Justice League (2017)

Justice League Movie Review

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Justice League Movie Review

Justice League is a 2017 superhero film directed by Zack Snyder and starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill and Gal Gadot among others. It is a very flawed, but pretty solid team movie.

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What are your superpowers again?

I’m rich

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Justice League Movie Review

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As DCEU’s fifth film and the culmination of all previous ones, Justice League obviously still came out too early and once again it would have been a better choice to see most of these characters in their own solo films first as this way they are pretty underdeveloped.

The film is extremely simplistic for better and for worse. On the one hand, it is so simple that it doesn’t have any surprises to it which is quite troublesome and it plays too much like a regular comic-book or a simple video game storyline. But on the other hand, that led to a much better crafted and much more entertaining film than usual for the DCEU.

Let’s talk about the characters. I liked seeing the Amazons once again and especially seeing the Atlanteans was a lot of fun and those underwater sequences stole the show. Alfred is still boring, Martha serves her purpose and Lois Lane is somewhat dull here. Amy Adams is underutilized way too much.

As for Steppenwolf, he is a pretty bad villain. He was competent and menacing enough, but he looked ridiculous with bad CGI on his face and no motion to the face whatsoever. The lips also did not move too well. The character is your typical superhero bad guy who wants to conquer the world.

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Justice League Movie Review

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Batman is pretty good once again and I like Ben Affleck in the role even though I did not expect it. He had too many comedic moments here which doesn’t suit the character, but otherwise he was quite good. Superman obviously came back from the dead which was typical, but at least he was memorable and him unleashing power and beating up the rest of the team was one of the action highlights.

Wonder Woman is not as good as she was in her own movie, but she still did get a lot to do here and Gal Gadot is still quite charming in the role. As for the new characters, the highlight is Flash who is quite funny at times and should have been used much more. Ezra Miller was so well cast in this role. Cyborg has an interesting backstory, but is very underutilized unfortunately and overall forgettable. And Aquaman is your typical Jason Momoa character with some fun moments, but overall he’s forgettable.

Justice League has a very short runtime and it definitely needed more build up, but still we got here a couple of calmer moments and not every scene was an action scene which I appreciated. The scenes with the team members talking were the funniest and most impactful with some great lines of dialogue.

The film is definitely very comedic and too much like a Marvel film, but because it was at times quite funny, it worked and it brought a lot of charm and playfulness to the whole affair. The acting is mostly very good and I have to say that most of the action scenes are excellent and a lot of fun.

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Justice League Movie Review

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However, some are pretty bad and they reminded me too much of games. Couple that with very unfortunately visuals and you get a video game look here which is ridiculous for such a high budget. They poured so much money into this film and what we got is a video game movie with too many saturated colors in its third act (which is again bombastic and annoying in typical DCEU fashion) and too much use of CGI and a bad one at that. It truly was baffling to witness.

Justice League is baffling when it comes to its special effects. They poured enormous money into this production and the end result looks like a video game with too many saturated colors and an over-reliance on (bad) CGI. But it’s still a pretty solid team movie which is overly simplistic, but that also led to a much more entertaining than usual film. The villain is poor, but most of the action is a lot of fun, the humor is quite solid and in terms of characters Wonder Woman, Batman and especially Ezra Miller’s Flash stole the show.

My Rating – 3.5

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Pied Piper Porky (1939)

Pied Piper Porky ReviewPied Piper Porky Review

Pied Piper Porky is a 1939 animated short film from the Looney Tunes series. It is a very strong short.

Porky here is the Pied Piper, but the film actually happens after that famous story which was a nice, really fresh idea I liked a lot. He gets tormented by a mouse and then calls a cat to help him with the mouse but with no results. In my opinion, Looney Tunes entries are getting very problematic in their insistence to use the character of Porky Pig. If they use him, let him have a bigger role, but here once again he gets to have a very small impact on the story which was unfortunate.

