Monday, December 31, 2018

Some of the best and worst movies of 2018

It's been a busy couple of weeks. I just got done watching and reviewing Aquaman and Bumblebee. Both were added to the list of new movies I saw this year.

That list is compiled and ranked (worst to best) below.

It was an interesting year. There weren't that many superhero movies --- typically a main focus of my blogs --- and certainly there weren't that many good superhero movies.

The Christmas Chronicles

Worst movie of the year, by far.  If Netflix hopes to compete with the major movie studios, they need to step up their game.  This was no Christmas classic.

I thought Kurt Russell would've been a good Santa Claus, but the character was too out there.  The sheer stupidity of the other people in the movie (who saw flying reindeer and still didn't believe that Kurt Russell was Santa) was too much to overlook.

The musical number in the jail cell?  A hot steaming mess.  Maybe not even a hot mess.  Just a hot pile of dog crap.

The elves that looked more like little demons than elves?  Nah, I'll pass on that too.

It might be OK for young children who don't notice bad acting and can't tell the difference between a good story and a crappy one, but for anyone who has grown past that point?  Avoid this at all costs.

If you're drunk and want a good laugh with some buddies, maybe watch it for a bit.  It's almost hilariously awful.

Read my full review HERE


I've seen people actually defend this movie online.  It's ranked something like #47 on the year's worst movies.  47?  47?!  That's being very generous.  It's the season of giving, by my generosity stops when a giant gorilla is making penis jokes via sign language.

The Rock has a lot of good movies that cemented his status as a Hollywood heavyweight, but this script that involves a giant alligator, a giant wolf and a giant gorilla should've been an indicator that this might not be the best movie.

These movies that are so out there are hit or miss.  It's like all those young adult futuristic / post-apocalyptic novels that are turned into movies.  The movie studio executives seem to think they'll be massive hits, but they end of flopping and costing the studios millions on production.

In The Rock's defense, reading this script, he could've thought, 'This could be the next Jurassic Park.'  It's hard to tell by reading a script.  The trailer was a clear indication that this wasn't the next Jurassic Park.  Nowhere close.

The Rock deserves a Razzie for this one.

Read my full review HERE

Life of the Party

Unfortunately this one was a disappointment.  It didn't have an absurd plot like Rampage did.  It actually seemed like it could be good.

The idea of a middle-aged mom going back to college at the same time as her young daughter seemed like an easy enough comedy to make.

But somehow the characters in this movie never really got off the ground and there was too much focus on Melissa McCarthy's character 'evolving' rather than utilizing what should have been easy situational and fish-out-of-water comedy bits.

There were a few chuckles with this movie, but nothing really worthwhile.  It's one to probably even avoid on Redbox or Netflix unless you're really out of choices.

Read my full review HERE

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

I wasn't terribly impressed with Bryce Dallas Howard's acting ability in Jurassic World, but outside of that minor complaint the movie was good.  A nice restart for the franchise, even if it was just a bigger and badder remake of Jurassic Park.

The sequel to Jurassic World?  Blagh.  Jurassic World left us with Owen (Chris Pratt) and Claire (Howard) kissing, obviously on good terms.  This movie picked up after an apparent break-up and didn't feature the two solid teen actors from Jurassic World.  Instead, it featured a cloned child whose character isn't endearing, a dying billionaire and had three villains!

The basic plot is that a rich someone (can't remember his name, honestly and it's not worth looking up) hires Claire and Owen to go to the island where the dinosaurs live because the volcano there is about to explode.  Owen and Claire foolishly think they're trying to save the dinosaurs, but find out quickly that the tactical team they are there with is only there to keep the dinosaurs for their DNA.

They plan to sell the dinosaurs on the black market at the mansion that is owned by Mr. rich someone.

Let's forget the fact that dozens of governments have satellites floating around in space that would notice a bunch of dinosaurs being hauled off on ships to a private mansion in the United States.

Anyway, clone girl ends up releasing the dinosaurs into the world (because that's a good idea?!?) and Claire and Owen drive off into the sunset.

Meanwhile a T-Rex is roaring menacingly at a lion that's minding his own business on a rock in a zoo.  This movie is a perfect example of stupid humans who will be their own demise.

