Archive for the ‘Yearly Breakdowns’ Category

So this is it, after counting down ninety films, we finally come to the top ten. These films will all find their way into my Blu-Ray collection and in a year in which there was a surprisingly large amount of films released that weren’t absolutely terrible, choosing a top ten was surprisingly tricky as in the majority of other years, most of the films that I listed in my 20-11 list would have made it into this top ten quite comfortably.

I am still highly pleased at more than doubling my previous best in terms of films seen at the cinema, although I realised whilst writing this list that I actually watched 102 films during the year at the cinema, I had completely forgotten about “American Honey” and “Inferno”. I’ve described a few films as being completely forgettable during this countdown over the last few days, but evidently they could have been considerably more forgettable. For the record, both would have probably been in the 80-71 list.

But anyway, onto my top ten and the one thing that I noticed whilst writing this list is that a lot of them were films that I actually paid to watch. For those don’t read this website, I work at a cinema and so get to watch films for free, but when we don’t show a film for one reason or another I went and watched it elsewhere. Out of the ten films I’m about to go through, I actually paid for four. I’m not sure whether they took on extra significance for me because I paid for them, but if that were true then films such as “Men and Chicken” and “Adult Life Skills” would have made it into this.

I don’t think that having to pay for the films has made me more psychologically inclined to include them in the top ten, although three of my top five do fall into the category of films I paid for.

10) Hell or High Waterlarge_mdsgh5nez6ahrtcfd9mr7ufl0ad

Cast : Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges and Gil Birmingham

Plot : Toby (Pine) and Tanner (Foster) are brothers that spend most of a seemingly random week robbing banks across rural Texas. They are aiming to avenge their mother after a reverse mortgage left her with huge debts before she died, and now they’re aiming to make that bank pay. They aren’t doing it unnoticed however, and Texas Rangers Marcus (Bridges) and Alberto (Birmingham) are assigned to the case.

There is seemingly no set pattern to the robberies, other than that they seem to be target at a single bank chain, and this leads Marcus closer to the brothers, especially after Tanner decides to rob a bank by himself, whilst Toby sits in the dinner opposite completely unaware of what is happening.

Why at Number Ten? : “Hell or High Water” was one of those films that I can imagine people being turned off at because it’s very slow film, but the difference between this and several other slow movies on this list is that it is very methodical in it’s slowness. Not a lot happens for long periods of time, but it uses that time to do what all films should do and build the relationship, as well as focusing on the cat-and-mouse nature of the movie.

Even though the movie is slow, not once was I bored, and I loved how subtley done the lengthy scene in which Tanner is snipering people is done. It would have been easy to simply have loud and stereotypical action style music accompanying the death that unfolds on screen, but they choose to go the “No Country for Old Men” route and not have any music at that point, and there is barely any music during the entire film. Sometimes films don’t need music, and this is one of those, but that’s not to say that when there is music that it’s not well used, and it truly brings you into the feeling of being in Texas.

The whole cast puts in an excellent performance, with Ben Foster proving excellent once again, and this is far better than the other film that featured both him and Pine during the year “The Finest Hours”.

I was surprised when this got a mainstream release as I had seen the trailer several months prior and thought that it would make a great film to review for this site, i/e it looks a bit like one of those independent films a few big name actors do every now and then that goes nowhere. I am delighted that it did get a mainstream release and I would encourage everyone to watch it.

 

 

9) Eye in the Skyeye-in-the-sky-poster-lg

Cast : Helen Mirren, Aaron Paul, Alan Rickman, Barkhad Abdi, Jeremy Northam and Iain Glen

Plot : Colonel Powell (Mirren) wakes up to the news that an undercover agent in Kenya has been killed after being discovered, and this prompts her to try and capture members of the Al-Shabaab terrorist group once and for all. To do this she is relying on Nevada based drone pilot, 2nd Lt Watts (Paul) and an undercover agent on the ground (Farah) to gather locations and evidence. Using a variety of techniques, including a mini robot disguised as a fly, they discover that not only are their targets in a house that they are monitoring, but there are also a lot of explosives.

The group start preparing two suicide bombers and this turns the mission from a simple capture, to one that needs to involve the deaths of those involved and seen on the video. During the lengthy process of getting approval, a young girl starts selling bread nearby, and they realise that in order to kill the terrorists, they run the risk of killing an innocent child.

Why at Number 9? : In a year full of morally complex films, none were even close to “Eye in the Sky” for making you think about the situation and what is the right course of action. It comes down to the basic question of if it’s worth risking a few lives to save millions. Logic dictates that there shouldn’t even be a hesitation. To quote the Vulcans from Star Trek, “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”. That being said, that is something deliciously dark about the situation when it involves children as the choice becomes even more extreme.

Let’s not mess about when it comes to describing this movie, it is tense. You will not come out of it with your nerves intact, and arguably more importantly you will still be debating with yourself about what you would do, and that is what the characters spend the movie doing. In many ways it is like an onion and has layer upon layer to take off before you get to the end of the film, but you almost don’t want it to end because you’re that invested.

You also start to appreciate that every decision that is made in relation to counter terrorism is simple, and it requires a lot of thought and consideration of the aftermath and consequences of any actions that they elect to take. It is a film that makes you think.

Everyone gives a great performance, and Aaron Paul offers something completely different from what he has done before, showing a great range as his character has the biggest moral conflict in the film as whilst others are making decisions, he is the one who will ultimately have to follow orders and potentially kill an innocent child. His character’s internal debating is exceptionally well done by Paul, and at a relatively young age he still has a lot to offer.

 

8) Sing Street2yo3lhav

Cast : Ferdia Walsh-Peelo, Lucy Boynton, Jack Reynor, Aidan Gillen, Ben Carolan, Mark McKenna, Percy Chamburuka, Conor Hamilton, Karl Rise and Aidan Gillen

Plot : Conor (Walsh-Peelo)’s parents are arguing constantly due to restricted finances and because of this he has to change schools and go to the local catholic establishment. There he is soon targeted by bullies, both in terms of other students and the faculty. He is befriended by Darren (Carolan), and he soon notices a girl standing on the opposite side of the street that he is attracted to. He braves it and decides to flirt with the girl, Raphina (Boynton), an aspiring model. During the conversation Conor tries to impress her by saying that he has a band and would like her to appear in the video. She agrees, but now Conor has to actually create a band from scratch.

He does so with the help of Darren, as well as the musically talented Eamon (McKenna), and various others. As time goes on, the group becomes highly competent, but Connor’s relationship with Raphina takes several unusual twists and he soon questions whether it’s worth the effort.

My Full Review

Why at Number Eight : Right, I’m going to start this review with a revelation. I loved this film at the first viewing, and I bought it on Blu Ray some time later. I watched it a second time and loved it just as much as the first, but then something happened on the third viewing. I started noticing a lot of problems with the film, however, I kept this in the first position that I initially planned for it because of fairness, as I have done with a few other films much further down the list. For example, if I had changed this position then I would have to go back and change the position of all of the other films I have watched more than once that are on this list (there are about five of them), and if I’m not going to do it for one, I can’t do it for another. I hope that made sense.

“Sing Street” was one of the first films that I saw during the film that I actually had to pay for because the cinema I work at wasn’t actually showing it. I fell in love with the look, feel and characters of the film, and especially the connection between Conor and Raphina, even if you’re not convinced that it is a relationship will last long term. In many ways it is very similar to the relationship between Scott and Ramona in “Scott Pilgrim vs the World”.

The cast is very warm, the film itself is vibrant and the music is exceptional, making you feel like you’re watching a film that was actually made in the eighties, rather than just a movie set in that time. “Sing Street” is very original and the characters, for the most part are all important to the plot, which is something that I can’t say about most films.

I’m not going to get into why I fell somewhat out of love with this film as time went on, mainly because I want this whole list to be a big positive, and hopefully what I noticed won’t be much of a problem upon the next viewing. I’m not saying that I hate the film.

 

7) Sullyphpxlodvgxtbuq_2_l

Cast : Tom Hanks, Aaron Eckhart and Mike O’Malley

Plot : Chesley (Hanks) is a pilot and one day he sets off on a flight that fails in just a few minutes after some birds fly into both engines. Realising that he is unlikely to make it back to any local airports, “Sully” as he is affectionately known, decides to do a controlled water landing. He saves everyone on board. At least that is how he remembers it.

When he and co-pilot Jeff Skiles (Eckhart) are interviewed by a team lead by Charles Porter (O’Malley), it is told to them that they have run simulations and every single one shows that they could have made it back to an airport safely. Both refute this, and the media view them as heroes, but Sully is left wondering if the data is actually correct, even if he keeps telling himself it definitely was.

Why at Number Seven? This was the last film to qualify for my top ten list, only entering it in December. I had heard good things about Sully, but little did I imagine how much I’d enjoy it.

Let’s start with something that I haven’t really talked about a lot during this whole countdown and that is the cinematography. This film looks fantastic. It was filmed using IMAX cameras and I fortunately happen to work at a cinema with IMAX screens, so I got the chance to watch it in all of the glory that it was intended to be in, and it nails it. The shots of New York, especially when Sully is going on a run, are sublime and it definitely didn’t help my wanderlust.

Tom Hanks is great, of course he is, when isn’t he? This is one of more serious roles in his career, but he like a fine wine and just gets better with age. I can’t think of a single Tom Hanks performance that I didn’t enjoy down the years, and it will be interesting to see where his career takes him after this.

One thing that I found intriguing about the film was that you don’t see what actually happened until near enough the end of the film. You’re left playing a guessing game, trying to piece together all of the bits to make an informed decision about whether Sully did make a mistake. It would have been very easy to simply show it at the beginning and then have us know what he is saying is definitely the case from the beginning, but the way they did it, introducing an element of doubt, was very well done and for me, made it a better movie.

Watch “Sully”, it is far better than films of a similar nature.

 

6) Spotlightspotlight_ver2

Cast : Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber, John Slattery, Brian d’Arcy James, Stanley Tucci and Billy Crudup

Plot : In 2001 the Boston Globe newspaper hires a new editor, Marty Baron (Schreiber). He meets with Walter (Keaton), the head of the newspaper’s investigative “Spotlight” team, and assigns them to look into alleged sexual abuse of children within the church.

The subject matter proves a difficult one for Walter’s team to look into as some of the stories of those giving evidence is less than pleasant, but the team suddenly realises that this has gone from just a simple newspaper article, and turned into a very important piece of journalism.

Why at Number Six? Make no mistake about it, “Spotlight” is an uncomfortable watch and arguably the most difficult of the year due to the subject matter, but that is what makes the film great. You feel yourself getting angry at the situation and the attitude of the priesthood, especially the scary aspect that some of the priests that they do manage to interview don’t actually see a problem with what they have done, and they openly admit their experiences with. Don’t get me wrong, I can see why innocent priests are angry at the accusations, but the angry reaction of those that are actually guilty, and the way that they try to act as though what they’ve done is normal, is very off putting.

Make no mistake about it, this is an important movie. Whilst made for entertainment value, this film has arguably the most important message out of any that came out during 2016.

It’s hard to put into words why this film is important, but it is arguably the hardest-hitting of the year and makes you exceptionally uncomfortable, but there there many parts to it that I just love, with my favourite scene being such a simple concept, but a harrowing one at the same time when Brian d’Arcy James’ Matt discovers that one of the alleged perpetrators lives near his house, and he stands in front of it and struggles to hide his anger. This scene is built up later by him personally delivering the newspaper article to the house. It’s a feeling of justification for the character and whilst not a major scene, and a largely forgettable one, it is arguably one of the most human in the entire film.

 

5) Neon Demonthe-neon-demon-poster-by-dave-stafford

Cast : Elle Fanning, Jena Malone, Bella Heathcote, Desmond Harrington, Abbey Lee, Karl Glusman and Keanu Reeves

Plot : Jesse (Fanning) moves to LA in the hopes of becoming a model. Her humble and largely self-less approach wins over a few people, including Dean (Glusman), but there are some other models that are considerably less impressed, namely Gigi (Heathcote) and Sarah (Lee), both of whom take an exceptionally negative view of Jesse.

Despite being established in the industry, both Gigi and Sarah find themselves suddenly losing out on roles to Jesse on a regular basis, and this means that once Jesse refutes the advances of her friend Ruby (Malone), there could be big trouble for her.

Why at Number Five? So, this was the ultimate in a film that I loved after watching a trailer I hated this year. I was convinced that this wouldn’t be a major opening around the UK, and I was largely right. For the most part I was unsure why it had an 18 rating until it gets into it’s third act, at which point you have a potential rape scene, and also a scene that I won’t spoil for anyone that hasn’t seen the film, but those that have seen it will know exactly what I mean when I say “the body”.

The scene that I am referring to, as well as the eventual fate of Jesse, left me stunned, sat there at Hyde Park Picture House with my mouth wide open in shock. I love films that leave me surprised and it’s safe to say that this managed it.

“Neon Demon” is visually stunning and the audible aspect to the film is beyond engrossing. “The Demon Dance” and Sia’s “Waving Goodbye” are both booming in their style, but bring you into the world of the modelling industry even more.

The character development is amongst the best from the year, with Jesse herself turning from a humble, nervous and likeable girl, right into the way you would imagine a stereotypical model, i/e full of herself and thinking that people who aren’t models aren’t worthy of her time. Her development isn’t too dissimilar to the change that you see in Walter White in the TV series “Breaking Bad”.

 

4) Me Before Yours_600x889-160203094831-634-me-before-you-poster

Cast : Emily Clarke, Sam Claflin, Matthew Lewis, Stephen Peacocke, Brendon Coyle, Samantha Spiro, Jenna Coleman, Janet McTeerand Charles Dance,

Plot : Louisa (Clarke) is made redundant after the cafe she works at closes. She is given a job caring for Will (Claflin) who is mostly paralysed from the neck down. Will doesn’t make her job easy at first, being very short with her and it’s clear that he doesn’t want her there. Louisa does eventually get him to open up and the two develop a good friendship, but then Louisa’s world is blown open when she finds out that Will plans to go to Dignitas in Switzerland in order to die.

Why at Number Four? I get a feeling that this entry is going to surprise a lot of people, infact it surprised myself some what as this isn’t the type of film that normally interests me, but I found myself charmed by the relatively simply premise of “Me Before You”.

The cast are all heart-warmingly delightful, and they deliver a very mixed back of a film. There are moments that are witty, laugh out loud funny, romantic and heart-breaking. It plays with your emotions so well, but it’s not done in an in your face way. The humour is mainly based on dry-wit, whereas you can just get hypnotised in a scene by simply watching Emilia Clarke’s emotions come purely through her eyebrows. Seriously, watch some of the trailers and try not to be distracted by her eyebrow moments now that I’ve pointed them out.

I’m not entirely sure what to say about this film for the most part. I loved it, even though the majority of my friends didn’t, and it is far, far better than a lot of other romantic films that have come out in recent years. Claflin and Clarke play off each other very well, and you could actually see them as a genuine couple in real life. Claflin’s way to delivering some hilarious lines in a completely deadpan way was right up my street.

If you’re after a romantic night in with your other half and fancy a film that is unlike the majority of others of a similarish nature then this film is for you.

 

3) Eddie the Eagleeddie_the_eagle

Cast : Taron Egerton, Hugh Jackman, Jo Hartley, Keith Allen, Iris Berben and Rune Temte

Plot : Since he was a young boy, Eddie (Egerton) has dreamed of being in the Olympics, but the problem is that he is just not very good….any anything. He tries his hand at every Olympic sport imaginable, before eventually settling on skiing. He is however turned down for a place on the Olympic squad, but he soon comes across ski-jumping and he travels to Germany to practice properly.

After easily conquering the 15 metre jump, he attempts the 40 metres but is very quickly injured. He continues to get injured before he asks slope maintenance operative Bronson (Jackman) to help him after discovering he was a former Olympic ski-jumper himself. Bronson initially refuses, but Eddie’s “never give up” attitude wins him over and he trains him, all to the horror of the others who are practising.

Why at Number Three? : I absolutely adore this film. It is the ultimate feel good movie and I described it at the time of watching it as “this year’s “Cool Runnings”, a movie about never giving up and achieving your dreams, not matter how unlikely it is, how injured you get, or even how many people constantly tell you that you’re just not good enough.

This was my number one pick for a long time, and in another other year this would have walked it right through to my number one spot. It is a remarkable work from this year, even if it is a little cheesy, and Taron Egerton nails it so much that it’s impossible not to find yourself routing for Eddie. He plays it with such humility and grace, that you often forget that he is just an actor and that you’re watching a film.

The comedy is spot on, and I don’t often say that about films. I’m not a big fan of most comedies these days, afterall, my bottom two for this year were both “comedies”, but “Eddie the Eagle” not only promises big things, but it sticks the landing.

I think what sets this apart from other similar films is that whilst the antagonists are arseholes, they are generally decent people. For example, the coach of the Norwegian coach, Bjorn, is a complete dick to Eddie and Bronson, but he is the first to help when Eddie is badly injured after attempting the 70 metres. It shows you that he is a dick, but he has a point that this is now beyond the point of being funny, and is actually getting highly dangerous. One thing that the film constantly brings home is that it is a dangerous sport, and it’s great that it shows this through not only the accidents, but the reactions of the characters.

“Eddie the Eagle” is a gem, and I encourage anyone and everyone to watch it.

 

2) Swiss Army ManImage result for swiss army man

Cast : Paul Dano, Daniel Radcliffe and Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Plot : Hank (Dano) got stranded on a tiny desert island some time ago and his “messages in a bottle” (or items to that affect) have had no response, so he decides to end his life by hanging himself. During the act, he notices a body that has washed up on shore (Radcliffe). In his desperation Hank tries to revive the long dead body, all before again going back to hang himself in despair, but at this point he notices the body doing strange actions, such as farting on a regular basis, and he soon realises when he sees the body float and seemingly move at will that this could be his way off of the island.

He rides the body like a dolphin to the nearest other landmass, but again feels suicidal when there are no signs of life anywhere near by. Soon after he realises that the corpse isn’t as dead as it would appear, and he is able to have a conversation with the person he calls “Manny”. Manny has no memory of his life, so Hank decides to try and educate him about the basics of life, and it isn’t long before Manny falls in love with the woman on Hank’s phone (Winstead), believing it to be his own girlfriend.

My Full Review

Why at Number Two? : It’s such a shame that this film was written off by many before it had even been released. Many chose not to watch it for the simple reason that it got described as a film about a “farting corpse”, and whilst there is that element to it, it would be unfair to say that that is only what the film is about. The film is more than just about a corpse that regularly farts, it is allegory of life itself, teaching you to appreciate the little things.

There is a scene about 2/3 of the way through the film in which Hank builds a makeshift bus for Manny and teaches him about something that would seem mundane for the rest of us. He describes it like it’s something that should be treasured, and almost makes you feel nostalgic towards doing something that is part of every day life. That is what makes the dynamic between the two characters so memorable and mesmerising, it’s almost like a father teaching his young son about life and how it works.

Dano and Radcliffe are both remarkable in their respective roles, and the characterisation of both Manny and Hank thought-provoking, especially when the ending of the film puts the latter into a new light.

“Swiss Army Man” is one of the most original films that I have seen in my life. There is genuinely nothing like it out there. If you haven’t seen it yet, or are just avoiding it because you’ve heard it’s nothing more than a film about a farting corpse, just go out and watch it. You’ll not regret it.

 

So, 99 films later (well, 101 if you count the two I forgot all about) we come to my number one pick. As I mentioned before, those that regularly read my reviews will know exactly what is coming. It is a film that was completely unlike anything I have seen previously, and brings about every single emotion the space of less than two hours. It is a joyous triumph, a beautiful tragedy and an examination of life outside of the norm. It is of course……..

1, the best film of the year) Captain Fantasticcf_poster

Cast : Viggo Mortensen, George MacKay, Sam Isler, Annalist Basso, Nicholas Hamilton, Shree Crooks, Charlie Shotwell, Kathryn Hahn, Steve Zahn and Frank Langella

Plot : Ben (Mortensen) and his wife (unseen) raised their kids in the woods and followed the Buddhist way of life. However, one day she develops cancer and when he phones to check on her some time later, she has passed away. Because of the way he leads his life, and how he has raised the kids, Ben and the rest of the family are banned from attending the funeral, even though they’re all enraged it’s being held as a traditional Catholic funeral, against her wishes.

The kids convince Ben to go to the funeral anyway and take them with him. This is the first venture outside of their normal environment for the kids, and their social awkwardness leads to some very interesting conversations with friends and family alike.

My full Review

Why is it Number One? : Those that have been reading this site for a while know that this was always likely to be my number one film of the year following on from a very positive review that I gave the film a few months back. After watching it I had to take a deep breath after getting home as this was a tour-de-force film.

Now through this countdown of films I have regularly said that because I have reviewed it previously, I’m going to keep it short, but I simply can’t for this breathtakingly fresh movie. From the moment I watched it I fell in love, and I put it right up there with my favourite movie in 2014, Nightcrawler, as being perfect. Everything about it is just so well done and tasteful, right from the way it respects religious views (I’m not religious for clarification), right down to how to deal with a very important family matter sensitively.

This is very much a film about being true to yourself, and never letting anyone else tell you how to live you life, even if it appeared ridiculously odd to the majority. So what if people don’t like how you live your life, try and be happy, but also be humble enough to admit that you’re wrong, if indeed it turns out to be the case.

