adventure

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
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

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 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 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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DOWNSIZING

Director
Alexander Payne
(The Descendants, Sideways, About Schmidt)

Stars
Matt Damon, Kristen Wiig, Christoph Waltz, Udo Kier, Hong Chau and Rolf Lassgård

You have never seen a film quite like DOWNSIZING before. Perhaps it can be described as another previous Boxing Day release, THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY meets HONEY, I SHRUNK THE KIDS, but for a more adult audience (thank goodness they didn’t name this film Honey, I shrunk the bits!). Oh, and far more extraordinary too!

As the film commences, an incredible scientific breakthrough is achieved that will change the future existence of humanity. Norwegian scientist, Dr. Jorgen Asbjørnsen has successfully performed a procedure that will come to be known as downsizing, which reduces the height of that person to just 13 centimetres. Those who choose to “get small” are then relocated to their own specially designed miniature world, called Leisureland. With the groundbreaking, life-changing transition to shrinking gaining immense popularity, as life inside the idyllic world of Leisureland receives glowing reviews from its rapidly-growing citizenry, Paul and Audrey Safranek (Matt Damon and Kristen Wiig) decide to undergo the irreversible procedure. However, life remains full of surprises and fate cannot be changed, regardless of where you decide to live, as the Safranek’s are about to discover.


People may be shrinking, but DOWNSIZING enlarges its scale of utter brilliance at every spontaneous and consequential turn that is taken. This breathtaking adventure that you are about to embark on over the next two plus hours isn’t anything…ehm…short of being absolutely amazing. 

First and foremost, the premise that catapults the journey that is coursing throughout DOWNSIZING is internally consistent and conceivable. So too are all the capabilities and characteristics that are immaculately presented as well as the trigger that propels the very invention of downsizing and Leisureland. This entire section of the film, right up until it is time for our lead characters to bid farewell to their height, is hugely and broadly engrossing. Any hint as to where this incredible story ventures to from here ought to be kept privy to the advantage of its (hopefully sell-out) crowd. What can be safely said is that a vast array of colourful characters will acquaint you for the rest of DOWNSIZING’s duration. Many of whom are acted by recognisable Hollywood faces. Some appearances are fleeting only. Others remain more long-term. This is where DOWNSIZING unearths one of the truest & most beautifully conceived and written characters in any film of 2017. You will never forget Ngoc Lan Tran (Hong Chau, from acclaimed TV Series Big Little Lies) who is just superb in what is one of this year’s acting highlights.

There are brief and sporadic moments in DOWNSIZING where the film appears to be in some kind of limbo. My advice – embrace the curiosity that this draws in and let go of any initial concern that this movie’s brilliance has finally come to a halt, for Oscar-winning writers Jim Taylor (SIDEWAYS) and writer/director Alexander Payne refuse to yield to any form of convention. Vanquishing all doubts that a drop in its high degree of filmmaking and entertainment is imminent, their combined writing works continually heighten the magnificent sense of adventure and rarely-achieved wonder that embodies this film.

The all-important conclusion to what’s been a most mesmerising expedition understandably amasses a considerable level of anticipation. Some may feel underwhelmed, or not even be sure how to feel, by the finale of DOWNSIZING. If that is you, then I say look to and reflect over the infectious love of life that is bursting from the screen and open your mind to the beautiful & wild ride that living life can whisk us away on. Adopting this perception, handed to you by the film, will prove that the final moments are as perfect as the film itself is.

5 stars

Viewer Discretion
(Sexual references, coarse language, drug use and nudity)

Trailer
DOWNSIZING

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

Review by Moviedoc
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PADDINGTON 2

Director
Paul King

(PADDINGTON)

Stars
The voice of Ben Whishaw, Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Bonneville, Julie Walters and Jim Broadbent

In his first-ever feature-film outing, Paddington bear was a huge success. At home in the United Kingdom, PADDINGTON was the second highest family film debut of 2014 and it received two nominations at the British Academy Film Awards for Best British Film and Best Adapted Screenplay. Worldwide, the family film grossed $265.3 million from its $50-$55 million budget including $76.3 million in the United States. In his first-ever feature film sequel, Paddington proves that he is no one-trick teddy bear.

