CINENARC Movie Awards: 2017 A Year in Review

I’m sorry. Going by Wikipedia’s list of films released in 2017 there were 263 films that we should cover. I’m no maths expert, but even between two of us writing reviews that would mean we’d have to watch and have opinions on at least 400 movies every week. There’s simple not enough hours in the day for that. So if you want a more comprehensive list of the rankings of films you can fuck off to a professional movie review source, or quit your job and form your own opinion.

I’m sorry. For being so combative. Please stay, we love that you’re even entertained by our little site.

To come up with a definitive list of the best ten films of the year would be simply impossible. I can’t even remember if I’ve said it in a previous post, but while some films are “objectively” better than others, you can’t just put them on a linear scale like that.
Is Vertigo (1958) the “best” film ever made? Probably. But will I watch National Treasure (2004) and National Treasure: Book of Secrets (2007) at least twice a year? Definitely.

So here are my awards based on subjective categories. And I will include the films that I’ve seen released this year that I would put in the same category. There is no overlap, like those hacks at the Oscar Academy Awards. So Get Out isn’t in best drama, and best horror, and best comedy, and best independent. Pick a lane and stick to it.
The final award of the main section will be Film of the Year. The nominees for this category might be seen in other sections, but other than that they will only have one listing.
I am yet to see 190 other films released this year. But trust the fuck out of me, I will get round to them all. And if any of them were grossly overlooked you will find mention of them in future articles.

Best British Film

100 Streets

I’m not a massive fan of British films for this very reason.
We as a nation don’t have the kind of budget or imagination to go really off the books with film ideas. It’s a standard “isn’t it weird that all these people’s lives could intersect” story.
When I was 15 one of my best friends, Wacz, pitched me the idea of a film called “The Lighter” which was going to be about following the different people who stole the same lighter and the shenanigans that they get up to, until eventually that lighter ended up back at the original owner, and we would finish of that story. That was before Lock, Stock, and Two Smoking Barrels (1998) came out.
Wacz went on to become a crack-head and I stole his girlfriend.

So the idea might be a good one, but as he and I proved by our actions, good ideas aren’t necessarily original ones.
100 Streets though is an enjoyable British story of how a Rugby player might lose his mind through drug addiction and a want to keep hold of his family, while some local gangsters might beat up an old man who was mentoring a drama student.
Every film you’ve ever watched makes you think about each characters back-story, and what brought them to this point. If the action that brings them all together is entertaining enough, then you’re happy to live without that back-story. Telling a story or all the back-stories just mean that the meeting point you’ve written isn’t particularly compelling.

But well done 100 Streets, for being the British film I watched this year. I didn’t hate our time together.

Best British Film Winner:
100 Streets


Best Diminishing Returns

Alien: CovenantAnnabelle: CreationPirates of the Caribbean: Salazar’s RevengeResident Evil: Final ChapterRingsT2 TrainspottingTransformers: Last KnightUnderworld: Blood WarsWar for the Planet of the Apes

Not only is it not a secret that I disliked Alien: Covenant, I have been extremely vocal about it. I saw it before I started writing for this site and I posted at least three times on my own Facebook feed about what a godless hole of cack it was. In fact, it was probably that relentless verbal climbing up a ladder and taking an altitudinous shit on the film that got me recommended for joining the site.
I am a self-confessed movie buff, but recently lost a general knowledge quiz at work because one of the questions was to name the subtitle of Pirates of the Caribbean 3. Gun to my head, I still couldn’t tell you what it was. They all meld in to the same pot of inanity.
This very week I was talking with a co-worker about the Resident Evil franchise, and it took us a good 20 minutes to work out which film was which.
And I believe that the Underworld series is the same film rereleased every couple of years with two minutes removed each time.
All three of these franchises are the same as ketamine thoughts. They exist in a moment, but as soon as you look away from them they slip down a wormhole.
The Trainspotting sequel wilfully ignored what was good about the original.
Transformers has finally returned to the joke that the first movie was.
Annabelle: Creation was ok. It rounded off the story with a decent origin story.
And I weep for the Planet of the Apes. Rise of was so fucking amazing at setting up the storyline that it was impossible to see how they could fuck it up. But they went full Matrix on parts 2 and 3, focusing on the wrong parts. Alas, poor Ceasar, you deserved so much more.

