After going off about the soon-to-be-released Mulan live-action adaptation, (and seeing that they are remaking the animated Robin Hood,) I do need to give credit where it’s due on that film because it does not have the issue that I most take with Disney’s live-action remake:
The live-action movies should be human stories. Any non-human characters are unsettling and live in the Uncanny Valley.
The example I get most heated about is the 2017 Beauty and the Beast remake. (I’ll talk about 2019’s Lion King in a minute.) When the movie was first announced, I’ll admit even I was excited, even about the casting of Emma Watson! (Who among us did not fall for that Tumblr rumor that she was cast years and years ago with Guillermo Del Toro to direct?) But then I saw the trailer… with the creepy live-action Mrs. Potts and Lumiere and Cogsworth…
I can never unsee them. I actually stopped wanting to see the movie and only watched it on a streaming service much later because my husband is a big Emma Watson fan. (I can’t get into the music in this post…) It is just really unnerving to have so much time spent on non-human characters.Read More »
Another year, another list of movies! This year marks the first full year I had AMC A-List, which I didn’t take full advantage of but did make it easier for us to watch more movies more spontaneously. I had thought that moving to New York would mean we would watch fewer movies but having A-List has meant that we spent more weeknights at the movies than at home.
(For every movie I saw, including movies released before 2019, and other media I consumed, please check out my Media Log.)
Last year, I started strong thinking I was going to watch a ton of movies, my best year yet! It was even a resolution of mine, because I was armed with MoviePass and the opportunity to watch movies as a contributor for Punch Drunk Critics.
But then… well… I stumbled pretty hard. When my mental health took a hit, I definitely didn’t go see any movies, especially when MoviePass became harder and harder to use. My PDC reviews dropped off in the summer. (Sorry Travis!)
A couple of things I noticed with this year’s movies:
It was a big year for superhero movies for me and I didn’t even see all of them.
No early screenings this year! I just didn’t have the mental bandwidth to wait in line and spend the time this past year, and I was less incentivized once I started paying for movie subscription services.
Despite the long stretch of time I was in China this year, I didn’t get to go to the movies while I was there,
Without further ado, here are all the 2018 theatrical releases I watched last year:
I seem to say this every year but I didn’t watch as many movies as I wanted to in 2017. Especially as the year started winding down and the holiday season started ramping up, I stopped wanting to commit to attending movie screenings (2 hours of run time + waiting in line for a good seat + the commute to and from these theaters).
One thing that did change my movie watching this year was joining the team at Punch Drunk Critics. I am getting to watch some really cool indie flicks and documentaries that I wouldn’t otherwise be going to see and the PDC team has been so great to work with so far. I can’t wait to do more with them in 2018!
Without further ado, here are the new releases I watched in 2017:
*Watched outside of original run (e.g. Netflix, Amazon Prime, on a plane)
It’s been a great year for movies and I’m excited for what 2018 has to bring. With me continuing to write for PDC and having just received my MoviePass in the mail, I hope this year I can watch more movies!
This year, I’d also like to try tracking the movies I watch on Letterboxd, since I’ve have a bit of success tracking books on Goodreads and haven’t used my Letterboxd account in about 4 years!
What movies did you love last year? There are a lot of great ones I know I’m missing, especially with awards season happening right now. Movies this past year also got very split opinions, with people loving or hating them more than in the past.
What movies are you excited for in 2018? Personally, I’m really excited to see Black Panther and, despite how much AOU disappointed me, Avengers: Infinity War, because I’m always going to get hyped for the Avengers. I’m also really looking forward to Ocean’s 8 and Crazy Rich Asians, among many other releases coming up this year.
Thanks to Sony Screenings for allowing me to see Baby Driver before its release and to Edgar Wright for a great Q&A session afterwards!
A few weeks ago, I was able to attend a really special advanced screening for Edgar Wright‘s latest film, Baby Driver, made special because the director himself was available afterward to answer questions! I’ll go into more detail about the Q&A after I talk about the movie itself (spoiler alert: Jake Tapper moderated!) so let’s get right into it!
Honestly, the reason this movie was on my radar was because I follow Ansel Elgort on Instagram and he promoted the movie. When Ben and I first saw the trailer, I was like “???” and Ben was very interested until the title appeared on the screen, at which point he went, “Aw, what, the title is Baby Driver are you serious I wanted to watch this movie, too…”
Baby Driver is about a getaway driver named… Baby, and he’s played by Ansel Elgort, whose incredible charm I had somehow underestimated despite following him on social media. (The boy has a great smile.) He listens to music on a variety of iPods virtually constantly because the car accident that killed his parents also left him with debilitating tinnitus – the permanent ringing in the ears that, in some people, can drive folks mad. He helps Kevin Spacey‘s Doc drive in his various heists because he owes Doc money from stealing from him in the past. The other members of the heist crews always change, leading Baby to meet characters like Bats (Jamie Foxx), the batsh*t crazy one eager for a fight, Buddy (Jon Hamm), the cool and easy-going one who is in love with Darling (Eiza González), the beautiful and troublemaking member of the lovebird duo.
I’ll just say outright that the story and its progression are just okay, but it is very easy to forgive because this movie is not a movie. It is an incredibly fun, nearly 2-hour-long, beautifully-styled music video.
The movie does not exist without the soundtrack. We listen to whatever Baby is listening to and that frames our experience of the film, just as it frames Baby’s experience. There’s a great one-take long-shot of Baby walking down the street to get coffee while listening to music, but of course, and the sounds in the background begin to sync up with the instrumentals and beat of Bob & Earl’s “Harlem Shuffle”. During the Q&A, I actually learned that this scene is a bit of a lyric video, where the lyrics of the song playing can be seen in the background! I hadn’t noticed at all, but there is graffiti that shows the lyrics, and when Baby walks back over, the graffiti has already changed to reflect the new lyrics.
That’s the way the entire movie feels. It is how the movie was written in fact: Edgar Wright listened to The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s “Bellbottoms” and imagined a car chase scene every time he listened to it, praying for years and years that it wouldn’t be used in a car chase scene by another director before he could use it as the soundtrack for the opening heist scene.
The moments of the movie hit the beats of the songs. High-action moments come with high-action beats, and slower, more intimate moments are accompanied by slower jams.
So don’t get caught up in the dialogue. Don’t get caught up in “why would they do that”? Don’t get caught up in the things that usually break a movie.
This isn’t just a movie. It’s a highly-stylized, super fun series of music videos that tell a large story. And it was so much fun. And it was so well-done.
Baby Driver is in theaters June 28. I’ll talk about the great Q&A session with Edgar Wright and Jake Tapper after the trailer.