Review of Joker (2019)

jokerSimply put, Joker is a great film. Better yet, it’s a better comic book adaptation. Even better than all of those things, I dare say it’s the best DC film since The Dark Knight (2008). I’m sorry to have to break it to all two of you that liked Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016), but it’s true. Joker is the equivalent to Marvel’s Rated R film Logan (2017). This is a gritty, dark, disturbing, and wonderful look at one of the most infamous comic book villains.

All DCEU bashing aside, Director Todd Philips was able to reinvent the classic Batman nemesis into something that serves as a cautionary tale, but also creates an interesting character story. As the title suggests, this film centers around the origin of Joker. Audiences watch as the character of Arthur Fleck (Joaquin Phoenix) is slowly degraded and humiliated by society until that smile he tries to keep on his face turns into a snarl.
I say that this is a cautionary tale simply because, unlike most comic book adaptations, this one could actually become reality. Social Services, local government, his family, and the rest of humanity failed Arthur Fleck which turns him into the Joker. Unlike other films in its genre, there isn’t a radioactive spider or magical ring from outer space that creates the protagonist. It’s simply the way Fleck is treated that turns him into the crown prince of crime. The moral of the story is: be kind to your fellow man.

The highlight of the film is the acting performance by Joaquin Phoenix. From the odd dancing and the shots of his gaunt rib cage to the ill sounding laughter, Phoenix will definitely go down as one of the best Jokers in film history. One of the quirks that the character portrays is an uncontrollable laugh that displays itself during moments of intense awkwardness or stress.

joker 3The supporting cast is quite remarkable as well. Robert De Niro plays Murray Franklin, a late-night show host that is the focus of Fleck’s comedic career. Zazie Beetz plays Sophie, Fleck’s love interest. Frances Conroy, who many will remember from American Horror Story, plays Penny Fleck, Arthur’s sickly mother.

The thing that sets Joker apart from the rest of the DC superhero films is that this is a standalone story, not linked to the other films in the DC Extended Universe. Having said that, expect to see a young Bruce Wayne. As stated before, Batman doesn’t appear in the film nor is there a hint of an antagonist other than those that are the target of Joker’s ire.

If you’re a fan of comic book villains, Joker is an interesting origin story that will keep you wondering if you should be rooting for Fleck or hoping the police bring him down before the credits roll. I will caution anyone that wants to go see it, this is a Rated R film for strong bloody violence, disturbing behavior, language, and brief sexual images. This is not a film to take your children to. Don’t think that just because this a character in the Batman universe that this is a safe, child friendly film.

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2018 Movie Recap: The Best

Well, here we are at the end of 2018 and with it we are at the final category for my 2018 Movie Recap. The Best of the best that 2018 had to offer. At least, the best of the thirty or so movies that I watched this year. Sure, there have been others that have slipped my theatrical net, but I’m sure none of those were really worth watching. Examples included that Steve Carell action figure movie and that other one about the Arthurian knight that could talk to the chickens of the sea. 

Did I remember those two right? If not, oh well… Onto the list!

110. Solo: A Star Wars Story

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 70%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 64%

IMDB Score: 7/10

Okay, I know what you all will say when you read this: “Seriously Jim. Solo! Are you even qualified to be writing this?” My response to your questions would be, of course, yes. Yes I am. Furthermore, I would quarrel with you over a cup of coffee anytime you want about this film. This film was fun, action packed, had decent twists and turns, had a stellar cast, and didn’t mess up the lore that was Han Solo. Plus, they even managed to tie in the Clone Wars television show with that awesome cameo at the end. Also, it was way better than The Last Jedi. What more can you all want in a Star Wars anthology film? Oh. You wanted Vader, Obi-Wan, Boba Fett, and Yoda to have their own origin stories? Well, sorry to burst your bubble but the butterfingers over at Disney dropped that ball when they allowed Rian Johnson to destroy everything that made Star Wars great when he was handed the reins to Episode 8. #notmystarwars #makestarwarsgreatagain

29. Christopher Robin

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 71%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 85%

IMDB Score: 7.5/10

This one hurt me right in the feels. Pure and simple. I grew up watching Winnie the Pooh and when they announced that they would be making a live action version I was horrified. I think I’m the only person on the earth that thinks that these live action films are silly. Why in tarnation does Disney take their old animated films and recreate them in live action? Didn’t anyone learn when George Lucas remastered Star Wars for the umpteenth time that sometimes remaking things with better technology just doesn’t work? Well… needless to say that when I sat down in the seat at the theater I was pretty optimistic. Of course, when Pooh realizes that he and the other residents of the Hundred Acre Woods had been “let go” because of “a fish in the sea” I was trying not to sob like a little kid. It doesn’t really let up either. Make sure to take some tissues if you watch this. I encourage you all to watch it.

