From Jordan Peele’s bending conventions in his pivot to horror, to Christopher Nolan’s WWII masterpiece Dunkirk, filmgoers were gifted a great year in 2017. Let’s look back at some of the year’s best films.
Indie88’s Best of 2017 is presented with the Samsung Galaxy Note8
Directed by Edgar Wright
Edgar Wright’s film Baby Driver stands as one of the year’s best-reviewed films, and with a box office haul in excess of $225 million, it’s not surprising that there are plans for a sequel. A film where not one single action scene can exist without music, it was also a hit with music fans. The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion’s “Bellbottoms” played a starring role in the film’s opening scene, setting the tone for one of the year’s most fun flicks.
The Big Sick
Directed by Michael Showalter
This autobiographical film was written by Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, who tell the story in the film of their own courtship, which wasn’t immediately accepted by Gordon’s family. Unhappy parents and the power of love make for a solid rom-com recipe.
Blade of the Immortal
Directed by Takashi Miike
Based on the manga by Hiroaki Samura, Takashi Miike’s Blade of the Immortal is a splatterfest. It’s the story of a death proof samurai whose body is pieced back together by mystic bloodworms no matter how much slicing he’s subjected to.
Blade Runner 2049
Directed by Denis Villeneuve
Acclaimed director Denis Villeneuve helmed the sequel to Ridley Scott’s Philip K. Dick-inspired cult classic Blade Runner, which saw Harrison Ford reprise his role as Deckard and welcomed the likes of Ryan Gosling, Robin Wright, and Jared Leto to the fold. Like the first film, it’s a visual masterpiece. Also, like the first film, it was a box office disappointment.
Directed by Dave McCary
This comedy-drama is about the bizarre story of a child who was taken and raised by kidnapper parents who only ever exposed him to a fictional kid’s show character named Brigsby Bear. Brigsby Bear is literally the only thing the child grows up knowing, so when he’s finally rescued and brought into the real world, he creates a film about Brigsby Bear to tell his story.
Call Me By Your Name
Directed by Luca Guadagnino
Italian director Luca Guadagnino crafted one of the year’s best romance stories with Call Me By Your Name. It’s been at the centre of a lot of awards talk, and it’s raised star Armie Hammer’s stock quite considerably.
Directed by Nacho Vigalondo
So much of the conversation around Colossal has hit on how detestable its main characters are, but that’s what also makes it work as a silly sci-fi film. It stars Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis, was filmed in Vancouver, and debuted at the 2016 Toronto International Film Festival.
The Disaster Artist
Directed by James Franco
Whether you think The Room is the greatest movie of all time, or you still can’t get past the first five minutes of it, the cult classic has had some sort of impact (if you can call it that) on most film lovers.
The Disaster Artist stars James Franco as Tommy Wiseau and follows the journey behind the making of The Room. The upcoming film is based on the nonfiction book of the same name, which was written by The Room co-stars Tom Bissell and Greg Sestero
Directed by Christopher Nolan
Set during WWII, Christopher Nolan’s latest explores the Dunkirk evacuation, which was the real-life evacuation of allied soldiers that took place from Dunkirk, France. The film contains little dialogue, and tells the story through the perspectives of the air, the land, and the sea on the battlefront.
Directed by Jordan Peele
Jordan Peele churned out one of the smartest films in recent memory with his surprising foray into horror. It’s a frightening dive into the depths of racism in America, and it’s reset the expectations for the Key & Peele co-conspirator.
Ingrid Goes West
Directed by Matt Spicer
Another anticipated film with Elizabeth Olsen (she’s also in Wind River) this drama-comedy was directed by Matt Spicer and tells the story of a young woman who moves to Los Angeles to become friends with a social media influencer that she follows. She kind of loses herself in the process.
Directed by Andy Muschietti
Pennywise returned in this remake of the 1990 television mini-series It, based on the novel by Stephen King. Filmed in Oshawa and Toronto, this classic horror story was perfect for a little end-of-summer scare, and it’s helped lift the genre out of a rut with mainstream audiences.
