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Top 10 Best Films of 2018

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10. Searching

I admit, the trailer makes this film seem like a well produced Lifetime movie. But if you actually watched it, you’ll uncover a surprisingly great mystery, thriller! The beginning is essentially a live-action adaptation of the first 5 minutes of Up. The story is told through a computer screen bouncing around different platforms, from Facebook to FaceTime. Emotions are conveyed from all kinds of computer movements, even a conflicted mouse cursor.  Searching is so brilliantly executed and is furthered by its well-rounded cast.

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9. Crazy Rich Asians

Who knew that when Warner Bros acquired Crazy Rich Asians they were producing one of the most talked about films of the year! I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the romantic comedies are sadly dying. Rarely are any seeing the light of the big screen, but films like last year’s The Big Sick and Crazy Rich Asians are reviving the genre. And, thank God for it. Something as simple as taking a formula we’ve already seen, but through the eyes of a different culture makes the story fresh. And it doesn’t hurt that we’re getting to see elaborate, colorful parties and the most beautiful wedding scene. Crazy Rich Asians is both visually and emotionally captivating.‬

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8. Beautiful Boy

Steve Carell and Timothee Chalamet excellently play real life father/son, David and Nic Sheff. Their relationship starts off as an admirable one. They are close and truly care for each other. Which is why it is so hard to watch Nic’s addiction to crystal meth. Never have I seen and felt the pain parents must feel when all they want and try to do is help their child in need. But ultimately, they are enabling their problem. It’s gut-wrenching when you have to come to terms with the fact that you can’t help someone who doesn’t want to help themselves. Carell does a fine job, but it’s Chalamet who gives his best performance yet.  Quite possibly an Oscar worthy one?

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7. Tully

Tully has stayed with me ever since I watched it back in May. It wasn’t what I expected at all and you have to power through a very uncomfortable scene. But once you get to the end, it will all be worth it. Charlize Theron plays a mother of 3 who hires a night nanny (MacKenzie Davis). In case you don’t know what that is; it’s a baby sister that comes to your house in the middle of the night and allows you to sleep while she watches your baby until the morning. I’d prefer to not reveal anymore about the film, but just know it’s a good one. Tully will leave you appreciating all the efforts moms go through everyday, and understanding why any bit of help can go a long way.

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6. BlacKkKlansman

So, I did not know this actually happened! Ron Stallworth (played by John David Washington) was an African American police officer, who successfully managed to infiltrate a local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate (Adam Driver) who eventually became the group’s leader. It’s an incredible and mind blowing story that is unfortunately relevant to today. Just wait for that ending. Though the film tackles a serious subject, they sprinkle a lot of laughs along the way. Not only is BlacKkKlansman a good movie, it truly is a film EVERYONE should see.

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5. Avengers: Infinity War

Back in 2012 when the first Avengers film came out, I was blown away by the merging of all these superheroes in one movie. It was the greatest thing ever, because Marvel knew how to develop characters and make us care about each of the superheroes on screen; while also hooking us into an entertaining story-line. Since then, they have continued to keep us enthralled with stand alone Avenger films and sequels. Finally leading up to what we’ve all been waiting for, the show down with Thanos! With even more characters to follow, Marvel handled Infinity War perfectly. Giving our heroes and villains the right balance of screen time, and also providing audiences with an original premise. Our villain doesn’t want to destroy the world, he actually wants to save it. Unfortunately, his plan requires wiping out half of everyone on earth. Infinity War is filled with emotion, thrilling action, and a haunting cliff-hanger.

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4. Love, Simon

Remember that talk about reviving romantic comedies?  Well, Love, Simon is also another great example of just that. It’s a fun and surprisingly deep film that sets a new standard for the teen romantic comedy genre, while also breaking new ground in its portrayal of coming out. A film like this one is long overdue, but better late than never.   The movie is elevated by its strong cast and beautifully written script. From High School crushes to fears of being your true self,  Love, Simon is relatable on so many levels. And prepare for an inspiring monologue by Jennifer Garner that will move you to tears.

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3. Green Book

This true story will warm everyone’s heart! I cried at the end because I was so happy over what I had just seen. Green Book follows an Italian-American bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) whose been hired to chauffeur and protect and African-American classical pianist (Mahershala Ali) on a tour through the deep South in the 1960s. Mortensen’s performance is my favorite of the year. He and Ali are a dynamic duo, sharing wonderful on-screen chemistry. Though this is a film about it’s characters, there is still an engaging story about a beautiful friendship.

