The Best Movies of 2017

phantom thread
Phantom Thread | Focus Features
Phantom Thread | Focus Features

What were the best movies of 2017? Everyone's asking the question, but we spent all year compiling a rolling ranking, updated weekly, of the best of the best movies that we can 100% recommend checking out. This is not a top 10 list. This is all the best movies of 2017. No mixed bags, interesting trainwrecks, or blockbusters that sport big box-office tallies. Just the true greats -- movies big, small, and from around the world. (And to hardcore fans of Baby DriverThe Post, and Thor: Ragnarok, we apologize: they came right under the mark -- we swear!). 

Your time is precious, and so is your money, but you need to see these 2017 movies.

Don't forget to also check out our running list of The Best Movies of 2018.

free fire - best movies of 2017

60. Free Fire

Released: April 21
Cast: Brie Larson, Sharlto Copley, Armie Hammer, Cillian Murphy
Director: Ben Wheatley (Kill List)
Why it’s great: Cast from the molten barrels of Charles Bronson's many Smith & Wessons, this frenetic '70s throwback plays out as one prolonged shootout. What should be just-another-illegal-gun-deal-by-the-docks between a group of IRA fighters (led by Murphy), a skeezy arms dealer (Copley), and two American representatives for the respective parties (Larson and Hammer) explodes into a firefight when one lower-rung goon accuses another of assaulting his sister at a bar the night prior. Each insult exacerbates the standoff, which Wheatley orchestrates with wailing bullets, chaotic camerawork, and salvos of clever banter, blurted out as the actors squirm across dirt floors to safety. By the end of Free Fire, limbs are torn through, blood is spilled, and your jaw is on the floor.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Amazon Prime; rent on iTunes, Amazon Video, VUDU, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

lost in paris
Oscilloscope Laboratories

59. Lost in Paris

Released: June 16
Cast: Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Emmanuelle Riva, Pierre Richard
Director: Dominique Abel and Fiona Gordon (The Fairy)
Why it’s great: Fans of the La La Land's Technicolor whimsy, the bizarrerie of Amélie, and/or the low-key hijinks of Wallace and Gromit cartoons should seek out the latest from "Abel and Gordon," an old-meets-new comedy starring the director couple as a Canadian woman desperate to find her missing aunt, and the free-wheeling tramp who injects himself into the search to varying degrees of helpfulness. Lost in Paris returns slapstick and sight gags, now the fodder or annual Shrek imitators, back to the world of art, with the pratfalling misadventures of two caricatured romantics playing out like a musical. Co-starring the late Emmanuelle Riva as a grandma down to party, the movie is totally pleasurable and endlessly absurd.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Tribeca Shortlist (starting December 1); rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

the disaster artist

58. The Disaster Artist

Released: December 1
Cast: James Franco, Dave Franco, Seth Rogen, Alison Brie
Director: James Franco (The Sound and the Fury)
Why it’s great: There are no half-measures with Tommy Wiseau, the failed actor/secret millionaire behind the notoriously awful cult drama The Room, and there are no half-measures in The Disaster Artist, James Franco's dramatic telling of the film's bizarre backstory. Franco goes full Daniel-Day-Lewis to become Wiseau, who latched onto his young, acting classmate Greg Sestero (Dave Franco) and drove them both to the hell of inert, overproduced, melodramatic movie-making. The arc of this movie is jaw-dropping: When Franco's Wiseau rolls up to Los Angeles for the first time, he unloads motivational-poster wisdom; when he arrives on The Room set for Day 1, he mutates into a hybrid of masochistic Hitchcock and coked-out Ozzy Osbourne; after his fallout with Greg, Wiseau takes on the mannerisms of a 6-year-old. Most of the time we're laughing (maybe too much, to be honest). But true to Franco, who exists on the fringes of mainstream (and has now come under fire over allegations of sexual misconduct), his take on Wiseau is a stark lampoon that defies every imaginable convention. "YOU ARE TEARING ME APART, LISA!" has never felt so... terrifying.
Oscar nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay
Where to see it right now: In theaters (watch the trailer)

dave built a maze
Gravitas Ventures

57. Dave Made a Maze

Released: August 18
Cast: Nick Thune, Meera Rohit Kumbhani, Adam Busch, James Urbaniak
Director:Bill Watterson
Why it’s great: This inventive indie comedy finds Dave (Thune), a struggling artist, trapped inside a cavernous, cardboard labyrinth constructed in the middle of his living room. To save his life, Dave's friends (plus a documentary crew led by Urbaniak), embrace the Michel-Gondry-worthy quagmire and venture into the maze, where they find booby traps, surrealist wonders, and a minotaur -- all made of the brown paper product. Though the story's corrugated around the edges, Dave Made a Maze's cardboard world is a sight to behold, and the comedic chops of this seasoned troupe of actor friends assures the movie nver loses its way.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Hulu; rent on Amazon, Vudu, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

maudie - sally hawkins
Sony Pictures Classics

56. Maudie

Released: June 16
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Ethan Hawke, Kari Matchett, Zachary Bennett
Director:Aisling Walsh (Song for a Raggy Boy)
Why it’s great: Aggrandizement can drag well-intentioned biography down like a potent horse tranquilizer. Maudie, a look at the life of Maud Lewis, who overcame rheumatoid arthritis, and pushed through a turbulent romantic relationship with her employer-turned-husband, to become one of Canada's premiere painters, avoids the pitfall by making a case for the human spirit without insisting upon greatness. Still, and at times, a little too straightforward, Walsh invests entirely in Hawkins's physical language: delicate in depicting Lewis's disability, stripped down in the darkest moments, and beaming when her pastel illustrations blossom from her mind to the walls of a tiny shack in Nova Scotia. It's clear now: Hawkins is one of the greats and, along with Hawke at his gruffest, makes Maudie a best-case biopic.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

loving vincent
Good Deed Entertainment

55. Loving Vincent

Released: October 13
Cast: Douglas Booth, Saoirse Ronan, Helen McCrory, Jerome Flynn
Director: Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman
Why it’s great: The filmmakers didn't bring this biographical sliver of Vincent van Gogh's tragic to life with hand-drawn or CGI animation. Instead, they filmed actors (including Douglas Booth, Chris O'Dowd', and Saoirse Ronan) on rudimentary sets, then hired artists to rotoscope each frame with oil on canvas, emulating the Post-Impressionist painter's swirling, scenic renderings. The painstaking process took six years, but the finished product is unlike anything you've ever seen. Positioned as a kind of educational thriller, Loving Vincent follows Armand Roulin (one of van Gogh's many subjects) as he unravels the circumstances that led to the young artist's suicide, spotlighting details of his life, and meeting many of the people who would inspire his paintings, along the away. The basic story, backed by Clint Mansell's elegiac score, is a gateway to a series of vivid, textured, living compositions that say as much about van Gogh's mind as Loving Vincent's nail-biting anecdotes.
Oscar nominations: Best Animated Feature
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and VOD starting January 16 (watch the trailer)

