Bumblebee (2018)

It took us over ten years, but hell, we finally got a great live action “Transformers” movie. The only thought that came to mind while I was watching the opening ten minutes of “Bumblebee” was: Why didn’t we get this in the first place? Why did Sony opt for such a moronic, nonsensical, incoherent mess of a franchise, rather than deliver what is easily the best live action representation of the franchise I’ve seen so far. Everything in “Bumblebee” is the antithesis of what Michael Bay’s movies were, right down to the lack of racial stereotypes, and the jingoism. Granted, there is a meat head military hero with John Cena, but that’s a miniscule nitpick in a movie that’s just such a great experience from beginning to end.

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Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse (2018)

Miles Morales was introduced to the Marvel universe in 2011, established in the alternate label the “Ultimate” universe. When that universe’s Peter Parker died, Miles stepped up to become Spider-Man. Since then Morales has become one of the banner Spider-Man iterations that have taken on the mantle of the hero. Morales wasn’t just welcomed in to the primary Marvel universe, but he’s managed to become just as popular as Peter Parker and the original Spider-Man. Some fans will even argue he’s better than Peter Parker’s Spider-Man. It’s general sentiment that’s been accepted by many because Spider-Man is not a person, it’s a movement. It’s a movement where literally anyone can wear the mask and strive for the same goals Peter Parker did.

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Aquaman (2018)

Warner Bros and DC Comics begins correcting course from their disastrous first run of films by finally focusing on characters that have been woefully under valued for decades. If “Aquaman” is any indication, DC and Warner are on course for a huge comeback that could signal a string of fantastic comic book films, finally. DC garners such a gallery of wonderful mythical superheroes, and James Wan comes on board to not only embrace Aquaman’s universe whole hog, but show us why he’s not at all the geekiest superhero in his stable. If there was anyone that could pull Aquaman out of the doldrums, it’s James Wan. Wan is one of the best, most dynamic filmmakers working today and he can put a creative spin on just about everything.

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Some like It Hot (1959): Criterion Collection [Blu-Ray]

If there was ever a movie that could be an introduction to the sheer indescribable beauty and sexiness that was Marilyn Monroe, it’s “Some Like It Hot.” My first introduction to the movie was when I was a pre-teen in 1997, in the middle of a busy classroom on a free day. The teacher slipped the movie on for everyone to watch, and every one of my classmates had run off to chat or goof around, but I sat and watched “Some Like It Hot.” Suffice to say Billy Wilder’s romance comedy was a first real taste of classic film I’d ever had and it sparked an interest I never really got over.

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Robin Hood (2018)

Every few years, the Hollywood machine dips in to their pool of public domain legends and stories, failing to realize that no one is interested in them. No matter what new spin they put on them, they almost always turn out poorly. “Robin Hood” is on the chopping block once again, with Summit Entertainment trying their damndest to superhero-ify the merry thief. The only problem is that we’ve had a superhero Robin Hood for decades now, and—no one gives a shit about Robin Hood anymore. No matter gloss the studios put on the tale, even turning him in to pseudo-Batman, “Robin Hood” (or “Robin Hood Begins” or “The Dark Hood Returns”) is a swing and a miss, a giant squishy thud that lands in a year filled with some truly stellar action and fantasy films.

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The Meg (2018) [Blu-Ray/DVD/Digital]

John Turtletaub’s adaptation of “The Meg” may not have been everyone’s cup of tea in 2018, but for me it was a damn good time with an eye on being about as novel as possible. While it does pander to the ever important Asian movie going audience, “The Meg” is a weird and wild action movie that feels like an eccentric amalgam of Peter Benchley, Renny Harlin, and Paul WS Anderson. It’s a comedy, a science fiction film, an action movie, a romance, a man vs. nature picture, and a tale of redemption all rolled in to one. It even squeezes in a bang up cast of character actors like Cliff Curtis, Li Bingbing, and Rainn Wilson as an eccentric billionaire thrust in to the extraordinary confrontation with a giant megalodon.

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The 20th Annual Animation Show of Shows (2018)

Opens at Laemmle Theaters in Los Angeles on December 14th, and at the Quad Cinema in New York City on December 28th. Learn More Here.

Since 1998, “The Animation Show of Shows” has been a small program line up that selects the best in animated short films from all around the world. It’s presented new and innovative short films to animation aficionados at animation studios and schools, as well as theaters in the US and around the world since 2015. 38 shorts since, went on to become Oscar contenders with 11 winning the Oscar. This year, “The Animation Show of Shows” is not bereft of diversity and bold new voices, and it’s all in all a riveting experience, with eyes on personal statements and meaningful ideas.

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