Archive for Movie Board

My Favorite Movies I Saw in 2021

Posted in Blog Series, Movie Board, movies with tags , , , , on January 14, 2022 by Paxton

Movie Report

2021 continues to be an odd year for movie watching.  I got to go to the theater for a few things, yes, but most of the movies I watched this past year were at home.

Anyway, I keep my list of movies watched (with some small reviews) in two places, similar to my books list.  The first is the usual Google Spreadsheet.  That list is easier to get an overall view of the year and pick out favorite entries because I have it all color coded based on rating and year released.  The other place I keep a list of the movies I watch is over on Letterboxd.  So check me out there.  I’ve been trying to keep up with my reviews on that site much better than I have previously.

So, on to my list.  Rules are like my books, only movies new to me in 2021 are eligible. So in 2021, I was able to see a bunch of “released in 2021” movies.  Not all of them.  Probably less than I really would have liked, but it was a good amount.  So I can go back to the original way I used to present this list, before having to abandon it last year.  So first I’ll do a list of my favorite movies released in 2021.  Then, I think in a separate article, I’ll do a list of my favorite movies I watched for the first time in 2021.  Those can be from any year.  But in this article I’m focusing on 2021 released movies and a few stats from Letterboxd.

So let’s see what my favorite things to watch in 2021 were. And like my books/comics, I’ll give you a “Baker’s Five” (which means 6).

I got most of my images and links from Wikipedia.

Old Henry
Old Henry (2021)
– This movie snuck in at the literal last minute.  I watched it on 12/31/2021.  I had heard a podcaster talk about this for their year end round up, and I was intrigued, so I looked it up.  It sounded interesting, so I watched it.  And WOW.  This movie was fantastic.  An old farmer and his son are living in the Oklahoma territory in the early 1900s when they discover an unconscious man with a saddlebag full of cash.  He claims to be a lawman.  But a group of men show up to the farm asking about the man and they claim to also be the law.  Go in knowing only that much.  I don’t want to give away any of the twists and turns.  Enjoy.  So happy to have a western on the list this year.

The Harder they Fall
The Harder They Fall (2021)
– What’s this?  A *second* western made it on the list this year?  Honestly, a third western could have also made it on the list here but it was made in 2020, not 2021.  Anyway, this western has a dynamite cast with Idris Elba, Regina King, Delroy Lindo, Jonathan Majors, Zazie Beetz, and Lakeith Stanfield.  They are all playing actual historical figures like Stagecoach Mary, Cherokee Bill, Rufus Buck, and Bass Reeves.  It’s a super stylish western, that reminds me of old spaghetti westerns, but it also has a more modern soundtrack with a super eclectic mix of music that sounds like blues, gospel, rock and rap.  It’s a revenge western where Nat Love is after Rufus Buck and his gang for something that happened when he was a kid.  Like I said, very stylish, great dialogue, wonderful cast.  Check it out.

Army of Thieves
Army of Thieves
– This movie is a prequel to Zack Snyder’s Army of the Dead.  So I saw that movie last year and didn’t like it.  It was two half baked ideas smashed into one; an okay zombie movie and a not very good heist movie.  So when this came out, I was not interested in a Zack Snyder prequel to Army of the Dead.  AT ALL.  However, then I realized that Zack only produced this.  It’s directed and produced by the movie’s star, Matthias Schweighöfer.  And Schweighöfer’s character, Deiter, is the only one that shows up from the previous movie.  It’s about Deiter’s first heist job that puts him on the path to become the best safe cracker in the world.  Also in this is Nathalie Emmanuel, who plays Ramsey in the last few Fast & Furious movies.  This movie was a lot of fun.  It was very stylish.  And most importantly, you don’t need to have seen Army of the Dead to enjoy it.

Shang-Chi
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
– I had a hard time nailing down the final three movies in this list.  Two of them are Marvel movies and one is a DC movie.  But they could have been three others.  But I’m sticking to my guns.  Shang-Chi.  I’ve been a fan of kung fu movies forever.  And comics books.  So I became a fan of Shang-Chi back in junior high when I discovered him in one of those Handbook to the Marvel Universe character guides.  I used to draw pictures of him for extra credit in art class.  Anyway, this movie was simultaneously not what I expected, but almost everything I wanted.  The lead, Simu Liu, is a great Shang-Chi.  I love Awkwafina as his comedic partner.  Michelle Yeoh.  The fight choreography.  The epic storytelling.  Tony Leung as Wenwu.  And Trevor Slattery.  I loved it all.  If I had to nit pick something, it’d be the end.  When the giant CGI dragons come out.  I didn’t need that.  It took focus away from Shang-Chi and his dad.  But again, that’s a nit pick, I loved everything else.

