year.




The Disaster Artist

Image result for the disaster artist posterI'm surprised that I liked this movie as much as I did because I couldn't get through 'The Room' (my sister and I watched 5 minutes of it and we stopped due to how utterly unwatchable it is. Maybe I'll review it some day in the distant future). This movie isn't about the making of The Room, it's about Tommy Wiseau and Greg Ststero's friendship and you really feel that through the film. You never feel as though the movie is making fun of Tommy Wiseau who is a pretty odd guy. It embraces the weirdness and at some point, you full go with it and enjoy it for what it is. James Franco did a brilliant job of bringing the relationship between the two men to life.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure

Image result for maze runner the death cure posterI'm not a huge fan of the Maze Runner movies however I was aware of this movie because I had seen its 2 predecessors and my friend Katie had read the books and was invested in the series. I found this movie intriguing, however, I would put it in the forgettable category. I felt like it was meh when I watched it and I feel like that now. The movie did have emotional moments that have stuck with me, but I don't see myself watching the movie again.  

The Greatest Showman

Image result for the greatest showman posterI saw this movie a lot later than everyone else and by the time I did see it, there was a lot of hype surrounding it. This was either going to work in this movie's favour or ruin it for me because all of my friends couldn't stop talking about how good this film was. And they were right, this film is pretty good.  A little on the predictable side but I doubt the writers were trying to go for shock and awe with this one. When I went into this movie, I was expecting a fun circus musical and that is exactly what I got.  I was left with a fun fuzzy feeling after I watched this movie and I still get that feeling when I listen to the soundtrack, which is worth seeing the movie alone. There was controversy surrounding how this film plays hard and fast with the truth about P.T. Barnum and for the most part I understand. However, this movie wasn't going for historical accuracy and I wouldn't hold musical to the standards I would a biopic on P.T Barnum. The Greatest Showman is a fun musical that I would definitely watch again. 


Black Panther

Image result for black panther posterThere was a lot of excitement surrounding this movie and I believe it was strongly deserved. Apart from being a very good movie, Black Panther was a cultural movement. (I'm going to get sentimental for a moment but as an African, seeing a mixture of African cultures being celebrated is somethingth behold even though Wakanda isn't real, the costume design and inspiration had to come from somewhere.) Wakanda was getting the same amount of love and excitement as Hogwarts. This is one of the most rewatchable movies of the year. As of this blog post, I have seen this movie 4 times and I still get excited throughout the film. It a very well-rounded film, the story, acting, direction, casting, score, soundtrack, hair, makeup costume design are all brilliant. The CGI/VFX are a little weak during certain scenes but it's doesn't take you out of the film too much even though I did notice some of the bad CGI.


Red Sparrow

Image result for red sparrow  posterThis easily the most forgettable movie I saw last year. It felt too long and I vividly remember checking my watch multiple times while I watched the movie (not a good sign). There was a pretty convincing twist at the end but the lead up the twist can be very confusing if you weren't paying attention (which was sometimes hard to do because some of the scenes felt like they were dragging.)
Jennifer Lawrence and Joel Edgerton have chemistry and are enjoyable to watch. However, the film as a whole falls a little flat and is quite forgettable.

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Tomb Raider

I was sceptical of this movie from the minute it was announced due to the Video Game Movie Curse, but I can say that this is one of the best video-game movies ever made. (However, that bar is set pretty low so beating it wouldn't be incredibly difficult.) Tomb Raider much like Maze Runner falls into the forgettable category. This is one of those movies you watch when there is nothing else to watch on tv and you stumble across it and watch all the way through. That's not necessarily a bad thing, but it's not a good thing either. Alicia Vikdaner is great ad Lara Croft and the character is written in a way that she feels real unlike Angelina Jolie's that feel more like a movie character. All the other characters are one dimensional and could be replaced with other actors and you wouldn't even notice.



Pacific Rim: Uprising

Image result for pacific rim uprising posterI really like the first Pacific Rim movie, it knows exactly what it wants to be and is the perfect mix of mindless action and sci-fi. This movie, although recognisable by name and lore, doesn't have much else going for it except for its charismatic lead. John Boyega is extremely likeable in this role, however, it does feel like he is playing himself, he adds a charisma that the film is sorely lacking. Without him, the film would be incredibly stale.
The story is very confusing unless you've seen the first film and even at that it took me a few minutes to fully understand what was going on. If you have seen the first film, you'll really miss Idris Elba who gives one of the best motivational speeches in a film since Independence Day. In the two, times I've seen this film I've ended it saying "Meh, it was okay, nothing remarkable."




