Best Films of 2017

 By CLTure Film

December 25, 2017

Be honest, you don’t need one more list of the year’s best movies. You need six.

CLTure Film has a wonderfully talented group of critics, each with a distinct voice and point of view. Like last year, we’ve bypassed the single top-ten list and instead asked our film writers for their five favorites. There’s good and bad news for everyone on the lists below. Did you think 2017 was a great year for socially conscious cinema? Did you hate the fan-hate towards Alien Covenant? Do you wish critics would just pick a popular movie for once? Read on, dear reader. We’ve a critic for you somewhere.

You keep reading, and we’ll keep watching and writing. – Dan Cava, CLTure Film Editor

Our Best Films of 2017:

 Dan Cava

5.) Alien Covenant

4.) The Beguiled

3.) Brigsby Bear

2.) Dunkirk

1.) Song to Song – I saw fewer movies in the last twelve months than any other time in my film critic career, so this choice overlooks dozens of very worthy films. Still, Terrence Malick’s sensual stroll-poem stands as my most cherished cinema experience since last January. As it often does, Malick’s camera twirls and swirls, this time through the music scene of Austin, catching Rooney Mara, Ryan Gosling, Michael Fassbender, and Natalie Portman along the way. Malick has been ignoring Hollywood’s methods for decades, so even though Song to Song doesn’t break the Malick mold, there was nothing in 2017 remotely like it – a post-modern mosaic of movement and memory, the loops of longing and love orchestrated as theme and variation.

 Douglas Davidson

5.) Colossal

4.) Baby Driver

3.) Logan

2.) The Disaster Artist

1.) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – While some prefer light-hearted or fluffy fare at the cinema, my predilection leans toward the risk-taskers. The films which challenge us narratively and emotionally; not just to entertain, but, perhaps, to incite within us a moment of contemplation. Writer/director Martin McDonagh does exactly that with Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri – a film centered on three grief-stricken individuals whose journey of despair draws you in with some of the finest performances you’ll see in any picture all year. Three Billboards not only challenges the characters and their level of responsibility, but also the audience and their assumptions of culpability.  

 Michelle Wheeler

5.) Song to Song

4.) The Disaster Artist

3.) Get Out

2.) A Ghost Story

1.) Call Me By Your NameCall Me By Your Name is one of the most profoundly moving films I’ve seen, not just this year, but ever. Timothée Chalamet as the sensitive and searching Elio captures the angst of experiencing first love as a teenager. Though the film is certainly a love story between two characters, it is, at its heart, an ode to the process of self-discovery and self-expression, a theme that resonates with anyone who’s ever longed for a safe space to do either in earnest.

 Jonathan Shuping

5.) John Wick: Chapter 2

4.) Dunkirk

3.) Get Out

2.) Blade Runner 2049

1.) Wind River – The writer of Sicario and Hell or High Water, Taylor Sheridan, makes his directorial debut with this chilling crime thriller in which a seasoned local wildlife tracker (Jeremy Renner) teams with a naive young FBI agent (Elizabeth Olsen) to investigate the murder of a Native American woman. Like the settings of the films he previously scripted, the snow-covered mountains of the remote Wyoming Reservation permeates every part of the story, accompanied by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis’ hauntingly atmospheric score, to the point where it virtually becomes a character of its own. It’s a soulful character study, a harrowing mystery, and an exemplary instance of slow-mounting tension building to a deafening crescendo of violence. Powerful, immersive and heartbreaking, Wind River is another supremely compelling chapter in the Sheridan Saga of Modern American Crime.

 Ryen Thomas

5.) Baby Driver

4.) War for the Planet of the Apes

3.) Split

2.) Get Out

1.) Wonder Woman – This film has been seventy-five plus years in the making. The character was due feature film justice and I’m so glad that the wait paid off. It’s my belief, hope and dream that the rest of DC’s (post-Justice League) cinematic universe works off the template established by this films mix of heroism, scope, wit and message.

 Hunter Heilman

5.) Dunkirk

4.) The Shape of Water

3.) Blade Runner 2049

2.) Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

1.) mother! – I can already feel myself being set up for crucifixion for this one (Get it? Crucifixion? Because it’s a biblical allegory.). Darren Aronofsky’s mother! is a daring, smart and absolutely shell-shocking masterpiece of no compare. It’s an esoteric, depraved, intelligent, gut-wrenching thriller that had me on the edge of my seat even on my subsequent viewings where I even knew what was going to happen. This is the type of film where you leave feeling not only mentally, but also physically changed as a person. It’s everything you don’t expect a studio-produced, A-list starred, early Fall released thriller to be. It’s the most effective horror film I’ve seen in years and one that I can return to again and again and learn something new each time I watch it. A film like this, however polarizing (it garnered a prestigious “F” score from audiences on CinemaScore), comes around only once in a generation.

*Check out the full list of 2018 Academy Award nominees.

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