Favorite movie of the year: Ready Player One
Hands down my favorite movie of the year and the one I've seen the most. I love all of the characters, love the setting, love the plot. I had read the book beforehand, but I had no problem with any of the changes they made to translate to screen. Absolutely adore Ben Mendelsohn as Nolan Sorrento in this movie. My sister and I laugh and laugh over his lines, and my nephew even has one of his lines as his text tone on his phone cuz it cracks us all up so much. ("You need three of them...") We laugh all through this movie, in the best way possible. And Mark Rylance is brilliant. Of course, the 80s were our formative high school years, so there are tons of funny references and easter eggs and things that just tickle us to death. Plus, simply re-watching and catching new references or shots of things from other movies is a joy. The martian ship from George Pal's War of the World film is a highlight every single time it comes on. This movie is a happy place movie I can watch anytime, anywhere.
Best movie of the year: Avengers: Infinity War
I loved everything about this movie, thought it handled everything so perfectly, I'm still in awe of how it managed that. I come out of this movie so revved and pumped up. The combos of characters thrown together was absolutely delightful, the dialogue some of the funniest. Doctor Strange remains my favorite character, and I could watch him and Tony (and Peter) argue over things all day. This is one of those movies that ended up making me love the Guardians of the Galaxy. They worked so well here that now I actually love their two movies, where I wasn't particularly a fan of them previously. Thanos was marvelous as a bad guy whose goal is actually to help save the universe, for once. That was so refreshing. There was nothing about this movie I didn't love.
Most disappointing movie of the year: Ralph Wrecks the Internet
I didn't see the first one in the theater. The family ended up catching it on cable, DVR'd it... and we then proceeded to wear it out. We loved the plot, the characters, the resolution... it was just so much fun. It was one that the adults couldn't walk out of when my nephew wanted to watch it. The sequel... is none of those things, though depending on what sweet spots people have, the plot may be more appealing than the first one. It undeniably has an utterly fantastic depiction of the internet. That alone is worth the price of admission. I absolutely positively loved the internet. And there's nothing wrong with this movie. It's very well done. Just disappointing, and that feeling may vanish on repeat viewings. But the things that drew me to the first movie weren't in this one. I loved the characters of the first one. But in this one, everything that I had loved about them in the first one was gone here. Vanellope had lost her sass, Ralph had become clingy and whiny and no fun to watch in the movie (I realize this actually isn't unrealistic... again, nothing wrong with this, just explaining why it was disappointing to me on first viewing), and Felix and Calhoun, who were my favorite part of the first movie, were sidelined into nothingness. The secondary characters in this movie ended up being more interesting than the leads.
Movie I expected to hate and quite enjoyed: Incredibles 2
I'm not a fan of the first Incredibles. Like at all. So it surprised me greatly when I actually rather enjoyed the sequel. This is probably the opposite of Ralph Wrecks the Internet... I had zero expectations, and so the movie ended up being a lot of fun. Jack-Jack was great, all the characters were much more likeable than in the first movie, and I generally had a good time. Not a movie I need to own, but I won't walk out on it if the family is watching it, where I do leave if the first one is on.
Black Panther -- liked it a lot, love the characters, except the bad guy, who just doesn't work. Better on repeat viewings, though.
Tomb Raider -- Okay, fun but hard to think of as Tomb Raider. I enjoyed it more just as an action adventure movie starring an actress I really like. I like Dominic West too, and Alexandre Willaume (a Danish actor I really enjoy watching).
Solo -- most of it was good, but that nerve-grating droid of Lando's nearly ruins the whole movie. But loved young Han and Chewie.
Ant-man & the Wasp -- liked it a lot, will probably be better on repeat viewings, but I only saw it once and haven't felt much desire to see it again. I didn't love it the way I loved the first Ant-Man movie.
Hunter Killer -- hahaha! I quite loved this. A lot of ridiculous, delightful fun. Just like a first season Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea episode, but with a big budget. Don't go to this one for believability. Go because submarines and crazy cartoon action. (Also, the guy playing the Russian president was cute.) Toby Stephens played my favorite character, as the head of the SEAL team.
Fantastic Beasts 2: The Crimes of Grindelwald -- a bit of a wreck, though some of it is still good. But it sidelined main characters, and, really, the whole thing felt like filler and padding just to set up the next movie, which means the next one should be much better.
Robin Hood - The first half of this was really entertaining. Then it went all message-y and lost the fun. Nothing annoys me more than having a message shoved down my throat. Doesn't matter if it's a message I agree with or one I'm against. Do Not Preach At Me. And it's really too bad, because I found a lot to like about this movie until politics and things mucked it up. I liked Taron Egerton, I liked the completely whacked out setting/costumes. Almost goes without saying that I loved Ben Mendelsohn. He was fantastic.
The only ones of these movies I've bought on blu-ray were Ready Player One and Solo, and the latter remains unopened. Ready Player One has, of course, been watched repeatedly. You may ask, what about Infinity War, and I will be picking it up... I just saw that one a lot of times in the theater and am not prepared to watch it on a small screen yet. I prefer my big screen memories right now.
As for film scores this year... It's a toss up between Alan Silvestri and James Newton Howard for favorite composer. Silvestri scored both Ready Player One and Infinity War, both of which have gotten hours and hours of playtime. Howard scored Red Sparrow and Fantastic Beasts 2. FB2 was just released, so I haven't had a chance to listen to it much, but I've really enjoyed it so far (more than the movie itself). And Red Sparrow has some fantastic cues. (I also picked up Howard's score for the Nutcracker movie, but it's a very specific sound because of the Tchaikovsky, so I probably won't play it much.)
Favorite cue of the year from the new movie scores is a toss up between "Didn't I do Well?" from Red Sparrow and "Looking for a truck" from Ready Player One.
As for what I'm looking forward to next year... Avengers: Endgame, of course. Captain Marvel, How to Train Your Dragon 3, Chaos Walking.