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Friday, January 5, 2018

My Top Ten Movie Picks of 2017

Image result for lady bird movie poster1. Lady Bird * * * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "Every sequence in "Bird" feels raw, unflinching, and just plain genuine. Every actor nuance is blessed with unassuming clout. With whip-smart dialogue, grainy locales, and keen direction by actor turned director Greta Gerwig, Lady Bird puts coming-of-age candor through the almighty ringer". Rotten Tomatometer Score: 99%

Image result for life 2017 movie poster2. Life * * * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "So hey, Life is good. No I'm not talking about life itself, I'm talking about the darn movie. Critics have been calling it a retread of Alien. Allow me to retort. Life is an unsettling, sci-fi horror film that stands on its own. It doesn't need to be compared to Ridley Scott's 1979 megahit." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 67%

2. (tie) I, Tonya * * * 1/2 Stars
Image result for i tonya movie posterMy quote as a critic: "I, Tonya's wiki page claims that it's a black comedy. I'm not sure on that one. I'd rather call it a comedy-drama that makes you wriggle. "Tonya" contains filthy, ferocious dialogue, a measure of sucker punch barrage, and an unabashed, wink wink to the audience (a lot of the actors talk right into the camera during regular scenes)." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 89%
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3. Extortion * * * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "Part thriller, part drama. and part psychological horror fare, Extortion shattered me and I'm sure it will shatter you too. Granted, it doesn't have a notable lead or a strong marketing ploy. And it's only being released in U.S. and in the Philippines. Regardless, this thing is still my pick for biggest movie surprise of 2017. It's cynical, frustrating, nasty, and harrowing. Heck, it's okay to get "blackmailed" into seeing Extortion." Rotten Tomatometer Score: Not Applicable
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4. John Wick: Chapter 2 * * * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "John Wick: Chapter 2 is an exercise in style and its violence is like ballet, poetry, or birds in flight. Oh yeah, this "wick" burns through and through." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 89%
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5. Detroit * * * Stars
My quote as a critic: "For much of the way, Detroit is a crippling film to watch. It feels like the poster child for police brutality, the poster child for racial rigidity, and the rightful epitome of near torture porn. You the viewer, never feel totally safe while taking in this vehicle (no pun intended to The Motor City)." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 83%

6. The Snare * * * Stars
My quote as a critic: "Although "Snare's" ending can be confused and over interpreted, this is still something hardcore fright fans might want to check out. The Snare starts out slow, with paint-by-numbers fortitude, fidgety editing, and stylistic indulgence. It then turns effectual, becoming its own, macabre entity." Rotten Tomatometer Score: Not Applicable
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7. Spider-Man: Homecoming * * * Stars
My quote as a critic: "The vibe with Spider-Man: Homecoming is less dark, more fancy-free, more cheery, and more whimsy than anything else in the Spider-Man canon. It's like superhero fanaticism meets Pretty in Pink or She's All That. Add a creepy malefactor in Michael Keaton (he plays Adrian Toomes aka Vulture) and the result is a stony mixture of cutesy high schooling, deadpan humor, and intimidating villainy. What can I say, it just works." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 92%
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8. Star Wars: The Last Jedi *** Stars
My quote as a critic: "Star Wars: The Last Jedi is unlike any film I've seen in the Star Wars canon. It doesn't adhere to the swashbuckling residue of Episodes "IV", "V", and "VI" nor does it lolly in the CGI overkill possessed by the prequels from 10-15 years ago. "Jedi" shows that Johnson doesn't want to be George Lucas, J.J. Abrams, or even the late Richard Marquand (he shot Return of the Jedi). He gives the Star Wars charter a blooming makeover and yeah, he's all the better for it." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 93%
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9. Wonder * * * Stars
My quote as a critic: "Wonder doesn't always elaborate on what makes "Auggie" tick, or how he became so smart, or how he got those birthing marks on his face. Oh well. This vehicle somehow works anyway and every kid and/or parent should see it. In my brief review of 1982's E.T., I remarked, "if you don't elicit an emotional response while viewing this film, you might as well not be human". Well that same statement applies to Wonder." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 85%
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10: American Made * * * Stars
My quote as a critic: "Directed by Doug Liman and scripted by Gary Spinelli (Stash House), "Made" is a frenzied, bouncy affair. Liman usually makes action pics like The Bourne IdentityMr. & Mrs. Smith, and Edge of Tomorrow. His American Made is something invariably different. It's unlike anything he's ever done before. In fact, I'm not sure Doug was even behind the camera. His film at just under two hours, breeds kookiness, contains a rich, poppy soundtrack, and breaks a few rules. Heck, Duggy and lead Cruise are all the better for it." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 87%

Honorable Mention: Battle of the Sexes, Wind River, All Eyez on Me, Wilson, 47 Meters Down. These are all good films that didn't quite make the cut.

And the worst...

1. Mad Families * Star
My quote as a critic: "Mad Families is a so-called comedy about race and it feels really dated. Characters bicker, fight aimlessly, tell jokes, and project themselves as total buffoons. I wanted to slap these hackneyed characters and the actors who play them." Rotten Tomatometer Score: Not Applicable

2. Amityville Exorcism * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "Made with troupers who obviously won the Hollywood lottery, green-lit with the tone of blackmailing, featuring an implausible binge drinking scene, and giving off a whiff of a rejected student film, "Exorcism" has a plot element that's as old as dirt. A young woman gets possessed and a priest must thrust the demons out of her. There's horrid acting, an opening credits sequence that feels like an 80's porno, some over-stylized direction, and a vibe of unintentional buffoonery." Rotten Tomatometer Score: Not Applicable 

3. Baywatch * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "Baywatch, with its banal outtakes and self-satisfaction at the end credits, is basically CHiPs but with a little less vulgarity. Both flicks have cameos from their former series stars, both have visible penis gags, and yup, both films are pretty freaking stupid." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 18%

4. The Layover * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "In jest, The Layover has almost no cinematic innovation, a loose plot, and virtually zero character development. It runs 88 minutes, is playing in only a handful of theaters, and has been mostly demoted to release by way of the Internet. Granted, these are all bad signs. Believe that." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 0%

5. All Nighter * 1/2 Stars
My quote as a critic: "All Nighter plays like a combination of Due Date (just look at the poster), Planes, Trains & Automobiles, and 2015's Grandma. It's a road trip flick, a polar opposite buddy movie, and a shoddy L.A. story all rolled up into one. Whereas Due Date and "Planes" had some sort of purpose or destination, "Nighter" feels almost too lightweight and barely ceases to exist." Rotten Tomatometer Score: 0%

Written by Jesse Burleson

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