38. Ant-Man and The Wasp

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 88%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 78%

IMDB Score: 7.5/10

To me, Marvel keeps getting better and better and that includes films like this one. It’s got the right blend of comedy and action that makes watching, and then rewatching, this film so great. If you liked the first one then you’ll love this one too. The film literally gets bigger and better with the addition of a compelling nemesis (sort of a bad girl but not really because lately Marvel does this great job of making you care about the villain), more comedy from the side characters, and an awesome sidekick in the form of the Wasp. Plus, it ties into the Infinity War Snap so that’s cool too.

47. Black Panther

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 97%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 79%

IMDB Score: 7.4/10

If you liked Hamlet and the Lion King then you’ll love this tale of a son having to gain the throne to an African kingdom from an outcast family member. The son will be thought dead after being thrown from a great distance, recover in a land not too far from home, and then come back and fight that family member to the death. Sure, it sounds like a rinse-and-repeat but Black Panther is a really great film. The CGI is pretty good (don’t look too hard at the rhinos), the acting and action are great, and the soundtrack is killer. To me, it wasn’t the best film because I knew going in that he was going to be alive. He was in Infinity War which came out a few months after Black Panther. Really, there wasn’t much threat to the character. However, Marvel was able to make a really great antagonist which seems to be the trend with their films nowadays. 

56. Deadpool 2

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 83%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 7.8/10

Don’t watch this film with your kids, even if your kids are adults. The film isn’t as lewd in terms of sexual jokes, but it’s not to be considered a “family film.” The story is great though and the comedy, while crude, is pretty funny and doesn’t hold back when making fun of Fox or any of the other superheroes in the genre. Ryan Reynolds gives another awesome performance of the “merc with a mouth” as he tries to save a kid from a terminator-like plot. Josh Brolin plays the antagonist, the time traveling Cable who is trying to kill a mutant child who will grow up and kill Cable’s family in the future. You know, that old chestnut.

65. Halloween

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 79%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 73%

IMDB Score: 7/10

Late to the reboot-train comes this newest incarnation in the Halloween Series. Starring Jamie Lee Curtis as the paranoid hermit Laurie who put her life on hold for 30+ because she believed that the psycho granddaddy of the slasher genre might escape the insane asylum he’s been kept in since the first Halloween (yes, they redacted all of the other films thankfully). However, Laurie tried to have a normal life and had a kid played by Judy Greer who, in turn, had a daughter named Allyson. Allyson is our protagonist and the target of Michael Myers. Yes, Laurie was right and Michael did escape and he is as vicious as ever. If you appreciate scenes that aren’t cut at all that manage some amazing stunts then you’ll appreciate when Michael goes “trick-or-treating.” As an old horror fanatic, I simply loved this film. It does suffer from some elements. If you’re a fan that appreciates when a series as convoluted and bloated as this one gets back to basics, then you’ll like this one.

74. Ready Player One

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 72%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 77%

IMDB Score: 7.6/10

First, let me admit one thing about this film: It’s not the best film on this list. However, I’ve seen this film more times than any other film on this entire trilogy of lists. It’s visually amazing. It’s slams you in the face with nostalgia, but does it in a way that’s acceptable. It’s not like the book, but almost as great. Some of the flaws include the main characters. Artemis is supposed to be so self conscious regarding her facial birthmark that she doesn’t want to be seen in public. Parzival is supposed to be overweight and out of shape. Again, this isn’t the book, but even still. Have you ever watched a movie and thought: those actors are waaaaaay too good looking to play that role? 

83. A Quiet Place

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 95%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 83%

IMDB Score: 7.6/10

Can I be honest with you all? I can? Thanks. I went into this film solely because of John Krasinski. I didn’t really know too much about the plot except that they all had to be quiet because aliens were tracking them by sound. The rest of the cast blew me away. You might think that the lack of vocal dialogue would be a deterrent, but it only amplified the film’s other senses. By the end of the film I was both loving it and hating it. But I won’t spoil anything for you all if you haven’t seen it.

I’ll be quiet.

