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My Favorite Movies I Saw in 2018

Posted in movies with tags , , on January 14, 2019 by Paxton

Movie Report

Here we go. Time for one of my patented year end round up reports. No one else is doing stuff like this guys. You can only find it here (that’s me refusing to look at other blogs in the month of January).

Anyway, let’s take a look at the movies I watched this year.  Like every year since 2009, I keep my movie watching log online at Google Spreadsheets.  I’ve also got an account at Letterboxd, I really need to start using it more, but I haven’t really dug in there yet like I’d really like.

The parameters of this list, only movies that were new to me in 2018 are eligible.  No rewatches.  How I structure the list changes from year to year.  This year I think I’ll list out my 5 favorite movies that were released during 2018 and then I’ll list out 5 movies released any year that I saw for the first time in 2018.  Sound good?  Tough.  It’s my list.  Here we go.

Five movies released in 2018


AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR – This should not be a surprise. I’m all in on the MCU and this, being the first part of the culmination of 10 years of these movies, was destined to make it on this list. No further explanation needed.


Peppermint – Some of you may not remember this. It seemed like it was only out for like a week and a half in theaters.  This is a brutal, awesome action revenge movie.  I really enjoyed seeing Garner kick seven different kinds of asses throughout this movie.  Lots of well choreographed action and Garner is just great anyway.  If you haven’t seen this, what are you waiting for?


Mary Poppins Returns – The original Mary Poppins is in my top 2-3 Disney movies of all time. I love that movie. Needless to say, I was a little…reticent…to see this movie considering my history.  Even if I did think that Emily Blunt was a brilliant casting choice.  Well, I needn’t have worried, this movie is bright, fun, charming, sweet and funny.  I loved it and can’t wait to see it again.  I will gladly put this movie on my shelf right next to the original Mary Poppins.


Mission Impossible: FALLOUT – It’s amazing how this series keeps getting better and better.  My personal favorite was/is Ghost Protocol.  But this one, if it’s not at the top yet, could get there pretty soon.  My only problem is that Jeremy Renner’s character was absent without any explanation.  That aside, this is a pretty great sequel.  I just love this franchise and hope it can continue with the same quality it has since the third installment.


INCREDIBLES 2 – This movie was released, talked about, then it seems to have been just forgotten.  I know this past summer/fall was busy, but, this was a really great sequel that I thoroughly enjoyed.  I need to see it again, but I remember liking it as much as the original.  I can’t currently speak to that being true, but I had a lot of fun with the movie and I thought it followed up the first one admirably.

And now, movies from any year that I watched for the first time in 2018


I, Tonya – I was surprised how much I enjoyed this movie.  Margot Robbie is a force of nature.  I love Margot Robbie in most anything I’ve seen her in and I think this is my favorite performance of hers to date.  And Allison Janney as her mother is *also* a force to be reckoned with.  And Sebastian Stan as her boyfriend is also great.  Just a great cast all around and so much fun to watch Robbie chew up the scenery as infamous skater bad girl, Tonya Harding.


Train To Busan – I don’t like zombie movies. I think I’ve made that clear on this blog.  There are a few exceptions; Return of the Living Dead, Zombieland…and now, this movie.  Clever premise, clever location, and lots and lots of characters we learn to love, fighting off zombies.  A plague unexpectedly strikes and a group of people on a train to Busan have to fight off zombies that want to kill them and also look out for anyone that is infected suddenly turning into a viscous zombie.  I can’t recommend this one enough.  Thank you Evan Hansen and the Mystery Movie Night podcast for having me watch it.


Den of Thieves – This was also a surprise.  I remember this in theaters, and I wanted to see it but just never got around to it.  When it hit Redbox I snapped it up and, BAM, this movie kicks all kinds of ass.  Dark, complicated crime drama.


Molly’s Game – This movie is great.  It has a great premise, and a great cast.  Chastain plays Molly, a former Olympic skier that gets injured and is forced into a change of profession.  She falls into the underground world of poker.  Jessica Chastain is great in whatever she’s in, but she’s particularly strong in this.  And even Michael Cera came with his A-Game.  Aaron Sorkin is usually a go for me.  Just all around, this is a strongly written and acted movie.


Coco – This is such a great movie.  Sweet, wildly inventive, and full of heart.  So many great characters and the running theme of family is just so sweet.  I love the design of the land of the dead.

Those are my favorite movies I watched for the first time last year.  Pretty strong group if you ask me.

Stay tuned, my favorite book/comic reads of 2018 is coming up next.

The Best Movies I saw in 2017

Posted in movies with tags , , on January 5, 2018 by Paxton

Movie Report

I did my favorite books, now it’s time for movies.

Normally I’d list out ten movies; 5 movies released in 2017 and 5 movies from any year that I saw for the first time in 2017. However, this time, I’m just going to list out all my favorite movies from last year. I may get to ten, I may not. I literally don’t know.  But I watched all of these movies for the first time in 2017.  In no particular order.


