Top 10 Movies Of 2017 â€¦ So Far – Baadasssss’ Picks
Thursday, October 12th, 2017 at 5:00 pm
So far, 2017 has been yet another interesting year at the movies – plenty of record-smashing blockbusters, even more embarrassing flops and failed franchise starters, and some unique indies that always tend to fly under the radar. We still have a few more months to go and lots more to watch, both on the big screen, the small screen, and the even smaller screens of our desktops and laptops. The ride has yet to begin, I fear.
Submitted for your approval, here are the top 10 best films I’ve seen to date this year. I still have many more to catch up, so good thing I have several streaming options that are really worth the money.
Hugh Jackman brought his legendary 17-year run as the Wolverine to a fantastic close with James Mangold‘s brutal, bloody, and touching thriller with Oscar-worthy performances from Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and newcomer Dafne Keen, a host of memorable action sequences, and a tone that recalls the classic westerns of decades past. Not just the best Wolverine movie, the best X-flick, or one of the best comic book features ever made, but the best film I will see this year and cherish for many more to come.
The brilliant comic actor and writer Jordan Peele successfully made the transition to brilliant filmmaker with the tense, imaginative, and timely Get Out, a horror film reminiscent of the socially relevant genre scare-fests moviegoers experienced throughout the late 1960s and the entirety of the ’70s. To discuss the film in detail would spoil the pleasure of watching Peele’s fiendishly constructed narrative unfold with wit and suspense, but the cast headed by an impressive Daniel Kaluuya is fun to watch and guess their actual motives, and there are more than a few scenes that will forever haunt your dreams. Wait until you experience “the sunken place.” No wonder this is one of the year’s highest-grossing and most profitable features.
Rarely does a sequel come along that not only matches its predecessor in terms of sheer quality, but manages to surpass it in nearly possible way. Such is John Wick: Chapter 2, a veritable epic of widescreen action that features another sterling turn from Keanu Reeves as the assassin of assassins called back into the world he once called home for the proverbial one last job that goes horribly wrong. The gun fights and hand-to-hand combat scenes are staged like bloody ballets and bathed in the bold primary colors of a Dario Argento horror, but the immersive world-building is even more fascinating than the first time around. The ending made me want a third John Wick adventure to exist right now. I’m not alone there.
Every bit as entertaining as the original, writer-director James Gunn returns to Marvel Studios’ most offbeat franchise to take his bickering badass heroes of the cosmos to even stranger places than before. The ensemble acting is terrific as always, with newcomer Kurt Russell (and his magnificent hair) standing out as Peter Quill’s long-lost papa, but it’s the underrated Michael Rooker who really gets to stand out as the grizzled space pirate with a heart of gold Yondu. Powered by the most awesome FM rock songs in the universe, Gunn’s impressive stand-alone sequel also features dazzling visuals and more hilarity than you may have thought possible. Baby Groot is an indescribable delight.
The second film in Warner Bros./Legendary Pictures’ “Monsterverse” was one of the most purely entertaining times I’ve had at the theater this year. Whereas Gareth Edwards’ 2014 Godzilla reboot approached its titular titan with Spielbergian restraint, director Jordan Vogt-Roberts transformed his big-budget reinvention of the King Kong mythos into a full-on assault of creepy creatures, grotesque violence, and quirky humor that Spielberg’s protege Joe Dante would have appreciated. Silly, savage, and occasionally sweet, Vogt-Roberts’ giddy monster mash also featured fine performances, a killer soundtrack, and some of the best use of color I’ve ever seen in a major studio event movie.
DC Comics’ much ballyhooed cinematic universe may have stumbled confusedly out of the gate, but with Wonder Woman they finally knocked one out of the park. Patty Jenkins was the perfect director to helm the long-awaited first big screen adventure of the iconic Amazonian superhero also known as Diana of Themyscira, portrayed with feminine grace, a warrior’s steely determination, and the soul of humanity by the stellar Gal Gadot. Chris Pine continues to branch out of his captain’s chair on the Enterprise with a winning combo of charisma, levity, and brawn as Diana’s love interest and battle-hardened conscience Steve Trevor. The action sequences define authentic spectacle, several moments of which gave me goosebumps. This is the best movie based on a DC character since The Dark Knight.
Fearless British filmmaker Ben Wheatley took aim at something a bit conventional than he’s made thus far and delivered a dysfunctional comic thriller about a gaggle of professional criminals and unbelievable screw-ups who turn a simple gun buy into an orgy of blood, bullets, and bad decision-making. This could be a pretty basic story about some armed-to-the-teeth knuckleheads trying to knock each other off, but after seeing it a few times I prefer to think Wheatley was going for something headier than that. Supposedly intelligent people who reduce themselves to their cruelest survival instincts over an easily resolvable misunderstanding when heavy artillery is introduced into the equation makes for pointed social commentary in our gun-obsessed age. Even if the more intellectual material goes over your head, Free Fire is still funny as hell and features terrific performances from a priceless ensemble cast headlined by Armie Hammer, Brie Larson, Cillian Murphy, and Sharlto Copley. An unconventional cult classic in the making.
The greatest sci-fi movie franchise of them all was given a second chance to thrill and provoke audiences of a new generation with a reboot trilogy that began six years ago and is brought by director Matt Reeves to an epic, soul-searing conclusion with the astounding War for the Planet of the Apes. As the noble warrior ape Caesar, the great Andy Serkis delivers a motion-capture performance of true fire and fury that is worthy of awards attention and made complete with the most advanced and realistic digital effects I have ever witnessed. There are so many awe-inspiring moments in this film that you will grow tired fast of picking your jaw up off the floor, but it is the quieter scenes with Caesar and his other simian companions that give War its heart and leave the greatest emotional impact during the haunting final moments that finally bring this legendary series full circle. If there are to be further entries in the Apes saga, they have one hell of a bar to clear.
After just about every living person on the planet saw The Lego Movie, it was unanimous that we all wanted more of Will Arnett‘s absolutely perfect and hilariously quotable send-up of Gotham City’s favorite son. The Lego Batman Movie didn’t just meet expectations, it didn’t just exceed expectations, it jumped behind the controls of the Batwing and reduced those expectations to dust and memory. Arnett killed it as always as a surprisingly introspective Batman, sick of being alone but reluctant to embrace being part of a family. The voice work from a cast that includes Michael Cera, Rosario Dawson, Ralph Fiennes, and Zach Galifianakis as the Joker couldn’t have been better, and the sugar-fueled animation was a dazzler. Best Bat-flick to date? Not quite, but hands down definitely the funniest.
Rebounding fast after making the heartbreaking decision to quit Marvel Studios’ Ant-Man, Edgar Wright jumped right into a pet project that he had nurtured since before beginning his filmmaking career. Baby Driver is many things – an honest creative labor of love, a candy-sweet celebration of the undying power of love and music, a kinetic comic thriller – and Wright succeeds in making his cinematic fever dreams flesh with energy, wit, and loads of heart. Just like every other film he’s made, you’ll want to revisit this one over and over again to appreciate what you soaked up before and dig further into what you missed from past viewings.