It’s the same thing every year – the prospect of having a solid list of films to chose from in compiling what I feel are the standouts at the end of this twelve month period seems to reveal itself closer and closer to the deadline. 2017 however appeared to buck this trend with a run of top notch blockbuster comic book films (mostly Marvel, let’s be frank, with one DC exception) that for the first eight months or so made for an interesting, if safe, foundation for my year end round up.

But in the remaining few months, the doors were blown off this superhero stranglehold on my list as many films from across the globe finally became available to me and the final shortlist soon increased from a seven to eighteen! And there were still a slew of titles I never got to see for a variety of reasons (LOVEFilm shutting done was one, Cinema Paradiso ignoring my top picks is another) so this might have been an even more hotly contested race than it was.

Therefore making this list was not just difficult in which titles to omit but also in which order they should be ranked in the final Top Ten. I’m still not entirely sure I have it completely right but I am certain that each entry is very deserving of placement, although I am bracing myself for a backlash against my top pick – and not because it isn’t La La Land or Moonlight

So here we go with MIB’s 2017 Top Ten film countdown, but remember this is MY list not yours, so baulk at the choices or their rankings if you must and if your favourite isn’t here it is either because I didn’t agree with you or I haven’t seen it.

 

10. Colossal (US Dir. Nacho Vigalondo)

This one caught me by surprise as my interest in it was through its tenuous kaiju connection but it turned out to be the sleeper hit of the year for me. A powerful but inventive way to address the far reaching effects of excessive drinking and low self-esteem issues, Colossal tells of a party girl whose alcohol fuelled antics in the US are mirrored by a giant monster in South Korea. It sounds barmy and fanciful but packs a potent punch.

Read the full review HERE

 

9. Land Of Mine (Denmark Dir. Martin Zandvliet)

A slightly older film only now getting a UK DVD release, this is based on the real life events of post-World War II Denmark, where the remaining German soldiers from the occupation were used to find and diffuse a million Nazi planted land mines on the coast. The soldiers in question were just teenagers and were subject to abusive treatment under the vengeful Danes. One of the lesser known stories from this period but none the less moving.

Read the full review HERE

 

8. The Villainess (Korea Dir. Jung Byoung-Gil)

Wonder Woman wasn’t the only babe kicking major butt on the big screen this year, joined by an avenging killing machine named Sook-Hee, played by the underrated Kim Ok-Vin. As much as this was about a female lead giving the male action stars a run for their money, it was also about the innovations of director Jung Byoung-Gil, taking the audience into the heart of the action in ways not seen before, outside of video games, making for one unforgettable, and incredibly violent, thrill ride.

Read the full review HERE

 

7. War For The Planet Of The Apes (US Dir. Matt Reeves)

Bringing the reboot trilogy of this classic franchise to a close was the most emotionally poignant and deeply effecting chapter to date, an incisive anti-war polemic that, by using primates instead of people, ostensibly gave us Orwell’s Animal Farm for the 21st century. Despite peace between the apes and humans, some apes have been captured and secured in concentration camps by a rogue military faction headed by Woody Harrelson. King Kong has nothing on these determined chimps.

Read the full review HERE

 

6. Her Love Boils Bathwater (Japan Dir. Ryota Nakano)

Japan may pick the quirkiest titles for their films but they still make sense in the end, adding that extra layer of genuine heartfelt sentiment to offset the tragedy contained within. In this case, a woman dying of terminal cancer seeks to reunite her daughter with her estranged father so the girl is taken care of once the mother dies. It’s a tale that reminds us that selflessness and love are not mutually exclusive traits and how our acts define us as people.

Read the full review HERE

 

5. Bluebeard (Korea Dir. Lee Soo-Youn)

A Korean serial killer flick with a difference, Bluebeard spends half its time convincing us that the owner of a butcher’s shop is a sociopathic murderer, as suspected by his physician lodger, before ripping the rug from under our feet. Having hit the floor with a thud, we are left with a concussion of mind numbing violence and psychological discord courtesy of one of the most tightly constructed scripts encountered in a long while. Suspenseful psychodrama at its best.

