Cinema Bros’ Top 12 Underrated Performances of 2017

Every year, maybe even more this year, there are incredible performances that fall by the wayside. This last year gave us a plethora of wonderful performances from veterans and newcomers alike, but not all of them were given the awards attention they may have deserved. Here are the 12 best actors and actresses that didn’t receive major nominations for their stellar work:

** Nominees must not have been nominated for the Golden Globes, Screen Actors Guild or Independent Spirit Awards**


The Actors

Keanu Reeves – John Wick: Chapter 2

By Jake

It may have taken until he was in his early 50’s but Keanu Reeves was finally handed the role he was born to play. Using his background in weapons training and martial arts, Reeves commits one-hundred percent to the tortured hitman, John Wick, who also happens to really love dogs. For John Wick: Chapter 2, Reeves upped his training regimen to include judo, jiu-jitsu, and stunt driving on top of his training patterns from the first film. He also got involved in the screenwriting process – Reeves cut lines of dialogue he felt were too expository or talky for Wick’s character. His performance is intentionally cold and cut-off from the rest of the world. As such, Reeves has given us one of the best action characters in decades and John Wick’s story is far from over.  

Ray Romano – The Big Sick

By Jake

It is a very easy thing for a sitcom actor to get typecast and spend the rest of their career struggling to get meaningful roles. This seemed to be Romano’s fate ever since Everybody Loves Raymond concluded, but with The Big Sick he was finally given a chance to showcase his acting potential. Romano’s performance as the worried father of a daughter stuck in a coma is both delightfully familiar to his sitcom days and uniquely and deeply emotional. His conversations with Kumail, whether about life, love, or something more mundane, are extremely awkward, supremely entertaining and truly meaningful. Romano added so much to this film and I hope that because of this role he will be given more chances to show his more dramatic side.

Andy Serkis – War for the Planet of the Apes

By Joe

Andy Serkis has always been an extremely talented actor, but never before has he truly been able to let his talent shine like he does in War for the Planet of the Apes. A fitting close to his tenure as Caesar, the film rests largely in his performance. While war and battle bookend the film, this is not your usual war film; It is more of a war for Caesar’s soul as he must face the consequences of his lust for revenge. Serkis’ performance must convey the battle within Caesar almost wordlessly and he knocks it out of the park. This is, hands down, the greatest performance I have ever seen from Andy Serkis. He may be under layers of digital effects, but the performance is entirely his. Credit to the digital effects artists as well, but Serkis deserves awards recognition to his contribution to one of the best finale’s to a trilogy I’ve ever seen.

Hugh Jackman – Logan

By Jake

No matter the quality of the films in the X-Men franchise, there was always a constant: Hugh Jackman as the Wolverine, Logan. Rarely has a singular actor imbued an entire saga of films with such gravitas as Jackman brought to the screen in the character of Logan. Jackman made even the worst of the X-Men films slightly watchable with his brooding and ultra-violent portrayal of the ageless mutant. In Logan, James Mangold’s tribute to said character and Jackman’s final film as Wolverine, we see the culmination of all that came before it. My heart ached as I watched the character I had grown to love fading and dying on screen in front of me. However, that was Jackman and Mangold’s vision for the character – what happens when Logan’s time is up? It’s evident that Jackman put his entire being into his final film as Logan, and filmgoers were given one of the best films of 2017 as a result.

Daniel Craig – Logan Lucky

By Sam

It is always very interesting when an actor or actress completely transforms themselves for a role. Daniel Craig, who is known normally for his calm and cool performance as James Bond, did this for the unusual role of hillbilly inmate Joe Bang for Logan Lucky. Everything about him is so different that it is hard to believe it is the same actor. The most impressive aspect of his transformation is his over the top southern accent. He speaks in a higher pitch than he normally does and this helps him to really stick his most comedic lines (“I am IN… CAR… CER… ATED!). Before his turn as Joe Bang I had no idea how truly funny Craig can be and he is a major part of what made Logan Lucky one of the year’s best comedies.

Ryan Gosling – Blade Runner 2049

By Joe

Ryan Gosling is almost always underrated it seems. Despite putting in awards-caliber performances year in and year out, he only has two Oscar nominations and there always seems to be some kind of knock against him. Once again, 2017 was a year that people didn’t seem to notice how great he was as he delivered yet another stellar performance in Blade Runner 2049.

