Having officially finished the Oscars Challenge for the 91st Academy Awards and having seen 130 films released in the year of 2018, there’s no better time then to finally release a list of my favorite films of the year. These are the films that captivated me more than any others. The ones that captured my imagination, made me feel something, or entertained me to the highest degree of the year. In no way does this mean that everyone will love them or that they will end up on anyone else’s “Best Of” lists. All that they are are the films that will stand the test of time for me. The films that when I look back on 2018, will be the films I regard as the ones I wouldn’t trade for any others. Some of them are huge blockbusters, sequels, reboots, others are original, directed by men and women, different backgrounds and cultures, fiction and non-fiction, DC, Marvel, Hasbro, big budget and Indie.

One thing I felt consistently this year was a sense of films being overhyped and overrated. Films that were loved across the board by critics, pundits, and the masses felt a little too built up. So I’ve also included a small list of those films that did not quite reach the level of greatness that others felt them to be. Also, the films that disappointed completely, ones that could have been great but fell very short of those expectations. Obviously, there’s still films from 2018 that I still need to see, so over time this list could change, but for now, here is the list of my favorite films of 2018:


20. BUMBLEBEE

Directed by: Travis Knight
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: December 21, 2018


Anyone that knows me, knows that I love the “Transformers” franchise. Almost all the films of the original series ended up in my favorite films of those years, with the first “Transformers” being my Number One favorite film of 2007. When the trailer for “Bumblebee” came out, I knew two things, 1) that I would probably love this film just as much as those other films and 2) it was very much in line with the other films of the franchise. I was very befuddled why everyone was so shocked at how good this one looked when I, as a fan of them all, thought it looked pretty much like all the other ones, save for the era and the cast. It had the same dumb jokes and dumb characters as the other ones, with John Cena and John Ortiz delivering some of the worst lines of any of the franchises. It also just happened to have a John Hughes movie attached to it. What it was missing sorely was Optimus Prime, but that opening battle sequence on Cybertron showed just how awesome this series could get, all while honoring the toys that these characters came from. Why they’re calling this a soft reboot, I cannot begin to tell you, but you keep giving me cars that transform into robots and I’ll keep giving you my money.


19. THE FAVOURITE

Directed by: Yorgos Lanthimos
Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures
Release Date: November 23, 2018


Not initially on my “Best Of” list, I ended up finding a place for “The Favourite” because it didn’t feel right not having it somewhere on my list. Yorgos Lanthimos’ filmmaking has been captivating me since his foreign feature “Dogtooth” was nominated for an Academy Award in 2009-2010. His sense of humor is exactly what I find appealing in dark comedies and, although this is his most accessible film yet, it has everything he’s known for. On top of that, the stellar performances from the three leading ladies, Olivia Colman, Rachel Weisz, and Emma Stone, felt refreshing and extremely worthy of their Oscar nominations.


18. AQUAMAN

Directed by: James Wan
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures & DC Entertainment
Release Date: December 21, 2018


Expectations heading into the film could not have been any lower, with the awful track record of DC films over the past few years. However, with James Wan at the helm, delivering some impressive set pieces and action sequences, the film ended up surpassing anything I thought it would be. At the center of my love for this film is Amber Heard as Mera and how much these screenwriters gave her to do. Most of the time, even in Marvel superhero films, the interesting female characters are often left with very little screen-tiime, so getting what was essentially an Aquaman and Mera film, I could not have been happier with the choices made. Not to mention, Heard is absolutely breathtaking in her roles as Mera, where you literally find yourself enamored anytime she’s on screen. By completely embracing the comic nature of the characters and their surroundings, Wan was able to make a silly property come across relevant, much in the same way Marvel brought life to ridiculous IP like Ant-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy. Not that I think DC has finally fixed their formula, but it was nice to have a step in the right direction, with “Aquaman” becoming my favorite film of their DC Extended Universe, thus far.


17. WIDOWS

Directed by: Steve McQueen
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: November 16, 2018


With both “Shame” and “12 Years A Slave” landing in my top films of their respective years, Steve McQueen has also become a director that I come to anticipate, much in the same way as Yorgos Lanthimos. With “Widows,” McQueen delivers a very impressive and unique take on an “Ocean’s Eleven” heist film. Viola Davis and Liam Neeson take command of their leading roles, but its the supporting characters that end up stealing the show. Daniel Kaluuya and Brian Tyree Henry are perfect villains, offering just enough humanity to make them interesting and just enough quirk to set them apart from any other villains. Elizabeth Debicki becomes an instant star as well, playing what starts as a trampled woman who slowly starts to take back control of her life. And, Michelle Rodriguez offers a softer side to go with her familiar badassery. Overall, the film hangs on to its tension while always finding a way to say something. Not McQueen’s best, but definitely worthy of his filmography.


