Tag Archives: Blade Runner 2049

Denis Villeneuve Films Ranked

Denis Villenueve Ranked

With the release of Dune: Part One, I wanted to share my list ranking the films of director Denis Villeneuve.

Ever since I watched Prisoners, I’ve been interested in Denis Villeneuve as a director. Over the past decade, he quickly established himself as one of the most acclaimed, visionary and sought-after directors. He has a fantastic body of work and has excelled at any genre he attempted from gritty crime thrillers to grand sci-fi epics.

With a few exceptions, most of Villeneuve’s films are truly excellent and as such, ranking his work is not easy. Here’s my best attempt at it.

10. August 32nd on Earth

August 32nd on Earth is a very obscure and hard to find movie, and one that even most fans of Denis Villeneuve probably haven’t heard of. Even though I’m glad I watched it, it’s by far his worst movie. It isn’t riveting and it takes a while for things to happen. It is Villeneuve’s first movie, and the direction definitely feels like it’s from someone making their filmmaking debut. It is rough with the editing, music and cinematography and isn’t exactly what you would call polished, with not much of a style.

With all that being said, August 32nd on Earth is a competently made movie, and it is solid as a directorial debut. It’s a decent romance dramedy that’s written well, especially with the dialogue between the two leads. Pascale Bussières and Alexis Martin are good as the main characters, and they share some great chemistry which drives and carries the movie, which is just as well since the movie relies on them so much. Without them, it wouldn’t have worked as well. Overall, it’s directed, written and acted well enough to make it entertaining to watch. With that said, it’s not anything special, and I wouldn’t recommend it to many people outside the most curious of Villeneuve fans.

My review of August 32nd on Earth

9. Maelström

If August 32nd on Earth was a standard movie for a directorial debut, Maelstrom is Denis Villeneuve getting experimental and creative. Some of it works, some of it doesn’t, but overall, I think it’s an admirable early effort from him.  There’s a lot going for Maelstrom with it being a dark character study of the troubled lead character, and the movie tackling the themes of guilt, grief and regret. Some of its aspects are strong, Marie-Josée Croze acts very well as this complicated protagonist, and Villeneuve’s direction certainly helps the film. It’s not as polished as his later work and he’s still crafting his own distinct style, but the technical aspects like the cinematography and editing fit the movie quite well. You can even detect aspects of his filmmaking style here which would make its way into his future movies.

Although there are some interesting elements to it, the film is held back by its shortcomings. The film is very slow moving and unfortunately doesn’t really keep your attention all the way through despite the strong character focus (not helped by the unsatisfying ending). I appreciate the movie for a lot of its ideas, though not all of them work. The narration of the film is delivered from a talking fish as it’s being chopped up by a butcher over the course of the film. It’s certainly memorable and probably meant to be symbolic given that fish play a symbolic part of the film but distracts more than anything, and is just one example of decisions in the film not really landing. Despite its issues, Maelstrom is still a solid and intriguing enough movie, and it does have some interesting aspects to make it worth a watch even if not all of it works.

My review of Maelström 

8. Polytechnique

It’s a huge step up in quality from this point in the list going forward. Polytechnique is definitely Denis Villeneuve’s least rewatchable movie, this drama focuses on a very difficult subject, that being a real life tragic shooting. It is a harrowing and haunting experience of a film, yet is beautifully shot, acted, and written, and respectful to the victims of the tragedy. The runtime is less than an hour and 20 minutes, but Denis put so much into it and does so much with it.

At this point with his third movie, Denis Villeneuve has honed his skills and has become a very capable filmmaker. The black and white cinematography complements the raw brutality of the scenes, giving it an eerie feeling. At the same time, these brutal sequences never feel glorified. Along with the excellent direction, the film is also helped by the acting, which felt authentic and real. Again, Polytechnique is not an easy movie to watch at all, but it is a great and important film.

My review of Polytechnique

7. Enemy

Enemy is one of Denis’s more confusing and experimental movies. A hypnotic, brilliant and thought-provoking psychological thriller, it definitely requires more than one viewing to really appreciate it. I know that personally as soon as it ended, I looked into online theories and videos to see what everyone else thought and interpreted from the movie. The premise is initially simple, and you are pulled into this intriguing doppelganger story. Throughout there’s an eerie and unnerving feeling that grips you. Enemy is incredibly complex and layered with so much to look into and think about as it plays with perceptions of reality.

Elevating the movie are the incredible dual performances from Jake Gyllenhaal, he really delving deep into the personalities of these two roles and again does some outstanding work. Another critical part of the film is of course Villeneuve’s direction, which is amazing as always. It’s an absolutely stunning looking movie, distinct with the yellow-ish tint and with moments of scary and unforgettable imagery. There’s also a general vibe of strangeness and wrongness, helped even further by the unsettling score. Even though it’s not a horror movie, this is probably the closest that Villeneuve has made to one. There are some unnerving scenes with some great tension building, keeping you on edge from beginning to end. As I said before, Enemy is very confusing at first, but its more satisfying on repeat viewings. It’s really an unforgettable experience that is well worth checking out if you have the patience for it.

