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Year in review - best and worst of 2017 - Shaken, Not Stirred

Year in review – best and worst of 2017

blade runner 2049

One more year comes to an end, so it is a time that we take a look at the best and worst of the year. I would say it was a good year for movies and TV shows, maybe not the best one, but not bad like some are saying. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of movies and TV shows that I haven’t watched (and I’m expecting much from them) – The Shape of Water, Phantom Thread, Coco, Loveless, Okja, Lady Bird, Good Time, The Killing of a Sacred Deer, The Florida Project and Downsizing.

But I still decided to give you a year in review and update this article later. Also, I decided to give you a little more top and worst lists besides best and worst movies of 2017.

So let’s get started.

Best movies of the year

10.   Logan Lucky

logan lucky

Soderbergh’s return from the retirement was one of the more pleasant surprises of the year. Logan Lucky is nothing new or especially original but it is a well-written and fun heist comedy with likable characters, good performances and very good soundtrack.

9.       Split

split

M. Night Shyamalan started his career almost 20 years ago with excellent Sixth Sense and Unbreakable and was at that time considered to be one of the better Hollywood directors. Unfortunately, it was downhill for him from here – Signs was a big hit but just ok movie, The Village was bad and The Happening was an awful movie. So I gave up on Shyamalan and skipped Last Airbender and After Earth, movies that received even worse reviews than The Happening. And when it seemed he’s done he returned in big style in 2017 with Split. Although the movie had some problems it was an original and interesting thriller with an excellent performance from James McAvoy. SPOILER – and that end when you realize Split is set in the same universe as Unbreakable and that you’ve been watching supervillain origin story was excellent.

8.       War for the Planet of the Apes

war for the planet of the apes

Although the weakest movie in the new apes trilogy, War for the Planet of the Apes is a pretty good action drama with outstanding special effects and very good performance from Andy Serkis as Caesar. Don’t let the title fool you – this is not typical Hollywood blockbuster, war or action movie. This mix of western, prisoners, drama and war movie focuses more on story and characters than on shooting and explosions with maybe 20 minutes of action.

7.       Get Out

One of the biggest surprises of the year, thriller/horror Get Out is an original movie with an interesting story and very good atmosphere.

6.       Baby Driver

baby driver

Although last third is little disappointing and feels like the director didn’t know how to finish this movie, Baby Driver from director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Hot Fuzz) is a fun action movie with great use of music that stands out from the competition.

5.       Wind River

wind river

Second directorial effort from screenwriter Taylor Sheridan is a very good thriller with a good story, script and dialogues, well-written characters, very good performances from the actors, beautiful but depressing landscapes and some unexpecting bursts of violence.

4.       Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing Missouri

Well-shot, directed, acted and written, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri from director Martin McDonagh (In Bruges) is an interesting and sometimes funny dark comedy/drama with excellent performances from Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell.

3.       The Disaster Artist

the disaster artist

The Disaster Artist, biographical drama/comedy directed by James Franco about making one of the worst movies in the history, The Room, and it’s author Tommy Wiseau, is an entertaining, interesting and pretty funny drama/comedy with an excellent performance from James Franco.

2.       Logan

logan

Last Wolverine movie for Hugh Jackman, Logan is a different superhero movie that stands out from the competition – it is serious, gritty and violent R-rated (SF) action drama in which all parts are very well done with excellent performances from Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart. Best superhero and action movie of the year.

1.       Blade Runner 2049

blade runner 2049

Blade Runner 2049 is one unusual movie. It is a 35-year-old sequel to one of the most appreciated and most influential movies of the last 40 years that is actually a worthy successor (and is not just a cash grab) and very expensive (150 million $) R rated movie that is more an art movie masked as Hollywood SF. It is a dark and beautiful SF, definitely the best looking movie of the year, one of the best sequels of all time and a movie that stands out from the rest of the competition.

Worth checking out…

And there were a couple of good movies that didn’t make this list but I would like to mention them as I think they are worth checking out. Some of them were in my opinion pretty good movies and some of them maybe weren’t especially good but were at least fun and worth checking out if you don’t have anything better to do :).