16. LEAVE NO TRACE

Directed by: Debra Granik
Studio: Bleecker Street
Release Date: June 29, 2018


“Winter’s Bone’ may go down as one of my favorite films of all-time. And director Debra Granik’s follow up to that 2010 dramatic thriller is “Leave No Trace,” which has Ben Foster playing a survivalist father to newcomer Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie, as they try to assimilate to the real world after living off the wilderness for most of her life. Where “Winter’s Bone” sits at the top of my all-time favorites, Ben Foster has to land somewhere near the top of my favorite actors list, as he can play so many different parts so well and never feels inauthentic. Not only does this find a way to feel unique in a familiar landscape (see “The Glass Castle” or “Captain Fantastic”) but it does so by keeping things simple and never being afraid to go dark, especially with its ending.


15. ROMA

Directed by: Alfonso Cuarón
Studio: Netflix
Release Date: November 21, 2018


There’s a humbleness to Alfonso Cuarón that simply makes it impossible for me not to love the man and all his work. His work is so prolific that I was head over heels enamored with his work before I even knew who he was. “Great Expectations” and “Children Of Men” were favorites of mine even before I really knew much about film or who was who in the industry. But as I came to know who he was and what he did, it became clear that this was a director that is worth looking up to. So the fact that “Roma” is a culmination of his work thus far, offering an intimate glimpse into his childhood makes this film all the more enjoyable. Add to that some of the best cinematography of the year, winning the Academy Award to go with that, and you’ve got a film that I can easily add to some of his best work yet. Pushing my love even further is the fact that this was a black-and-white, Spanish language film released on Netflix’s streaming service starring an indigenous woman who’s never acted before, and the fact that it became the success that it did proves just how influential Alfonso really is. I could not be happier for the man and cannot wait to see what he does next.


14. READY PLAYER ONE

Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: March 29, 2018


Having loved the book, I thought Steven Spielberg did an excellent job adapting the film for the screen and what better person to deal with all that existing IP than a mogul of the blockbuster. I loved that people were calling this a return to form for Spielberg and it really ended up being a spectacle. Ever since “Mud,” I’ve been following Tye Sheridan’s career and have always been impressed with his performances. The same goes for Olivia Cooke, ever since her appearance in the television series “Bates Motel” back in 2013 and have yet to be let down by anything she’s done. Together, along with some incredible set pieces and visual effects work, the film really delivers on the promise of the story. Plus, I am always a fan of authors adapting their own works, so having Ernest Cline involved really helped.


13. SOLO: A STAR WARS STORY

Directed by: Ron Howard
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures
Release Date: May 25, 2018


For starters, I can agree that “Solo: A Star Wars Story” should have waited for a winter release. The argument that six months after “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” was too soon to release another film is solid and even if Marvel’s releasing three films within a six month period, it does not make it right. However, I thought “Solo” was a solid inclusion in the prequel series. Not better than “Rogue One,” but solid. Did it need to exist? Probably not. But for what it was, it was done quite effectively. I had no problem with Alden Ehrenreich and thought he did as well as one could expect as far as stepping into one of the most iconic roles in cinema. There were certain backstory elements that I loved, like Chewbacca and Han meeting for the first time and Donald Glover as a young Lando was perfect. Even having the Kessel run was fine, but the initial idea that they would check the boxes of everything we knew about Han gave me apprehension, especially if they were planning on making multiple prequels for Han. I did not care for Paul Bettany in his villain role but I did love Emilia Clarke as Qi’ra and Woody Harrelson as Han’s mentor, Beckett. I also could have done without the robot L3-37 and her whole side story of a robot rebellion, but otherwise the film was fun, filled with adventure that matches that of many of the previous installments.


