John Wick: Chapter 2

2017: 11 must-see films from the first six months

We are more than halfway through 2017 already. If your New Year’s resolution was to see more movies this year but you just haven’t gotten around to seeing as many as you’d hoped, don’t worry. To make things easier on you, we’ve compiled a list of the movies you really need to see (so far this year)!

*All films were released within the first six month (Jan.-Jun.).

11.) Split

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Brace yourselves, we may be in the midst of a Shyamalanaissance (you’re welcome). After the critical and financial success of The Visit, M. Night has taken an even bigger step towards reclaiming his lost title of “The Next Spielberg.” Split is a strong return to form for the writer/director. It’s a tense, deliberately paced thriller that perpetually intrigues and features a spine-tingling performance from James McAvoy as multiple personalities. The film also boats one of the most exciting reveals this year and of Shyamalan’s entire career.

10.) Colossal

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Contrary to its marketing, Colossal isn’t exactly a romantic comedy, monster movie mash-up. Though it shares similar plot points with those types of films (especially in the first act), Writer/Director Nacho Vigalondo actually explores some pretty dark, mature themes here. That said, it is one of the quirkiest, most original films this year with Anne Hathaway reminding us all why she won her Oscar. Jason Sudeikis is strong as Hathaway’s main foil and the two share a captivating dynamic that you won’t soon forget.

9.) Raw

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Word was people were fainting during festival screenings of this French horror flick. While Raw didn’t quite affect me in that way (thankfully), certain scenes still make me cringe weeks later. But this film left me with more than just a stronger gag reflex. By exploring the complicated relationship between two sisters, Raw offers unique observations on (among other things) sisterhood and its impact on certain familial structures. Simply put: it’s one of the meatiest films of the year. There’s a lot to sink your teeth into. Okay, I’ll stop.

8.) The Lego Batman Movie

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From hard-R cannibalism to animated family fun! Not enough people saw The Lego Batman Movie, which is a shame. It’s some of the most fun I’ve had in a theater this year. Director Chris McKay hysterically pokes fun at Batman and his storied silver screen history with self-referential styling’s similar to the original Lego movie. McKay simultaneously delivers the kickass action we’ve come to expect from a Batman flick. Perhaps the best thing about this film is that it offers a fresh take on the Dark Knight despite serving two of the most iconic brands in the world.

7.) Wonder Woman

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Sure it took 75 years, but it was well worth the wait. Wonder Woman is a pure delight from start to finish. Director Patty Jenkins took one of comics’ silliest, most convoluted origins and adapted it into a coherent and compelling narrative. Gal Gadot is a revelation as Diana Prince and Chris Pine is irresistibly charming as the romantic interest Steve Trevor. Their chemistry is magnetic and holds the film together throughout. Charismatic performances from the supporting cast even win out against some undercooked side character development. Wonder Woman also manages to fit visually within the context of the DC Extended Universe while incorporating some of that humor and infectious energy that make the MCU movies so much fun.

6.) Wakefield

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Wakefield is a singular experience filtered through the mind of a sincerely disturbed suburbanite who withdraws from his life and family by hiding away inside the attic of their detached garage. It’s a twisted character study that offers surprisingly frequent laughs as well as some unsettling insight into the psyche of identity and the toll of soulless routine. Bryan Cranston is hypnotic as Howard Wakefield and convincingly conveys the man’s frenzied journey to self-discovery.

5.) It Comes at Night

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If you go into It Comes at Night with the wrong set of expectations, chances are you’ll leave disappointed. I knew nothing when I sat down to screen it. Gradually, I took what Writer/Director Trey Edward Schults was offering. I encourage all of you to do the same. If you can accept It Comes at Night as a cerebral, slow-burning character study, then you may be able to enjoy the film’s narrative simplicity, haunting cinematography and nuanced performances. You may even find yourself asking “What would I do in this situation?”

4.) John Wick: Chapter 2

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Sometimes there is just no substitute for fun. That’s what the John Wick movies are. The first film gleefully embraces Keanu Reeves’s inner badass as well as an inexplicably intricate mythology and hyper-realistic violence. ‘Chapter 2′ furthers said mythology and doubles down the series’ now iconic “gun-fu.” If you loved John Wick then you’ll probably love John Wick: Chapter 2 all the same, if not more. I certainty did.

