Tag Archives: 2017 movies

Power Rangers (2017) Review

Time: 124 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Violence
Dacre Montgomery as Jason Scott/Red Ranger
Naomi Scott as Kimberly Hart/Pink Ranger
RJ Cyler as Billy Cranston/Blue Ranger
Becky G as Trini/Yellow Ranger
Ludi Lin as Zack/Black Ranger
Bill Hader as the voice of Alpha 5
Bryan Cranston as the voice of Zordon
Elizabeth Banks as Rita Repulsa
Director: Dean Israelite

Five ordinary teens must become something extraordinary when they learn that their small town of Angel Grove – and the world – is on the verge of being obliterated by an alien threat. Chosen by destiny, our heroes quickly discover they are the only ones who can save the planet. But to do so, they will have to overcome their real-life issues and before it’s too late, band together as the Power Rangers.

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I never grew up with the Power Rangers, I definitely heard about it and knew it existed but I didn’t know that much about it. Honestly I wasn’t looking forward to watching the 2017 live action movie, it just didn’t look that good at all. It looked like a generic kids film riding on the popularity of a known kids series. However, Power Rangers actually surprised me, it wasn’t great by any means but for a kids movie its actually reasonably okay.

For a Power Rangers movie, you don’t actually see the main characters in the suits that often, and you’d think that this would really make the movie bad. However, surprisingly that segment (by segment I mean most of the movie) was actually the best part of the movie. We get to explore and learn about these characters and their lives and problems and the movie really focusses on them working together as a team. That part surprisingly worked quite well, which is helped by the chemistry of the actors (which I’ll get into later). Towards the end when the characters are full on Power Rangers and wearing the suits, I actually really started to lose interest plotwise, you might be entertaining by the ridiculous over the topness, but as a story it really felt flat in comparison to the first two acts. This movie is very cheesy and silly but from what I can tell its more serious than other versions of Power Rangers, so credit to the filmmakers for making it somewhat watchable for adults. You have to really keep in mind that this is a kids movie, I went in knowing this and I had a good time. But I can see someone going in expecting something a little more serious or mature and end up finding the whole movie to be incredibly obnoxious. If you’re going to watch Power Rangers, know that you’re going to watch a really cheesy kids movie.

What makes this movie work is the main actors and their chemistry. The leads, Dacre Montgomery, Naomi Scott, RJ Cyler, Becky G and Ludi Lin, on top of being a diverse cast are good and work great together, they share great chemistry. Some of their line deliveries at time don’t work so well, and they do have their fair share of occasional not-so-great acting moments, but for the most part it works. Elizabeth Banks plays the villain and to be perfectly fair to her, the character she is playing, Rita Repulsa, isn’t that good, she’s radically over the top, cartoonish and one dimensional, there’s really not much to her. To Banks’s credit though, she is having a ton of fun in this role and is going all out crazy here, which is honestly the only way that anyone could play his role. Bryan Cranston is in it but doesn’t really do much, he served his purpose fine enough, though there really wasn’t any point casting him in the role.

The direction by Dean Israelite was fine overall, nothing spectacular but it worked well enough for a Power Rangers movie. The action is reasonably entertaining but the special effects range from being okay to being really fake looking. They looked particularly goofy and basic in the climax, and with a reasonably large enough budget I’m not sure how the effects looked that bad. Then again the worst of the effects was in the climax, which as I said already was the least interesting part of the movie anyway.

Although it’s not a really that good of movie, Power Rangers surprised me and was far better than what I thought it would be like. The cast and their chemistry really worked. It’s just the cheesiness and the noticeably weak last act which does bring the movie down a bit. With that said, I wouldn’t mind if a sequel ended up happening. If it does happen, I hope the filmmakers can learn from the first movie and make the Power Rangers as interesting and entertaining in the suits as they are without them.

Top 20 Best Movies of 2017

I know that my Best Films of 2017 list is very late. Despite my intention to wait for the some of the later 2017 movies, I didn’t intend to be this late. Nevertheless I finally managed to get my list together. I have to say, despite some disappointments, 2017 was a really great year for film, I found myself giving more 10/10s than I usually do and I had to bump this list from a top 15 to a top 20 because I wanted to include so many more films.

Keep in mind that I haven’t seen every 2017 movie but I saw most of the 2017 movies that I was interested in seeing, including most of the big awards movies (I tried to avoid the situation last year where I missed out some of the best films of 2016 including Silence and never including them in a future best of 2016 list). So if a certain movie isn’t on the list, it’s because I haven’t seen it or hadn’t liked it enough for it to be on this list.

Honourable Mention:

Alien Covenant

Alien Covenant was definitely one of the most divisive movies of the year. Some people loved it, other people hated it. Fortunately I was in the former group, I loved it for what it was and it was so different from what I expected. While I can understand why a lot of people had issues with Covenant, I can’t help but be impressed by it.

No one does sci-fi like Ridley Scott and he really impressed me here. Alien Covenant is both a Prometheus and an Alien movie. Ridley Scott returns to horror with direction, excellent cinematography, and very, very horrific and bloody moments. However it is David, fantastically played by Michael Fassbender (who also plays dual roles here), who was the most fascinating element, one of the best characters in the Alien universe so far. Much of the film’s success goes to him as he’s a big screen presence. On top of that, this movie was a lot deeper and different than I thought it would be. All the themes it focussed on surrounded David and without going into too much depth it was really compelling. Covenant is a great mix of slasher, sci-fi, horror, religious parallels and much more that somehow actually works. It’s a bit of a bizarre movie, not what anyone was expecting and I’m glad that Scott went all out in going in this direction. It also has one of the best endings of 2017. Even though I really like Covenant, I can understand why a lot of people have issues with it. I do get that a lot of the questions that aren’t answered in Prometheus aren’t answered here either. It also does have some not so great elements with most of the other characters not being that developed and falling into some cliched moments, and on the whole it’s still a sci-fi horror flick, just with some unexpected parts to it. I’m just fascinated to see what direction Ridley Scott is taking this prequel series in (if a sequel does end up happening). I hope it happens, I want to see what Scott intended to take this story in.

My review of Alien Covenant

20. Detroit

Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit unfortunately really didn’t get the attention it deserved. The dramatization of the Algiers Motel Incident which took place during the Detroit Riots of the 60s was one of the surprise best films of the year that not enough people saw. It’s a real shame because a lot of audiences really missed out on a great and very impactful film.

Just about everything about Detroit was great. The performances were absolutely fantastic, with Will Poulter being a standout, how his excellent performance hasn’t been receiving awards attention is beyond me. But it’s the direction from Kathryn Bigelow that made the film so effective. The second act was riveting and harrowing, and Bigelow played a big part in it being very effective. Maybe it’s a little overlong in the first and third acts and its not exactly a movie that you would rewatch, but for what it is, it’s truly great.

