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Special Eyes: The Aro St. Video Shop Newsletter


Happy New Year fellow film fan,

After a few technical delays, it’s our pleasure to present our annual Year-in-Review focusing on the highlights in feature films for the year of twenty-seventeen.

Against the prevailing winds, it was the first year in many where AroVideo focused on expansion rather than retrenchment, thanks largely to the "Adopt-a-Movie" scheme, which has been adopted enthusiastically by customers far and wide. We added over 600 titles to the library, including many exclusive imports, plus thousand discs (of mainly TV archives) acquired from the now defunct Fatso Home-Delivery service.

While we try to include something for everyone in our "Best of" list, it is admittedly skewed to festival go-ers and those that appreciate a range of savoury cinematic flavours, as opposed to the refined (or not-so-refined) sugars of Hollywood. We merit courageous or innovative film-making matched with exceptional craft, and also consider its impact on audiences (like you).

Always a bit of film-nerd fun, we hope it offers you some reliable guidance or at least stimulates some debate. So whether you agree or disagree with our rankings, we encourage you to add your own star-rating and review/comment on any film to our website, or add any of those listed here to your personal wishlist when logged in to your My-Aro account.


Hell or High Water
1. Hell or High Water

This richly rewarding crime film was our winner by sheer consensus


2. Arrival

Stunningly ambitious drama that takes an Alien invasion seriously

La La Land

3. La La Land

Despite the post-Oscar backlash, this was the most joyously romantic film in years

Get Out

4. Get Out

Scary and funny conspiracy thriller that’s a landmark in black cinema


5. Lion

An extraordinary true story rendered with extraordinary beauty

Captain Fantastic
6. Captain Fantastic

Fantastic parenting drama brim-full with ideas and conflicting emotions

I, Daniel Blake

7. I, Daniel Blake

Ken Loach’s masterwork of social injustice in the UK


8. Dunkirk

Technically miraculous re-creation of an iconic WWII event

9. Moonlight

Oscar-winning indie drama surveys an alternative "black experience"

