Published on December 17th, 2019
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1. Terminator: Dark Fate (2019)
Henry Brogan is an elite 51-year-old assassin who’s ready to call it quits after completing his 72nd job. His plans get turned upside down when he becomes the target of a mysterious operative who can seemingly predict his every move. To his horror, Brogan soon learns that the man who’s trying to kill him is a younger, faster, cloned version of himself.
Terminator: Dark Fate is a 2019 American science fiction action film directed by Tim Miller, with screenplay by David Goyer, Justin Rhodes, and Billy Ray, from a story by James Cameron, Charles H. Eglee, Josh Friedman, Goyer, and Rhodes Mexico City, a newly modified liquid Terminator — the Rev-9 model — arrives from the future to kill a young factory worker named Dani Ramos. Also sent back in time is Grace, a hybrid cyborg human who must protect Ramos from the seemingly indestructible robotic assassin.
But the two women soon find some much-needed help from a pair of unexpected allies — seasoned warrior Sarah Connor and the T-800 Terminator. More than two decades have passed since Sarah Connor prevented Judgment Day, changed the future, and re-wrote the fate of the human race. Dani Ramos (Natalia Reyes) is living a simple life in Mexico City with her brother (Diego Boneta) and father when a highly advanced and deadly new Terminator — a Rev-9 (Gabriel Luna) — travels back through time to hunt and kill her.
Dani’s survival depends on her joining forces with two warriors: Grace (Mackenzie Davis), an enhanced super-soldier from the future, and a battle-hardened Sarah Connor (Linda Hamilton). As the Rev-9 ruthlessly destroys everything and everyone in its path on the hunt for Dani, the three are led to a T-800 (Arnold Schwarzenegger) from Sarah’s past that may be their last best hope.
It’s not overly sentimental but Dark Fate succinctly links up to [James] Cameron’s early films, without getting bogged down in what actually happens in this new alternate future.
2. Watchmen (2009)
300’s Zack Snyder brings Alan Moore and Dave Gibbons’ critically acclaimed comic book Watchmen to the big screen, courtesy of DC Comics and Warner Bros. Pictures. Set in an alternate universe circa 1985, the film’s world is a highly unstable one where a nuclear war is imminent between America and Russia. Superheroes have long been made to hang up their tights thanks to the government-sponsored Keene Act, but that all changes with the death of The Comedian (Jeffrey Dean Morgan), a robust ex-hero commando whose mysterious free fall out a window perks the interest of one of the country’s last.
It’s 1985, and Richard Nixon presides over the alternate United States on the brink of nuclear war with Russia. The ticking of the doomsday clock has grown ever louder since Nixon outlawed all ‘masked vigilantes’ after the lawless antics of some members of the Watchmen group of superheroes turned the public against them.
When one of their number, The Comedian (Morgan) is killed, the remaining Watchmen – Silk Spectre II (Akerman), Nite Owl II (Wilson), Rorschach (Haley), Ozymandias (Goode) and Dr. Manhattan (Crudup) realize that they are being deliberately targeted. As they search for the murderer, the fate of mankind soon depends on the Watchmen’s ability to discover the truth.
Watchmen,” Another bold exercise in the liberation of the superhero movie. It’s a compelling visceral film — sound, images, and characters combined into a decidedly odd visual experience that evokes the feel of a graphic novel.
It seems charged from within by its power as a fable; we sense it’s not interested in a plot so much as with the dilemma of functioning in a world losing hope. The biggest plus of the movie, apart from its technical aspects, is its duration.
The cinematography and music help certain sequences stand out and bring in the required mood. The performance of the dog is another highlight, and the action scenes are decent. However, the lack of depth in characters make the entire series of events unappealing as viewers hardly get time to empathize with them. The logic also goes for a toss in many scenes.
3. Gemini Man (2019)
Gemini Man is a 2019 American action film directed by Ang Lee and written by David Benioff, Billy Ray, and Darren Lemke. The film stars Will Smith, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Clive Owen, and Benedict Wong and follows an aging hitman who is targeted by a younger clone of himself.
Henry Brogan is an elite 51-year-old assassin who’s ready to call it quits after completing his 72nd job. His plans get turned upside down when he becomes the target of a mysterious operative who can seemingly predict his every move. To his horror, Brogan soon learns that the man who’s trying to kill him is a younger, faster, cloned version of himself.
Gemini Man is a uniquely visually thrilling film backed by Lee’s undeniable commitment and ambition. What we’re left with is a sort of action-lark with Smith in good form, and a general thematic warmth and hopefulness that seems a bit naïve but is charming despite itself. Despite the critical revulsion that met that film, Lee uses the same technology in “Gemini Man” and in layman’s terms, it makes the film’s 3D technology appear smoother and more visceral, but also weirdly so real that it seems slightly unreal.
