Saturday, December 30, 2017

My Top 10 Movies of 2017

This year I’ve decided to do things a little differently. Normally with each movie on my list I’d include a brief description of why it’s on there but I feel like I’ve just been repeating what I said already in my reviews. So instead I’m just going to include the link to my original reviews and you can reread my thoughts. But basically it’s the same- I’ll start at number 10 and work my way to number one. There’ll be a few honorable mentions as well. 

As always, these are my opinions. I’m not expecting everyone to agree with me on the movies I’ve included. Enjoy :) 

10. Last Flag Flying 

9. Brigsby Bear

8. Mudbound
•There’s no review for this one since I generally don’t do them for Netflix movies. That may change in the near future however. 

7. Dunkirk

6. Coco

5. Detroit 

4. War for the Planet of the Apes

3. Get Out

2. Logan

1. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri 

Honorable Mentions:
The Florida Project 
I Am Not Your Negro
Wind River
The Shape of Water
Blade Runner 2049

Friday, December 29, 2017

The Shape of Water

Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is a mute janitor working at a top secret research facility in the 1960s. One day she and her coworker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a mysterious, and classified, creature being kept there.

•I have been waiting for so long for this movie to play at a theater near me. Now it is, I’ve seen it, and boy I wasn’t disappointed. WOW!! Guillermo del Toro has once again created another beautiful, unique adult fairytale that I’ve absolutely fallen in love with. 
•Only del Toro can tell a story about a romance between a woman and a fishman and make it convincing. It’s actually pretty sweet. 
•The creature design was really cool. I wish they hadn’t given away what he looks like in the trailers. Would’ve been a nice surprise. 
•Stunning cinematography. Loved the blue and green color tones throughout. 
•Hauntingly beautiful score by Alexandre Desplat. 
•Sally Hawkins deserves all the Oscar buzz she’s getting. There’s no spoken dialogue for her character, instead relying on her facial expressions and sign language. It’s amazing and definitely one of the best performances I’ve seen this year. 
•Another actor who I think deserves just as much recognition is Richard Jenkins. His character is very interesting and I felt a lot of sympathy for him. 
•Michael Shannon is Michael Shannon. Had anyone else played this character it would’ve come off as just another over the top, cartoonish villain but of course he made it work. 
•I can totally see people not liking this movie. It certainly not for everyone. But if you’re a del Toro fan like me I think you’ll love it. 

•My only real complaint, and it’s nothing major, was Octavia Spencer. She’s fine in this, but really it’s just the same character she’s been playing for the last couple of years. Would’ve liked to have seen something different. 

My Rating: 9/10

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Star Wars: The Last Jedi (IMAX 3D)

The continuation of the sequel triology following the events of The Force Awakens. That’s all I’m going to say. It’s best going into these movies knowing as little as possible. 

•For those of you going into this worried (like I was) that The Last Jedi was just going to be a remake of Empire Strikes Back, you’ll be happy to know that it’s not. Yes, there are a few moments where it does have an Empire Strikes Back feel. But it wasn’t like Star Trek Into Darkness, which was a blatant remake of Wrath of Khan. 
•Rian Johnson does a really good job directing not only the battle/action scenes but the quieter, more emotional scenes as well. I appreciate the amount of effort he put into this and making it fit in perfectly with the other movies. This is the first movie I’ve seen of his (I keep meaning to watch Looper but haven’t gotten around to it yet. I hear it’s good) but it certainly won’t be the last. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does with the separate Star Wars trilogy he’s got planned. 
•Call me crazy of you want, but I think Mark Hamill gives one of the best performances I’ve seen this year. He continues to be one of my favorite actors. It’s great seeing him again as Luke. Some of the most touching moments and best humor comes from him. All I’ll say about his character in this movie is it’s very fitting and makes sense given all that’s happen to him since the events of the original trilogy. 
•Adam Driver as Kylo Ren annoyed the fuck out of me in The Force Awakens aside from a few scenes. I’m surprised by how good he was in this and how interested I was in his character. Much better written this time around. 
•I love what they did with the rest of the characters (Rey, Finn, Poe, etc.) as well. Not that those ones were badly written before. I just feel like here they were more fleshed out.
•Great special effects. It really is beautiful and thankfully isn’t CGI overkill to the point of being super fake (Unlike the prequels, mainly Attack of the Clones and Revenge of the Sith). 
•Most of the humor really worked (more on that in a bit). I was laughing out loud several times. 
•The second half had me on the edge of my seat and was so compelling and bad ass that by the time it ended and the credits rolled I was like, “Noooooooo!! Keep going damn it! I don’t want to wait another two years.”
•Surprisingly the Porgs didn’t annoy me like I thought they would. While I couldn’t call them my favorite part of the movie, they were no Jar Jar that’s for sure. 
•BB-8 is still adorable and funny and remains one of my favorite parts of this sequel trilogy. 
•Carrie Fisher. It was hard seeing her in this and not tearing up :’( RIP
•Looks amazing on an IMAX screen and if you can I highly recommended seeing it in this format. The 3D was fine but I wouldn’t call it anything special. 