the beguiled 2017
Focus Features

54. The Beguiled

Released: June 23
Cast: Nicole Kidman, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning, Colin Farrell
Director: Sofia Coppola (Lost in Translation)
Why it’s great: This remake of the 1971 Clint Eastwood-Geraldine Page drama returns to the Farnsworth seminary, a haven for proper young women avoiding the corruption of Civil War. Tucked away in the mist-swept backwoods of Virginia, the disciples of Miss Farnsworth (Kidman) live regimented days, a strain of well-intentioned repression eventually imploded by the arrival of John McBurney (Farrell), an injured Union corporal. Hospitable to a fault, Farnsworth and her girls tend to the soldier, who draws out their carnal hunger (no one can resist Farrell's chest hair) before lashing out with his own animal instincts. Simple, stylish, and threaded together from the quirks of female and male behavior, The Beguiled is a sexual Southern Gothic fairy tale that is wisely more humid than hot.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

my entire high school sinking under the sea

53. My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea

Released: April 14
Cast: Jason Schwartzman, Reggie Watts, Maya Rudolph, Lena Dunham
Director: Dash Shaw
Why it’s great: The scraggly sketch style of acclaimed graphic novelist Dash Shaw comes to life in a teenage dream comedy about a coastal town high school that cascades off a cliff, drifts out to sea, and provokes a student-body class war. Like the stars of Superbad or Broad City, Shaw's cartoon proxies mumble with angst as they swim, jump, and climb through his version of hell, a submerging vertical tower lorded over by populars and varsity-jacket-wearing douche bros. Unchained from conventional Pixar practices, My Entire High School Sinking Into the Sea is one of the more visually stunning comedies in recent memory.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

it comes at night

52. It Comes at Night

Released: March 3
Cast: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr.
Director: Trey Edward Shults (Krisha)
Why it’s great: In this a post-apocalyptic nightmare-and-a-half, the horrors of humanity, the strain of chaotic emotions pent up in the name of survival, bleed out through wary eyes and weathered hands. The setup is blockbuster-sized -- reverts mankind to the days of the American Frontier, every sole survivor fights to protect their families and themselves -- but the drama is mano-a-mano. Barricaded in a haunted-house-worthy cabin in the woods, Paul (Edgerton) takes in Will (Abbott) and his family, knowing full well they could threaten his family's existence. All the while, Paul's son, Trevor, battles bloody visions of (or induced by?) the contagion. Shults directs the hell out of every slow-push frame of this psychological thriller, and the less we know, the more confusion feels like a noose around our necks, the scarier his observations become.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Amazon Prime; rent on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

the shape of water
Fox Searchlight

51. The Shape of Water

Released: December 1
Cast: Sally Hawkins, Doug Jones, Michael Shannon, Richard Jenkins
Director: Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth)
Why it’s great: This Cold-War-era fairy tale rattles a G-rated romance between a human woman and an amphibian fish-man with splashes of R-rated reality. Elisa, a mute janitor at a hush-hush government research lab, doesn't just pine for the model man, she's sexually stifled, her pleasure scheduled each morning to the ring of an egg timer. Her soon-to-be-lover, the ripped, otherworldly "asset" fought over by American scientists and Russian spies, is a viable lover, but sheds blood like any other tortured creature. Del Toro doesn't flinch in any of the graphic details, but a classic Hollywood touch, lush color palette, and air of innocence make this horror-adjacent story of outsiders as sweet as any Disney flick.
Oscar nominations: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design
Where to see it right now: In theaters (watch the trailer)

girls trip
Universal Pictures

50. Girls Trip

Released: June 21
Cast: Regina Hall, Jada Pinkett Smith, Tiffany Haddish, Queen Latifah
Director: Malcolm D. Lee (Barbershop: The Next Cut)
Why it’s great: Holy shit, this movie is funny. Riding the most basic premise (four friends take a wild vacation in New Orleans!) to the most obvious conclusion (they have a blast, then they get upset, but in the end, they're best friends!) Lee and his four female cohorts bring the R-rated comedy back to where it belongs: a perverse wonderland where dick jokes slay and spray-peeing on a crowds of unsuspecting bystanders is a religious experience. Girls Trip is as pure as Old School or Bridesmaids, and like both, boasts a breakout star. Haddish steals every scene, and a bit where she viciously fellates a banana while lubricating with a grapefruit, pulp flying in every direction, is the defining image of 2017.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, YouTube, and VOD on October 17 (watch the trailer)

logan hugh jackman best movies 2017
20th Century Fox

49. Logan

Released: March 3
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook
Director: James Mangold (3:10 to Yuma)
Why it’s great: Before the "MCU," Christopher Nolan's Bat-movies, and all three Spider-Man screen incarnations, there was the growing, gallant Wolverine from 2000's X-Men. Seventeen years of unwavering ferocity later, Jackman ends his warrior's story on a bedrock of history: in 2029, Wolverine is now a tall tale hero lionized in paperback; Logan is a whiskey-guzzling drunk numbing the past and courting death. Stewart's Professor X, a decaying psychic warhead, and Laura, a genetic prototype with claws like Logan, force him to become protector once more. While Mangold grants the gruesome, R-rated dreams of X-fans, Logan stands as one of the best comic book movies of all time by slicing through fatalistic philosophy and the true definition of healing. Wolverine's body can mend five-minute-old bullet wounds in a flash, but a lifetime of loss? Not in his mutant DNA.
Oscar nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon Video, YouTube, and VUDU (watch the trailer)

BPM movie 2017
The Orchard

48. BPM (Beats Per Minute)

Released: October 20
Cast: Nahuel Pérez Biscayart, Arnaud Valois, Adèle Haenel, Antoine Reinartz
Director: Robin Campillo (Eastern Boys)
Why it’s great:BPM recreates the Paris chapter of ACT UP, the HIV/AIDS activist group that took radical steps to demonstrate and protest the government's inaction, to embed itself within the subject like a documentary crew. There, the hyper-naturalistic filmmaking style finds historical and human drama. Specifically the lives of Nathan, an HIV-negative newcomer, and Sean, his HIV-positive guide to all things ACT UP, who, when they're not drenching pharmaceutical executives in blood-red paint as a reminder of the thousands who'd already died of AIDS by the mid-'90s, fall hopelessly in love. Their romance is a trial of commitment, bravery, and predestined grief. BPM never lifts a finger from their vibrant pulse.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

marjorie prime

47. Marjorie Prime

Released: August 18
Cast: Jon Hamm, Geena Davis, Lois Smith, Tim Robbins
Director: Michael Almereyda (Hamlet)
Why it’s great: Can you replace a loved one with a carbon copy? In the world of Marjorie Prime, an adaptation of Jordan Harrison's off-Broadway play, the dead return in hologram form, absorbing history through conversation, and reminding the living what's lost and found over the course of one mortal relationship. Marjorie (Smith), whose mind is slipping away in old age, finds comfort in the digital, youthful refraction of her late husband (Hamm); the technology allows Tess (Davis), her daughter, to see motherhood in a new light; grieving is given new definition as Tess' husband Jon (Robbins) boots up a new "prime" model. Matching the mannerisms of theater with the clarity of a close-up, the heart-aching Marjorie Prime raises essential questions about memory, loss, and technology while keeping the sci-fi and drama as delicate as possible.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

molly's game
STX Entertainment

46. Molly's Game

Released: December 25
Cast: Jessica Chastain, Idris Elba, Kevin Costner, Michael Cera
Director: Aaron Sorkin
Why it’s great: Sorkin, the writer of The West Wing, A Few Good Men, and The Social Network, makes his directorial debut with the true story of Molly Bloom, a failed Olympic skier who became one of the most cunning operators of high-stakes, celeb-filled, backroom poker games in the country. Bouncing between Molly's rise in L.A.'s Viper Room to her fight against legal investigation and total bankruptcy, Sorkin's drama shuffles language like a deck of cards, the staccato sentences of his poker-playing spitfires punctuated by the witty English equivalent of flops, turns, and rivers. Though probing male ego and the addictive qualities of living an "all in" life, the movie is a forge that holds Chastain's fire -- she gets the lines, she gets the moments, she gets the beats that could have easily been Pacino's in the '80s. But in Molly's Game they're all hers, and she slays them.
Oscar nominations: Best Adapted Screenplay
Where to see it right now: In theaters (watch the trailer)


