Having seen mostly independent films and foreign releases, making a top 10 of mainstream, theatrically released films is practically impossible. However, some of these films deserve to be recognized and seen. Here are my 5 favorites of the mainstream American films I’ve seen this year.
A war movie worth seeing and seeing again. Yes, it’s heavy, but it’s also hopeful. It shows are humans can keep hope alive from very little and will help each other against all odds when the time comes. The cast is amazing, the cinematography takes your breath away, and the story, build as multiple smaller stories interconnecting, is one that requires to be viewed a few times.
Watch with: Amen.
4. Baby Driver
Edgar Wright, music, cars. All one really needs to know to see this one. It’s one of those films that the less you know, the better. Going in without any expectation (hard to do at this point) will lead to a happy surprise. That being said, the film is well written, carefully directed and edited, with great performance and an even better soundtrack.
Watch with: Overdrive
3. Spider-Man: Homecoming
This one was a big surprise. After the last 5 (was it really 5?) Spider-Man movies, hope was low for this one being good, but the Marvel Cinematic Universe delivered. Spider-Man is just a kid here and he’s figuring himself out, while doing so, he gets some help from a powerful friend. As he starts to get into his own, the film starts to get into its own as well. It’s a fun film about coming of age with some special powers.
Watch with: Captain America: Civil War
Logan feels right, it fixes some of the past issues (albeit not all of them) with the way he’s been portrayed in the previous entries, and it creates an aging version of him as well as Professor X which are satisfying as well as where they go with things for them. The film also brings up new character with fairly well developed background that could possibly be taken in its territory and its own series of film almost completely independent of the original films. This one is probably the most satisfying X-Men film without feeling like it’s from the X-Men comics if that even makes sense. It’s a solid entry in the series and a solid stand-alone film that could fairly easily be watched by someone with no background on the characters. Logan is a solid ending for its title character and could easily be a high point for the X-Men series or a solid high to end on.
Watch with: The Wolverine
1. The Shape of Water
Fan of the weird and charmingly quirky films should love this one. It’s the love story without being cheesy, it has a “monster” that reminds of the Creature from the Black Lagoon, a heroine who works against incredible odds, a villain truly despicable, all the makings of a great fairy tale, but this one is definitely for adults. It’s a charming, lovely, odd ride into a world that feels like Del Toro meets Jeunet.
Watch with: Delicatessen