•The first half of this movie was good but I wouldn’t call it great. I mentioned earlier that I liked most of the humor. However, some of it in the beginning just wasn’t working for me and felt forced. No pun intended. Also, and it could be because I was a little tired at the time, some of the scenes really seemed to drag. There’s a certain subplot that happens that felt like it was never going to end and had me feeling like I was going to nod off. Thankfully the second half more than makes up for this. 

My Rating: 8.5/10

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Loving Vincent

Made entirely using oil paint animation. A man goes to the hometown of Vincent Van Gogh to deliver the artist’s final letter. Also delves into the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death. 

•I’ve been wanting to see this movie for a long time and it didn’t disappoint. Wow!! This is one of the most beautiful, unique, and fascinating movies I’ve ever seen. 
•Over 100 artists work tirelessly for years to bring this movie to life and I really hope they get recognized during award season. They did an amazing job. I really felt like I was seeing things the way Van Gogh so them. 
•The story of Van Gogh is so fascinating and tragic. What I love about this movie is they don’t try and give you an exact explanation to what really happened. Did he commit suicide? Was he bullied and then murdered? Who knows. You get insight from various characters and can draw your own conclusions. 
•Wonderful cast. I assumed it would be actors providing voices or maybe some motion capture but from what I heard they shot this as live action and then painted over it. Makes it even more impressive. 
•If you’re a fan of Van Gogh or just of animation in general then you’re going to love this movie. I highly recommend it. 

•Nothing that really affects my rating. A few moments in the beginning where I felt the story wasn’t quite as strong but that’s about it. 

My Rating: 10/10

Friday, December 8, 2017

The Disaster Artist

Based on the book of the same name. Greg Sestero (Dave Franco), an aspiring actor, meets the mysterious Tommy Wiseau (James Franco) at an acting class. A friendship forms and eventually the two of them end up making what many consider the best bad movie of all time- The Room. 

•I’ve been looking forward to this movie for a long time. The Room itself is bizarrely fascinating but just as fascinating is the making of it. I haven’t read The Disaster Artist yet, although after seeing this movie I definitely plan on ordering a copy. This stands a good chance of making my top ten list. I had a blast! 
•You can tell how huge of a fan James Franco is of The Room. Very much a passion project. At first I was worried his portrayal of Tommy would come off as just a bad impression but it totally didn’t. And he doesn’t shy away from showing you the really shitty things Tommy did (and from what I’ve read there was even more that wasn’t shown here). 
•It’s also a very interesting look at just how hard it is to make it in Hollywood. 
•So many funny moments! I’d call this more of a dramedy though. 
•While James Franco does a great job, The one that really stood out was his brother Dave. He was amazing as Greg. 
•So much attention to detail. I’m not spoiling anything by telling you this but during the credits they do side by side comparisons showing you a few of the classic moments from the actual movie and the ones they recreated here. They totally nailed it from the props right down to the exact same wardrobe. 
•If you’re a fan of The Room (and if you’re interested in this movie you probably already are) you’re going to love The Disaster Artist. 

•A few minor issues with the pacing and editing in a few spots but nothing that should stop you from seeing the movie. 

My Rating: 9/10

Sunday, December 3, 2017


Documentary about the life and career of Jane Goodall and her groundbreaking work in the study of chimpanzees. 

•I had known about Jane Goodall before, but this movie really gives you insight into just how important her work has been over the years. She really is a remarkable woman. 
•They recently discovered hundreds of hours of footage from the early years of Jane’s work and this is mostly what this movie is made up of. It holds up really well I must say. There’s a very beautiful quality to it that only film can have. 
•So many adorable animals! 
•Impressive sound mixing/editing especially when it comes to the scenes with all the chimpanzees. You really feel like you’re there. 

