Sam Mauro's Top 10 Favorite Movies of 2017
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We present film critic Sam Mauro’s immensely subject to change top 10 films of 2017 list

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A note before we begin: I wrestled with how I wanted to go about this list. 2017 isn’t a particularly lackluster year for film—it just seems that way.

Most of the movies worth talking about are old news to anyone who saw them at their 2016 premieres (Personal Shopper), or hold-overs into the new year (First Reformed), or arguably not even any of the films at all (ahem, we’ll get to that). Four of the films ranked below are 2016 premieres, and compared to my concurrent world premiere top ten, I only share four titles.

Regardless of my sometimes brutal film criticism and wantonly erratic change of taste, I present my immensely subject to change top ten of 2017:

10. On the Beach at Night Alone

A great climate change movie, among other things, which is cool, because it’s a cold, dark world out there. A staggering work on what chases you when you travel to get some “alone time.” Hong Sang-soo’s shaggiest and most straight-forward film in a minute, but it’s also a raging, shattering bleeding heart of a motion picture. People hurt each other and the world thinks you’re a star. There are a million ways to tell the same story, as per the usual with Hong: when a stranger comes to town, you want to be littler.

9. Good Time

“Untwisting and untangling these strings I’m in.” A desperate, dread-inducing rollercoaster, all flailing limbs, and bug-eyed glances. The emotional vulnerability here is shoved right up against the vicious sociopolitical climate until it feels suffocating. This is 70s New York (and 70s cinema) brought face to face with its bastard offspring. The kind of confrontational, invigorating cinema that brings you to your knees, a contradictory troll game of privilege and raging political relevance. New York City is a garbage city that will chew you up and spit you out and make you thank your lucky stars that you’re white. It’s a macho wistful crazy fucked micro tragedy epic. An island of 8 million people. A blotter-acid, massive interrogation into the nature of care – for one’s self-preservation, for those closest to us, for those numbed within bureaucratic systems, and those institutionally pushed aside and objectified, in both our art and our politic. A bleak, contradictory, magnum film.

8. The Ornithologist

Anti-anthropocentric cinema at its finest. A great parable of Christian belief and Biblical storytelling, which forms a wonderful joke of pulling triple-duty as a personal meta-treatise for director João Pedro Rodrigues. High canon queer cinema, and a rich document of modern Portugal. I also really like birds.

7. Princess Cyd

The most generous, exposed-heart sort of humanism; the kind with novelistic integrity and a fullness of vision, a work concerned with all sorts of intimacy, a visually and structurally mature gift feels light and pleasant and easy. Stephen Cone’s modern classic is an ode to Marilynne Robinson and Jonathan Demme, to be sure, but it is full of such clean air, and back-kisses, and a voice so utterly unique in today’s cinematic landscape, and so winning seventeen different ways over. It’s healing, empowered art, and a radical rejiggering of the prototypical American indie towards something more…considered. It is a film of fluidity (a work of genuine queerness, a utopian view of acceptance and a bleary-eyed, quiet catharsis) and also specificity. Having been born and partially raised in suburban Chicago, I saw myself in this movie. But moreover, I saw so many people I loved.

6. Nocturama

Won’t somebody think of the children! Precision-engineered formalism (the opening half hour is so technically perfect, and the shot of the two teenagers hands slinking away just as the light of the tunnel hits them, A sleek film of muddied philosophy: These children enact reactionary comforts and genre gestures so completely informed by a capitalist mentality that the film never shakes, a frisson of genuinely uncomfortable, terrifying ideas. This may well be an empty film of tragic things made clean. It is still probably as good an indicator as any as to how good and important movies are right now, an authentically progressive film with no answers and all questions, an obsessive and obsessively confounding object.

5. Dawson City: Frozen Time

A secret history, an entire town’s life at the movies, a rewriting and affirmation of cinema’s transistors pleasures and otherworldly power. Super-sad love story thesis ephemera. Movies are a reproduction of life imagined and life gone by, all the ways it was and could have been. It’s an exceptional an archival powerhouse and a cinephilic master text.

