My Top 15 Films of 2017

TL;DR – 2017 was a great year in film and here are our favourites
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So here we are at the end of the year, the sound of fireworks still ringing in our ears, the excess of Christmas just a faint memory, and the realisation just dawning that you probably won’t get your money’s worth out of that gym membership you bought for your New Year’s resolution. However, it is also a time of reflection, a look into the past and the hope for the future, and while 2017 has been not great internationally, there were some great moments in cinema, and this is what we are celebrating today.

So far in our end of year countdown we have had Part 1Part 2Part 3 and Part 4 of our Key Moments in Cinema in 2017 over the last couple of days, also we have looked at the Bottom 10 Films of 2017, but today it is all good all the time, so let us dive in.

Before we start we are going to take a few moments to clarify our criteria for the entries on this list so you understand why a film may or may not appear here. First, it has to be one of the 84 films we review in 2017 (To see all the films we reviewed this year Click Here). Now this means a couple of things, first you may see some films here that were released in 2016 where you live, but were not released until 2017 here, as well as this, a number of the films in contention for Oscars this year like Lady Bird and Call Me By Your Name have not been released yet here, or not released widely, as such they won’t appear on this list (we will hopefully be reviewing them later in January). Also shout out to Ali’s Wedding, Baby Driver, Detroit, Jasper Jones, Power Rangers, Star Wars: The Last Jedi & The Lego Batman Film who were close to making it onto this list.

Now just a warning we will be discussing these films, and some of them are still in cinemas, so be careful because [SPOILERS] are incoming. So without any further ado let us begin the Top 15 Films for 2017.

 

15: Wonder Woman
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Wonder Woman (2017) banner

What a revelation Wonder Woman was, and in many respects, it might be one of the most important films of 2017. It helped right, or at least stabilize a franchise in free fall, it brought one of the most iconic characters in history to the screen and created one of the best action films of the year. Gal Gadot is phenomenal as Diana, you feel that love she has for the role, and she has one of the most commanding performances I have seen in a long time. Patty Jenkins brought an immense wealth of talent to the movie and crafted an amazing film under what must have been extreme pressure. Without a doubt the no-man’s land scene will be one people will be talking about for a long time. The only reason it is not higher is the third act doesn’t quite work as well, but boy what a film.

 

14: The Big Sick
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The Big Sick

Of the films on this list, The Big Sick might be the most fascinating and the most difficult to categorise. It is a biopic based on a true story, it is a comedy, but also deeply confronting, with a villain you can’t see but it devastating nevertheless. Where this film shines is in that acting and the characters with Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, and Ray Romano all giving nuanced and compelling performances. The story is unique and because of that, the power dynamics that you would expect are just not there, and this leads to fascinating interactions. I highly recommend giving this one a look if you missed it at the cinemas.

 

13: Spider-Man: Homecoming
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Spider-Man Homecoming

Sony and Marvel have a long history of not playing well with each other, so I had great fears that even with the delightful Tom Holland headlining the third reboot in 16 years, that it would all fall apart, I was so happy to be wrong. There are many reasons why this film works, the rapport between Peter and Ned, Tony as the sort of absentee father figure that does not know how to fit into Peter’s life, and of course the villain. Marvel has a history of great heroes but quite often the villains are a bit dull, but not Adrian/Vulture, and that is down to Michael Keaton’s performance. A great introduction to a character and also didn’t waste our time by re-treading the origin story that we have already seen twice on film, and better still it was a bunch of fun.

 

12: Hidden Figures
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Hidden Figures

This was quite a good year for biopics, and one of the highlights was the story of Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan & Mary Jackson fighting against the system that disenfranchised them due to the colour of their skin and their gender. So yes somethings got condensed and modified for the story, but none of it changed the realities of just what these women had to go through to be recognised for the talents that they were. Without these three women getting to the Moon and more would have been much more difficult, and the film shows this through some great acting and a wonderful story.

