ReasonForOurHope

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Film Review: The Emoji Movie



Sexuality/Nudity Acceptable 
Violence Acceptable
Vulgarity Acceptable
Anti-Catholic Philosophy Acceptable

The main problem with this movie is that it seems to be trying to capture the zeitgeist of a culture that will be obsolete in a few years.

The Emoji Movie is a film in the vein of Toy Story and Inside/Out, which asks the question: what if emojis were sentient and lived in their own little world.  This is enough fodder for a small sketch on SNL or an episode of South Park.  But even that would be pushing it.

The plot of this movie revolves around the "Meh" emoji named Gene (TJ Miller).  In this world, all of the emojis must feel only the emotion they belong to, but Gene wants more.   Alex (Jake T. Austin), the owner of the phone in which Gene lives tries to send a text to the girl he likes.  But Gene does not show the proper "Meh" emotion and Alex decides to get his phone wiped, which will destroy all of the emojis in his world.  Gene decides to leave his city to get his code written so he can be whatever kind of emoji he wants.  To do this he will get the help of rebel Jailbreak (Anna Faris) and the now-ignored Hi-5 (James Corden).

This is not the worst movie in the world, but I could feel the jokes age as I watched them.  The movie is fileld with reference to Candy Crush, Instagram, and a many other app brands that are here today and gone tomorrow.  22 years later and all of the reference in the original Toy Story still feel fresh.  22 months from now and I think half of the references in The Emoji Movie will be out of date.

I tend to enjoy the idea of hidden worlds around us and there are some times when the movie makes its ridiculous premise a bit charming.  But there are so many problems with the internal logic of the world that suspension of disbelief becomes increasingly difficult.  This is especially true because I really didn't care about any of the characters.

Partly this is because I cannot stand TJ Miller.  I have never seen the appeal and he brings no charisma to the role.  Jailbreak is wet blanket on every bit of attempted wonder.  And though Corden does his best to be funny.  He is not given much.  There were a few jokes that made me laugh, but the best compliment I can give this movie is that it was as excruciating as it could be.

On top of this, there are moments that are too scary for little kids.  different programs are "killed" and it is done with humor, but that doesn't undo the horror that this could be felt by small children.  There is a way to do scary things so that kids can emotionally process, like in Inside/Out.  But the filmmakers do not have the wit or compassion to do it.

And there is one joke that really bothered me.  Hi-5 says that there is something on Alex's phone that is hidden from his parents.  Gene asks what a teenage boy could possibly want to hid from his parents on his phone, to which Hi-5 gives an exacerbated look.  The movie thinks its being very clever at putting in a dirty joke without kids noticing.  But I found it disgusting.  Look, I am not a prude when it comes to vulgarity in a movie.  But this is a kid's movie and Alex is a very young teenager.  This one gag epitomizes why this movie fails whereas many of PIXAR's movies succeed:

The Emoji Movie is a cynical piece of nihilism wrapped in a children's movie.

⭐️⭐️/⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Monday, January 15, 2018

Martin Luther King Day

(originally posted 4 years ago)



I just have a few random thoughts on the secular feast of Martin Luther King.

As cliche as it sounds, I still marvel at his "I Have A Dream" speech.  It is a marvel of rhetoric and too many people have tried to imitate with its lofty words and his echoing voice.

I have always held his principle of a Color Blind Society as the true end goal of the Civil Rights Movement.  Anything which seeks to sub-divide us by race is antithetical to the American Dream.

My father began working with American doctors at Clarke Air Base in the Philippines.  I once asked him at dinner if he ever experienced racism from the white doctors there.  He gave a little shrug and said "Sure," and then continued eating.  When I asked him how he handled it, he said, "I worked harder than anyone to be the best doctor there so that they knew to respect me."

To me, that is best way to fight back against racial bigots.  Success is the best victory.  But that only comes with hard work and perseverance.  My dad had no chip on his shoulder over ill treatment.  He figured you're going to get stupid people in life.  The only thing to do is be excellent.

