Top 100 Best Movies of the 2010s: 90-81


(Source: IndieWire)

90. Leave No Trace (2018) – Eight years after Winter’s Bone, Debra Granik directs another movie showcasing a slice of life in rural America. Ben Foster and Thomasin McKenzie give heartbreaking performances as Will and Tom, a father and daughter who have been living off the grid for years. Once a jogger spots them, the authorities separate them for questioning until they come to terms with living in an actual home. This is a poignant film with gorgeous cinematography and characters that feel like real people. Rare for a PG-rated movie to be more suited for adults.


(Source: The New York Times)

89. Shutter Island (2010) – Martin Scorsese’s psychological thriller has divided audiences since its release. It definitely requires repeated viewings. Leonardo DiCaprio and Mark Ruffalo star in this disturbing yet engaging film about two U.S. marshals investigate the disappearance of a mental patient at an island facility. Throughout its 139-minute runtime, there are plenty of twists and turns (its imaginative sets make the institution feel like one long maze), clever use of neoclassical music, and startling performances from its cast including Ben Kingsley, Max von Sydow, and Michelle Williams.


(Source: Esquire)

88. The Martian (2015) – In my review back in 2015, I described Matt Damon’s portrayal as astronaut Mark Watney as a “classier Bear Grylls”. The audience sees him use his wits “and science the shit out of” to survive and get off Mars after his team, led by Commander Melissa Lewis (Jessica Chastain), leaves him behind after a stream of debris strikes. Ridley Scott returns to top-form in a science-fiction, pop-culture odyssey with a screenplay written by Drew Goddard that is hilarious, suspenseful, and visually stunning. Also, gotta love the use of David Bowie’s “Starman”.


(Source: Vox)

87. First Reformed (2018) – Known for writing screenplays for Martin Scorsese’s early films such as Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, Paul Schrader writes and directs this existential character study that is required to be shown in film criticism classes. Ethan Hawke gives an understated performance as Reverend Toller, a pastor at a Protestant church struggling with his faith and the loss of his son who died in Iraq. Then, he learns from a woman named Mary (Amanda Seyfried, in a surprisingly superb supporting role) that there is something wrong with her environmentalist husband. Things begin to get incredibly tense. And BOY–do they!?

Also starring Cedric the Entertainer (credited as Cedric Kyles), First Reformed is a disturbing and breathtaking masterpiece. The last few minutes will have you on the edge of your seat as well as leaving plenty of room for discussion.


(Source: The Hollywood Reporter)

86. Eighth Grade (2018) – I hope comedian Bo Burnham keeps directing movies that are as funny and brutally honest as Eighth Grade. His directorial debut tackles the anxieties of an awkward teenage girl named Kayla (an astounding Elsie Fisher), who spends most of her time on her phone and making inspirational YouTube videos that garner little attention. The audience understands where Kayla is coming from. She wants to have friends despite struggling to get out of her comfort zone. Her pain is almost impossible not to relate. Don’t let the R-rating fool anyone. This is essential viewing for teenagers who are about to head into high school.


(Source: New Statesman)

85. Spider-Man: Homecoming (2017) – This Spider-Man reboot doesn’t fall into the “origin story” territory as opposed to a continuation of the MCU. Director/co-writer Jon Watts and five other screenwriters do not their waste their time to retell the story of how Peter Parker becomes the “friendly neighborhood superhero”. Everybody knows the story after seeing two movies about his origins (2002’s Spider-Man, starring Tobey Maguire, and 2012’s The Amazing Spider-Man, starring Andrew Garfield). Tom Holland graces the screen as both the smart-ass high school student and the web-slinging superhero. He provides the wit and physicality to give Homecoming the energy it needs. Michael Keaton’s Vulture feel more like a real person than all the other villains in the MCU. I think John Hughes would love this movie!

