Best Films of 2017: A Voluptuous Edition

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I’ve read a few comments from people bitching about how shit 2017 has been for the movies and I could not disagree more – this is the year I got not one but three Wonder Woman movies (with varying degrees of success) after all. I’ve been having a blast!

2017 has been the first year I’ve paid for a cinema card and it’s opened me up to a lot of movies I might not have caught otherwise. I also got myself a Duke of York’s membership in the Black Friday sales so now have all my bases covered when it comes to the cinema.

Without too much more waffle, here is a guide to my favourite films of 2017.

My Top 11

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Wonder Woman

There are so many things I should say about this movie that just can’t do it justice. Patty Jenkins‘ Wonder Woman is everything, from the costuming to the story to the shaping of the character herself. It’s taken us a long long time to get here, to get Diana of Themyscira on the big screen and the reality of it was so much better than I could of dreamed.

To see her pushed back to square one in Justice League just a few months later doesn’t bear thinking about but the future of Wonder Woman is bright, I have hope in my heart about that.

My film of the year and my review here.

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The Disaster Artist

While nobody will ever accuse me of being that into James Franco, in this he cannot be faulted. His portrayal of the mysterious Tommy Wiseau is nothing short of miraculous and his dedication to the part never falters.

TDA is hilarious and joyful and weird and respectful while endearing the viewer to the wonderful Wiseau world view. It doesn’t pull punches when it comes to how awful he could be during the filming of The Room but it also doesn’t make him out to be a total arse either. And the friendship element, between Tommy and Greg Sestero, is genuinely heartwarming in places.

A very fun viewing experience.

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The Handmaiden

My favourite director meets my favourite author. There was no way this wasn’t going to make the list.

The Handmaiden is gorgeous, sexy, horrifying and brilliant while the story twists and turns to the bitter end. In Chan-wook Park‘s hands the tale is coated with an extra veneer of mystery and even knowing how it would end from reading Fingersmith, I was pleasantly sated.

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A Ghost Story

I often wonder how this film caught me so unawares. For a start it stars someone I really dislike and although he’s not visible for very much of the film, by rights that should have put me off. It hasn’t though and this film did something not many films are able to do – it got right under my skin.

The story is relatively simple: a young couple lives together until one of them dies. Trapped as a ghost in their home, the man is caught in limbo after his widow moves on. Will he ever be able to leave this realm?

Did I cry? Not until the end credits and then I felt like I’d been punched in the gut. My friend Becky had the same reaction which made me feel better, like I was justified in being so invested. For now I’m avoiding a re-watch so the initial impact can’t wear off.

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Moonlight

Another film I felt, which sounds all kinds of icky but is true. This is a masterpiece in longing and I loved it.

All the actors that play Chiron (Alex R. Hibbert, Ashton Sanders, Trevante Rhodes) at three stages of his life are flawless but I think it might be the final scenes between Black and Kevin that seal the deal for me on this one. They’re everything.

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Get Out

Next to Wonder Woman, I think this might be my favourite film of 2017. The experience we had while watching it was amazing, for once the audience participation wasn’t a problem – as people cheered and booed and clapped all the way through it.

Daniel Kaluuya will always be Tealeaf to me but it’s really good to see him in big screen productions. He doesn’t disappoint as Chris, the African-American boyfriend of Allison Williams‘ Rose Armitage, who takes him home to meet the folks one weekend only for things to take an extremely sinister turn.

What was great about this is that it kept its sense of humour throughout, approaches white privilege, cultural appropriation and racism from a fresh angle – and wasn’t the film I’d come to expect from the trailer. Which can only ever be a good thing.

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Call Me By Your Name

What a lush and wonderful slice of perfection this is! Armie Hammer was so good I felt guilty for ever having underestimated his talents.

Set during the heady Summer of 1983, 17-year-old Elio (Timothée Chalamet) falls in love with his father’s American research assistant Oliver against the backdrop the sumptuous Italian countryside. Simple though this sounds this film, like Moonlight in some ways, is the perfect study in all-consuming, forbidden desire.

And the scene between Elio and his father towards the end is so touching, it’s one of the most powerful I’ve ever seen.

