10 movies of 2017 – and more: Part 2

And here are the other 5 movies in my list – with other films good enough to be mentioned.

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6. The Other Side of Hope

In his latest film “The Other Side of Hope”, Aki Kaurismäki seems to return to his usual drab and cheerless mode, but this is another likable work which shares many traits with “Le Havre”. Like “Le Havre”, the movie willingly tackles immigrant issue, and it is engaging to watch how it makes some social/political points while effortlessly going back and forth between humor and pathos with its adamantly deadpan attitude. The movie may demand some patience from you due to its slow narrative pacing and extremely dry sense of humor, but it is sort of endearing in the end, and you will come to reflect on its rather ambiguous finale for a while.

 

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7. First They Killed My Father

“First They Killed My Father” is a dark, harrowing tale of survival filled with quiet but powerful moments of horror and sadness. Based on the memoir of the same name by Loung Ung, the movie presents a closer glimpse into the Cambodian Genocide via its little heroine’s innocent perspective, and I admire how director Angelina Jolie tactfully and respectfully handles her sensitive subject while never overlooking the human darkness inside the story. This is surely a touch stuff, but this is a superb piece of work nonetheless.

 

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8. Okja
What an odd work “Okja” is. Besides being an offbeat hybrid between South Korean film and American Hollywood film, this is also a quirky cross of several different genres which are somehow juxtaposed together in one curious bundle, and I enjoyed that a lot even though it is not wholly successful. The movie alternatively works as a zany adventure drama, a broad social satire, and a grim horror story, and it is rather amazing to see how the movie mostly balances itself well between its many contrasting and clashing genre elements as casually jumping from one narrative point to another. Anyway, what the hell can I expect anything else from its director Bong Joon-ho?

 

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9. Baby Driver

“Baby Driver” delighted and excited me. Here is a slick, efficient jukebox action movie which mixes familiar genre elements in a way a lot more refreshing and thrilling than expected, and it is electrifying to watch how it deftly and smoothly drives along its course as doling out a number of superlative action sequences which will linger on you along with its terrific soundtrack. Director Edgar Wright tops himself here while being a little more serious than before, and the result is one of the best action movies of this year.

 

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10. A Quiet Passion

Some of you may think that Emily Dickinson’s life is a depressing subject to watch, but Terrence Davis’ new film “A Quiet Passion” presents her story with not only good mood but also considerable wit and spirit. While it is as somber as you can expect from the movie about a reclusive real-life heroine, it never overlooks that quiet but palpable spiritual/artistic passion inside her, and the result is a vivid, splendid drama which shows us some interesting things about her life and poetry. I must admit that I cannot understand poetry well, but I can appreciate good films about poetry at least, and I found that “A Quiet Passion” is an admirable movie packed with fabulous elements including Cynthia Nixon’s superlative performance.

 

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Runner-ups (In alphabetical order)
The Big Sick,” “A Ghost Story,” “Graduation,” “Logan,” “Maudie,” “Personal Shopper,” “Raw,” “The Salesman,” “War for the Planet of the Apes,” and “Wonder Woman

 

Honorable Mentions (In alphabetical order)
The Beguiled,” “Blade Runner 2049,” “Get Out,” “It Comes at Night,” “Menashe,” “The Meyerowtiz Stories (New and Selected),” “Lady Macbeth,” “The Long Excuse,” “The Lost City of Z,” “Mother!,” “On Body and Soul,” “SoulMate,” “Star Wars: The Last Jedi,” “The Student,” and “Wind River

 

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Yes, I belatedly watched them, and they are all good (In alphabetical order)
Arrival,” “Fences,” “I Am Not Your Negro,” “A Man Called Ove,” “Manchester by the Sea,” “Moonlight,” “Paterson,” “Silence,” and “Toni Erdmann

 

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Documentary (In alphabetical order)
Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” “Chasing Coral,” “Kedi,” “Last Men in Aleppo,” and “Whose Streets?

 

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Animation (In alphabetical order)
Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie,” “My Life as a Zucchini,” “The Lego Batman Movie,” “Loving Vincent,” and “The Red Turtle

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