Ian's Movie Reviews
Short Reviews of Movies, Board Games, and Other Stuff

My Top 10 Movies of 2017

10. The Shape of Water

Guillermo Del Toro brings himself back in the limelight this year with his modern fairy tale along the lines of Beauty and the Beast.  A Shape of Water combines contemporary storytelling with mythic tendencies, adds in an engrossing lead performance of Sally Hawkins, and Del Toro’s typical production design for an odd tour de force.

9. War for the Planet of the Apes

For some reason, I wasn’t too eager to see this movie in theaters, despite really enjoying the previous two parts of this trilogy.  However, when I did finally catch up with it, I ended up liking it a lot.  This tale of Caesar’s ape revolution, acting as a precursor to the Planet of the Apes story we all love so well, has maintained a solid level of quality throughout.  In this third film, we gt a lot of subtle callbacks to the classic original, as well as some great moments for Caesar and Woody Harrelson playing his human foil.  This movie looked great as well.

8. Molly’s Game

I’m sure many of you know I’m a big Sorkin fan, and he is primarily the reason I enjoyed this movie so much.  This was a pretty interesting story with some good performances by Chastain and Elba, not to mention a great supporting turn by Costner, all tied together with a great script.  There’s humour when there needs to be, drama where there needs to be, danger where there needs to be, all in good measure.

7. It

I’ll quote my dad to sum things up: “You know how the first Indiana Jones movie was non-stop action?  Well this was non-stop horror!”  Pennywise has secured his place among the pantheon of great horror movie villains, but as creepy as he is, he’s not the only reason the film works.  The story of the kids is really what draws you in and actually makes you care before they scare.

6. The Big Sick

There’s something really grounded about a story like this, taken from the lives of the people behind it.  It feels authentic while also relatable to anyone who has lived through the health scare of someone they love.  Kamail Nanjiani is a strong comedic talent right now who also has things to say.  I was the only one in the theater when I saw The Big Sick, which is a shame.  It is a sweet, entertaining movie that deserved more eyes on the screen.

5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

An entertaining look into justice, redemption, responsibility, etc.  It has all you would want in a movie of this type: great performances, an interesting story that isn’t predictable, a good mix of humour and pathos.  Frances McDormand will likely win the Oscar, and Sam Rockwell has a good chance too.  I wouldn’t say the characters make the best decisions, but movies don’t have to be morality tales.  They just need to have something to say while keeping the audience engaged, and Three Billboards does a great job at this.

4. Logan

Somehow it feels like comic book movies have come full circle, with the recent trend beginning with Wolverine’s introduction with the X-Men in 2000 and reaching a new level with his swan song.  Logan is not flashy or formulaic, but is instead a movie that is truly interested in exploring what a life as a superhero does to this man after many years.  Throw in the addition of an aged Professor Xavier as his companion, and we get the climax of the X-Men franchise and one hell of a good flick.

3. Get Out

I’m not a big fan of the horror genre, but lately every year there seems to be one horror flick that really grabs me. Last year it was The Witch, two years ago It Follows, this year there were two: It and Get Out.  Get Out has a very disturbing premise which is both incredibly creepy and full of context.  It came out in February and is still talked about a lot here at end-of-the-year awards season, and appears to be the sleeper hit of 2017.

2. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

You’re probably either thinking “What? Why is this here?” or “Wow, this isn’t number 1?”  To answer the first question, screw the negativity! The Last Jedi was a great follow up to Force Awakens.  Rey has come into her own as an iconic movie hero, Kylo Ren deepens his villainy, and Luke is back in all his grumbly, Jedi might. Many complained about Force Awakens playing it too safe, but Last Jedi kept you on your toes throughout, providing us with some great stuff.
To the second question I say…. yeah, I know.  But there are some things that prevent it from being completely great: the casino planet, the new characters, the final shot.  But compared with all the fantastic scenes and dynamics we get, those are only minor irritations.  For the middle of the trilogy, Last Jedi didn’t hold back, and I loved it.

1. Dunkirk

Dunkirk is one hell of a cinematic experience.  The picture, the sound, the pace, all those fundamentals of film-making are here on masterful display so that we can feel the story unfold, rather than just hear and see it.  This movie isn’t concerned with personal stories or informing the audience about the details of the battle; its far more visceral than that.  When I first heard that Nolan was going to make a war film, I wondered how he was going to make his film distinct after so many have tackled the subject before him.  but he did.  Dunkirk was definitely the most powerful movie I saw this year.

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3 Responses to “My Top 10 Movies of 2017”

  1. What!!! The casino planet, the new characters, andthe final shot were the best parts!

  2. Hi, I love your nifty {website|site). Thanks for sharing your ideas with the world


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