John and Kelly React! Our 2018 Round-Up!

We watched, we thought, we missed a few, and we listed. Welcome to our 2018 round-up and see our picks of the year!

independence day

Best Movie Watched (Regardless of Year)

Kelly: I watched a lot of movies this year that I was slacking on- DUNKIRK. Moonlight. Ladybird. I hate myself. I got the chance to see one of my all time faves, West Side Story, in theaters this year and that was absolutely a highlight for me. There are some movies that need to be seen in a theater. It was so different watching it with the lights off, with a proper sound system- it just highlighted the music, technique, and editing more than ever.

John: I finally saw Raiders of the Lost Ark! Definitely meets all of the hype my fellow cinephiles have adored the flick with all these years. 

A Movie I Missed

Kelly: I refused to pay for movies when I was stuck in the Movie Pass whirlwind and Bad Times at El Royale was out. I really regret not seeing that one. I also didn’t see A Star is Born because I thought it was going to just be a basic romance movie that featured music. From all the reviews and awards buzz, it looks like I was mistaken but now I’ll have to wait for a streaming service.

John: I really wanted to catch The Favourite but alas- timing and available screenings are hard to come by in my neck of the woods. Aside from that, I heard some great buzz around A Quiet Place, Roma, and Eighth Grade. These are definitely gonna going on my must-watch list when they hit streaming.

Top Movies of 2018

#3

Kelly: I know it’s not a movie- but I had a great time with Maniac this year. Every single episode. Aside from being visually interesting and engaging, it tackles grief and trauma in a very different way that I don’t think could be achievable in another format. I also want to shout out Kiksuya, the eighth episode from season 2 of Westworld– it’s one of the best crafted episodes of the series and of television, incredibly emotive and heart-wrenching, and one of the rare WW episodes this year to be both purposeful in terms of plot and story-telling.

John: I love me some Spike Lee, and when I found out his next joint was produced by Jordan Peele I was immediately sure that it would be one of my favorites of the year. Blackkklansman is an extremely relevant and provocative film that holds up a mirror to society today through this gripping unbelievable tale. It is suspenseful, hilarious, and at times doesn’t hesitate to show you the darkest parts of human nature. Newcomer John David Washington, Adam Driver, and Topher Grace round out the cast and give great performances. I believe every year there are certain films that are required viewing for all audiences and it is certainly this one.  

#2

Kelly: It feels like ages ago, but no other movie came close to the amount of fistpumps I had while watching Black Panther. Maybe Aquaman, but that was on a different (re: lower tier quality) level. Black Panther showed us that Marvel had the potential for good villains, could provide meaning and purpose, and could be inspiring for people in a whole other way than just being strong and powerful. To ignore Black Panther’s impact, not just in terms of its filmmaking or story-telling, but on inspiring youth and moviegoers would be doing everyone a disservice.

John: I missed this when it was in theaters, but I jumped at the chance to finally watch Sorry to Bother You. What I loved about this film is it’s bold visual style and how in your face it gets about its themes and imagery. Boots Riley has crafted a wholly unique work that is multilayered in sociopolitical messages and critique. It both calls the viewers into action but also deals in harsh realities. There isn’t much else I can say without spoilers, but it is a must watch!

#1

Kelly: I was going to hand this over to BlacKKKlansman, but honestly? I can’t stop thinking about The Favourite. It was incredibly delightful and weird and witty- and brave. There were lots of things that really made this stand out from an average historical romance so that it wasn’t just corsets and kisses. The romance was just subtle enough so that it didn’t detract from the women-in-power aspect. And dear gods, the production- it’s a visual feast of costuming, set design, cinematography, the works. There were a lot of things that shouldn’t have worked, lots of visual experiments, and small tweaks of technique that made this truly fascinating to watch.

John: My top spot is going to the greatest animated film of the decade Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse.  It’s been a really long time since the animation world has seen a real game-changer of a flick. In a climate full of high fidelity rendering aiming for ‘realism,’ Sony Animation aims for style over everything else. There is no other film this year, animated or otherwise that is so visually innovative in terms of design and execution. Of course, this film is also a genuinely engaging coming of age story full of incredible voice acting and high stakes. I haven’t been this genuinely excited for a film in ages, and I can’t wait to see how it leads the charge in a new age of animation.    

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