Spark Movie Reviews Best Of 2017

These are the best films, TV shows and video games that I got to experience this year in release order. Click on them to read my full reviews, I apologize for the lack of reviews for Blade Runner 2049 and Logan.

John Wick: Chapter 2

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Logan

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The Legend of Zelda – Breath of the Wild

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Baby Driver

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War for the Planet of the Apes

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Wind River

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Blade Runner 2049

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Stranger Things – Season 2

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

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UNMISSABLE

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is a darkly comic drama about a mother who starts a kind of personal war on the local law enforcement of a small Missouri town when they fail to catch her daughter’s killer. This is a masterfully crafted, highly unpredictable, and expertly acted film which manages its tones of grief and tragedy with black comedy very well. It is also an eye-opening depiction of rural America. I think Three Billboards is one of the best films of the year with superb characterization and a pretty good score too so I highly recommend you go see it.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri is surprisingly violent and in general a mature movie so I would suggest 14 and up for seeing this with kids.

Currently in Theaters.

 

 

TV Review: Stranger Things (2016- ) [Season 2]

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The second season of the beloved sci-fi fantasy horror drama Stranger Things is just as good if not better than the first, the acting is still great especially from the kids and the music and special effects are even better this season. Stranger Things is the latest character driven show like Firefly, the kind where probably the best part of the show is the interactions between the awesomely written characters, and there is even more of that this time. This is the first time I have enjoyed the second season of a Netflix series anywhere near as much as the first and I think this season solidifies Stranger Things as my favorite currently running TV show.

There is some stuff that might scare little kids but obviously if your kids have seen season 1 they can see season 2.

Available only on Netflix.

Mr. Nobody (2009) [Extended Director’s Cut]

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UNMISSABLE

Mr. Nobody is a beautiful film about a man named Nemo Nobody who experiences life and time differently than everybody else. It is one of those movies with a plot that can take many viewings to fully piece together, but unlike many of those movies, I believe every little detail adds up to a story that makes sense. Even the things I thought were continuity errors the first time around, I realized on second viewing had significance and meaning behind them. Mr. Nobody is full of wonderful imagery and great cinematography, it utilize’s it’s beautiful score as well as it’s non-orginal music extremely well and Jared Leto gives a great performance as Nemo. If you’re into delightfully strange and confusing films than I highly recommend Mr. Nobody.

There is barely any violence in this movie but it is fairly mature and has some sexual content so I would suggest 14 and up.

Extended Director’s Cut available on iTunes and Amazon.

Theatrical Cut available on iTunes, Amazon, and Netflix.

 

Watchmen (2009) [Director’s Cut]

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Watchmen is Zack Snyder’s film adaptation of the graphic novel of the same name which takes place in an alternate 1985 and is about former superheroes coming out of retirement after an old colleague is murdered. As far as book-to-film adaptations go this is a job pretty well done, its very faithful to the source material and cuts out and changes only minor things and only when necessary, until, that is, 30 minutes before the end of the movie when a major plot point is severely altered which I believe took a great deal of emotional weight out of the story. The casting choices for all the characters (especially Jackie Earle Haley who is perfect casting for Rorschach) are great, except for Matthew Goode as Adrian Veidt which I think was the wrong decision for the character. There is plenty to like about this film though, the cinematography, tone, action scenes, and music choices (nearly all of them are directly from the novel) are all great. Even though Watchmen is not as emotional or deep as the graphic novel, it is a great action epic that is worth watching.

There is a lot of violence and sex in this film so I definitely wouldn’t suggest younger than a mature 14 to watch this.

Available on iTunes and Amazon.

Book Review: Watchmen (1986-1987)

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Watchmen is an ingenious science-fiction graphic novel/limited series that takes place in an alternate history where superheroes emerged in American society during the 40s and 60s and vigilantism is now outlawed, the story follows two generations of superheroes from the close of World War II to the Cold War. It is truly an extraordinary masterpiece of visual and literary storytelling, it uses synchronicity, symbolism, and repeated imagery brilliantly and virtually every detail in every captivating panel means something. The highly fleshed out mythology and characters are extremely intriguing. Watchmen has inspired and continues to inspire many other works of art and I believe it is the best book I have ever read so I very highly recommend it to everyone that has not read it at least once before.

Watchmen deals with many mature subject matters and is very complex, 14 is the youngest I would recommend this too.

Wind River (2017)

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Wind River is a chilling thriller about a veteran game tracker/hunter and an FBI agent working together to solve a murder on the Wind River Native American reservation. This film does an incredible job of creating a consistent cinematic atmosphere for its desolate, bleak location with the cinematography, music, and acting, all of which are fantastic. Jeremy Renner gives probably the best performance of his career and the score is hauntingly beautiful. The action scenes in Wind River are stunning, the level of tension and realism is very impressive, they are few in number but that just makes the handful of action scenes that much more poignant. Overall Wind River is an excellent and impactful neo-western thriller that I think is one of the best films of the year and I definitely recommend you watch.

I wouldn’t suggest letting your kids younger than 14 watch Wind River.

Available on iTunes and Amazon.