My review of Detroit

19. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The Killing of a Sacred Deer was absolutely mesmerising and I didn’t expect myself to like it as much as I did. With the unconventional and metaphorical story, the fantastic acting but most of all the stunning direction by Yorgos Lanthimos, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is an admirable film which I can only see being better upon more rewatches and further thought.

Yorgos Lanthimos’s latest film was so bizarre but the way he told the story actually worked. The story itself was really something unique and compelling, truly remarkable. Lanthimos’s direction was excellent, and felt haunting and unsettling from beginning to end. The acting was also top notch, with Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman giving typically great performances but Barry Keoghan also should also receive a lot of praise for his excellent performance here. Killing of a Sacred Deer really isn’t for everyone and I can understand why a lot of people don’t like it but I’m glad I sort of love it, it really does get better the more you think about it.

My review of The Killing of a Sacred Deer

18. Good Time

Good Time was one of the most unexpected movies of 2017, it had slowly been gaining some praise and it actually lived up to all the acclaim. The direction, writing and acting (particularly from Robert Pattinson) was so top notch, it truly deserves more attention and praise than its been getting.

The Safdie Brothers created a straightforward yet effective thriller that grips you from start to finish within its 100 minute runtime. The film is so visually stunning, especially with the lighting at the night-time, the entire film also does such a great job at exerting stress and tension. Along with the direction being truly excellent, it felt very gritty, the story and characters felt real, it doesn’t hold back in the dark things that happen, it doesn’t even try to get you to like the protagonist. Although all the cast was good, its Robert Pattinson who shines in a transformative lead role. He proved himself to be a tremendous talent here and deserves a lot more love for his performance. It’s gritty, fantastic, thrilling, there’s nothing else to say except that Good Time was a… good time.

My review of Good Time

17. Molly’s Game

Molly’s Game turned out incredibly well for a directorial debut and ended up being one of the best films of 2017. It is a stylistic and interesting true story which made for a great movie, with the highlights being Aaron Sorkin’s writing, Jessica Chastain and the supporting performances.

Aaron Sorkin not only proved himself as a fantastic writer (which he has already done many times over) but also as a very good director. He really brought the unbelievable true life story of Molly Bloom to the big screen. It’s an interesting story that’s both riveting and entertaining and as complicated as the film and certain details can get, Sorkin makes it work so everyone can have a degree of understanding about what is going on. Jessica Chastain gave a typically fantastic performance (one of the best lead actress performances of the year honestly), while supporting actors like Idris Elba, Michael Cera and Kevin Costner all played their parts very well and added a lot to the movie. Although a little overlong, Molly’s Game was great and really deserved a lot more praise than it has been receiving.

My review of Molly’s Game

16. Wind River

Wind River was one real surprise of a movie that slowly crept up upon us. It was just a really great murder mystery and it really did live up to the hype, with it being a very riveting story and having great performances.

Taylor Sheridan showed himself to be a great director as well as a great writer with Wind River. He already proved with Sicario and Hell or High Water that he was a talented writer and Wind River was yet another great story from him. The story was bleak and so well put together, a great mystery thriller overall. Performances from everyone were great, Jeremy Renner gave his best performance since The Hurt Locker, Elizabeth Olsen was great, really everyone contributed to the movie. If you haven’t watched Wind River, I highly recommend checking it out because it is really something great.

My review of Wind River

15. I, Tonya

I, Tonya was a real surprise. I went in knowing that we’d be getting excellent performances and wasn’t expecting much more than that. However, it ended up being much more than anything I expected. It was a truly great movie which really benefited from the way it presented the events, and which of course is made even better by the incredible performances from its very talented cast.

Making I, Tonya a dark comedy benefited the film immensely, it made the film entertaining and fast paced, while also not shying away from some of the more darker things that happened. It also maintained a level of emotional depth, so it wasn’t just entertaining, you were invested in what was happening. And of course, the performances from actors like Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney were really great. However, it is Margot Robbie who really shines, she is absolutely transformative and phenomenal as Tonya Harding. It’s her best performance to date and by far one of the best performances of the year. I, Tonya really surprised me and I got a lot more than I thought I would. Definitely one to not miss.

My review of I, Tonya

14. T2: Trainspotting

I’m surprised by how much I loved Trainspotting 2. I really liked the original Trainspotting but it wasn’t like one of my all time favourite movies or anything at that level to me. It’s also not common for sequels to films made decades ago to be any great, it’s even less common for those said sequels to be better than the original film (and it’s not the only one on this list), yet T2: Trainspotting managed to pull off being both. And yes, I do consider T2: Trainspotting to be better than the original.

T2: Trainspotting benefited as a sequel because of the fact that it took a different approach than the original, while still feeling like a Trainspotting movie, it’s very much a continuation of the story. At the same time, the approach to addiction (which the original covered) and the story overall is different, much darker and more mature. All the cast, especially returning cast members like Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle return seamlessly into their original roles and as usual were fantastic. Danny Boyle brought his typically great direction here and watching his take on a modern day Trainspotting sequel was amazing to see. Entertaining, emotional and ultimately satisfying, T2: Trainspotting was one of the most surprising and best films of 2017.

My review of T2: Trainspotting

13. The Disaster Artist

The Disaster Artist was one of my most anticipated films of all time, because of how much I loved the book its based on and how much I loved The Room. The book seemed like perfect movie material and I was looking forward to seeing how it would be. Thankfully it absolutely delivered on all fronts, it was surprising how great it was.

The Disaster Artist is a very unconventionally inspiring movie, the Ed Wood of the 2010s. The way that Tommy Wiseau wanted to make it big in Hollywood was tragic, ironic and inspiring all at the same time. One of the highlights was James Franco’s performance as Tommy Wiseau, which was fantastic, definitely deserving of high praise. A lot of people can do excellent impressions but it’s a real challenge to actually portray him as a person, and Franco was brilliant. You like Wiseau and root for him despite his weirdness and odd behaviour, yet the movie doesn’t shy away from many of his more less likable aspects. Great portrayal overall. Along with that the script was funny, well written and portrayed the events truly. With a fantastic performance, a great adaption of Greg Sestero’s book and story about Tommy Wiseau and The Room, I loved it. I’m not sure if it would be as impactful to people who don’t know of Tommy Wiseau or The Room but as someone who does, I really loved it.

My review of The Disaster Artist

12. John Wick Chapter 2

John Wick Chapter 2 takes everything from the first John Wick film and improves over it in every single way. It didn’t seem to be very necessary when it was announced and seemed to only exist because the original was such an unexpected hit but after seeing it I am so glad that we have it.

John Wick Chapter 2 is better in every way over the previous film. There are even more excellent action sequences, more worldbuilding, and it actually has you wrapped up in the story. From start to finish it has you absolutely riveted and entertained, there were even sequences that were so beautifully directed that I didn’t expect. All of this made Chapter 2 more than just your typical entertaining Keanu Reeves action flick. Speaking of Keanu Reeves, he has fully established John Wick as his definitive role and he really gets to show off both his action and acting chops. John Wick Chapter 2 was much better than I thought it would be and I already had some pretty high expectations for it, it was fantastic. I can’t wait to see what 2019’s John Wick Chapter 3 will be like, after seeing how great Chapter 2 was I can’t see it being anything less than excellent.