12. ANT-MAN AND THE WASP

Directed by: Peyton Reed
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures & Marvel Studios
Release Date: July 6, 2018


There’s a time and place for comedy in the Marvel Universe and the “Ant-Man” series (plus “Guardians of the Galaxy” and “Spider-Man”) has always felt like a better place than any, especially with great comedic actors like Paul Rudd and Michael Peña leading the charge. Building a base on humor, whenever a film can add to its depth in a more serious way, the better it becomes and “Ant-Man and the Wasp” does so by developing an intriguing villain in Ghost, who is a villain only because of her circumstances. Feeling for the villain elevates any superhero fare. Also, getting a female lead in Evangline Lilly, wearing the suit and often leading the charge in terms of fighting, offers a take on the formulaic Marvel film that we have not dove fulling into yet. Not only does this film fit perfectly into the Universe and explains why we don’t see Ant-Man in “Avengers: Infinity War,” it also bridges the gap between that and the upcoming “Avengers: Endgame” in a way that gets you even more excited for what’s to come. Not only that, but it uses elements from Ant-Man’s previous involves, mainly his breaking of parole and need to wear an ankle bracelet and have random visits to add a ticking clock and allow for some of the most tense moments of the film.


11. FREE SOLO

Directed by: Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi & Jimmy Chin
Studio: National Geographic
Release Date: September 28, 2018


Speaking of tense, no other film of 2018 had my blood pressure rising more than”Free Solo,” a documentary about one of the most famous rope-free mountain climbers in the world. You come to find that there’s not many of them, or not many of them left anyway, because most of them end up falling and dying, which, once you watch these guys do this, you become painfully aware of how absolutely bonkers this is. It comes as no surprise when you find out the star of the film, Alex Honnold, has a less reactionary fear sensor in his brain. In his preparation for climbing Yosemite’s 3,000 ft high El Capitan wall, you see him falling and getting injured when he is using ropes, so the idea of him doing this climb with no gear whatsoever is just flabbergasting. Tack on the fact that the director and camera crew are climbing along with him and this becomes one of the most insane, one-of-a-kind adventures you’ll ever see. Although “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?” captured my heart, “Free Solo” was too good not to make my favorite documentary of the year.


10. YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE

Directed by: Lynne Ramsay
Studio: Amazon Studios
Release Date: April 6, 2018


First of all, Joaquin Phoenix is a powerhouse performer. He elevates any film he’s apart of and offers a performance that could not be emulated by anyone. With a Nicolas Cage level of letting himself become the role, his presence in “You Were Never Really Here” offers a can’t-look-away quality that drives the entire film. Also, just as there’s something inherently satisfying about revenge flicks, the more despicable the targets are, like pedophiles, the more gratifying it is to watch a vigilante take matters into his own hands. Add to that little quirks here and there, that set the film apart from any others, and you’ve got yourself the perfect little thriller. Not to mention, there’s something hugely satisfying about an up-and-coming director working off the grid as an Indie filmmaker, getting to create a fully realized vision without compromise. Sometimes that can backfire, but not here. As much as I was initially against the idea of the Joaquin Phoenix-Joker movie, being reminded just how good of an actor he is actually has me starting to anticipate it.


9. BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY

Directed by: Bryan Singer & Dexter Fletcher
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Release Date: November 2, 2018


All I could ask after seeing “Bohemian Rhapsody” was “what more could you want?” Going into the film knowing that people were tearing it apart, with nothing good to say, after seeing the film, I just couldn’t help but wonder what exactly people wanted. Still to this day, I see people citing how it didn’t touch enough on Freddie Mercury’s homosexuality, even though it does, how it doesn’t touch enough on him contracting AIDS, which it does, and how it doesn’t dive enough into the band’s rise, which it does. With a run-time that’s already at two hours and fourteen minutes, how much longer did you want it to be? At the center of everything is this phenomenal, and now Academy Award winning performance from Rami Malek, who shows a side of himself that I didn’t even think was possible, from the years of watching “Mr. Robot,” where he plays the exact opposite character from Freddie Mercury. On top of that, a star-turning performance from Lucy Boynton is one of the lesser talked about portions of this film. I know the film was marred by the inclusion of director Bryan Singer and, although I feel strongly that Singer must face the consequences of his actions, a film is not a single person’s achievement. There are so many other people involved and to diminish a film for a single person’s history does not seem fair to me.


8. MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT

Directed by: Christopher McQuarrie
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: July 27, 2018


Much in the same way that the “Fast and the Furious” franchise had a resurgence and has been on fire ever since, so goes the world of “Mission: Impossible.” Not only was “Ghost Protocol” one of my favorite films of that year, but it seemed to usher in a new world for the franchise to live in, becoming more James Bond than it had ever been before. Instead, it’s Ethan Hunt, and although the path to saving the world gets more and more convoluted as the series continues, the better and better the action sequences get, as well as the supporting roles. “Fallout” was one of those films that had set my expectations super high, with the best trailer of 2018, featuring Imagine Dragons and Henry Cavell “reloading” his fists. Cavell’s multi-layered role isn’t even the best supporting role as Vanessa Kirby swoops in and steals that, matching her beauty and impeccable wardrobe with her ability to come across insightful and completely in control. All the returning is on their A-game as well, with Tom Cruise leading the way and even suffering for his art, injuring himself in doing his own stunts, and I respect him for that. Six films into this franchise and it stills feels fresh and as if there’s so many places to go with this series.


7. CREED II

Directed by: Steven Caple Jr.
Studio: MGM
Release Date: November 21, 2018


Once you take away the fact that “Creed II” didn’t have director Ryan Coogler at the helm, I became skeptical. The first “Creed” was Coogler’s passion project, something he had always wanted to make, and it turned out to be one of the best films of the year and a revitalization of the dwindling franchise. It offered heart, excitement, and action all while continuing a legacy many thought had died, including Sylvester Stallone. But Coogler did it. However, as soon as you lose the passionate one, and start making a run at another series, my faith begins to waver. The best example I can offer is the first season of “True Detective,” which was a labor of love, compared to the second season, which felt rushed and a mere shell of what the original was, “True Detective”-lite, without the passion. But “Creed II” was able to overcome that. It still showed signs of trying to hard and lacking the need to prove something that Coogler’s first run at it did, but the fact that Michael B. Jordan, Tessa Thompson, and Sylvester Stallone all returned for this one, to be joined by Dolph Lundgren and a brand new set of villains that you can sympathize with, makes this a worthwhile sequel that builds off the first one and delivers enough of the same and enough that sets it apart for it to feel a worthy entry into the series. Not yet a cash grab, but not quite the original.


6. A STAR IS BORN

Directed by: Bradley Cooper
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: October 5, 2018


As a hopeless romantic at heart, there’s something about love in a film that can elevate the story and get me invested. Add to that great music and even a film that is not quite great can become so. I think of the film “Beyond The Lights” from a couple years ago. Gugu Mbatha-Raw plays a popstar who isn’t happy in her life, and in trying to kill herself, stumbles upon a love story that sort of breaks the mold. With great performances from her and Nate Parker as well as some enjoyable tunes, it became a film I still think about, despite not being one of the best films of the year. “A Star Is Born” falls in the same category. Although I love Bradley Cooper and love that he directed this, helped write the screenplay, and helped write the songs, I am not a huge fan of Lady Gaga and went in wondering if her involvement would impede my enjoyment of the film. For the most part, I found her enjoyable and, overall, I fell in love with the film. First of all, the music is awesome. Bradley Cooper, singing and all, brings to mind Jeff Bridges’ performance in “Crazy Heart,” dealing with the same sort of ideas, an aging country singer with demons learning something from a new love, but whereas that dealt with an age gap between its lovers, this dealt with the elevating success of Lady Gaga, as the relationship basically launches her career. Even though this story has been told time and time again, it’s the central performance, as well as a scene-stealing performance from Sam Elliott, and an original soundtrack that is the best of the year, that ends up making this film so easy to watch.


5. A QUIET PLACE

Directed by: John Krasinski
Studio: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: April 6, 2018


Never underestimate the power of simplicity. “A Quiet Place” builds off of being so simple. And from that comes one of the most intense, heartfelt, and original films I’ve seen a long time. First off, the family dynamic in the film was the core of what makes this film so enjoyable. You believe this family unit because they have so many intricacies, whether it be loss, assumptions about how each other feel, or just the simple ways parents try to make their kids feel better, that make this feel grounded in reality. Even with the sci-fi elements of alien/monsters plaguing the Earth, this never feels convoluted or too big. It builds a world very simply. The thrills all come from natural situations as well. In a world where monsters will attack you if you make any sounds, the idea of a pregnant woman being a ticking clock is some of the best tension building I think I’ve ever encountered because obviously a newborn baby is not quite. Once “The Walking Dead” came out, the series became an imprint for the post-apocalypse in that every television series and film to follow felt like that world. But this feels different for one reason or another, introducing little elements here and there and developing the stakes almost immediately. Emily Blunt and John Krasinki offer some great central performances, while using a real life deaf actress in Millicent Simmonds and even intertwining that deafness into the story and sound design of the film added an entirely fresh idea to the film.


