Elizabeth MacLeod

11 TV Shows To Watch In October

October is here, and there’s even more television to take in. While a certain 1980s nostalgia Netflix series is set to dominate the watercooler talk this month, there are plenty of other fish swimming in the TV sea, from psychological thrillers to frothy soaps to unkillable zombies. Below is our list of October’s cream of the crop.

Larry David Curb Your Enthusiasm

Curb Your Enthusiasm

Synopsis: After a six-year hiatus, Larry David is back with the ninth season of “Curb Your Enthusiasm”. This season, Larry has a new venture that elicits promising feedback from a number of prospective investors — until a string of missteps undermines the plan, at least temporarily.

What You Need To Know: Season nine will have a slew of famous guest stars including: Katie Aselton, Elizabeth Banks, Ed Begley, Jr., Carrie Brownstein, Bryan Cranston, Lauren Graham, Jimmy Kimmel, Nick Offerman, Nasim Pedrad, Elizabeth Perkins, June Diane Raphael, Andrea Savage, Damon Wayans, Jr., Steven Weber and Casey Wilson.

Release Date: The new season launched last night, and airs every Sunday on HBO.

MR. ROBOT Season 3 Episode 301 Pictured: Remi Malek

Mr. Robot

Synopsis: Following the dramatic betrayal by E Corp Executive Tyrell Wellick (MartinWallström) and the titular character (Christian Slater), Elliot Anderson (Rami Malek) returns for season three of USA Network‘s hacker hit. Bent on justice, this season will see Elliot acting back against those who used him previously. With the summertime hacks on HBO and thoughts of Russian interference still looming over the country, Sam Esmail‘s show could not be a more timely television narrative.

What You Need To Know: New cast members will make their “Mr. Robot” debut in this season, including Bobby Cannavale. Little is known about Cannavale’s character in general. However, as his appearance will last the full season, we’ll be sure to see how his portrayal of “Irving” will add a new dynamic to the series.

Release Date: Season 3 arrives on October 11th on USA Network.

MindhunterMindhunter

Synopsis: “How do we get ahead of crazy, if we don’t know how crazy thinks?” This is the question posed and, possibly answered, in the first season of Netflix‘s new series “Mindhunter.” Taking viewers through the innards of the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit, there is sure to be psychological and physical horror offered under the guise of mystery and drama.

What You Need To Know: David Fincher (“Zodiac“) is one of the co-creators of the series, and has directed multiple episodes, with Asif Kapadia (“Amy“) and Andrew Douglas (“The Amityville Horror“) also getting behind the camera. That should be reason enough to venture down the grimy, gritty, bloodstained rabbit hole of “Mindhunter.”

Release Date: October 13th on Netflix

Ally Johnson

12-Movies-To-Watch-In-October

12 Movies To Watch In October

Having overcome the delightfully, sleep deprived hurdle that is September with a different festival happening any given week, it’s an exciting prospect to think that we’re really only just getting started. With
movies-to-see-in-september-it-kingsman-mother-unknown-girl

12 Must-See Movies To Watch In September

Months later and we’re still spurred into excitement when we remember the surprising “Moonlight” win of last year’s Oscars, making it all the more surreal that we’re about to be thrown head first into this year

12 Movies To Watch In October

Having overcome the delightfully, sleep deprived hurdle that is September with a different festival happening any given week, it’s an exciting prospect to think that we’re really only just getting started. With a mix of cerebral blockbusters, festival favorites and mysterious thrillers coming out throughout the month, October won’t be any sort of dry spell, as it’ll be offering up a month of films for an array of fans. While “Blade Runner 2049” will be the popular, conversation starter, there’s no shortage of other quality films.

Still in the throes of awards season (and there for the foreseeable future which, these days, is a nice distraction from reality) even the duds being released have something interesting to offer.

Ryan Gosling in Blade Runner 2049 in association with Columbia Pictures, domestic distribution by Warner Bros. Pictures and international distribution by Sony Pictures Releasing International.