•Just to warm you, this movie does feature animals getting sick and dying. I tend to avoid any movie involving animals for this reason. Luckily they don’t linger on these moments for very long. 
•They really hit you over the head with symbolism in certain scenes. I kept thinking, is this really necessary?
•Could’ve use just a little bit tighter editing. 

My Rating: 8/10

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Killing of a Sacred Deer

When Steven (Colin Farrell), a surgeon, takes a young teenage boy named Martin (Barry Keoghan) under his wing his life quickly begins to fall apart. 

•I’ll give director Yorgos Lanthimos credit, his movies certainly are unique. He also directed The Lobster, a movie I didn’t particularly care for even though I thought it was well made and well acted. I just didn’t like the tone. Anyway, I have to say for the most part I liked this one much better. I’m a big fan of psychological thrillers and movies that bring up big moral dilemmas. 
•Like The Lobster, all of the characters speak in very monotone voices throughout the whole movie. There were maybe two or three moments where anyone showed any real emotion and even then it was VERY brief. And the random things they would talk about. Very odd and at times inappropriate. Definitely got some awkward laughs. A lot of people are going to hate this about the movie but it didn’t bother me. 
•Intriguing story (which was also written by the director I believe) that kept my attention the whole time. 
•I’ve liked most things I’ve seen Colin Farrell in and I thought he and Nicole Kidman were great in this. 
•The real performance that is sticking out to me is Barry Keoghan. Last thing I saw him in was Dunkirk and that role couldn’t have been more different that what he does here. In this movie he plays a very disturbed young man. They never tell you specifically but if I were to guess his character has some form of Aspergers. He really nails this down to the tiniest detail. Very believable. 
•The muted color tones (make no mistake though, it’s not totally devoid of colors. This isn’t a Zack Snyder film.) fit perfectly with the tone they were going for. 
•Kudos to the make up department for their amazing work. This isn’t really a spoiler because they talk about it in the trailer but there’s a scene where a character’s eyes are bleeding. It looked so real that you could swear they must’ve really done something to their eyes. 

•Extremely slow paced and while for the most part I was fine with it, there were times towards the end where it had me saying, “Okay that’s enough. Let’s start wrapping this up.”
•The overpowering score. It didn’t happen too often but in some scenes they would play this very loud combination of violin, piano, and what sounded like a moving train. It would drown out the dialogue and I couldn’t understand what characters were saying. 

My Rating: 8/10

Friday, November 24, 2017


Despite his family’s ban on music, Miguel (Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of being a musician just like his famous great great Grandfather Ernesto de la Cruz. Following a chain of events, he winds up in The Land of the Dead where he discovers the truth behind his family’s history. 

•Pixar has done it again! I absolutely loved this movie. Such a well written story with a strong message about family. It’s been a long time since I movie made me cry like this (I mean full on sobbing. There’s been a few movies that made me teary eyed). I mean that in a good way of course. 
•Going into this I was a little worried that it would just be your typical Mexican stereotypes but it wasn’t. It was all very respectful and kudos to the entire team behind this for doing their research. I feel like they really nailed down Mexican culture right down to the tiniest detail. 
•Some of the most gorgeous animation I’ve seen in awhile. So many bright colors and again, the attention to detail... wow!!
•All the actors they got to do the voices did a great job. Especially the little boy that voiced Miguel. 
•Not as predictable as you might think. 
•What I love about most Pixar movies is that they appeal not only to kids but to adults as well. At my screening there were way more adults than kids. 
•It’s going to be so hard to make my top ten list this year. One things for sure, I will be including Coco on it. 

•This has nothing to do with the movie itself and in no way changes my rating. Coco is a flawless movie in my opinion. I just have to mention what everyone is talking about- the 20 minute (yes, you read that right) Olaf short they showed before the movie. Now I love Frozen and don’t necessarily hate this short. It was actually kind of cute at times. But there was absolutely no need to show this in front of the movie, especially when you’ve already got a million trailers as well. This belongs on tv (in fact I swear I’ve already seen this on tv last year at this time). What were you thinking Disney?!? Stick to the usual 5-8 minute shorts next time. 

My Rating: 10/10

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Goodbye Christopher Robin

A look at the life of author A.A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) who got the inspiration to create the Winnie the Pooh series from his son Christopher Robin (Will Tilston as a child, Alex Lawther as an adult). 

