Well, here it is, folks. Yet another year-end list to add to your endless list of other year-end lists. To be completely honest, I absolutely despise writing top ten lists, especially when it comes to my favorite movies of the year, because that task usually involves me sitting at my desk for hours upon hours while arguing with myself about which movies should go where on my list. It truly is one of the most difficult things when it comes to producing our year-end coverage. Anyway, chances are, you’ve probably skipped over this paragraph and have already started scrolling through my list, so I’m going to stop writing now and will present my top ten movies of 2017. Here we go:
10. Beach Rats
“I’ve been really fucked up lately.” The follow-up to Eliza Hittman’s debut feature It Felt Like Love is a hypnotic, searingly intimate portrait of an aimless Brooklyn teenager who is slowly, but surely, coming to terms with his sexuality while scouring hookup sites for older men in his free time. It’s Beach Rats‘ ending, though, that truly sticks and helps shine on a light on Internet-related violence in the LGBTQ community. It’s been a fantastic year for queer cinema.
Darren Aronofsky’s audacious psychological horror tale mother! is the work of an absolute madman; it’s disturbing, frightening, and deeply unsettling. However, here we are, nearly four months after the film opened in theaters and created quite a stir, and I still can’t stop thinking about this absurd, deeply personal story about fame, relationships, and, most importantly, mother nature. Never have I ever had such a weirdly complicated love-hate relationship with a film before. Thanks, Mr. Aronofsky, you sick bastard.
8. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
What is perhaps the most controversial Star Wars film to date also happens to be my favorite installment in the long-running intergalactic franchise created by George Lucas in 1977. Rian Johnson’s exhilarating Star Wars: The Last Jedi is a dazzling, gorgeously put-together sci-fi action extravaganza and features an exciting story, obviously handled with much love and care by Johnson in both his writing and direction, led by an outstanding diverse cast of characters.
Thanks to my friend and colleague Sam Mauro for turning me on to Bertrand Bonello’s exhilarating terrorism thriller Nocturama (another film shrouded in controversy, even before its release) earlier this year, otherwise, chances are, I never would’ve even heard of it. Scored to a mesmerizing electronic soundtrack created by Bonello himself, Nocturama takes it time and tests your patience, yet, is somehow still infused with so much energy and excitement over the course of its 130-minute runtime.
Shot on location in Columbus, Indiana, Kogonada’s beautiful, atmospheric directorial feature debut is as compelling as it is relatable. The gorgeous modernist architecture, the undeniable chemistry between the dynamic duo that is Haley Lu Richardson and John Cho, Hammock’s breathtaking ambient score; each aspect of Columbus is so delicate, so exquisite, and so very moving in ways that only the film itself can explain.
5. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Martin McDonagh’s darkly comic Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri never fails to entertain with its messy narrative and oddball characters as it follows a mother hellbent on seeking justice for her daughter’s murder case after months go by without any new developments. Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell are extraordinary in their respective roles, while Carter Burwell’s folksy score adds a nice layer of authenticity to this peculiar tale of redemption.
4. Get Out
Jordan Peele’s directorial debut Get Out came at a time when America (and the rest of the world) needed a film like this the most. Labeled “a documentary” by the writer-director himself after the Hollywood Foreign Press Association nominated the film in their musical/comedy category, Get Out is a speculative thriller as much as it is a social commentary, and it so brilliantly achieves exactly what it set out to do.
3. Good Time
If you follow me on Twitter, then you probably already know that I’ve reaped more than enough praise for Josh and Benny Safdie’s head-spinning, adrenalized fifth feature Good Time starring Robert Pattinson. It’s a hypnotic crime-thriller like no other and will chew you up and spit you back out over the course of its 99-minute runtime as it takes you on a late-night odyssey through the streets of New York City where chaos seems to be waiting around every corner.
2. Lady Bird
A24 was responsible for handling the distribution of some pretty amazing films this year, but, quite frankly, nothing tops Greta Gerwig’s outstanding directorial debut Lady Bird. Saoirse Ronan and her incredible supporting cast, which includes Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges, Timothée Chalamet, and Beanie Feldstein, all shine in this heartfelt tale chronicling the turbulent bond between a hard-working mother and her teenage daughter in 2002 Sacramento.
