Friday, November 16, 2018
Movies

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

So long, 2017. Donít let the door hit you. It was a good year for movies and not much else. Movies werenít 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 thatís my thinking about 2017ís finest films. Yours is just as valid. After such a contentious year, I donít want to argue about it. Happier 2018.

The Shape of Water

An erotic fairy tale with horror the Grimms never dreamed of. Guillermo del Toroís Cold War fantasy is an emotional and technical marvel, from Sally Hawkinsí nearly wordless performance to the best monster suit ever. Michael Shannonís sadist is the yearís 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 Bakerís 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 yearís 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 Nolanís clockwork retelling of a crucial World War II evacuation told from land, sea and air in three separate time frames. Hans Zimmerís 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: Timothťe Chalamet. His portrayal of a teenager attracted to an older man (Armie Hammer) in sun-dappled Italy may win an Oscar. Luca Guadagninoís elegant direction of James Ivoryís screenplay results in the yearís swooniest romance. Opens locally Jan. 19.

Get Out

Iíll confess to initially underestimating Jordan Peeleís subtly savage satire of racial appropriation. Probably because Iím white, which is clearly Peeleís point. Get Out is an eye-opener equaling Do the Right Thing in expressing a contemporary black experience amid white privilege. Plus itís funnier.

I, Tonya

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

Baby Driver

Style is the substance of Edgar Wrightís heist flick, synching music with getaway mayhem to literally turn the genre on its ear. "Ö 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 Serkisí astonishing motion capture performance as apes savior Caesar.

The Greatest Showman/Logan

Okay, Iím cheating but two Hugh Jackmans are too much to resist. Heís 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
The Zola Twitter saga went viral. The ‘Zola’ movie is being filmed in Tampa Bay.

The Zola Twitter saga went viral. The ‘Zola’ movie is being filmed in Tampa Bay.

The story of prostitution, stripping and crime is becoming a movie called Zola. The production has been filming in the Tampa Bay area since Oct. 29, confirmed St.Petersburg-Clearwater film commissioner Tony Armer.
Updated: 4 hours ago
Review: Gut-punch 'Boy Erased' reveals cruelty of conversion therapy

Review: Gut-punch 'Boy Erased' reveals cruelty of conversion therapy

'Boy Erased' is a fair and balanced condemnation of conversion therapy. It's also a gut punch.
Published: 11/15/18
In theaters this week: ‘Fantastic Beasts 2,’ ‘Widows,’ ‘Boy Erased,’ ‘Instant Family’

In theaters this week: ‘Fantastic Beasts 2,’ ‘Widows,’ ‘Boy Erased,’ ‘Instant Family’

Take your pick at the multiplex from the Harry Potter prequel, a heist, a family comedy and an important gay conversion drama.
Published: 11/14/18
Tampa Bay comic book artists and fans react to Stan Lee’s death

Tampa Bay comic book artists and fans react to Stan Lee’s death

Tampa Bay is home to comic book industry professionals and fans — even a superhero — who were impacted by the Marvel icon and his work.
Published: 11/14/18
Holiday movie guide: From 'The Grinch' to 'Mary Poppins,' 32 movies to see by year's end

Holiday movie guide: From 'The Grinch' to 'Mary Poppins,' 32 movies to see by year's end

The season is stocked with awards hopefuls and familiar faces, including The Grinch (Nov. 9), the Potterverse (Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald, Nov. 16), a superhero (Aquaman, Dec. 21) and even Mary Poppins, y'all (Mary Poppins Returns, Dec. 19).
Published: 11/06/18

Five Queen documentaries to stream before 'Bohemian Rhapsody'

Before seeing how Rami Malek does in Freddie Mercury’s shoes, here’s how to check out the real Mercury in action.
Updated one month ago
The Queen movie ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ survives impossible task of re-creating Freddie Mercury

The Queen movie ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ survives impossible task of re-creating Freddie Mercury

A decade in the making, the Queen biopic, arriving Friday, hinged on casting an actor who could capture their iconic singer's essence. Good thing Rami Malek came along.
Updated one month ago
Rupert Everett’s moving ‘Happy Prince’ stages Oscar Wilde’s tragic final act

Rupert Everett’s moving ‘Happy Prince’ stages Oscar Wilde’s tragic final act

Everett wrote, directed and stars in this almost unbearably bittersweet feast for the senses, which spotlights playwright and author Oscar Wilde, the 20th century’s first true pop celebrity, in decay far past his prime.
Updated one month ago
In theaters this week: ‘Johnny English Strikes Again,’ ‘Hunter Killer,’ ‘Mid90s’

In theaters this week: ‘Johnny English Strikes Again,’ ‘Hunter Killer,’ ‘Mid90s’

Rowan Atkinson is back as the bumbling spy Johnny English while Gerard Butler captains a submarine and Jonah Hill revisits ’90s L.A.
Updated one month ago
‘Mid90s’ is a time capsule of mixtapes, skating and more

‘Mid90s’ is a time capsule of mixtapes, skating and more

Written and directed by Jonah Hill, the film is an immersion in the sights and sound of a pop-cultural moment. Like its teen protagonist, it struggles for identity, and the struggle makes it interesting as well as occasionally frustrating.
Updated one month ago