2018 in Review: Lisa’s Top 26 Films of 2018


And now, without further ado, I conclude my look back at 2018 with my 26 favorite films of the years.  Why 26?  Because Lisa doesn’t do odd numbers!

  1. Eighth Grade
  2. A Simple Favor
  3. Leave No Trace
  4. Support the Girls
  5. The Favourite
  6. Roma
  7. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs
  8. Blindspotting
  9. Avengers: Infinity War
  10. The Other Side of the Wind
  11. The Death of Stalin
  12. Mission Impossible: Fallout
  13. Mandy
  14. Searching
  15. A Star is Born
  16. Chappaquiddick
  17. A Quiet Place
  18. Black Panther
  19. Annihilation
  20. Paddington 2
  21. Game Night
  22. American Animals
  23. If Beale Street Could Talk
  24. Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse
  25. Three Identical Strangers
  26. Mid90s

And there you have it.  Some of these films, I’ve reviewed here on the site.  Some of them — far too many of them — I have not.  My hope is that I’ll be able to fix that over the upcoming week.  But, whether I manage to write a 100 reviews or only three, I encourage everyone to see these 26 films, along with every other films that they can get their hands on.

2018 was an okay year for movies.  We had some really good ones.  We also had some really bad ones.  For the most part, though, this was pretty much of a middle-of-the-road year.  Personally, I can’t wait to see what 2019 has waiting for us!

Thank you everyone for reading.  And now, let’s great ready to make 2019 the best year since 2015!

Lisa Looks Back At 2018

  1. Ten Worst Films of 2018
  2. Best of Lifetime
  3. Best of Syfy
  4. 10 Favorite Novels
  5. 12 Favorite Non-Fiction Books
  6. 10 Favorite Songs
  7. 10 Good Things That I Saw On Television

 

2018 In Review: The Best of SyFy


Continuing my look back at the best of 2018, it is now time to reveal my picks for the best SyFy movies and performances of the previous year!

But before I do that, a plea to the SyFy Network.  If any of this sounds familiar, it’s because I make this plea every year and it never does any good.  It probably won’t do any good this year.  But still, I’m going to make it.  SyFy, give us more original films!  From a business point of view, I can understand why SyFy shifted their focus from movies to episodic television.  But I’m not a business person!  I’m a movie lover, one who has wonderful memories of when every weekend would bring another gloriously over-the-top SyFy movie.  Those were wonderful days and it’s sad that the only time that I get to relive them is either during Shark Week or during October.

(Of course, with the Sharknado franchise ending last year, is there even going to be a Shark Week in 2019?)

Seriously, SyFy — give us more original movies!

With that in mind, allow me to say that SyFy’s 2018 films were some of the best that they’ve ever aired.  It’s unfortunate that there weren’t more of them but the ones that they did show were excellent.  It was not easy to narrow down my picks this year but I’ve done it.  And here they are:

(All credits are based on what’s listed at the imdb.  If anyone has been incorrectly credited or left out, please leave a comment and I will correct the mistake.)

Best Picture — The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time (produced by Paul Bales, Jarrett Furst , David L. Garber, Andrew Golov, David Michael Latt, Bogdan Moncea, Tara Reid, David Rimawi, Justin Smith, Josh Van Houdt, Ian Ziering)

The Sharknado franchise ended with everything you could possibly want: flying sharks, bad puns, meta humor, and finally a heart-warming speech from Finn that not only saluted those who worked on the films but those of us who watched as well.  After years of defining SyFy for many people, the Sharknado franchise concluded on the perfect note.

Best Director — Anthony C. Ferrante for The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time

Anthony C. Ferrante has been with the franchise since the beginning and he brought it to an end with style.

Best Actor — Reid Miller in Santa Jaws

Playing an aspiring comic book artist who brings to life a shark that’s full of Christmas spirit, Reid Miller gave a likable performance that achieved just the right balance between comedy and terror.

Best Actress — Jearnest Corchado in Cucuy: The Boogeyman

Jeanest Corchado did a great job grounding this Halloween in film in reality (or as close to reality as you’re going to get in a SyFy film).

Best Supporting Actor — Varun Saranga in Killer High

If you’re high school reunion is ever attacked by hellish monsters, you’re going to want a friend like Varun Saranga’s Ronnie at your side.  Or maybe not….

Best Supporting Actress — Alyson Hannigan in You Might Be The Killer

If you ever find yourself surrounded by a bunch of dead bodies at a summer camp, Alyson Hannigan is exactly the friend that you want giving you advice.  Or maybe not….

