17 items from 2017
Before the holiday weekend gets under way, Lionsgate set new release dates for a pair of its upcoming projects. First up, the studio has handed out an October 20, 2017 release date for Boo 2! A Madea Halloween, a follow-up to last year's Boo! A Madea Halloween, from star/writer/director Tyler Perry. The studio also slated the new Aardman Animation stop-motion film Early Man for release on February 16, 2018. Unfortunately for both of those projects, they land on very competitive weekends.
Over the last few years, the third weekend in October has become increasingly crowded, but last year, Boo! A Madea Halloween managed to come out on top with a box office win of $28.5 million, easily beating three more newcomers, 20th Century Fox's Keeping Up With the Joneses, Jack Reacher: Never Go Back and Ouija: Origins of Evil. However, it only earned $73.2 million domestically and just $1.6 million internationally for a worldwide total of $74.8 million, »
04.27.17: This list is now final. While I may in the future see additional films that were released in the awards year of 2016, no more films will be added to this list. (I may add links to reviews of films listed here.)
This ranking includes only new theatrical releases viewed for the awards year of 2016 (for eligibility for the Academy Awards and the Ofcs and Awfj awards); some films released in the UK without Us releases (and so ineligible for those awards this year) may also be included, for my own bookkeeping purposes. Links go to my review. Numbers after each entry are Date First Viewed/NYC Release Date/London Release Date; year is 2016 unless otherwise noted.
worth paying multiplex prices for
La La Land (10.07/12.09/01.13.17)
A Monster Calls (10.06/12.23/01.01.17)
The Lobster (07.16.15/05.13/10.16.15)
Zootropolis (aka Zootopia) (02.22/03.04/03.25)
A Bigger Splash (10.08.15/05.04/02.12)
Miss Sloane (11.20/11.25/05.12.17)
London Road (06.03.15/09.09/06.12.15)
The Girl with All the Gifts (07.26/02.24.17/09.23)
I, Daniel Blake »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Lee will appear in the ABC pilot “Splitting Up Together” opposite Jenna Fischer and Oliver Hudson. The show, which hails from executive producer Ellen DeGeneres, is the story of Lena (Fischer) and Martin (Hudson), whose marriage is reignited by their divorce. They still live in the same house, alternating weeks, with one living upstairs and doing the parenting while the other lives downstairs in the guest apartment.
Lee will play the role of Arthur, Martin’s best friend. What he lacks in courage, he makes up for with sincerity and encourages Martin and Lena to reunite.
The pilot was written by Emily Kapnek and directed by Dean Holland. Kapnek, DeGeneres, Jeff Kleeman, Mette Heeno, Mie Andreasen, and Hella Joof will serve as executive producers. DeGeneres’ A Very Good Production and Kapnek’s Piece »
- Joe Otterson
Deadline is reporting that Keanu Reeves and Isla Fisher are in talks to star in The Starling, a dramedy from director Dome Karukoski (Tom of Finland), which is based on Matt Harris’ Black List script and explores how love can carry you through grief.
The official logline for The Starling reads: “A married couple lose a child and the wife goes into a recovery place to help her with overwhelming grief, leaving the husband at home alone. To help aid in her recovery, the husband decides to build a beautiful garden for his wife in their backyard, but as he does he is tormented by an aggressive, black starling. At his wits end with the relentless nature of the bird, he goes to see a veterinarian to find out if there is a humane way to get rid of it. The vet, the husband finds out, used to be a »
- Gary Collinson
Simon Brew Mar 1, 2017
As rumours that Disney is set to re-release the original cuts of the first Star Wars trilogy prove unfounded, we look at what's going on...
It’s a strange time in the world of physical discs. Whilst companies such as Arrow and Criterion continue to invest time, money and care into beautiful, crafted and collectable releases, there’s a growing feeling that the era of the physical disc is coming to an end. DVD and Blu-ray sales are falling, some titles by-pass disc altogether and go straight to streaming services. Furthermore, extra features are becoming less the norm and more a bit of a luxury. Then there’s the small matter of Ultra HD Blu-ray, a new disc format that’s making a little headway, but struggling to really breakthrough. Titles such as Keeping Up With The Joneses for £30 a throw aren’t loosening people’s purse strings. »
Despite a tough challenge by Paramount’s newly released “Arrival,” 20th Century Fox again topped the national home video sales charts the week ended Feb. 19 with “Trolls,” the DreamWorks Animation family feature based on the toy dolls.
“Arrival,” a sci-fi actioner that grossed just over $100 million in U.S. theaters, finished a close second on both the Npd VideoScan overall disc sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales, and Npd’s dedicated Blu-ray Disc Sales chart.
