Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Best & Worst Movies of 2017


I put my top 15 and bottom 5 at the end.

Caveat #1 - Your Name is technically a 2016 title, so I've put it in my top five from last year. It'd be in my top five this year if it counted.

Caveat #2 - My top and bottom lists will change as I see more 2017 titles. Still haven't seen The Post, Phantom Thread, The Florida Project, and many other movies getting year-end praise. Skipped a lot of bad movies I knew I wouldn't like.

Caveat #3 - Netflix would like to treat their movies as if they were theatrically released, but to me if they don't get that theatrical run, they're TV movies. And yet, I'm seeing some Netflix movies get on top ten lists and even nominations.

The 2017 Netflix movies I've seen:

MUDBOUND - Very well done; the racial injustice of 1940's Mississippi is infuriating. Great performances from all involved, but Mary J. Blige is a standout because it's so subdued. We don't expect her in this type of role.

I DON'T FEEL AT HOME IN THIS WORLD ANYMORE - This dark comedy stars Melanie Lynsky and Elijah Wood are an odd couple who've had it with the unkindness of society.

THE MEYEROWITZ STORIES (NEW AND SELECTED) - Adam Sandler in one of those rare movies where he tries, and he's great as the older neglected son of an eccentric, maddening sculptor (Dustin Hoffman) whose art might not be near as important as he thinks it is. Ben Stiller and Constance Zimmer are also really good.

THE BABYSITTER - Fun horror comedy about a boy who discovers his babysitter is actually the head of a murderous satanic cult.

GERALD'S GAME - One of Stephen King's least accessible books is turned into a pretty decent movie thanks to Carla Gugino and Bruce Greenwood.

OKJA - Weird but in a good way. Plus Tilda Swinton.

WHEELMAN - Frank Grillo is my favorite blue-collar action hero right now, and it's a showcase for him since most of the movie takes place with him driving around.

BRIGHT - It's like Suicide Squad but more serious. It was a miss for me.

-----

So anyway, here are the other 44 movies of 2017 I saw.

Alphabetically...

ALIEN: COVENANT (★★½) - This is one where I liked it at the time, but it's gone down in my estimation since. Interesting Hammer horror take, but the xenomorphs are given a back seat to Michael Fassbender's David, and we're not here to see David: Covenant. Ridley Scott had another Alien prequel movie planned to take place between this and the events of the original Alien, but I think it's okay to just let this franchise go for a while. I'd rather see a sequel in a few years that ignores Alien 3, 4, and the two Predator tie-ins.

ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD (★★★) - Michelle Williams gives a performance we've never seen from her before as the ex-daughter-in-law of the richest man on Earth who refuses to pay the ransom when her son is kidnapped. Christopher Plummer came in at the elventh hour to shoot all of his scenes in the wake of the Kevin Spacey scandal, and he nails it. His J. Paul Getty is wily, driven, selfish, happy, cruel and has that general billionaire craziness.

AMERICAN MADE (★★★) - Tom Cruise charms it up as Barry Seal, a pilot who helped smuggle guns and drugs for Pablo Escobar under CIA orders, or at least that's what he thought was happening.

ANNABELLE: CREATION (★★½) - Bad dialogue but at least this is a horror director who knows what he's doing.

ATOMIC BLONDE (★★★) - The plot may be trashy John Le Carre, but this movie more than makes up for it with style, including a ten-minute fight scene on a staircase that all take splace in one take. Charlize Theron's great; I wouldn't mind a sequel.

BEAUTY & THE BEAST (★★★) - This live-action remake has its charms, but it's also a little too faithful to the original, with several scenes that feel like they're going for shot-by-shot remakes.

THE BEGUILED (★★½) - Sofia Coppola seems to have a specialty for delicate female characters. I loved the scenery, but the story never took off.

THE BELKO EXPERIMENT (★★½) - Fun idea that unfortunately gets too predictable once most of the cast has been killed off. In fact, if you know the number of survivors, you can probably guess correctly which ones they'll be in the first few minutes.

BLADE RUNNER 2049 (★★★) - Beautiful cinematography, slowly paced, probably wouldn't have lost anything being fifteen minutes shorter, but good work from Ryan Gosling and stand-out work from some actresses who haven't had opportunities to shine like this before (Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks).

THE BOSS BABY (★★★) - Surprisingly complex plot for a kids film that relies on kindergarten-level potty humor. Alec Baldwin nails it as his Glengarry Glen Ross character in baby form.

A CURE FOR WELLNESS (★★½) - Sure it's too long but I still enjoyed walking down this weird detour-filled trip in a wellness facility that hides some dark secrets. A guilty pleasure for me.

DETROIT (★★★) - Harrowing horror movie that's difficult to watch. Based on the true events of the Detroit Riots of 1967, it focusses on a group of innocent bystanders who are tortured and taunted by some racist cops who just feel like they need to find someone guilty after they came in with guns blazing. Will Poulter is frightening, and the movie is in-your-face about police brutality.

THE DINNER (★★★) - Four adults need to figure out how to handle the fallout after their two boys wind up committing a shocking crime together. Good work from Richard Gere.

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS (★★) - Worst one in a while, where it made me wish they could just dump some of the deadweight characters. Paul Walker's missed, but Ludacris wouldn't be.

FREE FIRE (★★½) - Plenty of actors are having fun, and I enjoyed the mix of all of them together, but there's really not much that can happen once the gunfire starts.

GHOST IN THE SHELL (★★) - Points for style, but ultimately boring remake.

THE GREAT WALL  (★★½) - I liked this more than it deserved. Matt Damon is not the white savior the previews made him out to be, and I loved the drums, but the "true story" of why the wall was built in the first place doesn't make sense. The battles felt too much like Starship Troopers.

THE GREATEST SHOWMAN (★★★) - Not often we get original musicals on screen. This film takes gigantic liberties with the life of P.T. Barnum, but it's a decent entertainment. It wouldn't take much to convert it to a stage musical.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2 (★★★) - Fine, but not as good as the first.

HAPPY DEATH DAY (★★★) - Groundhog Day, but where the heroine gets killed at the end of every day. She has to figure out who's killing her or she has to keep living it. It's well done for what it is. I liked that my first and second guesses as to whodunit were wrong.

IT (★★★) - Engaging period horror flick based on half of Stephen King's bestseller. Bill Skarsgard is great as Pennywise, and most of the kids are great too. I came away a little disappointed that it wasn't scarier.

