It’s the end of 2017, so what better time to look back at which films have impressed the most? With a huge range of movies in cinemas over the past year, there was an absolute plethora to choose from, so here are my picks for the top 10 best movies of 2017.
The Lego Batman Movie – Not as strong as its predecessor, but still a hyperactive and very funny animation.
Confession Of Murder – An exciting, slick and very entertaining Japanese thriller with some great twists.
Lady Bird – A both touching and very enjoyable coming-of-age comedy-drama from Greta Gerwig.
When Will You Return – A moving, elegant and truly heartwarming Japanese family drama. (Pictured above).
Williams – An absolutely fascinating as well as emotionally enthralling documentary about F1’s fastest family.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi – Hugely divisive, but a massively entertaining and epic sci-fi adventure regardless.
Kingsman: The Golden Circle – A really entertaining popcorn follow-up to the surprise hit of 2015.
Spider-Man: Homecoming – Marvel’s best this year, with a really funny and entertaining reboot for Spider-Man.
Blade Runner 2049 – A visual masterpiece that did the unthinkable and improved on a legendary sci-fi classic.
Mindhorn – A tiny little action comedy set on the Isle of Man that will have you in stitches from beginning to end.
No film this year made me smile like Coco did. Showcasing the best of what Pixar has to offer, it’s an endlessly entertaining, visually beautiful and emotionally moving animation that will warm even the coldest of hearts.
Set in Mexico on the Day of the Dead, Coco follows the story of a young boy who is whisked into the land of his ancestors, and must get home before time runs out. With endlessly heartfelt and beautifully moving emotion throughout, Coco is exactly what we expect from Pixar, offering a story that’s not only a fun adventure movie for families, but one with brilliant depth that will easily have tears flowing from everybody in sight. In tandem with arguably Pixar’s most beautiful animation in years, Coco is an unforgettable movie that shines as one of 2017’s greats.
‘Superhero fatigue’ is a phrase that’s been thrown about a lot the last few years, and after Deadpool‘s unique success last year, Logan showed that the comic book genre can be so much more than action and explosions.
Set in the near future, the film follows an ailing Professor Xavier and Wolverine living in hiding on the US-Mexico border. While the film features great action and excellent comic book thrills, it’s more of a character piece than anything, giving us a stunningly dramatic insight into the character of Logan, his frustrations, hopes and weaknesses, and over the course of around two and a quarter hours, makes for one of the year’s most satisfying and dramatically riveting watches, and yet another breath of fresh air into the superhero genre.
8. Get Out
Talking of a breath of fresh air, Jordan Peele’s Get Out has to go down as the biggest surprise of 2017, with a directorial debut feature lapping up acclaim from across the world.
Taking inspiration from the horror-thriller genre, this is a tense and exciting movie that follows a young black man who becomes unsettled when he goes to stay with his white girlfriend’s family for the weekend. I mention their races because that’s also a thrilling element of Get Out, that it manages to focus on social issues like race relations in the context of a horror movie, and not make it feel at all preachy, but rather fully relevant to the story, and as such part and parcel of an enormously entertaining movie.
Featuring stunning directing from Jordan Peele, a great central performance from Daniel Kaluuya, and a story with so many brilliant twists and turns, Get Out will easily have you on the edge of your seat from the word go.
7. War For The Planet Of The Apes
And here we see yet another film that completely flipped expectations for its genre: the unbelievably ambitious and truly moving War For The Planet Of The Apes.
A conclusion to what has to go down as one of the best trilogies in decades, this film completely subverts all your preconceptions about a blockbuster movie, as it follows the ape character of Caesar on his last legs in a do-or-die finale against the brutal humans. However, while that premise may sound like yet another action-packed blockbuster, the fact of the matter is that War For The Planet Of The Apes is one of the quietest, most serene and most deeply moving films of the year.
Although it features great action, the film’s highlight is its long, slow first two acts, as we follow Caesar trekking across inhospitable landscapes with a mission to save his species from destruction by the humans. Along the way, the film acts as an exceptionally deep and finely-crafted character study, and does the exceptional in making a CGI ape character a truly riveting central lead for a drama, unlike the previous two films that have mixed drama and action. In the end, War For The Planet Of The Apes is yet another very unique movie, but it’s one that concludes a stunning trilogy exceptionally well, and offers up another one of 2017’s biggest surprises.
6. The Big Sick
It’s very rare that you’ll see a romantic comedy in so many top 10 lists, but The Big Sick really does deserve all the praise it gets.
A fiercely original and beautifully genuine movie, it follows the story of a man and a woman in love who are separated by cultural divisions and a devastating shock. All in all, the film is brilliantly funny, with writer-director Kumail Nanjiani delivering one of the year’s best screenplays, to the extent that you’ll be in stitches throughout.