For the past few years, Paddington (voiced by Ben Whishaw) has lived with and become part of the Brown family in London, as illustrated by the opening of this sequel. Though far apart, Paddington has not forgotten his real family from the Peruvian jungle where his Aunt Lucy (voiced by Imelda Staunton) is soon to turn one-hundred years old. When Paddington visits an antique store owned by Mr Gruber (Jim Broadbent), he comes across an old book that features several of London’s landmarks and decides to get a job in order to save the cash needed to purchase the perfect gift for his Aunt. Little does he know, this book is also being sought after by former TV star and wannabe solo stage performer, Phoenix Buchanan (Hugh Grant), who manages to steal the book before Paddington can purchase it.


Rest assured, this premise, which might not sound particularly enticing on paper (or screen, for that matter), serves to be a mere springboard for the adventure, excitement and laughter this fun-filled live-action sequel is guaranteed to give the entire family! Without revealing the specifics, Paddington’s desperate pursuit of the antique book and the masked burglar who took it will introduce him to a whole new array of colourful characters and cast him in a starring role in the numerous inventive scenarios to follow. Yes, this does mean that Paddington is away from the Brown family for most of this film’s duration, however they still play a very important role in fulfilling Paddington’s mission. So not only are all past and present characters such wonderful company all throughout, they are also each creatively conceived and contribute meaningfully to all proceedings. A perfect example of just that revolves around what Paddington aspires to and indeed does achieve at a particular facility. Classic stuff!


Thank goodness that FLORENCE FOSTER JENKINS and Meryl Streep wooed Hugh Grant out of his premature retirement. He is in as dashing form here, portraying a narcissistic and flamboyant villain, as he was in any film from his heyday. It is an act worth the price of admission alone. Another fan favourite among adults and children alike will be Brendan Gleeson’s extremely likable outing as an unapproachable and irascible head chef named “Nuckles”. Having detected a softness in Nuckles’ heart that was understood to be non-existent, the brave and utterly endearing manner in which Paddington attempts to extract it is as sweet as marmalade itself. The reactions from Paddington’s audience who witness this risky business and the hilarious shenanigans they get up to produces family comedy at its finest.

Director Paul King left WONDER to direct this sequel and has repeated the original’s excellence whilst reinventing the all-ages adventure and story. Don’t miss it!

4 stars

Viewer Discretion
(Very mild themes and violence)

Trailer
PADDINGTON 2

Moviedoc thanks Asha Holmes Publicity and Studiocanal for the invite to the screening of this film.

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MOUNTAIN

Director / Jennifer Peedom (SHERPA)
Narrator/ Willem Dafoe

“You never feel so alive knowing at any minute… You could die”

For anyone who has stood at the top of a mountain’s edge, those words will resonate completely. This Australian produced documentary is an exploration of how our initial trepidation of mountains has evolved over time for these popular attractions to now be home of various activities. It was just three centuries ago when entertaining the idea of ever climbing a mountain was thought to be madness. Nonetheless, a physical and a spiritual calling was awakening inside of us.

5S9A3932
From a visual standpoint, MOUNTAIN ends as it had started. In between though, this mildly educational film and overall mighty experience is guaranteed to significantly alter perceptions of the very subject it is documenting.

This meditating observation of the serene beauty and the raw wildness that mountains possess has been poetically scripted for the guiding narration work of actor Willem Dafoe to perform. Amalgamating its minimal narrative with the constant presence of music performed for the film by the Australian Chamber Orchestra, MOUNTAIN is a majestic cinematic experience unlike many others. The devastating scenery and mesmerising expedition chronicling the birth, development and dare of mountainous adventure has been exquisitely photographed for the big screen. In fact, the outstanding cinematography truly comes to the fore during a genuinely jaw-dropping segment that captures the successes and the failures of crazy stunts that are beyond your wildest imaginations, all performed and recorded by thrill-seeking adrenalin junkies. The aerial shots, angles and the camerawork during these stunning sequences especially are of equal magnificence to the production as a whole.

A breathtaking 70 minute worship of mountains. Highly recommended.

