Fraley Film Guide 2017

This image released by Universal Pictures shows Allison Williams, left, and Daniel Kaluuya in a scene from, "Get Out." (Justin Lubin/Universal Pictures via AP)(AP/Justin Lubin)
Allison Williams and Daniel Kaluuya star in a scene from Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.” (Justin Lubin/Universal Pictures via AP)


“Get Out” – Jordan Peele combines “Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner” and “Stepford Wives”

“Mudbound” – Dee Rees directs a powerful look at post-WWII racism in rural Mississippi

“Lady Bird” – Saoirse Ronan stars as teen in Greta Gerwig’s poignant coming-of-age story

“The Post” – Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks publish the Pentagon Papers in Spielberg drama

“The Big Sick” – Pakistani comedian deals with culture clashes in funniest rom-com of year


3 1/2 STARS

“The Greatest Showman” – Hugh Jackman dazzles at P.T. Barnum w/ Pasek & Paul songs

“Wind River” – “Hell or High Water” scribe directs western murder mystery starring Renner

“I, Tonya” – Margot Robbie becomes Tonya Harding; Allison Janney is hilarious as mom

“Dunkirk” – Christopher Nolan’s true WWII flick is intensely directed, but emotionally chilly

“Darkest Hour” – Gary Oldman becomes Winston Churchill in the early days of World War II

“Wonder Woman” – Gal Gadot rocks in origin story, artful action by director Patty Jenkins

“Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” – Frances McDormand wickedly funny in grief

“Baby Driver” – Edgar Wright crafts stylized action as getaway driver jams out to earbuds

“Coco” – Pixar’s latest animated gem keeps us guessing all the way to an emotional finale

“Jim & Andy” – Documentary chronicles time Jim Carrey was possessed by Andy Kaufman

“The Disaster Artist” – James Franco becomes Tommy Wiseau in making of “The Room”

“The Shape of Water” – Sally Hawkins shines in Guillermo del Toro’s version of “Splash”

– Kathryn Bigelow shifts to domestic warzone for horrific event in 1967 race riots

“Logan” – James Mangold directs Hugh Jackman’s touching swan song as Wolverine

“The Florida Project” – Sean Baker follows kids in the slum shadows of Disney World

“Molly’s Game” – Jessica Chastain runs gambling ring in Aaron Sorkin’s directorial debut

“Call Me By Your Name” – Armie Hammer & Timothée Chalamet portray gay lovers in Italy

“The Lost City of Z” – Percy Fawcett disappears searching for a mysterious city in Amazon

“War for the Planet of the Apes” – Andy Serkis dazzles in motion-capture prequel trilogy

“Stronger” – Jake Gyllenhaal loses legs as Boston Marathon bomb survivor Jeff Bauman



“Battle of the Sexes” – Emma Stone & Steve Carell recreate Billie Jean King vs. Bobby Riggs

“Girl’s Trip” – Tiffany Hadish, Queen Latifah, Regina Hall and Jada Pinkett Smith crack us up

“Last Flag Flying” – Linklater straddles comedy/drama with trio of Cranston, Carell & Fishburne

“Thank You For Your Service” – Miles Teller plays Iraq War veteran battling PTSD at home

“American Made” – Tom Cruise is charming as pilot caught up in CIA’s Iran-Contra scandal

“Blade Runner 2049” – Sci-fi sequel is a visually impressive “replicant” of 1982 classic

“The Beguiled” – Sofia Coppola directs slow-burn suspense with Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell

“Hostiles” – Rosamund Pike grieves across Christian Bale in Scott Cooper’s violent western

“It” – Child chemistry keeps Stephen King adaptation afloat amid exponential jump scares

“Wonder” – Julia Roberts & Owen Wilso raise boy with disfigured face (Jacob Tremblay)

“Goodbye Christopher Robin” – Winnie the Pooh version of Mary Poppins’ “Saving Mr. Banks”

“Icarus” – Gripping documentary about a cyclist unveiling Russian state-sponsored doping

“Landline” – Daughters discover dad (John Turturro) is cheating on their mom (Edie Falco)

“Marshall” – Chadwick Boseman plays Thurgood Marshall in legend’s early civil rights case