IT COMES AT NIGHT (★★½) - Nothing comes at night, and I think the movie would have been stronger if something had, at the end. This is about paranoia.

JIGSAW (★★½) - Blends together with most of the sequels. Okay enough twist ending.

JOHN WICK 2 (★★★) - He's back! Not quite as good as the first, but still fun.

JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE (★★★½) - Plenty of laughs to be had as Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart and Karen Gillan play four teenagers who are sucked into a video game and have to function with their avatars' powers, allowing all to play against type. Johnson's the geek, Hart's the jock, Gillan's the loner, and Black is the stuck-up babe most traumatized by her new body.

JUSTICE LEAGUE (★★) - It had its moments, but DC just needs to get un-Snyderized to save itself. Steppenwolf is a terrible villain. I would be interested in the Justice League 2 teased in the post-credits stinger if a new creative team took over these films.

KILLING GUNTHER (★★½) - Mockumentary has its moments. SNL's Taran Killam writes, directs, and stars in this film about a hitman who assembles a team to help him kill Gunther (Arnold Schwarzenegger), the best assassin in the world.

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE (★★) - Disappointing sequel. Channing Tatum and Jeff Bridges are hardly in it, and Eggsy's love interest from the first movie dies in the first ten minutes. Why?

KONG: SKULL ISLAND (★★★) - Good ol' fashioned monster movie mayhem.

LADY BIRD (★★½) - Annoying characters. I intellectually recognize it was well made, well acted, and I was never bored, but I had a rotten feeling when the end credits rolled. I know I'm in the minority on this one.

THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE (★★★) - Tons of laughs. Fades from memory quickly.

LIFE (★★★) - Sure, it's a ripoff of Alien, but it's okay horror in its own right. The larger "Calvin" grows, the scarier it becomes.

THE LOST CITY OF Z (★★½) - This one never really took off for me. The cinematography was disappointing and it got a bit repetitive. Good work from Robert Pattinson though.

MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS (★★★) - Bring on the Agathaverse! Kenneth Branagh amuses as Hercule Poirot, and plenty of good actors make the most of their screen-time, from Johnny Depp to Judi Dench to Michelle Pfeiffer to Willem Dafoe to...

PIRATES OF THE CARIBBEAN: DEAD MEN TELL NO TALES (★★½) - One of the better Pirates sequels, despite zero character growth from Captain Jack Sparrow.

ROMAN J. ISRAEL ESQ. (★★½) - Great Denzel performance; slow, dull movie.

THE SHAPE OF WATER (★★★) - A twisted love story only someone like Guillermo Del Toro could tell.

SHOT CALLER (★★★) - Game of Thrones's Nikolaj Coster-Waldau takes on a very different role as a fairly decent fellow who goes to prison for a DUI that resulted in someone's death, but he's forced to commit heinous crimes in that prison in order to stay alive. I'm glad they used a non-linear approach to tell the story.

THE SNOWMAN (★★) - The weirdest Val Kilmer appearance ever. Key plot points missing because they didn't bother filming the entire script. An "act of God" thwarting the villain at the end. Chloe Sevigny as twins... why? Good cast keeps most of it watchable, but the movie itself is a big misfire.

SPLIT (★★★) - M. Night Shyamalan made two good movies in a row, which hasn't happened for fifteen years.

VALERIAN & THE CITY OF 1000 PLANETS (★★½) - Terrific visuals wasted around a miscast Dane DeHaan and a disjointed, lurching story.

WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES (★★★) - Well made, but it can't be my favorite when it's designed to get you to root for the extinction of the human race.

WISH UPON (★½) - Unscary. Bad acting.

XXX: RETURN OF XANDER CAGE (★½) - This franchise exists to make Fast & Furious look realistic.


===BOTTOM FIVE===

5. THE BAD BATCH - Sixty minutes of an intriguing idea stretched out to a hundred and twenty, with thirty minutes of the good idea cut out. This dystopian drama has a lot of people walking around silently in the desert. Buried in this is a good extended-cameo performance from Jim Carrey as a hermit who won't speak.

4. THE CIRCLE - This "thriller" about invasive technology feels like it's years out of date, and it can't get over its glaring central flaw: why would a woman allegedly as smart as Mae (Emma Watson) be so gullible and stupid? How can so many supposedly-bright employees not see the evil implications of the Circle? It then ends with a jaw-droppingly bad anticlimax.

3. THE MUMMY - I'm a Tom Cruise fan, but this movie made the mistake of being a "Tom Cruise movie" instead of a story about the mummy. If you thought DC was awkward in the expanding of its universe, Batman v. Superman has nothing on this. Why have Dr. Jekyll show up halfway through it, other than cynical brand expansion?

2. UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS - Put a stake through the heart of this vampire franchise already.

1. RINGS - This spin-off of The Ring squanders its potential by not caring about what the rules are with Samara, and it's never scary. It goes through the motions of what scary movies do without seeming to know why.

===TOP FIFTEEN===

15. DARKEST HOUR - A perfect companion piece for Dunkirk, this shows Winston Churchill's first month in office as prime minister, after confidence in Neville Chamberlain has collapsed and Germany is marching through France. Gary Oldman, with help of makeup, loses himself in the role of Churchill.

14. SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING - Michael Keaton's Vulture was one of my favorite MCU villains yet. He was blue-collar with an understandable motive. The tension in the car when he realizes who Peter Parker really is... (*chef's kiss*)

13. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING MISSOURI - Frances McDormand is a shoo-in for an Oscar nod, and she might even be the front-runner. It's a uniformly good cast from Woody Harrelson to Sam Rockwell. My one complaint would be that there are two violent felonies committed during the movie where they just don't bother to charge the guilty parties.

12. LOGAN LUCKY - Steven Soderbergh gives an Ocean's 11 type heist movie but sets it in West Virginia. Daniel Craig looks like he's having the time of his life as a redneck robber.

11. THOR: RAGNAROK - Few Marvel movies have allowed themselves to be so gleeful. Funniest one since the first Guardians movie.

