Thursday, January 24, 2019

Phil's Top Ten Films of 2018 - January 2, 2019

Hello again everybody and Happy New Year!! I'm gonna predict that 2019 will be another fantastic year for movies, as was 2018! There were an insane amount of movies that I absolutely loved and found myself walking away feeling completely transformed from viewing it. And that is the power of cinema: taking me somewhere new, showing me something I have never seen before, telling me a story I have never heard of and meet characters I can only imagine meeting. So without further adieu, here are my Top Ten Films of 2018!

10) KING COHEN: Buckle up for KING COHEN, the true story of writer, producer, director, creator and all-around maverick, Larry Cohen (BLACK CAESAR, GOD TOLD ME TO, Q: THE WINGED SERPENT, THE STUFF). Told through compelling live interviews, stills and film/TV clips, the people who helped fulfill his vision, and industry icons such as Martin Scorsese, John Landis, Michael Moriarty, Fred Williamson, Yaphet Kotto and many more, including Larry himself, bring one-of-a-kind insight into the work, process and legacy of a true American film auteur. Few can boast of a career as remarkable or prolific, spanning more than 50 years of entertaining audiences worldwide! It's about damn time that Cohen had a film about himself and his body of work! Fans of this iconic filmmaker will want to look for this informative documentary on the horror streaming app Shudder.

9) ANT-MAN AND THE WASP: In the aftermath of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) grapples with the consequences of his choices as both a Super Hero and a father. As he struggles to re-balance his home life with his responsibilities as Ant-Man, he's confronted by Hope van Dyne (Evangaline Lilly)  and Dr. Hank Pym (Michael Douglass) with an urgent new mission. Scott must once again put on the suit and learn to fight alongside The Wasp as the team works together to uncover secrets from their past. Paul Rudd does a great job as Scott Lang again, bringing his haplessly heroic loser to life once again. But he steps it up immensely, as he’s Hank’s and Hope’s only hope of defeating their newest adversary: Ghost (played spectacularly by Hannah John-Kamen). Both Michael Douglass and Evangaline Lilly return as they lay their emotions out for all to see, as they both discover something (or someone) that they thought was lost forever. And Lilly kicks some major ass in the film! Also returning are Scott’s loveable and goofy friends Luis, T.I., and Kurt.

8) BORG/McENROE: It is the 1980 Wimbledon tennis championship. Bjorn Borg is the number 1 tennis player in the world and the undisputed king of Wimbledon. He has won the tournament four times in a row - a fifth consecutive time would be a world first. However, a new face has appeared in the tennis world and presents a serious threat to Borg's title hopes - John McEnroe. This was LaBeouf’s best performance to date, as he nailed McEnroe’s character and mannerism perfectly! Gudnason shines as Borg and is a dead ringer of him! Both actors commanded the audiences’ attention as we were swept up into the movie. Janus Metz directed the hell out this movie, especially in the third act which kept me on the edge of my seat! For all you fans of this sport, this was one indie film that flew under the radar, so make sure you go see this! One of the film's I saw at last year's Cinequest Film Festival.

7) THE INCREDIBLES 2: In this incredibly heroic, action-packed sequel, Helen is called on to lead a campaign to bring Supers back, while Bob navigates the day-to-day heroics of "normal" life at home with Violet, Dash and baby Jack-Jack -- whose superpowers are about to be discovered. Their mission is derailed, however, when a new villain emerges with a brilliant and dangerous plot that threatens everything. But the Parrs don't shy away from a challenge, especially with Frozone by their side. That's what makes this family so INCREDIBLE. Another hit from Pixar Studios, you cannot help but laugh your head off while you're watching the film. Plenty of jokes for the kids with some sly one for the adults, but overall, it's a great family film! The old gang returns to voice all your favorite characters, plus some newbies to make it fresh and exciting!

6) THE LAST MOVIE STAR: Legendary actor Burt Reynolds stars as Vic Edwards, a washed-up, has-been actor whose glory days a long behind him. When I he accepts to attend the Dallas Film Festival, he is paired with the organizer's eccentric sister Lil (Ariel Winter), who takes him on a trip down Memory Lane, only to discover what it means about growing older and coming to terms with your past. I absolutely loved this movie!! Reynolds' performance was just incredibly poignant, remarkable and all-too real. Sadly, we lost this talented actor this past year, but if there is any justice, fans of the legendary actor will see his greatest performance of all time! Director Adam Rifkin marks his return to the mainstream and a turn in his career. Another film I saw at last year's Cinequest Film Festival.