However, alongside the excellent and appropriate comedy, the movie is a dramatically riveting and equally moving watch, showing us a different side to the rom-com genre, and while still keeping up with an entertaining story, will have you on the edge of tears as you watch a stunningly powerful story about love, family and care unfold, making for yet another massive surprise this year, but one that I certainly wouldn’t have missed for the world.
5. Baby Driver
As one of Hollywood’s most energetic and passionate directors, everything Edgar Wright makes is bound to be stellar, as was the case with the electric Baby Driver.
While taking a small diversion from his typical ultra-comedy style for something a little more dramatic, Baby Driver still shines as the year’s most entertaining popcorn movie. Following a young man with a talent for driving getaway cars, the movie is a non-stop visual and audial extravaganza, featuring thrilling car chases, great comedy, intriguing characters, and one of the coolest soundtracks of all time.
It may not be there to make you laugh your socks off like Wright’s Cornetto Trilogy, but thanks to incredible directing and cinematography that will have your eyes popping out of your head with excitement, coupled with a whole range of great performances, there’s no stopping Baby Driver from endlessly entertaining everybody who watches along.
4. Bad Genius
From Thailand, Bad Genius is a film that will have you on the edge of your seat from the word go, and thanks to its thrilling tightrope act of a story, will have you utterly enthralled at every moment.
Loosely based on true stories, the film follows a group of Thai students who form a highly complex plot to cheat the international SAT exams by travelling to Australia to sit the test before those in Thailand do, and then send back the answers to her classmates.
In short, Bad Genius is an enormously exciting film that doesn’t let up for even a moment throughout. Featuring peaks and troughs of thrilling drama and twists, its first act alone is enough to have you out of breath, but it keeps going and going over the course of 130 exhilarating minutes, with a rapid-fire pace, strong drama, good humour, slick directing, and a cast of fantastic performances, all of which come together to make one of the most exciting and relentlessly entertaining movies in recent years.
3. Gerald’s Game
A deeply dark and complex thriller, Gerald’s Game was a film that I really didn’t expect to be so blown away by.
Following the story of a woman who finds herself handcuffed to a bed in a house in the middle of nowhere, Gerald’s Game is a truly enthralling and often very disturbing drama that uses the best elements of the survival genre to make for an exceptionally captivating watch.
Its location may not change throughout the movie, and it may only feature two main characters, however it’s a deeply tense and nail-biting thriller that also has brilliant dramatic depth to it, all of which makes some of the more unpleasant elements of the movie feel all the more powerful. It’s by no means an easy watch, but a massively exhilarating one in the end.
2. Darkest Hour
While it may look like textbook Oscar bait from the outside, Winston Churchill biopic Darkest Hour actually ended up being one of the most entertaining and memorable films released all this year.
Focusing on the days in early World War II after Churchill’s appointment as British Prime Minister, Darkest Hour is a hugely fascinating historical account of the few months in which the fate of the world effectively rested on the decisions of one man, as Britain was being forced into a corner by the seemingly unstoppable Nazi war machine.
Featuring a stunning lead performance by an almost unrecognisable Gary Oldman, Darkest Hour brings Churchill to life in a way no other film has done before, and what’s more is that it does it with a sense of humour too. Although it never fails to stress the importance and drama of what happened in 1940, Darkest Hour is arguably the funniest and most entertaining historical biopic ever made, and shows Churchill in an appropriately quirky, and as such far more engaging light, showing that historical dramas don’t have to just be three hours of reading a textbook.
With 2017 clearly proving a stellar year for Second World War dramas, my number one pick is Christopher Nolan’s brutally intense but mind-blowingly impressive war thriller: Dunkirk.
Following the true story of the days in which 400,000 Allied soldiers were forced to evacuate from a beach in the last corner of non-Nazi-occupied Europe, Dunkirk is one of the most exceptional war films you’ll ever see, bringing to light the unthinkable intensity of battle through breakneck pacing, innovative writing and stunning cinematography and directing.
The film itself may lack real character depth, but the brilliance of Dunkirk is that it shows that through truly exceptional directing, character backgrounds can be bypassed, and can still make for a totally enthralling watch. Taking the concept of ‘on the front line’ to the next level, Nolan tells the story of the soldiers and civilians who fought and worked so bravely in one of the Second World War’s most notorious events, and through a stunning and innovative style the likes of which only the director of Inception and Interstellar can pull off, makes for a film that will have you on the very edge of your seat at every moment, and will stay with you for a long, long time afterwards, and that’s why I’m picking Dunkirk as the best movie of 2017.