First on the list is a movie that almost made it on my top 10 list – Detroit, from director Kathryn Bigelow (Strange Days, Hurt Locker, Zero Dark Thirty, Point Break) is a true story about one of the largest riots in United States history. Loving Vincent, the first fully painted animation feature, is a solid movie about last days of Vincent Van Gogh with outstanding visuals.

Although Dunkirk is, in my opinion, the most disappointing movie of 2017 (based on reviews and previous movies from Christopher Nolan I had pretty high expectations), it is still a well-made war movie, with good performances from all the actors, solid direction from Nolan and score from Hans Zimmer. Ghost in the Shell (2017) is a dumbed down, but not bad, adaptation of Japanese anime. Visually rich and pretty SF action movie with solid music and action scenes. Same goes for Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets – although main actors are terrible and the story is nothing special, it is a fun, beautiful, visually rich and interesting movie. There are so many locations, species, details, and ideas in Valerian that you could fill 10 other movies.

It is a like a crossover between 80’s kids movie like The Goonies or Stand by Me and a light horror movie in which both parts are functioning. And although they had some problems, John Wick 2 and Atomic Blonde were fun action movies with some excellent action scenes. T2 Trainspotting wasn’t on the same level as the original but it was still a good movie and better than most of the sequels to older movies.

 

Worst movies of 2017

5.       Kingsman: Golden Circle

kingsman the golden circle

A sequel to 2014 surprise hit, Kingsman: The Golden Circle, wants to be crazier, bigger and funnier than the original but unfortunately fails on all levels. Kingsman: The Golden Circle is an overlong and poorly written sequel with bad and forced jokes, some awful characters and performances and although there are some good things here I can’t recommend you to watch this movie. Oh, and it features one of the worst villains in last couple of year.

4.       Mother!

mother!

Mother!, the latest movie from Darren Aronofsky (Requiem for a Dream, Wrestler, Black Swan), is a really different movie, an experience that is sometimes engaging and sometimes annoying and exhausting; a movie that tests the patience of the audience. And proves that you can’t put just anything you think of in a movie and sell it as allegory.

3.       Alien: Covenant

Alien: Covenant is an uninspired, boring mess of a movie with a bad script and dumb characters that’s not much better than AvP movies. Thank god that Ridley Scott didn’t direct new Blade Runner movie :).

2.       The Mummy

the mummy 2017

The Mummy (2017) is a really bad movie which makes Brendan Fraser Mummy look like a masterpiece. It’s unoriginal, uninspired and boring CGI crap fest. It is a mishmash of a horror movie and Tom Cruise action vehicle that simply doesn’t work – it is not scary at all and action scenes are boring and unmemorable.

1.       Justice League

justice league

Justice League, latest “film” from DCEU, is an awful movie with weak story and script, paper-thin characters, unfunny jokes, awful villains, terrible visuals and boring and generic action sequences. Same shit like BvS and Suicide Squad. But audience finally recognized what DCEU is serving them and this “movie” underperformed on box office becoming one of the biggest box office disappointments of the year.

 

Most disappointing/overrated movies of the year

I wanted to mention a couple of movies that I think were the most disappointing or overrated movies of 2017. Not all movies from this list were bad but I just had bigger expectations from them or just didn’t agree with all the hype surrounding these movies.

1.       Dunkirk

Dunkirk shaken not stirred

The last movie from Christopher Nolan (Memento, TDK trilogy, Inception, Prestige, Interstellar) received excellent reviews, some of them calling it maybe the best war movie ever. And based on that and previous Nolan’s work I had really high expectations. In the end, I think it is the most disappointing and overrated movie of 2017. Don’t get me wrong, I think it is a good movie but not as good as people and critics are saying. Probably the worst movie in Nolan’s career.

2.       Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2.

I liked first Guardians very much. So with the same team returning, I had high expectations but unfortunately, Vol. 2 is not as good as the first one. It is not a bad movie, just watchable, mildly amusing and forgettable superhero movie with weak script and villains.