You’d be forgiven for thinking that Frank Langella’s character is a bad person, but he really isn’t. It’s harsh to even call the character an antagonist because you completely get where is coming from, arguably more so than any other antagonist during the year. Yes, he’s a bit of a dick for not supporting his daughter’s wishes when it comes to how she will be buried, but he is ultimately right that if the kids do have a chance of surviving in the real world, they have to be taught in at least some capacity that resembles normality. For me, George MacKay’s Bo sums it up perfectly when he says “Unless it comes out of a book I don’t know anything!”

The acting is stupendous from everyone concerned, and the acting all of the actors portraying Ben’s kids are sublime. This feels like a family, and you really support them in what they do. The way that the youngest pair deliver lines that are hilariously inappropriate for a young child to deliver is done in such a deadpan way that it was almost impossible for me not to like their performances. It’s really weird to see someone who can’t be older than seven have such a frank discussion about the functions of a vagina with her father.

I’m almost afraid to watch this film again, just incase it is not as good as I remembered it being. That’s how much I loved it.

So it’s time for the penultimate list and a look at those films that came ever so close to making it into my Top Ten for the year. Pretty much every film on this list spent time in my top ten at some point during the year, and there is a film that was arguably the biggest surprise of the year for me.

So here we go, the best horror film of the year, a decent Dave Franco movie, the movie that finally won Leo an Oscar, and several films that I’ve already reviewed for this site.

20) TruthTruth_2015_poster

Cast : Cate Blanchett, Robert Redford, Dennis Quaid, Topher Grace, Elisabeth Moss, Stacy Keach, David Lyons and Bruce Greenwood

Plot : In 2004 and Mary Mapes (Blanchett) becomes aware of a series of documents that call into doubt George W. Bush’s tenure in the US Army, a key part of the upcoming election campaign. The documents alledge that despite claims to the contrary, Bush’s was regularly AWOL from training and when he did eventually show up, he was quickly transferred to the Texas National Guard, a favourable move. Mary hires Mike (Grace), Roger (Quaid) and Lucy (Moss) to help her investigations.

The team uses  numerous other sources that back up the cover up and they get numerous witnesses stating on camera that everything is accurate. The team eventually put out a CBS 60 Minutes news piece, hosted by legendary news anchor Dan Mather (Redford). The documentary is initially deemed a success. But it isn’t long before the pro-Bush audience members start pointing out flaws, and a vicious hate company starts against the entire team.

My Original Review

Why in this position : I’m going to keep this relatively brief due to the fact that I’ve already reviewed this for the site in the past. “Truth” was a film that I had never heard of before the cinema I was working in at the time released it, but it wasn’t right until the end of the year that I decided it wasn’t quite in the league of the other films that were up there, and that’s why it’s here.

“Truth” is subtlely gripping throughout and it doesn’t force itself down your thrown. You feel yourself getting emotionally drawn into the story, and whilst I have nothing personally against George W. Bush, but the film does bring you into the world of why some don’t like him, and others were fanatical about him, and how that goes too far, because the way the characters are treated in this film is disgusting.

Anyway, as I say, I’ve already reviewed this so I will leave this here.

 

19) Jane Got a Gunjane_got_a_gun_poster

Cast : Natalie Portman, Joel Edgerton, Ewan McGregor, Noah Emmerich and Rodrigo Santoro

Plot : Several years ago Bill (Emmerich) abandoned the gang of John Bishop (McGregor) in order to marry Jane (Portman), but Bishop believes that she belongs to him, and thus seeks revenge. He manages to badly injure Bill several years later, and this is evidence that they know where he and Jane now live, meaning that Jane must defend their home and her husband.

To do that she will need some help and she decides to ask ex-lover Dan (Edgerton), although the two share a bitter recent history and whilst he eventually agrees to help, it’s far from an easy situation for those involved.

Why in this position? I’ve mentioned many times that I really like character driven films and this is definitely one of those. It is far from an action packed film, even if the last twenty or so minutes is very violent indeed. Instead the film, rightfully, decides to dedicate the 98 minute run time to actually developing the characters correctly.

I’m not going to sit here and claim that this is a riveting film, and it certainly wasn’t very popular at the box office, being one of the biggest flops of the year, but I enjoyed it and I can forgive slow films for the most part if they are well developed. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve not been able to watch it all of the way through again since, falling asleep each time (to be fair it was 2/3am at the time).

I really like how the history of the characters isn’t revealed all at once, and it takes some time for Jane to be redeemed for something relatively innocent. I won’t reveal why Dan dislikes Jane, but you can definitely see it from Jane’s

And one thing I have to mention is that in a year in which characters such as Jyn (Rogue One) and a few others were praised for strong, female characters, Jane is one of the strongest portrayals of women in recent years. I don’t often comment on that sort of thing, never infact, but I figured it was worth mentioning, as is that I also realised midway through that it is also contains three actors that appear in two of the Star Wars prequels, with Portman, Edgerton and McGregor all featuring in both “Attack of the Clones” and “Revenge of the Sith”. I know that isn’t a massively important, or even interesting fact, but was certainly unusual.

 

18) The Revenant2929_the-revenant_e2f5

Cast : Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Domhnall Gleeson, Will Poulter and Forrest Goodluck

Plot : Hunting for animal pelts in the wild, a group of men lead by Andrew Henry (Gleeson) are attacked by a group of Native Americans searching for the daughter of the head of their tribe. Realising that they won’t be able to carry them back to the base, the group decides to bury the pelts, much to the annoyance of Fitzgerald (Hardy), who also regularly antagonises the group’s navigator, Hugh Glass (DiCaprio). One day Glass is attacked by a bear and is seemingly fatally injured, and Henry offers $300 to anyone who will stay with Glass until sufficient help can be brought back, an offer that Fitzgerald, Bridger (Poulter) and Glass’s son Hawk (Goodluck) accept.

Fitzgerald has virtually no intention of staying around and talks Glass into letting him kill him, but Hawk sees the assisted suicide whilst not realising what is happening. Fitzgerald kills him in front of Glass, and convinces Bridger (who wasn’t present during the tussle) to help him bury Glass so that they can go home. Glass does eventually become able to move again and sets about making it back to the camp so that he can kill Fitzgerald, putting his body through hell to do so.

Why in this position? “The Revenant” is probably the only film released this year that will probably still be talked about in fifty or sixty years. This isn’t just a film, it’s a work of cinema. Alejandro Inarritu has achieved an exceptional film that is beautiful to look at, and the cinematography is comfortably the best of any film that came out this year. The use of natural light is exceptional, and the location scout, whoever it was, deserves an award of some variety.

As well as the visuals, the characterisation is exceptional, which is remarkable given that there isn’t actually a lot of dialogue in the film. Whilst I can’t find a count of lines of dialogue, or indeed individuals words, but if DiCaprio speaks more than 200 words during the course of the film then I would be astonished. That’s not a bad thing at all, this was always going to be a film where it was more about psychical work than anything else.

So you may be wondering why it’s this relatively low down after that description, it’s because there are several long periods where nothing is really happening. It looks fantastic, the acting is superb and you’re never bored, but there isn’t a lot happening for the most part.

 

17) The Hateful Eighthateful_eight

Cast : Samuel L Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walton Coggins, Tim Roth, Michael Madsen, Bruce Dern, Demien Bichir and James Park

Plot : John Ruth (Russell) is taking Daisy (Leigh) to be hanged for numerous crimes, but the weather is coming in and he realises he will need to stay overnight at a haberdashery. On the way he reluctantly picks up Marquis (Jackson) and Chris Mannix (Coggins), a man who claims to be the new sheriff of the town that Ruth is taking Daisy to.

They eventually arrive at the haberdashery and there are several other guests already there, but Ruth is highly suspicious of everyone, and this isn’t helped when people start giving inconsistent answers, or outright refuse to respond to his questions.

Why in this position? From the second longest English language film I saw this year to the longest, “The Hateful Eight” was very different to “The Revenant”, even though both make you feel exceptionally cold. Even when characters are sat next to a raging fire, you feel the cold with them, and Tarantino is great at bringing you into his world through simple effects like that.

As you’d expect from a Tarantino film, there is a lot of well used dialogue, and there isn’t a director out there that is in his league when it comes to using effective, character building dialogue. Even the minor characters are built well, even if it is a bit strange that it’s called the “Hateful Eight” when there are nine characters in the majority of the film.

For me this is Tarantino’s best film since “Pulp Fiction”, and I have watched it a few times since and there is always something new to discover at it, but for me it does also take a long time to get into, and the “who done it” part feels a bit too easily revealed. That being said, the twist at the end is excellent, and although I won’t go into it too much, there is an A-List star that isn’t advertised to appear, so if you do watch it then I’d recommend not reading the full cast before hand. That’s all I’m going to say.

 

16) The 33The_33_(film)_poster

Cast : Antonio Banderas, Rodrigo Santoro, Juliette Binoche, James Brolin, Juan Pablo Raba, Kate del Castillo, Jacob Vargas, Cote de Pablo and Bob Gunton.

Plot : In 2010 a group of miners went to work in the San Jose mine in Chile. The owner ignores all of the warnings but he is soon horrified as the largest rock in the mountain collapses, trapping 33 men under ground with a limited supply of air, food and water. Mario (Banderas) appoints himself leader of the group, but he struggles to keep morale up as no-one knows for sure if they are going to be rescued.

Meanwhile, several miles away, Laurence Golborne (Santoro) convinces President Piñera (Gunton) to allow him to mount a rescue, but when he gets down there he not only has to deal with the already troublesome situation of how to get the miners out, but also the gathering families outside of the gates and how he rarely has positive news for them.

My Original Review

Why in this position? : Another one that I have actually reviewed before, so I am again going to keep this relatively brief.

This was one of those films where it could have gone one of two days, and I personally found it be very enjoyable and a true test of the human spirit. Like most, I was very interested in the Chilean mine collapse when it occured earlier this decide, and you know the struggles that they went through. For me it does everything right.

The acting is great, especially Rodrigo Santoro, and whilst it was never likely to feature in my top ten, it was always going to get a favourable placing in this list.

 

15) Nerveposter07

Cast : Emma Roberts, Dave Franco, Emily Meade, Miles Heizer and Juliette Lewis

Plot : Vee (Roberts) becomes aware of a new game called “Nerve” after Sydney (Meade) becomes obsessed with it. It is a mobile app that allows you to win money by completing dares, but if you say no or fail your dare, you lose everything. She decides to give it a go herself. She accepts a few minor bets, one of which is to kiss a complete stranger, which leads her to Ian (Franco), another player.

The two seem linked as everyone wants them to be involved in bets together, including both walking through a store in just their underwear, but eventually they are placed into a bet that means one might not walk away alive.

Why in this position? : If you’d have said to me at the beginning of 2016 that I would have seen 100 films that I would have laughed, and I would have done so even harder had you claimed that a movie with Dave Franco in it would feature in my top fifteen. I have nothing against Dave Franco at all, but I think it’s safe to say that the majority of his films just aren’t that good, but I was prepared to give him a chance with “Nerve” as it looked fairly unique.

I loved this film and if I’m being completely honest, in any other year this could have easily been a top five contender, it’s that much fun. First of all, I love the look of the film. It’s bright and in your face, but also brings you fully into the environment. The visual representation is excellent and in some scenes you almost feel like a character yourself. This is a film that I imagine will look fantastic in Blu Ray.

So, why this low down? Well it’s not a completely original idea, and it feels somewhat similar in many ways to a concept used in the Gerard Butler movie “Gamer”, in which people can be paid to have their bodies controlled, or you can choose to control. In that sense is felt slightly unoriginal, but even then I still really enjoyed it.

 

14) Zootropoliszootropolisposter

Cast : The voices of Ginnifer Goodwin, Jason Bateman, Idris Elba and Jenny Slate

Plot : Judy (Goodwin) has wanted to be a cop all her life, and she finally gets that chance when she is accepted as the first ever rabbit officer in the force. She isn’t taken seriously by anyone and has been relegated to meter-maid, although she does break records doing it. During the day she runs into Nick (Bateman), a law breaking fox.

News soon starts coming through that several people have started to revert to their animalistic instincts, and they all fit into the category of predators, and it’s up to the team of Judy and Nick to uncover what is happening.

Why in this position? Known as “Zootopia” pretty much everywhere else in the world, “Zootropolis” was by far my favourite animated film of the year. I must admit that I never expected Disney to come up with a film about racism, but that is exactly what they have done with this highly enjoyable and very funny movie.

“Zootropolis” was a breath of fresh air and one of the best animated films to come out in recent years. Before this year I hadn’t watched a Disney film at the cinema for several years, I am in my early-mid thirties at the moment and so it’s not a genre that sits at the top of my priorities list as you would expect, but the joys about getting into films for free is that I will watch everything, and I’m glad I did with this.

This is a very different Disney style of film making, but that doesn’t stop is being very enjoyable, with a great mix of drama and comedy, whilst having a positive message for kids. It teaches tolerance of others, the ability to learn and always chasing your dreams.

The only reason that this isn’t higher up on the list is that it still feels a little “by the numbers” for Disney and there isn’t anything that I haven’t really seen before. That being said, “Zootropolis” does have pretty much my favourite character from cinema this year, “Flash”, a sloth. I can’t really put it into words, just look him up.

 

13) Everybody Wants Someho00003524

Cast : Blake Jenner, Zoey Deutch, Glen Powell, Ryan Guzman, Tyler Hoechlin, Wyatt Russell, Temple Baker, J Quinton Johnson, Will Brittain, Juston Street and Forrest Victory

Plot : Jake (Jenner) arrives as college in the autumn of 1980 having been invited to join the Southeast Texas Cherokees baseball team. He is roomed with Billy (Brittain), but the two struggle to get on at first. He is invited by the other freshman to “cruise around” looking for women, and Jake is the only one to get any interest as his quiet nature lures in Beverly (Deutch).

The first team meeting goes well, although two rules are introduced by the coach, no alcohol in the house or women upstairs, but as there are several very horny young men in the team, that might prove tricky, but Jake only has his eyes on one woman.

Why in this position? : I was convinced that I wasn’t going to like this film. I watched the trailer several times and was never once excited by the premise, or indeed the general plot of the film. Even now I’m not entirely sure what the point of the film was, which is why it’s not in the top ten, but in terms of pure, unadulterated fun, a film that I can just put on and just turn off my brain, this hits the nail on the head.

I love films that build characters, and whilst there isn’t much of a point to the film, you get to know pretty much every character very well, and I think I summed it up perfectly when I was figuring out where to put films when I said to myself “I would love to see these characters again”. In a year that I think that there were far, far, far too many unnecessary sequels, this is one of the few that I would actually love to see a sequel to.

Had there been a point to the film then there is every chance that this would have featured considerably higher in the list.

 

12) Arrivallarge_arrival-poster-2016

Cast : Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, Forest Whitaker and Michael Stuhlberg

Plot : Twelve alien spacecraft arrive in random locations around the Earth and are hovering silently. They don’t seem to be posing much of a threat, but their presense makes numerous people nervous. The American army eventually hires linguist Louise (Adams) to try and communicate with them, along with a theoretical physicist named Ian (Renner). They initially struggle to communicate, but soon start to make progress when they realise that to learn the alien language, they have to first teach the aliens English.

Louise develops a personal relationship with the aliens, but she becomes increasingly concerned as the other sites stop talking to each other, and it turns out that the Chinese are planning to attack the ship there.

Why in this position? : If you’re after a fast-paced film about aliens that is all about explosions and excitement, “Arrival” is most definitely not for you. It is arguably the slowest film that I have seen during the year, but it is also one of the most intriguing as well. The way the film is build is excellent, and the slow, methodical nature in which the story unfolds.

The acting from everyone concerned is excellent, especially Renner, who portrays a character that self-admits that he doesn’t really see why he is there as there is initially not a lot to offer. That’s what is great about this story, there are some characters that have seemingly no relevance to the story for the majority of it, and they acknowledge that.

The only reason that this isn’t in the top ten is the ending. I really hated the ending and it felt a bit out of nowhere because there was seemingly no natural way for the story to end without some sort of violence (doesn’t that say it all about the human race), so how it ended felt a little forced and out of the blue. It was a big shame as before that I was engrossed and this was a top five contender, but the ending took it out of the top ten all together for me.

 

11) The Witchthe-witch-final-poster

Cast : Anya Taylor-Joy, Ralph Ineson, Kate Dickie, Harvey Scrimshaw, Ellie Grainger, Lucas Dawson and Bathsheba Garnett

Plot : William (Ineson) and his family are banished from a Puritan plantation due to a difference in opinion and interpretation of the Bible. They set up a farm on the outskirts of a forest. Katherine (Dickie) gives birth to their fifth child, but their eldest, Thomasin (Taylor-Joy) is horrified when she is playing with the newborn and it disappears near enough before her eyes.

Caleb (Scrimshaw) finds a hovel in the forest the next day and finds a beautiful woman there. She passionately kisses him before aging rapidly and grabbing him suddenly. Caleb is found several days later, but the woman has done something to him, and she isn’t done yet.

Why in this position? : This is as good as any horror film that I have seen at the cinema in recent years, and arguably as good as “The Babadook”. In any other year this would have comfortably been in my top ten of the year, and up until mid-December it was. I felt really guilty when taking it out of the top ten as the effort that has gone into this great film really deserved a place in this top ten, but there were just ten films better than it.

There are many reasons why this horror film works on so many levels, and the main one, pure and simply, is the excellent acting from everyone concerned, most noteably the ever-improving Anya Taylor-Joy, and Ralph Ineson, who’s breathing technique to portray the character’s fear is exceptional.

The horror is done masterfully, and the look of the film is great. It just goes to show that you don’t have to have a film shown in near pitch black for it to look decent, and whilst the ending it somewhat out of the blue, there isn’t a single point where I wasn’t enjoying this film thoroughly. It is so much better than most of the generic, jump-scare horrors, that it is a shame that this was called “boring” by some, because it certainly wasn’t and much like I’ve mentioned a few times during this, it focuses on what it should, building the characters well.

So, we now get the point on this countdown where I liked every single film and would consider buying them on DVD or Blu-Ray, but the problem now is that there are a lot of films that I liked that are ranked relatively low because I’m having to find the pettiest thing to compare them to the others with. For the first time I will be justifying why I ranked it lower than the next film I am going to talk about.

This is also the first two of a few entries to come that I have already reviewed them on this this year, so I will also link to the initial review.

So here we go, 30 to 21……

30) My Scientology Movielouis-theroux-my-scientology-movie-poster

Cast : Louis Theroux

Plot : Well, I wouldn’t really call it a plot as this is a documentary that was released at cinemas. It follows Louis Theroux as he tries to find out as much as he can about the religion of Scientology. As he goes on asking former members of the church about it’s upper ladder leaders, he suddenly starts getting followed by members of the religion, and more worryingly getting hounded off of land that they claim belongs to them, even though there appears to be no legal right for them to claim that.

Why in this position? I found the whole film fascinating to say the least. I have nothing against Scientology, nor anyone that practices that religion. Like any religion, I am very much of the “each to their own” way of thinking, but that still didn’t stop me from being highly fascinated by Theroux’s documentary.

I won’t claim to understand the majority of this documentary and it doesn’t really reveal that much about the religion, especially as the only perspectives are literally told by people who either don’t know, or are embittered for one reason or another, however, I don’t think that the Scientologists in the movie really help each themselves by not giving a statement or answering the questions.

Louis Theroux is an interesting documentarian and his approach is unique. I’ve noticed that he speaks to a lot of people like a child in his specials, and this was the first time I’ve personally seen someone get angry at him for asking the same questions over and over again, even if they’ve already answered numerous times.

My only issue with “My Scientology Movie” is that it does become very repetitive after a while, and that’s why it is not ranked higher.

 

29) Moanamoana_ver5

Cast : The voices of Auli’i Cravalho, Dwayne Johnson, Rachel House and Temuera Morrison

Plot : Several thousand years ago a demi-god named Maui (Johnson) steals the heart stone of a God, and that God decides to start spreading death across the world. One day the heart washes up on a small island, and it is found by Moana (Cravalho), the infant daughter of Chief Tui (Morrison). He is forbids his daughter from leaving the island after his ancestors were killed, but when she grows up she feels she must after seeing that death has now spread to the island. She learns from her grandmother (House) that the only way to restore the island is to get Maui to return the heart.

She sets out to find Maui, eventually finding him and being distinctively unimpressed by his arrogance, that despite him losing the hook that holds his power. Can they recover it in time to rescue Moana’s home?

Why in this position : It’s been quite some time that I have seen a new Disney film that I liked, or at least a traditional Disney film, which made it even more frustrating when “Frozen” got a very undeserved amount of praise, so I was naturally sceptical going into “Moana”, but I very much enjoyed this. For me this is definitely a return to the formula that won me over with Disney as a child.

To put this in some sort of context, I’m 32, and I really enjoyed the look and feel of the entire film. You can really get behind Moana as a character, and despite being a bit of a douche, Maui is fun. I found it very refreshing that despite feeling very much like a traditional Disney film, it doesn’t follow the usual cliches of having an unnecessary love interest for the lead character.

Again, I have to start being picky with how I rank films in the top thirty because in any other year, pretty much every film in my top thirty would probably be in my top ten. The only reason this is ranked relatively low is that the way the main antagonist is beaten is somewhat simple and almost far too out of nowhere. I’m still probably going to buy this on Blu-Ray in several months.

 

28) Train to Busan1

Cast : Yoo Gong, Dong-seok Ma, Yu-mi Jung, Su-an Kim, Eui-sung Kim and So-hee Ahn

Plot : Seok-woo (Gong) is struggling to raise his daughter Soo-an (Kim) whilst juggling his successful fund management career, so much to the point where she wants to go and live with her mother in Busan. For her birthday he decides to grant her wish and the two travel from Seoul. Just after taking her seat, Soo-an notices the train station staff suddenly being tackled to the ground as the train pulls off.