So it’s baffling that of all the shitty franchises I’ve seen this year, The Ring really opened up some new avenues. Are we going to see this in the Film of the Year category? Absolutely not. But at least they went in a really interesting direction with it. Introduced some new layers, and still fucked you on the back-end.

Best Diminishing Returns Winner:


Best Documentary/Based on True Events

All Eyez on MeDetroitDunkirkI Am Not Your Negro

Tupacs life-story was basically universally panned, which I don’t fully understand. I guess maybe they portrayed his life too honestly and it didn’t fit in to the classic Hollywood structure as much as most would like. Or maybe because he was an angry black underdog he wasn’t deemed likable enough. The film itself was not terrible. It suffered from poor reviews before opening night, so didn’t get quite the same traction as Notorious (2009) or Get Rich or Die Tryin’ (2005) received. I’d recommend watching it still, it’s just not ground-breaking.

Dunkirk has a gimmick. Which is fine, but it feels like that gimmick takes precedence. It’s very clever, and interesting to show three different storylines over different periods of time, but a time of such significance shouldn’t be reduced to a Nolan film that is shorter the tale of a man who can’t remember things clearly. I’m sure it hit a lot of the marks it was aiming for, but was more of an exercise in film-making than of being honest.

Detroit. Wow. I’ve previously written a whole review of this film. It is simply brilliant. Just thinking about it after all these months makes my spine shiver. Watch this film, if only once. Feel ashamed. No, the guilt isn’t yours. That wasn’t you. But we all need to feel that shame. This should win this category.

A documentary on the life of James Baldwin, a writer and activist living through the civil rights movement, is what we should have been shown in school to understand all aspects of segregation. Powerful, and eye-opening. Its everything that you kind of knew, but put in to a context that you can’t ignore it. Us Brits aren’t immune to it just because these events happened in the US. We had our own version going on. But the fight started here. Please watch this documentary.

Best Documentary/Based on True Events Winner:
I Am Not Your Negro


Best Independent/Small Budget

Brigsby BearFree FireTable 19The Little Hours

The Little Hours is a semi-improvised nun comedy. The improvisation is largely unstructured and the editor clearly couldn’t weave it all together to make it work like so many other improvised comedies.
Free Fire almost made it in to the over-hype category because I heard so many good things about it before I saw it. But turns out it’s just Reservoir Dogs (1992), replacing the intriguing dialogue with redundant action conundrums.
Table 19, despite being a Duplass brothers script, is actually a really entertaining against-the-grain wedding story of the jilted lover. It plays with archetypes in a really enjoyable way.
Brigsby Bear brings some great comedic talents together to explore a light side of life after years of being held captive. Kyle Mooney has been a favourite of mine since he was on the short-lived Norm MacDonald sport program. He had a small part in the TV version of my favourite podcast “Comedy Bang Bang” where his repeated line was to call women an “old hatchet face”. He’s since been an Saturday Night Live (1975-) alum for a few years, and he’s exactly the right person to play this awkward released-to-society naïve young man. It’s both heart-warming, and slightly tragic.

Best Independent/Small Budget Winner:
Brigsby Bear and Table 19

(I’ve got to split it as they’re both really lovely and entertaining)


Best Drama

GiftedThe Big SickThe CircleWar Machine

Gifted feels like so many other cutesy dramas you’ve seen. Smart little girl, an incapable guardian, overbearing third parties, the well-meaning mentor/love-interest. But it pulls all the elements together just right that you can’t help but love it.

War Machine seems too close to the life of an army general to be interesting.
The Big Sick was publicised on almost every podcast I listen to because Kumail Nanjiani is a friend of every comedy host. It’s a nice story about how he met his actual wife, but again it feels like they used too much of the real story, foregoing a lot of comedy that they could have put in. It’s still pretty funny, but only as funny as a Judd Apatow can be.
The Circle is a fantastic idea of corporations are manipulating our enjoyment of using social media to their advantage. But in the age of Black Mirror (2011-) we don’t need these warnings fed into our blind acceptance so blandly.

