Tuesday, June 19, 2018
Movies

Best of 2017: Top 10 best movies, from ‘Dunkirk’ to ‘Get Out’

So long, 2017. Don’t let the door hit you. It was a good year for movies and not much else. Movies weren’t an escape; they were a mass exodus from terrible news, lately about Hollywood itself. Yet many of the best movies showed what we were dodging, entertaining parables of oppression and misfortune. Or else they demonstrated the resiliency pulling us through tough times. At least that’s my thinking about 2017’s finest films. Yours is just as valid. After such a contentious year, I don’t want to argue about it. Happier 2018.

The Shape of Water

An erotic fairy tale with horror the Grimms never dreamed of. Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War fantasy is an emotional and technical marvel, from Sally Hawkins’ nearly wordless performance to the best monster suit ever. Michael Shannon’s sadist is the year’s top villain, a "man of the future" and the future is now.

The Florida Project

The simplest production on this list, held closest to my heart. Sean Baker’s peek at poverty through the eyes of children living in discount hotels near Disney World is a very funny, incredibly warm tale of what amounts to child endangerment. The ending gets me every time.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

A pungently overwritten revenge saga featuring three of the year’s top performances: Frances McDormand as a mother wanting answers, Woody Harrelson as a police chief not providing them and Sam Rockwell as a dim, dangerous deputy standing his ground.

Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan’s clockwork retelling of a crucial World War II evacuation told from land, sea and air in three separate time frames. Hans Zimmer’s tick-tick-tick musical score adds to tension Nolan has already secured. The most technically proficient movie of the year.

Call Me By Your Name

Remember this name: Timothée Chalamet. His portrayal of a teenager attracted to an older man (Armie Hammer) in sun-dappled Italy may win an Oscar. Luca Guadagnino’s elegant direction of James Ivory’s screenplay results in the year’s swooniest romance. Opens locally Jan. 19.

Get Out

I’ll confess to initially underestimating Jordan Peele’s subtly savage satire of racial appropriation. Probably because I’m white, which is clearly Peele’s point. Get Out is an eye-opener equaling Do the Right Thing in expressing a contemporary black experience amid white privilege. Plus it’s funnier.

I, Tonya

Margot Robbie delivers a triple axel portrayal of rough character/world class ice skater Tonya Harding. Nancy Kerrigan’s knee-capping is just a blip in Harding’s hardscrabble odyssey from Olympic hopeful to America’s punchline. Allison Janney as her venomous mother is superb. Opens locally Jan. 5.

Baby Driver

Style is the substance of Edgar Wright’s heist flick, synching music with getaway mayhem to literally turn the genre on its ear. "… a movie so full-throttle cool that you want to fist bump the screen," my review declared, along with the promise of a slot here. Boom.

War for the Planet of the Apes

When practically each weekend brings a new blockbuster, cherish those with intelligence matching the special effects. Matt Reeves wraps up the finest trilogy in years with Shakespearean drama, poetic justice and Andy Serkis’ astonishing motion capture performance as apes savior Caesar.

The Greatest Showman/Logan

Okay, I’m cheating but two Hugh Jackmans are too much to resist. He’s a singing, dancing dynamo as P.T. Barnum and a brooding kettle of violent regret as Wolverine. Both movies are sterling examples of their genre, each performance thrilling in wildly different ways.

Honorable mentions: Battle of the Sexes; The Big Sick; A Ghost Story; Good Time; Lady Bird; Okja; Star Wars: The Last Jedi; Stronger; Wonder Woman.