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer

This isn’t exactly what you’d call a comfortable watch but there is something appealing about the mind of Yorgos Lanthimos‘. I loved Dogtooth and The Lobster, so went in with high hopes for TKOASD. Luckily, I wasn’t disappointed.

It’s fucking weird alright, has a twisted black sense of humour and leaves a lot of questions unanswered, all of which I approve of. All performances are great here, particularly sinister af Barry Koeghan as the vengeful Martin.

As for the plot, it’s extremely satisfying to witness the collapse of Doctor Steven Murphy’s (Colin Farrell) perfect life because he’s a careless arse – but you can’t help feeling for his privileged wife and kids. It probably isn’t for everyone but I liked it a lot.

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Lady Bird

Man, I loved this. It nails the complex relationship some women experience with their mothers perfectly, and even for someone who hasn’t experienced it to the same level, it’s so relateable.

Both Saoirse Ronan (the titular “Lady Bird”) and Laurie Metcalf are so believable as mother and daughter. There’s a scene in the dressing room while Lady Bird tries on prom dresses that is so perfect it brings up a lot of emotion (or did for me). Ah mums, gotta love them, right?

Note to Greta Gerwig: you’re a bloody clever woman – and I can’t wait to see what you do next!

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Star Wars: The Last Jedi

I won’t defend my decision to include this movie on my top list because I shouldn’t have to. Lots of people hated on it and that’s totally fine too but it did what I wanted and needed it to, and some of the big reveals, they make sense (on reflection).

It’s by no means perfect but a Star Wars film is always going to be head and shoulders more exciting than most films because it’s a Star Wars film – and I’m all in.

The things I loved (*with minimal spoilers*): all Carrie Fisher scenes, the introduction of Rose Tico, #spacedernCaptain Phasma, the crystal foxes, Lietenant Connix, the entire salt planet sequence, the fish nuns, Dameron Poe‘s face, PORGS! THAT scene in the red room with the ninja sabres… I could go on.

I’ll definitely be seeing this again as soon as I can because there is an awful lot going on and I’m very much looking forward to it. See you soon Rey & co.

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Professor Marston and the Wonder Women

A last minute entry into the Top 11, I can’t be sure if my total enjoyment of this film was down to its subject matter (let’s face it probably) or whether it’s just because it was totally dope. I’m going to say 50/50 and call it a day.

I thought this was just lovely, giving us insight into the man behind the Wonder Woman character and the very real women who inspired him. It’s one of my very favourite stories anyway and to see it brought to the big screen was so much fun.

I loved Rebecca Hall as Elizabeth Marston and very much enjoyed the ménage à trois relationship between the three leads. So worth a watch if you can get to see it, sadly I think this has had a very limited release in the UK.

Other films of note

I also totally loved:
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Blade Runner 2049

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Spider-Man: Homecoming / Paddington 2 / Thor: Ragnarok

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The Big Sick / Tom of FinlandRaw

Most mind boggling and frustrating film of 2017

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mother!

At the very least you can’t accuse Aronofsky of producing boring work. While mother! is many things, it’s not dull. There’s a lot about it to process and I still can’t really work out if I hated it with a passion, didn’t get it – or if it’s actually brilliant.

So rather than getting my worst film vote, it gets most memorable but not necessarily in a good way.

Worst film of 2017 (AKA The Swiss Army Man Award)

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Colossal

I reacted so bizarrely to this film and have never really been able to compute why. I guess you can’t win them all but I am baffled about it.

Really it should have been everything I wanted but the controlling aspect of the central relationship/friendship caught me off guard and I couldn’t enjoy it. I guess the after-effects of a shitty relationship can seep into anything without warning, even all these years later. So it’s a nope from me, sorry Anne. You had a GREAT fringe though.

What did you love/hate/enjoy this year?

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Wonder Woman (Film) Review

Imagine trying to talk about a film you’ve waited almost 40 years for.

It’s so difficult to convey what this movie means. Not just from a feminist standpoint but to me, the person. More specifically, me the four-year old obsessed with a high kicking female role model, the icon I wanted to be when I grew up.