On a lighter note, there is a reason beyond his importance that MLK is revered today as a secular saint. Ask any school child about him, and they will say that he is a great man.  How do children know this intuitively?  Because they get the day off of school because of him.

Ask them who the greatest presidents are and they will say Washington and Lincoln?  They get a day off of school because of them too.



You can imagine how important Jesus is: you get 3 weeks off because of Him.  He must have been great!

Friday, January 12, 2018

Film Flash: The Post



15 words or less film review (full review to follow soon)

Lesser Spielberg.  A fascinating story told from the least interesting perspective.

picture by Yasir72.multan 

Monday, January 8, 2018

Thoughts on Golden Globes 2018

Sunday's Golden Globes demonstrate once again how much this award show is slipping into cultural irrelevance. 


As I've written in years past the Golden Globes are less and less of a predictor of Oscars than they used to be.

YEAR
GOLDEN GLOBE
BEST DRAMA
GOLDEN GLOBE BEST COMEDYOSCAR BEST PICTURE
2001A Beautiful MindMoulin Rouge!A Beautiful Mind
2002The HoursChicagoChicago
2003The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the KingLost in TranslationThe Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King
2004The AviatorSidewaysMillion Dollar Baby
2005Brokeback MountainWalk the LineCrash
2006BabelDreamgirlsThe Departed
2007AtonementSweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet StreetNo Country for Old Men
2008Slumdog MillionaireVicky Cristina BarcelonaSlumdog Millionaire
2009AvatarThe HangoverThe Hurt Locker
2010The Social NetworkThe Kids Are All RightThe King's Speech
2011The DescendantsThe ArtistThe Artist
2012ArgoLes MiserablesArgo
201312 Years a SlaveAmerican Hustle12 Years a Slave
2014BoyhoodThe Grand Budapest Hotel
Birdman

2015 saw The Revenant and The Martian take home the Globes while Spotlight won the Oscar.  And event thought Globe winner Moonlight also ended up taking the Oscar, you can see how the frequency of correlation is diminishing.

On top of that, there were very few things to root for. 

The top 10 highest grossing movies of 2017 were:

Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Beauty and Beast
Wonder Woman
Guardians of the Galaxy vol. 2
Spider-Man: Homecoming
IT
Thor: Ragnarock
Despicable Me 3
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
Justice League

Now I will defend all of these as great works of art.  But NOT ONE OF THE TOP TEN FILMS received a nomination. 

The Best Picture Globe winners have a combined box office of $60 million, which is almost 1/4 of the Justice League.

And while TV ratings are harder to gauge because of streaming services, you would need a subscription to both Hulu and Amazon Prime to see this year's Globe winners.

Again, this is not to say that the movie nominated were undeserving.  I happen to think that Dunkirk  is a technical masterpiece and The Greatest Showman is one of the most delightful movies in years.

But so few of the movie and tv audiences have seen these nominees and winners. 

The question that no one in the awards industry seems to be able to answer is: "Why should we care?"

And something tells me that the Oscars will not be able to answer either.

ASSORTED MUSINGS:

-Gary Oldman should have won a long time ago.  He is the greatest living actor and I've heard nothing but good things about The Darkest Hour

-For some reason I was incredibly happy for Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero for being able to attend the Globes 15 years after the premiere of The Room.

-I felt badly for Kirk Douglas.

-I'm glad The Greatest Showman won for best song, though any of the songs on the soundtrack are award-worthy.

-I don't think I laughed at any of the jokes for the entire show.

-The speeches felt more lecture-y than ever.






Sunday, January 7, 2018

Sunday Worst: Bizarro Awards 2017

My good friend the Doctor said that I should do a parallel list to my Kal-El Awards that reflect to worst in pop culture from the year.  He suggested that I call them the "Lenny Luthors" after the horrible Jon Cryer character from Superman IV: The Quest for Peace.  The rational for choosing Lenny was that "he is terrible in every way that Superman is awesome."

