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My two cents on the 2017 year in cinema: Minister of Culture

February 7, 2018

My two cents on the 2017 year in cinema: Minister of Culture

CLEVELAND, Ohio -- It’s awards season. So here’s my two cents on some good, bad and ugly films I saw last year.

Director Darren Aronofsky wins the dubious distinction of coming up with the worst movie I have ever seen. It’s the only one I have awarded an “F” grade. “Mother!” is a cluster truck of epic proportions. A wildly aggressive stinker.

I know I’m in the minority among critics on this one, but the gay coming-of-age love story “Call Me By Your Name” struck me as a paean to pedophilia rather than a tender romance.

The “Blade Runner” sequel, “Blade Runner 2049,” was a disappointment in that the story hewed so closely to the original it seemed more like a remake.

“The Shape of Water” got the most Academy Award nominations of any film. But the best description I heard of it was it’s like “Splash” without a sense of humor.

I felt director Christopher Nolan dropped the ball on “Dunkirk” by excluding characters from the German army in the film.

“Mudbound” and “Detroit” were two movies that dealt historically with race relations in the United States. Both movies were good but at times hard to watch.

Critics called “Wonder Woman” a triumph for women because of director Patty Jenkins. It was really just more of the same old superhero piffle.

“The Florida Project” is a lot easier to take if you go in knowing it’s an experimental film.

“Hostiles” is still getting tons of television promotion. Meh. White military Indian fighters struggle with PTSD. Should have been called “Gentiles.”

“Phantom Thread” was elegant and well-acted. What it was all about or why we should care eludes me.

If you’re in the mood for a ham-handed, cartoonish Korean environmental fable, don’t miss “Okja.”

“Split” might be M. Night Shyamalan’s return to early thriller glory.

“I, Tonya” is sharp, whipsmart and wicked funny. It still manages to be sympathetic to its famously maligned heroine.

“Get Out” is a horror movie with a social message. And it works on both levels.

“Molly’s Game” is an intriguing modern morality tale. Jessica Chastain is breathtaking.

Ben Stiller gives the performance of his career in “Brad’s Status.” It’s brave, unflinching and heartbreaking.

“The Post” is an important movie about freedom of the press. Especially when you have a crook in the White House.

“The Disaster Artist” is a hilarious comedy about Hollywood. That it’s a true story makes it all the more funny.

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” was written by Irish playwright Martin McDonagh. He’s the award-winning writer who gave us “The Beauty Queen of Lenane” and “The Cripple of Inishman.” Do yourself a favor and see it.

“Lady Bird” is the sweet, funny movie of the year. Writer/director Greta Gerwig is the new queen of Hollywood.

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