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With a seemingly endless supply of big budget blockbusters, superhero flicks and glamorous award contenders on our screens, it can be hard to find the time for smaller, independent movies. Despite our endeavour to deliver you all things film, even we here at Film in Dublin have had some remarkable films fly under our radar throughout the past year. With this in mind, we have spent the holiday season looking back on this year’s greatest and most under-appreciated movies in an effort to prepare you for your annual office Oscar party. Now you can have bragging rights over the most obscure and brilliant films that your colleagues and friends may have missed in 2017!

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It has been a year. In 2017 there was a lot for film fans to contemplate, but in what they say on the screen and in the wider film business. Month after month, entertaining, challenging and interesting films found their way onto Irish screens, either from Hollywood or any number of our own talented Irish directors. It was a year where the sickeningly pervasive culture of abuse in cinema was thrust into the headlines by brave survivors no longer willing to suffer in silence. It was also a year in great filmmaking, where talented, diverse directors were given the opportunity to show their talent, several for the first time, where performances transported us just as believably to the far-off future, the underprivileged, overlooked present and even outside the fluid realm of time altogether. This is Film In Dublin’s list of the best films of 2017, the films that moved us, entertained us, opened our eyes and otherwise expressed everything that cinema is meant to be, in a year that showed that cinema doesn’t always achieve those lofty ideals behind the scenes.

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Director: Rian Johnson Starring: Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, Oscar Isaac, Adam Driver, Mark Hamill, Carrie Fisher, Kelly Marie Tran, Laura Dern, Andy Serkis, Domhnall Gleeson, Benicio Del Toro Running Time: 152 minutes


One thing that should probably be acknowledged about Star Wars before launching into a review of the latest entry to the series is that its cultural footprint is simply too big for anything approaching a consensus to form. Every Star Wars film since the original faced heavy backlash after their initial release. Some were also widely acclaimed at the same time. Some grew their reputation over the years. And some were the prequels. A film that aims to be seen by so many simply cannot please everyone all of the time, even if it tried, but despite the pressure of having to deliver to such a dedicated fanbase and such keenly invested taskmasters at Disney, director Rian Johnson boldly declares never to tell him the odds and instead has made The Last Jedi into the kind of film he knows will entertain one person for certain: himself. Make something for yourself and others usually follow, and those of a like-mind with Johnson will see in The Last Jedi an ambitious, electrifying and reflective blockbuster.

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Director: James Franco, Starring: James Franco, Dave Franco Running Time: 105 minutes


To know exactly how The Disaster Artist approaches its subject, know this. The film opens with a slew of Hollywood celebrities earnestly describing their love of The Room, the titular disaster, and closes with praise for the phenomenon that the film and its artist, Tommy Wiseau have become. Captions and real footage show Wiseau in attendance at some of the many midnight screenings that have transformed his terrible film from being an LA inside joke to the central story of a genuine Oscar contender, a feel-good wrap-up of an unlikely success story. It’s hard not to see a bit of self-back-patting at the heart of this endeavour. King of the so-bad-its-good films, the appeal of The Room is that it’s a genuine attempt at creating art and exploring human emotions from a man who seemingly understands neither art nor human emotions, nor human anything for that matter. A film that is just off in every way imaginable, provoking equal parts hilarity, revulsion and perverse curiosity. The appeal of The Disaster Artist is The Room. James Franco’s love of the cult film comes through and is sure to get laughs from fellow fans, inspiring a few more along the way, as he takes on the Tommy persona impressively and recreates the best-worst scenes. However, there are depths to this bottom-of-the-barrel that he is not so interested in delving into, preferring a level of insight that never reaches much higher than sketch comedy.

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It’s a little bit chilly out there as we step into December, isn’t it? For those dreaming of sand and surf rather than snow and…sludge, the Irish Film Institute will be hosting a trio of documentaries this weekend about surfing, in Ireland and abroad. They’ll be looking at the Mavericks who live among the waves in these interesting docs, including previous successes screened at the IFI this year as well as a new Irish premiere.

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Dublin’s Kinopolis Polish Film Festival, which first launched back in 2006, has spent years promoting and celebrating Polish cinema in Ireland. The festival aims to spotlight the lives and culture of one of the largest minorities living on the island – through their films. The festival will be returning to the Irish Film Institute from December 7th – 10th, and the full programme for the festival has been announced now.

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Director: Paul King Starring: Ben Whishaw, Hugh Boneville, Sally Hawkins, Hugh Grant, Brendan Gleeson, Julie Walters Running Time: 103 minutes


Perhaps one of the reasons that critics respond so heartily to the Paddington films is because of what they’re not as much as what they are. Seeing the trailers for children’s films before the feature begins, it’s a breath of fresh air to see just how earnest Paddington Bear is, how little he dances to the latest pop hits, how not-voiced-by-James-Corden he is. An actual effort to celebrate the charming work of Michael Bond, to whom this sequel is dedicated after he passed away this June, shines through in this film; without delving too far into cliche it presents a world of wonder, one that looks increasingly appealing where most kid’s film follow ups double down into a cynical cash-grab.

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With the lights up in the city and holiday films on our cinema screens, Christmas season has well and truly arrived this year to the fair city of film, and in December an all-time family favourite will be playing at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre with live music to accompany some timeless animation.

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