Advertisements

2018: The Year in Reviews (June)

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.

Today is June.

June

Adrift

January’s preview:

“Sure.”

3 stars.”

The review:

“It’s All Is Lost but with a couple… and less interesting.”

“Having someone out on the ocean is always at least remotely interesting. And Shailene does deliver a solid performance… but it doesn’t amount to anything other than ‘okay’.”

“Maybe a director with more of a visual style could have made something that’ll last longer, but as it stands, we have a decent movie that will be forgotten within a year.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Movie’s just okay. Maybe it could have been better with a more visionary director and/or a better screenplay. But Shailene is pretty good and the movie’s just fine. But that’s what I expected, so I’m not really all that surprised. This turned out as I expected it to. So we just move on.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Action Point

January’s preview:

3 stars. Let’s assume it’s not an outright piece of shit. That seems doable.”

The review:

“Johnny Knoxville movie that’s 60% plot, but that 60% is just an excuse to get to the other 40%, which is just gags.”

“Very weird movie, tonally. It doesn’t work at all, either.”

“I’m not sure what the point of it all was. If you wanna do Jackass, just make another Jackass movie. What’s this pretending to be a narrative shit?”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

It’s a very weird movie. It tries a story but then seems like it’s only interested in the story to get to the “stunts,” which are basically Jackass gags, but with safety precautions. They seem tame, owing to regulations for actors and Knoxville’s body being so broken down from years of doing these things. The result is something that just doesn’t work. Even a little bit. Oh well. At least they didn’t spend $100 million on it.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

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

Upgrade

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“It’s basically a low budget Six Million Dollar Man.”

“And it goes some darker places, which were cool.”

“Overall a fun little movie. Don’t need to see it again, but well made and smarter than your average action flick.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I liked this. I think it did a little too much at times, but it’s definitely smarter and better made than most movies of this ilk. For that I am very grateful.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Mary Shelley

January’s preview:

“I’m down. I hear it’s just okay, but just okay is all I need.”

3 stars.”

The review:

“This would have been a Weinstein Oscar special fifteen years ago. Now? The director of Wadjda (which is great) makes a movie about Mary and Percy Shelley and no one’s seen it and it’s not that great.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

This kind of movie is a relic now.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Social Animals

January’s preview:

3 stars. Sounds indie solid.”

The review:

“This is the third movie in nine months I’ve seen Noel Wells in, and the third movie I’ve come away going, ‘She was really great in that’.”

“Overall it overcame a lot of the shit I groan at because I’ve seen too many indies that are all the same. Ultimately, it’s fine. Which is all-too the norm for this year.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

The movie’s pretty good. Noel Wells is also very good in it.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Best F(r)iends: Volume Two

January’s preview:

“I saw the first one, which was amazing(ly bad), in that Tommy Wiseau kinda way. Very excited for part two.”

“And yes, I know you guys haven’t even come close to seeing part one yet, but hey, I gotta track what I need to see and keep you aware of it.”

3.5 stars.”

The review:

“I love that I’ve seen both parts of this film in theaters and most people don’t even know it exists and/or haven’t even seen the first one yet.”

“It’s… almost watchable… like, as a regular movie… for a good portion.”

“After a while you’re watching it and wondering, ‘Why the fuck am I following this story?’ You catch yourself actually paying attention to it. It’s weird.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

It’s not The Room, so don’t expect The Room. But man, did I enjoy whatever the hell this was. This reminds me of a story I heard, of all people, Mitch Albom say. He was in a band with people like Stephen King and they played a show and all of a sudden Bruce Springsteen came on stage. And they played a song with him and then afterward, backstage, Springsteen goes, “You guys should never get any better, because if you do, you’ll just be another shitty band.”

That’s what this movie is. It’s the kind of bad where it’s amusing, and if it got any better, it would be just another shitty movie.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Breath

January’s preview:

3 stars.”

The review:

“Australian surfing movie directed by Simon Baker. More coming of age than anything. It’s fine. I didn’t love it, but it was watchable.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Decent, but didn’t do much for me.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

American Animals

January’s preview:

“Sounds fun. 3 stars.”

The review:

“This is a really well-done heist movie.”

“They take an interesting approach to it, telling it docudrama style. Remember how I, Tonya had ‘interviews’ with the characters? Well, this movie does that, but with the real people.”