Further down the train a young lady with a bite has managed to get onto a carriage and when checked upon, she suddenly attacks train staff and other passengers, and the chain of chaos starts going down the train. Whilst trying to run, Seok-woo shuts the door on Sang-hwa (Ma) and his pregnant wife Seong-kyeong (Jeong) when they are trying to run, although both are eventually let through, causing blows between the group. They soon realise that the zombies don’t know how to get through the doors, but how long can they hold out?

My Full Review

Why in this position? : Those of you that have read this site for a while will know that I was really high on this movie as I reviewed it several months ago (link to the review is above). It was the first South Korean film that I ever watched (that I know about anyway) and I was surprised that not only that it was released at the cinema, but it was actually a good zombie film.

I’m not going to go into it too much simply because I’ve reviewed it previously on this site, but in short this is a great zombie film, and the only reason I’m not putting it higher (as I say, I have to be harsh) is because some of the characters make really stupid decisions, much stupider than the characters in higher ranked films.

 

27) In the Heart of the Seain_the_heart_of_the_sea

Cast : Chris Hemsworth, Ben Walker, Cillian Murphy, Tom Holland, Brendan Gleeson and Ben Whishaw

Plot : Owen (Hemsworth) has spent many years at sea and hopes that he has finally done enough to convince his bosses to put him in charge of a voyage, but they instead give it to the inexperienced George (Walker), making Owen first mate instead.

The two clash on a regular basis before they eventually stumble on a large group of whales. They harpoon as many as they can, but by doing so they anger a large white whale. The whale destroys the ship, leaving the remaining crew more than 2,000 miles from land and floating in small boats. This doesn’t help the tension between Owen and George.

Why in this position? : On January 2nd I saw four films in a day to start the year and this by far the best out of the four (the other three being The Danish Girl, Daddy’s Home and Joy). Despite being in my bottom ten for the second year in a row (Huntsman this year and Vacation last year), Chris Hemsworth is one of my favourite actors and he delivers in this again.

Unlike a lot of similar films, you feel that the crew could easily not make it out of this situation alive, and you feel for each of the characters because they are built correctly. The regular verbal war between Owen and George really makes you appreciate the situation that they find themselves in, especially as George knows that Owen is a far more appropriate captain, but has far to much hubris to admit it.

I have put this at Number 27 as whilst I enjoyed it more than “Train to Busan”, I don’t think it was a better all-around film that the next film on the list. This is a battle between two men, who are battling death itself.

 

26) The Jungle Bookjungle_book

 

Cast : Neel Sethi and the voices of Bill Murray, Ben Kingsley, Idris Elba, Lupita Nyong’o and Giancarlo Esposito

Plot : Bagheera (Kingsley) brings a baby to the pack of animals and assigns the wolves, lead by Akela (Esposito), They name him Mowgli (Sethi) and teach him the ways of their world. Several years later the dry season comes and a truce is formed between all animals at a watering hole, but that is interrupted by a tiger named Shere Khan (Elba), who takes an exceptionally negative view of Mowgli’s presence after being scarred by humans several years later. Despite the truce, he threatens to kill Mowgli if he remains.

Bagheera realises that Mowgli must return to the land of man and leads him back through the jungle, however, they run into many dangers along the way and must trust a very laid-back bear called Baloo (Murray), much to Bagheera’s displeasure.

Why in this position? There is definitely a trend of converting old Disney films into live-action movies recently, and to be fair this is arguably the best effort out of all of them. “The Jungle Book” is a very well made, visually excellent and well acted effort. It tells the story of Mowgli in a way that hasn’t really been possible in the past, and the creature design is comfortably the best of any film during 2016.

I must mention the performance of Neel Sethi, who portrays Mowgli. Child actors are often a bit crap, and I write that literally just a few hours after watching Daniel Radcliffe being very awkward in the first Harry Potter film. Sethi puts in one of the best performances from a child actor I’ve seen in several years, with only Jacob Tremblay in 2015’s “Room” coming immediately to mind as being better.

So, it’s 26th because ultimately, other than Sethi’s excellent performance and Shere Khan actually being quite terrifying, there was nothing that surprised me. It feels harsh criticising a film for not being truly original when it is a literal remake, but there was very little that I saw that immediately hit me as being unique, and that is ultimately why I haven’t included it higher up in the list.

 

25) A Street Cat Named Bobmv5bmty5mti1mze5nl5bml5banbnxkftztgwmjqznjezote-_v1_sy1000_cr006751000_al_

Cast : Luke Treadaway, Ruta Gedmintas, Anthony Head and Joanne Froggatt

Plot : James (Treadway) is a homeless musician who is trying to recover from drug addition. On a visit to his support worker (Froggatt), James is allocated a council flat, but he must make sure that he stays in the anti-drug program. Despite having somewhere warm to eat, he still struggles to make money from his busking. Whilst bathing he hears something breaking in the background, and it turns out to be a cat.

The cat follows James around and turns out to be a lucky omen. James suddenly starts getting a lot of money from his busking and his luck significantly increases, that is until a misunderstanding means that he suddenly has no method of income.

Why in this position? I initially thought that this would be one of those films that I would really hate. You know the type of films, the ones where people overcome everything that is in front of them and come out of the other side smelling of roses, but that’s not what this feels like. “A Street Cat Named Bob” feels very much like a struggle for the characters and every little victory feels very well earnt.

Luke Treadaway is excellent, and he and Ruta Gedmintas share a great level of chemistry, probably because I read whilst writing this that they are a couple in real life, and have been since 2011, so in that sense it was a good choice.

“A Street Cat Named Bob” is so much better than “I, Daniel Blake” because the struggle of the main character doesn’t feel self-inflicted by being an arsehole, but ultimately it’s still in the mid-twenties because there are some elements that are predictable, such as the father not wanting to be associated with his son until the very end of the film.

 

24) Men and Chickenmen-and-chicken.36041

Cast : Mads Mikkelson, David Dencik, Nikolaj Lie Kaas, Søren Malling  and Nicolas Bro

Plot : Elias (Mikkelsen) and Gabriel (Dencik) are very different brothers. Elias is a self-obsessed and sexually obsessed person, where Gabriel is fair more practical and has a far more realistic view of the world. One day Gabriel visits their father at the hospital, only to see him die. Gabriel informs Elias and the two discover that their father had left them a video. The pair watch it and discover that he wasn’t actually their biological father, revealing the name of their real father.

Gabriel decides to go in search of his father for answers, and reluctantly agrees to take Elias along with them. When they arrive at the large house on a remote island, they are viciously beaten by three men who eventually turn out to be their half-brothers, Franz (Malling), Josef (Bro) and Gregor (Kaas). The brothers are initially horrified by the animal filled house and Gabriel in particular is frustrated at the three’s insistence that they can’t see their father, but is there more going on than either anticipated.

My Full Review

Why in this position? : Another film that I had already reviewed for this site and one that I loved. Much like the other previously reviewed this on this particular list, I had never knowingly seen a Danish film before, and normally I probably wouldn’t have gone to watch this, but there were two words that indicate why I did….Mads Mikkelson.

Mads is one of my favourite actors and he shines in this unusual comedy, and if I was to rank films in this list of one hundred films in order of originality, this would comfortably be top ten. I think the only reason why I haven’t put this higher is because there are a few moments where you have to throw all sorts of logic out of the window, and when putting films I loved into order, something like that could, and in this case did, take a top ten contender and put it into the mid twenties.

This is a great film and I would recommend you read my full review (link above) for a full picture.

 

23) 10 Cloverfield Lane7766a491f4d96a40b7f72d029745fbb8

Cast : Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Goodman and John Gallagher Jr

Plot : Michelle (Winstead) is intending on leaving her life behind and so sets out to leave her boyfriend. She is eventually ran off of the road by a pick up trick, and she then wakes up several hours later chained to a pipe in someone’s basement. Soon, a large gentleman called Howard (Goodman) says that he found her with a broken leg and brought her home to help her recovery, but can’t let her leave due to what he describes as “an incident”. He reveals that they are in an underground bunker.

Inconsistent answers make Michelle very wary of Howard, and it isn’t helped by Emmett (Gallagher Jr), another person in the underground bunker, backing up Howard’s story, but quite clearly fearing him. She eventually decides to refuse to believe him, but she then witnesses for herself that something is up as someone with heavy burns bangs on the front door. Despite this, is Howard telling the truth?

Why in this position? “10 Cloverfield Lane” is one of the tensest films I’ve seen in years and one of the most mysterious as they build the character of Howard so incredibly well that you’re never sure if he is telling the truth or not. There are numerous times where you find out that he is telling the truth, only to then see that he has been lying about other things. It is a great build of a character and the mysteriousness of him is brilliant. Goodman is delightfully terrifying in the role.

I also love that whilst not seemingly being at all related to “Cloverfield”, minor details here and there show that this is most definitely a sequel of sorts, such as a seemingly throwaway line about Howard being a satellite engineer, and I believe hearing somewhere that the thing that crashes into the ocean at the end of the first film is a satellite, meaning that Howard potentially caused the events of the first film.

As I was making my way through this film I was convinced that it was going to be in my top ten, and a potential contender for my favourite film of the year, but then the final ten minutes. Whilst the first eighty-five minutes of “10 Cloverfield Lane” are exceptional, I hated the final fifteen minutes. They felt completely disconnected from the remainder of the film and so out of place. It turned a 9/10 into a 8.5, or even a 8/10, that’s how much I disliked the ending.

 

22) The Shallows
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Cast : Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, Brett Cullen, Angelo Jose Lozano Corzo and Jose Manuel Trujillo Salas.

Plot : Nancy (Lively) is taking time out from medical school to go surfing at a spot her mother had always raved about, and her first session proves very enjoyable, especially as she joins up with two locals (Corzo and Salas). She decides to surf on her own just before the end of sunlight and notices a half-eaten whale, and she is knocked off of her surf-board as she is heading back to land.

She decides to use the whale carcass as something to stand on, but the shark quickly knocks her off and she is left with no choice but to climb on nearby rocks, but her leg is badly cut by this time. Whilst she is safe during the night, she realises that she must do something soon as the tide starts coming back in during the day, and the shark is still circling the island. It also isn’t helped that anyone who comes to help is quickly attacked and eaten by the shark.

Why in this position? : “The Shallows” is one of the more subtle films of the year, even the trailer shows that. It’s very much a one-character film that’s in a similar ilk to “127 Hours”, and Blake Lively controls the movie from start to finish.

The tide adds a time element that a lot of other films don’t use to their advantage. Other films actually tell you how much time the characters have left before they have to make a decision, but this uses a visual aid and actually treats the viewer intelligently. It’s also interesting to watch the character try and think their way out, rather than go gung-ho, which some other films of a similar nature have definitely been guilty of.

The reason this is slightly below the next film is that I was expecting “The Shallows” to be good, so there wasn’t really a surprise element, and that is really the only thing separating this from the next entry.

 

21) Deepwater Horizondeepwater-horizon-2016-movie-poster-1-717x1024

Cast : Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dlan O’Brien, Ethan Suplee and Kate Hudson

Plot : Mike (Wahlberg) is going back to the oil-rig known as Deepwater Horizon after some time with his family. One of the big bosses, Donald (Malkovich) is present and cares more about profit than everyone’s safety, so he intends on sending people home before a pressure test is done. Jimmy (Russell) finally convinces him to do one, but this weakens the foundations of the rig, and Donald orders the well to be open, but this spurts more oil up than the station can handle and it starts mass explosions that kill a lot of the crew.

The coast guard eventually arrives to try and save as many people as possible, but simply getting to the boat seems almost as dangerous as staying itself, but that won’t stop Jimmy and Mike trying to save as many people as possible.

Why in this position? : “Deepwater Horizon” was one of the pleasant surprises of the year in terms of the quality of the film. I genuinely thought that this would be one of those typical “disaster film by numbers” that you get far too often in films like this. It starts straight away with the build of the characters and the relationships between them. You genuinely get the feeling that these guys have all worked together for a long time, and it takes a long time to get into the action of the film because of the building, which I’m absolutely fine with.

The cast do a great job and you actually feel that you want them to survive, even the complete arsehole that is Donald. I think this all helps the situation feel far more real, which is something that often doesn’t come across during films based on real events.

It misses out on my top twenty though by, other than being far fresher than similar films, there are a few cliches in there, but up until a few weeks ago it was comfortably in my top twenty.

So we’re starting to approach the final few lists and now we’re looking at films where whilst I don’t quite reach the stage of being full of praise, I’m starting to only let minor things stop them from being further up the list as, whilst there are a lot of very bad films out this year, there were also many good ones.

So in this list we’re going to start with a film from New Zealand, but there are also two Michael Fassbender movies, two Jennifer Lawrnece films, and two with very complex moral issues.

40) Hunt for the Wilderpeoplehunt_for_the_wilderpeople

Cast : Sam Neill, Julian Dennison, Rachel House, Oscar Kightly and Rima Te Wiata

Plot : Ricky (Dennison) is a troubled youth and after several failed foster families, he is eventually taken to live with Bella (Wiata) and Hec (Neill). Bella tries her best to make Ricky feel at home, but he consistently tries to escape, especially after she unexpectedly dies, meaning that he would have to increase his already strained relationship with Hec.

Hec easily finds him in the nearby woods, but he soon gets badly injured and the pair must live in the woods for several months, but the child welfare officer (House) believes that they’ve run off together and a national hunt for the pair starts.

Why in this position? : On the face of it “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” looks like a great feel-good movie, the scenery looks fantastic (as do all films that are films in New Zealand) and there seems to be genuine comedy throughout the run time, but unfortunately appearances and reality are very different in this case.

Whilst “Hunt for the Wilderpeople” works on some levels, such as the comedy (which is great at times), there is very little substance included and I don’t really care about the characters. Hector is just bland, and if Ricky showed a single emotion during the film then I would be more inclined to like this, but unfortunately he does not, and whilst it doesn’t necessarily make the film unlikable, it’s certainly not a great use to 90 or so minutes of my time.

It was never even in the slightest danger of falling into my Bottom 10 for the year, but it never even slightly touched the “Good” list, infact, when I saw it I was somewhere in the 60-70 range of the number of films I’d seen this year, and the highest it ever got on my list was number 32.

 

39) Star Trek Beyond42802_3_large

Cast : Chris Pine, Zachary Quinto, Karl Urban, Zoe Saldana, Idris Elba and Sofia Boutella

Plot : Kirk (Pine) is feeling very lethargic and uninspired travelling space endlessly, and he has secretly applied for a more senior position at the Yorktown starbase. Spock (Quinto) on the other hand is just out of a relationship with Uhura (Saldana), and he soon hears about the death of the Spock who came from an alternative universe. He too is thinking of leaving and resuming the other Spock’s work.

One day an escape pod comes to the station and it’s sole occupant claims to be from an ship that is stranded inside a nearby nebula. The Enterprise enters to mount a rescue, but they are soon overwhelmed by a mass of ships, and it is eventually overrun by the alien race that are run by Krall (Elba). The entire crew become stranded on the nearby planet, but it could be a fellow victim of Krall, Jaylah (Boutella), that will prove to be the turning point?

Why in this position? : I love Star Trek, have done since I was a child, but I never actually watched the original series and therefore it took me by surprise how much I enjoyed the reboot film in 2009. It is to date one of my favourite films, and the follow up, Into Darkness, is a reasonable effort, and I half hoped that this would round off a very reasonable trilogy, but it did not.

STB is a science fiction film that if it was a stand alone film then it would be an ok-ish, little sci-fi film, but the problem is that it isn’t stand alone and therefore it can’t be treated as such, and that’s where the problem comes in. When comparing to the first two in the new trilogy it doesn’t even come close, and for lack of better words, it gets a bit boring.

There are a lot of characters that just don’t really do anything, they’re just sort of there. Even the main characters feel very underutilised and although this was one of a very small handful that I saw twice at the cinema during the year, it has the unfortunate distinction of being the only one that I fell asleep during.

Unfortunately this was a poor way to end an otherwise nice trilogy.


38) Florence Foster Jenkinsffj_payoff-1-sht

Cast : Meryl Streep, Hugh Grant, Simon Helberg and Rebecca Ferguson

Plot : Florence (Streep) is an aspiring singer that is loved by her social group. She has dreams of singing at Carnegie Hall as it not only fulfils her ambitions, but also helps her forget that she and husband, St. Clair (Grant), can’t have children. St. Clair meanwhile is having an affair with Kathleen (Ferguson).

To achieve her dream, Florence convinces St. Clair to hire a pianist for her, and they settle on the enthusiastic Cosme (Helberg), but little does he know what he has got himself in for as it soon becomes apparent that not only can Florence not sing, but she could infact be one of the worst singers ever.

Why in this position? This movie has some absolutely genius moments and I love that it keeps teasing you how bad Florence’s singing is, but when it starts you can’t quite believe it. How Streep didn’t burst out laughing when doing the scene in which her singing voice is revealed is quite astonishing, and I think Simon Helberg’s reaction says it all. I was in hysterics during that scene. It is ingenius.

The performances from all of the cast, including the minor characters, are fantastic, and none of them really put a foot wrong at all during the movie.

The only minor problem with “Florence Foster Jenkins” is that outside of the singing scenes, the film is a little lifeless and dull, even if you somewhat feel for the character of Florence because of how tragically she is portrayed. It’s basically a film about chasing your dreams, even if you think that you’ve lost everything else.

 

37) X Men Apocalypse462-film-page-large

Cast : James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Oscar Isaacs, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Kodi Smit-McPhee, Tye Sheridan, Sophia Turner and Evan Peters

Plot : Several millennia ago a God-like being called En Sabah Nur (Isaacs) is betrayed by his worshippers, although he is preserved by his dedicated servants. He eventually awakens again in 1983 and sets about getting to know what the world has become, and his becomes decidedly unimpressed. He soon starts recruiting more dedicated servants, eventually seducing Erik (Fassbender), who had renounced his life as Magneto and settled down in Poland before being discovered.

Meanwhile, in America, Charles Xavier (McAvoy) is continuing to run his successful school for mutants, but even he is surprised to see Raven (Lawrence) return. Eventually all those at the school become aware of En’s increasing powers, but using cerebro proves to be a mistake as it allows the God-like being to realise that he can take over Charles’ body, meaning that he’d be able to control everyone in the world.

Why in this position? Two years ago “X Men : Days of Future Past” featured in my top five, but this was never really in with a shot of achieving the same as it definitely isn’t anywhere near as good. DOFP was a fun romp that have an enemy that you could potentially see winning, which is very rare for comic book films.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate it as much as a lot of others seem to, and at points it is the same level of fun as the previous two films since the series rebooted a few years ago. There is a far darker tone in this movie than the other two, but this film lacks the intrigue of “First Class” and the scale of destruction that “Days of Future Past” had.

The characterisation is much poorer, with some characters being there without having that much to do. For example, characters such as Psylocke are not given any characterisation whatsoever. She is just there for the sake of giving the antagonist some bodies to surround himself with. The character is completely replaceable and doesn’t really do a single thing through the entire movie, and it’s the same with Angel, Peter and to a lesser extent, Mystique.

 

36) Green Roomgrundman_greenroom

Cast : Anton Yelchin, Imogen Poots, Patrick Stewart, Joe Cole, Callum Turner, Macon Blair and Mark Webber

Plot : Punk rock band “Ain’t Rights” are desperate to break into the big time and because of this they accept a gig at a local bar. They arrive to discover that it is a neo-Nazi bar and they immediately start antagonising their hosts by singing “Nazi Punks Fuck Off”. Despite this, the neo-Nazis really like the band and they go off to thunderous applause, but things soon turn sour when Pat (Yelchin) returns to the green room and witnesses a murder scene. The rest of the band soon join him and are held hostage by Gabe (Blair) and Justin (Eric Edelstein).

The big boss, a man called Darcy (Stewart) soon arrives and the band start negotiating with him, but it becomes obvious that if they leave the room then they will be killed, especially as a few members of the band are easily offed.

Why in this position? This film is interesting for a few reasons, not only is it one of the few films released with an 18 rating in the UK this calendar year, it was also the last film to star Anton Yelchin’s that was released before his death, and it’s also very unusually got Patrick Stewart as an antagonist, something which I’ve never seen before.

“Green Room” is unapologetically violent and you feel that the threat on their lives in very genuine. The feeling that any character can die at any time is refreshing, and something that doesn’t feel natural in a lot of other movies. Yelchin is also fantastically dark, far more so than I had ever see, and Patrick Stewart is remarkably creepy.

That being said, this didn’t grip me as much as I had hoped. It’s not bad by stretch of the imagination, but there was definitely something lacking throughout that I can’t put my finger on, and did I enjoy is as much as the 35 films that I’ve placed above it on this list? No, not really.

 

35) Captain America : Civil Warcpkf2a1

Cast : Chris Evans, Robert Downey Jr, Scarlett Johnsson, Sebastian Shaw, Paul Bettany, Elizabeth Olsen, Chadwick Boseman, Daniel Bruhl, Jeremy Renner, Anthony Mackie and Don Cheadle

Plot : Following on from a mission that results in the death of several civilians, the governments of the world agree to a set of guidelines for enhanced-humans, something that Tony (Downey Jr) agrees to, as well as several other Avengers, but the problem is that Steve (Evans) and the rest of the group are very much against it. It also doesn’t help that Steve’s long time friend, Bucky (Stan) is accused of killing several people, including the king of Wakanda.

