Top 10 Movies of 2017

Finally it’s time to share what I consider to be the best films from last year. For those who haven’t read one of these before I go by the original release date meaning films that came out in 2016 in the US or Japan but 2017 here in the UK don’t count and films that got delayed for 2018 here in the UK do count, which is also why I’m posting this list in late February. Anyway with that out of the way here’s the list.

#10

Wonder Woman

It’s surprising to see a DC movie here, especially a DCEU movie. But last year was a pretty good year for DC with LEGO Batman only just missing a spot in this list at #11. In my opinion this is the best live action DC movie and it’s good in areas where other DCEU movies have been bad. I don’t know what the rest of the DCEU is going to be like and so far it looks like 2018 will be a bad year for DC movies in general, but I am looking forward to the Wonder Woman sequel whenever that comes out.

#9

Baby Driver

This would have been higher on the list but then the news about Kevin Spacey happened making it hard to recommend this film. However everything else about the film is still really good, especially the way it uses music. And once again the Academy Awards have failed to nominated Edgar Wright for Best Director, but fortunately the film does still have nominations for sound and editing.

#8

My Little Pony: The Movie

Considering two of the Equestria Girls movies have made my top 10 before this should come as no surprise. As well as liking it as a fan of the show I liked it as a fan of animation as it’s rare we get cinematic 2D animation from the US these days. Also after hearing Emily Blunt sing in this I’m certain she’ll be great in the Mary Poppins movie we’re getting later this year.

#7

The Shape of Water

So delaying this list until now was worth it. As well as being the film with the most nominations at the Oscars it’s also being brought up as one of the favourites to win Best Picture. I hope it does but knowing how little my tastes lineup with the Academy’s I wouldn’t be surprised if it doesn’t, hopefully they’ll at least be smart enough to give Guillermo del Toro Best Director though.

#6

War for the Planet of the Apes

I saw all the Planet of the Apes movies for the first time last year and this was the best one. Watching Caesar’s story across this trilogy has been a treat and can the Academy Awards please make an award for voice/mocap actors already because Andy Serkis deserves an award for all three of these movies.

#5

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

It’s still hard to say which I like more out of this and the first film as both films have areas that they do better than the other in and I have friends who have made strong cases for each of them. The main strength of this film for me is all the character interactions with many of the best being Rocket and Yondu’s scenes. The songs are great too but that’s an area I’d say both films are tied on, recently I’ve been rewatching it with my dad who was more familiar with a lot of the songs than I was when I first saw it which has been a fun experience.

#4

Coco

Another film I delayed this list for. Pixar continue to prove their skills at making beautiful animation and heartwarming stories. We didn’t get as many great animated films last year as we did in 2016 but I’m glad this was one of them, even if I didn’t get to see it until this year. Lets hope this year’s list doesn’t have to be delayed.

#3

Thor: Ragnarok

I keep seeing people complain about the MCU having “too much comedy” and I completely disagree. The MCU is at its best when it’s being funny and this is the funniest film from them so far. Taika Waititi took what was the best part of the Thor movies, made it the focus and added his own personal touch.

#2

Logan

Once that Disney/Fox deal is complete it’ll mean most of this list is Disney, which is fine with me. I’ve wanted X-23 to appear in an X-Men movie ever since her first appearance in X-Men Evolution and now that she has it’s the best film in the franchise. I don’t know what the future of the X-Men films will be like once the rights move to Marvel Studios but I’m glad Fox got to make a film as good as this as the last film with some of the original cast.

#1

Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Remember how I said people making nitpicky complaints about the film only made me like it more? Yeah all the complaining I see about this film all over the internet made it clear this was staying at the top of this list. After the rewatch I did settle on liking The Force Awakens more but that still makes this the 3rd best Star Wars movie. I also really enjoyed my experiences watching this with my marathon of every canon Star Wars movie leading up to its release and my rewatch being with my family on my brother’s birthday.

