My Top 10 Films of 2017

mother2As I mentioned in my brief update post, due to personal matters I didn’t end up seeing anywhere near as many films this year as I have in previous years. As such, this top ten will probably lean a little harder on the big, mainstream blockbusters of the year than it has previously, though that’s also partly due to there being a far superior selection of them this year. As usual, I must begin with a few caveats; I’m choosing not to count last year’s big Oscar-contender movies that weren’t released worldwide until 2017 as there seems to be little point to it (though I feel the need to make a small exception). So there will be no Moonlight, no Manchester by the Sea, no Jackie, no Toni Erdmann and so on. They’ve had their due.

Similarly, the trend that seems to increase with every year I’ve been doing this is that so, so many of the critical darlings populating professional ‘best of the year’ lists simply have not been released outside of the US it would seem. It always happens. Without fail. I glanced at a post on Indiewire before writing this which compiled ‘The 50 Best Movies of 2017, According to Over 200 Film Critics’ – of those 50, almost half are completely unavailable to me. Here’s a sampling; Call Me By Your Name, Lady Bird, Phantom Thread, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Florida Project, The Shape of Water, The Post, I, Tonya, The Disaster Artist, and most importantly; Paddington 2. You get the idea. Some of these films are out in February for me, others not until April. On occasion I feel like these best-of lists are just taunting me, reeling off a load of supposedly brilliant films that you would only have been able to see if you were a professional US film critic. It sucks but, what can you do? Let’s look at what I actually was able to see.

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‘Justice League’ Review

Justice-League(Hey so I haven’t written on here in months, I’ll post an explanation a bit later but here’s my first review in some time)

There’s a school of thought that suggests that when reviewing a film, one shouldn’t need to reference anything about the production or background and just analyse what’s there on the screen. I get that, and while I don’t abide by it myself, even if I did there would have to be some exceptions; Warner Bros/DC Comic’s long-awaited Justice league, is such an exception. Continue reading

‘Alien: Covenant’ Review

covenantAs much as I was excited to see this new Alien movie, as I sat in the theatre waiting for the lights to go down, I found myself wondering what exactly I actually wanted from an Alien movie in 2017. Would I prefer it to just be essentially another of the numerous Alien clones that have continued to appear in the decades since its inception, but with a proper Xenomorph? Or do I want someone to try and tell a completely new story in within the Alien universe? While my instinct goes straight for the latter option, the last few times that was attempted the results were, at best, highly divisive. Continue reading

‘Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2’ Review

guardians2Guardians of the Galaxy was easily the most obscure property that Marvel studios have set their sights on adapting, and the only really surprising announcement since they made since the MCU’s inception. It was a risk that paid off though, with the film being arguably Marvel Studios’ most unique entry, both content and quality-wise. It certainly tends to lie near the top of any fan’s ranking (I’ve got it at 3 myself). With the addition of this sequel though, confidently the strongest ‘part 2’ of any MCU series yet, they might well prove to be the Studios’ biggest stars. Continue reading

‘The Fate of the Furious’ Review

fast-furious-8I’ve begun the last couple of reviews for films in the Fast & Furious series by noting just what an unusual path this franchise has taken to becoming one of the most successful and important film series of modern times. I don’t want to get too repetitive, but let’s just say that my opinion of this series has turned around so much that I’ve gone from thinking they were actively bad movies that I wouldn’t consider paying to see, to being hugely excited about seeing the latest instalment on opening night. Continue reading

‘Ghost in the Shell’ (2017) Review

shost-in-the-shell-trailerI’ve made it no secret that I struggle with a lot of anime, even the classic, universally acclaimed titles of the genre. Maybe it’s me, maybe it’s cultural differences, but I often find myself having difficulty understanding films that, on paper at least, sound like I’d really enjoy. Case in point; 1995’s Ghost in the Shell, noted as a key influence on The Matrix no less, when I first watched it, I found it more or less incomprehensible. I saw it again a few years later with similar results, finding the material surprisingly inaccessible for such a landmark, beloved movie. Anyway, I think I’m more of an outlier here, so maybe I shouldn’t be taken too seriously when I say that one of the few positive things about this American, live-action Ghost in the Shell remake is that I didn’t find it especially confusing at all. Continue reading

Director Months: February – Abbas Kiarostami

taste-of-cherrySo, only two months in and I’m already behind on this, I’ve got to stick with it though, my aim is to publish these within the first week of the month, and I must try harder next time. Anyway, a couple of years ago I wrote a piece about what I considered my top ten movie “blind spots” – the most famous movies I had never seen. At the end of the list I wrote down a couple of names of famous directors who I hadn’t seen any films from, one of whom was acclaimed Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami. I had intended seeing all my blind spots to be a challenge for the following year but then unfortunately forgot all about it, though I might resurrect that post next month. I did want to include Kiarostami in my ‘director months’ project though, particularly after his death last year led to a number of articles highlighting his work, reminding me just how respected he was among critics and fellow directors. Continue reading