Read the full review HERE

 

4. A Man Called Ove (Sweden Dir. Hannes Holm)

Every community needs someone to stand up and put the world to right and in this story it is the bullish bear-like Ove Lindahl. But is there a gentle soul beneath this gruff exterior? Another film that took long to reach UK shores, the mighty Rolf Lassgård plays to type as the dyspeptic dinosaur Ove yet reveals a tragic side to his fearsome bark thanks to his new pregnant Persian neighbour. A sardonic comedy with heart, it’s almost enough to restore your faith in humanity. Almost….

Read the full review HERE

 

3. Close-Knit (Japan Dir. Naoko Ogigami)

Back to Japan for another enigmatic title that offers no explanation of what the film is about – well, not entirely anyway. It is about knitting and it is about a close family unit but the main theme is that the mother role in this case is fulfilled by a transgender woman. Coming from a country that still treats its LGBT community the same way we did in the 70’s this is a timely and persuasive film to help encourage a shift in attitude, if people will ever give it a chance.    

Read the full review HERE

 

2. The Age Of Shadows (Korea Dir. Kim Jee-woon)

The third Korean film on this list takes us back to 1922 during the Japanese occupation where a Korean turncoat officer is trying to play a top man of the resistance unaware that he himself is being played, whilst a third spy is undermining them both. Kim Jee-woon puts his brief trip to Hollywood behind him to return to form with this breathtaking espionage tale that twists and turns at every opportunity, leaving our nerves completely shattered by the end.

Read the full review HERE

 

No. 1

STAR WARS – THE LAST JEDI

(US Dir. Rian Johnson)

Nope. No apologies. None. I didn’t apologise for putting both The Force Awakens and Rogue One in the number 2 spot in previous years and I’m not going to for putting this seemingly polarising latest entry into the eximious Star Wars franchise in the top spot. I know some people hated it with a passion and found fault with everything because it was either too derivative or too new, but as far as I’m concerned it is their loss.

Grated there were a few little issues but sometimes it is the emotional experience that truly counts and for me, The Last Jedi moved me emotionally in a way a film hasn’t ever done. Maybe it’s because I have been a fan since the start so many of the developments hit me like it was an old friend or family member passing away, but also it is nice to watch a film for pure entertainment and again this is where Star Wars excels.

So, for this writer, given how I came out of the cinema like I was a giddy 6 year-old boy again, it was ultimately a no brainer choice for the Number 1. Am I surprised by this? Probably given the competition, but not all surprises are bad ones. If you agree with my assessment, fine, if you don’t that’s fine too, but remember it IS just a film.

Read the full review HERE

 

In the interest of full disclosure, it was many of the aforementioned comic book films that just failed to make the final cut, despite ushering in a new era of progressive and hugely entertaining blockbusters. Alongside Wonder Woman, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Thor: Ragnarok other early frontrunners included The Love Witch, Elle, The Tiger, Get Out and Okja.

Anyway, that is me done for 2017! It turned out to be a pretty good year for film after all, although a lot of the titles I saw were leftovers from 2016 that the privileged got to see first on the festival/press screening circuit first. At the moment it looks like 2018 will offer much the same on the mainstream cinema front whilst the real treats will be from the World Cinema catalogue, dependent on how many get a UK home video release.

Thanks for reading and until next time, this is the Man In Black saying Sayonara!

8 thoughts on “MIB’s Top Ten Films Of 2017

  1. It’s nice to see Star Wars at #1 There are some great films on this list. War for the Planet of the Apes will definitely be in my top 10 as well.

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  2. Congrats to Star Wars for claiming the title after twice having to settle for the runner up spot in 2015 and 2016. Some people have loved Last Jedi and others have hated it. Will be interesting to see which camp I end up in whenever I get round to watching it.

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  3. So many ‘foreign’ films’, the rest of the world is catching up with Hollywood/UK, or maybe over-taking now. Hope to see Jedi sometime.

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  4. Wow, this is definitely different from most of the year-end best-of lists I’ve been reading elsewhere. I must say, though, that I’m thrilled to see Last Jedi at the top, since that was my #1 movie as well. War for the Planet of the Apes was great as well, but I’ll have to catch up with some of the foreign films, as usual. Thanks for the recommendations!

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