Thursday, November 2, 2017

Riske Business: Random Thoughts on 2017 Movies (November-December)

by Adam Riske and Alejandra Gonzalez
F-Heads, which ones will you put pants on to go outside and see?

Thor: Ragnarok

Adam: If this series didn’t do what it’s doing (i.e. hire a great, fun director like Taika Waititi, cast additions like Jeff Goldblum, Cate Blanchett, Tessa Thompson, a Big Trouble in Little China vibe), I would not care about seeing the third entry in the Thor series. I didn’t think the first two entries were anything better than average. But this looks like a total reinvention (albeit owing a lot to Guardians of the Galaxy) and I love GOTG so I’m excited to see what Thor: Ragnarok has to offer.

Alejandra: You are so right about how GOTG this feels like it's going to be, which is a great thing because those movies mean so much to me. It really seems to be taking a different direction than the first two installations, and since I wasn't super fond of those this is good news to me. Also, Jeff Goldblum is reason enough for me to watch anything. I'd watch Jeff Goldblum build a shelf from IKEA.

Adam: I would buy you that shelf as a gift.

A Bad Moms Christmas

Alejandra: I'm wondering if this is going to be one of those horrible Christmas comedies that ends up having a really touching moment or lesson in it that endears me to it, like Krampus (which is actually ADORED) or The Night Before (which was awful but made me shed a few tears). Plus, I can identify with the stress of being in charge of the holidays at home so my plan is to take a break from that by going out to watch this.

Adam: I saw and laughed more than I thought I would during the original Bad Moms, but this looks so dopey. I basically have the same thoughts here as I do for Daddy’s Home 2, which we’ll mention later. It’s a Christmas comedy so even if it’s terrible, I’ll still probably going to kind of enjoy it. Bad Christmas movies are one of my secret shames.

Roman J. Israel, Esq.

Adam: I’m a big Denzel guy and it’s from Dan Gilroy, whose last movie was Nightcrawler, so this is right up my alley. The plot and trailer seem interesting, too. I haven’t loved a Denzel movie in a while (I don’t care for his Liam Neeson old man action films), so here’s hoping this is my favorite of his since Flight.

Alejandra: I actually didn't love Nightcrawler as much as I wanted to, so I'm pretty weary about this, but I do love Denzel (duh) and Colin Farrell so I'm in anyway. I'm surprised you didn't like Fences! So many baseball references, so up your alley!

Adam: Oh, yeah Fences. I liked Fences. It’s like they keep people in and they keep people out.

Last Flag Flying

Alejandra: Yup. This cast is impeccable. I love Carell in his more serious roles, as I've mentioned before, so that alone is enough, but the trailer alone made me cry and I love a good tear jerker. I don't usually care much for army/veteran movies, but this looks like it'll represent them realistically and I'm interested.

Adam: I’m in. Good cast (Bryan Cranston, Steve Carell, Laurence Fishburne), good director (Richard Linklater), road movie. The only drawback is this is supposed to be a continuation of events/characters from the movie The Last Detail - which I adore - so I’m worried this will be another The Evening Star. I’m fascinated you cried at the trailer.
Lady Bird

Adam: Ok, I heard this is good and I like Saoirse Ronan, but it’s basically just the life story of writer-director Greta Gerwig, right? I’m not sure I’m ready for that. She can be great sometimes (The House of the Devil, Greenberg, Frances Ha) but insufferable, too. I’m looking at you, Mistress America.

Alejandra: I actually have already fallen in love with this movie based on the trailer alone. It reminds me a lot of myself at the young ripe age of asshole self-entitled kid. The dialogue seems very captivating and (this is a weird thing I notice) the color palette looks pleasant; I'll definitely be watching this.

Adam: Color palette is important, yo. #RipeAgeOfAsshole

Murder on the Orient Express

Alejandra: I literally can't stand Johnny Depp SO much that I won't watch this.

