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Best Films of 2017

Charmaine Blake



Cannibalism in France, a latterday Our Gang in Florida, three women in Tel Aviv, and, at last, a Blade Runner sequel are among the years must-sees

To get a sense of how many great movies played UK cinemas in 2017, just look at some of the outstanding titles that didnt make my top 10 list. From Park Chan-wooks The Handmaiden (brilliantly adapted from Sarah Waterss novel Fingersmith) to Anocha Suwichakornpongs dazzling By the Time It Gets Dark, Paul Verhoevens Elle (featuring an Oscar-nominated Isabelle Huppert) and Kleber Mendona FilhosAquarius (with Snia Braga in breathtaking form), there was a dizzying array of delights on offer. Even so-called mainstream cinema seemed particularly adventurous this year, ranging from Patty Jenkinss rip-roaring Wonder Woman to Christopher Nolans overwhelming Dunkirk, Kathryn Bigelows gripping Detroit, Edgar Wrights pulse-racing Baby Driver and Darren Aronofskys bewildering Mother!.

Home-grown triumphs included William Oldroyds Lady Macbeth(which made a star of Florence Pugh) and Francis Lees passionate Gods Own Country, while Zambian-born, Welsh-raised Rungano Nyoni emerged as a major new talent with the uncategorisable I Am Not a Witch. My favourite Bollywood film of 2017 was Advait Chandans Secret Superstar, which cleverly interwove dark themes of domestic abuse into its musical fantasy narrative. There were also several Netflix-backed movies that cried out to be seen on the big screen, most notably Bong Joon-hos creature-feature Okja.

As always, I restricted my top 10 list to films that actually opened in the UK cinemas in 2017, so such eagerly awaited titles as Clio Barnards Dark River, Greta Gerwigs Lady Bird, Guillermo del Toros The Shape of Water, Lynne Ramsays You Were Never Really Here and Martin McDonaghs Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (all of which will be released here in 2018) arent eligible. My list also features some films that other critics may have included in last years lists, such as Toni Erdmann, The Red Turtle, My Life As a Courgette and of course Moonlight, all of which competed for the Oscars in February.

Ella Rumpf and Garance Marillier in Raw.

The subject of the Academys most infamous mix-up, Barry Jenkinss Oscar-winner Moonlight was a kaleidoscopic gem which found great beauty in tough surroundings a quality that also characterised Sean Bakers vibrantly honest The Florida Project. In my review of Moonlight in February I wrote: I doubt I will see a better film this year. But then I hadnt reckoned on Raw, the flesh-ripping French-Belgian debut from writer/director Julia Ducournau. Using cannibalism to tell an intimate story of growing pains and sibling rivalry, Raw is an astonishingly assured work from a film-maker whose unique vision is etched into every frame, straddling humour, heartbreak and horror with ease.

The year has proved particularly strong for horror, with Andy Muschiettis It becoming a record-breaking box-office hit, while Trey Edward Shultss It Comes at Nightgot under the skin of these paranoid times. And then there was Jordan Peeles Get Out, a brilliant sociopolitical chiller which provided a rollercoaster ride into the dark heart of so-called post-racial America, aided by a superb cast led by the versatile British actor Daniel Kaluuya.

From the hand-drawn beauty of Michal Dudok de Wits The Red Turtle to the stop-motion wonder of My Life As a Courgette, a variety of animation formats continued to thrive, coexisting with the computer graphics that were once predicted to wipe out more traditional techniques. Both these movies moved me to tears, offering some of the richest and most profound viewing experiences of the year. Good, too, to see Makoto Shinkais Your Name (which featured in my top 10 last year) back in UK cinemas in 2017.

This year also saw the long-awaited release of The Levelling, a tremendous debut from writer-director Hope Dickson Leach. Its a brilliant work from a film-maker who should also be commended for setting up Raising Films, a campaigning organisation whose suggestions for addressing harassment and discrimination in the UK film industry in the wake of the Harvey Weinstein scandal offered some positive, practical responses to the horrors of this still unfolding story. Brava!

Daniel Kaluuya in Get Out. Photograph: Allstar

Top 10 films

Julia Ducournau devours her audience with this fearless feature debut.

Barry Jenkinss Oscar winner is a miracle in a minor key.

The Levelling
Love, loss and reconciliation in Hope Dickson Leachs family drama.

The Red Turtle
Swoon and swoon again at the beauty of Michal Dudok de Wits heartbreaker.

The Florida Project
Sean Baker finds a modern-day Our Gang on Disneys doorstep.

My Life As a Courgette
Stop-motion magic from director Claude Barras and screenwriter Cline Sciamma.

Toni Erdmann
Sandra Hller shines in Maren Ades bittersweet comedy.

Blade Runner 2049
Denis Villeneuve doesnt disappoint with this belated sci-fi sequel.

Get Out
Shades of Ira Levin in Jordan Peeles razor-sharp chiller.

In Between
Three women in Tel Aviv find their own space in Maysaloun Hamouds feature debut.


Wolves at the Door
A repellently exploitative entry in the already sordid Manson movies canon.

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Apple and Oprah sign a multi-year partnership on original content



Apple announced today a multi-year content partnership with Oprah Winfrey to produce programs for the tech company’s upcoming video-streaming service. Apple didn’t provide any specific details as to what sort of projects Winfrey would be involved in, but there will be more than one it seems.

