Happily succeeds in every genre – horror, drama, comedy, coming of age; this adaption of the Stephen King masterpiece about the power of friendship overcoming great ancient evil is quite an achievement. It broke box office records around the globe and was a juggernaut upon its release, which was richly deserved. Jam packed with nods to the book, contextualised characters, heartfelt moments, 80s nostalgia, a true sense of actual danger and enough horror to keep horror fans happy; Bill Skarsgards Pennywise is a deliciously wicked creation. Beautiful music, amazing performances (all of those kids are just wow!) and a truly Spielbergian sense of wonder in the script and direction – perfection for me.
- War on everyone
Really not for everyone and probably downright offensive to some, this was balls to the wall action and a slow burn character piece with a very black sense of humour. Gutsy stuff. I also love Michael Pena – hilarious! And Alexander Skarsgard – sexy and talented!
The comic hero story given a burnt out and brutal Western edge, this is the film that had to end Logans run – and what a unique and honest farewell they give him.
- Wind River
Downbeat and as cold as the landscapes its set in, this story of the insidious erasing of (female) Native Americans in the US is as heartbreaking as the central murder mystery they explore. Jeremy Renner and Ashley Olsen give great performances here too.
5. Brigsby Bear
Sweet but not saccharine, cute but still real, with enough edge to make it ok to love this movie about a grown man who still worships the bear tv show he grew up watching whilst shut in the house his kidnapper parents kept him in. My kind of ‘feel good’ movie.
I loved the music and the brave work by lead actress Danielle McDonald (Australian) in this story about a New Jersey girl with big rap dreams. Way more real and heartfelt than 8 Mile.
7. Get Out
I love my horror movies with a side of social conscience and this ‘re-packaging white privilege as a horror’ is funny, clever and cool. I wasn’t as keen on the ending as I wanted to be but this was one memorable movie.
- 8. Manchester by the Sea
If you’ve seen it you know the scene that left everyone just broken. A story of regret and the aftermath of a devastating mistake.
Daniel Radcliffe acts his ass off in this true story about survival while lost in the Amazon. Visceral and edge of the seat moments await..
- A Monster Calls
Debatably a kids movie, I found parts of this frustrating until I go to the end when it all came together beautifully and I was left crying my eyes out and wanting to watch Liam Neeson as that giant helpful tree all over again.
11. Wonder Woman
Not perfect but I gotta give props to a film that allows a woman to be front and centre in her own action superhero movie. She is allowed to be vulnerable, brave, challenged, despairing and kick some butt too.
12. The Blackcoats Daughter
A creepy as hell horror movie about possession with two discordant storylines seemingly happening in unison until you realise the truth of the timeline at the denouement, which is chilling and unforgettable. On the surface a very scary movie but the real story of loneliness and the lengths people will go to in an effort to not feel it is what makes this a stand out. Sad, bleak and very frightening.
13. Personal Shopper
Sometimes confusing and sometimes contemplative, I nevertheless enjoyed watching Kristen Stewart wander about Paris buying things and coming to terms with the loss of her brother. Quietly creepy on occasion too.
14. The Beguiled
Darkly feminist, daring in its choice to not paint the female stars as heroes but as flawed humans making difficult choices. Kidman, Dunst and Farrel are all standouts in this tale of a civil war deserter seeking refuge at an all-female southern boarding school. The sexual tension is palpable.
15. A Ghost Story
Yes it features Rooney Mara eating a pie for an unbearable 8 minutes but it also shows grief from a perspective I’ve never seen before – the pain of a ghost watching the world move on without him. The last hour is almost too sad.
16. The Lost City of Z
The true story of those brave explorers who just went off into the world to map it for future generations. Charlie Hunnam is totally committed and it shows in every expression – how much this passion and drive costs him is fascinating. And Robert Pattinson is his usual brilliant self.
17. Alien Covenant
A much better and tighter movie than Prometheus, this one was closer in feel to the first Alien – real horror and a strong female lead. I enjoyed the heck out of it.
18. American Made
Tom Cruise leaves behind his occasionally smarmy persona and just uses his natural cockiness to best effect in this true story of greed and ambition in the American 80s. Totally had me hook, line and sinker; and biting my nails!
19. A Cure For Wellness
Looking like an art-house film, telling a strange little story of the search for youth and health, I enjoyed the unpredictability of the script and the ambiguousness of the characters; not to mention that breathtaking cinematography.
20. Before I fall
A pleasant surprise in a film that initially seemed to be about shallow party girls reliving the same night over and over again but proved to be much more. I found this one actually touching and effective.
21. Thor: Ragnarok
The perfect antidote to all these comic book films that take themselves far too seriously- Thor cuts his hair and discovers his hotness, the jokes are knee slappngly good and Cate Blanchet is powerful and cool – loved it.
22. The Mountain Between Us
A tonal surprise for me, did not go the way I thought it would and did not shy away from the real life dangers of being stuck in the middle of a snowy wilderness after your plane crashes. In the end it seemed to be about something else entirely.
Initially I gave this a 6 and said I never wanted to see it again, but having read several articles I now understand what the director (Aronofsky) was trying to say and the message is actually a vital one. Be warned – this is harrowing, stressful stuff and I suggest you read a review or two first – with spoilers, or it may prove to be too hard to watch. This film upset me so much and I never want to watch it again, it was also brilliant.
Biggest Disappointments –