Blade Runner 2049

Cast: Ryan Gosling, Harrison Ford, Robin Wright, Dave Bautista

Synopsis: A young blade runner’s discovery of a long-buried secret leads him to track down former blade runner Rick Deckard, who’s been missing for thirty years.

What You Need to Know: Probably nothing at this point. Spare yourself and go in blind because as wildly enthusiastic buzz has suggested, this is a film that benefits from little prior knowledge. That being said, what’s worth noting is that it’s director Denis Villeneuve’snew film, coming off the success of last years gripping and beautiful “Arrival”; that it features an all star cast and wisely puts Ryan Gosling up against the gruff Harrison Ford, and that the glorious visuals we’ve seen play out in trailers are captured by master cinematographer Roger Deakins. Even in a year with the likes of Rian Johnson and Taika Waititi having tentpole films yet to bow; based on visuals alone it’s going to be hard to top ‘2049.’ With the air of a film that acknowledges its roots in the past while charging ahead to create something new and exciting, expectations couldn’t be higher. Our critic had high praise for it.

Release Date: October 6th

Florida Project“The Florida Project

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Brooklynn Prince, Caleb Landry Jones

Synopsis: Set over one summer, the film follows precocious 6-year-old Moonee as she courts mischief and adventure with her ragtag playmates, and bonds with her rebellious but caring mother, all while living in the shadows of Disney World.

What You Need to Know: Following his breakout, indie hit with 2015’s “Tangerine,” director Sean Baker is back with “The Florida Project” which has won raves since debuting at this years Cannes. Featuring an awards worthy turn by Willem Dafoe,playing somewhat against type in a gentler role, the film is said to be a real heartbreaker and one that likely will be playing the awards circuit for the rest of the year. Our critic said: “Challenging the invisibility of a whole segment of the American underclass, ‘The Florida Project’ shines a bright shaft of happy, hot summer sun on The Magic Castle and finds there no magic, but hidden treasure.”

Release Date: October 6th

Brawl In Cell Block 99 Vince VaughnBrawl in Cell Block 99

Cast: Vince Vaugh, Don Johnson, Jennifer Carpenter

Synopsis: A former boxer-turned-drug runner lands in a prison battleground after a deal gets deadly.

What You Need to Know: Directed by S. Craig Zahler who helmed the under the radar 2015 favorite “Bone Tomahawk”, he isn’t relenting on his squirm inducing style of filmmaking. Our critic called it a “gruesome blast” and the overall response so far has been similarly positive, with Zahler once again proving himself to be one to watch. As for Vaughn? Our critic wrote that it seems like it’s finally a start to the “Vaughnaissance” which, fine. If it has to be here, at least it’s with a film worth being excited about.

Release Date: October 6th

Goodbye Christopher Robin

Cast: Vicki Pepperdine, Margot Robbie, Domnhall Gleeson

Synopsis: A behind-the-scenes look at the life of author A.A. Milne and the creation of the Winnie the Pooh.

What You Need to Know: There are those who think of these type of films about talented writers who write inspiring stories as spineless and bereft of originality and in fairness, they are pretty familiar. But then, there’s those of us in the uncool camp, who are relatively charmed by these overtly sappy films. In the same vein of “Finding Neverland”, but reportedly with more edge, “Goodbye Christopher Robin” takes a look at the conception of the childhood charmer “Winnie the Pooh” with the always wonderful Domnhall Gleeson and Margot Robbie leading the charge.

Release Date: October 13th

  • mrsatyre

    At least two of these movies are described in less than flattering light. Why, then, are they included in this list?

David Fincher Digs Deep Into Serial Killers With Netflix Series ‘MINDHUNTER’ [BFI London Film Fest Review]

Despite “Gone Girl” being one of the biggest hits of his career, it’s been a tough few years for David Fincher. He looked set to capitalize on the success of that movie, and the peak TV boom, with two HBO series: the semi-autobiographical 80s music-video-world dramedy “Videosynchrazy,” and the British conspiracy thriller remake “Utopia.” But budgetary issues and creative clashes saw production scrapped midway through the first season of the former, and the plug pulled on the eve of the pilot, which would have starred Rooney Mara, of the latter.