In the film, Gosling plays K, a replicant cop who discovers reality-altering things about himself and world he’s living in throughout the course of the film. What I loved about Gosling’s performance is how controlled it is. Throughout much of the film, he is the intense, stoic cop, but as the story progresses he become more and more unhinged. We feel the characters anxiety and dread as he learns every new bit of information. Every revelation is not only understood, but felt because of Gosling’s performance. By the end of the film and one of the most beautiful moments of the entire performance, Gosling has not only led us on a journey filled with heady, philosophical questions, but a journey of real emotion. Blade Runner would not be the film it is without Gosling.


Best Dialogue of 2016

Dialogue is probably one of the most important parts of a film. You can have incredible cinematography, great music, wonderful acting and a great story, but if the things that your characters are saying don’t seem believable or don’t make sense, it doesn’t matter. Good films have dialogue that seems like something a real person may say (or at least makes you suspend your disbelief). Great films have dialogue that you remember, whether because it is funny, moving or profound.

Below, is the Cinema Bros’ top 12 bits of dialogue in 2016 films. Last year was a great year in screenwriting, so hear is our ode to the best bits of that:


12.   Hail Caesar!

Screenwriters: Joel & Ethan Cohen

hail-caesar-quote

— Jake —

The Coen brothers are gifted screenwriters and Hail Caesar! showcases them at the top of their game. This exchange is only the beginning of a masterfully written scene in which Eddie Mannix (Josh Brolin), studio head for Capitol Pictures, seeks to bend the ears of four holy men on the portrayal of Jesus Christ in an upcoming biblical epic. Its wry humor and colloquial tone (“Does the depiction of Christ Jesus cut the mustard?”) are a hallmark of Coen films and makes Hail Caesar! another wonderful entry into their impressive filmography.

11.   The Edge of Seventeen

Screenwriter: Kelly Fremon Craig

edge-of-seventeen-quote

— Sam —

This is the one line, fairly early in the film, that made me know that the movie I was watching was going to be immensely entertaining. The main character Nadine is reminiscing about her first meeting with her best friend, Krista. Nadine’s description of Krista as a “small old man” was perfect by itself but then she tacks on the fact that her breath smelled like Sweet Tarts. The fact that she remembered exactly how her friends breath smelled shows how much Krista means to her and also makes this line even more hilarious.

10.   Deadpool

Screenwriters: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick

deadpool-quote

— Sam —

The best part about this scene is the delivery by Ryan Reynolds. Deadpool is inside a wrecked vehicle and sticks his hands out in the air to “surrender” and the scene is played mostly through his hand gestures to a hilarious effect. Ryan Reynolds shows more character in his hands than some actors can show with their entire body. The best part about the dialogue is the “brown pants” bit. It’s basically just a subtle poop joke and the way that the villains don’t seem to understand it makes for an extremely funny scene.

9.   Jackie

Screenwriter: Noah Oppenheim

jackie-quote

— Joe —

The entire screenplay to Jackie is like a masterclass in writing for film, which is impressive considering it is only Oppenheim’s third screenplay. But, this line in particular is what sealed the deal on the film’s greatness for me. As Jackie (Natalie Portman) speaks to a priest about the traumatic events she just endured, this line comes as a perfect summation of what she has been trying to accomplish throughout the film in securing her husbands legacy, a sad realization that her life with John was never meant to last and a poignant expression of modern myth-making and celebrity. The complexities of this one exchange perfectly mirror the complexities of the film as a whole.

8.   The Nice Guys

Screenwriters: Shane Black, Anthony Bagarozzi

the-nice-guys-quote

— Sam —

This hilarious bit of dialogue comes when the main character, Holland March (Ryan Gosling), takes his daughter and her friend to a bowling alley. Surrounded by screaming girls, he yells “Jesus Christ” and is promptly scolded for it by his daughter’s Christian friend. The exchange is hilarious due to the fact that it takes a common expression and completely subverts it. Holland’s response is completely unexpected on a first viewing. This is one of the best parts if this bit of dialogue and the script in general.

7.   Sing Street

Screenwriter: John Carney

sing-street-quote

— Joe —

Even though the main thrust of Sing Street is a young man forming a band to impress a girl, another important aspect of the film is relationships between men. You have the relationship between the main character, Connor (Ferdia Walsh-Peelo), and his band mates, the relationship with his father and the relationship with his older brother Brendan (Jack Reynor). This last relationship is one of the most important relationships in the film and is largely comedic, but this bit of dialogue is the moment it takes a turn into the dramatic.