Black Widow
Black Widow
– Here we go, another Marvel movie.  Yes, I am 100% in the bag for most of these movies.  This one is no different.  We finally get the Black Widow movie we should have gotten back after the first Avengers movie in 2012.  I’m sad Hawkeye had virtually no part in this.  However, ScarJo and Florence are amazing as Natasha and Yelena.  We are introduced to Yelena here and if she’s becoming the “new Black Widow”, then I am totally on board.  She is awesome.  I love Rachel Weisz, and she’s pretty good in here.  I’m not a big fan of David Harbour, but he’s actually pretty funny as Alexei.  If I have any problem at all, it’s with how Alexei is written, not Harbour’s performance.  At the beginning of the movie he gives up the two girls to the Red Room too easily. He knows where they are going.  He should have said something. I get it, he’s Russian, he does what his gov’t says.  But he barely looked torn or upset at what was happening.  Just reserved.  Then, when he returns later, the character is all laughs and one-liners and it felt like they were trying to make you forget the fact he gave the girls up to the Red Room in the beginning of the movie.  I really didn’t like that.  But, that’s a small problem in a movie I loved so much else.  I also liked this movie’s version of Taskmaster.  Lots of fun action beats and a good amount of humor, especially between Natasha and Yelena, which is the heart of this movie.

Suicide Squad
Suicide Squad
– I had revolved through several choices for this last pick.  I’m going to go with this for several reasons.  It surprised me.  I saw the first Suicide Squad movie in the theater, and I watched it later on home video.  I liked it in the beginning, but it went WAY off the rails by the middle of the movie.  The Birds of Prey movie I saw on streaming and while it had a few funny moments, it was only ok.  So even though it’s directed by James Gunn, who I mostly like, I was not very interested in this sem-sequel-reboot.  But Michael May assured me it was good, so I gave it a shot.  And he was right, I thoroughly enjoyed this.  Idris Elba is a better version of Will Smith’s Deadshot.  Robbie’s Harley Quinn is awesome as usual.  John Cena’s Peacemaker is really funny.  And Joel Kinnaman’s Flagg is a character I *did not* like in the original movie.  He is *much* better in this movie.  He feels a little more loose, a little more natural of a character.  I actually reallly liked him in this.  So, I was surprised how much I enjoyed this movie and that’s why it made it here.  I’ll definitely give the Peacemaker show a shot.

So that was all movies released in 2021.  Like I mentioned earlier, I’ll do a second part of this list where I talk about movies made before 2021 that I saw for the first time in 2021.

Let’s take a look at some of my movie watching stats from my account over on Letterboxd.

2021 Films by Week

Here is a graph showing how many films I watched broken down by week. The week I watched the most movies was Dec 24-30. I saw 13 movies. Steph and the kids were gone for a few days and I did a Fast & the Furious/Paul Walker marathon.  The second biggest week was Mar 5-11. I was actually at my dad’s that week pretty much by myself. I saw 12 films.  June 11-17 gets third place for most movies watched.  I watched 9 movies that week.  All that led up to me watching 194 movies in 2021.  Which is 16.2 movies per month.  3.7 movies per week.  That’s just 6 away from 200.  SO CLOSE.

2021 Top Actors

Here is the list of actors that I watched the most movies of this year.  Scott Adkins had the most with 12 films. I have been exploring his filmography a lot this year.  He’s quickly become one of my favorite action stars.  In second place, surprisingly, but also not so surprisingly, is Paul Walker. If you look at the rest of the top 10, you will notice a trend. I did a full Fast & Furious rewatch this year; Fast 1 through Fast 9.  And this list clearly reflects that.  But I also went on a small Paul Walker non-F&F marathon, so that’s why he’s second.  Tony Todd snuck in there at the end because I did a full Final Destination marathon as well as watching two of the Candyman movies.  I love this top 10.

2021 Top Directors

This is the top 10 list of directors I watched this year.  Again, Justin Lin is in there because of my F&F rewatch.  Isaac Florentine is tied for first place because he directed 5 of the Scott Adkins movies I watched last year.  And James Wan directed Furious 7 as well as the Conjuring movies, which I watched this year.  It’s really interesting to see how these lists develop based on what you watched over the year.  I did a few full franchise marathons and you’re seeing that reflected in these lists.