“The interviews with the real people actually work to the film’s advantage, since the story itself wouldn’t have held up as a film. It needs the contradictions of the guys to add to the unreliability of the story.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

This is a real hidden gem for 2018 and very much worth checking out. Incredibly directed.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

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

A Kid Like Jake

January’s preview:

3 stars.”

The review:

“These movies never do it for me.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

This one didn’t do it for me.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

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

Ocean’s 8

January’s preview:

“I like that this is Ocean’s 8, marking it as a clear trilogy of 8-9-10, to go along with 11-12-13. There’s also a ‘wage gap’ comment to be made in there somewhere.”

“I’m down for this. 4 stars. Let this be a disappointment. I love heist movies, and I love the Ocean’s movies. I’m so down for it to be all women, and I think they got a better writer and took a better angle for this than Ghostbusters did. I think this is gonna turn out great and is gonna be something I can champion. So bring it on.”

The review:

“This is the female reboot we deserved.”

“It’s fun as hell. It didn’t necessarily try to do the Soderbergh visual thing (though it had shades of it as a callback), and it didn’t go that overboard in connecting it to the first set of films.”

“I honestly think this is exactly the kind of movie you’d have expected it to be, and that’s a good thing. They didn’t screw it up, and it was gonna be hard to really do anything truly unique. So they made the best version of a female Ocean’s movie that they could. Now the question is if they can deliver on a good sequel. Because this movie deserves a good one.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final thoughts:

I really enjoyed this. Maybe my second watch will cause the rating to go down, but I don’t see what people needed to get out of this? I got a fun movie that works with the formula the first trilogy already gave us, and it’s all women. The only real fault I can ascribe to this film is that it didn’t do its own thing more. It didn’t get weird. It played it somewhat safe in terms of the “Ocean’s” format, to the point where I went, “This is the exact same scene from the first movie” at least once or twice. Still, I didn’t need to be anything more than fun and worthwhile, and I got that. I’m good.

* * * * (4 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Hotel Artemis

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“Completely insane and incomprehensible on every level… but I like these movies.”

“This is that cable movie I always talk about. The kind I’d just watch when I was growing up that I have a special affinity for. All for it.”

“Give me this any day over a lot of the other bullshit out there.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Weird movie, but the exact kind of thing I enjoy. It feels like a graphic novel. It’s a completely inconsequential crime movie. I will always get something out of these movies.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Hereditary

January’s preview:

“This is being talked about as being the ‘It Comes at Night’ of 2018. The trendy horror movie that cool people like. So be prepared for that.”

3 stars.”

“Horror isn’t my genre, so we’ll temper expectations and see where it goes.”

The review:

“I laughed. I know people came out and said this was one of the scariest movies they’d seen, and how they shit their pants during it… but I laughed.”

“I thought this movie was an unintentional comedy.”

“The final ten minutes of this movie are fucking ridiculous. This movie started so well, and just could not sustain it.”

“It is also a comedy. Watch it again as a comedy… the scenes where Toni Collete is screaming at the family… they’re funny. Maybe it requires a sick sense of humor to laugh at them, but they’re funny.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I was really engaged in this movie until like, the last half hour. It just lessened. The highlight of this movie is that car sequence. And then the aftermath of that keeps you going. But the closer we get to the reveal, it loses steam. And I truly think this is a comedy. That scene, that people thought was scary as hell, I thought was hilarious. Maybe I’m just fucked up. Which is fair. But I thought this was a very funny movie. And as a horror movie, it lost me by the end because it was such an obvious (and let down) of an ending.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

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

Won’t You Be My Neighbor?

January’s preview:

“I don’t think I’ve ever previewed a documentary in the history of the Film Release Calendar. But I’m previewing this. Because the fact that they’ve made this means it is one of the movies I want to see most this year. Of anything. Bar none.”

4 stars. Which is basically a 5 star rating for a narrative feature for me.”

The review:

“I saw it at a 9am showing on a Saturday morning. The theater was about 70% full, and every single person in it was crying by the end of the movie.”

“Sometimes you just need a movie to remind you that one of your childhood heroes really is a hero.”

“This is a beautiful documentary, and I look forward to this not making the Oscar category in January and being outraged about it. Because that’s how the Documentary category works.”

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I loved this movie. Nothing more to add. I loved it.

* * * * ½ (4.5 stars)

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

211

January’s preview:

“Starring Nicolas Cage.”

