Monday, January 22, 2018

Initial Reaction to the 2018 Razzies Nominations

As per usual with the dummies running this show, the Razzie people once again chose to go with pure easy pickings. But wow oh wow, they really got extremely lazy this year, largely giving all the nominations to the same five or so movies.

Let's start with the elephant in the room: why is mother! anywhere on here?! Yes, the movie gained noteworthy buzz with its "F" rating via CinemaScore and it generated a polarizing response from viewers (see my own review and where it landed on my year-end lists for proof) but everyone can at least agree that it shouldn't be sullied by being featured here. I can at least be okay with Darren Aronofsky being up for Worst Director but no way should Jennifer Lawrence and Javier Bardem be here at all.

Zac Efron wasn't so hot in Baywatch, acting wise I mean, but like Lawrence, he "earned" a nom just because of his notoriety with the youth. Oh you Razzies, you are just so scandalous with your mudslinging at millenials and their faves. It's almost like you are trying to stay relevant!

How on earth did Matt Damon not get a Worst Actor nomination for The Great Wall? That performance was such an easy layup for the Razzies and yet it was left in the dust. Hell, they even skipped on one of their "absolutely hilarious" joke nominations by having Damon and his terrible ponytail not up for Worst Screen Combo. More on that category later...

Again, like with Lawrence and Efron, Emma Watson gets a Worst Actress nomination for her work in The Circle to get heat from the teenagers and young adults. That movie had far more egregious things in it than Watson.

I really do not like Katherine Heigl but many people and even critics have pointed out that she is pretty much the best thing in Unforgettable and turned in a very creepy performance.

And there it is, the Razzies' unfunny sexual humor by having Tyler Perry nominated for Worst Actress again.

Seriously, how did Millia Jovovich skip out on another nom? She got it for the last Resident Evil movie and she is way, way worse in The Final Chapter.

Holy shit, they were were pulling teeth just to fill out Worst Supporting Actress. I had some trouble as well doing my own version but the five nominated by the Razzies didn't really raise much of a stink at all. Goldie Hawn was one of the few shining lights of Snatched by critics and the same goes for Sofia Boutella in The Mummy. Also, nice job you did there: the titular character from that movie, who gets a ton of screen time, gets regulated to the back just so they can throw shade at Emma Watson.

What is there to say about Worst Screen Combo? If ever they was a clear neon-glowing sign that the Razzies aren't even trying anymore, it is this year's edition of the category.

As for the snubs: Seriously, seriously, where's The Bye Bye Man? How daft can you get Razzies?

No Rings? No The Snowman? No The Last Face, not even for Sean Penn's awful directing? Nothing for Alien: Covenant? And what blackmail does Scott Eastwood have to avoid being featured in these awards?

Dear lord, the Razzies just keep getting worse and worse with each passing year. It used to be fun for bad movie lovers but now it is just feels totally hollow.

Sunday, January 7, 2018

France Gall - RIP

Famous French singer France Gall has died. She was 70 years old.

She started off her long music career as a popular teen singer in the early 1960's. However, she is forever immortalized for winning the Eurovision Song Contest in 1965 with the Serge Gainsbourg penned song "Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son". Everything about her involvement in the contest came under attack: she and Gainsbourg were representing Luxembourg instead of their native France, the song was deemed too weird and inappropriate for the event by conservative critics, and her live performance was mocked for being off-key. Nevertheless, the song ultimately won and helped modernize Eurovision, ushering in a huge wind of change to the look and feel of the contest and led to more contemporary music stylings instead of the rote crooning that dominated in previous editions.

She continued her daring musical misadventures with Gainsbourg in tow, highlighted further with the very controversial song "Les Sucettes", until her twenties when she began to struggle with her career. She eventually found her footing again in the late 70's, coupled with her marriage to composer Michel Berger and extensive humanitarian work, and had a big hit in 1987 with her album Babacar.

When I delved head first into all things Eurovision last year, I tended to stay away from the early years of the contest due to its often stale musical offerings. But then I came into contact with "Poupée De Cire, Poupée De Son", which has become one of my favorite Eurovision songs due to its vibrant music, subversive wordplay, and of course Gall's adorable voice.

