With 2017 near it’s end, here is another list compiled by me of the movies I watched this year. They are listed mostly in the order I viewed them throughout the year.

Predestination

For his final assignment, a top temporal agent must pursue the one criminal that has eluded him throughout time. The chase turns into a unique, surprising and mind-bending exploration of love, fate, identity and time travel taboos.

I’m not going to tell you more. Go see it. You’ll thank me. The less you know about the movie going in, the better.

Don’t get caught up in the twists and turns and trying to figure out where it’s going to go next. You’ll be disappointed. Instead, hold on for the ride, the storytelling, and the fine acting from everyone involved.

The movie does not get the recognition it deserves. It’s original and creative within the science fiction genre. Even if you don’t like science fiction, you find yourself entangled in the story line, waiting for each moment.

Ghost in the Shell

I like Scarlett Johannsen. I like Ghost in the Shell. The movie was average. If you haven’t followed Ghost in the Shell over the years, you’re probably going to walk away liking the film. It doesn’t compare to the long history of Ghost in the Shell. While it was decent, I didn’t feel it quite captured the world like Dredd did. It’s difficult to capture an entire world with a history into one film, so it’s not the worst film in the world, but I probably won’t watch it again. In the end, it felt like another in a long line of action flicks.

The Lost City of Z

The Lost City of Z is a true-life drama, centering on British explorer Col. Percival Fawcett, who disappeared while searching for a mysterious city in the Amazon in the 1920s. It was an interesting movie that got bogged down by being boring in certain parts.

Charlie Hunnam did a great job with the character, as did most of the other actors, but I felt myself just watching because I felt obligated to continue. I usually like these kinds of movies, the slow pace made it feel like the movie was dragging me along. At 141 minutes, it shouldn’t have felt that way.

Churchill

Absolute shit. I didn’t make it through the entire movie. Inaccurate, messy, and a pile of garbage.

Wonder Woman

I didn’t want to get my hopes up since Wonder Woman had so much potential and I was afraid it was going to get screwed up. I should have gotten my hopes up. There is no doubt, it is one of the best movies of the year.

Gal Gadot nailed it as Wonder Woman and I can’t think of anyone else who could perform the role better. My only quibble with the movie is setting it in World War I when the Wonder Woman I grew up with lived during World War II. It’s a small quibble and it doesn’t detract from the awesomeness of the movie. I’m looking forward to more.

Dunkirk

The opening scene was gripping. It got me to sit up and pay attention. I thought, “If these first few minutes are indicative of the entire film, this is going to be a fantastic movie.”

Dunkirk is fantastic if you are only watching it for the cinematography. I went in to the movie knowing the basic facts about Dunkirk and what happened. I left the movie no wiser. If the plot had been more than paper thin, that would have been fine. The movie jumped around, had weird cuts, cuts in the middle of things happening, and nothing really is explained. If the breaks between the three story lines were done properly, it might have worked. Instead, I saw repetitive scenes from different angles.

I didn’t care about a single character. I did not find myself emotionally invested in any part of the plot or a character. The times I started to be immersed in the story, I was ripped out to shift to some other scene.

What I did like was the reliance on actual things – boats, planes, tanks, etc. – instead of CGI. That’s what makes the cinematography so good. But even here, it didn’t capture the scale of the evacuation and CGI could have been helpful in this case.

The movie is overrated. Christopher Nolan will always please you with visuals. The plot this time, I think it got lost in the mail.

One IMDB reviewer summed it up well:

“Trapped on a beach awaiting rescue but the ships keep getting destroyed by dive bombers with only 3 planes to protect those ships. Ends with Hardy finally revealing his face when he is captured after landing his plane which has run out of fuel.”

That’s it. Everything else in between is just noise.

Yep. That’s about it.

Blade Runner 2049

Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049 in association with Columbia Pictures, domestic distribution by Warner Bros. Pictures and international distribution by Sony Pictures Releasing International.

A sequel to a classic movie. I feared it would be screwed up, but it was so well done, it’s hard to find fault with the movie. Don’t go see Blade Runner 2049 if you don’t like to think. This is the kind of movie that is rarely made anymore. the plot, the mood, the visuals all keep you entrenched in the movie until the end. I can’t really say much else without spoiling the movie and I don’t want to do that for anyone who might go see it. It is a worthy successor to Blade Runner. This was a big gamble and it paid off in so many ways.