Baby Driver (2017) – This took me by surprise.  I like Edgar Wright, just not as much as everyone else seems to.  I really liked Shaun of the Dead. I liked Hot Fuzz.  I was disappointed by Scott Pilgrim.  But the premise of this movie and the cast got me on board and while I planned to see it in the theater I missed it and watched it when it hit Redbox.  And I’ve since bought the Blu-Ray, watched it two more times and I bought the soundtrack.  I *LOVE* this movie.  I would say it’s my favorite Edgar Wright movie.  The cast, the performances, the music and how it informs what’s happening on screen, the action sequences.  This movie is SO GOOD.  As good as anything else on this list and it would seriously contend if I were to pick a #1 movie.  I almost wish the young star, Anson Elgort, would have gotten the role of “young Han Solo” as I was more impressed by him here than Alden Ehrenreich in Hail, Caesar! (and I really liked Alden in that movie).


Logan (2017) – They did it. They made the definitive Wolverine movie. And he had to die in it. I simultaneously hate and love that this is the last Hugh Jackman Wolverine movie.  I love pretty much everything about it.  My only regret was that instead of the “young Wolverine clone” at the end, I would have liked to see Liev Shreiber’s Victor return.  But that’s a nitpick that I don’t actually hold against the movie at all.  This was a great movie and a powerful love letter to the character that Hugh has been playing on and off for the last 17 years.


Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – Finally, we get a good Spider-Man movie in the modern age of super hero movies.  They *nailed* Peter Parker/Spider-Man with Tom Holland.  He’s great.  I love that they skipped the origin and all the Uncle Ben stuff and they kept it funny.  And Michael Keaton was the best Spider-Man villain since Alfred Molina’s Doc Ock.  And I like that he has the potential to return rather than joining the long parade of disposable, one movie villains that Marvel has been doing.  I loved Pete’s friend Ned.  I really like the Stark-ified Spidey suit.  This was a fun, exciting movie and I can’t wait to see Holland return in Infinity War.


Wonder Woman (2017) – I can’t believe that we got a Wonder Woman movie that is this good.  Especially considering the lackluster output of EVERY SINGLE OTHER WB/DC MOVIE.  90% of this movie is GREAT.  I have a few issues with the giant CGI slugfest at the end.  Don’t get me wrong, I love that we get a fully realized George Perez Ares God of War on screen.  And I love the reveal of whom Ares was, but the movie seemed to lose some of its weight in the computer generated spectacle at the end.  That being said, this was a great super hero movie, Gal Gadot was awesome and bad ass as Diana and I eagerly await a sequel and the return of Wonder Woman in the Justice League movie (which I still haven’t seen).

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The Best Movies I saw in 2016

Posted in movies with tags , , on January 25, 2017 by Paxton

Movie Report

MORE YEAR END ROUND UP ARTICLES!!

Today, I’m not only judging movies that I watched that opened last year, but ALL movies I watched for the first time in 2016.

I’ll start off with a list of my favorite movies that were released in 2016 and I’ll finish up with movies that were released in other years but I only saw for the first time last year.  I may even throw in some honorable mentions as I love to do.

So, without further ado, here are my favorite movies I saw in 2016.  In no particular order.


Marvel’s Captain America: Civil War – This is probably not a surprise.  It was awesome and everything I wanted it to be.  Chris Evans’ Captain America has become my favorite Marvel hero, even over Downey’s Iron Man.  I love all three Cap movies but only love one and a half Iron Man movies.  These just keep getting better.  And the inclusion of all these newer heroes; Ant-Man, Falcon, Winter Soldier, the new Spider-Man.  All, just perfect.  I now want a Falcon-Winter Soldier buddy movie.  Make THAT happen, Marvel.


Deadpool – Exactly what this movie should have been.  I honestly didn’t think Fox could pull it off.  I knew they nailed the lead with Ryan Reynolds, but I honestly didn’t think they’d stick to their guns for the bloody, irreverent tone this movie needed.  I was wrong.  Fun, vulgar and entertaining.


Somm: Into the Bottle – This is a sequel to a documentary that I talked about back in 2014.  Last time they were following several Master Sommelier hopefuls as they prepared to take the Master test.  This time, it’s more of an in-depth look at old world wineries and how they craft wine differently.  It’s fascinating stuff.  You do see the original four guys from the first documentary, but not in an update to how they are doing four years later.  The guys are now a part of the panel of talking wine heads.


Marvel’s Doctor Strange – In a way, this somewhat took me by surprise.  I’m a fan of Doctor Strange.  I read him a little in the late 80s-early 90s and I’ve revisited his Steve Ditko origins.  I love sorcerers, so I always kept my eye on him.  But I was cautiously optimistic that Marvel could pull this off without watering the character down.  And they did it.  Straight up magic and everything.  And lots of humor.  I didn’t expect the humor.  This was a pretty great movie and I look forward to him showing up more often in the Marvel Movie Universe.  One caveat, the wonderful Rachel McAdams is mostly wasted. Hopefully they find more to do with her in future movies.