Pied Piper Porky is nonetheless one of the strongest Looney Tunes of the late 30s mainly because of that mouse who is absolutely hilarious. His line about the trap stole the show as it was perfectly delivered and so funny, but the ending is also memorable and incredibly dark. The cat fearing the mouse was also quite funny. There are a lot of quality gags here and the mix of Tom and Jerry with the series’ crazy antics worked in its favor.

Pied Piper Porky needed more Porky as he is useless here, but the film is hilarious with a lot of terrific and such funny moments.

My Rating – 4.2

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Lady Bird (2017)

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Lady Bird Movie Review

Lady Bird is a 2017 coming-of-age film directed by Greta Gerwig and starring Saiorse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. It is a hugely overrated film.

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The only thing exciting about 2002 is that it’s a palindrome

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Lady Bird Movie Review

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The film basically follows the life of a 17-year-old girl and especially focuses on her turbulent relationship with her mother. Now I liked that relationship and it was very well done, but it was obviously the highlight of the film so they should have focused entirely on it as the rest could just never compete.

The rest of Lady Bird is your typical coming-of-age flick – she experiences her first sex, she is hanging out with her best friend, she is attending a theatre production and she is getting ready for university. All of those things are everyday things that most of us get through meaning that the film should be universal but it just wasn’t in my opinion.

It was meant just for teenage girls and those girls like Lady Bird herself which is why someone like me couldn’t possibly love this film. Its limited appeal hurt it in the long run. It was too detailed and it focused on all the uninteresting things such as theatre and complicated relationships with her friends and school life. The film just wasn’t deep enough, it was rushed and it never explored any of its themes properly.

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Lady Bird Movie Review

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The protagonist could be annoying at times, but overall she is a very well developed and utilized character. Kyle is quite boring and Danny’s problems are well explored but somehow his story felt like a detour and it wasn’t really needed here. Of course Marion is excellent and very realistic as this tough, complicated mother. As I said, their relationship steals the show and I wished that the film relied more on the two of them and it would have been much better.

I am not a fan of Saiorse Ronan if I am to be honest. However, I couldn’t deny that here she gave such a strong performance that she entirely deserved her Oscar nomination. Her performance in ‘Brooklyn’ is much inferior to this one. Some of her scenes are just wonderful to witness. And of course Laurie Metcalf also stole the show with her terrific, nuanced performance in an interesting role and she also deserved her nod.

Nonetheless, apart from those two nominations, the rest of its three nominations are ridiculous to me. Of course the Best Picture nomination is ludicrous as the film is just solid and so far from great that I do wonder why it got 99 per cent on Rotten Tomatoes when it is such a standard teen flick. But the screenplay nod is even worse as the film is quite weakly scripted and Greta Gerwig shouldn’t have been nominated as well.

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Lady Bird Movie Review

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I am a big fan of her as an actress, but as a director I’m not. Unfortunately she did not make a smooth transition and this film is quite clearly a work from the debut director. Her direction is very problematic as the film felt rushed and oddly paced and structured and her only strength is that she got two excellent performances from these two ladies, but other than that, the film is very weakly directed and when it was over, I asked for more as what I got was just not enough to deem it very good, let alone great.

Lady Bird features two terrific, deservedly Oscar nominated performances from Saiorse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf and the relationship between the two is so well realized and it steals the show here, but the rest of the film is uninteresting and your regular coming-of-age flick with nothing new to offer. The film is rushed and it thus doesn’t explore its themes to the fullest extent plus Greta Gerwig’s direction is not great. It’s a solid, but incredibly overrated film which is immensely inferior to much better and criminally underrated ‘The Edge of Seventeen’.

My Rating – 3.5

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The Whoopee Party (1932)

The Whoopee Party ReviewThe Whoopee Party Review

The Whoopee Party is a 1932 Mickey Mouse cartoon. It is a weaker entry.

Mickey is having a party in which he and the others are preparing a meal while Minnie is playing the piano. Naturally this particular setup I’ve seen many times before which is why this film is immensely rehashed and disappointing. It is another boring all-musical short with no plot and or almost no gags at all which is troublesome as I thought they were finally moving in the right direction with more plot.