92. Avengers: Infinity War

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 84%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 91%

IMDB Score: 8.5/10

This was tough to admit, but Avengers: Infinity War was not my favorite film of 2018. The culmination of 10 years of storytelling across a crazy amount of films and it comes to this film. Marvel did one heck of a great job making me appreciate and empathize with Thanos, the Mad Titan. At the end of the film, I was laughing and clapping for him while everyone else was weeping and yelling in anguish over the loss of their favorite superheroes. I must have seen this in theaters about four times and I loved every second of it. On that first night, the audience was so amazing. I’ve never experienced such a reaction from an audience. One guy even cried. Like, full man-tears. Even if you don’t like super hero movies, you have to appreciate how the Russo brothers were able to juggle that many characters and still integrate them in such a way that they all seemed important to the core storyline. 

So, we’ve come to the final spot. The cream of the crop, the best of the best, the one true film to rule them all. EXCEPT THERE IS A TIE!!!!

Yes, I watched a film last week that made me rethink my entire list. So here are the two films that tied for the number one spot:

101. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 97%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 94%

IMDB Score: 8.7/10

I watched this and I was truly amazed at the quality and overall story of this animated film. I have to admit, I didn’t like the Miles Morales character when he first appeared in the Ultimate Spider-Man comics. Not because of his skin color, but because they killed off Peter Parker in order to usher Morales into the role of Spider-Man. Why can’t there be two Spider-Men? Over time though, that hurt over the loss of Parker waned and I embraced Morales. Seeing that same plot play out in this film, I wasn’t as hurt by it. The thing that propelled this movie over Infinity War was the unexpectedness of it. Going into Infinity War, I knew the general plot points and where the ending would lead. Having been a comic book reader and knowing there was a part two, it wasn’t hard to predict what was going to happen. In fact, it was a…. snap. With this film, I didn’t have that knowledge. The plot kept twisting and turning and I was thrilled to see that Marvel’s propensity for creating compelling villains transferred over to Sony’s animated universe. You’ll sympathize with Kingpin and why he’s doing what he’s doing. Even the death of the Morales’ Peter Parker is heartfelt. Of course, seeing one of Stan Lee’s final cameos was also gut wrenching. Simply put, go see this film.

111. Won’t You Be My Neighbor

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 99%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 95%

IMDB Score: 8.5/10

Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. You know, it’s a sad thing to think that most children nowadays are going to grow up without Fred Rogers in their lives. Unlike most children’s programs, Fred Rogers wasn’t trying to advertise a product. He wasn’t concerned about toy sales or his sponsors. The only thing he cared about was the children. This documentary portrays the love and caring nature that was Mr. Rogers. The show dealt with tough subjects, but Fred Rogers explained them to children in such a caring and tender way that made it easier to listen to and handle. If you’re looking for trip down memory lane, then take the trolley into the documentary that goes behind the scenes of Mr. Rogers Neighborhood. Just make sure you take a few tissues with you. If you were a fan of the show, you’ll cry somewhere along the journey.

Thank you all for bearing with me as I criticized and ranked the films I saw during 2018. If you disagree with me (I’m sure there are some that do), then let me know in the comments below. If you want, I can make a list of the films I want to see in 2019.

2018 Movie Review: The Mediocre

Welcome back to my 2018 Movie Review. Last week I covered the worst of the movies I watched this year. This week I’m covering the films that I deemed just okay. You know the ones I’m talking about. They’re the ones where you watched them and thought “Well, it could’ve been worse.”

If I had to rank them from one to ten, ten being the best, then these films would rank anywhere from five to seven. If you read last week’s review I stopped at number 22 so I’m starting at 21 and making my way to 11. So here they are, the Mediocre Movies of 2018:

Oh, I should warn that here there be spoilers! Now onto the show.

i think we're alone now21. I Think We’re Alone Now

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 62%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 46%

IMDB Score: 5.6/10

When I purchased this film, I did so primarily because it was a post-apocalyptic film starring Peter Dinklage. The plot of the film is focused on Dinklage who plays a library custodian who is the sole survivor of a city. Apparently, before the beginning, a disease wiped out everyone else. So you know what Dinklage does? He decides that he’s going to clean each individual house, swiping batteries and family photos. What? If it was me, I’d be doing… well… anything other than that. The plot thickens when a strange girl played by Elle Fanning drives into town. The reason why this film is so low on my list is that the end is just so weird and anticlimactic. I understand what they were trying to do, but come on. Another reason why I thought the film was just okay was that they never once played the song, “I Think We’re Alone Now.” What a waste.

the meg20. The Meg

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 45%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 47%