According to these stats, the first movie I watched in 2021 was El Dorado on Jan 16.  The last movie I watched in 2021 was Timeline on Dec 31.

Okay, that about wraps up my 2021 movies list.  Stay tuned, I have a second movie list where I’ll go over the movies made before 2021 I watched for the first time last year, maybe I’ll also talk about some of my favorite TV series I watched, as well as some “honorable mentions” articles for books, comics, and movies.

2020 Year End Honorable Mentions – Movies

Posted in movies with tags , , on January 21, 2021 by Paxton

Movie Report

So all my favorite lists (books, movies) are out there for the world to see.  I even talked to you about my favorite novelizations on I Read Movies as well as provided you some honorable mentions in books and comics.  So I guess I should come up with some honorable mentions for movies.

This list will be some movies I wanted to talk about, good or bad.  These aren’t all “just missed the favorites list”.  Some of these were never going to make the list.  But maybe I had something more to say about them.

Let’s go.

Bill & Ted 3
Bill & Ted Face the Music
– I want to start with two nostalgia bombs that I watched last year.  First, Bill & Ted 3.  I was one of the ones that was pretty excited about this.  I love the first movie.  I really enjoy the second movie.  I’ve read a ton of the comics that have come out in the intervening years.  I was so ready for this.  And it was great.  Fun and fast paced.  Lots of fun twists and turns.  I feel like some of the story sort of covered the same ground of what’s been done before.  I love Samara Weaving as Bill’s daughter.  Bridget Lundy-Paine as Ted’s daughter took some getting used to, but she’s fine.  I like the story tries to bring in the Princesses more, but ultimately it doesn’t really amount to much.  I enjoyed returning to this world, I enjoyed seeing Reeves and Winter back in their iconic roles, I enjoyed that they tried something a little different (and a lot the same).  As a Bill & Ted fan, I had a lot of fun.

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot
Jay & Silent Bob Reboot
– This was the second “nostalgia bomb” movie I watched last year.  I’m a fan of Jay and Silent Bob.  This movie was really a sequel to Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back, which I’m mostly a fan of.  I always enjoy seeing these View Askew characters in another movie.  And Kevin has a lot of famous friends and pretty much all of them try to make an appearance in this movie.  And that’s ultimately my problem.  This movie doesn’t feel like one continuous movie, but a collection of scenes, filmed separately, with no one interacting with anyone except Jay and Silent Bob.  I know this is due to stars’ scheduling issues, but I feel it in the film.  However, I do appreciate the effort to bring people back.  Jason Lee.  Joey Lauren Adams.  Even Ben Affleck makes an appearance.  But all of their appearances are clearly walled off from everything else that happens in the movie.  The fun of all the interactions is lost.  We only see Jay and Silent Bob reacting.  So, I was a bit disappointed.  But I’m glad I watched it.  I hear Kevin is back on getting Clerks 3 written.  I’m a little wary about that.  I heard Jeff Anderson doesn’t want to do Randal anymore, but if he’s back in, then more power to Kev.

Last Blood
Rambo Last Blood
– Okay, I guess technically, this would be a third nostalgia bomb that I watched.  I’m a Rambo fan.  I love 1-2, forget 3 even exists, and love the 2008 Rambo movie.  So I was excited to see “one last ride” for this character.  And what a great title.  You know what, I would have really liked this movie if it wasn’t Rambo.  It’s a pretty solid action movie.  It’s just not a great Rambo movie.  It takes some time to get going.  I don’t like the middle section where he goes to Mexico.  The last part is pretty good, but it’s not lit well and it’s very hard to see what’s going on.  I saw another movie last year very similar to this called Close Range with Scott Adkins.  It was from 2015, and while I have a few issues with that movie, it’s a better version of the story in Last Blood. This just didn’t feel like a great ending to John Rambo’s story.


High Rise
– From 2015, based on a 1975 novel by JG Ballard.  I watched this for the incredible cast; Tom Hiddleston, Jeremy Irons, Elizabeth Moss, Luke Evans, and Sienna Miller, all directed by Ben Wheatley who is directing that new version of Rebecca with Armie Hammer and Lily James. I was pretty pumped.  And it’s terrible.  I was so disappointed.  It’s very stream of consciousness.  It reminded me a lot of Roger Avary’s Rules of Attraction.  Very weird and hard to follow.  It’s definitely an artsy type of film, which is totally not my bag.  So I realize that mileage may vary greatly with this.  But I did NOT like it.