There is however one great thing about this movie and that is of course Goofy. He is phenomenal and so funny here. He appears in the last act of the film and is his typical crazy, laughing lunatic and I loved that part just because of him. I want more Goofy in the near future and I hope that actually happens.

The Whoopee Party’s ending with Goofy steals the show, but the rest of the cartoon is your typical, traditional, plotless musical.

My Rating – 3.4

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Coco (2017)

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Coco Movie Review

Coco is a 2017 animated fantasy musical film directed by Lee Unkrich. It is a strong film from Pixar, but far from their best works.

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I thought I was related to a murderer!

You’re a total upgrade!

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Coco Movie Review

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I was tremendously excited for Coco and I have been looking forward to it for a very long time. It was actually one of my three most anticipated films for 2017. But unfortunately it ended up being a disappointment for me. The film is quite good, don’t get me wrong. But it is just not great and certainly not amazing. My expectations were too high I guess.

So it follows a 12-year-old boy named Miguel who is transported to the land of the dead where he seeks help from his ancestor to return him back to the living world. The boy wants to be a musician, but his family disapproves. Now basically in that disapproving part I found it to be disappointing as I never really got why they opposed music so much. And I also found the first act somewhat lacking as it was too rushed and lacking in characterization.

The film definitely became much better in the second act and that second act is easily the highlight for me as the third one was overly emotional. I do realize now why so many people are getting frustrated with Pixar’s emotional manipulation. Coco isn’t manipulative, but certainly its last scene is overly sentimental. But I do think they somewhat earned that emotion, but not fully for sure.

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Coco Movie Review

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The second act is where the movie shines because it features wonderful fantasy and adventure elements and very memorable plot points. The twist itself I did see coming. I mean I didn’t predict it fully, but I did expect the darker turn and that obviousness was problematic for me. However, they still did the best they could with it and although somewhat soapy, it made the film very intriguing nonetheless.

Let’s talk about its characters. Miguel is very good and likable. He’s a standard, but still a good protagonist. Ernesto de la Cruz is very memorable and effective. Hector is easily the best character in the entire film as he is very well developed, immensely likable and the relationship between him and Miguel is fantastic. The grandmother is too strict, the parents are boring and of course Coco herself is a fantastic plot device. The film needed more characters and better characterization of the supporting players.

Coco is definitely a musical as it relies on music so much, but I have to say that it does that with mixed results. For a film which literally is about music, you would think that we would get a great soundtrack, but what we got was a pretty weak, forgettable soundtrack which is never, ever on par with Disney’s classics.

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Coco Movie Review

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La Llorona is the only song apart from the main one which is even remotely memorable as Everyone Knows Juanita, Un Poco Loco and all of the others are so forgettable that I already have forgotten them. They really needed stronger songwriters for this film.

Of course Remember Me is the standout song. It isn’t great, but it is pretty good with moving lyrics and I particularly liked how it was used so well in all those different sequences in different contexts. But I still had a problem with that approach as using mostly this one song meant that we got less of the other songs which was a giant problem the movie never overcame.

The animation is the best reason to see Coco in my opinion. It is phenomenal. It isn’t as inventive as ‘Inside Out’ was but it’s still very strong and particularly polished and colorful with a great use of many wonderful colors to accompany its Mexican setting so well. The colors of green, yellow and orange were the highlights. The character design is solid and I loved how the skeletons looked and moved.

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Coco Movie Review

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The world building is amazing and they created this whole world populated with the dead beautifully. That is actually the highlight of the film along with its animation – the mythology. I loved the concept of fading or second death after all living people forget you. That was a very powerful and sophisticated approach and I loved it. The film does deal with the theme of death so well and cleverly which is why its final emotional scene is not manipulative.

The voice acting is especially strong and emotionally evocative. The direction from Lee Unkrich is very good as well and the pacing of the film apart from its beginning is pretty good. The score is also very good, but not as great as the trailers promised me. The whole film is just never as fantastic as the trailers were leading to an eventual disappointment for me.

