Worst/Disappointing/Least-Liked Movies of the Year

It’s the end of the year, so you know what that means? Time to put lists together. Since you probably read the title, you know that this list will contain movies that I thought were disappointing, worst, and movies that I liked the least.

Please take into account that this is my list and reflects my personal opinion. Obviously if you feel different that is completely fine! I won’t really label them considering they are in this post so you can assume I didn’t think highly of them.

 

“Honorable” Mentions:

Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones: The Paranormal Activity movies have taken a slump recently. I’ve was a fan of the first three movies but the last two have been lacking in any sort of quality. I had some hope for The Marked Ones because it was billed as a Latino spin-off that was its own story but had major connections to the actual series. While the movie was that, it still left something to be desired and failed to execute on its premise.

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Sex Tape: I didn’t go in thinking Sex Tape was going to be great. I did hope that I would at least laugh a lot. Of course, both of those were slight right. Sex Tape had few good laughs but overall it wasn’t that funny and Cameron Diaz and Jason Segal’s characters weren’t entirely likeable.

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Least-Liked/Disappointing/Worst

As Above, So Below: There is not a lot to like about As Above, So Below, but even the likeable things could not outweigh everything that was wrong with it. The found footage aspect is probably the best use of the gimmick in a while. Also, all found footage movies tend to be horror movies and this was promoted as one, but As Above, So Below doesn’t really feel like a horror movie until it needs to be. This isn’t a bad thing but the shift in tones didn’t help. Another plus – if that’s what you want to call it – is this does have at least a more likeable lead for the most part.

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Brick Mansions: Another remake that had people up in arms, Brick Mansions is a remake from the French movie District B13 that was produced by mega action producer Luc Besson. The American remake was also produced by Besson and even stars original cast member David Belle (also, the co-founder of Parkour) playing essentially the same character. So what went wrong?

Besides Americanizing it (setting in Detroit) the movie doesn’t have the same charm as the original did, which really did hurt it. This was also Paul Walker’s last completed film (as he hadn’t even finished Fast & Furious 7, when this came out) which made the movie a little more special. But unfortunately it wasn’t really that good and was another forgettable movie.

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Robocop: When it was first announced that Robocop was getting the remake treatment, everyone went up in arms, and arguably, rightly so. Paul Verhoeven’s original Robocop was a satire but made complete sense and still holds its own today. The remake didn’t have a lot of things going for it. Of course, one of the things is they changed the suit and his “origin,” but it tried to be its own thing which I did appreciate.

However, there was a standout scene that involved Alex/Robocop (Joel Kinnaman) taking out a full warehouse of baddies in the dark. Even a scene where he finds out there was some people he thought were brothers in blue had betrayed him. But these moments of potential were yanked away by poor decisions and some flat characters and arc that went nowhere. Poor move.

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Sin City: A Dame to Kill For: A sequel that came a little too late. When the first Sin City came out, it was cool, and the special effects made the movie more of an experience. However, times have changed, special effects have changed and even gotten better. So when A Dame to Kill For came out it felt like, as a reviewer put it, “visiting an old friend.” It isn’t that bad of a movie, but after waiting so long, the movie has lost some charm and was kind of boring in some occasions. The only thing to come out of it is seeing Eva Green playing a femme fatale, Joseph Gordon-Levitt chewing up his scenery, and Powers Boothe showing he is the perfect bad guy.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Michael Bay produced this mix of motion capture-CGI and live-action about our favorite heroes-in-a-half-shell. Unfortunately, everything I loved about Ninja Turtles wasn’t there, at least not really. The movie felt more catered to kids, which isn’t a bad thing and at least they are going to get that market, but you really shouldn’t forget about the older crowd. The best thing for me was the heavy marketed mountain slide action sequence, which even seeing it in theaters was just a tad underwhelming and a fight scene between Shredder and Master Splinter. Then there is Megan Fox as April O’Neal. She wasn’t terrible, but she wasn’t good either.

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The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Now before you think I’m on the bandwagon of hating on ASM2, you’d be wrong. Some of movie was good, Andrew Garfield is a great Peter Parker/Spider-Man and his relationship with Emma Stone’s Gwen Stacy is what made the movies more than worthwhile. However, ASM2 suffered from too much world building. Instead of really focusing on this movie and dropping just a few tidbits on future villains or tease things to come, it decide to shove them in front of our faces and forget about their own movie.

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Transcendence: A great cast in Rebecca Hall, Paul Bettany, Cillian Murphy, Morgan Freeman, even Johnny Depp (although I’m not his biggest fan, sorry) in one movie, so what went wrong? The movie had a great concept but loses steam real fast. It asks interesting/thought provoking questions but at the end of the day, it was kind of forgettable and ended up going nowhere.

