/Film’s 28 Favorite Movies of 2017 So Far

Brigsby Bear

17. Brigsby Bear

Score: 7

Kyle Mooney expands upon his awkward character persona that we’ve seen plenty of times on SNL, and this is just one of those indies you should be seeking out immediately. It’s also one of those indies where the less you know, the better the viewing experience will be, so if you know little to nothing about this movie, try to keep it that way as best you can and see this later this month. -Ethan Anderton

Ingrid Goest West Trailer

16. Ingrid Goes West

Score: 7

If I have only one complaint about Ingrid Goes West it is that the story sticks to a formula that we’ve seen a hundred times before. Just as this adventure picks up you already have a good idea how this relationship will crash and burn. But even then, you won’t expect where it takes Ingrid. Unlike other films playing at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, Ingrid is able to balance the tonal shifts between black comedy and thriller. -Peter Sciretta

colossal

15. Colossal

Score: 7

The less you know about Nacho Vigalondo’s Colossal going in, the better off you’ll be. Know that it’s a giant monster movie starring Anne Hathaway and Jason Sudeikis. But also know that it’s less interested in giant monsters and more interested in addiction, abusive relationships, toxic masculinity, and how we’re willing to harm others when hiding behind the anonymity of an avatar. What begins as a quirky comedy with a giant monster soon evolves into a parable about living life right now. -Jacob Hall

A creature-feature-meets-indie-comedy already sounds like a recipe for greatness, but an unexpected socially conscious twist elevates Colossal to one of the most perceptive and inventive movies of the year. Colossal hits all the beats of a quirky indie rom-com in the first half of the film, and even the supernatural twist of the monster doesn’t upset that status quo. But director Nacho Vigalondo pulls the rug out from under his audience with an unexpected antagonist that plays upon the expectations of “the nice guy.” -Hoai-Tran Bui

Colossal mashes up the tropes of indie romantic comedies with Japanese monster movies and somehow comes out on the other side with a fantastic movie that has a lot to say about alcoholism, ambition, abusive relationships and more. It takes more than a few surprising turns which keep the indie side from feeling stale and the sci-fi side from feeling like it’s only a gimmick. -Ethan Anderton

the lure trailer

14. The Lure

Score: 8

The Lure is a Polish musical about two Mermaid besties working in a club. Yes, Agnieszka Smoczynska‘s movie is every bit as wild and incredible as it sounds. The mermaids, who usually eat men for dinner, are two friends paying a visit to a sometimes wondrous and joyful but mostly disappointing and grimy human world. It’s a love story between the mermaids, not the human Srebrna (Marta Mazurek) with whom falls in love. They bring a lot of light to Smoczynska’s sometimes comically mundane settings, which contrasts the simple with the extraordinary. Not for a second does Smoczynska make it hard to suspend one’s disbelief watching a pair of mermaids sing in a club. She brings such an energy to the movie, too. The sequences in the club are some of my favorite of the year – full of life, excitement, and something different. The Lure is one violent and heartfelt musical. -Jack Giroux

Guardians of the Galaxy 2 Review

13. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

Score: 10

While the original Guardians dealt with Star-Lord confronting the untimely death of his mother and how it continues to affect him decades later and light years away, this one focuses on the lack of a relationship that he had with his father, complete with an ensemble story surrounding it that has flares of The Empire Strikes Back, lacking a villain for most of the movie and a central goal or storyline to propel it forward. Those may sound like shortcomings, but for me, that’s what makes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 more engaging than the rest of the blockbuster fare out there. -Ethan Anderton

Your Name Kimi No Na Wa

12. Your Name

Score: 10

The body-switching story of Your Name at first toes the line between voyeurism and wonder, but it quickly becomes a wistful and surprisingly hilarious romance of two young people separated by distance, and — it turns out — time. I’m a sucker for time-travel movies that act as existential commentaries on love and life, and Your Name does that and more. The breathtaking animation is a reminder of the limitless capabilities of hand-drawn animation, and its details used to juxtapose the simple Japanese countryside with the bustling city feels like the film is drawn with a loving hand. -Hoai-Tran Bui

the lost city of z review

11. The Lost City of Z

Score: 10

James Gray‘s adaptation of David Grann‘s novel is his most emotional work to date. Gray doesn’t place emphasis on the madness in Percy Fawcett’s long search for a lost city. The Lost City of Z isn’t a story about a character reaching for greatness out of arrogance, but to explore the unexplored, seeking knowledge. There’s a purity to Fawcett’s quest in the Amazons, and a love for the place he shares with his son, Jack Fawcett (Tom Holland). Even though their journey doesn’t end well, to put it lightly, Percy Fawcett and Gray see more than despair. I won’t spoil it, but the final lines between Fawcett and his son are incredibly moving, say everything that needs to be said about Fawcett, and have stuck with me. The Lost City of Z is an epic with characters as rich as the arresting and lush shots. -Jack Giroux