This isn’t exactly a detriment in “Gemini Man”, to be fair. In fact, for all the hullabaloo from Lee’s worst critics, “Gemini Man” looks mostly good. The best media descriptor for exactly how the visual aspects of the film pay off is that it looks like a videogame. In some cases, this makes for a particularly compelling, if not always finessed, element of closeness.
There’s an early scene with a very throwaway shot of a train making a turn on a track that actually made me gasp at how propulsive it seems, and there’s a later, longer sequence with someone being pulled from water that’s so visually sharp that it argues best for the visual language of “Gemini Man”. In fact, for the most part, the film is quite clear about how it wants to use action-sequences, with the best being an extended motorcycle sequence that’s compelling and surprising for the way it keeps teetering close to dangerousness.
It’s the first complete action sequence of the film, and it works both because of the visual care as well as for the way – still early in the film’s narrative – the audience isn’t quite sure of future developments, so every moment fees uncertain. This scene, like a later one-shot mostly in darkness, is a good reminder that Lee, at his best, is a master of expert direction, even if this isn’t quite at the “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” level, emotionally or culturally.
4. Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019)
Peter Parker returns in Spider-Man: Far From Home, the next chapter of the Spider-Man: Homecoming series! Our friendly neighborhood Super Hero decides to join his best friends Ned, MJ, and the rest of the gang on a European vacation.
However, Peter’s plan to leave super heroics behind for a few weeks is quickly scrapped when he begrudgingly agrees to help Nick Fury uncover the mystery of several elemental creature attacks, creating havoc across the continent.
Spider-Man: Far From Home delivers the goods with another great performance by Tom Holland and out-of-this-world cinematography from the returning director, Jon Watts.
5. Captain Marvel (2019)
Captain Marvel is a 2019 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Carol Danvers. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the twenty-first film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). The film is written and directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck, with Geneva Robertson-Dworet also contributing to the screenplay.
Brie Larson stars as Danvers, alongside Samuel L. Jackson, Ben Mendelsohn, Djimon Hounsou, Lee Pace, Lashana Lynch, Gemma Chan, Annette Bening, Clark Gregg, and Jude Law. Set in 1995, the story follows Danvers as she becomes Captain Marvel after Earth is caught in the center of a galactic conflict between two alien civilizations.
Captain Marvel is an extraterrestrial Kree warrior who finds herself caught in the middle of an intergalactic battle between her people and the Skrulls. Living on Earth in 1995, she keeps having recurring memories of another life as U.S. Air Force pilot Carol Danvers. With help from Nick Fury, Captain Marvel tries to uncover the secrets of her past while harnessing her special superpowers to end the war with the evil Skrulls.
Marvel delivers its first female-centric superhero film with Captain Marvel, a prequel to the Avengers series. After escaping capture by the Skrull, a Kree soldier named Vers gets stranded on Earth where she discovers that the Skrull is searching for something and during her investigation, she unearths a past that she never knew about.
Brie Larson gives a decent performance, though she’s clearly doing an imitation of a Tony Stark-like character (which there are already too many of in the MCU), and the supporting cast is pretty strong; featuring Samuel L. Jackson, Jude Law, and Djimon Hounsou. Unfortunately, the script is rather poor, as it desperately tries to avoid telling an origin story while also ham-fistedly forces one in at the same time.
But the action scenes and fight sequences are fun and exciting, and there’s some lighthearted comedy that works really well (particularly the Stan Lee cameo). Also, the soundtrack is incredibly well-done; using ’90s music to set the tone and time period. Despite some flaws, Captain Marvel is yet another solidly entertaining pop-corn film from Marvel.
6. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (2016)
Former scientist Galen Erso lives on a farm with his wife and young daughter, Jyn. His peaceful existence comes crashing down when the evil Orson Krennic takes him away from his beloved family.
Many years later, Galen becomes the Empire’s lead engineer for the most powerful weapon in the galaxy, the Death Star. Knowing that her father holds the key to its destruction, Jyn joins forces with a spy and other resistance fighters to steal the space station’s plans for the Rebel Alliance.
A Rogue agent in all of the right ways, this superb Star Wars Story might have much of the franchise’s storied mythology running through its DNA but its edgy design and execution speak of a bold and exciting jump into a new hyperspace for the historic series. In this PG-13-rated sci-fi adventure, the daughter (Felicity Jones) of an Imperial scientist (Mads Mikkelsen) joins the Rebel Alliance in a risky move to steal the Death Star plans.
