Arts desk writers Alina Hansen and Holly Vasic discuss their Top 5 Movies of 2017.
5. Logan (R)
The final story of Logan (a.k.a. The Wolverine) in the X-Men/Marvel Universe. Logan takes place in the year 2029 a time where mutants are thought to be on the verge of complete annihilation or extinct. Logan hides and takes care of a dying Professor X suffering from superpower-like-dementia. It includes the discovery of a child with similar abilities to Wolverine and a race to freedom for the future of mutants. Logan is a symbolic gesture of handing the responsibility of the X-Men to the next generation, a gesture that is heart-wrenching and hopeful. This was one of the only X-Men movies that brought me to tears reminding me of family hardships and loss. In my opinion, it is one of the greatest Wolverine (or X-Men) movies ever.
4. Ingrid Goes West (R)
Ingrid has suffered from personal loss and finds herself spiraling out of control and into stalker-like obsession. A social outcast looking in, she uses social media as a tool to conduct her creepy-peeper behavior in an attempt to make connections with people in the outside world. This movie has plenty of dark humor hidden in disturbing scenes where Ingrid manipulates and worms her way into unsuspecting victims lives. What is really valuable about this movie — besides the rollercoaster plot — is the critique it makes on social media’s role in people’s lives. This was one of the funniest movies I have seen all year but it definitely made me think twice about using Instagram.
3. Baby Driver (R)
This was one of the best films I have seen in the past five years. An Edgar Wright film that synthesizes groovy music, crime, action and romance. It tells an incredibly thrilling story about a young man struggling to get out of his job as a getaway driver while keeping his girlfriend. This film is similar to the cult classic “Drive” (2011) only with laughs and music to dance to. Visually stunning with amazing car stunts and witty dialogue, there is little that I do not like about this film. I highly recommend “Baby Driver” for anyone who can only take one headphone out during a conversation out of necessity for the love of music.
2. Get Out (R)
A film like no other, “Get Out” belongs to the genres of comedy and horror. Depictions of racism and socio-cultural issues in American society are the main theme of this movie, positioning audiences to reflect on harsh realities. A balancing twist of humor and cringe-worthy scenes of mental torture makes it slightly less comedic and seriously messed up. Jordan Peele, writer and director, made his debut as director for this film and I am looking forward to whatever he creates next. “Get Out” exhibits such a high level of professional craftsmanship — it is a movie of its own kind that will be hard to surpass in the future.
1. Dunkirk (PG-13)
Written and directed by Christopher Nolan, “Dunkirk” is about the evacuation of thousands of stranded English and French troops during World War II. The cinematography is beautiful and the plot is teeth-grindingly intense. The difficulty in making a film based on true events is incomprehensible in portraying the truth and the people whose lives were lost. This film accomplishes just that while engaging audiences in the sacrifice and anguish of the people involved. “Dunkirk” is my #1 movie of this year for its cinematography, acting and storytelling. A total masterpiece.
5. Cars 3 (G)
Legendary racecar Lightning McQueen may have been number one but a new racecar has shown up on the track. Jackson Storm is fast. Faster than McQueen could ever be. McQueen is determined to beat him and goes on a road trip to find a way to do just that. Along the way, McQueen learns about himself, the ebb and flow of life and acceptance.
Pixar Animation Studios has a way with sequels — where other films fall short Pixar prevails. Hits like “Toy Story 3” keeps audiences entertained with their favorite characters even longer and a good story to boot. “Cars 3” may have received mixed reviews but I found myself moved to tears when the end credits began to roll. McQueen is in all of us. Watching him fail, learn lessons and then come out on top is inspiring regardless of it being a film for kids. Plus, the nostalgia factor makes the film even more worthwhile.
4. Blade Runner 2049 (R)
The 1982 film “Blade Runner,” based on the book “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep” by Phillip K. Dick, finally got a sequel. The movie “Blade Runner 2049” takes place 30 years after the original, which parallels real life because it has been 35 years since the first film came out. Officer K in this future alternative reality is retiring runaway replicants as a blade runner with the Los Angeles Police Department when he stumbles on to something he can’t hide.
As a fan of Phillip K. Dick, I had to have this on my list. To clarify the synopsis, replicants are human-like robots and Blade Runners are tasked with killing the ones who think on their own and no longer serve humans. Harrison Ford played Rick Deckard the original blade runner in the first film, and of course, he comes back in this one.
Even if you aren’t a fan of Dick’s work or know nothing about the world of Blade Runner the movie is still aesthetically pleasing and fun to watch. I paid to see this one in theaters and it was worth it.
3. The Lego Batman Movie (PG)
Batman is back, Lego style, in this hilarious thrill ride of a flick. The Joker is hurt that his emotionally constipated foe Batman does not “hate him” and he deploys an evil plan to help heal his heartbreak. Meanwhile, Bruce Wayne’s metaphorical walls are being broken down when he accidentally adopts an orphan boy (aka Robin) and also meets the new commissioner, Barbara Gordon.
“The Lego Movie” in 2014 introduced the world to Lego Batman and we begged for more. Will Arnett’s voice brings the bat to life and when you add the lines, the character is just too good. The film definitely makes fun of itself and superhero films in general which is a nice relief from the onslaught of superhero movies we’ve seen this year alone (“Wonder Woman,” “Justice League,” “Spider-man Homecoming,” etc.). If you haven’t seen it, you should.
2. Happy Death Day (PG-13)
A not-so-nice sorority girl named Tree finds herself in a “Groundhog Day” scenario, living the same day over and over again, in which she gets murdered in different ways every time she wakes up. As Tree relives the day of her death she attempts to find out who her killer is and ends up discovering more about herself and finding a new love interest.
This not-so-scary horror film was a great October movie. The mystery of Tree’s murder keeps you guessing throughout — add some fun jump scares and a mix of comedy and you have a good time. I was happy they even made a reference to the movie “Groundhog Day” instead of trying to ignore the comparable storyline.
1. Dunkirk (R)
On the beach of Dunkirk, France, in May 1940 allied soldiers are stuck and being slaughtered by the Germans via airstrike, ground and sea. Civilian ships are deployed to help rescue the men and the tumultuous experience is told in the film “Dunkirk.”
Director Christopher Nolan — known for films such as “Inception” and “Interstellar” — tends to not follow a linear timeline and Dunkirk fits that tendency. You have to pay attention to comprehend the story. If you don’t, you will get lost, so don’t talk through the movie. Considering the subject, it is very violent and realistic. Not recommended for weak stomachs. Like any war movie, it attempts to be as accurate as possible. In spite of all this, one of my favorite films of all time is “Saving Private Ryan,” so this flick was easily my favorite of 2017.