Anna
Anna
– Saw the trailer for this last year and it blew me away.  So I marked it “to watch”.  Finally got around to it last summer.  It’s pretty awesome.  Reminded me of a grittier Salt.  Anna, trapped in the slums of Russia, in a twist of fate, is offered a job within a special division of the KGB.  She becomes a deep undercover operative, posing as a fashion model while accomplishing missions.  She is caught by the CIA, agrees to work as a double agent, then maneuvers both the CIA and KGB in an effort to get her out of the spy business.  But neither agency wants to let her go.  The movie gets pretty tense and has some major action set pieces.  I very much enjoyed it.  The girl who plays Anna, Sasha Luss, is pretty great.  She handles the action well and I believe it when she wants to get out of the business.  Also in this are Luke Evans, Cillian Murphy, and Helen Mirren.

And those are some of my movie honorable mentions!  Hope you found something interesting in all of my 2020 lists I gave you.

My Favorite Movies I Saw in 2020

Posted in Blog Series, Movie Board, movies with tags , , , , , on January 15, 2021 by Paxton

Movie Report

2020 was an odd year for movie viewing, to say the least.  Typcially I would’ve seen nearly 50 movies in the theater.  This past year I think I saw two.  And both of those were old movies; Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban on 2/16 and The Godfather on 2/23.  The theater by us was going to show all 8 of the Harry Potter movies starting in Dec 2019 through like May 2020.  I was going to take the kids.  Unfortunately I missed the first two movies in December 2019.  But I caught Harry Potter 3 right before the pandemic.  Then everything shut down and I won’t get to complete that marathon with my kids. Which sucks because they really connected with Harry Potter (books and movies) over the quarantine.  It would have been nice to take them to the theater to see them.  Anyway, that’s my 2020 sob story about seeing movies in theaters.

Anyway, I keep my list of movies watched (with some small reviews) in two places, similar to my books list.  The first is the usual Google Spreadsheet.  That list is easier to get an overall view of the year and pick out favorite entries because I have it all color coded based on rating and year released.  The other place I keep a list of the movies I watch is over on Letterboxd.  So check me out there.  Friend me.  I need friends.  I’m lonely.  SO LONELY.

But now, let’s dig into my list.  Rules are like my books, only movies new to me in 2020 are eligible. Normally, I’d start off giving you a list of my favorite “released in 2020” movies. But, surprise, surprise, things being how they are, I didn’t really watch a lot of “2020 movies”.  So I’m going to mix this list up and do ten of my favorite movies that I watched for the first time in 2020.  And they may not all be movies.  I may include mini-series as well.

So let’s see what my favorite things to watch in 2020 were. I got most of my images and links from Wikipedia.

Ip Man 4
Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019)
– I’m going to start with this one because it leads directly into the next one.  I love Donnie Yen.  I think I first noticed him in his all too brief appearance as Snowman in Blade II.  I’ve followed him ever since.  And this Ip Man series has been fantastic.  Yen is just *awesome* as Ip Man.  The first one is still my favorite, followed closely by the second.  The third one is still good, but not one I love.  However, Part 4, is amazing.  It might be my new favorite after the first.  But tied with the second.  And one of the reasons why is the villain, played by Scott Adkins.  He is brutal and amazing in this.  He has such a powerful screen presence.  I’ve only ever seen him in one movie before this and I remember being underwhelmed.  I may have to revisit that movie now because I was wrong.  This is a great capper to the Donnie Yen/Wilson Yip Ip Man series.  And Scott Adkins is now someone that I’m going to dig more deeply into his filmography.