45. Menashe

Released: July 28
Cast: Menashe Lustig, Yoel Falkowitz, Ruben Niborski, Meyer Schwartz
Director: Joshua Z Weinstein
Why it’s great: In this solemn stunner, a certifiable schlub struggles to keep his job as a clerk at a grocery store, be a father to his stubborn son (and remain in custody), move on from his recently deceased wife, and live up to society's high standard -- Menashe isn't just another Brooklynite, he's an Orthodox Jew suffocating to death on the rules and observances. The hyper-specificity of his community, and the deep respect for faith that the movie observes, makes it easy for Menashe to reinvent the everyman tragedy.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Amazon Prime; rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

a cure for wellness best movies of 2017
20th Century Fox

44. A Cure for Wellness

Released: February 17
Cast: Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth, Celia Imrie
Director: Gore Verbinski (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Why it’s great: Once upon a time, Verbinski was set to bring the steampunk-with-an-Objectivist-twist video game Bioshock to the screen. Didn't happen, but A Cure for Wellness' mix of Art Deco scenery and Universal Monster scratches the itch. DeHaan plays a cutthroat Wall Streeter sent to retrieve his company's CEO at a luxurious spa resort in the Swiss Alps. What he finds is a mystery intertwining water purification, eels, teeth extraction, a 200-year-old murder, beer-guzzling deviants, and one creepy-ass doctor. At nearly three hours long, and with enough turns to do the resort's mountain road justice, A Cure for Wellness plays more like a turn-of-the-century serial than a Friday-filler slasher. Think of it as your new favorite HBO series in movie form -- too majestic, too mesmerizing, and too bizarre to write off.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon Video, YouTube, and VUDU (watch the trailer)

tramps netflix

43. Tramps

Released: April 21
Cast: Callum Tanner, Grace Van Patten, Michal Vondel, Mike Birbiglia
Director: Adam Leon (Gimmie the Loot)
Why it’s great: There are heists pulled off by slick gentlemen in suits, then there are heists pulled off by two wayward 20-somethings rambling along on a steamy, summer day in New York City. This dog-day crime-romance stages the latter, pairing a lanky Russian kid (Tanner) who ditches his fast-food register job for a one-off thieving gig, with his driver, an aloof strip club waitress (Van Patten) looking for the cash to restart her life. When a briefcase handoff goes awry, the pair head upstate to track down the missing package, where train rides and curbside walks force them to open up. With a laid-back, '70s soul, Tramps is the rare doe-eyed relationship movie where playing third-wheel is a joy.
Where to see it right now: Streaming on Netflix (watch the trailer)

gerald's game

42. Gerald's Game

Released: September 29
Cast: Carla Gugino, Bruce Greenwood, Henry Thomas, Carel Struycken
Director: Mike Flanagan (Hush)
Why it’s great: Like 128 Hours for BDSM amateurs, this adaptation of Stephen King's psychological novella gifts Gugino -- long overlooked by Hollywood and underappreciated by her directors -- the role of a lifetime, as Jessie, a woman handcuffed to a bed by her recently deceased husband who struggles to break free before starvation, dehydration or something worse sets in. Flanagan, known for more overt horror concoctions like Ouija 2, matches the physical agony of Jessie pushed through the razor-edged constraints to fetch a few drips of water with hallucinatory flashbacks that shades the woman's sexual identity (and subverts Gugino's objectified career). Though the movie keeps King's original story's flights of fantasy intact, Gerald's Game is a frayed and suffocating nightmare that immediately stands among the horror master's best adaptations.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Netflix (watch the trailer)

star wars the last jedi

41. Star Wars: The Last Jedi

Released: December 9
Cast: Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Adam Driver, Daisy Ridley
Director: Rian Johnson (Looper)
Why it’s great: 2015's The Force Awakens revived classic Star Wars for a new generation. The Last Jedi finally hands off the saber to Rey and punches the open-ended franchise into story-expanding hyperspace. Though the dramatic shifts didn't sit well with some of the devoted audiences -- why would Luke Skywalker, the Jedi with truncated training who let his sister's son slip to the Dark Side, be a PTSD-crippled curmudgeon instead of his ebullient former self?? -- Johnson takes the Star Wars universe more seriously than any of his predecessors. The writer-director formulates his space battles with military integrity and coherent geography; the visuals are stunning even in dire moments (that shade of red!); and the character arcs -- from Finn and Rose's failed codebreaker mission to Poe's redefining heroism after a mutinous turn to Rey entangling herself with Kylo Ren's blackened soul -- transcend the good-vs-evil patterns of more mythological installments. The Last Jedi is a real, risky movie, embarking into the unknown with a promise of sequels that we need ASAP.
Oscar nominations: Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Original Score, Best Visual Effects
Where to see it right now: In theaters (watch the trailer)

kedi best movies of 2017
Oscilloscope Laboratories

40. Kedi

Released: February 17
Director: Ceyda Torun
Why it’s great: Not since Disney's Aristocats has there been so much anarchic, kitten pageantry committed to the big screen. Infiltrating the free-roaming feline population of Istanbul, Kedi squats down to see the world from the eyes of mama cats, young furballs, and fuzzy loners. Whether the cat stars hunt for food or plant themselves down for an impromptu rub from their adoring human neighbors, Kedi reminds us that every life on this planet -- even the ones thriving in alleyways -- is rich with stories. This is the Planet Earth for the I Can Has Cheezburger fan.
Where to see it right now: Stream on YouTube Red; rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

a dark song
IFC Midnight

39. A Dark Song

Released: April 28
Cast: Catherine Walker, Steve Oram
Director: Liam Gavin
Why it’s great: After her 7-year-old son is murdered, Sophia (Walker) enlists an occultist (Oram) to help her perform a grueling ritual that could, if she doesn't die in the process, make contact with the other side. Steeped in Kabbalistic lore and divination, Gavin's debut feature leverages the weight of loss to conjure one of the hardest-to-stomach horror dramas in recent memory. Sophia strains her mental and physical self as she fasts, prepares talismans, and undergoes meditation training that would make the soldiers of Full Metal Jacket gasp. But every taste of the magical, the spiritual, keeps her pushing, and Gavin's ending is worth enduring this lush-but-intense chamber piece.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Netflix; rent on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

