As we end 2017, I am proud of what we have achieved in what is only year two of the site. Taking the opportunity to see many films as well as interview some great talents both in front and behind the lens, here is hoping 2018 will be just as fun if not much more fun than 2017!
As for 2017, with the amount of films watched, it was hard at first to determine which films should be in this year’s Top Ten. However, that is exactly what I have compiled. These films that are picked as World Film Geek’s Top 10 Films of 2017 are based not only on reviews but performance and film aesthetic for certain titles.
Please be aware that the films selected are solely based on World Film Geek and do not reflect anything else.
So, without further a due, here are World Film Geek’s Top 10 Films of 2017.
#10: Bushwick (Cary Murnion and Jonathan Milott): This alternate United States action-drama stars Brittany Snow as Lucy, a young woman whose life is turned upside down when her hometown of Bushwick in Brooklyn, New York is suddenly attacked by a band of soldiers from some states that have seceded from the United States. To survive, she relies on Dave Bautista’s ex-military turned building superintendent to help her get to the DMZ.
What makes this stand out from other films where an alternate history is set is the aesthetic of the film, in which the film is comprised of ten-minute long takes that bring a more visual sense in terms of both action set pieces and emotional drama, all led by powerful performances by both Snow and Bautista.
#9: Spider-Man: Homecoming (Jon Watts): This is the Spider-Man movie we have all yearned for. While the 2002 Sam Raimi-directed film had a great sequel in 2004, the 2007 third installment failed on all levels. Despite a re-launch in 2012 with Marc Webb directing, the 2014 sequel to that film suffered from the same issues as the 2007 film.
The reason why this makes the Top 10 List is that it is not another pointless origin story that has been done to death. Instead, we are given a look at 15-year old Peter Parker, wonderfully played by Tom Holland, struggling with being both the wall-crawling superhero and being a normal teenager. Director Watts wisely brought a John Hughes-influence in the mix in terms of teen drama effect with Michael Keaton giving great support as the villain Adrian Toombs, also known as the Vulture. Thank Heaven there is no Green Goblin in this one!
#8: Brimstone (Martin Koolhoven): A period piece Western that is told in the present, then in flashbacks, then ends in the present, this film brings out some wonderful performances by Dakota Fanning and Guy Pearce as a young woman accused of murder and the sadistic Dutch preacher who is after her respectively.
It is always been known that a good structure is vital to keep the viewer going and Koolhoven succeeds by splitting the film in chapters by making the middle of the film the beginning of Fanning’s evolution from brothel girl to loving wife. The opening starts with her accusation of murder and ends with her revenge and redemption. There are instances of gore but it ultimately forgivable in this instance.
#7: Handsome Devil (John Butler): For fans of sports films, bromance films, and LGBTQ films, this is a well-made meshing of the trio of subgenres from Irish director John Butler.
The story of a misguided outcast, played by Fionn O’Shea, and a new star rugby player, played by Nicholas Galitzine, proves that not all LGBTQ movies have to have a romance in it. Taking more of a friendship between these two as both reveal their true natures all within a school where the faculty and students are obsessed with rugby in the same manner as Varsity Blues and Friday Night Lights when it comes to the obsession with football, O’Shea and Galitzine’s performances are truly the driving point of the film.
#6: The Gracefield Incident (Mathieu Ratthe): Canadian-born indie filmmaker Ratthe not only directed, but both wrote and starred in the role of a birthday boy who does something interesting and discovers something even more interesting during his birthday weekend with friends.
The aesthetic here is that Ratthe’s character, after suffering a major car accident, has lost an eye and uses a camera inside his prosthetic eye to record his weekend. The addition of an alien invasion adds some nice visuals in terms of point-of-view from both Ratthe and cast. However, those excepting a typical ending of this type of film will truly be in for a surprise.
#5: Wolf Warrior II (Wu Jing): This action-packed sequel to the 2015 Chinese military action film is a step above its predecessor thanks to its high production value and amazing Hollywood-style visuals and action scenes, and thankfully, we do not mean the shake cam and quick cuts.
Wu returns as Leng, the now former Wolf Warrior, who exiles himself to Africa only to volunteer to transport a doctor and his team through a war-ravaged land where he contends with rebels and international mercenaries, this time led by Hollywood actor Frank Grillo, who churns out a fun performance as the funnier named “Big Daddy”. The collaboration of Sam Hargrave and Jack Wong’s action set pieces are truly the highlight of the film.