And now here I sit on the other side, having devoured the movie and I can’t believe it. It feels amazing. It feels important. And I can’t stop bursting into sporadic tears. (Being reminded of what it felt like to be a kid, with all those simple dreams ahead always makes me feel very raw and emotional).

No traditional review here, just some thoughts and I’ll stay exceedingly light on the *spoilers* because I’m not a monster.

Please see this movie, even if you’ve been burned with the DCEU offerings so far. Even if you still can’t get the horrible aftertaste of Jared Leto’s cackling Joker out of your mouth. Hey, even if you’ve not seen a single superhero movie in your life.

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Wonder Woman (2017)

IMDB Synopsis

Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.

My Thoughts

The first fifteen minutes of my viewing experience was sullied by an over zealous cinema goer who wasn’t going to stand for light chatter or non-designated seating arrangements during this showing, even if her mission to get people to zip it was ultimately more distracting. I get it though, I’m a “Shut the fuck up” truther but I had bigger fish to fry on Thursday night and was willing to let it slide.

Once she’d chilled the fuck out, I was able to fully immerse myself in the wonder of Themyscira and the Amazon philosophy, which is represented stunningly. An island with no men? Sign me up.

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Bring your daughter to work day was always fun

Of course this couldn’t remain the state of play forever, as the story has to move on somehow. How better to fuck shit up than to introduce the men? Before we get there though, rest assured that the land of warrior women is not only gorgeous to look at but also hench AF.

Queen Hippolyta (Connie Nielson) worries for her only daughter, spinning Diana a yarn about having moulded her out of clay herself, begging Zeus to bring her to life. This explains why Diana (Gal Gadot) is the embodiment of physical perfection. There’s more to this story though which we’ll unravel as we go.

Aunty Antiope (the mighty Robin Wright) is the henchest of them all, training Diana to be better than anyone and challenging her when she doubts her own strength. But I’m not here to break this all down for you so let’s just say that fate has a plan for the unsullied Princess Diana and her future lays off-island.

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Prince(ss) of Hats

Which takes Diana and her new friend, the freshly rescued American Spy Steve Trevor (Chris Pine) to London where our hero will learn all there is to know about humanity and the ugly face of war, all whilst motivated by her own mission.

Some of the best bits are Diana getting to grips with the role of women in the world outside the one she knows. Her constant questioning shines a light on the ridiculousness of almost every situation, and certainly gets her noticed.

Anyway, the action does not stay in London for long, as Diana and Trevor journey further into the heart of darkness, in search of war. Diana for her own reason, Steve because it’s his job. They team up with a rag-tag bunch, which includes the amazing Etta Candy, WW’s sidekick in the comics (played by the lovely Lucy Davis).

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Candy girl. you are my world

I loved the chemistry between Etta and Diana but I wanted much more for them. I guess I would have liked to have explored the concept of different kinds of strength, not just the physical in more depth. You can argue that Etta displays her own anyway, I think my desire for a more female interaction is betraying itself.

A bit about the baddies. Without giving too much away, our main villain is Doctor Maru AKA “Doctor Poison” (Elena Anaya), the half-masked scientist with a deadly objective, to build the perfect super weapon. She is backed by German bad boy Ludendorff (Danny Huston) who is chemically altered by the Doc’s own concoctions whenever the need arises.

Like Etta, I would have liked to learn more about Doctor Poison’s motivations and her history. But there’s a chance we may meet again so I can let that one go.

So Diana travels to the front line and is shocked by what she witnesses. Her innate desire to help everyone is admirable but it’s not always possible to save everyone. That doesn’t mean she doesn’t try and there’s a sequence set in No Man’s Land that is madness personified but also incredible.

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It’s a Woman’s world

This is Wonder Woman’s first chance to shine and boy does she knock this one out of the park. Interestingly, she is never referred to as WW within this movie. Perhaps it’s like describing yourself as pretty or funny, you’re not really supposed to say it about yourself but it’s okay for others to?

Anyway, there’s a lot of action, loads of arse-kicking, a little old-fashioned smooching and a massive final showdown (obvs). Along the way the people’s princess learns more than one valuable life lesson and it’s those truth nuggets that propel a gal (Gadot) forward.