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2. Black Panther

Seeing Black Panther for the first time this past February was a true cinematic experience. When we first met Chadwick Boseman’s character, T’Challa, in the Civil War, he was seeking revenge for his father’s death. In Black Panther, T’Challa returns as the new king of the secretive and technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda.  But the mysterious Erik Killmonger (superbly played by Michael B. Jordan),threatens Wakanda when he challenges T’Challa’s title as King. Black Panther remains intriguing from start to finish with its heart-pounding action sequences and its socially relevant, complex narrative. It explores issues of power and privilege, as Wakanda is torn about whether or not they should share its technological advances and risk having it fall into the wrong hands.

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1. A Quiet Place

I rarely ever call movies “perfect”. But this is a perfect film in the sense that I wouldn’t change a thing about it. John Krasniski’s passion project, in which he directed, wrote and starred in, is about a family’s fight for survival from alien-like monsters with a keen sense of hearing. Such a simple premise is crafted into an original, genuinely horrifying thriller. The film forces audiences to BE SILENT, as this is an excruciatingly quiet movie. It will essentially have you holding your breath until the very end. You are left thinking about A Quiet Place long after the film is over.

The Rest of the Films that Deserve Recognition:

11. A Star is Born
12. Instant Family
13. Boy Erased
14. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
15. The Oath
16. Isle of Dogs
17. Eighth Grade
18. Deadpool 2
19. Aquaman
20. Creed 2

Top 5 Worst Films of 2018

5. The Nun- So much potential, but falls so flat.

4. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom- How dare you put us through this movie and the death of that Brachiosaurus!

3. Pacific Rim: Uprising- I had forgotten I watched this movie.  It’s too bad I couldn’t keep it that way.

2. Venom- Turns out to be a comedy with no laughs.

1. The 15:17 to Paris- WTF happened here!?

Trevor’s Top 10

Honorable Mention: Creed 2
10. Beautiful Boy
9. Sicario: Day of the Dead
8. BlacKkKlansman
7. Spider-Man Into the Spider-Verse
6. Avengers: Infinity War
5. A Quiet Place
4. Tully
3. Boy Erased
2. Black Panther
1. Green Book

Top 10 Best Films of 2017

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10. It
Though the 1990’s “It” mini-series scared me as a kid, it also bored me at times as it was a very drawn out film. Well, the latest version of “It” is perfectly packaged with thrills, humor, and a great plot. The remake of the iconic Georgie/sewer scene is enough to pull you in. Though some may argue the movie is not very scary, there’s no doubt that it’s a well-made adaptation with a talented young cast. “Stranger Things” star Finn Wolfhard shows a cruder and hilarious side as Richie.  Wolfhard and the rest of his cast-mates make you wish you were a part of “The Losers Club”.

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9. The Greatest Showman
Sometimes you just want to see a film for pure entertainment purposes, regardless of it’s generic story-line. Well “The Greatest Showman” hooked me in from the start with its spectacular opening number.  From there, I was in for laughter, tears, show-stopping acts, and a toe-tapping original soundtrack. “The Greatest Showman” goes beyond P.T. Barnum’s thirst for success. It also touches on the relevant topics of treating everyone like equals, inter-racial relationships, and embracing your individuality. “The Greatest Showman” is one of the few films that had me balling and in awe at the same time.  Side note: I bought the soundtrack immediately after watching  the film. Yes, it’s that good.

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8. Thor: Ragnarok
The last two Thor films, were more serious and only had glimmers of Hemsworth’s humor. Well, this time audiences got to see more of a “Guardians of the Galaxy” type of tone. “Thor: Ragnarok” is a light-hearted comedy adventure that is way more fitting for Chris Hemsworth’s comedic chops. The entire cast shines, including a vile Cate Blanchett as the evil Hela and Tessa Thompson plays an incredibly fierce heroine. “Thor: Ragnarok” is easily the most entertaining of the three movies, if not the best one.

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7. Lady Bird
Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut is an endearing coming-of-age story about Christine McPhearson (Saoirse Ronan), who only goes by the name she’s chosen, Lady Bird. She goes through the typical teenage drama of crushes, wanting popularity, college applications, and of course, constant bickers with her family. Laurie Metcalf and Saoirse Ronan’s tumultuous mother/daughter relationship is both relatable and heartbreaking. The two give very genuine and raw performances. “Lady Bird” is an excellent portrayal of teenage vulnerability.