•Like many others, I grew up absolutely loving Winnie the Pooh (and still do). I’ll admit though, I didn’t know too much about the author and the story behind the books other than the fact that the real Christopher Robin grew up to resent his father for everything. It’s an interesting story and I’m glad it’s finally being told. 
•I thought Domhnall Gleeson gave a good and convincing performance as someone coming back from war and suffering severe PTSD. I really wish the movie had delved further into this issue. 
•The real star of the movie for me was Will Tilston. Such a terrific actor already at such a young age.  His performance was so heartbreaking as you watch the consequences of all this fame being thrusted upon this little boy and the price he pays. He and Gleeson were great together in all of their scenes. As well as Kelly Macdonald, who plays Christopher’s nanny Olive. 
•Very emotional. You’re bound to cry more than once watching this. I know I did. 
•Beautiful cinematography. 

•I feel like the movie could’ve benefited from being a little bit longer. Certain parts of the story felt too rushed. 
•I like Margot Robbie in some things (especially in a movie I saw recently called I, Tonya) but I didn’t care for her here. Her character was underdeveloped and honestly a real bitch at times. From what I’ve hear though, that’s how Christopher’s mother was in real life. 

My Rating: 8/10

Friday, November 17, 2017

Justice League (IMAX)

Even though I don’t consider anything in my review a spoiler since it was either in the trailers or fairly common knowledge, I’m putting this up just in case. You’ve been warned. 

 Following the events of Batman v. Superman, Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) and Wonder Woman (Gal Godot) put together a team including Aquaman (Jason Mamoa), Flash (Ezra Miller), and Cyborg (Ray Fisher) in order to stop Steppenwolf (Ciarán Hinds)- who is sent by Darkseid to find three artifacts hidden on Earth. 

•It was better than Batman v. Superman. Not that that was a hard thing to do. 
•You can tell where Joss Whedon took over. That’s definitely a good thing. For one, the story becomes more cohesive and actually slows down, taking the time to develop the characters and their formation as a believable team. Also, there’s finally some humor. And one more thing- COLOR!!! 
•The one thing I liked about Batman v. Superman was Ben Affleck as Bruce Wayne/Batman. I still like him here. Interesting take on the character. 
•Speaking of Batman, I really enjoyed the ‘89 Batman vibe I got from some of the scenes. Right down to the score (they brought Danny Elfman onboard so it makes sense). 
•I’ll give Snyder this much, he is good with visuals for the most part. And there were some kick ass action scenes. I just wish he would tone it the fuck down sometimes (more on that in a bit) 
•Trimmed things down to a two hour run time. 
•They pulled a Marvel so be sure to stay through the entire credits. There’s two scenes, one of which I thought was pretty funny. Again that Whedon humor that I really like. 
•DC has a long way to go but this and Wonder Woman are a step in the right direction. 
•Jason Mamoa actually made a good Aquaman. You could tell he was having a blast. Ezra Miller as the Flash as well. 
•Looks good on an IMAX screen. 

•The first part of this was definitely all Snyder. I was watching it and at times I was thinking, “Oh fuck, here we go again!”. He clearly doesn’t understand the concept of superheroes. And he goes insane with the CGI. It is CGI overload at times. So much that it was hard to make out what was happening in certain scenes. 
•Snyder also needs to stop writing and stick to visuals. There is dialogue in this that is some of the worst and cheesiest I’ve seen in a long time. 
•Terrible villain. 

My Rating: 7/10

Sunday, November 12, 2017

Victoria and Abdul

Based on the true story of Queen Victoria’s (Judi Dench) unlikely friendship with Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal), an Indian Clerk. 

•I’ll give the movie credit for being honest. Right off the bat they tell you that this is “mostly” based on a true story. Of course I knew about Queen Victoria but until recently I didn’t know anything about her relationship with Abdul. I could tell though that this probably a very highly fictionalized version of what happened. However, that doesn’t make the movie any less enjoyable for me. 
•While I thought Ai Fazal was wonderful as Abdul (he’s certainly very charming and had great chemistry with Judi Dench), this is really Judi Dench’s movie. She was damn near perfect in this her second time around as Queen Victoria. The woman can do no wrong in my opinion. While I don’t think she’ll necessarily win, I can see her getting an Oscar nomination for her performance. 
•Director Stephen Frears (who also worked with Judi Dench on Philomena, another great movie) really nailed the look and feel of the time period. 
•A surprising amount of humor. 

•Seemed very rushed in the beginning. 
•While the musical score was pretty, in certain scenes it felt overpowering. 
•Towards the end it got a little too emotionally manipulative for my liking. 