She will be missed.

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Film List of 2017

These are all of the movies I have watched throughout last year and were qualified to be judged for my awards.

If I didn't watch a film at all or in its entirety, it is disqualified and ineligible. There were a ton of movies that I couldn't get access to and/or make the time for. A few examples of films I wanted to see but couldn't before the mandated deadline were Lady Bird, The Big Sick, Raw, Okja, Logan Lucky, Blade of the Immortal, Kedi, Girls Trip, Detroit, The Lost City of Z, Mudbound, Better Watch Out, Atomic Blonde, The Breadwinner, Gerald’s Game, Kong: Skull Island and A Ghost Story.

Alien: Covenant
Annabelle: Creation
Baby Driver
Batman and Harley Quinn
Beauty and the Beast
The Beguiled
The Belko Experiment
Blade Runner 2049
Born In China
The Bye Bye Man
The Disaster Artist
The Emoji Movie
The Evil Within
Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry
The Fate of the Furious
The Florida Project
Free Fire
Get Out
The Great Wall
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Hounds of Love
It Comes At Night
John Wick: Chapter 2
Justice League
Justice League Dark
Kingsman: The Golden Circle
The Last Face
The Lego Batman Movie
The Lego Ninjago Movie
Monster Island
The Mummy
Murder On The Orient Express
One Piece Film: Gold
Personal Shopper
Phoenix Forgotten
Resident Evil: The Final Chapter
Resident Evil: Vendetta
Rock Dog
The Shack
The Shape of Water
Spark: A Space Tail
Spider-Man: Homecoming
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Starship Troopers: Traitor of Mars
Thor: Ragnarok
Wonder Woman
xXx: Return of Xander Cage
Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Dark Side of Dimensions

Overall Count: 61 Films

Joke Film Awards of 2017

Best Film Experience of the Year: Thor: Ragnarok (A Murphy's Law screening: a fine but disappointing film ruined further by a gaggle of teenagers behind me who would not stop talking throughout the entire thing, everyone constantly taking out their cell phones, and a sick man sitting next to me who refused to blow his nose.)

2nd Best Film Experience of the Year: Fairy Tail: Dragon Cry (Saw it with a huge crowd of anime fans, who reacted as if they themselves were anime characters and would loudly shout "Kiss!" whenever the two mains had some alone time.)

3rd Best Film Experience of the Year: The Florida Project (Saw it with my father, who couldn't believe that I would dare laugh during a "sobering drama".)

Best Film Title of the Year: My Entire High School Sinking Into The Sea

Worst Film Title of the Year: The Bye Bye Man

Most Accurate Film Title: Murder On The Orient Express (Runner-Up: Dave Made a Maze)

Same Dress, Different Hairstyle: Churchill and Darkest Hour

The Kathryn Morris Award for "What's The Deal With This Person?": Marcus Henderson in Get Out

2nd Place of The Kathryn Morris Award: Mackenzie Davis and Carla Juri in Blade Runner 2049

The Enough Already Award for the Most Egregious Overuse of Something in Movies: John Denver songs

2nd Place of The Enough Already Award: Movie with "American" in the title

3rd Place of The Enough Already Award: Winston Churchill

Best Turtle: Amy's pet in The Beguiled

Best Alien Animals: The porgs, fathiers and vulptex in Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Best Kill: Georgie's demise in It

Worst Kill: Toni Collette's parachuting in xXx: Return of Xander Cage

Best Reason to Fast-Forward to the End: Jason Statham's plane takedown in The Fate of the Furious

Most Incestuous Film: Split (Runner-Up: It)

Actor with the Biggest Open Schedule of the Year: Idris Elba

The Jai Courtney Award for The Biggest Failure to Jump to Stardom: Ezra Miller

The Lorraine Bracco Award for The Biggest Failure to Jump to Stardom: Danielle Macdonald

