Reviews Of What Is In Theaters Now

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THE POST

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: January 12, 2018

Director: Steven Spielberg

Stars: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Bob Odenkirk

Plot: The story of the battle between the U.S. government and the press after the leak of thousands of documents relating to the Vietnam conflict.

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters

 

 

If ever a movie screamed "OSCAR" this one would be it. It stars Mr. and Mrs. Perennial Award Favorites, it's directed by Steven Spielberg, it's a drama about the press versus the government, and it's a period piece. It will most assuredly be a contender, but this year is so full of great movies it probably won't win anything.

 

This pacing of this film is surprisingly quick. It is also significantly more suspenseful than one might imagine it to be. There is a scene where one guy writes an article while everyone else stands around and watches, and it is riveting. You'll just have to trust me on that.

 

The acting is outstanding, the music is beautiful and the story is fascinating. It is a wonderful film throughout. However, it does have a couple of moments that are questionable. There are some scenes that either don't make a lot of sense or could have been cut from the movie completely. But, overall those are minor issues.

 

THE POST is a great, action-filled, dramatic, and powerful movie worth your theater dollars.

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PHANTOM THREAD

Rated: R

Release Date: January 12, 2018

Director: Paul Thomas Anderson

Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, Lesley Manville

Plot: A fashion designer's muse disrupts his life by being strong-willed, and he soon falls for her

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee

 

 

If you are a fan of slow-moving, period-piece dramas, PHANTOM THREAD is the movie for you. If you need things to happen while watching a movie, you should pass on this one.

 

This is a beautiful, artistic film that is highlighted by wonderful acting and striking cinematography. The dialogue is as complex and fanciful as the dresses which the lead character designs. It is also a funny film, but in an unexpected way. There are several times where you will find yourself laughing at things at which you don't want to laugh.

 

The whole film is a slow boil between despicable people that leads to a moment when the tension finally overflows. That moment is true art.

 

This is not a film for everyone. In fact, I'd be shocked if this film grosses $5 Million. But if you like films that feel like works of art, you may want to give his one a shot.

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I, TONYA

Rated: R

Release Date: January 5, 2018

Director: Craig Gillespie

Stars: Margot Robbie, Allison Janney, Sebastian Stan, Paul Walter Hauser

Plot: A wild tale about the life of figure skater Tonya Harding, her crazy family, and her crazier husband

Trailer


Clint Says: Drop everything and go see this movie now

 

 

This film is insane.

 

In a great way.

 

If you followed the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan soap opera, this is a must-see movie. Even if you didn't, this is a fantastic movie that you will enjoy thoroughly. It is fast-paced, ridiculously entertaining, and fascinating.

 

Even though this film is being released this year it is actually a qualifier for the 2017 awards. And it's going to win a few. Especially Allison Janney for Best Supporting Actress. She destroys the screen with her portrayal of Tonya Harding's lunatic mother.

 

Margot Robbie is perfect as Tonya Harding. If you've ever seen an interview with Tonya, you know she has a very odd speech pattern and body language. Margot Robbie does it so well it feels like you are watching Harding.

 

I, TONYA is worth every penny.

 

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TOP 10 FILMS OF 2017

THAT YOU'VE (PROBABLY) HEARD OF

 

2017 was a really interesting year for movies. There were a lot of great films and a lot of horrible films. There were also a lot of films that had audiences and critics polarized. I don't recall another year where there was the potential for several films to be on one critic's best list and be on another critic's worst list. But that is what makes the art of movie making so powerful. You may love it, you may hate it, but chances are, there will be a moment in just about every film you see that will move you one way or another.

 

A really great film, (or a really terrible film), will move you throughout the experience. And many times it will stay with you long after you've left the theater.

 

As with all of my reviews, I am creating this list based upon average movie-goers. The people that go to the theater 3-5 times a year. I see about 200 movies a year, and I've seen several top 10 lists this year that included several films that I haven't even heard of, much less seen. That is a complete waste of time for everyone. And ridiculously snobby and elitist.

 

What good does it do anybody if a top 10 list is full of movies you'll never be able to see?

 

So, without further ado, I give you my top 10 films of 2017. (And a few honorable mentions).

