This might be a spoiler.
It’s the most listicle time of the year. The end of the year wouldn’t be the end of the year if people like me didn’t tell you about all the things that we love. Over the next few days, I’ll be running down my films, albums, matches and wrestler of the year. I think that’s it, although there’s every chance I’ll come up with something else. I love me a list.
Today we’re heading to the cinema. For what was, in my opinion, an outstanding year. It took me ages to narrow this list down to ten, and the first draft was closer to the fifty mark. There are still a few films that I wish could be on here, sadly I just ain’t got the room.
As usual, this is purely personal opinion, so don’t bother telling me I’m wrong. I’m also going by UK’s release dates, hence the inclusion of some things that came out last year in other parts of the world. Anyway, let’s get on with it.
I love that bear.
In a world where recent surprises have tended to be a bit scary, Paddington was a shot of joy. That famous little bear was adapted for the modern world and it turned out that he was maybe what we all needed. Of course, such success could only mean one thing. A sequel. Suddenly, the worries were setting in. Could that magic be captured twice? Or would Paddington’s beauty be twisted into a corporate cash cow?
The poster makes it clear that this probably won’t be a cheery ride.
The Killing of a Sacred Deer is the cinematic equivalent of being slowly choked out. At the start it’s uncomfortable, but tinged with a degree of humour at the ridiculousness of the situation. The clipped dialogue that is becoming Yorgos Lantihmos’s trademark makes regular conversations awkward. However, it also makes them funny. The matter of fact way that Colin Farrell’s Steven Murphy tells his colleague that his daughter has started menstruating catches you off guard and the laugh escapes your lips before you can stop it.
I never want to see that title again.
Over the last few years, I have been establishing a tradition. Every Halloween I pick one horror franchise and watch it from start to finish. Two years ago I did Nightmare on Elm Street and I followed that up last year with Halloween. So, to knock out the slasher hat-trick, there was only one place to go in 2017, Camp Crystal Lake for a date on Friday The 13th. It was a challenge that I quickly regretted taking up.
He really is a good looking lad.
Thor: Ragnarok solves a problem that has been plaguing Marvel’s cinematic version of the Thunder God from the start. Even when the Avengers worked it out, the standalone Thor films lagged behind, and we were beginning to worry that it would never happen. Thankfully, Ragnarok is here, and with it, they finally realised that everything about Thor – from the concept to the world he inhabits – is slightly ridiculous.
This is not how she pictured the weekend going. Credit: Netflix
Mike Flanagan is quietly making a name for himself. Hush got a bit of internet buzz when it was released on Netflix in 2016, and while Before I Wake didn’t pick up anywhere near the same momentum, there were hints of his growing talent. It was enough to convince Netflix to put faith in him and fund his passion project, Stephen King’s Gerald’s Game – a book he used to take to meetings just in case he could convince someone to let him make it.
Spot the bad guy.
Noel Clarke has something that a lot of actors would kill for. It doesn’t matter who is playing, or in what genre, you want to like him. That likability is not the sole reason he’s been able to succeed as a writer, director and performer, but it’s certainly helped. Sadly, it’s not enough to save The Anomaly from what it is, a bit of a stinker.
Someone poked themselves in the eye.
Kicking off in the immediate aftermath of [•REC], [•REC]² sees us return to the block of flats with a zombie problem. This time we’re looking through the cameras of a SWAT team who have been tasked with accompanying Dr Owen (Jonathan Mellor) as he attempts to clear up this mess. Unfortunately for them, they haven’t been told the whole story and when they enter the building, shit quickly begins to go down.
A serene, but telling, poster.
Where do you start with mother!? Darren Aronofsky’s latest is as much a mystery as a film, and its advertising campaign has aimed to create confusion rather than clarity. The director wants you to go in with as little information as possible and discover this twisted journey for yourself.
‘Do I have to wear it, mum?’
A film where Casey Affleck spends 90% of the running time dressed like a last-minute Halloween costume and in which a camera sits and focuses on Rooney Mara for nine minutes as she devours a pie could have gone, well, any number of ways to be honest but most of them would be bad. However, if you can stomach the long lingering shots and the Terrence Malick feel to this dreamy reflection on grief, then there is something here. I’m not quite sure what, but it’s there.