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Movies, Movies, Movies

We're a little over a quarter-way through the year, the Roger Ebert Film Festival is about to kick-off, and so I thought it would be a good time to take stock and rank the 2016 films I've seen thus far. It's been an interesting year....

1. Hello, My Name Is Doris

The three leads -- Sally Field, Max Greenfield and Tyne Daly -- turn-in such delightful performances in this gem of a film. Doris, an eccentric sixty-something woman, develops a crush on her thirty-something co-worker, and awkward hilarity ensues. Really sweet movie.

2. 10 Cloverfield Lane

Look up the word "taut" in the dictionary, and a still from this film should accompany it. An engrossing, stage play-like tour de force from the three main actors, combined with great direction and pulse-pounding music, makes this an edge-of-your-seat experience.

3. Eye In the Sky

Helen Mirren and Alan Rickman (in his last live-action role) headline this tense political thriller about the use of drone warfare in the Middle East. Despite prepping myself for its agenda and expecting some ham-fisted moralizing moments, the movie actually really, really works.

4. Deadpool

Most of you have probably seen this R-rated superhero flick already. It's a nice break from the norm. I didn't think I'd like Ryan Reynold's sarcastic shenanigans, but the movie won me over. From the opening Juice Newton song, to the Bea Arthur shirt, to the Fawlty Towers and Sinead O'Connor references, everything just works.

5. Midnight Special

Another odd film from director Jeff Nichols (though a good kind of odd). The man who brought us Take Shelter and Mud (and who has been at Ebertfest multiple times), brings us an entrancing story of a father, his young son with special powers, a multi-state road chase, and characters with humanity and depth.

The rest....

6. Hail, Caesar!
7. The Witch
8. The Boy
9. The Forest
10. Batman vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice
11. Knight of Cups

Here's to the movies still to come in 2016!


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Ok, we're now three-fourths of the way through this year's calendar, so I thought I'd rank the thirty-eight 2017 movies I've seen so far.

Here they are....

1. A Quiet Passion
2. Baby Driver
3. Dunkirk
4. Get Out
5. Kedi
6. A Ghost Story
7. Wonder Woman
8. Columbus
9. Brad's Status
10. Marjorie Prime
11. Maudie
12. Logan
13. Spider-Man: Homecoming
14. Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2
15. Brigsby Bear
16. Atomic Blonde
17. The Big Sick
18. Split
19. Kong: Skull Island
20. It
21. Wind River
22. A Cure for Wellness
23. The Hitman's Bodyguard
24. Norman
25. Kingsman: The Golden Circle
26. Logan Lucky
27. Alien Covenant
28. Ghost In the Shell
29. War for the Planet of the Apes
30. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
31. Life
32. Annabelle: Creation
33. Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets
34. My Cousin Rachel
35. Baywatch
36. The Bye Bye Man
37. mother!
38. It Comes at Night

It will be interesting to see what the last three months of the year brin…

Walk and Chew Gum

Yesterday marked a touchstone moment in the U.S., as students across the country participated in "walkouts." This was an occasion for students to express an array of thoughts and emotions, ranging from a desire for stricter gun control, to simply sorrow over the loss of so many of their peers to school shootings. They were peaceful protests, but protests nonetheless. Where you're at on the spectrum of agreeing or disagreeing with what they did may vary, though not wanting to get shot in your school seems pretty reasonable to me.
Some folks have taken to sharing a meme on social media platforms this week -- in direct anticipation and response to the walkouts -- that encourages students to "walk up, not out." Following are suggestions provided for the walk ups:

Walk UP to the kid who sits ALONE and ask him to join your groupWalk UP to the kid who never has a voluntary partner and offer to be hersWalk UP to your teachers and thank them!Walk UP to someone and JUST …

The Best Superhero Movies of All-Time, Revisited

We are just a few days away from the North American release of Avengers:Infinity War. While I am dutifully going to see it opening night, it's not a film I'm looking forward to. It is (spoiler) part one of two, which means we can expect plenty of plot threads left dangling when the credits roll. In other words, part two will probably be better, and provide some actual resolution. Also, Thanos looks like a CGI yawn-fest. Hopefully, I'll be proved wrong.
Nevertheless, this is a good opportunity to rank (again) the major superhero movies (Marvel and otherwise) that we've had so far. As you know, I love making a list, and this one is going to be a definitive one! If you don't see a film on here, it's because I haven't seen it (the first two Thors, Iron Man 2, some of the X-Men features, etc.).   Alright, here we go.