the big sick
Amazon Studios/Lionsgate

38. The Big Sick

Released: June 23
Cast: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Ray Romano, Holly Hunter 
Director: Michael Showalter (Hello, My Name Is Doris)
Why it's great: Nanjiani and his wife Emily Gordon adapted their real-life meet cute, and an encounter with illness that landed Emily in the hospital just months afterward, into this moving, melancholy rom-com -- like a Terms of Endearment for the Trainwreck era. Fans of the comedian's stand-up or work as Silicon Valley's Dinesh will go nuts for The Big Sick's steady stream of laughs; one taboo-busting 9/11 joke-for-the-ages had my theater howling. But when the couple's life takes a turn for the worse, and Kumail's Pakistani heritage pressurizes the situation with demands of arranged marriage, Nanjiani's fans will cling to the jokes like a life preserver. Anchored by his sensitive performance, and bolstered by Romano and Hunter as Emily's fretting, foulmouthed parents, The Big Sick is a reminder that fate is fickle, self-determination is fickler, and we all deserve a good laugh-cry once in awhile.
Oscar nominations: Best Original Screenplay
Where you'll see it: Stream on Amazon Prime; rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

the girl with all the gifts
Warner Bros. UK

37. The Girl with All the Gifts

Released: February 27
Cast: Sennia Nanua, Gemma Arterton, Paddy Considine, Glenn Close
Director: Colm McCarthy (Black Mirror)
Why it’s great: There's still life in the undead. In the vein of 28 Days Later and World War Z, The Girl with All the Gifts finds the U.K. ravaged by a fungus that's dissolved the population into zombies (or in this timeline's parlance, "Hungries"). Walled off from the hordes, the military hunts for a cure, locking up handful of semi-infected children for continuous study. With so many brainless imitations before it, Gifts throws an ethical curveball to stand out from the rest: Melanie (Nanua) is a normal kid who devolves into a Hungry at the smell of any human fluid, and her Jekyl/Hyde nature may be the key to saving humanity. Knowing for sure would require sacrifice -- an exchange of life she might not be willing to make. Disaster quickly turns McCarthy's directorial debut into a high-pressure road movie, filled with bleak-yet-gorgeous scenery and meditations on survival. In the hands of an even-keeled cast, including a stunning performance by young Sennia Nanua, Gifts offers plenty for the players and viewers to chew on.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Amazon Prime; rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

princess cyd
Wolfe Video

36. Princess Cyd

Released: December 5
Cast: Rebecca Spence, Jessie Pinnick, Malic White, James Vincent Meredith
Director: Stephen Cone (Henry Gamble's Birthday Party)
Why it’s great: To escape her depressive, widower father, Cyd (Pinnick), a glib 16-year-old with an omnivorous sexual appetite, shacks up with her aunt Miranda (Spence), a well-regarded novelist still living in her childhood home. The clash is immediate, but never out of order, with curiosity and conversation cushioning their repeated falls. Cone lays down each scene of this calming coming-of-age story like he's building a matchstick house, instilling Miranda's Chicago intelligentsia existence with bucolic calmness, and making Cyd's journey -- which entangles her with barista name Katie -- a bold, photographic statement that's simply a pleasure to witness.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Netflix; rent on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

Paramount Pictures

35. Downsizing

Released: December 22
Cast: Matt Damon, Hong Chau, Christoph Waltz, Kristen Wiig
Director: Alexander Payne (Sideways)
Why it’s great: An unexpectedly sweet satire about the interminable pursuit of happiness, Downsizing stars Damon as Paul, an occupational therapist from Omaha who, thanks to a new, resource-saving medical procedure, shrinks down to five-inches tall and relocates to a paradise for America's tiny population, where his modest wages amount to millions. Life is suddenly perfect… until it's not. With the hardy skepticism of past films like Sideways and Election, and a streak of Frank Capra grandeur, Payne and his writing partner Jim Taylor cook up a parable for our technology-ruled, self-help-obsessed, woke-but-not society, one anchored by Damon's wayward everyman, but rattled and roused by Chau as a disabled Vietnamese activist who, after being forced into a impoverished, downsized existence, still keeps her head above the existential waters. Their screen romance is one of the best in ages.
Where to see it right now: In theaters (watch the trailer)

ingrid goes west 2017

34. Ingrid Goes West

Released: August 11
Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Elizabeth Olsen, Wyatt Russell, O'Shea Jackson Jr.
Director:Matt Spicer
Why it’s great: Your Swimfan references are officially outdated -- Ingrid Goes West is the new standard for tech-enabled stalking. After the death of her mother, an unhinged Ingrid (Plaza) cashes out her $60,000 inheritance, moves to Los Angeles, and pursues Taylor (Olsen), an Instagram star with a knack for pairing avocado toast food porn with Ralph Waldo Emerson quotes. Taylor's feed provides Ingrid with everything she needs to infiltrate the influencer's life, a con which spins faster and faster out of control with every double-tap "like." Spicer snaps some truly frightening images in this descent into digital hell -- a zombified Ingrid scrolling through her feed as ants crawl over empty Corona bottles is downright apocalyptic -- but Plaza's manic take on social media addiction brings the real fire. You'll never look at your iPhone the same way again.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

graduation - best movies 2017
Sundance Selects

33. Graduation

Released: April 7
Cast: Adrian Titieni, Maria-Victoria Dragus, Lia Bugnar, Mălina Manovici
Director: Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days)
Why it’s great: This Romanian morality tale brims with such tension that the constant vibrations of a troubled man's cell phone provide the kind of jump scares you'd find in The Conjuring. A few days before her final exams -- which could earn her a scholarship in London -- a man sexually assaults 18-year-old Eliza (Dragus). The encounter shakes her and her father, Romeo, who winds up pulling strings to ensure his daughter aces the test. The well-intentioned crime consumes Romeo's life like a plague, and Mungiu barely lifts a finger as it unfolds. Like Euro-flavored Coen-brothers drama, Graduation is rich with character, culture, and corruption.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Netflix (watch the trailer)

blade runner 2049
Warner Bros. Pictures

32. Blade Runner 2049

Released: October 6
Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Ana de Armas, Sylvia Hoeks
Director:Denis Villeneuve (Arrival)
Why it’s great: Thirty-five years after Blade Runner hit theaters (and about 25 years after anyone recognized the movie as a seminal science-fiction), one of Hollywood's premiere directors returns to the futuristic world to tell a inverted story -- about a Replicant grappling with his humanity -- that's even more poignant. A detective noir wash makes 2049 unnecessarily murky at times, but between stunning vistas of dystopian Los Angeles, the contemplative extrapolation of everyday technology, and Gosling's blood-boiling performance, where hero tropes go out the window left and right, Villeneuve sets a bar for sci-fi sequels.
Oscar nominations: Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design, Best Visual Effects
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and VOD (watch the trailer)

i don't care at home in this world anymore best movies 2017

31. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore

Released: February 17
Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Elijah Wood, David Yow, Jane Levy
Director: Macon Blair
Why it’s great: In this maniacal mystery, Ruth (Lynskey), a nurse, and her rattail-sporting, weapon-obsessed neighbor Tony (Wood) hunt down a local burglar. Blair's not the first person to find existential enlightenment at the end of an amateur detective tale, but he might be the first to piece one together from cussing octogenarians, ninja stars, Google montages, gallons of Big Red soda, upper-deckers, friendly raccoons, exploding body parts, and the idiocy of humanity. Balancing the tension of a Cormac McCarthy thriller with the wacky edge of Will Ferrell's wildest comedies, I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore is a cathartic neo-noir that drives donuts around our everyday troubles.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Netflix (watch the trailer)

