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2017 Round-up Maria Duarte's best (and worst) films of the year

The top 10 films of the year

Dunkirk
An extraordinary and stunning immersive drama which puts you at the centre of the evacuation of the hundreds of thousands of allied troops from the beaches at Dunkirk. It needs to be seen in IMAX to appreciate fully director Christopher Nolan's cinematic vision.

A Monster Calls
A remarkably moving and visually spectacular coming-of-age tale with a monster twist about a young boy whose mother is terminally ill.
The Florida Project
This magical yet bitter-sweet drama about childhood innocence highlights the plight of an unrepresented part of the US population who are housed just a stone's throw from Disneyland. Its very young cast steal the film and your hearts.
The Party
With a stellar cast, this is a lean, sharp-witted and biting modern satire with a shining performance by Patricia Clarkson which doesn't outstay its 71-minute long welcome.
Lady Macbeth
Think Jane Austin with a macabre and Machiavellian twist, driven by a mesmerising and powerhouse performance by Florence Pugh.
A Man Called Ove
A wonderfully witty bitter-sweet comedy drama about a grumpy old man,  desperate to join the love of his life, whose annoyingly upbeat and nosey neighbours keep interrupting his attempts to commit suicide.
My Life as a Courgette
With its exquisite stop-motion animation and haunting, soulful characters, this Oscar-nominated animated feature about a young boy who's sent to an orphanage where he is forced to deal with his feelings of loss and abandonment packs a heartfelt punch.
La La Land
Damien Chazelle injects new life into the bygone musical genre with this Oscar-winning all-dancing and singing visual extravaganza which pays homage to the musicals of the 1940s and ‘50s while critiquing Hollywood.
Paddington 2
The lovable and innocent bear with a penchant for marmalade sandwiches, who looks for the good in everyone, returns in a sequel as enchanting and magical as the original film. Hugh Grant makes an outstanding and formidable villain.
Thor: Ragnarok
Thrilling, hilariously funny and just wonderfully entertaining as it pokes fun at the Marvel cinematic universe while setting a new high for the complex franchise.

The 10 films to avoid

Elle
This disturbing comedy drama, centred around the brutal rape of a high-powered business woman, is played out repeatedly and peddles the male fantasy that women enjoy being raped. There's no justification for this appalling premise or watching the great Isabelle Huppert being savagely beaten and sexually assaulted time and time again. Just because it's a Paul Verhoeven film doesn't make it right.
Hampstead
Loosely based on the true David v Goliath story of a homeless man who fought and beat the developers to stay on his land on Hampstead Heath, this should have been a thrilling drama. Instead, this shamefully bourgeois and twee Hollywood rom com stars Diane Keaton in full-blown Keaton mode.
Stratton
Sadly, even the wonderful Dominic Cooper can't save the shambles of this poorly scripted, poorly plotted spy thriller, with shockingly bad action scenes done on the cheap.
Fist Fight
Offensive, rude and just plain not funny. Unless you are a masochist, best to give this high school comedy a wide berth.
mother!
The contender for the most pretentious film of the year. A cross between a home-invasion horror film and Rosemary's Baby this is an ideological mess. It will leave you confused and bemused and wondering “WTF, mother!”
Chips
If you still harbour fond memories of this sweet and cheesy 1970s cop series, then avoid this film adaptation at all costs. It's crude, vulgar and full of sexual gags which aren't in the least bit funny.
Assassin's Creed
Another example of why video games do not make compelling cinema, this unfathomable fantasy adventure makes little sense and even its star Michael Fassbender has admitted in interviews that he has no idea what it's about or what it means.
Kingsman: The Secret Service
A piss-poor sequel to an inventive and hugely fun first film.
The Snowman
It doesn't bode well when the snow-covered landscape is the most riveting feature in this painfully slow Scandi-noir thriller.
The Mummy
Oh mummy, what a derivative mess is this Tom Cruise-led adaptation which can't decide whether it's playing it for laughs or for chills.

 

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