/Film’s 28 Favorite Movies of 2017 So Far

Baby Driver Music Featurette

5. Baby Driver

Score: 25

The supporting cast, which includes Jamie Foxx, Jon Hamm, Eiza Gonzalez, and Jon Bernthal, are all varying degrees of good, but Elgort stands in the spotlight with Lily James, who plays his diner waitress love interest; this is their fairy tale, and it’s one hell of a ride. Baby Driver is a toe-tapping heist movie that’s meticulously edited to fit its soundtrack, resulting in a unique twist on a well-trod genre that’s unlike anything you’ve ever seen before. -Ben Pearson

Edgar Wright brings his signature flair for visual comedy and action in full force in Baby Driver, resulting in a stunning and nearly over-stimulating joy of a movie. Though Wright does again demonstrate his penchant for focusing on wacky (white, male) outsider protagonists, giving his female characters the short stick — poor Lily James really does deserve more — it doesn’t deter Baby Driverfrom creating a truly enjoyable experience. Baby Driver has an infectious love for music and cinema that is hard to ignore. -Hoai-Tran Bui

Taking the familiar story of a man forced into crime only to desperately want out of the game when his debt is paid, Wright has crafted a movie that makes the most out of the film’s soundtrack by creating a hypnotizing and harmonious blend of music and visuals. It’s a musical without all the singing and dancing, though the choreography of the chase scenes and action is so meticulous that they may as well be song and dance numbers. -Ethan Anderton

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. -Jack Giroux

Best described as “Heat re-imagined as a jukebox musical,” Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is nothing short of joyful. The parts are familiar, but the build is unique – a “one last job” crime movie set to a killer soundtrack the informs the pace and rhythm of everything you’re seeing on screen. Watching car chases and action scenes (and even mundane conversations) move to the beat of whatever is playing on the soundtrack never gets old and a game cast ensures that their archetypal characters stand out beyond the tropes they’re inverting. -Jacob Hall

war for the planet of the apes nova

4. War for the Planet of the Apes

Score: 26

For a movie about super-intelligent simians, this blockbuster has more humanity in these ape characters than many films do in the entirety of their cast roster. The stunning visual effects by Weta Digital combined with the incredible motion-capture performances by Andy Serkis and the rest of his ape crew make for a blockbuster that is even more emotionally engaging than it is action-packed. -Ethan Anderton

This is a mythical, Biblical film that grapples with some big themes, but it never loses its way in all of that ambition; it remains grounded by its empathetic approach to storytelling, and its anti-war message and condemnation of toxic masculinity is a vital thing for our country to experience right now. And hey, Academy: just give Andy Serkis his damn Oscar already. -Ben Pearson

John Wick 2 Kill Count Video

3. John Wick: Chapter 2

Score: 27

The first John Wick was fun, but John Wick: Chapter 2 does everything a great sequel should do: it deepens our understanding of the protagonist, addresses the consequences of the events of the first movie, expands the franchise’s mythology, and takes the action to the next level with inventive, jaw-dropping sequences that made me suppress the urge to pump my fist with excitement in the theater. -Ben Pearson

John Wick was already a tightly wound and stylish thriller, but John Wick: Chapter 2 takes the explosive Keanu Reeves action vehicle to another level. A higher body count, a complex assassination plot, and more sleekly choreographed gun-fu fights that are times balletic, other times the sheer raw power of Reeves — all make John Wick: Chapter 2 a worthy sequel to one of the most exhilarating action films of the decade. – Hoai-Tran Bui

There has never been an action movie series quite like John Wick. The emphasis here isn’t just on the bonebreaking, head-exploding action (of which there is plenty). Just as much time is spent building a complex world of assassins and secret organizations that operate by arcane rules and regulations. Just as much time is spent transforming every single character on screen into someone we understand, love, or loathe. Even those who exist simply to supply helpful exposition are brimming with personality. -Jacob Hall

The color choices, the costumes, the sets, and an actor with his own presence, Mr. Keanu Reeves, all make for one beautiful movie. John Wick: Chapter 2 is an action movie shot and structured with grace and stars a hero who doesn’t waste any time on exposition or tangential subplots. -Jack Giroux

get out

2. Get Out

Score: 33

Get Out has no right to work as well as it does, but those elements come together in a maniacal, violent, and hilarious clockwork to create an experience so singular and unforgettable that I haven’t stopped thinking about it since I saw it. It’s a film of such stunning depth that I feel unqualified to even write about it. But I can’t stop talking about it. -Jacob Hall

There isn’t a movie that’s more relevant or timely than this chilling thriller that takes tension and ramps it up to 11. Get Out is suspenseful, haunting, and proves spectacularly that horror doesn’t have to be just a mindless assembly of jump scares, blood, ghosts, monsters and the occasional flash of nudity. Horror can be thoughtful, provocative, and full of subtext, and Get Out is all of those things and then some. -Ethan Anderton