Best Cameo in a Comedy Movie: Zac Efron in The Disaster Artist

Worst Cameo in a Superhero Movie: Swamp Thing in Batman and Harley Quinn

Worst Cameo in a Sci-Fi Movie: Noomi Rapace in Alien: Covenant

Best Use of Subtitles: The Shape of Water

Worst Use of Subtitles: The Great Wall (Runner-Up: Temple)

Worst Use of CGI: Superman's face in Justice League

Best Food: The ice cream in Wonder Woman

Worst Food: The mushrooms in The Beguiled

2nd Worst Food: The non-ripe vegetable in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

3rd Worst Food: The key lime pies in The Shape of Water

Best Product Placement: Atari in Blade Runner 2049

Worst Product Placement: Goodnight Moon in Life

Worst Spoiler Poster: The Shape of Water

2nd Worst Spoiler Poster: Sleepless

Worst Spoiler Trailer: The Shape of Water

2nd Worst Spoiler Trailer: Rings

Laziest Poster of All Time: The teaser posters for Father Figures a.k.a. Bastards

Greatest Display of Lack of Originality: The posters for Table 19 and Jeremiah Tower: The Last Magnificent

The “Original Film” Award for Greatest Display of Irony: The video box art of The Beguiled by Focus Features (Focus' slogan: "Clearly Original")

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Best Performances of 2017

Best Actor: James Franco - The Disaster Artist

Honorable Mentions:

James McAvoy - Split

Daniel Kaluuya - Get Out

Ryan Gosling - Blade Runner 2049

Mark Rylance - Dunkirk

Hugh Jackman - Logan

Javier Bardem - mother!

Ansel Elgort - Baby Driver

Colin Farrell - The Beguiled

Tom Holland - Spider-Man: Homecoming

Kenneth Branagh - Murder On The Orient Express

Doug Jones - The Shape of Water

Best Actress: Kristen Stewart - Personal Shopper

Honorable Mentions:

Sally Hawkins - The Shape of Water

Jennifer Lawrence - mother!

Gal Gadot - Wonder Woman

Brooklynn Prince - The Florida Project

Bria Vinaite - The Florida Project

Sophia Lillis - It

Daisy Ridley - Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Nicole Kidman - The Beguiled

Emma Booth - Hounds of Love

Allison Williams - Get Out

Dafne Keen - Logan

Kirsten Dunst - The Beguiled

Lily James - Baby Driver

Best Supporting Actor: Willem Dafoe - The Florida Project

Honorable Mentions:

Tony Goldwyn - The Belko Experiment

Michael Shannon - The Shape of Water

Richard Jenkins - The Shape of Water

Lil Res Howery - Get Out

Benicio del Toro - Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Bradley Whitford - Get Out

Michael Stuhlbarg - The Shape of Water

Harrison Ford - Blade Runner 2049

Luke Evans - Beauty and the Beast

Kurt Russell - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Jon Hamm - Baby Driver

Best Supporting Actress: Ana de Armas - Blade Runner 2049

Honorable Mentions:

Robin Wright - Blade Runner 2049 and Wonder Woman

Alanna Ubach - Coco

Catherine Keener - Get Out

Tessa Thompson - Thor: Ragnarok

Octavia Spencer - The Shape of Water

Karen Gillan - Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Betty Gabriel - Get Out

Kelly Marie Tran - Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Zendaya - Spider-Man: Homecoming

Ruby Rose - John Wick: Chapter 2

Sylvia Hoeks - Blade Runner 2049

Next Up: The Best of the Rest of 2017

Worst Performances of 2017

Worst Actor: Sam Worthington - The Shack

Dishonorable Mentions:

Douglas Smith - The Bye Bye Man

Logan Huffman - Temple

Matt Damon - The Great Wall

Vin Diesel - The Fate of the Furious and xXx: Return of Xander Cage

Michael Shannon - Pottersville

Luke Wilson - Rock Dog

Tom Cruise - The Mummy

Worst Actress: Matilda Lutz - Rings

Dishonorable Mentions:

Cressida Bonas - The Bye Bye Man

Natalia Warner - Temple

Milla Jovovich - Resident Evil: The Final Chapter

Worst Supporting Actor: Scott Eastwood - The Fast of the Furious

Dishonorable Mentions:

