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Thread: Best movies of 2017

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    Best Movies of 2017

    Metacritc's current year's best list, by critical ratings, but some are 2018, not 2017; and they managed to forget one better than these, Christopher Nolan's DUNKIRK - Metacritic raging 94. Call Me by Your Name, which everybody loves, is a great success, and so are some of the others, in what still seems a somewhat thin year somehow.

    1 96 CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Luca Guadagnino)
    11/24/2017
    2 95 FACES, PLACES (Agnès Varda)
    10/6/2017
    3 94 A FANTASTIC WOMAN (Sebastián Lelio)
    11/17/2017
    4 94 LADY BIRD (Greta Gerwig)
    11/3/2017
    5 92 THE FLORIDA PROJECT (Sean Baker)
    10/6/2017
    6 91 EX LIBRIS: The New York Public Library (Fred Wiseman)
    9/13/2017
    7 9 PADDINGTON 2 (Paul King)
    1/12/2018
    8 88 LOVELESS (Andrey Zvyagintsev)
    12/1/2017
    9 88 YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE (Lynne Ramsay
    Feb. 23, 2018
    10 88 RAT FILM(Theo Anthony)
    Sept. 15, 2017
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-25-2017 at 07:27 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Knipp View Post
    Metacritc's current year's best list, by critical ratings, but some are 2018, not 2017; and they managed to forget one better than these, Christopher Nolan's DUNKIRK - Metacritic raging 94. Call Me by Your Name, which everybody loves, is a great success, and so are some of the others, in what still seems a somewhat thin year somehow.
    The ones I've seen are Varda's impossible-to-dislike, crowd-pleasing yet undeniable FACES PLACES and The Florida Project. I read your review. I have not seen Tangerine but it doesn't seem to me apt to call the director a "humanist" based on his latest film, a tough piece that is brutally honest and uncompromisingly caustic toward underclass, single mothers. This film confronts the parenting crisis head on. It's quite an achievement to make it so hard for the spectator to decide whether the child is better off under State custody. My friends, a cinema manager and a print film critic, didn't like it BECAUSE of the director's lack of compassion towards the mom figure. I thought that the scene where she punches her best friend in the face repeatedly for calling her a cock sucker tipped the balance of the characterization too much into unfavorable territory.
    Last edited by oscar jubis; 11-24-2017 at 09:21 PM.

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    You cannot be realistic as Sean Baker is and sugar-coat the characters. But I would still call him a humanist, for even bothering to depict this world, and his treatment of the kids, arguably his real subject. Tangerine is another example you need to see, which I found visually beautiful - the colors. Maybe my conception of humanism is different from yours. It's not "liberalism" and portraits that are realistic shouldn't be seen as "tilted" into "favorable" or "unfavorable" "territory". Territory is a good word, but it's neutral territory. I also repeat that this film reminded me of Andrea Arnold's American Honey, an exciting, disturbing film whose characters from the American white underclass ("poor white trash") are full of incredible life, but some of them are definitely not nice or right in any way, they make you feel uneasy and sort of soiled. Andrea Arnold is a humanist too, and watch her amazing Fish Tank, Perhaps Michael Fassbender's best role, where he is a really awful character, but it's a realistic look at these people's lives, and she gives you an intimate look at what he does.

    I agree with you on Faces, Places. It seems a bit thin, but it is beautifully put together, and she is an icon now, and very remarkable given her age (89! - how does she do it?). Have you really not seen Dunkirk? If so that is really too bad, because it was essential to see it in IMax and/or (I saw it in both) 70mm. About half the people didn't get it. Varda is the darling of the Film Society of Lincoln Center. This is not realistic at all, nor does it show any of the dark or problematic side of the rural France she and JR go through. It's just a show they put on. But it's so slickly done, you have to admire it, and her repartee with JR is so slick and pleasing. I didn't really feel anything though.

