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Best Hollywood Movies of 2017 so far (10+1list)

Best Hollywood Movies of 2017 so far

written by Souranath Banerjee

Film-lovers take a deep breath – relax. It’s flashback time!

The first half of this year gone in a wink and yet it has been a busy half-a-dozen months for us, the dedicated movie-buffs.

Best Hollywood Movies of 2017Dramatic super-hero/heroine movies, hilarious comedies, nail-bitting thrillers, romantic dramas, kickass action flicks, even musicals – you name it and Hollywood have delivered!

The list of the Best Hollywood Movies of 2017 so far is right here but then I must admit (with a heavy heart) that this list is pretty heavy on VFX rather than movies with less cumputer-graphics and more of real-world stories.

But anyways, here we go – remember – only the best!

10. Beauty and the Beast

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e3Nl_TCQXuw

Best Hollywood Movies of 2017Once more an adaptation of the popular fairy tale (again by Disney), where the beast and the beauty fall in love but can they live happily ever after?

Directed by Bill Condon, the classic musical narrated through a series of brilliantly choreographed dance and song sequences.

Starring Emma WatsonDan Stevens, Luke Evans, but I think the casting choices for the voices of the enchanted people-turned-objects/furnitures are much better!

9. War for the Planet of the Apes

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yDBFrQvfGlQ

Best Hollywood Movies of 2017The ape-trilogy has finally reached an epic conclusion. (But that doesn’t mean ‘no’ to a future 4th).

(Review of Dawn of the Planet of the Apes)

Directed by Matt Reeves, this one is all about the grand battle between Caesar (the ape leader) and Colonel (the human army leader) and their battle for supremacy.

Thanks to Andy Serkis and Woody Harrelson for giving us such an emotional experience.

8. John Wick: Chapter 2

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XGk2EfbD_Ps

Best Hollywood Movies of 2017Keanu Reeves is back as John Wick, the man whose car and dog you better don’t mess with! 

This is the second instalment of the superb 2014 action thriller John Wick, and this time it’s even more raw, brutal and action packed.

Directed by Chad Stahelski, this is the savage saga of what happens when you put a bounty on John Wick’s head!

7. The Big Sick

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MF14JJkOrSI

Best Hollywood Movies of 2017A Pakistani muslim guy and a white American girl couldn’t help but fall for each other but would their families put aside the cultural barriers and accept their love?

Directed by Michael Showaltera unique rom-com that manages to address pretty serious issues but always with adequate humour.

Writer/actor Kumail Nanjiani is superb along with his on-screen love Zoe Kazan.

6. Baby Driver

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D9YZw_X5UzQ

Best Hollywood Movies of 2017Every successful heist ends with a thrilling car chase and Baby, the young getaway driver is there to guarantee your safety!

Super cool performances by Ansel Elgort, Jon Bernthal, Jon HammEiza GonzálezLily James and finally Jamie Foxx and Kevin Spacey stealing the show.

Directed by Edgar Wright, a crime drama intertwined with classy soundtracks – racy and stylish.

5. Spider-Man: Homecoming

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U0D3AOldjMU

Best Hollywood Movies of 2017A seemingly ordinary high school student in New York City struggles with his new super-powers – Peter Parker learns to control his alter ego – the Spider-Man. And his mentor is none other than Tony Stark (the Iron Man)!

Directed by Jon Watts, with Tom Holland in the lead along with Michael Keaton and Robert Downey Jr. this Spidy-franchise is the best thing that happened to Spider Man for a long time!

4. Wonder Woman

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSB4wGIdDwo

Best Hollywood Movies of 2017Desperate to save the world from all the darkness and evil, here comes the invincible warrior princess of the Amazons – ‘Wonder Woman’ to us mere mortals!

Sexy and gorgeous Gal Gadot is THE reason to watch this film, but then also, not to forget Chris Pine and the overall amazing VFX!