UPCOMING RELEASES (Dates subject to change)

Jan. 5: I, Tonya, Insidious: The Last Key

Jan. 12: The Post; Phantom Thread; The Commuter; Proud Mary; Paddington 2

Jan. 19: Call Me By Your Name; Hostiles; 12 Strong

Jan. 26: White Boy Rick; Maze Runner: The Death Cure

     
           
Comments
‘Incredibles 2’ just might be better than the original — and a cure to superhero fatigue

‘Incredibles 2’ just might be better than the original — and a cure to superhero fatigue

It’s been 14 years since the premiere of Brad Bird’s beloved animated superhero film The Incredibles, one of the mega-hit Pixar films that cemented its reputation for film humor and heart that would satisfy both parents and children. With cool mid-ce...
Published: 06/13/18
Why is Mister Rogers making adults cry decades later?

Why is Mister Rogers making adults cry decades later?

Neighborly block party comes to downtown Tampa.
Published: 06/12/18
 ‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ about Mr. Rogers is much-needed emotional tonic for troubled times

‘Won’t You Be My Neighbor?’ about Mr. Rogers is much-needed emotional tonic for troubled times

If beloved children’s television show host Mr. Rogers were once a representation of all things milquetoast, in the summer of 2018, his message of love and tolerance is not only saintly, it’s radical. In the deftly crafted documentary Won’t You Be My ...
Published: 06/12/18
Yes, ‘Ocean’s 8’ is a heist movie, but it’s also an empowering, cheeky comedy

Yes, ‘Ocean’s 8’ is a heist movie, but it’s also an empowering, cheeky comedy

Most every successful heist movie, just like a heist itself, functions by obeying a well-defined formula.First comes the setup and backstory (typically involving the righting of a wrong, to lend the subsequent lawbreaking a veneer of moral justificat...
Published: 06/06/18
TMZ: Last surviving munchkin from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ dies at 98

TMZ: Last surviving munchkin from ‘The Wizard of Oz’ dies at 98

The last surviving munchkin in The Wizard of Oz has died.Jerry Maren, 98, died last week at a nursing home in San Diego, according to TMZ.The cause of death for the last surviving member of the famous Lollipop Guild, made famous in the 1939 classic, ...
Published: 06/06/18
‘Blind Side’ star is at Tampa Theatre for a screening this weekend

‘Blind Side’ star is at Tampa Theatre for a screening this weekend

BLIND SIDE: Summer Classic Movie SeriesAll summer long, Tampa Theatre is showing classic Hollywood movies. Sunday features not only a screening of 2009’s The Blind Side, but also actor Quinton Aaron, who played Big Mike in the film, for a Q&A. Based ...
Published: 06/06/18
In ‘Hereditary,’ Toni Collette reveals a sixth sense for icy terror

In ‘Hereditary,’ Toni Collette reveals a sixth sense for icy terror

All happy families are alike; each unhappy family is unhappy in its own way, as Tolstoy noted in a sentence so right, by the time you started arguing with it Anna Karenina was off and suffering.If Tolstoy got a look at Hereditary, he might’ve added: ...
Published: 06/06/18
Jodie Foster makes ‘Hotel Artemis’ first-class experience

Jodie Foster makes ‘Hotel Artemis’ first-class experience

Hotel Artemis is a shining example of how it isn’t the amount of money spent to make a movie, but how the budget is being spent. Director/writer Drew Pearce has managed to take the money that would be the cape-pressing budget for most superhero movie...
Published: 06/06/18
Summer movie guide: All the superheroes, sequels and quirky comedies to see

Summer movie guide: All the superheroes, sequels and quirky comedies to see

Summer started early this year in Hollywood with the record-breaking release of Avengers: Infinity War, and the marquee Marvel superheroes couldn’t have come at a better time. The box office for the year is down nearly 3 percent, and the industry is ...
Published: 06/05/18
How Ybor City parties inspired the sets of Avengers: Infinity War

How Ybor City parties inspired the sets of Avengers: Infinity War

Thanos has nothing on Plant City native Charlotte Lee.For the Avengers: Infinity War baddie to alter the perception of his surroundings, he needed a Reality Stone, which, according to the Marvel movie’s lore, was a remnant of one of six singularities...
Updated one month ago