Adam: I understand. Originally, I thought this movie looked so stupid (it wasn’t helped when all those parody trailers dropped last summer) but in recent weeks I’ve done a 180 and now think this looks really fun. I’m not a big fan of the Albert Finney version of Murder on the Orient Express, but that’s not enough to stop me from checking this new take out. Haha, take out.

Daddy’s Home 2

Adam: Full disclosure: I found the first Daddy’s Home to be way funnier than I thought it would be and I’m a sucker for Christmas movies, but this movie’s trailer makes me want to shoot myself. Plus, I can handle Mel Gibson coming back as a piece of shit bad guy, but in a comedy? No. He is terrifying.

Alejandra: It’s like they literally got two of my most despised people in Hollywood and put them in the same movie to disgust me. Had this been released for Scary Movie Month, it would have been effective because Mel Gibson and Mark Wahlberg in the same movie is nothing short of a nightmare. I think I’m sitting this one out.

Adam: Yeah, Mark Wahlberg is a problem, too.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Alejandra: Frances McDormand scares me, but in a good way. It's no secret Almost Famous is one of my favorites and she just plays “scary mom” so well. I honestly hadn't even heard of this until now, but I'm glad because I feel like I'm really going to love it.

Adam: I’m very much looking forward to this one. The cast (Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell and more) is excellent, I hear it’s good and I’m a big fan of Martin McDonagh, whose In Bruges is one of the best movies I’ve seen in the 2000s.

Justice League

Adam: I don’t care about these characters (except Wonder Woman because I liked Wonder Woman) and Justice League looks very ugly, aesthetically speaking, like a visual headache. I need to draw a line in the sand eventually on seeing all the superhero movies and this might be the one I start with unless the reviews are better than the average DCEU entry. I’m not sold that Wonder Woman righted the ship entirely.

Alejandra: I’m actually really looking forward to this, but it may either be my bias or Jason Momoa. I love Snyder, and however blasphemous this may be in Film World, I really enjoyed Batman V. Superman: Dawn of Justice. I think there will be lots of fan service in this, as there often is in these kinds of movies, so I guess I’m in because I’m a fan. I can’t imagine it would be a bad time.
Coco

Alejandra: As a Latina, this movie excites me more than I think I could even explain. While Mexican culture is vastly different than the Cuban one I grew up in, I’m thrilled that I’ll be able to relate to at least some of what’s in this movie. I also think the Hispanic representation is wonderful and I’m excited to see where this goes. It looks absolutely stunning, so I’m definitely in. I can’t even remember the last time I went out of my way to watch a Pixar movie in theaters, but I know I’ll be there for this one. I hope it makes me cry!

Adam: Because of all the sequelization, I’m less excited about a new Pixar than I used to be. It’s cool, though, that Coco is an original property and has an eclectic look to it. I’m also a sucker for movies about other cultures, whether they’re Mexican, Greek, Italian, etc. I really hope this is a Pixar movie I fall in love with like Ratatouille or Toy Story. Even though it’s only been a couple of years, Inside Out feels like a long time ago. That’s the detriment of once being a studio that has released classic after classic; the disappointments become more magnified.

Darkest Hour

Adam: From what I’ve seen and heard, this is the Gary Oldman show and that isn’t enough to get me all that interested. On the other hand, I’ve said the same thing about movies like The Imitation Game in the past and ended up enjoying them, so I’m sure I’ll give this one a look on a slow weekend morning this winter.

Alejandra: Look, I love me some Gary Oldman. Still, I'm very uninterested. It's funny you mention The Imitation Game and how you reacted, because I had the same exact thought. Like, there is very little that makes me want to watch this but I said the same thing about The Imitation Game and it turned out to be one of my favorite movies of that year. I guess I just have to see and find out.

Adam: They should promote that this is better than The Imitation Game because it has better imitations.

