Best Movies 2017

Great year for movies, it has to be said and with still much to see, there is every chance this list could change somewhat in the coming months, so keep an eye on the sidebar (if you’re interested!) as I will maintain the previous year’s Top 10 throughout the current year.

A reminder of how I include movies in my lists – I go by the year the movie was made, not released. That said, this shouldn’t cause any confusion on the below as I think all dropped between January and December last year… but you never know.

Feel free to leave some comments on anything you disagree with or any suggestions for movies that have rocked your world in 2017 that you think I might not have seen. Enjoy!

FANTANA’S BEST 10 FILMS OF 2017

10. Gifted

Whereas the obvious awards darlings were decided early on in the season with the likes of Call Me By Your Name, the Florida Project, and Lady Bird hitting our consciousness, for me there was more emotional heft wielded by Gifted, an unoriginal story within an unoriginal trope but performed ever so well by Chris Evans, Octavia Spencer and Mckenna Grace, captured ever so well by Marc Webb and peppered with delightful moments of brilliance. It’s certainly more straightforward than its peers above and its message more generic, but that shouldn’t take anything away from the film that came closest to making me cry this year.

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Trailer Credit: Movieclips Trailers

9. Thor: Ragnarok

At a time when the MCU, for me, has started to become a bit samey, a bit trite, along came Taika Waititi and Thor to shake things up a bit. In the same way Ant-man and Guardians of the Galaxy did before them. From beginning to end Ragnarok is a hoot and Waititi’s brand of comedy is rife throughout, from the deadpan reactions in face of adversity to the unexpected cameo appearances to bouts of grounding foolishness by our heroic leads; it all pays off. Certain scenes seem superfluous <cough>Doctor Strange<cough> and at times the editing highlights Waititi’s blockbuster inexperience, but those factors take nothing away from what is essentially two hours of pure unadulterated entertainment.

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8. Baby Driver

Evoking many action movie qualities not seen since the glory days of the 90s, Edgar Wright’s heist/getaway thriller goes one better than many of its predecessors by turning several classic conventions on their heads. The result is a slick and witty action piece with none of the pretention. Wright pulls together a cast of recognisable rogues and balances their darkness with the light of young love almost perfectly. Dialogue is razor sharp and even the most fleeting of characters are given their own voice, which is wonderful to see. What impressed the most, however, was the use of music throughout, with the audience constantly made aware of what Baby (Ansel Elgort) is listening to, it is not long before we are aware of how lyrically almost every scene is cut and choreographed to the titular roadster’s own personal soundtrack. That feat alone deserves a standing ovation.

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7. I Don’t Feel at Home in this World Anymore

Quite possibly the best original property to come out of Netflix since it began, what starts as an eccentric and unassuming dark comedy quickly turns black as pitch as more characters (and the cast is full of ‘em!) join the fray. Elijah Wood threatens to steal the show, but overall this is a well-balanced ensemble piece that boasts a slow simmering first half and a sucker punch of a finale.

Often dark, often gruesome, often hilarious, Macon Blair’s directorial effort is an unsung hero of a crime thriller that demands more attention. Go make the most of Netflix and get it on deck.

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6. Logan

The movie that all other X-movies must aspire to. An unassuming, stripped back, hardboiled road movie. A drama exploring the relationship between parent and child. A cold-blooded western. And by golly, it’s gorgeous. As a send-off to Jackman, it’s nigh on perfect. The decision to ignore classic comic conventions in favour of grit, grime and guts is one of Hollywood’s classier decisions of the last decade and one can only hope that, in Logan and the Deadpool franchise, we have seen the way paved for a more adult breed of superhero movie. Here’s looking forward to Madrox and (maybe) Spawn in the next couple of years.

8.5

Full review can be found here.

5. Life

Admittedly this simply plays to my affinity for this type of movie and in fairness it doesn’t put a step wrong beyond being a tad derivative. Despite its obvious nods to genre stalwarts such as Event Horizon and Sunshine, what sets Life apart is an accomplished cast, a script grounded predominantly in reality and some stunning effects and photography. The ending is brave and divisive but I can only commend the filmmakers for their decision making. Atmospheric, claustrophobic and master of building slow dread, the story has been seen before but not with this much class. A must-see for genre fans everywhere.

8.5

4. Big Sick

The story is quaint, and vaguely rom-comy, but the comedy dominates in this semi-biopic. Nanjiani has stolen the show in every supporting role I have seen him in so it is fantastic to see him take the lead and utterly own it. Stand-up scenes are hilarious on their own merits, but the dramatic scenes, the scenes of home life and bonding with would-be in-laws that really tickle, bolstered by a supporting cast that is possibly one of the most balanced I’ve ever seen – no one lets the team down. Everyone impresses. As a result this deserves pride of place in any best comedies of all time list. Just plain gold.

8.5

3. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Akin to In Bruges, Martin McDonagh again juggles powerful emotional beats with comedic moments as black as pitch, at the same time channelling an eccentricity akin to Fargo. Again it is the cast that strengthens the argument for why Billboards will most likely take the awards season by storm, creating a rich depth of character and a very interesting world in which very dark things reside and happen. The laughs do a great job of leveeing the darkness but the tone rarely steps out of the shadows. A couple of violent action scenes aside, this is almost everything I want in a movie. Well balanced, well-paced, well-acted and well delivered. The films that follow on this list are there due to my personal proclivities, but for highest entrant that will appeal to the biggest demographic, this is it. A general crowd pleaser and an utter beast of a drama. See it.

8.5

2. Wind River

The narrative is more linear than crime thriller fans might appreciate, but where Hell or High Water was accepted as the western that it is, Wind River should be viewed under the same assumption, albeit with twice the emotional weight. The charm is in the simplicity here, as a straightforward police procedural becomes so much more as personal feelings and needs simmer to the surface of the rich and accomplished cast. Jeremy Renner has never been better, cast against a sumptuous frozen landscape. The visuals are first class, the story one that demands justice and it is a joy to watch unfold.

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1. Blade Runner 2049

At the beginning of the year I cited Bade Runner 2049 as my most anticipated film of 2017, and simply put: it didn’t disappoint. Combining the hard boiled tautness of neo noir with the epic scale required for such a bustling dystopia, 2049 not only overshadows its predecessor, it answers questions you didn’t know you had about it. Immaculate in its execution, there have obviously been criticisms made of its length, but not here; I’d much rather 3hr durations were reserved for icons of cinema such as this than the Hobbit trilogy. The Hobbit should be embarrassed by this – it had 9 hours and told less story than this!

An absolute master class by Denis Villeneuve, who is untouchable at this point. His back catalogue is being ransacked as you read this. All aspects of the production are at the top of their game and this might be – no, is – the best film since the Dark Knight.

9.5

Check out the full review right here.

With it being such a good year for film, I would feel remiss not to expand on what gold missed out on the top ten spots, so here’s entries 11 to 25:

11. Jawbone

12. Okja

13. It

14. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

15. Call Me by Your Name

16. Hostiles

17. The Foreigner

18. Detroit

19. War for the Planet of the Apes

20. Wonder Woman

21. Shot Caller

22. Get Out

23. Thelma

24. Brigsby Bear

25. The Florida Project

Films such as the Lost City of Z, A Cure for Wellness, Personal Shopper, and Colossal fooled me into thinking they were this year’s fare but were in fact 2016 made, so were disqualified, otherwise would’ve appeared somewhere above.

Keep an eye out for the annual Underappreciated Films of the Year list that will shine a light on some gems that might have passed you by in the swathe of quality that graced us this year.

Hope you enjoyed and feel free to leave some comments.

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