Category Archives: 2010s

Best of 2017: Outsiders 11-15

Let’s continue to look at those just outside of my top ten of 2017. You can also read my #16-20. I’ve seen most of these on other people’s top ten lists and I think that they could all be up there if I was in a different mood. You’ll notice that on most of these mini reviews, I’m not focusing on technical merit or acting unless it was hands down better than anything else I’ve seen this year. Instead, I’m choosing my top films by selecting the ones that resonated the most with me. I hope that you will read my thoughts on these five and give me your thoughts. Link me to your top 10s, Tell me why I’m wrong or what I got right. Continue reading Best of 2017: Outsiders 11-15

Best of 2017: Outsiders 16-20

My Qualifications

I know that this is a small site and you might think, “why would I care what this guy thinks is the best of 2017, he’s probably only watched 20 movies and so his top 10 will just be a joke.” However, I log all of the movies that I watch over at Letterboxd.com, and they tell me that during 2017 I watched 265 films, and 68 of them were released during 2017. In addition to those, I have played a bit of catch-up like most people and can now say that I have seen 88 of the movies released in 2017 including all best picture nominees, acting and directing nominations, except for Christopher Plummer’s role in All the Money in the World which was largely political as he replaced Kevin Spacey at the last minute after Spacey’s scandal.

Unfortunately, even with this amount of films, I am still missing a few that have come highly recommended. Loving Vincent, The Breadwinner, Personal Shopper, Columbus, Faces Places, Wonderstruck, Lady MacBeth, and Hostiles. One or two of those might work their way onto this list eventually but for now, let’s jump in to see my top 20 films of 2017.
Continue reading Best of 2017: Outsiders 16-20

2016 Best Movie Bracket

Not going to do a full post for this. I just needed to catch up since I started the Best Movie Bracket in 2016 and never got around to posting my bracket for the year. I posted my top 20 over at Letterboxd and it still holds up. I think it’s a pretty solid mix of populist and more obscure films.

Aronofsky’s God on Display in mother!

There is a lot going on in Darren Aronofsky’s new film mother! Some have called it the worst movie of the year, some even claim the century. Yet others have called it truly breathtaking and a creative masterpiece. It is a very polarizing film. Upon first viewing in theaters, I was sold. I couldn’t stop talking about it and thinking about it. Since then it has earned the worst audience score of an F, and been nominated for several Razzies. So why am I “wasting my time” looking at this film that statistically speaking most people will not watch?

There are so many religious messages that I can’t pass it up. It is available on Blu-Ray and streaming now, but I will warn you that this is a film made for one time purposeful viewing. It will stick with you and may haunt you. Beware that there is violent and disturbing imagery and foul language. I believe it is all meant to serve a purpose and it points to a creation, fall, redemption, restoration process that we see in scripture. This is through the eyes of an agnostic at best so it is not at all a perfect or complete picture, but we can clearly see what Aronofsky thinks of this God and his followers through his creation.

I can’t wholeheartedly recommend this film. It is a very difficult watch. But to serve any purpose I must dive deeper in discussion of the story that the film presents. To look at it from the surface it is just torture porn wrapped in religiosity, but if we will take time to go deeper, we can glean some tremendous insights. This is my last warning. Massive spoilers ahead! If you are up to it, let’s dive in.

Continue reading Aronofsky’s God on Display in mother!

Weekend Outlook – Battle of the Sexes, Kingsman, Lego, and more

Man, there are a lot of movies coming out this weekend! I’m hoping to do this Weekend Outlook on a weekly basis to highlight the films that are hitting theaters each week. Alternatively, I’m thinking about posting about movies coming out on DVD so you can see what will be hitting stores, your Video on Demand service, or Redbox. I know that not everyone watches movies in theaters like I do.

These are all nationwide releases that should be coming to a theater near you. I’m most excited about Battle of the Sexes, but none of the others look awful, It should be a good week.

BATTLE OF THE SEXES 

Poster for the movie "Battle of the Sexes"
© 2017 Fox Searchlight Pictures − All right reserved.

Starring: Steve Carell, Emma Stone, and Sarah Silverman

Rated PG-13

The electrifying 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King (Emma Stone) and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs (Steve Carell) was billed as the Battle of the Sexes and became the most watched televised sports event of all time. The match sparked a global conversation on gender equality, spurring on the feminist movement. Trapped in the media glare, King and Riggs were on opposites sides of a binary argument, but off-court each was fighting more personal and complex battles. With a supportive husband urging her to fight the Establishment for equal pay, the fiercely private King was also struggling to come to terms with her own sexuality, while Riggs gambled his legacy and reputation in a bid to relive the glories of his past. Together, Billie and Bobby served up a cultural spectacle that resonated far beyond the tennis courts and animated the discussions between men and women in bedrooms and boardrooms around the world.

