Fraley Film Guide 2017

Allison Williams and Daniel Kaluuya star in a scene from Jordan Peele’s “Get Out.” (Justin Lubin/Universal Pictures via AP)


4 STARS

“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”

“Detroit”
– 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

 

3 STARS

“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

 

2 STARS

“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

 

1 STAR

“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:

2017 MOVIE GUIDE

2016 MOVIE GUIDE

2015 MOVIE GUIDE

2014 MOVIE GUIDE

2013 MOVIE GUIDE

2012 MOVIE GUIDE

2011 MOVIE GUIDE

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