Adventures in Movie Watching 2017

Well it's that time of the year again when I make lists that a few people look at, here's a long list of the films that I enjoyed that were around cinemas (and online) this year.....

50. Hidden Figures - dir. Theodore Melfi
Really enjoyable account of the team of female African American mathematicians who helped NASA's space program in the 60's
49. Prevenge - dir. Alice Lowe
Alice Lowe wrote and directed this black horror comedy about a pregnant woman seemingly getting homicidal thoughts from her unborn baby
48. Okja - dir. Joon-ho Bong
Odd but fun film about a young asian girl trying to stop a multinational company taking their superpig back in order to sell it as food
47. Their Finest - dir. Lone Scherfig
Gemma Arterton plays the lead in this bittersweet British movie about a woman hired to write scripts for propaganda films during World War II
46. Rogue One: A Star Wars Story - dir. Gareth Edwards
Very decent side step from the Star Wars story, fair play for going for the appropriate ending and also fair play to Forest Whittaker!
45. Call Me by Your Name - dir. Luca Guadagnino
Beautiful film about a young man discovering his sexuality when a guest arrives to stay. Slow first half, fantastic second half and bonus points for the use of the Psychedelic Furs
44. Toni Erdmann - dir. Maren Ade
A running time for a comedy that would even make Judd Apatow shit his pants, this German dramedy about a father trying to reconnect with his daughter is odd, all over the place and really worth a watch
43. Ingrid Goes West - dir. Matt Spicer
Black comedy where a young woman tracks down an "influencer" she follows on Instagram and tries to become her friend.
42. Glory (Slava) - dir. Kristina Grozeva, Petar Valchanov
A Bulgarian satire dealing with a PR person trying to cover up some 'light' corruption which goes very awry.
41. The Salesman (Forushande) - dir. Asghar Farhadi
The Salesman concerns a husband and wife acting in a production of 'Death of a Salesman', when the wife is a attacked in her own home, the husband is intent on finding the perpertrator
40. Redoubtable (Le Redoutable) - dir. Michel Hazanavicius
A skewering of Jean-Luc Godard as told from the perspective of actress Anne Wiazemsky, his ex wife. The film aims for laughs and makes Godard look like a complete ass and as result of which the film has received mixed reviews, but if you're familiar with his work at all, worth checking out.
39. The Love Witch - dir. Anna Biller
The Love Witch is a stylish and funny pastiche that is just slightly too long. Biller wrote, directed, produced and edited the film and deserves huge credit for capturing that style of filmmaking so accurately
38. Like Crazy (La Pazza Gioia) - dir. Paolo Virzì
Two women run off from a psychiatric ward in Italy and get to each other on the road. Zips along and has plenty of good beats, funny and emotional.
37. David Bowie - The Last Five Years - dir. Francis Whately
A follow up to the director's previous documentary 'Five Years' captures Bowie's final few projects through footage and interviews with those he worked with closely.
36. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 - dir. James Gunn
Round 2 from the Guardians crew works slightly better than the first instalment and benefits from focussing more on the other characters as much as Star-Lord. Michael Rooker and Dave Bautista stand out.
35. Les Bleus une autre histoire de France - dir. David Dietz, Sonia Dauger
Interesting documentary that mixes sport and politics by detailing a turbulent twenty years on and off the pitch for France
34. Tomato Red - dir. Juanita Wilson
Set in rural America, this film by Irish director Wilson, tells the story of a ne'er do well drifter who becomes entangled in the lives of a family he meets along the way.
33. The Killing of a Sacred Deer - dir. Yorgos Lanthimos
Lanthimos returns with this dark drama about a doctor who takes a boy under his wing with sinister intenetions. The film won't appeal to many though, particularly with most of the cast delivering every bit of dialogue in a montone.
32. Colossal - dir. Nacho Vigalondo
Anne Hathaway excels as a woman whose life is slowly coming apart. She moves home and suddenly finds out that certain actions she has are being mirrored by a giant creature terrorising Korea. The film is a mess in a really good way and Jason Sudeikis gets to show off his serious acting chops.
31. A Monster Calls - dir. J.A. Bayona
From the director of 'The Orphanage' comes this brilliant kids film that centres around a young boy whose being bullied while also struggling to come to terms with his mother's terminal illness. He retreats into a dream world where a huge tree monster, voiced by Liam Neeson, gives him life advice through telling him stories. Strikes all the right chords.
30. Lady Macbeth - dir. William Oldroyd
Florence Pugh stars as a young woman forced into a loveless marriage who decides to have an affair with one of her servants. Not something I'd usually go for but it's brilliantly acted and directed and has some really shocking moments.
29. Frantz - dir. François Ozon
Based on Ernst Lubitsch's "Broken Lullaby" Frantz tells the story of a woman mourning her husband killed in World War II who gets to know a stranger who visits her husband's grave. Ozon changes gear again and makes his best film in a few years.