As a result, we haven’t seen anything from the director in nearly three years, with his next movie, the sequel to “World War Z,” still seemingly without a firm greenlight. But the good news is that Fincher’s return to small screen is finally upon us, with Netflix debuting “MINDHUNTER” (yes, the title is apparently all in capitals: personally we wished Fincher had taken a leaf from Darren Aronofsky‘s book and called it “mindhunter!‘) executive produced and (in the case of four episodes, including the first two) directed by Fincher, this Friday. And from the opening two hours we saw at the BFI London Film Festival this morning, you’re going to want to set aside some time this weekend to dive into it.

Once in development in HBO, executive produced by Charlize Theron, created by “The Road” screenwriter Joe Penhall, and based on the book “Mind Hunter: Inside The FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit” by Mark Olshaker and John E. Douglas, it returns Fincher to the subject matter with which he’s arguably had the greatest creative success, thanks to “Se7en” and “Zodiac”: serial killers.

It’s closer to the latter than the former, being a true crime tale set in the 1970s. It opens with a bloody hostage situation, as FBI agent Holden Ford (“Looking” and “Hamilton” star Jonathan Groff) tries, and fails, to talk down a disturbed man who believes he’s invisible. After an encounter with a psychology lecturer, and a beautiful sociology post-grad student who’ll become his girlfriend (Hannah Gross), Ford convinces his skeptical, stuck-in-his-ways boss Shepard (Cotter Smith) to let him study modern scientific thought on criminology.

This in turn brings him to the attention of the head of the Bureau’s behavioural sciences division, Bill Tench (Fincher regular Holt McCallany), who needs an assistant as he travels the country and attempts to educate local police forces about their work. But even he is resistant when Ford suggests that they take some time out to talk to Edmund Kemper (Cameron Britton), the so-called Co-Ed Killer, who murdered eight women, including his mother, and had sex with their corpses. But it will begin a process that will eventually revolutionize law enforcement.

By digging into the birth of criminal profiling, and the use of interviews of killers in order to catch others like them, there’s something of a risk: since “The Silence Of The Lambs,” countless imitators on film and TV have covered this sort of territory, and it could end up feeling like old hat (in fact, Scott Glenn’s character in ‘Silence’ was inspired directly by John Douglas). Indeed, in the early going (and what we’ve seen is really only a glimpse: it’s very much a two-part pilot and the premise is only really firmly established by the end of the second hour), you might start to wonder if the show will be anything more than a particularly well-shot take on “Criminal Minds” and its ilk.

But as the set-up moves on and Penhall’s script digs in, it becomes clear that, as with “Zodiac” (and the show resembles less the whole of that film in general, and more specifically the haunting final scene with John Carroll Lynch’s suspect), it’s the detail and psychological realism that sets this apart. At times, it feels closer to docudrama than procedural, with academic theories discussed in detail and long, unbroken interview sequences — fans of true crime shows like “Making A Murderer” are likely to be more at home than “Law & Order” obsessives.

READ MORE: David Fincher Talks ‘Mindhunter,’ Lessons Learned From ‘Zodiac’ & More On ‘Charlie Rose’

Initially, that’s to the series’ detriment. In the first hour, there are a few slightly stiff, awkwardly-written scenes of exposition that seem more like demonstrations of research rather than actual drama. But they do pay off before the end of the second episode, particularly in the utterly gripping sequences where Ford talks to Kemper. The potential is here for a show that gets stuck further into the mind of murderers than anything we’ve seen before.