I liked the idea, but I thought instead of Lenny Luthor we would name the awards after the true opposite of Superman:

Bizarro.


Bizarro is the anti-Superman, literally.  He even maintains speech patterns that are the opposite of what he means.  "Good-bye, me am not Bizarro.  Me like you!  Live!"  said by Bizarro actually means "Hello, I am Bizarro.  I hate you! Die!"

So since Superman is my mark of excellence.  Bizarro will be my mark of utter awfulness.   Unlike the Kal-El awards, these will be focused only on movies.  The reason is that serialized work like television and comics require a longer time commitment in order to understand the material.  You may have to watch a show or read a comic for several months before you discover if it is truly bad or good.  It took me a few episodes to understand the logic behind Vincent D'Onofrio's performance in Daredevil.  The investment of time and/or money also precludes a lot of unnecessary sampling, so my exposure to bad material is a bit less.

With a movie, you can have a complete understanding of the product after 90-180 minutes

There will be 2 new categories that I will add:

-Worst TV Show I Stopped Watching
-Worst TV Show I Still Watch

In both of these cases I will be giving my critical condemnation of shows about which I have some significant experience and thus have a basis for calling them critical failures


So now, here are the Bizarro Awards for movies this past year.  (based on the movies I have seen).


WORST MOVIE

Transformers: The Last Knight

I got a free pass to go see this 5th Transformers film.  And I still feel like I was robbed.  And keep in mind I thought the previous film Age of Extinction was the best in the series and I saw it twice in the theater.  Perhaps it was just the absence of Shia LeBeuf that gave the movie a little extra shine, but my hopes were a bit higher for this movie.  But it was awful!  Everything about it was awful!  The problem with the action scenes isn't that the special effects or the dynamic directing.  The problem is that after a very little while they became tedious.  When I should have been looking up in awe at the spectacle, I kept hoping that each action sequence would end so that the story could move forward.  With no emotional resonance with anything resembling a story, the movie was just full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

TOP TEN WORST MOVIES
10. The Space Between Us
9. Baby Driver
8. The Lego Batman Movie
7.  The Hitman's Bodyguard
6.  Columbus
5.  The Emoji Movie
4.  Daddy's Home 2
3.  Atomic Blonde
2.  The Circle
1.  Transformers: The Last Knight

WORST ACTOR

Ansel Elgort- Baby Driver


From my review of Baby Driver:

But the biggest detriment to the movie is Elgort as the lead.  I would not say that he is a bad actor.  In fact, he does carry off the physical bits of the movie with great aplomb.  But he lacks charisma.  And I do lay that on his shoulders and on Wright's.  Baby spends much of the movie in stoic silence.  As our main character, we need to be in his head and identify with him even when we disagree.  He needs to smolder with a fierce, silent intensity like a tightly coiled spring ready to pop out at you.  This is something that requires intense effort and concentration, which I don't see in Elgort.  Someone like a Joseph Gordon-Leavitt would have been perfect for a role like this.  But Elgort does not pull it off.  Instead of stoic and aloof he looks bored and pouty.  He doesn't come off as strong and silent but feels like a typical disaffected millennial.  Wright does his best to infuse him with coolness.  There is an early long-continuous shot in the movie (something Wright did so well in Shaun of the Dead) that is meant to highlight how cool Baby is.  But it just doesn't work because Elgort lacks the essential charm to pull it off.

WORST ACTRESS

Britt Robertson- The Space Between Us

Robertson is not necessarily a bad actress, but there was a real lack of heart to her performance in this movie.  In her defense, she wasn't given a terribly much to work with as her character is given so little depth.  Hollywood seems to have a problem of how to cast Robertson and at what age.  She has talent, to be sure, but most of this performance felt like an empty exercise in going through the motions.

