1. Super 8 (PG-13) - Runtime: 112 minutes
Starring: Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, Kyle Chandler
Director: J. J. Abrams
Number 18 on my list last year - this movie was so, so much better than I had anticipated. It had a magic feeling that was absent in movies like Hugo and The Adventures of Tintin. I loved everything about this movie - it had the right atmosphere of mystery and action, the cast was strong and the dialogue was witty and fun. It's a great story that feels so much like a Spielberg movie before he got obsessed with World War 2. For those put off by the sci-fi story, it's just a backdrop to a great coming-of-age story.
I keep coming back to the word magic when I describe this movie to people and it's true - it puts a spell on you and leaves you feeling happy. I loved how the movie was set during the early 80s - it plays into the nostalgia of that era and what Speilberg was doing back then, too.
The cast is really great in this one, too! Joel Courtney, a relative newcomer, is brilliant as the main character who has a crush on Elle Fanning's character. She's also great but what made the movie even better was the addition of Kyle Chandler. Better known as Coach Taylor from Friday Night Lights, he knows how to play a dad. And this role was perfect for him. It's a sweet and charming story - but Abrams isn't afraid to throw action into the mix when the monster gets more involved in the story. The best parts of the movie are when all the kids are hanging out together. For me, it brings back memories of being a kid. The fact that the setting is a small Ohio town makes me love this movie even more - it's a powerful effect for me personally.
I loved every minute of this movie and can't wait to go back and enjoy it over and over. It's a special movie that I think will stand the test of time!