Saturday, January 20, 2018

Favorites Of 2017

There were a lot of great movies in 2017. My list is later than normal because it took awhile for some Fall and December titles to arrive where I live. Two films in particular that I was waiting on were worth the wait. In fact, I seriously want to watch them again very very soon. But, the List.

This year there are 15 films on my 'Favorites' List. Also I really tried to challenge myself with my tastes this year. As most of you might know, I love Comic Book movies. All of them were pretty impressive last year; however, I'm not going to saturate my picks with them. There is one on my list (technically two), and in my opinion it's the best.

One of the biggest surprises last year for me was how many awesome Netflix Original movies were released. I hope they do even better in 2018!

One last thing I'd like to mention before we get to the countdown is how happy I am that there is a Alamo Drafthouse where I live. If not for them than I wouldn't have gotten the chance to see BLADE OF THE IMMORTAL, THE BAD BATCH, BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99, and THE FLORIDA PROJECT on the big screen. And if not for Alamo we would not gotten to see THE SHAPE OF WATER on the big screen proper.

So without further ado let's start with some Honorable Mentions:







My 'Top 15 Favorite Films of 2017':


The stellar directorial debut from Macon Blair, longtime collaborator with Jeremy Saulnier (BLUE RUIN, GREEN ROOM).

These two are quickly becoming my new favorite filmmakers. For such a strong first feature, I cannot wait for what Blair has in store for us next. I DON'T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE is available on Netfilx, and I highly recommend it!


A excellent end to a practically perfect franchise. This third and final installment is my favorite of the trilogy, it's THE GREAT ESCAPE with a hint of APOCALYPSE NOW.


I became a fan of Aaron Sorkin after seeing THE SOCIAL NETWORK. He is probably my favorite screenwriter working today! I love his ability to take true stories of people and with that inspiration create something unique rather than a typical 'inspired by true events' film.


The best Stephen King adaptation of 2017 wasn't IT, it was without a doubt GERALD'S GAME. The fact that Carla Gugino will get no awards recognition for her performance, proves that at the end of the day Oscars and the like are bunk.


Coming of Age films is one of my favorite genres. In most of these films the high school experience (especially a religious school) is a cynical one. Not with LADY BIRD, and that's a big reason why I love it so much! I felt like I was watching something real.


Easily the best superhero movie of 2017, LOGAN exceeding my expectations. Not only is the film a end to the franchise, it's the end of man's journey period. It took three attempts for the solo Wolverine film that I've been waiting for, and LOGAN finally delivered. If I was 13 years old when the first X-Men film came out, LOGAN would defiantly be my favorite Superhero film of all time!


Takashi Miike's 100th film, and the first of his I got to see in a theater! This was the other Comic Book movie that I was referring to, but it's technically a Japanese magna series. Are those comic books?

In some ways this movie is thematically similar to LOGAN, and in my opinion a little better.


Horror films made a huge impression in 2017. The success of IT alone could bring R-rated horror back to the silver screen in a gig way! With the critical and box office success of GET OUT, maybe Hollywood will get the message that audiences just don't want shlock, but actual smart horror films!


If you like gritty crime dramas then cancel your evening plans and rent GOOD TIME tonight! It's crazy how dark and fast situations escalate in this film. Robert Pattinson deserves some award attention for his performance. Unfortunately, I think GOOD TIME is off the radar?


My first impressions after seeing the trailer we're extremely lackluster. It wasn't until the third time around that I started to get the feeling that I,TONYA might be great? And it is excellent!


This isn't the follow up to THE FORCE AWAKENS that you're looking for. As I mentioned in my review, I was left with mixed feelings the first time I saw THE LAST JEDI. The second viewing I understood better. The 'fan' reactions to THE LAST JEDI has shown me just how poisonous geek culture (and their preconceived notions of how a franchise should be) has become. It's funny and sad all at the same time.

I know there are a lot of people who love this film rank it behind EMPIRE STRIKES BACK and for good reason; me on the other hand, I rank it after the Original Trilogy.


Another Guillermo Del Toro masterpiece! I absolutely love the fairy-tale worlds that Del Toro creates. And it's cool that he did somewhat of a role reversal in THE LITTLE MERMAID, just no prince or princess stuff. The film can also be seen as a reinvention of THE CREATURE FROM THE BLACK LAGOON, or better yet a awesome sequel! It hasn't quite been 48 hours and I cannot wait to watch it again. The opening title sequence alone put this on the list!


For a film that is so high on my list I may never watch DUNKIRK again? The reason it is number 3 is because the film was one of my greatest theatrical experiences of 2017. And I didn't even see it in IMAX, which I regret.

In all likelihood I will see DUNKIRK again because I also love the film for it's unique approach to the War Film genre.


A sequel that is better than the original. I hate to admit that, but it's true. Looking forward to revisiting California 2049 often.


BABY DRIVER is my favorite film of 2017 simply because it is filled with things that I absolutely love about cinema. Read my original review for more!

