From Beauty and the Beast to Trainspotting 2: Is 2017 any good?

T2 TrainspottingI’ve written before on CURNBLOG about why movies released at the beginning of the calendar year are generally wretched. I’d include a link here, but you all can get off your asses (figuratively; actually you only have to type a few words into a Google search) and find it for yourselves.

Sorry, I’m just in a pissy mood. That’s what comes from having to watch a bunch of mediocre celluloid. So, even though I have been catching up on the good stuff I overlooked in 2016 (Tower was awesome and I have The Love Witch on deck) and have been educating myself on classic Bollywood (Ittefaq is riotous, insane melodramatic gold), this is what I have had to put up with in the past couple of weeks.

Don’t worry – it’s eight movies, but I’m limiting myself to 200 words total. No reason we should all have to suffer.

T2: Trainspotting

The youthful vitality is gone, but these guys are still compelling enough to watch through sad middle-aged decay. The best new movie I have seen in March.

Beauty and the Beast

Watson, Stevens, Evans, Gad – all very good. McEwan, McKellan, McDonald, Thompson – great voice work. Can’t miss story with can’t miss songs. And yet … why did they bother? Just watch the superior animated version.

Dig Two Graves

Would rate well as a film school thesis. Lots of talent apparent. Zero control over story or tone.

Personal Shopper

Rises or falls depending on your interest in Stewart’s mysterious weirdness. She’s really good at that, but it still didn’t work for me. Sils Maria is far better.

Carrie Pilby

On one side, you have the exquisite Bel Powley. On the other, a talky, rather clichéd screenplay with supporting characters that too often behave like supporting characters, and not like people.


By the end, I was rooting for the alien. Rooting hard.

The Sense of an Ending

Julian Barnes’ novel had problems. Despite the presence of Jim Broadbent, the movie did not solve those problems.


I forgot I saw it within an hour of leaving the theater.

It’s a grim lot, I know. And I didn’t even get up the energy to check out CHIPS or whatever the new Power Rangers thing is being called.

Thank you for allowing me to vent. At least it resulted in a very short blog. And I’m sure The Boss Baby will make it all better.

One can dream.

Jonathan Eig has taught Screenwriting and Film History at Montgomery College (MD) for the past ten years. In that capacity, he has hosted the popular Montgomery College Film Series at the American Film Institute in Silver Spring, MD. He has been a regular contributor on Huffington Post and his writing about film can be found at

8 thoughts on “From Beauty and the Beast to Trainspotting 2: Is 2017 any good?

    • T2 is worth it. From earlier in the year, I kind of like Cure for Wellness, though it ended badly, and The Founder. Amongst the more mainstream movies, Lego Batman is hilarious and John Wick is a crowd pleasing sequel. And Get Out was excellent. But March was not promising. Maybe April will be better.

  1. I can only agree, Jon. I was just saying the other day that this looks like a dull year so far, with little to look forward to.Since Christmas, I have noted few films that I even want to bother with. One of those is ‘Free Fire’, the new Ben Wheatley film. I have enjoyed his other work, so I am keen to se it.
    Otherwise, I await the usual round of super-heroes and comic-book franchises with my usual dread.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    • We are in the doldrums, Pete. Oddly, the most interesting movies I have seen this year have tended to be satiric or comic violent movies, like Get Out, The Belko Experiment, and War on Everyone. They may not all be great, but they are at least entertaining and have more genuinely compelling human characters than the more prestigious movies which seem to have a surprising number of characters who are merely plot contrivances. (I’m looking at you Skull Island.)

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