As a new year of movies begins, make sure you don’t forget these great movies from 2017. Make sure you keep an eye out for them. I’m quite surprised at the mix of genres actually. Full reviews can be found throughout the blog. In no particular order …
War movies aren’t usually my thing so this movie was up against at from the start. Thanks to the immense genius of Christopher Nolan this is an astonishing, immersive, powerful movie.
The story is one we’ve all heard. 400,000 men stranded on the beach unable to make it out to the ships with the Germans zeroing in. Enter local fishermen on their tiny boats, who rescued 300,000 men. The movie is split into three stories, land, sea and air. One of the most fascinating things about the movie was that there’s no green screen. Keep that in mind when you watch it. The planes are real, the naval ships real, the freezing water real. Also clever is the way time twists back on itself. The film marks the third time Nolan and Tom Hardy have worked together. While Nolan joked about seeing what Hardy could do with just one eye, viewers will find out it wasn’t a joke at all. With the camera mounted on his left side Hardy literally acts with one eye. It is pleasing to note that Dunkirk and Christopher Nolan have already been recognised with several awards.
Based on the true story of how in 2006 peace was brokered between two intense rivals. Ian Paisley (Timothy Spall) the deeply conservative British loyalist met up with Martin McGuinness (Colm Meaney), a former Irish Republican Army leader who has devoted his life to the cause of Irish reunification. During an impromptu car ride through the Scottish countryside, each begins to see the other as less of an enemy and more as an individual. The Journey touches on the dangers of male. Considering what is happening in the world it is a very timely film to watch.
Paddington Bear returns and this time is in search for the perfect gift for his aunty. When that gift turns out to hold a clue to great treasures, the chase begins. Yes the bear is cute but it is Hugh Grant and his various incantations that steals the show. Channeling an old thespian he is priceless. The large number of brilliant British actors is another joy. I wouldn’t have thought it but this is a movie I can’t wait to watch for a second time.
In a very different kind of bear movie, Brigsby Bear is a quirky movie about a man called James (Kyle Mooney) growing up in a bunker believing the world is watching a television show about Brigsby. On leaving the bunker (I won’t spoil the surprise) James explores the real world and we quickly grow to love this man-child as he shows us life through the eyes of an innocent. He’s enchanting. So too his desire to finish the Brigsby Bear Adventures story. I won’t say anymore or I’ll ruin it for you but it is a must for anyone wanting to make their own film.
Maudie is a gorgeous independent movie reflecting on real life folk artist Maudie Lewis (Sally Hawkins) who suffers from arthritis. While her relatives have very low expectations of her she has other ideas and soon takes up a position as cleaning lady for local fish peddler Everett (Ethan Hawk). Art has always been a release for Maud and with Everett’s continuing lack of empathy she starts painting flowers on the walls. Soon Maud’s presence takes over the tiny house and when her art gets noticed, their world opens up. Maudie is a moving romantic drama, and a study in the low expectations of people with disabilities. Sally Hawkins is delightful as Maud, managing to realistically convey the artists disability without turning it into a caricature. I must admit I’ve never been a huge fan of Ethan Hawke, but in this movie he plays Everett beautifully.
Only The Brave
Set in Arizona in 2007 the movie traces the journey of a troupe of local firemen aiming to become first on the scene ‘Hot Shots’. After much training they realise their dream and the Granite Mountain Hotshots are born. By 2013 they are a well known, respected team, and so when the Yarnell Hill Fire strikes they are called on to clear and back burn the area. While slow in patches, the final scene brings the true story into focus. Coupled with images of the young men who lost their lives this movie hits you in the heart. It’s been a long time since I’ve watched an audience file out in silence.
Small Town Killers
The Scandinavian Film Festival has yet to disappoint me. This years stand out was Small Town Killers a black comedy. With the premise of two husbands (called ‘Dumb and Dumber’ by the local police), who decide to do away with their wives rather than pay alimony, you can probably see where this is heading. Throw in a Russian contract killer and a very different kind of nanny and your mouth will soon be hurting from smiling so much. Just see it. It’s that simple.