4. Personal Shopper

This is a movie where Kristen Stewart says the word ectoplasm multiple times and there are many references to Hilma af Klint and there is ghost texting and bondage and I have many other thoughts. A very sad, very lame movie, right down to the goofy-ass CGI and an A+ obnoxious murder scene. Stewart is at her best, a movie star incapable of not being herself, and a queer icon in a film that doesn’t fully do her justice. Assayas never quite nails it, but the films brushes and falls from perfection create an intangibly endearing, earnest, and truthful quality never before present in his work. I flipping love this messy mumbo jumbo movie. It helps that I believe in ghosts. Grief is a motherfucker.

3. Song to Song

A string of perfect moments (thinking about right now: the kazoo sounds of Ryan Gosling and Michael Fassbender at the table morph into monkey howls as Fassbender chases Rooney Mara to the sounds of seagull above them on the beach). Silly and old-person youthful, biblical and freewheeling and something of an arthouse playlist, a panoramic view of Terrence Malick’s obsessions and delights, sprawling with Malick’s strongest storytelling yet (amazingly, this film feels like it could be edited in any order, and that this is, essentially, the best possible edit), an unabashedly graceful ode to the foolish pursuit of freedom above all else. Above all, it’s about how much Malick loves Patti Smith. It’s really sweet.

2. Columbus

Cigarettes and meth. Kogonada’s debut is a great examination of displacement in the Western inland of America, a quietly devastating ode to Ozu’s family dramas, a great work of architecture, modernism, and the notion of permanence. It is a film where every character supports each other, quietly. Haley Lu Richardson is, no exaggeration, the greatest actress of our generation, and her performance here is all-time. She walks like she dances and her performance is as camouflaged as it is calibrated and utterly recognizable. A movie about loving and learning to be familiar and still be awestruck. Admittedly, this is about as close as you come to a movie made specifically for me, but I still cry a lot whenever I watch it, and it makes the day good.

1. Twin Peaks: The Return

What is it like to spend 18 hours in a single moment of irresolution? The history of American iconography, a diatribe on film versus detail, television versus cinema, narrative versus conceptual art. Kyle McLaughlin gives six or seven of the year’s best performances. A total diatribe on genre in all its forms, on soap operas, and Sarah Palmer, and the history of electricity. So monumental, so clearly better than anything this year, in any medium, so full of hidden secrets, so unlike in feeling and amalgam, and it has total re-watchability (I have seen it four times through). An artistic event unparalleled in its ambition, success, and unifying yet diversely productive discourse this year.

Honorable Mentions (listed in alphabetical order): A Quiet Passion, Beach Rats, The Death of Louis XIV, Heal the Living, The Last Jedi, Roman J. Israel Esq., Wonderstruck

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Phoenix readers: Here’s how you can get your picture taken with Bumblebee this weekend

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Bumblebee Hailee Steinfeld
PARAMOUNT PICTURES

If you’re attending the Arizona International Auto Show at the Phoenix Convention Center this weekend, you’re in for a special treat as Paramount Pictures will have on display a towering 13-foot statue of Bumblebee, the titular Transformer from the upcoming film of the same name.

Bumblebee’s statue will be available for photo opportunities for the entirety of the Arizona International Auto Show, which kicks off Thanksgiving Day, November 22 and runs through Sunday, November 25 at the Phoenix Convention Center in Downtown Phoenix.

After taking your photo with Bumblebee, be sure to share it on social media, particularly Twitter, and tag @silvscreenbeat, @ArizonaAutoShow, and @BumblebeeMovie for a chance to win a pair of passes to an advance screening of the film next month.

Admission to the Arizona International Show is $11 for adults and $7 for seniors (62 and older), military with any DOD ID, and students and children between the ages of 7 and 12. Children 6 and younger will be admitted for free. Advance tickets to the show are available on the event’s website.

