Sunday, January 1, 2017

My Least Anticipated Films of 2017

Bad movies happen with the best of intentions, and we should be wary of judging by appearances. However, after years of experience, it's easy to see some of the dreck coming from a long way off, and it should be called out as such. I sincerely hope that I'm wrong about the following movies in this post, and that they beat the odds and actually turn out to be decent cinema. But if past years are any indication, it's likely this will be the last time you see discussion of any of these titles on this blog.

January has become the new home of iffy horror sequels, and 2017 will start right off with "Amityville: The Awakening" and "Underworld: Blood Wars." We can also look forward to "Resident Evil: The Final Chapter" at the end of the month, which I'm guessing will only be the end of the series before it's inevitably rebooted. Now horror movies have actually been doing quite well as counterprogramming, so I'd assume that if any of these titles actually had some prospects, they'd be scheduled for July and August instead of January. Also of note are Paramount's "Rings," which is the latest sequel to "The Rings" and a "Friday the 13th" reboot. Both have been delayed multiple times, "Friday" four times and "Rings" three times. We can expect "Rings" in February and "Friday" in October, a week before "Insidious 4" and a new "Saw" movie. And there's "Annabelle 2" coming in May. Seriously.

Paramount has also already taken a massive write-down on their live-action/animated hybrid film "Monster Trucks," which has been dumped in January. It looks like it's going to be another rocky year for kids' films with "Smurfs: The Lost Village" and "The Nut Job 2" headed are our way in the spring. I don't know what to make of "the Boss Baby" and the Emoji movie, but first impressions are not good. I am also trying to stay optimistic about "Cars 3." However, if the reviews are as bad as the ones for "Cars 2," this may be the first PIXAR movie that I skip. I also want to make special mention of the curious case of "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Long Haul," which appears to be in the same continuity of the prior three films, except that the entire cast has been replaced. I understand that it's been five years since the last movie and the kid actors have grown up, but literally the entire cast has been replaced. Are they expecting kid viewers not to notice?

And of course, there's the category of ill-considered franchise sequels. "XXX: Return of Xander Cage" is premiering in January, which can't mean anything good. "Transformers: The Last Knight" will be the fifth in the series, with a sixth and a seventh film already announced. However, this is likely to be our last installment directed by Michael Bay, which means someone else might be able to put together a watchable film for this franchise at some point in the future. I also have serious, serious doubts about "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales" and "Alien: Covenant," but realistically I'm probably going to end up watching both of them just because I like so much of the talent involved.

Remakes look to be more popular this year, with all sorts of detritus of the '80s and '90s returning in movie form. I have tried and failed to maintain any sort of positive outlook on "Power Rangers" being rebooted for the big screen or the prospect of Dax Shepherd writing and directing a "CHiPs" movie. The one that I really can't seem to wrap my head around, though, is Mark Wahlberg starring in a reboot of the "Six Million Dollar Man," who thanks to inflation will be the "Six Billion Dollar Man."

Movies that I still hold out some hope for include "Pitch Perfect 3," Luc Besson's "The Lake," Zhang Yimou's "The Great Wall" monster movie, "Fast 8," "Despicable Me 3," the "Jumanji" reboot, and "Justice League." Yes, Zack Snyder has officially run out of chances with me, and as much as I've wanted a "Justice League" movie, I've reached the point where I can't expect anything from it except more of the same disappointing gloom and angst that Snyder has consistently delivered in these DC films.

Well, on to better things. I'll post my lists of my most anticipated movies of 2017 in a few weeks, after Sundance. I'll also be writing up a list of most anticipated series to be posted in a few days.


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