Monday, January 29, 2018

Top Ten Best & Worst Movies - 2017

2017 captivated us with a slue of outstanding films - spanning from action blockbusters to super-hero gems, fairy-tale wonders to refreshing comedies, historical dramas to terrifying horrors flicks, all of which rocked our world.  This year was incredible!  Though, there were a few movies I didn't get to in time - Phantom Thread, The Florida Project, It Comes at Night, Mother!, Flatliners, The Snowman, The Man Who Invented Christmas and Downsizing.  As you can see I missed a few (ahem, or not). Who knows what these two lists would have looked like otherwise. With that said, here are my top picks. Enjoy!


I'll take "Lame Book-to-Film Adaptations" for $2000, Alex. I mean, come on! What started off as a cool premise ended with one of the dumbest anticlimactic endings ever. Sure, it had a few cool twists, but all-in-all I was pretty let down... even with my low expectations.

More like 47 Meters down the pooper! GAH. This "Lifetime" movie isn't as smart as you would think and not as cleaver as you would hope. It’s never a good sign when within five minutes of the movie you guess the ending. Predictable and lackluster at best. Next.

Yeah. Like how one can't forget wasting their time and energy on this curb-stopping snooze-fest.  The best thing about this flick is the inevitable episode of How Did This Get Made that will fasho inspire it.

More like Before I Fall into a coma from hitting my head so hard on the back of my seat because this movie is hella weak.  It's dreary in tone and subject, which mirrors the long and drawn out plot. No one is even remotely likable either, and the ending begs the question "I wasted all this time for that?!  I want my money and time back!  Just watch Groundhog Day instead.

Just your typical action-packed blockbuster, only this time around it packs a soggy punch, backed by some laughable acting, weak stunts and ugly wigs. The worst part about this lame-o is the shame of how cool it thinks it really is - sort of like the class dork posing as the class clown. Meh.

Scarlett Johansson works overtime to salvage this dismal Bridesmaids knockoff, which is basically a chick retreat of The Hangover and Weekend at Bernie's.  It's too over the top and warrants very few laughs. 

If you are ever sucked up into an alien spacecraft, and the extraterrestrials offer you a choice between getting probed with their instruments or watching The Cure for Wellness then OK, fine, option B, but still...

If you are about to go over a ledge of a roaring waterfall and someone tosses you a line and shouts, "I'll tow you to shore, but then we have to watch John Wick 2," take the plunge. And I don't want to hear about how you can't swim, either.

Just when you thought the void couldn't get any darker, along comes the sequel to "Fifty Shades of Grey," and it's even lower in intellect than the first. It easily could be titled "The Normalization of Boring Christian Grey." The plot is so scattered it's ridiculous. To call this watchable is fake news. 

In quick fashion, Mae goes from joking about drinking the company Kool-Aid to guzzling it, no questions asked.  We can almost see her brain cells disappear as she buys into The Circle's ever-intrusive game plan. This been-there/done-that plot is outrageously ridiculous, with a dialed-in, anti-climatic, WTF ending ever. GAH.  You're the worst!


Disney excels in creating movie worlds, just like this real-life spin on 1990's enchanted animated movie, which charmed us to our core. "A Tale as Old as Time" shines through with flying colors. It's a heart-warming, magical must-see you don't want to miss!

"What do you want to be for the rest of your life, Cogsworth? A man or a mantle clock?"

9.  Wonder
Maybe this little movie isn't solely about a kid who's disfigured, but about whatever you and I choose to see in it.  It's wildly charming and brimming with profound messages that are sprinkled throughout. You will laugh, you will cry, you will fell hopeful, but more than anything this feel-good "wonder" will make your heart soar!

"I think there should be a rule that everyone in the world should get a standing ovation at least once in their lives."

In the midst of all the hard hitting dramas last season, here comes a refreshing, cinematic delight.  It's wildly hilarious with a surprisingly thought-out plot.  Sure, it's a reboot/remake, but whatever! You will be glued to your seat cheering for more. Jack Black's portrayal of a teenage girl is both the best part and on-point. You will never have more fun at the movies! But above all, this blockbuster reminds us why we go to the movies to begin with... to be entertained. 

"It's insane I'm not Instagraming this right now."

The fate of Western Europe hangs on Winston Churchill in the early days of World War II, in this straightforward day-by-day depiction of world-changing events. Gary Oldman (one of my favorite actors) wheels the iconic charter vividly to life with such ease you forget it's only acting. Well done.

"Will you stop interrupting me while I am interrupting you!"