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    I edited the post so it's "lack" of compassion", not "like". I love the skewering of the Brazilian bourgeois newlywed bride in The Florida Project. My friend says Baker is a "miserablist". I think it's an exaggeration. But there's maybe two moments in the film when I feel the same way. Still, a memorable film for me. As far as contemporary films, I am going to watch Wonderstruck next. Currently, rewatching Dekalog and Ozu's I was born but..". I spend A LOT more time re-watching movies than watching new ones. I'm more interested in getting to know a few films deeply than dabbling in many ones.

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    I'm not dabbling. It's more scouring. Dabbling is pejorative but I know you may not realize that.
    Don't expect too much from Wonderstruck.
    No, Baker's not a "miserablist". See Tangerine.
    I'm a huge fan of Dekalog and it can't be watched too often. Admire Ozu but don't watch him enough. However, I think one has to both watch great older films and the new ones, all the time.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 11-25-2017 at 07:44 PM.

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    Metacritic now has a new version of the page I started with. Dunkirk has been put it its rightful place. It changes all the time and it's a bit hard to see the logic of the readjustments, and they may not be too reliable, but you have to realize they have 6 pages going up to over 550 films. I have not seen the much admired Columbus, and I see it's now easy to watch it online so I may have to. Yesterday I saw Margaret Betts' debut filmNovitiate (which she wrote and directed) about a young nun in training and a troubled Mother Superior in the key year of Vatican II, 1964, which includes an Oscar-nomination performance by Melissa Leo as the Mother Superior. Metacritic 73%, not a top contender, but very interesting if you're interested in Catholicism and debut films and Oscar supporting performances.

    1 96% CALL ME BY YOUR NAME (Luca Guadagnino)
    11/24/2017
    2 95% FACES, PLACES (Agnès Varda)
    10/6/2017
    3 94% A FANTASTIC WOMAN (Sebastián Lelio)
    11/17/2017
    4 94% DUNKIRK (Christopher Nolan)
    7/21/2017
    5 94% LADY BIRD (Greta Gerwig)
    11/3/2017
    6 92% THE FLORIDA PROJECT (Sean Baker)
    10/6/2017
    7 91% EX LIBRIS: The New York Public Library (Fred Wiseman)
    9/13/2017
    8 90% I CALLED HIM MORGAN 2 (Kasper Collin)
    1/12/2018
    9 89% COLUMBUS (Kogonada)
    8/4/2017
    10 89% UNCERTAIN( Anna Sandilands and Ewan McNicol)
    Sept. 15, 2017
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 03-02-2018 at 08:19 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris Knipp View Post
    I'm not dabbling. It's more scouring. Dabbling is pejorative but I know you may not realize that.
    Don't expect too much from Wonderstruck.
    No, Baker's not a "miserablist". See Tangerine.
    I'm a huge fan of Dekalog and it can't be watched too often. Admire Ozu but don't watch him enough. However, I think one has to both watch great older films and the new ones, all the time.
    I am having the distinct pleasure of watching DEKALOG on a theater screen , on Criterion BluRay. I will definitely watch Tangerine.

    Susan Sontag, among others, has talked about the "excess" or "plenitude" of cinema, meaning that it's impossible to attend to everything available for perception in any second of cinema; so many systems of signification working conjointly and consistently that I often feel I am dabbling when I am experiencing a movie for the first time. I cannot honestly claim to have more than a superficial understanding of the movie. What I ask from a movie is to compel me to watch it a second time so i can explore how it does what it does.

    It has often been said that camera movement and editing are (the) elements of film style that are uniquely cinematic, but film reviews typically ignore them (understandably perhaps, to concentrate on genre, plot and character development)because it seems natural to use available time and energy on story construction and take for granted the stylistic or aesthetic aspects. I notice that my students often forget that everything they see and hear results from decisions about how to manipulate the viewer's perception, attention, thoughts and feelings. Often part of the enjoyment is to disregard the cogs and wheels and stratagems and become immersed into the diegesis. Then you watch it again to understand the experience. So, the term dabble was descriptive of my experience and the fact that the writing about film I prefer is the kind derived from repeated acquaintance with the film under consideration.

