Movies always seem to be the last thing I write about at the end of the year. I’m not sure why – maybe it’s because I don’t enjoy them as much as I do other forms of entertainment? My movie watching also slowed this year; Adam moved on from reviewing movies at the Southside Times and since we were no longer getting to see them for free, we’ve barely gone to the theater the last few months.
But I do have a few favorites from 2018 that I thought I would share and since it doesn’t look like I’m going to make it to see Mary Poppins Returns before the year is over, I decided it was time to sit down and write this thing.
Dominika Egorova, played by Jennifer Lawrence, is a famous Russian ballerina. But when an injury ends her career, she turns to espionage for the Russian government in order to support her sick mother who has no means of working. She’s sent to a special school for training, unleashed on a target and stumbles upon an American CIA operative in the process.
You can tell that the studio was hoping this one would jump start a new female Bond type franchise, but bad reviews and a poor performance at the box office, despite Jennifer Lawrence starring, sunk that ship. However, I enjoyed it quite a bit even if the critics didn’t.
A Quiet Place
Emily Blunt and John Krasinski team up for the first time in this apocalyptic thriller about a family trying to survive in a world where any sort of sound brings monsters rushing down upon them.
Even though there’s very little dialog, that does not detract from the suspenseful plot and there are a couple of real edge of your seat scenes in the film. Blunt is great as always and Krasinksi, who also wrote the film, shows he can play other characters besides The Office’s Jim Halpert. A sequel is in the works, although it would have been just fine as a stand alone film.
In this origin story, we meet Black Panther and discover how the superhero legend came to be. Following the death of his father, T’Challa assumes his rightful spot as leader of Wakanda. But elsewhere in the world, someone is stealing Wakandan artifacts from a museum, forcing T’Challa and his squad of badass ladies to hunt the thieves down. In the process, they discover T’Challa may have a challenger to the Wakanda throne.
Everything about Black Panther is awesome – the story, the leading ladies and Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa. I had zero expectations for this one and enjoyed it so much that I’ve watched it multiple times in less than a year. Looking forward to the continued story as Marvel enters their next phase of the cinematic universe.
Avengers: Infinity War
When we last saw them, not much was left of the group – Captain America seemingly gave up his shield, Haweye is MIA and Tony Stark is in charge of what’s left of the Avengers. But in Infinity War, everyone including Doctor Strange, Black Panther and Guardians of the Galaxy are teaming up to stop Thanos from collecting all the Infinity Stones, making for one mega crowded blockbuster.
There’s so much more to this movie than meets the eye. On the surface, it’s fictional comic book characters fighting a fake war, but the story has real applications to our world today. Infinity War tackles population control, climate change and a warning to what happens when you let greed control your life.
Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald
Darker and better than the first installment, The Crimes of Grindelwald, introduces us to a much younger Albus Dumbledore and his complicated relationship with dark wizard Grindelwald. Nagini gets a back story and we learn quite a lot about the family history of the Lestrange’s and what they might mean to the future of the franchise.
Many critics were comparing the character of Grindelwald to President Trump, and there’s a scene near the end that eerie reflects the divisive nature of a Trump rally, but filmmakers emphatically deny that the movie was meant to reflect the current political climate.
However you spin the plot though, this movie is not for anyone outside the Potter universe. If you don’t know the cast, characters, Potter lingo or what certain symbols mean, you will be lost.
I never saw the original Tomb Raider with Angelina Jolie or played the video game, so I don’t know how this reboot compares. All I know is that I enjoyed this film quite a bit.
Alicia Vikander is a talented actress and she brought a tougher, less sexualized version of Lara Croft to the big screen. I also especially enjoyed the mythology of the plot, even if some of the action scenes were a bit far fetched. But then again, when aren’t they in big blockbuster films?
The studio hasn’t determined if Tomb Raider will turn into another franchise, but I’m on board as long as Vikander returns.