 

 

 

10. THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE

 

 

From the first second we saw Lego Batman on the screen in THE LEGO MOVIE we all knew that we needed a Lego Batman movie in our lives. We got it, and it lived up to the expectations.

 

 

9. WONDER WOMAN

 


This was one of the most anticipated films of 2017. Not only because people wanted to see a powerful woman in a lead role, but also because people were desperate to make sure DC didn't mess up this franchise as well. Not only did DC not mess this one up, but they actually made an incredible film.




8. IT

 

 

It takes a really special horror flick to make it anywhere near my top 10. IT is special. This goes so far beyond what we all know and think about horror flicks and turned it into a compelling movie that is worth seeing multiple times. Sure it has a lot of the typical horror tropes, but it delivers on them with intensity and depth that you rarely see in other scary movies.





7. WONDER

 


What can you say about WONDER except that it is heartwarming perfection. This film will lift your spirits, make you think deeper, make you love stronger, and make you judge others less. We all need that in our lives.



6. DARKEST HOUR

 

 

A movie about a political argument during the beginning stages of World War II sounds like a complete snoozefest. And in the hands of most actors and directors it probably would be. However, Director Joe Wright and Gary Oldman (Winston Churchill) made a spectacular film that will keep you enthralled the entire time. There are a lot of awards coming for this movie.





5. DETROIT

 


Of all of the films on my top 10 list, this one is the hardest to watch. You'll feel claustrophobic, uncomfortable, and terrible while watching it. When it's over you'll want to wash it off of you, but you won't be able to for days. That is the hallmark of a powerful film.



4. BABY DRIVER

 


Most critics are probably leaving BABY DRIVER off of their top 10 lists because of the Kevin Spacey issue. I struggled with that thought as well, but the reality is that this is a great movie. It came out long before any of us knew about the assaults and at that point everyone loved the movie. Just because the artist failed doesn't mean the art doesn't hold up. It may not be as good when watching it with today's knowledge, but that doesn't change the fact that this is an incredible film and the best use of music in a movie in a long time.



3. STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

 


I'm sure there are several critics that will have Episode 8 on their worst 10 list this year. So be it. Art is subjective. I loved almost every second of this movie. I haven't sat down and really tried to rank the STAR WARS films, but this one would most certainly be in my top 2 or 3. It is a masterclass in how to build a story using secondary characters and how to strip the hero(s) down to their core without losing that last little bit of hope to turn things around in the third part of the trilogy.




2. THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

 


This film has some of the best story-telling and character arcs you will see in any movie this year. It is powerful, heart-breaking, and beautiful all at the same time. I saw this movie several weeks ago and it still sticks with me. I expect THREE BILLBOARDS to do quite well during awards season.




1. DUNKIRK

 

 

DUNKIRK is a masterpiece. It is a case study in editing and story-telling. It is only 90 minutes long yet it is one of the most powerful films you will ever see. If this film can be made in 90 minutes ANY movie can be cut down to that length. It is also a masterclass in music and sound as well as cinematography. DUNKIRK is easily my best film of 2017. 

 

 

 

HONORABLE MENTIONS

(AKA: Films that would have made my top 10, but you haven't hear of them)

 

 

THE FLORIDA PROJECT

 

If I were making a top 10 list of just my favorite films of 2017, THE FLORIDA PROJECT would have been #3 on my list. But it's a movie that you probably have never heard of. If you can find a digital copy of this movie get it and watch it immediately. The acting is out of this world and you'll almost certainly see Willem Dafoe winning for his role. It is an incredible and moving film about innocence surrounded by depravity.

 

 

 

THE DISASTER ARTIST

 

 

A movie about the making of one of the all-time worst movies ever made is quite a challenge, but it is one that James Franco pulled off without a hitch. This film is hysterical and impressive. The cameos are so much fun and the acting is spot on.

 

 

 

MAUDIE

 

 

A lot of critics have been losing their minds over the impressive acting by Sally Hawkins in THE SHAPE OF WATER. I agree. She is incredible in that film. She is even better in MAUDIE. This is a phenomenal film from beginning to end. Ethan Hawke and Sally Hawkins give exceptional performances in this film that will move you.

 

 

 

BRIGSBY BEAR

 

 

I was really hoping this film would get some attention from the big awards shows. It is an odd but powerfully moving story of healing told in a unique and funny way. It's not a movie for everyone, but if you like quirky films you should give this one a shot. 

