2017 At The Cinema: A Summary

Apologies for the wait on this one, I’ve currently been recovering from a broken ankle!

Another year  has come and gone, and I have to say that this has probably been my favourite year going to the cinema. Yes, there have been some absolute stinkers and massive disappointments, there always are, but this is the first time in my life where I have enjoyed the majority of films I’ve seen. There has been an absolute plethora of brilliant films released ranging from Superhero based films, musicals and satirical social commentaries about race. In this blog I shall be listing:

The Worst Film of 2017

The Best Films of 2017

Without further ado, here is my summary of 2017.

2017’s Worst Films

5. CHiPS


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This film was just awful, I only saw it because I was bored and there was nothing else on. Many of the jokes fell incredibly flat and at times were quite homophobic. This film could have taken influence from the Jump Street franchise by knowing what it is and mocking itself whilst showing throwbacks to its original TV series, but I would recommend you avoid this film at all costs.

4. Pirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s Revenge (Dead Men Tell No Tale’s)


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Lets face it, this franchise hasn’t been good since 2003. Its been six years since the last one, so I went into this one thinking that could have been a good gap between films to breath new life into the franchise. It didn’t, Depp’s campy performance as Jack Sparrow has lost its punch. It tries shows glimpses of promise but that is mostly when Javier Bardem is on screen. This film copies scenes from the original, has bad CGI, annoying sexist jokes and is just obnoxiously loud. Its time to let this franchise sink.

3. Transformers: The Last Knight 


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Another franchise with its fifth offering. There was a time I used to find this franchise entertaining in a leave your brain at the door kind of way. This time, I wished I was brain dead whilst watching it. It was thinly plotted, filled with un-funny jokes, racial stereotypes (again) and had Mark Walhberg in it. It also went on for too long. It has some great special effects in it, but never created anything memorable with them. Not even Anthony Hopkins could save this film, when he was cast at first, I thought he could but, I was wrong. Its time for this franchise to consign itself to the car crusher of history. But like a cockroach, its going to keep coming back.

2. The Mummy


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The start of the so called ‘Dark Universe’ could also be its end. At first I was excited for this as I’ve always enjoyed the campiness of a B movie style monster movie, which the original Mummy provided us with. However, this tried too hard to force through its extended universe by clearly hinting at future films rather than setting the foundations with this film. The acting was poor, the effects were poor and it couldn’t work out whether it wanted to be a horror or a comedy and by doing so, failed to balance out what I saw as one of its main influences; An American Werewolf In London did so perfectly. Its a shame that this has been so bad because I wanted this universe to work, instead, it looks like its going to unravel fairly quickly.

1. The Circle 

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This film had a really good premise and looked like it was going to be a good social commentary about how social networks have such a big influence on our lives. With Tom Hanks playing the head of a social tech conglomerate it looked like he was coming out of his shell and going to be a bit villainous. All of this sounds good, until you watch the film which gives a really half arsed attempt at the themes its trying to get out. It has the makings of a great thriller commenting on a future which is now and scary. Unfortunately, this film is not, and manages to fail in getting its message across in two hours compared to what Charlie Brooker can do in an hour with similar themes to this in Black Mirror.

Now, onto the list that really matters! This was an incredibly hard list for me to make, so here are ten honourable mentions for films that didn’t make the cut.

2017 Honourable Mentions 

Hidden Figures

The Belko Experiment

T2: Trainspotting

Hacksaw Ridge

Free Fire

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2


Spider-Man: Homecoming 

War for the Planet of the Apes


The Ten Best Films of 2017 

10. La La Land 


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A love letter to a bygone genre of film. A film about dreams and the sacrifices you have to make to achieve them. La La Land boasts excellent performances from both Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling through the use of excellent and fun original songs alongside amazing choreography and vibrant colours. Everything about this film was fun and made me wish people would break into song and dance much more often. In an era of film where the cinema is dominated by superheroes, La La Land remembers a magical past of cinema that isn’t only just magical and fun, but is able to blend nostalgia and contemporaneity in a wonderful love letter to cinema.

9. Moonlight 


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The best picture winner at the 2017 Academy Awards and rightly so. Moonlight is an incredible coming of age story about Chiron, it focuses on three distinct periods of his life as a child, a teenager and an adult. This is a harrowing look at what it is like to live in the poverty ridden suburbs of Miami, this film doesn’t hold back from any of its punches. From having a mother addicted to heroine, to questioning his own sexuality and having no father figure in his life, these are the main struggles for Chiron throughout the film. Superbly written and superbly directed, Moonlight is both parts devastating and up lifting with incredible performances throughout. The most mature film out in 2017, you won’t find a more sensitive or evocative film from last year.