My review of John Wick Chapter 2

11. A Ghost Story

A Ghost Story is not for everyone, it is slow and as cliché as the phrase is, its not a film, its an experience. I personally loved it, while it didn’t have the emotional impact that it did for some others, there was something about it that I really loved and had my attention from start to finish. I have a feeling that it might be one of those movies that may get better the more I revisit it.

I can see why a lot of people don’t like A Ghost Story. It is slow, drawn out (the infamous 5 minute long pie scene often being mentioned as an example) and very unconventional to say the least. It might take multiple viewings to get the full experience. With that said, with my one viewing of the film I really loved it. With great performances from Casey Affleck (who’s mostly behind a sheet) and Rooney Mara (who is so great in a supporting part of the film and says so much with so little) and the unique direction by David Lowery, there’s a lot to love about it. However there was also something that had me riveted from start to finish, and I have yet to figure out what it is. Maybe repeat viewings will reveal what that aspect is. If you haven’t seen A Ghost Story yet, I recommend going in with an open mind and not knowing too much beforehand. David Lowery has crafted a very unique film which will continue to divide audiences in the years to come.

My review of A Ghost Story

10. A Cure for Wellness

A Cure for Wellness really took me by surprise, I was intrigued with the plot, the cast involved and Gore Verbinski’s fantastic direction. However it really divided people and while I can understand due to some polarising aspects, I don’t really know why it didn’t receive enough love. Something about A Cure for Wellness keeps drawing me to it

It’s been months since I’ve watched A Cure for Wellness for the first time and I’m still trying to figure out why I loved it so much. Naturally the 3 main actors (Dane Dehaan, Mia Goth and Jason Isaacs) were good in their roles and the story was intriguing, not spelling out everything to you and requiring you to think a lot. However, I think it is Gore Verbinski’s direction that made me love the movie so much. The cinematography, the lighting, the music, the entire aesthetic, everything is in place. It’s a perfectly directed movie to me. It seems that this movie is not for everyone, probably because of how long it is and how unconventional it is. But I do recommend giving it a chance because of how bizarre and strange it is.

My review of A Cure for Wellness

9. Get Out

Get Out was one of the biggest surprises of 2017. Jordan Peele seemed like an unlikely person to direct a horror film, given that he was more of a comedian. But he has created a truly genius movie that surprised everyone, one that not only has its fair share of horror aspects but also effective humour and great social commentary. Along with it being a great film, with Get Out, Peele and co. have created a new brand of horror, the social horror and it worked so well here.

Jordan Peele did such an excellent job with this movie. He applied such smart racial social commentary, which was utilised well for both horror and comedy. Tonally this film is actually quite well balanced out, the comedic and dramatic and horror aspects are handled fantastically and don’t feel out of place at all. All the performances were great with Daniel Kaluuya being the standout, however supporting performances like Allison Williams (she especially was really great) shouldn’t be overlooked. I haven’t stopped thinking about this movie ever since watching it and I have a feeling that I will love it even more upon repeat viewings. I can’t wait to see more films from Jordan Peele, he has proven himself to be a fantastic filmmaker and writer and will no doubt create some more excellent films.

My review of Get Out

8. Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi

After seeing The Last Jedi in cinemas for the first time it became my 2nd favourite Star Wars film and a rewatch has made it tied for being my favourite in the series with Empire Strikes Back. Director Rian Johnson has done such a great job at continuing where J.J. Abrams left the story off in Episode 8, while taking the story in some unpredictable directions. It may have resulted in an instant mixed reaction amongst some die hard fans but I think it was all worth it.

The Last Jedi makes some of the riskiest decisions of a Star Wars movie, and I am so glad that this happened. The story took the Star Wars universe in some directions that some didn’t like but I was completely on board with all of them. Along with the story being great, this has the best cinematography of all the Star Wars movies, the action was fantastic and the characters were played so wonderfully by the talented cast, the stand outs being Adam Driver as Kylo Ren and Mark Hamill as he returns to portray a very different Luke Skywalker. Yes, there are some parts that didn’t work, the Canto Byte sequence is still notably the weakest of the whole movie and there are some minor aspects that didn’t work so well. However the flaws are absolutely dwarfed by the rest of the movie which is so fantastic. I have confidence in director J.J. Abrams and writer Chris Terrio that Episode 9 will be good but I’m not even sure they will reach the level of The Last Jedi, we’ll just have to wait and see. For now, I can say with complete confidence that The Last Jedi is in the top 2 best Star Wars movies.

My review of Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi

7. Logan

There have been 6 comic book movies this year and while I liked most of them quite a bit, I’m not sure if I could call any of them great. They all seem to stretch from being good (Thor Ragnarok, Wonder Woman and Spider-Man Homecoming) to just being okay at best (Justice League). There is one exception however: James Mangold’s Logan. No other comic book movie this year even comes close to being at the level of greatness of Logan. Logan is without a doubt one of the best comic book films ever made. In a genre which has countless larger than life plots which involve saving the world (which I do like 95% of the time), it is very refreshing to see the plot being much smaller and personal. Just about everything about it worked incredibly and I couldn’t be happier for it.

The story was very gritty and raw, and it didn’t hold back in the violence and how dark it could get. The performances were fantastic, newcomer Dafne Keen was great as Laura/X-23, and Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart were outstanding in their final outings as Wolverine and Charles Xavier. In terms of flaws, there really was just one, an expeditionary scene that felt a little lazy, that’s it. Logan isn’t going to be a film that I watch multiple times due to its melancholy and at times depressing plot but it is nevertheless excellent and I’m glad that it turned out so well, and with it being Hugh Jackman’s and Patrick Stewart’s last X-Men film appearance it needed to.

My review of Logan

6. Dunkirk

With Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan has created a very unique war movie, one that really puts the audience in the centre of all the war, more so than most war movies. Intense and captivating, Dunkirk is a masterclass in visual direction and storytelling.

The cast was good, even the actors who really didn’t have particularly deep characters (which is most of them) or much chance to show off do very well in their roles but make no mistake, the true star of Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan. His direction is front and centre and he brought his style and techniques to bring this movie up to a level of near perfection. Pretty much everything works about this movie, really putting you in the position of three perspectives over the course of a week, an hour and a day and the structure somehow works. Everything comes together to make Dunkirk a fantastic film, and it might just be one of Nolan’s best movies, which is saying a lot all things considering.

My review of Dunkirk

5. War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes seemed like it was going to go all out in terms of its scale, almost every third part in a trilogy seems to want to make everything bigger and explosive for its finale. Instead, Matt Reeves decided to go in a much more personal and focussed direction, making it a character study for Andy Serkis’s Caesar. And I couldn’t be happier for this. War for the Planet of the Apes is honestly one of the best major ‘blockbusters’ in recent years, one that prioritises plot and character over action and definitely delivers in being an emotionally strong final act to one of the best film trilogies of all time.