4 stars

(c) renan ozturk 2

Viewer Discretion/ E 

Trailer / MOUNTAIN

Moviedoc thanks Madman for the screening invite to this film.

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VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

Writer & Director / Luc Besson (LUCY, THE FIFTH ELEMENT, LÉON: THE PROFESSIONAL)
Stars/ Dane DeHaan, Cara Delevingne, Clive Owen, Sam Spruell, Ethan Hawke and Rihanna

Costing as much as €197.47 million (U.S $210 million) to produce, most of which was personally funded by director Luc Besson, VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS is easily the most expensive film ever to be made in France.

Based on the French Science-Fiction Comic Book Series “Valerian and Laureline” written by Pierre Christin and illustrated by Jean-Claude Mézières, the plot for VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS is loosely based on the sixth album in the series.

It is the 28th century in Alpha, a space station where millions of species, including humans, from a thousand planets all peacefully coexist. Special agents Valerian (Dane DeHaan) and Laureline (Cara Delevingne), who belong to the human division, are assigned a new task by Commander Filitt (Clive Owen), who has identified a dangerous and dark presence within the space station. Valerian and Laureline must travel to this section of the station and stop the unknown force from spreading before it threatens to cause harm to Alpha’s entire population.

Valerian_Pic#11
Truth be told, VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS isn’t at all difficult to like.

Its intentionally broadly accessible plot and structure will understandably be labelled as unoriginal. And sure, this aspect of the film is surprise-free. Visually however, there can be no arguing that Besson’s film is attention-diverting at the least and unique at its best. How could it not be? In total, there are 2,734 special effects shots and 200 alien species! Luc Besson was inspired by what was achieved by James Cameron in AVATAR. Although this science-fiction action-adventure movie is never really magical to witness as Cameron’s epic film was for many, there are other means to credible entertainment constantly on offer. Take the film’s temperament for instance, which is often light-hearted and incorporates a sufficient supply of sometimes lame, albeit funnier moments. Legendary music composer Alexandre Desplat’s score for the film is customarily brilliant and DeHaan & Delevingne, who share solid chemistry, work surprisingly well together.

This entry-level sci-fi/fantasy flick finds the right balance for a varied audience. The straightforward storytelling and mainstream characterisation won’t make any newcomers to the genre feel too out of this world. As for genre aficionados, although these aspects of the movie certainly won’t blow them out of this world, the more specific details and the cosmic aura of the film is likely to compensate for any lack of imagination in storytelling that is detected.

3 stars

Valerian_Pic#08

Viewer Discretion/ M (Science-fiction violence) 

Trailer / VALERIAN AND THE CITY OF A THOUSAND PLANETS

Moviedoc thanks entertainment One for the invite to the screening of this film.

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THE MUMMY

Director / Alex Kurtzman (PEOPLE LIKE US)
Stars/ Tom Cruise, Annabelle Wallis, Sofia Boutella, Russell Crowe and Jake Johnson

Universal Pictures commence their Dark Universe film series, which will revive its monster characters over past years, with this third remake of THE MUMMY. The very first cinematic production of THE MUMMY in 1932 received both positive reviews and success at the box office. Although gathering mixed reviews, the 1999 remake starring Brendan Fraser and Rachel Weisz grossed over $400 million worldwide off an $80 million budget. Back then, it was a lot of fun to watch. Despite already earning back what it cost to produce, this $125 million re-telling of THE MUMMY starring Tom Cruise is easily the worst of them all.

An unnecessarily, overly convoluted plot begins with an ancient Egyptian princess, Ahmanet (Sofia Boutella) who is discovered in present day Iraq by a soldier, Nick Morton (Tom Cruise), and his partner, Chris Vail (Jake Johnson), after being buried alive thousands of years ago. Soon after the discovery, archaeologist Jenny Halsey (Annabelle Willis) and Dr. Henry Jekyll (Russell Crowe) join forces and must try to stop Ahmanet from carrying out her evil plans.


