We’re halfway through the year, and that means we have a good excuse to write up a list – and we love making lists. So, in no particular order, are our ten very favourite movies of the year so far, and more important, the ten that are still to come.
A Monster Calls
If we were compiling a list of the films that have made us cry the most this year, it’s fair to say that A Monster Calls would be sitting pretty at the very top of the list. This emotive, enchanting drama tells the story of a young boy trying to come to terms with his mother’s illness. It’s just ridiculously moving, and Liam Neeson voices the monster. What’s not to love?
La La Land
When films are lauded so much, from critics and fans alike, with that comes an inevitable backlash – which La La Land received in the build up to the Oscars (even the Oscars trolled the charming musical). But we don’t care about that, this film is great, and we’d watch it over and over again. So there.
Manchester by the Sea
Kennether Lonergen has written and directed a modern classic with this production, which also draws out the very best performance of his career for Casey Affleck. It’s a subtle, multi-layered drama that scrutinises over the notion of grief in a chilling and effective way.
Telling the story of the Jackie Kennedy in the wake of her husband’s assassination – this is the first of two Pablo Larrain features to come in our top 10 of the year so far. The talented filmmaker has crafted a title that is unnerving to sit through, featuring a breath-taking lead performance from Natalie Portman and yet another incredible score by the talented Mica Levi.
When recommending Toni Erdmann to people, it’s fair to say that promoting a three-hour German comedy was something of a challenge – but most of those who took a punt on this Oscar-nominated production will have left feeling extremely pleased with their decision.
A film that is unlikely to be bettered this calendar year – Barry Jenkins’ Moonlight is a beautiful drama that was the rightful winner of Best Picture at the Oscars. Everything about it is perfection – the story, the aesthetic, and the performances. And that diner scene…
Jordan Peele may be better known for his comedy, but he’s behind the film’s very best horror movie. Steeped in paranoia, it’s a film that covers pertinent issues in a gloriously emphatic way – grounded by its social commentary. Let’s just the director makes another film soon, and on this showing, we’d be happy for him to tackle whatever genre he fancies.
Here comes the second Pablo Larrain film, and this one is all about the famous Chilean poet Pablo Neruda. It’s overtly cinematic, and so affectionate with it. Larrain is a director that is going to be so huge one day – so make sure you catch up on all his films, and let Neruda be the first. It’s just excellent.
Talking of brilliant filmmakers, Korean auteur Park Chan-wook returns to his native country to present The Handmaiden, an erotic thriller that thrives in its series of twists and turns.
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
It’s only right, given the dominance of the box office, that at least one superhero movie makes our list, and it’s hard to look much further than Guardians of the Galaxy Vol.2. This James Gunn production is just as good as the first – and praise doesn’t come much higher than that.
Still to Come…
Chris Nolan makes incredibly human productions with films set in outer space, or about men who parade around dressed up in silly outfit calling themselves ‘Batman’. So naturally when dealing with the real life story of the 400 thousand soldiers stranded in Dunkirk during WW2, we can expect to be moved and compelled – and believe me, you will be.
Kathryn Bigelow returns to the helm for this thriller set in 1967, which focuses in one of the largest race riots in American history. Featuring John Boyega, Will Poulter, as well as Jason Mitchell and Anthony Mackie – this really is one to keep an eye out for.
Retiring about as often as Jay Z, thankfully, Steven Soderbergh doesn’t stick to his word either – and we’re the real winners here, for the talented filmmaker consistently puts out top quality movies. His latest is a comedy starring Adam Driver and Channing Tatum, of two brothers vying to pull of a heist. Something tells us it’s not going be very straightforward…
God’s Own Country
Now this is far from a mainstream release, but a film that you really ought to seek out. Directed by first-time filmmaker Francis Lee, this is a beautifully arranged romantic piece of two young men who fall in love on a farm in the North of England.
Blade Runner 2049
I don’t think we realised just how much we wanted a Blade Runner sequel, until it was confirmed there would be one. Harrison Ford is back (yay!) and he’s joined by Ryan Gosling (yay!) in this Denis Villeneuve feature, set 30 years after the original. With the new technology available to the filmmakers, it should make for a real spectacle on the big screen.
Call Me By Your Name
Armie Hammer and breakthrough star Timothee Chalamet turn in remarkable performances in this gay drama, set in Italy and directed by Luca Guadagnino. Gathering impressive reviews from its showings at both Sundance and Berlin, it’s finally making its way to our screens this Autumn. Etch the title in your head now – this is not one you’ll be wanting to miss.
Now we’d be liars if we said there wasn’t an abundance of Marvel films, but thankfully, they’re all really good. And what’s more, they keep on taking risks and reinventing the genre, and with Taika Waititi at the helm of this latest film to come out of the Thor franchise, we can expect a more comedic endeavour, and if Ant-Man and Spider-Man are anything to go by, we could be in for a real treat.
Paddington was one of the real surprises of the year when it was released – and so pressure is on for the forthcoming sequel. But with all of our favourite characters returning – and new villains played by Hugh Grant and Brendan Gleeson – we’re pretty confident this will be on a par, and we can’t ask for much more than that really.
It feels like ages since we’ve had the chance to enjoy a George Clooney-directed film, having to go back three years for The Monuments Men. Here’s hoping his latest is of a higher standard too, and with Matt Damon Oscar Isaac and Julianne Moore on board, it gives off a rather promising first impression.
Star Wars: The Last Jedi
We don’t even need to say why we’re looking forward to this. It’s Star Wars. It’s new Star Wars. Bring it on.