My review of Enemy

6. Sicario

SICARIO Day 01

Sicario is a captivating, intense, dark and gritty crime thriller, it takes it time with its pacing and plot and is nonstop suspenseful. It has a very dark tone and feels appropriately unpleasant and uneasy throughout. There’s always an undercurrent feeling of tension and danger, you never really feel that the characters are completely safe. There’s also some stellar performances from the likes of Josh Brolin and Daniel Kaluuya, but it’s both Emily Blunt and Benicio del Toro who are the standouts, delivering strong and powerful acting work in their parts.

Denis’s direction is fantastic as expected, and this film is outstanding on a technical level. The cinematography by Roger Deakins is phenomenal as usual, framed and lit perfectly and capturing the tension. Johann Johannsson’s haunting and ominous score is a presence throughout the entire film and helps maintain this unnerving and uncomfortable feeling for the movie. Overall Sicario is a tightly directed, bleak and memorable thriller that accomplishes just about everything it sets out to do.

My review of Sicario

5. Incendies

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I remember hearing about Incendies being one of Villeneuve’s earlier movies. I went in fairly blind, and I was not prepared for what I would be watching. Incendies is a brutal, harrowing and uncompromising film. The storytelling is fantastic, a mystery with a plot containing a lot of twists and turns focusing on twins fulfilling their dying mother’s last request. You are locked in from start to finish as the plot unfolds. There are some truly devastating moments and reveals, and it’s very bleak even by Villeneuve standards.

The acting is great from everyone, from the twins played by Mélissa Désormeaux-Poulin and Maxim Gaudette, to Lubna Azabal as the mother. Everyone acts their role well, but it really is Azabal’s film, and she carries the movie excellently. Denis Villeneuve’s direction is fantastic as usual, it’s a stunning looking movie with so many memorable and emotional impactful images that are burned into your memory. Much of the movie is quiet and subtle, only making everything feel all the more real and raw, and there is a tense feeling throughout. Incendies is an unforgettable and truly remarkable film. It’s constantly engaging, greatly acted and packs an effective emotional punch when it needs to be. Not an easy watch by any means but nonetheless really worth checking out.

My review of Incendies

4. Arrival

Amy Adams as Louise Banks in ARRIVAL by Paramount Pictures

Arrival was the first Denis Villeneuve movie I was able to watch in the cinema, and it was an unbelievable experience. It is a thoroughly griping, intelligent, and thought-provoking science-fiction film that deserves multiple viewings, and is worth going into not knowing anything about it. I was satisfied with all the twists and turns, and the story by the end felt complete. While it is on the surface level a first contact/alien invasion movie with worldwide stakes at play, it is still a very human and soulful movie, presenting some interesting and thought-provoking ideas.

The performances are great, but it really comes down to Amy Adams in the lead role, giving one of her all-time best performances. She is spectacular here, this really is her film. Villeneuve’s direction is also outstanding. There is some spectacular cinematography from Bradford Young with the use of gorgeous wide shots, and the CGI is fantastic and never looked overused or fake. The score from Johann Johansson is euphoric too, eerie, suspenseful and ominous, yet very beautiful and it really added to the tone of the film. Overall Arrival is one of the best science fiction films from the past 10 years and is one that gets better the more you think about it and revisit it.

My original review of Arrival

3. Dune: Part One

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The most recently released film from Denis Villeneuve, Dune: Part One is currently his most ambitious film, especially considering that its adapting one of the most iconic piece of science fiction literature ever. While we have only half of the adaptation to judge at this point, needless to say his work on this one movie was fantastic. The world of Dune is very detailed, and he conveyed it incredibly well with outstanding world-building. I grasped the story and lore surprisingly well and I really wanted to know more about it. While Part One is essentially used as a way of delivering exposition about the world, characters and lore, it felt incredibly natural and worked seamlessly with the unfolding story. It is a slow movie with a steady pace, but this helped to tell the story effectively, and still felt reasonably accessible to most audiences. Villeneuve does a fantastic job at conveying the high stakes of the story, while still having a strong focus on the lead character’s journey and internal struggle.

There are some outstanding performances from the excellent cast as these memorable characters, especially with Timothee Chalamet, Rebecca Ferguson, Oscar Isaac, Jason Momoa and Stellan Skarsgard. Unsurprisingly, Denis Villeneuve’s direction is magnificent, and Dune is one of the most beautiful movies I’ve seen, you really feel the sense of scale throughout. The cinematography from Greig Fraser is amazing, the production design, set pieces and wardrobe are unique and detailed, and the score is operatic and outstanding. Dune: Part One is an immersive experience and spectacle of a film and while it definitely needs Part 2 for me to judge Villeneuve’s adaptation on the whole, I have high hopes for it. Part 2 just can’t come soon enough.

