Juan’s Top 30 Films of 2017





Another year has come and gone, and with it, an excellent selection of films in what has turned out to be a great year for cinema. So without further ado, here’s my top 30 films of the year, starting with a somewhat controversial choice;

30. Justice League

Critically panned, but enjoyable CGI shitfest. It may be stupid, but it’s a lot of fun and it’s great to finally see this eagerly awaited, big screen superhero team-up.

 

29. Baby Driver

Whilst not quite hitting the heady heights of Scott Pilgrim, Baby Driver is a solid genre pic from Edgar Wright, with some impressive car stunts and even more impressive sound design, which unfortunately peaks a little too early.

 

28. Beauty & the Beast

With the exception of a couple of new songs, this is near enough a like for like remake of the early 90’s animated film. Luke Marsden and Josh Gadd as Gaston and LeFou, elevate it above that making for a very entertaining take on the story.

 

27. Fast & Furious 8 (AKA Fate of the Furious)

There’s no way in hell this film should have been anywhere near as entertaining as it is, but then here we are. It’s only taken seven other films to get to the point where these aren’t dull action nonsense, but everything in this film works wonderfully. It’s big and loud, and really quite stupid, but it’s an entertaining ride. And the sooner we get that Rock/Statham spin off, the better.

 

26. Botoks

A long, winding story of the lives of several women in working in the same hospital in Poland, whose worlds collide when struggling against a dominating patriarchy. Occasionally farcical, and occasionally moving, this is a long but gripping interwinding tale.

 

25. The Lost City of Z

Following the life of Percy Fawcett at the turn of the 20th century, and his obsession with trying to find an ancient civilisation in South America. Intriguing from the start, and almost dream-like at times, it’s a different kind of adventure film.

 

24. Okja

Super pigs, environmental activists and corporate greed drive this international adventure, which is full of heart and wonder, albeit a little overlong. Perhaps Netflix’s best movie to date and almost enough to turn me vegetarian. Almost.

 

23. Dark Tower

Contrary to popular opinion, this is an entertaining fantasy film, which reminds me of the days where I’d tape a film off the TV about some kid in mortal peril and watch it until the tape wore out. Matthew McConaughey was fantastic as the scenery chewing villain.

 

22. Alien Covenant

Another one that seemed unpopular with both critics and audiences, but as a fan of Prometheus, it was great to see what happened to David. It’s a film of two halves, with the first being a good old fashioned sci-fi horror, the second, an androids god complex.

 

21. Dunkirk

Christopher Nolan’s tightly coiled spring of a war movie is nerve shredding at times. The account of the evacuation of Dunkirk told from a few different perspectives, was cold, harsh and raw. Perhaps the most affecting war film since Saving Private Ryan.

 

20. Ghost in the Shell

This is one of those that could have gone either way. A live action adaptation was always going to be a tall order, but they’ve pulled it off with a gorgeous cyber-punk sugar rush, with some brilliant action, and similar themes to this years better cyber-punk thriller.

 

19. La La Land

I’m no big fan of musicals, but this insight into the lives of two Hollywood hopefuls is wonderful from start to finish. The music is great, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone make this postcard from LA even more convincing, and the ‘what if’ ending is almost heartbreaking.

 

18. Free Fire

Armie Hammer’s turtle-neck almost steals the show in this farcical ensemble action comedy about an arms deal going south. Ben Wheatley’s on form following the excellent High Rise.

 

17. Logan

A more contemplative and reflective take on the superhero genre, and Hugh Jackman’s final outing as the adamantium clawed anti-hero. Wolverine takes a road trip across the US to help a young mutant escape the clutches of genetic researchers, whilst also caring for a senile Professor X, who struggles to keep control of his abilities. A bold direction for the subgenre, but one that works well.

 

16. Get Out

A different kind of scary movie, one which uses social subtext to be just as unsettling as any gory scare fest. Weird, creepy and unnerving. And that’s just the party guests.

 

15. Wish Upon

It’s as if a lost Final Destination script resurfaced and they decided to tweak it here and there. Everytime the main character makes a wish, someone she knows meets a grizzly end. It’s a film that practically screams 90’s teen horror and even stars Ryan Phillipe. One of the years most underrated films.

 

14. Your Name

Thanks to some odd celestial happening, a teenage boy and girl in different areas of Japan end up randomly body swapping, and decide to try and help each other get through life. This is a stunningly beautiful animated film, which reaches quite an emotional climax.