Part sci-fi flick, part sequel, part war movie, part prequel, and part character-driven adventure, Rogue One is many things to many moviegoers but the whole package proves quite entertaining, able to satisfy new fans while pacifying most long-time diehards save for the true curmudgeons. As the central plot involves the blueprint for the Death Star, a key plot point in the first act of Star Wars Episode IV from 1977, it’s not spoilerish to say that the franchise’s latest entry leads right up into that very same flick.
It shares much with that vaunted classic, including characters (some beloved, some minor) and interlinking storylines (some kickass, some Easter egged). In fact, it even spackles (fearing a deadly backlash, the words “improve upon” will be avoided) certain plotholes from the original trilogy and provides audiences with a throughline to the second trilogy. This intermingling of past, present, and future gets done exceedingly well, especially considering these strands never sacrifice the crackerjack standalone story at the movie’s center.
Set during Imperial-Rebel wartime, this is a Beings-on-a-Mission film involving a disparate group of humanoids, aliens and one hilariously sarcastic droid (think: The Darth-y Dozen). Though it’s a one-off, it never feels completely foreign from what’s come before. In fact, because it bridges generations so well, it feels rather organic. Where Rogue One smartly diverges from the trilogies, however, is in regards to presentation.
The famous scroll at the outset of all preceding chapters gets nixed, as do the wipes and dissolves that were nods to the Golden Age of H’Wood that spawned the Buck Rogers serials which in turn inspired Star Wars. At this juncture, audiences know that everything old is new again (they’re seeing a companion piece to a 40+-year-old iconic film that digitally recreates the late Peter Cushing, for Chrissakes) and they don’t need to look into the past any more than they improbably have.
To this end, director Gareth Edwards (Monsters) uses a decent amount of hand-held in incorporating an overall grittier style than the franchise has ever seen. Working from a story by John Knoll and Gary Whitta, screenwriters Chris Weitz (About a Boy) and Tony Gilroy (Michael Clayton) weave in a roster of fascinating characters that don’t get short-changed by the action and excitement around them. Though Jones’s Jyn Erso makes a fantastically solid lead, everybody stands and delivers.
Forest Whitaker, for example, gives an intriguing turn as Saw Gerrera, a character first introduced in the animated Star Wars TV spin-off series, The Clone Wars. Again, we get the mixing of old and new, with the new being a very fresh performance. Perhaps, more than any film in the franchise since Episode IV, Rogue One refreshingly interjects more Eastern philosophy into the fray through the characters of Chirrut Îmwe (a blind warrior who puts faith in the Force to hone and guide his hands, played by Donnie Yen) as well as Baze Malbus (a mercenary who was once the protector of a sacred temple, played by Wen Jiang). They also provide a great deal of humorous moments, which the often deathly serious film uses to its full advantage. Indeed, the entire package is an even mix–tone, genre, casting, and style…not unlike a certain landmark film 41 years ago in a galaxy far far away.
7. Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
In Marvel Studios’ “Thor: Ragnarok,” Thor is imprisoned on the other side of the universe without his mighty hammer and finds himself in a race against time to get back to Asgard to stop Ragnarok–the destruction of his homeworld and the end of Asgardian civilization–at the hands of an all-powerful new threat, the ruthless Hela. The heavens shake as Thor fights for the survival of Asgard in Thor: Ragnarok.
When Odin dies after being exiled to Earth his daughter Hela, the Goddess of Death, is released from her prison and returns to Asgard intent on conquering the nine realms, and when Thor and Loki stand up to her they’re banished to a rogue world run by the Grandmaster, who forces Thor to fight in gladiatorial combat. Cate Blanchett is quite good as the villain, as is Karl Urban as her henchman.
However, Jeff Goldblum phones in his performance and seems incredibly out of place. The action scenes are extraordinarily fun and exciting, and director Taika Waititi does an amazing job of giving the film a visually rich and interesting look. Also, the whimsical-humor works especially well, keeping the tone light and upbeat. Thor: Ragnarok brings new life to the series and shows how rich and storied each part of the Marvel Universe is.
The appearance of Thor: Ragnarok complements the lightheartedness of the script. Its vibrant bold colors and progressive rock soundtrack wonderfully convey the concept of the fantastical alien world of Sakaar, while the fight scenes are imaginative, occasionally dramatic yet thoroughly entertaining.
8. Blade Runner 2049 (2017)
‘Blade Runner 2049’ starts strong, with a clean, taut story, and stunning visuals from director Denis Villeneuve. This time the blade runner (Ryan Gosling), the officer responsible for ‘retiring’ the bioengineered humans referred to as replicants, is a replicant himself, but with a new design to make him more subservient.
Early on he uncovers shocking evidence that a female replicant from the past actually gave birth, and is immediately at the center of a conflict between his boss (Robin Wright), who wants to find and kill the offspring, and an industrialist (Jared Leto), who wants to learn the secret of this miracle and build a massive labor force.
