Action

SKYSCRAPER

Writer & Director
Rawson Marshall Thurber

(DODGEBALL: A TRUE UNDERDOG STORY, WE’RE THE MILLERS, CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE)

Stars
Dwayne Johnson, Neve Campbell, Roland Møller, Chin Han and Noah Taylor

Right now, there is arguably no male action movie star that is in greater demand (see end of review!) or in hotter form than the cool and charismatic Dwayne Johnson. No matter how extreme or challenging the obstacle ahead may be, Johnson continually surmounts them while keeping his audience fully engaged along the way. Only recently, he’s had to deal with an over-sized and very angry gorilla in RAMPAGE, survive the dangers of the jungle in the JUMANJI sequel, and even rescue his family from the earthquakes in 2015’s SAN ANDREAS. In fact, only the tidal waves of stupidity in the BAYWATCH movie succeeded at sinking the ever-reliable efforts of this mighty leading man.

In SKYSCRAPER, Johnson (who also produces the film) plays Will Sawyer, a former FBI agent who has relocated himself and his family, wife Sarah (Neve Campbell) and their two children, to Hong Kong after a work incident ended his career. Together, they reside in the world’s tallest skyscraper, known as The Pearl, where Will also works as an assessor of the building’s security system before its residential upper-levels can be officially opened. While he is offsite, a group of ruthless criminals set fire to one of the floors of the building, instantly placing the lives of Will’s family in jeopardy. When Will discovers The Pearl ablaze, he races against time and is forced to go to extreme lengths to break inside the burning building and rescue his loved ones.

5 Reasons Why ‘SKYSCRAPER’ Will Be This Year’s Biggest Action Movie

Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock (and not the actor variety spoken of here!), you will know SKYSCRAPER courtesy of a particular set-piece sequence (pictured above) in which the resulting trajectory of the film’s hero during this outrageous stunt has been playfully debated, firmly discredited, and proven to be physically doubtful. This scene happens to be one of several edge-of-your-seat set-piece thrills that occupy this pure guilt-pleasure, popcorn entertainment blockbuster movie that is so much fun to watch, no one will care about physics!

SKYSCRAPER delivers exactly what it should — a consistent output of exciting action sequences, occasional doses of appropriately-timed self-parody, entertainment that is sky-high and a satisfactory climax, all at a rapid pace. Writer and director Rawson Marshall Thurber (who previously worked with Dwayne Johnson in CENTRAL INTELLIGENCE) has done a really neat job in combining a serviceable plot that attracts formidable villains with Will’s selfless and admirable mission, which leads to most of the physical combat scenes we see. Full utilisation has also been made from the hair-raising heights that the world’s tallest construction provides, so do be warned if elevated views make you a little wobbly at the knees!

A job well done indeed. So it should be, with a budget of approximately $125M! We only have to wait two years until Rawson Marshall Thurber and Dwayne Johnson reunite again for action film RED NOTICE. In the meantime, there’s a towering inferno of movies to come from Johnson that include spin-offs of THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS and SHAZAM! titled HOBBS AND SHAW and BLACK ADAM, respectively, sequels to JUMANJI, SUICIDE SQUAD, and SAN ANDREAS, his own DOC SAVAGE film and biographical comedy/drama FIGHTING WITH MY FAMILY all on the go!

3 ½ stars

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Viewer Discretion

M (Action violence and coarse language)

Trailer
SKYSCRAPER

Moviedoc thanks Universal Pictures for the invite to the screening of this film

Review by Leigh for Moviedoc
Follow on Twitter – Moviedoc / LIKE on Facebook – @moviedoc13

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JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

Director
J.A. Bayona
(A MONSTER CALLS, THE IMPOSSIBLE, THE ORPHANAGE)

Stars
Bryce Dallas Howard, Chris Pratt, Daniella Pineda, Justice Smith, Rafe Spall and Isabella Sermon

The arrival of JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM, the second film of the Jurassic World trilogy, coincides with the 25th anniversary of Steven Spielberg’s JURASSIC PARK. Can anyone believe it’s been that long already!?