My review of Dune: Part One

2. Prisoners

Film Review Prisoners

Prisoners was the first movie I watched from Denis Villeneuve, and it’s his first English language movie. 8 years on, it remains a tense, well crafted and relentlessly grim thriller. Mystery thrillers following a kidnapping have been pretty common but this is incredibly well executed. You are completely invested in this the whole time, and despite the many disturbing twists and turns you can’t turn your attention away from it. It’s helped by its engaging characters and thought provoking questions that it poses.

The spectacular performances from the cast also are a big reason why it works so well. Hugh Jackman gives his best performance as a father desperate to find the missing children, Jake Gyllenhaal is phenomenal as a detective searching for the children, and Paul Dano sticks in your head the entire time as a possible suspect. Other performances from Viola Davis, Terrence Howard and Melissa Leo were amazing and add so much to it. The direction from Denis Villeneuve is amazing as expected. Roger Deakins’s cinematography was incredible, really appropriate for the dark atmosphere and constantly feeling dark and damp. There is an effective sense of dread throughout, helped by the mesmerising score from Johann Johannsson. Prisoners still remains an outstanding mystery thriller film, and is still one of my favourite movies from Villeneuve.

My review of Prisoners

1. Blade Runner 2049

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Potentially a very predictable pick for number 1, but my favourite of Villeneuve’s films nonetheless. Blade Runner 2049 is a grand sci-fi spectacle and one of the best science fiction movie of recent years. Living up to the Ridley Scott directed original Blade Runner, 2049 isn’t just a continuation that remains true and faithful to the original, it also expands upon its world and crafts its own unique story that improves upon it. The fantastic script tells an intimate story for the lead character played by Ryan Gosling, and his compelling journey over the course of the film. It is a long movie and moves at a steady pace but not a single second felt wasted.

The performances were fantastic from everyone. Ryan Gosling is perfectly cast as the lead role of K, effectively carrying the whole film really well. Harrison Ford reprises his role of Deckard from the first Blade Runner and is incredible in his screentime, and Ana de Armas and Sylvia Hoeks are very memorable in their parts. Denis Villeneuve’s work on 2049 is spectacular, with so much attention to detail. The cinematography from Roger Deakins is nothing short of breathtakingly spectacular. The world is incredibly well realised with the visual effects, physical sets and the production design working together incredibly well. Blade Runner 2049 remains one of the most impressive films I’ve seen, and is currently my favourite film from Denis Villeneuve.

My review of Blade Runner 2049

What is your ranking of Zack Snyder’s movies?

Top 20 Best Movies of 2017

I know that my Best Films of 2017 list is very late. Despite my intention to wait for the some of the later 2017 movies, I didn’t intend to be this late. Nevertheless I finally managed to get my list together. I have to say, despite some disappointments, 2017 was a really great year for film, I found myself giving more 10/10s than I usually do and I had to bump this list from a top 15 to a top 20 because I wanted to include so many more films.

Keep in mind that I haven’t seen every 2017 movie but I saw most of the 2017 movies that I was interested in seeing, including most of the big awards movies (I tried to avoid the situation last year where I missed out some of the best films of 2016 including Silence and never including them in a future best of 2016 list). So if a certain movie isn’t on the list, it’s because I haven’t seen it or hadn’t liked it enough for it to be on this list.

Honourable Mention:

Alien Covenant

Alien Covenant was definitely one of the most divisive movies of the year. Some people loved it, other people hated it. Fortunately I was in the former group, I loved it for what it was and it was so different from what I expected. While I can understand why a lot of people had issues with Covenant, I can’t help but be impressed by it.

No one does sci-fi like Ridley Scott and he really impressed me here. Alien Covenant is both a Prometheus and an Alien movie. Ridley Scott returns to horror with direction, excellent cinematography, and very, very horrific and bloody moments. However it is David, fantastically played by Michael Fassbender (who also plays dual roles here), who was the most fascinating element, one of the best characters in the Alien universe so far. Much of the film’s success goes to him as he’s a big screen presence. On top of that, this movie was a lot deeper and different than I thought it would be. All the themes it focussed on surrounded David and without going into too much depth it was really compelling. Covenant is a great mix of slasher, sci-fi, horror, religious parallels and much more that somehow actually works. It’s a bit of a bizarre movie, not what anyone was expecting and I’m glad that Scott went all out in going in this direction. It also has one of the best endings of 2017. Even though I really like Covenant, I can understand why a lot of people have issues with it. I do get that a lot of the questions that aren’t answered in Prometheus aren’t answered here either. It also does have some not so great elements with most of the other characters not being that developed and falling into some cliched moments, and on the whole it’s still a sci-fi horror flick, just with some unexpected parts to it. I’m just fascinated to see what direction Ridley Scott is taking this prequel series in (if a sequel does end up happening). I hope it happens, I want to see what Scott intended to take this story in.

My review of Alien Covenant

20. Detroit

Kathryn Bigelow’s Detroit unfortunately really didn’t get the attention it deserved. The dramatization of the Algiers Motel Incident which took place during the Detroit Riots of the 60s was one of the surprise best films of the year that not enough people saw. It’s a real shame because a lot of audiences really missed out on a great and very impactful film.

