Blade Runner 2049 is a top contender for Brian Taylor and Peter Howe’s best film of the year. (Warner Bros. Pictures image)

Reel Reviews: The year in reviews

Brian Taylor and Peter Howe recount their highlights and lowlights from 2017 cinema

This year seemed to be a perfectly average experience at the cinemas.

We reviewed a few fantastic films, a few more monstrously miserable movies and then a sea of the same ol’ stuff. Here we present our list of highlights and lowlights. Perhaps you will find something you missed and avoid a turkey. Happy Holidays to all movie lovers.

Episodic cinema continues to dominate movie theatres. Sometimes it must seem like our column is a form letter, due to the same films being made over and over. Here we refer mostly to superhero films, but also any movies that are part of a series. Some are good, some are bad, all are basically action/comedy/drama in an attempt to be all things to all people.

Logan, a beautiful, dark swansong for Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) is perhaps the best comic book film ever made. Get the DVD and watch it in black and white. We also felt that Spiderman: Homecoming was a good movie that finally set the right tone for the web slinger. Wonder Woman, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 and Thor: Ragnarok were all good, not great. Justice League was probably the best DC comics movie since the Dark Knight.

The latest Alien film, Covenant was the right mix of sci-fi philosophy and horrifying alien action, but is still at the bottom of the horror or science fiction films we like this year. Get Out, Split and A Cure for Wellness were all psychological thrillers that got inside our minds and bodies, trying to do harm. Get Out is oddly disturbing, Split features a multi-personality performance by James McAvoy and A Cure for Wellness is just weird.

Oddly, the best and worst of the sci fi horror genres were both Stephen King stories. The Dark Tower was hugely disappointing. It might be the best horror film of all time, largely due to the performances of the actors in each of these films and the success or failure to set the right tone.

Although we liked Atomic Blonde and Woody Harrelson’s performance in the latest Planet of the Apes film was equally fine, Harrelson was amazing as an eccentric drunk in The Glass Castle.

The best science fiction film of the year is also probably our pick for best film of the year, Blade Runner 2049. However, giving our best film contest a serious run for its money is Dunkirk. Both films are cinematic masterpieces, but Dunkirk has an intelligence and courage you don’t see often in modern film. Dunkirk belongs up there with Lawrence of Arabia. Blade Runner is perfect, but has no teeth.

Speaking of no teeth we also liked Baby Driver and Passengers, although looking back on these titles they seem more like an example of how editorial decisions can make or break a film. Google “Passengers rearranged” to see what we mean. Baby Driver is just a hyper-stylized caper film that pushes all the right buttons.

We hated and slated the latest Pirates of the Caribbean film, whatever it was called. Underworld was terrible, as was Geostorm and surprisingly Despicable Me 3. However, being terrible is not as great a crime as being the same. At least a reviewer has something to say about that which is terrible.

Last but not least are the Christmas movies that came out. A Bad Mom’s Christmas is nearly as terrible as its 2016 inception. We won’t even touch Daddy’s Home 2 — if you saw it after we had told you not to then that is your own fault. Instead, see The Man Who Invented Christmas, it was surprisingly good.

Our favourite movie to see at Christmas time, our annual cinematic film under the tree has been and will continue to be the latest Star Wars film and The Last Jedi won’t disappoint.

See you at the movies.

— Brian Taylor and Peter Howe are film reviewers based in Vernon. Their column, Reel Reviews, appears every Friday.

Just Posted

Another Penticton all-candidates forum announced

Penticton all-candidates meeting focused on senior issues

Looking back on Arts Rising Festival

Second annual festival a celebration of the arts

Nature wise: scavengers in action in the Okanagan Valley

Bob Handfield is president of The South Okanagan Naturalists’ Club

Oliver to get new sheriff from graduating class

Oliver will be one of a number of B.C. communities to get a member of the recent graduating class

Male strippers appeal with comedy

Vancouver’s Comic Strippers to perform shows in Salmon Arm and Vernon

Your morning news in 90: Sept. 24, 2018

Tune in for 90 seconds to get the top headlines for the Okanagan, Shuswap and Similkameen.

Who’s running in Penticton’s election?

Candidates for the Penticton municipal and school board election

Cap rent increases at inflation rate, B.C. task force recommends

MLAs say drop annual increase that would allow 4.5% rise next year

School, church and old mining site make Heritage BC’s 1st ever ‘watch list”

The list includes sites in need of protection to maintain B.C.’s culture and history

Yowza! Twerk, emoji and facepalm are added to Scrabble dictionary, OK?

Merriam-Webster has announced 300 new words have been added to the spelling game

LGBTQ activists, allies in Victoria counter anti-SOGI protest with rally of their own

Lower Mainland activists plan to protest SOGI on legislature lawn, Sept. 29

Cities make power play for new fiscal order with eye to 2019 federal election

Trudeau ordered Champagne to talk with provinces and territories about ways to “address the timeliness of the flow of funds” to projects.

Trudeau arrives at United Nations, hoping to re-establish Canada on world stage

Trudeau is beginning his day at the opening of the Nelson Mandela Peace Summit, where he’s scheduled to deliver brief remarks later this afternoon.

B.C.’s FATSO peanut butter to appear on Dragon’s Den

The Victoria company will be featured on the Sept. 27 episode of the popular show highlighting Canadian businesses

Most Read