Best Screenplay — Jesse Mittelstadt for No Escape Room

With its clever script and ominous feeling of impending doom, No Escape Room was my favorite of SyFy’s Halloween films.  Seriously, it was creepy as Hell.

Best Cinematography — 6-Headed Shark Attack (Mark Atkins)

Paradise is a paradise, even with a multi-headed shark eating everyone in sight.

Best Costumes — The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time (costumes by Oana Draghici)

The best thing about time travel is getting to see what everyone’s wearing.

Best Editing — Santa Jaws (Eva K. Morgan and Misty Talley)

If the Sharkando films really are finished with, I certainly wouldn’t mind another five or so films about Santa Jaws.

Best Makeup — The Last Sharknado: It’s About Time (Petcu Alina, Alexandra Barladeanu, Devin Bianchini, Jeremy Bramer, Roxana Cardas, Denise M. Chavez, Bee Cruz, George Doroftei, Brianna Farfel , Adelina Handuri, Caitlin Krenz, Andreescu Maria, Tracy Rosen, Victoria Rowe)

Again, the best thing about time travel is getting to see what everyone looked like.

Best Score — You Might Be The Killer (Andrew Morgan Smith)

Smith’s score created the perfect mood and atmosphere for this homage to the horror films of the past.

Best Production Design — No Escape Room (Shane Boucher and Garrett Dunbar)

Seriously, this film was creepy as Hell.

Best Sound — No Escape Room (Bryson Cassidy, Joseph Facciuolo, Danielle McBride, Lucas Roveda, Laszlo Szijarto, Julie Zhu)

Again, creepy as hell.

Best Visual Effects — Nightmare Shark (Adam Clark and Gretchen McNelis)

When you give your film a title like Nightmare Shark, you’re obviously making a bold statement.  Fortunately, the visual effects were able to live up to the title.

And that’s it for the best in SyFy!  I really hope that SyFy will continue to air original movies so I’ll be able to do another one of these lists next year.

(For my previous picks, click on the links: 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, and 2017)

Up next: dinner!  And then, after that, I’ll post my favorite novels of 2018.

Lisa Looks Back at 2018:

  1. The 10 Worst Films of 2018
  2. The Best of Lifetime

 

 

2018 In Review: The Best of Lifetime


Today, I continue my look back at the previous year with my picks for the best of Lifetime in 2018!  Below, you’ll find my nominations for the best Lifetime films and performances of 2018!  Winners are starred and listed in bold!

(As a guide, I used the credits for the imdb.  If anyone has been miscredited or left out, please feel free to let me know and I’ll fix the error both here and, if I can, on the imdb as well.)

(For my previous best of Lifetime picks, click on the links: 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017)

Best Picture

The Art of Murder, produced by Neil Elman, Bryce Fishman, James Lourie, Hannah Pillemer, Edgar Rosa, Fernando Szew

The Bad Seed, produced by Justis Greene, Harvey Kahn, Elizabeth Guber Stephen, Mark Wolper.

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey. Produced by Mary Petryshyn, Charles Tremayne, Jeff Vanderwal

Cocaine Godmother, produced by Jamie Goehring, S. Lily Hui, Jonathan Koch, Stephen Michaels, Andrew Molina, Alisa Tager, Shawn Williamson.

Conrad & Michelle: If Words Could Kill, produced by David Manzaners and Judith Verno

*The Girl in the Bathtub, produced by Kevin Leeson, Emanuel Pereira, Diane Sokolow, Rachel Verno*

Girl in the Bunker, produced by Kim Bondi, Stephen Kemp, Thomas Vencelides

I Killed My BFF: The Preacher’s Daughter.  Produced by Len Murach and Rick Van Meter.

No One Would Tell. Produced by Shawn Angeliski, Paddy Bickerton, Martin Fisher, Lisa Richardson, Danielle Von Zerneck

Terror in the Woods. Produced by David Eubanks, Les Franck, Adam Freeman, Leslie Greif, James Heerdegen, Ashley Hudson, Christina Ricci, Eric Tomonsanus, DJ Viola