Jon Bass - Baywatch

Johnny Galecki - Rings

Thomas Lennon - Pottersville

Ezra Miller - Justice League

James Corden - The Emoji Movie

Worst Supporting Actress: Adèle Exarchopoulos - The Last Face

Dishonorable Mentions:

Toni Collette - xXx: Return of Xander Cage

Aimee Teegarden - Rings

Amélie Eve - The Shack

Next Up: The Best Performances of 2017

Monday, January 1, 2018

Best Films of 2017

Though I may not have watched a lot of the movies in 2017, the past year still saw many great works be generated from a grand sea of diverse voices. Known comedy figures stepped behind the camera to give dramatic material a darker or heartfelt twist with a chaser of satire. Love conquered all, reunited families, brought heroes and villains together, or was sold via technology. The film market was flooded with superhero movies but nearly all of them had a unique avenue to explore and filled their audiences with joy and aspiration. We learned to be scared by circus clowns and white people again. Famous heroes and father figures sacrificed themselves in order to save the next set of warriors. And if nothing can stop the world from falling apart, burn it all down or run off into your dreams. Despite my movie-going experience being minimal, I was still able to find twenty films that stayed with me for days, played with my emotions so elegantly and made me want to watch them again and again.

These are the films I have deemed the best of 2017. Though I put them in list format, I was equally entertained and moved by all of these films.

Now comes the usual disclaimer that everyone forgets to remember: This list is of my own opinion, not the general public nor the Internet consensus. If I didn't see the film at all or in its entirety, it isn't counted or considered to be included.


1. Get Out

It's a horror movie. It's a comedy. It's a psychological thriller. It's a social drama. It's all of that and more. It made people talk and open up about their own experiences. It generated an absolutely humongous profit. It once again showed Hollywood that real substance and a R rating can really work with audiences. It was a masterpiece and it was the best film of 2017. Thank you, Jordan Peele.

2. The Shape of Water

Those who were easily able to look past the idea of a human woman and a fishman having a romance were bequeathed with the most heartwarming movie of the year. The movie dripped absolute beauty, from is the lavish recreation of the early 1960's, to the delightful color scheme amid dark lighting, to the dramatic and artistic shifts with tone, to the most gorgeous looking yet badly made key lime pie. Also helping its case is its focus on outsiders who choose to buck the system and the toxic masculinity that has run rampant for far too long in America. Another magnum opus from Guillermo del Toro.

3. The Disaster Artist

Sometimes the best films you watch are the ones that keep a firm smile across your face. The trials and tribulations of Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero as they try to make it in Hollywood and eventually create possibly the worst movie ever made are all hilariously condensed and curated by actor-director James Franco in this exhilarating adaptation of the tell-all book by Sestero and Tom Bissell. A perfectly offbeat movie for those who chose to dream and express their artistic side, no matter how it turns out.

4. Wonder Woman

Warner Bros. and DC Comics needed a savior for their battered and bruised cinematic universe. They didn't get with a turbulent invincible alien who refuses to wear tights, nor a hooded avenger who likes to kill criminals with guns. They instead found one with an immortal woman warrior who braved into a dark period of time for the planet Earth in order to battle the ills of man and seek peace. Director Patty Jenkins and actress Gal Gadot helped give the world a chance of hope.

5. mother!

I was disappointed yet enraptured. Angry at its pretentiousness yet shocked to my core. I would warn people but also tell them that they had to experience it right away. I combed through and heard different views of the film, from the obvious intent from writer-director Darren Aronofsky to the more elaborate. All I can really sum up is that never have I had quite a moment last year as I did when I watched this brave art film at my local Regal Cinemas.

6. The Florida Project

Anyone with eyes and ears can spot that the so-called Happiest Place on Earth has some dark corners. Instead of relishing upon the human despair just outside the pearly gates of Orlando's amusement parks, director Sean Baker choose to expertly shine a caring light on the people making do to survive and the various misadventures children go on during one hot summer in order to preserve their innocence.

