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Baby Driver (2017)
The Most Fun I've Had in a Long Time
This movie is DOPE. I wasn't sure about Ansel Elgort, as I'd only previously seen him in Divergent, and I abhor those movies. But he was absolutely spectacular as Baby. He stole my heart within the first five minutes of the film, and did not give it back. Baby Driver is poignant, thrilling, enthralling and fun, fun, fun, fun, fun. I was on the edge of my seat the whole way through and could not stop grinning. I loved Jon Hamm; he did a standout job. Kevin Spacey was, as expected, excellent. Lily James was charming. Jamie Foxx's character was incredibly annoying, but he played him well, so I can't complain. Oh, and the soundtrack is even better than the Guardians films (and that's coming from someone who loves those movies to death). If I have any complaints, it's that there wasn't enough of Jon Bernthal. I've heard several critics make the comment that this movie was more "style over substance", but I didn't really think so. Yes, it's highly stylized and brilliantly edited and shot, but it gives us enough substance to tell a great, engaging, original story without bogging the action down. Honestly, if there was another show after the one I went to, I would've stayed at the cinema and watched Baby Driver a second time. It's going onto my Top 10 favorites list.
Ghost in the Shell (2017)
A Thoroughly Enjoyable Film That Doesn't Deserve All the Hate
As someone who watched the original Ghost in the Shell anime before seeing this film (and as a lover of sci-fi films that explore the boundary between man and machine in general), I really enjoyed this movie and feel that the savage reviews it received are mostly unfair. It's not a terrible film, and I really believe most of critics were predisposed to review it badly due to the supposed whitewashing by ScarJo's casting as Major. The visuals are absolutely stunning, and I actually found myself becoming more attached to the live action version of Major than the anime one. The extra backstory certainly made me more invested in her and it made her motivations more believable and interesting. As cheesy as it perhaps was, I even liked the alternative ending in the live action movie as I felt the one in the anime wasn't very satisfying. Sure, the plot could have been "deeper", but I almost felt like the anime was too deep, i.e. too much lofty dialogue about philosophical stuff instead of exploring those topics simply thorough character actions and the visuals. The live action movie could have been improved by sticking closer to the some of the scenes in the anime, especially aesthetic-wise, and I think I would've liked it even more if it was R rated as it would've added some extra grit. I recommend that you watch it for yourself before judging it.
Suck it, Interstellar. You have been replaced.
The best sci-fi film/alien themed film that I have ever seen, and a better love story than any romantic movie ever made. I cannot express how deeply Arrival impacted me. In short, my mind was blown. It was utterly magnificent. Life changing. I left the cinema shaken and with chills that haven't yet stopped. As a lover of language and an enthusiastic amateur sci-fi nerd, it was immeasurably fascinating to watch. Arrival is original, innovative, and will sock you in the gut with the most powerful "feels" you will ever experience. A true treat. If there is one movie you cannot miss in what remains of 2016, it is this.