- 2017 Films Ranked

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2017 Films Ranked
Updated 1-22-17.

A



A-

Get Me Roger Stone (Bank, DiMauro and Pehme)


B+

The Beguiled (Coppola)
The Shape of Water (Del Toro) [* Best love story of the year? Between a mute and Swamp Thing? Yes. Freaks always find each other eventually, and as the Old Italian Ladies say, "There's a lid for every pot."]
I, Tonya (Gillespie) [* One of the funniest movies of the year is also incredibly tragic and Quintessentially American, not to mention expertly acted (Robbie and Janney better start writing those Oscar Speeches). Gillespie at least tries to restore some of Ms. Harding's dignity.]

B

Nocturama (Bonello)
Lady Bird (Gerwig) [* You've seen it all before, but it's done with such candor and goodness. "Sweet like candy to our cinematic soul / Sweet you rock and sweet you roll."]
mother! (Aronofsky)
The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) (Baumbach)
The Death of Louis XIV (Serra)
Molly's Game (Sorkin) [* It's got zip and it's flip ... and I believe little of it (Molly is not a reliable narrator, but she did get away with it). As for that ice-skating scene: yikes.]


B-

Graduation (Mungiu)
The Lego Batman Movie (McKay)
Icarus (Fogel)
The Florida Project (Baker) [* The kids' (and Vinaite's) antics are purposely irritating (like the leads of Chytilová's Daisies), and the characters lack depth, but Baker should be commended for bothering to record the troubles with the poorer parts of the USA (just a bit outside "The Happiest Place on Earth"). Willem Dafoe's manager, like a surrogate Dad, holds the movie together.]
Lady Macbeth (Oldroyd) [* The racial aspect to this doesn't really make much sense, but it pulls off the Anti-Heroine storyline very well. Bravo to Florence Pugh.]
Rocco (Demaizière and Teurlai)
Brawl in Cell Block 99 (Zahler) [* I had a feeling I'd like this (stylized) exploitation movie from the moment Vaughn's bruiser started a fight with a parked car, Street Fighter II-style (Vince Wins!). Other fatalities would follow.]
The Unknown Girl (The Dardennes) [* Lacks the complexity of their best output, but Haenel's character, the moral center of the movie, is something of a living saint.]
Nobody Speak: Trials of the Free Press (Knappenberger)
Wheelman (Rush)
Wonder Wheel (Allen) [* There's a lot to cherish in Woody's late-period films ... and a strong dose of melancholy from the master (he was in his late teens/early twenties in the time this takes place).]


C+

Beach Rats (Hittman)
Baby Driver (Wright)
Blade Runner 2049 (Villeneuve) [* Beautiful, expensive wallpaper.]
Colossal (Vigalondo) [* One of the wackiest plots of the year, and while it doesn't quite work, it does try to make a statement about the "visibility" of personal relationships in the social media age, where what were once private break-ups/fights are now public spectacles. But really? Giant robots? Nacho ... easy on the jazz cabbage.]
Ghost in the Shell (Sanders)
Coco (Unkrich and Molina) [* Desperate for sympathy and a little too Dreamworks-y in the first act, but it is beautifully presented, and the idea that the "hidden" crimes of the past will eventually come to light is a lovely if unlikely sentiment. Anyone else reminded of the game "Grim Fandango"? Just me? Got it....]
My Happy Family (Ekvtimishvili and Groß)
Gaga: Five Foot Two (Moukarbel)
Gerald's Game (Flanagan)
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail (James)
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie (Soren)


C

Get Out (Peele)
The Post (Spielberg) [* Fuddy-duddy Capra-corn.]
The Disaster Artist (Franco) [* Yeah, yeah, it has some of the funny ("Do it like Shakespeare, but sexy") ... but then why was I always bothered by the fact that I think it was done in bad faith? Because it's James Franco we're talking about here. Alt. title: The Imitation Game.]
Dunkirk (Nolan)
Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold (Dunne)
The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Lanthimos) [* You never go full Haneke.]
Becoming Warren Buffett (Kunhardt and Oakes)
Logan (Mangold)
The Discovery (McDowell)
Wind River (Sheridan)
The Ornithologist (Rodrigues)
Mudbound (Rees) [* More Liberal Bait (as predicted) that takes a great budding friendship between Hedlund and Mitchell and, of course, ruins it with the KKK: hysteria instead of rational behavior.]
American Made (Liman)
The Trip to Spain (Winterbottom) [* If you've seen the previous two, you know the formula: banter/impressions followed by "drama" (quotation marks needed). Do you think ISIL will appreciate Coogan's Mick Jagger? I hear they don't have much of a sense of humor....]
Saving Capitalism (Gilman and Kornbluth) [* Basically an advertisement for Reich's book, but he does have some solid points (which he's prone to repeating).]
Our Souls at Night (Batra)
Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales (Rønning and Sandberg) [* There are some neat set pieces and these new directors (not Mr. Verbinski) keep it moving along ... but it should be the last one. Really.]


