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2018: The Year in Reviews (January)

After Thanksgiving, most people get happy because they know Christmas is around the corner. I get happy because I know these articles are around the corner. Even if a year is absolutely atrocious and I get absolutely nothing done on this site (like this one), I know that once December rolls around, I have things to say until March. But before we get into the Oscars, we gotta wrap up the year.

Here’s the skinny for the newbies: every January I preview an ungodly amount of movies. And then, from then through December, I watch an ungodly amount of movies, tracking along the way what I thought of each of them. Then, when we get to this point, I recap everything and see how close I guessed my eventual rating back in January. That part is mostly for me, but along the way you get my thoughts of all the stuff I watched (which will probably give you a bunch of stuff you didn’t even know about). So everybody wins.

We begin with January, and all the stuff that was from last year that I didn’t hear about until this year and the stuff that didn’t come out this year but will next year.

2017 + Unreleased Films

Ana y Bruno

January’s preview:

None. Animated Feature eligible.

The review:

“It was all right. Animation style was creepy. Very much in that in-between stage between high level computer animation and very low grade animation.”

“You know what this kinda looked like? A short film that would be nominated. That kind of style.” 

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Pretty meh for me. Wasn’t overly enamored with it.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Anchors Up

January’s preview:

None. This is a hangover of last year’s curiosity of those z-grade animated movies. This looked so bad I couldn’t pass it up.

The review:

“I had to. After CarGo last year, I saw a movie from the same company about boats and had to watch it.”

“It’s just so cheaply made and so creepy looking.”

“I just don’t understand how these things get made. But goddamn are they the stuff of a bad acid trip”.

* * (2 stars)

Final thoughts:

I can’t think of a good reason to ever tell people to watch this. Might be better to just say, “Yeah, I’m weird,” and move on. Tends to work out a lot in life.

* * (2 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

A tigers paw holding one animal cracker that has been taken out of a box full of animal cracker. The words "Animal Crackers" are in the middle and the words "A magical adventure in every box" are at the top both in orange with a blue border.

Animal Crackers

January’s preview:

None. I left a 2 star blanket review last year for whenever it came out.

The review:

“Generic animated movie with an all-star cast. And an actually good premise.”

“The general premise could have made a much better movie. But instead it’s just kind of ehh.”

“But hey, the premise is out there now and maybe someone can do something better with this one day.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Good premise, meh execution. I think there’s room to do this better at some point.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Charming Movie.png

Charming

January’s preview:

“This… actually sounds fun.”

3 stars.”

“Not gonna assume really good, but this sounds like it could be okay.”

The review:

“I thought this had a great premise. Too bad it was a D-grade animated movie that no one will ever see.”

“I wish Disney would try something like this one of these days.”

“I think there’s something here. The movie is neither smart enough or supported financially enough to get there, but there’s still a good movie here out of that premise.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I think what I said up there is right. Good premise not fully realized.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

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Climax

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“This movie is insane.”

“I found myself in the theater sitting totally still for like, a straight hour. I noticed at one point that I hadn’t moved my arms for a very long period of time. It’s that kind of a movie.”

“You may love it, you may hate it, but goddamn if it isn’t gonna give you a visceral experience you won’t forget any time soon. This movie is really good.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Nobody fucks with your head like Gaspar does. Highly recommend this. Theater preferably, but however you wanna do it.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Dogman

January’s preview:

None. Foreign film we got as a screener.

The review:

Haven’t watched it yet. Will within the next ten days and write it up here.

Final thoughts:

How close was I?: N/A

Dragged Across Concrete

January’s preview:

“This is the new S. Craig Zahler film. After Bone Tomahawk and Brawl in Cell Block 99, I’m down for anything he wants to make.”

“This stars Mel Gibson and Vince Vaughn, and was originally publicized as a Blue Lives Matter movie. Which definitely doesn’t feel like what this is gonna be, having seen Zahler’s first two movies.”

4 stars. The last two were great. No reason to think this won’t be great either.”

The review:

“It’s overdone, but it’s engaging.”

