Movie Reviews & Interviews from Washington

DC Film Girl’s Year In Review: The Best & Worst of 2017

After seeing over 150 films, doing my first ever TV junkets (Girls Trip and Marshall), my second year in the BFCA and also at WBAL-TV, 2017 was a busy year and also an amazing year for film! I felt so strongly about so many different films this year and I think you will find that my Top 10 list is pretty eclectic in my choices, every single film is original, unique and are all films that I have seen multiple times! I can’t wait to see what 2018 has in store at the movies!
Happy reading and see you in the theatre in 2018!

The Best Performances of 2017

Best Actor
Timothée Chalamet – Call Me By Your Name
Jake Gyllenhaal – Stronger
James Franco – The Disaster Artist
Daniel Kaluuya – Get Out
Kumail Nanjiani – The Big Sick
Andy Serkis – War for the Planet of the Apes
Hugh Jackman – Logan
Andrew Garfield – Breathe
Ansel Elgort – Baby Driver
Tom Hanks – The Post
Gary Oldman – Darkest Hour
James McAvoy – Split
Robert Pattinson – Good Time
Jeremy Renner – Wind River
Ryan Gosling – Blade Runner 2049
Jacob Tremblay – Wonder
Steve Carell – Battle of the Sexes
Hugh Jackman – The Greatest Showman
Dane DeHaan – A Cure for Wellness
Charlie Hunnam – King Arthur
Casey Affleck – A Ghost Story
Charlie Hunnam – Lost City of Z
Denzel Washington – Roman J. Israel, ESQ
Michael Fassbender – The Snowman
Miles Teller – Thank You For Your Service
Bryan Cranston – Wakefield
Chadwick Boseman – Marshall
Colin Farrell – The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Tom Holland – Spider-Man: Homecoming
Jake Gyllenhaal – Life
David Oyelowo – A United Kingdom
Keanu Reeves – John Wick 2
Best Actress
Margot Robbie – I, Tonya
Jennifer Lawrence – mother!
Jessica Chastain – Molly’s Game
Aubrey Plaza – Ingrid Goes West
Danielle Macdonald – Patti Cake$
Frances McDormand – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Michelle Williams – All the Money in the World
Jessica Chastain – The Zookeeper’s Wife
Saoirse Ronan – Lady Bird
Gal Gadot – Wonder Woman
Annette Benning – Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Brie Larson – The Glass Castle
Sally Hawkins – The Shape of Water
Emma Stone – Battle of the Sexes
Kirsten Dunst – Woodshock
Nicole Kidman – The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Nicole Kidman – The Beguiled
Charlize Theron – Atomic Blonde
Kate Winslet – Wonder Wheel
Meryl Streep – The Post
Jessica Rothe – Happy Death Day
Kate Mara – Megan Leavey
Brooklynn Prince – The Florida Project
Rosamund Pike – A United Kingdom
Lily Collins – To the Bone
Salma Hayek – Beatriz at Dinner
Kristen Stewart – Personal Shopper
Rebecca Ferguson – Life
Dakota Johnson – Fifty Shades Darker
Rooney Mara – A Ghost Story
Mandy Moore – 47 Meters Down
Claire Holt – 47 Meters Down
Anne Hathaway – Colossal
Zoey Deutch – Before I Fall
Best Supporting Actor
Sam Rockwell – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Michael Stuhlbarg – Call Me By Your Name
Armie Hammer – Call Me By Your Name
Dave Franco – The Disaster Artist
Sebastain Stan – I, Tonya
Mark Hamill – Brigsby Bear
Michael Fassbender – Alien: Covenant
Daniel Craig – Logan Lucky
Ray Romano – The Big Sick
Christopher Plummer – All the Money in the World
Doug Jones – The Shape of Water
Richard Jenkins – The Shape of Water
Jamie Bell – Film Stars Don’t Die in Liverpool
Mark Rylance – Dunkirk
Harry Styles – Dunkirk
Fionn Whitehead – Dunkirk
Barry Keoghan – The Killing of a Sacred Deer
Zac Efron – The Greatest Showman
Jason Mitchell – Mudbound
Woody Harrelson – Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri
Javier Bardem – mother!
Jamie Foxx – Baby Driver
Jon Hamm – Baby Driver
Bill Skarsgard – It
Idris Elba – Molly’s Game
Jared Leto – Blade Runner 2049
Sterling K. Brown – Marshall
Will Poulter – Detroit
Chris Pine – Wonder Woman
Mark Wahlberg – All the Money in the World
Jason Sudeikis – Colossal
Jason Statham – Fast & Furious 8
Ryan Reynolds – Life
Josh Gad – A Dog’s Life
Best Supporting Actress
Tiffany Haddish – Girls Trip
Allison Janney – I, Tonya
Hong Chau – Downsizing
Allison Williams – Get Out
Octavia Spencer – The Shape of Water
Laurie Metcalf – Lady Bird
Bria Binaite – The Florida Project
Elizabeth Olsen – Wind River
Catherine Keener – Get Out
Margot Robbie – Goodbye Christopher Robin
Claire Foy – Breathe
Holly Hunter – The Big Sick
Mary J. Blige – Mudbound
Tatiana Maslany – Stronger
Emma Roberts – The Blackcoat’s Daughter
Kiernan Shipka – The Blackcoat’s Daughter
Zendaya – The Greatest Showman
Julia Roberts – Wonder
Kirsten Dunst – The Beguiled
Elle Fanning – The Beguiled
Dafne Keene – Logan
Ana de Armas – Blade Runner 2049
Michelle Pfeiffer – mother!
Keala Settle – The Greatest Showman 
Elizabeth Olsen – Ingrid Goes West
Zoe Kazan – The Big Sick
Rebecca Ferguson – The Snowman
Mia Goth – A Cure for Wellness
Tessa Thompson – Thor: Ragnarok
Eiza Gonzalez – Baby Driver
Lily James – Baby Driver
Brie Larson – Free Fire
Anya Taylor-Joy – Split