IMDB Score: 5.8/10

Based on the book by Steve Alten, this film is like Jaws but only on steroids. Think like a really roided up great white shark and then add a couple thousand more teeth and you’ve got the monster in this film starring Jason Statham, Bingbing Li, and Rainn Wilson. This film wasn’t great because after Jaws, you really can’t improve on the Shark Attack Genre. There was decent character development, but people only go to these types of films for two reasons. The first reason is they want to see the shark eating people. The second reason is that they want to see the shark eating people. Shark Attack Fans don’t need a fancy plot, character arcs, or an intriguing bad guy that wants to erase half of the universe. Maybe that’s why Sharknado does so well. Sad but true.

overlord19. Overlord

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 82%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 72%

IMDB Score: 7.1/10

Zombies in Nazi Germany. HOW COULD THIS FAIL??? Simple: They’re not really zombies. My expectations going into this film were ruined when I found out that they aren’t going to release zombies onto the battlefield. They’re going to keep them locked up in this underground makeshift German WWII bunker. Sure, the characters were interesting and the battles were pretty action packed, but I really wanted to see zombies marching across Europe munching on the Third Reich’s enemies. Is that too much to ask? Plus, this was basically a rip-off of Captain America’s origin story. Ya, you read that right.

peter rabbit18. Peter Rabbit

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 64%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 57% 

IMDB Score: 6.6/10

I didn’t see this one in theater, I waited until it got to Netflix. My niece and nephews were looking for something to watch and they asked me if I’d seen it yet. I hadn’t so they decided to watch that one. I was pleasantly surprised with the live action version of Peter Rabbit. Sam Neil as Old Man McGregor was really fun and the voice actors I thought were decent. My niece and nephews liked it and I thought it was a rather enjoyable family film about an old man trying to murder and eat these cute and cuddly bunnies but ultimately dies from a heart attack. You know, that old chestnut. 

annihilation17. Annihilation

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 88%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 66%

IMDB Score: 6.9/10

Some of you might be wondering why I’m including these scores and this film is one of the reasons. The difference between the critic score and the audience tells you something. It tells you that the film is visually stunning. It tells you that the acting is pretty decent. It tells you that the overall storytelling is adequate. It also tells you that the plot doesn’t make any dang sense and will have you scratching your head at the end thinking, “What did I just sit through?” If you’ve not seen this film and would like to, I’d give one piece of advice: Don’t get emotionally tied up with the characters. Trust me.

rampage16. Rampage

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 52%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 75%

IMDB Score: 6.2/10

Here’s another scenario where the scores really tell the story. Critics hate movies like this for one reason: it’s a film that only cares about destruction on a massive scale caused by gigantic monsters. And Rampage delivers just like Pizza Hut, on time and full of cheese. Don’t go into this film trying to find an Oscar nomination. You won’t find one. But what you will find is a fun, destructive, arcade game based film. Oh and the Rock’s in this. And Jeffrey Dean Morgan. Need I say more?

venom15. Venom

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 28%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 86%

IMDB Score: 6.9/10

I’m a comic book nerd. More though, I’m a Spider-Man fanatic. I absolutely love that character. When I saw Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, I was heart broken because Topher Grace played Venom and he wasn’t crazy big and bad. Jump to 2018 and I’m watching this film and thinking “Wait, where’s Spider-Man?” Sony has this crazy fascination about not making quality comic book movies. I didn’t like Tom Hardy’s interpretation of Eddie Brock. The movie wasn’t rated R, which I think it should’ve been. By all accounts, Venom needed to be viewed as a bad guy. He bit the heads of policeman. Having said that, at least Sony didn’t portray Venom like they portrayed Electro in that turd in the wind film in the second reboot staring Andrew Garfield. Oh, and why have four symbiotes if you’re just going to kill two of them off camera? C’mon Sony! 

jurassic park fallen kingdom14. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 48%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 51%

IMDB Score: 6.2/10

So originally, I had this film higher on the list, but as I started writing this I came to the realization that it wasn’t as good as I thought. For one, it seemed to erase the cannon of the second and third film. For the third movie that might not have been such a bad thing, but the idea of dinosaurs coming to the mainland it’s an old concept. How can you have Ian Malcolm talking in a senate hearing about the dangers of dinosaurs and not have him talk about the San Diego Incident in the second film? Plus the idea of engineering, breeding, and training Indoraptors to kill rebel insurgents is sooooo cost ineffective. However, the film explored the lore of how Jurassic Park came to be and even introduced the idea of human cloning. Plus, it had that really cool horror scene with the Indoraptor stalking people in the mansion. 

