Life Update and 2018 in Film

Howdy folks,

It’s been quite a long time since you’ve heard from me on this blog. There’s a lot of reasons for this. Today,  I want to list these off and explore a few of them with you, but I also want to catch you up to date on all the films I’ve seen this year. If all you want to know is what I’ve seen and what I thought about it, then scroll on down to the end.

For the past year, I’ve been finishing my senior year at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. The generic excuse here would be that I’ve been extremely busy and simply haven’t had the time to go see as many new films as I would like. Well, as it turns out, this is only half-way true for me. I have been very busy, but the time I have spent watching movies has not declined in the slightest. The truth is that almost all of my creative energy has been diverted to other elements in my life. I have become very involved in more personal writings and have also been working diligently on scripts that I plan to take with me to LA in my journey to become a filmmaker.

I generate creative energy by channeling my thoughts and emotions into whatever it is that I’m making. This means that wherever and whatever my thoughts and emotions linger on will inform my creation. In order to be honest with you and with myself, I need to come clean and say that my thoughts and emotions have not been lingering on film.

When I started writing my reviews, and up till about a year ago, I remember being able to conjure up the vast majority of my blog posts on the drive back home from the movie theater. I had plenty of creative energy to spend on these reviews and I honestly loved writing about the movies I was seeing, even if I didn’t love the movies themselves.

But that was a year ago. It’s now 2018. In the past months I’ve seen a myriad of films – good and bad – and haven’t posted a single review on any of them. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had plenty to say about many of these films, but what I’ve lacked is the creative energy to make my normal reviews. My creative energy has to be focused on wherever my passions lie in the moment, and my passions lie wherever I feel the most purpose in my life.

I told myself when I started this blog that I would do my best to be as apolitical as I possibly could be. I did not expect that I would feel the need to comment on the results of the last election, nor did I expect that I would make a post dedicated to the political controversy that is still haunting the NFL to this very day.

The truth is that I no longer believe myself capable of writing something that is truly apolitical. On top of this, attempting to remain apolitical would simply go against my beliefs. I have found it nearly impossible to make room for movie reviews in my creative output with these things in mind.

So anyway, all this being said, I don’t plan on shutting down my blog, but there might be a lot more non-film related posts popping up in the future. I know this is bad news for some of you, but it’s just the way things are going to have to be as I continue to develop as a writer.

However, I don’t want to leave you hanging without mentioning something about the movies I’ve seen since the start of 2018. With that in mind, here’s a short list of the shining stars and black holes that I’ve seen in the past several months.

 

– Annihilation is a scif-fi… um… horror… thriller… drama……….thing? It’s a movie directed by Alex Garland and starring Natalie Portman. This is easily the best film I’ve seen this year. However, I feel the need to repeat and emphasize something I said in my review of Blade Runner 2049, “this movie is not for everyone.”  Score: 8.8/10

– Game Night is easily one of the best directed American comedies I’ve seen in several years. It’s not the funniest movie of all time, but it’s so refreshing from the drivel of mediocre American comedy films that I can’t not love it. It was directed and written by the same guys that did the most recent Spiderman movie. Score: 8.2/10

– Black Panther was pretty good. It was an atypical Marvel film, which I appreciated a lot, but was lacking in certain areas that failed to push me over the like-to-love fence. That being said, regardless of its quality, it is one of the most important blockbusters in cinema history. I would still consider it a must-see. Score: 7/10

– The Cloverfield Paradox is a Netflix original that was made because some poor, misguided soul thought that it was necessary for the events of Cloverfield and 10 Cloverfield Lane to be explained. It’s dumb, but at the very least it has competent performances and tries its best. Score: 5.7/10

– Pacific Rim Uprising…. I actually attempted to watch this movie and was forced to stop myself around the 40-minute mark because it was easily one of the worst and longest first acts in any film I’ve ever seen.  Score: 3.2/10

– Isle of Dogs is Wes Anderson’s latest animated flick. It’s not one of his best works, but it still has the same heart and charm of his other films. There are a few inconsistencies in the script, which kind of threw me off, but it’s still a good film. Score: 7.8/10

– A Quiet Place is good but a tad over-hyped in my opinion. If you enjoy the technical aspects of what goes into making a really good thriller, then this is a must-see. A few script elements kept me from falling head over heels. Score: 7.3/10

– Infinity War. I reluctantly admit that this was the biggest surprise of the year so far. While I’m disappointed in what I believe to be some obvious set ups for the next installment, this would be a great stand-alone film. Score: 8.1/10

– Deadpool 2 was exactly what I expected. It’s not a copy of the first, but maintains the same humor and actually manages to expand the emotional arc of its title character. It is hard to critique movies like this though… Score: 7.5/10

– Solo was mediocre at best. I think a lot of people are going to have fun at it, but I’d urge those people not to think too much about the movie afterwards. The script is chock-full of things that made me ask “…why??” out loud in the theater. Also, this may not actually be worth mentioning, but I find more to not like about it with each passing day. Score: 6/10

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