Thursday, August 31, 2017
At the beginning of May I participated in the annual Box Office Prediction game, wherein I tried to guess as accurately as possible this summer's top movies, from May through August (you can read my original post here). Well, now that the leaves are changing colors, it's getting to be hoodie weather, and the summer smells of suntan lotion and chlorine are starting to dissipate, it's time to look back at the 2017 season and see which movies reigned supreme at the box office and which movies completely tanked. Following are some of my overall thoughts on the results, along with my final tally. Enjoy!
Dir. Taylor Sheridan
Crime thrillers are a dime a dozen nowadays, and especially with the current TV renaissance we're living through, bringing us shows like True Detective, Fargo, Hannibal, and Ozark to name a few, it's very difficult to bring the same level of depth and character development to a single 2 hour film. However, Wind River, the directorial debut of Taylor Sheridan, best known for writing Sicario and Hell or High Water (my #2 of 2016), manages to deliver the same thrills and complexity that we've been spoiled with over the past few years on the small screen. Sheridan's film succeeds in that it not only acts as a nail-biting drama, but also has a lot to say about survival, what life is like on an Indian reservation, and the toll grief takes on us. In all the right ways it's haunting, beautiful, disturbing, extremely well-acted, and in my mind one of 2017's must-see movies!
Tuesday, August 22, 2017
Dir. Steven Soderbergh
Much to the dismay of movie fans everywhere, in 2013 Steven Soderbergh announced his "retirement" from directing after his fantastic HBO Liberace biopic Behind the Candelabra (my #6 pick of that year). However, we all kind of knew that phase would be short lived, and what do you know - the director of all three Ocean's Eleven flicks is back in the game with another heist flick. Only instead of the glitzy world of Vegas casinos we're traveling to the backwoods of West Virginia and "NASCAR country." So, after all the false promises of throwing in the directorial towel for good, I was expecting Logan Lucky to be something special enough to at least save Soderbergh the embarrassment of so soon saying: "I'm back!" Though I don't think this film is the earth-shattering comeback for its director that might be expected, it's still a reliably good time from one of my favorite filmmakers working today.
Sunday, August 6, 2017
Dir. Kathryn Bigelow
In many ways, Detroit marks the third in a trilogy of films between director Kathryn Bigelow and writer Mark Boal, starting with The Hurt Locker and Zero Dark Thirty. Each film examines a period of history using Bigelow's established roots as an action director to make politically charged films with a constant sense of energy, examining the power dynamics in typically scary "combat" situations where traditional rules no longer apply. She also often delves into researched details that aren't typically covered on the evening news. With Detroit, Bigelow is examining the pressure-cooker situation of the Detroit riots, a shameful and often overlooked moment in US history, and marks Bigelow's most hard-hitting (literally) and visceral film to date - made prescient by the fact that its depictions of injustice, prejudice, and police brutality seem like they've been ripped from today's headlines.