My Rating: 7.5/10

Friday, November 10, 2017

Murder on the Orient Express

Based on the Agatha Christie novel. Hercule Poirot (Kenneth Branagh, who also serves as director) attempts to solve a murder onboard a train with 13 suspects. 

•I’ll give Kenneth Branagh this much, he knows how to make a gorgeous looking movie. I really liked the cinematography as well as the color tones. 
•As far as his performance as Poitot, I thought he did a good job. It could’ve easily come off as over the top had it been a lesser actor. 
•Intriguing enough story. If you’re into a good old fashioned murder mystery I think you’ll enjoy this. 
•Strong supporting cast. 
•Subtle yet beautiful musical score. 

•The ending felt very rushed. At the same time the beginning moved a little too slow (didn’t really pick up pace until they got to the train). 
•While Branagh is a good director, I think he struggled just a bit trying to juggle so many characters at first. Eventually he was able to get the hang of it though. 
•A few of the characters were a little underdeveloped. 
•Some rough spots with the dialogue. 

My Rating: 7/10

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

Film Columbia 2017

The Square
What an interesting film to kick off the film festival. Claes Bang gives a good performance as Christian, a curator at a contemporary art museum. Part satire, part drama, and a surprising amount of humor. Definitely took some turns I wasn’t expecting. Didn’t think it needed to be almost two and a half hours and some scenes dragged a little, but it’s a fascinating movie that’s worth checking out. 
My Rating: 7.5/10

Directed by George Clooney from a Cohen Brothers script, this dark comedy was amazing. Well written, outstanding acting (especially Julianne Moore and the little boy who plays Matt Damon’s son), and so much more. Despite being slightly over the top in the last 30 minutes, this is one of the best movies I’ve seen this year. 
My Rating: 9/10

The Russians Are Coming
From what I understand, this black and white movie was made in 1968 but was banned by East Germany (partially because it features a Nazi as the protagonist) before it was completely finished. Years later the director was finally able to piece everything together and restore the movie as best he could. So I can forgive the movie for the extremely choppy editing. It’s an interesting story but there were times where it was dull as well. Caught myself nodding off a little. 
My Rating: 6/10

The Wound
Powerful South African drama about Xolani, a factory worker who every year travels to the mountains to help initiated into the traditional right of passage into manhood. Well acted, especially considering out of the whole cast only one is a professional actor. Beautiful cinematography as well. Best way I can describe it is it’s kind of like the African Brokeback Monutain. 
My Rating: 8.5/10

A Fantastic Woman
Strong performance by Daniela Vega as Marina, a transgendered waitress/singer whose world is turned upside down by the sudden death of her much older boyfriend Orlando and having to deal with his hateful family in the aftermath. A little tough to watch during one scene in particular, but it’s a great movie that I highly recommend. 
My Rating: 9/10

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World
Interesting documentary about the impact Native American music has had on other genres throughout the years. While it’s your typical documentary and I wouldn’t call it a masterpiece, it’s worth checking out if you’re a music fan. 
My Rating: 7.5/10

I, Tonya
A late addition to the festival (they were suppose to be showing The Current War, but it’s a Weinstein Company movie so it was pulled for obvious reasons). The movie is about infamous figure skater Tonya Harding (played brilliantly by Margot Robbie). Supporting cast was really good as well, including Allison Janney as Tonya’s mother (I can see her getting a Best Supporting Actress nomination). My only real complaint is they do the whole break the fourth wall thing. It was fine at first but became overkill after awhile. 
My Rating: 8/10

Wind Seed
Well I can see why this was banned initially for “not being a movie”. Not a god damn thing happens here. A guy drives around (there’s a lot of driving in this movie) overseeing a highway development, another guy riding a bike hanging up movie posters, and someone else looking for the dog that bit him. That’s about it. I was bored out of my mind! Kept nodding off. What was the point? I’m pretty open minded when it comes to movies but this tested my patience. Only nice thing I can say is it’s competently shot. Avoid at all costs. 
My Rating: 4/10

The Nile Hilton Incident
Thrilling crime drama about a maid who witnesses a murder and the policeman assigned to the case. Of course, there’s all sorts of corruption and certain important people that don’t want the case solved. If you’re into these types of movies I think you’ll like this as well. 
My Rating: 8/10

Maya Dardel 
Beautifully shot movie about a poet (played by the captivating Lena Olin) who plans on ending her life and has young male poets compete to be executer of her estate. Very slow paced and certainly won’t be for everyone. 
My Rating: 6/10