Despite its bleak topic, it's the ever so powerful strength and performances delivered by McDormand, Harrelson and Rockwell (love him, BT-Dubs) that keeps this movie sturdily anchored in a compelling realistic reality.

"It's 'Persons of color'- torturing business, these days, if you want to know. And I didn't torture nobody."

5.  Get Out
At first I wasn't sure what to make of this thriller, but the more it resonated with me the more I came to realize how incredibly outstanding this movie truly is.  It's absolutely brilliant and effortlessly original. It's dark, creepy and full of twits and turns. Heck YES!

"You know I can't give you the keys, right, babe?" 

4.  IT
This little shop of horrors is a masterpiece of cinematic fright. 'It' so effortlessly blends the perfect amount of horror, humor and heart. There's definitely a skillful balance of nostalgic sentiment and hair-raising effects. It does so well paying tribute to the original source without suffocating any of it. Needless to say, fans alike will not be disappointed.

"I'm sorry, who invited Molly Ringwald into the group?"

3.  The Post
Steven Spielberg brings genius to the silver screen, once again, with his absorbing take the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-hitting editor. Spielberg offers a tight, lucid and highly satisfying account of the Pentagon Papers from the point of view of The Post. It's surprisingly thrilling and powerful with outstanding acting and direction. Amazing.

"My decision stands, and now I'm going to bed."

2.  Dunkirk
Visually stunning? Absolutely. Monumental? No question. Edge of your seat, gripping? Most definitely! This show-stopping, historical stunner was a real eye-opener with wit, smarts and intense thrills. Not only did it seriously blow our collected minds to pieces, but it met every high expectations we had.  Nice work! This is one movie that most-definitely needs to be seen on the IMAX screen. 

"Men my age dictate this war. Why should we be allowed to send our children to fight it?"

1.  Lady Bird
I can't say enough good things about this dramedy! This heartfelt, coming-of-age story perfectly captures the bittersweet transition from adolescence to adulthood with such ease, awkwardness and realism.  This sweet and quirky film is brilliant on all accounts and had me smiling from ear to ear throughout the entire movie. The effortless flow of character-driven action will both amuse and endear and quite simply make you say you're the best!

"Listen, if your mother had had the abortion, we wouldn't have to sit through this stupid assembly!" 

It was a stupendous year it film, no question. I thoroughly look forward to seeing what 2018 has in store. See ya at the movies!

The floor is now yours! Did your favorite movie of the year make the list? Something I missed? Let me know what your Best and Worst movies of 2017 were in the comment section below.

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Trailer Park - 2017

Source: YouTube

A big part of Hollywood film is the build-up, which is why it is a common practice to release trailers for trailers these days. Over the years movie trailers have become their own magnificent works of art, reaching new heights and bounds of excellence. Trailers are a huge deal - their popularity is really only second to the movies themselves. Some might even say trailers are better than the real McCoy. And, of course, there are those that are simply the tip of the iceberg. 

So what makes a trailer great? Great trailers "tease" without revealing too much. They build excitement for the movie while giving the audience an alluring taste of the final product. And they always leave you wanting more.

Below are some key ingredients for a great trailer:
1. The two minute mark. Trailers now-a-days can give WAY too much upfront. If by the end you feel you saw the whole movie then what's the point in actually seeing the whole movie? Keep it tight, keep it simple. Less is more. (We're looking at you, The Fate of the Furious) 
2. The set up. Too often trailers give us too much information regarding the plot or not enough. Successful trailers find that sweet spot right in between. 
3. Introduction. If you have a star studded cast, it's easy to get wrapped up in giving everyone face time. Instead, great trailers focus on two or thee characters that will get the audience excited. 
4. Music. Music is crucial! Music evokes emotion and emotion drives movement. If the music genuinely reflects the mood of the movie, you’re golden. 
5. Capture the mood. Great trailers focus on emotion instead of just plot points. It gets the audience excited to enter whatever world they're trying to sell you. 

With a plethora of excellent trailers to choose from it was difficult to pick just ten. However, I feel confident with my selection. In no particular order I give you my Top Ten Best Movie Trailers of 2017.

Honorable Mentions:
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (trailer 1)
The Shape of Water (trailer 1)
Spider-Man: Homecoming (trailer 2)
Black Panther (trailer 2)

Atomic Blonde (trailer 2)
Hailing from one of the best decades of all time, this trailer has it all. Strong female lead, check. Sex, check. Action, check. Fashion, check. Comedic timing, check. Swaggering movie-star attitude, double check. If Mad Max: Fury Road didn't convince you that is a bonafide action star this flick most certainly will. Love. Love. Love.  The soundtrack alone is worth seeing it for. I dig it.