“It doesn’t go to the fucked up places that Zahler’s other movies go, but it’s still an interesting genre exercise.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I liked this. If you liked his first two, this is worth seeing. But I think you need the other two first, because this one does go to more excessive places that only work well if you’re on board with the kind of stuff Zahler wants to do as a filmmaker. Which I am.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Image result for Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars

Eric Clapton: Life in 12 Bars

January’s preview:

None. Didn’t know this was a thing when it came out.

The review:

“Great documentary about one of our greatest musicians. I always love a good music documentary.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Clapton’s the man.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

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Euphoria

January’s preview:

“Alicia Vikander and Eva Green. I’m gonna see this.”

3 stars.”

The review:

“It’s… boring and dramatic. But I like both leads, so I saw it for them.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Pretty boring, but watchable because of the leads.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Everybody Knows

January’s preview:

“I generally know what I’m getting from Farhadi at this point, so 3.5 stars. Could be 4, but I think 3.5 is the baseline. I’m worried the husband and wife pairing might make it a bit overdone. So we’ll see.”

The review:

Haven’t watched it yet, but will within the next ten days. I’ll update this once I do.

Final thoughts: 

How close was I?: 

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The Extraordinary Journey of the Fakir

January’s preview:

“This does still sound interesting.”

3 stars.”

The review:

“You know those movies where, you come home, and your parents have been watching them on cable when they’re on for the last six months? This is that ind of movie.”

“Completely fantastical and fictional, but also kinda fun. Not for everyone.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

It’s inoffensive but totally fine.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Festival

January’s preview:

3 stars.”

The review:

“It takes a really safe and obvious route and really doesn’t end up that interesting.”

“It’s a great set up that you haven’t really seen taken advantage of before, and this one definitely does not do that.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Good premise, not great execution. Shit happens.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Katie Says Goodbye

January’s preview:

3 stars. I’m still interested in this, but can they just put it out there sometime soon?”

The review:

“Just kind of okay. Very indie, probably not great, but I thought it was watchable.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Really only worth seeing for Olivia Cooke. Otherwise you’re probably good skipping this.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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King of Thieves

January’s preview:

None. Couldn’t pass up that cast.

The review:

“Old guy heist movie. Michael Caine, Ray Winstone, Jim Broadbent, Michael Gambon, Tom Courtenay. You’re seeing it for them. That’s really all it is.”

“It’s generic-plus, but the cast is amusing. You know what you’re getting.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

It’s exactly that. Generic-plus, but the cast makes it worth watching.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Ladies in Black

January’s preview:

3 stars.”

The review:

It was fine. Exactly what I expected it to be. Totally watchable in every way, yet nothing in particular to make it stand out.

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Bruce Beresford is still working though, so that’s cool.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Image result for Leo da Vinci: Mission Mona Lisa

Leo da Vinci: Mission Mona Lisa

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“I can’t help myself with these obviously awful animated movies. Especially now that there’s an element of foreign shitty animated movies that are making their way over here.”

“What the actual fuck is this? Don’t worry, it’s awful, but aren’t you glad I told you about it so you can hate it by proxy?”

* * (2 stars)

Final thoughts:

It’s a fucking Leonardo Da Vinci origin story told in shitty animated form. How could you at least not be remotely interested that this exists?

But yes, it’s awful.

* * (2 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

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Mary Magdalene

January’s preview:

“I have no reason to think I’m gonna love this, but because of the people involved, I have to guess 3.5 stars. I think I’m getting 3 out of this, but I have to let this drop. The talent is too strong to not guess higher.”

The review:

“It was a bad idea when I heard about it and it’s not a good film.”

“It looks stunning. I will give it that. But when do religious movies work now? They don’t.”

“It was a weird choice for all involved, and then all the Harvey scandal stuff left it floating in the ocean without a life raft. So now no one will see it. Which is probably for the best, because it’s not great.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I’m still not entirely sure why everyone involved thought this was a good idea.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Replicas

January’s preview:

3 stars. I’m worried it’ll be 2.5 stars, and am strongly considering changing to that, based on that trailer. But Keanu has proven to me that he generally picks okay material, and even the bad ones (Knock Knock, 47 Ronin) at least have moments that can make it marginally interesting for me.”

