My Worst, Disappointing, Least-Like Movies of the Year

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 best and favorite movies I have, I had to sit through some stinkers. 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. Good or bad.

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. 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

Blackhat (Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures/Forward Pass)

Hitman: Agent 47 (20th Century Fox/TSG Entertainment/Infinite Frameworks Studios/Fox International Productions)

Hot Tube Time Machine 2 (Paramount Pictures/MGM)

Taken 3 (20th Century Fox/EuropaCorp/Canal+/TSG Entertainment/M6 Films/Cine+)

The Transporter Refueled (EuropaCorp/Fundamental Films/TF1 Films Productions/Belga Films/Canal+)

 

 

Disappointments/Least-Liked/Worst Movies of the Year

Aloha (Sony Pictures/Fox/Columbia Pictures/Vinyl Films)

Cameron Crowe’s latest film was hit with criticism with “white-washing” and keeping the film from critics to review just a couple days before release (not the only film on this list that did that). However, watching the film you can see why they kept it away from critics. Aloha had a great cast of Bradley Cooper, Emma Stone, Rachel McAdams, John Krasinski, and Bill Murray. Sadly, they couldn’t save this. The film tries to have high stakes, but only when it wants to, and it even felt ridiculous at times. Overall, the film was very uneven that at times made the film boring.

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Fantastic Four (Fox/Marvel Entertainment/Marv Films/TSG Entertainment)

This one definitely goes into the disappointing and worst section. 20th Century Fox can’t nail down “Marvel’s First Family,” and it is strike three for them. Of course, it didn’t help that there was so much behind-the-scenes drama between the studio and director Josh Trank, and the troubling reshoots and scenes in the trailer that are nowhere in the film. Despite all that, like I said in my review: The fans lose in this, not Fox or Trank, us because we want to see a good Fantastic Four movie and what we got crap. Started out good, but crap nonetheless.

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Jupiter Ascending (Warner Bros./Village Roadshow Pictures/Dune Entertainment)

I really wanted to like this movie more than I did. There are some great scenes in there, but the film felt way too big for its own good. The Wachowskis seemed like they were doing a lot of world building, but it all felt too condense and rushed with nothing having time to breathe. Dare I say, it probably would have worked better as a mini-series instead of a movie, but that’s just my opinion. The first sign was indeed the release date switch, when they pushed back the release date by a year.

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Maggie (Liongates/Roadside Attractions/Grindstone Entertainment Group/Gold Star Films/Lotus Entertainment/Silver Reel/Gold Star Films/Matt Baer Films)

I wasn’t expecting too much of Maggie, but I walked in open-minded (as always) to watch a different take of the zombie genre. Arnold Schwarzenegger as a father dealing with his daughter, played by Abigail Breslin, being infected with virus that is turning people into zombies was interesting to see. However, Maggie’s slow burn didn’t really do the film any favors as the film felt too slow at times and when something powerful happened it took me a while to actually register it because I had to catch up at times. One thing that made me put the film on the list was the ending. The ending looked like it was going to go down a very powerful route, but instead went out in a whimper, and didn’t take the risk that that film could have really made and where they were potentially hinting at. I will say that Arnold as a father figure was great to see.

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Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension (Paramount Pictures/Blumhouse Productions)

I was a fan and defender of the Paranormal Activity films up until the third installment, and I enjoyed most of the spinoff The Marked Ones, but the series showed signs of losing it during the fourth installment. It seemed like the series just didn’t care anymore, and while it tried to add new things to the series, it just never kicked off the way they probably thought it would. As for The Ghost Dimension, the last of the series, it just didn’t do it for me. The supposed answers we were promised were rushed and lackluster, and the ending was just weak and not a good end to the series at all. The movie felt like just another installment that was setting up the real final installment. Another case of a good series losing it momentum by the end, and overstaying its welcome.

