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Sunday, 31 December 2017

The best and worst films of 2017

It's that time of the year again - a time when critics dig through their pile of reviews and compile a best 'of' list. So let's do it.

Firstly though I just want to point out I've been somewhat limited in what I've been able to watch this year, so forgive me if I haven't seen your fave. And release dates are based on Australian release dates.

Dig in.

1. La La Land 

Saw this again recently with a live orchestra performing the Oscar-winning score and it confirmed everything I first thought. Every piece of this film is top notch - the direction, the performances, the script, the editing, the lighting, the music, the choreography, the production design, the costuming. This is film-making at its finest, in this year or any other.

2. Get Out

We will be talking about this film for decades to come. From now on, when they write lists of the best horror films of all time, Get Out will be on those lists.

3. Coco

Just when I thought Pixar were getting predictable or safe in their old age, they drop this incredibly inventive and beautiful tale of family, death, memory, love, music and life.

Probably the most enjoyable and most exhilarating ride of the year, with Edgar Wright creating a touchstone for the next wave of writers/directors/editors to pore over.

Timely and engrossing remembrance of an important moment in sport, delivered with a light touch and featuring great performances from Emma Stone and Steve Carrell.

Far better than it had any right to be, this belated sequel not only looked amazing and captured the tone of its predecessor perfectly, but made itself feel necessary - no small feat.

Some superhero movies are taking interesting tacks as a way to differentiate themselves from the pack, with Jackman and Mangold's farewell to Wolverine proving to be the best of this year's bunch by being meaner and more mortal than all the others.

Casey Affleck's devastating performance dominates this gut-punching essay on grief. Much like its subject matter, this film lingers with you long after it's finished.

Didn't read the book, didn't see the mini-series. All I can tell you is yes, It is scary, It is good, and It is a great coming of age story.

The best Star Wars since The Empire Strikes Back because it's surprising, fresh, enjoyable, daring, and yet still intrinsically Star Wars - just like The Empire Strikes Back.  

The DC Extended Universe finally gets one right and we finally get a kickarse female-focused superhero movie. More please.

The funniest film of the year, and it just happened to be about a Norse god and his rage-monster sidekick getting lost in space. Marvel again hits it out of the park, and Taika Waititi is king.

In which Tom Holland is officially crowned the best Spider-man ever, and the Marvel juggernaut rolls on unabated thanks to this coming-of-age superhero saga.

The most under-rated trilogy of all time comes to a thrilling conclusion. Give Andy Serkis a damn Oscar already.

A sequel as charming, quirky, delightful, hilarious, fun, family-friendly and quintessentially British as the remarkable original.

Christopher Nolan is back in form with this enthralling and innovative examination of the evacuation of Dunkirk. It's the cinematic equivalent of the British stiff upper lip.

The incredible true story of Saroo Brierley is brought to life beautifully, with a stunning cast and a tightly wound script to bring to life the seemingly impossible. The ending will wreck you. 

This redneck Ocean's Eleven is a hoot - the kind of film you imagine everyone had a ball making. Welcome back, Steven Soderbergh.

This remarkable true story of the women who overcame the gender glass ceiling and the racial prejudices of their era to help humanity get to the moon is glossily told but mixes its dramatic points and big themes with a breezy enjoyable tone. 

The best rom-com of the year. Utterly refreshing, consistently hilarious, and weirdly romantic, with bonus points for being based on an almost unbelievable true story.


1. Assassin's Creed

Can we give up on turning video games into movies now? If you can't make this incredible game work with this incredible cast, then obviously it was never meant to be.

This is what happens when you're too busy franchise building and forget to make a good film to kick things off. A forgettable and dumb pile of crap.

A great cast wasted on a film that can't get its tone right. Black comedy is really difficult and takes a knack that no one here can nail.

4. Fifty Shades Darker 

Forgive me, but I liked the original. However watching this was as painful as I imagine some of the sex acts in the film are.

5. Daddy's Home 2

A cast hasn't been this wasted since Cheech & Chong: Up In Smoke. Actually I could have made the same gag about Assassin's Creed and Rough Night. Wouldn't have been any funnier then. Speaking of unfunny, who's up for Daddy's Home 3?

And for no real reason here are my most read blogs of 2017:

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