Another year, another lineup of great movies and some equally crappy ones. I found myself underwhelmed with many of my most anticipated films this year and devastated beyond comprehension over ones that I knew would be bad, but not as bad as they truly turned out to be. Before we review the good stuff, let's have a glance over the worst that cinema had to offer this year.
...of course there's probably a lot worse overall than what follows, but I'm not gonna waste my time seeing laughable nonsense like Norm of the North, so bear (haha) that in mind...
One of the biggest box office flops of the year, The BFG grossed little over $178 million on a colossal $140 million budget, despite being an adaptation of a fairly popular kids story and being directed by filmmaking legend Steven Spielberg. Perhaps a crowded summer schedule and dwindling interest in said popular tale contributed to such a failure, but I have to say despite generally positive feedback from critics, it doesn't quite offer the same fun, heartwarming experience of the animated original - mainly due to it's bloated run time, lack of depth to it's characters, and extremely abrupt ending. I found myself literally almost falling asleep during certain scenes out of pure boredom and losing interest in the plot the more it went on, begging for it to stop stalling and just wrap up. While not offensively terrible in any way, and certainly admirable when it comes to it's CGI effects and Mark Rylance's decent performance in the leading role, the main issue is that it's just so overlong and sluggish that watching it feels like a true challenge at times.
#4 - Suicide Squad
An interesting superhero flick from DC that features their most popular villains in the starring roles, Suicide Squad was one of my most anticipated films of the year, despite me not being a very big fan of DC overall. This wasn't just down to an interesting concept but also some great looking performances from a talented cast and amazing aesthetics. Sadly, the end result, as I've said several times before, was nothing short of a letdown. Suicide Squad is a poorly directed mess for the most part, thanks to a general inability to focus on any key characters from it's ensemble lineup and balance their impact within the overall narrative - as a result, the story jumps between them at sporadic moments, leaves some completely unattended to and thus forgotten in many scenes, and the less said about Jared Leto's performance as the Joker the better. Whilst he looked pretty cool in the various trailers and marketing material, he simply finds himself shoved to one side with no real purpose aside from showing up occasionally to act crazy - with fairly irritating results. Despite some great box office earnings, the film ends up being a mediocre disappointment at very best.
#3 - Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice
Man of Steel was released to generally solid feedback from fans and some promising albeit frontloaded box office takings, meaning a sequel was always bound to happen - not only that, but the film marked the debut of DC's shared comicbook movie universe, similar to the evergrowing MCU. This anticipated sequel marks the first time Superman and Batman have appeared together in their own movie, and despite some good looking trailers among other things, the eventual release didn't fulfill expectations - thanks to poor reviews from critics and fans and fairly mediocre box office results considering it's enormous debut, with it's opening weekend in the US accounting for literally 50% of it's entire domestic gross.
I've waffled on about this movie so many times, both in my review and my retrospect of this year's most anticipated movies, so I can only really regurgitate the same points - it's bloated, boring, overwhelmed with too many daft plot threads and strange contrivances, and clearly rushed from start to finish in every respect outside of production design. It's got some superb special effects, and I was quite fond of Ben Affleck's performance as Batman considering the poor material to work with, but this can't make up for the ludicrously bad plot and the fact that Cavill's performance as Superman is much weaker than in Man of Steel - this only covers a fraction of the film's flaws. The DC universe is poised to fail if these movies continue being pumped out without proper effort put into them.
#2 - The Neon Demon
Yawn...wait, what the hell? Omg wtf. Ugh god. Ugh...boring...wait, jesus. That's messed up.
Sums up my thoughts during this movie. As boring as it is weird, The Neon Demon is a film that's not for the faint of heart - featuring some sporadic violence, bizarre sexual content, and a rather disturbing final act. This intensity, however, fails to truly grab audience attention in a positive manner, instead just making us wish we were watching something that wasn't endlessly trying to freak us out without crafting it's strange obsessions into a decent overall narrative. Whilst Elle Fanning gives a solid albeit occasionally bland performance in the lead role, and Jena Malone particularly shines as deuteragonist Ruby at times, it's not enough to redeem the messy storyline which, again, is more keen on displaying unsettling content rather than conveying any emotional impact or interesting ideas. What we're left with is a film that's hard to truly discuss in depth without spoiling - but rest assured, I found myself only prevented from dozing off due to the unwanted intensity of it's freaky moments; thus I then felt nothing but a strong desire to forget what I just saw and never bother with it again.
#1 - Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows
Not just the worst film of 2016 but easily one of the worst films I've ever seen, this sequel to 2014's fairly shitty Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles is nothing more than a passionless cash grab that lacks a human touch and genuine interest when it comes to direction and writing. The story is not only formulaic but ravaged with plot holes and insulting oversights which further prove that this was all pieced together brainlessly so that it could be rushed into cinemas as soon as possible. It's obsessed with rude gags that are painfully unfunny, many of which stem from the idiotic villains who, despite their great reputation in the original franchise, are rendered as naught but complete imbeciles - it's evident the creators had even less appreciation for the source material this time round and the final result is a film that's offensive, boring, and incredibly painful to watch for both passionate fans of the series and general audiences who know little about it.
And with a weak $245 million in worldwide earnings on a $135 million budget, this is another fine example of why pumping out sequels as soon as you can is seldom a good idea.
Thanks for reading!