Continue reading Weekend Outlook – Battle of the Sexes, Kingsman, Lego, and more

Fall 2017 Movie Preview: Drama Part 2

Sorry for the delay in getting the last part of this Fall Movie Preview finished and published. I live in Florida and things are a little bit crazy with Hurricane Irma preparations. There were just too many dramatic films coming out over the next few months to capture them all in one post.

You can read the first part here. Or read the other sections of the preview : Action/Adventure, Horror/Thriller, or Family/Comedy. I hope you’ll let me know which of these sound interesting to you and which you’ll wait to stream on Netflix.

November

LBJ – 11/10

The story of U.S. President Lyndon Baines Johnson from his young days in West Texas to the White House.

This was originally scheduled to come out in 2016. I don’t know the actual reason it was delayed, but I can only think that it had something to do with something else going on in the world of politics that was slightly more entertaining than history. There was also another film focusing on this period of time, Jackie. I for one would have never imagined Woody Harrelson as LBJ, and it’s directed by Rob Reiner (Princess Bride, A Few Good Men, and When Harry Met Sally).

Murder on the Orient Express – 11/10

A lavish train ride unfolds into a stylish & suspenseful mystery. From the novel by Agatha Christie, Murder on the Orient Express tells of thirteen stranded strangers & one man’s race to solve the puzzle before the murderer strikes again.

The second film adaptation of Agatha Christie’s most famous story of legendary detective Hercule Poirot. The 1974 film directed by Sidney Lumet is already legendary for its stunning cast and claustrophobic feel. This version looks like it is trying to capture that essence. I’m really excited to see what they do with it, and with a cast featuring the likes of Johnny Depp, Daisy Ridley, Willem Dafoe, Michelle Pfeiffer, Penélope Cruz, Kenneth Branagh, Judi Dench, and Josh Gad it’s going to have to try really hard not to be at least good.

Lady Bird – 11/10

The adventures of a young woman living in Northern California for a year.

Well, that’s not much of a description to go off. It should say something like, “Jackie from Roseanne (Laurie Metcalf) is raising a teenage daughter of her own played by Saoirse (it’s pronounced “seer-sha”) Ronan. She doesn’t feel like she belongs in the little Northern California town. She feels as though the walls are closing in. She longs to be on the east coast in a city where writers live out in the woods.” That’s a movie I want to watch. It looks funny and sad and warm and rich. Saoirse Ronan is a fantastic actress and is going to bring so much heart to the titular character of Lady Bird. The whole thing is written and directed by Greta Gerwig as something of an autobiography. Man, I love this time of year!

The Darkest Hour – 11/22

Within days of becoming Prime Minister, Winston Churchill must face his most turbulent and defining trial: exploring a negotiated peace treaty with Nazi Germany, or standing firm to fight for the ideals, liberty and freedom of a nation.

A Winston Churchill biopic starring Gary Oldman. Need I say anything else? I mean, just look at that picture. He’s is a master of sinking into a role whether it is Dracula, Sid Vicious, Pontius Pilate, Sirius Black, or Commissioner James Gordon. Watch the trailer and see if you don’t get chills.

Molly’s Game – 11/22

The true story of an Olympic-class skier who ran the world’s most exclusive high-stakes poker game and became an FBI target. Her players included movie stars, business titans and unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob.

Idris Elba and Jessica Chastain are great, but I’m excited about this one because Aaron Sorkin is attached to direct. He adapted the book by the real Molly Bloom. Normally he is happy to write and have someone else direct, but this marks his directorial debut. What a cool story. It should be lots of fun and full of amazing lightning fast dialogue.

Call Me by Your Name – 11/22

It’s the summer of 1983 in the north of Italy, and Elio Perlman (Timothée Chalamet), a precocious 17- year-old American-Italian boy, spends his days in his family’s 17th century villa transcribing and playing classical music, reading, and flirting with his friend Marzia (Esther Garrel). Elio enjoys a close relationship with his father (Michael Stuhlbarg), an eminent professor specializing in Greco-Roman culture, and his mother Annella (Amira Casar), a translator, who favor him with the fruits of high culture in a setting that overflows with natural delights. While Elio’s sophistication and intellectual gifts suggest he is already a fully-fledged adult, there is much that yet remains innocent and unformed about him, particularly about matters of the heart. One day, Oliver (Armie Hammer), a charming American scholar working on his doctorate, arrives as the annual summer intern tasked with helping Elio’s father. Amid the sun-drenched splendor of the setting, Elio and Oliver discover the heady beauty of awakening desire over the course of a summer that will alter their lives forever.

I’ve got this here because it is sure to get a lot of love from the LGBT community. It will be called groundbreaking and monumental. However, when it is boiled down it sounds like the story of a man taking advantage of a kid who is still figuring out who he is for his own pleasure. I just can’t get behind that. I’ll probably see it at some point because it will most likely be nominated for an Oscar but I’m not expecting much.