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond
Directed by Chris Smith
Based on behind-the-scenes footage of Jim Carrey during the production of Milos Forman’s Andy Kaufman biopic Man On The Moon, this Netflix documentary is a fascinating look at an actor going all-in on his performance. Carrey’s willingness to expose himself as someone difficult to work around at the time is commendable.
John Wick: Chapter Two
Directed by Chad Stahelski
Keanu Reeves has embraced his role as neo-noir hero, and we’re all better for it. The violence and bullet count are something to behold, but what makes the John Wick films truly shine is the sense that everyone involved (audience included) understand how serious to take it all.
Directed by Greta Gerwig
Saoirse Ronan is outstanding as Christine McPherson, a teen eyeing her way out of Sacramento in 2002. Gerwig captures the era perfectly, and she’s drawn a pile of critical praise heading into awards season, too.
The Little Hours
Directed By Jeff Baena
Based on The Decameron by Giovanni Boccaccio, Baena’s adaptation is an exercise in near-perfect execution of absurdity. Alison Brie, Kate Micucci and Aubrey Plaza play trucker-mouthed nuns in one of the year’s most pleasant surprises.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Steven Soderbergh waltzed back into the blockbuster heist film genre and turned out one of the year’s funniest dialogue-driven features. Channing Tatum, Adam Driver and Riley Keough star as West Virginia siblings set on landing a fortune robbing the vault at a premier NASCAR event with the help of Daniel Craig.
Long Time Running
Directed by Jennifer Baichwal, Nicholas de Pencier
Long Time Running follows the Tragically Hip on their legendary 2016 Canada tour, that came after Gord Downie revealed his brain cancer diagnosis. You’ll be able to follow the band on the road and see exclusive behind the scenes footage and interviews.
Directed by Bong Joon Ho
Okja, is the name the giant animal, something between a pig and a dog — but huge. Okja’s story is the latest film by visionary Korean director Bong Joon Ho (Snowpiercer, The Host). The film also features a packed cast, including Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Byun Heebong, Steven Yeun, Lily Collins, Giancarlo Esposito, Jake Gyllenhaal and An Seo Hyun as “Mija”.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
Directed by Rian Johnson
A film so big it dictated the release date of many year-end best of lists…Star Wars: The Last Jedi arrived this week and it’s being heralded as the greatest Star Wars movie since The Empire Strikes Back. Rian Johnson has already been tabbed to develop a new Star Wars trilogy, so his work on this sequel can be considered a success.
Directed by Taika Waititi
It was a pretty good year for films featuring Marvel heroes. Both Spiderman: Homecoming and Logan were hits with audiences and critics, but it’s Taika Waititi’s Thor film that lands a spot on our list. The Marvel Cinematic Universe had grown a little tired heading out of the last Avengers film, but attaching creative directors to the new films has breathed a new life into the genre. Thor: Ragnarok was fun as hell, balancing the action with comedy without forcing it like Guardians of the Galaxy 2.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Directed by Martin McDonagh
Martin McDonagh’s third film stars Frances McDormand as a mother who refuses to give up her search for answers in the search for a suspect in her daughter’s murder. It’s dark, but also hilarious as McDormand’s Mildred Hayes character erects three billboards aimed at the Ozarks town’s chief of police.
War for The Planet of the Apes
Directed by Matt Reeves
Matt Reeves closes out the modern Planet of the Apes trilogy in style as the highly-evolved primates stand their ground against an army of human survivors led by Woody Harrelson’s The Colonel character. It’s supposed to be the final film in the series, but you know what they say…monkey talks.
Directed by Taylor Sheridan
Two FBI agents have to fight against the elements when a body is discovered at the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming. The film’s earned its share of accolades on the festival circuit, and it’s another reminder that Elizabeth Olsen is one of the greatest talents of her generation.
Directed by Patty Jenkins
Patty Jenkins pulled off the impossible: making a top-notch DC film in the post-Nolan Batman era. Gal Gadot stars as Diana, Princess of the Amazons, leaves Themyscira, she takes on the task of ending all wars while also discovering herself as Wonder Woman. It grossed over $400 million at the box office, so ready yourself for a steady stream of Wonder Woman films in the future.
Stay tuned to Indie88.com over the coming weeks for our entire Best of 2017 series.
Up next: Best Albums of 2017 (Monday, December 18th)