It’s the start of a new year! Last year was not as strong as 2017, with Logan and Blade Runner 2049 not only making the top of the 2017 but on the top of my all time favorites. This year didn’t have anything as strong as those movies were. However there are a couple of contenders last year that are worth watching none-the-less.
This should go without saying but there are several movies that I’m sure are good that I wasn’t able to watch. Last year as a busy one for me and that affected my theater attendance as well. So Bumblebee, Wreck-It Ralph 2, The Grinch and several others won’t make the list. If there are movies that aren’t on the list that you want to recommend, tweet me @DarthLaric and I’ll try to catch them. Here it goes!
10: Avengers: Infinity War
I had a hard time figuring out my number ten, partly because there were a bunch of movies that were ok but not top ten material. This movie is on the border for me. It was certainly entertaining with the production value you’d expect from the tentpole movie of the year. But I have a hard time loving the Avengers sequels. They tend to get too bloated and ambitious. The first one was novel as it was the first of its kind, but they all lack the strong characterization you get from the standalone films. While I do admit that I am very fond of Civil War, which is Avengers 2.5, that film did have a lot of things going for it other than spectacle. Infinity War is nothing but spectacle.
I will give credit where it’s due though, this movie should have been a much bigger mess than it was. It was messy but I wasn’t as bad as it should have been. The reason why I have this on number ten is the reaction the audience gave to the ending. I haven’t seen anything like it. For that, it does get respect from me. It’s a decent movie, but only lands on number 10 for me.
9. Solo: A Star Wars Story
I’m willing to admit my fatigue for Star Wars right now. The Last Jedi was a major disappointment to say the least. But what happened to Solo wasn’t deserved. It is one the best Disney Star Wars films. I went in expecting it to be a disaster but it kind of won me over. It’s not without its flaws, the cinematography is pretty ugly at parts and the stupid Darth Maul cameo was so jarring and out of place. Only people who have watched The Clone Wars and Rebels will have any understanding as to why he’s in there. Still the characters were well played and Han and Chewy make a great duo.
8. Mary and the Witch’s Flower
Go back to my mini review for my primary thoughts on this movie. It may not be a Miyazaki film, but it is the closest thing we have gotten since The Wind Rises. Gorgeous film with a bit of heart.
Yeah, yeah, of course the DC fanboy gives love to the Justice League’s running gag. Still, this movie has the lowest second weekend drop out of all the DC extended universe films (even Wonder Woman), is approaching a billion dollars worldwide and is performing very well despite competition with heavy hitters like Mary Poppins Returns and Bubblebee. This movie is not the failure people have come to expect from the DC films. In fact, I am quite fond of this movie. I’ve been thinking and studying heavily on archetypes, and this movie did those archetypes quite well. But the movie isn’t without its flaws, I pointed them out in my mini reviews. Still, it’s safe to say that this is the second best DC movie to come out next to Wonder Woman. It’s certainly better than Thor (shots have been fired).
6. Black Panther
What can I say? Black Panther is a cool hero with a good story and an excellent villain. But since everyone saw this movie, I don’t think I need to say more than that.
5. Mary Poppins Returns
It’s kinda nice that musicals are making a comeback. It seems like since Les Miserables, there has been a musical film out every year during the Holidays. I don’t mind this new trend, as La La Land was quite a charming movie. Mary Poppins Returns is also a very charming film with excellent set pieces and songs. Emily Blunt does a very solid Mary Poppins as well.
4. Spiderman: Into the Spiderverse
Another Sony surprise (they also co-produced Blade Runner 2049), this animated take on Marvel’s favorite hero has been said to be the best rendition of the web slinger on the big screen. I don’t know if I can say that as Homecoming as also a very solid movie. Still, a unique take on Spiderman with the humor. charm and action you expect from a Spiderman film.
3. Incredibles 2
Just barely beating out Spiderman as my top computer-animated movie, this one only gets higher because its a bit more philosophically sophisticated than Spiderman was. This one deals on the surface about the responsibility of fatherhood, but deeper it goes into the power of media on influencing others. Something I’m obviously very interested in.
2. Isle of Dogs
Ok here’s the top animated movie of the year. I have a soft spot for stop-motion animation, because one there’s a certain organic feel that you don’t get with computer animated films, and secondly it’s super hard and time consuming. Add to the fact that this is Wes Anderson’s love letter to Japanese cinema, you can bet that I’m totally in.
1. The Death of Stalin
Why do we go to see movies? When we go to the theater to see a movie, what is the expectation? Many of you might say that it depends on the movie. That is certainly true, but I would have to say that we go to the films to feel something. What that feeling is depends on the type of movie it is. We want to feel thrills, we go to action films. If we want to feel intimacy, we see a romance. We want to laugh, we go to a comedy.
The Death of Stalin is one of the funniest movies I have ever watched. I must preface that the humor in this film isn’t for everyone. I admittedly can have a very dark sense of humor. If, like me, you like dark humor and irony, this is the movie for you. So this film made me laugh, that fulfills it’s purpose as a comedy, but what elevates this movie (and other great films) further is that it adds something more.
With this film, it was exploring the minds of the leadership of the most brutal and oppressive government of the twentieth century, and exposing the source of its corruption. That source was the fact that everyone lied. The psychological exploration feed into the ironic humor seamlessly as the humor came from people acting contradictory to what they believed. This is also keeping with the observations made by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, the great soviet writer and Gulag survivor. To recapitulate, this movie is both hilarious, smart and my favorite movie of the year.