Welcome to the 6th section of my Movie list: 2015-2019! We have previously covered films from 1987-2014 in parts I , II, III, IV, and V!
2018 was to be the year of MOVIEPASS as I sprang for the $89.99 12 month subscription to the movie service. I fully expected this to be the highest volume 12 months of my movie viewing life, and it was. The ignoble collapse of MOVIEPASS, however, seriously curtailed my tally by dozens of films. In December I signed up for Showcase Subscribe, so 3 movies a month are locked in for 2019. Not a bad deal.
Look for the (Review) links to see my original reviews. As always, I will provide “skinnys” of all the films I saw in cinemas in each individual year. My best film of 2018 will be unveiled on December 31st.
505: Mary Poppins Retuns – Emily Blunt leads the cast of this long awaited sequel to the Julie Andrews classic. (Review)
504: Bumblebee – The Transformers series gets a reboot to the 80’s as Bumblebee comes to Earth to defend it from the evil Decepticons. (Review)
503: Aquaman – Jason Momoa leads this incredibly effective super-hero film. One of DC’s best. (Review)
502: They shall not grow old – Peter Jackson’s triumph, a World War I documentary with the footage remastered using the highest caliber of technology. It is amazing. (Review)
501: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse – The best Spider-Man film of the all. The truest to the comics in execution and in spirit. A worthy memorial to Ditko and Lee. (Review)
500: The Crimes of Grindelwald – JK Rowling’s Wizarding World continues in this enjoyable, but ultimately filler, entry into the Fantastic Beasts series. Johnny Depp, Jude Law and Queenie stole the film for me. (Review)
499: First Man – Ryan Gosling stars as Neil Armstrong in the story of his journey to become the first man to walk on the moon. (Review)
498: A Star is Born – Bradley Cooper stars with and directs Lady Gaga in her debut as a lead actress in the best version of this story told to date. (Review)
497: Venom – Tom Hardy stars in this “stand alone/maybe” version of Marvel’s anti-hero Venom. After a slow start, the film really picks up. (Review)
496: The Big Lebowski – A 20th Anniversary screening of the greatest film of my lifetime, my favorite film. (Review)
495: Ocean’s Eight – Debbie Ocean, sister of Danny, assembles a crew of 8 women to knock off the Met Gala in New York City. A good film, not quite to the level of the first three, but an excellent start to what I hope will be a trilogy. Fantastic performances all around. (Review)
494: Won’t you be my neighbor? – This outstanding documentary tells the story of “Mr Roger’s Neighborhood” and the man behind it, Fred Rogers. Powerful, funny, poingnant, emotional. This is an early contender for an Oscar next year, and a much needed injection of love and kindness in our damaged world. (Review)
493: Ant-Man and the Wasp – Marvel strikes gold again in this follow up to Ant-Man. While not as sharp as the first, it was enjoyable enough following the Thanos murder spree that was Infinity War. (Review)
492: On Chesil Beach – The worst wedding night since the Red Wedding. A clever look at a passionless relationship that implodes when it is supposed to explode. Great acting. (Review)
491: Action Point – Johnny Knoxville and Chris Pontius mess around and do silly stunts to the backdrop of a 1970’s California amusement park. (Review)
490: Solo: A Star Wars Story – Ron Howard swoops in at the last minute to save this Han Solo origin story. It is pure Star Wars fun, lots of excitement, adventure, and humor wrapped in the warm fuzzy blanket of Nostalgia. (Review)
489: RBG – This documentary examines the life, legal career, and newfound celebrity of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. (Review)
488: Deadpool 2 – A heartwarming drama of a Rodeo dog that gets lost in Trash City as he attempts to find his long lost lover, Hugh Jackman. 69/10. Oscar bait. (Review)
487: Isle of Dogs – Wes Anderson gives us another classic. A true 10/10 film. A contender for my #1 film of 2018. (Review)
486: The Rider – Director Chloe Zhao gives us an Oscar worthy depiction of the physical, mental, and emotional recovery of an injured Rodeo Cowboy. (Review)
Avengers: Infinity War – Holy Shit. The “Empire Strikes Back” of the Marvel Universe. Incredibly well done and lives up to the hype. (Review)
484: Super Troopers 2 – Broken Lizard returns thanks to their kickstarter- backed romp through the world of Vermont state police. Hilarious. (Review)
483: The Death of Stalin – Armando Iannucci delivers a rip-roaring comedy about the instability, paranoia, fear, torture, rape, and murder following the death of Soviet leader Joseph Stalin. Trust me, it is an excellent film, Oscar worthy. (Review)
482: Ready Player One – Steven Spielberg brings Ernest Cline’s pop culture classic to life in an exciting film that made me feel like a kid again. (Review)
481: Pacific Rim: Uprising – A beautiful, but ultimately empty sequel to a great film. Some of the actors make this better than it should be. (Review)
480: Gringo – David Oyelowo leads an excellent cast through this messy Mexican crime/comedy. (Review)
479: Annihilation – A smart, well acted, sci-fi film that is more than worth the price of admission. Natalie Portman is awesome here. (Review)
478: Game Night – Jason Bateman and Rachel McAdams lead the cast of this dark comedy that starts off with a great premise but falls apart at the end, never realizing it’s full potential. (Review)
477: The Shape of Water – Guillermo Del Toro gives us a love story of a mute woman and a fish-man in 1960’s Baltimore. Deserving of Best Picture. (Review)
476: Black Panther – Marvel delivers again with an awesome film that packs a cultural punch. One of their best. (Review)
475: Molly’s Game – Aaron Sorkin makes his directorial debut as he tells the story of Molly Bloom, former Olympic caliber skier who ends up running a multi million dollar underground poker game for the rich and powerful. (Review)
474: Hostiles – Christian Bale leads a group of character actors on a journey from New Mexico to Montana. A solid western. (Review)
473: I, Tonya – Margo Robbie and Allison Janney earn their Oscar nominations in this incredibly slick telling of the Tonya Harding story. (Review)
472: Phantom Thread – Daniel Day-Lewis shines in his final performance as Paul Thomas Anderson gives us an excellent film. (Review)
471: The Room – The first film of 2018. Tommy Wiseau’s masterpiece is re-released on 1/10/2018. It is a day that will be long remembered. (Review)
The Death of Stalin – I’ve been patiently waiting for another film to knock this one off its pedestal, but it never happened. Armando Iannucci’s second film is his best yet. The man who created/co-created Alan Partridge, The Thick of It, and VEEP, brings us back to the Soviet Union on the day Stalin died. It is insane. It is hilarious. It is brutal. It is also a comic book film, believe it or not.
The ensemble cast is astonishing. Steve Buscemi delivers one of his best performances as Khrushchev. Simon Russell Beale is pragmatically evil as Beria. Rupert Friend, Michael Palin, Jeffrey Tambor, Paddy Considine, and Jason Isaacs?! That is one hell of a cast, and each are used expertly. Isaacs was particularly good as General Zhukov.
This is a superior film, my favorite of the year. (Review)