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The Best Films of 2017

Fashionably late! Luke Miksa presents his top ten movies of 2017.
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Reliably late as always (Sorry I’m Late is the name), it’s that time of the year to once again compile the best movies released in 2017.

I don’t want to spend much time on caveats, but it should go without saying that I clearly didn’t have a chance to see everything, but holy heck I tried my darndest!

It’s also worth mentioning the odd release schedules for Australian cinemas. Down under, we often get the big blockbusters the same time as the US market (sometimes even a day or two earlier due to weird time zone stuff), but the smaller releases are all over the place. For example, La La Land was technically a 2016 release in the US, but I’m pretty sure it didn’t hit our shores until 2017 (and I delayed viewing it until February 2018, and I don’t kid you when I say that if I had seen it in either 2016 or 2017 that it may have topped either list. I love La La Land so much).

But anyway, this is my house and these are my rules. Let’s begin.

Missed the Cut:

Hidden Figures, Kong: Skull Island, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming, The Lego Batman Movie, Dunkirk, Okja, Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond – Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton

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10. John Wick: Chapter 2

John Wick has a special place in my heart (it did make my list of 2014, after all), so word of a sequel had me plenty excited. More badass Keanu Reeves! More headshots! More close-quarter skirmishes! This is a burgeoning franchise I can totally get behind.

Little did I know of the immense universe building to happen in John Wick: Chapter 2. Not content with simply providing a unique, adrenaline filled world of gun-play and martial arts, returning director and former stuntman Chad Stahelski builds upon a community of secret assassins with a distinct moral code. Combine the returning cast with a strong ensemble of new players, and John Wick: Chapter 2 is about as much fun as you can have with an action movie.

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9. Baby Driver

Edgar Wright is one of the best filmmakers in the world. His Cornetto Trilogy starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost are iconic, and Scott Pilgrim vs the World is totally underrated and a personal favourite.

Baby Driver is a kinetic caper, starring Ansel Elgort as Baby, a supremely skilled driver under the payroll of crime kingpin Doc (creepo Kevin Spacey), who uses his talents behind the wheel to ferry a rotating crew of robbers (including Jamie Foxx and Jon Hamm). Baby suffers from tinnitus, thus is always listening to music through an iPod. And here lies the genius of Wright, as Baby’s playlists are the soundtrack of the film, and the film’s stunt-driving and action scenes are all set in time to the music. It’s a musical with stunts instead of dancing! Baby Driver is so much fun and adds another winner to Edgar Wright’s impressive resume.

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This Week in Trailers — Fortnight Edition!: Iron Man 3, Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2, Jay & Silent Bob, More

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Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 – Trailer

Bill Hader returns to the role of Flint Lockwood in the sequel to the surprise financial and critical animated success from 2009, as does most of the cast including Anna Faris, Andy Samberg, James Caan, Neil Patrick Harris, Will Forte, and the excellent Terry Crews replacing the MIA Mr. T.

This trailer is definitely heavy on the food puns, which I can’t say is a bad thing: I should not have laughed nearly as much as I did at, “There’s a leek in the boat!” It’s worth checking out simply on the good-will the first instalment harboured.

Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs 2 drops on Australia on a very late November 28.

via Yahoo! Movies

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Iron Man 3 – Trailer

Here is the shiny new — and final — Iron Man 3 trailer. Joining the returning cast of Robert Downey Jr., Don Cheadle, Gwenyth Paltrow, Jon Favreau, and Paul Bettany‘s voice are franchise newcomers Rebecca Hall, Guy Pearce, and Ben Kingsley as arch-nemesis The Mandarin. Kingsley has been watching his old wrestling tapes for preparation as he seems to be mimicking The Ultimate Warrior in his speech cadence:

Also joining the cast is The Reaper himself William Sadler! Cool! Also expect your obligatory Stan Lee appearance, despite his The Amazing Spider-Man appearance being quite hard to top.

Marvel seem to be throwing everything at this one. Will we see Robert Downey Jr. in the role of Tony Stark in future Marvel films? They are going to have to bring the big bucks if the number of films in his contract are expiring.

Iron Man 3 opens on April 24, one week before the US. Boom!

via Marvel UK

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85th Annual Academy Awards: The Good, The Bad, and The Bin

Luke Miksa's: The Negative Space Bar

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THE GOOD

  • Bond love

On the 50th anniversary of the James Bond franchise that started with Dr. No in 1962, I thought it was a real treat to see The Academy acknowledge such an iconic and enduring series. The montage was okay, but Shirley Bassey sauntering on-stage for a belting rendition of Goldfinger was spectacular, as was Adele‘s performance of the Best Original Song winner, Skyfall.

Honestly, the only way this tribute could have been better is if they gathered all six Bonds together to take a bow (but I would assume that would be nigh-on impossible).

Slight negative: They couldn’t get someone with a bit more positive influence on the franchise to introduce the package other than Halle Berry (who showed up dressed like Gozer the Gozerian)?

  • Flight w/ sock puppets and other MacFarlane gems

In possibly the most criticized and scrutinized gig in all of show-business — and coming out with very mixed reactions — I thought Seth MacFarlane did a respectable job as host. It wasn’t all smooth sailing — a lacklustre crowd and casual sexism/racism really didn’t help his cause — but skits such as ‘Flight with Sock Puppets’ and the very Family Guy-esque Sound of Music bit before Christopher Plummer’s introduction were tremendous.

It’s strange that my least favourite moments in Family Guy are whenever it spontaneously breaks out in to song, but I guess the Academy Awards is the perfect stage because I enjoyed every one of his numbers (as long as you tuned out before the closing piece).

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This Week in Trailers: Monsters University, Jack the Giant Slayer, Room 237, Big-Ass Spider!, More

Trailers Banner Monsters University – Trailer #1

This trailer for Monsters University – the sequel to Pixar‘s 2001 classic Monsters, Inc. – is looking fantastic; light-hearted, genuinely funny, and  full of potential. The once infallible Pixar are in desperate need of a massive critical and box-office hit to get them back on the winning track after the moderate (for their standards) efforts of Cars 2 and Brave.

I am a fan of the classic ‘college comedy’ format and I’m eager to see it as formulated by the Pixar brain-trust, just to witness how a wild college toga party or bong hit is represented in this kind of universe.

The terrific voice-cast features the return of John Goodman, Billy Crystal, Steve Buscemi, Jennifer Tilly, Frank Oz, and Pixar stalwart John Ratzenberger; while including the likes of Kelsey Grammar and Ken Jeong.

Monsters University should be a great time for all ages, and Australia will be the first to see it on June 20.

via Walt Disney Studios UK

 

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Jack the Giant Slayer – Trailer #2

If it wasn’t for his excellent history with terrific films such as The Usual Suspects and the first two X-Men films, I would worry that director Bryan Singer‘s upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past is in the wrong hands, based solely on this horribly bland trailer for Jack the Giant Slayer. There are so many clichés here it is painful (Bill Nighy is a grumpy, high-concept character! Rockin’ rock music in a fairytale trailer!), the only thing on display of any actual substance is Ewan McGregor‘s moustache.

I can now see why Fox decided to push the release of this one from mid-last year – blockbuster season – to the relative safety of a March release. Be wary.

Jack the Giant Slayer opens locally on March 21.

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