the lure best movies of 2017
Janus Films

30. The Lure

Released: February 1
Cast: Marta Mazurek, Michalina Olszańska, Kinga Preis, Zygmunt Malanowicz
Director: Agnieszka Smoczynska
Why it’s great: In The Lure, two mermaids seduce their way into striptease cabaret gigs at a Polish nightclub. A combination of nubile looks, fishy tails, and siren voices turn them into minor stars, while insatiable romance and a thirst for blood threaten the earthbound existence. Smoczynska streaks her musical-horror hybrid with '80s neon and sexual metaphor for a coming-of-age that would never fly in Hollywood, but we're lucky to see sneak stateside.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon Video, and VUDU (watch the trailer)

landline movie
Amazon Studios/Magnolia Pictures

29. Landline

Released: July 21
Cast: Jenny Slate, Edie Falco, John Turturro, Abby Quinn
Director:Gillian Robespierre (Obvious Child)
Why it’s great: This hysterical relationship comedy is set in the 1990s, a time of pay phones, cigarette-friendly bars, floppy disks, and harder-to-keep secrets. The writer-director's characters all have them: a rebellious high school senior (Quinn) flirting with boys and heroin for the first time; her soon-to-be-married sister (Slate), who questions everything after a hookup with an old flame; their mother (Falco), who works around the clock and takes flak from all involved; and their father (Turturro), a wannabe playwright who may or not be carrying on a decade-long affair (the discovery of a dirty poetry stash sends the sisters hunting for answers). Like Obvious Child did for cautious millennial daters, Landline surveys and questions the value of steady relationships. The sprawling story tests Slate's dramatic chops (while feeding the former SNL star plenty of comedy gold), delivers newcomer Quinn a breakout role, and gives Robespierre the chance to whisk us around New York City with the cool of Woody Allen or Hal Ashby. Landline could be the set-up for a great television show (HINT), but as a movie, it's a daring and decadent slice of life.
Where to see it right now: Streaming on Amazon Prime; rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

the meyerowitz stories on netflix

28. The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected)

Released: October 13
Cast: Adam Sandler, Ben Stiller, Dustin Hoffman, Elizabeth Marvel
Director: Noah Baumbach (The Squid and the Whale)
Why it’s great: When Danny (Sandler), Matthew (Stiller) and Jean (Marvel), three half-siblings from three different mothers, gather at their family brownstone in New York to tend to their ailing father (Hoffman), a lifetime of familial politics explode out of every minute of conversation. Their narcissistic sculptor dad didn't have time for Danny. Matthew was the golden child. Jean was weird... or maybe disturbed by memories no one ever knew. Expertly sketched by Baumbach, this memoir-like portrait of lives half-lived is the kind of bittersweet, dimensional character comedy we're now used to seeing told in three seasons of prestige television. Baumbach gives us the whole package in two hours.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Netflix (watch the trailer)

a fantastic woman
Sony Pictures Classics

27. A Fantastic Woman

Released: April 6
Cast: Daniela Vega, Francisco Reyes, Luis Gnecco, Aline Küppenheim
Director: Sebastián Lelio (Disobedience)
Why it’s great: In this absorbing portrait, Marina (Vega), a transgender woman a singer biding her time with waitress jobs, faces persecution from every direction after her lover succumbs to illness and dies. Being wealthy and 30 years her senior, the man's family suspects foul play at the worst and a con job at the least -- their father would never date a perversion like her. Locked in on Vega's radiance, Lelio follows Marina through the trials of public grief, the abusive streets of Chile, and the back rooms of her imagination, where escape can be a kaleidoscopic memory or a full-blown dance number. By the end, you'll believe the title.
Oscar nominations: Best Foreign Language Film
Where to see it right now: In theaters (watch the trailer)

alien covenant
20th Century Fox

26. Alien: Covenant

Released: May 22
Cast: Michael Fassbender, Katherine Waterston, Billy Crudup, Danny McBride
Director: Ridley Scott (Alien)
Why it’s great: Scott, who unknowingly kicked off a franchise with his original 1979 space horror, is not on this planet to service fans. He has issues to work out with men, machines, and the tangible universe, and Alien: Covenant (a direct sequel to 2012's Prometheus), will disappoint anyone looking for wall-to-wall Xenomorph carnage. With big ideas on his mind, Scott recasts Fassbender as his idea engine, the actor's diligent, lifeless android Walter pit against David, the defiant robot from Prometheus. His baroque bravado sets the tone for the entire movie, while his humanoid costars exist so Scott can rip them apart in excessively giddy and gruesome displays of violence. Alien: Covenant echoes Jurassic Park, The Evil Dead, and a movie Scott didn't make, James Cameron's Aliens, but the science fiction fueling its engines, and the science fate that steers the ending, amounts to a sadistic "fuck you" to humanity that's basically unheard of in modern blockbusters.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

john wick chapter 2 best movies of 2017

25. John Wick: Chapter 2

Released: February 10
Cast: Keanu Reeves, Common, Ruby Rose, Ian McShane
Director: Chad Stahelski (John Wick)
Why it’s great: A run-on sentence of gun-fu prose, the first John Wick became an instant action classic when it dropped two years ago. Stahelski and Reeves meet impossibly high expectations with more brutal fights, windier shootouts, and a finger-lickin' helping of assassin guild mythology. You could remove every instance of Reeves's Wick planting a bullet in a foe's neck or taking a razor blade to the knee out of John Wick: Chapter 2 and you'd still have a badass movie, a testament to the intricate and loony world created by writer Derek Kolstad. At a time when most action movies settle for one trailer-worthy setpiece, this sequel gives and gives and gives until you scream bloody murder. Bloody bad guy murder.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon Video, YouTube, and VUDU (watch the trailer)

raw best movies 2017
Focus World

24. Raw

Released: March 10
Cast: Garance Marillier, Ella Rumpf, Rabah Naït Oufella, Laurent Lucas
Director: Julia Ducournau
Why it’s great: In Ducournau's debut, carnal desires turn carnivorous. A coming-of-age story that'll have the queasy retreating from age, Raw finds sheltered vegetarian Justine (Marillier) embarking on her first year of French veterinarian school. Between graphic dissections, nightly raves, and hazing that makes American fraternity life look like a day at the massage parlor, the student struggles to fit in. Justine's frosh year takes a morbid turn when her upperclassman sister forces her to consume meat for the first time, unleashing an insatiable hunger. The metaphors are obvious, but Ducournau's clinical eye for horror tableaux -- the "gross" parts range from skin peeling to gnawing on human fingers to dredging dung from a cow's anus (for science!) -- keep Raw perpetually and satisfyingly unnerving.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Netflix; rent on iTunes, Amazon Video, YouTube, and VUDU (watch the trailer)


