Hola my people, it's that time of the year once more (some may say we have been having it already) where we reminisce and scrutinize our movie choices and eagerly await new movies and TV of the new year. So let’s dig into the best of 2018 and what to look out for in 2019...
Our first Top 7 is the Best Movies of 2018. Before you folks jump and shout, be aware it’s nearly impossible to watch all the movies that came out in 2018 and like everything in this world, this is subjective. Yes, you guys are the mature type who don’t need to have such pointed out but there's always that 1%.
Top Movies of 2018
7. Avengers: Infinity War
I may not have been impressed with the actual plot, the fake out deaths at the end nor the inconsistent CGI outside of Thanos, but 2018's biggest money earner was the payoff for Marvel's big gamble that started with Iron Man.
You've got to respect what the movie has done and how it's proof that Marvel has perfected its formula for its audience.
6. Five Fingers For Marseilles
Who would think the best cowboy movie of 2018 would come out of Mzansi? It has the visuals, the characters, the landscapes, the score, the performance and the heart whilst speaking to local and international issues around social justice, human nature and the cycle of good and evil.
If you haven’t seen it you're missing out.
One of the best social commentary movies of 2018... in the year that gave us The Hate You Give, Sorry to Bother and Green Book. Spike Lee is able to balance the style and substance without letting down the entertainment factor.
It’s one of his most accessible, flat out hilarious movies but has got something to say - like all Spike Lee joints.
4. Sew the Winter to My Skin
Although technically this will only go out on wide circulation in 2019, it did come on circuit for a short while to be eligible for awards such as the Oscars.
Jahmil's follow up to Of Good Report is on the other side of Five Fingers for Marseilles when talking revisionist Western. Set around actual historical characters, exploring SA's issues on land and race, meshed up with genre archetypes of the white hats vs the black hats.
Sew the Winter to My Skin is visionary work that has many levels from photography to themes to its score.
Steve McQueen follows up his Oscar win for 12 Years a Slave with a nuanced heist movie that centres around the woman's experience in the modern world, whilst speaking to issues related to living in Chicago.
Viola Davis, Elizabeth Debicki and Daniel Kaluuya deliver great performances. McQueen shows off what proper staging can deliver whilst giving Oceans 8 a lesson in how to do a great female-centered heist movie.
2. Black Panther
Yes, some of the CGI was a bit iffy on second viewing and the green screen work is sometimes quite flat but Ryan Coogler delivered one of the most emotionally-engaging movies of 2018, which has stacks and stacks of levels.
From a villain who has a cause that most of us can understand to a hero who shows how Africans can be magnanimous and progressive, a movie that engages secondary meaning that speaks to the black experience in a big budget commercial film.
The first Marvel movie that actually upped the costume, set and soundtrack game of the ages. I still haven’t touched on the ladies of Wakanda and how progressive Black Panther is on gender roles.
The Horror genre had a great 2018, from Sandra Bullock in Bird Box to Emily Blunt making silent horror movies in A Quiet Place hectic.
Aquaman cemented the DC stronghold on being creators of eye candy when it comes to Comic book movies - the spectacle is earning it big bucks - whilst Alfonso Cuaron continued to show that Netflix is attracting more and more A-rated auteurs with Roma.
1. Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse
The best comic book movie of 2018, in my opinion. The film has heart, imagination, a bumping soundtrack and is progressive and inclusive, but above all it has an engaging story that stays with you way after the movie is over.
Ang Lee has tried to embrace the comic book aesthetic - even Scott Pilgrim Saves the World tried - but Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse has outdone them all. It even surpasses The Incredibles 2, making the latter look dated and out of place in 2018.
If that’s not bad enough, it even makes Marvel's own Spider-Man: Homecoming come second best to Into the Spider-Verse brilliance. I'm looking forward to seeing more adventures of Miles Morales, Gwen Stacy and co.
The future is inclusive and progressive; Lord and Miller (the producers) delivered a near-perfect movie.
Now to look at the Top 7 TV Shows of 2018, where TV actually rivaled movies more and more in both spectacle and depth.
Top TV Shows of 2018
7. Side Dish
SABC1 did the things to make the plots happen: the miniseries had some of the best writing ever seen on SABC TV, especially Episodes 1 and 2, but unfortunately it didn’t end as strong as it started.