IT (trailer 1)
This little shop of horrors is a masterpiece of cinematic fright. I love how it broke YouTube viewing records as well. Not only was IT the best horror flick of 2017, but this is one of thee very best trailers of 2017 to boot. In just over two minutes it manages to delight us with superb storytelling from beginning to end. It's brilliant on all accounts.  It's eerie in tone and subject, with perfect hair-raising music that leaps the audience into a terrifying fun-house, baiting us to see the full movie.  Seriously, this is one of the best trailers ever made. Bravo!

Beauty and the Beast (trailer 3)
The final U.S. trailer for Disney's live-action Beauty and the Beast is easily the best one yet.  A "tale as old as time" that we love so much, whirls us back to a familiar story with  high energy, wrought with emotion. One can't help but feel giddy after seeing this trailer.  It's majestic, it's magical, it's delightful. We know this story. We love this story. And this looks and sounds like the beautiful story we want.

Alien: Covenant (red-band trailer 1)
Too often Hollywood releases a trailer that spells out the entire film. You can pretty much guess every twist and turn here, but all things aside, there’s something extremely captivating about this trailer. It's dark, it's creepy and grabs your attention immediately with 's trademark disturbing monsters. Muting most of the dialogue in place of the moody remake of 'Nature Boy' is a stroke of genius. It gives it an element of romance even I wasn't going to consider seeing  this movie, but after the trailer dropped, it had me doubting my "no way" notions.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (trailer 2)
You know why this trailer is so good?  Because you've seen it about five bazillion times. But did we really need a trailer to sell this flick? I mean s'rsly, the main purpose of a trailer is to hook you to get you to say "Yeah, I'd see that." They literally could have shown us a black screen with scribbles, accompanied with Star Wars music and we'd still go see this movie... twice. Oh, but the story, the imagery, the music, the oldie-but-goodie actors, the intensity of this entire trailer is what makes this shine so incredibly well. #IDIE

Thor: Ragnarok (trailer 1)
I'm loving the 80's vibe throughout this trailer so, so much! Thor’s reaction to seeing his old friend is pure comedic perfection. Even without the now iconic “he’s a friend from work!” climax, this trailer would still boast one of the best trailers of the year, showcasing the destruction his home at the hands of Hela, Jeff Goldblum’s delightfully weird Grandmaster, and the thundering rhythms of Led Zeppelin’s “Immigrant Song.” Disney/Marvel can't be stopped!

Dunkirk (trailer 2)
What makes this trailer stand out from the rest is the gorgeous imagery, huge dramatic set pieces, and a somber, steady focus of the characters at the center of it all. Whatever the reason, it's great to get hyped for a Christopher Nolan film. That ticking time-clock throughout this entire trailer is perfection!  This trailer captivates like no other. One of the purest cinematic delights of 2017. 

Blade Runner 2049 (trailer 1)
I'm not the biggest fan of sequels done some 30 years later, especially when it seems like it was only made to fill the canteen of die-hards. But all things aside, it's hard not to fall in love with the craftsmanship of this trailer.  The vibrant colors, the blaring music and visuals are absolutely stunning. Whatever you might think of the movie this stand alone trailer is one gorgeous piece of art.  It's rich and seductive. It's  like watching an oil painting burst to life. But above all, it feels dutifully reverent to the original.

Tomb Raider (trailer 1)
Mystery and adventure made the first trailer for  's Tomb Raider an all out action-packed show-stopper.  Love the high intensity, the heavy beats mixed the smooth rhythmic tone throughout. It's all backed by the famous strong, badass female that we all know as Laura Croft. From beginning to end, this two minute plus trailer has you begging for more.  Well done.
Release date: March 16th

Quiet Place (trailer 1)
One of my favorite celebrity couples is finally starring in their first film together where they actually play husband and wife. But warning, this isn't a romance.  This trailer is a prime example of less is more. At first you don't know what is going on, but as time ticks on you discover there's so much more beneath the surface. It does a superb job baiting us, calling out to us to see this flick. I love how it gradually builds to a rip-roaring climax. It begs the question on everyone's mind, "who the heck are these monsters?!"
Release date: April 6th

Trailer editing is very much a work of art and when done right it's a thing a beauty! The end product can motivate, captivate and generate major buzz-feed. Was there a particular trailer in 2017 that you remember being wickedly-awesome? Feel free to share your opinions in the comment section below...

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