I don’t tend to write too many blogposts which aren’t reviews of individuals titles or releases, but as we wave goodbye to 2017 I have been looking back over my movie diary for the year (yes, I keep a movie diary – don’t mock me!) and have been inspired to do a string of ‘year in review’ posts. My Top 10 Films of 2017 will be published on the 60 Minutes With website in the coming days, but I have a few companion ‘sister blogs’ to compliment this main piece, which I will publish here on The CR@Bpendium.
First up, as the title of this post reveals, is a rundown of my TOP 5 SURPRISE FILMS of 2017 – the films which may not have necessarily been the most awe-inspiring or flawless masterpieces, but they bowled me over nonetheless. This could have been because I had little to no prior knowledge of them, or I expected a flop and was pleased to be proved wrong. Prepare to be surprised!
5. WISH UPON
By no means a classic (and were it not for the cast I predict it may have struggled to get a cinema release), this little-seen and perhaps far-too-predictable supernatural horror is as replete with lazy stereotypes as it is retro 80s/90s charm. The deaths become more grotesque as the plot ticks off all the conventions, but there is macabre fun to be had seeing Ryan Phillipe, Sherilyn Fenn and Barb from Stranger Things tackle the grisly side-effects of a cursed Chinese wish box.
Read my full Wish Upon Cinema Review HERE.
4. MY COUSIN RACHEL
An adaptation of an antiquated Daphne du Maurier romance novel I am ashamed to confess I had previously not heard of, my expectations were low going into the cinema but I quickly became enraptured in Roger Michell’s gothic-strained period piece. As mysterious and frustrating as it is beguiling, My Cousin Rachel tied me up in knots as paranoia clouded character’s judgements and motives, climaxing in a shocking finale which left some questions juicily unanswered.
Read my full My Cousin Rachel Cinema Review HERE.
3. THE EMOJI MOVIE
Quite possibly the most hated-on film of the year, perhaps it was gutter-low expectations which meant that I finished The Emoji Movie surprised by how much I didn’t despise it. I can only presume that people were SO outraged that cartoon symbols on their phone were being made into a CG-animated feature film – with Sir Patrick Stewart infamously voicing “Poop” – that they wrote it off before they even saw it (let’s call it the 50 Shades of Grey effect).
Yeah, sure, there are some shameless commercial nods (YouTube, Twitter and Just Dance to name but three), but the way the narrative interweaves these popular phone apps into the journey of the plot and the growth of the characters impressed me by being both witty and creative. This really wasn’t as vacuous as people presumed.
2. PATTI CAKE$
Overcoming life’s lows with a beat in her heart and a rap on her lips, writer/director/musician Geremy Jasper’s “raps-to-riches” story of the titular wannabe fame monster (Danielle Macdonald) as she fights the good fight in a quest to achieve her dream blew me away at the cinema, mixing charm and grime in a potent concoction. I left the cinema raving about Patti Cake$ and humming the film’s catchiest compositions, although I must confess it hasn’t stayed with me like some other films from last year has, and its absence from the majority of top ten lists implies its impact may have been fleeting.
Read my full Patti Cake$ Cinema Review HERE.
Tender, touching, funny, thoughtful and frustrating, Marc Webb’s low key return to form wonderfully and effortlessly encompassed a kaleidoscope of emotions. The entire cast – including an adorable (surrogate) father-daughter duo in Chris Evans and Grace McKenna – were on tremendous form, bringing sincerity and amiability to this powerful drama, resulting in many tear-inducing and air-punching stand-out moments.
Read my full Gifted Cinema Review HERE.
A Cure for Wellness (wickedly atmospheric gothic horror, if staggeringly overlong); SiREN (a deliciously dark creature feature which deserved a bigger release); Table 19 (a relatable set-up and likeable characters only marginally marred by a predictable end); The Dark Tower (nowhere near the disaster critics proclaimed it, although I have never read the books); Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (a belated sequel which honoured and expanded upon the beloved original).