Don’t worry, 2017 is the year, not the amount – there are only 10 on my list.
And in between I reviewed well over 100 films – in cinemas and screening rooms, on Netflix, Amazon, Shudder and Sky, via screener links, on planes, and DVDs, and one chilly July evening on a giant screen by the river (Jaws, of course). These are some of my favourite movie moments from films released this year (and yes I know Dunkirk was amazing!)
Favourite Quote – Geostorm
“I literally had to fly in from outer space!” says Gerard Butler’s Jake Lawson to a government committee in Geostorm. Jake is the creator of Dutch Boy, a system of international satellites that can control the weather.
Little does he know, though, that he’s about to get fired by his own brother (anyone from a big family won’t be at all surprised by this, by the way).
It’s a daft romp, that fails only in not having enough gruesome weather-related deaths. I can’t quite fathom how this got so many 1-star “worst film ever” reviews. Haven’t they seen Home Alone 4? Like, 58 times? <Glares at my 5 year old>
Favourite Scene – IT
Favourite is pushing it, as this scene from IT is so terrifying and upsetting I watched much of it through a veil of tears. But it is one of the few movie scenes this year that has stayed with me long after watching the film.
I have a small boy, with a yellow raincoat, and watching poor Georgie being lured by Pennywise and then having his arm bitten off pushed me pretty much to my limits, movie-wise (though to be fair I’ve never seen The Human Centipede).
I still can’t think about Georgie without welling up so let’s just move swiftly on shall we.
Favourite Performance – Call Me By Your Name
Stunning to look at, CMBYN reminded me of going to Tuscany on holiday in 1987 and being chased around by teenage boys on mopeds, though the film hasn’t stayed with me emotionally.
Everyone raves about Armie Hammer as Oliver (a character who left me cold) and Timothée Chalamet as Elio, but for me the standout performance in Call Me By Your Name was Amira Casar as Anella, Elio’s mother.
She careers round the Italian countryside in her little Fiat, smoking; or languidly lounges at their outdoor meals, smoking; or best of all, translates German poetry into English while ruffling Elio’s hair (I don’t think she was smoking at this point though the cigarettes were the main prop for me in this movie; much more so than the apricots and peaches).
Favourite Children’s Film – Paddington 2
My kids love some pretty dire movies, and some truly great ones. And they are incapable of seeing the difference.
Luckily Paddington 2 was where our tastes finally collided this year.
This is a five star film, with several fabulous performances from Hugh Grant as down-on-his-luck luvvie Phoenix Buchanan, who steals a pop-up book of London filled with clues that lead to a treasure trove.
Buchanan’s attic room is filled with mannequins wearing his old stage outfits, and he whiles away the hours up there talking to the models in various accents and Shakespearean quotes like an RSC Norman Bates.
Can Paddington, the Browns and Knuckles McGinty, Paddington’s prison cook pal, save the day?
Favourite Evil Woman – Lady Macbeth
When I say evil, I don’t mean evil. I mean misunderstood and ground down by the demands of patriarchy. Okay maybe a teeny bit evil, AND ground down by the demands of patriarchy.
Let me introduce Lady Macbeth‘s Katherine, the teenage bride of brutish old mine owner Alexander, who lives in a massive echoey Victorian pile in Northumberland and makes her stand naked in the corner while he masturbates. (I grew up in an echoey Victorian pile and they are FREEZING, as if he wasn’t enough of an abusive monster already.)
Anyway Katherine starts an affair with a servant on a particularly squeaky bed, and then starts killing people. Florence Pugh is simply extraordinary as Katherine, so young yet so together, both a victim and terrifyingly amoral.
Favourite Sex Scene – Atomic Blonde
Atomic Blonde has a terrific central performance from Charlize Theron as 1980s spy Lorraine Broughton, sent to Berlin to retrieve a list of agents before it falls into the wrong hands.
Overall. the film isn’t brilliant; the beginning and end are fabulous, though sadly the middle is drearier than a Soviet-era shopping centre.
But as well as kicking serious ass several times, Broughton meets and unexpectedly falls for rookie operative Delphine (Sofia Boutella), a young woman who came for some excitement and is now trapped in a dangerous world. Their older/younger woman relationship is sexy and tender, and afterwards they snuggle up in bed together. Ahhhh.
Favourite Action Hero – John Wick: Chapter 2
I loved John Wick: Chapter 2. Set very soon after the first film, this is a bleak, witty and uber-violent sequel. John is still completely beaten up and about to get more so, while fighting off endless hitmen and women in some terrific set pieces, including a topnotch fight in a hall of mirrors.
This time John has a new dog, an increasingly crazy number of adversaries, and – thank god – a new suit.
We also find out more about the shadowy, underground world of the assassins, and John’s many skills, from pencil-murder to linguistics. Yes it turns out it isn’t just Russian that Wick can converse in – John can speak nearly as many languages as Amy Adams in Arrival.
So many in fact, that I half-expected him to bark at his new dog.
Favourite Look – The Love Witch
This funny and feminist tale about Elaine, a young and beautiful witch who uses spells and magic to make men fall in love with her, is set in the present day but is drenched in the colours and fashions of the 60s and 70s.
Check out The Love Witch‘s wonderful women’s only cafe, where ladies sit swathed in pink and cream lace and enormous hats, eating deliciously creamy concoctions and discussing love.
Favourite Description – “A Fun Romp”
I wrote (and thought) this about so many movies this year.
2017 was a cracker for fun – if imperfect and forgettable – big budget movies, which were a joy to watch if you left your brain at the door.
All of them better than I expected, even if I couldn’t tell you anything about what happened in them now.
Favourite Superhero – Wonder Woman
At last, we women got our own superhero, in Patty Jenkins’ film starring Gal Gadot.
The scenes on the rocky island of Themyscira among Wonder Woman‘s Amazon family and friends were among the best, and yes admittedly the movie was rather short on women once she left there.
Though who can forget Diana’s walk across No Man’s Land between the First World War trenches?
Initially naive (“I used to want to save the world… but I knew so little then”) Diana also turns out to be a born leader, of men as well as women. Caring, thoughtful, brave and clever, Diana / Wonder Woman fights Ares, God Of War, as she tries to bring the War To End All Wars to a close.