4. BLACK PANTHER

Directed by: Ryan Coogler
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures & Marvel Studios
Release Date: February 16, 2018


The cultural event status of “Black Panther” cannot be overstated. The fact that superhero films have gotten to the place where even our parents are talking about them says something about how far they’ve come. If “The Dark Knight” started this social acceptance of superhero fodder in the cinemas than “Black Panther” has started the cultural acceptance and full inclusion. It’s one thing to say films like “Ant-Man” and “Guardians of the Galaxy” are bombastic ideas, attaching an unknown quality to whether they can work or not, because you’re introducing characters like a talking racoon, or a talking tree, or a man that talks to ants. And all of those ideas sound a bit silly and hard to imagine a feature film about. And they worked in their own right. But it’s another thing for people not to believe that a fully African American superhero and supporting cast can put butts in seats and I hope that the success of “Black Panther” hits studio executives upside the head and kills that stigma, because it really is not based in any sense of reality we live in.

“Black Panther” works on every level, from world building this incredible place called Wakanda, so much so that it feels like a real place now, to introducing a slew of new characters, from Lupita Nyong’o’s Nakia to Daniel Kaluuya’s W’Kabi to the royal guard of bad ass females called the Dora Milaje, headed by Danai Gurira’s Okoye. But there’s also a handful of scene stealers that will dominate future installments in the franchise, including Letitia Wright as Shuri, the whip-smart, tech-driven sister of Black Panther, Winston Duke as M’Baku, the former rival of Black Panther, and the best villain of the year, Killmonger, played by Michael B. Jordan. One of the most fully realized villains in quite some time, Killmonger’s drive is almost admirable and if it weren’t for a blood lust that ultimately sets him in the wrong, his reasoning for wanting what he wants is sound and actually pushes the protagonist to be a more interesting character. And that’s the thing, when almost every single character in this ensemble piece is more interesting than your central hero, you know you’re doing something right. Ryan Coogler seems to have the magic touch when it comes to filmmaking and there’s no director I’m more interesting in following than him.


3. FIRST MAN

Directed by: Damien Chazelle
Studio: Universal Pictures
Release Date: October 12, 2018


Speaking of filmmakers that I follow, Damien Chazelle earned my undying respect when he made “Whiplash,” my favorite film of that year. Following that up with “La La Land” confirmed that my allegiances were well placed, and, despite falling short this Oscars season, “First Man” actually lands as one of my favorite films of the year. Ryan Gosling’s performance as Neil Armstrong may seem far too understated, but to me, he was offering a definitive glance at the man. Not every character in this world has to be dynamic. Some of our heroes were quiet, thoughtful people that weren’t necessarily characters that jump off a screen. But their story deserves to be told and honored all the same. Gosling made a choice and I loved him for it. Another aspect that I think hurt the film is how unextraordinary the moon landing has become in this day and age. The appreciation for how difficult of a task that was at the time has been lost over the decades. It’s not as gruesome and heart-pounding as say depicting one of the World Wars or as relevant now, as say an internet mogul getting his company off the ground, but if you put yourself in that era, remembering the fact that these people put their lives on the line, dealing with as much technology that we carry around just on one cellphone, this becomes as exciting as “Free Solo.” Add to that some impeccable sound design and practical visual effects that make you feel a firsthand experience like you’re launching to the moon yourself, and, with the strong central performances, you have a film that will be remembered decades from now, up there, in my opinion “Apollo 13.”


2. SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER-VERSE

Directed by: Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, & Rodney Rothman
Studio: Sony Pictures
Release Date: December 14, 2018


