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.

Avengers: Endgame (2019)

avengers endgameIn the history of cinema, there are movies that have broke the mold. Movies that change the landscape of the business. Examples include The Great Train Robbery (1903), Modern Times (1936), Jaws (1975), Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope (1977), and Iron Man (2008). Don’t get me wrong, there are many others, but the point I’d like to get across is that these films are milestones in history. They are markers to the amazing feats that were once thought impossible in film. This past weekend, audiences witnessed one such film. Avengers: Endgame is a milestone in the history of cinema.

Avengers: Endgame marks the end of the first three phases in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The fourth film to feature a massive cast of superheroes is the culmination of 22 films that span 11 years. It also signifies the end of the story arc of the original cast of Avengers: Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Black Widow, and Hawkeye.
In Avengers: Infinity War (2018), audiences were shocked when evil doer Thanos fulfilled his destiny to collect the six infinity stones and eradicate half of all the living creatures in the universe. Fan favorites Spider-Man, Black Panther, Doctor Strange, and many others were reduced to a pile of dust.

avengers endgame2Now, the remaining Avengers must deal with not only the fallout from half of existence turning to dust, but also the heavy burden of trying to fix what Thanos had done.
Avengers: Endgame is a rather long film. The run time is 182 minutes (3 hours, two minutes). However, the film never feels that long. There wasn’t a moment where I was squirming in my seat, bored, or pulled out of the narrative. For me, the three hours seemed to fly.

Just like Captain America, this film packs quite the punch in the emotional department. Having seen it on opening weekend, the audience clapped and cheered, sniffled and cried at various moments in the film. The film doesn’t just deliver on an emotional level, it delivers in the action department as well. If you thought the fight scenes in Avengers: Infinity War was amazing. Just wait until you watch Endgame.

Another fascinating thing about the film was the story. Don’t worry, I won’t spoil anything here. Having spent an entire year crafting theories and listening to others, I was surprised by what actually transpired over those three magnificent hours.
Having said all of this, there were a few things about the story that I felt could’ve been better or handled a little differently. However, I can’t discuss those things without spoiling the plot. Those few miniscule details don’t change my overall feelings about the film.

Avengers endgame3Having grown up reading Marvel Comics, Avengers: Endgame was the closest to actually recreating one of those epic, universe altering comic book series. The amount of fan service, call backs to past films, and nods to the comic books just shows how much care the directors, screenwriters, and producers took in handling the last 22 films.
If you’re a fan of comic book movies, you’ll thoroughly enjoy Avengers: Endgame. Even if you’re not a comic book/superhero fan, you’ll find something to enjoy while watching this epic.

The film is Rated PG-13 for sequences of sci-fi violence and action, and some language. If you’re wondering whether or not this film would be appropriate to take your children to, then I would suggest that if you’re comfortable letting them watch the other Marvel films then you should be fine.

Us (2019)

When I was younger, I loved the films by M. Night Shyamalan. It was the twist endings that really did it for me. First it was The Sixth Sense(1999), then Unbreakable(2000), and finally Signs(2002). My affection for the director finally began to wane when I watched The Village(2004). It wasn’t that I hated the film, but it was the expectation of the twist. I went into the film looking for it and found it quite easily.

The same can be said with Jordan Peele’ssecond film, Us(2019). Having watched Get Out(2017), I went into this new film expecting and looking for the twist. I didn’t have to look hard for it either and found it rather quickly. Having said that, I found the film enjoyable, thought provoking, and a solid thriller with a side of comedy.

The story of Us begins with an unknown tragedy involving a girl wandering off by herself at a beach in 1986. Flash forward to the present and we find that the girl has grown up and has a family of her own. They are traveling to the same location, Santa Cruz, where that traumatic mystery took place. The family of four is soon assaulted by a doppelganger family. It’s kill or be killed for the family as they try to survive and figure out what provoked this deadly family reunion.

The first thing that convinces me of the quality of the film is the acting. Each actor has a killer clone, meaning that the actor plays two completely different roles, sometimes in the same scene. This onscreen duality is down right creepy. There is a scene where the mother, played by Lupita Nyong’o, has a discussion with her evil twin. Even though the characters share the same face, the voice and mannerisms are completely different. Nothing can be counted against the film where acting is concerned.

The film is listed as a Horror/Thriller. In the Horror department, it gets all the checkmarks. When it comes to a Thriller, that’s where the film falters. I ended up laughing more than I felt suspense or was scared. While laughter is greatly appreciated, and necessary, in a thriller it should only be used after a big scare. As the tension builds, the big scare is the climax of that tension. Afterwards, humor is used to put the audience at ease. Essentially, humor primes the audience to be scared again. In Us, it’s heavily used even during the tension building. The father, played by Winston Duke, is a prime example. Duke plays an excellent typical all-American corny joke spurting father. The problem is that during scenes where he should be scared or fighting for his life, he’s cracking jokes. Instead of the audience feeling dread that the father may die, the audience is laughing at the well written jokes.

