Well, the halfway point in the year is now past us. While many people will wait until the end of the year, Matt Singleton and I wanted to mention our top films of the year so far. We both have our personal top five choices, up to the 1st of July, and we promise to have a joint top 10 for the end of the year. If you think we missed a film or have your own list, leave a comment below. Enjoy.
James’ Top 5
Narrowly missing out on the list due to a music-loving driver is Gifted, a drama about a little girl with a big heart and even bigger brain. Starring Chris Evans and the utterly adorable Mckenna Grace, as well as a smattering of brilliant performances from Octavia Spencer, Lindsay Duncan and Jenny Slate, Gifted tugs at the heartstrings and tickles your sides simultaneously.
With laughs, tears, familial conflict, loneliness and a one-eyed cat, this is not one to be missed.
*Plays her electric cello theme* That’s good stuff.
This is the film that put DC back in our good books. Patty Jenkins filled the screen with a no nonsense superhero who wanted to do good in the world and not mope about like her Kryptonian and Gotham counterparts. Such a refreshing film in a series that many, including myself, was ready to give up on. MORE OF THIS PLEASE.
No one was more surprised that M. Night Shyamalan could actually come back from The Last Airbender and After Earth, but come back he did. The surprise sequel to his earlier film Unbreakable used its cast to their fullest extent, especially James McAvoy. Putting in, probably, his most difficult performance to date is enough to make this list. Anya Taylor-Joy deserves a mention as one of the most striking faces in Hollywood right now. Every time she’s on the screen, it’s impossible not to look at her eyes and see the pain her character went through. Remarkable.
4. A Monster Calls
An odd choice to see here, I know, but this film really did a number on me when I first saw it. Blown away by its visuals and sound design, combined with its intense story and characters, I found A Monster Calls breathtaking. One of the most emotional movies to come out this year, I hope this film finds an audience on streaming services, as it passed many people by. A surprisingly accessible film for all ages even though it deals with a heavy subject matter.
3. Baby Driver
I can only echo my colleague’s sentiment and urge you to see this film on the big screen. As a person who wanders around London listening to music and doing most things to a beat, I fell in love with this film instantly. The most cinematic film to come out in a while deserves every penny it gets, and I’m contributing by having seen it twice already with more plans in the mix. Not the first or last to say this but dear Lord THAT SOUNDTRACK. Edgar Wright you beautiful man, please take less than four years to make another film!
The best superhero film since The Dark Knight?
From the opening scene we knew this wasn’t your normal X-Men film. It brought a tear to my eye to see Professor Xavier like that, and I think we all agree that Dafne Keen has a long career ahead of her and hopefully her own film based on this way-beyond-her-years performance.
Logan did what many films of this genre fail to do: Actually say goodbye. It was heartbreaking to watch this film, but I don’t think anyone would’ve wanted it differently.
1. Get Out
If anyone says they thought this was going to be one of the best films of the year before it came out, they are flat out lying.
Jordan Peele (I know, right?) has created one of the most rock solid and rewatchable films of recent memory. From the performances, the music, the writing, the ending, and the alternate ending, it’s almost impossible to find a major fault in this film.
There’s so much you don’t get on your first time that enriches the experience every subsequent viewing that it’s impossible for me to put this film anywhere but here.
Matt’s Top 5:
Jordan Peele’s excellent debut took the world by storm upon its release and rightly so. Darkly funny, terrifying and so relevant it’s just disturbing, Get Out is one of the most unique movies released in years.
5. Wonder Woman
How refreshing it is to see an earnest superhero movie? Wonder Woman channels the great Superman the Movie and is head and shoulders above the rest of the DCEU movies because of it. This isn’t dark and gritty, but instead has a wonderful levity and a whole lot of heart. Gal Gadot’s Wonder Woman soars.
4. 20th Century Women
I’ve dropped this great little film from Mike Mills into the list because I feel it has been criminally underseen. It’s a wonderful little indie drama about a young boy’s adolescence and the women his mum rallies to help him. There’s some great performances here, not least by Elle Fanning and especially Annette Bening, who should’ve walked away with all the awards.
3. Baby Driver
It seems everyone is taking the trip to their local cinema to see Edgar Wright’s newest movie, and that is great news. Baby Driver is one of the most original movies you’ll see all year, and features a soundtrack that will be replaying in your head for days afterwards. Experience it on the big screen.
2. Free Fire
Ben Wheatley is one of the most exciting British directors working today. His work is always intriguing, even if it does sometimes vary in quality. Thankfully Free Fire is one of the hits in his filmography. Taking place over one ill-fated night in a warehouse, a bunch of famous faces (Cillian Murphy, Brie Larson, Armie Hammer, Sharlto Copley) don their best 70’s moustaches and deal with a drug-deal gone wrong the only way they know how: a gunfight. Free Fire is a single incredible set piece, and it doesn’t let up for a second.
What a great way to send off one of the most beloved big screen superheroes. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has been a fan favourite since his very first appearance all of 17 years ago, but his solo adventures had been middling at best. Logan was therefore not just a surprise but a triumph. Taking the classic superhero movie and infusing it with a Western sensibility, Jackman and director James Mangold created something fantastic. Thanks for the memories bub.
And there we have it. Matt and I are confident in our own lists but what do you think?
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