2018: The Pieper Reviewby redhotchilipieper | created - 8 months ago | updated - 1 week ago | Public
Shortlists So Far...
Best Picture First Reformed
Best Director Paul Schrader, First Reformed Lynne Ramsay, You Were Never Really Here Panos Cosmatos, Mandy Spike Lee, BlackkKlansman Russo Brothers, Avengers: Infinity War
Best Screenplay (Original or Adapted) First Reformed, Paul Schrader Sorry to Bother You, Boots Riley The Death of Stalin, Arnando Iannucci Eighth Grade, Bo Burnham BlackkKlansman, Spike Lee
Best Female Performances Elsie Fisher, Eighth Grade Tilda Swinton, Suspiria Amandla Stenberg, The Hate U Give Thomasin McKenzie, Leave No Trace Toni Collette, Hereditary
Best Supporting Female Performances Cynthia Erivo, Bad Times at the El Royale Olivia Cooke, Thoroughbreds Andrea Riseborough, Mandy Olwen Fouere, Mandy Danai Gurira, Black Panther & Avengers: Infinity War
Best Male Performances Ethan Hawke, First Reformed Joaquin Phoenix, You Were Never Really Here Bradley Cooper, A Star Is Born Nicolas Cage, Mandy Jeff Bridges, Bad Times at the El Royale
Best Supporting Male Performances Hugh Grant, Paddington 2 Simon Russell Beale, The Death of Stalin Josh Hamilton, Eighth Grade Jesse Plemons, Game Night Russell Hornsby, The Hate U Give
Best Original Score Mandy, Jóhann Jóhannsson You Were Never Really Here, Jonny Greenwood Suspiria, Thom Yorke Hereditary, Colin Stetson Isle of Dogs, Alexandre Desplat
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1. First Reformed (2017)
R | 113 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A priest of a small congregation in upstate New York grapples with mounting despair brought on by tragedy, worldly concerns and a tormented past.
Votes: 15,266 | Gross: $3.45M
In a world where nothing is sacred, a priest tries to reconcile his devotion to the church with the challenges and oppression of today's America. Ethan Hawke is the best he has ever been as Rev. Toller, the priest of the titular First Reformed church. It is a worthy successor to classic Schrader scripts like Taxi Driver and Bringing Out the Dead (okay, I haven't seen any of his other movies yet...) and is able to incorporate thought-provoking discussions with the suspense elements of a thriller. Paired with John Michael McDonagh's similarly splendid 2014 film Calvary, First Reformed is a source of truth in a time when even the extolled virtues of religion cannot be trusted.
My Grade: A RT: 8.4
2. Mandy (I) (2018)
Not Rated | 121 min | Action, Horror, Thriller
The enchanted lives of a couple in a secluded forest are brutally shattered by a nightmarish hippie cult and their demon-biker henchmen, propelling a man into a spiraling, surreal rampage of vengeance.
Votes: 24,425 | Gross: $1.21M
For the first time ever, Nicolas Cage is not the craziest thing in his own movie. Mandy is a gorgeous, neon-drenched nightmare of nigh indescribable majesty. The revenge thrills of Tarantino, the art of Kubrick and Tarkovsky, combined with the Refn lights and Lynchian dread. All with a heavy slathering of Sam Raimi's violent glee. An instant cult classic and the only film in history to feature Nicolas Cage in a chainsaw fight. If that isn't worth your time, we'll have a difficult go of it as roommates. It is as if Cosmatos dropped acid and committed a death metal concept album to the silver screen.
My Grade: A- RTA: 7.5
3. BlacKkKlansman (2018)
R | 135 min | Biography, Comedy, Crime
Ron Stallworth, an African American police officer from Colorado Springs, CO, successfully manages to infiltrate the local Ku Klux Klan branch with the help of a Jewish surrogate who eventually becomes its leader. Based on actual events.
