The Janks Reviews crew have compiled a list of their favourite movies of 2017, and while many films made our team’s lists, these are the top 19 films of the past year that appeared more commonly across the board.
Our favourite films of 2017 are as follows, in alphabetical order (click on the title to read our review where applicable!):
Edgar Wright’s highly anticipated film Baby Driver arrived in 2017 and was met with positive feedback from fans and critics alike. The film is a thrilling ride through the crime-action sub-genre that cleverly uses music to guide the narrative. It features stellar performances from all of its cast members and some action sequences that will have you on edge. Its unique style definitely made Baby Driver stand out from the rest of the pack in the past year.
The Big Sick
The Judd Apatow-produced The Big Sick features comedian and rising star Kumail Nanjiani and Zoe Kazan play a couple whose relationship is tested through their clash of cultures, but more so when one of them falls into a coma after suffering an illness. This heartwarming comedic film manages to perfectly blend comedy with the darker aspect of its themes, making it a standout film from the past season. It co-stars the talented screen vets Ray Romano and Holly Hunter.
Blade Runner 2049
It took 35 years to do a follow up to the first film which no one really expected or quite frankly needed. However, all of that was pushed aside as Blade Runner 2049 captured the essence of the original perfectly, while also opening up its world beyond our imaginations. The cinematography alone is worth the price of admission, along with the soundtrack. Its one criticism is that it’s poorly paced and over-long, but perhaps repeat viewings are needed to fully understand what is on display here.
The Disaster Artist
Based on how The Room (2003) – one of the worst movies ever made – came about, James Franco stars in and also directs this intriguing and often hilarious tale as he portrays Tommy Wiseau, the man responsible for the now cult-classic film which sits alongside the likes of Plan 9 from Outer Space (1959). In what could have been a total mocking of the situation, Franco manages to give it heart as Tommy and Greg Sestero (who also wrote the biography on which the film is based, played by Dave Franco in the film) reflect on how hard it actually is to break into show business and the lengths you go to find fame and fortune.
Christopher Nolan is well known for producing multiple masterpieces over his storied career, and his latest, Dunkirk, is no exception. The film tells the story of the evacuation of allied soldiers trapped by enemy soldiers on the French province of Dunkirk during WW2. Nolan’s film follows the efforts of soldiers and common folk by air, land and sea as they attempt to rescue tens of thousands of stranded allies. The film is unique in its narrative depiction of events, jumping back and forth between each group of protagonists. Dunkirk is tense from start to finish and features a score that elevates the film to another level, making it one of the best movies of 2017, and also one of the best in Nolan’s repertoire.
The Florida Project
The highly regarded film The Florida Project follows the story of a clever six year old girl and her rebellious mother as they try to stay out of trouble while making ends meet. The film features outstanding performances from its principal cast and superb direction from Sean Baker. It’s one of the lesser-known films of 2017, but definitely one of the better ones.
One of the most talked about horror films of the year isn’t actually so much a horror, but rather a social commentary on today’s society and how racism is still an issue. However the politics don’t get in the way of the film too much, as it’s still highly enjoyable with a thick underlying layer of comic timing throughout. Directed by Jordan Peele, the film went on to make $254.3 million (USD) at the box office, against a production budget of $4.5 million (USD) – one of the best profit-to-budget ratios in movie history.
Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2
Marvel hit pay dirt again with this sequel that manages to be more entertaining than the first. The returning cast are like a bunch of old friends you loved hanging with and with their introductions out of the way, it allows the film more time for some spectacular action scenes, and of course the scene stealing Baby Groot. The film wasn’t without its faults as it didn’t really bring anything new to the table and featured a poorly conceived villain, however it shone as a complete package, with director James Gunn producing a highly entertaining blockbuster film.
Hounds of Love
A film that you would have likely missed unless you were following the Australian film circuit, Hounds of Love is a must-watch for all horror-thriller fans. This film’s tension will have you sitting on the edge of your seat, sweating, from the opening shot to the last. The film by Ben Young starring Emma Booth, Ashleigh Cummings and Stephen Curry puts a lot of Hollywood thrillers to shame, and should really be seen by any fan of the genre.