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    Very well but "dabble" means "take part in an activity in a casual or superficial way" and hence sounds pejorative as applied to writing movie reviews, which are superficial compared to deep analysis of films based on many repeated viewings and analyses but can be intelligent and even perceptive on many levels.

    Ironically, when you were probably still a child I published an essay in my college (Amherst) Literary Magazine called "A Film Critic's Hornbook" enunciating the same principles: that conventional critics focus in the diegetics of movies when, I argued, they would do better to examine the uniquely "filmic" aspects, and otherwise are treating a film no differently than if it were novel, play, or poem. As you know, though, for the needs of everyday viewers - without whom there would be no films shown in cinemas, and nothing would have been made for academics like you to examine - the diegetics are what need to be written about. So I've wound up going against my own undergraduate essay.

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    Correction: it was probably before you were born.

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    Amherst is a great college. One thing I'd hate if I wrote movie reviews is not to be able to analyze resolution and closure. A couple of years ago,I turned down a gig writing reviews for a weekly. The guy they got is very good though, a friend of a friend. I watched The Florida Project again and my admiration for it keeps increasing. I love how the ending yanks the rug from under the viewer. It's jarring and I had to think about it and discuss it with peers to come to a final decision about its appropriateness.I'm watching Dunkirk next week, finally.

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    Thanks. Hope you like Dunkirk. Recently I really liked Kaurismäki's Other Side of Hope and Novitiate is worth watching especially if you're interested in Catholic history. Big role for Melissa Leo too. People are talking about McDonagh's Three Billboards a lot, Frances McDormand always gets a lot of attention. You mentioned turning down the reviewing job; obviously it would not be to your taste.

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    DAVE AND JAMES FRANCO IN THE DISASTER ARTIST

    New movies this weekend, Dec. 1, 2017 (NYC):
    The Darkest Hour (Joe Wright) 11/22/17 - Metacritic 74%
    Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino) 11/24/17 - Metacritic 95%
    The Disaster Artist (James Franco) 12/2/17 - Metacritic 76%
    The Other Side of Hope (Aki Kaurismäki)- Metacritic 84%
    The Shape of Water (Guillermo del Toro) Metacritic 85%
    Wonder Wheel (Woody Allen) - Metacritic 53%


    Also showing in NYC :

    Thelma (Joachim Trier, at Village East) - Metacritic 74%
    On the Beach at Night Alone (Hong Sang-soo), at the Metrograph - Metacritic 80%
    6-film K Aki Kaurismäki retrospective, at Film Forum
    Naples '44, new doc at Film Forum
    The Florida Project (Sean Baker) Metacritic 92%
    Three Billboards. . . (Martin McDonagh) Metacritic 87%
    Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig) - Metacritic 94%
    The Killing of a Sacred Deer (Yorgos Lanthimos) Metacritic 73%

    JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE AND KATE WINSLETT IN WONDER WHEEL
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 12-01-2017 at 05:13 PM.

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    HANKS AND STREEP IN THE POST

    They're talking about (Dec. 22nd release). . . a production whipped off "at warp speed" partly by a bare novice screenwriter, now ready to grab top honors. See Variety's recent "in contention" story.
    The Post
    Coming Soon
    In theaters wide January 12, but it will qualify for 2017 Oscars. It has been named Best Film by the National Board of Review.

    Director: Steven Spielberg
    Writers: Liz Hannah, Josh Singer
    Stars: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson | See full cast & crew »
    A cover-up that spanned four U.S. Presidents pushed the country's first female newspaper publisher and a hard-driving editor to join an unprecedented battle between journalist and government. Inspired by true events.