Votes: 53,891 | Gross: $48.27M
Spike Lee's latest is a much-needed reflection on societal progress, political rebellion, and ideological toxicity packed into a razor-sharp historical biopic. Seldom has a sermon preaching positive progress in divisive times been this affably entertaining. I find it interesting to see Spike's case of how he sees himself as similar to Ron in his own profession.
My Grade: A- RTA: 8.2
4. Eighth Grade (2018)
R | 93 min | Comedy, Drama
An introverted teenage girl tries to survive the last week of her disastrous eighth grade year before leaving to start high school.
Votes: 19,566 | Gross: $13.54M
In its own deceptively simple way, Eighth Grade is the call-to-arms film we need in the #metoo era. Many critics have said that every girl and their mother should see this film, but in reality, they will only find more of the same. While it will be riveting for middle school girls to see themselves on screen in the same way that young African-Americans all across the nation felt seeing T'Challa in Black Panther, this film, if discussed thoughtfully, could be a truly seminal empathy generator for young males. The truth or dare scene about midway through the film is fertile ground for a discussion about how young men should treat young women. Burnham and Fisher are able to put us into the trembling shoes of a girl in what could turn into a sexual assault. More men need to feel that way and the earlier that they start having more empathy for the experience of women and girls, the better.
My Grade: A- RT: 8.8
5. Isle of Dogs (2018)
PG-13 | 101 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Set in Japan, Isle of Dogs follows a boy's odyssey in search of his lost dog.
Votes: 79,377 | Gross: $32.02M
Wes Anderson reached what may be the peak of his filmmaking career with The Grand Budapest Hotel, so Isle of Dogs is beautifully crafted piece of art from a master in his prime. I have to see this one again to appreciate all of the visual details and possible allegorical readings, but you don't have to be a film buff or a critic to appreciate the story on its most basic level: A boy searching for his dog in a corrupt world.
My Grade: A- RT: 8.1
6. You Were Never Really Here (2017)
R | 89 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
A traumatized veteran, unafraid of violence, tracks down missing girls for a living. When a job spins out of control, Joe's nightmares overtake him as a conspiracy is uncovered leading to what may be his death trip or his awakening.
Votes: 52,044 | Gross: $2.52M
Despite Phoenix's powerful performance, Ramsay's latest is, admittedly, emotionally cold. It is much closer to Morvern Callar than Ratcatcher. For non-Ramsay fans looking for a Man on Fire or Taken style kidnapping thriller (absolutely nothing wrong with that), look elsewhere. If you are looking for tour de force editing, fascinating character psychology, and a delightfully dissonant score from Jonny Greenwood, You Were Never Really Here is a must see.
My Grade: B+ RT: 8.2
7. Hereditary (2018)
R | 127 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
After the family matriarch passes away, a grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences, and begin to unravel dark secrets.
Votes: 103,875 | Gross: $44.07M
While there are little moments of unique horror tics and some wonderful sound design and lighting, Hereditary feels like the basic blueprint for an "arty" 2010s horror film. That blueprint? Crib as many shots from The Shining as possible with a little Rosemary's Baby peppered in. That being said, the film will unsettle and unnerve you. It just doesn't really feel like it all adds up by the end - unlike recent horror masterworks like The Babadook, It Follows, and Get Out. However, I am left both wanting to watch it again and fearing another viewing. This, surely, is a mark of artistic success. In any case, Aster is an astute film literate and is worth keeping an eye on.
My Grade: B+ RTA: 8.3
8. Suspiria (2018)
R | 152 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
A darkness swirls at the center of a world-renowned dance company, one that will engulf the artistic director, an ambitious young dancer, and a grieving psychotherapist. Some will succumb to the nightmare. Others will finally wake up.
Votes: 6,690 | Gross: $2.14M
A thematically rich remake that suffers from a bland central performance from Dakota Johnson.
My Grade: B+ RT: 6.7
9. Sorry to Bother You (2018)
R | 111 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Sci-Fi
In an alternate present-day version of Oakland, telemarketer Cassius Green discovers a magical key to professional success, propelling him into a universe of greed.
