10 best movies of 2017!

Casey Chong

"Logan" ranks as one of our 10 best movies of 2017.

This year, there are various genres from both independent and mainstream cinemas that have made it into our 10 best movies of 2017 list.

With 2017 about to come to an end in a few weeks' time, here is our ranking below!

10. "Stronger"


Jake Gyllenhaal and Tatiana Maslany play an on-and-off couple in "Stronger".

Worldwide box-office total: USD5.8 million

Based on the memoir by Jeff Bauman and Bret Witter, Bauman's ordeal from a 2013 Boston Marathon bombing survivor who lost both of his legs to a person trying to move on with his life, is the kind of true story that deserves to be told on the big screen. At the heart of this drama is Jake Gyllenhaal, who gives one of his best performances as Jeff Bauman while Tatiana Maslany of TV's "Orphan Black" delivers a strong support as Bauman's on-and-off girlfriend, Erin. Too bad this underrated movie hardly made a dent at the global box office though.

9. "Colossal"


Anne Hathaway leads the role as the drunken Gloria in "Colossal".

Worldwide box-office total: USD4.7 million

The word "experimental" is best described for Nacho Vigalondo's "Colossal", his latest genre-defying movie that operates more than just your average kaiju-centric comedy. Sure, it's clearly not for everybody. But if you are adventurous enough, this movie offers something unique that you don't really see every day. An alcoholic, unemployed female protagonist who is strangely connected with the ongoing rampage of a kaiju? As strange as it may sound, this is where Vigalondo works his magic. Beneath the offbeat kaiju premise, he successfully explores different themes by linking Gloria's (played with amusing yet engaging perfection by Anne Hathaway) drinking problem with the kaiju as part of a metaphor to her character. Then, there's the sudden tonal shift that goes from a mix of romantic comedy and monster movie to a disturbing psychodrama that you have to see to believe. And for the record, it's rare to see the "Horrible Bosses" comedian Jason Sudeikis playing a dramatic role that he actually pulls off convincingly.

8. "29+1"


Christy Lam (Chrissie Chau) facing the fear of hitting 30 years of age in "29+1".

Worldwide box-office total: USD1.9 million

From the irreverent montage that sees Chrissie Chau's Christy Lam breaking the fourth wall of her weekday routine to the heartwarming Paris-set finale scored to the late Leslie Cheung's evergreen ballad of "Starting From Zero", Kearen Pang's "29+1" is an affecting coming-of-age dramedy about two different women (Chrissie Chau and Joyce Cheng) approaching 30 years of age. Pang, the actress-playwright who actually adapted this from her own popular one-woman play of the same name, does a surprisingly good job directing her first feature. Relatable themes like juggling between a hectic working schedule and personal matters, love life and facing the scary dilemma of reaching the big 3-0 as a woman are all well-written by Pang herself. Chrissie Chau and Joyce Cheng are both excellent where each give the finest performances so far in their acting career.

7. "Wonder"


Auggie (Jacob Tremblay) faces his first time studying at an elementary school in "Wonder".

Worldwide box-office total: USD129.6 million

Based on the best-selling children's novel by R.J. Palacio, the story about a boy with facial deformities who tries to adapt to his new surroundings in an elementary school could have been translated into the big screen as a cloying melodrama, but thankfully, that isn't the case for Stephen Chbosky's "Wonder". Instead, he alongside his fellow screenwriters Steven Conrad and Jack Thorne go straight to the heart by making the movie both emotionally sincere and relatable at the same time. Apart from a great ensemble cast all around, particularly the unrecognisable Jacob Tremblay in heavy makeup and an excellent turn by "iZombie" and "Supergirl" TV star Izabela Vidovic, "Wonder" even goes a few extra miles in the story department. The movie could have just focused solely on Auggie's (Jacob Tremblay) point-of-view, but Chbosky allows the story to move organically by offering different perspectives from other young characters as well. Not to mention the frequent "Star Wars" references that recur throughout the movie, which is pretty sublime.

6. "It"


Pennywise (Bill Skarsgård) is out to terrorise the kids in "It".

Worldwide box-office total: USD688.3 millionn

It may have taken over two decades since the two-part "It" miniseries scared most of the kids back in the day, but it's well worth the wait. Andy Muschietti of "Mama" fame successfully turned Stephen King's popular novel of the same name into an effective genre piece that combines old-school horror and a "Stand By Me"-like coming-of-age story beat. Best of all, Muschietti is smart enough not to cram every bit of the 1,138 page novel into a single movie since it aims to be the first chapter of the planned two-part saga. Unlike the TV version, "It" doesn't shy away with its graphic depiction of gore and violence while Muschietti made good use of sound and vivid imagery to evoke a sense of intense dread and goosebumps at the same time. All seven kids delivered great performances, but it was Bill Skarsgård who steals the show as the creepy Pennywise.

5. "Dunkirk"


A scene from "Dunkirk".

Worldwide box-office total: USD525 million

The true story about the "Miracle of Dunkirk" where over 338,000 British troops were successfully rescued from the titular location in 1940 was remarkable enough to be translated for the big screen, and yet, you'll be surprised that this World War II story was only explored twice via the 1958 black-and-white British movie, "Dunkirk" and 2007's "Atonement" during the famous five-minute tracking shot. In Christopher Nolan's big-budget undertaking of "Dunkirk", he made an unconventional but fascinating choice of direction by telling the otherwise straightforward World War II storyline into multiple point-of-views. Here, he covers three primary perspectives: land, air and sea in which the story unfolds back and forth simultaneously. Interestingly enough, his signature non-linear storytelling method is put into a great use while stripping the plot to its bare essentials. Unlike typical World War II movies that may intercut into politics, flashbacks and commentary, "Dunkirk" is strictly a survival tale that goes straight into the action. And it works, thanks to the combination of Nolan's nifty direction alongside Lee Smith's sharp editing and Hans Zimmer's ticking-clock score.