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Even Chris Pine couldn’t spoil this

I loved every minute, honestly. It’s so good to see this movie and know how many young girls there are out there completely beside themselves with excitement. The film is rated 12A and this was a conscious decision by the film’s director, Patty Jenkins to ensure the newest generation of fans could get to it.

It’s not a perfect movie (though it’s the best DC I’ve seen since the Christopher Nolan days) but that just doesn’t matter. It’s an important one and one that needs to be seen. I think every person should go to see this film; the female driven, female directed blockbuster.

You should give it your money so we get more, do it for your daughters, your sisters, your friends. Do it so the next generation have more female role models to look up to.

I can’t wait to see it again.

My Rating

5/5. Obviously.

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Some Kind of Wonderful

imageAbout cocking time is all I can say to the news that my main girl is finally getting her own film.

I mean Jesus, she’s been kicking about since the 1940’s, around the time the first rumours of a motion picture began (jks).

Wonder Woman was, of course quite busy in the late seventies and then… not so much.

Sure she’s been keeping herself occupied on the page but while Superman, Batman and all their (male) pals have enjoyed numerous (sometimes tedious) reboots, she’s been languishing in production hell.

And no, the wonderfully camp 2011 TV movie starring Liz Hurley as the baddie doesn’t count. Even if it was hilarious and tried to take a different tack by making Diana Prince a public figure, rather than Wonder Woman’s secret alter-ego.

Anyway, it pissed me off to learn that my Queen would be appearing in Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (2016) played by Fast & Furious‘ (2009-2015) Gal Gadot. I mean why does she have to play with the boys first?

Now I’m over that (just), I can only be excited. I will be in line at the multiplex for BvS, though I haven’t got much faith that it will be any good (Batfleck? Really?). Make no mistake, I’m there for the WW action only – and so far I’m holding out hope.

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Go Gal!

As for the actress playing what could be the greatest role of all time, I don’t know much about her. I can’t remember much about her from the few F&F films I’ve seen but I’m told she’s good (Meghan of That’s Lightletainment! is a fan).

Plus she spent 2 years in the Israeli army, which makes her something of a warrior in my eyes – exactly what Princess Diana of Themyscira is. It’s a start.

So I’m getting ready to settle down and enjoy my favourite comic character finally on the screen she deserves, in her own origin tale and then subsequent Justice League films (2017 – onwards).

I expect her to be sticking it to the men and staying true to her feminist roots. Finally finally.

*FIST PUMP*

Truth Serum

You’ve come into possession of one vial of truth serum. Who would you give it to (with the person’s consent, of course) — and what questions would you ask? Via The Daily Post (30th September 2014) (This is also today’s Blogging 101 prompt: Make a Prompt Personal)

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Lasso of Truth Innit

There are so many truths I would love to uncover but I think it’s important to preface this post with a dash of realism.

The truth can often hurt and, while they say it can also set you free, sometimes I’m not so sure.

I mean, it’s okay, for instance, not to know exactly what someone you work with really thinks of you because who does it really help, unless you actually care? It’s okay to have small secrets.

Even in relationships, I don’t think you have to play your entire hand always. My husband doesn’t need to know just how much I love my time alone when he goes out with the boys, does he? (He does know but for the sake of this post, let’s say he’s clueless, ok?)

What I’m trying to say is this: lies, or the omission of truth rather, are sometimes designed for the greater good, to protect the ones we care about or it doesn’t matter in the long run.

I’m the kind of person that doesn’t need all the details. I’m happy to trust that I know what I need to. Life is hard enough without being cut up over every little truth nugget people choose to lay on you, and these same folk can be very generous with their opinions when you’re not asking for them.

If I’m really honest here, I would say that the one person who would most gain from drinking the serum in this scenario, is me. I’m not honest all the time, hide my true feelings and trip over my words where I should be expressive.

I turn a blind eye to the fact that I don’t know what I really want out of life, professionally and creatively. I could do with having a stern talking to myself, no holds barred.

So, while I’d love to know the truth about whether Beyoncé was ever pregnant (from the lady herself), I’m going to drink the truth juice myself and get busy with the results.

Good time to ask me anything at all that you like, guys…