My Most Anticipated Films of 2017

This list was written a while ago, but I wanted to wait until I’d posted my best of 2016 list to post this. That said, I’m still not done watching the movies from that list, so I won’t be posting it yet. I did want to post this one, though. I’ve already seen one movie from this list, and I have to say, I should have placed it higher on the list. Split has just bumped the next Shyamalan film up higher on my list for the year it is coming out.

  1. Star Wars: The Last Jedi – By far, my most anticipated movie follows up 2015’s The Force Awakens with the further adventures of Rey and Finn. Picking up from where we left off, Luke Skywalker joins the journey and our heroes take off on a new adventure as the First Order regroups and the Resistance continues in their efforts to bring them down.
  2. Look to the Sky – Brett Culp’s long awaited follow-up to 2013’s Legends of the Knight. This time it is a film about hope, centering on the character of Superman.
  3. A Voice that Carries – Another Brett Culp helmed documentary, this one about the relationship between father and daughter.
  4. Cleanin’ Up the Town: Remembering Ghostbusters – A pair of feature length documentaries, one about Ghostbusters and the other about Ghostbusters II. I’ve been following the production of these documentaries for what seems like about 10 years now. They are getting closer to release. They may not make a 2017 release date, but they’re definitely on their way toward a release very soon.
  5. Justice League – I’m pretty excited for DC to finally have their Avengers movie. The cast is excellent, with everyone looking the part, and it’s about time all of these characters get together. Wonder Woman was one of the highlights of Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, and she could maintain that status here.
  6. Wonder Woman – Finally getting her own major motion picture, the setting kind of reminds me of Captain America: The First Avenger, though with settings in WWI rather than WWII. I hope that it’s great.
  7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – The sequel looks just as weird and catchy as the original. Baby Groot looks fantastic. Can’t wait to hear the soundtrack and hope that the film has as much heart as the first.
  8. Transformers: The Last Knight – Michael Bay’s (final?) Transformers film looks like more of the same. I liked the first and third TF films best, the fourth was alright, and the second as well… I’m hopeful for another great one. My one question: will they ever make a Transformers movie that isn’t lead entirely by the humans in the cast?
  9. Beauty and the Beast – The one major problem I have with this film is Emma Watson. So far, we haven’t seen her smile much at all in the trailers. I’m really looking forward to the music in this, and hopeful that, with the same composers working on this that worked on the 1991 original, they have recaptured the magic. From the music in the trailers, it seems like they have with the opening of the film at least. Slightly less annoying is the voice of Lumiere. It sounds like someone forcing a voice and accent, rather than using a voice that they use when they natually speak.
  10. Cars 3 – Lightning McQueen’s journey appears to be coming to a close with the third film in the series. I’m hoping for a return to form. The second film was very much a spy thriller with a fish out of water story that could have had more heart if they only work-shopped Mater’s role in the story a bit more. This time, McQueen appears to be the primary character once again, as he deals with being the older racecar in a field of new cars.
  11. Score – A documentary about film scores. I’ve been waiting for this one for a long time. Hope to see it sometime this year.
  12. Disneynature’s Born in China – Pushed from 2016 to Earth Day 2017. I love the Disneynature films that I’ve seen, and can’t wait for this one.
  13. Spider-Man: Homecoming – I still wish they had made Sam Raimi’s Spider-Man 4. I also wish they would have made The Amazing Spider-Man 3. Alas, neither was to be, and now here we are, 15 years after Spider-Man took the world by storm, we’re getting our sixth film featuring our third Peter Parker. Looks fun, and I hear it’s like a John Hughes movie. I like that prospect.
  14. My Little Pony: The Movie – My wife and I have watched this show for the last few years, and there’s no way she’s going to want to miss this one.
  15. Thor: Ragnarok – Been waiting for this one since Thor: The Dark World, to find out what has actually happened with Loki. Plus, this one looks like it includes Hulk and Doctor Strange.
  16. Coco – Pixar’s second film release of the year is also an original film. I haven’t read too much about this one, but I’m always up for a Pixar.
  17. Jumanji – Is this a reboot? A sequel? A remake? I have no idea, but it looks like a unique spin as we might be heading into the Jumanji game, rather than having the game invading our world.
  18. Logan – The final Wolverine film. It also features Professor X and X-23. This could also be Hugh Jackman’s final time playing the role he originated in 2000’s X-Men. (Amazingly, Dougray Scott was up for the role, back in the day, but filming on Mission: Impossible 2 ran over, creating a schedule conflict and they had to replace him with Hugh Jackman for the role that he went on to play over 18 years.)
  19. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales – I like these movies. We’ll see, though. They need to capture the fun of the original film.
  20. The Lego Batman Movie – Will this be as good as the surprisingly great Lego Movie? I hope so. If not, at least it’ll be funny.
  21. Power Rangers – Could be great. Could be terrible. The cast will make or break this one.
  22. Smurfs: The Lost Village – After two live-action mixed Smurfs films, it’s about time they make one that is actually true to the original animated series in style and setting. This looks like it could be the Smurfs movie that should have been made first.
  23. A Dog’s Purpose – My wife wants to see this one for the dogs.
  24. Split – I love M. Night Shyamalan’s films. And I understand that this and his last film are both a return to form for the director. That said, I am kind of scared of seeing his latest movies. I’m not a fan of scary movies, and the subject matter of this one is kind of terrifying.
  25. Dunkirk – Christopher Nolan is hit or miss for me. I like all of his Batman movies and Inception. The Prestige is alright. Interstellar and Insomnia are both insufferable. Where will this fit in? Will it?
  26. The Dark Tower – We’ll see if I make it to this one. I could go either way.

