These are my favorite movies I have seen since May 2017. I had planned to write a review for each one, but realized I don’t have that kind of ambition. My mind moves on too fast. So, here is an easy access list. Hopefully you may discover something you haven’t seen before!
These movies don’t need to have been released in 2017 or 2018. So you may be surprised how long it took me to see certain movies. I won’t do full out reviews for each one, but just give my overall experience with them. Let’s begin!
14. The Incredibles 2 (2018)
I am a huge fan of the original movie The Incredibles (2004), and was generally pleased with this sequel. The action scenes were well paced, the animation amazing as ever, and Edna was as hilarious as I remember her! The message itself brought some very interesting questions to my mind about our freedom to protect others and be our true selves.
Now I wouldn’t say it is a perfect movie. I thought the conflict didn’t have the same resonance as the first film. But overall, I think it is great!
[after finding out the Dicker had Tony’s mind erased after he’s seen Violet in her superhero suit]
Violet Parr: It was Dicker! You told him about Tony!
Bob Parr: Honey.
Violet Parr: You had me erased from Tony’s mind!
[Violet storms off to her room, gets her superhero suit walks back to the kitchen]
Violet Parr: I hate superheroes, and I renounce them!
[Violet throws her suit into the garbage dispenser in the sink and turns on the switch][watching in shock after Violet has tried to destroy her superhero suit]
Dashiell ‘Dash’ Parr: Is she having adolescence?
13. The Breadwinner (2017)
How to describe this film. Sometimes I think it is beneficial to see the trials and hurts of other people so as to understand suffering in places we have never been. Honestly, watching the main protagonist, Paravana’s world was the antithesis to the freedoms women in places like the United States enjoy. Examples: The freedom to learn and study in school, buy your own food, walk in our choice of clothing and to protect our family. The only way Paravana could help her family was to pretend to be a boy. That in and of itself was and is a sobering truth that left me thinking long and hard at the movie’s end. Here is my review if you are interested. CLICK HERE.
RATING: Choose not to (It didn’t seem right or relevant.)
Parvana: [Last Lines]
Parvana: Raise your hearts, not your voice. It is rain that makes the flowers grow, not thunder.
12. Infinity War (2018)
Ho hum…. so I haven’t been the greatest Marvel fan. I definitely have not see all the movies but by some miracle I saw this one. My thoughts throughout the whole thing ranged from intrigued, saddened, enlightened and at times wistful. There was SO MUCH GOING ON, but it connected nicely at the end.
It raised very difficult moral questions and Thanos was an interesting villain because his perspective sprang from personal experience. He truly believed in his cause, to the point where he sacrificed what he loved most. It made me wonder at the human heart and its capacity for perfect evil and perfect good.
Peter Parker: No, I’m Peter, by the way.
Dr. Strange: Dr. Strange.
Peter Parker: Oh, we’re using our made-up names. I’m Spider-Man then.
11. In This Corner of the World (2016)
Oh my heart. This movie was both beautiful and heartrending. What impresses me the more I watch Japanese animation is how well they can talk about history without becoming too consumed with the sorrow of it. This movie takes place before, during and a little after World War II and shows the war through the eyes of Japanese citizens who believed in their country, but didn’t understand the why of the war.
There was much loss, but in its end I wondered at how the world could still be beautiful as the people moved forward. I definitely recommend this movie to those who wish for a different perspective on World War II.
Suzu: Thank you for finding me in this corner of the world.
10. Star Wars 7 and 8 (2015, 2017)
What can I say? I like Star Wars and was actually fairly impressed with both of the new films. I liked how there were more practical effects, the freshness of its characters, and the call back to the original films. Though many criticized both these for various reasons, I guess only avid fans would understand, I welcomed the call back to important themes like hope, faith, fighting for good and facing our inner fears. Also, I was glad to see Mark Hamill again as Luke. Also also, shout out for the Yoda appearance! That was my favorite part of the films!
RATING: Episode VII 4/5, Episode VIII 4/5
Luke Skywalker: [Yoda appears as a ghost] Master Yoda.
Yoda: Young Skywalker.
Luke Skywalker: I’m ending all of this. The tree, the texts, the Jedi. I’m going to burn it all down.
Yoda: [Yoda summons lightning to burn down the tree and the Jedi texts. He laughs] Ah, Skywalker. Missed you, have I.
Luke Skywalker: So it is time for the Jedi Order to end.
Yoda: Time it is for you to look past a pile of old books, hmm?
Luke Skywalker: The sacred Jedi texts?
Yoda: Oh, read them, have you? Page-turners they were not. Yes, yes, yes. Wisdom they held, but that library contained nothing that the girl Rey does not already possess. Skywalker, still looking to the horizon. Never here, now, hmm? The need in front of your nose.
Luke Skywalker: I was weak. Unwise.
Yoda: Lost Ben Solo you did. Lose Rey we must not.
