Jan 082018
  January 8, 2018

thor3cuteWhat a year it has been in film. My best list is for fantasy and science fiction films, in all their many forms, so everything from dedicated scientists in the near future to dragons and elves to evil clowns (though no evil clowns will made this list). And it has been an amazing year for genre film. It is the best year ever for superhero films. No, my favorite superhero film of all time is not from 2017. But there are four such films in my top 10. No year has come close to that. There’s also an adult fairytale, a giant monster flick, a musical, a zombie film, a space opera, and even a slasher. (If you are more interested in the worst of the year, my roundup is here.)

So here we go, the 10 genre films you need to see if you haven’t, and need to own. Starting with:


#10 Happy Death Day

Well, that was a surprise. A Slasher that is fun, clever, and well made. Huh. Happy Death Day is Groundhog Day as a Slasher. And while that sounds like a reasonable idea, it plays out better than expected, ending up as much a dark comedy as a horror film. (Full Review)


#9 The Lure

{US release 2017} A Polish, surrealistic, comedy, tragedy, fairytale, horror, art house, musical—sometimes all at once, more often swapping from one genre to the next—The Lure is as odd a film as you are likely to find. I never knew if I was about to see disco dancing, nudity, or an artery being ripped open, or perhaps several combined with some bittersweet romance. (Full Review)


#8 Spider-Man: Homecoming

Spider-Man enters the MCU and he’s treated right. Finally, he seems like a teen, and the funny one he’s meant to be. And to counter his youth we have Michael Keaton’s Vulture, a villain that has adult problems  that I understood and real world anger I could feel. He just wants to take care of his family, which is a more moving motivation than Peter’s naive view of good and evil. (Full Review)


#7 Wonder Woman

Sometimes a film is about plot or theme or some tricky mystery. This one is about a character and an actress. There’s plenty to like, but it didn’t matter. It all came down to Wonder Woman, and I loved her. I don’t know if Gal Gadot is a good actress, but she is a charismatic one, and she was born for this part. (Full Review)


#6 Colossal

{Wide release 2017} This is indie art house meets geek. A daikaiju film about character.  The dialog is sharp, the plot is smart, and it is shot beautifully. Colossal is by far the most original film on my top ten list. Daikaiju films often attempt to be about big themes, but few succeed. This is how it is done. (Full Review)


#5 Star Wars: The Last Jedi

As The Force Awakens was a remake of Star Wars (A New Hope), The Last Jedi is a remake of The Empire Strikes Back, but, it is a cleverly made, artistically constructed, updated and upgraded remakea remake done right. We get all the old notes, but some are sung differently and we get a few new melodies. Which means this film is surprisingly good. There’s been grumbling from some fanboys, but ignore that as their upset has nothing to do with the quality of the film. (Full Review)


#4 The Shape of Water

This is how you revisit old material—by touching the past while reaching for something new. This is a fairytale, one that involves politics and antifascism, diversity and oppression, and loneliness and need. It is also about beauty, sexuality, hope, and love. It is Guillermo del Toro at the top of his game, and a wondrous film you shouldn’t miss. (Full Review)


#3 The Girl With All the Gifts

{US release 2017} Just when I’ve once again declared zombie films to be dead, we get The Girl With All the Gifts, an emotional, exciting, and original take on that too often used sub-genre. We simply don’t see this skill and talent in zombie films, or most films generally. Everything works on every level. (Full Review)


#2 Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2

If you liked the first Guardians of the Galaxy, you’ll like this one. If you didn’t like the first film, you are an inhuman monster who should meet your end at the hands of the coolest of all heroes, Mary Poppins. Vol 2 is is everything the first was taken up a notch. It’s funnier, more exciting, and more emotional. (Full Review)


#1 Thor: Ragnarok

This is the first time that I’d call an MCU movie a comedy first, and an action picture second. The humor alone is enough to make this a great time, but the jokes serve the characters as well. Doesn’t that leave it wanting in action and drama and power? Nope, because after “comedy” the word I’d use to describe this film is “METAL.” And I don’t mean hair METAL or even Metallica METAL. I’m talking Dethklok METAL. This is the most METAL movie ever made. (Full Review)