2017 in Cinema : Part 1 – The Bottom Ten

So after a break from reviewing that was longer than even I expected, I am returning with the look at my bottom ten films released at the cinema in 2017. I’m going to get this out of the way quickly, 2017 was a bad year for cinema, especially when compared to 2016. Last year I struggled to make a top ten because there were so many good films, and I had the same problem with the bottom ten this year.

That being said, I saw more films this calendar year than I ever have done before, increasing on last years 100 to 110 this year. I reached 100 in mid-November so took it slightly easier after that, although to be fair there wasn’t really a lot to shout home about after that. Please note that during this breakdown over the next few days I will be including some films that were actually released in the UK in very late 2016, but I am counting them if they were only released after I started my 2016 countdown, and if I saw them after the New Year.

So here we are, the films that I feel are the worst that I saw during the year of 2017. Unlike the rest of the breakdown lists that will be coming over the next few days, this one counts down rather than up. So what film will join “Pompeii”, “Vacation” and “David Brent : Life on the Road” in the group of worst films of the year?

Before I start, there were a few issues making this format correctly, so hopefully those issues are now sorted, but if it doesn’t work properly on your browser of choice than I apologise.

101) The Mountain Between Us

Cast : Idris Elba and Kate Winslet

Plot : Ben (Elba) and Alex (Winslet) are both desperate to get to Denver for surgery and marriage respectively, but their flight is cancelled due to a storm. They hire a private charter to get there and all seems to be going well until the pilot suffers a stroke mid-flight, causing the plane to crash on a mountain without having filed a flight plan. Both Ben and Alex survive, although the latter with a badly wounded leg.

Venturing out Ben doesn’t seen any method of escape as there isn’t a town or road in sight. Disagreeing about how to deal with the situation, Alex eventually leaves to try and find help. Ben eventually finds her and the two continue the climb down. Ben eventually finds a cabin in which he cares for Alex after she falls in a lake. The two then have spontaneous sex and this makes things very awkward.

Why in this position? : TMBU had a decent amount of potential, it had two reasonable leads and a somewhat ok plot, if a little unoriginal, but it wasted all of those and was one of the most painfully bland films of the year. To sum up how bad it was, it became just the second ever film that I walked out of with more than ten minutes left.

Winslet and Elba have precisely zero chemistry whatsoever and this makes it even more ridiculous when their characters spontaneously have sex, that despite precisely zero hints of them being attracted to each other. Before that it was just simply a case of a very formulaic plot, they argue, they reconcile, they argue, they reconcile, etc. It’s the most basic of basic plots and it really doesn’t work, I would go as far as calling it boring.

All of this really isn’t helped by the “Return of the King” syndrome, in other words it refused to end and just kept going. Some people will say how can I know this when I left early, well the reason I know this is because it got to roughly the 95 minute mark of the 108 runtime and it had been in the final scenes for at least 15 minutes….and it was STILL going.

 

102) The Snowman

Cast : Michael Fassbender, Rebecca Ferguson, Val Kilmer, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Tob Jones and James D’Arcy

Plot : Harry (Fassbender) is an alcoholic cop in Oslo who is assigned to investigate the murderof a young woman. He is teamed with the enthusiastic Katrine (Ferguson) and the two of them eventually realise that the killings are a repeat of murders from a few years prior by a man they know simply as “The Snowman” killer.

As time goes on Harry tries to build a stronger relationship with his son, but the case soon hits a lot closer to home than he imagined.

Why in this position? : So the only reason that this isn’t further towards the bottom is that I liked the cat and mouse element to the story, and that is about it. There is nothing else that is redeeming about this snorefest of a detective story.

There is precisely nothing new in this story and it is amazing how a film set in Norway can not have a single Norwegian in the principle cast. Sure there must be some Nordic actors that could have done a good job, but whether it is American cast members trying to pull off bad Scandinavian accent, it just failed to hit home and I struggled to really care about the story.

And on a final note, what the hell is going on with Val Kilmer’s voice? Before someone says it I know that it is because of health issues, but in all truth I only went to watch this because I am a fan of Val Kilmer. He is the star of my favourite film (Willow) an it has been such a long time since he was in a movie that was released at the cinema, and it feels like a complete waste.

 

 

103) Loving

Cast : Joel Egerton, Ruth Negga, Nick Kroll and Marton Csokas

Plot : Richard (Egerton) and Mildred (Negga) are an inter-racial couple that decides to travel from Virginia to Washington to get married, and upon their return they build their own house. One night whilst they are sleeping, their home is invaded by Sherriff Brooks (Csokas), who arrests them for their interracial relationship, stating that it is illegal in the state and that their marriage does not matter in Virginia.

