I cannot overemphasize how badly 2017 needed "Coco." After 2016 saw no fewer than four animated films end up on my year-end Top 10 list, this year has been one of the worst in recent memory for animation. I barely have anything nice to say about "The Boss Baby," "Despicable Me 3," "The Lego Batman Movie," or "Smurfs: The Lost Village." Critics treated "The Emoji Movie" like a sign of the apocalypse and "Leap!" was even shoddier.
What can I say about "Justice League" other than that the DC Universe is way too late to the party on this? The film is of course trying to capture the magic of "The Avengers," the unprecedented superhero team-up movie from the Marvel Comics Universe in 2012. DC has wanted to hone in on the "expanded universe" market ever since. The DC people didn't want to look like they were copying Marvel exactly, so they beat them to the punch on the "superheroes falling out" movie ("Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice") and came out with an unanswered "supervillains teaming up" movie ("Suicide Squad").
"Daddy's Home" was one of the worst movies of 2015. I took two hours out of my Christmas Day to cringe through an obnoxious feud between a doting stepdad (Will Ferrell) and an underactive biological father (Mark Wahlberg) over the love of their shared kids. Because that movie had a cushy holiday opening, it made enough money to warrant a sequel. "Daddy's Home 2" is somehow even worse, making me appreciate the few things the original did right that this one lacks. As it stands, this movie is a Madea Halloween away from being the worst movie of 2017.
It's been over two years since we've seen Thor (Chris Hemsworth), which seems like forever in Marvel Cinematic Universe time. He missed the dissolution of The Avengers in "Captain America: Civil War" and the rise of several new superheroes. We missed a lot with him as well. He broke up with his girlfriend and got himself imprisoned by a fire demon. The demon wants to bring about Ragnarok, or the destruction of Thor's home planet of Asgard, which essentially means the end of everything Thor holds dear.
I had never seen any of the "Saw" movies prior to "Jigsaw." The first seven films all came out before I was doing this column regularly, and I had no desire to pump money into a franchise that promoted unapologetic gore. That isn't to say I didn't do my research in preparation for this film. I knew that the action would be based on elaborate traps devised by John "Jigsaw" Kramer (Tobin Bell). I knew that his motivation is to make people who have disregarded human life in the past find new respect for it... if they survive.
Tyler Perry has been writing, directing, producing, and starring in movies about his Madea character for over ten years now. So how is it that this movie is so incompetently made? If this were a first-time filmmaker, I could maybe chalk the film's painfulness up to inexperience or a lack of resources. But as this is Perry's 17th directorial effort, and these movies do well enough that he can easily arrange financing, I don't feel unreasonable in saying that "Boo 2! A Madea Halloween" is simply the work of a hack.
Tree (Jessica Rothe) is having an unhappy birthday. She wakes up in the bed of a stranger named Carter (Israel Broussard). Carter's roommate says something disrespectful. She gets hassled by an environmentalist. She's being stalked by an ex. She lives in a sorority house run by a judgmental bully. She's annoyed by her own roommate (Ruby Modine) and throws the special cupcake she made into the trash. She's late for class, but she's off the hook because she's having an affair with the married professor.
If I could describe 1982's "Blade Runner" in one word, it would be "hypnotic." Director Ridley Scott crafted a world of eerie calm, one where flying cars and public shootouts were so casual that they blended in perfectly with their environment. A "blade runner" detective named Deckard (Harrison Ford) was assigned a case where he was to kill four disgruntled androids called Replicants. Surely he was in danger, and the case would go on to greatly affect his existence, but his only distress initially was over his inability to enjoy a bowl of noodles.
"American Made" is the story of a street-smart everyman who does some shady dealings and finds himself rich beyond his wildest dreams, but at the cost of his soul. He engages in fleeting fun and excitement that he finds increasingly unfulfilling. He can't enjoy the life he's built for himself because he's always on the verge of being brought down by good guys and bad guys alike. His family, who served as the reason for him to strive for that life in the first place, hates him.
When we last left Eggsy (Taron Egerton), he had completed his transformation into a Kingsman; going from aimless slacker to dashing British secret agent. He had saved the world, avenged his murdered mentor Harry (Colin Firth), and even gotten a girl, granted not his likeable fellow agent Roxy (Sophie Cookson) but the Swedish princess Tilde (Hanna Alstrom). He's still dating Tilde in "Kingsman: The Golden Circle," which is funny in and of itself considering the controversial hookup from the first film did not seem like it would lend itself to long-term happiness.