Feast Fam’s Films of the Year
2017: Trump. Brexit. Fidget Spinners.
Thankfully, the edge was taken off as we were treated to a year of outstanding film fun. The Flickfeast Fam put their heads together in a bid to come up with the finest film of the year. Unfortunately, we all fell out so we just did our own thing. Ladies and gentlemen…Flickfeast’s Films of 2017
Chris Watt – T2: Trainspotting
There is a remarkable poignancy to Danny Boyle’s T2: Trainspotting: a perfectly balanced blending of moments that fling us headfirst, back into the lives of Renton, Spud, Sick Boy and Begbie, 20 years since a ‘minor betrayal’ sent Renton grinning towards an uncertain future.
T2 is not iconic in the way that Trainspotting had been back in ’96, yet that’s half the point. Middle age doesn’t sell, and these characters know it with the terror of being rendered obsolete ever-present. John Hodge’s impeccable screenplay feels utterly personal: a film as much about masculinity as it is about human relationships. Flashbacks to the earlier picture are never arbitrary; they’re weaved into the fibers of the narrative, the characters being ‘tourists in their own youth.’
As Ewan McGregor begins his 21st century redux of the iconic ‘choose life’ rant, you feel the hairs stand up on the back of your neck and feel the rush of those opening scenes from ’96 that heralded a new kind of British cinema. But as his speech grows, so does his bitterness, rage and sadness: McGregor’s performance balanced on a knife-edge.
Dylan Thomas once wrote; ‘You cannot conquer time.’ You get the feeling Boyle doesn’t want to conquer it. Like the crumbling tenements of the Edinburgh landscape, he wants to take a wrecking ball to our expectations.
This is more than just a sequel
Mr Joe Walker – Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2
If you’re able to look past the elaborate action sequences, stunning visual effects, feel-good old school jams, and bevy of comedic instances, what you’ll find at the heart of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is a film about the emotionally compromised and one colossal deadbeat dad. You can’t choose your relatives. You can, however, decide who becomes your family.
Writer/director James Gunn penned an entertaining and intriguing story that sucks the audience in from the beginning. From the top Peter Quill aka Star-Lord, Gamora, Rocket Raccoon, and Drax The Destroyer were engaged in aerial battle with a giant octopus-like alien. As this happened Baby Groot danced and goofed about on the sidelines to “Mr. Blue Sky” by Electric Light Orchestra. There’s laughs out loud here and throughout.
It’s edge of your seat stuff too. Each of the main characters dealt with personal demons while the plot thickened around them. Quill finally met his celestial father Ego the Living Planet who was revealed to quite literally be a personal demon. Yet it was the thieving, kidnapping Yondu who truly loved Quill as his son, sacrificing himself to save Quill in one of the film’s most touching moments.
Once finished,Vol. 2’s depiction of pain stays with you as much as the jokes . Despite being funny, all the main characters suffered considerably. Each of them were broken. They’d been hurt. As a team they were able to endure, understand their worth to one another, and experience redemption.
In the end I thoroughly enjoyed the dysfunction and distress that was rampant in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. and was similarly moved by its theme of togetherness. For these reasons it’s my favorite flick of 2017.
Katie Smith-Wong – The Florida Project
Coming off the success of his iPhone film Tangerine, filmmaker Sean Baker went back to basics for his follow-up film: a story about a young girl living in Florida’s extended-stay motel community.
The Florida Project conveys the innocence of childhood through the eyes of mischievous wild child Moonee (Brooklynn Prince), whose sweetness is somewhat tainted by the recklessness of her irresponsible mother Halley (Bria Vinaite). Despite it being set amid the garishly bright motels near Disney World, Baker’s comedy-drama is no fairytale as the girls’ increasingly chaotic lifestyles threaten to burst their idyllic, carefree bubble with an overwhelming reality check, leading to an emotively charged climax.
On the face of it, The Florida Project is a brutally honest story of an impoverished young family. However, thanks to its melee of vivid colours, creative camerawork and amazing performances from its mostly inexperienced cast, it is one of the most engaging films this year.
