The Worst and, more importantly, THE BEST of 2017, so far

Now that we’ve dispensed with all that. The Best of 2017 (so far).

Best Performances

Jason Sudekis, Colossal

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Kristen Stewart, Personal Shopper

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Hugh Jackman, Logan

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Garance Mauriller, Raw

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Daniel Kaluuya, Get Out

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Anne Hathaway, Colossal

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Andy Serkis, War for the Planet of the Apes

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Charlize Theron, Atomic Blonde

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Charlie Hunnam, The Lost City of Z

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Technical Achievements

Jordan Peele, Directing, Get Out

Daris Khondji, Cinematography, The Lost City of Z

Julia Ducournau, Directing, Raw

Erik-Jan de Boer and Method Studios, Visual Effects, Okja

Kirsten Lane, Music Supervision, Baby Driver

David Lowery, Directing, A Ghost Story

Top 10 Films of 2017 So Far

10) The Big Sick

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A film this specific and sweet has to be admired. Up and down, The Big Sick shows off a whole lot of raw talent, from its leading man to its supporting actors to the tight and lovely script that tells a story, familiar to me, that got me really invested in these lives and rooting for their happiness. A total crowd-pleaser. Also, the best 9/11 joke I’ve ever heard.

9) Get Out

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I still have not had a better time in theaters this year. Get Out‘s social horror/satire is an explosively potent combination with Jordan Peele’s steady hand guiding it like few others have in their debut. Never startling, always creeping in its terror with a cast to admire, including the great Daniel Kaluyya and the scene-stealing Lil Rey Howery. No other film this year is so aware of its audience, no film connects like Get Out does.

8) War for the Planet of the Apes

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It befits that the strongest modern blockbuster trilogy manages to actually pull off ending on its best film. War for The Planet of the Apes is a sweeping epic equal parts Western and The Great Escape. The realization how deeply you care for these emotive motion-captured apes is hits hard in this conclusion, Andy Serkis’ performance is truly and possibly the most extraordinary of his career so far. If you can root against the human race in a movie, that movie is pulling off something special.

7) Atomic Blonde

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Review coming soon, I swear. But rest assured that Atomic Blonde is the best action movie of the year so far. Washed in neon and 80s music and loaded with bone-crushing action sequences that will have your jaw dropped, Atomic Blonde is certainly loaded up with style. But that style has plenty of substance, a film about the existential despair of spycraft and the subsuming of humanity to national interest. The coolest and most pulse-pounding movie of the year so far.

6) Personal Shopper

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Personal Shopper is a near-perfect melding of actor and director. Stewart’s natural and haunting internalization of the material of grief and longing combines with Assayas’ gorgeous direction. Personal Shopper is a film that finds tension in waiting and in not getting the answers and resolution in the smallest victories.

5) Logan

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Hugh Jackman’s Logan is one of the great genre characters and Logan is the send-off that he always deserved. A sweaty, delirious and brutally violent Western set after the world has fallen into quiet despair, Logan wears well the weight of years of storytelling. Jackman’s amazing performance anchors every bit of sorrow and difficulty that Logan has to share.

4) Colossal

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An incredibly smart little film about modern relationships and the connections of broken people, Colossal manages to do the “bad behavior as a monster” metaphor like few ever have. Director/writer Nacho Vigolando has an empathy and a low-key wit that keeps Colossal moving and balances all the stories that are being told. Sudekis and Hathaway are tour de forces here.

3) Baby Driver

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Edgar Wright is seemingly incapable of making a film that doesn’t blow me out of the water. A romantic and impeccably crafted thrill ride, it’s near impossible not to get out of the theater and want to drive as fast as you can. The music pulses, the hearts soar, and Baby Driver is the kind of film that makes you want to go back to the theater again and again.

2) Dunkirk

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If one ever believed that Christopher Nolan was held back somehow, Dunkirk shows what happens when the world’s most famous director (let’s be real) is let unbound. A massively scaled war film that feels as tangibly real as a documentary unfolding in front of you, Dunkirk is his most human film yet. Survival and the existential terror of man’s inhumanity given way to a simple grace moment or two.

1) A Ghost Story

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A truly one of a kind work, David Lowery’s cinematic poem about love, death, and time (…why does that sound familiar) and the world we leave behind us is something wholly wondrous, a work in awe of what could be. A film that can evoke infinite emotions out of a blank-faced sheet ghost is something absolutely special. This film haunts me still.

 

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