Get Out of Logan: Skull Island
Since the last movie post I have seen a few 2017 movies to mix with a couple older ones. I saw: Logan (2017), Kong: Skull Island (2017), Get Out (2017), Cabin in the Woods (2012), and Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (2007).
This is my first five-star movie of the year (it has been a strong year so far) and this one shows that superhero movies are only going to evolve through many genres and tones. Logan plays like a rugged modern western in the vein of Hell or High Water, Sicario, or Midnight Special and mixes it with x-men mythology and a science fiction future. Everything about this movie is just fantastic film making, fantastically directed, special effects, great story, great acting, and the sound design is even especially notable.
Noms: Acting for Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen (the little girl), Directing and writing for James Mangold, cinematography for John Mathieson, Music and sound, special effects and stunts.
Kong: Skull Island
I think my overall review of this movie is that the end result is almost strange. It's not a strange movie, it's that it's one of the most beautiful movies I've seen in the theater in a while, the story works great, the cast is great, the jokes are fun, but any time exposition is in the dialogue, it is incredibly clunky. It feels as though test audiences got confused about what was going on in the movie and additional exposition was added in reshoots.
It's a real shame because there are portions of the movie that are practically told like a silent film and the would building, plot and characters are masterfully flushed out. There are at least two parts of the movie where something crazy happens and a character says "we aren't going to talk about that? Because that was crazy!" which seems in hindsight like the director saying to the studio "hey, we aren't going to spell everything out to the audience and we're going to rub your face in it." This was one of the most enjoyable movie going experiences I've had in a while.
Samuel L. Jackson is an electric villain, Brie Larson somehow shows why she is an Oscar winner and John C. Reilly is perfectly funny and crazy as well as touching. Kong looks great and the opening scene was a bit of a surprise to me, but it hit everything I would ever want in a movie scene. One of the high points of the movie is the ensemble casting with the likes of Shea Whigham and Jason Mitchell (Easy E from Straight Outta Compton!).
Noms: Directing for Jordan Vogt-Roberts. Acting for Samuel L. Jackson, Brie Larson and John C. Reilly, Ensemble Casting, Special Effects and Stunts, Cinematography for Larry Fong.
I'm not the biggest horror fan and I came into watching this after hearing a lot of hype but I really enjoyed this. It was more filled with suspense and the awkward moments had just the right touch of comedy so that it wasn't just a build up of dread. Lakeith Stanfield who plays the man from the opening scene and is also known for playing the role of the crazy character on Atlanta and Snoop Dogg in Straight Outta Compton. He has such a great range in these roles that I'd like to see him featured as much as possible. This is an amazing accomplishment for Jordan Peele and an off the charts impressive first feature film. I was surprised it didn't end with Allison WIlliams' dad lying about being on a helicopter to distract everyone from the thing that she did.
Noms: Writing and Directing for Jordan Peele. Lakeith Stanfield and Daniel Kaluuya for acting.
Cabin in the Woods
This is a bit of a cult favorite of horror and science fiction fans. I think it holds up pretty well, especially as Chris Hemsworth's status has ballooned over the years. It's such a sharp look at explaining why troupe-y horror film could be troupe-y for a reason. Worth watching if you haven't already, and it holds up well as a repeat viewing as well. It's a fun time.
Noms: Writing for Joss Whedon and Drew Goddard.
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix
This is a fun enough installment to the Potterverse of movies. I feel like the stories of all of the Harry Potter movies hold up pretty well and the David Yates directed installments like this one hold up well as action/fantasy films over the years. I might like the story in this Potter movie in the top half of the series because of Harry's changing role in the school.
Noms: Directing for David Yates, writing for Michael Goldenberg, Special Effects and Stunts.