The Best Movies of 2017

The end of the year is here, meaning it’s now time to definitively celebrate the finest movies that made their way to the multiplex and the art house. Over the past twelve months, moviegoers have been gifted with a bounty of great blockbusters, indies and documentaries, proving that filmmakers are continuing to find new ways—both big and small—to entertain, excite, and enlighten. No matter their budgets, scale, or subject matter, each of our selections had something to offer the adventurous cinephile, be it shining a light on today’s hot-button issues, reinvigorating traditional genres, or illuminating facets of the infinitely complex human condition. Find the latest movies, photos, videos and featured stories on Shine News. SHINE provides trusted national and world news as well as local and regional perspectives.

They are, in short, our picks for the best films of 2017.La La Land’s award-season triumphs may have heralded the return of the Hollywood musical, but in terms of ingenuity, flair and sheer eye-popping weirdness, it can’t hold a candle to The Lure. Polish director Agnieszka Smoczynska’s wackadoo import is a familiar drama about a young couple torn between individual dreams and professional desires, the twist being that these protagonists (Marta Mazurek and Michalina Olszanska) are mermaid cannibals sashaying through the seedy cabaret underbelly of 1980s Warsaw. Like the dreamy love child of Amèlie’s Jean-Pierre Jeunet and The Fly’s David Cronenberg—except with quite a bit more singing and dancing from its fantastical femme fatales—Smoczynska’s knockout debut charts its aquatic fairy tale creatures as they make a name for themselves as a pop duo known as “The Lure,” along the way falling in love and chomping on unsuspecting (male and female) victims. A bisexual Little Mermaid-by-way-of-vampire horrorshow scored to original New Wave-y tunes, it really is like nothing you’ve ever seen before. Rent/buy on Amazon and iTunes.
A journey into the deep, dark regions of the Amazonian wild, Leonor Caraballo and Matteo Norzi’s Icaros: A Vision follows an American beset by a cancer to the Peruvian jungle in search of ayahuasca—a psychedelic plant that, along with medicinal chants known as “icaros,” is used by locals to remedy mind, body, and spirit. In the care of Shipibo shamans, she and other patients venture freely between lucid and hallucinatory states, and so too does the film, which proceeds in an oblique, waking-dream fashion. Shot on location at a community retreat (and, briefly, at a hotel that was featured in Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo), this unique effort is an alternately optimistic and despairing look at the ongoing clash of global cultures. And it’s one bolstered by its constant synthesis of disparate forces—man and nature, the modern and the ancient, the West and the East, the physical and the ethereal, and, ultimately, the real and unreal.

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