Scott Adkins movies – 2020, for me, has been about watching movies with my dad. Things have been really rough this year for my dad and I’ve been going back to Alabama to help him with medical stuff and to just spend some time with him, which has been in short supply these last few years. Anyway, he and I watched a TON of movies together this summer. I caught up on a lot of stuff I’d never seen before and discovered a lot of new things. One of those things, thanks to Ip Man 4, is Scott Adkins. Now, being an action/martial arts guy, I’d totally heard about Scott Adkins. This guy is a machine and puts out a ton of movies every year. I’d always meant to catch some but never have. So, my dad being a lover of the action genre, was interested in also checking him out. Especially after I spoke so highly about Scott in Ip Man 4.  So we binged like 5 of Scott Adkins’ movies. And they were AWESOME. We watched The Debt Collector, the sequel The Debt Collectors, Avengement, Close Range, and El Gringo.  And Adkins delivers in every one.  Especially the ones where he gets to show a little personality.  Of these, my favorites may have been The Debt Collector, and its sequel, Debt Collectors.  Adkins and Louis Mandelore have such great chemistry and it was fun watching them get in over their heads in the debt collecting business.  Avengement is awesome because it’s brutal.  He starts off a normal guy and SO MANY bad things happen to him he’s pretty much a different person by the end of the movie.  It’s one bad ass revenge flick.  El Gringo felt like a Robert Rodriguez movie.  I mean that in a good way because I’m very hit or miss on Rodriguez’s output.  Oh, one other movie we saw had Akins in it, but it was a surprise.  We also watched American Assassin with Michael Keaton, Dylan O’Brien and a small but important appearance by Scott Adkins.  Very good.

Palm Springs
Palm Springs (2020)
– Time travel. Andy Samberg. JK Simmons. I don’t think I have to say anything else.  I’m a sucker for time travel movies.  Especially if they are doing something creative or different with the idea.  And this definitely does that.  Plus it has classic Andy Samberg and a hilarious appearance by JK Simmons.  This is great.  See it.

The Last Dance
The Last Dance (2020)
– This was a documentary produced by ESPN and Netflix. I’m a huge sucker for 80s-90s NBA stuff. Books, documentaries, game footage. This scratched every single itch I have for that kind of content.  It’s so good.  It mostly covers Jordan’s career and how he approached the game of basketball but it touches on so many other things like competiveness, drive, how much is too much, and what it costs to be the best.

Once upon a time...
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood (2019)
– I’m always interested in what Tarantino’s next movie is.  Even if it doesn’t look good I’ll check it out.  This one totaly looked good and I finally sat down to watch it.  And loved it.  I love the atmosphere, I love the time period, I love the performances.  Leo and Brad are fantastic.  Margot is great, and beautiful, and plays Tate with surprising sadness.  I really felt for her.  And the ending, in typcial Tarantino fashion, goes bananas.  I loved it.  I’m picking up the novelization that Tarantino is writing later this summer.  What a fun movie.

Ford v Ferrari
Ford v Ferrari (2019)
– I’m not technically a “car guy”. I admire some styles of cars; especially mid-to-late 60s american muscle cars. But this movie caught my eye not because it’s about racing, but because of the cast. Christian Bale and Matt Damon in the 50s-60s tearing up race tracks and taking on the Italians? Yes. I’m on board.  And I loved every second of this movie.  Damon and Bale are fantastic as always and the action was packed.  There was also a surprising amount of humor which I love.  I was interested to see this movie, but I didn’t expect to like it as much as I did.

Ready or Not Guns Akimbo
Ready or Not (2019) – I thought the premise of this sounded fun so I streamed it on a lark one night when I had nothing else to watch. And so begins my obsession with Samara Weaving. This move was so fun, but also unexpected at the same time.  Lots of crazy, kooky characters.  And a crazy cool premise.  Samara Weaving finds herself on the run from her new husband’s family in a series of deadly games due to a curse that they believe was put on their family.  It’s so much fun and Weaving is pretty great.  After watching Ready or Not, I jumped into another Samara Weaving movie, Guns Akimbo.  Which is even more crazy and over the top.  Guns Akimbo also has Daniel Radcliffe who is forced into a weird viral game against other crazy characters to kill each other.  Samara Weaving plays the top bad ass character and she’s so awesome.  Both of these movies are pretty over the top but in kind of the best way possible.

We also wound up binging a bunch of TV shows in 2020. So here are three shows we loved watching in 2020.

The Great
The Great
– I heard buzz about this, but I saw it as something like that dreamy and weird Marie Antoinette movie from 2006, which my wife loved.  And I didn’t.  Therefore I didn’t want to watch it.  However, being a good husband, I gave it a chance.  And I was wrong.  SO WRONG.  This is a period piece.  Yes.  But it has more akin to A Knight’s Tale than Marie Antoinette.  It weaves in so much grown up humor, lots of sex, lots of language, and backs it all with a modern music soundtrack.  People like to throw around irreverant, but considering that this movie is ostensibly about Catherine the Great’s rise to power in Russia, it is absolutely irreverent.  And doesn’t care one bit about the actual history (which sounds worse than it actually comes across).  Elle Fanning is amazing in this.  Nicolas Hoult as Peter is so awesome.  This surprised me to my core.  I loved it.


