By: Henry J. Fromage –
With the Oscars over, week nine of my 2017 365 Days of Movies Challenge actually featured some films from the year 2017. Fancy that.
66. I Am Not Your Negro
This was hands-down the documentary of the year. Director Raoul Peck bases an incisive, wide-ranging, and devastating examination of America’s relationship to its black citizens around an unfinished piece by noted African-American author James Baldwin telling the story of America through the lives of Civil Rights icons as well as three of his personal friends, Martin Luther King, Malcolm X, and Medgar Evers, all of who would be shot dead before they saw 40.
67. The Salesman
The very fitting winner of the Best Foreign Language Film Oscar this year, this is almost a strange film to be a touchpoint of controversy, as perhaps the world’s best dramatist, Asghar Farhadi, spins another delicate, thought-provoking web of interpersonal conflict and world-rocking bad decisions that feels entirely authentic.
68. A Cure for Wellness
Gore Verbinski’s Gothic Horror curio has been called the strangest wide-release film to hit theaters in quite some time, and that is probably accurate. Admittedly, the plot crumbles to dust when you focus too much thought on it, but the design and cinematography are so batshit inspired that in my estimation they make up for it. Dane DeHaan is clearly angling to be Leonardo DiCaprio 2.0 as well, and I think he’s on his way.
69. John Wick: Chapter Two
The second installment of the John Wick saga greatly expands the reach and intensity of his circumstances, as he’s drawn into paying off an old debt that turns out to be a classic Catch 22. The action is as good if not better than the original, and undoubtedly boasts a higher body account and more greusomely inventive kills, but what’s really intriguing to me is how the ending suggests that all this revenge business is in no way worth it, and is probably setting Mr. Wick up for a bloody end. Let’s see how he gets out of this one, or if the trilogy-capper is even interested in getting him out of it at all.
70. War on Everyone
Early contender for most disappointing film of the year- the newest by John Michael McDonagh, director of Cavalry, one of my favorite films of the last decade, is a tonal mess. Perhaps it’s the pacing or the editing, but his unique combination of profane and educated one-liners feels tired and flat here, and despite there being some scenes showing that same filmmaking verve he had before, the overall effect is one of those dime a dozen Tarantino-clone flicks from the late 90s… and not one of the halfway decent ones, either.