Darke Reviews | Best and Worst of 2017

Tried this last year, seemed to work. Let’s go again – top 6 movies and worst 6 movies. 38 movies reviewed this year 12 make the list.

Rules:

  • Now this list is strictly based on movies I have watched as part of a First Run experience in theatres.
  • Boycotted Movies don’t get to make the list – so no Kingsman.

 

Best of 2017

    1. Wonder Woman
      This shouldn’t surprise anyone, not only was Wonder Woman one of the most watchable and re-watchable films of the year. It was a landmark movie as the most profitable movie by a female director (Patty Jenkins) ever, best DCEU movie, best Superhero movie of 2017, 5th best Superhero movie ever (behind the two Avengers movies and two Dark Knight movies), bringing in over $412 million domestic for a total of $821 million world wide. DC nailed it with this one and it shows. They beat Marvel to the punch and proved it could work, despite Marvel CEO’s saying it couldn’t. Wonder Woman lived up to her name and truly was a wonder…and the best movie of 2017.
    2. Blade Runner 2049
      This one didn’t fare as well at the box office bringing in only $91 million (domestic) on its $150 million budget. I truly believe they misjudged the market for this one as much as anything. This is an amazingly well crafted, cerebral, and beautifully shot. It makes number two on my list without question.
    3. Logan
      Just watched this again the other night. It holds up so well. It is unlike every other superhero movie that has come before, well used R-rating aside, it is both heartbreaking and visceral at the same time. None of the others have managed to do what Logan did. It has a few flaws in Act II but still just an amazing movie breaking outside its own genre.
    4. It
      Three viewings in and a fourth today this, the highest grossing horror movie ever, is an amazing adaptation of the material. While I will admit some of the horror is lost over the successive viewings, it holds up and I think it will continue to hold up for years to come. I do worry about the sequel though based on some things I have heard…
    5. Atomic Blonde
      This one beats out John Wick 2. The action is amazing and done in camera. Long tracking shots of fights. Charlize Theron doing much of her own work. The music is incredible. I’ve watched this five times now and still enjoy every minute.
    6. Star Wars: The Last Jedi
      Three viewings of this one as well, as promised in the review. It is flawed in a few areas, but is still one of the better films of the year for pure entertainment and structure. It uses its budget well, the actors are all on point.

Special Mention: The Shape of Water – I watched this the other day and did not get a review up. My bad. It would have made the list about this spot, or beat out Star Wars. Yes. It is that good.

Worst of 2017

  1. Geostorm
    I was torn between this and Flatliners, but really this was worse. Its harmless, but it is just bad across the board with few if any redeeming qualities to it.
  2. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
    I am just copying my TL;DR for this one: It is a kinetic, frenetic, frenzied mess of a film with no sense of itself. It isn’t bad enough to be mocked by MST3K or good enough for me to actually hate it. It just is a disappointing film in which the actors I think try but are hampered by a script held together by bailing wire and day old bubblegum; and direction that leaves me wondering what happened to Guy Ritchie.
  3. The Dark Tower
    Originally in my number three spot. I considered this one so bland it left me unfeeling where I felt real anger at Covenant. Its a mess. I might have moved it to number five, but I think King Arthur has some aspects that are ok, but none of this works. None.
  4. Alien: Covenant
    A beautifully shot failure. Every aspect of a solid Alien movie is missed here. Every aspect of Good Sci fi is missed here. Nothing works and it left me angry.
  5. The Mummy
    This was almost the worst movie of the year for me. Its bad in every single capacity. From the first trailer to its final credits roll, it does nothing right. Nothing good. Nothing interesting. Ok it did cast Sofia Boutella, but misusing her so badly is a crime in itself. It absolutely nuked the Dark Universe that they were planning and for that I am thankful if the rest would end up like this. It could be saved, but not with this as a groundwork.

Special Nomination and Worst Movie

Ghost in the Shell

This was in my rollover text on the review of the 1995 film and deserves to be shown in it’s raw form now: Screw this movie in the face with a rusty chainsaw dipped in blow fish poison wielded by someone who has a personal hatred for that face.

As you know when the first casting came out I was against it due to Scarlett Johansson, who is a good actress, being given the role over someone like say Rinko Kikuchi, or any other of the dozens of Asian actresses who should have gotten the part. I have talked about White Washing before on several reviews. I am going to link to the bowl of raisins story again because it still explains it better.

Mostly white people go “I don’t see the problem”.  It has nothing to do with her acting. I am sure her acting is fine. The problem is the part could and should have gone to any number of Asian actresses. You are going to see counter videos of people going to Japan and speaking with Japanese people what they think. They in the clips shown – don’t seem to have a problem. They of course are not looking for representation of themselves in Western media. They aren’t looking for heroes, icon’s, actors, actresses, stars, and the people we look up to here to go “I can be that”. Representation matters.

Fine. Ignore both sides of the theoretical argument of who could have and should have been cast. The weak excuses about why it was done. The spoiler. They literally white washed the character. Literally.

The character in the movie was a Japanese girl named Motoko, who was kidnapped and had her brain implanted into a Caucasian cybernetic body and had her identity stripped from her. 

What the actual…

How..can anyone justify this? Please tell me.  They literally took an Asian and “improved her” and made her white in the process.  It doesn’t matter that most reviewers I have watched said its great visually, but ok otherwise. Just ok.  They literally and figuratively white washed her and have spent the past year defending it.

This movie needs to be burnt to the ground. This is a problem and folks – you need to help stop it. Please stop supporting movies like this.

 

 

So that concludes my list – thoughts? Feelings? What are your best and worst of the year?