Last Flag Flying
Richard Linklater’s latest movie about three Vietnam veterans (Steve Carrell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne, all three of whom give incredible performances) who reunite 30 years later to help bury one of their sons, who was killed while serving in Iraq. You’ll want to have plenty of tissues handy because this well made drama will hit you right in the feels. There’s also plenty of humor injected throughout. Well written script. One of the best movies I’ve seen this year. Highly recommended. 
My Rating: 10/10

Black and white Hungarian film taking place over the course of a single day on August 12, 1945. Two mysterious Jewish men arrive in a village. Things drastically change for everyone in just a few hours. I found the story very interesting that even with the war over, how horribly the Jewish people were still being treated. The movie itself though played out a bit too much like a soap opera with all the drama and betrayal. None of the acting really stood out to me either. Still, if you’re into period pieces it’s worth checking out if it ever comes to Netflix. 
My Rating: 7/10

Documentary about musician Chavela Vargas. I’ll admit up until now I had never heard of her. What an interesting and talented woman. A must watch for music fans. 
My Rating: 8/10

120 Beats Per Minute
Takes place in 1990. A group of activists work hard to fight the indifference towards AIDS. At the heart of it also is this beautiful love story. What I appreciate about this movie is that they didn’t shy away from showing how how brutal AIDS is. You see every agonizing minute of suffering. Tough to sit through (be sure to have plenty of tissues handy) but I highly recommend it. Could’ve used some tighter editing but other than that it’s an amazing movie. 
My Rating: 9/10

Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool
Tells the story of Peter Turner (Jamie Bell) who had a relationship with aging Hollywood actress Gloria Grahame (Annette Bening). I’ll be honest, the saving grace of this movie for me was Jamie Bell and Annette Benning. They played the roles well and I thought they had very good chemistry. But the movie overall was a bit of a mess- direction, script, editing, visual effects (not that there was a lot of visual effects, but there were a few moments where it was painfully obvious they were standing in front of a green screen and not on the beach or looking out at the city skyline), etc. I also felt like it was trying way too hard to be an Oscar contender. Is it worth seeing? Sure. But I wouldn’t suggest paying to see it in theaters. 
My Rating: 6.5/10

Dog Days
It’s not even worth going into detail about. All I’ll say is the direction is competent enough, which is why I’m not giving this an even lower rating. This director needs to hire a writer instead of writing himself because he’s terrible at it. Characters are so unlikeable. Avoid this. 
My Rating: 3/10

Let Yourself Go
With all the somber movies that have been playing at the festival, this Italian comedy was such a nice change of pace. The two main actors were amazing and played off of each other very well. If you ever come across this gem, I highly recommend it. 
My Rating: 9/10

The Ballad of Lefty Brown
They don’t make too many Westerns like this anymore. Wasn’t really feeling it at first (mainly Bill Pullman who I’m a fan of but I feel like he was slightly miscast) but it got better as the movie event on. Stunning cinematography and it was nice to find out it was shot on film. Tommy Flanagan (aka Chibbs from SOA) was great in this and I would’ve liked to have seen it focused more on him. Was a little too predictable. While far from the best Western I’ve ever seen, it’s worth checking out. 
My Rating: 8/10

Happy End
FUCK.THIS.MOVIE. From the director of Amour. That’s all you need to know. Safe to say I won’t be watching any of his films again. 
My Rating: 2/10

Russia’s selection into this years Best Foreign Movie Oscar. A couple is soon to be divorced and neither really wants custody of their 12 year old son. Soon the boy goes missing. Well made, but very disturbing. Tough to watch. If you’re a parent I would stay far away from this. 
My Rating: 8/10

The Rape of Recy Taylor
Documentary about Recy Taylor, a young African American woman who was brutally raped by 6 white men. Very powerful and something I think everyone should see. I say this all the time but it makes me sick to my stomach to think that this occurred decades ago and really not much has changed since then. 
My Rating: 10/10

Into the Night: Portraits of Life and Death
Documentary about death and dying. Sounds depressing? Yeah, it is but not nearly as much as you would think. I enjoyed the second half more than I did the first half (not that the first half was bad). I was especially fascinated with the segments on cryogenics and near death experiences. 
My Rating: 7.5/10

The Leisure Seeker
Heartwarming (and at times very funny) movie starring the great Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland. While not their best roles, I thought they were very sweet together. 
My Rating: 7/10