28. Hounds of Love - dir. Ben Young
A well crafted but deeply unsettling film based on a real life Australian couple that would kidnap, torture and then murder their young victims. Their latest victim knows she has to play the couple against each other to survive.
27. Elle - dir. Paul Verhoeven
Isabelle Huppert is her usual tour de force in a movie that's certainly not for everyone's taste or sensibilities
26. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) - dir. Noah Baumbach
Baumbach returns with a dramedy about a family with plenty of issues coming together for a celebration for their domineering father's art. Sandler excels in a film full of fine performances
25. Loving - dir. Jeff Nichols
Jeff Nichols continues his remarkable directorial streak with a film about what a mixed race couple had to go through when they married in 1960's Virginia. 
24. Personal Shopper - dir. Olivier Assayas
The first Assayas film I've really enjoyed mainly due to Stewart's commitment and performance
23. The Farthest - dir. Emer Reynolds
A brilliant documentary about the Voyager mission and a love letter to scientists with big ideas. Worth seeing on as big a screen as you possibly can.
22. Mindhorn - dir. Sean Foley
Julian Barrett stars as Richard Thorncroft, a washed up actor who once played a famous fictional TV detective and is asked to help track down a serial killer obsessed with the show. Hilarious and manages to be funny for the full duration, which is no meant feat.
21. The Rehearsal - dir. Alison Maclean
From the director of 'Jesus' Son', comes a story about Stanley, a New Zealand teenager who lands a spot in a coveted drama school, things become complicated when he begins to use real life inspirations for his performances. Kerry Fox is excellent as the teacher.
20. Daphne - dir. Peter Mackie Burns
A British dramedy about a barely functioning young woman that features a really complex performance from lead, Emily Beecham
19. Blade Runner 2049 - dir. Denis Villeneuve
A sequel that I didn't really think I wanted but visually stunning and even with that insanely long running time, never outstays its welcome
18. A Ghost Story - dir. David Lowery
Lowery returns to his arty experimental roots after working on Disney's enjoyable remake of 'Pete's Dragon'. Plenty to enjoy here if you can get your head past a pie eating scene that goes on forever.
17. The Disaster Artist - dir. James Franco
Franco's take on Tommy Wiseau and 'The Room' could have felt snide and in-jokey but comes across with a lot of warmth and laughs
16. Thor: Ragnarok - dir. Taika Waititi
An all out comedy that ignores, for the most part, the two previous Thor films and is all the better for it
15. After the Storm - dir. Hirokazu Koreeda
The tale of a once famous author who pretends he's researching for a book at a private detective agency, however it soon becomes clear he's using his skills to spy on his ex-wife and son who he wants to reconnect with. Subtle but with characters that feel real and you care for.
14. The Beguiled - dir. Sofia Coppola
Sofia Coppola's remake of the Clint Eastwood exploitation may had made some major changes from the original but has plenty to recommend.
13. School Life (In Loco Parentis) - dir. Neasa Ní Chianáin, David Rane
A funny and absorbing documentary following the daily goings-on in a primary age boarding school, Headfort in Kells, in particular two teachers, John and Amanda Leyden.
12. Jackie - dir. Pablo Larrain
Jackie Kennedy biopic framed around an interview, Larrain makes interesting choices as always and like with his previous film 'No' strives for period accuracy using footage and cameras from the time. Amazing score from Mica Levi
11. Logan - dir. James Mangold
Fitting end to Hugh Jackman's incarnation of Wolverine
10. The Florida Project - dir. Sean Baker
Heartfelt tale of a young woman and her child struggling to make ends meet while living in cheap motel on the verges of Disneyland
9. Paddington 2 - dir. Paul King
Even better than the first film, an absolute joy to watch. Laughed all the way through (and cried a teeny bit as well)
8. The Big Sick - dir. Michael Showalter
Great ensemble dramedy that hits all the right notes, brilliant performances from all involved particularly Ray Ramano
7. The Handmaiden - dir. Chan-wook Park
A lavish erotic thriller period piece from the director of Oldboy, full of twists and surprises
6. Moonlight - dir. Barry Jenkins
Deserves all the awards it won, great performances and a story told with great empathy and understanding
5. The Age of Shadows - dir. Jee-woon Kim
Korean period action thriller about a police chief who gets mixed up in the fight between Resistance fighters and the occupying Japanese powers. Full of great set pieces and performances, the two hours plus zips along
4. Get Out - dir. Jordan Peele
Sharp, scary, thrilling and very funny. Should ideally be seen with a crowd
3. My Life as a Courgette - dir. Claude Barras
The most pleasant surprise of 2017, a bittersweet animation about a young boy sent to live in an orphanage
2. Dunkirk - dir. Christopher Nolan
Saw the 70MM version in IFI, worth every cent. Brilliant and gripping from start to finish
1. Manchester By The Sea - dir. Kenneth Lonergan
Such a well observed film about people overwhelmed by what life has thrown at them. Everything about it feels authentic and it also contains some of the best scenes I've seen in years