We are now more than halfway through 2017, which are the best new films we’ve seen this year so far? We are focusing on the first six months of 2017, but maaaaay make an exception for certain July releases because rules, broken, made for that, etc.
This is Nicole’s list.
This is my favorite film of the year so far and already one of my favorite films, period. This is exactly my favorite kind of horror film. You’ve probably already read a ton about this, and if you haven’t seen it go fix that. The financial success of this film and the fact that Jordan Peele has a deal to direct a bunch more “social thrillers” is about the most hopeful news of 2017 around these parts.
I Am Not Your Negro
This was nominated for a 2016 Oscar but barely theatrically released until 2017, so I’m gonna count it as 2017. A fantastic introduction or refresher course on James Baldwin and how his work from decades past directly comments on the current political moment in the US. It lead to me reading The Devil Finds Work, Baldwin’s collection of essays on film which is quoted heavily in IANYN, and I recommend that book to you if you have not read it yet. That and everything else. Notes of a Native Son is another good place to start with his nonfiction, one of my favorite essay collections ever which I have returned to regularly over the years. But I digress. Loved this film. Samuel Jackson’s narration sets a new standard and deserves every accolade.
Fun and engaging monster movie in which the real monster is toxic masculinity. I saw this twice in theaters and found it utterly delightful.
The Girl With All The Gifts
Just when you think you’re so, so over zombie movies, something like this comes along and you’re still thinking about it months after seeing it. Not just another zombie flick: stellar cast, compelling questions, fresh take, will watch again.
It’s a Polish cannibal mermaid musical and I loved every minute. It’s on VOD, go watch it.
Another film I’m still thinking about months after seeing it. Cast, cinematography, direction, writing, all is great. I found the final reveal slightly disappointing in that it didn’t feel like one to me, but the film as a whole is one of my absolute favorites of the year. Relatable and disturbing because it’s relatable.
Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman sliced my heart out. The badass-little-girl-who-barely-talks trope is getting less fresh by the minute, but I’ll give it a pass here because this shit was good.
Please god go watch a beautifully photographed and sublimely edited doc about street cats in Istanbul. Worth seeing on the big screen if you get the chance. The cinematography is to die for, the structure is sharp, fantastic example of documentary filmmaking with largely non-human subjects.
Blood of the Tribades
A beautiful exploration of religious fundamentalism in an ode to 1970s European lesbian vampire movies. It’s streaming on Amazon Prime for a limited time now, too. May not come up in searches because of “mature content”.
I have to be real about the fact that, as many good things as I have to say about Wonder Woman (it is the best non-Lego DC Comics film in a good long while for sure, no doubt), much as the No Man’s Land scene was fantastic, much as the fight scenes made me tear up and get emotional in ways I wasn’t even expecting…the movie overall did not hang together for me nearly as well as this did. There were a lot of things that rubbed me the wrong way with Wonder Woman, too, whereas I just honestly really, really loved this.
I laughed, I cried, I appreciated the nuance of the compelling villain and the fact that he formed that rare, compelling two-sides-of-the-same-working-class-Queens-coin diptych with Spidey. I loved the high school stuff. I was delighted by this film. The action scenes (with the notable and expected exception of part of the climax) were clearly and coherently staged: I understood what was happening and I cared. The interpersonal drama was even stronger than the action. The cameos were a treat. The Captain America stuff was hilarious. Tom Holland is great, Zendya is great, Michael Keaton is great, the whole cast is great. This is most of what I want in a summer movie.