Movie Catch-Up (Part 2) - 2017
Bright made headlines last year for the price Netflix paid ($90 million) for this Max Landis (screenplay), David Ayer (Director) and Will Smith vehicle for it to be exclusive to their streaming platform. The premise intrigued me even with Landis’ batting average with me, since I haven’t really liked anything tied to his name outside of Chronicle. Let’s just say his batting average hasn’t really improved after watching this movie. A Bright within this movie is any living thing (elf, orc, human, etc.) that can use a magic wand without being destroyed. Bright in our world is often used to described someone or something that has high intelligence or is quick-witted. Sadly, there is nothing bright about this movie as it feels lazy and uninterested in expanding the premise into something more unique and interesting. The orcs portrayed in this movie are just gang members that dress and act like what Hollywood has decided a black gang dresses and acts. Despite there being magic and creatures other than humans in this world, it looks and feels like our world, to the point that one character mentions the events that took place in the Alamo. So, all this magic and wonder in our world and our history still played out the same? How lazy are you that you couldn’t be bothered with altering our history to fit the premise you have created for your world? Bright is being billed as the worst movie of 2017 by many critics. I think its half the reputation of Max Landis in this industry and half the price Netflix paid for the movie. I just found it lazy and completely forgettable. Not the worst I have seen this year, but I wouldn’t recommend this movie.
Title: The Lovers
Long-time married couple that have completely fallen out of love reconnect days before their planned divorce. Writer-director Azazel Jacobs delivered the ultimate “show me, don’t tell me” story of this middle-aged couple and their respective affairs. You come to understand so much of these characters and their past with how they talk and interact with each other. There isn’t a single drawn out scene in where they sit down and go point by point on what went wrong between them, you get little nuggets of information and you are able to fill in the rest. The acting by Tracy Letts and Debra Winger was stellar and I was completely sold on their relationship. A story centered around a couple cheating on each other and planning their divorce ended up being one of the most touching and romantic movies I saw this year. It’s streaming on Amazon Prime, go watch it.
Title: The Big Sick
Based on the true-life romance of the writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon. Their romance blossomed after Gordon survived an eight-day induced coma in where Nanjiani had to spent time with her parents, played perfectly by Ray Romano and Holly Hunter. This script and the performances felt as if I was watching real humans caught on camera. Everything was genuine and heartfelt, especially the arc the parents have both with each other and with Nanjiani. Funny, raw and truly one of the most unique romantic comedies in recent memory. Buy it, watch it and love it. It’s also streaming on Amazon Prime.
Title: The Lost City of Z
Based on the exploits of famed British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, played by Charlie Hunnam, we follow him on his multiple visits to the Amazon jungle as he is obsessed with finding a mysterious city the locals tell tales about. This movie benefits from the beautiful visuals captured by cinematographer Darius Khondji. To be fair nature did most of the work with the trees and mountains that Col. Fawcett roamed through. Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson and Sienna Miller all deliver stellar performances that elevate an already compelling and interesting story. The runtime is a little bloated, but it could be that I felt it due to the time at night I sat down to watch this movie. Sadly, this movie has falling through the cracks, but it should be talked about among the best of this year. It’s streaming on Amazon Prime, go watch it.
Title: Wind River
The third installment in what writer-director Taylor Sheridan (Sicario and Hell or High Water) calls “The Frontier Trilogy”, Wind River manages to capture the same amount of tension in a completely different story setting. It follows a veteran hunter/tracker for Fish and Wildlife (Jeremy Renner) helping investigate the murder of a young Native American woman with a green FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen). Watching this movie was like being on a roller coaster. Not the up and down part. Not the going 100mph part. It was like the beginning slow build-up to the top. You know a drop is coming and there is nothing you can do but wait for it. This movie has an incredible third act that is worth your price of admission, not to mention the stellar performances by Olsen and Renner and the beautiful cinematography of the large open spaces covered in snow with the mountains as their backdrop. This is one of the best movies of the year and a great addition to Sheridan’s short but impressive resume. Buy it.
Title: Patti Cake$
PATTI CAKE$ is centered on aspiring rapper Patricia Dombrowski, a.k.a. Killa P, a.k.a. Patti Cake$, who is fighting an unlikely quest for glory in her downtrodden hometown in New Jersey (IMDB). This movie follows the same formula a sports movie would follow: the unlikely underdog fighting her way to the top making friends and believers out of the people around her. It’s funny at times and honestly sad at times with good dramatic moments courtesy of her mother trying to live in the past. Her mother is played by Bridget Everett and, holy hell, did that performance come out of nowhere. I mean, no offense to her, but I didn’t expect this caliber of a performance from Everett and I love that I was proven wrong. I hope she gets more roles because of this performance. Patti Cake$ is a good movie with fun songs especially if you like hip-hop. I would say watch it if you see it on your streaming service platform.
Wonder is based on the New York Times bestseller of the same name and it fallows Auggie, a young boy born with facial deformities, as he is enrolled in school for the first time. Writer/director Stephen Chbosky delivered one of the most touching and beautiful films of the year. Not for one second did this film feel sappy or preachy as it delivers a powerful message of acceptance and anti-bullying for everyone in the family. Jacob Tremblay continues to prove he is the best child actor working today and Julia Roberts is nothing short of perfect as his mother. This movie made me choke up on more than one occasion as I connected deeply with the family and the struggle of feeling like an outcast. Watch it with the entire family.
Title: A Ghost Story
In this singular exploration of legacy, love, loss, and the enormity of existence, a recently deceased, white-sheeted ghost returns to his suburban home to try to reconnect with his bereft wife (IMDB). I pasted that summary from IMDB because I couldn’t find it in me to write a nice and contained summary of this gigantic waste of my time. Its shot beautifully and it has a compelling premise. But thirty minutes into this movie you just want to scream at the screen I GET IT! They telegraph the “twist” within the first five minutes of the movie and the dialogue of the movie, especially the one during a party from a hipster, overalls-wearing, pit-stained, bald “dude” with multiple earrings being preachy as hell. There is nothing more annoying than a writer writing a monologue that is just to talk down to his audience or to come across as intelligent or insightful. I wouldn’t waste your time with it. Skip it.
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