The Most Underrated Film of 2017

Fifty Shades Darker – The Fifty Shades films will continue to be listed in my underrated spot as long as they keep making them! I know I’m not the only one excited for Fifty Shades Freed in February 2018! These films are made for the fans and I honestly don’t understand the hatred for these films. Yes, the dialogue isn’t super great and it comes off as cheesy and not as steamy as some people were expecting. But what we have here is Dakota Johnson who gives an incredible performance as our leading lady, and I’m sorry but she and Jamie Dornan are on fire together. Fifty Shades Darker is scene for scene exactly like the E.L. James novel and gave me everything I wanted to see from this sequel. I still may like Fifty Shades of Grey only slightly more, but these films will always remain on my guilty pleasure list (even though I’m not the least bit guilty about it!)
Underrated Runner Ups: A Cure for Wellness, Alien: Covenant, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, The Glass Castle, King Arthur, Life, The Snowman

The Top 10 Films of 2017

Honorable Mentions: All the Money in the WorldAtomic Blonde, The Beguiled, The Blackcoat’s Daughter, Brigsby Bear, Colossal, Fifty Shades Darker, A Ghost Story, Girls Trip, Good Time, The Greatest Showman, Ingrid Goes West, It, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Life, Logan, Molly’s Game, Patti Cake$, Personal Shopper, The Shape of Water, Stronger, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri, A United Kingdom, Wind River, Woodshock 
10. The Big Sick – One of the best romantic comedies I have ever seen and certainly one of he most original films of the year, The Big Sick tells the true story of how stand-up comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani met his now-wife. A story about an interracial relationship where Kumail, a young man from Pakistan and Emily (Zoe Kazan), a young white American meet, but struggle to be together based on the fact that his family will shut him out if he doesn’t marry a Pakistani Woman. This is a true story and I can imagine it rings true for so many interracial relationships out there! Nanjiani’s use of sarcasm and comedy are the heart of the film, but it’s also Emily’s parents played beautifully by Holly Hunter and Ray Romano that are so memorable. The Big Sick also has one of my favorite ending scenes in films this year. I loved it.
9. I, Tonya – This year has been full of incredible female performances, but after seeing I, Tonya, it was clear that Margot Robbie was a standout as Tonya Harding, once-loved, then hated figure skater. Robbie gives us a completely different perspective of Harding, than what we saw in the media. She completely transforms into this role from seeing Harding as an awkward teenager who’s never kissed a boy to the country girl hick who couldn’t afford a nice skating costume so she had to make her own. It’s a mix of lust, heartbreak, and crime-thriller (seriously) all in one. The ensemble is cast perfectly with Sebastian Stan as Harding’s gross husband Jeff Gillooly, Paul Water Hauser as Harding’s ridiculous bodyguard and Allison Janney in an award worthy performance as Harding’s abusive mother LaVona. I laughed a lot, but also sympathized so much with Harding and all of her hardships and serious bad luck. Robbie gives my favorite female performance of the year and this film makes my Top 10 because it shows the audience a totally different perspective on how the Nancy Kerrigan knee beat down happened.
8. Call Me By Your Name – There are few films that capture falling in Love so beautifully and Director Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me By Your Name is one of them. This is a film that I didn’t know much about, except that I knew I adored Armie Hammer as an actor and Guadagnino’s previous films A Bigger Splash and I Am Love. So that intrigued me enough to interested in this film. Wow was I shocked when I saw this! Set in the summer of 1983 Northern Italy amongst sweeping landscapes, it tells the story of 17-year-old Elio (Timothee Chalamet) and 24-year-old doctorate student Oliver (Armie Hammer) and how they met, developed a friendship and eventually fell in love. Chalamet and Hammer’s chemistry is so hot that it shook me. A gorgeous film about the magic of falling in love for the first time and discovering your sexuality.
7. Baby Driver – Well my husband and I were Baby and Deb for Halloween so you already know I loved this movie! Director Edgar Wright’s Baby Driver is his best film to date. I know he’s made some great films, but this one was so catered to me that I loved it so much. A romantic story about a young couple set with the background of Atlanta, a shady underground crime gang, fast cars and cool music, what’s not to love? Ansel Elgort is fantastic as Baby and Lily James is sweet as cherry pie served at Bo’s Diner as Deb. Jon Hamm, Jamie Foxx and Eiza Gonzalez also star in Baby Driver and the soundtrack is one of my favorites of the year. The way film editors cut together the action sequences mixed with the music is unlike anything I’ve seen before. Such a fun time in the theatre!
