Archive for December, 2017

My Top Films of 2017

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 27, 2017 by bookofdread

Well, it’s my favorite time of year, time to rank my favorite new movies! I love these lists because they speak to the taste of other cinephiles and I like to see what other people love as much as I like to sort through my own taste and pick favorites! I wish I could have seen Phantom Thread and The Post before I made this list but, well, I haven’t.

Here we go!

 

25. Hagazussa: A Heathen’s Curse – Lucas Feigelfeld

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Lukas Figelfeld’s Hagazussa is no Witch copycat. It is very much it’s own tale, steeped in the lore of Bavaria. Moody and gross, psychedelic and crunchy, this gnarly tale is a brand new horror classic and I can’t wait for Figelfeld’s next effort.

24. Blade Runner 2049 – Denis Villenueve

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Blade Runner 2049 is slow and ponderous just like Blade Runner. It is a poetic film and a bit of a dirge, but I always love a good existential rumination on humanity. Roger Deakins cinematography borders on supernatural.

23. Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol. 2 – James Gunn

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While not as funny as GOTG Vol 1, Vol 2 is a great sequel that builds natural relationships out of these characters and watching them go is blast. Gunn wears his heart on his sleeve with the best of them, and Kurt Russell is a joy both as a charmer and a vile intergalactic deadbeat dad. I look forward to seeing what Gunn does with Adam Warlock.

22. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri – Martin McDonagh

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Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell are in rare form in this powder keg of Americana. A meaty slice of truth delivered in a pulpy package that is alternately thrilling and hilarious.

21. A Cure For Wellness – Gore Verbinski

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I found Gore Verbinski’s A Cure For Wellness just what the doctor ordered. They don’t really make them like this anymore. It’s a hundred million dollar hammer film set in an asylum and featuring some of the most sumptuous imagery of the year. I loved it.

20. Vidar The Vampire – Thomas Aske Berg and Fredrik Waldeland

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VampyrVidar is a breath of blasphemous fresh air. With little regard to political correctness and a crucifix up the ass of the stuffy old church, Vidar the Vampire skewers social and religious hypocrisies. Lucio Fulci would blush at the set-pieces and Romero would clap them on the back for scathing satire. Not one for the prudish, but if you have a sense of humor I highly recommend it.

19. Blood Money – Lucky McKee

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Essentially a remake of the Treasure Of Sierra Madre with kids on a camping trip and a crazy sniper, Blood Money is nihilism in film form. It’s a black comedy that never pauses for laughs, but the whole shitshow is a riot if  you have a misanthropic streak like me. McKee continues to spellbind with his editing and use of music but it’s the ending that really stuck with me. Dark shit man.

18. Mom and Dad – Brian Taylor

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Mom and Dad looks like a Tobe Hooper film and sounds like George Romero movie with the tempo turned up a smidge, but not to silly 28 Days Later levels. Delivering on a bonkers promise like this is tricky, but Taylor lands it completely. Bound to please crowds  young and old, though your favorite characters may depend on how old you are. See this one when you can!

17. Get Out – Jordan Peele

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Existential dread by way of racial metaphor. Jordan Peele took Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner into Richard Matheson territory and the results are astounding. The script alone should win the Oscar, but Peele’s masterful modulation of tone is staggering.

16. Lady  Macbeth – William Oldroyd

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Florence Pugh is a villainess for the ages in William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth. Pugh has a gravitational pull in the film that none can escape and the viewer can’t turn away as her misdeeds turn to crimes turn to atrocity. An elegant and gorgeous horror film, mean spirited and bleak, and also poetic and stark. I cannot say why it stuck with me so, but I have not been able to shake it.

15. Brawl In Cell Block 99 – S. Craig Zahler

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Following up the stellar Bone Tomahawk with Cell Block 99, Zahler cements himself as our current greatest cinematic purveyor of pain. The beatings and injuries delivered in this film are so grotesque and brutal metal bands will be writing songs about it for decades. BICB99 isn’t just pain porn, in fact, it is the careful contextualization of the character and events that get the audience on Vince Vaughn’s side, so that whatever violence he need dole out, it seems justified. Zahler’s next is Dragged Across Concrete starring Vaughn and Mel Gibson and I am waiting with baited breath.

14. Raw – Julia Ducournau

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This movie features the strangest thing I’ve ever cheered at in a movie. A complete story, it will play differently the second time you see it. The performances are bravura and the music—oooooohhhhh- I love the music! Great bloody film. More like this please.