Directed by Patty Jenkins, this DC comic based super-heroine film is visually spectacular, a perfect combination of action, humour and entertainment.

3. Song to Song

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mL0FYUpXuoo

Best Hollywood Movies of 2017An euphoric moment for all Cinema-lovers – Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael FassbenderNatalie PortmanCate Blanchett – all in one movie and that too directed by Terrence Malick!

The plot revolves around love triangles, affairs, betrayals and heart breaks, all happening in the backdrop of the eccentric music scene in Texas.

Dreamy camera movements and powerful performances – a typical Terrence Mallik experience!

2. Logan 

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gbug3zTm3Ws

Best Hollywood Movies of 2017Hugh Jackman‘s swan song as his famous ‘Wolverine’ character from the X-Men series comes to an epic conclusion.

Directed by James Mangold, intense, violent, edgy and emotional – a gripping story and spectacular performances is what makes the film so special.

Then again young Dafne Keen and old Patrick Stewart gives the movie the vitality that it deserved. 

  1. Get Out

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DzfpyUB60YY

Best Hollywood Movies of 2017It’s ‘meet-the-parents’ time for a young African American who is in relationship with a white girl. Well, the white folks seem to be pretty friendly – or are they?

Suffocatingly intense, both Daniel Kaluuya and Allison Williams has given great natural performances.

Directed by Jordan Peele, a very intriguing thriller that also seems to make a very important social statement even in today’s world.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch)

+1. The LEGO Batman Movie

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LZSQTVdF3QM

Best Hollywood Movies of 2017Does Batman live in Bruce Wayne’s basement or Wayne lives in Batman’s attic? Anyways ‘Vigilantes don’t have bedtimes’ remember?

What happens when Batman doesn’t get invited to Superman’s house-party? And did you know that ‘Iron Man sucks.’ is the password for the Bat-Cave?

Directed by Chris McKaythe ultimate bat-crazy experience – absolutely hilarious, witty and a laugh riot. And of course brilliantly ‘legoed’, i mean animated!

A few other films that didn’t make the list but are worth your time: SplitTheir FinestThe Zookeeper’s WifeThe Lost City of Z, T2 Trainspotting and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

Poster courtesy: www.imdb.com.

The Light Between Oceans (2016)

The Light Between Oceans review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A brilliant romantic period drama – a magical experience!

My Ratings: 4.2/5

Since Blue Valentine (2010) I have religiously followed the work of film maker Derek Cianfrance. He has this unique gift of handling actors, he makes them live together on set for weeks that gives light-between-oceans-poster2Derek’s films that rare spark of casual spontaneity.

And so in Derek Cianfrance’s latest film The Light Between Oceanswith two Oscar winning actors Alicia Vikander and Rachel Weisz and one Oscar nominee Michael Fassbender, you can only imagine the level of performances that are put on display!

A powerhouse of brilliant acting that teleports you to the post-WWI era (1921) in an instant.

Tom Sherbourne (Michael Fassbender), a veteran of World War I and currently a lighthouse keeper discovers a row-boat that has been washed up on the shore near the lighthouse. He along with his wife Isabel Graysmark (Alicia Vikander) finds a baby girl on that boat and decides to keep the baby as their own.

But then the distressed real mother of that baby Hannah Roennfeldt light-between-oceans-poster(Rachel Weisz) arrives and Tom’s conscience doesn’t allow him to keep away a baby from her mother!

A combination of dramatic moments and subtle sentiments; romance, agony, guilt and forgiveness – a perfect blend of emotions that makes The Light Between Oceans a classic.

Then again Alexandre Desplat‘s music perfectly justifies the fantastic way of capturing the essence of nature, specially the sea – thanks to the brilliance of cinematographer Adam Arkapaw.

Adopted from a novel by the same name, written by M. L. Stedman, this slow paced 2hr film is a treat for all cinema lovers!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

Macbeth (2015)

Macbeth review

written by Souranath Banerjee

A visual extravaganza that makes even a tragedy look ravishing! 