The Magnificent Seven – You can hear my full thoughts of this movie on the appropriate episode of the Hellbent for Letterbox podcast, but in short, I loved this movie. Lots of good characters, lots of good action. Definitely a fun ride for western fans. And even those maybe not traditionally a western fan.

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The Best Movies I saw in 2015

Posted in movies with tags , , on January 21, 2016 by Paxton

Movie Board

Time to continue my year end round ups with my favorite movies list.  Today, I’m not only judging movies that I watched that opened last year, but ALL movies I watched for the first time in 2015.

I’ll start off with a list of my favorite movies that were released in 2015 and I’ll finish up with movies that were released in other years but I only saw for the first time last year.  I may even throw in some honorable mentions as I love to do.

So, without further ado, here are my favorite movies I saw in 2015.  In no particular order.


Kingsman: The Secret Service – Wow, what a great movie.  I love Colin Firth and Michael Caine.  I’m ambivalent about Sam Jackson because I’m somewhat tired of him being “Sam Jackson” in every movie.  But the concept of this movie intrigued me so I saw it and I love it.  Firth is amazing and Sam Jackson actually mixes it up a little and becomes a very interesting villain.  I really enjoyed this movie.


Mad Max: Fury Road – So, Nerd Lunch and Cult Film Club did our Mad Max drilldown last year.  I finally watched all the original Mel Gibson Mad Max movies for the first time for that podcast.  I enjoyed them more than I was expecting.  Then, I went to see this in the theater and it BLEW MY DAMN MIND HOW AWESOME A MOVIE COULD BE.  I’d be hard pressed to pick my favorite movie this year, but this would definitely be in the running.  Balls out action, insanely detailed characters and world building.  Just amazing.


The Hateful Eight – I like pretty much everything Quentin does. There are some lows for me, but it’s mostly up.  I loved Django Unchained and I was excited to see Quentin return to westerns for his next movie.  This is a much more mean spirited film than Django, but it’s every bit as good.  Sam Jackson, my boy Walton Goggins, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Bruce Dern.  All of them are awesome in this.  So, so good.  I want to see it again right now.


Creed (Blu-ray + DVD + UV) – I’m a fan of most of the Rocky movies.  My personal favorite is probably Rocky 3, but I generally like all of them.  So I was a little excited to see how this turned out and holy crap it’s f**king amazing.  This is a phenomenal movie.  It sort of blends the first movie with the third movie.  Michael B Jordan is awesome and Sly has never been better.  I was sobbing like a baby at the end.


Star Wars: The Force Awakens – Yep, here it is. In my favorites of the year. While not a perfect movie I really did enjoy it.  Yes, there are haters. And yes, I do have some story issues, but this felt like a Star Wars movie.  I was excited by the action.  I was laughing at the humor.  I actually liked the dialogue and the characters that said the dialogue.  So much fun and I can’t wait to take my 5 year old son to see this movie.

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Worst Movies I saw in 2014

Posted in movies with tags , , on January 21, 2015 by Paxton

Movie Board

On Monday I gave you my favorite movies of 2014. Here are the worst movies I saw in 2014.


I Frankenstein (2014) – I watched this hoping for a “so bad it’s awesome” schlock-fest.  What I got is a non-sensical mish-mash genre picture that isn’t sure if it wants to be taken seriously or be completely tongue-in-cheek.  And that inability to commit ruins the final product.  And I love Aaron Eckhart, but he’s not a very good Frankenstein’s Monster.


Pain & Gain (2013) – I watched this based on the word of mouth and the cast.  I thought it was going to be funnier.  I didn’t realize it was going to be as dark as it turned out to be.  It just lost me, I guess.  Ed Harris, as usual, is GREAT, but the rest of the cast, just lost me.  I came out the end not really liking the movie or any of the characters in the movie.


A Good Day to Die Hard (2013) – I watched this against my better judgement.  I felt the last Die Hard movie was a good movie on its own, but was a sh*tty Die Hard movie.  And that’s where this falls.  Except, this is even a less interesting story than the last one.  I think Willis has forgotten how to be John McClane.  These last two movies are really just Willis being Willis.  He’s too stoic.  Loosen up, dude.  McClane is an everyman policeman.  Not super bionic cop.  This character discrepancy is especially evident if you watch the first two Die Hard movies in a row and then watch this movie the next night.  Which I did.


Non-Stop (2014) – This is more of a mild “not recommend” as opposed to the other movies in this list.  I was more disappointed here.  I thought it would be so much better plus it had a pretty good cast with Neeson, Julianne Moore and Michelle Dockery who plays Mary on Downton Abbey.  This movie sort of reminded me of Neeson in Unknown, another B-level thriller that was more miss than hit.  Neeson has been racking up roles since he took off in Taken and he’s mostly awesome, but the law of averages is a vicious bitch and this will tend to happen.  Want a different, better Neeson movie from last year starring an actor from Downton Abbey?  Check out A Walk Among the Tombstones.