Getting into the meat and potatoes of the film, the theme of UsI can’t really give you an accurate evaluation, for two reasons. The first reason is that I don’t want to spoil the film for you. There is more than one twist to this film which are interesting and thought provoking. The second reason being that I would like to view it a second, and possibly a third, time. This is one of those films where you really must be open and mindful throughout the film. Even then, trying to fully understand the meaning behind what Jordan Peele created will most likely take a second viewing.

Even though this film is based around a family, it is certainly not meant to be viewed by a family. The film is rated R for violence, terror, and language. There is only suggestive sexual content, but the film is highly violent with scenes of murder and other violent acts. There is also a high content of profanity. Us is not considered to be family-friendly.

Overall, I thought that Peele’s second entry into the Horror/Thriller genre was a solid one. However, it was plagued with too much humor and a predictable twist. If I had to give some advice to the director, I doubt Jordan Peele will ever read this, I would advise him to be careful to not fall into that trap that Shyamalan fell into where the endings were so predictable that it made the films unenjoyable. Uswon’t be the greatest film of 2019, but I’ll wager that it’ll be in the top twenty. In fact, I’ll put five on it.

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!

2017 Movie Rankings

Starting this year I began writing movie reviews for the newspaper. With the end of the year approaching, I thought I’d take a moment and reflect on the 21 films that I’ve seen that were released this year and rank them. These are my own personal opinions because I’m sure that we all have differing thoughts on what were the best films of the year.

Ranked from best to worst:

Logan

IT

Thor: Ragnarok

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2

Bright

• To the Bone

• Wonder Woman

• Blade Runner 2049

• Star Wars: The Last Jedi

• Spider-Man Homecoming

• War for the Planet of the Apes

• Kong: Skull Island

• The LEGO Batman Movie

• The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

• The Boss Baby

• The Dark Tower

• Power Rangers

• 47 Meters Down

• Life

• Alien: Covenant

• Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

***I wanted to quickly note that I only linked the top five movies to their IMDB page and the others that I discuss below.***

I’ll give a few sentences concerning the top five and why I picked them. Logan was by far my favorite film of the year. The tone and setting of the film really suited the fact that this was going to be Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart’s final time reprising their roles as Wolverine and Professor Xavier. The R rating really allowed the creative team to show that savage animalistic side of Wolverine while allowing the excellent acting by Jackman to show the desperate and nothing left to live for human side of his character. The amazing acting of relatively new actress Dafne Keen, who played Laura, matched the acting prowess of both Jackman and Stewart.

As a Stephen King fan, IT was a film that I felt both eagerness and cautiousness in wanting to see. I wasn’t sure how Bill Skarsgard would compare to Tim Curry’s portrayal of Pennywise the Dancing Clown. I also wasn’t sure about the fact that they were going to split the book into two films with the first being strictly from the children’s side of things. The film exceeded my expectations, however, and I can’t wait to see the second half when it comes out, rumored, in 2019.

The next two on my list were films I really didn’t care if I saw them in theaters or not. Thor: Ragnarok is the third in the Thor series and the first two were not my favorite of Marvel’s films. Again, I was surprised. The creators of the movie took a page from Guardians of the Galaxy and infused the film with humor and action which was something that had been mishandled in the prior Thor films. They also rounded out Thor’s character arch nicely and I’m wondering what will happen to him in Infinity Wars.

Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 I didn’t even see in the theatre. I watched it when it came out on Netflix, but as soon as the opening music started and baby Groot was dancing around as his companions were getting their clocks cleaned, I was hooked and couldn’t keep my eyes away from the screen.

The last one in my Top Five is also from Netflix. In fact, it was never released in theaters and can only be found, currently, on Netflix. That movie stars Will Smith and Joel Edgerton in Bright. The film takes place 2,000 years after a great evil is vanquished. Think Lord of the Rings meets Training Day and this is that film. Edgerton plays the first Orcish officer on the LAPD. Smith is his human partner and they respond to a call that throws them in the middle of something bigger. It’s not a big hit with the critics, but to me it’s something new and different and the creators manage to pull it off in my opinion.

I won’t talk about the middle films much simply because for the most part they were all pretty good. I enjoyed them all. Except the last two.

When a long running franchise decides to explain or try to reinvent their origins it can be a complicated matter that most likely will end up in ruins. Alien: Covenant and Resident Evil: The Final Chapter are perfect examples of this. If you are a fan of the Alien or Resident Evil franchise, I would encourage you to steer clear of these.

2018 is almost here and with it brings many more films. Some of them are sequels to the above mentioned list. Some are brand new ideas or apart of a pre-existing cinematic universe. It will be interesting to find out how well they do.

Do you agree with my ranking? What movies did you enjoy or hate? Let me know by heading over to that contact page.