Taking place three years after the events in JURASSIC WORLD and with Spielberg now serving as executive producer, this action/adventure begins on Isla Nublar, once a wonderland dinosaur theme park that is now abandoned and home to an active volcano that is ready to erupt. The dinosaur population that remains there is in immediate danger of extinction. Their only hope of survival resides with a couple of the park’s former employees, Claire (Bryce Dallas Howard) who now works as a dinosaur-rights activist for a company she founded, and Owen (Chris Pratt) who’s living a quiet life in his roadside home. They are helped by some new characters including a feisty young doctor, Zia (Daniella Pineda) and geeky IT guru, Franklin (Justice Smith).

Image result for chris pratt and bryce dallas howard jurassic park: fallen kingdom film stills

There are more dinosaurs in this film than in any previous JURASSIC PARK/WORLD movie and volcanic action aplenty in JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM, but does this instantly equate to a (dino)soaring film experience you’ll have a hell-lava time with!? I do apologise for my very lame (yet somewhat creative) statement there. But if you intend to have fun in this stomping ground, then allow my flippancy to humour you for there is plenty of far-fetched action and frivolous behaviour going on here.

As over-the-top as it may be, the behind-the-scenes work (a combination of Animatronics and CGI) that’s been invested to create the dinosaur imagery and the film’s set-piece sequences we see never fail to impress. Which is important, because that’s why we’re here, right!? As for JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM’s (arguably) lesser important movie making ingredient of storytelling, the writers disappointingly do not bring anything new to this genre, or even the franchise for that matter. That being said, the film’s theme of human greed and the foul human beings that practice that trait makes for a completely acceptable plot which has some darker moments and plenty of fun times. Especially when it’s the dinosaurs’ turns to bite some bad folk right back! On that note, while parents should heed the M classification for much younger audience members, JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM does ensure that (almost) every attack scene (some of which are rather brutal) and potential scare is made very obvious before it occurs.

Replacing JURASSIC WORLD director Colin Trevorrow (set to return for directing duties in JURASSIC WORLD 3) for this second chapter in the trilogy, Spanish-born filmmaker J.A. Bayona is faithful to the rule book but keeps the pace and entertainment both flowing consistently. And if you’re really keen, remain seated until the very end for a post credits scene.

3 stars

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Viewer Discretion
(Action violence)

Trailer
JURASSIC WORLD: FALLEN KINGDOM

Moviedoc thanks Universal Pictures for the invite to the screening of this film

Review by Leigh for Moviedoc
Follow on Twitter – Moviedoc / LIKE on Facebook – @moviedoc13

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UPGRADE

Writer & Director
Leigh Whannell

(INSIDIOUS: CHAPTER 3)

Stars
Logan Marshall-Green, Melanie Vallejo, Harrison Gilbertson, Betty Gabriel, Benedict Hardie, Linda Cropper and Simon Maiden

If you’ve never seen a film belonging to the body horror genre before, then now is the time and UPGRADE is the perfect film to first experience it. A sub-genre of horror, body horror movies intentionally show graphic or psychologically disturbing violations of the human body. Though at first that may not sound like highly appealing viewing, there are several reasons why this darkly comical Australian made film that’s set in the near-future will be an absolute hit with its target crowd, is addictive viewing for a broader audience and ought to be added to your watch list now!

Set in a dark world in which technology is an even more prominent aspect of our everyday lives than it is now, Leigh Whannell’s UPGRADE stars Logan Marshall-Green (PROMETHEUS) as Grey Trace, an old-school mechanic who hasn’t quite conformed to the reliance on modern technology as his wife Asha (Melanie Vallejo from Aussie TV series, Winners & Losers) has, who’s employed by tech giant, Cobolt. A simple man, Grey prefers his vintage, self-driven automobile over the driver-less computer-driven cars mostly on the roads nowadays. When a tragic incident occurs that changes Grey’s life in an instant, his only hope of gaining some of that life back lies in the hands of STEM, an experimental and unreleased piece of technology to be implanted into his body, made by tech engineer Eron (NEED FOR SPEED’s Harrison Gilbertson).