December

The Current War – 12/8

The Current War is the epic story of the cutthroat competition between the greatest inventors of the industrial age over whose electrical system would power the new century. Backed by J.P. Morgan, Edison dazzles the world by lighting Manhattan. But Westinghouse, aided by Nikola Tesla, has seen fatal flaws in Edison’s direct current design. Igniting a war of currents, Westinghouse and Tesla bet everything on risky and dangerous alternating current.

Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Shannon, and Nicholas Hoult as Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse, and Nikola Tesla. The battle between alternating current and direct current. The trailer looks great with amazing cinematography playing with the light. If there isn’t at least one song by AC/DC in the film, it will be a missed opportunity.

The Shape of Water – 12/8

An other-worldly fairy tale, set against the backdrop of Cold War era America circa 1962. In the hidden high-security government laboratory where she works, lonely Elisa (Sally Hawkins) is trapped in a life of isolation. Elisa’s life is changed forever when she and co-worker Zelda (Octavia Spencer) discover a secret classified experiment.

This looks like it could be the best most innovative thing that Guillermo del Toro has done since Pan’s Labyrinth. I’m afraid that the creature (played by Doug Jones, look him up his work is amazing) is going to be too grotesque for mainstream audiences to get behind the love story aspect. It is kinda far out there and I just don’t now if we’re ready for it. Either way, I’m looking forward to it because it’s an original story that we’ve never seen coming from a visionary director with a star-studded cast. What do you think?

The Greatest Showman – 12/25

Inspired by the imagination of P.T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business and tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

Apparently this musical based on the life of P.T. Barnum was supposed to come out last year around November or December, but they decided to wait to unleash Hugh Jackman’s vocal stylings on the world in part because of competition with a little movie called La La Land. I don’t think this will do quite as well, but it should be a feel good story with singing and dancing to end our 2017 on a positive note.

Phantom Thread – 12/25

Set in the couture world of 1950s London, the story illuminates the life behind the curtain of an uncompromising dressmaker commissioned by royalty and high society.

This is shrouded in mystery. We don’t have much to go off, but it is believed that Daniel Day Lewis will be playing Charles James. He will be teaming up with Director P.T. Anderson. The last time these two joined forces they created one of the best movies of all time in my opinion, There Will Be Blood. To add anticipation, Daniel Day Lewis has stated that this will be his last film. If that is the case, I sincerely hope he goes out with a bang and wins his 4th Best Actor Oscar.

Others to Watch:

My Friend Dahmer coming on November 3rd. Before Jeffrey Dahmer became a notorious serial killer, he was a shy, alcoholic teen who never quite fit in. Based on the acclaimed graphic novel by Derf Backderf, this is the true, haunting story of Jeffrey Dahmer in high school. This could be the start of a whole cinematic universe of teenage serial killers. Seriously, Ross Lynch looks disturbed as the young Dahmer. It could be a surprise success.

Roman J. Israel, Esq. coming on November 3rd. Denzel Washington stars as Roman Israel, a driven, idealistic defense attorney who, through a tumultuous series of events, finds himself in a crisis that leads to extreme action. Written and directed by the mind behind Nightcrawler, Dan Gilroy. This will be another heavily character driven role, like Fences, that Denzel can sink his teeth into.

Last Flag Flying coming on November 3rd. Thirty years after they served together in Vietnam, a former Navy Corpsman Larry “Doc” Shepherd re-unites with his old buddies, former Marines Sal Nealon and Reverend Richard Mueller, to bury his son, a young Marine killed in the Iraq War. Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, and Laurence Fishburne in a road trip movie directed by Richard Linklater (Dazed and Confused and Boyhood). It’s hard not to get a little excited for this.

The Man Who Invented Christmas coming on November 22nd. The journey that led to the creation of Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer) and other classic characters from “A Christmas Carol.” The film shows how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens) conjured up a timeless tale. Looks like it could be a good family film retelling the often told Christmas story through the eyes of the man who created it.

There will be other films that come onto the radar in the final months of the year and some of these will inevitably be pushed to 2018 but I think this is a very good list to work off as you prepare for the season and decide which films are the most enticing. Please let me know which ones sound great and which you will pass on. Now that I’m done with this, I may decide to make a calendar will all of the films I’ve featured listed by their release date. The obvious problem with that is many of these films will be limited releases and so they will likely not be playing outside of major markets for a week or two after their actual premier unless they are tracking very will and the studios believe they can risk a wider opening.

Fall 2017 Movie Preview: Drama Part 1

This is going to be a great season. The awards are going to be very crowded. We’ve already seen several powerful films that could be in awards consideration. I’m specifically thinking of Detroit, Dunkirk, Baby Driver, and even Logan and Wonder Woman. However, they are going to have to compete with a slew of biopics and powerful narrative dramas and character studies. These movies are like candy for me so excuse me if I tend to go on and on, but part of the joy of cinema is its ability to move us, and that is exactly what these aim to do.

