The year in review for films

The Good

Logan. Exceptional performance by Hugh Jackman as the previously invulnerable mutant known as “The Wolverine”. He is dying and takes the audience along with him to death’s door. Expect Jackman to receive an Oscar nomination for Best Actor.

Victoria and Abdul. A bio pic of the book of the same name—focusing on the true story relationship between the aging British Queen (Dame Judi Dench) and the unlikely friendship that blossoms with her handsome Indian servant Abdul Karim (Ali Fazal). A gentle and altogether wonderful movie about the power of kindness that spans generations.

Brawl in Cell Block 99. Clearly overlooked by audiences but hopefully not by the Academy Award committee as Vince Vaughn plays a “former boxer-turned-drug runner who lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.” A solid performance by Vaughn, previously known for his goofy comedic roles.

Beauty and the Beast. This elegant live action motion picture takes is rightful place next to the animated Disney classic. A thoroughly delightful love story.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Luke Skywalker fades away, the Rebellion gets its butt kicked but still fights on in the continuing saga of good (eventually) triumphing over evil.

Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol 2. Rarely does a sequel surpass the original—this time the Guardians are challenged by the living planet known as EGO—in truth the father of Chris Pratt’s Star Lord. Exceptionally well written script, tightly focused on a fragmented intergalactic family drama.

Dunkirk. Kudos to writer/director Christopher Nolan who weaves an intricate tale of World War II and the 300,000 hopelessly stranded British and
Allied soldiers on the beaches of Dunkirk, France.

The so-so

Wonder Woman. A solid outing by Gal Godot as the legendary Amazon Warrior princess who leaves her island paradise and invades “man’s world” in the heart of World War I. Best scene of the year – Wonder Woman crosses over into “no man’s land” and charges into a phalanx of machine gun fire. Hollywood at its best!

Gal Gadot in Wonder Woman

6 Days. A roller coaster retelling of the Iranian Embassy in Princes Gate, London being overrun by terrorists.

Kong: Skull Island. You can forget about all previous film iterations of the big hairy ape as this Kong, still in his infancy, rules the roost. I’m just waiting for 2020 when Kong faces off against Godzilla.

Baby Driver. Just look at that face! It’s more than what a mother can love as Ansel Elgort literally steals the heart of every female movie watcher. Handsome and innocent as the day is long, this “Baby Driver” runs away with the film—at least until the sequel shows up in a few years. Watch for up and coming, Mexican-born, Eiza González—drop dead gorgeous and hot as a pistol!

The Foreigner. We should all look so good and move this fast as Jackie Chan does in his mid-60. When his daughter is murdered by an Irish mob, this “foreigner” is unrelenting until he gets his revenge.

Ghost in the Shell. A hair’s breath away from making the “stinky” list except for the sheer beauty of Scarlett Johansson and journey into a dystopian
future we pray never comes about.

In this image released by Paramount Pictures, Scarlett Johansson appears in a scene from, “Ghost in the Shell.” (Paramount Pictures and DreamWorks Pictures via AP)

The Stinky

The Mummy. Tom Cruise as a zombie? Are you joking? This silly and stupid remake of the 1932 classic died on the way to the theater. So much for Universal Studios’ “Dark Universe.” Dead on arrival!

Geostorm. The stupidest film of 2017 … with the worse special effects ever brought to the screen and a senseless premise that mortals—you and I—can
actually control the weather? HAHAHAHA.

xXx: The Return of Xander Cage. Oh … he actually left and is now coming back? No one seemed to care at the box office about this thug (Vin Diesel) who pretty much rapes ever woman he meets. What pig! Mr. Cage is certainly not welcome into our home—Casa Ruffolo Uno—next Christmas Eve!

Justice League. How can an action film with Superman, Batman and Wonder Woman NOT be successful? Just put it in the hands of directors Zach Snyder and Joss Whedon and they will find a way to screw it up. A lousy script and terrible CGI of Superman top the list of this worldwide, multi-million peso money loser for Warner Bros.

The Emoji Movie. The esteemed Sir Patrick Stewart (from Star Trek and Macbeth fame) is a pile of animated poop. Ah … sure.

Underworld: Blood Wars. Kate Beckinsale apparently knows no other role—or no director wants her around—as she returns yet AGAIN as the ageless vampire bloodsucker who sucks the bone marrow out of every movie goer. Sharpen your wooden stakes and break out the silver crosses!

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword. Thought I was going to forget about this one? NEVER! Is it possible to make a boring movie about the valiant King Arthur? Just have Guy Ritchie direct and Charlie
Hunnam (who dat?) star!

Baywatch. Even The Rock (Dwayne Johnson) can make a crappy movie … one that is only fitting for pubescent teenagers. This film version of the hit TV show has more slow motion sequences than a Matrix movie.

Flatliners. Why didn’t this movie die alongside “The Mummy” I will never know. Be sure the next time you’re scheduled for surgery that your doctor did not attend this medical school or you’re in BIG trouble.

The Great Wall. Having lived in China for 10 years, I was personally insulted by this “Made in China” steaming hot dung pile of horse pudding. Shame on the sleepwalking American actors, William Defoe and Matt Damon, who only showed up to grab their fat paychecks and run for the exit.

Questions, comments or travel suggestions, write me at [email protected]

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