Npd research shows the film sold 66% as many units its first week in stores as “Trolls” did in the latter’s second week of release. On Blu-ray Disc the race was tighter, with “Arrival” selling 78% as many units as “Trolls.”
“The Arrival,” according to Npd, generated 61% of its total unit sales from Blu-ray Disc, compared to 51% for “Trolls” (down from 53% its first week of release).
The No. 3 spot on the sales »
- Thomas K. Arnold
To celebrate the release of Keeping Up With The Joneses, which is available on Digital HD, VOD and DVD now, we have three copies of the film to give away on DVD!
From Director Greg Mottola (Superbad, Paul, Adventureland) Keeping Up With The Joneses is a cringingly laugh-out-loud comedy that packs an all-star cast including Zach Galifianakis (The Hangover Trilogy, Birdman) Isla Fisher (Now You See Me, Grimbsy), Jon Hamm (Mad Men, The Town) and Gal Gadot (Wonder Woman, Fast & Furious).
Keeping Up With The Joneses follows an ordinary suburban couple, Jeff (Galifianakis) and Karen Gaffney (Fisher), who find it’s not easy keeping up with the Joneses — their impossibly attractive and ultra-sophisticated new neighbors — especially when they discover Mr. and Mrs. Jones are covert spies embroiled in international espionage.
Tim Jones (Hamm) is an accomplished travel writer whose hobbies include blowing glass and his wife, Natalie (Gadot) is a social media consultant, »
- Paul Heath
MaryAnn’s quick take… A great Batman movie, a great superhero movie, and a gloriously bonkers expression of the sublime silliness of crime fighters in capes, and our love of them. I’m “biast” (pro): really liked The Lego Movie
I’m “biast” (con): nothing
(what is this about? see my critic’s minifesto)
He’s Batman. (Say it in a low growl for best effect.) The little Lego minifig in black actually works as a superhero. Of course he appeared in The Lego Movie a couple years back, but he was a joke, a sideshow, a parody of the Dark Knight. Would spinning him off into his own movie work as anything other than a caricature, and wouldn’t he be just one joke stretched too thin across a full movie? Wouldn’t the few things that made The Lego Movie stand apart from all the many »
- MaryAnn Johanson
Sony Pictures’ “Inferno” debuted at No. 1 on both national home video sales charts the week ended Jan. 29, while the previous week’s top seller, the Universal Pictures suspense thriller “The Girl on the Train,” dropped to No. 10, the biggest week-to-week drop in years.
“Inferno” is a mystery thriller directed by Ron Howard that earned $34.3 million in U.S. theaters, less than half its estimated budget. The film is a sequel to “The Da Vinci Code” and “Angels & Demons” and stars Tom Hanks, reprising his role as Harvard professor Robert Langdon.
Warner’s “Suicide Squad” rose back up to No. 2 on the Npd VideoScan overall disc sales chart, switching places with another Warner title, “The Accountant,” which slipped to No. 4 its third week in stores.
- Thomas K. Arnold
The Universal Pictures suspense thriller “The Girl on the Train” debuted at No. 1 on both national home video sales charts the week ended Jan. 22, while Warner’s “The Accountant” remains in second place.
“The Girl on the Train,” with a domestic box office gross of just over $75 million, stars Emily Blunt as an alcoholic divorcee who becomes embroiled in a missing person (and then murder) investigation,
Lionsgate’s “Deepwater Horizon,” the dramatization of the April 2010 explosion of the offshore drilling rig of the same name, slipped to No. 3 on both the Npd VideoScan overall disc sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc sales chart.
Warner’s “Suicide Squad” slipped to No. 4 from No. 3, also on both charts.
Rounding out the top five on the overall disc sales chart was the newly released 20th Century Fox comedy “Keeping Up with the Joneses,” a »
- Thomas K. Arnold
Our resident VOD expert tells you what's new to rent and/or own this week via various Digital HD providers such as cable Movies On Demand, Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, Google Play and, of course, Netflix. Cable Movies On Demand: Same-day-as-disc releases, older titles and pretheatrical The Girl on the Train (thriller-drama; Emily Blunt, Rebecca Ferguson, Justin Theroux, Luke Evans; rated R) Keeping Up with the Joneses (comedy; Zach Galifianakis, Isla Fisher, Jon Hamm, Gal Gadot; rated PG-13) Ouija: Origin of Evil (period horror prequel; Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso; rated PG-13) Eadweard (drama; Michael Eklund, Sara Canning; not rated) Trespass Against Us (drama-thriller; Michael Fassbender, Brendan Gleeson; rated R) Christine (biopic about TV...