Apple shared the news of its deal with Winfrey in a brief statement on its website, which read:

Apple today announced a unique, multi-year content partnership with Oprah Winfrey, the esteemed producer, actress, talk show host, philanthropist and CEO of OWN.

Together, Winfrey and Apple will create original programs that embrace her incomparable ability to connect with audiences around the world.

Winfrey’s projects will be released as part of a lineup of original content from Apple.

The deal is a significant high-profile win for Apple, which has been busy filing out its lineup with an array of talent in recent months.

The streaming service also will include a reboot of Steven Spielberg’s Amazing Storiesa Reese Witherspoon- and Jennifer Aniston-starring series set in the world of morning TVan adaptation of Isaac Asimov’s Foundation books, a thriller starring Octavia Spencer, a Kristen Wiig-led comedy, a Kevin Durant-inspired scripted basketball show, a series from “La La Land’s” director and several other shows.

Winfrey, however, is not just another showrunner or producer. She’s a media giant who has worked across film, network and cable TV, print and more as an actress, talk show host, creator and producer.

She’s also a notable philanthropist, having contributed more than $100 million to provide education to academically gifted girls from disadvantaged backgrounds, and is continually discussed as a potential presidential candidate, though she said that’s not for her.

On television, Winfrey’s Harpo Productions developed daytime TV shows like “Dr. Phil,” “The Dr. Oz Show” and “Rachael Ray.” Harpo Films produced several Academy Award-winning movies, including “Selma,” which featured Winfrey in a starring role. She’s also acted in a variety of productions over the years, like “The Color Purple,” which scored her an Oscar nom, “Lee Daniels’ The Butler,” “The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks” and Disney’s “A Wrinkle in Time.”

Winfrey also founded the cable network OWN in 2011 in partnership with Discovery Communications, and has exec produced series including “Queen Sugar,” “Oprah’s Master Class” and the Emmy-winning “Super Soul Sunday.”

The latter has a connection with Apple as it debuted as a podcast called “Oprah’s SuperSoul Conversations” and became a No. 1 program on Apple Podcasts.

Winfrey recently extended her contract with OWN through 2025, so it’s unclear how much time she’ll devote specifically toward her Apple projects.

Apple also didn’t say if Winfrey will star or guest in any of the programs themselves, but that’s always an option on the table with a deal like this. CNN, however, is reporting that Winfrey “is expected to have an on-screen role as a host and interviewer.”

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Tom Cruise Day #1 Set of Top Gun 2



(CNN) “It wasn’t “Top Gun” Day, but Tom Cruise still managed to thrill fans.

The star posted a photo that appears to celebrate the planned sequel to “Top Gun.”
The picture shows Cruise in character as Navy pilot Pete “Maverick” Mitchell looking at his aircraft with the words “Feel The Need” superimposed over the image.

A post shared by Tom Cruise (@tomcruise) on

The caption reads “#Day1.”
Three years ago, David Ellison, chief executive officer of the Skydance production company, confirmed that a sequel to the hit 1986 film was in development.
The following year, the original film’s producer, Jerry Bruckheimer, raised the stakes when he tweeted a picture with Cruise captioned: “Just got back from a weekend in New Orleans to see my old friend @TomCruise and discuss a little Top Gun 2.”
Last May, Cruise’s co-star Val Kilmer shared his excitement for the forthcoming sequel on social media.

friends said it’s official – #TOPGUN2 was announced today. I’m ready Tom- still got my top gun plaque! Still got the moves! Still got it!

A post shared by Val Kilmer (@valkilmerofficial) on

“Friends said it’s official – #TOPGUN2 was announced today,” Kilmer wrote in the caption of a photo he posted on Instagram that showed him wearing a t-shirt with a drawing of his Iceman character on it. “I’m ready Tom — still got my top gun plaque! Still got the moves! Still got it!”
The plot is being kept tightly under wraps. However, in October, director Joseph Kosinski told, “The Navy is very different now than it was in 1986.”
“Back then, they hadn’t been in any war for 15 or 20 years at that point,” he said. “The tone of that movie and what those guys were doing was very different. Now, here in 2017, the Navy’s been at war for 20 years. It’s just a different world now, so you can’t remake the first movie.”
According to Kosinski, the sequel has to “adapt.”
“That being said, I certainly want to recreate the experience of that movie, which gives you a front-seat into the world of Naval aviation and what it’s like to be in a fighter jet,” he said. “The approach is going to be appropriate for the times we live in.
For the record, “Top Gun” Day is May 13 — the unofficial holiday when fans of film are encouraged to celebrate it…”

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Roseanne cancelled: ABC scraps sitcom after star’s ‘abhorrent’ tweets

Charmaine Blake



“Roseanne Barrs revived sitcom has been cancelled after she posted a racist and Islamophobic tweet that attacked former Obama White House adviser Valerie Jarrett.

The sitcom star falsely alleged that Jarrett, who was born in Iran to American parents, has connections to the Muslim Brotherhood, and compared her to an ape. Barr wrote Muslim brotherhood & planet of the apes had a baby=vj, using Jarretts initials.

ABC swiftly announced the shows cancellation. The network said in a statement: Roseannes Twitter statement is abhorrent, repugnant and inconsistent with our values, and we have decided to cancel her show.

Bob Iger, the chief executive of Disney, which owns ABC, supported the decision. Iger wrote on Twitter: There was only one thing to do here, and that was the right thing….”

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