3.) Baby Driver

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Continuing the theme of fun is Baby Driver. Writer/Director Edgar Wright spins familiar elements of the crime genre in a way only he can for this analog comedy. It features Ansel Elgort as a getaway driver who continually listens to music in order to drown out the Tinnitus in his ears. The script is tight and full of snappy dialogue. The supporting cast is equally kinetic and charming, with special props to Jamie Foxx for his standout performance. Wright also makes better use of his soundtrack than any other film I’ve seen, particularly during the riveting action sequences (yes, including Guardians of the Galaxy).

2.) Get Out

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Get Out is not only one of the best movies of the year. It’s one of the most important ones too. Writer/Director Jordan Peele (one-half of Comedy Central’s sketch comedy Key & Peele) has crafted a deft social thriller akin to the likes of The Stepford Wives and Rosemary’s Baby. Here Peele observes the subversive evolution of racism in America through the lens of a young African American man who’s meeting his Caucasian girlfriend’s parents for the first time. It’s a timely, haunting film and one that’s already made a splash via multiple box office records. Look for Get Out come time for Oscar nods.

1.) Logan

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Logan is not just a great comic book movie. It’s a great movie, period. It’s also the last time Hugh Jackman will play the iconic X-Man Wolverine, after nearly twenty years. Thankfully, Logan is the perfect swan song. Director James Mangold and company have realized a poetic and exhilarating tale of redemption in a world where mutants are nearing extinction. We finally get to see Wolverine in all his raging, R-rated glory. Patrick Stewart gives arguably the best performance of his career as a broken, desperate Professor X. In fact, Logan has the potential to be the first comic book film since The Dark Knight to see an Oscar nod for performance.

There you have it! Our picks for the top 11 must-see movies of the first half of 2017. What do you think of our list? What films made it onto your list? We want to know! Hit us up in the comments section and let’s talk about it!

‘John Wick’ to expand to TV with prequel series ‘The Continental’

Wherever John Wick goes, things explode. That includes the box office. In fact, John Wick: Chapter 2 did so much damage in theaters that Lionsgate is now looking to expand the IP beyond the flaming hot film franchise starring Keanu Reeves.

Recently, IndieWire learned that co-creator Chad Stahelski, along with screenwriting cohort David Kolstad, will be bringing John Wick to television, or at least the world of John Wick. Under the name The Continental, the series will explore the fascinating, mythological world of assassins and the various franchises of the titular hotel found all around the globe.

It’s also being reported that the series will serve as a prequel to the original John Wick film. Stahelski has also stated that there are plans for Wick himself to make an appearance on the show but clarified that the show will not center around him.

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A writer for the show has not been announced nor are there currently any scheduled production or premiere dates.

What do you all think of a John Wick TV series centered around the Continental? Are you like us and completely stoked about this news? Or could you care less? Let us know in the comments below!

THANK YOU!!!

Since Movie Minutes moved to WordPress, our new blog has garnered over 20 followers and our YouTube channel has reached over 40 subscribers! That sounds like a small feat, but we couldn’t be more thankful to you all for helping us reach these milestones!

To celebrate the occasion, we will be giving away FREE digital codes for some movies, including the old Brendan Fraser The Mummy movies, the first two John Wick flicks, and more! We will be uploading a video to our YouTube channel (link below) later today with more details on how you can win, so make sure you subscribe and leave your notifications on!

Again, thank you all so much for the support! We hope you will continue to be a part of the Movie Minutes family for many years to come!

YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCbaZxRiJYYCFJNfdu2rfhFQ

John Wick: Chapter 2– Steelbook Unboxing

John Wick: Chapter 2 is as much fun as the original and one of our favorite movies of the year so far! Thankfully, as is the case with the first film, Best Buy has delivered a sleek, new Steelbook! Check it out in our short unboxing video!

What do you all think of this steelbook and/or the John Wick franchise so far? Hit us up in the comments below with your thoughts!

The Movies of 2017 (So Far): The Good, the Garbage, & the Great

If the first quarter (Jan.- Mar.) is anything to go by, 2017 could be a great year for movies and, in turn, moviegoers. Not only have we been getting exciting blockbusters earlier (thanks to expanding Hollywood real estate), but a bunch of them have fared well critically. Of course, we’ve had to endure some stinkers too. Here’s our analysis of the year in movies thus far:

*Although we've seen a lot of movies so far this year, we haven't seen all of them.

