Saturday, December 30, 2017

Movies for Music Lovers: 2017 Edition

Paula Beer and Pierre Niney in Frantz.  
Click here for the 2016 edition.

This year, like every year since I started to review film professionally--21 years ago--assigned titles took priority, so I missed more notable films than I saw, and yet I still saw a lot. I managed to squeeze in several television shows, too. I also did a little more living than usual...with all the pain, pleasure, and consumption of my limited free time that that implies.

For the time being, I've decided to forgo all but the most minimal commentary, but if there are any films you feel strongly about that you don't see listed below, feel free to let me know. I have screeners for many of the ones I missed, so getting caught up will be easier than usual, thanks to my membership in the Seattle Film Critics Society.

Links lead to my reviews for or podcast contributions to Cinema Squabble, SIFFBlog, SIFF '17 program guide, and The Stranger (some also appeared in The Portland Mercury). My reviews for Video Librarian live behind a paywall or by way of a print subscription.

Top 10
1. Frantz (François Ozon)
2. Get Out (Jordan Peele)
3. Lady Bird (Greta Gerwig)
4. Call Me by Your Name (Luca Guadagnino)
5. Graduation / Bacalaureat (Cristian Mungiu)
6. The Happiest Day in the Life of Olli Mäki / Hymyilevä Mies (Juho Kuosmanen)
7. Raw / Grave (Julia Ducournau)
8. Colossal (Nacho Vigalando)
9. Nocturama (Bertrand Bonello)
10. Personal Shopper (Olivier Assayas)

Koreeda at SIFF '17 with programmer Stan Shields
11. Twin Peaks: The Return (David Lynch)
12. Ex Libris: The New York Public Library (Frederick Wiseman)
13. Kedi (Ceyda Torun)
14. Lady MacBeth (William Oldroyd)
15. Blade Runner 2049 (Denis Villeneuve)
16. A Quiet Passion (Terence Davies)
17. Okja (Bong Joon-ho)
18. Maudie (Aisling Walsh)
19. Beach Rats (Eliza Hittman)
20. After the Storm / Umi Yori Mo Mada Fukaku (Hirokazu Koreeda)

Second Runners-up
21. The FixerFixeur (Adrian Sitaru)
22. The Lost City of Z (James Gray)
23. Marjorie Prime (Michael Almereyda)
24. Columbus (Kogonada)
25. T2: Trainspotting (Danny Boyle)
26. Happy Hour (Ryûsuke Hamaguchi)
27. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (Martin McDonagh)
28. On the Beach at Night Alone (Hong Sang-soo)
29. A Stray (Musa Syeed)
30. The Square (Ruben Östlund)

Lipitz at SIFF '17 with the lovely ladies of Step.  
Top Documentaries
1. Dawson City: Frozen in Time (Bill Morrison)
2. I Am Not Your Negro (Raoul Peck)
3. Last Men in Aleppo (Feras Fayyad)
4. I Called Him Morgan (Kasper Collin)
5. Jane (Brett Morgen)
6. The Work (Jarus McNairy and Gethin Aldous)
7. Faces Places (Agnes Varda and JR)
8. Escapes (Michael Almereyda)
9. My Journey Through French Cinema (Bertrand Tavernier)
10. The Farthest (Emer Reynolds)

Doc Runners-up
11. Step (Amanda Lipitz)
12. Rat Film (Theo Anthony)
13. Sonita (Rokhsareh Ghaemmaghami)
14. Tokyo Idols (Kyoko Miyake)
15. Jackson (Maisie Crow)
16. Mary Lou Williams: The Lady Who Swings the Band (Carol Bash)
17. Risk (Laura Poitras)
18. Whose Streets? (Sabaah Folayan and Damon Davis)

Note: Ex Libris will be coming to PBS in 2018. I’m glad I got to see it at the Walker Art Center, the highlight of a fine fall day in Minneapolis, a city I had never visited before.  