Whether that appeals to you is a bigger question: there’s a certain dryness to the show in the early going, and when it’s tempered, it’s by some typically Fincherian jet-black humour (when Ford wants to take his gun to his first conversation with Kemper, Tench tells him “He’s going to take it away from you, he’s going to kill you with it, and he’s going to have sex with your face.” It’s funnier in the telling, trust me.). A sequence where Ford gets his subject to open up about his deep misogyny by commiserating with him about women is likely to spawn a thinkpiece or five, and the whole thing may just be too unrelenting for some.

To me, it resonated much more so now than if it had reached the screen a few years earlier, as intended. One character laments early on that whereas the FBI was founded to track down self-interested criminals like Dillinger, now their targets are killers seemingly without logic and reason like Charles Manson and David Berkowitz, and it’s hard not to find echoes of our own world-gone-mad in his existential despair.

It helps that there are already strong performances at its centre. Groff has a slightly bland exterior, but he has an innate sensitivity, a vibe that he’s not quite as square as he appears, and even a dark undercurrent that makes Ford a compelling lead. McCallany’s character hasn’t been opened up much yet, but every one of his moments is utterly truthful, and he brings some needed levity to proceedings too. It’s Britton, as killer Kempner, who lingers longest: his arrogance and intelligence is exactly what the show needs to get its hooks into you. And what seems to have been a deliberate decision to eschew star casting throughout is also a real boon: the unfamiliarity of most of the faces really adds to the docudrama feel.

And of course, this being Fincher, it looks and sounds nearly impeccable. As with his “House Of Cards” episodes, the direction’s probably a little more functional than his feature work (giant place-setting captions are the biggest stylistic flourish), but Fincher being functional is still anyone else at the top of their game, and frankly anything else would have distracted from the material. Only a couple of on-the-nose needle drops (of course, the second hour ends with Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer”) feel ill-advised.

It’s always tough to review a show after just two episodes, especially one as serialized and, seemingly, ready to evolve as this one (Anna Torv, third-billed in the cast, isn’t glimpsed at all in the first two hours). And if you’re already fed up of serial killer fare, it’s unlikely to change your mind. But I can pay it no higher compliment to say that, as the credits rolled after the first two episodes, with mid-festival exhaustion firmly setting in, I’d happily have sat there for the rest of the day to watch the remaining ones. [B+]

The first two episodes of “MINDHUNTER” screen at the BFI London Film Festival today, and at NYFF tomorrow. The whole series hits Netflix this Friday, October 13th.

Click here for our complete coverage of the 2017 BFI London Film Festival

  • Phil

    “and a beautiful sociology post-grad student who’ll become his girlfriend…” Casual objectification. No wonder Harvey got away with it so long.

  • Major dissapointment: “Anna Torv, third-billed in the cast, isn’t glimpsed at all in the first two hours”.

    That’s awful.

  • Letivon

    Already watched the whole season twice and loved it, Jonathan Groff surprised me in the best way possible after his roles on Glee and Looking, he is spectacular here and actually looks very masculine!

  • Dheep’ P

    I thoroughly enjoyed it. I turned it on just to check out a few early scenes to see what I thought. 4 hours later I finally turned it off. Engrossing. Started back at the beginning with my wife. We zoomed through it in 2 days. Quite good

Kimber Myers

Woody Allen’s ‘Wonder Wheel’ Is Gorgeous But Problematic [NYFF Review]

Observed in a vacuum, “Wonder Wheel” is a kaleidoscope of lights and delights with best-in-class cinematography, perfect casting and impeccable period detail. Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro lovingly lights actors’ faces with stained-glass-window colors. Kate Winslet has rarely been better in a part that lets her talent unfurl and bloom in new ways, and Jim Belushi is great as her character’s schlubby, unsatisfying husband. Its setting in 1950s Coney Island allows costume designer Suzy Benzinger room to play, with dresses that elicit gasps of pleasure.

However, in his signature opening credits style, “Wonder Wheel” announces that it is the latest film written and directed by Woody Allen. For a film that is often so enjoyably self-aware, it displays a profound lack of that knowledge when it comes to aspects of the film echoing the auteur’s own biography – or it may be the director intentionally thumbing his nose at his critics. But beyond these issues, an uneven tone and a clear disdain for its protagonist also mar “Wonder Wheel.”

