Frustrating, Undecided and Disappointments/Least-Liked Movies of 2019

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 “Favorite Movies of the Year” later, but with all those good/great/awesome movies I have seen, 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.

But first, let’s talk about the movies I didn’t know where to put, or as I like to call it – The Undecided

 

The Undecided Movies of the Year

Ad Astra

One of the challenges Ad Astra faced was marketing. The trailers and TV spots – even a TV spot I saw recently – are treating the film as a sci-fi space action thriller. The thing is director James Gray (Lost City of Z) isn’t that kind of director, and the film was much more of a personal film about Brad Pitt’s character trying to find his father (played by Tommy Lee Jones), but his character is so mission focused that he find it hard to connect with everyone. It’s a quiet film, but effective with Pitt’s performance.

 

Joker

Joker is, arguably, the most talked about movie of the year, for the good, bad and all the articles it sparked. Regardless of that, Joaquin Phoenix did deliver a rather haunting performance as Arthur Fleck, but there is just something about this film’s theme and message that gets lost in its delivery.

 

Once Upon a Time…in Hollywood

Quentin Tarantino’s ninth film, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood made A LOT of waves when it came out. Moving most of that aside for right now, what made the movie worth every penny was watching Leonardo DiCaprio and Brad Pitt playing off each other, or even stealing the show on their own as aging cowboy actor Rick Dalton and his stuntman, Cliff Booth. At the end of the day though, I can’t see myself putting it in my favorites or honorable mentions. I didn’t dislike or thought the film was bad, I’m kind of indifferent to it.

 

Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark

Based on the popular book series, I was fully looking forward to Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark, and not just because of the books, but the crew behind the camera. Guillermo del Toro produced the movie – he was originally attached to direct for a while – while Andre Ovredal (The Autopsy of Jane Doe) directed the movie. The movie was fine, but there was a certain punch missing from it.

 

The Lighthouse

If you saw the movie, you know why it’s here. Seriously, I still don’t know whether I enjoyed the movie, or have this need to enjoy the movie. Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe are great in it – I prefer Dafoe here – but man, The Lighthouse was something.

 

The Irishman

Martin Scorsese’s latest film made, no surprise, waves amongst film fans and critics. The “long” film about Mob hitman Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), and the role he may have had in the disappearance of Jimmy Hoffa (Al Pacino). I honestly can say I enjoyed watching the movie, and watching the performances of De Niro, Pacino and the returning Joe Pesci, but then there are very minor things that a director like Scorsese should have known better about – I’m looking at you Anna Paquin.

 

 

Frustrating Movies of the Year

Brightburn

What would happen if Superman came to Earth and was actually evil? But, he’s not actually Superman because of comic rights? That’s what Brightburn basically was, and while concept wise it worked, execution wise, well, that’s another story. While the performances of the main trio – Jackson A. Dunn, David Denman and Elizabeth Banks – made the movie worthwhile, Brightburn suffered from not really going all-out like it did. Granted, there are places the movie DID go that was surprising.

 

Escape Room

Escape Room followed a group of strangers, who take a mysterious invitation to be a part of an immersive escape room, where the winner gets a cash prize – although the trailer dubs in a larger amount than in the movie. Of course, things are much more than they appear to be.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t really looking forward to Escape Room, but considering it came out at the beginning of the year, and the amount of new movies coming out is very slim, I went and boy was I impressed!

The movie and cast were very solid, and right as I was about to eat my words, the ending happened.

Escape Room lost every bit of steam it had built up with its terrible ending that really served no purpose other than set up a sequel, which is happening and set to come out this year. Now before you say, some other movies set up sequels, it couldn’t have been that bad? Yes, yes it was.

Sometimes the less you show, and the mystery, is much better than the explanation you give. I’d still highly recommend Escape Room, just turn it off five minutes before the credits roll.

 

Glass

After years of wanting a sequel to Unbreakable, we finally got one in the form of Spilt and after feeling the high that was the return of M. Night Shyamalan, we got Glass. It’s not the say that Glass was a bad movie, because it some respect it wasn’t. Glass followed our three already introduced trio in James McAvoy’s Kevin Wendell Crumb and his multiple personalities, Bruce Willis’ David Dunn and Samuel L. Jackson’s Elijah aka Mr. Glass. All three have been captured and locked away to “treat them” of their illness, which is they believe they’re real-life superheroes by the mysterious Dr. Ellie Staple played by Sarah Paulson.