 

 

 

GOODBYE CHRISTOPHER ROBIN

 

 

I was never a big fan of Winnie The Pooh. I always found it to be rather boring and slow. That said, the story of the creation of Winnie The Pooh is fascinating. This is a film full of emotion, beautiful imagery, and wonderful acting. (Whoever thought that it would be possible to hate Margot Robbie?)

 

 

 

MARSHALL

 

 

If you like well-acted, historical films, MARSHALL is a must see. It is a wonderful biopic on the life of Thurgood Marshall. Boseman and Gad give award-worthy performances and the story is powerful. This is easily one of the best films of 2017.

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WORST 10 FILMS OF 2017

AND A FEW DISHONORABLE MENTIONS

 

Every year there are films that hit the big screen where almost every single person says, "Who thought making that movie was a good idea?" As a film critic I see over 200 films a year. There are a lot of opportunities for me to ask that question and many more. Most of the time I'm watching one of these terrible films I just sit there mentally screaming. "WHY!? WHY!?" like Nancy Kerrigan.

 

These are the films that you should avoid at all cost...no matter how great the trailer may have made it look.

 

Remember, I watch crappy movies so you don't have to.

 

 

 

10. RESIDENT EVIL: THE FINAL CHAPTER

 

 

The subtitle for this film is EVIL WILL END. I just wanted the movie to end, even if evil won.

 

 

 

9. FLATLINERS

 

 

Every character in this movie was an arrogant jerk. I would have been happy if they all died.

 

 


8. JUST GETTING STARTED

 

 

This is a case study in a Hollywood cash grab. It's also what happens when the production company basically goes out of business during the filming.

 

 

 

7. UNDERWORLD: BLOOD WARS

 

 

When you are begging for the werewolf to jump through the screen and kill you, you know it's a bad movie.

 

 

6. TRANSFORMERS: THE LAST KNIGHT

 

 

If I ever hear those #$%%@ words, "I am Optimus Prime," again, I may do serious damage to something.

 

 

 

5. VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

 

 

Why act when you can just fill the screen with bad effects?

 

 

 

 

4. FIFTY SHADES DARKER

 

 

The worst part of this movie? Knowing that there is still one more to go. Shoot me now.

 

 

 

3. THE EMOJI MOVIE

 

 

If you are desperate to see an unfunny, 90-minute long iPhone commercial you are still going to be disappointed by this pile of crap.

 

 

 

2. THE SNOWMAN

 

 

The director was unable to shoot about 15% of this movie due to time constraints, yet they still released it in theaters. Not surprisingly, it completely sucks. If the studio can't be bothered with it, you shouldn't either.

 

 

 

1. MOTHER!

 

 

This is the biggest pile of WTF of 2017. I'm sure on some level it is deep and meaningful and artistic and I'm just too stupid to get it, but whatever. This is a load of suck that can't ever be unseen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 2017 DISHONORABLE MENTIONS

AKA: The films that totally sucked, but not quite as bad as MOTHER!

 

 

 

 

JIGSAW

 

 

A horror flick that nobody asked for or wanted, but they crammed it down our throats anyway.

 

 

 

THE NUT JOB 2

 

 

I really think the studio tried hard to make as unfunny a film as possible. Good grief, even politicians are funnier than this piece of junk.

 

 

 

SNATCHED

 

 

Speaking of unfunny...if it wasn't for Wanda Sykes this would have made my 10 worst list. And what is up with that subtitle? It has nothing to do with anything. They must have done that on National non-sequitur day.

 

 

 

UNFORGETTABLE

 

 

I would pay money if someone could help me forget this heaping pile of rubbish.

 

 

 

 

SLEEPLESS

 

 

I still don't know what the title of this movie means. It has nothing to do with the movie. NOTHING! If you can't even bother with a partially descriptive title, then why should I see your crappy flick?

 

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MOLLY'S GAME

Rated: R

Release Date: December 25, 2017

Director: Aaron Sorkin

Stars: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner

Plot: The story of Molly Bloom, a world-class skier that ran one of the world's best high-stakes poker games

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters

 

 

Out of the hundreds of movies that have hit the big screen this year, this one may have the best opening five minutes of any of them. The only other film that might come close would be BABY DRIVER. 