23. Okja

Released: June 28
Cast: Ahn Seo-hyun, Tilda Swinton, Paul Dano, Jake Gyllenhaal
Director:Bong Joon-ho (Snowpiercer)
Why it’s great: This wild ride, part action heist, part Miyazaki-like travelogue, and part scathing satire, is fueled by fairy tale whimsy -- but the Grimm kind, where there are smiles and spilled blood. Ahn Seo-hyun plays Mija, the young keeper of a "super-pig," bred by a food manufacturer to be the next step in human-consumption evolution. When the corporate overlords come for her roly-poly pal, Mija hightails it from the farm to the big city to break him out, crossing environmental terrorists, a zany Steve Irwin-type (Gyllenhaal), and the icy psychos at the top of the food chain (including Swinton's childlike CEO) along the way. Okja won't pluck your heartstrings like E.T, but there's grandeur in its frenzy, and the film's cross-species friendship will strike up every other emotion with its empathetic, eco-friendly, and eccentric observations.
Where to see it right now: Streaming on Netflix (watch the trailer)

good time starring robert pattinson

22. Good Time

Released: August 11
Cast: Robert Pattinson, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Ben Safdie, Barkhad Abdi
Director: Ben and Josh Safdie (Heaven Knows What)
Why it’s great: In this greasy, cruel thriller from up-and-comers the Safdie brothers, Robert Pattinson stars as Connie, a bank robber who races through Queens to find enough money to bail out his mentally disabled brother, who's locked up for their last botched job. Each suffocating second of Good Time, blistered by the neon backgrounds of Queens, New York and propelled by warped heartbeat of Oneothrix Point Never's synth score, finds Connie evading authorities by tripping into an even stickier situation. His confident ineptitude is at times comical -- after breaking his brother out of a police-secured hospital like one of Danny Ocean's 11, he realizes, whoops, the bandaged guy isn't his brother -- but the commitment to moral ambiguity by both the Safdies and their leading man amounts to the masochistic pleasure of sucking on a sour candy for just a second too long.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and VOD (watch the trailer)

stronger movie jake gyllenhaal
Roadside Attractions

21. Stronger

Released: September 22
Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Tatiana Maslany, Miranda Richardson, Clancy Brown
Director: David Gordon Green (Prince Avalanche)
Why it’s great: Though heralded as a hero after losing his legs in the Boston Marathon bombing, and assisting the FBI in identifying perpetrator Tamerlan Tsarnaev, Jeff Bauman suffered when he returned home to friends, family, and a community that expected him to be "Boston Strong." As recounted (and reclaimed) in this frank portrait of rehabilitation, Bauman's reentry was embittered, clouded by PTSD, and drowned in alcohol. Circumstance thrusted his ex-girlfriend, Erin (Orphan Black's Tatiana Maslany) back into his life as a de facto caretaker. Green swings back and forth between two powerhouse, physical performances: Gyllenhaal, disabled and miserable, and Maslany, a lost, loving entity forced to drag a wheelchair up and down stairs. Who signed up for this? No one, the unspoken curse of tragedy, which finally gets its due in Stronger.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and Vudu (watch the trailer)

dawson city: frozen time
Kino Lorber

20. Dawson City: Frozen Time

Released: June 9
Director: Bill Morrison (Spark of Being)
Why it’s great: In 1978, a construction worker in Dawson City exhumed a historical treasure trove: 372 silent films from the turn of the 20th century, printed across over 500,000 feet of nitrate film. Nearly 40 years after the discovery, filmmaker Bill Morrison has spliced the "Dawson City Collection" into a found-footage experience akin to a Ken Burns documentary beamed through the Space Odyssey Star Gate. With corroded footage, Sigur Rós collaborator Alex Somers's cascading soundscape, and overlayed text observations seemingly tapped out by telegraph, Dawson City: Frozen Time chronicles the Klondike Goldrush, and a town's turbulent history, with subdued exhilaration.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

19. War for the Planet of the Apes

Released: July 14
Cast: Andy Serkis, Woody Harrelson, Steve Zahn, Amiah Miller
Director: Matt Reeves (Cloverfield)
Why it’s great:War for the Planet of the Apes employs breathtaking special effects to realize Caesar (Serkis) and his embattled ape followers, but it's still molded from Hollywood's golden age of popcorn entertainment. Kicked off like a war drama, ignited by social satire -- Harrelson, as subtly as possible, plays an anarchical white nationalist obsessed with walling off his weapons compound from both primate and his fellow man -- and concluded like a Biblical epic, Reeves's sizes up our humanity through the eyes of a inhuman-yet-compassionate leader tasked with saving a civilization without sacrificing his moral code: "ape not kill ape." Every second of the movie looks and sounds amazing (Star Trek composer Michael Giacchino outdoes himself while aping Jerry Goldsmith and Ennio Morricone), but it's Serkis under digital, weary eyes that proves Apes is the most underrated franchise of the decade.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

the lovers 2017

18. The Lovers

Released: May 5
Cast: Debra Winger, Tracy Letts, Aidan Gillen, Melora Walters
Director: Azazel Jacobs (Terri)
Why it’s great: Married pair Mary and Michael (Winger and Letts) are both having affairs, and both working overtime to keep them under wraps while placating their secret significant others who wish they'd just break up already. To blow off some steam, the couple finds themselves indulging in sex with each other… and loving it. Jacobs leans into the farce of his criss-crossed romance with a flighty, throwback score, but The Lovers ultimately runs deeper, asking questions about intimacy, carnal urges, and love that few movies about aging everypeople would dare to ask. Winger and Letts give two tender, deep-seated performances that'll have your jaw on the floor.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Amazon Prime; Rent on iTunes, Amazon, Vudu, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

mudbound on netflix

17. Mudbound

Released: November 17
Cast: Jason Mitchell, Carey Mulligan, Garrett Hedlund, Mary J. Blige
Director: Dee Rees (Pariah)
Why it's great: The South's post-slavery existence is, for Hollywood, mostly uncharted territory. Rees rectifies the overlooked stretch of history with this novelistic drama about two Mississippi families working a rain-drenched farm in 1941. The white McAllans settle on a muddy patch of land to realize their dreams. The Jacksons, a family of black sharecroppers working the land, have their own hopes, which their neighbors manage to nurture and curtail. To capture a multitude of perspectives, Mudbound weaves together specific scenes of daily life, vivid and memory-like, with family member reflections, recorded in whispered voice-over. The epic patchwork stretches from the Jackson family dinner table, where the youngest daughter dreams of becoming a stenographer, to the vistas of Mississippi, where incoming storms threaten an essential batch of crops, to the battlefields of World War II Germany, a harrowing scene that will affect both families. Confronting race, class, war, and the possibility of unity, Mudbound spellbinding drama reckons with the past to understand the present.
Oscar nominations: Best Supporting Actress, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Cinematography, Best Original Song
Where to see it right now: Stream on Netflix (watch the trailer)

after the storm 2017
Gaga International

16. After the Storm

Released: March 17
Cast: Hiroshi Abe, Kirin Kiki, Yōko Maki, Taiyô Yoshizawa
Director: Hirokazu Kore-eda (Like Father, Like Son)
Why it’s great: Kore-eda is a master of the billowing family drama, and After the Storm is another portrait of fracture and recovery that will break your heart. Clinging to his past as a award-winning novelist, Ryota (Abe) makes due as a part-time detective, spending too much at the tracks and not enough for alimony. After the death of his father, the well-documented liar, Ryota works on his mother for money while tracking his ex-wife's new lover. None of it is helping his relationship with his, or his own health. Complex yet light-as-a-father, After the Storm questions life's purpose through the lenses of career and relationships, where our dreams can often prevent life from having purpose.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and VUDU (watch the trailer)

freud best movies of 2017
Grasshopper Films

15. Fraud

Released: January 20
Director: Dean Fleischer-Camp (Marcel the Shell)
Why it’s great: Fleischer-Camp's story-driven, found-footage experiment is a warning to us all: if there's video of you on the Internet, one day you could be the star of a crime thriller. Seemingly spliced together from a fuzzy home movies, Fraud tracks a carefree family as they commit a destructive act of insurance fraud and head on the lam like a summer road trip. What's real and what's fabricated? Fleischer-Camp never allows his sleight-of-hand editing to disrupt the descent into hell, resulting in one of the spookiest movies of the YouTube era. Michael Haneke would be proud.
Where to see it right now: Coming soon to VOD (watch the trailer)

