mid-year review

The Year in Barnesyard – 2017 Mid-Year Review

TOP 10 FILMS OF 2017

1) Your Name.

MY TAKE: “It’s the rare work of art that can base an extraordinarily powerful moment of emotional catharsis on a recurring joke about compulsive boob-squeezing, but that’s the miracle of this movie.”

2) A Ghost Story

3) Get Out

MY TAKE: “Writer-director Jordan Peele’s Get Out is a smart and stylish sociological horror movie more akin to recent revisionist genre entries like The Babadook and It Follows, albeit with a healthy helping of What We Do in the Shadows-level belly laughs.”

4) Kedi

MY TAKE: “Part God-mode Cats of Instagram story stream, part sly travelogue of modern-day Istanbul, Kedi follows about a dozen different street cats and the lives that they have touched. ”

5) John Wick: Chapter 2

MY TAKE: “Good acting is good acting, however you get there, and Reeves is flat-out great in John Wick: Chapter 2.  Every line of dialogue gets strangled in his throat, every life-loathing emotion scars his face, every gesture suggests a ghost who doesn’t realize he’s dead yet.”

6) The Little Hours

7) Logan

8) A Quiet Passion

MY TAKE: “Get pumped to loiter over the sumptuous anti-sumptuousness of Terence Davies’ meticulous yet ethereal Emily Dickinson biopic.”

9) Harmonium

MY TAKE: “A borderline unbearable bummer at times, but also quietly captivating, with smart and evocative framing and a trio of excellent performances.”

10) Free Fire

MY TAKE: “The hard-boiled, insult-comic dialogue might sometimes lean a little closer to Guy Ritchie than Quentin Tarantino, but the energy and momentum are undeniable—the film has a way of relentlessly slicing forward every time you expect it to stagnate.”

BOTTOM 5 FILMS OF 2017

1) Baywatch

MY TAKE: “Almost every shot is framed to appease corporate sponsors. The only exception is a seemingly endless sequence toward the beginning of the film that involves a plucky slob who gets his genitals stuck in a beach chair — according to recent Pentagon leaks, that scene was created to torture prisoners of war.”

2) Bitter Harvest

MY TAKE: “The supporting cast mixes abashed slummers like Barry Peppers and Terence Stamp with equally abashed no-names, and as the wishy-washy protagonist who learns to love the saber, 30-something “adolescent” Max Irons gives a performance that can only be described as bad.”

3) The Book of Henry

MY TAKE: “A first half of magical treehouses, Rube Goldberg contraptions, brassy best friends and half-witted intelligence is bad enough, but a midpoint twist flips The Book of Henry into a Manic Pixie Rape Revenge movie.”

4) In Dubious Battle

MY TAKE: “Director and star James Franco clearly called in every favor he was ever owed to fill the cast of this John Steinbeck adaptation, especially since this punishingly literal film feels like a low-budget, heart-on-sleeve vanity project. ”

5) Beauty and the Beast

MY TAKE: “This latest incarnation is a high-gloss recycle job, designed to do nothing more than massage your nostalgia sensors for two interminable hours – this is a film that wants to stand on the shoulders of giants, while still acting like it’s winning the dunk contest.”

TOP 10 2016 RELEASES THAT I STILL NEED TO SEE

Baby Driver

Contemporary Color

Frantz (GRADE: C+)

Graduation

In Transit

It Comes at Night (GRADE: B)

The Lost City of Z (GRADE: B)

The Lure (GRADE: C+)

Personal Shopper (GRADE: B+)

Song to Song (GRADE: B-)

AWARD WORTHY PERFORMANCES

Michael Fassbender and Katherine Waterston, Alien: Covenant

Tony Shalhoub, The Assignment

Salma Hayek, Beatriz at Dinner

Kirsten Dunst and Colin Farrell, The Beguiled

Nick Kroll, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie

Anne Hathaway, Colossal

Ulrich Thomsen and Trine Dyrholm, The Commune

Sharlto Copley and Cillian Murphy, Free Fire

Catherine Keener, Daniel Kaluuya, Bradley Whitford and Allison Williams, Get Out

Rooney Mara and Johnny Mars, A Ghost Story

Mariko Tsutsui and Tadanobu Asano, Harmonium

Sam Elliott, The Hero

Emma Booth and Ashleigh Cummings, Hounds of Love

Melanie Lynskey, I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore

Keanu Reeves, John Wick: Chapter 2

Allison Brie, Aubrey Plaza and John C. Reilly, The Little Hours

Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Dafne Keen, Logan

Debra Winger and Tracy Letts, The Lovers

Jason Schwartzman, My Entire High School Sinking into the Sea

Richard Gere, Norman

Ahn Seo-hyun, Okja 

Cynthia Nixon, A Quiet Passion

Damien Bonnard, Staying Vertical

Steve Zahn, War for the Planet of the Apes

Avraham Aviv Alush, The Women’s Balcony

Gal Gadot, Wonder Woman

RELATED LETTERBOXD LISTS AND LINKS

2017 New Release Power Rankings

2017 Catchup list

Top 25 “Discoveries” of 2017

2017 Letterboxd stats

The Year in Barnesyard – 2016 Mid-Year Review

rsz_the-witch-movie-reviewTOP 10 FILMS OF 2016 SO FAR

1) Three

MY TAKE: “A genre-hopping blast, the anonymously named Three works as part solemn morality play and part gonzo white-knuckle thriller, part huge-hearted ensemble dramedy and part pitiless three-hander, with an almost unbearable escalation of tension that explodes into one of the most insane action sequences you’ll ever see.”