4. "Logan"


An unlikely father-and-daughter moment between Logan (Hugh Jackman) and Laura (Dafne Keen) in "Logan".

Worldwide box-office total: USD616.8 million

Nine years ago, Christopher Nolan proved that "The Dark Knight" could earn a cinematic equivalent of a Hollywood prestige picture albeit its superhero genre. It turns out that co-writer and director James Mangold was able to do the same thing with "Logan", the third and final Wolverine movie in which Hugh Jackman dons the adamantium claws for one last time. Unlike the more commercial-friendly efforts seen in 2009's "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" and 2013's "The Wolverine", "Logan" is a different beast altogether. Sure, it still contains the comic-book undertones, but deep down, Mangold revitalises "Logan" as a modern revisionist Western movie that pays tribute to 1953's "Shane" and 1992's "Unforgiven". Both Jackman and Patrick Stewart, who reprises his role as the (elderly) Professor X, deliver the kind of raw performances unlike anything they have done before in their past association with the "X-Men" movie universe. Mangold also pulls no punches when comes to displaying the violence on screen. Like the raging Wolverine himself, the movie is both appropriately gritty and violent enough to satisfy both comic-book fans (particularly those who read Mark Millar and Steve McNiven's "Old Man Logan" series) and like-minded audiences in general.

3. "Get Out"


There's no way out for Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) in "Get Out".

Worldwide box-office total: USD254.1 million

From the hit Comedy Central sketch series of "Key & Peele" to the kitten-centric action comedy "Keanu", it's hard to picture comedian Jordan Peele as a horror director, and yet, his directorial debut in "Get Out" proves that Peele is capable to accomplish something beyond his usual comfort zone. Made on a shoestring budget of USD4.5 million, the movie follows an African-American photographer named Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) and his white girlfriend, Rose (Allison Williams) paying a visit to her parents' (Bradley Whitford, Catherine Keener) suburban estate. The plot thickens when Chris finds out something is not right about Rose's parents while the servants are all strangely African-American. And this is where it gets interesting. Peele, who also penned the screenplay, uses the horror-movie convention as a base to mix-and-match with 1967's "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner" and 1975's "The Stepford Wives"-like tonal similarities. Common horror tropes such as jump scares remain intact in this movie, but Peele is wise enough to use them sparingly. However, what makes the movie such an indie phenomenon is the razor-sharp social commentary on racial tension between the African-American and Caucasians.

2. "Bad Genius"


Lynn (Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying) and Bank (Chanon Santinatornkul) in "Bad Genius".

Worldwide box-office total: USD42.3 million

"Bad Genius" has emerged as the highest-grossing Thai movie of 2017. The plot itself is a major hook: a caper centering on a group of students led by Lynn (Chutimon Chuengcharoensukying) who makes money by orchestrating an exam-cheating scheme. Kudos goes to director Nattawut Poonpiriya for making the "exam-cheating scheme" as visually compelling and suspenseful as watching George Clooney's Danny Ocean and his gang pulling off a major Vegas heist in "Ocean's Eleven". Impeccably-crafted set-pieces like passing the eraser from one to another or reloading the mechanical pencil are all staged with a ticking-clock precision of an action-movie vibe. The frequent use of slow-motion, close-up and other nifty camerawork are brilliantly utilised to maximise the "action" and suspense during the exam-cheating sequences. Then, there's the elaborate finale during the STIC exam sequence set in Sydney where Poonpiriya and his team go all out with their technical prowess. "Bad Genius" is not just about style, but also brimmed with a smart screenplay and a first-rate cast from the young stars all around. Surprisingly enough, this movie also happens to be Thai model Chutimon Cheungcharoensukying's acting debut and she pulls off her first major role like a seasoned pro.

1. "Blade Runner 2049"


Officer K (Ryan Gosling) and Deckard (Harrison Ford) faces against each other in "Blade Runner 2049".

Worldwide box-office total: USD255.2 million

The first "Blade Runner", which was released 35 years ago in 1982, was more than just a cult classic, besides, Ridley Scott's groundbreaking sci-fi noir was such a mass inspiration among many filmmakers around the world even until today. While the idea of a sequel sounds like a bad idea, "Sicario" and "Arrival" director Denis Villeneuve ensures that "Blade Runner 2049" doesn't fall prey for being a "cash grab" or a "rehash". Instead, Villeneuve alongside his screenwriting team, Hampton Fancher and Michael Green, successfully expanded the "Blade Runner" universe that explores a deeper meaning of being human. Despite the nearly 3-hour length, the story is absorbing enough with its thought-provoking storyline while the impeccable visuals made the sequel all the more spellbinding experience. The huge budget is definitely well-spent, as Villeneueve and cinematographer Roger Deakins crafted some of the most visually arresting imagery ever seen in recent years. This time, the sequel doesn't just restrict to nighttime rain-slicked cityscape seen in Scott's 1982 original. With scope widened and the canvas expanded, the sequel also showcased the dystopian setting even in broad daylight as well as other locations like snowy landscape and burnt-orange Nevada desert. Although Ryan Gosling takes over as the lead actor in this sequel, he plays his character well with brooding perfection. Harrison Ford, who is the original star of the first movie, may have his iconic Deckard role reduced into a secondary character, but Ford is no slouch in this sequel, as he manages to make his recurring role worthy of his screentime. It's a shame that "Blade Runner 2049" underperformed at the US as well as the international box-office. Common complaints from most audiences were: "boring", "slow" and "draggy", which is a pity, considering a rare gem like "Blade Runner 2049" deserves better attention.

* Still showing in cinemas.