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Transformers: Age of Extinction: I haven’t been a fan of the Transformers series since the first one, and even then, that movie was only okay. Even when they filmed Dark of the Moon here in Chicago, I was excited because I got to see my home city get destroyed, but it just turned into blah. So when we all heard that Age of Extinction would be a semi-reboot with new characters, transformers and designs, and a new director, I was somewhat hopeful. Then Michael Bay decided to direct.

Age of Extinction did have one exciting scene. The chase off the Yeager farm through a small town and to a warehouse, but that’s pretty much it. Don’t get me wrong, I’m a fan of huge explosion as much as the next person, but this just stopped being fun. The second half of the movie became what the other movies were. And I’m all of mindless fun but AoE really pushed that limit.

Also, they made a kind of big deal about the dinobots finally making an appearance, but we had to sit throughout the whole movie to see them, and they didn’t even act like the dinobots that everyone loves. Plus, only get about ten minutes of screen time. Nice move Michael Bay.

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So what are your movies that would fit this list?

“As Above, So Below” Review

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Dir: John Erick Dowdle

Cast: Perdita Weeks, Ben Feldman, Edwin Hodge, Francois Civil, Marion Lambert, and Ali Marhyar

Synopsis: When a team of explorers ventures into the catacombs that lie beneath the streets of Paris, they uncover the dark secret that lies within this city of the dead

 

 

 

*Reviewer Note:  This will be a spoiler free review*

 

 

As Above, So Below is being advertised as another found footage horror movie, but as I sat there and watched it, it didn’t feel like a typical found footage movie, or even a horror movie. The movie feels more like a thriller and has bits of horror with the found footage aspect. Unfortunately for us, the movie fails at some levels but does have some redeeming qualities to it.

 

The movie follows Scarlett Marlowe (Weeks), who has made it her career to finish her late-father’s work; find legendary alchemist Nicholas Flamel’s Philosopher’s Stone. The stone is suppose to, according to Scarlett, “turn basic metals into gold and grant eternal life.” She gathers the help of a documentarian colleague Benji (Hodge), fellow archaeologist and former boyfriend George (Feldman) and some local thrill seekers Paillon (Civil), Souxie (Lambert) and Zed (Marhyar).

 

Scarlett, with the help of George, eventually find out that the stone might be held in some closed off portion of The Catacombs in Paris. The group heads down and of course, weird things start to happen. Of course being stuck in an isolated area like the Catacombs things like claustrophobia, confusion, darkness, creepy noise, scrapes and bruises occur that make the group uneasy continuing their adventure. They also need to confront their inner fears if they want to make out alive.

 

The movie, which surprised me, apparently got to film some of movie in the actual Catacombs, besides the big set pieces obviously, which is kind of cool. But the other big thing that sets this aside is the movie has the actors “film” it. The characters have mini-cameras attached to their headband lights so some of the movie is seen from their point-of-view, which adds to their suspense factor. This also makes the “why are they still filming all of this” argument become less of a problem since they need to light down in the Catacombs.

 

As Above, So Below already has the creepy factor in its set. The Catacombs is essentially a mass grave and could have been used in the movie more, but instead it is used more as a backdrop than its main attraction. The Philosopher’s Stone – which has been used in other movies like Harry Potter and Tomb Raider – is more of a MacGuffin and isn’t really that interesting as a plot device.

 

The movie though does have great sound design. Besides the obvious camera movements that make you know something is coming to pop at you, the sound design is the reason this movie is a bit unnerving and creepy. It’s the small creeks, crumbles, and random noises that raise your awareness and makes you nervous for the characters.

 

Thankfully, the movie has a descent lead in Weeks. She plays Scarlett as a bit obsessive about finding the stone, not just for herself, but also to clear her father’s reputation. She not as annoying as some of the leads in found footage movies, which for this is kind of movie is welcomed and she is somewhat likeable, when she’s doing things that are clearly wrong or life threatening.

 

Feldman as George is also descent, along with Hodge as the cameraman Benji. The rest of the cast is really just filler and at one point I forgot about a character and when he’s shown on screen I was surprised to see he was still alive.

 

But with all that said As Above, So Below does have a lot wrong with it too. I address the shaky-cam because there are moments when the camera does crazy, especially in the last ten minutes when everything goes to hell (no pun intended). It also falls into to some usual horror movie tropes, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing but it loses some of its effectiveness when you know it is coming.

 

There are also some things that are bought up that really go nowhere, and are just added in to add to the creepiness, which is kind of disappointing. The last fifteen to ten minutes is where everything gets chaotic and the movie seems to start fall into the unwelcomed. There are some creepy moments there but it then starts to follow the usual found footage beats, but with outcome that I didn’t see coming.

 

All in all, As Above, So Below has some creepy aspects and while it is a bit different from over found footage movies, it doesn’t bring anything new. It also at the end of the day doesn’t make a huge amount of sense but it is a supernatural horror movie and has a descent lead in Weeks, that it could make a serviceable weekday movie if you nothing better to do.

 

 

As Above, So Below

3 out of 5