For its credit, Glass does try to get the message across that these three created their own reality that their superheroes, and Paulson gives an unflinching performance to boot. The problem with Glass is it falls into the pitfalls that put Shyamalan out of favor with fans in the first place – the twists. Now, sure, most fans at the beginning loved the Shyamalan twist, but eventually they became the butt of many jokes.

The problem with the Glass is that has one too many twists in it, and one in particular that comes from out of nowhere and feels like it was a last minute thing that Shyamalan put in there to have fans talking about that rather than what he did to his characters that we’ve come to love.

Glass could arguably be the most frustrating movie of the year, I know it is for me, since just about everyone – okay, maybe not everyone – was hyped to see Shyamalan come back to form.

 

The Kitchen

Based on the comic book series of the same name, The Kitchen followed the wives of New York gangsters in Hell’s Kitchen in the 70s, played by Melissa McCarthy, Elisabeth Moss and Tiffany Haddish, who continue to operate their husbands’ rackets after they’re locked up in prison, and making themselves highly successful in the process. With a set up like that, and three always reliable leads, how the hell did this become such a mess!?

McCarthy, Haddish and Moss do the best with what they’re given, and this is their show, but why bother getting some big names for s supporting cast just to waste them. Domhnall Gleeson, James Badge Dale, Bill Camp, Common and Margo Martindale are in the movie, but not really. It’s a tonal whiplash at times, the editing is off, it’s a bit anti-climatic at one point and its ending is undeserved because it just comes out of left field with no real development.

 

Alright, now let’s get this over with.

Dishonorable Mentions

Anna

Child’s Play

Miss Bala

Polaroid

The Dead Don’t Die

Men in Black: International

 

Disappointments & Least-Liked Movies of the Year

Black Christmas

The second remake of the classic horror film, now with a modern twist, Black Christmas follows a group of sorority sisters who are being hunted by down a mysterious group at their college campus. While I appreciated that the movie tried to make the remake its own thing, nothing really happens until the last act of the movie, and even then – with a twist as well, mind you – it was a little too fumbled to really appreciate it.

 

Close

Close seemed to be Netflix’s potential answer to the Bourne franchise, but unfortunately for Noomi Rapace – who probably does deserve another franchise – she wasn’t given enough to put this movie over the top. The movie follows Rapace’s Sam, a bodyguard for hire, and when she’s hired to protect Sarah (Olivia Jewson) the daughter of a business tycoon who just died, she’s put into the crosshairs of corporate espionage. The action thriller has little action and the majority of it feels uninspired, and on top of that the movie trudges along to its finale that just comes out of nowhere with no real, or at the minimal lazy, build-up.

 

Dark Phoenix

The last X-Men movie in the Fox run, Dark Phoenix unfortunately whiffed it on their way out. The Dark Phoenix story arc is, arguably, one of the best X-Men comic arcs in history, so it was always bound for a big-screen adaptation. Of course, the first time we got the big-screen story was X-Men: The Last Stand – there are some cool moments in the movie, let’s not shit on the movie entirely okay. Then the franchise got rebooted, and after the tease of X-Men: Apocalypse – which Dark Phoenix seemed to completely ignore – we knew we were in for another take of the story.

Unfortunately, Dark Phoenix suffers from just more than some bad writing. The movie did have some problems behind-the-scenes, and then had some last-minute third act reshoots that changed a lot. It was also well known that Jennifer Lawrence wanted out of the franchise, and only came back because James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender came back…and you can clearly see she DID NOT want to be there – seriously, I’ve never seen someone so uninterested in being at work.

The biggest complaint I have about Dark Phoenix is that it’s just kind of bland. The action is a tad uninspired, and while the final train sequence was actually kind of cool, since it has the X-Men, Magneto and two other mutants who we met thirty seconds ago teaming up, the rest of it just happens.

 

Replicas  

Replicas follows Keanu Reeves’ Will Foster who is at the brink of a scientific breakthrough, however, when his family dies in a tragic car accident she decides to tweak his breakthrough and bring his family back through cloning. Of course, things don’t go as smoothly as he thinks.

Replicas had a ton of potential, the problem is the movie was not only pushed back on multiple occasions, it barely got any real promotion and overall it failed to really grasp its own concept and ruin everything it had built up. The movie also feels just a tad bit cheap, which doesn’t help the cause, and the third act is a little too wonky for its good.