The Florida Project
Beautifully made movie about childhood taking place over a single summer on the outskirts of Disney World. Brooklynn Prince shines as Mooney. What a talented little girl. I hope she continues to be in more movies. William Dafoe gives an award worthy performance (as Bobby, the manager at the Magic Castle hotel) as well. Highly recommended. 
My Rating: 10/10

In The Fade
I can see why Diane Kruger has been getting a lot of Oscar buzz. There’s something seriously wrong if she doesn’t get nominated for her strong (and heartbreaking) role as a grieving woman whose husband and young son are killed in a bomb attack. Wasn’t that crazy about the ending but other than that it was well done. 
My Rating: 9/10

Call Me By Your Name
This was such a chore to get through. It’s a well made movie with gorgeous locations but I kept nodding off. The very definition of an art house movie. Awkward line delivery. Not a big fan of Armie Hammer’s performance in this either. 
My Rating: 5.5/10

Lady Bird
The Saturday night surprise movie this year. Absolutely wonderful coming of age story. Great mother/daughter dynamic between Saoirse Ronan and Lauren Metcalf. Impressive directorial debut of Greta Gerwig, whom I’ve always liked as an actress and now I’d love to see her direct more. Highly recommended. 
My Rating: 10/10

The Other Side of Hope
Aki Kaurismäki tackles the refugee crisis masterfully in this movie about a poker player turned restauranteur who befriends a Syrian refugee. Well acted and there was even some humor sprinkled throughout (this director uses very deadpan humor and it may not be for everyone). It started off a little slow to come together but other than that a great movie that I strongly urge everyone to see. 
My Rating: 8.5/10

Faces Places
Documentary (although some of it feels a bit staged at times) about the unlikely friendship between director Agnes Varda and photographer J.R. as they travel through France creating these beautiful poster photos, placing them on buildings and other locations throughout various villages. Fascinating. I also liked the very creative opening/closing animated credits. 
My Rating: 7.5/10

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
The great Frances McDormand stars as a woman who, after several months and no progress of in her daughter’s murder case, boldly creates three billboards going into town aimed at the chief of police (Woody Harrelson). WOW!! What a movie to end my festival experience this year. I knew it would be good but holy shit was I blown away. Great job by all cast and crew. Strong story that once again shows you how fucked up the police system really is. McDormand gives one of the best performances I’ve seen this year. She better get an Oscar nomination. Once this is released in theaters I strongly urge everyone to see this. 
My Rating: 10/10

Friday, October 20, 2017


Plot (HAHAHAHAHA!!!!!!):
When a group of satellites designed to control the weather start attacking the Earth instead, it creates a huge geostorm that threatens to wipe everyone and everything out. 

•Make no mistake people, this is a shitty movie. But oh what glorious shit it is! I had a blast watching this from beginning to end. 
•Gerard Butler as an astronaut. He’s a terrible actor don’t get me wrong, but there’s a certain charm in how bad he is. 
•Andy Garcia as the President. Still would make a better President than Trump. 
•Such over the top “acting” by the extras when they’re reacting to all the disasters. I was laughing hysterically several times throughout the movie. 
•Surprisingly had some heart to it. Granted those moments were VERY brief but it still, more than I was expecting. 
•Somewhat decent score. 
•I’m giving this a much higher rating than I thought I would, simply because I had so much fun. This is the type of movie that’s so bad it’s good and one I recommend watching with a group of friends. You’ll have a great time guaranteed. 

•As soon as I saw the first trailer for this what seems like forever ago, I thought, “This guy went to the Rolland Emmerich school of directing.” Sure enough, it’s one of his protégés. 
•There’s a certain actor that as soon as he appears on screen, you know he’s going to be revealed as the bad guy. Just look on the IMDb page and I’m sure you can figure it out. 
•For a movie with a budget of $120 million, the visual effects were awful. 
•Cringeworthy dialogue. 

My Rating: 5.5/10

Sunday, October 15, 2017

The Unknown Girl

Dr. Jenny Davin (Adèle Haenel) becomes obsessed with the case of an unknown dead woman after learning that the woman died shortly after ringing her doorbell for help. 

•Interesting story about guilt and how, even if something wasn’t your fault or you didn’t know what would happen, it can still eat away at you. 
•Really good performance by Adèle Harnel, who a lot of the time is acting simply with her eyes or facial expressions (although she does have plenty of dialogue too). She remind me a lot of a young Kate Winslet. Looks exactly like her too. 