Winslet stars as Ginny, a former actress and current waitress, whose alcoholic, abusive husband, Humpty (Belushi), and her misbehaving, fire-starting son, Richie (Jack Gore), exhaust her. She finds joy in an affair with Mickey Rubin (Justin Timberlake), a Coney Island lifeguard and aspiring playwright, who also narrates the film. Meanwhile, Humpty’s estranged daughter, Carolina (Juno Temple), arrives and brings tension into both Ginny’s marriage and her affair.

At first, Ginny’s character feels like a welcome response to criticism that Allen’s films always revolve around a romance between an older man and a younger woman, and the May-December relationship between Ginny and Mickey is a nice change. Unfortunately, “Wonder Wheel” calls frequent attention to Ginny’s age, though this is rarely a focus when the dynamic is reversed in his previous movies. *Minor spoiler ahead* The director’s own biography also figures into the film with Ginny and her stepdaughter vying for Mickey’s affections, mirroring Allen’s own life with then-partner Mia Farrow and her daughter Soon-Yi Previn, now Allen’s wife. We’re not supposed to sympathize with Ginny, but the human reaction is to take her side. Allen’s smart enough that he can’t be unaware of these parallels and it feels like a gleeful poke at those who have taken issue with these choices. *End spoiler*

Allen’s drama has a sense of Drama-with-a-capital-D, thanks to its playwright narrator. While “Blue Jasmine” was Allen’s ode to Tennessee Williams, “Wonder Wheel” is a tip of the director’s floppy hat to Eugene O’Neill and even references him by name. Scenes unfold in Humpty and Ginny’s apartment, and the long takes and mise en scène make it feel as though you’re sitting two rows away from a stage. However, O’Neill’s plays are marked by psychological complexity, and much of “Wonder Wheel” refuses to plumb those depths, despite the solid work of the actors.

Greek drama also gets a nod, which is unsurprising given the genre’s influence on O’Neill as well, and it all feels like a classical tragedy. As the film frequently reminds us with a wink, Ginny is the architect of her own downfall. With the humanity that Winslet endows to her character, this is difficult for the audience to watch. The film alternates between a giggly comedy and a serious drama, and it treats Ginny with far more disdain than most (male) protagonists in Allen’s work. “Wonder Wheel” demonstrates no empathy toward her, but we feel these emotions despite its best efforts.

Much of our sympathy is due to Winslet. Ginny is flawed – and well aware of those flaws – but her situation is awful. Winslet brings a versatility that lets her glow with happiness in the best moments of her relationship with Mickey, as well as spark in her anger toward Humpty and Carolina. Belushi works well as Humpty, grumbling through dialogue in a way that feels real for the film and its setting. Temple is a solid actress, but there’s not a lot of depth to Carolina beyond what she brings. Similarly, Timberlake doesn’t get to stretch a lot with Mickey, but he looks – and acts – the part of a ’50s charmer.

Building on the beauty of their last collaboration “Cafe Society,” Storaro and Allen have partnered to make the most visually stunning film of the director’s decades-long career. The setting helps, of course, with Storaro’s cinematography and the special effects team’s work recreating a Coney Island worthy of vintage postcards. However, the lighting and the vibrant palette is what elevates the movie’s look, with particular care paid to shots of the actors.

It’s impossible to watch “Wonder Wheel” without letting Allen himself and the current response to Harvey Weinstein not color the (absolutely gorgeous) viewing experience. But even ignoring beyond the biographical details and real-world shadows, this is an imperfect, if entirely beautiful, film. [B-]

Follow along with all our New York Film Festival coverage here.

  • Not a review of the movie.

  • David

    Woody Allen should retire.

  • Jimmy Siu Yan Ngai

    such a generous review.