Ready Player One

I really liked this movie and have since seen it two more times. This is one of those movies that you have to watch multiple times because there are so many references and it's impossible to catch on the first watch. From a critical standpoint, this movie is pretty by-the-numbers. The story is on the predictable side, and where that is something that I deduct points for, I give this film a pass, and I can't tell you why. Is this one of the best films of the year? No. However, I have a real soft spot for this movie. Maybe it's because it was directed by Steven Spielberg or the fact that it was the first review I posted here on the blog. Whatever it might be I really liked Ready Player One. It's one of those movies I would watch when I didn't know what to watch. It's a fun popcorn movie that is pretty rewatchable.
You can read my full review on Ready Player One here.



A Quiet Place 

Image result for a quiet place posterI didn't see this movie in cinemas and I really regret that.  Watching this movie in a situation that forces you to be quiet is the best way to watch it. I wasn't aware of how loud I was being until I saw one of my friends and she asked me why I was whispering.  I was very impressed with John Krasinki's direction especially because he's a first time director. The actors and real chemistry and really felt like a family. Even though we have seen post-apocalyptic movies before, this one is different. The story is highly original, movies rarely hijack your sense the way this one did. I'm super excited for the sequel.



Avengers: Infinity War

Image result for avengers infinity war posterThe first thing I tweeted after I saw this movie was "Avengers: Infinity War isn't a movie, it's an event." And I stand by that statement. This movie had me on the edge of my seat from the beginning until the end. It feels like the climax of the MCU, like watching all these movies (which  I have reviewed here on the blog, click here, here and here) all mean something. It's one of the biggest films ever made and the Russo brothers did an amazing job of bringing all the characters together and giving each one their time to shine. The best word to describe this film is epic It feels grand, from the story to the cast, the VFX and the score. It also has one of the boldest endings in an MCU (you know the one). I was fortunate to see this movie in an IMAX cinema, that was completely full, as the movie went on there was less noise. By the time the film got to the end, the cinema was silent. Everyone was in shock Talking about this film is hard because it's filled to the brim with shocking moments and spoilers (although I'm pretty sure you have seen the film by now). As a huge fan of the MCU, Infinity War was worth the wait


Deadpool 2


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The first Deadpool was one of the most surprising movies I have ever seen. I was familiar with the character but I was very curious as to how he would work on screen but it worked very very well. I loved everything about the movie and have seen multiple times since then. Once the inevitable sequel was announced, I was extremely excited. And I think I got too excited. That's not to say that Deadpool 2 was bad but I didn't enjoy it as much as did the first one. However, one thing that intrigues me about the Deadpool films is their differing themes. The first one is a love story while the second one is a film about a family (X-Force) coming together and for the most part, it actually works, it just didn't strike a chord with me the way the first one did. In all honest,y I have only seen Deadpool 2 once and my opinion of it could change. However, my opinion of it is "Good but not great."


Oceans 8

Image result for oceans 8 posterI went into this pretty cautious because of my attachment to the Oceans movies, starring George Clooney (which is also a reboot) and safe to say that this movie surprised me. I enjoyed this movie (I am a sucker for a good heist movie, but I digress). It had all the elements of a heist movie and they all work together. All 8 women have great

You can read my full review for Ocean's 8 here


Mission Impossible: Fallout

MI – Fallout.jpgIn the last few years, I've developed a soft spot for the Mission Impossible movies They fit into a really nice pocket, where reality is mix with outlandish and at times cartoonish violence. I only started paying attention and looking forward to these movies after I saw Ghost Protocol and I'm glad I did. This is the definition of a perfect summer blockbuster. It action-packed and thrilling, it's also funnier than I thought it would be. The beauty of this film is the fact that you can watch it as a stand-alone movie and you would still enjoy it if you had been watching since the first MI movie. One of the most fascinating things in this movie is Tom Cruise and his apparent disdain for stunt doubles. Watching him do his own stunt like performing a HALO jump to jumping off of roofs (to which he broke his ankle) grounds the movie in reality. The plot of this one is more complex than previous movies making the ending more satisfying. I'm very excited for the next instalment in this franchise.