 

This is a fast-paced, highly exciting film that will have you on the edge of your seat and holding your breath throughout. It is fun, crazy, and wild. 

 

Jessica Chastain, as always, is amazing in her role. She becomes Molly in a way that few other actors could do. She breathes life into a role that could have been boring in someone else's hands. 

 

This is the kind of movie that will become a TV classic. I'm betting that, just like now you can't flip through the channels on your TV without coming across OCEANS 11, two or three years from now the same will be said of MOLLY'S GAME. It's too much fun not to watch it over and over again. 

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ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD

Rated: R

Release Date: December 25, 2017

Director: Ridley Scott

Stars: Michelle Williams, Christopher Plummer, Mark Wahlberg, Charlie Plummer

Plot: John Paul Getty must decide whether or not to pay the ransom for the kidnapping of his grandson

Trailer

 

 

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters

 

 

This may be the most impressive film of 2017. Not because it is that great, even though it is a very good movie. But because, this movie was almost completely re-shot just two months before its release date.

 

You may recall, originally Kevin Spacey was in this movie as John Paul Getty. Once the information came out about his indiscretions Director Ridley Scott made the decision to recast and re-shoot the movie while still sticking to the original release date. This seemed like a huge undertaking, but most of us just assumed that they were only going to have to re-shoot 10-20% of the movie to get it done.

 

We assumed wrong. 

 

Christopher Plummer was cast in the role of John Paul Getty and they did all of his re-shoots in 10 days. This is incredible because he is in close to 50% of the entire film. I don't know the exact percentage of how much of this film had to be re-shot, but it is a big number. Congrats to Scott and crew for pulling off one of the greatest pieces of movie magic ever attempted in Hollywood. 

 

Aside from all of that, the film is interesting and intriguing. It is full of suspense and excitement. The movie jumps right in and doesn't let up for the full two hours.

 

Christopher Plummer does a great job for anyone, much less someone who had less than a month to prepare and only 10 days to shoot an hour's worth of scenes. Michelle Williams is great as well.

 

If you are looking for a movie with a compelling story, give this one a try.

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DARKEST HOUR

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: December 22, 2017

Director: Joe Wright

Stars: Gary Oldman, Lily James, Kristin Scott Thomas

Plot: Winston Churchill, the new Prime Minister must fight against popular thought in order to take on Hitler instead of negotiating with him

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Drop everything and go see this movie now

 

 

If this were a true and just world Gary Oldman would be a shoo-in for Best Actor this year. Unfortunately, he probably won't win because there are apparently people in Hollywood that don't like him, so it'll just be a popularity contest. Even so, just know that Oldman deserves to win. He is Churchill in every way possible. He couldn't be more Churchill if they brought Churchill back from the dead and he told Oldman how to act like him.

 

The film itself is also very good. It's not easy to make a film about a political argument exciting, but Director Joe Wright does just that. He creates tension, stress and frustration, but is able to balance it with a "behind-the-scenes" look at Churchill as he questioned his own decisions. There is also a great deal of comedy that you would not expect in a film like this, but it fits in very well. 

 

It is fascinating to note that there were three films to hit the big screen this year that had Dunkirk as it's overarching theme. DUNKIRK, THEIR FINEST, and DARKEST HOUR. Each gives a unique perspective on the event, and all three are exceptional films. If you have the time, it would be an interesting day to watch all three of them back-to-back. 

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THE GREATEST SHOWMAN

Rated: PG

Release Date: December 20, 2017

Director: Michael Gracey

Stars: Hugh Jackman, Michelle Williams, Zac Efron, Zendaya

Plot: A musical based on the rise of P.T. Barnum and his circus

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Drop everything and go see this movie now

 

 

This is one of the great feel-good movies of the year. The music is out of this world, the acting is first class, the story is wonderful, and the visuals are mesmerizing. 

 

This is also a wonderful film for families of almost all ages. It is rated PG, so it isn't too intense or adult-themed for the younger crowds, but it still manages to be exciting and compelling for adults. It is also blissfully well-paced and timed, clocking in at 1 hour 45 minutes. 

 

Hugh Jackman and Zendaya give rousing performances, and they are surrounded by an incredible cast of characters that add incredible depth and emotion to an already fascinating story. 