10. THE LAST JEDI - I don't get why this movie has been so divisive among Star Wars fans. It just makes me glad there was no internet in 1980. "Ben Kenobi's a ghost now?" I liked how writer/director Rian Johnson redeemed the prequels, honored the original trilogy, and wasn't afraid to take risks and tear a lot of old things down to make way for the new. The first seven movies were about Good vs. Evil, but this one lets shades of grey in. Biggest tragedy is that Leia was set up to have an awesome story in Ep. IX, but now they'll have to tell a different story. Mark Hamill gives the performance of his career, and Adam Driver and Domhnall Gleeson are allowed to make Kylo and Hux more interesting.

9. WONDER WOMAN - The best DC movie since The Dark Knight, and much credit must go to director Patty Jenkins. Only thing it suffers from is its conventional CG-infested final showdown with the main villain.

8. THE BIG SICK - This semi-autobiographical tale from Silicon Valley's Kumail Nanjiani is a good testament to love and commitment, and a showcase for Holly Hunter and Ray Romano as his future in-laws.

7. GET OUT - Jordan Peele's social satire/horror movie has stood the test of time, or at least the few months since it came out.

6. LOGAN - The gritty final chapter to Wolverine saga allows Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart to go out on high notes. It's unlike any X-Men movie before it.

5. BABY DRIVER - Arguably Edgar Wright's best movie yet, and I love Wright. This is just a fun classic B-movie, with a getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) who has to mingle with scary and dangerous people, all the while listening to his own personal soundtrack. Really enjoyed the edge that Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm brought to their roles.

4. DUNKIRK - Christopher Nolan foregoes any kind of traditional narrative to give us a more immersive you-are-there experience, when soldiers had their backs to the wall at a crucial time in WWII history. Recognizable names like Tom Hardy and Kenneth Branagh are there for support, but it's Fionn Whitehead who carries the bulk of the movie using not much more than his expressive face.

3. WIND RIVER - I will watch any movie Taylor Sheridan writes. His previous two efforts were Sicario and Hell or High Water. Sheridan took the directing duties himself and he patiently navigates through tribal politics after a young Native American woman is found dead just outside of her reservation. Jeremy Renner does his best work since his Hurt Locker/The Town days as a ranger who's really good at tracking and helps the FBI with the case.

2. THE DISASTER ARTIST - One of the best movies of the year is about the making of one of the worst movies of all time. Director James Franco guides himself to his best performance in years, as the enigmatic millionaire Tommy Wiseau who decides to make his own movie with his friend Greg after everyone in Hollywood shoots him down. Laughed more at this than any other movie this year. (It's even better if you've already seen The Room.)

1. mother! - This wild, wild home invasion thriller winds up being something much more epic. It was a bold and daring decision by director Darren Aronofsky and star Jennifer Lawrence to make something as polarizing as this, but the crazier it got, the wider I grinned.

Monday, January 8, 2018

Jumanji bests Insidious 4 at box office


For the weekend of January 5-7, 2018, Jumanji: WTTJ finally managed to dethrone The Last Jedi. It's the first non-Fast & Furious movie starring Dwayne Johnson to pass the $200 million domestic mark.

The one new wide release was Insidious: The Last Key. It's a financial hit, to the point where I have to imagine the studio's trying to figure what they can spin off from it like the Conjuring universe.

I'm a little bummed The Disaster Artist isn't doing better. Most of the Globes winners were from movies that are already on their way out. Darkest Hour might have expanded at the right time.



Opens January 12
PADDINGTON 2 with Hugh Grant, Hugh Bonneville and Sally Hawkins.
PROUD MARY with Taraji P. Henson, Neal McDonough and Danny Glover.
THE COMMUTER with Liam Neeson, Vera Farmiga and Patrick Wilson.
(exp) THE POST with Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks and Sarah Paulson.

75th Annual Golden Globe Award Results

MOVIES
BEST DRAMA - Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri
BEST COMEDY - Lady Bird
BEST ACTOR DRAMA - Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
BEST ACTRESS DRAMA - Frances McDormand, Three Billboards
BEST ACTOR COMEDY - James Franco, The Disaster Artist
BEST ACTRESS COMEDY - Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird
BEST DIRECTOR - Guillermo Del Toro, The Shape of Water
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - Allison Janney, I Tonya
BEST ANIMATED FILM - Coco
BEST FOREIGN FILM - In the Fade
BEST SCREENPLAY - Martin McDonagh, Three Billboards
BEST SCORE - Alexander Desplat, The Shape of Water
BEST SONG - "This Is Me", The Greatest Showman


TELEVISION
BEST COMEDY - The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
BEST DRAMA - The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
BEST MINISERIES - Big Little Lies (HBO)
BEST ACTRESS COMEDY - Rachel Brosnahan, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon)
BEST ACTOR COMEDY - Aziz Ansari, Master of None (Netflix)
BEST ACTRESS DRAMA - Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale (Hulu)
BEST ACTOR DRAMA - Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us (NBC)
BEST ACTRESS MINI - Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies (HBO)
BEST ACTOR MINI - Ewan McGregor, Fargo (FX)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS - Laura Dern, Big Little Lies (HBO)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR - Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies (HBO)

CECIL B. DEMILLE - Oprah Winfrey

How was the show? Seth Meyers did a decent job as host. His bit where he had women and minorities give the punchline to arguably racist or sexist jokes fell flat, but overall, he navigated the sensitive waters quite well. His "In Memorium" joke about Harvey Weinstein cut deep, especially since they skipped the In Memorium this year. That's usually one of the highlights of the show.

The Globes are usually a zany affair, but it felt like a smug funeral with everyone wearing black. Natalie Portman pointing out the Best Director nominees were all male stepped on Guillermo Del Toro's moment. Oprah Winfrey launched her 2020 presidential campaign with a stirring speech.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

The Shape of Water - Movie Review

Starring Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins, Octavia Spencer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Doug Jones, Nick Searcy and David Hewlett.
Written by Guillermo Del Toro & Vanessa Taylor.
Directed by Guillermo Del Toro.

★★★

This 1950's period fairy tale is of course what Guillermo Del Toro would come up with. What if the Creature from the Black Lagoon fell in love, and that love was requited?

Sally Hawkins gives Frances McDormand and Saoirse Ronan a run for their award-nomination money as Elisa, a mute cleaning lady at an important government facility. One night a sadistic Fed (Michael Shannon) brings in a strange water creature he found in the Amazon (which is freshwater but the movie claims it's saltwater). He wants to study it by torturing it and eventually dissecting it, but Elisa sees into its soul - his soul - and sees an intelligent being.

