Of the 48 49 * films I've seen that have received theatrical releases in the U.S. this year, here are my favorites. * With one late addition. (My complete list here.) What are yours?
Logan - Incredibly well developed and superbly executed, this is the rare blockbuster that dares to be intimate and extremely personal. My review.
Baby Driver - I absolutely love this film and can't wait to see it again. Admittedly, that's because it hits many of my soft spots (car chases, sweet romance, bank robbing, betrayal), but it's more than enough to survive a final section that swerves away from its strengths. My review.
Okja - Ungainly as it is, the strength of its storytelling wins out over my reservations about some of the performances / characterizations. Even on a small screen, it's a must-see winner. Review by Pierce Conran.
Personal Shopper - What grabbed me here is the carefully-contained and controlled atmosphere established by director Olivier Assayas, revolving around a precisely modulated performance by Kristen Stewart. Review by Kurt Halfyard.
Prevenge - Glee is manifested in a delightfully bent manner in Alice Lowe's feature directorial debut. She also wrote and stars in the film as a pregnant woman who acts upon her murderous impulses in a wonderful mix of comedy and horror. Review by Thomas Humphrey.
War for the Planet of the Apes - This is a magnificent conclusion to the trilogy and shows that, occasionally, reboots are a good opportunity for creative filmmakers to put their own stamp on a studio's property. My review.
The Devil's Candy - The most singularly intense experience I've enjoyed, though "enjoyment" is not really the most fitting description for the tension I felt. Ethan Embry is scary good. Review by Todd Brown.
Raw - I liked the film when I saw it at Fantastic Fest last year, but my impression was deepened and my admiration grew after seeing it for the second time during its brief theatrical run earlier this year. It really comes to grips with the themes it introduces and then ends on the best note imaginable. Review by Shelagh M. Rowan-Legg.
Free Fire - Set in the 1970s? Check. Set in a warehouse? Check. Filled with gobsmacking gun violence carried out by nasty characters? Check. Like Baby Driver, Ben Wheatley's gun-fu epic pushes favorite buttons in a properly twisted and extremely fun manner. Review by Ryland Aldrich.
Get Out - Jordon Peele demonstrates a firm command of horror conventions, putting them in the light of relevant social issues and producing a very tight and entertaining flick. Review by Ard Vijn.
Wonder Woman - A welcoming, galloping adventure that serves up big-sized action sequences sprinkled with a liberal dose of much-needed feminist attitude. It turns the superhero epic inside out, for the most part. Review by James Marsh.
The Belko Experiment - A menacing script by writer James Gunn is mounted and executed superby by director Greg McLean. My review.
The Transfiguration - A very sneaky film that unfolds at its own sweet, slow pace, it also accumulates meaning and depth as it plays, surprising even me. Review by Shelagh M. Rowan-Legg.
The Great Wall - I know, I know, white guy in China, but still, Zhang Yimou! His action sequences are excellent. Review by J Hurtado.
A Cure for Wellness - I know, I know, it's a ridiculous premise with no proper pay-off, but the first hour is sumptuous magic and the whole thing is the most gorgeous film I've seen this year. My review.
Late addition on July 1: Colossal - By my own rules - films I've seen that were released theatrically in the U.S. this year - I managed somehow to forget Nacho Vigalondo's monster treat, which I saw last fall as the closing night presentation at Fantastic Fest. (Probably it's because I meant to see it again during its theatrical run this year.)
In any event, my history with the filmmaker began when I saw Timecrimes at my first Fantastic Fest in 2007, and then got to sit down with him the next day for an interview. I've seen a number of his short films and also his features Extraterrestrial and Open Windows, but Colossal is his best yet, a very strong drama about a woman dealing with big challenges in her life, the least of which is the monster with whom she has a very strange connection. Review by Jason Gorber.