“Instant Family” was one of the biggest surprises of 2018 for me. It seemed like a goofy vehicle for Mark Wahlberg to soften his image at the time, but it surprisingly ends up being one of the best drama comedies of the year. It’s not only such a funny and sweet film, but it’s also a remarkable testament to how much society under values and under appreciates foster parents, and the good they can do for children. While imperfect at times, director Sean Anders approaches the tale of the foster family with immense respect, and delivers a film that really did have me laughing, crying, and ultimately satisfied.
With the 91st Oscars airing on February 24th, I’ll be going over the trio of short film topics and their nominees leading up to the premiere. With short films often getting overlooked (Live Action Shorts was cut from this year’s broadcast and then re-inserted after big protests) I was interested in checking out the Oscar caliber shorts making the list. It should be noted that most of the animated shorts are directed by women this year, which is refreshing. Here is the list and the short I hope wins.
As a preamble I admit that I’ve never liked the “Kim Possible” animated series. I know as a Disney fan I’m supposed to love it, but I always found the series to be incredibly flat, bland, and boring. I didn’t really care for anything about it beyond Will Friedle who, at the time, was my favorite voice actor. That said, when “Kim Possible” was rebooted in to a TV movie series, I was surprised by how new and re-energized the reboot looked. Though “Kim Possible” is back, she’s returned for a whole new generation of fans that have embraced heroines fighting crime.
2018 was a big year for movies, it was a great year for animation, it was a stellar year for horror movies in general, and it was such a busy time for anyone that loved and appreciated film. Thankfully it was tough stacking a top ten that was definitive and that sit well with me because I had so many favorites. With so much new avenues to view film I didn’t get everything I wanted in 2018, but I saw enough to compile a top twenty or top twenty five.
This is my top ten films of 2018, these are films I loved, these are films that I hope you seek out if you haven’t, by now.
Honorable Mentions: Paddington 2, The Domestics, Black Panther, Ready Player One, Spider-Man: Into the Spider Verse, Revenge, Tully, The Night Eats the World, Bird Box, A Star is Born
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.
Most of the time we get such a backlog of short films and feature length indie films that we work hard to take them all on and review them before the year is up. In what we hope will become a new feature, “Shorts Round Up of the Week” is a column where we’ll be reviewing a round up of short films of varying quality.
If you’d like to submit your short film for review consideration, submissions are always opened to filmmakers and producers.
Katie Holmes was always prone to playing more glamorous and squeaky clean roles back in 2003, but for “Pieces of April” she’s the center of what is a unique Thanksgiving set film. Peter Hedges film is all at once a funny, heartbreaking, and thought provoking film. It’s a film about redemption, and ultimately about forgiveness. Can we forgive someone who has hurt us over and over? Can we forgive someone who almost went out of our way to hurt us in the past? Can we forgive ourselves for the heinous things we’ve done in the past to our loved ones, if we work hard at redemption?
The digital release is available today on ITunes, Amazon, & Google Play. It will also be back in movie theaters this week. It’s currently playing in Los Angeles (LaEmmle Monica Film Festival), New York (IFC Center, Cinema Village), & San Francisco (LandMark’s Opera plaza). Look for Theater Listings Here.
Cristina Costantini, and Darren Foster’s “Science Fair” is a film that every family should take their children to watch. Not only does the National Geographic documentary explore the joy of learning, but the inarguable proof that education can enrich one’s life. “Science Fair” examines a part of the educational world that we don’t often see, exploring the very important yearly International Science and Engineering Fair that attracts 1,700 of the smartest students from 78 different countries around the world.