Anyone who had seen a few episodes of the Comedy Central series Key & Peele knew Jordan Peele was a stand-out writer and performer, but I don’t think anyone could have foreseen just how good Get Out was going to be. Peele’s social horror thriller became a full-blown sensation earlier this year, and for good reason: it’s a movie that explores what it means to be black in America right now, and takes down the faux modern liberalism that would lead people to say things like “I would have voted for Obama for a third term if I could have.” -Ben Pearson

Get Out brings discomfort with race and privilege to the forefront, turning racial microaggressions into tangible plot points. Get Out is a densely layered film that gives you a richer experience every time you watch it — whether you’re unpacking the significance of the cotton in the chair, or the dead deer that appears at the beginning of the film. It’s almost genius in the way Get Out plays with our expectations of horror tropes and turns them into social commentary — which leads to one of the most gasp-inducing twists near the end of the film. -Hoai-Tran Bui

The Big Sick Trailer

1. The Big Sick

Score: 46

This is an antidote to filmmaking-by-committee. It’s a personal, moving story that left me feeling rejuvenated about the potential of film to tell impactful and vital stories, and although it deals with some heavy subject matter, the comedy and abundance of charisma from everyone involved left me walking out of the theater on a joyous high. The Big Sick contains an absolutely perfect mixture of heartbreak and hilarity, and I truly think our country would be a better place if everyone who lived here watched it. -Ben Pearson

Romantic comedies are a dime a dozen, and most of them aren’t even worth that 10-cent piece when all is said and done. But every now and then, a romantic comedy comes along that breaks the mold and gives us an endearing, original and wonderful story to latch on to. The Big Sick is the kind of original, genuine romantic comedy that all other movies of its kind wish they could be. The premise described in its simplest terms wouldn’t be out of place as a synopsis for a Nicholas Sparks romance, but in the hands of producer Judd Apatow, director Michael Showalter and writers Kumail Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon, it’s so much more special and entertaining than that. -Ethan Anderton

Even as The Big Sick is recognizable and painfully human in every single frame, it’s hilarious. Even as The Big Sick tackles race and religion and breaking from family tradition to pursue your heart’s desires, it feels universal. This is the kind of movie so gentle and good-natured that it sneaks up and blindsides you with unexpected power and grace. -Jacob Hall

The Big Sick is funny and heartwarming without falling victim to the emotional manipulation that runs rampant in love stories revolving around sickness. The Big Sick is also an unprecedented American romantic-comedy with a Muslim Pakistani-American man at its center, deftly exploring his family’s cultural roots as well as his place as an outsider of two worlds. Nanjiani’s ruminations on his childhood in both Pakistan and America spoke to my experiences as an Asian-American, and gives me hope for more smart and earnest cross-cultural films like The Big Sick. -Hoai-Tran Bui

The Big Sick Review

The Personal Ballots

Ethan Anderton’s Top 10 of 2017 So Far

10. Colossal

9. A Ghost Story

8. Baby Driver

7. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

6. Brigsby Bear

5. Call Me By Your Name

4. War for the Planet of the Apes

3. Logan

2. The Big Sick

1. Get Out

 

Hoai-Tran Bui’s Top 10 of 2017 So Far

10. Colossal

9. John Wick: Chapter 2

8. Logan

7. Okja

6. Get Out

5. Baby Driver

4. It Comes at Night

3. Wonder Woman

2. The Big Sick

1. Your Name

 

Jack Giroux’s Top 10 of 2017 So Far

10. Shimmer Lake

9. Baby Driver

8. Wonder Woman

7. Raw

6. A Cure For Wellness

5. It Comes at Night

4. Logan

3. The Lure

2. John Wick: Chapter 2

1. The Lost City of Z

 

Jacob Hall’s Top 10 of 2017 So Far

10. It Comes at Night

9. Free Fire

8. The Blackcoat’s Daughter

7. The Disaster Artist

6. Colossal

5. Baby Driver

4. Raw

3. John Wick: Chapter 2

2. The Big Sick

1. Get Out

 

Ben Pearson’s Top 10 of 2017 So Far

10. The Little Hours

9. Logan

8. John Wick: Chapter 2

7. Baby Driver

6. Spider-Man: Homecoming

5. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

4. Wonder Woman

3. Get Out

2. War for the Planet of the Apes

1. The Big Sick

 

Peter Sciretta’s Top 10 of 2017 So Far

10. Kong: Skull Island

9. Brigsby Bear

8. Logan

7. Baby Driver

6. John Wick: Chapter 2

5. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

4. Ingrid Goes West

3. Spider-Man Homecoming

2. The Big Sick

1. War for the Planet of the Apes

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