Top 10 Films Of 2017

2017, Uncategorized

Putting movies into any top ten list is purely subjective, and this list is very subjective. First off, the movies had to have been released in U.K. Cinema in 2017. Secondly, I had to have actually seen them. So whilst I’m sure both Logan and Moonlight are amazing films, I haven’t got round to watching them yet. I will do, but at the time of writing this list they had not been seen; and lastly, I had to think they were worth going on the list. Before I get started some honourable mentions for Paddington 2, Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Split, The Cure For Wellness, and IT. All films which I really enjoyed this year but couldn’t fit into my top ten. Speaking of which, let’s get started…

 

Keanu Reeves stars as 'John Wick' in JOHN WICK: CHAPTER 2.

10. John Wick 2

When John Wick introduced us to Keanu Reeves’s ultra-cool, ultra-violent hitman, out for revenge after the death of his dog, it was a breath of fresh air. A great action movie which not only looked great but hinted at a wider world and deeper mythology. It left you wanting to know more, and this year we got more. It’s always a risk when doing a sequel to a great stand alone film, but buoyed by the stealth success of the first film John Wick 2 came out fighting. Whilst not hitting the same heights, it’s still incredibly enjoyable and delves deeper into the world in a fun and logical manner. The action is stylish, and Keanu Reeves fits the character like John Wick fits his jet black suit, perfectly.

 

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9. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

A lot of expectation was heaped upon this film, and as the dust starts to settle inevitably it didn’t live up to everyone’s. It’s still a really great movie though. Rian Johnson adds so many fresh and new ingredients to the Star Wars recipe, and went with the brave choice of making a character driven movie. It has great spectacle, and some truly jaw dropping moments. If it had been with us longer it might have climbed higher up the list.

 

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8. Gifted

A small indie from Captain America star Chris Evans, and a low key return from the director of The Amazing Spider-Man films Marc Webb. This sweet film about a man raising his genius niece, is both charming and heart-breaking. The cast are fantastic, and the film never becomes too sentimental. Tugging slowly at your heart strings, the film earns its emotional response. Missed by many on its release, this was a real gem.

 

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7. Blade Runner 2049

A follow up to Ridley Scott’s sci-fi classic, not many could have hoped that this sequel would have been this great. Talking about the plot runs you at risk of revealing spoilers, but this is one of the most intelligent sci-fi films in recent years. The plot is worthy of the original, the acting is great throughout, Roger Deakins cinematography is jaw-droppingly beautiful. It’s just as cerebral as the original, and amps up the emotions. Denis Villeneuve continues to reinvent and reinvigorate the sci-fi genre. Next up, Dune.

 

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6. Baby Driver

Cooler than John Wick, choreography which outdoes La La Land, and more tunes than Guardians Of The Galaxy 2. Edgar Wright shrugged off the baggage of his failed Ant-man project with verve and style. Angel Elgort showed his leading man chops in a film which blended heist, comedy and musical. Never less than entertaining and with laughs to spare. Wright reminded everyone why he is one of the most interesting film makers around. Can’t wait to see what he does next.

 

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5. Wonder Woman

Beating Marvel to the punch, DC proved that a female driven super hero movie could do well at the box office. Hell it obliterated the box office. Easily the best movie of DC’s current crop, Wonder Woman was a breath of fresh air in the testosterone fuelled landscape of comic book movies. Gal Gadot personifies Diana Prince perfectly, and with a female behind the camera in director Patty Jenkins, a perfect tone was set. If the third act was a little weak, what came before it was pure summer blockbuster joy.

 

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4. War For The Planet Of The Apes

Blockbuster movie making with real intelligence behind the camera. The rebooted planet of the apes films have shown what happens when a studio gives a great storyteller free reign. War was the perfect cap off to a fantastic trilogy. With lofty themes such as revenge, and humanity, Matt Reeves balances it all with a deft touch. This is character driven big budget movie making at its best, and features another fantastic Mo-cap assisted performance from Andy Serkis. Someone give this man an oscar.

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3. Mother!

For me, Mother! is what true film-making is all about. A directors vision from start to finish, pushing the boundaries of what audiences can expect and what you can achieve with the medium. Darren Aronofsky’s movie is a fever dream which blends elements of horror, comedy, and parable into a tale which can viewed in many different ways depending on what the viewer brings to it. It was the most thrilled, and the most gripped I’ve been by a movie all year.

 

Film Title: Get Out

2. Get Out

The biggest surprise of the year was the directorial debut by Jordan Peele. Wrongly labelled as a comedy by the Golden Globes. Yes, it has some laugh out loud moments, but this is a horror film. A horror film with great social satire, and a
bold perspective on everyday racial tensions. It doesn’t shy away from some truly weird moments, and next up for Peele is a new iteration of The Twilight Zone, which after Get Out has to be a must-watch.

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1. Dunkirk

We’ve talked about smart, big budgets movie making. We’ve talked about auteur vision. We’ve talked about pushing the boundaries of the movie going experience. Dunkirk is a film which manages to encompass all of that. In every nail biting, tension wrought scene. Christopher Nolan delivers a concise, taught film which demands to be seen on the biggest screen possible. With his usual arsenal of IMAX cameras, in-camera practical effects, Hans Zimmer score, shifts in time frames, and a masked Tom Hardy, Nolan creates a war film which plants you into the protagonists shoes. There is no blood, the Nazis are hardly seen, and the film is technically about a retreat. Yet it’s also one of the most visceral, triumphant war movies in recent times, and that is all testament to Nolan’s skill as a filmmaker. Proving once again he is a master of his trade.