THE GOOD

Power Rangers

rangersI’ve always thought that Power Rangers was awful and this reboot’s marketing campaign never won me over. That said, I had a lot of fun watching Power Rangers. It embraced the campy roots of its dopey source material and even though there’s not as much morphin’ time as I’d liked, strong character writing and amiable performances keep the good times rollin’ until it’s time for the rangers to go, go kick some alien ass.

Grade: B

Kong: Skull Island

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This isn’t your grandfather’s King Kong. This rendition of the giant primate is particularly primed to go paw-to-claw with 2013’s revived Godzilla. It’s obvious by his daunting new scale and recreational clobbering of other giant monsters on Skull Island. Throw in a hilarious John C. Reilly and a kickass 70s rock soundtrack to complete your itinerary for a fun, escapist trip to the theater.

Grade: B

Split

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Is M. Night back? Maybe. I’m more concerned with James McAvoy’s haunting performance as a tortured soul suffering from Dissociative Identity Disorder (more commonly: Multiple Personality Disorder) who abducts innocent girls to feed a sinister impulse. Split‘s a deft, slow burning thriller that kept me guessing all the way through to its unexpected post-title stinger.

Grade: B+

Beauty & the Beast

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After last year’s reimaging of The Jungle Book, I was all-in on this new take on Beauty and the Beast. Still, I was not prepared for how emotionally invested into these characters I got, particularly Belle and the Beast. Emma Watson and Dan Stevens shine in their more intimate moments together. The tremendous supporting cast and magical music only quickened the pace of my fluttering heart.

Grade: A-

John Wick: Chapter 2

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Not since Dawn of the Planet of the Apes have I been so impressed with a sequel. The second revving of this action-packed Keanu Reeve’s vehicle purrs just as loudly as the first. The filmmakers deliver more of the super violent, hyper-stylized “gun-fu” that helped cement the first film as a sleeper favorite. They also delve deeper into the endlessly fascinating underground world of assassins. I can’t wait for ‘Chapter Three!’

Grade: A

THE GARBAGE

Rings

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Nobody was clamoring for another movie in The Ring franchise; however, in the age of reboots it sort of makes sense that the internet would be Samara’s next step. Unfortunately, after multiple pushbacks, Rings reeks of a cash grab. Lazy writing, uninspired performances, and a wholesome lack of thrills make for a two hour snoozefest.

Grade: D

A Cure for Wellness

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Gore Verbinski had flashes of greatness in the past. I loved Pirates of the Caribbean and adore his animated venture Rango. But since The Lone Ranger, Verbinski has been all style, no substance. His latest film  falls in that camp. It slugs around an empty castle for nearly two-and-a-half hours before settling on an ending that just isn’t worth it.

Grade: D

The Boss Baby

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This animated family flick is a diaper full of you know what. Its main premise, a baby who dresses and acts like a boss, is amusing for the total sum of its trailers. That’s it. Once I realized there was nothing more behind that idea, I started sinking in my seat. I’m not sure who this is for. It’s riddled with plot holes and office-themed jokes that don’t work (eg: a three minute rant about how great memos are). It’s also a lot scarier than you’d expect from a kids movie (no, really).

Grade: D

THE GREAT

Get Out

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Classic horror films stick with us not just because they are scary, but because they feed off the fears of a collective subconscious. At the same time, they give us memorable characters. With Get Out, Director Jordan Peele (one half of Comedy Central’s skit duo Key & Peele) prays off mutual, race-related fears held by Caucasian and African Americans. He also gives us an assortment of precarious people to root for and against. It’s fun, scary, and heavily themed.

Grade: A+

Logan

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From now until I die, I will make the case for Logan as one of, if not, the greatest comic book movie of all time. It’s that good. Yes, it benefits from almost two decades of X-Men movies, but it also works as a strong standalone story. Either way you look at it, you’ll be emotionally wrecked. Giddily violent and powerfully written with career highlighting performances from everyone involved.

Grade: A+

Overall, it’s been a strong first quarter and with three more to go, I can’t wait to see what the rest of 2017 has to offer us!

What did you guys think of our list? What are your favorite films of the year so far? What about least favorite? Leave them in the comments below and let us know!