The Last Black Man In San Francisco - Still 1

(Source: Variety)

84. The Last Black Man in San Francisco (2019) – Joe Talbot, a native of San Francisco, makes his directorial debut about his hometown. It’s nothing short of breathtaking. This movie, inspired by the actual friendship between Talbot and actor Jimmie Fails (playing a fictional version of himself) is the whole package: funny, thoughtful, raw, smart, and devastating. It might not move at a fast pace, but there is a lot that feels right at home for the director and the actors. There is a sense of diverse beauty through its cinematography and music, including Michael Marshall’s marvelous rendition of “San Francisco (Be Sure to Wear Flowers in Your Hair)”, that sums up the city as a whole.


(Source: TIME)

83. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013) – This three-hour long epic of the rise and fall of penny stockbroker Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a raunchy, hilarious movie only Martin Scorsese could direct. This is a film that takes so many risks yet it will never leave you bored due to its lightning-fast pace. The massive cast including Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Jon Bernthal, Rob Reiner, Jon Favreau, Kyle Chandler (in one of three movies this decade where he plays a government official), Jean Dujardin, Bo Dietl, and Matthew McConaughey all give great performances, no matter how long (or short) their appearances are. The scene where Belfort and Donnie are high on Quaaludes is such a great example of physical comedy.


(Source: GameSpot)

82. The Avengers (2012) – The original members team up for the first time under the direction of Joss Whedon. The Avengers is a movie buff’s dream come true! The wit is unstoppable, the action dazzles, and the pace never lets up. Tom Hiddleston’s Loki couldn’t be more charming. The Hulk provides some of the funniest scenes in the movie.


(Source: CBS News)

81. Moneyball (2011) – I’m surprised Brad Pitt has not won a single Oscar for acting. If Jean Dujardin didn’t get nominated for The Artist in 2011, Pitt would have easily won for his outstanding performance as Billy Beane, the general manager for the Oakland Athletics who, with the help from Peter Brand (Jonah Hill, equally great), an Economics graduate from Yale, signs players on a budget, based on their on-base percentage (also known as sabermetrics), to play for the 2002 MLB season. Director Bennett Miller and co-writer Aaron Sorkin create a baseball movie that is far from your average baseball movie. It’s a witty, tense, thought-provoking, and patient movie about the love of the game.


100-91 90-81 | 80-71 | 70-61 | 60-51 | 50-41 | 40-31 | 30-21 | 20-11 | 10-1

2019 Summer Movie Review: Avengers: Endgame


The Avengers fight against time in Avengers: Endgame. (Source: IMDb)

It has been more than ten years since Iron Man released in theaters. A movie that marked the introduction to a franchise that would eventually span across 23 movies. Ranging from truly great movies to cinematic disappointments, the franchise introduced so many characters that everyone has either grown to love or love to hate. Even seeing the core superheroes, such as Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, and The Hulk, teaming up in 2012’s The Avengers was a movie buff’s dream come true. Everyone has known their origins and how they evolve in modern society. The latest entry, Avengers: Endgame, marks the end of an era.

The movie leaves off after the heartbreaking finale of Avengers: Infinity War, where the powerful demigod Thanos (Josh Brolin) used the Infinity Stones to wipe out half of the universe with the snap of his fingers. The remaining Avengers, which include Tony Stark/Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Steve Rogers/Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Rocket Raccoon (voiced by Bradley Cooper), James Rhodes (Don Cheadle), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), must find a way to bring their allies back. Scott Lang/Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) returns after spending five years in the “quantum realm”. He figures out a way to travel back in time. The Avengers reassemble to undo Thano’s actions once and for all.

[This is only the set-up. If I go on about the plot, it would give away too many plot points.]

Anthony and Joe Russo return to the director’s chair for an epic for the ages. Written with enough razor-sharp wit and poignancy by Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, there is so much going on that the three-hour runtime goes by like a breeze. It’s easily the most depressing film in the MCU (I admit, this is one of the few movies where I did get misty-eyed), since it follows the superheroes dealing with trauma after Infinity War. They all have one more chance to set everything right before it’s too late in some thrilling action set pieces.

The movie features the biggest cast in any blockbuster in the last twenty years. Every single one of them all have their shining moments. The ones who stand out are Downey Jr., Evans, Hemsworth, Renner, and Johansson. At this point, all of the characters write themselves.