The effects were incredible, especially the motion capture of the apes, nothing looked out of place. The story is, to be honest, perfect and fitted well with Caesar’s arc. Performances were great from Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn and Amiah Miller. But Andy Serkis is of course the stand out, delivering a final tremendous performance as Caesar, definitely deserving of high praise. I can’t think of really anything wrong with this movie, the issues I had with the previous movies (that being that the human element felt weaker) wasn’t present here, it definitely surpassed my expectations. War for the Planet of the Apes is a perfect conclusion to a great trilogy and deserves unending praise.

My review of War for the Planet of the Apes

4. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Martin McDonagh is one of my favourite directors/writers working today with In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths and he continues to prove that with Three Billboards, which might be his best film yet, it’s at least at the level of In Bruges. With fantastic writing and great performances, Three Billboards was one of the year’s best.

Everything that McDonagh has shown in his previous movies he brings here, from the dark and hilarious comedy to the shocking and truly impactful aspects. It’s a perfect mix of comedy and drama. The performances were also fantastic, with a very strong leading performance by Frances McDormand and great supporting performances including Woody Harrelson and especially Sam Rockwell. I also loved the story that was told about rage and anger and how it can lead people to do destructive and negative things. It’s story was controversial, dark and hilarious, it lead to some backlash, but I’m glad McDonagh stuck to what he set out to do. Whether it will hold up on repeat viewings remains to be seen. However from just my first viewing, I personally think that Three Billboards was fantastic.

My review of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

3. Phantom Thread

I’ve been holding back on releasing this list because I knew that there was a strong possibility that Phantom Thread would end up on it, and having seen it very recently, my instincts proved to be right, as it slides in at the number 3 slot. Phantom Thread is perfectly crafted, detailed, riveting and completely unexpected, made even better by its phenomenal performances. Paul Thomas Anderson has done it again.

Paul Thomas Anderson has weaved a truly effective and compelling story, one that is packed with so much detail in its writing and direction, this is a perfectly directed film. From start to finish, Phantom Thread has you riveted with it’s very original and unique story. This may well be one of PTA’s best films, which is saying a lot considered this is the man who directed films like There Will be Blood and Boogie Nights. The performances by not only Daniel Day-Lewis (in his last role) but also Vicky Krieps (who gives a performance at DDL’s level) and Lesley Manville were excellent and only strengthened the film even more. Phantom Thread was truly fantastic and was definitely one of the best films of 2017.

My review of Phantom Thread

2. The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water was such a beautiful movie and a future classic, absolutely everything about this movie is so fantastic. Despite how weird the concept is at times (I mean, it’s basically all about a woman falling in love with a fish monster), Guillermo del Toro does such a great job at making it work well, not many people would’ve been able to make this concept into such an excellent film. Del Toro has directed quite possibly his best film yet, and don’t forget that this is the man who brought us Pan’s Labyrinth.

Having seen it twice, I can say that The Shape of Water just might be a perfect movie, at the very least a near perfect movie. Guillermo del Toro’s direction was beautiful, the performances were great from everyone (particularly Hawkins, Shannon, Jenkins, Spencer, Stuhlbarg, Jones) and the story was just amazing. Much of the credit goes to del Toro, who manages to bring to the big screen some parts that in the hands of another director wouldn’t work at all (especially a very unexpected scene in the third act). Everything just worked together so well, and I can’t imagine it being any better, it honestly took me off guard. The Shape of Water is truly wonderful, definitely worthy of a lot of praise.

My review of The Shape of Water

1. Blade Runner 2049

I was curious about Blade Runner 2049 initially, mostly with the talent involved. However, I didn’t really know what to expect as at the time I found Blade Runner to be a just okay movie (having watched it like 5 years ago). 2049 surpassed my expectations on every single level, I was not expecting this film to be this remarkable, this spectacular, even with the amount of talented people involved. While it didn’t fare well at the box office, it deserves a lot more love and attention because it is really one of the best films of 2017, if not the best.

Denis Villeneuve as usual delivers on creating an excellent film and sequel to the original Blade Runner. It feels like a Blade Runner sequel and does some worldbuilding while doing enough original things to make it special and its absolutely riveting from start to finish. In fact, I personally think it’s significantly better than the original, for example with regards to the pacing (despite 2049 being a much longer movie) but also I loved the story that was told. Roger Deakins’s cinematography has never looked better, the cast with Gosling, Ford, de Armas, Leto, Wright, Hoeks and more did some fantastic work, pretty much everything about this movie is excellent. Blade Runner 2049 is not only the best film of 2017, it’s one of the best sequels of all time and one of the all time great films of the 2010s.

My review of Blade Runner 2049

On another note, while in previous years I made worst movies of the year lists, I decided that from now on I would no longer take part in this unfortunately common practice.

What were your favourite films of 2017? Comment below and let me know.

Phantom Thread (2017) Review

Time: 130 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive language
Daniel Day-Lewis as Reynolds Woodcock
Lesley Manville as Cyril Woodcock
Vicky Krieps as Alma Elson
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Set in the glamour of 1950s post-war London, renowned dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis) and his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville) are at the center of British fashion, dressing royalty, movie stars, heiresses, socialites, debutants, and dames with the distinct style of The House of Woodcock. Women come and go through Woodcock’s life, providing the confirmed bachelor with inspiration and companionship, until he comes across a young, strong-willed woman, Alma (Vicky Krieps), who soon becomes a fixture in his life as his muse and lover. Once controlled and planned, he finds his carefully tailored life disrupted by love.

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Phantom Thread had a lot of talent involved. Not only is this directed by Paul Thomas Anderson but this is Daniel Day-Lewis’s final performance. However I’ll admit I wasn’t really as hyped for it as I wanted to be, I can’t tell if it’s the premise or the trailers but for some reason it really didn’t interest me that much (even though I knew I was going to watch it eventually). Despite my thoughts before going into it, Phantom Thread blew me away on pretty much every level. Paul Thomas Anderson has expertly crafted a meticulous and possibly near perfect film, accompanied and elevated by fantastic performances. It’s one not to miss.

I know that the trailer makes Phantom Thread look like a one note, drawn out movie with not too many surprises, but it’s actually not that at all. As the movie progresses you learn little things about each of these characters that only leads you to become even more interested in the story. It also feels a bit like a mystery thriller without actually being that, it feels rather Hitchcockian at times. I’m not going to spoil what happens, it’s best going into Phantom Thread not knowing too much. All I can say is that its an unconventional romance that is quite unpredictable. This movie is surprisingly funny at times, its not a comedy but it has quite a bit of effective humour. Phantom Thread is 2 hours and 10 minutes long and its quite slowly paced, which can be off putting for some but for me I was interested from start to finish. It is also not for everyone, just like a lot of PTA’s other films, Phantom Thread goes into some areas that may be weird for some but I loved that he went there. This movie is also filled with so much detail that I have a feeling that I’m going to pick things up with repeat viewings.

