Updated: Feb 20, 2019
By Daniel Tomilson
There was a lot going on in my life the last year and I only saw 29 movies, but I did get to see more from not just Hollywood. This time 2018 is a guideline because a few things were on the edge and I really wanted to share them. While I did see a bunch of movies that were mediocre, I didn’t see enough to make a 2018 Worst list. This review is just my collection of opinions, feel free to agree or disagree but check these out if you haven’t already. Spoilers are ahead!
#5, Next Gen. This is a Netflix Original Movie and feels like the spiritual successor to Big Hero 6. This is a very good example of science fiction, part mystery, part action adventure, and part drama with non-human characters exploring human things and humans trying to justify them. Solid dramatic story about a girl with daddy issues who hates machines in a world where machines are literally everything and everywhere. Also, some really strong themes where the robot with limited memory has to choose between memories or functionality. Defiantly worth the watch if you have Netflix.
#4, Night is Short, Walk on Girl. This was a Japanese Anime movie with subtitles that I saw at an independent theatre. This was the story of a young-adult man and woman in Japan who go on a big adventure over one endless night and end up realizing they both love each other. It is also a very good example for why you should get into this kind of story-telling. CGI is better now than when I was growing up but I hate when cheap CGI meets live actors and you are supposed to take it seriously. Also, this feels like a masterclass in writing where they set up a main character and motivation, and side characters and foreshadowing for side characters within the first five minutes. Also, it’s impressive to see foreign characters who are relatable and have more going on than just a single cliché or trope like the strong man who doesn’t talk much.
#3 Fairy Tails for Emma. I saw this at an international film festival and this is the reason the title is “2018+”, I really wanted to get more people aware. This is a Czech Republic movie with subtitles that starts with a traditional rom-com from a single man’s point of view when suddenly it becomes a heist movie part-way though while making fun of all the rom-com stuff they set up. A man who works for the English government for immigration and to see if marriages or real with citizens and immigrants, finds out he has a daughter from a one-night-stand years ago and the mom just died. He goes over the Czech Republic and decides he likes the kid but finds out he can only take the kid back to England if he can get a hotel concierge to pretend to be his long-time finance, and the three work very hard to fool the government lady. It’s a little contrived that the dad never did a DNA test which would have bypassed the need to adopt his own kid at the end, but this boldly freshens up the rom-com genre without resorting to gross humor or painful slapstick.
#2 Aquaman. If you told me 2 years ago that a solo Aquaman movie would gross over $1 BILLION worldwide, I’d have slapped you in the face. However somehow Aquaman in a good, fun, amazing movie, full of heart and style. I’ve actually been following Jason Mamoa for a long time and I didn’t think he had this in him. Also in an odd turn of events this is a DC movie produced by Warner Brothers, but it’s main effects are handled by Industrial Light & Magic and Lucasfilm. Meaning that Aquaman is the best Star Wars movie of the last 5 years. I still can’t believe how well this works, but it works.
#1 Avengers: Infinity War. Everyone used to talk about how Empire Strikes Back is great because the bad guy wins, which is only one of the reasons that movie is a great sequel, but now they should talk about how Infinity War is how you do a sequel where the bad guy wins. Holy Cow, this is a massive achievement and everyone involved should win a lot of technical awards. In the 90’s the Director of Street Fighter had a meltdown during an interview about trying to do a movie with 10-20 important characters. Somehow the Russo Brothers did a movie with over 70 important characters, and it works. It really feels like The Avengers and friends have a shot and wining but that ending should go down in cinematic history for the most powerful bad guy causing the most harm ever. The only part that doesn’t work is showing us important characters die when they have a sequel a few months later so you know it isn’t serious.
If you have extra time, check out some of these Honorable Mentions. Smallfoot, the graphics look fine for a CGI cartoon but I just wanted to talk about choices and how after the main character discovers the dark secret, he agrees that it is worth keeping the lie in order to save hundreds of lives, usually you just see a basic level of writing where the truth will set you free. Black Panther, way better than it had to be and I’d love to see more high-quality superheroes from places other than the United States of America. Into the Spider-Verse, I liked a lot but it had issues when I watched it in 2D the first time. Marry Poppins Returns, Emily Blunt does an amazing impression of Marry Poppins but it feels a little too modern and not quite a continuation of the original. Thanks for reading, just remember that these are opinions and try to have a nice day.