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Split (2017), Kubo & The Two Strings (2016), The Nice Guys (2016), The Infiltrator (2016), The Witch (2016)

February 1, 2017

The list of movies I’ve seen and haven’t reviewed is starting to pile up, so I’m just gonna post some quick ones to wipe my slate clean.

Split (2017) – This was a different movie experience for me. While I was waiting in line at the concession stand one of the guys working there said something to another customer that he thought was innocent but it totally spoiled Split for me and it completely changed how I viewed the film. Rather than going in with no expectations other than that M. Knight Shyamalan was almost certainly going to throw us his trademark curveball, I went in with a good idea what that “twist” was going to be and I honestly can’t imagine how much it would have changed my experience if I didn’t have an idea where the story was headed the whole time. Still, even with that massive spoiler, I found Split to be very entertaining. James McAvoy does phenomenal work as Kevin, the antagonist that suffers from multiple personalities and kidnaps three young girls. The film is tense and scary, but still manages to provide laughs despite the incredibly dark subject matter. Along with The Visit in 2015, it seems as though Shyamalan has finally righted the ship after putting out a string of films that are among the worst of the past decade. Split was very enjoyable, despite the annoying spoiler, and I’d recommend it to anyone that enjoys suspense thrillers.

7/10 (Highly Enjoyable)

The Nice Guys (2016) – This was one of the most surprising and entertaining 2016 films I’ve seen. Russell Crowe and Ryan Gosling star as scummy P.I. types in the 1970s that team up together to track down a missing girl related to a murder surrounding a porn film. The two actors have great chemistry together and Gosling, in particular, is fantastic playing against type as a bumbling idiot and provides a number of laughs. The real star of the film is Angourie Rice, who plays Gosling’s 13 year old daughter and she can’t help but immerse herself in the case and shows a maturity level far beyond her age – she’s the heart and soul of a film where the two leads are morally challenged. With few notable credits to her name before this movie, it’s safe to say Angourie will be getting a lot of calls now and the next step is playing Betty Brant in this year’s Spider-Man: Homecoming. To date, The Nice Guys rates as the best comedy of 2016 and one of my favorite films of the year.

7.5/10 (Highly Enjoyable/Must See)

Kubo and The Two Strings (2016) – This was an entertaining and funny animated adventure that finds a young boy on a mystical journey while trying to avoid his mother’s evil family. The animation is gorgeous and there are memorable characters, but Kubo doesn’t quite reach special levels of awesome. Still, a fun film that is definitely recommended for families.

6/10 (Recommended)

The Infiltrator (2016) – Bryan Cranston crushes another role, this time as a U.S. Customs officer that goes undercover to infiltrate Pablo Escobar’s drug empire. It was fun seeing Cranston play it straight and then get grimy when he went undercover. Cranston has had a couple of low profile roles the last few years, but did some great work in the movies, even getting nominated for his work in Trumbo. While that might have been the better role, The Infiltrator was a lot more fun to watch.

6.5/10 (Recommended/Highly Enjoyable)

The Witch (2016) – This horror movie from early 2016 got a lot of favorable reviews, but I struggled through it. The pacing was a really slow burn and the pay off wasn’t satisfying enough to justify it. I thought it was kind of confusing and not all that scary, but I didn’t hate it either – there was definitely some solid suspense going on. Anya Taylor-Joy was fun to watch in the lead role and she seems to be carving out a genre niche. Plus, the idea of Black Phillip was pretty cool. Still, I wouldn’t recommend this movie unless you’re a horror fan, and even then, prepare for a slow, not incredibly interesting or particularly scary movie.

4.5/10 (Forgettable/Watchable)

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