 

11: Guardian of the Galaxy: Vol 2
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GOTG: Vol.1 was the story of a bunch of misfits coming together to save the galaxy and turn into a kind of family. GOTG: Vol.2 is what you do when you have to live as a family, where everyone has baggage and that causes them to act out to protect themselves from the rejection they think is coming. It is a story about forgiveness and redemption, people working their way through the legacy of abuse, and that some people do not deserve our forgiveness. It is both fun and deeply sad, a riot of laughter, and then tears, seriously try not tearing up during the fireworks and the end. Also, it is about four people who are not in any way good role models raising a child together, and that is well that hilarity is worth the price of admission by itself.

 

10: Paddington 2
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Paddington 2

Paddington 2 is pure undaunted joy on screen, seriously if you have not seen this film, stop reading now and go out and buy a ticket, but like then come back and read the rest of the list. Paddington is telling a story that everyone needs to hear, that working together as a group for the greater good will always overcome those who make trouble alone, that sometimes it is the simpler presents that are the best, and that I didn’t know I needed to see Hugh Grant playing an old class Shakespearian actor, playing a fake dog in a dog food commercial, but now I have seen it I want to share it with the world. Sure it might be the most British thing I have seen in years, but I don’t care, it was a joy from start to end, and if you have not booked that ticket then please go and do it now.

 

9: John Wick: Chapter 2
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John Wick Chapter 2

How do you follow up from one of the best sleeper hits of all time, a film that created a rich and deep myology through visuals, and cemented Keanu Reeves as an action powerhouse? Well, you do it by taking the things that worked and amplifying them, you complicate the clean world, you take him to Rome, and this time you don’t kill the dog, though real talk, that dog would have so died at the start of the film. As an action film it is spectacular, as a sequel, it is a marvel, and I can’t wait to see Chapter 3.

 

8: Logan
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Logan

The X-Men Universe films are always a bit hit and miss with a huge gap in quality between each other. However, never in my wildest dreams did I think this was going to be the film that outclassed everything that came before it. There was such power in Hugh Jackman & Patrick Stewart’s performance and what a find Dafne Keen was. This was a film that finally took Logan to the place he needed to go, had the best action in the franchise so far, and was also completely ok with wrecking you in the ending. What a powerful final outing of a character that has been around for so long and will be deeply missed.

 

7: Lion
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Lion

Lion is the small Aussie film that could, and by could, I mean could wreck the entire audience with its ending. I saw it in the first showing of opening day and at the end of the film, every single person was in tears, even the staff that was coming to clean up and had just caught the ending were in tears. The reason why this film works is that every single person is given their all to this film. The young Indian cast is amazing, Nicole Kidman is giving the best performance I have seen in a long time, and Dev Patel was phenomenal. Look I teared up a bit when writing this little bit, I wish more films would take risks like this.

 

6: Thor: Ragnarok
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Thor Ragnarok banner

THOR BLOOMIN’ RAGNAROK, where did you come from, you took what was probably the weakest part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe and you elevated it into something grand. The direction was amazing, the humour was amazing, the music was amazing, the villain was amazing, and it was everything I wanted and more. On top of this, it has positioned Taika Waititi as a new force in Hollywood, and also now more people know just what an amazing comedic force Rachel House is. I think more than any other film I want to get this out on Blu-ray and then absorb ever making of documentary feature that they have.

 

5: Dunkirk
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Dunkirk

Every year there is a slow build film that enthrals me and this year it is Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece charting the retreat at Dunkirk. The three different timelines interacted in such fascinating ways charting the desperate push to save as many people as possible before the Germans advanced onto the beach. The acting was top notch, and you felt for every character and their plight, you wanted them all to get to safety when you know that it probably would not happen. The story of Dunkirk is one where the people mobilised, put themselves in harm’s way, to do the right thing. It is both bleak and yet hopeful and that is such a hard balance to get right.

 

4: War of the Planet of the Apes
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War of the Planets of the Apes

“Apes, Together, Strong” this was the tagline for what is one of the best conclusions to a trilogy that I have ever watched. Yes, there are clear influences from other films, and indeed historical mythologies, Moses didn’t get to enter the Promised Land, but I don’t care. Why, because the characters in this film were so good that they pulled me through from start to finish. The wonderful team of actors and animators made characters that you could relate to, that you could feel for, and cry over. I truly hope this is finally the film that forces the Academy to recognise these amazing performances because they deserve awards recognition.

