Top 20 Films of 2018

Top 20 Films of 2018

2018 has been a unique year. Typically, when I get to the end of the year, there are a handful of limited releases that haven’t expanded to where I live, and I don’t get to see them until mid-January. This year, there are only one that I want to see that I haven’t managed to get to yet: If Beale Street Could Talk. Because of that, I feel comfortable crafting my year-end list of the best films of 2018 now rather than waiting. I’m going to list twenty, but I’m only going to devote a sentence each to 11-20. Let’s just get right into it!

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OnScreen Review: "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"

OnScreen Review: "Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse"

We are living in a period where we’ve reached peak superhero. The market is saturated with movies as well as TV series that are based on comic books. As much as I enjoy most of them, even I am starting to feel a sense of superhero fatigue at the movie theater. However, Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse is a nice antidote to that creeping fatigue, bursting with creativity, a rich animation palette, and a willingness to get weird.

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OnScreen Review: "Boy Erased"

OnScreen Review: "Boy Erased"

Hollywood has long had this habit of studios putting out twin movies, films that have a similar theme within the same year or months apart from each other. Armageddon and Deep Impact, Mission To Mars and Red Planet, Girls Trip and Rough Night, This Is the End and The World’s End, the list goes on and on. This year, we’ve gotten twin movies out of adaptations of stories about gay conversion therapy. The Miseducation of Cameron Post was released late this summer, an adaptation of a novel.

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OnScreen Review: "Creed 2"

OnScreen Review: "Creed 2"

2015’s Creed was a highly enjoyable and highly successful expansion of the Rocky franchise from director Ryan Coogler. It featured Michael B. Jordan in the role of Adonis Creed, son of Apollo Creed, and Sylvester Stallone’s iconic Rocky sliding into the Mickey for Adonis. Sticking with a familiar formula but also finding ways to be newer and fresh, Creed II is a welcome next chapter.

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Fantasy Box Office – November

Fantasy Box Office – November

I was pretty close. Currently, I’m actually in first place and Greg is in 2nd, but only about $15 million separates us. What accounts for that? Well, the big reason for that is likely Fantastic Beast: The Crimes of Grindewald. I didn’t expect glowing reviews, but I also did not expect a T-meter of 39% for it either. The first Fantastic Beasts was favorably reviewed at 74%. I expected a modest drop off, perhaps somewhere in the 60s or bottoming out in the mid-to-high 50s. 39% is a steep drop and that drop is impacting its revenue too, as it is lagging nearly $50 million compared to the first film at this point. That severely limits Greg’s chances to win.

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OnStream Review: “The Christmas Chronicles”

OnStream Review: “The Christmas Chronicles”

‘Tis the season for Christmas movies—but unless you’re up for cheesy one-liners, subpar child actors and a smooth-talking Santa who winds up in prison, you might want to stay away from Clay Kaytis’ “The Christmas Chronicles”.

This Netflix original takes place on Christmas Eve and follows young, optimistic Kate Pierce (Darby Camp) and her teen brother Teddy (Judah Lewis) as they plan to catch Santa Claus (Kurt Russell) on film but end up hitting a few obstacles along the way.

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OnScreen Review: "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald"

OnScreen Review: "Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald"

I’m not a complete Potterhead, but I am a fan and owner of all the Harry Potter books and movies. I read the entire Deathly Hallows when it came out in one sitting, staying up all night to finish it because I’m a slow reader. I proffer my bona fides as a fan because after two installments of a planned five (FIVE!?!?!?) prequels, I am decidedly not a fan of this Fantastic Beasts franchise and Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindewald may have convinced me that I am ok walking away from this franchise.

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My Top 10 Casting Wishes

My Top 10 Casting Wishes

Every lover of cinema pictures different actors in different roles. When we come to admire or enjoy performers, it’s hard not to think about what kind of part might maximize their talents. Throw in a general love of fiction and stories and it’s easy to start picking and choosing imagined roles for various actors. Basically, we all want to try our hand at casting in one way or another! 

Since I’m not exactly a Hollywood producer or casting director just yet, a list will have to suffice for now. But these are 10 casting wishes I’d love to see come true. 

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OnScreen Review: "Widows"

OnScreen Review: "Widows"

Widows is a film that joins the ranks of State of Play and Edge of Darkness as recent films that have been adapted from a British miniseries. Actually, it jumps to the front of the class of these adaptations. Like Edge of Darkness, Widows originated from the mid-80s and has been ported over to a modern-day American setting. However, whereas those other films were political thrillers, this film is more of a crime thriller with political tones. It is also director Steve McQueen’s first film since the 2013 Oscar-winning Best Picture 12 Years a Slave.

