MoviefiedNYC‘s Ten Best Movies of 2017

Here it is, better late than never, MoviefiedNYC‘s Ten Best Movies of 2017. It was not a banner year for great movies but once the last quarter arrived, September through December ultimately redeemed 2017 and proved to be an ok year at the movies!        Here are the Ten Best of 2017 as seen by John David West:

1. Dunkirk


Witnessing Christopher Nolan’s latest experiment with time was initially frustrating, but ultimately mind-blowing. It was a unique cinematic experience making for a refreshing departure from the sappy Hollywood war film—or any predictable narrative, plot-driven movie. Nolan takes viewers through a turning point of WWII with an immersive experience on land, sea, and air, revealing the soldiers’ confusion, fear, and drive to survive. Their experience is the viewer’s experience and is historic and important from a cinematic perspective. Hans Zimmer’s score is equally effective as are incredible visuals by Hoyte Van Hoytema (Interstellar).

2. The Shape of Water

Guillermo del Toro is at the top of his game with this beautifully conceived fairytale for adults. With exquisite art direction, fluid cinematography by Dan Laustsen, a dreamy score by Alexandre Desplat (The Tree of Life), and a strong performance by Sally Hawkins; the world that del Turo has created makes this film stand out as one of the most unique movies of 2017. One can’t help but think of the 1955 classic B-movie, The Creature from the Black Lagoon, but this m/animal has more depth and love. And there’s a Good versus Evil element, with Good represented by characters on the margins of society.

3. Phantom Thread


Director Paul Thomas Anderson delivers a quiet mood piece that is beautifully styled, and artistically stylized. It’s lovely to look at, thanks to Anderson’s careful attention to detail in every shot. The cinematography—by Anderson himself—brings viewers in close contact with the fabric and feel of dresses as the characters make them. The score by Jonny Greenwood equally matches the lush visual textures seen on screen. This is a film involving three people: dressmaker Reynolds Woodcock (Daniel Day-Lewis), his sister Cyril (Lesley Manville), and Reynolds’ lover, Alma (Vicky Krieps). All actors are as exquisite as the other elements of this film and delicately funny.

4. Call Me by Your Name

Is this the annual pretentious film appealing only to lovers of high art, beauty, language, and the finer things in life that elevate us? Those elements are all there in a multi-linguistic script that is balanced and restrained, thanks to Luca Guadagnino’s measured direction. The film’s elements are indeed beautiful (the “Somewhere in northern Italy” location, the actors, and the soundtrack), but above all, the film’s subject is universally relatable. No matter whom you love, the pain of love and loss sticks with you long after the film’s credits end—and what’s portrayed behind those final credits makes the film devastating and unforgettable.

5. I, Tonya

Movie snobs beware, Tonya Harding is the subject of a narrative film and it’s funny and campy, it winks at its audience in a faux documentary style, it’s a tragic comedy about a comically tragic event, and it’s damn good. When I first heard about I, Tonya, I thought, “oh hell yes, this will be a hoot to watch,” a hoot in the campy Lifetime movie sense—certainly not in the Academy Award level sense! Margo Robbie kills it as Tonya. We are with her—elevated with joy—when she triple axels her way to the top of the podium at the US Championships, and we feel the pain of a too harsh sentencing when she’s stripped of her US figure skating rights and never allowed to skate again. One can’t help but think, “Jesus, at least let her skate in an animal suit in Ice Capades; she’s not a child molester or a drug kingpin—it’s just ice-skating after all!” Allison Janney also kills as Tonya’s monstrous mother. For a film about a kooky moment in sports history that centers on a bunch of foolhardy “Boobs,” it’s impressive how moving I, Tanya is.

6. Get Out

get-out 2

Jordan Peele brilliantly takes the anxiety felt by American minorities and submerges it into a thriller to capture today’s racial tension. This multilayered horror, sometimes-comedy draws on the ever-present U.S. issues of black and white racial tensions and the legacies of American slavery. Peele makes us question where all the racists suddenly came from when Trump became President, folks who were previously silenced and muzzled by political correctness. Get Out is not only a good horror film—a difficult achievement in itself—it’s a film that will be remembered as an important movie that reflects the time in which it was made.

