Top 10 Movies of 2017 (Wide Release)

As always, the end of one year, means the start of another, means another top ten list. My list, like every year, is based only on the wide released movies of 2017, so you may see some movies in here that came out in 2016, but were only released widely in 2017 (some later than others based on where I live). There will be another list for person movie awards that may include some more of those Oscar baity type movies, but for now, here are the top 10 of 2017…in my opinion.

WAIT, actually first I want to give a special mention and shout out, to a movie that had its more or less wide release in 2017, but didn’t actually open where I live. I saw it none the less, and it should be on a list like this:

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Your Name (Kimi no na wa.)

This movie, I mean, WOW. I’m not gonna say much about it here other than please watch it if you can, its honestly just a great movie, animated or otherwise.

10.

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Wonder Woman

So this shouldn’t come as any surprise I don’t think. Wonder Woman to many people is the best of the DC movies already, and it deserves all the praise it gets. Wonder Woman takes the great character that we first get a glimpse of in BvS, and fully fleshes her out in her first solo movie, filled with great action, great acting, and some kick ass music.

9.

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Spider Man Homecoming

Wall crawling his way to the number 9 spot, is Spidey himself, in his triumphant return both to Marvel, and to the big screen with Spider Man Homecoming. The latest reboot of the franchise sees Tom Holland take over the reigns of Peter Parker, and give us genuinely the best interpretation of the teenage hero we’ve ever had on screen, and maybe the second best Spider Man movie we’ve ever gotten also.

8.

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Hacksaw Ridge

Hacksaw Ridge, is one of those movies that is undeniable in its quality, and would have been on last years list if it made it out wide in time, but alas here it is. Telling the true story of the one of bravest men to set foot in a war zone, but in a way few have done, and even less have had movies made about. A harrowing tale of what courage can look like, and that every man can make a difference.

7.

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It

I spend a lot of time actively avoiding horror movies. There are sometimes however, some movies that are just too big and too hyped to not review, and It was one of those movies…and I’m really glad i saw it. It goes beyond just being a horror, or just trying to scare you. It comes with a compelling story, greeting acting by its young cast, and some really nice directing that really makes you feel like you’re there on the ground with the kids throughout the entire ordeal. And its also really scary, so I guess its a win win.

6.

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Split

Sometimes new directors can make really big splashes with their debuts or their early projects. That success however, can come at a cost, and not many have paid that cost as highly as the twist king himself,  M. Night Shyamalan. After some real, real lows in his career, the restrictions of a production company like Blumhouse have forces him to return to what his movies great in the first place, and thats story telling. Split bring us the long awaited sequel to the movie Unbreakable, and takes us on a deep and winding journey behind a great performance by James McAvoy, and was a shining return from a director once called the “Next Spielberg”.

5.

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Logan

Its not very often that you can call a movie like Logan all the great things you can, and also still call it a comic book movie, but thats exactly what this movie is. Its every bit the comic book movie you’d imagine a movie about wolverine to be, but then it becomes so much more. Telling a dark a gritty tale, where we find many of the characters we know and love in a not so distant but not so great future, Logan shows us what it is to age, and the responsibilities that heroes never leave behind, and never out grow. Marrying great performances all around, with some truly special, special effects, and a gripping narrative, Logan is wonderfully deep and dark movie just with some people we know and have grown to love over the last 17 years.

4.

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Baby Driver

Few directors have as identifiable a style as Edgar Wright, and when he is allowed to marry that style to a story that fits it, the results are always first class. Baby Driver is a great example of that. It follows the main character of Baby, who has a very particular set of skills, that allow him to be really good at what he does. Combine that with a great cast, and really great and inventive score + soundtrack, and you have all everything you need for one fo those most fun, entertaining and all just all around quality times in the cinema in a long time.

3.

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Blade Runner 2049

For a long time I had this movie bouncing around between the number 2 and 3 spots. In the end I think only the uniqueness of the number 2 movie really put it ahead of this, but make no mistake, Blade Runner 2049 is an amazing film. Another long awaited sequel, this time directed by the visionary Denis Villeneuve, who manages to take the concepts and feelings from the first movie, bring them forward, and even add some new layers on top of what was there before, to give us a movie that is just as visionary and ground breaking as the original was so many years ago. Filled with enough of the old movie, and adding the right amount of newness, this movie takes us on a truly visually astounding ride, that matched by the score, acting, directing and everything else really. It might go down as one of the last great big “art films”, but if you’re going down, might as well be on the titanic.

2.

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Get out

As I mentioned before, sometimes directors can really knock it out of the park on their first at bat, and one of the biggest hits I’ve seen in that regard is Get Out. A truly twisted and ingenious movie, that takes us down so many twists and turns, that only on repeat viewings can we see all the clues we were ignorant off the first time around. This is one of the few films you see a year, that basically requires you to look at it multiple times, and each time you can have a different experience. Filled with so many great moments of terror, comedy, and psychological intrigue, Get Out is one of the best examples of why original ideas are so prizes in the film world, as they have the rare ability to truly surprise us, and this movie was one of the best surprises of the year.

1.

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La La Land

Honestly, I don’t care you don’t like musicals, this movie is amazing, and borderline perfect in my eyes. Its not often that a movie can so thoroughly affect not just how you feel watching the movie, but how you feel about movies in general. La La Land is a bright light in a world where we associate quality and master class film making with dark depressing stories, usually of human sacrifice and suffering. Thats not to say this movies doesn’t have it share of those themes, it just wraps it in a package thats so engaging and likeable, that you can’t help but find yourself whistling City of Stars after you’ve watched it. Add to that two of the best performances from the lead pair of Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling, La La Land is a truly once is while kind of great movie, that everyone should stop and appreciate.