You can read my full review for Mision Impossible: Fallout here

Mamma Mia: Here We Go Again

Image result for mamma mia here we go again posterThis is another movie I saw late in the year, I bought it on DVD for my mum and we watched it together with my siblings and this movie is really fun. (we have the sing-a-long version) It never tries to be anything more than that. It fits perfectly into the pocket that the Mamma Mia movies have carved out for themselves. They aren't the most logical movies but it is guaranteed to out make you smile at least once. I mean I don't know anyone who doesn't (or at least tolerate) at least one ABBA song. Granted this doesn't feel like a sequel, more like a prequel. The perfect words to describe this movie would be cute and loveable. (Also Cher an Meryl Streep can do no wrong in my eyes )





The Incredibles 2

Samuel L. Jackson, Holly Hunter, Craig T. Nelson, Brad Bird, and Huck Milner in Incredibles 2 (2018)After waiting 14 years or this movie, safe to say that I was very hyped and ti completely lived up to the hype. It picks up where the first one left and doesn't miss a beat. It also doesn't feel as though the sequel was made for the sake of it and that is because Brad bird stated he wouldn't make a sequel unless he had a story lived up to the original, which this one does. It tells a compelling story and expands on what we know of the universe. Having the people who worked on the first one return like original cast, the original production team and the original composer. One thing that differentiates the Incredibles from other superhero movies is the focus on family and in a cinema landscape dominated by comic book movies this one stands out because of that family element. You also see more growth in the characters who feel like real people with real inadequacies rather than super powered being with no cares or issues. I don't know if we will get another Incredibles movies but I would gladly wait another 14 years for it. (In the metaphorical sense of course)

You can read my full review of The Incredibles 2 here

Ant-Man and the Wasp

This was the first MCU movie post Infinity War and I'm happy it was this one. This could easily be the funniest film in the MCU, it made me cry with laughter on more than one occasion.  However it does feel like filler to get us from one MCU film to next, luckily it's good filler. In my original review, I called it Mid-Tier Marvel and that ranking still stands. Where the first Ant-Man is categorised a heist movie this doesn't have that distinction. I was expecting to like this movie and be thoroughly entertained which is what happened. The cast has great chemistry which builds upon the relationships set out in the first one. Paul Rudd is as loveable as ever and can never really do no wrong. the other main and supporting characters give great performances leading to a very well rounded film. It does have some of the best CGI in the MCU due to how much shrinking is going on. It does have a lot of exposition which does tend to get a little grating as the film goes on as I got tired of being told things.

You can read my review of Ant-Man and the Wasp here

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians poster.pngEven though I didn't watch a lot of them this year, this is definitely my favourite rom-com of the year. Regardless of its cultural significance (which I will get to in a second), this is a genuinely good movie, it's funny but also has a lot of heart. It's also very relatable. It also has some of the best cinematography that I have seen this year. I was very close to booking tickets for my mum and I to Singapore (I'm not joking). There is great chemistry amongst the cast and Henry Golding gets a big thumbs up from me,  I can't wait to see what he does next. It also has great comedic performances by Constance Wu and Akwafina. This movie is also a huge step in the right direction in terms of Asian representation. This is the first movie to have an all Asian cast since 1993, and the characters aren't treated like Asian stereotypes, it has more to do with the usual rom-com tropes that we are used to seeing. They are written like real people.

You can read my full review of Crazy Rich Asians here


A Simple Favor

ImageThe simplest way to describe this film is bastsh*t crazy, especially when you get to the third act. And for some reason, it all works. This movie is best taken at face value. If not you'll overthink it and it becomes less fun. There are some similarities to Gone Girl but the two movies are quite different. This feels more like a dark comedy whereas Gone Girls reads more like a thriller. It also leans heavily on aesthetics more so than other films like it. And because of that, it feels less realistic than its counterparts. This movie is a weird one, I wouldn't say run out and go see this movie, however, I think you should see it because it is thoroughly entertaining.

You can read my full review for A Simple Favor here


Bad Times at the El Royale

ImageThis was one of those movies that had me intrigued for multiple reasons, two of which being the cast and the director. A film with Chris Hemsworth, Jeff Bridges, Jon Hamm, Dakota Johnson and Cynthia Erivo, directed by Drew Goddard has to be good right? The answer to that question is yes. This is another movie I would call batsh*t crazy, but I say this as a compliment. I didn't know much going into this movie and it was for the best. It wasn't the movie I thought it was going to be in the best possible way. It leaves you guessing throughout and it a pretty tense watch as you can see the outcome but you're just waiting for it and said outcome appears when you least expect it. It also has quite a bit of dark humour as well as tense scenes which tie into the claustrophobic nature of the film.

