Merry Christmas to all!

This is our last publication of the year, and due to a scheduling issue my next column will not be published until the January 25 edition. During that time, there will be some “highly anticipated” films making their appearance, with of course no assurance they will live up to the hype preceding them, which sadly is often the case. The list include Darkest Hour, PG-13,  starring Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill during the early days of World War 2. There is lots of Oscar buzz about his performance. The Shape of Water, R: a lonely cleaning lady in a government facility stumbles across a highly secretive experiment (sexually explicit with lots of profanity).  Downsizing, R, (for all the usual reasons), about a couple who choose to take part in a groundbreaking experiment where they are shrunk to 5 inches tall. Stars Matt Damon. The Post, PG-13, the true story of the battle between the Nixon administration and the Washington Post, as the paper tries to publish the infamous Pentagon Papers. Stars Tom Hanks and Meryl Streep.

Before wrapping up the year, I wanted to acknowledge the great evening those of us who live in 32 B shared at our annual Christmas gathering held this year at Biaggi’s  Ristorante in Algonquin. The evening, however, was “R” rated as the food was obscenely delicious. Thanks to our esteemed leader Carol Bletz for organizing everything.

I traditionally take a look back at the movies I’ve seen over the past year and try to sort through the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly. There is plenty of the latter, as it was not a great, nor even a good year for the most part. Recognizing that I only see 25 to 30 films a year, and most assuredly miss some good ones, these are the best I saw:

Gifted, the story of a precocious seven-year-old girl with math skills exceeding Einstein’s.

Born In China, one of the best, if not the best documentary I have ever seen. Spectacular scenery and amazing cinematography as the story follows three animal families in rural China. I will never forget this movie.

Wonder Woman, with the glut of superhero movies hitting the screen, this one stands out. No need for Superman or Batman any more.

Dunkirk, the true World War 2 story of how 400,000 British troops were saved from certain annihilation by a flotilla of English non-combatants.

The Man Who Invented Christmas, the story of Charles Dickens as he struggled to write The Christmas Carol. Dan Stevens gives an Oscar level performance battling the characters he creates in the book as they come to life while he is writing. Scrooge of course is his nemesis.

Then there are the Bad and the Ugly. Both adjectives fit these movies to a “T.” Kong” Skull Island, Going In Style, Paris Can Wait, The Pirates of the Caribbean, and the worst movie of all time, Ghost.

On that note I will wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, hoping that 2018 will be prosperous and healthy for everyone, and that Hollywood will give us a better year of movies than 2017.

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