WORST DIRECTOR

Kogonada - Columbus

By all intents and purposes, Michael Bay should get this award for The Last Knight.  But Kogonada gets it for his small, independent film Columbus.  Why?  Because Kogonada has all of the skill and talent to tell a hauntingly good story and instead he wasted it on showing off his skills in visual design.  If you see the movie Columbus, it is beautifully shot.  His frames and his angles are sometimes achingly gorgeous.  And if he was simply was doing a video essay on the city, I would laud him.  But Columbus  is a narrative film, and as such all the visuals should be in service to the story and not the other way around.  His scenes are long, boring, tedious, and they linger long past any interest remains.  He is a devotee of directors like Stanley Kubrick and Wes Anderson, both of whom I detest for their emphasis on the visual at the expense of the narrative.

WORST SCREENPLAY

 Transformers: The Last Knight

As I wrote in my review:
I will attempt glimpses of a plot summary, but that will prove to be difficult since I'm not sure that even the screen writers... could do so.  Everything is so jumbled together.  It honestly feels like the movie starts being one kind of movie and then part way through gets bored and becomes another movie until it gets bored and starts a different movie.  This happens throughout the film.  I almost imagine that each writer submitted a script and director Michael Bay grabbed pages he like from each different script and stapled them together.


MOST ANTI-CHRISTIAN MOVIE

Atomic Blonde

I am grateful that didn't see anything this year that I found directly offensive to the faith.  To be sure there were some sacrilegious movies like The Little Hours which came out, but I didn't see it.  The closest I think I saw was a drunken brawl during a living Nativity in Daddy's Home 2, but that was more that was more at the expense of the quarrelsome family than at the faith.

But Atomic Blonde had a shockingly blasphemous line.  As I wrote in my review:
Also, the very first moment you meet McAvoy's Percival, he utters a completely vulgar and baffling blasphemy of the Virgin Mary.  I found myself lingering on that moment long after it had passed and it kept me from engaging in parts of the movie.  In fact, his entire character is a problem for the entire film.  


MOST MORALLY OFFENSIVE

Atomic Blonde


This is a movie that has no moral center.  I cannot understand any of the ethical sides.  And this is not done in a way that challenges you like in the movie Reservoir Dogs.  Instead it is just a complete mess.  As I wrote in my review: I am not a fan of gratuitous nudity and there is plenty in the film from the beginning.  Theron first appears on screen emerging from an ice bath and then walks around nude.  I have no problem with a film capturing the physical beauty of a person.  Daniel Craig has that famous shot of him coming out of the water in Casino Royale.  But when you cross over into nudity, it goes from appreciation of physical beauty to objectification.  And there is a good deal of R-Rated female-female sex depicted which acts as a complete distraction.  I think the point was to make Broughton as sexually adventurous as 007, but nothing in Bond has ever been this graphic.


WORST TV SHOW I STOPPED WATCHING

Supergirl

I stopped watching the first season of Supergirl about halfway through.  But I started up again when it came to the CW.

The reason I still watch is because when the show works it is a lot of fun.  When it digs deep into its comic book roots and seeks to tell epic sci-fi stories that are open to a world of imagination, Supergirl is fun.

But the show is bogged down in its constant virtue signaling.  Every week it cloyingly makes a ham-fisted attempt to teach us a message.  Whether or not I agree with that message is irrelevant.  When message-sending trumps storytelling, there is a real problem.

I've heard this third season is better, but I'm afraid for me it is too little too late.


WORST SHOW I STILL WATCH

Saturday Night Live

I still hold out hope that in 90 minutes of television there may still be at least 5 minutes of good humor.  But it takes a lot of endurance through horrible sketches to come across a gem like "Crucible Cast Party."

The show has two major problems in its current era.

