Friday, December 29, 2017

End of Year Movie Post

I've been posting about the movies I've seen in a calendar year at the end of December for a few years now. This year, I saw a lot of them On Demand at home and thought about making separate lists for On Demand and In Theater viewings, then figured it doesn't matter since these are all recent movies. So, here's the list, with brief commentary.

  • Spider-Man -- This was loads of fun, everything a Spider-Man movie should be. Plus, Tom Holland was a perfect Peter Parker.
  • Guardians of the Galaxy 2 -- Not as awesome as the first, but just as satisfying, as Peter finds his father. It's hard to capture the freshness of the first one, but this works on a more emotional level.
  • Florence Foster Jenkins -- Saw this at home and am glad I got to see it. A charming, bittersweet story.
  • The Girl on the Train -- I figured out some of it, but was surprised by other bits, then kicked myself for missing the cues and clues. Well done suspense/thriller and though I haven't read the book, it felt like a good adaptation.
  • Loving -- Based on the true story of the Lovings, a mixed race couple who challenged their right to marry and took it to the Supreme Court. Quiet, understated, powerful, and beautifully acted.
  • Zootopia -- Had to wait for this to hit Amazon Prime. A pure delight. 
  • Moonlight -- An award-winning, gay coming-of-age story that deserved the awards.
  • Manchester by the Sea -- Well told story about loss.
  • Moana -- A lovely animated movie with girl power at its heart.
  • Fences -- a tour de force acting showcase for Viola Davis and Denzel Washington.
  • Sing -- A fun animated movie. The show must go on!
  • Hidden Figures -- Another based-on-a-true story, as well as a book adaptation that tells the stories of the black women mathematicians in NASA, focusing on John Glenn's historic flight. A must-see movie.
  • The Queen of Katwe -- It was my year for "based-on-a-true-story" movies. This lovely movie is about a young girl in an impoverished African village who becomes a chess champion.
  • LaLaLand -- A delightful musical, but I wasn't as bowled over by it as some people were. I'm glad I saw it, though, and was happy to see it wasn't cheesy or sappy.
  • Beauty and the Beast --A nice job of turning an animated Disney movie into a live-action Disney movie.
  • Wonder Woman -- I could write an essay about this. Suffice it to say, it's about time. Directed by a woman, Patty Jenkins, and acted to perfection by Gal Gadot, this was the Wonder Woman movie we needed, full of humor, love, determination, heroics, bravery, and inspiration. The plot is simple, but more isn't needed. Wonder Woman soars and I cried. A lot.
  • Lego Batman Movie -- Fun.
  • Lion -- Another based-on-a-true story, this time about a lost boy in India who is adopted by white Australians, then goes on a search to find his past. Beautifully told.
  • A United Kingdom -- Yup, another based-on-a-true-story film, focusing on the heir to an African throne who falls in love with a white woman in England mid-20th Century. Heart-warming and well acted.
  • Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them -- First in a series of Harry Potter prequels. Eddie Redmayne delights as Newt Scamander and the movie is fun.
  • The Big Sick -- Would you believe this is another based-on-a-true story? It is! Kumail Nanjiani and his wife wrote this movie about how they met and fell in love, and how it took her illness and induced coma to get him to realize that he couldn't live without her. Given the severity of her illness, this is a funny and charming movie, with comic Nanjiani starring as himself.
  • Wind River -- Murder on a Native American reservation. Stark scenery in winter enhance this mystery tale.
  • Atomic Blonde -- Based on a graphic novel with a kick-ass female spy working for the Brits at the end of the Cold War just before the Berlin Wall comes down. The requisite comic book action is raised to an artform and the plot twists elevate this from just an average story to one that keeps you guessing. I want a sequel.
  • Logan Lucky -- Fun heist caper with humor and heart.
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi -- Everything I hoped for and more. Not quite the formulaic movie Star Wars movies often are, this had a nice mix of realistic emotions, doubts and fears as well as hope. I can't wait for the next one.


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