At best, THE MUMMY should have been (almost) two hours of entertaining escapism. At its worst, that escapism you’re seeking is the exit sign in the cinema. So bad is this shoddy remake, it may even trigger the hierarchy of Scientology to revisit Cruise’s association to them! Although the lacklustre performance from Tom Cruise is the most annoying he’s been since that infamous couch jump on Oprah, THE MUMMY has several head-scratching outcomes to blame for the mess that it is. 

If there is just one lesson to be learned from 2017’s THE MUMMY, it’s that more isn’t always merrier. Split between writing the screenplay and the story, there are a total of six writers that have worked on this fantasy/action movie. Experienced hands that have penned the script for a number of very good movies that include WAR OF THE WORLDS, EDGE OF TOMORROW and DOCTOR STRANGE. One of those writers happens to be the director of MISSION IMPOSSIBLE: ROGUE NATION and the first JACK REACHER film too. Even director Alex Kurtzman, whose name you may know from the STAR TREK and STAR TREK INTO DARKNESS writing departments, has partly written THE MUMMY. Their combined efforts has executed a script filled with many absurdities, has minimum sense of adventure, just one action sequence (set on a plane) that is worth remembering and is barely about its titular character. Contributing to the carnage is Kurtzman’s continuous misjudgement of the use of several flashbacks and visions had by Cruise’s character. In particular, the attempts to inject out-of-place humour involving Jake Johnson’s character pull up every centimetre as short as Johnson’s co-star.

An unacceptable first instalment to a rather forced movie universe that seemingly exists purely in order to rival Marvel. KONG: SKULL ISLAND, all is now forgiven.

1 star

Viewer Discretion/ M (supernatural themes, violence and sustained threat)

Trailer / THE MUMMY

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

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WONDER WOMAN

Director / Patty Jenkins (MONSTER)
Stars/ Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Danny Huston, David Thewlis and Robin Wright

The newest superhero to join the cinematic universe is unveiled in this fourth instalment of the DC extended universe. WONDER WOMAN, which is the first female-dominant superhero film since 2005’s ELEKTRA, has been in development for over 20 years. In that time, plenty of names have been attached to direct, including Ivan Reitman and Joss Whedon. After accepting the offer in 2015, Patty Jenkins is the first woman to direct a superhero film with a female protagonist.

An origin story for Wonder Woman, Diana Prince (Gal Gadot, who stars in several films belonging to the FAST & FURIOUS chain) is an Amazon princess living on an island paradise, which is inhabited by female warriors. A trained and highly-skilled fighter, Diana learns of World War I when a pilot, Steve Trevor (Chris Pine), crashes his helicopter nearby. Enraged by the destruction that is occurring on the planet, Diana leaves her idyllic abode to use her superpowers and bring peace to the people, fulfilling her destiny to become Wonder Woman.


Like most origin stories, WONDER WOMAN travels right back to Diana’s upbringing and childhood years. During the opening act, we learn of the influence that her Aunty (Robin Wright) and protective mother (Connie Nielsen) have on her as a child. The script moves along quite swiftly during these earlier sequences, which also explains how their island nation came to existence. The introduction of Chris Pine’s character brings with it a more light-hearted approach and adds plenty of playful humour to the mix, a welcomed facet that remains intact as Diana acquaints with Steve’s secretary, Etta Candy (Lucy Davis), in war-ravaged London. As it continues, the plot gains some extra muscle as Steve resumes his mission and by more heavily involving the films antagonists. 

Everything happens mostly as expected in WONDER WOMAN. The closer it gets to arriving at that 141 minute duration, the further away it is from its best work. The final hour, which goes heavy on the special effects, does contain some well-choreographed stunts, but shifts gears into auto-pilot action mode and overdoes it as a result. Partly written by BATMAN V SUPERMAN: DAWN OF JUSTICE and MAN OF STEEL director Zack Snyder (who is set to direct the upcoming films JUSTICE LEAGUE PART 1 & 2), the script can’t camouflage its formulaic structure or its clichés as strongly during this latter stage of the film. However, just as expected, the constant presence of an iconic and strong female cast in a role normally occupied by the opposite gender is always refreshing to watch, sweeping aside anything and anyone who dares to stand in her way.

3 ½ stars

Viewer Discretion/ M (mature themes and action violence)

Trailer / WONDER WOMAN

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

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