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Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (Sony Pictures/Columbia Pictures/Happy Madison Productions)

I didn’t walk in really expecting much from this. I’ll admit, I enjoyed the first Paul Blart: Mall Cop. It had its funny and goofy moments, but it knew what it was and didn’t take itself too seriously. Unfortunately, the sequel did take itself a little bit too seriously for its own good. The jokes fell flat the majority of the time, and to be honest it just wasn’t that good. All the charm and goofiness the first film had was stripped away and replaced with unnecessary fat jokes and lame/awful jokes.

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Point Break (Warner Bros./Alcon Entertainment/DMG Entertainment/Studio Babelsberg)

Despite my slight optimism for remakes in general, Point Break was a shallow and pointless remake that didn’t do much for me – and probably anyone – and while it had it’s very short and brief moments and a great performance with Edgar Ramirez, Point Break failed on all spectrum’s.

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Seventh Son (Universal Pictures/Legendary Pictures)

Seventh Son felt a bit messy. The movie isn’t horrible, but the movie sometimes feels like you’re already familiar with some aspects of the world and it’s a little off-putting at times. One scene in particular threw me off only because they made the scene feel like it was really important, but emotionally it didn’t come out that way because there was no real investment in character involved.

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Terminator Genisys (Paramount Pictures/Skydance Productions)

Terminator Genisys had some potential, Arnold Schwarzenegger came back, after some fans wanted him back, Alan Taylor was directing, and the film was going to add some new things to the timeline that we all know. Then that second trailer came out. You know, the one that gave away what could have been the biggest twist in the series and potentially a great moment to watch onscreen for the first time. Yeah, that one. Knowing that going in really hurt the movie, and despite their being another layer to the twist, it still wasn’t enough to forgive them for spoiling that big plot point in the trailers, TV spots, and posters.

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The Gallows (Warner Bros./New Line Cinema/Blumhouse Productions/Management 360/Tremendum Pictures)

Another addition to the Found Footage horror subgenre was The Gallows, and like some of the films before it: it wasn’t good. Despite some cool and eerie shots in the movie, one of the characters – mainly holding the camera – was annoying to the point that it took me out of the movie. I can handle annoying characters, but holy hell did he reach a whole new level. Moreover, the motivation and reveal of why the events happen ended up making no sense whatsoever and seemed like a last minute thing. The Gallows may be the worst Found Footage movie I’ve seen.

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The Green Inferno (BH Tilt/High Top Releasing/Worldview Entertainment/Dragonfly Entertainment/Sobras International Pictures)

I’m not the biggest Eli Roth fan, but I’ve slightly enjoyed some of his movies in the past, but The Green Inferno was rough to watch, and not in the way it was supposed to be rough to watch. None of the characters were really all that likeable, with the expectation of maybe two, and even the slow burn and waiting for everything to go to hell isn’t worth the wait. Some of the gore is good – that’s what the film is really about anyway – but overall this wasn’t good at all. This is definitely one of the worst films of the year.

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The Lazarus Effect (Lionsgate/Blumhouse Productions/Relativity Studios)

This one had a ton of potential and even had the cast lead by Olivia Wilde and Mark Duplass to back it up. Unfortunately, the potential of the film disappeared once the film became a supernatural slasher-esque film in the last act. The Lazarus Effect had a great premise behind it, but the execution of it lacked power and left the film underwhelming to watch.

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Tomorrowland (Walt Disney Pictures/A113)

This one hurt. I was actually conflicted to put Tomorrowland on this list and not put it as an “Honorable Mention” on my “Favorite/Best” movies of the year. However, that wouldn’t be extremely fair to the other movies. Tomorrowland had ton of potential, had a great team behind the camera and in front of the camera, but ultimately it was the lack of execution and beating over the head theme (which I loved, but sill) that made this probably one of the biggest disappointments, if not the biggest, of the year.

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So, what were your biggest disappointments, worst, or least-liked films of the year?

