13 December 2018

Reconciling The Stuff We Wanted to See in 2018

Hey Folks, I promise that we will have the normal flurry of end-of-year posts and that yes, this website does still exist. How could I have gone so long without talking about Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)? Anyway, each and every January we countdown a bunch of crap we're pumped up about. By Decembery time it's time to stroll down that long dark hallway of self-loathing as we realize that everything we look forward to sucks ass. Let's begin!

For the record, here is our original post.

Slice (2018)

Oof I wanted this to be good. So much. It's very original and a great premise that should have been a slam-dunk. Instead it felt rushed and choppy, full of awkward make-up effects, and not nearly enough Chance the Rapper being a cool, casual werewolf. The cast is still incredible, but there's not really enough catharsis for anyone involved. It's also 83 minutes.

Verdict: SUCKED

Hotel Artemis (2018)

I did not get a chance to see this one and it's looking like I won't by the time the year is over. Still, this landed with a surprising thud. Audiences responded with a resounding "That was okay" and despite a dream cast it seemed to miss the mark. I won't fully judge until I watch it with my own eyes, but after expecting a John Wick (2014) and getting anything less, it feels generally disappointing.

Verdict: Probably Sucked

Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)

Kind of in that same vein of a Hotel shoot 'em up premise, this film is actually far from that and a steady directorial hand by Drew Goddard sees it through. It's far too long for its own good and not everything pays off, but it's an all around exciting caper and entertaining flick. Chris Hemsworth is surprisingly vile and Cynthia Ervio combines this with Widows (2018) in a breakout year. At the end though, it comes off as Tarantino-Lite and the story framing doesn't totally work.

Verdict: Good

Infinity War (2018)

This was pretty good. I don't know how you'd follow along if you aren't as well-versed in MCU lore as I am, but I couldn't expect anything better than the product Feige and the Russos threw up on the screen. There are flaws of course, but in a movie like this it's more about feeling (and selling toys) and this had plenty.

Verdict: RULED

Deadpool 2 (2018)

There are some big issues with murdering Morena Baccarin in the first scene and then oddly undoing the whole movie at the end, this was top to bottom a better Deadpool movie. It wasn't nearly as funny or catchy, but no comedy sequel really is. The cast is brilliant and having a ton of fun and the parachute scene works perfect. Celine Dion should be GaGa for the Best Original Song Oscar.

Verdict: Pretty Good

Hold the Dark (2018)

This sucked so hard. Actually the Iraq scene was amazing, but the rest of this film was boring as hell. After Jeremy Saulnier hit the tension and steady progression of action so well in Green Room (2015) I had high expectations. I weirdly like Alexander Skarsgard in anything he's in these days and Jeffrey Wright is always reliable but this film was far too plodding for what should have been a pretty engaging Alaskan Frontier Wolf Murder Mystery movie.

Verdict: SUCKED

Annihilation (2018)

Finally a film that justified my anticipation. Annihilation was full of crazy sci-fi Lovecraftian body horror that was half-Under the Skin (2014) and half-Stargate (1994). Not only that, but it was full of competent female military scientists like it was no big deal. It's not hard to make this work.

Verdict: RULED

The Beach Bum (2019)

Not out yet but we got a trailer!

This looks... like a Harmony Korine film. I'm still down. Whenever it comes out.

Verdict: Looks okay

Widows (2018)

I didn't quite know what to make of this premise and am about to write about this film extensively because there is A LOT to unpack here. It rejuvenates heist films, robbery films, political films, racial films - it's quite an accomplishment that I feel is already slipping under the radar. But well worth it.

Verdict: RULED

Isle of Dogs (2018)

With any kind of movie that elicits controversy we have to acknowledge problematic issues before we dive in. As far as Japanese racism there is a little bit of fetishization here and legitimately no reason for the American exchange student character to even exist, much less have the leadership role she has, but centered on the dogs this is a heartwarming story. There are some plot turns that don't quite make sense, and honestly some puppy characters who could have been consolidated. Also weirdly the female pups are horribly underwritten prizes for the male pups. Alright, there are some issues here. But a lot of cuteness too.

Verdict: Just Watch Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009)

Aquaman (2018)

Have not seen this and probably won't by the time the year ends, but it looks bonkers and I'm so unnaturally pumped for Black Manta. Jason Mamoa is doing crazy publicity rounds and appears like the chillest bro ever. Early reviews and vibe are that this is pretty good, or at least self-aware good, which is good.

Verdict: Probably Okay

The New Mutants (2019)

Whelp. A lot has happened since January 2018. Fox is now Disney and who the hell knows where this possible gem will end up. The X-Men were mature enough that the company was really spinning them in some crazy and creative ways and that's probably over now. This ought to come out next year sometime and with the current Horror Revival going on right now it'll probably turn out alright.

Verdict: Who knows

Others: I predicted Scorcese's The Irishman and Gilliams The Man Who Killed Don Quixote out this year. Well, to be fair I said there's no way either of these are coming out this year. Neither did. The former is, I don't know, still somewhere, and the latter is embroiled in a legal dispute preventing distribution. If we ever watch either it'll be grand.

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