It takes place during the Cold War, so there's that red paranoia at play. When Soviets do show up, it reminded me of Hail Caesar more than anything.

Solid support comes from Octavia Spencer as Elisa's co-worker, Richard Jenkins as Elisa's closeted artist roommate, and Michael Stuhlbarg as a sympathetic scientist.

Sunday, December 24, 2017

Last Jedi #1, Jumanji #2 at box office


For the weekend of December 22-24, 2017, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi had a massive dropoff (as movies that open that big tend to do) and still held on to the #1 spot. Sony has to be tickled with the performance of Jumanji: WTTJ. The weekend after Christmas, movies tend to hold on pretty well, so it's realistic for it to be looking to pass $150 million domestic and $400 million worldwide. Dwayne Johnson needed a return to box office glory after Baywatch flopped.

Pitch Perfect 3 did well despite bad reviews. Looks like it's ending the franchise at the right time.

The Greatest Showman may be able to boast about its Golden Globe nominations, but that's a disappointing opening. Nowhere near as disappointing for Downsizing, a high-concept comedy that's been met with lukewarm reception. Father Figures is a flat-out bomb.

Of the expanding titles, Darkest Hour managed the better per-screen average than The Shape of Water. In limited release The Post did outstanding while Hostiles fizzled.

I'm a little bummed The Disaster Artist isn't doing better.



Opens December 25
ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD with Michelle Williams and Mark Wahlberg.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Last Jedi has second-best opening ever


For the weekend of December 15-17, 2017, Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi had the second highest opening in history, behind only Episode VII. The sequel had a different pace and plot style than Star Wars fare we've come to expect, and with word-of-mouth being more mixed and a ton of title coming next week, I'd expect a steep decline in week 2 but it'll still probably keep the top spot through the New Year.

Ferdinand was the alternative release, but it grossly underperformed.

Award-bait titles like The Disaster Artist, Lady Bird, and Three Billboards are losing steam. I hope Disaster Artist is able to keep most of screens despite five new wide releases coming next week.

Thor: Ragnarok has now grossed over $840 million worldwide.



Opens December 20
JUMANJI with Dwayne Johnson, Jack Black, Kevin Hart, Karen Gillan and Nick Jonas.
THE GREATEST SHOWMAN with Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Michelle Williams.
Opens December 22
PITCH PERFECT 3 with Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Brittany Snow and Ruby Rose.
DOWNSIZING with Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz and Jason Sudeikis.
FATHER FIGURES with Owen Wilson, Ed Helms, Glenn Close and JK Simmons.

Friday, December 15, 2017

The Last Jedi - Movie Review

Starring Mark Hamill, Daisy Ridley, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Lupita Nyong'o, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Benecio Del Toro, Gwendoline Christie, Billie Lourd, Justin Theroux and Anthony Daniels. 
Written & Directed by Rian Johnson.

★★★½

The action picks up right where the previous movie left off. The giant death star planet's been destroyed but most of the First Order, including Snoke, Ren, Hux and Phasma escaped. The Resistance is backpedaling and evacuating since the First Order now knows where their base is. Finn's in sick bay. Rey has just found Luke Skywalker.

So how seamless is the transition from JJ Abrams to Rian Johnson? Pretty seamless, but then Johnson is able to expand and deepen characters in ways Force Awakens wasn't able to. TFA built the world. It's fitting that one of the main words used in the Last Jedi trailers is "Breathe." Let's breathe and get to know them better.

I imagine the biggest question going into this was how was it going to be to have Mark Hamill's Luke Skywalker back? Just as TFA was largely Han Solo's movie, TLJ belongs to Luke. Rey has arrived to be his eager apprentice, and Luke is the grumpy old wizard who's had it. Imagine how Star Wars would have gone if Ben Kenobi had told Luke to quit whining and go home.

It's nice to see Luke meet his old friends again. Luke and Chewie. Luke and R2-D2. It's sad we never get a Luke-Han scene. But what made me happiest about this movie is that Luke, and Hamill as Luke, is still just freaking cool.

One exciting new character is Rose (Kelly Marie Tran), a fangirl Resistance fighter who finds herself pulled into an important plot thread with Finn.

I really enjoyed the character depth added to Ben Solo and Admiral Hux. Hux is still a weaselly Empire wannabe, but he feels more complete. Ben/Kylo makes some interesting decisions, and Adam Driver does a great job of presenting the conflict on his face.

I'll have to see how this one digests on a second viewing. Right now I'd say it's better than Force Awakens or Rogue One. It makes a couple plot decisions I'm not sure I like. But I respect the emphasis on human relationships that Johnson has returned to the heart of this galaxy.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Screen Actors Guild Award Nominations 2017


Theatrical Motion Pictures

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role
Timothée Chalamet, Call Me By Your Name
James Franco, The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out
Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour
Denzel Washington, Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Leading Role
Judi Dench, Victoria & Abdul
Sally Hawkins, The Shape of Water
Frances McDormand, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Margot Robbie, I, Tonya
Saoirse Ronan, Lady Bird

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role
Steve Carell, Battle of the Sexes
Willem Dafoe, The Florida Project
Woody Harrelson, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Richard Jenkins, The Shape of Water
Sam Rockwell, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Supporting Role
Mary J. Blige, Mudbound
Hong Chau, Downsizing
Holly Hunter, The Big Sick
Allison Janney, I, Tonya
Laurie Metcalf, Lady Bird

Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
The Big Sick — Adeel Akhtar, Holly Hunter, Zoe Kazan, Anupam Kher, Kumail Nanjiani, Ray Romano, Zenobia Shroff
Get Out — Caleb Landry Jones, Daniel Kaluuya, Catherine Keener, Stephen Root, Lakeith Stanfield, Bradley Whitford, Allison Williams
Lady Bird — Timothée Chalamet, Beanie Feldstein, Lucas Hedges, Tracy Letts, Stephen McKinley Henderson, Laurie Metcalf, Jordan Rodrigues, Saoirse Ronan, Odeya Rush, Marielle Scott, Lois Smith
Mudbound — Jonathan Banks, Mary J. Blige, Jason Clarke, Garrett Hedlund, Jason Mitchell, Rob Morgan, Carey Mulligan
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri — Abbie Cornish, Peter Dinklage, Woody Harrelson, John Hawkes, Lucas Hedges, Željko Ivanek, Caleb Landry Jones, Frances McDormand, Clarke Peters, Sam Rockwell, Samara Weaving


