It’s already become a cliche: the extent to which 2016 has notoriously not been a good year for humanity.
That said, it’s been at least a decent year for film – minus the deaths of various beloved cinema icons (UPDATE: since my writing this, Carrie Fisher has sadly passed away).
In fact, having chosen, as always, to focus on seeing films I thought I might actually enjoy, I’ve struggled to come up with a bottom 10 list. Even some more of the risky propositions – like The Neon Demon, whose director’s previous most recent effort I described as “an unforgivable load of tosh” – seem to have paid off.
Admittedly, it’s been something of a disappointing year for blockbusters – at least two of the films below qualify – though art-house, too, has had its failures.
Here, in order of worsening quality, are the 10 films that I think represent the nadir of cinema from 2016.
10) Jack Reacher: Never Go Back
“While working with roughly the same budget as its predecessor — $60 million dollars — the film feels like a case of diminished returns… Never Go Back strips away the frills and most of the thrills for close-quarters action and predictable character beats that feel, at best, perfunctory; at worst, like a contractual obligation.” FULL REVIEW
9) The Greasy Strangler
“A deliberately bizarre and transgressive horror-comedy conceived of purely as more or less a ‘Fuck you’ to Hollywood… its unvarnished aspirations towards cultdom [are] simply wearing.” FULL REVIEW
8) Dog Eat Dog
“If the generally indifferent Dying of the Light is what you get when Schrader is forced to compromise on his vision then it would seem a worthwhile trade-off. Sure, you have to eat humble pie, but it prevents a dog’s dinner like this.” FULL REVIEW
7) Suicide Squad
“Veering from try-hard, neon-hued anarchy to ambivalent, psychologically-dubious anti-heroism… Suicide Squad is not good; in fact, it’s pretty bad. It is, however, a step up from Batman V Superman, in a way that Limbo is a step up from Lust in Dante’s nine circles of hell.” FULL REVIEW
6) Yakuza Apocalypse
“It was about the scene that the kappa handed frog-man a baseball bat so he could beat to death a knitting circle of former Yakuza bosses to prevent him from psychically eye-f**king their friend ruff-man to death that I pretty much gave up.” FULL REVIEW
5) Voyage of Time: Life’s Journey
“For the second time in six months, I find myself leaving a Terrence Malick film wondering where the Emperor’s clothes have got to. Ostensibly a documentary decades in the making, Voyage of Time finds Malick, as with Knight of Cups, grasping unintelligibly at the infinite.” FULL REVIEW
4) Batman V Superman: Dawn of Justice
“A flaming bag of shit left on the doorstep of cinema.” FULL REVIEW
3) The Angry Birds Movie
“A paper-thin, family oriented animation about a dysfunctional bunch of multi-colored, flightless birds… who spend 97 tedious minutes working their way towards recreating the central mechanic of a mobile phone game from half a decade ago… a rEGRETful waste of time.” FULL REVIEW
2) Independence Day: Resurgence
“… a regurgitated mess of sci-fi epic… thin, warmed-over gruel that even the prospect of an intergalactic sequel can do little to infuse with any flavor.” FULL REVIEW
1) Knight of Cups
“Knight Of Cups is a film you could drown – a vast thematic ocean lapping against the distant shores of some grand, obscure vision. And I don’t have any fucking swimming trunks.” FULL REVIEW