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The 7 Most Overlooked Movies of 2017: Ghosts, Architecture, and Ass-Kicking Galore

Charmaine Blake



Last year, 718 feature films were released in U.S. theatersor about 14 a week. And, as much as we all enjoy a two-hour respite from the attention-grabbing antics of our commander-in-chief, a man the USA Today editorial board recently branded unfit to clean toilets in Obamas presidential library, even the most vigilant of moviegoer couldnt possibly catch em all.

Among the many gems that fell through the cracks last year was A Bigger Splash, a sexy, sun-soaked tale of jealousy and deceit by Italian filmmaker Luca Guadagnino, helmer of the buzzy Call Me by Your Name; newcomer Anna Rose Holmers visually entrancing coming-of-age saga The Fits; and Green Room, a punks vs. Nazis grindhouse thriller by Jeremy Saulnier.

And, buried between towering blockbusters like Star Wars: The Last Jedi and our annual Marvel-superhero rations were some truly outstandingand criminally overlookedfilms this year, too.


People forget that, before those terribly popular emo-vampire films, Kristen Stewart was a character actress par excellence; a performer whose aching vulnerability, paired with a mlange of striking close-ups, stirs the soul. Her creative partnership with French auteur Olivier Assayas, which began with the 2014 film Clouds of Sils Maria, continues with Stewart portraying a damaged young woman who, when shes not acquiring high-end dresses and jewelry for her celebrity-boss, is attempting to contact her recently deceased brother in the spirit world. And Stewart, all raw nerves and twitchiness, proves the perfect vessel for Assayas paranoid journey.


I suspect that, if this film had landed its intended star Brad Pitt, youd be seeing it on a lot more top ten lists. It tells the story of Percy Fawcett, a British explorer who becomes fixated on finding an ancient lost city deep in the Amazon. Though Charlie Hunnam is a bit of a blank as Fawcett, Robert Pattinson, behind a bushy beard, completely disappears into the role of his right-hand man, and Sienna Miller turns in one of the best performances of the year as Fawcetts tormented, endlessly devoted wife. Also, nobody not named Michael Haneke composes a final shot better than James Gray (Two Lovers, The Immigrant), and he doesnt disappoint here. It will leave you breathless.

OKJA (June 28)

Theres a lot going on. A young Korean farm girl who travels to Seoul in search of her beloved genetically-engineered super pig. A goofy corporate CEO, played by Tilda Swinton, who hopes to profit from the cutting-edge creature. Paul Dano as the leader of a militant band of animal-rights activists hell-bent on exposing the food corporation. Jake Gyllenhaals batshit-crazy TV zoologist, who is in way over his head. And at the helm of it all is Bong Joon-ho, the acclaimed South Korean filmmaker behind Snowpiercer, whos crafted a playfully mischievous fantasy-epic bursting with imagination.


Lets first address the elephant in the room: Casey Affleck stars in this film. Some will find that a problem. He plays a man who, after perishing in a car accident, awakens in the morgue as a ghost with a sheet over his head and proceeds to haunt first his grieving wife (Rooney Mara), and then the succeeding residents of his Texas home. What sounds silly on paperan Oscar winner under a sheet, framed by a 1.33:1 aspect ratio, in search of closure before passing onproves to be a bold, poetic meditation on love, loss, and mankinds pursuit of serenity. And Rooney Mara is dynamite. Youll never look at a chocolate cream pie the same way again.


If there were any justice in Hollywood, this stunningly rendered film would be up for a slew of Academy Awards. Marking the feature directorial debut of video essayist Kogonada, it stands as a monument to the architectural beauty of the Midwest, as two lost soulsa morose forty-something (John Cho) whose architect-father is in a coma, and a whip-smart 19-year-old (Haley Lu Richardson) putting her life on hold to care for her recovering-addict mothernavigate the Saarinen-designed structures of Columbus, Indiana, as well as their pasts. It never hits a false note thanks largely to Richardson, whose performance is nothing short of profound. A star is born.


The plot to this South Korean action flick is more convoluted than the first Mission: Impossible film. There are double- and- triple crosses, sleeper agents, and a female assassin-protagonist who gets plastic surgery to completely alter her appearance. But holy shit, the action sequences in this movie put even The Raid to shame. Theres a highway chase on motorbikes, with our aforementioned hero dodging a flurry of samurai swords while weaving between lanes, that is so jaw-dropping youll want to race home to Google how they did it. Filmmaker Jung Byung-gil has immediately catapulted himself to the top of the action-movie food chain, and star Kim Ok-bin is, without question, the most badass action-hero on film this year.