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There’s my list for another year. The honourable mentions this year are The LEGO Batman Movie, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Okja, Brigsby Bear and Blade Runner 2049. I saw 83 of last year’s movies before posting this list which is a much larger increase than usual. I probably won’t have quite that big an increase by the end of this year but I at least plan to top my end of year total of 73.

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The Shape of Water – Review

Finally we get to the second film I delayed my top 10 list for. I actually went to see this at the Picture House so I could see it sooner after not just waiting several months to see it since the US release but missing two opportunities to see it early (for the UK release anyway). It’s been years since I last went there (2005 if I remember correctly) but it was nice, I’ll have to keep an eye out for any exclusive screenings from them later this year.

As expected this film is really good. While this is only the 5th film I’ve seen from him every film by Guillermo del Toro has impressed me. While I’m not really into horror as the focus of a film I do think it works best when elements of it are incorporated into another genre, which is what del Toro does best. And in this case that other genre is romance.

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Romance and classic horror turn out to be a perfect match as many old monster movies feature the creature falling for a human woman. Here those feelings are mutual and because of the language/species barrier and Elisa (Sally Hawkins) being mute most of their interactions are through movement, expression and a few signs she teaches him. Also yes she does have sex with the fish man but these scenes are presented as sweet moments rather than typical movie sex scenes and the second one is pretty funny.

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Between this and Pan’s Labyrinth it’s also clear another thing del Toro is really good at is making really creepy human villains in supernatural stories. But Strickland (Michael Shannon) is creepy in a very different way from Vidal. Many of his scenes are less intimidating but reveal a new detail that make you hate him even more and it’s knowing the power this kind of person has that makes him scary.

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It’s funny that the last film I delayed my top 10 list for is also the one that got nominated for the most Oscars but you can see why. So many details about this film are stunning just on a film making level that I honestly feel it should have been nominated in a few more categories (like hair & makeup). Anyway now that I’ve seen them were Coco and The Shape of Water worth delaying my top 10 movies of 2017 list? You’ll have to read it to find out…

Black Panther – Review

So anyone who read my Civil War review will remember that T’Challa was one of my favourite things about the film, other people might remember than in my silly awards post I do around the time of the Oscars I gave Chadwick Boseman the award for Best Supporting Actor last year. So you can imagine this was one of the films I was most excited for this year.

It did not disappoint. It’s a great film and a fantastic start to what is clearly going to be a really fun year to be a Marvel fan. This is the 4th 2018 film I’ve seen and the first that has a good chance of being in my top 10 (I just hope this one can be ready by the end of the year unlike last year’s which is almost ready).

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Of course Chadwick Boseman continues to be great as T’Challa but this isn’t just his movie, it’s a movie filled with a cast of extremely talented actors. Nakia (Lupita Nyong’o), Shuri (Letitia Wright), Okoye (Danai Gurira) and Everett K. Ross (Martin Freeman) are more of a full team of heroes and I’m glad to know Shuri and Okoye are set to return later this year for Infinity War. And of course you have the film’s villains Killmonger (Michael B. Jordan) and Klaw (Andy Serkis) who were the perfect choices both in terms of what villains to use and the actors playing them.

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And on top of all that this is up there with Thor Ragnarok and the Guardians of the Galaxy movies as one of the most visually stunning Marvel movies so far. And this is just the start of the year for Marvel and it won’t be the last we’ll see of Wakanda this year.

Get Out – Review

Because I’m not really a fan of horror I was reluctant to watch this even after I got the DVD at the same time as the first two Maze Runner movies. Usually with horror I tend to prefer when there’s something else about the movie that interests me like all the sci-fi and lore in the Alien/Predator franchise or Satoshi Kon’s directing with Perfect Blue. But with this film the most interesting things I’d heard were in the horror itself and I tend to avoid even highly recommended horror movies where the horror is the selling point.

