First up, as Kristopher Tapley reports for Variety, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has narrowed the list of contenders for the best foreign language film Oscar to nine:
A Fantastic Woman, directed by Sebastián Lelio, Chile
In the Fade, Fatih Akin, Germany
On Body and Soul, Ildikó Enyedi, Hungary
Foxtrot, Samuel Maoz, Israel
The Insult, Ziad Doueiri, Lebanon
Loveless, Andrey Zvyagintsev, Russia
Félicité, Alain Gomis, Senegal
The Wound, John Trengove, South Africa
The Square, Ruben Östlund, Sweden
Contributors to Little White Lies have voted up a list and written about their “30 best films of 2017.” The top ten:
1. Luca Guadagnino’s Call Me by Your Name
2. Paul Thomas Anderson’s Phantom Thread
3. Sean Baker’s The Florida Project
4. Greta Gerwig’s Lady Bird
5. Hope Dickson Leach’s The Levelling
6. Steven Soderbergh’s Logan Lucky
7. Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water
8. Paul King’s Paddington 2
9. Jordan Peele’s Get Out
10. Josh and Benny Safdie’s Good Time
“Good movies speak to us but also to each other, and that seemed so inescapably true this year that I wound up ranking my top twelve—because in a year this good, why stop at ten?—as a series of thematically paired titles,” writes Justin Chang in the Los Angeles Times. “After months of unrelenting bad news that brought about welcome calls for solidarity, it feels right to be reminded that, in life as in the movies, greatness is rarely a solo achievement.” His top pair: Call Me by Your Name and The Florida Project. “In both pictures you feel plunged into a world and a consciousness that feels utterly strange and new, yet surprisingly close to home.”
“If a more enchanted movie comes along this year, I’ll be surprised.” That was Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips back in early November. Turns out, Lady Bird’s stayed on top of his list of ten.
Lady Bird—and yes, that’s Saoirse Ronan in the image at the top—is also #1 for Variety’s Owen Gleiberman. And for Peter Debruge: “Technically speaking, The Rider doesn’t open until April 2018, but I’ve already cried my way through Chinese-born writer-director Chloé Zhao’s deeply humanistic docu-fiction hybrid twice (it won top honors in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight section and at the Reykjavik Film Festival) and was duly impressed when the Film Independent Spirit Awards nominated it for best picture. Like Moonlight last year, The Rider goes off the beaten path to find fascinating characters we might otherwise never have the privilege of meeting on-screen . . . The groundbreaking result reveals another side of contemporary red-state America, in which a young man not yet old enough to vote must decide what to do with himself after he’s stripped of his one true passion.”
Contributors to Slant have written about the “30 Best Film Performances of 2017”—in alphabetical order.
Tim Lucas tells us about his “Favorite Blu-rays of 2017.”
Catherine Grant has gathered all the audiovisual essays she’s made this year onto one page.
For the BFI, Alex Davidson looks back on the “LGBT film highlights of 2017.”
ScreenCrush sneers at the “Worst Movies of 2017.”
At the Playlist, Jessica Kiang, Kimber Myers, Oliver Lyttelton, and Rodrigo Perez write about their top twenty-five television shows. Coming in at #1 is David Lynch and Mark Frost’s Twin Peaks: The Return.
For Slate’s Willa Paskin, the best show of the year is The Leftovers: “Every episode of the third and final season of Damon Lindelof’s wild meditation on the fragility and unknowability of life felt like an adventure.”
Also . . .
Film historian Luke McKernan has notes on “some of the websites, databases and web services which I spotted during the year which were of interest.”
“I don't believe in ghosts,” writes John Powers for NPR’s Fresh Air, “but sometimes when I walk through my house I think I hear the forlorn cries of all the books, movies and TV shows that I've loved over the past few months but never got around to talking about. And so, every December, I try to silence those cries with my annual ‘Ghost List’ of favorites I’ve ignored—a group that in 2017 ranges in spirit from cosmic surrealism to ripped-from-the-headlines immediacy.”
And in the Stranger, the staff writes about their “Top 20 Books of 2017.”
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