2017 Year in Review: New Movies

You can find a probably better version of each of these crapped out movie reviews at my Letterboxd which I try to keep up to date. A real review will get its own published post or I’ll pitch it somewhere (haha). These are as much feelings and offhand reactions as anything so treat them appropriately.

If I did not see the movie in theaters there should be the VOD service I used listed. I also included stuff I saw in theaters even if it wasn’t first run.

NEW MOVIES:

  1. Tickled (Amazon Instant, technically new last year up there with last year’s Weiner as a must see doc. Rich people have so much social power, this movie will make you angry)
  2. Rogue One (Star Wars, the first part is a nice little contained module for your Kotor heads, the last part is for everyone else. VADER!)
  3. Sleepless (really its own thing! Much maligned but I championed the facets I enjoyed here. Jamie Foxx is better than people give him credit for)
  4. Patriots Day (Peter Berg used to be the guy you got when you couldn’t get Michael Bay, now he’s the guy you get when you can’t get Clint Eastwood. Stealth better than both imo. Michael Bay isn’t self aware enough and Clint Eastwood is too self aware. Berg also is unafraid of doing something ‘too soon’ as he has hit every disaster/attack in recent memory out of the park with incredibly short turnarounds. I’m not sure I support this business model or like what the incredible success of these types of films means for more of them coming out but if Berg is doing them I know we’ll be ok for the most part)
  5. Silence (this movie is not for me because the conclusions are positively evangelical and all the conundrums are positively catholic. Honestly, there are no problems in this movie. Between the Catholic misplaced devotion to icons to the need for external acts to confirm faith, so many of these problems are solved by just not being catholic and being evangelical instead. Step on the icon. Don’t tell your fascist overlords what your truest beliefs are. Secretly work against them as best you can. The conclusion is not something I want to emphasize as the key point of faith, which should be shared freely and openly but the conclusion is something that is a natural outworking of a God who judges the heart and to some extent the unknowability of the hearts of others especially in a society that works to stifle any sort of knowability in this area.)
  6. Hidden Figures (family fun, not as good as the wrenching, more personal Queen of Katwe from last year but worth your money if you went in theaters)
  7. xXx: The Return of Xander Cage (hot garbage chinese propaganda)
  8. John Wick 2 (John Wick 1 again and slightly different, will be defined by what comes after it. It shifted the franchise from a solid one off to a greater story, what that is will define its success as it feels unfinished if a wild bloody ride like the first)
  9. Lego Batman (fine)
  10. Moana (fine)
  11. The Great Wall (fine)
  12. Logan (the trailer is better than the actual movie, same level as The Wolverine even as they are trying more things with genre, what’s with the western stuff, and pushing the character to his farthest bloody-sad depressive reaches)
  13. Get Out (I can’t speak to this one because the twist was ruined for me. It wasn’t scary but in knowing what was coming made for a sort of encyclopedia brown type viewing where I was like, “Oh I see what’s happening” every couple minutes. For such a dark movie I thought the comedy really worked tho! Some good kills, I can still see that antler kill in my mind. Jordan Peele is unafraid, which is a great place to start a career. Here for the next 40 films if, and hopefully if, he sticks to horror and does a lot of reps rather than waiting 6 years and then doing Get Out 2 or something)
  14. Power Rangers (fine)
  15. Kong: Skull Island (like Justice League, there are too many good moments to write off the whole thing. The music for one. Want a whole movie with the british special forces Tom Hiddleston, his bar introduction is the kind of classic hollywood moment that needs a movie it fits into better than one about a giant ape. John C. Reilly was watchable and the cast of soldiers largely in the background will hopefully get cast again and again as these types of guys. There’s more talent there that went untapped.)
  16. Chips (garbage)
  17. Ghost in the Shell (fine)
  18. ‪I Don’t Feel At Home In This World Anymore‬ (Netflix) (a must see, I went in expecting an indie romance and the turn into crime was maybe the best turn of the year for me personally. The moral heart of the thing is nicely layered into the action and never gets preachy. Pretty much a family film imo, show it to your mom if she shoots shotguns and knits sweaters)
  19. Fate of the Furious (garbage)
  20. Headshot (Amazon Instant) (Iko Uwais, please buddy I’ll watch anything you’re in. I’m not objective about this kind of thing. Go watch The Raid and The Raid 2 first. This is a step down from those two. But as first time directors go and as a showcase for Uwais’ choreography team, it succeeds.)
