- You guyssss… I know it’s been a pretty weak movie year but SHAPE OF WATER is not a masterpiece. Don’t go soft on me you saps.
- Also, you DO realize it’s SPLASH, right? It’s. SPLASH.
- I mean, I enjoyed it. It’s not terrible. It’s heart is in the right place, I guess. I’m def. 100% against sadistic govt guys inexplicably torturing fish-men
- “Inexplicable” is overstating it. It was the space race. Something to do with Laika the space dog. Anyway, Michael Shannon had his reasons.
- I liked Sally Hawkins & Richard Jenkins. I liked their characters & relationship. I liked the sets. Fish-man was handsome.
And it was funny when he SPOILER ALERT
ate the cat
- OH, and what’s all that “waiting for the rain so the canal is full” business? Just drive to the damn beach.
I make this list every year, for fun and as a reference. As always, it only reflects things seen for the first time. “POLTERGEIST on TV, 14th viewing” doesn’t make the list. Nor do films not viewed in their entirety, for example, Guy Ritchie’s THE MAN FROM U.N.C.L.E, which got ejected from the Blu-Ray player after 15 minutes. I’d never seen Henry Cavill in anything before but he seems to emit some kind of anti-charisma particle.
I didn’t bother making a numbered best-of list this year. But if I had, LOGAN would be at the top. It’s perfect. Damn you James Mangold, for making me cry at your Wolverine movie.
Some of my other favorite releases of 2017 include THE BEGUILED, COCO, ATOMIC BLONDE, THOR: RAGANOK, and THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES. Of course, DUNKIRK was impressive – but cold, as is Christopher Nolan’s way. MOTHER! is a movie, alright. Darren Aronofsky swings for the fences. And whatever you think of the film, Jennifer Lawrence and Michelle Pfieffer were very good. The BLADE RUNNER sequel was amazing, and very nearly great: only Jared Leto’s messianic super-villain seemed out of place, like a character from a different, dumber movie. THE LAST JEDI: wonderful, about 50% of the time. The compelling Rey/Kylo/Luke storyline almost makes up for how they couldn’t find anything interesting for Poe, Finn, or Rose to do. (Yeah I get that the casino plot is a critique of capitalism and arms dealers and yes intellectually that’s interesting for a Star Wars movie but dramatically it was a big bag of nothing and visually it looked cheap & reminded me of the prequels and like this sentence that movie is too long.)
Linked titles take you to my review, or more info on the film.
MOVIES ON THE BIG SCREEN
Manchester by the Sea
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead (live from the Old Vic)*
Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
Dave Made A Maze
Dawson City: Frozen Time
The Big Sick
Blade Runner 2049
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Coco (saw it January ’18)
MOVIES ON THE SMALL SCREEN
The Jungle Book (2016)
The Nice Guys
Shadow of a Doubt
Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
The Trip (Steve Coogan, not Dennis Hopper)
Back To The Future III
Eat Pray Love
The Meyerowitz Stories
The Godfather (pretty good! why didn’t anyone tell me about this flick sooner?)
The Good Place
Game of Thrones
I Love Dick
Odd Mom Out
Star Trek: Discovery
POV: What Tomorrow Brings
Big Little Lies
Abstract: The Art of Design
BOOKS and OTHER READING
Other People’s Trades – Primo Levi
Broken Frontier (graphic novel) – Various
Lightspeed Magazine – Various
A whole bunch of screenplays
*I am calling this a movie. I saw it at a movie theater. Harry Potter guy was in it. It counts.
- Caught FANTASTIC BEASTS & ETC over the weekend. Despite a few moments I liked, I’d still rate the experience as “mostly unpleasant”
- So, Eddie Redmayne. Is there a reason he played the lead as a creepy weirdo? Or, is he just a creepy weirdo?
- Also there’s a dour missionary-type char. who hands out anti-wizard leaflets & mistreats her pack of creepy orphans. Ick.
- Colin Farrell, villain, is trying to steal one orphan away for evil purposes. He meets him in dark alleys and hug & caresses him a lot. Ick.
- Colin’s big villain monologue: he doesn’t want magic to be a secret. As evil plans go, not super compelling. On his side, kinda
- In this universe it’s REALLY important regular people don’t learn magic people exist. Witnesses get mind-erased a la MEN IN BLACK…
- Nevertheless there’s a huge skyscraper full of wizards/magical stuff right in dwntwn NY. Sure hope nobody walks in looking for DMV or whatev
- Not a Potter fan so this went over my head but at the end SPOILER? Colin Farrell turns into Johnny Depp w/an Aryan Nation haircut.
- Look for him in the sequel, I guess
- I did like subplot lumpy bakery guy, who falls in love with cute floozy sister-wizard. Anytime I didn’t have to look at Redmayne = +.
- So. Much. CGI. This is virtually an animated film w live-action elements. Climax is an exhausting light-show of black clouds & lightning.
- Act 3: one vial of memory eraser (b)rain-washes all NYC. Wave a wand, devastated city reassembles. Ho-hum. Magic sure makes things easy.
- The cast. Kidman, Fanning, Dunst, Farrell & the young ‘uns too. Everyone’s good. No weak links.
- It’s dark. The rural south, losing the war & suspended in a timeless, perpetual dusk.
- It’s quiet. Shhhhh. (A salve for the headache BABY DRIVER gave me)
- It’s squarish. 1.66 aspect ratio. Perfect for this film.
- Virtually no musical score. The girls sing a bit. One plays a violin. In other moments: distant cannons, like drums.
- The restraint. This film is 9/10ths delicious anticipation. Often funny; flirting with horror.
- It’s short. 94 minutes TRT! The End.
- Given COLOSSAL’s fun premise, the film that unfolds is not quite the romp you might expect.
- COLOSSAL puts Kaiju monsters & indie-film slackers into a genre blender. Like many smoothies the result is a bit lumpy & faintly sour
- The lumps: Characters poorly defined. Plot threads meander. Some end abruptly and add little. Even the monster origin story is half-baked.
- The sour: characters aren’t typical indiefilm losers. Not clever/charismatic enough. The range is more like “pathetic” to “pathological”
- Premise pulls you through the rough patches, even as COLOSSAL turns darker. One scene evokes mass carnage without showing a drop of blood.
- And as stakes rise, COLOSSAL rallies. The film deploys its cleverest notion near the end, delivering a satisfying resolution.
- LIFE is not a bad movie, but it’s a B-movie. #LIFEmovie #rental
- So yeah, if you liked the trailer that’s what the movie is. No more, no less.
- There IS a long, lovely single-take intro that’s maybe the best zero-g scene ever in a space movie
- There’s also a major action scene toward the end that just doesn’t work very well, IMO
- But there’s tension/suspense, gross-outs & scares. Things zip along in a 10-little-Indians way that can’t help but remind you of ALIEN.
- The ending (SPOILER!) reminded me of the ’70s when big studio pictures more often than not went “tails” at the end instead of “heads”