Darke Reviews – Best and Worst of 2016

I haven’t tried one of these before, I see some people do top 10, top 5, top 7, or top 11. I see some only do Best, some do best and worst. Let’s face it the movie review game is flooded with people who have their own takes and spins – so might as well take my own right?

Now this list is strictly based on movies I have watched as part of a First Run experience in theatres. So things like Goonies don’t count, nor do direct to DVD purchases.

Best of 2016

This was a hard category, because quite honestly out of the 40+ movies I watched this year most were just good or “ok”, others were completely Meh. Only 10 made it into potential ranking for best movies of the year and that has been paired down to the following 6.

  1. Arrival
    When considering overall production value, mental engagement, visuals, the film making, script, and just concept. Arrival for me has to be the best movie of the year. It may not win in the rewatch category, but it just nails it and is one of the best sci-fi movies this decade (which we’re now 70% through). If this doesn’t get at least a nod for the Oscars I am going to be even further disappointed in the Academy.
  2. Kubo and the Two Strings
    This almost nailed the number one slot. It so beautiful and heartfelt. To date this is Laika’s best film and is absolutely magical. Watching their behind the scenes production videos should make you even more in awe of what was finally released on screen. I have had the opportunity to share it with people who missed it in theatres that “don’t watch animation” and they loved it. Don’t pass this one up.
  3. Moana
    It’s better than Frozen. Full stop, no argument. It is nearly flawless. Frozen shows signs of its 11th hour edits, Moana does not. Granted Let it Go is still a superior, and intensely personal song, to anything in Moana; but I have to give credit to the Princess ‘I want song’ “How Far I’ll go”. While not as personal to me, it still resonated, as does the rest of the movie. The animation is some of the best Disney has ever done and shows how far they are going and how much more that they can do. It is an incredible tight production with a small cast and very focused and directed story. I am hoping Disney takes notes on this one and continues to give us more like Moana.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cPAbx5kgCJo
  4. The Witch
    This one stuck with me. It stuck with me hard. I want to say there are not a lot of good witch movies, which is true, but thats doing a disservice to this to limit it so much. There are not a lot of good period horror movies. I suppose it makes some sense as you can’t shoot as cheaply when doing a period piece, but I would love to see other productions follow the footsteps of this one. It isn’t for everyone, but this is a list of what I loved this year and I truly loved the Witch for all it gave me. It made me feel. It made me think. It made me smile at the end. It’s a good film deserving a good watch.
  5. Deadpool
    Not for kids. Awesome movie that I spent laughing from credit to post credit. I am looking forward to the sequel to see if it they caught lightning in a
    bottle or is there a recipe they figured out to make a successful R Rated movie.
  6. Suicide Squad
    I know this is making a lot of peoples worst of the year lists. I’ve watched it in theatres twice, watched the extended edition for a third time. I have to acknowledge it does have flaws, but the DCEU really needs to pay more attention to David Ayer and less to Zack Snyder. He nailed these characters and there’s a lot of effort behind the scenes to really bring them to life. The actors themselves gave it their all and it shows too. With the recent announcement of Gotham City Sirens as a Harley Quinn spin off film with Ayer at the helm I am excited again for a DC movie. I just hope he lets her have more control over the costume this time.

Worst  of 2016

As I said before the ability to pair this list down to the worst of the worst was difficult with so many potential contenders this year. Some were badly made, others bad concepts, some just outright offensive, and two were so below mediocre I couldn’t even bring myself to write about them.

  1. Divergent: Allegiant / London Has Fallen
    It’s a tie!. You’ll notice there is no link to the reviews. These two movies left me with such amazing apathy at how bad they were by comparison to their predecessors I couldn’t even come up with the energy to write about it. To be fair Gods of Egypt almost made the 6th spot. I maintained my boycott and didn’t pay money to see it, but it was on HBO when I was on a work trip and I did watch. Not only did it deserve the boycott, but it was beyond horrific. I have seen better SyFy movie of the weeks.
  2. Mechanic: Resurrection
    This was just such mediocre garbage that tried to pass itself off as an action movie. I have seen student films that look better.
  3. Independence Day Resuregence
    Sometimes sequels are better. Sometimes they are worse. Sometimes they are not needed. Sometimes we just don’t care. No one wanted it. No one asked for it. Ok well not recently. A lot of us wanted to see more back in 1996. Bigger isn’t better. Scaling up isn’t always the way to go. I guarantee you no one wanted to see more of Brent Spiners butt.  If you watch this you will want your time back and ask yourself why it was made.
  4. Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
    *sigh*
  5. 10 Cloverfield Lane
    I am once again the contrarian. I am seeing this make some folks top 10 lists, and in one case the number one slot. I am asking myself if we watched the same movie.  It moved up the list over movies that were just badly made because it left me irritated. I have to assume that is not the feeling the filmmakers wanted to evoke.
  6. Inferno
    Yeah. So you are probably wondering how this and the number two slot beat out BvS? Because there are moments of brilliance in BvS. There are moments of good action. There are moments of good characters. Bat-fleck is good. Wonder Woman is flipping amazing. This movie though has no brilliance. It is a paycheck for some people and I have to say they did not earn it.  It is the worst made movie of the year because of the budget, the starpower, and former skill level of those involved in the production. They had all the components and clearly threw them in the trash before cooking with them.

Wait where’s Passengers?

It gets it’s own category!

Most Hated Movie of 2016

Passengers
My hate for this film only grows. It’s not just bad it’s patently offensive to anyone with decency – which is clearly not the director or writer. My biggest disappointment with it? It didn’t bomb harder.

 

That’s it everyone. That’s the year.

Agree/Disagree? Tell me your thoughts here or on Facebook!