In the Dark

Taron Egerton in Rocketman

Rocketman

Starring: Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell

Directed by: Dexter Fletcher

Rated: R

 

Coincidences abound in this fantastical take on the meteoric rise of Elton John despite his many personal struggles. Director Dexter Fletcher recently stepped in to finish “Bohemian Rhapsody,” for which Rami Malek just won the Oscar for his portrayal of another flamboyant rocker, Freddie Mercury. 

shadow

Movies didn’t disappoint over the holidays. There was literally something for everyone with everything from rom-coms to super heroes to family fare. If you define family as anyone from 7 to 70 and beyond then “Mary Poppins Returns” was high on the list of must-sees. It was a true Disney production in the grand old fashion from the full orchestrations of the score to the elaborate set design and costumes. That much did harken back to the glory days of Disney.

shadow

There’s a big qualifier for my best and worst picks for 2018 — I haven’t seen some contenders yet. So let’s say this is my best and worst so far. It’s been a strong year for women in film with actresses and directors. The Best Actress category is bound to be a crowded field with veterans like Glenn Close for “The Wife” and most likely Lady Gaga for her debut in “A Star is Born.” But I’m getting ahead of myself lets recap the year with some hits and misses that I’ve seen:

shadow
Amy Adams and Christian Bale star in McKay’s ‘Vice’

Adam McKay likes taking those pesky parts of history we tend to forget and turn them into movies lest we forget why we are where we are today. Take “The Big Short” about the house lending meltdown of 2008. We don’t like to remember there were some who sounded the alarm bell about what was happening in plain sight and then it happened, sending the economy spiraling with it. 

shadow

Hunter Killer

Starring: Gerard Butler

Directed by: Donovan Marsh

Rated: PG-13

 

shadow

Life Itself

Starring: Oscar Isaac, Olivia Wilde, Antonia Banderas

Directed by: Dan Fogelman

Rated: PG-13

 

Let this be a lesson: what works for television doesn’t always work for a feature film. Writer and director Dan Fogelman, the architect of the NBC hit series “This is Us,” spent his summer hiatus making this film for which the more correct title should have been “Life Bummer.”

shadow

While this doesn’t have the emotional gut punch of “Munich,” it’s a solid companion piece for similar subject matter in its factual account about the capture of Adolf Eichmann, the SS officer largely responsible for Hitler’s “Final Solution,” which led to the deaths of over 6 million Jews during WWII.

shadow

The romantic comedy genre has been overdue for a makeover and in this fresh new take is just the ticket. Easily, it’s one of the most entertaining movies I’ve seen this summer as it carries a great storyline while allowing entry into a culture I knew virtually nothing about.

Think of a storyline as a branch, with elements of the story hung like ornaments from it. Then think of the brightest, most colorful ornaments and that is “Crazy Rich Asians,” from start to finish.

shadow
Amy Schumer and Rory Scovel in I Feel Pretty

‘I Feel Pretty’

Starring: Amy Schumer, Michelle Williams

Directed by: Amy Kohn, Marc Silverstein

Rated: PG-13

Just hearing the title of this makes me want to break into the song from “West Side Story.” It’s Maria’s big number as she sways and preens in front of the mirror. There is a lot of that going on in this movie, too, but it may be just an illusion and not a celebration of love at first sight.

shadow

Never has quiet been so creepy as in this horror story with a heart. Starring real life couple John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, and directed by Krasinski as well, this is a post-apocalyptic nightmare where, as the title indicates, just one little bump can lead to terrifying consequences.

shadow