Votes: 19,251 | Gross: $17.49M
What do you get when a Marxist nerd combines Brazil and Being John Malkovich with a dash of Edgar Wright? The year's most gonzo satire. Boots Riley is a name to watch. Hopefully, his next effort will be a little less dazed and a bit more pointed, but this film should not be missed.
My Grade: B+/B RTA: 7.8
10. Paddington 2 (2017)
PG | 103 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
Paddington, now happily settled with the Brown family and a popular member of the local community, picks up a series of odd jobs to buy the perfect present for his Aunt Lucy's 100th birthday, only for the gift to be stolen.
Votes: 37,776 | Gross: $40.44M
A sequel being better than the original is nearly unheard of (except perhaps, The Dark Knight and X-Men: Days of Future Past -- sorry Godfather II), but a sequel to a children's movie being better than the original is nearly impossible. For now, the reigning ruler is Paddington 2. Paul King's delightfully pleasant family adventure doesn't just have the fact that it contains no toilet humor going for it, but also has the full commitment of an engaged cast, film literacy, and an understanding of what a sequel's maximum potential can be. Plus, the messages the film imparts are as sweet and sincere as a marmalade sandwich. Hugh Grant deserved the BAFTA nomination (and, hopefully, could snag an Oscar nomination next year) for his portrayal of Shakespearean actor turned dog food commercial cast member turned master criminal, Phoenix Buchanan.
My Grade: B+ RT: 8.7
11. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
PG-13 | 149 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
The Avengers and their allies must be willing to sacrifice all in an attempt to defeat the powerful Thanos before his blitz of devastation and ruin puts an end to the universe.
Votes: 523,766 | Gross: $678.82M
Ten years in the making, Infinity War will only appeal to people who have seen the other movies in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but for that audience, it provides an unparalleled superhero epic. Many critics still have no idea how to assess Marvel movies. To grade them as a self-contained narrative film is to miss the point of the MCU. It is more just to grade them on a continuum like TV critics do when considering each episode of a TV season. There are many characters to develop, not all of them are going to experience a full arc in Infinity War. This is bigger than one movie and bigger than one universe. The point of Avengers films, particularly Infinity War, is not to provide neatly packaged Hero's Journey arcs for all characters involved, but rather, to unite this plethora of heroes in the interest of a singular mission. As far as fulfilling that duty goes, Infinity War accomplishes this titanic task with a surprising ease. The best part of the film is Thanos -- an Avengers villain that is finally interesting and formidable.
My Grade: B+ RT: 7.5
12. Black Panther (2018)
PG-13 | 134 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
After the death of his father, Prince T'Challa ascends to the throne of the small African country of Wakanda. T'Challa is also Black Panther, superhero. Now not only must he govern his country but defeat a dangerous adversary.
Votes: 414,307 | Gross: $700.06M
Following in the footsteps of Wonder Woman, Black Panther marks a milestone in representation for film history. Luckily, the film is equally good, if not better. Director Ryan Coogler is not afraid to add political edges, character arcs, and world building that is nowhere to be found elsewhere in the Marvel universe. Plus: war rhinos. Much like the 2008 election, we should not fall under the illusion of progress and believe that cinema has reached peak representation. Black Panther is merely the herald of an exciting new era of stories, not the peak. That being said, it is still very much a cause for celebration.
My Grade: B+/B RT: 8.2
13. A Star Is Born (2018)
R | 136 min | Drama, Music, Romance
A musician helps a young singer find fame, even as age and alcoholism send his own career into a downward spiral.
Votes: 95,929 | Gross: $181.49M
A very good directorial debut from Bradley Cooper. This will make you feel things whether you like it or not. If you are famous, it will make you feel even more. On the whole, terrific performances. I would be okay with this one getting Oscar attention (which it inevitably will).
My Grade: B/B+ RTA: 8.1
14. Incredibles 2 (2018)
PG | 118 min | Animation, Action, Adventure
Bob Parr (Mr. Incredible) is left to care for the kids while Helen (Elastigirl) is out saving the world.
