The Best of 2018

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

As we near the end of 2018, it’s fun to look back at what a long and awesome year of movies and TV shows we’ve been treated to. And like most things in life, there’s the good and the bad. In this review, I take a look back at the best of 2018’s movies and TV shows that I watched. I’ll try to keep spoilers down to a minimum but you have been warned! There will be indications as to which movies or TV shows contain spoilers and links to reviews of those which I have reviewed.

BOJACK HORSEMAN: Season 5

Kicking off this list is everyone’s favourite cartoon horse and washed-up celebrity, Bojack Horseman. Netflix released season 5 in September and it showed Bojack taking the job on Flip McVicker’s new show, Philbert. Princess Carolyn continues to look for a child to adopt, Mr Peanutbutter and Diane go through a rough patch and Todd creates a sex robot who becomes the head of whattimeisitrightnow.com. Bojack Horseman season 5 delves deeper into Bojack’s mental state and sees him internally struggle with his insecurities while trying to deal with the joys and troubles of the outside world. One of the best things about Bojack Horseman’s recent seasons is the music, and season 5 is no exception. The ending was admittedly a little disappointing but season 5 as a whole was one of the best seasons of Bojack Horseman. Season 6 has been confirmed, and I for one can’t wait.

BLACK PANTHER

2018 was a year of diversity within Hollywood, and one of the films that portrayed this best is Marvel’s Black Panther. Directed by Ryan Coogler, Black Panther marks a turning point in the future of Hollywood movies. With a predominately black cast, Black Panther tells the story of T’Challa rising to the throne of Wakanda and finding the balance of being a good king and a hero while encountering a powerful enemy who poses a huge threat to  T’Challa and his country. Black Panther smashed records and was an entertaining movie that combined beautiful cinematography with great action and a good storyline to produce a film that will be loved for generations to come.

AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR – Contains spoilers!

The biggest film of 2018 and now the fourth highest grossing movie of all time, Anthony and Joe Russo directed Avengers: Infinity War, a film that was loved by billions this year. It saw most of Marvel’s heroes (with Hawkeye and Ant-Man missing) face off against the biggest villain yet, Thanos, who is on a mission to collect all six infinity stones and kill half the universe. He succeeds and in a literal snap of his fingers, half of the universe turned to dust. It’s now down to the remaining heroes, Iron Man, Captain America, Thor, Bruce Banner, Black Widow, Hawkeye (now Ronin), Nebula, Rocket Raccoon, War Machine, Okoye, M’Baku, Ant-Man and Pepper Potts to try to rewind time and undo the decimation. All this will be revealed in next year’s Avengers: Endgame, which is gearing up to be the biggest movie of next year too.

DEADPOOL 2 – Contains spoilers!

Ryan Reynolds is back in red spandex to break more fourth walls and kick ass in Deadpool 2, the highly anticipated sequel to 2016’s Deadpool. To stop a young mutant and the Juggernaut from creating a horrific future, Wade must team up with Cable and Domino to save the day. Reynolds proves again that he was made to play Deadpool, the jokes were more self-aware and hilarious and the action was something to adore. David Leitch (director of Deadpool 2 and John Wick) was perfectly suited to direct the sequel and, together with Ryan Reynolds’ incredible acting and great writing from Rhett Reece and Paul Wernick, Deadpool 2 was a brilliant sequel and certainly lived up to the hype plus plus.

READY PLAYER ONE

Steven Spielberg directs Ready Player One, a story set in 2045 where everyone lives in a huge virtual reality world called the Oasis, where the late creator, James Halliday, has left an Easter Egg challenge where the first gamer to find all three Easter Eggs would inherit the Oasis and half a trillion dollars. With gorgeous animation and an engaging storyline, Ready Player One was a great film that I had fun watching, and the hidden real-life easter eggs made the film even better.

McMAFIA: Season 1 – Contains spoilers!

Way back in January of this year, BBC released a thrilling look into the world of the mafia. The series followed Alex Godman, the son of an ex-mafia Russian family trying to forget the past. Alex is lured into the dark and hidden realm of crime that sees Alex being brought closer to those who have wronged his family. Meanwhile, Alex’s family have no idea about his actions that bring him closer to the mafia. Eventually, Alex tells his family about his actions with Vadim (the family’s nemesis) and the mafia, before heading to Moscow for one final confrontation with Vadim, before becoming the top of the food chain and was backed by the government by the looks of it while also cutting off all ties with his family back home in a dramatic and brilliant finale that had me on the edge of my seat. BBC have commissioned the show for an eight-episode season 2 that hasn’t begun filming yet, but I am already excited for season 2 and wondering what’s next for Alex Godman.

BLACKKKLANSMAN

Similarly to Black Panther, BlacKKKlansman brought more diversity to cinemas by bringing a true story to life before showing it’s relevance into modern-day America. Starring John David Washington and directed by Spike Lee, BlacKKKlansman tells the true story of a black police officer who infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in the late 1970s. The film ends by looking at the events in Charlottesville last year, where the Ku Klux Klan launched the ‘Unite the Right’ Rally to promote their ideology of white supremacy. The film provided a shocking and eye-opening look at racism in the last 50 years, and the way that Lee was able to direct and portray this in a movie was fantastically done.

GAME NIGHT

One of the best comedies of 2018, Game Night is a film I am looking forward to rewatching. The Fabergé Egg chase was one of my favourite scenes of cinema this year. Game Night had a good cast with even better character chemistry and jokes that were brilliant. I thoroughly enjoyed this film the first and second times, and it is definitely one of my favourite comedies of all time.