5) ENTHUSIASTIC SINNERS: The film's about a police officer who comes to the home of a widower after receiving reports of gunshots there. From there, the two embark on a lust filled 24 hour adventure of sex and fun, but ending up falling in love with each other. However, as the day ends, so does their fantasy world and both must face their real world personas. What I really loved about the film that it was a film about adults having sex, enjoying sex and treating it as a human emotion, rather than something that is used for comedic purposes or treated with such disrespect. There is absolutely nothing wrong with sex, but for some reason, we are so hung up on it. Writer/director Mark Lewis treats sex with honesty and care, showing us that it's an emotion, much like love. Actress Maggie Alexander bares not only her body, but her soul and emotions as she bring vulnerability, humor and longing to her character Shelby. Her performance is so raw and captivating that she commands the audiences' attention. My favorite film from last year's Cinequest Film Festival!

4) BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY: BOHEMIAN RHAPSODY is a foot-stomping celebration of Queen, their music and their extraordinary lead singer Freddie Mercury. Freddie defied stereotypes and shattered convention to become one of the most beloved entertainers on the planet. The film traces the meteoric rise of the band through their iconic songs and revolutionary sound. They reach unparalleled success, but in an unexpected turn Freddie, surrounded by darker influences, shuns Queen in pursuit of his solo career. Having suffered greatly without the collaboration of Queen, Freddie manages to reunite with his bandmates just in time for Live Aid. While bravely facing a recent AIDS diagnosis, Freddie leads the band in one of the greatest performances in the history of rock music. Queen cements a legacy that continues to inspire outsiders, dreamers and music lovers to this day.

3) DEADPOOL 2: After surviving a near fatal bovine attack, a disfigured cafeteria chef (Wade Wilson) struggles to fulfill his dream of becoming Mayberry's hottest bartender while also learning to cope with his lost sense of taste. Searching to regain his spice for life, as well as a flux capacitor, Wade must battle ninjas, the Yakuza, and a pack of sexually aggressive canines, as he journeys around the world to discover the importance of family, friendship, and flavor - finding a new taste for adventure and earning the coveted coffee mug title of World's Best Lover. The movie was so damn popular, the studio re-released the film in a PG-13 rated version, with former child actor Fred Savage recreating the intro of THE PRINCESS BRIDE with Deadpool playing Peter Falk's Grandpa role! Yup, it looks like there's no stopping everybody's favorite Merc with a Mouth!!

2) BLACK PANTHER: After the events of CAPTAIN AMERICA: CIVIL WAR, King T'Challa returns home to the reclusive, technologically advanced African nation of Wakanda to serve as his country's new leader. However, T'Challa soon finds that he is challenged for the throne from factions within his own country. When two foes conspire to destroy Wakanda, the hero known as Black Panther must team up with C.I.A. agent Everett K. Ross and members of the Dora Milaje, Wakandan special forces, to prevent Wakanda from being dragged into a world war. never thought that I would see a film like this: an African cast, filled with African clothing, African beliefs and traditions, and the lead is an African superhero. When "The King" Jack Kirby and Stan "The Man" Lee unleashed the Black Panther in The Fantastic Four back in 1966, little did they know that they were making history. Here is a black cast, directed by a black director, is one of the highest grossing films of all time!! It's time to wake up Hollywood and smell the change!!

1) AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR: As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos. A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality. Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment - the fate of Earth and existence itself has never been more uncertain. The fact that I saw this film in the theaters FOUR FREAKING TIMES should indicate how much i enjoyed it!! The MCU forever changed with this one movie, and the repercussions are still being felt! Now with the sequel coming this April, Marvel fans will finally see how this all plays out, and who will be leaving the MCU forever!! My favorite film of 2018!!

And there you have it folks! My Top Ten Films of 2018! It looked like the year that comic book based movies and animated family films prevailed. But every year this list gets harder and harder to put together, but these were films that really made an impact on me, and I sincerely hope you enjoyed reading my picks. So if by chance there are films here that you haven't seen yet, I encourage you to check them out. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised by them!

Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for including our film "Enthusiastic Sinners" on your list, Phil! - Mark Lewis