Best Director

Jim Donovan for Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey

Gail Harvey for No One Would Tell

Seth Jarrett for I Killed My BFF: The Preacher’s Daughter

Rob Lowe for The Bad Seed

*Karen Moncrieff for The Girl in the Bathtub*

Guillermo Navarro in Cocaine Godmother

Best Actor

Burgess Abernethy in Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance

Kevin Fonteyne in Lover in the Attic

Rob Lowe in The Bad Seed

Austin P. McKenzie in Conrad & Michelle: If Words Could Kill

*Eric Roberts in Stalked By My Doctor: Patient’s Revenge*

Henry Thomas in The Girl in the Bunker

Best Actress

Haylie Duff in Deadly Delusion

McKenna Grace in The Bad Seed

Caitlin Stasey in The Girl In The Bathtub

Bella Thorne in Conrad & Michelle: If Words Could Kill

Megan West in I Killed My BFF: The Preacher’s Daughter

*Catherine Zeta-Jones in Cocaine Godmother*

Best Supporting Actor

Juan Pablo Espinosa in Cocaine Godmother

David Fierro in Lover in the Attic

Joel Gretsch in I Killed My BFF: The Preacher’s Daughter

Patrick Muldoon in A Tale of Two Coreys

*Jason Patric in The Girl in the Bathtub*

Rossif Sutherland in Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey

Best Supporting Actress

Krista Allen in Party Mom

Cara Buono in The Bad Seed

Angela Kinsey in Terror in the Woods

*Lydia Look in Mistress Hunter*

Jenny Pellicer in Cocaine Godmother

Katherine Reis in I Killed My BFF: The Preacher’s Daughter

Best Screenplay

The Bad Seed.  Barbara Marshall.

Believe Me: The Abudction of Lisa McVey. Christina Welsh.

Cocaine Godmother.  Molly McAlpine, David McKenna.

The Girl in the Bathtub. Karen Moncrieff.

*No One Would Tell. Caitlin D. Fryers*

Terror in the Woods. Amber Benson.

Best Cinematography

The Bad Seed. Peter Menzies, Jr.

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey. Sasha Moric.

Cocaine Godmother. Guillermo Navarro.

Girl in the Bunker. Fraser Brown.

*I Killed My BFF: The Preacher’s Daughter.  Brian J. Reynolds*

Terror in the Woods. David McGrory.

Best Costuming

*The Art of Murder. Steviee Hughes.*

Cocaine Godmother. Jori Woodman.

Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance. Claudia Da Ponte, Diah Wymont.

I Killed My BFF: The Peacher’s Daughter.  David Anthony Crowley.

Psycho Prom Queen.  Anie Fisette.

A Tale of Two Coreys.  Jennifer Garnet Filo.

Best Editing

The Bad Seed, Eric L. Beason.

Believe Me: The Abduction of Lisa McVey. Lisa Grootenboer.

Cocaine Godmother. Luis Carballar.

*Conrad & Michelle: If Words Could Kill.  Henk van Eeghen*

The Girl in the Bathtub.

Girl in the Bunker.  Stephen Kemp.

Best Makeup and Hairstyling

Cocaine Godmother.  Laura Copó, Victoria Ferguson, Brittany Isaacs, Andrea Manchur, Joanna Mireau, Adam James Phillips, Trefor Proud, Juanita Santamaria, Ronnie Sidhu, Vicki Syskakis

Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance.  Lorna Bravo, Helena Cepeda, Jenni Brown Greenberg, Shelly Jensen, Melissa Rankl, Cydney Sjostrom

I Killed My BFF: The Preacher’s Daughter. Missy Scarbrough and Christina Kim.

*Lover in the Attic. Crystal Broedel, Brittanie Cruz, Robin Styles, Diana Valerie, Nataleigh Verrengia*

A Tale of Two Coreys. Katherine Chandler, Lynnae Duley, Monique Hyman, Katie Kilkenny, Kaity Licina, Megan Nicoll, Rebecca Violet Schroeder, Adina Sullivan

Zombie at 17.  Jessica Awad, Cinthia Burke, Christine Capustinsky, Shannon Doyle.

Best Score

Cocaine Godmother. Eduardo Aram.

The Girl in the Bathtub.  Adam Gorgoni.

Lover in the Attic. Ozzy Doniz.

No One Would Tell. Mark Lazeski.

A Tale of Two Coreys. Jim Dooley.

*Terror in the Woods. Ozzy Doniz.*

Best Production Design

*The Art of Murder. Yana Veselova.*

Cocaine Godmother.  Eric Fraser.

The Girl in the Bathtub. Laura Lola Maier.

Girl in the Bunker. Andrew Berry.

Harry & Meghan: A Royal Romance. Mayne Berke, Ashley Swanson, Vincent Wright

Lover in the Attic. Lindsay Glick.