“Of course it was gonna be Nicolas Cage. He just doesn’t give a fuck anymore, does he?”

“Yet another straight to VOD masterpiece of his, I’m sure.”

3 stars. I’m worried I need to lower my blanket Cage rating to 2.5, but let’s see if we can get the ‘cable watch 3’ out of this.”

The review:

“Another VOD Nicolas Cage thriller. There was a point this year where he had a VOD movie come out for every month of the year. That’s who he is now. And you know what? I’ll keep watching them.”

“At this point they range from “Disinterested Cage” to “Neutral Cage” to “Batshit crazy Cage.” Unfortunately the last option is becoming rarer and rarer and the former is all too common. Fortunately, this one is Neutral Cage. He’s not particularly invested, but the movie moves at a quick enough pace and is interesting enough to have him not completely be on autopilot.”

“Where have you gone, Nicolas Cage?”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Well, we know where he went. And fortunately this is just a “whatever” point to his year, which had a distinct high point, which is soon to come. As a movie it’s like a C+. It’s fine, but barely fine. And it definitely is the kind of thing that lessen’s Cage, as much as it squares him with the IRS.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Alex Strangelove

January’s preview:

“Netflix movie. Netflix high school movies worry me. So 2.5 stars, and I hope I get something higher.”

The review:

“It’s a coming-of-identity film.”

“Not terrible, not great. Had enough moments to make me give it a minor thumbs up, but overall not something I’d recommend that much.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

It was fine. I didn’t get much out of it, but it was watchable.

* * * (3 stars)

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

Hearts Beat Loud

January’s preview:

3 stars.”

The review:

“It’s a really sweet little film.”

“It’s definitely a hidden gem for 2018.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Really liked this movie. Clemens and Offerman are both very good, and the songs are good. This is just a really solid indie worth seeing.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

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

Nancy

January’s preview:

“Oh, this could be interesting.”

3.5 stars.”

The review:

“Interesting little indie. Nice showcase for Andrea Riseborough.”

“It’s indie, but it works.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I wanted to like it more, but it was just okay to me. I like Andrea Riseborough in this, though, and I’m glad she’s popping up in more things, because she’s a really good actress.

* * * (3 stars)

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

Incredibles 2

January’s preview:

“Couple of things we need to establish:

  1. I like the first Incredibles, I don’t love it. Which people think is sacrilege, but it is what it is. It’s fine. I like it. It’s middle of the pack Pixar for me.
  2. I prefer Pixar when they’re doing original stuff and not remakes.”

“All that said — this is just whatever for me. Sure, I’ll see it, I’ll enjoy it. But I don’t have any particular hopes for this.”

“The standard Pixar rating is 4 stars. I typically only go 3.5 stars for sequels and the Cars franchise. This feels like a sequel to me, so 3.5 stars. Maybe Toy Story 4 gets 4 stars, because it’s Toy Story, but I don’t see what they can really do to make this movie feel fresh and new. Let it be 4. I’m fine with that. I’ll give it the standard sequel drop and go from there.”

The review:

“It’s perfectly fine. It’s right in line with all of the Pixar sequels. The second one isn’t as good as the first.”

“It’s enjoyable, it’s fun. It’s Pixar. But the sequels tend to not do it for me.”

“Give me original Pixar. This is just filler.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Didn’t love it. Was fine, but a lesser sequel. Also thought people were overrating it. The message seemed kinda one-note. But it was fun. However, I am left where I am with most Pixar sequels — why? It’s never as good as the original, and you always just want them to not make these movies unless they’re gonna be better because their original stuff is always so good. This feels like it’s close to bottom five Pixar (Cars 2, Cars 3, Good Dinosaur, Monsters University, this. I can maybe accept Bug’s Life under this and this as sixth from the bottom, but not much else). Maybe it’s just not for me.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Tag

January’s preview:

“What?”

“A lot of comedy people in this. No idea if it actually turns out good.”

“Let’s say 3 stars. I’m feeling optimistic this year.”

The review:

“I loved the premise of this movie. The fact that it was based on real people is just a bonus.”

“The movie could have gone wrong in so many ways. And there are moments where I thought it was trying to go wrong. But I liked it.”

“I’m not really sure a movie based on this premise could have been much better than the movie we got.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I really enjoyed this. That third act twist was a bit weird, but I ended up enjoying this way more than I thought I was going to.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

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

Superfly

January’s preview:

None. Didn’t think this was actually real at the time.

