Journal: 2017 in film Dec 31, 2017 14:23:09 GMT -5
Post by StevePulaski on Dec 31, 2017 14:23:09 GMT -5
Vince Vaughn in Brawl in Cell Block 99.
My Favorite Films of 2017:
1. A Ghost Story: If you're not careful, and you go into David Lowery's new film A Ghost Story with a patient, open mind, you might emerge more introspective and aware of your own feelings and place in the world. The film can be a meditation on almost anything you want it to be. Life, death, greed, ego, legacy, grief, and purpose are what I immediately extracted, and obviously some of that is drawn from personal experience and opinion. French filmmaker Jean-Luc Godard once said that "art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self," and A Ghost Story is one of the only American films of the decade - up there with Richard Linklater's Boyhood and Terrence Malick's Tree of Life, both of those films inspirations and influences for this particular picture - I've seen brave enough to illustrate that so poignantly.
My full review of A Ghost Story, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5687/ghost-story
2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri: Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri deserves all the praise, hype, and smoke it's been getting and will continue to get as it presumably marches itself to some deserved Oscar nominations in the most-discussed categories. It's an effective flurry of emotions that once again, like Wind River this year, shows the impact one — just one — death can have on a plethora of people, and how the energy brought on by some of humanity's most powerful emotions can lead to something so audacious. It's a gut-punch of a film, but not without its own disarmingly funny sense of humor to it that'll make up for however Wind River or Hell or High Water managed to ruin your night without giving you just a little to laugh about.
My full review of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5862/billboards-outside-ebbing-missouri
3. Lucky: Lucky isn't thematically profound, but it's damn-well hilarious and nimble in its perspective on growing old and recognizing your days are indeed numbered. Most importantly, it's a beautiful legacy film for Harry Dean Stanton, who sadly died in September of this year. For an actor that always played the eccentric or weather-worn characters in so many films, the culmination of his presence and life lives up to the name of this feature, which so artfully compliments him as an actor.
My full review of Lucky, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5886/lucky-2017
4. Molly's Game: Molly's Game is the directorial debut of writer Aaron Sorkin, whose terrific screenplays have been the basis of films like David Fincher's The Social Network, Danny Boyle's Steve Jobs, and the acclaimed HBO drama The Newsroom. Sorkin's success as a screenwriter has been fascinating, not simply because of his praise or the fact that his writing consistently results in uniformly well-made projects, but because his works are the rare ones that are defined and distinctive due to his prowess with words and crafting individuals. I hesitate to call his writing "realistic" in the denotative sense, for I feel the characters he writes do not speak like living, breathing human-beings; their dialog is far too neat and on-point. It's the way he penetrates the psyche of those he writes and illustrates their motivations on-screen that crackles with intensity, and in many instances, makes us wish real-life unfolded in this compelling, three-act manner that would make for an engaging, if exhausting life.
My full review of Molly's Game, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5903/mollys-game
5. The Big Sick: The Big Sick does a terrific job at balancing its breezy but often uproariously funny comedy with moments of heartfelt drama. Both aspects of Kumail Nanjiani's incredible story of love and romance never get in the way of the functionality of one or the other. The comedy never undercuts the drama in the form of an ill-timed penis joke, and the film is not written in the way that needs to end every scene with a quip or a zinger. In fact, a handful of scenes in the film end on an awkward note, almost like we cut away too quickly or one of the actors forgot their lines. Moments aren't as climactic as we've grown accustomed to nor does a big saving grace in the form of a savior character or a miracle ever elbow their way on-screen. The Big Sick is bravely committed to showing the real, ugly side of things in a way that feels naturalistic and deeply humanist, as well.
My full review of The Big Sick, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5665/big-sick
6. Detroit: The saddest thing about Detroit is this should be a time capsule movie. The kind of film we look at like 12 Years a Slave or Lincoln and quietly whisper to ourselves, "that's crazy, how could they do that?" or even uttering the more debatable, "that doesn't happen today, thank God." But instead, Detroit is a movie about a problem that is still prominent today; still interwoven in the fabric of America bearing the same disgraceful, inconsequential outcome. After addressing a costly war's effect on soldiers in addition to the largest terrorist manhunt in the history of the United States, Bigelow turns her camera on a much more difficult domestic problem that has claimed many innocent lives. Although its name, "police brutality," is becoming a bigger buzzword in the zeitgeist, it's not meriting any easy fixes or any kind of fast-action in terms of legal repercussions to prevent such incidents from ever becoming incidents in the first place.
My full review of Detroit, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5697/detroit-2017
7. Patti Cake$: Geremy Jasper has an unabashed triumph in his debut feature Patti Cake$ as it proves more real than a broken leg, hotter than summertime, and sicker than an overcrowded hospital. Featuring a knockout performance from a character actress in the making and surrounded by a movie with equal amounts of brash attitude, the film comes from behind in a year filled with great female leads and gives us another one to root for in a less conventional but more realistic sense.
My full review of Patti Cake$, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5727/patti-cake
8. Brawl in Cell Block 99: The violence in Brawl in Cell Block 99 is ghastly and gruesome, comparable in some ways to this year's masterpiece The Belko Experiment, but not without merit for its frankness. It's not the hyper-stylized Tarantino bloodbath you might be expecting, where every kill or shot is accompanied with a maniacal laugh nor is it martial arts-infused repetition as seen in something like The Raid: Redemption. Noses are broken, knuckles are bloodied, faces are scraped off, jaws are snapped with the help of the floor, electric shocks are carried out, necks are snapped, and bullets fly for a good third of the film's 132 minute runtime (appropriately long, I might add). It's unnerving and regrettably satisfying, and thanks to Zahler artfully employing full-shots, we get to see all the combat unfold and never feel lost as a result. It's one of the unsung stylistic achievements of the year.
My full review of Brawl in Cell Block 99, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5884/brawl-cell-block-99
9. The Belko Experiment: The Belko Experiment is a taut, nihilistic horror-thriller and a truly gripping one at that. Its ugly fascination with the most deep-seated rage that bottles up inside a person during times of great distress and its depiction of the utter hopelessness of those who try to remain calm and collected in those same moments is as engrossing as it is spine-tingling. This is also the first film I've seen in recent memory that has no problem killing off one of its main characters in such a remorseless, unceremonious manner that it occurred to me the character might as well have been a totally new face. It's in these small ways that the film is bold.
My full review of The Belko Experiment, stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5478/belko-experiment
10. Roman J. Israel, Esq.: Roman J. Israel, Esq. is one of the best character studies to emerge this year. Denzel Washington plays a fictional character that feels more-lifelike and realized than some real-life figures that have been to committed to film as of late. One thing that makes Washington's titular character so human is his personal politics surface over the course of the film, through symbolism that also shows a changing world that is quickly excluding him and people like him. A film this topical, densely crafted, and humanly chiseled is likely one that people will see years from now and kick themselves for not having seen it sooner.
My full review of Roman J. Israel, Esq.,http://stevethemovieman.proboards.com/thread/5868/roman-israel-esq
Honorable Mentions: Get Out, Logan, and The Shape of Water.