Votes: 134,563 | Gross: $608.32M
The sequel I have been waiting for for 14 is finally here and fortunately, it was worth the wait. Yes, the Pixar formula is still going strong, but this time around it is used to explore grittier real-world themes that (to my memory bank at least) the company has never explored before. The plot is slightly less strong than the first, but the keenly observed family dynamics, exciting action sequences, gorgeous animation, and hilarity all remain intact. Plus, we FINALLY get to see the Parrs fight the Underminer!
My Grade: B/B+ RT: 7.9
15. Thoroughbreds (2017)
R | 92 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
Two upper-class teenage girls in suburban Connecticut rekindle their unlikely friendship after years of growing apart. Together, they hatch a plan to solve both of their problems-no matter what the cost.
Votes: 19,329 | Gross: $2.83M
A stylish thriller without too much to say. It makes for a nice rainy day afternoon movie though. The soundtrack and sound design is what makes this film worth seeing. Overall, Thoroughbreds is a swell little arthouse thriller boasting a director worth keeping an eye on.
My Grade: B RTA: 7.2
16. The Death of Stalin (2017)
R | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, History
Moscow, 1953. After being in power for nearly 30 years, Soviet dictator Josef Stalin takes ill and quickly dies. Now the members of the Council of Ministers scramble for power.
Votes: 50,292 | Gross: $8.04M
A pitch black satire from some of the Veep guys relies, as always, on a little too much profanity, but the performances by a game cast make this a must-see for any political junkie. To quote Mark Twain, history may not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.
My Grade: B RT: 8.2
17. The Hate U Give (2018)
PG-13 | 133 min | Crime, Drama
Starr witnesses the fatal shooting of her childhood best friend Khalil at the hands of a police officer. Now, facing pressure from all sides of the community, Starr must find her voice and stand up for what's right.
Votes: 6,185 | Gross: $27.44M
Stellar performances help offer a generally nuanced look into the complexities of American race relations. At times, it feels like an after-school special, but that is exactly what the target audience is. In that case, mission accomplished!
My Grade: B RTA: 8.2
18. The Old Man & the Gun (2018)
PG-13 | 93 min | Comedy, Crime, Drama
Based on the true story of Forrest Tucker and his audacious escape from San Quentin at the age of 70 to an unprecedented string of heists that confounded authorities and enchanted the public.
Votes: 3,535 | Gross: $10.45M
The film's breeziness is both it's greatest strength and it's greatest weakness. For those of a certain age, the film may exceed the level of good and reach greatness. For everyone else, it's a fun, tonally consistent tribute to an indelible spirit.
My Grade: B RTA: 7.5
19. Fahrenheit 11/9 (2018)
R | 128 min | Documentary
Votes: 4,893 | Gross: $6.35M
An effective call to action in a way that most media outlets and comedians are not going for. Michael Moore remains a singular voice in American film. It is a refreshing takedown of establishment Democrats and offers another reminder of just how biased the major network media machines have become.
My Grade: B/B+ RTA: 6.9
20. A Quiet Place (2018)
PG-13 | 90 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery
In a post-apocalyptic world, a family is forced to live in silence while hiding from monsters with ultra-sensitive hearing.
Votes: 230,344 | Gross: $188.02M
In a Get Out-esque (albeit, less impressive) turn, John Krasinski puts his Office-bred eye acting to the test in his third feature film, A Quiet Place. There is not much thematic depth to offer here compared to other premiere horror films of the 2010s, but the just-above gimmicky premise and the pathos of Krasinski and Blunt make the film undeniably watchable. Plus, young filmmakers could learn a lot from the consistently effective visual storytelling.
**Later Note: Check out the video essay on how the sound design was built into the script on the Lessons from the Screenplay YouTube channel.
My Grade: B RT: 8.2
21. Christopher Robin (2018)
PG | 104 min | Animation, Adventure, Comedy
A working-class family man, Christopher Robin, encounters his childhood friend Winnie-the-Pooh, who helps him to rediscover the joys of life.