Please let me know which of these you would see if you could only choose one or two. This is only half of the Dramatic movies coming out this season. I’ll be following up to this post with the dramatic movies from November and December soon. Also, make sure you take a look at the others to watch section because there are far too many to talk about all of them at length.

September

Rebel in the Rye – 9/15

The life of celebrated but reclusive author, J.D. Salinger, who gained worldwide fame with the publication of his novel, The Catcher in the Rye.

How many of you have actually read Catcher in the Rye? I think it is one of those books that people buy to look smart but never actually read. If you want to watch an interesting retelling of the Holden Caulfield story, you can watch Perks of Being a Wallflower. Honestly, It is a great work of literature and it will be interesting to see the story behind what inspired the author. It will be starring Nicholas Hoult as J.D. Salinger and will feature Kevin Spacey as a teacher and source of inspiration. Also, I hope you like biopics because this is the first of about a dozen by my count.

Battle of the Sexes – 9/22

The true story of the 1973 tennis match between World number one Billie Jean King and ex-champ and serial hustler Bobby Riggs.

I love both of these actors. I heard that after La La Land, now Emma Stone is the hottest thing since sliced bread and is making oodles of money. That’s good for her. She has a fantastic comedic sense and is able to sink her teeth into more meaty dramatic roles so this biopic should be great for her. Steve Carell has been one of my favorite comedic actors since his turn as Brick in Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy. It will be fantastic to watch these two play off of each other in a story of liberation, misogyny, and tennis.

Loving Vincent – 9/22

A feature film about the life and mysterious death of Vincent Van Gogh.

Just watching the trailer for this I am surprised that so much time and care has gone into the preparation of the film. If you haven’t heard anything about it, watch the trailer and be floored by the visuals as you realize that every single frame in this film about the life and death of Vincent Van Gogh was hand painted in oils meant to mimic his style. It looks stunning and innovative. I love to see films that do something that no one else has ever done and this will certainly do just that. Not only have I never heard the story of Van Gogh’s tortured creative process but I have certainly never seen a movie that is put together in this way. It should be very rewarding to watch.

Lucky – 9/29

The spiritual journey of a ninety-year-old atheist.

I really hope that Harry Dean Stanton gets an Oscar nomination for this. The film looks quirky and funny and contemplative and it is all centered around the tremendous skill of an actor that generally stays out of the limelight. You might probably best know Harry Dean Stanton as the janitor in The Green Mile that the guards use to practice for the execution. That is one of hundreds of roles he has had in his storied career. This also serves as the Directorial debut for that guy that everyone thinks is the Zodiac killer in Zodiac (John Carroll Lynch). I can imagine that I will probably be quoting lines from this for months after watching.

October

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – 10/13

After months have passed without a culprit in her daughter’s murder case, Mildred Hayes (Academy Award winner Frances McDormand) makes a bold move, painting three signs leading into her town with a controversial message directed at William Willoughby (Academy Award nominee Woody Harrelson), the town’s revered chief of police. When his second-in-command Officer Dixon (Sam Rockwell), an immature mother’s boy with a penchant for violence, gets involved, the battle between Mildred and Ebbing’s law enforcement is only exacerbated.

I’ve been ready for this one since I saw the trailer in front of something back in June or July. It is a combination of a number of things that I love. Frances McDormond is an amazing actress that doesn’t get nearly the number of roles she deserves. Much of that is probably because she only takes roles that are good. Sam Rockwell takes everything he is in up a couple of notches. And Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) is one of my favorite screenwriter/directors in the business today.

Marshall – 10/13

About a young Thurgood Marshall, the first African-American Supreme Court Justice, as he battles through one of his career-defining cases.

I’m a bit embarrassed that I know next to nothing about Thurgood Marshall except for the fact that he served on the Supreme court from 1967-1991 (I even had to look those dates up). Chadwick Boseman has been Mr. Biopic as of late. Before landing his role as Black Panther in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (including his own stand-alone movie coming in 2018) he starred in 42 as Jackie Robinson and most recently in Get on Up as James Brown. So, he is no stranger to taking on another’s mannerisms and portraying their lives. This is clearly a story of Thurgood Marshall’s young life before he became part of the US Supreme court. Is this a film that interests you?

Same Kind of Different as Me – 10/20

International art dealer Ron Hall must befriend a dangerous homeless man in order to save his struggling marriage to his wife, a woman whose dreams will lead all three of them on the journey of their lives.

It looks like Hollywood might finally be figuring out that Christians want to see movies with Christian themes of love and mercy and generosity and equality portrayed in a artful manner by talented actors. I for one will be one of the first people lined up to see this film and I will be encouraging our Church to buy out showings to encourage more film like it to be made. With a cast of actors as eclectic and talented as this group there is no reason it shouldn’t be good. I just hope it’s not too schmaltzy or preachy. If they can walk that fine line and maintain realism while telling the story then it should be good.