With all that said this is a good film. A lot of what makes the film as creepy as it is comes from the cast’s performances, rewatching the trailer for this review it’s impressive how some clips seem like they could have come right out of a romantic comedy with it usually just being the delivery of one line each scene that starts to give them away. The best example of one of these performances is a spoiler but if you’ve seen the movie you’ll know who I mean.

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Of course when talking about performances there’s the Oscar nominated one from the film’s lead Daniel Kaluuya. The strengths of his performance are more subtle being mostly Chris’ reactions to the other characters and the things that happen to him.

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Between this and Perfect Blue it’s clear that when horror is the focus psychological horror is much better than horror centered around gore. They have an interesting story to tell even if you’re not into horror like me. But if you are a horror fan the film critics I follow who are into horror loved this movie so you’ll be able to get even more out of this film than me.

Lupin the Third: The Blood Spray of Goemon Ishikawa – Review

The latest Lupin III film from the team behind The Woman Called Fujiko Mine and Daisuke Jigen’s Gravestone. The thing that made this film interesting was out of all of Lupin’s supporting cast Goemon was always the one who got the least attention. Fujiko, Jigen and Zenigata each get plenty of screentime and dialogue while Goemon usually just shows up to cut something and then disappear into the background for a while.

Between this and Samurai Jack’s final season 2017 seems like it was the year for covering popular samurai characters in blood. I enjoyed it but not as much as Jigen’s Gravestone (I’ve not seen The Woman Called Fujiko Mine yet), the film’s approach does suit Goemon well as a character but Jigen is a much more fun character to follow that gets more interaction with Lupin himself. While Lupin and the gang are still a major part of this film their interactions with Goemon are just as limited as usual.

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But while the story and character interactions are lacking the action and animation are fantastic. This is the most violent Lupin III movie I’ve ever seen with Goemon suffering some extremely painful looking injuries during his fights with the main antagonist of the film, who is like if Jaws from the Bond movies was a lumberjack that duel wielded axes.

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It’s a fun addition to the franchise and I hope we get more from this team, maybe a Zenigata movie next? I know Jigen’s Gravestone setup something to do with Mamo. If you’re a Lupin III fan you should like it but if you only really know the characters from the Hayao Miyazaki film The Castle of Cagliostro it’s probably not the best pick for your next Lupin film.

I, Tonya – Review

Last night I went to Odeon’s Screen Unseen for the first time. They show a mystery film before its UK release date and it is covered under their Limitless membership so I thought it would be a fun experience. The fact I was probably going to watch this film at some point (especially with most of the guesses on Facebook and the Screen Unseen subreddit pointing towards this being the film I’d end up seeing last night) also was one of the things that convinced me to finally watch the popular anime series Yuri on Ice since if I was going to be watching a movie about figure skating I should probably watch the anime romance about it that a bunch of my friends really liked.

Having watched more biopic films these last few months than I’m used to I have started noticing common problems many of them have, the worst being those scenes near the end of the movie where someone talks to the person the movie is about to say why the thing they did is so important. This movie doesn’t have a scene like that, the closest it has is a point when they explain to the audience what a triple axel is and why it’s so hard to pull off but that’s more for people like me who even after watching 12 episodes of an anime that is mostly skating scenes still knows nothing about figure skating. It also helps that this isn’t an inspirational film as the second half details her connection to an assault on a rival skater.

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And that’s a big part of why I liked this more than any of the other biopics from last year, it’s more unique. It has recreations of real interviews narrating it like a documentary and 4th wall breaking turns to the camera like in Malcolm in the Middle, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off and Deadpool. And of course the performances are fantastic, Margot Robbie and Allison Janney both earn their Oscar nominations. I know a lot of the big stunts were a combination of body doubles, camera trickery and CGI but Margot Robbie still did a lot of the skating herself which is really impressive.

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There’s also a lot of very funny moments in this film, made even funnier when you realize these specific details were true. I think it balances the humour with the more serious details well in a way the fits the film version of Tonya Harding as a character. As a first Screen Unseen experience this was a fun one and I’ll be sure to attend more as the year continues.