Based on Stephen King’s novel of the same name, IT became an instant hit when it arrived in cinemas in 2017. Director Andy Muschietti’s modern retelling of the story of a group of young kids forced to band together and face their fears in the wake of the arrival of an evil clown known as Pennywise (Bill Skarsgard), was made even scarier to clown-fearing folk with its outstanding production value, which saw some beautiful cinematography to help bring the horror to life. With jump-scares and creepy visuals aplenty, IT made for one of the best horror films of 2017.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer
From Yorgos Lanthimos, the director of Dogtooth (2009) and The Lobster (2015) comes this twisted tale starring Colin Farrell as a surgeon trying to protect his family from a deranged young teenager he’s befriended. Don’t expect a conclusive ending, but be prepared to be mesmerised and shocked at the same time. The white knuckled finale will leave you squirming in your seat.
It’s the Wolverine film we all wanted and finally got with Hugh Jackman better-than-ever as the titular character. With the strong inclusion of Laura aka X-23 (Dafne Keen), a young mutant on the run and whom Logan eventually takes under his wing, the film elevates to a raw and very violent level, but at the same time finishes on just the right note. A fitting end to one of cinemas greatest superheroes.
Moonlight won the Academy Award for Best Picture, along with Best Supporting Actor for Mahershala Ali as well as Best Adapted Screenplay. A coming-of-age drama film by Barry Jenkins, Moonlight explores themes of identity and sexuality in three stages of its lead characters life. Set in the African-American community, the film features powerhouse performances, writing and directing, making it one of the best of last year.
Don’t be fooled about the critical response to this film! Mother! was one of the most thought-provoking movies of 2017, told through an erratic and brutal narrative, which must have been too much for a lot of people to handle. The film’s themes are evident for the most part, however it’s still highly open to interpretation. A mainstream film like Mother! only comes around rarely, and Darren Aronofsky’s unnerving film stood out from the pack for all the right (or wrong) reasons. No matter which side you end up falling on – it’s essential viewing.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The hugely anticipated sequel to 2015’s The Force Awakens, The Last Jedi hit cinemas in December to a thunderous reception – most of which was positive. The film was not without its faults though, leaving even some of the most die-hard fans disappointed, however director Rian Johnson and his team managed to capture the spirit of a Star Wars film for the current, modern audience, once again leaving us with more questions than it answered from the first film. Without a doubt the best spectacle film of 2017.
Some may however argue that Thor: Ragnarok takes the claim to best spectacle film over The Last Jedi in 2017 – and they would have good reasons to make that claim. Directed by Taikia Waititi (known for his prior comedy work), Ragnarok became one of the funniest, glitziest and most entertaining movies to come out of Marvel Studios in the last decade. The film does not take itself seriously, which is its greatest asset, making for an easy-viewing experience that even those with superhero movie fatigue can enjoy.
War for the Planet of the Apes
Matt Reeves’ War for the Planet of the Apes was the final entry in the modern Apes trilogy, as well as arguably being the best of the three. The film’s tone and style is more akin to its 1960’s predecessor as opposed to the two modern films that came before it, making it a rare treat, as they don’t make blockbusters like that any more. War might not be what you’re expecting, but it should leave you overwhelmingly satisfied by the end credits.
Wind River flew under the radar in 2017, which is a shame as it deserves a lot more recognition. Featuring two popular actors in Elizabeth Olsen and Jeremy Renner, you may be wondering how a film with such big actors got so little marketing and attention – it’s because Wind River is not a film you can market to a mass audience. It features a simple, morose story with excellent performances, along with one of the most tense climaxes of a film in a long time. Written and directed by up-and-coming Hollywood star Taylor Sheridan, Wind River is definitely one to check out if you missed it last year.
One of the better surprises of the year following DC’s patchy run with Man of Steel (2013) and Batman v Superman (2015), featuring Gal Gadot in a strong performance as the title character. Along with some entertaining fight scenes and solid storytelling, it became one of the top grossing films of the year, and deservedly so. Wonder Woman proved to DC/Warner Bros naysayers that the companies were still capable of producing quality films (just a shame they destroyed that new-found confidence in fans and critics alike when Justice League was released at the end of the year).
What were your favourite movies of 2017 and is there anything you think we were crazy to not include?
Let us know in the comments below.