1. Get Out
Get Out is more than a thriller: it is a brilliant, gripping, realistic mystery about an interracial couple. Rose (Allison Williams) invites her boyfriend Chris (Daniel Kaluuya) to meet her family for the weekend upstate. Rose’s family hosts a party, and Chris is one of the only African Americans in a sea of wealthy white families. I will refrain from saying more and spoiling the rush of this film. Jordan Peele eloquently addresses underlying racism present in our society in Get Out. Let’s see if Get Out tops global rankings in the most wonderful time of year (awards season).
– Rebecca Frank
Christopher Nolan’s first foray into the war genre comes in the form of Dunkirk, an intense, chest-pounding epic detailing the evacuation of the Allied Soldiers from Dunkirk who evade enemy fire from the Germans. Rather than focus on the gory aspects of warfare, Nolan crafts a suspenseful and thrilling narrative that follows the evacuation from three different venues (air, land, and sea) with different time stamps. It certainly is unconventional, but it further proves that Christopher Nolan is at the peak of his creative powers
— Zachary Lee
3. The Big Sick
Everyone loves a dramatic true story. Now add in the fact that The Big Sick is a “Rom-Com,” and it is no wonder that Kumail Nanjiani’s love story was so popular. Kumail is a Pakistani immigrant, stand-up comedian and loveable Uber driver in Chicago. He meets Emily (Zoe Kazan) after a stand-up show, and the two begin very casually dating. As the two get more serious, Kumail is conflicted about his family’s tradition to marry a Pakastani woman. Now add in a fight and a near-death hospitalization for Emily. The Big Sick is a must-see: it’s hilarious, meaningful, and graceful.
— Rebecca Frank
Just as Deadpool‘s success came from the proper treatment of the source material (retaining the character’s licentious humor and fourth-wall cognizance), Logan is the Wolverine films that many fans asked for and never received until now. This final outing for veteran actor Hugh Jackman ditches the jokes in favor of a darker feel than its predecessors with brutal violence and foul language to match. Taking place in 2029, Logan and Professor X have given up on restoring mutantkind, but a young girl with powers similar to Logan’s gives them hope. Logan teaches viewers that it is not the day to day struggles that make us human, but the ability to believe and hope that tomorrow can be better.
— Zachary Lee
5. Wonder Woman
Despite Marvel’s usual critical and box-office dominance of the comic book genre, DC scored a triumph with the first female-led superhero film in the form of Wonder Woman. It is empowering and inspiring, teaching to find hope and love in the midst of a calloused and broken world. Witty banter, eye-catching period costumes, and explosive action sequences all make this film stand out in its own right, but it’s Gal Gadot’s charismatic and fierce portrayal of the titular character that glues the film together; to say “you hit like a girl” in her case becomes not an insult, but an impressive feat of showmanship.
— Zachary Lee
6. Baby Driver
What Edgar Wright ended up directing can be best described as a 113-minute music video instead of a movie, and yet, it is still the summer blockbuster of the year. Wright may not be tackling any buzzworthy socio-political themes, but does that really matter? Is there an interesting story? Yes. Cool characters? Yes. Colorful car chase scenes perfectly synchronized to music by Queen with guns, money, and explosions? Yes. Baby Driver has everything any movie ever needs.
— Wilbert Ren
7. The Florida Project
Disney World is not always as magical as we think. The Florida Project takes place in an impoverished motel complex right outside of Disney. Poverty, perseverance, and love are seen through the adorable lens of an irrepressible six-year-old girl named Moonee. Watching Moonee (Brooklyn Prince) curse and play pranks for 115 minutes is a treat. A shortage of money does not stop her imagination. Though Moonee’s mother (Bria Vinaite) does not seems like a typical role-model mother, she clearly loves and cares about Moonee. The Florida Project stirs a variety of emotions, and reminds viewers of the complexities of “good” parenthood.
— Rebecca Frank
Through Kogonada’s auteurist lens, the clean and balanced architecture of Columbus, Indiana becomes the backdrop of a serendipitous relationship between John Cho and Haley Lu Richardson, refreshingly paired together and both perfect for the role. In this slow-paced melody of people’s letting go and moving on, modernist architecture seems to have a mysteriously tender healing power that the film also possesses.
9. Thor: Ragnarok
Thor: Ragnarok is as funny as it is colorful and is a brilliant addition to the Marvel Cinematic Universe and a much needed breath of fresh air for the ailing Thor franchise. Benefitting from crackling chemistry between leads Chris Hemsworth, Tessa Thompson and Mark Ruffalo (and his Hulk alter-ego), the film served as more than an effective counterpunch after Wonder Woman finally got DC on the board. With great directing from Taika Waititi and a solid soundtrack, Ragnarok surprised audiences everywhere with it’s whimsical story and innovative conclusion.
— Nick Smith
10. Lady Bird
Lady Bird would remind you of your senior year in high school – or any transitional moments in life, really – the time when you are lost and terrified, but ready to take on the world with all you’ve got. Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut follows the coming-of-age of one idealistic and rebellious, sensitive yet inattentive Lady Bird. It is not just another rose-colored teenage melodrama — just the direct opposite, Lady Bird portrays its characters with a sense of honesty so real and personal it becomes magical. It’s also the best-reviewed movie ever on Rotten Tomatoes — no big deal.
— Ruby Que