Best Drama Winner:


The “New York Minute” Award (for the biggest piece of shit I’ve seen this year)

KidnapRough NightSnatchedThe Boss BabyThe Space Between Us

These were all really shit movies with barely any redeemable qualities. But only one made me so frustrated that I had to get out of bed from a 70cl JD hangover.

The “New York Minute” Winner:

(Every single decision made in this film was against basic human instinct. She had the chance to use a car as a weapon, instead she reversed away from a man with a knife. Her kid deserved to die because she was an awful parent. Take back her Oscar, she doesn’t deserve it)


Best Fun Nonsense

47 Meters DownFate of the FuriousFist FightJohn Wick: Chapter 2King Arthur: Legend of the SwordKong: Skull IslandValerian and the City of a Thousand PlanetsxXx: Return of Xander CageThe Great WallThe Hitman’s BodyguardThe HouseThe Mummy

A lot to pull apart here.

47 Metres Down is so full of implausibilities that I can’t remember if the final twist really happened, or if there was another one after that. So dumb. But not terrible.
Fate of the Furious/Fast & Furious 8 was one of my few double cinema-gos this year. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, its perfect brain stimulation for those that don’t like going to clubs, but still like loud noises and flashing. The Rock wrestles a missile. This would be a strong contender for funniest film of the year.
Fist Fight is a farcical bit of fun that I’ll probably watch again over the Christmas break. Probably with a hangover.
John Wick doesn’t quite belong in the diminishing returns list because the third film has the chance to bring the franchise back to decent. But this outing seriously lacked something important that the first one had, emotional motivation. Emotivation, if you will.
I hate Charlie Hunnam as much as the next man, and I’ve always been confused about Guy Ritchie’s path. But King Arthur was a really well put together action film. Decent plot. Great set pieces. I wasn’t expecting to like it at all, let alone like it as much as I do.
I’ve done full reviews on Kong and Valerian, so you could easily find out how much I loved the former, and appreciated the latter.
xXx is pure nonsense. Watch it, then listen to the episode of “How did this get made?” about it. You won’t be disappointed.
The Great Wall was a bit shit. Will the world ever have a great dragon movie? Seems unlikely, which is mental considering how cool they are.
The Hitman’s Bodyguard won’t be getting a third viewing for a few years, but it’s pleasantly exactly what you expect from Reynolds and Jackson.
I didn’t realise The House was shit until everyone told me it was a couple of months after I saw it. I just thought it was a standard Will Ferrell movie.
The Mummy was a let-down for what it could have been. Just ignore what it could have been, and enjoy it for my boy TC.

Kong: Skull Island

(Read my full review of it)


Best Comic Book Movie

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2Justice LeagueLoganSpider-Man: HomecomingThor: RagnorakWonder Woman

I will always review the Marvel and DC films, because, fuck it, they’re fun. I enjoyed all of them this year, except Guardians. Read my reviews for more insights, but…

Best Comic Book Winner:
Spider-Man: Homecoming


Best Remake or Sequel

BaywatchCHiPsGhost in the ShellItKingsman: Golden CirclePower RangersBlade Runner 2049The LEGO Batman Movie

There were no real winners here.
Don’t bother with Baywatch, Ghost in the Shell, Kingsman.
Blade Runner was fine if you like having your head stuck in a tuba.
Power Rangers could almost have been something but they fucked up the pacing.
I liked CHiPs because I’m a fan of Dax Shepherd (Idiocracy (2006) is one of the funniest films of all time), but I certainly wouldn’t recommend anyone else to watch it.
I’ve already done a full review of It. Decent enough 80’s nostalgia. Which is so hot right now.

Best Remake or Sequel Winner:
The LEGO Batman Movie

(I really didn’t want to jump on the bandwagon. But it’s one of those rare occasions when everyone was right)


Most Overhyped

AftermathAtomic BlondeBaby DriverThe Dark TowerFree FireLogan LuckySplitLifeLife

I stopped reading Empire Magazine a few years back, once I realised they’re whole reason to exist is to hype up films that more often than not turn out to be shit. Some of these could have been alright, if they hadn’t had so much hype.