Image result for logan marshall-green upgrade 2018 film stills

From production studio Blumhouse, who created fellow low-budget features GET OUT, WHIPLASH and PARANORMAL ACTIVITY, and impressively filmed entirely in Melbourne, Australia, UPGRADE is a late-night special that’s a sure bet to gain a cult following. To give you an even clearer understanding of what to expect, this science-fiction crime thriller with bold strokes of humour can be likened to and isn’t too dissimilar to watching an (extended) episode of Netflix series Black Mirror on the big screen! 

After a super cool intro (don’t be running late!) and a run of the mill opening act that ticks the formalities boxes off, UPGRADE gets an infectious and unyielding energy into gear that becomes a driving and unstoppable force. The film exudes a profound sense of belonging that’s largely manufactured by its pumping music score, slick visual design, stylised action choreography, and the effective use of lighting and colour throughout. This is done in similar fashion to THE NEON DEMON and SIN CITY, only not quite to the same level of absolute all-round brilliance. Visually and aurally, UPGRADE is a self-assured film that knows exactly what it wants to be and what to deliver to its primary audience. 

While indisputably excellent in those aforementioned areas of filmmaking, the begging question must be asked: does the narrative hold up just as strongly? The reception to this from audiences is bound to be mixed. While watching in real-time, an unspecified number of loose ends become visible that lessen the credibility of the plot. Though most of these holes in the script are later patched up, UPGRADE still leaves some uncertainty in the air that will irk those who possess a higher attention to detail.

Even if the narrative component of UPGRADE isn’t able to elevate the film to a level of complete excellence, the mighty atmosphere concocted and its interest-arousing plot still give it plenty of uptick.

3 ½ stars

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Viewer Discretion
MA15+ (Strong science fiction themes and violence)

Trailer
UPGRADE

Moviedoc thanks Madman for the invite to the screening of this film

Review by Leigh for Moviedoc
Follow on Twitter – Moviedoc / LIKE on Facebook – @moviedoc13

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PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING

Director
Steven S. DeKnight

(Feature Film Debut)

Stars
John Boyega, Scott Eastwood, Cailee Spaeny, Charlie Day, Tian Jing, Burn Gorman and Rinko Kikuchi

In the end, it wasn’t a bad decision at all for Guillermo del Toro to hand the directing duties for his follow-up to 2013’s PACIFIC RIM over to first-time feature film director, Steven S. DeKnight. The Mexican-born filmmaker left this action sequel to make 2018’s Best Picture Academy Award winner, THE SHAPE OF WATER, which also bestowed del Toro his first-ever Oscar win as director. With a new team of writers, some fresh faces in the cast and with del Toro working as producer only, how will PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING fare among critics and audiences alike?

Set ten years after the events at the end of 2013’s original film, former Jaeger pilot and son of Stacker Pentecost, Jake (John Boyega), is given a lifeline by his adoptive sister, Mako (Rinko Kikuchi), after being caught making a living by illegal methods. Though clearly not the man his father was, Jake is needed to help combat a new Kaiju threat with his estranged former co-pilot Nate Lambert (Scott Eastwood) and tough young drifter Amara (Cailee Spaeny). 

Image result for pacific rim: uprising film still
As expected, without its visionary creator at the helm and having no real say in the scripting department, the creative engineering behind the cut-above action blockbuster PACIFIC RIM has certainly been downsized in UPRISING. But don’t immediately assume the automatic redundancy of PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING either, for it does boast some worthwhile spare parts that should be enough to keep it functioning.