Then there’s the ending…again.

 

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

Disappointments/Least-Liked/Worst Movies of 2018

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 seen, 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.

But first, let’s talk about the movies I didn’t know where to put, or as I like to call it – The Undecided

 

The Undecided Movies of the Year

Assassination Nation

Hotel Artemis

Mandy

Solo: A Star Wars Story

Suspiria

The Strangers: Prey at Night

Tully

Unsane

Venom

 

 

Alright, now let’s get this over with.

Dishonorable Mentions

Breaking In

Hell Fest

The 15:17 to Paris

 

 

Disappointments/Least-Liked/Worst Movies of the Year

Death Wish

A remake of the cult classic series that starred Charles Bronson, the remake was directed by Eli Roth and starred Bruce Willis as Paul Kersey, a doctor who becomes a vigilante after his wife gets murdered, and daughter gets attacked, during a home invasion. The problem with Death Wish, well one of them, is it felt a little tone deaf in terms of the message it’s trying to get across at times. Especially considering the movie’s overall message being controversial itself, but it doesn’t help that the movie sometimes has major tonal issues when it comes to cops in the movie, more specifically Dean Norris’ character.

 

Proud Mary

Proud Mary had some potential to be a nice throwback to the blaxploitation movies of the past. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case, and instead we got a lackluster action movie that tried to be more than it should have been, and failed on all accounts. Taraji P. Henson played hitwoman, Mary, who works for an organized crime family in Boston, and after a hit that changed her life, she wants out and wants to help a young boy that was also affected by that hit. Henson does the most she can with the character, and even Danny Glover appears as the leader of the crime family. However, I just couldn’t get interested in the movie at all. Even the action-packed finale felt too tame for its own good.

 

Slender Man

Oh Slender Man, what happened?! Well, I kind of know what happened. The movie is, obviously years too late, and the producers of the movie had some creative differences with the studio about how to handle and market the movie. This lead to the studio – Sony – not only moving the movie around the release schedule on several occasions, but apparently cutting several key scenes leaving the movie a noticeably mess. Slender Man had potential, but with the studio getting involved, a weak script and uninteresting characters, Slender Man lacked any real substance to make it worthwhile.

 

The Happytime Murders

What the hell was this? No, seriously, what the hell was this? I’ll admit, I didn’t mind the concept that puppets can walk around in the human world, and suddenly someone is killing puppets from a popular TV show, and it’s up to a puppet and his former cop partner (Melissa McCarthy) to solve the case. The movie wasn’t well received by critics or by fans, and you can’t blame them. I didn’t really expect much from The Happytime Murders, but I didn’t think it would be an unfunny, cringe-worthy at times movie.

 

Truth or Dare

Blumhouse has a pretty good track record with their horror/thriller movies, and even managed to surprise some of us with Happy Death Day, which let’s be honest, we all thought was going to suck (yes, I am looking forward to Happy Death Day 2U). So with that said, Truth or Dare had some potential and a good lead in, but it sadly craps the bed. The characters aren’t great, it loses a lot of stream most of the time after it builds something up, and the effect of the demon is really dumb. There is only one character that stands out, and that’s Hayden Szeto’s Brad, who has a storyline that doesn’t really belong in the movie, but it’s actually a good storyline that gets wasted. Plus the ending for me was really dumb, and has been done before.

 

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

2018 Summer Movie Season Round-Up

And just like that, the 2018 Summer Movie Season is over! It is kind of hard to believe that it’s already September, but yet, here we are. That being said, I’d like to run down some movies that stood out to me this summer. Ranging from my Worst/Least-Liked, Surprises and, of course, my Best/Favorite movies of the summer. My lists always range all over the place since I tend to watch a lot of movies. Of course, there are movies missing from the list because I couldn’t find a place to put them or I just didn’t get to watch them – I’m looking at you Won’t You Be My Neighbor. Alright, let’s get to it.

 

Worst/Least-Liked

Breaking In

Breaking In is one of those movies that you feel like you’ve seen a lot, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. However, the movie wasn’t really that great. The characters aren’t great or are very poorly written, the “action” isn’t all that great and it’s rather uneventfully for the majority of the movie. When it finally lends itself to be eventful, it takes the safe route.

 

Slender Man

This one has a lot of problems. One, a feature film on the big screen about the famous/popular internet meme is WAY too late. Two, the bad timing of the release with the real life stabbing of the young girl by those two disturbed girls trying to please Slender Man. Finally, the public dispute between producers and Sony Pictures on how to handle the movie which affected the movie in more ways than one. The movie moved around the release schedule before Sony pulled the movie, and then unceremoniously put the movie back against The Meg. Finally, Sony reportedly removed some “key” scenes, so the movie we saw was not a true final cut. All that said, it showed. The movie was uneven at times, and the characters weren’t all that great and – it could have been my theater – some scenes were just too dark to see anything. It’s a shame, because Slender Man could have been, at the very least, a horror movie that could have been at least somewhat good.

 

 

Surprises

Overboard

A remake of the 1987 film with Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn, Overboard switches up the genders and has Anna Faris playing a down-on-her-luck single mother who meets an arrogant rich playboy, played by Mexican superstar Eugenio Derbez, who gets amnesia after being thrown off his boat. Faris’ character sees this as an opportunity to get some revenge after he mistreated her. The movie doesn’t have a lot of love – remake aspect aside – but I actually found the movie pretty charming, and genuinely funny at times. Derbez and Faris are great together, and while I wasn’t expecting anything from this, especially after Derbez’s last outing, How to be a Latin Lover, left little to be desired, Overboard is worth a watch.

 

Teen Titans Go! To the Movies

Speaking of not expecting much, Teen Titans Go! To the Movies was a movie that was not on my radar whatsoever. I was a fan of the original animated show, but the newest and latest animated show wasn’t for me, so I had no real connection to the movie at all. However, I took the plunge and went to watch it, and boy, am I glad I did. Seeing this was definitely one of my best moments of the summer. The movie was funny, meta, not afraid to make fun of the superhero genre and overall just fun.

 

Alright, let’s get to the Best/Favorite Movies of the Summer, but before that, let’s do some honorable mentions.

Honorable Mentions

Upgrade

Hereditary

Incredibles 2

Leave No Trace

Eighth Grade

Sorry to Bother You

Tag

Searching

 

Best/Favorite

Ant-Man and the Wasp

Ant-Man and the Wasp isn’t up there with Marvel’s best films (the Captain America trilogy), but it did up the ante on everything in the first Ant-Man. The humor and the action was good, and the Quantum Realm played a bigger role, and potentially gave us a hint of the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Also, seeing Evangeline Lilly playing The Wasp was great to watch. It was also a nice palette cleanser after watching Avengers: Infinity War.

 

BlacKkKlansman

Spike Lee’s latest film is one that was on a lot of people’s radar when it was announced. The incredible true story of a black undercover police officer, played by Denzel Washington’s son John David Washington, with the help of a white police officer, played by Adam Driver, infiltrate the KKK and help delay or stop attacks before they happen. I’ll be honest, I’m not very familiar with all of Spike Lee’s work, but BlacKkKlansman is, and was, one of the year’s best films.

 

Crazy Rich Asians

Crazy Rich Asians was not a movie I was looking forward toward completely. I was going to watch it, but it wasn’t something I was dying to see. Then all the word of mouth came out, plus the reviews, so when I sat down to watch this, I was pleasantly surprised at not only how great the movie was, but how funny and charming it was. Of course, the other big thing with the movie is it is a mostly to all Asian cast in a long time. The cast was great and with a sequel already lined up to happen, Crazy Rich Asians was also a surprise of the summer for me.

 

Hearts Beat Loud

This was a film I didn’t know anything about until word started coming out. The film follows Nick Offerman as Frank Fisher, a single and widowed father and former musician, wanting to start a band with his young daughter Sam (Kiersey Clemons) after they record a song. Hearts Beat Loud is also much more than that, and the great thing is the movie doesn’t have a huge cast. Offerman and Clemons are great together and Ted Danson and Toni Collette have great supporting roles with Offerman, while newcomer Sasha Lane sharing her scenes with Clemons. It will be hard for me to imagine not having Hearts Beat Loud in my end of year list.

 

Mission: Impossible – Fallout

The Mission: Impossible series is still going, and it shows no real signs of slowing down – even though Tom Cruise broke his DAMN ANKLE AND KEPT FILMING THE STUNT. Regardless of that, I had a hell of a lot of fun watching Fallout. The Paris sequences and the bathroom fight alone for me was worth the price of admission alone.