The Foreigner (2017)

A lean, cold, very sleekly made political thriller with occasional, arresting forays into action. Jackie Chan charts a slowly escalating transformation from passivity and grief to malevolent effectiveness and violence brilliantly, keeping polite and calculated all the while but conveying a broken man persona with much more depth than how that character (irritatingly common in…

Badlands (1973)

A brilliantly full-formed first-time effort from Terrence Malick, with so much that would come to characterise his career (fascination with the natural world and humanity’s relationship with it, stunning visuals that seem to be seeing that natural world with godly perspective, much use of the magic hour of lighting, voiceover mapped across a sparse impressionistic…

The Ballad of Lefty Brown (2017)

A refreshingly traditional western. There’s a bit of narrative tweaking of the western formula in centring the film around a traditional sidekick character you’d find in a western instead of the more traditional hero, but everything else is played so straight that the film stands out in a time of neowesterns and revisionist westerns. Bill…

Lucky (2017)

A very fitting sendoff for the great Harry Dean Stanton. It’s great to see him in a leading role in a film presumably written around him. Written after his passing in many ways, after the fact. Stanton’s titular character in the film, a remarkably healthy (for his age) loner atheist, spends the runtime grappling with…

Detroit (2017)

“Detroit” is a strange film. It opens with an animated montage covering African-American history, spends half an hour or so jotting around different characters and subplots, spends the majority of its runtime on one sequence, then spends what minutes are left on denouement. That long sequence is executed very well by Kathryn Bigelow, feeling properly…

Roman J. Israel, Esq. (2017)

An offputtingly aimless and long and plodding and centred around a misfire of a performance from Washington. There’s elements that work, but it’s so damn overlong and formless that it’s hard to hang onto them. Parts of Washington’s character are likable but too often he’s either a cipher or overplayed and offputting. When the film…

Columbus (2017)

A brilliant, lowkey cinematic simile, drawing connections between architecture and life, symmetry and relationships. Architecture is baked into the entire film, not just the writing, as the cinematography constantly finds interesting ways to film buildings that serve as some sort of commentary on the characters and their relationships as well. The fascination and obsession Malick…