As it's been in previous end-of-year lists, there's been a huge number of films that either came and went through your local cinema or didn't even make it that far.

Thankfully, the advent of streaming services and the likes of iTunes, Volta and other VOD platforms means there's plenty of time to catch up on some films you might have missed this year. Here's our own selection.



Only released in one cinema in Ireland - the venerable Lighthouse Cinema in Smithfield, Dublin - Brawl In Cell Block 99 is the definition of an acquired taste. Vince Vaughn plays a down-on-his-luck mechanic who decides to become a drug courier as it'll mean more money for him and his wife, Jennifer Carpenter, and their unborn child. After a deal goes sideways, Vaughn finds him sent to prison where he's given a simple task - get into the medieval, unbelievably illegal Cell Block 99 and kill someone. Played like a mixture of grindhouse crime thriller, it's hard to know whether or not Brawl In Cell Block 99 is taking itself seriously or not. Still, Vaughn gives an electric performance and the soundtrack - featuring soul impresarios like The Four Tops and Tavares - just compliments the grimey, '70s feel of it all.



Although Mark Hamill's performance in The Last Jedi is getting him more reviews than this, Brigsby Bear is still every bit as good as the other. Although you could argue most films are better when they're approached blind, Brigsby Bear is one that truly does benefit from it - which means we'll cut this short and say that it's worth your time.



Although some may draw comparisons between God's Own Country and Brokeback Mountain, there's actually more in common with Wuthering Heights than anything else. An angry Yorkshire farm worker - played by Josh O'Connor - finds his defenses are lowered with the arrival of a hired hand from Romania - played by Alec Secareanu - with whom he shares a passionate affair with. The wilderness of the surroundings plays into the stormy path the relationship goes through, but it's all anchored by solid performances from both actors and a judicious and economical script.



Although Okja didn't get a theatrical release here in Ireland, it nevertheless deserves a mention as the film was somewhat overlooked and eclipsed by other Netflix offerings. Directed by Korean impresario Bong Joon-ho, Okja sees him glide as effortlessly through sci-fi as he did with Snowpiercer, topped off by an exceptional cast that includes Tilda Swinton, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano and a standout performance from little Ahn Seo-hyun. As with Snowpiercer and Sea Fog, there's radical shifts through genres that can make it somewhat inaccessible in parts, but Okja feels lifelike and human that it's hard to not be caught up in it all.



If ever there was a documentary film to sum up the war in Syria, it's City Of Ghosts. The film acts as a tome for future generations to see the horrors unleashed on the city and the efforts by the citizen-journalist group RBSS - which stands for Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently - to help and communicate the story. Frequently devastating in its content but never embellished, City Of Ghosts is one of the most exceptional documentaries of recent years.



For a film that was so hotly anticipated, it feels like the film came and went from cinemas and crashed out as quickly. Like another anticipated sequel from this year, T2: Trainspotting was all about taking our expectations and inverting them back on ourselves to help us reflect. Everyone wanted to hear the thundering drums of Lust For Life, but instead we see a middle-aged Renton struggling to understand himself when confronted by his past - and the realisation that his life is no longer in his control, no more than it was when he was hooked on heroin. Robert Carlyle, meanwhile, gave a stunningly energetic performance as Begbie that necessitates a second viewing of the first to see the full arc. In fact, it's one of the few sequels that utterly requires a knowledge of the first - and acts as the perfect companion / epilogue to it.



It's hard to grasp exactly how and why The Killing Of A Sacred Deer is so affecting. On a surface level, the film's plot reads like a trite horror, but the layers and subtext beneath are so deliciously twisted that it makes for something far more satisfying. Barry Keoghan's performance calls to mind the likes of Anthony Perkins in Psycho - all smiles and almost robotic courtesy, but a pool of violence just bubbling underneath the surface. Likewise, Colin Farrell's stilted delivery masks a coming breakdown that is all the more powerful because of the restrictions upon him. Yorgos Lanthimos' style isn't for everyone, but if you can get on board with the weirdness, it's up there with Get Out and Raw as one of the three best horrors of 2017.



With all the pulsing energy of early Michael Mann - complete with a Tangerine Dream-esque soundtrack - Good Time blasts through its 100-minute runtime like it's taken a couple of hits of adrenaline just to take the edge off. Easily Robert Pattinson's best performance to date, he bounces through each scene with a nervous energy that is both electrifying and ultimately exhausting, but never falters in his delivery. You've also got Jennifer Jason Leigh in there as Pattinson's drugged-out girlfriend and co-director Ben Safdie as Pattinson's mentally-handicapped brother. It's striking stuff, but the energy of it all means the comedown is just as satisfying.


2. RAW

Better than any horror this year - and it has been a bumper year for the genre - Raw not only puts you on the edge of your seat in an eloquent and tasteful manner, it does this while keeping you shocked and disturbed while you're there. Crafted with a clarity of intent that makes it easy to understand - even through subtitles and the cultural leanings of Belgium that feel vaguely American - Raw delivers as one of the most unusual and memorable films of 2017 and has a twisted humour all of its own that could easily sit on a double-bill with the far more recognised Get Out.



A film about a NASA project from the '70s shouldn't be as affecting and emotional as this, but what makes The Farthest so compelling isn't just the nature of its topic, it's the passion with which the interviewees speak about their creation. Voyager is described by them in such loving terms that the emotional bond and connection between them and it is as real as anything else. Emer Reynolds' use of music - using Rose Royce's Wishing On A Star during its opening - gives it a warmth and vitality that sustains it throughout. Even if you're not into astronomy or science, The Farthest still works as a testament to the binding force of passion. The team who worked on Voyager are so irrepressible and enthusiastic - and Reynolds captures it so wonderfully - that it rubs off on you as you watch it. By the end, there's such a level of emotion and connection to a bunch of circuits and metal that the journey you've been taken on is all the more resonant because of it. Triumphant in its scope but deeply human, The Farthest is by far the best documentary of 2017.