Best Sound

Cocaine Godmother

*Deadly Delusion*

House of Darkness: New Blood

Killer Under The Bed

Lover in the Attic.

Terror in the Woods

Best Visual Effects

The Bad Seed.

Cocaine Godmother

Deadly Delusion

House of Darkness: New Blood

*Killer Under The Bed*

Zombie at 17

And those are my picks for the best of Lifetime in 2018!  (Lifetime had a pretty good year.)  Now, I’m off to make my selections for the best of SyFy 2018!  I’ll be back …. well, maybe not soon.  It took me about three hours to do my Lifetime post.  So, I’ll be back eventually.

Lisa Marie’s 2018 In Review:

  1. The 10 Worst Films of 2018

 

Lisa’s Picks For The 10 Worst Films of 2018


 

Well, I guess it’s finally that time!

It’s time for me to finally post my picks for the best (and worst) of 2018.  This is something that I do every year.  Usually, I manage to do it before the third week of January but I’ve been running behind.  I’ll be posting my film, television, book, and music picks throughout today and maybe into tomorrow, depending on how long it takes me to narrow down my choices.

Let’s start with my picks for the 10 worst films of 2018!  Now, I have to admit that 2018 was not really a big year for bad films.  It wasn’t really a big year for good films, either.  2018 was just kind of a middle-of-the-road year altogether.  Below are my picks for the worst.  Some of you will agree and some will disagree.  In the end, what truly matters is that I’m right.

(Also be sure to check out my picks for 20172016, 2015, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010!)

10. Holmes & Wason

9. Fifty Shades Freed

8. Pacific Rim: Uprising

7. Vice — I’m fully aware that this film is being hailed by some as the best of the year.  I found it to be painfully smug and overlong.  It was like watching The Big Short have roid rage.

6. Deep Blue Sea 2

5. 6 Balloons — Drug addicts are so tedious to watch.

4. Red Sparrow — I’m really starting to worry about Jennifer Lawrence.  She’s still a good actress but she seems to spend more time coming up with embarrassing late night talk show anecdotes than actually finding good scripts.

3. Den of Thieves

2. The Happytime Murders — Oh my God, did you know muppets could curse and fuck!?  My mind is blown!

And finally, the worst film of 2018 is ….

1. Life Itself

Life Itself is basically what This Is Us is going to turn into by the time it gets around to its sixth season.

So, those are my picks for the worst films of 2018.  You may agree.  You may disagree.  I love you either way.

Trailer: John Wick 3


Hi, everyone!

I have a theory about movies, specifically about the people who go to see the movies.  My theory is that audiences really like to watch Keanu Reeves kill people.

I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that Keanu seems to be pretty centered in real life.  He’s one of the few celebs about whom you never seem to hear anything negative.  Whenever Keanu’s in the news, he’s either volunteering at a homeless shelter or he’s in the park feeding ducks.  You never hear about Keanu acting obnoxious and pulling a star trip on anyone.  He seems to be at peace with both the world and his place in it.  While all the other celebs are on twitter being grumpy, Keanu seems like he should be hanging out on a ranch and having a beer with Kurt Russell and Jeff Bridges.

In short, real world Keanu seems to have reached a state of perfect zen.  So, it’s kind of fun to watch him tear through these action movies, battling either computer viruses or international mobsters.  The man who once known as Neo is now best known as John Wick.  When we first met John Wick, he won our hearts by avenging a dog.  Judging by the just released trailer of John Wick 3, he’s still a friend to animals.

He’s also still got people looking to kill him, of course.  Judging from the trailer, John Wick 3 looks like it will be an action spectacular.  You have to wonder about the mercenaries and killers who keep getting sent after Wick.  I imagine that, when they find out what they’re expected to do, a lot of them quit on the spot.  No one can kill John Wick.

And if you need proof, just check out the trailer below!

Here’s A Teaser For Something That Might Be Ghostbusters 3


So, earlier today, Twitter was all abuzz because of a minute-long teaser for a film that won’t be coming out until 2020.  That title of that film …. well, actually, it doesn’t have an “official” title yet but, for now, people are just calling it Ghostbusters 3.

That’s right.  After all the controversy and drama that we went through with the last attempt to revive (or reboot, depending on which side you were on) the Ghostbusters franchise, it is happening again.  Except this time, according to Entertainment Weekly, it appears that the new film is going to be a “direct sequel” to the first two Ghostbusters films and it’s going to be directed by Jason Reitman.  Jason Reitman, of course, is the son of Ivan Reitman.  He’s also a director who, after his last few films, could really use another hit.

