My Personal Top Films of 2017

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My Personal Top Films of 2017

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Review of "My Personal Top Films of 2017"

published 12/01/2018 | thedevilinme
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"Some films for you to keep your eye out for..."

My Personal Top Films of 2017

My Personal Top Films of 2017

These are my favourite DVDs of the year I have been able to see. Lots of the ones I want to see I can’t yet see due to rental issues. They didn’t necessarily come out this year but you all know high street rental is over so you have to hunt them down on movie packages or buy online. Not everyone has a smart TV.

=WONDER WOMAN (2017)
=

Stars Chris Pine & Gail Gadot

The stunning leggy Israeli model turned actress Gal Gadot bought us this jolly and fun feminist romp in the superhero genre. DC Comics have been whipped by Marvel since Batman Begins and needed this hit. It’s from female director Patty Jenkins and like most female directors, determined to big up their gender in the movies with more rounded female characters. It’s not as feminist as you think, though, and really good fun with the right amount of special effects, back story, humour and action for all the family to enjoy. The Chris Pine love interest is a bit tacky but needed in the story to get Wonder Woman out into the world. I can’t think of a young girl who would not like this DVD under her pillow for Christmas.

THE BIG SHORT (2016)

Stars - Christian Bale & Steve Carrell

The best movie of the year on DVD has to be the Big Short, a suitable oxymoron for the idiot bankers that nearly bought the world to its knees. It lays out exactly what happened in 2008 through comedy and clear and concise plotting and gripping from the first scene. It’s a long time since I have been enthralled like this for an Oscar nominated Best Picture movie. It’s much better than the recent Best Picture winners Spotlight and Birdman, for example. No one really knows what happened to Wall Street but this gets close in a way the average punter can understand. Yes it’s a polemic from a mostly liberal Hollywood left against the bankers and no blame apportioned in the film to the idiot members of the public who took mortgages and loans on they knew they could never pay back but at least I now know what happened. The Jenga scene is one of the best this year in a movie explaining that collapse. If you are going to rent a movie that’s going to make you use your brain and make you laugh and scream in disbelief at the same time then this is it.

BABY DRIVER (2017)

Stars - Ansel Egort,Jamie Foox and he we don’t mention (Kevin Spacey).

A young man from a criminal background listens to music all day to drown out his tinnitus. He lives with a blind old man who doesn’t worry about blaring tunes and currently makes a living as a getaway driver for crime boss Kevin Spacey, who he is in debt to. He runs with a different team every job and very good at his work.
It’s certainly a unique set up for a movie and after Edgar Wright turned down Ant-Man he was determined to make something special here in the heist action crime genre, a sort of musical on wheels. All of the songs are coordinated with the choreographed action and as slick as hell. Wrights music taste is not mine and so that does chip a bit of the enjoyment off for me but its original, sexy, fast and fun and a welcome film in Wright’s cannon.

GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY 2(2017)

Stars - Chris Pratt & Zoe Saldana

I loved the first film and enjoyed this one, the opening action to the groove of Mr Blue Sky by ELO certainly the most iridescent opening scene to any movie in a long time. In fact you will need your sunglasses for this one as this is not a dark and dank universe super hero film by any means as our disparate bunch of hero’s, led by Star-lord (Chris Platt), try to protect the Galaxy with humour, pop tunes and big guns, whilst enjoyably sending up superhero cliché. It is by far the best looking superhero comic book movie for a long time and you will love it.

JOHN WICK 2(2017)
Star - Keanu Reeves

Tom Cruise almost nailed the cool crime comedy action drama with Jack Reacher but it was Keanu Reeves with his super cool John Wick Supper assassin antihero that goes from strength to strength. John Wick was a rush of cool fresh air in the man alone crime caper and although an over the top shoot em up in the way, well Clive Owens Shoot Em Up’ was, it’s fast, frantic, slick and fun. John Wick is the movie you really should have seen by now if you are a bloke. What Hollywood A-lister doesn’t look great in a long black leather jacket with an assortment of big guns and sunglasses?