Saying that Daniel Day-Lewis gave a great performance is kind of redundant, because it’s obvious that he’s going to, but he truly is fantastic here. Unlike some of his other performances like in Lincoln or There Will Be Blood, he looks like himself but yet he transforms so much into this character Reynolds Woodcock. Woodcock is really one of these artists who is so dedicated to his craft who can be very difficult to say the least. As the film goes on you begin to learn more about him as a person. The performance is just so incredibly subtle, layered and nuanced and it really works. You really end up studying his reactions. If this is truly Daniel Day-Lewis’s last performance, then he has gone out on a high note. There are two other performances that shouldn’t be overlooked. One is Vicky Krieps playing the character of Alma. She doesn’t have an easy task, with her playing opposite Daniel Day-Lewis but yet she pulled it off and was incredible. Krieps’s performance is very expressive and external, which balances out DDL’s very subtle performance. There is a lot more to Alma than it initially seems. The relationship and power struggle between the two are the driving forces of the movie and the chemistry between the two actors really helped in making them work effectively. Another great performance is by Lesley Manville as Reynolds’s sister, she is probably the most composed of all the performances yet commands so much presence when she’s on screen, she was great as well. All these three come together to make the movie even better.

Paul Thomas Anderson’s direction is very fantastic as always, the film is so beautifully shot, lit and directed. There is so much thought put into what’s on screen, and so much detail that could be seen. The production design is great and unsurprisingly the costume design was really great (given that the movie is about a dressmaker). Jonny Greenwood’s score was also great, it beautiful, elegant and haunting and only adds to the movie even more. Everything about Phantom Thread has been polished to perfection.

Phantom Thread was a truly remarkable film. The performances were outstanding, the story was intriguing and unpredictable and Paul Thomas Anderson as usual directs it incredibly well. This film is filled with so much detail that I can see this movie being even better upon repeat viewings. Phantom Thread is one of the best films of 2017 and it is well worth the watch. If you have been waiting a long time to see this, trust me well I say it’s well worth the wait, I’m certain that you won’t be disappointed.

Wonder (2017) Review

Time: 113 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Coarse Language
Julia Roberts as Isabel Pullman
Owen Wilson as Nate Pullman
Jacob Tremblay as August “Auggie” Pullman
Izabela Vidovic as Olivia “Via” Pullman
Noah Jupe as Jack Will
Mandy Patinkin as Mr. Tushman
Daveed Diggs as Mr. Browne
Director: Stephen Chbosky

Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August Pullman (Jacob Tremblay), a boy with facial differences who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time.

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I was curious about this movie ever since I heard that it was going to be made. I actually studied the original novel Wonder in English class in school, so I was interested. With director Stephen Chbosky (The Perks of Being a Wallflower) and a talented cast, it definitely looked like it had potential to be quite good. I have to say that this is a really good movie and a great adaptation of the book, definitely a movie that everyone should watch.

I admit it’s been years since I read the original novel of Wonder but from what I can tell the movie is very faithful to the book. The novel is split up into different sections focussing on different characters and the film is partially that as well. Despite the movie being one hour and 50 minutes long, it did feel a little long at times, but that’s maybe that’s because I remember many of the events of the movie and I was waiting for them to occur. To everyone else I don’t think the length or the pacing will be a problem at all for them. Wonder is also very effective at having emotional moments, you really get invested in this movie and these characters, which is helped by the main characters being quite likable. It also showed well how much Auggie’s appearance has an impact on other people, on his sister, on her sister’s friend, on a boy at school, etc, which is part of why this movie stands out so much, you aren’t just purely focussed on August and what he’s going through. The sweet moments that happen also doesn’t feel forced at all, they all actually felt genuine. On the whole I had no issues with Wonder, it was just a really good movie which also had some good messages to it.

The acting is really great from everyone overall. Jacob Tremblay was great in the lead role of August Pullman. Tremblay was great in Room and he was also good here too, proving himself once again to be a really good actor and one of the best child actors working today. He had a lot of make up on (which was by the way great and effective) and he manages to act very well through it. Also there was good acting from the mother, father and sister played by Julia Roberts, Owen Wilson and Izabela Vidovic respectively, the chemistry and dynamic between them all was quite strong and they really did feel like a family. The rest of the supporting actors, including the child actors were also good and were very believable in their roles.

This movie was directed by Stephen Chbosky who also directed the great Perks of Being of a Wallflower and he did a great job here too. As previously stated, the makeup on Tremblay was great and made him look ‘different’ enough, yet it wasn’t too over the top and allowed Jacob to act with it.

Wonder was a really good adaptation of the novel and was a good movie in itself as well. The story was just wonderful, the acting was really good and it’s a really good movie that people of all ages can watch. In fact really everyone should watch Wonder, it’s a really good movie that also has some good messages to it. So I definitely recommend everyone watching it, I guarantee that the vast majority of people will like this movie.

Song to Song (2017) Review

Time: 129 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Sex scenes, offensive language, nudity & drug use
Ryan Gosling as BV
Michael Fassbender as Cook
Rooney Mara as Faye
Natalie Portman as Rhonda
Cate Blanchett as Amanda
Lykke Li as Lykke
Val Kilmer as Duane
Bérénice Marlohe as Zoey
Holly Hunter as Miranda
Director: Terrence Malick

Set against the Austin, Texas, music scene, two entangled couples — struggling songwriters Faye (Rooney Mara) and BV (Ryan Gosling), and music mogul Cook (Michael Fassbender) and the waitress (Natalie Portman) whom he ensnares — chase success through a rock ‘n’ roll landscape of seduction and betrayal.

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Song to Song was one of my most anticipated films of 2017. I admit I was a little nervous going in because I didn’t know what to expect. The main attraction to me was the talented cast but even though I liked director Terrence Malick’s films Badlands and Tree of Life, I wasn’t really a fan of Knight of Cups. He has a very unconventional directional style which really makes him stand out, for better or for worse. Fortunately, I liked Song to Song, it seems that Malick had backed off from his style that he indulged in too much in Knight of Cups.

Song to Song, like most Terrence Malick films is very unconventional. It didn’t bother me as much, probably because I had recently seen Knight of Cups, which was way more arty than what we have with Song to Song. I think the reason why Song to Song worked for me more than Knight of Cups is because the main characters had personalities and characters of their own. In Knight of Cups, the supporting characters have more personality than the protagonist, and they usually only appeared in brief segments before disappearing. Here though, the main characters played by Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling and Michael Fassbender have actual characters to work with. On top of that, unlike Knight of Cups, it’s not just a whole bunch of ideas thrown together, there is sort of a story (though not a very conventional or straightforward one at that). It doesn’t have much of a structure, it jumps between time periods and characters so it can be quite jarring and confusing. Despite how jarring and drawn out it could be at times, it had my attention. After a while it does tire you out, I wasn’t necessarily bored but the sequences often take a long time, it requires a lot of patience.