Read my full review HERE

Game Night

This is a bit of a dark comedy.  Not entirely bad.  Not great though.  It was filled with a pretty impressive cast and everyone was believable in their parts.

Jason Bateman is one I'm not always a fan of because he seems to play the same character in a lot of his movies.  Always the same look.  Always the same tone of voice.  Always the same sarcasm in

He’s like the female Diane Keaton.  An actor is supposed to change things up.  Bateman was fine in this role though.

Game Night seemed like one if those action adventure comedies that you need to give a little leeway to. Kind of like Spy.

It started off somewhat believable but then took two or more turns to the absurd about halfway through.

The realism went out the window when Jason Bateman’s character got shot.

Funny enough, but not a comedy that was realistic in any way.

There was a bit of a surprise ending.  It's a decent Redbox rental, but not a classic you'll be wanting to rewatch 5 years from now and then again in 10 years.

Tomb Raider

Alicia Vikander made a nice Tomb Raider.  There were even a couple of really cool action scenes (a bicycle chase in London and a harbor fight in China)!

Unfortunately, the movie kind of floundered.  It tried to accomplish a lot, setting up how Lara Croft became the Tomb Raider, how her father died and her efforts to stop death if the villain gets into the ancient tomb he wants to get into.

Oh yeah, it also set up room for a sequel.  It's not bad, per se.  It was just a lot to take in.  Other movies have been just as jam-packed, but the writing was better and the movies were more memorable than this one.

I think they were a little too ambitious here and should've maybe stuck to the basics, focusing on telling a compelling story instead of trying to fit so much into this movie.

Read my full-length review HERE

Christopher Robin

I was never a big Winnie the Pooh fan.  It was okay, but I was a little too old for The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh by the time I saw reruns of it on TV.

Still, I liked the idea of an older Christopher Robin reconnecting with his Hundred Acre Wood pals.

The plot was pretty much that.  A disgruntled Christopher Robin is having problems with his family and at work.  Pooh comes back into his life and helps Robin refocus his priorities.  I'd feel bad about spoiling anything for you, but it was so blatantly obvious what the plot was that there weren't really any surprises in the movie.

Despite the happy ending, this wasn't necessarily the feel-good movie.

There were a few issues I had with the movie.  Pooh, Tiger, Piglet, etc., etc. were all a strange mix between animation and live action.  They looked very dirty.  They were in a post-World War II England, but they looked like they were from the dirty 30's instead.

I think more of a vibrant feel would've helped the movie.  I was really glad to hear the original Winnie the Pooh and Tiger voices --- or at least very close if they weren't the originals.


This was an interesting movie.  I thought the premise was different.  Based on a true story, a young woman who apparently doesn't know much about sailing finds herself stranded on a storm-ravaged boat in the middle of the ocean.

Her boyfriend, the sailor, is injured and she has to rely on her own smarts to survive.

There's a surprise ending (though I kind of expected it as it got closer to the end of the movie).

It was OK, but my big complaint about the movie is that it doesn't entirely make sense and left a couple of unanswered questions.  I guess the answer is that there maybe isn't an answer and it's one of those things that's just left up to faith.

The movie is a bit slow-moving, but it's a drama, so that is expected.

It's not a superhero movie or an action flick or a comedy with gut-busting laughter.  It's shot well and the acting is good.  I don't know what the critics thought about it, but I'm a little surprised there's not more talk about it going into award season.

It seems like a movie the Academy would be behind.

Deadpool 2

I was disappointed in Deadpool 2.  I was looking forward to it, too!  I thought the Celine Dion song and music video was genius.

The fact that there's an abridged Deadpool that kids can go see is also genius.

My first complaint is that Josh Brolin played cable.  There were at least a handful of other actors who could've done a good job portraying that character.  I don't think Brolin played the character well and I don't think the character's story in the movie was told very well.

He was more of a third-rate character while the focus was primarily on Deadpool and the teenage mutant he was busy saving / fighting with / bonding with.

I think Cable should've been a much bigger focus in this movie.  The final scene ran a little long, too.

Outside of that, it was a good movie.  Domino was great.  Reynolds returning to play Deadpool was awesome and we saw a better version of the Juggernaut than we've seen in other X-Men movies.

Looking back now, I may have been a little harsh with my rating, but it's mostly because I was looking forward to this Deadpool and Cable just didn't live up to my expectations.