My Ratings: 4.2/5.

What is common between directors like Orson WellesRoman PolanskiAkira KurosawaVishal BhardwajBilly MorrissettePhilip Casson and (recently included) Justin Kurzel?

macbeth-poster2Well, they have all managed to successfully put forward the epic Shakespearian tragedy on screen; a tale so heavy on greed, ambition, deceit and conscience, the story of none other than the King of Scotland – Macbeth.

This latest adaptation by director Justin Kurzel (of The Snowtown Murders fame) is probably the most artistic account of the play till date.

The basic storyline is of course the same.

Macbeth (Michael Fassbender), a brave Scottish general (Thane of Glamis) receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that he will be the macbeth-poster7next King of Scotland! To fulfill his ambition/prophecy and coaxed by his enterprising wife Lady Macbeth (Marion Cotillard), he slays King
Duncan (David Thewlis) and himself becomes the King. And then he gets rid of all his enemies and anybody who suspects him, except his own conscience.

Other than the brilliant cinematography by Adam Arkapaw the film owes its brilliance entirely to the acting department.

Over the years Michael Fassbender has become one of the best in his profession. In this film, he has taken Macbeth’s desperation, tyranny, loneliness and the deep sense of guilt to such depth, his eyes in the light of the fire, his paranoia, his enslavement to absolute power – all portrayed to perfection.

macbeth-poster6And Marion Cotillard is always a delight to watch, such a powerful actress!

Though the film faithfully follows the original acts of the theatrical version, but director Kurzel’s powerful visual style of storytelling makes full use of all the remarkable cinematic techniques and brings out the emotions to a different level. And also, special credit to the screenwriters Jacob KoskoffMichael Lesslie and Todd Louiso for such a brilliant adaptation of the original Bard’s poetry.

You need not have to be a fan of the works of Shakespeare to relish this 1h 53min drama, but then again if you are, then this Macbeth version is indeed a special treat for you.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com

Best Jew-Nazi dramas during the Holocaust (10+1list)

Best Jew-Nazi dramas during the Holocaust.

written by Souranath Banerjee

For anybody who is not familiar with the word ‘holocaust‘ (though i doubt that), it is a term used to define the genocide in which approximately six million Jews (including one million Jewish children) were killed by Adolf Hitler through his Nazi regime.   

There were another five million non-Jewish victims of Nazi mass murders as well.

And thus, in between1941 to 1945, while Germany was fighting the WorldWar II in the forefront, approximately eleven million people were executed in a preplanned and secretive manner throughout Nazi-Germany and the other German-occupied territories.

Numerous films and documentaries have been made to portray those unpredictable and desperate times.

Interestingly the films listed below neither emphasize on the WWII nor particularly based on the inhumane concentration camp stories; these films tell the tales of those who defied against the barbaric massacre of human lives, of those who challenged the deadly systematic annihilation and survived (or at least tried to).

Most of these films are based on true stories and are definitely the best Jew-Nazi dramas in the times of Holocaust.

Please have a look.

10. Black Book (2006)

Original title: Zwartboek. Language: Dutch.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dKEDKF8iDUw

black-book-posterDirected by Paul Verhoeven, this one was the official Netherlands entry for the Best Foreign Language Film category for the Oscars.

A Jewish singer who transforms herself from a war victim to a spy, she uses her charms and also puts her life at risk to pass German war secrets to the Dutch Resistance.

A visual treat and a plot that has so many twists to keep you guessing till the end.

9. Sophie Scholl: The Final Days (2005)

Original title: Sophie Scholl – Die letzten Tage. Language: German.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x14U3R3-dFE

Sophie-Scholl-posterThe White Rose was the German World War II anti-Nazi resistance movement and young Sophie Scholl was one of the most prominent members of it. 

