I love lists, they’re meaningless, but they’re fun to make and fun to read. I don’t go to the cinema much, school takes all my time, there’s usually nothing that interest’s me(like last year),  its expensive and being sixteen means I haven’t got money to spend all the time. I usually wait to see the ones that I missed at home. But this year has been particularly frustrating. I’ve missed so many good movies (Toni Erdman, I, Danial Blake and so many more), it was a great year in general a bit like 2013 with movies like Nebraska, American Hustle (one of my favourite movies, I know it’s not exactly the type of movie we talk about here, but I’m doing a review,I think its slightly underrated)  and 12 years a slave (which was good but not as good as everybody thought it was). With so many great movies out I put an effort to go occasionally and here is my list for my top 5 favourite movies I saw that came out this year: (note that I haven’t seen La La Land yet, which looks great)

Here are first of all a few honourable mentions:

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-First of all Arrival, Denis Villeneuve, a movie you’ve probably already seen so I won’t say much about it, but if you haven’t, it’s an alien invasion movie with cool linguistic theories and a Kurt Vonnegut side to it. Despite tiny issues I have with it, it was thought provoking tale about a woman’s journey and the way we look at time, with Amy Adam’s understated performance moving me to tears (she kills it like she always does).

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-The next movie I didn’t even have to leave my room to see is The 13th, Eva DuVernay’s Netflix documentary. A bold movie about black incarceration in America, brilliantly made with useful graphic designs. It instructed me on something I knew was a problem but had never really ‘thought’ about.The facts enraged me, making me want to run in the streets and hit some politician in Washington in the face. Oh, and great use of music. If you’re reading this and haven’t already seen it, like… why? (If you don’t have Netflix, just get it for this movie, their best original work).

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Café Society, Woodey Allen narrating a story about a young man’s rise in the 20’s socialite world in both New York and Los Angeles. Honesty it’s not a good movie, the production design is weak and lazy, Kristen Stewart is miscast in her role, and the story is unsatisfying.I’m even surprised I’m even mentioning it, but I have a great memory of going to watch it with my sister and I mean how many times do we get to see the director of a movie like Radio Days make a movie today? Sure he’s not the greatest, but I really loved his movies as a kid.

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-The last mention is just my geeky brain talking, Rogue One. Yes, if you’re going to criticise it properly it’s not perfect, the first half is wonky, the characters aren’t developed enough (except Jyn and Cassian because I love them both) and too much is going on. But I can’t criticise it, because if I made a Star Wars movie, this would be it. I love the concept, I love the fact the heroes are not “special” or “the one”, just ordinary people who sacrifice their lives and that is beautiful.

5. It’s just the end of the world-Xavier Dolan

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Latest movie from wunderkind Xavier Dolan, adapting Jean Luc Lagace’s classic play, about a young men returning home, after years of not having seen his family, to tell them he will die. There’s a lot that bothers me about this movie, probably because I read and studied the original play (Jean Luc Lagarce) at school. The main problem is the extentat which  he changed the original text, (curse words that were never there, and soils it)the text is the play, whiteout it’s brilliance it’s just a banal family story, which is what this film borders on being. However, what I do appreciate about Dolan’s adaptation is how both the play and the movie are slightly autobiographical of their creators, it becomes his story, his work of art, the same way Lagarce’s play was his, which brings me to why I love this movie. I believe that a great director is one where you can see his mark on screen, even see him. This is the case here, Dolan brings the camera so close to the actors faces, as though he were stepping on their feet, they are no longer here, they blur and disappear, and all we see is him, Dolan. It’s a claustrophobic film, the camera is like Dolan’s eye and he looms aver the characters almost sinisterly. Oh, and Gaspard Ulliel is at his usual best of course (frankly out of an absurdly starry cast, Marion Cottiallard, Lea Seydoux et Nathalie Baye, he stands out as the most outstanding).

4.Little Men – Ira Sachs

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I’ve never seen any of the director’s movies, but darn it am I impressed. Sweet movie about a friendship between two young boys living in Brooklyn while their parents argue over adulty stuff. Great actors especially Paulina Garcia who builds an anintriguing and complex character.But what will stay with me are the scenes where the two-boy ride on their scooters capturing perfectly the wonder and briefness of the few days left of “childhood”

3.Paterson – Jim Jarmush

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Adam Driver plays a driver called Paterson in Paterson. (Yes, I am quoting Mark Kermode but it’s the best way to describe this movie), and the movie follows his life, day to day, from Monday to Sunday. Adam Driver is one of myfavourite actors (if you haven’t noticed yet I’m a huge Star Wars fan) and despite the fact that he plays brilliantly and fits the role perfectly (I can’t imagine another actor, pitch perfect casting) the dog Marvin out-acts the entire cast (no wonder the movie won the Palm Dog Award at Cannes, no seriously that a thing and deservedly so). Marvin is the of Doctor T. J. Eckleburg of this movie, projecting Paterson’s every emotion. This movie is an observation on the poetry of a town that inspires artist to create. To explain in other words, Paterson is Paterson. He is the poetry of the town. And only the Japanese man at the end understood that. “Aha !”

2.Voyage à travers le cinéma français – Bertrand Tavernier

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Joy- just joy. No other word can describe what I feel about this three-hour long documentary about French cinema. And the time flies by, I gasped as the end credits started rolling: “What it’s already over?”. I could have easily spent another two hours listening to Tavernier talk about Jean Gabin’s greatness and La Grande Illusion (easily my favourite movie). If you haven’t seen any classic French film well, go watch a few then come back and watch this. If you love French cinema, well, this is your perfect movie (when it comes to French cinema, it’s not a question on hating it or liking it, it’s just love, you love or you don’t know.)

1. Frantz – Francois Ozon

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I am guilty of loving movies with symbolism (it’s the same thing with novels), and especially movies with a commentary on the end of a decade, an era, an art form. The death of something. Well, I was in luck here because it has both. A German girl Anna, mourning the death of her fiancée Frantz after the war while falling in love with a French soldier who knew her lover during the war. This is a perfect lasagna movie (layered movie), you can read it in multiple ways and have your own interpretation about the plot. I loved the quasi Hitchcockian style of Ozon in the way he built the suspense and played with our minds. But above all, this movie is not about Anna, it’s not even about Frantz, it’s about France.I’m not going to say more, I rather you enjoy and be surprised by the movie. I believe this is a misunderstood movie by most critics, who consider it to be a simple war love story, oh no, it’s everything BUT a love story. By far my favourite movie  that came out this year.

Reader, I hope you have a great 2017, if its as bad as this one you know where to go to dream. Cheasy? Nah, it’s New Year Eve, cheese day at it’s best.

L.L Wooden

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