Votes: 28,117 | Gross: $99.14M
A nostalgia trip as thick and gooey as the titular bear's honey. Most of the time, in a good way.
My Grade: B RTA: 6.2
22. Leave No Trace (2018)
PG | 109 min | Drama
A father and his thirteen year-old daughter are living an ideal existence in a vast urban park in Portland, Oregon, when a small mistake derails their lives forever.
Votes: 16,046 | Gross: $6.05M
Debra Granik's films show a world on the fringes of society that are nothing more than their struggles. This is a personal taste thing, but if I am going to love characters in a realist film, then they better be witty or humorous at some point. People that are not at least a little funny just don't seem full to me. I had the same feeling when I walked out of Granik's Winter's Bone back in 2010. I believe that the lack of humor makes Granik's characters just feel like their struggles and not like human beings. I'm not asking for them all to be comedians. I'm not asking for humor to undercut dramatic moments like in some Marvel movies (a.k.a. bathos). I just feel like characters who are only characterized by their damage and scrappy resourcefulness are simply not as empathetic for me as characters who are shown to have more dimensions to their personalities. I am not saying that this is a bad film, it is quite good. Thomasin McKenzie is especially fantastic.
My Grade: B RTA: 8.5
23. Deadpool 2 (2018)
R | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
Foul-mouthed mutant mercenary Wade Wilson (AKA. Deadpool), brings together a team of fellow mutant rogues to protect a young boy with supernatural abilities from the brutal, time-traveling cyborg, Cable.
Votes: 300,666 | Gross: $318.49M
While the first Deadpool tried way too hard to be edgy/snarky in order to prove that an R-rated superhero movie could survive in a world of PG-13 CGI slugfests, Deadpool 2 doesn't have anything to prove due to its established brand and character. Due this newfound comfort, Deadpool 2 is much more enjoyable to watch by eschewing in-your-face spoofiness in favor of stylish action, amiable cast chemistry, and punchlines that land as hard as its punches.
My Grade: B RT: 7.1
24. Bad Times at the El Royale (2018)
R | 141 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
Circa 1968, several strangers, most with a secret to bury, meet by chance at Lake Tahoe's El Royale, a rundown hotel with a dark past. Over the course of one night, everyone will show their true colors - before everything goes to hell.
Votes: 22,677 | Gross: $17.74M
Going into Drew Goddard’s new film, I expected a Cabin in the Woods style deconstruction of the Tarantino-inspired revenge thriller. What I walked out with was Goddard’s version of The Hateful Eight (2015). While Goddard’s 2012 masterwork both delivered genre highs and said something about the horror genre as a whole, El Royale (on first viewing) only accomplishes the former. Often, it delivers those genre highs with flying colors but that does not make it feel like anything other than a clever writer making a paint-by-the-numbers movie using one of his (presumably) favorite auteurs as a template.
My Grade: B RTA: 6.6
25. Game Night (I) (2018)
R | 100 min | Action, Comedy, Crime
A group of friends who meet regularly for game nights find themselves entangled in a real-life mystery when the shady brother of one of them is seemingly kidnapped by dangerous gangsters.
Votes: 128,035 | Gross: $69.00M
The movie is fluff, but it is just well-acted enough (especially by the likes of Rachel McAdams and Jesse Plemons) to rise above the indifferent realm of the "meh" grades like B- or C+. The script is far from perfect, but sheer fun of Game Night is impossible to not get caught up in. This is a perfect little caper to watch with friends or after a few drinks at a game night.
My Grade: B RT: 6.8
26. The Rider (2017)
R | 104 min | Drama, Western
After suffering a near fatal head injury, a young cowboy undertakes a search for new identity and what it means to be a man in the heartland of America.
Votes: 5,253 | Gross: $2.41M
I wanted to really like this movie. Truly, I did. I would have really enjoyed it had it not been so damn repetitive. As is, the film definitely has its powerful moments, but I couldn't get over the fact that it felt a little irresponsible.
