Sunday, December 31, 2017

2017's Best-of-the-Year List -- with RAT FILM and THEIR FINEST on top of a very large heap


There are literally so many movies this year vying for a place at the top that I finally had to choose both a documentary (Rat Film) and a narrative (Their Finest). Both seem to me so special in so many ways that, since I first viewed them months ago, they have remained prominently on my mind, in the first case, or with second, simply risen to the top.

I've seen Their Finest twice now. The first time I thought it was very good, but since that second viewing, it has grown ever higher in my estimation. One thing I left out of my original review is the way in which this film posits the difference between life and movies. How Their Finest brings that explanation to bear upon its story is simply extraordinary. The way it puts us in touch with what movies can accomplish is quite wonderful, too. The only other film this year that manages this -- in a very different manner -- is The Shape of Water, my runner-up for best narrative movie.

Rat Film -- in both its style and content, its concept and execution -- is so remarkable that it simply takes its place as a kind of instant classic. All about Baltimore, rats and racism, this movie deserves to be seen by as many viewers as possible.

The complete "best list" (including the two films above) is listed below in the order in which each movie opened throughout the year.

Click on any of the title links in order to access TrustMovies' complete review of the film in question. (Or simply to discover which film the title even refers to: Some of these movies are small enough -- or provocative enough and thus, of course, necessary to silence -- to have gotten past far too many mainstream viewers and reviewers, too.)

Fifteen of these 45 films are documentaries; it was a very good year for this format. One of the narrative features  -- The Hippopotamus (below) -- only saw one-night-only-in-selected-cities theatrical release before hitting DVD/Blu-ray. Another -- Hypernormalisation (above) -- so far as I know, opened only at the Cinefamily in L.A., a venue that has now closed down, thanks to the ongoing sexual abuse scandals sweeping the country.

I have not seen nearly all the movies that became available theatrically, via DVD or streaming over the past year. Nor has any critic. So simply take this list as a kind of recommendation of movies, particularly those that are smaller and less known, that you ought to at least consider viewing.

Enjoy -- and Happy New Year!


THE BEST OF 2017


PARIS 05:59 THEO & HUGO

I AM NOT YOUR NEGRO

TONI ERDMANN (from 2016 but opened here in Florida in 2017)

KEDI

THE SETTLERS and BEN-GURION EPILOGUE

HYPERNORMALISATION

AMERICAN ANARCHIST

A QUIET PASSION

HEAL THE LIVING

THEIR FINEST

THE LOST CITY OF Z

HAROLD AND LILLIAN: A HOLLYWOOD LOVE STORY

LIKE CRAZY

CHUCK

ONE WEEK AND A DAY

NIGHT SCHOOL


DAWSON CITY: FROZEN TIME

BEATRIZ AT DINNER

THE JOURNEY

OKJA

LOST IN PARIS


KILLING GROUND

ESCAPES

THE HIPPOPOTAMUS

COLUMBUS


THE SUMMER OF ALL MY PARENTS

THE TEACHER

SPETTACOLO

RAT FILM

CHURCHILL


BENDING THE ARC

FACES PLACES

BETTER WATCH OUT

THE FLORIDA PROJECT


WONDERSTRUCK

PRINCESS CYD

THE SQUARE

BITCH

QUEST

NO GODS, NO MASTERS (a French TV doc, but only available in the US now on DVD)

MUDBOUND

THREE BILLBOARDS OUTSIDE EBBING, MISSOURI

CALL ME BY YOUR NAME

THE SHAPE OF WATER

DOWNSIZING

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