"Dunkirk" tops Eagle film writer's list of the year's 10 best movies

The news out of Hollywood in 2017 was generally bad, involving as it did serial sexual harassment and abuse on the part of film executives and cherished actors now forever disgraced and lost to the big screen. The films were often good, however, providing reason to take a break from a TV land revived by pay cable and streaming series and head into the theaters.

A number of these films arrived during the summer, juicing up a season that is frequently lost to lame sequels and noisy action films. Too many good movies screened too briefly in the Berkshires, but thanks go to The Triplex in Great Barrington, Images in Williamstown and the Little Cinema at the Berkshire Museum for providing an opportunity for them to be seen at all.

The Berkshire International Film Festival in Great Barrington and Pittsfield and the FilmColumbia festival in Canaan, N.Y. again gave area film fans a chance to see promising films like "Lucky" (see list below), "The Trip To Spain," "Film Stars Don't Die in Liverpool" and "The Florida Project" before they went into general release. In Pittsfield, the Beacon Cinema on North Street upped its game for audiences by improving carpeting and lighting and introducing living-room-worthy reclining seats.

Below is one movie buff's list of the Top 10 movies of 2017.


Director Christopher Nolan is a master of time and space, and by telling the story of the 1940 rescue of British forces stranded on the beaches of France through the differing time frames of the land, sea and air rescue efforts he creates a riveting film that produces a powerful climax. This was a story not of victory but of surviving to enjoy victory another day, and Nolan tells it with realism and compassion in a way that honors all the participants, from grunts to brass to ordinary civilians.


The boys club that weighed down the superhero genre with bloat and pretension gets its comeuppance from director Patty Jenkins and star Gal Gadot in this blast of fresh summer air. Witty and action-packed, "Wonder Woman" is also a timely female empowerment film and the most effective anti-war movie in years.


Daniel Kaluuya's black photographer worries about meeting the family of his white girlfriend — and well he should. Writer-director Jordan Peele calls his film a "social thriller," and the movie imaginatively echoes films like "Rosemary's Baby" and "The Wicker Man" while addressing race and well-meaning but tone-deaf liberalism. And with twists, turns, dark comedy and bloody horror richly mixed in.


No one combines the utterly fantastic with the grimly real more powerfully than does writer-director Guillermo del Toro. An aquaman (Del Toro creature specialist Doug Jones) imprisoned in a Cold War-era facility forms an unlikely bond with the lab's mute cleaning woman (Sally Hawkins) while the racist, misogynistic, anti-amphibian lab boss (Michael Shannon) plots malevolently. It occasionally borders on the ridiculous but a great cast and del Toro's big heart keep it grounded.


Anne Hathaway's self-absorbed underachiever unleashes a Godzilla-like beast upon Seoul, South Korea whenever she gets drunk in a wildly imaginative film from Nacho Vigalondo that is achingly funny until it turns unexpectedly and convincingly dark. Jason Sudeikis stomping around a sandbox is one of the movie year's most terrifying scenes.


Tommy Wiseau's 2003 film "The Room" flourishes to this day as a so-bad-it's-good cult classic. "The Disaster Artist," which recreates this epic disaster, is so good it's good, with James Franco terrific as the long-maned, oddly accented, charismatic and infuriating mystery man Wiseau. Affectionate rather than mean-spirited, the film honors all those who, in spite of their limitations, desperately want to create art.


Edgar Wright ("Shaun of the Dead") re-imagines the heist movie in this tale of a young getaway driver afflicted with tinnitus (Ansel Elgort) who races through the streets to the soundtrack playing through his ear-buds. That '70s-era music doubles as the movie's soundtrack, providing an additional jolt to the movie's brilliantly filmed and edited chase sequences.


One of the last works featuring the late Harry Dean Stanton, "Lucky" emerges as a tribute to the great character actor. Stanton's Lucky is an irascible old coot in a forlorn western town who confronts mortality by resolutely denying it. The movie's not much on plot but it is full of small-town eccentrics brought to life by, among others, David Lynch, Ed Begley Jr. and Tom Skerritt.


The latest in the "Star Wars" saga is too long and often redundant, but the relationship between a cynical and careworn Luke Skywalker (Mark Hamill in his best performance of the series) and his determined young apprentice Rey (Daisy Ridley) provide a sturdy backbone to the film. So does the presence of the late Carrie Fisher, whose wistful performance as the resilient Leia becomes heartbreaking.


Not as seamless as the plays writer-director Martin McDonagh is known for, but the caustic humor and out-of-nowhere spasms of violence are assuredly present. Frances McDormand is outstanding as a grieving mom whose determination to force the local constabulary (Sam Rockwell and Woody Harrelson, both terrific) to find her daughter's killer drives her to excesses that go beyond the three accusatory billboards.


"Logan," "Lego Batman," "Wind River," "Lady Bird," "Blade Runner 2049"


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