Ocean's 8

They made a female Ghostbusters. Why not a female Ocean's 8? This movie didn't receive the backlash that the Ghostbusters movie received. I watched Ghostbusters and it wasn't a bad movie.

I'm not sure why it had to be all female. Why not mix the genders a bit? It seems that the recent push for female empowerment has forced certain aspects of pop culture (like World Wrestling Entertainment and the movie industry) into gender segregation.

In what world is it better to have females only interact with females and males only interact with other males?

I know that's not the message they're trying to send, but I think that's what some people are taking away from some of these remakes.

In the late '90s, Chyna was mixing it up with men in the wrestling ring. Ashley Judd was portraying a strong female lead in Double Jeopardy alongside Tommy Lee Jones. Lindsay Lohan was tricking her parents into rekindling their romance in a Parent Trap remake. Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman were leading a movie as witches in Practical Magic.

The idea that there has to be a movie showcasing a strictly female cast in order to show how strong women are seems a little off to me.

While I understand that people want to change the fact that Ocean's 11 consisted of mostly male actors and the original Ghostbusters consisted of a team of 4 males, I don't think remakes are the way to go. Come up with a new story, instead of recreating history. Pave a new path instead of having sloppy seconds.

Take a look at Okoye (from The Black Panther) if you want to see a strong female done right. Granted, Okoye's name wasn't included the movie title, but these Ghostbusters and Ocean's 8 remakes are simply part of franchises that were already established.

They're just riding the coattails of previously established franchises.

Anyway, I was happy to find out that this wasn't a remake and wasn't a prequel.  It's actually a sequel to the Ocean's trilogy that starred George Clooney as Danny Ocean.

Sandra Bullock plays Debbie Ocean, Danny's sister.

Her reasoning for an all-female team was a little weak ('women are overlooked and therefore blend in better') but it's a good cast so I accepted that reasoning and moved on.

This heist movie isn't filled with fight scenes.  I don't know that it had any physical scenes like that actually.  No gunfire that I can recall.  It was mostly an explanation of an elaborate plot that Debbie Ocean schemed up while she was sitting in a jail cell.

Some of the things that worked out perfectly ended up working out a little too perfectly.  Someone, even a mastermind, wouldn't have been able to plan such a heist from a jail cell because you need access to the perimeter of the building to plan it out properly.

You need some inside knowledge of fashion and Hollywood, since this movie involves Hollywood actress Daphne Kluger (Anne Hathaway).

Also, where is Ocean's parole officer?  He/she just doesn't notice that Ocean hasn't checked in for a week?  There's no job lined up for Ocean after she is released from jail?  She's not required to show that she made attempts to get hired at a legitimate business?

If you take it for what it is --- a fun, easy heist movie -- then you won't be disappointed.  Plus, the cast is fun and they work well together.

If you start looking for plot holes, then you'll probably find them.

The Spy Who Dumped Me

This one surprised me.  I saw a quick trailer of it and though, 'Hmm ... that could be decent.'  I was going to see it in the theater at one point later this summer, but realized it had already been pulled.  It may be more of a bomb at the box office than a success, but the movie itself wasn't too bad.

I enjoyed the chemistry that Mila Kunis and Kate McKinnon shared.  Their male co-stars --- Sam Heughan and Justin Theroux were also entertaining in their roles.  Ivanna Sakhno played a great villain.  Talk about a visually stunning woman!  She has this exotic face that could be a villainess in a variety of movies.

The plot was decent enough and had a twist and turn or two.  There was one point in the movie where I legitimately wasn't sure who the villain was.

There are some over-the-top moments as well, but they kept this movie mostly within the realm of possibility, which I appreciated.

I bought it on DVD on Black Friday since it was just a couple of dollars.  I enjoyed it well enough and will watch it again at some point.  It's not an all-time spy movie comedy classic, but it's a good movie.


Good for Sony!  They made some money with this movie.  Some surprising money.  In early 2018, when it was revealed that they were still filming scenes, I, along with a lot of others, doubted the quality of this movie.

How could they get the post-production done in time to make this a good movie?

Somehow, they did it.  Tom Hardy being cast as Venom was the move that saved this movie in my opinion.  He's a respected actor.  He's jumped into the superhero genre before.  He just fit the role of Eddie Brock very well.

