As we approach the halfway point of 2017, it makes sense to take stock of what we've seen so far. Best of the year lists are typically reserved for December, we know, but this year has seen some exceptional films and the greatest ones need to be acknowledged. Here's our top 10:
10. Wonder Woman
Directed by Patty Jenkins
Starring: Gal Gadot, Chris Pine, Robin Wright, Connie Nielsen, David Thewlis
A superhero movie with characters you care about? Say it ain't so. Wonder Woman is immediately one of the best comic book movies ever made for the simple way it doesn't try to do too much. It's definitely full of spectacle, cliche and the villains aren't special, but the film overcomes those things with a tragic storyline that keeps you invested. Plus, Wonder Woman herself is the kind of superhero you want. She's monstrously kick-ass with the kind of purity usually reserved for Captain America. Gal Gadot has been a stiff of an actress up until now, but she finds her groove in this film. It's a blast.
Directed by Philippe Falardeau
Starring: Liev Schreiber, Naomi Watts, Jim Gaffigan, Ron Perlman, Elisabeth Moss
The story of the "Real Rocky" comes to life in Chuck, a film based on the life of bruising heavyweight Chuck Wepner. Boxing has always been the most cinematic sport, and Chuck manages to be both a great sports movie and a great drama. That assessment is based on two things: The immense talent of Liev Schreiber, who plays Wepner, and the beautiful period building by director Philippe Falardeau and his art department. Set in the '70s and featuring an on the nose soundtrack, Chuck follows the drunken, womanizing Wepner as he's granted a surprise shot at heavyweight champ Muhammed Ali and takes him the distance against all odds.
8. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore
Directed by Macon Blair
Starring: Melanie Lynsky, Elijah Wood, David Yow, Jane Levy
The Grand Jury Prize winner at Sundance this year, I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore is the directorial debut of actor Macon Blair. Blair, who starred in 2013's Blue Ruin, seems to want to capture that movie's snowballing violence. I Don't Feel at Home in This World Anymore stars Lynsky as a normal woman who's just tired of it all—people, rudeness, selfishness, all of it. When her home is robbed and the police don't help, she sets out to find the thief with her crazy neighbor (Wood). Thus begins a journey of escalating violence and misunderstandings as snakes appear, hands get blown off, and people die, lots of people.
7. Baby Driver
Directed by Edgar Wright
Starring: Ansel Elgort, Lily James, Kevin Spacey, Jon Hamm, Jon Bernthal, Eiza González, Flea, Lanny Joon, Jamie Foxx
Edgar Wright movies are must-see events. If you don't know this, you simply haven't been paying attention. Baby Driver, the writer/director's long-gestating passion project, is more alive and vital than any other 2017 movie so far. Starring Elgort as a star getaway driver for a lethal crime boss (Spacey), Baby Driver is constant excitement tempered with fantastic filmmaking. The spectacle here is like a wild music video stretched out over 113 minutes. Wright pays homage to the '90s action thrillers he grew up on (Heat, Point Break), while keeping the film his own, as always.
6. It Comes at Night
Directed by Trey Edward Shults
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Christopher Abbott, Carmen Ejogo, Kelvin Harrison Jr., Riley Keough
The combination of a brewing apocalypse and psychological thriller help make It Comes at Night not only one of the best horror movies of the year, but one of the best movies period. Set in a world where an unknown disease is wiping out millions, a family takes refuge in their house to stay safe. When another family moves in, the mind games begin as everyone tries to stay alive and uninfected. Who can be trusted? It Comes at Night invests in darkness and some jump scares, but the true horror comes from what these people are planning and thinking.
5. The Beguiled
Directed by Sofia Coppola
Starring: Nicole Kidman, Colin Farrell, Kirsten Dunst, Elle Fanning
Based on the Thomas P. Cullinan novel and a remake of the 1971 film starring Clint Eastwood, The Beguiled is a haunting Civil War drama directed with candlelit style by Sofia Coppola. Farrell plays a wounded Union soldier left for dead in Virginia when a little girl finds him and takes him back to her all-girls boarding school. The headmistress (Kidman) reluctantly lets him recover in one of the rooms, but his arrival sends everone into a curious frenzy. As the soldier bonds with each of the girls separately, jealousies erupt and the film slips into an investigation of corrupt desire. The method and performances are all beautiful.
4. The Big Sick
Directed by Michael Showalter
Starring: Kumail Nanjiani, Zoe Kazan, Holly Hunter, Ray Romano
Written by Silicon Valley's Nanjiani and Emily V. Gordon (and based on their real-life courtship) The Big Sick is downright impossible to hate. Fueled by clever writing and stellar performances, the movie is the romantic comedy of the year thus far. Nanjani plays a character named after himself, a Pakistani-American whose traditional parents disapprove of his relationship with a white girl, Emily (Kazan). However, Emily soon falls gravely ill and she becomes the reluctant ward to her boyfriend and his parents who hate her.
3. Get Out
Directed by Jordan Peele
Starring: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Lil Rel Howery, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Catherine Keener
Critics loved this brainy horror thriller written and directed by Jordan Peele of Key and Peele fame, and they were right. Get Out is hard to acknowledge as anything but smart and relevant. Set in a woodsy summer retreat where Rose (Williams) brings her new boyfriend, Chris (Kaluuya), home to meet the family, this all-American tale turns into something much more sinister. Chris, who's African-American, isn't exactly comfortable with all these white people around and, soon, his worries are validated in the weirdest way possible. Get Out also has the ending of the year.
Directed by James Mangold
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Dafne Keen, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, Richard E. Grant
Two comic book movies in the top ten! A new record for me. Usually, these films are as brainless as a CBS sitcom, but Logan is something else entirely. Directed with a post-apocalyptic, western vision by James Mangold, Logan feels like a movie of substance. It is. The comic edge to it is there, but secondary, like in The Dark Knight, as Mangold creates an authentic world for his hero to survive in. "Survive" becomes the operative word for Logan (Jackman, in his last Wolverine role), now on the run with Professor X in a tiny border town. But a new arrival throws their world into chaos. A little girl named Laura, who shares some of Wolverine's abilities, needs help and Wolvy is the only one left to do it.
1. The Lost City of Z
Directed by James Gray
Starring: Charlie Hunnam, Robert Pattinson, Sienna Miller, Tom Holland
Written and directed by James Gray, who simply doesn't make bad films, The Lost City of Z is an instant classic. Boasting Gray's trademark visual grandeur, the movie takes us to the Amazon where it tells the true story of British explorer Percy Fawcett (Hunnam), a brave, foolhardy man venturing into oblivion to find an ancient lost city in 1925. Fawcett disappears, along with his son (Holland), and the film shows us what may have happened. The primal fear in this movie is hard to top as the jungle envelops the heroes and overwhelms them.