 

13. Detroit

A tightly wound thriller, focussing on a specific incident during the Detroit riots in the 60’s and how it changed and shaped the lives of all involved and the injustices that still haven’t changed after all this time. Heart in your mouth, racially charged and difficult to watch.

 

12. It

The years most anticipated horror didn’t disappoint. This felt as much like an homage to Monster Squad as it did a supernatural chiller with a killer clown as the antagonist. Everyone in this film is perfectly cast and it’s a thrill from beginning to end. Setting it in the 80’s was an inspired choice, evoking memories of ET, Stand By Me and even Stranger Things.

 

11. Annabelle Creation

Who would have thought that a prequel to a prequel that was already running out of steam, would turn out to be the greatest horror film of the year? Full of tense moments, scary set pieces and an incredible young cast, Annabelle Creation is as brilliant as it is terrifying.

 

10. Wind River

Jeremy Renner is finally put to good use in this unsettling murder mystery, as a hunter who looks after the national parks in a northern Wyoming town joins up with green around the gills FBI agent Elizabeth Olsen, investigating the death of a young native american woman. WIth juxtaposition of the beautiful surroundings and the terrible treatment of the countries native population, Wind River is a thought provoking and occasionally nail-biting thriller.

9. The Disaster Artist

A funny and fascinating account of the relationship between Tommy Wiseau and Greg Sestero, and the making of one of the worst movies ever made, The Room. Based on the memoir by Sestero, it’s as hilarious as it is genuinely intersting and James & Dave Franco are excellent as Tommy & Greg respectively.

 

8. Thor Ragnarok

Marvel’s finest MCU entry was the last of 2017, with Taika Waititi at the helm being an inspired choice. Day glow alien worlds with synth driven music (and the greatest use of Immigrant Song in cinematic history) make this a thrill ride to beat all the other superhero team-ups out there, in a way that harks back to the great sci-fi & fantasy films of the 80’s. Special mention to Waitit’s character Korg, the funniest thing to grace our screens this year.

 

7. The Death of Stalin

A comedy ensemble that despite its subject matter, is side-splittingly funny, and extremely absurd. As things snowball and become more farcical, it gets more and more amusing. Jason Isaacs steals the show as the leader of Red Army, with the accent of a northern darts player.

 

6. Brigsby Bear

Brigsby Bear is an uncynical story of an amature film maker on a journey of closure and self discovery in the most terrible of circumstances. Funny, heartfelt and so wonderfully pure.

5. mother!

Love, ego, death. All of these collide in this pot boiler that climaxes in chaos, destruction and regeneration. It slowly bubbles away until its manic final third, which is a sensual assault not for the faint of heart.

 

4. Wonder Woman

The years best and most surprising superhero movie. It shares its similarities with The First Avenger, namely for its war time setting, but there is much here to enjoy. Wonder Woman is the shining beacon in the not so popular DC universe, with heart and hope and treats its characters the way they deserve.

 

3. Blade Runner 2049

The first sequel to a wonderful sci-fi noir that’s older than most of its audience. Nothing about this film should have worked, but everything comes together in an incredible package of quiet contemplation, overwhelming awe and some heart in the mouth action. A bold, visual, existential epic.

 

2. The Florida Project

What initially felt like an aimless document of an underprivileged child’s summer, eventually turned into something much more engaging and heart breaking. Willam DaFoe provides an excellent supporting role alongside the amazing Brooklynne Prince, whose performance cannot be understated.

 

 

1.The Last Jedi

The Last Jedi was a pleasant surprise. After the near remake that was The Force Awakens, hopes and expectations weren’t particularly high. Now TFA was by no means a bad film. It was well made, had some fantastic characters and action scenes, but felt ultimately hollow. The Last Jedi comes out of the starting blocks firing on all cylinders, with action in spades, some wonderfully off-beat humour and quite possibly the best character driven episode since The Empire Strikes Back. While TLJ does sare some similarities with Empire, such as a new Jedi being trained, Leia in potential trouble as the enemy closes in, it goes its own way, doesn’t conform to everything that has come before it and expands upon the universe and the power of the force, in ways that was only previously seen in the Star Wars extended universe novels, or video games. Not only is The Last Jedi an incredible blockbuster, it’s the best Star Wars film in well over 30 years, and the same could be said for John Williams excellent score.

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