6. Get Out – I’ve seen Get Out 5 times and it only gets better with each viewing. Director/writer Jordan Peele shocked the world with his debut about a young black man (played perfectly by Daniel Kaluuya) who’s life is about to go into a dark deep place. Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford and LilRey Howery are the incredible supporting ensemble to Kaluuya. A drama, a comedy and a thought-provoking masterpiece about race all in one, Get Out was the first amazing film I saw in 2017 and even after viewing the rest of the films throughout the year, it still lingered in my Top 10 films.
5. The Disaster Artist – I love movies about movies and James Franco’s The Disaster Artist refreshes the concept of making a movie about making a movie, especially when it’s one of the worst movies of all time. Director/actor Tommy Wisseau’s The Room, which came out in 2003 is said to be one of the worst movies ever made. I honestly didn’t know much about the movie and only just saw it shortly before seeing The Disaster Artist. After seeing what a complete mess The Room was, I was instantly intrigued on how Franco was going to create a film about this, well, disaster! I was instantly hooked upon watching The Disaster Artist. First of all James Franco is uncanny as Wisseau and Dave Franco looks eerily like Greg Sestero. From seeing Wisseau’s failed auditions to badgering a famous Hollywood producer in a restaurant, it’s clear that the man had no social etiquette. But what I love about this film and what Franco did, is he made the audience care about Wisseau and gave a different perspective on him. Instead of madness, we saw passion and instead of an untalented Hollywood wannabe, we saw someone who loved James Dean and wanted nothing more than the Hollywood dream. Well he got it one way or another and Franco gives one of my favorite performances of the year.
4. Blade Runner 2049 – This is the sequel that no one asked for and no one necessarily wanted. But Warner Bros. put their faith in director Denis Villeneuve to make this science-fiction masterpiece happen. The story of a Blade Runner (perfectly portrayed by Ryan Gosling) desperate to find the truth and learn what it means to have a soul is one of the most powerfully told stories on screen this year. The cinematography by Roger Deakins is stunning and the best shot film of the year. The score by Hans Zimmer and Ben Wallfisch is strong and a character in itself.  Also Harrison Ford returning is amazing!
3. mother! – The most controversial and divisive movie in my Top 10, director Darren Aronofsky’s mother! is like being stuck in a two-hour long nightmare, never knowing where the tide is going to turn next and who is good and who is evil. It’s one of Jennifer Lawrence’s best performances to date, with one scene in particular that I think should easily gain her another Oscar nomination, even though that is a long shot. Supporting actors Javier Bardem and Michelle Pfeiffer stand out with memorable and shocking performances. Shot on gorgeous 16mm film, with over 60% of the film a close-up on Lawrence’s face, truly telling the story from her perspective, mother is one of my favorite experiences I had in the theatre this year.
2. Wonder Woman The film I wanted to get up and cheer with the entire time I was watching it! Director Patty Jenkins not only gives us the first feature length film about Wonder Woman and her origin story but one of the best superhero films of all time. We saw how Gal Gadot slayed as Wonder Woman in last year’s Batman vs. Superman, but what a refreshing treat to see a fully fleshed out movie about her. Wonder Woman also has the absolute best scene in movies this year in which Diana (aka Wonder Woman) enters the battlefield knowing that she can help the soldiers, completely unafraid and willing, saying it is why she left her island of Them to help people who needed it the most. Goosebumps!! Gal Gadot is one of my favorite actresses to watch in Hollywood and I can’t wait for the Wonder Woman sequel!
1. Dunkirk – I’m just as shocked as you are that I am putting a “war film” as my #1 of the year, but Christopher Nolan’s Dunkirk may be my favorite film about war that I’ve ever seen. I know that’s a bold statement, but I love that he dropped ya right onto the beaches of Dunkirk, into the world of these soldiers fighting on both land, air and sea. The cinematography by Hoyte van Hoytema is lush and vibrant and the bold score by Hans Zimmer may be the most important and memorable part of the film. Nolan is one of the best directors of all-time and the way he tells the story through three timelines and perspectives is fascinating and unlike any other film about war before. This is a true ensemble performance by stellar actors Mark Rylance, Cillian Murphy, Kennth Branagh and Tom Hardy, while also welcoming new actors Fionn Whitehead, Harry Styles and Barry Keoghan all of which give noteworthy performances. I saw Dunkirk twice at the Lockheed Martin theatre in Washington, DC and can honestly say it was the most mind blowing cinematic experience I had in a theatre all year.