Call Me by Your Name

Alejandra: I'm genuinely excited about this. One of the things that annoys me about movies concerning themselves with LGBTQ+ themes is that they often give their characters no purpose but that of being gay. This doesn't feel like that, and it feels like we're getting authentic characters who embark on a personal journey together. I also think it'll make me cry, and as if you couldn't tell by now that's a huge determining factor in whether I'd watch a movie or not.

Adam: It’s Festival/Oscar Bait, but also the front-runner in many discussions on what will be picking up a lot of end-of-year awards so of course I’ll see it. Is this going to be the movie that makes Armie Hammer a bigger deal? I like the guy, but he’s so often miscast in movies.

The Disaster Artist

Adam: Other than The Last Jedi, this is my most anticipated movie for the rest of the year. I cannot wait to see The Disaster Artist. I heard it’s really great for starters, and I’ve definitely had my phase of being obsessed with The Room. I’ve seen it at least a dozen times and have met Tommy Wiseau in person twice, too. He’s super nice, but also totally (unsurprisingly) strange. Also, I’ve never wavered in my James Franco fandom (I’ve seen Annapolis and Flyboys), so I’m glad this looks to be a new high-water mark for him. His Wiseau impression is incredible.

Alejandra: This is one of my most anticipated movies of the year too! I'm so glad it seems to be an exciting one for many people, and I could be wrong but I really don't think it'll disappoint. I also think James Franco is INCREDIBLE at what he does and always delivers regardless of the kind of role so I don't think this will be any different.
The Shape of Water

Alejandra: I AM SO EXCITED FOR THIS THAT I CAN’T FIND MYSELF CAPABLE OF TYPING IN NOT ALL CAPS. GUILLERMO DEL TORO IS ONE OF MY FAVORITE FILMMAKERS OF ALL TIME AND THIS CONCEPT REALLY MAKES ME CURIOUS. I KNOW IT’LL MAKE ME CRY, SO SINCE I’M OBVIOUSLY A MASOCHIST I WOULD RATHER DIE THAN MISS THIS IN THEATERS. Plus, I’m STILL not really sure what direction this will go so I absolutely must find out. I just think Del Toro has never made a movie that has been anything short of absolutely breathtaking. I’m really stoked about this one.

Adam: (Treads lightly) I’m not team Guillermo Del Toro (his movies, not the man - he seems nice), though I like Pan’s Labyrinth and Blade II. Surprisingly, The Shape of Water is his most interesting looking movie to me in a long time. I also really like Sally Hawkins, so I’m excited to see a movie where she is the lead and co-starring opposite the awesome Michael Shannon.

All the Money in the World

Adam: I mean, whatever. Looks like stock slick nonsense from Ridley Scott that will lose tens of millions of dollars and be forgettable. Also...that trailer...why am I supposed to be excited that Kevin Spacey is in a ton of makeup? Is this the year 2000? That doesn’t mean anything anymore. Will someone just give Michelle Williams her Oscar already so she stops torturing herself? She cries in every single movie.

Alejandra: I feel almost nothing about this. Best thing about the trailer was "Time of The Season," but can we be real for a second and make it so that certain songs just stop showing up in movies or their trailers? Also, I truly feel like I would be a little more into this is if Mark Wahlberg wasn't in it. I mean, just think about this exact trailer with literally anyone else in Mark Wahlberg’s place.

Just Getting Started

Alejandra: I feel like some actors reach an age where they just have so much money and experience that the rest of their career is spent working on movies in the Meet The Fockers genre. I love Meet The Fockers, so that's not a knock on it. I just can't imagine anyone paying real money for a full priced ticket to go watch this. Anyone but ME, OF COURSE because I LOVE old man Tommy Lee Jones.

Adam: I’ve weirdly turned the corner in the past year or so and enjoy the “fuck it” aging actors being silly movie. Morgan Freeman is like the Peter Cushing of these. Just Getting Started looks absolutely ridiculous and lazy. I can’t wait to see it after having a 4pm dinner at Old Country Buffet. This movie would have rented hard at Blockbuster. Why is Rene Russo in a retirement community?

