Mark Searby's Top 10 Films of 2017

two blades no running podcast 5 october 2017 blade runner 2049 embedBlade Runner 2049

An audacious attempt by director Denis Villeneuve to make a film that will stand next to the original Blade Runner... and he bloody well did it. A police procedural thriller that is so much more. This story has the A.I.’s now going beyond the “Who I am?” questions and finally understanding their worth. That is until they discover they might be “more human than human”. It asks some big questions throughout and while some do get answers it still leaves more open for interpretation (much like the first film). Its haunting dystopian look is scarily mesmerizing and the soundtrack sounds like 5am in an industrial nightclub while coming up. It doesn’t matter that Decker doesn’t appear until nearly two hours in because K’s story is so damn engrossing. Blade Runner 2049 can proudly stand next to the original as an example of masterful Sci-Fi filmmaking and will easily stand the test of time. This is a movie we will still be talking about in 20/30/40 years' time.

La La Land

Possibly one of the most romantic films ever made. La La Land sparkles with happiness from minute one through to minute one hundred and twenty eight. It is a delightful and constantly upbeat movie about two people falling in love. The musical numbers are as infectious as anything Disney could produce. This is a movie for the lovers and the dreamers to show anything is possible. It is a great big smile of a movie that leaves you on cloud 9.

dunkirk 2017 movie embedDunkirk

Director Christopher Nolan immerses you in one of the most brutal battles of World War II. Multiple character storylines may seem different however their end goal is simple – to survive and hope to be rescued. At one hundred and six minutes, this film is one of the most intense and unrelenting movie experiences of recent years. The energy and adrenaline never stops and by the end you’ll need to decompress significantly to bring your heart-rate back to normal. This is a triumph of filmmaking and one of Nolan’s most accomplished feature films.

The Disaster Artist

Being an addict of The Room for many years, James Franco’s adaptation of Greg Sestero’s book The Disaster Artist was always going to appeal to me. Yet never could I have imagined that Franco picked up on every little moment of The Room and Wiseau’s life to make it such a well-rounded and thoroughly entertaining & informative movie about one of the worst films ever made. It is the first time in a long time that we see real method acting – James Franco is Tommy Wiseau in this movie, of that there is no doubt. It is a phenomenal piece of acting from Franco. This is a Hollywood rags to riches story that 99% of Hollywood would have failed with. Yet this movie shows that with hard work, determination and a little bit of luck you, too, could be the next Tommy Wiseau. Oh hi mark!#

david lynch the art life 2017 top ten embedDavid Lynch: The Art Life

A thoroughly insightful documentary about a director (and actor) who lies somewhere between the macabre and the mundane. Narrated by Lynch himself, the doc takes us through his childhood years and up to the making of Eraserhead. While most will want to know about his work post-Eraserhead this documentary is more riveting and revealing than most would imagine. This is not just for Lynch fans, it is also for those who have only dabbled in his work. It is a fascinating documentary about one of cinema’s most alternate directors.

Wind River

Taylor Sheridan is carving a name out for himself with gritty and dark thrillers over the past couple of years. With Wind River he not only writes but also directs a harrowing (and very true) story about the disappearance and subsequent murder of a young Native American Woman. A slow yet deeply engrossing piece of work that constantly builds tension. It is a movie that makes you feel uncomfortable watching it unfold. While not as powerful as Sicario, Wind River is still punctuated with small moments of intense aggression.

paddington 2 2017 top ten embedPaddington 2

It was always going to be a struggle to better the first Paddington film. So this sequel came with a bit of trepidation from me. I need not have worried for it is an absolute delight and better than the first film (I kid ye not). It is consistently funny and never plays the “adult-only” jokes card. Putting Paddington in prison is probably the films masterstroke as he finally gets to see that life is not all marmalade sandwiches. While we all love Paddington, this film is stolen by Hugh Grant in what is, arguably, his greatest performance ever. Paddington 2 is a classic adventure movie suitable for the entire family.


While not as powerful as 12 Years A Slave or The Birth Of A Nation, Loving still hits hard with its depiction of racism in America. A heartbreaking story about a quiet married mixed race couple who just want to be together but the law, and society, deem it wrong and banishes them. What follows is some of the most despicable crimes of injustice to two basic human beings who are hurting no one. What shines through is the unadulterated love that the two have together. They suffer through pain, anguish and hardship simply to be together.

the beguiled 2017 blu ray featuredThe Beguiled

Based on the book by Thomas Cullinan, this adaptation by Sofia Coppola turns the tables and tells the story from the view point of the women stuck in an All-Girls School during the American Civil War. When handsome yet injured Corporal McBurney arrives on their doorstep a sizzling sexual desire of a storyline plays out for every single girl/woman in the school. The hot & steamy plot is infused with plenty of subtle humour that plays perfectly into easing the growing tension between the women. Casting is a dream in the film with everyone on fine form especially Nicole Kidman and Elle Fanning. This is a film open to many different interpretations from the audience and that’s what makes it such a spellbinding watch.

The Handmaiden

Park Chan-Wook’s adaptation of Sarah Waters novel Fingersmith transports the story to Korea. Changing the time frame and setting gives the story a completely different edge to it. The searing sexual desire remains and is stronger than ever. Yet it is the thrill of the crime that this film does so well. Twisting and turning all over the place, it is a crime thriller that will constantly keep you guessing right to the very end. Technically almost a flawless film, The Handmaiden is a lavish film about lust and desire that will leave you breathless.

Mark Searby is a Screenjabber contributor

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