I can’t imagine a more satisfying conclusion than Avengers: Endgame. Don’t worry, though. The MCU is far from over. Peter Parker is making his return this summer in Spider-Man: Far from Home. There are upcoming television spin-off series centering on Loki and Hawkeye among others (not to mention Disney owning 20th Century Fox). There’s plenty more to come for this seemingly endless franchise.


2018 Summer Movie Review: Avengers: Infinity War



It all comes down to this in Avengers: Infinity War! (Source: The Wrap)

It looks like the summer movie season has arrived early this year. After a long, rough winter in Maine, it’s about time to see these superheroes try to save our planet once again.

Can you believe it has been ten years since Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) started to form the Avengers Initiative? A lot of superheroes have been introduced to the Marvel Cinematic Universe–from the Incredible Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) to Captain America (Chris Evans) to Asgardian god Thor (Chris Hemsworth) to Spider-Man (Tom Holland) to the Guardians of the Galaxy (Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, and Bradley Cooper) to Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman). With every single one of them teaming up to face their biggest challenge yet, it makes the scale of Avengers: Infinity War all the more gargantuan.

While this year brought us the future classic Black Panther, Anthony and Joe Russo are back in the director’s chair since Captain America: Civil War. They hit it out of the park once again in this hilarious, dark, action-packed, visually stunning epic that goes in many unexpected way and brings an emotional punch into its complex narrative. Josh Brolin’s Thanos is easily the most powerful villain in the franchise, who goes on his own mission to collect all of the six Infinity Stones, in order to not only take over the world, but the entire universe. While the movie is far from perfect, fans are most certainly in for a treat!

The MCU is far from over!


2015 Summer Movie Review: The Avengers: Age of Ultron

The Avengers are back to spring into action in

The Avengers are back to spring into action in “Age of Ultron”

The Avengers was a movie buff’s dream come true. It brought all of the superheroes that were introduced in the first phase of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, like Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, and Captain America, to team up in one gigantic battle for humanity. The movie had everything a superhero movie should be: hilarious, action-packed, and miraculously entertaining. Phase two hit plenty of bumps in the road (Thor: The Dark World), but it was nice to see how each member has hold up after that battle in New York City. The Avengers are back in the highly anticipated sequel, The Avengers: Age of Ultron, to give us more of the fun as well as some emotion. And prepares the audience what has yet to come in phase three.

Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) and Bruce Banner (Mark Ruffalo) create Ultron (James Spader), an artificial intelligence who would protect humanity. Things go awry when Ultron becomes dangerous plans to take over the world (much better dealt with here than in Chappie). Stark and Banner, along with Captain America (Chris Evans), Thor (Chris Hemsworth), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner), spring into action again.

Without spoiling too much, Joss Whedon hits it out of the park with sensational action (especially a visually dazzling and hilarious stand-off between Iron Man and the Hulk), witty-as-hell dialogue, and beautiful cinematography. The movie had more laughs than most mainstream comedies today. It’s refreshing to see Hawkeye more as a character. However, it isn’t a perfect movie. Whedon introduces new characters, like the Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) and Quicksilver (Aaron Taylor-Johnson). Even though they are well in-depth characters, I think I prefer Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past. I would like to see more of the subplot with Ultron planning to take over the world. Despite that, I had an absolute blast!

Some day, I would like to see a crossover between The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy. Who’s with me?


2015 Summer Movie Preview: May

Wow! Is it that time of year again? Already?

Yes, the summer movie season is back! 2015 has been a decent year for film so far. Even though I haven’t seen a lot because of school getting in the way of my movie watching. But as my first year of college is about to come to a close, there are a lot of highly anticipated blockbusters, as well as some independent films, that have yet to come out that I am looking forward to this summer. Not to mention one coming out this month that is my most anticipated film of the entire year (can you guess which one?). I enjoyed doing this segment last year, and I’m glad to be doing it again this year. Keep in mind that I’ll review the movies that are being discussed a lot or just sound interesting to me. Let’s get started talking about the movies that are coming out in the month of May.

