Movies Of 2017 - December Recapped!

As you can imagine, December is massively seasonal based in Chez Emma. If you haven't watched Die Hard, Home Alone and Muppet's Christmas Carol by December 3rd then you're slacking... and you know I got the Christmas party started right.


The Man Who Invented Christmas ★★★★★

Two years after the success of Oliver Twist, Charles Dickens is suffering financial hardship from the failure of his last three books. Rejected by his publishers, he sets out to write a new book to restore his finances. Seeing inspiration around London, most notably a rich man's funeral that is largely unattended, he begins writing A Christmas Carol, due in six weeks in order to be published by Christmas. As Charles begins to develop his story, he interacts with the characters he is writing about, most notably Ebenezer Scrooge.

Christmas spirit abounds this month, and I was so happy to see it start with this film. I'm fed up of saying "I hadn't heard anything about this film until it was on"... seriously, what are these people doing with their advertising budgets??!

Dickens' struggle with his writer's block is incredible to watch. When the idea snaps into his head and the characters appear it really does put a smile on your face. It feels like you can really see the joy in his eyes as an idea materialises in front of him. Seeing them all interact together as the tale progresses is so much fun too.

This film made me genuinely feel happy. Just like a Christmas film should. I laughed out loud and I cried, but I still left with a smile, and an abundance of Christmas spirit in me to help me muster the enthusiasm for another three Christmas films and tree decorating. I hate to dethrone any of my favourites from their positions... but this might have entered straight into the top three... it's honestly got me stumped. I'll have to watch more seasonal films until I can work it out. [02/12]


Stronger - Unlimited Screening ★★★☆☆

Based on the memoir of the same name by Jeff Bauman and Bret Witter. It follows Bauman, who loses his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing and how he must adjust to his new life.

I feel terrible that I didn't really enjoy this film. The story itself is such a powerful one, and moments in it are truly moving, but the film starts to drag a bit in places. I'm going to have to look into the comparisons between the movie and what actually happened, it's difficult to tell what they created for the script to make the movie chug along and what was real.

There are some very talented actors in this one though, and as I said, some very moving moments. For me though I think it's not quite the break from reality that I look for in a film. [06/12]


Jumanji: Welcome To The Jungle ★★★★★

Twenty years after the events of the first film, the infamous board game has evolved into a video game and while cleaning out a school's basement serving detention, four teenagers find it and get sucked into the same jungle setting that Alan Parrish got sucked into all those years ago. Having become their avatars inside the game the only way out is to play along and finish it.

You see Jumanji, and instantly you think "bleurgh, they're not remaking it are they?!"

Having missed the Unlimited Screening because of my work Christmas do, I dragged myself out of bed to see the preview the next morning... and oh my god was it worth the early start. Honestly, I would watch it again in a heartbeat. It is just good old fashioned fun.

I wasn't sure how they were going to turn the board game into a video game, but I really liked the way they did it. From there on I was completely sold on it. I love all four of the main actors, and watching them playing teenagers was so entertaining. Jack Black has to be my hero, diva to a T. Little upsetting to see Bobby Cannavale as the baddie though, that's one fantasy man out of the window, can't go dreaming about him after seeing creepy crawlies all over him.

This one will definitely be in my DVD collection when it comes out, and yes, I will be shouting "Jumanji" out at the end. [09/12]


It's A Wonderful Life ★★★★☆

After George Bailey wishes he had never been born, an angel is sent to earth to make his wish come true. George starts to realise how many lives he has changed and impacted, and how they would be different if he was never there.

This one is being shown as part of a classic Christmas line up at Cineworld. I like the idea of seeing some golden oldies on the screen, and I'm a little ashamed to admit that I have never seen this one. It really felt like I needed to fix that.

Is there anything more wonderful than an opening credit scene on an old movie? A printed book with a title page and all the actors listed out... I think not.

I'm not sure this will make it into my list of favourite Christmas movies, even though it was lovely. Old films do get me deep down, there's something so much more wonderful about them than some of the overly CGId modern films.

