As amazing as 2016 was in the film industry, 2017 is already giving it a run for its money with epic titles and quality cinema being released nearly every week thus far. The past few weeks in particular have yielded several incomparable gems. If high-caliber films were how one procured nutrients, I would already be fat with artistic satisfaction and New Year’s resolution shame. From highly anticipated reboots to pinnacles of sardonic ingenuity, the waves of entertainment never seem to cease.
At the end of February, we saw revered comedian Jordan Peele’s inaugural directing effort, Get Out, a twisting tale of deceit and racial discord. Like many other films in the mystery category, Get Out evokes a conventional predictability at first, then tosses you down a swiveling slide of stupefying surprise. This is one of those films that is so thought-provoking and intuitive that it is made to be watched twice in order to catch all the subtleties you missed the first time around, because there were loads of them. The film also carries itself with a certain self-awareness in its narrative and its humor; in specific scenes it’s hard to differentiate between smart, cultured satire and pure, well-developed thrill. Having seen many of the horror/thriller/mystery films released in the past couple years, I can confidently say that Get Out is refreshingly original while also playing on the traditional tropes that horror movies can’t seem to stray from. Be prepared to want to watch this film twice.
Continuing the roll of long-awaited films, the newest extension of the Wolverine saga, Logan, picked up where Deadpool left off regarding absolute merciless gore. The R-rated floodgates have truly opened up for superhero movies as of late, and they are abusing their new liberty in the most entertaining, bloodstained ways possible. Logan makes sure not to skimp on the carnage. With knives built into his fists it’s not far-fetched to say that Logan’s kills are certifiably brutal. The blood and guts aren’t what make Logan a fantastic film, though; it’s the profound relationships that create such an affecting story. With so many conflicting emotions and virtues being put to the test and sacrificed, the story is a winding roller coaster of emotional strife, with relationships you genuinely connect with and want to see through to the end. But be warned: Being so invested in these bonds increases the probability of ending up totally distraught when exiting the theater. For avid criers like yours truly, deep sentiment for the characters made the film tough to watch, in the sense that it was literally difficult to see the screen clearly through the puddles of tears building up in my eyeballs.
Beauty and the Beast
The new and original films coming out this year have ostensibly raised the creativity bar with immaculate storytelling and inventive ways to keeps us guessing. It seems there is a collective incentive to produce fresh, intoxicating excitement with every film. However, not all the great films are original. Arguably the most keenly awaited release of 2017 so far opened in theaters mid-March. Beauty and the Beast has already taken the world by storm, bringing in over $690 million worldwide just in the first two weeks.
Prepare to take a swim down nostalgia creek, for this film superbly captures the essence of the 1991 original, down to the manly hairs on Gaston’s chin. Although the film is nearly identical to the cartoon, the realism adds a wondrous magic to the message of the story—and I don’t mean the Stockholm syndrome part. With modern effects, there is a whole lot to gawk at: the grandiose landscapes and castle, the ethereal interior designs, the debonair wardrobes, and so on. A whole lot of special effects went into the development of this film in order to recreate the magic of the classic, and recreate it they did. With the same lovable servants of the castle—whose banter keeps the narrative light and comical—and the same enchanting soundtrack that inescapably sends the Feels Train right down the track to Nostalgia Station, Beauty and the Beast succeeds in reigniting the beloved charm of the much-loved original.
Get thee to the theater!
I saw each of these three movies in theaters and unquestionably enjoyed every minute of each one. Sure, Beauty and the Beast has always been in my top three Disney princess movies, alongside Hercules and The Emperor’s New Groove (Those count as princess movies, right?), but that’s why I wholeheartedly adored the 2017 live-action remake: It was essentially the same cherished film, just with some modern tinges to the characters. As for Logan, I am admittedly not the biggest superhero enthusiast, but I loved Deadpool and what it did with the genre; Logan expands on that freedom of grotesque realism, making the dangers and strife of a superhero’s life seem much more substantial. Also, if you’re like me and go to X-Men movies always wanting to see several different super powers put to use in battle, this movie will have you drooling with contentment. Regarding Get Out…well, judging by Jordan Peele’s justifiable praise and the Oscar rumors floating around, it isn’t hard to tell that this film is pushing the envelope on what makes a first-rate thriller.
A couple of these films will be out of first-run theaters pretty soon (expect them at Laurelhurst in a couple months), but they are damn worth the watch if you can get out to see them. Or, you could take a chance on something. I just saw Saban’s Power Rangers the other day and was veritably flabbergasted by how awesome it was.
Go to the movies this weekend! Beat the rain and eat some popcorn in the dark! No matter what you see it’s going to be amazing…well, except maybe CHiPs.