Nearly twenty years after his finest film performance in Clay Pigeons, Vince Vaughn has returned with his second-best: as a tattooed ex-boxer who, after falling in deep with mob, must fight his way through the prison system in order to kill a man housed in a hellish maximum-security facility, thereby freeing his kidnapped pregnant wife (Jennifer Carpenter) on the outside. The film is skull-crushingly violent, and yet, Vaughn proves to be both physically imposing and incredibly charming, breaking bones and mangling faces with a wink and a smile. And the man at the helm, filmmaker S. Craig Zahler (Bone Tomahawk), is like a cross between Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez: he knows how to keep you firmly on the edge of your seat.

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‘Fortnite’ composer Pinar Toprak will score ‘Captain Marvel’



Image: Brian To/FilmMagic

“Turkish-American composer Pinar Toprak has been hired to compose the score for Captain Marvel, which will premiere in March of next year.

Even if you’re not a film score buff, there’s a good chance you’re already familiar with Toprak’s work. In addition to writing additional music for Justice League in 2017, she is responsible for some of the incredibly catchy music from Fortnite. Yes, the stuff that is stuck in your head all the time…….”

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‘Incredibles 2’ breaks box office records with a whopping $180 million



Image: disney pixar

“For every unmitigated disaster like Solo, there are multiple other box office hits for Disney. Incredibles 2 is the latest.

The 14-years-later sequel is on a pace to finish off its opening weekend with a $180 million box office haul in the United States. That’s the highest opening to date for any animated release, and for any PG-rated release as well. It’s also the eighth-largest domestic opening weekend ever, overall.

Incredibles 2 soars past another Pixar sequel, Finding Dory, the previous top animated opener. The Finding Nemo sequel launched in 2016 on the same June weekend as Incredibles 2, but it only (only!) managed to pull in $135.1 million in its first three days.

The new $180 million bar will be a tough one for future competitors to beat, though even that record is bound to eventually fall. Inflation and rising ticket prices all but ensure it.

Disney currently has three recent releases in the weekend box office top 10. Solo: A Star Wars Story comes in at #4 on this weekend’s chart, with an estimated $9.1 million. That brings its domestic total up to $192.8 million.

Solo will probably cross $200 million domestic in the next week or two, but it’s currently the lowest-earning live action Star Wars movie to date. There’s even some question at this point as to whether or not it will manage to beat The Empire Strikes Back. Not accounting for inflation, that second-ever Star Wars movie ended its box office run in 1980 with $209.4 million.

Disney’s lowest entrant on this weekend’s box office top 10 is Avengers: Infinity War, at #8. The April 2018 release is still kicking in its eight week after hitting theaters. It picked up an estimated $5.3 million this weekend…..”

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Apple and Oprah sign a multi-year partnership on original content



Apple announced today a multi-year content partnership with Oprah Winfrey to produce programs for the tech company’s upcoming video-streaming service. Apple didn’t provide any specific details as to what sort of projects Winfrey would be involved in, but there will be more than one it seems.

Apple shared the news of its deal with Winfrey in a brief statement on its website, which read:

Apple today announced a unique, multi-year content partnership with Oprah Winfrey, the esteemed producer, actress, talk show host, philanthropist and CEO of OWN.

Together, Winfrey and Apple will create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world.

Winfrey’s projects will be released as part of a lineup of original content from Apple.

The deal is a significant high-profile win for Apple, which has been busy filing out its lineup with an array of talent in recent months.

The streaming service also will include a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Storiesa Reese Witherspoon- and Jennifer Aniston-starring series set in the world of morning TVan adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books, a thriller starring Octavia Spencer, a Kristen Wiig-led comedy, a Kevin Durant-inspired scripted basketball show, a series from “La La Land’s” director and several other shows.

Winfrey, however, is not just another showrunner or producer. She’s a media giant who has worked across film, network and cable TV, print and more as an actress, talk show host, creator and producer.

She’s also a notable philanthropist, having contributed more than $100 million to provide education to academically gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, and is continually discussed as a potential presidential candidate, though she said that’s not for her.

On television, Winfrey’s Harpo Productions developed daytime TV shows like “Dr. Phil,” “The Dr. Oz Show” and “Rachael Ray.” Harpo Films produced several Academy Award-winning movies, including “Selma,” which featured Winfrey in a starring role. She’s also acted in a variety of productions over the years, like “The Color Purple,” which scored her an Oscar nom, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” and Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time.”

Winfrey also founded the cable network OWN in 2011 in partnership with Discovery Communications, and has exec produced series including “Queen Sugar,” “Oprah’s Master Class” and the Emmy-winning “Super Soul Sunday.”

The latter has a connection with Apple as it debuted as a podcast called “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations” and became a No. 1 program on Apple Podcasts.

Winfrey recently extended her contract with OWN through 2025, so it’s unclear how much time she’ll devote specifically toward her Apple projects.

Apple also didn’t say if Winfrey will star or guest in any of the programs themselves, but that’s always an option on the table with a deal like this. CNN, however, is reporting that Winfrey “is expected to have an on-screen role as a host and interviewer.”

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