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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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San Diego Comic-Con 2015: Just the Important Bits

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Last weekend was the annual San Diego Comic-Con, which is increasingly less about comics and more about movie and TV studios pushing their slate of upcoming projects, while giving fans a chance to see their favourite actors and film-makers in-person at HUGE panel events. The big news for 2015 was abundant, so I picked a few of the tastiest morsels to focus on:

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens

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The biggest buzz of San Diego Comic-Con this year surely came from Hall H during the much-anticipated Star Wars panel. With practically everybody in attendance — including wheeling old old-timers Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, and post plane crash Harrison Ford — all cast and crew involved shared an evident enthusiasm for the project which infected the packed hall. While they didn’t reveal a new trailer, the following behind-the-scenes video actually does a better job at rekindling fond memories and selling the movie more than a new trailer ever could.

Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens makes its long-awaited debut this December.

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May the 4th: Star Wars Episode VII Casting Thoughts

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Last week saw the long-awaited — and much delayed — first casting announcement for the next generation in the Star Wars saga. It is the as-yet untitled Star Wars Episode VII, to be directed by JJ Abrams and released December 2015. Here are some key omissions and additions:

Missing Names

A large portion of returning names have been announced: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, Anthony Daniels, Kenny Baker, and Peter Mayhew; but there are some overlooked names that I would still like to see. The following may be announced later on, or they may appear in surprise cameos, but any continuation of Return of the Jedi would not be complete without…

Billy Dee Williams

Lando Calrissian

This is a major name to not have in the first official announcement. By the conclusion of the original saga, Lando Calrissian became one of the major protagonists: he helped orchestrate the rescue of Han Solo from Jabba’s palace, and he led the Rebellion in its attack against the second Death Star. He was actually the man to destroy the second Death Star, piloting the Millennium Falcon (which is sure to make an appearance). Lando Calrissian not being a part of this new incarnation is a terrible miss.

Bring back his co-pilot Nien Nunb while you’re at it. And Lobot. Bring back Lobot.

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Top 10 Auxiliary Star Wars Characters

This article was published on the original Sorry I’m Late.com in 2009.

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Thank you, Internet.

Thank you, Internet.

The Star Wars movie universe is full of diverse and interesting characters. When you add with that the ostensibly endless and grandiose expanded universe, even the most rudimentary and meaningless characters have far more depth than they really need or deserve.
With that being said let me bring to you the Top Ten Auxiliary Star Wars Characters (just movies; not Expanded Universe. If I did Expanded Universe you know that I’d include Dash Rendar. Heck yep!) that serve no real plot purpose per se, but are memorable in their own special ways. Onward reading waits…

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10
Ponda Baba

Ponda Baba

Ponda Baba, why so needlessly aggressive? Baba and his accomplice Dr. Evazan try to pick a fight with a fresh-faced Luke Skywalker in the Mos Eisley Cantina, with a translating Evazan warning Skywalker, “He doesn’t like you. I don’t like you either!” When the situation escalates, Obi-Wan’s light-sabre quickly takes care of the two gentlemen with ‘a death sentence on twelve systems’. Ponda Baba’s arm shall be missed, and this was the first example of bitches getting pwned by Jedi.

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Max Rebo

Max Rebo

The leader of the eponymous Max Rebo Band; the performers at Jabba’s Palace in Return of the Jedi. Memorable because the character design is honestly so simple and rushed looking that a soft, blue elephant-looking thing appears a bit odd compared to other cool creatures in the scene, such as the Gamorrean guards. Along with compatriots Sy Snootles and Droopy McCool (I’m not making these names up) the band performed the awesome song Lapti Nek which was replaced by a horrendous CG fest in the 1997 Special Edition. Boo-urns to that. (more…)

Review: Fanboys (2009)

This article was published on the original Sorry I’m Late.com on 21/06/09.

Fanboys

It’s 1998, and for four die-hard Star Wars fans (they’re fanboys. Get it?) anticipation for the new Star Wars movie, The Phantom Menace, to be released in nearly fifteen years has reached boiling point. Upon revealing that one buddy Linus (Marquette) has terminal cancer, and with not enough time to live to make the theatrical release of the film, the group (Huntington, Baruchel and Fogler) embark on a cross country journey to George Lucas’ famed Skywalker Ranch and steal a rough copy of the film. Joined by nerd-girl Zoe (Bell), road trip fun and shenanigans ensue on their very own hero’s journey.

Don’t be turned off by the very clichéd road movie plot, because although Fanboys follows similar tropes seen in many that have come before it, the film is just too damn charming to not like. And it’s quite possible that it couldn’t have been. Producer Harvey Weinstein’s vision of this much maligned film (originally set for release in 2007) was a final cut that saw the cancer subplot ditched for, well, nothing apparently. A big mistake it would have been, our friend Yoda would have said. The cancer subplot drives the entire narrative, and was never played with too much emotion but enough for to get a connection with the audience without being depressing. Kudos to the filmmakers involved who stood for their original vision, even though it delayed the release by years.

Also, without the cancer plot, the driving force and emotional core that it is, this movie would have been in major jeopardy of receiving a Dr. Ian Malcolm. Not cool.

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A Smelly Tale

This article was published on the original Sorry I’m Late.com on 29/09/09.

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Warning, this blog has got nothing to do about anything. It does contain a mention of Tarfful.

You’re welcome.

Ok, so the plan for yesterday was to head down to Scienceworks and take a gander at the Star Wars: Where Science Meets Imagination exhibition, which I absolutely HAD to catch before the installation is over in about a month. It was going to be an awesome day of looking at props and costumes and stuff – killer day for a nerdlinger like myself. But of course, all things don’t always go as planned but it ended up entertaining none the less.

So me and my other nerd-ly inclined companion, who in this story shall be referred to as Slappybags, head off to Scienceworks. Horror takes over as we realise that it’s school holidays, and Scienceworks quasi-educational appeal for parents has made it a top holiday destination. Goddamit, I wanna see the Tarfful Wookie costume! The line was stretching all the way to Bespin, and a quick analysis led to a swift conclusion – F that!

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