My Most Anticipated Films of 2016

 

Rogue One: A Star Wars StoryHere is my list of most anticipated films for the year. I think I missed doing this list last year, but I wanted to make sure to put this list together for 2016. We now live in a world where there are new Star Wars films coming out regularly. I’m very excited about that, and have ranked Rogue One: A Star Wars Story as my most anticipated movie of the year. I have a feeling that’s going to be a running theme from now on. Anyway, here are my most anticipated movies of the year. Read the rest of this entry »

My Top Films of 2015

Star Wars: The Force AwakensHere’s my annual list of favorite films for the year. This year had a few surprises for me. I’m really pleased with 2015, and really excited about the films that I managed to see throughout the year. Let’s get started.

  1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens – I’ve been waiting a decade for this. After Revenge of the Sith, I wondered if we’d get any more Star Wars films, and when it was announced that there’d be more, I couldn’t believe it… and then it was here. I almost still don’t believe it. It was everything I wanted it to be, save for one thing… I would have liked more of the old cast to have scenes together. But, as that’s a personal preference thing, and doesn’t actually reflect on the movie that we were given, it bears no weight against it. The characters, the planets, the settings, the acting, the directing, the effects… this one has it all. Including both practical and CGI elements that are seemlessly branched together. It’s also the best Star Wars film since Revenge of the Sith. The last one, Star Wars: The Clone Wars, was more of a prelude to the animated series, and not a very good example of how great that series became as it went on. The Force Awakens has a story that introduces new mysteries, adds to the mythology in important ways, and it has a female in a leading role in a way that is closer in attitude to Princess Leia whenever she carried a gun. I could write volumes about The Force Awakens. Also, to those that felt Star Wars had died with the prequels, welcome back. I’ve been here the whole time… a lot of us have… just please, leave the prequels and George Lucas alone from now on. We’ve got Star Wars films that most of us can agree on being made again… just let it go.
  2. CinderellaCinderella – At Disney’s 2013 D23 Expo they didn’t have much information about this, other than a teaser with the glass slipper. I had never seen the actress playing Cinderella before, but Cate Blanchett (Galadriel in The Hobbit Trilogy and The Lord of the Rings Trilogy) was in it as the step-mother and Hayley Atwell (Agent Carter) plays her mother. Plus, with Kenneth Branagh (Thor) directing, I knew it’d be at the very least visually stunning. And it was. Plus, the script brought Cinderella to life in a way that was both entertaining and memorable. The prince, this time, isn’t a soulless character without a personality. Instead, there’s a focus on his relationship with his father, the king, which lends itself well to the growth of both the prince and Cinderella. We learn much about both of them through the lens of the king. All of this leads to one of the most powerful themes being played out in just the right place: when Cinderella says her final words to her step-mother before leaving. It’s a home-run and well worth your time.
  3. Inside Out – Pixar has done it again. A film that is as wonderful as I wanted it to be. It captures your imagination and teaches the value of every emotion, including the one that we might think is a bad one: sadness. It brings me back to the lines that Gandalf speaks at the end of The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: “I will not say, ‘do not weep,’ for not all tears are an evil.” That rings true here as well. This is a very well planned out film with an excellent story. It was a very big topic to cover, taking you into the minds of the characters. It’s funny, heart-warming, heart-breaking, and exhilarating.
  4. Jurassic World – Ever since the opening credits of the first Jurassic Park, I’ve wanted this movie. I thought, during the course of Jurassic Park, that eventually we’d get to see the park open with guests experiencing the dinosaurs. Now, three movies later, it’s here, and it’s awesome. I loved seeing the park. It felt like you could actually go there, and I wanted to. Now I can, any time, by playing this movie. I’m looking forward to the sequels, even though the director has moved on to Star Wars: Episode IX.
  5. The Avengers: Age of Ultron – This took things up another notch for Marvel, catapulting every character into new directions and introducing us to a bunch of new Avengers at the same time. It also introduced characters that will become more important as the films continue. It also put the characters into peril that it looked like they would never make it out of, and they’ve actually done some things that will have serious repercussions in the films to come… especially in Captain America: Civil War.
  6. Ant-Man – I didn’t know what to expect from this, but I really liked it. It wasn’t about saving the world, but rather a family. And that’s what made it good. Ant-Man is likely going to be a favorite character for a lot of people now, and that’s not a bad thing.
  7. The Peanuts Movie – I totally expected to be ho-hum about this movie, but the end of the movie was very sweet. I also loved how they managed to capture the right look of each of the characters while making them all very warm. The move to 3D didn’t hurt the feel of the characters at all, and when I watched the Charlie Brown Christmas special again, I wondered what it would be like if it were re-animated with the look of this movie. Probably even more magical (not that it’ll ever be done).
  8. The Good Dinosaur – Pixar’s second original film of 2015. I expected greater things from this. It had a scene that was very simple and very emotional. The movie went through a very tumultuous time of re-development, and it shows. However, near every shot of the film could be framed and put up on your wall. It’s beautiful. Not the best, but absolutely beautiful.
  9. The Hunger Games – Mockingjay: Part 2 – It’s over.. I was curious about where it was all going, and how it was all going to end, and here it is. It was kind of a doozy. After all the build-up, the wrap up, I felt, could have been a little longer, but it was fairly sufficient. I don’t think it quite had the effect I was hoping for, of elevating the first part of Mockingjay to a new level. Catching Fire is definitely the best part of the story. But it was still very high quality and well acted.