My Grade: B- RT: 8.4
27. Mid90s (2018)
R | 85 min | Comedy, Drama
Follows Stevie, a thirteen-year-old in 1990s-era Los Angeles who spends his summer navigating between his troubled home life and a group of new friends that he meets at a Motor Avenue skate shop.
Votes: 3,847 | Gross: $7.03M
A by-the-numbers coming-of-age tale that could have used a longer running time to dive into some of the more interesting issues it raises.
My Grade: B- RT: 6.8
28. Crazy Rich Asians (2018)
PG-13 | 120 min | Comedy, Romance
This contemporary romantic comedy, based on a global bestseller, follows native New Yorker Rachel Chu to Singapore to meet her boyfriend's family.
Votes: 42,007 | Gross: $173.60M
I will never fully understand (and always lament) the sick fascination with disgusting excesses and waste of the rich, but I completely understand the satisfaction of a well-formed rom-com (even if it isn't my favorite genre). Crazy Rich Asians will easily satisfy rom-com fans.
My Grade: B- RTA: 7.7
29. Ant-Man and the Wasp (2018)
PG-13 | 118 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
As Scott Lang balances being both a Super Hero and a father, Hope van Dyne and Dr. Hank Pym present an urgent new mission that finds the Ant-Man fighting alongside The Wasp to uncover secrets from their past.
Votes: 149,787 | Gross: $216.65M
Light Marvel fun. I would love to see David Lynch, Werner Herzog or the Too Many Cooks guys take on the mid-credits and post-credits sequence and make it into a short film. Oh, who am I kidding? make it feature-length.
My Grade: B- RTA: 6.9
30. Halloween (I) (2018)
R | 106 min | Horror, Thriller
Laurie Strode confronts her long-time foe Michael Myers, the masked figure who has haunted her since she narrowly escaped his killing spree on Halloween night four decades ago.
Votes: 47,008 | Gross: $158.10M
The idea of wiping the slate clean was genius, and there are some wonderful moments that fulfill the feeling of the 1978 classic. However, those moments are too few to warrant a full recommendation. Additionally, there is a feeling of emptiness at the end that lacks the finality I was expecting from this iteration. Hardcore Michael Myers fans may be appeased, general horror nuts will probably feel the same way I do.
My Grade: C+/B- RTA: 6.8
31. Oh Lucy! (2017)
95 min | Comedy, Drama
A lonely woman living in Tokyo decides to take an English class where she discovers her alter ego, Lucy.
Votes: 1,617 | Gross: $0.38M
I did not know quite what to make of this movie, although I was happy to see a Japanese woman writer-director at the helm. I also enjoyed the actress who portrayed Lucy (Shinobu Terajima) immensely. If her talents were used in a film that was less of a tonal -- I don't know? Game of whack-a-mole? Tonal whack-a-mole? -- then she could really shine. The fact that Terajima still manages to shine despite the overall unevenness makes this film worth seeing via rental though. Glenn Kenny may put it best when he says: “the treatment of its central character veers so wildly between the sympathetic and just plain pathetic that there’s a blur where the movie’s heart ought to be." Couldn't have said it better myself.
My Grade: C+ RT: 6.8
32. Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom (2018)
PG-13 | 128 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
When the island's dormant volcano begins roaring to life, Owen and Claire mount a campaign to rescue the remaining dinosaurs from this extinction-level event.
Votes: 173,191 | Gross: $416.77M
Typically, the problems with blockbusters sequels derive from "sequelitis" which involves putting everything on a much larger scale, but Jurassic World's shrunk-down setting (a slightly Gothic mansion) was the only aspect of this sequel to the 2015 cash cow that subverted my expectations. Other than that, I had expected Fallen Kingdom to be as well, okay (the first one is a 6/10, B- in my book) as Jurassic World, but the film failed to live up to that low bar. The one saving grace of the entire J.W. series at this point is Blue: the only character in both J.W. movies that has a halfway compelling arc. That being said, it still provides some moments of excitement and genuine entertainment, but it would be a lot better if there were less cliches, or at least if the human characters experiencing and espousing the cliches would be worth giving a damn about.