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Coco Movie Review

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Coco is a very good, but unfortunately disappointing film which is far from Pixar’s best works. The standout aspects are its world building which is amazing, its animation which is beautiful and pleasingly colorful and its mythology which has some very interesting concepts very well explored. The film explores death so well, it is sophisticated in that theme and it is particularly effective in the portrayal of Mexican culture and Día de los Muertos. The characterization is good and I particularly loved the second act with the fantasy adventure angle to it. But even though its emotional ending was somewhat earned, it was still too sentimental. The twist is also quite easy to predict. And its major problem is the soundtrack. Remember Me is definitely a good, well utilized song, but the rest of the songs are very weak and never at all comparable to the works of Disney. And when you have a film that is literally about music, you need to have a killer soundtrack which sadly isn’t the case with Coco.

My Rating – 4

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The Good Egg (1939)

The Good Egg ReviewThe Good Egg Review

The Good Egg is a 1939 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is an endearing short.

The hen is childless and cannot hatch until it finally hatches a turtle with a beak who eventually becomes a life guard of all the little chicken. In my opinion, this film is obviously Warner Bros. attempt at ‘The Ugly Duckling’ and it is infinitely worse than that classic. It is overly Disney-like in style and execution and it has no gags whatsoever.

But I could not deny its sweetness. The animation and score are solid but the highlight is that wonderful turtle and the ending which is very sweet and immensely heartwarming. The beginning is also quite sad with the childless hen. The middle parts were lacking, but the rest was pretty solid.

The Good Egg is sort of like a Disney cartoon – an endearing, cute cartoon which is sweet, but lacking in gags and originality.

My Rating – 4.2

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Wonder (2017)

Wonder Movie Review

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Wonder Movie Review

Wonder is a 2017 drama film directed by Stephen Chbosky and starring Jacob Tremblay and Julia Roberts. It is a very good, but overly sentimental film.

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Auggie can’t change how he looks.

Maybe we should change how we see

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Wonder Movie Review

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It follows a child who has Treacher Collins Syndrome and is trying to fit in school. In my opinion, this film is at first great and then it becomes very standard. The first half is fantastic and the second one is so typical. So let’s first talk about the first half.

I absolutely loved the first half of this film and for many reasons. One is that it was subtle and not too sentimental while always being very realistic and filled with a great attention to detail in its character interactions and their problems. But I particularly loved the choice to give us different points of view and the film goes from Auggie to his sister and best friend’s point of view as well. I loved that as it made the film very unique and different.

However, the second half ruined all that owing to its sudden shift into predictable, typical melodrama and sentimental drivel even. The death of a dog was too melodramatic and it did not need to happen as we already had a lot of drama in the family. But the biggest problem is that ridiculous ending which is overly inspirational, so clichéd and the entire film suffered from it which is unfortunate.

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Wonder Movie Review

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Some people with the same condition criticized it for being inspiration porn and I entirely agree with that. Basically the kid is being rewarded for just being himself and being different when he didn’t do anything worthy of an award. If they gave the award to his two friends, it would have been a different story, but in this manner the film became unfortunately clichéd and annoying.

Auggie is likable and well developed with Jacob Tremblay once again giving an excellent performance. Of course his performance in ‘Room’ is so much better, but here he is very good too and further proof that he is a major talent to be watched. I liked seeing Julia Roberts and Owen Wilson for a change as I haven’t seen them in a long time and they are great parents with Roberts in particular giving a strong performance.

The bullying angle is well explored although somewhat mild. Via is very well realized and I appreciated the film for giving us an insight into her problems. She is a neglected child for obvious reasons as they shifted almost their whole focus to Auggie and she suffered because of that. Very interesting and truthful. I also really liked her friend’s story. And Jack Will is such a wonderful soul and a great friend. The Minecraft scene is so fantastic, moving and utilizing on modern technology superbly that it’s one of 2017’s finest movie scenes.

