Bob’s 2018 Retrospective: 200 Mini-reviews! [Part 1: The Average]

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The Housemaid

The ghosts of colonialism haunt a Vietnam plantation at the tale end of French rule. The master takes on a new housemaid who quickly gains power within the household. And there are ghosts wreaking revenge on people in the house. Are they related to the new maid? Of course, that’s no surprise. Dammit, the look of this film is amazing, building a rich, spooky atmosphere. Some third act issues offer negative points, though.

I Think We’re Alone Now.

A story that keeps creeping up is the “guy by himself after the end of the world is forced to deal with interlopers and learn to grow.” It’s starting to feel trite. But some nice changes and a solid, slow feel elevate this one – led by Peter Dinklage. The interloper is Elle Fanning, another great actor. Unlike the constant danger of other tales, he lives a quiet existence, cleaning houses and running his library. It’s nice to have this story without looming danger, just living a quiet life. We also have Paul Giamatti and Charlotte Gainsborough in short but important scenes.

Imitation Girl

Great idea, flat execution. It’s rather like Star Man in that an alien comes to earth and takes the form of the first thing it sees. Not a recently dead man, but a famous model. The model herself is going through a hell of a shit, her life falling apart as the alien is drawn to her building a connection. It’s just too damned long and feels like there are two scripts that were meshed together.

Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom

Jurassic Park is for me, as it is likely for you, one of the best films of all time, and incredibly important in my growth as film fan. The sequels, however, were lesser. I really dislike Lost World; JP III is a fun chase film, and admit I dig most of Jurassic World despite its myriad of flaws.That brings us to Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom. It’s loud and dumb, with what feels like an unfinished script with a T-Rex size number of undercooked ideas.Many of these ideas are the dumbest of the year: training the new Raptor (STOP CREATING NEW DINOSAURS WITH BIGGER TEETH) to go on missions? Bringing the Dinos to California? SHE’S  A FUCKIN’ CLONE. WHAT THE FUCK MOVIE. (and gives one of the dumbest parts of any movie this year: “they’re clones like me, I have to let them go.” No little clone girl. YOU HAVE BLOOD ON YOUR HANDS. PEOPLE WILL DIE. But yet, I was still entertained from beginning to end despite my head hurting from hitting the desk.  J. A. Bayona creates a fantastic look to the film. The color palette and the way he uses his camera really sells it. A lesser director and I’d be far less entertained.

Keeping Hours

Everyone I know who watched this film, myself included, came in expecting a horror film. It is not. It’s a family drama with a supernatural set-up. Ten years after the death of their son Lee Pace and Carrie Coon have a second chance to connect to their son. It’s absolutely heartbreaking in it’s look at loss, grief, and forgiveness.

King Cohen

Larry Cohen is a great filmmakers you may not have heard of (my friends who may be reading this likely do thought). It’s Alive, God Told Me To… , Phone Booth, The Stuff, Q: The Winged Serpent are among his best known work as a writer, director, or both. Yet, he’s never quite cracked the name rec outside of cult & horror film circles This documentary examines his career and hopefully gives him some deserved love.  The best portions are others talking about Cohen and his work. Cohen gives great insight, but much of the film is like reading the wiki of him. Still, fascinating took at an underrated filmmaker.

Like Me

Holy shit, what an opening. Twisted, weird, and psychedelic colored, Like Me is a heck of a ride Addisoin Timlin is amazing as the lead. Its ideas don’t hold up for it’s whole run, coming in repetitively but still enjoyed the watch.

The Little Stranger

Since this is the first time he’s come up this year – I love Domnhall Gleeson. He’s a favorite actor of mine and I always love to see him (further note on that down a little). Heading up a ghost story in a dilapidated mansion acting opposite the also always amazing Ruth Wilson? Sign me up! Let me also note, the trailers are misleading. They make it seem the ghost story aspect is a bigger, more nasty presence within the story. That doesn’t mean the movie still isn’t good, just temper expectations. Gleeson plays a country doctor who grew up poor, but now has a connection in the once-fine manor house in his town. The family there is the last gasp of a grand family. That alone is beautiful. The story unfolds with mysteries and diversions, all fascinating. But I’m left a little cold and distant from the events. It simmers but doesn’t boil and has trouble keeping exactly what story it’s telling.

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