 

The true star of the show though is the music. The songs are even better than what we heard in LA LA LAND, and the performances are world-class. You can not walk out of the theater without this soundtrack running through your head. It'll probably be there for several days...and that's a good thing. 

 

This is the kind of film that brings joy to everyone that sees it. It's also the kind of film that a lot of us could use right now. It's a wonderful story b-e-a-utifully told. (You'll get it when you see the movie). 

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PITCH PERFECT 3

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: December 22, 2017

Director: Trish Sie

Stars: Anna Kendrick, Rebel Wilson, Hailee Steinfeld, John Lithgow

Plot: The Bellas give singing one last try on a USO tour, but trouble soon finds them

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait for the DVD

 

 

Well, I am now firmly in the camp of Gail and John feeling that the Bellas have completely run their course and need to hang it up. 

 

This is an okay movie at best. It probably would have been better off not having been made. (Or better yet, they could have just released it as a soundtrack and we all would have been happy). 

 

The first hour reeks of desperation to the point where it goes way beyond funny and just becomes sad and pathetic. It seems like every character is at the end of their sad, little rope and ready to end it all.

 

We also, after two full-length feature films before it, finally get around to some character development. I don't think I've ever said this before, and I probably never will again, but character development was a bad idea. We found out way too much about way too many of the characters and almost all of it was useless or pitiful.

 

The main plot revolves around learning about the life of Fat Amy. Basically, it was an excuse to take the franchise completely off the rails in this third, and hopefully final, installment. When the Bellas find themselves in the middle of an international criminal mastermind mystery you know the franchise has jumped the shark.

 

This movie is far from aca-awesome. Watch the first one again and be happy you have that one in your life. 

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DOWNSIZING

Rated: R

Release Date: December 22, 2017

Director: Alexander Payne

Stars: Matt Damon, Hong Chau, Christoph Waltz, Kristen Wiig

Plot: When science created the ability for people to shrink significantly many do it to better their lives, but they find out there is more to life than what they thought

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait for the DVD and make someone else rent it

 

 

This film has a fascinating premise and a potentially interesting and entertaining story to tell, unfortunately Hollywood politics got in the way and it basically became a two hour nag-fest about how we are all ruining the environment. 

 

Note to Hollywood: We don't go to movies so you can preach at us. We go to escape all of that crap. 

 

The only bright spot in an otherwise bleak and miserable film are some of the performances. Hong Chau's performance is award-worthy. She makes seeing this film at least somewhat tolerable. Christoph Waltz is great as well. Without him this film would have been annoyingly one-dimensional.

 

There are some interesting "Honey I Shrunk The Kids" moments and visuals, but for most of the movie were are fully involved in their world so everything looks normal. And their world is just as boring as ours. 

 

Once the uniqueness of their size becomes routine the film bogs down and never gets going again. And that happens 10 minutes into a two hour long film. So if you see this movie, just prepare yourself for the long haul. 

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FATHER FIGURES

Rated: R

Release Date: December 22, 2017

Director: Lawrence Sher

Stars: Owen Wilson, Ed Helms, Glenn Close

Plot: Two grown brothers go on a quest to find their biological father

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee

 

This is the kind of comedy that, you know going into it, is going to be formulaic. It's going to have some funny moments and some heartwarming moments. That said, I was still surprised by how heartwarming it got. 

 

This is by no means a great film, but it is good. It's a movie that will give you a nice break from reality. It'll give you a chance to relax for a couple of hours, have a few laughs, and possibly even a nice, little cry. 

 

There is nothing in this movie that makes it memorable, important, or even worthy of being seen in theaters, but if you do, you will most likely enjoy it. If you are looking for a break from all of the holiday craziness, this film is a good choice. 

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JUMANJI: WELCOME TO THE JUNGLE

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: December 20, 2017

Director: Jake Kasdan

Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Karen Gillan, Jack Black, Kevin Hart

Plot: Four teens get, literally, pulled into a video game and must win the game in order to escape, or they will die

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters

 

 

Thank you, JUMANJI for coming along when you did. It's been quite a while since we've had a really good comedy/action flick hit theaters. We've has some so-so comedies, some decent action flicks, some great movies that had no comedy or action, but nothing like this film.