As with the first Blade Runner, the film raises some interesting philosophical questions. What does it mean to be a sentient being? Can an engineered being deserve what we want as people – freedom, love, and happiness? And what are the ethics of humanity building such beings? The blade runner has a holographic girlfriend (Ana de Armas), and in one scene, she arranges a prostitute for him, since she herself is disembodied.
It’s pretty wild when one reflects it’s a computer program arranging for sex for a robot. Unfortunately, the philosophical points don’t deliver nearly as much as in the first film, where Rutger Hauer faced his mortality and wanted so desperately to meet his maker, those aspects of existence most profoundly human, culminating with that devastating scene in the rain.
Like the first film, this one has a slow pace, but at 163 minutes, it’s much longer, and probably too long. It does allow for the story to gradually unfold and all those gorgeous images, but it drags, and I was not a fan of how it played out. The storyline muddles a bit, and then rather than being complete, sets itself up for sequels and presumably a franchise.
That was a real shame, and on its own lowered by review score by half a tick. The performances are all strong, and it was nice to see Harrison Ford still getting it done at age 75. Overall it’s a solid sequel, which is tough to do given the legendary film it follows, but it falls a little short.
Visually beautiful, and it is fascinating to see a hugely expensive Sci-Fi epic released by a major studio that feels like an extended director’s cut rather than a product of compromise. And given the lengthy running time, it is highly watchable. I do wonder if this will hold up under repeated viewings, but for now, I declare it surprisingly good.
9. E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982)
E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) is the immensely popular magical fantasy movie myth. Its estimated budget of $10 million was easily recouped when it became one of the box-office champion films of all time. Steven Spielberg’s very personal, heartwarming sci-fi masterpiece (with special effects produced by George Lucas’ Industrial Light and Magic Company) was warmly accepted by film audiences for its portrayal of the love between a young, fatherless suburban boy and a lost, benevolent and homesick visitor (presumably an adult) from another planet who is mistakenly left stranded and orphaned on Earth – three million light-years from home.
Both a classic movie for kids and a remarkable portrait of childhood, E.T. is a sci-fi adventure that captures that strange moment in youth when the world is a place of mysterious possibilities (some wonderful, some awful), and the universe seems somehow separate from the one inhabited by grown-ups. Henry Thomas plays Elliott, a young boy living with his single mother (Dee Wallace), his older brother Michael (Robert MacNaughton), and his younger sister Gertie (Drew Barrymore).
Elliott often seems lonely and out of sorts, lost in his own world. One day, while looking for something in the back yard, he senses something mysterious in the woods watching him. And he’s right: an alien spacecraft on a scientific mission mistakenly left behind an aging botanist who isn’t sure how to get home. Eventually, Elliott puts his fears aside and makes contact with the “little squashy guy,” perhaps the least threatening alien invader ever to hit a movie screen. As Elliott tries to keep the alien under wraps and help him figure out a way to get home, he discovers that the creature can communicate with him telepathically.
Soon they begin to learn from each other, and Elliott becomes braver and less threatened by life. E.T. rigs up a communication device from junk he finds around the house, but no one knows if he’ll be rescued before a group of government scientists gets hold of him. In 2002, Steven Spielberg re-released E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial in a revised edition, with several deleted scenes restored and digitally refurbished special effects.
After a gentle alien becomes stranded on Earth, the being is discovered and befriended by a young boy named Elliott (Henry Thomas). Bringing the extraterrestrial into his suburban California house, Elliott introduces E.T., as the alien is dubbed, to his brother and his little sister, Gertie (Drew Barrymore), and the children decide to keep its existence a secret. Soon, however, E.T. falls ill, resulting in government intervention and a dire situation for both Elliott and the alien.
This is a real movie, with all those elements that have proved sure-fire through history; Laughter, tears, involvement, thrills, wonderment. Steven Spielberg also adds a message: Human beings and spacelings should learn to co-exist.
“E.T., The Extra-Terrestrial” is, quite simply, a great movie. Note the term “movie,” not “film,” which is newfangled and high-toned. This is a real movie, with all those elements that have proved sure-fire through history; Laughter, tears, involvement, thrills, wonderment. Steven Spielberg also adds a message: Human beings and spacelings should learn to co-exist.
Only a Scrooge could fail to care about E.T., the superintelligent, homesick little alien who is left behind during the hasty departure of a spacecraft from a California suburb. Already the most successful filmmaker of all time, Spielberg seems likely to exceed the records of his “Jaws,” “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” and “Raiders of the Lost Ark.” The cast is perfect, especially the youngsters who befriend the visitor: Henry Thomas, Robert Macnaughton, Drew Barrymore (carrying on the family tradition at five).