The review:

“It’s… generic. But he’s fine, and it’s watchable. Just one of those I never need to see again. They happen.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

It was whatever. Keanu’s committed, the movie’s just not very good.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Ruben Brandt, Collector

January’s preview:

None. Animated Feature eligible.

The review:

“Really fantastic visuals here.”

“In a year with absolute garbage in the American animated field and stuff I didn’t really care for internationally, this is one I can get behind.”

“This is the kind of movie that does things differently and doesn’t look like it was made on computers.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Big fan of this one. Better than just about anything America put out this year, animation wise.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Sadie

January’s preview:

2.5 stars.”

“Not sure what I’m getting, but I’m intrigued.”

The review:

“$5 visuals, 2 cent plot.”

“I assume the only people watching this are doing so for the sex.”

“The visuals are really the only thing that moderately piqued my interest. Otherwise I had no use for this.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Meh. Probably not worth the two years I waited for it to come out.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

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Swinging Safari

January’s preview:

“Written and directed by Stephan Elliott, who did Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. Trailer looks fun.”

3 stars.”

The review:

“It’s one of those childhood remembrance films, like The Sandlot or Hope and Glory.”

“All the usual quirky, suburban neighborhood coming-of-age stuff you’d expect. A fun film. Definitely worth checking out.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I enjoyed this.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Tall Tales from the Magical Garden of the Antoon Krings

January’s preview:

None. Animated Feature eligible.

The review:

“Not great. Pretty generic animated movie. Not Z grade, but not great either.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Not for me.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Tito and the Birds

January’s preview:

None. Animated Feature eligible.

The review:

“GORGEOUS animation.”

“Story was just okay, but the animation was so good, it made up for it.”

“In a year like this, this is an animated movie that actually looked good and wasn’t made on a computer, which is not something I can say for most of the stuff out there.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

One of the five best pieces of animation I saw this year.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

You Me and Him

January’s preview:

3 stars.”

The review:

“A 90s rom com made in 2018. In the UK though.”

“It’s… fine. Had enough laughs to keep me engaged.”

“It did err on the side of realism over crazy comedy, which is why I’m more positive on it than I would be if it were, say, made in America.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I was fine with this. Doubt most people will ever see it, but it was okay.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

January

Insidious: The Last Key

January’s preview:

“Do not care. Will not see. Not even sure what number in the franchise this is. I still haven’t seen the first one.”

The review:

I didn’t see it.

Final thoughts:

I haven’t seen any of them, and I am perfectly fine with that.

It is kind of funny that the very first movie of the year, I skipped. Kinda fitting, in a way.

Also humorous that (spoiler) this is the only movie I skipped this year.

How close was I?: N/A (But also exact)

Blame

January’s preview:

“Written and directed by a girl who is 22. Which is really what interests me about this.”

3 stars. Let’s hope it’s okay.”

The review:

“It’s The Scarlet Letter set in a high school. Only the Abigail character is kind of the victim?”

“Mostly what I appreciated about it is that the movie was written, directed, produced by a 23-year-old who also stars in the movie. And however you feel about the movie and its execution, that’s really impressive.”

“Overall it’s a mixed bag of a film whose delights come from an external source.”

“It’s something I would show aspiring filmmakers to show them that they should go for it if they have something they really wanna do. That’s bigger than anything the film has to offer, and is more than most movies have to offer.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Honestly, I’m impressed this got made, and it is a good thing to show aspiring filmmakers — you can do it. Go for it.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Commuter

January’s preview:

“Liam Neeson action movie. Automatic 3 stars.”

“As much as I’d want to convince myself it can be really good, it’s gonna be more action than Hitchcock.”

“Also directed by the guy who did Non-Stop and Run All Night and The Shallows. 3 stars seems pretty much assured.”