Monday, January 15, 2018


THE COMMUTER may not be the best of the Jaume Collet-Serra and Liam Neeson collaborations, but it sure is a lot of fun for a second week in January release. I have only seen 2 out of the 4 films they've made together so far, the other one being UNKNOWN, which I remember liking. I am more of a fan of their separate work. I like tough guy Liam Neeson (THE GREY is probably my favorite), and I love Jaume Collet-Serra. He is one of the best genre directors working today.

I'll admit THE COMMUTER to me felt like something I'd wait to see on Netfilx, or rent at Redbox. But now with using Movie Pass why wait?

My first thoughts after seeing THE COMMUTER were pretty lukewarm. After the film my friend and I discussed it over some pizza and fellowship. We debated back and forth resting on the conclusion that the movie was good entertainment. And it was good entertainment; however, the script could have been a little better?

One reason that I am such a fan of a filmmaker like Collet-Serra is because I can tell he is a fan of film. While watching THE COMMUTER I kept thinking about classic Thrillers that take place on trains. And no, I wasn't thinking of better movies. There's a difference.

Very early on the film has a cool homage to STRANGERS ON A TRAIN involving black and white shoes. Two other train movies came to mind, THE TAKING OF PELHAM ONE TWO THREE and SLIVER STREAK.

This time around Neeson plays Michael, an ex-cop who has quit the force to settle down as a insurance salesman. For ten years or maybe more he has taken a commuter train to work. One the day he and his wife are planing on paying for their son to go to college, Michael gets fired.

Before catching the train back home he goes to the bar and has a few beers with his old buddy who's still on the police force. Micheal gets some friendly advice from his cop friend then boards the train home.

Not even one page into his book he took for the trip a mysterious woman sits down next to him and starts an odd conversation. If Michael can find and identify someone on the train who doesn't belong, he gets $100,000.

$100,000 isn't a lot of money to change someones life, but it sure as heck can help Micheal right about now. With the clock ticking Micheal takes the money. Trying to be the cop he once was, Micheal's early heroics costs someone their life thus kicking off trying to find the individual who doesn't belong.


My biggest and only complaint about THE COMMUTER was the big reveal of who the bad guy was in the movie. And I have to blame that blunder on the films script.


So the bad guy in the film is Micheal's cop friend. Big shocker. But the confusion for me and what I blame as sloppy screenwriting is the fact that their should have been two corrupt cops? Instead the audience is given a weak red herring. This is one thing that my friend and I debated on for several minutes. My conclusion is that there must have been some last minute rewrites or reshoots, which explain the lazy acting from the so called "red herring".

If you're a fan of these Liam Neeson action films then I give THE COMMUTER a solid matinee recommendation. Other than that, it's a rainy day Redbox rental.

Sunday, January 14, 2018


For the past few weeks I've been rewatching some of my favorite movie from last year so I can prepare my 'Favorites of 2017' list. There's two more I need to see, and finally they'll be showing in town next weekend!

Over the Holiday break THE GREATEST SHOWMAN has been one of the big three taking the box office by storm. It's coming close to the one month mark and still bringing in audiences by the droves!

It's hard for me to describe what type of Musical fan I am; because it might not sound like it, but I do like a good Musical. A few of my favorites in no particular order are: WIZARD OF OZ, WHITE CHRISTMAS, HOLIDAY INN, CHICAGO, MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS and LA LA LAND. My number one favorite is SINGIN' IN THE RAIN.

With this knowledge, a friend or acquaintance would expect me to be excited for or automatically love THE GREATEST SHOWMAN. With Hugh Jackman headlining the film I was on board. But once I saw the trailer I became far less interested.

During the Holiday break I was approached by 5 or more people asking if I'd seen the movie yet? I told them no and explained why, but they continued to guarantee me that I'd just absolutely love the film! With the positive reactions I decided to see it.

Before I continue let me just point out that I love when a film like THE GREATEST SHOWMAN is popular and bringing people to the theater again!

The first red flag that I wasn't going to enjoy THE GREATEST SHOWMAN was when the vintage 20th Century Fox logo gets cut short due to a more updated version with current Top 40 pop music beats? Once the movie begins it wastes no time and kicks things off with a stelar musical number.

All of the high-energy sequences are filled with music that just isn't my cup of tea; however, I give credit to the performances when it's due. And most if not all of the musical numbers in THE GREATEST SHOWMAN are top notch!

It's the movie around the Musical that I have the most issues with. In other words, the musical spectacle deserves to be in a better film. Or maybe THE GREATEST SHOWMAN might work better as an actual Broadway production rather than a movie?

None of the conflict in the film feels earned, it's all surface. Any drama in the film (with the exception of the interrelationship sub plot) gets resolved in a matter of minutes? Don't get me wrong, THE GREATEST SHOWMAN does tell a coherent story. But I seriously believe that a lot of the drama got cut? And just so we're all on the same page, by drama I'm not referring to the historical inaccuracies of the main character(s).


There is a moment during the films final act where Barnum's wife leaves him. This is foreshadowed at the beginning of the movie when his Father In law tells Barnum that she'll come back home soon enough. The payoff is a little "empty" when all is forgiven with a dance number and one apology?

My criticism might be slightly on the edge of nitpicking, it's just that one example explains my frustration about the whole film.

In the end, I find myself siding with the critic character in the movie. He doesn't like the show, but gives P.T. Barnum credit for making people happy!