Dee Wallace is compassionate as their mother, whose husband has run off to Mexico with another woman. The star is E.T. himself, created by Carlo Rambaldi and brought to endearing life by a crew of movie wizards. The meeting of E.T. and Yoda (“The Empire Strikes Back”) during a Halloween march makes a classic screen confrontation. At the end of the press preview in Hollywood, the supposedly hardboiled audience erupted in bravos, something that veterans could not recall happening before.
10. Alita: Battle Angel (2019)
Alita: Battle Angel is a 2019 American cyberpunk action film based on the 1990s Japanese manga series Battle Angel Alita by Yukito Kishiro. It was directed by Robert Rodriguez and produced by James Cameron, who co-wrote the script with Laeta Kalogridis. Set several centuries in the future, the abandoned Alita is found in the scrapyard of Iron City by Ido, a compassionate cyber-doctor who takes the unconscious cyborg Alita to his clinic.
When Alita awakens, she has no memory of who she is, nor does she have any recognition of the world she finds herself in. As Alita learns to navigate her new life and the treacherous streets of Iron City, Ido tries to shield her from her mysterious past. Alita is a creation from an age of despair. Found by the mysterious Dr. Ido while trolling for cyborg parts, Alita becomes a lethal, dangerous being.
She cannot remember who she is, or where she came from. But to Dr. Ido, the truth is all too clear. She is the one being who can break the cycle of death and destruction left behind from Tiphares. But to accomplish her true purpose, she must fight and kill. And that is where Alita’s true significance comes to bear. She is an angel from heaven. She is an angel of death.
This film had heart and soul poured into its story and you could tell that 1000 of hours of work have gone into making this film. They’ve pulled one of the best films this year with incredible visual effects and CGI work that give this film a beautiful setting and background.
The visual effect of Alita (voiced by Rosa Salazar) we’re incredibly done giving detail in her eyes which made her character on-screen look more like an actual human actress. Her character and acting are what made this film, they give her a human soul and a purpose with the writing which is so well done, it gives the audience an emotional journey of a young woman trying to discover who she is.
11. Suicide Squad (2016)
A secret government agency recruits some of the most dangerous incarcerated super-villains to form a defensive task force. Their first mission: save the world from the apocalypse. It feels good to be bad…Assemble a team of the world’s most dangerous, incarcerated Super Villains, provide them with the most powerful arsenal at the government’s disposal, and send them off on a mission to defeat an enigmatic, insuperable entity.
U.S. intelligence officer Amanda Waller has determined only a secretly convened group of disparate, despicable individuals with next to nothing to lose will do. However, once they realize they weren’t picked to succeed but chosen for their patent culpability when they inevitably fail, will the Suicide Squad resolve to die trying, or decide it’s every man for himself?
Great cast and a big budget couldn’t save this from being an inevitable flop by critics. There was just no substance to the story. Cringe-worthy moments. Basically you watch a whole bunch of villain misfits walking down the street having moments with each other while on their little silly quest that brought them somehow together.
12. The Matrix (1999)
“The Matrix” is a visually dazzling cyber adventure, full of kinetic excitement, but it retreats to formula just when it’s getting interesting. It’s kind of a letdown when a movie begins by redefining the nature of reality, and ends with a shoot-out. We want a leap of the imagination, not one of those obligatory climaxes with automatic weapons fire.
What if virtual reality wasn’t just for fun, but was being used to imprison you? That’s the dilemma that faces mild-mannered computer jockey Thomas Anderson (Keanu Reeves) in The Matrix. It’s the year 1999, and Anderson (hacker alias: Neo) works in a cubicle, manning a computer and doing a little hacking on the side. It’s through this latter activity that Thomas makes the acquaintance of Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne), who has some interesting news for Mr.
Anderson — none of what’s going on around him is real. The year is actually closer to 2199, and it seems Thomas, like most people, is a victim of The Matrix, a massive artificial intelligence system that has tapped into people’s minds and created the illusion of a real-world, while using their brains and bodies for energy, tossing them away like spent batteries when they’re through.
Morpheus, however, is convinced Neo is “The One” who can crack open The Matrix and bring his people to both physical and psychological freedom. The Matrix is the second feature film from the sibling writer/director team of Andy Wachowski and Larry Wachowski, who made an impressive debut with the stylish erotic crime thriller Bound.
The Matrix” is a visually dazzling cyber adventure, full of kinetic excitement, but it retreats to formula just when it’s getting interesting. It’s kind of a letdown when a movie begins by redefining the nature of reality, and ends with a shoot-out. We want a leap of the imagination, not one of those obligatory climaxes with automatic weapons fire.
13. Avengers: Infinity War (2018)
As the Avengers and their allies have continued to protect the world from threats too large for any one hero to handle, a new danger has emerged from the cosmic shadows: Thanos.