Suburbicon – 10/27

Suburbicon is a peaceful, idyllic suburban community with affordable homes and manicured lawns…the perfect place to raise a family, and in the summer of 1959, the Lodge family is doing just that. But the tranquil surface masks a disturbing reality, as husband and father Gardner Lodge (Matt Damon) must navigate the town’s dark underbelly of betrayal, deceit, and violence. This is a tale of very flawed people making very bad choices. This is Suburbicon.

I was torn whether to put this one in the Horror or Comedy category or here. It definitely will not be your average thriller. But I can’t just discount it as a comedy like Hot Fuzz. Instead, it seems to be blending Drama, Comedy, and Thriller tropes together to create something. It should be very interesting because The Coen Brothers usually direct the stories that they write, but this one they have handed off to their good friend, George Clooney, who has great abilities as a Director, but we haven’t seen his best work as of late.

Others to Watch:

Stronger coming on September 22nd. Stronger is the inspiring real life story of Jeff Bauman, an ordinary man who captured the hearts of his city and the world to become a symbol of hope following the infamous 2013 Boston Marathon bombing. This is getting some praise from actual Boston natives about it realism and authenticity. Jake Gyllenhaal is super talented so it should be great to see him get lost in this role.

Breathe coming on October 13th. The inspiring true love story of Robin and Diana Cavendish, an adventurous couple who refuse to give up in the face of a devastating disease. Their heartwarming celebration of human possibility marks the directorial debut of Andy Serkis. Yes, Gollum is directing a film with Claire Foy and Andrew Garfield. That’s intriguing if nothing else.

Only the Brave coming on October 20th. A drama based on the elite crew of firemen from Prescott, Arizona who battled a wildfire in Yarnell, AZ in June 2013 that claimed the lives of 19 of their members. Firemen are good people and they risk their lives to protect people. This might not be the greatest movie, but it should be a powerful reminder of their service with a great cast featuring: Jennifer Connelly, Taylor Kitsch, Josh Brolin, Miles Teller, Jeff Bridges, and Andie MacDowell.

Wonderstruck coming on October 20th. The story of a young boy in the Midwest is told simultaneously with a tale about a young girl in New York from fifty years ago as they both seek the same mysterious connection. Directed by Todd Haynes (Carol, I’m Not There) and based on the Novel by Brian Selznick (Hugo).

The Mountain Between Us coming on October 20th. Stranded after a tragic plane crash, two strangers (Idris Elba and Kate Winslet) must forge a connection to survive the extreme elements of a remote snow covered mountain. When they realize help is not coming, they embark on a perilous journey across the wilderness. This sounds stressful and I won’t be taking my wife to see it or I will never get her on a plane.

Professor Marston and the Wonder Women coming on October 27th. The true story of William Moulton Marston, the polyamorous relationship between his wife and mistress, the creation of his beloved comic book character “Wonder Woman”, and the controversy the comic generated in its earlier years. Playing off the success of Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman earlier this year, we get a biopic about the guy who created the Amazonian princess. Could be interesting.

Wow. That’s already quite a list and we still have two more months of the year to look at. Which are you most enthused about? Are there any that you aren’t sure about or that you think might not live up to their expectations? Let me know in the comments below or on Social media. Also, don’t forget to check out the other installments of this Fall Movie Guide: Action/Adventure, Horror/Thriller, and Comedy/Family.

Fall 2017 Movie Preview: Comedy/Family

This is a hard category because unlike Horror/Thriller where you can be fairly certain that all of the films are meant to be seen by adult eyes and ears, this category blends a bit of both worlds. We can have a family friendly animated film right next to a raunchy comedy. For that reason, I am going to include the MPAA rating after the synopsis. It should be fairly obvious which is which, but I didn’t want to waste time making two posts when these go together nicely.

September

Home Again – 9/8

Recently separated from her husband (Michael Sheen), Alice (Reese Witherspoon) decides to start over by moving back to her hometown of Los Angeles with her two young daughters. During a night out on her 40th birthday, Alice meets three aspiring filmmakers who happen to be in need of a place to live. Alice agrees to let the guys stay in her guest house temporarily, but the arrangement ends up unfolding in unexpected ways. Alice’s unlikely new family and new romance comes to a crashing halt when her ex-husband shows up, suitcase in hand. – PG-13

I’m not much of a romantic comedy fan, but this looks pretty good. I could see it being a fun date night or enjoyable flick for a group of ladies to watch. The guys all competing for her attention will make for some funny situations, but I predict that Michael Sheen as her ex-husband will be the best. Do you think she’ll get back together with her husband, or embrace the single life?