3.       Wonder Woman

wonder woman

This one for me is the 2nd most overrated movie of 2017. I didn’t have any expectations from this one as each previous movie from DCEU was just bad. And I think that Wonder Woman is the only decent movie from DCEU. It is an ok generic action movie with an uninteresting and weak villain and last 15 minutes was like watching some awful PS 2 animation. But calling it the best superhero or action movie of the year – I just don’t agree with this. Also, I don’t get why this movie is nominated for any awards.

4.       Alien: Covenant

This one goes into most disappointing list although I don’t know what I was expecting after Prometheus. Oh, and in my humble opinion, Ridley Scott is one of the most overrated Hollywood directors who had two good movies in the last 10 years. But still, I hoped that Scott & his team will fix what they messed up in Prometheus. Unfortunately, this wasn’t the case as Alien: Covenant, in the end, turned out to be even worse than Prometheus – an uninspired, boring mess of a movie with a bad script and dumb characters that’s not much better than AvP movies.

5.       Mother!

mother!

This one also goes into the most disappointing list – based on a trailer and director I expected much from this one although Darren Aronofsky is a hit and miss in my book. For every Requiem for a Dream or Wrestler, there is Noah or Fountain.

6.       Kingsman: Golden Circle

kingsman the golden circle

Also on the most disappointing list and similar to Guardians of the Galaxy vol 2. – I liked the 1st one pretty much and with the same team returning I had pretty big expectations from this one. I was wrong.

Best of TV Shows

I didn’t watch many new TV shows in 2017. Besides TV shows on this list, I think that Punisher was a huge disappointment with a weak script, characters, and story. Overlong, little boring and unoriginal. Although Jon Bernthal was very good as Punisher.

I started watching American Gods and stopped after the 1st episode. I didn’t like the visual style and found some performances and dialogues laughable.

Also watched the first 2 episodes of Master of None and although I thought it wasn’t bad at all I didn’t continue with this show.

The Walking Dead returned with Season 8 using the same cheap tricks as before so I also gave up after the 1st episode. Heh, now when I think of it, I watched previous two seasons on ffwd skipping to the most interesting parts.

And there were a couple of TV shows that I didn’t watch but I have some expectations from them – The Handmaiden’s Tale, Twin Peaks, The Deuce, Better Call Saul and last season of Mr. Robot, just to name few of them.

And this are in my opinion best TV shows of the year:

3.       Stranger Things – Season 2

Season 2 of Stranger Things is on the same level as Season 1 – little overrated and overlong but still pretty good and interesting TV show set in the 80’s with likable characters and solid atmosphere.

2.       Fargo – Season 3

Although this was the weakest season of Fargo, it is still one of the better and most interesting TV shows of 2017.

The 3rd season is set in Minnesota during 2010 and 2011. It follows one unusual couple, Ray Stussy (Ewan McGregor) and Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead), who, after an unsuccessful robbery, become involved in a double murder case. Man they were trying to rob is Ray’s brother Emmit (also played by McGregor), who got himself involved with a shady organization he borrowed money from two years ago, led by mysterious V.M. Varga (David Thewlis).

Well-written, shot and directed with very good characters and actors and a terrific performance from David Thewlis as the main villain of season 3.

1.       Mindhunter – Season 1

Mindhunter is a new American TV show, a crime drama created by Joe Penhall (screenplay for Cormac McCarthy’s The Road) and based on a true crime book Mind Hunter: Inside the FBI’s Elite Serial Crime Unit written by John E. Douglas and Mark Olshaker. Mindhunter is, among others, produced by David Fincher (who also directed a couple of episodes) and Charlize Theron and debuted worldwide on Netflix on October 2017.

mindhunter

It is an intelligent, interesting, engaging and tense TV show with excellent performances and strong characters and script about early days of FBI profilers.