I, Tonya

Adam: I’ve not yet liked a movie directed by Craig Gillespie, but I’ve heard this one is really good. Plus Margot Robbie is usually solid and the story (about Tonya Harding and the scandal that followed her) was interesting in the news as it was happening back in the ‘90s. I’d be curious to dig deeper into this bizarre story.

Alejandra: Oh my god, they totally talk about the Tonya Harding incident on I Love the '90s on VH1. It's the only way I even knew what this was about; otherwise, I would have absolutely no clue what to make of this. Either way, how much of a movie can you really make about this? Was it really such a huge scandal that there's enough material?

Adam: Yes.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Alejandra: I’ll get crucified for this, but I’m not really an enormous Star Wars fan. I mean, I enjoy the movies a lot and I know they’re valuable and important as hell. The excitement everyone has about them makes me extremely happy, and I’ll definitely have no choice but to go watch it (Oscar Isaac of course), but it’s not one I’m particularly excited about.

Adam: Yes! I’m in! So excited. Bought my ticket already. I want to hang out with my friends Rey, Finn and Poe again. Most anticipated movie of 2017.

Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle

Adam: This movie is everything that is wrong with Hollywood; another reboot I don’t think anyone wants. I hope it bombs hard and Dwayne Johnson needs to be stopped. He ruined my Fast and the Furious series (more on that in a future Reserved Seating) and the presence of Kevin Hart in this movie tells me everything I need to know in terms of how high they are aiming (not a short joke, he’s just in a lot of shitty movies that don’t try to be anything other than something that makes money on an opening weekend). Best case scenario, this is a Galaxy Quest-style sneaky gem but those are the exception and not the rule with movies like this.

Alejandra: WHAT THE SHIT IS THIS? How are they taking one of my favorite movies ever and making me have to associate it with something that looks this horrible. Are Kevin Hart and The Rock just going to be in every movie together for the rest of eternity? We, as a species, don't deserve this.

Pitch Perfect 3

Alejandra: I’ll leave the excitement to Rob.

Adam: Even though I see everything, I’ve managed not to watch the first two Pitch Perfect installments. Unless Rob wants to do a review on this, I’ll probably skip it.

Downsizing

Adam: Much like another director I’ll mention later in this article, I like some Alexander Payne films (Election and Sideways being my favorites), but not all of them. I heard Downsizing may be his least successful feature to date and the premise/trailer etc. has been uninteresting to me thus far (it looks like a warmed over Barry Levinson movie from 1992). I’ll probably still see it, but it’s not one I’m eagerly anticipating.

Alejandra: I really went like 30 seconds of this trailer thinking “Goddamn it, Mark Wahlberg AGAIN?” until I realized it was Matt Damon. Also, I see what you mean by Barry Levinson. It's an interesting concept but it's so capable of being uninteresting real fast. Just feels gimmicky.

The Post

Alejandra: I don't really know much about this one besides a killer cast and honestly maybe it's best if I kept it that way. I find that if I watch a trailer that looks a little boring but has a great cast I probably won't watch it and it doesn't feel that fair. I mean how interesting can newspapers be?

Adam: I don’t know much about it other than it’s the new newspaper movie from Steven Spielberg and has a great cast (including Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Alison Brie, Pat Healy, Sarah Paulson, Bradley Whitford, Jesse “How did he land Dunst?” Plemons, Carrie Coon, Bruce Greenwood), which is more than enough for me. Trailer unseen and reviews unread, this is already one of my most anticipated movies for the rest of the year.
The Greatest Showman

Adam: I dunno. If it was anyone other than Hugh Jackman I probably wouldn’t see this, but I really like the guy so I’ll probably go. This has all the earmarks of being this year’s overrated holiday musical that gets a lot of awards nominations (e.g. Dreamgirls, Les Miserables).

Alejandra: This looks corny as hell. I'm all in.