Luke Skywalker: I can’t be what she needs me to be.
Yoda: Heeded my words not, did you? Pass on what you have learned. Strength. Mastery. But weakness, folly, failure also. Yes, failure most of all. The greatest teacher, failure is. Luke, we are what they grow beyond. That is the true burden of all masters.
9. The Little Prince (2015)
Truly, I was surprised how much I came to love this movie. Parts of it felt cliqued at times and its ending did not surprise me, but on the other hand I found myself inevitably drawn into its simple story and portrayal of the beloved children’s classic from which it is named. It was a gentle movie and really I need those types of films the more time goes on. If you are interested in my review CLICK HERE.
The Little Prince: She was not a common rose. She was the only one of her kind in the whole universe. I remember her. I remember all of it. She is not gone. She is still here. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly.”
8. Black Panther (2018)
Lo and behold I found my favorite Marvel movie and by golly it is extraordinary. This movie was truly engaging because of its cry not for change only in its universe but also for those of us today. History has not treated those of African American descent very kindly and I feel in my heart there are many of them caught in a world of poverty and sorrow. Theirs is the history of many people of this world, but I also found it so inspiring to not only see the despair, but also good, kind powerful people who were not confined to that world.
It made me think, people have the power despite their history or circumstances, race or ethnicity to live their lives empowered and with their heads held high.
T’Challa has become one of my favorite characters in film because he was not only willing to be a just, kind and forgiving king but he also admitted his mistakes and changed. He saw from other’s perspectives and acted. All in all, I enjoyed this movie and am glad it received an Oscar nomination.
T’Challa: Wakanda will no longer watch from the shadows. We can not. We must not. We will work to be an example of how we, as brothers and sisters on this earth, should treat each other. Now, more than ever, the illusions of division threaten our very existence. We all know the truth: more connects us than separates us. But in times of crisis the wise build bridges, while the foolish build barriers. We must find a way to look after one another, as if we were one single tribe.
7. A Silent Voice (2016)
(Sorry the poster is in a different language) I loved this movie for its message on love and forgiveness. It is too complicated to explain all here, but suffice it to say two characters who, estranged by bullying and misunderstandings find in each other the will to keep living . It made me wonder how much I don’t know about others’ lives, the horrors they carry. It also helped me understand people can change and do amazing things in goodness and kindness.
If you want to cry, watch this movie.
“Friendship is something …that defies both words and logic.”
6. The Greatest Showman (2017)
Oh gosh I am a sucker for good music. And truly, the soundtrack for this movie has become one of my favorites. Every song has such beautiful lyrics and energy! I liked how this movie centered on family and seeing the world out of the confines of prejudice. Was the original Barnum the man showed in the movie? Hmmm…. probably not. ( Hmmm hmm not at all really.) But I was really too grateful the movie promoted family, acceptance, individual worth, love and fidelity to notice the historical inaccuracies. I think in a few years, critics will think more highly of it. Not that it matters really.
James Gordon Bennett: I never liked your show, but I always thought the people did
P.T. Barnum: They did. They do!
James Gordon Bennett: Putting people of all Shapes, Sizes, Colours. Putting them on stage together and presenting them as equals, another critic might have even called it a celebration of humanity.
P.T. Barnum: I would’ve liked that.
5. Christopher Robin (2018)
This movie was so simple and heart warming. Rather than portraying a father and husband who had become callous and inattentive in his adulthood, it showed a boy grown into a man who felt he must put behind his childhood to become the “adult” people expected him to be. His father died, he fought in World War II and lost himself along the way.
I won’t spoil it, but I just loved how the kind boy, lost to life’s hardships, was found by his dearest friend. It was as though a veil was lifted from his mind and the sunshine could finally come through. If you are interested in my review, CLICK HERE.
RATING: Hmm…I didn’t feel like it.
Christopher Robin: I’m not the person I used to be.
Winnie The Pooh: You saved us. You’re a hero.
Christopher Robin: I’m not a hero, Pooh. The fact is, I’m lost.
Winnie The Pooh: But I found you.
4. Fantastic Beasts and The Crimes of Grindewald (2016, 2018)
So if you thought I liked Star Wars, it is nothing compared to how much I love J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. Honestly, I liked these two new films set in 1920’s America and Great Britain more than the original Harry Potter Films. It is because I feel they really are from Rowling herself. When I watched Fantastic Beasts for the first time, I wondered why I liked it so much. I read up on it and realized Rowling wrote the screen play for it. I thought, “Ah, that makes sense then.”
Rowling has a way of portraying themes such as discrimination, abuse, manipulation and deep regret in ways I truly appreciate. She doesn’t shy from heavy themes but makes it clear that yes there is evil in this world, but also that it can be counteracted by the kindest and unlikeliest people. That being said, Newt has also, like T’Challa, become one of my favorite characters. He was compassionate, kind and an overall genuine soul which has been missing from our entertainment. Kindness is not weakness.