The review:

“I was very much against this when I first heard about it. Why would you remake Superfly? That said, upon watching it… it was fine.”

“I had no problems with it. It works. Not something I’ll go back and watch, but considering I thought I’d be indifferent toward it and think it was a bad movie… totally okay with this.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I expected terrible and “why would you make this,” and instead I got, “Oh, it was fine… but also why would you make this?” So I’m okay with it, but it still seemed like a weird thing to redo.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

The Yellow Birds

January’s preview:

“This hasn’t come out for about two years. Reviews were always mixed, but the cast seems like I can get 3 stars out of it, so let’s go with that.”

The review:

“Didn’t really do it for me. The drama didn’t work and it just felt boring and overdone. Cast is good, but the finished product didn’t quite come together.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

The 3 is a bit generous, but I got through it okay.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Billy Boy

January’s preview:

2.5 stars.”

The review:

“Written by Blake Jenner and starring Blake Jenner. Which probably answers all of my questions.”

“Pretty boring, by-the-numbers indie that treads all the same ground you’ve seen before, without any real dramatic weight to it whatsoever. Shit happens.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Not that good. Not for me.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Gotti

January’s preview:

“This is a weird one because this was gonna come out in December and then they pulled it 12 days before and said they were gonna give it a theatrical, which makes zero sense, because absolutely no one will see it in a theater. But if that’s what they wanna do, sure.”

3 stars.”

The review:

“I honestly have no idea why John Travolta was attached to this movie for almost a decade. What did he see in the source material that made him say, ‘I have to play this’?’

“This had like, real people attached to it for a while. And now E from Entourage directed it.”

“They pulled this from a VOD release in December because they felt it deserved a theatrical release. How’d that one work out for them?”

“I think this is still running a cool 0% on Rotten Tomatoes, and things were so bad the studio paid people to make fake accounts to say something nice about it.”

“In fairness, it doesn’t deserve a zero, but let’s not pretend like this isn’t anything other than a bad movie you watch because it’s bad.”

“I can’t point to a single redeeming thing about this movie, and yet… it was kind of like watching a car wreck?”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I was fine with this. I know people wanna shit on it because it’s the thing to do. But I found this totally watchable. Wasn’t good, but it was watchable. I could give you at least 20 movies from this year that were discernibly worse than this.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Set It Up

January’s preview:

3 stars.”

The review:

“This is the romantic comedy we deserve. And it’s probably the best rom com in a decade.”

“It’s a great concept, a great execution, and the two leads have fantastic chemistry. And it has the secret weapon of all good romantic comedies… great writing.”

“I’m all for this movie and I really, really liked it. The romantic comedy is a staple of cinema, going back to It Happened One Night. It’s nice to see it making a comeback.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final thoughts:

I haven’t given it the second watch, but I loved this the first time I saw it. I actually thought, “Should I just go 3.5 and not 4?” But it won me over and got 4. And it’s staying 4, because this is legitimately the first time in what feels like a long time that I got excited about a romantic comedy. It feels like a real rom com in the classic mold. Nothing feels like that anymore. So I don’t care if I’m overrating this. This has an intangible, the likes of which people ascribe to all sorts of other movies. I loved it.

* * * * (4 stars)

How close was I?: Off by a full star.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

January’s preview:

“Why is Bayona directing this?”

“No hopes for this to be more than just ‘sure, I enjoyed it because I like this franchise’.”

3.5 stars. Just because I don’t think it’s gonna be great doesn’t mean I don’t think that dinosaurs aren’t cool.”

The review:

“I’m pretty disgusted by this movie. For a lot of reasons.”

“First… you took J.A. Bayona out of the directing pool and gave him a director-for-hire job, when he could have been making some cool original movie instead. Second… you straight up remade The Lost World. And you pretty much hid your shitty premise in the marketing all the way through.”

“Oh, and also… this and Westworld Season 2 basically end in the exact same place. Maybe a crossover is coming?”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I was nice in that review. That doesn’t nearly capture how upset I was with how badly they handled this movie. How could you ruin it that quickly? This franchise was foolproof!

* * * (3 stars)

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

Damsel

January’s preview:

“Robert Pattinson and Mia Wasikowska star in a semi-western directed by the guys who did Kumiko, the Treasure Hunter. I am so, so in.”

