Film critic Paul Steward’s top ten films of 2017
PUBLISHED: 09:00 30 December 2017
Paul Steward’s top ten films of 2017
10. Baby Driver
Each car chase and action scene is meticulously choreographed to fit a chosen song from Baby’s playlist.
John Hamm and Jamie Foxx are excellent in supporting roles. Kevin Spacey’s role as underworld kingpin Doc may mean this film may not receive the recognition it deserves. An endlessly re-watchable thrill ride.
9. Lady Macbeth
Captivating drama set in 19th Century rural England.
A star-making performance from British actress Florence Pugh as Katherine, a young woman sold into marriage with a man twice her age. Like no period piece you’ve seen before. Beautifully shot without music to emphasise the claustrophobic nature of the estate, adding to the increasing tension. An exceptional film, which will stand the test of time.
8. The Disaster Artist
Directed by and starring James Franco, this tells the story behind 2003’s The Room, a film with a reputation as one of the worst ever made that became a cult classic.
Franco plays the film’s enigmatic creator Tommy Wiseau. His friend, Greg Sestero is played by Franco’s brother Dave.
Both deliver outstanding performances. A funny and endearing film about friendship and chasing your dreams, cleverly crafted from a fascinating true story.
More modern Western than superhero flick. Brutally violent and brooding in tone, and a long way from your usual superhero fare.
With acting performances that lift the film to new heights, including from newcomer Dafne Keen who is an absolute revelation as the feral Laura. One of the best comic adaptations in recent memory.
6. War For The Planet Of The Apes
A smart and darkly complex film that is all too rare in today’s blockbuster culture with a career-best turn from Andy Serkis portraying the ape’s inner anger and steely resolve.
Steve Zahn’s Bad Ape lifts the tension with just enough comedic relief. A tense and steadily paced character drama.
5. The Death Of Stalin
To turn such serious subject matter into a comedy is no easy feat but director Armando Iannucci delivers with aplomb.
Opting against forced Russian accents, his inspired choice to have his multinational cast speak in a variety of dialects adds to the absurdist tone of the film. Star turns from Simon Russell Beal and Jason Issacs, an endlessly entertaining political satire.
The highest grossing horror movie in UK history is as much coming of age drama as horror.
It allows enough time to get to know the characters first, giving real investment to their perils at the hands of Pennywise the clown. Bill Skarsgard’s refreshingly original performance in this role is just as unsettling as the acclaimed Tim Curry version in the 1990 television mini series.
Year’s best horror film.
3. Brigsby Bear
Focusing on the passion of obsessive fan culture and with some great fish out of water comedy, a delightful comedy drama that deserves to be seen by more people.
Its critics will point to fact the film’s more menacing aspects are conveniently glossed over, but it has warmth.
2. Free Fire
Despite being one long gun fight, immensely entertaining, zipping along with witty dialogue and realistically clumsy action.
The impressive cast includes Armie Hammer and Brie Larson and a fantastic show stealing performance from Sharlto Copely as Vern. With a razor sharp script. Not to be missed.
1. Blade Runner 2049
This sequel did not disappoint.
Gosling is mesmerising as the conflicted K while Jared Leto delivers a beautifully understated performance as villain Nihander Wallace.
Dark, atmospheric sci-fi at its very best.
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