Best, Worst and Honorable Mention Movies and Films of 2018

Sunday, December 23, 2018

Movies of 2018 Reviewed

Tinsel & Tine's

Look Back at the Movies of 2018

By Le Anne Lindsay, Editor

This year feels like the fastest movie season to date. I still feel like we just stopped talking about the movies up for awards last year, like The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name, 3 Billboards, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread etc..

Now we already have 2019 Golden Globe Awards nominations, and Oscar noms just a month away on Jan 22, 2019. This years’ crop of movies being talked about for awards are a bit more main stream than some of those films that I just mentioned from last year, which were not your average movie-goers cup of tea. Whereas this year: A Star is Born, Bohemian Rhapsody, Green Book, Vice, Black Panther, The Favourite, these movies have more universal appeal. They’re important, but contain more humor. Even If Beale Street Could Talk with all its social implications, on the surface is a romance. Then we have a couple of family dramas like Beautiful Boy, Boy Erased & Ben is Back which no one is going to be able to keep straight, as Lucas Hedges is in two of them and two are about drug addiction, but they’re not artsy films.

I'd like to thank God and the Universe for continually orchestrating my life so that every year I get to see and enjoy an abundant number of movies. Between film festivals and often going to the theater 3-4x a week. I feel I can formulate a pretty darn good end of the year list. Much of which does coincide with the movies being bandied about as noteworthy, but I threw in a couple of surprises. I’m gonna start with my least favorite movies of 2018, because it's a short list. It's always difficult for me to say I hate a movie because of the work and number of people involved in getting even a short film to the screen. But there's always a few that should have gone through a lot of reworking before being released.

Then I move on to my Top 10 Favorites. This was particularly difficult to pair down this year, I had 26 movies that I really, really liked. So I have a Just Missed the Top 10 category and an Honorable Mention category.

Note: Links go to my full review of the movie

Hope you enjoy and hit me up on Facebook or Twitter to discuss your favorites!

Least favorite movies Red Sparrow, Second Act, Life of the Party

Worst Movies of 2018

In order of most disliked

RED SPARROW (20th Century Fox) dir Francis Lawrence, starring Jennifer Lawrence & Joel Edgerton. Lawrence plays a Russian ex-ballet dancer turned reluctant sex spy in a poorly executed thriller set in Russia. Everything about it felt phony and forced, except for one small scene where Mary Louise Parker steals the show.

SECOND ACT (STX Films)– dir Peter Segal, starring Jennifer Lopez, Leah Remini, Vanessa Hudgens, Milo Ventimiglia. A movie about a woman without a college degree lying her way up the corporate latter in a cosmetic company. Parts of it remind me of a cheap imitation of Amy Schumer’s I Feel Pretty, but Shumer had a handle on her plot devices and comedic timing. I think if they kept the main plot of Second Act on the relationship of the mother and daughter discovering each other, that could have helped a lot, but really this movie is short on charm and big on makeup caked on like colorful spackle.

A WRINKLE IN TIME (Disney) dir Ava Duvernay, starring Storm Reid, Chris Pine, Oprah Winfrey, Reese Witherspoon & Mindy Kaling. This much anticipated film based on a beloved children’s novel did not translate well to film - story-wise, visually it had some good moments, but Jennifer Lee, Jeff Stockwell’s screenplay needed punching up and smoothing out all over the place. And I can’t let DuVernay entirely off the hook as the pacing of the film is way off too, but mostly, it was a waste of Oprah.

LIFE OF THE PARTY (Warner Bros) dir Ben Falcone, starring Melissa McCarthy, who I love (I’ve become addicted to reruns of Mike & Molly) but this movie about a 40 something year-old woman returning to finish her degree at the same time as her daughter, went nowhere. It wasn’t at all funny, it wasn’t heartfelt, it wasn’t mother/daughter bonding, it wasn’t McCarthy run amok, it was just boring.

ADRIFT (STX Films) dir Baltasar Kormákur, starring Shailene Woodley & Sam Claflin. Based on the true story of Tami Oldham’s 42-day ordeal lost at sea, but told through a cheesy story device that’s a cheat for the movie and completely unnecessary to hold the attention of the audience.

Top 10 movies rated from 2018

My TOP 10 Favorites Movies from 2018

1. BLACK PANTHER (Marvel Studios) dir Ryan Coogler, starring Chadwick Boseman. The movie hit theaters last February and broke all kinds of box office records, heavily featured women (Lupita Nyong'o, Danai Gurira, Letitia Wright) in key roles. Once and for all it broke down the myth that movies with a black cast don’t make money overseas. But best of all, it’s a good movie. When I saw it a 2nd time I knew it wasn’t just about the social implications. It was about enjoying something that was cinematically pleasing.

2. CRAZY RICH ASIANS (Warner Bros.) dir. Jon M. Chu, starring Constance Wu, Henry Golding, Awkwafina, Michelle Yeoh. Same goes for this movie, which I also saw in the theater twice. The ensemble works very well together, the movie has great energy, Singapore is gorgeous and it was so nice to bring a quality rom/com back to the screen.