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6. I, Tonya
I remember the attack on Nancy Kerrigan so well. At the time, I thought the incident was shocking and very serious.  Director Craig Gillespie has decided to take a comedic route in telling the story of Tonya Harding (Margot Robbie) and the infamous attack, and it’s genius! I mean, thinking back, how stupid was the guy that decided to bash the legs of an Olympic skater at the Olympic practice rink, with everyone there!? “I, Tonya” points out all the idiocy in the planned attack and Harding’s less than angelic personal life/ ice-skating career. Margot Robbie and Allison Janney give Oscar worthy performances.  And Janney’s portrayal as Harding’s mother is just as haunting as J.K. Simmons’ role in “Whiplash.” There is also heart in this comedy and by the end you truly empathize with Harding and all she’s been through.

5. The Disaster Artist
I, and most “The Room” fans, have been excited about this film since the moment we heard it was going to be made.  But I was thrilled when the film exceeded my expectations as a surprisingly touching and hilarious movie. James Franco shines in his best performance yet and has my vote for Best Actor of 2017. He fully immerses himself into the extremely odd, yet sensitive Tommy Wiseau. “The Disaster Artist” provides plenty of laughs but underneath the comedy there is an endearing story about a passionate guy who persistently goes after his dreams of being a “real Hollywood star” and you can’t help feel for the poor delusional guy.

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4. Raw
Most of you are probably wondering what this movie even is. “Raw” is a French mystery, horror about a young vegetarian (Garance Marillier) who eats raw meat as part of a college hazing ritual and develops a taste for it, and humans in particular. The film has it’s gruesome scenes, but is so captivating and unique that you’re kept on edge until the very end. It’s best to not give too much away, just watch! “Raw” is an exciting and unforgettable movie.

 

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3. Wonder Woman
The DC Extended Universe has been struggling for a while now with its past few films, but thank God for “Wonder Woman”! It is the best film of its franchise! There’s a proper balance between the film’s humor and serious tone.  AND a huge round of applause is in order for finally having a central focus that prevents the audience’s heads from spinning in confusion half way through the movie. You empathize with Wonder Woman when she’s in pain, while also getting pumped when she’s beating down a villain. The film is great as whole, but it’s the casting that makes this movie a knockout. Chris Pine charms as Steve Trevor, and Gal Gadot was born to play Wonder Woman. It is a thrilling and inspiring superhero movie.

2. Get Out
Every once in a while a horror flick comes along that not only scares, but also includes plenty of laughs along the way. In the past few years, films like “The Visit” and “The Guest” have provided this full package. And comedian Jordan Peele (“Key and Peele”) captured this rarity again, and presented us with the gift of his directorial debut, “Get Out”. Peele’s script is sharp, witty, and terrifying. There are subtle Hitchcock-like notes in his story telling, and the cast only furthers the film with their well-rounded performances.

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1. The Big Sick
I could go on forever talking about how much I love this film, but I’ll try to keep it brief. For a while now, people have been saying the romantic comedy is a dying genre. Thankfully, “The Big Sick” has officially revived rom-coms! Based on the real-life romance of Kumail Nanjiani and his wife, Emily V. Gordon, “The Big Sick” tells the story of Pakistan-born comedian and grad student who fall in love, but struggle as their cultures clash. When Emily contracts a mysterious illness and is put into a coma, Kumail gets to know her feisty parents (Holly Hunter and Ray Romano) and discovers his true feelings for Emily. “The Big Sick” is an unconventional love story with a lot of layers.  It’s a film I’ve watched repeatedly this year.

The Rest of the Films that Deserve Recognition:

11. Wind River
12. Gifted
13. Coco
14. Blade Runner 2049
15. Spider-man: Homecoming
16. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
17. Brad’s Status
18. Logan
19. Thelma
20. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Top 5 Worst Films of 2017

5. Landline- Lots of cheating that made no sense.

4. Rings- The first film is gold, everything else after should be nonexistent.

3. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets- Pretty movie, horrible script!

2. Snatched- I’m sorry this was Goldie Hawn’s comeback film?

1. Transformers: The Last Knight- A lot of loud crap.  STOP making these!!!

Top 10 Best Films of 2015

 

10. The Revenant
As most of my colleagues have said, The Revenant isn’t a film, it’s an experience. Though, I can’t say it would be high on my re-watch-ability list. It is quite possibly the most unforgettable film this year. Largely due to an epic bear fight, in which images of that sequence are forever burned in my brain. Leonardo DiCaprio gives his most physically demanding and best performance yet! This film is beautifully shot, and with little dialogue director Alejandro G. Iñárritu still manages to captivate audiences through the entire 2 hours and 36 minutes.