No film had me more skeptical than “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” and I think that sentiment was shared by most, seeing as the film had zero buzz until the last few months of year, when it started winning awards hand over foot, to everyone’s surprise. The fact that Sony Pictures has done so many wrong things with its IP, including “Venom” from this year and seeing how well Marvel and Kevin Feige did with “Spider-Man: Homecoming,” there’s just a air of contempt for Sony to give back the properties to Marvel and let them have all the toys in the sandbox. To top it off, an animated Spider-Man film sounded wonky from the get-go. And so, even for me, a Spider-Man superfan, I was not inclined to be excited for this one and was bracing for the worst. But what we got one of those most heartfelt, funny, and action-packed Spider-Man film I think we’ll ever experience in our lifetime. Not only was the strong, cultural messaging at the center of this, echoing a moral that Stan Lee always tried to reinforce with this character, that anyone of any color, shape, or size could wear the mask and be a superhero, but the film also contained a fresh, new story, with more laughs than any other film this year. Miles Morales is a perfect iteration of the character, dealing with awkwardness while dealing with a new power and sense of responsibility. One would be fine with just Morales being a strong character, but then you also get strong characters in Peter Parker and Gwen Stacy, and you’ve got a film that will live on forever. And no Spider-Man fan can complain about all the villains that were jam packed into the film, juggling the villains in a way that has never been done in the live action versions, providing interesting takes on Kingpin, Doc Ock, Scorpion, and Green Goblin, just to name a few. With great films like “21 Jump Street” and “The LEGO Movie,” plus with an Academy Award now, for “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse,” my faith in Phil Lord and Christopher Miller is growing by the day.


1. AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR

Directed by: Joe and Anthony Russo
Studio: Walt Disney Pictures & Marvel Studios
Release Date: April 27, 2018


There has never been an event like “Avengers: Infinity War.” Ten years and eighteen films led up the anticipation built for this film, with hundreds of iconic characters coming together to face their biggest threat yet, the Mad Titan, Thanos. Those facts alone set this film apart. But add to that the fact that this franchise has barely ever had a misstep, ushering in iconic superheroes from ideas we never thought would be successful on the big screen. I also appreciate the fact that the infinity stones have been present in almost all the Marvel films thus far but had never had much light shone on them as the building blocks for this enormous franchise, when in reality they were the driving force for everything leading to “Infinity War.” Any other studio would have talked about them every chance they got, but Marvel and Feige kept it subtle. At almost two hours and thirty minutes, the writing of “Infinity War” never lets up. There’s always something big happening and it works. Not only does it keep building in tension, but it leads to such an epic final battle, you wonder how they will ever top themselves after this one. Every character, and there are so many, has something exciting to do, remaining relevant to the story and ultimately playing a part in the bigger picture of the film. You have to give it up to Marvel for ending the film where they do as well, creating one of the biggest groundswells and iconic moments in film with the place they decide to end the film. Although “Avengers: Endgame”promises to be just as big, there’s something about “Infinity War” that I don’t think will ever be able to be touched again. One things for sure, never in my life has there been an ending of a film that has gotten me more excited to see the next installment than this one. The wait for “Endgame” has been excruciating.


OVERRATED FILMS OF 2018

(Films that everyone was raving about that fell a little flat for me)



BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS OF 2018

(Films that I wanted to be good and had tons of potential, but were some of the worst films of the year)


VENOM

Directed by: Ruben Fleischer
Studio: Columbia Pictures
Release Date: October 5, 2018


It’s not hyperbole that I did not find one redeemable thing about “Venom” and the fact that I got that sense from even the very first trailer shows how out of touch with this stuff that Sony Pictures is. Now I know “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse” was Sony as well, but that to me feels more a success for Phil Lord and Christopher Miller and crew than for Sony. “Venom” was a mess that felt unfinished and felt like a bastardization of everything I grew up loving about the hero. That’s not even to mention how utterly furious I am that they’d EVEN MAKE a “Venom” film WITHOUT SPIIDER-MAN!!!!


JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

Directed by: J.A. Bayona
Studio: Universal Pictures
Release Date: June 22, 2018


The promise of what the first half of “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom” is compared to what the second half is left a bad taste in my mouth for the rest of the year. Placing dinosaurs, one of the most epic, visually interesting elements of cinema, in a mansion for most of the run-time of this movie feels like throttling one of the most expensive sports cars of all-time. Much like “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” I understand and accept that the director was trying something different, but in my opinion, it failed miserably just the same.


TOMB RAIDER

Directed by: Roar Uthaug
Studio: Warner Bros. Pictures
Release Date: March 16, 2018


With an immensely talented actress like Alicia Vikander willing to step down from Oscar royalty and be in your rebooted action flick, one would imagine they would try and bring their A-game. Instead, the film falls flimsy and offers very little for Vikander to display an above average performance. She still elevates the film, there’s simply just not much to elevate and that’s really too bad, seeing the potential there could be with this franchise.