This was no Topher Grace casting situation here.  Hardy made Venom his character and could run with it for additional movies.  I haven't kept track of the latest talks about a Venom 2, but I wouldn't be surprised if it happened.

While this isn't a groundbreaking superhero movie in a cultural aspect or cinematic greatness, it's a fun superhero movie that told a realistic story in a extraordinary setting where alien symbiotes exist.

Read my original review HERE

Mission: Impossible, Fallout

Admittedly, I'm not the biggest Tom Cruise fan, but I didn't mind this movie one bit.  I'd seen a couple of Mission: Impossible movies, but they weren't in order and I didn't see the first one or the second one (I can't remember which).

This movie was action-packed!  There were definitely moments that weren't too realistic, but the movie had you on the edge of your seat, regardless.

I have to hand it to Cruise, too.  I'm not sure if it was a stunt double, but there were definitely a few parts of the movie where he was running at full speed.  Not bad for someone his age.

I think what I liked about this movie is that it was more of ensemble cast.  The focus wasn't just on Cruise's character.  The addition of Henry Cavill as August Walker from the C.I.A. really helped the movie.

The plot, while a little over-the-top, made sense.  Not a bad movie at all.

The Incredibles 2

I saw The Incredibles and I thought it was a good movie, but I wasn't a massive fan the way a lot of others were.  It was a good movie, for sure.  I wasn't eagerly waiting for the second installment though.

This movie was similar to the first one.  It was a solid movie, as most Disney Pixar movies are.  The voice work was great.  The animation was top notch.  The story was good enough.  It wasn't anything that unexpected, but there were a lot of comedy spots.

The interaction between the different characters made the movie fun and provided some memorable moments.

It was obvious who the villain was and what was going to happen.  There's planting some seeds with a little foreshadowing and then there's hitting you over the head and slapping you in the face with it.

I mean, there were realistic looking guns in this movie and a death due to a shooting, so this wasn't exactly a full-on family-friendly movie.  If it were just for kids, I'd understand the blatant foreshadowing, but it's a movie for adults too, right?

I feel like they could've done a better job at covering up who the villain was.  Outside of that, it was a good movie.  Like I said before, these Disney Pixar movies don't really disappoint.

You know what you're getting when you go to see them and they always deliver what you expect to get.

The Predator

I've seen about half of the Predator movies.  I saw part of Predator, didn't see Predator 2, saw all of Predators, loved Alien vs. Predator, was not a fan of Alien vs. Predator: Requiem and, now, I've seen The Predator.

I liked Predators but this one was much better.  It had an interesting premise, with us getting to see Predator vs. Super Predator at one point in the movie.  It told a clear story, which is always appreciated.

This is what you'd expect.  There's some good action scenes.  The special effects are acceptable.  If you like the franchise and sci-fi movies, or alien movies in general, then you'll like this one.

There's a decent mix of new characters.  Olivia Munn, as Dr. Casey Bracket, showed more personality here than she did in X-Men: Apocalypse, that's for sure.  Thomas Jane plays a Marine vet who suffers from PTSD.

I've never heard of lead actor Boyd Holbrook but he was very believable as a highly-trained government assassin.  Keegan-Michael Key was the weak link of the cast.  Apparently he's a comedian, so I can see why he struggled with a more serious role ... even if the 'serious' role was in a sci-fi movie.

There's a child actor in this movie and he's pretty good.  The villain in this movie is very believable too.  Overall, I was impressed.

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Can the Star Wars franchise come back after the very dividing Last Jedi? This was the first test and it was a box office flop. Then again, whose bright idea was it to try to find a younger version of one of the most iconic actors of all time?

Anyone who has to be a young Harrison Ford is at a disadvantage. Alden Ehrenreich is no Harrison Ford and he shouldn't have been put into that position.

There were other ways to continue on down the road with the Millenium Falcon.  Maybe Ehrenreich's character has the backstory he had in Solo, but instead of being Han Solo, he's his own character. He runs into Lando Calrissian's son (played by Donald Glover) and you continue on from there.

They could've even found a female from Chewbacca's species and made her the sidekick.