The film is a dramatized version of brave Sophie Scholl’s arrest, her interrogation, her trial till her sentence in 1943 Munich. 

Directed by Marc Rothemund, a chilling war drama, a must watch. 

8. In Darkness (2011)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHuPtd9oCSQ

in-darkness-poster

Leopold Socha, a man probably lesser known than Oskar Schindler but then again he saved numerous lives in the Nazi-occupied Polish city of Lvov during Holocaust.

He risked his own life hiding Jewish refugees from the Nazis in the sewers for almost 14 months! 

Directed by Polish female director Agnieszka Holland, a heart touching story of humanity and valor. 

7. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KnrRy6kSFF0

inglorious-bastards-posterFiction at it’s best; two separate plans to assassinate the Nazi leaders unfortunately coincide and how!

Quentin Tarantino‘s take on the gruesome times of history – a drama told in his unique style, quirky and essentially violent.

Brad PittChristoph WaltzMichael FassbenderDiane KrugerEli Roth among others. One of the most popular one in the list.

6. Defiance (2008)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=n-9eUXSzZNk

defiance-posterIn the Belarussian forests the Jewish brothers escapes from the Nazis and built their own village to protect themselves and also 1000 other Jews. 

Directed by Edward Zwick, this is the epic story of defiance as some Jews decided to fought back against their oppressors.  

Daniel Craig and Liev Schreiber great performances indeed. 

5. The Diary of Anne Frank (1959)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=A7zDyJcF3ko

diary-of-anne-frank-posterIn Nazi-occupied Amsterdam, a young Jewish girl named Anne Frank is forced to hide in an attic with her family and a few friends. 

The film is based on the real accounts of events documented by Anne herself in her diary.

Directed by George Stevens, this one is a brilliant tale of the war seen through the innocent eyes of a young  girl hoping to be free some day.

4. The Pawnbroker (1964)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pNLBKdV83co

pawnbroker-posterA Jewish pawnbroker who once survived through the savage concentration camps is too damaged and scarred to trust or love others. 

An unforgettable performance by Rod Steiger, a brilliant actor of his times.

Directed by Sidney Lumet, the film is a gem and deserves much more recognition and popularity than it ever earned.  Please do watch.  

3. Amen. (2002)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=McEkNCpTOKs

amen-posterKurt Gerstein, a German sanitation engineer who developed the lethal gas Zyklon-B, didn’t realize that the same gas will be used by the SS to kill millions of Jews in the camps.

He in order to stop the genocide tries to inform the Pope Pius XII and ask for the Vatican’s help.

Directed by Costa-Gavras, a film full of passion and drama.

2. The Pianist (2002)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_jE7-6Uv7E

pianist-poster1Talented Adrien Brody as the pianist who desperately struggles to escape from the clutches of the Nazis and from being sent to the ghettos and executed.  

Directed by my favorite director Roman Polanski, a film so powerful and emotional and yet very realistic. 

The best Holocaust movie ever made – yes, my vote surely goes for this one.

  1. Schindler’s List (1993)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JdRGC-w9syA

schindlers-list-posterMaster director Steven Spielberg tells the tale of Oskar Schindler, a German business man who is responsible for saving many Jewish lives (more than 1000) from being gassed during the Holocaust.

Liam Neeson as Schindler has given his career best performance.

Probably the most popular film representing this particular historical period.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most innovative one. A must watch).

+1. Downfall (2004)

Original title: Der Untergang, Language: German.

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wD1Riwv5wqw

downfall-poster1

This particular film explores the final days of the Reich and of it’s leaders such as Himmler, Goring, Goebbels and Hitler himself.

April 1945, chances of Germany winning the war looks grim but still the paranoid dictator wants to fight till the end. 

Directed by Oliver Hirschbiegel, one of the most microscopic view on last days of Hitler. 

Similar Interest: Best Concentration Camp films during the Holocaust (10+1list).

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.comwww.imdb.com