tomb raider13. Tomb Raider

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 50%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 56%

IMDB Score: 6.4/10 

Alicia Vikander was a decent Lara Croft. I think I liked her better than the OG Angelina Jolie. I’m not too sure why the movie was not as well received as it should be, especially in the age of the strong female protagonist. She wasn’t made into a sexual object like in Jolie’s films and she wasn’t a Mary Sue like Rey was made to be in Star Wars. The character had to work to get everything which made for an intriguing film.

the house with a clock in its walls12. The House with a Clock in its Walls

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 66%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 47%

IMDB Score: 6.1/10

I really enjoyed this film. Seeing Jack Black and Cate Blanchett throwing insults back and forth just as much as they flung spells was quite enjoyable. For those that missed this questionable “family” film, Lewis is recently orphaned when his parents die in a tragic accident and he has to live with his uncle who is the family’s black sheep. The uncle, Black, and the next door neighbor, Blanchett, are trying to figure out where a doomsday clock is located in the house that the uncle resides in. Not by a coincidence, the house used to be owned by an evil wizard named Lizard. Now, if this sounds like a film you could show your five and six year olds, I would precede with caution. The film is directed by horror titan Eli Roth and is written by Eric Kripke who wrote the CW’s Supernatural. I think that’s why I didn’t quite like it as much because I took my niece and nephews to see this film because it’s rated PG, but there is necromancy, zombies, and other dark magical stuff. Even though I enjoyed it, I thought that it should have been kicked up to PG-13.

mandy11. Mandy

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 92%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 67%

IMDB Score: 6.7/10

Well here we are at the final film on the Mediocre Movies of 2018. This one was supposed to be on the top films next week, but I watched another film that kicked it down to this level of trash. What film is that? HA! Find out next week. So this film stars Nicholas Cage and his wife is brutally killed by a crazy religious cult that’s led by a cooky singer turned cult leader. Taking place in the early 80’s, Cage must seek vengeance and destroy the cult and the demonic, drug addicted biker gang that protects them. To be fair, it’s not the craziest thing I’ve seen Cage star in. But I also wanted Cage to be a bit more outrageous. He’s actually pretty tame in this one. You would think that Cage’s character would just go off the rails when his wife is killed right in front of him, but he turns into a combination of Jason Bourne and the guy from Taken. I don’t really advocate that you go out and buy this film, but if a friend’s got it and you’re interested then sure, watch it. Just be warned, it’s a crazy film with even crazier cinematography to it. Just warning you all.

Well guys, as we come to the end of the year, I’ve come to realize that I may have wasted hours and hours of my life watching all of these films. The upside to this realization is that if you haven’t seen some of these films, maybe you won’t now that you’ve read this. Next week is the blog I’m excited for. The cream of the crop, the best of the best, and maybe even a few good films.

What made my top films of 2018? What was the best one? Want a few hints?

• You’ll just have to stick around… the neighborhood?

• Ranking these movies was…. a snap?

• When you read this next blog, make sure to find a ….. quiet place…. to read it?

• When you do read this, don’t keep it…. solo…. and make sure to share it?

• If you don’t read it, I’ll just keep…. bugging… you until you do?

• Winnie the Pooh and Deadpool too. (That was a two-for-one pun)

• Maybe when you… trick or treat… next you’ll want to dress up as a… black cat? (Also a two-for-one)

Make sure to stay tuned next week!

2018 Movie Recap: The Worst

It’s been a pretty interesting year for theatre patrons. We’ve seen the return of the Predator and Michael Myers, an actual solid performance from Nicholas Cage, grown men playing tag, nostalgia incarnate, and the decimation of half the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

A good year overall, I’d say.

Originally, I had planned on writing one single article about all the movies I’ve seen that came out this year. Of course, that changed when I sat down and made a list of all of them. Thirty-two movies in total. For clarification’s sake, I’m writing this first installment on Tuesday, Dec. 11 and there a few movies this year I plan on seeing. However, for the purpose of this first section I don’t think those films will pertain to this part of the list.

Since the films I’m talking about are still relatively new, let me warn you: Here there be spoilers!