8. Thor: Ragnarok 


The Thor franchise was in danger of growing stale. Whilst I have enjoyed this particular MCU franchise, I do feel that it did need to a new lease of life to make it finally stand out among the rest and appeal to audiences more. At first I wasn’t sure if the hiring of Taika Waititi to direct this was a good idea, but it turned out that this is exactly what the franchise needed. Ditching the hammy Shakespearean aspect of it and taking a less serious and wackier tone, Thor: Ragnarok is an explosive cosmic adventure. It’s exciting, funny but most importantly, fun. Bolstered by great character moments and a very…Strange cameo, it sets a new standard for the franchise, and becomes one of the best films in the MCU. In a world of dark and gritty blockbusters, it’s nice to see a film not take itself as seriously and throw on the disco lights for one hell of a party. This film well and truly, RagnaROCKED.

7. Star Wars: The Last Jedi 


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Perhaps the most anticipated film of 2017, The Last Jedi gave me everything I wanted and more. Featuring epic space battles and amazing lightsaber battles, this film was just non stop fun. Rian Johnson brought a breath of fresh air to this film and made it the first of this new bunch of Star Wars films to actually feel like its own film rather than being a retread of one of the original classics. This film also brings a big emotional impact, particular in the scenes featuring the late Carrie Fisher, it was a great send off for her character. However, the best performances of the film belong to Mark Hamill and Adam Driver who really shine reprising their roles, they really bring an intensity to the film as we delve deeper into their complex and shattered relationship. A great ending for 2017 at the cinema, it has an amazing story arc with enough action, complexity, laughs that will leave you equally emotional and ecstatic. A science fiction masterclass which is a must see.

6. Wonder Woman 


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The DCEU hasn’t had the best of starts critically. However, Wonder Woman seems to have set it on a newer, more hopeful and brighter path. This is pretty much a soft reboot of the franchise and I think its what it needed. It was good to finally see a female led superhero film and it was even better to see it succeed. Gal Gadot does an excellent job as Diana Prince/Wonder Woman in the titular role, having been one of the saving graces of 2016s Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, seeing her excel and show us more of the Wonder Woman mythos was refreshing. This is a film with a compelling plot, has great special effects, great characters, good directing and offers us strong villains. There are also plenty of memorable scenes but the best one for me was the goose-bump inducing moment when Diana faces down the Germans and fights her way across No Man’s Land. This is a moment crafted so brilliantly by director Patty Jenkins and is the moment where Diana truly becomes Wonder Woman in a selfless act to do what she feels is right. I also liked all of the side characters in this particularly Chris Pine as Steve Trevor who had great chemistry with Gadot as it becomes the films glue. The setting  of WW1 also gives the film a boost as it gives Jenkins a good platform as it allows her to tackle themes of feminism, oppression and female empowerment. This is a film about the evil men can do, from small stupid moments to horrendous bigoted views that could destroy the world. And to see it through the eyes of a character who has never been exposed to this was hugely refreshing. If most people took a few leafs out of this film, the world would be a better place.

5. Raw


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The French-Belgian film that allegedly made people faint and throw up at festivals around Europe last summer. After hearing about this I had to see it to see how bad it actually was, and to be honest, it wasn’t as bad as people made it out to be. However, it is not for the faint hearted. This is one of the best horror films I’ve seen, due to the fact that it didn’t hold back at how brutal it was, this is a film that relies on shock horror but utilises it perfectly. A factor of films from Europe that I really like due to the lack of big producers who want to play safe. This film is a haunting metaphor about coming of age and trying to find an identity in a social circle. It is visually striking and the superb soundtrack also helps to amplify the horror throughout the film. This film has made me much more interested in horror and European cinema and its a foreign language film that I would strongly recommend for those interested in them. Its not an easy watch and probably shouldn’t be viewed if you are squeamish. This film is a masterpiece that certainly fell under the radar last year, so if you ever get the chance, watch this film!