9. Spotlight
Though this is a kind of slow burn film, it is worth patiently waiting for these reporters to gather all their research on the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Church. As Spotlight nears its conclusion with the Boston Globe publishing one of the most shocking revelations in history, you’re in for a powerful and emotional ending that I didn’t even expect to be so moved by.

8. The Hateful 8
I don’t know how Quentin Tarantino keeps doing it, but The Hateful 8 is just another great work of art by the iconic director. His dialogue never ceases to amaze me. As we watch the first half of the film trying to figure out the mystery among these peculiar characters, we wait in anticipation for the mind blowing second act that ends in true Tarantino style.

7. Room
For those who haven’t heard of this film, please do yourself a favor and see it right away! After being held captive in a room for over 5 years, we are shown the emotional trauma that follows after finally escaping and entering the real world. Room features an Oscar-worthy performance by Brie Larson and a breakout performance by Jacob Tremblay.

6. It Follows
These days horror films are rarely interesting and hardly scary, but It Follows manages to tell an original and clever story along with many scream-out-loud moments. The soundtrack only adds to this surprisingly, entertaining thriller that will leave you thinking twice before having unprotected sex.

5. Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Overall I have enjoyed almost all of the Star Wars films, but man, the recent piece to the saga is amazing! I can’t help but geek out talking about it. Not only is it a great continuation of the story filled with non-stop action and excitement, but all the new characters are likable and blend in perfectly with the return of the old.

4. Trainwreck
A good comedy that can make you truly laugh out loud and provide originality is like finding a diamond in the rough. And this year that diamond is Trainwreck. Amy Schumer has brought a whole new level of funny with the comedy about a commitment-phobic woman who never thought monogamy was possible, until she meets the one guy (Bill Hader) worth trying to commit with. There’s humor, there’s heart, and there’s Hader.

3. Inside Out
Not since Toy Story has an animated film hit me so hard with the reality of how sad growing up can be. Let’s put aside the fact that this script is smart and beyond creative. Inside Out is a bitter-sweet tale that reminds us of how simple our emotions were when we were kids and how much easier it was to stay joyful. Though there is a gloom to getting older and life’s changes, Inside Out also shows us the positive side of broadening our emotions.

2. The Martian
Well done Ridley Scott!!! Finally you make up for the crap that was The Counselor and Exodus: Gods and Kings. The past two years we’ve seen a visually stunning space film with Gravity and a confusing, long space film with Interstellar. But it’s 2015 that has brought us the best space movie yet! The Martian is the whole package film. Surprisingly enough, there is a lot of comic relief and the script does an excellent job of explaining the science in the film without going over the audiences’ head. With a running time of 2 hours and 24 minutes, the film never loses steam. The Martian is a beautifully shot and hilarious thrill ride.

1. Me and Earl and the Dying Girl
I wish this film got more recognition. Might be hard to remember back in July when ME and Earl and the Dying Girl came out, but it has stuck with me since. Alfonso Gomez-Rejon tells this story in such a John Hughes like manner that it almost feels nostalgic. This isn’t just a film about a girl with cancer. It’s her story told through point of view a new friend who is just now getting know her. With its awkwardly realistic dialogue, Me and Earl and the Dying Girl is funny and incredibly moving.

Top 5 Worst Films of 2015

5. Adult Beginners– A less funny and messy version of The Skeleton Twins.

4. Jupiter Ascending– What a waste of perfectly good special effects.

3. Aloha– What a waste of a perfectly good cast.

2. Hot Pursuit– Still wondering why Reese Witherspoon was an accomplice to this crime.

1. By the Sea– What the f***!?!?

 

 

Top 10 Best Films of 2013

I have to say this was by far the toughest list I have had to make. 2013 proved to be one of the BEST years for film! I’m aware that I didn’t pick some obvious masterpieces, but that’s not because they weren’t as good as the other films I chose. With so many great films, I just had to go with which ones always stayed in my mind every week. I’ll keep it short and sweet as to why the films below have made my top 10 list!

