Best of 2018

The Top Ten Movies of 2018

by Alan Rapp on January 2, 2019

in Top Tens & Lists

The Top Ten Movies of 2018

2018 has come to a close. This means it’s time to look back at the best films the year had to offer. This year’s list includes animation, documentaries, super-heroes, biopics, betrayal, a hidden gem unearthed, and a return to form by one of America’s greatest living directors. Honorable mentions include Widows, Eighth Grade, First Reformed, The Old Man and the Gun, the return of The Incredibles, and the surprisingly entertaining Teen Titans! Go to the Movies. Now, here are the best movies of 2018.

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse

by Alan Rapp on December 22, 2018

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
  • IMDb: link

Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse movie reviewI never expected to see Spider-Ham show up in a theatrical film as a major supporting character. I also never expected Sony to outdo Marvel in producing the best super-hero movie of the year. These are but two of the wonders of Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse which give us the origin story of Miles Morales (Shameik Moore) as the new Spider-Man while also offering a few different versions of Peter Parker (Chris Pine, Jake Johnson, Nicolas Cage), Spider-Ham (John Mulaney), Peni Parker (Kimiko Glenn) and her robot, and Spider-Gwen (Hailee Steinfeld) as heroes from other dimensions brought to this Earth to help Miles stop the Kingpin (Liev Schreiber) who threatens to destroy reality while furthering his own selfish desires.

With a visual style that looks and feels like a moving comic book, the film by directors Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, and Rodney Rothman offers everything a Spider-Man fan could want (with the exception of not including the Scarlet Spider, sigh). While staying true to the original characters, small choices such as the breeze to blow Spider-Man Noir’s (Cage) overcoat and adding ballet as a piece of Spider-Gwen’s fighting style are genius.

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BlacKkKlansman

by Alan Rapp on December 19, 2018

in DVD Reviews 

  • Title: BlacKkKlansman
  • IMDb: link

BlacKkKlansman Blu-ray reviewBased on the insane true story of African-American Colorado Springs police officer Ron Stallworth (John David Washington) infiltrating the Klu Klux Klan, Spike Lee delivers one of the most fascinating and entertaining films of the year. Laugh-out-loud funny while also proving timely and relevant to today, Lee crafts an amazing film structured around the performances of John David Washington and Adam Driver as the Black and Jewish cops who performed something so miraculous that, if it hadn’t happened, Hollywood would have been forced to invent it. As a cherry on top, Topher Grace gives us his hilarious take on Grand Wizard David Duke whose white supremacist organization becomes the target of Stallworth’s investigation.

Lee and company provide a near-perfect film that holds up to multiple viewings. Available on Blu-ray and DVD, extras include a short featurette and an extended trailer for the film featuring Prince‘s “Mary Don’t You Weep.”

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The Favourite

by Alan Rapp on December 14, 2018

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Favourite
  • IMDb: link

The Favourite movie reviewSet during the reign of Queen Anne (Olivia Colman), The Favourite is a sly period dramedy focused on the rivalry between two cousins (Rachel Weisz and Emma Stone) over position and the affection of the Queen. Filled with backstabbing, political maneuvering, and deception, the story begins with the arrival of Abigail (Stone), a former lady now forced into the role of a servant. Abigail is given a position in the palace by Lady Sarah (Weisz) who underestimates just how far her cousin will go to increase her station.

Set between the two women, and also the two political factions fighting over the war in France, at the heart of the film is Anne herself. Presented as a broken woman, who may not have been all that smart to begin with, Coleman infuses her with unexpected depths as we begin to wonder just how much of the manipulation she suspects. Beautifully shot by cinematographer Robbie Ryan, the look of The Favourite offers sharp contrast to the more vile machinations under the surface (not unlike its lead characters). Although there are men present, mostly in Parliament, the script views them as largely superfluous and spends little effort to hide where the true power in England lies.

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The Other Side of the Wind

by Alan Rapp on December 13, 2018

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: The Other Side of the Wind
  • IMDb: link

The Other Side of the Wind movie reviewIt may have taken an extra 40 years, but the last film from Orson Welles is finally available to be seen. While it is nearly impossible to separate the film from its history (covered in detail in the new documentary They’ll Love Me When I’m Dead), The Other Side of the Wind has the benefit of working despite this potential limitation and delivering a fitting last chapter to Welles’ career with a biting satire and visual smorgasbord finally pieced together more than three decades after the director’s death.

Never one to back away from a challenge, Welles’ The Other Side of the Wind offers a layered feast, which can be devoured all at once but is best digested over multiple viewings. The experimental project delivers one or two small missteps (most notably the horrific performance by Cathy Lucas in a, thankfully, small role) but also yields terrific results. The narrative follows the final days of an aging director struggling with his latest film while make statements about the change in Hollywood culture from the old school studio system to the rise of a New Hollywood.

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