The 2017 film season was rich with political dramas, true-life tales, fantasies and sequels. What follows is a list of my top 10 new films, many of which have been nominated for Academy Awards, which will be presented Sunday, March 4.
1. “The Post”-- This amazing movie centers on how The Washington Post got access to the Pentagon papers in 1971. Lead actress Meryl Streep received an Oscar nomination for her performance in this recent release. Co-star Tom Hanks was not nominated and neither was director Steven Spielberg. Grade: A+
2. “The Zookeeper’s Wife” -- Jessica Chastain shines as Antonia Zabinski who saved Jewish citizens and countless animals in the midst of World War II. The film is amazing on all accounts. The subject matter makes it hard to watch but the visuals are striking. A
3. “your name.” – This simply amazing animated Japanese import is about a pair of lost and intertwined souls in this crisscrossing tale about love and human identity. A
4. “Molly’s Game” -- Jessica Chastain, again, shines as Molly Bloom, who runs gambling dens in both Los Angeles and New York City in this intriguing and fact-based tale that does not disappoint. Both supporters Idris Elba and Kevin Costner deliver the goods in well-written supporting roles. A-
5. “Guardians of The Galaxy Vol 2” -- One of the few sequels that did what it was supposed to do and didn’t fall into that sophomore slump. A-
6. “The Shape of Water” -- This is an amazing fantasy/love story about a pair of misplaced souls involving a deaf cleaning woman played by Sally Hawkins who struggles to help a fellow misplaced soul escape back to the water. This gem received 13 Oscar nominations, including nods for Hawkins, supporters Richard Jenkins and Octavia Spencer as well as director Guillermo Del Toro. A-
7. “Spider-Man: Homecoming” -- I honestly don’t know how they do it, but this, the third incarnation in the Peter Parker/Spider-Man series did not disappoint. Tom Holland pulls off the kid element rather well and Michael Keaton makes for a great villain as Adrian Toomes, aka the Vulture. A-
8. “Blade Runner 2049” -- One of the few sequels that is just as good as the original, if not better. Original star Harrison Ford is just a supporter in this tale that lets Ryan Gosling carry the majority of the weight. Director Denis Villeneuve made a great movie that mesmerizes in every scene and sequence. A-
9. “Baby Driver” -- Director Edgar Wright knocked this one out of the park in a tale about a getaway car driver who performs heists via his song choices his iPod. Lead Ansel Elgort is fun to watch as is his co-star Lily James, who charms it up as Debora, who works as a waitress at the eatery Elgort’s Baby frequents. A-
10. “Justice League” -- Believe it or not, I liked this version of the superhero team just as much as the combination of the Marvel-Universe superheroes. A-
Not in my Top 10, but highly recommended are “Darkest Hour” at No. 13, “Lady Bird” at No. 16 and “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” at No. 35.