Few films ‘based on true events’ feel as ridiculously over the top as Doug Liman’s American Made (2017). Based on the life of pilot Barry Seal (Tom Cruise), the film follows Barry as he becomes a CIA informant taking photographs of communist rebellion groups in Central America, starts smuggling cocaine for Pablo Escobar’s Medellín Cartel, and subsequently smuggles Russian guns to the Nicaraguan Contras on behalf of the United States Government. Let’s not forget that most of Barry’s bizarre smuggling career took place during then-President Ronald Reagan’s infamous “War on Drugs”. It sounds too comical to be true, and yet the story told by the film is closer to fact than it is to fiction.
When one decides to remake or re-adapt a narrative for the screen, there’s always a question of whether or not the new product will match or surpass the story many hold dear. In the case of Andy Muschietti’s It (2017), not only is the film a worthy successor to the 1990 TV miniseries adaptation of the eponymous Stephen King novel, but it’s an exceptionally good horror film overall. Muschietti, whose only other major film release was 2013’s Mama, manages to distill the primary themes of the first half of Stephen King’s monstrously long narrative on childhood trauma, and present it as a movie which manages to deliver some genuine scares.
The third installment of Michael Winterbottom’s “Trip” series, The Trip to Spain is pleasant and genuinely funny, with darker undertones than its predecessors.
There are moments in our history which are as unbelievable as they are a testament to the resilience of humanity in the face of grave danger; the Battle of Dunkirk is one of those stories that audiences are likely surprised not to have seen before. Christopher Nolan’s 2017 film, Dunkirk, is a technically masterful historical drama set during World War II. It takes the true events of the battle and evacuation of Dunkirk in 1940 and humanizes it in a way which places the viewer in the shoes of a soldier fighting just to survive.
If Tom Holland didn’t convince you he was a worthy Spider-Man back in his short yet largely lauded role in Captain America: Civil War role last year, he is sure to win you over in the first few minutes of Spider-Man: Homecoming. Holland puts his winning boyish charm on full display in the opening sequence which shows us just how Spider-Man ended up on that tarmac in Berlin for the climactic team fight in Civil War via some amateur footage Pete shot on his cellphone while simultaneously facing off against some of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes. No big deal, right?
In an industry abounding with repetitive sequels and generic copies, Edgar Wright’s summer 2017 film, Baby Driver, manages to stand out due to its unexpected premise and positive hype. A young driver, named Baby, constantly listens to music to drown out the noise caused by his hearing impairment. He works for a crime boss named Doc, played by Kevin Spacey, as a getaway driver during criminal heists to pay off a debt, but then he falls in love with a girl who could change everything. Sometimes, you just need a film to simply keep you entertained for about an hour and a half and Baby Driver does just that.