LOGAN (2017)
Star-Hugh Jackman

Hugh Jackman wraps up the Wolverine story with this surprisingly grown up and gritty comic book story-line that saw another big hit for Marvel. X - Men had got a bit samey but the Wolverine spin-off remained fresh, Jackman born to play him. It tackles the weakness of man and being human over having those superpowers as Wolverine gets a suitable send off. It also sets up a new mutant franchise sure to hit our screens soon.


Others worth a look on Sky Cinema AND Amazon marketplace....
Cop Car (2015) – Kevin Bacon has long since been relegated to playing seedy characters now his bony cheekbones are not so cute and again here, a serial killer cop who manages to lose his police car out in the sticks to two young kids, who decide to take their new found treasure on a road trip, all sirens blazing, with an increasing deranged Bacon in pursuit. It’s funny, odd, quirky and surprisingly violent for a film with kids involved, likable for its B-movie qualities and the always interesting and decaying Kevin Bacon.

Slow West (2015) – Fabulous original western from first time director - and wonderful named for the movies - John Maclane, ticks all the boxes here for fresh and different filmmaking as rugged no nonsense cowboy guide Michael Fassbender escorts a young naive teenage boy from Scotland (Kodi Smitt – Mcphee) across the hostile 19th century American Mid West to find his true love. McLane’s film looks beautiful, has bold ideas for its budget and an impressive cast. Takes some bottle for a first time feature director to drag a film crew and a busy Michael Fassbender out to Hobbit land in New Zealand to make a movie this large in scope and ambition.

Lady in the Van (2015) - I know it’s been around for two years now but it’s surprisingly good and worth seeking out, Dame Maggie Smith fabulous as the scatty old lady living out of van in a cosy middle - class London suburban street, tormenting the writer Alan Bennett’s middle class sensibilities from trying not to help her, eventually surrendering his toilet and drive to her battered van. Bennet wrote the book of the same name and based the screenplay on his own experiences of a similar event when he lived in the very same street and house back in the 1970s that are used in the film. Bennet is a brilliant writer who writes for everyone and very funny two, this film a joyous experience for such lugubrious topics of cantankerous old age and madness.

Antman (2015) - Not the best superhero film from the marvel stable but not the worse, either, way ahead of most DC in the last five years. In fact I quite enjoyed it, Paul Rudd rather unlikely as a superhero but made it his, own anyway. The de-ageing special effect bought near corpse Michael Douglas back to life and with enough non offensive action and no swearing, excellent for younger kids as well as adults of all ages. The idea of a tiny superhero didn’t appeal much as you think they are going to get washed down the plughole (which he does) every ten minutes and so a bit naff. But it worked and although it’s rather tenuous around its place in the Marvel Universe here the Ant Man is a stand out character in its own right.

99 Homes (2015) – The credit crunch in 2008 was caused by American brokers selling houses to just about everyone, including poor jobless black Americans. They knew this chunk of loans would go bad one day but simply buried them in complex trades and derivatives and took the commissions. It was Wild West banking but everyone was getting something out of it and so it was allowed to run riot until implosion, the only way to stop it, or, at least, slow it down as it still rages today. 99 Homes is one of many films made on the financial crash with The Big Short and Margin Call the best two so far.

Michael Shannon is a hard ass property agent that is paid by banks and lenders to evict mortgage defaulters as fast as he can, using all manner of methods. Andrew Garfield plays a guy that’s just been evicted with his mom from their home and ends up working for the agent to win back his house, slowly being corrupted by Shannon’s greedy tyrant practices.

It’s a standout taught and hard to watch drama as it is revealing on the American dream and one of the must see movies of recent years. It exposes our hypocrisy. We borrow 6-10 times our salary to buy a house but then blame the banks for generating the cash needed for us to do that when it all goes wrong?

Million Dollar Arm (2014)

Based on a true story a baseball agent (John Hamm) and a washed up coach (Alan Arkin) ‘pitch up’ in India to run a competition to find a golden arm to award a one million dollar contract to a kid so to play Major League in America, cashing in on the countries love of cricket and fast bowling. It goes well and they have two winners as the boys from humble backgrounds are packed off to America to make their name.
As with most films involving India it has a nice family feel to it and extremely inoffensive and innocent as the culture clash entertains for two hours of humble Indian boys discovering the delights of capitalist America and the agent learning to like himself once again around that innocence. It’s just a fun non cynical film that reminds you what Disney was once about and one to catch on TV.