3.5 stars.”

The review:

“It’s the kind of movie that you should know as little about as possible going in. As long as you understand western tropes, you’ll be fine.”

“This turns every trope you understand on its head, and goes places you don’t think it’s gonna go. It’s darkly funny, and really terrific. Highly recommended. It’s one of the hidden gems of the year.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I really enjoyed this. It takes a certain mindset to get into this and stay into it, but for western fans and fans of offbeat humor, this is really worth seeing. Definitely watch Kumiko first, because it’s amazing, but this is very good and very much a worthy followup for the Zellner brothers.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

The Catcher Was a Spy

January’s preview:

“I love the idea of this story. I remember hearing about the book this was based on. I hope they knock this out of the park.”

“Reviews out of Sundance are mixed. I’m thinking they could still tweak it, and all that tells me is to not go above 3.5 stars. But I think I can easily get 3.5 out of this, so that’s what I’m going with. How can this not be solid?”

The review:

“It just doesn’t work. Maybe it was the writing, maybe it was the tone… it just falls completely flat on every level.”

“I’m not really sure who to blame about this one. The premise was solid… movie just didn’t work.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

This… just didn’t work. It sucks, because I loved the idea. But sometimes it just doesn’t come together.

* * * (3 stars)

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

Boundaries

January’s preview:

“Sounds fun.”

3 stars.”

The review:

“This is that indie movie that came out of nowhere that I’d normally ignore, but then I see the cast and go, ‘I kind of have to see that, right?'”

“It’s generic indie road movie stuff with the estranged parent and all that. But I always like Vera Farmiga and Plummer is always fun. So I got enough out of it. It’s a solid three and not just a weak mercy three.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

It’s a watchable indie. Plummer’s fine, Farmiga’s good. Just watchable, no more, no less.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?:

Distorted

January’s preview:

“This’ll be VOD nonsense that I’ll see because I’m an insane person.”

2.5 stars.”

The review:

“Don’t worry, no one ever needs to see this, nor should they.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

That January review just about covers everything you need to know, doesn’t it?

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

Izzy Gets the Fuck Across Town

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“Really solid little indie and great showcase for Mackenzie Davis, who is one of the most underrated actresses working today.”

“I wish it were better, but that’s just my way of saying, it’s a good premise and fairly well executed. I wanted to like it more, but it’s just pretty good.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I enjoyed this. Not great, but it’s a nice showcase for Mackenzie Davis, and it takes place over the course of one day. It’s worth seeing, but don’t expect it to change your life.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Ideal Home

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“Fun little indie that no one has seen.”

“It’s one of those movies I’d recommend because its very likable. Rudd and Coogan are quite strong here, and it’s just a nice, pleasant movie. Skip one of the mainstream pieces of shit you were gonna watch and watch something like this instead. You’ll get more out of it.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

This is the definition of a hidden gem. No one even knows it exists, and it’s solid. Definite recommend here.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Leave No Trace

January’s preview:

“Sounds good.”

3.5 stars.”

The review:

“Debra Granik is back.”

“This is an adult drama and one of those movies that just captivates you. It’s not trying to sell any messages or make any grand statements. It’s just about these two people and their story. And it’s emotional. Big fan of this movie.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final thoughts:

Really liked this one quite a bit. Foster and McKenzie are both fantastic. This is one of the better movies of 2018.

* * * * (4 stars)

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

Escape Plan 2: Hades

January’s preview:

“I liked the first Escape Plan. I’m down for this.”

3 stars. Easy action movie watch.”

The review:

“Didn’t we say all we needed to say with the first Escape Plan?”

“What makes this one fascinating… it’s not good, so don’t bother reading the rest of the review if you’re looking to know if this is worth your time… what was most fascinating to me about this is how they clearly pulled that VOD, “shoot around the star” thing they do with Bruce Willis in his paycheck movies. “S

“Are we gonna study these movies the way we study the B movies of the 40s or the drive-in movies of the 50s? Insane.”

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

I feel like we are gonna study these in 20 years. If not sooner. It’s a fascinating sub genre. And yeah, Stallone really looks like he did 4 days of work and they shot around him. It’s not Bruce Willis level obvious, but it’s pretty clear. These are all plug and play movies and none of them are particularly very good.

* * ½ (2.5 stars)

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

Three Identical Strangers

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“There’s always one documentary each year where you hear the plot and you go, “What the fuck?” Because it’s just nuts that something like that could be true.”

