Friday, August 04, 2017

Wonder Woman, Spider-Man, Mr. Jackpots, City of a 1000 Planet of the Apes!

Way behind on my reviews as usual, so here's a quick roundup.

Wonder Woman
was great, of course, which was especially surprising after how dire Batman v Superman turned out to be. Amazing what a good director can do to turn things around. Hope Patty Jenkins and Gal Gadot stay with DC movies for a long time.

Spider-Man: Homecoming was also a lot of fun, though once again the Marvel formula is starting to wear me out. Loved Tom Holland in the role, and Michael Keaton was definitely one of the more menacing MCU villains. But the rest of the movie (even the Robert Downey Jr. extended cameo) was just okay. Hopefully the sequel focuses on Spidey and not so much on his amazing friends.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
was as batshit crazy and visually gorgeous as you'd expect from the director of The Fifth Element. But it was nowhere near as fun or emotionally affecting as Luc Besson's earlier movie. The main problem is that Dane DeHaan is a totally bland leading man. The movie would have been much better if Cara Delevingne had been the main hero, rather than relegating her to a damsel in distress for much of the movie.

War for the Planet Apes was just as exciting and visually stuinning as the first two of the reboot trilogy. Woody Harrelson was a great villain and the film has an important (if depressing) message.

On the TV front, Twin Peaks continues to amaze me by being impossible to predict from episode to episode. Probably the highlights so far have been Episode 8 (possibly the most experimental and disturbing hour of TV in recent memory), Kyle MacLachlan knocking it out of the park each episode (despite still not being the Cooper we know and love yet), and seeing how returning characters such as Bobby and Hawk have evolved over the years. A little worried that there's been a lot of filler and seemingly pointless plot threads in the last few episodes, but hopefully David Lynch and Mark Frost pull it together for the finish.

Thursday, August 03, 2017

(Belated) Imaginary Cinema Awards 2016

So, somehow I forgot to post my pick of the best in sci-fi, fantasy and horror movies from 2016. Okay, it was a sucky year (personally, and politically) but I still need to give these movies a shout out.

Best Movie: Zootopia. Normally I don't include movies with anthropomorphic animals as fantasy, but this created such a vivid world, and had an important message to boot, that I'll allow it.
Runners-up: 10 Cloverfield Lane, Deadpool, Captain America: Civil War, Moana, Arrival, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, Star Wars: Rogue One, Star Trek Beyond, Dr. Strange, Kubo and the Two Strings, Ghostbusters, The Shallows.

Best Screenplay: Zootopia (Byron Howard & Jared Bush & Rich Moore & Josie Trinidad & Jim Reardon & Phil Johnston & Jennifer Lee - whew!)
Runners-up: 10 Cloverfield Lane (Josh Campbell & Matt Stuecken & Damien Chazelle), Deadpool (Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick)

Best Direction: Arrival (Denis Villeneuve) - I actually found the movie a little disappointing storywise, but the direction was impeccable.
Runner-up: 10 Cloverfield Lane (Dan Trachtenberg), Captain America: Civil War (Russo Brothers)

Best Actor: Ryan Reynolds (Deadpool)
Runners-up: John Goodman (10 Cloverfield Lane), Daniel Bruhl (Captain America), Benedict Cumberbatch (Dr. Strange), Samuel L. Jackson (Miss Peregrine), Mark Rylance (The BFG), Donnie Yen (Rogue One).

Best Actress: Eva Green (Miss Peregrine)
Runners-up: Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane), Amy Adams (Arrival), Kate McKinnon (Ghostbusters), Sofia Boutella (Star Trek Beyond).

Best Music: Kubo and the Two Strings (Dario Marianelli)
Runner-up: Moana

Best Visual Effects: Star Wars: Rogue One
Runners-up: Captain America: Civil War, Dr. Strange

Best Production Design: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children
Runners-up: Fantastic Beasts & Where to Find Them

Best Editing: 10 Cloverfield Lane

Best Cinematography: Arrival

Best Make-up: Star Trek Beyond

Best Costumes: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children

Most Pointless Sequel: Independence Day: Resurgence (we waited 20 years for that?)

Disappointment of the Year: I would say Batman v Superman: Yawn of Justice, but I wasn't expecting much anyway.