**Later note: When all is said and done, Jurassic World may be the "better" movie by a hair, but I would rather watch Fallen Kingdom again for all of its stupid mansion fun.
My Grade: C+ RTA: 5.7
33. Annihilation (2018)
R | 115 min | Adventure, Drama, Horror
A biologist signs up for a dangerous, secret expedition into a mysterious zone where the laws of nature don't apply.
Votes: 182,541 | Gross: $32.73M
Despite a promising debut (Ex Machina), Alex Garland's sophomore effort as a writer-director is the kind of film that will find itself atop the favorite film lists of sci-fi die hards and adolescents who are just starting to discover the wide world of movies. From a visual and sound design standpoint, the film deserves recognition. Unfortunately, the film's ideas and themes aim for art house ambiguity, but end up falling into an unengaging mess. It fails to spark any true emotional and intellectual fires. When it is over, it left me wanting to rewatch the masterpieces (Stalker, Arrival, Rashomon) that inspired it and forget the film itself.
**Later Note: I would love to watch this again for a re-evaluation.
My Grade: C RT: 7.6
34. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
PG-13 | 134 min | Biography, Drama, Music
Votes: 104,471 | Gross: $112.19M
Bohemian Rhapsody is only as good as its music. When Queen isn't playing, we are left with the most generic musical biopic script ever written.
My Grade: C RTA: 6.1
35. The House with a Clock in Its Walls (2018)
PG | 105 min | Comedy, Family, Fantasy
A young orphan named Lewis Barnavelt aids his magical uncle in locating a clock with the power to bring about the end of the world.
Votes: 10,332 | Gross: $67.90M
Eli Roth makes two fatal decisions. (1) Repressing Jack Black. (2) Hinging the film on a shrill, terrible child actor.
My Grade: C RTA: 6
36. Solo: A Star Wars Story (2018)
PG-13 | 135 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy
During an adventure into the criminal underworld, Han Solo meets his future co-pilot Chewbacca and encounters Lando Calrissian years before joining the Rebellion.
Votes: 172,210 | Gross: $213.77M
Even when one is not haunted by the specter of what could have been a rollicking barrel of space fun with Lord and Miller at the helm of the Falcon, Solo is a tonally bland and perversely serviceable piece of work. Debuting after the refreshingly unpredictable Last Jedi doesn't do it any favors either. As far as origin flicks go, it isn't X-Men Origins: Wolverine bad, but it is certainly less memorable. Besides two-thirds of Attack of the Clones and half of The Phantom Menace, Solo may be the least genuinely exciting Star Wars live action franchise film ever.
My Grade: C RTA: 6.5
37. A Wrinkle in Time (2018)
PG | 109 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy
After the disappearance of her scientist father, three peculiar beings send Meg, her brother, and her friend to space in order to find him.
Votes: 28,630 | Gross: $100.48M
Admittedly, it may have taken an experience growing up as a young woman to understand and appreciate the journey that Meg takes. Maybe reading the book is essential in order to appreciate the movie. If it is the latter case (I feel it is), then DuVernay's A Wrinke in Time is a decidedly unsuccessful adaptation.
My Grade: C- RT: 5.2
38. First Man (2018)
PG-13 | 141 min | Biography, Drama, History
A look at the life of the astronaut, Neil Armstrong, and the legendary space mission that led him to become the first man to walk on the Moon on July 20, 1969.
Votes: 48,692 | Gross: $44.10M
Mind-numbing tedium. There is a not single aspect or shot of this film that you haven't seen before. Ryan Gosling is frustratingly flat, Claire Foy is pathetically Oscar-thirsty, and the supporting cast is dour as all get out. The film's revelatory message? Astronauts can be sad too.
My Grade: D- RTA: 8.1