 

You need JUMANJI in your life. 

 

You may not realize it yet, but you really do. Not only is this film entertaining and fun, but the acting is on par with any of the best in acting nominations out there right now. (Hollywood refuses to nominate people in movies like these, and for the life of me I can't figure out why). Jack Black may be the most authentic self-obsessed, teenage girl we've ever seen on film. Karen Gillan straddles the line between a confident, badass fighter and awkward, self-conscious nerd in a most hilarious and well done way.

 

The story isn't super deep, and the secondary characters aren't developed at all, but that is to be expected in a film about a video game made in the mid-90s. Back then the quests were basic, and the characters were closer to stick figures with thought bubbles than they were to anything nearing complex.

 

This is one of those rare films where you can sit in a dark room for a couple of hours, forget about everything going on in the real world, and be entertained at an above average level. Grab your friends and enjoy a night out in the jungle.

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THE SHAPE OF WATER

Rated: R

Release Date: December 15, 2017

Director: Guillermo del Toro

Stars: Sally Hawkins, Michael Shannon, Octavia Spencer

Plot: A mute woman falls in love with a creature being studied at the facility where she works

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Save some money and see a matinee

 

 

I'm not sure the general public wanted a 1950's throwback monster movie, but the Hollywood elite sure did. THE SHAPE OF WATER is getting all sorts of huge award nominations. In fact, it leads the Critics' Choice Awards with 14 nominations. The second place film only has 8. It has also received 7 Golden Globe nominations, and I'm sure there will be several Oscar nods as well. 

 

Personally, I found this film to be rather slow and uninteresting. I can see how certain people are mesmerized by it, and why so many critics have it at the top of their Best of 2017 lists, but I don't think the average movie-goer is going to like it nearly as much as they do. 

 

Sally Hawkins deserves every award she gets. Her performance in this film is a master class in acting. She is fascinating to watch, and the emotion she conveys without using words is nothing short of extraordinary. 

 

Michael Shannon is an actor who, as far as I'm concerned, can just about do no wrong. However, in this movie his character is so one-dimensional that it got rather annoying watching him not learn anything or grow.

 

The thing I think that really misses with this film are the moments where the film goes completely off the rails. There are several moments where I was saying, "wait...what the heck is going on right now?". One minute I'm watching a 1950's monster flick, the next I'm watching a musical from the 1930's. I felt like I was suffering from whiplash.

 

This is a very difficult film to review without giving anything away. It is an odd, but weirdly compelling movie that you will need to see yourself in order to make up your mind as to whether you like it or not. 

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STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: December 15, 2017

Director: Rian Johnson

Stars: Daisy Ridley, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Oscar Isaac

Plot: The resistance is on the run from the First Order and must use all of their cunning and courage to survive

Trailer


Clint Says: Drop everything and go see this movie now

 

 

I am a huge STAR WARS nerd. A NEW HOPE was the first film I ever saw in theaters. I've been hooked on this franchise since the mid-70s. (With a noticeable lull during the Jar Jar Binks years, a.k.a. The Trilogy That Shall Not Be Named). Needless to say, I've been anticipating the arrival of THE LAST JEDI since the new slate of films was announced.

 

THE FORCE AWAKENS (Episode 7) was so good that I got both really excited for Episode 8, but also very nervous that it wouldn't live up to 7. I spent the better part of the last month trying to use the force to make sure 8 was incredible. Either Director Rian Johnson made an amazing film in THE LAST JEDI or my personal Jedi skills are off the charts! (I'm pretty sure it's the former, but I'm not giving up on my Jedi status just yet).

 

Johnson took on the hardest part of any trilogy, story 2, and not only made a seamless transition from the first story to the third, but he also gave it its own identity. As with any trilogy, story 2 is where we see the hero(s) lose everything down to their last glimmer of hope. Johnson does this with flawless mastery, artistry, and emotion.

 

The best part of this movie are the secondary characters. They have to play a vital role in moving the plot forward. They do it in a way that is genuine, and you care for each one of them. It is very rare to find a film where you only get to know a character for a few minutes over the course of a film, but their presence touches you.