Just about everything about Detroit was great. The performances were absolutely fantastic, with Will Poulter being a standout, how his excellent performance hasn’t been receiving awards attention is beyond me. But it’s the direction from Kathryn Bigelow that made the film so effective. The second act was riveting and harrowing, and Bigelow played a big part in it being very effective. Maybe it’s a little overlong in the first and third acts and its not exactly a movie that you would rewatch, but for what it is, it’s truly great.

My review of Detroit

19. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

The Killing of a Sacred Deer was absolutely mesmerising and I didn’t expect myself to like it as much as I did. With the unconventional and metaphorical story, the fantastic acting but most of all the stunning direction by Yorgos Lanthimos, The Killing of a Sacred Deer is an admirable film which I can only see being better upon more rewatches and further thought.

Yorgos Lanthimos’s latest film was so bizarre but the way he told the story actually worked. The story itself was really something unique and compelling, truly remarkable. Lanthimos’s direction was excellent, and felt haunting and unsettling from beginning to end. The acting was also top notch, with Colin Farrell and Nicole Kidman giving typically great performances but Barry Keoghan also should also receive a lot of praise for his excellent performance here. Killing of a Sacred Deer really isn’t for everyone and I can understand why a lot of people don’t like it but I’m glad I sort of love it, it really does get better the more you think about it.

My review of The Killing of a Sacred Deer

18. Good Time

Good Time was one of the most unexpected movies of 2017, it had slowly been gaining some praise and it actually lived up to all the acclaim. The direction, writing and acting (particularly from Robert Pattinson) was so top notch, it truly deserves more attention and praise than its been getting.

The Safdie Brothers created a straightforward yet effective thriller that grips you from start to finish within its 100 minute runtime. The film is so visually stunning, especially with the lighting at the night-time, the entire film also does such a great job at exerting stress and tension. Along with the direction being truly excellent, it felt very gritty, the story and characters felt real, it doesn’t hold back in the dark things that happen, it doesn’t even try to get you to like the protagonist. Although all the cast was good, its Robert Pattinson who shines in a transformative lead role. He proved himself to be a tremendous talent here and deserves a lot more love for his performance. It’s gritty, fantastic, thrilling, there’s nothing else to say except that Good Time was a… good time.

My review of Good Time

17. Molly’s Game

Molly’s Game turned out incredibly well for a directorial debut and ended up being one of the best films of 2017. It is a stylistic and interesting true story which made for a great movie, with the highlights being Aaron Sorkin’s writing, Jessica Chastain and the supporting performances.

Aaron Sorkin not only proved himself as a fantastic writer (which he has already done many times over) but also as a very good director. He really brought the unbelievable true life story of Molly Bloom to the big screen. It’s an interesting story that’s both riveting and entertaining and as complicated as the film and certain details can get, Sorkin makes it work so everyone can have a degree of understanding about what is going on. Jessica Chastain gave a typically fantastic performance (one of the best lead actress performances of the year honestly), while supporting actors like Idris Elba, Michael Cera and Kevin Costner all played their parts very well and added a lot to the movie. Although a little overlong, Molly’s Game was great and really deserved a lot more praise than it has been receiving.

My review of Molly’s Game

16. Wind River

Wind River was one real surprise of a movie that slowly crept up upon us. It was just a really great murder mystery and it really did live up to the hype, with it being a very riveting story and having great performances.

Taylor Sheridan showed himself to be a great director as well as a great writer with Wind River. He already proved with Sicario and Hell or High Water that he was a talented writer and Wind River was yet another great story from him. The story was bleak and so well put together, a great mystery thriller overall. Performances from everyone were great, Jeremy Renner gave his best performance since The Hurt Locker, Elizabeth Olsen was great, really everyone contributed to the movie. If you haven’t watched Wind River, I highly recommend checking it out because it is really something great.

My review of Wind River

15. I, Tonya

I, Tonya was a real surprise. I went in knowing that we’d be getting excellent performances and wasn’t expecting much more than that. However, it ended up being much more than anything I expected. It was a truly great movie which really benefited from the way it presented the events, and which of course is made even better by the incredible performances from its very talented cast.

Making I, Tonya a dark comedy benefited the film immensely, it made the film entertaining and fast paced, while also not shying away from some of the more darker things that happened. It also maintained a level of emotional depth, so it wasn’t just entertaining, you were invested in what was happening. And of course, the performances from actors like Sebastian Stan and Allison Janney were really great. However, it is Margot Robbie who really shines, she is absolutely transformative and phenomenal as Tonya Harding. It’s her best performance to date and by far one of the best performances of the year. I, Tonya really surprised me and I got a lot more than I thought I would. Definitely one to not miss.