“This is one of the more interesting documentaries you’ll see this year.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

This is a very good documentary. It’s interesting for a lot of reasons, and definitely goes places you wouldn’t expect from the opening moments.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Tau

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“I’m fine with these thrillers, so I didn’t have a problem with it. It was perfectly watchable for me.”

“Considering the reviews, not everyone felt that way. But for me, you could do worse for 90 minutes.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

I was fine with this. What’s wrong with it? Honestly, change the trans woman to a computer, and this is almost The Crying Game. 2001: A Kidnapping Odyssey? It’s fine. Feel disappointed if you went to a theater for this, but it’s on Netflix. It’s perfectly watchable the once.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Calibre

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“It’s a slow burn of a thriller, and I’m sure other people will like this more than I did. I got too hung up on the slow part. I couldn’t get into it.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Really solid movie. I wanted to like it more, but it might even be better than my rating. Very good piece of work.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Game Changers

January’s preview:

None.

The review:

“It’s cool. Not amazing as far as documentaries go, but I’d rather watch this than most of the stuff they put out there.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Game show hosts are awesome.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: N/A

Woman Walks Ahead

January’s preview:

4 stars.”

The review:

“Looks fantastic. Not the most engaging film.”

“Twenty-five years ago it would have been in the mold of Dances with Wolves. Fifteen years ago, it would have been a Weinstein Oscar special. Now it’s just kind of a solid little film that’s worth a watch that most people will possibly happen upon in a few years.”

“Doesn’t fully work, but it’s solid.”

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

Final thoughts:

Good stuff. More nice to look at than to watch, but I appreciate what they were going for here. I just feel like there could have been a little bit more going on to make it more interesting to watch. I always want movies like this to be just a little better so they could appeal to more people and get their message across properly. There’s good behind this movie, but it’s only gonna reach a niche audience.

* * * ½ (3.5 stars)

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

Sicario: Day of the Soldado

January’s preview:

“Look, sure. I’m down for this. No reason to think it’ll be anywhere near as good as the first one, but I’m sure it’ll be solid. Worst case it doesn’t work and we don’t finish the trilogy. But at this point, Taylor Sheridan has written three movies, and all three of them have been either very good or great. So I have no reason to think this won’t be anything less than 3.5 stars.”

The review:

“I expected this to be solid and totally fine. And I got very solid and actually quite good, all things considered.”

“It’s not the movie you thought you were getting from the trailer, and that’s not altogether a bad thing. It goes in some interesting directions.”

“I’m not sure it entirely works, but I was perfectly entertained by the direction it went. Curious to see what they do with the third one, if they even get to a third one.”

* * * * (4 stars)

Final thoughts:

I really like this franchise a lot. This was more solid than I was expecting. The first one is still amazing, but this one is a perfectly good sequel. And it makes me want to see them finish the trilogy. I hope they can.

* * * * (4 stars)

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

Uncle Drew

January’s preview:

“It’s an interesting idea. Movie could be a complete piece of shit, but let’s say 3 stars.”

“I’m guessing they try to do it Bad Grandpa style, putting these people in relatively real situations. Since that’s what the original Kyrie video did. Then again, the synopsis makes it sound very plotted. We’ll see. It’ll either be fine or I won’t give a shit. Movies like this are generally pretty easy to figure out.”

The review:

“This looked fun as hell from the trailer, but I knew going in that I was gonna get something less than that.”

“You’d think you were gonna get a lot of basketball stuff, with all the guys in old makeup doing dunks and stuff. But no. The movie wants to be more about story. And while there are so many times in comedies where I’m screaming at them to tell a goddamn story and not focus on the random shit, this movie actually does that, to its own detriment!”

“Weird choice, which leads to a let down of a movie that could have been really fun and a really nice change of pace. Oh well.”

* * * (3 stars)

Final thoughts:

Definite let down, but that’s just because they got my hopes up in the first place. It ultimately ended up where I sort of expected it to be, but the trailer was so much fun and I was hoping for more basketball stuff. Instead, there was a plot. And it’s not what this character is about. So that part was disappointing. Otherwise — totally fine, totally fun.

* * * (3 stars)

How close was I?: Exact.

– – – – – – – – – – –

http://bplusmovieblog.com

Advertisements

One response

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

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.