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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.

Lion (2016)

Lion Review

written by Souranath Banerjee

 A passionate narrative that celebrates both emotions and technology at the same time!

My Ratings: 4.1/5

80,000 children go missing in India every year never again to be reunited with their families, unfortunate indeed.

But then how many of these lost children are fortunate enough to get adopted by some kind-hearted couple from Tasmania, who are lion-poster1not only willing to give them their family name, but also enough love and affection, education and freedom to relive their own lives?

Well, Saroo a kid from rural India who loves Jalebis, happened to be one such unfortunate, yet fortunate soul!

At the age of five an unintentional train journey took him to an unknown city, alone in the streets, miserable and hungry, missing his family, and on the verge of getting exploited. But then, he survives, was sent to an orphanage and from there taken for adoption by Brierley family from Tasmania!

The first half of Saroo’s tale is dramatic enough to be made into a motion picture but the story doesn’t end there!

lion-posterAfter 25 years Saroo decides to find his roots, his village, his people, his family – he comes back to India in search of his brother and mother!

Exceptional performance by Dev Patel as Saroo, supposedly he had spent eight months preparing for his role! But more surprising was debutant Sunny Pawar‘s role, who played the part of young Saroo and stole the show!

Then of course Nicole Kidman (a great come back for her), David Wenham and Rooney Mara all made their presence felt. The Indian actors – Tannishtha ChatterjeeNawazuddin SiddiquiDeepti NavalKoushik SenAbhishek Bharate all shined in their cameos. But again the performance of Priyanka Bose as Saroo’s mother deserves a special mention, she is so natural yet subtle!

lion-poster2Brilliantly shot by Greig Fraser and edited by Alexandre de Franceschi. And also well complemented by the music of Volker Bertelmann and Dustin O’Halloran.

Since Saroo used Google Earth to try and locate his origins, Google have helped in the production of the film and gave the crew satellite imagery access and other technical support.

Director Garth Davis‘s Lion will remind you of Slumdog Millionaire but then for me it’s an entirely different treatment and story, after all it’s based on a true story!

P.S. – But why does the film named ‘Lion‘? Well, for a very good reason but you have to watch it to find it out!

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.

Carol (2015)

Carol review

written by Souranath Banerjee

An unexpected love affair that blossoms against all the odds.

My Ratings: 4/5.

Reportedly the film Carol had a 10-minute standing ovation at its 2015 Cannes Film Festival premiere!

carol-poster1And why not? Based on the romance novel “The Price of Salt” by Patricia Highsmith, Carol is one of the most visually pleasing love story of recent times.

Rooney Mara (though looking unbelievably different, she was The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo), who plays an aspiring photographer in this film named Therese Belivet, and when she meets Cate Blanchett, the unhappily married Carol Aird – they instantly fall for each other.

A young girl attracted to a married older woman who openly seduces her, an impulsive spark of romance that makes their lives both volatile and euphoric.

carol-poster4A lesbian love affair, a liaison between two people most unexpected of falling in love!

The story seems pretty straightforward though but the execution is what that makes the film a stunner.

Masterfully directed by Todd Haynes (I was already a fan of his Bob Dylan biopic I’m Not There.), and shot fantastically by Edward Lachman mostly using reflections and images through glasses and window panes.

But the real charisma of this film is nothing else than the magnetic chemistry between Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. They have successfully portrayed the true bliss of two people falling in love, the purity of their feelings, the infatuation, the physical bonding, the carol-poster5
despair in separation, and the longing for each other’s company.  

Then, Kyle ChandlerSarah PaulsonJohn Magaro and Jake Lacy all synced into their roles just perfectly. 

The realistic and appealing period-look of the film is said to be taken from numerous photographs and paintings, periodicals and film stills, all collected by Director Todd Haynes as reference for the entire team, specially for Judy Becker (Production Designer) and Jesse Rosenthal (Art Director).

Carol is one of those rare colorful films that makes you believe in simplicity, and the immense power of filmmaking as well.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com

2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

2016 Oscar Predictions: Best Picture

written by Souranath Banerjee

On Sunday, February 28th, it’s that time of the year when they give away those awards!

Yes, on this day, the Academy of Motion Pictures and Sciences will hand over the most prestigious awards of the entertainment world – the Academy Awards or the Oscars.

On the basis of the ‘preferential voting’ system (democratic and unbiased), all the nominees are chosen each year for the various award categories and then they simply wait, hope and pray to win!

This year Chris Rock will be hosting the award ceremony on ABC.

In total 305 feature films are competing for Best Picture nominations. Though the final and official seven/eight nominated ones will be announced on Thursday, January 14th, it’s always fun to guess, predict and anticipate a little before hand.

So let the predictions for the ‘Best Picture’ category begin!