The review:

“This is a Hitchcock movie. Made in 2018, which is why it’s entirely an action movie and basically Source Code.”

“But as much as someone could try to pull off a Hitchcock plot in 2018, this one tries to. And it’s fine.”

“Doesn’t amount to anything more than a Liam Neeson action movie, but in the realm of those, this is one of the better ones.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

You could do so much worse for a January movie. And as far as the Liam Neeson action movies go, this one is near the top.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Paddington 2

January’s preview:

“I’m sure this will be standard kid fare. 2.5 stars. Will be perfectly fine, just not for me.”

The review:

“Well this was delightful.”

“I didn’t really like the first Paddington. It was whatever to me. Cute but kiddie. This one was closer to hitting the sweet spot.”

“It’s a family movie that you can just enjoy.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Lovely film. I am for this franchise.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Proud Mary

January’s preview:

“Taraji P. Henson is doing the Pam Grier thing. Works for me.”

3 stars.”

The review:

“They tried to make a Pam Grier movie with Taraji P. Henson. Only they didn’t really try to make it blaxploitation, so instead it’s a barely-average action movie.”

“It’s not campy or ‘John Wick’-y enough to break out. Instead, you watch it, maybe you’re okay with it, and you move on.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Wish it was more blaxploitation. That would have made it more memorable for me. As it is, I’ve basically forgotten almost everything about it aside from that poster.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Polka King

January’s preview:

“Netflix is usually 3 stars, but I’m gonna go 3.5 stars.”

“There’s enough here to think I’m gonna like this more than the average Netflix movie.”

The review:

“AWESOME movie. I love movies with this kind of tone.”

“Jack Black notches another great performance that not enough people will see, and it’s just a really great movie.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Really enjoyed this one. This is one of the better Netflix movies out there. And Jack Black quietly continues a string of terrific performances.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Acts of Violence

January’s preview:

“Bruce Willis paycheck movie. This is becoming tradition now.”

“We’re getting either 2.5 stars or 3 stars. I’m gonna say 2.5 stars on this one. Something tells me I just won’t care and it’ll be too generic and badly made to get up to 3.”

The review:

“Bruce Willis paycheck movie!”

“The best is that Mike Epps is also in this and he also took a paycheck.”

“They both worked like three days each, clearly. And there’s even a scene where one of them kills the other and it’s so obvious neither was on set at the same time.”

“It’s fine. What more do you want? No one’s ever gonna mistake this for a good movie.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I feel like I’m the only one who is lenient on these things and also likes shit like Roma. There’s not a lot of overlap in that Venn diagram.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Abe & Phil’s Last Poker Game

January’s preview:

“It’s Martin Landau’s last movie. Enough for me to see it.”

2.5 stars. I don’t necessarily think I’ll like it, but I’ll see it for shits and giggles.”

The review:

“Honestly I only saw it because it had Martin Landau and Paul Sorvino and it came in the third of the year where there’s not an abundance of big stuff to watch.”

“Glad I saw it. Wasn’t good and I’ll never need to see or really speak of it again. But it kept them working, and that’s nice.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

The cast is the only reason to ever think about watching this.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Freak Show

January’s preview:

None. Left a blanket 2.5 star rating for whenever this came out.

The review:

“This was directed by Sting’s wife.”

“It’s kind of a nuts movie. I got through it, and it was competent, but I’m not sure what the point of it all was and it was way too disjointed for me to care.”

“Not sure who this is for, but it’s not for me.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

It was definitely competent, it just wasn’t for me.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Created Equal

January’s preview:

None. Ended up being a Directors List movie, which is how I ended up knowing about it.

The review:

“This is a step above Lifetime movie, a step below Netflix movie.”

“The writing and look of the film were so low-rent, the only way this could have been made was between 1987 and 1994.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Seriously, though, those are the years this gets made and is watchable. Outside of that, not worth it.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

12 Strong

January’s preview:

“This is the exact kind of movie that doesn’t appeal to me.”