For instance, this sequel has maintained, if not slightly bettered, the brawn component invented by the first movie. UPRISING’s big-scale action sequences are not only attention-diverting but also have their carnage captured in a more comprehensible manner than what we see in a lot of action movies nowadays. With much of the film’s production taking place right here in Australia, one of these impressively staged scenes is set in the heart of the city of Sydney! Now, any decent action flick requires solid performances as a minimum from its leading cast members and this is another aspect UPRISING earns a pass mark. John Boyega and Scott Eastwood (son of Clint) fulfil the needs of their respective roles, but it’s the impressively energetic performance from first-time feature film actress and up-and-coming star, Cailee Spaeny, that stands-out. She displays a heightened sense of urgency and a precisely judged fierceness in her character that has an instant and lasting positive impact to this sequel. Keep a look-out for this talent, who has already been cast as young Lynne Cheney in BACKSEAT (which tells the story of Dick Cheney) and other promising Hollywood productions, ON THE BASIS OF SEX (a biographical drama about equal rights) and BAD TIMES AT THE EL ROYALE (a thriller written & directed by Oscar-nominee Drew Goddard). Also worth a mention is the consistent pacing. Being 20 minutes shorter in duration than PACIFIC RIM (which tired at times during the second half) does indeed benefit this sequel.

3 stars

Image result for pacific rim: uprising film stills cailee

Viewer Discretion
M (Science-fiction violence)

Trailer
PACIFIC RIM: UPRISING

Moviedoc thanks Universal Pictures for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Leigh for Moviedoc
Follow on Twitter – Moviedoc / LIKE on Facebook – @moviedoc13

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TOMB RAIDER

Director
Roar Uthaug

(THE WAVE)

Stars
Alicia Vikander, Dominic West, Walton Goggins and Daniel Wu

It’s hard to believe that it has already been 17 years since the release of LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER, with a sizzling Angelina Jolie in the starring role. Though this first adaptation of the popular video game series left unflattering impressions, it did indeed earn success at the box office. In just its opening week, LARA CROFT: TOMB RAIDER gave film distributor Paramount its second-best debut with $48.2 million, topped the opening record for a video game adaptation and most importantly, it beat the opening record for a film featuring a female protagonist. 

Based on the 2013 video game, this TOMB RAIDER film series reboot features the dazzling Alicia Vikander donning the tank top of Lara Croft, who is living in London where she is facing pressure to claim her father’s inheritance by his business associates after his extended disappearance. She soon discovers that her father, Richard (Dominic West), traveled to an island in search of a mythical Queen named Himiko that he’d been researching. Determined to learn the truth behind her father’s quest and fate, Lara journeys to the remote island with the assistance of Lu Ren (Daniel Wu), a ship captain who also lost his father.

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How will you view 2018’s TOMB RAIDER? Is it going to be the original version up against the more modern adaptation for comparisons sake? Or perhaps you will (also) judge more according to the presence of Jolie v’s Vikander? Either way, if taken for face-value, this relatively straightforward exercise in movie-making isn’t as industrious as its lead actress evidently was in her preparation for the role, but it’s certainly entertaining-enough.

In order to appreciate Alicia Vikander as Lara Croft, one should accept the difference in persona and physique to any previous renditions of the character. Having actually gained noticeable muscle for this part and performing her own stunt work, the Academy Award-winning actress undoubtedly surmounts the physical demands required while also being completely capable at demonstrating the necessary emotions. As for the development of the story and the structure it is rendered, TOMB RAIDER is a more pedestrian journey. During its more enjoyable sequences, this reboot is reminiscent of an Indiana Jones flick and THE MUMMY (Brendan Fraser’s version, not Tom Cruise’s absolute stinker!), only darker in tone and more violent than those films. At all other times, it has the appearance of any other stock-standard action film complete with too many implausible and over-the-top set-piece sequences. To call-out just a couple; it just isn’t possible to face-plant into the trunk of a tree or to fall horizontally through the thick branches of several trees at a rapid pace and emerge from such brutal scrimmages as unscathed as seen here. Facially, in particular.