“Lucky” – Harry Dean Stanton gives his final role in John Carroll Lynch’s directorial debut

“Life” – Space thriller replicates “Alien” with big surprises for Jake Gyllenhaal, Ryan Reynolds

“Spider-Man: Homecoming” – Fun look at Peter Parker’s high school days with a super twist

“Crown Heights” – From podcast to Sundance, true-crime story explores criminal injustice

“Beauty and the Beast” – Disney live-action remake does justice to 1991 animated musical

“Star Wars: The Last Jedi” – Luke Skywalker returns in overlong but fun ninth installment

“Thor: Ragnarok” – Entertaining sequel takes God of Thunder into new comedic direction

“T2: Trainspotting” – Boyle-McGregor relapse for sequel that should please fans of original

“Guardians of the Galaxy 2” – Chris Pratt & friends are consistently hilarious start to finish


2 1/2 STARS

“Phantom Thread” – Paul Thomas Anderson’s script unravels in Daniel Day-Lewis’ final role

“The Meyerowitz Stories” – Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller turn serious for Noah Baumbach

“Murder on the Orient Express” – Kenneth Branagh does charming remake of 1974 whodunit

“The Zookeeper’s Wife” – Jessica Chastain chronicles Schindler-style savior at Warsaw Zoo

“The Founder” – Michael Keaton’s Ray Kroc builds empire, but at what price McDonald’s?

“mother!” – Aronofsky’s shocker is clever Biblical allegory, but A-story is repulsive to audience

“Mark Felt” – Liam Neeson plays Deep Throat in the FBI side of “All the President’s Men”

“All Eyez on Me” – Tupac biopic may feel superficial to non-fans, satisfying enough for fans

“The Glass Castle” – Brie Larson is raised by Woody Harelson’s eccentric, yet abusive dad

“Gifted” – Chris Evans raises a math prodigy in “Good Will Hunting” + “Kramer vs. Kramer”

“Split” – M. Night Shyamalan pens killer premise, but tone suffers from multiple personalities

“Logan Lucky” – Soderbergh returns with a hillbilly heist flick that plays like “Ocean’s 7/11”

“Justice League” – Batman recruits Aquaman, Flash, Cyborg & Wonder Woman to help him

“Year By the Sea” – Karen Allen carries indie flick about empty-nester’s rediscovery of self

“Kong: Skull Island” – 3D/IMAX is a giant, skull-crushing monster movie — no more, no less

“The Fate of the Furious” – Ep. 8 shifts between ridiculously awesome, just plain ridiculous



“Alien: Covenant” – Ridley Scott prequel is an uneven step backward from “Prometheus”

“The Great Wall” – Matt Damon goes Bad Lizard Hunting along the Great Wall of China

“The Circle” – Sci-fi flick explores social media suspicions, but can’t decide on message

“Tulip Fever” – Great cast (Alicia Vikander), beautiful production design, lackluster script

“Victoria & Abdul” – Judi Dench recounts Queen Victoria’s late-life companion from India

“Baywatch” – The Rock & Zac Efron are hilarious, but film bogs down in serious drug plot

“Snatched” – Goldie Hawn/Amy Schumer kidnapped in mother-daughter comedy adventure

“The Hitman’s Bodyguard” – Funny banter from Reynolds & Jackson, but the plot gets silly

“Fifty Shades Darker” – Anastasia & Christian return in sequel that’s more Cupid than stupid

“The Book of Henry” – Boy saves abused neighbor, intriguing premise, far-fetched execution

“Pirates of the Caribbean 5” – Depp plays Jack Sparrow too drunk in ho-hum fifth chapter


1 1/2 STARS

“Unforgettable” – Heigl shows her creepy side in forgettable thriller filled with genre cliches

“The Snowman” – Michael Fassbender’s dreary, chilly thriller melts into abominable mess

“The Dark Tower” – Idris Elba, Matthew McConaughey can’t save this Stephen King botch

“The Mummy” – Tom Cruise can’t save a stupid script that needs more Indy archaeology



“Rings” – Samara kills early and often in fourth chapter of “The Ring” horror franchise

“Song to Song” – Star-studded snoozer in Terrence Malick’s lyrical, pretentious phase


Reviews from Past Years:








Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

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