Films of 2017

1. Blade Runner 2049
The sequel we always wanted, but feared would ruin the beloved original. Guess what didn't happen, courtesy of Denis Villeneuve, Roger Deakins, Ryan Gosling and Harrison Ford. A major cinematic masterpiece. Slowburning (and therefore not for everyone), but a beautiful movie that rewards paying attention. Shame, shame, shame on the moviegoing audience. This didn't need to flop, this needed to be a hit in order to guarantee a third installment. Oh well. Full review here.

2. The Disaster Artist
I'll never tire of The Room, or Greg Sestero's first-hand written account thereof. The Disaster Artist is a hilarious poignant non-fiction novel, but I never thought it could be a good movie in itself. Cue James Franco and his cohorts, who turned said novel into an equally hilarious movie. A must-see.

3. Dunkirk
Christopher Nolan's masterful, intense, no-nonsense war movie. See it on the biggest, loudest screen possible. I did, in IMAX, and it blew me away.

4. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
The most polarizing, and downright hated Star Wars movie since Attack of the Clones. I don't understand the backlash. Don't let the haters bring you down, Rian Johnson. You've made a fine movie. Full review here.

5. Rogue One
A 2016 movie, seen on 2 January 2017. Rogue One - the first in a series of anthology, standalone films - is an enjoyable romp that answers how the rebels got hold of the Death Star plans. The movie's biggest accomplishment is aptly and successfully restoring the reputation of Darth Vader to the intimidating, major badass villain he was painted as in the original trilogy. His penultimate scene is awesome.

6. Thor Ragnarok
I'm not the biggest Marvel fanboy on the planet, having only seen a handful of Cinematic Universe flicks. Thor Ragnarok was very funny, and Jeff Goldblum steals every scene he's in. A pleasant surprise, with lots of unexpected cameos.

7. Arrival
Yet another proof Denis Villeneuve (see above) is one of the best directors working today. A thinking man's science-fiction movie about language, understanding, perseverance, and the power of love.

8. Wonder Woman
With a fantastic Gal Gadot in the title role, a Chris Pine who's beyond charming, and copious amounts of (sometimes shakily spoken) Dutch phrases, I quite liked Wonder Woman.

9. Beauty and the Beast
Live-action reimagining of my favourite Disney movie. I feared the worst, but the results are admirable. New song Evermore by Dan Stevens is excellent.

10. Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales
The best Pirates of the Caribbean sequel by far, and a return to the fun of the first one. No Keith Richards cameo, sadly, but Paul McCartney makes up for that omission.

11. Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
Markedly better than the first movie, but the soundtrack's a little less memorable. Killer Mary Poppins joke, that had me howling with laughter in the theatre.

Honourable mentions

T2 - Terminator 2: Judgment Day
One-off theatrical engagement, and the first Terminator movie I ever saw. Yes, in 2017. I quite liked it.

Home Alone
One-off theatrical engagement, and still the best family comedy (without the family) money can buy tickets for. I was too young (or my parents just didn't see fit to take me) to see it in its initial release, so I jumped on the chance to see it on the silver screen in December 2017. I know this movie by heart, but I will never tire of it. Supremely quotable ('It's Snakes. I got the stuff.', 'Cause you're a stranger', 'Look what you did, you little jerk', 'Great tip, thanks', et cetera), and all-around wonderful. A true modern Christmas classic.

Julian De Backer, 14 July 2018