11 Jan My Top Movies of 2017
For those who want to know, it’s time to post my top movies of 2017. As always these are based only on the movies I’ve seen (If I had seen “Train to Busan” last year it would’ve been in there for certain) and whilst I’m not a critic I do end up seeing a tonne of movies at the cinema. But, clearly, I don’t see everything. So whilst many people I know are raving about “Call Me By Your Name” I sadly didn’t have the time to catch it, so it won’t be included.
My rules for criteria are simple. It has to have been released in the UK during 2017 – so no festival movies that are yet to go out generally. That’s it.
I’ll write something about what I liked about each choice, why you should see it and embed the trailer. They’re listed vaguely as a top ten with near misses below. Just for fun I’ll also list what I found my biggest disappointments of this year.
Still reading? O.K. Let’s go…
10. The Disaster Artist
The real life story of Tommy Wisseau, Greg Sestero, and the making of “The Room” – one of the worst movies ever made. This is remarkable for many reasons. For any fan of The Room, the story of the making of is even weirder than you’d imagine and as a result hilarious to view. James Franco mimics Tommy effortlessly and perfectly (as those who’ve met him – myself included – can attest) and whilst his portrayal is compassionate on the whole, there are times when he displays his true inner monster.
Stick with it to the end of the credits for a cameo from the actual Wisseau.
9. Paddington 2
This is cinema at it’s best; pure and full of joy for everyone. Even better than the original it boasts a heart the size of London itself to share with the audience. All the more remarkable given the times we live in. I will watch this countless times in the future.
Stay through the credits for a magnificent coda for Hugh Grant’s character, to which I will add is his best cinematic performance in years.
I’ve only just watched this Netflix movie and it’s left a distinctive mark on me. Amidst the comment on global population rises, corporate greed and spin, and genetic modification, sits multiple stories and even genres of film which it weaves between seamlessly. I loved every single frame.
7. The Handmaiden
Wonderful cinematography and a story which I should say little about, just sit and enjoy where it takes you. I’ve recently received the directors cut which I’m looking forward to playing. Warning: it contains some quite racy scenes, if these aren’t your cup of tea then avoid this film, though I did feel they were not excessive and served the plot not just perfectly but with an air of beauty.
6. My Cousin Rachel
Rachel Weiss was born to play Rachel. In interviews she said that before filming started she told director Roger Mitchell that she’d made a decision as to whether Rachel did or didn’t carry out the behaviour suspected in the story. Mitchell asked her to keep this to herself. A shrewd move that oozes nuance out of Weiss’ performance without prejudice from any other decision made in the film’s production. As such you get an ambiguity that leaves you wanting to immediately go back and seek clues on a repeat viewing.
5. Lady Macbeth
I meant to catch this on release but ended up seeing at home just a few weeks ago. I lapped up every second of Florence Pugh’s delivery of innocence that slid gracefully into darkness through love and loss. I was left gasping and agog.
4. Thor: Ragnarok.
I had a near two year excited wait to see what Taika Waititi would bring to a major studio production. I feared he would be swallowed and end up making the film of a panel of executives. What he delivered was majestic and would happily sit amongst a marathon of his former indie titles.
In this we got what every Waititi movie needs, his voice. Both in terms of humour, sensibilities, and literal in his work on Korg; for me the most unique character in the Marvel Canon. It’s a blistering two hours that feels constantly fresh and enjoyable. It did leave me with one burning question however, if Marvel permitted such an individual take on their prized Thor, why, nay, HOW on earth did Wright’s take on Ant Man fall through?
“Another day, another Doug.”
I was left speechless by Barry Jenkins gentle yet brutal story of one man’s coming to terms with love. Told in three slices of one characters life, the delicacy of each actor’s portrayal of Chiron marry up with perfection to one overall performance. You’re left as enveloped in the story as the tides of the shores that surround you in sound throughout.
2. Get Out
This is not a comedy. At most you could call it satire, albeit one of horrific proportions. It’s an urgent movie that demands your attention. To say any more would be a spoiler.
1. Baby Driver
Disclaimer: I’m a huge fan of Edgar Wright’s work. Baby Driver is the masterpiece of his style. The culmination of a lifetime of influences, planning and dreaming. An action comedy that it choreographed to within an inch of it’s life as a giant camera-edit-performance ballet. I saw this movie four times prior to release, each time picking up different references, jokes, details and moments. I enjoyed it twice more on release and found it still holds up on home viewing.
It really disheartened me that the home release’s timing coincided with the horrid revelations on Kevin Spacey’s real world behaviour as I do feel it robbed us of the ability to loudly celebrate this achievement of a film. I know the fan base of B-A-B-Y will only grow over years. If you’ve not yet had the pleasure, buy, buckle up and enjoy the drive.
Other films of note:
Logan, Hidden Figures, Prevenge, Free Fire, La La Land, Jackie, Dunkirk, IT, Blade Runner 2049, I Am Not Your Negro, Their Finest, Captain Underpants, The Big Sick, The Limehouse Golem, Wonder.
Logan Lucky – expected something smarter, snappier, funnier.
Atomic Blonde – seemed to be a set of tight action sequences extremely tenuously linked by what was almost a story. Fun, but way too forgettable.
Battle of the Sexes – watch the documentary instead. Gives much more depth and understanding of the stakes for all involved. This dramatisation was a lightweight by comparison. Whilst the performances were great, the jeopardy lacked and the euphoria forced.
The Florida Project – I appreciated the film making but really struggled with the kids. They screamed and screeched their way out of my affection. I understand that is the point to serve on aspect of the story, but I felt it overwhelmed everything else on offer.
Alien: Covenant – I was lost when David played the flute. If you’ve seen it, you’ll know why the audience I was in erupted into laughter at that point.