Posts Tagged ‘Film’

Best of 2017: Top 15 Movies

Here we go – Last one of 2017!

This year I hardly hid the fact that I went a little crazy with my movie-watching. With enough 2017 cinema visits under my belt to do a top ten three times over, I figured this was as good a year as ever to expand the list to fifteen. I may have lacked the time to write up full reviews over the last twelve months with enough consistency to make it worthwhile, trying a new approach instead, but right now is the time to get into my favourite films of the year with some actual detail. I happen to think this is a very strong list worth recommending to a wide range of movie fans, with only one or two spicy picks that I seemed to like more than most people. Thank you for reading.

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VR BEST OF 2017 DISCLAIMER

This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s strange. Intriguing, but strange. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.

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15. Power Rangers

Yes. I know 2017’s Power Rangers isn’t going to win any awards for earth-shaking acting or plotting, but I just had to have it on this list. The original Power Rangers show was one of my absolute favourite things as a kid – I was obsessed with it. I watched this movie with a stupid grin from ear to ear for almost its entire run time, because Dean Israelite manages to nail the important parts of what I loved about the show back in the day, cheesiness well and truly intact. I particularly enjoyed the slow burn of getting to know the main cast Breakfast Club style before the real action kicks off late in the piece. RJ Cyler as a new interpretation of social outcast Billy steals the show in every scene not featuring Elizabeth Banks’ hammy Rita Repulsa, who just seems to be having the time of her life acting opposite Bryan Cranston’s gruff Zordon.

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Best of 2017: Top 10 Movie Scenes

A movie scene isn’t just there to get you from Story Point A to Story Point B. That’s certainly one of its purposes, but using the constraints of a single setting or moment in time a scene can go far beyond mere mechanical function. It can hit the audience with a concentrated dose of adrenaline, fear or laughter that they aren’t likely to forget in a hurry, slotting into a larger narrative in a way that usually adds to a film’s quality – though occasionally it can stand out like a sore thumb from a lower-quality movie. My 2017 list is thankfully filled with scenes from the first category for the most part. I tend to be drawn towards memorable action sequences or moments of unbearable tension, so they make up the lion’s share, but there’s a bit of inspirational exposition and a song in there, too. Spoilers, obvs.

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VR BEST OF 2017 DISCLAIMER

This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s strange. Intriguing, but strange. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.

Spoilers are in this list!

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10. Wednesday – Kingsman: The Golden Circle

The Golden Circle‘s action scenes are almost all riffs on the insane church brawl from its predecessor, Kingsman: The Secret Service. It’s crystal-clear that Matthew Vaughn really enjoyed shooting that scene, because the sequel is loaded with similarly kinetic close-up camera acrobatics. Though any scene in which Pedro Pascal’s agent Whiskey gets in on the violence is well worth an honorable mention, the best instance of this unique style is the final one, when our hero Eggsy and his resurrected former mentor Harry engage with countless goons outside a 1950s-themed villainous hideout to the tune of Elton John’s Saturday. This fight has it all – gadgets, wince-inducing Vaughn brutality, cool team-up moves – It’s my favourite straight-up action beat of the year.

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Best of 2017: Top 10 Movie Characters

A good year for movies is a good year for movie characters. The fictional people who graced our screens both big and small throughout 2017 made the stories unfolding before our eyes more tragic, more believable, more ludicrous, more fantastical, more real. From the characters who anchored down the movies they lead, to the enemies they face, to the bundles of energy and accidental comedians with whom they cross paths, these celluloid creations are worth remembering for a moment. There are some vague plot spoilers here but I’ve avoided them where they aren’t necessary in order to talk about a character’s qualities.

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VR BEST OF 2017 DISCLAIMER

This list represents my opinion only. I am not asserting any kind of superiority or self-importance by presenting it as I have. My opinion is not fact. If you actually agree with me 100%, that’s strange. Intriguing, but strange. Respectful disagreement is most welcome.