But the series proved SA has talent behind and in front of the camera; Jo-anne Reyneke and Thuso Mbedu lead the pack with stunning performances. Black Brain added some tongue-in-cheek visual elements to make the series stand out, proving you can never go wrong with a story about girls behaving badly.
6. Narcos Mexico
Diego Luna channelling his best Al Pacino Godfather/Scarface performance - throw in that beaten down voice over, historical events that link El Chapo to Pablo Escobar, throw in some Scarface references and deglamorise the drug life...then you have a riveting show that I hope will get renewed quickly.
The superhero that kicked off the Marvel Netflix universe delivers a solid third season that is actually better than Season 2.
Pity Marvel and Netflix aren't seeing eye to eye because Daredevil showed what gritty stories can do without becoming too involved in real life political intrigue, i.e. that a villain can be as interesting as the hero and that television can deliver on great fight choreography.
The thinking man's sci-fi went from classic Terminator-esque danger opening up the series to being more Blade Runner-esque. Jonathan Nolan and Lisa Joy delivered one of the most brainiest TV shows of 2018.
The cool thing is that you can enjoy Season 2 even if you are not into the heady stuff about the exploration of the soul and nature of good and evil... it still works on just a pure narrative element.
3. Dear White People
Justin Simien's second season of Dear White People improves and surpasses Season 1; it humanises and complicates its character more.
It does not settle for easy answers and has a great narrative strand in which each episode felt like an in-depth character study whilst still moving the story arc episode by episode. Can't wait for Season 3.
I was late in discovering the fantastic Glamourous Ladies of Wrestling - this 80s-based drama is the perfect companion piece to Orange is the New Black. It's inclusive, it centres on the female experience, it's flat out funny but touches on real world issues and is a breath of fresh air.
Orange is the New Black continues to deliver laughter and drama, Moja Love has been winning more and more viewers (guess people like seeing other people's drama on TV) and Noah Hawley’s Legion is still TV's most trippy and creative show on screen currently.
1. Luke Cage
This show may not be as creative as Noah Hawley's Legion, nor are its fight sequences as great as Daredevil, but Season 2 of Luke Cage learned a lot from Season 1.
It gave us a brilliant villain / antagonist in the form of Bushmaster, it dared to take the hero out of the classic arc and leave him in a position like Al Pacino in the Godfather's one, his soul may be lost to the dark side.
It's gripping television that may never be paid off thanks to the Netflix and Marvel fallout, but at least we had Season 2.
So that was last year, but what does 2019 have in store for us? Well, it’s a year of more sequels and conclusions of shows. Let’s start with the movies I recommend you look out for in 2019.
Top Movies to Look Out for in 2019
10. The Lion King
Of all the CGI remakes that Disney has been making, this is the one I’m most looking forward to - the voice cast looks great, from the queen of the Beehive to Childish Gambino to James Earl Jones retaining his role as Mufasa... this is going to be a joy to relive and we may even be surprised by a souped up Lion King in glorious 3D.
9. John Wick 3
We loved the dog-avenging hitman in Chapter 1, we cheered for him in Chapter 2 as he went international and Chapter 3 promises a conclusion to the set-up of 2.
Keanu Reeves is joined by more heavy hitters including Halle Berry, Laurence Fishburne and Ian McShane. Prepare for some serious skop, skiet and donner.
8. The Irishman
The mob film who's-who come out to play in this Martin Scorsese pic. The cast includes Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino and Harvey Keitel... if you grew up watching gangster classics, you want to see this.
Plus, word is that the de-aging technology is to rival that of The Curious Case of Benjamin Button.
7. Avengers: Endgame
The pay-off to the mega opus set up that was Infinity War comes to a conclusion... we all know the guys are coming back - the question is how?
6. Captain Marvel
Marvel's first female-led solo film in 10 years - tsk tsk tsk, Marvel - but Brie Larson's Captain Marvel promises a god-like powerful female superhero fighting off aliens in the 90s and is the last movie before Endgame... so check it out for any references to Endgame and to see how powerful the MCU Captain Marvel will be.