It’s just a shame when Arnie does drama. Stay in your lane, brah. Aftermath was interesting and depressing, but not particularly good.
Charlize Theron is simply not the next Jason Bourne.
Edgar Wright spent an awful lot of the studios money, just so he could make a playlist that will convince his kids he’s cool. (I don’t know if he has kids. But Kevin Spacey is a sex predator.)
Someone cut out the end of the second act and the middle of the third act with The Dark Tower.
Free Fire is Reservoir Dogs with guns instead of plot.
Logan Lucky is a heist movie without the fun.
Shyamalan clearly didn’t get the message about not vilifying mental health. Split would have been great 15 years ago.
Life might be a prequel to the upcoming Venom (2018). Which is dumb, cos that puts Ryan Reynolds playing two different characters in the extended Marvel Universe.

Most Overhyped Winner:
The Dark Tower

(It’s the one I was most looking forward to, so therefore let down by the most)


Best Surprise

A Cure for WellnessBrawl in Cell Block 99Going in StyleWar on Everyone

I put off watching A cure for Wellness for months because I thought it was going to be like a British film where pensioners go skinny dipping. Instead it’s a creepy Shutter Island (2010) style why-done-it.
There is a full review of Brawl in Cell Block 99 from a few weeks back. It’s brutal, and unconventional. Shocking, and brilliant.
Going in Style. I know, right?! But actually really good fun. It’s time to break Zach Braff out of director jail. Arkin, Freeman, and Caine have some great comedic chops between them.
From the same writer as The Guard (2011), and Calvary (2014), War on Everyone had me laughing the whole way through. An unexpected comedy gem will always score highly with me, as so often it goes the other way.

Best Surprise Winner:
War on Everyone

(This was a tough decision, because Brawl is soo good, but it’ll end up being one of those divisive films. Whereas War on Everyone could be for everyone. If you’ve got the time, watch them both)


Most Entertaining Film of the Year

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword • The Bye Bye Man • Fate of the Furious • Kong: Skull Island • Spider-Man: Homecoming • Brawl in Cell Block 99

The Bye Bye Man is the only one I haven’t mentioned so far because it didn’t seem to fit in any other category. But as horrors go, it was good fun. Intriguing cold open, unique premise that will make your brain itch thinking about how you’d solve it, and a classic going-against-the-grain, (or is it?) ending.

Most Entertaining Winner:
Kong: Skull Island

(What can I say?! I loved this film so much. I want everyone to see it)


Film of the Year

A Cure for WellnessAmerican AssassinDetroitGet OutLoganWind River

We all love an espionage recruiting and training movie. This turns that trope on it’s head somewhat while still sticking to some much-loved tropes. Well-choreographed fight scenes, realistic motivations, and an entertaining ticking bomb.
You don’t need me telling you about Get Out. So this next sentence is absolutely pointless. Eye-opening and thought-provoking look at the very real world of well-meaning or casual racists. Is it a comedy? A horror? A drama? Not even Jordan Peele or The Academy knows. But everyone agrees it’s superb.
Logan was the perfect end to the shaky run of Wolverine films. More heart-wrenching drama than comicbook sci-fi.
Wind River is the third film wrapping up the American Frontier trilogy from Writer/Director Taylor Sheridan. A snow-country whodunit, with Jeremy Renner playing the cool, cold hunter dishing out wilderness justice.

Best Film Winner:
Get Out


I feel really bad for Detroit coming so close twice and just missing out on the top prize. But I am a Detroit Lions fan, so I should be used to that feeling. Detroit is an amazing film, a truly flawless exercise in uncomfortableness. Please watch it.

But there can be no doubt that Get Out was the most original and thought-provoking film released this year. There are talks of Jordan Peele working on a new version of The Twilight Zone. This film was essentially the best episode of The Twilight Zone ever made.
If you haven’t seen it, enjoy playing a game of which well-meaning racist do you recognise from your family?


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