- Robert B. DeSalvo
After a successful theatrical run, Tom Cruise brings the iconic Jack Reacher into your own living room with the action-packed sequel Jack Reacher: Never Go Back. The sequel debuts on Digital HD today, January 17, before arriving on Blu-ray and DVD January 31. To celebrate the Digital HD release, we have four exclusive graphic posters, which feature artistic renditions of some of the movie's most iconic scenes, including Jack pulling a gun on the men who have been following him and Jack's diner encounter.
Jack Reacher (Tom Cruise) returns to enforce his bold brand of justice in the action-packed sequel based on author Lee Child's best-selling series. When Army Major Susan Turner (Cobie Smulders) is framed for treason, Reacher discovers she's the target of a massive government conspiracy. With help from Turner and a mysterious new ally, Reacher risks everything to take down a powerful organization that will stop at nothing to protect its secrets. »
Warner Archive Delivers the Best Way to Enjoy a Bad Day at Black Rock
Welcome to this week in home video! Click the title to buy a Blu-ray/DVD from Amazon and help support Fsr in the process!
Pick of the WeekBad Day at Black Rock [Warner Archive]
What is it? A one-armed man arrives via train in a remote western town, and the populace reacts with suspicion and violence.
Why buy it? Spencer Tracy excels as the polite but mysterious stranger whose presence sets everyone on edge, and the more he probes the harder they push. The film explores threads of America’s deep-seated racism and small-town insulation, and it pairs that commentary with a steadily increasing suspense. The themes and actions here are still sadly relevant, even now, and it makes for an important watch that still manages to entertain. Tracy’s potential adversaries include Lee Marvin, Ernest Borgnine, Walter Brennan, and »
- Rob Hunter
Zach Galifianakis’ documentary, “Democracy For Sale,” looks at how bad gerrymandering has gotten in his home state of North Carolina. The film was originally part of Epix’s original docuseries “America Divided,” produced by Common, Norman Lear and Shonda Rhimes, which premiered back in September. Now, according to the News Observer, the doc will be screened across North Carolina in January and February.
In the film, the actor discusses the state’s transformed politics and, per the project’s website, “how the money of a few has come to dominate our democracy.”
A clip for the documentary shows Galifianakis talking with former Democratic North Carolina state senator Margaret Dickson about how the state’s districts have been changed.
“People feel like they’ve lost control of the process and in some ways they have,” she says in the video. “The redistricting is being done my people far away…I wish »
- Liz Calvario
With a seemingly endless amount of streaming options — not only the titles at our disposal, but services themselves — we’ve taken it upon ourselves to highlight the titles that have recently hit platforms. Every week, one will be able to see the cream of the crop (or perhaps some simply interesting picks) of streaming titles (new and old) across platforms such as Netflix, iTunes, Amazon, and more (note: U.S. only). Check out our rundown for this week’s selections below.
The staggeringly accomplished debut feature by Brazilian critic-turned-director Kleber Mendonça Filho, Neighboring Sounds, announced the arrival of a remarkable new talent in international cinema. Clearly recognizable as the work of the same director, Mendonça’s equally assertive follow-up, Aquarius, establishes his authorial voice as well as his place as one of the most eloquent filmic commentators on the contemporary state of Brazilian society. – Giovanni M. »
- The Film Stage
Author: Jon Lyus
Twelve months ago we were all expectantly waiting for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, which would pit two iconic superheroes against one another on the big screen. Though it ended up falling far short of those expectations the cinematic trio of Batman, Superman and Wonder Woman had a certain novelty value which will drive fans into the ultimate movie in the DC/Snyderverse – the long awaited Justice League.
Before the superhero mash up we have an intriguing prospect in Patty Jenkins’ Wonder Woman standalone film in June. Many considered Gadot’s appearance in Batman v Superman to be a breath of fresh air in amongst the glowering testosterone. Jenkins, too, is sure to bring something new to the dim and distant Dcu. We caught up with Wonder Woman Gal Gadot, and an admiring Jon Hamm, at the press junket for their recent comedy vehicle Keeping Up with the Joneses »
- Jon Lyus
A total of 145 scores were recently announced as being eligible for this year’s Academy Award, with everything from perceived frontrunner “La La Land” (Justin Hurwitz) and “Jackie” (Mica Levi) to outliers like “Sausage Party” and “Elle.” The final five will be nominated on January 24. In the meantime, avail yourself of this Spotify playlist featuring selections from 110 of the eligible scores — as well as the full list of every eligible score.
The Abolitionists,” Tim Jones, composer
“Armenia, My Love, »
- Michael Nordine
17 items from 2017
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