Best performances of the year

Here I want to give you what were in my opinion best performances of the year. I decided not to split this list on best actors in movies and best actors in TV shows or by gender (best male and female actors) or by main and supporting roles. I just don’t think there were so many great performances this year to justify separation into multiple categories. Also from actors on my list, I couldn’t decide in which order to put them so here’s my list in alphabetical order.

Andy Serkis (Caesar), War for the Planet of the Apes

war-for.the-planet-of-the-apes_andy_serkis

Although I think he was little better in previous two movies than in this one, I still think that Andy Serkis was very very good and should get some award recognition for his performance as Caesar in new Planet of the Apes trilogy.

Cameron Britton (Edmund Kemper), Mindhunter

I didn’t watch Cameron Britton before so I didn’t know what to expect. Although he appeared in only 3 episodes of Mindhunter he still managed to give an excellent performance and present us with one of the best villains of the year.

David Thewlis (V.M. Varga), Fargo

One of the best things of season 3 of Fargo was Thewlis character and performance as V.M. Varga. Best villain of the year.

Frances McDormand (Mildred Hayes), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

She was excellent in Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri as Mildred Hayes and I think she should win awards for best female actor of the year.

Hugh Jackman (Logan / Wolverine), Logan

For his last outing as Wolverine, Jackman gave it all and present us with probably the best performance of his career.

James Franco (Tommy Wiseau), The Disaster Artist

I never thought I would say this as I generally dislike James Franco, but he was great as Tommy Wiseau in The Disaster Artist. Well deserved Golden Globe award for best actor in comedy/musical.

James McAvoy (Dennis / Patricia / Hedwig / The Beast / Kevin Wendell Crumb), Split

I like James McAvoy and I think he’s a pretty good actor who can play almost any type of role. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that he was great in Split where he played a man with 23 distinct personalities.

Patrick Stewart (Charles Xavier), Logan

Patrick Stewart played Charles Xavier a couple of times before and he was very good. But he was never better than in Logan.

Sam Rockwell (Dixon), Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

Sam Rockwell is in my book a very good actor. And here he gave us one of his best performances as a little slow, racist hillbilly Dixon.

Worst performances of the year

List of worst performances of the year (male and female actors):

5.       Cara Delevigne (Laureline), Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets

She was terrible in Suicide Squad and her performance in Valerian is little, but not much better. She wasn’t annoying or anything like that but she was really bland and I think she should take some acting classes in the future.

4.       Dane DeHaan (Valerian), Valerian and the City of Thousand Planets

Same what I said for his colleague in Valerian – I don’t think he was a god awful in Valerian but DeHaan’s character was supposed to be a likable, charismatic and dangerous agent (like a James Bond in space) but I don’t remember when the main hero was this bland.

3.       Ciaran Hinds (Steppenwolf), Justice League

A terrible villain in a terrible movie.

2.       Julianne Moore, Kingsman: Golden Circle

kingsman-julianne-moore

When I saw Hinds’ Steppenwolf in Justice League or Ares in Wonder Woman I thought I wouldn’t watch worse villain this year. I was wrong –  Julianne Moore’s character Poppy Adams is not only the worst villain of the year, she’s also one of the worst villains in recent history. She resembles some Austin Powers characters and I actually don’t know what they were thinking – she’s not convincing or dangerous, she doesn’t leave an impression of a super-intelligent opponent, nor she’s funny.

1.       Salma Hayek, The Hitman’s Bodyguard

hitman_bodyguard_salma

I don’t know if she was supposed to be funny or what, I found her embarrassingly bad to watch. Worts performance of 2017.

 

For the end…

And for the end of this article, I decided to give you a couple of more lists, like best action movies or movies with best special effects.

Best looking movies of 2017:

1.       Blade Runner 2049

2.       Valerian

3.       Ghost in the Shell

4.       Loving Vincent

Best special effects:

1.       Blade Runner 2049

2.       War for the Planet of the Apes

3.       Valerian

Best action movies:

1.       Logan

2.       Baby Driver

3.       John Wick 2 / Atomic Blonde

 

There you go :). Do you agree with us? What were your best and worst movies and TV shows of the year?

 

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