“I really don’t think I’m gonna care, but with Hemsworth, Michael Shannon, Michael Pena, Taylor Sheridan and William Fichtner, I’ll probably get 3 stars out of this purely because of them.”

The review:

“These kinds of movies always have an unwavering ability to be absolutely okay. Wasn’t the best thing I’ve ever seen, probably I’ll never see it again. But in the two hours and ten minutes (why so long, exactly?) I watched it… totally fine.”

“I do question why we made a movie about like, the one battle we won in Afghanistan amongst years of futility, but sure.”

… and then I added this digression (conspiracy theory?), which I think is worth posting here in its entirety:

“Oh, can we also talk about — this is completely unrelated to 12 Strong, but I have no place else to say this, so it’s going here — Michael Shannon has become the new Christopher Walken. Even weirder… I think there may have been a definitive moment of torch-handing too. I think we can specifically point to when this happened. First off, do you know Christopher Walken and Michael Shannon actually did a movie together? It was Kangaroo Jack, in 2003. Also, 2003 is really the last year where Christopher Walken was really at “full” Walken. After that he started petering out. You had that five year period where he was transitioning out of the Walken we know. And during that five year period? Michael Shannon was ramping up. And where did we end up at the end of that five year period? 2008. Michael Shannon was nominated for Best Supporting Actor for Revolutionary Road. And you know what they did that specific year at the Oscars? They had five previous winners in the categories announce the five nominees. And who announced Shannon? That’s right, Christopher Walken. And since then? Really only one noteworthy Walken performance. Also since then, all Shannon. Everything you remember him from was done since then. So… not saying, but just sayin’.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Honestly I find that Michael Shannon bit more interesting than I found this entire movie.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Den of Thieves

January’s preview:

“Trailer looked generic, but these movies always seem to get 3 stars out of me.”

The review:

“This felt like the proper January movie. Crime thriller, B level cast. You think you know what you’re getting.”

“But you know what? This was more engaging than that.”

“It’s almost two-and-a-half hours! It’s like an auteur level crime film.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

This was particularly solid for January. Looking back now, it should have stayed at 3 stars, but there was more thought and effort put into this than just the usual throwaway heist movie.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Like Me

January’s preview:

“This sounds fun. And it stars Addison Timlin, who I like and who hasn’t broken out the way she should have as of yet.”

3 stars.”

The review:

“This is a movie that apparently the director spent years putting together. Imagine coming up with a movie in college and spending the rest of your 20s trying to make it a reality. That’s what this feels like.”

“The progression of the story is kinda slight, and after a while I’m not sure what the ultimate goal is, but it’s really well directed.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

The direction of this movie was quite good. I hope this guy gets work because of this.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Small Town Crime

January’s preview:

“I like these interesting little John Hawkes movies.”

3 stars.”

The review:

“John Hawkes has become the king of these low budget, VOD crime movies that are actually quite solid.”

“This is almost an Elmore Leonard story.”

“It’s really well made, a lot of fun, and I highly recommend it. Definitely gonna be one of the year’s hidden gems.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

It is one of the year’s hidden gems. John Hawkes is making a career of these movies, and I like it.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Step Sisters

January’s preview:

“Yeesh.”

2 stars.”

“This is everything I hate, and knowing it’s Netflix, I almost know exactly what I’m getting here.”

The review:

“Oh hell no.”

“This is one of those Netflix comedies that’s just completely tone deaf on every level. It’s so heightened that nothing in it remotely resembles reality, and it’s the kind of 2018 culture that I want no part of. So I hated just about every minute of this movie.”

* * (2 stars)

Final thoughts:

Hated this. Really hated it a lot.

* * (2 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Open House

January’s preview:

“Netflix thriller about supernatural shit happening in a house. Well… this’ll be easy.”

2 stars.”

“I’ll get 2.5 if it’s a non-supernatural element that’s marginally okay. Otherwise, I doubt I’ll like this at all.”

The review:

“Netflix horror movie devoid of tension, scares and any bit of screen time that I found remotely engaging.”

