Watching “The Snowman” is like reading a second hand copy of a novel that’s had its pages ripped out five at a time by the previous owner. Once upon a time there was a coherent story here, and now there are just chunks of one. “The Snowman” is an incomplete botched piece of garbage, it’s the sign of a studio that just didn’t give a crap and a crew that had no choice but to work with what they were given. Tomas Alfredson can’t save what is an inexplicably difficult to follow and watch film that scatters pieces of a puzzle that are woefully incomplete and mixed up.
While I wouldn’t call it a action movie masterpiece, “S.W.A.T.” is a decent iteration of the television series that broadens its appeal for a younger audience. While I would have loved a movie that was darker and grittier, the movie works as a comic book kind of movie about the S.W.A.T. unit that look kind of like law enforcing Avengers. The 2003 action crime thriller flaunts every would-be super star and up and coming superstar, taking the S.W.A.T. team and turning it on its head when corruption reaches even its ranks.
With Teen Titans getting their own live action television series, and their spin off about to grant them their own movie, inexplicably, Warner finally unleashes season one of the good version of “Teen Titans” on Blu-Ray for fans. It’s a good way to honor the legacy of a great series, but I take it as a great reminder of a time when “Teen Titans” was a very good animated series that wasn’t exclusive to children. “Teen Titans” is a pseudo-anime iteration of the classic comic book series that is bold enough to set itself apart from the usual Bruce Timm animated style.
Based on Mary Stewart’s classic children’s book “The Little Broomstick,” we meet frizzy haired Mary, a young girl sent to live with her great aunt Charlotte by her parents as they prepare to move. Overcome by boredom, she ventures out in to the wilderness and follows a mysterious black cat in to the nearby forest. There she finds an old broomstick embedded in an old tree, as well as a mysterious glowing flower called the “Fly-by-Night.” The influences of Studio Ghibli are all over the place in Hiromasa Yonebayashi’s animated adventure “Mary and the Witch’s Flower.” From “Whisper of the Heart,” “Spirited Away,” and “Kiki’s Delivery Service,” there are so many nods and winks to the aforementioned properties that it becomes kind of a treat to see it all unfold.
Chalk it up to rock bottom expectations, but “It” blew me away when it arrived in theaters mainly because it exceeded my expectations and proved to be a stellar film all around. Andres Muschetti already killed it with his adaptation of his short “Mama,” but he brings his same sensibility in another coming of age tale where pure evil meets innocence. “It” is a masterstroke of a reboot, a movie that pays tribute to the original novel and re-invents every aspect from the ground up for a new audience without dumbing down the material.
2017 had so many good films that just one list or even two were not enough. This list is all about fun. Movies that are fun to watch and have something to offer that may not be the top top best of the year but damn close. These are films you want to watch with friends, even one for the kids. Watch these at home in PJs or with a drink (hot cocoa is the drink of choice for one of those films of course).
Having seen mostly independent films and foreign releases, making a top 10 of mainstream, theatrically released films is practically impossible. However, some of these films deserve to be recognized and seen. Here are my 5 favorites of the mainstream American films I’ve seen this year.
2017 was a great year for movies, especially if you were a horror buff. While the media downplayed it immensely, horror movies kicked major ass in theaters and streaming services, and a few of the highest grossing an most acclaimed films were horror, including a new adaptation of a Stephen King novel, which broke all records. While America wondered if there would be nuclear war tomorrow, Hollywood kept us entertained and laughing, with great superhero cinema, and of course some cathartic genre films of the horror, fantasy, and science fiction variety.
Without further ado: my top 10 of 2017.