With the newMaltin Guidecomes the addition of new names to the star/director index (and axing of others). Last year 21 people were cut and 12 added. Oddly, this year, no one was cut and there were but 3 additions (all new Oscar nominees)! I have no idea what this means. It sounds as if the editors have just thrown in the towel on the index though, knowing the power of such searches online— at this point between smart phones and WiFi I guess the theory is: who really looks at the index. But in a way it starts to relegate the book itself to a shelf ornament. This was the first time that I really started to think that the print Maltin may be heading the way of the dodo bird. Cutting them some slack though— maybe, just maybe, they didn't need to do much in the way of changes because of the wholesale work done last year. Here are the few "graduates" of the class of 2009/10. New "Faces" added to theLeonard Maltin Guide 2011Index: STARS—
Every year I greatly anticipate Leonard Maltin's Movie Guide. His capsule reviews and ratings set the standard for how a film will be seen by future generations. As I've reported each year, the last several Maltin Guides have been VERY sparing in giving out the **** rating— practically unattainable for new releases, last year I noticed but three films were **** rated: The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Frost/Nixon, and Slumdog Millionaire; this year I didn't spot ANY **** additions!
Here's how my top ten 2009 stacked up against the Maltin Guide's ratings:
Inglourious Basterds (d. Quentin Tarantino) (** 1/2) [my #1, rest alpha]
Capitalism: A Love Story (d. Michael Moore) (***)
District 9 (d. Neill Blomkamp) (*** 1/2)
The Hurt Locker (d. Kathryn Bigelow) (*** 1/2)
I Love You, Man (d. John Hamburg) (** 1/2)
Julie & Julia (d. Nora Ephron) (***)
Nine (d. Rob Marshall) (***)
Paranormal Activity (d. Oren Peli) (***)
Up (d. Pete Docter, Bob Peterson) (*** 1/2)
World’s Greatest Dad (d. Bobcat Golthwait) (***)
Here is a list of the 2018 films I've seen, and my opinion of them. Filmmakers who toil on the almost-impossible mission of making a feature length film should not have their work dismissed on a pass-fail basis so easily. That being said, this is just one man's opinion, and on a blog at that, and the savvy moviegoer will read enough of the reviews of professional film critics to allow a blog here and there to "list" favorites and least favorites.
Quiet Place, A. Farfetched, but compelling in its short running time, with a perfect ensemble.
15:17 to Paris. Modest, sincere.
Avengers: Infinity War. Gets all the characters in; Elizabeth Olsen a standout, providing some heart.
Black Panther. A rich narrative, which introduces several compelling characters.
Deadpool 2. Just like the first, with some brilliant song choices.
Game Night. Screenwriter-y nonsense, with hit or miss laughs, but a fun cast and enough silliness to brighten your day.
I Feel Pretty. A bit of a mixed message, but much funnier than its reviews suggest.
Isle of Dogs. Yeah, mostly cutesy.
Ocean's 8. Follows the formula well, with great ensemble work.
Paddington 2. Another winner, with an enjoyable Hugh Grant performance.
Ready Player One. Harkens back to Spielberg of old.
Action Point. Barely even tries.
Solo: A Star Wars Story. Patchwork, the least good SW movie, if it has its merits; lead Alden Ehrenreich, for all the rumors, was quite good.
Tomb Raider. Vikander is certainly pretty enough, but it's just a tired formula film still reaping rewards from (1981s!) Raiders of the Lost Ark.
Tully. Not a particularly compelling movie that might have been better as short fiction.
Annihilation. Slow moving and derivative.
Red Sparrow. Corny and absurd.
Super Troopers 2. Like a way-too-late TV series reunion.