Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017 - The Highlights (lionsroar)

Films watched for the first time and reviewed in 2017

Note: Since Trophy Unlocked has to pay for most of the movies we see in the theaters and for most of the films we watch at home, we don’t have the scope of a newspaper reviewer. We don’t see everything that’s out, so our ratings of films are based on what we decide to spend our money on.

Top 5 Best Films of the year:

In No Particular Order:

Wonder Woman

Finally the DCEU gets one right. Wonder Woman establishes Gal Gadot as the best thing in this comic book-based universe. Gadot is not only beautiful but also atheletic, strong and with a real screen presence. It's too bad that she alone is not enough to save this franchise which seems almost doomed from the start.

Hidden Figures

Well-done biographical film that rather than one person concentrates on the fate of three brilliant African-American women at NASA -- Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson), Dorothy Vaughan (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) -- who worked in virtual obscurity during the Mercury missions which launched the US manned space program.


Not all comic-book films are made solely for the fan base. In what maybe a victory lap for his portrayal as Wolverine, Hugh Jackman co-stars with Patrick Stewart as  Charles Xavier / Professor X: in a story that takes place in the future. Now an older man, Wolverine must cope with old age while fighting to save a young girl Laura (Dafne Keen) from the evil Transigen corporation that made her. Also available as Logan - Noir, the same film but in black and white. This presentation tones down the blood, but also makes this feel what is, the kind of movie that they don't make anymore.

Loving Vincent

After his suicide, the postmaster of Saint-Rémy, Joseph Roulin (Chris Dowd), discovers a letter that the late artist had sent to his brother and sends his son, Armand Roulin (Douglas Booth), to find Theo, not realizing the brother is also dead. Armand develops a fascination with the late artist and spends an extended time trying to find out the truth about Van Gogh's death.  A fascinating story told exclusively through the use of paintings in the artist's style.


The stories of two deaf young people separated by 50 years are interwoven in this film based on the novel of the same name by Brian Selznick. Each must go on their own journey of discovery, which takes both to New York City and eventually to each other. Heartwarming story with good acting make this one to watch.

Best Classic Movie Reviewed:

Key Largo (1948)

It's very hard to go wrong with Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall, Edward G. Robinson,  Lionel Barrymore, and Claire Trevor. Deported gangster tries to make a comeback during a hurricane that hits the Florida Keys. Post-war gangster film with a solid cast directed by John Huston. Honarable mentions: King Kong (1933) and The Lady Vanishes (1938).

Disappointments of the Year:

In No Particular Order:

Justice League

Is it really a disappointment when you sort of expect it to not be very good? I go hoping for better, but come out resigned to know that it is. Having killed his greatest ally, Batman has to put together a team of others with superpowers, Aquaman, The Flash, Cyborg and Wonder Woman to fight an exterrestrial with an Oedipal complex who is out to cleanse the Earth. But things are going well for the team until they manage to resurrect the fallen Superman.

Spider-Man Homecoming

Sony doesn't seem to know what to do with Spider-Man other than reboot the franchise and each time with diminishing returns. On its third try, Spider-Man is really Spider-Young Adult, which is the literary genre the film mimics when telling the story. Does the super-hero film have to be so high school? While I like the actor playing the title role, I can't wait for him and the series to grow up.

Despicable Me 3

Third time is not the charm with Despicable Me. Seems that they've gone to the well one time too many and now its really running dry. Too many storylines for this animated film to juggle. And, frankly, the Minions are a little over-exposed and getting a little old, sort of like bananas that have  been out too long.

Kingsman: The Golden Circle

I remember really looking forward to the new Kingsman film. The original seemed to be so interesting and fun. The premise of a secret British secret service was too quickly disposed of in my opinion. Now strapped to an American version, which sadly is so stereotypical as to be embarrassing. Can Americans ever be depicted not wearing cowboy hats as our native dress? The film tries too hard for its own good.

Started off the year watching one of last year's Best Picture nominees. Restrained science fiction, read that low on its reliance on special effects, the film features some pretty good acting from its leads. Still, the film goes one step too far and loses out when it makes time seem too circular. 

Worst Classic Film Reviewed this Year:

Detour (1945)

Don't believe the hype that this is one of the great film noirs. Low-budget feature includes the worst of the genre with a plot based almost solely on the protagonist making the worst decision possible in any situation and an over-reliance on coincidence. To top it off, the acting is wooden.

No comments:

Post a Comment