With Song to Song, Terrence Malick again has a great cast and fortunately this time they are actually utilised well. Apparently there was no script for this movie, so it’s a real credit to the actors for the performances that they gave. Rooney Mara is a standout, if there’s a main lead of this movie it would be her. Mara hasn’t really played this type of role before, and she is great here. Mara proves herself to be one of the best actresses working today. Ryan Gosling was also good, a lot of the main relationships that are focussed on most involve both Gosling and Mara and the two of them have really good chemistry. Michael Fassbender is also a standout in every scene he’s in, he really was a screen presence here and was great. Natalie Portman isn’t in it a lot but she is really great in the screentime she gets and made quite an impression. Other supporting actors like Cate Blanchett are also good in their screentime and make an impression. Other actors like Holly Hunter and Val Kilmer are very much just cameos in the movie and don’t really get to do much.

The cinematography by Emmanuel Lubezki (who has worked on many Terrence Malick films) is great and beautiful, like with all Terrence Malick films. Malick also encapsulated the music scene in Texas quite well. Terence Malick is also known for his odd editing, there have even been actors in his films who were cut out of the final product (Christian Bale for example was originally in this movie). So I had come to accept that there would be some odd editing here, however there was a bit of a problem here that wasn’t present in Tree of Life or even Knight of Cups. A lot of the times there are no scene transitions, so it would jump from one scene to the other and it feels clunky and messy, it doesn’t even feel like a stylistic decision. It jumps in time periods and locations and even if that was intentional, the way it was done was very off putting and isn’t particularly smooth. It felt like an amateur filmmaker editing these scenes and not a fully established filmmaker.

Song to Song is not for everyone and I can understand why a lot of people don’t like it. The film did drag as it went along and the editing was quite jarring and clunky. However there were a lot of aspects that really worked, especially the cinematography and its great performances from its talented cast (Mara and Fassbender being the standouts). As someone who liked Tree of Life and didn’t really like Knight of Cups that much, I liked Song to Song. I can’t tell whether you’ll like it or not but if you are familiar with Malick’s other films, I’d say give this a chance.

Detroit (2017) Review

Time: 143 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, cruelty & offensive language
John Boyega as Melvin Dismukes
Will Poulter as Philip Krauss
Algee Smith as Larry Reed
Jacob Latimore as Fred Temple
Jason Mitchell as Carl Cooper
Hannah Murray as Julie Ann
Kaitlyn Dever as Karen
Jack Reynor as Demens
Ben O’Toole as Flynn
Nathan Davis Jr. as Aubrey
Peyton Alex Smith as Lee
Malcolm David Kelley as Michael Clark
Joseph David-Jones as Morris
John Krasinski as Attorney Auerbach
Anthony Mackie as Greene
Director: Kathryn Bigelow

In the summer of 1967, rioting and civil unrest starts to tear apart the city of Detroit. Two days later, a report of gunshots prompts the Detroit Police Department, the Michigan State Police and the Michigan Army National Guard to search and seize an annex of the nearby Algiers Motel. Several policemen start to flout procedure by forcefully and viciously interrogating guests to get a confession.

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I’ve been meaning to watch Detroit for a while. With a talented cast that included John Boyega and Will Poulter, as well as it being directed by Kathryn Bigelow, there was a lot of potential, especially with it being based on true events that took place during the Detroit Riots of the 60s. I also heard some pretty good things about it. Detroit was really impactful and was really great overall, it is a credit to the great performances and Bigelow’s fantastic direction.

Before you watch the movie, you should know that despite the title, Detroit isn’t about the Detroit riots, it mostly takes place in the Algiers Motel during the Detroit riots. The opening of the movie was a little questionable, with a lot of backstory dumped through the use of a very out of place animation. Detroit is around 2 hours and 20 minutes long, which was a little too long. I get that the first act is meant to set up events and the third act is supposed to conclude these events but they did feel a little stretched out. However, I will say that maybe it’s because I expected almost all of the events to just take place at the motel, it takes over 40 minutes for the events of the Algiers Motel incident to actually start. The second act is definitely the strongest act of the whole movie, from start to finish it has you riveted. You really feel right there where everything it is happening, it is very intense and can be really hard to watch (which it should feel).

Acting from everyone is fantastic. John Boyega once again proves himself a talent to watch, here he plays as a cop who has to almost be neutral when all these events are going on, he gives a very subtle performance and he deserves a lot of praise for his work here. The actors who played the real life people in the hotel like Anthony Mackie and Jason Mitchell were good, out of all of them Algee Smith was the stand out. The actors who played the cops like Jack Reynor were also great. Will Poulter is the stand out performance however, stealing the show from absolutely everyone as a racist and violent cop who really takes charge during the whole incident. He really deserved more recognition for his performance, if all you know Poulter from is as the kid from Narnia 3 and Maze Runner, that will change after watching him in Detroit. He was intimidating and scary at times but he also felt uncomfortably real, Poulter was a real screen presence. Definitely deserves a lot of praise, really everyone really deserves a lot of praise, they all gave great performances that added to the film.

Kathryn Bigelow is a great director and once again she brings her A game here. She brought to Detroit her shaky cam from her previous films Zero Dark Thirty and The Hurt Locker and it works here (more so than other movies with shaky cam) because it adds to the movie. You really feel like you are there when all the events are going ahead. The cinematography also supports everyone in this movie. Bigelow also does very well at making sequences feel uncomfortable and tense and she doesn’t hold back at all. Honestly much of the credit to this movie’s success should go to her, she did great work here.

Unfortunately, not enough people saw Detroit, given its box office failure. It’s a real shame because most people missed out on a great movie. There were some incredible performances and Kathryn Bigelow directed this very well, creating an riveting impactful film. It’s a tad too long and I wouldn’t say that it is as great as some of Bigelow’s other films like Zero Dark Thirty or The Hurt Locker but all in all it is really good. It’s not an easy watch, and I don’t see it having much rewatch value but I do recommend giving it one viewing at the very least.

Darkest Hour (2017) Review

Time: 125 Minutes
Age Rating: 120px-OFLCN_-_PG.svg[1] Coarse language
Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill
Kristin Scott Thomas as Clementine Churchill
Ben Mendelsohn as George VI
Lily James as Elizabeth Layton
Ronald Pickup as Neville Chamberlain
Stephen Dillane as Viscount Halifax
Director: Joe Wright

A thrilling and inspiring true story begins at the precipice of World War II as, within days of becoming Prime Minister of Great Britain, Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) must face one of his most turbulent and defining trials: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation. As the unstoppable Nazi forces roll across Western Europe and the threat of invasion is imminent, and with an unprepared public, a skeptical King (Ben Mendelsohn), and his own party plotting against him, Churchill must withstand his darkest hour, rally a nation, and attempt to change the course of world history.

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Darkest Hour was a movie that I’ve been getting a little interested in. It’s a movie about Winston Churchill starring Gary Oldman and directed by Joe Wright, so of course I was somewhat curious about it. Darkest Hour is a pretty good movie overall, with some great performances, solid direction and a decently well done story. I wouldn’t say that it’s a great movie as a whole but it’s still worth watching.