13. Thor: Ragnarok – Taika Waititi

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How does Marvel keep it fresh? They hire Taika Waititi, that’s how, one of the funniest guys on Earth. He steals the movie from The Hulk, as a rockman. He steals the movie! This is the funniest film I saw all year. A charmer.

12. Alien: Covenant – Ridley Scott

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Hoo-Boy, I loved Alien: Covenant! It’s a kind of high dollar adaptation of The Case Of Charles Dexter Ward, after Prometheus Mountains Of Madness. Walter Vs. David is some of the headiest stuff all year (sorry Blade Runner 2049), and the scene where David takes out the… well I won’t spoil it here, but woah. Also, David walking around looking like a Jedi is fun. I really hope Ridley gets to finish this story out with one more film(or three).

11. The Evil Within – Andrew Getty

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Andrew Getty worked on The Evil Within until he died from an ulcer exacerbated by heart-disease and meth amphetamine use. And still he made a legitimately frightening horror film that should stand the test of time. The characters are well acted and the premise is a Fulciesque spin into nightmare logic where killing kids and animals makes one smarter. The outrageous practical effects are amazing and terrifying. I understand why we don’t get more films like this but we should be in awe and wonder when we do get one of these pure looks into the imagination of a madman.

10. The Last Jedi – Rian Johnson

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While not everything I dreamed, (hence not the #1 spot), The Last Jedi was fresh and fun enough for me to love it as a cool new Star Wars adventure. It paid of the vivid characters from the last film and gave Luke and Leia one last great adventure.

9. mother! – Darren Aronofsky

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Now we look in to the heart of the madman that is Darren Aronofsky. Ever since Requiem For A Dream I’ve felt he was pulling his punches a little, (not to say his films aren’t still rough as all get out), but mother! is holding nothing back. Not his religious upbringing, not his history with women, nothing. As nakedly revealing as Woody Allen’s Manhattan, mother is a horror film none will soon forget. Remember, the woman in the flames in the opening shot…

8. Professor Marston And The Wonder Women – Angela Robinson

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An incredibly heartfelt and sexy telling of the story that inspired Wonder Women and a tale of polyamory told with out a judgmental angle. A film that defines dominant and submissive roles and consent wrapped up in a beautiful love story. Rebecca Hall is incredible.

7. Bodied – Joseph Khan

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The most politically incorrect film of the ‘woke’ era. I love how Khan and writer Alex Larsen tackle the formalism and propriety of a politically correct society and then shows the hypocrisy in trying. While the characters can (and do) say whatever they want, it isn’t without consequence. Bodied is invigorating cinema and will pump your blood up.

6. The Lost City Of Z – James Gray

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Enthralling storytelling about adventurer, mapmaker Percy Fawcett. Like discovering another planet. Gray’s filmic approach imbues the journey with wonder and danger. A transporting experience that leaves you wanting to discover more!

5. Brigsby Bear – Kyle Mooney

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If you had told me last year that my favorite Mark Hamill film of the year was not going to be The Last Jedi, I might have been sad. But then I didn’t know about Brigsby Bear. If you haven’t seen it the less said the better, but Brigsby Bear is a life affirming film with lots of fuck words, and a lot more heart. This is the cuddly american ‘Why don’t you play in hell’, and left me with many of the same feelings about doing whatever it takes to get together with friends and make a movie. See Brigsby Bear, you won’t regret it.

4. Twin Peaks: The Return – David Lynch

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“I am the FBI.”

3. Dunkirk – Christopher Nolan

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With Dunkirk, Nolan has made his masterpiece. His flirtations with time have yielded differing results but with his land-sea-air device, he has made a clear delineation for the timelines, and when they converge the effect is absolutely thrilling. Avant garde cinema blockbuster. No one does it quite like him.

2. The Florida Project – Sean Baker

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A magical ride through a less than magic kingdom, Sean Baker made the most human film of the hear in  The Florida Project. The adventures of Mooney and co are the most fun you’ll have all year, but worry you will about her welfare. It helps to have angels like Willem Dafoe around. When the credits roll on this one I believe anything could be possible for Mooney and her friend.

1.The Shape Of Water – Guillermo Del Toro

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The Shape Of Water is the summation of Guillermo Del Toro’s craft. Lyrical, haunting, romantic, sweet, and at times grim and cold, fishy and mean, but always poetry. When The Asset stands up and Michael Shannon looks at him and says “You are a god…” Is the righteous fist pump of the year. Nothing left me feeling as awesome this year as this film.

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