‘Maggie’ Review

maggie

Dir: Henry Hobson

Writer(s): John Scott 3

Cast: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Abigail Breslin, Joley Richardson, J.D Evermore, Bryce Romero and Douglas M. Griffin

Synopsis: A teenage girl in the Midwest becomes infected by an outbreak of a disease that slowly turns the infected into cannibalistic zombies. During her transformation, her loving father stays by her side.

 

 

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

 

 

Arnold Schwarzenegger in a zombie movie? So we can expect some heavy zombie gore, witty one-liners, and moments of horror, right? Well, not with Maggie. Instead, we get a heavy drama about a loving father trying to protect and keep his daughter alive from a virus that is eating away at her. So I bet the question you’re asking is if Maggie is any good? For the most part yes, yes it is.

 

Schwarzenegger stars as Wade, a father who, at the beginning of the film, finds his missing daughter, Maggie (Breslin) in the midst of a virus outbreak. Even after finding out that Maggie has been infected with the virus, he takes her back to their home so they can spend the last couple of weeks together before he is forced by law to send her to quarantine. However, Maggie starts to show signs of the infection rapidly speeding up and Wade has to decide if sending her away is the best option, or tough it out and run the risk of his own life.

 

Maggie for all intent and purposes really works. Like I wrote before, this isn’t a typical zombie film that we’re all use to watching. Instead first time director Henry Hobson gives us a fully blown zombie drama. It also takes a different approach for the most part. The virus, which is called the necroambulist virus, doesn’t automatically make you a zombie (of course they never use the term). Instead the virus takes its time and varies on person to person. Also, society hasn’t fully collapsed, but it is barely holding on from the looks of it. The other thing, which could be considered a slightly negative thing, is we never find out some of the basics. There is a hospital where the infected are put to see how along they are and how severe the virus is in them, but we don’t really get a firm grasp of how the doctors go into checking the infected. But, they are far into the virus because they have pamphlets to give to the infected so they know what is happening to them.

 

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Here is the thing about Maggie that keeps it from being a really great movie. Hobson and screenwriter John Scott 3 (yes the number 3 not III) tried their best to stay away from clichés of the genre, although they do fall into some. At the end of the day, this is a film about a father and daughter relationship in a zombie apocalypse, and not the other way around. There are very brief and few scenes of action, but they feel more like tragic scenes rather than relying on an action beat. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing, but the film sets up a strong premise, but lacks to really hit a strong execution. The thing that keeps you watching the film without thinking of its faults, is the acting from leads Schwarzenegger and Breslin.

 

Schwarzenegger recently has been opening his career to more dramatic action films, but it was nice, and I’ll admit odd at times to watch him rely on his dramatic chops rather than his action chops. He plays the father role extremely well. His character Wade, loves his daughter and all he wants is to help her through this difficult time. Breslin, on the other hand pulls double duty. She has to play the scarred but strong young woman trying not to fall apart, but also being a bit terrifying when she starts to “turn.”

 

Although being father and daughter isn’t enough. Wade and Maggie do share quite a few scenes and some many of them are powerful and great to watch, but other than that, their relationship is never pushed to that next level even though the opportunity is really there. One of the best scenes of the film doesn’t even have Arnold in it. Maggie goes to a bonfire with some friends before they start school (another sign of how society hasn’t completely fallen yet). The scene and the follow up really show you who Maggie was before the virus hit and how others, besides adults, see it. Maggie finds out that someone she was close to, Trent (Romero), also has the virus. Seeing both of them talk about themselves and seeing the difference between them is great to see.

 

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Finally, the pacing and length could have been worked on. This is something I usually don’t think about too much when watching a movie, only because it really doesn’t matter if the material calls for it and if the length and pace works. For Maggie, however pacing does become its enemy near the middle of the film and during the final act. I read from a few people say the film could work better as a long short film, which I kind of agree with, but even some of the great scenes wouldn’t have worked without the build before it.

 

Also, the ending, obviously I won’t spoil it since this is a spoiler free review, but all I say is that I was very mixed about the ending, and in my theater there was a very audible reaction to it which I wasn’t ready for. The ending will really split you and whoever you’re watching it with. I think the ending barely worked and needed a bit more to really convince me that this is how it should have ended.

