The best movies of the year are in theaters right now, and here are the very best:
- Steven Spielberg’s docudrama on the Pentagon Papers, The Post, is both a riveting thriller and an astonishingly insightful portrait of Katharine Graham by Meryl Streep. It’s one of the best movies of the year – and one of the most important. Also see my notes on historical figures in The Post.
- Pixar’s Coco is a moving and authentic dive into Mexican culture, and it’s visually spectacular.
- The Shape of Water, Guillermo del Toro’s imaginative, operatic inter-species romance may become the most-remembered film of 2017.
- Lady Bird , an entirely fresh coming of age comedy that explores the mother-daughter relationship – an impressive debut for Greta Gerwig as a writer and director.
- Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri a powerful combination of raw emotion and dark hilarity with an acting tour de force from Frances McDormand and a slew of great actors.
- I, Tonya is a marvelously entertaining movie, filled with wicked wit and sympathetic social comment.
- Phantom Thread, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, is Paul Thomas Anderson’s rapturously beautiful story of a strong-willed man and two equally strong-willed women; unexpectedly witty.
- The Florida Project is Sean Baker’s remarkably authentic and evocative glimpse into the lives of children in poverty, full of the exuberance of childhood.
- Darkest Hour, Gary Oldman brings alive Winston Churchill in an overlooked historical moment – when it looked like Hitler was going to win WW II.
Here’s the rest of my Best Movies of 2017 – So Far. Most of the ones from earlier this year are available on video.
Other current choices:
- The Disaster Artist, James Franco’s hilarious docucomedy about the making of one of the most unintentionally funny movies of all time.
- Diane Kruger’s award-wining performance in the German thriller In the Fade.
- The Final Year, a wistful inside documentary about the Obama Admistration’s foreign policy during his last year.
- The ambitious satire The Square.
- Call Me By Your Name is an extraordinarily beautiful story of sexual awakening set in a luscious Italian summer, but I didn’t buy the impossibly cool parents or the two pop ballad musical interludes.
- Murder on the Orient Express is a moderately entertaining lark.
- Novitiate, the tediously grim story of a seeker looking for spiritual love and sacrifice, with a sadistic abbess delivering too much of the latter.
My Stream of the Week is Wind River, smart, layered and intelligent, and another success from one of America’s fastest-rising filmmakers, Taylor Sheridan. It’s now available to stream from Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, YouTube and Google Play.