11.22.63
– My wife and I read the Stephen King book back in 2012. And it made my 2012 year end favorites list.  I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again.  Time Travel.  I’m a sucker for it.  But this series is really good.  James Franco discovers a time warp in the back of a diner that leads to the early 60s.  There are a whole bunch of rules to how it works but he agrees to a plan with the diner’s dying owner to go back in the time warp and try to stop the assassination of John F Kennedy.  But to do that he’ll have to survive and live for two years in the past.  And during those two years while he’ll be preparing to stop the assassination, time itself will do everything it can to stop him.  It’s a cool premise.  Great cast.  And loaded with suspense.  Just like the book.

Queen's Gambit
Queen’s Gambit
– Like The Great, this was another series I’d heard buzz about but wasn’t necessarily excited to start watching.  But again, I was wrong.  The cast in this is so strong.  Ana Taylor-Joy?  Are you kiddding me?  She’s awesome.  Set mostly in the 60s, it centers on Ana Taylor-Joy’s character who turns out to be a chess prodigy.  And in the 60s, chess was not considered a girl’s game.  But Ana Taylor-Joy has a few issues, mostly due to her unideal home life.  And it manifests in drinking.  And pills.  Can she maintain her high level of chess play while shoving booze and fistfuls of pills into her mouth?  Watch to find out.  If I was pressed really hard, I may even say that this was my favorite thing I watched this year.  But only if I was pressed.

My Favorite Movies I Saw in 2019

Posted in Blog Series, Movie Board, movies with tags , , , , , on January 10, 2020 by Paxton

Movie Report

Yesterday, you saw my favorite books/comics I read in 2019 list.  Had lots of fun with it?  You agree with everything I put on the list?  Tough.  It’s my list, sucka!  And now it’s time for another list.  This time we are looking at my favorite movies list.

I keep a list of the movies I watched with some small reviews in two places, similar to my books list.  The first is the usual Google Spreadsheet.  That list is easier to get an overall view of the year and pick out favorite entries because I have it all color coded based on rating and year released.  The other place I keep a list of the movies I watch is over on Letterboxd.  So check me out there.  Friend me.  I need friends.  I’m lonely.  SO LONELY.

Anyway, I think it’s time to dig into my list.  Rules, like my books, only movies new to me in 2019 are eligible. I’ll start with my list of favorite movies released in 2019, then I’ll do a list of favorite movies I watched in 2019 that weren’t necessarily released that year.

But first, my favorite movies that were released in 2019


Avengers: Endgame (2019) – I started off last year’s list with Infinity War, so I’ll start of this list with the sequel. Again, what else can I say? This wrapped up the first 10 years of the MCU in a nice, tight, little bow.  I loved it.


Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker (2019) – Yikes.  Well, I don’t think Star Wars will ever *not* be divisive again.  This movie had the unenviable task of not only following The Last Jedi (good or bad), but also fully wrapping up the Skywalker saga.  I don’t know that *any* movie could live up to that pressure.  I had fun with this.  They made a few decisions that I don’t necessarily agree with, but for the most part I had a lot of fun with the movie.  It felt good to have fun-loving Finn and Poe again.  They were not themselves in the previous movie.  And I again love Rey and Kylo and their whole relationship.  I’m *mostly* happy with how this went down.


Knives Out (2019) – I loved this movie.  It’s like a more quirky Clue the Movie mixed with Kurosawa’s Rashomon.  Great cast and everyone is bringing their A-game.  Lots of fun and the mystery is good too.


Happy Death Day (2017)/ Happy Death Day 2U (2019) – The second movie was released in 2019, so that’s why this entry is here.  I kept hearing how good the first movie was, and by the time I sat down to watch it the sequel had come out.  So I watched both, back to back, in 2019.  And I was pleasantly surprised how good these movies are.  The first one is like a horror movie Groundhog Day.  It’s very inventive and fun.  The second movie, is not really even a horror movie.  It’s a Sci-Fi fantasy adventure.  And you wouldn’t think that would work *at all* but it totally works.  I really enjoyed both of these movies.


Downton Abbey the Motion Picture (2019) – I’m a sucker for this show, so, I was a sucker for this movie.  I loved returning to this world, I loved revisiting these characters, I loved this movie.