Top 10 Christmas Movies Of All Time

2017, Uncategorized

It’s the festive season, and that means the age old argument of which Christmas film is the best heats up again. It’s a topic which sparks huge debate, not least of all over what actually qualifies as a Christmas movie. For the sake of this post we are defining a Christmas movie as any film whose plot is set around the holiday season. So whilst Wizard Of Oz is on TV every Christmas Day, it doesn’t qualify as a Christmas film. Same goes for Harry Potter, which even though it does contain scenes set at Christmas, the bulk of the film isn’t. Films that do qualify don’t have to have a Christmassy feel, they just have to be set during Christmas. So it’s that simple, get all the films that are set at Christmas and decide which one’s the best. Will the old classics win out? Or will something more recent cement itself as an insta-classic.

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10. National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation

Arguably the best National Lampoon film, Christmas Vacation sees Chevy Chase’s dreams of a perfect family Christmas go up in smoke when Randy Quaid’s Cousin Eddie pitches up his trailer outside the Griswald family house. Cue a festive period comedy which has laughs to spare. It comes with the classic Christmas message too, that Christmas is all about family, but be careful because your family might just ruin it.

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9. Home Alone

Home Alome may be looked down upon now, but if you were a kid who grew up in 90’s then it was a Christmas staple. With a career defining performance from Macaulay Culkin, and great comedic turns from Joe Pesci and Daniel Stern as hapless burglars Harry and Marv. What kid didn’t dream of being left home alone, ordering pizza, and messing up their house. Home Alone is a Christmas film which has laughs and heart in equal measure.

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8. The Santa Clause

Is it saccharine? Yes. Is it a little cheesy? Definitely. Do we still love it? Of course. This is the perfect family film for Christmas. Filled with laughs for the adults, and validation for know it all kids. The premise of a man who kills Santa, so has to become Santa is strangely dark and twisted, but the film never lets up on the laughs, and has a heart as pure as snow. Featuring all the Christmas tropes we love, such as Santa’s sleigh, reindeer, elves and the North Pole, this is a crowd pleaser that will entertain everyone. Just don’t watch the sequels.

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7. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang

Before Robert Downey Jr hit the big time with Iron Man, and before writer Shane Black found commercial success as a director with Iron Man 3 and The Nice Guy’s, came Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang. Set at Christmas, like all Shane Black films, this darkly comic film is an underated gem. With RDJ as a criminal, who ends up getting a break in Hollywood, only to become embroiled in a conspiracy. The film is uttterley hilarious, with a humour streak as a dark as black ice. Unlike the films that have come before it on this list, this film is just a great film which just happens to be set at Christmas.

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6. Gremlins

Another great film that just happens to be set during Christmas. This is a slice of pure 80’s fried gold. Produced by Steven Spielberg, written by Christopher Columbus, and directed by Joe Dante, Gremlins showcases some of Hollywoods top players at the height of their Blockbuster making, crowd pleasing powers. Gremlins is pure fun. Just remember the three rules: One, kept them out of the light… oh I’m sure you know the rest.

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5. Carol

A film which uses the warm colours of Christmas as a gorgeous back drop to a slow burning love story, which sears with sensuality. Not your traditional Christmas film, but watching this under a blanket during a cold December will never fail to warm you up. Combining a sensitively told love story with the sexual politics of the 1950’s, and career best performances from Cate Blanchett and Rooney Mara. This really is the best Christmas Carol. Dammit, I promised myself not to make that pun.

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4. The Nightmare Before Christmas

This is Halloween! This is Halloween! No, it’s Christmas, and this is the perfect film to get you into the Christmas spirit. With a left of field sensibility, Henry Selick and Tim Burton created a counter-culture icon in Jack Skellington. Filled with the images that would become Tim Burton’s stock in trade, it also has some of the best songs. You’ll be singing along throughout December, and well into January.

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3. Die Hard

Some may argue that Die Hard isn’t a Christmas film. They’re wrong. Set at an offfice Christmas party, and with the end credits playing out to “Let It Snow”, this is definitely a Christmas movie, just not a Christmas I’d like to be invited to. This is a genre defining action movie, which turned Bruce Willis into a Hollywood star. Filled with ingenious set pieces, and Alan Rickman on terrific form, this isn’t just one of the best Christmas movies ever made, it’s one of the best action movies ever committed to film. Yippee-ki-yay…

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2. Elf

Modern day classic is a term that fits Elf perfectly. I was lucky enough to see it at the cinema on it’s initial release, and it’s a movie I’ve seen every Christmas since. It’s joyous seasonal fun, with Will Ferrell as the man who grew up on the North Pole. It’s a fish out of water comedy with endlessly quotable dialogue, it’s heart firmly in the right place, and maple syrup in its coffee. If you haven’t yet seen Elf (where have you been) then watch it this Christmas. If you have seen it, just watch it again. Either way, you won’t be disappointed.

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1. It’s A Wonderful Life

If you’ve read to this point and didn’t realise It’s A Wonderful Life was going to be number one, then you obviously have never seen it. A bonafide classic, this is a film which not only stands up to the test of time, but seems to grow more charming with it. Frank Capra shows himself as a masterful storyteller in this feel good movie, with James Stewart using all his movie star charm as George Bailey. The family man who, after a financial mix up, considers taking his own life. What’s most surprising is that the film doesn’t skirt around the darker subject matter, which pays off in dividends when the emotional climax hits.

So there it is. Our Top 10 Christmas movies of all time. Agree? Disagree? Any notable omissions? Let us know,in the comments section below.