A despot of intergalactic infamy, his goal is to collect all six Infinity Stones, artifacts of unimaginable power, and use them to inflict his twisted will on all of reality.
Everything the Avengers have fought for has led up to this moment, the fate of Earth and existence has never been more uncertain.
Overall, though, Avengers: Infinity War is rousing entertainment — it’s both thrilling and chilling, marked with pockets of genuine pathos. If some pacing issues (the visit to Peter Dinklage’s place of employment could easily have been truncated) and the occasional bloat prevent it from quite reaching the upper echelons of the MCU, there’s still more than enough here to keep viewers sated, saturated, and salivating over what’s certain to be a poignant and potent Part Deux. All the magic of cinema and an impressive cast help create an epic adventure that provides a cathartic experience rarely seen in a Hollywood blockbuster.
14. Inception (2010)
Visionary filmmaker Christopher Nolan (Memento, The Dark Knight) writes and directs this psychological sci-fi action film about a thief who possesses the power to enter into the dreams of others. Dom Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) doesn’t steal things, he steals ideas. By projecting himself deep into the subconscious of his targets, he can glean information that even the best computer hackers can’t get to.
In the world of corporate espionage, Cobb is the ultimate weapon. But even weapons have their weakness, and when Cobb loses everything, he’s forced to embark on one final mission in a desperate quest for redemption. This time, Cobb won’t be harvesting an idea but sowing one. Should he and his team of specialists succeed, they will have discovered a new frontier in the art of psychic espionage.
They’ve planned everything to perfection, and they have all the tools to get the job done. Their mission is complicated, however, by the sudden appearance of a malevolent foe that seems to know exactly what they’re up to, and precisely how to stop them. ~ Jason Buchanan, Rovi
The Big Idea here is dream invasion. Leonardo DiCaprio is Dom Cobb, specialist-for-hire in the art of “extracting” information from sleeping subjects. He and his crew hook themselves up with wires to the drugged targets and infiltrate their subconscious, as they’re caught doing in the opening bit with a Japanese businessman, Saito (Ken Watanabe). Their job is to sneak about inside the palace of your mind like stealthy cat burglars of the id. Dropping us in mid-mission and giving only just enough to go on, it’s a nifty, show-don’t-tell introduction – one of the reasons why the tell-tell-tell policy from here on in feels overly didactic, like a yammering maths lecturer afraid he’s about to lose you.
15. Avatar (2009)
A paraplegic Marine dispatched to the moon Pandora on a unique mission becomes torn between following his orders and protecting the world he feels is his home. When his brother is killed in a robbery, paraplegic Marine Jake Sully decides to take his place in a mission on the distant world of Pandora…
On the lush alien world of Pandora live the Na’vi, beings who appear primitive but are highly evolved. Because the planet’s environment is poisonous, human/Na’ vi hybrids, called Avatars, must link to human minds to allow for free movement on Pandora.
Jake Sully (Sam Worthington), a paralyzed former Marine, becomes mobile again through one such Avatar and falls in love with a Na’vi women (Zoe Saldana). As a bond with her grows, he is drawn into a battle.
It is Cameron’s cry against war and violence that makes Avatar an eloquent testimonial to the present. Mercifully, the film isn’t visual extravaganza alone; it has a meaningful story too that could end up making this magnum opus a modern-day parable for pacifists, climatologists, humanists, globalists.
16. Aquaman (2018)
Aquaman is a 2018 American superhero film based on the DC Comics character of the same name. Distributed by Warner Bros. Pictures. Half-human, half-Atlantean Arthur is born with the ability to communicate with marine creatures. His motive is to retrieve the legendary Trident of Atlan and protect the water world.
Despite a multitude of characters — Nicole Kidman also appears as Curry’s mom, Atlanna, while Willem Dafoe plays the Atlantean advisor Vulko — Wan keeps the action rollicking along on land and deep underwater thanks to the sugary onscreen chemistry between Heard and Momoa.
Aquaman is the sort of overstuffed extravaganza that’s so intent on hitting all the requisite superhero beats that it never develops a heartbeat of its own.
17. Little Joe (2019)
Little Joe is a 2019 internationally co-produced drama film directed by Jessica Hausner. It was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival. At Cannes, Emily Beecham won the award for Best Actress.
Alice, a single mother, is a dedicated senior plant breeder at a corporation engaged in developing new species. Against company policy, she takes one home as a gift for her teenage son, Joe.
This movie is a perfect example of what can be achieved on a shoestring budget when talent is leading the way. The story is simplistic and heartfelt. Little Joe” manages to exert a peculiar pull in spite of being constructed with the material you’ve likely seen elsewhere.