Stretch (2014)

It hasn’t quite worked out in Hollywood for failed actor Stretch (Patrick Wilson) and, as his nickname hints at, he is now driving a limo to the stars. He is up to his neck in gambling debts and failed relationships and has 24 hours in the limo to get his sh*t together before they, it, all catches up with him, complicated by having to drive around an eccentric billionaire all night. It’s funny, belligerent, stroppy and sharp and with some fun celebrity cameos - as themselves - Larry David style, knowing and angry. It not your conventional action comedy folks.

Blue Ruin (2013)

So what if a regular guy from suburbia (Macon Blair) had to battle a redneck criminal family to make right for his family. Well that’s the set up here as the innocuous chubby suit wearing son of two parents, murdered in their suburban home 10-years before after a bungled burglary, is alerted to the fact their killer is out of jail on licence, a chance to kill him.

Blue Rain is Falling Down meets Breaking Bad as guns are cleaned, dead bodies packed into the hood and crossbows fired into kneecaps, a geek in a suit versus hardened tattooed criminals. It’s just one of those low budget films that work’s because you don’t recognise the cast, the non-descript locations, and atmospheric because of that as they are normal everyday things the battle is commencing in.

Joe (2013)

The final one on this list is the oldest one and not just another Nicholas Cage movie, even though it’s a Nicholas Cage movie. He gets unfair sick for his films and, I guess, penalty for just doing dumb action movies and Italian American rom-coms most of the time. But he is a genuine A-List movie star on the big screen and does pathos and sexy puppy dog eyes like no other.

Joe is very much a drama and shows Cages has acting chops , playing an ex con with anger problems who now runs a team of disparate casual workers who clear scrub land in the Deep South for planning gains. But some locals have a long running beef with him in town and things quickly get out of hand. It’s not your run of the mill low budget drama for once we have seen a thousand times before and a decent brooding performance by Cage as he tries to hold in his rage.
=============================================

A few foreign movies caught my eye last year on DVD ........

‘White God’ essentially sees the world from a dog’s perspective as the mutts begin to fight back from human oppression and take over the streets of Budapest. It’s some sort of allegory on right wing governments there and how immigrants are treated in Hungary but original and quirky filmmaking all the same with the iconic scenes of rampaging dogs in deserted downtown Budapest worth the rent alone. You won’t have cheered for the dogs as much since Beethoven.

‘A Hijacking’ is a taught and tense drama that essentially follows a ship’s crew hijacking from start to finish as the Danish ship owners try to negotiate with the Somalia pirates off the coast of Kenya. The company bring in an experienced negotiator and as those negotiations drag on, both sides trying to agree on a ransom somewhere in the middle, the tension on the ship rises and the Danish shipping boss resolve begins to crack. It all comes down to what are the ships various crews’ lives really worth in the west.

The Second Mother looks at the role of the maid in a middle class family in Sao Paulo, Regina Casé, a big star in Brazil, superb as the put upon housemaid who tries to balance her family life back in a small town in rural Brazil and working for the needy doctor’s family in the wealthy suburbs of the big city. The awkwardness and class tensions ramp up when her daughter Jessica (Camila Márdila) from the country arrives to stay for a bit. The wife (Karine Teles) of the house is not happy and even has the swimming pool cleaned when Jessica uses it but the more liberal thinking doctor soon has a crush on the teenager, causing more ructions...

Girlhood is an edgy blue collar drama from France about a gang of naughty black girls from a rough Paris suburb who seek out moments of joy in a grubby word of respect, gangs and failing school. Shoplifting and intimidating tourist help them pass the day as they recruit young school girl (Karidja Toure) in the process to their dirty deeds. But she is a little star in their world and soon moves up the popularity ranks, putting noses out of place in the gang. One scene in a hotel room with the girls dressed in their expensive stolen dresses and drinking champagne to Rhianna’s Diamonds is just unforgettable. Director Celine Sciamma has made a rare and honest film about young women we just don’t see, and should.