My review of I, Tonya

14. T2: Trainspotting

I’m surprised by how much I loved Trainspotting 2. I really liked the original Trainspotting but it wasn’t like one of my all time favourite movies or anything at that level to me. It’s also not common for sequels to films made decades ago to be any great, it’s even less common for those said sequels to be better than the original film (and it’s not the only one on this list), yet T2: Trainspotting managed to pull off being both. And yes, I do consider T2: Trainspotting to be better than the original.

T2: Trainspotting benefited as a sequel because of the fact that it took a different approach than the original, while still feeling like a Trainspotting movie, it’s very much a continuation of the story. At the same time, the approach to addiction (which the original covered) and the story overall is different, much darker and more mature. All the cast, especially returning cast members like Ewan McGregor and Robert Carlyle return seamlessly into their original roles and as usual were fantastic. Danny Boyle brought his typically great direction here and watching his take on a modern day Trainspotting sequel was amazing to see. Entertaining, emotional and ultimately satisfying, T2: Trainspotting was one of the most surprising and best films of 2017.

My review of T2: Trainspotting

13. The Disaster Artist

The Disaster Artist was one of my most anticipated films of all time, because of how much I loved the book its based on and how much I loved The Room. The book seemed like perfect movie material and I was looking forward to seeing how it would be. Thankfully it absolutely delivered on all fronts, it was surprising how great it was.

The Disaster Artist is a very unconventionally inspiring movie, the Ed Wood of the 2010s. The way that Tommy Wiseau wanted to make it big in Hollywood was tragic, ironic and inspiring all at the same time. One of the highlights was James Franco’s performance as Tommy Wiseau, which was fantastic, definitely deserving of high praise. A lot of people can do excellent impressions but it’s a real challenge to actually portray him as a person, and Franco was brilliant. You like Wiseau and root for him despite his weirdness and odd behaviour, yet the movie doesn’t shy away from many of his more less likable aspects. Great portrayal overall. Along with that the script was funny, well written and portrayed the events truly. With a fantastic performance, a great adaption of Greg Sestero’s book and story about Tommy Wiseau and The Room, I loved it. I’m not sure if it would be as impactful to people who don’t know of Tommy Wiseau or The Room but as someone who does, I really loved it.

My review of The Disaster Artist

12. John Wick Chapter 2

John Wick Chapter 2 takes everything from the first John Wick film and improves over it in every single way. It didn’t seem to be very necessary when it was announced and seemed to only exist because the original was such an unexpected hit but after seeing it I am so glad that we have it.

John Wick Chapter 2 is better in every way over the previous film. There are even more excellent action sequences, more worldbuilding, and it actually has you wrapped up in the story. From start to finish it has you absolutely riveted and entertained, there were even sequences that were so beautifully directed that I didn’t expect. All of this made Chapter 2 more than just your typical entertaining Keanu Reeves action flick. Speaking of Keanu Reeves, he has fully established John Wick as his definitive role and he really gets to show off both his action and acting chops. John Wick Chapter 2 was much better than I thought it would be and I already had some pretty high expectations for it, it was fantastic. I can’t wait to see what 2019’s John Wick Chapter 3 will be like, after seeing how great Chapter 2 was I can’t see it being anything less than excellent.

My review of John Wick Chapter 2

11. A Ghost Story

A Ghost Story is not for everyone, it is slow and as cliché as the phrase is, its not a film, its an experience. I personally loved it, while it didn’t have the emotional impact that it did for some others, there was something about it that I really loved and had my attention from start to finish. I have a feeling that it might be one of those movies that may get better the more I revisit it.

I can see why a lot of people don’t like A Ghost Story. It is slow, drawn out (the infamous 5 minute long pie scene often being mentioned as an example) and very unconventional to say the least. It might take multiple viewings to get the full experience. With that said, with my one viewing of the film I really loved it. With great performances from Casey Affleck (who’s mostly behind a sheet) and Rooney Mara (who is so great in a supporting part of the film and says so much with so little) and the unique direction by David Lowery, there’s a lot to love about it. However there was also something that had me riveted from start to finish, and I have yet to figure out what it is. Maybe repeat viewings will reveal what that aspect is. If you haven’t seen A Ghost Story yet, I recommend going in with an open mind and not knowing too much beforehand. David Lowery has crafted a very unique film which will continue to divide audiences in the years to come.

My review of A Ghost Story

10. A Cure for Wellness

A Cure for Wellness really took me by surprise, I was intrigued with the plot, the cast involved and Gore Verbinski’s fantastic direction. However it really divided people and while I can understand due to some polarising aspects, I don’t really know why it didn’t receive enough love. Something about A Cure for Wellness keeps drawing me to it

It’s been months since I’ve watched A Cure for Wellness for the first time and I’m still trying to figure out why I loved it so much. Naturally the 3 main actors (Dane Dehaan, Mia Goth and Jason Isaacs) were good in their roles and the story was intriguing, not spelling out everything to you and requiring you to think a lot. However, I think it is Gore Verbinski’s direction that made me love the movie so much. The cinematography, the lighting, the music, the entire aesthetic, everything is in place. It’s a perfectly directed movie to me. It seems that this movie is not for everyone, probably because of how long it is and how unconventional it is. But I do recommend giving it a chance because of how bizarre and strange it is.