The couple are forced to move out of the state and raise their three children in the cities, but they realise that they need to raise their kids around their families and they decide to move back, breaching their suspended jail sentences. Mildred eventually writes to congress, who assign the case to Bernie Cohen (Kroll), a highly trained lawyer. He convinces them to purposefully get themselves arrested, which will allow their case to be heard at the Supreme Court, which is in a state that doesn’t base law on race.

Why in this position? : Early on in the year there were a lot of films relating to race and discrimination, but this was the least imaginative of the lot of them. How this was nominated for the “Best Picture” Academy Award is beyond me and the reason for that is it is so exceptionally boring. You are expected to believe that Mildred and Richard love each other, but there is precisely zero chemistry between them, and I’m not convinced that Mildred shows a single emotion other than sorrow throughout the entire film.

Joel Egerton is frightfully dull as Richard, and I was sat there for over two hours just waiting for the film to feel worthwhile, but I can’t really think of a single positive in relation to the movie. I’m not saying that it is awful, but if you are trying to convince me that these two love each other enough to do what they do during the film, at least make them seem like they love each other, and aren’t just two actors who are actually trying.

I do also find it strange that Michael Shannon is credited as a star of the film, and is actually the third highest credit, but he is in the film for five minutes, at most.

 

 

104) Everything, Everything

Cast : Amandla Steinberg, Nick Robinson, Anika Noni Rose and Ana de la Reguera

Plot : Maddy (Steinberg) has been housebound for her entire life after her mum (Rose) diagnosed her with a genetic disorder that means she doesn’t really have an immune system. Her only friend is Carla (Reguera), her nurse. One day a family moves in next door and Olly (Robinson) takes an instant liking to her, and the two eventually form a bond through texts and the internet.

After a while Carla lets Olly into the house to spend time with Maddy, but when her mum finds out Carla is fired. Now feeling trapped, Maddy decides to run away on holiday with Olly to Hawaii. She enjoys her new freedom but suddenly becomes very ill and has to return home.

Why in this position : Please note that the below contains spoilers.

EE (as I’m simply going to call it for the review) is everything that a teenage girl with no taste in good story telling would love, similar to the Twilight franchise in that respect, but anyone with an ounce of an attention span will hate this movie, much like me.

The movie is full of predictable nonsense and I called it right from the beginning that she would either die or it turn out that she was never sick in the first place, and I was right (I won’t reveal which just incase for some reason you decide to watch this drivel). It’s full of plot holes, such as how does Maddy get a form of ID to be able to travel to Hawaii in the first place?

Then we get to the most ridiculous concept of the movie, the fact that Maddy gets ill after she has been outside and thinks it is because her illness. Anyone who hasn’t been exposed to any virus for the vast, vast majority of their life will get ill very easily due to not having gained immunity. Regardless of whether you have an immunity disease or not, you’re going to get ill if you’ve never been outside. One doctor towards the end sums it up perfectly when he says “even healthy people get ill”.

At a mercifully short 90-odd minutes, this movie was still a complete waste of time and effort, and I would encourage everyone to avoid at all costs.

 

105) Victoria and Abdul

Cast : Ali Fazel, Judi Dench, Eddie Izzard, Tim Piggot-Smith, Adeel Akhtar, Simon Callow and Michael Gambom

Plot : As the tallest worker in his town, poet Abdul (Fazel) is shipped off to England present Queen Victoria (Dench) with a commemorative coin. She is initially unimpressed with the gift, but soon notices Abdul ignoring the rule of not looking at her. She admires his daring to break the rules and she asks him to stay longer to help her during her Jubilee.

The stay keeps getting longer and longer, much to the annoyance of Victoria’s council, family and staff and when she reveals that he is to be knighted they all threaten to quit. She ignores everyone but her failing health might put a stop to everything.

Why in this position? : “Victoria and Abdul” is one of the most ridiculously one-dimensional period dramas I’ve ever seen. If this film was to be believed you would think that the final few months/years (it’s never confirmed how longer this film takes place over) were spent to her being obsessed with Abdul as she literally talks about nothing else, nothing at all. Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate she likes him, but are you trying to tell me that in the final stages of her life that only thing that was going on was her relationship with him?

It’s preposterous to suggest this but the plot has no sub-plots, it’s just literally the friendship and the reaction to it, and that’s it. There is nothing else AT ALL. Victoria is tediously dull and Dench almost looks bored in the role, and whilst Fazal is charming as Abdul, it doesn’t distract from a film with little meaning or purpose.