Meanwhile, a former Sokovian colonol named Zemo (Bruhl) is desperately searching for information relating to Bucky and the winter soldier program, and he uses the continuing in-fighting of the Avengers to his advantage.

Why in this position? : Let’s be realistic, this is an Avengers movie, not a Captain America film. Everything about it is more Avengers than an individual character movie, and it definitely feels closer to the two Avengers movies than the previous two Captain America films. This isn’t helped by the very formulaic nature of the film and it’s rather predictable nature.

Don’t get me wrong, the MCU knows how to get you invested in their films and whilst I won’t claim to be a massive fan of most of them (let’s not forget that “Ant Man” was in my bottom four last year), I go and watch all of them. You can tell what is coming when, and the humour started to wear a bit thin. Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t just an issue that I found with “Civil War”, but rather the whole Marvel franchise, and the only truly fresh one I’ve found in recent years is “Guardians of the Galaxy”.

That’s not to say that it’s not enjoyable, because whilst it is predictable, it’s definitely not boring, and is the best film based on a comic book this year. Not that that is saying a lot as I didn’t enjoy the majority of the others.

To be honest, this would be a lot lower had it not been for one deciding factor. The one major issue with the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that the main antagonist is usually poorly built and the threat never seems genuine, other than maybe Loki, but that changed with this as, whilst not a physical threat, Zemo, who is portrayed excellently by the ever-reliable Daniel Bruhl, is more than a match mentally, and spin it however you want, he achieves what he set out to do, something that not a single other antagonist in the MCU has done yet. Well played, Zemo.

 

34) Blood Fatherblood_father_xlg

Cast : Mel Gibson, Erin Moriarty, Diego Luna, Michael Parks and William H. Macy

Plot : Erin (Moriarty) runs away from the gang of her boyfriend, Jonah (Luna), after shooting him. The only choose she seems to have is contacting John (Gibson), her estranged, ex-alcoholic father who is trying to live a normal life after spending time in prison. He is initially delighted to see her for the first time in many years, but becomes less impressed when he realises that she is a drug and alcohol addict.

One night his home is surrounded by Jonah’s gang, who reverse to believe that she isn’t in there and subsequently destroy it. The gang is eventually hounded off by John’s neighbours, lead by Kirby (Macy). John decides that the best chance his daughter has to live is to go on the run, but it turns out that Jonah might not be as dead as people believe.

Why in this position? In many ways Gibson was the perfect actor to portray John as, much like the character, he is seeking redemption after a torrid past, and if nothing else, Gibson proves that he is still capable of being one of the better actors in the world. He is great in the role of John.

“Blood Father” was a nice surprise during the year given that I wasn’t expecting that much from it, but I genuinely enjoyed it. It flows quite well, it is visually excellent, and Diego Luna is far more interesting in this than he was in “Rogue One”.

There’s not too much I can say about this film in the negative sense, other than that is a bit slow at times. Just watch it.

 

33) Anthropoidho00003808

Cast : Cillian Murphy, Jamie Dornan, Anna Geislerova, Charlotte Le Bon, Harry Lloyd and Toby Jones

Plot : Jozef (Murphy) and Jan (Dornan) are agents sent from the exiled Czechoslovak government to their homeland during World War II. Jozef suffers a badly injured foot during the landing, but they do eventually find their contact, another man named Jan (Jones). He informs them that they are to assassinate Reinhard Heydrich, the head of the Nazi forces in Czechoslovakia, a mission referred to as “Anthropoid”.

The pair go around the city with the help of Marie (Le Bon) and Lenka (Geislerova), but after careful planning the execution doesn’t go smoothly, even though it proves successful. Due to the failure to do it cleanly, the Nazis close in and it becomes a fight for survival for everyone involved.

Why in this position? I am a big Cillian Murphy fan and have yet to see a film with him that I didn’t like (although there are a few that go near to that area) and so I was keen to watch this for more than a month that it was on at a cinema near Piccadilly Circus. I’m not going to lie, for the first half an hour I was kind of bored, then that changed.

I think the one thing that a lot of people forget about the Nazis is how much of an unstoppable force they were during the early days, and this film portrays that so vividly as the last forty or so minutes are exceptionally tense as they hunt down the main characters, and gradually ever possible escape route gets shut down.

The final forty or so minutes is better on it’s own than a lot of full length films that came out this year.

 

32) Light Between the Oceansho00002989

Cast : Michael Fassbender, Alicia Vikander, Rachel Weisz and Florence Clery

Plot : War veteran Tom (Fassbender) takes a temporary role as the lighthouse keeper at Janus, and on his visits to the mainland he starts a relationship with Isabel (Vikander). He eventually convinces her to live with him on Janus after he is offered the role permanently, and the two marry.

Isabel suffers two miscarriages and becomes distraught, but one day she and Tom notice something in the water, and it turns out to be a young baby and her dead father. Tom believes that he should fulfil his duty and report it, but Isabel convinces him to pretend to everyone that they finally successfully had a baby. They name the baby Lucy (several actresses, lastly Clery). It’s not until they return to the mainland and meet the baby’s actual mother, Hannah (Weisz) that Tom can no longer keep it quiet and leaves clues as to the true fate of the baby.

Why in this position? : One of the most morally complex, character driven films of the year, “The Light Between Oceans” gives you a great insight into the depths that desperate people will go to in order to find happiness, and the thing is that despite doing a horrible thing, you’d never consider Isabel a horrible person at all, she just wants to be a mother so badly, and you can forgive her for jumping on the opportunity.

It’s hard to really not side with either Tom or Isabel, especially in the latter part of the film, but the thing is that you can’t class Hannah as a character either and she is arguably the true victim in the whole thing as she thought she’d lost a daughter, only to then have to try and re-adapt to the situation when she finds out that her daughter is actually alive.

The film is beautifully shot, but the issue with it is, and the reason it’s not higher on this list is that is is dreadfully slow in places. Had there been more happening then there is a chance that this could have broken into the top ten.

 

31) Passengerspassengers-poster-600x889

Cast : Chris Pratt, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Sheen and Lawrence Fishburne

Plot : Over 5,000 people are making the trip to a new planet when the autopilot decides to go through an asteroid field. Whilst most systems are fine, one life support pod loses power and awakens it’s occupier, Jim Preston (Pratt), ninety years before the end of the journey, and he can’t get it working again. Befriending the android bartender (Sheen), Preston spends more than a year on his own before looking at who else was travelling with him, seeing a woman named Aurora (Lawrence).

Jim starts pondering if he can spend the rest of his life alone, or whether he should effectively kill Aurora by waking her up, forcing her to spend the rest of her life travelling through space. He weighs up the options before eventually deciding to wake her up. Jim tells her that there was a malfunction in her pod and that is why she has woken up, but the gamble pays off and she falls in love with him, but trouble arises when the bartender tells Aurora that Jim purposefully woke her up.

Why in this position? : You would think that a film with arguably the most popular actress and actor working at the moment would create an epic film, but it didn’t feel like that. There are points that saw this film feel very, very slow, maybe not so much as “The Light Between Oceans” because there is a subplot that goes out throughout the entire film.

The acting by everyone concerned is fine, even though Laurence Fishburne’s character is completely inconsequential and largely irrelevant to the story, but for me it is actually Michael Sheen that shines the most in this film as he is as effortlessly charming as ever. Other than that the acting feels fairly generic from everyone, except for the ten or so minutes immediately following Aurora’s discovery of Jim being the one who woke her, in which Jennifer Lawrence is fantastic.

That leads me onto my favourite aspect to the film, the moral complexity as it is a very question that is asked, in other words, just how far would you go to stop being lonely. Whilst you get the feeling that the characters in “The Light Between Oceans” would eventually mentally recover from their loss and move on, you don’t get that feeling with Jim. He is bordering on being suicidal once he realises that he is never going to be alive off of the ship again, but is that enough to really warrant waking someone else up for that to share the same fact, just to stop you being lonely. It’s a case of doing the wrong thing but for the right reason.

So we’re now into the top half of the countdown for this. We’ve made it through films that, for the most part, I would never go out of my way to watch again. However, don’t assume that just because these films in this list are in the top half that they’re automatically good films. There were a lot of bad films out this year, especially in the latter half of 2016.

So for 50 to 41 we are looking at a variety of films from some very different genres. There are horror films, romantic comedies, stories within stories and arguably the most debated and talked about reboot in recent years.

So here we go.

50) The Girl with All The Giftsthe-girl-with-all-the-gifts-movie-poster

Cast : Sennia Nanua, Paddy Considine, Gemma Arterton and Glenn Close

Plot : A zombie outbreak has decimated the population of the UK, leaving the majority of those that have survived in army bases. They have learnt however that the outbreak can be controlled and children at the key, not showing any signs of zombism unless they are exposed to flesh inches from their face. They are taught in a classroom by Helen (Arterton), who notices very early on that Melanie (Nanua) is her brightest student.

Zombies quickly break through the fence, leaving only a handful of survivors able to escape, and they soon realise that Melanie might their only hope of survival, but what will she make of the outside world, especially when an opportunity arises?

Why in this position? : If you took out the first fifteen and the final ten minutes then this would have been an excellent zombie flick, even though it had the distinct disadvantage of having the diabolically uncharismatic void of emotion that is Gemma Arterton in it.

The middle hour or so of the film is arguably as good as any other zombie film that I’ve seen set in the open world (as in not confined to a specific location, such as most of George A Romero’s films). That sixty or so minutes are full of tension and genuine threat, and not to forget well built characters. There was actually a time that I was considering this for a much higher place on the list.

However, as I’ve mentioned, the first fifteen and the final ten minutes are, for lack of a better word, just not very good. The central character of Melanie just isn’t that interesting, and is the equivalent of that kid in school that would bring the teacher an apple (well, we don’t really do that in England, but I imagine it’s still a thing in America). This isn’t helped by the aforementioned bland acting of Gemma Arterton.

Combine this with an ending that is a bit out of left field (another American saying), and I couldn’t really consider this movie to be anything more than average, at best.

 

49) Ghostbustersghostbusters_ver11

Cast : Kristen Wiig, Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Leslie Jones, Chris Hemsworth and Neil Casey

Plot : Abby (McCarthy) and Erin (Wiig) are both highly respected scientists, but when the latter objects to the re-release of a book about paranormal activity that they co-wrote several years ago. They do team up to investigate a reported case of paranormal activity with Abby’s colleague, Jillian (McKinnon). Their video of the incident sees all three fired.

They decide to continue to invest all of their time hunting evidence of paranormal activity, but they soon start getting into more than they bargained for.

Why in this position? I think it’s fair to say that there were no films released this year that divided opinion and caused as many arguments as “Ghostbusters”. My own personal concern was that it just didn’t look funny, or at least not compared to the previous films in the franchise, and I think there in lies the problem. Had this just been a film about ghost hunting that didn’t use the name “Ghostbusters” then I think this would have fared far more favourably than it did.

I didn’t mind “Ghostbusters”, it wasn’t a classic in any sense of the world, but it could be considerably worse to put it nicely. The acting from the four lead women is decent enough, which is something that I never thought I’d say about Melissa McCarthy, but it is most definitely Chris Hemsworth that steals the show as the charmingly stupid Kevin.

I actually quite liked the visuals, and despite looking very cartoony in places, I thought it was very vibrant, thus establishing a less serious tone that the original. It’s a technique that can be taken in either a good or bad way, but it helps in some ways separate it from the originals, whilst in many ways paying tribute.

The main problem with the Ghostbusters reboot, other than their attempts to cram in as many references and cameos from the original as possible, is that the antagonist is just so unengaging. The very fact that I had to look up on Google what the antagonist’s name was should tell you all about how unforgettable he is.

 

48)The Infiltratorinfiltrator

Cast : Bryan Cranston, John Leguizamo, Diane Kruger and Benjamin Bratt

Plot : Special agent Robert Mazur (Cranston) has just successfully come out of his latest undercover role when he is placed under the alias of Bob Musella in order to break into the upper regions of the local drugs cartel, headed by Pablo Escobar. He is placed with the abrasive Emir Abreu (Leguizamo), who struggles to make Mazur believable.

Despite the struggle, Bob does successfully get into the higher reaches of the cartel. Bob’s story is so believable that Kathy Ertz (Kruger) is hired to pretend to be his wife, but its enough to convince many involved, but both feel guilty when they develop a strong personal relationship with Roberto Alcaino (Bratt), making it harder for him to get in.

Why in this position? : When I saw the trailer for this Bryan Cranston lead vice-style film, I got excited. It looked exciting, fresh and had a decent case, but much like several other films on this list, it is largely forgettable.

I went to watch “The Infiltrator” less than 48 hours ago (at the time of writing) and I couldn’t tell you a single character name other than Abreu (obviously I looked them up for the above plot when posting the article), who is played excellently by John Leguizamo. It’s just so forgettable and not really engaging. Leguizamo certainly isn’t the only person putting in a good portrayal, with Cranston doing very well too.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not an awful film by any stretch of the imagination, and it does draw you in quite well, but the problem is that the central plot of the film is the central character climbing the drugs cartel ladder, but it all feels completely effortless. Not once did I feel during the film that the character wasn’t going to achieve that goal (for the record I didn’t know that this was a true story go in).

Not awful, but certainly not great.

 

47) The Danish Girlthe-danish-girl-eddie-redmayne

Cast : Eddie Redmayne, Alicia Vikander, Matthias Schoenaerts and Ben Whishaw

Plot : Einar (Redmayne) and Gerda (Vikander) are happily married in 1920s Denmark and they are both keen artists. Einar is considerably more successful that his wife, but is willing to help her and wears a dress for one of her portraits, but this reignites his secret desire to be female. Gerda encourages him to go to a party as his female alter-ego, Lili, but whilst there she witnesses her husband kissing another man, Henrik (Whishaw).

With both becoming distraught, Einar realises that he can no longer live as his old self and seeks surgical help, as well as starting to work in a perfume store and starting a relationship with Henrik, all to Gerda’s horror.

Why in this position? : The first film that I saw during 2016 was ultimately one of the most disappointing as it was quite clearly designed to be Oscar-bait. It had a great cast and being transgender myself, I was interested in the subject matter, but ultimately it’s just told in a way that whilst not awful (which is quite clear by the fact that there was 53 films below it in this countdown), just doesn’t get you emotionally invested at all.

Eddie Redmayne is reasonable as the main character, and Alicia Vikander is highly competent in her role, and with a strong supporting cast this should have been a much better film that it ultimately was. Visually the film is great as well and whilst I can’t claim to be an expert on 1920s Denmark, or indeed any point of Denmark’s history, it looks like what you’d expect from a Scandinavian country almost one hundred years ago.

I think the main problem with this is that it seemed to have an aura that it automatically expected to be considered a great film without really having to work overly hard for it. I wouldn’t even class this as a great film about transgenderism, and there are many better films about the subject matter out there that haven’t got the Oscar-bait machine behind it.

It’s not awful, but it’s not something that I’d actively try to see again.

 

46) Pete’s Dragonpd_teaser_1-sheet_v2alt_lg

Cast : Oakes Fegley, Bryce Dalls Howard, Wes Bentley, Karl Urban and Oona Laurence

Plot : Pete (Fegley for the most part, Levi Alexander aged five) was involved in a car accident when he was five years old that killed his parents. Whilst walking away he is chased by wolves before being saved by a dragon. Over the next few years he adapts to life in the woods, living with his the dragon, whom he calls Elliott. One day he sees other humans though, more specially a girl named Natalie (Laurence), and all of her family eventually manage to find Pete.

He is taken to hospital and cared for by Grace (Howard) and Jack (Bentley), the parents of Natalie, but it’s Natalie’s uncle, Gavin (Urban) that everyone has to worry about as he saw the dragon and intends to use it for financial gain.

Why in this position? I’ve never seen the original animated film, it never really interested me, but one Saturday morning this was on at the cinema I was working at at the time and so I thought “why not?” Whilst it certainly wasn’t a classic, and did drag at times, it wasn’t actually that bad.

Oakes Fegley (what a name by the way) puts in one of the better child performances of the year as Pete, and to be fair the entire cast does a good job. It’s also good to see Karl Urban in the role of an antagonist, but what I especially liked it that he wasn’t an antagonist for the sake of being one, you understand where his character is coming from, and that’s rare for films.

The only problem with “Pete’s Dragon” really is that whilst it develops characters well, there isn’t that much going on for the majority, and I can see why a lot of kids didn’t like it. Even as a 32 year old adult I was getting somewhat bored at times waiting for something to happen. Don’t get me wrong, when it does start happening it’s really good, it just takes a while.

 

45) Alliedalliedposter

Cast : Brad Pitt, Marion Cotillard and Jared Harris

Plot : Max (Pitt) is sent to Morocco during World War Two to assassinate a high ranking German official, his partner is Marianne (Cotillard), a French spy. The two train relentlessly, with Max’s boss Frank (Harris) keeping a close eye on proceedings. The pair do eventually assassinate the German, as well as several others, and Max celebrates by asking Marianne to marry him.

Why in this position? After a year of marriage and one child later, Max is called into his local headquarters for meeting. He assumes that it is for a promotion, but when he arrives he is told that they believe his wife to be a German spy. They give Max instructions to answer a call and write down what is said on a piece of paper that Marianne can easily locate, and it would show up in a German transcript a few days later. Max complies, but defies orders by actively trying to prove his wife’s innocence, but that’s easier said than done due to conflicting reports.

Why in this position? If there was one type of film this year that was surprisingly absent compared to other years, it’s a war film. I could be wrong but I think this was the only mainstream one (the only other one I can think of wasn’t mainstream, but will appear on this countdown), or at least one that was set during the time of World War Two, and they decided to cast Brad Pitt for what is his fourth film set in the time period of the last few years (the others being Fury, Inglorious Basterds and some scenes in Benjamin Button). That being said, don’t be fooled into thinking that this is a war film, it’s not.

“Allied” is a very interesting film in the sense that is basically a large puzzle piece and you’re never entirely sure about whether the character of Marianne’s allegiance until the very final scene, and I love films that keep you guessing to the end.

The only reason that this didn’t place higher is that I just find Marion Coutillard to be a very boring and lifeless actress. I can’t recall a single performance from her that I have been impressed by. She is very monotone in her delivery, and I don’t think that’s to do with English not being her first language as there are plenty who fit that description and are livelier than her.

 

44) Nocturnal Animals20161014175110nocturnal_animals_poster

Cast : Jake Gyllenhaal, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Aaron Taylor-Johnson and Armie Hammer

Plot : Susan (Adams) is an owner of an art gallery who one day receives a manuscript for a novel from her estranged husband, Edward (Gyllenhaal). He dedicates the book for her, causing her to rekindle her feelings and want to meet with him, especially as she is in a neglectful relationship current husband, Hutton (Hammer).

She sits down to read the novel and it tells the story of a man (also Gyllenhaal) who is ran off the road by a gang leader (Taylor-Johnson) and forced to watch as his wife and daughter are abducted, later found raped and murdered. He sets about getting revenge with the help of the local deputy (Shannon).

Why in this position? It’s a bit tricky to talk about this film because it’s effectively a story within a story. We’ll call the Amy Adams section “P1” (short for Part 1), and the Jake Gyllenhaal sub story “P2”.

Had this film just been released as P2, obviously extended otherwise it’d be a very small runtime, there would have actually been a chance that not only would this have featured much higher up, but also a potential top ten candidate. The section starring him, Michael Shannon and Aaron Taylor-Johnson is arguably one of the most emotionally investing parts of a film that I have seen this year.

P2 is expert film making at it’s finest, and I was drawn into it’s story, the look and feel, as well as the acting from the three main characters, especially ATJ, who plays something completely different from what he has done before.

However, as good as P2 is, P1 is the complete opposite and something that I just couldn’t get behind, no matter how hard I tried. It was just generic and any time they cut back from P2 to P1, it felt like someone had slammed the breaks on in an extremely hard manner. It kills any momentum that P2 has built, and one of the reasons for this is that it just isn’t that interesting.

 
43) Kubo and the Two Stringskubo

Cast : The voices of Art Parkinson, Charlize Theron, Matthew McConaughey, George Takei, Rooney Mara, Ralph Fiennes

Plot : Kubo (Parkinson) is an imaginative child that is told expressively by his mother that he must be home by sundown, or his evil family will be able to find and kill him. One day however he fails to do that and is quickly found by his evil aunts (both Mara), who promises that his grandfather (Fiennes) is coming. Kubo’s mother soon dies.

Distraught, Kubo realises that his only chance is to get his father’s ancient armour. He is soon joined on his journey by a talking monkey (Theron) and a giant cockroach (McConaughey), but whilst they aim to protect him, can the evil power of Kubo’s aunts and grandfather prove too much?

Why in this position? : On the face of it “Kubo and the Two Strings” is a charming look at a coming-of-age tale of a young man against a seemingly overwhelming evil, and it is easily the most visually unique film I saw this year, however, despite having some good jokes in there, two genuinely creepy antagonists (the witch sisters just to confirm) and a likeable main character, the problem with the aforementioned film is that is just completely forgettable.

At the time of writing this mini-review, I watched it less than 24 hours ago and I am already at the point where I can’t remember large parts of the plot, other than there are a LOT of ex-machina moments, and I largely found myself withdrawn from the story throughout.

That’s not to say that “Kubo and the Two Strings” is awful, far from it. It’s animation style is relatively unique and it is one that I never considered for the bottom 10, not even close, but if I was to describe it as anything other than forgettable then I wouldn’t be accurate.

