Top 10 Movies of 2017 (So Far)

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This year in cinema so far has been owned by genre films both big and small. Most of the films on this list land in the action or horror genres, several of which were even wide releases. As 2017 progresses, the dramas of the fall will likely start to overtake the lighter fare, which makes this list a perfect chance to acknowledge the great films already released this year that might not make it all the way through to the top 10 in December. Here are the ten best films of 2017 so far.

10. Prevenge

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One thing you’re going to see reading this list is that horror-comedies have had one hell of a year so far. First up is Prevenge, a British slasher film in which a pregnant woman believes the fetus inside of her is speaking to her, and even telling her who to kill. An undeniably hysterical presence, especially once you hear the sweet little voice coercing its mother to perform gruesome acts. Writer, director, and star Alice Lowe finds ways to make the horrific murders feel completely justified in a way that battles blatant misogyny. It’s a blood-soaked comedy for the mood 2017 has put a significant portion of audiences in.


9. Okja

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Bong Joon-ho and Netflix’s partnership may have strung up some controversy in the cinephile community, but the film itself is wholly unique and lovingly made. Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, and Jake Gyllenhaal give delightfully kooky performances, akin to what audiences saw in the director’s previous effort, Snowpiercer, but it’s young actress Ahn Seo-hyun who owns the film, along with her enchanting giant pet pig thing. Weird in a lot of the right ways, though with some heavy handed political commentary, Okja at the very least continues the director’s winning streak.


8. Alien: Covenant

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Prometheus was a genre film packed with ideas with nowhere to take them. Alien: Covenant finally took those ideas somewhere, and by somewhere I mean a sequel/prequel that feels organic to Ridley Scott’s original vision in his 1979 classic. Full of genuine thrills and lots of world building, the latest Alien foray also boasts a great turn from Michael Fassbender, who continues to showcase a commitment to studio tentpoles that’s unparalleled (most notably in the X-Men series). He’s responsible for much of Covenant‘s philosophizing, with Scott using the character of David as a vessel to explore the purpose of life and our species. All in the same film where Katherine Waterson’s heroine goes toe to toe with one of Hollywood’s most iconic monsters in a CGI-fueled extravaganza.


7. Their Finest

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Movies about movies are notoriously well-reviewed, but Their Finest takes a fresh approach and tells a human story that, while initially happily sporting cliches, subverts its genre’s tropes with a difficult message of self-empowerment in the face of the unexpected. Gemma Arterton is terrific as the lead, with Sam Claflin charming his way through the film and Bill Nighy stealing scenes from the rest of the cast. The story of a female screenwriter in World War II London sounds like a perfect cocktail to get automatic praise in 2017, but the film finds a freshness in the sheer point of the story it wants to tell. There’s a mother of a twist in the film that will undoubtedly go down as one of the year’s best.


6. The Big Sick

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The voice Kumail Nanjiani lets out in The Big Sick is one we really need in Hollywood right now. The true story of how the comedian met his wife, Emily V. Gordon, who co-wrote the film with Nanjiani, is rich in themes of cultural acceptance, pointed here at the Muslim community, and how cultures clash in ways that can test everything between life and love. And yet, produced by Judd Apatow and written by a stand-up comedian, the film is gut-wrenchingly funny. Its tone is warm and accessible, but its message is unfortunately very relevant, making for a crowd-pleaser that aims to simultaneously help heal the nation’s soul.


5. The Beguiled

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Sofia Coppola gave her auteurship a fresh coat of paint this year with a a remake of the 1971 period chamber thriller, a film that breathes its fresh, 2017 perspective in every moment of its runtime. Like most of the director’s work, it’s imperfect, but its way of expressing its tone and themes is so unique and pointed that the film overcomes its flaws. While Coppola’s aesthetic owns the film, Nicole Kidman takes full advantage of her thankfully large amount of material, seemingly having formed an endlessly rewarding partnership that reaps rewards big and small. The result is a film that’s intense, moody, wry, and addictive.


4. The Lure

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How many killer mermaid musicals have you seen? None? Make your first The Lure, this bonkers Polish tale of two mermaids in the 1980s who start regularly singing and dancing at a nightclub. One falls in love, one feeds on human flesh. You know how it is. But where the film really comes into its own is its dissection of family dynamics and how they can be invaded and interrupted. All that between its undeniably catchy soundtrack and fun horror elements. The Lure is an absolute joy to watch from start to finish. All it takes to warm to its charms is an affinity for the bizarre.


3. Get Out

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Leading the charge in a year so far populated with good horror flicks is Get Out, the directorial debut of Jordan Peele, who transitioned to the genre after his sketch comedy series Key & Peele. Naturally then, the film is loaded with comedy between its scares, but its greatest quality is how it turns a fulfilling dissection of race relations and into a snappy horror flick with genuine mass appeal. The film is scary in a lot of the same ways strong horror films typically are, but when you start to think about why you’re feeling tension and scared to begin with, the film enters a deeper level of genuine fear pervading our world and country today.


2. Logan 

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When was the last time a superhero film dared to be more than just that? Logan is as much a meditation on life and legacy as it is a Wolverine movie. James Mangold’s second foray into the X-Men universe quickly became regarded as one of the best superhero films of all time thanks to his seemingly effortless direction that aims to do something real with these classic characters. Using its restrained post-apocalyptic setting (think Children of Men, not Days of Future Past) to establish the film’s grim tone, Hugh Jackman’s final go as Wolverine is his best turn as the character, simply because he’s finally given material that challenges him. The same can be said for Patrick Stewart’s aging Charles Xavier, a turn that feels legitimately Oscar-worthy. Between heart-wrenching action and the truth found in its emotional core, Logan is one for the ages.


1. Wonder Woman

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And yet, Logan already isn’t the only “one for the ages” just six months into 2017. What Patty Jenkins accomplished with Wonder Woman feels like a miracle. An anti-war film filled to the brim with a new hero’s positive outlook, Diana’s story is the ray of sunshine peaking through the dark clouds of our current climate. It’s a superhero origin that doesn’t skimp on the development of the hero’s mission. Wonder Woman doesn’t need any dead relatives to know she wants to fight for what’s right, it’s just who she is, and that’s a beautiful thing to be. This symbol of pure, uncomplicated goodness goes on a journey learning the horrors of man, on a mission against the concept of war itself. Gal Gadot crushed all expectations as the world’s most famous female superhero, proving the naysayers wrong in a film that refuses to objectify its female characters. Just look at the results. The film is destroying the box office and teachers are sending the producers stories of their young students finding inspiration through this character. Wonder Woman feels like the rare film that could touch enough people to make the world a slightly better place. But most importantly for this list, the film backing up that achievement is nothing short of stellar. Arresting, funny, and more emotional than any film in the genre before it, Wonder Woman is the blockbuster of our age.


What are you favroite films of 2017 so far? Let us know in the comments below!


By Matt Dougherty

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