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The Top 15 Film Scenes of 2017

25 Jan

15. Mirror – “I, Tonya”

14. Bandage removal – “Stronger”

13. Final scene – “Life”

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The Top Film Performances of 2017

19 Jan

 

20. Tiffany Haddish, “Girls Trip”

19. Jessie Vinnick, “Princess Cyd”

18. Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams, “Get Out”

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The Top 20 Television Shows of 2017

13 Jan

20. Dear White People

19. Master of None

18. Black Mirror

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In the Fade Review

11 Jan

Damn, I really wanted to love this. An intense thriller/drama about grief with political undertones and an incredibly talented lead actress? Sign me up. Unfortunately, the film essentially amounts to Diane Kruger doing her absolute best to hold up a flimsy narrative. The first act is easily the strongest, throwing you headfirst into a gut-wrenching scenario defined by confusion, shock, and emptiness. However, it starts to become apparent that Akin’s screenplay isn’t all too capable of exploring its topics in the depth needed to make the story work, as the grief remains too surface level and the conflicts and politics too black and white. Don’t get me wrong, Diane Kruger knows how to kill a reaction shot. I just wish the overall structure of the film were more conducive to a complex and nuanced exploration of grief, revenge, racism, and the justice system. Akin’s decision to dilute his different filmmaking motivations across acts that are all fairly different stylistically does a disservice to each motivation and style. While I’m not completely against the direction the film goes at the end in theory–challenging endings are what I live for–I am definitely against it in the context of a poorly developed thematic narrative leading up to that point. So here, it all just ends up feeling a bit disingenuous and uncomfortable. At least Diane Kruger exists.

GRADE: B-

The Top 101 Songs of 2017

8 Jan

Rules: Only two per artist (not including features). So yes, that makes this not my true top 101, but I do like all of these songs and think variety is very important in any songs list.

101. Jens Lekman feat. LouLou Lamotte, “To Know Your Mission”

100. Beach Fossils, “This Year”

99. Laura Marling, “Always This Way”

98. Mogwai, “Coolverine”

97. Moses Sumney, “Lonely World”

96. Spoon, “Can I Sit Next To You”

95. Kelela, “LMK”

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The Post Review

7 Jan

As a film about journalism, The Post is reasonably entertaining, driven by pros behind the camera and a great performance by Bob Odenkirk. As a film about Journalism, the film struggles to say what it wants to without falling into speechifying and ham-fisted messaging. I’m not going to give the film points for being “relevant to the Trump administration” or whatnot because what matters to me is the execution of that messaging. Unfortunately, the execution here leaves something to be desired. There are so many interesting angles this story can take, and many are in the film; take, for instance, the history of cozy relationships between the media and politicians and its impact on the situation at the time. It’s there, but it feels underdeveloped because it’s ultimately all in service of the safest storytelling mechanisms about capital J Journalism. I won’t judge the story for what it’s not–that is, a more in depth look at the Pentagon Papers themselves rather than a side view of sorts–because there are interesting ideas present in its chosen angle. Why, then, is it so thuddingly obvious to the point that it reduces a story about a woman in a man’s world to a scene in which that woman walks down the Supreme Court steps as a row of young women literally stare at her in awe? It’s interesting that certain arthouse films are criticized for being pretentious when a conventional film like this, one that takes no risks, imbues itself with an even bigger air of self importance. That doesn’t just apply to Streep’s storyline; it also applies to every grand statement made about the freedom and responsibility of the press.

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The Top 15 Television Episodes of 2017

3 Jan

15. Mr. Robot, “eps3.5_kill-pr0cess.inc”

14. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, “I Never Want to See Josh Again”

13. Veep, “Blurb”

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