Side Note: I have not yet seen “Her,” “In A World…,” “August: Osage County” or “Inside Llewyn Davis.”

gravity10. “Gravity”

The best way to sum up “Gravity” is “breath-taking!” The visual effects are the best I have seen in any film. If you were to tell me they shot the movie in space, I would believe it. For now, I will assume that this is what space looks like. Sandra Bullock carries the film; you feel as if you are practically tethered to the space suit with her. Alfonso Cuarón has taken a terrifying thought and turned it into a captivating, 90-minute mission of endurance.

the-wolf-of-wall-street-poster copy9. “The Wolf of Wall Street”

Director Martin Scorsese has teamed up with Leonardo Dicaprio once again to make their most hilarious and best film yet! The film is three hours long, but moves quickly because of how fast paced each scene plays out. Regardless of the time, you are blown away by the unforgettable performance DiCaprio delivers.

kings_of_summer_ver48. “The Kings of Summer”

A fantastic coming-of-age story anyone can relate to: three friends build their own secret house in the woods to gain independence and escape their suffocating parents. Nick Robinson finally gets a chance to prove he is more than just the dim-witted brother from the ABC Family series, “Melissa & Joey.” The film is funny, emotional and nostalgic for anyone who grew up watching some of the best coming-of-age films in the ’80s and early ’90s.

twelve_years_a_slave7. “12 Years a Slave”

I don’t think this one needs any explaining— just watch the film. It is easily the best ensemble cast of the year. “12 years a Slave” features breakout performances by Chiwetel Ejiofor and Lupita Nyong’o. Not to mention Michael Fassbender’s most disturbing and brilliant role since 2011′s “Shame.” This film is a sure to be an Oscar contender for Best Picture and a possible winner!

frozen_ver86. “Frozen”

You might as well give this film the Oscar for Best Animated Feature right now. All the wonderful things you have been hearing about it is true. It’s nice to know Disney can still produce films that give audiences the “Disney Magic” feeling. Already considered a Disney classic, “Frozen” features one of the best soundtracks of the year, including the fantastic original song, “Let it Go,” performed by Idina Menzel.

hunger_games_catching_fire_ver325. “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire”

“Catching Fire” is in every way better than the first “Hunger Games.” The acting and directing is better. There is more character development and much more chemistry between Katniss (Jennifer Lawrence) and both her love interests, Peeta (Josh Hutcherson) and Gale (Liam Hemsworth). It’s an exciting and fun action adventure that you can’t get enough of.

rush4. “Rush”

This film is so much more than race cars and sex. The rivalry between Formula One drivers James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl) brings out more than just a competition on the track. It is amazing to see how much an “enemy” can impact your life— for the good and bad. Hemsworth and Brühl give amazing performances and director Ron Howard shows us once again he can take a simple, true story and turn it into a cinematic masterpiece.

short_term_twelve3. “Short Term 12″

You may not have even heard of this film, but it is absolutely worth looking up and watching. Brie Larson gives a phenomenal Oscar-worthy performance (chances are she could get snubbed this year). “Short Term 12″ is a raw and revealing drama that shows the gut-wrenching perspective of neglected youths.

prisoners_ver32. “Prisoners”

I wish this film would have gotten more praise than it has. The acting alone was incredible, especially Hugh Jackman. I know it is up against stiff competition, but it is high on my list for good reason. It’s the details in “Prisoners” that make this film so exciting to watch. Besides being on the edge of your seat and dying to find out what happened to these kids, you’re filled with important facts that will eventually all tie together in the end. “Prisoners” falls right there with films like “Gone Baby Gone” and “Mystic River”: a gloomy, exciting mystery with an original, satisfying ending.

way_way_back1. “The Way, Way Back”

Think way, way back in July, when you might have seen a preview for this film. Sadly, my favorite film of the year was probably seen by very few. I will admit the dark comedy genre is usually my preference, but it’s the message in this film that has stuck with me all year. I think we all have met that person that has made us doubt ourselves, and lead us to believe we aren’t as special as we think we are. Most of the characters in this film feel they need someone’s seal of approval to be happy with the person they are; thinking that there is some sort of norm that we must follow to fit in. “The Way, Way Back” teaches us that, what makes us truly happy in life is the path we create for ourselves.

Honorable Mentions: “The Dallas Buyers Club,” “This is the End,” “About Time,” “Don Jon,” “Enough Said,” “The Spectacular Now,” and “Captain Phillips.”

Bottom 5: “Getaway,” “The Counselor,” “The Big Wedding,” “Kick-Ass 2″ and “Spring Breakers.”

Originally posted on RedCarpetCrash.com