It (2017)

Andrés Muschietti’s “It” has proven in a year of really bad Stephen King adaptations, that it is very possible to put one of King’s most popular novels on screen and remind us once again why King is King. Muschietti, like Tommy Lee Wallace before him, has the daunting task of compressing an eleven hundred page novel in to what will end up being a five hour epic. Yet, “It” manages to come out mostly unscathed as a film that is both a spooky horror film and a stellar coming of age drama. Much like “Mama,” Muschietti’s work on “It” ends in a film that can be appreciated as a human drama and a pure horror movie packed with heart, scares, insight in to growing up in an unforgiving, cruel world.

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Bad Genius (Chalard Games Goeng) (2017) [Fantasia International Film Festival 2017]

A straight A+ student, Lynn sells the right to cheat of off her for money which her family desperately needs so she can maintain going to private school where she has a better chance at a better education. As the stakes go up, she gets involved in a plan to cheat on an international university entry classification test. From there on, things become stressful and nerve-wracking for her group of friends and herself.

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Baby Driver (2017)

Edgar Wright has proven himself to be one of the most unique and creative living directors today and the man has only honed his craft to deliver a great spin on a classic crime tale about love, and redemption. “Baby Driver” is a remarkable turn for Wright who creates a pulp masterpiece. “Baby Driver” is a powerful and emotional tale about a truly engaging protagonist who is sinking in to a world of violence and murder, and has no idea how to get out. We’ve seen movies about getaway drivers before, but “Baby Driver” works to the benefit of Wright’s strengths including dynamic characters, sharp humor, and amazing editing.

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You Get Me (2017)

Netflix’s newest original film is a derivative and silly “Fatal Attraction” wannabe that wouldn’t even pass muster in a discount movie theater. “You Get Me” feels shockingly dated, almost like something released in 2001, and barely skids by as background noise. Its narrative is achingly paper thin to the point where the movie submits itself to endless montages filled with silly club and dance music. Even the finale is botched with a ridiculous ode to “Sunset Boulevard.” Director Brent Bonacorso struggles very hard to deliver a modern day digital version of “Fatal Attraction” when it barely registers as a “Swimfan” clone.

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Pickup (2016)

Jeremiah Kipp and Jessica Blank’s “Pickup” is the incredibly uncomfortable portrait of an uneasy relationship where a woman is stuck in a perpetual cycle of self-destruction that promises to become very dangerous, if she isn’t careful. Director Kipp is very wise to lead us in to a final scene that is very ambiguous and leaves the audience wondering what will happen next, and I appreciated that. “Pickup” involves a horrendous situation where once it explodes, everyone will feel the pain. And it likely involves two people that know the explosion is coming and both of them are doing everything in their power to prevent it before they have no choice but to face it.

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