7. Florida Project

Florida Project 2

Sean Baker’s latest social-realistic film introduces viewers to another set of enigmatic characters who live on the fringe of society. Halley (Bria Vinaite) and her daughter (Brooklynn Prince) survive on the edge of homelessness in a motel called the Magic Castle, near Disney World. The exterior of the motel is a vibrant cheap purple, and this creates a delightfully colorful world in contrast to occupants’ poverty, but at the same time reflects the children’s joyous summertime play. The film easily brings back memories of those days of childhood wonder, regardless of one’s economic status or what neighborhood you grew up in. Their world contrasts sharply to Disney’s with its pricy fun far out of financial reach to many. Too obvious a metaphor? Perhaps, but watching these characters live makes the film remarkable.  Florida Project doesn’t have a deeply complicated plot and the mother doesn’t have a traditional character arc whereby she learns and grows—she’s a tragic figure. Above all Brooklynn Prince, whose naturalness infuses Florida Project with energy and charm, makes you want to keep watching her—and everyone—live and behave in their world.

8. Faces Places

Faces Places 5

At 89 years old Agnès Varda—a legend of the French New Wave—is still making movies, and this time she’s found sweet perfection as she teams up with 35 year old photographer, JR. Together they make for the most unlikely duo to entertain audiences in years. Faces Places is a road movie that travels through rural France and shows us the extraordinary beauty of seemingly ordinary people. And the movie may make a historic stamp on cinema when the father of the French New Wave, Jean-Luc Godard, makes the mother of the French New Wave cry—he doesn’t even appear in the movie and yet Goddard is still affecting cinema.

9. Good Time

Good Time 1

Who is that scruffy skinny actor so full of energy? Why it’s Robert Pattinson! He plays the worst brother a sibling could be cursed with, especially one who is mentally disabled. After a bank robbery that goes really bad, Connie’s (Robert Pattinson younger brother Nick (Benny Safdie one-half of the film’s brother directors) ends up in prison. Good Time has been compared to Martin Scorsese’s 1985 Tribeca odyssey After Hours. The comparison is certainly fair, only this NYC odyssey pushes it to full-throttle taking viewers in a rapid fire pace through Manhattan and God knows which borough of New York City.

10. mother!

mother! 2

Without a doubt mother! is the most polarizing film of the year. It pissed a lot of people off, made others laugh, and inspired endless “WTF” text messages upon its release. Once the allegory is clear, mother! sends your mind spinning. It’s an apocalyptic, biblical tale that layers on elements of war, invasion, and climate change, resulting in an experience that is disturbing, maddening, and sits with you for days. Michelle Pfeiffer delivers one of her best performances in years, and Jennifer Lawrence (this year’s Razzie nominee for worst actress), is well cast in one of her best role since Winter’s Bone.

Honorable Mention:

Blade Runner 21. Bladerunner 2049
2. Lady Bird
3. Coco
4. The Killing of a Sacred Deer
5. Mudbound

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The 52nd New York Film Festival Daily Still – Inherent Vice

The 52nd New York Film Festival (NYFF) has opened with 17 days of exciting world premieres, award winners from Cannes, Berlin, and Venice, retrospective screenings, spotlights on emerging filmmakers, panels, galas and much more! Join us here MoviefiedNYC, as we bring you our daily selection of the one film playing today that we think you shouldn’t miss. Happy NYFF!
Joaquin Phoenix – Inherent Vice

Inherent Vice

Paul Thomas Anderson, 2014
USA | 148 minutes

Centerpiece

World Premiere

Director Paul Thomas Anderson and select cast members in person at Alice Tully Hall screenings

Paul Thomas Anderson’s wild and entrancing new movie, the very first adaptation of a Thomas Pynchon novel, is a cinematic time machine, placing the viewer deep within the world of the paranoid, hazy L.A. dope culture of the early ’70s. It’s not just the look (which is ineffably right, from the mutton chops and the peasant dresses to the battered screen doors and the neon glow), it’s the feel, the rhythm of hanging out, of talking yourself into a state of shivering ecstasy or fear or something in between. Joaquin Phoenix goes all the way for Anderson (just as he did in The Master) playing Doc Sportello, the private investigator searching for his ex-girlfriend Shasta (Katherine Waterston, a revelation), menaced at every turn by Josh Brolin as the telegenic police detective “Bigfoot” Bjornsen. Among the other members of Anderson’s mind-boggling cast are Reese Witherspoon, Benicio Del Toro, Martin Short, Owen Wilson, and Jena Malone. A trip, and a truly great American film. A Warner Bros. Pictures release.