4. Baby Driver


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One of my favourite directors; Edgar Wright, returning with a passion project that has taken him years to make. While the Fast and Furious franchise offers up car chases that are bombastic and over the top, Baby Driver offers up car chases which are slick, cool and are some of the best choreographed chase sequences ever put into film. In true Edgar Wright fashion, the dialogue is quick, witty and will make you laugh constantly throughout the film, the whole cast definitely benefits from this and executes the dialogue to perfection. The soundtrack is also outstanding, all the songs were chosen by Wright himself and it has quickly become one of my favourite soundtracks of all time to feature in a film. The music itself is almost the main character, with film at time being superbly edited to the beat of the music. The film is very much a call back to old 60s heist films and I enjoyed every second of it. This film is certainly very different to Wright’s previous films (Hot Fuzz, Shaun of the Dead) and I see that as a good thing, it shows us that Wright’s style still remains very fresh and I look forward to seeing what he does next.

3. Logan 

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All good things must come to an end. And what an end it was for Hugh Jackman in his last outing as everyone’s favourite mutant; Wolverine/Logan. The X-Men franchise has been in danger of going stale in recent years but the release of Deadpool seems to have rejuvenated the franchise by opening the door for 20th Century Fox to releasing more mature films for their audiences. Deadpool proved that a mainstream R rated superhero film can be successful at the cinema and without it, we wouldn’t have the best superhero film since The Dark Knight on our hands. This film was refreshingly brutal and it was good to finally see what Logan/Wolverine is capable of and not be held back by a 12A rating. The violence isn’t held back in the film either, its shocking, visceral and is nothing like you’ve ever seen in a superhero film before. It made Deadpool feel like a Disney film. It was a perfect ending for Wolverine and also for Professor X and both Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart who both really shined as does newcomer Dafne Keen as Weapon X. Whilst this is easily the most violent instalment of the X-Men franchise, its also the most heart wrenching. It was an interesting look seeing someone who is meant to be unstoppable at the very end of his life, and that is what made the film all the more meaningful. This film is not an easy watch, but it is one hell of a ride and if there are going to be more superhero films like this, then I am ready and waiting.

2. Get Out 


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Get Out was one of those films that didn’t have a huge marketing campaign, but I heard about it through word of mouth. Those films are some of my favourites because they have an air of mystery about them and I always enjoy recommending them to others and seeing what they think about it. This film had me sat on the edge of my seat from beginning to end, the atmosphere throughout the film is absolutely electrifying with many shocking moments throughout. Its full of many twists and turns and its almost impossible to see what the outcome of the film is going to be upon first viewing. I’ve never been a huge fan of horror but its been growing on me over the years and Get Out isn’t your typical horror. Whilst it relies heavily on horror, Get Out also very much relies on social satire and can be very funny at times. It is an attack on the racist culture that has become so common in America. This film could not have come out at a better time with Trump being president and the Black Lives Matter movement being so predominant in the news. Director Jordan Peele has shown that horror doesn’t have to be all demons and ghosts, but that horror can and does exist on our doorstep and in the real world in our society, something that is much more evil than any ghost or demon.

1. Blade Runner 2049 


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Its been a great year for film and also Ryan Gosling it would seem. It was always going to be a tough job for director; Denis Villeneuve to make a sequel to one of science-fictions greatest achievements, to me, he felt like the best choice to tackle this project. However, what no one expected was that he would make a film which is better than the original. Every scene in this film is like a painting, each shot from the DOP; Roger Deakins was absolutely masterful, an aspect that made this film a pleasure to look at. Unlike most science-fiction films, this film is not fast paced. And it benefits from this because of the pay off at the end, it helps to build up the mystery that shrouds the film and will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat throughout. Whilst there are many call backs to the original, it is definitely its own film and doesn’t constantly have to rely on what came before to make it such a masterpiece. While there is a lot of dialogue driven scenes in this film, the action sequences are incredible. They will make you feel like no character is safe and that anything could happen to them. This film is also accompanied by the superb Vangelis inspired soundtrack composed by Hans Zimmer and Benjamin Wallfisch which constantly amazed me throughout. The music will easily toy with your emotions. It will make you feel sad, excited and nervous and that helps to build this films reputation as a modern masterpiece. This film is an example of why I love science fiction and cinema as a whole. It was truly an honour to watch this film and to be around when another Blade Runner film is out and considered a masterpiece.

There we have it, its been a long road writing this and an incredibly difficult one to compose. Apologies for the wait and hopefully the next one won’t be hampered by me recovering from a broken ankle.