January 1st, 2017


The Stairway of 2016 Moving Pictures Both Ways

Happy New Year, everyone, it's time for my annual ranking of the previous year's movies. I don't do it at the beginning of December like some publications, thank you.

I used to do a Best and Worst list but some years ago I decided to simply combine them, including movies I felt more neutral about in the middle, so this is a from worst to best list of new movies I saw in 2016. There are still a few more I'd really like to see, especially Arrival and La La Land, so I may come back and add those later. For whatever else it was, 2016 was actually a pretty good year for movies. I haven't had a chance to write reviews for all these yet, hopefully there won't be anymore celebrity deaths I'll want to write about in the next few weeks.

28. Lights Out

This is the Rebecca Black's "Friday" of movies. It feels like someone adapted a headshot and resume into a horror film. A cast of actors who seemed drawn exclusively from soap operas and Maria Bello, its photo-copy of Japanese monster effects and shallow psychological subtext made this film embarrassingly bad in a way that makes you suspect the people to blame are too coked up to care.

Batman V Superman - Sad Ben Affleck - HD by allthingsonline

27. Batman v Superman (my review)

In spite of its bad writing and tired, derivative visuals, it's still the casting of Ben Affleck as Batman I hate the most about this thoroughly lousy film. But Gal Gadot was also pretty lame as Wonder Woman.

26. Ghostbusters (my review)

If Paul Feig wanted to remake The Mask he shouldn't have called it Ghostbusters. Also, I preferred "Cuban Pete" for the dance routine.

25. Fan (my review)

Shah Rukh Khan's amazing, ambidextrous performance and some truly impressive cgi can't replace a film's story.

24. Absolutely Fabulous (my review)

An adequately entertaining revisit to the classic series with its unique flavour of tastelessness.

23. Star Trek Beyond (my review)

A charming effort with the screenplay by Simon Pegg squeaks through despite some conspicuous studio tampering that saddles the film with a silly, nonsensical ending.

22. The Witch (my review)

Featuring some great, handmade costumes and historical detail those of us who study the 17th century can appreciate, its meandering final act puts this film well behind the films it pays homage to like The Blood on Satan's Claw and Day of Wrath.

21. X-Men Apocalypse (my review)

Falling well short of the high water mark of some previous X-Men films this one still provides an entertaining experience with good performances and the promise of a better Dark Phoenix.

20. Little Sister

It might have been called How to Rebel Against Rebellious Parents. Set in 2008, it's maybe the first real portrait of the struggle the generation of entitled hipsters faced at the time of being too poorly educated and dispassionate to care about anything in particular, I guess.

19. Deadpool (my review)

An exciting innovation in the superhero genre with many genuinely funny jokes. A final act that takes it back into the more mundane territory of superhero films couldn't entirely sink it.

18. Suicide Squad (my review)

What a mess. Who thought we'd want to see a movie about a team of villains that ended with them learning about the power of friendship? But Margot Robbie's glorious, you have to admit it to yourself.

17. Captain Fantastic (my review)

A well-meaning, sweet, wealthy, left-wing dream of how life could be better if brought closer to nature.

16. Midnight Special (my review)

A nice, eerie, subtle film about contact with the strange. Featuring appropriately subtle, good performances.

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Twitter Sonnet #948

The stars were blue the night the crystals left.
Sapphire pulse engaged unclouded sky.
In azure cloaks the heroes were bereft.
Like Delvian or Bolian they fly.
Contracted madness rails in chicken trains.
Through narrow eyes the sharks revolve in space.
In frozen air the dust's what mind retains.
A clatt'ring sound bespeaks the metal ace.
On tracks we kept combined with walls we go.
We venture forth to shorter shops online.
En masse, the traffic stars collude to glow.
The deal has shown us running up incline.
Competing tides comes racing joy and fear.
With "Plainsong" credits born is the new year.
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