Not completely new

  1. The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies – Extended Edition – Absolutely stunning. Better than it was in theaters, The Hobbit is now, actually complete. This was truly awesome and belongs on my list of top movies of the year. It was already my number 1 movie of 2014, and this just solidifies that ranking. It’s definitely the best movie to come out of 2014.

Disappointments

  1. Tomorrowland – I thought this, based on the trailer, would have a lot more set in Tomorrowland. Instead, it was about a journey to find our way into Tomorrowland… which had inexplicably fallen apart. I love the look of Tomorrowland… and really wanted the entirety of the movie to be set in Tomorrowland. It’s a shame that we couldn’t spend more time there. My own expectations aside, the movie was just okay. I wish that it was better.
  2. The Fantastic Four – The first two acts of this were fantastic. Better than the other two Fantastic Four movies. The third act was where it fell apart. The end battle with Dr. Doom was not what it should have been. It was fast and very weak. Plus, it seems that Fox has cancelled the sequel to this film. That’s a bit of a shame because the cast was great.

Missed

  1. Disneynature’s Monkey Kingdom – My wife doesn’t really like monkeys so we wound up skipping this one. We’ll definitely be checking out Disneynature’s Born in China this year, though.
  2. Terminator Genisys – I meant to see this one, and I still want to. I hear a variety of things about this, both positive and negative, but until I see it for myself, I won’t know the truth.
  3. Mission: Impossible – Rogue Nation – This was the first Mission: Impossible that I missed on the big screen. I hope to see it soon. So far, only 3 and 4 are any good, so I’m hoping that this fifth one continues that.
  4. The Visit – I don’t like when M. Night Shyamalan does straight up horror, so I intentionally skipped this one in theaters. I’ll watch it at home, but I don’t have very high hopes. I’m really looking forward to another great thriller from him.
  5. Everest – This looked interesting, but I’m not sure if I’ll be seeing this anytime soon.

Not on my radar / simply haven’t seen / couldn’t be bothered

  1. Furious 7 (Haven’t seen any of the others, why start now?)
  2. Minions (…)
  3. The Martian (Hear it was better than Interstellar, which isn’t saying much. Maybe will see it. Maybe not.)
  4. Spectre (I’ve not really seen much Bond. At all.)
  5. San Andreas (I like this kind of movie, so I’ll be watching this soon. Picked up the Blu-ray on sale.)
  6. Mad Max: Fury Road (Not a fan.)
  7. Creed (Curious about this. Maybe someday.)
  8. Taken 3 (haven’t seen any of them)
  9. Maze Runner 2 (haven’t seen Maze Runner 1)
  10. Paddington (Hear it was great. I’ll be watching this soon.)
  11. Bridge of Spies (Spielberg. I’ll be watching this soon-ish.)
  12. Ex Machina (Been hearing people talk highly of this. Has two cast members from the best movie of the year.)
  13. Shaun the Sheep Movie (Love Wallace and Gromit… this is a spin off.)
  14. Divergent: Insurgent (Series feels like a Hunger Games light.. probably will see this one someday.)

My Most Anticipated Films of 2014

Muppets Most WantedFor the first time in a while we have a year without a Pixar film.  I tend to put all Pixar films on my anticipated film list every year, but The Good Dinosaur was delayed until 2015.  That will mean two Pixar films will be on my list for 2015, however, and I’m very excited about that.  I’m pretty excited about this year’s movies, however, with the end of The Hobbit capping the a year filled with Muppets, superheroes, robots and biblical epics.

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Disneynature Films – What’s next? Wings of Life and Bears

Disneynature Wings of LifeDisneynature is a company that was launched in April 2008 to bring back one of the staples of Walt Disney’s career: True-Life Adventures.  I’m a pretty big fan of the company, and their work, so it was with great interest that I’ve sought out more information about their projects on a regular basis.

I’ve seen most of their films, when they’ve had topics that have interested me, and so far I’ve only skipped one.  Starting with Earth, which was kind of a summary version of the BBC’s Planet Earth, I’ve been captivated by this series of films.  Oceans was a disappointment to me, spending too much time on climate change and not enough time on the strange and wonderful creatures that inhabit the deep.  The narration was lacking as well, with too little talking when we needed some more explanation of what we were seeing.

Read the rest of this entry »