Here are the top five movies from 2017 that I somehow missed and am now making time in my schedule to see. These films DO NOT include those that are being released after Dec. 20, i.e. Darkest Hour (2017), Phantom Thread (2017), and many more.
Call Me By Your Name
This film is on the list strictly for the acting buzz surrounding it. Armie Hammer has the ultimate look of a movie star. Pure and simple, I am throwing a lot of my stock in the Hammer vault.
Call Me By Your Name (2017) also stars a young actor that I just encountered while watching Lady Bird (2017). Timothée Chalamet can act, man. Pure and simple. He made himself a character of disgust alongside Christine McPherson, but here he seems to be the ultimate charismatic savant.
I have never seen director Luca Guadagnino’s cinematic work before, but he is at the helm of yet another story of self-discovery that looks to be propelled by strong characters and a unique setting. The screenplay writer James Ivory takes the novel by André Aciman and transfers it to the silver screen with reported ease and grace.
Many of the reviews say that Call Me By Your Name paints a truly beautiful visage of 1983 Italy. Guadagnino paints the picture of someone who is studying abroad and seeing the stunning landscapes and settings for the first time.
Beautiful cinematography. A compelling tale of self-discovery. Two actors who I am 110% invested in. I have got to immerse myself in Call Me By Your Name.
Blade Runner 2049
Making a sturdy sequel 35 years after an original’s release is no easy task; however it appears that director Denis Villeneuve combined with Harrison Ford and Ryan Gosling to make something that fantastically bucked all expectations.
By all accounts, Blade Runner 2049 has the same atmosphere of Ridley Scott’s initial 1982 epic. Re-watching Blade Runner (1982) a couple of months ago, I found a new appreciation for the subtlety and stillness of it.
Villeneuve has a way to make the simplest shapes and settings compelling. For me, the opening to Sicario (2015) stands as a magnificent example of his ability to blend suspense and atmosphere in complete coherence.
Another Villeneuve masterpiece is Prisoners (2013). In one of the most underrated movies of the past five years, he suspends you like a condemned horse thief in the Old West. With a noose and anxiety around your throat, your feet are constantly dangling, looking to touch down on some piece of normalcy. However, Villeneuve constantly moves the stool and keeps you catching your breath. You are gasping from scene-to-scene.
Reviews for Blade Runner 2049 are all glowing, and I’m sure I will be too, once I settle down and immerse myself for nearly three hours of cinematography gold.
The fact I haven’t seen the most controversial and divisive (maybe besides Star Wars Episode VIII: The Last Jedi (2017) movie of 2017 is a huge personal blemish.
Mother! (2017), as I understand from reviews and podcasts, takes some religious undertones to the umpteenth degree and then flips expectations 180 degrees. Jennifer Lawrence, who was looking to rebound after the disappointing Passengers (2016) endeavor, had a personal quiet space to take breaks from the intensity of Mother!’s most strenuous scenes. That work environment intrigues me, along with my love for Javier Bardem as an actor. Basically I love all the spheres surrounding Mother!, and I just haven’t pulled the trigger to see it yet.
I understand that this is not a movie to watch while trying to multitask, otherwise you’ll be bamboozled from the get-go. So mission assignment: set time aside and brace myself to try and understand the vision of Aronofsky.
I’ll admit to kind of being a Marvel movie hater. Not every Marvel movie is an enjoyable experience. With that being said, I have a feeling I am going to LOVE Thor: Ragnarok (2017) once I see it.
Thor: The Dark World (2013) was the beginning of my Marvel downturn, however Ragnarok has brought me back aboard the zaniness Thor train…and I haven’t even seen the movie yet. When that first trailer was released, I got the sense that the movie was going to embrace the ridiculousness. Nothing about Thor: Ragnarok seems small in scale.
The problem I’ve had with comic book movies is that they take themselves too seriously. That’s been the DC Universe curse, and movies like Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) and Captain America: Civil War (2016) fell to the same trap, although, granted, not to the same degree. Thor: Ragnarok has no hints of that weightiness. It seems like pure bliss, what I imagine a perfect summer box office would strive to be.
One other small thing about this movie is that Cate Blanchett said she wanted to be in the movie because she wanted to be part of something her kids would love to see. With director Taika Waititi loving a free-flowing directorial style, I bet this set was amazing to be on.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
I love dark comedies. Pure and simple. In Bruges (2008) had me in stitches. Christian Bale’s overacted smile in American Psycho (2000) is iconic. Pulp Fiction (1994) is a classic, and the entire Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg trilogy remains immensely enjoyable.
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017) has a cast that was born purely to act in black comedies. Frances McDormand was the star of Fargo (1996), arguably the most well-known of the unique genre. Woody Harrelson is the best part of Zombieland (2009), and Sam Rockwell was in my most recent dark comedy favorite, Seven Psychopaths (2012).
Did I mention that the movie is written and directed by Martin McDonagh, the same man who helmed In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths?!
I can’t wait to laugh at people’s misery and see how irrational behavior results in fantastic verbal assaults and vulgar warfare. Beware those who see me after I watch Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, because I’ll be in one unique mood for sure.