 

42) The Finest Hoursthe-finest-hours-poster

Cast : Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Holliday Grainger, Eric Bana, Casey Affleck, John Magaro and Kyle Gallner

Plot : Bernie (Pine) is a Coast Guard in Massachusetts, and one day he meets Miriam (Grainger). The two fall in love and plan to get married, but as per regulations he has to ask permission from his commander (Bana). As he approaches him to ask, news comes through that an oil tanking has started sinking.

Due to everyone else being at other rescues, Bernie is sent to rescue the crew along with the largely reluctant Richard (Foster), as well as Richard (Gallner) and Ervin (Magaro).

With time against them, they soon realise that their boat simply won’t be big enough to rescue everyone safely.

Why in this position? : “The Finest Hours” is not a bad film, not by any stretch, but the problem is that it’s just not very interesting or exciting.

Let’s start with the romance section of the beginning of the film. I really liked that part and it’s nice to see a relatively fresh face in the role of the leading lady, something that only ever really happens in the horror genre. Holliday Grainger is arguably the best part about this otherwise generic film.

I love the look and feel of the film though. It feels very coastly, if that’s even a thing, and they take great care to make it at least seem authentic, but the problem is that it’s just kind of there. It’s not really overly interesting, and that’s a big shame as with the cast it should have been a lot better.

I think what lets this film down the most is that the consequences just don’t feel that vital. Whilst you know what’s going on, you never get a real sense of danger and that feeling that they’re not going to achieve rescuing the majority of people. When there are no stakes, there’s nothing driving you towards getting emotionally invested.

 

41) Bridget Jones’ Babybridget

Cast : Renee Zellweger, Colin Firth, Patrick Dempsey, Sarah Solemani and Sally Phillips

Plot : Bridget (Zellweger) is firmly in her midlife crisis safe and has largely accepted that she’s never going to get with anyone, so one day she joins Miranda (Solemani) in going to a festival. There she meets the hugely successful romance expert, Jack (Dempsey) and the two quickly have sex before Bridget leaves in the morning.

The next day Bridget runs into old flame, Mark (Firth) and it again ends in her having sex. Several weeks later Bridget realises that she is pregnant, but she isn’t sure who the father is and therefore tells both of them that it is their child, but it isn’t long before they find out the truth and there is a rivalry between Mark and Jack.

Why in this position: “Bridget’s Back” bellowed the tag line for yet another trilogy completer, but the problem with any trilogy that you face is that realistically you need to have seen the first two to have any real sense of what is truly going on. I’d never seen either of the first two Bridget Jones films, so this meant that I was effectively going in blind.

Ignoring that I tried to get into the film and there were some bits that I genuinely enjoyed about it. It is a very feel-good comedy, and I do like the concept, afterall, it’s a fairly routine plot as one that has been done before.. The execution Is fine and overall there aren’t really any major complaints that I have with the film’s relatively long run time. The acting is competent and the telling of the story is relatively well structured, even if the ending is a little tooing and froing.

I can’t quite put my finger on why I didn’t like it. It’s not an awful film by any stretch, and I suppose being this high up on the list isn’t a bad thing when you see how many films I’ve watched this year, but is this something that I would actively watch again? No, probably not.

Maybe it’s one of those that you really have to watch with the first two to get in the swing of it.

So after looking at forty other films that were not that good, I’m starting to emerge into the area of films that were quite reasonable, even if not great. Included in this list are some of the biggest releases in 2016, including two comic book films, and the expansion of two of the most popular franchises in cinema history.

Before I start on this list, I’m going to clarify something. There are a few films on this list in particular that I saw twice at the cinema. Some I enjoyed this much more on the second viewing, however, I am basing this position purely on the first viewing of the film as it would otherwise be unfair on the other films in the list.

So, here we go with 60 through to 51.

60) Money Monstermoney_monster-765138268-large

Cast : George Clooney, Jack O’Connell, Julia Roberts, Dominic West and Giancarlo Esposito

Plot : Lee (Clooney) is a very popular TV financial analyst. He turns up one day for work with the plan to interview Walt Calmby (West) following a glitch that cost investors to Calmby’s company $800m, one of Lee’s previous tips, but Walt pulls out. Lee continues with the show as normal.

During his broadcast, Kyle (O’Connell) casually strolls onto set and takes Lee hostage. Kyle blames Lee for losing all of his life’s savings by investing it in Calmby’s company, which was described as a “sure thing”, leaving him completely broke. Whilst they have on-air hostage negotiation, it soon starts to emerge that the glitch might have had humans tampering it with it.

Why in this position? : “Money Monster” reminded me a lot of films in recent years that follow a similar structure, i/e an investigation going on whilst a hostage situation, or something that’s likely to cause mass-injury, is going on. For example, “Unstoppable”, “The Taking of Pelham 123” and other films of that sort of ilk. I liked those films and that is why I decided to give it a go.

There are definitely some interesting aspects to the film, such as the way that O’Connell and Clooney seem to have a natural connection on screen, but the problem is that the majority of the other characters in the film, other than Walt, are pretty replaceable and forgettable.

I did like the film, it was fairly well put together, but towards the end it does get a bit complicated and loses a lot of the tension and I got a bit bored. Don’t get me wrong, if I get the chance to watch it again then I’d probably take it, but I wouldn’t go out of my way to do so.

 

59) Pride and Prejudice and Zombiesprideprejudicesmall1

Cast : Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston, Bella Heathcote, Douglas Booth, Matt Smith, Charles Dance and Lena Headey

Plot : Elizabeth (James) is fed up with her mother (Bennett) constantly trying to force marriage on her daughters, made even trickier by that the world is infested with zombies. One day she meets the rather abrupt and rude Fitzwilliam Darcy (Riley), who admits that he is attracted to her, but she is more attracted to army commander, Mr Wickham (Huston).

Wickham shows Elizabeth that he has found a way to keep zombies civilised, feeding them pigs brains instead of human brains. Elizabeth refuses to elope with Wickham, but she then also rejects a marriage proposal from Darcy due to him separating Bingley (Booth) from her sister. He goes to fight the war on zombies, but soon it becomes evident that Wickham wasn’t all he seemed either.

Why in this position? : If there is one thing I’ll give to films like this, they try to be fun and original, and I must admit that I have never seen another film like this. I won’t claim to know anything at all about “Pride and Prejudice”, so I went into this film pretty blind considering. I won’t claim to have thought it was one of the best films of the year, which I would hope would be evident by the fact it’s at number 59 on this list, but it was certainly better than last year’s “Scouts Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse”.

The acting is fairly decent throughout, especially Sam Riley as I have realised in the few films that I have seen him in that he has a distinct lack of charisma, making him a perfect candidate for a role as a moody and rude guy that is not at ease with his emotions. Jack Huston is also exceptionally charming as Wickham.

Acting and fun aside, this film has a lot of flaws, with one of the bigger ones being that you never genuinely feel that Elizabeth is in any true danger, and most of her sisters are actually completely inconsequential and underdeveloped. I’m not sure if it’s the same in the novel, but it didn’t translate well to film.

 

58) Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Themcf85c795d294e5c93544571128188d4d

Cast : Eddie Redmayne, Dan Fogler, Katherine Waterston, Alison Sudol, Ezra Miller and Colin Farrell

Plot : Newt (Redmayne) arrives in New York to aid in his research for his book. Within days though he accidentally manages to unleash various creatures in the city, including in front of a non-magical witness called Jacob (Fogler). Porpentina (Waterston), a member of what is effectively the Magic Police, finds out that Jacob knows about the released creature and tries to arrest he and Newt.

She eventually takes them to her apartment, in which Jacob meets Queenie (Sudol), Porpentina’s sister, and they two fall in love. Newt eventually manages to escape through his suitcase and continues his mission to get his creatures back, but that might prove tricky once Porpentina’s bosses find out.

Why in this position? : I’m not going to pretend that I think the “Harry Potter” franchise is good, I really don’t think it is. Out of the eight films I liked maybe three, if that. The problem is that the villains are largely forgotten for the majority of the film in the original eight films, and it is the same in “FBAWTFT”. There are large, very large infact, sections where the antagonist is not referenced at all, a repeat of the previous eight films. The first two Harry Potter films were on TV at the weekend that has just past and the antagonists are only really relevant for the final fifteen minutes of both, and that trend repeats here.

Now, don’t get me wrong, there are parts of the film that I did like, and or me the stand out character is Jacob, played fantastically by Dan Fogler. He is the “everyman” character that is very much the audience’s way into this world, and the way that we would probably react and ask questions. If I was to rank the top ten characters of the year, chances are that he would in it. The problem is that he is the only truly engaging character in the film.

Porpentina is a dull character, Seraphina is not developed in the slightest and the less said about the exceptionally boring character of Credence, the better.

 

57) Suicide Squadlarge_e1mjopzas2knsvpbpahq1a6sksn

Cast : Will Smith, Margot Robbie, Joel Kinnaman, Viola Davis, Jai Courtney, Cara Delevingne and Jared Leto

Plot : Whilst Superman and Batman are revered as heroes, there are some who think the opposite and realise just how dangerous they can be. Because of this, Amanda Waller (Davis) decides to have a team of anti-heroes to counter the potential issues. However, on early on the mystical Enchantress (Delevingne) turns on them and sets about ending the world herself.

The squad, lead by Rick Flag (Kinnaman), and he makes it clear that the group of anti-heroes are to follow his rule, or they will face the consequences. That is not made that easy though as one of his group, Harley Quinn (Robbie), is being chased by The Joker (Leto), who intends on resuming his abusive relationship with her.

Why in this position? : They might as well have just called this “Deadshot and Harley : The Movie” because no other characters in the squad are given time to develop or become even remotely interesting. Infact, I’d go as far as calling this a female lead comic book movie because let’s face it, Harley Quinn is the main character. She was the main character in the trailer, she’s the only one given any real emotional attachment to another character in the film.

From the trailers you would believe that this is a fun romp and to be fair, there were times when I was actually genuinely enjoying this outing from DC, but it never really felt like anything more than a poor attempt to replicate the anti-hero portrayal of Marvel’s “Guardians of the Galaxy”.

The acting is fine, the plot is followable and it’s not an awful film, but it’s not that great either.

 

56) Rogue One : A Star Wars Storycwq_bzvxeaevup4

Cast: Felicity Jones, Diego Luna, Ben Mendelsohn, Mads Mikkelsen, Riz Ahmed, Donnie Yen and Forrest Whittaker

Plot : It’s been nearly twenty years since the Jedi were overthrown at the hands of Anakin Skywalker and seemingly wiped out, and now the Empire rules over the galaxy. They are developing a super weapon that is capable of destroying entire planets, all designed by Galen (Mikkelsen), who does it to protect his daughter, Jyn (Jones).

One day Jyn is rescued from prison, encountering Cassian (Luna) and his droid. They learn that a pilot (Ahmed) has defected from the Empire and has a message that will turn the tide of the war, but he is not trusted by anyone on board.

Meanwhile, an ambitious Empire General (Mendelsohn) is determined to prove his worth, and more ominously, the worth of the super weapon?

Why in this position? : I’m going to get a lot of hate for this one as well.

Whilst I’m not going to claim to be a big Star Wars fan, I do somewhat enjoy them. I do feel they are ridiculously overrated, but last year’s “Force Awakens” was delightful fun, this was not. “Rogue One” just plods along for two hours and yet never feels like it’s going anyway. It feels completely unnatural when they do eventually start battling the empire, and everything feels a bit “deus-ex machina”.

For me the stakes never really feel that big, and I think the reason for this is that you know that in the end they will succeed because it’s a prequel to a film that was released nearly 40 years ago. Any true stakes are taken out of the whole equation, and the only question becomes which character(s) from the rebels are about to die.

The one thing I will give to the film is that Mikkelsen and Mendelsohn are both wonderful in their respective roles, and most of the cast do a good job. There are some great throwbacks to the original trilogy and it does seem to all neatly tie in together, and the CGI (especially incorporating the faces of actors that are either dead, or into old age by now) to look like they did in “A New Hope” was great, but that doesn’t stop it being a good film for me.

 

55) Ben Hurben_hur_ver13

Cast : Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, Tony Kebbell and Rodrigo Santoro

Plot : Adoptive brothers Judah (Huston) and Messala (Kebbell) love each other but have very different views of the world. Whilst Judah only wants peace, Messala wants to join the Roman Empire eventually succeeding in his mission. He returns several years later but feels betrayed when he finds zealots hiding in Judah’s house, and he casts him out. Judah is then subjected to several years of slaving on a ship.

He is eventually rescued by Sheik Ilderim (Freeman), who soon realises that he is no mere slave, and decides to allow him time and space to regain his strength so that he can go after Messala in the one place where he knows it would hurt him the most, the collessium in front of all of Rome.

Why in this position? : I went in expecting the worst. I’ve never seen the original “Ben Hur” but kept hearing how good it is, so I thought “why not” and gave it a watch one random morning, mainly because Rodrigo Santoro was in it, and he’s awesome.

I’m not going to sit here and lie by saying that I thought this film was good, oh no, far from it, but is it as bad as some made it out to be? No, definitely not. I think the reason for this is that unlike a lot of other films in the lower reaches of my count down, you see where both sides of the argument are coming from, and even though he’s a bit of a dick about things, you understand the antagonist’s point of view.

This is a film that will be completely forgotten by this time next year, and I have no doubts that the original is better, but ultimately it wasn’t the worst way to spend a few hours of my life, but would I ever watch it again? No, probably not.

 

54) Nice Guysthe_nice_guys_stroke_1024x1024

Cast : Russell Crowe, Ryan Gosling, Angourie Rice, Matt Bomer, Margaret Qualley, Yaya DaCosta, Kim Basinger, Keith David and Jack Kilmer

Plot : Jackson (Crowe) is a fixer that you hire if you need something unsavoury doing, such as beating up someone, and one such job sees him investigate why fellow private detective Holland (Gosling) is snooping around his client, Amelia (Qualley). After Jackson beats up Holland, he himself is attacked by two thugs who try to establish where Amelia is from him.

Holland and Jackson decide to team up after Amelia disappears, and the establish that the reason people are interested in her is that she has been in a home-made journalism/porn movie with a recently deceased porn star, and that there is a chance that it contains important information that would overthrow her mother, Judith (Basinger), a high ranking official in the Department of Justice.

Why in this position? : I seemed to be the only person that I know that didn’t really feel anything for this film. Whilst it’s not awful it just felt like it was just plodding along without any real effort needed in order for the central characters to resolve the case.

Whilst the setting and comedy was decent enough, there was just something missing that meant that whilst I didn’t dislike the film, I can’t honestly say that I enjoyed “The Nice Guys”, and it’s such a shame because I was looking forward to it from the moment that I initially saw the trailer several months prior.

Crowe and Gosling made a great pairing, and given how popular the movie was I can actually picture getting a sequel in several years, but for me it was just a bang-average attempt at making a so called “buddy anti-cop” movie.

 

53) Dr. Strange

doctorstrange4

Cast : Benedict Cumberbatch, Mads Mikkelsen, Tilda Swindon, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Rachel McAdams

Plot : Dr. Strange (Cumberbatch) is one of the leading surgeons in the world and it has made him exceedingly arrogant. One day he is driving, all whilst not paying attention. He suddenly veers off of the road, and the accident causes significant damage to his hands, making being a surgeon impossible. He throws his money at all types of experimental surgeries, but all fail. Virtually giving up, Strange hears about a previously paralysed man that was suddenly able to walk after a trip to Nepal. Strange uses the last of his money to travel there.

Whilst there he finds a woman referring to herself as “The Ancient One” (Swinton), who claims to control aspects of reality. Strange refuses to believe her until his thrown through several dimensions. She eventually agrees to train him, however, she fears that he might turn out to be like Kaecilius (Mikkelson), a former student that started following the dark arts, and will stop at nothing to seek eternal life.

Why in this position? : “Dr Strange” is a visually complex film, often confusing when buildings are moving around, but it is largely very well presented, with great visuals. I especially like the make up that has been applied to the ever reliable Mikkelsen, even if in one scene it actually looks like it’s irritating his eyes to the point where he is crying.

The casting for this film is near enough perfect, with Mikkelsen being a great antagonist, and Benedict Cumberbatch proving to be an exceptional comic-book protagonist, but it’s not a perfect film. Whilst Mikkelsen is perfect in the role, especially with a few vaudevillian style jokes, the character itself never really feels like a genuine threat and you’re never convinced he’s going to win. Even if the characterisation is decent enough, and you understand where they are coming from, you can never see him defeating Strange overall, which can’t be said for other Marvel villains.

The only major  problem that I really have with “Dr. Strange” is that it is not that original in the sense that it is basically the same storyline at another Marvel film, “Thor”. It’s a film about someone who is overly arrogant because of his ability, but due to his own hubris he is striped of those abilities. It takes him some time to accept his new fate and life, and he learns to be a far more humble person. Whilst the overall plot is different, the spine is very much the same.

 

52) Daddy’s Homedaddys-home

Cast : Will Ferrell, Mark Wahlberg, Linda Cardellini, Scarlett Estevez and Owen Wilder Vaccaro

Plot : Brad (Ferrell) is a proud step-father to the kids of his new wife, Sara (Cardellini), but one day they receive a message that the actual father of the kids, Dusty (Wahlberg), is coming for a visit and he wants to discuss something with Sara. Brad is excited, but Sara is less than keen.

When he arrives, Brad is overly nice at first, but it quickly turns into a game of one-up-manship between the two, and Dusty reveals that not only does he want his kids back, but he also wants Sara back as well.

Why in this position? : I don’t really do comedies at the cinema or in general. I have a very odd sense of humour and therefore don’t really enjoy a lot of those films that you would consider LOL material, but that being said I did reasonably enjoy “Daddy’s Home”.

I’m not going to sit here and claim it is perfect, infact far from it. There are a lot of issues with it, but it was a fun way to spend 90 or so minutes of my life. The cast are reasonably enjoyable and do a decent job, even Wahlberg, who you would never imagine would be half decent in a role like this, but he pulls it off.

Ultimately it’s not a great film, and I’m never going to claim that it was an excellent film, hence why it’s this relatively far down in the list, but it’s enjoyable enough to say that if it was on TV at some point then I’d probably sit and watch it.

 

51) Goosebumpsaaenpt

Cast : Jack Blake, Dylan Minnette, Odeya Rush and Ryan Lee

Plot : Zach (Minnette) moves to a new neighbourhood and quickly becomes attracted to the girl next door, Hannah (Rush). However, every time he tries to interact with her, her father (Black) refuses to accept the situation and bans him from seeing her. One night the father goes out, and Zach’s friend, Champ (Lee), convinces him to break into the house after he thinks he hears Hannah being murdered, but what they instead fine are dozens of manuscripts for the Goosebumps books.

They soon accidentally open one of the books and a giant snow monster comes out, and they soon realise that all of the books contain monsters, and they’re soon all accidentally released. Now Zach, Champ, Hannah and the father, who is revealed to be R.L Stine, the author of all of the original books, and the only way for the nightmare to end is if he writes a fresh manuscript using the original typewriter, but it won’t be that easy with all of the monsters trying to kill them.

Why in this position? : I never really watched “Goosebumps”, nor read the books, when I was a kid so I went into this not really expecting a lot. Infact, I expected very little in general and to be honest, had I not gotten into films for free this year, I’d never have even slightly considered watching it. That being said, it wasn’t that bad.

I’m not going to go on about “Goosebumps” for too long because there’s not really a lot to say. It’s a fun enough movie that is relatively interesting for what it is. For kids I imagine it’s pretty scary, and even though I was 31 at the time I watched it, I reasonably enjoyed it for the most part.

My only issue with it is that it does get a tiny bit repetitive, especially with the character of “Slappy”, but you know what, there are far worse ways to spend 90 or so minutes.

So we’re now getting into the region of films that might not have been great, but they weren’t that bad. Below are ten films that I wouldn’t go out of my way to watch again, but if they were on TV on a Sunday afternoon then I might sit and watch them…might being the key word.

Included in this specific list is an autistic assassin, a doll that is seemingly haunted, seven mercenaries, one of the most forgettable films of the year and yet another unconvincing film starring Miles Teller, but we start with a film that I was convinced I would hate due to the reviews that were out…….

70) Gods of Egyptho00003103

Cast : Nikolaj Coster-Waldau, Brenton Thwaites, Gerard Butler, Chadwick Boseman, Courtney Eaton and Geoffrey Rush

Plot : In an alternative version of Egypt, the Gods live amongst the humans and tower of them. One day, Bek (Thwaites) and his girlfriend, Zaya (Eaton) are attending the coronation to the throne of Horus (Coster-Wildau). Everything seems to be going fine at first, that is until Set (Butler) the brother of Osiris, comes to claim the throne for hismelf, blinding Horus in the process.

One year later Set has enslaved the local humans, including Bek. He steals one of Horus’ eyes for Zaya, but she is killed in the process. Bek soon realises that the only way to rescue Zaya from the underworld is to get Horus to defeat Set, who has made it so that only wealth will get you into the afterlife. Horus is less than keen to get involved.

Why in this position? : I had heard fr om various sources that “Gods of Egypt” would undoubtedly the worst film that I would see this year, and after a few minutes I couldn’t really argue, but as it went on that feeling disappeared and whilst it was by no means a classic, it was at least interesting. The film appears to be completely filmed on a green-screen, and it isn’t even good green-screen. The film looks ridiculous, and in many ways it is.

However, I found something a bit likeable about this film. I can’t quite put my finger on it because there isn’t one particular aspect that I actually liked, but I didn’t hate the film. It looks ridiculous, but it is like a lot of the modern day films based on mythology, an attempt at being fun.

