Monday, July 16, 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
Disney movie spent more than $134,000 while filming in Lakeland

Disney movie spent more than $134,000 while filming in Lakeland

When Walt Disney Studios filmed in Lakeland in June for its movie The One and Only Ivan, it brought actor Bryan Cranston to Polk County to star in the scenes.And the movie left behind an economic impact. In all, Disney spent $134,365 in Polk. Those n...
Published: 07/12/18
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Hotel Transylvania 3,’ ‘Skyscraper,’ ‘Sorry to Bother You’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Hotel Transylvania 3,’ ‘Skyscraper,’ ‘Sorry to Bother You’

OPENING THURSDAY: HOTEL TRANSYLVANIA 3: SUMMER VACATIONThe extended family of monsters heads out on a luxury cruise ship. Voices include Adam Sandler, Andy Samberg, Selena Gomez, Mel Brooks. Written by Genndy Tartakovsky, Michael McCullers. Directed ...
Published: 07/11/18
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp,’ ‘The First Purge,’ free Lynyrd Skynyrd documentary

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Ant-Man and the Wasp,’ ‘The First Purge,’ free Lynyrd Skynyrd documentary

OPENING: ANT-MAN AND THE WASP Striving for a work-life balance proves elusive for Ant-Man (Paul Rudd), the superhero with the ability to shrink, when he is confronted with a new mission and a new partner, the Wasp (Evangeline Lilly). With Michael Pe...
Published: 07/05/18
Iron Man writer discusses new Ant-Man and what the future may hold for Tony Stark

Iron Man writer discusses new Ant-Man and what the future may hold for Tony Stark

Bob Layton is having a Hollywood moment. Actually, it’s more like a decade.The comic book artist, writer and editor now residing in the Tampa area has watched Iron Man — the character he turned from little known to mainstream hero — anchor the Marvel...
Published: 07/05/18
For Broadway fans, Capitol Theatre has a $5 summer movie series

For Broadway fans, Capitol Theatre has a $5 summer movie series

To build excitement for its fall series of Broadway shows at Ruth Eckerd Hall, the Capitol Theatre this summer will run a series of Tony winners that made it to the big screen. At $5 a ticket — $9 for unlimited fountain drinks and popcorn ­— it’s con...
Published: 07/05/18
Review: ‘Whitney’ documentary an unflinching look at Whitney Houston’s long downfall

Review: ‘Whitney’ documentary an unflinching look at Whitney Houston’s long downfall

There today is no singer like a young Whitney Houston. Beyoncé, Adele, Lady Gaga — maybe on their best days, they come close to matching the voice, the radiance, the potential of early Whitney. But not every day.Those highest highs, and the vast gap ...
Published: 07/03/18
Tarpon Springs’ Aaron Moorhead is an indie film darling, even if he won’t admit it

Tarpon Springs’ Aaron Moorhead is an indie film darling, even if he won’t admit it

Director Aaron Moorhead’s 2014 independent film Spring landed him on Hollywood trade publication Variety’s list of "Top 10 Directors to Watch in 2015."The Tarpon Springs native’s latest indie film, The Endless, released on Blu-ray and DVD on June 26,...
Updated one month ago
In theaters this week: ‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado,’ ‘Uncle Drew’

In theaters this week: ‘Sicario: Day of the Soldado,’ ‘Uncle Drew’

OPENING FRIDAY:SICARIO: DAY OF THE SOLDADOThe cartels escalate the tensions along the U.S.-Mexico border when they begin trafficking terrorists in this sequel to the 2015 crime drama. With Benicio Del Toro, right, Josh Brolin, Isabela Moner, Jeffrey ...
Updated one month ago
Three movies are in the works about Hulk Hogan and Gawker. Will they remember who’s the victim?

Three movies are in the works about Hulk Hogan and Gawker. Will they remember who’s the victim?

Sonny BunchAccording to Vulture, there are three separate movies in the works about the downfall of the New York-based gossip blog Gawker.One is based on the book Conspiracy: Peter Thiel, Hulk Hogan, Gawker, and the Anatomy of Intrigue; it will be a...
Updated one month ago
What’s in theaters this week: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and heist caper ‘American Animals’

What’s in theaters this week: ‘Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom’ and heist caper ‘American Animals’

OPENING FRIDAY:JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOMDinosaurs: Keep them alive or kill them off? It’s a question that haunts the human characters in between fireball-dodging cardio workouts in Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom, the spectacularly ho-hum new ent...
Updated one month ago