This will be my last e-newsletter of the year and in keeping with tradition, it’s time to reveal my top 10 movies of 2017. I love doing this because it’s a way of closing the book on the year and summing it up with 10 really amazing films that I can’t wait to watch again.
All of my old lists (going back to 1996) can be found on my website by clicking here - http://www.thefilmpie.com/index.php/special?id=174.
Honourable mentions go to Ingrid Goes West, Jackie, Lion, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Paddington 2, Beatriz at Dinner, The Edge of Seventeen, Wonder Woman, Beatriz at Dinner, Thor: Ragnarok, Gifted, Perfect Strangers, Detroit, Loving and Spider-Man: Homecoming.
But my top 10 in reverse order are…
10. Land of Mine (out Mar 30) recounts a fascinating piece of post-World War II history. It follows a group of young German prisoners of war who had to locate and disarm more than 150,000 land mines on a Danish beach. Unlike traditional war films, the tension comes from moments that are eerily quiet (as opposed to big action sequences). The moral is as relevant today as it's ever been.
9. Dunkirk (out Jul 20) is an intense, unrelenting drama that follows members of the British army, navy and air force as they try to escape the beaches of Dunkirk, France in May 1940. Great use of sound, music and time combined with a noticeable lack of dialogue. I was a sweaty mess by the end.
8. Coco (out Dec 26) is this year's best animated feature. It's the story of a 12-year-old kid from Mexico who stumbles into the Land of the Dead and goes in search of his great-great-grandfather. This is beautifully touching tale that has a lot of say about celebrating the past and why me must remember those who have come before us. The walking, talking skeletons are great too!
7. Toni Erdmann (out Feb 9) is a wonderful German comedy about a father who used unorthodox techniques to reconnect with his middle-aged, workaholic daughter. I’m struggling to think of a more warped, out-of-the-box comedy from the past year. You'll have no idea what's around each corner.
6. Moonlight (out Jan 26) follows a kid named Chiron who is from a poor, troubled neighbourhood in Miami. It is split into three segments with each providing a glimpse of Chiron’s at key points in his life. This is a remarkably good movie about one man trying to find love and his place in the world. The performances are hard to fault.
5. Get Out (out May 4) is an unorthodox horror-thriller that could be game changer for the genre. Instead of frightening the audience with blood, violence and creepy noises, writer-director Jordan Peele puts you on edge by having to listen to unsettling conversations. The less you know going in, the better!
4. Manchester by the Sea (out Feb 2) is the story of a man who has distanced himself from his family but is force to reconnect after a tragic event. This is an exquisitely well-told tale about the way we deal with trauma and loss. It also has a surprising amount of comedy. The performances, headlined by Casey Affleck and Lucas Hedges, are wonderful.
3. A Monster Calls (out Jul 27) is based on the novel by British author Patrick Ness and is about 12-year-old boy trying to come to grips with his mother's terminal cancer. This is a beautiful coming-of-age drama with some wonderful visual imagery. It delves into the ways we deal with grief whilst also reminding us that there are many different perspectives when looking through the prism of life.
2. 20th Century Women (out Jun 1) is an observational drama set in 1979 about a 55-year-old mother (Annette Bening) trying to connect with her 15-year-old son. Drawing from personal experiences, Mike Mills has created a remarkable film that offers tragedy, laughter and reflection. I could listen to these characters talk and watch them interact for hours.
1. Call Me by Your Name (out Dec 26) is a hauntingly beautiful love story set in northern Italy. Director Luca Guadagnino makes the most of the idyllic setting and perfectly captures both the exterior and inner beauty of his characters. Dialogue is used sparingly with Timothée Chalamet gives the performance of a lifetime. If there’s been a better film released during 2017, I haven’t seen it.
I saw and reviewed a total of 204 films this year which made it my highest total since 2011. I look forward to starting the counter again from scratch as 2018 begins!
Have a great Christmas and an awesome start to the New Year!