 

This film also demonstrates the internal struggle between good and evil in many of the characters. One of the things that has always made STAR WARS great has been that the characters are flawed. Very few of them are purely evil and very few of them are completely good. They all struggle with opportunity and desire. One of the best examples of this is a new character played, masterfully, by Benicio Del Toro. As you see his character progress you will hate to love him and love to hate him.

 

STAR WARS: THE LAST JEDI will rock you to your core one moment and then have you laughing out loud the next. For fans of the original trilogy, you are going to love the callbacks to THE EMPIRE STRIKES BACK. The imagery and cinematography are spectacular, the effects are first-rate, the sound and score add incredible depth, and the plot will draw you in like a tractor beam.

 

Do whatever it takes to get to the theater right away to see this movie. It's not only one of the best STAR WARS films, it's one of the best films of 2017.

 

NOTE: I highly recommend seeing THE FORCE AWAKENS again before heading into THE LAST JEDI. There is a lot going on in this film that will make a lot more sense if you remember everything about the first one. 

 

NOTE: Make sure you stay through the first part of the credits. There is something that you don't want to miss.

 

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JUST GETTING STARTED

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: December 8, 2017

Director: Ron Shelton

Stars: Morgan Freeman, Tommy Lee Jones, Rene Russo

Plot: A guy living it up in the witness protection program needs the help of his biggest rival to thwart a mob hit

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Don't even bother

 

 

Morgan Freeman and Tommy Lee Jones are two of my all-time favorite actors. But that is only because I didn't see them in this first.

 

Ladies and gentlemen, this is easily one of the worst films of 2017. You can see that everyone associated with this movie just gave up. (I can't blame the cast and crew entirely...the production company, Broad Green Pictures, did shut down their Production Division during the making of this movie).

 

This film is so bad it should have a restraining order not to get within 500 feet of a movie theater.

 

This film is so bad that every ticket sold should come with a free pillow and blanket.

 

This film is so bad that it should have been named "A 90-MINUTE FORD TRUCK COMMERCIAL", or "CONTINUOUS CONTINUITY ERROR", or "PAYCHECK GRAB".

 

This film is so bad I wish Tommy Lee Jones could zap me with the flashy thing from MEN IN BLACK so I wouldn't remember seeing it.

 

This film is so bad it should be forced to write apology letters to everyone that buys a ticket.

 

It's a slow, boring, plain, annoying, not funny, poorly acted, mind-numbingly stupid movie that doesn't entertain at all and serves zero purpose in being.

 

It's that bad.

 

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THE DISASTER ARTIST

Rated: R

Release Date: December 8, 2017

Director: James Franco

Stars: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen

Plot: A film about the making of one of the worst movies of all time that became a cult classic

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Drop everything and go see this movie now

 

 

This may be one of the gutsiest movies ever made. 

 

It's a Hollywood-level film about one of the worst movies ever made. Essentially, the studio is hoping that enough people have seen or know about THE ROOM, (the terrible movie this film is based on), and are fanatical enough about it to see a good movie about it. That is a huge risk, but one that I am very glad they took, because this movie deserves all sorts or awards and accolades.

 

Although you don't have to have seen THE ROOM for this movie to make sense, it would help a lot in understanding the nuances of the film. THE ROOM is so off-the-wall weird and so epically  horrible that if you don't know anything about it going into THE DISASTER ARTIST it won't be nearly as funny as it could be.

 

James Franco plays the part of Tommy Wiseau and is absolutely perfect in capturing the complete essence of Tommy in every aspect of his life. Tommy is a nut case. Nobody knows where he is from, how old he is, or how he manages to have a seemingly bottomless bank account. He also wrote, directed, edited, produced, funded, and starred in THE ROOM. Franco deserves nominations from all of the major award outlets for Best Actor.

 

The film is incredibly funny...if you are a "fan" of THE ROOM. If you aren't, then this movie will be somewhere on the level of tolerable. It is also heartwarming and inspiring. Personally, this has a very good shot at being one of my top 10 films of the year.

 

While I could never in good conscience recommend seeing THE ROOM, I will say that if you haven't, but you are interested in seeing THE DISASTER ARTIST, you should spend some time on YouTube watching videos of "highlights" of THE ROOM and videos of Tommy Wiseau. It will go a long way in making your viewing of this film that much more enjoyable.

 

NOTE: Be on the lookout for all sorts of high-level cameos all throughout the movie. There are so many you may need to see the movie twice just to catch them all.