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10. Hercule Poirot – Murder on the Orient Express

The joke is easy to make – Murder on the Orient Express director Kenneth Branagh greatly expands the role of one of fiction’s most legendary detectives and then casts himself in the lead role just so he can ham it up for the cameras in partnership with one of the great cinematic moustaches of all time. Regardless of how it came to be, however, Hollywood’s newest representation of Hercule Poirot is a relentlessly entertaining reason to check out Murder on the Orient Express. All introspective monologues, furrowed brows and mad quirks, Branagh somehow ensures that he stands head-and-shoulders above everyone else in a truly star-studded cast.

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Ten More 2017 Movies Summarised in Ten Words Each

So apparently the last one of these that I wrote did rather well. Go figure – people like quick summaries of things.

Thanks to some brutal old-fashioned competition between the cinemas in my area and the general enthusiasm of my friends, I have already seen 20 of the movies released this year, either in cinemas or via on-demand video services. That puts me well within range of doubling the paltry thirteen I managed last year and puts me in good stead for a nice, meaty top ten list at the end of the year. But it also means I can do that thing again. You know, the one where I unfairly reduce ten movies I’ve seen this year to just ten words each.

Mild spoilers may follow. Read my earlier oversimplified 2017 list here.
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Wonder Woman

That’s two good 2017 DC movies. Gal Gadot is incredible.”

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Colossal

Part kaiju movie, part uncomfortable human drama. Insanely wellacted.”

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Ten 2017 Movies Summarised in Ten Words Each

There are a few things I don’t like when it comes to properly discussing movies – or any piece of entertainment media, really – but two of my biggest pet peeves are

  1. Overly simplistic analysis;
  2. Relying heavily on comparison to other pieces of media.

Yet here we are in the middle of the year and I have written virtually nothing on this site about movies, mostly due to heavy time investment elsewhere in life. What’s more, I have somehow already seen ten films in cinemas this year (Throughout the entirety of 2016 I saw just thirteen). These two facts have combined with my itchy keyboard fingers and a couple of spare hours to create what you see now: Ten movie releases from 2017 so far, each conveniently (and poorly) summarised in ten words. That means lots of those two things I hate to fall back on. Desperate times, people.

Fun times though. I suppose mild spoilers may follow.
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The Great Wall

Fire Emblem with even more colourcoding, exposition and death.”

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Logan

The Last of UsMutant EditionAvoid if feeling down.”

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Movie Review: Suicide Squad

Look at me, writing about things.

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Starring:
Margot Robbie, Will Smith, Jared Leto
Director:
David Ayer (Street Kings, Fury)
Rating: M

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Well OK then.

As the first DC Comics movie of a post Batman v Superman world, Suicide Squad had a bit of heavy lifting to do. It had to prove that this dark and morbid (well, compared to Marvel’s) Warner Bros shared universe is capable of having some fun. It had to introduce a handful of characters that will no doubt be important later. And in a superhero-drenched blockbuster movie climate, it had to justify its existence by doing something different. Its success in these efforts is… limited. Which side of the “character vs plot” scale you tend to lean towards will probably be hugely influential in how much you enjoy the chaotic movie.

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Movie Review: X-Men Apocalypse

Had to sit on this review for a while to give it some thought, and that ended up making it a long one.

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Starring:
James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Oscar Isaac
Director:
Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, X-Men)
Rating: M
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Well, it turns out that couldn’t last.

The X-Men movies continue to exist, for better or worse, as the only discernible remnant of the superhero movie scene pre-Marvel Cinematic Universe. The way they have always done things sits somewhere between DC Comics’ macabre big screen blockbusters and the MCU’s lighter escapades, boasting an embarrassment of riches in the character department to mine for both humour and drama. When the movies are good, they feel like giant middle fingers to the critics who think there are too many superhero movies kicking around these days. When they’re bad, they tend to become the easiest targets for said critics, as at their core they tend to feel extraneous and disposable.

X-Men Apocalypse isn’t a bad movie, but it is the worst X-Men film since X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and as an X-Men fan first and foremost within the superhero movie realm, that stings a little.

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