7. Blade Runner 2049

I really did not want a sequel to 1982 cyberpunk classic but director Denis Villeneuve and his crew were able to bring me back into the dreary and rain-soaking world of humans and replicants. It's utterly soaked with gorgeous visuals and it intelligently explores themes never seen in Hollywood movies. Never has a near three hour running time moved so quickly.

8. Baby Driver

Edgar Wright proved that even with a simple story he can work wonders over many of his competition. The car theatrics made The Fast and Furious crew look at their feet, the soundtrack literally had James Gunn considered, and the editing had Nolan fuming and trashing his computers.

9. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

James Gunn does it again, making an ultimately satisfying sci-fi comic book movie that just instantly blooms more and more in mind and make me want to see it in theaters again. I've seen some amazing endings this year but this film had one of the very few to make me produce some genuine tears.

10. Personal Shopper

Olivier Assayas isn't one of my favorite directors but it often seems that whenever I watch one of his films, they just linger in my memory constantly no matter my critical opinion of them. This one just struck me more than his usual fare thanks to the phenomenal work by Kirsten Stewart and its curiously evocative look at purgatory. Special mention of course needs to be laid upon the now celebrated texting on the Chunnel sequence.


11. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Rian Johnson should not have to be totally besmirched by so-called fanboys for all of the great touches he brought to the Star Wars universe. The movie may be long, often too depressing and a little overhyped as the next Empire Strikes Back but Johnson, the cast and crew gave us a gloriously powerful look at rebellion from all fronts while also showcasing the often neglected grey areas of this world, namely war profiting, environmental destruction and animal abuse.

12. The Belko Experiment

If you follow video games, you would know that one of the big titles of 2017 was PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, an online multiplayer game that rose above the many mods inspired by the popular book/movie Battle Royale to deliver an uniquely satisfying experience every time you played. The cinema had a similar experience courtesy of this film, thanks largely to violent and funny efforts of director Greg McLean and writer James Gunn.

13. Logan

20th Century Fox continued their experiment with bloody R-rated superhero films with this exceptionally dark movie that's secretly a western and allows Hugh Jackman to give one last great performance as the character that made him a movie star.

14. Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan reinvented the vision of World War II in film with his latest epic. Movie stars are few and far between, the enemy is always hidden, gunfights are one-sided, time and space is played around with, and that ever haunting score by Hans Zimmer is ready to make you tense up once again.

15. Spider-Man: Homecoming

It took a lot of handholding and real talent via Marvel Studios in order for Sony to finally make an amazing Spider-Man film. This movie also gives us what can possibly be the very best version of Peter Parker and his motto of "with great power comes great responsibility" on screen.

16. The Beguiled

Sofia Coppola helped spice up last year's Cannes Film Festival and nab the Best Director award with this stunningly beautiful and female focused remake of a Don Siegel-Clint Eastwood film.

17. Coco

Pixar may be on auto-pilot but I can't stop myself from being caught up by their delightfully colorful take of Día de Muertos and the Land of the Dead. More and more, it seems my assessment of it growing on me with time is proving true.

18. The Lego Batman Movie

The Lego film franchise is sadly in a bit on an impasse right now but I was still wowed early last year by the funny and shockingly steep in comic book lore world of the caped and bricked crusader.

19. It

Stephen King fans certainly enjoyed living through one of the best years of his adapted works, thanks mainly to director Andy Muschietti and his brilliantly distressing take on the first half of King's most celebrated book.

20. One Piece Film: Gold

Out of left field to end this list comes this shonen anime flick. I can't explain what exactly caused this movie to stick with me throughout the year. Maybe it's my slow burning desire to dip my toe back into anime. Perhaps I just loved the extravagant animation. It could have been its fun handling of the story, starting off with a vibrant casino trip, switching then to a heist caper before concluding with an action blockbuster. Or, it's conceivably that I was thrilled watching a bunch of hotblooded heroes fighting against a tyrannic man with a penchant for gold and keeping the rich comfortable.

Next Up: The Worst Performances of 2017