My review of A Cure for Wellness

9. Get Out

Get Out was one of the biggest surprises of 2017. Jordan Peele seemed like an unlikely person to direct a horror film, given that he was more of a comedian. But he has created a truly genius movie that surprised everyone, one that not only has its fair share of horror aspects but also effective humour and great social commentary. Along with it being a great film, with Get Out, Peele and co. have created a new brand of horror, the social horror and it worked so well here.

Jordan Peele did such an excellent job with this movie. He applied such smart racial social commentary, which was utilised well for both horror and comedy. Tonally this film is actually quite well balanced out, the comedic and dramatic and horror aspects are handled fantastically and don’t feel out of place at all. All the performances were great with Daniel Kaluuya being the standout, however supporting performances like Allison Williams (she especially was really great) shouldn’t be overlooked. I haven’t stopped thinking about this movie ever since watching it and I have a feeling that I will love it even more upon repeat viewings. I can’t wait to see more films from Jordan Peele, he has proven himself to be a fantastic filmmaker and writer and will no doubt create some more excellent films.

My review of Get Out

8. Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi

After seeing The Last Jedi in cinemas for the first time it became my 2nd favourite Star Wars film and a rewatch has made it tied for being my favourite in the series with Empire Strikes Back. Director Rian Johnson has done such a great job at continuing where J.J. Abrams left the story off in Episode 8, while taking the story in some unpredictable directions. It may have resulted in an instant mixed reaction amongst some die hard fans but I think it was all worth it.

The Last Jedi makes some of the riskiest decisions of a Star Wars movie, and I am so glad that this happened. The story took the Star Wars universe in some directions that some didn’t like but I was completely on board with all of them. Along with the story being great, this has the best cinematography of all the Star Wars movies, the action was fantastic and the characters were played so wonderfully by the talented cast, the stand outs being Adam Driver as Kylo Ren and Mark Hamill as he returns to portray a very different Luke Skywalker. Yes, there are some parts that didn’t work, the Canto Byte sequence is still notably the weakest of the whole movie and there are some minor aspects that didn’t work so well. However the flaws are absolutely dwarfed by the rest of the movie which is so fantastic. I have confidence in director J.J. Abrams and writer Chris Terrio that Episode 9 will be good but I’m not even sure they will reach the level of The Last Jedi, we’ll just have to wait and see. For now, I can say with complete confidence that The Last Jedi is in the top 2 best Star Wars movies.

My review of Star Wars Episode 8: The Last Jedi

7. Logan

There have been 6 comic book movies this year and while I liked most of them quite a bit, I’m not sure if I could call any of them great. They all seem to stretch from being good (Thor Ragnarok, Wonder Woman and Spider-Man Homecoming) to just being okay at best (Justice League). There is one exception however: James Mangold’s Logan. No other comic book movie this year even comes close to being at the level of greatness of Logan. Logan is without a doubt one of the best comic book films ever made. In a genre which has countless larger than life plots which involve saving the world (which I do like 95% of the time), it is very refreshing to see the plot being much smaller and personal. Just about everything about it worked incredibly and I couldn’t be happier for it.

The story was very gritty and raw, and it didn’t hold back in the violence and how dark it could get. The performances were fantastic, newcomer Dafne Keen was great as Laura/X-23, and Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart were outstanding in their final outings as Wolverine and Charles Xavier. In terms of flaws, there really was just one, an expeditionary scene that felt a little lazy, that’s it. Logan isn’t going to be a film that I watch multiple times due to its melancholy and at times depressing plot but it is nevertheless excellent and I’m glad that it turned out so well, and with it being Hugh Jackman’s and Patrick Stewart’s last X-Men film appearance it needed to.

My review of Logan

6. Dunkirk

With Dunkirk, Christopher Nolan has created a very unique war movie, one that really puts the audience in the centre of all the war, more so than most war movies. Intense and captivating, Dunkirk is a masterclass in visual direction and storytelling.

The cast was good, even the actors who really didn’t have particularly deep characters (which is most of them) or much chance to show off do very well in their roles but make no mistake, the true star of Dunkirk is Christopher Nolan. His direction is front and centre and he brought his style and techniques to bring this movie up to a level of near perfection. Pretty much everything works about this movie, really putting you in the position of three perspectives over the course of a week, an hour and a day and the structure somehow works. Everything comes together to make Dunkirk a fantastic film, and it might just be one of Nolan’s best movies, which is saying a lot all things considering.

My review of Dunkirk

5. War for the Planet of the Apes

War for the Planet of the Apes seemed like it was going to go all out in terms of its scale, almost every third part in a trilogy seems to want to make everything bigger and explosive for its finale. Instead, Matt Reeves decided to go in a much more personal and focussed direction, making it a character study for Andy Serkis’s Caesar. And I couldn’t be happier for this. War for the Planet of the Apes is honestly one of the best major ‘blockbusters’ in recent years, one that prioritises plot and character over action and definitely delivers in being an emotionally strong final act to one of the best film trilogies of all time.