 

3: Okja
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Okja

This is such a weird film, you spend the first 20 odd minutes wondering what the hell is going on and why is Tilda Swinton and Jake Gyllenhaal looking like they are having so much fun? And then Okja gets taken away from Mija and everything gets thrown to the side because come hell or high water that pig has to return home. It is a film that is not being subtle at the least with its symbolism and themes, and I respect the filmmakers for being that upfront with what this is all about. Not only did this film deeply move me, it also made me make some changes in my life and I can’t say that has happened much before.

 

2: Coco
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Coco Banner 2

I cannot truly explain just how much this film wrecked me emotionally, there were multiple times when I found myself with tears running down the sides of my cheeks as the beautiful story played out in front of me. The characters were wonderful and compelling, the story was original and found in a setting that you rarely see explored in cinema. Sure, yes, you have seen Día de Muertos, or The Day of the Dead used as a backdrop quite often, but rarely do you see the themes and stories explored like this. The animations were beautiful, the acting superb, and the story captivated me, and I cannot recommend this film enough. It is still at the movies here in Australia and if you have not seen it can I please recommend that you do.

 

1: Get Out
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Get Out

And here we are with number one, the top film of the year and I have to give it to Jordan Peele’ masterpiece Get Out. Good films entertain, great films engage, wonderful films leave a lasting impression and Get Out left its mark in a way I was not expecting. One of the best things about the film is I went in there not really knowing much about the film, and I so recommend you do that, that I am hesitant of saying my here even though we started this article with a spoiler warning. There were so many scenes that encapsulated why this was a masterpiece of a film, like how when you watch it for the second time it completely changes the motivations of some of the characters like why Rose didn’t want the cop to see Chris’ drivers licence. It is also full of these fascinating moments from a filmmaking perspective, like the teacup scene, and the searching for the keys moment. It was our first 5/5 film of the year and it has stayed on top ever since, and if you have not watched I highly recommend that you do.

With that another year draws to a close, 2017 saw a dramatic increase in traffic to the site, which with what is happening internationally at the moment was a nice bonus to what was otherwise a pretty poor year for me. It is a new year with new films and I can’t wait to see what 2018 brings.

 

By Brian MacNamara: You can follow Brian on Twitter Here, when he’s not chatting about Movies and TV, he’ll be talking about International Relations, or the Solar System.

What are your favourite films of 2017?, let us know what you thought in the comments below, feel free to share this review on any of the social medias and you can follow us Here. Check out all our past reviews and articles Here, and have a happy day.

 

Credits – All images were created by the cast, crew, and production companies of their respective films

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Awards – Key Moments in Cinema in 2017 Part 4

TL;DR – This is the end of the year, so let’s take a look back at the year that was by examining twenty categories across cinema, ranging from exquisite to the obscured and all between
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Awards

It is the end of the year (well a bit later than that but life happened) and while I will have the traditional Best of 2017 and Worst of 2017 lists, I have found that both of those lists miss some of the important facets that make films work, or not work. To eligible for these awards, they simply had to be a film I reviewed in 2017, and there may be some notable absences simply because we have not got those films here yet. So in Part 4 of 4, we look at five different categories that deal with the cinema of 2017.

  • The characters that I loved
  • The biggest surprise
  • The best team up
  • The best villain
  • The most emotional film

So let’s dive into TL;DR Movie Review’s Awards of 2017 Part 4

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Awards – Key Moments in Cinema in 2017 Part 3

TL;DR – This is the end of the year, so let’s take a look back at the year that was by examining twenty categories across cinema, ranging from exquisite to the obscured and all between

Awards Banner

Awards

It is the end of the year (well a bit later than that but life happened) and while I will have the traditional Best of 2017 and Worst of 2017 lists, I have found that both of those lists miss some of the important facets that make films work, or not work. To eligible for these awards, they simply had to be a film I reviewed in 2017, and there may be some notable absences simply because we have not got those films here yet. So in Part 3 of 4, we look at five different categories that deal with the cinema of 2017.

