We reviewed a slew of
Blu-Rays, DVDs, books and CDs in 2017. Time to take a look back at
the best & worst of them. While we have seen more movies than the
Surgeon General recommends, our lists consist strictly of titles
which were sent to us for review purposes.
Kitty kudos to the
various studios, PR groups and distributors who've provided Free
Kittens Movie Guide with the opportunity to feature their products
and share our fickle opinions, including: Paramount Pictures, Walt Disney,
Universal Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures, Olive Films,
Warner Archive, Well Go USA, Lionsgate, VCI Entertainment, Arrow
Films, MPI, MVD Entertainment, Eagle Vision, Oscilloscope Labs,
Vision Films, Flicker Alley, HBO, MPRM, Click Communications,
Thinkjam, AGFA, Rowan & Littlefield, Schiffer Publishing,
Cleopatra Entertainment, Level 33 Entertainment.
BEST: We reviewed some good stuff this year, but the
following titles were better than being turned loose in a bird sanctuary:
10. DEATH RACE 2050
- Cheap, sleazy, violent, ridiculous, irredeemable...and a hell of a
lot of fun. Just like Roger Corman's original cult classic.
9. THE RED TURTLE
simple-yet-engrossing story, coupled with beautiful hand-drawn
animation, make the film a terrific change of pace from the usual
stuff passing itself off as family fare.
Bigelow's best film to date. Hard to believe this is the same
director once responsible for Point
disturbing and ultimately tragic, you'll be mad as hell by the time
the end credits roll, but you're not likely to forget what you just
7. HIRED GUN
fascinating - and long overdue - documentary about music we've all
heard from the perspective of those we haven't...a dozen or so
professional musicians paid to make other people sound good.
6. HANS ZIMMER: LIVE IN
PRAGUE - To
this writer's humble ears, Hans Zimmer is currently our greatest
living film composer. As it turns out, Mr. Zimmer can also be quite
the showman...maybe even a bit of a rock star. This stunning concert
film features some of the best-known music of his career.
5. LOGAN - We here
at Free Kittens were never the biggest superhero movie fans in the
world and are frankly tired of the genre as a whole. But Logan
is a different animal, stripped of gratuitous spectacle and focusing
on only three key characters while embracing the look & tone of a
4. A GHOST STORY -
A unique film which ultimately
plays like one of those wonderfully sad songs that manages to get
stuck in your head. While narratively demanding, it's actually an
emotionally simple story filled with haunting imagery that will stay
with the viewer long after it's over.
best action film of the 90s. This re-issue from Arrow Films throws in a few new-to-Blu-Ray extras in
addition to the supplemental material that was included on the
original DVD. However, the terrific 4K restoration is what
makes this disc the best re-release of the year.
congenial, beautifully-shot documentary about free-roaming cats and
their unusual relationship with various people and communities
throughout the city of Istanbul.
This film is
a must-own for cat lovers everywhere.
1. MOONLIGHT - The
2016 Oscar winner for Best Picture is also the best Blu-Ray release
of the year. A poignant, quietly-stunning masterpiece..
Mention: Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, The Lost
World (1925), The Hidden, The Sea Wolf, 20th Century Fox: A
Century of Entertainment (Book), Fargo - Year 3, Superman
(1978) 2-Film Collection, Silence, Tunnel, Blackhearts, Elle,
As much as we love movies, there are times when reviewing some them
feels like a real job. The following titles deserve to be buried in the litter box:
10. THE DINNER - A
good cast is wasted in this joyless, frustrating endurance test
padded with needless ambiguity, arty pretensions, boring flashbacks
and ham-fisted metaphors.
9. ALL EYEZ ON ME -
An artist as culturally influential and polarizing as Tupac Shakur is
certainly worthy of an equally compelling biography. But if you're expecting anything nearly as riveting as Straight Outta Compton, forget about it. Aside from a convincing performance by Demetrius Shipp Jr, this is a massive disappointment.
8. BRITNEY EVER AFTER
- An inane, brain-dead "biopic" in which all the research of
its subject must have come from the National Enquirer.
7. KILL 'EM ALL -
Unfortunately, not a Metallica bio. Instead, a severely
haggard-looking Jean-Claude Van Damme punches and kicks his way
through another batch of idiotic henchmen. Typical direct-to-video
sewage with a pointless and dumb twist ending that suggests somebody has seen The Usual Suspects too many times.
6. THE ASSIGNMENT
- What the hell, Walter Hill?
used to be so adept at combining crackling action with interesting
characters, but even your last debacle, Bullet
to the Head,
was more trashy fun than this piece of low-wattage sleaze. I don't
know...maybe your best years are truly behind you.
5. THE SHACK -
Preachy, condescending, heavy-handed slop served up with a heaping side
dish of fatalism. Its message of forgiveness - even for a guy who
murdered your daughter and got away with it - is almost offensively
simplistic. Even worse...it's long, boring and features no characters
we really care about.
4. WE ARE THE FLESH
- Grimy horror porn masquerading as an art film. The
whole thing is really
pretentious, even tedious, including all the bizarre, perverse
imagery directer Emiliano Rocha Minter rubs our noses in. Perhaps
someone should inform him that simply being uninhibited doesn't
necessarily make you bold
3. THE KLANSMAN -
If it weren't so
narratively and technically inept, one could be really insulted by
the film's attempt to wrap racially-charged, exploitative sleaze in a
shroud of social awareness and self-importance. It's just a notch or
two above a grindhouse film, only with a respected director
and two legendary actors committed to tarnishing their
2. GUN SHY
- Gun Shy
is missing two key components of any
great action-comedy: the action and the comedy.
Even at 92
minutes, the film feels like it goes on forever. Gun
also has more end/post-credit scenes than a Marvel movie, none of
which serve any purpose...except to repeat the dick-attacking snake
gag again (it isn't any funnier the second time).
- What makes
the worst of the year is the enormous waste of talent on both sides
of the camera, not to mention a squandered opportunity by turning a
rather remarkable true story into a juvenile, lowbrow comedy loaded
with cartoon caricatures and shit gags. Even that
be forgiven if any of it was remotely funny.
Mention: Transformers: The Last Knight, Black
Butterfly, Stronger, Resident Evil: Vendetta, The Savage Innocents,
Bad Santa 2, Life on the Line, Attack of the Lederhosen Zombies,
Blood Money, Lewis Black: Black to the Future.