Happy 2017! It has taken me a few days to shake off the year that was 2016, but I am now back to list off my favourite films from last year. As always, my list includes a few eclectic choices that very few people have yet to see. I highly recommend seeking out the obscure titles you will find in this year’s list.
10. Some Freaks (review)
Probably the most obscure film on my list this year is this romantic drama I saw at the Fantasia Film Festival. The film breaks down what it means to be “normal” and goes into some ugly truths about how society views those considered to be outsiders. Check out this film at your first opportunity.
9. Life, Animated (review)
The first of many documentaries on this list, Life, Animated is a lovely story about a man with autism, who learns to communicate through his love of Disney films. This is a very inspirational story.
8. Tower (review)
There are few films that combine documentary and narrative dramatizations as well as Tower. Recounting the 1966 sniper shootings at the University of Texas, Tower features well-executed animated reenactments and even an element of suspense.
7. In a Valley of Violence (review)
The western has been making a major resurgence lately and this one by Ti West is one of the better of the bunch. Featuring dark humour, bloody violence, and a scene-stealing dog, In a Valley of Violence is one very entertaining watch.
6. Swiss Army Man (review)
Often described as the “Daniel Radcliffe plays a farting corpse movie,” Swiss Army Man can be an easy film for many to dismiss. However, as it turns out this one of the most unique, surreal, and entertaining films I saw this year. Definitely worth checking out.
5. The Lure (review)
While The Lure is probably not a film that will appeal to everyone, it is most definitely one of the most unique films I saw this year, with its mix of musical, horror, and drama. This film definitely makes first time Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska someone to look out for.
4. Arrival (review)
Denis Villeneuve is proving himself as one of the more successful Canadian directors to head to the U.S. With Arrival Villeneuve delivered a masterful and though-provoking piece of science fiction. Really looking forward to the filmmaker’s upcoming slate.
3. La La Land (review)
While some may consider the film a bit too sugary for them, it can’t be denied that La La Land is probably the best original film musical of the last fifteen years. With its mix of crowd-pleasing musical numbers and tear jerking drama, there is definitely much more to La La Land than meets the eye.
2. How to Build a Time Machine (review)
With only a brief Toronto run following it premiere at Hot Docs, you would be forgiven if Jay Cheel’s How to Build a Time Machine passed you by. However the film is an incredibly well-constructed documentary about two men’s passion for time travel. This is a very inspirational story that will make you believe that anything is possible, including time travel.
1. Sing Street (review)
I think very few people are aware that Irish director John Carney has been making films for two decades, since he will probably always be best known in North America for his 2007 breakthrough film Once. After nearly a decade, it started to seem like Once would be a one hit wonder for Carney, with his films Zonad (2009) and The Rafters (2012) only getting Irish releases and 2013’s Begin Again not quite having the same magic as Once.
Then came the coming of age story Sing Street, which proved that John Carney still had a hit in him. With a great cast of young unknowns and an excellent soundtrack of both original compositions and 1980s staples, Sing Street is a film that I just fell in love with and it is deservingly my favourite film of the year.