Robb Sheppard – Blade Runner 2049
How can a dystopian future be so beautiful? The film that will surely earn Cinematographer Roger Deakins his long-awaited Oscar was visually iconic from the very first trailer: sumptuous cityscapes, sprawling wasteland scenes, not to mention inventing and trademarking its own hue of “Blade Runner Orange.” Director Denis Villeneuve perfects the balance of honouring the original Blade Runner (1982) and its questions of what it means to be human, whilst venturing into intriguing new territory. Take note, Rian Johnson. Villeneuve takes his sweet-ass time doing it too and as a result, the film feels deservedly weighty and epic; like a true cinematic event.
Blade Runner 2049 also stays with you long after the end credits have rolled. It admires the ambiguity of the original by providing further suspicions of Deckard’s replicant nature, but never a shred of solid evidence. It’s left to the viewer to decide and debate; the same deliberation which no doubt contributed to the original film’s success. Ironically mirroring the relatively poor box office performance, yet glowing fan reactions of the original, it archives memories of Ryan Gosling’s rom-com past, proves Harrison Ford can still turn it on and that Jared Leto can do understated.
What else needs to be said about Blade Runner 2049? Its smashing of sci-fi tropes through its depiction of nuanced female characters? Zimmer’s harrowing and heartfelt score? The necessary and thoughtful handling of returning characters’ cameos? Forget Film of the Year, this could be the film of the last five.
Cleaver Patterson – A five way split
Where has the year gone? It seems like only yesterday that film fans were eagerly awaiting a year of cinema-going that would see the release of not only a new film in the long running Alien franchise with the highly anticipated Alien: Covenant which hit the big screen in May, but also the first major screen adaptation of a Stephen King novel to be seen for quite some time, in the form of IT, which we’d have to wait until September to see. Although I found myself increasingly gravitating away from big, franchise-driven entertainment, in favour of subtler thrills. As a result, my favourites for 2017 consisted of some which I expect may well have passed the mainstream by. They are, in no specific order:
- Paddington 2 – who, deep down, could help but love another sugary sweet dollop of fantasy city life from the lovable rascal who lives at 32 Windsor Gardens?
- Voice From The Stone – a stylish and chillingly realistic period piece, which makes other celluloid ghost stories pale in comparison.
- A Cure for Wellness – an obscure little gem, whose release you would probably have missed if you blinked. Beautiful to watch, hard at times to decipher, but nothing less than a stunning experience which will haunt you forever.
- The Party – more arresting, shocking and entertaining than any party political broadcast you’d see in real life.
- Thoroughbreds – a marvellously twisted and stylish depiction of what can happen when friendship is taken to the extreme amongst the pampered inhabitants of America’s New England elite.
Joe Bull – Alien: Covenant
To become a favourite, a movie needs to stand out above the rest. There has to be something about it – perhaps a connection that goes beyond the actual film. This favourite film does that. By no means is it perfect. Far from it. Many fans have been equally divided on their thoughts but that’s also part of the charm: I like to be slightly different. So why has it become a favourite? The film’s universe. The plan old fact that it is part of an all-time favourite franchise and what it does to that franchise.
I present to you: Alien Covenant. Sure, it has many flaws: it could potentially change the ‘canon’ time line but there’s just something about a new Alien film which sets my creative thoughts a-moving. “What if…” is a huge factor in becoming a favourite.
A movie needs to allow interaction long after the credits (and post-credit scenes) have finished; long after the typical drive home discussion (just hoping there is a passenger too) and long after the contemplative fact-finding online for the next day or so. Covenant does that and still is for me.
The Alien franchise is one that many (including myself) have been immersed in from the first tense watch of Alien to the all-out action of Hadley’s Hope. Both always gave the question of where did it come from? Where did it all start? Alien: Covenant attempts to answer those burning questions.
Now, there have been many amazing films this year so a favourite would need to stick with you for weeks after. I found myself delving deep into the hidden meanings, fan fiction and theories online. They are what help to contribute to Alien: Covenant being a favourite film of the year, so perhaps that’s cheating a little, but hey, it’s my choice – agree? Disagree?
What has been your favourite film experience this year? Let us know in the comments below.