[Photo provided by Merie Wallace/A24 via AP]
[Saoirse Ronan (left) and Lucas Hedges in a scene from "Lady Bird."]
5. “Lady Bird”
Whereas most coming-of-age tales telescope into the lives of their adolescent protagonists, Greta Gerwig’s solo directing debut is more widescreen. While still acutely feeling every hope and pain of 17-year-old Christine (Saoirse Ronan), Gerwig sees around her, too, particularly her parents (Laurie Metcalf, Tracy Letts). It will make a great double feature with 2012’s “Frances Ha,” which Gerwig co-wrote before we found out what a tremendous filmmaker she is, too.
6. “Dawson City: Frozen Time”
Oh, what you can find in an old swimming pool. Bill Morrison’s documentary recounts the unbelievable story of how several hundred reels of silent film were discovered in the foundation of an old athletic club in the far-north Canadian town of Dawson City, once the capital of the Yukon gold rush. The highly combustible nitrate film, dating from the 1910s and 1920s, survived, thanks partly to the region’s cold. With the degraded treasure, Morrison splices together two mirroring stories: of Dawson, a city built overnight and virtually deserted once the gold ran out; and of a lost Hollywood that blossomed before sound set in. In “Frozen Time,” two lost civilizations dance again.
7. “Get Out”
In a time where the future of the movies is so much questioned, nothing pointed the way forward like Jordan Peele’s directorial debut. It’s unquestionably a landmark movie in representing an African-American perspective in a way that has seldom, if ever, been seen before. But by seamlessly fusing genre with message – and finding droves eager to see it – “Get Out” was a reminder of a forgotten truism: Nothing makes a zeitgeist like a must-see movie.
8. “Phantom Thread”
For such a finely attired film, Paul Thomas Anderson’s latest is funny. Its craft is mesmerizing and its couture is high, but don’t let that fool you. This is a very down-to-earth movie about finding your own idiosyncratic love, and getting outside your own head enough to appreciate it.
9. “Logan Lucky”
Efforts to faithfully capture heartland America in 2017 admittedly were imperfect. Martin McDonagh’s “Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri” thrillingly was performed and raged gloriously, but had glaring blind spots. Steven Soderbergh’s heist movie “Logan Lucky” delights in both dignifying and laughing at its slow-witted, folksy characters. But, man, is it fun. Movies this light on their feet don’t come along much anymore.
10. “The Lost City of Z”
James Grey’s drifting drama about the early 20th Century explorer Percy Fawcett, who sought a fabled civilization in South America, initially has the foreboding feel of “Apocalypse Now!” or “Fitzcarraldo.” But instead of finding horror in the jungle, Fawcett finds transcendence in otherness.
Also excellent: “The Big Sick,” “Lady Macbeth,” “BPM (Beats Per Minute),” “Okja,” “Abacus: Small Enough to Jail,” “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2” and “mother!”