1.  The Election of Donald Trump.  If you watch the skits before the election they were harsh but there was still a great deal that was funny.  But after the election, especially after that somber cold open (and it is not an exaggeration to say that it was the most somber cold opening since 9/11), with Kate McKinnon playing a heartbroken Hillary Clinton, something broke in the show.  Donald Trump is the president and he models incredibly unusual behavior, so there is fertile ground for jokes.  But the writers don't seem to be interested in jokes and are instead only interested in attacking someone they hate.  That's all well and good, but you need to at least make it funny.

2.  The Anti-Comedy skits.  Pete Davidson and Kyle Mooney seem to be hellbent on making the most un-funny comedy sketches on the show, particularly with their digital shorts.  I was never a big fan of Andy Sandberg's digital shorts, but you could tell he was working hard on trying to get you to laugh no matter how silly he was.  Davidson and Mooney present sketches that are so odd that they fail to do anything but make you say "What the hell was that?"  And that might be their point, but it makes for incredibly bad television.


Sunday, December 31, 2017

Sunday Best: Catholic Skywalker Awards 2017 - BEST IN MOVIES

With 2017 coming to a close, it is time for us to choose what the best entertainment of the year was.  And just as the Academy Awards have their "Oscars", so too the Catholic Skywalker Awards have their "Kal-El's"








 I have gone through as many movies as possible this year. There were several that I missed and so was unable to place. 

Below are a list of movies that are NOT on this awards page because I had not gotten a chance to see them.


Lady Bird
The Star
The Post
Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle
All the Money in the World
Gifted


So of the movies  I've seen this year, here are the winners:

(My appreciation and judgment of a film should not be taken as a recommendation. Choosing to watch any of these films is the reader's responsibility)

BEST PICTURE

LOGAN



This movie came out so early in the year that I expected some other movie in the remaining months to overtake its spot at best movie of the year.

But none ever did.

Everything about this movie is different than what you commonly expect from a movie like this.  Even the title strips away everything away from the character until all you are left with is his barebones identity.

(from my film review of Logan)

There isn't another super hero movie like Logan.

This movie is sober, contemplative, visceral, and heartbreaking in a way I haven't seen in this genre before....

The most important thing to understand about this movie going into it is that it is actually less of a superhero film and more of a classic Western.  Logan is the hard-travelling hero who has lived too long and seen too much killing....

The violence in this movie is more graphic and emotional than any other X-Men film.  As someone who grew up with the comics, this is was how I always imagined Logan cutting loose.  And while it at first as the same vicarious thrill as watching Deadpool or John Wick, after a while the graphicness of the violence gets to you, which I think is part of Mangold's point.  We've reveled in Wolverine's ability to cut his enemies to shreds over the last 17 years.  Now we get to feel what that does to a person's soul.  And yet the action sequences are still enough keep you on the edge of your seat.

One of things I loved most about the film was its depiction of simple, ordinary love.  There is a moment in the movie where our three main characters spend the night with a farmer family.  Mangold fills the scenes around the dinner table with such humor and warmth that part of you wants to leave all of the violence and just settle in.  This family is depicted as faith-filled, hard-working, and trying to get by in life with larger forces arrayed against them...

[It is on this point that I want to spend a little more time.  One of the things that elevates this movie is the focus on the quiet love mentioned above.  The scenes with Logan and Charles are so touching especially upon repeat viewing  because the only thing bonding these men together is the love they have for each other.  And when all is said and done, Logan comes to learn that the only happiness in this world that can be found is through love.  That message does not come off as cheesy or overly sweet.  Instead it is the hard-fought truth underneath all the darkness.]

Logan is powerful and emotional film that has stayed with me in my mind and my heart long after watching it.  When so many movies disappear from our consciousness like smoke, the solid and strong Logan is something to treasure.

RUNNERS UP
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Murder on the Orient Express
Justice League
The Greatest Showman


BEST DIRECTOR
James Mangold - Logan



(from my review of Logan)

  Director James Mangold films the movie with all of grand, deserted landscapes that you would see in a Western: wide-open vistas empty with potential.   There is significant motif regarding the movie Shane and the parallels are clear without feeling too preachy.