3. GREEN BOOK (Universal Pics) dir Peter Farrelley, starring Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali as Tony Vallelonga an Italian-American bouncer & African-American classical and jazz pianist Don Shirley embarking on a road trip down to the segregated south- this is the new odd couple. As much as I love a good romance, I think friendships and bromances are more interesting to watch unfold on screen. Also saw this twice and loved it even more the second go round.

4. PUZZLE (Sony Pictures Classic) dir Marc Turtletaub, starring Kelly Macdonald & Irrfan Khan a remake of an Argentina film (2010). I know most people did not get a chance to see this movie, it played at Ritz 5 for probably only a week, but it’s a quiet gem about a current day housewife living in a New York suburb who discovers she has a knack for quickly putting together jigsaw puzzles and unexpectedly finds more than just a fitting puzzle partner after answering an ad to join a competition.

5. MR SOUL! (BlackStar Film Festival) dir. Sam Pollard and Melissa Haizlip. SOUL! was a nationally televised weekly variety show that aired from 1968-1973 on PBS featuring prominent and emerging Black artists including poets, classical, pop and jazz musicians, dancers and political figures. The documentary is not only an amazing look back on seeing early performances of people who became household names, but it's also an interesting biopic on the creative host and producer Ellis Haizlip, who had his finger on the pulse of an early post-Civil Rights Movement America.

6. A STAR IS BORN (Warner Bros) dir Bradley Cooper made this classic his own and made a fantastic decision to make his partner in this endeavor Lady Gaga. Not only does their chemistry and music make this a more than engaging film. But Cooper captures up-close the backstage feeling of the entertainment industry in so many ways.

7. SORRY TO BOTHER YOU (Annapurna Pictures) dir Boots Riley, starring Lakeith Stanfield, Tessa Thompson, Jermaine Fowler, Omari Hardwick a lot of buzz was generated for this first time filmmaker and rightly so as Riley's style is to keep dialing up the crazy, notch by notch until you're at a full rolling boil of absurdist, off-beat, comedic Sci-fi soup with a social message. Not easy to do in one movie, but I feel he really pulled it off.

8. HOTEL ARTEMIS (Global Road) writer/dir Drew Pearce, starring Jodie Foster, Sterling K. Brown, Sofia Boutella, Jeff Goldblum, Brian Tyree Henry, Jenny Slate, Dave Bautista, and Zachary Quinto. I know I’m alone having this one on my top 10 list, but I truly enjoyed this strange action thriller. From the production design to the pre-apocalyptic setting, to the idea of taking place inside a secret high-tech hospital and supposed safe space for criminals to get patched up by an agoraphobic nurse.

9. RBG doc (Magnolia Pictures) dirs Betsy West & Julie Cohen. I saw On The Basis of Sex too and Felicity Jones is good casting as a early pioneering Ruth Bader Ginsberg, but the documentary is so much more encompassing of this remarkable woman’s life and journey. Before seeing this doc what I basically knew about this female chief Justice of the Supreme Court, I got from SNL skits and seeing some “The Notorious RBG” T-shirts. So glad to now be aware of her huge contribution to our freedoms and civil liberties.

10. LOVE, SIMON (20th Century Fox) dir Greg Berlanti, starring Nick Robinson, Katherine Langford, Jennifer Garner, Josh Duhamel - In this post "Glee", legalized Gay marriage, "Moonlight" Oscar winning, Caitlyn Jenner accepting society we live in - it's hard to figure that a movie about a young boy feeling extreme anxiety about admitting he's gay would be anything worth discussing. Yet, that's part of the value and charm of this movie along with a likeable young cast.

Best Action movie of 2018 Mission Impossible: FALLOUT

Just Missed the Top 10

SPIDERMAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE (Sony Pictures Releasing) dir Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman. Since Columbia still owns the rights to the Spiderman character, they like to get good mileage out of the web slinger, hence the terrible Andrew Garfield Spiderman reboot thrust on us while we were still in the throes of the Toby Maguire, Kirsten Dunst upside down kiss. Thankfully, something was worked out between Marvel and Sony so that we have the Tom Holland Spiderman of the MCU. So when I first heard about this animated Spider-verse, I was like, why? Is this necessary? Probably not. But it’s so well done I don’t question it anymore! Love the mixed media graphics and the fantastic sci-fi premise of having multiple spider people from different dimensions come together and initiate a new black/latino Spiderman into the realm.

A SIMPLE FAVOR (Lionsgate) dir Paul Feig, starring Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding a good campy script, some excellent costuming and unexpected humor turned this quasi-thriller into an early fall sleeper hit.

A QUIET PLACE (Paramount Pictures) dir John Krasinski, starring Krasinski and Emily Blunt. A tight, emotional ride containing horror tropes, yet written for someone like me who likes to be thrilled with fear at the movies, but not up for anything too sinister that stays with me as I try to sleep.