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OnScreen Review: "Bohemian Rhapsody"

OnScreen Review: "Bohemian Rhapsody"

I’m trying something a little different with this review. Instead of doing the traditional, straight forward review of the film, I’m changing it up and going with an “Up/Down” format for this one. Bohemian Rhapsody is a biopic about the life of Queen’s lead singer, Freddie Mercury, directed by Bryan Singer and starring Rami Malek. Let’s get into it.

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The Challenges and Triumphs of Producing a Musical That's Been a Popular Movie

The Challenges and Triumphs of Producing a Musical That's Been a Popular Movie

While a carbon copy of the movie would be great, the feasibility of such a feat is practically impossible, especially within the community theatre setting. With someone as accomplished as Meryl Streep, for example, it’s impossible and unfair to ask someone in any theatre environment to give the same performance. For one, these two individuals have different approaches to the character, and their motivations behind taking the role could vary simply because one received a paycheck. While a local actress could have a faithful following, Streep’s reach and notable resume definitely pull in a large and enthusiastic crowd. While this doesn’t mean a local actress can’t deliver a stellar performance in the role, it does mean she must fight harder to demonstrate that her interpretation is also valid.

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Fantasy Box Office – October

Fantasy Box Office – October

When last we left our intrepid bunch of movie lovers, the fall movie season was on the cusp of kicking off, the rosters were set, and I was ready to defend my crown after winning the summer league. So what has happened in the interim?

OnStage founder Chris Peterson paid off his last place finish by watching his punishment movie, Freddie Got Fingered, a truly miserable experience that he livestreamed to the delight of the rest of us, especially me.

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Scarlett Johansson Is Embracing Black Widow To Become A Multi-Millionaire. We Should Too.

Scarlett Johansson Is Embracing Black Widow To Become A Multi-Millionaire. We Should Too.

With the rise of the action movie and the string of Marvel Universe films, there has been an increase in the number of female actors portraying superheroes. In the past, there was often the view that superhero movies were over-dependent on CGI. Of course, there’s a lot of effects added to these types of movies, but it doesn’t mean that there’s no skill involved.

The actors who take roles in these movies are oftentimes taking a leap from their usual type of film. There is one female actor who has gone on to thrive in the action movie industry, and that is Scarlett Johansson. It’s no secret that she is the highest-earning actor in Hollywood, but it’s also remarkable to see how she has fully embraced the life of an action hero.

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OnScreen Review: "The Favourite"

OnScreen Review: "The Favourite"

Yorgos Lanthimos is one of my favorite active directors. His films are always unique and guaranteed to be at least a little shocking and probably borderline disturbing. His 2015 film The Lobster remains one of my favorite films of this decade. After last year’s The Killing of a Sacred Deer, Lanthimos is back with The Favourite, a period psychodrama about the court of Queen Anne.

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OnScreen Review: "First Man"

OnScreen Review: "First Man"

Biopics are frequently hagiographies, making saints out of their subjects often despite their flaws. Damien Chazelle’s First Man is not in the hagiography business. It’s a straightforward narrative about how mankind got to the moon. That journey culminated on July 20, 1969, but it began nearly a decade earlier, when President John F. Kennedy announced his desire to see a US astronaut on the moon by the end of the decade. That journey is told through the life of Neil Armstrong, the first man who landed on the moon. The film tracks the highs and lows of both Armstrong and NASA on this journey to the moon.

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OnScreen Review: "Venom"

OnScreen Review: "Venom"

Spider-Man is my favorite superhero of all time. Venom is a character that many consider to be the greatest villain in Spidey’s rogues gallery, but I think he is one of the most overrated (and Carnage is right up there with him; go ahead and @ me, I don’t care). He has occasionally been fun to have in Spider-Man video games (in Ultimate Spider-Man for the PS2 you could actually play as Venom). But most importantly, I blame the character for ruining Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 3, a character he swore he didn’t want to do and then the studio essentially strong-armed him. Everything about this Venom spinoff seemed ill-advised and, clearly, I carried a lot of baggage into it. In fact, I had my knives out and I was ready to carve this film up and throw it on the trash heap along with some of my least favorite films that I’ve reviewed, like Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales. And then I watched it and those plans had to go out the window.

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