Molly’s Game

Alejandra: I'm not really a huge fan of gambling centric movies like 21 or Rounders or something. It feels unfair to reduce this to that, but it's just boring to me, even if it involves Jessica Chastain.

Adam: I’ve seen the trailer a bunch of times and I think this one looks really interesting, despite the lukewarm festival reviews it received this fall - which means nothing usually (early reviews from fests tend to overpraise average movies, too, so it goes both ways). The cast is great (Jessica Chastain, my bud Kevin Costner) and I’m an Aaron Sorkin fan, so I’m totally in for Molly’s Game.

Phantom Thread

Adam: I’ve been pretty lukewarm on both Paul Thomas Anderson and the retiring (I don’t believe him) Daniel Day-Lewis recently, so I’m not as eagerly anticipating their latest collaboration as much as most people. I’ll still see it, but I’m not expecting to love Phantom Thread. I wish Paul Thomas Anderson went back to his warmer and less chilly movies, but that doesn’t seem to be what interests him anymore. Daniel Day-Lewis can be great but he’s a fussy “look at me” actor imho and that tends to take away from my appreciation of his performances.

Alejandra: Do you remember that IKEA shelf Jeff Goldblum was making earlier? I need a matching one made by Daniel Day Lewis. The man NEVER bores me, but I can't be so sure about this one. I don't care about the subject matter and the trailer didn't change that for me. I, too, probably will watch this but it's not a priority.

What do you all think? Are there any we missed (please don’t say Father Figures) that you can’t wait to see?

20 comments:

  1. Note that I haven't seen Murder on the Orient Express, so I could be wrong here, but possible spoilers ahead.

    Alejandra, Johnny Depp is playing the character that gets killed in the book, so he may not be in it that much. Just something to keep in mind.

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  2. I wish Sony would get off their asses and release Alex Ross Perry's "Golden Exits". It's my most anticipated film of the year but I'm not holding my breath for a 2017 release as it was acquired by them shorty after it premiered at Sundance in January and it's still playing festivals.

    "Imitation Girl", Lauren Ashley Carter's new film is another festival film I'm excited to see but not sure about a 2017 release.

    Joe Lynch's "Mayhem" but I think we get that in a week or so.

    Waiting to see if an indie called "She's Allergic to Cats" gets a release before the year is up.

    Also, looks like "You Were Never Really Here" (from the director of "We Need to Talk About Kevin") got pushed to 2018.

    I'm with you guys, I should be over the moon excited for a new PTA film, but I'm so disinterested in Phantom Thread's subject matter. I hope he proves me wrong (he didn't with "The Master", sorry)

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    1. The Master is so great at times it only makes it more frustrating that it feels like a rough cut.

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  3. PP3 will be the hottest garbage I ever see opening night.

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    1. You're going to be like me when I saw A Fault in Our Stars by myself on opening day in a theater full of teenage girls.

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    2. I was all "She's a fighter and he's delightful. How lucky they are to have found each other."

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  4. The original Jumanji doesn't hold a special place in my heart, I've never liked Kevin Hart, I don't care about Dwayne Johnson one way or the other and I haven't seen a Jack Black movie since Tropic Thunder. And yet I'm kinda excited for Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle, and I don't know why. I guess it just looks like goofy fun. And I do like Karen Gillan.

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    1. Also, The Killing of a Sacred Deer and The Square both come out in Finland this month, and I'm excited to see those. I wanted to see both at Helsinki Film Festival but couldn't fit them in my schedule.

      And another one I'm excited to see is a Finnish movie called Euthanizer (trailer) about a mechanic who moonlights as a pet euthanizer. Looks like it might be a mad 70's exploitation throwback. Matti Onnismaa is one of Finland's best character actors and this is his first movie as a lead.

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    2. I'm right with you on the new Jumanji. It looks dumb, but the kind of dumb thing I could possibly take my kid to and it'll be all she talks about for two weeks.