#4: The Foreigner (Martin Campbell): It has been a long time coming and it was worth the wait. Jackie Chan has finally broken through his usual everyman shtick and churns out one of his greatest acting performances in the role of a man whose life is shattered when his daughter is killed in a bombing by a rogue IRA group.
Add to the mix Pierce Brosnan as an ex-IRA soldier turned political figure who ends up in a very deadly game of cat and mouse not only with Chan but even within his own organization. Director Campbell truly does not make this much a Jackie Chan film as expected, but a political thriller that just stars Chan. Chan does have some sparse action scenes with the highlight being a knife fight between himself and Rory Fleck Byrne that is amped up in the Chinese version of the film.
#3: Mayhem (Joe Lynch): Have you had one of those days at work where you couldn’t stand the people you work with and just want to kill them? What if a virus allowed you to do that? That answer lies in Joe Lynch’s love letter to Troma films with a dash of Office Space.
Steven Yeun, aka Glenn from the hit series The Walking Dead, is Derek, the scapegoat in a case gone wrong which leads to his firing. However, when the entire law firm is affected with a rage virus for eight hours, Derek decides to exact revenge with the help of a former client who also wants retribution. Sarama Weaving brings out her inner-Harley Quinn in the role of the client and the film is utter chaos and we mean that in the nicest way possible…and that’s a good thing!
#2: Blade of the Immortal (Takashi Miike): The 100th film from one of Japan’s most versatile and celebrated directors is a live action adaptation of a famous manga that truly brings out a phenomenal performance from lead actor Takuya Kimura.
The former SMAP member plays Manji, a samurai warrior cursed with the power of immortality when he is asked to protect a young girl who resembles his sister as well as help avenge the death of the girl’s father. The film features one action scene after another with sparse intense drama mixed in with Kimura and young actress Hana Sugisaki having good chemistry in terms of a brother-sister relationship with Sota Fukushi bringing a terrific villain to the mix. The finale is truly an epic battle royale that culminates in a final showdown.
And finally, World Film Geek’s #1 Film of 2017 is…
Star Wars: The Last Jedi (Rian Johnson): The heck with how diehard fans or critics felt. This is WFG’s second favorite installment of the entire epic. The #1 will always be The Empire Strikes Back, but this comes in second because of the developing story involving young Rey’s training with Luke Skywalker, the determination by Kylo Ren to be as much of a villain or even become more superior to his grandfather Darth Vader, and the beats of comic relief mixed in. The film would also mark the final performance of Carrie Fisher, who sadly passed away a year ago, in her iconic role of Leia Organa.
I couldn’t be more forward to the anticipation of Episode IX in 2019 when J.J. Abrams will return as the director of what could be the final Skywalker saga installment with Johnson set to take on a new trilogy down the road.
Here are some very close calls, or as we shall call them…Honorable Mentions:
Leatherface (Alexandre Bustillo and Julien Maury): The “official” prequel to the 1974 horror film The Texas Chain Saw Massacre is quite a mix of The Usual Suspects, Natural Born Killers, and the Chainsaw legacy.
Birth of the Dragon (George Nolfi): The story of the real-life fight between Bruce Lee and Wong Jack Man may have a very annoying subplot involving a romance, but thankfully the film is saved by the performances of Philip Ng as Lee and Xia Yu as Wong.
Spidarlings (Salem Kapsaski): This “jack-of-all trades” movies is a LGBTQ/horror/comedy/musical that features two lovers, one a lazy person and the other a hard worker, who adopt a spider that changes their lives forever and add to the mix a serial killer. This film was recently distributed by Troma and rightfully so as it is a love letter to the NY-based indie film company.
Savage Dog (Jesse V. Johnson): The always busy Scott Adkins stars as a boxer in 1950’s Indochina who fights in prison matches. However, when he decides to give it up, those in-charge make the mistake of hurting those he loves. He soon goes on a mission of vengeance and all culminates with a finale that depicts the attitude of the titular animal.
Justice League (Zack Snyder): Having heard the fans after Batman v. Superman, Zack Snyder delivers an almost perfect team up with Batman, Wonder Woman, Aquaman, The Flash, and Cyborg. However, with Joss Whedon taking over to finish the film and some reshoots made, the film suffers from a pretty much non-intimidating villain in Steppenwolf. The film’s saving grace is the return of another true hero as well as the beats of necessary comic relief that meshes well here.
World Film Geek will continue to strive in 2018 and wishes everyone a very Happy New Year!