If you do ever decide to watch this film then don’t go in expecting it to be brilliant, it’s far from that. The one thing I can guarantee is that you’ll never forget it.

 

69) The Purge : Election Yearho00003123

Cast : Frank Grillo, Elizabeth Mitchell and Mykelti Williamson

Plot : It’s time for the annual purge in America, a night in which everyone gets to live out their fantasies without the fear of repercussion. It also happens to be the night when the new President will be decided, and Charlie Roan (Mitchell) intends to get rid of the purge if she wins, but this makes her a prime suspect for being killed on the night, especially after it is announced that government officials are no longer exempt.

The night starts quietly as Leon (Grillo) has his security team well drilled, but the problem is that not all of them are in Charlie’s camp when it comes to the purge, and they are the first of a long, long line of people aiming to kill the presidential candidate.

Why in this position? : If you’ve seen one of the Purge films then you’ve seen them all. The first of the “Purge” trilogy wasn’t too bad, it was certainly watchable, but the problem was that much like the “Saw” franchise, it outstayed its welcome by quite some way.

Don’t get me wrong, if you’re into violence in films then this is definitely the film for you as when it gets going, it is somewhat entertaining, but it takes far too long to get to this stage as it tries to develop it’s three central characters far, far too much, meaning that you don’t care about the numerous secondary characters.

It also contains one of the worst individual antagonist performances of the year, with Brittany Mirabile (she’s the one in the corset on the poster) delivering a horrible portrayal throughout her time on screen. I don’t think I’ve ever been as happy this year in the cinema as I was when her character gets killed off.

 

68) The Accountantunnamed

Cast : Ben Affleck, Anna Kendrick, JK Simmons and Jon Bernthal

Plot : Christian (Affleck) is an autistic accountant who is exceptional at this job during the day. His clients include a variety of honest, hardworking folk, but also some well known terrorists, something that makes him a target of the FBI, but they haven’t got the proof.

His employers hire him out to a company to check why there is a financial black hole, with the company’s director, Ray (Simmons), believing that there is someone stealing from the accounts. Christian is able to quickly confirm this, but it turns out that this is only the start of his issues with Ray.

Why in this position? : “The Accountant” started off in a reasonable fashion and seemed like a relatively stylish attempt at a film about an assassin, but it very quickly started to lose anything that even resembled something interesting. I believe that moment came exactly when Anna Kendrick walked on screen. Dear lord she is an awful actress.

The worst part is that she is not only is she an awful actress, but her character is completely irrelevant to the story, as are so many other characters in this relatively short film.

After that the film just seems to lose something, and your attention is suddenly awoken to realise that what you are watching is Ben Affleck playing a role whilst seemingly having no interest in doing so. The character isn’t designed to portray any emotions, but even then the performance just feels lifeless, almost as if Affleck was saying the words “contractually obliged” over and over again in his head, all whilst trying to look passively engaged.

And then we get onto the twist at the end. I’m not going to reveal what it is but let me put it this way, it’s unwarranted, rather out of the blue, and does the exact opposite of what a twist is supposed to do, i/e, it leaves me with a massive sigh of “meh”.

That’s the film as a whole. It’s ok, sort of.

 

67) Magnificent Seventhe-magnificent-seven-poster-2_1200_1778_81_s-720x720

Cast : Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Peter Sarsgaard and Haley Bennett

Plot : Rose Creek has been invaded by the corrupt Bartholomew Bogue (Sarsgaard) and he slaughters a group of protesters. One of the protester’s wives, Emma (Bennett) decides that this can’t go on and she rallies the town for money, offering it to warrant officer Sam Chisholm (Washington) as a reward for helping them.

Chisholm starts recruiting a team of rogues and mercenaries, and the seven of them quickly dispatch the men that Bogue has left in the town, but it won’t be long until Bogue returns to reclaim it, and the twenty-two that were killed will look like a small gathering compared to what he is bringing with him.

Why in this position? : “The Magnificent Seven” is part of a genre (westerns just to clarify) that is desperately trying to get back into mainstream Hollywood, and after efforts such as “True Grit” and a few others, this appeared to be the highest profile. This made is even more confusion that there was seemingly so little effort put into the film.

The characters, other than those portrayed by Washington, Pratt and Hawke, are barely given any screen time, or reasonable development. The antagonist is also extremely one dimensional, and he just isn’t that compelling. This means that when characters start dying at the end of the film, you’re just like “meh”.

Don’t get me wrong, there are some good points to the film, otherwise it’d be much lower down. The cast does a great job, especially the ever reliable head-duo of Washington and Pratt, and Haley Bennett is decent enough as the only significant female character.

One of these is that it is one of two films this year to portray native Americans as anything other than a sympathetic character. Before this year I’d never seen a single film in which native Americans were portrayed as anything but super-awesome, but this is a great example of showing that they can be arseholes too. Don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against native Americans, but it’s great to see a previously seeming one-dimensional, super-awesome group of people.

 

66) The Boyboy_ver2

Cast : Lauren Cohan, Rupert Evans, Jim Norton, Diana Hardcastle and Ben Robson

Plot : Wanting to escape an abusive relationship, Greta (Cohan) takes a job being a nanny for a child in England. She moves over to look after the young son of the Heelshire family (Norton and Hardcastle), but when she arrives they present her to a doll of a young boy. She initially thinks it is a joke, but soon changes her mind due to the serious nature in which they Heelshires take the situation, including having a set of rules.

They go away for holiday, or at least that is what they claim as they actually commit suicide. Greta meanwhile starts to realise that there are some strange things going on with the doll, including it moving when she is not there, and eating food that is presented. Even strange are that if she doesn’t follow the rules, she seems to pay the consequences. Is there something else going on?

Why in this position? : Most people who read this site on a regular basis know that I don’t really do horror films. I don’t mean that as in they scare me that much, but rather the opposite. I am now largely immune to the scares that horror films try to bring about. That being said, “The Boy” was one of the better horror films of the year, but even then it’s not brilliant.

What I liked about “The Boy” is that it kept me intrigued for some time. You’re constantly curious about what is causing the doll to move around without aid, so you’re probably wondering why I have listed it this low down. It’s because when you find out what is going on, you begin to realise that it doesn’t actually make a lot of sense when you look at it in a retrospective manner.

 

65) Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Childrenmiss-peregrine-eva-greenjpg-a52b44_765w

Cast : Evan Green, Asa Butterfield, Ella Purnell, Finlay MacMillan, Samuel L Jackson, Chris O’Dowd and Terence Stamp,

Plot : Jacob (Butterfield) grew up with seemingly fantastical stories told to him by his grandfather, Abe (Stamp), about a school in England that stands still in time and is filled with people with powers. Jacob grows out of it, but he soon discovers that it is true after his father (O’Dowd) takes him on holiday.

He stumbles on the world by accident, but soon meets the seemingly fictional Miss Peregrine (Green) and her school of children with extraordinary abilities. Jacob soon becomes attracted to Emma (Purnell), but she leads him into the realisation that if he was to stay with at the school, he would never see his friends of family again, and be stuck in the 1940s. This isn’t help by him wanting to help fight Mr Barron (Jackson), a leader of group determined to kill the children so that they can restore their own humanity.

Why in this position? : “Miss Peregrine” appears to basically be X-Men for children, but the problem is that it is remarkably boring compared to that franchise. Let’s put it bluntly, it is a blatant rip off of X-Men, with the only real differences being that it is a female head of the school, and it’s largely set in the 1940s. Not to forget the outsider falling in love with a girl in the school, a girl who already has a boyfriend. Anyone who claims that it isn’t a rip of of the X-Men franchise is a fool.

The problem with “Miss Peregrine” isn’t just that it is a blatant rip off of X-Men, it’s that the characterisation is very poor. The characters are all exceptionally dull and portrayed with very little effort from their respective actor/actress, and other than one or two of the children, virtually none of them are given any development.

I have only ranked this so highly because I really liked the time loop element and that everything feels relatively consistent throughout in terms of how things are presented. They’ve taken a great deal of care in that, and visually the film is great in both time periods that the film takes place in.

 

64) A United Kingdoma-united-kingdom-poster

Cast : Rosamund Pike, David Oyelowo, Jack Davenport and Tom Felton

Plot : Ruth (Pike) is bored of dating the same type of men, but her family talk her into going out for a party and there she meets Seretse (Oyelowo), a black man. The two fall in love but pretty much everyone writes it off. Seretse eventually receives a letter from his native country of the modern day Botswana, and he reveals to Ruth that not only does he have to return home, but that he is to be named King. Ruth eventually agrees to go with him, and the two wed.

The British are still very prevalent in the area though and amongst the many objectors are government representatives Alistair (Davenport) and Rufus (Felton), both of who try and make sure that the marriage doesn’t disrupt the already tense relationship with neighbouring South Africa. It is only when Seretse is banished that Ruth realises that she is pregnant, and the two appeal wildly to the British government to allow Seretse home.

Why in this position? : If I was to list the most forgettable and irrelevant films of the year, “A United Kingdom” would be a front runner to top that list. Whilst there were some films that made me so angry that they features in my bottom ten, at least none of them left me bored. That’s what this film was, nearly two hours or pure and utter boredom.

Now you may be wondering why I have decided not to not only not put this in my Bottom Ten, but also why it’s relatively high on the list, and the reason is that despite not being that good, it’s not overly that bad. It’s just forgettable.

Rosamund Pike is predictably delightful, and the cast portraying the British Members of Parliament are portrayed with the hatred that their characters are supposed to embody, but other than that no-one really stands out. I write this less than two weeks after watching the film and I can barely remember anything about it. It’s that forgettable.

 

63) Bad Santa 2bad-santa-2-teaser-poster

Cast : Billy Bob Thornton, Kathy Bates, Tony Cox and Brett Kelly

Plot : Willie (Thornton) is still depressed about his life and is seemingly stuck in a big rut. He is taking on low paid jobs just to get by, but largely has no life satisfaction. He is regularly visited by Thurman (Kelly), who has now grown up and has a job making sandwiches. One day Thurman brings Willie a package full of money that was sent by Marcus (Cox), revealing that there might be more.

With his interest peaked, Willie visits Marcus and discovers that he plans to rob a charity that keeps most of the money for themselves. Willie goes along with it, but is exceptionally unhappy when he realises that his mother is involved as well.

Why in this position? : I vaguely recall watching the original “Bad Santa” film several years ago one night on Film4, but it didn’t stick with me at all, hence why I use the words “vaguely recall”. Despite that I thought it was time to watch a comedy at the cinema. The one thing that you’ll notice about this lengthy list (as in the whole breakdown of the year) is that there aren’t many comedies, it’s not a particularly good genre in my opinion. There have been few comedies throughout the years in which I have thoroughly enjoyed the experience, but I really like Billy Bob Thornton as an actor, especially after his role in the TV series “Fargo” a few years back.

But anyway, so yeah, I went to watch “Bad Santa 2” with very little knowledge of the original film, and to be honest, I’m still not entirely sure why I bothered watching this. It does have its moments, mainly due to the aforementioned Thornton’s deadpan delivery of some great jokes, but other than that the comedy does feel rather lazy.

There are stereotypes all over the place and the filmmakers try to make the most of them. This ranges from a dwarf who likes to remind people of his height, a mother who neglected her child but now wants to reunite with him, a Hispanic security guard who does all of the stereotypes of that ethnic background, and probably most offensively, centring a lot of the jokes around a mentally handicapped young man.

“Bad Santa 2” does have its moments, but is largely quite crass.

 

62) Bleed for Thisbleed-for-this-poster

Cast : Miles Teller, Aaron Eckhart, Katey Segal and Ciaran Hinds

Plot : Vinny Pazienza (Teller) is a boxer with a poor record at this weight class, and after losing his latest match he is persuaded to go up two weight classes. Despite everyone writing him off, Vinny manages to win the title at that weight class and celebrates hard. He remains on cloud nine as he goes on a road trip, but a car accidentally drives into his path and the accident leaves Vinny with a broken neck.

Spending several months in a depression, Vinny convinces Kevin Rooney (Eckhart) to help him start training again, all whilst he still has the head cage still on. Vinny slowly regains his strength, but he struggles to find an opponent for his next fight as just one punch could be enough to snap his neck again.

Why in this position? : You know one thing that I have never seen in the cinema? A good Miles Teller performance. It’s amazing that he keeps getting roles when he doesn’t really seem to be enjoying what he is doing. That being said, this was probably my favourite performance of his.

That is not to say that this is a good film, far from it. It’s horrendously predictable throughout, and I was able to call what happens in the end just from the trailer alone, and before someone says “well it’s based on historical events”, I don’t like boxing and had never heard of this guy before, so I can only base it on the film and the film just isn’t that good.

With its use of sharp noises, including a noise that tinnitus suffers will recognise as very familiar, for long periods of time, and a soundtrack that I personally didn’t like, the story needed to be more than something that I hadn’t already seen ten times before in boxing films, but unfortunately it wasn’t.

 

61) Now You See Me 2 cgasukvusamo8pc

Cast : Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Mark Ruffalo, Dave Franco, Lizzy Caplan, Daniel Radcliffe, Michael Caine and Morgan Freeman

Plot : Daniel (Eisenberg) is getting increasingly frustrated at a lack of answers from the “Magic Eye” society, especially as he, Merritt (Harrelson) and Jack (Francko) remain in hiding following the events of the previous film. They are soon told that they will re-emerge into the public eye and will take on board a new member, Lula (Caplan).

Their first show is going well before it is hijacked. During their escape they go down a trash shoot before somehow landing in China at the end of it. Confused, they soon realise that they have been tricked by Walter (Radcliffe), the son of Arthur Tressler (Caine), a man who the horsemen stole from in the first film. He forces them to try to steal a computer chip, but can they turn the tables on Walter?

Why in this position? : Out of all of the films to get a sequel during 2016, “Now You See Me” was certainly one of the least expected. The original was a fun movie, but was completely ruined by a completely out-of-nowhere twist that even rewatching it didn’t make sense.

“Now You See Me 2” was a fine example of an unnecessary sequel that tries to be the original but beefed up, but what they attempt to beef it up with is pure crap. Isla Fisher is replaced by Lizzy Caplan, and she just seems to be concerned with trying to be funny, but the problem is that random does not necessarily equal being funny.

The film just tries too hard to be funny and relevant, but ends up being neither, and is made even more unbelievable by trying to convince the audience that seemingly every single person on any street in the world recognises the main characters, whereas in reality very few people care about magic in order to make any of them household names.

This film has Morgan Freeman, Michael Caine, Daniel Radcliffe, Woody Harrelson and many other fine actors, just how was it so bang average?

“Now You See Me 2” was one yet another film released this year that was a sequel that really wasn’t needed at all. The first film was ok, it was definitely passable.

So we’re now properly up and running with the review of the year. So far we’ve featured films that are pretty awful, but now we’re getting to the stage where whilst they weren’t necessarily awful, they certainly weren’t good. They’re still all a marked improvement of what has come so far.

Featuring in this particular list is arguably the most hyped film of the year, several horror films, a world class cast, a sci-fi film that whilst easy to follow was a bit boring, and a film that I get a feeling will get a lot of people angry at it’s inclusion this low down.

Also, please note that on this particular list is the first film (but it won’t be the last) that was actually released at the end of 2015, but I didn’t watch it until the first few days of 2016.

80) Batman vs Supermanbatman_v_superman___theatrical_poster_by_sahinduezguen-d82nukc

Cast : Ben Affleck, Henry Cavill, Jeremy Irons, Amy Adams and Jesse Eisenberg.

Plot : After the battle with Zod (Michael Shannon), Superman (Cavill) left the city devastated, destroying buildings and killing many innocent people, one of whom was an employee and friend of Bruce Wayne (Affleck). Bruce grows an intense hatred for Superman, all whilst the latter is trying to defend his actions to the human race, some of who view of him as a God.

Meanwhile, Lex Luthor (Eisenberg) is plotting to have the two fight each other, and comes up with a very convoluted plan to do so.

Why in this position? : I could literally just save time by using the words (spoiler alert by the way) – “our mothers have the same name, we can be friends now”, but I won’t.

“Batman vs Superman” was one of the earliest superhero films of the year, pitting two of DC Comics’ most well-recognised characters against each other, or at least that was the plan. Realistically they are never really facing each other and the dislike of each other feels forced and unnatural, almost to the point where I can’t bring myself to use the word hate, rather than mild dislike.

Ben Affleck is comfortably the best part of this film and he continues a relatively good recent run in terms of performances in big-screen films, but he is the only real good part about a film that offers very little otherwise. This is mainly down to the bizarre casting choices because Jesse Eisenberg, whilst he does at least seem to be trying to do something different than his usual neurotic performances, is horribly miss-cast as a super-villain.

And finally, I think one of the major issues that this film had was the trailer. The trailer showed you that they end up teaming up to fight a single enemy, and that Wonder Woman appears. Had we not known either of those two facts then the film might have been more entertaining, but knowing these things going in didn’t help.

In year that had quite a large amount of superhero films, this was one of the weaker efforts.

 

79) Joyjoy-uk-movie-poster

Cast : Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Edgar Ramirez, Vanessa Redgrave and Isabella Rossellini

Plot : Joy (Lawrence) is a poor mother of two that lives with near enough her entire family, and ex-husband Tony (Ramirez). One day, whilst celebrating Rudy’s (De Niro) new marriage, Joy cuts her hands quite badly cleaning up a broken glass, and comes up with an idea of a mop that you can pick things up and fully since out, meaning that no-one would have to cut themselves again. She develops the prototype with the money from Rudy’s new wife, Trudy (Rossellini).

She eventually convinces QVC executive Neil Walker (Cooper) to sell the mop live on TV, but soon it becomes a battle with suppliers and various other people as Joy struggles to actually sell her product properly.

Why in this position? : This isn’t the first time we’ve seen some of this cast together, infact it’s the fourth outing for the combination of Lawrence and Cooper, and it’s obvious that all involved are trying to replicate the success of the far superior “Silver Linings Playbook”, which stars the aforementioned two and De Niro.

Don’t get me wrong, the acting is fine and the story moves along at a reasonable pace, but ultimately, it’s a film about a mop. There’s no way to make that sound exciting, and it’s not a particularly engaging film.

This was one of the first films that I saw during the year, and it was one of the least exciting. I’m not necessarily saying that it is a bad film by any stretch, and it was never in danger of being in the bottom ten, but I just didn’t move above ambivalence during the run time, and it’s a movie that I would skip straight by if I saw it advertised on TV.

 

78) Swallows and Amazonsho00003752

Cast : Rafe Spall, Dane Hughes, Orla Hill, Teddie-Rose Malleson, Bobby McCulloch, Andrew Scott, Seren Hawkes, Hannah Jayne Thorp and Kelly McDonald

Plot : After much convincing, Mrs Walker (McDonald) is convinced by her four children to take them on holiday to the Lake District. On the train a mysterious man (Spall) enters the carriage and is hiding from a man hunting him (Scott) before escaping. Upon arriving in the Lake District, the kids eventually manage to talk Mrs Walker into letting them set sail for a local island, that despite breaking the window of the houseboat at the man on the train lives in.

They make their way out to the island and witness the name act suspiciously and nickname him Captain Flint, but they soon find that he isn’t the only one who is being hunted as they need to suddenly fight against local kids for the island.

Why in this position? : “Swallows and Amazons” was one of the final films I saw during the year, and it was one of the least inspiring films aimed at kids that I’ve ever seen. Now, I know that some people will look at that and be like “well it’s aimed at kids, not a 32 year old,” but if you stick around these lists long enough you will find two animated films in my top thirty, and one of was in my top ten for ages.

The film just drags, which is remarkable for a film that lasts for a relatively short 96 minutes. This film would have fit in very well at the beginning of the 1990s with other similar adaptions, such as “The Secret Garden”, but it’s just dull.

Whilst Spall and Scott are both decent, even though the latter is a supposed Russian spy, despite a very, very thick British accent, the characterisations and performances of the child actors are just awful, with Bobby McCulloch’s portrayal of Roger reminding me a kid who is excited to get a lead role in the school play, without having the skill to back it up.

All of the character arcs, other than those of Jim and Lazlow (Spall and Scott respectively), are pretty much non-existent, and the relationship between the kids of inconsistent, and that’s putting it nicely.

If you’re going to watch any kids films this year, make this one of the last.

 

77) Midnight Specialmidnight_special

Cast : Michael Shannon, Joel Edgerton, Adam Driver, Kirsten Dunst and Jaeden Lieberher

Plot : There is something special about eight year old Alton (Lieberher) and that is why Roy (Shannon) and Lucas (Edgerton) are trying to hide him from a religious cult that believe he has been sent from heaven. He can’t go out during the day, or have sunlight touching him, so the pair only travel at night.

One day they are in a hotel when they are awoken by a seeming Earthquake, but they discover that it is infact Alton as he has bright lights shining out of his eyes. He soon summons a meteor shower to destroy several satellites that are being used by the FBI to track the trio. They go into hiding at the house of Sarah (Dunst), but how long can they hold out from both the religious cult, and the FBI?

Why in this position? : If there is one film that I feel somewhat guilty about having this far down then it is definitely “Midnight Special”. It’s a sci-fi film which is quite easily to follow, has great effects and decent characterisation, but the reason it is this far down is that, putting it nicely, it’s a bit boring.

I spent nearly two hours waiting for it to get exciting, or even remotely interesting, but it wasn’t, and I think this isn’t helped by acting that can best be described as laboured. None of the actors look like they want to be there, and deliver all of their lines with such monotony that it’s hard to keep your attention on the screen.

