Having not seen any of the other PREDATOR movies in the franchise, I had no expectations going into THE PREDATOR. I had only heard about the older movies, and its reputation suggested a bonkers, trashy 80s grand ol’ time. This 2018 installment seemed like a throwback to a movie and time period I don’t really know about, and frankly, don’t really care to learn more about. This movie centers around a group of soldiers with PTSD that encounter Predators that landed on Earth. The untapped potential in this movie was what hurt it the most: the soldiers could have been more developed and their PTSD explored more; there shouldn’t have been sexist ‘comedy’ around Olivia Munn’s character (especially after the controversy around the film shortly before its release); the Shane Black-ness could have been toned up more i.e. more subverting expectations and more smart humor. It started off with a great Shane Black bit with the soldiers double-talking on the radio, and I loved that, but lost its fun humor streak for most of the runtime. Otherwise, everyone’s pretty game for what they’re given, especially Sterling K. Brown as he chewed, spit up and again chewed the scenery in each of his scenes, and I ate up every bit of it. THE PREDATOR is a fine movie and an installment of a franchise that I don’t have any attachment to, and just another one of those movies that went in one ear and out the other.


(Refer to my ratings system HERE!)


Anna Kendrick and Blake Lively star in this super shlocky movie as Stephanie Smothers and Emily Nelson, respectively. Stephanie, a mommy blogger and overly helpful helicopter mother, befriends Emily, a cold, hardworking but caring mother, and her husband, Sean. Emily soon disappears, and Stephanie and Sean go on the trail to figure out what happened to her.

The story gets super twisty from there, and gets so close to going over the top with its premise, but manages to keep the story grounded with interesting characters that are never as infallible as they seem. They’re not afraid to show their true colors, and by the end of the movie, we actually understand why each character does what they do because they are so developed. Some of the kids’ acting can get excruciating, but Kendrick, Lively and Henry Golding (from CRAZY RICH ASIANS) absolutely slay their roles. The movie leans into some mystery/thriller tropes, but it has such fun with it that I couldn’t help but love every bit of it.


(Refer to my ratings system HERE!)


Just because I dislike being scared and sudden loud noises doesn’t mean I don’t like horror movies. IT made my top 10 last year, and I’ve been slowly dipping my toes into more horror. I watched the first two CONJURING films before I saw THE NUN, and was thoroughly impressed with those movies and how well made they were. The latest in the franchise/now-cinematic universe shows the first emergence of the title character, after the demon showed up in CONJURING 2. Seeing this movie, I’m not sure we needed it, and don’t know what it does for the franchise other than give money to the studio. Compared to the others, the scares aren’t as well crafted and I don’t care as much for the main characters. I was getting so exhausted of all the stop-and-start scares throughout the movie, that it made me not care at all. It’s a shame, since the setting is inherently terrifying and there could have been more interesting things done with it.


(Refer to my ratings system HERE!)


Based on the true story of Mossad agents tracking down and capturing Adolf Eichmann (a Nazi and one of the architects of the Holocaust) in Argentina in 1960, OPERATION FINALE is a middle of the road portrayal of this snatch-and-grab mission. It’s an interesting story, that only gets crazier when their plane is delayed by a week and must stay completely clandestine as the police and neo-Nazis track down Eichmann. Oscar Isaac portrays the lead of the Mossad team, Peter Malkin, admirably, but ends up being another charming roguish character, similar to Poe Dameron in STAR WARS. He’s given more weighty material and allowed to flex his acting muscles, especially since he’s acting across legend (Sir) Ben Kingsley as Eichmann, who is absolutely stellar (and actually trying here). The rest of the Mossad agents are good with what they’re given, with Melanie Laurent and Nick Kroll standing out. The movie sometimes has action for action’s sake; it also starts to sympathize with Eichmann, but thankfully uncomplicates its morality shortly after. OPERATION FINALE is a solid movie with an intriguing story, but never elevates itself to stand amongst other World War II-adjacent films. 


(Refer to my ratings system HERE!)