Bob’s 2018 Retrospective: 200 Mini Reviews [Part 2: The Pretty Good and the Pretty Bad]

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Incredibles 2

As much as I loved this long awaited sequel, there just enough that doesn’t’ quite work to keep from making the top level. In many ways, it’s much the same as the first entry – my third favorite Pixar flick (after Coco and Monsters Inc), hitting many of the same beats. And it’s longer than it should be, as stretched as Elastigirl.  I do appreciate not overusing Edna Mode, too many films would take the fan favorite and go gaga with it. But the action sequences are clever and well done, the third act is a trip and dug the new characters. I’m not sure if we supposed to figure out the villain so early but it seemed so damned obvious, we’re just waiting for the film to catch up.  Oh, Barry Bostwick is a voice!

Little Horror Movie – REVIEW

One can get a lot of a little budget if done right. Yes, one of those ways is found footage. Done well, it works;. Little Horror Movie does- I note it’s about half found footage and half regularly shot.  Our three main characters are video bloggers, traveling around the world and filming their adventures. Unlike many other characters in this type of movie, they aren’t asshole Americans. They are well written and well acted. They feel natural. There are many strings set up to pulled on so it’s a great turn to see exactly how it will play out. There are some issues, with the mentioned breaks from found footage to regular footage can be jarring. Sometimes I couldn’t’ tell the dialog from thicker accented characters. Review here.

Love, Simon

I scoffed originally at the trailers. It’s good to have a film that closeted teenagers would be able to identify with is great. But the trailer looked cheesy as hell. But the movie is fantastic. Led by a whole group of identifying kids with real chemistry, Love, Simon is charming and heartfelt. Only a handful of moment feel movie manufactured or just too easy. Highly recommended.


As my friend LinnieSarah and I talked about, this feels Victorian ghost story, but it’s in the 60s in Maine. Weird. After the death of their mother, four siblings do their best to say in their house lest their abusive father find them. And there is a malevolent spirit in the home. Each of the kids are great, the standouts being Mia Goth and George McKay. Anya Taylor-Joy is a neighbor and I love to see her as well. The mystery is well developed and expands at just the right pace. It was fun to try to figure the truth. Spooky with great performances, seek out Marrowbone.

Mary and the Witch’s Flower

This was 2017 in its native Japan, but Mary and the Witch’s Flower premiered in the US this year, so 2018 it is! The animation is beautiful, I love the world building of the fantasy. The story has great twists and turns.


This is the year of Andrea Riseborough. You’ll see her twice more on this list. Nancy is a lonely reclusive woman trying to find something with her life after her abusive, hoarder mother passes on. She sees something about a missing child, who, aged up, looks like her. She invents herself a backstory and integrates herself with the parents – Steve Busemi and J. Cameron Smith. There’s a great deal of cringe here. Oh god so much. Nancy is played with just enough sympathy and awkward unbalance by Riseborough, making her a fascinating character to watch.  Ann Dowd is on hand in a smaller role again.

Never Goin’ Back – REVIEW HERE as part of December Short Takes

Crude and uncouth are our teenage wild leads. They’re played so naturally by their leads with amazing chemistry, you’d think they were plucked off the streets and tossed into the movie already best friends. Never Goin’ Back is continually raunchy and hilarious as we enter the world of white trash Texas and lots of people making very poor decisions. The script is sharp and zips without much breath. Streaming on Amazon, go check it out. Review here.


This Estonian folk-tale like film is an absolute trip. It’s November in a pagan village in the 19th century. Everything folk-tale is going on, werewolves, the devil, weird ass spirits, people abusing each other and stealing from their Feudal lords, the Black Death, and best of all “kratts”. I had never heard of these before, but they are part of Estonian folklore. One makes a creature out of hay, sticks, and a skull; give the devil three drops of your blood, and you have a servant. The servant has to keep working or it’ll kill you.(look them up) In this film, also has an acerbic wit, leading to many hilarious lines. Filmed in a gorgeous black and white, with a strong current of dark humour moving through, November is a real treat. It loses a bit of steam by the end, as so much is set up it’s hard to pay it off.

Ocean’s 8

The new Ocean’s heist film is the best since the first Clooney entry. Sandra Bullock plays (apparently dead) Clooney’s sister, just as much into cool as hell heisting as her brother. She gathers a veritable who’s who of rockin’ ladies to steal a butt ton of diamonds off Anne Hathaway. How can you go wrong with Cate Blanchett, Helana Bonham Carter, Rihanna, Awkafina, Sarah Paulson, and Mindy Kahiling. It’s funny as hell with fantastic chemistry and great back-and-forths. A lot of people jammed on the movie, but worked for me.


Kelly MacDonald is an actress that doesn’t get enough love. Outside of Holmes and Watson, she’s always amazing to watch.Here, she leads a small but heartfelt film, leading as a bored housewife who enters the world of jigsaw puzzle solving competitions. Apparently it’s a thing but hey, if it makes you happy. The puzzle solving is the backdrop for a character drama of reevaluating your life when unhappy and in a rut. It may follow the expected beats, but MacDonald sells it and a solid script elevates.


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