Jack Giroux’s Top 10 Movies of 2017 So Far

Jack Giroux's Top 10 Movies of 2017 So Far

(With 2017 halfway over, the /Film staff will be spending this week compiling lists of the best movies they’ve seen this year. In order to be eligible for the list, a film they’ve seen simply has to have a 2017 release date, even if they saw it at a festival or early screening. Here are Jack Giroux’s top 10 movies of 2017 so far.)

So far, this has been a good year at the movies, especially the last two weeks. The BeguiledOkjaBaby Driver, and a film I regrettably haven’t seen yet but have heard nothing but love for, The Big Sick, all came out and have kept us busy watching movies. Throughout 2017, we’ve been treated to a variety of good films, including a few standout crime stories and superhero movies. Here are my top 10 movies of 2017 so far.

Shimmer Lake interview

10. Shimmer Lake

This is a nonlinear and nasty little thriller that’s precise and airtight. Not a second gets wasted in Oren Uziel‘s first film. Each scene goes backwards into the past fast with momentum and suspense while defining every character. None of them are what they appear to be at first glance, either. Uziel and his cast make some familiar archetypes three-dimensional. The major characters have personality and their own motives, fears, and desires. Each character in Uziel’s ensemble story feels substantial enough that they could be the star of their own story. Shimmer Lake is as funny as it is dark. Rob Corddry and Ron Livingston are delightful together as two self-admittedly unambitious F.B.I. agents and they help make the Netflix movie as entertaining as it is.

Baby Driver Sequel

9. Baby Driver 

Edgar Wright has crafted a simple plot packed with character, invigorating song choices, and propulsive style. Like Wright’s previous work, the jokes often have as many layers as the characters do. Jon Hamm, Eiza González, and Kevin Spacey, and bring a great deal of humanity to “the villains.” Spacey, in particular, makes Wright’s fast dialogue feel even faster. The actor’s razor sharp delivery and Wright’s quick pace sync together beautifully. I could listen to Doc lay out his plans and exposition all day. The great character moments are what enrich the experience, with my favorite being Buddy (Hamm) and Baby (Ansel Elgort) enjoying music together. It’s rare to see a protagonist have as intimate of a moment such as that one with an antagonist, but it’s that kind of scene that makes Baby Driver more enjoyable the more I think about it.

wonder woman

8. Wonder Woman 

Patty Jenkins‘ superhero movie has a refreshing sense of optimism. Few superheroes are as admirable and as heroic as Diana Prince (Gal Gadot). Right from the beginning, she has a charisma and spirit that lights up every scene. Even though the final set piece is a little underwhelming, especially compared to the stellar “No Man’s Land” sequence, Gadot, Jenkins, and all involved nail the scenes that count most, like the emotional payoffs. The character doesn’t get lost in the CG destruction. Wonder Woman is vital, character-driven spectacle with a hero surrounded by charismatic characters, like Captain Trevor (Chris Pine), Antiope (Robin Wright), and the gleefully evil Dr. Maru (Elena Anaya), who Wonder Woman doesn’t confront with anger in the end, but compassion. There’s a big heart in Jenkins’ badass movie.

raw

7. Raw

Julia Ducournau‘s debut sometimes finds the beautiful in the grotesque. Ducournau’s bizarre and intimate story about cannibals is also a great story of two sisters. There are many highly effective stomach turning scenes – and terrific practical effects – but even when there’s no cannibalism, the scenes between Justine (Garance Marillier) and Alexia (Ella Rumpf) are fantastic and surprising. Their relationship always feels real, as strange and as perverse as it gets. They ground the blood and shocks. While some film’s third act fights go down exactly as the audience expects, Raw‘s certainly does not. The major confrontation in Doccournau’s film is as unpredictable and as dramatic as the rest of her directorial debut – which always had me captivated.

A Cure for wellness pic

6. A Cure for Wellness

Gore Verbinski’s latest film is a visual marvel. Most of A Cure for Wellness is set in one location, but the sense of scale Verbinski and cinematographer Bojan Bazelli create in those cold and chilly corridors is massive. It’s a big, beautiful horror movie. Verbinski turns up the gross factor, too much at the end for my taste, but he can make Lockhart (Dane DeHaan) walking around to the sound of creaky crutches as uncomfortable as the unsettling dental treatment. The body horror is eyebrow-raising, and not without fun. Verbinski is a versatile filmmaker who can effortlessly go from genre to genre and never make the same movie twice, but strangely enough, his new film makes me fondly recall his debut movie, Mouse Hunt. Like Nathan Lane and Lee Evans in that film, Verbinski treats DeHaan’s comically jerky character like a punching bag. The movie isn’t without some physical humor or some wicked laughs. A Cure for Wellness is a long and bold cinematic journey about a character who wants to devour somebody for his gain, like the big bad of the film, but ends up trying to save someone instead. Verbinski’s message of how we consume each other doesn’t get lost in the visual splendor.

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