If anyone tries to tell you that there haven’t been any good movies released in the first half of 2017, we can point you to 21 films that prove otherwise. But we’ll concede notable duds and dross have fouled theaters (and Netflix) over the past six months. Watch our video focused on the five worst above, and read on for the reasons why these movies — and five more — left us shaken, not stirred.
10. The Circle
What if you made a cyber thriller without any actual thrills? You’d end up with The Circle, an anemic adaptation of Dave Eggers’s 2013 novel that squanders the charisma of stars Emma Watson and Tom Hanks. All in all, it’s a less-than-spectacular effort from The Spectacular Now writer/director James Ponsoldt. —Ethan Alter
9. Power Rangers
“Hey, let’s make a Man of Steel version of Mighty Morphin’ Power Rangers — that’s a great idea!” Said no one, ever. This faux-gritty update of the never-ending TV and toy franchise is exactly like the products made by the film’s chief sponsor, Krispy Kreme: full of empty calories that leave you overstimulated and undernourished. —E.A.
8. Ghost in the Shell
Even if the live-action version of Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 anime classic hadn’t already alienated fans by casting Scarlett Johansson as the previously Japanese cyborg-heroine, dimly lit action sequences and somnambulant storytelling make this film a shell of its source material. Memo to Hollywood: it’s OK to leave Akira alone. —E.A
7. Sandy Wexler
Adam Sandler continues to explore his own unique Netflix genre — the laugh-free comedy — with this meandering ’90s nostalgia piece about a wacky, old-school talent agent whose “endearing” quirks include sloppy eating and compulsive lying. Jennifer Hudson seems downright exploited as a love interest, while the celebrity cameos from Sandler’s many friends increasingly feel like hostage situations; Rob Schneider‘s inevitable appearance in brownface is the least of Sandy Wexler‘s offenses. —Gwynne Watkins
6. The Mummy
Tom Cruise gets Universal’s “Dark Universe” off to a woefully rocky start with this action-horror mishmash, in which he unconvincingly plays a thief who’s tasked with stopping an undead Egyptian princess from…sleeping with him. Terribly shot, tediously plotted, and devoid of any originality or excitement, it’s a prime example of how not to build a would-be monster franchise. —Nick Schager
5. Transformers: The Last Knight
Even by Michael Bay standards, this fifth entry in the Transformers franchise — which integrates the King Arthur legend and WWII into its mythology — is truly over-the-top in every conceivable way. Unfortunately, while its size is impressive, it doesn’t matter in the face of such a jumbled narrative and been-here, done-that CGI mecha-chaos. Not even Anthony Hopkins emerges unscathed. —N.S.
Is it a genuine action-comedy? A straight parody of the show? Just an excuse to watch pretty people in bathing suits for two hours? This tonally confused, awkwardly unfunny, record-breaking showcase for d–k jokes makes the David Hasselhoff series look like Breaking Bad by comparison. —Kevin Polowy
3. The Great Wall
How do you say “turkey” in Mandarin? Matt Damon surely must regret his role in this laughable CGI actioner and rare misstep from Zhang Yimou. First, there was the whitewashing controversy, then there were the reactions to his Razzie-worthy performance, accentuated by a bad ponytail and worse accent. —K.P.
2. The Book of Henry
What Jurassic World giveth, The Book of Henry should maybe take away. Colin Trevorrow scored director’s chair duties on the ninth Star Wars episode thanks to his wildly successful dino-romp, but this low-budget family drama/thriller caused a great disturbance in the Force with its borderline-laughable storyline and mawkish sentimentality. On the other hand, like a good Jedi master, Trevorrow is sticking up for his controversial Padawan, so maybe he understands Star Wars after all. —E.A.
1. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword
The medieval Arthurian legend gets a modern makeover courtesy of Guy Ritchie that has trouble figuring out its own mythology. At any given moment, this King Arthur is a street-level crime movie a la Snatch, a Lord of the Rings style fantasy complete with giant elephants, and an Avengers team-up picture where Arthur and his knights take on Jude Law‘s flamboyant villain. The movie’s biggest failing is that it tries to be all of these things, and does none of them well. —E.A.
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