At the very least, video games seem to be evolving to where they’re no longer abysmal and are gradually edging toward entertaining. “Tomb Raider” was a blast, and “Rampage” is a fun ninety minute diversion. Based on the pretty plotless classic video game of the same name, Brad Peyton’s movie injects science fiction, action, giant monster movie madness, and yes, even features the game’s iconic monsters rampaging through civilization, bringing down buildings left and right. It’s bits and pieces of “Mighty Joe Young,” “King Kong,” and “Jurassic Park” that tries to deliver on many levels.
Zombie movies have become the superhero movies of modern age where not a lot of people think there can be much original material to mined from it anymore. This year has proven those skeptics wrong with the haunting “Cargo,” and the incredibly complex “The Night Eats The World.” A healthy mix of “I Am Legend,” “Dawn of the Dead,” and “Castaway,” it’s ten minutes too long, but manages to come out in the end as a scary zombie movie with insight about the horrifying world that can linger outside of our doors.
The Wasp is one of the oldest, most important Marvel characters of all time (she was one of the original five Avengers), and she’s also someone who has been waiting in the wings for far too long. In “Ant-Man and The Wasp,” the heroine finally gets her due in a movie that’s about her legacy as much as it is about the Avengers, and Ant-Man, overall. After the two heavy meals that were “Black Panther” and “Infinity War,” Peyton Reed’s return to “Ant Man and the Wasp” is like a nice light after dinner sorbet. It’s a palate cleanser, it’s simple, and it’s quite good.
Based on the life and crimes of female serial killer Aileen Wuornos, “Monster” is an acclaimed true crime biography starring Charlize Theron and Christina Ricci that garnered Oscar nods and plenty of awards.
If anything, “Gotti” will go down as one of the most infamous movies of 2018. It’s a movie was in development hell for years, snuck up on audiences, and garnered a ton of bad reviews. And it responded by insulting critics and talking down to its audience. Make no mistake though, “Gotti” is bad. It’s very bad. It’s pure Oscar bait, with a director who realty wants his film to be “Goodfellas,” and a leading star who is so completely out of his lane it’s kind of sad to watch. Here John Travolta doesn’t seem to be acting, so much as competing for an Oscar nod, and it’s an endurance test from beginning to end.
It’s a shame that we’ve reached this milestone, but it warrants noting that “Jurassic World” is the first “Jurassic Park” movie to ever put me to sleep. I’m not saying “Fallen Kingdom” is an awful movie, it’s just that it’s not a very good one. If “Jurassic World” became a Saturday morning cartoon to entertain kids between bowls of cereal and bathroom breaks, “Fallen Kingdom” would be the pilot episode. It’s thin on narrative, but crowded with a ton of half baked, under developed characters, all of whom are so paper thin we barely get to know them, or engage ourselves with them all over again.
I’m usually very rough on video game inspired movies because—well—pretty much all of them suck. Save for “Mortal Kombat,” which is kind of fun if you’re in the right mood. After two goofy attempts to adapt the iconic adventure video game series “Tomb Raider” to the big screen, Warner reboots the movie series by—adapting the reboot of the video game from 2013. While I’d be hard pressed to call Roar Uthaug’s cinematic take on Lara Croft a masterpiece, I had a really good time with “Tomb Raider,” and that’s all I wanted in the end.