As Brendan realizes that his dreams have slipped away from him and his brother is grabbing those same dreams by the horns, he lets loose one of most heartbreaking monologues I heard last year. As a man with two older brothers, it made me think of the debts I owe both of them for allowing me to move in their “jet stream.” This, combined with the absolutely brilliant delivery by Jack Reynor made this one of the most emotional scenes I saw last year.

Top 12 Movie Trailers of 2016

Continuing our look back at the best of film in 2016, we highlight another underappreciated art form: movie trailers. Editing together footage from an incomplete film to portray what that film will be and doing it without revealing too much information is quite the task. The best trailers not only get you excited for the end product, but are also entertaining and engaging in their own right. Many of the best have great musical choices, show off some of the best shots of the film and are cut together in an innovative and interesting way. Not all trailers are great, as they often are just mish-mashes of footage from the movie that are basically just screaming, “We know you’re going to give us your money, so here’s some of the film!” Below, are the trailers from 2016 that we felt went above and beyond to become more than just marketing tools, but real works of art in their own right.


12.   Barry

— Joe —

As with some of my other picks you will see, what makes this trailer great all starts with the music. Not only is “Soul’s On Fire” by Anthony Hamilton a great toe-tapping song for any trailer, but for this particular movie, it could not be more perfect. Barry is all about the college years of future President Barack Obama and the conflict he felt being both white, black and from many different places. At times in the film, he feels as though his soul is literally on fire and we see the conflict both within himself and around him during the course of this trailer. Add to that some absolutely gorgeous shots throughout, including an absolutely iconic ending shot of a young Obama silhouetted against a purple sky smoking a cigarette, and you have a great trailer.

11.   Hail Caesar!

— Sam —

The Coen Brothers’ filmography is quite varied. Out of all of their films my favorite is O Brother, Where Art Though and the trailer to Hail Caesar! completely reminded me of the vibe of that movie. This trailer does a lot of things right. Like many trailers it is a pretty rapid viewing of many scenes from the film with some pauses to linger on funny lines or other specifics from the film. The rapid fire sections of the trailer are perfectly paired with the song ”Rumble and Sway” by Jamie N Commons. This song not only drives these scenes along but it also sounds somewhat reminiscent of the music from the era that the movie is set. This trailer also makes sure to prominently show off the names of its ridiculously stacked cast which just gets the viewer even more excited for what is to come in this quirky film.

10.   Swiss Army Man

— Joe —

The trailer for this film sold so many people on checking it out including myself. It presents all the weird the film has to offer, backed by an incredibly uplifting song and absolutely stunning photography. They didn’t over-think the marketing on this one. It is the Daniel Radcliffe farting corpse movie, so they used the song from the film and showed us Daniel Radcliffe as a farting corpse. And it was glorious and surprisingly heartwarming.

9.   The Nice Guys

— Sam —

The first thing that stuck out to me in the trailer for The Nice Guys was the choice of music and the usage of that music throughout. The soundtrack for the trailer, as with the finished movie, perfectly sets the tone for a wacky adventure in the late 70s. They also at times sync ends of notes or ends of phrases to punches and other action in the trailer which helps to accentuate those moments really well. This trailer also does a great job of setting out the personalities of its main characters without using up every funny line from the actual movie. Until I saw this trailer I never knew how much the world needed a Ryan Gosling/Russell Crowe buddy cop movie.

8.   Jackie

— Joe —

This trailer is about as perfect as a trailer can get and it all starts with the music. The closing song of the musical Camelot accompanies the first part of the trailer as we see Jackie happy and enthralled by the wonders of being First Lady. Then with a push in shot on a cellist, we get the first notes of a much darker song that overwhelms the first as we see her life literally crumbling in front of our eyes. Combine all this with incredible shots that recreate actual footage from that time period and you have a trailer that has done its job in spades. After I saw it the first time, I was saying, “Please, take my money!”

7.   Deadpool

— Sam —

I love this trailer because it starts off looking like your normal run of the mill superhero movie. It tells us that Wade has cancer and is going to get treatment so that he can be with the woman he loves. Then as he’s being wheeled off to get the treatment that is supposed to turn him into a superhero he breaks the fourth wall and asks them not to make the super suit green. From this point on the trailer is jammed packed with all the best parts of Deadpool: Insane jumps, epic pistol and gun wielding, and of course snarky comments right in the midst of battle. We also get some great dialogue between Deadpool and the minor characters of Weasel and Blind Al. The last element that perfectly combines all these insane pieces is the use of the song “X Gon’ Give It To Ya” by DMX played throughout most of the trailer. What a great trailer to come out of the gate with and get fans pumped for the film!