Well there it is, I know some of these movies for some of you were end of 2016 movies, but they hit the big screen in 2017 for me, and thems the rules, I don’t make them ( I mean I do but you know what I mean), I just follow them. So what do you think of the list? Anything you saw this last year you thinks deserves to be on here (wide release keep in mind)? Comment and let me know, and look out for the up coming IMB awards later this month.

Cheers.

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Review : Justice League

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“Fueled by his restored faith in humanity and inspired by Superman’s selfless act, Bruce Wayne enlists the help of his newfound ally, Diana Prince, to face an even greater enemy.”

So, this movie, and its production has gone through a lot. Family tragedy that caused director Zack Snyder to have to take a leave from the production, the entry of Joss Whedon to finish the film, a cgi top lip fiasco, studio interference in many ways and much more. I say all that because going into this movie, I had the mindset of, if this movie is good I’d be genuinely impressed that they were able to pull all of this together. And there is a lot that they were able to pull off, and some they weren’t. To start, this movie doesn’t feel like its directed by two directors, but it does feel like it was edited by committee, and thats a bit of an issue. Joss Whedon has a writing credit on this movie, so he definitely had to have re-written at least a third of the movie, and it shows in the dialogue that sticks out, and more things at the end of the movie, where I think most of the re-shoot changes really occur. Man of Steel, BvS, Suicide Squad, you can say what you want about these movies, one thing you can’t say, is that they’re not bold, because they are, and this movie loses that boldness in favour of a more “tame” version of what we’ve gotten before. Now thats definitely going to add a lot of mass appeal to the movie, but it might lose it much of its deeper credibility. All of that is not to say that this movie isn’t entertaining, it certainly is, and there are so many surprise and stand out moments that leap straight off the page and give you that incredible I never thought I’d see that in a movie feeling, but I still would have liked to have seen those moments through the bold lens of the movies before it. They are some plot holes for sure, and there is another villain who’s motivations are sort of lost on us, there’s the lip, but despite all of that, there is so much here that we know and love from these characters, and that’s where the movie shines brightest. You can say what you want about Zack Snyder, but the man has style, and he definitely has an eye for casting, and this team is casted very well. The surprise stand out of these is actually Cyborg, his portrayal of the character and his exploration into being part man and part machine was fantastic. The movie does run at a bit of a break neck pace, but it was literally mandated to be under two hours (its like one minute less), and the solution they went with was clearly to cut some of the more subtle character building moments, especially some of which were teased in trailers. Also I must say, the score for this movie is done by Danny Elfman, and he’s certainly a great composer, but his work seems so Saturday morning cartoonish when compared to what we got before from the likes of Junkie XL, that it really fell flat for me. They also made some kind of different version of the Wonder Woman theme (Is she with you? from BvS), and that was a real bummer for me as I was just waiting for it to come blasting on in her opening action scene. His score does definitely bring up some good ole nostalgia, but do we really need to keep going back to certain wells? All in all it might seem like I’m being really down on this movie, and I’m really not. Just like I had said in review for Thor Ragnorok, the movie sacrifices some substance for style (in this case that boldness and real grit of the previous movies), but I can’t for one second say that I wasn’t entertained, or that the things that were done right, weren’t really exciting to see. Justice League feels like a step in a different direction than maybe I personally wished they had gone with the franchise as a whole, but the movie does deliver a lot of the things I wanted from a movie like this. And maybe one day I’ll get to see all those cut scenes. (Also just as a side note, I’m not a huge fan of the new super suit, liked the darker one more).

Review Score : 7 out of 10

Also I feel like I have to address it, this movie does make some less than progressive choices with female characters. They don’t come off so egregious as you might think, but they are definitely there, and they are definitely distinct choices. I know many people are trying to blame Snyder for this, and he probably has to take the blame for the more glammed up look of the Amazons, when compared to the Wonder Woman movie, but the impactful moments of this I thought were in moments of dialogue and character decisions, all of which I’m willing to bet were down the re-writes and re-shoots from Whedon. I wish Zack was able to give us his unblemished version of this movie, and we might never know what and who changed what, but I think its at least comforting to know that a lot of those issues that arose, were fought against by the cast and crew, and maybe going forward these kinds of issues can become less and less, as we can not have to talk about them at all one day.

Review : Wonder Woman

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“Before she was Wonder Woman she was Diana, princess of the Amazons, trained warrior. When a pilot crashes and tells of conflict in the outside world, she leaves home to fight a war to end all wars, discovering her full powers and true destiny.”

So just for full disclosure, I’ve had Wonder Woman’s theme as my phone ring tone, for like a year now, needless to say I have been nothing but super hyped waiting for this movie, and my expectations were super high. All that being said, this movie is pretty awesome. Gal Gadot, is honestly the greatest incarnation of the character we have ever gotten, and she brings everything to the role. She’s absolutely stunning, she brings the physicality, and she does excellent at playing both the strong, soft, and funny moments. However, she does have some help in here in a fantastically played secondary character in Chris Pine’s Steve Trevor. The two had a great chemistry and they played extremely well off of each other, especially in the softer more quiet moments in here. And even for all the great action in here, a lot of the best scene are honestly these soft, quiet, and subtle scenes between Chris and Gal (and some others with the other supporting cast). Like I said before though, the action in this movie is here, and its very well done. The film itself is also absolutely stunning when it needs and wants to be, doing a great job at juxtaposing the colour and vibrance of places like Themyscira, against the drab and dull world of man and of war. Wonder Woman is truly a film firing on all cylinders here, from acting, to action, and everything in-between. All in all, I think this movie will be a bit of a game changer, and come Monday, will likely be the most successful female directed and lead film we’ve ever seen. Go see it right now!

Review Score : 9 out of 10