Mangold also gives us a story that is filled with tension and dread.  From the moment the main quest begins, a deep and pervasive sense of unease fills the movie.  Unlike most superhero movies, there tends to be excitement with little surprise.  But you get the strong sense from Logan that disaster and tragedy are lurking around every corner and our heroes may not come out on top.


RUNNERS UP
Rian Johnson - Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Zack Snyder - Justice League
Patty Jenkins - Wonder Woman
Christopher Nolan - Dunkirk



BEST ACTOR
Hugh Jackman - Logan

Jackman is something of a revelation in this movie.  After playing this part for 17 years, you would think that he would be on autopilot like Clint Eastwood towards the end of the Dirty Harry franchise.  But Jackman brings not only his best performance as the character and his movie performance to date.

And Jackman makes you feel every painful step of the journey with frustration and fear.  He plays Logan no longer as the hunter but the hunted, scrambling just to stay alive long enough for even his most modest dreams to come true.  We see it in every pained step and in how he wrestles with his internal pain.  Jackman doesn't waste a second of screen time in making us feel everything Logan is going through and desperately wanting him to come out of it all right.  Watching him go from the pits of despair to finding one last moment of pure joy was something I will always remember about his performance.




RUNNERS UP
Andy Serkis - War for the Planet of the Apes
James McCavoy - Split
Kenneth Bragnagh - Murder on the Orient Express
Hugh Jackman - The Greatest Showman




BEST ACTRESS
Daisy Ridley - Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi




There is a lot of debate regarding the quality of The Last Jedi.  And while I fall on the side of its supporters, that shouldn't take away from my recognition of how wonderful Ridley's performance is.  First of all, we cannot overlook the physicality needed to pull of the role believably.  She shows remarkable control and agility in this regard.

But Rey is still the lynchpin of this new trilogy and the story can only work if we are invested in her journey.  And Ridley does not take a false step in her performance.  She wrestles with bewilderment, frustration, hope, joy, despair, hatred, disappointment, and hope all with great believability.   Some have complained that the character is a Mary Sue, meaning that she is an idealized female character who never does anything wrong.  I will leave it up to my readers to decide this for themselves.  But Daisy Ridley burns with an intense fire that boils over when needed.  For me, the best moment was watching Rey confront the apparent truth about her parentage.  You can see the interior journey taking place in her eyes before she even speaks a word.  And that speaks to her excellence as a performer.


RUNNERS UP
Emma Watson - Beauty and the Beast
Gal Gadot - Wonder Woman
Charlize Theron - Atomic Blonde
Anya Taylor Joy - Split




BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
Mark Hamill - Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi


(from my review of Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi)

In terms of the performances, they are fantastic.  Hamill's turn here as Luke might be the best acting performance given in any Star Wars movie.  He is layered in pain, regret, and cynicism, but they have not completely removed the hopeful hero underneath.  At times he comes off as wise as Yoda and then as wide-eyed and lost as he was in the originals.  I couldn't help but feel a kindred connection as I have grown into an adult and at times I feel like I've learned from the lessons of my years but I still sometimes feel as lost as a child.  Hamill adds layers of depth to everything he does and I would not be surprised if he received an Oscar nomination for his effort.

(end quote)

And to me one of the most iconic moments for Luke Skywalker will be that simple shoulder brush.  Some found it cheesy. But the way Hamill did it you could see that it was part of a performance by Luke.  It was done to play into the legend that he had been trying to escape.  This was not the act of a braggart but the act of a seasoned master goading his immature opponent.  All of this done without a word and done with great depth in Hamill's performance.