So without further ado, allow me to present to you my 2018 Movie Rankings from worst to best starting with:

a wrinkle in time32. A Wrinkle In Time

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 42% 

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 28% 

IMDB Score: 4.2/10

The absolute worst film I watched this year. And that’s saying something considering some of the garbage that I sat through this year. One of the reasons why it made the worst of the worst was that I don’t remember really anything about this film. Sure, I know the plot but that’s because I read the book when I was a kid. Going back to the review I wrote after watching the movie, I understood why I can’t remember anything. Nothing in that movie is memorable. The plot dragged on, the characters weren’t that interesting, and the action was nonexistent. Sure, the CGI was amazing but that’s expected from Disney. I also will not tolerate a beloved novel being twisted into this sad excuse of a movie.

slenderman31. Slender Man

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 7% 

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 20%

IMDB Score: 3.2/10

As bad as Slender Man was, at least I remember all the plot points of the film. There were even a few interesting things that were utilized in the film. The problem is that it follows a very generic plot. Stupid teenagers decide to enact an ancient ritual to summon an ancient being that will eventually hunt down and systematically kill or drive crazy each of those teenagers. By the end of the film, you’re rooting for Slender Man to do just that. By the way, if you think thin, faceless, old white dudes that wear business suits are scary then just go walk around Capital Hill. What? Sometimes real life is scarier than the fictional ones we create. Just saying.

patient zero30. Patient Zero

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 17%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 24%

IMDB Score: 4.3/10

Matt Smith. Natalie Dormer. Stanley Tucci. And that fat guy from the Night’s Watch. Oh, and zombies! How could this film be bad right? That was my thought process as I purchased the DVD. Then I watched it. First off, they’re not zombies. They’re infected with a mutated strain of rabies. Ugh. Then Matt Smith can understand and speak with these infected because he got bit and didn’t turn. Okay, that’s a bit interesting. Except that he speaks with an American accent. For those that don’t know, Matt Smith is famous for playing the Doctor in the British TV series Doctor Who. Dormer and the Night’s Watch dude didn’t bother to cover up their accent but through the entire movie I couldn’t get past how amazing Smith’s accent was. And that’s what pulled me out of the movie. Which wasn’t that hard considering the entire premise is rubbish. The last bastions of humanity are trying to find patient zero in an attempt to create a vaccine that would cure the infected. That’s right, you heard me right. They are trying to find 1 person in 7 BILLION. 

small foot29. Smallfoot

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 76%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 66%

IMDB Score: 6.7/10

Now before you all freak out. I understand that this is one of those, “what the heck is he thinking?” type of movies on my list. While this film was funny in parts, I just couldn’t get past the whole “religion is rubbish” message of the film. Being a Christian, this rubs me the wrong way and I just couldn’t look past it. Plus, have you ever really given any thought to why the Bigfoot don’t have a nose?

the possession of hannah grace28. The Possession of Hannah Grace

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 12%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 36%

IMDB Score: 5.1/10

This film had an interesting premise. Disgraced cop comes out of drug rehab and works as an overnight morgue attendant. Add a dead body that is possessed by a demon and you’ve got a potentially awesome psychological and religious film. Except, it was handled extremely poorly. The demon was too overpowered except when the main character was fighting it. There were so many points in it where the main character should have died. The demon is rejuvenating the host body by killing people in the morgue, but doesn’t kill the main character because… she’s the main character.

pacific rim uprising27. Pacific Rim: Uprising

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 44%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 41%

IMDB Score: 5.6/10

I’m getting to point where I don’t really hate the films, but I have to list them as the worst because they are on the bottom third of the list. Big Monsters fighting big robots. The Pacific Rim movies don’t slouch when it comes to that premise. The problem is that the films lack any character development. They don’t even mention the main character from the first one. They have returning characters but none of them talk about the main character from the first. I will applaud the really dark twist at the end that made the film interesting and more enjoyable than the first.

predator26. The Predator

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 33%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 40%

IMDB Score: 5.6/10

I know, I know. If you’re like me, you were waiting for Chris Hansen to rescue everyone and catch those predators. Sadly enough, that’s not what happened. Instead, we got comical mentally-ill war veterans fighting intergalactic hunters. There wasn’t even a reference to the Governator’s character. 2018 was a year of nostalgic reincarnation and this film was one such attempt. Except it failed miserably due to a horrible ending and a weak reason as to why the Predator’s have been hunting our species more frequently. I’ll give you a hint: Global Warming. Yup. 

red sparrow25. Red Sparrow

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 47%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 50%

IMDB Score: 6.6/10

I went to see this film for one reason: Jennifer Lawrence. Say what you want, JLaw is an amazing actress. But not in this film. Her acting is about as cold as the country the film takes place in, the Soviet Union. The plot follows JLaw’s character, a ballerina that can’t dance anymore due to a broken ankle, as she’s forced to serve as a spy. The rest of the plot is pretty predictable.