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  6. If the only movie coming out in these last two months was The Shape of Water I'd be totally fine. I'm so excited for that.

    I still really want to see Justice League though. I know it'll probably be bad, but BvS really grew on me (the extended cut) and Wonder Woman is enough reason to see any movie.

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  7. Alejandra, were you a fan of Pacific Rim? I saw it recently and thought it was okay. I'd heard there were some interesting subversive themes in it but I didn't really catch on (I was on a plane).

    I would watch Lady Bird just for Saoirse Ronan, prettiest girl I've ever seen in movies. When her face is a little rounder I feel so compelled to paint her round cheeks and her mouth. She looks like a painting. Totally makes sense to me they cast her in I, Vincent.

    I can't believe the cast of Murder on the Orient Express. Can they go wrong?

    I'm not a Star Wars person myself. Its cool that most other people are. It seems like a silly thing but I've always found the movies really visually unappealing.

    I went to see Thor Ragnarok a few days ago but we got the date wrong and it wasn't playing. Someone I was with wanted to see Same Difference As Me with Greg Kinnear and Renee Zellweger rather than just leave the theater. It was super racist. I was like how am I watching such a blatantly racist movie in a public theater in 2017? Oh...yeah.

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  8. Put me in the camp of Krampus being a great movie, not merely bad but adored.

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  9. So, thanks to this article I just found out about this new PTA movie, he's easily a top 3 favorite director of mine. He hasn't made a bad film yet, so I'm definitely into whatever he's put together, then you add in the GOAT Day-Lewis...forget about it. (Okay, he's probably not really the GOAT and not my favorite actor either, but you know what I mean) There are too many movies on this list that interest me. This happens every damn year, they cram a lot of interesting stuff in the final two months. I'm sorry but I'm a total mark for 'awards bait' films.

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  10. Please record Goldblum assembling that shelf and post the video on YT at half speed. Guaranteed viral gold.

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  11. It's that time of year again, when half the trailers have a nebulous "Coming Soon" release date at the end, reviews are out months before most of the public has an opportunity to see the movie and there's no clear way to know if and when a limited release movie will expand to your area or if it's just playing on a handful of screens at the end of the year to qualify for the Oscars before expanding early next year. I get that some movies need a marketing push before release, but what movie-goers benefited from reviews of The Shape of Water back at the end of August? Sorry, just had to vent about that a bit, especially after going through the exact same thing with La La Land last year (another movie that I knew I wanted to see, from a director I really liked, that had reviews come out in August despite not being released to the general public until December).

    Anyhow there are a number of things I'm looking forward to on this list but Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is at the top. I've fallen behind on keeping up with new releases now that I'm managing a much smaller theater, but Three Billboards and Shape of Water are the two must-sees for me this year.

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    1. That first paragraph really rang true to me. I can't stand end-of-year platform releasing because every year there's something I would want to have in a top 10 that I don't end up seeing until mid January or February.

      Also, with you on the early fest reviews for studio indies (it's fine if they're super low budget stuff looking for an audience and word of mouth). There's one critic I listen to sometimes who always spoils these movies months before people have the chance to see them. E.G. "This person makes an unforgivable choice" "This guy turns evil by the end" "This person leaves the movie early on"....like WTF???!!! These reviews are mostly just bragging that they've seen the movie. Gripehouse!

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  12. I love the book of Murder on the Orient Express so I might just re-read that and stay in my pyjamas. With Justice League, I think I would be happier if it were just another Wonder Woman movie but I think I will get to it when I can see it in my pjs (streaming somewhere). Coco looks right up my alley so I might leave the house for that one. Call Me by Your Name, I am excited because it is gay. I will see any gay thing I can.
    YAS to Star Wars. I really want to hang out with Rey! Finn and Poe too :) The Post sounds like I should see it and the musical, I will see a musical. Thor sounds fun!

    'F-Heads, which ones will you put pants on to go outside and see?'
    Can I point out how funny this question is to a British person?

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