On the plus side, you have a woman over 40 (Charlize Theron) anchoring an action flick, a confident LGBT protagonist, and a summer blockbuster that isn't another sequel or reboot (Atomic Blonde is adapted from the 2012 graphic novel The Coldest City). So that's all progressive and good. Yet aside from a few spectacular fight scenes – no surprise, given… read more!
Movies Released in 2017 (in alphabetical order)
Two years ago, it was hard to guess where Edgar Wright's career might be heading: he had wrapped up his trilogy of UK parodies, burned out retinas with his fun if overdone VFX orgy Scott Pilgrim vs. The World, and got booted off Ant-Man after years of prep. It's a relief to see him emerge from this limbo with his… read more!
Battle of the Sexes
This dramatization of the titular 1973 tennis match between Billie Jean King (Emma Stone), then the top female tennis player in the world, and washed-up but entertaining former champ/eternal hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) adheres closely to the real events that led up to that famous night, where chauvinism squared off against feminism in front of 90 million viewers. The… read more!
It's been a few years since I watched Don Siegel's 1971 adaptation of Thomas P. Cullinan's novel The Beguiled, a Civil War hothouse drama about a wounded Union soldier finding shelter in a Southern girls' school. I recall that film, starring a young Clint Eastwood just months before reteaming with Siegel to make Dirty Harry and history, as being surprisingly… read more!
The Belko Experiment
Although many accused The Hunger Games of ripping off the 2000 Japanese stunner Battle Royale, The Belko Experiment is the true heir to Kinji Fukasaku's nihilist bloodbath. Written by James Gunn long before Guardians of the Galaxy made him an A-lister, the film displays the same bloody, darkly humorous energy in Gunn's Super and Slither. With his attentions now focused on superhero franchises, Gunn… read more!
The Big Sick
A movie like The Big Sick is usually not one I'd have high hopes for. To wit: a standup comic and his wife write and produce a movie based on their own relationship. And the standup comic stars in it, as himself. It screams of narcissism. But I have always enjoyed Kumail Nanjiani in his TV work, and I admired… read more!
Blade Runner 2049
I have a confession to make: I never really liked the original Blade Runner that much. I've seen it at least four times, in all its various cuts. It's an incredible-looking film: every single shot is perfectly lit and framed, every bit of the production design is awesome. For 1982, it was way ahead of its time, and I don't… read more!
Call Me By Your Name
Critics everywhere have been falling over themselves with praise for this film. I confess that I am not sharing the love. Based on André Aciman's 2007 novel, Call Me By Your Name recounts the summer of 1983, as spent by Elio (Timothée Chalamet), a bored 17-year-old "stuck" in Northern Italy with his parents, an archaeology professor (Michael Stuhlbarg) and a French/Italian… read more!
In their ceaseless quest to find unique alternate universes in which to set their stories, Pixar, after having explored the secret worlds of toys, fish, cars, and the human mind, have chosen the final frontier for Coco: the afterlife. Inspired by Mexican Día de los Muertos traditions, in which families honor their deceased ancestors with marigolds and offerings every November… read more!
You won't find a more original pitch for a film this year: an alcoholic New Yorker (Anne Hathaway) discovers that she has a psychic connection with a giant monster ravaging downtown Seoul. Hathaway plays Gloria, who in Colossal's opening moments is dumped by her priggish boyfriend (Dan Stevens) because of her drunken antics. And so she returns to the small East Coast… read more!
This quiet, 1990s-style indie stars Haley Lu Richardson as a 19-year-old resident of Columbus, Indiana, the small town that became an unlikely center for Modernist architecture. Drifting through life post-high school, Richardson's only ambition is to be a tour guide. On the day she plans to see a Korean architecture professor give a talk, the professor collapses and is sent… read more!
The Disaster Artist
Tommy Wiseau, the extraordinarily inept filmmaker who in 2003 wrote, directed, and starred in the so-bad-it's-good The Room, has been called the Ed Wood of his generation. Thus it's impossible not to compare The Disaster Artist, James Franco's reenactment of the making of The Room, to Tim Burton's Ed Wood. Both biopics are tongue-in-cheek comedies, packed with Hollywood stars, that… read more!
It's exciting, it's perfectly crafted, it's the best (meaning the least ridiculous) movie Christopher Nolan's made since Memento, yet strangely there's not much more to say about Dunkirk besides that. The film documents what, for Britain, remains one of the key moments in World War II: the 1940 evacuation of over 300,000 Allied soldiers who were surrounded by the Germans… read more!
Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
To get the most out of this film, it helps to be familiar with the work of 1950s Hollywood actress Gloria Grahame, as this fair-to-middling biopic about the last two years of Grahame's life is pretty esoteric: it was a passion project for producer (and James Bond rights holder) Barbara Broccoli, who not only knew Grahame and her lover Peter… read more!
The Florida Project
I was late to the game when it came to Sean Baker. I only saw his previous two films, Starlet and Tangerine, long after they had left theaters and the buzz had died down. When I finally caught them, I was impressed: here is an independent filmmaker in the classic tradition, creating strong characters, confident with his camera and his… read more!
In an empty Boston warehouse in the 1970s, two groups of criminals meet up to exchange a ton of guns for a ton of cash. Bad blood between thugs on each side soon erupts into a fight, and it doesn't take long for all those guns to get put to use. That sums up Free Fire: actors of various levels of renown (including… read more!
That comedian Jordan Peele, late of Key & Peele, would choose horror for his directorial debut – he also wrote the screenplay – comes as a surprise. Yet it's only the first of many surprises in store in the weird, wild, and unpredictable Get Out. Daniel Kaluuya stars as Chris, a black New York photographer whose white girlfriend (Allison Williams) invites him to her parents' mansion upstate,… read more!
A Ghost Story
This is a very strange and mysterious film, and I say the less you know about it going in, the better. But I will divulge this much: A Ghost Story concerns a young couple (Casey Affleck and Rooney Mara) who hear a bump in the night while asleep in their quiet little house. Something... happens, and we are soon introduced… read more!
Forever distancing himself from his pretty boy Twilight days, Robert Pattinson scruffs up to play a small-time Brooklyn crook who, shortly after a bank robbery with his mentally challenged brother (co-director Benny Safdie, convincing) lands his brother in the clink, spends a hellish night trying to get him out. Good Time is a typical film festival darling: it's gritty and frenetic,… read more!
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
I had little enthusiasm for seeing this movie. I found the first Guardians of the Galaxy fun enough, but so forgettable, literally, that whenever this sequel made references to its story, they flew over my head. So why did I bother with Vol. 2? Because I had a voucher for free popcorn at my local movie theater, and I had to use it… read more!