You can read my full review for Bad Times at the El Royale here


Venom

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This is another movie I didn't see in the cinema and I'm happy I didn't. I really didn't like this movie and to be honest, it is kind of a mess. In the first 10 minutes of me watching this movie, I had already rolled my eyes. I'm all for adapting the source material but in this case, it doesn't make a lot of sense. The story is one you've heard a million times so it comes across boring. The acting is fine (even though Tom Hardy is overacting at some points), and there isn't a lot of chemistry amongst the cast. The character motivations are also wafer thin, making me less likely to care about them. This movie does have comedic moments that kind of work but they are few and far between. Would I watch this movie again? Probably not. Am I glad I saw it? That is to be determined. For the most part, it was boring and would have been a waste of time if I had gone out to see it.




A Star is Born

A Star is Born.pngI got excited about this movie from the first time I saw the trailer and the closer it got to release, the more traction it gained. By the time I saw it, there was Oscar buzz. And I agree with it. This movie is really good, very surprising given that this is Bradley Cooper's directorial debut. In my original review, I called it authentic and I stick by that. The movie feels very real and that comes down to a story that we are familiar with and very palpable chemistry between Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper. The soundtrack is also where this movie shines. With Lady Gaga involved having a good soundtrack almost seems like a given and this movie makes you forget that someone other than the characters wrote the songs. This movie has solid writing and directing and if you want to feel emotional just wait until the end of the movie.

You can read my full review for A Star is Born here


Widows

Image result for widows posterThis was in my top 5 movies for 2018. This is one of those movies that looks good from every angle. Once I saw the trailer, I knew I had to watch it. A heist movie directed by Steve McQueen with an all-star cast was bound to be good and it was. I couldn't stop talking about this movie for days after I saw it. It has a brilliant story that is grounded in reality that grips you and has you on the edge of your seat. It also has well written, well-rounded characters that live in a moral grey area and because of that, you relate to them. They feel like real people. This movie also has brilliant direction. Steve McQueen was able to show multiple perspectives and have it all tie in without the movie feeling disjointed. All in all this film is 100% worth a watch and a rewatch.

You can read the full review of Widows here



Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Johnny Depp, Jude Law, Dan Fogler, William Nadylam, Alison Sudol, Eddie Redmayne, Katherine Waterston, Claudia Kim, Zoë Kravitz, Ezra Miller, and Callum Turner in Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald (2018)I would call myself a casual Harry Potter fan, but I really liked the first Fantastic Beats movie. I liked it 's similarities to Pokemon in the sense you had to find all the creatures before they wreak havoc. I was also quite excited for the next movie because it was going to properly introduce Grindelwald as well as a young Dumbledore. I'm about to make a paradoxical statement, this movie delivered but it also left me wanting. This movie felt like filler and a bridge from what has come before it and what is to come. With a story that spans 5 movies, this was bound to happen and its better that it happens at the beginning of the franchise rather than the end. The story is the weakest point of the film, even though there is a goal set out, there never feels like there is any actual resolution (it's supposed to carry over to the next few films but it leaves this one feeling incomplete). The movie does have some very complex characters which elevates the movie. Aesthetically, the movie shines as the score is amazing and the visual effects are breathtaking. However, the direction and story leave something to be desired. 

You can read my full review for Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald here

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

ImageThis movie also falls on my favourites list. I loved every single aspect of this movie. I saw it a few weeks ago with my siblings and we've had discussions about this movie almost every day since. I  have since recommended it to every single person I know. The story, voice-acting, the direction is absolutely incredible. It has some of the best animations I have seen in a long time and is probably my favourite animated movie of the year (Interesting how I started and ended the year with some really good animated movies.) This movie is damn near perfect and I urge you to see it if you haven't. I promise that you won't regret it.


You can read the full review of Into the Spider-Verse here





2018 was a pretty good year for movies, especially blockbusters. Even though there were so many movies I didn't see (I will get to them), I was a pretty happy cinemagoer for most of the year. 

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