So you may be wondering why I am feeling guilty, it’s because whilst it’s boring, it’s a well made film. A lot of care and effort has gone into it and it is a very followable film, which can’t be said for a lot of similar films. There wasn’t a single point at which I questioned what was going on, and I understood where each of the characters were coming from, but ultimately that wasn’t enough to keep it in a place where I was another other than slumped in my seat.


76) Hail, Caesarhailcaesar_posterart-2

Cast : Josh Brolin, George Clooney, Alden Ehrenreich, Ralph Fiennes and Tilda Swinton

Plot : Eddie (Josh) is a “fixer” at a film lot in the 1950s and is the go-to guy to get this sorted. He is largely unhappy in his role and is contemplating an offer from a rival company. There are two major films being shot on set, one staring the most famous actor in the world, Baird Whitlock (Clooney), and the other is a drama directed by the acclaimed Laurence (Fiennes) and up-and-coming actor Hobie Doyle (Ehrenreich), who finds it difficult to follow instructions.

One day Baird is kidnapped by a group of screenwriters who want to serve communism, and think that someone with his popularity joining their cause would seriously help it. It’s up to Eddie to figure out where he is, and get him back, all whilst having to rely on some of the less than attentive and easily distracted actors that are filming.

Why in this position? : There is one thing that I think that most people who have seen this film will agree on there are a lot of A list names that appear in this film and heavily feature in the trailer, but they are there just to bring people into the screen to watch the film. Scarlett Johansson, Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum are just a small handful of A listers that are in the film, but barely (maybe five minutes each), and yet they all feature heavily in the trailers and posters.

I went to watch this in mid-evening on opening night and I was the only person in the screen. This surprised me heavily, that despite reading and hearing a lot of negative reviews. I soon saw why as “Hail, Caesar” is a lifeless film with very little interesting aspects to it. The acting is actually great, and no cast member will come off in a negative way in this review, but ultimately what they had to work with was poor, so the more credit to them.

This is one of those films that will be appear on a TV guide on a random Sunday evening in a few years and people would get excited by the words “Coen Brothers”, but be ultimately disappointed as it’s less engaging and fun than some of their better known efforts.

 

75) Ouija : Origin Of Evilouijaoriginofevil

Cast : Elizabeth Reaser, Annalise Basso, Lulu Wilson, Parker Mack and Henry Thomas

Plot : Alice (Reaser) is a con-artist who uses her children to create effects during seances to convince people that their loved ones are talking to each other, but falling into financial difficulties she decides to invest in a ouija board to add extra business. It doesn’t seem to work at first, but then Doris (Wilson) has a play and sees a variety of spirits, one of whom eventually absorbs itself into her.

Doris’ behaviour automatically changes, much to the horror of her older sister Paulina (Basso). She tries to confide in everyone, but no-one believes her as the spirit forces Doris to act normally when others are around. How long can the family survive?

Why in this position? : There is only one reason that I went to watch “Ouija : Origin of Evil” and that is because Chris Stuckmann, a Youtube film reviewer that I trust, said that unlike most horror films there is a very old-school style of making horror films here, and that it is very different to anything else in recent years, basically this year’s “Babadook”. He was wrong.

“Ouija : Origin of Evil” is just your typical, predictable nonsense horror film that offers precisely nothing new to the genre, and everything feels recycled to the point where I wasn’t once surprised during the entire film.

I can’t even motivate myself to talk about it that much. The only thing I’ll say it a positive spin is that acting is pretty decent, and Lulu Wilson was creepy as hell.

 

74) Lights Outlights_out__2016__movie_poster_by_johnyisthedevil-d9x1nrq

Cast : Teresa Palmer, Gabriel Bateman, Maria Bello, Alexander DiPersia and Alicia Vela-Bailey

Plot : Rebecca (Palmer) looks after her brother Martin (Bateman) due to her mother’s mental health issues. Every time Rebecca visits her mother, Sophie (Bello), she feels that she is being watched and one night she is awoken by a scrapping noise. She looks over and sees a woman carving into the floor, only for that woman to disappear when the lights are turned off….only to then reappear as soon as they are off.

The woman identifies herself as Diana (Vela-Bailey), an old childhood friend of Sophie’s. It turns out that she was allergic to light and retreated to the shadows, but following her death a spirit started showing up and haunting her. Can the family survive before the spirit of Diana stops mildly haunting and actually starts hurting people?

Why in this position? : Jump scares, jump scares everywhere!

“Lights Out” was a horror film that would cater to the people who enjoy the stupidest kind of horror films, the ones which concentrate so much on jump scares that it fails to develop a good story. The character aren’t particularly interesting and the antagonist just turning out to be part of the mother’s imagination (well, effectively), is just ridiculous.

Much like a few other films that appear in the lower reaches of my rankings this year, it is very forgettable and the only thing that I can really remember about it was that every main character survives, with only a few relatively minor characters dyring, and the central plot is so dull that you don’t really get that interesting as it goes on, even if it does try something different by introducing mental health into the plot.

The only reason it’s above some of the films that I’m lightly-praised a few entries ago is that at least being a horror, it keeps your attention somewhat as you’re constantly on edge waiting for something to happen….but it never does.

 

73) Blair Witchwoods_ver4

Cast : James Allen McCune, Callie Hernandez, Brandon Scott, Corbin Reid, West Robinson and Valorie Curry

Plot : James’ (McCune) sister disappeared into the woods near Burkittsville in 1994 and he has been beating himself up ever since. After years of wondering “what if”, he eventually convinces his friends go go with him to document the process. The friends travel to the area and talk to locals Talia (Curry) and Lane (Robinson), both of whom claim to know the woods very well.

It doesn’t last long though as when things start getting a bit creepy, Talia and Lane admit that have never been in the woods before, and they are banished when they are found to have the same material in their bag that several haunting dolls were made of the night before. They start to notice that it’s now constantly night, and Lane and Talia soon re-emerge after a few hours, but both claiming that it’s been five days since they last saw them.

Trees start falling down unnaturally, people see things and others disappear, all before James and Lisa (Hernandez) find a random house, a house that the authorities were adamant didn’t exist.

Why in this position? : I’m not going to lie, until the final ten or so minutes this was a candidate for the bottom ten. It is literally the last few minutes that saved it as the acting in the final section from Callie Hernandez is exceptional. This isn’t the first time I’ll be mentioning breathing being used effectively and realistically in a horror film before this whole countdown is over (the other film appears in the top twenty). The fear seems genuine.

I only watched the first “Blair Witch” film just after this after hearing that it is near enough a shot for shot replica of that, but I don’t think that is the case because at least something happens in this film. “The Blair Witch Project” was not even remotely interesting or exciting, and whilst “Blair Witch” isn’t an Oscar winner by any stretch, there some interesting aspects to it at least, such as the time difference.

Don’t go into “Blair Witch” expecting to be on the edge of your seat as the horror is largely predictable, but the final ten or so minutes is as good as any other period of ten minutes in a horror film this year.

 

72) Deadpooldeadpoolver6xxlgjpg-c73b48_765w

Cast : Ryan Reynolds, Morena Baccarin, Ed Skrien and TJ Miller

Plot : Wade (Reynolds) is a bit of a lowlife. He has a moral code, but is ultimately nothing more than a criminal. One day he meets Vanessa (Morena) and the pair start to turn each others lives around, that is until Wade is diagnosed with numerous inoperable tumours. Vanessa promises to stay by his side, but Wade wants her to be happy to doesn’t believe it can be with him, so he volunteers for a procedure from Francis (Skrein), who promises him that he will try his best to clear his cancer.

When Wade arrives, it turns out that Francis, going by the name of Ajax, is trying to force mutations on people using a variety of techniques, all so they can be sold with mind-control chips to the highest bidder. His attempts on Wade prove largely fruitless until he starts to suffocate him. This sees Wade transform into a heavily scarred man, but near enough immortal and impervious to pain. Knowing he can’t go back to Vanessa as he is, Wade chases down Ajax in an attempt to look normal again.

Why in this position? : I’m going to get a lot of hate for this.

If I was to compile a list of all of the films that I had seen this year that could be put into the category of “tried too hard to be liked” then it would definitely be this one sitting right at the top. I gave “Deadpool” two chances at the cinema, but I didn’t overly like it on either occasion and the simple reason is that there is no subtlety in its attempts to be likeable. It’s blatantly obvious attempts at a “look at me, look at me” style of comedy is not enjoyable in the slightest.

Ryan Reynolds gives what is a typical Ryan Reynolds performance, and I wouldn’t be surprised if they just said “be yourself”, and that’s nothing against him, but there is virtually no difference between him and the character that it is shocking.

But the one thing that lets this film down, arguably more than anything else, is that out of the all of the comic book films to come out this year, this one has by far the weakest antagonist. “Ajax” is just such a boring, one dimensional bad guy that it’s hard to really want him to lose because he brings precisely fuck all emotion out of you.

 

71) Don’t Breathedont-breathe-poster

Cast : Jane Levy, Dylan Minnette, Stephen Lang and Daniel Zovatto

Plot : Rocky (Levy), Alex (Minnette) and Money (Zovatto) are three piece of shit friends that break into homes when the people are out, and they set their latest target is Norman (Lang), a blind army veteran. He allegedly has more than $300,000 in his house, and they all think that it will give them a new life.

When they get into the house, Norman hears the noise that they make and it turns out that despite being blind, he is more than capable of handling himself. He quickly kills money and locks all of the other doors from the outside, meaning that they can’t get out. How long can the friends survive?

Why in this position? : This was another film that I was really looking forward to as it looked very unique, but whilst I was watching it I realised that is one fundamental flaw with the whole premise of the film. You follow three people who are then hunted throughout a house that they can’t escape and in most films you would feel sorry for the characters, but the problem with the three “protagonists” (and I use that word extremely loosely in this situation) is that they’re all pieces of shit.

They have willingly broke into the house of a blind man to steal money, they are pieces of shit. Establishing that one of them has a little sister that she wants to give a better life to doesn’t automatically change her into a likeable character, and whilst towards the end of the film you agree that the blind man is going too far, you can’t help but think that it’s just karma throughout the rest of the film. These characters get exactly what they deserved for being pieces of shit.

Stephen Laing is comfortably the best part of this film, and his portrayal of the blind man is not only believeable, but it’s intimidating, but unfortunately he is the only decent actor in this film. Jane Levy is completely forgettable and could be swapped out for any other actress and you wouldn’t notice, whereas Dylan Minnette continues his growing reputation of being an actor that keeps getting roles but never puts in a good performance.

I’m not going to lie, had this not been for Stephen Lang then there is a chance that this would have been in my bottom ten for the year.

So we’ve been through the bottom ten films of the year, but there were plenty of other films that featured in that list at one point or another during the year. In this list I look at the the films that just managed to avoid being in my bottom ten, and although one or two were never really in any true danger this year, in any other year a few of them could have been a candidate for worst film of the year.

In this list we have a film based on a computer game, the same actress appearing twice, a film by a director that featured in my top ten last year, a Bollywood rip off of a nineties Hollywood film, and a sequel that was twenty years in the making, but most definitely was not worth the wait.

90) Warcraftlarge_large_ckrtpz6fz35l5ybjqvklwzzslo7

Cast : Travis Fimmel, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Toby Kebbell, Ben Schnetzer, Dominic Cooper and Daniel Wu

Plot : The race of Orcs has finished conquering their latest world and now need a new one in order to survive, although leader Gul’dan’s (Wu) plans are to simply use it for his own greed and desire for long life. Amongst his soldiers is Durotan (Kebbell), possibly the only orc who thinks that they should find a permanent home following the destruction of their own, rather than destroy everything that they can. Gul’dan opens a portal to the kingdom of Azeroth.

They lay siege to several settlements, winning comfortably, and this alerts Anduin (Fimmel), the kingdom’s military commander. He must work with wizard Medivh (Foster), but he does not feel the same need for war, so he instead must do with Khadgar (Schnetzer), a young mage that left his intended path to replace Medivh.

Why in this position? : You can tell a film is bad when even the normally reliable Ben Foster is lacklustre. There is a single person that will come out of this film with any form of credit, and it is a shame because the world that Warcraft is set in is one of the more unique in video gaming, and one that could have had a very strong film franchise had it been better. Just for clarification, I have never personally played any of the Warcraft, I’m simply going on what I have read there.

The story just feels so generic and unoriginal. It almost looks like they’ve found a list of scenes deleted from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy and built around them as there is very little here to shout about. Don’t get me wrong, there are much worse films than this that came out this year, but not many. “Warcraft” only escaped the bottom ten by the skin of the orcs teeth it’s build on, and it was only in late November that I saw a tenth film that was worse than it.

It’s not particularly fun, it’s not well acted and it feels like it drags very badly. The special effects aren’t that good, looking very cartoonish, and it wouldn’t surprise me at all if the ENTIRE film was filmed with a green screen, even those that are simply set in a normal room.

 

89) The Forestthe_forest_poster

Cast : Natalie Dormer, Taylor Kinney and Yukiyoshi Ozawa

Plot : Sara (Dormer) receives a call from the police in Japan as they witnessed her twin sister enter the Aokigahara Forest, and she hasn’t been seen since. This is made even more worrying by the fact that the forest has a high rate of suicides. She decides to travel to Japan and there she meets Aiden (Kinney), a reporter. He says that he is happy to go into the woods with her and a guide named Michi (Ozawa).

They soon enter the forest, but the journey has several ghosts haunting it and they all tell Sara not to trust Aiden. This isn’t helped by the fact that she finds pictures of Jess on his phone. In a forest where you’re being haunted by ghosts, the last thing you need is someone who might be trying to kill you.

Why in this position? : I’ll give one thing to “The Forest”, there are no jump scares. something that is unwelcome commonplace in horror films. Infact, I’ll go further than that by saying that there are no scares, period. “The Forest” spent most of the year in my Bottom 10, it was just dull. It tried to do something relatively new and shoot a unique premise, but it just comes out as feeling forced.

The only aspect I liked was the ending and the fate of Sara, but even that’s not enough to save what is ultimately an awful horror film. The very fact that the rating, at the time of writing, is only 4.8/10 on IMDB should tell you all that you need to know.

I don’t even know where to continue with this one so I’m just going to leave it here. Avoid.

 

88) Bad Neighbours 2ho00002981

Cast : Seth Rogen, Rose Bryne, Chloe Grace Moretz and Zac Efron

Plot : Mac (Rogen) and Kelly (Bryne) have successfully lived through the frat house that was in the first film and are now planning to sell their house, but they are told that the new buyers have 30 days in which they can cancel the purchase with any reasonable concerns. Despite thinking this will be a breeze, little do they know that Shelby (Moretz), a local student, is buying the house next door with the intentions of starting her own sorority with a few other people who got rejected by the established ones.

The two sides are civil at first, but it isn’t long before a misunderstanding means that they are at war, planning pranks and tricks on each other, with both have everything to lose if it goes wrong.

Why in this position? : You know what I realised when writing this list? I really like Chloe Grace Moretz, and I think she has a big future, but she rarely puts out a good film. This isn’t the only time that she’ll appear on this countdown, but even though neither of her films feature in the bottom ten this year, neither of her films were very good.

Don’t get me wrong, she isn’t awful in this film, not by any stretch, but I think the issue with “Bad Neighbours 2”, other than being a sequel that wasn’t needed for a film that wasn’t that good in the first place, is that it’s just very poor in terms of plot, development and acting. It’s predictable nature makes it hard to really get involved in the story, or even enjoy it.

Zac Efron came very close to appearing in the bottom ten twice, and Rose Byrne is such a boring actress that it’s hard to get behind her, or indeed anything she does. Seth Rogen is ok, but that’s the nicest thing I can say about his performance.

 

87) Fanfan-first-look

Cast : Shah Rukh Khan, Waluscha de Sousa, Sayani Gupta and Shriya Pilgaonkar

Plot : Gaurav (Khan) is an internet cafe owner that is a huge fan of actor Aryan Khanna (also Khan). He enters the local talent show every year and wins convincingly, largely due to his resemblance to his hero. One day Gaurav becomes aware that a younger actor is starting to get into Aryan’s spotlight, and so he decides to take matters into his own hands, kidnapping and torturing him.

Aryan finds out about this but doesn’t want police action, he does however make it clear to Gaurav that whilst he appreciates him as a fan, he wants nothing to do with him. This sends Gaurav into a deep depression, which he eventually comes out of with the decision to ruin Aryan’s life by following him to London, pretending to be him and acting like a bit of a dick. How long before the two come to an inevitable conclusion?

Why in this position? : “Fan” was the first, and to date last, Bollywood film that I ever watched at the cinema, or in general, but I can’t say that I was impressed with this effort as it is a blatant rip off of the 1996 Robert De Niro/Wesley Snipes effort of the same name. Both films have near enough the same plot, a fan of a famous person gets jealous when that person is overshadowed, takes it upon themselves to resolve the matter, only to make an enemy of that famous person. There are more similarities but I’m not going to list them here.

“Fan” is nearly three hours long, as are a lot of Bollywood films, and it definitely feels like it. This film drags very badly, and to make comparisons this is one of two films that I watched this calendar year that came close to a three hour run time, and yet the other features in my top twenty because it is well built, with good characters and a plot that is actually original. “Fan” is not particularly interesting, the acting is questionable and the only merciful part is that there is only one dance scene, that despite big dance numerous being a stereotype of Bollywood films.

I’m sure that there are better Bollywood films out there, so I don’t intend on this being my last one, but it surely can’t get worse than this?

 

86) The Fifth Waveonesheet

Cast : Chloe Grace Moretz, Nick Robinson, Alex Roe, Ron Livingston, Maggie Siff and Liev Schreiber.

Plot : One day a collection of city-sized ships circle the Earth and launch an EMP, knocking out all of the electronics on the planet. They then cause massive earthquakes and tsunamis, all before managing to weaponise avian flu.

This all leaves Cassie (Moretz) pretty much on her own as she searches for her brother Evan (Roe) after he is taken to a military camp in which children are used to hunt the aliens as they’re apparently immune from the affects caused by the aliens. The kids soon realise that instead of going to kill aliens, they’ve been tricked into killing all remaining humans, and that the commanders at the base, lead by Colonel Vosch (Schrieber), are the next wave of attack.

Can Cassie find her brother in time?

Why in this position? : Oh Chloe Grace Moretz, when will you put out a good movie? Appearing just two entries back, it’s definitely not been a good year for the young actress in terms of films. She’s had a stinker.

“The Fifth Wave” is one of the least engaging films of the year. It is completely forgettable. I couldn’t tell you a single thing about this film, other than there is one cool scene in which you find out that the kids are tricked into thinking each other are aliens. That’s pretty much the only decent part of an otherwise meandering use of your time.

I can’t even motivate myself to write more than three paragraphs about it, and I even had to look up the plot on Wikipedia. That’s how forgettable it is.

 

85) I, Daniel Blakeidanielblake-poster

Cast : Dave Johns and Hayley Squires

Plot : Daniel (Johns) recently had a heart attack and has been told by his doctors that he can’t go back to work yet, but the problem is that his benefits have been stopped because the government declares him fit to work. He applies for jobs in the knowledge that he can’t fulfil them, and this causes numerous issues.

On one visit to the job centre he sees Katie (Squires) and her kids complain about money and how people in there aren’t trying to help her. They befriend each other and Daniel lends some of his last money to her so that she can eat and feed her kids, but he becomes mortified when she becomes a prostitute, giving up on his mission. It isn’t long though before Daniel’s appeal is given a date, but will he survive that long?

Why in this position? : It’s hard to really sympathise with Daniel on some levels because he is a bit of a dickhead to everyone. He refuses to follow what are simple rules, and yet he questions why the bad things happen to him. For example, he is told that he needs to log proof that he has applied to jobs for at least 35 hours a week, but he doesn’t log the proof and yet it’s not his fault. The very opening scene is his getting exceptionally stroppy over the phone with someone because he hasn’t filled in a form.

Don’t get me wrong, I do like the element of an older gentleman struggling to adapt to the modern world, but he is just an arse about it.

I was really wanting this film to be good, but it paints a very, very false picture of people who work in job centres. Yes, you’re going to get a few arseholes here and there, but “I, Daniel Blake” basically tries to tell you that every single one of them, barring one single person, is an absolute monster, whereas from personal experience I can confirm that that is definitely not the case.

 

84) Cafe Societycafe-society

Cast : Jesse Eisenberg, Kristen Stewart, Steve Carell, Blake Lively and Corey Stoll

Plot : Bobby (Eisenberg) moves to Hollywood to make a name for himself, quickly getting a job at his uncle Phil’s (Carell) agency. Phil orders his assistant Veronica (Stewart) to show Bobby around, and the two quickly form a bond. Bobby starts viewing her as more than a friend, but he doesn’t know that she is actually dating fill.

Eventually Veronica does tell Bobby, who goes onto start a night club with his brother, Ben (Stoll), but the relationship is very edgy due to the latter’s gang mentality, but Bobby ignores it as he meets and eventually marries another woman called Veronica (Lively), but which one is truly in Bobby’s thoughts?

Why in this position? : Towards the end of September I decided that I would try and get to 100 films for the year, and at the time I was in the mid sixties, so when I went home for my mother’s birthday, I decided to fill a space with “Café Society”, and instantly after I watched it I was wishing that I hadn’t bothered.

