Friday, December 29, 2017

2017 Movie Review ..

2017 Movie Review ...

2017 will go down as one of the worst box office years in recent memory - not because there were bad movies, but there weren’t a lot of great ones. There were so many movies that I didn’t want to see. IE Matt Damon’s Great Wall, Transformers: Dark Knight, War For The Planet Of The Apes, and Kingsman: Golden Circle, Fifty Shades Darker, XXX. The Fast & The Furious movies have become a see it on TV if it's on kida franchise to me, so I didn't see it either. Then there were movies that just ended up being awful despite hype and decent box office performance. 

There were some bright spots however.

Here are some movies that I saw this year ...

I’ll start off with the movies that were awful.

Atomic Blonde. I wanted this movie to be great. A female James Bond is how it was being promoted. Instead, it had a convoluted plot with unnecessary elements solely to push an R rating. It also had one of the most ridiculous endings in recent memory for a movie - adding 5 different twists in the last 20 minutes of the film. Don’t even bother with this movie even if it’s free on TV.

Logan. I’m a huge fan of Hugh Jackman. I love his version of Wolverine. However, this is the first time I was absolutely bored with the X-men franchise or watching any Marvel movie. The movie was ok, but I’d probably flip past it if I saw it was on TV.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets. I had been hyping this movie to myself and everyone that I know for years! It looked amazing. I love the visuals of Luc Besson (director) but this movie was near painful to sit through. Artistic? Yes. Visually stunning? Yes. But, story and actor chemistry? Negative numbers.

It. I realize that some reading this don’t like horror movies. I’m not a big horror movie person myself. I do enjoy reading Stephen King and I enjoy seeing the translations of his books into visual cinematography. The original TV miniseries is one of the best adaptations and translations of any author’s work ever made in my opinion. This modern twist on the tale is just hype. It wasn’t scary. It wasn’t well acted like you’ve heard and the clown - the centerpiece of the horror in the story - is downright stupid. In fact, I’d even say that this clown portrayal took away some of my fears of clowns that the original instilled. I ended up leaving the movie in the last 5 minutes it was so bad and I haven’t done that in years.

Mother! This movie is weird. It tries to be good. It was cast well. It’s just it’s director and writer - known for artsy films - tries too hard to be - ummmm - artsy.  

So-so movies:

The Star. This should have been a TV special with 30 minutes cut from it to add space for commercials. Good family movie, but kinda boring in places. Highlight: Kelly Clarkson’s portrayal of a weird lamb.

Kong: Skull Island. Good action. Good Special Effects. But just good; not great. Catch it on DVD or streaming for sure.

The LEGO Ninjago Movie. It was ok. Everything good is in the previews though.

Justice League. It was ok. It was worth it for the Wonder Woman scenes.

DownsizingNo twist. If you’ve seen the preview, you’ve actually seen all the movie minus the boring parts. You’ve also seen more in the previews than the actual movie as several scenes from the previews aren’t in the final cut.

It did bring up some interesting conversation.

Jumanji. A funny sequel that takes itself less seriously than the original. Okay. That’s about the best I can give this movie that I didn’t hate.

John Wick: Chapter 2. If you liked the first movie about a former hit man for hire getting revenge for thugs killing his dog -you’ll like this installment better.

Alien: Covenant.  I’m an Alien franchise fan and huge fan of director and writer Ridley Scott. This entry doesn’t disappoint.

Now, on to the bright spots:

The Greatest Showman

Good inspirational story that a family can watch together. Great visuals. Catchy musical numbers and decent story.

The only exception I take to the movie is that it’s historical fiction. Barnum was an odd looking man (unlike the model Hugh Jackman). He was a crooked person and swindler who later became the poster example of a crooked politician.

I was glad to suspend reality though for this musical. I definitely think this would make a fantastic broadway play. I felt like my movie price was a “twofor” - a good movie and a broadway play with a-list talent.

Beauty and The Beast (live action) - this was a perfect translation of an already perfect animated movie. I enjoyed every moment of it. I was very disappointed in the crowd that tried to destroy the experience with a made up “gay scene”. This is a family movie - well acted.

Wonder Woman. I have to admit, I was in love with Lynda Carter when I was young. I loved watching Wonder Woman and reruns. This movie was a perfect translation. I loved every moment of it. Gal Gadot’s portrayal of Wonder Woman was also one of few bright spots in the first Justice League installment that came out later in the year. I also personally think that my wife looks like Wonder Woman so that helps my like this movie as well. For the record, despite how you heard it pronounced, the correct pronunciation is GAL GUH DOT - not GUH DOE.

Coco. I love Pixar movies. I loved this movie too. I loved the justice in the afterlife this movie had. I loved the visuals. It was long on parts and the film tried too hard to delay the reveal of the twist. I think it’s a hard movie for children to sit patiently through. But, I still put this in my top 5 movies of the year.

Spider-Man Homecoming. This is the Spider-Man movie we’ve been waiting for. Finally a superhero movie that didn’t worry about a backstory. Finally, a superhero movie that put Micheal Keaton as a bad guy. I enjoyed every minute of this movie. I do think it earns a true PG-13 rating though and I’d highly suggest that you stick to that age suggestion before letting kids see this movie.

Murder On The Orient Express. Perfectly acted. Perfectly directed. Perfectly cast. This is a great take on the old Agatha Christie classic. This is a great family movie too - despite the title. 10 and above will love it.

Wonder. Beautiful story adaptation of a great book. Good family movie. Be prepared to cry.

The LEGO Batman Movie. I laughed constantly during this movie. I was pleasantly surprised at how creative and funny this movie was.

Blade Runner 2049. I’m not sure how it’s possible to outdo a cult classic movie, but this movie accomplished that. This movie was better than the original. It honored the original movie, but is a perfect standalone film. Stunning visuals. Great new story. Great political allegory. Perfect acting.

Honorable Mentions:

Thor: Ragnarock. Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of Hella was amazing as was Jeff Goldblum’s Gamemaster. This was a fun and funny movie to see.

Guardians Of The Galaxy Volume 2. Better than the first. Funny. Adult humor. My only qualm with Marvel movies including The Gaurdians franchise - marketing to very young children - when the content is as close to Rated R as it can get. I think it’s funny and you definitely have to add context and character to the lines, but it’s embarrassing to me to be in the theater with 5-15 year olds - including my daughter and a sex or genitalia joke is cracked. Doesn’t really bother me, just in the back of my mind, I sigh.

I’m giving my movie of the year this year to Star Wars: The Last Jedi 

This ninth installment (chronologically) really transforms the narrative of the franchise and finally aims to take it into a new direction. It made me even more excited to see the next installment.

My full review is here:

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