Anyway, I love these movies and…. really want to know what happens.
RATING: Fantastic Beasts- 4.5/5, Crimes of Grindewald- 4/5
1. Jacob Kowalski: Uh, Mr. Scamander?
Newt Scamander: Oh, call me Newt.
Jacob Kowalski: Newt. I don’t think I’m dreaming.
Newt Scamander: [mildly amused] What gave it away?
Jacob Kowalski: I ain’t got the brains to make this up.
2. Newt Scamander: No, I’m here to… You know, your eyes really are…
Tina Goldstein: Are what?
Newt Scamander: I’m not supposed to say. I got this picture of you from the paper, but it’s interesting because your eyes in newsprint. See, in reality they have this effect in them, Tina. It’s like fire in water, in dark water. I’ve only ever seen that… I’ve only ever seen that in…
Tina Goldstein: Salamanders?
3. The Peanuts Movie (2015)
Now we come to the top contenders of my affection! First, there is this remake of Charles Schultz’s comic strip. I missed this film’s release because I went to Russia on my mission and I thought of it often. I asked my mom what she thought of it and was elated but sad when she said it was great. (The sadness came because I couldn’t watch it yet.)
Anyway, long story short I watched it and just loved it in all its Charlie Brown and company glory! The message to see ourselves for the goodness we do and to put honesty, family and generosity before popularity really warmed my heart. Also, I was so glad he could finally after more than 50 years talk to the little red-haired girl.
Also also, a special shout out for the animation! Despite it being 3D I really liked its look and feel. It really seemed like one of Schultz’s comic strips and stayed true to his style.
RATING: 5/5 (Cough, I am biased)
Little Red-Haired Girl: Oh, hi, Charlie Brown.
Charlie Brown: You remembered my name?
Little Red-Haired Girl: Of course I did.
Charlie Brown: Before you leave, there’s something I really need to know. Why, out of all the kids in our class, would you want to be partners with me?
Little Red-Haired Girl: That’s easy. It’s because I’ve seen the type of person you are.
Charlie Brown: An insecure, wishy-washy failure?
Little Red-Haired Girl: That’s not who you are at all. I like the compassion you showed for your sister at the talent show. The honesty you had at the assembly. And at the dance, you were brave and funny. And what you did for me, doing the book report while I was away, was so sweet of you. So when I look at you, I don’t see a failure at all. You have all the qualities I admire.
2. Coco (2017)
I think my experience with this movie will reflect that of many others. When I saw this movie in theaters I had just come home from visiting my grandma Engler in New York. She was 93 and I had not seen her for fifteen years because my family lived in Arizona and New Mexico. I had gone to New York with a deep feeling, which I now understand as familial love and bonding.
Anyway, when I left her in New York I felt in my heart it would be the last time I would see her in this life. She did not die until May 2018, but I knew it was coming. Seeing this movie I finally understood what is most important in this life. The movie was not about Miguel becoming a musician or finding his way home. It was about the missing picture of his great great grandfather, whose family was forgetting him.
Truly, this was the best pixar film I have seen since Up (2009). Also, the animation was SO BEAUTIFUL! If I made a new top beautifully animated films this would definitely be in the top 10.
Ernesto de la Cruz: [to Mamá Imelda] Don’t I know you?
Mamá Imelda: [Smacks Ernesto with her shoe] That’s for murdering the love of my life!
Ernesto de la Cruz: [Confused] Who the…?
Héctor: She’s talking about me!
Héctor: I am the love of your life?
Mamá Imelda: I don’t know, I am still angry at you!
1.Kubo and the Two Strings (2016)
It was hard choosing between this and Coco, and I might change my mind later, but for now this is my number one. My mother told me about this movie while I was still on my mission. Her words were basically, “I saw this really interesting animated film. It was kind of strange. I think you would like it.” Laika animation studios really outdid themselves when they did this movie.
The animation is stunning! (I would also now put this in my top most beautifully animated films list.) Really, compared to other stop-motion animated films I have seen these last few years, the beauty and quality of this movie’s action scenes, touching moments and story telling ability just astounded me!
All the characters were very well rounded, complex and endearing. Even the villain, who Kubo “defeats” in a truly Hayao Miyazaki fashion, really drew me in. I just can’t get over how much I loved this movie! I really want to dissect it and understand how it works story and animation wise! That might be my next project. . .
Anyway! That is my beautiful list! Hopefully, I have more films to add as this year goes on!
(After seeing golden herrings fly overhead)
Monkey- It’s believed that they carry the souls of the departed. Carrying them over to where ever they need to go.
Beetle- What are they singing?
Monkey- Many say, the songs about what happens when we die, how we don’t just disappear. Like Kubo’s paper, we shift, we transform, so we can continue our story in another place. The end of one story is merely the beginning of another.