Although Norwegian director Roar Uthaug’s first English-language feature film is unremarkable and sends its lead character into damage control, it does allow a couple of hours to elapse just adequately.

3 stars

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Viewer Discretion
M (Action violence and sense of peril)

Trailer
TOMB RAIDER

Moviedoc thanks Roadshow Films for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Leigh for Moviedoc
Follow on Twitter – Moviedoc / LIKE on Facebook – @moviedoc13

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BEST & WORST MOVIES OF 2017 including the highlights and some low-lights

Hello everyone

Firstly, a huge thank you for every review you have read, liked, shared, commented on and even chatted to me about in person. Thanks to you and your incredible support, I had a very productive year of film watching and reviewing!

In total, I got to see and review 141 films officially released in 2017 alone, which is 15 more than I was able to see at this same time in 2016! Of these, more than 25 movies received a 4 star rating from me, so I have compiled a ‘Best 25’ list this year as well as a ‘Worst 5’.

I hope you thoroughly enjoy reading this post. I also hope you take away a handful of films to see that you’ve never previously heard of or watched!
As always, please get in touch to share your views and best & worst movies.

I look forward to your continued support and interaction in what will be an even bigger and busier year of film watching & reviewing in 2018, where I hope to review a monthly classic and bring a review or two fresh from my attendance at film festivals!

Moviedoc 🙂

Moviedoc’s Best 25 Movies of 2017

25
WONDER
4 stars

A beautiful and meaningful story featuring a great cast that will make you cry a little but feel plenty of joy

24
PADDINGTON 2
4 stars

As sweet as marmalade itself and a sequel that’s every bit as good, if not better, than the first film. Paddington is no one-trick teddy bear!

23
THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
4 stars

Arguably and in my opinion, this is the best rendition of Batman, ever! Utterly hilarious at times and scores Moviedoc’s #1 spot (just!) for best family film of 2017!

22
INGRID GOES WEST 
4 stars

All at once, this is an uncomfortably funny, dreadfully saddening and downright frightening exposé of just how far a social media addiction and obsession can take a person. Highly recommended!

21
GIFTED
4 stars

A splendid drama! One of the most underrated films of 2017! If you haven’t already, it is time to unwrap this true gift of a film.

20
THE BIG SICK
4 stars

A broadly appealing and wholly accessible romantic comedy-drama that’s not only based on a true story but even stars one of the real-life subjects; stand-up comedian, actor and writer, Kumail Nanjiani

19
BABY DRIVER
4 stars

It’s been a solid year for heist movies and this is the best of them. Flawless car chase sequences and an outstanding music score drive this slick and unique heist film. Hopefully BABY DRIVER won’t lose popularity due to co-starring Kevin Spacey, for it absolutely deserves to be seen.

18
MISS SLOANE
4 stars

Enthralling! I’ve been told those who are into TV Series “House of Cards” will want to see this. Sorry for making another connection to Kevin Spacey!

17
FENCES

4 stars

Can be a challenge to watch, especially during the first half. However, Denzel Washington’s Oscar-nominated performance playing a character he’s portrayed on Broadway 114 times before and Viola Davis’s Oscar-winning acting are so stellar in a movie that becomes absolutely riveting

16
THE BEGUILED
4 stars

Beautifully filmed and impeccably acted by one of the stand-out ensemble casts of the year. An excellent film from director Sofia Coppola.

15
MOONLIGHT
4 stars

You haven’t seen a story quite like the one told in MOONLIGHT before. This is the Best Picture Winner at the 2017 Academy Awards earlier this year. Brave and heartfelt storytelling.

14
MOUNTAIN
4 stars

A majestic and breathtaking cinematic experience. The Australian-made MOUNTAIN is 2017’s best documentary feature.