 

All in all, Maggie works on a lot of levels, which makes its missteps frustration because the film has a lot of potential to be even greater than it can be. The performances take the film to the next level and the different take on the zombie genre is welcoming. Just remember, you’re watching an actual zombie drama and not a zombie action film.

 

 

Maggie

3.5 out of 5

May Movie Releases

Hello Boys and Girls!

 

It’s the beginning of the Summer Movie Season!

What better way to start off this run of movies than a great month of films. We got a lot of films to get to, so let’s get to it!

 

 

1st

Limited Release: Far from the Madding Crowd

Based on the novel by Thomas Hardy, the film stars Carey Mulligan as Bathsheba Everdene, who attracts three different suitors played by Matthias Schoenaerts, Tom Sturridge, and Michael Sheen. The film also stars Jessica Barden, Bardley Hall and Juno Temple.

 

Avengers: Age of Ultron

I mean come on, it’s the sequel  to one of the biggest superhero team-up movies ever! The cast keeps getting bigger and better. I, for one, am excited about watching this (more than once).

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8th

Limited Release: Maggie

Arnold Schwarzenegger stars as a father trying to protect his daughter, played by Abigail Breslin, for as long as he can before she dies of a slow disease that is slowly turning her to a zombie. The trailer shows that Arnold is going to be diving into his dramatic chops, and people that have already seen it are saying it is a great character piece.

 

Hot Pursuit

Reese Witherspoon stars as a by-the-book cop who tries to protect a widow of a drug boss from killers all across Texas. I have to say, for me, this is a weird pairing and the movie doesn’t really seem like anything new to the action/comedy genre.

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15th

Limited Release: Good Kill

Ethan Hawke stars as a man that begins to question the ethics of his job as a drone pilot. The films also stars January Jones, Zoe Kravitz, Bruce Greenwood and Jake Abel

 

Pitch Perfect 2

The sequel to the surprise hit comes back and it looks like it is going to be better than ever. Not only that, but, producer and star from the first film Elizabeth Banks will take the helm and director the sequel. I didn’t see the first film so I can’t say am going to see this one just yet.

 

Mad Max: Fury Road

George Miller returns to the world of the Mad with his new installment/reboot Mad Max: Fury Road. Tom Hardy plays the new Max and is joined by Charlize Theron, Nicholas Hoult, Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, Zoe Kravitz and original Mad Max star Hugh Keays-Byrne playing a new character. That and the trailers make the new movie look bad-shit crazy.

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22nd

Poltergeist

A remake of the original cult-classic is coming to the big screens again. The remake actually looks like it could be kind of fun, then again, I’m one that doesn’t mind remakes unless they are done right and do their own thing. The film stars Sam Rockwell, Rosemarie DeWitt, and Jared Harris.

 

Tomorrowland

Brad Bird is bringing a mysterious take to what looks like a coming of age story with sci-fi elements and George Clooney. No I’m just kidding, but seriously we know very little about this new film that brings three people together to help save a world called Tomorrowland. The film also stars Britt Robertson, Hugh Laurie, and Kathryn Hahn.

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29th

Aloha

Cameron Crowe directs  this new film that stars Bradley Cooper, a celebrated military contractor who returns to the site of his triumph and re-connects with a lost love, while falling for a hard-charginig Air Force watchdog assigned to him. The women that Cooper’s character is falling for are Emma Stone and Rachel McAdams. The film also stars, John Krasinski, Alec Baldwin, Danny McBride, Jay Baruchel, and Bill Murray.

 

San Andreas

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson vs. Big Earthquake. Okay, maybe he’s not physically fighting the earthquake, but you can’t pass on something like that. Anyway, Johnson does play a rescue-chopper pilot who goes on a dangerous journey to rescue his estranged daughter played by Alexandra Daddario. The film also stars Carla Gugino, Ioan Gruffudd, Kylie Minogue, Colton Haynes and Paul Giamatti.

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