Oliver Lyttelton

The 5 Best Films Of The 2017 BFI London Film Festival

Another year, another BFI London Film Festival — fifteen years since the first one I attended as a sixteen-year-old, and my ninth year of covering as press for The Playlist. And I think I may have finally cracked it. It can be hard to cover a film festival in your home city — real life intrudes in a way that it doesn’t necessarily in Cannes or Venice or Toronto. But while the 2017 installments saw a couple of disappointments (Clio Barnard’s “Dark River,Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Killing Of A Sacred Deer”), I didn’t see a single bad film, and even some of the ones I was skeptical of going in, like “Journey’s End,” turned out really well.

I mostly put it down to instigating a ‘No Biopics’ rule (sorry, “Film Stars Don’t Die In Liverpool!”) but also down to a great year for festival movies, which as ever, the LFF has been able to pick and choose the best from in its expansive line-up (I could have seen 30 entirely different movies and, I suspect, still had a terrific time). As ever, thanks to all the volunteers and organizers, and below, you can find my five favorites of the 2017 BFI London Film Festival over the last couple of weeks.

Thelma

5. “Thelma”

As a fan of both the times when arthouse directors get a little loose and play in the genre world, and of the Norwegian filmmaker Joachim Trier (whose faultless career so far has brought us “Reprise,” “Oslo, August 31st” and “Louder Than Bombs”), the idea of Trier taking on a supernatural thriller was a hugely exciting one, and it didn’t disappoint. Co-written again with Eskil Vogt, “Thelma” is the story of a repressed young woman breaking away from her family for the first time to attend university in the city, where her growing attraction to a classmate unleashes something inside our title character (a breakout turn from Eili Harboe) that could prove incredibly destructive. Mashing up Cronenberg, “Carrie,” Bergman and more (not that I’d wish such a thing on him, but this is evidence that Trier would make the best “X-Men” movie ever), it builds on the director’s strengths — a rare facility for authentically capturing youth, an absolute command of mood and tone — and builds in Hitchcockian suspense and an affecting love story, while building to a place that proves utterly devastating. It still feels like Trier flies under the radar for many, but I’m beyond grateful to have him making films of such a consistently high quality.

4. “Gemini”

Aaron Katz is a director who’s felt like he’s on the verge for a while (his “Cold Weather” was one of my favorites of its year), but “Gemini” feels like the film that’ll put him over the top, an incredibly accomplished and dextrous leap-forward for the filmmaker. Updating the Hollywood noir more satisfyingly than anything in decades, it sees Lola Kirke’s devoted assistant to a big-time Hollywod starlet (Zoe Kravitz) become embroiled in a mystery, while becoming a target of an investigation by local cop John Cho (having a deservedly great year with this and his excellent performance in “Columbus”). It’s a shaggy dog story of sorts, but Katz cranks every drop of tension out of it, capturing modern L.A. like few others have of late (the neon-soaked visuals from Andrew Reed marks a real visual step-forward, to say nothing of Keegan DeWitt’s score, one of the best of the year easily), and taking his lead on a journey that can encompass desperate suspense and hilarious Hollywood satire (“Veep” actor Nelson Franklin is particularly good as an asshole indie director) in the space of a couple of scenes. I saw better movies at the festival this year, but few that gave me so much pleasure.

You Were Never Really Here

3. “You Were Never Really Here”

Lynne Ramsay has sadly never been exactly prolific — 9 years between her second and third features, six between the third and fourth — with thwarted projects like “The Lovely Bones” and “Jane Got A Gun” having led to her long absences. But the wait was worth it: on the evidence of “You Were Never Really Here,” Ramsay appears to have spent most of the six years since “We Need To Talk About Kevin” at some kind of “Doctor Strange”-style retreat where she’s learned to direct movies on levels that few others can even contemplate. An adaptation of Jonathan Ames’ novella, which sees Joaquin Phoenix’s brutish semi-PI tasked to rescue the kidnapped daughter of a state senator from sex traffickers, it could, in lesser hands, have seen the same material adapted into a forgettable Liam Neeson B-movie. But here, Ramsay, through sheer force of will (and the force of Jonny Greenwood’s incredible score, the Radiohead guitarists’ best film work to date), turns the action-thriller into an anxiety attack, an investigation of the ripples of trauma that immediately digs its thumb into your windpipe and only lets go 89 minutes later. It’s not the most substantial work she’s made, but it absolutely makes the case that Ramsay is one of the two or three best filmmakers working right now.