Manchester by the Sea

10. Manchester By the Sea

A melancholy yet spellbinding drama of loss and hope

A Ghost Story

11. A Ghost Story

Existential indie drama with a daring metaphysical conceit

Toni Erdmann

12. Toni Erdmann

Unwieldly but unforgettable German dramedy

One More Time With Feeling

13. One More Time With Feeling

Nick Cave’s personal tragedy turned moving music doco

The Big Sick

14. The Big Sick

Warm and witty comedy of culture clash and crisis

20th Century Women

15. 20th Century Women

A Gen-X coming-of-age tale as sweet as Californian orange

Love Song

16. Love Song

A beautifully nuanced drama of female friendship

A Cure For Wellness

17. A Cure For Wellness

Gleefully indulgent cult thriller spectacle

Pork Pie

18. Pork Pie

Under-rated, supremely confident remake of GPP

Author: The JT LeRoy Story
19. Author: The JT LeRoy Story

Incredible doco tale of of pop culture fraud

T2: Trainspotting
20. T2: Trainspotting

A surprisingly dazzling middle-aged sequel to the 90s cult smash

The Beguiled
21. The Beguiled

Exquisite chamber piece sees dir. Sofia Coppola in top form

Little Men
22. Little Men

Elegant domestic drama weighted with capitalistic tension

The Autopsy of Jane Doe
23. The Autopsy of Jane Doe

A black comedy that delivers on its ghoulish premise

Nocturnal Animals
24. Nocturnal Animals

Brilliantly structured revenge thriller that keeps you guessing

It Comes at Night

25. It Comes at Night

A post-apocalyptic thriller loaded with drama & metaphor

26. Jackie

Cumulatively powerful biopic of Mrs JFK

Good Time

27. Good Time

An edgy and kinetic thriller set on the mean streets of NY

I Am Not Your Negro

28. I Am Not Your Negro

Impeccable Civil Rights doco

Don’t Think Twice

29. Don’t Think Twice

Snappy New York comedy of thespian rivalry

Under the Shadow
30. Under the Shadow

Superb Iranian answer to THE BABADOOK

Wind River
31. Wind River

Chilling detective story from the writer of HELL OR HIGH WATER

Embrace of the Serpent
32. Embrace of the Serpent

Herzogian explorer adventure from Colombia

33. Francofonia

Masterful cinematic essay from the dir. of RUSSIAN ARK

34. Paterson

Leisurely, graceful drama from Jim Jarmusch


35. Elle

Troubling, divisive psycho-sexual thriller that can’t be ignored

The Red Turtle

36. The Red Turtle

Wordless French poetic fable in animated motion

37. Denial

Cracking fact-based courtroom trial of a Holocaust denier

Their Finest
38. Their Finest

Warmly inviting British wartime nostalgia

Pecking Order
39. Pecking Order

Must-see Kiwi doco that was widely seen


40. Spookers

Must-see Kiwi doco that was little-seen

41. Logan

A muscular superhero movie to be taken seriously

Perfect Strangers

42. Perfect Strangers

Bella Italian dinner comedy for the iPhone age

Personal Shopper

43. Personal Shopper

Haunting Parisian glamour chase

44. Kedi

Purr-fect doco about felines & friends in Istanbul

Baby Driver

45. Baby Driver

Delirious pop culture/popcorn actioner


46. Moana

Disney smash salted with our South Pacific flavour and talent

The Odyssey

47. The Odyssey

Splendid biopic of iconic Frenchman Jacques Cousteau

48. Truman

Delightful Spanish drama of middle-aged bro-mance

Operation Avalanche

49. Operation Avalanche

Skillful moon-landing hoax spoof

Life, Animated

50. Life, Animated

Life-affirming doco of autism & Disney movies

These also made the not-so-short list for the Best of 2017 ~

In Drama (UK/Ire): A United Kingdom, Una, London Road, A Date for Mad Mary, Alone in Berlin, A Quiet Passion, Sunset Song, My Cousin Rachel, Sense of an Ending, Victoria and Abdul, Viceroy’s House, The Man Who Knew Infinity.

In Drama: Silence, The Lost City of Z, Equity, Fences, Hidden Figures, Allied, The Founder, Norman, Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, The Wizard of Lies, Miss Sloane, The Zookeeper’s Wife, The Light Between Oceans, Remember, The Birth of a Nation. Indie-drama: Christine, American Honey, Faults, Wakefield.

In Comedy: Cafe Society, The Trip to Spain, A Street Cat Named Bob, Logan Lucky, The Family Fang.

In Documentary: The Eagle Huntress, Dancer, LA 92, Notes on Blindness, A Flickering Truth, Free to Run, National Bird: Drone Wars, Risk, The Family, An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power, Tomorrow, Le Ride. Plus doco imports (multizone player required): Lo And Behold, Welcome to Leith, The Queen of Ireland The Overnighters, Fire at Sea, Heart of a Dog, The Merchants of Doubt.

In Foreign Language: The Salesman, A War, Land of Mine, The Innocents Things to Come, Neruda, Dheepan, Julieta, After the Storm, Arabian Nights, Aquarius, A Man Called Ove, Rosalie Blum, God Willing, The Country Doctor.

In Sci-Fi/Fantasy: Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Doctor Strange, Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, Spider-man: Homecoming, Wonder Woman, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets, Colossal, The Girl with All the Gifts, Life, Alien: Covenant, War for the Planet of the Apes, Passengers, Shin Godzilla.

In Action/Crime: Hacksaw Ridge, Patriots Day, Deepwater Horizon, The Accountant, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword, Atomic Blonde, American Made. Fight Club: Chuck, Jawbone, Beast.

In Horror: It, Split, Berlin Syndrome, The Devil’s Candy.

In Family: Pete’s Dragon, Sing, Beauty and the Beast, The Queen of Katwe, A Monster Calls, Song of the Sea, Long Way North, The Lego Batman Movie, The Boss Baby, A Dog’s Purpose.

In Young Adult: Your Name, Handsome Devil, Edge of Seventeen, Jasper Jones, Carrie Pilby, Before I Fall.

In Music: Whitney: Can I Be Me, Sinatra: All or Nothing at All, What Happened, Miss Simone?, Gimme Danger, The Music of Strangers: Yo-Yo Ma and the Silk Road Ensemble.

From NZ: My Year With Helen, Poi E: The Story of Our Song, McLaren, The Heart of the Matter, The Changeover, One Thousand Ropes, The Great Maiden’s Blush, Chronesthesia.

From the edge: Raw, The Neon Demon, The Greasy Strangler, Spaghettiman, Darling, Hard To Be A God, Headshot, Train to Busan, The Wailing.

Outstanding TV Mini-series and series debuts: OJ: Made in America, Big Little Lies, Taboo, The Young Pope, Westworld, Legion, American Gods, This Is Us, Apple Tree Yard, Decline and Fall.

Thanks for reading, and your interest and investment in what we do. If you find this newsletter useful please forward to a friend, or you can like, share or give feedback on our Top 50 post on Facebook.

Cheers from the Aro Team,

AroVideo Online

The Aro St Video Shop
97 Aro Street, Wellington, NZ
ph. 64-4-801-7101

"We Specialise for Special Eyes" ~ since way back in 1989

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