The BFG

When the climax of the film you are watching is the Queen of England letting out a fart that lifts a table cloth…you know you may not be the target demo. Don’t get me wrong, a good fart joke is timeless, a form of comedy I dare say none of us are above. And weirdly the BFG earns the laughs in this scene by taking the time to give us two compelling leads that have led us through even the sleepiest of moments.

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The Shape of Water

It feels like ages ago that Director Guillermo Del Toro stole our hearts and made us cover our eyes with his instant classic Pan’s Labyrinth.  In fact, that was only 10-years ago and Del Toro had been working on creature features (Mimic, Hellboy) and writing extensively dating back nearly two decades.  But when Labyrinth was released in 2006 in felt like a moment – a true visionary was being born and we were going to be reaping the cinematic pleasures for years to come.  But while Del Toro has steadily worked and stayed in the public eye he has only made 3-feature films since. 

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Wonder Woman

Let’s get this out of the way first – Gal Gadot IS Wonder Woman.  The Israeli-actress is so convincing as the do-gooder Amazon princess that I wanted more.  Her wonderfully earnest performance brings out the best in the rest of the cast while anchoring the film in a stark WWI reality.  It’s a credit to Gadot and Director Patty Jenkins that they accomplished this.  Diana is as much an idealist as Superman but her film employs it with much more candor while Supes has been bogged down by Snyder-smashing masculinity.  Diana is not only the superhero we need in 2017, she’s the superhero we’ve always wanted.

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IT

When Stranger Things debuted in July last summer it was instantly a phenomenon.  Not only was it an impeccably made series but it also paid homage to our intense nostalgia-pangs for the 1980’s.  All 10-episodes were peppered with references to John Carpenter, Steven Spielberg, Goonies and most obviously Stephen King.  King’s 1986-opus IT was a clear inspiration for the brigade of tweens as they hunted for their friend in the upside-down.

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Downsizing

Downsizing is Director Alexander Payne’s first film since Nebraska in 2013 so of course there is reason to be excited.  Payne has always reveled in his brand of Americana – a view of the Midwest that is salty, sad and at times a bit sanguine – but nonetheless all his own.  He writes about what he knows and few Director’s have given us such assured vision and direction in the last several decades. So it pains me to report that the man that has presided over classics such as Election, Sideways and Citizen Ruth has almost completely whiffed with his most recent venture.

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