I gave it a chance because it was by Woody Allen, who featured in my Top Ten last year with “Irrational Man”, but unlike that, this was definitely a case of style over substance. “Café Society” definitely looks great in terms of visuals, and the locations and cinematography are both brilliant, but the acting isn’t great (what else would you expect from the two central “stars” in this movie) and there is very little to keep you interested.

It wasn’t until the very end though when I realised just what a waste of time this film was. The film just kind of ends, it has no real resolution to any story and is just kind of there. There’s nothing more to it. The film is so forgettable that unlike the aforementioned “Irrational Man”, I have no interest whatsoever in watching this again.

The most disappointing part of this is that it is made by Woody Allen, who’s “Irrational Man” featured in my Top Ten last year, but this was such a poor follow up.

 

83) The Girl on the Traingirlonthetrain_poster_web

Cast : Emily Blunt, Haley Bennett, Rebecca Ferguson, Luke Evans and Justin Theroux

Plot : Rachel (Blunt) is an alcoholic woman that takes the train to New York every day, even though she doesn’t have a job there One of the reasons that she does this is that she has developed an obsession with a family that are often on their balcony that can that be seen from the train. One day she notices the woman, Megan (Bennett), having an affair, all before disappearing.

Not knowing how to disconnect, Rachel starts snooping around that house, befriending the husband, Scott (Evans), but her presence draws attention from the neighbours, or more specifically Rachel’s ex-husband Tom (Theroux) and his new wife, Anna (Ferguson). As time goes out and Megan is still nowhere to be seen, Rachel finds herself becoming suspect number one.

Why in this position? : If I was to rank every single film in terms of how engaging it was on every single level, then “GOTT” would be easily at the very bottom of the list. It is diabolically boring. The acting is absolutely terrible from all concerned, especially Luke Evans. To sum up Luke Evans’ acting, his wife has gone missing and yet he portrays the character in such a way that it makes you wonder if he’s even that concerned.

When I was in the screen watching “GOTT” I found myself slumped down out of pure and utter boredom, and it is literally only because of one thing that I didn’t consider it for lower than this.

There is one partially interesting aspect to this film, the only reason that I’m keeping it out of the bottom ten, and that is that unlike other films of a similar nature, you’re discovering the new evidence at the same time as the characters. It’s basically a large puzzle, and that aspect I kind of like.

 

82) Adult Life Skillso9uwc79i

Cast : Jodie Whittaker, Lorraine Ashbourne, Brett Goldstein and Rachel Deering

Plot : Anna lives in her mother’s garden shed and is in the middle of a mid-life crisis following the death of her brother, all at the age of 29. She works at a local lake activity centre, but despite enjoying the job, she sees it as rather meaningless. She does have a suitor in the form of Brendan (Goldstein), but other than that she is largely luckless in love.

As time goes on she is given an ultimatum by her mother to get her life sorted out, or be cut off entirely and chucked out of the shed.

Why in this position? : At one point this entered my bottom ten because it was just so frustratingly one-dimensional that I actually almost walked out of the cinema angry, which would have made me even more angry as “Adult Life Skills” was one of the few films I had to pay for this year as it was at an independent cinema.

In a year where I saw a large variety of films, this was probably the film with the least amount of variety. It was so one-track-minded that it become tedious to watch and I actually started to really dislike the film as there is no character development, the setting is remarkably uninspiring and not a single person in the film actually looks like they’re trying.

This is basically the equivalent of a crap student film that somehow fluked it’s way into the cinema.

 

81) Independence Day : Resurgencephhgpokxwefnli_1_l

Cast : Jeff Goldblum, Bill Pullman, Liam Hemsworth, Jessie Usher, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward and William Fichtner

Plot : It’s been twenty years since Earth was invaded by aliens, only for the human race to defeat them within three days. Since then Earth has used the alien technologies to enhance their own, but little do they know that the aliens are coming back, and not only are they coming back, but they are in a ship that will cover the entire top third of the Earth.

Easily destroying Earth’s moon base, the aliens make their way to Earth and settle their exceptionally large ship in the northern hemisphere. It’s up to Jake (Hemsworth), David (Goldblum) and a small handful of others to come up with a plan to stop the aliens in their mission to get the Earth’s molten core, something that would destroy all life on the planet.

Why in this position? : If you were going to compile a list of worst sequels during 2016 then there is a chance that “Independence Day Resurgence” would feature top of your list. It is everything that is wrong with sequels and that is the belief that bigger is better, no, better is better.

There isn’t a single aspect to this film that is better than the 1996 original, it’s just non-sensical and yet again seems obsessed with telling the story only from the American perspective. Some countries would have been completely destroyed by those claw things that the aliens use to grip onto the planet, but the film makes it seem like the only places that you should care about are New York and the other major American cities.

The film started out with what could have been a potentially interesting conflict between Dylan and Jake just resolved with minimal effort, and the acting from the two actors concerned was not good, and that’s the story throughout. Infact, this film could have been pretty much the same without Jake, it’s supposed main character.

Infact, the only reason that this doesn’t appear in my Bottom 10 can be summed up in two words, Jeff Goldblum. Jeff has been one of my favourite actors throughout my life and it’s great to see that he has become relevant again in recent years, but even he can’t save this film from anything other than barely escaping my bottom ten. Don’t get me wrong, Bill Pullman and Brent Spiner are both fun in their roles, but neither come close to Goldblum.

 

So that’s 90 to 81, tomorrow features arguably the most hyped film of the year, the Coen brothers, several horror films, and a film that whilst not awful, can’t be taken seriously because it is ultimately about a mop.

So 2016 was an interesting year for films, there were sequels and reboots galour, but there were a few hidden gems. During the year I saw exactly one hundred movies at the cinema, more than double my previous amount, and there was definitely an interesting mix.

Over the next few days I will rank every film from one hundred, the very bottom of the pile, right through to the best film I saw this year (let’s face it, those that have read this site on a regular basis for a while will already know what it going to be number one). So we start with the bottom ten films, a list filled with movies that I either almost fell asleep during, or almost walked out all-together, but which film will follow Pompeii (2014) and Vacation (2015) as the worst film of the year?

Please note that as the list progresses over the next few days, there are a few films (four or five) that were actually released in the tail end of 2015, but I am including them as they were only a few days old at the time that I saw them in 2016. Any film that was re-released in 2016, or was shown before another feature (for example, at the cinema I attended there was a showing of “Man of Steel” before “Batman vs Superman” that I attended) will not count in this list.

But anyway, to find out which film was the worst, start browsing below……(please note that in all lists after this, the films will be ranked going up, rather than here where they go down)

91) The Huntsman : Winter’s Warct857fwu8aiqfco-159388

Cast : Chris Hemsworth, Emily Blunt, Charlize Theron, Jessica Chastain, Nick Frost, Rob Brydon and Sheridan Smith

Plot : Several years before she was defeated by Snow White, Ravenna (Theron) killed the child of her sister Freya (Blunt), causing the latter to become filled with hate and determined to make anyone suffer. She forbids the love of two of her students, but this doesn’t stop Eric (Hemsworth) and Sara (Chastain) falling for each other and they successfully hide it for many years, but they are soon discovered and forced to fight to the death. Eric witnesses Sara being killed and goes into a deep despair after escaping.

Skip forward to after Ravenna is defeated (the events of the first film), and Eric hears that despite being victorious, the mirror is stolen from a vault and is being taken to Freya, and it’s up to Eric to stop it as soon as possible.

So why Bottom Ten? : In a year that was full of sequels that were either put out many years too late, or were entirely not needed, this was perhaps the biggest surprise because the original film wasn’t even that good. Doesn’t it say it all that other than the generic plot of “a hero has to save the day” I couldn’t actually remember what the plot of this film was until I re-read it. That’s how instantly forgettable “The Huntsman : Winter’s War” really is.

I saw this film in April and even though the year was still in it’s relative infancy, I was convinced that this would be bottom of the list as it is devoid of anything other than poor acting from a cast that is fairly capable, a plot without a soul, and more CGI than you can shake a stick at. It’s just so effortless, and by that I don’t mean that everyone involved has achieved greatness without much effort, I do genuinely mean that there seems to have been no effort put into this at all.

 

92) The BFGthe_bfg_poster

Cast : Mark Rylance, Ruby Barnhill and Jermaine Clement

Plot : Sophie (Barnhill) is living in an orphanage and has a very large imagination. One day she hears a noise from a nearby alley and witnesses a giant (Rylance). The giant notices her in response and decides to abduct Sophie, taking her back to his house in the middle of nowhere.

She is understandably furious about this, that is until she realises that the giant is actually friendly and means her no harm. He is instead a catcher of dreams to give to children, but despite being a giant, he is dwarfed by other giants in the area, and they all bully him mercilessly.

The giant and Sophie decide that this can’t go on and so they come up with a plan to end his misery once and for all.

So why Bottom Ten? : Visually “The BFG” is great, I have no issues with that at all. The room in which BFG keeps the dreams is unique and lovely, and the visual representation of the character is exactly what you would expect from anything directed by Steven Spielberg, however, that is pretty much the only aspect to the story that I did like.

Whilst visually excellent, the pacing is shocking throughout. I’ve never seen the original version of the BFG, nor did I know the story, so imagine my complete surprise when all of a sudden they decide to go and see the queen. It destroyed what little momentum had been gained up until that point.

However, the one thing that dragged this into the bottom ten was Ruby Barnhill’s drony and ear-wrenching pronouncation of “BFG” every few minutes. It got to the point where I came very close to walking out because it was that annoying.

If you’ve been fortunate enough to avoid this version of “The BFG” then consider yourself lucky and don’t bother watching it.

 

93) The Man Who Knew Infinity10723

Cast : Dev Patel, Jeremy Irons, Malcolm Sinclair, Toby Jones Stephen Fry

Plot : Professor Hardy (Irons) is very impressed when he receives a complex mathematical formula from an Indian man called Ramanujan (Patel) and he convinces the hierarchy at Cambridge University to offer him a place on his course. Ramanujan accepts the invitation, albeit it slowly, as he realises that it would involve leaving pretty much everything behind.

Ramanujan struggles to adapt to English life and soon feels homesick. This isn’t helped by his failure to understand that his work needs to be checked before it can be published. The stress of this, as well as an oncoming illness, may result in him going home before he can finish.

So why Bottom Ten? : There is only one reason that this film is on the Bottom Ten list and that is the main character. Basically the character is so arrogant at being right that he refuses to accept that his work needs to be proved. He just works on the opinion that his work doesn’t need to be checked for accuracy because it came out of his brain. He is such an unlikable main character. I actually found myself seriously hating the character, and even when it’s shown that his calculations are wrong (albeit not far off), he still refuses to accept that he isn’t right.

There is also the problem that, and this may have just been me not paying attention, they are constantly going on about how partitions are important….but they never explain why.

Between those two things I can confidently say that had this been any other year, there is a strong possibility that this would have finished bottom. I have nothing more to say on the film.

 

94) The Legend of Tarzantarzan_ver5_xlg_1

Cast : Alexander Skarsgard, Margot Robbie, Christoph Waltz and Samuel L. Jackson

Plot : It has been several years since John Clayton (Skarsgard) left behind his days as the mythical Tarzan and relocated to England with Jane (Robbie). He is perfectly happy but he is soon asked to return to Africa in order to see what King Leopold of Belgium has allowed to happen in the mining camps, headed by Rom (Waltz).

Jane re-acquaints with the locals, whereas John finds settling back in with the animals to be easy, but both are soon captured by Rom, although John does manage to escape. He now needs to go on a mission to get Jane back.

So why Bottom Ten? : One of the most forgettable films of the years was so unremarkable that I had to look up what the plot actually was, it’s that inconsequential.  Everything just feels so generic and it doesn’t capture your imagination at all, not in any respects at all.

The problem with “The Legend of Tarzan” is that it is just so needless and by the numbers, nothing ever feels like a struggle for the title character, and even the cast don’t seem that interested in what is going on. Christoph Waltz in particular is a terrible antagonist here, and he still seems to be riding the wave that he has been on since his double success with “Inglorious Basterds” and “Django Unchained”, and the reason that I say that is that other than those two films, I can’t once recall anything of his worth watching.

“The Legend of Tarzan” is one of those films that you’ll see advertised on TV on a wet Sunday afternoon and respond by skipping to the next channel.

 

95) The Big Short7dc49abd9e98c8c2f76bda72da7c78a7

Cast : Christian Bale, Steve Carrell, Ryan Gosling and Brad Pitt

Plot : In 2005 Michael Burry (Bale), a laid back hedge fund manager, realises that the housing market is about to plummet and a lot of people are going to lose a LOT of money. The heads of the company largely ignore what Burry does, so he bets a lot of the company’s money on the market crashing, causing a lot of anger and people quitting once they find out.

No-one believes Burry is correct and he is written off by nearly everyone, everyone except for Jared (Gosling), and he himself starts betting on it, as does his friend, Mark (Carrell). As other people start to get wind of it, how many people will start believing the theory, and more importantly, is there anyway that it can be stopped?

So why Bottom Ten? : This is quite possible the most patronising movie I have ever seen. You can tell exactly what a movie is going to be like when it starts randomly interrupting at various points to basically explain what the hell everyone is on about. For example, they start talking about something (I can’t remember what and I don’t care to watch this film again in order to remember) and then the filmmakers go “So, you’re probably wondering what that means, well, here’s Margot Robbie in a bathtub to explain”. I was just sat there at the end and was angry at basically being expositioned into submission.

The film itself is just boring, and it takes what should be a rather serious situation and one that makes you in angry into one where you’ve probably slouched in your chair and are looking blankly at the screen of your choosing.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not all bad. The acting from everyone concerned is fine, no-one puts in a bad show, but there’s only so much they could do with such a tedious script and setting. Infact, I find it strange that a cast was this good and yet produced an awful movie. If you were to do a star power to movie quality ratio, this would quite comfortably be the worst film of the year.

 

96) Zoolander 2large_large_jdnvccwarooyyldwsfeleno4dud

Cast : Ben Still, Owen Wilson, Will Ferrell, Penelope Cruz and Kristen Wiig

Plot : Famous people are being killed by an unknown assassin all over the world, with each of them posing with Derek Zoolander’s (Stiller) signature facial expression. Zoolander and fellow model Hansel (Wilson) are long retired from modelling and are largely uninterested in being involved in the world again as both are suffering from depression, but they are eventually talked into it by Valentina (Cruz).

They eventually meet up with Sting (himself) who tells them the story of “Adam and Eve…and Steve”, and that Steve was the world’s first supermodel, with Derek and his son being direct descendants, but Zoolander is less than impressed with the story, and is mortified with his son’s obesity. Derek eventually relents, realising that his must protect his son, but that might mean having to trust his old enemy, Mugatu (Ferrell).

So why Bottom Ten? : I really struggled to try to make that plot sound like it made sense.

In a year that contained a LOT of sequels, very few were are out of time as “Zoolander 2”. It takes balls to release a sequel nearly 20 years after the first film came out, but that’s what Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson attempted to do, afterall, this is their twelfth film together. The problem is that the first film had a lot going to for it, including being genuinely funny, but this most certainly wasn’t the same.

“Zoolander 2” lost all of the charm of the first movie, as well as the warmth. It seemed almost like a sequel that was there purely to give the members of the cast something to do for several weeks/months. There is just nothing likeable about the whole film. It’s not funny, it’s definitely not witty, and it’s just a waste of around 90-100 minutes of your life.

The very fact that this was a mainstream movie and only has (at the time of writing) a rating of 4.8/10 on IMDB should tell you all that you need to know.

 

97) Dare To Be Wild56340436cefd9609b20000d6

Cast : Emma Greenwell and Tom Hughes

Plot : Mary (Greenwell) is an ambitious garden designer who is in love with nature, but her first job doesn’t go to plan as all of her designs are stolen, although she does meet environmental activist Christy (Hughes).

She decides that the only logical step forward is to enter the Chelsea Flower Show, and although she is accepted based on her designs, she has no idea how to get the money or elements to the garden together, how will she find it all?

So why Bottom Ten? : “Dare to be Wild” is everything that a film shouldn’t be. It is preachy, it is pointless and it is unimaginative, but worst of all, it is painfully boring. I don’t even really know how I am going to fill a few paragraphs by talking about a film that I was desperate to be over, and yet it would never end.

The film is just so unimaginative and whilst it looks lovely in terms of it’s environment, there is very little to back it up as it preaches at you about how important the environment is, and how putting together a garden full of natural elements for the Chelsea Flower Show can change the world. It’s not an exciting concept in the first place and I only went to watch it because I had two hours to kill, but even then I never imagined that it would be as bad as it was.

Characters are inconsistent beyond belief, and yet somehow not a single one of them is anything more than a one-dimensional. I genuinely couldn’t give any less of a fuck about any of them, or any of their problems if I tried. It is actually causing me physical discomfort to talk about this film.

 

98) High Risehigh_rise_2014_film_poster

Cast : Tom Hiddleston, Luke Evans, Jeremy Irons, Sienna Miller, Elizabeth Moss and James Purefoy

Plot : In a dystopian future there are several high rise apartment blocks that are the epitome of living. Everyone on the outside is jealous of those on the inside, but little do they know the complicated web of politics that are within. That is what is awaiting Robert (Hiddleston), a local doctor.

Robert seemingly fits in quite nicely at first, getting invited to parties with the rich elite at the top of the building, whilst comfortably befriending the poor families at the bottom. It isn’t until power and food starts getting unevenly distributed that things start turning south for everyone, and it isn’t long before people start living in the equivalent of a post-apocalyptic world that’s contained within a building.

So why Bottom Ten? : I first started to rank films in around the late March period of this year, and the first movie to occupy bottom spot was “High Rise”, and whilst it has since moved off of the bottom spot, it is still a far from likeable film, and any other year would have seen it comfortably at the bottom of the list.

This film is just a big mess and makes largely no sense. I just might not have been paying attention, but there is precisely nothing about this film that I can look at and not question. For example, the families at the bottom of the building know that if they stay that they will probably get killed off, but they don’t leave, even though no-one is trying to stop them leaving.

The acting throughout is terrible from everyone except Hiddleston, and Jeremy Irons becomes the only actor to appear in two of my bottom ten this year in a main role (he was lucky it wasn’t three). Luke Evans is his usual boring and uninspiring self, and the vast majority of the characters are very in consequential.

Just because it’s not bottom anymore, it doesn’t mean that I hated it any less.

 

99) Mike and Dave Need Wedding Datesmike_and_dave_need_wedding_dates

Cast : Zac Efron, Adam Devine, Aubrey Plaza and Anna Kendrick

Plot : Mike (Devine) and Dave (Zac) are a pair of party hard brothers that ruin every family occasion with their antics, and because of this their sister is very reluctant to invite them to her wedding in Hawaii, and demands that they bring dates. Not able to find any quickly, the brothers place an advert online, as well as going on TV, and this soon attracts the attention of Alice (Kendrick) and Tatiana (Plaza), two girls that are somehow bigger slackers than the brothers.

Once on Hawaii, the girls stop the act and make it clear that they’re only there for a free holiday, and it seems like a matter of time until the inevitable trouble strikes, that is unless romance can actually blossom from the “dates”.

So why Bottom Ten? : There was a time that MADNWD (I’m just going to call it that from now on) was actually the worst film I saw during the year. I’ll grant you, it wasn’t a long time, maybe two weeks, but even so, it was just diabolically bad.

It’s your typical “now it’s time to grow up” nonsense that always ends in the same way, with the lead character/s finally becoming mature and learning a life lesson, but the difference between this and most similar efforts is that it’s just lifeless. This ranges right from Zac Efron somehow cruising through Hollywood based on his looks alone, right through to Kendrick’s insistence of playing every single character that she ever portrays in the exact same way, regardless of genre.

The jokes are just not funny, everything falls flat, and this almost feels like a truly unfunny tribute act to other films with a wedding as a big theme, but this isn’t one of those good tributes.

 
So, “MADNWD” was the worst film I saw during the year, or so I thought. Little did I know that within two weeks I would see a significantly worse film. But what could beat such a piss-poor excuse of a film, I’ll tell you what…….David fucking Brent!

100, and the worst film of the year) David Brent : Life on the Roadbrentlifeontheroad

Cast : Ricky Gervais and Doc Brown

Plot : Several years after getting fired on the documentary “The Office”, David Brent (Gervais) has decided that it is time to pursue his dream of becoming a rock and roll star. He goes on extended, unpaid leave from his job

So why Bottom Ten? : I commented on the entry for “Zoolander 2” that you’ve really got to time your film releases well, but neither that, nor “DBLOTR” actually thought about that. For those that aren’t in the know, David Brent was Ricky Gervais’ break into mainstream comedy as he proved to be highly popular in the BBC show “The Office”. The comedy was perfect for the time, and the way that some of the cast have gone on to star in big films in Hollywood (Martin Freeman in the Hobbit and Marvel franchises, and Mackenzie Crook in the “Pirates of the Caribbean” trilogy) just shows that the show had something. It didn’t stick.

Whilst “DBLOTR” is based in same universe as the TV show, it shares very little in common with it and it is just tasteless drivel. I’m quite laid back normally, but I could feel myself getting excessively angry as I was watching this. I don’t get angry often, but it took every single part of every single little cell in my body not to walk out of this.

It’s hard, say nigh on impossible, to come up with any positives relating to this film at all. The songs are offensive (and don’t tell me that’s the point of them, it’s just needless), the comedy is anything but funny, and there isn’t a single redeeming feature of, and I don’t use this phrase lightly, this absolutely clusterfuck piece of trash of a movie.

And that is why “David Brent : Life on the Road” is by far, without a shadow of a doubt, the worst film that I have seen at the cinema during 2016.