Warner Bros. Pictures

14. Dunkirk

Released: June 21
Cast: Fionn Whitehead, Mark Rylance, Kenneth Branagh, Harry Styles
Director: Christopher Nolan (The Dark Knight)
Why it’s great: The circumstances that left hundreds of thousands of Allied troops surrounded by Nazi troops and trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk in May 1940 are messy, convoluted, and marred by militaristic debate. Nolan's treatment of "Operation Dynamo," the effort to smuggle those men out through waves of air raids and U-boat torpedo attacks, is not. Intricate yet simplistic, like the pocket watch one hears tik-toking behind every bar of Hans Zimmer's propulsive score, Dunkirk is an elemental chronicle where each path of escape -- by land, by sea, by sky -- diverts back to the Hell on earth that was World War II. There aren't so much characters as there are factions of men, soldiers and British amateurs looking to lend a hand. There's no plot beyond "get the hell out." But in Nolan's hands, and through IMAX-sized frames, it's a mesmerizing, maddening, and often isolating experience -- this was real life.
Oscar nominations: Best Director, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, Best Production Design, Best Original Score, Best Picture
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, VUDU (watch the trailer)

Lady Bird

13. Lady Bird

Released: November 10
Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts, Lucas Hedges
Director: Greta Gerwig
Why it’s great: Senior year of high school is less like a roller coaster than a Tilt-a-Whirl, daily life wildly spinning in one direction as existence spins in another. This dizzying, frustrating, exhilarating rite of passage is the focus of actress Greta Gerwig's first directorial effort, the story of girl named Lady Bird (her given name, in that "it’s given to me, by me") who rebels against everyday Sacramento, California life to obtain whatever it is "freedom" turns out to be. Set in the early 2000s, a time when Dave Matthews' "Crash Into Me" regularly melts hearts, Lady Bird charts a year-in-the-life through precision recreation of shared moments: the arguments with parents, the math quiz meltdowns, the arguments with parents, the life-or-death musical tryouts, the arguments with parents, the fleeting first-time sexual encounters that mean everything, and of course, the arguments with parents. Laurie Metcalf is an understated powerhouse as Lady Bird's mother, a constant source of contention who reconciles with poverty through her daughter's success. It's a tragic note in total complement to Gerwig's hysterical love letter to home, high school, and the history of ourselves.
Oscar nominations: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture
Where to see it right now: In theaters (watch the trailer)

the killing of a sacred deer

12. The Killing of a Sacred Deer

Released: Opening on October 20
Cast: Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Barry Keoghan, Raffey Cassidy
Director: Yorgos Lanthimos (The Lobster)
Why it’s great: There's something off about Martin (Keoghan), the surviving son of a man who died under the knife of surgeon Steve Murphy (Farrell). At the beginning of spine-tingling Sacred Deer, Steve steps up to be a father figure to Martin, gauche and puzzling and bubbling with darkness. The relationship eventually sours, and it's from there that Lanthimos, known for bitter strains of magical realism, finds footing for an ice-cold rumination on regret and responsibility. Farrell is gifted unprecedented complexity in his Sophie's Choice, Kidman challenges him with every move, and Keoghan gives a performance that echoes Heath Ledger in The Dark Knight. It's a maddening and exhilarating time at the movies.
Where to see it right now: In theaters (watch the trailer)

three billboards ebbing missouri
Fox Searchlight

11. Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Released: November 10
Cast: Frances McDormand, Woody Harrelson, Sam Rockwell, Peter Dinklage
Director: Martin McDonagh (In Bruges)
Why it’s great: McDonagh, a British-Irish playwright known for bloody, profanity-laden parables, jumps the Atlantic to tell this story about small-town politics and the geyser-like power of anger. A year after her daughter was raped and murdered, and with no suspect in hand, Mildred (McDormand) kicks the police in the ass by buying up three billboards with a block letter reminder: "STILL NO ARRESTS." From the dying sheriff to the drunken, racist dimwit deputy to Mildred's own son, who just wants to forget his pain, Mildred's provacateurship gets under everyone's skin. McDonagh sinks his teeth into every meaty expression of hate, rage, and difficulty, and finds humor in the unlikeliest places, as he follows Mildred, hell-bent on answers. In a world where nothing makes sense, the raw nerves of Three Billboards are truly cathartic.
Oscar nominations: Best Actress, Best Supporting Actor (2), Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing, Best Original Score, Best Picture
Where to see it right now: In theaters (watch the trailer)

phantom thread
Focus Features

10. Phantom Thread

Released: December 25
Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Vicky Krieps, Lesley Manville
Director: Paul Thomas Anderson (There Will Be Blood)
Why it’s great: Like a living Vermeer painting, Anderson's look at the entanglement of art and eroticism sits stoic as two forces of desire clash against opulent 1950s production design. Reynolds Woodcock (Day-Lewis) is the premiere fashion designer of the era, a genius playboy who detects the contours of women, dresses, and life itself like Neo sees The Matrix. And though his sister Cyril (Manville) manages every second of his every day, a new muse, Alma (Krieps), slips by the alarms and disrupts his understanding of success with a simple trick: love. In Phantom Thread, everything from Woodcock's mansion to the draping gowns to pans of sautéed mushrooms are fashion-shoot-worthy, but there's also a devilishly comedic streak to the movie, like a prestige version of Curb Your Enthusiasm, that asks the most of Johnny Greenwood's music and takes full advantage of Day-Lewis and Krieps's bravado. Early on, Woodcock reveals that he sews secret messages into his garments. Anderson does the same in Phantom Thread, a drama rich with details and personal admissions.
Oscar nominations: Best Actor, Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, Best Picture
Where to see it right now: In theaters (watch the trailer)

mother 2017 jennifer lawrence
Paramount Pictures

9. mother!

Released: September 15
Cast: Jennifer Lawrence, Javier Bardem, Ed Harris, Michelle Pfeiffer
Director: Darren Aronofsky (Black Swan)
Why it’s great: Relentless, morbid, and empowered like an Adderall-fueled, all-night Philosophy final prep session, Aronofsky's chamber piece is not for the weak of heart (or anyone who flinches at the sight of a weak human heart, for that matter). It's one of the year's best horror films, and Lawrence delivers the most physical scream queen performance of a generation, but that may give you the wrong idea; Aronfosky boils down humanity's creation, existence, and future extinction into an absorbing invasion thriller. Imagine Hell on Earth… with a little Heaven thrown in.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, YouTube, and VUDU (watch the trailer)

logan lucky 2017
Bleecker Street

8. Logan Lucky

Released: August 18
Cast: Channing Tatum, Adam Driver, Riley Keough, Daniel Craig
Director: Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's 11)
Why it’s great: Soderbergh, the mastermind behind the Ocean's franchise, possess Danny Ocean's keen sense of operation and attention to detail (no one shoots mundane insert shots quite like him). With Logan Lucky, the filmmaker gifts those of us without bespoke tuxedo collections the heist movie we deserve: a bluesy, Southern-fried, NASCAR-set bank job where pick-ups do the heavy-lifting, gummy bears and cleaning solution make the vaults go boom, and blue collars are worn with pride. No one believes Jimmy and Clyde Logan (Tatum and Driver), known around West Virginia for their bad luck "curse," could rob the Coca-Cola 600 race. How they stick it to the naysayers is one of the most pure-fun times I've had at the movies this year.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon and VOD starting November 14 (watch the trailer)