13
THE SALESMAN
4 stars

This is acclaimed Iranian director Asghar Farhadi’s (THE PAST, A SEPARATION) latest feature film. An immaculately devised and strongly executed domestic drama with a gripping finale.

12
DUNKIRK
4 stars

A minimalist war film that draws maximum anxiety and exacts a claustrophobic stranglehold over its viewers from start to end thanks largely to the ever-present score by Oscar-winning film composer, Hans Zimmer

11
HOUNDS OF LOVE
4 stars

A similar breed of film to 2011’s SNOWTOWN, HOUNDS OF LOVE is an unnerving and tense dramatic thriller that showcases an outstanding music score, cinematography and acting. The best Australian film of 2017.

10
LAND OF MINE
4 stars

An Oscar-nominated foreign film taking place after WWII, which depicts a group of very young German POWs sent to Denmark to clear thousands of hidden land mines. Stomach-turning tension is guaranteed.

9
LOVING VINCENT
4½ stars

The first-ever oil painted feature film about Vincent van Gogh is never solely limited to its visual capabilities. A sublime film.

8
SILENCE
4½ stars

Martin Scorsese’s passion project and three-hour epic is a bravely written piece that is expertly penned toward the most religiously devout. A near-masterpiece.

7
WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES
4½ stars

The PLANET OF THE APES film series is now officially one of my favourites, if not my absolute favourite film franchise. Combines mesmerising CGI and cinematography with a powerful and relevant story that has a strong message for humankind. I just love it!

6
MANCHESTER BY THE SEA
4½ stars

The storytelling structure, its well-studied account of key themes and the honesty of its writing and character depiction achieves MANCHESTER BY THE SEA A-grade status.

5
PERFECT STRANGERS
4½ stars

What happens when a close-knit group of friends meet for dinner and share every text message, email and phone call received with one another? You will want to find out! Italian comedy PERFECT STRANGERS features one of the most cleverly conceived and carefully-considered screenplay’s of the year.

4
GET OUT
4½ stars

Movies as genius as this are few and far between. Masterfully and studiously crafted, intelligently written and flawlessly executed, GET OUT is a broadly appealing and accessible horror film at heart that functions as a menacing mystery invite to all. If you haven’t already, please accept your invitation, pronto! You will not regret it.

3
LADY MACBETH
4½ stars

Witness one of the most conceivably written, daring and exciting character transitions seen in recent years. This fierce, fearless and electrifying film turns the period drama genre on its head in near flawless fashion and is the breakout film for its star, Florence Pugh, who is scintillating. Unmissable!

2
DOWNSIZING
5 stars

The last film to receive 5 stars from me was THE HUNT in 2013! Well, it had to take something very special to break that lengthy drought. Simply put, you have never seen a film quite like DOWNSIZING before. It is extraordinary. I admired its continual refusal to yield to any form of mainstream cinema convention, despite being a mainstream-friendly release. It also unearths one of the truest & most beautifully conceived and written characters I’ve seen in any film. Hong Chau (from acclaimed TV Series Big Little Lies) is just superb as Ngoc Lan Tran, in what is one of this year’s acting highlights. Absolutely amazing in every way imaginable.

THE BEST MOVIE OF 2017

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME 
5 Stars

It took me until February, 2018 to see this sensual and picturesque masterpiece. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME not only met my high expectations, it by far exceeded them. This slow-building drama set in northern Italy during a hot summer in 1983 is so precise and honest yet powerfully subtle in its articulation of the complex emotions and sensitive scenarios involving its characters. It takes some time for the forthcoming relationship to develop, yet does so organically and in complete avoidance of all stereotypes. By the time its extraordinarily moving and meaningful finale arrives, CALL ME BY YOUR NAME simply overwhelms. The ultimate meaning and key themes of this beautifully produced film earn an equal amount of appreciation as the stunning production, stand-out score and immaculate performances achieve.

Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet in Call Me by Your Name (2017)

Moviedoc’s Worst 5 Movies of 2017

5
BAYWATCH
1 ½ stars

Not even the charismatic Dwayne Johnson can save BAYWATCH from drowning in its own dump.


4
CHIPS
1 ½ stars

Unfunny. Sexist. Nasty. Avoid!


3
JIGSAW
1 star

Jigsaw may do a Jesus by way of his resurrection, however he is certainly no saviour to the eternal damnation sentenced upon the viewer in this dreadful reboot. Now, please stay dead.

2
SNATCHED
1 star

Goldie Hawn should have remained in her fifteen-year movie hibernation. Terrible movie.

THE WORST MOVIE OF 2017

T H E  M U M M Y
1 star

An unacceptable first instalment in Universal’s rather forced Dark Universe film series that seemingly exists purely to rival Marvel and the like. Yet sadly, THE MUMMY still grossed $409.1 million worldwide, which means there’ll probably be more to come. A score of just 5.5 on IMDB and 16% on Rotten Tomatoes more than justifies why this utterly dreadful reboot is the worst of the 141 movies released this year I have seen.

Still with me? Good! Now we go to some highlights and low-lights of 2017

The acting stand-outs of 2017

Timothée Chalamet in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
Hong Chau – DOWNSIZING
Florence Pugh – LADY MACBETH
Danielle MacDonald – PATTI CAKE$
James Franco – THE DISASTER ARTIST
Emma Booth and Stephen Curry – HOUNDS OF LOVE
Naomie Harris – MOONLIGHT
Denzel Washington and Viola Davis – FENCES
Aubrey Plaza – INGRID GOES WEST
Teresa Palmer – BERLIN SYNDROME
Barry Keoghan – THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
Sonia Braga – AQUARIUS
Oscar Isaac – SUBURBICON
Hugh Grant – PADDINGTON 2
John Lithgow and Salma Hayek – BEATRIZ AT DINNER
Nicole Kidman – THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER & THE BEGUILED
Dev Patel and Sunny Pawar – LION
Pierre Niney and Paula Beer – FRANTZ
Brian Cox – CHURCHILL
Jessica Rothe – HAPPY DEATH DAY
Tiffany Haddish – GIRLS TRIP
Sally Hawkins – MAUDIE
Hugo Weaving – JASPER JONES

Films to add to your watch list not in my Best 25 from 2017

PATRIOT’S DAY
LIFE
BATTLE OF THE SEXES
THEIR FINEST
A MONSTER CALLS
COLOSSAL
LION
COLLATERAL BEAUTY
SUBURBICON
THE BOSS BABY
BERLIN SYNDROME
LOGAN
THE DISASTER ARTIST (But watch clips from YouTube of THE ROOM first, if you haven’t already seen it!)

Most over-rated and/or most disappointing films from 2017

KINGSMAN: THE GOLDEN CIRCLE
JACKIE
MURDER ON THE ORIENT EXPRESS
VICTORIA & ABDUL
THINGS TO COME
THE SNOWMAN
A CURE FOR WELLNESS
GOD’S OWN COUNTRY
LOVING
A SILENT VOICE
ALONE IN BERLIN
TRESPASS AGAINST US
GOLD
THE FLORIDA PROJECT

The highlights in films from 2017

Hong Chau’s character in DOWNSIZING
The uniquely hand-painted visual experience in LOVING VINCENT
The extreme slo-mo’s in HOUNDS OF LOVE
The development of the relationship and the first intimate scene between Elio and Oliver in CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
The atmosphere and the battle sequences staged in DUNKIRK
The real footage of a tightrope walk between two mountain peaks in MOUNTAIN
The final dinner table scene in THE BEGUILED
The car chase sequences and the music score in BABY DRIVER
A reaction from a particular water monster in THE LEGO BATMAN MOVIE
The birthday party sequence & guest arrivals in TONI ERDMANN
The visual and aural experience in GHOST IN THE SHELL
The dialogue and its delivery from Tiffany Haddish in GIRLS TRIP
The final action sequence on the ice in Iceland in THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS

Best horror film

GET OUT
(A clear stand-out, however if that’s not scary enough for you, then try out IT COMES AT NIGHT, HAPPY DEATH DAY and IT. None of these films managed to scare me though!)

