10. Beauty and the Beast- The live action take on one of the best disney films of all time was a magical experience. Emma Watson was perfect as Belle and the rest of the All Star Cast definitely helped bring to life a film that definitely benefitted from the live action treatment. 2017 was off to a good start with this one. Emma Watson has turned into a bankable star and Disney continues to know what is best for their long standing fan favorite films. This was a visually appealing film and definitely bosted the star power to grab the film a spot on the list.
9. Shot Caller- Nikolai Coster-Waldau and Jon Bernthal lead this intense prison drama. It begins on a note of intensity and does not let up. This is my favorite kind of cinematic experience. One where the characters are full of faults and full of drama that escalates as the film progresses. What stops it from scoring higher is there was no particular scene that stood out. Of course the performances are memorable but no one scene sticks in your head long after this film is made.
8. Dunkirk- This film definitely had engaging visuals but did not quite connect on an emotional level like I was expecting it too. Christopher Nolan often creates an immersive story telling experience and this film while a true homage to visual artistry just did not capture me on a emotional level like other films of this nature have in the past. For the sake of Dunkirk what really stopped this film from being much higher was the level of talent spread out amongst the film in seemingly throwaway roles with little to no emotional depth added to any character.
7. Wind River- One of Jeremy Renner’s personal best performances in his career Wind River benefits from the simplicity of the plot while still generating powerful performances from the entire cast. We catch a glimpse into what happens when people with pent up agression spend too much time away from the cities and Jon Bernthal turns in one hell of a performance in one of the films smallest but most crucial roles. Filled with dreary landscape and emotion, Wind River delivers a very sobering look at life for many Native-Americans.
6. Justice League- Probably going to catch a lot of flack for including this and placing it so high but who gives a damn. Justice League was a great fun action flick which gave us proper introductions to some of my favorite DC characters. Ezra Miller as The Flash was amazing and Aquaman and Mera looked badass together. It was a good team effort for long time fans of DC and there is more potential for things to come. Justice League balanced everything well and left me entertained and wanting more of my favorite DC character. Flashpoint cannot arrive soon enough. We all know the potential that storyline brings to the DCEU with the ability to right any of the wrongs that have happened and it could also serve as the catalyst for the next phase of DC related adventures.
5. Get Out- Jordan Peele directed the first of two horror films that are going to make the list. This movie was weird and crazy right from the start and it was one of the best horror films I have had the pleasure of watching. Jordan Peele is on the cusp of great things and this movie was one hell of a debut. Get Out challenged the norms of a genre that needs some fresh breath and Get Out most definitely helped out in that respect. A good physcholigical thriller can be more engaging than a straight slasher horror film and Peele was expertly able to weave the two together effortlessly and the final product definitely displayed the strengths of all sub genres under the banner of horror.
4. The Lego Batman Movie- This movie was awesome thanks in large part to the chemistry between Will Arnett and Michael Cera and that comes from their days on Arrested Development. This movie was a much different take on Bruce Wayne and Batman and it was more comedic with a tone that is definitely made for adults. All the classic Batman characters are present and with a much lighter approach with a very gifted voice cast. Animation usually is not my thing but most animated movies are not a satirical look at some of my favorite comic book characters designed to primarily look like a kids movie because it is Lego. This is just a continuation of fine Lego movies.
3. Spider-Man: Homecoming- Marvel has their webslinger back and he is here too stay. Tom Holland is the defentive Spiderman that the MCU needs moving forward. Moving forward this character has so many directions he can take. Marvel did a great job skipping the whole origin story and jumping right into life with Peter Parker and Aunt May. Keaton was good as Vulture and provided a darker approach in a series debut and the seeds have been laid for more villains to come. There are many characters referenced from within the Spider-Man universe and while it is still unknown what characters will inevitably make it to the bigscreen the best thing the MCU can have right now is a little bit of unpredictabilty amidst a sea of films that draw from the same formula.
2. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri- Frances McDormand commands the screen in a way that we hardly ever get to witness. Martin McDonagh creates characters that have flaws and he is not afraid to explore those faults and create realistic situations for them to be displayed. A long with McDormand, Harrelson, Abbie Cornish, Sam Rockwell and John Hawkes round out the supporting cast that help nail home the emotionally crippling scenes. Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri is top of the class film making from a director that has not had a misfire yet. Three Billboards is the type of film that is sure to grab award attention and the campaign for it to win is one I can definitely get behind.
1. It- A year when horror makes a splash the genre was highlighted by the critical and box office successes of remake to an already bone chilling movie. This version of It was much different. Less of the creepy Uncle clown vibe and more of straight monstrosity type vibe thanks in large part to Bill Skarsgard for layering his Pennywise performance with just the right amount of charisma and the right amount of intensity. It was great film from start to finish and Skarsgard early on cemented his legacy in the horror genre with some fantastic acting in the opeing scene and then it just never let up and allowed the young cast the chance to show how bright their futures will be. Bring on the horrors that come with Chapter 2. It should be just as good if not better as next time around there will be more adult themes that can be explored. If the one constant remains in Bill Skarsgard turning in another physchologically damaging performance there is no doubt that purchasing the two part box set will be a must down the road.