Given the sheer volume of motion pictures that are unveiled each and every year – in excess of some 300 theatrical releases, not to mention all the movies that don’t even make it into cinemas – it’s not at all surprising we tend to miss a lot of them: you’d have to be some kind of superhuman to see everything.
Which means that, try as you might to take in every quality release, there are always going to be those films that fly under the radar, so to speak. This can happen for a number of reasons: lack of advertising, poor (and often undeserved) word of mouth, or simply because the film was only granted limited release… it isn’t difficult to see why some of 2017’s best movies might have escaped your attention.
From indie sci-fi films, bizarre genre hybrids, low-budget thrillers, and future animated classics, 2017 wasn’t just a year packed with expensive prestige dramas, overblown blockbusters and sequels you never wished had been made…
If you missed any of the following flicks, all of which were great in their own ways, do yourself a favour and check ’em out. You won’t be sorry!
10. Brawl In Cell Block 99
From the writer/director who brought you the horror-western hybrid Bone Tomahawk comes Brawl in Cell Block 99, a violent thriller squarely in the B-movie vein – and starring, of all people, Vince “Wedding Crashers” Vaughn.
At first glance, this looks like the sort of thing you’d find in the bottom of a bargain bucket, with a former Hollywood leading man scrapping the barrel in an unflattering role. Quite the opposite. This is a revenge flick that outright celebrates its B-movie trappings, featuring one of Vince Vaughn’s best ever screen performances.
Director S. Craig Zahler is known for his love of all things pulpy, a trait seen throughout his extensive works, and here he manages to tell a grindhouse-inspired story of revenge in a truly captivating manner (also: what a soundtrack!).
He also gets the very best from Vaughn, who plays a lowly mechanic who makes a few terrible decisions in order to provide for his wife and kid. It results in a prison sentence, and later a simple objective: kill somebody in the cell block of the film’s title. If that sounds like a plot you can get behind, this movie will deliver.
And the award for most bizarre film premise ever goes to…
Because Colossal features a plot about a depressive, alcoholic young woman (played by Anne Hathaway) who comes to realise she is somehow connected to a giant monster unleashing hell on South Korea. If you’re wondering where a plot like that came from, or who the hell financed this picture, then join the queue.
That said, we should be thankful that Colossal got made, because it’s proof that someone, somewhere is still willing to front the cash for properly weird films.
The reason you might have missed Colossal, of course, stems from the fact that it didn’t receive a wide release, nor did t get much advertising. Not to mention that the odd nature of its plot presumably had people wondering what exactly they would be paying to see. Is this a drama? A satire? A comedy? A sci-fi?
The best answer to this question, perhaps, is “all of the above,” and yet against the odds it’s a hybrid that – for the most part – works. Hathaway gives a characteristically reliable performance as Gloria, a down on her luck writer, whilst the film itself manages to approach well-worn subject matter in a way that is totally original.
8. Good Time
If your opinion of Robert Pattinson stems only from his work in those sordid Twilight movies, here’s a film that;s bound to win you round to the actor.
Because Good Time, a taut thriller of the throwback kind, helmed by brothers Ben and Josh Safdie, might well contain his best ever performance. As sleazy criminal Nikos, who goes on the run with his mentally disabled brother after a botched robbery, Pattinson is virtually unrecognisable. He’s repulsive and magnetic all at once, powering this shifty (and frankly strange) crime tale from start to finish.
Though the film was met with great reviews – it was even nominated for the Palme d’Or at Cannes – it didn’t make a huge impact at the box office, and a limited release meant that nowhere near enough people have got round to watching it.
What makes Good Time so interesting (save from its killer ’80s score) is the way it subverts your expectations at every turn. Just when you think you’ve got a grip on where the plot is going, the film changes direction, resulting in an experience that is both frustrating and exhilarating. When it’s all over, you’re bound to be left with a feeling of “What did I just watch?”, but in the best way. A future cult classic.
7. Wind River
Taylor Sheridan was already one of the hottest screenwriting talents in Hollywood before Wind River landed, a film that marks his debut as a writer and director.
Sheridan, best known for writing the brilliant films Sicario and Hell and High Water, works wonders here with this tight mystery movie starring Jeremy Renner and Elizabeth Olsen. As a US Fish and Wildlife Service agent and an FBI agent, Renner and Olsen team up in an attempt to discover why a beautiful young women is found dead in the snow, raped, with no shoes on.
There are a few familiar elements driving Wind River, but Sheridan keeps the momentum going at such a pace – not to mention Renner and Olsen’s great chemistry – that you won’t care. The atmosphere here is key to the film’s power: it has the strange allure of a movie like Christopher Nolan’s Insomnia, mixing elements of Coen brothers noir (think Fargo) and the classic western.
The result is a film that is by turns disturbing, violent, and thrilling, especially as the screenplay makes sudden, unexpected turns (the best of which takes us right into the past, shedding an unexpected light on the central mystery). Wind River should also be admired for its attempts to shed light on true life cases of missing Native American women, which inspired Sheridan to pen the movie.
(Excerpt) Read More at: WhatCulture.com