The effects were incredible, especially the motion capture of the apes, nothing looked out of place. The story is, to be honest, perfect and fitted well with Caesar’s arc. Performances were great from Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn and Amiah Miller. But Andy Serkis is of course the stand out, delivering a final tremendous performance as Caesar, definitely deserving of high praise. I can’t think of really anything wrong with this movie, the issues I had with the previous movies (that being that the human element felt weaker) wasn’t present here, it definitely surpassed my expectations. War for the Planet of the Apes is a perfect conclusion to a great trilogy and deserves unending praise.

My review of War for the Planet of the Apes

4. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Martin McDonagh is one of my favourite directors/writers working today with In Bruges and Seven Psychopaths and he continues to prove that with Three Billboards, which might be his best film yet, it’s at least at the level of In Bruges. With fantastic writing and great performances, Three Billboards was one of the year’s best.

Everything that McDonagh has shown in his previous movies he brings here, from the dark and hilarious comedy to the shocking and truly impactful aspects. It’s a perfect mix of comedy and drama. The performances were also fantastic, with a very strong leading performance by Frances McDormand and great supporting performances including Woody Harrelson and especially Sam Rockwell. I also loved the story that was told about rage and anger and how it can lead people to do destructive and negative things. It’s story was controversial, dark and hilarious, it lead to some backlash, but I’m glad McDonagh stuck to what he set out to do. Whether it will hold up on repeat viewings remains to be seen. However from just my first viewing, I personally think that Three Billboards was fantastic.

My review of Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

3. Phantom Thread

I’ve been holding back on releasing this list because I knew that there was a strong possibility that Phantom Thread would end up on it, and having seen it very recently, my instincts proved to be right, as it slides in at the number 3 slot. Phantom Thread is perfectly crafted, detailed, riveting and completely unexpected, made even better by its phenomenal performances. Paul Thomas Anderson has done it again.

Paul Thomas Anderson has weaved a truly effective and compelling story, one that is packed with so much detail in its writing and direction, this is a perfectly directed film. From start to finish, Phantom Thread has you riveted with it’s very original and unique story. This may well be one of PTA’s best films, which is saying a lot considered this is the man who directed films like There Will be Blood and Boogie Nights. The performances by not only Daniel Day-Lewis (in his last role) but also Vicky Krieps (who gives a performance at DDL’s level) and Lesley Manville were excellent and only strengthened the film even more. Phantom Thread was truly fantastic and was definitely one of the best films of 2017.

My review of Phantom Thread

2. The Shape of Water

The Shape of Water was such a beautiful movie and a future classic, absolutely everything about this movie is so fantastic. Despite how weird the concept is at times (I mean, it’s basically all about a woman falling in love with a fish monster), Guillermo del Toro does such a great job at making it work well, not many people would’ve been able to make this concept into such an excellent film. Del Toro has directed quite possibly his best film yet, and don’t forget that this is the man who brought us Pan’s Labyrinth.

Having seen it twice, I can say that The Shape of Water just might be a perfect movie, at the very least a near perfect movie. Guillermo del Toro’s direction was beautiful, the performances were great from everyone (particularly Hawkins, Shannon, Jenkins, Spencer, Stuhlbarg, Jones) and the story was just amazing. Much of the credit goes to del Toro, who manages to bring to the big screen some parts that in the hands of another director wouldn’t work at all (especially a very unexpected scene in the third act). Everything just worked together so well, and I can’t imagine it being any better, it honestly took me off guard. The Shape of Water is truly wonderful, definitely worthy of a lot of praise.

My review of The Shape of Water

1. Blade Runner 2049

I was curious about Blade Runner 2049 initially, mostly with the talent involved. However, I didn’t really know what to expect as at the time I found Blade Runner to be a just okay movie (having watched it like 5 years ago). 2049 surpassed my expectations on every single level, I was not expecting this film to be this remarkable, this spectacular, even with the amount of talented people involved. While it didn’t fare well at the box office, it deserves a lot more love and attention because it is really one of the best films of 2017, if not the best.

Denis Villeneuve as usual delivers on creating an excellent film and sequel to the original Blade Runner. It feels like a Blade Runner sequel and does some worldbuilding while doing enough original things to make it special and its absolutely riveting from start to finish. In fact, I personally think it’s significantly better than the original, for example with regards to the pacing (despite 2049 being a much longer movie) but also I loved the story that was told. Roger Deakins’s cinematography has never looked better, the cast with Gosling, Ford, de Armas, Leto, Wright, Hoeks and more did some fantastic work, pretty much everything about this movie is excellent. Blade Runner 2049 is not only the best film of 2017, it’s one of the best sequels of all time and one of the all time great films of the 2010s.

My review of Blade Runner 2049

On another note, while in previous years I made worst movies of the year lists, I decided that from now on I would no longer take part in this unfortunately common practice.

What were your favourite films of 2017? Comment below and let me know.