Television Programs

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series
Benedict Cumberbatch, Sherlock: The Lying Detective
Jeff Daniels, Godless
Robert De Niro, Wizard of Lies
Geoffrey Rush, Genius
Alexander Skarsgard, Big Little Lies

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Television Movie or Limited Series
Laura Dern, Big Little Lies
Nicole Kidman, Big Little Lies
Jessica Lange, Feud
Susan Sarandon, Feud
Reese Witherspoon, Big Little Lies

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Drama Series
Jason Bateman, Ozark
Sterling K. Brown, This Is Us
Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones
David Harbour, Stranger Things
Bob Odenkirk, Better Call Saul

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Drama Series
Millie Bobby Brown, Stranger Things
Claire Foy, The Crown
Laura Linney, Ozark
Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid’s Tale
Robin Wright, House of Cards

Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Comedy Series
Anthony Anderson, Black-ish
Aziz Ansari, Master of None
Larry David, Curb Your Enthusiasm
Sean Hayes, Will & Grace
William H. Macy, Shameless
Marc Maron, GLOW

Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Comedy Series
Uzo Aduba, Orange Is The New Black
Alison Brie, GLOW
Jane Fonda, Grace and Frankie
Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Veep
Lily Tomlin, Grace and Frankie

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Drama Series
The Crown — Claire Foy, Victoria Hamilton, Vanessa Kirby, Anton Lesser, Matt Smith
Game of Thrones — Alfie Allen, Jacob Anderson Pilou Asbæk, Hafþór Júlíus Björnsson, John Bradley, Jim Broadbent, Gwendoline Christie, Emilia Clarke, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Liam Cunningham, Peter Dinklage, Richard Dormer, Nathalie Emmanuel, James Faulkner, Jerome Flynn, Aidan Gillen, Iain Glen, Kit Harington, Lena Headey, Isaac Hempstead-Wright, Conleth Hill, Kristofer Hivju, Tom Hopper, Anton Lesser, Rory McCann, Staz Nair, Richard Rycroft, Sophie Turner, Rupert Vansittart, Maisie Williams
The Handmaid’s Tale — Madeline Brewer, Amanda Brugel, Ann Dowd, O-T Fagbenle, Joseph Fiennes, Tattiawna Jones, Max Minghella, Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley
Stranger Things — Sean Astin, Millie Bobby Brown, Cara Buono, Joe Chrest, Catherine Curtin, Natalie Dyer, David Harbour, Charlie Heaton, Joe Keery, Gaten Matarazzo, Caleb McLaughlin, Dacre Montgomery, Paul Reiser, Winona Ryder, Noah Schnapp, Sadie Sink, Finn Wolfhard
This Is Us — Eris Baker, Alexandra Breckenridge, Sterling K. Brown, Lonnie Chavis, Justin Hartley, Faithe Herman, Ron Cephas Jones, Chrissy Metz, Mandy Moore, Chris Sullivan, Milo Ventimiglia, Susan Kelechi Watson, Hannah Zeile

Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series
Black-ish — Anthony Anderson, Miles Brown, Deon Cole, Laurence Fishburne, Jenifer Lewis, Peter Mackenzie, Marsai Martin, Jeff Meacham, Tracee Ellis Ross, Marcus Scribner, Yara Shahidi
Curb Your Enthusiasm — Ted Danson, Larry David, Susie Essman, Jeff Garlin, Cheryl Hines, JB Smoove
GLOW — Britt Baron, Alison Brie, Kimmy Gatewood, Betty Gilpin, Rebekka Johnson, Chris Lowell, Sunita Mani, Marc Maron, Kate Nash, Sydelle Noel, Marianna Palka, Gayle Rankin, Bashir Salahuddin, Rich Sommer, Kia Stevens, Jackie Tohn, Ellen Wong, Britney Young
Orange Is The New Black — Uzo Aduba, Emily Althaus, Danielle Brooks,  Rosal Colón, Jackie Cruz, Francesca Curran, Daniella De Jesús, Lea DeLaria, Nick Dillenburg, Asia Kate Dillon, Beth Dover, Kimiko Glenn, Annie Golden, Laura Gómez, Diane Guerrero, Evan Arthur Hall, Michael J. Harney, Brad William Henke, Mike Houston, Vicky Jeudy, Kelly Karbacz, Julie Lake, Selenis Leyva, Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning, Adrienne C. Moore, Miriam Morales, Kate Mulgrew, Emma Myles, John Palladino, Matt Peters, Jessica Pimentel, Dascha Polanco, Laura Prepon, Jolene Purdy, Elizabeth Rodriguez, Nick Sandow, Abigail Savage, Taylor Schilling, Constance Shulman, Dale Soules, Yael Stone, Emily Tarver, Michael Torpey, Lin Tucci
Veep — Dan Bakkedahl, Anna Chlumsky, Gary Cole, Margaret Colin, Kevin Dunn, Clea Duvall, Nelson Franklin, Tony Hale, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Sam Richardson, Paul Scheer, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons, Sarah Sutherland, Matt Walsh

Stunt Ensembles

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Motion Picture
Baby Driver
Dunkirk
Logan
War for the Planet of the Apes
Wonder Woman

Outstanding Action Performance by a Stunt Ensemble in a Comedy or Drama Series
Game of Thrones
GLOW
Homeland
Stranger Things
The Walking Dead

Life Achievement Award

54th Annual SAG Life Achievement Award: Morgan Freeman

Monday, December 11, 2017

2017 Golden Globe Nominations


The list of nominations for the 2018 Golden Globes:

MOVIES

Best motion picture, drama
“Call Me By Your Name”
“Dunkirk”
“The Post”
“The Shape of Water”
“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best motion picture, comedy or musical
“The Disaster Artist”
“Get Out”
“The Greatest Showman”
“I, Tonya”
“Lady Bird”

Best actress in a motion picture, drama
Jessica Chastain, “Molly’s Game”
Sally Hawkins, “The Shape of Water”
Frances McDormand, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Meryl Streep, “The Post”
Michelle Williams, “All the Money in the World”

Best actress in a motion picture, comedy or musical
Judi Dench, “Victoria & Abdul”
Helen Mirren, “The Leisure Seeker”
Margot Robbie, “I, Tonya”
Saoirse Ronan, “Lady Bird”
Emma Stone, “Battle of the Sexes”

Best actor in a motion picture, drama
Timothée Chalamet, “Call Me By Your Name”
Daniel Day-Lewis, “Phantom Thread”
Tom Hanks, “The Post”
Gary Oldman, “Darkest Hour”
Denzel Washington, “Roman J. Israel, Esq.”