The Top 5 Worst Films of 2017

5. The Circle – I’m putting this on my worst list because with talent like Tom Hanks and Emma Watson this film could have been so much better! The tone is all over the place and its confusing and boring. Truthfully, Tom Hanks is great in the role, the movie itself is just bad.
4. Just Getting Started – Absolute pure garbage that just happens to have three great actors (Tommy Lee Jones, Morgan Freeman, Renee Russo) in it. Like the four other films on this list, this one should not have been made at all. I didn’t laugh one. I yawned and cringed.
3. CHIPS – One of the worst TV show turned movie adaptations I have ever seen! And as a fan of the CHiPS television show growing up this was so disappointing! Also to mention so really offensive jokes throughout the film.
2. The Great Wall – It has not been a great year for Matt Damon. Love Matt Damon as an actor but I’d like to know the thought process behind the decision to start in this film.
1. Transformers: The Last Knight – Optimus Prime has gone bad, Mark Wahlberg looks bored out of his mind, and again, no Megan Fox in sight. This franchise really went downhill after the first three and its a shame that a talented actor like Wahlberg had to be sucked along into the crappy ones. The 3D is incredible, but when the story is this bad and this out of whack, it makes it impossible to keep up, root for it and manage to watch it and leave the theatre without a headache.

DC Film Girl’s Top 10 Graphics by: Haunted Slideshow

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