2017 in Movies

I didn’t see a lot of new movies in theatres in 2017, for various reasons. Mostly it was because I saw the fewest movies I’ve seen at TIFF since I started going.

1. The Death of Stalin, directed by Armando Iannucci (9/10)

A deft and kind of brilliant balance of black comedy and tragedy, creating a unique and bold film about an important moment in world history. Read the review of the Death of Stalin.

2. The Dawn Wall, directed by Josh Lowell, Peter Mortimer (8/10)

A pretty great climbing documentary that you should definitely watch before you watch Free Solo. Read the review of The Dawn Wall.

3. One of Us, directed by Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady (8/10)

The best Ewing-Grady documentary to date, in my opinion. Read the review of the review of One of Us.

4. Blade Runner 2049, directed by Denis Villeneuve (8/10)

I liked this much more than I expected to. Read the review of Blade Runner 2049.

5. The Big Sick, directed by Michael Showalter (8/10)

This is a pretty damn funny rom com that’s kind of like real life, less ridiculous version of While You Were Sleeping, only not. (It really isn’t, there’s just a coma involved too.)

I must say that I laughed a lot more than I thought I would, given the meet cute at the beginning and the general “mildly amusing” feel for the first little bit. But what I respect in this movie is it finding comedy at times when romantic comedies would normally go full romance or where lesser films would get serious. In fact, it’s mostly funny throughout, even in the serious scenes when lesser films would go entirely serious. (Though the audience didn’t seem quite as receptive to jokes in the serious scenes.)

Anyway, very good for what it is.

6. I Tonya, directed by Craig Gillespie (8/10)

Pretty entertaining. Read the review of I, Tonya.

7. Wind Driver, directed by Taylor Sheridan (7/10)

A pretty great crime mystery/thriller that is undercut by the decision not to make the hero indigenous. Read the review of Wind River.

8. Dunkirk, directed by Christopher Nolan (7/10)

Perhaps I was a victim of the hype, as I had been told by just about the entire world that this was Nolan’s best film. Read the review of Dunkirk.

9. Logan Lucky, directed by Steven Soderbergh (7/10)

Very enjoyable. Read the review of Logan Lucky.

10. Spider-Man: Homecoming (7/10, Jon Watts)

If only all reboots could be this good. Read the review of Spider-Man: Homecoming.

11. Thor: Ragnarok, directed by Taika Waititi (7/10)

It was entertaining! Read the review of Ragnarok.

12. Blurred Lines: Inside the Art World, directed by Barry Avrich (7/10)

Informative and entertaining but ADD. Read the review of Blurred Lines.

13. Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood, directed by Matt Trynaur (7/10)

A fascinating and provocative film that your enjoyment of may depend upon how much you believe the central figure. Read the review of Scotty and the Secret History of Hollywood.

14. The Post, directed by Steven Spielberg (7/10)

Steve Spielberg doesn’t trust you. But otherwise I enjoyed the movie. Read the review of The Post.

15. 78/52, directed by Alexandre O. Philippe (7/10)

I’m cheating here, as I missed the first x minutes, but I watched the rest of it intently.

This is a documentary for those who have seen Psycho a lot and think it’s a big deal. If you don’t think it’s a big deal, I’m not sure this film will convince you. Some of the interviewees have real insights and others spew out cliches I’ve heard many times before. (And some of the older men can’t help but be creepy.)

Still, there’s lots here for anyone interested in the history of film and editing and, of course, if you’re a fan of Hitchcock or the film, there’s lots here.

16. Happy Death Day, directed by Christopher Landon (7/10)

Enjoyable. Read the review of Happy Death Day.

17. Atomic Blonde (7/10)

Apparently I forgot to write a review. (I must have watched it on vacation!) Enjoyable.

18. Baby Driver, directed by Edgar Wright (6/10)

Entertaining, but flawed. Read the review of Baby Driver.

19. Kingsman: The Golden Circle, directed by Matthew Vaughn (6/10)

A decent sequel though not as fresh as the original. Read the review of The Golden Circle.

20. Crooked House, directed by Gilles Paquet-Brenner (6/10)

Enjoyable. Read the review of Crooked House.

21. Wonder Woman, directed by Patty Jenkins (6/10)

This new take on the comic book movie is a little too familiar for me. Read the review of Wonder Woman.

22. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, directed by James Gunn (6/10)

More of the same. Read the review of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.

23. Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World, directed by Catherine Bainbridge, Alfonso Maiorana (6/10)

Interesting but I could have used more. Read the review of Rumble.

24. The LEGO Batman Movie, directed by Chris McKay (6/10)

Funny enough. Read the review of LEGO Batman.

25. Norm Macdonald: Hitler’s Dog, Gossip and Trickery, directed by Liz Plonka (6/10)

Funny. Read the review of Hitler’s Dog, Gossip and Trickery.

26. The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson, directed by David France (6/10)

Worth watching if you know nothing about transgender rights, but a bit of a mess as a film. Read the review of The Death and Life of Marsha P. Johnson.

27. The Carter Effect, directed by Sean Menard (6/10)

This tugs at my heart-strings but it’s not the most illuminating film about basketball in Canada. Also, Drake puts himself in it because he helped pay for it.

28. Icarus, directed by Bryan Fogel (5/10)

It’s a mess. Red the review of Icarus.

29. Anna and the Apocalypse, directed by John McPhail (5/10)

A little too much going on and not as funny as it could be, but relatively unique anyway. Read the review of Anna and the Apocalypse.

30. Alien: Covenant, directed by Ridley Scott (5/10)

More aliens! Read the review of Covenant.

31. The Racer and the Jailbird, directed by Michael R. Roskam (5/10)

An entertaining film ruined by an insane left-turn into crazy. Read the review of the Racer and the Jailbird.

32. Star Wars: The Last Jedi, directed by Rian Johnson (5/10)

Someone get this man an editor. Read the review of The Last Jedi.

33. John Wick: Chapter 2, directed by Chad Stahelski (5/10)

Ridiculous. Read the review of John Wick: Chapter 2.

34. The Mummy, directed by Alex Kurtzman (5/10)

It’s hard to imagine watching the film and thinking you were about to launch a successful movie franchise. Read the review of The Mummy.

35. King Arthur, directed by Guy Ritchie (5/10)

Whatever this is, it’s not King Arthur. Read the review of King Arthur.

36. Claire’s Camera, directed by Sang-soo Hong (5/10)

Unbelievably slight. Read the review of La camera de Claire.

37. Justice League, directed by Zack Snyder (4/10)

Dumb Avengers. Read the review of Justice League.

38. The Dark Tower, directed by Nikolaj Arcel (4/10)

An entire series of novels stuffed into 100 minutes. Read the review of The Dark Tower.

39. Gifted, directed by Marc Webb (4/10)

Hollywood still does not know how to do a realistic portrayal of a child who is smarter than everyone else. Read the review of Gifted.

40. Omerta, directed by Hansal Mehta (4/10)

An absolute mess. Read the review.

41. The Fate of the Furious, directed by F. Gary Gray (3/10)

I hate all of you and how you perpetuate this inane film series. Read the review of the Fate of the Furious.

42. Escape Room, directed by Will Wernick (3/10)

A dumb and somewhat fun horror movie is ruined by its utterly awful ending. Read the review of Escape Room.

43. xXx: Return of Xander Cage, directed by D.J. Caruso (2/10)

This film makes The Fate of the Furious look pretty goodRead the review of XXX: The Return of Xander Cage.