May 1

The Avengers - Age of UltronThe Avengers: Age of Ultron – This comes as no surprise to many people that this is what everyone is looking forward to.  For someone who loved The Avengers, I have been waiting patiently to see these superheroes spring back into action with new additions to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Joss Whedon knows how to bring the fun to the superhero genre. Even though sequel don’t quite surpass the original, I’m definitely expecting a great time at the theater. I don’t know if Quicksilver would be more awesome here than Quicksilver in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Far from the Madding CrowdFar from the Madding Crowd – Based on Thomas Hardy’s novel, this film stars Carey Mulligan (The Great Gatsby) as a woman who is attracted to three different men in Victorian London. Due to the success of Downton Abbey, costume dramas have become very popular in the media. Last year’s Belle was a great look in racial equality in England during the 1700s. From the previews, I have never seen anything that looked more beautiful than Far from the Madding Crowd!

May 8

Hot PursuitHot Pursuit – There aren’t a lot of great comedies coming out nowadays. Hot Pursuit is no exception. Even though I like Reese Witherspoon and Sofia Vergara to death, this movie is using the “buddy cop” sub-genre but with jokes that sound stale. It might be alright for a few laughs, but I wouldn’t be surprised if this flops.

MaggieMaggie – Arnold Schwarzenegger in a serious movie? How rare is that? Fans have been used to him as the ultimate action hero turned California governor turned back to actor. Starring alongside Abigail Breslin, this has my attention as being a tense zombie apocalypse story.

5 Flights Up5 Flights Up – You can’t go wrong with Morgan Freeman. He’s one of the best actors with one of the best voices on Earth. Everyone wishes that he should narrate their lives. This movie, co-starring Diane Keaton, follows a Brooklyn couple trying to sell their apartment due to financial issues. Even though it doesn’t look phenomenal, it looks sweet at best.

100yom_poster_2764x4096The 100-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out the Window and Disappeared (I know, quite a mouthful) – Based on Jonas Jonasson’s novel, this popular Scandinavian picture is like a new version of Forrest Gump. It follows Allan Karlsson, who was an explosives expert becoming a part of the most important historical events of the 20th century and meeting countless historical figures. At 100 years old and in good health, he escapes his nursing home to embark on another (possibly his last) adventure. After seeing the trailer today, not only am I intrigued but I’m laughing from thinking about it. For someone interested in Scandinavian cinema, I would be a fool for missing out on this.

May 15

MMMad Max: Fury Road – Oh my goodness! Talk about being on the edge of your seat from watching the previews! I have yet to see the original films starring Mel Gibson, but this reboot looks insane in every sense of the word. With Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, and Nicholas Hoult leading the cast, I have a feeling this would surpass Furious 7 as the year’s best action film.

PP2Pitch Perfect 2 – The sequel to the 2012 cult classic Pitch Perfect looks as aca-fun. After seeing the first film, I could see why the movie inspired many acapella musicians worldwide (especially Pentatonix, who are going to appear in the sequel). I don’t care if the story is predictable as hell, what matters is the laughs and the good time. I can’t think of a better actress who can sing more beautifully than Anna Kendrick. It’s like she is about to hit Broadway, she’s that good!

Slow WestSlow West – This Western became a big hit at this year’s Sundance Film Festival. It won the Grand Jury Prize for Best International Drama. From the looks of the preview, the movie looks like a beautiful and traditional Western. What more do you need with a cast featuring Michael Fassbender and Kodi Smith-McPhee?

Good KillGood Kill – This is the third collaboration of Ethan Hawke and director Andrew Niccol; the first two being Gattaca and Lord of War. After getting mixed reviews coming from the Venice Film Festival and Toronto International Film Festival, it’s about time for this to get an initial limited release. I think this looks like a fascinating character study on how one man begins to question about his life and missions as a drone pilot. I like Ethan Hawke and Andrew Niccol. Gattaca is one of my all-time favorite films. Let’s hope Niccol will return to form after The Host, a disaster that I’m glad I avoided.