Also worthy of note: 20th Century WomenThe Ardennes, Baby Driver, The Bad Batch, Bad BlackThe Beguiled, The Big Sick,
Boris Without Béatrice / Boris Sans Béatrice, The Breadwinner, The Commune, Danger Diva, The Disaster Artist, Dunkirk, East LA InterchangeEndless PoetryThe Fabulous Allan CarrFirst They Killed My FatherThe Florida ProjectThe FoundersFree Fire, Ghost in the Shell, A Ghost Story, Good Time, Handsome DevilI Am the BluesI, TonyaThe Journey, JulietaThe LandingLandlineLane 1974, Lemon, Logan, Manifesto, Mixed Match, A Monster Callsmother!, Mudbound, The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected), The Nightmare / Der Nachtmahr, The OathOvarian Psycos, PatersonPatti Cake$, The Post, Professor Marston and the Wonder WomenSami Blood, The Shape of Water, Signature Move, SilenceStar Wars: The Last Jedi, Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe, Strike a Pose, Their Finest, Toni ErdmannA United Kingdom, VioletWar for the Planet of the Apes, Winnie, and Wonderstruck.

Schwarz at SIFF '17 with programmer Clinton McClung.
Note: 20th Century Women, PatersonSilence, and Toni Erdmann didn't open in Seattle until 2017, or they would've figured significantly in my 2016 list. It says something about me, I suppose, that I prefer Mike Mills' California coming-of-age film to Greta Gerwig's, with which it shares mother-child parallels, in part because he's a peer and she isn't (she's also really good in his film).

Missed or haven’t seen yet: Abacus: Small Enough the JailAll the Money in the WorldThe Ballad of Lefty Brown, Battle of the Sexes, Beatriz at Dinner, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, Blade of the Immortal, BPM (Beats Per Minute), Bombshell: The Hedy Lammar Story, Brad’s Status, Chasing CoralChasing Trane: The John Coltrane Documentary, City of Ghosts, Coco, Crown Heights, The Death of Louis XIV, Detroit, Dolores, Downsizing, A Fantastic Woman, Gerald’s Game, Girls Trip, God’s Own Country, Gook, Hermia & Helena, Hostiles, Human Flow, In the Fade, In This Corner of the World, Ingrid Goes West, It Comes at NightJim and Andy: The Great Beyond, Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold, Karl Marx CityThe Killing of a Sacred Deer, Last Flag Flying, Logan LuckyLong Strange Trip: The Untold Story of the Grateful Dead, Lucky, The LureMolly's Game, My Cousin Rachel, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea, My Life as a ZucchiniNorman: The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer, The Ornithologist, The Phantom Thread, PrevengePrincess Cyd, The Reagan Show, Spettacolo, Split, Strong IslandThirst StreetThor: RagnarokWind River, WonderWonder Woman, The Wound, and Your Name.

Note: The point of the above isn't to list every film I wanted to see, but to call out those that 

have showed up most frequently on other critics' lists or that have received awards consider-
ation. Also, I like to watch films in order when I can, so I intend to catch up with Everybody 
Wants Some!! before Last Flag Flying, the only two Linklater features I haven't seen. And 
I'm quite certain that I'll love Logan Lucky. Pity it didn't have a longer Seattle run.  

I did not like: Brawl in Cell Block 99 and The Glass Castle.

Endnote: Goodbye to the Seven Gables and Guild 45th Theatres where I saw a few of these films. They will be missed. And in case you're curious, these are the books I enjoyed the most: Marcus O'Dair - Different Every Time: The Authorised Biography of Robert Wyatt, Jah Wobble - Memoirs of a Geezer, Philomena Lynott - My Boy, Justin Spring - Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade, and Colson Whitehead - The Underground Railroad. I also started, but haven't finished, Jeannette Walls' memoir, The Glass Castle, which completely obliterates Destin Daniel Cretton's big-screen adaptation.

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