Blade Runner 2049 (2017) Review

Time: 163 Minutes
Age Rating: 2773-o[1] Violence, offensive language and sexual themes
Cast:
Ryan Gosling as K
Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard
Ana de Armas as Joi
Sylvia Hoeks as Luv
Robin Wright as Lt. Joshi
Mackenzie Davis as Mariette
Carla Juri as Dr. Ana Stelline
Lennie James as Mister Cotton
Dave Bautista as Sapper Morton
Jared Leto as Niander Wallace
Director: Denis Villeneuve

Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who’s been missing for 30 years.

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Blade Runner 2049 was one of my most anticipated films of 2017. It’s a sequel to a sci-fi classic 35 years in the making and it has some talented actors involved with big names like Ryan Gosling and Jared Leto. But most of all, Denis Villeneuve is directing, and he has made some excellent movies, with them being some of the best films of their respective years (Prisoners, Enemy, Sicario and Arrival). So naturally I was curious about how it would turn out. Blade Runner 2049 truly surpassed my expectations, with the direction, acting and story, it blew me away. This isn’t just the best movie of the year and one of the best sequels of all time, I might also go so far as to call it a masterpiece.

I really can’t reveal too much about this movie, I can’t even really talk about what this whole movie is about as there’s so many plot points which could be considered spoilery (thankfully the trailers don’t contain any spoilers either). So I’ll do my best to not give away too much. You don’t necessarily need to have watched the original Blade Runner to understand what’s going on, but it is a bonus for those who have, you’d be more familiar with this world and be able to understand more about what’s going on (and you’ll have a better experience overall). This movie really is a continuation of the original Blade Runner story, its not been modernised or re-energised to appeal to a conventional movie audience, which I love. The script was written by Hampton Fancher and Michael Green and the story is really great, exploring interesting new ideas while delivering a very compelling story. Doing a sequel to Blade Runner isn’t easy, you have to make it true to the original but at the same time deliver its own story and not try to just repeat what was done previously. It also must expand on the world built on from the original film and also be a good as a film in itself while not end up being just a setup for more potential sequels. This story thankfully hits all the right notes and the story is incredible. It does have some ambiguity and some questions that aren’t necessarily answered by the end but that could possibly be left to the audience’s interpretation as to what the answers are. That’s all I’m willing to say about it. This movie is longer than the original, with it being around 2 hours and 45 minutes long and while I definitely felt the runningtime, I was glued to what was going on every second. Don’t expect it to be a fast sci-fi flick like the trailers may have pitched it as, this is still a neo-noir mystery science fiction film. With that said, the pacing is handled much better than the original, while it is quite slow in its pace, every moment seems like it matters. It doesn’t ever have moments that seemed to drag on for no reason like the original film. As someone who likes but doesn’t love the original Blade Runner, I thought 2049 was better. Make of that what you will.

Blade Runner 2049 has a great cast, the characters they played were fascinating and they were cast perfectly. Ryan Gosling is once again great, here he plays Officer K, the main character who’s a Blade Runner. Gosling plays every scene perfectly, especially when he’s learning all this new information, he can convey so much with just a single look with no dialogue at all. Make no mistake, this is really K’s story and Gosling was the perfect actor for this role. Harrison Ford is very much a supporting role in this movie but he does have an important role in the story, and Ford does some of his best acting ever. More supporting actors with Ana De Armas, Sylvia Hoeks, Mackenzie Davis, Robin Wright, Dave Bautistia and Jared Leto all are great. All stand out with their unique characters, and that’s all I’m willing to say in a spoiler-free review. Without naming specific people, I would’ve liked to have seen more of them but they all served their purpose to the story well.

Denis Villeneuve is the director of Blade Runner 2049 and as I said previously, his previous work on film has been remarkable, 2049 is no exception. Everything from the visuals, to the lighting to the sound and the camerawork is pure cinematic genius. There is so much attention to detail, there’s nothing out of place. This is among Villeneuve’s best work, along with Arrival and Prisoners. This is hands down the best looking movie of 2017. Cinematographer Roger Deakins does incredible work here and deserves so much praise. This film looks so beautiful, it feels like a lot of the movie weren’t using CGI, and everything looks amazing. There isn’t much in the way of action but whenever its on screen its good. The score by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch is also great, at times it feels like the original Blade Runner soundtrack and overall fitted the film incredibly well.

Blade Runner 2049 is so far the best film of the year, and with already some incredible movies released in 2017 that’s saying a lot. Denis Villeneuve and his talented cast and crew has created an incredible sequel that surpassed the original in every way. It stands on its own as a masterpiece of sci-fi, I guarantee that decades from now its going to be a classic film that ages well. When it was announced, a sequel to Blade Runner was called one of the worst ideas to ever be made. After seeing 2049, I have to say that it was one of the best ideas ever made. Avoid any spoilers, avoid really reading or watching anything relating to this movie and see it as soon as you can. Also watch it on the biggest screen possible. You won’t regret it.