So many movies, so little time–or access. While many films enjoy wide releases during their time in the theaters, a number of them–independent features or else those that have been judged to have a “limited appeal” (whatever that means) are released to a smaller number of theaters or else never make it out of the major markets, often centered in major metropolitan areas.
And there are some that come and go from the theaters so quickly–rushed out to make room for films that guarantee larger profits–that unless you keep a sharp eye at what’s playing at your local cinema, if you blink you may miss them. With this in mind, there have been some great films released so far in 2017, but many of them are also smaller releases that you may just be able to catch when they finally hit streaming sites (or only exist on streaming sites) or else when they become available on demand.
For film fans who like to see the latest and greatest, however, here are 10 terrific films that have come out this year whose titles you should keep your eye out to catch elsewhere sometime this year–or maybe they’ll be coming soon to a theater near you!
10. The Lovers
Michael and Mara, a long-time married couple whose relationship has long lost its passion, are having their own separate affairs–unbeknownst to each other.
While their new partners are looking for more commitment from them, neither seem to be able to break it off with their spouse. Or at least, they’re waiting to tell their college-aged son, who’s visiting that weekend. But one morning, they wake up after yet another dispassionate night next to each other and suddenly find themselves having an affair–with each other.
The Lovers is a droll comedy about how complex relationships can get after decades pass and the romance fades. The conceit that a married couple are cheating on their significant others with each other is one of the many ironic elements that make this a surprisingly funny film. A mature film looking at the late stages of a relationship between two people who have built a whole life together, only to find themselves in one last fling before the end, makes The Lovers an adult movie in the most serious sense.
9. Beatriz at Dinner
When the car of warm-hearted massage therapist Beatriz (Salma Hayek) won’t start after servicing client Cathy in her Newport Beach mansion, she is invited to a dinner party being hosted there that night. But her husband is concerned, considering they invited Douglas Strutt (John Lithgow), a wealthy and boorish real estate magnate who bears more than a passing resemblance to Donald Trump.
As the dinner wears on and Douglas continues to insult Beatriz by mistaking her for the maid asking if she is in the country legally, tensions continue to mount, especially when it becomes clear that Beatriz may not be as mentally stable as she initially appears.
Causing a small stir at Sundance for its political relevance, Beatriz at Dinner is a savvy look at class relations in America, particularly between the haves and have nots and how money doesn’t buy class. Hayek gives her best performance in years while Lithgow plays the smug entrepreneur to perfection.
Tangling with each other over the hypocrisies and stark differences that drive a wedge between classes and race, Beatriz at Dinner is a film that has a frank discussion from which polite society usually shies away.
8. I Don’t Feel at Home in This World Anymore
Ruth (Melanie Lynskey) is having a bad day that gets only worse when she comes home and finds her house has been burglarized. After asking neighbor Tony (Elijah Wood) if he’d seen anything, she goes to the police, who seem uninterested in helping her.
After tracking down the location of her stolen laptop thanks to a mobile app, Ruth and Tony go to confront whom they think is the thief. Finding the confrontation satisfying and wanting to seek out more justice for what she perceives as the wrongs of other people, she and Tony begin to play detective and track down more of her possessions that have been stolen. But unused to the seedier side of life, they eventually find more than they bargained for as the film hurtles towards an unexpectedly violent ending.
This off-kilter indie takes its time detailing the two main characters and the odd partnership they develop between each other. While initially Tony seems like the unstable one, with his martial arts obsession and love of metal music, seemingly low-key Ruth becomes the more zealous of the two, finding herself in a dangerous situation by the end that she couldn’t have foreseen. Streaming exclusively on Netflix, I Don’t Feel At Home in This World Anymore is for indie fans who like to see a (somewhat) normal situation quickly spin out of control.
Elle and Danny are two young adults looking to do right and make their lives better. For Danny, it’s filling in for his incarcerated brother on a shady bag switch-off; for Elle, it’s being the driver on this job and hoping to score enough cash to get out of New York City and go back to Pittsburgh. But Danny switches the bag with the wrong person so he and Elle have to quickly straighten out this mess before they’re both in more trouble than they bargained for. And along the way, they fall for each other, of course.
This surprisingly charming little movie uses the bustling streets of the city and the quieter environs of its surrounding suburbs to frame the developing, rambling relationship between these two, and although there is a slight threat of consequences that may mar these two young lovers, it never gets in the way of the actual focus of the story, which is their developing relationship.
Will nerdy Danny and streetwise Elle find the suitcase? More important to the viewer, will they find love? For fans of meet-cute romances with a twist, Tramps is streaming exclusively on Netflix, expanding the company’s original film catalog and introducing audiences to the excellent leads Callum Turner and Grace Van Patten as the somewhat star-crossed lovers.
6. Their Finest
Keep calm and carry on, so the British saying goes. And they would know: gritting their teeth and going about the business of life amidst The Blitz and while a generation of young men were sent into battle, the United Kingdom entered World War II in 1939. And in the years between their fierce fighting against German forces and the United States’ entry into the way in late 1941, they held their ground. But they also knew they needed reinforcements, and soon.
Their Finest wittily elucidates the efforts of the British government to produce a propaganda film in 1940 aiming to inspire the United States to joining the war effort. With the men off at war, copywriter Catrin (Gemma Arterton) gets a rare opportunity at screenwriting, and working alongside men who aren’t comfortable with sharing an office with a woman leads her to proving that her work is just as good as any man’s–if not better.
Even among the dismal circumstances of The Blitz and the horrors of war, Their Finest has humor and charm, all while poking fun at the pompous types found in the arts. Even if it’s set during wartime and its subject matter is churning out propaganda for the Ministry of Information, Their Finest is one of the finer films to come out so far this year.