You've always got the great message of this film to fall back on too. You don't know how your life has impacted someone else. You shouldn't wish it away, you never know who it might impact in the future. [11/12]


Star Wars Double Bill: The Force Awakens & Last Jedi ★★★★★

The Force Awakens:

Thirty years after the defeat of the Galactic Empire, the galaxy faces a new threat from the evil Kylo Ren and the First Order. When a defector named Finn crash-lands on a desert planet, he meets Rey, a tough scavenger whose droid contains a top-secret map. Together, the young duo joins forces with Han Solo to make sure the Resistance receives the intelligence concerning the whereabouts of Luke Skywalker, the last of the Jedi Knights.

The Last Jedi:

Rey develops her newly discovered abilities with the guidance of Luke Skywalker, who is unsettled by the strength of her powers. Meanwhile, the Resistance prepares to do battle with the First Order.

So here I am, the movie fan who doesn't like Star Wars (apart from Rogue One), at the double bill for the new Star Wars film... I'm not going to say this out loud to people though, I'd probably get booed out of the screen.

How to cope with a double bill that has the second part taking place at midnight: get home from work ASAP and power nap.

I was a little surprised at how few people were there, but they were also showing just The Last Jedi in another screen in 2D. And yes, as that may indicate... I saw it in 3D. When will I ever learn?! But this one was out of necessity as I hadn't seen the first one. I don't think I'll ever embrace 3D, the spacecraft looked amazing in it, but the rest didn't really look much different to me.

I'm not going to go into much waffle about the ins and outs of the films, I'm no expert, if you want in-depth analysis then go and find a super nerd to help you out.

I liked the original trilogy, but ever since Phantom Menace I really haven't cared much for the franchise. Rogue One changed that a bit, and after seeing trailers for this one I felt like I wanted to see it, and I'm a glutton for punishment so of course I went to the midnight screening.

I'm really glad I saw them, they were very entertaining, and surprisingly funny.

Things I've taken away from The Last Jedi:

  • Adam Driver is strangely attractive.
  • BB8 may be my favourite droid.
  • Oscar Isaac is also yum. (But I kind of already knew that from Suburbicon.)
  • I might actually like Star Wars now.



Pitch Perfect 3 ★★★★☆

The Bellas, all now graduated from college and trying to maintain some kind of normal life, are brought back together when Emily invites them for a reunion. But after some crossed wires the girls are left downbeat when they realise they aren't there to sing, and instead have to watch the new shiny Bellas do their thing.

Desperate for one last hurrah Aubry mentions that her father could get them a slot in the USO tour. A chance for them to sing together one last time, and possibly get signed by DJ Khalid's label. But that all sounds a little too easy... doesn't it?

If it's musical then I'm going to watch it, so the last outing of the Barden Bellas was definitely going to make the list.

For me these are always a crowd pleaser if you like some toe tapping moments. While this isn't the best out of the three, it's definitely entertaining, with some very talented people appearing along side the girls as they give their oral magic.

My personal favourite has to be Fat Amy really bringing all her talents together to rescue the Bellas from her (not so) criminal mastermind of a father. Which all begins with her getting a call to let her know that they've been captured and Amy exposing the truth behind "like father, like daughter".

Full of the usual sing songs, innuendo, sexual tension, and a little too much cardio. If you want something bouncy and upbeat to take you into the new year then this is probably something you should go and see. [17/12]


The Greatest Showman ★★★★★

Inspired by the imagination of P. T. Barnum, The Greatest Showman is an original musical that celebrates the birth of show business & tells of a visionary who rose from nothing to create a spectacle that became a worldwide sensation.

I challenge anyone to go to this film and not end up tapping their feet along to the music. Singing and dancing at it's best. It's probably some of the best singing I've heard on screen, dare I say it... all year. And it was a perfect way to finish 2017. It's exciting, interesting, heartwarming... and if that isn't enough then there's Hugh Jackman spinning the ladies when they dance... *sigh*. [31/12]


It's been a very busy film year for me. There have been ups and there have been downs... luckily more of the first. I can't wait for the next year of films. There are just over 60 films that I'm going to keep on my radar, but if there's something I've learnt from this year it's that some of the best films I won't have heard of until I see them on the listings.

Happy watching everyone.


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