Lego: Ninjago – 9/22

The battle for Ninjago City calls to action young Master Builder Lloyd, along with his friends, who are all secret ninja warriors. Led by Master Wu, as wise-cracking as he is wise, they must defeat evil warlord Garmadon, The Worst Guy Ever, who also happens to be Lloyd’s dad. Pitting mech against mech and father against son, the epic showdown will test this fierce but undisciplined team of modern-day ninjas who must learn to check their egos and pull together to unleash their inner power of Spinjitzu. – PG

The folks behind the Lego Movie and the Lego Batman movie are hilarious. Here they have once again collected an extremely talented cast (Dave Franco, Justin Theroux, Jackie Chan, Olivia Munn, etc.), although most of them are less well known than in the previous films. I don’t think this one will fare quite as well since Ninjago is not as well known or loved as Batman and that might hurt it. But it should be funny and enjoyable for the family.

October

My Little Pony – 10/6

A dark force threatens Ponyville, and the Mane 6 embark on an unforgettable journey beyond Equestria where they meet new friends and exciting challenges on a quest to use the magic of friendship to save their home.

I have a 12 year-old little girl. I will likely be front and center for this movie. I have to admit, while I’m not quite a bronie (look it up if you don’t know what that is), I do appreciate the humor and message of the show. Friendship is indeed magic. All of the glitter and sparkles of the Trolls movie with a heartwarming message at its core.

Goodbye Christopher Robin – 10/13

Goodbye Christoper Robin gives a rare glimpse into the relationship between beloved children’s author A. A. Milne (Domhnall Gleeson) and his son Christopher Robin (Will Tilston), whose toys inspired the magical world of Winnie the Pooh. Along with his mother Daphne (Margot Robbie), and his nanny Olive (Kelly Macdonald), Christopher Robin and his family are swept up in the international success of the books; the enchanting tales bringing hope and comfort to England after the First World War. But with the eyes of the world on Christopher Robin, what will the cost be to the family? – PG

This one will be a nice film to take the kids to. It sounds delightful as a true story and kind of reminds me of Saving Mr. Banks. I think Domhnall Gleason is a fantastic actor. His work in Ex Machina was inspired. Plus I get to hear Kelly MacDonald’s beautiful Scottish accent as the nanny.

Killing Gunther – 10/20

A group of eccentric assassins are fed up with Gunther, the world’s greatest hitman, and decide to kill him, but their plan turns into a series of bungled encounters as Gunther seems to always be one step ahead. – R

Do yourself a favor and watch the trailer for this! I had not even heard of it. It feels like it has a Taika Waititi vibe, but that could just be the mock-umentary style. It reminds me of What we Do in the Shadows with the dark humor and shaky cam style. I hope that is a good sign. I know next to nothing about Taran Killiam beside the fact that he’s on Saturday Night Live and he’s married to Colbie Smoulders.  Most Saturday Night Live movies are awful, but they tend to take a skit and blow it up into a movie, this looks like a different concept and Schwarzenegger as the greatest hitman Gunther seems inspired. I guess all we can do is wait to see how it is.

November

Wonder – 11/17

Based on the New York Times bestseller, WONDER tells the incredibly inspiring and heartwarming story of August (Augie) Pullman, a boy with facial deformities who enters fifth grade, attending a mainstream elementary school for the first time. – PG

Steven Chbosky is one of my favorite writers. I hope this is a good adaptation. The trailer looks inspiring. This kind of film is so nice to see and I hope it gets good reviews and people go to see it. We all know how cruel kids can be, but will they use their ability to look beyond the physical to connect with this amazing young man. He’s being played by Jacob Tremblay (Room) and I can barely recognize him.

Coco – 11/22

Despite his family’s baffling generations-old ban on music, Miguel (voice of newcomer Anthony Gonzalez) dreams of becoming an accomplished musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz (voice of Benjamin Bratt). Desperate to prove his talent, Miguel finds himself in the stunning and colorful Land of the Dead following a mysterious chain of events. Along the way, he meets charming trickster Hector (voice of Gael García Bernal), and together, they set off on an extraordinary journey to unlock the real story behind Miguel’s family history. – PG

I’m excited that Pixar is jumping into a film like this that feels much more provincial than their most culturally specific film to date, Brave. I hope it pays off for them and that people come out in droves to see this. It reminds me a little bit of Book of Life and Kubo and the Two Strings. It should be a great film for the whole family.

December

Disaster Artist – 12/1

A behind the scenes look at the making of the best bad movie of all time. Based on the book of the same title by Greg Sestero and Tom Bissell. Starring James Franco as Tommy Wiseau who wrote, produced, directed, and starred in 2003’s The Room.

I’m a big nerd about film making as well as movies in general. If you’ve never seen the trainwreck that is Tommy Wiseau’s The Room, do yourself a favor and watch it… for science. It is awful! How it could have possibly been made is beyond me. Why didn’t someone tell this man that he had no business making a movie? There has to be a story here, and there is. This won’t be for everyone and many will hate it because by the trailers it seems like James Franco’s Wiseau is spot on.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle – 12/20

Four teenagers discover an old video game console and are literally drawn into the game’s jungle setting becoming the adult avatars they choose. – PG-13

For a remake / re-imagining it looks like they are doing things right. I loved the gender and role reversals we got in the trailer. it looks like it is going to be funny. I still don’t think that we need a new Jumanji, but if we’re going to get one, Dwayne Johnson, Kevin Hart, Jack, Black, and Karen Gillan should be able to provide an awesome one.