Best actor in a motion picture, comedy or musical
Steve Carell, “Battle of the Sexes”
Ansel Elgort, “Baby Driver”
James Franco, “The Disaster Artist”
Hugh Jackman, “The Greatest Showman”
Daniel Kaluuya, “Get Out”

Best supporting actress in a motion picture
Mary J. Blige, “Mudbound”
Hong Chau, “Downsizing”
Allison Janney, “I, Tonya”
Laurie Metcalf, “Lady Bird”
Octavia Spencer, “The Shape of Water”

Best supporting actor in a motion picture
Willem Dafoe, “The Florida Project”
Armie Hammer, “Call Me By Your Name”
Richard Jenkins, “The Shape of Water”
Christopher Plummer, “All the Money in the World”
Sam Rockwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”

Best director, motion picture
Guillermo del Toro, “The Shape of Water”
Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk”
Ridley Scott, “All the Money in the World”
Steven Spielberg, “The Post”

Best animated feature film
“The Boss Baby”
“The Breadwinner”
“Coco”
“Ferdinand”
“Loving Vincent”

Best screenplay, motion picture
Guillermo del Toro and Vanessa Taylor, “The Shape of Water”
Greta Gerwig, “Lady Bird”
Liz Hannah and Josh Singer, “The Post”
Martin McDonagh, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Aaron Sorkin, “Molly’s Game”

Best original song
“Home,” “Ferdinand”
“Mighty River,” “Mudbound”
“Remember Me,” “Coco”
“The Star,” “The Star”
“This Is Me,” “The Greatest Showman”

Best original score, motion picture
Carter Burwell, “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri”
Alexandre Desplat, “The Shape of Water”
John Williams, “The Post”
Jonny Greenwood, “Phantom Thread”
Hans Zimmer, “Dunkirk”

Best foreign language film
“A Fantastic Woman”
“First They Killed My Father”
“In the Fade”
“Loveless”
“The Square”



TELEVISION

Best TV series, drama
“The Crown” (Netflix)
“Game of Thrones” (HBO)
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
“Stranger Things” (Netflix)
“This Is Us” (NBC)

Best actress in a TV series, drama
Caitriona Balfe, “Outlander” (Starz)
Claire Foy, “The Crown” (Netflix)
Maggie Gyllenhaal, “The Deuce” (HBO)
Katherine Langford, “13 Reasons Why” (Netflix)
Elisabeth Moss, “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)

Best actor in a TV series, drama
Jason Bateman, “Ozark” (Netflix)
Sterling K. Brown, “This Is Us” (NBC)
Freddie Highmore, “The Good Doctor” (ABC)
Bob Odenkirk, “Better Call Saul” (AMC)
Liev Schreiber, “Ray Donovan” (Showtime)

Best TV series, musical or comedy
“Blackish” (ABC)
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)
“Master of None” (Netflix)
“SMILF” (Showtime)
“Will & Grace” (NBC)

Best actress in a TV series, musical or comedy
Pamela Adlon, “Better Things” (FX)
Alison Brie, “GLOW” (Netflix)
Rachel Brosnahan, “The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel” (Amazon)
Issa Rae, “Insecure” (HBO)
Frankie Shaw, “SMILF” (Showtime)

Best actor in a TV series, comedy
Anthony Anderson, “Blackish” (ABC)
Aziz Ansari, “Master of None” (Netflix)
Kevin Bacon, “I Love Dick” (Amazon)
William H. Macy, “Shameless” (Showtime)
Eric McCormack, “Will & Grace” (NBC)

Best TV movie or limited series
“Big Little Lies” (HBO)
“Fargo” (FX)
“Feud: Bette and Joan” (FX)
“The Sinner” (USA)
“Top of the Lake: China Girl” (Sundance)

Best actress in a TV movie or limited series
Jessica Biel, “The Sinner” (USA)
Nicole Kidman, “Big Little Lies” (HBO)
Jessica Lange, “Feud: Bette and Joan” (FX)
Susan Sarandon, “Feud: Bette and Joan” (FX)
Reese Witherspoon, “Big Little Lies” (HBO)

Best actor in a TV movie or limited series
Robert De Niro, “The Wizard of Lies” (HBO)
Jude Law, “The Young Pope” (HBO)
Kyle MacLachlan, “Twin Peaks” (Showtime)
Ewan McGregor, “Fargo” (FX)
Geoffrey Rush, “Genius” (National Geographic)

Best supporting actress in a series, limited series or TV movie
Laura Dern, “Big Little Lies” (HBO)
Ann Dowd, “The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
Chrissy Metz, “This Is Us” (NBC)
Michelle Pfeiffer, “Wizard of Lies” (HBO)
Shailene Woodley, “Big Little Lies” (HBO)

Best supporting actor in a series, limited series or TV movie
David Harbour, “Stranger Things” (Netflix)
Alfred Molina, “Feud: Bette and Joan” (FX)
Christian Slater, “Mr. Robot (USA)
Alexander Skarsgard, “Big Little Lies” (HBO)
David Thewlis, “Fargo” (FX)

Coco is #1 for third week


For the weekend of December 8-10, 2017, Coco stayed #1 for the third week in a row. Not hard since other studios haven't put out any major titles. No one wants to get crushed in The Last Jedi's wake.

Just Getting Started was the only movie that tried, and it flopped. Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones doing the Grumpy Old Men thing just didn't appeal. (The trailer looked awful.)

The Disaster Artist added some screens, and it can enjoy the highest per-screen average in the top ten. It also got a boost this morning from its Golden Globe nominations, so I think word-of-mouth will keep it in theaters for a while.

The Shape of Water, Call Me By Your Name and Darkest Hour continue to do well in limited release. I Tonya had the best per-screen average of anyone ($61,401) in its opening.



Opens December 15
THE LAST JEDI with Daisy Ridley, Mark Hamill, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac and Carrie Fisher.
FERDINAND with the voices of John Cena, Kate McKinnon, Gabriel Iglesias and Jeremy Sisto.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Justice League - Movie Review

Starring Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Amy Adams, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, JK Simmons, Ciaran Hinds, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, Joe Morton, Billy Crudup and Amber Heard.
Written by Chris Tessio & Joss Whedon.
Directed by Zack Snyder.