18. Dark Phoenix (2019)
The X-Men face their most formidable and powerful foe when one of their own, Jean Grey, starts to spiral out of control. During a rescue mission in outer space, Jean is nearly killed when she’s hit by a mysterious cosmic force.
Once she returns home, this force not only makes her infinitely more powerful but far more unstable. The X-Men must now band together to save her soul and battle aliens that want to use Grey’s new abilities to rule the galaxy.
The X-Men franchise comes to an end with Dark Phoenix, a thrilling sci-fi adventure. During a mission to rescue the crew of a space shuttle, Jean Grey absorbs a strange energy cloud that causes her to lose control of her powers and become a danger to those around her; meanwhile, an alien race called the D’Bari tracks the energy to Earth and attempts to extract it from Jean. Writer/director Simon Kinberg does some interesting things with the characters but breaks from the established series continuity (which is rather irritating).
Also, the plot is rushed and doesn’t spend any time explaining who the aliens are. And Jessica Chastain is criminally underused. Still, the special effects are especially well-done, and the fight scenes are exciting and action-packed. While it has some problems, Dark Phoenix is an entertaining film that unfortunately brings an end to the Fox chapter of this franchise.
19. Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)
From Marvel, the studio that brought you the global blockbuster franchises of Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, and The Avengers, comes a new team-the Guardians of the Galaxy. An action-packed, epic space adventure, Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy” expands the Marvel Cinematic Universe into the cosmos, where brash adventurer Peter Quill finds himself the object of an unrelenting bounty hunt after stealing a mysterious orb coveted by Ronan, a powerful villain with ambitions that threaten the entire universe.
To evade the ever-persistent Ronan, Quill is forced into an uneasy truce with a quartet of disparate misfits-Rocket, a gun-toting raccoon, Groot, a tree-like humanoid, the deadly and enigmatic Gamora, and the revenge-driven Drax the Destroyer. But when Quill discovers the true power of the orb and the menace it poses to the cosmos, he must do his best to rally his ragtag rivals for a last, desperate stand with the galaxy’s fate in the balance.
Chris Pratt is awesome as Star-Lord, he is funny but he also has some heart to him. Zoe Saldana as Gamora is badass and pretty sexy too. Dave Bautista as Drax surprised me, he was really cool and you honestly feel for him and understand where he’s coming from. Groot is like the Chewbacca of the group and he is awesome.
It has a lot of funny, action-packed, dramatic and definitely memorable moments. The characters were funny and likable, every single one of them. There was also good chemistry between each character. At the start of the film, the 5 characters seem so evil constantly trying to kill one another.
But at the end of the film all of the characters are heroes. It just seems strange that 5 criminals turn into 5 heroes in the short amount of time that film lasted.
20. Black Panther (2018)
Black Panther is a 2018 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name. Produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, it is the eighteenth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU). After the death of his father, T’Challa returns home to the African nation of Wakanda to take his rightful place as king.
When a powerful enemy suddenly reappears, T’Challa’s mettle as king — and as Black Panther — gets tested when he’s drawn into a conflict that puts the fate of Wakanda and the entire world at risk. Faced with treachery and danger, the young king must rally his allies and release the full power of Black Panther to defeat his foes and secure the safety of his people.
When it comes to creating visuals, engaging action and likable characters, “Black Panther” stands confidently next to the best fare offered up by the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
It’s relatively rare to see a major blockbuster superhero film starring an African-American protagonist, let alone a supporting cast that is also overwhelmingly African-American.
“Black Panther” also has an African-American director, African-American writers, African-American musicians and many other African-American creative decision-makers and artists behind the scenes.
21. Captain America: The First Avenger (2011)
Captain America: The Winter Soldier is a 2014 American superhero film based on the Marvel Comics character Captain America, produced by Marvel Studios and distributed by Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures. It is the sequel to 2011’s Captain America: The First Avenger and the ninth film in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
The film was directed by Anthony and Joe Russo, with a screenplay by the writing team of Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely. It stars Chris Evans as Steve Rogers / Captain America, alongside Scarlett Johansson, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Cobie Smulders, Frank Grillo, Emily VanCamp, Hayley Atwell, Robert Redford, and Samuel L. Jackson.
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America, Black Widow, and Falcon join forces to uncover a conspiracy within S.H.I.E.L.D. while facing a mysterious assassin known as the Winter Soldier.
Chris Evans embodies the spirit of Captain America as the Marvel Cinematic Universe introduces us to the super-soldier from Brooklyn. Overall, it’s a pretty solid fare with a straightforward story.
22. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)
Filmmaker George Miller gears up for another post-apocalyptic action adventure with Fury Road, the fourth outing in the Mad Max film series. In a bleak, sun-scorched future where the water supply is controlled by a warlord and vegetation is non-existent, the feisty Furiosa (Theron, fantastic) hopes to find redemption in her promised land, beyond the dusty dunes. She finds a partner of sorts in Max Rockatansky, more capable than mad and tougher than ever before.
