Vice (2018) | Adam McKay



Written and directed by Adam McKay, who impressed in his last effort from 2015, The Big ShortVice is specifically a biopic of sorts about former Vice President of the United States under George W. Bush, Dick Cheney — both of whom were seen as responsible for the policies that brought about the stock market crash covered so well in McKay’s prior film.  McKay covers Cheney’s rise from drunken slob, to shaping up by entering Wyoming business and politics, to becoming a power player in the Republican party in Washington (Chief of Staff under President Ford), to his failed ambition to become president, to becoming the CEO of Halliburton.  However, some would say that, after a successful bed on the bottom of the ticket for the 2000 and 2004 elections, he found a way, dubbed the Unitary Executive Theory, to become the most powerful nation in the world from the number-two position despite it being seen as a do-nothing office.


Glass (2019) | M. Night Shyamalan



Glass serves as a sequel to two films from M. Night Shyamalan, 2000’s Unbreakable and 2018’s Split, the latter of which tied itself to the former with the post-end title stinger. Bruce Willis makes his return as the ‘unbreakable’ security company owner David Dunn, who, along with his adult son (and sole employee) Joseph, is trying to track down a crazy roaming the streets of Philadelphia who is abducting teenage girls.  James McAvoy continues his portrayal of Kevin Wendell Crumb, aka The Horde, a conglomerations of split personalities that take over Kevin’s body at various points, including the homicidal brute known as The Beast, who is the one feeding on those girls David is looking for .  Samuel L. Jackson also returns from Unbreakable as the titular character, the brittle mastermind self-named Mr. Glass, aka Elijah Price, who has apparently been laying low for some time under heavy sedation.  The three end up rounded up and subsequently kept separate chambers within a high-security psychiatric facility led by Sarah Paulson’s Dr. Ellie Staple, whose specialty is in rehabilitating persons who believe they are superheroes. From Split, Anya Taylor-Joy returns as Casey Cooke, who survived her terror-filled first meeting with The Horde while in its persona as The Beast, but who finds herself drawn to help him escape his inner demons.


Leave No Trace (2018) | Debra Granik



Ben Foster’s war vet Will, widower father to the young teenage girl with the boy’s name of Tom (Thomasin McKenzie), is suffering from some sort of Post Traumatic Stress from his time in the service, living out in the woods, completely off the grid, roughing it in that public park in Oregon.  Director Debra Granik combined these elements with the story of a man who raised his daughter off the grid in their own cabin in Oregon, wanting her to learn from nature and books rather than live her whole life in a world of conformity, though she did have exposure to those elements in her time of custody with her mother, as well as in her teen years, when she went to a high school and became more interested in conforming to society.


Bumblebee (2018) | Travis Knight



This time out, the character of Bumblebee ends up going back to his original look from the toy line and cartoon series of a Volkswagen Beetle, when he arrives on Earth back in 1987 as part of a last-minute escape plan for the Autobots on Cybertron to find an inhabitable planet as theirs is about to be destroyed in an all-out civil war with the Decepticons.  Bumblebee ends up emerging in California, where his dormant state of the Beetle laying in rust in a junkyard, in hiding after being hunted by Sector Seven (the government agency who first discovers him), draws the eye of a troubled teenage girl named Charlie Watson, who views the car as freedom and an opportunity to follow in her recently deceased father’s footsteps by repairing two damaged precious things – the car, and herself.


BlacKkKlansman (2018) | Spike Lee



In this Spike Lee joint, we go back to the 1970s, where we find Ron Stallworth, the first black police detective working for the Colorado Springs Police Department.  In one of his first assignments after laboring behind the scenes to test the waters as a file clerk, Ron is hired to go undercover to record a speech being given locally by black activist Kwame Ture (Corey Hawkins), formerly known as Stokely Carmichael, at a nearby college, in which the subject is black empowerment, racist law enforcement, and preparation for the race war they feel will be inevitable. The police thought the speech would incite violence, but Ron saw the speech as just talk in that regard, and inspiring otherwise.


Aquaman (2018) | James Wan



The setting starts sometime in the 1980s, where we find Atlantean queen Atlanna (Nicole Kidman) coming up to the surface in the state of Maine to get away from an arranged marriage, seeking a bit of sanctuary and time to heal in a lighthouse run by a human named Tom Curry (Temuera Morrison). The two unlikely partners fall in love, eventually leading to a son, Arthur Curry.  The kingdom of Atlantis is not pleased with Atlanna’s apparent defection to the land, sending out their soldiers to claim her back, culminating in Tom being left alone to raise the boy himself as a human, except one with the powers of Atlanteans in his DNA, including an ability to talk to and command all forms of marine life.

We fast forward to Arthur’s adulthood, known to the land-dwellers as “The Aquaman” after a series of public acts of heroism, one including taking down pirates that includes future nemesis Black Manta (Yahya Abdul-Mareen II).  However, Arthur has to become a savior to his adopted people when the current rule of Atlantis, Arthur’s half-brother Orm (Patrick Wilson), is looking to mount a war with the land walkers who continue to pollute the oceans, seeking the assistance of King Nereus (Dolph Lundgren), one of the leaders of the ‘seven seas’ needed to approve. Nereus’s daughter Mera looks to recruit Arthur’s assistance in staving off the uprising from his brother’s charge.  Arthur must go undersea to make his presence felt, but the opposite of a fish out of water in his new environs in the Atlantean realm, especially when the situation boils down to a mano-a-mano battle between Arthur and Orm on his home turf (or non-turf, as it happens to be).


Bohemian Rhapsody (2018) | Bryan Singer



Bryan Singer directs this tribute biopic on Freddie Mercury and his stint with one of the most influential rock groups from the 1970s and 1980s, Queen.  Electrifying performances, lavish stage costumes, and a peek into Freddie’s confusion and acceptance of his sexuality are in the mix of this loose-hanging look at one of the greatest rock-and-roll frontmen.


Dr. Seuss’ The Grinch (2018)



Illumination Entertainment brings Dr. Seuss’ beloved story to the modern age with 3D animation and the vocal talent of Benedict Cumberbatch. The Grinch hates Christmas and plans to thwart the festivities of the Christmas-loving denizens of nearby Whoville, but after donning the Santa Claus outfit to steal their presents away, has to confront the wishes of a young girl who needs Santa’s help.


The Nutcracker and the Four Realms (2018)



Mackenzie Foy stars as Clara, suffering through grief with her father and two siblings during their first holiday without her recently deceased mother, Marie.  Clara receives an enigmatic and ornate Christmas gift, the last from her mother, a metallic contraption shaped like an egg with an elaborate keyhole that came with no key that might fit accompanying it. She is despondent that she cannot open it without ruining it, and it causes her to be depressed during the big holiday gala put on by her godfather, Drosselmeyer (Morgan Freeman). who, it turns out, had created the egg for her mother.  During the events of the evening at Drosselmeyer’s mansion, she follows a string that will lead to Drosselmeyer’s own gift to her, way out from the party and into another dimension, to a mystical and magic-fueled world called the Four Realms.


Bullitt County (2018)



BULLITT COUNTY is a small-scale dramatic thriller set in the late 1970s, where a bachelor party trip to Kentucky Bourbon country could prove lucrative when the quatrtet of friends decide to head off the beaten path to search for a cache of buried treasure on Bullitt family private property.  Written, directed and co-starring David McCracken, the film echoes bits and pieces of ’70s character-driven thrillers mixed with more modern film-making takes from the likes of Tarantino and the Coen Brothers.