This was never likely to feature high in this list as historical dramas (and a fair few only barely survived avoided being in my bottom ten) don’t really do anything for me, but I never suspected that it would be as bad, boring and one-dimensional as it was. There aren’t even any truly decent supporting characters as they are also one-dimensional. They all want Abdul out for one reason or another. It’s just tedious.

 

 

 

106) The Bye Bye Man

Cast : Douglas Smith, Lucien Laviscount, Cressida Bonas, Carrie Ann Moss and Doug Jones.

Plot : Three friends move into a new home and one discovers a nightstand that repeats the words “Don’t think it, don’t say it” over and over again, themselves covering up the words “the Bye Bye Man”. Initially writing it off, the three friends start getting visions of a hooded man and his dog.

Why in this position? : With a shocking score (at the time of writing (January 27th)) of just 3.7/10 on IMDB, you’d be forgiven for thinking that this was one of the worst films of the year….and you’d be right.

It’s hard to really put into true context why this film is so bad, because some films don’t even need to really be that fully delved into. Firstly you’ve got an antagonist, a ghostly figure that is never given any back story or sense of why it does what it does. The truly great villains in horror franchises, or even remotely good ones, are the ones that capture your imagination with their back story, and you see things from their side, but you learn precisely nothing about the character of “The Bye Bye Man”. He’s just kind of there.

The acting from all concerned is pretty terrible, so much to the point where apparently there was a screening in America that most of the principle cast attended and they were laughed out of the building. That’s how bad it was, and the delivery of lines from some of them, such as Cressida Bonas, is shockingly bad.

Arguably worst of all is the poor attempt at adding a hell-hound in as the graphics will look very familiar to anyone who has seen any of the early nineties attempts. If your CGI animals in a film released in 2017 look like they’re from the early nineties, you’re doing it wrong.

 

 

107) My Cousin Rachel

Cast : Sam Claflin, Rachel Weisz, Iain Glen, Holiday Grainger and Pierfrancesco Favino

Plot : During his youth Phillip (Claflin) was adopted by a relative, but when he reaches adulthood he discovers that his relative has died, and notes seem to implicate his wife Rachel (Weisz) in being responsible for it. Phillip becomes convinced that she is evil, even before meeting her, and when she arrives to settle affairs of the will, he intends to treat her terribly.

Their first meeting comes and Rachel isn’t anything like what Phillip had imagined, and the two form a bond over the coming weeks, even so much that he falls in love with her. As time goes on and he approaches the inheritance of the property, he soon finds himself conflicted and begins to think that Rachel should have all of the belongings he is set to gain. His friends try to talk him out of it, but he is adamant that it is the right thing to do, but as soon as he does he begins getting paranoid thoughts again, and maybe she has tricked her way into his plans.

Why in this position? : All I kept hearing in the build up to this film is how it is thrilling and completely engaging. People who had already seen it described it as gripping and relentlessly puzzling. I completely and utterly disagree with any of those statements.

“My Cousin Rachel” has excellent cinematography, and it is well acted by all concerned, but not once during the run time of the film, which is quite lengthy considering not a lot really happens, did I feel excited, engaged or even remotely interested in what was happening. I found myself looking at my phone far more than at any other point during the year.

If you must insist on watching this, be prepared to be wanting to leave the cinema very quickly.

 

 

108) Cure for Wellness

Cast : Dane DeHaan, Jason Isaacs, Mia Goth and Celia Imrie

Plot : Lockhart (DeHaan) has been caught by his bosses doing illegal activities, but he is given the chance to escape legal proceedings by going to Switzerland and getting a colleague who went on holiday, only to say that he wouldn’t be coming back. Lockhart reluctantly agrees and is initially impressed by the beauty of the centre that is run by Dr Volmer (Isaacs). He soon starts finding his efforts simply to see his colleague frustrating, and meanwhile uncovers a minor conspiracy.

No-one who visits the centre seems to want to leave, and people are regularly struck with health related issues when they try to leave. What is going on under the surface?

Why in this position? : One of the most pretentious films of the year, “A Cure for Wellness” couldn’t be more of a “Shutter Island” rip off if it tried. The basics of the plot are exactly the same – A young man in a position of power is sent to a strange location to look for someone, everything seems fine at first but then as time goes on more and more seems out of place, and he starts questioning his own sanity. It’s the same plot for both pretty much.