120-battements-par-minute-BPM2. “120 BPM”

Or “120 Beats Per Minute,” or “BPM,” depending on which territory you’re seeing it. Wherever you are, though, Robin Campillo’s third feature as director (after “They Came Back,” which spawned hit T.V. series “The Returned,” and the acclaimed “Eastern Boys”) feels like a masterpiece. It’s been a terrific year for queer cinema, from Sundance movies “God’s Own Country” and “Call Me By Your Name” to the terrific indie “Beach Rats” but Campillo’s film, an expansive epic about the ACT UP group of Aids activists in France in the early 1990s, might be the best of the batch. Introducing a dizzying range of characters (it smartly narrows its focus in the second half), it’s a fiercely political film, a love-letter to activism and all its frustrations, shot with the urgency of a thriller, and full of utterly lived-in performances, most of which come from relative newcomers (bar “The Unknown Girl” star Adéle Haenel, though Nahuel Pérez Biscayart is the best as firebrand Sean). But as tough as its subject matter is, the film’s also never afraid to be vibrant, funny, tender or sexy — it utterly bursts with life. At a time when HIV infections are on the rise and old prejudices re-emerging in the Trump era, it couldn’t have arrived at a more crucial time.Shape_of_Water_4

1. “The Shape Of Water”

As high as my expectations were on paper, I don’t seem to have been the only one one, talking to friends, that was turned off by the oddly “Amelie”-ish quality of the trailer for “The Shape Of Water.” Had Guillermo Del Toro gone twee? But within moments of his tenth, and best film, you know you’re in the surest hands possible. Yes, his Cold War-set horror-romance-fairytale-spy-thriller is a sentimental picture, but in the truest sense, its tender heart is on display in every perfect frame. Detailing the infatuation of a mute lab cleaner (Sally Hawkins) with a Black-Lagoon-ish humanoid fish god being experimented on by the government, it walks a nearly impossible tightrope — just one misjudgement and it could feel silly, or over-stuffed, or overly gory, or off-putting. But it doesn’t just walk it with flair, it backflips across it: every scene is five times more interesting, strange or beautiful than it would need to be to great. Instead, it becomes near-transcendent, a heart-soaring, thrilling, funny, utterly unique ode to the misfits and outsiders of the world. It’s honestly my favorite film of at least the last five years.

I Also Loved: Samuel Maoz’s terrific Israeli drama “Foxtrot” (review here), Xavier Legrand’s utterly gripping/traumatic domestic violence drama “Custody,Greta Gerwig’s totally charming, deceptively affecting “Lady Bird,Sean Baker’s gorgeous “The Florida Project,” David Fincher’s “MINDHUNTER” (review here), which you’re probably multiple episodes into by now, Brazilian oddity “Good Manners” (review here), Eliza Hittman’s exquisitely physical coming-of-age drama “Beach Rats,” the yes-everyone-loves-it charms of “Call Me By Your Name,” Kogonada’s living architecture coffee table book “Columbus,” pitch-black thriller “Thoroughbreds(review here) and French comedy “Jeune Femme.

Click here for our complete coverage of the 2017 BFI London Film Festival

  • KG

    Oli, this is a very interesting list: your top 5 includes some of the most overpraised work of the year (though I have yet to see You Were Never Really Here and am highly anticipating it), while your honourable mentions include films like Foxtrot and Columbus that blew my away and films like Lady Bird and The Florida Project that I heartily enjoyed.

  • Rory Glynn

    The Shape Of Water is fast catching up with The Last Jedi as my most anticipated film of the year.

  • Karamba500

    wow

Jessica Kiang