Set before the events of Michael Bay’s original trilogy, the latest entry in the Transformers series follows 18-year-old Charlie Watson (Hailee Steinfeld) as she discovers that her yellow 1967 Volkswagen Beetle isn’t just any old clunker, but rather an Autobot scout on the run from an intergalactic government agency.

Bumblebee was directed by Travis Knight from a screenplay written by Christina Hodson and Kelly Fremon Craig and also stars Jorge Lendeborg Jr., John Cena, John Ortiz, Jason Drucker, Pamela Adlon, and Stephen Schneider. The film will open in theaters on December 21.

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Audiences want to see a new ‘Back to the Future’ movie the most, results of a new survey find

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Back to the Future
UNIVERSAL PICTURES

According to a new survey conducted by The Hollywood Reporter and Morning Consult, the film franchise that Americans want to see a new movie from the most is Robert Zemeckis’ iconic Back to the Future series, which concluded 29 years ago with Back to the Future Part III in 1990.

The survey polled 2,201 adults between November 8 and November 11, with 71% saying they want to see Michael J. Fox’s Marty McFly and Christopher Lloyd’s Doc Brown take the time-traveling Delorean out for another spin. However, Zemeckis has previously said that Back to the Future fans shouldn’t get their hopes up for another sequel.

Another franchise that polled well was Disney/Pixar’s Toy Story, which trailed close behind Back to the Future with 69% of surveyees saying they would like to see another installment in the animated franchise. Luckily for them, the long-awaited sequel Toy Story 4 is due out in theaters next summer and already has an official trailer.

Indiana Jones and Jurassic Park also performed well on the survey and came in at 68% and 67% respectively, while Shrek wasn’t too far off with 65%. Indiana Jones 5 and Jurassic World 3 are both expected to hit theaters in 2021, and a Shrek reboot was recently announced as being in development at Universal.

Among the franchises that underperformed were Star Wars and Avengers, coming in at 63% and 57% respectively, which Morning Consult vice president Tyler Sinclair says is evidence that audiences are more likely to watch a new installment in a franchise that has been dormant rather than one that is currently active.

“There’s a strong consumer demand for movie reboots and sequels, which spells good news for movie studios looking to capitalize on that nostalgic feeling,” Sinclair said.

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‘Once Upon a Deadpool’ trailer reveals the holiday-themed PG-13 ‘Deadpool 2’ re-release

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Once Upon a Deadpool
20TH CENTURY FOX

20th Century Fox has released the official trailer for Once Upon a Deadpool, the upcoming holiday-themed PG-13 re-release of Deadpool 2. The film will open in theaters for a limited engagement from December 12 through December 24 and won’t feature any of the graphic violence or adult-themed humor seen in the original R-rated theatrical cut.

Indeed, Once Upon a Deadpool is “the Merc with the Mouth’s reimagining of Deadpool 2 filtered through the prism of childlike innocence” and finds The Princess Bride star Fred Savage joining Ryan Reynolds‘ titular anti-hero to pay homage to his role in the 1987 bedtime-story classic in new scenes shot for the re-release.

“Fox has been asking for a PG-13 basically since the start in 2006,” Reynolds told Deadline. “I’ve said no since 2006. Now, this one time, I said ‘Yes’ on two conditions. First, a portion of the proceeds had to go to charity. Second, I wanted to kidnap Fred Savage. The second condition took some explaining…”

For every ticket sold, Fox will donate $1 to the charity Fuck Cancer, a 501 (c) 3 nonprofit dedicated to cancer prevention and providing emotional support and guidance to cancer patients and their families. The organization agreed to temporarily change their name to “Fudge Cancer” to be more PG-13 friendly for the release of Once Upon a Deadpool.

“While my participation in this film was anything but voluntary, I am happy to learn that Fudge Cancer will be the beneficiary of this shameless cash grab,” Savage remarked.

You can check out the trailer for Once Upon a Deadpool below.

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