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Friday, January 4, 2019

My Top Ten Movie Picks of 2018

Image result for unsane movie poster1. Unsane * * * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "Now I read somewhere that Steven Soderbergh had retired as a filmmaker. Yeah whatever. He just couldn't stay away could he. His Unsane is a motion picture that will keep you enthralled and sock in the throat at the same time." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 79%

Image result for searching movie poster2. Searching * * * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "Searching is far and away one of the best Geek Squad movies of 2018. As something that makes mouse double-clicking, secretive livecasting, MapQuest seeking, and Facebook watching so eerie and intricate, Searching "searches" for greatness and nearly achieves it via the belated Age of the Internet." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 92%

Image result for kin movie poster3. Kin * * * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "Kin is dirtied-up, lower class sci-fi, furnished with an earthy post-rock soundtrack and some 70's tunes by the likes of one Joni Mitchell (1974's "Help Me" never sounded so good). Kin is also a thinking man's form of science fiction, relying less on bloodshed and plot over plot and more on character-driven theatrics."
Rotten Tomatometer Score: 30%

Image result for Can you ever forgive me movie poster3. (tie) Can You Ever Forgive Me? * * * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "Can You Ever Forgive Me? is well cast with a somber, piano-driven soundtrack and an attested view of winter in 1990's Manhattan. The flick avoids flimflam and unfolds with a mild-mannered amount of sledgehammer intensity. If you are any kind of writer (like I am), Can You Ever Forgive Me? will intrigue you. And if you like your movies as cinematic hot chocolate on a cold, frigid day, Can You Ever Forgive Me? will make you perk right up." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 98%

Image result for Vice movie poster4. Vice * * * Stars
My quote as a critic: "Vice has out of the box film-making, an uber-skimmed narrative, and a need to sometimes feel like a political, bullet point presentation (don't worry, it's still all good). The pic also announces director Adam McKay as the hottest thing going in Hollywood. Heck, if you let him grab you by the lapels and sweep you into his radical vision (without conventional judgement), Adam's Vice might just "entice" you." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 63%
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5. Den of Thieves * * * Stars
My quote as a critic: "Thieves" is effectively dense, plausibly bold, and tough-talking. Its setting is Los Angeles without the sunshine, the city of angels without the glamour, the back-alley stuff. You can't totally identify it as informal William Friedkin or full on Michael Mann (Heat's Chicagoan director). You can however, deemed it as Michael Mann "manifested". Rotten Tomatometer Score: 41%

6. Mid90s * * * Stars
Image result for mid90s movie posterMy quote as a critic: "Mid90s is a neutered, West Coast version of Kids coupled with personas straight out of Saturday Night Fever (everyone involved is looking for a way out of their existence even though their futures aren't too bright to begin with). Directed by two-time-Oscar-nominee Jonah Hill, Mid90s has an assured vision as Hill creates atmospheric LA in ghetto bird fashion. He's like a more contentious version of Larry Clark." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 77%
Image result for isle of dogs movie poster
7. Isle of Dogs * * * Stars
My quote as a critic: "As a film about a young boy searching for his dog (via an island where illness outbreak pups are banished to), "Isle" is a technical triumph. It has director Wes Anderson using his required trademarks to make eye-popping grandeur a complete understatement. This is Anderson's ode to fictional Japan, his form of made-up dystopia that he was born to put out." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 89%

8. BlacKkKlansman * * * Stars
Image result for blackkklansman movie posterMy quote as a critic: "Like with most Spike Lee endeavors, there is controversy, race-related humor, and plot over plot mechanics. BlacKkKlansman is controversial with its uncomfortable racial epithets yet it's about as straightforward and non-violent a story as Lee has ever concocted (except for maybe 2006's Inside Man). Spike doesn't push the envelope here and at 135 minutes, he only scratches the surface of what unpleasantness BlacKkKlansman could've become." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 95%
Image result for siberia movie poster
9. Siberia * * * Stars
My quote as a critic: "Siberia's director is New York City native and Harvard graduate, Mathew Ross. His first flick titled Frank & Lola (which I have yet to see) supposedly is also of the racy, noir variety. With Siberia, Ross is manifest with his vision. He fills the screen with Siberian landscapes, various close-ups, soft-core sex scene realism, and cold, ominous background lighting. His calculated pacing along with Keanu's scruffy, roughed up stares into the camera, make Siberia work as crossfire fiction." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 11%

10: Ride * * * Stars
Image result for ride movie posterMy quote as a critic: "With Ride, rookie director Jeremy Ungar concocts a seething little flick that feels dangerous and visibly chancy from the opening frame. He careens with long takes and effectively uses the darkened, silhouetted streets of LA as his swallowing backdrop." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 33%

Honorable Mention: Tully, Ready Player One, White Boy Rick, Solo: A Star Wars Story, Game Night. These are all good films that didn't quite make the cut.

And the worst...

1. Occupation * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "Along with cheap special effects, sloppy editing, some laughable slow-motion shots, and the tired adage of documentary-style footage, Occupation's school play acting is pure abomination with its stock characters appearing one-dimensional and childlike." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 38%

2. Tag * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "With the addition of an old school hip-hop soundtrack, some R-rated dialect, a messed up waterboarding scene, and some slo-mo, Jason Bourne-like fight sequences, Tag tries to mask how trivial and flimsy it really is. In truth, it's hard to make an efficacious movie about sneaking up on someone and simply tapping them on the shoulder. Maybe a horror version of blind man's bluff or Capture the Flag might have been a better option." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 57%

3. Gotti * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "Gotti is a skewed, timeline misfire. It features star John Travolta hamming it up, talking into the lens a la Ray Liotta, and sporting yet another fake hairpiece. As far as new releases go in 2018, Gotti tries way too hard to appeal to everyone's gangster sensibilities. Despite decent supporting work from an unrecognizable Kelly Preston (Travolta's actual spouse) and veteran character actor Pruitt Taylor Vance, Gotti is sadly pretty "spotty". Rotten Tomatometer Score: 0%

4. Proud Mary * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "After an opening credits sequence that's a homage to blaxploitation films everywhere, Proud Mary reeks in terms of familiarity and forced habitualness. It descends into becoming a totally stock mob thriller." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 28%

5. The Meg * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "The Meg feels like just another Jaws ripoff with updated special effects, less suspense, and a larger specimen of great white on the cocky prowl (yup, you're gonna need a much bigger boat). The characters that "Meg's" shark reeks havoc on are unappealing and ones you don't really want to root for to survive." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 45%

Written by Jesse Burleson

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