Baskin is a gory Turkish horror where some cops investigating an old house are dawn into a hellish world of ghouls and paradoxes. It’s non linear and confusing a first but falls into place as you are dragged deeper and deeper into the films many labyrinths, twists and turns, quite literally ending up in hell, Baskin the Turkish word for, a must see for horror film fans.

Dead Snow is a straightforward zombie horror where some twenty something friends staying in a cabin in the snowy woods in the Norwegian mountains on a skiing weekend awaken some Nazi zombies, who want something the cabin inhabitants have, and won’t stop until they get it. The humans arm themselves with what’s to hand and stand their ground as both zombie and human body parts fly as chainsaws are revved up and garden tools applied to the zombies and the best zombie flick I have seen since Warm Bodies.

Mommy, from brilliant talent Xavier Nolan, is a tour de force of that talent as he writes, directs and stars in this intense and energetic comedy-drama about a young man going through mental illness after the death of his father, single mother (Anna Dorval) taking him out of the clinic to try and care for him. The familiar Dolan sexual tension trait is never far away as timid and attractive schoolteacher- neighbour(Suzanne Clement) joins in trying to help the mischievous, less than tactile and impulsive young man stay out of the clinic by home educating him. What openly gay Dolan does on screen is so different in his films and you just have to sample him at least once.
My final one on the list is Department Q: The Keeper of Lost Causes, the first in a trilogy about two Norwegian cops who are tasked to run a cold case unit in a likewise dank basement office on little money. Their super wants them just to close cases as fast as they can to clear the backlog with little investigation where as hard drinking, handsome, man alone detective Cark Merck (Nikolaj Lie Kass) and his partner in crime Muslim cop Assad (Fares Fares), quite fancy solving some cases and set about doing exactly that over the three films so far, much to the annoyance of their superiors. It’s typical subtitled dark and disturbed scando - crime caper stuff we are used to but it’s intriguing and atmospheric all the same. If you like that BBC4 stuff you will love this.

Best selling movies of 2017

1 Beauty and the Beast (2017) (Buena Vista) $1,263.5
2 The Fate of the Furious (Universal) $1,235.8
3 Despicable Me 3 (Universal). $1,033.5
4 Star Wars: The Last Jedi (BV) $934.3
5 Spider-Man: Homecoming (Sony Pictures)
6 Wolf Warrior 2 (HC) $870.3
7 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (BV) $863.7
8 Thor: Ragnarok (BV) $847.0
9 Wonder Woman (Warner Brothers) $821.8
10 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (BV) $801.7

Top paid actors in 2017

Bollywood goes from strength to strength, as do ethic actors in Hollywood, 6 out of the world wide top ten non white as film studios increasingly try to sell to regional markets.

Ashkay Kumar 35m
Salman Khan 37m
Shah Rukh Khan: $38M.
Tom Cruise: $43M.
Robert Downey Jr.: 48m
Jackie Chan: $49M. ...
Adam Sandler: $50.5M. ...
Vin Diesel: $54.5M. ...
Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson: $65M. ...
Mark Wahlberg: $68M.

Most pirated films of 2017

No surprise to see a mix of popular good films and bad ones in this list, very much why pay for rubbish ones at the cinema or I can’t be arced to go out and so may as well watch Dunkirk online.

1 - Justice League.
2- IT.
3 - Kingsman: The Golden Circle.
4 – Bright.
5 – Dunkirk.
6 – The Mountain Between Us.
7 – Blade Runner 2049.
8 – Coco.
9 –Flatliners.
10 – The Foreigner.


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Comments on this review

  • Secre published 15/01/2018
    I think I've seen Lady in the Van and Antman
  • RICHADA published 14/01/2018
    Lady in the Van is the only one on this list that I have seen (bought it on DVD) and I have to say that, and i'm probably alone in this, I simply couldn't get on with it. R.
  • emGcrook published 14/01/2018
    Verey interesting read - I would give exxceptional but am limited to numbers
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