Matt’s Favourite Dozen Films of 2017

Another year, another list of favourites. 2017 has been a … turbulent year in the real world but a stellar one for film. You may have noticed that I haven’t been writing much lately, VIFF coverage aside, but I have been gong to the movies. As of this writing I watched 323 movies in 2017, 70 of which were 2017 releases. Not too shabby considering that I only go to one festival.

Before we get to my dozen favourites there are a few things worth sharing. First, a few that I haven’t seen yet:

  • Call Me By Your Name (wr. James Ivory, dir. Luca Guadagnino)
  • The Florida Project (wr. Chris Bergoch & Sean Baker, dir. Sean Baker)
  • I, Tonya (wr. Steven Rogers, dir. Craig Gillespie)
  • The Post (wr. Josh Singer & Liz Hannah, dir. Steven Spielberg)
  • Phantom Thread (wr & dir. Paul Thomas Anderson)
  • Professor Marston and The Wonder Women (wr. & dir. Angela Robinson)

Some of these were due to scheduling on my part (I have a day job!) and some on the films part (Neither The Post nor I, Tonya are out here yet), but all of them seem like exactly the kind of movies that would end up near the top of my list.

Second, these choices are presented in alphabetical order except my favourite which will come last. There are a variety of reasons for this but mostly it comes down the fact that they are all good movies that I have a hard time grading relative to each other because they are all so different. Consider also that some of them I have seen multiple times and others just once and that second viewings are often where I end up solidifying an opinion and you end up with a list that looks like this.

Third, don’t have any honourable mentions but I will probably write some further thoughts on 2017 in a separate post.

So without any further ado, here are my favourite dozen

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Review: Baby Driver

I sometimes find the music in films almost manipulative. You watch something big and brash, like a Transformers or Avengers, and the aural aim is clear: use the score to generate the required emotional response from the audience. Here’s the hero, BAM BAM BAAAAM. Moment of loss; strings in a minor key. Racing through a jungle, peppering Colombian foliage with bullets? Have some dubstep to pass the time. What stands out for me more these days are films where the music is part of the story, instead of merely underpinning the action. Inception’s slowed-down Non, Je ne regrette rien; Fury Road’s war drums; Tarantino’s torture music. It’s an elevation of the material, a move that takes it to a whole level of blissful enjoyment.

But even the creative musicality of these great films cannot eclipse the groove of Baby Driver. Edgar Wright’s crime story is choreographed like a ballet, where every movement, spin and gunshot is rooted in the music blasting out, and the effect is somewhere approaching pure magic.

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