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Wonder Movie Review

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Wonder is well directed, well paced and well structured. As I said, I loved its approach with different points of view and character spotlights. The acting is strong, the film is well shot and of course the make-up is terrific and deservedly Oscar-nominated. In the end, I liked Wonder quite a bit, but I do wish that it was subtler in execution and more sophisticated. It was too commercialized as evidenced by its incredibly large box office results.

Wonder features an outstanding first half and an unfortunate second one. The first half is so well acted, directed and structured with an original approach with more points of view and character spotlights. It features subtle filmmaking and heartwarming moments. However, the second half is the opposite – it becomes very unsubtle, too melodramatic and overly inspirational and sentimental in its ending. It’s a good film, but it could have been much better had it been less commercialized.

My Rating – 4

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The Little Lion Hunter (1939)

The Little Lion Hunter ReviewThe Little Lion Hunter Review

The Little Lion Hunter is a 1939 animated short film from the Merry Melodies series. It is a phenomenal short.

This is the first film starring Inki and Mynah bird. Inki is a black boy who explores the wilderness and gets in trouble with the lion. Mynah bird is this very odd, voiceless, mysterious bird who eventually rescues him from the lion but kicks him in the butt in that hilarious end gag. The film is great for featuring very memorable characters. I liked the lion and Inki is very cute and endearing though obviously caricatured.

But obviously the bird is the highlight as such a mysterious, very intriguing and memorable presence. Great character design as well. I loved this bird so much. The cartoon is a bit slow at first, but pleasantly atmospheric, very well scored and with some fun antics and memorable action. It truly is the most original Merry Melody in quite a while, maybe even the most original so far.

The Little Lion Hunter is a very authentic, intriguing short with unforgettable, mysterious Mynah bird and a fantastic ending.

My Rating – 4.2

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Doctor Who Season 23 (1986)

Doctor Who Season 23 Review

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Doctor Who Season 23 Review

The twenty third season of Doctor Who is actually a rather underrated, solid season which is shorter in length and thus more effective.

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There is some evil in all of us, Doctor, even you

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Doctor Who Season 23 Review

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Basically this entire season has only fourteen episodes which are only around twenty minutes in length. It has four serials and all are connected into one giant story. I did find its connections disappointing and of course the story never felt particularly epic, but it was still solidly executed and it worked quite often.

Let’s talk about the first and the most inferior serial which is The Mysterious Planet. I found its premise somewhat intriguing, but the serial quickly became standard Doctor Who fare with too convoluted and weakly written scenarios and dull pace.

I actually enjoyed Mindwarp even though I usually dislike the alien/monster storylines. It isn’t great or anything special really, but because the dialogue is very strong with some very interesting conversations the serial ended up being engaging and solidly made.

Terror of the Vervoids starts off weakly and certainly the first half is not as good as the second one, but the serial is definitely interesting in its plant-like villains with a couple of very memorable action sequences and solid Doctor. Once again the dialogue was quite good.

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Doctor Who Season 23 Review

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The Ultimate Foe only has two episodes, but both are quite good actually. The story is very political in tone for better and for worse, but I liked the Master’s role quite a bit and the Doctor himself is also solid. A really well done story for sure.

So overall, this season is solid. It is far from great and is not all too well connected, but at least it is shorter and much more compact in length and thus more engaging. It is well written with solid dialogue and I also really liked some of its stories here. Colin Baker is finished and unfortunately I have to say that he is one of the weakest Doctors so far. He was just never particularly interesting or memorable.

 

Worst Serial: The Mysterious Planet.

Best Serial: The Ultimate Foe.

 

Worst Episodes: The Mysterious Planet Part One, The Mysterious Planet Part Three and The Mysterious Planet Part Four.

Best Episodes: Mindwarp Part Three, Terror of the Vervoids Part Four and The Ultimate Foe Part One.

My Rating – 3.4

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Top Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2018

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Top Ten Most Anticipated Films of 2018 List

2018 is going to be a very strong year, especially for blockbusters. From major superhero outings to big book adaptations to some giant sequels, the year definitely looks promising. Here are my ten most anticipated 2018 films.

 

10. X-Men: Dark Phoenix

Certainly we’ve seen this storyline adapted before, but I am up for the second try as Jean Grey is one of the franchise’s most fascinating, powerful characters and the story is probably the biggest of all X-Men stories. I am not too excited for it, but still looking forward to it as a big fan of this franchise.

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9. Early Man

Aardman is finally back! They haven’t made a film since ‘Shaun the Sheep Movie’ back in 2015 and this one is bound to be another one of their classics. Nick Park is back in the directorial chair which is great and the trailers look promising with prehistoric period and funny antics.

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8. The Predator

Shane Black did well with the Iron Man franchise as that third film is very good so that’s why I am pretty excited to see what he has in store for us with this franchise which hasn’t given us a new entry since ‘Predators’. It looks to be an old-fashioned, yet fresh new reboot.

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7. First Man

First Man is an upcoming drama focusing on the life of Neil Armstrong. It follows a fascinating time period with a lot of important developments in the world of astronomy which makes me wonder why they haven’t done this story before. But finally we are going to get it and it is being directed by Damien Chazelle who killed it with both ‘Whiplash’ and ‘La La Land’.

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6. Black Panther

Black Panther is easily my most anticipated superhero release of 2018 mainly because it is the rare non-sequel, original film. The trailers are absolutely fantastic and they made me want to see this film so badly, but the biggest hook is its African setting, interesting story and characters. It surely is going to be a different MCU film.

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5. Annihilation

This sci-fi horror film looks immensely intriguing and authentic judging by the trailers. I don’t know much about it, but I do know that it is based on a popular book and that it’s directed by Alex Garland of ‘Ex Machina’ fame and that is more than enough to make me excited for the next possible genre classic.

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4. A Wrinkle in Time

I wasn’t too thrilled with this book. I liked it, don’t get me wrong. But I didn’t love it as it is a very uneven work. However, I am looking forward to the film because it has good talent behind it and mostly owing to the big cinematic potential that this story has. The trailer looked great with excellent effects and possibly great world building.

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3. Ralph Breaks the Internet: Wreck-It Ralph 2

If any Disney film could have a sequel, it is most certainly ‘Wreck-It Ralph’. The potential stories are endless here and I love how it is going to focus on modern time and the internet. I loved the first movie so much and I know that this one couldn’t possibly compare, but if they just give me a good enough film, I’ll be more than happy. The supposed big cameo from all Disney Princesses fuels my excitement even more.

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2. Ready Player One

I really enjoyed this book which I read a couple of years ago and it is a rare new book that is very strong, original in its story and incredibly entertaining. Of course it was always bound to be adapted owing to its huge cinematic potential and I am hoping that it does the book justice and become a new blockbuster classic. I’m not the biggest Spielberg fan though so that gives me some pause.

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1. Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Discounting all the controversy surrounding Dumbledore’s sexuality which maddened me too, I am still incredibly excited about this film. I am a giant Harry Potter fan so naturally every HP film is going to be my most anticipated of the year, but this one also features an incredible, truly fascinating story and great characters. The original was excellent, but I do think that this one may even be better. Let’s just hope that Rowling learned her lesson from all those angry tweets and that she does this amazing story right.

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Honorable Mentions:

Deadpool 2 – The reason why this movie is not in my top ten is because I do think that it can’t possibly be good as the original, but that one is so funny that of course I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel.

Ant-Man and the Wasp‘Ant-Man’ was such a pleasant surprise from Marvel with likable characters and a fun heist angle to it. The sequel also looks promising and finally we are going to see the Wasp in action which is very exciting.

Avengers: Infinity War – I am not extremely excited for this giant movie as most of the others are because I was never the biggest fan of team movies, but still I can’t deny the importance of this MCU entry as it is the culmination of their entire filmography until now.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms – This movie could backfire for sure, but the trailer is so good, visually spectacular and epic that it looks quite promising.

Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse – Finally we are going to get an adult animated film from the US and finally we are getting an animated superhero film as those are rare. The trailer for this flick is so good that it is definitely on my radar.

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