C-

John Wick: Chapter 2 (Stahelski)
Wonder Woman (Jenkins)
It (Muschietti)
What Happened to Monday (Wirkola)
Call Me by Your Name (Guadagnino) [* Painfully obvious and telegraphed - I mean, what mystery is there? - and I was only taken aback by Stuhlbarg's "I Know What Happened" speech, which is one of the sweetest and most understand Dad-Son convos I've seen in a movie in ... well, a long time. 1 Whole Apple Pie > 1 Peach.]
Darkest Hour (Wright) [* Wright's camerawork is gaudy ... and Gary's Winston is a bit of a caricature.]
Split (Shyamalan)
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 (Gunn)
Jim & Andy: The Great Beyond - Featuring a Very Special, Contractually Obligated Mention of Tony Clifton (Smith) [* "Any actor who tells you that they have become the people they play, unless they're clearly diagnosed as a schizophrenic, is bullshitting you." -Gary Oldman]
Lost in Paris (Abel and Gordon) [* Like their other movies, cute as a way to remind everyone of Tati and the silent film aesthetic, but so lightweight I'm surprised the entire movie didn't get tossed into the Seine after a light gust of wind.]
Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (McDonagh) [* It's bad enough Marty stole Joel Coen's muse, he also stole his toxic condescension.]
A Quiet Passion (Davies) [* Did everyone. Need to speak. So unnaturally?]
Logan Lucky (Soderbergh)
1922 (Hilditch)
Betting on Zero (Braun)


D+

Wonderstruck (Haynes) [* This might have worked on the page, but when you have deaf children in your movie, it's a little hard to know about their inner world(s), ya know?]
T2 Trainspotting (Boyle)
Raw (Ducournau)
It Comes at Night (Shults)
Win It All (Swanberg)
I Love You, Daddy (C.K.) [* The key to comedy is timing, they say. The timing for this one was ... clearly off, considering what happened to Louie in the media. I think - and I could be wrong - that he structured this as some sort-of "apology"/"explanation," but just because you're "self-aware" and "sorry" doesn't mean you can still do whatever you want to whomever you want and expect to apologize it away. Also, should he ever write another script again (it's Hollyweird, who knows), he should hire a director who knows how to shape scenes and can tell him to stop touching his forehead.]
Atomic Blonde (Leitch)
Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets (Besson)
Alien: Covenant (Scott)
Before I Fall (Russo-Young)
Take Me (Healy)
A Cure for Wellness (Verbinski)
Last Flag Flying (Linklater) [* Terribly contrived and with lousy dialogue, particularly Cranston's character, who has a ton of dumb lines (and of course Cranston just can't help but embellish everything, while Carell, very out of character, gets mousy.]
The Big Sick (Showalter)
The Babysitter (McG)
To the Bone (Noxon)
Queen of the Desert (Herzog)
Casting JonBenét (Green)


D

Personal Shopper (Assayas)
A Ghost Story (Lowery)
It's Only the End of the World (Dolan)
Bright (Ayer) [* Landis stopped trying to "develop" "his world" (LOTR-meets-generic cop procedural) after a few pages ... and fails to say anything meaningful about racism.]
I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore (Blair)
Good Time (The Safdies) [* A rush to nowhere (is everyone in this a ding-a-ling or what?), and Dan Lopatin's "score" is unpleasantly obtrusive.]
Tulip Fever (Chadwick)
The Bad Batch (Amirpour)
The Dinner (Moverman)
Beauty and the Beast (Condon)
War Machine (Michôd)
Song to Song (Malick)
War on Everything (McDonagh)
Kong: Skull Island (Vogt-Roberts)
Death Note (Wingard)
The Mummy (Kurtzman)
Okja (Bong)
Little Evil (Craig)
Catfight (Tukel)
Transformers: The Last Knight (Bay)
Manifesto (Rosefeldt)


D-

Slack Bay (Dumont)
iBoy (Randall)
The 101-Year-Old Man Who Skipped Out on the Bill and Disappeared (The Herngrens)
XX (Benjamin, Clark, Kusama and Vuckovic)
Super Dark Times (Phillips) [* Rides the Stranger Things wave of suburban kids getting into trouble, except it isn't well thought-out from a psychological point-of-view. No, wait, let me correct that: it isn't thought out at all. Where are the Dads?]
The Layover (Macy)
Fifty Shades Darker (Foley)
The Boss Baby (McGrath)
xXx: Return of Xander Cage (Caruso)


F

Shimmer Lake (Uziel) [* Some people compared this script to Pulp Fiction. Those same people may or may not huff paint.]
The Incredible Jessica James (Strouse)
Baywatch (Gordon)
Sandy Wexler (Brill)


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