The Florida Project

7. The Florida Project

Released: October 6
Cast: Brooklynn Prince, Bria Vinaite, Valeria Cotto, Willem Dafoe
Director: Sean Baker (Tangerine)
Why it’s great: There are a pockets of drama all around us -- someone just has to point their camera and find them. Like Tangerine, his iPhone-shot profile of L.A. transgender sex workers, Baker's The Florida Project nuzzles into the swirling, sunny, strapped-for-cash populace of a mauve motel just within orbit of Walt Disney World. His eyes are Moonee, a six-year-old who adventures through abandoned condos, along strip-mall-encrusted highway, and across verdant fields of overgrown brush like Max in Where the Wild Things Are. But as gorgeous as the everything appears -- and The Florida Project looks stunning -- the world around here is falling apart, beginning with her mother, an ex-stripper turning to prostitution. The juxtaposition, and down-to-earth style (that can make a Hollywood veteran like Willem Dafoe), reconsiders modern America in the most electrifying way imaginable.
Where to watch it: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, and VOD (watch the trailer)

personal shopper
IFC Films

6. Personal Shopper

Released: March 10
Cast: Kristen Stewart, Lars Eidinger, Sigrid Bouaziz, Anders Danielsen Lie
Director: Olivier Assayas (Clouds of Sils Maria)
Why it’s great: As Maureen, a French socialite's personal shopper who believes that if she hangs around Paris long enough, she'll make contact with her recently deceased twin brother, Stewart is a conduit to the spirits of Vivien Leigh, James Dean, and the leading ladies of Hitchcock thrillers. She's enigmatic yet seductive, the perfect set of observing, questioning eyes to lead us down a windy exploration of grief. Personal Shopper becomes supernatural horror, psychosexual drama, high-tension suspense, and the type of playful character drama that the French have perfected, all while orbiting Maureen's racing mind, which we see provoked by everything from séance YouTube videos to anonymous text messages.
Where to see it right now: Rent on iTunes, Amazon, VUDU, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

the lost city of z - best movies of 2017
Amazon Studios

5. The Lost City of Z

Released: April 14
Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland
Director: James Gray (The Immigrant)
Why it’s great: Gray's account of explorer Percy Fawcett's lush and perilous journey through the Amazon is the rare film to capture and channel nature's bewitching power. Hunnam, rousing and physical, stars as Percy, a turn-of-the-20th-century military man who embarks to South America to map Bolivia and cleanse his family name of scandal. Months of starvation, illness, piranha-infested waters, and encounters with natives end with the near-discovery of a hidden, advanced civilization. Gray makes room for court scenes, WWI battles, tender family drama, and a musical score that can stand alone. But in the end, the verdant unknown of Amazonia that has its way with Fawcett and our senses, reflecting a profound component of human nature.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Amazon Prime Video; rent on iTunes, VUDU, and YouTube (watch the trailer)

columbus movie 2017
Superlative Films

4. Columbus

Released: August 4
Cast: Hayley Lu Richardson, John Cho, Parker Posey, Rory Culkin
Director: Kogonada
Why it’s great: Set against the real-life architectural wonders of Columbus, Indiana, this blissful drama pairs Casey (Richardson), a fresh-out-of-high-school librarian who studies town history by day and cares for her ex-meth-addict mother by night, and Jin (Cho), a Korean book translator who returns to the Midwest when his father, a prominent designer, takes ill. Together they wander the modernist menagerie of Columbus, tour guide trivia making way for intimate conversation, and eventually, arguments that challenge their worst habits. Kogonada, a video essayist with Reddit cred, frames everything from towering glass office buildings to the long hallways of Casey's house with Zen-like composition, giving Columbus a beauty that strengthens the foundation of its two transcendent lead performances.
Where to see it right now: Stream on Hulu; rent on iTuens and Amazon (watch the trailer)

a ghost story

3. A Ghost Story

Released: July 7
Cast: Rooney Mara, Casey Affleck, Will Oldham, Sonia Acevedo
Director: David Lowery (Pete's Dragon)
Why it’s great: Lowery conceived this dazzling, dreamy meditation on the afterlife during the off-hours on a Disney blockbuster, making the revelations within even more awe-inspiring. After a fatal accident, a musician (Affleck) finds himself as a sheet-draped spirit, wandering the halls of his former home, haunting/longing for his widowed wife (Mara). With stylistic quirks, enough winks to resist pretension (a scene where Mara devours a pie in one five-minute, uncut take is both tragic and cheeky), and a soundscape culled from the space-time continuum, A Ghost Story connects the dots between romantic love, the places we call home, and time -- a ghost's worst enemy.
Where to see it right now: Streaming on Amazon Prime; rent on Amazon and Vudu (watch the trailer)

get out best movies of 2017
Universal Pictures

2. Get Out

Released: February 24
Cast: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Catherine Keener, Bradley Whitford
Director: Jordan Peele
Why it’s great: It's a short leap from the socially conscious sketch comedy of Key & Peele to the psychological terror (and resulting laughs) of Get Out. Peele's directorial debut begins as like an update of Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?, Kaluuya's Chris harboring the appropriate amount of skepticism over meeting the upper-crust white parents of his girlfriend Rose (Williams). As the weekend hours pass, Chris stumbles into a racially charged conspiracy that only Peele, a student of Wes Craven and horror masters of yesteryears, could conjure up. Littered with one-liners and laced with tension, Get Out is a ravenous masterpiece tailor-made for America's current climate.
Oscar nominations: Best Actor, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Picture
Where to see it right now: Stream on HBO GO/NOW; rent on iTunes, Amazon Video, YouTube, and VUDU (watch the trailer)

call me by your name
Sony Pictures Classics

1. Call Me by Your Name

Released: November 24
Cast: Timothée Chalamet, Armie Hammer, Michael Stuhlbarg, Amira Casar
Director: Luca Guadagnino (A Bigger Splash)
Why it's great: André Aciman's acclaimed 2007 romance blooms in an air of hormones, heavy petting, and apricot pulp. Guadagnino returns to a lavish setting, this time an Italian paradise where days consist of poolside lounging, feasting on cured meats, and the occasional archaeological excavation. But Call Me by Your Name is a more formal affair than last year's A Bigger Splash, steady and composed so that Chalamet, a revelation as the studious, sexually blossoming Elio, and Hammer, playing Elio's father's pupil Oliver and the young man's Adonis, can steam up the screen. Restraint doesn't inhibit Guadagnino, who still finds way to gift Stuhlbarg with a bring-you-to-tears monologue on love and two new Sufjan Stevens songs. What it does is concentrate the fire, ensuring that Call Me by Your Name burns hot from beginning to end.
Oscar nominations: Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay, Best Original Song, and Best Picture
Where you'll see it: In theaters (watch the trailer)

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Matt Patches is a Senior Editor at Thrillist. He previously wrote for Grantland,, and Vulture. Find him on Twitter @misterpatches.