5. It: Chapter Two
The first It was brilliant - Stranger Things on steroids - as Skarsgaard improved on Tim Curry's classic scary clown. The question is: will Chapter Two be able to deliver the goods like the first one seeing as how there’s a whole new cast of adults?
4. Sew the Winter to My Skin
Jahmil Qubheka delivers a great period piece, with a stunning all-South African cast and crew, showing that Mzansi can do nuanced period pieces that pull off costumes, settings and drama.
This is probably going to be the comedy film to beat in 2019 - Kagiso Lediga mines Attridgeville and Pretoria for everything they have, from language and iconography to hood stories, to give us a classic stoner comedy with a very raunchy sensibility.
2. Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
The king of Hollywood pulp, Quentin Tarantino, creates another ensemble piece that features the who's-who of Hollywood and is about...Hollywood and the Mansons.
QT is the king of dialogue and I can't wait to see what he does with the intriguing premise of a tale set in Holllywood during the Manson murders.
I'm actually excited about The New Mutants, the second movie in the Monsters Universe in which Godzilla faces off other gigantic titans.
Then there’s Joker with Joaquin Phoenix which I believe is going to be a winner for DC more than Shazam!.
We also have the last chapter of the current Star Wars trilogy. I still wish Rian Johnson was the one finishing it off rather than fanboy JJ Abrams, but time will tell if he can create a movie that is both meaningful and pleasing to fans.
Kicking off our year on 11 January is M. Night Shyamalan's follow-up to Unbreakable, which originally came out when comic book movies were not en vogue.
One can't wait to see how The Beast, David Dunn and Mr.Glass are going to interact all in one movie....I forsee a classic, but we shall know come Friday 11th.
Top TV Shows to Look Out for in 2019
What does the small box have to offer us in 2019? Check out my Top 10 below:
10. American Gods 2
If you are a Neil Gaiman fan you have probably been waiting for this mythic series about ancient gods vs gods of the modern world dueling for supremacy in a modern world that is not even aware of them - one for those who like mythology and symbolism.
Season 2 promises to dive deeper and give us some answers around our man ShadowMoon.
9. True Detective 3
Mahershala Ali has been on a winning streak since 2017, now he and Stephen Dorff lead the new season of True Detective that promises to be a return to the basics of Season 1 - two different detectives are paired to solve a crime that takes most of their life to solve.
Season 3 seems to be about the hair and drama.
8. Big Little Lies 2
The ladies are back for Season 2 and the cops are smelling blood in the water... will our star-studded cast get away with the murder, or are we going to see the ladies betraying each other as Meryl Streep enters the fold?
7. Good Omens
Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman’s adaptation of their book looks trippy ...if you are Doctor Who fan, this should be up your street.
6. Young Justice 3
DC finally did right by the legion of fans and funded its own third season of the cancelled Cartoon Network show. Season 3 promises to be slightly more "dark" as our favourite sidekicks are now young adults with new recruits. And did I mention Darkside is in this?
5. Rick and Morty
The pair are back with more episodes and we finally get to see more of evil Morty and more zany adventures.
The series is produced by the same minds behind The Leftovers and promises not to be a remake of the movie or graphic novel but a continuation of sorts - and a direct response to the Trump presidency.
We are in for a treat.
3. Surviving R. Kelly
This #MeToo-inspired documentary series about the ladies who survived R. Kelly's sexual abuses is going to be one for the record books.
Over 50 ladies come up and divulge their truth about one of RnB's greatest names.
2. Orange is the New Black 7
The critical darling comes to an end this year as we see the 7th and last season that will show how some of the ladies live beyond prison.
There are new seasons of Glow, 3%, Ozark, Stranger Things and 13 Reasons Why to look forward to and some new shows with interesting premises like The Umbrella Academy, Good Trouble and hopefully we will get MultiChoice’s Shaka Zulu series this year.
1. Game of Thrones 8
We bid a sad farewell to GoT, which in 2019 sees the last season shortened to six episodes and run as mini-movies... so expect a 60+ running time for each episode.
Will Danny and Snow get hitched? Will the White Walkers destroy King's Landing? Will Jaime and Brienne get it on? We will find out soon.
So here’s to a great year for TV.