2017 can only be better

Tinashe Kusema The Big & Small Screen —
THAT 2016 was a bad year for cinema is not debatable, it was horrible, and please do not let the fact that we are just eight days into 2017 take anything away from my assertion.

One of the biggest stories to come out from the just ended year was the whole #Oscarssowhite debacle. The fact that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) has since taken steps to rectify the many racial anomalies from last year’s campaign plays more into the hands of 2017 rather than the year gone by.

This year’s edition will be held on February 27 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood and quite frankly I could not care less. The mystic and gloss of the event has pretty much evaporated for me and many others. I will keep my ear to the ground and update you on whatever is happening with the event, but at this juncture this will be mostly academic work than anything else.

What I would rather do is just give you, dear readers, some of my picks, both film and television, from the year gone by and most importantly what we can all look forward to this year.

As we have since established — Marvel will continue to play a big part in my thoughts and feelings and this will manifest through this column.

The reason is that I sense something big for the future of the esteemed studio and when they have finally etched their names in movie history I would like to be remembered as someone who not only saw it coming but recorded it for future generations.

“Captain America-Civil War” was arguably the best movie of 2016. Disney had a good year in 2016, with three of the films topping the list of highest grossing movies.

“Captain America-Civil War”, the Disney/Marvel collaborative effort, was the highest earner with $US1 153 304 495.

“Dory”, “Zootopia” and “The Jungle Book” came second, third and fourth respectively and all finished just over the one billion dollar mark. That’s pretty much it for 2016.

With the exception of maybe “Dory”, I think I made my admiration of the aforementioned films clear during the course of the year.

This year promises to be a bigger year, not only for cinema but for the television too. In 2017 Cinema is all about sequels, remakes and a couple of original films. Among some of the most highly anticipated sequels or in some cases prequels, are films like “XXX-The Return of Zander Cage”, “Resident Evil-Final Chapter”, “John Wick: Chapter 2”, “Wolverine 3-Weapon X”, “Fast 8” and much awaited “Guardians of the Galaxy Volume 2”.

Now, out of fear of giving out way too much information I am going to stop there, for a minute, in action genre and waffle a bit. I have seen all the trailers of the aforementioned films and have to say I am a bit disappointed by the story-lines of some these movies.

“XXX-The Return of Zander Cage” looks impressive. The stunt work and fight scenes, which the franchise is solely based on, looks very attractive. Vin Diesel is back and that can only be good thing.

Add the martial arts expertise of both Donnie Yeng, whom I believe will be the main villain, and Tony Jaa and you have the best Asia has to offer at the moment. My only problem is how they plan to explain Cage’s supposed resurrection; after all they did say he died when Ice Cube came on board in XXX2 (2005).

I know to some it might sound like I am nitpicking, but I like my story-lines to be tied up in a nice little bow. The only thing I can say about “Resident Evil-Final Chapter”, is that thank God it is the final instalment in the dreary franchise.

In all honesty, this lousy franchise should have died a still birth right round about the second or third instalment. The jury is still out on “Fast 8” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2”.

As far as “Fast 8” is concerned; my fear is that the film has lost a lot of its steam due to the death of Paul Walker. The previous instalment handled the actor’s death like a pro and most of its commercial success was largely due to the sentimental aspect of the actor’s death.

Just look at the success of trademark song “See You Again” by Wiz Khalifa feat Charlie Puth. The internet is full of clips of the film’s main cast singing that song in his tribute. However, the time for moaning is done and most of us have moved on.

It has not helped that the filmmakers appeared to have turned down the idea of Helen Mirren coming on board as Mama Shaw and exerting revenge for the incarceration of her son (Deckard) and death of another (Owen). That said, I am looking forward to the return of Lucas Black (Fast and Furious-Tokyo Drift), seeing Charlize Theron as a baddie and the fight between Dwayne Johnson or Jason Statham and Game of Thrones’ Kristofer Hivju.

For those not in the know, he is the Wildling Tormund Giantsbane. Guardians of the Galaxy remains a wildcard, for I am yet to fully understand why the first one was so successful.

Personally I have watched it a thousand times, will probably watch it a couple more times and enjoy it. I just do not understand why that is.

As far as television is concerned, well, there is “Designated Survivor”, “Game of Thrones” and Marvel’s trio of “The Defenders”, “Iron Fist” and “The Punisher” to look forward to.

Kiefer Sutherland’s “Designated Survivor”, was arguably the break-out show of 2016. Sutherland brings the charisma, acting of chops and brilliance of his Jack Bauer persona from “24” to his role of Tom Kirkman, a US Secretary thrust into the presidency when the entire cabinet and president’s office is killed in a terror attack.

The first season ended on a high and will be back in March. The  finale left us with way too many questions and I sincerely urged those yet to watch it to catch up and do it fast. After the success of “Daredevil”, “Jessica Jones” and “Luke Cage”, which all paint a darker and most sinister version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe; a lot is expected of this year’s three releases.

“Iron Fist” is the last piece of The Defenders’ origin story and given that Matt Murdock’s Daredevil, Jones and Cage have all been such huge hits, the sky is the limit for “Iron Fist” and the ensemble’s introductions.

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