Downsizing – 12/22

When scientists discover how to shrink humans to five inches tall as a solution to over-population, Paul (Matt Damon) and his wife Audrey (Kristen Wiig) decide to abandon their stressed lives in order to get small and move to a new downsized community — a choice that triggers life-changing adventures. – R

From the director that brought us Sideways, About Schmidt, and Election (Alexander Payne) comes another dramady starring Matt Damon. We don’t know a ton about the plot, but it sounds like it involves some sci-fi element and probably relates to social commentary about feeling small in this great big world. I personally am excited. What do you think?

Others to Watch:

A Bad Mom’s Christmas coming on November 3rd. The three moms from the original struggle to cope when their respective mothers visit for the holidays.

Daddy’s Home 2 coming on November 10th. Brad and Dusty must deal with their intrusive fathers during the holidays. The first one was over the top, but funny. This one looks like it could be hilarious with John Lithgow joining the cast as Will Ferrell’s dad and Mel Gibson showing up for the holidays as Mark Whalberg’s father.

Ferdinand coming on December 15th. Animated and based on the classic children’s book by Munro Leaf. After Ferdinand, a bull with a big heart, is mistaken for a dangerous beast, he is captured and torn from his home. Determined to return to his family, he rallies a misfit team on the ultimate adventure.

Pitch Perfect 3 coming on December 22nd. Following their win at the world championship, the now separated Bellas reunite for one last singing competition at an overseas USO tour, but face a group who uses both instruments and voices. Clearly, this is a bold faced attempt at an Oscar from Anna Kendrick… not. I love her as an actress, but this is one franchise I never got into. Acapella music is cool and everything, I think I even downloaded Cups, but it’s just not my cup of tea.

So which of these light-hearted films are you looking most forward to? Please leave me a comment in the section below or on social media! If you want to read the rest of my Fall preview, you can find the other sections here: Action/AdventureHorror/Thriller, Drama Sept-Oct, and Drama Nov-Dec.

Fall 2017 Movie Preview: Horror/Thriller

You’ve most likely already seen the decorations, costumes and candy littering the shelves of stores. While we are still weeks away from October, much less the end of October, Halloween is already right in our faces. Why? Because the overhead for these items is low and the profit margins are high. Not to mention that consumers buy it up by the truck load. The opportunity to pretend to be a celebrity, superhero, or ghoul is just too good to pass up and the lure of free candy keeps kids of all ages excited about the holiday.

In the same way, Horror films are usually pretty inexpensive and quick to make and there is always a desire for them. Whether you are an adrenaline junkie out with your friends to see who flinches last at all of the jump scares and blood-curdling screams or if you are a teenager looking for a dark room and a place to sneak your arm around that special someone as they hide themselves from the perceived danger.

I’m not a huge Horror fan, but I do appreciate the art of a good scare and the psychology that goes into it. When we find those films that defy the traditional plot devices and tropes to keep the audience riveted then I am fully on board. So what delicious horrors are in store in our coming attractions? We actually have a Friday the 13th during October this year so expect that to be the epicenter for horror flicks this fall.

September

IT – 9/8

When young children in the little town Derry of Maine starts to begin to be found dead a group of seven kids find out that the killer is not a man. The killer is the evil clown Pennywise who is actually a creature that can shapeshift into the thing you are most afraid of. The kids also known as the Losers Club decide to fight and kill It. But how can you fight something who knows all your biggest fears?

I hear that it is good to face your fears head on. That’s great. I have been stuck with this irrational fear of clowns ever since I read Stephen King’s IT back when I was 10-11 years old. At some point, I dug up a copy of the 1990 TV miniseries and I’ve never looked at Tim Curry the same way again. This one looks like it is going to be much more true to the source material and people that I trust have said that it is terrifying in all the right ways. So, lets band together my Loser’s Club and we’ll get rid of our coulrophobia once and for all.

Mother! – 9/15

A couple’s relationship is tested when uninvited guests arrive at their home, disrupting their tranquil existence.

Man it’s fun to just say the name of this film with that exclamation point, but we haven’t been given much to go on with this one and I for one am totally fine with that. The trailer is frenetic and creepy and with a cast featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, and Michelle Pfeiffer I have no doubt that the performances will be superb. Jennifer Lawrence said that she hyperventilated and dislocated a rib during filming so it’s going to be a wild ride. If you weren’t aware, this is coming from Darren Aronofsky, the same guy that gave us Black Swan and Requiem for a Dream. He is an amazing director and I’m ready to see what this is all about.