Best crying film
A MONSTER CALLS
(Even though its title suggests this belongs in the above category! Not the first time director J.A. Bayona has claimed this spot at the end of the year. THE IMPOSSIBLE was his previous movie)

Best lol film

PERFECT STRANGERS
(However, if you want something more mainstream, then try THE DISASTER ARTIST and GIRLS TRIP)

Best love story or romantic film

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

Most unique/strange films

THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER
MOTHER!

Highest Grossing Film – Worldwide

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST
($1.26 Billion)

Highest Grossing Film – In Australia

BEAUTY AND THE BEAST 
($36.3 Million)

Compiled by Moviedoc
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JUSTICE LEAGUE

Director
Zack Snyder
(BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE, MAN OF STEEL, 300)

Stars
Ben Affleck, Gal Gadot, Ezra Miller, Ray Fisher, Jason Momoa, Ciarán Hinds and Jeremy Irons

Many would agree that last year’s BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE was a felony committed to the superhero movie universe as well as our own senses. An undoubtedly apologetic continuation to the dull story told there, the reasonably improved JUSTICE LEAGUE is here to seek our pardon. Any admissions of forgiveness granted its way won’t be for its business-as-usual storyline basis, however.

The fifth instalment in DC’s extended universe film series is set not too long after the death of Superman (which you might recall occurred in YAWN OF JUSTICE, if you remained awake for long enough). Bruce Wayne/Batman (Ben Affleck) is seeking the assistance of Diana Prince/Wonder Woman (Gal Gadot; straight out of the pretty good WONDER WOMAN) to fight a new enemy named Steppenwolfe (Ciaran Hinds), who is searching for three energy-containing boxes that will give him an endless supply of power. Along the way, Bruce Wayne and Diana Prince pursue Barry Allen/The Flash (Ezra Miller), Arthur Curry/Aquaman (Jason Momoa) and Victor Stone/Cyborg (Ray Fisher) to recruit them and form a team of superheroes known as the Justice League.


Benefiting from the shortest running time of any DC film so far at two-hours, which in turn enables the pacing to be more consistent, JUSTICE LEAGUE holds itself accountable to delivering solid entertainment that doesn’t take itself too seriously.  While its playful attitude keeps all of the moving parts of this film progressing along quite nicely, the plotting, storytelling and action sequences will not amaze its audience by any stretch. Most of its amusement comes from the wisecracking character Barry Allen/The Flash, with Ezra Miller’s rendition as one of this film’s novice superhero characters bound to be a fan favourite. Speaking of favourites, after a starring role in WONDER WOMAN that was physically great but emotionally grating, Gal Gadot fares much better courtesy of a more relaxed and far less wooden performanceShe blends right in among her combative colleagues. Regardless of the level of enjoyment you may derive from several characteristics that JUSTICE LEAGUE has to offer, Ben Affleck’s representation of Batman stands as make or break for many. Though I highly doubt that this is the film to be the turning point to changing many negative perceptions, the lesser reliance on the character and a more noticeable light-heartedness in Affleck’s portrayal could be the beginning of acceptance and reconciliation before THE BATMAN eventually arrives to the big screen.

3 stars

Viewer Discretion
M (Action violence)

Trailer
JUSTICE LEAGUE

Moviedoc thanks Roadshow Films for the invite to the screening of this film.

Review by Moviedoc / “LIKE” on Facebook – Moviedoc

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