#1 War of the Planet of the Apes
Caesar: “I did not start this war. I offered you peace. I showed you mercy, but now you are here to finish us off for good.”
This movie claimed the number one spot this year because I saw it multiple times in the theater and at home. And also because usually with a trilogy they get worse and worse. This one however got better and better. I write this as I look at my Pop bobblehead of Casesar the leader of the apes. His character progression from the beginning to the end had me at hello. Or whatever his first words were. You could literally see the weight of leading his apes to freedom in his face. Which leads me to mention the special effects in this were nothing short of incredible. Andy Serkis deserved an oscar nom. I love how this third movie played somewhat like a classic western. Such parallels to todays topics. I could go on and on.
#2 Mollys Game
Molly Bloom: “I was raised to be a champion. My goal was to win. At what and against whom, those were just details.”
The true story of Molly Bloom, an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target. From the writer of greats like a few good men, moneyball and social network. This was Aaron Sorkins first time directing and i was impressed. Jessica Chastain drew me in from her opening narration to the very end. I so badly wanted to know who player X was. I researched more about the real Molly and who played as soon as I could. She was a go getter and not affraid to put herself in intense situations. Fascinating story that was written and directed in a way that just kept my attention alert.
#3 I, Tonya
Tonya Harding: “America. They want someone to love, but they want someone to hate, and the haters always say. 'Tonya, tell the truth!' There’s no such thing as truth. I mean it’s bulls***! Everyone has their own truth.”
Oh man i loved this movie. It was weird and hilarious and traggic and sad all at the same time. It had such a style to it that I found refreshing and made what could have been a tv movie into something way more entertaining. Loved Margot Robbie as Tonya and especially loved Allison Janney who played her mom. I hope she wins the Oscar. The clothes and hairdos were straight out of the 80’s. I especially loved when the guy sitting next to me opened a can of soda. I looked over and it was TAB. Paired perfectly with this crazy film. Her bodyguard...I have no words. I will remember this movie for years to come.
#4 The Greatest Showman
James Gordon Bennett: “Does it bother you that everything you are selling is fake?”
P.T. Barnum: “Do these smiles seem fake?”
I remember when I was just a kid my mom had me reed a biography on P.T. Barnum. I don’t remember much about it except that he was always in search for the weird and strange and different. I don’t know how much the movie really reflects who he truly was but that doesn’t matter. It was fun. From the first music beats to the last, its a fun ride. I loved the choreography and the costumes and the message tho a bit heavy handed. But the music is the shining star. At first listen it was good. The movie just made my heart happy. I love a musical so I rejoice when they are successful in hopes they will make more.
Maud Lewis: “A window. How I love a window. A bird, whizzin' by. Bumblebee. It's always different. The whole of life. The whole of life already framed. Right there.”
I am so sad this movie didn’t get any big award attention. Tho I think it was considered released in 2016. But I saw it in 2017. Sally Hawkins and Ethan Hawke gave stand out performances if you ask me. Its a true story about an arthritic Nova Scotia woman who works as a housekeeper while she hones her skills as an artist and eventually becomes a beloved figure in the community. Its sweet but heart wrenching as well. Her poor humble life and circumstances did not kill her spirit inside. She painted bright colorful landscapes that when looking at them you would never imaging where she lived or who she was married to etc. But this movie sat with me long after watching it. I had to look up more about the real Maudie. Please watch this movie.
#6 Three Billboards outside ebbing, missouri
Gabriella Forrester: “So, Mildred Hayes, why did you put up these billboards?”
Mildred Hayes: “My daughter, Angela, was murdered seven months ago along this same stretch of road here. It seems to me the police department is too busy torturing black folks to solve actual crime.”
I love Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell so much and this movie lets them shine! You would think you were getting a movie about solving a crime which the three billboards are drawing attention to. But instead you get a very unpredictable dark comedic drama that introduces themes and ideas and social commentary that give you plenty to talk about after watching it. It explores anger, revenge, violence and kindness and keeps you guessing where its going. Definitely for mature audiences with its subject matter, language and violence.
#7 the Shape of Water
Giles: “When he looks at me, he does not know how I am incomplete. He sees me as I am.”
At a top secret research facility in the 1950s, a lonely janitor forms a unique relationship with an amphibious creature that is being held in captivity. I read somewhere where they described this movie as an adult version of beauty and the beast. For mature audiences as well as #6 on my list. Two of my top ten movies showcase Sally Hawkins. What a stand out she is becoming in my list of favorite actors. She plays a mute and yet you still are captivated by her. The movie is visually stunning and i am so happy to see Guillermo Del Toro getting much deserved attention. Pan’s Labryinth is among my favorite movies. This movie is unique and different. "Water is like love, it has no shape. It takes the shape of whatever it inhabits. It's the most powerful element in the universe. It's gentle, flexible, but breaks through every barrier."-Guillermo del Toro
#8 Lady Bird
Shelly: “She has a big heart, your mom.”