  • The films that were just fun
  • The films that dragged on too long
  • Masterclasses in film
  • Recurring themes
  • Stupid Character Deaths

So let’s dive into TL;DR Movie Review’s Awards of 2017 Part 3

Continue reading

Awards – Key Moments in Cinema in 2017 Part 1

TL;DR – This is the end of the year, so let’s take a look back at the year that was by examining twenty categories across cinema, ranging from exquisite to the obscured, and all between
Awards Banner

Awards

It is the end of the year (well a bit later than that but life happened) and while I will have the traditional Best of 2017 and Worst of 2017 lists, I have found that both of those lists miss some of the important facets that make films work, or not work. To eligible for these awards, they simply had to be a film I reviewed in 2017, and there may be some notable absences simply because we have not got those films here yet.  So in Part 1 of 4, we look at five different categories that deal with the cinema of 2017.

  • The actions sequences that entertained
  • The films in 2017 that decided that just ok, was good enough for them
  • The films that exploded off the screen with beautiful cinematography
  • Those sneaky cameos they snuck in
  • The fantastic characters in cinema that are not just one person’s performance, a team came together to make it work

So let’s dive into TL;DR Movie Review’s Awards of 2017 Part 1

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Movie Review – Coco

TL;DR – Beautifully acted, stunningly realised, with a story that will wreck you in the feels, I cannot recommend Coco enough.

Score – 5 out of 5 stars

P.S. – There is no end credit scene but you can pretend there is one if you need to compose yourself before you leave the cinemas

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Review

Oh wow, I was expecting Coco to be good, it is Pixar after all, but what I was not expecting is to have a deeply emotional experience. So today we are going to break down the many factors that contributed to the success of the film from the acting, to the visuals, the music and of course the story. Coco is one of those films where every facet of the film supports and builds upon the next and create a whole that is amazing to watch.

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Explore-It: ‘Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe’ Exhibit at the Gallery of Modern Art (GOMA) Brisbane

TL;DR – Today I explore and muse on the current Marvel Exhibit at GOMA in Brisbane
GOMA Exhibit

Article

One surprisingly warm winter day I went for a walk from the Central Business District across the River and down to Brisbane’s Cultural Precinct nestled along the river front. Among the brutalist style buildings that include the Lyric Theatre, State Library, and State Museum is GOMA or the Gallery of Modern Art. Now I am not just here because winter in the subtropics is a beautiful time of year to go for a walk, no I’m here to explore one of the exhibits they have on at the moment, ‘Marvel: Creating the Cinematic Universe’. Before we start just a heads up that there will be more than a few images in this article so you may want to double check that you have your phones on wifi, not mobile data.
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Movie Review – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

TL;DR – Volume 2 takes everything from the first film and elevates it with an interesting story, beautiful visuals, and some of the best humour in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but your mileage may vary depending on a couple of factors.

Score – 4.5 out of 5 stars

P.S. There are 5 mid/post credit scenes

GOTGVol2

Review

Back in 2014 Marvel undertook the biggest experiment yet in this whole expanded universe, it was an ensemble cast which they had not done outside of an Avengers film at that point, its main lead was still a mostly unknown Chris Pratt. Seriously when he was cast he was mostly known as that quirky dude on Parks and Rec, two of the main cast were CGI and one of those only said I am Groot and it was amazing. It was funny, but emotional at places and that opening still makes me tear up, and until Captain America Civil War came along it was my favourite film in the MCU, or maybe still is, I go back and forth a bit here. So it would not be a surprise to say that Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 might be the film I was the most looking forward to in 2017. Now this as a reviewer is something you have to be careful with, you need to make sure your rose-tinted glasses are not blinding you to the flaws, or conversely that you don’t hype it up so much that it is a disappointment no matter how good it is. But I have just come from the cinemas and overall I really loved Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but I can also see areas that may put people off. So with this in mind let’s start the review.

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