Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

2017 IN REVIEW – My Favorite Films of the Year

March 10, 2018 Leave a comment

Alright, so I had intended to get this done a while ago – weeks ago, in fact, but at least before the Oscars. Naturally, life, as it does, gets in the way of ambitions, and so I’m releasing it as soon as I could.

2017 was a terrible year, but it wasn’t all bad in terms of the films that came out. In fact, there were quite a few that I loved this year, and… well, here they are! Below are the films from 2017 that either I personally enjoyed the most or that resonated with me the most. As such, I do not call them “the best,” but I do consider them to be exemplary. Unlike my previous two lists, each film is categorized roughly into the genre I think it (mostly) fits into (there’s always going to be overlap), and then in the usual ascending order of quality within the genre.

Even with all these, I can’t say I’m not relieved this is all over, finally. I kinda want to go back to reviewing films now, and 2018 is already well underway now… Read more…


2017 IN REVIEW – The Worst Films of the Year

March 2, 2018 Leave a comment

They can’t all be winners, and, as with any year, 2017 had some real stinkers. For the most part, I actually tried avoiding a lot of some of the apparent worst, but a few managed to either slip by me or, God help me, I sought them out just out of morbid curiosity.

The movies below are listed according to an admittedly somewhat arbitrary order based on gut instinct and memory, but while some of these may shift around a bit over time and even from day to day, you can bet these are all pretty terrible, with the top contenders being… well, some of the worst movies of 2017.

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2017 IN REVIEW – The Films Between Two Extremes

February 21, 2018 Leave a comment

Okay, so I’m very behind. I have decided on dropping the whole review of films I hadn’t seen yet thing with 2017. It took me way too long, and, with this year in particular, I just wasn’t feeling it. December and January were hard months for me – as was most of 2017 – but I also felt as though I’d seen most of the films I wanted to, even while reviewing the ones I had missed. And so, I break with a longstanding tradition and skip straight to talking about the films I have seen, starting with the films that I neither felt were awful nor were among my favorites.

Below you’ll find the 50 films(!) that fell within this category along with a brief-ish summary of how I felt about them – and how critics in general felt about them with the included Rotten Tomatoes score. These are not intended to be reviews, and I also warn you that in the interest of finishing this by Oscars night, I did not double check my writing, so I apologise for the roughness. But then again, nobody’s apologizing to me about the roughness that was 2017, so… screw it. Here we go!

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2017 IN REVIEW – Worst. Year. Ever…?: An Introduction

January 4, 2018 1 comment


I’m starting to think that there’s something to my elders’ arguments that the world is becoming a worse place the more time goes on. 2017 was worse than 2016, for sure. At least for me. … And probably for the rest of America, come to think of it. But, you know, as disappointing, horrifying, sad, and stupid as the whole year was, it’s not like there weren’t some bright spots throughout the year, particularly in the world of film.

Of course, I’m actually mostly kidding about seeing the world as getting worse and worse, but it’s worth pointing out that 2017 was the first year in which I did not break a new record for most movies watched over the previous year, and it’s unlikely that I will be able to amend that by the end of this year in review series, either, even taking into account that I will continue to add movies to that list until the very end.

2017 was also the year I learned to be a lot more discerning due to financial and personal matters – I recently lost my grandpa after a two month long fight with an infection we became aware of in October. Yet it was also probably the year in which I rewatched the most films while they were still in theatres, just because I liked them so much. (Probably because the rest of the year was so miserable…) As a result, I didn’t have nearly as many “bad movie nights” as I did in years past, either because I just didn’t want to spend the money or because I was already in a bad mood, and if I was going to watch a bad movie, I sure as heck wasn’t going to do it without the help of a guy and his robot friends to provide color commentary… or lots of beer.

Again, though, this was actually a pretty darn good year for watching some pretty darn good films if you knew where to look – or if you had patience, as was often the case for me, as the most expensive theatre near me was usually the only one to carry certain films for a few weeks. (Thankfully, I, Tonya appears to be exiting that exclusivity window by this weekend, so yay!) It was a particularly good year for Disney, who apparently made so much money that they decided to assimilate Fox, which is great for their Marvel universe, Star Wars, and their bottom line, but probably also pretty detrimental to the film and television industry as a whole. … Ugh, there I go getting negative again! Seriously, though, it wasn’t a bad year at all, and I actually am grateful that my local theatres are showing more and more non-mainstream films like Lady Bird, Ingrid Goes West, and The Lost City of Z instead of making me wait for DVD, VOD, or just outright pay friggin’ $14.00 for a ticket.

So, yeah, like with previous years, I’ll be writing a series of articles covering both the films I watched and even the films I didn’t, which you will be seeing first. I won’t be able to cover all of those, of course, but I’ll try to cover the ones that standout to me and maybe even watch a few as I go along and throw them on the final lists of viewed films, even. The list of films I haven’t seen will be divided into three sections of roughly the same number of films each (ex: 25 films across January – May, 25 across June – October, and 25 across November – December). The lists of ilms I have seen will similarly be published in three parts: first a chronological list of films that were neither awful nor great, a ranked list of the worst films I saw, and, finally, a ranked and genre-categorized list of my favorite films of the year (because I don’t believe in making great sci-fi flicks, period dramas, indie comedies, and superhero flicks against one another unless it’s based on the level of dislike I had for them).