Danny: “She’s warm, but she’s also kind of scary.”
Christine McPherson: “You can’t be scary and warm.”
Danny: “I think you can. Your mom is.”
I saw this before all the hype of a perfect rotten tomatos score. Going into it with that on the mind could really change how you feel abot a movie. sheesh. Most coming of age movies don’t sit well with me for one reason or another. Maybe because they make them all about sex. This one however was fresh and new. I loved how quirky lady bird was. I loved the exploration of her relationship with her mom. I laughed here and there all thru it and thought to myself, I can see this getting funnier the more you watch it. Subtly quirkly that you have to tune into its tone. Directed by Greta Gerwig and stars Saoirse Ronan and Laurie Metcalf. What a great pairing that turned out to be.
#9 atomic Blonde
Lorraine Broughton: “I chose this life and someday it’s going to get me killed, but not today.”
Um...the scene with the George Michael (RIP) father figure song playing. Look it up. google it. Oh and the scene during “I ran” by flock of seaguls. Don’t forget the “blue monday” new order song scene. The list goes on. This movie has style and artistic exploration. It also has grit and a plot that you better have gone pee before watching. There is an action scene where Chalize starts out clean and ends completely dirty and bloody and beat up. All without any camera cuts. Now thats some well thought out choreography. This also brought a real authentic maturity level to fight scenes. The womens movement should elect Chalize as president. She is kick ass in this. Loved the 80’s vibe. Definitely for mature audiences.
#10 Alien Covenant
Daniels: “You hear that?”
Christopher Oram: “What?”
Daniels: “Nothing, no birds, no animals, nothing”
I had to put this Alien film in the top ten because I have always been a fan of the franchise. True, probably not the best but it did a good job of bringing back the elements from the first two that we all loved so much. Reviews aren’t great but people have a high expectation for alien movies. Don’t avoid seeing it just because of the reviews. I think you’ll like it.
Movies that almost made the cut or just plain fun:
I will put the guarantee on this one that you’ll enjoy it. It’s sweet and cute and just feels good to watch it. Chris Evans and the girl have chemistry that feels genuine and real.
• Victoria and Abdul
Judi Dench always winds in my book. This movie was purely enjoyable to watch. I chuckled all thru it. Please watch it. An underated gem.
I wanted to hate this movie. The trailer made it look like emotional manipulation cookie cutter film making. But I have to say it did draw me in and I was moved. Worth seeing.
• The Big Sick
This movie felt genuine and real to me. Maybe because it was based on the leads real life.
Good heavy dramas:
Set during the 1967 Detroit riots. Horrifying to see what a bad cop has power to do.
• All the Money in the World
The richest man in the world won’t pay a ransom for his grandson. Interesting true story with great acting.
• Darkest Hour
Gary Oldman better win for this one. Incredible performance. Loved seeing the war rooms etc that I visited when at the Churchill museum in England last year.
• Wind River
Moody and atmospheric with dark tones and good character development.
Best of the “popcorn” flicks:
• Fate of the Furious
Ridiculous and implausable with sub par acting. I saw give me more. Man I love how over the top these movies are getting. Yet they still tie in the “its all about family” theme.
• Kong Skull Island
Took me about 20 minutes to get into this one but was hooked after that. The visuals and artistic direction in this one shine.
• Wonder Woman
A win for the womens movement. Female director. Female lead. A well made superhero film.
One of my favorites of the spiderman movies.
I’ve been waiting for the rated “R” version of X-men. The others are ok but seem to hold back. Man this one was gritty and real. Loved it.
Loved the Robin Williams one and loved this one too. So fun to see the video game elements used in comedic ways. I wanted more of Jack Black. Hilarious.
• Get Out
Still confused what all the fuss is about. I found this movie to be just ok. I mean worth watching but forgetable. The race themes were obvious and shoved in the face. It was predictable and just ok.
Christopher Nolan has been a favorite director of mine ever since Memento. If you have not seen that, you must! I was excited for this but did not enjoy it. I mean the story is good but his director choices left me scratching my head. Why split it up into air, land and water? I could barely understand when anyone spoke and could barely recognize the characters from one scene to the next. I didn’t get the sense of just how many were rescued and I just wasn’t very moved. The soundtrack while amazing was also confusing. It would be crazy intense during a scene when nothing really happened. huh? Its not a dud but as I say above, over rated. Its shot beautifully and the soundtrack is great and the story is worth knowing about.
• Murder on the Orient Express
Maybe this was my own fault but after seeing the trailers for this my heart was getting so excited that we might be bringing back a good classic whodunnit mystery full of fun and surprises and quirky characters. After seeing it however it was none of that. The amazing cast was underutilized and the story was rather boring. The only action scene felt forced. Worth a rental but have lower expectations than i did.