“Don’t bother with this one at all.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Honestly, I really didn’t care for this, but I also don’t remember much of anything about it. So I won’t change it to 2 stars just to be right.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

Mom and Dad

January’s preview:

“Starring Nicolas Cage.”

“This used to be automatically 3 stars, but lately he seems to not be trying. So we have to consider making 2.5 stars the blanket.”

“But since this is about parents murdering their kids, and Cage looks completely unhinged — I’m going 3 stars.”

“Bring it the fuck on.”

The review:

“Good to see nutso Nicolas Cage make a brief appearance”

“Not the greatest movie in the world, but I highly recommend it. This is the kind of movie you watch in your dorm room with friends on a Saturday night because it’s so nuts.”

“You guys want good Cage? This is it.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

We managed to get better Cage than this twice more this year. So while I still recommend this, it’s just okay. Mostly it’s just a crazy premise and a fun B movie. There’s better Cage out there from 2018 (and I am thrilled to be able to say that).

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Little Bitches

January’s preview:

3 stars.”

The review:

“This is your generic high school movie that actually has some more to it than you’d think.”

“Usually I’d go 2.5 on something like this, just because some of it is so wildly over the top it’s almost embarrassing. But there’s a section of this movie that works. You gotta sift through a bunch of nonsense to get there, but I was expecting worse.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

It was watchable. The three leads made it okay.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Maze Runner: The Death Cure

January’s preview:

“How the hell are there three Maze Runner movies already?”

2.5 stars. I don’t even remember the second one. Not gonna give a shit about this one.”

The review:

“Hey, remember this franchise? It still exists!”

“There have been zero mazes since the first movie, so I’ve been out since then. I came here to watch people run mazes. And we’re all out of mazes, guys.”

“They’ve taken this to the saturation point of every young adult franchise… the oppressive government and the big, action-heavy finale where we’re supposed to give a shit about anything that happens. Guess what… I don’t.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

“I came here to watch people run mazes. And we’re all out of mazes, guys.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

A Futile and Stupid Gesture

January’s preview:

“David Wain is directing, which is a good sign.”

3.5 stars. Gotta trust Wain at this point.”

The review:

“It’s a fun movie. Wildly anarchic and tries to break a bunch of rules, while still adhering to the biopic format.”

“One of the better Netflix ones out there, and something I highly recommend.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Definite recommend on this one. It’s fun.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact

Have a Nice Day

January’s preview:

None. Animated Feature eligible.

The review:

“Chinese crime movie. Very stylized, wants to be like all those cool American crime movies.”

“It’s pretty well done. Not amazing, but better than you’d think”.

“Given the lack of great animated content this year, at least this one is different from the norm.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

It was fine. Not necessarily something to seek out, but you could do worse for foreign animation.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Please Stand By

January’s preview:

“This is by the guy who did The Sessions, though. So that’s a sign in the right direction.”

3 stars. Hope I can get more, but since they held this over so long and are dumping it in January, I can’t assume more than 3. But I prefer the sappy shit to the horror/generic thriller stuff, so there’s a chance I could get 3.5 out of this.”

The review:

“I will start by saying that this is a movie that almost everyone is guaranteed to not like as much as I did.”

“It’s cute. Completely inconsequential, but it’s fun.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Still enjoyed this. I’m aware that most people won’t feel that way, but has that ever stopped me?

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a half-star.

The Clapper

January’s preview:

“This looks fun. The setup is something I haven’t seen before, and I think it can be a nice little movie.”

3 stars.”

“Dito tends to make worthwhile movies.”

The review:

“This is a charming little movie.”

“It doesn’t aspire to be anything more than it is, and for what it is, it works.”

“It’s not gonna change your life, but it’s sweet.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I liked this. It’s a cute little indie worth seeing.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

– – – – – – – – – – –

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2 responses

  1. Any thoughts on the adoration given to Paddington 2? Frankly, that should merit it a spot on your Overrated list for 2018.

    December 16, 2018 at 3:24 pm

  2. Pingback: 2018: The Year in Reviews (The Wrap-Up) – Site Title

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