May 22

TomorrowlandTomorrowland – The previews for Disney’s Tomorrowland show very little detail. That’s a good thing. Nowadays, a lot of movie trailers give too much away (*ahem* Neighbors). The look of movie makes me feel like a kid experiencing something unlike anything I’ve seen before. Brad Bird is an ingenious filmmaker who directed the best Mission: Impossible film to date (Ghost Protocol). I love the imagination he puts into this picture. Cannot wait for this!!

PoltergeistPoltergeist – Ah, the summer movie season couldn’t be complete without a remake or two. A remake of the 1982 film that contributed to the creation of the PG-13 rating (along with countless other violent PG-rated films of the 1980s), Poltergeist looks like any generic modern-day horror flick. Focusing more on the jump scares than on the atmosphere. Who knows? it might be one of those rare occasions that it’s faithful to the original.

May 29

san_andreasSan Andreas – Even though it’s hard not to like Dwayne Johnson, this movie looks like a new 2012. Paul Giamatti looks like the only redeemable quality of this train-wreck.

AlohaAloha – It’s refreshing to see a mainstream film absent from loud explosions and overblown effects. Only nothing but human drama. With an ensemble cast including Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray, Rachel McAdams, and John Krasinski and talented director (Cameron Crowe, Jerry Maguire and We Bought a Zoo), Aloha might be good, or it might be bad.


Most Anticipated: The Avengers: Age of Ultron, Far from the Madding Crowd, Mad Max: Fury Road, Tomorrowland

Least Anticipated: Hot Pursuit, Poltergeist, San Andreas

I hope you enjoyed reading on what my thoughts are on several movies for the month of May. Tell me in the comments below on what your most anticipated movies are for the month of May. Stay tuned for a movie preview for the month of June on Memorial Day. Take care.

My Most Anticipated Movies for 2015

Happy New Year, everybody. I hope you made your resolutions. Last year has been a strong year for movies. There were many great surprises and some great disappointments. I hope 2015 will have movies that will meet and exceed audience’s expectations like last year. With that said, here is my list of the ten most anticipated movies for this year.

Honorable Mentions (in alphabetical order): Child 44 (April 17), Crimson Peak (October 16), Far From the Madding Crowd (May 1), The Good Dinosaur (November 25), The Hateful Eight (December 25), In the Heart of the Sea (December 11), Inside Out (June 19), Jupiter Ascending (February 6), The Last Five Years (February 13), Pan (July 24), Paper Towns (June 5), True Story (April 10)

10. Ant-Man (in theaters July 17; directed by Peyton Reed; starring Paul Rudd, Michael Douglas, Evangeline Lilly, Hayley Atwell, and Corey Stoll) – Before seeing footage for this, I haven’t heard a lot about Ant-Man. Paul Rudd is one of the funniest comedians working today. It’s interesting to see him in something unlike his other work. I have a feeling this would be pretty good. The effects reminded me Honey, We Shrunk Ourselves and Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.

9. The Fantastic Four (in theaters August 7; directed by Josh Trank; starring Miles Teller, Kate Mara, Michael B. Jordan, and Jamie Bell) – Even though a trailer has yet to be released, it’s about time for a reboot after that awful 2005 version starring Chris Evans and Jessica Alba. Gotta love that cast.

8. The Walk (in theaters October 2; directed by Robert Zemeckis; starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Le Bon) – I’m glad Zemeckis returned to live-action in 2012 with Flight. This movie tells the true story of Philippe Petit attempting to cross the World Trade Center on a high wire. I think the movie would look quite something in 3D. With Gordon-Levitt becoming one of my favorite actors, I have high hopes for this.

7. The Untitled Cold War Film (a.k.a. St. James Place) (in theaters October 16; directed by Steven Spielberg; starring Tom Hanks) – Following  American lawyer James Donovan recruited by the CIA to help rescue a pilot from being detained in the Soviet Union during the Cold War. Steven Spielberg is my favorite filmmaker, and Tom Hanks is my favorite actor. I smell Oscar bait.