Centerpiece sponsored by Hugo Boss
Series: NYFF52 Main Slate
Venue: Alice Tully Hall


   
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MoviefiedNYC’s Top 10 Most Anticipated Movies of 2014

David’s Top Five Most Anticipated Movies of 2014

1. Inherent Vice  Director Paul Thomas Anderson 
Why? P.T. Anderson, that’s why!

 

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel   Director Wes Anderson
I’m excited to return to Anderson’s world. 

 

3. Mr. Turner  Director Mike Leigh working again with his Topsy-Turvy, Secrets & Lies star Timothy Spall.

 

4. The Lobster  Director Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth
A love story set in a dystopian near future. He’s one of the most original (and bizarreDogtooth) directors out there right now.


5. Maleficent   Robert Stromberg
Sleeping Beauty is one of my favorite Disney toons. Angelina Jolie just looks so freakin’ beautifully evil. 

 
6. Calvary  Director John Michael McDonagh (The Guard)
Stars Brendan Gleeson (In Bruges and The Guard) and Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd).

 

7. Muppets Most Wanted  Director James Bobin
Bobin returns to direct the second of the modern day Muppets, and a healthy dose of Muppets is good for the soul. 

 

8. The Lego Movie  Directors Phil Lord and Chris Miller
Are you kidding? My favorite toy ever! I don’t know what it’s about but I’m in. 

 

9. Nymphomaniac  Director Lars von Trier (Melancholia)
I’m scared, yet very curious, but quite scared!


10. Into the Woods  Director Rob Marshall (Chicago) 
I’m simply curious to see how Hollywood can fuck up yet another great Broadway musical.

 

A couple more honorable mentions: Knight Of Cups (Director Terrence Malick), Exodus (Director Ridley Scott), and of course Interstellar. 

 

Myrna’s Top Five Most Anticipated Movies of 2014

1. Inherent Vice – Director Paul Thomas Anderson
Joaquin Phoenix + Paul Thomas Anderson + Thomas Pynchon = I am speechless with joy.

2. The Grand Budapest Hotel – Director Wes Anderson
I always want to visit the world’s Wes Anderson creates.

3. Gone Girl – Director David Fincher
Fincher is back with another adaptation of a thrilling, page turning best-seller.

4. Interstellar – Director Christopher Nolan
More of the McConaughey-renaissance with some Christopher Nolan on the side.

5. Midnight Special – Director Jeff Nichols
I’m up for anything Jeff Nichols does, but I’m especially curious about this film center on a father and son who go on the run when it’s discovered that the boy possesses special powers.


6. Only Lovers Left Alive – Director Jim Jarmusch
Vampires in love (Tilda Swinton and Tom Hiddleston), with a rumored return to for by Jim Jarmusch.


7. Snowpiercer – Director Joon-ho Bong
Can’t resist anything from the director of Mother, and one Tilda Swinton is in it.


8. The Immigrant  Director James Gray
More Joaquin!

9. Boyhood – Director Richard Linklater
Linklater’s experimental look at the life of a boy and his family film in real time over a 12-year period.


10. Birdman – Director Alejandro Gonzalez Iñárritu
My beloved and gloomy Iñárritu (Amores Perros, Babel) makes his comedy debut with the dark tale of of a has been comic book movie star (Micheal Keaton),

A few more titles to look out for (in no particular order):

How To Train Your Dragon 2 (Toothless!)
Cuban Fury
The Lobster (Yorgos Lanthimos – Dogtooth)
The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby

 
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Media For Brunch: The Master

Media For Brunch is an extended edition of our Monday – Friday Media For Lunch segment so sit back, sip your mimosa and enjoy. 

Media For Brunch: The Master out in limited release, set to open wide September 21, 2012.

Director Paul Thomas Anderson’s (There Will Be Blood, Magnolia, Boogie Nights, Punch Drunk LoveThe Master is a long-gestating project about a church with more than a passing resemblance to the Church of Scientology.
A 1950s-set drama centered on the relationship between a charismatic intellectual known as “the Master” whose faith-based organization begins to catch on in America, and a young drifter who becomes his right-hand man.

I was overwhelmed watching  The Master last night and walked out completely confused as to whose tour de force I had seen. Was it Joaquin Phoenix’s as he disappears before your eyes and embodies the character of Fred Quell like I have seen few actors do with a role? You truly forget it is him, so deep has he plunged into his character’s soul. Maybe it was Philip Seymour Hoffman’s performance as the charismatic leader that I just could not get enough time with? Maybe it was Paul Thomas Anderson who connected me through his lens to these two actors, characters so strong and believable you just cant let go of?
The Master is not to be missed. – MD

New York Times review by A.O. Scott There Will Be Megalomania