With 2017 halfway done, Screen Critics has decided to take a look back at the best films from the first half of the year.
So we have gone through the terrible movies this year has spat out. But I’m not a negative person, there has also been a lot of great movies this year, ranging from art house flicks to the blockbusters we all love and go to. While those bad films may have grabbed some headlines – there have been some great films throughout the year that lay a good claim on being among the best films of 2017
So let’s go through the best films that 2017 has given us so far. For me to classify a movie as being from 2017, it had to be released in the UK in 2017. Simple!
Considering more and more movies are now ensemble pieces, it’s really nice to see a movie just give an actor a massive role and let them do their best. That’s what Jackie did for Natalie Portman as she stepped into the shoes of one of the most famous first ladies of all time. She was simply incredible as the grief stricken Jackie Kennedy, another performance which shows why she is one of the best actresses around at the moment.
This isn’t just all about the performance though, this is a very sensitive script that makes the story structure of an interview leading to flashbacks not feel cliché, as well as depicting grief very well.
Not one of the best films to show grief this year, we’ll get to that, but very good.
I’m putting an M. Night Shyamalan film on a Top 10 Best List. 2017 is full of surprises. But Split really does deserve it as it is a brilliant thriller, a movie that manages to makes Shyamalan’s quirks into strengths.
It sounds ridiculous, the villain has 23 distinct personalities which range from a matronly woman to a little boy, but James McAvoy is so menacing in a role that could have easily been hilarious in the wrong way if anyone else had been playing all those characters. Of course it has scary atmosphere where anything seems possible and the twist in the final scene is delightful. Who’d have thought that Shyamalan had it in him after oh-so-many box office bombs. One of the best films in 2017 – and the biggest surprises.
More of this please Shyamalan!
I’ve defended DC a lot. I actually quite like Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice because I’m contrary for the sake of it and despite the many pot shots me and Mike have sent towards it, I don’t mind Suicide Squad. But to be given the chance to genuinely love a DC film is delight, so thank you Wonder-Woman. Because not only are you the first great DC Universe film, but the first great female led superhero film too.
It’s helped by an incredibly bad ass Diana Price, played by Gal Gadot, who is truly stunning in this film. She is an awesome and believable fighter, someone who can go toe-to-toe with a god, but also very sensitive. This makes the scene where she steps out of the trenches into German gunfire into one of the best of the year. The final act is a bit pants, but we’ll forgive it because that’s something most Superhero movies suffer through these days.
And no Martha’s in sight!
If I was to ever do my top ten of all time, The Blues Brothers would certainly be on it. There’s no film that can match it’s madcap action and music, but it’s nice to see that someone is trying. Because Baby Driver is only film I’ve seen that has ever got close to the spirit of the John Belushi classic.
It’s not quite as madcap, but it’s amazing car chases, which are completely real and all done on camera so screw you Fast and Furious it can be done, combined with all the licenced music makes it one of more unique movies of the year. It has a pace that never lets up, but it does still get you emotionally invested thanks to the rocks that are in lead character Baby’s life. It’s one of the best films for those who like quality cinema.
Plus it has the song Radar Love in it, which is one of the greatest tunes of all time. Don’t you dare disagree.
This is the best movie based on a Google advert ever. I’m only being slightly factitious here, the real life story of Saroo trying to find his long lost mother was a Google advert ever before it was turned into a big Oscar bait movie, but this movie is truly stunning for the emotional journey it takes you through. It’s first half is truly novel and tragic as you follow Young Saroo as he tries to find his mother after ending up on the wrong train, taking him hundreds of miles away.
The movie remains just as strong when Saroo turns into Dev Patel where he is slipping into depression over not knowing what happened when he was young. And the ending will make you cry, unless you are a monster of course.
Talking of monsters and crying…
I’ve always been a fan of movies that use outlandish concepts to explain very simple ideas. That’s what A Monster Calls does, because this is the movie where a massive tree comes to life to try and help a little boy cope with his grief.
It really works though, mainly because of the animated sequences where the tree tells Conor his stories which are meant to be metaphors for his life. They are beautifully done, with some of the best animation I’ve seen in a while.
The rest of the story is incredibly well told, with the movie chronicling how Conor copes with his mother having terminal cancer and yes, it’s another movie that is going to make you cry most of the time. I make no apologies for all the tissues you’ll have to buy. One of the best films to get you emotional this year.
People always go on about people suffering superhero fatigue, but while these sort of films constantly offer completely different experiences it won’t happen. Logan for instance is completely different to Wonder-Woman. This is for all intents and purposes, a western with Logan trying to do one more good thing with him realising that he probably isn’t long for the world, though he needs a bit of encouragement from Professor X. This is an incredibly dark film, one of the darkest superhero films in recent years, but it completely justifies it with the story that barely has any hope. And when there is hope, it will be crushed. Yet the film knows when to let in some light, to give us something is very touching. Also Wolverine gets to cut loose, quite literally thanks to the R rating. Thanks Deadpool for letting us have that.
We had two Andrew Garfield does religious stuff in Japan movies in Janaury, it’s a very popular genre as it turns out, and Hacksaw Ridge ended up being the one that did better commercially, probably because it had a well-known anti-semitic making it. But Silence was the better movie and it wasn’t even close.
This is not a short movie, it’s Martin Scorses after all, but the film earns every single second of it. This is a truly amazing film to watch because the movie just takes you into a completely different world, one where Christianity makes you a marked man. Andrew Garfield is also stunning in this film as well with him basically being brainwashed away from the religion he loved and was willing to risk his life for earlier in the season.
It’s truly stunning.
This film won the Best Picture Oscar for a reason. It’s not the usual sort that wins the awards as well, so that’s how good it was. This is a truly novel movie that if it was any worse, would have been written off as a black Boyhood, because does do a similar trick of following a character as they grow up. But while that movie was meant to be very relatable, this is anything but. It shoves us into the shoes a gay black man as he works out that he is gay, something that is very out of my comfort zone as a white straight man. But the movie does it so well, especially with the intense scene as Chiron finally lets his frustration out. This is an amazing piece of work.
I’ll admit on technical details, Moonlight is probably a better movie. But sometimes you just have to go with your heart and that’s why La La Land is on the top of this list. I love this movie. Completely adore it.
This has everything I need from a film and more. The songs are fantastic and as anyone who travels with me in my car will attest to, they are not only on repeat on my radio but I know every word. It’s incredibly catchy, what can I say? It’s a jaw droppingly beautiful movie, with director Damien Chazelle showing a control of colour that makes every shot an art piece. Then there’s the story, which is in equal parts a love story to musicals like Singing in the Rain but also a modern update which aims to show what musicals would be like in real life.
If something else does manage to beat this to number one by the end of the year, I’ll be one very happy man. Right now though, La La Land is without question – my pick to helm the best films of 2017 (so far)
What was your favorite movie of 2017? Which film did you feel deserved to be considered among the best films of 2017?