TOP 10 MOVIES OF 2017
For blockbusters, 2017 was certainly a hit or miss year. We had films like Blade Runner 2049 release to huge positive reception but produce mediocre numbers at the box office. The majority of comic book movies this year continued to do well, however, and even Justice League survived at the box office, rallying together DC’s superhero team to mostly mediocre reviews. This year’s Star Wars film, the highly-anticipated The Last Jedi, has even received a high flogging of negative feedback. If anything, 2017 has finally jumped on the hill questioning the longevity of some of these huge franchises, be it Star Wars, Pirates of the Caribbean or the plethora of comic book-based movies. But among all this, we’ve been given some real gems and small films, along with some fantastic high budget releases.
– Dylan Blight
This “Top 10” list was polled by Dylan Blight, Ciaran Marchant, Jono Pech, Ashley Hobley, Jack Kruse, and Nicholas Prior. Personal rankings formed a shortlist, which was voted into to an official top 10.
10.) A SILENT VOICE (Naoko Yamada)
This film has stuck with me ever since I saw it in April. Filled with a mixture of sweet and heart-breaking moments, this rollercoaster of emotions is a coming-of-age story of a one-time bully turned alienated outsider seeking to make amends with the deaf girl he tormented. Beautifully animated by Kyoto Animation and gracefully directed by Naoko Yamada, A Silent Voice manages to carefully navigate its tricky subject matter and give hope that redemption is possible.
– Ashley Hobley
9.) BABY DRIVE (EDGAR WRIGHT)
This was by far the “coolest” film of the year. Edgar Wright brought his A-game to Baby Driver and infused his style throughout. The cinematography for the action/driving scenes are some of the best in the genre. The film tells the story of Baby, a kid who owes a debt to a bad guy, meets a girl, and tries to get out of his life of crime. While it isn’t wholly original, it tells the story in a fresh way. The music is what really sells this film, with the soundtrack playing a character in the film, rather than just being ancillary. It is infused with everything Baby does, as he constantly listens to music as a way of dealing with his tinnitus. The villains’ acting is out of this world, but especially Jon Hamm. All in all, Baby Driver is a fun movie that’s worth your time, IF you can get past the damning real-life revelations about one of its stars.
– Nicholas Prior
8.) LION (GARTH DAVIS)
I’ve spent a lot of time staring at satellite maps over the years, but this true story of Saroo Brierley hunting for his lost Indian family on Google Earth gives a whole new perspective on the world-changing potential of modern GPS technology. Lion had me in tears several times with both sadness and joy, empathising for Saroo’s spectrum of loss and hope on his journey to reconnect with his family, but also to find himself. This amazing true story captures the distinct beauty of Indian and Tasmanian landscapes, as he struggles with his identity, accepting the privilege of his new life, and the haunting burden of guilt over leaving his brother and mother behind. Newcomer Sunny Pawar is memorable as young Saroo, but Dev Patel is Lion‘s standout as the adult Saroo with a flawless Aussie accent, while Nicole Kidman and David Wenham give touching performances as his loving adoptive parents. Lion will tug at your heartstrings and is ultimately a feel-good movie about an incredible journey – both literally and emotionally.
– Jono Pech
7.) THE DISASTER ARTIST (JAMES FRANCO)
Who knew in 2003 that 14 years later a movie would be made about the making of Tommy Wiseau’s cult classic The Room? Even though many of us did not know we needed this film, we received something truly special in 2017. James Franco expertly crafted The Disaster Artist in front of the camera but also in the director’s chair. His performance for me almost reaches such heights of method acting as Heath Ledger’s Joker and Jim Carrey’s Andy Kaufman. When watching The Disaster Artist, I did not see Franco on screen — I witnessed the recreation of Tommy Wiseau. With a fantastic supporting cast, including the likes of Dave Franco, Seth Rogen and Alison Brie, this movie truly brings to life the trials and tribulations of creating The Room. There are many shot-for-shot references to the 2003 film and a script that makes you feel sympathetic yet appalled by the actions of Wiseau. The Disaster Artist takes you on an empathetic journey that many comedy fans were not expecting, but certainly welcomed in theatres this year. With The Room back in the spotlight, I beg you to please give it your time before checking out The Disaster Artist — if you watch it without the experience you will be “tearing me apart, Lisa!”