2) The Witch

MY TAKE: “Undeniably disturbing and strangely elegant, The Witch creates its horror with such care that the film may be over before you realize it’s a tour-de-force genre classic.”

3) 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

MY TAKE: “I always suspected that the Transformers movies might be kind of great if you just removed Shia LeBeouf and all of the sass-backing robots. Suspicions confirmed.”

4) Love & Friendship

rsz_11maxresdefaultMY TAKE: “There is an almost perfect overlap between the sensibilities of Stillman and Austen, to the point that all of Stillman’s previous New York-based films now feel like reverse-engineered Austen adaptations.”

5) April and the Extraordinary World

MY TAKE: “Pure enjoyment, but then I’ve always been in the bag for humanist sci-fi, lizards wearing robot armor, unusual and meticulous production design, and adventure stories where one of the heroes is a brainy woman and the other is a talking cat.”

6) High-Rise

MY TAKE: “High-Rise slices forward fearlessly, relentless in its narrative thrust and yet overflowing with show-stopping setpieces.  The effect is dazzling, although I should be noted that I’m a sucker for this sort of heavily stylized decadence and decay.”

7) Rams

MY TAKE: “Hákonarson’s last film was a documentary about an Icelandic country priest, and he brings the observational eye of a documentarian to Rams while exuding the quiet confidence of a natural storyteller.”

rsz_love-friendship-600x3738) My Golden Days

MY TAKE: “The details of the story aren’t particularly compelling, but Desplechin’s telling casts a spell that’s curiously thrilling, as the film seems to be constantly reinventing itself as it goes, mutating and evolving like an unpleasant memory.”

9) The Lobster

10) The Measure of a Man

MY TAKE: “Impotent resistance versus soul-sucking compliance in the bloody coliseum of capitalism; human dignity loses either way. ”

10 MORE GOOD ONES

Aferim!

Dheepan

Embrace of the Serpentrsz_johnnie-to-three-2016-zhao-wei-louis-koo

Fireworks Wednesday

The Jungle Book

Mountains May Depart

Neon Bull

Swiss Army Man

10 Cloverfield Lane

Tickled

TOP 10 2016 RELEASES THAT I STILL NEED TO SEE

rsz_960Cemetery of Splendor (GRADE: B+)

De Palma (GRADE: B)

Everybody Wants Some!! (GRADE: B)

Finding Dory (GRADE: B)

Knight of Cups (GRADE: B-)

Krisha (GRADE: A-)

O.J.: Made in America (GRADE: A-)

Only Yesterday (GRADE: A)

Right Now, Wrong Then (GRADE: B+)

Weiner (GRADE: B+)

rsz_hiddleston-xlarge_trans--3hvejul2wvjxejb3jwusshndml-fnbpvlkwcwvkdhwuAWARD-WORTHY PERFORMANCES

Teodor Corban, Aferim!

Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton, A Bigger Splash

Sacha Baron Cohen, The Brothers Grimsby

Antonythasan Jesuthasan, Dheepan

Lea Seydoux, Diary of a Chambermaid

Antonio Bolívar, Embrace of the Serpent

Hedye Tehrani and Hami Farokhnezhad, Fireworks Wednesday

Geoffrey Rush, Gods of Egypt

Channing Tatum and Alden Ehrenreich, Hail, Caesar!

Sally Field, Hello, My Name is Doris

rsz_rams-cannes-film-festival-2Tom Hiddleston and Luke Evans, High-Rise

Tom Hanks, A Hologram for the King

Noah Emmerich, Jane Got a Gun

Ross Partridge and Oona Laurence, Lamb

Colin Farrell, Rachel Weisz, Lea Seydoux, Ben Whishaw, Angeliki Papoulia and John C. Reilly, The Lobster

Kate Beckinsale and Tom Bennett, Love & Friendship

Greta Gerwig, Maggie’s Plan

Kalki Koechlin, Margarita, with a Straw

Catherine Frot, Marguerite

rsz_the-lobsterVincent Lindon, The Measure of a Man

Susan Sarandon and J.K. Simmons, The Meddler

Michael Shannon and Kirsten Dunst, Midnight Special

Zhao Tao and Sylvia Chang, Mountains May Depart

Juliano Cazarré, Neon Bull

Keanu Reeves, The Neon Demon

Sigurður Sigurjónsson, Rams

Christopher Plummer, Remember

Agyness Deyn and Peter Mullan, Sunset Song

Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe, Swiss Army Man

Salma Hayek, Tale of Tales

John Goodman and Mary Elizabeth Winstead, 10 Cloverfield Lanersz_my-golden-years-cannes-film-festival-4

James Badge Dale and John Krasinski, 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi

Wallace Chung, Wei Zhao and Louis Koo, Three

Woody Harrelson, Triple 9

Pilou Asbaek, A War

Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie and Harvey Scrimshaw, The Witch

RELATED LETTERBOXD LISTS AND LINKS

Top 10 of 2016 Power Rankings

2016 Unranked

2016 Catchup

The Barnesyard’s 2015 Mid-Year Review