10. Beasts of No Nation (Netflix)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2xb9Ty-1frw

beasts-of-no-nation1An African country at war, where violence is routine and murder is the law.

Directed by Cary Joji Fukunaga, this is the story of a kid who is forced to join a group of soldiers and take up the gun to fight and kill people.

A raw and deadly film that shows the emotional turmoil of a child soldier. And surely a favorite in the Oscar race.

9. Carol (The Weinstein Company)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H4z7Px68ywk

carol-poster1The combination of New York in 1950s and Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara, and a perfect love story.

Full of emotions and breathtaking visuals, superb music and brilliant acting – the film is a complete package of aw

Directed by Todd Haynes, this one is a favorite of mine as well as the Oscar nominees. 

8. Youth (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T7CM4di_0c

Youth-poster2Michael CaineHarvey KeitelRachel Weisz and director Paolo Sorrentino cooks up one of the best mouthwatering cinema of this year.

(click for the review)

A film that reflects on the youth and relishes the old age with the same intensity. It deals with friendship, love, marriage, lust, professions, emotions and above all emotions. I bet my

7. The Hateful Eight (The Weinstein Company)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gnRbXn4-Yis

hateful-eight-posterQuentin Tarantino is back with his 8th film and along with Samuel L. JacksonKurt RussellJennifer Jason Leigh and Tim Roth among others this one gets as gritty and violent as you can expect it to be.

Powerful performances with awesome visuals and a superbly entertaining story line.

An Oscar favorite because ‘No one comes up here without a damn good reason’. 

6. Brooklyn (Fox Searchlight Pictures)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=15syDwC000k

brooklyn-poster11950s Brooklyn as the backdrop, the film is about an Irish immigrant’s life, her love story and her past, and the choices she makes.

Directed by John Crowley, and outstanding performance by Saoirse Ronan, this is a film that breadths perfection.

My personal favorite and I wish it all the luck for the tough Oscar chart ahead.

5. Mad Max: Fury Road (Warner Brothers)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hEJnMQG9ev8

mad-max-poster5In the year 1979 Mad Max was established – a drifter, a loner and of course mad as hell. And this is the latest addition to the popular franchise.

(Click for the review)

Powerful, dramatic and full of energy, directed by George Miller, this is undoubtedly the best action flick of 2015 and a leader in the Oscar race for the ‘Best Picture’. 

4. The Revenant (20th Century Fox)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LoebZZ8K5N0

revenant-posterDirected by Alejandro González Iñárritu (whose film Birdman won the ‘best director’, ‘best picture’ and ‘best screenplay’ awards last year), has come up with this brilliant tale of an explorer Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio).

A fur trading expedition in the 1820s; inspired by true events this is an epic adventure, a quest for survival and also a sure favorite in this year’s Oscar.

3. The Big Short (Paramount Pictures)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rDlYm15ztK4

big-short-posterWhen Christian BaleSteve CarellRyan Gosling and Brad Pitt come together – you know it’s worth it. 

Directed by Adam McKay, this is a biographical account of the time (mid 2000) when there was a financial crisis in the US, and four individuals decided to fight the greedy banks for their lack of foresight.

Looks like a pretty sure thing for the award ceremony. Watch out!

2. Room (A24 Films)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E_Ci-pAL4eE

room-posterAdopted from Emma Donoghue‘s famous novel, this is one unique story of a five-year old boy who is told by his loving mother that their 10-by-10 foot ‘room’ is the only world that exists! 

Directed by Lenny Abrahamson, a brilliant film that surely is becoming people’s favorite and a likely contestant for the Oscar.

Brilliant performance by Brie Larson and Jacob Tremblay

  1. Spotlight (Open Road Films)

Film trailer: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EwdCIpbTN5g

spotlight-poster1Probably the most significant cinema on ‘journalism’ made after the epic All the President’s Men (1976).

Directed by Tom McCarthy, this is one film that is considered certainly as the top favorite in this year’s Oscar game.

With Mark RuffaloMichael KeatonRachel McAdams and Liev Schreiber among others this is one safe film to put your money.

and (The ‘+1′ film is not necessarily the best but certainly the most popular one).

+1. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Disney)

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

star-wars-posterThe recently released ever popular addition to the Star Wars franchise and a sudden favorite for the Oscars.

Directed by J.J. Abrams, this film with it’s immense fan following has the potential to be a game changer in the race for this years ‘Best Picture’ Academy Awards.

By the way, this film has recreated the U.S. box office record beating James Cameron‘s Avatar!

And now the films though not included in my list but are certainly fair competition for the award: Straight Outta ComptonCreedTrumboSon of SaulBlack MassThe Danish GirlLove & MercyTangerineSicarioSteve JobsThe MartianBridge of Spies and Joy.

And finally – A Thank You to the movies of 2015.

Poster courtesy: www.impawards.com.