Fury Road is a relentless, action-packed assault, with not a seeming nanosecond to spare when it comes to crash-and-burn chases involving vehicles that look like they were forged in the Devil’s own backyard. In this post-apocalyptic fable of reconstruction, Immortan (Byrne) rules from an HQ that looks like a steampunk junkie’s dream dominion.
Immortan’s lackeys (War Boys) resemble zombies and are slavishly devoted to him. Max has been captured by them and is used as a blood donor for these War Boys. Furiosa, while in Immortan’s employ, goes renegade one day when she drives a supply truck to his HQ containing fuel and some ‘genetically pure’ handmaidens who are in Immortan’s harem.
23. Logan (2017)
Logan, the X-Men’s famed Wolverine, bested the world’s worst hombre in his day. He tangled with Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants, fought the Silver Samurai and battled his very own brother. In 2029 the mutant population has shrunken significantly due to genetically modified plants designed to reduce mutant powers and the X-Men have disbanded.
Logan, whose power to self-heal is dwindling, has surrendered himself to alcohol and now earns a living as a chauffeur. He takes care of the ailing old Professor X whom he keeps hidden away. One day, a female stranger asks Logan to drive a girl named Laura to the Canadian border. At first, he refuses, but the Professor has been waiting for a long time for her to appear.
Laura possesses an extraordinary fighting prowess and is in many ways like Wolverine. She is pursued by sinister figures working for a powerful corporation; this is because they made her, with Logan’s DNA. A decrepit Logan is forced to ask himself if he can or even wants to put his remaining powers to good use. It would appear that in the near future, the times in which they were able to put the world to rights with razor-sharp claws and telepathic powers are now over.
The performances in this film are amazing. Hugh Jackman’s performance here is the best as the character and maybe one of the best of his career. He is miserable and broken in this film and to see him like this as the character, it is bittersweet especially because Jackman has been so attached to this role.
If he hurts, we hurt. If he’s mad, we’re mad. It is a true testament to Jackman as an actor to make his audience feel this connected to someone who is, by traditional standards, completely unrelatable. Boyd Holbrook brings a sinister performance to this and continues to build a very impressive resume.
Holbrook is someone who you’ll love to hate. The real standout performance here is from Dafne Keen who plays Laura. Without giving away any spoilers, she is BADASS in this film and even gives Logan a run for his money on the brutality.
24. Her (2013)
Her is a 2013 American science-fiction romantic drama film written, directed, and produced by Spike Jonze. It marks Jonze’s solo screenwriting debut. The film follows Theodore Twombly (Joaquin Phoenix), a man who develops a relationship with Samantha (Scarlett Johansson), an artificially intelligent virtual assistant personified through a female voice.
The film also stars Amy Adams, Rooney Mara, Olivia Wilde, and Chris Pratt. Theodore is a lonely man in the final stages of his divorce. When he’s not working as a letter writer, his downtime is spent playing video games and occasionally hanging out with friends. He decides to purchase the new OS1, which is advertised as the world’s first artificially intelligent operating system, “It’s not just an operating system, it’s a consciousness,” the ad states.
Theodore quickly finds himself drawn in with Samantha, the voice behind his OS1. As they start spending time together they grow closer and closer and eventually find themselves in love. Having fallen in love with his OS, Theodore finds himself dealing with feelings of both great joy and doubt.
Witty dialogues, stimulating cinematography, and a soulful background score are major assets of the film as well. Her is riveting, unconventional but not an insane love story.
25. Godzilla: King Of The Monsters (2019)
Members of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah. When this ancient super-species-thought to be mere myths rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.
The new story follows the heroic efforts of the crypto-zoological agency Monarch as its members face off against a battery of god-sized monsters, including the mighty Godzilla, who collides with Mothra, Rodan, and his ultimate nemesis, the three-headed King Ghidorah.
When these ancient superspecies, thought to be mere myths, rise again, they all vie for supremacy, leaving humanity’s very existence hanging in the balance.
Despite having the blandest lead characters in mainstream blockbuster history, the 2014 Godzilla delivered the goods of a kaiju movie – that is a brutal giant monster and giant monster action. While the titular character was used sparingly when he did appear there was a real sense of weight. The camera shot Godzilla from below.
You felt the sublime awe of those cowering under him and could witness the buildings around him buckle. From director Michael Dougherty (who helmed underrated creature flick Krampus), Godzilla: King of the Monsters improves on some of the issues fans had with its predecessor. There’s a more gripping human story and more Godzilla (as well as Ghidorah, Mothra, and Rodan) for your buck.