All right, I’m probably a little bit behind the crowd, but, who doesn’t love a best of the year list? I’ll post a few over the next few days. First up: My five favourite movies of 2017!*
*Non-Star Wars division
Ground rules: These are simply movies that I saw in the calendar year. They could have been released in 2016 (or earlier!) or may not have been officially released yet (like some TIFF flicks). But I saw them in 2017, and liked them.
Without further ado, here are my five favourite movies of 2017, in no particular order:
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Saw this at TIFF and it was the highlight of the festival. Just wonderful performances from Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson and Sam Rockwell. Funny, yet incredibly dark. Definitely worth your time.
A coming of age story that doubles as a love letter to Greta Gerwig’s hometown of Sacramento. It’ll either make you long for your hometown, or wish you had a connection to it that was half as strong. Saoirse Ronan is divine, and it was pretty great to see Laurie Metcalf again. And I really, really like Lucas Hedges.
Blade Runner 2049
More than just a visual spectacle (though it is that) this one just stuck with me so long after I saw it; I just couldn’t stop thinking about it. There are layers upon layers in this film—if you want there to be. If you just want a cool sci-fi flick that looks awesome and has a couple good action scenes, it can be that too. Read my initial review (in which I promised to write an even more in-depth review that I haven’t delivered. Maybe when I see it on home video…)
The story, or rather, each of the three stories, are great, and the way they sync up is sublime. The music and sound are perfectly atmospheric, as they needs to be in a film without a lot of dialogue. And—something my wife pointed out to me—this is a war movie where you never see the enemy. That’s just so cool.
I won’t pretend that the last 40 minutes are good. They are bad. But the first two thirds of the movie are (ahem) wonderful. Gal Gadot is just so perfect, and so utterly charming, in the title role. Her rebelliousness on Paradise Island, her naïveté in man’s world, her determination once she sees the war… and the no man’s land scene… it gave me goosebumps. I don’t believe I’ve seen an actor embody the role of a superhero like that since Christopher Reeve. I had a giant smile on my face through the first 1:15 of this movie.
Special mention: Call Me by Your Name
Even though this is a “2017” film, I didn’t see it until January 2, so it doesn’t fit my rules. But I’m sure I’ll forget to put it on my 2018 list. So: this movie deserves to be here, it’s so good. It’s long; it’s one of those movies where you might start to think it’s too long, but then, the end comes (and what an end) and you immediately think, yes, every minute of it was worth it.
Honourable mentions: Outside In, Logan, The Shape of Water, Eye on Juliet