Always be My Maybe (2019) – So. Much. Fun.  The leads in this are adorable.  I love the music Marcus makes with his band.  Keanu Reeves makes a scene stealing cameo that I just loved.  This is a great movie.  See it if you haven’t.

And now, movies from any year that I watched for the first time in 2019


Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse (2018) – How great was this movie?  I didn’t get to see this in the theater, but I’d heard from everyone how good it was, so I rented it.  And everyone was right.  This gets it all right.  Miles is great.  I love the other versions of Spider-Man that show up.  Penny Parker in particular.  It’s really so good.  And the animation is terrific.


Upgrade (2018) – I expected this movie to be sort of a low-key update to the Bionic Man.  It’s not that.  It goes a different direction and I applaud the movie for going there.  It’s dark and intense, but I really liked it.  I’m not going to say much more than that except, give it a watch.


Staten Island Summer (2015) – I saw this while scrolling around on Netflix one afternoon and watched it on a lark.  And wow, it’s really good.  It’s one of those “one last summer before college” movies.  It just hit every single nostalgia button for me.  It takes place in and around a community swimming pool, which, when I was in high school, I worked three summers as a lifeguard at one such pool.  It’s a sweet, fun movie about friendship and moving on to the next step in your life.  This was such a fun surprise, check it out.


Uncle Drew (2018) – I love ragtag basketball movies.  This one has a great cast, it’s lots of fun, and it’s really funny!  I almost didn’t watch it because, while I thought it looked good, I was afraid they showed all the funny stuff in the trailer.  Nope, this is a solid roadtrip/basketball movie with some heart thrown into the story.

Those those were my overall favorite movies I watched in 2019.  Hopefully you can find some gems in this list.

Next week, I’ll put out some Honorable Mentions of things I thought were worth talking about, but not necessarily “listworthy”.

2018 Year End Honorable Mentions – Movies/TV

Posted in movies with tags , , on January 31, 2019 by Paxton

Movie Report

Okay, so I got my main year end lists, Favorite Movies of 2018 and Best Books I Read in 2018 out there.  My personal favorites have been laid bare for the Internet.  But there were some other movies I saw that I do want to give a mention.  I usually do that in an “Honorable Mention” section at the bottom of the aforementioned lists, but I decided to break it out this year.  And I didn’t really even discuss TV shows in that list, so there’s some stuff to talk about.

Below are some Honorable Mentions in movies/TV shows that I watched for the first time in 2018. These aren’t going to be necessarily the “next best selections” from my lists. These are just entries I want to talk about. Good or bad.

Let’s do a few movies first, then I’ll do some TV shows.


Justice League – I feel like I should address this since I saw it last year. It wasn’t bad. At the time I watched it, I liked it better than every other DC movie except Wonder Woman. Now, it’s third behind Aquaman.  There are things I didn’t love about it, of course. The inclusion of Cyborg is still baffling to me. Steppenwolf as the big blobby CGI villain kind of sucks. But there are many things I really like. Cavill is pretty much fixed as Superman here. Let me be more specific, I think Cavill is GREAT as Superman/Clark, but the writing of Superman has been out of whack.  THAT is what is fixed here.  I also love Supes’ return to the living and his initial fighting against the JL.  I love Wonder Woman.  I thought I’d love Batman more in this, but he was only okay.  I fully expected to hate Ezra Miller’s Flash, but I didn’t. I actually enjoyed it.  Aquaman is great in his debut here (as it’ll carry over to his own movie).  So there’s more to like than dislike for me.  I was surprised by that, especially judging by the online reaction to the movie.


The Polka King – This one is one I want to talk about, but it’s not for everyone.  I’ve really been enjoying Jack Black the last few years.  I’ve *always* found him funny but he’s really picking interesting projects during this latter part of his career. This, Goosebumps, the Jumanji sequel, and The House with a Clock in its Walls, are all things I’ve thoroughly enjoyed him in.  Polka King is different and a bit weird, like I said, not for everyone. But I really enjoyed it.  Black is flanked by a pretty great cast as well with Jenny Slate and Jason Schwartzman.  If you are so inclined, give this a watch, I think you may like it.