Flatliners – 9/29

Five medical students, obsessed by the mystery of what lies beyond the confines of life, embark on a daring and dangerous experiment: by stopping their hearts for short periods of time, each triggers a near-death experience – giving them a firsthand account of the afterlife. But as their experiments become increasingly dangerous, they are each haunted by the sins of their pasts, brought on by the paranormal consequences of trespassing to the other side.

I know what you’re thinking, “Another remake of a 90’s Horror property?” Yep, but don’t count this one out yet. That first movie with Kevin Bacon, Keifer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Oliver Platt, and Billy Baldwin is surprisingly good and I think this one has a chance as well. Ellen Page leads this cast with Diego Luna and Nina Dobrev, even Keifer Sutherland comes back for the fun. Hopefully the nostalgia gets people into the theaters and the story will take them the rest of the way. If it doesn’t, then maybe there are just some lines we’re not meant to cross.

October

Happy Death Day – 10/13

A college student (Jessica Rothe) relives the day of her murder with both its unexceptional details and terrifying end until she discovers her killer’s identity.

Imagine Groundhog Day with every day ending in your murder. It’s an interesting twist on this familiar plot device. It will be interesting to see it utilized for terrifying effects. There is no big name attached so it could either be a surprising hit or a big flop. I hope it’s good. The trailer looks solid.

The Snowman – 10/20

When an elite crime squad’s lead detective (Michael Fassbender) investigates the disappearance of a victim on the first snow of winter, he fears an elusive serial killer may be active again. With the help of a brilliant recruit (Rebecca Ferguson), the cop must connect decades-old cold cases to the brutal new one if he hopes to outwit this unthinkable evil before the next snowfall.

Based on the international best selling novel of the same name from Norwegian author Jo Nesbo, Michael Fassbender plays Harry Hole (what a horrible name for a character). I don’t know if they have struck the right tone in the trailer. It almost looks like a dark comedy with the childish drawings of snowmen. It has to be better than the only other snowman based horror film I can think of: Jack Frost. It’s rare to see the Fassbender in anything awful (except Assassin’s Creed).

November

The Killing of a Sacred Deer – 11/3

Steven, a charismatic surgeon, is forced to make an unthinkable sacrifice after his life starts to fall apart, when the behavior of a teenage boy he has taken under his wing turns sinister.

Yorgos Lanthimos is an enigmatic director who doesn’t like clean common sense plots. You might have heard of a couple of his previous films, Dogtooth and The Lobster. They are both very dark, very strange and full of a twisted masochistic humor. Lanthimos reunites with Colin Farrell who starred in The Lobster and adds Nicole Kidman and Alicia Silverstone as well as a crop of young actors with few roles under their belts. It appears to be his most accessible film to date. That doesn’t mean that he is adopting a standard narrative style. That’s not what this Greek director does. This will be a crippling psychological thriller that will not give us any clear answers and will stick with us for days.

December

Polaroid – 12/1

High school loner Bird Fitcher has no idea what dark secrets are tied to the mysterious Polaroid vintage camera she stumbles upon, but it doesn’t take long to discover that those who have their picture taken meet a tragic end.

This doesn’t look very impressive to me, but it is the only horror movie coming in the traditionally quiet month of December. It looks like a knock off of the Ring and Final Destination films.  With no a list star to get people into the theater and such competition from other films this one probably won’t do anything, but even if it only makes 20 million it will still be profitable and we might even see a sequel in coming years. That is the way horror franchises get started.

Others to Watch:

Friend Request coming on September 22nd. When a college student unfriends a mysterious girl online, she finds herself fighting a demonic presence that wants to make her lonely by killing her closest friends.

Til Death Do Us Part coming on September 29th. Michael and Madison Roland had planned to spend the rest of their lives together, until one day Michael’s controlling ways turned their perfect marriage. With the help of her best friend, Madison decides to get away. After adopting a new identity, she meets Alex Stone (Taye Diggs) and learns to love again. All is well, until Michael discovers Madison’s whereabouts, and recreates the nightmare she once lived all over again.

Leatherface coming on October 20th. A teenage Leatherface escapes from a mental hospital with three other inmates, kidnapping a young nurse and taking her on a road trip from hell while being pursued by an equally deranged lawman out for revenge. It’s the Leatherface origin story we never knew we needed.

Jigsaw coming on October 27th. Bodies are turning up around the city, each having met a uniquely gruesome demise. As the investigation proceeds, evidence points to one man: John Kramer. But how can this be? The man known as Jigsaw has been dead for over a decade. The week after we get Leatherface’s origin story, we get a deeper dive into the Jigsaw killer from Saw. Two fictional serial killers that we don’t need to see any more.

Are you looking forward to any of these films? Which one would you go to if you were trying to sneak an arm around the girl you liked? Coming up next, we’ll take a look at the Comedy/Family movies coming this fall.

Click here for the other installments of the 2017 Fall Movie Preview: