TL;DR – This is a film that continues to show that Daniel Kaluuya is one of his generations best actors
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene
Disclosure – I was invited to a press screening of this film.
Judas and the Black Messiah Review –
There are moments when a film is perfectly timed with what the world is going through, and after the 2020 Black Lives Matter protest movement, it was the perfect time to take a look back in time at the Black Panther movement. This film delves into a difficult time and explores the intersection of revolution and government control in America.
So to set the scene, we open in the FBI’s halls as its Director J. Edgar Hoover (Martin Sheen), who is railing against a Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) of Chicago who has the power and charisma to unite many of the different anti-government movements across the country. FBI agent Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons) is looking for a way to get a mole into the local Black Panther organisation that Hampton leads when William “Bill” O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield) falls into his lap after being caught impersonating a federal officer, and now they have their Judas.
Back in 2018 we had a look at ranking all the current Marvel Cinematic Universe films from best to last. We at least, what ranking they were for me. Well I have just walked out of Endgame and as there are no more films (that we know of) left for 2019 it is time to revisit the list.
With these lists, I don’t rank them 1-10 as I feel that does not adequately reflect my feeling about each of the films and where they fit in relation to each other. As you can see in our X-Men countdown (see here) what we do is the group the films into categories Fantastic, GreatGood, Ok, and Trash.
Fantastic are those films which get as close to perfect as we can on this side of Heaven, with compelling characters stories and visuals. Great are those films which I thoroughly enjoyed but they did not move me emotionally. Good are solid films that while they have some issues they still work and are still enjoyable. Ok are films that work, they have some good moments, but you can start to see some of the flaws that almost scuttle the film. Trash are those films which just don’t work, whether it is the story, the characters, the visuals, or a combination of all three, they are simply letdowns.
Also within those categories, I have listed the films not in a ranked order but in chronological order of when they were released.
So let’s dive into a world of gritty spy thrillers, fun heist films, moral tales on not watching your AI experiments as you steal alien technology, high school drama, a Technicolour Dreamcoat, and the greatest collection of Chris’ since the invention of the word Chris.
Also be warned, at the time of writing two of these films are still in cinemas, so be careful with [SPOILERS].
TL;DR – Today we run through the 2019 Oscars Nominees to predict who we think will win
Today is Oscars day and in a couple of hours,
we will know all the winners in what has been one of the more fraught Oscar
campaigns that I have personally seen. But as we prepare for the night of
glitz, glamour, and maybe not having an
awkward opening monologue that still has to live in Hugh Jackman’s shadow, I
thought I would take a moment to look at the nominees to give our views as to
who we think will win.
As well as this, we have taken a walk down the lane of our most disappointing films of 2018. However, in this last entry into in our Best of 2018 awards, we crown our winner of the best film of 2018.
Now all films are subjective, so our list might look completely different than yours, also we didn’t get to see every film this year which means we will be only drawing our Top 15 from the 90 films we did get to see, which you can see a list of HERE.
One of the benefits of film is that it is a visual media, and that means that it can do in
a frame what it might take a book a number of pages to pull off. Where we see
this the most is in its ability to build worlds in front of us.
These worlds could be great space operas that explore galaxies, or a small
period piece that look back in time, or anything really. But when every part of
the film is being used to tell a story, you know it is good.
So without further ado, these are films that showed an excellence in Worldbuilding 2018. Be warned that there may be
some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question.
One factor that I will always look out for with a film and that is the musical score. I can get caught in the world of the music, as it sits in my head in the days, weeks and months that come. There is immense artistry in weaving emotions from music, having us slip into the world that is created, fear the oncoming dread even if we do know why, or rejoice in the triumph of that final victory.
Music charts the cinematic world, it guides us, it can lift us up, and it can crush our souls, this is its power.
Before we start, an honourable mention has to go to Deadpool 2 for having the gumption to get Céline Dion to sing a completely straight rendition of the title theme, over some of the most ridiculous film titles. So without further ado, these are the musical score that moved us in 2018. Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in question.
A good Action sequence is something that is truly amazing
to watch, as it can be as expansive as explosions crashing across the screen,
or more intimate, like a duel between two people. This gives the best action
scenes such a range and in 2018 we were given some truly amazing spectacles.
For me the best action scenes are those that excel in every element, whether
that be live actions, special effects, digital effects, or animation and bring
every facet to shine. It is also the category that looks at some of the department’s people don’t often fully
understand like stunt coordination or the 2nd unit.
So without further ado, these are the moments of action that awed us in 2018.
Be warned that there may be some slight spoilers ahead for the films in
TL;DR – During the film, I along with the whole cinema, laughed, cried, gasp ‘oh no you didn’t and I can’t remember a film that had that same reaction
Score – 5 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid-credit scene
There are some films that simply be being made are making a statement of intent. These are films like last year’s Black Panther (see review) and Wonder Women (see review), films that “conventional” Hollywood wisdom states that they shouldn’t be made because they won’t make any money. There is a long history of information coming from focus groups that people are not interested in films helmed by women and people of colour, information which is inevitable proven wrong time after time when the box office numbers are released. To put this in perspective, the last live-action film from Hollywood to feature a predominately Asian cast was The Joy Luck Club twenty-five years ago in 1993. This means a whole generation of people have grown up and not seen their stories or people like themselves up on the big screen, and well folks this is why representation matter. So while Crazy Rich Asians is important for just existing, it is even more power from the fact that it is also a fantastic film in its own right and one of my films of the year so far.
TL;DR – A fun self-contained romp in the MCU that has all the charm of the first film with a bit more focus and a more interesting opponent.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
Post-Credit Scene – There is a mid and post-credit scene
Ant-Man (see review) was a bit of an odd duck of a film when it first came out. It followed on from Avengers: Age of Ultron (see review) as a kind of epilogue to Phase Two even though it didn’t kind of fit there. As well as this, it had the misfortune of being one of the two films in Phase Two where Marvel had big director missteps, with Edgar Wright stepping away from the project. It had all the makings of Marvel’s first big complete failure, yet it wasn’t. Indeed it was a fun little heist film with a lot of charm. Part of this has to be the groundwork Edgar laid down, but also the commitment of the actors to just go for it. Ant-Man was also one of those crystallising moments that showed that Marvel needed to work on a few things behind the scenes and the fruits of those decisions have been films like Black Panther (see review) and Thor: Ragnarok (see review). With this in mind, today we look at the first direct follow up which fixes one of the issues from the first film, and we see that right in the title because today we are looking at Ant-Man and the Wasp.
TL;DR – This does everything you need the first episode of a new season to do.
Score – 4 out of 5 stars
The first season of Luke Cage (see review) started off so strong, with such an amazing cast, and the first big dive into African culture for Marvel in the lead up to Black Panther (see review). However, like many of the Netflix/Marvel TV Shows it lagged in the middle, but unlike the other shows, it just could not stick the landing, with one of the most underwhelming season finales so far. However, while there were real issues, there was also such an amazing potential which we got to see a bit of in The Defenders (see review). So today we take our first steps in the follow-up season as a new player enters the scene in Harlem.