WON’T YOU BE MY NEIGHBOR (Focus Features) dir Morgan Neville. This doc on Fred Rogers, the well-liked host of the popular children's television program "Mister Rogers' Neighborhood", is an honest look at this man of principals who truly believed in the transformative power of love - love for others, but most importantly, for yourself.

MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE: FALLOUT (Paramount Pictures) dir Christopher McQuarrie, starring Tom Cruise, Henry Cavill, Ving Rhames, Simon Pegg this 6th installment in the Mission: Impossible film series shows there’s still A LOT of juice left in the franchise. So many amazing stunts, fun and thrills.

Tinsel & Tine Favorite Movies of 2018

Honorable Mentions

(alpha order)

ANT-MAN AND THE WASP (Marvel) dir Peyton Reed, starring Paul Rudd, Evangeline Lilly, Michael Douglas and Michelle Pfeiffer – kept pace with the original in terms of style and storytelling, while adding in more shrinking, enlarging sight gags in all the right places.

BLINDSPOTTING (Lionsgate) dir Carlos López Estrada, starring Rafael Casal, Daveed Diggs – A good first effort by these screenwriters/actors, but it’s the final scene which makes the movie above average.

BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY (20th Century Fox) dir Bryan Singer finished by Dexter Fletcher, starring Rami Malek, Lucy Boynton, Gwilym Lee, Ben Hardy, Joe Mazzello – seemingly Epic music biopic, not truly as good as it seems, but a fun ride.

FIRST MAN - (Universal Pictures) dir Damien Chazelle, starring Ryan Gosling, Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll - Not as well loved as La La Land, but as far as commitment to filmmaking and vision this movie is stellar.

GRINGO (Amazon Studios) dir Nash Edgerton, starring David Oyelowo, Charlize Theron, Joel Edgerton – Wish this movie had gotten more attention. It takes you on a nutty adventure showcasing Oyelowo's comedic chops.

IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK (Annapurna Pictures) dir Barry Jenkins, starring KiKi Layne, Stephan James, Regina King – Beautifully directed, strong cast, wonderfully adapted from a James Baldwin novel. Didn’t make my top 10 because sometimes it’s hard to watch movies based on the themes of systemic racism.(click link for Q&A with Barry Jenkins)

PETER RABBIT (Sony Pictures Releasing) dir Will Gluck, starring Rose Byrne, Domhnall Gleeson – Not just adorable, but truly entertaining.

THE FAVOURITE (Fox Searchlight Pictures) dir Yorgos Lanthimos, starring Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz, Nicholas Hoult, Joe Alwyn - Stylized, female-centric period piece, balancing a delightful tone of zany ridiculousness and historical accuracy.

THE HATE U GIVE (20th Century Fox) dir George Tillman Jr., starring Amandla Stenberg, Regina Hall, Russell Hornsby, KJ Apa, Common, Anthony Mackie – I really fell in love with this family unit and the messages ring clear, but not too loud.

TULLY (Focus Features) dir Jason Reitman, starring Charlize Theron & Mackenzie Davis – Oddly, I condemned “Adrift” for using a similar storytelling device as “Tully”, but here it works. Besides, the meat of the story is about roads and paths started down, but not followed and wondering how you ended up being in your current life; which, I truly related too, despite not being a wife or mother.

WIDOWS (20th Century) dir Steve McQueen, starring Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, Elizabeth Debicki, Cynthia Erivo – After “Hunger” “Shame” and “12 Years A Slave” it was a great idea for McQueen to bring his extraordinary filmmaking skills to a heist film with a touch of Lifetime movie. The climax had our audience talking back to the screen, and the actresses are all on point. I had “Widows” in my Top 10 at first, then relegated it to those that just missed the top 10, and then honorable mention. I think it kept getting pushed down just because I don’t really like the final scene.

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is about discovering what I find pleasing in screening & eating - in case you missed it, the name is a play on Tinseltown using the Tines of a Fork.

Feel free to send me info on a film or new restaurant you'd like me to highlight.

Will there ever be a cap on movie prices?

Will we one day pay $20 a pop?

Why don't we pay on a scale?

A crap movie like everything Adam Sandler has ever done should cost about $4.50.
Big action movies like"Lord of the Rings", "Iron Man," "Transformers" are worth $10.
Woody Allen movie or something like "Silver Linings Playbook" $6-$7.
A chick flick or light comedy $5.75 and most Indie Films $5.25.

You could even do it by seasons - all summer block busters from May to August - $10
Sept - November 15th $3.50 - $4
Back to $10 for Thanksgiving and Christmas etc...

Or you can do it by A Actors ($9 - $10), B Actors ($6 - $7) TV actors on the big screen ($3.50 - $4)

Surely I'm not the first person to realize this makes sense. Has it been voted on in the Motion Picture Industry and then vetoed? If so, why?

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