I was interested enough in what was going on throughout the majority of the movie, it does drag at some points and I’d be lying if I said that I was completely riveted from start to finish but I was interested enough. Keep in mind that this isn’t a full on Churchill biopic, it covers him taking on the responsibilities of Prime Minister of Britain after being brought in to replace Chamberlain, and includes him dealing with the Dunkirk event while being faced with adversity within his own government. In terms of accuracy I can’t comment on it. However, there is a very out of place scene that involved Churchill on a train that I’m sure didn’t take place at all. I could tell what this scene is meant to show and why it was here in the first place, but the way it was done just felt so ridiculous and I couldn’t take it seriously at all. Aside from that rather distracting moment, it’s a rather solid movie overall.

Gary Oldman is great as Winston Churchill, you can’t really tell that it’s Oldman throughout the performance. Yes of course the makeup of course changes his physical appearance a lot but everything from his voice and the way he acted was very transformative as well, it’s not just Gary Oldman in heavy makeup trying to act as Winston Churchill. I will admit, at many points I couldn’t really tell what he was saying because of how much he mumbled but I guess maybe that’s just the way that Churchill talked. Otherwise this is a very good performance. The supporting cast was also solid and deserve some praise as well. We have Ben Mendelsohn as King George VI, Kristin Scott Thomas as Churchill’s wife, Lily James as Churchill’s secretary and Ronald Pickup and Stephen Dillane as Neville Chamberlain and Viscount Halifax respectively and they all do a great job.

Joe Wright did quite well in directing this. The cinematography, set designs, costumes and the score by Dario Marianelli all work together quite well. The makeup and fat suit on Gary Oldman also worked quite well in transforming him into Winston Churchill and it never felt like it was overkill, it was just right.

Darkest Hour is a pretty solid movie with Joe Wright returning to form (at least in comparison to his last film Pan) and with the performances being the highlight, especially Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill. Darkest Hour is also a pretty good accompany piece to Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk and watching both of them will probably increase your enjoyment of both of them. I’m not quite sure how most audiences will find the overall movie but I will say that it is worth watching for Gary Oldman’s performance at the very least.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017) Review

Time: 121 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, cruelty & sex scenes
Colin Farrell as Steven Murphy
Nicole Kidman as Anna Murphy
Barry Keoghan as Martin
Raffey Cassidy as Kim Murphy
Sunny Suljic as Bob Murphy
Alicia Silverstone as Martin’s mother
Bill Camp as Matthew
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos

Dr. Steven Murphy (Colin Farrell) is a renowned cardiovascular surgeon who presides over a spotless household with his wife (Nicole Kidman) and two children (Raffey Cassidy and Sunny Suljic). Lurking at the margins of his idyllic suburban existence is Martin (Barry Keoghan), a fatherless teen who insinuates himself into the doctor’s life in gradually unsettling ways. Soon, the full scope of Martin’s intent becomes menacingly clear when he confronts Steven with a long-forgotten transgression that will shatter his domestic bliss forever.

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I didn’t know what to expect from The Killing of a Sacred Deer. I saw director Yorgos Lanthimos’s previous film The Lobster, which I thought was pretty good. I also could tell based on the trailer and reactions knew that it was going to be odd and I heard that it was a pretty bizarre and disturbing film which has divided some audience. I have to say that I personally really liked it, it’s such an original and bizarre movie with excellent direction and great performances, though I can see why it has divided people.

I didn’t know too much about Killing of a Sacred Deer aside from the brief premise and the trailer before watching it. Having finally seen the movie, I’m glad I didn’t know anything more about it, I recommend not knowing too much about this movie before watching it. Because of this, I don’t want to go into too much depth regarding the plot. The dialogue is off from what normal people say but something about it just works. It does have a slow pace but it had my attention and interested. By the time it reached the halfway point, after a lot of bizarre things have happened, I was completely riveted. The film is not extremely bloody but it gets under your skin. Personally I wasn’t uncomfortable for a large portion of the movie, I’m not easily disturbed. However I felt really unnerved throughout most of the film, there were some moments that really surprised me and had me on edge. There is particularly a couple of scenes which were shocking to say the least. I have a feeling I will need to rewatch this movie to fully get everything because its very metaphorical (if you don’t understand a lot of the metaphors you might be a little lost when watching this). However I will say that on my first viewing I got a lot out of it, and understood most of it. So I was satisfied with the story overall.

The acting is all around great. An interesting thing should be noted about the acting, Colin Farrell has said that Lanthimos doesn’t give his actors any direction and just allows them to act and play it how they want, so it’s a real credit to the cast for pulling off great performances with little to no direction. Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman play husband and wife and they were great. Everyone in the movie does act and speaks a little unnaturally (that’s the directional style I suppose) but they get their chances to shine. Barry Keoghan is the highlight here though, as a teenager who has an interesting relationship with Colin Farrell (which I won’t reveal of course). Without going into too much depth, I will say that Keoghan is a real screen presence, being absolutely unnerving and magnetic when he’s on screen. I can tell that he has a long career ahead of him. The children of Farrell and Kidman played by Raffey Cassidy and Sunny Suljic were really good as well, as was Alicia Silverstone and Bill Camp in other supporting roles.

The direction by Yorgos Lanthimos was fantastic. It really felt creepy and unnerving throughout the whole movie. What particularly really stood out to me was the cinematography and production design, everything was well shot and really felt uneasy. There is a real emptiness that can be seen, it feels like something is off. There were even times where it felt Stanley Kubrick-esque. The music was also used incredibly well, really amping up the intensity. The loud pianos keys and the screeching violins makes everything all the more uncomfortable.

The Killing of a Sacred Deer is definitely not for everyone, it can be very unnerving, disturbing and a little drawn out, also it might require deeper thought in order to understand. I also feel like this will be a movie that will require multiple viewings to fully interpret. However if this is something you might want to watch, give it a go with an open mind and try not to know too much about it beforehand. If you like Yorgos Lanthimos’s other films like The Lobster, you will probably like this. I personally had a great time with it and my experience will only improve with future viewings. However all in all I can’t say for certain whether you’ll like this movie or not.

The Post (2017) Review

Time: 116 Minutes
Age Rating: 860940[1] Offensive Language
Meryl Streep as Kay Graham
Tom Hanks as Ben Bradlee
Sarah Paulson as Antoinette “Tony” Pinchot Bradlee
Bob Odenkirk as Ben Bagdikian
Tracy Letts as Fritz Beebe
Bradley Whitford as Arthur Parsons
Bruce Greenwood as Robert McNamara
Matthew Rhys as Daniel Ellsberg
Director: Steven Spielberg

Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep) is the first female publisher of a major American newspaper — The Washington Post. With help from editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks), Graham races to catch up with The New York Times to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spans three decades and four U.S. presidents. Together, they must overcome their differences as they risk their careers — and very freedom — to help bring long-buried truths to light.