(Apparently, audiences in 2018 really weren’t interested in watching a movie about a forgotten 1988 presidential campaign.  Who would have guessed?)

The teaser itself is pretty simple.  There’s a storm.  There’s a barn.  There’s an old vehicle with a Ghostbusters logo.  Here’s what is not in the teaser.  First off, there’s no sign of the cast of the 2016 reboot, which I guess will make the YouTube commentariat happy.  There’s also no sign of Bill Murray, Dan Ayrkroyd, or even Ernie Hudson.  In the past, Bill Murray has said that he wasn’t interested in doing a third Ghostbusters films and, considering that Bill Murray pretty much does whatever he wants, you have to kind of wonder if he’ll actually come back or if maybe Ghostbusters 3 is just going to be Dan Aykroyd teaching his grandson (probably played by Pete Davidson) how to hunt and trap ghosts.

One of the many theories on twitter is that the film will bring the two sets of Ghostbusters together, which I assume means that we’ll get hilarious scenes of Aykroyd and Melissa McCarthy teaming up to complain about Chinese food.  To be honest, though, a crossover is not really that bad of an idea and it certainly would be fun to watch people’s heads explode as a result.  In fact, if this new Ghostbusters film is anything like the last Ghostbusters film, watching people’s heads explode will probably be more fun than actually watching the film itself.

(For his part, Ivan Reitman told EW that this film would be a “passing of the torch,” which could either refer to a new group of Ghostbusters or maybe just the fact that Ivan’s giving his son a job.)

In other words, who knows!?

But here’s the teaser.

Film Review: White Boy Rick (dir by Yann Demange)


Last night, as a part of my attempt to get caught up with the films of 2018, I watched White Boy Rick.

As you might guess from the title, this film is about a white boy named Rick.  It’s based on the true story of Richard Wershe, Jr., who grew up on the streets of Detroit.  His father sold guns out of the trunk of his car and, by the time he turned 14, Rick was running with drug dealers and street gangs.  (The fact that he was white while all of his friends were black is what led to him getting his nickname.)  Rick became an informant for the FBI and, according to Wershe, the government helped him build up his reputation by supplying him with the drugs that he would then sell on the streets.  When the FBI eventually decided that Wershe was no longer a useful asset, he was arrested for dealing and sentenced to life in prison.

The story seems like one that has the potential to say a lot that needs to be said about not only the economic realities of life in a dying city but also about the role that race plays in America’s often misdirected “war on drugs.”  Unfortunately, the film falls flat because, with the exception of a few scenes, it never really convinces us that Rick was really worthy of being the subject of a film.  While the film surrounds him with interesting supporting characters, Rick himself remains something of a cipher.  Rick is played by a young actor named Richie Merritt.  Merritt’s has the right look for the character but you never get the feeling that there’s anything going on underneath the surface.  Rick comes across as just being a moron who got lucky and then, eventually, not so lucky.

The supporting cast fares a bit better.  For instance, Matthew McConaughey plays Rick’s father with just the right amount of manic energy and Bel Powley has a few harrowing scenes as Rick’s drug addicted sister.  Bruce Dern and Piper Laurie don’t get to do much as Rick’s grandparents but it doesn’t matter because they’re Bruce Dern and Piper Laurie.  (All Bruce Dern has to do to make a character interesting is look at the camera.)  Jennifer Jason Leigh plays one of Rick’s FBI handlers with the perfect hint of subversiveness.  You’re never quite sure whether she’s messing with Rick’s life because she’s incompetent or because she’s enjoying it.  Unfortunately, the supporting characters are often so interesting that Rick often gets overshadowed.  He’s a bystander in his own story, which may have been the film’s point but, from a storytelling point of view, it hardly makes for compelling viewing.

Admittedly, there are a few memorable scenes to be found in White Boy Rick.  At one point, Rick goes to a wedding at the mayor’s mansion and he’s a sight to behold in his blue tuxedo.  In another scene, it’s explained to Rick why, when it comes to being arrested, charged, and incarcerated, the stakes are very different when you’re black than when you’re white.  In scenes like that, you kind of get a hint of White Boy Rick could have been if it had been centered around a more compelling character.

As it is, though, White Boy Rick is well-made but kind of dull.  It’s definitely a missed opportunity.