Like it or not it’s that time of year again where we find ourselves looking back and looking forward. But what are your hopes for the future? Cutting back on the chocolate? Resisting the urge to call in sick whenever Netflix release a new original series? Well, here at ICM Film, we have been mulling over our favourites and this is what we’ve ended up with. 2017 hasn’t been without its stinkers, but on the whole, we’d say it’s been a pretty great year film, no pressure 2018!
10. T2 Trainspotting – The original Trainspotting from 1996 is now something of a cult classic, especially when it comes to British cinema. But here we have a sequel that I don’t think anyone saw coming, twenty years later! Some could argue that it’s even more surprising this actually turned out to be good.
I think that’s owed in large part to the fact that the original cast from 1996 all returned for one last drug fuelled trip filled with violence and debauchery. However credit where credit is due… the film also does a spectacular job of capturing time gone by, however old you get or wherever you end up, you never forget where you came from.
9. A Monster Calls – Directed by J.A. Bayona, A Monster Calls manages to seamlessly blend fantasy with reality to tell a story all to do with facing your fears and letting go. Liam Neeson does some excellent voice work for the monster, it’s nice to see him take a break from dishing out various renditions of ‘Taken’. The film also includes some truly brilliant performances from Felicity Jones, Sigourney Weaver and Lewis MacDougall. Sadly this film didn’t get the attention it deserved, but it’s the kind of film I can see picking up more and more traction as the years go on.
8. The Disaster Artist – ‘The Room’ has now become notorious for being one of the greatest so bad it’s good movies of all time. Leading man Tommy Wiseau is about as eccentric as they come, so many people know his name and yet no one really knows much at all about him. With this in mind, I think James Franco’s portrayal of Wiseau is about as accurate as it could possibly be.
When I first saw the trailer for this I remember thinking “Are they seriously going to make a feature length film coasting by on references and impersonations?”. While the film may include this in moderation, there’s also a real beating heart at the centre of it all. It could have just gone down the predictable route, making fun out of Wiseau and his unusual and mysterious lifestyle.
But instead what we get is something that’s also quite endearing, when he set out to make ‘The Room’ his ambition was extraordinary. Despite so many telling him he couldn’t do it, he never gave up.
7. Logan – It’s hard to believe that years ago the prospect of a comic book being adapted into a mainstream film would have been unthinkable, you would have had yourself laughed out of the room for even suggesting such rubbish. But now we live in a time where Superhero movies make up the bulk of mainstream cinema, sometimes it feels like they’ve taken over our beloved silver screens and if you don’t like it, well then that’s just too bad (have this remake instead and allow us to take apart you’re childhood piece by piece).
I for one am well and truly fed up with it and I think it’s only a matter of time until more and more people begin to feel the same way. With Logan though it’s almost like this has been recognised and what we’re given instead is Wolverine like we’ve never seen him before. He’s broken and beaten down, haunted by the memories of his past. This was the last time Hugh Jackman would play the role of Wolverine and oh what a send-off it was!
6. Split –Director M. Night Shyamalan once famous for his plot twists in films such as ‘The Sixth Sense’ and ‘Unbreakable’ has been better known in recent years for subjecting us to a slew of god awful movies that just seem to get progressively worse. Something about the trailer for Split stood out though, it struck me as the kind of movie where there was no in between, it would either turn out to be really good or really, really bad.
Thankfully this film ended up being the saving grace he was oh so desperately in need of. James McAvoy plays a young man called Kevin who has split personality disorder. That’s right Kevin has 23 different personalities, some more volatile than others and McAvoy’s performance here I’d say is his best yet! Deserving of a few awards? I’d say so, but given how pretentious the academy can be I’d be very surprised if that actually happened.
5. Wind River – As someone who follows film rather closely, I usually have a pretty good idea of what films I want to see before they’ve even been released. However in the case of Wind River, it was a pleasant surprise that just seemed to come completely out of the blue. With its bleak and violent subject matter it’s not going to be the kind of film that appeals to everyone, but despite the story being somewhat on the depressing side, it’s carefully told and I was lost for words by the time the credits rolled.
I’d say Wind River also features one of Jeremy Renner’s strongest performances since ‘The Hurt Locker’. It’s mostly very low key, but it’s one of those performances that really gives you the sense that there’s so much more happening underneath the surface. His on-screen presence illuminates every scene he’s in and I can’t wait until I have the chance to see this again.
4. Get Out – At last a film which deals with racism, but not the kind of racism we’re so used to seeing depicted in the movies. Out with the slave traders, Neo Nazis and in with a more casual, everyday form of racism. It’s those little comments like “You must be really good at Basketball”. These are the kind of comments that if you really think about it, you’ll come to realise they just pander to the stereotypes and to be honest… they’re just borderline offensive. It’s time we stop seeing each other in colours and instead begin to view one another as fellow human beings.
With the current political climate being what it is, Get Out’s social commentary is more critical than ever. It’s still hard to believe this was a directional debut from Jordan Peele of Key & Peele and not only did he manage to get an important message across, but he also made it so that there was still some fun to be had with it’s over the top thriller approach.
3. La La Land – Watching La La Land for the first time was everything I could ask for from a trip to the cinema, it’s just such a nice film. From the opening scene your made to feel as though you can just bit back, relax and breathe a sigh of relief as your now in the capable hands of director Damien Chazelle.
He’s in his early thirties and this is only his third film so far! And yet I’m hard pressed to think of anything negative to say, every single frame was gorgeously shot, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are on top form, the dancing was immaculately choreographed. Not just that but I loved the music too and this is coming from someone who really doesn’t care for musicals normally, but I have to say La La Land was an absolute joy to watch from beginning to end and the fact that it’s not number one is credit to what a great year this has been for film.
2. Baby Driver – I ended up seeing this three times in the cinema and the third and final time was with my girlfriend. We’d just had the opening getaway sequence and as the title came up she was literally bouncing up and down in her seat with excitement, by this point I had seen the film with a handful of people and every single one of them seemed to love the very bones of Baby Driver.
So it was then that I came to realise what’s perhaps one of the most impressive things of all and what’s that I hear you ask? It’s undoubtedly THE most creative film to top the box office this year and it could only come from someone like Edgar Wright. This time his trademark editing style takes him higher than ever before as he attempts to choreograph fast paced action scenes in time to whatever song might be playing at that moment. It’s ambitious, but Wright pulls it off spectacularly and almost makes it look easy, although in reality I’m sure it was anything but.
1. Blade Runner 2049 – The original Blade Runner from 1982 was so fresh and visually appealing that it went on to pioneer the sci-fi genre as a whole. It’s influence can still be felt today and thirty years later we have our sequel, does it succeed at topping its predecessor? Absolutely not, but I feel your setting it up against impossible odds considering everything that film went on to stand for, however this truly is everything we could ever hope for from a Blade Runner sequel. Directed by Dennis Villeneuve whose arguably one of the greatest directors currently working, Villeneuve stays true to what made the original so grand whilst raising the stakes and bringing Ridley Scott’s vision a little further into the future and unlike the original it hasn’t taken him multiple cuts to achieve greatness, so there’s that.
When it comes to this film’s length it might be something of an epic, but I can tell you now that for the entirety of the film’s two hours and 40 minute run time I was completely and utterly in awe of every single shot which appeared before me. Blade Runner 2049 is the kind of film which will go on to inspire the filmmakers of tomorrow and that’s why this goosebump-inducing sci-fi romp is ICM’s best film of the year!