★★

Justice League was deep into pre-production when Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice opened. Zack Snyder had Dawn of Justice, Justice League, and Justice League 2 mapped out when he dove in. Darkseid was going to be DC's Thanos, the superpowerful villain who takes a few movies before he steps forward as the main villain. After the reviews of BvJ came out, Justice League plowed ahead as planned. After a personal tragedy, Zack Snyder had to bow out in the final weeks of shooting, leading to Joss Whedon stepping in and finishing the job, doing extensive rewrites and reshoots to try to save it. It shows.

The Frankenstein's monster of a movie that emerges is ultimately better than BvJ or Suicide Squad, but not by much. It's weaker than Man of Steel, and seeing Gal Gadot try to make this work after the far superior Wonder Woman dominated the summer is a little embarrassing.

Let me go into what I liked. I thought Flash (Ezra Miller) was hilarious. He was my favorite character, and he should get his own movie. Henry Cavill, who is billed second so you know Superman won't stay dead, has the best scene in the movie during those first few minutes after he's been resurrected. When he shows up, I thought to myself, "Yeah, Superman's been missed." I kinda liked Jason Momoa's Aquaman. The tiny tiny amount of work Jeremy Irons and JK Simmons were given as Alfred and Gordon respectively made me hope Matt Reeves keeps them when he makes his own Batman movie.

Now for what I didn't like. And this will take longer.

1. Steppenwolf. He is the main villain. He's a lesser DC entity, and as soon as he showed up, I was disappointed. You've got the great Ciaran Hinds playing him; why not use more than his voice? Steppenwolf had this generic CGI monster face complete with a double axehead for a helmet. Why not put Hinds in makeup? Or at least try to look like him a little? Plus he has those dragonfly zombie monsters from the dumb dream sequence in Batman v. Superman as his minions. As his CGI creatures that are easily killed by the dozens. Flying orcs, they.

2. The plot. Steppenwolf has three magic boxes, called mother boxes, that he must unite and it'll give him ultimate power. Feels like the same thing in Marvel with Thanos collecting infinity stones, right? Wonder Woman gives this expositional monologue about this space battle that brought Steppenwolf to power, and I remember thinking, "Did the women from Wonder Woman know all about space battles before this movie? Sure, they're goddesses, but they marveled at a WWI plane." They must have, because apparently they've been guarding one of the three mother boxes for thousands of years. Yeah yeah.

3. Cyborg. I don't know if he's the most poorly written character, or if Ray Fisher is just boring playing him. Probably a bit of both. He's definitely the Hawkeye of this bunch, where there's no desire to see him get his own stand-alone movie.

4. The direction. Snyder loves to do the slo-mo freeze frame speed-it-up-again shots in action sequences, and there are a lot of them. Plus once again, most of this movie takes place at night. Or in darkness, or shadow. Or maybe most days are cloudy.  Brighten this world up already. I love Batman in darkness, but Superman? Wonder Woman? Flash? These are DAY characters!

The post-credits teaser is kinda cool, but I just hope the fruits of that teaser are allowed to breathe a little, grow more organically.

As a kid I always thought DC had overall cooler heroes and villains than Marvel. Marvel movies have blown DC out of the water lately, and I'd like DC to get back on track. Wonder Woman showed they can be just as good, now for the people in charge of the other characters to catch up and elevate their games.

Coco is #1 for 2nd week


For the weekend of December 1-3, 2017, Coco remained on top. Pixar continues to profit on every single movie it makes (even The Good Dinosaur eventually broke even.)

Justice League had another big drop, and it's in danger of not even making $700 million worldwide. That might not sound like a catastrophic milestone to miss, but considering how Batman v. Superman and Suicide Squad managed to get there with worse reviews, it just highlights what has been obvious since BvJ came out - DC needs to de-Snyder their brand.

The plan had been to have Darkseid be the Big Bad of Justice League 2, complete with those zombie dragonfly minion guys, but were it me, JL2 should just be put on hiatus until some more of these stand-alone movies come out and they see how they perform. Wonder Woman was a hit. See if its sequel does just as well. They should see how Aquaman does, and how Man of Steel 2 does with a different director. See what Matt Reeves does with The Batman.

Wonder is a feel-good make-you-cry word-of-mouth hit.

Thor: Ragnarok has already passed $810 million worldwide.

Murder on the Orient Express had a $55 million production budget and has passed $230 million worldwide. Yes, let's get that next Hercule Poirot movie made (Death on the Nile has been greenlit).

Oscar hopefuls Lady Bird and Three Billboards Outside Ebbings Missouri didn't cause much of a splash in expansion, but after Golden Globe nominations are announced next week, maybe it'll help them stay afloat. General consensus among the Award Gurus is that both will be Best Picture nominees.

Meanwhile, The Disaster Artist did great in limited release. This should do for Tommy Wiseau's The Room what 1994's Ed Wood did for Ed Wood's Plan 9 from Outer Space. It expands to 800 screens next week, wisely so. Also performing strongly in limited release: Call Me By Your Name, The Shape of Water, and to lesser but still successful degrees, Darkest Hour and Wonder Wheel.



Opens December 8
JUST GETTING STARTED with Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones and Rene Russo.

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Jigsaw is #1


For the weekend of October 27-29, 2017, Jigsaw was the Halloween weekend winner. After a seven-year hiatus, the Saw franchise is back with this eighth installment, but it doesn't look like there's much interest in keeping this thing going. They're cheap to produce, but Jigsaw only had a better opening than Saw VI.

Meanwhile positive reviews didn't help Thank You for Your Service, the second well-reviewed movie in two weeks starring Miles Teller that bombed anyway.

Bad reviews sunk Suburbicon. George Clooney's directing skills have regressed.

Meanwhile Let There Be Light, a Sean Hannity-produced Christian drama starring Kevin Sorbo, had the second-best per-screen average in the top 20.

Also, Amityville: The Awakening, which has been on the shelf for four years, was finally dumped into a handful of theaters, and hardly anyone went.



