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Entries in Year in Review (255)

Thursday
Dec282017

Co-Star Chemistry - Please Bottle This!

Year in review / list mania each day. Here's Nathaniel...

This is our third year of highlighting that unpredictable spark between actors that can ignite greatness in a movie (see previously installments for 2015 and 2016 if you're so inclined). We had fun doing it before so we're going to keep on at it. If only we could bottle these formulas but the thing about great chemistry is that it can't ever be fully recreated even if old movies during the studio system teach us that the same pairing can generate similar energies again. Why Hollywood doesn't still try to repackage successful combos remains a missed opportunity both for pop culture impact and in-film loveliness. Just about the only films with recurring co-stars these days are franchises but that's a different kind of luck, since it would happen even if there was no actor-to-actor spark.

Okay here we go...

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Tuesday
Dec262017

Doc Corner: Documentary Hits of 2017

Each day a new year-in-review / recap list of sorts. Here's Glenn Dunks

Nathaniel has already looked at the foreign language hits of the year and a the top-grossers for films by or about women, people of colour, LGBTQ and more. Now it's my turn to chime in with a look at what non-fiction movies were doing at the box office. It ain't exactly pretty - but, then, the figures below don't always paint an accurate picture for the world of documentary.

Much like the rest of the independent and arthouse scenes, festivals and VOD/streaming are becoming the primary way for audiences to see documentaries. Some of the most buzzed and most discussed of the year, for instance, are Strong Island, Icarus, Voyeur and Chasing Coral, which never received a theatrical release beyond minimal Oscar-qualifying runs. Meanwhile, other significant 2017 titles like LA 92, Oklahoma City, Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds aired on TV.

TOP 40 DOCUMENTARIES FOR 2017
Listed by US Box Office Gross only. Linked titles leads to reviews.
Oscar finalists are in bold 
🔺 = still in theaters (Note: Figures are as of 01/21/2018)

1. BORN IN CHINA $13.8 (April 21st)
As is often the case these days, a Disneynature title tops the chart. However, the figures for these Earth Day releases are diminishing. This one about pandas is the lowest-grossing of the seven Disneynature docs to be theatrically released since Earth in 2009 (so, not including The Crimson Wing: Mysteries of the Flamingo which went curiously unreleased in America). Still, this is a great figure for a nature documentary and as long as they keep churning them out hopefully people keep going in at least these modest numbers.

2. I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO $7.1 (February 3rd)
One of the lone bright spots among the first half of the year for arthouses was this Oscar-nominated James Baldwin doc. We may grimace when distributors keep films from the general public, but Magnolia were smart to see they not only had a very likely Oscar contender on their hands (it should have won, but that's not what we're here to discuss), but that there's no way for these films to thrive among the end-of-year prestige glut...

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Sunday
Dec242017

Biggest $$$ Hauls of 2017 In Multiple Categories

Each day a different year in review party. Here's Nathaniel...

It's time for a special box office report. Though the year was dire for most studios (at least until the final quarter) with moviegoing down, especially in the summer, there are always hits. The question is only how large and what motivates people to buy a ticket. For all the griping you hear about "everything is superheroes" or "another sequel?" the biggest hits are nearly always sequels or superhero films so the audiences only have themselves to blame in a way.

We've already looked at the top grossing foreign language titles of 2017 so now to the wider releases as well as other categories. We'll break it down into multiple top tens so that it's more interesting than sequels and superheroes. (All grosses are US domestic)...

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Saturday
Dec232017

Year in Review: 17 Wigs From 2017

Each day a new "year in review" angle. Here's Chris Feil...

Perhaps it's the return of RuPaul's Drag Race next month or the fact that we finally have Greta Gerwig in the Oscar race, but we've got wigs on the brain. While Oscar has nailed down the potentially nominated wiggery for the Makeup and Hairstyling category, it's worth reflecting that this year gave us far more glorious wig moments than can be captured in a single Oscar category.

From Michelle Williams's subtle 70s waves in All the Money in the World, the white trash extravaganza of I, Tonya, to The Greatest Showman's candy confections, the movies had us shouting "WIG!" all year long.

Here are 17 memorable moments in wigs in 2017...

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Friday
Dec222017

The 17 Greatest Music Videos of '17

Each day a new 'year in review' countdown. Here's Nathaniel...

Ah the music video. The only reliably viral genre of short film, though they're rarely include in short film collections, festivals, awards, or whatnot. What follows is a semi-random collection of terrific music videos that debuted this year with the caveat that there could only be one per artist. Which means no "Little of Your Love" by HAIM even though it's directed by the great auteur Paul Thomas Anderson in somewhat rare joyful mode. Other music videos worth checking out that we couldn't find room for were the sci-fi pop glam of "Venus Fly" by Grimes feat. Janelle Monae, "Burning Star" by Their Name and its intergalactic fleshy nonsense,  the interactive humor of "Words Hurt" by Naive New Beaters, and finally a video that's prominently featured in a lot of such lists due to its meta resourcefulness -- "Wyclef Jean" by Young Thug for its meta resourcefulness.

They're not as acclaimed but why not also give a shout out to "Beautiful Trauma" by P!nk for its playful pastiche and giving us Channing Tatum in movie musical mode again. And though Lady Gaga's recent music video output isnt as thrilling as it once was there's something about "John Wayne" that almost makes it hyper garish cuisinart cut overkill feel like a parody of music videos that are trying way too hard... though it's doubtful that that's what it was.

Okay enough talking. On to the singing and dancing... 

17 WHAT ABOUT US (P!nk)
I adore P¡nk in Earnest mode and there's something about the helicopters and police lights circling that inchoate desperate "us" dancing on the lonely edge of town that totally works. Anthemic energizing anguish. Directed by Georgia Hudson and choreographed by the Goldenboyz

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Thursday
Dec212017

Father Figures, the best and worst of 2017

Each day a new "year in review" piece. Here's Ben Miller...

I’ve been a father since 2012.  It’s one of the great joys in my life.  If you classified me as a person, father would be near the top of how I would want to be described.  I want to be a good father and I strive to be. 

But, generally, I don’t look to film for guidance.

Terrible fathers are a touchtone of cinema.  From Jack Torrance to Daniel Plainview, movie dads rarely get the chance to show how great they can be for their children.  2017 surprisingly provided us with a bevy of complex relationships between parents and their progeny, and the dads actually got a chance to shine.  Check out the top ten great dads in 2017 films.  (I also included five terrible fathers, because 2017 gotta 2017.)

TOP TEN GREAT DADS IN 2017 MOVIES
Spoilers for all of these films are included

01 Larry McPherson, Lady Bird (Played by Tracy Letts)
Lady Bird and her mother, the central figures in the film, aren't the only ones to benefit from Larry's warmth (we previously discussed this characterization here). Even when faced with a fruitless job interview, he smiles in the face of adversity, opting for a big bag of Doritos.  When his son comes in for the next interview, there is no animosity.  Larry straightens his tie, pats him on the shoulder and tells him to go get ‘em.  He does this while losing his job, providing for an extra person in his house, losing his daughter to college and suffering from years of depression.  God bless Larry McPherson. 

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