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

Charmaine Blake

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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.

PERSONAL SHOPPER (March 10)

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.

THE LOST CITY OF Z (April 14)

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.

A GHOST STORY (July 7)

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.

COLUMBUS (Aug. 4)

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 VILLAINESS (Aug. 25)

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.

BRAWL IN CELL BLOCK 99 (Oct. 6)

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.

Read more: https://www.thedailybeast.com/the-7-most-overlooked-movies-of-2017-ghosts-architecture-and-ass-kicking-galore

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Brad Pitt’s Sci-Fi Epic ‘Ad Astra’ Gets Bumped to May 2019

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“Quentin Tarantino’s “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” is the upcoming Brad Pitt release everyone can’t stop talking about right now, but the actor has another project set to open before “Hollywood” that ought to be on everyone’s radar. At least, that is if it actually opens in 2019 at all. Pitt is the lead in James Gray’s science-fiction epic “Ad Astra,” and the director recently cast doubt on meeting the film’s deadline while speaking with The Film Stage.

“It’s exciting, but it’s far from finished,” Gray said when asked for “Ad Astra” updates. “I’m here [at the Marrakech Film Festival], a little bit on vacation. I’m really tired because the previous movie [“The Lost City of Z”] was physically very difficult. It was both Europe and the jungle and this one I thought would be easier. Not easier like an easy movie to make but, like, physically easier and it was not. So I needed to come here. I have to go home. I have over 600 shots to review.”

“Ad Astra” stars Pitt as an Army Corps engineer who decides to go on an ambitious space mission to find out what happened to his father, an astronaut who never returned from a one-way mission to Neptune looking for signs of extra-terrestrial intelligence. The supporting cast includes Tommy Lee Jones, Ruth Negga, Donald Sutherland, and Jamie Kennedy.

20th Century Fox is behind “Ad Astra” and had originally set a January 11, 2019 opening date. The date had some thinking……………………………………..”

Read More Here: https://www.indiewire.com/2018/12/brad-pitt-ad-astra-release-2019-far-from-finished-1202026702/

 

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Robert De Niro Says ‘The Irishman’ Set for the Big Screen

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“The Irishman is set for the big screen next year when it is released by Netflix, star Robert De Niro said Sunday while speaking at the Marrakech Film Festival.

The pic is the actor’s latest collaboration with Goodfellas director Martin Scorsese, which also stars Al Pacino, Joe Pesci and Harvey Keitel, and is set in the crime world.

“We’ve talked about it with Netflix. They are going to do a presentation of our film the way it should be, in a theater, in certain venues, the best theatrical venues there can be,” De Niro said, hinting that there have been ongoing discussions with the streaming platform surrounding the release.

“How they resolve it is, in the beginning, they will show it on the big screen — we’re talking about big venues where it would play, where it should play — and what happens after that, I’m not sure,” he said, guessing that it would be released online at a later date.

It marks the second big film Netflix will release, following in the footsteps of Alfonso Curaon’s Oscar contender Roma in a limited theatrical run for awards season. Netflix has also taken on Guillermo del Toro’s dark Pinocchio, which is another potential awards contender and the next project after his Oscar wins for The Shape of Water…………………………………………..”

Read More Here: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/marrakech-robert-de-niro-says-irishman-set-big-screen-1165651

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Golden Globe nominations to kick off Hollywood’s award season

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(CNN)
“Nominations for the Hollywood Foreign Press Association’s annual ceremony, which honors achievement in film and television, were announced Thursday. Big film hits “Black Panther,” “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star Is Born” will compete for best drama against the critically acclaimed “BlacKkKlansman” and “If Beale Street Could Talk,” directed by Spike Lee and Barry Jenkins, respectively, who directed the Oscar-winning “Moonlight.”

Below is the full list of nominees.

Movies
Best Motion Picture – Drama
“Black Panther”
“BlackKklansman”
“Bohemian Rhapsody”
“If Beale Street Could Talk”
“A Star Is Born”
Best Motion Picture – Musical or Comedy
“Crazy Rich Asians”
“The Favourite”
“Green Book”
“Mary Poppins Returns”
“Vice”
Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama
Glenn Close (“The Wife”)
Lady Gaga (“A Star Is Born”)
Nicole Kidman (“Destroyer”)
Melissa McCarthy (“Can You Ever Forgive Me?”)
Rosamund Pike (“A Private War”)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture – Drama
Bradley Cooper (“A Star Is Born”)
Willem Dafoe (“At Eternity’s Gate”)
Lucas Hedges (“Boy Erased”)
Rami Malek (“Bohemian Rhapsody”)
John David Washington (“BlackKklansman”)………………………………………………”

See the rest of the nominations here: https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/06/entertainment/golden-globe-nominations/index.html

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