Monsturd

It’s as bad as you think it would be. I found the link somewhere on Reddit. I knew it would be bad, but I just had to watch it.

The story is about serial killer Jack Schmitt who has escaped prison, but dies mysteriously inside the city’s sewage treatment facility. Naturally, a horrific accident a a genetic research lab causes a chemical to be dumped. Schmitt is resurrected and uses the county sewer system as his lair while he goes about killing people.

The acting is bad, usually over the top bad. The music is crap meant to make you scared. I either laughed or rolled my eyes through most of the movie.

The song that plays during the ends credits is awesome.

The movie is really terrible.

Kedi

Kedi is a delightful documentary about the thousands of street cats who roam the streets in Istanbul, Turkey and the people who take care of them. The film focuses on seven cats and does some filming from their point of view. If you like cats, watch it.

Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets

A beautiful looking movie that sucked. The two leads sucked. There was no chemistry between, just a couple of people reading lines to get paid, and we’re supposed to believe they like each other enough to get married.

The plot was all over the place. If you want a fun sci-fi movie, just go pop in The Fifth Element. It, too, was made by Luc Besson and is so much better.

The Mummy

Go watch The Mummy and The Mummy Returns with Brendan Frasier and Rachel Weisz. You’ll thank me.

Victoria and Abdul

Victoria and Abdul tells of the friendship between Queen Victoria and her Munshie, Abdul Karim, a young clerk, who traveled from India to participate in the Queen’s Golden Jubilee. As their friendship develops, the household’s inner circle is determined to destroy it. The queen, however, sees the world in a new way through Abdul’s eyes.

Judi Dench is brilliant in her portrayal of Queen Victoria. The movie is worth seeing for her alone. The movie is charming, but it is difficult to gauge how true to real life events it is since the royal household burned all letters and documents between Victoria and Abdul. There has to be some poetic license given the time period and lack of documentation, but it’s a pleasant film nonetheless. Just don’t consider it absolute British history.

Alien: Covenant

I had hoped the movie would pick up where Prometheus left off, but when we see the two survivors, Shaw and David, again, Shaw is now dead. We only get cursory details of what happened to her. I would have liked this Alien installment to cover that story either as a whole movie or at least see what happened. But that is not this movie. This movie explores the character of David and what he has turned into, which is why his line was discontinued/upgraded to begin with.

One nitpick I do have is that, while trapped in the quarantine room, a baby alien pops out of a dude’s back. The woman just screams, grabs a knife and sits on the floor. Meanwhile, the baby plops on the floor and doesn’t yet know what is happening. This is the perfect time to stomp on that thing and kill it. Yeah, she deserved to die for being stupid. Yes, I laughed when the baby alien literally ripped her to shreds.

Alien and Aliens are classics. If you come to accept that these new movies by Ridley Scott are more popcorn movie than thriller, you’ll have a much more enjoyable time watching the movies. I know I do.

Anthropoid

Anthropoid is based on the extraordinary true story of “Operation Anthropoid,” the code name for the Czechoslovakian operatives’ mission to assassinate SS officer Reinhard Heydrich.

Heydrich, the main architect behind the Final Solution, was the Reich’s third in command behind Hitler and Himmler and the leader of Nazi forces in Czechoslovakia. The film follows two soldiers from the Czechoslovakian army-in-exile, Josef Gabčík (Cillian Murphy) and Jan Kubiš (Jamie Dornan), who are parachuted into their occupied homeland in December 1941. With limited intelligence and little equipment in a city under lock down, they must find a way to assassinate Heydrich, an operation that would change the face of Europe forever.

The movie was shot entirely in Prague, where the actual events too place. Whenever it was possible, filming took place at the exact locations for authenticity. The film was praised for its realism and being committed to recounting the events.

Cillian Murphy and Jamie Dornan excel in their performances. The plot is tense and gripping. Though the assassination of Heydrich takes place midway through the movie, the aftermath will have you on the edge of your seat.

Atomic Blonde

To say Charlize Theron is a badass action heroine is an understatement. Based on the graphic novel The Coldest City, Atomic Blonde is a blast. It’s one of my favorite movies of the year.