•Became a little dull at times. There were long stretches where all the main character was doing was making house calls to her patients (we get get, she’s a doctor) or driving around in her car with somber expression on her face. It felt like a waste of time. Time that could’ve been put to better use. 
•It’s an interesting story as I just said, but I feel like they could’ve done more with it. 

My Rating: 7/10

Friday, October 13, 2017


Focuses on a young Thurgood Marshall (Chadwick Boseman), who at the time was working as a lawyer for the NAACP. He teams up with Sam Friedman (Josh Gad) to take on the case of a black chauffeur who stands accused of raping Connecticut socialite Eleanor Strubing (Kate Hudson). 

•If you’re going into this expecting a full on biopic of Thurgood Marshall you’re going to be a little disappointed. However, you do get a very compelling courtroom drama. The film focuses instead on this one specific case he worked on early in his career. I of course knew who Marshall was but I had never heard of this case. It’s interesting they chose to go in this direction. 
•While Chadwick Boseman doesn’t look like the real Marshall at all, he really embodies who he was. Had me convinced. He has a commanding presence on screen. Very charming as well. He’s quickly becoming one of my favorite actors. 
•Josh Gad was great in this as well. It’s weird because the only things I’ve really seen him in lately are Disney movies. I’d love to see him take on more roles like this. He and Chadwick Boseman‘s relationship in this is probably my favorite things about the movie. They work well together plus there’s a surprising amount of humor. 
•Some nice cinematography. I liked the warm color tones they chose here. 
•We need more movies like this, especially with everything going on lately. 
•God damn it Dan Stevens! I love you and all but you’re such an asshole in this. Played the part well though. 

•Felt very rushed in the beginning. 
•A few of the scenes were so awkwardly shot. They were suppose to be serious and dramatic but instead they turned out unintentionally funny. Maybe in the hands of a slightly more competent director they would’ve been fine. 

My Rating: 8/10

Sunday, October 8, 2017

The Fencer

After fleeing from the Russian secret police years earlier, a young fencer named Endel (Märt Avandi) is forced to return to his homeland. Eventually, his past catches up with him. 

•Outstanding performance by Märt Avandi. Had it been a lesser actor the movie might not have worked. 
•Going into this I had no idea it was based on a true story. It makes me want to look up more information about the real Endel. 
•I’m not a fan of fencing at all but this movie made it interesting.
•Supporting cast, especially the kids, were for the most part really good. 
•Beautifully shot and directed. 

•Follows many of the same tropes you see in these types of movies. 
•The principal of the school where Endel teaches and is suppose to be what you would call a villain, is kind of one dimensional. But not in a cartoonish way or anything. 
•While they paint a good picture, I would’ve liked to have seen them delve further into the story of what it was like like living in Estonia under Soviet rule. 

My Rating: 8/10

Friday, October 6, 2017

Blade Runner 2049 (3D)

30 years after the events of the first film, young blade runner K (Ryan Gosling) discovers a long buried secret that leads him to Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), who has been missing this whole time. 

•I was kind of skeptical when they first announced they were making this movie but they thankfully proved me wrong. Wow!! You can tell all of the people working on this love this material. It’s a very worthy successor to the 1982 classic. 
•Denis Villeneuve was the perfect choice to direct. He’s so good at directing these very slow burning, smart sci fi movies that don’t need to rely on big fight scenes and blow em up action. Make no mistake, there’s fights and action and it’s totally bad ass, but it’s not overkill they way a lot of movies are these days. 
•Very fascinating and (for the most part) well written characters. The story was as well. 
•Wasn’t as predictable as you might expect. I thought I knew how things were going to go and then BAM! It took me by surprise. 
•Good god is this movie gorgeous! Not only the world that they’ve created but little things as well. Like the way they cast shadows or filters on characters in certain scenes. 
•Ryan Gosling was really good but I have to say Harrison Ford gives his best performance in years. 
•Don’t be afraid of the nearly three hour run time. It flys by! When it cut to the credits I was like, “What?!?! That’s it? NOOOO! Keep going damn it.” I was so in love with this world that I never wanted the movie to end. 

•These are just very minor nitpicks that I decided aren’t worth lowering my rating but felt I should tell you about. Mainly, I wouldn’t  suggest seeing this in 3D. It’s not that it’s necessarily bad 3D but the movie is already dark enough and this only makes it darker and makes things hard to make out in certain scenes. 
•I wasn’t crazy about Jared Leto’s performance. Thankfully he’s not in the movie that much. 

My Rating: 10/10