Opens November 3
THOR: RAGNAROK with Chris Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett and Mark Ruffalo.
A BAD MOMS CHRISTMAS with Mila Kunis, Kristen Bell and Kathryn Hahn.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Tyler Perry's Boo 2! is #1


For the weekend of October 20-22, 2017, Tyler Perry scared away all newcomers with Boo 2!, a profitable Madea outing savaged by critics. With Perry, the Rotten Tomatoes ranking never seems to matter.

The most expensive opener was Geostorm, a disaster movie from Dean Devlin,who usually produces these sorts of things (Independence Day 1 & 2, Godzilla) but now he's directing. Most people could see the stench on this project from a mile away, or six months ago, around when the first trailer came out.

The best reviewed movie of the weekend was Only the Brave, but the generic hero title probably didn't do it favors.

Meanwhile The Snowman and Same Kind of Different as Me were other poorly-reviewed titles that should disappear quickly from theaters.

In limited release, Wonderstruck and The Killing of the Sacred Deer had solid per-screen averages, as well as the documentary Jane, about Jane Goodall.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle can now claim to be profitable. It's grossed over $340 million worldwide.



Opens October 27
JIGSAW with Tobin Bell, Laura Vandervoort, Callum Keith Rennie and Brittany Allen.
SUBURBICON with Matt Damon, Julianne Moore, Oscar Isaac and Glenn Fleshler.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE with Miles Teller, Haley Bennett and Amy Schumer.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Valerian & the City of 1000 Planets - Movie Review

Starring Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Ethan Hawke, Rihanna, Herbie Hancock, Kris Wu, Sam Spruell, Rutger Hauer and John Goodman.
Written & Directed by Luc Besson.

★★½

The director of The Fifth Element gets even more crazy in this visually wonderful, narratively clunky movie that goes to some weird corners of the galaxy to tell its unique tale. In many ways, I admire some of the original avenues it wanders down, though ultimately its shallow story and questionable casting prevents it from being a hit.

I'm debating whether or not to even explain the plot. The plot doesn't really matter. We see an alien homeworld where everything is peaceful, like the Na'vi on a beach. Then a space battle above results in ships crashing into their ocean, on to their shores. Most of them are wiped out. That's the prologue. We cut to Valerian and Lauraline, a boyfriend-girlfriend unit where he also outranks her, and they're basically space cops. Eh, it doesn't matter. It's an excuse to go from world to world, retrieving a Macguffin to save the universe. Something like that.

The fun parts are the detours. Ethan Hawke popping up as some sort of space pimp, introducing Valerian to a shape-shifting erotic dancer whose favorite form happens to look just like Rihanna. There's another scene where Lauraline gets stuck in the cosmic kitchen from hell. There's a dimension-hopping chase scene. This is a video game I want to play.

Dane DeHaan is usually best as creeps. He doesn't have the Young Indiana Jones charisma the role of Valerian would call for. Let's just say Cara Delevingne as Lauraline fares better here than she did as Enchantress in Suicide Squad. There's not much chemistry between them, and I would have been cool with Valerian getting killed off halfway through and letting Lauraline finishing the adventure herself. I should be rooting for these two like Han and Leia, or Wesley and Buttercup, or Clark and Lois. Didn't really care.

If you missed it on the big screen, and you still want to see it, see on the largest TV or monitor you can. Otherwise you'd miss its point of existing.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Annabelle: Creation - Movie Review


Starring Stephanie Sigman, Anthony LaPaglia, Lulu Wilson, Talitha Bateman, Miranda Otto and Samara Lee.
Written by Gary Dauberman.
Directed by David F. Sandberg.

★★½

The first Annabelle movie profited from goodwill from The Conjuring franchise. It made enough money to justify a sequel, even though it was terrible. The sequel is a vast improvement primarily due to getting a new director, David F. Sandberg (Lights Out).

This is actually a prequel to a prequel. Don't get those often.

A little girl named Annabelle is killed by a car. Years later, her grieving parents open up their home as a boarding school for a group of Catholic girls, with one supervising nun. The girls start hearing things going bump in the night, and there's one particular doll that seems to move around on its own.

The dialogue here is as bad as the first movie, but the jump-scares are much more effective.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Kingsman 2 hangs on to #1 at box office


For the weekend of September 29-October 1, 2017, Kingsman: The Golden Circle managed to hold off American Made to stay #1 for the second week. Kingsman is already almost to $200 million worldwide and is on pace to be profitable.

American Made, following The Mummy, demonstrates that Tom Cruise isn't as bankable as he used to be in non-Mission Impossible movies. He's still big overseas, so this'll eventually break even (as did The Mummy), but it's the lowest domestic opener for him since Jack Reacher.

Flatliners had bad reviews and a weak opener and I imagine it will disappear from our collective memory the way unmemorable remakes like Fame and Footloose have. Other new releases (Til Death Do Us Part, A Question of Faith) didn't make much of a dent.

It continues to be a juggernaut, grossing over $550 million worldwide.

Battle of the Sexes and Stronger are getting great reviews, but they haven't been able to find their audiences. Victoria & Abdul is staying strong after adding some screens.



Opens October 6
BLADE RUNNER 2049 with Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright and Jared Leto.
THE MOUNTAIN BETWEEN US with Idris Elba and Kate Winslet.
MY LITTLE PONY with the voices of Emily Blunt and Kristen Chenoweth.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Big Brother 19 - TV Review


This was one of the worst seasons of the show overall, but the finale wound up being very satisfying and redeemed it a little bit.

This season's twist was having a veteran return (Paul) and having someone else go home on the first night (Cameron). What made this more and more frustrating as the season went on is that Cameron seemed like he would be an interesting player. Meanwhile Paul was given three weeks of safety and in that time he was able to mesmerize over half of the house. From Ramses' eviction on, every week was predictable. Jessica, Cody, Elena, Mark, Matt, Jason, Raven, Alex, Kevin all went in the order we'd guess. Mix that in with serious mob-mentality bullying and harassing, and it was unpleasant. Each year there are houseguests who display loathsome behavior, but this just felt worse than most. And yet, equally annoying were the ones who refused to play the game.

The best thing about the finale was the jury interaction. Mark blasting his frustration at Matt's terrible gameplay, Raven actually making decent arguments, Cody just staring straight ahead, occassionally shaking his head.

Now that it's all over, I think the producers and future players will learn a lot from this. Get players who actually want to win, not just make jury and coast. Get players who aren't idiots. And no more mixing of vets and newbies. I mean, if they want to bring back vets, bring back ones who were eliminated too early, like Cameron.