RUNNERS UP
Patrick Stewart - Logan
Ezra Miller - Justice League
Michael Keaton - Spider-Man: Homecoming
Fynn Wolfhard - IT






BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
Dafne Keen - Logan


Even on multiple viewings I am amazed at the performance that Keen gives.  It is almost terrifying and monstrous how she is able to embody the rage of the tiny terror she plays.  And at the same time her moments of child-like innocence do not feel at all false.  She is a young girl who wants to be a hero but whose temper tantrums could end up killing someone.

(from my review of Logan)

Keen is amazing as Laura.  Most child actors get a bit of a pass from me because they are young and should not be held to the same standards as fully trained adults.  But Keene is mesmerizing in her role.  Every look, every action, every pose conveys so much emotion and character that she seems to be someone three times her age. 

RUNNERS UP
Zendaya - The Greatest Showman
Kaya Scodelero - Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
Daisy Ridley - Murder on the Orient Express
Michelle Williams - The Greatest Showman



BEST SCREENPLAY
Chase Palmer, Cary Fukunga, and Gary Dauberman – IT


Some people think that adapting a screenplay from a book is much easier than coming up with an original story.  While there is some truth to that, there are also some horribly difficult hurdles that an adapter must overcome.  And with a book like IT, which has a main ensemble of seven young characters who navigate hundreds of pages of horror and adventures, it must have seemed like a Herculean effort to cut that down to a manageable size and still maintain strong characters and the structural core of Stephen King's book.

And these writers did it.  They were able to capture quickly and effectively the essence of each of the characters and what narrative space they would fill in the story while making sure the movie did not get too bogged down and episodic.  They were able to balance the nostalgia factor along with making the story seem fresh and new.  And most importantly, they seemed to capture the essence of horror and discovery that children of that time felt as they faced the monstrousness of adulthood.


RUNNERS UP
Rian Johnson - Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
James Mangold and Scott Frank - Logan
Michael Green - Murder on the Orient Express
Emily V. Gordon and Jumail Nanjiani - The Big Sick


BEST MAKEUP
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Tbe Last Jedi is a wonderful technical achievement and no one does alien creatures like the Star Wars universe.

RUNNERS-UP
Thor: Ragnarok
Justice League
IT

BEST SPECIAL EFFECTS


Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi

Justice League almost got this award, but the poor CGI on the main villain gave The Last Jedi the slight edge.  Compare the work on Steppenwolf in Justice League to the work on Snoke in The Last Jedi and you will see what I mean.  The ethos of this new trilogy has been to rely on practical effects when possible.  But when they use CGI, as they did with Snoke, it looked amazing.

RUNNERS-UP
Thor: Ragnarok
Justice League
Beauty and the Beast

BEST SCORE
Danny Elfman - Justice League


This may be the first year that John Williams was nominated for this award and did not win.  What gave Elfman the edge was his use of classic superhero scores from previous films.  If he had merely aped them for Justice League, then it would not have been a big deal.  But Elfman was able to twist and manipulate the scores to take them to new emotional places.  And for that blending of originality with tradition, Elfman gets this award.

RUNNERS-UP
Mark Mothersbaugh - Thor: Ragnarok
John Williams - Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
Justin Paul and Benj Pasek - The Greatest Showman
Benjamin Wallfisch - IT



BEST SONG

"The Greatest Show" - The Greatest Showman

There are so many songs from this movie that I wish I could award.  There isn't a bad song in the bunch.  But the one I found myself singing after the lights came up was this opening and closing song.  And the way they use it in that opening and closing to complete the narrative and thematic loop... genius.




BEST COSTUMES

Justice League

Zack Snyder understands that superheroes need super costumes.  They need something that is big bold and muscular that will give us the impression of an idealized heroic figure.  And not only did he bring those over with him from his previous films but he gave us knew, unique costumes in Flash and Aquman and many others.

RUNNERS-UP
Thor: Ragnarok
Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi
The Greatest Showman
IT



Below are the list of all the films of 2017 that I have seen, ranked in order of excellence: