Worst/Disappointing/Least-Liked Movies of the 2016

It’s the end of the year boys and girls, you know what that means? It’s list time!

I’ll put up my list of “Best/Favorite” movies of the year later, but with all those good/great/awesome movies I have, I had to sit through some stinkers unfortunately. Some of these I knew weren’t going to be any good walking in, but I ended up taking the hit anyway. The list ranges all over the place so don’t think I’m attacking certain movies because it’s easy. I walk into every movie with a clear mind and soaking up the movie for what it’s worth.

The list will have the movies in alphabetical order, just to be fair, and because I really don’t want to go through the trouble anymore of picking a number one because they weren’t good enough to make it on my other list. Like all lists, this is my opinion! So if you don’t agree that’s perfectly fine and probably justified. Film is subjective, and that’s why I love it.

Finally, there are other movies that could have gone on the list, but these are the ones that truly stuck out. Alright, let’s get this over with.

 

Dishonorable Mentions

Ben-Hur

Masterminds

Siren

 

 

Disappointments/Least-Liked/Worst Movies of the Year

Anitbirth (IFC Midnight/Traverse Media/Hideaway Pictures)

This is one of the many films I watched at the Bruce Campbell Horror Film Festival in August, and having heard nothing about the film or even watching a trailer, I didn’t know what was coming. I probably should have watched the trailer, because I didn’t like this movie. At all! I didn’t feel anything for the characters, and the story felt like it was going nowhere. The ending, oh man the ending, it literally came out of nowhere, and while the ending would have been shocking if the story hadn’t been bad, it didn’t help matters whatsoever. I know I said I wouldn’t label too many of the films, but this is easily one of my worst films of the year. Maybe the worst.

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Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice (Warner Bros./RatPac-Dune Entertainment/Atlas Entertainment/DC Entertainment)

This one may take the cake for the biggest disappointment of the year. Despite finally bringing two of the biggest comic book characters on the big screen for the first time, the film was filled with poor editing decisions along with being too crowed for its own good. Zack Snyder said the film was cut severely, but that shouldn’t mean a movie should suffer. While seeing Batman and Superman duke it out was nice to finally see on the big screen, it wasn’t enough to pick this movie up. Also, it doesn’t matter – I mean it does – but why would I sit through a movie again that’s longer to see the difference(talking about that “Extended Cut” on Blu-Ray).

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Blair Witch (Lionsgate/Veritgo Entertainment/Snoot Entertainment/Room 101)

What we all thought was just another found footage movie called The Woods actually ended up being a surprise sequel to The Blair Witch Project. The film was directed by Adam Wingard (You’re Next, The Guest) and his usual writing partner Simon Barrett –the previously films mentioned – and that had me from the very beginning. I’m a huge fan of those two, and when it was announced that the film was really Blair Witch, I was both hesitant and excited. Taking into account the film was riding high in praise it was getting in early screening, the end result was a mixed bag – being mostly negative. While the film tried to connect to the spirit of the first film, including revving up the finale, it just didn’t have that same connection the first film made. Some parts were interesting, but at the end of the day, I don’t think it was executed well.

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Gods of Egypt (Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment/Mystery Clock Cinema/Thunder Road Pictures)

Gods of Egypt was one of those movies I was excited to watch when it was announced, and when the cast came together with director Alex Proyas, I thought this has to be good, right? Turns out, I was wrong. Very, very wrong. Filled with very questionable (to put it very lightly) CGI throughout, the film felt more like a glorified SyFy Channel movie than it did a big budget Hollywood movie. It didn’t help that despite the pretty good cast, they couldn’t save this either. Dumb fun popcorn film at its finest, but still COME ON!

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Independence Day: Resurgence (20th Century Fox)

Oh boy, this was…ugh. The sequel was something many fans have been wanting for a long time, and I’m sure Resurgence destroyed any hope of getting a worthy sequel. The film had its moments, but only a few to be honest. It just was bad. I mean, I could point out the things I didn’t like with this movie or what was wrong, but that’s too much to write. Also, the more I thought about the film afterward – even know as I’m writing this – I can feel myself getting angry.

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The 5th Wave (Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/GK Films/LStar Capital/Material Pictures)

Based on the book by Ricky Yancy, The 5th Wave had a good set-up and source material to set it just a tad apart from the other young adult novel adaptation out there. I read the first book way before the film came out and was looking forward to seeing what they were going to do with this. Unfortunately, the film was bland, and felt way too generic for its own good. It never felt like anything was really happening even when it was, and one of its supposed standout twist moments involving a character reveal was to dark to see what was going on. A big disappointment considering what the book had to offer.

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The Neon Demon (Amazon Studios/Broad Green Pictures/Bold Films/Vendian Entertainment/Space Rocket Nation)

Oh, Nicolas Winding Refn. For me, Refn is a hit-or-miss director for the films I’ve seen. I really liked Bronson and Drive, but Valhalla Rising I couldn’t even finish, and I’ve heard nothing but bad things from Only God Forgives. When it came to The Neon Demon, I didn’t know what to anticipate, and even while I was watching it, I thought, what the hell am I watching? So The Neon Demon wasn’t even a disappointment, least-liked or bad movie, it just was a movie I watched that had its very Refn-esque moments, and some what the hell did I just watch moments.

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Triple 9 (Open Road Films/Anonymous Content/Worldview Entertainment/MadRiver Pictures)

Triple 9 had a lot of good things going for it with an amazing cast and a great director in John Hillcoat (The Road). So it’s a shame that the film ended up being a bit of a disappointment. The film had some great potential, and while the film does live up to some of it, it didn’t capitalize on what the film promised or what it could have been.

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Suicide Squad (Warner Bros./DC Entertainment/RatPac-Dune Entertainment/Atlas Entertainment/Lin Pictures)

If Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice was a disappointment, Suicide Squad just added to it. I didn’t get on the hate train like a lot of other people did. I liked most of it, and I thought some parts worked, but I couldn’t get over all the missteps the film had to make it good or even great. To even say it was better than Dawn of Justice (the theater cut) isn’t even saying that much either. I didn’t hate Suicide Squad, and while I had more fun watching this than Dawn of Justice, I can’t honestly say I loved it either. Also, Jared Leto’s Joker: ugh.

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Warcraft (Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures/Blizzard Entertainment/Atlas Entertainment)

I never played the games myself, but I knew how big the game was to some people. I also knew this film was in the works for a long time – Sam Raimi was originally attached to direct for a while – so finally seeing this on the big screen was a big deal. Unfortunately, for me, the movie didn’t click for me. The film at times felt too much like it was catering to the fans then casual or non-game fans, which is something I always thought the film shouldn’t have done. I didn’t dislike Warcraft, some of it was pretty good, but overall, the film felt jumbled at times and I had a hard time connecting to some of the characters.

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All right, so there are my worst, disappointments, least-liked films of the year. What were some of yours?

Be on the lookout for my other lists coming out soon.

‘Independence Day: Resurgence’ Review

independence_day_resurgence

Director: Roland Emmerich

Writers: Roland Emmerich, Dean Devlin, Nicolas Wright, James A. Woods, and James Vanderbilt

Cast: Liam Hemsworth, Jeff Goldblum, Jessie T. Usher, Bill Pullman, Maika Monroe, Sela Ward, William Fichtner, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, Angelababy, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Deobia Oparei, John Storey, Nicolas Wright, Travis Tope, Patrick St. Esprit, Gbenga Akinnagbe, Joey King, and Vivica A. Fox

Synopsis: Two decades after the first Independence Day invasion, Earth is faced with a new extra-Solar threat. But will mankind’s new space defense be enough?

 

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

 

When Independence Day came out back in 1996, it changed the Summer Blockbuster forever. It changed the way studios thought about making films and made Will Smith an automatic star in Hollywood. Needless to say, Independence Day was a huge hit. While a sequel was in wanted by the studio way back when, it never came because Roland Emmerich and writer Dean Devlin couldn’t crack the story. Fast forward to today, where every studio in Hollywood is trying to create franchise and their own universes, but are always going by the motto, “what old is new again.” Cue Independence Day: Resurgence, and trying to copy what the original did and try to catch some of the nostalgia going around. So, does Resurgence work? Well, sort of.

The film takes place twenty years after the War of 1996, as they call it in the film, and the world leaders have put aside their differences to use the technology from the aliens to better their own world, and create their own advanced technology like weapons, spacecrafts, and defensive bases within the solar system. Of course, everyone knew they might be coming back, but it might be worse than they originally thought when former President Whitmore (Pullman) gets a vision that suggests another alien invasion is coming sooner than we all thought.

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Meanwhile, David Levinson (Goldblum) goes find an old ship that has been mysteriously turned on, and finds out that it has sent out a distress beacon. While this is happening, up on the base on the Moon, former pilot Jake Morrison (Hemsworth) and his flight partner Charlie Miller (Tope) welcome the new flight team that is lead by Dylan Hiller (Usher), the son of Will Smith’s character from the first film that tragically died in-between events of the film, and now carries on his father’s legacy. We also find out that Jake and Dylan have a history together, and also have a common friend in now an adult Patricia Whitmore (Monroe), who works for the new president in President Lanford (Ward). Eventually, Whitmore’s vision comes true and a new mothership comes, which as David puts, it is “definitely bigger than the last one.” What follows is all of our old and new band of heroes coming together to stop this new threat and save the world once again.

At this point, we should all know what we are all walking into with a Roland Emmerich-directed film: Mass Destruction. We get that in Independence Day: Resurgence early on when the new mothership comes to Earth and covers most of the Pacific Ocean, it takes out a couple cities, London and I believe Tokyo or Hong Kong (I wasn’t sure and it wasn’t said). The destruction scene feels similar to what we’ve seen before, I mean, a lot has been done since 1996, and Emmerich has tried to destroy the world a lot sense then too. The ship having its own gravity is a nice twist, but it’s never really bought up again.

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The real focus of the film is the humans, and here is where we have a mixed bag. None of the new characters really stand out, and it’s nothing against them as actors, it’s just that some to most of all the characters arcs are underdeveloped. Then there actors, like Vivica A. Fox, Judd Hirsch and Sela Ward who don’t really do anything of significance at all. Even Bill Pullman takes a bit of a backseat, while Brent Spiner as Dr. Okun is trying a bit too hard to act like he did in the original film, and his return does make some sense, for those wondering how the hell he’s back. The last returning member is Goldblum, whose character is now head of the Space Defense Program, but his character isn’t as fun as he was in the original.

Jessie Usher as Dylan Hiller is okay, but he isn’t Will Smith, not many are, and while that sounds like an insult, I wasn’t trying to say it as a negative thing, but he doesn’t really give off the same charm. Hemsworth feels like he’s really the bigger lead character as Jake Morrison. He’s also got a little more going on than the other characters, but like the other characters isn’t developed enough to make us have any real connection. Maika Monroe, who I have become a real fan of, tries to standout, and while her arc makes a bit more sense, again, it’s underdeveloped and pushed aside for the sack of having more action. The rest of the supporting cast is okay with William Fichtner plays a General, Charlotte Gainsbourg plays someone from David’s past, Deobia Oparei plays a warlord’s son that has a strange connection with President Whitmore, and Dr. Okun. Nicolas Wright plays Floyd Rosenberg, a lawyer of some sort, who is one of the comic reliefs, yes I said one, because the other is Travis Tope’s Charlie Miller, who is friends with Hemsworth’s character.

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While it sounds like I’m bashing Independence Day: Resurgence, I did have some fun watching it, and not in the fun making fun of it while watching, I thoroughly enjoyed a great deal of the movie because let’s face it, none of us were walking into this thing thinking, Oscar winning, grade-A acting, and sophisticated story and plot. No, we walked in to turn our brains off and watch some humans vs. alien’s action.

Is it a mess? Oh hell yes it is. There are things that don’t really make too much sense when you step back and think about. Which again, it’s a sci-fi movie about aliens coming to our planet who we fight back with every nation in the world using weapons we built with their technology, but you know, still. There’s even a questionable use of the flawed de-aging effect, that really didn’t need to be used at all, and to be honest, it took me out film completely. There is an interesting twist in the third act that opens the film up to a sequel, but it’s bought up so late in the film that it loses it’s real effective and just feels like a “hey, we got one more for all of you!”

All in all, Independence Day: Resurgence is dumb fun, which is probably what many expected, but regardless, the film does have its pitfalls that make it go from okay and fun, to it’s alright and fun. The only gripe I have with the film is the ending which is a completely opened ended film that feels a bit cheesy for it’s own good. Small thing, considering the world we live in with Hollywood now, but it doesn’t mean we can let things like that pass.

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Independence Day: Resurgence

3.5 out of 5

June Movie Releases

Hi there!

Can you believe it’s already June! How the time passes by. Anyway, the second month of the Summer Movie Season goes into full swing and, just like May, brings with it some highly anticipated movies. Let’s take a look shall we?

 

 

3rd

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping (Comedy – Universal)

A Lonely Island movie that, of course will star Andy Samberg as Connor4Real, a pop/rap superstar whose album fails to sell records and goes into a tailspin and watches his celebrity life begin to collapse. Desperate to keep his fame, he’ll try anything including trying to get his old band together. The film also stars Sarah Silverman, Imogen Poots, Jorma Taccone, Tim Meadows, Martin Sheen and many, many more. I hate to admit it, but I’m not the biggest Andy Samberg fan, and from the trailers so far, I’m not really buying what their selling.

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Me Before You (Drama – New Line Cinema/MGM)

A girl in small town forms an unlikely bond with a recently-paralyzed man she’s taking care of. I know these kinds of films have a core audience, but doesn’t it seem like they are coming out more often? Anyway, the film stars Emilia Clarke, Sam Claflin, Jenna Coleman, Matthew Lewis, Vanessa Kirby and Charles Dance.

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Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Out of the Shadows (Action Adventure – Paramount Pictures/Nickelodeon Movies/Gama Entertainment Partners)

Personally, the rebooted first film left little to be desired for me. There were some potentially great moments that could have saved it, but instead, the film was a bit too targeted to the younger crowd (which was fine, whatever). So that has left me a bit underwhelmed for the sequel, despite what the studio is trying to do by adding fan favorite characters – Casey Jones played by Stephen Amell, Bebop played by Gary Anthony Williams and Rocksteady played by Stephen Farrelly aka WWE Superstar Sheamus – and “promising” a much better film this time around. The trailers look alright, but I don’t know if I can bring myself to go watch it. The film also stars new cast members in Tyler Perry as Baxter Stockman, Brian Tee as Shredder (a new one), Brittany Ishibashi as Karai, and Laura Linney.

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10th

Limited Release: Genius (Biography Drama)

Based on the book by A. Scott Berg, the film is a chronicle of Max Perkin’s (Colin Firth) time as the book editor at Scribner, where he oversaw works by Thomas Wolfe (Jude Law), Ernest Hemingway (Dominic West), F. Scott Fitzgerald (Guy Pearce) and other. Nicole Kidman, Laura Linney and Vanessa Kirby also star.

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Now You See Me 2 (Action Thriller – Lionsgate/Summit Entertainment)

The Four Horsemen – Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Dave Franco and Lizzy Caplan replacing Isla Fisher’s character entirely (due to Fisher’s pregnancy) – are back a year after the events from the first film. The reason is to expose the unethical practices of a tech magnate Walter Mabry (Daniel Radcliffe), who also threatens the Horsemen into pulling off their most impossible heist yet. I enjoyed the first film and wasn’t as bad as people lead others to believe. I don’t know entirely how I feel about a sequel but the cast is great, so let’s hope they can at least make it enjoyable enough as the first. The sequel also stars Sanaa Lathan, Henry Lloyd-Hughes, Jay Chou, Morgan Freeman, and Michael Caine.

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The Conjuring 2 (Horror – Warner Bros./New Line Cinema/Evergreen Media Group/Dune Entertainment/The Safran Company)

A sequel to the surprising hit The Conjuring, the sequel sees Lorraine (Vera Farmiga) and Ed Warren (Patrick Wilson) traveling to north London to help a single mother raising four children alone in a house plagued by malicious spirits, in what at the time was called the London Amityville. James Wan returns to direct with a new cast of Franka Potente, Frances O’Connor, Simon McBurney, Sterling Jerins, Madison Wolfe, Lauren Esposito, and Maria Doyle Kennedy.

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Warcraft (Fantasy Action Adventure – Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures/Atlas Entertainment/Blizzard Entertainment)

Based on the popular video game, World of Warcraft – or WoW for short – the film has a ton of weight on its shoulders. For one, some are pegging this film as one of the video games film to save the video game adaptations from sucking, and two, their taking a property that could alienate those who aren’t interested in watching a fantasy action film. I’ve never played the games, so I’m only basing everything off the trailers, and personally, I’m still not completely sold. It could be because I’ve never played the games. Warcraft sees two different nations, human and orc, on the brink of war and the top soldiers from both sides trying to stop it. The film stars Travis Fimmel, Toby Kebbell, Dominic Cooper, Ben Foster, Paula Patton, Ben Foster, Clancy Brown, Robert Kazinsky, Daniel Wu, Ruth Negga, and Ben Schnetzer.

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17th

Limited Release: Clown 

The horror drama follows a father who finds a clown suit for his son’s birthday party, only to realize that it is not a suit at all. Interestingly, Clown has been sitting on the shelf for about three years and is just now getting a release here in the States thanks to the Weinstein Company and producer Eli Roth. But what is more interesting is the film is directed by Jon Watts, who will soon be directing the new Spider-Man film, Spider-Man: Homecoming.

 

Central Intelligence (Comedy – Warner Bros./New Line Cinema/Universal Pictures/Bluegrass Films/Principato-Young Entertainment)

Kevin Hart, a former cool guy in high school and now works as an accountant, is lured into the world of international espionage when his former high school classmate – and former fat friend – played by Dwayne Johnson shows up. Kevin Hart has slowly grown on me and I’ll watch anything (well, almost anything) with The Rock in it. Thankfully, this looks like a total Johnson project as he’s playing to his strengths here. Central Intelligence also stars Amy Ryan and Aaron Paul.

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Finding Dory (Animation – Walt Disney Pictures/Pixar Animation Studios)

A sequel to Finding Nemo, the focus now turns to the friendly-but-forgetful blue fish Dory, one again voiced by Ellen DeGeneres, that starts to remember things about her family and works to reunite with them. Dory was definitely a highlight in the first film, but the question is whether or not Dory can be enough to lead a movie, as opposed to be a supporting character. The voice cast includes Albert Brooks returning as Marlin, Diane Keaton, Ed O’Neill, Eugene Levy, Ty Burrell, Willem Dafoe, Dominic West, and Idris Elba.

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24th

Limited Release: Swiss Army Man

Aka the movie where Daniel Radcliffe plays a farting corpse, no I’m not kidding. The movie follows a man, Paul Dano, who is stranded on a deserted island, finds and befriends a dead body (Radcliffe) and try to find a way home. The movie looks weird, to say the least, but it made some buzz – good and bad – during the film festivals.

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Limited Release: The Neon Demon 

Nicholas Winding Refn (Bronson, Drive, Only God Forgives) is back with his new film that follows an aspiring model Jesse (Elle Fanning) who moves to Los Angeles. Her youth and vitality are devoured y a group of beauty-obsessed women who will take any means necessary to get what she has. Refn obviously has his own style and it seems in full force here, not only that but the trailer is pretty eerie itself. The Neon Demon also stars Christina Hendricks, Keanu Reeves, Jena Malone, Abbey Lee, Desmond Harrington, Bella Heathcote, Jamie Clayton and Alessandro Nivola.

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The Free State of Jones (Drama – STX Entertainment/Route One Films/Vendian Entertainment/Larger Than Life Productions)

Directed by Gary Ross, set during the Civil War, a poor farmer (Matthew McConaughey) from Mississippi leads a group of rebels against the Confederate army. It should be interesting to see how this plays out and with McConaughey at the lead, it should be pretty cool. Although, this doesn’t really seem like a Summer Movie Season movie, but more of a October or November movie. The film also stars Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali and Keri Russell.

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Independence Day: Resurgence (Sci-Fi Action Adventure – 20th Century Fox)

A long overdue sequel to one of the most cult classic sci-fi films, Resurgence is set twenty years after the events of the first film were the world has come together and was able use and advance their own technology from the leftover alien technology. They have made a new Space Defense Program waiting for the day the aliens come back. Unlucky, for them, the aliens have return and with a vengeance. Again, the sequel is long overdue to the point that I’m not really that sold on it yet. I’m sure I’ll go watch it, but I would have been more excited probably if it came out a few years ago. Independence Day: Resurgence stars Jeff Goldblum, Liam Hemsworth, Sela Ward, William Fichtner, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Vivica A. Fox, Maika Monroe, Jessie Usher, Judd Hirsch, Brent Spiner, and Bill Pullman.

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29th

The Shallows (Horror Drama – Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Ombra Films/Weimaraner Republic Pictures)

A mere 200 yards from shore, Nancy (Blake Lively) is attacked by a great white shark, with her short journey to safety becoming the ultimate contest of wills. The film looks to have more of an emotional battle for Lively’s character, instead of it just being a mere survival thriller, which could help. I’m not totally sold on it to be honest, but if the word of mouth is good, I’ll give it a chance.  The film is directed by Jaume Collet-Serra (Orphan, Non-Stop, Run All Night) and stars Blake Lively, Oscar Jaenada, and Sedona Legge.

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What are you looking forward to?