Movies of 2018: A Review

I enjoy movies, I always have. I see more of them these days in retirement;  probably bacause I have a nice movie theater nearby, and senior citizens can get in for $5.  I’ve seen sixteen movies this year, more than usual, but 2018 was an unusually good year for movies.

That’s not to say they were all good. I saw some mediocre movies, notably Winchester,  The 15:17 to Paris, and most of all Vice, which was flat out terrible.

My observation has been that movie quality seems to run in patterns. Every other year, it seems to me, is a good year.  2018 was a good one, so I’m not expecting much next year.

Anyway, here are a few I liked:

Honorable Mention:
Hostiles

Starring Christian Bale, Rosamund Pike and Wes Studi, Hostiles is the story of a Army Captain Joseph Blocker (Bale) charged with taking Cheyenne war chief Yellow Hawk (Studi) and his family from New Mexico back to their tribal home in Montana.

Blocker takes the assignment only under threat of court martial, as he an Yellow Hawk have a history as enemies.

Along the way the group crosses paths with settler Rosalee Quaid (Pike), whose family was massacred by Comanches. She was the only survivor.

There are solid performances here. Christian Bale is restrained and understated but delivers a solid performance.  Rosamund Pike ably demonstrates why she is receiving more and more accolades. Wes Studi delivers his best performance since The Last of the Mohicans.

A Quiet Place

I’m not usually into science fiction or horror films,  but this one definitely has a twist.  Directed by and starring John Krasinski (The Office), and co-starring Emily Blount, this movie is almost totally without dialogue.  Kransinski pulls off the seemingly impossible, holding the viewer’s attention, and keeping the audience on edge for ninety minutes straight.

In a nutshell, it’s about an alien invasion.  The aliens cannot see, but have such an acute sense of hearing, that the slightest sound brings them flying in for the kill. It’s tense, it’s scary, and it’s fun.

7 Days in Entebbe

I enjoy movies based on real events, and I am old enough to remember this 1976 event.  The film stars Rosamund Pike and Daniel Bruel, and follows the events after terrorists highjacked an Air France airplane filled with Israeli’s and landed it in Uganda.

The terrorists demanded ransom and the release of Palestinian militants. The Israeli government instead took the audacious risk to rescue their citizens from over 3000 miles away.

Special Category 

Before I get to the finalists, there was one exceptional film, a documentary which truly stands out

They Shall Not Grow Old

Director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings Trilogy),  produced an extraordinary documentary to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I.

Using archived footage from the British government; Jackson and his team spent three years converting silent black and white film to a full-color sound movie that is absolutely stunning.

The film is both a wonder of the application modern technology, and an emotional story that honors those who fought in that war. This is history coming alive like never before. It is well worth seeing.

The Winners

5. The Mule

This is not Clint Eastwood’s best movie. However, it proves that at 88 years old he can still act and direct with the best of them.

4. A Private War

I’m falling in love with Rosamund Pike. I’ve seen her in four films this year, and her best performance is in this biopic.

Marie Colvin was an American correspondent who worked for the British newspaper The Sunday Times. For twenty-seven years she was the Time’s foreign correspondent, covering wars and conflicts around the world, but most often in the Middle East. She lost an eye during fighting in Sri Lanka, but continued to put herself anywhere there was fighting and a story to report. To say that she was a brave and amazing woman is an understatement.

Rosamund Pike rises to the occasion, and portrays Colvin in a way that does service to one of the best war-time reporters of the modern era.

3. A Star is Born

Oh yeah, I liked this movie, I really did. I was never much of a Bradley Cooper fan until I saw him in American Sniper;  that changed my mind. As far a Lady Gaga — damn, that woman can sing!

Of course this movie is a remake of a remake. People argued over which version was best, but I say who cares? This version has plenty going for it and was a most enjoyable two hours in the theater.

2.Bohemian Rhapsody

I mean really, was 2018 a great year for musical films or what?

You either loved Queen (I do) or you did not. If you were a fan, this is not a movie to be missed.

Rami Melek (Mr. Robot) delivers an uncanny, wonderful performance as Freddie Mercury, the genius behind Queen. Mercury and Queen were outrageous and extraordinary, and this film delivers  by telling their story and by being filled with the music of Queen.

1.The Green Book

Viggo Mortensen is a really good actor.  In this role, based on a true story, he takes on the role of driver for jazz pianist Don Shirley (Mahershala Ali) on a road tour through the deep South in the early 1960’s.

The interaction of the two actors is supurb. It’s a gritty look back at a time of turbulance, though the eyes of two men from different worlds with nothing in common, and the bond that forms between them. Excellent film.

In a year of good films, this one was the winner for me.

Of course, most of these films are gone from theaters now, although some may come back at Oscar time. All should be available on DVD soon.  If you’re looking for a movie some night, you can’t go wrong with most of these.

 

 

 

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