Here’s to hoping 2018 both doesn’t suck as much as 2017 while still providing just as many pleasant surprises, if not more.

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REVIEW – Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

December 24, 2017 Leave a comment
Directed by: Rian Johnson
Produced by: Kathleen Kennedy, Ram Bergman
Written by: Rian Johnson
Edited by: Bob Ducsay
Cinematography by: Steve Yedlin
Music by: John Williams
Starring: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Gwendoline Christie, Benicio Del Toro, Anthony Daniels, Joonas Suotamo, Billie Lourd, Lupita Nyong’o
Year: 2017


One of the first questions I received regarding my opinion of the latest Star Wars film (after having announced to everyone on my Facebook that I had completed my first two viewings, of course) was whether or not The Last Jedi, the eighth episode of the currently main Skywalker saga of films, was made for casual fans or die-hard fans. I had to think about it a bit, not because I didn’t know the direct answer to that, but because I had to think about the context of the attitudes I’d been witnessing about the movie. It seems as though there’s a very vocal number of fans out there who… well, they didn’t really seem to like The Last Jedi, and they were making sure everyone knew it in the loudest, most entitled, and sometimes even most obnoxious possible way. Could that have been the demographic my friend was implying when he used the term “die-hard?” I never really got a follow-up to my response (I’m still waiting!), but the fact that I had to consider it at all just made me realize something: I’m kinda tired of so called “die-hard fans” in general. Also, I still think that, after two viewings and nearly non-stop hours of reading about the film and views on it, The Last Jedi is also a pretty great flick, too!

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REVIEW – Christmas, Again

December 19, 2017 Leave a comment
Directed by: Charles Poekel
Produced by: Charles Poekel
Written by: Charles Poekel
Edited by: Robert Greene
Cinematography by: Sean Price Williams
Starring: Kentucker Audley, Hannah Gross, Caitlin Mehner, Andrea Suarez Paz, Jason Shelton, Sam Stillman
Year: 2015

Christmas is almost synonymous with happiness in most everyone’s mind. Songs foretell of all the cheer and glad tidings the season will bring the masses as we all presumably dream about gathering together with family and friends and exchanging gifts and gathering by the fireplace and all that. But, man… Christmas can also be kind of a bummer. Should one thing not be perfect, it’s easy to find yourself worrying about whether you’ve ruined the holiday for everyone. Consider also the fact that missing someone on Christmas can be all sorts of depressing, whether it be due to distance, a break-up… or even worse, as my family this year is currently experiencing (which is also the reason for the shortened and belated Christmas reviewing season on this blog). There are countless Christmas films that embrace the joys of the season, of course, but very few that not only acknowledge but embrace exploring the feelings of loneliness and sadness that can come about when you’re surrounded by people who are seemingly way more happy than you are and don’t know why you can’t just support them in their merriment. Christmas, Again, however, is one such rare film, right down to its matter-of-fact title. Read more…

REVIEW – Justice League

November 18, 2017 Leave a comment
Directed by: Zack Snyder
Produced by: Charles Roven, Deborah Snyder, Jon Berg, Geoff Johns
Written by: Chris Terrio, Joss Whedon
Edited by: David Brenner, Richard Pearson, Martin Walsh
Cinematography by: Fabian Wagner
Music by: Danny Elfman
Starring: Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Jason Momoa, Ray Fisher, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams, Diane Lane, Connie Nielsen, J.K. Simmons, Ciarán Hinds, Joe Morton, Amber Heard, Billy Crudup
Based on characters from DC Comics
Year: 2017


Finally, right? I think I finally understand now why DC/Warner Bros feel as though they have to catch up to Marvel now that Justice League has been released after years and years of development and false starts. It’s been a rocky road for DC, to say the least, and it’s hard to fault people for continually pointing this out. The studio has largely been reticent to move away from their bread and butter of Batman and Superman (and characters closely tied to them, as was the case with Suicide Squad), and even their efforts to set themselves apart from Marvel, tonally, has been met with criticism for emulating the grimdark tone of Christopher Nolan’s exceptional Dark Knight Trilogy films, regardless of whether it was appropriate or not. As a result, general reception of nearly all their films, with the notable exception of this year’s Wonder Woman, have also been decidedly negative to mixed, at best (though I still generally like Man of Steel, despite its obvious flaws). Come to think of it, that can actually be said all of pretty much all of their non-Nolan-helmed films (a pretty damn big exception, mind you) since 1992. But now – finally – everything has come together in Justice League, the film that finally unites worlds in live action, as we’ve all been hoping to see. Was it worth it? Does it make the pain of watching DC limp through all those years of trials and errors feel worth it? Read more…

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