Tag24. Tag

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 56%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 56%

IMDB Score: 6.6/10

So Tag wasn’t horrible. But it wasn’t great either. The story is based from actual events about grown men playing a single game of tag for thirty years. It’s got a stellar cast and is actually really funny throughout the film. So why is this one so low on the theatrical totem pole? There are unnecessary nuggets of raunchy humor that just shouldn’t be in the film.

the first purge23. The First Purge

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 54%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 29%

IMDB Score: 5.1/10

There are several problems with this film. The first being that the main characters live even after finding out that the government sent mercenaries into the Purge to make it look like more people are being killed in order to have enough conclusive data to support an annual Purge. That’s right. Going into this movie, I fully expected one of those films where you’re rooting for the main characters and it looks like they might survive, but no they’re all killed at the end. Otherwise, the characters would just shed light on the fact that the government is trying to pull the wool over the eyes of the American public. Except they don’t. They live and that’s where the film ends. Which means that they either don’t care about exposing the government, they were assassinated by the government anyway in order to hide the truth, or the American public didn’t care about a few more conspiracy theorists. How do we know this? Because this is a prequel film to a series about an annual Purge. Also, I dislike this movie because when I talk about the First Purge people aren’t sure if I’m talking about the prequel or the first film starring Ethan Hawke.

hereditary22. Hereditary

Rotten Tomato’s Critic Score: 89%

Rotten Tomato’s Audience Score: 62%

IMDB Score: 7.3/10

The last film in my Worst category and you all might be thinking why. It was about a half hour too long. At 127 minutes, there were multiple times in the film where I pulled out my phone to check the time. The acting was great, the special effects were also great, and there were moments where the suspense built up really nicely. However, the filmmakers were trying to cram in a psychological thriller about death in the family with a typical demonic possession film. They took one and a half hours to build and cultivate the relationships of the family members, but the last half hour is where they just tear everything down with the hurried and forcibly awkward and confusing ending where the family is plagued by a cult and the demon they worship. At the end of the film you’re left yawning and scratching your head in confusion.

Well, that was quite the trek down the trash heap of my time in 2018. Do you guys agree with my list so far or do you think I’m wrong? Let me know in the comments! 

Join me next week when I count down the mediocre films of 2018!

Most Anticipated Movies for 2018 (part 1)

With 2017 behind us and all of 2018 in front, I’m going to be giving a top 12 movies I am excited for this half of the new year. I will not be listing this from most excited to least excited. I’m picking two movies from each month (winner and runner-up) and explaining the reason why I’m excited for them. All film release dates are subject to change.

January

Winner: Day of the Dead: Bloodline
dotd bloodlinesThe zombie genre is a dying genre, pun intended. With The Walking Dead starting to wane and the death of George A. Romero, created of the modern day zombie, in 2017 it looks like this would be an appropriate stopping point for the genre. Of course, zombies being what they are, maybe this will actually be where they crawl back from the point of death and start it’s comeback?
From the trailer, it looks like a really bad remake of the original Day of the Dead (1985). It has to be better than the second attempt to remake this film, Day of the Dead (2008). And wouldn’t it be really great to have an actual good zombie flick to start off the new year? (Yes, this is a dig at Resident Evil: The Final Chapter serving as a crappy start to 2017.) DotD: Bloodline comes out Jan. 5.

Runner-Up: Insidious: The Last Key
Honest time, I haven’y seen the sequel films past Insidious 2. The reason why I listed this film is because I absolutely love this franchise and I also liked the character Dr. Elise Rainier, parapsychologist and her two bumbling and quirky minions. I might have to catch up with the other films before watching this one. The Last Key also comes out Jan. 5.

February 

Winner: Annihilation

annilation

Natalie Portman in Annihilation.

There are multiple reasons why I’ll probably be in a line at my local theater on Feb. 23 when Annihilation comes out. Those reasons include Natalie Portman, Oscar Isaac, Jennifer Jason Leigh, and that mysterious plot. For those of you that don’t know, Annihilation follows Portman’s character as she enters an environmental disaster zone in order to find her missing husband, Isaac.