    Definitely not the best movie of 2017 but it will win the Oscar and I'm okay with that, says one writer. So Call Me by Your Name is pushed out and once again a great gay movie won't get top honors in straight Hollywood. I guess I was dreaming. But Timouthée Chalamet is winning breakthrough performance awards.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 12-01-2017 at 08:43 PM.

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    Qualifiers for the 2017 lists - Indiewire - Dave Erlich's list

    The Indiewire poll and Indiewire lists for 2017.
    '
    A file to check against to see if a certain film qualifies as a 2017 US release is Mike D'Angelo's list of all New York City 2017 Commercial Releases, which he has on his site HERE. (Received from Indiewire today 12/4/2017.)

    Indiewire also has a Best Undistributed category, where you can list or find any films shown at festivals or public screenings but not theatrically released here. Indiewire's poll also has a category at the end (TV series not being allowed otherwise) for "anything from the year in moving images that you'd like to highlight." In that category I'd certainly have to list the outstanding Norwegian teen TV series "SKAM," whose four seasons I watched this summer, up to their end-day June 24, 2017.

    Indiewire's Dave Erlich already has his top 25 list out:

    1. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
    2. DUNKIRK
    3. A GHOST STORY
    4. PERSONAL SHOPPER
    5. THE FLORIDA PROJECT
    5. COLUMBUS
    7. LADY BIRD
    8. FACES PLACES
    9. THE POST
    10. PHANTOM THREAD
    11. A QUIET PASSION
    12. OKJA
    13. WONDERSTRUCK
    14. GOOD TIME
    15. THE BEGUILED
    16. GET OUT
    17. THELMA
    18. THE BIG SICK
    19. FOXTROT
    20. A FANTASTIC WOMAN
    21. LADY MACBETH
    22. MOTHER!
    23. BABY DRIVER
    24. THE LURE
    25. ALL THESE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS
    I think I should see Columbus. I've been meaning to. This also reminds me of some movies I've almost forgotten, like The Lure.Even though D'Anglo walked out of it. I can eliminate many of these titles either because I haven't seen them, or because I didn't like them.
    Haven't seen:
    COLUMBUS, THE POST, PHANTOM THREAD, FOXTROT, A FANTASTIC WOMAN.
    (I may bet to see The Post and Phantom Thread before year's end though.)

    Actively disliked, or couldn't even bear to watch:
    A QUIET PASSION, OKUJA, WONDERSTRUCK, GOOD TIME, THE BEGUILED, MOTHER!
    Don't think I could really list among the very best of the year, probably (but not sure yet):
    FACES PLACES, THELMA, BABY DRIVER, THE LURE.
    Definitely consider among the best:
    CALL ME BY YOUR NAME, DUNKIRK, PERSONAL SHOPPER, THE FLORIDA PROJECT, LADY BIRD, GET OUT, LADY MACBETH, ALL THESE SLEEPLESS NIGHTS.
    So that last is, for now, my partial default list.

    Other films that are being mentioned this end of year:
    KEDI, EX LIBRIS
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 12-04-2017 at 10:51 PM.

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    Vanity Fair's2017b 10 Best List. From VF film critic Richard Lawson.
    1. B.P.M.
    2. FACES PLACES
    3. CALL ME BY YOUR NAME
    4. THE LOST CITY OF Z
    5. GET OUT
    6. PHANTOM THREAD
    7. PERSONAL SHOPPER
    8. PRINCESS CYD
    9. A GHOST STORY
    10. BEATRIZ AT DINNER
    I haven't seen PT Anderson's Phantom Thread yet but probably will on Christmas Day in NYC when it officially comes out. I haven't seen Princess Cyd and didn't know what it was. (Lawson's description isn't very helpful either.) I'm glad to be reminded of The Lost City of Z, and think it's worth mentioning. I respect James Gray a lot, and am a fan of Chrlie Hunnum. However I don't think he they hit it out of the park.
    Last edited by Chris Knipp; 12-04-2017 at 09:41 PM.

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