Garance Marillier in Raw

10. Raw

Score: 11

Yes, this is a horror movie about a young vegetarian girl who goes to veterinary school and learns that she has a taste for human flesh, but it’s not about eating other people. Raw is less interested in cannibalism and more interested in the loneliness that comes with being away from home for the first time, the isolation of finding yourself between cliques, those awkward moments when you try to evolve into a new person amongst those who don’t know the old you, and the unpleasant ickiness of your early sexual encounters when you have no idea what the hell you’re doing. Above all, it’s about sisterhood and the complex feelings that drive siblings apart before bringing them together again. And yes, it’s also full of extreme gore and body horror. -Jacob Hall

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. -Jack Giroux

spider-man-homecoming-webbing-ferry

9. Spider-Man Homecoming

Score: 13

I’m shocked that a staggering six credited writers were able to string together something that ultimately turned out so well, since we’ve seen tons of mega-budget movies fall to pieces with too many cooks in the kitchen. But under the guidance of producer Kevin Feige, director Jon Watts was able to wield Tom Holland’s boyish charm like a weapon and create something fans have been waiting for since the 1960s: a Spider-Man movie with a spot-on portrayal of the webslinger at its center. -Ben Pearson

It Comes At Night

8. It Comes at Night

Score: 14

It Comes At Night depicts one of the most profound explorations of the inherent destructiveness of humanity I’ve ever seen. I would hesitate to call it a horror movie because it shies away from so many of the horror genre expectations in favor of showcasing small moments of human frailty and violence. The closest It Comes At Night comes to leaning into the horror genre is the palpable sense of dread that permeates the film, lending to the paranoia expressed by Joel Edgerton’s patriarch. -Hoai-Tran Bui

Buoyed by subtle performances (Joel Edgerton is especially good at quiet desperation), It Comes at Night manipulates cinematic language and geography to create the sense of a waking nightmare. It’s sometimes tough to tell what’s literal and what’s not (note the ever-shifting aspect ratio), but that’s not the point. The point is that the institutions we hold so dearly crumble when poked a little too hard. The things we fight for, the things we’re willing to die for, are the first things to shatter when we betray ourselves. It Comes at Night is not a good time at the movies, but it’s certainly not something you’ll shake easily. -Jacob Hall

The bleakness of this post-apocalyptic tale gets right under my skin. In Trey Edward Shults’ film, each character is hoping for the best. That rarely ever goes well in It Comes at Night, in which no monster is needed to create suspense or horror. A room full of well-intentioned humans is enough to create problems and fear. There’s plenty of terror in It Comes at Night thanks to distrust and a killer virus, but it’s human nature that turns out to be the real threat. -Jack Giroux

Wonder Woman No Man's Land

7. Wonder Woman

Score: 18

Wonder Woman is not a perfect movie, but it is a perfect movie for this time. It’s an earnest and hopeful breath of fresh air in the midst of grim DC blockbusters and glib Marvel sequels. Director Patty Jenkins never sacrifices character for humor — though there is a healthy dose of both. Gal Gadot is a godsend as the compassionate, idealistic, and flawed Diana of Themyscira, whose fish out of water storyline never gets tired. And Chris Pine is a worthy foil to her as Steve Trevor, the battle-worn and slightly more cynical American spy who gets tasked with taking her into the thick of war to battle the god of war Ares… -Hoai-Tran Bui

With the disappointing taste of movies like Batman v Superman and Suicide Squad still fresh in our mouths, there was all the reason in the world to doubt that Wonder Woman would be the saving grace of the DC Extended Universe. But against all odds, that’s exactly what director Patty Jenkins delivered: this is a rousing action movie with a soulful, compassionate character at its center who actually cares about saving people (which seems like a requisite for being a superhero, but you’d be surprised). -Ben Pearson

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. -Jack Giroux

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in Logan

6. Logan

Score: 23

Logan is arguably the most violent R-rated superhero movie ever made, but amid all of the head stabbings and dismemberment, it’s also a moving conclusion for a character who has spent so many years broken, lonely, and helpless. It’s a truly fitting send-off for one of superhero cinema’s most iconic characters, and features one of the best final shots of any superhero movie to date. -Ben Pearson

As traditionally rugged as Wolverine has been as a character, Loganbroke him down to his most vulnerable state, and deconstructed audience and Western expectations of masculinity. I could go on about how Logan recontextualizes the superhero genre, how it comments on and expands the hero myth, and how the scene between Charles and Logan is one of the most heartbreaking X-Men moments in the franchise’s history… -Hoai-Tran Bui

James Mangold’s comic book movie is a completely satisfying standalone experience and farewell to a character we’ve watched for the last 16 years. There’s sadness to the deeply flawed hero Mangold explores to the fullest in Logan. The fallen X-Man has probably killed more people than he can count – for a superhero who’s saved the world a few times, he’s had a terrible life. His pain is on full display in this film, a comic book movie that never sacrifices character for the sake of action or comedic relief. -Jack Giroux

This grizzled, jaded version of Wolverine makes for a compelling character in a world where mutants are dying off and he suddenly finds himself caring for a young girl who is basically his daughter, created from his own mutant DNA and gifted (or cursed) with her own healing powers and claws. This is a raw, stirring blockbuster that makes you care more about a superhero than you ever have before. Personally, I shed a surprising number of tears, despite already being mentally prepared for the possibility of this film’s ultimate conclusion. -Ethan Anderton

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