The music is perfect. The story line is great. One of the best things about the movie is, when they call the main character by her name, Lorraine, I think of my grandma kicking ass and killing bad guys with her shoe.

The action scenes are phenomenal. It’s part Bond, part Bourne, and more. It’s violent and Theron kicks a lot of ass. Is it going to win any awards? No. But it’s some damned good fun.

Seed: the Untold Story

Genetic diversity is the hedge between us and global famine.

The film looks at seed keepers who are trying to protect our 12,000 year-old food legacy. It discusses how seeds, such as corn, transformed villages into empires as it spread across the Americas. Corn is so elastic and adaptive that it is now grown on every continent of the world.

Seed discusses how 94 percent of our seed varieties disappeared in the last century and the role biotech chemical companies have played in controlling the majority of our seeds. This is the story of farmers, scientists, lawyers, and indigenous seed keepers fighting to defend the future of our food.

There are 300,000 species of plants on the planet. We came down to 30,000 edible plants. Of that, 120 are used on a regular basis. Most of humanity subsists on 10 – beans, corn, wheat, barley, and rice. We need to pay attention to the seeds of wild plants and how to put them into cultivation because they are the biodiversity heritage will feed the world.

The Hopi see the seed as life. “When you lose the seeds, you lose your traditional way of eating.” Seeds are living embroyos and they do have a lifespan. If we lose these seed banks, like the seed bank we blew up in Iraq, how vulnerable do we become?

Climate change is also having an impact on saving our seed culture. It is more difficult to plant in drought-stricken areas. A food bank that wasn’t backed up was destroyed in 2006 due to a typhoon in the Philippines.

The story tells how these seed keepers are helping to rekindle a lost connection to our most important resource and revive our connection to seed. This is a heartwarming and sad story of how we are slowly destroying ourselves.

Logan

Logan was a great ending to a comic book superhero. Some argue that it is is the best comic book movie of 2017, but I would argue that Atomic Blonde could hold that place as well.

One refreshing aspect of the film is that, although we don’t know exactly why Logan has aged so much, this movie is aimed 100 percent at adults. It’s violent the way Logan should have been throughout all the X-Men movies, but it is also much more human.

The film is set in 2029. The world has fallen apart. There are virtually no mutants left. The film is gritty and realistic. Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart’s acting is top notch throughout the several dilemmas they get themselves into.

The film is a fitting end to an iconic character.

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

If you haven’t seen this yet and you don’t want any spoilers, stop reading now.

The latest installment of the Star Wars saga was meh. It was okay. It was better than The Force Awakens, but that’s only because it didn’t try to retread what was already done.

While I’m a fan of the series and have seen every one in a theater, the film didn’t do much for me. There were several clunky moment in the movie, including Poe Dameron’s stupid prank phone call, Finn waking up from a coma and then runs around in a clear suit leaking fluid, and when Leia was blown out into space and floated herself back inside long after she should have been dead. It was cheesy and cringe-worthy. Several of the jokes were done for cheap laughs. They weren’t witty. There were just…there.

Rey is our protagonist, but we have yet to really learn anything about her. A protagonist is supposed to be the focus, not the ensemble cast.

Why was the scene of Luke getting and drinking milk from the beast necessary? What is the point of Porgs other than to sell toys?

The film has too many characters and the plot is cluttered with bullshit. The formerly smart characters are now dumb and make stupid mistakes.

The entire plot line with Finn, Rose and whoever Benicio Del Toro was is unnecessary.

Kylo Ren is still the bad guy, but there doesn’t seem to be a reason why in The Last Jedi. He’s just there to move the plot along. Dialogue between Ren, Snoke, and Rey is sometimes too reminiscent of the conversation between Vader, the Emperor, and Luke in Return of the the Jedi. Moments like those took me out of the movie. I rolled my eyes and sighed.

There are some good parts. I wanted to see more of Rey in the dark hole in Ireland. The battle on the salt planet was visually spectacular. But that’s it. The movie was battles, explosions, and dumb plot points. I mean, really? What is the point of Luke dying?

I’m going to watch Rogue One again. Much better movie.

There are some good movies on the way in 2018. Hopefully I will get to see them all. And, hopefully, Solo: A Star Wars Story will be a better Star Wars movie.