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

Rated: R

Release Date: November 22, 2017

Director: Martin McDonagh

Stars: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell

Plot: A woman puts up three controversial billboards demanding the police find the killer of her daughter

Trailer


Clint Says: Drop everything and go see this movie now

 

 

This is a solid contender for Best Picture, Best Female Lead, and Best Supporting Actor. It is also an outstanding film. 

 

Frances McDormand has to be one of the front runners for the awards this year. Her performance is noting short of complete mastery of the art. There are times where she never says a word, yet she conveys all you need to know. It's the kind of performance that they will show in acting schools as to how to do it right.

 

Sam Rockewell is outstanding as well. His character arc is one of the most powerful and interesting arcs I've seen in a long time. The emotions you feel while watching his character range from deep loathing to heartbreak to understanding.

 

This is more of a dark comedy than it is a drama. The subject matter is tragic and depressing, but the nature of the characters leads to several incredibly funny moments. There are many times where you will find yourself laughing even though you don't want to be. 

 

There are also many moments that are emotional and heavy. They will weigh on you long after yo leave the theater. But you will also take with you all of the moments that made you laugh and the ones that were so powerful you could barely breathe. 

 

There are just a couple of minor issues I had with the film that might keep it from being at the very top of my Top 10 list, but at this point I don't see any chance of this movie not being somewhere in my Top 10 films of 2017. It is spectacular and completely worth your time and money. 

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ROMAN J. ISRAEL, ESQ.

Rated: PG-13

Release Date: November 22, 2017

Director: Dan Gilroy

Stars: Denzel Washington, Colin Farrell, Carmen Ejogo

Plot: An off-beat attorney finds himself out of a job and forced to make some drastic decisions

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait for the DVD

 

 

This is one of those times where the trailer makes the movie look a lot more interesting than the final product actually is. I was excited to see, what I thought was going to be a suspenseful game of cat and mouse with a really smart mouse. What I saw was a slow-moving story of a guy who can't quite get his life together and makes a couple of mistakes along the way. 

 

Denzel Washington does a fine job as a savant attorney, but it isn't a performance that I would consider to be one of his best. It always felt lie I was watching Denzel, not Roman. 

 

The pacing of the film is dreadfully slow. I started looking at my watch about 80 minutes in. It felt like it just kept going even though it clocks in just shy of two hours. If it had been cut down to 90 minutes it may have been a much better movie. 

 

But the thing that I really didn't like about this movie were the continuity errors. In the opening lines of the movie he says he's been at the same firm for 26 years. Moments later he tells someone hes been with the firm 36 years. Later on it becomes 40 years. 

 

The story is supposed to take place over a three week period, but at one point we see a time-lapse of an apartment building being built from the ground up. He also talks about how he's been out of work for a long time, but then the three weeks thing comes back into play. It is annoying when things like this happen because they should be easy and obvious fixes. This just tells me that the decision makers on the film didn't care a lot about it so why should I?

 

It isn't a bad movie, but it's not one that will be up for any awards. If you don't expect too much from it you won't be disappointed when you leave the theater.

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THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS

Rated: PG

Release Date: November 22, 2017

Director: Bharat Nalluri

Stars: Dan Stevens, Christopher Plummer, Jonathan Pryce

Plot: The path that led Charles Dickens to write "A CHRISTMAS CAROL"

Trailer

 

Clint Says: Wait until after opening weekend, but see this in theaters

 

 

This is a unique and fantastic look at a story that we have all heard dozens of times. To see it come to life through the mind of Charles Dickens is truly a joy. I would have never thought that arguments between Charles Dickens and Scrooge would ever even be a thing much less so fully entertaining!

 

The costumes are award-worthy, Christopher Plummer as Scrooge is magnificent, and the story is highly entertaining. There is so much going on with the imagery and the events happening around Dickens that it almost needs a second viewing on order to pick up on all of the interesting details that lead to the final draft of one of the greatest Christmas stories ever told.

 

It is also rated PG, so it's a film that everyone can see. I would recommend a minimum age of about 10 simply because the plot is most likely too complicated for younger children. 

 

I don't know how close to reality this narrative is, but even if it is 90% made up it is still a fantastic way to spend two hours. You will not be disappointed.