1. Call Me by Your Name
Luca Guadagnino’s intoxicating new film about first love Call Me by Your Name is such a pleasure to watch. It’s lush, erotic, riveting and, above all, simply delightful. Sayombhu Mukdeeprom’s stunning 35mm cinematography captures the lives of Elio (Timothée Chalamet) and Oliver (Armie Hammer) so beautifully, while the film’s soundtrack accompanies this relaxing, peaceful, spellbinding journey of romance so well. It’s a film that hasn’t left my mind since I first saw it.
Taika Waititi signs on to direct ‘Thor 4’ as the live-action ‘Akira’ movie gets delayed indefinitely
In a move that will force him to put the highly anticipated live-action adaptation of Akira on the backburner indefinitely, Taika Waititi has officially closed a deal to direct Thor 4 for Marvel Studios, sources tell Silver Screen Beat.
The development is a rather surprising one considering Akira — which has been in development at Warner Bros. ever since the studio acquired the rights to the popular Japanese manga in 2002 — was as close as it ever was to getting made.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, pre-production on Akira had been moving along smoothly — despite some concerns with the script that were later resolved — and Waititi had been meeting with and testing young Japanese actors for roles in the film as part of a worldwide search for talent.
But now that the project has experienced yet another major setback, execs can only hope that Waititi will pick up where he left off once he completes Thor 4, which will once again see Chris Hemsworth reprise his role as the titular God of Thunder.
Waititi is currently prepping to hop on the fall festival circuit with his World War II-era satire Jojo Rabbit, which he wrote, directed, and stars in alongside Scarlett Johansson, Roman Griffin Davis, Thomasin McKenzie, Rebel Wilson, and Sam Rockwell. Fox Searchlight will release the film on October 18.
Warner Bros.’ live-action ‘Barbie’ movie taps Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach as writers
As Greta Gerwig prepares to debut her sophomore effort Little Women on the fall festival circuit in the coming months, the Oscar-nominee has been tapped to co-write and possibly direct Warner Bros.’ live-action Barbie movie.
Gerwig will pen the script for Barbie along with Noah Baumbach, while Gerwig is also likely to helm the high-profile project, though negotiations are still underway and no deals have been finalized as of yet.
Margot Robbie, who is on board to star as the iconic Mattel toy, will also serve as a producer on the film along with Tom Ackerly for LuckyChap Entertainment and Robbie Brenner of Mattel Films. Josey McNamara and Ynon Kreiz are also producing.
Gerwig is currently in post-production on her star-studded Little Women adaptation for Columbia. The film, which is expected to be a strong contender in the forthcoming awards season race, stars Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Dern, and Meryl Streep.
Baumbach, who last directed The Meyerowitz Stories, is also in post-production on his untitled dramedy for Netflix starring Adam Driver and Scarlett Johansson as a couple who are getting divorced. The cast also includes Dern, Merritt Wever, Ray Liotta, Alan Alda, and Azhy Robertson.
Damien Chazelle shops new project ‘Babylon’ to studios as Emma Stone circles lead role
Damien Chazelle, the Oscar-winning writer-director of the 2016 musical La La Land, has begun shopping around the script for his next project titled Babylon, which is yet another story set in Los Angeles that will this time focus on the film industry in the 1920s.
While multiple studios have shown interest in the project — including Paramount and Netflix — Chazelle is most likely to bring Babylon to Lionsgate, the same studio that distributed La La Land and ran its extensive awards season campaign that earned the film a whopping 14 Oscar nominations.
Although specific plot details are being kept tightly under wraps for the time being, the film is said to be a drama set during the Roaring Twenties that examines Hollywood’s transition from silent films to talkies and will feature characters both fictional and not.
Emma Stone, who an Oscar for performance opposite Ryan Gosling in La La Land, is circling the lead role in the film — which is rumored to be iconic Hollywood “It” girl Clara Bow — though talks are still preliminary and any type of formal negotiations have yet to get underway.
Despite the attention that Babylon has caught, though, studios are hesitant to move on the project given its rather lengthy 180-page-long script and estimated $80 million to $100 million production budget, which some execs feel might be too big of a risky investment for their studios.
Chazelle, who last directed the Neil Armstrong biopic First Man starring Gosling, is currently working on two other projects in addition to Babylon, including the musical drama series The Eddy for Netflix and an untitled drama series for Apple’s forthcoming service service.