1. I, Tonya. Craig Gillespie's film built and sustained headlong energy that touched on class, values, and the amateur athletic establishment. The filmmaking and performances were equal to one another. You couldn't distinguish what was so great about this movie, and why it stays with us long after seeing it. It's impenetrable.
2. The Florida Project. This is as close to perfect storytelling as you're going to get in 2017. The movie shows us a crucial slice of life, with desperate lives that can explore and show the full range of emotions.
3. Blade Runner 2049. Yes, barely a non-white person is evident in this movie that surpasses its original. Denis Villeneuve's film may lack the social commentary of the original, or does it? This film succeeded on so many technical levels and enveloped us with its atmosphere, this dystopia could be what we're headed for. It also handled all the suggestions of what lurks within and in front of us all so well, we were still able to imagine. That is no small accomplishment.
4. Get Out. A superior thriller that intertwined interactions, behavior, beliefs, and chief of all, assumptions, while sticking to its story start to finish. Not many films you can say that about.
5. Three Billboards outside Ebbing, Missouri. This is a film for the time we live in. Another foreign director has taken his surmise of the American south and come up with an original story. The character arcs are there, even if believability is occasionally at bay. It's important to see this side of America in this present day and age.
**Note: The Shape of Water and Coco reviews are forthcoming, and surveying the reactions to these films, especially the latter, should be remembered by everyone who sees them.