AMERICAN ANIMALS

Another true story film that took me by surprise this year was Bart Layton’s American Animals. It’s the true story of the 2003 Transy Book Heist, where 4 young men dared to try to steal a book worth $12 million but it goes horribly wrong. Told in Reservoir-Dog-esque way that gets the real men to explain and talk about the heist American Animals was a film that wasn’t heard of or seen by many this year but deserves to be.

THIS IS AMERICA

Yes, it’s not a movie or a TV show, but Childish Gambino’s music video is definitely deserving of some praise. Not only is an awesome song, but the music video looks at the life of being black in America and some of the issues, such as gun violence and police brutality. The ‘This is America’ video and song is one of Gambino’s best songs and it carries a strong and powerful message.

Thanks for reading this week’s mega-review of my favourite movies and TV shows, the best of 2018. Follow my Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest in movie news, behind the scenes pictures and more! Also, give this blog a follow to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. I wish all you the best for 2019 and hope that you join me next year for more movie reviews! Next week, I’ll be revealing some of the big movies and TV shows coming out in 2019 that I’m looking forward to and hopefully you are too. See you then!

 

Chun Yi: The Legend of Kung Fu: Ryan’s Movie Reviews #38

Hello and welcome to Ryan’s Movie Reviews!

Last week, I was in China for an Economics and History trip. It was my first time to Asia and was honestly a once in a lifetime experience. It was brilliant to embrace Chinese culture first hand and experience so many must-do excursions while on the trip. From the Great Wall of China to eating scorpions on Wangfujing Street, visiting the Terracotta Soldiers in Xi’an to seeing stunning historical sites up close and personal, like Tiananmen Square and the Forbidden City. While on the trip, we were fortunate enough to watch Chun Yi: The Legend of Kung Fu. It is a theatre production that shows one of the most notorious aspects of Chinese culture, Kung Fu.

At the Red Theatre in Beijing (but has been shown internationally at some points during it’s run), The Legend of Kung Fu tells the story of a young boy who is upset, as his mother has abandoned him at a temple. Here, he meets the ancient master of Kung Fu, who explains that there was once a boy, called Chun Yi, who was in the same situation as him. He had been abandoned by his mother and reluctant to join the dojo. Through a series of stories told through Kung Fu, we see how Chun Yi became the master of Kung Fu and is, in fact, the ancient master speaking to the young boy in real time.

Chun Yi: The Legend of Kung Fu combines intricately choreographed Kung Fu with some traditional dance, as well as some fantastic Kung Fu stunts. From being able to hang your body off of a spear by placing the spike under your chin to lying on a bed of nails then a slab of cement put on your chest before a sledgehammer breaks the cement slab and you emerge unscathed. Out of all the shocking stunts shown in the production,  I loved one of the stunts in particular. The first was an adult Chun Yi who was able to shatter metal bars into shards by hitting against his head. Personally, I wasn’t entirely impressed by the stunts. No offence to the production team behind the Legend of Kung Fu, but I have in fact seen some better stunts performed. In 2015, my father took me to see Shaolin, a production showing some of the most daring and incredible stunts in Kung Fu. It had real Shaolin Monks (as there were in this production as well) hanging from their little finger while breaking metal bars against their body among other great stunts.

The choreography was amazing. I loved the mesmerising dance of Chun Yi and his lover spinning in the air in a well-performed aerobics dance. I must hand it to the young actors in the production. They were so talented for such young kids and were able to do flips and roly poly’s on their heads with such confidence and ease.

The storyline was admittedly a little weak. I completely understand the storyline is not one of the main concerns for the show’s creators, but I found that it certainly impacted my enjoyment of the production. There were two main issues for me. Firstly, it was very cliché. I thought the ending would have some greater significance to the story overall, like maybe the ancient master telling the young child that he would be Chun Yi and that maybe Chun Yi resides in all of us. But no, turns out that the ancient master is Chun Yi. I could’ve guessed that. That’s one of the most overused clichés in the book and left me a little disappointed after the show. Secondly, the story was quite unrealistic for me to believe. I understand that it’s a story, but there’s got to be a sense of reality that kicks in at some point. Chun Yi may be this wickedly talented Kung Fu god, but I want to see him face a challenge and experience some hardship. We only saw a brief glimpse into this when he battled some of the rival monks, but other than that it seemed that nothing was a challenge to Chun Yi.

Overall, Chun Yi: The Legend of Kung Fu gets a 7.0/10 from me. It’s a great production but I felt that I didn’t enjoy as much as I could have. If you do ever find yourself in Beijing and looking for something to do, I recommend going to the show. It makes for an entertaining night out, but don’t set your hopes too high.

For those wondering, China was a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and I am so glad I was able to go on the trip. I have so many awesome memories and can’t wait to return to the East soon! The trip wouldn’t have been as fantastic as it was if it wasn’t for the people who accompanied me on the trip, so thanks to my friends and my teachers for making this a trip that I will cherish with me for life.

Thanks for reading this weeks review. It’s not your typical movie review. It’s not even a movie! But if I’ve reviewed TV shows in the past (here’s a link to my TV show reviews in case you wanted to check them out), why can’t I review a theatre production? Follow me on Instagram (@Ryans.Movie.Reviews) for the latest movie news, behind the scenes pictures and everything else you need! Also, follow this blog to be the first to read my reviews.

Once again, thanks for reading this week’s review. Join me next week when I review a comedy from 2018 that I finally got a chance to watch. See you then!