6. Tomorrowland (in theaters May 22; directed by Brad Bird; starring George Clooney, Hugh Laurie, and Britt Robertson) – Given that Brad Bird directed the best film in the Mission: Impossible series – Ghost Protocol – I think the movie looks amazing. Again, the cast is great!

5. Mad Max: Fury Road (in theaters May 15; directed by George Miller; starring Tom Hardy, Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, and Rosie Huntington-Whitely) – I haven’t seen any of the Mad Max films. This movie looks absolutely insane and over-the-top fun. Tom Hardy and Charlize Theron can do no wrong. The action looks breathtaking!

4. Jurassic World (in theaters June 12; directed by Colin Treverrow; starring Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Judy Greer, and Vincent D’Onofrio) – Jurassic Park is one of my all-time favorite films. It made me feel like a kid seeing something unlike anything I’ve seen before. This movie looks as tense as the first film was. I cannot wait to see Chris Pratt capture his charm and dinosaurs chasing him while riding his motorcycle.

3. Spectre (in theaters November 7; directed by Sam Mendes; starring Daniel Craig, Ralph Fiennes, Lea Seydoux, and Dave Bautista) – I love James Bond. I love the cast. I loved the last film. I CANNOT WAIT!

2. Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens (in theaters December 18; directed by J.J. Abrams; starring Mark Hamill, Harrison Ford, Carrie Fisher, Andy Serkis, and Max von Sydow) – Why am I looking forward to this? Because It’s STAR WARS!!!!!

1. The Avengers: Age of Ultron (directed by Joss Whedon; starring Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Samuel L. Jackson, and Scarlett Johansson) – Do I need to explain?? I loved the first Avengers, and I hope this will have the humor, the phenomenal action, and the awesomeness that made the first film a hit. I want May 1st to come quicker!

I hope you enjoyed my picks. Leave comments on what movie you are looking forward to see this year. Stay tuned for my lists of the best and worst movies of 2014 in the middle of January. Take care!

Movie Review: Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014)

Marvel's First Avenger comes back to face against the Winter Soldier

Marvel’s First Avenger comes back to face against the Winter Soldier

I am not a comic book reader, but I am quite a comic book movie aficionado. Either if they are based on the DC or Marvel Comics, I would become invested in the superhero’s motivations; how the characters got their powers and knowing what it means to become a true hero in our society. Captain America is one of the more fascinating of all of the superheroes I have seen. He’s right up there with Superman, Spider-Man, Batman, and Iron Man–to name a few.

The new movie featuring the iconic hero, Captain America: The Winter Soldier is more than just another Marvel superhero movie. It is, on its own terms, a political thriller featuring enough action, twists, turns, and laughs to rank it among the best of Marvel’s movies, which are The Avengers and Iron Man.

Providing a more complex story than its predecessor from 2011, the movie opens up with Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) living a quiet life in Washington, D.C. Because he has been struggling to fit into our society after being frozen for 70 years, he decides to catch up on all the pop culture he missed out on since the 1940s. When S.H.I.E.L.D. becomes threatened by an assassin known as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) coming into our nation’s capital, Rogers suits up, once again, as Captain America, teams up with Natasha Romanoff a.k.a. Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Sam Wilson a.k.a. The Falcon (Anthony Mackie) to solve the mystery.

Chris Evans brings a lot more depth into his role of Steve Rogers/Captain America. You can tell how much he has gone through over the years. Although he still has the charm and confidence, he realizes how powerful his abilities are. Becoming  skilled in parkour, martial arts, running, and boxing, he could probably set plenty of records in the Olympic Games.

Samuel L. Jackson proves how awesome he truly is as Nick Fury in one of the movie’s biggest action sequence. Scarlett Johansson is always great as Black Widow; I think it’s time for a Black Widow movie. Robert Redford’s Alexander Pierce, the senior leader of S.H.I.E.L.D., makes a fantastic antagonist in one marvelous film.