Anyway, if you forgot the fact that Ehrenreich is supposed to be Han Solo, it's actually a really good movie. If you can't overlook that, then you'd be wise to pass on this movie (if you haven't already).

Ant-Man and The Wasp

I spoke a little about female empowerment above. This movie certainly plays into that concept. Despite the fact that The Black Widow has been a prominent character in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since Iron Man 2 (8 years ago), she still doesn't have a solo movie. This movie, featuring The Wasp, was actually the first Marvel movie to feature a female superhero character in the title.

That's a pretty cool achievement for actress Evangeline Lilly to hang her hat on.

Lilly and Paul Rudd make a great duo in this movie. They've got good chemistry. They don't take themselves too seriously and they bring a brand of comedy and action that only Ant-Man can. After appearing in three movies now, Ant-Man has established himself as a big part of the MCU. I've got to think we'll see a third Ant-Man movie (with The Wasp, of course).

We'll see what happens in The Avengers 4, but I certainly hope there's more of this dynamic crime fighting duo in the years to come.

Read my original review HERE


If you would've told me last year that I would be ranking Bumblebee up there with The Black Panther and Aquaman, I'd call you crazy.

Somehow they did it though.  They made a prequel Transformers movie after the franchise jumped the shark and it ended up being as good as the original Transformers (maybe better in some ways).

This was a great mix of storytelling of several characters and superhero action.  It's not just a bunch of explosions that became the Transformers movie trademark thanks to Michael Bay.  There's a good and multi-layered plot, very good acting and some good action scenes.

The only bad part was John Cena's somewhat lackluster acting.  He certainly didn't ruin the movie, but it could've been better had they found a better actor for the part.

This movie left me hoping for a sequel.

Read my full review HERE

The Black Panther

It's hard to believe it was just 10 months ago that The Black Panther hit the theaters. It was so widely anticipated and made such a big cultural impact that it almost seems like longer than 10 months ago that the movie was released.

It was a clear home run for Marvel and Disney.

While I certainly respect the fact that it was more than a superhero movie due to breaking ground when it comes to black people starring in a major action movie, the movie did have a couple of small issues.

It's not a 5 star movie, but it's very close!  Any minor issues can be overlooked because it was a great story with dynamic characters, it featured some fun battle scenes (on the top of a waterfall!) and it brought some futuristic technology to a country in Africa called Wakanda.

Read my full review HERE


Man, was I hoping this would be good and it was!  I really want the DC movie universe to keep expanding.  Thankfully, this was another step in the right direction after a somewhat rocky start to their attempts to recreate Marvel's success at the box office.

They've got big money in Gal Gadot as Wonder Woman, Henry Cavill as Superman and Jason Momoa as Aquaman!  Accept it, embrace it, sign them to good deals and make money (and hope they all stay healthy for several more years).

This first Aquaman movie was a background story, but it's a little different because it wasn't a prequel.  Many superhero movies tell the first story by setting it in a different time period.  This was current day.

They did a great job of mixing flashback scenes (that gave us more of an understanding of Aquaman's character) with contemporary fight scenes in the fun world beneath the ocean's surface.

Like I said in my original review just a week ago, this was an exciting mix of Lord of the Rings and Star Wars with Avatar visuals, telling the story of an underwater Thor.

I thought Wakanda was the most interesting place we'd travel to this year, but Aquaman even edged that out by a little bit, taking us to several underwater kingdoms that were all very exciting.

Read my full review HERE

The Avengers: Infinity War

What other movie could possibly be better than this one? It was a movie that was legitimately 10 years in the making.

Now, it could've fallen flat, but it didn't. It wasn't a Star Wars: The Last Jedi situation. It lived up to the hype!

This was a great movie with a complex plot that didn't leave fans disappointed. Fans may nitpick about this or that, but I haven't heard anything but overwhelmingly positive reviews of this movie.

Thanos was a complicated villain.  It's good that his story is being split into two parts.  This doesn't feel like a Lord of the Rings or Hobbit continuation, but I suppose it is.  Each Marvel movie, at this point, kind of continues telling the overall big-picture story -- even if it focuses on an individual superhero.

DC is doing a good job at catching up, but Marvel has a huge head start.  I'm not sure how long Marvel will be able to stay on top, but it'll be a long while if they keep putting out awesome movies like this.

Read my full review HERE

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