We’re halfway through the year, which means it’s time for Wylie Writes’ recap of the best and the worst films of 2017. Don’t forget to click the coloured titles to read a more detailed write-up about the film!
There’s not much to say about Matt Schrader’s ever imaginatively titled Score: A Film Music Documentary. A documentary made in praise of the Hollywood elite composers (who, to be fair, deserve the praise), Score has the presentation quality of a TV special or DVD bonus feature with no original thoughts about its subject.
On paper, Oren Moverman’s The Dinner, based on the novel by Dutch author Herman Koch, sounds similar to the 1981 chamber piece My Dinner with Andre, but with a darker twist. The intellectual wit of Andre isn’t present here, replaced instead with elements of thriller and drama.
Kevan Funk’s Hello Destroyer, a complicated and clinical disclosure of the underlying traumas associated with hockey, was well-received at TIFF last year for a good reason: there aren’t many films brave enough to de-mythologize Canada’s national sport.
A Man Called Ove, adapted from the novel by Frederik Backman, is a charming, yet slightly familiar dramedy about a grieving widow and his budding friendship with his new neighbours in a gated community. Recently nominated for two Academy Awards (Best Foreign Language Film and Best Makeup), Hannes Holm’s adaptation is a digestible and likeable, but hardly transcendent film.
All eyes may be on Damien Chazelle’s La La Land, Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight, Kenneth Lonergan’s Manchester by the Sea, or any of the other Oscar darlings, but 2016 offered a lot of other great movies. Below are Wylie Writes’ top picks; don’t forget to click the highlighted titles to read each contributor’s review!
Simon Stadler’s Ghostland: The View of the Ju/’Hoansi follows the Ju/’Hoansi of Namibia – who have been legally barred from hunting – as they mesh with the nation’s urban culture and the western culture of Europe.
After a long, ten-year stint in filmmaker jail, Mel Gibson has returned with Hacksaw Ridge: a gruesomely violent WWII biopic about Desmond Doss, a medic and devout Seventh Day Adventist, who saved the lives of over 75 soldiers during the Battle of Okinawa without killing a single enemy combatant. Hacksaw Ridge features Gibson’s typical heavy-handed religious symbolism to great effect here, and serves as an unnerving contrast to the graphic violence in the film’s third…
Victor Kanefsky’s Art Bastard asks broad questions about the relationship between art and politics. Its subject, American artist Robert Cenedella, serves a micro-answer to some of these broad questions. Although Kanefsky is successful in arguing for Cenedella’s work as critical satirical representations of U.S. political culture, the film lacks energy.
The Unknown Girl marks another incredible achievement by Jean-Pierre Dardenne and Luc Dardenne. Following up their equally brilliant Two Days, One Night, the Daredennes deploy their clinically austere style to great means in The Unknown Girl, which doubly serves as an investigation and character study.