There is precisely nothing that is original about “A Cure for Wellness” and in the lengthy run time of around 150 minutes, there is little to inspire the imagination, and I was actually able to leave for around five minutes at one point to get a drink, return to the screen and they were still in the middle of the same conversation. I have never walked out of a film through boredom in my life, but I almost did for this as it is such a bad film.

Dane DeHaan is his characteristically dull and lifeless self, and not one member of the cast engages you. I was bored to the point where I almost fell asleep. It’s that bad.

The only positive that I can say about “A Cure for Wellness” is that it is a visually striking film, but there is little other than that to get you interested.

 

 

109) Resident Evil : Final Chapter

Cast : Milla Jovovich, Iain Glen, Shawn Roberts, Ali Larter and Ruby Rose

Plot : Ten years after the initial outbreak, Alice (Jovovich) is once again left alone following the betrayal from Wesker (Roberts). She is contacted by the AI system, the Red Queen, who reveals that there is an airborne anti-virus that can free the world from the T-Virus, but she would have to return to the Hive to get it. She is soon captured by Dr. Isaacs (Glen), whom she believed she had killed.

Alice eventually escapes him and joins a group of survivors in Raccoon City that are led by Claire (Larter), a former friend of her’s. The group barely survives an attack from Dr. Isaacs, and they all escape into the Hive together, but Wesker goes about trying to stop them reaching the cure, and few others that Alice never saw coming.

Why in this position? : Do you remember that scene in Jurassic Park in which Ian Malcolm looks at the triceratops poo and says “that is one big pile of shit”? I’m sure one day someone will replace the pile of poo with this movie poster and create a meme. It is that bad.

The film starts off with a massive problem in that the last film ended with potential as Alice was forced to team with Wesker, but as soon as this film starts Alice is suddenly crawling out of a destroyed White House and you’re just told that they were betrayed. There is literally nothing hinted as to what Wesker did, you’re just thrown in. It might be a deleted scene on the DVD, but I will sure as hell not be finding out.

You constantly hear throughout the film that the final human settlements will fall within 48 hours, but how do they know? How can they possibly know? Is there going to be an explosion? Are they purposefully going to kill those? You never find out! You’re given a time limit for the sake of being given a time limit. It has no merit at all.

I could literally sit here for hours writing about how the film is bad and how terrible it is, but let me put it this way, I love the first film in the franchise, I thought it was excellent, and then they gradually got worse as the series went on until what I thought was a low point of the fifth film, but the fifth looks like a masterpiece compared to this clusterfuck of a movie.

Just avoid.

 

 

 

110, and my least favourite movie of the year) The Florida Project

Cast : Bria Vinaite, Willem DaFoe, Brooklynn Prince, Valeria Cotto and Christopher Rivera

Plot : Moonee (Prince) is a troublesome child living with her mother Halley (Vinaite). Halley struggles to make rent every week as she can’t get a job and resorts to various tactics to try and assure that she can put a roof over her and her daughter’s head. Moonee’s continuing delinquent behaviour, such as purposefully turning off the power supply and setting fire to a nearby building, means that the pair are often threatened with eviction by Bobby (DaFoe), the manager of the complex.

As time goes on Halley’s attempts to get money become more immoral, ranging from stealing to prostituting herself, and it isn’t long before those angry at Moonee’s antics notice this and call social services on Halley.

Why in this position? : I write this bit two hours after seeing the film on October 23rd. During that two hours I have been shopping and I spent most the time trying desperately to think of a single noteworthy positive about a film that saw more than half of the 75 strong audience walk out at various points, some after more than just a few minutes.

“The Florida Project” is a directionless mess. It wasn’t until the final five or so minutes that the plot become even remotely clear, and by that point I couldn’t care less. Don’t get me wrong, DaFoe and Vinaite actually do decent jobs, but it is really hard to give a crap because of how poor the story is presented. You’re shown what life is like around the complex, such as Bobby having to tell a lady to cover up or chasing off a pedophile, but other than that there is seemingly no point to the movie.

Moonee is not a likeable child, and nor are her friends as not a single one of them is given any development throughout the movie, and what makes it even worse is that when she finally breaks down at the end of the movie due to what is happening at the time, the film abruptly ends 30 seconds later without a meaningful resolution to what you’ve just spent nearly two hours watching.

And before someone criticises me for not liking it simply because it is an indie film and they aren’t generic blockbusters where things are spoon-fed…..this whole website is dedicated to indie films and I’ve loved some films of a similar nature. This came from the same director as a movie called “Tangerine” that I absolutely love. It’s amazing how a director can direct a 9/10 movie one year and then make this pointless, irrelevant nonsense.

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