– Ciaran Marchant
6.) THE BIG SICK (MICHAEL SHOWALTER)
This film based on the real-life courtship between star Kumail Nanjiani and co-writer Emily V. Gordon is one of the best romantic comedies to come out in the past decade. Whether it is exploring the immigrant family dynamic, giving an insight into the stand-up comedy scene or dealing with a medical emergency, The Big Sick never fails to be funny, smart and heartfelt. Filled with great performances across the board, particularly by both sets of parents, this was easily one of my favourite experiences of the year.
– Ashley Hobley
5.) THE LAST JEDI (RIAN JOHNSON)
Two years of build-up, two years of anticipation, two years of unanswered questions and two years later we received many of those answers — whether you liked them or not. Rian Johnson’s Star Wars is not the movie that some of its audience expected, shot beautifully and full of surprises. This film is among my top three Star Wars movies, which might shock you, but the direction it leads the franchise is extremely exciting. From the surprise character exits and answers to questions that were right in front of our faces, Johnson really strove to create a unique Star Wars experience and in many ways, I believe he accomplished this feat. With this movie a hot topic among fans across the internet, I understand some are disappointed with the answers, but when they look back at this movie in 10 years time I hope they will see the positive change this had on the history of Star Wars. With the movie out and viewed by its fans, it only means one thing — at least another two years of build-up, anticipation and unanswered questions. To be honest with you, this idea makes me eager for the final instalment of the trilogy.
– Ciaran Marchant
4.) SPIDER-MAN: HOMECOMING (JON WATTS)
Spider-Man is my favourite superhero, period. And in 2017, Spider-Man: Homecoming became my favourite superhero movie, period. Tom Holland’s performance as the web-slinger gave us the closest version to the comic book Spider-Man that we’ve ever had. It simply nailed the humour and the feel of teenage Peter Parker coming to terms with his newfound responsibilities as a person and as a superhero. The best thing about Spider-Man: Homecoming was that it didn’t try to be the next big epic MCU movie with a world-ending villain — it just told a great Spider-Man/Peter Parker story, and Michael Keaton as the Vulture gave us a believable villain with believable motives (as far as the MCU goes). Other than an anti-climactic final battle scene, I loved everything about Spider-Man Homecoming, from the supporting characters to the grounded feel. I can’t wait for the next adventure from our friendly neighbourhood Spider-Man.
– Jack Kruse
3.) LOGAN (JAMES MANGOLD)
If you’re growing tired of the comic-book movie phenomena a bit, like I am, or you’re simply tired of the same old plotlines over and over, as the heroes work to save the world (again), Logan is the breath of refreshing air you need. It swept over me and gave me a sign that you can still do smart stories with these established and sometimes tired characters. It’s not just the R18+ rating either. Although I think the language and violence were used smartly to tell a more adult story, breaking from comic book tropes is what makes Logan so special within its bare story script. The film basically boils down to a story about a man trying to save a girl by getting her across a border. Logan becomes a true character here, finally, with both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart giving their best performances in their respective roles as Logan and Professor X.
– Dylan Blight
2.) DUNKIRK (CHRISTOPHER NOLAN)
Christopher Nolan has hit a home run yet again. This war epic tells the tale of Operation Dynamo, a last-ditch effort to rescue the approximate 400,000 allied personnel trapped on the beach at Dunkirk. Nolan crafted a film that ramps up tension and emotion, without showing a single member of the Wehrmacht, all while paying the utmost respect to history. The story follows three different threads that take place over different time periods, woven together perfectly. The first is two soldiers trapped on the beach, and their desperate attempt to escape in any way they could. The next is a civilian small boat owner and his crew, taking matters into their own hands to cross the channel and rescue their countrymen. The last is the story of an RAF pilot and his wingman trying their best to cover the extraction and provide protection for the Luftwaffe. This isn’t a war movie that you need, it’s a war movie you deserve.
– Nicholas Prior
1.) BLADE RUNNER 2049 (DENIS VILLENEUVE)
Thirty years after Ridley Scott released the original Blade Runner, Denis Villeneuve delivered the sequel we didn’t know we needed. It’s the most beautiful film of 2017, with a stunning realisation of the neo-apocalyptic Earth — the crowded streets of people stuck on a dying planet, the tall buildings housing everyone, the machines, and the orange deserts of a world forgotten. Ryan Gosling’s ‘K’ traverses a plot that ties back to the original film perfectly, bringing more questions and some answers, all the while providing 2017 with its best film — its smartest, most stunning, most wonderfully realised film — Blade Runner 2049.
– Dylan Blight