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There is an undeniable amount of talent and potential involved when it came The Post. With it being about The Pentagon Papers, with a cast which features actors such as Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks and being directed Steven Spielberg, it showed some signs of it being really something. However, I wasn’t as excited about it as I wanted to be leading up to its release. The Post is by no means a bad or even average movie, it’s decent enough and has some good aspects to it. However it is missing some aspects that would’ve otherwise made for a consistently riveting movie.

It takes quite a while for the movie to pick up. Focussing a movie about The Washington Post on The Pentagon Papers definitely has some potential, the problem is that it’s a bit of a wait before The Washington Post even get The Pentagon Papers. There are multiple things going on during the movie, not just The Pentagon Papers. One of the aspects is Meryl Streep’s character of Katharine Graham and her running of The Washington Post. I should be interested because it’s an important part of the movie and she is the primary protagonist but I just wasn’t that invested. I was a little more interested in The Pentagon Papers aspect. It does pick up a bit as it goes along, especially after the halfway point and it gets better from there. One problem for me is that I never felt that concerned or worried for what was happening, you don’t feel like you’re necessarily with these people as the events are going on. Of course we know the end results but there are plenty of movies based on real life where you are really wrapped up and riveted in what’s going on. The Post on the other hand just seemed to be showing events, for as hard as the decisions that Katharine Graham has to make, you don’t really feel the weight of the decisions, even if you know why these decisions are difficult for her. The Post isn’t that long at just under 2 hours long and while it can drag at points, the length wasn’t a problem. A lot of people have already called The Post and Oscar Bait movie and I can say that there are some moments where it definitely feels like it, especially with it being directed by Steven Spielberg. It’s also meant to be topical for today and while it is relevant for today, only time will tell whether it will stand the test of time with movies like All the Presidents Men.

The Post has a pretty talented cast with Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk, Bruce Greenwood and more. They all give commendable performances in this movie but it’s really only Tom Hanks who stood out to me. Honestly the characters aren’t that well fleshed out, so I really wasn’t that invested in them. Meryl Streep is fine, but she’s not even close to being one of the best performances in the film, I can’t tell whether its her acting or the writing she was given but for such a talented actress I was pretty underwhelmed by the performance. There are also some actors that are underused, like Michael Stuhlbarg and Sarah Paulson to a degree.

Steven Spielberg directs this movie competently enough, it’s well pieced together and edited very well. It also does well at setting itself in the 1960s. Really in terms of direction I’ve got no problems with it, it’s at the level that it needs to be, it doesn’t overshadow the plot or actors and is at a pretty high level.

The Post has some good moments, some interesting aspects, pretty good performances and commendable direction from Steven Spielberg but it seems to be lacking some things. It takes for the second half for the movie to pick up and it really didn’t consistently have my interest, though it still had my attention. If The Post interests you, I do recommend checking it out. Everyone else who isn’t interested I still recommend checking it out, but you don’t need to rush out and see it, it’s not one of Steven Spielberg’s better movies.

Good Time (2017) Review

Time: 101 Minutes
Age Rating: 860949[1] Violence, offensive language, drug use & sex scenes
Robert Pattinson as Constantine “Connie” Nikas
Jennifer Jason Leigh as Corey
Ben Safdie as Nick Nikas
Barkhad Abdi as Dash
Buddy Duress as Ray
Director: Ben Safdie and Josh Safdie

After a botched bank robbery lands his younger brother in prison, Constantine “Connie” Nikas (Robert Pattinson) embarks on a twisted odyssey through the city’s underworld in an increasingly desperate—and dangerous—attempt to get his brother Nick (Benny Safdie) out of jail. Over the course of one adrenalized night, Connie finds himself on a mad descent into violence and mayhem as he races against the clock to save his brother and himself, knowing their lives hang in the balance.

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I had been hearing some pretty good things about Good Time for a while, it received a 6 minute standing ovation at the 2017 Cannes Film Festival. Much of the praise was focused towards the direction and Robert Pattinson’s performance. So I was definitely excited for what I was going to watch. I’m happy to say that Good Time definitely lived up to all the hype and praise and deserves a lot more attention than it’s been getting.

Good Time is a very straightforward movie, Robert Pattinson has to save his brother in one night and from start to finish it delivers. However, the way they did it was so fantastic. First of all, it feels very realistic and gritty, from the story to the dialogue and characters. The movie despite its title isn’t really a “good time” (it is however a good time in the sense that it is a good movie), it is quite dark and there aren’t many bright spots, even the main character isn’t really likable at all and does some very questionable things. I have to give the Safdie Brothers credit for sticking with this approach because it made the movie better. This movie is 1 hour 40 minutes long and honestly that was the perfect length, the film takes place just over a night and it really benefited from that. The film keeps you riveted from start to finish and there is a constant sense of urgency and tension. I won’t say much about the plot, honestly it’s better going in not knowing a lot about the plot.

Just like Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson has shown how great of an actor he is post Twilight and should be taken seriously. Putting the general perception of him aside, Pattinson is fantastic here. His character doesn’t have many redeeming qualities, he is very manipulative towards pretty much everyone he encounters and goes to some low levels throughout the movie. The only thing keeping us kind of rooting for him is his connection with his brother. Robert Pattinson is absolutely transformative, not once do you think that this is the guy from Twilight, you just see the character, which is one of the highest compliments that one can give to a performance. Pattinson deserves a lot of praise for his performance here and I hope we get to see more of his talents in future films. Ben Safdie (who’s also one of the directors of the film) plays Pattinson’s mentally challenged brother and although he doesn’t have a massive amount of screentime he was great. Other supporting actor performances from actors like Jennifer Jason Leigh and Barkhad Abdi are good for the short screentime that they have and they all contribute and add to the movie. However aside from all that, it is really Robert Pattinson who gets to shine the most.

This is the fourth film that The Safdie Brothers directed together and the first film I’ve seen of theirs and I can say that they are definitely very talented after seeing Good Time. The night-time scenes in particular are so well filmed, a stand out aspect being the use of colour, they were so well utilised. There is particularly also a sequence which takes place in an amusement park which was directed very well. The film has a constant sense of urgency and the way it was directed and edited really added to that. Throughout the movie there is a lot of close up shots of people’s faces (maybe a little too much) which I guess is done to make things feel claustrophobic, it may be annoying for some people but I was fine with it. The music was also excellent, the use of synth really did add to the film and is used so well, often adding to the sense of urgency.

Good Time was one of the most pleasant surprises of 2017. It has a very gritty, realistic and dark story, great direction from the Safdie Brothers and featured an excellent lead performance by Robert Pattinson, which is one of the best performances of the year (and unfortunately didn’t get enough praise). I can’t wait to see more films from the Safdie Brothers, they’ve definitely shown that their talents with this movie. I also feel like it could possibly benefit from rewatches and I can’t wait to revisit it. Good Time is definitely worth a watch and more praise, at least more praise than its been getting.