Runner-Up: Black Panther
I’m not really psyched for Black Panther and I’m not sure why. The trailer looked so awesome, the action looks great, there’s some really impressive actors in the film. For all intents and purposes, this should be a film that I would be dying to see. In the end though, it’s just another Marvel superhero film and I think I’ve become a bit jaded by the genre at long last. As I say that, I will always go see Marvel films in theaters because I absolutely love the genre. Unless they change the formula though, they won’t make me eager to see them anymore.
Black Panther comes out Feb. 16.

March

Winner: Ready Player One
ready player oneOh my gosh guys. I’ve just started reading the book written by Ernest Cline, the book that the movie is based from. It has so many pop culture references and the movie follows suit. Once this film comes out there will be a plethora of YouTube videos dedicated to pointing out all the Easter eggs. Ironically, that’s the whole point of the storyline in the film. The film follows the users of a virtual reality world called OASIS as they try and find the ultimate Easter egg. This comes out March 30.

Runner-Up: Tomb Raider
Most of the people my age shouldn’t have to ask what the premise of this film is. We’ve grown up playing the video game franchise and watching the films with Angelina Jolie. If you’ve never heard of Tomb Raider before, just think a rich female version of Indiana Jones.
The reason that this film, which comes out March 16, excites me centers around two actors: Alicia Vikander and Walton Goggins. Goggins is great at playing the villain. Vikander looks the part as Lara Croft and has played in multiple roles including The Man from U.N.C.L.E. and Jason Bourne.

April

Winner: Rampage
rampageThis may seem like just another monster trashing a city movie, but for those that used to spend hours playing the video game, Rampage, this is a nostalgic must see film. Some might say they will want to see this film because of the star studded cast featuring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Joe Manganiello, and Malin Akerman I’ll be going to see all the destruction that the humongous gorilla, crocidile, and wolf will cause. Destruction starts July 15.

Runner-Up: The New Mutants
With Disney purchasing 20th Century Fox, it will be interesting to see whether this film will be integrated into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). This new entry into the X-Men mythos centers on five young mutants as they discover their newfound abilities while held in a secret facility against their will. They must fight to escape their past sins and save themselves. The New Mutants show themselves April 13.

May

Winner: Avengers: Infinity War
avengers infinity warOk, I know what I said about the superhero genre when I talked about Black Panther. This is different though. The lives of all Phase 1 MCU characters are at stake. Many will survive, but a few key staples of the cinematic universe could be killed including Iron Man and Captain America. Plus this film pulls together decades of build up as Thanos comes to collect the pieces of the Infinity Gauntlet. It also has the biggest cast in all of MCU history. This could be the biggest and most impressive film in the MCU and that’s why I’m excited for this one. I’ll be in line May 4 to watch this film.

Runner-Up: Solo: A Star Wars Story
So, I’m not really excited for this film. I think that this film is one that doesn’t necessarily need to be told. Rogue One was an interesting tale that told us about how the Death Star plans were given to the Rebel Alliance. What will this new anthology film explain? My guess is whether the Millennium Falcon actually completed the Kessel Run in 14 or 12 parsecs. I guess we’ll find out for sure on May 25.

June

Winner: Deadpool 2 (No official title yet)
deadpool2The first one was vulgar, hands down. It was also one of those films where parents took their kids to see because they all thought that it was a comic book film and comic book films were never that vulgar. When I went to see it in theaters there were some parents like that. So know this, if you want to see the film, this will be almost as vulgar, or more vulgar than, the first. The thing that I liked about the first Deadpool film was the humor and the fourth wall breaking. It was absolutely 100% true to the comic books and I respected it for that fact. It will also be interesting to see if Disney (now that they have purchased 20th Century Fox) has any say about toning down the vulgarity. This will supposidly come out June 1.

Runner-Up: Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom
The month of sequels it seems. June 22 shows the release of this new film into the Jurassic Park franchise. The trailer shows Chris Pratt’s character getting convinced to go back to Isla Nublar to rescue his pet Blue, the Velociraptor and all the rest of the dinosaurs on the island from the volcano that’s apparently erupting, triggering another (be it) smaller extinction. First off, I wouldn’t care about Blue anymore because it’s a VELOCIRAPTOR AND WILL EAT MY FACE FROM MY BODY!

Whew, that was a lot of linking, media adding, and trying to figure out my battle plan as far as movie watching for the first half of the year. I can’t really list too many of the films that come out July to the rest of the year because there may be some films that are announced to release after this post. In June, I’ll list the rest of the movies for the year. Agree or disagree with me? Let me know in the comments below about what your must see 2018 films will be.