  21. Boss Baby (The score on this movie is incredible. Family Film of the year, after you see it you’ll buy the blu ray and a suit for your baby)
  22. Lost City of Z (frustrating for me personally but worthwhile for no other reason than we don’t get movies like this or about this subject matter really ever, performances are truly special)
  23. Free Fire (yeah buddy, it’s not tarantino but depending on who you ask it might be better)
  24. Colossal (fine)
  25. Sleight (We need more indie superhero films and this Blumhouse film was criminally underseen)
  26. Small Crimes (Netflix) (so much good stuff in crime film this year, highly rec this one. If I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore is about tasting the surface of crime and coming face to face with what that would mean for an everyday person, Small Crimes is about the deep dive. Equal parts blatant lying and self deception, the criminality here is darker and rougher. The dark comedy bites harder. The ending is less horrifying because you’re left feeling like this, this consequence was right.)
  27. Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2 (love how this pairs thematically with the first Guardians, there’s more to say but if you’re in on Marvel, you’re in on Marvel)
  28. King Arthur (pretty bad but in a way that only i liked apparently, I wrote about it)
  29. Win It All (Netflix) (love a good bag of money/gambling movie, so relatable. Jake Johnson owns this thing like the star that he is. He’s the guy that can do both and I hope people stop putting him behind a keyboard or just as comic relief)
  30. Alien: Covenant (maybe the best film of the year, says some fascinating things about the franchise it is a part of even if it was too much “we didn’t ask for this explanation” world building for some)
  31. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (garbage, too bad we needed this to get Will and Elizabeth back together)
  32. Wonder Woman (fine, I have some big problems with the “fight for love” stated meaning at the end because that’s what literally everyone says about their side in a war. Also, counterproductive to the whole “war exists in the hearts of all men” message is the solution, Wonder Woman rather impotently doing war super good and better than anyone else.)
  33. The Godfather (TCM Majestic special return to theaters) (there’s a reason it’s a classic)
  34. Cars 3 (fine)
  35. Transformers: The Last Knight (garbage, fans of the series will love it tho)
  36. Baby Driver (more of these please, style and substance, for grown ups. Edgar Wright without irony)
  37. Spider-Man: Homecoming (if you’re in on Marvel, you’re in on Marvel)
  38. Valerian (fine for 20 minutes until it’s garbage)
  39. Dunkirk (see it in IMAX when it returns to theaters during Oscar Season)
  40. Okja (Netflix) (fine)
  41. Logan Lucky (no one saw this but it’s a good time, charming, I am addicted to heists)
  42. The Hitman’s Bodyguard (R-action was pretty sparse this year. This one had nice conventional love story dynamics sitting behind the fun and guns. Good year for Sam Jackson Lovers, pair with Kong Skull Island for a fun bros double)
  43. Castle in the Sky (Miyazaki rerun) (sooooo good)
  44. Atomic Blonde (Too much Tinker Tailor and not enough John Wick. Ultimately most fulfilling for action fans rather than people into spy fiction)
  45. The Big Sick (I didn’t get out to enough romance/romantic comedies this year. But good.)
  46. Close Encounters of the Third Kind (Spielberg return) (classics)
  47. Message from the King (Netflix) (a man with not a lot comes to the US on “vacation” he has enough money for a week of crappy hotel stays and a bike chain to kill bad guys with, Taken where LA has a heart of darkness vibe. Chadwick is a star.)
  48. Wind River (solid)
  49. War for the Planet of the Apes (solid)
  50. Kingsman: The Golden Circle (this whole series can be deeply troubling but you know what you’re in for, doesn’t get enough credit for evolving the action style from the first installment)
  51. The Lego Ninjago Movie (bad but the Locke 2: The Joy Locke Club joke killed me)
  52. Blade Runner 2049 (tied with Alien: Covenant for best film of the year)
  53. Thor: Ragnarok (if you’re in on Marvel, you’re in on Marvel)
  54. Brawl in Cell Block 99 (Amazon Instant) (Bone Tomahawk is a better and even a more vicious/disturbing, wish the film had stayed in the more standard prisons and given Vince his shawshank but maybe next time. As white man films go, the most extra of the bunch this year. This means I loved it’s little quirks. The disappointed young asian abortionist presented without irony was maybe the darkest shit I’ve seen this year. Great morals but NOT for kids, know what you’re getting into with this filmmaker)
  55. Justice League (fine. There’s too much good stuff, however disjointed, to throw this film out completely. Cyborg’s sadness, The Flash and his dad, the super speed thing with Superman, Wonderwoman fixes Batman’s shoulder, every little parcel of Aquaman, the Lord of The Rings straight rip off, the world without superman stuff and the cell phone interview by the kids that opens the film)
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