The Lord of the Rings Trilogy: Extended Editions – On Twitter last year I called out that I had never watched the LOTR Extended Editions.  Honestly, I never really had a desire to watch them.  Then I finally caved and borrowed the extended edition trilogy DVDs from a friend and made the commitment to watch all three extended edition movies.  It took me a month, but I finally got through all three extended editions.  You know what, I actually enjoyed it.  Backing up, my thoughts on the theatrical movies are; love the first one, hate the second one, like the third one.  After the extended editions, I love the first one even more, actually better appreciate the second movie, and still like the third one pretty much the same.  I don’t plan on ever watching the extended editions again, I’ll keep my theatricals because Jackson has gone on record saying *those* are his official versions, but this exercise has made me appreciate the movies as a whole even more.  So I’m glad for that.  And I’m actually looking forward to a rewatch of the theatrical editions soon.


The Hurricane Heist – This entry and the next entry are sort of linked. Last summer I was really wanting to get in a theatrical viewing of GeoStorm because of all the bad buzz it was getting. I couldn’t make that happen but then this movie dropped on Redbox and I thought it had a promising story and could be sort of “fun bad”. Plus it starred Toby Kebbel who I actually like as an actor even though he’s been in some very maligned stuff like the Ben Hur remake and that 2015 Fantastic Four movie.  I was wrong.  This movie is garbage and none of you should waste your time on it.  That is all.


Geostorm – Fast forward a few weeks.  I go to Tallahassee to visit CT for a nerd weekend.  Geostorm just dropped on Redbox so I pick it up and we watch it.  And it’s actually pretty fun.  I don’t know why everyone was blasting this as the worst movie of the year when I literally *just* watched the worst movie of the year and its name was Hurricane Heist.  This movie is ridiculous, Gerard Butler is 100% Gerard Butler-ing it up, but it’s all just so entertaining.  Unlike the previous movie.  And the effects look GREAT.  Maybe that’s the difference, this one had the budget so ultimately it works, but I feel like there’s a perfect storm of things that made me enjoy this.  A perfect Geostorm of things, if you will (and I will).  Is it a *good* movie by any definition?  No, but it’s an endlessly entertaining movie.  Especially if you watch it with a fellow nerd, like I did.

Now, here are a few TV shows I watched last year that I want to mention.


Santa Clarita Diet Season 2 – Steph and I watched the first season of this show back in 2017.  Loved it.  Season 2 dropped in 2018 and we watched it and loved it just as much.  It really gets bonkers in the second season.  The quick premise is that Drew Barrymore is mysteriously turned into a zombie-like creature that only wants to eat people. Not just brains, but all people parts. I’ve said many times that I don’t like zombie stuff, and this is *kind of* a zombie thing, but it does its own thing.  But it sort of makes zombies and their origins into something different, maybe something closer to what zombies used to be in 30s-40s movies like White Zombie.  Drew and Timothy are hilarious in this.  Their daughter played by Liv Hewson and the kid next door played by Skylar Gisondo are also hilarious. They also open up the mythology of this series’ zombies just a little in this season. This is a great show and I really hope they keep it going. Like the show I’ll talk about next, the show runners here end each season on cliff hangers, so if it gets canceled, we are SOL.

Travelers
Travelers Seasons 2 & 3
– Steph and I watched both Season 2 and Season 3 of this show last year. Season 2 in January and Season 3 in December. This is a pretty great little sci-fi show that, like I mentioned above, actually ends its seasons with pretty hardcore cliff hangers. So, hopefully for us, they get renewed and the story can be resolved.  The premise: an oppressed, post-apocalyptic civilization in the future develops a way to send people’s consciousness back into the past.   Unfortunately the process completely erases the consciousness of the “host”.  So they only send people back into persons that historically are about to die.  And these agents that are sent back are following orders to make small changes to the timeline in order to bring about big changes in the future.  But real life in the 20th century constantly gets in the way for all the agents.  It’s a great show that seemingly could’ve ended in Season 3, but could also be a huge reboot for Season 4.  I’m not sure which it is yet.

Black Mirror
Black Mirror Season 4
– This is a great show and I’ve loved every season. Season 4 was a doozy.  The opening episode, USS Callister, was horrifying and great.  As was Arkangel and its look at what’s the line for protecting your children and invading their privacy?  Hang the DJ was a highlight and the final episode, Black Museum was pretty epic on its own.  Such a great modern version of Twilight Zone.  I’m looking forward to trying out the movie, Bandersnatch, at some point, but I really want the show to return with a new season.

So those are my honorable mentions in Movies and TV.  Coming up next, I’ll do the same for books and comics.