2017 Top Ten

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I get it Kevin! It’s been a blinder of a year for films. I’m screaming with ya trying to whittle down some fantastic movies to compile a Top Ten list. I think, finally I may have one sorted but I’ll likely look at it within a few days and want to add/swap things once again.

Before I continue with the rundown, I must 100% have to list some honourable mentions because these are all films that were in my Top 10 at some point but didn’t make it, just. Take a deep breath…

MOONLIGHT, DUNKIRK, COLOSSAL, THE FLORIDA PROJECT, LOGAN, DETROIT, BLADE RUNNER 2049, THOR: RAGNAROK, MOLLY’S GAME, JACKIE, WAR FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, LOVING VINCENT, WIND RIVER AND OKJA (solely because this one didn’t get theatrical release) 

It’s honestly ridiculous looking over that above list and seeing them not in my Top 10. To anyone saying this year has been a bad one for films they should check themselves into a psychiatric ward stat.

10. IT

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A horror film that’s actually effectively creepy and worthy of it’s huge box office success. This Stephen King adaption was a dark yet funny and excellently well made coming of age tale with a horrific backdrop. You’ll float too with my full review here – IT.

9. PADDINGTON 2

 

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What a charmer of a film. Fun for all the family and teary too. Fuzzy Pad bear is back in what could have been a cheap and unnecessary sequel but it’s far from that. A true delight. Grab your marmalade and check out my full review – Paddington 2

8. HIDDEN FIGURES

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A wonderful and interestingly told story that excels by it’s trio of stellar performances. It’s a surprising film in the fact I wasn’t expecting much but thoroughly enjoyed the entirety of the movie. It’s warming and importantly, it’s a celebration of some successful but neglected/forgotten figures in history.

7. A GHOST STORY

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A film that not just follows a story from a ghost’s perspective but the idea of our existence and the frailty of time are explored in such a haunting and beautiful fashion by director David Lowery. One sequence in particular stands out as a memorable favourite of cinema in 2017 for me, this white sheeted figure couldn’t look more alone as it sees their surrounding shift and change. A quiet and smart film and one unlike any other.

6. FREE FIRE

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Blasting like the many bullets tearing into the warehouse setting, this Ben Wheatley film is a joyous ride of comedic notes, incapacitated characters struggling through gun-rife scenarios and an impressive feat of editing within storytelling that keeps the film shooting along nicely.  It stood out to me the first time I saw it and it’s stuck with me til the almost end of the year as a fun and blistering addition to the shoot ’em up genre.

5. BABY DRIVER

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B-A-B-Y. BABY. Edgar Wright keeps his trademark comedy and energy up but expertly manages to step outside his usual flair and add well-tailored action choreography to his repertoire. The music sells the film a bunch and charisma from people like Elgort, James Foxx and Hamm make this an entertaining joy. Put joystick into drive and drift over to my full review – Baby Driver. 

4. THE BIG SICK

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Hugely funny, engaging and heart-warming with genuine spots of emotion, this intelligent take on Kumail Nanjiani and Emily Gordon’s life and love is a sharp and comedic break out of the cliched rom-com world. It’s just a wonderful film and it finds comedy amongst bleak moments, finds love/adoration in hard times. I found it a total beauty.

3. A MONSTER CALLS

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A revelation of a newcomer in Lewis Macdougall and heavy emotional themes in a powerful family fantasy drama make this a movie that’s stayed with me ever since it’s early 2017 release. Find out more of what I thought with my full review here – A Monster Calls.

2. THE KILLING OF A SACRED DEER

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Wow, this was a different and blackly humorous tinge on top of a truly unique and unsettling idea. Featuring a unnerving and fantastic turn from Barry Keoghan and the well directed stilted delivery from believable and capable talents Kidman and Farrell, this is a story that buries into the mind and one scene near the end hasn’t really left me since I saw it on the big screen. Put down your gun and take off your blindfolds to see my whole review – TKOASD

…so now for the number one spot. Which film takes the crown of Best Movie (in my opinion) of 2017?? …

….

 

1. GET OUT

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A splendid and worrying delve into a mix of genres and feelings that couldn’t have been released at a more dangerously apt time in the real world. Jordan Peele debuts as a confident and clever director with a careful and comedic touch on a story that features chills, laughs and visual streaks that deserve every plaudit going. It’s an odd choice to see it sat amongst Best Musical/Comedy at the Golden Globes but if it heightens it’s chances of a deserved win then I’ll try and overlook the unnatural fit of it in that category. Peele described it as a documentary and as said with what’s happening in Trump’s America this is a bold and fair statement. Plus, Daniel Kaluuya is a force of acting mastery within this thought provoking thriller/comedy/horror plot.

 

There you have it, that’s my thoughts on the films of the year that was. Again, a lot of films I’m sad not to see on here but they were on there at one point or another. 2017 has been an absolute triumph for film. Thank you.

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A Monster Calls (2017)

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Thematically powerful with a strong emotional message, this is not a typical fantasy film. It’s better than that, cleverly balancing a talking tree with stunning animation sequences whilst retaining the necessary coming of age narrative.

Artistic Conor O’Malley (Lewis MacDougall) tries coping with his terminally ill mum Lizzie (Felicity Jones), being beaten up at school and now a huge yew tree (voiced by Liam Neeson) is arriving at specific times to deliver three stories to him. These tales may eventually help Conor in revealing his own truth and understanding more.

Patrick Ness’ novel written from an idea by Siobhan Dowd who died of cancer before completing the book, is a fabulously rich story with a central tug of grief that is handled very well. Ness who also wrote this screenplay ensures the interpretation of the Monster’s stories are clear enough to transfer to Conor’s real life. It’s just a really smartly told plot that keeps you interested and attached.

The water colour animations that arrive with each story are creative, bold and quite dark too. This weaving of human complexity within these sequences are engaging and lifts the film even higher. The CGI and mo-cap of the tree monster is great also, thin branches or wisps of wood curling round items add to the fantastical element, he’s an interesting coach for Conor, looking brutish and menacing but having a kind heart within his trunk.

I’ll openly admit that I found the movie emotional, it never reached that overly sentimental try-hard point. Yes it does go towards that area but the way director and writer handle the subject matter keeps it from being soppy drivel. I will also go further to say that I cried from watching this movie, the film is very affecting because you get wrapped up in the vivid world and it’s certainly a more adult feature than you’d think.

Felicity Jones is gripping during the movie, her condition gets bleak and she becomes a paler gaunter figure but still keeps hold of a hopeful glint in her eye, making her a likeable and strong mother figure. Sigourney Weaver like the witch in the first tale is a see-saw of characteristics but one, ultimately that you know will be good. Liam Neeson’s work playing the booming monster is perfectly cast and he adds gravely gravitas to the part. The show is truly Lewis MacDougall’s though as he carries fear, courage, sadness, confusion and anger through the entire picture with spellbinding conviction.

Only the very ending featuring a book felt like a twee moment, aside from that this is a movie to kick off 2017 in fantastic fashion. The emotional vein running through the story is constant, touching and intelligent.

7.5/10