“BEST OF” STATS


MONTH OF RELEASE

January: 0
February: 1
March: 1
April: 3
May: 1
June: 1
July: 2
August: 0
September: 1
October: 2
November: 5
December: 3


FILMS WITH FEMALE LEADS / CO-LEADS

9 out of 20


“Ant-Man and the Wasp” (Evangeline Lilly)
“Aquaman” (Amber Heard)
“Bumblebee” (Hailee Steinfeld)
“The Favourite” (Olivia Colman / Emma Stone / Rachel Weisz)
“Leave No Trace” (Thomasin Harcourt McKenzie)
“A Quiet Place” (Emily Blunt)
“Roma” (Yalitza Aparicio)
“A Star Is Born” (Lady Gaga)
“Widows” (Viola Davis / Michelle Rodriguez / Elizabeth Debicki)


PASS THE BECHDEL TEST

(1) It has to have at least two [named] women in it
(2) Who talk to each other
(3) About something besides a man

13 out of 20


“Ant-Man and the Wasp”
“Aquaman”
“Avengers: Infinity War”
“Black Panther”
“Creed II”
“The Favourite”
“First Man”
“Leave No Trace”
“Ready Player One”
“Roma”
“A Star Is Born”
“Widows”
“You Were Never Really Here” (?? Some sources say yes, some say no??)


FEMALE / FOREIGN DIRECTORS / DIRECTORS OF COLOR

10 out of 20


Steven Caple Jr.
Ryan Coogler
Alfonso Cuarón
Debra Granik
Yorgos Lanthimos
Steve McQueen
Lynne Ramsay
Peter Ramsey (1/3)
Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi (1/2)
James Wan


STUDIO OF RELEASE

Walt Disney Pictures: 4
Warner Bros. Pictures: 3
Paramount Pictures: 3
20th Century Fox: 2
Universal Pictures: 1
Sony Pictures: 1
Fox Searchlight: 1
MGM: 1
Netflix: 1
Amazon Studios: 1
Bleeker Street: 1
National Geographic: 1


PRODUCTION BUDGETS

$0 – $20 MILLION (Low Budget)

The Favourite ($15 million)
Roma ($15 million)
A Quiet Place ($17–21 million)
Leave No Trace (Under $20 million)
You Were Never Really Here (Under $20 million)

$20-100 MILLION (Moderate Budget)

Free Solo (Over $20 million)
A Star Is Born ($36–40 million)
Widows ($42 million)
Creed II ($50 million)
Bohemian Rhapsody ($50–55 million)
First Man ($59–70 million)
Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse ($90 million)

$100-$200 MILLION (Big Budget)

Bumblebee ($102-135 million)
Aquaman ($160–200 million)
Ant-Man and the Wasp ($162 million)
Ready Player One ($175 million)
Mission: Impossible – Fallout ($178 million)

$200 MILLION PLUS (Mega Budget)

Black Panther ($200–210 million)
Solo: A Star Wars Story ($275–300 million)
Avengers: Infinity War ($316–400 million)


DOMESTIC / WORLDWIDE BOX OFFICE

  1. Avengers: Infinity War ($678.8 million / $2.048 billion)
  2. Black Panther ($700 million / $1.346 billion)
  3. Aquaman ($333.1 million / $1.138 billion)
  4. Bohemian Rhapsody ($213.3 million / $861.1 million)
  5. Mission: Impossible – Fallout ($220.1 million / $791.1 million)
  6. Ant-Man and the Wasp ($216.6 million / $622.6 million)
  7. Ready Player One ($137.6 million / $582.8 million)
  8. Bumblebee ($126.9 million / $459.2 million)
  9. A Star Is Born ($210.9 million / $425.4 million)
  10. Solo: A Star Wars Story ($213.7 million / $392.2 million)
  11. Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse ($185.1 million / $360.5 million)
  12. A Quiet Place ($188 million / $340.9 million)
  13. Creed II ($115.6 million / $212.6 million)
  14. First Man ($44.9 million / $104 million)
  15. The Favourite ($32.2 million / $82.6 million)
  16. Widows ($42.4 million / $75.9 million)
  17. Free Solo ($16.4 million / $19.3 million)
  18. Leave No Trace ($6 million / $7.6 million)
  19. You Were Never Really Here ($2.5 million / $7.4 million)
  20. Roma ($4.1 million)

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