60. The Finest Hours
Boy… this movie sure existed didn’t it?
Okay okay, jokes aside, I actually really like Chris Pine as a leading man. He brings this sense of charm and fun to so many of his role that he’s effortlessly watchable and memorable for me. That said, he was badly miscast in this movie. Hey, he’s a charming outgoing, funny actor. Let’s give him a dreary, introverted role where he doesn’t smile once! Such a bad casting decision. (Unless the movie is called Hell or High Water.)
Aside from that, there’s really not much memorable about this movie. I do remember enjoying some of the action scenes and the story on the actual shipwrecked boat was fairly good, but aside from that it left very little impression on me. Not exactly something you want from your ‘Finest Hours’.
59. Don’t Breathe
Ah, this was a disappointment. I’m one of the people who actually really liked the Evil Dead reboot and this follow-up by the same director looked like it would be even better. It had a great trailer, a great premise and great reviews. But when I finally got around to watching it… I was pretty underwhelmed.
I’m not sure exactly why it didn’t click. Perhaps it was the broad unlikeable characterisation, perhaps it was the way the film attempted to keep the blind guy a genuine threat/stop the protagonists escaping way past the point where it felt believable (despite how badass Stephen Lang clearly is). Perhaps I just built my expectations up too much. Whatever the reason the film just didn’t grip me. The tense sequences didn’t feel tense, the horrifying stuff felt more squicky than horrifying and by the time we got to the stuff with the dog in the car, I was just waiting for it to end already.
It’s a shame because I know a lot of people really enjoyed this movie and I really wanted to too, but I just didn’t find it that impressive. Especially there were a lot of much more enjoyable horrors around this year.
58. Green Room
Wow, I’m just shitting over all the underrated favourites today…
Honestly though, I’m just going to say it straight. Jeremy Saulnier is a director who I just don’t get. Everyone goes out of their way to praise his recent movies, but I hated Blue Ruin and I thought this movie was just kinda eh. Perhaps it’s just Red Turtle all over again and I’m just failing to get into the atmosphere provided, but both movies come off as relentlessly dull and mumbly to me with character decisions that make little sense and popular movie tropes subverted seemingly just for the sake of it rather than because it in any way improves the film (which often it doesn’t).
That said, there are reasons I’m putting this above Blue Ruin. Mainly because Patrick Stewart is awesome in this. Also there were a few genuinely tense and affecting scenes here and there. But ultimately, the whole thing is just wrapped up in that dull, mumbly atmosphere that affects Saulnier’s films and it just does not work for me.
57. The Secret Life of Pets
There! I assume nobody cares about me shitting on this movie?
Seriously, I’m rarely one to begrudge any movie for making loads and loads of money, but why of all animation studios does Illumination have to be the one making it so big? I’ve only seen one movie of theirs that I actually liked (the original Despicable Me), yet each movie of theirs seems to be practically made of gold. I probably wouldn’t even have looked at this movie twice had it not been for its box office take because it’s just feels so… meh.
Honestly, this just feels manufactured by a machine. I know people like to throw ‘studio-formula-driven’ and ‘designed by committee’ to every blockbuster they dislike (Marvel, DC, Star Wars, etc (fyi, none of which I agree with (yes even for DC)), but that’s really what this movie feels like. Everything is bland and safe. The animation style, bland and safe. The characters, bland and safe. The storyline, bland and safe because it’s fucking Toy Story rehashed. And even the more out-there elements, like the psycho rabbit, feel out-there in a bland and safe kind of way. It feels like the very epitome of a studio project. Bland, safe and profitable. And if you enjoy it, that’s fine. Sometimes a movie like that can be just what you’re in the mood for. But really, this movie was completely unmemorable, aside from how much money it made.
Probably would’ve been better just sticking as a short film.
56. Hardcore Henry
Probably the main judge for how much you like this movie will be how long it take for you to tire of its gimmick. For me… it didn’t really take that long. A movie shot in all FPS style is a neat idea, but it kinda feels like that’s all there is to the movie. (Well, that and the unrelenting action.) And, even if the constant shakey cam doesn’t make you queasy, the action isn’t really varied or unique enough to stop the whole thing from just getting old after a while.
That said, there are two major reasons it’s ranked here rather than much lower down on the list. First of all, it really went all in with its premise and I have to genuinely respect that (plus I do kinda love mindless violence). Secondly, and most importantly, Sharlto Copley. Jesus Christ that guy’s performance. He doesn’t so much chew the scenery as much as goes fucking Hannibal on it. Every moment he’s on screen is a delight in batshit insanity. Seriously, the guy makes the fucking movie. If there’s anything worth watching this for, it’s him.
In the meantime, let’s just hope the gimmick either stays buried or gets put into the hands of a director who could actually do something interesting with it.